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Old May 11, 2018, 09:32 AM   #1
globemaster3
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M240 Replacement in... .338 Norma Magnum?

Same critical caveats I provided on the SASS thread concerning "Military Times"...

I guess there are more weapons projects in the SOCOM arena, to include an M240 replacement in .338 Norma Mag. I had always thought that IF any of the military organizations were to embrace the .33 cal, would have been with .338 Lapua Mag.

With SOCOM, they have a lot of latitude to field systems that the rest of the conventional force will never see. I thought the selection of the .338NM, which I had always considered quite an obscure round in the US, is surprising.

I feel for the quartermasters/logisticians in the SOF community that need to track all of this different ammo!

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/y...20Bird%20Brief
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Old May 11, 2018, 10:25 AM   #2
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The M240 I'm familiar with is a 7.62NATO machine gun, the US version of the Belgian MAG 58, and which replaced the M219 co-ax gun on the last version of the M60 tank, and is currently mounted on the M1 Abrams.

Replacing that with something in .338 Norma Mag would be barking STUPID...
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Old May 11, 2018, 10:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
Replacing [the 7.62 M240] with something in .338 Norma Mag would be barking STUPID...
Yeah, but did you read this part?
Quote:
The .338 NM round it shoots offers enough of an advantage that it isn’t only being considered to replace the M240 platform within Marine infantry, it is also being considered to replace the M2 machine gun on some vehicles and aircraft, officials said.

Experts say the round has a recoil similiar to the existing 7.62mm but packs a punch approaching the .50 caliber round at extended ranges. The .338 NM can penetrate advanced body armor and outranges the 7.62mm.
IOW this is a pilot program to replace both the M240 and M2 with a single platform, AND supplant 7.62 NATO and .50 BMG in most applications.

This is not just about replacing a machine gun!
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Old May 11, 2018, 08:15 PM   #4
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Ok, I read the article, and I had to go and learn a bit about the .338 Norma mag, turns out its not a belted case like I thought....though Wiki says it is a rimmed case...is it??

Had to go someplace else to find velocity listings, Wiki only gave the 300gr weight of the bullet, not the speed.

SO, I found the 300gr (long range low drag bullet) does approx. 2700fps.

Quite respectable.

However, I still think the idea is barking stupid.

Quote:
Experts say the round has a recoil similiar to the existing 7.62mm
I wonder, from this statement, how the "experts" define "similar". I suppose its the new math, or something but can you explain to me how recoil from a 300gr @2700fps and a 150gr @ 2700fps is "similar" other than the fact that both push back. Seems to me that twice the mass at the same speed would have a bit more recoil.

And, while we're at it, replace the .50 BMG? Ok, replace a 750gr slug @ 2700fps with a 300gr slug @ 2700fps. Ok, reduction in recoil, round weight, gun size, etc., I get that, but at what reduction of down range effectiveness??

I'm no expert, just wondering how they think, sometimes.

AS far as I can see right now, it seems to overperform the role of the 7.62 NATO, and under perform the role of the .50 BMG.

If I'm missing something, what is it??
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Old May 11, 2018, 08:55 PM   #5
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I hope the M240 remains the official GPMG of the US military for another 75 years. It’s such an awesome gun.
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Old May 11, 2018, 10:14 PM   #6
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44AMP, that is where my critical view of the "Military Times" comes into play.

You would think the journalists contributing to a rag written for the military would realize the absurdity of a .338 NM machine gun replacing the M2 and ask more questions... or call out the point you made regarding recoil... but NOOOOOoooo. For years I had a subscription to the "Air Force Times". Finally cancelled it after realizing all it did was aggravate me that the real questions were never answered.

So what I took away as credible pieces of info was SOCOM is considering an M240 replacement in .338NM. From my perspective, I sincerely doubt it will replace the M2.
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Old May 12, 2018, 09:11 AM   #7
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Well, unless there has been some revelation in barrel technology, you are looking at a substantial increase in logistics cost. Even if Lake City starts cranking out .338 Norma it isn’t going to be as cheap as .308. You are going to shoot out barrels faster. The gun is heavier as are the spare barrels. I just don’t see how the juice is worth the squeeze for light infantry.

It might be a great substitute for a .50 in a number of roles though. And it would definitely add some punch to vehicle mounted weapons. Given that we aren’t investing enough in actual training right now, I’m not sure why we are looking at a bunch of solutions that are going to double or triple the cost of training in addition to purchase cost.
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Old May 12, 2018, 11:27 AM   #8
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Any "experts" know what "a notice to industry for sources" means in plain English??

To me, it sounds like "hey, we're thinking of a new gun (& Ammo), that we might, maybe, someday order, anyone out there interested in making it for us, if we ever do get to actually go forward and order some??"

24lbs is the target weight they say. Not totally unreasonable, considering the original M60 machinegun listed at 23.5lbs.

