.338 NM Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG)

338_norma_-tfb

General Dynamics has unveiled a new medium machine gun chambered in .338 Norma Magnum.

It looks like it is based on the FN MAG / M240 machine gun with a new fire control system, AR-14 pistol grip, M4-style stock and quad picatinny rails.

The .338 Norma Magnum’s performance is very similar to that of the much more popular .338 Lapua Magnum. The .338 NM has a slight advantage in that when loaded with a .300 grain Sierra HPBT MatchKing projectile, its overall length is shorter than the .338 LM loaded with the same bullet. This is why General Dynamics would have chosen this round over the more popular .338 LM.

The gun itself weighs 24 lbs. This is a lot lighter than the M240B and about 1.7 lbs heavier than the new M240L. The .338 NM cartridges are a lot larger and heavier than 7.62mm cartridges.

This gun makes a lot of sense to me. The ballistics of the .338 NM are far superior to the 7.62mm. At longer ranges it has ballistics similar to the .50 BMG without the need to carry around a M2 + bipod.

From the press release …

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), today unveiled a next-generation Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG) at the Joint Armaments Conference in Seattle, Wash.

Identifying an unmet warfighter need, General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products conducted its own research and development program to develop the LWMMG in just over one year. The weapon is designed for low-cost production and for maximum effectiveness at the small unit level, where weight and lethality are decisive factors.

“The LWMMG is an affordable weapon that closes a current operational gap, providing .50 caliber-like firepower in range and effect at the same weight and size of currently fielded 7.62mm machine guns,” said Steve Elgin, vice president and general manager of armament systems for General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products. “Weighing in at 24 pounds and featuring a fully collapsible stock, the LWMMG offers superior mobility and portability in both mounted and dismounted operations.”

General Dynamics’ LWMMG also offers a distinct advantage in both extended and close-in fighting by using the highly efficient .338 Norma Magnum cartridge for increased accuracy and lethality out to 1,700 meters, a distance currently gapped in the operational capabilities of warfighters.

“By employing the larger .338 NM round, the LWMMG delivers twice the range and dramatically increases lethality above the 7.62 round,” said Elgin. “In addition, the LWMMG goes beyond providing suppressive fire and gives warfighters the ability to attack point targets at significantly extended ranges.”

The LWMMG has a firing rate of 500 rounds per minute, a maximum range of 5,642 meters, and is equipped with quick-change barrel technology. In addition to use by dismounted infantry and on ground vehicles, the weapon can be used as the armament system aboard helicopters and littoral craft, providing greater range and effectiveness for those platforms.

“The LWMMG is a well-designed machine gun ideally suited to provide long-range lethality to U.S. and allied forces,” Elgin said.

[ Many thanks to John + Lance for emailing us the link. ]


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Nathaniel

    There is an error in the body of the text. It says AR-14, where it should say AR-15.

    This machine gun seems to neatly fill a gap in MG performance. Unfortunately, it probably would be more successful if chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum.

    • David/Sharpie

      No, there is an AR-14, it was a sporter version of the AR-10 from what I’ve read.

      The grip doesn’t look anything at all like an AR-15 grip

    • Jay

      Hey Nathaniel I agree with you on the Lapua magnum,
      My guess would be they picked norma mag because it cost a little less money.
      Either way in places like Afghanistan I’d say this would have great potential.
      I’d say the RPK has meta formidable opponent here if this weapons was placed in the field.

      • jim

        You mean the PKM. The RPK is chambered in assault rifle caetridges. Not in the same class with the well respected PKM.

      • Mike

        Nathaniel,

        .338 Norma Mag brass is about the same price as .338 Lapua Mag, and even less available. It’s only available from Norma, and checking the usual suspects like Grafs shows that it’s not always in stock (though it is now), whereas Lapua already has a facility in the US making .338 for government/military customers, and you can also get .338 LM from Prvi.

        So I don’t think it’s about cost, but likely chosen on for technical reasons. On the other hand, I don’t know how the reduced body taper and sharper shoulder (both of which reduce feeding reliability notwithstanding their other advantages) of the Norma Mag are advantageous to feeding from a machine gun, so I guess it must be solely the reduced COAL that drove this decision.

  • Vincent

    Isn’t .338 NM ammunition a little expensive to be fired from a machinegun? I mean, cheapest off the shelf I found with a 5 min. google search is still over $5/rnd.

    • Brian in Seattle

      Think economy of scale. When ordering ammo in the hundreds of millions, the cost drops pretty significantly. Plus, it’s just taxpayer dollars.

      • http://www.alfredivy.per.sg/blogger AL

        The economies of scale has to be some magic wand to bring $5 to a buck.

        Lastly its just “tax payer’s money”, isn’t that your money? Assuming you are a tax payer.

        Me thinks too expensive for a crew served weapon.

      • Komrad

        Well, how much of the ammo is match ammo?
        Loaded with cheaper bullets and with less precision, the cost would drop significantly.

    • Marc

      You don’t have to feed a machine gun with match-grade ammo, which currently is the only type of ammo offered for this cartridge.

      • Vincent

        “The .338 NM has a slight advantage in that when loaded with a .300 grain Sierra HPBT MatchKing projectile, its overall length is shorter than the .338 LM loaded with the same bullet. This is why General Dynamics would have chosen this round over the more popular .338 LM.”

        This leads me to believe that General Dynamics intends to shoot match ammo. Well, something loaded with a 300 grain SMK, that is.

      • Mu

        I agree, the cost once integrated in the US supply chain will be below the .50, as you need only about half the material. It’s also notable that the 338 Norma case has the same length as a 30-06, so weapons can probably be easier modified for the new cartridge than for the longer 338 LM.

