Three Obsolete Calibers That Should Be Brought Back From The Dead

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Aren’t there enough calibers in the world? Is there really a need for any new entries into the endless list of different kinds of ammunition that have been created? This argument makes a lot of sense; with virtually every nook and cranny in the spectrum of different possible small arms calibers being filled in some form or another, isn’t is a bit presumptuous to suggest the introduction of something new?

Well, yes and no. It’s certainly true that for every new caliber idea, there are ten different precedents from history, proving someone else has “been there and did that”. So, what about taking a look at those obsolete calibers? Are there any gaps in the current suite of production calibers that could be filled be one of them? I think there might be…

 

.270 British: A Forgotten All-‘Rounder

270

On the left, the .270 British. On the right, the .280 British. Image source: IAAForum.org.

 

After the end of World War II, the British were seeking to re-equip and replace their obsolete .303 caliber Lee-Enfield pattern rifles with a more modern rifle design, and with a new modern caliber to match. They would decide on, and push NATO to adopt, a 7mm caliber cartridge better known as the .280 British, but prior to that, they had developed other calibers during the exploratory phase of research. One of the calibers developed – and eventually rejected – was the .270 British, a cartridge based on a 1.81″ long .445″ diameter case (a size common to the 7.62×39 and 7.35×51 Carcano) with a 6.8mm bullet.

The .270 was expected to produce about 2,730 ft/s with a steel-cored 100gr bullet – performance roughly comparable with the 6.8 SPC available today. However, the case of the .270 is both wider and longer than that of the 6.8 SPC, implying that significantly better performance is possible (the relatively large case of the .270 was due to a requirement that, if needed, velocity could be safely increased to 2,900 feet per second!). Further, unlike the 6.8 SPC when used in micro-action guns, the .270 – when used with short-action rifles – would be able to accept all bullets compatible with the .270 Winchester, making it a shoe-in for a mid-sized game hunting rifle, as well as reloader friendly. The possibility of even longer bullets than are currently made for the .270 Winchester means the .270 British could hit above its weight and recoil class, allowing it to take virtually any game suitable for harvest with a .308.

Versus the 6.8 SPC, it would not be compatible with the AR-15 platform, and so wouldn’t be well-suited to the tactical market. The hunting potential of the round, though, gives this old military has-been some promise.

 

7.92x24mm VBR: Pocket Handgun Power

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Various bullet types in the 7.92x24mm VBR. Image source: IAAForum.org.

 

It may be too early to call this round – relatively recently developed by VBR of Belgium for military personal defense weapons – “obsolete”, but very little activity has been seen from its parent company in the past few years. Even so, it is a round that has caught my attention, for two reasons: The first being its smaller case head than 9mm (it is based on the .30 Carbine), and the second being its relatively high muzzle velocity.

The smaller case head means that, for a given peak pressure when firing, the cartridge will produce less bolt thrust and stress the locking components of a weapon less. Alternately, it means a higher pressure can be used for the same bolt thrust. With this round, there is considerable potential for a smaller pocket pistol than would be possible with 9mm, but that is more powerful and capable than one chambered in .380 ACP.

The muzzle velocity of this round, too, is significant. The “short” version of the 7.92×24 produces over 1,500 ft/s from a 4″ barrel with the same 71gr FMJ common to the .32 ACP. This compares well to the .380 ACP (producing about 1,000 ft/s) and even the 9mm (topping out at 1,400 ft/s, typically). This additional velocity could help ensure the expansion of hollow point projectiles even when penetrating through ribs and other obstacles, and would also give the 7.92×24 additional soft tissue penetration versus the .380 ACP, which can be marginal in this respect with JHP bullets.

As a general purpose handgun round, the 7.92 VBR does not offer too much over 9mm; one could argue it is superior, but it’s not by a significant enough degree to end a 100+ year reign. However, in the specialized pocket pistol role, it does seem pretty attractive, especially when compared to the .380.

 

9x66mm MAS: Medium Machine Gun Revenant

9x66MasG

The 9x66mm MAS, with belt link. Image source: Municion.org.

 

There has been some talk of replacing 7.62mm machine guns with a larger caliber weapon, including the initiation of the Lightweight Dismounted Automatic Machine Gun (LDAM) program by the U.S. Army. What should a bigger machine gun round look like? The French had an answer to that question in the 1930s, with the 9x66mm MAS.

Designed between 1930 and 1936 to meet surprisingly similar requirements – create a machine gun in a caliber between 7.5 and 11mm caliber to replace 13.2mm machine guns and complement 7.5mm ones – the 9x66mm was essentially a scaled-up rifle round. It fired a 20 gram (309 grain) bullet at 780 m/s (2,560 ft/s), giving it exceptional sectional density and long-range hitting power. Further, as with the .270, the 9x66mm by way of comparison to the .338 Norma is clearly capable of higher performance even than this. A somewhat lighter, modern lead-free A1-style bullet fired at a higher muzzle velocity would give the round excellent versatility, and the overall length and case head diameter are very similar to that of the .338 Lapua, possibly allowing weapons designed for that round , such as Bad News style semi-automatic rifles or General Dynamics’ Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG), to be rechambered for the French 9mm.

Versus the .338 Lapua or .338 Norma, the 9×66 would offer more volume for lead-free, steel-core, and specialized projectiles, while reducing barrel wear and retaining much of the former two cartridges’ positive long range characteristics. These characteristics would benefit both dismounted and mounted applications; in addition to adding long-range firepower in the infantry crew-served weapon role, it would increase the number of targets that could be engaged by an armored fighting vehicle’s coaxial or roof-mounted machine gun, and possibly eliminate the need for additional .50 caliber weapons on AFVs.

 

Am I seriously suggesting long-dead rounds be resurrected in painstaking detail for the sake of it, to fill these niches? No, of course not. It’s just interesting to see what might have been, or even what has foreshadowed (thought we don’t know it) the future.

