This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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Last year I witnessed a presentation by someone with first hand experience in the testing that resulted from the alleged G36 behaviour. It involved about a dozen different rifle types (sorry, the makes were not identified).
The basic result was that all rifle types using a polymer housing suffered moving zero problems when becoming hot. Some more, some less. The only real cure was to use a metal housing/receiver. Even under most severe conditions, it was not possible to replicate some of the results reported from Afghanistan. In particular, it was found that the condition of one "burned" G36 returned from Afghanistan could only be replicated by exclusively firing a very large number of blanks using a blank firing adapter in a very short time. So much for the reliability of some of the reports (and returned items) from the field.
The tin coating, he admitted, was botched by Bundeswehr, who failed to clearly specify its thickness. DAG and MEN chose what their engineers considered appropriate. MEN had the bad luck to choose a much thicker layer that in the end turned out to have a very negative effect in hot barrels. The aim is to get rid of the bullet coating entirely by additives to the propellant (needed to make up for the lack of lead in modern reduced-pollution primers).
On this forum, as already mentioned in this thread, a very respectable contributor offered as explanation a change to a cheaper polymer quality for G36 wandering zero problems. In view of the Spanish experience (no problems with high quality polymer) and the addiction of industry to cut corners, I consider this a very plausible explanation. On the other hand, Bundeswehr says they tested G36s from several lots and did not find any difference.
You might be surprised at what american swat team standards are. They operate in a constrained environment where, in theory, the only person it's acceptable to put bullets into is the perpetrators.
At that time at least they took this pretty seriously.
I can say for sure, because Ive spoken with the guy who did the receiver explorations for the American guns, that at least that batch definitely had very real issues. TBH this wouldn't be anywhere near the first time a gun company knowingly fobbed off lesser guns in one way or another on clients that weren't big important ones.
I also just flat don't buy that somehow the Ernst Mach institute had it out for HK either!
Their findings were damning in very specific and believable ways. (Btw they also showed that to a certain degree the polymer formulation could definitely make it worse but even the "right formulation" could and did induce the issues in all of them!)
My bet is that certain militaries have found ways to "live with the issues" some of which I've suggested but that doesn't change the fact that the issues are real.
I talked to a couple people about this earlier and there might be some ways to sorta make it easier to live with the issues without a redesign or etc but at most they're a band aid on a problem that can't really be fixed outside of just doing a metal receiver.
It doesn't mean other designs heavily using polymer couldn't or wouldn't do ok because it's possible to do things better.
As a first gen (for the west) polymer architecture design it shouldn't be terribly surprising that they didn't get it right.
What's shocking strange laughable and frustrating is how so many people who should know better have made a flawed and unfit for purpose gun the hill they're willing to die on.
It wasn't a good gun, and HK is an extremely flawed company who chose to litigate and PR propaganda their way out of an engineering issue.
Yet people are choosing to learn every wrong lesson possible from it...
Yet another explanation that turned up for zero shift:
Pretty much across the board, a metal receiver with a metal picatinny rail mounted to the metal receiver, seems like a solid way to address the problem. And even if there is no problem, such a system would likely still be more accurate and durable.
Seems to me like the ideal way to handle this is to just get a new gun rather than trying to band aid one that wasn't anything super special in the first place.
Plus if they do another competition that might coax Glock into submitting an entry.
There have been patent disputes enough to warrant another competition...
Seems to me like the ideal way to handle this is to just get a new gun rather than trying to band aid one that wasn't anything super special in the first place. Plus if they do another competition that might coax Glock into submitting an entry.
That would be cool, but on the other hand theres something to be said for simply modernizing the guns they have ala M4-->M4A1-->URGI.
Especially since weapons design may be on the cusp of revolution should NGSW pan out.
Upgrade the G36 to Steyr G62, and they have a solid, SCARish rifle that can serve well for the next 10 years, maybe use some of the saved money for some boost in optics. Plus going 'G62' requires no need for retraining troops and the army gets to keep most of their spare parts intact.
Meanwhile, they get a nice breather to see how AP ammo, polymer cases, and high pressure ammo pan out.
If it turns out 5.56 remains relevant 10-15 years from now, no doubt the 5.56 weapons available then will be better/ more refined then the 5.56 weapons they could buy today.
This article seems to have the best evidence in support of the G36 actually having a zero shift / polymer melting issue.
The article and the comments are worth a read.
But the clear cutaway G36 shows all the ways the POI can be impacted, and why a metal receiver really would be advisable:
Not only is the barrel in a plastic receiver, but the optic rail is supported by the plastic receiver and the plastic handguard. In combination that provides opportunities for zero shift.
-If the barrel heats sufficiently, it may deform / expand the polymer enough to shift the barrels zero.
-If enough force is applied to the handguard, it may shift the rail enough to impact the optics zero.
-If force is applied to the handguard when the weapon is hot and barrel also shifting, you could see dramatic POI change as both the barrel and optic mount shift.
Police tend to have much higher standards than the military when it comes to accuracy , but still its kinda moot for SWAT as these cops shoot at 3-10m ranges and their snipers at 50m .
End of the day MP5SD that has 10moa grouping seems to be acceptable to most police .
While i am certain modern polymers can handle the temperatures, there is really an issue of shedding the heat ,once it gets hot it stays hot for much longer, compared to metal counterparts.
I didn't talk about the whole military. I mentioned some units like Grupos de Acción Rápida de la Guardia Civil. Their training level is not comparable with any local SWAT team or directly most of the police units of the entire world.
Inside NATO there are a few truly outstanding units. Such units invest what it needs to maintain their needed levels, and they are intervening all the time outside of national frontiers. It's not the same at all to conduct an operation in the downtown of an American city that to enter and exit in Bamako or Mosul, for instance
What I don't understand is why HK didn't pay attention to what Steyr did with AUG architecture. I mean, all the alledged problems of G36's design are solved with AUG dual rails. Just think about what IMI did with internal receiver of the Tavor
It's like "cheap soldiers only deserve cheap rifles", or something like that.
And, as I said, HK was not the winner of Spanish program, at least under the testers' point of view