Dwavinchi sent us this photo of the M14 EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle) he was issued Afghanistan.

The US Army M14 EBR is one of many variants of the US Navy Mk. 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle created in the early 2000s at the request of the Navy Seals who needed a compact M14 battle rifle. By 2008, four years after the Seals began using it, all four armed services had adopted it, each creating their own customized variant.

The M14 EBR, in my opinion, is one of those guns that would never have existed if not for the DoD’s firearm procurement policies, interdepartmental politics and Congressional interfered. For any one service to upgrade their weapons, or procure a brand new weapons platform, it is relatively straightforward, even if the only part left from the original gun is the receiver. To replace an existing platform  is a complex can of worms.



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  • Minh

    beautiful.

  • Blake

    Maybe it’s just me but something just looks wrong with with a barely-existant folding or retractible stock on an M14.

  • 2wheels

    They’re already in the inventory and they’re cheap to upgrade, don’t see how SCARs would be such an improvement that it would justify the added cost and effort of acquiring them.
    They get the job done, nostalgia isn’t why they’re still on the battlefield.

  • KestrelBike

    What would you think about replacing the 5.56 with the 7.62*51 for all of the service rifles? In what platform? AR-10?

    • ExplEngineer

      It is absolutely the best course of action to correct the errors of Vietnam when we sold out to the imbeciles who forgot the errors of wars past when they changed the caliber of the weapons for no other reason to ensure that an investment by a government contractor could recoup their investment. I own an AR-10 and a variant of the AR-15 and there is no comparison as to what the end product is at point of impact, but foolish me, I didn’t want to accept what was intuitive, I had brew up some of that ballistic gelatin that everyone raves about so that my experimentation would credibility on its face, added my chronograph to the mix and find out that my intuition was correct. Despite the fact that the AR-10 would be even better if it was improved by being chambered in .308 Norma Magnum or .300 Weatherby or H&H Magnum.

    • Small caliber ammunition caught on for a reason; there’s a significant advantage in rounds carried, minimized sight disruption after shooting, and full-auto controllability to be had there.

      • ExplEngineer

        I am not certain as to what the engineers of the 1950’s would think as my age would run from 0-10 yrs old, and mostly shooting an Anschutz .22LR Rifle in Jr. Competition at the end of that decade. By the end of the next (1960’s) decade I was preparing for my combat tour in Vietnam. Any number of military schools to attend, at Ft. Benning, then Ft. Holabird & a bit later on at Ft. Huachuca, Ft. Wolters & Ft, Rucker, etc. and thence on to Southeast Asia as an Advisor in the field based in the vicinity of Tay Ninh, Phu Long Province, and thence to a MACV supported command whose daily missions ran “from the Delta to the DMZ, & at times Elsewhere, when the Mission Demands. Personal armament ranged from a Belgian FN Browning Hi Power to a Karl Gustaf 9mm SMG, a Winchester Mod. 70 with a nice scope, a Car15, etc. ad nauseum. I knew, and “associated with” any number of folks from the 5th Gp. S.F. participating in the “Project named after that which arose out of the flames of defeat, aka “Phoenix”. None of this matters, except perhaps to provide some bona fides as to my ability to comment on this subject.

        Just because some Ordinance Corps. Col. says it is so, doesn’t make it so. Remember, first of all Ordinance Branch, even including its Chief, IS NOT a Combat Arm, or even a Combat Support Arm Branch of the U.S. Army, and while respect their expertise, the final testing ground for their judgement is one that they rarely visit or deploy to on a regular basis. I have also had the (unfortunate) opportunity to examine wounds resulting from receiving fire from AK-47’s (7.62×39) as well as quite fortunately some E-KIA/WIA wounds from being struck by projectiles from the 9mm pistol and SMG’S, 5.56mm rounds fired from M-16’s, and Car-15’s, .45ACP & .38Spl amongst others, including observing medical treatment of the resulting wounds, and the most significant damage to tissues at autopsy. The Mythical damage resulting from the tumbling, unstable rounds fired by our troops failed to present in most, if not all such autopsies, nor did it regularly seem to create special difficulties for surgeons (Bac Si) at the ARVN Field Hospitals. The most significant variants in biological or physiological damage occurred in wounds that had initially penetrated the layers of dermis and adipose tissue and were then diverted from a linear course by contact with hard (bone) tissue and in the course of the deflection “tumbled” when striking vascular or organ tissues deeper internally. At times, initial contact with the rib cage would exacerbate the damage caused by the projectile, and depending upon the angle of deflection might strike vascular tissues, tissue of the Coronary Arteries, the heart itself, damage to the esophagus or to the digestive organs, where the principle damage to the lower intestines resulting in Sepsis and requiring a level of treatment that might exceed that available at combat medical facilities. Strikes of the extremities by any of the above caliber weapons, but most notably the .45ACP, would result in damage to the bone structure, and depending upon whether the E-WIA was evacuated by ARVN Troops, the enemy, or by U.S.Medevac helicopters would result in wide variations in wound resolution, but in that the field medical services of the Viet Cong, North Vietnamese Army or even general civilian medical facilities located in the areas of indigenous personnel were not far advanced from those of the American Military Medical Services of the Civil War, and as such, had similar outcomes with survivors of such injuries generally subjected to surgical amputation of the affect limb. Even in the case of American, and ARVN troops that were evacuated to U.S. Military Medical Facilities other than the Third Field Hospital in Saigon, or its counterpart in Danang if I remember correctly, and (if in error subject to correction) the outcome might be more positive, however, due to delays, infection from exogenous factors native to the area, excrement from agricultural animals, etc. & the frequent need to resort the use of a tourniquet to stop blood loss yet that remained in place for extended periods of time, the outcome while statistically significant within the context of of survivability was less so in terms of wounds resulting in the amputation of the limb in question.

        Projectile strikes to the posterior quadrants of the upper body resulted more generally in neurological consequences, with resultant deficiencies resulting from the point of penetration and the path of the projectile after the point of penetration. Injuries to the central region of the back are almost always result in wound correlation to the neurological consequences given the aspect and relative placement upon the spinal cord, with wounds to the lower aspects resulting in paralysis of the lower extremities, and.or internal functions, while wound locations in the Thoracic Region could result in loss of function to the autonomic nervous system, paralysis or neurological consequences to the paths of transmission of the nerves governing reflexic function with stoppages of heart, or the breathing process and if not immediate death, the patient would be expected to die before the medical evacuation trains could successfully transport the injured to a major US MEDDAC Facility equipped to provide respiratory support and/or cardiac surgery, or circulatory support functions.

        This may seem complex, but the study of the lethality of a projectile when primarily concerned with anatomical studies of the wound, wound cavity and projectile path and internal motions and deflections of the projectile or shrapnel fail to address the most primal of all parameters, the ability of the projectile to move through the combat environment while retaining sufficient energy and projectile composition and retention of mass to assure lethality if, and/or it strikes its intended position on the body of the target, or in the alternative strikes the target combatant in an alternate anatomical location that will result in a wound with similar consequences. This area of study is where the small(er) size cartridge, with lesser mass, and a ballistic coefficient that results in tumbling motion in lieu of that path of a projectile that flies “true” and strikes its target with its intended conformation in tact, allows it to dissipate its energy, in its entirety, within the target in a manner consistent with the design of the projectile, including expansion, and residual striking energy to allow it to penetration any protective clothing, and the dermal layers of the target. An example of this is the incremental increase in effective range of the “Sniper”, Counter-Sniper or Scout Sniper when equipped with the Barrett M-207 in caliber .50BMG

        “Small caliber ammunition caught on for a reason; there’s a significant advantage in rounds carried, minimized sight disruption after shooting, and full-auto controllability to be had there.”