What unfilled niches that I didn’t cover do you think could be exploited? What rounds do you think deserve a comeback? Let us know in the comments!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Jack Morris

    The VBR looks incredible! I would fall over myself to get a pocket pistol the size of an LCP that could match or better the performance of a 9mm.

  • Giolli Joker

    In a similar field of the VBR there’s (was…) the 7 Penna.
    Shot it in a prototype, it was great…

  • Typo. On the left is the .270.

  • Darren Hruska

    Good choices! I may also throw the 9.3x64mm Brenneke (a special load is used in the Russian SVDK) in there, to compete against that 9x66mm MAS round.

    I also found Russia’s 6x49mm “Unified” cartridge to be VERY interesting. It fires a 5 gram (77 grain) at muzzle velocity from 3,600 to 3,770 fps. It was intended to be much more accurate than the 7.62x54mmR round while being lighter and lower recoiling. It seems like it beats out many of the Western “unified” calibers.

    • uisconfruzed

      Sounds much like a 243Win

  • You wouldn’t have much room for a cartridge case in any frame small enough to hold.

  • Ethan

    Lol! you’re going to open a can of worms with that one..

  • Ethan

    There was a similar round made recently that launched a 40gr .224 projectiles out of a cut down 223REM case. It only required a barrel swap to shoot from any 9mm pistol… I can’t remember the name.

    Sadly you end up with a pretty Anemic round that pokes little .22 holes because it can’t get the velocity it needs to splatter/tumble on impact.

    It’d be a fun gun to shoot though…

    • Jack Morris

      I think you’re referencing the 22TCM from Rock Island Armory. Spiffy little cartridge.

      • Ethan

        That’s the one. Thanks!

        • Giolli Joker

          There’s the .224 Boz as well.
          However they both use light .223 bullets to reach high velocities out of pistol barrels. To accelerate to that level a 90 grain bullet you’d need more case capacity and a fairly long case neck to keep everything properly straight… I can hardly see it viable in a handgun unless we’re talking about a X-frame revolver.

          • Mazryonh

            .224 Boz was apparently designed to originally use a bottlenecked 10mm Auto cartridge to power the AP 5.56mm bullet. If you’ve seen pictures you’ll see just how out-of-proportion the bullet looks compared to the casing.

  • gunsandrockets

    I bet an ordinary MAG or M240 could use the .35 Whelen cartridge with nothing more than a barrel change. Not ideal, but there you achieve an in-between heavier caliber MG by using a well established GPMG.

  • gunsandrockets

    For handguns I vote 9×23 Winchester.

    • bcelliott

      Hear, hear!

    • evets9357

      Now we’re talking about a practical round that can hit hard

    • What really could be interesting would be a single stack pistol designed specifically around the dimensions of the 9x23mm and .38 Super. Before WW2, Colt actually prototyped a scaled down .38 Super that was roughly Commander length, but narrower as well.

      Another thought would be a stretched Browning Hi-Power big enough for .38 Super, 9x23mm, and 10mm Norma. This would be easier to accomplish than a .45 ACP BHP as the slide wouldn’t require significant redesign.

      I’d also like to see a 9x23mm P220 and P227. The P220 has been done in .38 Super, but it is relatively rare with most made with the older heel-located magazine catch.

      • nova3930

        A single stack 9×23 would be a heck of a CCW gun.

      • gunsandrockets

        According to my 1977 Shooter’s Bible, Colt sold the Lightweight Commander and Combat Commander in .38 Super as well as in 9mm Luger and .45 ACP. So I would think a modified version of the Commander in 9×23 Winchester is possible.

    • 1911a145acp

      I have had one for years. Good solid cartridge. Main hold up is OAL- regulates it to full size 1911 or GLOCK M20/M21 platforms. and the 50,000 + PSI really needs a fully supported chamber. Not a wide selection of 9mm bullets designed to work at 1600 fps

    • Nate Opgenorth

      What about 9×25 Dillion? Double stacked 13-15 rounds in a Glock 20…

  • I am partial to the .270. The .280 doesn’t really seem that special to me.

  • Tassiebush

    The 9mm rimfire cartridge and .32long rimfire.

    • Tassiebush

      Oh and the rook cartridges.

  • Paul Epstein

    At least in a handgun role, that might actually be a good way to get results out of a typical handgun cartridge even when adhering to the hague convention, i.e. in a military sidearm. On the other hand reliability of feeding and the cost considering rarity of use are fairly good arguments against.

  • Mazryonh

    It would have been nice for the VBR-PDW to get some real testing against other compact weapons to see just how well its caliber would have done.

  • Giolli Joker

    I’d rather go for the 6.5CBJ…

    • El Duderino

      Yeah, but as a civilian what good is it? Uncle Sam won’t let you have the “good” projectiles.

      • Giolli Joker

        When the talk is about PDW, I don’t really see the civilian market as the main focus.

  • Blake

    Thanks for the replies. I should’ve been clear that I’m talking about something purely theoretical here (this bullet is too long to fit into an AR15 mag when loaded in a 5.56×45 case, let alone anything smaller). The idea would require something that could handle extremely high case pressure, or perhaps even no case at all (e.g. bullet in front of a powder pellet, or a compressed liquid propellent that would become gaseous upon injection into the chamber).

    The extremely high pressure accelerates the bullet very quickly, so the end result is a long-range round from a short barrel. Again, purely theoretical…

    • The Sierra 90gr projectile alone is roughly the same length as a loaded 9x19mm cartridge. So even with a telescoped caseless cartridge, you’d be pushing past .45 ACP or even 7.62x25mm lengths just to get a primer and booster charge behind the bullet.

      Then there is the issue of rifling twists adequate to stabilize the projectile at lower velocities.

      • Blake

        Yep, that’s the idea. 1/7 twist should do it (as indicated in the bullet spec).

        If the propellant isn’t part of the bullet:

        – most of the chamber doesn’t necessarily have to be directly behind the bullet; as long as the expanding combustion gases force the bullet down the barrel they’ll get the job done.

