UK & NZ Adopting FN MINIMI 7.62mm

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Both the United Kingdom and New Zealand are adopting the 7.62mm version of the FN MINIMI machine gun.

New Zealand’s 7.62 LSW Minimi (CAT A configuration)

The NZ Defense Force is procuring (PDF link) the 7.62mm model, along with ACOG scopes, micro red dots and ground mounts to replace their 5.56mm model. The UK Ministry of Defense is procuring a limited number and so are not replacing their 5.56mm MINIMI LMGs or 7.62mm FN MAG GPMGs.

FN demonstration of 7.62mm MINIMI
Australian solider with 7.62mm MINIMI

Other countries using the 7.62mm MINIMI are the Spanish Navy, Polish Special Forces, the Australian Defense Force (F89 Maximi) and USSOCOM (Mk. 48). I suspect more and more countries are going to start realizing the benefits of the 7.62mm over the 5.56mm. I wonder if the USMC made the right choice going with the 5.56mm M27 IAR. A 7.62mm IAR might have been a better choice.

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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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  • S O

    502 mm barrel as only option on the FHherstal website. MAG has 630 mm barrel on same website.

    Methinks the Minimi 7,62 is not a full 7,62 mm GPMG. The ballistic performance cannot resemble the well-known normal 7.62NATO ballistics.

    • Chase

      What are you saying? Are you telling us that it doesn’t actually fire the 7.62mm NATO cartridge?

      • S O

        Is this a strawman attempt? Cute try.

        I said nothing, but I wrote what I wrote and that requires little to no elaboration imo.

        7.62NATO is known to not suffer less when shot from a shorter barrel than 5.56, but the drop in ballistic performance is still substantial. A bullet from a 7.62 Minimi with 502 mm barrel will not be the same as a bullet from the same cartridge and a M240.

        Now if they added 28 mm barrel length, they would add the weight (Twice! Remember the spare barrel!) and they would move the COG forward.

    • W

      SO you are absolutely correct.

      The Mk48 is a upscaled M249/Mk48, but is not designed to be a true “lighter” variant of the M240B.

      It is not a true GPMG and its ballistic performance is slightly inferior. Its barrel is also shorter and thinner than the M240B. It is just a upscaled M249 to provide the superior ballistics of the 7.62 NATO cartridges.

      There are also compromises in accuracy, reliability, and durability when inheriting the separate rotating bolt design and M249 action when compared to the M240. The M240′s locking bolt is superior for prolonged fire and overall reliability due to its engineering around the heavier family of cartridges (being based off the M1918 BAR).

      • charles222

        W is correct. The 240 bolt is a beast compared to the Minimi’s; it basically “hinges” on a pin to move back and forth, while the Minimi design rotates. Plus the Mk48 isn’t near as durable; iirc it’s rated about 2,000 rounds lower than the 240 before things start breaking.

  • Aurelien

    The 7.62mm Minimi is also used by the French Gendarmerie (Military/rural Police)

  • Chris

    FN will manufacture barrels and replacements to your specification like they did with the FN-MAG ( Mag58 ).

  • Safety third

    Well, the reason the M27 is 5.56 is so it can take regular M16 mags. Can’t really do that with a 7.62 LMG..

    • W

      The general idea behind a Infantry Automatic Rifle is to have some sort of commonality with the primary weapon in service, for example the RPK being a AK with a heavier receiver, longer/heavier barrel, different buttstock, bipod, and modified recoil spring.

      The M249 has nothing in common with a M16/M4 besides the 5.56mm round. The M27 also has very little in common with the M16/M4 besides the 5.56mm round, outward appearances, similar magazines (GI and HK type), and ergonomics. Internally, the M27 is proprietary.

      When will the US military learn?

      • The Stig

        The lowers are interchangeable, and according to someone on HKPRo, a DI AR bolt (with all DI parts) can be used in place of the HK one.

