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Thread: Better than M4, but you canít have it

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    Oh, and another time in Afghanistan an F-16 dropped a 2,000-lb. JDAM on my platoon and it didn't detonate. That was weird.
    I have called in or been in close proximity to 2 airstrikes by a British Tornado and 3 Hellfire launches by Apache's. Both Tornado's dropped duds and 2 out of the 3 Hellfires were duds. Also was with a group of Soldiers, smoking cigarettes in our patrol base, surrounded by cement walls at least 10 feet high, and an RPG round landed right in the middle of us - don't even know what direction it came from - it just smacked into the ground in front of us all. Dud.

    The duds from the Tornado's and Apaches were directed at the enemy - no real danger to us. That RPG round - we just kind of stared it for a minute and then slowly inched away. One of the few benefits of living on MREs is that you're usually too backed up to mess your pants in a situation like that.

  2. #202
    Council Member Brandon Friedman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    I have called in or been in close proximity to 2 airstrikes by a British Tornado and 3 Hellfire launches by Apache's. Both Tornado's dropped duds and 2 out of the 3 Hellfires were duds. Also was with a group of Soldiers, smoking cigarettes in our patrol base, surrounded by cement walls at least 10 feet high, and an RPG round landed right in the middle of us - don't even know what direction it came from - it just smacked into the ground in front of us all. Dud.

    The duds from the Tornado's and Apaches were directed at the enemy - no real danger to us. That RPG round - we just kind of stared it for a minute and then slowly inched away. One of the few benefits of living on MREs is that you're usually too backed up to mess your pants in a situation like that.
    Good stuff.

  3. #203
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    If someone who didn't know anything about the standard 5.56 rounds had surveyed the carnage after the shooting, there's no way the person would believe that three out of four occupants in the car had survived just fine. The moral of this story (and I guess I'm preaching to the choir here) is that you can basically pack a small car full of people, light it up with machine gun fire for 10 or 20 seconds at close range, and still not kill 75 percent of the people in the car.
    It's interesting that you bring that up. Different weapon, but I witnessed a demo where the instructors at Bill Scott Raceway fire broadside into a Caprice with various pistols. 9mm proved to penetrate the best among .22LR, 10mm, 9mm, .38 Spl, .357, and .45 ACP.

    I think it's pretty easy to tell which rifle round penetrates cover better. There are studies all over the place that detail data...and it makes me sit back and think that if we can reasonably assume that our threat isn't going to stand out in the open awaiting the fusilade, but rather take cover, then why don't we employ the best round to defeat barriers?

    We don't have coaxial or pintle-mounted 5.56mm weapons on our armor, even though the maximum effective ranges are comparable. I'm sorta leaning back across the fence that maybe development of a MODERATELY CONTROLLABLE 7.62mm wpn might be the right thing to pursue.

  4. #204
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I like this concept weapon, especially considering what I currently do in light armor.

    http://www.magpul.com/pdfs/PDRtech_PR.pdf

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oLcHkCcz_c

  5. #205
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Only problem I have with all the neat weapons designed

    for use by vehicle crews or those not normally engaged in direct ground combat is what do those folks do if circumstances change and they are suddenly engaged in direct ground combat...

    That said, that one makes more sense than do the ones with the weird little cartridges.

  6. #206
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    or use by vehicle crews or those not normally engaged in direct ground combat is what do those folks do if circumstances change and they are suddenly engaged in direct ground combat...
    I'd have to see a comparative breakdown of the terminal ballistics. The barrel length is 10.5 inches, and although there is definitely a loss of performance against a 14.5 in M4, I don't know how significant the difference is.

    And yeah, I like how it doesn't require exotic (as Magpul calls it) cartridges.

    Those guys at Magpul are doing a lot of things right, and they are really tied into what operators use, abuse, and need. I deployed last time with several replacement magazine followers made by them, and they worked like a charm. Now I have completely replaced my issued mags with thier P-MAG, which is of very good quality and capability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    ... then why don't we employ the best round to defeat barriers?
    5.56mm AP worked pretty well. But, like everything else worth a damn, it was only authorized for SOF. What little that we obtained was via dope deals arranged by our Battalion Ammo NCO.