        – you don’t have to pay for, load, & prime cases.

        Electric ignition is the most obvious alternative to a traditional primer…

        • In a telescoped cartridge, you need the booster change to kick the projectile into the rifling so the rest of the propellant can push it down the bore. Without the booster charge, the propellant gases could just as easily escape out the bore ahead of the bullet’s ogive.

          • Blake

            Makes sense. Perhaps a standard magnum primer glued to the rear of the bullet would do it…

          • Again, I would look at existing telescoped cartridges (cased and caseless) for examples. The caseless LSAT cartridges are nearly the same width and length as a .30 Carbine round.

    • Giolli Joker

      “compressed liquid propellent”
      Liquids aren’t compressible.
      Without going too much in sci-fi I’d think of CTA (Cased Telescopic Ammo).

      • Blake

        right, I’m talking about a propellant that is liquid under pressure (& it would need to be that way for two reasons:

        – store as much propellant as possible

        – the fact that consistently metering out a precise amount of liquid is not that complicated (e.g. automotive fuel injector) whereas metering a gas is highly dependent upon ambient temperature.

        • There was an effort during the 1970s to design small arms capable of using liquid propellants. Obviously, it didn’t go anywhere.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    The 10mm Auto seems to be slowly re-gaining popularity. All I want is for that to keep continuing! It’s an exceptionally versatile round but there just aren’t enough currently manufactured firearms that chamber it.

    I’d love to see some type of gas operated (piston, tappet, DI, whatever. don’t care) carbine chambered in 10mm to be offered up someday. Wouldn’t that be something 🙂

    • Mazryonh

      I wonder if someone will convert a SIG MPX then to 10mm. That’s probably the most plausible way it could be done. But why gas-operated when so many blowback carbines in that caliber already exist?

      • Wetcoaster

        The MPX looks like it’s meant to try and take market share from the MP5 which isn’t a direct blowback design either. It probably explains why SIG offers an integrally suppressed model – probably to offer to departments looking to replace integrally suppressed MP5s.

        And that market almost certainly exists or else HK almost certainly would have phased out the MP5 production lines in favour of the UMP by now.

        • Mazryonh

          I was talking more about the civilian market–pretty much all the pistol caliber carbines in 10mm are blowback operated. The MP5 was roller-delayed blowback, which still isn’t gas-operated–the SIG MPX is.

          My best guess as to why the MP5 is still in production despite the production of the UMP is that there are still many MP5s left in LEO/MIL inventories to provide replacement parts for, and some personnel in those organizations still like to use them out of familiarity despite the advantages (such as lighter weight and bolt-hold-open-on-last-round) that the UMP offers. The fact that the MP5 actually had a 10mm variant probably doesn’t hurt either.

          • Wetcoaster

            I think only the FBI used the 10mm MP5s. Maybe there’s an accuracy factor with less reciprocating mass?

            I should have clarified that I meant straight blowback as opposed to designs where the bolt locks closed whether by roller locking or rotating bolt or otherwise.

          • Mazryonh

            I see, maybe SIG is counting on its MPX’s gas operated design to increase accuracy without the reciprocating mass.

            But in any case, the MP5’s wide use by specially-trained personnel shows that it’s perfectly possible to train to compensate for the reciprocating mass while firing. You’d just need more of the same in a similar weapon chambered for 10mm Auto.

          • Giolli Joker

            “pretty much all the pistol caliber carbines in 10mm are blowback operated”
            How many are there on the market?

          • Mazryonh

            Not many 10mm PCC models were made in the first place, despite the fact that a magnum pistol cartridge has more to gain from a longer barrel than its non-magnum cousins. Your best bet is either the Carbine Conversion Unit from Mechtech, or the full carbine from Thureon Defense (both are simple blowback). There were one or two other models available once, but they look like they’ve been discontinued.

  • What FPSes has the VBR appeared in? I wasn’t aware it had that much recognition!

    • mechamaster

      Call of Duty Ghost and Advanced Warfare, under the game name “PDW”.

      • Well that makes sense, seeing as how I never played either. 🙂 That’s surprising, though.

  • El Duderino

    Right.

  • Mazryonh

    If “obsolete” in this case means “surpassed by better alternatives,” then wouldn’t the H&K-developed 4.6x30m round used by the MP7 also count, since it was declared inferior to the Belgian-developed 5.7x28mm (to the point that 5.7mm was originally going to become the NATO standard)? Is it something the staff here think is worthy of greater adoption?

    How about the 6x35mm cartridge, designed by Knight’s Armament Company for their PDW platform? I would expect that it was made obsolete by the appearance of the .300 Blackout round, which is the same length as KAC’s PDW cartridge but 7.62mm wide.

    Where would 10mm Auto fit into the scale between “useful and needed” and “obsolete”? SIG-Sauer said they would introduce a model of their P220 handgun, so that has to account for something, though “official adoption” of that caliber is pretty scarce.

    • Well, the 4.6×30 is in active service with the German armed forces, so it’s not really “obsolete”. “Inferior”, maybe. but H&K insists that was just the early loads.

      • A certain US Navy Special Warfare unit has used the MP7A1. Purchases of 4.6x30mm ammunition, magazines, and spare parts keep popping up.

        • 1911a145acp

          Seems I recall they left a GPS device and an MP7A1 and gear on the ground in their haste to exfil after a recent OP.

      • Mazryonh

        I see, so “obsolete” as in “no longer widely used, if at all.” I would like to have seen the staff’s opinion on the KAC-made 6x35mm caliber, anyway.

        I’m curious as to how exactly H&K improved their more recent loads for 4.6x30mm.

        • 6×35 is a pretty straightforward tradeoff of energy retention for shorter cartridge length. Oh, and it uses faster-burning powder.

