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Just how in hell does Haji-Tali can even see his target let along positively identify a human from 1000 meters without any scope on that machinegun? Are their eyesight that good? 馃榿

I get it - his weapon can reach 1000 meters. But can he see? And if Tali keeps firing to reveal his position - we got A-10 Warthogs. I don't see any problem.
This is where my stance comes. Light machine guns aren't going to provide meaningful precision at 1000+ meters. We are likewise entering a new era of the battle space where small arms will become increasingly less relevant. These two points and...

We need to build this new cartridge so we can win small arms shoot outs with the Chinese and Russians? I don't imagine that's how open conflict with the Chinese and Russians would go down.
 

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Just how in hell does Haji-Tali can even see his target let along positively identify a human from 1000 meters without any scope on that machinegun? Are their eyesight that good? 馃榿

I get it - his weapon can reach 1000 meters. But can he see? And if Tali keeps firing to reveal his position - we got A-10 Warthogs. I don't see any problem.
Haji is usually at a call center in Delhi or down at your local gas station, he鈥檚 supposedly friendly, Tali are usually hired mercenary for Islam because they don鈥檛 do anything without profit or killing for god, or sex. They鈥檝e been killing each other for centuries and good at it, urban legend. Only the Thai know what they think about them鈥f you happen upon a Haji, Tali and snake which one should you dispatch first?
 

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seems to me we should have kept the M14s -ones we gave away. Imagine an entire battalion of M14s - just for Mr. Jihadi. Put the M4s back in storage and just use 7.62 NATO rifles exclusively..armor-piercing..whatever. YOu got the 50-cal based rifles if you want to vaporize something 2-miles out.

The brass keep insisting on extending the range of the 5.56mm -it ain't gonna fly past what it was designed for. It is just too small.

Want something in the middle - maybe re-acquire the 300 Win Mag in semi-auto - that can chew Haji 1000 meters being the shortest distance. 馃榿 That is just a warm-up for the 300 Win Mag.

it is frustrating they keep reconfiguring that iddy-biddy varmint round.
 
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Gentlemen, machine guns have been used at long distances from WWI on. In fact, the cal .30 M1 cartridge was developed in the early 1920鈥檚 in order to extend the ranges of US M1917 machine guns to match those of German machine guns.

All this being said, range alone isn鈥檛 the only consideration on the modern battlefield. Penetration is also important when dealing with an adversary which employs modern body armor. For a very long time we have engaged adversaries who were dressed in black pajamas or man dresses. That is likely not going to be the case in a future conflict. SOCOM has been looking at higher powered general purpose machine guns for some time. The big question is do we attempt to communize ammunition between these high powered GP machine guns and standard infantry rifles? There are obviously different opinions because there are some significant trade offs depending on which way you go.
 

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Dum-dum bullets still illegal under Geneva Conventions? 馃榿
 

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SOCOM has been looking at higher powered general purpose machine guns for some time. The big question is do we attempt to communize ammunition between these high powered GP machine guns and standard infantry rifles
Yep, last year an engineer at Crane told me he spent several days with other DoD personnel testing prototype Light machine guns and various ammo out to 1400 yards (Camp Atterbury). They were comparing it against M118. That was surprising to me as M118 (7.62 NATO) goes trans-sonic at about 1000 meters at sea level, and I felt accuracy must be awful at that range - but they tested it as the 'control load' against I think both 6.5 and 6.8mm calibers. I didn't ask for details back then, but I assume the 6.8mm ammo was a good compromise in that testing process.

To me, the reasonable trade-off is the easily identifiable high pressure/ hybrid steel head + brass case ammo in 6.8x51mm for the belt-fed machine guns to give them maximum range for area or suppressive fire, and the standard brass case/standard velocity 6.8x51mm ammo for the infantry rifles who need less range and more controllability for the lighter M5 rifles in auto-mode.