      • Komrad

        @Vincent
        Ah, but you’re neglecting to consider the statement, that is that .338 NM is shorter than .338 LM when loaded with 300gr MatchKing bullets, but this statement is a bit misleading. All it says is that .338 NM is shorter than .338 LM when loaded with the same bullet. Since there is only match ammo available for both cartridges, 300gr MatchKing was probably one of the few bullets that both could use, or at least the only one in the right length/weight range, thus the only example to use for comparison.

        This is all speculation of course.

    • Jon

      The government always pays less than you will as a civilian. Plus add to the fact they’re buying in bulk in the hundreds of millions…

      Also, the government can acquire a license or rights to manufacture the ammo through their own contractors, meaning cheaper to make.

      The biggest hurdle is adding another ammo type to the US logistical train.

    • Dustin

      Consider how expensive 50 bmg is, and we go through that like its fun, which it is. Price of ammo isn’t that big of a deal to the military, ability to mass produce large quantities is though. That’s really all they care about with small arms ammo.

  • Will

    Makes sense, They have the .338 LM as a filler between the .308 and .50 in sniping platforms, why not have a middle ground medium machine gun?

  • Yves

    Ahhhh, just epic!
    They say “Personal body armor level 5″, then General Dynamics says this.
    This really outgunned .30 cal machine guns in range, precision and penetration.

  • Jack Luz

    This machine gun has the kind of improvements that are lacking in the M-240. The only problem is that the .338 round is a non-standard round in the Army/USMC logistics system. Keeping track of the variety of ammo must be a logistics/ordinance officer’s nightmare.

  • Alexander_Degtyarev

    Machine gun quality ammo is cheaper in the first place. And economy if scale actually is pretty magical. Also that tax money comment was a joke. Sarcasm. Probably…

  • jim

    Someone up top in the US military must really hate the. 338LM. They asked for it as sniper round, then went the other way and chose.300Win Magnum. Everyone else in nato shoots. 338LM. Now they make a machine gun and chamer it in the .338 Norma Magnum cartridge just to be different.
    what on earth is wrong with this people?(;

    • Michael

      NIH. Not invented here
      Michael

      • Database

        Neither was the .338 Norma Magnum. It did start life as a wildcat in the US, but a Swedish company called “Norma” bought the design finished development and standardized it, hence the name.

      • Bill

        Actually, the .338 LM started here as well, didn’t it? As a round developed for the Navy by RAI, who then had financial issues.

        Lapua and AI then took over and finished development…Sounds like Norma and its .338 Mag!

    • Brad

      .338 LM is a great cartridge. But it does not have the growth potential of the .338 NM, as demonstrated by the cool GD LWMMG.

      IIRC, the original specifications for the .338 LM called for a 250 grain bullet. But practice has shown the desirability of 300 grain bullets instead. The overall cartridge length of the .338 LM starts to become an issue with the heavier bullet, hence the superiority of the .338 NM.

      The original conception that created the .338 LM was far thinking and good work. But with perfect 20-20 hindsight we now know the original bullet weight requirement wasn’t quite right.

    • http://FirearmBlog L-7

      The 338 Norma was desinged for several reasons that went in to areas`such as a more lose fit battle chamber and yet remains a sub MOA cartridge in a bolt gun,better feeding capabilities,able to locate Higher B.C bullets in a shorter length,an improvement on barrel life that some of the other competitors do not deliver.
      As far as the brass here in the states there are already brass efforts already in play in Mil/spec and civil world components already in motion and the civil side we should see in 4 to 5 months the other is already bieng tested as we speak..
      And as for the weapon bieng 4lb lighter less moving parts an the same or less recoil in 338 Norma as the 7.62 in the 240, and the all newly desinged GDATP Lightweight MMG,that was all totally in house funded was simply put together as an answer to try to fill the gap needed in man portability and longer range capabilities for the Warfighter,my hat is off to the family of GDATP for an effort that was well done and 2nd to none in its technology in its size,weight and capabilities.

  • Big Daddy

    The Lapua round does not look good for a machine gun, the brass is just not right, it’s easy to see it. The brass was never designed for it. That’s why it probably was not chosen. The bullet is great, the brass is not.

    This is a great idea, it fills a gap, they tried to make a light weight 50 cal man portable and it didn’t work, very expensive and they wasted a lot of money on it. It was supposed to be able to fire 50 cal and switch to 25mm, the XM-806. The Russians did it with the KORD. But I don’t think that is an effective design. This make the most sense getting a long range powerful weapon to the infantry and for light vehicles.

    This is also a way of saying the XM25 is just too expensive to field in quantity and a machine gun like this and the new 40mmx51mm grenades can do a better job and cheaper. The new grenades are effective out to 800 meters.

    There are double mounts available for a GPMG and a M32/MGL-140 without the stock. This and the M32 on a mount would be perfect for the top of a lighter vehicle. The weight savings would allow a lot more ammo.

    This is something the armed forces has needed a long time. Now if they would only ditch the 5.56 for 6.8 that would also be a quatum step in lethality for the infantry.

    It has been talked about for 50 years along with an intermediate round between the 50 cal and 20mm. I think the Russian 14.5mm is perfect, so much better than the anemic 20mmx102mm and much more effective than the 50 cal for vehicle mounts and against hard targets. The Russians use them on their APC cupolas, the KPV. A 15mm round was developed by FN and it worked very well. 14.mm rounds have twice the energy of a 50 cal. You have to see what it does with those rounds travling at 1000 meters per second or more for the AP rounds, no real need for HE they are that destructive.

    So I could imagine what those 8.6mm/.338 rounds can do as compared with 7.62 NATO. It would be a crew weapon, the gunner and 2-3 other troops carrying an extra barrel, tripod and ammo. With the excellent sights we have the need for a lot of rounds on target is much less than in the past. A short burst of accurate fire beats what I did or what I have seen from troops using heavier weapons like this. Spray and pray is not the way.