        There is a reason why “Tier 1”, JSOC, etc. Special Operations Commands, and in fact even equivalent military units of our NATO, SEATO, and other Joint Commands or Advisory Groups are disavowing the small calibre weapons weapons introduced into the military services predicated upon data derived from studies such as the one whose results you cite. Despite the advantages in “number of rounds carried, minimized sight disruption after shooting and full-auto controllability…” Quite honestly, none of that matters if the projectile is affected by exogenous factors such as vegetation , structures, e.g. “Tentage”, body armor, vehicles, protective fortifications… I have personally observed vegetation as small as a “twig” deflect the 5.56mm round causing it to miss its intended target, not to mention the possibility of allowing enemy scouts to identify firing position, and to interpret the level of protective armor that must be carried to defeat the weapons being used against them, and to plan tactically, as to what weapons within their arsenal will be effective at ranges longer than those of our “friendly” troops so that they may maintain the advantage of standoff while engaging their enemy effectively, and efficiently. As for “full-auto controllability” that is and of itself a flawed parameter. One only needs to look to the change in the M4 variant, as well as several series of the M-16 are now equipped with “three (3) shot burst limiters as the fields of combat had imparted upon the soldier, in the field during combat, the hard and fast fact that firing full-auto results in insupportable demands upon the ammunition logistics function. The average soldier, and I can attest to this from personal observation, if equipped with a version of the M-16 rifle is only governed in his use of the fully-automatic function of the firearm by the capacity of his magazine. A soldier with a thirty (30) round magazine will use fifty (50%) percent more ammunition than the soldier whose magazine is filled to its twenty (20) round clips, each yielding a raw data E-KIA/E-WIA result in nighttime static defensive positions. While mathematically, the body count will be the same, perhaps a rodent, or a tin can in the concertina wire, etc., but it we vary this generalization slightly to allow for the actions of each soldier to result in 1 E-KIA, but the difference is in the in an evaluation utilizing standard (primitive) statistical computations, the critical logistical ratio if 1:30 (1E-KIA/30 rds of ammunition expended, while the soldier in the second model has a logistical ratio of 1:20
        (1E-KIA/20rds of ammunition) or one may (erroneously, of course) that Soldier #2 is a far better warrior/combatant because he only takes fifty (50%) percent less ammunition to kill the same number of enemy combatants. However, if we were to equip Soldier #2 a fifty round magazine or a “60rd ‘Flip’ magazine setup (2x 30rds magazine taped together in a manner where the change over (reload) can be accomplished in <6 seconds by a proficient infantryman. In this instance the most likely outcome would be for the ratio of of E-KIA to rounds expended of sixty to one (1:60). What has occurred here is that two (2) soldiers carrying similar weapons, under similar conditions would be juxtapositioned in that Soldier #2 would have expended sixty (60rds) rounds of ammunitions and his new ratio of E-KIA (1) to rounds expended (60)would now be 1 E-KIA (1:60) requiring that sixty (60) rounds of ammunition. It may be an oversimplification to some extent, yet it is entirely correct to now indicate that Soldier #1 is a better infantry soldier because he used only fifty (50%) of the rounds required by Soldier #2 to produce 1 E-KIA, hence, we have so admirably improved the performance and rating of Soldier #1 simply by giving Soldier #2 a greater amount of readily available ammunition to speed load into his fully automatic M-16 rifle. When the addition of Soldier #3, a Chief Petty Officer in Seal Team 6 occurs and he appears on site with his M-107 & his Spotter and the hottest NVG equipment in the Armed Forces, and he puts one (1) round of .50BMG into one E-KIA one (1) kilometer from the "wire", who was the Captain, CO of the Sapper Unit launching sappers to determine if your lines an be penetrated.

        This can go on forever, but in the interest of brevity (something even I doubted that I could conceive of) I can stop here as the summary point should become patently obvious should one prefer to continue ad infinitum et ad nauseum. Concepts such as those expressed herein (v.a.) that are utilized by Nathaniel to support the use of smaller, lighter rounds in the primary Infantry and Combined Armed Services is practicable only if one intends to reduce the quality, and qualification requirements for service (Quantitative Analysis vs. Qualitative Analysis) may be functionally applicable to a military force consisting of Conscripts (Draftees), as was the case up until the ending of the Vietnam War, it is readily subjected to terminal criticism in the current military force consisting of all volunteers, from which more in the way of performance can be legitimately demanded for continuation in their position within their respective military services.

        Add to all of the above the "Change of Mission" as to how wars are fought in the ISAF Theatre of Operations, or that Area of Operations or that Area of Operations of Africa Command, not to mention the expanded role of Special Operations Soldiers (who are the "300 Spartans" of today's Armed Forces, the Tier ! forces,Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the Special Activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Add to the Tactical Environment the introduction of Close Quarters Battle (CQB), presence of armed Predator aircraft, and the advances in Command & Control access to advanced Satellite communications (not always a good thing, but that is another long treatise for another long day) and the change in Combat Conditions, Missions and Assets would militate that any segment of today's modern Armed Forces is better served by improving the quality of soldiers to be recruited, hold our soldiers to a higher standard, physically, mentally and intellectually, improve both training and armament, and then battle test it for performance utilizing the weaponry provided to these troops, but also listening to what they say, and what their commanders ask for and it is inevitable that the need to arm these me with weapons that have not been diminished in quantity so that they are more amenable to the non-professionals that have chosen to enlist not out of honor or commitment, but as a result of a poor economy, high rates of unemployment, etc. & in some case simply to accrue enough liquid assets to pay to attend university. Now, with an improving economy, and a concomitant reduction in the size of the Armed Forces, utilizing performance as a primary Reduction in Force (RIF) methodologies criteria amongst others, should result in a new smaller force, yet given their enhanced capabilities, skills and understanding of the mechanisms of a professional fighting force we have the opportunity to relegate the armament consisting of inferior equipment placed in service to accommodate the frailties and inconsistencies of the "Conscript Era" and to eliminate the limited performance armament and weaponry that was placed in service to compensate for the inferior military qualities of said era, and thusly to remove from Active (and Reserve Components, which compose the numerical majority of today's non-Special Operations &/or Tier 1 or Tier 2 Readiness Units) resulting in serving to eliminate shortfalls in performance due to the substandard armament and equipment that are no longer consistent with the enhanced performance capabilities that are now available to the Operational Commands. We should begin to return to an era where the fact that the highest in quality weaponry is considered to be unsuitable because it weighs too much, requires greater quantities of ammunition to compensate for the poor marksmanship of said conscript Armed Forces, and return to the days which are now the rule to support the new tactical role, and strategic goals that are predicated upon improved qualities of military training and performance, but most notably, the extended tenure of the enlisted force in response to their opportunities to serve within a combat environment in which their training, experience, and attitude have become valued attributes.

        • 1. Ordnance was mostly involved with SPIW at the time. SCHV was an invention of Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

          2. I never mentioned any mythical wounding capabilities of SCHV ammunition. Its primary advantage from a terminal effect standpoint is that – all else being equal – a smaller caliber bullet will tumble sooner than a larger caliber one. As Dr. Fackler showed, this has very little to no effect on wound treatment. Unless the projectile fractured bones – which does happen and is documented – I would not expect either a 5.56mm or 7.62mm wound to be particularly difficult to treat. Saying any more on the subject of wound treatment, though, would be overstepping the bounds of my specialization so I won’t do so.

          Your paragraphs about wound treatment make for a very interesting read; thank you for posting them.

