This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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Why would 50 be the one and only weapon that can benefit?
That genuinely doesn't make sense.
Also, the real "benefits" of caseless never seem to actually pan out, hence why they dropped caseless Incredibly early in the LSAT program.
The one place we've actually seen caseless make any inroad is in things like the Russian gp25 and gp30 underbarrel grenade launcher where they haven't really provided all the fantastical value they purport to on paper.
If the Russians every really fully switchover to their "new" caseless AGL design that'll be two such systems in service.
And honestly, caseless seems to be at least a passable fit in things like grenade launchers (where incidentally you're not dealing with quite the peak pressures of an hmg or etc)
The whole "literally half the size thing" is something I'd dispute heavily since actually keeping the rounds intact in the field ultimately results in you giving away much of the notional savings to do so.
I'd go even further and say that 50 is not only not the only weapon caseless could benefit, it's actually one of the WORST possible weapons to try this shit in!
Let's think about what we actually do with 50's.
1. Belted 50 gets tossed in every spare corner in every vehicle and gets bounced around for weeks or YEARS before finally getting loaded into a gun!
2. At the point you actually load a can of 50 onto a gun it can ride around for days to MONTHS To YEARS exposed to the elements being bounced around being loaded and downloaded and tossed back on the floor of the Vic untill someone gets detailed to throw it back in the arms locker.
What does this equate to? It equates to needing your fucking 50 ammo to be almost stupid durable to protect it from it's users. Your HMG ammo has a hard life and can go literal years of this abuse before being needed. And when it's needed, it's REALLY NEEDED!
Also, modern vehicles and weapons systems are already almost crazy maintenance intensive without making your 50 and it's ammo need to be carefully inspected before use, potentially in a moving vehicle under fire!
I know a couple people who were involved in the thunder run into Baghdad and the amount of ammo they went through, the fact that they often wound up using ammo they were surprised still worked because it had been so badly abused, and just the sheer QUANTITY of ammo brought along, used, and abused would have been outright impossible to do if you had to do what's necessary to keep caseless ammo intact and usable.
I'll repeat, 50 caseless is about the dumbest and worst "possible use" for caseless I can think of!
You MIGHT just MIGHT be able to get away with this bullshit on aircraft and naval vessels but in the ground forces it would fail utterly miserably
All of this is IF a 338 MG is even an actual good idea, which is probably the most spurious part of this entire line of reasoning.
I'd much rather have them develop a high tech m79 capable of slinging very modern 40x51 grenades tied to a really bitchin FCS, an American qn202 style launcher set (pike missile but not stupid), or an m202 flash style launcher but with a 4 pack of MHTK derived missiles over a 338 machine gun!
Can't we just, you know, develop a better gpmg round and a new gpmg that's not us doing necromancy on the mag 58 to keep an interwar gomg design limping along for so long it will have seen man go back to the moon again?
That's the part that's frustrating to me honestly.
This idea that we need a round as big and stupid as 338 Norma mag to "overmatch pkm's" is just painful.
.338 Norma MMG isn't as painful as 6.8 Bleedmoor for PKM overmatch, though.
Can't we just, you know, develop a better gpmg round...?
Working on it.
.338 Norma MMG isn't as painful as 6.8 Bleedmoor for PKM overmatch, though.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that. I would think that carrying around one of the NGSW LMG's with its lighter ammo (and maybe a DM rife or two) would be a better overmatch than a .338MMG and much less ammo. It would be not take long to use up the .338 ammo if shooting blindly at distances where overmatch is necessary. Heck, maybe just have the designated marksmen, since their optics would be more likely to spot the enemy machinegunner at long range anyway.
Ive found the ultimate way to reduce size - design it around APFSDS
The dart is just 5-6mm and fully telescoped, so it woulf take up virtually no powder space
of course APFSDS is not ideal for troop safety due to the petal sabot. I wondered about a sabotless design with fins at the front of the dart which actually ride the bore
There's bore rider finned darts that have been done in tank guns but you still need a sabot for something like that to hold the pressure In so that doesn't actually fix the sabot safety situation.
Also what are you talking about wrt telescoping the sabot?
To make an apfsds dart that works you want the length to diameter ratio of the main body of the penetrator to be as good as possible think 25:1 or so ideally.
There's also the nontrivial problem of saboted anything being more expensive.
This is exactly why when you asked me what my ideal replacement 50 round and gun looked like "I cheated" by saying I'd make one of the main every day rounds for it pulled m8api rounds thrown in a new case with a sabot.