    I am a firm believer in the old Russian doctrine of overlapping weapon systems on a battlefield. The more tools in the tool box the better chance of building it right. The more flexibility on a battlefield in terms of weaponry the more chance you have to success if used tactically correct.

    • Vitor

      I agree with you on most things, but I’m rather skeptical about the 6.8mm SPC. It’s not very aerodynamic at all, it hits harder than the 5.56mm but not futher. Given the upgrade to the M855A1, the 6.8mm has lost some if its appeal.

      A 6.5/7mm round would be perfect in a more slender design, like the Grendel or the british 7×43.

      • RustyShovel

        I’m in step with Vitor. The .338 is a great idea, the 6.8 wouldn’t be as big a game changer in places like Afghanistan where lethality AT RANGE is a big issue.

        The 6.5 is a step up in terms of BOTH range and lethality. If only the bean counters were forced to the frontlines…

      • W

        you are inviting another new set of disadvantages with the grendel and other cartridges with a long tip to neck distance. They cycle terribly in belt-feds and during rapid fire with a rifle. case cartridges like the grendel, or even the 7.62×39, are known to typically function poorly in the AR15.

        Afghanistan is a rather unusual case anyways. We cannot justify adopting a cartridge that is ideal up to 800 meters when that war is drawing to a end. Dont prepare for tomorrow’s war with yesteryear in mind. Since the world is becoming more urbanized, not less so, i believe advances on the 5.56 make it a very desirable weapon for militaries in the 21st century.

      • Bill

        HMMMM……an awful lot of full auto Grendels in AR platforms that would disagree with you on their ability to function as a full auto.

      • W

        LOL an “awful” lot of full auto grendels? since most gun owners bitch about the price of ammunition like its a case of the clap, i seriously doubt there has been extensive experience in firing the grendel on automatic.

        My experience with 7.62×39 ARs is that they suck, plain and simple (except for the PWS Diablo). Other people may have had better results. There is no data about the reliability of the grendel, not to mention other trade offs such as barrel life.

        Of course its speculative more than anything. Its not a infantry rifleman’s job to engage targets up to 800 meters. It is his job to engage targets up to 500 meters max. Since future conflicts will take more place in urban environments, a standard infantry cartridge thats effective up to 800 meters, for the price of additional problems, is simply not worth it. A 5.56 like the Mk 262, Mk 318, and M855A1 is plenty ideal for infantrymen. What would be even better is if the telescopic or caseless ammunition technology matured. A lot of potential there.

    • John Doe

      Agreed. NATO should step up the size of some of its rounds. Given how big most 7.62mm weapons are already, a universal .338 NM chambering wouldn’t hurt. A step from 5.56 to 6.5 would make any rifleman happy.

      The current 14.5x114mm is almost 3 times as powerful as the .50. I’m completely with you, the Russians have a well thought out arsenal. I’m not necessarily a believer in tossing out the AR, but I think it should be revamped. Gas pistons, anyone?

    • Nater

      The problem with the 6.5 Grendel is that it doesn’t work well in the M16 family of weapons. The program that developed the 6.8 SPC originally worked on a 6.5mm projectile in a PPC-style case. They rejected it because it wasn’t reliable. 6.5 Grendel is a non-starter in the M4. It’s great on paper, that’s all.

      The 6.8 SPC is fantastic out to 500m and effective well past that. It isn’t any harder to shoot than 7.62x51mm. Anything past that and you’re really beyond the role that service rifles and carbines are intended to fill. The 6.8 SPC still is the best possible solution for more lethality in the M16 family of weapons. I don’t think we’ll ever see it deployed, however.

      As for the suitability of .338 Lapua in machine guns, it was part of the original design specification back in the 1980s. M240s have been rechambered with .338 LM, I don’t know how well they work. The thing is, if you’re going to shoot a 300gr projectile and you’re going to adopt a new cartridge, you might as well go with the .338 Norma as it’s more suited for that role.

      • Nater

        Eh, replied to the wrong comment.

  • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk Tony Williams

    I’ve just been examing the gun at NDIA and talking to the GD people there (including the ammo designer, Jimmie Sloan). The gun isn’t based on the FN MAG / M240, it’s actually based on the .50 cal XM806. It uses the same soft-recoil technology, in that the gun fires as the barrel group is moving forwards. This smoothes out the recoil dramatically, allowing the gun to weigh about the same as the M240 (24 lbs) and to use a lightweight tripod. I’ve been watching a video of it firing and it doesn’t move – most impressive.

    The 338NM was chosen to keep the length down with long, heavy bullets. The loading used for the MG is a 300 grain FMJ at 2,650 fps.

    • noob

      i wonder if a case telescoped cartridge replicating the ballistics could be worked up for the lightweight small arms technologies family of experimental weapons. not sure if lsat is amenable to adaptation to a constant recoil principle design, but you could just use a conventional dug in bipod instead.

      • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk Tony Williams

        Some additional info, having heard a presentation on it. The action is a new hybrid; it is gas-operated, but has the recoil-smoothing mechanism of the XM806 LW50 (i.e. the gun fires as the barrel group is moving forwards). The weight and peak recoil are well within M240 limits and the gun can be used on any M240 mount. Soft mounts are not needed.

        The 338NM was chosen over the 338LM mainly to achieve a good barrel life: the 338LM is rather hot and something of a barrel burner in an MG. Ammo weight is 702 grains, which makes it less than double the weight of 7.62mm – but you get 5 rounds for the weight of two .50, and it has a similar anti-personnel effective range.

        A 338 LWMMG plus ammo for one minute’s continuous fire (500 rounds) weighs 105 lbs, compared with 100 lbs for an M240 (800 rounds).

        The 338NM has 2.5x the muzzle energy of the 7.62mm, but 4x the energy at 1000m.

    • Brad

      “The gun isn’t based on the FN MAG / M240, it’s actually based on the .50 cal XM806.” That fits with the low cyclic rate of fire. 500 rpm is much too slow for the MAG.

