Friday, February 21, 2014

It's Friday...

...and Colt is buying LWRC! If true, it makes a lot of sense for Colt, who has been pushing really hard to regain a toe-hold in the market it created. The most interesting thing to me is the "up from the grave" meme on the 6.8 SPC cartridge. I ran across a huge Washington Times article on the deficiencies of the M4 platform:
He said its 5.56-caliber bullet is too small and the gas-piston firing system is prone to stoppage. He said better weapons — the German Heckler-Koch G36 and Russian AK-74 (a version of the venerable AK-47) — use superior firing systems. “Frankly, this whole thing is scandalous,” Gen. Scales said. “We send soldiers into close combat with lousy weapons and we’ve done it since World War II and nobody complains. It’s a national outrage. “It has no penetrating power,” he said of the M4. “It’s ineffective against vehicles, against bunkers. It’s ineffective against virtually anything except a man in the open. Put a flak jacket on the enemy and it’s virtually useless.”
To be sure, we've heard all this stuff before...many, many times before. In fact, the 6.8 Special Purpose Cartridge was developed as part of the Enhanced Rifle Cartridge program to create a cartridge specifically to address the perceived shortcomings of the 5.56. And the 6.8 was and is a heck of a cartridge, doing everything it was designed to do.

It was also born into a political arena where the very idea of a major modification of the U.S. military's primary weapon was flatly, totally, politically off-the-table. So the 6.8 languished as a commercial product...a side effect was the huge increase in the use of the AR platform in hunting, where the 6.8 excels. I was hugely impressed with the 6.8 heavy bullet performance on hogs.

Recent years have seen the rise of the .300 Blackout. Rather than go into it again, Nick Leghorn did an excellent job of explaining the difference between the missions of the 2 cartridges in this TTAG post form a couple of years back.

So LWRC does a huge deal with the Saudis on 6.8 carbines. All Outdoor reported after SHOT that the U. S. military was once again looking at the 6.8 SPC.

Bot the 6.8 and the .300 Blackout have their failings for a military context. The 6.8 SPC requires a different bolt, different barrel (duh!) and maybe most importantly a different magazine. Visualize how many AR/M-4 magazines there are out in the's roughly a gazillion bazillion, give or take a few million. Yes, the U.S. could issue a gazillion 6.8 magazines, but the AR platform is one of the most issued firearms on earth...might there be a battlefield problem there?

The .300's issue is a little stickier. Since it uses the 5.56 case blown up to .30 caliber, it can use the standard AR bolt and magazine, a big plus. Occasionally, a .300 Blackout cartridge will chamber in a long-throated 5.56, followed by a very loud noise and flying pieces of metal, a big minus.

The best summation I've read has been in the Brit blog Think Defence from late last year:
It makes no sense to replace our small arms inventories now – not unless we foresee ourselves becoming embroiled in a major international conflict within the next five years.
That is probably the bottom line. Ironically, the real competition to the 6.8 in the commercial market is the rise of the now-perfected 7.62 AR-10 platform, as noted by AllOutdoor here. The .308 is a proven product, well known to American shooters and hunters and, overall, maybe the best all-around chambering on earth.


Anonymous said...

Can't help but note that Michael's "perfected AR-10"of 2014 doesn't do anything the German FG-42 didn't do in 1942: i.e., a light handy battle carbine firing a true and proven rifle cartridge, combat effective in semi-, a royal bitch in full-auto. The more things etc. etc. It's also no more than a Springfiled SOCOM.

Charlie Foxtrot said...

Great post! I looked at 6.5, 300BLK, and 6.8. 6.5 was extremely accurate but didn't have the long range energy I was looking for. 300 BLK, with all it advantages, just wasn't moving fast enough, causing a rainbow trajectory out past ~150 yards. Hence its nickname of 300 Dropout. 6.8 SPC II was my compromise.

I've therefore consigned the cartridge to doom and unmitigated failure.

BTW: With the DD 6.8 upper and handloads it's looking like a sub-MOA shooter if/when I do my part.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know of one, just one war, in the last 3,000 years that politicians "foresaw".
The time to be making changes is when it looks like you have time for transition, training, and fixing problems .
Tom Bogan
Laconia NH

Michael Bane said...

I totally agree with Tom and Anon...after laboring mightily, years of painful labor, we have successfully reinvented...the FAL! The finest major caliber battle rifle ever made. Yeah yeah...M-14, G3, say what you will, but the FAL, issued to 90 some-odd countries, was a totally debugged system. I love the SCAR Heavy, and I own both a Colt 901 and a Ruger SR762 (with a DPMS Gen II on order), but if I had to run out of the house with one rifle, it'd be the FAL.

The New Gen DSA FALs are great guns...we've run them side-by-side with the SCAR and it's impossible to pick a winner.


Trent said...