  • Darren Hruska

    I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s like a beefed up .22-250 Remington or .220 Swift. That’d very likely explain why it was only made for a machine gun and a few SVD-style semi-automatic rifles. It’d probably murder an automatic rifle’s barrel very quickly.

  • Paul Zimmerli

    One that SHOULD be resurrected from the dead is the good old .25 Stevens rimfire! Reaches out like a .22 WMR, and thumps harder. Or, since they took the .27 brass for the nailers and necked it down to .17 to create the .17 WSM, why in the heck not a .22 WSM? Again, more oomph than a .22 WMR, Or, even, to heck with the neck job: The .27 Winchester Magnum Rimfire. I’d bet it would sell pretty briskly.

    • I thought long and hard about that very caliber, but decided the .17 WSM pretty much had it covered. Great choice!

    • Beaumont

      Why not a .270 rimfire? If we’re talking about niche products, a new round does not necessarily have to outperform others — it just has to appeal to enough of a market to makes its manufacture feasible. That’s capitalism.

    • The .17 WSM case with the neck blown out would be awfully close to the .25 Stevens. You might be able to wildcat a .25/17 WSM using 0.251″ projectiles designed for the .25 ACP.

  • Tom

    I think the hate is due to being seen as “tacticool” and ultimately for the civilians it does not bring much the table that can not be done with 5.56mm or other calibres. For the military it would be just another calibre and hence a strain on logistics.

    IMHO the biggest problem with the 6.8 is that’s been restricted by having to fit in an AR15 mag/well. If we were going to go with a whole a new cartridge then we might as well drop the AR15 series or at least redesign them so the magwell is part of the upper not the lower.

    • The biggest problem with the 6.8 SPC is that its bore is too wide.

  • Tom

    By no means forgotten but I think that maybe we should reevaluate the .30 Mauser round (aka 7.62mm Tokarev) loaded hotter and with a better designed bullet we could have something which has the AP capability of the 5.7mm but with a larger round for a bit more weight for non AP loads.

    • schizuki

      Agreed. Been saying this for years. With the proliferation of body armor, this looks to me like a 100 year old round whose time has finally come (even before your proposed tweaks.)

      • Mazryonh

        The odd thing is, the Russians themselves didn’t upgrade the 7.62mm Tokarev round for modern AP applications, but instead made an AP version of the 9mm Parabellum instead. Ostensibly this was to retain the stopping power of the 9mm Parabellum against unarmoured targets. Instead, we could try something like loading the 10mm hot but with the same design of AP bullets instead for better performance than the 9mm Russian AP version.

        • valorius

          With a hardended bronze bullet even .25 acp will defeat modern soft body armor….seriously.

      • Michael

        Seconded. Bring this Norinco pistol here.
        7.62×25 in a modern pistol would be a winner

        • Wetcoaster

          The US has an import ban on Chinese rifles and pistols. The real question in my mind is why there aren’t more US companies cloning the (decades-old) Sig 22x designs (and in new variations like this one) instead of just endlessly reiterating the 1911.

    • valorius

      Excellent idea.

  • Ethan

    With specialized projectiles it could be pretty decent. From my perspective any round that requires premium engineered bullets to be reliably effective fails the “ammo readily available” part of my personal criteria.

    …but then again I carry 9mm, so I guess I’m a hypocrite. =P

    Either way the 22TCM is a neat little round though. I didn’t know the 5.7 was that much of a boutique caliber. Looks like I’ve got some reading to do.

  • Ethan

    Can that thing even FEED in an autoloader??

    • 1911a145acp

      Yes. Test guns were 1911 types. Initial peak pressure was VERY high and the barrel link foot kept shearing off. 2500 fps was goal and some test rounds attained MUCH higher velocity

      • Giolli Joker

        Actually the 17-357 was used in a Sig only as single shot. However I believe that proper magazine and loading ramp wwould make it work in an autoloader.

        • 1911a145acp

          Sorry, my fault- My post was in reference to the 224 BOZ. Testing was done in a 1911 pattern for that one I am sure.I have seen STI guns with supported barrels work in 224 BOZ. I do wonder as the other posted did about the 17-357,Could it feed an reliably headspace in an auto loader? What model SIG was the test mule?

          • Giolli Joker

            P229.
            You can find plenty of answers in the link just over the picture that i posted.

  • It’s really not superior ballistically to the 5.56, it’s decidedly inferior. Do I have to break out the ballistics tables for the umpteenth time?

    If a cartridge has virtually the same ballistic coefficient as another, but lower muzzle velocity, it will have inferior ballistics.

    • nova3930

      As someone who has and likes his 6.8mm, I would choose a 5.56 with appropriate ammunition, (like Mk262 Mod 1) as a combat cartidge any day. Ballistically, capacity wise, weight wise, it just works better for the role for running around hunting 2 legged critters.
      I think the 6.8mm excels at what I use it for, namely as a hog gun. It’s light weight for handling and maneuverability, high capacity for lots of quick follow up shots and the added bullet mass with appropriate expanding hunting ammo really helps in terminal performance against a ridiculously tough critter.

      • It does seem, however, that most hog hunters prefer the .223.

        • nova3930

          They do and in most cases it’s entirely adequate. I used 5.56 for quite a while before I shifted to 6.8mm. Have hunting buddies that still use it. The reason I use the 6.8 is primarily that the added bullet mass makes it more forgiving for sub-optimal shots (aka my crappy shooting lol), especially on larger animals. Sometimes seems like those at 200+ lbs have bones made of steel, essentially acting as tough intermediate barrier. The heavier bullet seems to punch through to vitals much more consistently in that situation. And really the 6.8mm is a compromise in that respect. I’d much prefer to have a .308win class weapon, but I want semi-auto and don’t particularly care to lug around an AR-10/FN-FAL/M1A class weapon.

      • valorius

        I agree, mk262 mod1 is a great round.

  • No. The 6.8 SPC is really not very good, and it was engineered around a flawed theory of what an infantry cartridge “should be”, which results in it being inferior to comparable 5.56mm loads in most respects.

