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Future General Purpose Caliber for US Military

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by BlackSheepJ, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. BlackSheepJ

    BlackSheepJ Central Washington Member

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    I recently came across an article on TheFirearmBlog about an ultimate caliber, discussing the push for an new intermediate cartridge for military use, found here: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/09/30/weekly-dtic-2/. The article also linked to the OP's personal blog, with a post from late last year: http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-case-against-general-purpose.html. I'd like to share my own opinions as well as see what the rest of you might be thinking as far as a new military cartridge goes.

    While I don't necessarily disagree with the author on many of his points, I felt that he was being a smidge too close-minded about some of the more recent developments in cartridge design as well as some of his complaints. Specifically, his dislike of the 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel, in the role of a military caliber. The main issue I see with both of these calibers is that they were designed as a retro-fit conversion to an existing system, the AR-15 platform. Simply put, if Bill Alexander or Remington hadn't concerned themselves with fitting these rounds into an AR-15's action, holding to the overall PSI of 55,000, or in a stanag magazine dimension, they would be very different in O.A.C.L. as well as case capacity. Looking specifically at the Grendel, with an overall max length of 2.260" the case only holds 30-34 grains of water. Simply increasing the overall length to 3" would allow for a decent increase of capacity, but would negate any chance of utilizing the caliber without a tailored rifle design. The only downfall is that if the military decided on a brand new caliber, they would also need a new rifle design.

    I agree with the author on his rejection of an ultimate, single caliber for every job, but do believe that there're superior alternatives to our current military cartridges. I also do see the utility of the 6.5 grendel, specifically in a military setting. However, it would require considerably more training on the part of the armed forces to use those benefits, and there would be considerable diminishing returns for this kind of ranged training. I still think this cartridge does hold value for the military, simply because the range would be there, if necessary, without much in the way of downsides.

    He also comments on the fact that current factory offerings are anemic in velocity and performance, the grendel's SAAMI spec 30 degree complex throat, the lack of ability to utilize tracers or non lead based projectiles as well as being a straight walled cartridge. To all of these, I think he is making mountains out of mole hills. If the Grendel ever reaches mainstream acceptance, factory loads would become exponentially better, also allowing for tailor made powders and projectile combinations, simply through supply and demand. Both Barnes and Nosler make 6.5mm lead free offerings, both of which are quite effective in both expansion and penetration, though our military forces will probably never use expanding ammunition in general practice. And while a tapered case allows for more reliable extraction, the 5.56 NATO is a straight walled case, I don't see the relevance here. As for the complex throat, decide which grain weight of projectile(s) you want to use, and make a new throat to accommodate only those.

    What do you guys think? Is there a caliber or cartridge to rule them all? Are my points valid or are the blog postings correct, there really is nothing better out there than the 5.56 and 7.62x51?
     
  2. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    One word, NATO. If it's not 5.56 or 7.62x51 it's not going to happen.
     
  3. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Yep, and rearming an entire military with a new standard rifle isn't happening anytime soon, either
     
  4. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    phaser guns will be the only thing to replace the 5.56/7.62
     
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  5. Medic!

    Medic! What just happened? Has eagle eyes. But cant remember what he saw. Bronze Supporter

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    The Drone, or some freaky robot, may be the next thing touting new small arms?
     
  6. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    +1

    I don't see the military changing all their weaponry any time soon. Especially with the way the guberment has been running lately.
     
  7. Sstrand

    Sstrand La Grande OR Well-Known Member

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    What is ISIL using? That will become our future caliber . . .

    Sheldon
     
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  8. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Seriously.. 7.62x39.

    It's .30 cal, hits with authority and is common around the world. Weight wise, its not too much more than a 5.56, penetrative capabilities, accomplished intermediate engagement requirements and simply works.

    The U.S. could easily develope the perfect 7.62x39 load instead of wasting time on that 300blk, 6.8 or 6.5 nonsense. ;)
     
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  9. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I like a 6.5 projectile for it's ballistic performance. As for a platform how bout a down sized M-14?:cool:
     
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  10. Provincial

    Provincial Near Salem, OR Well-Known Member

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    Kinda like a "Mini-14"????? Or to be precise, a Mini-30. :p
     
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  11. del_and_bones

    del_and_bones Anchorage, AK Physics Pirate

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    I've put quite a bit of time into this idea. The 7x46 UAIC was the most promising candidate I saw.

