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Old July 2, 2019, 10:17 AM   #1
ed308
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Pentagon Confirms Move to 6.8mm

Pentagon Confirms Move to 6.8mm in the Future. Will likely piss off the Creedmoor fans.

https://www.shootingillustrated.com/...2XVjXlc93uRqEs
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Old July 2, 2019, 11:01 AM   #2
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Interesting. But, does 6.8 SPC offer enough improvement for the Gov't to retire or refit all their m16's and m4's?
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Old July 2, 2019, 12:00 PM   #3
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They aren’t talking about 6.8 SPC, they are talking about 6.8 Magical Unicorn - the Army’s NGSW cartridge that is going to produce .270 WinMag ballistics from a 16” barrel while having a 10,000 round barrel life with no appreciable loss in accuracy and a faster sustaimed fire rate than an M4. (one of several past discussions on this round: https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=600517

There was also a 6.5 Magical Unicorn cartridge that appeared here and there but it seems the moderate increase in bore size makes for a significant difference in barrel life.
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Old July 2, 2019, 12:18 PM   #4
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You do realize that Pentagon "research" is primarily make-work for people who would otherwise be screwing up things that actually matter?
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Old July 2, 2019, 12:42 PM   #5
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You say that like it’s a bad thing. We need more of this for politicians as well.
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Old July 2, 2019, 06:05 PM   #6
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Need an icon of the guy whistling or eating popcorn, LOL.
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Old July 2, 2019, 06:12 PM   #7
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The Army Research, Development and Engineering Center tested the 6.8 SPC thoroughly more than a decade ago. Its results indicate accuracy from an M4-size firearm in the chambering improved from 0 to 500 yards as well as terminal performance and reliability.
Quote:
“We’re working with our industry partners to develop the most accurate and effective weaponry and ammunitions in the world using emerging materials and technologies,” Col. Kurt Thompson, deputy director of the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team explained to Shooting Illustrated in an e-mail. “We’re urgently and actively posturing our Close Combat Force for the fight of the future in multiple domains, and senior leaders have selected the 6.8 mm as the caliber for our future weapons systems.”
https://www.shootingillustrated.com/...2XVjXlc93uRqEs

That is good. I wouldn't think two operators in their garage would suddenly and completely come up with the best solution on the first try....

Glad to see the industry lend its engineer and design muscle towards improvements to prevent the lack of lethality found in 5.56mm at CQB ranges out of a SBR.
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Old July 2, 2019, 07:22 PM   #8
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Will likely piss off the Creedmoor fans.
The Creedmoor was never a consideration for a general use AR 15 size rifle. The 6.5 Grendel was, and with currently available options is the one I'd have chosen. Even then I'm not sure it nor 6.8 SPC offers enough of an advantage over 5.56 to be worth the effort and expense.

The 6.5 CM is a longer cartridge and couldn't possibly be made to work for what the military wanted. But as a semi-auto sniper round on the AR10 platform is already in use by some special forces units.

Time will tell. If the military can get the performance they claim, with acceptable recoil and reliability with some new super round that is fine. Lets just say I have my doubts.

The laws of physics are strictly enforced and the primary reasons 5.56 was chosen over 7.62 was due to uncontrollable recoil in full auto, along with the weight of the rifle and ammo. If this new mystery round performs as advertised we're back to M14 rifle weights and recoil levels. And that didn't work out so well.
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Old July 2, 2019, 09:26 PM   #9
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I think if it’s a better round... well, better is always better.

I won’t get into discussion of traditional cased rounds versus other traditional cased rounds, because this seems to be a different animal based on the lengthy threads we’ve already had.
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Old July 2, 2019, 09:29 PM   #10
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the primary reasons 5.56 was chosen over 7.62 was due to uncontrollable recoil in full auto, along with the weight of the rifle and ammo.
I would say that the uncontrollable recoil was the primary excuse used, but not the real primary reason.

Gen Curtis LeMay wanted the AR15 for his SAC guards. He was ok with them using the M1 Carbine, but the M1 Carbine was going away. The Army was getting rid of it, and at that time the Air Force got its small arms and support for them (spare parts, tools gauges, etc.,) from the Army.

The General was in a bit of a pickle. The Army's infantry rifle (M1 Garand, and then the M14) were bigger, heavier, and more powerful than needed for Air Force SP's /SAC guards. The M1 Carbine, which was enough for the role, was going away. He was introduced to Stoner and his ARs, and found the AR15 (which was at the time a .222Rem) He thought it was just the thing to fill his needs, and showed it to a number of folks in the govt (including JFK) to gather support and get the brass to allow him to buy some for his troops.