Quote:
Well, unless there has been some revelation in barrel technology, you are looking at a substantial increase in logistics cost. Even if Lake City starts cranking out .338 Norma it isn’t going to be as cheap as .308. You are going to shoot out barrels faster. The gun is heavier as are the spare barrels. I just don’t see how the juice is worth the squeeze for light infantry.
Anytime you go to a totally new weapon AND ammo, you've got a substantial increase in logistics costs. Lake City isn't going to be churning out .338 Norma any time in the near future, for several reasons, (some sources are talking about the .338 NM using a polymer case...) and I'm very confident they aren't going to tool up for mass production UNTIL adoption is a done deal.

Machine gun barrels don't have the same standards for service life that rifle barrel do. Particularly accuracy. Sure, there are/would be standards for things like throat erosion, etc. and the hotter round will, of course, eat barrels faster/sooner. (fewer rounds fired).

The point here is that a machine gun is NOT a precision point weapon like a rifle, its an area point weapon. You WANT a dispersal of bullets over a given area (the beaten zone). You don't want a machine gun that shoots like a sniper rifle. Putting all the bullets in the same hole is great for a sniper, bad for a machinegunner.

So, now, here's the rub, when you are going to use the same ammo for both, either you need two kinds of ammo, or you need to build the machinegun to be "sloppy" accurate to create that desired beaten zone.

And remember that at this point we aren't talking about replacing everything in service with a new gun & ammo, we aren't even actually talking about buying any new guns or ammo, all that seems to be going on is a "feeler" about who might be receptive to bidding on contracts that haven't yet been, and MAY NEVER BE let out for bids...

Looks to me like the published equivalent of internet "click bait", at this point in time.

The really important thing is that when we do finally get around to replacing our current weapons tech we don't wind up buying (and fielding) a 21st century Chauchat, or worse...
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Old May 12, 2018, 12:53 PM   #9
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i'm not sure about this one. The US Army is building a new light weight M2 machinegun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLfSeITxhCo
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Old May 12, 2018, 03:28 PM   #10
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Just another armchair opinion,and I'm not a Veteran.
Machine guns can be very important to infantry.Infantry has to carry the ammo.
Machine guns consume a lot of ammo.
Machine gun barrels get hot. A big magnum rifle gets hotter,faster than a 308.
Generally,not always,engageable threat targets are within 7.62 NATO range.
A gun out of ammo or too hot to fire is of little use.(Yes,I understand quick change barrels). More volume of 7.62 fire MAY be better for infantry.

In any case,between "cone of dispersion" and sighting precision,I wonder how the trade-offs work out .

HOWEVER,I don't think this MG is being advertised as the basic infantry MG.

There is that "SOCOM" modifier. Those guys do things different.

On a chessboard,we know what a bishop does,what a rook does,what a knight does.
This might be a new piece with some new moves.And the details might be secret.For a while.

Most folks know about tripods and T+E and pre-planned fires and beaten zones.
Lets compare that to a manual machine tool,like a Bridgeport. Then letsstep up to an E_Z track CNC Bridgeport. It will do all the manual moves,but it also can easily be programmed.

Just my wild imagination,what if they figured out a controller and some lightweight servos for a tripod?

What if you can preplan those fires as a "CNC routine". What if a more precise barrel and this "CNC tripod" let you define the beaten zone,from a point,like a gun slit or doorway,to a two mouse click rectangle?

I know,they probably already have that. What if its hooked upto 3-D Google earth so the impacts can be painted on terrain with a commanders finger on a touch screen.

Actually,that could be done for all direct and indirect fire weapons.

I bet there is more going on than just a 338 Norma cartridge.

I'd bet they have stuff so good they need a better cartridge to take advantage of it.
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Old May 13, 2018, 05:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
i'm not sure about this one. The US Army is building a new light weight M2 machinegun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLfSeITxhCo
That video is 13 minutes of a digitized voice speaking over random clips of M240 and M2s firing. It really does not get any point across about a lightweight M2
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Old May 13, 2018, 11:18 AM   #12
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As a machine gun caliber for vehicle-mounted use to replace 7.62 NATO guns, I can see the usefulness. But for infantry use, it doesn't make much sense.

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Old May 15, 2018, 08:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
and .50 BMG in most applications.
There will be a LOT of kicking and screaming before 50 BMG is replaced by any lighter round. A caseless version or some other technological leap, maybe, but the 750 grains running at 2700 is too comforting to let go.
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Old May 18, 2018, 11:29 AM   #14
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They've been talking about replacing the M2 for at least the last 20 years or more, nothing has been good enough! When you add in SLAP and Mk-211 rounds, you have a system that can defeat enough light armor that a smaller round could never match.

Plus those rounds make the .50's power come close to matching a 20mm round. This in a smaller and lighter package that's been proven for almost 100 years now. I doubt they'll be replacing Ma any time soon as she's still kicking every things ass that's tried to replace her.
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Old May 18, 2018, 12:20 PM   #15
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I doubt the M-2 is going anywhere anytime soon. Tam once said that when we have hover tanks with laser beams, there will be a "fiddy" on the commander's turret.

The .50 in a guise as a long rangle rifle may get eclipsed by other rounds, and in some ways already has with the .338 Lapua Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum.

But I admit the idea of a machine gun in a caliber between the 7.62 NATO and .50 BMG makes me all giddy.
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