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Weapons of the World: Little Bullets (5.56) Lose Respect
Weapons of the World ^ | November 15, 2005

Posted on 11/15/2005 2:32:39 AM PST by holymoly

November 15, 2005: The U.S. Army’s cancellation of the XM8 (a replacement for the M16) reflects disenchantment with the 5.56mm round, more than anything else. While the 5.56mm bullet was OK when used in an automatic weapon, it is much less useful when you have so many troops who know how to shoot, and can hit targets just as easily with single shots. In addition to better shooting skills, the troops also have much better sights, both for day and night use. It’s much more effective to fire less often, if you have troops who can do that and hit what they are shooting at with the first shot. Most American troops can.

Moreover, the 5.56mm round is less effective in urban fighting, where you often want to shoot through doors and walls. The 5.56mm round is not as effective at doing this as is the heavier 7.62mm bullet. And the troops have plenty of 7.62mm weapons available, in order to compare. There is the M240 medium machine-gun. While this 7.62mm weapon is usually mounted on vehicles, it is often taken off and used by infantry for street fighting. Lots of 1960s era 7.62mm M14 rifles have also been taken out of storage and distributed. While used mainly as sniper rifles, the snipers do other work on the battlefield as well, and the troops have been able to see that the heavier 7.62mm round does a better job of shooting through cinder block walls, and taking down bad guys with one shot. Too often, enemy troops require several 5.56mm bullets to put them out of action.

In a situation like that, it makes more sense to carry a heavier round. The question is, which one? The army has been experimenting with a 6.8mm round, but now some are demanding that the full size 7.62mm round be brought back. There are M16 type weapons that use the full size 7.62mm round (and the lower powered AK-47 7.62mm round). The new SOCOM SCAR rifle can quickly be adapted to using all of the above by swapping out the barrel and receiver. Could be that the army is going to wait and see what SOCOM decides to do.

The other big complaint about the M16 is it’s sensitivity to fine dust, as found in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan. This stuff causes the rifle (and the light machine-gun version, the M243), to jam. Troops have to be cleaning these weapons constantly. Another problem with the M243 is that most of the ones in service are very old, and in need of a replacement (with new M243s, or a new weapon design.) The XM8 solved much of the “dust sensitivity” problem, but part of the problem was the smaller round.

A decision on the army’s new assault rifle will probably come sooner, rather than later, because the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are making a lot of Internet noise over the issue.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist; m14; m16
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The army has been experimenting with a 6.8mm round, but now some are demanding that the full size 7.62mm round be brought back.

Pssst, guys...
M1 Garand

1 posted on 11/15/2005 2:32:40 AM PST by holymoly
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To: holymoly

Itty bitty bullet bump


2 posted on 11/15/2005 2:33:47 AM PST by The Red Zone
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To: holymoly

While the Garand is a fine rifle, I prefer the M14.


3 posted on 11/15/2005 2:41:05 AM PST by CrawDaddyCA (There is no such thing as a fair fight. Thou shall win at all costs!!)
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To: holymoly

I think the XM8 in 6.8spc would be a great choice. I'm surprised it's taking so long.

However, the M16/M4 are still very viable systems.


4 posted on 11/15/2005 2:43:35 AM PST by Lauretij2
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To: Lauretij2
Ronnie Barrett has an answer ready today.


5 posted on 11/15/2005 2:47:35 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: CrawDaddyCA
" Lots of 1960s era 7.62mm M14 rifles have also been taken out of storage and distributed. "

HALLELUJAH!!!

"I prefer the M14."

As do I. Love that rifle.

6 posted on 11/15/2005 2:48:27 AM PST by Past Your Eyes (I'm just sitting here on the Group W bench.)
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To: holymoly

BAR with armor piercing ammo is fine for shooting a door way through a cinder block wall in about two seconds.


7 posted on 11/15/2005 2:50:33 AM PST by mmercier (so it goes)
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To: Lauretij2
I think the XM8 in 6.8spc would be a great choice. I'm surprised it's taking so long.

