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Section infantry weapons

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 14 Dec 2020, 15:02

Little J wrote:wonder why the FN FNC never gets mentioned...


Well it beat Galil (where we started from; how to make a better AK47)
and many more, to become the std Swedish weapon; from Wiki

"From 1975 the FMV evaluated and tested the Colt M16A1, Stoner 63A1, ArmaLite AR-18, Steyr AUG, Beretta M70, IMI Galil, FN FNC, FN CAL, SIG 540, HK33 and FFV 890C (a Swedish Galil variant) 5.56×45mm NATO assault rifles. The FN FNC and FFV 890C were tested in 1979-1980 at infantry regiment I11 in Växjö.

After further testing from 1981-1985 the FMV eventually chose the Belgian FN FNC, which received several modifications."[ like Colt grenade launcher fitting etc.]
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Lord Jim » 15 Dec 2020, 16:14

If we had been able to adopt the EM2 we would have been in a far better situation decades previously. It used an intermediate round which id basically what the US Army is discovering now, in a very small compact package that was reliable. Instead we ended up with a accurate rifle that has probably the worst build quality of any rifle adopted, built as cheaply as possible. It has taken the Germans to fix it but it is now probably one of the best rifles available except for weight, and it is certainly one of the most accurate 5.56mm.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby mr.fred » 15 Dec 2020, 20:37

Lord Jim wrote:it is certainly one of the most accurate 5.56mm

Maybe as a service rifle, but I should think that most of the the AR-15s in civilian competitions will knock it for six.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby jimthelad » 15 Dec 2020, 22:11

mr.fred wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:it is certainly one of the most accurate 5.56mm

Maybe as a service rifle, but I should think that most of the the AR-15s in civilian competitions will knock it for six.


Never in a month of Sundays . The new free floating barrel and Acog sights give it a much better grouping. Also, the bullpup design means the trigger is in front of the bolt and chamber which means you don't get vibration from the bolt closing. Also the AR15 has a muzzle climb like a bitch which means the 3rd round always goes low as you try to regain the sight picture .

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby mr.fred » 16 Dec 2020, 10:04

jimthelad wrote:Never in a month of Sundays . The new free floating barrel and Acog sights give it a much better grouping. Also, the bullpup design means the trigger is in front of the bolt and chamber which means you don't get vibration from the bolt closing. Also the AR15 has a muzzle climb like a bitch which means the 3rd round always goes low as you try to regain the sight picture .

You think that a military issue rifle is going to be better than a competition-fettled rifle? I don’t think that’s likely.

Plus for accuracy you aren’t going to be firing in full auto, so that point is moot. As the AR15 is a straight line, conventionally laid out rifle (i.e. weight forward) I doubt that muzzle climb is that problematic.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby jimthelad » 16 Dec 2020, 19:15

We are not talking about sports rifles (or at least I'm not). Any competition rifle will be better set up than an AR. That said, once you have jumped out of a plane, had a rough landing, dumped a mag going to cover, and rammed home a second with half a sand pit accompanying it ,I would imagine the gucci kit will be buggered. My target rifle was a Ruger .223 with hand turned rounds, a double spring bolt, and a copper lined breech collimator. That could do 6" out to 800m. Would have I taken it into a firefight, no!!

As for breech vibration in firing, all battle rifles are semi or fully automatic. As the breech closed in a standard rifle, the vibration over the trigger assembly causes a natural wobble. If you watch serious marksmen (military), they will tighten the grip to compensate before relaxing to fire (in semi auto). Bullpup designs generally have the trigger forward of the breech do they don't suffer from this vibration. Also, even in semi-auto the muzzle climb means that any subsequent rounds require sight picture re-alingment. This is especially true if you are using optics rather than prismatic or open iron sights. Actually, it is easier in auto because the operator has a tendency to put downward pressure on the foregrip to compensate; also usually the rifle will move to produce a fire pattern; this requires a traverse and therefore better foregrip pressure.

As for muzzle climb, the AR and Colt M4 are second only to the AK and FN-Mag series. The original long barrel M16 had better balance and much better muzzle velocity, therefore cycling the gas piston quicker. This was dropped for ergonomics, weight, and operator preference. As for accurate battlefield weapons, the L86-A2 with the plasmag, well greased bolt assembly, and manually loaded with the gas block set to off will trounce anything out there. Even average marksmen can give accurate (ie in the centremass) fire at 700m. The only thing that will come close is the Finnish version of the AKM or the FN-SCAR in 6.8 with the long barrel (the latter costing about $25000 a copy).

