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Should the 5.56 be replaced?

This is a discussion on Should the 5.56 be replaced? within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by F-15 Eagle I agree but the problem is that the 6.8 has less gun powder. Its only ...


View Poll Results: Should the 5.56 be replaced?
No the 5.56 is good enough. 43 29.25%
Replace it with 6.5mm or 6.8mm. 72 48.98%
Just go back to the 7.62mm. 26 17.69%
Unsure. 7 4.76%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 147. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 11th, 2008   #16
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Originally Posted by F-15 Eagle View Post
I agree but the problem is that the 6.8 has less gun powder. Its only 43m long where the 5.56 is 45mm long. So the 6.8 might not have the range as the 5.56. But I think there is a new 6.8X45mm round out there that would be better than the 5.56. Also the SCAR-H and H&K 417 are also in full auto as well even better.
From everything I've read, 6.8mm SPC out performs 5.56mm pretty consistently at ranges likely to occur in combat (< 300m). And size matters - I'll take a 115 gr. bullet over a 62 gr. one any day.

As for full auto capabilities of the SCAR & 417 - IMHO it's not really all that valuable. Full auto in a rifle is generally just a good way to piss through your ammunition and not hit much - especially with a 7.62mm rifle! Nice to have I suppose, for the off chance you might need to act as an impromptu SAW and throw down suppressive fires.... but not really effective in that role.

Just my 2 cents!

Adrian
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Old August 11th, 2008   #17
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www.65grendel.com

"...a May 2004 demonstration at the Blackwater training facility. Lapua 6.5mm 144-grain full metal jacket bullets fired from an Alexander Arms rifle punched through a 1.575" thickness of glass armor that was designed to stop 7.62mm M80 Ball"
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Old August 13th, 2008   #18
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From everything I've read, 6.8mm SPC out performs 5.56mm pretty consistently at ranges likely to occur in combat (< 300m). And size matters - I'll take a 115 gr. bullet over a 62 gr. one any day.

As for full auto capabilities of the SCAR & 417 - IMHO it's not really all that valuable. Full auto in a rifle is generally just a good way to piss through your ammunition and not hit much - especially with a 7.62mm rifle! Nice to have I suppose, for the off chance you might need to act as an impromptu SAW and throw down suppressive fires.... but not really effective in that role.

Just my 2 cents!

Adrian
But thats what assault rifle are supposed to do. The BAR in WW2 did not have any problems and nether does the AK-47. Most people love full auto. You can still have semi or full auto in the SCAR-H or 417. I've seen a video of it firing on full auto I can send you the video if you like.
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Old August 13th, 2008   #19
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But thats what assault rifle are supposed to do. The BAR in WW2 did not have any problems and nether does the AK-47. Most people love full auto. You can still have semi or full auto in the SCAR-H or 417. I've seen a video of it firing on full auto I can send you the video if you like.
That was the original intent behind the assault rifle - to a have a firearm that had decent range, was reasonably light, and could lay down a high volume of fire while advancing - sounds good on paper, works somewhat poorly in practice, which is why the trend has gone back the other way to single-well aimed shots.

Assault rifles generally do not have the right features to take real advantage of automatic fire such as open bolts, quick change (or at least heavier barrels), high capacity feed devices, bipods, etc.

I'm not saying full auto doesn't work on any given assault rifle, I'm just saying it's not a particularly useful (or for that matter, used) feature. Could it come in handy occasionally? Of course. But why rip off a 4-5 round burst at some one when a controlled pair fired on semi-auto is going to do the job nicely, with 1/2 the ammo and a higher hit probability?

As far as the BAR - it was not a very good squad automatic/light machine gun. It was a somewhat outdated design, and it's effectiveness was hampered by the small magazine capacity (20 rds) and the lack of a quick change barrel. The fact that the US Army took so long to replace amazes me a bit.

The AK-47 was designed to be an inexpensive, rugged and easily massed produced weapons that would require little training and maintenance to operate, and was particularly adapted to existing Soviet infantry tactics - which included firing from the hip on full-auto while advancing on foot in support of mechanized forces. Great for big mass Soviet style conscript armies (recall that the Soviets did the exact same sort of thing with much lighter PPsh-41/43 SMGs in WW2). But on an individual level? Not nearly as effective as a trained marksman, with an an accurate rifle with good sights, firing well aimed shots on semi-auto.

The selector on my M4 never went past semi the whole time I was in Iraq - there was no need.

I'd be interested in seeing the videos - thanks!

Adrian
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Old August 14th, 2008   #20
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That was the original intent behind the assault rifle - to a have a firearm that had decent range, was reasonably light, and could lay down a high volume of fire while advancing - sounds good on paper, works somewhat poorly in practice, which is why the trend has gone back the other way to single-well aimed shots.

Assault rifles generally do not have the right features to take real advantage of automatic fire such as open bolts, quick change (or at least heavier barrels), high capacity feed devices, bipods, etc.

I'm not saying full auto doesn't work on any given assault rifle, I'm just saying it's not a particularly useful (or for that matter, used) feature. Could it come in handy occasionally? Of course. But why rip off a 4-5 round burst at some one when a controlled pair fired on semi-auto is going to do the job nicely, with 1/2 the ammo and a higher hit probability?