Anyhow, time will tell, but this spring the Army also released an RFP for a "conversion kit" for converting the M240 from 7.62 to 6.8x51mm round, so they are moving forward with this concept:

"Description
The U.S. Army, Army Contracting Command-New Jersey at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ 07806-5000 is conducting a market survey / sources sought notice on behalf of the Project Manager Soldier Lethality (PMSL) for an M240 6.8mm conversion kit for M240B and/or M240L. Presently, the M240B and M240L machine guns are 7.62mm weapons.

The durability, reliability, and function of the M240 weapon platform cannot be significantly compromised with a change in ammunition.

The conversion kit should include all hardware and instructions needed to modify a standard M240B and/or M240L to fire the 6.8mm ammunition. This will include a new barrel assembly and may include changes to the weapon powering through updates to the gas regulator, drive spring, or other means. The barrel assembly may be either of the standard barrel length (M240B) or short barrel (M240L). Information on 6.8mm ammunition type, specifications, and availability should be provided.

SUBMISSION INFORMATION: Interested companies who believe they are capable of providing M240 6.8mm Conversion Kits that meet the above goals are invited to indicate their interest by providing the Government a brief summary (i.e. no more than 10 pages -- not counting prior contract history) of their company鈥檚 specific 6.8mm conversion kit design and any supporting analysis or test results that show the ability to meet the above goals..."
 

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RG, the machine gun selected by SOCOM was a Sig chambered in .338 Norma Magnum. It is intended to engage area targets and vehicles out to 2000 yds.

My personal belief is that the Big Army needs to look more carefully at what SOCOM selects. They really know small arms. Remember that SOCOM originally adopted the M4 carbine well ahead of the Big Army.
 

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We all forget nato was developing the 280 British for the FAL and M14. The us forced the 308. NATO kept the FAL anyway. The 6.8 serves a real purpose in both the high pressure and low pressure versions. We knew it was excellent choice 100 years ago
 

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Rick, ok, that might be a different / heavier machine gun. I need to ask him, as maybe he was referring to a light machine gun? Or maybe semi auto sniper rifles? Maybe they were testing both, but 1400 yards was part of that test at Atterbury.

I agree about SOCOM, there has been a lot of innovation coming out of there for the past 20 plus years. Pretty sure Big Army adopted the M2010 after looking at what Crane/SOCOM did with their 300 WinMag rifles and SOCOMs update of the Mk 248 Mod 0 to the Mod 1 cartridge.
 

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What you are missing is the US Army report from the conflict in Afghanistan, which was written in 2008 or 2009. It showed that engagement distances for US Army infantry soldiers were usually in excess of 300 meters, and our soldiers could not effectively strike back at the enemy when they are shooting down at us from mountain cliffs (often with Russian PK light machine guns in 7.62x54R, etc). It also made note that US Infantry soldiers were already 'over-burdened' with their gear, and the high altitudes/mountains exacerbated the situation. FYI: there is no shortage of PK light machine guns used by the Taliban for the past 25 years...its effective range is 1000 meters, maybe a little more.
View attachment 483408
It was determined that every US Army Infantry Squad needed at least one DMR soldier with a Squad Designated Markman rifle in caliber 7.62 NATO that could provide precise fire out to 600 meters. The M14 EMR-RI was quickly developed as a stop-gap to meet urgent Mission Need Statements, and Rock Island Arsenal quickly made 6200 of them from 2009-2012, thereby enough to equip all deployed US Army infantry squads with a unified configuration. When the war in Afghanistan drew down, the US Army had an open competition for a new 7.62 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDMR). H&K won the contract and I think they have delivered about 6000 of those rifles, designated the M110A1, as a one-for-one replacement of the legacy M14 EBR-RIs.
View attachment 483381

However, I think the US Army also realized that they needed to replace the old M249 light machine gun with something that provided a longer range, more kinetic energy down range, and preferably more accuracy. I think that is why the high-pressure, 6.8x51mm cartridge was developed with the hybrid case, etc. Hence the Next Generation Squad Weapons, which was won by SIG this year.