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby mr.fred » 16 Dec 2020, 22:14

jimthelad wrote:We are not talking about sports rifles (or at least I'm not).

Why not? I was, although I was talking about competition tuned ARs rather than bolt action target rifles. These rifles are functionally AR15s, just higher quality components or fettled to fit or both. In terms of ruggedness they’ll be as good as or better than a standard issue military rifle.

There are a number of marksmen’s rifles and sniper’s rifles based on the AR platform as well, both in 5.56mm and 7.62mm. Hardly a choice you’d make if they were deficient in terms of accuracy or reliability.

The original comment that I took issue with was that the L85 was the most accurate 5.56mm. I don’t think that is true.

.
jimthelad wrote:As for muzzle climb, the AR and Colt M4 are second only to the AK and FN-Mag series.

Mechanically, that makes no sense. The AR arrangement places the recoil in a straight line along the the rifle into the stock and into the shoulder. There is little to no misalignment to generate a torque from the recoil force compared to the AK series or the FN FAL where the stock is below the line of the barrel. Not to mention that both of those are firing higher impulse rounds*.
Now the L85 might handle the recoil better, being of similar straight line arrangement and somewhat heavier, but yours is the first testimony I have ever heard that describes the recoil characteristics of the AR family as bad.

*Much higher, in the case of the FAL.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 16 Dec 2020, 22:48

mr.fred wrote: was talking about competition tuned ARs rather than bolt action target rifles. These rifles are functionally AR15s, just higher quality components or fettled to fit or both.


Similarly,
" Sweden that took back the Ak4 (Heckler & Koch G3) and upgraded it with newly developed Spuhr parts and an old riflescope from Hensoldt."

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/202 ... er-rifles/ article then goes on to take a wide sweep of the going ons when accuracy is priced, but bolt action for its limitations in more intense situations is to be avoided:
"Sweden is also evaluating multi-caliber sniper rifles (bolt-action) at the moment: New Multi-Caliber Sniper Weapon System for Swedish Armed Forces.

The French Army recently decided to buy SCAR-H PRs: French Army Selects SCAR-H PR, S&B Scope and Night/Thermal Vision for Sniper Rifle. The German Army is using Heckler & Koch HK417s.

The Canadian Army just decided to buy Colt Canada’s C20, and the Danish Army is probably going a similar route.

The Dutch Army is also looking for a Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR), with the odd fact that the rifle should be capable of using 260 Remington ammunition (6.5 x 51 mm).

It would seem that the idea of the semi-automatic precision rifle is far from dead."

May be (the bolded) not so odd after all, if one looks at e.g. this article

260 Remington Beats 308 Winchester? Maybe — Ron ...
http://www.ronspomeroutdoors.com › blog › 260-remington-...
which concludes that with the 260 Remington having the same case capacity as the 308 and thus with only so much powder space, the lighter bullet is going to be driven faster and that always improves ballistic performance.

So, the Dutch are going for perfection,
whereas Sako (Beretta Group) already have the two rifles -which the linked article really is about - for two different uses (and an army to pay for getting them into service) and have settled for a widely used round that might lose some (BC) at longer ranges, but is good enough and has more impact energy at shorter ranges (where suppressing fire from box-std ARs will be part of the picture)
... how else will you ever get something that as a rifle/ its parts is closely similar and is meant to fit both the DMR and sniper 'bills'
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby jimthelad » 16 Dec 2020, 22:54

Fire both and then we'll chat. If you look on YouTube you can see numerous examples of what I'm saying. The sport rifles you describe all have longer barrels, different gas piston sets, and more compliant spring systems than the standard M4. The spring force on the breech causes significant wobble which is why you see tightening of the grip (again look at YouTube). With the bull pup it is closer to the shoulder and therefore attenuated.

I reckon that if you rechambered the L85 in 6.8mm with the same barrel length, different (stiffer) recoil springs, same free floating barrel arrangement, and a graduated feed gas block and piston it would thrash anything. Won't happen sadly.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby mr.fred » 17 Dec 2020, 00:03

jimthelad wrote:Fire both and then we'll chat.

