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Old 05-20-2014   #961
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Gotta agree with the Fuchster.

The US will never go away from its combo of 5.56 and 7.62, besides in maybe the smallest samplings at the highest tiers.

It just comes down to a money and logistics issue. Paying for an ammo plant's retooling is not going to happen, and we are not going to shoot down stocks of 5.56/7.62 while the ammo supply points are stocked with 6.5, 6.8, or Blackout. Never in a million years.

Seeing this thread revived makes me realize Ken White had been off the board a very long time. I miss him.
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Old 05-21-2014   #962
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Compost, the U.S.Army runs small arms development programs.
It's not in the business of actually buying any small arms developed in these programs.

This is the same as with combat and recce AFVs and helicopters. They're just not in the business of doing the step from R&D to in-service employment any more.

Forget their small arms and AFV progams. They're all PR stunts of no relevance.
US Army may be playing games but USAF sparked interest in 5.56x45 and M16 to succeed 7.62x33 and M1 carbine back in the 1960s. This time the USMC might force the issue or otherwise contrive introduction of successors. Also SF have a lot of pull. Others in NATO may just have to hope.
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Old 05-21-2014   #963
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US Army may be playing games but USAF sparked interest in 5.56x45 and M16 to succeed 7.62x33 and M1 carbine back in the 1960s. This time the USMC might force the issue or otherwise contrive introduction of successors. Also SF have a lot of pull. Others in NATO may just have to hope.
The USMC ran the IAR program; it was apparently an attempt to get a reliable assault rifle under the disguise of a very light machinegun. So far they succeeded to buy at a few, but at least they now have a new type standardised and in service, so they may be able to get enough of them to replace their M16s.
But look at what they got; a thoroughly unspectacular design that was already MOTS if not COTS and merely modified somewhat with accessories. Basically the same weapon had been in service in Europe for three years previously AND the weapon is internally an early 1990's G36 with VISMOD outside.

The U.S. forces are still using the M240, an overweight 1950's design. Even the gold-plated (partially titanium) L version weighs 10.1 kg, while the Soviets/Russians have been running around with their equivalent (PKM) of 7.5 kg since 1969. Meanwhile, GI carried the 12.3 kg M240 for decades.
(The German Heer stuck with the almost entirely optics-incompatible and heavy MG3 for too long as well - it should have made use of HK21E in dismounted roles for decades). The Russians now have a 8.7 kg Pecheneg machine gun as PKM successor in service (and has so for more than a decade); it needs no spare barrels, so it's effectively even more lightweight than the PKM.

Last edited by Fuchs; 05-21-2014 at 03:14 AM.
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Old 05-21-2014   #964
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It is interesting to see that HK's brand new 7.62 MG5 Universal (GPMG/MMG) weighs a whopping 11.6 kg. The LMG Infantry version (with pencil barrel and lacking a bipod) still weighs about 10.5 kg. I'm all for saving weight, but to shave a relatively measly one kg off a solid machine gun by severely compromising two of the most important aspects of a machine gun the barrel and the support seems ridiculous to me.

FN's 7.62 Minimi weighs about 8 kg (depending on config). The NZ army now uses that in lieu of the retired 5.56 Mimini. I had a chat to a NZ army officer recently, who is of the opinion that they should have gone back to the L7 / Mag58 at section level. He thinks the Minimi is too fragile and rattly.

The Danes are currently introducing the latest pencil barrel iteration of the M60 for use at section level.

Indeed Fuchs, if the Russian 'full weight' 7.5 kg PKM is as durable as the West's traditional GPMGs, than what are we missing?
The Pecheneg is interesting. I've not been able to find any user feedback on it. The bipod at the muzzle is said to improve accuracy. I wonder for how long, after the barrel heats up. As Fuchs alluded to, the Pecheneg LMG is actually heavier than the PKM GPMG. The weight saving and user simplification of the Pecheneg is in the lack of a spare barrel, which at section level is not a bad thing.

This conversation keeps going round and round in circles. I wonder if, rather than defining the role of the MG, it has become more about this week's accepted compromise. Durability and robustness vs. weight. We tweak the role-narrative to suit this week's compromise or fashion.

