Saturday, January 20, 2018

New Rifle? Again?

"Army Chief Says Next Rifle Will Have Much More Range, Be More Accurate, Than M4"


General Milley is counting on the folks he is talking to not having insightful follow-ups to that jargon.   Sounds good, right?

First of all, the Army has not covered itself in glory in rifle procurement the last 100  years.  Let the Marines do this.  They will get it done in a 10th the time and under budget.  The Army can then adopt this slightly-better-than-M4 weapon.  Like the Air Force adopted the Navy's F4 Phantom. 

All the big gains in rifle performance have been gotten, absent some kinda amazing breakthrough.  Improvement only come in small doses at the margins.

And everything is a tradeoff.

The AR platform is already plenty accurate.  Make it more accurate by tighter tolerances?  That makes the weapon more finicky and possibly less reliabel and more expnsive to build and maintain.  You can go this route, but it's a tradeoff

Give the rifle more range?  So change the barrel length and maybe a slightly bigger bullet with more propellant behind it?  Ok, fine.  AR10s are a thing already.  Or some  intermediate cartridge between 5.56 and 7.62.  But then you tradeoff the advantage you loved about the 5.56 when you go to a bigger cartridge.  You lose the advantage the carbine length gave you when you go for a longer barrel. 

Or you thing you are going to get gains an order of magnitude better by playing with the 5.56?  Make the length of the barrel so, change the rifling twist to some new ratio, two more grains of propellant and 3 more grains of projectile weight and.... what?  A miracle happens?

Are all Army rifle toters routinely engaging dudes 400+ yards away?  Do you need EVERY trigger puller to be able to hit things out at 600 meters or more? Well you got a rifle right now that does 500.

I don't see what the Army gets out of this compared to the resources expended.  Other than keeping a hand in so they don't need to reinvent the procurement wheel in the event a novel rifle breakthrough does happen.

Yes there is some room for even better optics.  THAT's where the gains can be had.

10 times better?  Maybe 0.1 times better.

I'd be pleased to be proven wrongheaded on this.  Cuz that would be neat.


Comrade Misfit said...

When has the Army covered itself in glory with regard to rifle procurement?

ASM826 said...

Yes, I do want every trigger puller to be able to hit with accuracy and enough residual velocity to be effective at 600 meters. So does the Marine Corps. Every Marine recruit has to fire effectively out to 500 meters just to get through boot camp.

I don't know if we need a new platform or just more emphasis on training and a return to longer barrels and heavier, high bc bullets.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Does the Army want to get a new rifle. Or do they want to BE Marines? If the latter, there is an easy solution...

That said, they trained the Marines better in the Old Corps. You know, the 1990s. Might as well be Air Force guys these days. That is what I am told, at least. By Marines my age.

ASM826 said...

I have some experience with this kind of focused training. If the Corps is letting go of the concept that every Marine is a rifleman, it will be a loss that will cost us in battle.

pigpen51 said...

They can have the AR 15 or they can have the old M14. But they can't have them both. With modern battle tactics, it seems like the M4, basically an AR 15 carbine, is a fine weapon. If you get into a 900 meter firefight, you call in the air support. That was basically why they went to an intermediate cartridge anyway, wasn't it? Carry more ammo, and call air support if you are engaged in a heavy fight? If you want a heavy duty rifle, go backwards in time to a proven platform.

McChuck said...

Average range of engagements in Afghanistan is over 800 meters, or under 20. 5.56x45 doesn't cut it at long range, even from a machine gun, no matter what the sticker says. And 5.56 FMJ isn't great at stopping insurgents hopped up on opium derivatives. They die eventually, but not before continuing to seriously annoy you. TRADOC says it takes 5-7 torso hits to stop the average insurgent.

We don't need a new rifle, but a new cartridge, unless we want all riflemen to carry 7.62x51. 6.5 Grendel is an excellent compromise, but by no means the only one possible. The new .224 Valkyrie has possibilities, especially if it were to be necked up to 6mm for greater frontal area (stopping power).