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Discussion Starter #41 (Edited)
That the armory system had a "not invented here" reputation, whether completely deserved or not, was the perception, and perception is reality. And it was driven by the DoD/War Department, not the reverse. The War Department had a history, like all "war departments" of fighting the next war based on the last. That strategy drove weapons development.

- After the 1861-1865 war, the War Department spent hundreds of thousands of dollars converting existing percussion rifles to a jerry-rigged cartridge conversion.
- The 1872 Springfield .45-70 was well-known for cartridge extraction failures, jamming the rifle. The superior Remington rolling block was never accepted.
- The Krag Jorgensen was adopted outside the armory system, and was an abysmal failure.
- As early as 1923, it was thought to bring out a new infantry rifle and convert machine guns to the .276 Pedersesn. However, MacArthur prevailed as Chief of Staff, and insisted on the .30-06. This cost the M-1 two rounds per loading, a 25% loss of clip capacity.
- And the T48 FAL failed the cold weather tests miserably. That's not an endorsement when it was believed that a European war with the USSR would be conducted in just those conditions.

And while the weapons systems you mentioned were outside developments, they each came with their own failures and problems. One of the most noted is the 5.56 Mini-gun; it was terribly unreliable and it was developed by GE.

The armory system is just the face of the procurement problems the DoD faces. The armory system didn't exactly sit on its hands when it came to research and development. They honestly researched hundreds of ideas, and either proved or disproved their merit. Unfortunately, outside development usually "zone focuses" on one solution, whereas the armory system has to be mindful of a myriad of ideas and solutions. Stoner's AR solution was in part, driven by the profit motivation of Armalite/Fairchild. Does anyone believe otherwise?

Was McNamara correct? In most respects, yes. However, he too, was too enamored with the numbers and disregarded the "soft data" that has to enter any equation.
My perception is you are mostly incorrect.

1. The extraction problems of the Trapdoor are all related to the way the cases were manufactured. The soft copper tended to expand too much and stick to the chamber walls, this coupled with the folded rims (like .22 rimfire) which did not have the strength required to extract sticky cases were the root of the problem. Once the drawn brass case was adopted in 1888, the extraction problems were history. The Rolling Block when used with the same type of cartridge case suffered from the same extraction difficulties. The Martini-Henry also suffered badly from extraction failures due to weak Boxer cartridge case design, as did most all breechloaders until the introduction of the deep drawn one-piece brass cartridge case.

2. The Krag, an abysmal failure? Not really, just a design that was overtaken by the march of technology shortly after its introduction. The Krag's magazine design predates the stripper clip and in that light, is brilliant. Rounds can be loaded without having to open the bolt, or force the rounds against a spring, literally just dropping them in. Unfortunately, for the Krag, some Germans invented the stripper clip two years later. The Krag, like the M14, suffered from poor timing, not poor design.

3. First, the T48 FAL did not "fail miserably" in the arctic tests of 1953-54, it did not perform as well as the T44, that is all. The required correction to the under-powered condition was pretty obvious, give it a little more gas by enlarging the gas port, and expanding the regulator's range. The parts breakage problem was simply a byproduct of the extra power and easily corrected through improved metallurgy. Second, in the arctic tests of 1955-56, the T48 FALs performed flawlessly.

4. 1928, the .276 Pedersen cartridge is ear-marked as the next rifle cartridge, and to that end ten rifle designs were trialed. The next year the Stock Market crashes and the Nation (and shortly thereafter, the world) enters a great depression. In 1932, the US Army announces that the Garand rifle design is the winner of the trials, the world is still in the grips of the depression, with military funding tight to the point of non-existence. And, you're saying that was the proper time to scrap billions of rounds of usable M1906 ball ammunition and start buying a new and different type ammunition, AND start a program to develop a new medium machine gun and squad automatic rifle to use this new ammunition? Incidentally, the decision to scrap the .276 Pedersen was made after the Garand rifle design successfully passed trials with .30-06 ammunition. Indicating, that if the Garand could not function adequately in .30-06, .276 Pedersen would have been retained. So, blame John Garand for the demise of the .276 Pedersen, he's the one that made the M1 so good.

(As an aside, the M1 could have retained the 10 round magazine had the Army dropped the requirement for the enbloc clip, which, in retrospect, would have been a smarter decision. Since the M1 will not work (as a semi-automatic) without the clip, the enbloc clip de facto became a second type of ammunition that had to be supplied. All others, could be interchanged in the field.)