Is that necessary? I would have thought the dispersion values for both would answer the question quite definitively.
An idle check suggests that US shooters can get 1MOA out of AR15 based rifles. I couldn’t find anything definitive for the L85, but an issue rifle is likely to be more than 1 MOA

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Lord Jim » 17 Dec 2020, 00:54

The fact that I started my post referring to the EM2 and ended with the L85A3 should have made it obvious that my end remark was referring to 5.56mm Service Rifles. Although a Thread title has never stopped anyone from going off topic during discussions, as this is called "Section Infantry Weapons" should again have provided a few hints.

It is the accuracy of the L85A3 out to and beyond 600m that has meant that the British Army is happy to use both it and the L129A1 to provide accurate suppressive fire and remove the L110A1-A3 from service as it couldn't provide accurate fire beyond 300m. The M4 and its other Short barrelled AR relatives cannot come close to the L85A3s accuracy.

As I said the L85A3s downfall in the eyes of some is its weight which makes some units prefer to use lighter weapons like the Canadian C8/L119A1 Carbine, which is in itself a superior M4. The other reason this weapon was selected was that the units adopting it were usually engaged in CQB rather than ranged combat.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Dec 2020, 05:52

Lord Jim wrote:and beyond 600m
this keeps being repeated, but
1. while I have no problem that as for accuracy the L85A3 is in the top group (others have been mentioned above) of ARs,
2. I would like to see some proof.

It was exactly for the reason that standard issue 5.56mm weapons (L85A2 rifle, L86A2 LSW, FN Minimi LMG) at the time* used by British troops are mostly ineffective at ranges over 500 m
- note: ineffective is a composite, to which accuracy is a major contributor
and hence a 2009* UOR competition from which the L129A1 rifle emerged as the winner was launched. Available information from use (not just from tests during that competition... :D competition rifles and all that) suggests that the rifle can deliver such MOA accuracy under field conditions as making it capable of routinely hitting man-sized targets at ranges up to 800 meters.
- as for that 800 range, 2009 Urgent Operational Requirement assumed use of the standard 7.62 x 51 L2A2 ball ammunition produced in the UK at Royal Ordnance Factory Radway Green (RG). You can of course go fancy-pancy with grains (match ammo), but in a tight spot being able to delink 'more ammo' from a MG belt could be well appreciated.

Now, you may expect to meet opponents wearing body armour of modern std, and hence a projectile with a mild steel penetrator core (similar to the 5.56 x 45 mm SS109), but with ballistics still matching the std ball has been developed to allow for the intended effect at range... coming back full circle to the measure of effectiveness/ineffectiveness at range
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Lord Jim » 17 Dec 2020, 16:02

The current 5.56mm Ball ammunition used by the British Army, the L31A1, greatly increases its lethality at longer ranges but is different from what the US are using, the M855A1 EPR. However its terminal performance has been said to be equal to standard NATO 7.62 at ranges up to 600m. The other big change has been to universal adoption of optics, Elcan Spectre OS4x in UK service, meaning service rifles are now able to shot far more accurately at longer ranges and the limiting factor is now the individual soldiers marksmanship, something the British Army excels at.

Put all this together and you have the reasoning the British Army is convinced it can use accurate suppressive fire from the L85A3 supplemented by precision fore form the Section's L129A1 effectively negating the need for a 5.56mm LMG.

Interestingly there have been discussions regarding the removal of the L129A1 from Armoured Infantry units with its role being taken over by the co-axial 7.62mm MG in the Warriors turret. IF this was actually adopted then the same would apply to the planned Mechanised Infantry units mounted in the Boxer 8x8.

As for my original point regarding the superior accuracy of the L85A3, in head to head trials it beat the M4 hands down in all categories having better accuracy, penetration, better resilience to harsh conditions found in both desert and jungle and has a very low rate of stoppages.

The main reason for the UK's SF and other specialist units moving to the L119A2 is that this weapon is ambidextrous, and also can reliably cycle specialist fragmentation and Simunition training ammunition, reducing the risk of ricochet and limiting collateral damage. The fact that the weapons are lighter then the L85A3 is also a bonus.

