Rear Lug Receiver, and SASS.
I was wondering if anyone else thought that the M25 should have been upgraded to a Receiver with a rear Lug after the Metal Plate was dropped and Bedding became the Standard? Any comments or opinions? Thanks in advance.
P.S. Anyone have a Lead/Link towards the procurement of a Brookfield Precision Tool Piston 7267047 Revision #2?
Upgrading the M25's to a lugged receiver would have required welding a lug or replacing the receivers. That's not exactly practical for a weapon that's essentially obsolescent, and at that time had some serious parts availability issues. Putting that much effort into the M14 just didn't make sense. So doing the lug really wasn't necessary for a practical DM rifle. It makes sense for a target rifle where you need more than just a hit, you need a high scoring hit. But in the field it's an 800m rifle and anything beyond that is just best left to a purpose built long range weapon. So although the lug fixed some problems and made the weapon more accurate, it didn't transform it to a longer range weapon...it's still just an 800m weapon. So I think they made the right call, too much trouble for a rifle that's probably not going to be with us long enough to justify all the trouble.
I LOVE the idea of a Designated Marksman, and the M21/25 is well suited to the task. In the role of the Dragunov, it out-Dragunov's the Dragunov by a good margin. I mean, anything the SVD could do, a properly built M1A/M21/M25 could do better. Certainly the SVD is more reliable and so wsa the FAL and G3...be that as it may, that doesn't mean the M14 was UN-reliable.
But the military had to make a decision because they were pressing M14's back into service and really didn't have much of a supply line for true military spec replacement parts. So they either put the M14 back into production, or go with a new purpose built Designated Marksman rifle. They opted for the M110 and it was the right choice for a lot of reasons. But quite predictably, the M110 has had it's share of growing pains, the same growing pains that the M14 has already worked through.
Whatever they choose next will be dependent upon if they stay with the M4 or move to something else. If they stay with the M4, then they either need to devote more effort into de-bugging the M110, or go with something like the H&K 417. (I personally would love to see a military wide switch to H&K 416's & 417)/ If they go with something like the SCAR 16, then obviously the SCAR 17 makes sense. I hear rumor the Special Ops guys can't get enough SCAR 17's and are generally very happy with them.
The problem with the M14 is the fact that it's difficult to build RIGHT and keep the costs down. Its a rifle from a different technology era, and putting that particular design back into large scale production just doesn't make sense. And then of course, there's the bedding issue.
So in the lug may have solved problems for a target rifle, but it wasn't needed for the designated marksman weapon in combat.
Thanks for the input Kevin. Very valid points now that We look back in retrospect.
Before the shelving of the M-14 By McNamara and the Whiz Kids, every rifleman was a Designated Marksman.
Back in the early 90's Neither Designated Marksman or the M110 had yet to be considered.
So the M25 was supposed to be an upgrade to the M21. While the Government was Re-barreling with Douglas or Krieger Heavy Barrels with Match Chambers, wouldn't it have been faster and more cost effective to just R&R Receiver (instead of of the steel stock liner) that never became part of the final spec, and lent the rifle to be just bedded?
Now by the time the M-14 was being pressed back into service (2000+) for the DM Program the EBR Chassis was chosen in part because it allowed the M-14 to effectively maintain 300-800 Meter Range without the need of bedding.
I think the biggest selling point of the short lived M110 was that it required less Training for Troops already accustomed to M-16/M-4 operations. But the MK17/MK20 are already replacing the M110 in the Special Operator World.
Although I must confess that the Navy never really Shelved the M-14 like the Army or USMC. If they can work out the Optics/Recoil Impulse on the SCAR's, McNamara's Bean Counting Dream of having one Rifle/Platform for all the Services might become a reality. The wheels appear to already be turning.
I don't see a one rifle solution ever. I think the Russians had it right a good 40 years before we caught on. Have a variety of weapons in each platoon to cover different situations. A one size fits all solution never seems to work, that's a less we've learned over and over and over again; yet we still continue to fall for it. That's because it looks so damn good on paper. But even if you have an outstanding do it all rifle, wherever we find ourselves fighting, we find we WANT something very specialized. So I say stick with a 5.56 AR-ish weapon for general issue; it has worked out very well. Then have people trained on special weapons and have a good supply of "other" weapons for when the time calls for them. I like the Russian model, we should have copied what they were doing decades ago; just with better weapons.
I'm somewhat confused about the US to Russian Platoon theory.
