Swiss GP11 - New production.

tac

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This post addresses the matter of the new [2016] production of Swiss GP11 ammunition for the IG1900, K11 and K31 straight-pull service rifles/carbines. Posted on gunboards by a shooter who is deeply involved in Swiss-style shooting, this post goes all the way to advising you that if you want to buy GP11, and can find it, buy all you can right there - you sure as heck are NOT going to get any of the new stuff outside Switzerland. Here in UK there is none, at least, that I can find.

Thanks to Fritz.


Fritz
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Join DateDec 1969LocationBucks county, PA, USAPosts2,029
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I do not think that you will see new GP11 available here in the USA. The production of GP11 is for Swiss domestic demands and the production is likely more or less in line with yearly demands for MG51 vehicle use and match use, plus whatever is required for war reserves.
As regards obsolete stocks, from an earlier post:

An observation on the 7.5x55 ammunition stocks and likelihood of further imports of 1980s stock (when they still made massive quantities):

It would appear from various Swiss club postings, that the clubs are being sent a variety of lots in 2019. The pattern used to be the same ammunition year were sent out to the clubs, so clubs had similar lots/year. Not exact, as a typical production year would last about 2~3 years before advancing, there might be some overlap. The observations posted, before the federal matches were delayed a year, were that now clubs were getting a variety of lots going back to as late as 1987. Previously year on issue to most clubs circa 2016 was 1992. Now the decision made back around 2008 was lots older than 1986 would be sold overseas and newer lots issued to club until used up. The question becomes, how much ammunition is left?

Four years ago (in Jan 2016) when the restart of GP11 production occurred, the Swiss military officially had 170~168 million GP11 rounds left, with a burn rate of ~18 million rounds/year, between match shooting and vehicle MGs, (which was the major place it was still used in service). Presumably in the spring of 2020 the quantity on hand will 94~96 million rounds (pre-1994). With no addition this is likely enough stock to last ~5.3 years. The use of GP11 in 300 M competition was dropping due to both declining active shooters and conversion to 5.6 GP 90 caliber weapons, but with the changes in medal scores in 2017 there has been some resurgence in 7.5x55 match use. So an assumption of 18 million rounds per year is a fair estimate. The total MG 51 vehicle stock is not published, but given the heavy vehicle stocks is likely under 3,000 guns total, so most of the ammunition; ~ 15 million, is shot in matches each year.

As a comparison, in 1993~5 the total stock was around 700 million GP11 cartridges so in ~21 years to 2016 they burned through ~532 million cartridges, or around 25.3 million per year. But the STGW57 was still a primary arm in 1994, as was the MG 51, the StGw57 being effectively out of service by 2005 and the MG51 retired out of infantry use around 2005~2006, so the burn rate in the early years was closer to 30~35 million per year, declining down to the current 18 million per year. For example in approximately 2008 it was estimated the stock would last for 16 more years, in 2018 there were around 7.3 years left, now in 2020 around 5.3 years of the pre 1995 stock.

That said the stock is now being added to, around 20 million rounds in 2016 with the quantities added since unknown. New production is not going to be sold overseas.

The youngest date codes previous to the new post 2016 lots are 26 years old (1994). The oldest lot on record still around are in the 1984 to 1987 range. According to RUAG decisions in 2008, ammunition older than year 1986 were to be exported, the rest retained for use. That Implies ammunition older than 30 years is not issued for domestic use, though some clubs reported ammunition dated 1987 being issued in 2017. In comparison when the K31 exports started to come in around 1999 to 2005, the ammunition sold with them was dated in the 1978 to 1979 period, being 19 to 26 years old. In the 2016 export, most lots were dated in the 1981 to 1984 period. The majority of the ammunition was 31 to 34 years old when exported. Interestingly a small quantity of the 2016 export was from Thun 1992 lots 157, 216) or only 24 years old when exported.

So what does this mean? It depends on what is done with 30 year lots (+) still in existence . Do they shoot them in MGs, at clubs or export the now 34+ year old lots? The price they obtain at Swiss club shoots is around 1/3 of a Swiss franc per round or around 33~34 cents at current exchange rates. The time-expired lots were sold on the world market for around .3 franc in 2016. The new ammunition RUAG cost is closer to .57 to .68 Swiss franc per round to the Federal government (no figure published, estimate based on various sources).

As to quantities , well, the big 2016 sale was over a million rounds. Tracking of the quantities for sale in the US showed at the end of 2016 there were ~ 1,200 cases left for a total of 576,000 rounds for sale, sale of which began around May of 2016. The sales rate from Dec 2016 to July 2017, projected backwards indicated no less than 1.2 million rounds were available for US sale in the late spring of 2016. That large RUAG sale of ammunition in 2016 also went to Canada and Germany, so the total quantity was larger still maybe as much as 1.5 million.

Which leaves the ammunition date lots pre-1986 in question, what will be done with such scattered lots. With ~95 million cartridges left there are likely some 1986 and older ammunition lots still to be had, but if they sell it would it be for 1/3 of a franc or 2/3 of a franc? The world economies are going into a depression and armies find ways to conserve. A simple change on when dated coded ammunition is condemned will help with that. At this point one has to wonder if to older stocks will be sold or issued to clubs, or fired off in MGs which could use such ammunition for training. In any case within a 5~6 year period the surplus sale of GP11 will likely end permanently as old stocks will have been expended.

The Federal matches 2021 should give some more data, that above is mostly data 2 years old.
 

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