We all know what Ken would have said about all of this. I too miss him.

jcustis, at the risk of seeing the whole IAR debate regurgitated (let's not), do you have any feedback on experiences with it now that it has been used for a bit in Afghanistan? Are the marines happy with the IAR in its intended role, or do they miss the SAW? I imagine there would have been plenty of 240s around to mitigate the lack of the SAW.
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Old 05-21-2014   #965
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Quote:
The USMC ran the IAR program; it was apparently an attempt to get a reliable assault rifle under the disguise of a very light machinegun. So far they succeeded to buy at a few, but at least they now have a new type standardised and in service, so they may be able to get enough of them to replace their M16s.
But look at what they got; a thoroughly unspectacular design that was already MOTS if not COTS and merely modified somewhat with accessories. Basically the same weapon had been in service in Europe for three years previously AND the weapon is internally an early 1990's G36 with VISMOD outside.
That bit about the Corps going after the HK416 in an attempt to get leverage to replace M4s/M16A4s has been passed around the internet so much that people asssume it is true. We went after the HK rifle to gain a true Automatic Rifle to, and the acquisitions folks actually did a half decent job for once.

We are not trying to disguise it as a LMG. Everyone driving the employment and doctrine for the IAR is very clear what it is, and isn't. The gun rags and fanboy sites typically get the information wrong.
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Old 05-21-2014   #966
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jcustis, at the risk of seeing the whole IAR debate regurgitated (let's not), do you have any feedback on experiences with it now that it has been used for a bit in Afghanistan? Are the marines happy with the IAR in its intended role, or do they miss the SAW? I imagine there would have been plenty of 240s around to mitigate the lack of the SAW.
Damn there Kiwi, we must have sniffed out talk of the IAR at the same time.

I've heard nothing but positive reviews from all quarters, especially from the Marine Weapons Officers (aka Gunners). Each time I had the chance to play with it, I've been very impressed with its accuracy, portability, and craftsmanship. It's new and built to tight tolerances, so no rattle yet.

Considering its desired role, it is a win thus far. Those who say they "miss the heavier firepower of the SAW" really have no idea what they are talking about, in my opinion, and if they are infantrymen then they are likely bad at that job.

Last edited by jcustis; 05-21-2014 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 05-24-2014   #967
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Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
This conversation keeps going round and round in circles. I wonder if, rather than defining the role of the MG, it has become more about this week's accepted compromise. Durability and robustness vs. weight. We tweak the role-narrative to suit this week's compromise or fashion.
For small firearms at least durability and ruggedness seem to have finally won out and are now generally regarded as more important and vital than weight. Hence the return of the gas piston supplanting direct gas in many recent variants of the M4. Also the longevity of the heavy and cumbersome MAG58/M240. The Gucci lizardskin variant might even be scrapped as it suffers from metal fatique especially when fired from a pintle instead of a softmount.
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Old 05-24-2014   #968
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For small firearms at least durability and ruggedness seem to have finally won out and are now generally regarded as more important and vital than weight. Hence the return of the gas piston supplanting direct gas in many recent variants of the M4. Also the longevity of the heavy and cumbersome MAG58/M240. The Gucci lizardskin variant might even be scrapped as it suffers from metal fatique especially when fired from a pintle instead of a softmount.
Would you use functioning interchangeably with durability? If so, I'd agree. One of the appealing characteristics of the piston is the reduction of carbon fouling finding its way into the chamber.

There are also continual improvements in bolt carrier groups, chambers, magazines, trigger packs, and even charging handles with specific geometries to reduce failure, and even improve ambidextrous usage.

There is also a lot of unicorn hunting for the perfect lubricant, and there are even some folks testing the old beliefs like running a rifle with less lube in a desert environment.

It's all about squeezing out that last fraction of performance to ensure that when you pull the trigger, it goes bang instead of click.
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Old 05-24-2014   #969
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
Damn there Kiwi, we must have sniffed out talk of the IAR at the same time.

I've heard nothing but positive reviews from all quarters, especially from the Marine Weapons Officers (aka Gunners). Each time I had the chance to play with it, I've been very impressed with its accuracy, portability, and craftsmanship. It's new and built to tight tolerances, so no rattle yet.