Why not just rechamber it for 7.62x51 NATO?

8 posted on 11/15/2005 2:51:27 AM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: Lauretij2
However, the M16/M4 are still very viable systems.

Not for the kind of battles our troops are engaged in. The 5.56 is fine for European theater warfare, less so for urban combat.

Troops in Iraq regularly report that while shooting at cars that run checkpoints that 5.56 rounds fail to penetrate sufficiently to stop the car.

Additionally, troops in Afganistan report that shooting an enemy at 500+ yards with a 5.56 often ends up with the target going down and then getting back up.

5.56 is fine for an area denial weapon, ie keeping the enemy's head down while riflemen move into killing positions. It's not so fine as a primary infantry rifle.

Let's put composite stocks on the M14 and issue that as the primary rifle until we get something better.

9 posted on 11/15/2005 2:52:30 AM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: lentulusgracchus

The reason we went to 5.56 was more ammo-per bag, and lighter weight. I still think those are important. The 6.8spc is a decent balance I think.


10 posted on 11/15/2005 2:53:54 AM PST by Lauretij2
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To: Squantos; Eaker; Travis McGee; Jeff Head; Joe Brower; sit-rep; archy; Lion Den Dan; ...
I had not heard of the XM-8 being scrubbed. If this is true, it is one of the best things the guys and gals at the Infantry School has ever done. IMHO they should erase all preconceived notions of 5.56, 6.8, and 7.62 and start from scratch. Rather than design a rifle around a caliber, figure out what the best caliber compromise is (yes it will be a compromise) and then design the rifle around the caliber.
11 posted on 11/15/2005 2:56:20 AM PST by SLB ("We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us." C. S. Lewis)
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To: SLB

I hadn't heard it being shelved either.


12 posted on 11/15/2005 2:59:58 AM PST by Lauretij2
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To: Lauretij2
I hadn't heard it being shelved either.

I checked the Early Bird this morning - nothing there. This might be a latrine (nice wording) rumor.

13 posted on 11/15/2005 3:02:17 AM PST by SLB ("We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us." C. S. Lewis)
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To: Past Your Eyes

As reliable a killer as the M14 was -- there were problems.

It was too long for close quarters and heavy undergrowth.
It was too heavy.
The 7.62 ammo to feed the piece, was also too bulky and heavy.
Ten 20 round magazines were a load -- and you still had to carry at least one belt for the M60.... LOTS of weight.

The redeaming value, was that you could reach way out and put the deadly touch on Charlie - and one round properly placed was sufficient....out to better than 600 yards.
At that range, Charlie's AK47 was a spray and pray piece.

Semper Fi


14 posted on 11/15/2005 3:02:22 AM PST by river rat (You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: SLB

You got that right, the bullet is the most important design.


15 posted on 11/15/2005 3:03:54 AM PST by JudgemAll (Condemn me, make me naked and kill me, or be silent for ever on my gun ownership and law enforcement)
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To: JudgemAll

The 5.45mmx39mm Soviet is probably the one I'd start from if we were going to go all new cartridge mode. Base it on that.


16 posted on 11/15/2005 3:06:57 AM PST by Lauretij2
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To: river rat
When your humping 80 to 100 pounds weight becomes the Major consideration. Is there info on that SOCOM gun? I would think that would be one of its features.
17 posted on 11/15/2005 3:15:51 AM PST by Recon Dad (Force Recon Dad (and proud of it))
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To: Lauretij2

I was talking to a colleague who was in Vietnam, and handled both the M14 and M16. He told me the M14 was a far better weapon. He called the M16 "Mattel" from all the plastic.


18 posted on 11/15/2005 3:22:13 AM PST by shekkian
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To: shekkian

I've shot a semi-auto M14, and it is very nice. Kicks pretty good though, and the weight again.

An updated M14 like Sprinfield's SOCOMII would be pretty good. I'm just used to the AR/CAR15 style.

I'm curious to see what the military will end up doing.


