LSAT 6.5mm Plastic-Cased Ammo, and the Army’s Next Small Arms Program

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The National Defense Industry Association has released the PowerPoint presentations from 2016 Armament Systems Forum, including Kori Phillips’ update on the Cased Telescoped Small Arms Systems (CTSAS) program, which is the successor to the well-known Lightweight Small Arms Technologies program (LSAT). Of special note in the presentation is the program’s decision to explore (and, to an extent, promote) the 6.5mm caliber as a viable option for CT configuration next-generation ammunition. There is quite a lot that could be discussed about this, but I’d like to focus on two pieces of information given to us by the presentation, those being the effective ranges  and the weight cited for the 6.5mm CT ammunition, shown by the slides below:

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Three things are evident from these slides: 1.) CTSAS seems to be seeking a 1200m effective range for the ammunition for both the support weapon and carbine (shown on slide 11), 2.) 6.5mm CT retains energy better, but is not significantly lighter than 7.62mm CT ammunition, and both are 30% heavier than even brass-cased 5.56mm, 3.) CTSAS has given up on the lethality and mobility increases cited by the LSAT program in 2014 as advantages of the lighter weight 5.56mm CT weapon versus the M249 (the 6.5mm and 7.62mm CT weapons and ammunition are both heavier than the M249 and its ammunition):

• Results for LSAT: – Squads employing the LSAT CT Light Machine Gun (LMG) [and M4A1+] had increases in lethality during short and long range engagements, improvements in speed of engagement and shot placement. – Soldiers attributed better mobility to the machine gun’s reduced size and weight in comparison to the current M249 – Weight and recoil reduction provide more precise fires on the objective particularly when AR gunners are firing from standing and kneeling positions – Automatic Riflemen were able to move quicker because of the lighter weight, with a positive impact on key AR missions

[emphasis mine]

I’ve read through most of the presentations from both last year’s NDIA conference and this one, and a trend has emerged: An emphasis on advanced, next-generation stabilized optics, lightweight cartridge cases, and small arms ammunition effective to 1200 meters or beyond. Whether these elements are connected into a single ambitious program or simply evidence of the “great minds think alike” phenomenon, I do not know, but if taken as a weathervane for future Army small arms development, they point to an overly ambitious set of requirements and goals for next generation small arms.

This is worrying, because what is clear to me is that the US Army has a long, sad history of creating programs that are far too ambitious, optimistic, and unrealistic relative to the actual needs of their forces in warfare. Worse, these programs have tended to collapse in a heap with no survivors, rather than be appropriately scaled back to produce spin-off products that see service. Just in small arms, we can point to the examples of the Objective Individual Combat Weapon, Advanced Combat Rifle, and Special Purpose Individual Weapon programs, all of which failed to produce hardly any resulting products at all. Even the M14, which was a successful program, was likewise initially based around requirements that were the product of vision-driven but unrealistic and overly optimistic thinking, and which over many years devolved into a procurement fiasco that took far more time and money than it should, and delivered a product that was in the end extremely underwhelming and virtually obsolete the day it was first issued.

I am extremely concerned by the hints that have come down the grapevine to me that the US Army development and procurement arms have now become obsessed with a 1200m capable individual weapon, which will it seems be justified by future technologies such as passively stabilized individual weapon systems and other speculative developments. The focus on a hypothetical but much-hyped long range engagement centering around each individual infantryman achieving “overmatch” versus enemy 7.62x54mmR medium/general purpose machine guns, while not a complete fantasy, doesn’t seem to reflect the realities of modern combined arms warfare, and seems to point towards the US Army seeking a procurement solution to what may well be an organizational problem. This is extremely worrying to someone like myself who is familiar with the skill set of the common individual, and who is very aware of the difficulty of long-range shooting under even ideal conditions. Expecting every soldier to take advantage of weapons designed to “overmatch” enemy weapons out to these extreme distances is an attitude that would take a considerable weight of empirical evidence to prove as valid and realistic.

It would of course be wonderful to equip our infantrymen with weapons with which they could engage and eliminate the enemy at distances beyond which the enemy may engage them in return, but if this vision is proven to be fantasy rather than possibility, all that these Army development programs will have accomplished – if we’re lucky – is fielding a weapon and ammunition that together are much larger and heavier than they need to be, and which will therefore have completely squandered the potential advantages of the lightweight cased ammunition concept. Given that the soldier’s load is already at a critical point, where fighting men are being taxed to their limit in service and then routinely returning to civilian life with high disability ratings, this is a mistake that the Army can ill afford.

Beyond the potential for tragic success, though, the history of US Army programs strongly suggests that a likely eventuality for over-ambitious Army infantry weapons development is “Total Program Kill”, where all efforts to develop a new system collapse in a heap due to management betting everything on advanced technologies that never materialize, taking with them all of the good ideas that were piggybacked on the program, and leaving the infantryman with the same weapon his fathers and grandfathers fought with, or one little or no better.



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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  • Alex A.

    I think you mean the next hole in the ground the Army will throw money into.

    • Saxonist Sealclubber

      After the red hooker heels that is.

  • forrest1985

    The extra weight versus current systems seems to be a big negative! Surely in the era of “everything polymer” we should be looking to reduce combat weight for our troops?

    • Frank

      Yeah. 9.7 pounds is similar to an AR with illumination devices and an optic.

    • JSmath

      From the presentation and the reading – the 6.5mm CSAT carbine would be used as a replacement for DMR-type 7.62mm NATO applications – the M14 and its several derivatives. 9.7lbs is a hair over a SOCOM 16, and well under a match rifle, all regarded without accessories.

      If you look at the cartridge image (again, or for the first time), you’ll see that the 6.5mm Cased Telescoped cartridge is identical in dimensions to the 7.62mm one. That’s also why the magazine configuration is 20 rounds instead of 30.

      From the specs, and assuming engineering meets and/or exceeds current performance, it’d be very much worth considering replacing our aging LMGs and DRMS with 6.5mm CT LMGs and carbines as the opportunity presents itself.

      • forrest1985

        I accept your point but calling it a 6.5mm “carbine” and using 5.56 in its comparison doesn’t help…..are you sure this is not army’s attempt to develop a “wonder cartridge” replacing both 7.62 & 5.56 in one package?

        • I am pretty sure it is. The literature suggests that, and the folks who attended the conference say that’s what they’re going for.

        • JSmath

          Carbine refers to a short barrel and stock, particularly compared to similar rifles. Dimensionally, that’s what this proposed weapon fits the bill of. Whether people like it or not, a .50BMG in similar packaging would be a carbine. Just a really loud and heavy one. For comparison, the M1 Carbine series was about 36″ long with an 18″ barrel, whereas the M189x Carbines had 22″ barrels …

          I’m not speaking for the Army or what they’re thinking. I’m just looking at the specs and interpreting what they mean with what the numbers have meant previously. Lots of people involved in Afghanistan would prefer a main battle weapon with a 6.5mm or 7.62mm cartridge.

      • Where do they say it is a DMR?

  • Frank

    Wonder, those nickel/aluminum hybrid cases that were shown off before. What’s the weight savings of those vs caseless ammo, and is it even really needed now with current conflicts?

    • The savings is significantly reduced, and that configuration does not work well with high pressure rifle cartridges.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    Looks like I was right after all. Get rekt.

    • You are truly charming.

    • Tritro29

      Soviets were there with the Unified 6×49. Guess what, soon enough the US will learn. There’s no “ideal” calibre.

      • Kivaari

        We had the .236 Navy over 100 years ago.

        • Tritro29

          While the bait is too juicy to let go, we’re talking about a unified, full spectrum round for an active military of more or less 6 million people…I seriously doubt, the US even came close to that by the End of Cold war. Let alone 1900’s when the US military was a token force.

        • Ah, the 6.5mm Lee. Good performer. That, unfortunately, trashed the rifles it was used in, and wouldn’t have been affordable (due to wear issues) if issued to Big Army (instead of the tiny Marine Corps).

          • Kivaari

            6mm (.236 caliber). It was different, and using a long round nose bullet had the same failures as all the 6.5mm, 7mm, .30 US, .30-03 8mm etc. did not perform well at ranges desired or in tissue even up close. The substitution of a spritzer bullet improves all of the early RN FMJ loads. Later the low drag boat tail bullets could be driven at good speed and they held up to long range well.
            The Winchester Lee-Navy rifles were beautiful but delicate. They used a similarly delicate stripper clip. Nice and interesting rifles.
            It did not seem to offer anything over Mauser bolt actions. I’d guess that is why the M1903 replaced them. Even then the ’03 was not as good as the M98 Mauser.

          • My bad – I’ve got 6.5mm on the brain. Yeah, 6mm.

    • John Doe

      Awwww, isn’t he just adorable……

    • Pedro .Persson

      You are forgetting about automatic fire controlability and follow up shots, those will be better than 7.62 but still considerably worse than 5.56. And on soldier’s load, there are people coming back with screwed-up knees due to the excessive weight, besides reducing weight is always a good thing.

      If you want to add range while keeping the weight down or at least the same you need a bullet with a better BC. That can be accomplished with a heavy smaller caliber bullet than 5.56 travelling at a higher speed. You get a flatter trajectory with less flight time and potential better energy retention depending on the exact specs of the bullet, all with the same recoil. The downside is that you need a longer barrel or to use sabots, the former can be solved with a bullpup.

      But that is for the rifleman because the improvements are marginal, for support weapons you still need a heavier and significantly more powerful round. Having a do all round means you compromise on all aspects of performance.

      • Kivaari

        Hasn’t the VA reported that most disability claims are for back injuries and hearing? Knees and backs take a beating. Lighten the load, and don’t replace the weight saved with new gear by adding more of anything putting the load back where it ruins knees and backs. If the soldier could perform his duty better with 40 pounds, of just as effective performance, that should be a goal.

        • therealgreenplease

          Lighter load also means the soldier will be more nimble on the battlefield. Given the environments that we fight in, it seems much more important that a soldier get across a street quickly than be able to run 6+ miles through the woods. IIRC, the U.S. Army’s change to basic training reflects this reality.

          • Kivaari

            That was my point. If we can reduce a soldier’s load while not degrading his abilities, that a better warrior. Even in my misspent youth I found out that if I had a 40 pound pack in addition to the weapons and magazines, I was not speedy and I had a tendency to end up on my ass more than I liked.

          • Yep. The 5.56mm CT provides a sure benefit at the expense of a speculative advantage. The 6.5mm CT provides a speculative advantage at the expense of a sure benefit.

            But worse than that is that the Army appears to have gotten stars in their eyes again, and they have an extremely consistent track record of failure when that happens.

        • Pedro .Persson

          I don’t doubt, but I’ve heard about the knees and it left an impression that something wasn’t right with all the weight carried. That should be Phase 1 of any “Future Soldier” program, lighten everything and anything to the max while keeping or improving the performance, serviceability and reliability and costs (somehow… albeit less and better equipped military could be an idea.) Then and just then you focus on adding electronics and whatnot. If making adding the tech fails to keep the weight down with everything you still have a better kit, be it more “hi-tech” “Joint-something” or just lighter. How you distribute the loads is also as much if not more important that gross weight.

          It’s a common problem of engineering and projects of other areas. Perfection is the enemy of adequate. How many good projects that would have made a difference, a real and tangible one, were killed because they failed to meet unrealistic goals? That is not the same as failing to bring an improvement but that potential improvement was totally lost.

          • Kivaari

            Yep !

      • A Fascist Corgi

        Go shoot an AR-15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel if you haven’t already. The recoil is very manageable. Granted, I haven’t shot a fully automatic version, but I doubt that it would be a problem.

        And no offense to our soldiers, but one of the reasons why veterans are respected is due to the sacrificial nature of their jobs. Their main goal should be to win wars, not to retire with perfectly preserved bodies. The 6.5 round gives you a significant ballistic advantage over your opponents, and therefore it should be adopted. And I seriously doubt that adding a couple of pounds to a soldier’s loadout will cause their knees and lower backs to explode.

        • asdffdsa

          >Their main goal is to win wars, not to retire with perfectly preserved bodies

          Let’s put that on every new recruitment poster.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Great idea. That will weed out the people that are just in it for the money and the benefits.

        • So basically “screw your health, man up and carry this ammunition we designed around a requirement four times longer than you can actually shoot”?

          Like most people who advocate for these things, you seem to have forgotten that modern warfare is a combined arms effort. My question to you is, in this scenario where the Taliban are equipped with shiny new 6.5mm rifles, where are our mortars? Where are our other support weapons? Why have our soldiers been put in a position where they are forced to engage long range assets with just carbines?

          The great thing about turning everything into a procurement problem and ignoring the underlying issues is that it’s a solid roadmap for promotion, retirement, and a lucrative job on the private sector. It’s not, however, a good way to actually solve problems and bring soldiers home hale and whole.

          So what I’m saying here is, be very sure what side of that coin you are on.

          • Kivaari

            Excellent ! Everyone calling for bigger and more powerful rifles forget that those things detract from the ability of the soldier to function. Bigger cartridges that weigh more, kick more and do other magic don’t make sense. When we have heavy bullet loads for the 5.56 and that gives increased range, within practical rifles fighting distances, w don’t need to make them effective at longer ranges, if the soldier can’t shoot that far in real combat.
            Over 50 years I’ve used a great many rifles, carbines, handguns and SMGs. If an MP5 could work at 500m, we’d all have MP5s since they are small, lightweight, have low recoil and are easy to use and maintain. Even though I can make very good groups at 100 yds, that requires a calm day and a steady rest.
            In military settings SMGs have almost no place where they are the best choice. We now have silencers that make the M4-type weapons usable in confined spaces. Until the advent of quality suppressors I’d pick an MP5 for many civilian police jobs. Now the M4 fills the spot bringing superior performance.
            Leave the M4 alone and work on a machinegun to replace the M240 and M249, but only do it, if our allies also think it is a good idea. What we may gain on the battlefield may not be worth the cost in the end.

          • The real disappointment here is that now we will miss out on the excellent weight savings offered by the 5.56mm CT systems. That could have been a real help to reducing the soldier’s weight while maintaining effectiveness… And you could have even increased the effectiveness substantially without a weight increase, which I discussed in a previous post.

          • Marcus D.

            I’ve lost track. Since it seems to be dominating the conversation, what is the current load out weight? Last I heard (long ago), it was in the 90s, but I think it’s maybe topped a hundred.

          • Current rifleman’s nominal load is 210 rounds of M855/M855A1 in 7 30 round mags, which is 210 * 12 grams + 7 * 113 grams, or 3.311 kilograms (7.3 pounds).

            5.56mm CT was set to reduce that to something like 200 rounds in 5 40 round magazines, if I recall, which would be roughly 2.190 kilograms (4.8 pounds), if we use a value of 110 grams for the quad stack 40 round mags, and 8.2 grams as the weight of a 5.56mm CT cartridge (given to us by LSAT).

            With 6.5mm CT, that changes to – I’m making up the round count and magazine weight figures here, but they should be roughly accurate – 200 rounds weighing 15.4 grams each, in 10 20 round magazines weighing 140 grams each, or a total load of 4.480 kilograms (9.9 pounds).

            So that’s a weight increase for the combat load of 35%.

          • Marcus D.

            I was asking for the whole gear load out, not just ammo and firearms. As I recall, it has steadily increased over the last century, to the point that the load itself is causing low back, ankle and knee injuries, in addition to the reduction in mobility caused by all that weight. Which is what one would expect when asking someone to cart around half his body weight. So weight reductions need to be made not just in ammo, which is significant enough poundage, but the whole kit.

          • Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. Yes, the current soldier’s load is ridiculously heavy, although I don’t have hard figures on hand (I have some ones from earlier in the Iraq War, but that survey doesn’t seem to have been followed up – at least not publicly).

            The only way to reduce weight is to aggressively attack it in every aspect of the soldier’s kit. That the CTSAS team does not appear concerned about this is very worrying.

          • Saxonist Sealclubber

            We were carrying about our own body weight in Afghanistan. Which was between 150 and 180lbs. Depending on who is carrying what. This is pre-OEF VIII when the doctrine changed and everyone had to move as mounted troopers.

            That corgi guy has no idea what he’s saying to a Vet. None of us wanted to carry that crap, it’s what the Army forced us to carry. When the move to the IOTV happened it was a god-send to finally not have to walk everywhere. Forget trying to move around with an IOTV on. That POS is like wearing a lead vest.

          • Hi Saxonist,

            Then I guess you well and truly know why I am concerned! Did they differentiate between Assault/Combat/Emergency loads, or did you just hump all your gear all the time?

          • Saxonist Sealclubber

            In those days you were either on a recon patrol, assault mission, or QRF.

            Recon you humped everything, that was the heaviest and you’d spend at least three weeks walking. Assault was usually from a Chinook and was usually about twice the ammo and water. QRF was the standard combat load.

            These are the earlier IBA days, while that thing was heavy, it was mobile.

          • Here’s a paper quoting a combat load for Marines of 90 pounds: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a510886.pdf

          • More on the soldier’s combat load throughout history:

            http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a502544.pdf

          • A Fascist Corgi

            The way you’re shaping this debate is totally ridiculous. You act like adding a couple of pounds to a soldier’s loadout is the equivalent of adding 200 pounds, and that my support for adopting the 6.5 Grendel round will cripple the bodies of our soldiers and turn them into immobile turtles – and all for the purpose of achieving useless superior ballistic performance since you think that U.S. soldiers simply aren’t capable of suppressing or killing an enemy past 200 yards with their carbines.

            Let’s tackle these ridiculous talking points one by one…

            – The weight gain.

            A couple pounds is simply not a big deal. It just isn’t. And the trade-off is obviously worth it since you get superior ballistic performance at every range. And these aren’t minor ballistic advantages. Not only does the 123-grain Lapua Scenar loading of the 6.5 Grendel round enjoy about 500 more foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle when compared to even some of the best 77-grain BTHP 5.56x45mm NATO rounds (both rounds are being fired out of 20-inch barrels), but it also enjoys having roughly the same foot-pounds of energy at 300 meters that the 5.56x45mm NATO round has at the muzzle. It also starts to pull ahead of the 147-grain M80 7.62x51mm NATO round at about 600 meters. That’s a pretty large leap forward in ballistic performance.

            – You think that our soldiers supposedly can’t shoot for crap; so what’s the point of improving ballistic performance in their carbines?

            Even if you’re right and our soldiers are absolutely garbage marksmen, that still wouldn’t dissuade me from pushing the 6.5 Grendel round on them. Everyone knows that with a little training and better gear you can make most people better shooters. I don’t see why you’d think that it’s out of the question that we should train and equip our soldiers to effectively engage enemies at over 200 yards with their carbines. And let’s not forget that the 6.5 Grendel round has the potential for superior terminal performance at close range as well since it’s a much larger bullet with more foot-pounds of energy behind it. I know that you think that that increasing the size of the bullet and its foot-pounds of energy are almost meaningless in terminal performance,

            And additionally, you also wouldn’t have to worry about the differences in magazine capacity if you simply lengthened the magazines by about 3/4th of an inch or so.

            Edit: I have to post my comment in an unfinished form because I have to turn off my laptop. I’ll finish it a bit later.

          • You don’t seem to have a background in engineering or weight optimization, so I’ll take a little time to explain. When you have a system – in this case, the soldier – that is overweight, the best way to reduce its weight is to attack the weight of each individual subsystem. Now, the soldier is carrying a lot of crap, and most of it is essential, so we have to attack each item he is carrying and search for lighter solutions.

            Now, I do not have a hand in laser designators, water canteens, GPS systems, body armor, and other pieces of the soldier’s kit, but I do comment on small arms and their ammunition, which are a significant part of that kit.

            So that means, when the CTSAS team comes out and says “hey guys, instead of reducing overall ammunition weight by 2.5 pounds, we’re going to increase it by 2.5 pounds”, that is completely unacceptable to me unless they have heaps of proof that this weight gain is totally necessary to the soldier’s mission (and they don’t, regardless of what advantages one might speculate the larger, heavier caliber might bring).

            That’s because that additional 5 pounds versus the 5.56mm CT paradigm is a large part of reducing the soldier’s load by 20, 30, or possibly 40 pounds. 5 pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but the overall system weight must be reduced, and to do that every subsystem must be subject to weight reduction.

            Now, against that you’ve weighed the longer range and greater effectiveness of 6.5mm ammunition… But you haven’t actually outlined any requirements that you think need to be met, or why, and you’re far from providing evidence and research backing those requirements. So what if 6.5mm provides more energy? 14.5x114mm provides even MORE energy, so we should use that, right? Hell, let’s just give everybody 84mm recoilless rifles! These ludicrous examples aren’t intended to be a rhetorical argument against 6.5mm, but to get you to think about what the soldier needs to be doing and what tools he needs to accomplish those tasks, and how to give him those tools at the lowest possible weight. That’s all I want anybody to do!

          • Ceiling Cat

            Have you seen what Nat F looks like? You wouldnt be surprised when you hear him complaining about the weights.

          • I didn’t complain about the weights I lifted at the gym tonight – they were somewhat heavier than 2 pounds. 😉 Maybe appearances aren’t everything, bucko.

          • Ceiling Cat

            >2 pounds
            Is this some kind of self loathing sarcasm?

          • n0truscotsman

            So you cant address Nathaniel’s arguments, so you resort to an attack on his personal appearances?

            What is this, grade school playground debate? grow up.

          • I have many appearances, including Blue Steel, Ferrari, Le Tigre, and Magnum. 😉

          • Ceiling Cat

            It is observation coupled with facts. Stay assblasted.

          • n0truscotsman

            So, do pray tell, what do nathan’s appearances have to do with this discussion? care to answer that question?

            I thought not.

            Grow up.

          • Ceiling Cat

            His appearance is that of a typical, obese American who weighs 100+ kg, my dear belligerent, buttdestructed fanboy.

          • n0truscotsman

            More deflection I see. And you seem pretty anally fixated with your insults. Cry for help much?

          • Ceiling Cat

            Do they even teach English over there anymore? How did you come to think that I “cried for help”? Are you of the same physical appearance as Nat F? So insecure…

        • Pedro .Persson

          It’s not about the recoil being manageable but it being greater, follow up shot, specially at some range will be hindered even if by a small margin, specially since the Grendel does not have that much more killing capacity to justify it. Having that factor stay the same as 5.56 but with a shorter flight time and flatter trajectory and better energy retention at long range and greater fragmentation due to velocity at shorter range seems to me a better deal. But again it’s quite marginal improvement for the 5.56 is a quite well rounded cartridge.

          In your example yes, but thing is they don’t. They most likely have 7.62×39 and 5.45 being fired from a 16″ barrel. Long fire will be more or less as effective as what American troops have. With the true long range support being given by full powered 7.62 rounds for both sides.

          As for the NATO thing, yes I agree. The idea is nice but the implementation is lacking, specially in regards to bullets and magazines.

    • MPWS

      Are you considering over penetration at common 200-300m rangers?

    • n0truscotsman

      “And so much for your “200 yards and in is all that really matters” BS.”

      What would you even attempt to claim that as “BS”!?

      This was a *FACT* first proven in World War 1 and emphasized again in WW2 and pretty much every conflict afterwards. Its still true today.

      Afghanistan aside, where disadvantages in distance of 5.56 can be compensated for with the proper application of snipers, designated marksmen, crew served machine guns, mortars ,etc, future conflicts will most likely be more urbanized, not less so.

      Note, the Red Army in Afghanistan compensated for the AK74s shortcomings by applying more PKM and SVDs in their rifle sections. Easy peasy. This, however, didn’t justify adopting a ‘bigger bullet’ for common infantry rifles centered around a major war with a power like the US or China.

      “The U.S. Army doesn’t agree with you that soldiers shouldn’t have the equipment and the training needed to defeat enemies at long range”

      Thats not what was being proposed by Nathaniel or anybody else. Arguing that soldiers ‘shouldn’t have the equipment…” is stupid, which is why nobody is doing it.

      Criticizing ‘proposed solutions’ doesn’t mean, “well, the soldiers shouldn’t have the equipment…”.

      .

      • That’s kinda what I don’t get… If you need to change calibers to beat the Pashtuns, what are you doing fighting wars in the first place?

        And if you’re not changing calibers to beat the Pashtuns, why are you doing it?

        I sort of feel like a climate change skeptic here, because even just asking questions has gotten a lot of people very upset with me.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        Yeah. Easy-peasy. The M4 and the 5.56x45mm NATO round wasn’t up to the task in Afghanistan so we had to dust off the M14 and start issuing it again; and let’s field all kinds of other weapons in order to compensate for the anemic performance of the 5.56x45mm NATO round. That’s so much more logical than simply upgrading the round in our standard-issue carbines. I look forward to hearing about soldiers complaining about the stopping power and long-range performance of their rifles for decades to come. And you guys can pat yourselves on the back every time you hear those sorts of comments.

        • n0truscotsman

          More specifically, the M855 wasn’t up to the task, not 5.56 per se. Mk 262 and 318 performed far more superior for that theatre, being respectable combat cartridges at their own right. M855 was *always* a fairly underwhelming cartridge designed with an entirely differing mentality than fighting counter-insurgencies.

          Furthermore, the introduction of the M14 was an ad hoc solution that fulfilled the designated marksman/semi-automatic sniper rifle role that had been left unfilled among unconventional forces thanks to big military reluctance to do so. Given that the SR25 and derivatives had already been in service among special operations side, the logic behind the reintroduction of the M14 was conceptually flawed IMO. But that doesn’t change the fact that designated marksmen are essential parts of infantry MTO&E.