5. The 5.56mm rotary machine gun is actually nicknamed the "Micro-Gun". The Mini-Gun is the 7.62mm rotary machine gun developed by GE and is extremely reliable, as are all the other versions of the rotary Gatling, the M61, GAU-4, GAU-8, GAU-12, M197.

As to the M60 and M39, their development went rather smoothly, the major hiccups being, like the M14, during production. And, for the M60, after 25 years of hard use, just wearing out. And for the M85, of the people that actually used one, they fall into one of two camps, those that say it’s a pile of junk, and those that say if you follow the TM it works fine, you should be able to figure out the truth.

A little irony: The M60 is not all that much heavier than an M1918A2.

. . . . like all "war departments" of fighting the next war based on the last. That strategy drove weapons development.
So, tell us right now, what is the next war going to be like? Unless you have a working crystal ball, or a functioning time machine, you have no idea, so what should weapons development be based on?

And, by the way, that statement is not always the case. In 1945, everybody predicted the next war would be a nuclear exchange with little or no conventional combat. And, to that prediction little or no money was allocated to conventional weapons development. Yeah, that prediction was just as accurate as figuring Vietnam would be like Korea and the current conflict would be just like Vietnam. You just can’t win trying to predict the future.

The armory system didn't exactly sit on its hands when it came to research and development. They honestly researched hundreds of ideas, and either proved or disproved their merit. Unfortunately, outside development usually "zone focuses" on one solution, whereas the armory system has to be mindful of a myriad of ideas and solutions. Stoner's AR solution was in part, driven by the profit motivation of Armalite/Fairchild. Does anyone believe otherwise?
I never said that the Armory/Arsenal system was a bad thing, quite the opposite. It is just that the armory/arsenal system has never held a "not invented here" belief, and even a cursory examination of the things developed, from tanks to small arms show that almost all the ideas came from outside the system. The people who screamed about the "not invented here" bias were/are inventors that did not get their ideas adopted, guys like Johnson, Christy, A1C Smith, (Ret), and FAL fans.
 

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"That the armory system had a "not invented here" reputation, whether completely deserved or not, was the perception, and perception is reality"..

I'm not sure I agree with that statement. My personal opinion was that "perception" was fostered by those who disagreed with the outcome of the Light Weight Rifle Program. It is easier to claim bias than actually address the reasons for the decision. The argument is more intense today than it was six decades ago. There is a tendency to view historical events from toda's perspective and when a decision is hard to justify,, simply chalk it up to bias rather than look at the facts that the decision makers from the past had to deal with.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
My personal opinion was that "perception" was fostered by those who disagreed with the outcome of the Light Weight Rifle Program.
Not just the LWR program, read what Mel Johnson had to say in 1941, and continued to say until the adoption of the M16. There were others as well, Walter Chistie and his followers, and John Thompson (ironically, best known for what he did sell to the Army).
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Oh, and one last thing I forgot to note on this:

As early as 1923, it was thought to bring out a new infantry rifle and convert machine guns to the .276 Pedersesn. However, MacArthur prevailed as Chief of Staff, and insisted on the .30-06. This cost the M-1 two rounds per loading, a 25% loss of clip capacity.
John Pedersen was working for the Ordnance Department when he designed the .276 Cartridge and the Pedersen rifle, so technically, those two things "were invented here."
 

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Oh, and one last thing I forgot to note on this:


John Pedersen was working for the Ordnance Department when he designed the .276 Cartridge and the Pedersen rifle, so technically, those two things "were invented here."
My intent was to note that using a common round for MG's and infantry rifles was a goal in the years immediately following the Great War. Note that in my second to last paragraph, I clearly stated that the armory system was not an inert body. They certainly did a lot of research and development on firearms.

My main point was to demonstrate that the DoD/War Department is/was the driver for armory production.

As to the T48, it's an abject failure when it doesn't perform in the environment where it would be used. Couldn't FN have tested it in the near-arctic climes before submitting samples? The primary failures were in the Alaska tests.

And BTW, the 1873 Springfield did have a weak extraction system; I've seen originals in good condition not extract modern casings even with 65gr of fff because of the inherent design weakness. However, it may have been partially due to the rapid fire drills I observed. Heating up the action is a consideration. Even with the steels of the day, the Remington was stronger than the Springfield. I fully understand the problem with the original cases. Today, there are modern Rolling Blocks loaded up to .45-90 capacity, yet I've yet to see a modern Trapdoor done the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Hmmmm...

So, I guess we're assessing the reliability of a design based on one or two 100 or 150 year old examples . . .

I can counter but stating the three examples I have fired or seen fired had no problem extracting. I must conclude by the Army lack of complaints after the introduction of the drawn brass case, the problem was not a major one.
 
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