        The only thing that isn’t interchangeable is the carrier. So, if you’re in the field and something breaks, there is a good chance that standard DI AR parts will get you back up running, and if no standard parts help you, it’s probably beyond a field repair anyways. The only exception being, I’d carry spare piston rings which weight nothing and take up no space.

        http://www.hkpro.com/forum/hk416-hk417-hq/158745-hk416-mr556-parts-vs-di-compatibility-update-post-7-a.html

      • W

        For all intensive purposes, they are incompatible. Ive seen this article before and it brings up interesting points. I compared by MR 556 with one of my DI guns.

        What the MR556/416 is compatible with:

        -placing a 416 upper on a non-HK lower
        -placing a 416 lower on a non-HK upper
        -placing a non-HK bolt, cam, firing pin in the bolt carrier
        -placing a non-HK trigger assembly part in the HK lower

        Where the issues arise:

        -the 416′s gas piston system and gas block is incompatible with DI parts
        -the bolt carrier group is modified for short stroke piston (im sure a DI carrier can be used with extensive modification; not conducive for field units)
        -when one replaces the buffer spring and buffer with a aftermarket one. Been there, done that. the rifle becomes very unreliable, especially during rapid fire. Most are outright incompatible.

        in a nutshell: if any gas piston component fails, then one would have to swap out the upper with a DI one in emergency if parts are unattainable, which is opening up another can of worms; DI automatic rifles in the M16 platform proved to be troublesome and unreliable.

        If one damaged a bolt, firing pin, cam pin, trigger assembly on a 416, then those parts could be swapped. HK also designed its bolt to incorporate a firing pin spring, which is a safety feature to reduce chances of slam fires (theoretically because it is absent of gas rings that “slow down” the bolt); performance with it removed has never been tested by me and im not going to say that it will adversely affect it.

        Then you are getting into the longterm use of “other” parts in the 416. Again, opening up another can of worms, as is the characteristic of every other weapon out there. Concluding these assessments, the 416 is similar, but different, than the M4/M16; it has its parts differences.

  • A2

    MINIMI ????

    Isn’t there an Austin Powers joke in here somewhere ?

    • Mat

      If you have seen what is happening in Afghanistan is units run low on ammo minutes in to the firefight ,i still rather have some rounds in 5.56×45 that still kill most of what they hit than none in 7.62×51 ,most firefights result in few or no enemy casualties as hitting enemy behind cover is hard over any distance past 100y ,the weight of the ammo is so much more in 7.62 and full power battle rifle is probably even less precise,M14 is no match for an M16 in terms of precision.

      M27 is not a replacment for a belt feed weapon with barrel change ,its just some added firepower ,remember US armed forces are one of the few that don’t have full auto capable rifle/carbine

    • Clodboy

      It actually stands for “Mini MItraillieuse”, or “Mini Machinegun”, on account of its small caliber, light weight and compact size when compared to GPMGs like FN’s own MAG.

      Of course, the fact that now they’re chambering it in 7.62 and sticking it on a tripod (i.e. turning it back into a slightly lighter GPMG) does have some irony.

      • Reverend Clint

        probably should be called fattimi

  • Big Daddy

    It only takes almost 10 years of battle for these idiots to wake up and realize their errors. The whole of NATO and the US was ditching 7.62mm in favor of 5.56mm. They came up with every excuse in the book they could find. They were wrong…….

    Like the Canadians who wanted to drop their tanks for wheeled vehicles stopped and realized you need heavy tanks and a wheeled vehicle has way too many limitations. The 5.56mm round has way too many limitations and should be ditched too for an intermediate round. Good for the Canadian defense ministers or whatever you call them. They stopped what they were doing so quickly and got some more tanks, canceled the whole wheeled vehicle contract.

    If they want to keep the 5.56mm fine, but you have to have a mix of both the 5.56 and 7.62 within an infantry squad to do the job. I’d say a mix of 70-30 with each squad having a 7.62 LMG and 2 troops with 7.62 rifles with a squad size of 10-12 soldiers. Add the new 40mm grenades and your squad can reach out and touch someone at close to 800 meters instead of only 400 meters. You have the ability to destroy their cover without resorting to using your LAWs and AT-4s which as far as I was taught only have an effective range of 400 meters. I used the LAW we didn’t have AT-4 when I was in, only Rangers had the Carl Gustav we also had the Dragon and Tow.

