This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
Latest 11/11/21 by gatnerd
Latest 4:40 by DavidPawley
Latest 4:24 by EmericD
Latest 22-Jun by roguetechie
Latest 22-Jun by graylion
Latest 21-Jun by schnuersi
Latest 19-Jun by stancrist
Latest 18-Jun by roguetechie
Latest 17-Jun by roguetechie
Latest 17-Jun by roguetechie
Latest 15-Jun by roguetechie
Latest 12-Jun by 17thfabn
Latest 11-Jun by autogun
Latest 10-Jun by stancrist
Latest 8-Jun by autogun
Latest 1-Jun by schnuersi
Latest 31-May by gatnerd
Latest 30-May by stancrist
Latest 27-May by gatnerd
Latest 27-May by autogun
Latest 26-May by roguetechie
Latest 26-May by schnuersi
"The French army is still using ~10,000 M2HB manufactured before 1944, and we used then heavily since the war in Indochina."
The US has had similar results - there was a discovery of one made in 1933 that was still in service and operating perfectly:
I recall reading numerous anecdotal reports of guys in Iraq whose M2's receivers were marked 'General Motors' and 'Frigidaire' indicating WW2 manufacture.
The design seems to be so successful that it has essentially killed off any competition. As far as I can tell the only alternative .50 bmg machine gun is the STK50 from singapore?
I cannot help but repeat my view that a cartridge according to requirements should be chosen first. After that, an "optimal" (compromise of conflicting design goals) weapon should be designed around it.
Thats certainly the ideal...
The question is whether we will actually see that occur. Theres been talk of a desire for a 'GPC' type intermediary cartridge for 15+ years, yet theres yet to be any manufacturer step up to the plate and create an intermediary sized weapon. Perhaps the LWRC SIX8 as an exception.
Meanwhile the cartridge we're seeing genuinely take off a bit militarily as a 5.56/7.62 alternative is 6.5 Creedmoor (and .260 Remington per Emeric for French SF.) The reason is that it offers enhanced ballistics with a simple barrel change.
A superior round, but requiring a brand new series of assault rifles and LMG's to be developed to fire it, would likely still be a topic of debate on internet forums...
For a .50 replacement, the prospects of a 'perfect' cartridge are even grimmer. A rifle is complex, but at the end of the day, it's a rifle, which most small arms manufacturers are capable of designing and manufacturing. Whereas a Machine Gun is both much more complex and requires far more in terms of testing and long terms durability, and far fewer small arms companies are capable/familiar with producing them. Much less producing a HMG that could compete with the prolific, legendary, and beloved M2... that would be a risky R&D venture to undertake without a gov't contract behind it. And until the new weapon was developed, the new cartridge design could not be tested.
Whereas if '.61 Emeric' is backwards compatible with .50 bmg weapons, that bad boy could be tested within a year and with a fraction of the R&D budget. Get a firearms company or even machine shop to turn a new .61 M2 barrel, neck up some .50 BMG brass, and lathe turn some brass .61 solids, and you're in testing mode. Thats of course a bit flipant in terms of the work involved, but its certainly a much easier prospect than creating a new cartridge brass, new bullet, and new automatic weapon all at once.
The last issue is one of requirements. Since the .50 BMG/M2 is a sort of ballistic 'Swiss army knife' (never the perfect tool for the job, but a tool that works for many jobs in the field) it's hard to pin down what the requirement would be to optimize the cartridge for. Is the goal a lighter cartridge/weapon with comparable penetration to .50 API? Is the goal better supersonic range than .50 API? Better incindiary effect? More penetration? More power then .50 BMG but with smaller weapon than 20mm cannon? etc.
In that light, ".61E" is potentially promising. Get a more powerful / more API round than current .50bmg, while keeping polymer cartridge weight comparable to current .50 bmg brass, and the ability to be used in legacy weapons / future .50 sized weapons and mounts.
Thats certainly the ideal...
Perhaps I am missing something. How is it "ideal" to design a cartridge in complete disregard for weapon characteristics like barrel length, feeding reliability, magazine capacity, etc?
The question is whether we will actually see that occur.