      This concept reminds me a bit of the WWII era Swedish 8mm caliber Browning MMG.

      http://www.gotavapen.se/gota/artiklar/utv_ksp58/ksp36/ksp36.htm

    • Partizan1942

      I have a rhetorical question: won’t a more complicated action make the maintenance/cleaning –> reliability of the weapon a nightmare in the role it was intended to be used in?

      • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk Tony Williams

        It strips down into very few parts, quite easily (I watched it being done). Maintenance does not seem to be an issue. Incidentally, it has a quick-change barrel which is really quick – and the carrying handle is attached to the barrel, so is used for taking off a hot barrel (no more asbestos gloves!).

    • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk Tony Williams

      GD took the gun down to the range session at the end of NDIA, so (after a long wait in the queue) I was able to fire it. That is one impressive gun. I was instantly aware, from anywhere on the range, when it was firing. That deep, measured hammering sounds very different from all the 7.62mms and 5.56mms (which to my ears sound very similar). I couldn’t really judge recoil because it was on a tripod, but it stayed on-target between bursts. GD were obviously so confident about the gun that they gave literally scores of tyros like me the chance to shoot it, in a steady stream (they were working hard to belt up the ammo – Black Hills manufacture, loaded with 300 grain Sierra MatchKing).

      Some notes from the GD presentation (with apologies for any repetition in previous posts):

      – ballistic drop similar to .50 ball at 1500m
      – defeats Level III body armour at 1000m
      – delivers 4x the energy of 7.62mm at 1000m
      – can maintain 10 minutes of continuous suppressive fire (50-100 rpm) without a barrel change
      – very quick-change barrel (the carrying handle is on the barrel)
      – quickly strips down into a few parts
      – will fit on any M240 mounting (doesn’t need a soft mount – the mechanism has its own, built in)
      – the gun mechanism is called Short Recoil Impulse Averaging: it uses gas operation, but the barrel group recoils in the receiver and fires as it is moving forwards, giving a very smooth recoil push rather than a series of sharp kicks
      – forward-stripping link specially designed: normal load 50-round soft pouch
      – weight of gun plus one minute’s worth of ammo (500 rounds) = 105 lbs, compared with similar load for M240 (800 rounds) = 100 lbs.
      – GD working on polymer-cased ammo to reduce the weight.

      I can imagine that troops facing long-range attacks in Afghanistan would be queueing up to carry this one into battle, despite the ammo weight. It provides what the US Army keeps stressing it needs: “overmatch”. Unlike the M240, which can only match the performance of the PKM (with a lot more weight), this one will make PKM gunners afraid.

  • Lex

    They should have made it in .300 Win Mag and advertised it as fitting with all the ammunition the US is buying for the XM2010. Cheaper to shoot, too.

  • Lance

    Too bad they didn’t make it in .300 Win mag like the XM-2010 uses. Overall this is a great idea. BUT this wont happen the military is married to the NATO round idea and so stay with 7.62x51mm NATO for GPMG for sometime to come.

    • JesseL

      You’d have a very hard time making a belted cartridge like .300 Win Mag run in a belt-fed gun that uses a push-through feed mechanism.

      • Pete Zaitcev

        Two things:

        1. There were ingenious Chinese an Finnish company MGs that fired 7.62x54R by popping the rounds sideways out of the belt (obviously impossible with PKM belt).

        2. I don’t think this gun uses push-through. Look, a 24″ barrel won’t fit. And since it’s based on .50, which is not push-through, it does not need to.

      • Old Soldier

        It seems to me that the PKM did a pretty good job of mooting the issue of using rimmed or semi-rimmed ammunition in a modern GPMG.

        I realize that I’m committing heresy by even implicitly admitting that the Russians with their fixation on unthinking reliability might have done something better the American engineers fascinated with finding new ways to use unobtainium.

      • W

        old soldier, the PKM is a extraordinarily designed weapon system.

        “I realize that I’m committing heresy by even implicitly admitting that the Russians with their fixation on unthinking reliability might have done something better the American engineers fascinated with finding new ways to use unobtainium.”

        Well, committing heresy is often times telling the truth LOL. The Russians pioneered the use of designated marksman (with the SVD), automatic rifleman (RPK), modern troop leading procedures (during WW2), armored warfare with medium tanks (T34 and later the T54/55), and even magazines with anti-tilt followers (the AK and SVD magazines). All of this done in the 40s and 50’s. The US is just learning many of these concepts LOL.

        The PKM was far superior to other weapons of its class…and it even used the venerable kalashnikov system without reinventing the wheel.

    • Lance

      @JesseL

      Not a problem there are semiauto 300 win mag weapons like the Walther 2000 and the Browning BAR sporter. Like the other guy said rims and belts are a none issue look at the PKM and .338 NM is belted as well only the Remington Ultra Mag ammo is none belted.

    • Mogg

      .303 Rimmed belt fed Vickers were very reliable in World War One!

  • John Doe

    Does anyone know if .338 Lapua Magnum would chamber well in a belt-fed? All other NATO countries use it in their sniper rifles, so therefore we should go backwards and use the Norma Mag? It’s a great round, but let’s be consistent!

    Plus, the usage of the match .338 LM could call for some Carlos Hathcock-esque sniping in an emergency.

    • Nater

      .338 Lapua does work in machine guns, it’s been tried in modified M240s. The .338 Norma is a modification of the .338 Lapua with the intent of making it more efficient with 300gr projectiles (the .338 Lapua was optimized for 250gr projectiles). That’s it. Before it was shelved, there was a lot of speculation that the PSR was going to end up using the .338 Norma Magnum.

