Nammo to Produce Polymer-Cased Ammunition, Acquires MAC, LLC

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

The golden age of polymer cased ammunition has probably already begun. Certainly, Norwegian-Finnish ammunition manufacturer Nammo seems to believe that, as they recently took a significant stake in American company MAC, LLC, makers of polymer-cased composite ammunition, some of which has already been type-classified by the United States Navy. MAC, LLC will continue as an independent company. Nammo announced the acquisition via a press release, which is embedded below:

Bay St. Louis. MS. January 26 2018, 08:00 CST.
Nammo is proud to announce that it has taken an ownership position in MAC LLC, a leader in the development and production of lightweight polymer cartridge cases for small and medium caliber ammunition.

Managing the weight of weapons and ammunition continues to be a major challenge for today’s armed forces, causing fatigue for individual soldiers, while reducing range and endurance for vehicles and aircraft. Responding to this challenge, MAC LLC has spent several years developing and commercializing lightweight, polymer-based solutions for military and aerospace markets, significantly reducing the weight of military ammunition products. Nammo, as one of the leading providers of specialty ammunition for military and commercial customers in the western world, believes that this technology will strengthen its ability to provide a reliable advantage to its customers.
Morten Brandtzæg, President and CEO of the Nammo Group says, “Our ownership position in MAC LLC is perfect for Nammo. Their technology and products are complementary to our product portfolio and we see a strong future for lightweight solutions. MAC LLC will strengthen our group’s strategic position in the US and international ammunition markets.”

Reijo Bragberg, Executive Vice President of Nammo Small and Medium Caliber Ammuniton says: “This is a very exciting opportunity for Nammo. We are now joining with a company that is the frontrunner in development of lightweight technologies, which are of great importance for our defense customers”.

Nick Malkovich, President of MAC LLC , “Supported by Nammo, MAC LLC will continue to develop technologies and support our troops with superior lightweight ammunition solutions. We are extremely satisfied to have Nammo as one of our owners. Nammo is well known for their high performance products and for being a reliable supplier of products that give advantage to US and allied customers. Nammo and MAC LLC are in many ways a perfect match.”

MAC LLC will continue to operate as they have, providing a leadership role in lightweight ammunition solutions, and will be an important partner in Nammo’s US growth plan going forward.

The acquisition has been reviewed and approved by the US government.

MAC, LLC is already making polymer cased composite ammunition for General Dynamics’ .338 Norma Magnum caliber Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG). It seems likely that Nammo will partner with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) if the company participates in any upcoming military contracts, as the lightweight ammunition provider leveraging MAC, LLC technology. Given that the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) have already solicited for 5,000 .338 caliber machine guns, this acquisition gives Nammo the ability to provide lightweight cased ammunition in support of this and any future contracts. Acquisition by Nammo will greatly increase the amount of ammunition that can be produced; previously MAC, LLC was only capable of producing 10 million rounds a year – a number that is greatly insufficient for military needs.

The .264 USA in both brass and polymer composite cased configurations. Image credit: Anthony G. Williams, used with permission.

MAC, LLC is also the maker of .264 USA lightweight polymer cased composite ammunition, which is a likely component of the recent solicitation for a .264 USA rifle system released by the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) and the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG).

Polymer composite cased ammunition in the incarnation seen so far from MAC, LLC consists of a single-piece polymer body, coupled with an enveloping brass or steel case base, which extends midway up the first part of the case, similar to how high wall brass polymer shotshells are constructed. Polymer cased composite ammunition promises lower costs, and approximately 20% lighter round weight (variable with caliber and projectile weight) savings versus conventional brass cased ammunition.

H/T to Soldier Systems Daily

Nathaniel F
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. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.

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  • Patriot Gunner Patriot Gunner on Jan 31, 2018

    These hybrid casings (polymer and brass) are a terrible idea. If they wanted to go light they should just start slowly implementing CTA (Cased Telescoped Ammo).

    These hybrid casings cost more to manufacture, have less case capacity, the 2 piece design makes for a structural weak point (versus 1 piece of brass), the projectile itself is not held in with a crimp but with an adhesive which not only makes it slower to load on a machine but will require more intensive cleaning to prevent the barrel being fouled with adhesive, you still have cook-offs because of the brass base, it combines the worst of the legacy system, will require new machinery and all for what? A minute amount of weight savings?

    This is hot garbage

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    • Patriot Gunner Patriot Gunner on Feb 01, 2018

      @RocketScientist I think you may be overestimating the benefits and not taking a sober look at the disadvantages.

      Having increased case capacity (brass cases) gives you the flexibility to use various powders with various densities. Reduced case capacity means you will be limited to the powders you can use to achieve the same performance as brass cased ammo. Don't you think that being able to use a wide variety of powders is an advantage, especially during wartime?

      Talk to ultra long range shooters who "crimp" their bullets using adhesive. This does give you a more uniform "crimp" but it does foul the barrel. i have seen it myself. Factor in the fact that these hybrid cases will be used in weapons capable of automatic fire and it is a cause for serious concern. You can't escape the laws of physics. Using adhesives to secure bullets will cause adhesive buildup in the barrel. Period.

      Yes, cook-off will be an issue and that was my whole point, that it doesn't solve an issue of the current legacy system.

      I don't think you understand the enormity of having to build a whole new system to manufacture these rounds. I work in the industry and have worked with the top machine design firms that specialize in making loading machines, groove extractor machines, priming machines, packaging and QC machines etc. Current technology allows for machines to load ammunition at 2,200 rounds per minute...Yes minute not hour...These machines are continuous motion machines designed for ultra high output. I know for a fact that one polymer cased company has approached this machine design firm looking to increase capacity (that company will remain nameless) using a continuous motion machine. An internal study was completed and found out that this cannot be done due to the adhesive used to secure the bullet. The tangential force exerted by these continuous motion machines would sling the adhesive all over the place. The adhesive has to be applied all around the bullet then inserted into the case, this causes massive problems in terms of automation. Also, when you are loading 2,200 rounds per minute you need a vessel to contain enough adhesive so you can run the machine for extended periods of time. This also creates a massive problem.

      Also, many claim that using plastic cases is cheaper, however, that is short sighted as I am willing to wager that the cost will be more once crude oil prices start to rise. I would like to know how much the plastic would cost if crude oil went to $150 or how about $200+? Crude oil prices are also very volatile whereas prices for brass aren't. Crude oil is a very volatile resource as most of it is in countries not very friendly to the west. Keep in mind that this isn't your cheap-o generic recycled plastic but a very high temp and expensive polymer. Recycling is also an issues as the brass will have to be separated from the polymer, this adds time which equals increased cost. Currently, brass is very easy and cheap to recycle.

      Lastly, with regards to weight the whole reason the army wanted something lighter is to reduce transportation costs, and having a lighter load-out was a secondary benefit. Currently all ammunition is flown into combat zones. Which is dumb because air freight is exponentially more expensive than slow boat. Typical government mismanagement of resources. Instead of saying "hey lets just ship this stuff on boats" no their response is "lets spend hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars investing in a product".

      This program is typical gov boondoggle pork. If they really wanted to go light they should have just gone full CTA.

  • Vic Nighthorse Vic Nighthorse on Jan 31, 2018

    Can I get this in .243 WSSM?;-)

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