          “That’s so much more logical than simply upgrading the round in our standard-issue carbines.”

          It is actually, considering the myriad of problems *upgrading* the standard service rifle cartridge would bring.

          “I look forward to hearing about soldiers complaining about the stopping power and long-range performance of their rifles for decades to come.”

          LOL

          This has been a common complaint among soldiers since the trend towards smaller and smaller cartridges has been adopted. the same sort of bulls–t that started with the Krag Jorgenson.

          But yeah sure, adopting a cartridge that is generally a millimeter or less larger in diameter is going to address anecdotes and satisfy naysayers. /rolls eyes/

          From my experience, M855 is a mediocre cartridge that deservedly is being replaced by superior designs. That doesn’t mean *all 5.56* is at fault.

          “the 6.5 Grendel round is always superior to the 5.56x45mm NATO round. ”

          Yeah except the practacality of 6.5 grendel as a standard military cartridge is nebulous at best, given characteristic problems associated with the case and projectile’s ability to accomodate tracers. This has already been discussed over a decade ago, except the only ones still stuck in fantasy lala land are 6.5 fanboys. Surprise, surprise.

          You want to enhance the effectiveness of the infantry squad? start talking about emerging technologies to greatly enhance the firepower of soldiers. Like manportable missiles, PGMs, etc.

  • JSmath

    It is pretty clear the proposed weapon isn’t meant to replace M4’s and similar weapons in any capacity.

    • Could you point me to where they made it clear? I did not get that impression.

  • Jay

    The huge obvious fail, i can imediately see, is that, the 6.5mm CT round they created is not the result of scaling the case to 6.5mm, but using the exact case they made last year for the 7.62mm machine gun.
    Just look at the 7.62mm and 6.5mm case specs. They are identical. No difference in size and the only diference in weight comes from lighter bullet and less powder.
    This is a buge fail in my opinion. The cartridge is not made for 6.5mm but 7.62mm.

    Yep. The army can and always will screw up a wet dream.

    • Marc

      They probably used the already existing case for proof of concept and would create a specific 6.5 mm case once the caliber is approved for adoption.

      • Tony Williams

        Correct. I listened to the presentation and the decision to use the same case for the 6.5mm as the 7.62mm was driven by the convenience of being able to just switch barrels when testing the carbine and LMG in both calibres. The 6.5mm case is therefore bigger than it needs to be.

        Incidentally, the presenter made a couple of relevant remarks I noted:

        First, about the 5.56mm LSAT which is no longer being worked on:
        “feedback was that ‘it weighs less but doesn’t do any more'”

        Second, on the 6.5mm CT compared with the 7.62mm:
        “so much more additional capability…..no point in using 7.62mm”

        The 6.5CT is clearly seen as the optimum calibre for future squad weapons, replacing both the 5.56mm and 7.62mm. The system weight of the 6.5CT LMG and ammo is about the same as the 5.56mm M249, but the long-range performance betters the 7.62mm.

        The performance at 1200m is clearly of relevance to a tripod-mounted MG, the effective range of other weapons chambered for the cartridge will depend on various factors.

        What came across clearly in the presentations from the Army was that advanced rangefinder/ballistic computer sights are currently the top priority in small arms. Another one they’re looking at (rather more into the future) is a stabilised gun to cancel out the usual “firing shake”. The aim of both of these developments is to get the actual combat hit probabilities closer to the capabilities of the weapon and ammunition.

        • Jay

          Thank you for your imput.
          Do you know, by chance, what velocity they get out of that 6.5mm??
          I have the feeling they are making the CT cersion of the .260 instead of a 6.5mm intermediary cartridge, that could replace both legacy calibers.

          • Austin

            6.5mm bullets are .264…..

          • Jay

            I was talking about the .308 based cartridge, .260 Remington. That’s what this 6.5mm CT cartridge looks like to me. You don’t replace the 5.56mm carbines with a 10lbs rifle shooting this cartridge.

        • Austin

          What will be interesting to see is how the performance compares between the 6.5 versions, if the 6.5/7.62mm has close to 6.5mm Creedoor statistics they might not want to scale it down.

      • Just as, for earlier iterations, they used M855 projos and insisted on exact ballistic matches of the M855 through an M249 (so they could be analyzing apples to apples, not apples to orangutans). Then they expanded to a larger caliber match 7.62x51mm ballistics with a 7.62mm projo.

        The idea was they would “dial in” the caliber and projo for optimization later.

        I suspect they will “dial in” the case construction and get some weight and space savings on the next ammo iteration.

  • politicsbyothermeans

    Nathaniel, I agree with the overall gist of your post. I can’t speak to the specific requirement the 1,200m capability is supposed to meet. If it is some sort of ‘every soldier a sniper’ requirement then this is a waste of time. If it is meant to provide our platoons with the same capabilities as our enemies in Afghanistan, it starts to make a little more sense. I am thinking specifically of their use of the PKC as an area denial weapon. It really sucks getting owned by a 50 year old machine gun manned by one ding dong in an overwatch position. It would be really nice to have something on tap to respond other than E&Eing away and waiting for attack aviation.

    • CommonSense23

      Or we could just use good tactics and are equipment advantages to out smart and out fight the Taliban. We let the enemy set the conditions of the fight currently.

      • politicsbyothermeans

        As an infantry company commander responsible for over 1,200sq. km what asset could you push down to a platoon to deny the enemy all of the high grounds and any terrain with LOS past 1000m? Doctrinally, you need at least a company to clear a valley deeper than 300m and that still leaves your flank platoons vulnerable from fires the next ridgeline over. Even good tactics can put an infantry platoon well inside of the enemy’s range with no organic means to respond other than maneuvering out under fire. Besides, tactics evolve as weapons evolve. It sounds like someone has identified a requirement to engage the enemy at 1,200m. I am not saying it is likely, or even immediately possible, but if American ingenuity can make it happen, it’s a capability that would even the fight in some instances.

        • forrest1985

          Would this also partly replace the M249? I only ask as us Brits appear to be introducing more L129’s and reducing minimi quantities. The arguement being long range accurate suppresion fire via 7.62 is more advantageous than a shorter range 5.56 automatic system.

          • LCON

            The British Army and the USMC are smaller than the US Army and aiming for a lighter force already. The british are also looking to eliminate the Commando Mortar well the USMC is phasing out the SAW for the M27 IAR.
            The original goal of the LSAT program from which the CTSAS branched off of was to develop a family of light weight infantry weapons that would replace the M16/M4 and M249 well retaining existing Doctrine.
            They devised two roots of development cased telescoped and caseless. They seem to have killed the caseless line.
            Then they expanded Cased Telescoped into the medium weight with a 7.62mm Class MG. A line of three systems a 5.56mm carbine, a 5.56mm LMG and a 7.62mm MG
            the Original aim was reduced weight. the LSAT LMG in 5.56mm CT without ammo was 9.8 pounds the empty weight with about 2 pounds for a 100 rounds of ammo for about 12 pounds loaded. An Mk46mod0 The lightest version of the M249 I can think of is about 15.4 pounds add 3.3 pounds for ammo and 18.7 pounds. now there are other very light LMG’s like the Stoner LMG A1 at 10 pounds which comes to about 13.3 pounds with a 100 round belt.
            The 7.62mm MG would have been about 14.7 pounds with a ammo weight of 100 pounds being about 4 pounds for a max of what 18.7 pounds or that of a loaded Mk46mod 0. vs the lightest M240 the Barrett 240 at 21.15 pounds 100 rounds of conventional brass is about 6.44 pounds for about 27.79 pounds loaded.

            If this was to go forward it may indicate a total block replacement for both the M249 and M240 with a single 6.5mm belt fed MG and the M4 with a 6.5mm Carbine. or it could indicate adoption as a pure DMR platform as the slides do not show a LMG variant they do mention one in the bar graphs as having a weight with 800 rounds of over 40 pounds roughly double that of a 5.56mm LSAT with 800 rounds and a little under the 7.62CT LMG
            They do indicate that the Carbine was derived from the CT 5.56mm carbine operation but with a lengthened barrel, they also indicate it suffered from increased recoil and weight as they show it weighs 9.7 pounds, for base line a M4A1 is about 6.74 pounds.

        • CommonSense23

          The switchblade for one will easily do the job. 60mm mortars are another. The issue is we are allowing the enemy to dictate the battle with their strengths, and not applying ours. Why the US military decides to move during the day instead of night still baffles me. The vast majority of US forces have not been using good tactics.

          • Evan

            My understanding of the daylight missions is that they’re mandated by the administration as a misguided way to win hearts and minds. Small unit tactics dictated from Washington are never a good idea. But hey, who cares if we win, as long as we don’t offend anyone. Now take this bundle of money and build a mosque to indoctrinate future mujahidin

        • therealgreenplease

          I feel like the application you’re talking about is really perfect for a counter-defilade weapon like the XM-25 granted that weapon is currently limited to 1,000yds iirc.

          • LCON

            In theory Xm25 has a max range of 1100yd. If the worry is past that then you need a mortar. The problem for the US infantry is that the lightest mortar we have is the M224A1 at about 38 pounds. DSG has been offering the US the Imortar ( No it’s not made by Apple) which easily would drop rounds around 1,700yd and weigh a ( relative in infantry terms) featherweight 12 pounds.

          • therealgreenplease

            Man I just looked at the iMortar (lol) and gosh does it look like a nifty little weapon. Seems like a no-brainer to carry one of those in an environment like Afghanistan. Combined with an advanced target acquisition and targeting system like Boomberang and a 60mm version of the XM395 and you basically have always-on-tap close air support.

        • Cmex

          Afghanistan is essentially ungovernable. Even if the topography didn’t make it a fool’s errand, the local culture and politics would. I know the army tried using anthropologists to play nice with the locals. The anthropologists should have just said “Do whatever you like; you’re never going to win over these people. In fact, the harder you try to win them over, the more they’ll be bound by tribal customs to fight and defy you. Sure, they’ll be civil to your face. They’ll host you for dinner. They’ll take your deals and your aid and make agreements, but they won’t feel any kind of need to honor them, especially if they get in the way of some other tribal interest.” The 1200M requirement likely comes from the army wanting to double its stated 600M effective range of the M4. If you haven’t read it, there’s “Taking Back the Infantry Half Kilometer:” It’s a good read. I think that from what can be taken from it, the M4 isn’t even a 500M platform in spite of claims, so perhaps pushing for a 1200M platform would allow the engagement ranges to be realistically pushed to around 800M, which would cover just about the furthest ranges encountered in Afghanistan. This is like the saying about gearing up to fight the last war, only Afghanistan has gone on so long we’re experiencing it while still there.

          • Saxonist Sealclubber

            Most of the people pushed through can’t even qualify at 300m. It’s a waste of money to push through a weapon system most of the men picking it up can’t even use effectively.

    • gunsandrockets

      “It would be really nice to have something on tap to respond other than E&Eing away and waiting for attack aviation.”

      During the Korean War, didn’t the Army use the M18a1 57mm RCL gun for that job with great success? I believe an average of two rounds expended per enemy nest destroyed. And I’m imagining how even more efficient such a weapon might be when coupled with a laser range finder.

    • To me, that sounds like an Army organizational, doctrinal, and tactical issue, not a materiel one. It’s not like the weapons to destroy a machine gun at those ranges (e.g., mortars) don’t exist at low levels of organization, so what’s really the problem here?

      • Erich Von Topp

        ↑ This precisely. When you see the guys with the PKM you call battalion and have them drop 3 M252 81mm rounds on them and you go back to eating your lunch.

      • I’m hoping the idea is that they would:
        A. Optimize the round for the 6.5mm in the next iteration (which will save some, but not much, weight).
        B. Adopt this round for a common LMG/GPMG, and common caliber DMR.

        C. Increase the effective range of the better riflemen (say, to 600m), while maintaining logistical commonality by using the same round as the MGs and DMRs. (Sort of how we use jet fuel for everything, even though it’s more expensive per gallon — the logistics advantages outweigh the costs.)

  • Jay

    Why the hell didn’t they optimize the case for 6.5mm? How f*ing hard could it be?

    • mig1nc

      It seems 6.5LDCT is to 7.62CT as 6.5 Creedmore is to 7.62NATO. I wonder if they just needed that much case capacity to push it to 1200 meters? Or just lazy development.. Either way.

      • Austin

        Is that 1200m shooting at one person, 1200m shooting at a group or past 1200m before it goes transonic?

      • Jay

        Lazy development, crappy budget, or straight out sabotage.
        The whole point of this program, was to find out how much weight can be saved with going to CT plastic cartridges. They did that right in 5.56mm and 7.62mm. But it looks like they didn’t really care enough about the 6.5mm version, to develop it’s own cartridge case.
        Loading the 6.5mm bullet into the .308 case, killed any potential for weight saving for that caliber. The thig is about as heavy as the 6.5mm grendel, or the 7.62×39, and there are much lighter platforms, available today, that can shoot those rounds.
        They were so eager to point out how much weight they saved and when they got to 6.5mm, they developed the heaviest version they could.
        Maybe you guys are right, maybe it’s just to speed up testing, but i doubt they will go back to make a new optimized 6.5mm cartridge, after they built a carbine and a machine gun for the current 7.62mm based version.

        • Bullet weight is the single biggest contributor to ammunition weight. Choose a heavy bullet, and your ammunition becomes accordingly heavier.

          The CTSAS team have chosen a fairly heavy weight for the 6.5mm caliber, and that – plus the overlarge cartridge case – have resulted in very heavy ammunition for the type. 5.56mm CT weighed 8.2 grams, so 6.5mm CT at 15.4 grams weighs 90% more.

    • They did that so that 6.5mm and 7.62mm development could be wrapped up together. That part makes sense, at least at their stage of development.

      • Jay

        I hope that is the reason and they didn’t get drunk on thw 1200 meter rifleman idea.

  • Tassiebush

    It seems like they’re deciding on what they want it to achieve ballistically without any thoughts on why the compromise of 5.56nato was arrived at in the first place.
    It’d make more sense to either see what could be achieved matching the weight of the current round but use this tech to enable more performance at that weight or match the current round performance in a lighter round.

    • Jay

      5.56mm cartridge was not the result of a scientific analysis. Whatever scientific metbod was used to create it, was used to make it a pdw cartridge to replace the .30 carbine for auxiliary troops, not a main frontline cartridge.

      • Austin

        The .223 Remington was a varmint round that was light and could be lethal

        • The .223 Remington is a varmint round DERIVED from the 5.56x45mm developed specifically for military purposes. The .222 Remington was a varmint round that was found to be inadequate to the purpose the military wanted, so the 5.56mm (which Remington immediately rebranded for commercial sale as a .223 Remington) was developed.

      • displacer

        I am rolling my eyes so hard at this post that I think I just severed my optic nerves. 5.56×45 wasn’t just randomly picked out of a hat, it was the result of a years-long research trial called Project SALVO which started with the idea of saboted flechettes for a new front-line infantry rifle. The flechette idea was abandoned because of accuracy and terminal effect issues but out of that came fast, small-caliber conventional rounds that exhibited similar attributes (like low cartridge weight that allowed for large loadouts, low recoil, and flat trajectory) while suffering from fewer technical issues and causing more damage downrange via yaw and fragmentation. 5.56 was initially only chambered in the AR-15 and didn’t see use in a single PDW-type weapon until later in Vietnam, after the M16 was the standard rifle of every armed forces branch, when it was deployed in XM177 series of rifles. Those in turn were meant to be close-quarters SMG replacements for special forces, not second-line PDWs, hence why the several different variations of the series were nicknamed the Commando

        • Jay

          The m16 was supposed to replace the m1/m2carbine, not the m14. It was just shoved in as a replacement to m14, because, frankly the m14 was obsolete the day it went in service, and there was nothing else available, in mid war.

          • The M16 was designed as an infantry rifle from the start, at the request of CONARC.

          • displacer

            This is the first time I have ever heard this claim, do you have any source for this? The 20″ AR-15 was the first gun ever to chamber 5.56, not any sort of PDW, and before .223 the AR-15 was chambered for the similar .222 Remington. It just doesn’t make much sense that gun they supposedly designed specifically to replace the cheap, 35″ long, minute of man M1 carbine for rear guard use was a heavier and fairly expensive 40″ rifle with dual adjustable aperture sights marked for 400+ yard engagements. If they were trying to make a gun only to replace the M1 carbine why wouldn’t they would have originally made a carbine like the Colt 60x series, not a fixed-stock rifle just three inches shorter than the M1 Garand with the carbines only coming years later (and then only being given to special forces during Vietnam?)

            From everything I’ve ever read the AR-15 was intended from the start as a lightweight infantry rifle shaped by SALVO and meant to replace _both_ the M1 and battle rifles such as the M14 with a single platform, due to the rejection of the AR-10 followed by small arms development moving towards intermediate cartridges years before we were in Vietnam beyond a so-called “advisory” role.

          • Nope. The various US Army small caliber high velocity studies (not all of which were under the actual SCHV program – there were YEARS of studies, starting at the very end of WWII) looked at the small caliber choices in comparison to how they did against M1 carbines and M1 RIFLES. In some cases, how they did compared to submachineguns, as well.

            While the AR15 was an independent development, it WAS developed *precisely* to meet the goals of the Army programs. Which is to say, as a replacement for the M1 Carbine, M1 rifle, and at least some of the submachineguns.

            It is credited as being an “M1 Carbine replacement” solely because the first major DoD purchase was by the USAF SAC to replace their M2 Carbines (they DIDN’T ISSUE those guys M1 rifles to replace).

        • Great response, displacer. That’s exactly correct, the 5.56mm was the result of years of experimentation.

  • DW

    What I think:
    6.5mm CT is lighter than conventional 7.62X51, were it to replace 7.62X51 and only 7.62X51, it’s great because it saves weight and raises effective range. But to replace carbinesand rifles? It’d only be good if we were using AR10s and not AR15s.
    It’d be a shame if they made the same mistake as the M14, and a bigger shame if it didn’t produce anything better.

    • Austin

      Agreed, I think this is looking more to replace the M240 not than the M249 but it could be an attempt to do away with both for a singular issued LMG

      • therealgreenplease

        I’ve lost track, isn’t the IAR still a viable program? I know DSG was tooled up to produce them… or at least had produced a run of prototypes. Assuming the IAR is still viable it seems like a logical course Would be to replace the M240 and anything else chambered in 7.62×51 with 6.5mm CT. That would take a decade or so and I’m sure you’d “learn” a lot in that time period working out kinks at which point you could take those lessons to a 5.56 CT platform.

        Personally, I think the notion of a 1,200m effective range for general infantry is absurd. The vast majority of firefights take place against 7.62×54, 7.62×39, and 5.45×39. In the case of x54, it’s either a machine gun nest which would be better dealt with via a specialized counter-defilade weapon or it would be a sniper which would be best dealt with by another sniper. So if most of your firefights are taking place in relatively close quarters I say give the troops a lighter ammo load and a few more rounds. Maybe transition to a good bullpup design while you’re at it.

        • Kivaari

          I have never seen a good bullpup.

        • Marcus D.

          In Afghanistan, the Taliban were regularly engaging at ranges of 500+ meters so as to have an advantage over the 5.56. In urban combat, it seems we needed more snipers at 1000 meters or more, the bailiwick of the .50 BMG and the .338 Lapua, and a lot of CQB short barrelled carbines.

          • Kivaari

            Most of the Taliban shooters are using the inferior 7.62x39mm, with a spray and pray to Allah technique. With the 7.62x54R machine guns, they are met with return fire from 7.62×51 machineguns. Taliban fighters use inferior weapons. Unless they have captured western weapons, every rifle, machinegun, pistol, rocket launcher in use is countered by better weapons (and better trained shooters) on our side. Just why are we looking at a 1200m capable rifle or machinegun, when we already have the upper hand? If we need a shoulder or bipod fitted weapon to work at those ranges perhaps it is just a matter of a superior optic. Most people have never tried to hit a paper target a 500m. Over the years I watched people that could not judge distances, even on a flat rifle range. Many think the 50 yd targets are the 100 yd targets. One day I was shooting a HK91 topped with a 4x scope at 200 yds. I had once again wasted money on an HK91, thinking maybe this time I’ll have found one that shoots. Two other shooters and I were inspecting our targets. They commented that my group on the 18″ diameter bull was great. I was glad they didn’t know anything since I had used up the entire black portion to capture the bullets. I’m thinking I had one more crummy HK. They had a Marlin M336 with a 4x scope and few bullets had cut any paper. To them I was a master marksman.
            I would like to see how people judge distances, because I have a hard time finding a target at 500m, let alone 1200m.

          • Cmex

            Taliban weaponry runs the gammut. 7.62×39 and the AK-47 make a great team. Although the platform lacks precision for 500M, the bullets are heavy enough to land damn hard and the high angle can actually mean rounds are angled in from on high, which can make locating the source difficult as well as get them behind cover a flatter round could not beat. The PKM is a master class of machine gun design. It’s only 16 pounds but it is very accurate with a long barrel that can sustain fire and milk performance from 7.62x54R controlably, and the non-desintigrating links make it a good thing for fighters who can’t get fresh-linked rounds resupplied. The PKM is essentially a 240B that weighs the same as a SAW.

            Believe it or not, I’ve come across more than one person saying they with NATO had something like the RPG-7; a cheap rocket launching tube that can be fitted with any compatible munition and fired repeatedly. I do see their point. The good news about the Talibs is they aren’t very good combatants and their logistical issues mean that their ability to be supplied sends almost everything to the front, so a fighter likely has not even expended a full hundred rounds from his rifle before he even gets to combat.

            I have a theory that the 1200M thing comes from the army currently giving the M4’s effective range as 600M, so they want to try doubling it, allegedly, though I have a feeling they set these insane goals knowing from the outset they can’t be met so that way they don’t have to abandon what they already have and like. Not even John Moses Browning reborn could get the kind of performance increases they’re after. There are simply limits to what the laws of physics allow us to do with the technology we have. The insistance on sticking with an AR15 magazine well means that it’s doomed, anyway. I did a bit of looking into cartridge development a while back. You’re never going to make a cartridge that’s going to please these people; they want to stick with what they have and they draw up the rules to keep things on their terms so they decide if and when it’s even possible for something new to come in. They learned their lesson from when the M16 was forced in. By taking the initiative in routinely having a small arms program running, they get to be in charge and set the standards. This is like how they killed the ICC in round 2 so that they wouldn’t have to go to round 3 and adopt the winner. Set impossible standards for replacements and what is currently around will always be good enough.

          • Kivaari

            Has anyone in the field picked up any AK rifle and found it to be zeroed? Getting hit by a falling bullet, by chance more than design, can hurt. But no 7,62×39 bullet has great performance. The PKM is a fine gun, that takes skilled users, that are lacking. Most of our casualties were delivered at close range or by chance.

        • Ryan

          I’m with you on everything but the bullpup idea. Bullpup designs have only one real advantage, maneuverability in tight spaces. Otherwise an AR platform is far superior ergonomically when it comes to magazine changes, round clearing drills, etc. We have a weapon that works. The vast majority of arguments made here amount to one thing, money wasted on trying to build a better mousetrap. Equip our guys with quality M16 rifles topped with quality ACOG scopes and I’ll take a platoon of ours against a platoon of (fill in the blank) any day of the week.

          • therealgreenplease

            I can’t disagree with you regarding the ergonomic and reload advantages of an AR or the reliability. That said, rifles like the Tavor are pretty damn good. A bullpup allows you to put a longer barrel in a shorter package. For almost any round, a longer barrel (up to a point) equals more energy and more energy equals more lethality. So if we’re going to make a substantial change to what our infantry uses, why not lighten their load? 5.56 CT is a perfect candidate for something like a 20″ barrel so why not put a 20″ barrel in a 14.5″ package by going to a bullpup?

            Heck, I’d even be in favor of using the AR’s bolt and direct impingement operating system. You’d just need a shortened BCG and a decent trigger linkage. I think the goal for the next infantry rifle should be existing lethality and engagement ranges in a smaller, lighter package.

            As for 6.5 CT replacing 7.62×51 I say go for it.

      • DW

        I forgot, 6.5mm CT could make for a great DMR round. A 6.5Creedmoor AR10 that weighs less seems very enticing.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    VERY valid concerns. Going for pie-in-the-sky instead of realistic and cost effective improvements will get very little in return, and God knows when it will be issued…

    • Cmex

      Never, never, and never!

      I think increments are going to be a better course, like optimizing powder shapes, burn rates, fill consistencies, making sure case obturation is consistant, maxing out aerodynamics… Then you go for electronic gunsights, then you work on the training. Let’s be honest though, they’re asking for an M4 size Mosin. And well, those exist.

  • mig1nc

    So, they basically want a 6.5LDCT TrackingPoint. Hey, if Taya Kyle can do it, surely a trained soldier can. Right?

  • uisconfruzed

    What are the velocities???
    How does this compare to the 6.5 Grendel & Creedmore?

    • Based on the retained energy they’re showing, I calculated an approximate muzzle velocity of 2,700 ft/s. So it’s a very hot round, much hotter than 6.5 Grendel, but not as powerful as the 6.5 Creedmoor. It’s pretty much smack dab between the two.