  • charles222

    Ehh, this is just driving up weight for arguably not much more performance in the combined-arms team that an infantry platoon/company is. Tony cited a bullet weight of 300 grains; sure, you could drop the individual bullet weight, but as-is that’s twice as heavy as the current ammunition used for M240s, which already weighs in at 9 pounds for 100 rounds. The typical load for a machine-gun team is about 1,000-1,200 rounds split three ways (machine gunner, ammo bearer, assistant gunner); that’s pushing close to 30 pounds of ammo per man. Do we really want 60 pounds of additional ammo for a range advantage that might not even be particularly useful to an area weapon?

  • Hussar

    Any word on whether this can be retrofitted as a coax on a MBT or IFV? There wouldn’t be a weight issue in a vehicle and having longer range in a more lethal round, while still keeping the same basic size constraints, would seem like a win/win in Armored Vehicles.

    • charles222

      Why bother when you already have a .50 and a 25mm chain gun mounted on Bradleys, and either a .50 or a Mk 19 mounted on Strykers?

  • andrew

    Coming from an infantryman involved in the recent conflicts, this machine gun is needed. The major downside is the weight of the ammo, that said, being able to reach out to 1700 meters and be almost as mobile as a 240b crew makes the weapon system worth its weight in gold. The warfighter working in areas like Afghanistan needs the long range accuracy/lethality the weapon offers.

  • http://G2mil.com Carlton

    I’ve pushed this idea for years. We brag that our modern body armor can stop a 7.62mm, so what happens when our enemy wears it? While the .50 is great, its too heavy for a true infantry weapon. Merging the 7.62mm and .50 ammo, weapons, and training into one system is a great solution.

  • Mike

    Needs polymer-cased telescopic cartridge. Because .338 NM brass sucks.

  • Partizan1942

    „providing .50 caliber-like firepower in range and effect at the same weight and size of currently fielded 7.62mm machine guns”
    There is nothing new under the sun. The laws of physics have not been changed overnight. If you put a larger/more powerful round on a platform that was not designed for that (M240) you will have an mg that is bouncing like a Mexican low rider when fired (compared to a 7.62 anyway). So there goes your accuracy with long ranged automatic fire at least compared to a 50 cal. Plus granted the gun is a lot lighter and thus easy to carry than a 50 BMG mg but the reduction in gun weight is only one side of the deal. Someone will have to carry the much heavier ammo for the “lighter” gun.
    The use of new ammo is also an interesting thing if you look at the weight of the gun which is in the same ballpark as the 7.62 version so it has not increased meaning same type barrels meaning that a lot more powerful round would overheat the gun pretty quickly. Meaning the gun can be decent to use at long ranges with short bursts but would be a very annoying and unreliable gun to lay down a sustained suppressing fire at closer ranges, which is the principal function of a squad mg.
    The design is interesting, but I think that as usual if the gun will be adopted it will bring more problems than solutions.
    And to quote my favorite action hero: Boris “The Blade” – from the movie Snatch, “weight is a sign of reliability, I always go for reliability. If it doesn’t work you can always hit him with it.” :)

    • Partizan1942

      Just if someone missed the film and does not know who Boris is:

      • W

        “why do they call him the bullet dodger?”…”‘Cuz he dodges bullets Avi”

      • Partizan1942

        @W:
        :) i love that film

    • coolhand77

      Actually, if we remeber the purpose of a GPMG, the “bouncing around” might improve general suppressive fire and beaten zone performance. This is not a DMR, or precision rifle, its a GPMG, which is meant for lobbing lots of lead over a designated area to funnel the enemy or keep his head down while the precision guys do their work, the infantry advances and flanks, or arty/air support is called in to take out the target. This is NOT a SAW, its a GPMG.

      • Partizan1942

        A little bouncing is good at 200m but at 1500m this little bouncing means not hitting anything. Plus how do you hurdle a lot of lead towards them if your barrel gets overheated extremely fast?
        I get what you are saying but to me this gun in this setup looks like a lot more problems than solutions

  • Partizan1942

    One more thing: someone please tell me when do us troops get engaged by enemy with AKs from 1700-2000m? Most enemies that the us currently faces do not have such long range weapons. It is as simple as that. So I ask you, who would have to be suppressed at such distances on a foot patrol? When do us troops go on foot patrols in Afghanistan? There are always vehicles they can use to mount or carry a heavy mg.
    Plus the us really needs to hire guys that are more athletic than the average highschool droput after five weeks of bootcamp.
    Look at this comrade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwu3ivAJ68U
    Plus if the weight of the gun is a problem and if the high performance rounds are needed in deed there is no shame in mounting a big gun on wheels like the Gorjunov or the KPV 14.5…

    • W

      US troops typically get engaged at the 800-1200 meter range with PKM machine guns, or very rarely, a mortar or Dshk. Contradictory to what the news and internet speak says, most taliban ambushes occur in short range, primarily because the Tali hope to “squeeze” US troops enough to deny them air or artillery support.

      Plenty of units do foot patrols, as vehicles are largely limited by the roads in afghanistan. You apparently havent seen the likes of people in light infantry, airborne, or marine units; you can be large and athletic all you want, but your rate of march is still 1 mph up and down a mountain with all of your gear. Some smart units have cut down soldiers’ gear to bear bones, down to 30-50 lbs total (counting ammunition), to allow more freedom of maneuver.

      There is nothing wrong with the KPV, though it was my understanding that the Soviet troops hated the wheel mounted variant. I believe in using technology; lighter materials, superior engineering, and advancements in cartridges to extend the range of existing calibers and increase accuracy.

      • Partizan1942

        Ok, ok. I was trying to be a little funny but the point is this:
        If the average tali can shoot at you with a PKM effectively than you can shoot back with a similar weapon (7.62x51mm) just as effectively.
        If they do engage from behind cover at a distance of 800-1200m (and why wouldn’t they? they are not going to be running around so you can pick them off) What do you think is better to do?