  8. #208
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I'd have to see a comparative breakdown of the terminal ballistics. The barrel length is 10.5 inches, and although there is definitely a loss of performance against a 14.5 in M4, I don't know how significant the difference is.
    I think you'll find it significant, in terms of trajectory at 250-300, for engaging torso sized targets. The lack of energy means the round begins it drop pretty early. - If I remember the figures correctly.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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    Council Member Kiwigrunt's Avatar
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    And with regards to fragmentation of non exotic 5.56, this from the ammo-oracle (a 1 Gb download pdf)

    Temperature, altitude and humidity are other factors. As temperature or altitude increases, air becomes less dense and bullets travel faster. Contrary to common conceptions, as humidity increases air also becomes less dense and helps bullets retain velocity.
    It is important, then, to keep in mind that any statistics given can only be approximate and can be affected by a wide range of factors. But as a baseline, these numbers are what you could expect for 75į F, 25% humidity, at sea level, from various barrel lengths:

    Distance to 2700 fps for M193
    20" Barrel 190-200m
    16" Barrel 140-150m
    14.5" Barrel 95-100m
    11.5" Barrel 40-45m

    Distance to 2700 fps for M855:
    20" Barrel 140-150m
    16" Barrel 90-95m
    14.5" Barrel 45-50m
    11.5" Barrel 12-15m

    And:

    Interesting, few of these reports [stopping power] seem to be coming from troops 20" or SAW platforms. It would seem that the additional velocity from the longer barrel provides adequate usable fragmentation range for M855 in the majority of cases. From shorter barrels, such as the M4's 14.5" barrel, M855's fragmentation range varies from as much as 90m to as little as 10m, which frequently isn't enough range.
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  10. #210
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    Wish I'd gotten in on this conversation a few days ago. Anyway, I never got to use the 77 gr. ammo for the M4 since I was out before they started issuing it. But as an XO, I had to turn down requests from SLs who wanted permission to patrol with a couple of AKs. Personally, I would've preferred to carry one myself.

    If you'll pardon the gratuitous "look-what-we-did" photo, here's an example of why:



    This fleeing car containing four gunmen probably took 60-70 5.56 hits to the back windshield from a SAW and a couple of M4s. (Rounds were fired from rear to front.) The result? A single enemy KIA (headshot) and three wounded gunmen who were healthy enough to answer questions during their surgery back at the TOC.

    If someone who didn't know anything about the standard 5.56 rounds had surveyed the carnage after the shooting, there's no way the person would believe that three out of four occupants in the car had survived just fine. The moral of this story (and I guess I'm preaching to the choir here) is that you can basically pack a small car full of people, light it up with machine gun fire for 10 or 20 seconds at close range, and still not kill 75 percent of the people in the car.

    Your tax dollars at work. Hopefully things have improved significantly since fall 2003.
    Fragmentation seems to be the key problem here. A very fast and rather light round which is prone to disintegrate rapidly is terrible at penetrating several spaced layers of even very light cover. In this case physics and the experience in the field make a perfect match.

    A heavier bullet in the same caliber with a very similar construction keeps the velocity down and increases the momentum. A lower velocity can greatly reduce the stress on the bullet when it hits something, lowering the probability of fragmentation. The higher momentum and sectional density increase the amount of relative soft material the bullet can penetrate.

    A good solution seems to me to make different, well designed rounds to match a specific purpose available to all soldiers/NCOs.

  11. #211
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    Default A request

    Firn,

    Please add a few introductory lines on this thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=1441&page=55

    SWC members appreciate this, within anonymity if required and OPSEC if relevant. It is not a requirement, but the context of new writers is sought.