The "whiz kids" of the MacNamara Defense Dept. fell in love with the rifle and pushed it to be the new standard infantry rifle. Some push back from some people in the Army who didn't want it caused the creation of the 5.56mm (.223 Rem) round, and with that round and the AR rifle the M16 was born and it was ordered to be the new infantry (and general use) rifle.
(yes, I've left out quite a bit, there are entire books on the subject)

The reasons most often given were the M16's light weight, controllability in full auto fire, and double ammunition for the same weight compared to the 7.62NATO. Additionally, the military was desperate to obtain a counter to the AK-47 that wasn't an AK-47.

The 18lb BAR took us through WW II and Korea, and wasn't thought to be uncontrollable. The 9lb M14 firing essentially the same bullet at the same speed was another matter, and the high cyclic rate of the M14 compounded the problem. The BAR (usually) ran at around 550rpm. The M14 is 750rpm.

SO, with half the weight and nearly half again a faster firing rate, is it any wonder it was "uncontrollable"?? What amazes me is that there HAD to have been people in the development process who could recognize this, but apparently none of them could get the brass to do so.

I can no longer recall the source, or I would share it, but I heard that either in the late 60s or 70s some civilians tinkered with the M14, and were able to reduce the cyclic rate down to around 5-550rpm and found it much more controllable in full auto fire.

The Army never got the chance to do that. Literally it was orders from on high saying warehouse the M14s and use the M16 now. And the M16 has its share of problems as well, if people remember. Some were deliberate, most weren't. We've spent decades fixing those bugs, and finding new ones as military demand for modifications to better suit certain missions created them.

Now they are looking at some as yet only vaguely defined 6.8mm caliber and their wish list for what they want it to do is ,,,simply amazing to me, and some other folks.

Perhaps they think that since they want to get to the moon, putting out requirements that would get them to Mars (if they could be met) will result in people trying, and while they will fail, what they will accomplish will be enough to get them to the moon. I don't know but it seems that way to me.
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Old July 3, 2019, 06:26 AM   #11
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Interesting. But, does 6.8 SPC offer enough improvement for the Gov't to retire or refit all their m16's and m4's?
It sounds to me like the Gov't is looking for a replacement for the current weapons, and while they're at it chambering those weapons in a new cartridge.

Quote:
The search for better small arms and ammunition has progressed to the point that submission of new firearm prototypes for military consideration closed May 30, 2019, however. Bid samples from three selected finalists are due on Aug. 30, 2019.

“…each Offeror developing two weapon variants and a common cartridge for both weapons, utilizing Government provided 6.8 millimeter projectiles. The weapons include the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle (NGSW-R) and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR). The NGSW-R is the planned replacement for the M4/M4A1 Carbine and the NGSW-AR is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in the Automatic Rifleman Role in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT).”
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Old July 3, 2019, 08:45 AM   #12
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Even then I'm not sure it nor 6.8 SPC offers enough of an advantage over 5.56 to be worth the effort and expense.

If this new mystery round performs as advertised we're back to M14 rifle weights and recoil levels. And that didn't work out so well.
I tend to agree with those comments... if you are looking at it from the view of general issue to ground troops. Special Ops and other groups could benefit from from it, for sure, depending on the mission, etc. The 5.56mm round, and the weapons for them, check a bunch of boxes for the military, and I find it unlikely they will ever depart from it. Granted, we are talking Washington and the MIC, so they are spending our money, not theirs, so anything is possible.

A change, en masse, to another cartridge would be a logistical nightmare... not only from the initial cost of retooling the issue weapons, but the entire logistical train behind it... including magazines, spares, and even the actual production of the ammunition itself. Further, because the Military likes commonality, you are talking redesigning and updating crew-served weapons like the M240/249.
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Old July 3, 2019, 11:37 AM   #13
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The Creedmoor was never a consideration for a general use AR 15 size rifle.
The 6.5 Grendel was, and with currently available options is the one I'd have chosen. Even then I'm not sure it nor 6.8 SPC offers enough of an advantage over 5.56 to be worth the effort and expense.

The 6.5 CM is a longer cartridge and couldn't possibly be made to work for what the military wanted. But as a semi-auto sniper round on the AR10 platform is already in use by some special forces units.


It's not the 6.8 SPC. The 6.8, 6.5 Grendel and other similar cartridges were tested and eliminated early on in the process. The 6.5 Creedmoor was also tested and considered along with several new cartridges such as .264 USA, .270 USA, 7x46 UICC. Whatever their reasons, they ultimately selected the 6.8 bullet. Not much is know about the cartridge. But will likely be more powerful than the 6.8 SPC and similar in size or power of the Creedmoor in order to defeat body armor found on the today's battlefields.
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Old July 3, 2019, 01:11 PM   #14
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Since I was 13 I can't say I've been a fan of the 5.56/.223 for a frontline infantry weapon, especially out in the Middle East where distances of 1000 yard engagements is not impossible. When Vietnam hit and most operations were in jungles, caves, urban areas the light weight of the AR and the 5.56 were fine, but we're not in Vietnam anymore.