        A.: Shoot back at them with the similar type of full auto weapon and hope to hit them?
        B.: Shoot back at them with a slightly better performance full auto weapon and hope to hit them?

        Answer: Neither A or B. Have a sniper with a decent bolt action and let him pick off the mg nest. If

        Plus have you ever tried to suppress an mg that is firing you form a nest with your own mg (especially at distances of more than a km? Not the most productive way of handling operation kill Haji…). The advantage of the us military is that in asymmetric type of warfare they can actually order in airstrikes (drones, choppers, jets, and freeking AC-130s), small and large caliber artillery etc. It costs the us literally billions of dollars to be able to respond to threats with forces that their enemies actually do not have and thus eliminate them. So why on earth would it be any kind of a solution to start a “rock throwing competition” with the tali in the first place when by doing this the us forces actually give up their one advantage of being able to make use of their overwhelming logistical and technical superiority?

        Plus: What if it is not 800-1200m and a PKM What if it is 2000m from the other side of the valley and it is a Dshk 12.7 an NSV 12.7 or a KPV 14.5? If you do not have 50BMG you will not even be able to respond at those distances with a .338 NM anyway so what hacve you gained by introducing the gun?

      • W

        LOL, i certainly agree with your points, dont mistake my response as opposing. Compelling points noted :)

        That is why the US occupation of Afghanistan is different than when the soviets were there. The Soviets lacked the accuracy of indirect fire and aerial assets.

        “Plus: What if it is not 800-1200m and a PKM What if it is 2000m from the other side of the valley and it is a Dshk 12.7 an NSV 12.7 or a KPV 14.5? If you do not have 50BMG you will not even be able to respond at those distances with a .338 NM anyway so what hacve you gained by introducing the gun?”

        good point ill say. there are drawbacks and advantages to heavier calibers. The west conceived the 15.5mm heavy machine gun from FN, though I couldnt imagine lugging that damned thing in the mountains of afghanistan. At those distances, the necessity of 60mm mortars becomes obvious and apparent.

        Ill give the Russians much credit for the Kord 12.7mm. It is capable of filling in the niche of a “lightweight heavy machine gun” for use by infantry platoons. Certainly more advantageous than the venerable M2.

      • Partizan1942

        @w:
        I agree and thx for actually reading what I wrote. I am also a very big fan of the KORD. It is heavy, does not bounce, you can make swiss cheese out of a BTR with it from 400m-s and it can actually engage enemy troops from beyond 2000m.

  • Old Soldier

    Organizationally, where would this thing fit? Would it displace one or both medium machine guns in the platoon? Or would it be a company-level asset, in which case the question arises about what it offers in terms of effective long-range fire support that can’t be done as well (and farther out) by 60mm fires?

  • Distiller

    What is that thing for? Not for general infantry I hope?
    Marksman auto rifle for those who can’t hit with a semi-auto?
    For long range volume fire I’d rather propose a mortar.
    The volume of fire is again going down, as it does with that SAW replacement called IAR. Neither seems to have quick-change barrels.
    And it’s unbalanced. The high pressure 40mm grenades reach out to 800m, and this here to 1700m. So what is now the squad reach supposed to be?
    (That cartridge looks like a scaled-up Grendel.)

  • Máté

    I knew some day there will be a full-auto AWSM.

  • Ron

    I don’t know if they are getting 1700 meters without using the tripod. Because not using the tripod is one of the reasons the M240 series only gives you 800-1100 meter range, while that same gun placed on a tripod with the hydraulic buffer/flex mount gives you up 1800m’s of effective direct fire capability.

    If bipod fired, I have a feeling the real advantage this gun may give is the ability to shoot a much more effective AP round because of the larger interior size and weight of the projectile.

  • TygeRInfantrY

    If U’ve ever lit up a target with a conventional 7.62 nato and seen the difference between that and the ballistics of this round then U would understand why the grunts want it and demand it! If U’ve never humped a 60 or 240 I don’t want to hear your far-fetched theories or mentality. U don’t know what it’s like to be ambushed, and U certainly don’t know what it’s like to be pinned down without a weapon formidable enough to reach out and shred the enemy until Air assets become available! It always cracks me up when people who have never humped a heavy gun for miles give their OPINIONS on things they have literal to no experience on. I can vouch for the need of this weapon and this round….ask anybody getting off a plane from a combat deployment, see what they say. If U don’t know anybody who’s over there serving, do us a favor and get to KNOW someone and find out before U opine from your couch. Thanks…..Responsibly & Respectfully yours….Major League Doorkicker#11B1P-death from above.

    • Partizan1942

      To paraphrase De Niro: “Was that a response to what I have posted? Because no one else wrote about the things you just replied to”

      If it was, please take back a notch. We do not know each other and you certainly do not need to get emotional about this. I never said that there is no need for better performing mg-s. All I am trying to say is that This design is not good enough.

      A.: It is too light for the ammo it uses so it will have accuracy and overheating problems while firing longer stretches
      B.: Even if the design compensates for accuracy it cannot compensate (not in this way anyway) for the overheating.
      C.: Problems with logistics. Several people remarked that the soldiers have enough to carry as it is. This gun uses heavier ammo guys have more to carry with this design.
      D.: The more types of ammo an army uses the more problems there can be with having to resupply the troops (this is not such a big problem in asymmetric warfare but still a liability.
      E.: The fact that some people might feel luckier if they have a bigger bore barrel (even if it is an inferior gun) in their hands while being shot at sounds ridiculously Freudian to me but it takes all sorts.

      Furthermore I firmly believe that just because you get a slightly bigger gun your chances of hitting something or surviving the situation will not improve. They might if the gun is more reliable, they might if it is more accurate but this is not necessarily the case.

      I would also like to ask you not to talk down to anyone. You do not know what background other people might have. Do not pretend to know who I am or what my background is.