      • uisconfruzed

        Thanks! I’m very pleased with my Grendel. So much so I want a CM now.

  • Thamuze Ulfrsson

    Legitimately, nothing will come of this, at all. The same can be said for that sidearm program.

  • Is it not interesting that all these programs keep coming back to what the Swedes knew 122 years ago, the fact that 6.5mm round seems to be one of the best optimized ballistic projectiles for military needs.

    • De Facto

      Rabble rabble 5.56 perfect answer not every solider a sniper too expensive can’t add another caliber rabble rabble rabble. – AR/5.56 fetishists.

      For what it’s worth I agree. I’d love to see the military adopt the 6.5 family – 6.5×25 CBJ for pistols/PDW’s, 6.5 Grendel for AR’s, and 6.5 creedmoor for LMG’s/ DMR’s.

      • iksnilol

        I still think for ARs we should go with a 4.5mm cartridge. Kinda like .204 Ruger only tinier.

        • Kivaari

          Seriously? 4.5mm or .17 caliber are true varmint rifles with the disadvantages of bore fouling, wind drift, and a loss of energy that makes them useless. You are kidding, since you have never wandered that far off the path before.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but with sabots you can make the bore larger to avoid fouling. And a 70 grain, 4.5mm bullet could have some wicked high BC and would recoil even less.

            In my honest opinion, the problem with 5.56 was that the magazines and magwell were made with 55 grain bullets in mind, so heavy bullets such as 77 grain ones eat up the case capacity. I’ve seen some impressive 5.56 loads but they don’t fit AR mags.

          • Cmex

            The issue with using a really tiny bullet is the tiny wound channel. Tough I gripe about NAT incessantly, he has made lots of good points about energy/momentum not equaling lethality. Also, the very light weights of those .204 bullets would mean they would lose velocity very quickly, have problems defeating barriers, and be strongly effected by wind. If they’re military FMJ’s and up to speed for the kind of energy you’re thinking, they’re just going to poke right through people.

          • I agree. One of the things I’ve probably been wrong about in the past is the viability of micro-caliber infantry rifle rounds. I don’t know for sure, but even with a decent bullet shape they probably run into limitations producing the kind of permanent wound channel desired.

          • Cmex

            I just don’t think they’d produce very good wound channels no matter what you did.

          • You quickly run into a problem of being unable to get both the penetration and terminal effect you want with the same bullet, it seems.

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, if it weighs the same and has a higher BC and velocity I’d dare say they’d lose velocity slower.

        • Cmex

          LOL nope.

      • asdffdsa

        >6.5×25 CBJ for pistols/PDW

        Worthless as it will not penetrate NIJ IV/ESAPI plates. Yes, it can penetrate NIJ III/SAPI plates which is impressive, but is rather irrelevant because next to no one uses NIJ III/SAPI plates. There’s also the problem of the ammo being expensive.

        • NorwayBM

          Worthless? As if handguns are gonna make any sort of impact in a modern war…

        • Paladin

          And 9mm NATO won’t penetrate NIJ IIIA, your point being? 6.5 CBJ isn’t supposed to replace AP rifle rounds, it’s meant to replace FMJ pistol rounds.

          • asdffdsa

            >And 9mm NATO won’t penetrate NIJ IIIA

            Swedish M39/b 9mm will.

            >6.5 CBJ isn’t supposed to replace AP rifle rounds, it’s meant to replace FMJ pistol rounds.

            And it’s completely excessive for that roll when compared to other AP pistol ammunition in that it was designed to penetrate body armor that isn’t actually encountered, when the body armor actually encountered is either weak enough that it can be penetrated by much cheaper solutions or strong enough to stop the 6.5mm CBJ.

          • Paladin

            Anything m39/b will defeat 6.5CBJ will defeat at greater range. 6.5 CBJ is well suited to the intended role (not roll) as a weapon for rear echelon troops. It improves significantly over the capabilities of the pistol rounds it’s designed to replace without the weight and bulk of a rifle.

          • asdffdsa

            Everything you just said can be accomplished with 5.7x28mm, 4.6x30mm, and a whole host of other options that aren’t expensive APDS ammunition that costs at least $1-$2 per round (given that 5.56x45mm M995 AP ammunition that uses the same amount of tungsten carbide costs $1.44 per round and doesn’t have to deal with sabots which generally raise the price further from what I’ve read).

          • Paladin

            Just a question, you do realize that 6.5 CBJ comes in more projectile types than just APDS, right?

          • asdffdsa

            Yes, but unless I’m remembering wrong the APDS is the only one that they market as AP.

          • Paladin

            You’re remembering wrong. The standard loading is APDS, but there is also a 120gr subsonic AP, as well as their HET round.

          • asdffdsa

            >120gr subsonic AP

            Forgot about that one, it would be worse for range than the 9mm m39/b though.

            >as well as their HET

            I remember that one but don’t remember it being AP. Looking it up, it’s a hollow point and definitely not AP.

          • Paladin

            The HET is advertised as capable of defeating CRISAT vests at 50m

          • asdffdsa

            Source on that? I haven’t heard of any armor piercing hollow point ammunition for pistols before other than that one from Liberty Ammunition that turns to dust as soon as it passes through a vest and would just barely break skin.

          • Paladin

            It’s on the Wikipedia page

          • Ryan

            Well if it’s on Wikipedia it must be true. Lol. Citing Wikipedia as a source is akin to citing your crazy uncle. The site, by its very nature, is editable by the general public. Anything found on Wikipedia should be taken with a large grain of salt.

          • ostiariusalpha

            While that is all very true, the current Wikipedia encourages the use of reference material, which can be investigated and assessed for reliability. In this instance, the 6.5 CBJ entry references a Small Arms Defense Journal article for the CRISAT penetration claim, which SA Def got straight from the horse’s mouth of Brugger & Thomet’s testing from their MP9.

          • Paladin

            It seems the moderating system ate my reply on account of the link to the source.

            While Wikipedia is publicly editable they do enforce citation requirements, and the content quality is generally quite good.

            This claim in particular is cited from a small arms defense journal article on the round.

          • Kivaari

            US civilians will not be slowed to own those rounds. Like we can’t lawfully own the steel core ammo or the zinc core “Highway Masters” sold by Remington from the 40s to 80s. Copper jacketed high velocity rounds with zinc cores were for punching holes in auto-bodies. Since they poke through common soft armor, they are now unlawful to own.

          • Kivaari

            I’ll become a convert. We were actually discussing the 6.5 as a machinegun round. I was side tracked by the introduction of the pistol round. I WOULD accept the use of this pistol round. I find it quite interesting, not having read much on this round. After some study, I like the concept. Especially since it fits inside a 9mm conventional pistol. My dislike for 5.7×28 is based on the horrible size of the gun and the very objectionable grip size and trigger reach. The 6.5CBJ eliminates my chief reason for disliking the FN 5.7.

          • Paladin

            I’d definitely take the 6.5 over the 5.7.

          • Kivaari

            I would be interested in testing this round. The .22 TCM looks like fun, but the need to use very short bullets was a turn off to me. But, I’d try both. I’ve played with the 5.7 pistols and they are just light weight clubs since they don’t fit my hand, and I dislike SA pistols.
            A friend has a P90 (actual SMG) nd I have not shot it. He says the magazines have been breaking and the reload is not as smooth as what most of us use, the AR. He also bought a dealer sample of the Kriss in .45 for as a demo to local police. No one found the Kriss to of any value for actual use.

          • Paladin

            Ahhh to have friends with SOTs…

            I have handled a 5.7 pistol, while I didn’t find the grip excessively obnoxious I have rather large hands, and can understand why people would have problems with it, and why that makes it unsuitable for large scale issue.

            I never really saw the vector as being a particularly practical idea, IMHO it’s for people who are too wedded to the notion that “.45 kills the soul” to get the 9mm subgun they actually need.

          • Kivaari

            He’s lucky, having over 2 dozen machineguns, mostly pre-86 and fully transferrable. I simply can not afford any of them. It’s not like the 60s where they were pretty much all under $500 for shoulder fired guns. Obviously the very rare guns, were high priced then.

          • Paladin

            Heck, at this point I’d settle just the prospect of some day being able to acquire a fun-switch enabled gun, as an “if I ever won the lottery…” daydream. Unfortunately, the Canuckistanian government is… somewhat less than entirely supportive of those dreams.

          • Ryan

            The United States is just a border away friend and we’d welcome your dream, as long it was produced before 1986. 😉

          • Paladin

            I’ll probably be looking at my options for that once I finish my apprenticeship.

          • Ryan

            The KRISS is a very mission specific firearm. .45ACP, being generally subsonic from a pistol length barrel, is easily suppressed. The KRISS utilizes a unique method of controlling the recoil of the round, and utilizes already prevalent Glock magazines, albiet with an extension to provide additional firepower in its SMG role. Is it a magic do it all solution, no. But it has served admirably where it has been employed in the proper context.

          • Kivaari

            The man I know that has one and a fellow customer that shot the .45 Kriss, could not keep it on target. The thing is lucky to hit once before it climbs out. The unique anti-recoil feature simply did not perform as hyped. If you want a mission specific suppressed gun, buy a .300 BLK with a can and subsonic ammo and you can through a 220 grain bullet that actually is flatter shooting than a 230 grain .45 bullet. Kriss subguns are about as bulky and odd handling that I see no real place where they have a use. It doesn’t take as much mass that the Kriss uses to make a 9mm or .45 SMG. Having a common magazine is not a big deal. We never worried about having common ammo when we issued 12 ga. shotguns, .30 M1 carbines, .30-30 M94s, or 5.56mm carbines. We did like the common ammunition when we switched from .45 to 9mm and issued MP5s. In 9m we used mostly +p or +P+ in both. We did shift to +P and heavier bullets after finding the Federal 9BPLE +P+ expanded too fast.
            The Glock M21 pistols are too large for most shooters hands. Our top administrators were all large men and thought the M21 was great, while the rest of us couldn’t use them well. I was the first one to get a M17 and before long everyone had them, since everyone, including the boss could shoot them so much better. There is no advantage to packing a .45if you can’t shoot it well. Less is better.

          • Kivaari

            9mms can get the Russian phonograph needle approach. A light bullet having a small diameter hardened projectile embedded.

          • Paladin

            True, but at that point you’ve effectively created a less efficient 6.5CBJ, and since any 9mm firearm can be converted with just a barrel swap I don’t see why you wouldn’t just switch over entirely.

          • Kivaari

            I would not switch to any caliber other than 9mm, as it has attributes that have kept it a world standard for over 100 years.
            We do not need a new cartridge. We need a new pistol and it already exists as the Glock 19. I see no value to the 6.5CBJ.

          • Paladin

            Black powder had many attributes that made it a world standard for hundreds of years, and yet it was nonetheless supplanted by smokeless. The 6.5 CBJ offers performance significantly greater than is possible with the standard 9mm.

            The reason we don’t need a new pistol cartridge is because on the modern battlefield the pistol is largely irrelevant. There are however still many rear echelon troops who need a weapon less cumbersome than a rifle or carbine, and that’s where rounds like the 6.5 CBJ shine.

          • Kivaari

            As I said earlier, I am now a convert. I was thinking along the lines of the 5.7 and a couple of guns I saw made using Tok ammo, that were in single action pistols, which I don’t like. This round has definite promise as a PDW-handgun. It may be OK, in a SMG type gun, but today I will take the 5.56 over anything like this, as the 6.5 simply cannot perform as well as the 5.56 at any kind of distance. The AP value in up close and personal emergency handgun ranges gives this value. Being so small and lightweight, it just dumps all its energy fast, so it is good at arms length, where handguns show value.

          • Paladin

            Trajectory wise the 6.5CBJ is actually quite closely matched to 5.56, and it can penetrate CRISAT armour at 250m. It’s significantly less limited in terms of range compared to traditional pistol cartridges. Granted I’d certainly take the 5.56 if I expected anything further than that. Close in on the other hand I’d have a tough time turning it down, the compactness and controllability of an SMG combined with the ballistic performance of a rifle makes a pretty winning combination.

          • Kivaari

            My issue gun for over 10 years was the MP5A2. I loved the guns. I still don’t know how such a tiny bullet can retain energy or accuracy at 250m. The sabot 30-06 Remington sells (or sold) simply was not accurate when there was any atmospheric things going on. Like wind, rain, or snow or any combination. Up close, this load seems like a real winner, but in all things there are “IFs”. Like over penetration. But, such small bullets typically upset easily upon contact with media denser than air.

          • Paladin

            The 5.56 shoots a (relatively) tiny bullet too. A 39gr projectile isn’t all that far off from many common varmint rounds, and being made of tungsten its SD both from the nose and side on is quite high. How the sabot might affect accuracy is something I’m not even remotely qualified to comment on though.

          • Ryan

            Its “value” is to the ones who stand to make a profit attempting to sell a “better” mousetrap. 9mm is here to stay. If we want it to be a more lethal defensive round, all we need do is stop abiding by an archaic concept that band the use of HP ammunition for warfighters.

            One more thing, there have been a lot of talks about whether or not this or that pistol round will defeat body armor. Can anyone cite for me just how many enemy combatants we encounter wearing ANY body armor? From what we see televised the vast majority wear nothing more than cotton. Besides, at pistol ranges a headshot is a sure foile to any any level of armor.

            On that note, does anyone else remember the U.S. unit that was very nearly brought up on war crimes charges for executing Iraqi (may have been Afghan?) soldiers due to so many being shot in the head? That was discovered to be a function of the accuracy of the 5.56×45 rifles and their lovely ACOG scopes, coupled with the desire of the men weilding them to not have their adversaries get back up. There is not a thing wrong with the 5.56×45 cartridge when employed with skilled marksmanship. A little training goes a long way.

          • Kivaari

            Yes !!! Same issue in South West Africa (now Namibia) when the SAA troops engaged the CTs. The bodies had large wounds in heads and shoulders, blowing pound(s) of tissue away. Global News Network (Nerdwork) said the CTs had been executed. Except it just showed better skill at shooting. The CTs had AK and SK guns, most with the rear sight set at the highest range. When asked the surviving CTs said it was the “power adjuster” giving the bullets more energy. Well, at the ranges involved the CTs were shooting over the heads of the SA soldiers. A miss with any rifle is survivable. Hits with the 5.56 literally ripped the CTs apart. American newspaper writers couldn’t figure it out. A bit like the anti-gun people in the US, they are clueless.

        • Paul Joly

          “Yes, it (6.5×25 CBJ) can penetrate NIJ III/SAPI plates”
          No it absolutely can’t. From a 4.7″ barrel, it can go through some 3a armor.

          • asdffdsa

            The main reason people always bring up the 6.5mm CBJ is that when it was tested from a subgun it could penetrate some armor that could stop 7.62x51mm ball and 5.56x45mm ball. If you just want to penetrate NIJ IIIa armor you can do it with a lot less expensive options than APDS handgun ammunition.

          • Paul Joly

            The study I saw is bogus at best. There are others well know micro calibers with well known performances out there, and it’s far from the claimed performances of the 6.5 CBJ ammo.

        • Kivaari

          Why not the .22TCM since a 9mm can be retrofitted with a barrel and spring? The longer over all length of 6.5x25mm rounds means the grip will be too large for most users and that is already the problem with the M9. For some reason people want carbine performance out of a pistol, at the comes with drawbacks. The 9mm is suitable for its purpose. A handful of cases of it making the difference in combat suggests that keeping it simple makes more sense.
          I simply don’t understand why people keep wanting huge pistols that take cartridges that challenge the ergonomics for most people.

      • Cmex

        I support that, but I want a 7.5 or something like 7.62×25 for handguns; the problem with CBJ is that it’s stupidly expensive and also I frankly don’t trust its performance being such a tiny body that actually does the damage. Now 6.5 creedmoor, yess.

        • De Facto

          I like the 7.62×25 as well, but given the cartridge length it doesn’t lend itself to double stack magazines very well. I like the CBJ since any 9mm handgun can be converted with a barrel and spring swap, meaning you can still have weapon training/familiarity etc. with cheap ammo and have more expensive “go time” ammo. Before I heard about the CBJ, the 7.62×25 Tok was my preference too.

          • Kivaari

            You want a .30 caliber 90 gr. bullet at high velocity with nearly no stopping power? Or a similar 6.5mm pistol firing an even smaller bullet? Why not leave the pistols at 9mm and concentrate energy on getting an M4-sized carbine with lighter ammo having a suitable range of 500m. If the target is 1200m away, perhaps a lightweight expendable drone could deliver the warhead of an M203 down the collar of the enemies commander would work. Keep the M4 variants as they actually fulfill the concept of an individuals weapon. We already have back pack sized drones that can be used to reach targets behind the hill between us and them.

          • De Facto

            Stopping power out of a handgun is a myth. There’s only accuracy, effective range, and levels of penetration. 9mm FMJ as currently issued doesn’t penetrate overly well, have good ballistic coefficient/range, or do all that much better when fired out of a carbine/pdw. The point of the Tok or the CBJ is that they do work out of a handgun, but you can also get a lot more out of them if you put them in a carbine instead.

            And the 6.5 Grendel does exactly what you were suggesting, re: Make the M4 usable at 500M, which I fully support. I like drones as much as the next guy, but the assumption that we will always have the technological upper hand against our enemies is not one I care to make. Before the advent of drones the logic was “well if they’re that far away, just use artillery or airstrikes.” I like having options.

          • Kivaari

            The very limited use of handguns suggests to me that a Glock 17 or 19 will perform what a handgun is expected to do. That is unexpected close range self defense. 9mm penetrates quit well, except through soft body armor. Using a 7.62 Tokarev is just a waste of time. Putting it into a carbine, is a seriously poor idea. A 7.62x25mm round would be essentially a .30 M1 carbine round, which by universal opinion is an inferior round. Creating a new M1 carbine that was used as a substitute for a M1911, makes no sense. We already have an excellent carbine with the M4-series.
            There is no good reason to create another .30 carbine, that can never perform as well as the 5.56mm.
            We have a perfectly fine carbine. We need a better handgun than the M9 and a Glock 19 would replace the M9 well. A G19 costs less to make, is lighter weight, more durable, and simpler to maintain. It will allow more soldiers to use them without adding more weight. Asking a soldier to engage targets beyond 50m is a waste of time. The military will never spend the time nor money to train soldiers to use the pistol as anything more than a back up for close range needs.
            As interesting a 6.5mm bore cartridges are, we already have an adequate carbine. I could see a new technology 6.5mm round that replaces the M249 and M240. We just don’t need to replace the M4. We don’t need to replace the 9mm cartridge. How many times do soldiers actually use the pistol in combat? Not very often. It will never make sense to have a pistol for engaging targets 100m away.
            The pistol is a marginal piece of equipment in combat. I would always want a pistol and a carbine. Just not a carbine in a pistol caliber.
            Every attempt so far to replace the M4 and 5.56mm round comes face to face with the reality of the 5.56mm being a damn good performing combination. Given the choice of being shot with a 5.56mm or a 7.62x25mm round at 500m, I’d take that 7.62 since it will have zip for power.

          • De Facto

            I stated that I like the 7.62×25 tok as a round, not that I was advocating replacing the 5.56 with a .30 caliber carbine. I would advocate replacing the M9 with something akin to the Russian pp2000, FN P90, or Uzi, but I digress. Pistols are barely important from a military standpoint, I agree on that.

            Also, the .30 carbine round is not nearly as anemic as it’s reputation makes it out to be.

            The choice of being shot at range is not 7.62 tok or 5.56 at 500m, but 9mm vs 7.62 tok/6.5CBJ if we’re talking pistols/PDW’s, or 6.5 Grendel vs 5.56, if we’re talking rifles.

          • Kivaari

            The .30 carbine was a good gun to replace the M1911. Too many people think it is useless as a rifle. A great book with a back story is Maj/col John George’s book shots fired in anger (NRA Press) has good things to say about the carbine. His brother (from memory) wrote comments about the use of the .30 carbine in the Pacific. John killed 35 Japanese soldiers with the carbine, most one shot kills at close range. In heavy jungle it was an excellent choice.
            I used M1 and M2 carbines for many years, and found them to be great in the role it was intended for, replacing the pistol.
            I had long supported its use as a police carbine. With the M4, we have a very superior weapon, but the M4 wasn’t designed as a replacement for a pistol.

          • Cmex

            @Kivaari:disqus 7.62×25 carbines are a waste of time? Say hello to the PPD-40, PPSh-41, and the PPS-43. The point of this particularly comment thread, however, was to talk about alternative handgun calibers. With what I know about 7.62×25, it’s mean for a handgun bullet.

            @disqus_Fc0CpuxfOP:disqus

            If people can argue for a double stack 10mm auto, then I don’t see why a double stack 30Tok ought to be impossible. Maybe if the rounds were deeply staggered that could make it work without being too fat? Where’s that 7.5 round again? Here, in a TFB article titled “7.5 FK Field Pistol from BRNO Defense” It’s pretty much a modern doublestack take on 7.62×25.

            —-

            To play devil’s advocate, handgun stopping power is going to always be a step above a sharp stick in any service caliber, and there are 9×19 loads which can beat soft armor.

            @asdffdsa

            There’s just no pistol round out that that will beat hard armor. Sad but simple truth.

          • Kivaari

            Yes, the Pa Pa Sha worked in combat, including the Russian Step, which would seem a place for long range rifles. If the PPDh41 was the cure all infantry weapon, we’d still be using them. In this article it seems that a rifle must work at 1200m, and the Tokarev certainly wont work. It does show that, a huge pile of submachineguns that could be produced in quantity with less machine time and materials helped the Soviets beat the very stupid Germans. What did the Soviets do in 1943? They adopted the M43 cartridge because no handgun round was adequate for general issue, except for the emergency conditions of the Eastern Front. Three PPSh 41 barrels could be made from a M91/30 barrel. Three PPSh41s could be made in less time and materials than the M91/30. Those soldiers were often issued ONE fitted magazine. Following the M16 use in Vietnam the Soviets also went to the 5.5mm bore size. Why? Because it was much more effective than the 7.62 M43. Notice not many armies use SMGs anymore outside of special needs where very quiet guns are needed, or guarding interiors of buildings.

          • Kivaari

            Those asking for a double stack 10mm or .45 simply have not thought it through enough. A Glock M22 or 23 would be OK size wise, but there is no advantage to the .40 S&W over a 9mm.

          • Marcus D.

            I agree with your assessment of the stopping power of handguns; these are short range, last option arms. None are comparable to a rifle round. Plus, the average soldier, with the limited training given, has no realistic accuracy beyond 25 yards, so longer range rounds are a waste. I disagree that the penetration of the 9 mm is necessarily inadequate; it can have more than adequate penetration, even serious overpenetration, with a solid copper round. (See, e.g. Leigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator rounds).

          • Ryan

            If we could issue real self defense ammunition the 9mm would be more than adequate to get the job of a handgun done quite handily. The Cor-Bon 115gr JHP delivers more energy than does the currently issued .45acp 230gr FMJ ball in service with certain units specifically because of the limits of 9mm FMJ ball, and it expands to a larger diameter thus creating a more devasting permanent wound channel.

            There are very good reasons our police forces, including the FBI are going back to 9mm. It is more controlable and less punishing to the firearm. The ammunition is also more affordable, making practice that much more possible. And current tech defensive loads are effective.

            Limiting ourselves to the ridiculously archaic idea of using only FMJ ball ammo in our handguns, or carbines for that matter, is simply stupid. A simple change of projecticle type as opposed to caliber allows us to save millions on procurement of new firearms, and the current surplus of ball ammo makes for ample opportunities to practice.

            Who honestly cares that some morons decided during WW1 that hollow point ammunition was too deadly? Is that not the entire point? To say anything to the contrary is simply disingenuous.

          • Kivaari

            It isn’t the foot pounds of energy that mater, it is how much damage they do to nerves and blood vessels. We go down because one or both of those injuries result from the bullet hitting the right thing. Most people should know that getting hit by a 7.62 NATO bullet will not knock you down. There is not enough energy to do it. Same with a .45 ACP. People shot go down when their brain says, “Hit the dirt”, or bones and nerves have been hit knocking out the body features that keep you upright. A low spine hit, puts you down, but you can function. That’s why cops are told to shoot until the threat no longer exists.

          • Kivaari

            The CBJ is only useful for penetrating soft body armor. Little need like bullets are very poor killers. Flachettes from 5.56 or 7.62 simply poke little holes like a large gauge syringe, like the needles used to drain a bloody knee. I’ve been there after getting hit by a car and surgery to repair it. Those were often called “horse needles”. Picatinny Arsenal had a fascination with them in the late ’80s. Dr. Fackler sent me his views on them, and he didn’t think much evidence showed any value. The guys at Picatinny thought the damage from 105 arty canister rounds were great. Except, it was the darts that had been damaged in flight that made a mess. Those fired from a sabot using rifle, were not deformed unless they hit an interfering structure, like a twig. Fackler won that battle. Any needle like projectile will poke needle like holes. Let’s adopt a 9mm with an expanding bullet like the Federal Guard Dog. A FMJ-EXPANDING bullet.

        • Kivaari

          During the 1880-1900 era armies found 7.5 rounds to be pretty pathetic. The Soviets used 7.62x25mm primarily because it cost so much less to use the same barrel making equipment as they had for the M91/30. That’s the same reason they used that caliber for the SMGs and the M43. Cost of retooling to any new caliber was and is very expensive.