          3. Small caliber rounds do not tumble in the air, nor are they designed to do so. They can be very accurate and retain lethal levels of penetration of tissue even at long ranges.

          4. The Mk. 18 upper receiver is being used by the groups you cite in increasingly large numbers. How is this “disavowing” SCHV rifles?

          5. I’ve taken the liberty before of conducting my own tests to this effect, and I did not find such a huge difference in deflection when comparing 62gr bimetal jacket .223 ammunition to 148gr 7.62x54R bimetal jacket ammunition. There was perhaps a difference there, but not one as great as you seem to be implying. Of course, this is just my anecdote vs. yours.

          6. Correct about full auto fire, but that misses the point. Full auto is only of limited usefulness to the rifleman, but that is a capability that is not really present with 7.62mm rifles.

          7. SCHV does not present an improvement only for draftees as you allege. Not every soldier can be that CPO from Seal Team 6, and the issuance of ammunition is a topic independent of the skill of the soldier; if, as in World War II, ammunition production is primarily limited by powder production, a round of ammunition that uses half the weight of powder is a big benefit indeed, even if you have soldiers trained to a very high skill level.

          Further, the weight of rifle and ammunition is a factor for any rifleman, whether trained to an exceptional standard or not. You’re using an example of a Navy CPO with an M107 rifle being very capable of inflicting damage; correct, but not every aspect of the battle is fought in this way. In short, it’s not the job of every rifleman to perform surgical strikes; most of infantry warfare is about controlling terrority, maneuvering, and displacing or killing the opposing infantry forces. For this, 7.62mm rifles are less well suited than 5.56mm rifles (the 5.56mm armed infantrymen will be able to fight for longer, move further and faster, and hit their targets more often).

          • brainy37

            “Your paragraphs about wound treatment make for a very interesting read; thank you for posting them.”

            No they aren’t. He’s basically ignoring all wound trauma science and publication for the past 40 years while at the same time trying to lay out a mythical “hydrostatic shock” theory by giving it in long form. The way that he describes “tumbling” instead of yaw and doesn’t even mention fragmentation should have sent up red flags.

          • Even so, I don’t feel it was wrong to thank him.

        • Don Ward

          Welp, time to go back to the 30-40 Krag and 1873 Springfield.

    • n0truscotsman

      The only advantage of 7.62 over 5.56 is its maximum effective range and kinetic energy.

      World War I proved that infantrymen dont typically shoot beyond 300 meters at best, and 150-200 meters at worst, which means that anything effective up to the 800-1000 meter range for the average infantryman is unnecessarily overpowered.

      Snipers and machine gunners are different.

      But large 30 calibers for general service has been refuted for 100 years now, even if the army didn’t use practical small calibers until the invention of Stoner’s “AR15”.

      For the average hard charging infantryman, 300 rounds of 5.56 > 100 rounds of 7.62 for the same weight.

    • Zebra Dun

      It would have to be in a bullpup or it would not be able to use in auto fire accurately.

  • USMC03Vet

    That stock looks brutal.

  • LOL–you didn’t see Katie shooting the .338 Lapua at our writers event!

  • Seriously, dude. The Sage EBR was the worst $700 I ever spent.

    • n0truscotsman

      They look cool though. 😉 If not for my military service, I would have probably bought one for one of mine and found out about its ideosyncrasies anyways.

      I personally found them to be an unbalanced, clunky, awkward PITA. The M14 is a PITA to keep maintained in real world conditions as well. If they aren’t properly cleaned and greased (you cant just wipe them down like a M4), they will choke.

      With the money spent product per product, the LMT 308 is lightyears head in terms of overall superiority.

      • Luke Scholar

        Soo happy I read your comment before purchasing one. Thankfully I just got notified that my time on the wait list for a 7.62 LaRue OBR has come, so I will go that route vs. an M1A w/ Sage stock that I was debating getting instead.

      • I know this will probably rile people up, but a friend of mine and myself used to go to a popular range in New Mexico together a lot. You’d see Garands, Carbines, and M14s there regularly. We started betting on whether the things would choke in the New Mexico dust. It got to the point where we’d stop betting, because the odds were against the guy who bet on the rifles working.

        Never saw an AK or AR-15 (both of which separately were more common than all of the three former rifles combined) go down under the same conditions.

  • And the 11 man squad would be inferior to the 8 man squad armed with M4s, yep. 😉

    • Nicks87

      Not if the 11 man squad stays 600m+ away from the 8 man squad.

      • I don’t have any problems hitting a target out to 900m with my AR-15. That’s without the stress of combat, mind you, which erodes that level of proficiency to a frightening degree. Do you expect that shooting a bigger bullet will somehow make things less stressful? Wouldn’t that be interesting!

        • EzGoingKev

          Just because you can wring a gong out to 900 yards with it does not mean it is combat effective out to 900 yards.

          • Right; what’s far more important than caliber is how stress affects the shooter – that limits the effective range of the rifleman, regardless of what caliber rifle he is using.

  • Nicks87

    Agreed, rifles that weigh >10lbs are for bench rest shooting, not combat.

    • disqus_uT17Jgr4Hl

      Really?
      First off, how many generations of American troops carried nearly 10lb rifles into combat? 1903 Springfields weighed 8.3lbs, 1917 Enfields weighed nearly 9 lbs; both empty.
      The M1 Garand went 9.8lbs empty, and the M14 was 8.7 empty.
      Put all the SOPMOD stuff on an M4 and see how light that is. Hit probability is greater with that gear, but stopping power isn’t, nor is downrange energy and penetration.

  • Dave Spears

    M14?, well its better than throwin rocks. Shot to shot its slower than a M1, they need a lot of maintenance, triggers suck, stocks suck, mag insertion/removal is slower than any other MBR. For EBR duty it needs a convoluted scope mount and heinous stock because the receivers all vary just enough dimensionally to make them need different shims to mount scope properly., no balance, no refinement, action is open to all debris, sand, mud etc and the gas pistons can peen themselves and turn the rifle into a repeater instead of a semi auto.. Even the mighty M1 wasn’t perfect in its day with its vertical shot stringing and lots of malfunctions in extreme cold, like in Korea in the winter time. The M14 was not the supergun it was ever claimed to be, field strip a standard stocked m14 and your perfect zero is gone and that’s just for starters. I’ve carried them on patrol, shot thousands of rounds through them, maintained them and all of that is why I own a Belgian FN FAL. The M14 is really just the worlds best drill rifle, its better at parades than combat.

  • Nicks87

    Im not sure that you can say “proven sound in at least two disparate theaters of operations” when it served such a limited role in both conflicts. Not to mention it was replaced (with the M16) by the same people that “thoroughly tested [it] before adoption”.

  • Alright, Bill. Find a good mud patch, take your military-spec M14 clone, and do a crawl in the mud with it. Be sure get the gun nice and muddy, and of course to film the whole thing, too.

    Then post it to YouTube. I’ll watch it.

    The Garand was a fine combat weapon for its day, but there is simply no contest between a modern selfloading rifle’s reliability and a design from the 1920s. I guarantee you’ll be surprised if you take me up on my challenge.

  • Are you suggesting that heavier rifles are innately superior to lighter ones?

    The M1 Garand has several flaws that limit its reliability, especially in severe conditions, such as mud. One of the biggest flaws is its open-topped receiver: Even the locking surfaces are exposed to mud and grime. This means that when the rifle is exposed to the elements, all of these internal components are directly exposed as well. No modern military rifle design repeats this feature, and for very good reason.