It has only taken until 2018 for the SA80 to finally reach its full potential, lessons to be learned I am sure.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Dec 2020, 16:37

A good discussion, so don't take my objections as being negative
Lord Jim wrote: Elcan Spectre OS4x in UK service, meaning service rifles are now able to shot far more accurately at longer ranges and the limiting factor is now the individual soldiers marksmanship
I have overlooked this and was still thinking in the 'early A-stan' terms of any such only being distributed to those most in need.
Lord Jim wrote:use accurate suppressive fire from the L85A3 supplemented by precision fore form the Section's L129A1 effectively negating the need for a 5.56mm LMG.
Quite a reversal from the days when MG was the one suppressing and pinning down, so that pairs of the squad (or squaddies of a platoon engaging) could do the fire& move and have aimed shots once well positioned?
- MG's role aside, and as for "precision fore form the Section's L129A1" I would re-phrase that as its sweet spot being 300-500 m ranges when the ARs start to fade in effect (in more than one way) and the semi-auto allowing accurate follow-in shots
- in want of any supporting links I discount your 600 m, which gives further value to the fact that L129A1 is effective all the way out to 800m and is always organic to the section. So organic and valuable that some armies train 3 of the 8 in the section in its use so that one casualty does not remove that extended reach (though only one such weapon is carried)
Lord Jim wrote: IF this was actually adopted then the same would apply to the planned Mechanised Infantry units mounted in the Boxer 8x8.
I agree with the Warrior prospect, but Boxers will be closer to an APC-like battlefield taxi and the dismounts team (= section) will easily spend more time and further away from their vehicle
... so guess what :) : I disagree
Lord Jim wrote: in head to head trials it beat the M4 hands down in all categories having better accuracy

- source?
Lord Jim wrote:penetration

- ibid
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Lord Jim » 17 Dec 2020, 23:23

ArmChairCivvy wrote:- source?

For Starters.
Infantry Small Arms of the 21st Century - Guns of the World's Armies, Leigh Neville, ISBN 978-1-47389-613-0.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Tinman » 18 Dec 2020, 02:35

ArmChairCivvy wrote:A good discussion, so don't take my objections as being negative
Lord Jim wrote: Elcan Spectre OS4x in UK service, meaning service rifles are now able to shot far more accurately at longer ranges and the limiting factor is now the individual soldiers marksmanship
I have overlooked this and was still thinking in the 'early A-stan' terms of any such only being distributed to those most in need.
Lord Jim wrote:use accurate suppressive fire from the L85A3 supplemented by precision fore form the Section's L129A1 effectively negating the need for a 5.56mm LMG.
Quite a reversal from the days when MG was the one suppressing and pinning down, so that pairs of the squad (or squaddies of a platoon engaging) could do the fire& move and have aimed shots once well positioned?
- MG's role aside, and as for "precision fore form the Section's L129A1" I would re-phrase that as its sweet spot being 300-500 m ranges when the ARs start to fade in effect (in more than one way) and the semi-auto allowing accurate follow-in shots
- in want of any supporting links I discount your 600 m, which gives further value to the fact that L129A1 is effective all the way out to 800m and is always organic to the section. So organic and valuable that some armies train 3 of the 8 in the section in its use so that one casualty does not remove that extended reach (though only one such weapon is carried)
Lord Jim wrote: IF this was actually adopted then the same would apply to the planned Mechanised Infantry units mounted in the Boxer 8x8.
I agree with the Warrior prospect, but Boxers will be closer to an APC-like battlefield taxi and the dismounts team (= section) will easily spend more time and further away from their vehicle
... so guess what :) : I disagree
Lord Jim wrote: in head to head trials it beat the M4 hands down in all categories having better accuracy

- source?
Lord Jim wrote:penetration

- ibid

Fan Bois of the M4, and a belt fed 5.56mm neglect to realise the end users would rather not have those. You have the GPMG, you really don’t need a 5.56mm automatic light machine gun to turn rounds into noise.

What’s your experience of either, any firearm?

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 18 Dec 2020, 07:49

Agree, and think the question was directed at LJ?
- would be more than happy to answer on my part
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Lord Jim » 19 Dec 2020, 15:55

ArmChairCivvy wrote:... so guess what : I disagree

I agree with your disagreement, but I have a feeling the Powers that Be will not see the difference between a Warrior or a Boxer providing fire support with their machine guns.

Speaking of which, we do need to look at a lighter sustained fire weapon to eventually replace the good old L7A2. We have a watching brief on the US Army's small arms programmes so any replacement will probably be affected by that and also whether NATO follows the US lead, which could be problematic given that a number of NATO members have only recently adopted new 5.56mm weapons. Mind you even if we stuck with both 5.56mm and 7.62mm, new ammunition and new lighter weapons give us plenty of options in both calibres.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby mr.fred » 19 Dec 2020, 17:23

Lord Jim wrote:Speaking of which, we do need to look at a lighter sustained fire weapon to eventually replace the good old L7A2.