In the United States Army, Rifle Platoons are normally composed of 42 soldiers. They are led by a Platoon Leader (PL), usually a second lieutenant (2LT), and with a Platoon Sergeant (PSG), usually a Sergeant First Class (SFC, E-7). Rifle Platoons consist of three nine-man Rifle squads and one nine-man Weapons squad, each led by a Staff Sergeant (E-6). The Platoon Headquarters includes the PL, PSG, the PL's Radio-Telephone Operator (RTO), Platoon Forward Observer (FO), the FO's RTO and the Platoon Medic.
United States Marine Corps
Platoon of the U.S. Marine Corps
In the United States Marine Corps, rifle platoons nominally (per TO) consist of 43 Marines and are led by a platoon commander, usually a second lieutenant (O-1), assisted by a platoon sergeant, a staff sergeant (E-6). The platoon headquarters also includes a platoon guide, a sergeant (E-5), who serves as the assistant platoon sergeant and a messenger (Pvt or PFC). Rifle platoons consist of three rifle squads of 13 men each, led by a sergeant (E-5). In the attack (especially if part of the assault echelon) or in a deliberate defense, rifle platoons are usually augmented with a two-man mortar forward observer team and are often reinforced with a seven-man machinegun squad and/or a four-man assault weapons squad.
The one Rifle for all situations and all Branches is "The Bean Counters Dream" but the Handwriting is on the Wall.
The 7.62 NATO Mk-17 is being Modified into a SASS (Mk 20) and Quick Conversion 5.56 NATO. Government Contracts for the Mk 16 SCAR 5.56 NATO have been pared or cancelled to make way for the Mk 17 5.56 NATO Capability. Granted, this is only at the SPEC OPS Level at present, But the M14 SSR (XM25/M25) Upgrade to the XM21/M21 that preceded the 14 EBR and M110 originated at the same SPEC OPS Levels. So instead of a Politician Leading the change (ALA M-16), if the Mk-17 SCAR Movement continues to a logical conclusion Main Line Troops should one day field the (Multipurpose) SCAR in one version or another.
Quick Link: US Special Operations | Weapons
I guess the biggest question is what will SPEC OPS be using by the time Main Line Troops begin to see the SCAR Variant of the future?
I was talking about the general loadout of small arms available to an infantry unit. We have EVERYTHING available to a Special Ops unit, but often our regular infantry squads need a little more diversity in small arms and we've always tried to get it all done with just one or two weapons.
In 1945 the Germans had a fully functional, highly effective assault rifle. Two years later, the Russians had one. It took us 20 years before we had the M16, and it really wasn't the equal of the AK until the M4.
The Russians seemed to get the infantry platoon weapons load right back in the 1950's.
Weapons for a Russian infantry platoon include:
AK 47/74 - General infantry rifle (7.62/5.45)
RPK 47/74 - Magazine fed squad automatic (7.62/5.45)
RPD - Belt fed squad auto (7.62)
SVD - Designated marksman rifle (7.62x54R)
VSS - Special purpose suppressed assault rifle/sniper rifle (9x39)
PKM - General purpose machine gun (7.62x54R)
With the adoption of the new H&K M27 IAR, at least the Marines now emulate what the Russians had more than a generation ago.
Weapons for a US Marine infantry platoon include:
M4 - General infantry rifle (5.56)
M27 - Magazine fed squad automatic (5.56)
M249 - belt fed squad auto (5.56)
M39/M25/M21 - Designated marksman rifle (7.62 NATO)
M240B - General purpose machine gun (7.62 NATO)
The one saving grace is since it took us a generation longer, we have much better weapons.
I wouldn't mind us adding something like a .300 Blackout AR type weapon that's either integrally suppressed, or short enough to add a suppressor and still stay a handy size. Again Spec Ops has such things, but I'd like to see these available to general infantry. (I'm also guessing the super sonic versions of the .300 blackout would be VERY popular in urban fighting for its increased lethality and barrier penetration).
And some smart upgrades would be to replace the M39 with something more modern, and replace the M240B with the M60E6, which is the best GPMG in the world today.
Increasingly it's boots on the ground that are doing the hard lifting, yet the Quartermaster General is SO incredibly tight fisted about letting new things into the supply lines (especially if you're talking something that takes a new cartridge). We need to open the flood gates for a while, then we'll have a very good idea what works, what doesn't work, what we can live with and what we can live without.
They finally opened up the flood gates on sniper rifles and we now have .308, .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua, and .50 BMG. And our snipers would tell you there's a time and a place for each.
Excellent Post Kevin, clear and definitive.
As this is my Maiden Voyage I'm not sure about the Latitude of Drift allowed within threads, but I did start the Thread so if I can live with it I hope the Moderators can.