  • It’s a lot bigger than those, for one.

  • uisconfruzed

    I’d be interested in a new 10″ upper for that.

  • uisconfruzed

    I’m quite pleased with my 6.5 Grendel

    • 1911a145acp

      Are you quite pleased with the availability of ammo, load selection, magazine selection and the cost of the aforementioned?

  • Zebra Dun

    The old Cavalry 45/70 for, of course.
    Why?
    Why not it’s an old military round.
    I’m thinking maybe a M1911A1 platform…………………………………
    Sarcasm

  • Michael

    Bring back the 455 Webley and the mighty 303 British.

  • TexasPigHunter

    Its amazing to me how people get so bent (I won’t mention names but its clear who the ‘oh so learned’ and arrogant are on this thread) because some people like the 6.8 spc II round and he doesn’t. They are such babies that have to whine about something to get attention… if you don’t like it don’t shoot it Azzholes…

    • He said it was ballistically superior to 5.56. In most respects (including retained energy!) it isn’t really. It doesn’t bother me that he likes it.

      I don’t like the 6.8 SPC, but that has less to do with the cartridge itself and more to do with the hype and cost of the rounds and the rifles that chambered in it.

      I realize that to some people I will appear arrogant; just like “one-size-fits-all” clothes, there isn’t really such a thing as a “one-size-fits-all” attitude. As much as I would love each and every comment of mine to appeal to everybody, that’s impossible. Throw in that it’s my goal to provide an critical, engaging voice here on TFB, and there’s no way to avoid at least some people being unhappy with me.

      • valorius

        I dont think you’re arrogant. You just voice your opinions when you disagree….it’s your blog afterall.

  • It’s no secret that I like 5.56 and the two-cartridge system. For hunting, I agree that the AR is too small to be truly general purpose.

    In the military context, I think general purpose round advocates have a ways to go before their arguments are really convincing.

    • n0truscotsman

      In the military context, I think general purpose *anything* advocates have a ways to go…

      • valorius

        General purpose means it’s not really great at any role. Lol.

    • valorius

      There isn’t much you can’t kill with a well placed 5.56mm pressure barnes 70gr tsx.

  • Wetcoaster

    From the looks of the manual, Norinco’s export name for the pistol is the PX-3. Some hits show up in Pakistani forums. No idea where else they might be selling it.

  • 1911a145acp

    They call that the M-1 carbine….

  • 1911a145acp

    That’s the FRENCH THV

    • Giolli Joker

      French invented them, SA adopted and developed the concept. Google Monad bullets.

      • 1911a145acp

        Thanks- interesting link. As I indicated, the THV (from the French Tres Haute Vitesse (“very high speed”), is NOT the SA round. The South Africans seemed to have combined the BAT and the THV to overcome the shortcomings of both.

        • Giolli Joker

          Sure, original design and names are French.
          Actually the last manufacturer that I know has been producing THV bullets (for reloaders) was the Italian IGF Munitions, less than 10 years ago. They had actually slightly modified nose and some features to improve feeding in autoloaders.
          I actually threw a link somewhere here in one of my replies from an Italian website with some testing data on the IGF products.
          I can’t tell if they’re still making them, I doubt they’ve ever had a website.
          I remember an Italian magazine article were they tested (for fun) the .320 THV bullet (29 grs) in a 30-06: with safe pressure levels muzzle velocity was unbelievably high at 2500 m/s (about 8000 fps)… I can’t tell if they were actually clocking shrapnels/unburnt powder… But surely it was fast.

  • Another entertaining possibility for the P762 would be to rebarrel it to 9x25mm Mauser Export, which uses the 7.63x25mm Mauser case necked out.

    • Wetcoaster

      Would have been interesting if the ComBloc had done that with the Tokarev round instead of going to the slower 9 x 18 Mak

  • gunsandrockets

    Rather than the 7.92×24 VBR for pocket guns, why not the old French 7.65x20mm Longue with a newer hotter loading?

  • n0truscotsman

    Why not 6.5 Grendel?

    😉

  • n0truscotsman

    Playing devil’s advocate

    With the billions that will be inevitably spent on another bullet dispenser, in the hands of service members that will only be able to accurately shoot targets within 200-300 meters anyway in combat conditions, why?

    You are proposing a silver bullet solution to kill bad guys with, rather than tried and true copper and lead.

    • roguetechie

      No I’m proposing we use a very cheap but properly designed sabot to house a pretty conventional bullet. Like it or not military calibers will increasingly use “green” projectiles. So specifically planning around their use is common sense. Also your 2-300 meter comment blatantly ignores the point I made regarding enabling technologies that are expanding successful engagement envelopes already!

      All in all I laid out a rational, reasonable, and very viable path for a nation to leverage these enabling technologies with an appropriate and reasonably economical new round.

      Your counter argument was it should never be done that way because it’s never been done that way….

      • n0truscotsman

        If I recall correctly, sabot rounds have been tried in small arms. I can immediately forsee accuracy problems.

        My 2-300 meter point is based on the fact that such ranges are due to limitations on the human capability of the shooter under combat conditions, not necessarily the limitations of bullets and rifles themselves.

        “Your counter argument was it should never be done that way because it’s never been done that way”
        No.
        My argument is: things that have been proven to not be an improvement over legacy technologies shouldn’t be adopted.

        • roguetechie

          Ok so first…

          The cbj-ms round in a power level equivalent to 9×19 is capable of putting bursts into man sized targets reliably at 300 meters+!!

          Don’t tell me that using a technique similar to them in a round with 2-5 times the energy at the muzzle with a larger high SD bullet that’s going to retain velocity and buck POI shifts due to environmental factors substantially better that 550-850 meters isn’t very much achievable!