    I find the argument that because you’ve never heard any service member complain about the Garand that it must have been reliable to be spurious. For a start, it would be difficult for most alive today to overhear soldiers complaining about the Garands they are issued, as they haven’t been issued by US military forces in over half a century. I further find this spurious because, as a lad, I had the great privilege to volunteer my time at a veterans’ home as part of community service with the BSA. At the time, I was already interested in small arms and (though I admit now this may have been imposing on them) I asked as many of the infantry veterans there as I could about the weapons they used.

    Mind you, this is just anecdotal, and decades after the fact at that, so it’s probably not worth much, but here’s a general overview of what I recall them saying:

    M1 Garand (WWII): A good rifle when it worked. Heavy and long. Had to keep it clean.

    M1 Garand (Korea): Worked a lot better than the M1 Carbine.

    M1 Carbine (WWII): High praise. Light, effective, handy.

    M1 Carbine (Korea): Same praise as the WWII veterans, but now much less confident in its reliability.

    M1918 BAR (All theaters): Worked well. Heavy as snot. Lots of internal parts to lose.

    (I had no one comment on the M14)

    M16 (Vietnam): Much lighter than the M14 with better firepower; keep it clean. The two Vietnam vets I talked to both described buying a set of brushes for it. I am not sure exactly what variant they had.

    M16A2 (Gulf): No complaints. Didn’t have much to say about it, actually.

    I’m not sure how I would explain the different opinions coming from the different wars, but that’s basically what they said. I don’t really get much out of this (I got a lot more from visiting with the veterans themselves), but if it’s anecdotes you want, there you go.

  • If the M14 was the only weapon in your squad that worked right, you need to have a long talk with your armorers. 😉

    • steve miller

      The people at TFB must still be wet behind the ears – just about every weapon – including the M-16 – was issued to the military for shear political reasons, not what the best weapon at the time was. The Colt was a piece of JUNK

      • Hey, I’m only wet behind the ears because of all the frogman operations I’ve been operating in operationally recently!

      • brainy37

        I seem to recall that the M14 was issued for political reasons as well. Something about how those battle tested and well like FAL’s and G3’s weren’t American enough so we ended up with a half assed M1 with a happy switch (that got removed leaving a massive dirt sucking hole).

  • Zebra Dun

    Seriously, personally I loved my issued standard M-14 rifle.
    I’d take one today over either M-16 or AK 47 even if the M-16 has a faster follow up shot capability on target and even if the deluge of 7.62 x 39 bullets suppress enemy fire.

  • Zebra Dun

    An M-16 with all the whizbang attached toys weighs as much if not more.

    • An M16A4, 20” barrel, 30 round USGI magazine w/ 30 rounds of M855 ball, USGI rifle sling, KAC M5 RAS, Trijicon TA01NSN ACOG, Surefire M952, and PEQ-15 weighs 4.98kg, according to my chart. An M14 EBR weighs about 5.1kg without any accessories or optics, according to Wikipedia.

  • Luke Scholar

    Mr. Tough Guy over here! There are plenty of women out there who can put your ass to shame. Ditch the misogynistic attitude.

  • usmcmailman

    I was in the Marine Corps in the late sixties, (Vietnam 68-69) I was trained VERY
    WELL on the M-14. Then 2 weeks before I shipped to Vietnam, they took it away
    and gave us an inferior plastic Matel toy ! A lot of good Marines died because of
    that blunder !

    • steve miller

      so right

    • Aluminum Mattel toy, actually.

  • usmcmailman

    BULL CRAP !

  • Mack

    I am a vet of the South African Border wars, and after 12 years and having lived through the change over from 7,62X51 FNL’s or R1″s to the 5.56mm R4’s, R5’s, and with extensive use of all in battle situations, there is no doubt in my mind that 7,62X51 is a far superior caliber than 5.56mm in battle theaters in 90% of situations.

    5.56mm bounces, it deflects off elephant grass, branches, and pretty much any minor protrusion that gets in its way, 7,62X51 does not, it will go through bush and take out what is on the other side without a problem, it goes through trees, bricks and mortar and takes out whats on the other side without a problem, I have seen it and I have done it, I have never seen anyone walk away from a body hit from a 7,62X51 and have never seen anyone survive a bad bone hit from one either. I have seen many survives of 5.56mm.

    5.56 has its place in battle, especially in modern urban warfare due to its lesser penetration properties, but there are better calibers that fall between the 2 that will get the job done far better, and there is a way to re-equip the military cost efficiently and still maintain the M4 carbine.

    That way would be to convert current MP4 stock to 223 Wylde by just replacing the barrels of their service rifle inventory. 223 Wylde will give the military both the longer range, more power and better accuracy out of the same stock rifle, and will be the cheapest method of upgrading to a far superior cartridge than the current 5.56mm.

    • …What?

      • Mack

        At 80gr 223 Wylde is a heavier and longer bullet with a bigger charge that will provide better or less deflective properties, coupled with better accuracy and pen from a flatter trajectory, all from basically the same M4 rifle.

        Upping bullet weight and charge mean for a more devastating wound track with less likelihood of enemy survival, it brings the 223 round closer to the ballistics of 6.5mm rounds and their obvious superiority over 5.56mm.

        • That is a competition round, loaded outside the OAL. .223 Wylde is just a different chamber specification. They’re not the same thing. You could as easily load that round into a 5.56mm chamber (though you still couldn’t feed it from the magazine).

          • mytraintrax

            That is incorrect, a 223 Wylde will not fit a rifle chambered in 223 or 5.56mm, but you have also completely missed the point.

            All rounds start off as somewhat experimental, but the overall fact is that 5.56 is too light, it has been proven to be so in combat situations and has suffered in both Iraq and Afghanistan and every other theater I fought in, the round bounces, and it has bad penetration.

            I have seen more conflict than I care to remember and after the changeover from 7,62nato to 5.56nato, I have seen many enemy combatants get up and walk away after being hit by them all too often, this never happened when we were using the 7,62nato round, the 7,62X51 could go through a Land Rover 110 and take out a combatant using it for cover and he had no chance of walking away, one shot I took through a brick wall from 50 meters away and still brought down the objective, its the round that gave us a massive advantage over the AK47, its also the reason why the US military have been looking for an alternate cartridge moving forward.

            What I am saying is that the 5.56 due to its size is a good round but can be improved upon greatly by increasing its power and its bullet weight and its overall effectiveness, and to this end the Wylde evolution fits the overall package well.

            I have a Wylde barrel fitted to one of my M4’s, and the difference in efficiency is closer to a 85gr 243 round than it is to a 223 and would be ten times better as a millitary round than the current 223/5.56mm format

          • …I think you may be a bit confused. Here is Wilson Combat’s description of the .223 Wylde:

            “.223 Wylde is a hybrid .223/5.56 chamber designed by Bill Wylde to yield the accuracy advantages of the match .223 Remington commercial chambering but without pressure or reliability failures when using high velocity 5.56 NATO spec ammunition. The .223 Wylde achieves better accuracy by having a chamber throat that is tighter than 5.56 but will still function reliably with military 5.56 ammunition as the case dimensions are the same.

            Emphasis mine.

          • mytraintrax

            Wilson Combat seems to have left out some important info, not like them to do that but here is the Wiki on the Wylde chambering:

            “Coincidentally, it shoots the relatively long and heavy 80-grain (5.18 g) bullets commonly used in the Sport Rifle Competition very well and is one of the preferred chambers for that use. Coincidentally, it shoots the relatively long and heavy 80-grain (5.18 g) bullets commonly used in the Sport Rifle Competition very well and is one of the preferred chambers for that use.