          • Cmex

            I’m not sure where the 7mm pistol sucks idea comes from. From what I can remember from reading about 7mm pistol calibers like 30 Mauser, they were quite respected as some of the best handgun rounds of their day. Sgt Fairbarn, a man who dedicated his life to kicking ass, appreciated it, and 7.62×25 is a 30 Mauser beefed up by like 20%. I looked through twist rates for PP’s, Mosins, and TT’s, and they’re all a bit different; they couldn’t make a rifle barrel into 2 SMG’s or 3 pistols, but they could cast all the barrels they needed from one machine and just cut and rifle to order.

          • Kivaari

            I highly recommend reading Ezell’s “The AK47 Story”, where the first third of the text is dedicated to the building of the Russian-Soviet arms building capacity. In the haste of WW2, they did not waste much time on bores rate of twist. The barrel blanks were hastily made into SMGs. Post-war you would see more attention to details. The TT33 rifling tools already existed so they did not need the expedient of making pistol barrels. Getting SMGs by the tens of thousands into service, often with only one working drum magazine, increase the ability to hose ’em down. Ezell covers the building of the various SMGs, showing how going to pressings, the starting metal weights and wastage (metal chips) and square meters of floor space and time of building were all reduced by the switch to the PPSh41 to the stick magazines of the ’43. All critical issues in wartime. Many don’t give the Russians (especially during the Soviet era) enough credit for making these determinations. The Soviets had a failed form of government, but when it came to making guns they made better choices than the Germans. Even though not every thing work like a Swiss watch, they worked enough to get the job done.
            The Soviet soldier could not have done what they did without the back up from the USA, not just in the form of weaponry, but in our ability to feed their soldiers. Think SPAM, it was something the Germans only dreamed about in Stalingrad.

          • Kivaari

            The only 7mm handgun I know of is the Baby Nambu. The 7.5mm rounds of that era were mostly black powder that transitioned to smokeless. All of those revolver rounds were horribly under powered. 7.5 are simply .30-.31 caliber. Even when lead bullets were used, they did not go fast enough to do much more than poke tiny holes. Many Europeans used 7.65×17 (.32 ACP) for senior staff. Like the 7.5s, they were not expected to be used. Times have changed and one thing is a constant, the 9×19 is here and it works.

        • Kivaari

          If genera issue rounds didn’t use strategic metals, but a lower cost hardened steel, it would still work well to penetrate body armor. The only thing expensive is the core, and it doesn’t need to be used.

      • Ionosphere

        Isn’t the whole point of 6.5 that you use the same cartridges for AR’s, DMR’s, and LMG’s?

        • De Facto

          You absolutely could; Logistically it would make sense for the Army to just choose the Grendel and call it a day. I just like the Creedmoor’s performance vs the 7.62×51 and figured the Military wouldn’t want to give up having a caliber with more oomph behind it in addition to the caliber used by AR’s/LMGs.

          Not that they’re taking my suggestions, but hey, it’s fun to think about.

      • What is the point of a caliber designed with a 1200m effective range for carbines?

        Isn’t this precisely the same error committed by Army Ordnance in the 1940s and ’50s when they pushed the over-large, unrealistically long-ranged 7.62mm NATO caliber on the US’s allies? In the intervening 60 years, what changed in infantry combat such that what was unrealistic then is suddenly realistic now? Did the infantry mortar get un-invented or something?

        • De Facto

          Having 1200M capability is only one of the selling points for the 6.5. Improved barrier penetration and overall energy delivered on target are the others. Even fired from an M4, 6.5 > 5.56. If we follow the chain of reasoning you outlined, what is the point of worrying about long range firefights at all? We have air strikes and the infantry mortar. Might as well just use a more effective short range caliber with a more rainbow-esque trajectory and leave anything else to other weapons.

          Given that the “over large and unrealistically long ranged” caliber weapons are being pulled out of storage and pressed into service in our ongoing overseas desert warfare, it would appear that something has indeed changed. We routinely deploy our troops to desert regions to fight, that tends to include long ranges for which the 5.56 is less than adequate. Additionally the enemy is smart enough to strike and be gone before CAS or artillery can be brought to bear. Meaning the individual soldiers’s rifle and gear – as well as his ability to project force at range – becomes more, not less, important.

          You are making Macarthur’s mistake when he ordered the Garand be made in 30-06. You are wed to the idea, for whatever reason, of a particular caliber, and no other caliber’s merits will sufficiently justify changing it.

          • Kivaari

            Isn’t the soldiers ability to hit a 400m using a 5.56 about the range that most soldiers could hit with .30-06, 7.9, 7.62 Ru, 7.62Na all about the same when fired from common infantry rifles? The heavy 5.56 loads have excellent ballistics and accuracy, having pretty much outshot the 7.62Na out to 1000yds. Yes, the .30 hits harder. All with the trade offs being a big heavy rifle with a delicate optic. A couple men with DMR rifles is OK. Then that man is at a disadvantage when action is up close and personal. I think we have a pretty good selectin of firearms already. I’d dump the M9 for a G19. Come up with a better optic for the M4, keep or find a new DMR with toughened optics and we’re good to go.

          • n0truscotsman

            Basically, yes, it is about the same. This was discovered with modern warfare, where the detriment is on the capability of the man, not necessarily the caliber. Hence the generally accepted rule that infantry are most effective within the 300 meter bracket given all the variables.

            The point that 6.5/universal caliber people seem to miss is rapidly evolving technology for the infantry platoon that will become increasingly prevalent in the future to bridge any gaps in capability encountered by recent conflicts. Things like man-portable EFOGMs, Pike missiles, guided mortars, UCAVs, and even stupid simple things like inexpensive recoilless rifles and laser guided LAWs.

            The 6.5 argument gets too centered around a specific weapon system, resulting in the entire point being missed to begin with: increasing the capabilities of the *entire system* rather than individual cases.

          • Kivaari

            I regretfully gave away an excellent book on Mauser rifles that had interviews with both German and Soviet snipers. Both side agreed that hitting a man at 400m was very difficult using the rifles and optics of the era. We do have better gear today, but the reality is it is still hard to hit a man at 400m IN COMBAT. I can hit paper targets all day long while using a great rest, and after I settle my heart rate down. That can be hard to do when the other guys are throwing stuff your way.

          • “Having 1200M capability is only one of the selling points for the 6.5. Improved barrier penetration and overall energy delivered on target are the others. Even fired from an M4, 6.5 > 5.56. If we follow the chain of reasoning you outlined, what is the point of worrying about long range firefights at all? We have air strikes and the infantry mortar. Might as well just use a more effective short range caliber with a more rainbow-esque trajectory and leave anything else to other weapons.”

            Barrier penetration is great, but how much barrier penetration is needed, and to what degree is the current paradigm (M855A1) not satisfactory? No one has answered this question, and many others. Keep in mind that M855A1 provides barrier penetration similar to M80 Ball, so it’s a huge improvement already over M855.

            So what’s wrong with using a caliber effective to 400, 500, or 600m, with a flat trajectory? More importantly, where are the experiments showing that modern infantry can be effective at distances up to 1,200 m even with idealized weapons, such as for example might be simulated by high powered laser designators. Such an experiment could be conducted readily via a set of exercises, but so far as I know nothing of the sort has been conducted and documented. Maybe it’s just classified, or something, but nobody else seems to know about such a paper, either.

            “Given that the “over large and unrealistically long ranged” caliber weapons are being pulled out of storage and pressed into service in our ongoing overseas desert warfare, it would appear that something has indeed changed.”

            Really? What, exactly? The Pashtuns are using weapons over half a century old, almost exclusively. Precisely what have they figured out that the militaries of the world could not in that time?

            A better theory: The Army’s tactics and organization allow the Taliban to exploit weaknesses in dismounted infantry. These flaws are likely correctable without any materiel changes.

            “We routinely deploy our troops to desert regions to fight, that tends to include long ranges for which the 5.56 is less than adequate.”

            That is why the infantry mortar exists. How many times must I say this?

            “Additionally the enemy is smart enough to strike and be gone before CAS or artillery can be brought to bear. Meaning the individual soldiers’s rifle and gear – as well as his ability to project force at range – becomes more, not less, important.”

            Apparently once more: That is why the infantry mortar exists.

            “You are making Macarthur’s mistake when he ordered the Garand be made in 30-06. You are wed to the idea, for whatever reason, of a particular caliber, and no other caliber’s merits will sufficiently justify changing it.”

            I think you’re not listening. It’s easy to dismiss me as just a 5.56mm fanboy, and sit smugly in your chair twisting the arm of your mustache at the thought of the “superior 6.5mm caliber”, but please, take a moment to actually try to understand my points. I will help by further breaking them down for you:

            1. There are many fundamental questions that need to (and could relatively easily) be answered through research and experimentation before any caliber configuration study can be conducted. Keep in mind that we know from history and the basic material facts that making unsupported assumptions about the matters in question will result in ammunition that is too heavy, has too much recoil, and consumes too many resources, or the opposite. The only way to create the best caliber configuration is to do this legwork regarding premises and requirements first.

            2. There are major organizational, doctrinal, and tactical shortcomings that have been identified in US Army infantry operations, and fixing those would very likely solve the range problem without needing a “bigger, badder ass” caliber. The result of this would be that a new, much lighter CT ammunition configuration could be adopted (on the order of half the weight of 6.5mm CT).

            3. The US Army has a very consistent history of undertaking unrealistic, overly ambitious programs combining advanced speculative technologies and impractical weapon/ammunition configurations, of which this program appears for all the world to be one. That means we can expect CTSAS and its associated programs to collapse in a heap, or at best, result in very sub-optimal production items with short service lives. This is bad, because it will take with it the promising technologies of cased telescoped ammunition, non-pyrotechnic tracers, and others.

            Does that make it more clear?

          • De Facto

            Your massive wall of text brings up 3 questions and 3 counter points, and while I could address each in turn, there’s an old saying about not casting pearls before swine. I can talk to just about anyone on this site without feeling like I’m wasting my time, and usually I learn something. You are the notable exception. Seeing as we are two keyboard commando’s with equivalent lack of credentials, I see no reason to waste further time discoursing with you. Good day.

          • See you next week, I guess.

          • Kivaari

            Well from reading his work for a few years, I can assure you he knows a hell of a lot more than you give him credit for.

          • therealgreenplease

            Just to frame this, it takes a lot of practice for really talented shooters to consistently hit targets at 1,200m in *insert sniper school here*. Even if you set aside the raw financial cost of applying that sort of training to general infantry, you start to run short on time and qualified instructors.

        • Kivaari

          I remember seeing an article in the American Rifleman with a soldier armed with the new M14. Along side of him were the guns it was intended to replace – the M1911, M3A1 SMG, M1 rifle, M1-2 carbines and at the age of 12 I thought these guys are out of their minds. The first one I saw was at the local Naval center where the single marine was showing off the M14, the only one they had. It was nice, except even up close it didn’t look like it could replace all those other guns.

        • Cmex

          I think it may be the fact of the matter that Afghanistan has had some pretty long engagement ranges. There’s a report called “Taking Back the Infantry Half Kilometer”. It makes a pretty good case for trying to increase the effective range of our weapons given the current combat conditions.

          The error from the postwar Army was that it had effectively just won two wars in a row pushing its rifleman mythology and then a study about combat actions of infantry defeated so much of what they had preached. In a response, they tried to reach a compromise that kept what they valued, range, over the real lesson they should have taken away, the need for firepower. Wars for quite a long time then had been decided by long range shooting, so much so that remembering the lessons of the Spanish-American War and WW1 and the thinking of modern war still being centered on the big fields of Europe, they thought that marksmanship was still going to be king in future conflicts. Militaries are conservative. They didn’t want to potentially screw themselves over by switching to something with inadequate range — to let the enemy have the faster rifle with greater power and longer range and better accuracy was unacceptable. And remember that Springfield Armory had essentially been in bed so long with the brass that they’d done everything but gotten the marriage papers signed. The leadership had grown up on lessons from the late 19’th century (longer range, better accuracy, individual marksmanship), cut their teeth in WW1, and seen themselves vindicated in winning WW2 — they’d had the rifle with the stoutest, best-flying round, the best target sights, and they’d won. As far as they were concerned, this short range warfare could have just been a fad. It took two more encounters for them to finally admit their folly.

          There was an enormous amount of pride placed in marksmanship pedigree; it was a rifleman’s culture in the upper ranks. It was, too, on the ground. Just look today at the talk and posts from older people who either had M14’s or wish they had; that 30-45 or nothing mentality was pretty popular until pretty recently. Jeff Cooper is a great example — a man of his time in this regard. On running a contest between himself with I think a “scout rifle” and some Gunsite students with AR15’s in who could put more rounds on a group of targets (forgive me, I haven’t looked at his commentaries in quite some time), he remarked something like ‘Sure, the guys with the M16’s and the wonder 9’s got a lot more holes in the targets, but I fired far fewer shots and scored a perfect hit almost every time; their was is wasteful.’ That’s taking away the wrong lesson, which is what the Army did, too. Unlike the army, however, Cooper never admitted he’d been outdone or otherwise been wrong. That’s how hard old mentalities can die, Nat.

          • I’ve read “Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer”, and I don’t agree with much of what it has to say, though I will only note right now that it doesn’t advocate for a 1200m range!

          • Cmex

            You didn’t get the point. It wasn’t that the study promoted setting a 1200M range goal My point is that there is a feeling that the current fashionable 5.56×45 short barreled firearms just don’t have the reach to be properly effective out to the range from which enemy firearms are often effective, which is evidenced by studies of their weapons as well as the range from which they engage. Since our SCHV carbines and troops are so devastatingly effective at shorter ranged, hostiles are deliberately exploiting the range advantages of their own hardware to keep out of our kill box , so in order to compensate for this, we ought to change up some of our kit. This is where I think the sentiment that lead to the 1200M range goal could be reasonably said to have originated.

            In a NATO element, most people have 5.56 carbines with a minority having heavier equipment like DMR’s or GPMG’s, which makes them dead weight in a long range engagement, even if technically their gear can put rounds out that far — it’s the same reasoning behind why law enforcement uses carbines for shootouts and for things outside of what’s effectively conversational distance; the lighter platform (in this case the 9x19mm handgun) won’t have the same reach or punch as the heavier platform (in this case the 5.56×45 carbine). To extrapolate to Afghanistan, while an M4 can technically be landing hits out to the distances required, the tool is barely up to the task.

            Note: I don’t think there’s any real need or massive benefit to be gained from adopting some universal caliber, but we can do better than what we’re currently doing.

          • Short answer: Couldn’t these shortcomings be overcome through better organization and use of the weapons paradigm we already have (although I need to emphasize that I am certainly not against improvements, a la 5.56mm CT)?

            I just don’t see how a GPMG is that big of a threat, when dismounted infantry should already be carrying around the weapons they need to defeat them. I’ve been answered in saying this with “well, the ROE doesn’t allow the use of mortars most of the time”. OK, well, the ROE needs to damned well change, then!

          • Cmex

            It’s a GPMG firing rounds, often downhill, firing a round that goes out to 1000M, versus a carbine firing a round that’s meant to be used within 300M. To go back to my optimal versus satisfactory statement in handguns vs carbines in law enforcement, it’s a bit like saying that just because your handgun can print 5″ groups at 50M that it’s perfectly fine for fighting out to that range. In the military context, GPMG’s have vast firepower advantages over individual rifles. This is why out of all infantry weapon categories, machine guns score the most kills and are considered so important in fire and maneuver warfare.

            Ahh, the paradigms and ROE’s are part of the problem. Good luck getting the ROE’s changed — that’ll just make the locals hate us even more or something because we’re killing innocent civilians or being too harsh (not like the Talibs and Daeshbags aren’t doing a dozen times worse than us as a matter of course). In the past, we tried to win every battle no matter the hearts and minds. It got us 50000 dead with a peace that flopped over not in our favor inside of 5 years. Afghanistan takes special ROE and paradigms. I’d honestly say that nuking the country would be the only way to realistically make any lasting progress.

            US forces especially are focused around MOUT (Mounted Operatations in URBAN Terrain) There, carbines with limited ranges work perfectly. The paradigm is to use heavy fire along with artillery, air, and armor support, to close with the enemy and kill them. However, the enemy works around this by dumping their ammo at GI’s from outside our range and then running like mad. Most of our guys who could respond who are right there are dead weight because the kit they have doesn’t let them reach out so far, and our heavier weapons that could be called in to strike back take time and information to be deployed; by the time the airstrike or barrage gets called in and sent over, the enemy is often long gone.

            US infantry training doesn’t do much for long range; the Marines, IIRC, do 500Yds on M16’s. The Army just does 300Yds on M4’s; that’s just barely half the distance they’re being engaged at. Machine gunner get to learn how to suppress out to greater distances, but Joe with the M4 is getting told he’s on his own. As a shooter, I know it’s impossible to buy skill, but a shooter can only be as good as their gear allows them to be. And we’ve got people who just can’t be effective in the context they’re in with the training they have and the get they’re issued. There are workarounds in our current paradigms, like the issuing of DMR’s, which are working, but it still leaves much of the available firepower sitting around doing nothing.

          • Regardless of the caliber they’re issued, however, it doesn’t seem very likely at all that the infantryman will suddenly gain effectiveness at longer ranges, especially without a radically revised and much more intensive training program.

            Even with such a program, it’s not clear that the kinds of ranges they are talking about as requirements here are practical – maybe that’s been proven in a classified report or something, but it’s not out in public so far as I know. So that seems to leave a whole lot of risk of adopting heavier weapons and ammunition and spending a whole lot of money on training, and getting little or nothing out of it.

            Keep in mind that these skills are perishable, so not only would the basic training program have to be radically expanded, but the Army would have to implement far more regular “skills sharpening” training days, and that is expensive and time consuming. Not necessarily impossible, but that sort of thing is well outside the existing paradigm for training and routine practice. And of course, all of this would be expensive, and without it, it’s not clear that the 6.5mm wunderkart is giving any benefit for the rifleman.

          • Cmex

            If the reintroduction of the M14 gave the range benefit that gave better performance at these ranges, then the 6.5 will, too, especially with modern optics. Think of it as a sort of 5.56+ that gives a 20-25% range bonus; that’ll get them either there or mostly there. The training paradigm is not great, but it’s not impossible to get soldiers who can engage out to the half K mark. Marines get trained to that range as a matter of course. It’s the 1200M thing that’s insane. Besides, you’re forgetting that shooting in battle is more about getting rounds out there than printing pretty groups. To that end, just the ability to get out there presented by a 6.5mm rifle cartridge is adequate.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            “battle is more about getting rounds out there than printing pretty groups”
            Battle is about killing or wounding your enemies.

          • Just say’n

            RE: “it doesn’t seem very likely at all that the infantryman will suddenly
            gain effectiveness at longer ranges, especially without a radically
            revised and much more intensive training program.”

            …or something like Tracking Point.

            Sad thing is, we always feel burned by the last war we fought and in the name of continuous improvement seek for radical changes. The next war will be urban and our soldiers will be wondering “why do we need this 6.5 caseless stuff?? give me a 9mm sub-gun”.

          • Passive stabilization (Tracking Point) will surely become integrated in infantry combat in some way in the future, but it’s still very premature. Also, it does not solve the spotting problem.

            Precisely, I think we’re headed for another M14 situation, if we get lucky.

          • Kivaari

            Tracking point is too complex at a size and weight that is not suitable for a combat rifle. There are few electro-optical devices that can withstand the needs of soldiers or police. The best thing the military could do to improve the rifles effective range is to install very rugged optics, and train better. Using more easily disabled devices is not a good idea. Just look at how optics have improved, and how soldiers are more effective. Asking for 1200m range from a infantryman is simply not realistic. Look at the extensive training a sniper takes, and they don’t always hit, even when they have all day to do it. The 7.62 NATO can’t do it. The 6.5 anything can’t do it. Yes, people on the 1000 yard range can hit the THREE FOOT diameter bullseye using the 6.5×55 Swede. The 6.5 Swede is not suitable for a carbine for all kinds of reasons. If they were simply replacing the M240 with a 6.5x55mm, I’d agree, it would work. In a carbine like the M4 it just can’t work as well. We could just use the .260 Remington with the correct rate of twist and new links and away we go.
            There is no reason to change to any new caliber for use in the M4 or similar gun.

          • Kivaari

            An M4 outperforms an AK. Shooting down hill only effects the hold over, it is not as dramatic a drop shooting uphill or down hill since the target may be 1200 m downhill, it is the same as if you drew a line flat our and directly over the target. It may only be 600m.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            I disagree on the ROE. Dead people can’t hate you. And the moslems, they hate you regardless of whether you are nice or not.
            We had unrealistic ideas of nation building. You can not build a democracy out of a iron age tribal area.

          • therealgreenplease

            Elsewhere in this now prolific comments section somebody mentioned the DSG iMortar as an excellent solution to deal with being fired on by a GPMG from long range. It’s a light, man portable 60mm mortar. If combined with an advanced targeting system such as Boomerang and guided mortars… the guy on that GPMG is going to have a bad day.

          • Sam Pensive

            I like mortars too on long range stuff. Guided shells? Even better…

          • Kivaari

            We have better communication ability. The improved communication is perhaps the best thing we have while dealing with serious traditional threats (Russians-Chinese) or the Jihadis. When I hear the Jihadis have control over our troops because they have Russian designed MGs and AKs, I just don’t agree. Our people can shoot better and call in all those other assets.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            The only edge the enemy has is they aren’t bound by ridiculous ROEs

          • Kivaari

            Well, that is true. The muj have radios that we listen to. If they get scramblers, we have the gear to handle that. Our stuff includes the GPS and real time drone imaging. That may help finding the muj outside of villages where they are more likely to get shot. Like the Hama thugs in Gaza, the enemy hides behind the skirts (burkas) of women and children. None of us wants those people hurt – even though they hold the same anti-American and Afghan moderates.
            Western culture is superior to Islamists. We don’t like collateral damage. Muj-types couldn’t care less

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Sir, with all due respect, war is hell. Civilians are part of the Mujahideen support system and should be exterminated. We fire bombed Dresden and Tokyo [ and others]. Both times to kill civilians. On purpose.
            I disagree with your idea of how to prosecute a war. War is where you kill people, destroy things, including civilians as necessary.
            That is the way we used to do war before the faeries and liberals took over.

            I do think we are superior to Islam, by a long shot. Killing our enemies as appropriate doesn’t make us any less superior.

          • Kivaari

            How can an AKM out perform the M4? How can an SVD outperform our semi-auto sniper rifles and our heavy bolt action sniper rifles? How can a PKM in 7.62x54mmR out-range an M240? How does any of the 12.7mm machineguns of Soviet origins outperform the M2HB we use? Is there something magical about these guns in the hands of Juhadi’s? There is no 7.62×9 or 5.45x39mm AK that outperforms an M4 in the hands of a trained American.

          • Cmex

            My point is the gear is good but the users are clowns.

          • Kivaari

            Which side has the clowns? When my kid was in Iraq, he never fired his M249 in combat or training. We need an uptick in training.

          • Cmex

            Clearly the Talibs are the clowns. If your kid went through training, he’d at least knew fundamentals of marksmanship. I haven’t really had a chance to learn about terrorist training, not do I really want to, but it’s doubtlessly vastly inferior to what professional soldiers get.

          • Kivaari

            State-side he qualified with the M4 and the M249. Once in Iraq, at Camp Anaconda, he would respond to alerts, grab his gun and head to a tower. The Iraqis would be well out of range. White Kia trucks would be racing around with a guy in the back dropping 60mm mortar rounds at the base, mostly missing. My brother-in-law was in Kandahar where suicide bombings at the main gate killed people and one team of doctors and nurses took a mortar round on the tent pole, killing all of them. Luck of the draw.

          • Kivaari

            So true! Cooper continued promoting the Scout Rifle for REAL military use. I wonder why he didn’t think about a man running point that steps around a corner and has 5 guys with AKs ready to blow him away, and e has a 5 shot bolt action. I am old having used M1 rifles in the Navy and M16A1s in the Army NG. Given the choice today, I’d take an M4A1 as soon as possible. I can own any modern semi-auto rifle I want, and I own ARs. I’ve never found a better system.

          • buzzman1

            The nature of combat has changed and its driven by doctrine. The Soviets wanted a full auto rifle because doctrine dictated blowing the objective up and then rolling over it with tanks and APCs, discharge soldiers who were to spray the area down with full auto fire. The US pretty much has the same concept now which works fine in cities and forested areas but not worth a damned in deserts and mountainous areas.

