Military to adopt new round?

Tgace

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There has been some rumbling in the military/LEO circles about a new chambering for the venerable M16/M4/AR series rifle. It promises superior terminal ballistics with a nominal gain in weight/recoil.......

by David Crane
david@defensereview.com


Anybody who's been keeping abreast of small arms and ammo develpments in the USSOCOM arena should already be aware fo the 6.8x43mm a.k.a. "6.8mm Remington SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge)" cartridge concept. The 6.8x43mm cartridge was conceived and designed with the help of members of the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group as a much better answer for urban warfare and CQB (Close Quarters Battle) than the 62gr 5.56x45mm NATO round, and a much better short and intermediate distance sniping round than the 77 gr. 5.56mm round that's been utilized of late in the SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) by U.S. Spec-Ops personnel in the Middle East.

The 6.8x43mm was designed for the M16 rifle/M4 Carbine (or SOPMOD CQB Subcarbine) weapons platform. All an operator needs to do in order to convert his M4 Carbine or SOPMOD CQB subcarbine is...

switch out his 5.56mm upper receiver and replace it with the 6.8x43mm upper. It's interesting that Barrett Rifles is currently manufacturing 6.8x43mm upper receivers for the military (specifically for SOCOM end users). As far as DefRev is aware, this is Barrett's first foray into the AR-15/M16 platform weapons arena.

According to one of DefRev's sources (as of about 8 months ago--that's right, we sat on the info), the 6.8x43mm enjoys roughly the same trajectory as 7.62x51mm out to 600 yards. The 6.8x43mm round weighs 115gr. and has a velocity of 2750 to 2850 fps. It accomplishes all this through the use of a special propellant powder. By the way, you get all this performance with only a 2-round loss of magazine capacity. Not bad.

The same source also said (at that time) that Remington was set to produce 10 million rounds. 7 million will feature Hornady bullets, and 3 million will have a bonded bullet (not sure which manufacturer).

The following excerpts come from an interesting webpage, which is operated and maintained by Phil West:

"On 17th June 2003 I received an email from a Cris Murry: "This is a reply to the guess work all the supposed smart people are doing on the 6.8x43mm. It would appear that our operational security is working real well. But here are a few bits for you guys to chew on. Its not made from a .25 Rem. case, or reforming .223 brass, how do I know, I designed it. It has nearly the same flight path as the 7.62x51mm M80 ball round out to 650 meters. Delivers approx 4 times the energy on target at 300 meters compared to a SS109 round. The gel block tests are awesome. It drops a 150-300 lbs feral hogs like an axe, also works great on whitetails. My first choice was 7mm projectiles, but the users wanted something with a flatter trajectory, closer to the 5.56. Tested all calibers 6mm, 6.5mm, .25, 6.8 (.270 for Americans, oh actually the Chinese came up with the 6.8x63mm in the 1930s), didn't do much testing in .30, because it would only be an American M43 cartridge. This was not a private endeavourer nor a fully sanctioned government project, just users and a gun builder making a better product for our guys on the ground, in harms way." "

"Many thanks to Stan Crist for forwarding the following Press Release from Remington.

"The 6.8mm Remington SPC is an intermediate length rifle cartridge based on the 30 Remington case. Designed to function in M4/M16 type rifles, the 6.8mm Remington SPC was specifically developed to provide increased reliability, incapacitation, and accuracy not only at close quarters combat distance, but ranges out to 500 meters.

The 6.8mm Remington SPC, (Special Purpose Cartridge) will be offered in three versions for 2004, including Remington's new Premier® Match, line of ammunition. The 115 grain MatchKing® BTHP bullet will deliver a muzzle velocity of 2800 fps and 2002 ft-lbs of energy while providing low felt recoil and 1 MOA accuracy at 100 yards. The 6.8mm Remington SPC will also be available in both BTHP and Metal-Case 115 grain versions." "

DocGKR, a.k.a. Gary Roberts, a moderator from TacticalForums.com, started an informative thread on TF about the 6.8x43mm cartridge and Barrett "6.8mm Rem SPC" upper receiver. It contains a high res pic of the Barrett brochure for the 6.8mm Remington SPC upper. Just click on this link to read the thread. DefRev recommends it. Just as an aside, DefRev's source recently stated that the 6.8x43mm round is going to prove to be an extremely impressive medium-size game hunting cartridge. This source has already used the 6.8x43mm to drop some deer impressively quickly.
 

