Skip to comments.XM-8: New U.S. Service Rifle?
Posted on 08/07/2003 10:52:17 AM PDT by Long Cut
Caliber: 5.56x45 mm NATO
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: no data
Barrel length: no data
Weight: 2.67 kg empty
Rate of fire: no data
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds (STANAG)
The development of the XM8 Lightweight Assault Rifle was initiated by US Army in the 2002, when contract was issued to the Alliant Techsystems Co of USA to study possibilities of development of kinetic energy part of the XM29 OICW weapon into separate lightweight assault rifle, which could, in the case of success, replace the aging M16A2 rifles and M4A1 carbines in US military service. According to the present plans, the XM8 should enter full production circa 2005, if not earlier, several years before the XM-29 OICW. The XM8 (M8 after its official adoption) should become a standard next generation US forces assault rifle. It will fire all standard 5.56mm NATO ammunition, and, to further decrease the load on the future infantrymen, a new type of 5.56mm ammunition is now being developed. This new ammunition will have composite cases, with brass bases and polymer walls, which will reduce weight of the complete ammunition, while maintaining compatibility with all 5.56mm NATO weapons. Along with 20% weight reduction in the XM8 (compared to the current issue M4A1 carbine), this will be a welcome move for any infantryman, already overloaded by protective, communications and other battle equipment.
The XM8 will be quite similar to the "KE" (kinetic energy) part of the XM-29 OICW system, being different mostly in having a telescoped plastic buttstock of adjustable length, and a detachable carrying handle with the Picatinny rail.
Technical description. The XM8 is a derivative of the Heckler-Koch G36 assault rifle, and thus it is almost similar to that rifle in design and functioning. The key differences are the NATO-standard magazine housing that will accept M16-type magazines, the set of Picatinny rails on the forend, telescoped buttstock of adjustable length and a different scope, mounted on the Picatinny rail, built into the detachable carrying handle.
The HK36, which the XM-8 is based on, uses the tried-and-true AR-180 operating system, which has provento be quite reliable and not as susceptible to dirt and fouling as the M-16 action.
My own opinion is that it needs only some good iron sights and possibly an option to change the cartridge to .243 Winchester or .260.
Pic to follow...stay tuned, and bring all comments.
Looks good to me. Assuming that the onerous AWB sunsets next year, I'll be looking for the semiauto-only version with intent to purchase.
Whatchoo guys think?
Personally, I would prefer to see .257 Roberts, it has a little longer point blank range then the other (non - magnum) calibers in that bore range
From the technical point of view, the G36 is a radical departure from all the previous HK rifles, based on the proven G3 roller-delayed system. The G36 is a conventional gas operated, selective fire rifle, made from most modern materials and using most modern technologies.
The receiver and most of the others external parts of the G36 are made from reinforced polymers, with steel inserts where appropriate. The operating system appears to be a modification of the older American Armalite AR-18 rifle, with its short stroke gas piston, located above the barrel, square-shaped bolt carrier and the typical rotating bolt with 7 locking lugs. Of cause, there also are many differences from the AR-18. The bolt carrier rides on a single guide rod, with the return spring around it. The charging handle is attached to the top of the bolt carrier and can be rotated to the left or to the right. When not in use, the charging handle aligns itself with the axis of the weapon under the pressure of its spring, and reciprocates with the bolt group at the top of the receiver. The gas block is fitted with the self-adjustable gas valve, that expels all the used gases forward, away from the shooter. The ejection window is located at the right side of the receiver and features a spent cases deflector to propel the ejected cases away from the face of the left-handed shooter.
All the major parts are assembled on the receiver using the cross- pins, so rifle can be disassembled and reassembled back without any tools.
The typical HK trigger unit is assembled in a separate plastic housing, integral with the pistol grip and the triggerguard. Thanks to this feature, a wide variety of firing mode combinations can be used on any rifle, simply by installing the appropriate trigger unit. Standard options are single shots, full automatic fire, 2 or 3 round bursts in any reasonable combinations. The default version is the single shots + 2 rounds burst + full auto. The ambidextrous fire selector lever also serves as a safety switch.
G36 is fed from the proprietary 30-rounds box magazines, made from translucent plastic. All magazines have special studs on its sides, so two or three magazines can be clipped together for faster reloading. The magazine housings of the G36 are made as a separate parts, so G36 can be easily adjusted to the various magazine interfaces. By the standard, the magazine release catch is located just behind the magazine, in the G3 or AK-47 style, rather than on the side of the magazine housing (M16-style). A 100-round Beta-C dual drum magazines of US origins also can be used (these magazines are standard for the MG36 squad automatic versions of the G36).
The side-folding, sturdy skeletonized buttstock is standard on all G36 rifles. It folds to the right side and does not interfere with rifle operation when folded.
The standard sighting equipment of the G36 consists of the TWO scopes - one 3.5X telescope sight below, with the second 1X red-dot sight above it. The sights are completely independent, with the former suitable for long range accurate shooting, and the latter suitable for the fast target acquisition at the short ranges. Both sights are built into the plastic carrying handle. The export versions of the G36 are available with the single 1.5X telescope sight, with the emergency open sights molded into the top of the carrying handle. The subcompact G36K Commando version is available with the integral Picatinny-type scope and accessory rail instead of the carrying handle and standard sights.
The standard G36 rifles can be fitted with the HK AG36 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher. It also can be fitted with the bayonets. Interestingly enough, G36 uses an AK-74-type bayonets, which are left from the now non-existent NVA (East Germany Army) stocks.
Source: Modern Firearms and Ammunition Site
Well, it's certainly futuristic looking, but is it actually an effective weapon?
WOW, OK I want one.
It'll sunset unless it becomes an issue in the election, which it will if we have some crazed shooting massacre just before it.
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