Problem: The effective range of the M249 Squad Automatic light machine gun was 600 or 800 meters, depending if area fire vs suppressive fire, and I think that spec is generous w/ generic M855 ammo. In contrast, the new XM250 Squad Automatic light machine gun with the new high pressure 6.8x51mm round at 鈥渙ver 3000 fps鈥 - reportedly has an effective range of 1200 meters. The BC of the 135 grain bullet is reportedly (correction) .500, which is excellent for a standard infantry military bullet. That provides a significant advantage over the old M249, and presumably needed in combat against contemporary Russian and Chinese light machine guns, and the contemporary body armor of those soldiers. See my post #23 re the M249, which also has somewhat poor accuracy..

The XM5 infantry rifle may utilize a lower velocity/standard pressure 6.8x51mm round based on a recent US Army document. It refers to fielding a 鈥渞educed range鈥 cartridge in fiscal year 2023. Why? Infantry soliders might not need such a powerful round in a light XM5 rifle with 13" or 16鈥 barrel, but the much heavier, belt-fed XM250 light machine gun with its 24鈥 barrel can utilize the high pressure 6.8x51mm round, which allows the 1200 meter effective range.

My opinion is the high pressure 6.8x51mm round with its hybird case and 80k PSI pressure level was designed primarily for a suppressed light machine gun they weighs 20 or so pounds. In contrast, the XM5 is more likely seen as a 600 meter rifle, which is twice the effective range of an M4 carbine with M855 ammo. (300 meter effective range). I think the XM5 rifle may use a new 鈥渄ownloaded鈥 round that will be more controllable in full-auto, but is still usable in the XM250 if needed, but with reduced effective range, yet will still be able to penetrate the body armor of enemy soldiers. At least that is my impression.
View attachment 483375
Translation: The high-pressure 6.8x51 cartridge gives the XM250 at the top a 1200 meter effective range for aimed/area fire. That is twice the effective range of the legacy M249 w/ 5.56mm ammo. The suppressor likely makes this rifle much more controllable.

The soon to be fielded 'reduced range' 6.8x51mm cartridge presumably gives the XM5 infantry rifle a 600 meter effective range for aimed fire. Again that is twice the effective range of the legacy M4 Carbine with M855 (5.56mm) ammo. Suppressor likely helps controllability of this light rifle.

Again, I think our experience in Afghanistan (and perhaps to a lesser extent Iraq) provided some lessons learned about what US Army Infantry soldiers need when fighting in wide open terrain... The US Army decided that neither an M249 (600/800 meter weapon) or an M4 w/ M855 (300 meter weapon) - provided enough effective range for infantry soldiers given this open terrain.
View attachment 483401
RG very well thought out and written!

The XM5 may be a 600 meter rifle but will our troops, with their limited marksmanship training, be able to effectively engage targets at that distance? The fundamentals of accuracy are the same, makes no difference if the rifle is scoped or with mechanical sights.
This is and will be the biggest factor of all...marksmanship!

Yes, and hopefully the US Army will update its training to focus on marksmanship out to 600 meters with the new rifles, as opposed to 300 meters with the M4 Carbines. However, don't discount what a decent 1-6x optic can do for an infantry soldier鈥檚 ability for precision fire.

The Marines of course pay attention to individual marksmanship, but adding a 3.5x optic back in 2004 did make a big difference even for those trained riflemen:
"The ACOG mounted on the M16 service rifle has proven to be the biggest improvement in lethality for the Marine infantryman since the introduction of the M1 Garand in World War II.鈥
- Major General J.N. Mattis, Commanding General, 1st Marine Division, Operation Iraqi Freedom
Thats quite the statement from Maddog! Never had any experience with an ACOG but it sounds like it was/is quite a veraitle optic.