KenpoTex

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While I'm glad they're finally thinking about getting away from the .223, I wish they'd just go back to the .308. Or even the 7.62x39 (the AK-47 round).
 

loki09789

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kenpotex said:
While I'm glad they're finally thinking about getting away from the .223, I wish they'd just go back to the .308. Or even the 7.62x39 (the AK-47 round).

As great as I think the heavier round is, I don't know if it is the best choice with the doctrine of maneuver warfare and the close contact of 'peace keeping operations' .... and the high tempo of combat. Issues of wt. and such....

A lighter round might be cool as long as it doesn't deflect easily because it is so fragile (light things at high velocity can skip off ballistic trail very easily).
 
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Tgace

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Weight and ammo capacity....4 times the power at a 2 round loss in capacity and all you need is a simple upper change. Ive heard that current magazines can be used with a change in springs and followers. Cost effective over a retooling to .308 or 7.62X39.
 

loki09789

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Tgace said:
Weight and ammo capacity....4 times the power at a 2 round loss in capacity and all you need is a simple upper change. Ive heard that current magazines can be used with a change in springs and followers. Cost effective over a retooling to .308 or 7.62X39.

How will this new round impact qualification fire/ranges for each stage.... if at all.

I don't think the Army's pop up target qual would be affected (or should I say impacted ;))

But the USMC Bull's Eye/Known Distance range might be tweeked (if it hasn't been already with the m-4 instead of the M16a2).
 
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Tgace

Tgace

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Well, from what I understand, the developers werent looking for any signifigant increase in range. The trajectory of the 6.8 is pretty much the same out to 650 meters. It just delivers a better punch. If the target systems currently in place can take it, I dont know. But I recall knocking down "crazy ivans" with the M-60 (7.62mm) so there are systems in use that can.

Another + with the round is that if current magazines can be used, there wont be a need to change/buy new mag pouches or tac. gear.
 

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I doubt the USMC would change the KD course. If the projectile handles the same out to 600 yds as a 7.62 then the leathernecks will simply retrain the riflemen to adjust elevation for the heavier round. The furthest distance I remember on the KD course was 500 yds.
 

loki09789

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I was actually thinking that the range might decrease instead of increase. The high mobility, cqb nature of modern warfare doctrine makes 500 yd accuracy sort of archaic, plus the shorter, less stable M4 might actually reduce accuracy to 500 yds already.

I am a firm believer that more budget on combining the KD and the pop up ranges at the recruit level of training would benefit all branches -especially in a time when motor transport and other logistical units are being targeted as much as they are. I love my USMC shooting days. Loved the 500 yd line fire. Would had to see it go away. Too much good principles that translate to closer range fire for it to be a 'waste of time' except to bean counters who focus on money OVER training and readiness. INvest early and you get more later.
 
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Tgace

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I think the military trend towards optics will have more impact on marksmanship training than range.
 

loki09789

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Tgace said:
I think the military trend towards optics will have more impact on marksmanship training than range.

Yeah, last Leatherneck issue mentioned the ACOG sights. THere was a definite emphasis in the article that it would in no way replace sound marksmanship fundamentals, but only act as a battlefield asset/tool to increase effectiveness. Tough thing to balance.
 