19 posted on 11/15/2005 3:24:17 AM PST by Lauretij2
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To: FreedomPoster
If you are going to bring in Barrett's offerings and the subject is penetration, have a look at his semiauto 4-round 25mm "payload" rifle, the XM109......it's the heaviest-caliber assault rifle I've ever heard of.

He also has a close-quarters battle, bobbed version of the M-107/M-82 .50-cal. rifle.

The drawback to a weapon like that in an urban scenario being that, if you miss, or even if you don't, there's a possibility that you accidentally bag Grandma four houses away.

Did someone say, "overpenetration"?

20 posted on 11/15/2005 3:27:22 AM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: river rat
The redeaming value, was that you could reach way out and put the deadly touch on Charlie - and one round properly placed was sufficient....out to better than 600 yards.

Which sounds like an argument for the M1903 Springfield.

I read somewhere that the VC typically carried a very low ammo load -- 30 or 60 rounds or so. Any truth to that? And they dropped their packs in a rear area before walking in, which our guys didn't do. Gave them a terrific weight/fatigue advantage.

21 posted on 11/15/2005 3:32:23 AM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: CrawDaddyCA
I LOVE my M1, but I have to agree. It isn't the optimal choice for a combat rifle in the modern world, due to the relatively low capacity 8-round en bloc clip system (which an alert enemy can hear unloading itself, signifying that you're temporarily disarmed). God, it's a hoot to shoot, though.
22 posted on 11/15/2005 3:33:11 AM PST by Hardastarboard
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To: holymoly; All

FN SCAR-H / Mk.17 rifle prototype in CQC (Close Quarter Combat, short barrel) configuration, 7.62x51 mm NATO version


23 posted on 11/15/2005 3:38:07 AM PST by Flavius (Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum")
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To: Lauretij2; Knitebane
The reason we went to 5.56 was more ammo-per bag, and lighter weight.

Roger the lighter weight, but I recall reading long, long ago that the 5.56 caliber and the M-16 itself were designed around the concept of jungle warfare and the containment mission, with recent experience in the Philippines and Malaya in mind. You might say the M-16 was designed for "one, two, many Vietnams", and not for the European or Korean theaters at all.

24 posted on 11/15/2005 3:40:00 AM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: Flavius
Yeah.....like that. Or the AR-10.

One advantage of FN is that they're guaranteed to be drop-resistant.

25 posted on 11/15/2005 3:41:47 AM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: holymoly

M14 bump ...

Truth comes out, eventually.


26 posted on 11/15/2005 3:43:43 AM PST by Tarpon
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To: CrawDaddyCA
While the Garand is a fine rifle, I prefer the M14

Agree. It doesn't have to be fired until empty, and can be topped off with loose rounds, stripper clip, or simply swap magazines.

27 posted on 11/15/2005 3:46:17 AM PST by labette (In the beginning, God...)
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To: holymoly
I suppose talking about the 55 grain vs 62 grain, 14, 12 and 7 twists per barrel, steel vs lead, tumbling vs stable, 11 vs 20 inch and the needed 2,700 fps needed to start tumbling is a waste of time on the anti 5.56mm round crowd.
28 posted on 11/15/2005 3:47:57 AM PST by PeteB570 (Guns, what real men want for Christmas)
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To: holymoly

bump for later. thanks for the post.


29 posted on 11/15/2005 3:49:48 AM PST by the crow (I'm from the government. I'm here to help.)
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To: lentulusgracchus
You might say the M-16 was designed for "one, two, many Vietnams", and not for the European or Korean theaters at all.

Well, it's not doing so well in the desert or urban environments.

It seems to me that a small caliber round is good for a squad weapon that's used in the full auto role often. Smaller equals less weight per round, so the SAW operator can carry more rounds. Meanwhile, the average infantryman should be carrying a larger round for more precise, and more lethal, shooting.

30 posted on 11/15/2005 3:55:41 AM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: river rat

When I was in boot camp, I had an M-14. Loved that rifle and what it could do. Then I got to ITR and they gave us M-16s. How I hated that thing.
Now I have a Chinese SKS. Put some decent sights on it and that is one nifty weapon.