Need some common ground to begin: Combat (General) Infantry is Army Specific, The USMC considers "Every Man a Rifleman", Both the Navy and Air Force Components indulging in most Direct Combat can be considered Spec Ops.
So by General Infantry I'll assume We are discussing the Army. First thing first in the Army, POG's (People Other than Grunt's) shall be using M-16's/M-4's until well past the Maximum Service Life of the 5.56 NATO or the Weapons Themselves. (Agreed?) So now on to the foreseeable future, of small arms.
SCAR Bean Counter Philosophy:
SCAR Mk-17 13 inch CQB 5.56 Conversion, Breacher/Sapper M-1014 + Specialty Weapons.
SCAR Mk-17 16 inch Standard 7.62 (Main Battle Rifle)
M240B (Probably not an M60 Variant)
Forward Observer Team:
SCAR Mk-20 7.62 Sniper Support Rifle
+ Main Sniper Rifle.
Notice that the 5.56 NATO has become a Specialty Cartridge and the 7.62 once again is the Mainstream "Battle Rifle Cartridge" for Combat Infantry. No need for Designated Marksman or the M-249 (Stoner in Navy Terms)! POG's will keep the 5.56 NATO alive for more time than the Army will admit to! Now We can come back to the "Main Sniper Rifle".
Alas, the 7.62 NATO M118LR MK316 mod 0 etc... is no longer considered in the "Main Sniper Cartridge Category". It SHALL be Fielded as the Sniper Support or/and Rifle Squad "Main Battle Cartridge" But it lacks "Reach Potential"! (SOCOM's Min Spec is now 1500 Meter's)
Starting with the M-2010, There isn't a Primary Sniper Rifle less than 7.62 X 67 MM (300 Win Mag) Fielded TODAY.
http://www.americanspecialops.com/special-ops-weapons/ Click on any of the Sniper Rifles NOT 7.62 Nato for current Employment.
So round about We have come back to Today's Sniper Rifles, Hope I haven't Broken any rules!
LOL, threads around here tend to corkscrew like the rifling in a barrel... it may take some time but they eventually do come onto target. :)
I just can't see anything replacing the 5.56 as our standard infantry cartridges. As a general purpose cartridge it has served us very well. Mostly because when you pair it with a rifle that's just inherently "shootable" (and the M16/M4 is about as inherently "shootable" as a rifle gets), you end up with a high hit percentage. Now that kinda talk tends to grate on the nerves of us riflemen, but you have to remember that few recruits are what we'd call "riflemen". So "big army" has to think big picture, and thus I just don't see a switch to a 7.62 NATO primary.
And switching to a primarily 7.62 NATO chassis that's in 5.56 is of dubious benefit as well as it will unnecessarily drive up the weight of a 5.56 rifle. And weight is a big part of why assault rifles are issues instead of main battle rifles.
The lifespan of the M16 has been a very interesting one. There have been no less than 4 major projects to replace it since it's adoption, yet it has proven to be a very hard act to follow. I don't know what our next infantry rifle will be, but I do think the M16/M4 will continue to soldier on for a while.
The SCAR seems to be better in every way, but how much better; that's the issue. And that's what "big army" keeps coming up against. Sure they've found "better" rifles, but they're never "better" enough to justify a change. I don't know if the SCAR is better enough.
I think the H&K 416 offers an interesting solution. You can get pretty much all the reliability of the SCAR and even comparable accuracy for a fraction of the price since the M16's and M4's can all be retro-fitted. But you won't get the ultimate versatility of the SCAR.
Funny, but the "end all be all" of being able to do most anything with one weapon system was rejected over 40 years ago; the Stoner M63.
More to add, but first...great conversation, I'm loving your insightful posts on the subject.
More on the 5.56
I'm not sure where this currently stands...
It's been quite some time now, but it was at one time announced that the Marine Corps was standardizing on the Mk 318 Mod O ammunition which featured an open tip bonded core bullet. Essentially a modified version of Federal's Trophy Bonded Core bullet. Apparently the JAG has ruled it an "open tip" bullet not intended to expand for increased wounding, which all of us know is BS; it's an expanding bullet, and a damn good one at that.
(by the way, this is all from memory of what I read about this cartridge a few years ago, if I'm mis-remembering anything, please correct me).
If the US is intending to switch to expanding bullets, the bonded core hollow point, or a solid copper hollow point are the designs that make the most sense as they would likely produce at least adequate barrier penetration. Such a bullet would completely transform the 5.56 as a military cartridge making it about as ideal as one could possibly imagine for a general purpose, general issue weapon. Now you could have actual meaningful lethality and effectiveness all the way out to 800 meters from a cartridge that has almost no perceivable recoil. That's a military dream.