KenpoTex

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loki09789 said:
As great as I think the heavier round is, I don't know if it is the best choice with the doctrine of maneuver warfare and the close contact of 'peace keeping operations' .... and the high tempo of combat. Issues of wt. and such.....
I could see this logic with regard to the .308 (a.k.a. 7.62x51). I'll admit that while it's a superb long-range round, it's not the best for urban settings. However, I still think the 7.62x39 would be an excellent choice. In fact, for the people who favor the .223 over the 7.62x39 the issue is usually their claim that the .223 is accurate at longer ranges. However, since the type of fighting we are now seeing is in an urban setting, and the fact that the M-4 is becoming the weapon of choice, this argument doesn't carry much weight. My reasons for liking the 7.62x39 are as follows:
1. stopping power, the common load is a 130 gr. JHP or FMJ. this is a much better a$$ kicker than the 55 or 60 gr. 223.
2. availability: The stuff is used pretty much everywhere in the world so finding ammo wouldn't be hard if re-supply became a problem. In fact, I read an article back when we first sent troops into Afghanistan that the Army Special Forces were evaluating a rifle based on the old Stoner-63 design chambered for 7.62x39 and that would use AK mags. This way they'd be able to use captured ammo and magazines.
 

loki09789

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kenpotex said:
I could see this logic with regard to the .308 (a.k.a. 7.62x51). I'll admit that while it's a superb long-range round, it's not the best for urban settings. However, I still think the 7.62x39 would be an excellent choice. In fact, for the people who favor the .223 over the 7.62x39 the issue is usually their claim that the .223 is accurate at longer ranges. However, since the type of fighting we are now seeing is in an urban setting, and the fact that the M-4 is becoming the weapon of choice, this argument doesn't carry much weight. My reasons for liking the 7.62x39 are as follows:
1. stopping power, the common load is a 130 gr. JHP or FMJ. this is a much better a$$ kicker than the 55 or 60 gr. 223.
2. availability: The stuff is used pretty much everywhere in the world so finding ammo wouldn't be hard if re-supply became a problem. In fact, I read an article back when we first sent troops into Afghanistan that the Army Special Forces were evaluating a rifle based on the old Stoner-63 design chambered for 7.62x39 and that would use AK mags. This way they'd be able to use captured ammo and magazines.

I like the .308 round now too. But, then I am not humping mags full of it all over hell and gone, up and down hills, through swamps, while I am trying to run as fast as I can from cover to cover....love the memories - don't miss the work...too much:)

I think the practicallity of wt. is going to be a major selling point. The weakness of using confiscated rounds or scavanged ammo is the moral image of it (notice I didn't say morallity) to the general public (Marine waves to the CNN camera "hi mom" while rifling through enemy corpse's ammo pouches...) and the tactic of sabotaging ammo caches. Load a 'found round' into your weapon and it blows up in your face.

Is there any issue with the stopping power of the current .223 round? I always remember the tumbling engineering being the real damage with that load.
 

KenpoTex

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loki09789 said:
I think the practicallity of wt. is going to be a major selling point. The weakness of using confiscated rounds or scavanged ammo is the moral image of it (notice I didn't say morallity) to the general public (Marine waves to the CNN camera "hi mom" while rifling through enemy corpse's ammo pouches...) and the tactic of sabotaging ammo caches. Load a 'found round' into your weapon and it blows up in your face.
The question of sabotaged ammo is a valid point, although during Vietnam we were the ones doing that to them. I really don't see much of a problem here as the only time they would need to use captured ammo would be if they were cut off from supply, which considering the availabilty of aircraft probably doesn't happen often. Moving on, I saw a piece of footage from Iraq a couple of months ago which showed some Marines searching a house. Two, out of about 8 guys were carrying AK's.

loki09789 said:
Is there any issue with the stopping power of the current .223 round? I always remember the tumbling engineering being the real damage with that load.
As far as the performance of the round there are people on both sides of the table (kind of like the 9mm vs. .45 debate). I personally don't have a whole lot of respect for the round whether it tumbles or not. If you shoot someone with something bigger, ie. one of the 7.62 family HE will do the tumbling :). One of the reasons the .223 was chosen (in addition to the amount of ammo vs. weight issue) was the misguided theory that since the .223 is less likely to kill than the .30 rounds, more of the enemy soldiers would be out of commission b/c they would have to care for their wounded men rather than just leaving dead ones behind. however, this doesn't "pan-out" in reality because nobody we get into fights with gives a rat's a$$ about their soldiers, they just leave them for us to patch up.