31 posted on 11/15/2005 3:57:12 AM PST by Past Your Eyes (Hey, getta your tootsi frootsi ice cream.)
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To: Knitebane
I am not a ballistics expert but will give you the boiled down version from memory.

The 55 grain 5.56mm round was designed to do it's damage from tumbling and round fragmentation due to stress as it started to tumble after hitting the body.

The 62 grain "Green Tip" ammo was designed to produce the same effect at a longer range. To make the round stable out to longer ranges it needed more spin and that lead to the 1:7 twist on barrels.

To make the tumbling effect the round needed to be going 2,700 fps or faster. The Green Tip actually has better knock down power and penetration than the 7.62 round at longer distances because of it's speed.

The problem is using the Green Tip in the shorter M-4 barrels. They are too short to allow the Green Tip round to reach the 2,700 fps required for tumbling/knock down.

No round or weapon is perfect at all ranges or under all conditions. A squad can not be armed with 6 different weapons. A soldier can not carry different ammo in each ammo pouch and be expected to get the "right" one while in a fire fight.

There is a difference between assault rifles, machine guns, machine pistols (old term) and the infantry rifle.
32 posted on 11/15/2005 4:13:27 AM PST by PeteB570 (Guns, what real men want for Christmas)
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To: lentulusgracchus

Now, now. Dieudonne Saive was an acolyte of John Moses Browning through the FN Herstal connection. The FAL is a fine piece of hardware with a great pedigree. Ask the Brit paras who took the Falklands, the Selous Scouts, and any number of other serious soldiers.


33 posted on 11/15/2005 4:14:01 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: SLB
I have never been in combat, but I do think there are a few reasons to stay where we're at. The first is your typical field belt caries 3 to 5 magazine pouches...that would be 270 to 450 rounds in 5.56. I do not know how many rounds a practical carry would be in 7X62...

The other is the wound factor. It is a fact that if there is a wounded soldier, it takes two or three others out of action to take care on them...one of the reasons 5.56 was created. The other is close quarter combat. A 16 to 20 inch barrel would be preferred I think...

Again, I have never been in combat so I cannot voice strongly on the need for more "knock down" power. If one does change what they shoot, this has it's pros and cons as well...meaning if they enemy gets yer gun, his bullets will fit into it...

34 posted on 11/15/2005 4:14:49 AM PST by sit-rep (If you acquire, hit it again to verify...)
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To: PeteB570
A squad can not be armed with 6 different weapons.

The standard armament for a WWII era rifle squad was:

1 BAR (Squad Auto weapon)
Everyone else, M1 Garand

There were usually exceptions, ie non-coms and radio operators with a Tommy gun or M1 Carbine, but this was the basic layout.

It seemed to work well, except for the BAR shooter having to carry so much ammo.

Seems to me that if you replaced the BAR (and it hurts to consider that, but let's face it, the dern thing is heavy and so is all of that .30-06 ammo) with a 5.56 squad weapon, you'd have the same basic layout with the advantage of the auto gunner being able to pack more ammo.

The Garand is big and heavy too, but we would want to decrease the weight of the weapon, not the caliber.

35 posted on 11/15/2005 4:40:53 AM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: sit-rep

See my posts #28 & #32.


36 posted on 11/15/2005 4:42:13 AM PST by PeteB570 (Confirmed fan of the "Black Rifle".)
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To: The Red Zone
Great Britain also felt the need to replace both Sten submachine guns and SMLE No.4 bolt-action rifles with more modern equipment. The research and experience clearly showed that it is entirely possible to replace both of these weapons with single new weapon, with effective range of fire of no more than 1000 yards and with selective-fire capability. This weapon, of cause, required a new cartridge, which was developed after extensive research and development. This cartridge, an "ideal" from British point of view, was of .280 caliber (7mm) and had a bottlenecked case 43 mm long. The pointed bullet weighted 9.08 g (140 grains) and had muzzle velocity of about 745 m/s (2445 fps). The rough comparison of this round against other most common modern cartridges can be found in the table below. Basically, this cartridge offered significant advantage in effective range and penetration against not only 9x19mm Luger pistol cartridge, but also against 7.92x33mm Kurz German and 7.62x39mm Soviet intermediate cartridges, producing slightly more recoil, which was still significantly less than of .303 British rifle cartridge or latter 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge.

