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Old August 16, 2012, 06:10 AM   #26
zincwarrior
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I'm not even sure where to start with the last post.

Ill just say this. More ammo for the same amount of weight seems like a good idea to me. I like less weighty rifles also.
If the evil Tahitians invaded California and you had to hop in your truck to help those valiant San Franciscans holed up in their coffee houses, would you rather have an Mosin Nagant or an M-4?
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Old August 16, 2012, 07:10 AM   #27
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I told you it would be controversial. Let me just add here a few more of my own thoughts.

As regarding less powerful weapons, and I hate to write about this because it is actually the topic, first you should only speak of the cartridges themselves. A 7.62x39 is pretty much just as powerful fired from an AKM as from an SKS or an RPD. Or just as weak, if that's the way you see it.

Then there's the typically ignored matter concerning exactly what constitutes an intermediate cartridge, thought it is frequently talked about at some length. Imagine this: if you took all the cartridges used within the last 110 years and at least one of them is still in widespread use, and lined them up according to nothing more than muzzle energy, you might notice there is a wide spread from least to most powerful. The most powerful was probably the .30-06. There were more powerful cartridges but their use in rifles was quite limited and mainly intended for machine guns. I'm thinking here of the 8x63mm Swedish, which was for a machine gun but also chambered in rifles used by machine gun crews.

Now why would they use yet another cartridge when they already had a "more powerful cartridge" anyway? Because their standard cartridge, the 6.5x55, was almost an intermediate cartridge, as were all the other 6.5 cartridges then in use and there were several.

They say if you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it. I think a joker said that. The problem is, which history is it you need to learn? Think WWII for a minute, our base for this discussion.

Some combatants went in wholesale for submachine guns. Others switched, or attempted to switch (a difficult thing in wartime) to a more powerful cartridge. Others adopted for some purposes a less powerful cartridge. Who was right? I mean, they couldn't all be right at the same time, could they?

Someone said battles are no longer fought over wide plains and open forests. Think again. Fighting during WWII took place under every condition that has been fought under since then, sometimes in the same places. Jungle, desert, mountains, urban areas, open plains, open forests, even snowy mountains. Come to think of it, There was a lot of fighting in WWI in most of those places, too. So, mostly the battlefields haven't changed. We still don't know precisely where the next battle will happen. Never did unless we were the ones hosting the battle.

Kill ratios of bullets expended per enemy casualty? I don't think that's such a good measure of efficiency. You don't measure the efficiency of a racing car by it's gas mileage, do you, except maybe in the Le Mans 24 hours. You don't necessarily measure it by how fast it goes. The winner is stil the one that crosses the finish line first. The only measure of efficiency in battle may not even be who wins the most battles. It's the one who wins the war!

Still, you have a point. It's the horseshoe nail theory.

The enemy has old weapons and does all right? Well, how old? Every photo I've seen lately usually shows a Soviet AK weapon of some variety or some variation of an AR-15. The Soviets adopted the AK-47 I think in 1948 (there was an AK-46, too). That makes it 64 years old, the design anyway. The AR-15 was around by at least 1962, making it a young 50 years old. The older brother then is the AR-10. Both were in military use by then, though not by the US. Even the British 5.56 rifle has been around for a while now. No one engaged in much fighting over the last few years is using anything especially new. And seeing as how fighting is winding down, hopefully, by the ones more likely to adopt something new, chances are they won't.
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Old August 16, 2012, 07:57 AM   #28
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I'm glad you see my point of view on the enemies still using old weapons not so inferior to ours. I say that not from battle field experience, but from my experienced range time. For example. Take two people who don't have much experience shooting an give them each an ak and an m4. Neither of them will shoot them accurately. My thinking is that if one of them does hit the other, the affects would be close enough, it shouldn't matter. And if someone did envade out country, I'd leave my moron Nagant somewhere descreat to snipe from and grab my cheap Sks over an m4 anyway. I know people sellers by them, and that's fine.my friends all have them. But in my experience with that gun is negative. I can't think of one time everyone went out to shoot and at least one of them jammed up. Never had that happen with my gun worth 1/3 the price.
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Old August 16, 2012, 12:06 PM   #29
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You know, whatever weapons the enemy is using may not actually be all that old. I'm not referring here to the design but the actual weapon. Or, perhaps, it has sat in a warehouse in a box labeled agricultural equipment for the last twenty years but was otherwise unused. Chances are, no one is using a rifle that's been in use for the last fifty years.

Oh, by the way. San Francisco still has a fully operational disappearing carriage seacoat gun. So I think they're about as ready as they need to be, at least as far as Tahiti goes, but probably not Fiji. Everyone has their limits and a body has to know thheir limits.
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Old August 16, 2012, 12:19 PM   #30
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Quote:
"Not all those deaths were by enemy rifle fire in both wars.

