Do We Want One-cartridge To Rule Them All?

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Nathaniel Fitch blogs about the wisdom (or lack thereof) for having a single general purpose cartridge that can satisfy the needs of riflemen, machine gunners and sharpshooters to replace both the 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO …

The first group of cartridges all greatly resemble (though none improve upon) the .276 Pedersen. These include the7x46mm UIAC, the .270 Sidewinder, the .280 British, and others. The second-most mature group, many have examples have actually been loaded and fired, and the .280 British was even officially adopted, briefly. Because their performance has been verified, it cannot be said that these cartridges are unfeasible, but is it worth the cost and effort to field one, in light of the widespread adoption of 7.62mm weapons? In a word, no. Even the literature for 7x46mm UIAC shows it’s not greatly more efficient than 7.62 NATO, and it doesn’t provide any additional capability, so why would military procurement spend millions re-arming with entirely new weapons and ammunition when they have almost-as-good-and-already-in-the-inventory 7.62 NATO machine guns and rifles? Since these cartridges are also almost as heavy as 7.62, they offer little practical benefit and will be largely passed over.

Many thanks to Sven ( Defence and Freedom) for emailing me the info.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Dave Jacobs Dave Jacobs on Feb 15, 2014

    @ Jay T
    Gene Stoner designed the action on the AR-15. He was only one of three who designed that rifle. When he left Armalite (you know - the company from which the term of AR came from) he acquired the rights to the AR-15 as it could not pass the military testing. He went to Colt then to redesign the rifle. The AR-18 was actually the one that had passed all the tests, and was field tested by the Navy Seals, who would not give them up when a political blunder caused the Colt M-16 to be adopted.

  • Ghost930 Ghost930 on Apr 30, 2014

    Go look at the specs and performance of the 6.5 creedmoor. Far superior to both 7.62 and 5.56, and able to bridge the gap between the two at a savings in overall production cost, with very little hardware modification.

    • See 6 previous
    • 2hotel9 2hotel9 on May 02, 2014

      @Ghost930 DoD has done this dance before with other caliber changes/weapons systems and dumped out after spending piles of money.

      As you may have guessed I have little confidence that DoD/USG will do anything right. I have watched this kabuki dance too many times to get excited. I remember the 30 years of heming and hawing just to change pistol caliber.