      I have an opinion and I posted it. This is what happens in a democracy and this is why this forum is here. If you do not agree tell me what is it specifically that I am wrong about and I will thank you.

      Sincerely

      Partizan1942

    • DaveWuh

      I agree Tyg.

      The 249 and 60 do get heavy after a few days beating around the sticks. But aint ya glad ya got them when you get opened up on? I was in a Scout Plt,and “the big guy”. So I always humped a pig,or 249.Came to love them. This new unit from Gen Dyn. looks like it has some promising features,and I’d love to try it. But,regretfully,my humpin days were over as of 2005,resulting from a “hard landing” in a Blackhawk. Indeed,the weapon has a good purpose in the doorway of the UH-1,a double configuration could lay down serious lead while conductig air mobile ops.Best to you.

  • Tribulationtime

    Where I see usefull such weapon it´s on vehicle mount. On transport helos like UH-1N, use a double gun pod instead a more bulky 50cal. Or Kiowas do as well, more rounds and equals anti-personel and range efectiveness. Remplace too, 50cal and miniguns on riverboats operations, 1 caliber 1 weapons system, more space always at minimun. 50cal it´s double edge weapon shooters fell powerfull, enemy shit scare although it´s poor effecience, cost/Kill ratio/weight. Same reasons to use on remote control stations.

  • Eagle077

    Baloney. There’s nothing wrong with the .338 Norma. Then again, there was nothing wrong with the .308 Norma or the .358 Norma. Norma round just seem to commit sicide because “all knowing” gun writers aren’t bribed enough by Norma. I have both a .308and .358 Norma Mag and they will hit the black at stunning ranges..I won’t bad mout the .338 Lapua as i haven’t tried it our yet.

    Northwest Rifle school.

  • Mike Knox

    I wonder if they try one in .338 Lapua Magnum..

  • Brad

    Hooray for General Dynamics!

    The .338 caliber LWMMG is the right sized cartridge in the right sized platform, and fulfills the potential that MMG have been striving for since before WWI. The tragedy is that this new weapon system is unveiled just as the U.S. military is facing drastic budget cuts, and as is well know the infantry always comes last in spending priorities when the the budget axe is employed.

    When perfected MMG designs like the Maxim machine-gun were first bought in large numbers, they were hampered by the calibers they were first chambered in. .303 or 30-06 were designed for use in handheld repeating rifles, and therefore undersized ammunition for the heavier and steadier tripod-mounted medium machine-guns. During WWI heavier bulleted cartridges for the standard caliber MMG were used to try and exploit the potential of MMG fire.

    The only example I am aware of where a military force used a MMG in a unique caliber designed for the MMG in place of the normal practice of chambering the MMG for a standard rifle cartridge, is the Swedish version of the Browning MMG which was chambered in the 8×63 mm M/1932 cartridge.

    http://www.gotavapen.se/gota/artiklar/utv_ksp58/ksp36/ksp36.htm

    Ever since I saw this Swedish weapon I thought what a perfect idea, and marveled that no other military had thought to pursue a similar weapon since then. That is until now with the GD LWMMG in .338 Norma Magnum.

    Even if the budget axe stops the new GD LWMMG, I hope the exciting potential it demonstrates will at the least lead to a larger caliber version of the M-240 MMG. The MAG MMG, which the M-240 is a 7.62 mm version of, has the potential to chamber ammunition other than 7.62 mm rather easily. Maybe the simplest answer is to just bring back the old Swedish 8×63 mm loaded with modern high energy density powder.

  • Tony

    I don’t see a point to this, nobody is going to buy it, the R&D money would’ve been better spent on case telescoping .243 and .338 designs

  • http://TheFirearmBlog grandpa

    I am wondering how long the action will last before the rivets work loose and it tears its self apart. Heat will have a big part to play in this as well as the elements it will be deployed in. If used in a ground role that’s a large cartridge for a man to endure the recoil for a long period of time. On the other hand i am sure it will punch holes in objects that smaller rounds can’t and would act like a weed eater on steroids in the bush,jungle and trees. I can see it used in aviation and ground vehicles and in some cases replace a single 50 cal with two of these side by side. I am staying open minded on this one. If problems pop up and can be solved in a safe manner and future development to improve it, they might have a winner. Time will tell. God Bless the troops.

  • Eric B.

    This is the TRUE medium machine gun we need. Garanteed, if the U.S. does not buy it it will be sold to other nations. Long range capabilities for many weapons are becoming necessary in mountainous areas that impose “ridge-to-ridge” battle ranges. Witness teh US army’s switch to the interim XM2010 sniper rifle in .300 Win Mag. which is in itself barely capable of true long range engagements.

    General Dynamics choice of the new .338 Morma magnum may also influence the cartridge choice of our next PSR (precision sniper rifle). The .338 NM has a sharper shoulder which usually contributes to a more uniform powder burn, as witnessed by the most inherently accurate benchrest cartridges. This alone could sway the choice of long range sniper cartridge but having one less cartridge in the supply inventory will be a good reason as well.

    Due to its innovative operating mechanism design the LWMMG recoil is reportedly barely more than that of the M240L and yet it’s effective range is at least 30% greater with much less wind drift due to a heavier bullet with a much better ballistic cooefficient (BC).

    One then must wonder whether this weapon (and cartridge) could replace the the M240 and the 7.62 X 51 (.308) round we now use.

    The only disadvantage I see is that the ammunition will be heavier. But with the newly developed MG ammo backpack now in use in Afghanistan this may not be as cumbersome as previous MG ammo boxes or bags. And after all, a medium machine gun IS a crew (2) served weapon.

    I see this new MG as a battlefield DOMINANCE weapon. Machine guns have traditionally been named the “queen of the battlefield”, with artillery the “king”. This General Dynamics LWMMG may become the “prince of the battlefield”.

