This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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The MacArthur story is a little oversimplified. He carried over the recommendation of the Ordnance Board, which was convinced by the existence of the ZH-29 and T1 Garand that a .30 caliber selfloading rifle light enough to meet their requirements could in fact be developed. The .276 cal's raison d'etre was entirely to allow a semiautomatic rifle to be made light enough for service use (9.5 lbs or less). With it being shown by 1930 that .30 cal selfloaders this light were possible, the need for the .276 evaporated, along with the challenges it presented. Keep in mind, at this time the US had entered the Great Depression, so there was no money for anything, let alone to retool every weapon for this new caliber.
But the fact remains that the sole motivation behind the development of the M2 was the need to reduce the "Surface Danger Zone" of the ammo, compared with the M1...
Yes, they just miss the opportunity to reduce ammo weight by 25% and at the same time increase the hit probability by 50% at 600 m... nothing really important after all !
Not compared to depression era concerns, certainly.
Years ago in one of the GPC threads here, I proposed the idea of using a neckless variation of the 7.62x51 to permit the use of a longer, higher-bc bullet. My thinking was that this would permit a reduction of propellant and recoil while still giving acceptable long-range performance. ...
Personally I think that the TV ammo will be the real winner of this current NGSW porkfest - If their commercial ammo works as advertised.
Because you don't need to buy into a whole new weapon system when the benefits of tv neckless polymer ammo are just a re-barrel away...
Change barrels and maybe some springs, and your old weapons are now shooting "improved" cartridges. And the dimensions of the polymer case are done so that they work perfectly in existing mags and belts. And you still get some weight saving benefits.
Want to have a "6.5 creedmoor" ballistics in your 7.62 rifles and machineguns? "Here take these 6.5mm barrels and go have fun..."
Want to give an "improvement" on the 5.56 cartridge a try? "Here, take these barrels in 6mm and 6.35mm and give it a go..."
You could even play around with re-barreling .50cal rifles and M2's into 14.5mm platforms just for giggles.
I'm interested to see if the Army puts its money where its mouth is on training and simulation, and how that affects NGSW. The weapons are obviously incredibly ambitious and will put a lot of stress on the soldier if not used properly. It's a gambit - will it pay off? Nobody knows.
The question for me is - do we trust the Army's process? I'm not sure I do. It's a brand new Army, sure, but to what extent are they going to repeat the mistakes of the past? Something I'd like to see (which I probably won't, at least until the memoirs are written) is the program officers get taken to task over the system weight. A 10lb rifle is one thing, a 14, 15, 16lb one quite another. If they can solve that, they may end up in a good place if managed properly.
And, likewise, I think TV's ammunition is the betting horse here, at least from a technology standpoint. Textron seems to have had the most favor politically from the outset.
The question for me is - do we trust the Army's process?
To me, the main question is whether they have developed a new Tungsten Tech that would allow the 6.8 to defeat Level IV at range?
Because with what we've seen with 7.62 M993 and now .338 Tungsten, if they haven't created a majorly more penetrative tech, then the entire 6.8 NGSW becomes pointless overkill.
Adopting a magnum armor killer that doesn't actually kill armor would be pretty absurd.
I just hope they're testing against actual Level IV ceramic/uhmwpe plates rather then steel 'surrogate' targets.
I have a feeling that this would be somewhat incompatible and or expensive/requiring more manufacturing steps due to the way modern jacketed ammo is made. But that's just my first impression on it.
It would be possible to crimp the case into a groove behind the body of the projectile and in the front of the boat tail. it could be a quite solid connection and an option if retaining steel cases. Theoretically at least.
The impression I've had from the more recent Army press releases is that mention of penetrating body armour seems to have faded away, with the the emphasis now being about how the excellent ballistics, in combination with the advanced computer sights, are dramatically improving the hit probability at long range.