Armament Research Services has introduced its latest Working Paper, “Chambering the Next Round: Emergent Small-calibre Cartridge Technologies“, as published by The Small Arms Survey in Geneva, Switzerland. The author is N.R. Jenzen-Jones, the current director of ARES.
The report is mostly focused on two main points, that of a general purpose infantry cartridge, and the next generation of military ammunition, whether that be caseless, semi caseless, telescopic, or polymer cased rounds. If you don’t have an understanding of the advancement of military cartridges in the past century, and would like to learn more, Jenzen-Jones has an excellent background from metalic rimfire cartridges, up to current day advances, all within the 80 page report, and well backed up by footnotes, and authoritative sources. I think most importantly, he talks of this accordion effect, that initially cartridge production was to be making rounds larger, more lethal, with longer range. This is the .30-06, the .303, the 8mm Mauser. But then World War Two happens and its this rush to make everything smaller, and more lethal at closer ranges, the 7.62×51, the 7.62×39, and then to the 5.56×45, and the 5.45×39. But then today, we are finding out that at the ranges that our militaries are being employed, Afghanistan, these intermediate cartridges aren’t working. Jones raises the point that the 300 meter battle distance is sometimes no longer the case because of the inherent terrain, but also that many militaries are adopting optical sights, and soldiers can thus shoot further, with more accuracy than soldiers before them could in battle. These are just some of the points I took away from the report, but I would highly recommend reading it to gain a better understanding of the world of cartridge development.