Anyway, just my thoughts. this is another one of those debates that will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
 
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Tgace

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If we could use hollow points this debate would be mute.....
 

loki09789

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It is kind of ironic that we don't scream about hollow points and all the variances like Eagle Talons, Silver Sables for LEO to use on, essentially fellow citizens. At the same time, when facing a known foreign enemy, we can't use anything except hardball.

Uh oh, where is Janulis, here comes a thread topic:

Are Hollow points for LEO moral or a violation of your civil rights? :)
 
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Tgace

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loki09789 said:
It is kind of ironic that we don't scream about hollow points and all the variances like Eagle Talons, Silver Sables for LEO to use on, essentially fellow citizens. At the same time, when facing a known foreign enemy, we can't use anything except hardball.

Uh oh, where is Janulis, here comes a thread topic:

Are Hollow points for LEO moral or a violation of your civil rights? :)



:lol: :lol: :lol:
 

DoxN4cer

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loki09789 said:
It is kind of ironic that we don't scream about hollow points and all the variances like Eagle Talons, Silver Sables for LEO to use on, essentially fellow citizens. At the same time, when facing a known foreign enemy, we can't use anything except hardball.

Uh oh, where is Janulis, here comes a thread topic:

Are Hollow points for LEO moral or a violation of your civil rights? :)

Hehehe... I'm sure we'd all love to hear his single hand clap... or is that the sound of someone patting himself on the back...
 
T

TonyM.

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I for one will be very happy if the military adopts a new round. The 55grain 5.56 round that the old M16A1 fired definetly lacked needed knockdown power. Most of us that carried it into combat felt grossly underarmed and carried extra frags, personal sidearms and sometimes AK47s.
 

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Just as a side note to the 5.56 being too small to do the job, here in the state of Virginia it is illegal to hunt deer with any .22 cal round. The 5.56 falls into this catagorey as the .223 cal. Their reasoning on this is that the .223 doesn't have the knock down power needed to reasonably assure a clean kill even with a properly placed shot. If the .223 is considered too small for white tail then it should follow that the round is too small for human targets with at least a modicum of body armor. I always felt like I was back home plinckin' tin cans when firing the M-16A2. It just didn't feel large enough to make me comfortable that the weapon was effective.
 

loki09789

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theletch1 said:
Just as a side note to the 5.56 being too small to do the job, here in the state of Virginia it is illegal to hunt deer with any .22 cal round. The 5.56 falls into this catagorey as the .223 cal. Their reasoning on this is that the .223 doesn't have the knock down power needed to reasonably assure a clean kill even with a properly placed shot. If the .223 is considered too small for white tail then it should follow that the round is too small for human targets with at least a modicum of body armor. I always felt like I was back home plinckin' tin cans when firing the M-16A2. It just didn't feel large enough to make me comfortable that the weapon was effective.

I agree with Kempotex on this one: I don't think there have been anything but personal flavor level of debate over stopping power of the .223 round. Here in NYS, the rifle loads that include .223 are not allowed because of the velocity and range in built up areas - except for around the Adirondack mts. We are only allowed Shotgun for deer.

Body armor, on the average is designed for pistol rounds. rifle loads will regularly penetrate unless there is a trauma plate in use. As far as I know, the Iraqi were so poorly funded/equipt force in the past that they were issued plastic helmets. Terrorists/militia insurgent forces aren't regularly wearing body armor.

The damage done by the .223/5.56 is the 7:1 twist.

As far as backyard plinking, it was the buffer spring in the m16 design that reduced the recoil, not the lack of bang for your buck in the caliber. .223 is a much hotter round than the .22 cal.
 

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