I would submit that we sorta have seen it happen with the 6.8 TVCM, which was designed without regard for what seems likely to be the acceptable barrel lengths of NGSW-R and AR.
Theres been talk of a desire for a 'GPC' type intermediary cartridge for 15+ years, yet theres yet to be any manufacturer step up to the plate and create an intermediary sized weapon.
Nearly all of the talk about an intermediate-length GPC has been in internet forums like this one.
There's been little military interest in such a cartridge, and no real demand in the civilian market.
Perhaps the LWRC SIX8 as an exception.
No. The SIX8 receiver length is the same as that of 5.56 receivers.
That's because cartridge OAL of 6.8 SPC is the same as 5.56 NATO.
Do you think it would be backwards compatible with current .50 bmg weapons?
That will depends on the weapon manufacturing year, probably.
For example, ours M2HB from WWII are in perfect shape and could fire a regular diet of M33/M8 ammo (working at 280-290 MPa) all day long, but if you feed them with some Short-Range Training Ammo (SRTA) running at 350-380 MPa, you will break the bolt locking lug after around 4,000 rounds, even if the STANAG allows for a MAP + 3 SD < 445 MPa.
Current production M2HB are OK with those SRTA ammo.
In terms of down range performance, do you see the value of the .61 primarily in increasing penetration, or increasing incendiary payload?
Payload ! Just like the 20 mm MG151 versus the 15 mm version, or the 20x102 vs. the 14.5x114.
If you want to increase the penetration while keeping the .50 "Form Factor", then the .460 Steyr or the .416 Barrett are the way to go (similar core length, but higher MV and better BC, so much more impact velocity).
Payload ! Just like the 20 mm MG151 versus the 15 mm version, or the 20x102 vs. the 14.5x114. If you want to increase the penetration while keeping the .50 "Form Factor", then the .460 Steyr or the .416 Barrett are the way to go (similar core length, but higher MV and better BC, so much more impact velocity).
In terms of ground use, what would be the primary goal/effect of increasing the payload? Would it be for improving the ability to set cars/technicals on fire over current .50? And is the current .50 lacking in that regard? Or would the payload offer some other benefit, such as improving the ability to shatter/smash through walls and concrete?
In terms of concrete penetration, is the rule similar to steel and ceramic, where core length is paramount?
Great info on SRTA/pressure on bolt life.
One bureaucratic snafu on the .61. Being over .60, that would make it a light cannon, rather than a machine gun by US military definition.
Other than that, it would be awesome!
Would it be for improving the ability to set cars/technicals on fire over current .50? And is the current .50 lacking in that regard? Or would the payload offer some other benefit, such as improving the ability to shatter/smash through walls and concrete?
Today, most APCs are already immune to 14.5x114 mm AP rounds on the frontal and lateral arc, so I don't think trying to increase the AP capability of a .50" is the way to go.
The .50'' SLAP is already existing, fielded and delivering 14.5 mm AP performance, but only the USMC is using it, and in limited numbers.
The .50" MP, on the other hand, is used by nearly every western armies, and gives decent AP capability + 1 g of HE payload and fragments. Those fragments are not going to penetrate any armor but are great to defeat cameras, sensors, antennas, RWS... located on every current APC, and also to effectively defeat "technicals" or suicide bomb cars.
The current way to "upgrade" the M2HB is to replace it with a 40 mm "High Velocity" grenade launcher, so a truly "high velocity" round that retain the external ballistics of the .50 BMG, but with a bigger payload (the .61" vs. .51" is a ~20% increase of the diameter and ~70% increase of the volume) may be the way to go (or the diameter should be increased to ~18 mm to carry enough HE to justify the upgrade, like the experimental 18x81 mm Tarantula).
The problem with the 14.5 mm / 20x102 mm / 30x113 mm upgrade is that those 3 rounds are using twice the propellant load of the .50" BMG, you simply can't expect to replace a M2HB with those without any side-effect.
for a 50 replacement, what are you thoughts on a higher powered round which is designed around a very potent Apfsds round. (all of it's ammo options are telescoped including API)
lets say the muzzle energy was 20k Ft Lbs....would the dart be much use against vehicles in realistic scenarios?