That said, what is it that this 6.8 is going to do that the 5.56 is currently not doing? Is there clear evidence the 5.56 is failing in the field or is it that the barrels and BCG's are worn out and need replacement and the military is looking at making a change to a better caliber that is a little better knowing that the current stock of rifles and machine guns are near end of service life?
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Old July 3, 2019, 01:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by davidsog
Need an icon of the guy whistling or eating popcorn, LOL.
Like this?



Or this?

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Old July 3, 2019, 04:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsog
Need an icon of the guy whistling or eating popcorn, LOL.

Like this?

Or this?
Actually we could use both of those.

TFL should expand its number of Smilies characters.

The mods might also want to consider adding several little 'buttons' at the bottom of each post for those reading it to use for giving a short-hand response without posting to do it, such as: 'Like' ; 'Agree'; 'Funny'; 'Winner!'; 'Useful,' etc.

Just a suggestion ...
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Old July 3, 2019, 05:49 PM   #17
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what is it that this 6.8 is going to do that the 5.56 is currently not doing?


The stated purposed is to defeat body armor being fielded by enemy combatants. The 5.56 Nato doesn't do it.
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Old July 3, 2019, 06:42 PM   #18
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The stated purpose is to defeat any body armor currently fielded or scheduled to be fielded near-term at 600m.

Circa 1952, Hitchman’s Operational Requirements of an Infantry Hand Weapon determined that the chance of even observing an enemy soldier at ranges greater than 300m was less than 10%.

So, one question I’d have is have our technological advances (and there are certainly a few in this area) changed that to where 600m is a realistic requirement? Because you are going to pay a lot (in terms of rate of fire, basic load, weapon life, and onboard ammo) for that extra 300m of capability.

Thermal and optics certainly increase ranges; but microterrain is still a factor and camouflage has advanced as well.
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Old July 3, 2019, 07:27 PM   #19
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NIH.

The shape of the bullet is key to the CM (and Lapua) range.

Do that in a 6.8, yesiree bob, that are a big boost, a whole silly part of a mm longer (well .3)

Of course the new bullet expands wonderfully, kills like a falling tree, will penetrate a T-80 tank with ease (have I told you about the Tooth Fairy?)

Didn't the Army just come out with a bullet for the 5.56 that did just that, fixed all the issues of the past?

And only 32 calories per serving.
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Old July 4, 2019, 01:11 AM   #20
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We didn't adopt the .276 Pedersen when we had the chance, we had too much .30-06 in the inventory to justify the cost of a new round even if it was "ballistically superior". MacArthur said so!

If they are looking at a new 6.8mm round for rifles, are they going to change all our LMG/GPMGs to the new round as well?? Spendy…

And, how do the Europeans feel about it?? They were a bit put out when we shoved the 7.62 NATO down their throats, but they got really peeved when a few short years later we dropped the 7.62 NATO as our rifle round and went to the 5.56mm.

Are we going to do essentially the same thing, again? Make a new choice and then expect our allies to adopt it and play catch up, essentially on their own dime??

That would be good for international cooperation and harmony with our allies.

My prediction, they will let out test contracts, what ever they get won't be perfect in all aspects desired, so after some (or a lot of) smoke and mirrors, sound and thunder signifying nothing, really, they will decide the matter needs more research and study...

if I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but given past performance, I don't think I am.
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Old July 4, 2019, 02:34 PM   #21
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I do think the move to 6.5 area rounds make sense

And I did leave out the drag factor involved, a 6.5 done right is really an optimizing of size and range for the need (which with a M4 range is woefully deficient)

The problem with the 300 meter average is that it means that you are in knife fights and fights out past 600 meters. Data is only as good as the analysis.

At the heart of the issue was the nonsense about being outgunned by AK47 because it had 30 round clips. Its how you use those rounds that counts. Sometimes a lot of rounds on target is suppression and often with non trained types, its a total waste.

So yes there is an advantage to moving to a 6.5 class bullet. You retain most of the ammo carrying ability and get a much better range performance. And it has no downside up close (a 1903/M1 had those issues just because of length and recoil) and the 7.62 was not any better.

But, you can never design a bullet that does all things. If it can penetrate armor, its not going to expand. Its a reason hunting rounds were lead tipped (more sophisticated now). No one has ever reported a deer, elk, moose, antelope wearing armor).

On the other hand, Elephants and Cape Town buff rounds are solids to get through the armored head and into the brain.