    If an intermediate round was being used there would be no real need for a mix within the squad. The 7.62 GPMG would be fine and kept within the platoon in smaller numbers as would a small sniper unit with maybe a mix of .338 and 50 cal weapons.

    I have read infantry experts recommending the use of a sniper in each squad with a weapon in .338 or similar to reach out to over 1000 meters. I don’t think that’s necessary within the squad and best kept within a platoon along with the M32 or the Army’s M25 in a weapon’s squad.

    Right now mech infantry is a mess because of the Bradley’s limited capacity and that’s another issue the DOD has to fix.

    The replacement of the SAW in 5.56mm with an improved version in 7.62mm would be a step in the right direction along with this new .338 MMG within the Company level. You could attach them to the platoons.

    The Titanium M240L is a failure.

    • W

      I dont know why ppl are pissed at big daddy’s post: he is absolutely right.

      I think it was astronomically stupid to drop a 7.62 machine gun for a 5.56mm one. The US military dropped the idea of a IAR when it dropped the BAR, which was astronomically stupid; the Soviets already had the RPD, then later, the RPK and the PKM in service. At least the Army and Marine Corps had the common sense to adopt the outstanding M240 (FN MAG).

      I agree 100% on the Canadians. The US military is also learning hard lessons from the abysmal Stryker program. I find it hilarious that countries are throwing M113′s and even MBTs into afghanistan, which are a far more superior vehicle than the LAV/Stryker in my opinion. I know the canadians had intentions on adopting another tracked APC, though once the conservatives lost position in government, they stuck with the LAV, which has inferior mobility, piss poor armor/protection, has a hideously complex power train, and has poor firepower (but better than the US Stryker).

      LOL, the intermediate round idea was brought up thousands of times. The Army had two opportunities to adopt intermediate cartridges, first with the 276 pedersen in the 30′s, then the 280 british in the 50′s. They declined both times and drastically affected the effectiveness of the individual infantryman that still has profound effects today.

      I know the US Army learned the hard way about how important snipers were in a urban, guerrilla war like Iraq. Even with M24-armed snipers amongst mechanized infantry squads, the advantages were unmistakable. Of course, in a different war, the Soviets learned the effectiveness of snipers in urban warfare…60 years ago. Of course, we have to keep re-learning these lessons over and over again.

      Dude, ive spent my entire career bombarding the Bradley with disdain. It was one of the reasons why I counted my blessings I stayed out of anything mechanized my entire career.

      • Lance

        The Marines did send M-1A1s and LAV-25s to Afghanistan in the last few years the Army is the one still using HUMVEEs and MRAPs only.

      • W

        The marines were smart in employing the M1 Abrams, taking advantage of its superior optics, protection, and firepower, though the vehicle’s weight and gas turbine engine are glaring liabilities that make it inferior for the Afghan mission compared to the Leopard 2. The Army’s employment of the M-ATV was also wise.

        They were stupid to use the LAV just like the US Army was stupid in using the Stryker in Afghanistan. After floundering with LAVs and wheeled APCs, many NATO armies are discovering the merits of the M113 (with some variants having a 25mm gun) which is, by far, a superior vehicle.

        Armies (like Canada) that considered using wheeled APCs with a anti-tank gun to replace MBTs are changing their minds. The Soviet Army also witnessed glaring failures of the wheeled BTR in Afghanistan, which prompted them to use the more adequate BMP and T55.

    • Big Daddy

      I’m just echoing the sentiments of infantry experts, if people don’t like it well tough.

      Everybody has their opinion and mine is well researched. I also served in a Cav unit, not combat though, so I know a bit. I am NOT some armchair comman-dodo.

      This is basic stuff and everything I said is true. I don’t know why I was given so many negatives, nobody commented on my post.

      Someone explain why I am wrong………

      You can’t because I’m not.

      • trocks

        ^^^ I agree with what he’s saying. Im an ex-British soldier and trained first on the SLR 7.62 then we converted to the SA80 5.56 which was crap!

    • Big Daddy

      I see it’s because of the comment I made that I am living in New York City and about the gun shot detection system. It has nothing to do with what I said here.