Enfield EM-2 / Rifle, Automatic, caliber .280, Number 9 Mark 1 (Great Britain)


EM-2 assault rifle, officially adopted in Britain as Rifle, Automatic, No.9 Mk.1 but never put into service
Note that the backup sights are in raised position.


from let to right: British experimental .280 (7x43mm) cartridge for EM-2; Soviet 7.62x39mm M43; US/NATO 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem); US/NATO 7.62x51mm (.308 Win)

Caliber: 7x43 mm (.280 British)
Action: Gas operated
Overall length: 889 mm
Barrel length: 623 mm
Weight: 3.41 kg with empty magazine
Rate of fire: 450 - 600 rounds per minute (depends on source)

Magazine capacity: 20 rounds
comparison table: British .280 caliber intermediate cartridge vs. most common modern military cartridges
ballistic data is estimated using Norma ballistic calculator and Sierra Bullets data on ballistic coefficients.

  5.56x45mm NATO 7x43mm EM-2 7.6x39mm M43 7.62x51mm NATO
bullet weight 4.01 g (62 gr) 9.08 g (140 gr) 7.9 g (122 gr) 9.72 g (150 gr)
bullet velocity, at muzzle 921 m/s  745 m/s 710 m/s 860 m/s
bullet velocity, at 300 yards (273 meters) 585 m/s 570 m/s 470 m/s 674 m/s
bullet velocity, at 550 yards (500 meters) 385 m/s 450 m/s 341 m/s 516 m/s
bullet energy, at muzzle 1700 J 2519 J 1991 J 3594 J
bullet energy, at 300 yards (273 meters) 686 J 1475 J 872 J 2207 J
bullet energy, at 550 yards (500 meters) 297 J 919 J 460 J 1294 J
http://world.guns.ru/assault/as59-e.htm
37 posted on 11/15/2005 4:47:59 AM PST by plenipotentiary
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To: Knitebane
The 5.56 mm 62 grain "Green Tip", when fired from a 20" barrel with 1:7 twist has better knock down power and penetration than the standard 7.62 NATO round when fired from a standard western rifle at longer ranges.

Fire the same round from the shorter M-4 barrel and you do not get the same results. The mix I was referring to. SAWs, M16s, M4s, throw in a sniper rifle and maybe something a little more exotic and the "average" squad has a little to much "mixing" going on.
38 posted on 11/15/2005 4:50:15 AM PST by PeteB570 (Confirmed fan of the "Black Rifle".)
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To: shekkian
I was talking to a colleague who was in Vietnam, and handled both the M14 and M16. He told me the M14 was a far better weapon. He called the M16 "Mattel" from all the plastic.

I carried an M-14 for a time, but prefer the M-16 due to weight and the amount of ammo one can carry.
39 posted on 11/15/2005 4:51:38 AM PST by GarySpFc (Sneakypete, De Oppresso Liber)
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To: Knitebane

"Troops in Iraq regularly report that while shooting at cars that run checkpoints that 5.56 rounds fail to penetrate sufficiently to stop the car."

That's what a 25mm Bushmaster cannon is for :)


40 posted on 11/15/2005 4:53:16 AM PST by BeHoldAPaleHorse (MORE COWBELL! MORE COWBELL! (CLANK-CLANK-CLANK))
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To: holymoly
The Germans had a good design too:

The caseless ammunition in its early appearance was designed as a block of the propellant, coated with flammable laquer, with bullet and primer "glued on" the propellant. Final ammunition design DM11, that appeared in the mid-1980s, featured "telescopic" design, when bullet was fully enclosed in the block of the propellant. The cartridge propelled the bullet that weights 3.25 gramms, to the 930-960 meters per second.
Early prototypes were prone to the ammunition cook-offs during the sustained fire, but later Dynamit Nobel solved this issue.
In the late 1980s the Bundeswehr (West German Army) began the field tests of the pre-production G11s. After the initial tests, some improvements were devised, such as removable optical sight, mounting of two spare magazines on the rifle, and bayonet/bipod mount under the muzzle.
The modified variant, called G11K2, was tested in 1989, scoring at least 50% better combat accuracy when compared to G3 rifle. Initial batch of some 1000 G11K2s was received by Bundeswehr in 1990 or so, but due to some reasons the whole programme was cancelled by German Government. Main reasons of this cancellation were, in my opinion, the lack of fundings after the re-union of the West and East Germanies, and the general NATO policy for unification of the ammunition and even magazines for the assault rifles.
The slightly modified G11 was also tested in the USA under the ACR (Advanced Cobat Rifle) programme, in 1990. The ACR programme was not intended to result in adoption of the new rifle for the US Army, just to test new technologies and designs, and the G11 proved itself as a very accurate, comfortable to handle and fire, and reliable weapon.

13th prototype of the G11 (HKpro.com)


caseless ammunition - early variant at the left, latest variant DM11 (cutout view) - at the right


schematic drawing of the G11 bolt & feeding system

http://world.guns.ru/assault/as42-e.htm
41 posted on 11/15/2005 4:58:04 AM PST by plenipotentiary
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To: SLB
We know what the 7.62 can do, and we know how to load lots of them. The only 'problem' was the extra weight of all that brass.

Why not mold 7.62 cases out of high-tech polymer like they did with Spectrum PCA? Then you'd still have the heavy bullet and power, without most of the weight.

42 posted on 11/15/2005 4:58:38 AM PST by Sender (Team Infidel USA)
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To: Flavius

Haven't you heard? The FAL is 'outdated' according to Hugo Chavez.


43 posted on 11/15/2005 4:59:33 AM PST by Sender (Team Infidel USA)
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To: holymoly

I never understood why in the world they changed the M16 to a three round burst and got rid of the full auto feature. Kinda defeats it's sting. Without the full auto, you might as well take a .22 squirrel rifle in the field.


44 posted on 11/15/2005 5:00:47 AM PST by WKUHilltopper
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To: BeHoldAPaleHorse
That's what a 25mm Bushmaster cannon is for :)

Yeah, but it sucks to be the guy lugging that thing around. ;)

45 posted on 11/15/2005 5:04:20 AM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

Typical US Army Infantry squad is one 240B, two SAWS and four-five M4s. I was fortunate enough to observe/assist in a training program at Fort Benning and this was the set-up.


46 posted on 11/15/2005 5:07:44 AM PST by wtc911 (see my profile for how to contribute to a pentagon heroes fund)
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To: holymoly

Amen.... something about a 30-06 hitting somebody..... just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.


47 posted on 11/15/2005 5:08:28 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: lentulusgracchus
have a look at his semiauto 4-round 25mm "payload" rifle, the XM109......it's the heaviest-caliber assault rifle I've ever heard of.

Gotta post a picture:

Another drawback is that some people might confuse you with a tank if you carry this sniper rifle.

48 posted on 11/15/2005 5:13:28 AM PST by burzum (Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.-Adm H Rickover)
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To: Past Your Eyes
The M-14 is probably the finest infantry rifle ever.Why the USMC moved to the M-16 I will never understand.
49 posted on 11/15/2005 5:15:32 AM PST by jpsb
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To: sit-rep
"The other is the wound factor. It is a fact that if there is a wounded soldier, it takes two or three others out of action to take care on them"

I've heard this before, and it makes sense when you are fighting an enemy that cares about their wounded. The people we are fighting now don't care. The wounded then become liabilities to our troops because we have to spend time restraining and watching them.

On the amount of ammo, it isn't like our troops are a 20k hike back to the compound to reload. I think a more powerful rifle would be preferred. They may have to carry 2/3 the number of rounds, but they can run back to the HMMVV and get more.
50 posted on 11/15/2005 5:15:51 AM PST by Gvl_M3
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