Some were in combat with mines, aircrews and pilots ect and some were non battle diseases and injuries"

Definitely true. I think that today's insurgents have had better luck with boobie traps and IEDs than small arms fire.

Those two methods are way more demoralizing.
More casualties were caused by mortars in WW 2 than any other weapon.

Also, if you want to ask why we haven't done as well as we might like, you need to analyze all of the elements of power. Military, economic, political, diplomatic and informational.

Our weak spot is not the military element. It is the political element. That means we have a hard time sustaining the will to fight within our nation.

In terms of this discussion, that translates to it doesn't matter which rifle is the general issue weapon.
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Old August 16, 2012, 12:46 PM   #31
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I would just like to add this about the comments about the body armor service members wear.

Just because we wear 40 lbs of armor does not mean that I want to hold extra weight for bigger bullets. Going off what kraigwy said, if I want 400 rds of 7.62, it would be an extra 10 pounds. That may not seem like a lot but add up the rest of what we are carrying...

Armor (including helmet)- 40lbs
Weapon- 10 lbs for an M16A4(thanks to all the attachments)
Water- 2-5 lbs
Ammo- 10 lbs for 556 or 20 lbs for 7.62

That is the bare minimum at around 65-75 lbs

What abound the radio? 10 lbs
Grenades? 5 pounds
C4? I don't know never carried any. 5 lbs?

Then there is food, smoke grenades, side arm with ammo, knife, GPS, maps, 550 cord, perhaps det cord. List goes on and on

So to say "they already carry this, what's a little more weight?" my argument would be "exactly, they already carry this, why add more weight?"

Ounces equal Pounds and Pounds equal Pain.



And BT I think he was saying that we don't fight in open fields anymore since WWII. Which I would say is correct, we don't fight an enemy in open fields like WWII with an enemy face to face. Afghanastan I'd put in the mountain terrain, although open, I wouldn't say it's the same as the fields of Europe.
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Old August 16, 2012, 03:37 PM   #32
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Another way to look at whether or 5.56 is a powerful enough cartridge is to look at the weapons carried by Special forces.

The New Zealand, Australian, aspects of the British SAS and aspects of US special forces, all elite fighting forces who if hated 5.56 and wanted a Garand would no doubt get it. But they all use 5.56.

Also they all use AR15 pattern rifles, so perhaps they are not jamomatics.......
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Old August 16, 2012, 04:09 PM   #33
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Just a few thought on the topic:
* Yes, smaller ammo weighs less, and that weight translates into carrying more ammo, in some cases a lot more. More ammo per unit means you can send (and risk) fewer people at a time and still have a good amount of firepower. Small unit tactics really took off after WW2. WW2 and prior, there are a lot of squad- or platoon-sized unit tactics, nowadays we use fireteams of 4 men as the basic unit.

* After WW1, tha US Army decided to look at a less powerful cartridge, the 276 Pedersen, and some bright young engineer named John Garand designed a rifle for it. Douglas MacArthur, having lived through the nightmare of the changeover to the 30 US Army (aka 30-40 Krag) and its associated rifle, did not want the same thing to happen again because almost everyone in the US military was sure we were going to be in another war really soon. So the bright young engineer went back to the drawing board, and redesigned his masterpiece to take the overpowered round from the last war.

* The US Army Ordnance Board thought up and deployed the M1 Carnbine because it was lighter and handier than the battle rifle, not because it was lower-powered. Turned out people liked them (lighter, adequate for many combat situations, troops could carry a whole bunch of ammo) and demand was hard to keep up with.

* Training troops to fire rifles is almost humorous (or almost maddening, depending on your temperament). Less recoil means less flinching and better marksmanship quicker, therefore it's better in a training situation.

* Our experiences in South East Asia were based largely in the political nature of the war, it had little to do with the weapons used. I would bet that during WW1 and WW2, US troops talked about how superior the German weapons were, much as our troops talked about the supposed superiority of the Communist bloc weapons in Viet Nam. That kind of talk is defeatist and drags morale down. Interesting point, though, is that our enemy who had the supposedly superior weapons would grab M1 Carbines whenever they could get them. The same way the supposedly superior Japanese army in WW2 tried to copy the Garand, it was the supposedly superior weapon.
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Old August 16, 2012, 04:36 PM   #34
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Old August 16, 2012, 05:17 PM   #35
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Interestingly enough, in the book The Last Stand of Fox Company which about a company of marines at the Chosin Resevior during Korea said that a lot of marines did not like the M1 carbine because the round would not penetrate the winter coats of the Chinese. The only way they could be sure to put them down were head shots. Interesting thought but I've never heard that arguement since.