            The Wylde chamber is now used by a few rifle manufacturers who sell “National Match” configuration AR-15 rifles, barrels, and upper receivers”

            Now since I do have and use the caliber and have found it to be far superior to a standard 5.56mm bullet and have consistently seen in all environments that a heavier bullet brings more terminal weight and velocity more effectively to the target with better terminal effect, that if they were to up the spec on the 5.56mm round to an 80 grain bullet and a hotter load, it would give you far longer and more accurate and effective range to a platform badly in need of upgrading.

          • It’s clear you are very confused. Wikipedia is stating that competition shooters use rifles chambered in .223 Wylde and load 80 gr bullets outside of the 5.56/.223 cartridge OAL, which they single load into the chamber for competitions only. That is not a round that will fit into the magazine of an AR-15; it is for slow fire competition only. Here’s a picture of one of these cartridges (on the left, next to .223):

            http://i41.tinypic.com/29uocwx.jpg

            I recommend you not trust Wikipedia for firearms information in the future. While it can sometimes be useful as a reference, if the information is verified, it is riddled with errors, half-truths, and misconceptions. In other subjects it appears to be a bit better, but small arms pages on that site have a few issues.

            5.56mm can also accommodate heavier loadings (which, um, makes sense because 5.56×45 and .223 Wylde are very nearly the exact same thing), such as the 77gr Mk. 262 which leaves an 18″ barrel at about 2,800 ft/s.

          • What magical magazines are you using that allows for a cartridge loaded 0.2″-0.25″ longer than normal?

            FWIW: The existing NATO chamber will accept the 80gr Match loads already. The magazine is limiting factor.

          • Mack

            I am currently using them in a Savage model 12 MDT LSS with modified AI 10 round double stack mags.

          • Which 5.56mm NATO service rifle has a magazine well long enough to accept the Accuracy International magazine?

  • William Wallace

    I have never found the regular stocked Socom II or even a simple Scout to be lacking in handling or useability to justify spending that much on a Sage EBR stock. For full disclosure, I am not, nor have I ever been, a top Tier 1 operator which may have a different viewpoint… but I do have my full on civilian M4gery outfitted with all the doodads so I am prepared for the zombie apocalypse or sustained SHTF.

  • steve miller

    TFB – that is a load of crap – I’ll do you one better – give you 10 guys with your over appraised M4 and I ‘ll just take my M-14 – 10:1 and at a mile distance and by the time you reach 1/2 mile it will be 0:1
    You at TFB are too wet behind the ears to be allowed to open the hole below your nose – I’m out of here

    • What?

    • brainy37

      Considering that the modernized and factory accurized M1A Scout only has a 3 moa out of the box, I don’t see you having any sort of accuracy bonus here. If you’re talking about a factor M14 then it jumps up to 5 moa.

      Then there’s that little issue of cover and your ability to hit a moving target. Coupled by the fact that the 3 moa standard M4’s can carry more ammo per person and suppress you all day long between the 10 individuals just taking slow aimed shots and maneuvering. Now you can claim you have an SEI sub-moa rifle but then if the other side have accurized M4s like a SAM-R then any accuracy and range bonuses you had with the M14 just got cancelled out.

      But really, if you think that you’ll actually be able to hit anything with an M14 beyond 1/2 mile (880yrds) that isn’t perfectly stationary with an out of the box M14 then you may want to reconsider smoking what ever it is you’re smoking. Snipers with hyper-accurate rifles miss moving targets at that range…a lot. Hence why the new semi auto are becoming the norm.

  • Cleanliness is important. The action is open to the elements.

    There’s no doubt that 7.62×51 has better terminal ballistics at long ranges, but that’s not really relevant to the modern infantry rifle.

  • I’ve got a lot of confidence that my Colt 6920 could, considering it’s mostly made of aluminum.

    Here’s a source which concluded that the AR-15 was more well-suited to operations in tropical environments than the M1 Garand. From the document:

    “It is easier to maintain the AR-15 in both the field and in garrison than the M1 Rifle, BAR, Sub-Machine Gun, or the M1 Carbine.”

    “The Ruggedness and durability of the AR-15 are comparable to that of the M1 Rifle and superior to that of the BAR, Sub-Machine Gun, and M1 Carbine.”

    A few other interesting lines:

    “The trajectory of the AR-15 bullet is not significantly affected when fired through dense underbrush at ranges up to 50 meters.”

    “The AR-15 round will penetrate jungle undergrowth equally well as the M2 Carbine round at ranges up to 50 meters.”

    And this: “The AR-15 is considered by both the Vietnamese Commanders and U.S. Military Advisors who participated in the tests as the best “all around” shoulder weapon in Vietnam.

    • disqus_uT17Jgr4Hl

      Hi again.

      Are you saying the AR and its cartridge has not been significantly bettered and thus does not require replacement?

      The point I tried to make, probably flawed, is that the statement that produced my reply was his assertion that no ten pound rifle makes sense…but that what we commonly using weighs just as much without the range and barrier penetration.
      It is as if we designed a GP rifle for MOUT only while forgetting the rest of the battlefield.

      • It’s not for me to say whether the AR-15 and 5.56mm have not been bettered in a military context. What I can say is that the AR-15 and 5.56mm have advantages that are often overlooked, as well as significantly fewer and less severe disadvantages than they are often presented to have.

        For example: Your assertion that the 5.56mm is only for MOUT. In fact, the 5.56mm was designed in response to a 500m effective range requirement from the Air Force, and its improvements since then have all been to improve its range and effect beyond that. In contrast, something like 6.8mm or 7.62×39 make considerable sacrifices to provide more energy up front, so one could say that, compared to 5.56mm they were designed for MOUT. Since Afghanistan has become the major theater of war, the marketing for the 6.8mm SPC has changed to portray it as being longer-legged than 5.56mm (focusing on the singular advantage it has in that respect – somewhat better energy at range, though that energy is retained more poorly due to a lower ballistic coefficient), which really is misleading.

        • disqus_uT17Jgr4Hl

          14.5″ M4A1 Carbines seem to excel only in MOUT, and. from what I have heard from returning desert vets 1) Only the scope sighted M16A4s carried by the Marines were repeatedly capable of the 500m performance you discuss (admittedly anecdotal), and 2) the M4 is most assuredly not the best solution in sand, despite its superior sealing (and more complex maintenance) from the opinions of an 82ABD trooper as well as an Armored Cav vet I know personally. Granted, a pretty small sampling to draw any relevant conclusion from, though is quoting 500 yd Air Force garrison shooting results from fifty years ago any more valid?

          Respectfully.

          • Anecdotes can be a clue. If a friend of mine mentions something about 5.56mm performing poorly, I can investigate. In one case, for example, this led me to do a simulated “brush test”. Results of that test were inconclusive – they did not show a significant difference in performance between .223, 7.62×39, and .303 British, which were tested.

            DetroitMan made a statement about the M1 that was totally unsupported. In posting the document, I hoped to shed a little light on the subject. It is by no means the final word on the subject, but it’s much better than supposition and “common knowledge”.

            Further, there seems to be significant error in discounting the M4 for medium range operations. 200 yards is the limit of most soldiers’ abilities to hit a target, and 500 yards is the maximum effective range of the M4, according to PEO Soldier Office. Undoubtedly, the M16 with its longer barrel performs better in this regard, but consider that it gains something like 150-200 ft/s muzzle velocity over the M4. Is that much enough to make such a statement? Even when at 150 meters the M4 is competing with the M1 Carbine’s muzzle energy?