          • Kivaari

            I don’t think combat has changed all that much. Just how we view it and adapted to reality. Like WW1 where tactics like the Revolutionary War and the US Civil War. Leaders failed miserably to adapt to the change in weapons. After the very first charge across no-man’s-land in 1914 where men were wiped out by machinegun fire, the generals kept doing it over and over again. Like Gallipoli, where there was no use of brain power expended before committing troops to battle. NO sane leader would have considered invading at that spot. When you analyze combat since WW2, only people with no regard for life, used the tactics of massed attacks across open ground. Soviets, Japanese and Chinese troops sent to slaughter was simple minded warfare.
            In open country, including Afghanistan means long range engagements where small arms have limited effectiveness and should not be pushed to create a new 1200m rifle or carbine. A machinegun, yes. It is why the M4 has all it needs to have for when men on foot have to clear villages and farmland where going toe to toe with the enemy takes place in close. Vietnam foot powered combat was mostly close range. WW2 Europe was close range where a rifle handier than the M1 would have been useful. Any place where the distances get beyond the serious useful range of the M4, it passes to sniper rifles and heavier indirect fire weapons. We actually learned that 100 years ago.
            Look how much of the fighting in Iraq took place in built up urban terrain. Those same distances where an M4 excelled, and the M16A2 became a little bit too big. Marines stress long range shooting, but in reality until good optics were added to the rifles, it was uncommon to have a good number of hits in the 400m range. Once the Trijicon 4x scope was put on almost every Marine rifle, the average grunt praised the new combination as making 400m shots much more common. Under the stress of combat, the ability to hit at such ranges is diminished. That is from men that had pretty good rifle training. Where on the range, they could easily make hits, using iron sights, it just doesn’t translate to doing so in actual combat. We would have had optics on every rifle 80 years ago, had the optics been as tough as they are today. It took time to develop the better gear.

          • buzzman1

            There is no need for a 1200 meter weapon as like you said very few can hit a long range target anyway. Also what the article didn’t mention was the long range engagement from the enemy was using machine guns and not rifles/carbines.
            Whin I was in IOBC many years ago one of the other LTs had his great grandfathers infantrymans handbook and it basically wasn’t much different than todays foot soldiers training including the traveling V formations etc. In WW1 we allowed ourselves to be sucked into the Euro’s fighting which hadn’t changed much since the middle ages even though the weapons changed.
            Since then warfare has changed a lot because of mobility and combined arms combat doctrines. We prefer to ride everywhere and dismount only when needed. Shorter weapons make since. For most combat troops a more lethal round would solve a lot of problems regardless of the platform its fired from.

          • Kivaari

            That’s why changing machineguns makes sense. We do not need ammo compatibility between carbines and MGs.

          • Mike_88

            Next generation smart optics may make it possible for the average soldier to hit targets that far out.

          • buzzman1

            The M855 round is capable of penetrating both sides of a Kevlar at 1000 meters when fired from a 20″ barrel however, it lacks the velocity and energy needed to do more than make a small hole. Guys using M-14s in Afghanistan were reporting problems with lethality of the 7.62 starting at about 800 meters.

          • Kivaari

            You have it. Same with policing. I told my chief that “Police work hasn’t changed much since Roman times, except for data recovery”.
            He was baffled for a little while, until it dawned on him, that beyond having SMGs and semi-auto handguns, most of our job was simply restoring order. After all “policing an area” is what policing is all about. Ask a military veteran about what the first sergeant said about “Police this area”, means. It means restoring order, by piking up litter.

          • Mark

            I think a lot of the effort put in to extending the effective range of small arms is born out of what soldiers have been experiencing in Aghanistan. I’m not a soldier but what I’ve gathered the biggest problem we’ve run in to are enemies on a far away tree covered mountainside raining pot shots down on troops. The 5.56 and SAWs are not that effective and just try to suppress incoming fire until the 240s can get dialed in to where they think the fire is coming from with actually effective fire. This round theoretically can put the capability of the 7.62×51 in every soldiers hands while also providing ammo commonality and reduced ammo weight loads. We can’t really know the full story until more detailed recoil comparisons are made with the 5.56 but hypothetically if the recoil is somewhere in the middle of 5.56 and 7.62×51 I think this could be a winner. Of course cost, reliability etc must be considered.

          • buzzman1

            MG and RPG fire beyond the range of the 5.56. With the old 1903 they had 1800 yd sites to perform what is called “plunging” harassment fire so as to engage at maximum range and break up enemy attacks. Few troops are capable of accurately engaging the enemy past 300 meters with current sites and even with better optics don’t have the capability either.
            When we adopted the 5.56 the European Armies were going to adopt something in the 6.5 size as it provided the needed long range ability with a recoil moderate enough to be on a full auto rifle/carbine.
            The telescoping ammo is not a bad idea but they have been working on it for decades with no breakthrough in sight.

          • Kivaari

            “Sights”, not “sites”. You aim a rifle with sights, while at the site of the rifle range or shootout.

          • buzzman1

            Thank you for the correction. I really need to proof read better.

          • Kivaari

            What 6.5 rifles were being considered in the ’70’s for adoption by European forces? Some European nations had adopted 6.5mm rifles in the 1890s. After WW2 and Korea, I don’t know of any European Army looking at 6.5 rifles. If I remember correctly the Brits were looking at a 7mm in the 40-50s. By the late 70s there was work in Sweden and Germany towards what became the SS109 AKA: M855.
            Germany was looking at a caseless BB-gun sized bullets. The G11. Britain was looking at a metallic cased BB gun. What were they looking at? Soviets looked at the 5.56mm and adopted the 5.45mm.

          • buzzman1

            When the west started looking for a rifle with full auto capability they had to look at rifles firing rounds smaller than 7mm to get controllability. I don’t think specific rifles were selected for testing yet when the US announced it was going to use the 5.56 in the mid 60’s. The Europe countries dropped their programs and began adopting the 5.56 because logistically (also $$$$) it made sense. In the event of a war the US would be resupplying them with ammo. When the wall fell most of our NATO allies only had 1-2 days of ammo in storage and Germany had 3 days. The SS109 projectile was developed to counter Soviet body armor that was supposed to be issued to their troops. The old round is more effective but the army was so invested in the SS109 and the rifle changes they made there was no going back. The Russians do strange things. They developed the BTR-50 with a gas engine because they had a few years of gas surplus. The 5.54 round was developed (my guess) because of symbolic paranoia. They liked the ballistics, material and weight savings it offered but they couldn’t use the same caliber weapon we did. The developed the 82mm mortar so we couldnt use any of their ammo we captured bout our 81mm ammo could be used for harassment fire against us.

          • Kivaari

            You should read Ezell’s “The Great Rifle Controversy” and His book. “The AK47 Story” for a quick education on the rifles and cartridges and manufacturing methods including square meters of floor space, machine hours (AKA: man hours). Then get English language copies (unless you read Swedish) of ACTA Surgica’s study of the 5.56mm M193 v.SS109 (M855). There was much more to that you seem to grasp. Sweden was “proving a case AGAINST the USA and it’s use of the extremely violent 5.56mm”. A case was being built to adopt the SS109 because it was less violent. Except, the SS109 with a faster rate of twist and the more unstable penetrator (being of center too often) caused worse wounds. The Soviets admired the performance of the 5.56mm. Their counter design, the 5.45mm gave the Soviet soldier an increase in hitting ability by a factor of 2.5 times that of the 7.62x39mm. The Soviets were not so easily driven to adopting a small bore because they wanted to mimic the USA. Soviets and now Russians are not stupid. They used the 7.62mm bore size because they already had massive amounts of WW2 era tooling. Kalashnikov himself liked the bigger bullet.
            Russians make some great stuff. Serious missile technology for science and warfare.
            Don’t underestimate why they do what they do. Don’t dismiss the energies that went into small bore rifle development. Armies around the world have tested rifle calibers since the first matchlock. Once small bore rifles and cartridges appeared and showed such a dramatic improvement over unclad lead. There is very little to learn about calibers. If the overly loved 6.5mm was the best, wouldn’t everyone still be using it? How many nations don’t use it. How many nations use 6.5 or 7mm today outside of target matches using old-timer guns for fun? Is that, none? Why, is everyone so ignorant, that they haven’t kept the 6.5mm?

          • buzzman1

            Kivaari, Soviets/Russians design world class equipment and end up building crap. If they ever get over that old quantity over quality garbage the west would be in trouble.
            Through the years I have read a lot about the ballistics or the 5.56 and it is very velocity dependent. The 109 after 100 yards tends to be a flying icepick because of its over stabilization. That’s why the new lead free rounds have been developed to get the yawl affect after they strike something.
            Maybe I should point out a little clearer the Euros are to cheap to by their own ammo insufficient quantities to protect themselves so they bought in to the 5.56 so they could use our ammo when they ran out.

          • Kivaari

            There is a lot mote to combat rifles and carbines than just the ballistics of the round. A weapon has to fulfill its role. Using the 5.56mm round is just one aspect of what is expected of the M4. As we have seen, the M4 is deemed a better choice than the M16A1 A2 or A3. Even though the M4 delivers less performance than any of the 20 inch models, it is STILL deemed a better choice. If it were simply a matter of ballistics we may still be sing M1903A3 rifles.
            It is this matter that seems to get overlooked by those saying we need a new rifle in a new caliber-cartridge. Let’s say we keep the M4, but re-barreled to a wonder 6mm, 6.5mm or 7mm. If the M4A1 with its heavier barrel to counter the overheating issue you mentioned, can deliver a higher performing bullet than it MAY be a viable reason to change. But, how can it be economically done? For us and our allies? That alone is a valid reason to NOT change cartridges and weapons. I have an M4 Commando. It HAD the heavier A1 “SOCOM” barrel. It now has the lightweight “pencil” barrel. It WAS heavy. Soldiers saw a need for the heavier barrel to fight the overheating. I bet they don’t like the added weight. Is it a worthwhile trade off? Probably, since the disadvantage of the added weight is off-set with a real value.
            And, it kicks less. So, it will be easier to hit with. Trade-offs.
            Going to a higher performing 6.5mm cartridge, will mean an expensive change over, with a rifle likely to recoil more, using heavier ammo, needing new sights, new optics, new magazines, new cleaning gear, new lots of stuff as simple as magazine pouches and cleaning patches. What will it give the soldier? An added 5-100m real range? Better wounding? All that has to be considered, as it isn’t just buying a new barrel and ammo. Getting 200m more range may come with very negative trade offs, that do not matter on the battlefield. Especially when the M4 is doing the job quite well today.
            I wont take the word of combat soldiers outside of special operations, since most soldiers don’t have a clue about how guns and bullets really perform. Having served in both the Navy and Army NG, I have never met a more uninformed crowd of gun users among so-called professionals. I trust the laboratory men more than the field operators.

          • buzzman1

            The M-4 was selected primarily because its short length makes it easier to get in and out of vehicles with as well as being more useable in MOUT operations and dense forests. They M-4 would not be nearly as effective using pre-855 ammo because of velocity loss. Yes the M-4 is better because it gets rid of the crappy burst trigger and the light barrel. BTW the M-16 as developed by the Marines had the heavy barrel to fight barrel droop/warpage during combat. The army took over the program and reduced the barrel size much to the chagrin of the Marines. Your rate of fire at the range will never heat up the barrel enough to cause a problem so lighter is probably better for you. BTW the heavier barrel will increase your accuracy as the barrel maintains a constant temp .

            And you must be a real wimp if you thing the M-4/16 kicks. It has more of a push so you must not have it in your shoulder.

            As far as retooling and putting out new web gear that’s completely irrelevant. That used to happen regularly.

            More recoil for a bigger round? Not so much with newer technology. Saw a manufacturer vid were the guy fired a full a 10 round mag of .338 Lapua on full auto while standing unsupported and the rifle was also very controlled.
            The M-4 is the best of the AR platforms out their however for long range engagements the platform and round are lacking. The Army would do itself a favor by going to a modular system or buying or adding a second rifle fore use by soldiers fighting in open desert environments as we knew in the 80s the middle east will be the location for all of the hostilities we would be engaged in for the foreseeable future.
            You are quite correct about how clueless most soldiers are about shooting, ballistic etc. A lot of them were to lazy to clean their weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan. Infantry was better than the others about it. I wouldn’t put to much stock in only what lab guys report. They suffer from the same problems as everyone else and put out bad stuff at times. Besides what works great in the lab doesn’t always work so well in the field with production equipment in an uncontrolled environment. I once watched soldiers inflict $25,000 in damage to a piece of equipment less than 10 minutes after they received it for testing. The company rep was stunned and told me “We tested it every way but that one.”

          • Kivaari

            You seem to fail to grasp the larger picture. The Army is the senior weapons procurer for all service branches. Yes, the ARMY and Marines wanted a new rifle. They saw a chance to do things, that just a few years later were viewed as errors. We can give some balance to the velocity issue. You keep stressing LONG RANGE while the infantry rifle is not needed in that role as much as it is needed in urban terrain, forests, tropical or evergreen. Some of our warfare takes place on open grind, and we don’t take down targets using rifles. We use heavy metal. We can put a 20 inch barrel on the M16, use M193 and get velocity. But since the services say they do not want 20 inch rifle, we have a 14.5 inch rifle. We have ammo that has been increased in operating pressure to maximize range. TRADE OFFs. You miss that the M4A1 is a compromise of performances, that no rifle will do all you want it to do, while keeping the benefits that the M4-series has. Most of our fighting will take place at short range.
            Once more you miss something about recoil. No M16 family weapon has significant recoil. Especially during slow fire. Have you ever tried to hit a 50m target using an M16A1? It climbs off the target most times, unless you are anchored down. The M16A2 added barrel weight and better aperture sizes, to control recoil so a soldier could hit better. Do it at any range and guess what the bigger heavier rifle offers more hits. What is the trade off? ell that bigger heavier rifle is harder to get into and out of vehicles, fight in confined spaces, MOUT dense jungle (AKA: forest), rough ground, like much of Afghanistan or a graveyard in Iraq. All the better performance from the M16A2 is now a negative for MOST soldiers. The M4A1 has now added a heavier barrel to CONTROL RECOIL, and the old lightweight barrel was easier to carry had a trade off. it was harder to hit with on auto-fire. That new SOCOM heavy barrel dampens recoil but has a trade off, it weighs more. The increased control is a benefit that outweighs the weight. Now it still can’t hit as hard at unreasonable distances, but it is handier to use. Trade offs. You want a rifle that has all the benefits of a long range hard kicking rifle that fits into the M4 package through the use of none existent modern technology that makes the rifle and ammo weigh nothing, but kills at 1200m. I get a kick out of people thinking that most desert warfare is at long range. MOST desert warfare is not at long range as far as infantry engagements. MOST riflemen are killing at under 50m, much of the time under 25m. If it is a desert town or simply a pile of rocks. The enemy doesn’t usually stand up at 500m and let you shoot at them. They take dirt and try to hit you with mortar rounds or medium to heavy machineguns. That happens to be how we do it. But we add artillery and airstrikes. The average infantryman is not a sniper. Even the DMR is not a sniper, but they use a heavier rifle to hit out at longer ranges. If that were such a good idea, every man would have a DMR, and they don’t. Trade offs.
            Settle back down and look at things other than bullet flight and hitting power. All the other aspects of an infantry rifle have merit.
            If I can’t hit them with an M4, I’d like an AH64 to hose ’em down.

          • buzzman1

            I grasp the concept far better than you do. You probably haven’t even considered the impact of our changing calibers on our allies. Remember we will be and have been the source of our allies ammo resupply since the 60’s. Israel makes 15% of our rifle ammo and about 100% of our pistol ammo as part of security arrangements with them. They would have to change every rifle they have. The Marines we adopting the M885 ammo and developing the M-16A2 long before the Army. The Army decided it wanted the A2 the Marines were developing so we would have rifles that fired the same ammo as the SAW they were procuring so they convince the Marines to turn over the procurement of the A2 to them. The Army screwed it up.
            And I’m not missing anything about the concept of getting a shorter rifle but you apparently missed that. Combat doctrine dictates weapons and capabilities. The army wants to fight a high mobility war were you roll up nice and close and shoot it out. Basically they still are fighting the European war with the Russians.
            And where the hell do you get recoil with any AR platform? Modern AR’s have much better firing characteristics due to reduced barrel climb especially on full auto. and if you are complaining about a 7 lb rifle for gods sakes get into a gym! They had to go to the heavier barrel when the decided to go to put the waste all of your ammo switch back on the rifle. The heavy barrel retains heat better for maintaining a constant temperature. Changes in temp can alter the barrels characteristics and impact bullet impact accuracy. BTW the M1A the military uses has the standard barrel for that weapon and not a heavy barrel. Civilian AR style 7.62 weapons have much thinner barrels than they would for combat.
            BTW what are you going to do when you don’t have air cover?
            And the 1200 meter requirement is pure BS the average soldier has trouble engage past 300 and many cant hit at that range either.

          • Kivaari

            Seriously? I am not the one promoting the changing of calibers to get the mythical 1200m. You seem to miss what I’ve written and you certainly don’t give enough credit to what others may or may not know. By the way if I don’t have air cover, I’ll do my best to outshoot those forces having inferior weapons. That’s pretty much every Soviet rifle ever made.

          • Kivaari

            You may want to research the benefit of training, and why no one needs a 3-round burst feature on any rifle. I’d be happy with a semi-auto M4.

          • Tritro29

            You’re going to be disappointed if you think that the RPG can get beyond 300m with any consistent accuracy. Also you have some funny ideas about “Russian designing crap” and our fetishism regarding numbers. Because the 5.45 was marginally the better at the time of its conception and frankly at 300+ I would bet that US (but our guys too) soldiers would be a bigger threat that a dude with an RPG tube.

          • buzzman1

            I think you missread what I said. The russians design 1st rate equipment and build crap. The quality of their has gone way up in the last 10 years but it still has the quality problems. They also exaggerate capabilities. They historically have never been able to keep equipment maintained after fielding it.

          • Tritro29

            Oh we build crap? If anything the quality has been abysmal in the last 10 years with some basic units having to totally reform to attain Soviet Era readiness. Historically as in when? Many things I used during my time in the Army were built by little Uzbek hands, maintained by barely literate Caucasians and that for over 20 years. My rifle was older than me…10 years older giver or take. I’ve not misread what you said, I simply don’t agree because I’ve been there done that. But hey…tell me when was your last time rolling on a BTR variant?

          • Kivaari

            Why does any army fighting in desert conditions keep using 5.56 and 7.62 AKMs? Look all over the place. Look at Afghanistan, where the primary weapons in use are of Soviet or Chinese manufacture, and they are using inferior 7.62x39mm. .303 British and any captured gear. Our soldiers have better guns than the enemy. Our soldiers are better trained. Our soldiers have assets only dreamed about by the Mujis. If our men went toe to toe with the enemy, every gun we have is superior. Yes the RPG7 is a good weapon. It is heavy and it has shown a nasty of habit of exploding when the trigger is pulled. Single rounds weigh about the same as our disposable launchers. We can use Carl Gustav 84mm RCL and our own 90mm RCL rifles. The RPG isn’t the answer. If you notice, even the Russians are using disposable weapons.
            IDF forces, “premier desert warriors” don’t have an issue with 5.56mm. The Russians like the 5.45mm. China went its own way with a marginally larger round. Is it any better in actual combat? Or lab tests?
            Too much effort goes into finding a new cartridge or weapon combination. We could keep the caliber and change the casing and we would gain some weight savings. That’s a good thing. Especially if we can use plastics that don’t use strategic materials (brass, copper, tungsten). Look around, what army is searching for a new bore size? What are nations buying today? Most are buying 5.56mm and keeping the 7.62x51mm. Those in the Russian warm and fuzzy influence they buy old 7.62x39mm or are upgrading to 5.45mm. As we notice our technology has made people approve of the performances delivered by those small bore rifles, even the Russian ones? If 5,56mm is so bad, why did the Russians examine it and decide it was better than what they had?
            People claim the AKM is better than the M4. That’s bull.
            We could issue a 6x45mm, like the reloaders were doing 40+ years ago. It gives a larger diameter and heavier bullet, but how does it perform at 500m? We also have 6.5x45mm wildcats, what do they deliver? Well they don’t do much. It might make a game warden take a second look in some states that demand 6mm as a minimum. Almost every anti-.223 state hunting regulation evolved around the use of Ruger’s Mini14. When they came out people loved the little handy rifles – and they killed deer just like bigger guns. Game wardens of the 70s were pretty much old-timers. Semi-auto rifles scared them. One of them chewed me out because I liked using an AR180 with a GU scope. It didn’t look nice enough for him. The mini-14 looked OK since it had wood. Once they saw it was semi-auto, its like they had a stroke. The next year the game communion banned them. Some of them see an M1A and they still get nervous. Put a Remington 5 shot M7400 next to the 5 shot M1A and the M1A is scary.
            Cross a state line between Idaho and Washington, Idaho accepts ANY centerfire caliber, while Washington needs .243 or bigger. At one time the 25-35 was legal in a pistol (TC Contender) but illegal in Winchester rifles. Now it is “common sense”. That is earned when you plug a deer with a 6x45mm AR15 and it’s dead as you pass through a game check.

          • Sam Pensive

            I prefer firepower myself…

          • Kivaari

            Real “fire power” is not delivered with rifles or machineguns. It is achieved with high explosives in large quantities. As far as infantry weapons, there are no potential enemies that have superior weapons to the United States military. When we get to heavy weapons like main battle tanks only now has Russia come up with a serious tank. The Germans and UK forces have excellent armor.

          • Mike_88

            Future combat conditions will be more and more in urban environment many are saying.

          • Kivaari

            Europe has many opportunities for long range shooting. Look at the battle grounds of central Europe, The Fulda Gap and the Russian step (much of it now back in the hands of new NATO nations) where you wont see a tree or rough ground for miles in all directions. That is where a longer range machinegun cold use the better LDB. Have an enemy soldier poking his head up over the edge of his fighting hole and if your sniper has the kill capable rifles. Even those shots have a very high potential to miss. It is very hard to compensate for wind and mirage. If your best snipe rifle with a highly trained shooter can’t reliably hit, your regular troops with any rifle will not hit all that often.
            The 1200m figure is for MGs dropping clusters of bullets into a beaten zone. Not trying to pick out Ivan or Mohhamad.

          • Zebra Dun

            If the target is beyond 500 meters call in support fire.
            That’s what it’s for, Air, Arty even Tubes can reach out if not them then “Rockets Up!’

        • aka_mythos

          I think there is a need for infantry weapons with those necessary long ranges, it just doesn’t need to be general issue rifle or carbine. I think between a variety of squad level issued special weapons like XM-25, various shoulder launched options, and high caliber rifles for designated riflemen the threat of being outranged is mitigated.

        • nova3930

          I think it’s a case of fighting the “last war.” Afghan guerillas know they can’t fight it out at close range with our troops so they’ve adopted the tactic of using PKM and up weapons to lob bullets at dismounts in open terrain from extended range. Basically they know what the range limitations of the typical GI squad level weaponry is and use it to their advantage.
          That’s a problem that has to be dealt with but I have my doubts that it will be a continuing problem going forward in the future. I’m not even sure the solutions to that problem give you any decided advantage in other conflicts going forward. IMO the areas that present a high probability of a major armed conflict in the future are not wide open desert/mountain areas. There’s a lot more rolling terrain, forest and jungle in that list….

          • LCON

            And City fights. Jungle like South east Asia and City as Urban is the largest growing terrain type on earth.

          • Kivaari

            I always wondered why Israeli soldiers could engage in desert warfare using CAR15 found that quite adequate. It turns out most engagements were at 25m. I bet an M4 would work just as well.

          • LCON

            of course M4 is a short barreled AR15, CAR15 is just a shorter barreled AR15.

          • Kivaari

            Yrs, but the CAR15 XM177 E2 did not perform as well as they army wanted. Colt took 20 years to improve it to the M4 configuration which works much better.

          • LCON

            And the Israelis did adopt a number of M4s they shortened some and issued others until they started moving to first the Tavor then the X95. In urban the and vehicles the short overall is a useful advantage.

          • Kivaari

            The M4 configuration is an excellent rifle that does most of what a rifle is useful for. It is why I see no reason to change to anything else. Like we now do we issue special guns for special uses. The attempt to make every man a sniper isn’t practical. Trying to adopt a 1200m RIFLE is seriously flawed. Trying to get a man-portable machinegun into a 1200m gun has merit, if all you want is a beaten zone. I am quite sure IDF will continue using the M4-type carbines.

          • LCON

            The Israelis adopted Tavor and then X95 for a number of reasons primarily they favor the shorter length in the very close quarters, I mean a Bullpup with a 13 inch barrel is almost a subgun in size. yet it gives almost equal to M4 performance which comes back to the oft forgotten fact that a uniform cartridge is uniform performance.
            the Original reason behind the LSAT was the “L” for weight reduction. if you can get the same or better performance from a round with a 30%+ weight reduction that could do some good.
            Shaving weight off the LMG alone could be a major help to the machine gunners.
            But none of this is ready for prime time. maybe 2030 but not 2020. in the interim I think using ready to go tech the KAC Stoner LMG A1 has the weight almost as light as the LSAT CT.
            If you want to put the hurt reliably on a target up to 1200M give the squad DMR gunner a HK CSASS past 1200M issue a ultralight mortar like the Imortar or call in a heavier weapon like a tuck mounted M2.

          • Kivaari

            I think the IDF wants a home built design. National pride issues. Personally I would have a bullpup. I like being able to shot them from either shoulder. I don’t want an FN M2000 club. The idea has merit if you can get good at magazine changes. I have never found a bullpup other than the P90 that made sense. Then like I mentioned earlier, my dealer has the full auto version. It handles the best of any. BUT, he says the magazines are fragile and they are still awkward o change, but with 50 rounds, changing should not be needed much of the time. But it is such a weak little round that it only serves its intended purpose, a PDW. We have a great many fine rifles in use around the world. I keep seeing more nations changing to M16-type rifles than any other design. The nationalism is deep seated and will result in local designs that may not be very good, but they will be “theirs”.

