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US Coast Guard Adopts Mini-50 Rifle

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posted on Jun, 15 2004 @ 06:23 AM
Back in April, I started a thread on some new weapons systems that were being tested for possible use by military and law enforcement. One of them was the "LW15.499 Mini-.50" made by the Leitner-Wise Rifle Company, who bills it as "the world's largest calibre automatic rifle." Now that the U.S. Coast Guard has officially adopted the gun, I thought I would post something more about it.

From Janes' Defense:

It has recently passed stringent US Coast Guard tests for an automatic weapon that can be used for anti-materiel purposes. The weapon's upper assembly will fit onto any military specification AR15 or M16 lower receiver assembly with no further modifications. The LW15.499 weighs 2.8kg without magazine, which loaded weighs a further 0.45kg. Three magazines are offered: 10, 12 or 60 rounds.

The Coast Guard will issue the Leitner-Wise "mini-50" to sailors guarding critical facilities as an anti-materiel weapon for disabling boats, helicopters, and other vehicles. In addition, they will use the rifles for boarding parties and to disable smaller drug-smuggling "cigarette boats" when the use of the .50 M2 heavy machinegun is not warrranted.

Based on the AR-15/M16 design, the rifle is about 36 inches long, weighs 8-12 pounds and has recoil similar to a 12-gauge shotgun. Its ammunition has good armor-piercing capability and is effective against cinder blocks and engine blocks.
It is described as a more portable and easier-to-shoot alternative to the M82A1 rifle .50 BMG rifle currently in use (28 lbs unloaded & 57 Inches long).

It fires a 12.5x42mm cartridge that is actually a modified version of the .50 Action Express handgun round. The bullets weighs 300 grains, travels at around 2,000fps, and is accurate out to 400 yards (effective to 250 yards in tests). One interesting feature of the cartridge is its rim, which is about the same diameter as a .30cal cartridge while the case diameter is, of course, greater than .50 inches. The rifle is designed around a lead-free "green" bullet. I did not turn up much ballistics testing data or specifications on bullet construction which leaves me wondering what sort of variety there is for ammo (tracer, AP, etc.) and exactly how well it performs.

I look forward to your opinions and comments.

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edit: spelling, BB code

[edit on 15-6-2004 by Spectre]

posted on Jun, 15 2004 @ 06:51 AM
Looks Ok, but what bothers me is the effective range. You can get a 7.62 with a better range and which is equally effective against hard targets.

But the Coast guard probably doesnt need to kill at 500 yard anyhow. Do you have any more info? It could prove valuable

posted on Jun, 15 2004 @ 11:29 AM
As far as effectiveness against hard targets vs. 7.62mm AP, answers are not known. The data in the links I provided is the best I could find with some reasonably thorough web-searching. As far as I could find, no one has run one of these rifles through it paces on a range. It is civilian-legal in the U.S., so I am surprised that no gun magazines have done articles on it. If anyone knows of such a write-up, please post, because I would love to read it.

It wold be great to get some comparison studies done. The M993 7.62mm has a well-establish track record to use.
The 7.62 AP round penetrates 15 mm armour plate at 300 m. It also penetrates 120 mm Plexiglas helicopter protection and is highly effective on brick and concrete walls and causes no barrel wear.

...and there are some wild alternatives, like the new 6.8mm's and others mentioned in that DefenseReview article. One day the Coast Guard evalution results wil surface. That will provide some answers.

posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 05:11 PM
There are rumours flying around the internet that the Coast Guard has dropped the Leitner-Wise Mini-50 contract due to reliability and ammo performance issues. The Leitner-Wise Webpage still lists the CG as a customer, and the company's chairman has contacted Airborne Combat Engineer to tell tham that a story they ran on the cancellation was incorrect.

Defense Review had did some speculation to the negative, drawing comments from the owner of Excalibur Arms.

Recently, the author has learned (from a highly trusted industry source) that Leitner-Wise's failure to deliver a gun to us may be due to some kind of reliability/functioning or durability problems with the Mini-.50 that the company could be experiencing. However, to date, DefRev hasn't received any solid evidence, i.e. proof, of any problems with the Mini-.50. That said, DefRev also hasn't received any proof or confirmation that there are indeed any Mini-.50's currently employed by/deployed with any federal LE agencies or any branch or unit of the U.S. Armed Forces. We had heard reports that the the U.S. Coast Guard was purchasing a large number of Mini-.50's, but we don't know if any purchase contract actually went through, i.e if the U.S. Coast Guard actually has purchased and acquired any Mini-.50's to date.

If anyone has any industry contacts or has found any evidence that can support either position I'd love to see it.
More info
ACE: Coast Guard dropped the .499LW in March '04

posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 10:01 AM
You give armour piercing rounds to a police force? Incinidary next?

And the range,good question.Isn't it standard practice to close within distance of at least a loud hailer before you open up with the artillery?
You know,"Stop or we'll shoot?"

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