As far as the BAR - it was not a very good squad automatic/light machine gun. It was a somewhat outdated design, and it's effectiveness was hampered by the small magazine capacity (20 rds) and the lack of a quick change barrel. The fact that the US Army took so long to replace amazes me a bit.

The AK-47 was designed to be an inexpensive, rugged and easily massed produced weapons that would require little training and maintenance to operate, and was particularly adapted to existing Soviet infantry tactics - which included firing from the hip on full-auto while advancing on foot in support of mechanized forces. Great for big mass Soviet style conscript armies (recall that the Soviets did the exact same sort of thing with much lighter PPsh-41/43 SMGs in WW2). But on an individual level? Not nearly as effective as a trained marksman, with an an accurate rifle with good sights, firing well aimed shots on semi-auto.

The selector on my M4 never went past semi the whole time I was in Iraq - there was no need.

I'd be interested in seeing the videos - thanks!

Adrian
They show both the SCAR-L in 5.56mm and the SCAR-H in 7.62mm. And yes they did fire the 7.62 in 3 round burst. I was surprised that the 5.56mm was almost as loud as the 7.62 as well.

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Old August 15th, 2008   #21
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Full auto in a rifle is generally just a good way to piss through your ammunition and not hit much - especially with a 7.62mm rifle!
IMO, if the weapon gives controllable FA - like the Ultimax - it would not be pissing away ammo. The problem lies in the fact that light weight rifles firing a high velocity round like the 5.56 are harder to control.

While the first true assault rifle the MP44 was allegedly able to give controllable FA that impressed the Russians, with the M16 we have to go back to semi.


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But why rip off a 4-5 round burst at some one when a controlled pair fired on semi-auto is going to do the job nicely...snip... The selector on my M4 never went past semi the whole time I was in Iraq - there was no need.
In the book "Combat Battalion" about the Aussie 8RAR in Vietnam, author said that FA was necessary cos in the jungle, semi aimed shots were not effective at hitting fleeting targets. And this is on the rare occasion you actually did get to see who you are shooting at.

Also mentioned was the fact that in the jungle, high volume of fire - especially automatic fire - gives a psychological advantage when neither sides can actually see each other through the foliage.

Also in reaction to an ambush - semi just don't cut it.

I guess Iraq terrain is a whole different ball game?

In our training, we were allowed FA when clearing rooms but otherwise it is a chargeable offence to rock and roll...
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Old August 15th, 2008   #22
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6.5 Grendel !
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Old August 16th, 2008   #23
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A shift to a larger caliber will help to acheive a higher probability for an efficient ammo/kill ratio.

However, this has to be balanced with the AOR of the respective Armed Forces. Weight is a non-issue if infantry is mechanized or wheeled. For the rest, such considerations are as important as impact effectiveness etc..
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Old August 16th, 2008   #24
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A shift to a larger caliber will help to acheive a higher probability for an efficient ammo/kill ratio.
Not sure what you are suggesting here - is it that you need to hit a number of times for a kill with 5.56? Or is it lighter calibers tend to be sprayed around far more, thus resulting in lower ammo/kill ratios?

As to the weight load penalties - the increased weight remember goes right back up the supply chain - with impacts all the way. Also, you don't just need to consider the weight of the ammo, but the consequent weight of the weapon system. The difference between Mag 58 (7.62) and Minimi (5.56) is substantial, and even if the Minimi (for example) could be rechambered and rebarrelled to take a new intermediate round, the weapon may now not be so sweet or accurate with the new calibre.
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Old August 16th, 2008   #25
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Some one correct me if I am wrong if the US went to 6.5 Grendal right now all that we would have to do is switch barrels, bolts, and magazines.

To make such a switch easier we could task the Marines with the Afgan operations and switch them first with new uppers, mags, and ammo. If it works we could expand the program to Iraq.

This would be a good step to eventual replacement of the AR platform or if we are changing out uppers we could just replace existing uppers with 416 or some other piston style upper assembly.
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Old August 16th, 2008   #26
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Some one correct me if I am wrong if the US went to 6.5 Grendal right now all that we would have to do is switch barrels, bolts, and magazines.
You don't just replace the 'barrel', the entire receiver assembly, gas tube, grip, forward sights, etc, come off as a single piece. About all the original components you have remaining is the butt stock and trigger housing.
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Old August 16th, 2008   #27
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I know that I guess I should have been more clear,

Change the upper and the mags and of coruse the ammo and your ready to roll with the Grendal that is all there is to it. We keep the accessories we have now.

While we are at it we can change to a piston upper if it is deemed necessary.
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Old August 17th, 2008   #28
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For what the U.S. spends on new fighter jets, tanks and ships each year I think the Army and USMC should be able to buy the best assault rifle in the world. Just my 2 cents.
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Old August 17th, 2008   #29
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For what the U.S. spends on new fighter jets, tanks and ships each year I think the Army and USMC should be able to buy the best assault rifle in the world. Just my 2 cents.
1 each f-22 Raptor = $180M
1 each 6.5mm Grendel = $2k (probably lower in these quantities)

180M/2K = 90,000 6.5mm Grendels for the Mud Marines

Sounds like a plan to me.
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Old August 18th, 2008   #30
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One has to add alot of money to rearrange training and print new manuals as well as buy alot of new ammo.
One cannot just take the price of the weapon itself.

Nevertheless getting a new assault rifle in service is probably one of the cheapest things a modern army can do.
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