          • Less national pride issues than supply security, I would guess.

          • Kivaari

            Those using home made designs don’t have to fear supply interruption since they can license just about an rifle design they like. If they can build rifles, they can build M16 or FN or HK designs. Nothin stops a nation for building what they want, even if they did not get a licensing agreement. Look at China building M16s and M14s. I am quite sure they didn’t bother to pay royalties to the USA.

          • China can “get away with” not paying royalties for violating Colt’s patent. Just like they get away with all sorts of patent and copyright violations, because we cannot (or, if you prefer, could, but refuse to) enforce those patents and copyrights.

            Israel cannot get away with it.

          • Mike_88

            Read “out of the mountains, the rise of the urban guerrilla”

          • nadnerbus

            I had to read through the comments until I saw someone say what I was thinking. Last War-itis.

            The various Afghan factions that use this tactic are basically using their PKMs and such as direct fire artillery. And the only reason it is as effective as it is is because US forces are drastically restricted from replying in kind with the various indirect fire weapons at their disposal due to political concerns and collateral deaths.

            So basically, US forces are fighting at a self imposed disadvantage, and Afghan militants are smart enough to ruthlessly use that against them.

            The answer is not to pour millions into a new wonder weapons system and round, which will most likely not be the right system for the next war anyway. The answer is to stop ceding key tactical advantages to the enemy.

          • Kivaari

            The use of PKMs for indirect-fire is nothing new. I suggest reading McBride’ Emma Gee’s and A Rifleman Went to War, regarding the use if ID during WW1. Look at the MAG58 (M240) at the left hand side plate where a sight essentially the same as a 105 or mortar, just for employing ID with a GPMG or like the M2HB uses the same set up. We have normally put night vision optics on that same plate and from what I see no one trains to use that method. If we have a barrier between us and the enemy forces we don’t drop small bullets on them, we send explosive ordnance. We could do ID fire with machineguns but our advanced weapons seem to do it easier and with more effect. There’s no reason we could not return that aspect of training and use if wanted.

          • Hell, the Mk1 Bren LMG had those types of sights.

            But to expect troops to properly employ defilade fire requires you TRAIN them employ defilade fire. Which, by and large, we don’t.

          • Kivaari

            I know. Our MGs have the place to attach such sights, but they don’t. Those saying the Jihadis use indirect fire against our forces should understand that we choose to not do so. We could, but we wont. We can send a small rocket powered explosive over the hill to get the enemy. More effective? Costs more. We certainly could set up MGs pre-registered on likely paths used by the enemy. Like WW1 where guns were set up, and soldiers walking by would randomly touch off a few rounds. It is old technology that could easily be put to use at our FOBs.

          • Kivaari

            In that reference about “Taking Back the Infantries Half Kilometer” article addresses, the training of our soldiers to engage targets beyond 300m is pretty much non-existent. The author suggests more DMRs and training. But, we do use heavier weapons to take over beyond the 300m. Like the article, books and many movies show, the fighters need to grab them by the belt and keep them so close that the heavy assets cannot be used without risking fratricide. Adding the new LIGHT 60MM MORTAR and developing a better and lighter automatic grenade launcher is needed. No army is going to teach marksmanship like peacetime pre World War ONE England or US Marines. remember the sayings about WW1 rifles? Where the Americans using the 03 had a target rifle (delicate rear and front sights) the German M98 was a hunting rifle (the shorter K variants) and the British had a combat rifle. WW2 made it more distinct change, where the Germans stayed behind for AWHILE with the K98k, the Brits had the No 4 (even with millions of No 3s still around) and the Americans had the rea combat rifle of the era with the M1 rifle. Even our M1903A3 was better than our earlier 03. It still needed a stronger front sight.

          • Everyone who cites “Taking Back The Infantry Half Kilometer” or talks about PVT Snuffy needing to be trained and equipped to take single aimed, effective hits at 500 or 600 meters oitgh to be tied to a chair with his eyes held open like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange while McBride’s _A Rifleman Went To War_ is displayed at a slow reading speed, in continuous loop, for 18 hours.

          • Kivaari

            It’s an excellent book. They should read “Shots Fired in Anger” by Col. John George (NRA Press). George killed 35 Japanese soldiers using an M1 carbine. It isn’t in his book, but was reported by his brother (from memory). He tells of some of his men going to using a 6.5mm Japanese carbines instead of the M1 rifles. They preferred the lighter and smaller weapon and the reduced recoil and ammo weight. That was an eye opener.

          • Ryan

            While I’m placing my $0.02 in reply to your post it isn’t in any disagreement, merely that my point in this lengthy argument seems to fit best here. The questions I’d like answered could also go to the poI nt of the above poster who complained about the current ROE.

            Why are we not utilizing our best possible equipment for engaging out of range targets, long before they have the chance to run away (as has also been mentioned) such as wide area carpet bombing?
            Sure, I agree that the infantry mortar is a vastly under used and under appreciated weapon. But by that same token, so is the A-10 in the role of a light bomber.

            In Afghanistan, which is the over arcing focus of most of this thread, our enemies are in barely populated mountain ranges. And yes, they are lobbing PKM rounds down onto our guys as we attempt to close with and destroy them. If we can determine their location at all, and we have total airspace domination, would it not be more cost effective to simply bomb the hell out of these dirt farmers at every opportunity?
            We already keep planes in the battle space 24/7/365 by utilizing our fantastic mid-air refueling operations.

            Given the vast improvement in laser guided bombs over the last quarter century, a constantly roving fleet of A-10s, combined with the equipping of every infantry unit with laser target designators would prove far superior to any small arms that could ever be brought to bear against such targets. And that is totally disregarding entirely the incredible array if other weaponry that can be loaded onto that particular bird and used for similar purpose. Hell, it’s 30mm rotary cannon is one of the most feared weapons in existence.

            The A-10, employed far more extensively and aggressively, would be the end of those tactics by our desert and mountain dwelling foes.
            The idea that we constantly fight wars with both hands tied behind our backs because our enemies might be using human shields is frankly ludicrous. In all honesty, so what if we make them more angry with us? If we had better border control that wouldn’t even be an afterthought. There is no nation in existence today that could reach our shores with any force of appreciable size. No Navy, no airforce, and certainly no infantry, mounted or otherwise. We simply control the skies to such a degree that any such attempt would be suicide.

            Who could even use nuclear weapons against us effectively? No one. The Russians know their fate if they were to try, MAD has and will continue to work, forever. China has little to gain by attacking us, we feed them and support their entire economy. The rest of the world’s real arsenal of nuclear is under the control of our allies, or is incapable of striking us. The missilie defense program works very well so even rogue nations like North Korea (the biggest red herring ever), with their handfuls of joke level ICBMs would never see a single missile strike.

            Losing the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan at all at this point is actually the problem. We will not, not ever, truly win the war in Afghanistan. They have eventually repelled every invader since Alexander. We thought we’d done so nearly eight years ago but today the Taliban is as strong as they ever were and are regaining the support of the people because they have learned what it was they were doing wrong.

            Today’s Taliban isn’t trying to control every aspect of the lives of the Afghan people. Instead they’ve modified their approach to be more akin to their friends and supporters in Pakistan and Syria. Allow the people some wiggle room, build hospitals and schools, provide infrastructure and it quickly becomes an us vs them equation again. We’re no longer looked at as liberators. We are seen as occupying invaders. If history has taught us anything it is that Afghanistan cannot be conquered any moreso than we could be. It is a fool’s errand.

            It is time to withdraw, truly secure our borders, bolster our allies in the region to help contain them and end this conflict that is in all honesty going absolutely nowhere. America is war weary, we make bad policy decisions when that is the case.

            We do have a real shot at utterly destroying one enemy that is working overtime to undue what good we did in Iraq. ISIS or ISIL or whatever they are calling themselves today is an easily crushed foe. Estimates place their total numbers at fewer than one hundred thousand, we killed that many Afghans in a month and they are much tougher opponents.

            We don’t need the boots our President is deploying, despite his promises to never do so. We can accomplish our goals with missiles and drones and never put another American serviceman’s life at risk. It is a Muslim problem, one they want to fix, we should let them.

          • Kivaari

            Large numbers of dumb bombs is not cost effective. We can do it, but dumb bombs tend not to hit what is desired. A couple GPS guided bombs or missiles will get the job done more precisely.

        • Lasis

          The point is to hit something you can’t even see 8D

          At least, not without very good (and heavy) optics that is.

        • Pman5000

          It would allow better suppressive fire effect in places like Afghanistan where i have had haji try lighting me up from 1500m away with a PK MG. Yeah he was way off but it slowed our movement enough and our onjective was compromised by the time we arrived. Such range coupled with decent optics and having a platoon aized element trained with such would have allowed us to return effective fire and would make haji reluctant to engage us. But hey i have only BTDT, and other than a fifty or .338 LM trying to return fire even with a 240 is a waste of ammunition and only reveals to them what heat we are packing.

          • If a 240 isn’t enough gun, how would a 6.5mm carbine be enough gun?

            Also, why weren’t you able to call in mortar fire? An ROE thing, or what?

          • Kivaari

            Using a M240 to respond to spraying fire from 1500m isn’t likely to do much. Airburst munitions make more sense. We should not be trying to make every shoulder fired weapon into a long range device. It simply is not sensible to demand a general issue rifle for suppressing hostiles at such extended distances. It is like the WW1 era rifles having iron sights calibrated for 2000m. It works if you have 10,000 men on one side shooting at 10,000 men on the other side, where luck plays a bigger role than deliberation. HE fragmentation rounds fired from 105mm arty or 120mm heavy mortars make sense.
            I simply have never understood why every soldier needs to do the unreasonable.

        • Mike_88

          Dudes arn’t dying quick enough with the 9mm and 5.56. We need something that will put an enemy out of commission in less than 5 hits. Lol

          • That’s a nice sentiment, but what can you give me that conclusively proves an increase in caliber will reduce the time-to-incapacitation so dramatically that it’s worth the increase in weight?

          • Kivaari

            Many people will claim the 7.62x39mm is superior to the 5.56mm simply because .30 caliber rifles always beat a .22. Except they don’t. It is hard to convince people that bigger isn’t always an improvement.

        • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          The difference between shooting at 300-400 yards verses 1,000-1,200 yards difficulty wise is not linear, it logarithmic. I was competitive in 1,000 yard matchs in the late 80s early 90s. I had a lot of disposable income and shot regularly, even in the rain.
          Not only do you have to master your rifle, you have to master yourself.
          I don’t see the average solider being able to put in the range time, nor do I see the military investing the time and money to do the training needed.
          While it would be great, it isn’t a necessity but more important, it isn’t practical.

          • Kivaari

            You have that right.

      • Kivaari

        Remember this article was aimed at the machineguns and not the carbine.

    • 6.5mm is not a projectile, it’s a caliber, and low drag shapes are not unique to it.

      130 years of 6.5mm cartridge specifications with long bullet spaces have given people the false impression that the caliber possesses some kind of magical fairy-dust go-go juice that just makes it “better” than other calibers. In fact, very low drag projectiles are possible in all calibers, as one only has to scale the appropriate shape up or down.

    • Kivaari

      The Swedes use 5.56 and 7.62 weapons today. It was the Swedes that “proved to the world”, that the 5.56mm M16 was evil and that the SS109 “green-tip” round was more humane. Except, when compared to M193 the SS109, was shown to be more destructive while it delivered better long range performance. See ACTA Surgica studies from the early ’70s.

      • randomswede

        I have no sources to back this up but Sweden most likely switched from 6.5×55 to 7.62 NATO because we were more scared of the Soviet Union than NATO and the plan was to remain neutral on paper until we had Soviet tanks rolling across the border and then send up the “NATO please come help” flag.
        Similarly we changed to 5.56mm NATO to remain NATO “compatible”.

        The Finns went the other way, using 7.62×39 WP on the assumption that the soviet Union would bring some if they attacked again. A proven strategy one might say.

        Again, my conjectures I have not a shred of proof other than that there’s nothing wrong with 6.5×55 and there’s no reason the G3 couldn’t be made to fire it.

        • DW

          Swedes on pending soviet invasion: omg, imma ask friends for ammo!
          Finns: omg, soviets are bringing our ammo! Just like last time!

    • Kivaari

      Other nations were ahead of Sweden, with 6.5mm rounds built using what we now call intermediate rounds. The 6.5 Italian, Greek, Bulgaria etc. used a case essentially the same as the 7.62x39mm, except for length. The 6.5×51-52-3-54 pretty much had the same case an simply a longer neck or a rimless, semi-rimmed or rimmed minor change. That much derided 6.5mm Carcano was an excellent configuration except for the horrible long round nosed 160 grain projectile. Plant a low-drag spritzer-boat tail bullet and all of a sudden it is a modern caliber doing what today’s 6.5 crowd is promoting. America was close to this in the 1930’s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, well you get the point. None of the conventional cartridges proposed offer anything that we didn’t already know would work. All if the conventional ammo is old news. Only the newer cases offer anything to this latest testing. As long as Congress gives the Army money for testing, the Army will keep spending it, re-examining what we learned a century ago.

    • Jackson Andrew Lewis

      yup 6.5-7.5 mm seem to have best ballistics in short and long cases….. military and sporting cartridges shgow the sucess of the size.

    • buzzman1

      Unless its a 6.5 Carcano.

      • The biggest problem with the 6.5 Carcano is the 19th Century bullet design, not the cartridge itself. The long, heavy, roundnose bullet design is better suited as a big game cartridge (no, I’m not kidding), and sucks for long range aerodynamics. A Carcano with a bullet somewhat like, say, the British .303 Mk7z? totally different story…

        • buzzman1

          It also had some serious issues with accuracy which the US tried to fix so we wouldn’t have to issue he Italians new rifles.

    • Kivaari

      Why don’t they still use it? Perhaps they found the 7.62 NATO is better than having the 6.5x55mm and 8x63mm. Had the Swedes been happy with the 6.5 they could have easily built rifles and MGs sharing common ammo. The British used MK VII ammo to get increased range in the MG. The Russians used two 7.62x54mmR rounds, one for rifles and one for Maxim MGs. The Finns used the lightweight 150 grain load, until; they captured millions of Maxim rounds. They converted the rifles (lengthened the lead) marked them “D” for long range and increased the performance over the standard round. Every nation in Europe pretty much adopted and at a minimum tested every caliber from 5.5mm to 9mm in infantry rifles and MGs. No nation that I am aware of still issues a 6.5mm rifle or machinegun. With all the testing available to governments, one would think that after all these years, if the 6.5mm WAS the best diameter, then someone would be using it. The closest is China, and they like proprietary stuff.
      People that simply hate the 5.56mm will go with an AK in 7.62x39mm, “because bigger is better and it has more power”. Except, it IS not better when it comes to trajectory and terminal ballistics. Yet, “WE ALL KNOW IT IS BETTER”. Except it isn’t.
      If the 6.5mm is the “ideal”, “sweet spot”, “perfect”, “proven performer” and all the other platitudes, just why is no one using guns in those calibers?
      Please inform us, as none of the armies testing ammunition over the last 125 years is following the advice of American sportsmen.

      • Sweden used machine guns in 6.5 up until the 80s. They had Brownings, BARs, ZB26s and others in 6.5 as well as the MAG 58. Japan used the 6.5 in the Type 11 and Type 86 machine guns as well. Finland used some Swedish machine guns in 6.5 as well and there was even Lewis guns built in 6.5 for the Dutch.

        • Kivaari

          Sweden didn’t have those 6.5mm guns in frontline service. The Swedish built G3 variant (I think it is the KG?) and the MAG 58 are first tier weapons. Like in the USA, we issue reserve and National Guard forces mostly older weapons. My guard unit had M16A1 while the M16A2 was for regular forces. Our machineguns were M60-without any A’s. The old model having complete gas systems on the pare barrels. When did Japan use 6.5 MGs recently? I visited Japan 3 times, and I never saw any old guns in service by naval forces. That was 40 years ago. Even cops were packing M1917 Colt and S&W revolvers. Finland used 6.5x55mm guns sent with Swedish and Norwegian volunteers during WW2. When the Swede volunteers returned home they “forgot” to take the guns home. We are not talkin about WW2 and the early years after the war. We are talking about now.
          Lots of nations across Europe kept 6.5mm weapons in reserve following the war. Even Russian used quite a few 6.5mm Japanese rifles and carbines in WW1. The Federov “assault rifle” of the 1920s was in the 6.5 Japanese round.
          I even knew an old Dutch East Indies soldier that was captured by the Japanese in the first week of the war. He was given his service rifle upon being liberated. He kept it in wonderful condition. He said he and his fellow soldiers hardly had a chance to use any guns resisting the invasion. He spent the war as a prisoner-slave.
          Please find me an army that is using 6.5x anything today, out side of parades and ceremonial use. I doubt many are even used in reserve or training.
          When Japan issued 7.62x51mm REDUCED POWER loads in the rifles in the 60s, they may have had a few WW2 guns for display. Before the domestic rifles came on line, we armed Japan with M1 rifles and carbines. Spain issued the CETME with a reduced power load as well. Both could be converted to full NATO spec ammo if needed.
          If you go back to WW1 through WW2 and the early post-war era lots of old gear was used. Visit European armies and you will find captured German gear all over. In reserve. Just like Russia, during the 1990s revolution, they were still using SKS carbines in support units. Even as they were arming the socialist revolutions around the world with AKMs, home troops still used old stuff.
          No one has shown me any evidence of any army issuing anything in 6.5mm, outside of old timer shoots.

          • I miss read your first reply, I was/am sick as a dog right now and my concentration is for crap. The reason the Swedes changed from the 6.5 was to com in line with NATO standardization. My guess is they would still be using 6.5 if it were not for NATO. They did after all adopt the MAG 58 in 6.5 first. Standardization in NATO and the WARSAW pac nations pretty much meant the world became either 2 calibers for MMGs. This does not mean the calibers chosen were ideal. The US was pretty much dictating the caliber for NATO and it was going to be 7.62 despite any testing that says otherwise. I understand the reasons behind that choice but it does not mean that when testing is done on optimization of a MMG/rifle round that bullets with a different diameter, sectional density, and other factors will yield 7.62mm.

          • FWIW: FN even made some prototype FAL in 6.5x55mm for the Swedes.

            However, Sweden never joined NATO.

          • They did not join NATO but they adopted NATO standards “just in case”. I did not remember the 6.5 FAL, been too long since I read the “The FAL book” by Duncan Long.

          • Kivaari

            Except, Sweden used the 8x63mm machinegun round and not the 6.5mm. That’s my point. When people think the 6.5x55mm or its lesser powered cartridges in use in the 1890 to 1950 era, shows that almost every nation using any 6.5mm variant, used larger and more powerful rounds in the machineguns.

          • Sweden used both rounds in machine guns. The Ksp m/36 aka the Browning MMG used by the Swedes was fielded in both rounds but only the 6.5 was retained when they switched to the Mag 58. Machine guns were used for multiple purposes that they are not really used for now. They used MMGs for shooting down aircraft which now days is served by cannons and rockets. The current roll of MMGs is more for destruction of troops and hence the reason why the larger caliber MMGs (those less than 50 cal) are now viewed to be acceptable in smaller calibers. The militarizes realize that weight is a major issue as is MG size and portability. The MAG 58 is so heavy its hardly considered acceptable as a SAW and the M249 has seen many short comings int he SAW roll as well due to round as well as other factors.

          • Kivaari

            Sweden is NOT a NATO member. Sweden has kept its neutrality for a long time. 200 years ago Sweden was a world power. Sweden had at one time pretty much all of Europe and western Russia under its control. Just recently Sweden and Finland have expressed interest in becoming NATO members. Russia is quite peeved that the old Warsaw Pact nations have joined NATO.
            Finland has had several opportunities to rearm with NATO caliber weaponry, but has stayed with Soviet rounds.
            Sweden adopted NATP caliber weapons because they are western in culture and location. Using common rifles, machineguns and handguns is simply smart choices. They did not have to re-invent the wheel. Getting licensing agreements from HK, FN etc was cheaper. Norway and Sweden were the two nations that used the 6.5x55mm round. After WW2 they did the right thing in modernizing the forces. It makes sense to use common ammunition.

          • Kivaari

            I know about being ill and having your brain not going along with your thoughts. I was going to the range to sight in my M4 SBR, as I climbed the ramp for the 5th time, I had a heart attack. Lucky for me it was very small. This week I did all the tests to see what’s going on. I have a small “artifact”, where a tiny event happened. But, it showed heart disease previously undetected. Getting old drags along some disadvantages. I still need to sight in a few rifles. Each having new optics and iron sights that were swapped around.

          • Well, I hope you get well soon. Mine is due to a drunk driver almost taking my left foot off. They reattached it but 6 years later and 7 surgeries I’m still fighting infections and getting fatter in a wheel chair ever day. I was hoping it would be over soon and could go back to using my pool and get back to doing exercise, hopefully the antibiotics finish the latest bug off for good. Worse part is I have not shot most of my machine guns in the last 6 years, they are getting lonely I can tell by the way they try to rust on my.

          • Kivaari

            Hang in there. I know what it is like. I’ve gone through 26 surgeries, some small others major. It wears a person out. The chronic infections you have simply hold you back. Get well soon.

  • Bradley

    Aiming for such a long effective range is interesting considering some of the advanced optics systems like the tracking point. One theme I notice is they seem to get turned on by the same basic platform being able to perform multiple roles. In this case taking an infantry carbine and mounting a tracking point setup to fill a long range role. Interesting is likely about the only thing it will end up being though. Everyone is pushing to be the one to find the next practical leap in small arms technology. Most of them are probably grasping at straws.

  • Wanderlust

    There seems to be some kind of reverence going on for 6.5mm’s. I like them too but probably not for the same reason as others. The efficacy of 6.5mm’s is not because they have some sort of magic property to them that makes them better, its just that with the existing brass combined with the more modern bullet shapes made in 6.5mm they are currently doing well when they can have a case volume roughly the same as a .308 or in the case of grendal .223. It is possible to make 7.62mm or .223 have the same BC just not in the current shapes and not with acceptable bullet mass vs velocity achived. If someone were to redesign a larger .308 case (say .300 Winchester magnum) Its possible to get the same BC with .308 size bullets, just bigger case. So yeah 6.5 is the current sweat spot but not because its 6.5, because it happens to fit the existing actions and cases.

    • iksnilol

      Ya don’t think that 300 Winmag is a bit unpractical?

      It is in the sweet spot because it can accomplish high BC without ridicilous recoil and weight.

    • Cmex

      6mm’s been the sweet spot since 1800’s and something; lots of changes since then, but the simple facts of weight and aerodynamics don’t change.

      • Requirements and technology, however, do.

        Or else we’d still be using .75 caliber arquebuses.

        • Cmex

          If the combat environment changes to that, let me know. 😛 For our world of the need for lots of light recoil rounds with enough power to quickly drop people through barriers from mostly within 400M, 6mm using 100-125 grain bullets with around a max of 30 grains of powder works pretty well.

          • Surely you’re not suggesting that the combat environment hasn’t changed since the 19th Century!

          • Cmex

            Hahaha

    • The case actually needs to be shorter (or the OAL longer) to allow for low-drag bullets in those calibers, but otherwise your point is well-made.

      • Wanderlust

        Yep I was thinking greater OAL but like usual my thoughts dont always go into writing correctly. The .300 win mag, I arbitrarily choose this cartridge as an example of another caliber/cartridge combo which would be able to maintain velocity and BC with redesigned.

  • VF 1777

    Preliminary weapon weight 9.7 lbs… (+ increased weight of ammo) ??? .

    ..holy smokes, they better get that exoskeleton thing working too!

    • iksnilol

      Isn’t that kinda light for DMRs (which this intends to replace) and whatnot?

      • smug twingo

        It’s slightly heavier than an unloaded steel-and-wood SVD with a PSO-1, which has a far longer barrel and is also from the late 50s. That’s, uh, not very good by anyone’s standards.

        • iksnilol

          Yes, but is American Space Technology!

          Is superior.

          Also, SVD is pretty darn good in regards to weight considering the capabilities.

          • Cmex

            SVD’s and PSL’s are frankly awesome. I’m always amazed at what the Soviets came up with for their short development cycles and low budgets. IMO, they still have the world’s best GPMG, SAW, and one of the best combat handguns that just needs a bigger mag to be a world beater again (TT33). C’mon, for the kind of performance they’re asking, the USA could just buy Mosins and be done with it. LOL!

          • iksnilol

            Oh I know, I was just being snarky. 😛

    • kregano

      Well yeah, you’d expect a prototype to be pretty heavy compared to the final weapon, barring cases when they switched to a bigger round (the M1 Garand, for example).

      • For virtually every example I can think of off the top of my head, the opposite is in fact true:

        T44E4 – 8.3 lbs; M14 – 9.6 lbs

        T1E1 Garand – 8.9 lbs; M1 Garand – ~10 lbs

        Magpul Masada – 6.7 lbs; Remington ACR – 8.3 lbs

        XM8 (early prototype) – 6.4 lbs; XM8 (project goal) – 5.7 lbs; XM8 (final prototype) 7.5 lbs)

        “First 17” AR-15 – 5.3 lbs; XM16E1 – 6.7 lbs

        So, 9.7 lbs for a prototype doesn’t encourage me at all…

        • Rock or Something

          Maybe they are just being a tad more honest and forthcoming about the weight this time…

  • Jay

    ….and they put the same retarded charging handle on this rifle……

    • A Fascist Corgi

      The charging handle is one of the known weak spots of the AR-15. Not only are they annoying to use, but they’re prone to stretching and breaking.