          Artillery and direct fire big guns have been using sabot very successfully for a very long time. The big thing that always prevented getting sabots for man portable weapons that were capable of achieving better accuracy was always cost and complexity of manufacturing, not any innate unsuitability. For a variety of reasons as of now these two barriers have effectively evaporated. We now have much better and cheaper polymers that are extremely simple to work with. Also borrowing from the desktop fabrication world, it would be fairly cheap and easy to put together a very high speed setup to produce sabot en masse and mate them with the non polymer portion of your projectile. Even uniformly seating and making sure your case mouth was gripping the sabot evenly just wouldn’t be all that challenging.

          So not only would we be capable of producing the billion cartridges a year on average we need, but in some ways production of more in war time might actually be easier to ramp up than conventional ammo. Also, as a nation, the US just shut down its last lead smelter. Compare this to polymers which we not only do still make, but also the types of petroleum reserves most prevalently being brought online right now are great sources of the type of petroleum we need to make polymers. I mean I get peoples skepticism here, but I assure you I am not shooting from the hip on this. I have studied the situation fairly in depth, and come to the conclusion that not only would a saboted projectile make sense tactically and give our military personnel a very good tool for modern combat, but logistically and infrastructure wise it’s a winner too.

          Now my final point goes to the capabilities this will give the infantry personnel using it. When you combine the high velocity long range performance this would give with modern and next Gen data fusion technology and fire control systems for small arms like tracking point… All of a sudden snapshots at fleeting targets beyond 300 meters will become more than just harassing fire, in fact using one particular feature of tracking point will make those shots hit ROUTINELY. Add into this a couple other goodies that will turn cover into concealment and concealment into a waste of time for the bad guys, and now are you starting to see why I’m advocating the approach I am? Also, a growing number of our people in war zones and in the thick of battle will increasingly be non combat arms MOS’. This approach is just as much for the logistics unit that gets lost then lit up as it is for our combat arms. Having a flat shooting short flight time round that when aimed at the space between a foes clavicles will give you a hit somewhere between there and his pelvic girdle reliably from 0-300 meters will save American lives! It will keep hungry tired confused and scared loggies and truckers etc alive long enough for them to get over their shock and fight free of the kill box.

          • n0truscotsman

            “The cbj-ms round in a power level equivalent to 9×19 is capable of putting bursts into man sized targets reliably at 300 meters+!!”
            Since there is no more data about cbj-ms, than its website, im extremely skeptical. There is no other information either, so I take it with a grain of salt.
            Cool, if true. If it is, it represents that next evolutionary step in small arms IMHO.

            “Don’t tell me that using a technique similar to them in a round with 2-5 times the energy at the muzzle with a larger high SD bullet that’s going to retain velocity and buck POI shifts due to environmental factors substantially better that 550-850 meters isn’t very much achievable!”
            It isn’t since the primary limitation is the individual person.

            “Artillery and direct fire big guns have been using sabot very successfully for a very long time”
            Indeed, however, you are talking about a margin of error of about a 3×3 area for 2-3000 meters (an acceptable margin of error for targeting a AFV), not a 15″ area about the size of a man’s torso.
            “For a variety of reasons as of now these two barriers have effectively evaporated. ”
            They have not. Not even close. Like with all technologies, theres a point of diminishing returns despite the astronomical increases in cost. This hasn’t changed since human civilization began and will never end because it is a law as fundamental as gravity.
            The more technology you have, the more expense and complexity. More efficiency, more energy consumption.
            “I have studied the situation fairly in depth, and come to the conclusion that not only would a saboted projectile make sense tactically and give our military personnel a very good tool for modern combat, but logistically and infrastructure wise it’s a winner too.”
            If its a measurable improvement to conventional cartridges and the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, then sure. Absolutely. I need something tangible.
            And your point about data fusion and fire control systems is rather optimistic to say the least, at least, from the perspective of being another 2 decades at minimum away from now.
            Again, with diminishing returns, you are expending an astronomical amount of money for what amounts to infantry engagement distances. With the increase in cost, you are decreasing availability overall (can you afford to field 1 million plus or 5 million tracking point optics, etc?), which will profoundly affect us adversely when we are forced to fight a enemy that has scale to their advantage.

          • roguetechie

            Scotsman,

            I am not being overly optimistic I assure you… What you are seeing however is a reticence based off of my wish NOT to be the one to trip the wrong people to the implications and potential of certain commercially available and CHEAP items any earlier than they’d figure it out for themselves!

            Should you wish to continue this discussion more in depth in a non public venue I’ll happily support my assertions on sensors etc.

            As to your arguments when it comes to sabot… I don’t know how to put it more gently than not only are you wrong… You’re comparing apples to goldfish. Sabot technology done right absolutely has the potential to make a rifle fired projectile minute of torso accurate to beyond the range at which m80 ball is barely minute of torso accurate from a fal, m14, or g3. It could also do it with a lighter more compact round and action! More importantly it would be enough lighter and with enough less recoil that, where needed, a properly trained user could afford to and actually get benefit from using short bursts to sufficiently harass if they didn’t hit their target to force them to go to ground. Thus allowing infantry to do their primary mission… Find the enemy, use sound tactics to maneuver the enemy or keep him from maneuvering long enough for support weapons or other assets to kill or otherwise neutralize them.

            The setup I’ve laid out would give our soldiers an EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE tool for doing just that. Not only that but it’s a solution that would be extremely cost effective, and arguably give us better ability to transition existing industrial infrastructure to producing ten or even a hundred times what is normally produced in peace time with extraordinarily quick ramp up compared to trying to do the same with a more traditional ammunition type

          • roguetechie

            Ok I have some additional thoughts to add not in my first comment. Over and Over you talk about this idea which you treat as some axiom or fact that things will ALWAYS get more costly and More complex.