    Welcome aboard,

    davidbfpo

  12. #212
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Looking at the photo, that was my hunch, too. I was always taught that the first thing you do in an egress from an unarmored vehicle is to duck beneath the windows because most people shoot at the windows, not the metal. That alone increases your odds of survival dramatically. The driver seems the least likely to duck down, since he needs to see where he's driving (though Iraqis aren't exactly well known for safe driving).
    Way back when Bragg was doing our anti-terrorist course prior to deployment to Sub-Sahara, we were taught to shoot the Sierra outta the radiator and tires. The pic looks like all the wheels/tires are intact and the plastic grill ditto. Firing at glass with a 35 degree angle is best achieved with larger and less ballistic projectiles like manhole covers, bricks and cinder blocks (OK, 120mm rounds too)

    We were also dealt a treat with an M2 and half fuel tank of gas. Notta friggin thing happened as all the fuel poured out all over the ground and vehicle looked liked Swiss cheese... Great for movies though.
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  13. #213
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Another hand grenade story

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    ... Also was with a group of Soldiers, smoking cigarettes in our patrol base, surrounded by cement walls at least 10 feet high, and an RPG round landed right in the middle of us - don't even know what direction it came from - it just smacked into the ground in front of us all. Dud.
    ... But not a dud.

    Early 2003 we were called in for "explosion in a residential area". At the scene a 60-plus year-old lady answers the door.

    She explains, "This morning some Russians were here asking to rent our basement and I knew they wanted to set up some kind of bordell in our neighborhood, but I refused. Later this evening while watching TV I heard my window break and a loud bang."

    The Russians had come back and thrown an F-1 hand grenade into the living room where the old women sat watching TV. Less than 75 centimeters from her on the couch, the WWII-era F-1 went high order. The walls covered in fragments and the TV destroyed. Oddly enough, other than some hearing problems the old bird had not a single scratch. The only possible scenario was the grenade's fuze cavity was pointed in her direction, or, as the link suggests, poor casting quality
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  14. #214
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Full of holes?

    I recall two South African Police officers remarking that a Ford Sierra saloon (or Taurus) had driven through a roadblock on the highway into Soweto; the SAP then used 7.62mm FN SLRs and fired 120 rounds. The car did stop and incredibly three of the four aboard didn't have a scratch.

    The ability of house bricks to hinder vision through a windscreen is known here, lighter objects like a wooden truncheon and Maglite torches did not work.

    Both tales from the "good / bad old days in the 80's".

    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Oddly enough, other than some hearing problems the old bird had not a single scratch. The only possible scenario was the grenade's fuze cavity was pointed in her direction, or, as the link suggests, poor casting quality
    I saw something similar. I saw a 60mm mortar impact about 10 feet from an Iraqi Soldier. He got one piece of shrapnel in his leg and he crapped in his pants. That's it.

  16. #216
    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    Default M4 Fails at Battle of Wanat

    I read somewhere on the net that in a U.S. Army investigative report of the Battle of Wanat that a couple of guys said their M4s malfunctioned. I believe one said he burned through 12 mags in about 1/2 hour before his weapon would nolonger load. They also said a M249 malfunctioned. I am familiar with M16 and its variants. Personally I find it to be easy to shoot, accurate, and light(er). I have never fired 12 mags through one in 1/2 hour so I do not know if his malfunction was one to be expected or one more example of why the rifle should be replaced. I read it's good, I read it's bad. I read the troops are happy with it. I read they are not happy with it. WTF!

    Personally, I think all M16 and M4 uppers should be replaced with the 416. Also, bring back the the fully auto capability - it's all about training. The USMC is lookin at the IAR which I think is a good idea, but why do it if everyone has the capability to go full auto. If the weapon needs a heavy barrel then so be it. Add a HK417 to each squad - DM.

    I've read similar complaints about the 249 and surveys conducted by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. I understand why the M240 is not at the squad level due to its weight, but what about the MG4? Or is this weapon basically a 249? I know they look alike.

    I have gone off subject, but I think a Marine platoon with two rifle squads each with a MG4, 11 fully auto HK416s and a HK417, and a third squad with 2 M240s, 416s and a SMAW would give our guys more maneuverability, fire power and most importantly realiable weapons.