If such bullets are allowed, then what would that mean for other cartridges? How would that change other small arms chambered for other rounds? I personally would want anything .308 changed over to .260 Remington or .25 Souper (basically a .25-08). Then there's the .300 Win Mag...well honestly a .25-06 is flatter (slightly higher BC with .25 bullets) shooting with MUCH less recoil, and with a Trophy bonded core bullet, it would hit with a lot of authority at any distance a .300 WM would. Although it would take a hit on barrier penetration. But I don't think our snipers use the .300 WM because of it's barrier penetration, but because it's a true long range cartridge.
I mean the mind could really wander. I just wonder what the current status is of that round today in US military service???
I must agree that the "Big Army" runs on Dollars and not sense.
" After fielding, operators reversed the previous decision and called for a SCAR platform that could change calibers. The Mk 17 was chosen to be scaled down because it had a larger receiver for the 7.62 mm round, and so the 5.56 mm Mk 16 could not be scaled up to chamber the larger round. The 5.56 conversion kit was finalized in late 2010 and orders began in mid-2011.[44"
The SCAR-L (MK16 5.56 NATO) order for 123,641 Rifles was canceled, while a considerable order it would have only been a drop in the bucket of "Big Army" inventory.
The Navy on the other hand procured both SCAR-L (5.56) & SCAR-H (7.62) for the TEAMS.
"On 9 December 2011, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division released a sole source 5 year IDIQ procurement notice for the Mk 16 Mod 0 (SCAR-L), Mk 17 Mod 0 (SCAR-H), Mk 20 Mod 0 (SSR), and MK 13 Mod 0 (40mm EGLM) from FN to sustain inventory levels. Navy special operations forces procures their firearms through SOCOM and fielded the Mk 16 more than any other unit."
So the 5.56 M16/M4 World may continue as is, but the 7.62 NATO World is already converting. 36,843 FN SCAR-H (7.62) have already been acquired with more orders forthcoming. So the M110, M-14 Variants are being taken out of inventory.
As to the 5.56 NATO Ammo question.
" As the issue of environmentally friendly ammo grew, the Marines looked to see if the Mk318's lead could be replaced while still meeting specifications. They found that by replacing the lead with copper and slightly stretching the jacket around to crimp the nose even more, the bullet's ballistic coefficient increased. To avoid visual confusion with the Mk 262 round, the bullet was entirely nickel-plated for a silver color; the enhanced silver-colored copper jacketed, open tip match, 62-grain projectile was named the Mk318 Mod 1. The Marine Corps will make a decision as whether to field the Mk 318 Mod 1 or M855A1 as its standard rifle round."
Reference Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.56%C3%9745mm_NATO
The "Big Army" is moving to the M855A1, but the USMC has been known to base it's decisions on the "Needs of Riflemen" sort of like the 500 KD Range Qualification verses the 300 KD Qualification of the "Big Army".
I'll include an interesting Read from Shooting Times: The Best 5.56 Load: The Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 - Shooting Times
But I've already covered the SOCOM Minimum 1500 Meter MOA Requirement for Long Range Engagement Rifles & Cartridges. So both the 5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO rounds are not even relevant in the World of Today's Snipers.
Good conversing with you Kevin, caught on to that (Stoner) SAW mention.
Yeah the Stoner was just well ahead of it's time, and political factors just killed the further development of that system. But it really could have been the best of everything a LONG time ago. It never had the .308 capability, but that's not to say it couldn't be developed if there was the demand for it.
Different times, the M60 ruled the 7.62 World back then. Who knew a one time Jungle Conflict would dominate the way Real War's were fought around the globe? I mean Tiger-stripe Camouflage wasn't issued for all the other conflicts around the World, but the 5.56 Assault Rifle Cartridge was? I think that the Wiz Kidz and McNamara got it backwards. JMHO
McNamara would have made a project of tying his shoelaces .... not that he could ever be accused of actually being able to TIE THEM. :twisted::twisted::censored::censored::argh::argh:
And yeah, the tiger strip cammo was damn good.
The rounds per EKIA difference between the two calibers roughly 35:1 for .22 vs 2:1 for .30 probably isn't a valid comparison because those using the .30 have more training/are picked due to their ability to shoot. If you compare the Range Scores of the WWII Folks against current Range Scores the WWII Folks where better Marksmen, was it the shooter's or the Caliber of the rifle?
That and, WWII wasn't quite the "Automatic Weapon In Every Hand" paradigm of today's infantry. They had bigger rounds, and they were trained to Make 'Em Count rather than Spray-N-Pray.
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