Well, more of a CHAPTER review.
Max Brooks wrote a fun little book, World War Z that chronicles and oral history of a MAJOR zombie outbreak and its aftermath. This book is a follow up to Zombie Survival Guide that discussed how to prepare for and then survive a major outbreak.
But I'm not reviewign the totallity of either. I am reviewing the chapter where a reorganized army goes out to try to take back the country from the walking dead, and, importantly, the rifle they used.
The rifle is fictional, and even the soldier character that explains it is speculating on it's origins. And this gun is tailored for its task, but it is made to sound like an excellent weapon for tasks beyond shooting many zombies in the head efficiently.
The rifle is called SIR, short for Standard Infantry Rifle, but also as a term of respect. It's is chambered in 5.56 and is a brand new design that draws strengths from other design. The conjecture with the character is that it owes a lot to the Kalashnikov, or AK-47. I don't see how this can be, as the rifle described is VERY reliable, like a Kalashnikov, but it displayed accuracy that the AK is not supposed to get near. More speculation was that it had some roots in the XM-8, an H&K weapon that is essentially a fancy German designed M-16, with new styling and, more importanly, a gas operated bolt that is an improvement on the direct impingement gas-operation system the easily fouled M-16 uses. (At least, I am pretty sure the XM-8 types, and ANY new rifle, stay away from direct impingement. I may be wrong. Help me out here. I'm still learning. I'm but a n00b. It just seems to me the weight saving advantage of shooting gasses back into the 'work' is not that good idea, or maybe I haven't totally figured it all out...)
Anyway, tactics are much different when you have to shoot vast numbers of slow moving, tactically inept, living dead that can only be killed by destroying the brain. Marksmanship is stressed, and volume fo fire from automatic weapon spray is less valuable. So this new rifle, the SIR, is semi-automatic only. Not a bad system for a replacement of the ACTUAL army's infantry rifle. Except the caliber choice. 5.56 is fine for zombies, get a version in 7.62 for AFTER the Zombie war. Save the 5.56 for squad machine guns, maybe.
The round they used against the zombie was against the Geneva convention. It has a small thermal charge to cook the brain. I'm sure future treaty negotiations with the Zombie Legations will bring this up, but I'm pretty sure those ghouls are not a signatory member.
The army was shooting one round a second, accurately, from a kneeling position. I imagine they were probably in a 100 (at least) yard box formation shooting an additional 100 yards out. The whole enterprise was more of an endurance event, just keeping up the volume to a certain level, for days. There is a described a pile of dead zombies surround the square 25 feet high and 100 feet deep. Meand some buddies at work did a back of the envelope calculation on the numbers that would have to be. I don't remember the specifics, but one of our conclusions was that the ammo necessary for that would fill 2 tractor trailers to the roof. Assuming no misses.
And the author described the qualtiy of soldier as missing very rarely. And the SIR rifle NEVER jammed. No failure to feed, no failure to eject. Hmmm, I don't know about that. ONE bad cartridge had to be in the equivalent of 2 tractor trailer loads.
The character also complained the rifle kicked hard. Huh? 5.56 that wasn't designed to be super lightweight kicked hard? It HAD wood stocks, claiming synthetics were difficult to procure after the breakdown following the initial mass outbreak and societal collapse.
It sounds like they could have gotten by with a version of the Ruger Mini-14 ranch rifle, but more accurized, and with the ability to swap out barrels. I don't see the advantage in swapping out barrels when fighting zombies. Why go from carbine length to sniper length?
As an aside, the OTHER book, the Zombie Survival Guide recommends the M-1 carbine as a good individual anti-zombie survival gun, as the round was adequate for the job, the magazines are high capacity, and the surplus gun were cheap. Well they were when he wrote the guide. They are a bit more expensive now.
I enjoyed both books.
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