          • disqus_uT17Jgr4Hl

            Nathaniel, thanks for the considered approach in your replies. This has been interesting.
            None of the cartridges you used in your simulation (presuming all three were hardball) are well known at 500yd+ performance, so this was strictly to shoot through intermediate barriers, and not typical construction?
            That said, I would suspect that the .303, and more to the point, the 7.62X51 “should” show demonstrably better terminal ballistic effect than the smaller rounds, given proper placement for either. Recall that the .303 MkVII round was designed to enhance the already base-heavy characteristics of the “spitzer” or pointed bullet, to tumble in soft tissue. I submit that this is why the original M16 used the 1/14 twist and the 193 cartridge – to enhance tumbling, having bullets split at the cannnelure for multiple wound paths.
            However, these characteristics have been downplayed in the construction of both 855 and 855A1 that purports to improve stability and barrier penetration, plus long range flight characteristics. One openly wonders how one can state that a bullet will improve hardball stopping power, and penetration concurrently, but somehow the Army thinks it can.
            I do also wonder about those who look at the M1 and M14 that they were unreliable? Granted, troops weren’t issued the cute “toothbrushes” that M16s are, but the open breech area does make it easier to quickly scrub out, and the chamber is also right there, as opposed to being buried deep within an upper receiver and barrel extension with locking lugs that make the M16 variants such a pain, inter alia, to clean. I have never spoken to a WWII vet that thought his rifle was untrustworthy, and the Marines from Vietnam deployments to a man rued the day that they were asked to turn in their ’14s for the early M16.
            I guess that the true “answer,” if there is one here, is that military technology is fleeting, and yesterday’s answer may not be tomorrow’s. Procurement under the then DoD budgetary squeeze (“we have to fight with the military we have, not the one we might want?”) took a look at the many thousands of M14s in reserve inventory, and sent them out by dealing with the main criticism, the wooden stock and loss of zero, knowing full well that a Sage EBR is going to weigh nearly 12lbs empty…but it’s what we had in 2002.
            In other words, it was a decision to provide a longer-ranging temporary solution to the terrain that would be encountered in the Afghan theater. Nothing more. If it was imperfect, well, nothing is.

          • IIRC, it was 62gr Bimetal JHP for .223, 122gr Bimetal FMJ for 7.62×39, and 174gr FMJBT for .303. I’d stress that the .303 ammunition tested was not surplus, and did not possess the lightweight tip material insert.

            I’ll refute your submission. The 1/14 twist was used most likely because it well-stabilized the .224 Winchester E2 ammunition commonly used in trials, which had a short 53gr bullet. Once M193 ammunition – which came later – was fielded with its longer, more slender 55gr bullet, stability in extreme climates was decreased. The twist was changed to 1/12 to compensate. One of the things one must resist when doing research is tying two pieces of information together that don’t belong. A lot happened during the period between 1958 and 1968 regarding the AR-15. If you want to learn more, check out Daniel Watters’ excellent 5.56 Timeline.

            Further, we can refute the idea that the bullet’s twist rate is related to its terminal effectiveness. I’ve heard the argument used that the speed at which a bullet rotates is not anywhere near fast enough to stabilize in tissue; this is quite correct, but not precisely the whole story. I once theorized that tighter twists would stabilize the bullet enough that precession – the wobbling of the bullet about its axis – would be reduce enough to have the bullet impact at lower angles of attack when fired through tighter twist barrels. Bullets that hit the target at a lower angle of attack yaw later than those that hit the target at a higher angle of attack. However, this was refuted by the fleet yaw tests performed a few years ago. Further discussion of this can be found here and here.

            M855 performs very similarly to M193 – with the exception that it has conical steel tip insert that does not fragment. Otherwise, wounds of each will look similar under similar conditions. The steel tip is only there to improve penetration of a few specific targets at longer ranges, from the SAW. M855A1 is a totally new design, based on the research described by the fleet yaw article linked above. It has four seminal characteristics: 1. It is designed to be “yaw independent”, meaning it is the result of testing via radiograph-equipped testing range, such that it will upset in some way and deposit energy largely independent of its angle of attack and yaw. If Aberdeen Proving Grounds is to be believed, it’s highly successful in achieving this goal. 2. It is lead-free. This was used as a “cover” for the program, to ensure it wouldn’t get cancelled by a meddling senator or bureaucrat (more on this here), but also was desired as part of the terminal effectiveness improvement (lead, while dense, is a soft metal that does not withstand impact well – a poor characteristic for a barrier blind round) and to allow the Army access to training ranges with prohibitive environmental requirements. A similar thing happened with the adoption of M2 Ball .30-06, which replaced the more capable and longer-ranged M1 Ball in the 1930s, due to the latter’s excessive lethal range hampering training. 3. It has improved penetration of both armor and barriers. This follows naturally; the bullet has no lead, as mentioned, and its component parts are large and monolithic. Even if the bullet breaks up, its components will not fragment, giving each considerable post-entry penetration of barriers. Further, the steel tip has been increased greatly in size, improving penetration of body armor; soft body armor is still perforated by M855A1 beyond a kilometer. 4. Improved St. Mark’s powders. These improve the cartridge’s thermal stability (a big problem with M855, which was never specified for performance at high temperature induced by sustained fire), reduce fouling in the barrel, introduce for the first time a flash suppressant requirement, and are the first service propellants tailored to the 14.5″ barrel of the M4 Carbine. This is a big deal, and it allows the M855 to operate safely at higher peak pressure (approx. 63,000 PSI), improving performance.

            I have personally knocked out an M1 Garand, an M1 Carbine, and two M14s (clones, I imagine, not originals). I’ve fired maybe two hundred rounds through all four rifles combined. I have fired close to seven thousand rounds through my Colt 6920 without it going doing (I did have to squirt CLP in the ejection port, once, as it began running sluggishly). I realize that these weapons are fondly regarded – and I suppose they should be – but they are not very reliable by modern standards. The open receiver concept is an atrocious idea that virtually no other successful service weapon than those has copied.

          • disqus_uT17Jgr4Hl

            Nathaniel,

            I do not know what kinds of malfunctions you encountered when shooting approximately 50-75 rounds per rifle to establish your issues, all I can say is that after having owned one M1, and two Springfield M1A rifles, I never had any issue with feeding, extraction or ejection. I’ll grant you that I didn’t deliberately throw debris into the bolt track to see how much would it take before it malfed, but I did shoot all three several thousand rounds all told without issue, using a variety of ammunition, not just USGI ball.

            I am also reasonably sure as a historian, not a ballistician, that those who carried the older weapons into combat thought they were good, and compared to what the Brits, Germans, Italians, Japanese, and Russians were slogging around with, they WERE better. The Japanese even attempted to reverse engineer a copy of the M1 for their 7.7 round without success, so it might be a bit of an overreach to state that the newer, better sealed weapons are superior. Of course, but not in historical context – they didn’t exist then.

            To carry that to some kind of current tit-for-tat, I’d say the old long-stroke AK piston system and its larger and more robust operating parts with greater operating clearances is more reliable than the M16, and only lacks a Western-quality barrel and ammunition to be a better overall service rifle. Sure, it has 1940s ergonomic foibles, and sure, if you throw enough mud into the action it will stop too…but the same kind of sand use without “sufficient” lubrication that would stop an M16 pattern rifle cold, the wielder of an AK will smile and keep shooting.

            My understanding is that the situation got to be so much of a concern over there that the military had to revise its standard “thin-film only” lubrication instructions, and started recommending greater amounts of CLP to keep them running in the fine sand, as well as encouraging lube manufacturers to come up with better stuff than the 1970s technology CLP we have been using.