Can you get an FAL? Gabe Suarez was gripping about DSA not wanting to pursue the commercial market (while he touted the PTR 7.62 for what it's worth). Also Mr Uno I don't know where you got your info but the 6.5 beats even the great 175grn SMK 7.62@ super long ranges staying super sonic longer. The 6.8 is great under 400 yards but quickly losses velocity due to low BC bullets. It would be superior in house to house combat like Fallujah while the 6.5 would be ideal in the Hindu Kush. In essence turning every rifle into a DMR. I doubt we would go with the 7.62 for one reason weight. What we go with if we go with anything ( highly doubtful as we have a handful of F-35s to build) will most likely be decided by what theater the person deciding served in. Just my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

From Tom Bogan:
"I'd like to know of one, just one war, in the last 3,000 years that politicians "foresaw"."

Answer: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

Anonymous said...

Not sure the .308 in an AR-10 platform is a viable option. We had the M-14 in .308 back at the start of that ruckus in SE Asia about 50 years or so ago. We switched because the ranges we were engaging the enemy at were much closer and thus we didn't need the .308's range, the length of the M-14 was too long for jungle warfare, the rifle weighed too much, and fewer rounds of .308 ammunition could be carried than the same weight in 5.56 rounds. These days, we need the range and knock-down power of the .308, but not at the expense of carrying fewer rounds or a heavier rifle. Weight of the total amount of equipment an infantryman must carry is a critical factor. If you are going to increase the weight of the rifle and ammunition, you have got to cut the weight of other items to keep within the allowed weight budget.

Overload in Colorado said...

In order from oldest to newest:
Anonymous @12:27- AR-10 is more modular, and has rails to mount accessories.
Uno Mas- 6.5 Grendel is known for its long distance accuracy and it's flat shooting. The problems with it are availability and terminal ballistics.
Michael Bane- a modern FAL with DSA updates is good, but I prefer the button magazine release and, again, the huge aftermarket for parts of the AR (even the AR10) I'm also not a fan of the FAL recoil, but I've never been able to describe why. Same for me with the M-9 Beretta- hated shooting it.
Anonymous @8:08- The reasons you speak of are NOT why we switched to the M-16, except for ammo weight. It was more the Air Force, General LeMay, and a watermelon. Remember that Stoner's original submitted rifle, the AR10, was in .308 until he was asked to scaled it down to .223. The .223 had problems with punching through jungle overgrowth, as well as bulky winter coats. There was also all the teething problems with the new system, from magazines and powder to lack of maintenance procedures, but those were after we adapted it.

Moosejaw said...

Not an AR fan. Never will be. I understand the need for boots on the ground to be able to carry more ammo and have a light pack, but I must reflect back to dad who lugged a garand around the South Pacific and he didn't have to penetrate village walls and car doors. Like some , including Michael have said the FN FAL is a great solution as is the already RE-ssued M-14 variants.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for the next real genius to come up with a weapon system that no one else is even imagining, except for him (or her). That's how real innovation comes about. Everything discussed so far has been tweaks to existing designs. The only thing that the new design will have in common with anything that we currently use may very well be the bullet/cartridge design; not even caliber.

Just wait. There are a few new John Brownings, Mikhail Kalashnikovs and Gaston Glocks out there. I'm sure of that.

Life Member

nj larry said...

@life member...Well I guess u spotted me. But no way I'm giving up the crown jewels without a lucrative reality show contract. It will of course have to be produced by MB and company. With 3D printing should be able to prototype the design in 13 week season. LOL hint hint MB just gave u new show pitch !

Anonymous said...

Hey, I didn't want to blow your cover nj'!

If you can't get Michael to "pop" for the printer, your trusty Black & Decker, some bits, files, hacksaw and other tools that are already in your toolbox will work. After all, you've got 13 weeks to make your new gun from "scratch".

Life Member

Overload in Colorado said...

Shoot, forgot to mention something: 6.8 magazines are different? Are you sure?

Will said...

Requiring a new mag for the 6.8spc doesn't sound right. Heck, the 7.62x39 works in the std mag, at least with only 5 rnds loaded. Load more than that, and the taper of the case causes problems, tipping the bullet down. That's why the proper mag is shaped like a banana.

Michael Bane said...

Am sure...check and the 68SPC forums. Apparently you can get 5-6 rounds of 6.8 to work out of a standard 5.56 mag. My DD 6.8 mags are clearly marked "6.8."


Anonymous said...

All this talk about "Punching" through Vehicles and "Bulky Winter Coats".

Dig up those episodes of "Best Defense" where Janich and Pincus shot AR's through stuff like bookcases, Refrigerators and oh yes a CAR!!!

Seems the AR had no problems "Punching Through" stuff, but I guess that was because J & P are Ninja operators with magical powers.

The bulky winter coat thing was the M1 Carbine in Korea BTW.

They need to issue grunts the M16 not the M4. Heavier barrels = more heat dissipation. Heat kills automatic weapons.

atm said...

I purchased a FAL carbine with an 18" barrel last Christmas that has become my go to gun now. Very comfortable for me to shoot. Handles well. May add a low power scope to complete the package.

Don't know if it is funny, or sad, but I've shot more .308 than .22LR this last year.

Bob said...

If the AK-47 is more likely to go bang every time compared to the AR-15, why don't we see it used in 3-gun competitions? I'd love to see that.

Anonymous said...

Two reasons Bob. 1 follow the money 2 ain't nobody shooting back

Bob said...

roger that

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