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 very core of ELINT is to detect emissions at much, much larger ranges than the opposite side believes possible. Add to that the many surprises in the history of "passive" devices that could be remotely activated at astonishing ranges. I still remember the image of Henry Cabot Lodge presenting a cutaway wooden U.S. Seal to the United Nations, that was in reality a Soviet, absolutely passive listening device.
Not to mention the growing omnipresence of active(!) Bluetooth devices.
Like you, I am also quite certain that the intention of the round counter is just for maintenance. That makes it really awful. For a "nice to have" maintenance gimmick, the very real risk is taken that the enemy can use it for detecting the presence of our soldiers.
If they were going for a feather light rifle they sure as shit missed the mark since it's an 8 pound 16" bbl gun.
The reality is that the bundeswehr was looking for a CHEAP rifle. They didn't need it to be feather light or anything else, just cheap.
Hk delivered cheap, unfortunately at the cost of having it be tragically flawed.
And, I don't care how hard the German government pencil whipped the "tests" to say that overheating isn't the issue...
The pictures freely available of multiple melty trunnions off former US swat team g36's tells the actual tale.
That said, I do like the Steyr redesign much better than the Wilcox abomination.
I can't pretend that I don't hope we get to see a Glock entrant in the second round of competition the bundeswehr now needs to do though.
Hoped for HK433 as i just can't seriously consider a non-folding stock rifle in a modern mechanized military to even make into the running .
Ar-15 clones are not winning purely on merit there is lots of cultural influence, being the good guy gun ''as seen on TV'' . I see this effect all the time with the military and LE folks . I make a lot of specialized gear for snipers and its often, like we have seen this on a show or on TV and we want something like that without having any experience with said gear, It was even crazier back in the 90's , sometimes i taught its a wishlist of weapons used by Chuck Norris or from Miami Vice.
* the funkiest one that comes to mind was the Croatian VHS , just because they had a high-ranking officer, veteran of civil war, that previously served the Legion, telling them that he wants a gun of similar ergonomy, they went down the rabid hole of trying to make their own Famas.
I do like the 433 myself but saying that the AR-15 isn't winning on merit is at best not entirely true.
It is one of those systems that's the rare combination of good light and cheap that's very hard to beat.
And with the prevalence and need for optics and other enablers to be mounted, weight is a BIG DEAL!
The fun and scary thing is that the AR-15 isn't even close to maxed out performance and reliability wise.
There's still quite a bit of meat on this particular bone.
Additionally though, I really question the need for a folding stock. Yes they're cool and a nice to have but with how far the stock already collapses the AR just isn't so big as to be a real problem.
Even assuming that the stock is a deal breaker you can cut the buffer tube down by as much as half without really hurting the reliability of the gun etc.
You can even pretty trivially increase its durability too.
Mind you, I'm not saying that sticking with the AR-15 is the way to go because I genuinely don't think that. I know that you could definitely do better.
More importantly than that, with the weight and variety of sights and accessories front line troops will need to do their jobs going forward even the AR-15 or a notional souped up product improved and lighter AR-15 is still going to tip the scales at close to loaded garand weight once you stack on everything you need and a 30 round magazine of a lightweight cases super 5.56.
And therein lies the problem, the current alternatives to the AR-15 all range from a little to a lot heavier than a comparably equipped AR.
That's going the wrong direction
I wonder why HK designers interfaced directly the polimer receiver with the metallic trunnion instead of using more metallic mass in an internal cage or rails like AUG or Tavor
I imagine cost was the primary factor. Injection overmolding the receiver over a metal trunnion is a lot less machining and material then having a solid aluminum receiver.
I imagine that H&K, having spent the last 30 years working on the G11 only to have it canceled, was also a bit sapped $ and R&D wise in 1990-95 when the G36 was designed.
Its a shame that Germany went with the G36 vs the AUG, which was its direct competitor in the competition. The AUG not only has more thermal stability, its so modular that it can be very easily upgraded and modernized while retaining compatibility with legacy parts.
That said, hindsight is 20/20. The G36 certainly looked super cool and modern in its introduction, and I doubt many in 1990-5, when 'history had ended' imagined Germany would be fighting sand people in hours long rifle battles thousands of miles from home.
First, G36 was a political selection and not a technical one. Technical was inclined to AUG
But second, G36 in Spanish service has work just right. Remember that we have scorching temperatures during summer, specially in the South but not only. During Spanish Army deployments in NATO missions there haven't been significant issues AFAIK
As I answered to Renato, AUG was the chosen one by the Spanish Army testers. But politics.
The very interesting development of all this story is that G36 didn't suffer any problem close to what it is said that happen with the Bundeswehr.
The new program is motivated in Germany by political reasons. A politician (Von der Leyen) and its group prefer to sacrifice taxpayer money and endanger HK reputation rather than lose face and admit that the process was conducted shittily.
Some years after that, Von der Leyen is presiding the EC, which has managed the European vaccination effort as shit again
I seem to recall Spain spent the extra money for the "more temperature extremes tolerant" version of the G36. HK offered that version to the German government, but they didn't want to spend the money.
I recall a similar rumor, that a different polymer was used in the Spanish and Export G36's. Another variation of the rumor was that Spain simply built a better, no expense spared, G36 at their Spanish factory.
It all seems weird that there would even be a cheaper grade of plastic option used in the receiver vs simply using the best plastic all the time.
Using a lower grade plastic for the stock and handguard and magwell, whatevs. But the receiver that holds the barrel? Its hard for me to imagine that was a thing.
Heres what a TFB commentator had to say:
After the German G36 issue was made public the Spanish Army conducted its own tests on the Spanish G36 rifles, which had been manufactured at the public Spanish firearms factory (Fábrica de Armas de La Coruña). A task force was appointed by the Army to make the analysis, and they replicated the German tests which conditions were already of public domain. They didn't find the shifting effect. Some army units also conducted their own individual tests, since the claim of the zero shifting was of high concern. They found no problem. My two cents: The Spanish factory strictly followed the original G36 polymer specifications by HK, while others may have cut some corners.
Yet another comment mentions the G36's used by Germany were fine, and the issue was actually caused by a faulty run of ammo with jackets that were too thin.
Since Spain and Lithuania are not having issues with their G36's, it seems like ammo would be the more likely culprit, but who knows at this point.
I'd say having the aluminum receiver + new barrel + modular STANAG magwell offered by Steyr would be a good 'mid life upgrade' regardless, especially if paired with a MLOK handguard and lowered picatinny top rail.
Especially if they use a 16" barrel vs the standard 18.9". Shave a little weight and length off the rifle and make it a bit handier. Or use a 16" barrel that is the same weight as the 18.9", so that its beefier at the base allowing more rigidity / thermal resistance ala M4A1/HK416.
Here is Steyr's official 'G62' G36 Upgrade page:
-Magwell that allows AR15/Stanag mags
-New relatively low aluminum picatinny rail
Notably their upgrade page makes no mention of the Wilcox Fusion system.