Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A New Rifle

Someone new is adding their voice to the 'we need a new weapon' debate.

American Soldiers Deserve a Better Weapon.

He thinks the M4 is inadequate, and the M16 the Marines use is better, but still not good enough.  And all the programs to upgrade the platform have been wasteful and unserious.  And that Robert McNamara is at fault with saddling us with the anemic cartridge and rifle.  He really hates McNamara, but who doesn't?

Welcome to the party pal.  The guniverse has been rehashing this since the internet got up and going.  Before that, as I'm sure he knows, the military has been doing the same thing since LBJ.  And there are big time gunbloggers participating in the discussion thread. 

We've been over this.  Yeah, the AR class has its drawbacks.  There are tradeoffs with everything.  But what do you replace it with?  Hard to see a way forward.  A way that justifies a switchover. If we went to an all 7.62 force, folks would worry about weight.  And if we went to some 6.5mm alternative, overcoming the current inertia would be formidable for arguably marginal gains. 

I can't wait for his followup article.  Maybe he has a new idea. 

And Colonel Kratman has Sinatra-blue eyes.  Better than that Farrow kid with the fake blues on MSNBC. 


Bubblehead Les. said...

Tom Kratman writes some OUTSTANDING Mil-SciFi. But since DOD doesn't have the money to send Carriers out to Sea, I doubt we'll be getting a new Weapon until the next Admin at the earliest.

Comrade Misfit said...

Goes back further, of course. The Brits had developed a 7mm cartridge roughly comparable to the Soviet 7.62mm round. But since that failed the Not Invented Here Test of Army Ordnance, the Brits had the 7.62 NATO foisted on them. Which the Army soon abandoned, anyway.

McNamara deserves all the bashing he's gotten. But let's not forget that with the possible exception of the M-1 Garand, Army Ordnance has a two-centuries long record of fucking up rifle development and procurement.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Oh, I go back to the early 30's with .276 Pedersen, Comrade Misfit.

Angus McThag said...

Weight will come up even with 6.5 alternatives.

Using 6.8x43mm as an example, you get 25 rounds for 1.6 pounds if you don't change magazine pouches too. Standard 5.56 is 30 rounds for 1 pound. 6.5 Grendel is similar for mass. Fewer shots and more weight is going to happen with any "improvement".

Recently this line of thought was brought up at the retro section of arfcom. One thing you don't hear a lot of from the 'Nam vets was demands to go back to the M14. There was some pining for the heavier gun and round, but not many and well below the statistical noise level.

Even today there really aren't that many complaints, but people with a point to prove or an agenda to advance will focus on the few negative reports and cling to them tenaciously.

The "what-if" game is still fun though. I think that .276 Pederson in a Garand is what we should have bought. I think we would have been well served by the .280 British. I don't think that we're screwed by 5.56x45mm. Lots of people tend to overlook that the Soviets adopted a very similar round (5.45x39mm) and they had access to information about the effectiveness of 5.56 we didn't in the form of wound reports from Vietnam. One does not emulate a failure when one already has a superior round. It's telling.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I'm with you McThag. I'm wondering what the Colonel is going to go for?

Tam said...


Tam said...


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

What am I bid? 6.5? Caseless? Something by Beretta?

Tam said...

There is no point in replacing the Stoner platform and 5.56 cartridge at this time. There is no juice out there that would be worth the squeeze.

Angus McThag said...

Tam, you labeled me a hipster and this is how that turns out. It's all your fault!

I liked 5.56 before it was cool.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Well, Tam, I know that, and you know that...

Geodkyt said...

.276 Pederson was a blind alley as a military round. Sure, the ballistics would have been good, but it had four HUGE logistics issues against it (which is why Doug MacArthur killed it):

1. It was the middle of a world-wide depression.

2. We had mountains of perfectly serviceable .30-06 rounds, already paid for.

3. Changing the standard service rifle round WITHOUT changing the squad automatics (BAR) and at least the MEDIUM MGs (Browning 1919) at the same time would be a huge logistics nightmare in ammo supply -- you would have gone from 2 rounds (.45ACP and .30-06) at the company level to at least 3 (.45ACP, .30-06, and .276 Pederson, with the MAJORITY of ammo consumption still being .30-06), or you would have to replace your squad automatics, M1919s, and (at battalion level) M1917s. For an incremental improvement in rifle performance and (if converting the MGs) a discernable decrease in machinegun performance.

4. .276 Pedersen was Hell on barrel life. Just like the British .276 Enfield.