So, the 6.8 being proved decisively superiors is a load of crap. It could have been 6.4, 6.6, 6.7 or 6.9. Nothing in ballistics is that dicey on the edge.

Realist you have bullet classes of .224/.264/.308 (and then the big boys)

.277 spits the different between the 6.5 and the .308, and how that plays into it is??

But the realty is each jump is there for a reason, it offers something and the 6.5 for hunting and shooting people has a rational that has a lot going for it.

But 6.8 as the end all and be all is bull and its we invented it so its golden is all that is left.

The 6.8 spc had an advantage but it was limited by its weight aspect and velocity.

The same with a 30/30 (to excess). While is .308 is a low perfroman cartridge but did what was intended in the day it was created. It would have made a lousy medium size machine gun round.
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Old July 4, 2019, 02:46 PM   #22
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The problem with the 300 meter averae is that it means that you are in knife fights and fights out past 600 meters. Data is only as good as the analysis.
You might want to read the data and the analysis, since it is clear you didn’t. But just to clarify, 300m isn’t the average. About 90% of fights occurred inside 300m in Hitchman’s analysis- which is basically the same thing the USMC found when analyzing fights in Iraq circa 2002. The majority occur inside 50m due to terrain and visibility limitations, rules of engagement, etc.
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Old July 4, 2019, 03:25 PM   #23
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The Army Research, Development and Engineering Center tested the 6.8 SPC thoroughly more than a decade ago. Its results indicate accuracy from an M4-size firearm in the chambering improved from 0 to 500 yards as well as terminal performance and reliability.
This little tidbit at the end of the OP's linked article reminded me of the industry scuttlebutt I'd heard in the mid 2000's when attending some classes, before my retirement. I'd have to see if I listed it in any of my notes from the various classes I was attending in that time period, but I remember one of the instructors taking a couple minutes to discuss how a couple of 2 bullet weights tested in rifles/carbines modified to use the 6.8SPC was producing some tentative good results. Nothing spectacular, but consistently better than the 5.56 in modified existing military small arms. Baby steps.

Of course, it was also discussed that the length of time the modern military needed to decide upon such a major change, and get political support and funding, would probably take at least several years. Guess that wasn't wrong ...
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Old July 4, 2019, 03:46 PM   #24
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You might want to read the data and the analysis, since it is clear you didn’t. But just to clarify, 300m isn’t the average. About 90% of fights occurred inside 300m in Hitchman’s analysis- which is basically the same thing the USMC found when analyzing fights in Iraq circa 2002. The majority occur inside 50m due to terrain and visibility limitations, rules of engagement, etc.
Ok, bad choice of the math. Same thing that justified the AK, 300 meters then becomes and average though as you want something more.

But it does not cover the reality that the 10% can be 1000 meters.

Or, Iraq in city vs the open country fighting now (more of it) though a lot in city as well.

So if your round (or the gun capacity with short barrels that reduces it) to under 300 meter and you are getting hit at 1000 then you are SOL.

The M16 was designed with a 20 inch barrel, not 14.

A SAW is the suppressor weapon, the Ms whatever now are the nailer and mostly fired in semi auto.

Afghanistan is a whole different range group.

Your round needs to cover all the realistic ranges no the jungle fight alone.

There is a reason a lot of 7.62 is being issued. Even in Iraq you had clear need for DM and Snipers to 800 yards.

For mounted troops a bullpup wold be the better choice.

You could also go with changeable barrels to tune the guns to the missions as well as a more overall optimized 6.5 class caliber.

And no, you don't carry extra barrels, is you are mounted you carry short, infantry can do an average range of lengths from all short ( in city) to all long open country or a mix before you go out or as a set standard set of mixes.

You don't have to be boxed in by artificial limits.
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Old July 4, 2019, 06:18 PM   #25
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I'm indifferent; however, if it's ballistically superior with better range capabilities, it's a positive move. The "platform" choice will be more interesting as it looks like they want a next generation M4-like carbine. Size and weight matters and considering burst or full-auto are really not commonly used, it's even less of an issue.

Having just returned from Afghanistan and working with the Germans, it was ironic that many carried their P8 handgun and were issued both their G36 and MP7 SMG. Our advisor missions were close-quarters, so the MP7's were often the choice.

Interestingly enough, some of the "guardian angel" Germans had the new HK417 .308 rifles, and not as DMRs.

As an individual rifleman, I would like the 6.8 upgrade, but knowing tactics and available support weapons, the 5.56mm is still more than adequate for 90% of the combat situations. While we have fought in the jungles of the South Pacific and Vietnam, and more recently the desert terrains of Iraq and Afghanistan, future planning is now focused more on urban and sub-urban terrain.

While caliber gets a lot of discussion here, I think there are far more important aspects such as communication, suppression, night vision/thermal imagery/optics.

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