    • Parakitteh

      Infantry units don’t fight at 5,642m.
      The 1000m suppressive range of 7.62mm machine guns is frankly already relatively superfluous, and 600m, in current (or possibly previous, I’m not sure) US doctrine is already range at which dedicated snipers come into play.

      I don’t see any reason you would need to engage at more than 6000 yards. At that range, it’s going to be far simpler to call in air or artillery support to deal with it. This is in fact slightly more than the distance [i]to the horizon[/i].

      • Parakitteh

        Dammit, I’m too used to bbcode.

    • Ralph

      As for the crew served… should be a 3 man team, but we deployed way undermanned and our 240 gunners had to carry all of their own combat load cause there weren’t enough people to make gun teams

  • Akpj

    As an infantry weapon I think it is a definite non-starter. As a replacement for vehicle mounter weapons in place of 7.62×51 NATO this has been needed for a long time. The 7.62 was invented to develop less power the 30-06 to make it controllable as an automatic fire battle rifle and it was consequently it has always been a compromised cartridge for use in a general purpose machine limiting both range and terminal effects. This makes more sense as a vehicle weapon with the ability to dismount for a limited distance with out the large weight of the .50 cal and its ammo and sandbags that are needed to keep it stable. As a coaxial weapon for M-2/3, Strykers and especially the M-1 Abrams, this gives much better penetrating power over the ridiculously small 7.62. It has always struck me at how silly it is to limit these medium and heavy vehicle with an under powered rifle cartridge.

    • Retired Gunner

      Yes, just what we need. Yet another non-standard caliber to make resupply more complicated and even further clog our inadequate small arms ammunition manufacturing base. After all, clearly we were buying plain old 5.56mm ball from everyone in South America, Europe and Asia back in 2003-2010 because we just wanted to make life more interesting for ammo collectors.

  • patrickw

    Would be great for rotor wing AC as well as vehicle mounted applications no doubt. The only time this thing would have a use for dismounted troops is in a fixed or semi-fixed position (checkpoints, tower, LP/OP etc.) Where lugging twice the weight in ammo is not nearly as big an issue. Also develop a nice short can for this thing to help kill the massive muzzle blast down, and install gas tube venting for excess back pressure when fired suppressed and keep the guts a tad cleaner.

  • Guest

    Hell…mount lasers on it and put it on a shark.

  • Guest

    add lasers and mount it on a shark.

  • Brad Ferguson

    To me………………The big advantage of this new machine gun is, it will shoot a lot flatter than the 7.62. A 1 to 2″ bullet drop with the 338 will produce more hits than the 7.62 when you’re holding 12 to 16″ for same distance shots. Now if you want to talk 7.62 vs. 5.56……..That’s a whole new kettle of fish.

  • Spork Star

    This gun is very close to one I designed for a game concept back in 2008.
    I think its excellent that someone got the idea that our current .308s are the new 5.56, and the 308 is no longer the big dog it once was.

    The game was set in the future, in the 2030s. The general purpose machinegun (called the M-100) was chambered in a variant of .375 Ruger and loaded from 120 round belts, with a 600 round per minute fire rate. It had a quick 2 shot burst feature (1500cyclic) which turned it into a mild sniper platform (if the first one misses, the second may hit anyway). It also had a set of 2 composite barrels which could just be rotated into place on the field (talk about a fast barrel switch) and altogether it weighed 25 pounds.

    The round was actually a 250grain 7mm Fin Stabilized armor piercing Sabot deeply seated into the cartridge but by the concept it could chamber .375 Ruger. Because of the flat trajectory and the fact such a long flechette-style projectile would tumble on hitting a soft target it had almost the same penetration and damage as a .50cal.

    The assault rifles of the world were also upgraded to a round with minor differences to the 6.5mm Grendel with the variant type designation APSFTBT – armor piercing semi frangible tumbling boat tail.

    The pinnacle of that technology was a rifle I designated as the FN-125 which fed from dual 60 round magazines, side mounted at an angle and lengthwise along the weapon similar to a P-90 (when one empties, it switches to the other), with a forward cartridge ejection system (at that time I did not know about the Kel-Tec RFB). The bottom portion of the gun was a semi-automatic high pressure 30mm grenade launcher with a strong muzzlebreak, with a 5 round magazine on the bottom. The grenade launcher had a buckshot load, so you either get 120 rounds of pure death and you can reload the gun at your pleasure, or 5 shots of (3 gauge?) shotgun to the face. Weighing in at 12 pounds it also had a comprehensive tech scope on it that could program grenades for early detonation. Dont even bother waiting for them to stop to reload, that tactic dont work.

    I also had a redesigned P-90 with dual feeding magazines (x40) chambered in 10mm Auto, which had special sabot slugs designed for it that delivered armor piercing pdw performance (they just took 5.56mm slugs and sabotted them for the 10mm caliber). Made almost completely out of composites thats 80 rounds of lightweight fast firing death.

    And there was a .50 caliber man portable machinegun, it was the M-192 Heavy Repeater, an assault-rifle style gun with a dual drum 40 round magazine and a massive muzzle break on the end that looks like a honeycomb, though it had other recoil dampening systems too similar to the OCSW (and an awkwardly oversized arching carrying handle on top which was part of the recoil system). Firing at 300 rounds per minute it had as much kick as a shotgun. Designed as a limited purpose entry weapon because the 24″ barrel wasnt built for excessive range accuracy, and well .50cal rounds are heavy as hell.

    Why the need for all the heavy firepower?

    All the soldiers (friendly and otherwise) had really good lightweight body armor (read: nanopolymer liquid armor). Soldiers could swap 5.56 all day and might eventually hit someone in the face, until they get into spitting range, or they could just use better stuff.

    And they replaced main battle tanks with lightly armored vehicles armed with high velocity missiles (read: Starstreak) that could do the same job. The vehicles had similar liquid armor in their walls but it was alot stronger.