            I get the feeling that you may be a proponent of DI as well. Well, it may have worked well for some time, but the preponderance of the evidence suggested by the adoption of piston systems throughout the world’s arsenals means that I believe that its continued usage may be short. Besides us, the Israelis and those that are their nemeses have more continuous battle experience than anyone, and they have long settled on long-stroke piston rifles for decades, Israel purchasing M16 pattern rifles when it was necessary to fulfill American military aid purchase agreements as a percentage of their GDP. Their Galil ARM was a pretty heavy thing to tote, but the new Tavor appears to be working quite well, sand or not.

            Interesting commentary you shared with me regarding twist rates. I had thought that 1/7 was used and justified to stabilize the NATO standard tracer round developed by FN, but also to improve not stability for terminal ballistics, but flight stability at longer ranges and in the wind. I thought that was the reason the Marines were the ones calling for 800m knob adjustable sights that the 1/7 and 62 gr. bullets were ostensibly able to provide.

            Given all that, does this mean all of our troops must have 500m capability, or only those who are DMR folks? If, as the old saw goes, “most engagements are 300m or less, with the majority under 100m,” the AK system with its above issues resolved, and losing between 1-2lbs empty weight would work pretty well.

            However, I am only a lowly civilian, and am thankful I have never had to shoot in anger. To the extent my presuppositions are incorrect, I enjoy the didactics here guy, and am glad to have “met” you.

          • uT17,

            I was shooting all of them in New Mexico, where often there are dust storms. Typically, when not exposed to the elements in this way, they run very well.

            I’m certainly not trying to bash the Garand; it definitely had its merits as a design (one thing I’ll give it that no one else will: The en-bloc clip loading idea was the best feasible way to load an infantry rifle for a very long time). However, better sealed weapons did exist – before the Garand, in fact. It was actually known for a long time that sealing a gun against dirt and crap was the right thing to do; that’s why the Mauser, for example, locks into recesses deep within the receiver ring, and not out in the open like a Garand. Several bolt action rifles even tried to incorporate dust covers (such as the Siamese Mausers), but these were found to clack about and be easily lost. So I don’t feel I’m being unfair in this criticism; Garand and those who worked with him should have known better, and it’s a flaw I’ve seen personally take down Garands and rifles that share that receiver architecture.

            I absolutely feel as though this reliability gap between the AK and AR-15 is wildly overstated, though I don’t have the sort of rigorous reliability tests I would need to outright prove it. I will concede that the AK is a better cold-weather weapon, something that is apparently proven by the Alaskan State Police tests (unfortunately, there’s little on these tests available online. It’s interesting to note, though, that while the AK did handily best the AR-15 in these tests, the AR bested other rifles “more reliable” than it, including an M14-pattern weapon).

            What is your understanding based on? That’s just as important.

            My understanding of the M4’s reliability comes from the shooting with it that myself and others have done. It’s far more reliable than the gun writers will admit. Maybe it’s not the most reliable. Maybe it’s not an AK. But it works very well.

            DI has a long career. Not only are there a lot of DI AR-15s out there, but there’s also the French MAS-49 (possibly the most tested and troubleshooted selfloading rifle of its era) and the Ljungmann. One of the problems comes with separating “DI” from “piston”. In reality, all of these guns operate via gas pistons. Some have one kind of piston, some have another. The AR-15 has a piston buried deep within the bolt carrier. The AK has a piston that meets right up at the gas block; but its piston is different than an AR-18’s, which is itself different from an M1 Carbine’s. The Tavor has a system with a gas tube like an AR running to a stubby piston on the bolt carrier. What do we make of it?

            M855 has been troubled by spotty stability in the transonic regime (typically occurring at over 600m, but depending on a lot of factors, such as altitude and barrel length). Some papers describe it as being very stable, but others show it as being wildly unstable. There’s enough variation in SS109-derived projectiles that some sorts of production differences could account for this. Here are some documents on the subject:

            http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2005smallarms/wednesday/arvidsson.pdf

            http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a162133.pdf

            http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a530895.pdf

            I would further emphasize that a tighter twist will improve the stability of a projectile in flight (though not in tissue) after the first 50 yards of flight, once it has settled into its precession. I do highly recommend you read this Weekly DTIC on the fleet yaw problem.

            I can’t think of much about the AK I would deliberately retain. It’s a robust, reliable rifle with a lot of merits, but I think a designer could do a lot better.

  • PEO Soldier Office’s take on this was that generally speaking both 5.56mm and 7.62mm guns are limited in range by their shooters’ ability. So I think, for the majority of people armed with a rifle, the better characteristics of the 7.62mm at long range are essentially academic.

  • ExplEngineer

    I will try to answer your questions in the order that you posed them, however, at times there may be some overlap or duplication as a cost thereof:
    1. It was proven to my satisfaction by observation in actual combat usage. In observing, or spotting, when shots were missed by marksman for whom this would be the exception rather than the rule, small “Twigs” (defined as any hard-structure, bark-enclosed vegetation with a diameter, as determined by estimation by competent observers” during BDA’s or their analogs when the mission did not either require, nor was the specific occurrence was supported, by USAF/.VNAF/Indigenous Military aircraft disbursing aerial deployed, non-independently powered, gravity directed targeting explosive devices. All of which can be summarized in saying that when a shot was missed, and when the observer noted that one or more pieces of vegetation between the shooting position and the geographic location of the target and along a path that represented a “gun-target line” was severed, otherwise damaged at time/space continuum consistent with the estimated time that the projectile discharged from the weapon deployed by the member of the team assigned to the duties of mid-range target neutralization, a component of the designated, and assigned mission was not struck by said projectile, requiring the initiation of the supplemental plan, which in these cases generally consisted of the same, or a backup marksman would initiate the discharge of a second or supplemental projectile by the actuation of the of the firing train initiator, aka, the primer. After the mission was complete and the target effectively neutralized, observation, either visually in place with a “hands-on” examination of the offending vegetation, or if such an examination was found not practicable due to circumstances such as terrain, or enemy presence and activities, the magnifying capabilities were set to their maximum available capacity and the questionable vegetation was examined for damages that would have been consistent with having been struck by a light(er) weight projectile fired from the standard issue M-16 rifle with the supplemental sighting enhancement optics. The actual “strike” conclusion required verification by a second qualified Operator on the team. Predicated upon these occurrence we requested and had been authorized to use alternative firearms to conduct such mission at the discretion of the the Commander (which was my position at the time. In moving to the larger diameter, projectiles, aka bullets, of greater weight eliminated in a substantial majority of cases, the effects of “vegatation” (v.a.) were mitigated or eliminated, improving both the mission completion percentages, as well as the ratio of hits to misses by each of the designated marksmen. I trust that you will be able to accept data collected in-situ, during combat operations, that was subsequently confirmed, as time and facilities were to permit, by placing similar obstacles to accuracy (and mission completion) on what would be a pre-surveyed gun-target line and (successfully) attempting to replicate the effects of disruption/diversion of the projectile from the expected flight line resulting in a “Miss(ed)” shot, or, at a minimum a “Hit” in a location other than the designated aim point. Further, it was observed by combat-experience witnesses that when a projectile from the 5.56mm firearm struck the paper target in a position other than the point of impact intended by the shooter, there were indications that the projectile had either been damaged at some point along it path of travel or diverted from the intended point of impact as a result of a comparable “strike”, during its progression along the initial gun-target line, and the altered segment thereof post-“strike” the hole in the paper target was either enlarged or the shape thereof altered in it appearance to the “native” eye(s) of the observer(s). I trust that this explanation will constitute a satisfactory response to Question number 1.