Considering its desired role, it is a win thus far. Those who say they "miss the heavier firepower of the SAW" really have no idea what they are talking about, in my opinion, and if they are infantrymen then they are likely bad at that job.
I've been wondering how the Marines in the field would regard the weapon and from your quote it seems to be a success. I'm curious on how it is being used compared to the SAW.
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Old 05-24-2014   #970
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Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
Damn there Kiwi, we must have sniffed out talk of the IAR at the same time.

I've heard nothing but positive reviews from all quarters, especially from the Marine Weapons Officers (aka Gunners). Each time I had the chance to play with it, I've been very impressed with its accuracy, portability, and craftsmanship. It's new and built to tight tolerances, so no rattle yet.

Considering its desired role, it is a win thus far. Those who say they "miss the heavier firepower of the SAW" really have no idea what they are talking about, in my opinion, and if they are infantrymen then they are likely bad at that job.
Only thing I'd gripe about is the magazine size. Has there been any more talk of a drum or double stack sir? My company tried buying a few 60 rounders from Surefire, but ran into a money/bureaucracy issue.
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Old 05-24-2014   #971
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I've been wondering how the Marines in the field would regard the weapon and from your quote it seems to be a success. I'm curious on how it is being used compared to the SAW.
Granite_State would likely have the most recent frame of reference.
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Old 05-24-2014   #972
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Only thing I'd gripe about is the magazine size. Has there been any more talk of a drum or double stack sir? My company tried buying a few 60 rounders from Surefire, but ran into a money/bureaucracy issue.
Isn't that always the case?

The original requests for proposals on the IAR calledfor a 50-rd magazine, and I think it remains in existence.

I finally saw a SF 60-rd mag at SOFIC and gained an appreciation for its size and bulk. Definitely best for an AR gunner as perhaps the first upload, and a few more distributed through the squad, but not the ammo container for the remaining combat load.
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Old 05-25-2014   #973
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Isn't that always the case?

The original requests for proposals on the IAR calledfor a 50-rd magazine, and I think it remains in existence.

I finally saw a SF 60-rd mag at SOFIC and gained an appreciation for its size and bulk. Definitely best for an AR gunner as perhaps the first upload, and a few more distributed through the squad, but not the ammo container for the remaining combat load.
That's what we were thinking, initial mag to react to/initiate an ambush. The 100 round ones I saw looked too long to use in the prone, but 60 looked like it would work with the bipod.
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Old 05-25-2014   #974
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Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
Would you use functioning interchangeably with durability? If so, I'd agree. One of the appealing characteristics of the piston is the reduction of carbon fouling finding its way into the chamber.

There are also continual improvements in bolt carrier groups, chambers, magazines, trigger packs, and even charging handles with specific geometries to reduce failure, and even improve ambidextrous usage.
Yes I would but have to agree that's a big stretch of the dictionary definition.
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Old 05-25-2014   #975
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That's what we were thinking, initial mag to react to/initiate an ambush. The 100 round ones I saw looked too long to use in the prone, but 60 looked like it would work with the bipod.
That 100-round magazine is an abortion and only suitable for shooting gamers. I would never tie that many rounds up in a single magazine. Surefire typically runs a tight business model, and I was shocked to see that come out.

Last edited by jcustis; 05-25-2014 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 05-25-2014   #976
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What exactly is wrong with drum magazines other than noise?

There are 75 rnd drum mags for RPK series.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ioQ499lFoE
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Old 05-25-2014   #977
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Reliability of American-designed drum magazines for a 5.56mm platform has generally been lacking. They have not been able to satisfy procurement requirements. Sure they run well in manufacturer demo videos, but they fall way short during detailed testing.

I have zero experience with a drum in a 7.62x39mm platform, but I imagine they have their own issues and are fragile without meticulous maintenance.

Like water finding its level, that's why the 30-round magazinr had become standard. It's pretty much mechanical evolution.

Last edited by jcustis; 05-25-2014 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 05-25-2014   #978
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Granite_State would likely have the most recent frame of reference.
Not much to contribute unfortunately. My battalion was one of the first to get IARs in 2011, but we had very few rounds going downrange in Southern Helmand. I did scour the AARs before going over, and 2/4, the only battalion with IARs that saw a decent amount of fighting, had no complaints. What stoppages they had were due to magazines, not the weapon.
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