      • CommonSense23

        The charging handle is one of the strongest points of the AR15.

        • Sep

          It’s the least terrible option, compared to all the other locations.

          • Kivaari

            I found the Galil to be easy to use with either hand.

          • Until you need to mount optics…

          • kregano

            The MSBS has the best solution – charging handles on both sides, offset downwards to avoid bashing hands into the locking nuts for accessories on the top.

          • CommonSense23

            So double the issues the SCARs charging handle has. Awesome.

          • kregano

            It’s a non-reciprocating handle.

          • CommonSense23

            Which it’s still a issue.

      • n0truscotsman

        Yes and no.

        The changes in the charging handle manipulation from the methods taught in the 1950s revealed the disadvantages in the design of the charging handle, particularly, all of the spring energy being centered around one roll pin.

        This has been addressed a long time ago with BCMs charging handles however.

    • Ionosphere

      What’s wrong with the M4 charging handle?

  • Tom Simpson

    What amazes me is how we end up going around and around chasing our tails for such incremental gains over such an extended period of time…truth is, when it comes to small arms, it could be argued that the last really significant innovation in bullet design was the German S Patrone of 1905 and the last major innovation in propellant technology was Olin’s development of ball powder in the 1930s, and the current brass cartridge case and priming technologies are comparably mature. It would seem that these venerable, still current, and rather static states-of-the-art in these fields may be at or near their theoretical limits and have been so for quite some time. Further, it seems that when we try and either squeeze out a little more performance or establish a new paradigm, we quickly run into significant, often painful increases in complexity and expense for rather little gain. I suspect that most of these efforts are going to be nothing more than a waste of time until something fundamentally shifts in one of the key technologies…more energetic propellants with precisely mapped pressure curves provided by carbon nanotubes or somesuch? I’m not sure, but we have burned up a lot of money and ink over the past 80+ years to get not-very-far, and I don’t see anybody else doing much better.

  • Budogunner

    29.8 inch overall length collapsed? Come on guys…

    • The LSAT 6.5mm carbine is actually 32″ collapsed.

  • smartacus

    12.7″ rifled and 14.5″ OAL?
    How come we can’t have 14.5″ OAL without a stupid stamp???
    time to redefine SBR as below 14.5″ OAL

    • Those figures are for the M4A1 Carbine. The CTSAS carbine has a 16.5″ barrel.

  • Captain Obvious

    “What’s the point?” quickly comes to mind. Based on current military doctrine, and every thing I’ve seen and read, we don’t seem to have any problem ripping up our enemies in the middle east with current weapons.

  • Cmex

    Nat, the army sets insane goals exactly so when it fails to meet them, it can just go back to pooting along the way it was. There’s no way they’re getting Mosin performance out of an M4, Just not happening. I’ve tried and I’ve experimented. I’ve looked into cartridge design myself, and I’m telling you that even out of a 16″ or 18″ barrel, even with a very heavy powder charge, you just aren’t getting there unless they’ve got some magic I don’t know about.

  • MPWS

    American soldier was always intentionally ‘overprotected’ in action with some small exceptions. This development is apparently part of the trend. Besides there is a “warranty” intended for everything which is probably overspill of commercial thinking.

    Question is why 1,200m is the objective effective range if soldier cannot, without extremely powerful optic to distinguish who is the target. Half of it with minimum retained incapacitating energy would be plenty good. In conclusion I agree with author of this article.

    • Precisely. It seems to me that those who think it’s seriously realistic to have soldiers shooting at that kind of range suffer from two shortcomings in experience:

      1. They have never tried to acquire anything but a bright painted or paper target at anything close to that range.

      2. They have never gone target shooting with an active duty infantryman.

      • Cmex

        LOL, tru. I think they want 1200M to claim something like doubling the effective range. There are probably not even a thousand people in the world who can cleanly and reliably make 1200M shots, and that’ in a calm environment where everything is optimized. Now have them do it in battle!

        • Kivaari

          SO true.

      • Kivaari

        I attended a challenging course where targets were arranged from 100 to 500 meters, and out of the small batch of shooters NO one hit the 500m target, even while using the sniper rifle and scope most recommended at the time. Even an Steyr SSG69 with a Kahles 8x scope didn’t compensate for the inability to judge winds. That shooter did win the match because he made a head shot for an extra point (on a closer target) but the number two used an iron sighted M1A.

        • Marcus D.

          I seem to remember reading–here in fact–that US soldiers in WWII were capable of hitting targets well beyond 500 meters with iron sighted M1 Garands, given appropriate training.

          • CommonSense23

            Its one thing to make a hit at 500 yards with irons on the static range with nice pop up targets. Quite another to do it real world.

          • Here is an experiment for you to try. Go out on a clear, sunny day, and pace out 500 meters or longer somewhere in public with a decent amount of activity Sit down at one end of the length you paced out, and watch the spot at the other end. What can you tell about the people there? What information can you discern? How hard is it to tell one kind of person from another? How long does it take you to notice someone?

            Next, try that when it’s overcast. After that, try that when it’s raining. After that, try that at dusk. After that, try that when it’s dark.

            After all that, try that in the woods when it’s raining in the dark.

            I’ve got 20/19 vision, and that is tough for me. It’s not strictly speaking impossible, but combine that with combat marksmanship over top of the extremely limited basic level of marksmanship of the average soldier, and you have a very strong case for the 200 meter effective range for most soldiers. That could maybe shake out to a 400 or 500 meter effective range requirement, accounting for exceptional soldiers, but very compelling evidence indeed would need to be published for anything beyond that.

          • Kivaari

            Excellent. I’ve done that using a laser range finder. It is tough. 40 years ago I hunted with an AR180 (outlawed the next year) used low power scopes while hunting in Western Washington while it’s raining and in dark timber. I could see nothing through the aperture sights. The little 3x scope was like turning the stadium lights on. But you don’t spot game through a scope. In the timber there are few places where you can sit down and glass the area. It’s tough.

          • Right, magnified optics are great for hitting targets at long ranges, but it’s your Mark 1 Eyeball that is still doing the spotting.

            For anyone interested in trying the experiment above, be sure to calibrate your pace, first.

          • Kivaari

            Not all that common. Remember that 25% of the men didn’t even fire their rifles. German and Russian SNIPERS said they rarely were effective beyond 400m. When you read real accounts of rifle use, few people could shoot well enough to hit beyond 400 yds. There are always some great shooters, and they were few and far between.

  • Darkpr0

    “I do not know, but if taken as a weathervane for future Army small arms development, they point to an overly ambitious set of requirements and goals for next generation small arms.”

    Boy why does that sound familiar. Advanced Combat Rifle / Objective Individual Combat Weapon anyone?

  • MPWS

    On subject of weight I suspect that a mechanism involved, which utilises 2 steps feed instead of customary one cannot be of same weight. It cannot be either light nor simple. The solution might be in form of disposable conical nose, but that adds bulk.

  • Vitor Roma

    So it’s basically a CT 6.5 Lapua/6.5 Creedmoor. I like it. The fact is that 7.62×51 is clearly inferior to what can be achieved using 6.5 bullets in an equivalent case.

  • Warren Ellis

    So considering this 1200m range requirement, is the military going to start putting more training into making everyone being good at DMR ranges and such?

    • Unlikely. That wouldn’t get anyone promoted.

  • Joshua

    Holy crap they actually did it. AAI discussed a M4A1 upper for the LSAT program but I never thought it would be possible.

    • kregano

      This is the first time I’ve heard of this, but if it’s true, then all the jokes about us using M16s centuries into the future will come true.

      • Joshua

        AAI was discussing the ability to create a 6.5 M4A1 upper for the LSAT technology back when they were having soldiers test the LMG at Maneuver Battle Lab.

        I scoffed at the proposal saying it wouldn’t be possible, however it looks like AAI will make me eat crow.

        The ability to retain use of the M4A1/M4/M16 lower will mean moving to the platform will be far less expensive and far easier than adopting an entirely new weapon system.

        Plus you then retain ammunition compatibility with the LSAT LMG that is going to happen.

        • That carbine doesn’t look like it’s compatible with AR-15 lowers, although it does say the “notional dimensions” were based on them.

  • oldman

    How much money will the army squander on this project?

  • Wolfgar

    With a growing 19 Trillion dollar dept and the PC wack jobs wanting to put girls into combat rolls, finding the ultimate infantry caliber and fire arm will be the least of our nations problems. How the deck chairs are placed is a moot point when the ship is sinking.

  • Billy bob

    Just issue the plasma rifles in the 40 watt range that they have squirreled away at area 51 already.

  • Nigel Tegg

    Personal rail guns;

    -no bullet drop and huge range
    -only carrying projectiles (no case weight)

    *drops mic*

  • Kivaari

    1200 meters? Wow, if it was in a package the size and weight of the M4 or M4A1, it would be great. It wont happen in my lifetime, and I am nearly dead already.

  • Ionosphere

    I support the idea of adopting a 6.5 mm round that can serve as a “jack of all trades” cartridge, replacing both the 5.56 and the 7.62. 6.5 Grendel would be an ideal candidate for this.

  • therealgreenplease

    This notion of “one round” has to stop IMO. 1,200m is an absurd distance for a general purpose infantry rifle. For LMGs, DMRs, and sniper rifles, 6.5mm CT seems like a very good idea. You can make a strong case for it in those roles. Greater range, less weight for a given ammo load, less recoil, faster time to target, and a flatter trajectory. All great stuff.

    For a general purpose infantry rifle I would say 600m is a good range and perhaps even shorter if the right tradeoffs exist in terms of the amount of ammo a soldier can carry and the resulting weight. For this application, IMO, a very holistic approach should be taken: go with a bullpup with a longer barrel length than the current M4 but with a shorter overall length and use something like 5.56 CT. Our soldiers will be able to carry a bit more ammo with a bit less weight and fire it from a shorter weapon that performs better in environments such as room clearing.

    • Rusty S.

      Nothing absurd about it. As early as the 1880s, 3000m was considered the outer limit of deadly ground via infantry small arms fire. Given, this was for militaries using volley fire at preset ranges or the German system of field fire, but it has been done before and can be achieved again.

      • Um, yes, but in the 1880s the infantry mortar hadn’t been invented yet…

        • Rusty S.

          True, the millatreuse was tried out as an infantry indirect fire weapon and in a counterbattery role and failed at both.

        • Jay

          Yep. And the troops were packed in easier to hit, nice big tight formations, dressed in red, and followed by a famfare……good luck finding the guys in bdu at 1000 meters.

          • Well, at least Daesh make it a little easier on Allied forces since they tend to wear black…

  • I for one believe that 6.5mm is a good move. a good intermediate cartridge between 5.56 and 7.62

  • Warren Ellis

    Looking back on the 1200 meter range thing, might that range be for machine guns and not carbines/rifles? Because I’m wondering: is this a replacement for the 7.62mm CT?

    Because it sounds like the 6.5mm CT is a better choice to replace the 7.62mm CT & 7.62 NATO while the 5.56mm CT replaces the 5.56 NATO. It’s still a two round system but with something better for the 7.62 NATO equivalent.

    I mean considering they use the same cases wouldn’ the 6.5 CT have more velocity or range compared to the 7.62 CT? Like they stuffed mkre powder in it?

    • That would make sense, which is one of the reasons I am sure that’s not the Army’s plan. The other reason is that the evidence doesn’t point that way, including that folks who were present for the conference have indicated that 5.56mm CT development has ended.

      • Warren Ellis

        So it sounds like the Army is just going to dump even more weight on troops in the end. I mean what was the point of doing a 5.56 CT round in the first place? The whole point of the program I thought was to reduce weight. To allow a soldier to, since the military would just make them carry more rounds to make up for the less weight, carry even more ammo than before.

        They might as well get a baseball bat and break their knees during training then. You can save money there at least.

        I actually feel angry right now because this program was going well. It wasn’t like that Mondular Handgun program or the ACR program or whatever. It wasn’t a boondogle and was actually proceeding well. It was like the Army’s equivalent to the Navy’s Virginia-class submarines, as a poster on a forum I frequent put it, going well and going on schedule. And then they do this.

        • Yep. But this is totally in character for the Army…

          • Warren Ellis

            So is there any good news on power armor or exoskeletons coming out? Because I think that’s the only way soldiers will be able to carry this weight.

          • I think they’ll hump it anyway, but it’s not helping the disability problem.

  • It’s interesting that you bring up Battlefield Vegas, as I know Ron personally. They shoot the absolute snot out of their guns, so calling the charging handle the “weak point” of the AR-15, when it is the “weak point” in that sense of virtually every weapon with a separate charging handle (from the MP-40 to the Uzi – its top cover anyway, and including the SCAR).

    Yep, stuff breaks on AR-15s if you run them hard enough. But if you were to ask Ron if he thought the AR-15 was a reliable, durable weapon, I reckon he’d tell you “yes”.

    One of the most neat facts I learned from Ron, by the way, was that USGI magazines, in the long run, tend to be by far the most durable magazines out there. So much for the idea that the USGI mag is crap!

    • CommonSense23

      The new USGI mags are amazing, the older ones weren’t that great.

    • DW

      New pmags > old and abused USGI mags.
      Grass is greener on the other side is mosty caused by domestic violence

  • My big beef with the LWMMG is the weight of the ammunition. It’s a good concept though, and it could be great if they did a second iteration with a re-engineered ammunition concept that was similar in weight to 7.62mm but significantly more powerful.

    If I were in charge of ammunition development for it, I would seek a PCT solution with a lighter bullet in the 200-250 grain range, and I would emphasize development of chemical energy rounds and heavy armor piercing rounds for that caliber as well, to give it capability well above that of standard inert small arms ammunition.

  • Warren Ellis

    I’ve heard claims that the current 6.5 CT round they’re showing is just an intermediate step or something, that for the final product it’s going to be lighter or something. Anyone know if this has been said by them, that this current 6.5 CT round they’re showing is just some sort of intermediate step and that the actual case will be smaller and lighter?

    Here is what I’ve heard said:
    As has been pointed out, this is a intermediate step the current 6.5CT isn’t the final cartridge they are going to pitch. They are now going to work on developing a new CT case for the 6.5 round instead of reusing the 7.62 CT case. So we will see that 237 grain number dropping. And its only got to go down 20% for the a 6.5CT2 to hit the same wight as current 5.56 conventional cased ammo.

    So anyone know anything about official statements saying something like that?

    • I hope it will be, but at that bullet weight the reduction will only be marginal.

    • randomswede

      Considering it’s identical to the 7.62 CT in all but caliber and has 3 grains less powder, I suspect you are correct.

      We are only privy to the slides used in the presentation there’s a good chance we aren’t getting the meat of the information.

      Also, it’s a development process, not a production proposal, smaller, lighter, faster, harder, scooter is the name of that game.

  • Ceiling Cat

    >6.5mm
    That was always gonna happen. 5.56 tacitcool neckbeard armchair commissars BTFO.

    • Tacitcool? Heck, I’m gonna own that, that sounds awesome.

  • Pontificant

    6.5, 7.62, 5.56… They all have their positives and negatives. You train to the limitations of your gear and adjust tactics to suit. More to the point, caseless ammunition has the benefit, (for those who want to control ammunition availability), of not being readily reloaded without seriously expensive machinery. Forget being able to tweak custom loads, forget being able to reload for fun and savings, forget access to inexpensive reloading supplies.

    As the systems become more complicated we start having to rely on others to supply us the gear. Case in point, the computer. How many of you can build a computer processor in your garage? Now, seeing as we don’t rely on computers to defend ourselves there is not much of an issue, but if we are relying on U.S. supported defense contractors to supply us with all the ammunition we want, when we want it, there might be a problem.

    It would be different if caseless ammunition could do something current ammunition can’t, but that simply isn’t the case (see what I did there?). All I’m saying is updating technology for the sake of updating technology isn’t always the best bet. I mean try going untraceable in a car newer that 2006…

    • LCON

      minor point, The Ammo here is not caseless it’s polymer cased telescoped. Furthermore this is a US DOD program not civil.

      • Pontificant

        I stand corrected, but the basic point is still valid, unless this ammunition is as easily reloaded as current ammunition, you still aren’t getting much (weight savings?) for surrendering access to ammunition in times when the government wants to buy it all up.

        • LCON

          For the Civilian you are correct.
          The Objective is for the DOD IE the Government however.
          What this would do if it went to full adoption would be drive a wider wedge between the Civil ammo market and Military ammo market until and unless civilian arms adopted the same ammo. Meaning that in time of war 5.56mm conventional ammo stocks would be unusable for the DOD.
          In terms of weight savings the Savings are more along the ammo not the weapons the one weapon shown is very heavy vs a conventional equivalent. however if you look through the slides you would find that the 5.56mm CT LMG vs the weight of it’s in service army equivalent the M249 ( although less impressive vs a lighter LMG like the KAC Stoner LMG A1) has a significant weight savings. Same for the 7.62CT MG vs the M240L.
          There may long run also be some cost savings as 3D printed polymers would be cheaper then brass.

  • Alex Nicolin

    Wouldn’t it be better to simply focus on more portable high explosive, indirect fire, portable weapon systems for engaging enemies at distances of 1200 m and beyond? The hit probability for bullets at that distance is very low, even when shot by skilled soldiers, from precision weapon systems (DMR, SR), not mentioning that at that distance they use .338 Lapua/Norma Mag. or even .50 BMG. A light mortar or grenade launcher program will be more viable IMO.

    • LCON

      ” A light mortar or grenade launcher program will be more viable IMO.” We have Grenade launcher programs the XM25, Airbursting and extended range 40mm rounds. Thus far Infantry command has been uninterested in commando mortars but we have options if they pick it up.
      Playing up the range debate is all fun but lets get practical here. the weight reduction aim was the early goal in IMO should stay that way chances of getting cost reduction in logistics from a 3D printed casing are also realistic.

  • Ambassador Vader

    It all comes down to cost/benefit analysis for the army. If the benefits are no where close to where the cost to replace something is there is no way they will do it. saving 38% weight on a belted mg by switching to light weight ammo, you have buying the new stock, changing the existing systems (if they even can) then research into longevity and potential problems. they would much rather have them lug around the 38% more weight then spend the money. These programs are kept around to further development in the hopes that the benefit does outweigh the cost but most programs are way too over ambitious.

  • aka_mythos

    “rather than be appropriately scaled back to produce spin-off products that see service. Just in small arms, we can point to the examples of the Objective Individual Combat Weapon,” -Isn’t that exactly what happened to get the XM-25?

    • Bert

      Has it been fielded to the general purpose forces? Has the XM-25 been mass produced? A handful of preproduction weapons with handmade rounds and E8 squires to ensure proper use do not an infantry weapon make.

      • LCON

        If it carries the X mark then no. best guess of number of weapons produced is between 200-300 units, In Varying degrees of production readiness but we know they have been mission fielded and trialed in the stan. They are almost primetime.

  • Cal S.

    Well, if they make is that much better, cheaper (in ammo and firearms), and more available than the 5.56NATO, then I’ll switch over no problem.

  • George

    The 6.5 polymer CTW shows what a bit more mass than current 5.56 gets you. The 5.56 polymer CTW saved 30% over current 5.56 with roughly equal performance.

    It’s not much of a stretch to then split the difference with a 6mm CTW with long bullets and see how much more range you get at weight parity to 5.56×45 …

    And see what a 5.56 CTW with the longer cartridge length the 7.62 and 6.5 and a longer bullet gives, as well.

    This exercise made a good case for the DMR and LMG being 6.5 vs 7.62, but really did not aim well enough at the real carbine/rifle need. There are not enough data points yet. I bet that a compromise at current weight or down some is just fine for actual carbine / rifle roles.

    The one exception to this is that 7.62 bore with saboted smaller caliber rounds deserves a look, as it will shrink barrel length.

    • Yeah, it would have been one thing for them to release their new CT caliber and have it weigh the same as 5.56mm brass-cased, but adding weight based on this pie-in-the-sky idea of a unified 1200m caliber is… Ill-advised.

  • Tritro29

    Not only PKM’s but also SVD’s and AK’s. The round was perfect…only it needed a completely new lineup of weapons, better finishing and in most cases was maintenance heavy on the existing weapons. In other words, it was far from being an “ideal” round.

    • It was a hell of a barrel burner, too.

      • Tritro29

        Thank you…

  • Monty01

    Nathaniel,

    As someone closely involved with bringing next generation weapons to the warfighter, for a long time I didn’t get where you’re coming from, but here i think you make a very valid point.

    To preface my response to your article, feedback from recent operations is unequivocal in stating three important insights that inform future weapon and ammunition choices:

    Combat engagements are taking place at longer than anticipated ranges. Hall and Hitchman, God Bless ‘em, provided some interesting ideas. but they ignored the need for suppression and the fact that this frequently takes place at ranges above 300 metres. However, the small Calibre High Velocity (SCHV) concept remains valid: the more rounds you have, the greater your hit probability. And the smaller the rounds are, the more you can carry. In the light of what we now now, NATO armies are mostly saying we need infantry to dominate the battlespace which means being be able to hit targets at 600 metres and to suppress to 1,000 metres.

    The problem with 5.56 mm NATO M855 is that it really is most effective below 300 metres. Every piece of empirical data-driven analysis I’ve seen from the USA, UK, Germany, France and Canada supports this view. Sure, an above average shot can hit targets at 800 metres, but only when there is zero wind. Strong gusts can blow a 5.56 mm round way off target. Besides that, even when you hit the target at 500+ metres, achieving reliable and consistent incapacitation remains a big ask. One of the important things said at this year’s NDIA was that both the US Army and USMC now acknowledge the limitations of 5.56 mm NATO ammo. They believe it has reached the limit of its development potential. You cannot ignore that.

    The infantry units of every major NATO army now have small arms fitted with x4 optical gunsights. Those that acquired 7.62 mm designated marksman rifles found that relatively inexperienced soldiers could now reliably hit targets at 600 metres. The inability to do the same with 5.56 mm weapons is an ammunition limitation not a gunsight problem – primarily because adjusting for wind drift is difficult. So we now have a situation where our sights are better than our weapons. With sights like the Steiner ICS combining a laser range finder and ballistic computer in a unit not much larger than an ACOG, first round hit probability just took a quantum leap. So we need weapons that harness this potential.

    Fast froward to next generation small arms discussion. LSAT 5.56 mm has been an interesting experiment, but ultimately those involved in trialling it said: the weight of 5.56 mm weapons and ammunition isn’t the problem; it’s the weight of 7.62 mm and .50 Cal weapons and ammo that’ contributes to the weight burden issue. Even so, armies across NATO re-adopted 7.62 mm irrespective of weight concerns because “lethality trumps weight saving, when long-range performance is required.“ Across NATO, squads are now equipped with both 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm. This is fine, apart from the fact that it creates additional costs plus logistical and training probelms.

    What i describe is what has re-ignited the calibre debate. It was a perfectly reasonable to ask if a single calibre could replace both 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm. A dozen nations have conducted calibre studies over the last decade. The US Army did one and is doing another. Canada did one and is doing another. Indeed, over the last 100 years every single calibre study that’s been done concluded that something between 6 and 7 mm represented the ideal solution. So the answer seems to be: yes it can.

    What most of these studies show empirically is that a round designed to be lethal at 600 metres tends to still be lethal at 1,000 metres. What isn’t clear is how small a round can be to be lethal at 600 metres. The risk in trying to optimise the calibre is that we now go too large.

    I think that the CTSAS 6.5 mm is better than either CT 5.56 mm or CT 7.62 mm, but it probably isn’t ideal. I think a 6 mm or 6.35 mm round could be equally good with a 100-110 grain projectile. However, a CT SAW in 6.5 mm with 800 rounds of ammo weighs the same as an M249 SAW with 800 rounds of brass ammo. The 6.5 mm case is not yet optimised to this calibre – it is the same size as 7.62 mm to aid easy comparison, so further weight-savings could be achieved.

    In summary, I believe that 5.56 mm has had its day. It was and is a great concept, but bitter experience has taught us that we need something larger. I agree with you when you say it shouldn’t be too large and maybe 6.5 mm is too large. I disagree with you when you say we should stick with 5.56 mm.

    Above all, Kori Phillips has done a great job and all credit to her for persevering with CT -it could yet be the ideal answer.

    • Cmex

      Wonderful post. This is much of what myself and many other people have been trying to tell Nat for literally years now.

      • It’s not like I don’t listen to other perspectives, but it seems no one invested in it wants to hear anything even remotely critical about the 6.Xmm/GPC concept. Even pointing out the weight penalty gets me branded a “5.56mm fanboy”, which I think is very silly, as to me it is just ammunition.

        I have a different set of premises, and my opinions are informed by what I (think I) know and by the models at my disposal. All I’ve ever asked of the 6.Xmm advocacy crowd, even so, is to actually back up their concepts with research and models. If I were to identify the person who has done this the best, it would be Emeric Daniau, although I still feel that his premises aren’t as well-supported as I’d like.

        • Cmex

          Forgive me, for I’m passionate about small arms and I love to debate.

          Oooh, Tony William’s stuff; I’ve read him.

