There is an NRA publication on caseless ammunition.
(hat tip to Rustmeister.)
I’ve been aware of the effort to make caseless ammunition since I was a kid and read about an attempt to make the F-15 Eagle’s gun a 20mm caseless, type. The ammunition didn’t work out back in the early 70’s so they switched up to the gatling type it we are more familiar with today.
So caseless ammo has been on the mind of military armaments engineers for some time. For those unfamiliar with it, picture a regular cartridge, but with no brass or primer. A blob of propellant and the bullet only.
The obvious advantage is in weight savings. Without a heavy brass case a machine gunner can lift a lot more rounds, or an airplane is saddled with fewer pounds that slow it down.
M1 Abrahms tanks sort of have this caseless system. When the gunner fires a 150mm round, there isn’t a big brass can that falls out of the back of the main gun. The case is made out of cellulose and burns mostly away. Only the end-cap is there as waste for the gunner to drop on the floor. Good thing too. Big brass cases rolling around the back of a tank would get in the way pretty quickly.
There are a lot of technical problems involved getting the thing to work.
Wonderful. Let’s say we ARE on the verge of a breakthrough. Some materials engineer is close to making a propellent stick he can ‘glue’ to the back of a bullet that is tough and solid until ignited, then disappears into gas, leaving little residue and NO case. For rifle and pistol ammo. Cool.
They’ll then design military arms around this new ammo. Machine gunners will get shiny new toys.
And if the ammo is cheaper than conventional ammo, then everybody is going to get new guns. Pistols, rifles, submachine guns, etc. For the military. Not for me an thee. It’s ‘not in common use’ these new guns, so nothing for civilian use.
But is that really so bad? These new weapons will be new with all the inherent glitches. Even after these glitches are sorted out and the new stuff is as reliable as the stuff we already have, is there really any advantage conferred for us regular folks? Cheaper, yes, but .45 ACP ammo is .30 cents. Will the magical new caseless firing sidearm be, what? Only .10 cents? That’d be nice but it is not prohibitively advantageous. What if the new wonder-pistol is smaller and more compact and confers an advantage that way? So? It hasn’t repealed the Laws of Physics. A lightweight .45 still will kick like a lightweight .45. And there are lightweight .45s out there now.
Caseless ammo will be cool. Civilians should definitely push for its sale to civilians in order to keep our 2nd Amendment rights secure. But it is no quantum leap to a Buck Rogers Ray-Gun yet. Methinks.
Hmmm, I know someone has done type study. Back of the envelope type-study for modern military long arms:
Generation One for truly modern rifles, the breech loader. Trapdoor Springfields and stuff like the British Peabody-Martini-Henry.
Generation Two, after some fits and starts, a truly successful bolt action like the Mauser, for the US Army, even the Krag would count, and certainly the Springfield '03.
Generation Three, the Garand types. Rugged semi-autos, ending with the short service lived M14.
Generation Four, the modern Assault Carbine, starting with the StG 44 and including the AK47, the M-16 and all the offshoots, post war. And there are many.
Who knows what the Gernation Five modern infantry weapon/rifle will be like? Blasters? Gauss Rifles? All we are seeing now, 'new,' is refinements to the fourth generation, in my opinion.
If I'm talking out my butt, someone may note that in the comments section.
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