  17. #217
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gute View Post
    I read somewhere on the net that in a U.S. Army investigative report of the Battle of Wanat that a couple of guys said their M4s malfunctioned.
    I think you'll be surprised by the results of Soldier Weapons Assessment Team Report 6-03, Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Army's Combat Development Small Arms Division screened more than 1,000 troops from various units and found that 89 percent were most satisfied with the M4 (compared to 60 percent with the M16A2 and A4).

    The report also concluded:
    94 percent satisfaction with accuracy
    92% with range and
    93% with rate of fire.

    Quote Originally Posted by gute View Post
    Also, bring back the the fully auto capability - it's all about training.
    Actually, the M4A1 primarily used by SOF is a full-auto version of the M4.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  18. #218
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Ah, yes -- but Joe today doesn't have much

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    The report also concluded:
    94 percent satisfaction with accuracy
    92% with range and
    93% with rate of fire.
    experience with any other weapons and he knows the M4 is lighter than the M16...

    The M16 is okay, the M4 a little less so but the Army has too much money invested to undertake a big change for small gain.

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by gute View Post
    I read somewhere on the net that in a U.S. Army investigative report of the Battle of Wanat that a couple of guys said their M4s malfunctioned. I believe one said he burned through 12 mags in about 1/2 hour before his weapon would nolonger load.
    Any reason given for the malfunction? Here is why I ask...

    When I was an XO, I made sure that all HMMWVs had several extra magazines of 5.56 at the ready, in addition to the basic loads carried on each individual's vest. I also made sure those magazines were rotated. My Soldiers inevitably btched about the "hassle" of rotating mags, so I showed them why I insisted upon this. I took a magazine that had been loaded with 28 rounds and left untouched for months. I handed it to my driver and told him to lock, load, and fire it. He did so. After one round, it malfunctioned. Why? Because the spring was toast from being compressed for months. I can imagine a similar scenario if that Soldier at Wanat fired off all of the magazines on his person and then grabbed a few magazines from a pile that had sat at-the-ready, but untouched for months.

    Was it the weapon or the magazine? Or was it the ammo? In the heat of battle, did the Soldier insert a magazine that was half ammo and half sand? Was the weapon damaged during the fight?

    Quote Originally Posted by gute View Post
    They also said a M249 malfunctioned.
    No kidding, 17 out of 18 of our SAWs were too unreliable to even consider using in OIF I. I had them all refurbished by the -40 level civilian contractors when we redeployed. When we went back on our next deployment, we used the same SAWs. No issues at all. Many units are carrying SAWs that are well past their wear. They have been beaten to hell over years of training, fired tens - perhaps hundreds - of thousands of blank and live rounds fired in all types of weather, beaten against the ground, jostled in vehicles, jarred while mounted on a pintle of a vehicle crossing rough terrain, etc, etc. At some point, even the glorified, indestructible AK needs some maintenance. Show me an AK that has fired even 1/4 of the number of rounds of a SAW or M4 that has been on the property book of a US Army Infantry Company for 5 years.

  20. #220
    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    The article did not mention anything about bad mags, etc. Like I said in my first post I like the M16 system. I use a Rock River for work and have not had any problems, but I NEVER have I had to burn through 12 mags in 1/2 hour. Maybe next time I go to the range I will do it and see what happens. What I wonder is if the M16/M4 blow back system and 12 mags is the cause. From what I have read the short stroke system on the 416 keeps the chamber "cleaner". I have also read that the original feed tray on the 249 was the cause of most of the malfunctions and some have been replaced with steel trays and that malfunction nolonger exists.

    I do not see the U.S. going to a new rifle anytime soon and quite frankly I do not think it is necessary except for dropping 416 uppers onto m16/m4 lowers. Basically the same weapon - muscle memory is the same.

    I appreciate the responses, but I still would like to know why our guys do not have fully auto capable rifles. I understand fire discipline and conserving ammo, but I believe training would for the most part make this a moot point. I believe the use of telescoped ammunition and the introduction of the AAI LSAT LMG is a more attainable goal then getting a new assault rifle that is a generation jump over the legacy rifle - at least at this time. Use some of this damn stimulus money to make sure our guys have the best. For what it's worth.

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