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Making changes in military armament- More than a convincing argument.

danno50

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The squabble to ditch the 5.56mm has gone on for decades and it seems that changes may come to pass in the near future. While the 5.56mm gave more fire power and less weight for the solider to carry during combat, I never felt that is was an effective alternative to the 30 cal. It didn't help that all the bugs had not been worked out when the 5.56 was first issued, and to date, some problems are still experienced within the platform. This "Army Times" publication gives some details. Do you think its time for a change?
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwilmMnU1LDUAhWm1IMKHec8DxcQFggmMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.armytimes.com%2Farticles%2Fnew-rifle-bigger-bullets-inside-the-armys-plan-to-ditch-the-m4-and-556&usg=AFQjCNGWSquJPh6p2v0BGw0sA6FaDEYvZA
DosEquisShooter

Great post, danno50!  It is time for a change, IMO.  Just because my grandson leaves for boot camp in 17 days does not influence my decision!    :)

Chris

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I thought there could be a good argument for the 6.5 Grendel
Chris Kiefner

NRA Life Member

Great reading Dan.Thanks.  I would like to hear from the guys here that have actually been in harms way as to their thoughts.
Roger
Faster horses,younger women,older whiskey,and more money.

My fear is this decision will be based on politics rather than logic.  I do know my brother was one of the first USMC units to "test" out the M-16 with their lives on the line in Viet Nam. The words he used to describe it turned me off forever to this weapon platform as a military choice. Yea, fun and cheap to shoot at my rifle range, so is my AK-47! One of the single toughest men I have ever known swore by his M1 Garrand. That man was my GSD's late owner and a survivor of the "Chosin Few" They walked out in -40 temps. Yea, he was missing toes and fingers from the frostbite. My son was in the first gulf war in the USN. They still use the M-14 for one reason, it has a capability to launch a line to the dock with a blank round to retrieve the docking lines.  The ship he was on had a company of Marines that would have traded my son anything for his M-14.  Proud to say I have experienced "Garrand Thumb"  :)

eford

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I carried a M-4 carbine in Afghanistan from July 2007-May 2008. I wasn't "outside the wire" everyday, but in Indian Country you have to be ready. The rifle performed flawlessly. It was cleaned when it needed to be cleaned. I never had a doubt about its day time or night time accuracy, thanks to a great red dot optic and a boresighted laser and IR light for night time needs. The 62 grain, boat tailed bullet used in the 5.56mm NATO cartridge is as accurate as the bubba behind the rifle. Of course it will do the job if it goes in the right place, but we aren't talking about taking down coyotes. Also, the M-4 had the 1:7 twist needed for the 62gn bullet. The 1:9 barrels on older rifles didn't stabilize the heavier bullets. Everyone on my team had the 1:7s.
On the other hand, the M-240B (7.62mm NATO cartridge) proved to be the most reliable machine gun we had. Yes, it was better than the iffy M-2 .50 caliber machine guns we had. No one will ever doubt the ability of the big .50 cal round to penetrate the mud/brick/wood compound walls of the 'stan compared to the smaller bullets.
Regarding the .30 caliber vs a .22 caliber military cartridge, I would have rather had a modified M-14 than the M-4----not from the reliability aspect, but from the ability to reach out farther and with more power. The current M-4s do well when they are taken care of, but so do just about any military or sporting firearm.
I'm glad the discussion about is about the cartridge, not the platform to be used. The gas-piston type of the AK-47 operates at a lower temperature than the direct impingement type of the M-4 / 16s, and the latter needs more cleaning due to the carbon build-up. I would love to see the military go to a 6.5mm Grendel cartridge for its patrol rifles. We know the merits of the .26 caliber bullets when it comes to accuracy. A 120gn bullet might make a great one for a new military chambering. We'll see how far this goes. 
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

Every man needs to know his limits.

Thanks for your perspective by someone with your experience on the matter Eric.I was hoping you would chime in.I have an Ar in 6.5 Grendel and it shoots lights out with the 120 grain Amax and has performed great on hogs.
Roger
Faster horses,younger women,older whiskey,and more money.

eford

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I think it is important to point out the M-249 squad automatic weapon, aka the SAW, is fine for having a lot of ammo to use for a dismounted patrol. The SAW uses the same ammo (5.56mm NATO) as the M-4 carbine. As a machine gun in a turret when compared to the heavier, longer-reaching M-240B, the SAW suffers badly---the ammo belts jerk around, it jams easier, it isn't a accurate, and it doesn't penetrate like the .30 caliber round. Our SAWs worked well enough from a mechanical standpoint, but given the choice of either on a gun truck turret, then I would take the 240B without hesitation.
Changing to a 6.5mm bullet would lead to the SAW being re-chambered. I cannot say if it would have the same problems with a .26 caliber bullet as it has with a .22 caliber one although the ammo belt would weigh more so the jerky, belt feeding of the ammo might go away.
This discussion is far from over. The politicians haven't tried to save the manufacturing plant where X-item is made. The red tape holding back progress on it will be seen and felt. I'm glad the current Army chief of staff made the comment about taking a credit card to Cabela's and solving the Army / DoD acquisition problem. The fuel he fed to the fire to adopt a new sidearm made things move faster, in my opinion. 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 04:05:17 AM by eford »
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

Every man needs to know his limits.

galamb

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I retired before Afghanistan so can't comment about how the 5.56 performed "when it mattered".