Do we? Why?

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Little J » 19 Dec 2020, 18:15


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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Tinman » 20 Dec 2020, 03:13

Lord Jim wrote:The current 5.56mm Ball ammunition used by the British Army, the L31A1, greatly increases its lethality at longer ranges but is different from what the US are using, the M855A1 EPR. However its terminal performance has been said to be equal to standard NATO 7.62 at ranges up to 600m. The other big change has been to universal adoption of optics, Elcan Spectre OS4x in UK service, meaning service rifles are now able to shot far more accurately at longer ranges and the limiting factor is now the individual soldiers marksmanship, something the British Army excels at.

Put all this together and you have the reasoning the British Army is convinced it can use accurate suppressive fire from the L85A3 supplemented by precision fore form the Section's L129A1 effectively negating the need for a 5.56mm LMG.

Interestingly there have been discussions regarding the removal of the L129A1 from Armoured Infantry units with its role being taken over by the co-axial 7.62mm MG in the Warriors turret. IF this was actually adopted then the same would apply to the planned Mechanised Infantry units mounted in the Boxer 8x8.

As for my original point regarding the superior accuracy of the L85A3, in head to head trials it beat the M4 hands down in all categories having better accuracy, penetration, better resilience to harsh conditions found in both desert and jungle and has a very low rate of stoppages.

The main reason for the UK's SF and other specialist units moving to the L119A2 is that this weapon is ambidextrous, and also can reliably cycle specialist fragmentation and Simunition training ammunition, reducing the risk of ricochet and limiting collateral damage. The fact that the weapons are lighter then the L85A3 is also a bonus.

It has only taken until 2018 for the SA80 to finally reach its full potential, lessons to be learned I am sure.

The main reason for SF to use dissimilar weapons is that the main user of the L85a3 is that it is a identifier of the user.

Being the sole major user of the L85a2/3 it makes them very easy to identify.

The L7 will be around for a very long time, we may follow the USA for future small arms, however we picked the Glock over the SiG.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Lord Jim » 20 Dec 2020, 17:59

Other specialist units are also starting to use the L119A2 is for its greater utility in CQB condition, such as being ambidextrous, but I get your point regarding SF.

The L7 is still a bloody good weapon, shame it took the US so long to realise. Its only real downside is weight, and going down the "Titanium Gun", modification route like the US did in a limited way if not financially viable. It also seems that LMG designs brought up to 7.62mm NATO do not seem to match the L7s performance as far as the UK is concerned even though the Minimi Mk3 is in service with the US military and others like the Negev seem to satisfy their users.

We will probably keep using the L7A2 until something comes along that really changes things. The GPMG being developed in the US using a .308 Magnum cartridge may have some possibilities as it could, if the performance data is to be believed, replace the M2 in some roles.

No doubt though there are a few weapons preloaded onto the Army's UOR list for the next conflict, currently sitting in the "Nice to have", column but not being a high enough priority to justify regular expenditure.

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 20 Dec 2020, 18:24

Lord Jim wrote:The GPMG being developed in the US using a .308 Magnum cartridge may have some possibilities


Would that be a Gpmg as compared to the well tried/ respected MG42's definitely hard hitting round (7.92x56mm), the growth over which for the .338 is 8.5% and 25%, respectively (wouldn't .308 be too close to what is in use for not to bother with a change?)
- in semi-auto a long-range support weapon that can double on 'sniper duty'
- in full auto too heavy to be anything other than vehicle mounted?
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Andy-M » 20 Dec 2020, 19:31

It's always amazed me that the Barrett 240 LWS never got any major orders, an under 20lbs GPMG, no exotic metals involved so keeping the cost down, they've given up marketing it and sold the design rights on to Geissele Automatics.



https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/202 ... rrett-mfg/

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Re: Section infantry weapons

Postby Lord Jim » 21 Dec 2020, 19:18

Sorry my mistake I was talking about the new US Army LMG/GPMG using the .338 Norma Magnum round. Sig Sauer and General Dynamics have submitted designs, both are lighter than the M240 or L7 as we know it yet they can accurately reach out to 1800m and have serious stopping power even at that range. Both use suppressors and the Sig model can use an optic with built in Laser Range Finder! All this and even the recoil is no more than the L7 thanks to the reciprocating barrel.



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