Actually it's a 6.8x51mm cartridge.
Basically, the Army wanted a cartridge that could defeat body armor at 500 meters.
140gr bullet at 3,000 FPS from a 16鈥 barrel
At 500 yards (16" barrel)
CartridgeEnergyDrop
6.8x51mm1654 ft.lbf-41"
5.56x45mm404 ft.lbf-90"

They can produce up to 80,000 PSI because of steel head cartridge cases that the M5 will use.
View attachment 483399
And this is a big reason for this cartridge change in my opinion. And, yes the 7.62x51 armor piercing rounds can do the job but evidently not as good as the 6.8x51 with the energy at these diatances, that says a lot!

Excellent synopsis but given your numbers, what exactly does this new round do that 7.62 NATO hasn鈥檛 been doing for going on 3/4 of a century? The M4 and especially the 249 were mistakes for widespread adoption. The fix has always been a 20鈥 barrel for the M16 which is of course, how it was originally designed. It鈥檚 a 550m weapon which is all you need as a rifleman. The fix for the 249 is the 240. The 240 fixes most anything and is worth every ounce of it鈥檚 heft. The 240 is everything the SAW is not; hard hitting, accurate, reliable, and easy to clean. There鈥檚 little weight and size difference between the new round and 7.62x51 so what鈥檚 the edge?
Never did like the SAW myself. Id rather had the Pig, outdated and all 馃槈

This warrants repeating as folks are too focused on the XM5 rifle and not focusing enough on the XM250 belt-fed Squad Light Machine Gun - which was likely Big Army鈥檚 focus - and why the high pressure 6.8x51mm round was initially developed.
I鈥檒l dig up the Army reports when I have a chance, but as others have noted, the new 6.8x51mm simply shoots much further, flatter, and delivers more energy than a typical 7.62 NATO round like M80. The 135 grain aerodynamic bullet has a G1 BC of .500, so wind deflection is quite good and is equivalent to legacy 7.62 Sniper ammo (M118LR and Mk 316 Mod 0). However, the velocity advantage of the 6.8x51mm is not trivial. The hybrid case allows considerably more pressure than a standard brass case.

Even the best 7.62 sniper ammo, the Mk 316 Mod 0, has a max effective range of 1000 meters. It will never be a 1200 meter cartridge, given the pressure limitation of 60k PSI for a standard brass case. Obviously one can not equip all infantry soldiers with carefully manufactured/expensive sniper grade ammo either. It鈥檚 also not appropriate to use sniper ammo in a full-auto machine gun.

Time will tell about the new 6.8x51mm cartridge. Clearly the Army wants to standardize on one caliber for both the belt-fed, Squad light machine guns, and the infantry rifles. My guess is the belt-fed M250 will be used with the easily identifiable high-pressure ammo (steel case head), and the M5 infantry rifle will be used with standard pressure ammo (standard brass case), but in urgent situations - either weapon can use either ammo interchangeably and safely. I will also speculate that those sound suppressors will definitely be needed whenever the high pressure ammo is used for both weapon controllability in full auto, and greatly reduced muzzle blast. Otherwise it will be painful to shoot that full-mojo ammo, esp in a lightweight, short-barreled M5.

BTW, the US Army, USMC, and Navy NSW, have all moved away from 7.62 NATO for 鈥渟chool-trained鈥 snipers, and mostly use the 300 WinMag, aka Mk 248 Mod 1, which has a 1500 meter effective range. I suspect that was another lesson learned from the wide open spaces of Afghanistan and Iraq鈥
Good observation but it does appear that they are teying to reinvent the wheel, just a different caliber, alviet a more effective round on paper.

Pop up, shoot back, targets force you to assume some very unorthodox shooting positions. The 100 lbs of gear you are wearing doesn't help any. The goal in the Infantry is to effectively engage the enemy before they are within range to effectively engage you. This goes back to the previous turn of the century, when every country sought the longest possible barrel with the longest possible bayonet.
You hit the proverbial nail on the head Kurt!