Very good book. Probably my favorite book
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Old August 16, 2012, 05:40 PM   #36
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It is interesting to see the change in attitudes over such a short time.
Everybody here is focusing on the reduction in power to gain firepower with the 7.92x33, 7.62x39, and .30 carbine.

But not very long before, the Japanese increased infantry rifle caliber from 6.5 to 7.7mm and the Italians went from 6.5 to 7.35; based on actual experience shooting at Chinese and Ethiopians, respectively.
These were not smart moves after the fighting had already started, the Japanese had to produce and support 6.5s alongside 7.7s and the Italians backed down from 7.35 and largely stuck with the original 6.5. But there was definitely a perceived need for more power per shot not long before there was a move to more shots.
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Old August 16, 2012, 06:39 PM   #37
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It's like the replacement of the old .38's to the 1911 .45. I'll bet that was an increase as weight.
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Old August 16, 2012, 07:33 PM   #38
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The old revolvers weighed from 35 to 39oz unloaded, where the 1911a1 was right around 45oz unloaded. Not a huge difference.
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Old August 16, 2012, 08:30 PM   #39
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But not very long before, the Japanese increased infantry rifle caliber from 6.5 to 7.7mm and the Italians went from 6.5 to 7.35; based on actual experience shooting at Chinese and Ethiopians, respectively.
These were not smart moves after the fighting had already started, the Japanese had to produce and support 6.5s alongside 7.7s and the Italians backed down from 7.35 and largely stuck with the original 6.5. But there was definitely a perceived need for more power per shot not long before there was a move to more shots.
I have always wondered about that.

My theory is that it wasn't a problem with the power of the rifle rounds for the individual rifleman. It was a problem with the power of their machine guns. Machine guns need that extra range and power to extend their beaten zone. I think they found out that the smaller calibers didn't have the effect at range they were looking for. (Just like we and the Russians have with the SAW/RPK vs the MAG 58/PKM)

The machine gun was/is the "killing tool" of the infantry. The bolt action rifles where just there to support the power of the machine gun. So it would make sense to just upgrade the rifle to match the MG to simplify logistics.

I don't know that I have ever read anything other than supposition from gun magazine writers about it, but I like my theory better.
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Old August 16, 2012, 09:14 PM   #40
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But the Japanese already had a 7.7mm MG, not the same round as they used in the new rifle.
And the Italians had a pretty good 8mm MG.
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Old August 16, 2012, 09:29 PM   #41
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WWII taught the world that it is always best to prepare for the unexpected. during the normandy invasion most of the paratroopers were dropped in the wrong place. some were dropped right into machine gun fire while others missed their targets by several miles. this caused a shift in thinking. the main idea being that it is better to have a gun that shoots smaller, lighter bullets and shoot it accurately rather than a gun that is capable of firing volleys at long distance. this allows the soldier to not only carry more ammo but also encourages him to save his shots for the inside 300 meter bracket rather than firing volleys at 1200 meters. an M1 might pack more whallop but the M16/4/clones are more than sufficient for taking down BGS and I would rather be able to fire 30 rounds before reload with the understanding that some of them may try to get back up than I would 8 rounds from an M1 and know they'll stay down.
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Old August 16, 2012, 10:17 PM   #42
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It all boils down to how many BG's you can put down. Doesn't matter which round you use. As kraigway pointed out, it comes down to who is a better shot. Training is a big part of that. There are too many variables to make a simple assessment as to which weapons are more effective. A .22 can be a highly effective round in the right hands. You can put all the rounds you want downrange, but if they don't hit anything, they mean nothing. BTW, the soldiers who faced the VC in VN were probably the best trained soldiers ever fielded on any battlefield ever in the history of warfare, especially in the first part of the conflict.
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Old August 16, 2012, 10:21 PM   #43
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The US did go bigger in sniper and machine gun ammo. The .50 is no joke. That's the kinda round that kills you no matter where it hits.
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Old August 16, 2012, 10:57 PM   #44
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Once smokeless powder was developed, then the machine gun, logistics and the problems of ammo supply became even more critical than before. In addition military organizations are always looking for that elusive concept called the "all around cartridge"-the round that is, say, 90% efficient and eliminates the needs for too many specialized weapons and their ammunition.
FWIW my opinion is that the 7MM Mauser is the smallest "all-around" catridge, the Italians and Japanese found their 6.5MM rounds unsatisfactory in machine guns, in the Battle of Britain the RAF found their 303 machine guns
at best adequate, effectiveness improved only marginally by the use of tracers. And as Rumsfeld noted a few years ago, "You go to war with the army you have, not the one you'd like."
My understanding of MacArthur's rejection of the .276 Pedersen round was that he did it based on logistics-we had our M1903s and M1917s, BARs, M1917 and M1919 machine guns, and millions, if not billions of rounds of 30/06 on hand. Not to mention defense budgets were pretty tight in his day.
Then there's the question of tactics. One problem in Vietnam-which has since been corrected-was that we used the M-16 the way the Soviets used their PPShs and PPSs in WWII-basically short range weapons that conscript soldiers could quickly be trained on and used volume of fire to make up for lack of accuracy-"Spray and Pray". Which works if you can supply your troops.
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Old August 16, 2012, 10:58 PM   #45
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What if it hits you in the fingertip? Or in the Toe?
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Old August 16, 2012, 11:01 PM   #46
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"One problem in Vietnam-which has since been corrected-was that we used the M-16 the way the Soviets used their PPShs and PPSs in WWII-basically short range weapons that conscript soldiers could quickly be trained on and used volume of fire to make up for lack of accuracy-"Spray and Pray"."