  • ExplEngineer

    2. Unfortunately, I cannot respond on behalf of any “independent combatants”, Soldiers of Fortune (SOF) as I did not have enough contact with such individuals to gain any knowledge as to their opinions on this subject. I can say, subject to the constraints of NDA’s in place, that to the best of my knowledge, and in accordance with articles generally available “open source” publications, that JSOC (& I suspect that “SOCOM”, although I have no current knowledge of that command’s specific activities), subordinate units are moving away from 5.56mm weapons en mass, locating, or tasking contractors to submit RFP’s through appropriate channels, available, “off-the-shelf” firearms in 7.62x51mm or larger caliber to be utilized in the missions assigned to commands such as JSOC, Tier 1, etc. I would suggest that you update your library, or collection of independent military publications, and do some additional reading before postulating that “JSOC which could use pretty much any caliber of their choosing stick to 5.56 as their most commonly used round.” And, when this does occur, I would hypothesize that as you do the supplemental research you will discover that in specific instances where this command does make a decision to attempt to perform such missions for which the 5.56mm military round may be at least minimally suitable, it is as a result of logistical rather than tactical issues. You may also look to data, and published articles, as well as advertising (which should be scrutinized thoroughly to permit the elimination of self-serving promotional language included therein).

    3. I am uncertain as to where you have gained your information which is used as a predicate for your statement that the ” Barrett is a horrible long range weapon for anything smaller than a jeep” and/or “the .50cal. as Barrett has been developing several new products specifically to meed the requirements of JSOC, and Allied Armed Forces Operators in the field, including improvements to their initial M107 system, including ballistic calculation computers, optics specifically designated for a specific caliber, as it may be used in a specific firearms, weapons systems, etc., or for its use in general purpose firearms utilizing the round, with specific components, and projectile weights, as well as programs for firing data computers that will permit a greater degree of freedom in selecting, or as logistically necessary, even in the case , or cases where a firearm/cartridge combination may be sub-optimal, yet the solely available weapons system to complete a task. And despite the fact that a Canadian Operator (utilizing “off the belt .50BMG ammunition) utilized the standard (for the Royal Canadian Armed Forces) McMillan rifle to set the world’s record for a successful sniper engagement, said record was achieved using a .50BMG caliber firearm and cartridge. I would suggest, from personal knowledge and interactions with gentlemen engaged in such activities that they do not consider the Barrett M107 to be a “horrible long range weapon for anything smaller than a jeep”. Further, if I were to take your assessment of their qualifications, as well as my own, to be such that when conducting “sniping” (sic), in an other than linguistic medium as being in the knowledge range of “doesn’t have a clue”, not only would they (we) take offense at such a commentary if we did not integrate consideration of the source of such an evaluation, and view it as being predicated upon their knowledge base which they/we would know could most generously be described as “Flawed”, and most probably, after being subjected to an academic, peer-reviewed, examination find it to not even be worthy of the implied designation of anything other than “just plain wrong” and being propagated by a source lacking in knowledge and resources sufficient to elicit anything more than a primordial dismissal out of hand, and so deficient it its foundation as to collapse under the stress of open-source reference material or even the anecdotal observations published in any number of pseudo-military periodicals. Barrett’s continuing program of product improvement (and I have no connection, financial or otherwise with Barrett’s military, nor civilian marketing organization, nor their product engineering staff or production facilities or staff, my closest association, other than waiting until I can afford to exchange my Armalite AR-50, or at least retire it, and replace it with a civilian version of a Barrett semi-action M107 firearm, is that I own a farm ~250km from their manufacturing facility), close relations and contacts with Operators in the field, even to the point of sharing data from their “DOPE” books and on-line or even on the Sat Phone in the middle of an actual combat operation consultation with the end-users of his products, as well well as procurement officers, and test and evaluation command officials. It would be unfair to fail to note that I appreciate both the quality, and the service rendered to its end-user community of what is essentially both Barrett’s Canadian counterpart, as well as competitor. Unfortunately, I am less familiar with McMillan Firearms than I am with Barrett weapons systems, so I can only state that I know of no military operators, or civilian end users, such as the RCMP, that are dissatisfied with the products, or the service received from McMillan Industries. Finally, despite the commentary from “commonsense23”, there are two additional factors that are relevant to discussion of the U.S. manufactured .50BMG special weapons classification systems. The quasi-military, U.S. Coast Guard, that in peacetime is predominantly a component of the the U.S. Government’s Law Enforcement Contingent utilizes a variant of the M107 that Special Operations U.S. Military (& other) organizations utilize, a.50BMG caliber, stabilized long range accuracy firearm to disable the watercraft of both drug smugglers and coyote’s attempting to assist prohibited persons in their efforts to infiltrate the boundaries of United States by evasion, and when necessary escaping from the agencies whose mission it is to secure these boundaries, as well as administer the programs for lawful entry as well as the the provisions and requirements established for lawful entry into our country. Additionally, I am aware that Barrett Firearms Industries is working on several additional, in progress, programs including the development of sub-.50BMG caliber firearms and ammunition, including the .416 Barrett. cartridge and perhaps even a .338 Barrett cartridge, each with firearm and/or weapons system, specifically for the caliber and cartridge in question. I can only assume that given that the .416 caliber is populated with a plethora of cartridges and bullet designs, including the 416 Rigby, and the .416RemMag, both of which I own and shoot frequently as well as use personally, and quite honestly, except for the fact that the .416RemMag cartridge is a belted magnum case, which is more popular, and modern perhaps in its design, I see little added advantage to it in comparison with the long-utilized and dangerous game proven .416 Rigby as I seem to achieve similar performance and accuracy our of each of the rifles that I have, and I have had the opportunity to shoot the .416 Lapua (?) in a rifle owned by one of my client’s agencies and while I do not have extensive experience with either the .416 or the .338 Lapua Cartridge, I do have some extensive hunting, and target shooting competition with the .338 WinMag, which I shoot in my pre-64 Winchester Model 70 rifles that I bought new when it was a “leftover” “NOS” at the time that Winchester was marketing the newer version of the Model 70 and which, having received a significant discount since I was buying the leftover NOS rifle in 1964 or 1965, an event so memorable that I enjoy mentioning it every chance I get even to this day, and once again, I do not see any marked difference in performance when comparing the .338 Lapua(?) to my tried and true .338WinMag rifle when comparable optics are utilized. Along this same trend, although for some unknown reason, perhaps it is the difference in perceivable recoil after the first ten (10) or fifteen (15) continuous shots, even using the “Led Sled” at the range, I do see an advantage of the .338 caliber cartridges, when loading the heavier-weight bullets, when compared to my .300 Weatherby Magnum, in both accuracy, and performance when a larger than would be typical (>200g) bullet of any type is utilized.

    4. I really had considered not answering this statement, more than an actual question, but I was of the opinion that you might misinterpretation of the issue. I am sorry that you are having difficulty understanding the structure and mechanism of the Tier System. I am not certain as to the level of classification of the briefing that you attended (nor in what capacity you attended such a briefing), however, I cannot understand the difficulty in understanding it, especially after attending a two (2) hour meeting in which it was discussed. I will just attribute you failure to understand it better than just barely to a “Briefing” that was not designed to fully explore its capabilities and operational functioning due to its minimal, or non-existent level of clearance at which it was briefed and to whom (collectively) the briefing was being presented.

    I trust that the format I elected to use to respond to the issues that you raised was satisfactory, but if there are any additional questions, or areas of disagreement that are not simply questions as to the modality of any analysis represented, please feel free to post them. I am not certain if this discussion is of any value to the other readers of this blog but hopefully our unified appraisals and explanations, as well as the countering responses will be helpful to others if only to resolve some questions that they have had about the use of large caliber, shoulder fired munitions.

  • And if those criticisms are valid…?