      What a bunch of a holes.

      • Tinkerer

        I might be mistaken, but I suspect that the downvotes might be related to your attitude.

        The “a holes” thing doesn’t help, either.

    • Big Daddy

      Who is anybody to say anything about anybodies attitude. Who do some people think they are.

      I tire of this police mentality.

      Now we have the attitude police here at this blog.

      Take your attitude and shove it dude.

      How petty and like I say A holes, only A holes are petty attitude police types.

      This used to be a cool place, it is slowly turning into what every place turns into. Too bad……..

      • W

        I just say “fucking assholes”. ;)

  • Tom – UK

    Can anyone tell me why the idea of an intermediate round being used in conjunction with 7.62 is seemingly beyond comprehension?

    • Sian

      You mean like 7.62×39, used as far as I know pretty exclusively by third world countries? (Russia started transitioning to 5.45mm almost 40 years ago) I think we all know the limitations of that round, though some modern equivalents (.300blk?) may hold some promise in a small GPMG-like platform.

      • Tom – UK

        3rd world countries including most of Europe at one stage, china, etc and that is only 7.62×39 we both know that politics would never allow the west to adopt such a calibre. Lets not forget .280 British :D

  • Charles222

    Nice weapon if you’re willing to deal with more parts breakage, but the tubby contractor in the first photo does not exactly inspire confidence. :p

    • jim

      He’s not a contrctor. He’s FN emploee.

      • charles222

        Got it. So FN employees are somehow magically not a form of defense contractor?

      • Flounder

        FN empolyees just make rifles they don’t have to use them in combat… So they can be as porky as they want as long as they do a dang good job building those guns!

  • Lemming

    Looks like a nice decision on the part of the UK and NZ. If you need a weapon that can throw hundreds of rounds down range and keep an enemies head down, it might as well be chambered in a round that can reliably penetrate light cover.

    I don’t know what NATO was thinking when they issued the Minimi in 5.56, it lessens the weapons stopping power, shortens the effective range, and as I’ve said, makes it more difficult to hit enemies behind light barriers, such as brick walls or cars.

    I think the Russians got it right with the PKM, and later on the PKP.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXGzx2eoTHM&list=FLRyFTJWvCh2TcOK6kzK2R4g&index=137&feature=plpp_video

    Now THAT is how you make a weapon.

    • W

      The Russians did field a M249 equivalent, which was the RPD. It was 7.62x39mm, belt-fed, weighs 16lbs, and has a integrated bipod. It fulfilled the role of a IAR and was replaced by the RPK.

      Astonishingly, the outstanding PKM machine gun weighs 26 lbs to include the bipod (16 lbs just the machine gun!).

      • S O

        You meant “tripod”.

      • W

        sorry, typo. yes, there was a improved lighter tripod for the PKM.

      • Lemming

        Hm, that’s a good point W, I failed to consider that.

    • jim

      I think you got the Russian system wrong. :) the outstanding PKM was introduced as company/platoon level machine gun, not squad level automatic weapon. That role was in majority of cases taken by the RPK (and and PDR before it), chambered in the same round as the rest of the squad.
      In some cases/units where they think they need a more potent round they use the PKM at squad level. This is exactly the job for wich the PKP was designed.

      • Lemming

        Yes you’re right I did, my apologies. In my defense I did type that comment before I had had my morning cofee, haha.

  • Zach

    “I wonder if the USMC made the right choice going with the 5.56mm M27 IAR. A 7.62mm IAR might have been a better choice.”

    I don’t think you understand the purpose of the IAR. It is not a general purpose machinegun that sits on a tripod and requires other squad members to carry ammo cans for. It is intended as a relatively light and compact weapon that offers more firepower than the standard M16 rifles (USMC still uses the M16 for most roles) while not weighing too much more or requiring other marines to act as a support crew. Using a Minimi instead would negate the whole purpose of this function and duplicate existing LMG/GPMG roles.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      The USMC claims it is a machine gun replacement.

      I have been saying for years they are cleverly manipulating the procurement system to get a new (automatic) rifle without having to involve the Army, Airforce & Navy (nothing ever comes of these Joint service guns) by claiming it to be a new class of weapon.