Yeah, controlled aimed fire in a densely packed jungle with little to no target visibility is definitely the way to go.

One shot, one kill.
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Old August 16, 2012, 11:02 PM   #47
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But not very long before, the Japanese increased infantry rifle caliber from 6.5 to 7.7mm and the Italians went from 6.5 to 7.35; based on actual experience shooting at Chinese and Ethiopians, respectively.
While I can't speak for the Japanese rationale, the decision on the part of the Italians was based on the 6.5x52 Carcano's tendency to simply punch straight through the intended target creating only a small icepick-like hole. The bore diameter of the cartridge was not the only thing that the Italians changed when the designed the 7.35x51 as the bullet weight, velocity, and bullet shape and construction was also changed. The 7.35 Carcano actually uses a relatively light 128gr bullet as opposed to the heavier 162gr bullet of the 6.5 Carcano with a corresponding increase in velocity from 2200-2300fps to 2400-2500fps. Likewise, the 6.5 Carcano used a rather conventional round-nosed lead-core bullet while the 7.35 used a spritzer-type bullet with an alumnum-filled nose ahead of the lead core.

The changes in the 7.35 Carcano were made for two reasons. The lighter, faster bullet flattened the trajectory as that had been one of the complaints about the 6.5 Carcano due to it's heavy-for-caliber bullet and moderate velocity. The change in bullet shape and construction also made the bullet more likely to yaw and thus cause more debilitating wounds than the "icepick" wounds typical of the 6.5 Carcano.

As to the original topic, the primary driving force behind the adoption of intermediate cartridges was the desire for the ability to equip every soldier with a weapon that has select-fire capability. It was an evolutionary process that did not happen overnight. Several select-fire weapons were designed with the idea of being "assault rifles" but retained the use of a full-caliber cartridge. Examples of such weapons include the BAR (Browning originally envisioned it as a general-issue rifle rather than a squad support LMG), FG-42, M14, G3, and Stg. 57.

What was eventually found, however, was that full-auto capability only works well with a fairly large and heavy gun. When the gun was made light enough to be suitable for a regular infantryman, recoil on full-auto was excessive as was the case particularly with the M14 and FG-42. By reducing the power and physical size of the cartridge, it is possible to make a weapon that is controllable in full-auto fire without being overly large and heavy. Likewise, because a larger amount of ammunition is typically expended in full-auto fire than in semi-auto fire, a weapon with full-auto capability requires the user to carry more ammunition than a semi-auto only weapon. By decreasing the physical size of the ammunition, the individual soldier can carry substantially more ammunition without significantly increasing the overall weight of his/her gear.
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Old August 16, 2012, 11:06 PM   #48
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"Likewise, the 6.5 Carcano used a rather conventional round-nosed lead-core bullet while the 7.35 used a spritzer-type bullet with an alumnum-filled nose ahead of the lead core."

What was the reason for filling the nose with aluminum?
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Old August 16, 2012, 11:27 PM   #49
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The enemies of today are using old weapons and ammo well. The 7.62x54r was made back in the beginning of the 1900 's and is up to par with our .308. 7.62 and the 5.56 could be debated for ever. I have read About mercenaries that all carry 7.62 weapons because ammo in the middle east is more abundant.
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Old August 16, 2012, 11:34 PM   #50
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Filling the nose with aluminum was supposed to make the bullet destabilize and yaw upon impacting the target. The use of aluminum, wood pulp, and even air pockets in the nose of a bullet to make it base-heavy and more likely to destabilize on impact is an old and proven concept which dates back to at least 1898 with the British adoption of the .303 Mk. VII cartridge. Other notable examples include the 7.62x54R 7N1 cartridge, 7.7 Japanese Ball cartridge, and the 5.45x39 5N7 cartridge.
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