Well I'd say that there's a good chance that you'll be wrong. Lake City has already started building a new production area for the 6.8 ammo and the military signed a contract with Sig to produce up to 250,000 M5 rifles and 250 machineguns, that's a pretty big investment for something that'll never be fielded. The Army has announced that the first M5 rifles will be in the field no later than next year and some units will see them by August of this year.

Look, this is actually a pretty good change for the military. All weapons will be issued with suppressors. Both weapons are ambidextrous and/or capable of being switched to left hand use. The fire control groups are upgraded for more precise bullet placement on target. The recoil is similar to a 5.56 with the power of something better than the 7.62. The weapons have been tested for wear and they plan on using the commercially available. 277 Fury ammo for non-combat scenarios so that the they get the longest life from the weapons systems. The lighter recoil, better fire control, new aiming systems, and lighter 250 machinegun will allow more accuracy and quicker response from the gunners.

Some people seem to love to be drama queens and cry about the falling sky but I don't see it that way. 20 years of desert fighting proved to the powers that be what the newest private learned with his first combat contact...the 5.56 sucks in a desert environment. That light bullet just doesn't work well in hot air and frankly the rifles are worn out. The move from the M16 series to the M4 was just a bandaid when what was needed was major surgery. The new M5/M250 is a new heart for the body of the military.
Again, good observation, and for the record the sky is always falling 馃槈馃ぃ馃

Please pardon the digression, but a few of years ago (circa 2019) I thought with SOCOM's adoption of the 6.5 Creedmoor for some SOCOM sniper rifles, that the US Army might also consider a 6.5mm bullet as well for the next generation squad weapons. However, they obviously went with a slightly larger 6.8mm bullet that weighs 135 grains and has a G1 BC of .500. For those interested in what a BC of .607 and .697 can provide at 800 and 1000 meters, please study this chart regarding 140 and 147 grain 6.5mm bullets - versus the standard .308 caliber 175 SMK bullet that has a BC of about 0.475. Starting velocity is the same b/t the 147 vs 175 grain bullets - but aerodynamics matter. Wind deflection is the enemy of precision long range shooting, and high BCs are needed to mitigate it.

View attachment 483417
Bottom-line: The 6.8x51mm high pressure round "over 3000 fps" at the muzzle - along with a .500 BC - is going to hit with way more remaining energy at 800 or 1000 meters than the standard 7.62/M118 sniper round we have used for decades. That's pretty impressive for light machine gun ammo.
You'd think Big Army would learn some lessons from SOCOM, but politics always plays into Big Armys plan as someone always has their hands in the pie 馃し鈥嶁檪锔

So we don't get caught with our pants down again and have the enemy laughing at us. No more bringing a pea shooter to a gunfight. Again , it took over 50 years to see the error of our ways at the cost of American lives. If we are going to send our guys off to fight , at least give them the correct tools and for God's sake, and teach them how to use them.
Perhaps the most important thought of and in alm of this! To bad we dont have leadership today with this mindset Art!
 

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RG very well thought out and written!


This is and will be the biggest factor of all...marksmanship!


Thats quite the statement from Maddog! Never had any experience with an ACOG but it sounds like it was/is quite a veraitle optic.


And this is a big reason for this cartridge change in my opinion. And, yes the 7.62x51 armor piercing rounds can do the job but evidently not as good as the 6.8x51 with the energy at these diatances, that says a lot!


Never did like the SAW myself. Id rather had the Pig, outdated and all 馃槈


Good observation but it does appear that they are teying to reinvent the wheel, just a different caliber, alviet a more effective round on paper.


You hit the proverbial nail on the head Kurt!


Again, good observation, and for the record the sky is always falling 馃槈馃ぃ馃


You'd think Big Army would learn some lessons from SOCOM, but politics always plays into Big Armys plan as someone always has their hands in the pie 馃し鈥嶁檪锔


Perhaps the most important thought of and in alm of this! To bad we dont have leadership today with this mindset Art!
So true. Those in command for the last few hundred years have always used their own experience so we have been prepared to fight the last war for generations. You would think when we have come so close many times to having our butts kicked that a little forward thinking might just be the ticket. Let's hope that is the case this time around. The wheel can only be re-invented so many times.
 