Because they already pay contractors to pull the m8api projectiles from existing non viable loaded ammo and load it in a brand new primed case with new powder.
Manufacturing TV 50 BMG replacement neckless cases and loading rounds into them would be cheaper take less manpower and floor space than what they're already doing.
This "buys me" enough man power man hours and machine time to make my saboted m8 API etc projectiles essentially cost neutral or possibly marginally cheaper in full rate production to come out at worst cost neutral on the vast majority of rounds the military would be loading and firing.
Considerations like This are important on all notional projects but would be absolutely vital on something like an M2 browning + 50 bmg replacement.
It's why when you asked me what I'd do, I picked both a gun and an ammunition approach that I know could be done for reasonable costs. As an example, the gun I'm basing my idea off of in it's original form would have cost the government somewhere between 20 and 25% as much per gun as a brand new M2 browning cost at the time. Once you factored in the fact that the replacement gun also had a massively reduced parts count, and that those parts themselves are much more suited to modern manufacturing, you wind up with a gun system that's "worth it" to replace the M2 with and helps to sell the added cost of developing the new full caliber or sabot rounds you'd pair with the gun for certain uses.
This is something that many people don't think about when it comes to weapons projects you in theory actually want the government to buy.
It doesn't matter how cool your concept is or even what amazing stuff it can on paper do if it can't actually fit into the military organization you're intending it for and do the job you're aiming it towards doing.
My "replacement 50" thoughts and what solutions I picked were tailored first and foremost to being able to do all the same jobs the Browning M2 does in basically the same way (only much better and cheaper) because if whatever you're proposing is going to require a massive reorganization of men and materiel on top of making the new guns ammo and spares that's a much harder sale.
Technology and neat solutions aren't an end into themselves. The idea is to match the best solutions you can to the specific purposes and use cases you're aiming at.
This is why I came out extremely hard against any bastard child caseless 50 caliber replacement. Caseless ammunition and guns have to be ridiculously babied, lavishly maintained, inspected before every use, requires everyone involved with handling them and their ammo and their users to pay very close attention to the ammo and the gun system itself.
This is the polar opposite of how our military uses M2 Browning's and other 50 guns and ammo.
My only advice here is that rather than focusing on the neatest niche technical tricks, you should first attempt to understand what the military does with a given system now how they use it what they use it for and things like that.
Another example from my solution. If you had asked me how I intend to make my solution do the job of the m3p high rof aviation M2 Browning's I could have given you an answer because I have already thought that our.
Ok but would your round retain the 13k lbs energy or increase it?
And would the new gun be lighter than m2
It's safe to say that my round would increase the ME even when just firing saboted m8 API, with the notional big boy rounds specifically for the gun it'd definitely jump probably quite a bit higher.
To an extent though my proposed rounds especially for this gun will hit like a fucking dump truck loaded with cement even before you factor in the explosives in the rounds.
Onto the actual gun itself.
"My gun" is essentially based off this.
Which as you can see was 55 pounds to the Browning's 84. Once you factor in that this gun is dual selectable feed though and my fast googling shows a box of linked brass case 50bmg weighing about 32.5 pounds all up including box, your weapon mount would have about the same if not a little more weight on it if you just went directly with the dover devil herself.
My proposed idea including all the revisions and etc and especially including the lightweight cases links and quick change ammo boxes would actually get you to a net weight savings over an M2 + ammo + ammo box and mount even though you'd have more than 2x as much ammo physically loaded and ready to fire on the gun.
I haven't went through and done all the math on what everything would weigh exactly but even with the new full caliber high pressure rounds in the TV style neckless cases you should be at least weight neutral on a round for round basis.
Where the real savings would come in is on reduced recoil and other forces the mount would have to compensate for and some other things. There you're talking substantial weight and bulk savings!
My goal wasn't so much even to save weight though, weight savings are sorta incidental.
My goal here is to give them something that hits harder, needs less maintenance, is cheaper, is easier to adapt to modern mounts like remote weapons stations while still being able to use it on a tripod with butterfly triggers when needed.
Also some of the things I'd do to the gun design and construction would make for much easier tripod use including not having to sandbag the living shit out of your tripods.
The gun and ammo are only part of the picture. My goal here is to give them something that works better for what they actually do with these gun systems.
It sounds good and a logical improvement.
I still think that weight is inconsequential given that most roles are vehicular. Size of ammo is the real nut to crack.
I even wondered about squared rounds that come packaged in a cube
...you drop the cube into some kind of device that feeds each round to the gun.
And again, an APFSDS with .22 steel projos would in theory allow a round almost as small as 338 but theres the sabot danger.