    The good: 7mm is a good compromise between 6.5 and 7.62 in terms of bullet mass, ballistics coefficient and overall efficiency in short barrels (read muzzle energy, range, utility). The cartridge length places the action between 5.56x45 and 7.62x51, optimizing the mass of the rifle. It would increase mass of a load out compared to 5.56 but it would also increase knock-down power. The R&D process would create jobs and force innovation (something this country seems to be shying away from).

    The bad: The setup and design cost would be immense. Completely restocking the military's arsenal wouldn't be cheap either (tax dollars). A jack of all trades cartridge is not the answer; I foresee it doing everything okay but nothing well.

    I believe IF LWRC had done the six-8 with the widened magwell right off the bat it would have stood a chance to replace the M4.

    On paper, a universal cartridge is a great idea but in practice I see it failing miserably, although I am totally behind the R&D.
     
  12. Flopsweat

    Flopsweat Slightly right of center Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure one cartridge can do it all. I'd probably go with a .30 for medium range, and then a high velocity .22 for up close. :p
     
  13. Sam Kinard

    Sam Kinard Active Member

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    The 7n6 and 7n10 prove that one round can do it all. Great steel penetration and nasty damage to flesh at very long ranges.

    I believe the 6.8SPC & 6.5 Grendel are vastly superior to the 5.56. I think the 6.5 Grendel or another 6.5 truly could replace both the 5.56 and 7.62x51 in 98% of situations. Since we won't see replacement arms for our troops any time soon, the argument truly is moot.
     
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  14. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Just cut social programs for a year. You'll have all the funding you need. ;)
     
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  15. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    They have been spouting on the 6.8 for over 20+ years or more.
     
  16. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    Yes, but correctly engineered with modern materials (like a M-14) add an upgraded Sage-like stock for the DM role.
    Here's a new article by a GI medic:

    Combat Medic’s Advice: “Shoot the heaviest rifle round…shoot at what (you) can hit, and then shoot it again”
    By Dan Zimmerman on October 9, 2014
    IMG_0063.jpg
    Reader JWT writes:
    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/20...oot-heaviest-rifle-round-shoot-can-hit-shoot/
     
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  17. Sam Kinard

    Sam Kinard Active Member

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    I wish more people would understand the truth of this article and others like it. A bullet of heavier weight and a larger meplat simply does more damage. It's amazing that you truly double your chances(or better) of a one shot stop with a .45 over a 9mm. When carrying an autoloader, I only carry a 1911 and in that 1911 are either 230gr. JHP Winchester Ranger +P or 200gr. hard cast SWC. The same applies to rifle rounds. Our 5.56 would be useful if expanding ammo were used. Since expanding ammo can't be used, it is like shooting someone with a little ice pick.

    I've heard people speak of their expanding 9mm ammo and high velocities. No matter the expansion, my .45 will never be less than .451 and that is why I carry a .45.
     
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  18. Flopsweat

    Flopsweat Slightly right of center Well-Known Member

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    That's one of the best articles I've seen on the subject.
     
  19. Sam Kinard

    Sam Kinard Active Member

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    Carlos Hathcock wrote that .30-06 ball ammo could virtually "break a man in half". His first tour was with a Winchester Model 70 in '06 and his second tour was a Remington 700 in .308. He even went as far as to say that the .308 would not do the damage the '06 did, though he conceded that the .308 was just fine. The point is, guys who know, be they Hathcock, Askins Jr. or Elmer Keith, all know that bigger is better not only in bore size but in bullet weight. Anyone wishing to confirm or argue my '06/.308 claims should pick up Hathcock's "White Feather" rather than Henderson's "Marine Sniper". The former contains the latter and so much more. I personally have never shot a man with a .30 caliber and my experience on big game with either round are not as one-sided as Hathcock's. It should be noted that Jim Carmichael claims the fastest he has seen a bull elk drop was with a single shot from a .250 Savage. I have shot 120lb. deer with a 7mm-08 and it dropped in it's tracks. I shot a 100lb. doe with a .35Whelen and it made it 500+ yards up a hill before dying. Both shots were double lung broadside and the .35Whelen even took the top of the heart off. I guess it truly is a Your Mileage May Vary type scenario, but you cannot argue foot-lbs. of energy and bullet diameter. While bullet placement does in fact trump all, if everything else is equal, I'll take the bigger, heavier projectile every time.
     
  20. Flopsweat

    Flopsweat Slightly right of center Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Carlos sure is proud of that book. Even the Kindle price is $37.50.