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Old October 14, 2021, 01:37 AM   #323
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Join Date: July 8, 2015
Posts: 986
After learning more about this, and seeing how long the military is into this process, I don’t think we are going to see any large scale swap to any of these proposed platforms anytime soon. More likely only small scale stuff for the next several years, if that.

The military has a long and storied history of putting out RFPs like this with the intent of injecting money into firearm R&D in the industry to see if they can motivate and push innovation in certain directions that interest them. If breakthroughs happen, you might see large scale adoption. More often small improvements are developed that eventually push small arms into new and important directions that eventually trickle into military usage. In this case, it looks like the military wants to see what can be done if we push the envelope of the pressures allowable in traditional rifle cartridges, and traditional brass cased cartridge design.

Here we see many different approaches to figuring out how to achieve pressures and velocities that normal brass cased ammo can’t accomplish because the brass case head and primer will occasionally blow once you get much above 64k psi. So we see Sig attempting a steel case head, or Textron trying telescoped ammo, and another trying polymer cased ammo. They are also trying different ways of mitigating the recoil of such a high pressure/high energy round. Sig is trying a reciprocating barrel, for example.

So, although I’m a huge fan of 6.8/.277 caliber cartridges, I suspect that the requirement of a particular caliber (6.8 mm) and a particular weight and dimension of bullet (140 gr boat tail) had less to do with the desirability of the caliber and bullet weight and more to do with trying to ensure that the R&D of the contract competitors is focused on pressure issues, case design and recoil mitigation rather than spending R&D time running down the rabbit hole of a caliber war or chasing ballistic co-efficients in bullet design.

We’ll see what comes of all this work. If they really do figure out how to develop a rifle that can operate consistently and reliably at above 90k psi in a rough battle environment and still be light enough for an infrantryman to use, then that truly will be a breakthrough. So far, I’m not seeing signs that such a true breakthrough has occurred or will occur. But only time will tell.

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