            This is quite frankly a great example of the D in FUD (Fear Uncertainty Disinformation)

            The reality is the defense industry has somehow managed to sell this lie for quite awhile now pretty successfully. However, it’s not true. There’s one item in particular which I’m thinking of specifically that ties in with my proposed ideal path in fire control systems that shows this for the utter falsehood it is. This item which was released fairly recently has all of the capabilities of a milspec system of 2007, a host of new capabilities and functionality that just so happen to enable about 65% of the fire control you say is about 20 years away, costs right around 1/30th of this system of equivalent capabilities (did I mention that the 1/30th number assumes I’m buying ONE of the current system retail versus the unit cost of the milspec equivalent item with the negotiating power of the US government behind it and several thousand bought in each batch?), weighs again about a 30th of the milspec, consumes substantially less power than the milspec, takes up about a third of the cubic volume, is substantially more durable, and I can order a THOUSAND of these TODAY and have them in under 30 days! Try that with the 2007 milspec system! So yeah, no… more cost complexity and logistical tail are NOT a guaranteed side effect of increased capabilities. Further, BOTH of the key things you take issue with (the round I propose and the fire control I state it will help end users make best use of) are actually in categories of items that are RAPIDLY becoming cheaper and easier to manufacture items with SUBSTANTIALLY more capability in smaller packages at less cost!

            Now another thing you keep stating as a fact, although it’s nowhere close to being anything other than your own opinion based off of very little factual information, and lots of outright falsehood, is this idea but the round and fire control systems I wrote about are throwing money at diminishing returns….

            Honestly, this is laughably incorrect! The sighting technologies aren’t 20 years away …. they may not even be 5 years away even at TODAY’S GLACIAL PACE! Now realistically, I very carefully chose my wording and stated performance level to something that I personally know where to get the raw components for TODAY! There’s less than 3 actual physical technologies that would even need a 12 man design team and 3 months to bring BEYOND the level I was projecting in my writing! The rest is software, systems integration, and ruggedization….

            As long as it was for something non gun related…. you’d be hard pressed to charge even 12 grand for it right now. Now, considering I know what the cost of certain issue items it would replace run, and in general what it costs to equip a modern soldier. Honestly, if the political will were there, and the right people finally said enough is enough. You could in fact do the FCS component for about 8 grand each TODAY as long as you bought at least 40 thousand at a time.

            By next year, the upgraded version might be under 3 thousand dollars per unit RETAIL.

            5 years from now… aside from being orders of magnitude more capable and weighing less you could probably get them for about what the DOD pays for ACOG’s.

            Welcome to moore’s law.

            Now onto the ammunition. First you state that any improvement would be extremely costly versus the improvement. (diminishing returns cited in a decidedly non diminishing returns applicable scenario) Then you made arguments that are not only factually inaccurate around large caliber sabot abilities, but you also completely ignored several key points I made and discarded out of hand a group of facts that didn’t fit your world view. (CBJ and it’s ability to hit man sized targets at range… which by the way have been evaluated to a level that satisfies me, and leaves me absolutely certain that a round along the lines of what I proposed could deliver very very respectable accuracy at long range)

            Also speaking of things that don’t fit your world view. You choose to completely IGNORE the entire section of my post where I laid down a cogent and logical case for why I think this path is right not just from a capability standpoint, but also from a standpoint of our ability to MASSIVELY scale up production if faced with a peer adversary!!

            Not only do you ignore it but you outright assert that i am totally wrong and that it would severely limit this ability to produce large quantities and do so for sustained periods!

            I feel compelled to point out the sadness I felt when I read this. Honestly it was so tragically out of touch with the current capabilities we possess or are likely to possess any time soon, that I couldn’t bring myself to laugh. Not only that but you, like many in the firearms community, for some strange reason blithely assume that if a conflict like world war 2 were to break out today or in the near future that we could pull off the same feat we did at the time, and ramp up production of conventional munitions etc quickly and to a level that is anywhere close to what they did! Not only is this false, but I outright PROVIDED YOU the information as to why this could not happen again!

            Really, Its ok to say I don’t like that idea it’s too radical for my tastes. What it’s not OK to do is cherrypick data, selectively ignore other data, persist in stating falsehoods as unquestionable truth, and presenting your opinion as FACT!

          • n0truscotsman

            Im not ignoring anything and I certainly dont think your ideas are “too radical”. It would be great if such measurable leaps in small arms technology, like CBJ, occur.
            Once the battlefield changes enough to warrant the need for such fire control systems and ammunition types, they will take off like wildfire. The key word is “warrant”, which means considering the costs and difficulty in overcoming bureaucracy.
            And you misunderstood my point. I never argued that we could scale small arms ammunition production to WW2 levels precisely because we lack the industrial ability to do so. Even with smaller wars (comparatively) against a military like Iraqs, during the initial invasion, we had a difficult time keeping units supplied adequately.
            Limitations in such technologies and diminishing returns are not my biases. They’re facts supported by countless historical examples.

          • roguetechie

            Except of course for the fact that the fire control technology is in it’s infancy also. It’s hard to be at the point of diminishing returns when the item in question is just becoming feasible. The problem with saying ANY of what I’ve suggested is even close to a point of debatable risk in capital versus potential improvement is downright silly since ALL OF IT is in it’s infancy!

            Realistically you might have a point if I said I want to do this with no technology, tooling, or etc made after 2005. However, we’re literally entering a new era in tools, materials, and capabilities, so it’s bordering on ludicrous to say that the point of diminishing returns is already there before we even know the full potential of the technologies.

            Maybe I should clarify a couple things. First, the things I’m postulating aren’t a result of someone who has never even seen modern manufacturing equipment up close but got Rea excited about some articles he read. They’re a direct result of my real world knowledge, and my own personal skill set. I work with the technologies directly, and hopefully in the next 12-18 months I can transition to bringing the tools to build the technology into existence and maturity as each one is needed so I can at some point 3 years from now mail you an autographed fcs and presentation stand of the ammunition after I validate the performance and cost are within stated goal levels. Now it wouldn’t be to gloat, because I know you’re smart enough to get the magnitude and implications that the autographed set represent.