      So what I am saying is I am wondering if a 7.62mm rifle (not a DMR) would have been a better choice.

      Maybe, I don’t know. I do know what I am incapable of firing 7.62mm automatic rifles on full auto … well, I fire them, but I just waste a lot of ammo.

    • Sid

      Zach nailed it.

      The USMC was looking for a maneuverable weapon in the fire teams. A weapon that should be mounted on a tripod is NOT a weapon you want to maneuver with. Belt-fed weapons are not great when running around, jumping down, and crawling in the dirt/sand/mud. Exposed ammo gets misaligned. The advantage of the IAR is that is magazine fed. Marines can just toss over a few magazines should a quick resupply be needed. And a few C-MAGs or Beta-Mags will keep the gun topped off.

      The 7.62mm Minimi may be a great belt-fed weapon. But drawing the IAR into this discussion is just apples and oranges.

  • Lance

    The USMC chose 5.56mm for the IAR because the 5.56mm round is more common in Infantry units than 7.62mm NATO is. Overall I support the idea of 7.62mm NATO for a belt fed GPMG over a weak SAW in small 5.56mm. Overall the SEAL and other SOCOM got to know this one reason why the SEALs use the venerable M-60E3 for support over SAWs, and the M-240B/L was to BIG and heavy in there view.

  • Russ

    For any given weapon, the weight of the unit of fire means more than the weight of the weapon (the BAR was 20 lbs). That means for any belt fed weapon, the ammo is always distributed among the fire team members making it essentially a crew-served weapon. Assuming the weapon is a good one, it is, the question is how much ammo can you hump?

  • Doesitmatter?

    Is there any real meaning for 7.62 GPMG other than “keeping the heads down”? That cannot be justification for expense, in my mind. Did anyone hear how much is army paying for Minimi in whichever form? You would be shocked. You would buy good used car for that.

    • SPC Fish

      FYI. i believe the SAW is responsible for the most kills in the Army. And guns arent some cheap thing you can throw together. for a good reliable weapon you have to pay a lot of money. Thats why semi auto versions even cost 13k.

    • jim

      Yeh, but you can’t throw a good used car after that taliban a$hole, that’s hosing your squad with the PKM from the top of the mountain.

    • TATim

      I’m really glad nobody was considering the expense of the rounds we were putting downrange in Afghanistan, keeping Taliban heads down kept us alive.

    • W

      The M240 is a lot more effective than “just keeping heads down”. With the M145 Elcan MGO and M192 lightweight tripod, it is accurate up to 1,500 meters. Many Tali and Haji have lost their lives to this wonderful amalgamation of steel, aluminum, and polymer.

  • Esh325

    This certainly does scream for a universal intermediate cartridge, but some may argue that you cannot have a do it all cartridge. It’s certainly interesting to see the trend towards full powered rifle cartridges again. Full powered rifle cartridges were almost thought as obsolete by many for military purposes. The 5.56×45 and 7.62×51 being replaced by one cartridge is highly improbable. Perhaps we could replace the .50 BMG and 7.62×51 with one cartridge, such as an improved .50 caliber cartridge. Just my chairbourne opinion.

  • Ben

    Has anyone writing about it here actually fired it?

    • W

      Not the variant the article is talking about, though I’ve fired its American cousin the Mk48. They’re issued as a interim weapon until enough M240L can be fielded.

      The energy of the 7.62mm NATO makes them more reliable than the M249/Mk48, though they are still a finnicky bastard. For the love of christ, make sure it is well lubed (as in soaking wet).

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  • Shilka-Gunluvr

    Looking at how short the barrel is recoil must be horrible. It’s not a room clearing weapon such MGs are for squad support and ambush. Some things just can’t be changed nor should they be. What next? An aluminum M-2 50 cal?

  • will416-9

    All the talk about the lighter 5.56 round,and less stopping power vs the 7.62 round,with more weight and more stopping power,but less magazines. I think the military(U.S) needs to switch to an intermediate round,like the 6.5 grendel,or the 6.8 spc round