When I joined (Canadian Military) we carried a 7.62 "C1" produced by FN. Yes, it was "heavy" and had a wood stock but I felt comfortable carrying something that I would use for deer or moose to defend me if the need came to that. And those things were just impossible to kill. They went bang no matter what you did to them.

Like most NATO countries we switched to the 5.56. With the first iteration of the "C7" (Colt Canada - based on the Armalight AR-15 with influence from the M16A3) I lost my sense of security.

They jammed often, they would find the only spec of dirt in a square mile and the breech wouldn't close fully. Most of us had a permanent callous on our right lower palm from whacking the breech assist plunger to get the thing to lock up. The magazines were some kind of cheap composite - if they hit the ground you had plastic scraps, rounds and spring going in every direction.

But what got me the most was the fact that the round was considered, at least in hunting circles, too small for anything more than a ground hog or a coyote. But they were "nice to carry" - had to be a good two pounds lighter, carrying more rounds then the 7.62 that they replaced.

Now, talking to other guys I served with that stayed beyond my years, they told me that they got to the second version (C7A2) for the Afghan mission which apparently addressed all of the shortcomings of the original (which was better suited to guarding a cenotaph at a war memorial than protecting one's life).

And while I get all the arguments and science that says the 5.56 is more than sufficient, as a shooter and a hunter I'm just glad that I didn't do any combat time with a gopher round. Maybe it was fine but I would rather trust my life to something a little more than a 22 caliber.

Although, like I stated, I only every used the first generation rifle and the experience wasn't pleasant. They were "man target" accurate at 300 yards and they had "scopes" which was initially a novelty after using iron sights and you certainly "looked like Rambo" carrying it (you know, it IS one of those Black, Scary Rifles).
Graham
R.C.A.F (Retired)
Ontario, Canada
The Great White North EH!

danno50

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I've added another link here that is as thorough a history of the AR-15/M16 as any black rifle aficionado would care to read. Gene Stoner was the chief engineer at Armalite where he developed the first AR for military use. It's amazing how the military(in all it's wisdom? however unintentional) caused so many of the problems the AR and the troops encountered throughout it's development and use in the field. The link is from "GunDigest" July 16, 2012 and goes from 1965 to present(2012 at the time) I found it eye opening, aggravating, and informative. Talk about Military Intelligence. It's a long article, but very interesting.
https://gundigest.com/reviews/the-ar-16m16-the-rifle-that-was-never-supposed-to-be
DosEquisShooter

Re: Making changes in military armament- More than a convincing argument.
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2017, 12:44:20 PM »
Good Post, danno50!  I guess it shows what I said before, keep the politics out of the decision.   :)

zonie

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Re: Making changes in military armament- More than a convincing argument.
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2017, 09:59:58 AM »
Caliber diameter we are going full circle from over a hundred years ago,  look at all the 6.5 mm cartridges in military use back then.  Them old timers knew what worked.   Grendel is a little light in bullet weight imo.   I think I'd opt for one of the 6.5's or 7mm in a modular /  transformer bull-pup design.  Cartridge cases could be plastic or take the time and  work the bugs out of caseless ammo such as was tried in the German assault rifle a few decades back.  With todays technologies and a little effort I think it's probably doable today.  If you went caseless you could most likely get the action down in size of the current AR15's, if using  plastic cases  I'd probably go with a 6.5 Creedmoor or 260 rem or similar capacity.    R&D safe velocities could reach over 3000 fps with a 129/130 grain and around 2900 with a 140 grain.  That's very good velocities with these sleek bullets.  Put a really good muzzle brake on it ,  good SD and penetration,  get a 20 moa base and appropriate scope / optics.  You got an easy  on the shoulder powerful little cartridge that will knock the dog snot out of most targets at greater ranges.  Put this in a bull-pup design with a little longer barrel ,  an electronic scope that ranges and compensates so the average soldier can understand and be trained.   I'd buy one. 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 10:02:27 AM by zonie »


Re: Making changes in military armament- More than a convincing argument.
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 07:49:35 AM »
All my books are in storage at the moment, but I believe it is in "American Gun" that Chris Kyle writes about the devastating consequences during the Civil War--fatal consequences for the soldiers who actually had to do the work on the battlefields--of moronic, petty, economically motivated, politically expedient, and ill-educated decisions made by bureaucrats who were more interested in their jobs than in the welfare of soldiers. It's a good read, by the way.
JP
Moderator Jameson Parker
www.readjamesonparker.com

Re: Making changes in military armament- More than a convincing argument.
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 08:28:37 AM »
I read that book on your advise, Jameson. I believe you are correct.  The people in charge refused to adopt the repeater rifles over the single shots.  Yes, it is a good read!   :)