            Also please try to realize that my purposefully vague answers and or outright refusal to detail exact hows is twofold. First and foremost is that I’d rather the good guys get this stuff first for obvious reasons. And since, for the moment, I’m one of very few people that have a comprehensive and detailed road map of how to get from where we are now to where I’ve outlined in my posts quickly, cheaply,and with mostly system integration and code. Second, I’m not going to pretend I have no interest in being involved in this effort, and realizing the very substantial financial compensation that would follow.

            This is not speculative fiction where technical hurdles are blissfully ignored. I have a very good idea how to make it happen, including work arounds for the few things that have potential to go wrong lol.

    • valorius

      Almost no one gets killed by rifle fire anyway. The money would be far better spent on a better/lighter radio for combat troops.

  • n0truscotsman

    I just did a google search on that. Wow!!!

  • Blastattack

    .280 Ross!

  • If S&W had made more of an effort to market it outside of action pistol competitions, the .356 TSW could have stomped the .357 SIG.

  • It appears that ARMSCOR is looking at a 9x19mm cycle-length sibling to the .22 TCM. It is called the .22 REV.

  • ClintTorres

    I understand that sabot rounds do not play well with flash hiders as the sabot gets caught up in them.

    • roguetechie

      It depends on the construction of your sabot and muzzle device too.

      For example there’s a couple low recoil 120mm tank guns now that have a variety of muzzle braking solutions

  • Tassiebush

    I think one idea with merit is to resurrect the idea of Lieut James Forsyth as outlined in his book “the sporting rifle and it’s projectiles”(published 1867). He advocated a spherical ball fired from a chambering like 14gauge with a heavy charge like 4 or 5drams which was matched with a very slow rifling rate of about 1 in 105″ twist so ball didn’t strip the bore. Basically it gave a trajectory you could only dream of with a modern 1oz slug and with far with manageable recoil. Using a 100yard zero he said the trajectory was 1″ at 25yards, 2 5/8” at 50yards and 2 3/8” at 75. He said it was accurate to 200-250 yards. This guy was an avid tiger hunter and did not hold minie balls and other conical rounds in much esteem at all. More recent use in muzzle loaders (look up underhammer society) suggests shot from such a slow twist performs like a cylinder bore. It sounds to me like that type of load matched with that rifling in a 12gauge would provide a very effective rifle and riot gun combe. Perhaps adding a choke might allow it to perform as a normal

  • 1911a145acp

    meh… not so much.

  • uisconfruzed

    243AI?

  • I’ve done design studies in this area. You run into a few problems. First, the bullets get really long really quick; I’d go so far as to say a 115gr 6mm VLD cuprous bullet would flat-out not stabilize (it would be too long). The second is that high sectional density bullets do not like to be flung very fast (they accelerate slowly and require a lot of additional powder to reach the desired velocity). The cartridge case required to achieve this performance from even a 24″ barrel would need to be about the same size as a 30-06 necked down to 6mm. Not very small and light.

    Further consider that carbines are not going away, and if your infantry are using short barreled weapons firing a cartridge like this, they will be exposed to the enemy. The big fireball generated by the round will blind the soldier and give his position away. Not great for an infantry round.

    • valorius

      Us m995 ap ammo cracks 3300fps with a 52gr tungsten bullet.

  • I don’t mean to be obtuse, but beyond the marketing material what is supposed to be special about the 6.8 in this regard?

  • That’s true, but I don’t really think a one cartridge system is possible. Even if you came up with an excellent GPC, people would still reach for M4 Carbines because they are so much lighter and handier.

    Even in World War II, the US fielded a rifle and a carbine in two different calibers. You could make a case for replacing all machine guns with something in a more balanced caliber, I guess, but you’re simply not getting rid of 5.56 until you replace it with something comparable.

  • gunsandrockets

    MAG was not designed around the OAL of the 7.62mm NATO cartridge. Sweden issued it in 6.5mm Swedish caliber in 1958.

    According my old 10th edition of Small Arms of the World by Smith and Smith, page 238 “The MAG can be used with any rifle cartridge with the same base dimensions as the 7.92mm Mauser, this includes 7.62mm NATO, simply by changing the barrel.”

  • gunsandrockets

    Some of the smaller pistols are just too small or lightly built to handle 9mm Luger, and the same probably holds true for 7.65mm Luger. For example the new Browning 1911-380.

    In addition the narrower case of the 7.65x20mm Longue has a few other limited advantages over the 7.65mm Luger. Since it is not a bottlenecked case, it should be easier to reload, and since it is a narrower case a pistol should be able to hold a couple more rounds.

  • dan citizen

    Nice article, Thanks.

  • valorius

    7.92mm bvr is intended for defeating body armor. It’s not really very comparable to .380.

  • valorius

    The five seven pistol does everything a 7.92 vbr pistol would do.

  • valorius

    What’s wrong with 5.7mm?

  • valorius

    An m1 carbine necked down to 6.5mm would be pretty sweet.

  • 1911a145acp

    You can find Fiocchi Brand new 300 BLK ISO 9000 Certified brass cased ammo for about .58 cent a round. Kind of hard pull the handle of a reloader in the middle of a fight. At least your hand-loads are waterproofed and have flash retardant on the gun powder …….right?

  • n0truscotsman

    That is lifted straight from Alexander’s website, although I’m rather skeptical myself.
    It is certainly attainable, although you will end up with a cartridge that is a jack of all trades, master of none.

  • gunsandrockets

    MAG was not designed around the OAL of the 7.62mm NATO cartridge. Sweden adapted the MAG in 6.5mm Swedish caliber in 1958.

    According my old 10th edition of Small Arms of the World by Smith and Smith, page 238 “The MAG can be used with any rifle cartridge with the same base dimensions as the 7.92mm Mauser, this includes 7.62mm NATO, simply by changing the barrel.”

    I figure if the MAG can handle 30-06, it should be able to handle .35 Whelen.