reply to post by ChuckNasty
Umm... because we can make rifles that are MORE lethal while weighing just a bit more platform and ammo wise than the m4/16 series?
Also for those pitching the 416 series .... you are aware that it has very serious carrier tilt issues and is pretty hard on parts itself right?
Now the one thing I like about the 416 is it's constant curvature magazine / magazine well... For a variety of reasons this is really the way to go
Now as to this whole regressing and ignoring the last 80 years of firearms development.... What has got us in trouble in the first place is ignoring
the last 30 years worth of firearms advancement, so ignoring even MORE of the advancement would quite logically make the situation even worse.
While I have respect for the killing power and all around ability to just WORK of the turn of the century full caliber military rifles, the reality is
they were based off of a very imperfect and evolving understanding of the new smokeless powders as well as the implications of mass manufacturing
technology and standardization on warfare.
In EVERY study since world war 2 that has looked at the sweet spot for lethality for a man portable smokeless powder driven projectile weapon it has
been found that a round with a diameter between 6 and 7 millimeters is ideal. In addition to this though you run into the situation where even with
the advent of advanced optical sights and ballistic computation abilities on the fly the vast majority of your firefights are going to happen at
between 60 and 300 meters. At this range not only is a full caliber rifle sort of a waste, but it also makes using proper combined arms tactics and
assaulting techniques in a modern 3 dimensional battlefield all but impossible.
How you ask does it do this? Simple, Over penetration!
I know you're saying to yourself don't we constantly hear stories now of rounds not penetrating enough? Well yes we do, but even more dangerous than
that is overpenetration which can mean your belt fed weapons which ideally are providing a supporting base of fire at a right angle to the advance of
your maneuver units now has the extremely high and potentially super deadly potential of hosing overpenetrating and ricocheting rounds into other
FRIENDLY units also trying to advance on enemy strongpoints!
Now because of the push for what is known as "green" bullets that is currently sweeping western militaries world wide this will actually get WORSE
and more dangerous making it even more imperative to equip units with rounds that don't grossly overpenetrate barriers and the surrounding landscape
on a regular basis. The reason for this is with the switch away from lead as a major ingredient percentage and weight wise in ammunition and a switch
to metals that are nowhere near as soft.... rounds will ricochet even more frequently, and when they do they will fly further while retaining more
energy than they used to!
And contrary to many a slogan .... the overwhelming majority of rounds fired in a combat zone do not find their marks no matter how well trained the
shooter is! Because of this you have to factor in how big of a danger zone behind your targets your tactical situation and acceptable noncombatant
casualty levels dictate!
Also on the subject of "green bullets" if we were to load any of these old rounds with a newly designed "green" bullet you'd see a pretty
horrific degradation in their performance if you tried to maintain the current bullet shape and size. This is because pretty much every single one of
the acceptable materials to make bullets out of now that we can no longer use lead has a greater than 25% lower weight by volume than lead! A
phenomenon known as sectional density and ballistic coefficient determine to a very large level whether and how far a given round will fly in a
predictable and accurate manner down range. Because of the deleterious effect switching to a much lighter bullet fill material will have on these
rounds if you just switch out the lead for something else you are looking at redesigning the round. Not only that but because of the lower density
level of the materials if you want to design a bullet that will perform as well it will have to be LONGER. In making the bullet longer you run into 2
1. Part of the given specifications of a round is the overall loaded length of the round from bullet tip to cartridge base. If you make a longer
bullet you either have to revise this specification upward meaning new magazine wells and a longer action which weighs more and means you have to
redesign your ammunition boxes etc etc... it's a mess
2. Option 2 is you can seat the round deeper into the case: Now this has major issues of it's own. For one you can only seat a projectile so deeply
while maintaining a conventional projectile design and still hope to have the bullet release consistently and give you good accuracy without spending
way too much money on development and custom rounds! The second issue is as you seat the bullet more deeply into the cartridge case you are taking up
room that is needed to put the powder in!
As you can see it's not just a matter of dusting off the older cartridges and going to work. That wouldn't work either. What we need is a new
cartridge and bullet design that is made to fight the NEXT war not the last wars! Somehow we need to do this without gold plating the SOB to a point
where we end up spending 20 thousand dollars a rifle and 5 dollars a round of ammunition to equip our guys!
It can be done... There are several ways it could be done ranging from the technically ambitious to the relatively safe. Really eventually we'll
need to get to the ambitious designs, but for the next decade the relatively safe route would work just fine.
What I'd propose for the safe route is pretty simple. We'd start off with a 6.5mm bullet with a .5 mm polymer driving band wrapped around the
portion of the bullet we want to engage the rifling. I'm thinking a bullet in the 110 to 130 grain range would be pretty optimal. I'd put this
bullet in a steel cartridge case for training rounds and for giving out to our allies en masse, and or for if we need to ramp up production to wartime
footing. However there'd be a second polymer or other lightweight case option utilizing a blended powder solution to make up for the loss of volume
between the steel case and the polymer case. Ideally for this round we'd want a muzzle velocity from a 16 inch barrel of at least 2750 feet per
second though my preference would be as close to 3000 as we can get it while still maintaining an acceptably compact cartridge case dimension AND a
peak recoil force that is midway between 5.56 nato and 7.62 nato.*(see note below). Once we have this case we need to put together a rifle and a GPMG
to use them in. For a variety of reasons I am NOT in favor of taking anything currently on the shelf, mostly because they're all either designed for
the 5.56 overall length or the 7.62 Nato overall length of which our weapon will have a round pretty close to exactly halfway inbetween. Also I just
so happen to think that we can do better than warming over 50 or more year old designs yet again to fire a brand new round out of.
If anyone's interested I'll do a quick little writeup of a few options for what I'd like to see my hypothetical cartridge use for rifles, carbines,
THe one thing that should be noted though... Is nothing I've just suggested here is groundbreaking, untried, or in any way unconventional. The only
reason it seems so much different is because I've sat down and put YEARS worth of thought into how you make a round that will have comparable cost to
manufacture while tremendously increasing lethality over 5.56 nato while also being able to quite handily take over about 85% of the role of 7.62 Nato
without sacrificing true usability or capability versus the older heavier caliber. Much of what I am suggesting comes from extensive reading of
material from both sides of the general purpose cartridge movement's research and forum posts etc. Now if you're wondering what I'd do about the
other 15% of the 7.62 Nato's capability.... well that's what the new big daddy SDM, Sniper, and big boy MG round would be for, but that's another
topic for another day.
(Note on peak recoil: Research is starting to indicate a very very interesting trend where as long as recoil does not go above a certain "threshold
value" it can increase quite a bit from 5.56 level without having the psychological and physical effect that battle rifle rounds are known to have.
My proposal is that we can and should make a concerted and very organized effort to find out what this "threshold value" is for everyone from the
third to ninety third percentile sizes of young Americans. Once we have fixed this value into our institutional knowledge base I really think it could
benefit us to design personal weapons with an eye towards making sure the general issue rifle is under the threshold value for a majority of it's
users. This in many ways would give our infantry weapons research arm back some of the clarity it has so desperately needed by allowing it to
prioritize development within this envelope. Giving us a way to prioritize what technologies are worth paying to get at a given time.)