          You argue that you defend SCHV because it’s under attack. It’s not under attack; even 30 cal blowhards don’t dare contest that SCHV has won. And yes, rounds like 6.x GPC’s are SCHV.

          I’ll be using your own research and models.

          In your 6.8 article, your own graphs showed that 6.8 hit harder and flew pretty darn close to 5.56×45, you said this:

          “Despite being designed to improve the performance of SPR-type rifles to medium ranges, the 6.8mm SPC when loaded with Sierra projectiles offers no improvement over current 5.56mm Mk. 262 ammunition except in terms of raw energy provided at ranges below 300m.”

          Except, in your velocity comparison graph, out to 300M, 6.8 was holding close to 2000fps, just like 5.56

          In your drift comparison graft, there is no difference within the 300M envelope.

          Now, all the way out to 300M, 6.8 always had at least 20% more energy.

          And both rounds dropped almost exactly the sa

          me all the way out until the >600M range.

          By this analysis, 6.8 looked like 5.56+ — it could do more or less everything 5.56 could do, but also have extra killing power at common infantry engagement ranges.

          I have no idea why you decided to talk about Mk262 ammunition when you were comparing BTHP’s not used for service loads.

          And then you got involved in 6.5 Grendel. To quote what you said in your comparison to 6.8

          “1. The 6.5 Grendel exceeds the energy of the 6.8 SPC at a mere 90 meters.

          2. The 6.5 Grendel exceeds the velocity of the 6.8 SPC at 250 meters.

          3. The 6.5 Grendel has a nearly identical trajectory to the 6.8 SPC out to 600m, and a significantly better trajectory beyond that range.

          4. The 6.5 Grendel stays above transonic speeds for 120 meters longer than the 6.8 SPC (reaching 1,451 ft/s at 630m versus 510m).

          5. The 6.5 Grendel stays supersonic for 200 meters longer than the 6.8 SPC (reaching 1116 ft/s at 890m versus 690m).

          6. The 6.5 Grendel bucks the wind much, much better than the 6.8mm SPC.

          7. The fragmentation ranges of the two rounds are almost identical, if a threshold of 2,000 ft/s for a BTHP is used. Both slow down to that speed by 260m.”

          From the graphs you provided, 6.5 clearly is better than the 6.8, which, from the previous comparison, is mostly tied with 5.56 except in energy. Now, because 6.5 has the best ballistic coefficient and therefore energy retention of the lot, it’s going to take that energy and just hold onto it in a flat path for quite some ways. Additionally, the commonly accepted fragmentation range for an M4 is within 150M. The 6.8 and 6.5 are described by you as maintaining high likelihood of fragmentation all the way out to about a quarter klick and a full 2/3 longer than 5.56. These numbers are solid. But the conclusion you reached from them was that they somehow didn’t really distinguish themselves from 5.56. The issue I take is that the data often points to these 6mm’s being plainly superior to 5.56, yet your reaction is to take the clear advantages and ignore them while pointing out something like 5.56 flying somewhat better at extreme ranges and saying that’s exactly why we can’t have a 6.x.

          I don’t think weight penalty is fanboyism. And honestly, weight is a big concern. However, let’s look at the weight penalty. I don’t have all the access to numbers and figures you do for this stuff, but these 6.x GPC rounds weigh about 30% more than 5.56, but are still lighter than say 7.62×39 and can be carried in lightweight polymer magazines. There is a weight penalty, but it’s much less than other alternatives like 308 or 7mm Universal. This is actually why I think that a better round may be found around 6.3 or 6.2 in order to save on weight.

          • Haven’t read your post yet, but wanted to pop in and say that as long as things are kept amicable, I’ve got no issues at all with people disagreeing with me. I also love to debate, so I’m sure we’ll have no shortage of things to chat about.

          • Re: 6.8,

            No, actually that’s not correct about the velocity. Here’s the actual data for 300m from the spreadsheets used to make those graphs:

            300m 6.8mm – 1770.4 5.56mm – 2049.5

            So that’s 1,085 Joules for 6.8mm, and 976 Joules for Mk. 262. The difference diminishes after 300 meters.

            By my analysis, 6.8mm looks almost identical to Mk. 262, except that it’s much heavier and more expensive, and completely incompatible with the standard service chambering. So what’s the point?

            As for why I discussed Mk. 262… I say so in the beginning of that article, if you read:

            “[I]n early 2002, soldiers of the 5th Special Forces Group (Abn), headed by MSG Steven Holland, received approval to initiate a Proof of Concept to develop a new capability that would increase incapacitation, lethality, and range over the existing 5.45x39mm, PRC 5.8x39mm, 7.62x39mm and 5.56x45mm NATO cartridges. This initiative was a grassroots effort aimed at providing better combat power for Special Operations Forces and soldiers of the Light Infantry, to include USMC MEU-SOC. This was the original programmatic evolution proposed for the SOPMOD Mk12 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) system, the interim result of which was the fielding of the Mk262 77-grain ammunition, with a planned later transition to the Enhanced Rifle Cartridge (ERC) capability in a mid-bore 6.5mm, 6.8mm or 7mm caliber.”

            The 6.8mm SPC was, in other words, an offshoot of the Special Purpose Receiver program, which also resulted in Mk. 262. The 77gr bullet used by Mk. 262 is also a Sierra projectile, just like the 115gr Sierra I used in my comparison.

            You don’t seem to have closely read my 6.8mm article, as I don’t say 6.8mm improves the fragmentation range vs. 5.56mm, in fact I say the opposite:

            “The Sierra BTHPs compared for velocity. If a fragmentation threshold for the Sierra BTHP of 2,000 ft/s is used, the 6.8mm SPC will only fragment when it hits targets 210m away or closer. When the same fragmentation threshold is applied to the 5.56mm Mk. 262, it will fragment when striking targets 320m away or closer, a full 50% increase.”

            “The Hornady BTHPs compared for velocity. If the same fragmentation threshold as the Sierra BTHP is used for the Hornady BTHP, the 6.8mm SPC 110gr BTHP will fragment when it hits targets 250m away or closer. The 5.56mm 75gr BTHP stays above the same threshold when striking targets 340m away or closer, shrinking the gap between the two rounds to a 36% advantage for the 5.56mm.”

            You’re applying an uncited fragmentation range for M855 to all rounds fired by an M4, regardless of their bullet construction. This is a mistake; different bullets fragment above different velocity thresholds. In particular, the thinner jackets of OTMs and more modern bullets like M855A1 allow them to fragment at considerably lower velocities, and therefore longer ranges. If we compare the fragmentation ranges for the 6.8mm and 5.56mm given the same minimum fragmentation velocity, we see as above that the 5.56mm kicks the snot out of the bigger round for fragmentation range.

            6.Xmm GPCs in brass-cased format weigh 50-80% more than 5.56mm, not 30% more. Especially when loaded with 8 gram bullets, their weight penalty is considerable, closer to 7.62mm than 5.56mm.

            Polymer magazines also tend to be heavier than aluminum ones; see how PMags are about 140 grams versus 113 grams for USGIs.

            PCT 6.Xmm rounds are better, but the 6.5mm CTSAS ammunition is still 30% heavier than brass-cased 5.56mm, and come with a 33% reduction in ammunition capacity per magazine. When you then compare PCT 6.5mm against PCT 5.56mm, then you see almost a doubling in ammunition weight.

    • Hi Monty, first I want to thank you for commenting here and for taking my objections seriously and taking the time to respond to them.

      Right up front I want to say in big bold letters: I DO NOT BACK ANY CALIBER OR CONCEPT (although I have many times made suggestions). In your comment, you mention that I’ve said we should stick with 5.56mm… Well, I’ve probably said that at least once in the past, given the way my opinions on things shift and mutate, but I doubt I’ve said it recently. For the past year I’ve tried to be very careful to, as I said, not back any concept. I do a lot of defending of 5.56mm and SCHV because it needs it and because I am a contrarian by nature. The SCHV concept has a lot of advantages that must not be forgotten, and in an era where the soldier’s burden is at a critical place, these advantages are impossible to ignore. It’s fashionable these days to salivate over 6.something “intermediate” cartridges (noting that the word “intermediate” seems to have changed meaning somewhat), and while the 6.5 Grendel or Williams’ GPC aren’t bad concepts, their limitations need to be remembered. They are not a panacea, they are a different way of doing things.

      You make a number of points that I can address, however at the moment I do not have time to do so. I may come back to this post later however. In the meantime, I would like to quote a few things I’ve written in the past that strike at the heart of my arguments and concerns:

      From a comment in this thread:

      “1. There are many fundamental questions that need to (and could relatively easily) be answered through research and experimentation before any caliber configuration study can be conducted. Keep in mind that we know from history and the basic material facts that making unsupported assumptions about the matters in question will result in ammunition that is too heavy, has too much recoil, and consumes too many resources, or the opposite. The only way to create the best caliber configuration is to do this legwork regarding premises and requirements first.

      2. There are major organizational, doctrinal, and tactical shortcomings that have been identified in US Army infantry operations, and fixing those would very likely solve the range problem without needing a “bigger, badder ass” caliber. The result of this would be that a new, much lighter CT ammunition configuration could be adopted (on the order of half the weight of 6.5mm CT).

      3. The US Army has a very consistent history of undertaking unrealistic, overly ambitious programs combining advanced speculative technologies and impractical weapon/ammunition configurations, of which this program appears for all the world to be one. That means we can expect CTSAS and its associated programs to collapse in a heap, or at best, result in very sub-optimal production items with short service lives. This is bad, because it will take with it the promising technologies of cased telescoped ammunition, non-pyrotechnic tracers, and others.”

      From my article on caliber configuration:

      “There are benefits to both single- and dual-caliber systems, and any evaluation of the current and near-future state of the art must take both arrangements seriously. While the next ammunition configuration may not be publicly known, it is very clear that there may be serious consequences for carelessness in selecting a new caliber, especially in the case of the single-caliber concept. The adoption of the powerful 7.62 NATO in the 1950s, along with the troubled M14 rifle, created a need for a lighter, softer-shooting weapon that was eventually filled by the M16 and its 5.56mm round, which became the basis for today’s excellent M4 Carbine and its M855A1 round. However, in the rush to get rifles and a completely new type of ammunition to Indochina in the late 1960s, the implementation of correct standards and quality control were neglected, and many soldiers lost their lives as a result. The round, or rounds, that become the basis for the new generation of small arms will require a great collective labor of research and testing to achieve the best balance of characteristics and to avoid a critical gap in capability.”

      You can also listen to the caliber configuration podcast I did with Ryan Michad, if you like.

      • Monty01

        When you say that CTSAS technology may be too ambitious, again I believe you are correct. Caseless and Cased-Telescoped ammunition has suffered from barrel sealing and barrel wear problems since H&K first tried to develop the G11 4.7 mm CL rifle in the 1970s. With US 6.5 mm CTSAS, the bullet travels something like 20 mm before it fully seats in the barrel. So, again excess barrel wear is likely to be an issue. My other gripe is that the mechanism is presently just a prototype technology demonstrator design. Strengthening and ruggedising it to ensure it is reliable and “soldier proof” is likely to add weight to both CT machine gun and carbine.

        I do find hybrid polymer / brass cartridge technology a more viable future solution. It saves around 20% in overall cartridge weight, which is much less than CTSAS, which saves 35% or more. MAC LLC in Mississippi has the leading polymer technology. While it certainly has the composition and strength to cope with sustained high rates of fire – MAC’s .50 Cal MK323 round is in the process of being qualified by the USMC. What’s interesting is that it takes heat out of the weapon, reducing cook-off hazards.

        If you select an intermediate calibre between 6 and 6.5 mm and pack a 6.5 g to 7 g projectile in a polymer cartridge delivering muzzle energy of 2,600 fps / 800 mps, you can achieve a brass cartridge weight of 17-18 grams – I know this through conversations with several ammunition manufacturers. Make the same cartridge from polymer, reducing weight by 20%, and total cartridge weight is around 14-15 grams (versus 12 g for brass 5.56 mm NATO). Essentially, this gives you 7.62 mm performance in a 5.56 mm package.

        For the basic infantry rifle nothing changes, except that you have increased range and more consistent terminal effectiveness (lethality). For the GPMG, however, you have substantially cut the weight and bulk of the ammunition. Add polymer links and you save even more weight. Linked 7.62 mm ammunition is what has particularly increased combat weight burdens.

        What we need to do is test both CT systems and polymer versions of standard cartridges in calibre-optimised weapons and see which performs with the greatest accuracy and reliability.

        • If you like that kind of stuff, I think you will be very happy with the posts I have scheduled for this weekend.

  • Schatz’s presentations are worth reading, although I am not sure why he’s under the impression that 7.62x54mmR overmatches 7.62 NATO by like 500 yards…

    • Cmex

      No idea. They’re practically twins. Maybe he’s thinking of all the performance that could be milked out of it by some crafty reloaders?

      • Yeah, at first I thought maybe he was talking about rear sight graduations, but the M240 goes out to 1800m…

        I don’t know why he believes that.

  • Lasis

    Wait, isn’t the XM25 “Punisher” a spin-off (or remains) of OICW program? Which is an exclusion from the rule which led to truly sad history of whole list of dead ambitious projects.

  • Stomper

    The answer lies with FRIKEN “LASERS”, and carrying a bunch of 9v batteries. It’ll all be fine until someone invents the Holztman Shield. 😜

  • Michael Guerin

    Good article, Nathaniel and good points. The majority of troops will typically achieve area fire at 250m and well-practiced regular force infantry will struggle to achieve better than area fire at distances greater than 400m (all of this in ideal shooting visibility with good cover and minimal wind) according to my experience and observation. Where visibility is worse and wind/rain interfere, it gets more interesting, to say the least.

    The comment by Mongo about Sweden’s cartridge choice is particularly interesting, given that after WWI the Swedish army adopted the 8×63 cartridge (clearly inspired by the 8×64 Brenneke military prototype of 1912) for their belt-fed, support machine guns whereas Japan and Italy set themselves up for failure by attempting complete conversions to 7.7mm cartridges and myopic individuals in the U.S. Army sabotaged the joint U.S /U.K project to develop and adopt a 7mm cartridge/rifle system with: taper for reliability of feed; shorter cartridge length for reliability of extraction; lower recoil for increased accuracy; lower overall weight; self-loading mechanism, etc.
    Their appears to be a vicious circle in U.S. military small arms development, going back at least 120 years. given that one of the first things that had to be done, after introduction of the 1903 rifle, was to bribe soldiers with bonuses to achieve rated competency with the new heavier recoiling rifle and its overly expensive obsolescent backsight.

  • Jackson Andrew Lewis

    reduce weight= a look back at caseless ammunition…… that or simplifying, and cutting weight by moving from brass to aluminum casings.

  • Sam Pensive

    1200 m…why not provide soldiers with more RPG.and a superior supply chain of same?

  • Sam Pensive

    And I’d an RPG is too short range…give the grunts mobile 20mm….that’s OK to 4000m.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    Find me a medical expert that believes that adding a couple of pounds to a soldier’s loadout will significantly increase their chances of having knee and back problems.

    And I never said that soldiers should be able to headshot enemies at 1,200 meters with their carbines; although TrackingPoint-type technology will probably eventually make its way onto the battlefield sooner or later. Personally, I’ve hit a human-sized steel target at 800 meters with an AR-15 chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO; and not just once, but over and over again. It’s really not that hard if you have a spotter giving you feedback. So, I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to expect your average soldier to be able to at least effectively suppress an enemy at say, 600 meters, using the 6.5 Grendel round and a magnified optic.

    • Saxonist Sealclubber

      You have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • As someone who rings steel out to 800 yards regularly with his M4 and bargain bin ammo, there’s a very big difference between hitting a nice brightly painted stationary steel target at a known distance in broad daylight from a rest, and identifying and engaging moving enemies who are camouflaged and behind cover at unknown distances in all weather conditions from less than ideal shooting positions while wearing body armor and full kit.

      Try adding even one of those elements sometime, and you’ll see how hard it can get. You really need a tripod-mounted belt-fed to have decent hit probability.

    • Corgi,
      It is apparent what you know about medical science, physiology, or the infantry can be written in grease pencil inside a matchbook.

      This isn’t rocket surgery. We’ve known for literally millennia (as in, professional soldiers of the Roman Republic quoted the 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 body weight rule as important), and we’ve had actual scientific basis for medical professionals to UNIVERSALLY endorse the basic 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 body weight rules since AT LEAST the end of WWI.

      Pounds add up. If you can cut a pound here, cut a half a pound there, etc., eventually you have a significant weight savings that DOES make a difference.

      On the other hand, if you keep adding a pound here and a pound there, for low-probability encounters, your overall mission effectiveness DROPS almost as fast as your rates of temporary exhaustion and permanent disability go UP.

      I don’t know about today, but we used to formally teach this stuff at initial leadership training, and I used to teach it to friggin’ PRIVATES (to underscore why they needed to learn to dump useless crap they didn’t have to take).

      • A Fascist Corgi

        Yeah, yeah. I got it. Upgrading to the 6.5 Grendel round is just completely insane and idiotic because it adds a couple of pounds to your loadout. I mean, what the heck was I freaking thinking? What an absurd idea. All of the other countries that are using rifles that weigh 1 to 2 pounds more than the M4 are freaking madmen who are needlessly torturing their soldiers and turning their troops into immobile cannon fodder.

        • If the extra weight of the 6.5 Grendel was offset by some major advantages it enjoys in the reality of infantry combat, those pounds may be worth it.

          But in the Real World, otnisnt the Magic Unicorn Round its fanboos think it is. Therefore, the weight isn’t worth the effort.

          I would advise you to go over to Nate’s blog at 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, and browse the archives a bit. I don’t aways agree with his conclusions, but he goes into almost mind numbing detail about the tradeoffs.

          Again, long story short – it wouldn’t matter if we issued PVT Snuffy laserguns (LOS, no lead, windage, or elevation needed for infantry combat), he wouldn’t be hitting targets on a regular basis at 600m *in combat*.

          Square range experience on nice days doesn’t count. Guys who can hit well past a full kilometer often have trouble making reliable hits in combat at 400m.

          • Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you don’t always agree with my conclusions, but have still taken the time to read and take it seriously.

            I don’t want everyone to agree with me all the time; it would be terribly dull if they did!

  • LilWolfy

    What if the Carbine requirement is just for SASS/DM? That would be able to replace SR25/M110/SCAR17.

    1200m isn’t a big challenge with 6.5mm, especially with tight twist. It likes to fly out there.

    Also, I looked at the system weight with 800rds for the LMG, and still came up with a 12lb LSAT LMG. The SAW weighs a lot more than 12lbs. More in the 20-22lb range, depending on the model (Para vs M249E2). I’m seeing all kinds of numbers for the PIP SAW.

    If they just adopt the 6.5 LSAT LMG and replace the SAW and 240 with that, that’s all we really need.

    • Kivaari

      At 1200m any bullet fired from a shoulder mount rifle will require great skill to hit with, even at 600m. Between 0m and 1200m means whatever bullet is used it will have to rise many feet above the point of aim. That arc of travel takes time and with any cross winds the chance of hitting is pretty much zero. Our best snipers have trouble hitting anything at that distance even with heavy rifles like the .338 Lapua. There may be a need to kill the enemy at 1200m, but it isn’t practical to expect the regular infantryman to do so. I can’t understand why anyone would expect such shots to be made. OK suppress fire with a machinegun and hope a bullet connects now and then. Picking out a specific target and hitting it is not reasonable.

      • mig1nc

        TrackingPoint makes such things possible.

        • LCON

          current generation of Tracking point has a max effective range of 1280 meters from the .338Lm model so in theory yes. but that’s for a bolt action.

      • LilWolfy

        On our Machine Gun Transition Ranges, we already shoot out to 1000m with the M240 and sniper systems, which have ballistically inferior cartridges. Combined with more modern optics and basic trajectory training, the Gun Teams and shooters would just have fun with it.

        http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/23-14/f2314056.gif

        1200m is not that big of a deal really if you actually get trigger time. In Machine Gun competitions at the Battalion, Brigade, and Division levels, getting 1st-burst hits on sils was always what set the winners apart.

        I know most people aren’t up-to-speed with how Sniper Training has progressed, but things have changed. For your record fire in SOTIC back in the 1990s, you wouldn’t attempt to engage the farther targets until getting feedback on the 600m from your spotter. That was basically your measurement stick of the conditions, so you could see if you were high or low, and then determine what dope you would use for the farther sils.

        Nowadays, they have to use smaller targets and guys are engaging the 800m plates 1st-round, then moving on. Biggest factors in that are handheld weather stations and ballistics programs that account for barometric pressure and temperature.

        You have a very high hit probability, especially with M118LR and a good wind call. Your trajectory is going to be dead-on as a given when you input the critical variables.

        My sniper equivalents in some of the European nations were already chasing 1st and 2nd round connect cold bore with .338 LM at 2000m in the mid-2000s.

        600m with modern systems is really a joke on a man-sized target, or even a partial exposure. I take guys with no formal long range training and have them doing that on Day 1 of a course, especially with 6.5mm.

        • Kivaari

          The 7.62 usually goes unstable between 900 and 1000 YARDS so using meters means 800-900m. That’s where a better bullet, 6.5?, has value. I just don’t want to see it in the individual rifles. We could simply use the 6.5x55mm Swede. A proven performer, with well known performance.

          • LilWolfy

            6.5×55 is a non-starter due to COL in the modern era. It’s a wonderful cartridge, but not relevant for military rifles other than sniper rifles since the 1950s. It was way ahead of its time. If you can get the same performance from a CT cartridge that is the same length as a 51mm case, there is no need for brass-cased ammunition in a belt-fed.

          • Kivaari

            The recommendation is for GPMGs. For the M240 and not for a replacement for the M4 carbine. We could have it in 7.62x51mm sniper rifles. IF the CT shows it works, I’d be fin with it. What happened here is the discussion of the CT in machineguns (other than carbines) drifted into people wanting a common caliber between rifles and GPMGs.
            If the system is shown to perform as reliably as the existing 7.62mm, then it would be a step up. I think it would be a waste to replace the M4-series to get performance beyond reasonable distances. Give a soldier a rifle capable of reliably hitting beyond 600m and all of a sudden they should be shooting a M1917 Enfield.
            Look at existing “battle rifles” in 7.62x51mm. None of them do well at those distances. Personal use of three HK91, an FAL (FN), M1A,
            Galil (both calibers) Yugo Sniper (Mitchell Arms with original scope)
            and you could have set those rifles in concrete and they simply will not have a group small enough at 600m to do more than get random hits. HK91s with or without optics fired from a steady rest at 100 yds,consistantly produced 3 to 5 inch groups. I kept looking for the mythical sub-minute of angle M91 that the magazine articles were reporting on. Like the SSG69 that was te super sniper rifle in the early 80s, that couldn’t print groups as tight as an Egyptian AKM (@ over $1200). I know when I shoot those rifles with and without optics at 100 yds and all it gives me is 3.5 inch groups that all they hype turns to mythology.
            Like the optics on an AR. With a poor optic groups in the 8-10 range at 100 yds is pretty disappointing. Especially when the same rifle with the same ammo and iron sights from the same rest on the same day would print close to minute of angle. And my eyesight is that of a 68 year old.
            I found in the last 55 years of shooting that claims made in media to be simply made up. Groups shot with a typewriter are really great. When 6 magazine writers get such performance, they sure must be getting hand select samples. Writers like Chick Taylor that uses images from books he wrote 30 years ago in more current articles make me wonder what else has he and others written, that are simply puff pieces.

  • buzzman1

    Weapons for the army are based on the last fight and combat doctrine. Battle rifles are for long range engagement and the carbines are for closer engagements ranges. Cost go up during development for the same reason they go up for every other program – requirements creep. It costs a lot of money to change programs to meet the changing requirements.
    The army just need to understand that one rifle and ammo pair will never be enough to meet requirements. More lethal ammo is also what is needed.

  • Mike_88

    I don’t think the army is too concerned with weight since they’re dumping millions and millions of R and D money into exo suits and Robots.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    Okay. So you’d agree that the M4 rifle and the 5.56x45mm NATO round is too heavy and needs to be replaced, right? After all, you’re complaining about having a screwed up body as the result of the equipment that we’re already using.

    If you guys are right and your average soldier shouldn’t have to worry about dealing with an enemy past 200 yards, then you guys would support adopting something like the FN P90 submachine gun, right?

    • Saxonist Sealclubber

      No.

  • Joseph A. Merrill III

    I notice that the 7.62mm NATO round in chart has incorrect bullet weight the standard load is 147 gr not the 131 listed.

    • M80 Ball has a bullet weight of ~9.5 grams (147 grains), but M80A1 has a ~130 grain bullet (8.4-8.5 grams).

  • Zebra Dun

    That is going to have to be some plastic case, able to withstand freezing combat and broiling combat while functioning in a weapon burning hot with use.
    Then again it is the next logical step other than caseless.

  • SnakePlissken

    Do any of you geniuses ever look at DEMOGRAPHICS, and realize that in less than 200 years, the white race will be extinct in the USA? I suggest you realize – the Russians (not the USSR anymore) are the 2nd best friends you will ever have – the 1940s Germans were the best. Do any of you ever figure THAT REALITY into your ‘plans’ ???

    • Great_Baldung

      Yes, because talking demographics has everything to do with an experimental type of ammunition.