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I don't understand this at all - so the enemies up in the mountains are using old worn AK47s...and we cannot engage w/ newer weapons? and at 300 yards? For petesakes - 300 yards is the sitting position w/ iron sights. We shoot the 200 yards offhand -

And every Dick and Sally has scoped rifles and cannot engage? What kind of rifle marksmanship have they been thru?

Someone explain this to me -
Correction: the enemy no longer needs to use old AKs. They have around 360,000 M4s 鈥 you all know the list.

Biden has effectively leveled the playing field. Give them five times more M4s than they have soldiers, then we can go 5.56 vs 5.56.

It鈥檚 brilliant and all you Negative Nellies fail to recognize it. Of course, this makes no sense since we鈥檝e now withdrawn and are switching to a weapons system eerily similar to that silly caliber originally stuffed into that M14 thing, which all they experts say was the wrong caliber in the wrong gun.

Point of fact: The new rifle uses .308 AR10 Lancer Mags. Nothing to see here...
 
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It's a tragedy that the Afghan Nat'l gov't fled from the Taliban, and thus surrendered all their assets to them without a fight, but I personally don't think US combat soldiers will be back in Afghanistan during my lifetime. I think we learned the hard way that such a pervasively illiterate and impoverished failed state, even after 20 years of propping it up, is likely to remain a failed state in the end. Unlike Afghanistan, the Ukrainian political leadership and its military force are serious about their freedoms and are willing to fight oppressive forces. They didn't run from the Russians after all...it is quite a contrast to witness.

The concern has retuned to an imperial Russia with territorial ambitions in central Europe, and a rising China that seems interested in assuming global leadership and a huge modernization effort regarding its armed forces. Afghanistan can remain a failed state from US policy makers perspective. Been there, done that, and we ain't going back.... But the US Army took some lessons learned re the M4 and M249 and its M855 ammo, hence the development of the M110A1, and now the M5 and M250 with the new 6.8x51mm round. Like I said, I think our troops will appreciate these new platforms and their enhanced capabilities over the older legacy stuff. I doubt that NATO will go along with it though...
 

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I forgot about the $85-billion arm surplus Biden gifted to the Talibans. Well, maybe Democrats will completely defund our military so we can beg them not to kill us. Why not- our 'women' in the military have equal the testosterone of the men.

I am reading the military has the lowest recruiting numbers of all time. So there -
 
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It's a tragedy that the Afghan Nat'l gov't fled from the Taliban, and thus surrendered all those assets to them without a fight, but I personally don't think US combat soldiers will be back in Afghanistan during my lifetime. I think we learned that such an highly illiterate and impoverished failed state, even after 20 years of propping it up, is likely to remain a failed state in the end. Unlike Afghanistan, the Ukrainian political leadership and its military force are serious about their freedoms and are willing to fight oppressive forces. They didn't run from the Russians after all...it is quite a contrast to witness.

The concern has retuned to an imperial Russia with territorial ambitions in central Europe, and a rising China that seems interested in assuming global leadership and a huge modernization effort regarding its armed forces. Afghanistan can remain a failed state from US policy makers perspective. Been there, done that, and we ain't going back.... But the US Army took some lessons learned re the M4 and M249 and its M855 ammo, hence the development of the M110A1, and now the M5 and M250 with the new 6.8x51mm round. Like I said, I think our troops will appreciate these new platforms and their enhanced capabilities over the older legacy stuff. I doubt that NATO will go along with it though...
If we had not abandoned our equipment and bailed out in a disastrous, hasty withdrawal, it wouldnt be part of any conversation, but thats not what happened.

We didnt just leave all that stuff for the Govt, we just left it.
US left billions in weapons in Afghanistan, with Black Hawks in Taliban's hands (nypost.com)
 
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