Article Archive: Current 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics
Weapons: Another 7.62mm Bullet For M-16s
   Next Article → MURPHY'S LAW: Israel Cuts Turkey Off
December 27, 2011: During the last decade there have been several attempts to get the United States to replace the 5.56mm rifle round with something more powerful. A 6.8mm round was popular for a while but never caught on. Now there's a new round, the 300BLK. This is a 7.62 bullet using a similar size (35mm long) cartridge as the 5.56mm round. Thus, all you need is a new barrel for your M-4 or M-16 rifle. The larger and heavier 7.62mm round is more effective at blasting through walls and doors and many troops believe it has better stopping (of soldiers it hit) power. American troops would sometimes use captured AK-47s (and their 7.62mm ammo) to test this theory. This fed the demand for something like the 300BLK. A year ago, the 300BLK was approved for manufacture, and tests both on and off the battlefield are under way. The 300BLK can use the same magazines as the 5.56mm round.

But the fate of the 6.8mm round should be considered before declaring the 300BLK has a bright future. Six years ago the new 6.8mm rifle round developed for SOCOM (Special Operations Command) became available commercially as the 6.8mm Remington SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge). There were some problems in manufacturing the 6.8mm SPC. Remington began work on the new round in 2002. It used the case from the old Remington .30-.30 (which was not a true .30-.30, as it was rimless). SOCOM began testing the 6.8mm round in M-16s and M-4s modified to accommodate it. The 6.8mm round was more accurate at longer ranges and had more hitting power than the 5.56mm round the M-16 was originally designed for. Out to about 600 meters the 6.8mm round had about the same impact as the heavier 7.62mm round used in sniper rifles and medium machine-guns.

The 6.8mm, 5.56mm, 300BLK, and 7.62x39 AK-47 round are all considered "assault rifle" rounds. This concept of a less powerful rifle round came out of research begun towards the end of World War I. During the 1930s, the Germans studied their World War I experience and concluded that a less powerful and lighter rifle round would be more effective. This resulted in research on a smaller 7mm round, but with World War II fast approaching this effort eventually produced a shortened regular (7.92mm) rifle round. During that war, the Germans developed the first modern assault rifle, the SG-44. This weapon looked a lot like the AK-47 and that was no accident. The SG-44, like the AK-47, used a shortened rifle cartridge that was developed before the war (7.92mm for the Germans, 7.62mm for the Russians, which is still used in the AK-47).

This gave the infantryman an automatic weapon that could still fire fairly accurate shots at targets 100-200 meters away. The SG-44 and the AK-47 had about the same stopping power as the 6.8mm SPC and 300BLK at those shorter ranges. What a coincidence. The AK-47 didn't have the accuracy of higher powered bullets but the Russians didn't see this as a problem, because most troops using it had little marksmanship training. If they had to kill someone they could fire at full auto. The U.S. M-16 and its high speed 5.56mm round, was more accurate than the AK-47 when firing individual shots at shorter ranges. But the wounding power of the 5.56mm (.223 caliber) bullet fell off rapidly at ranges over a hundred meters. The American military, and especially SOCOM, train their troops to fire individual shots and do it with great accuracy at any range. A number of new rifle sights have made it even easier to do and makes first round hits at longer ranges easier to make. This made the longer range shortcomings of the 5.56mm round more obvious.

SOCOM used the 6.8mm round in Iraq and Afghanistan and the troops liked it, but not enough to cause widespread adoption. There was also resistance from senior (non-SOCOM) generals to any consideration for replacing the 5.56mm round with the 6.8mm. To further complicate matters, there was a new 6.5mm “Grendel” round being tested as well and some troops preferred it to the 6.8mm SPC. This was because the 6.5mm round is more accurate than the 6.8mm one at ranges beyond 500 meters. At the moment, no decision has been made about any replacement for the 5.56mm round. The 300BLK is unlikely to change that.

 

Next Article → MURPHY'S LAW: Israel Cuts Turkey Off
  

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Pages: 1 2 3 4   NEXT
WarNerd       12/27/2011 2:08:17 PM
here is a manufacturers/proponents web document on the 300BLK.
http://300aacblackout.com/resources/300-BLK.pdf" href="http://300aacblackout.com/resources/300-BLK.pdf">http://300aacblackout.com/reso...
 
There are a number of claims/comparisons in it I would consider of dubious merit vs. the 5.56mm M-4.  In particular:
Claims of greater versatility (whatever that is), despite acknowledging lesser effective range.
 
Claims of better accuracy, but the numbers to support this claim on page 13 are comparing the average spread at 100m for the 300BLK to the extreme spread at 200m for the M-4.
 
Claims of better suppression fire, despite the heavier recoil. It is notable that the weapon rated best for suppression is a 4.6mm PDW, which has the lowest recoil.
 
Claims of improved barrel life include credit for proprietary barrel (not bullet) coating.
 
Quote    Reply

YelliChink       12/27/2011 3:12:40 PM
The real reason for 300BLK is for a single system to fire both supersonic and subsonic ammo.
 
Quote    Reply

Colin Campbell       12/27/2011 3:48:36 PM
When I was in Iraq just about all of the troops were clamoring for the 6.8 round - however the Pentagon bureaucracy thought that is would be too expensive to replace the 5.56 with something better.

The primary resistance to getting a better bullet is the Pentagon bean-counters.
 
Quote    Reply

JFKY    Colin   12/27/2011 4:19:34 PM
To Summarize HorseSoldier who used to post here:
1) SOCom used it and didn't think it was worth the extra bother...
2) It may be better but is it BILLIONS of dollars better, because to re-do the M16/4/249's in the US arsenal is going to take BILLIONS.
3) What IS "better?"  Is it more "lethal?"  Define lethal...only the .45 Caliber and the .50 caliber can be considered one-shot lethal, so unless you are going to be carrying Delisle Carbines and Barretts NO weapon is going to be lethal.
4) "troops" in Iraq, WHICH troops in Iraq, Horse reported most complaints came from troops who didn't fire their weapons...so mayhap more target practice, rather than a different round would be a better bet.  No one dies from a bullet that doesn't hit them.
5) Yellichink, who cares if it fires a sub-sonic round?  The goal of a Ranger/Light Infantryman/Marine Rifleman/Mechanized Infantryman ISN'T stealth, it's accurate fire out to 600 metres to kill, wound or suppress the enemy, it's not sneaking up on someone and using a suppressed/silenced weapon.
 
Quote    Reply

YelliChink       12/27/2011 4:28:09 PM


  5) Yellichink, who cares if it fires a sub-sonic round?  The goal of a Ranger/Light Infantryman/Marine Rifleman/Mechanized Infantryman ISN'T stealth, it's accurate fire out to 600 metres to kill, wound or suppress the enemy, it's not sneaking up on someone and using a suppressed/silenced weapon.

The round is developed by the company which is well known for making sound suppressors.
I didn't claim that it is superior to 5.56NATO. I didn't say that the intended purpose is for regular units.
 
Just say what it is.
 
Suppressed deer hunting could be fun, though.
 
Quote    Reply

Rick9719       12/28/2011 12:05:29 AM

2) It may be better but is it BILLIONS of dollars better, because to re-do the M16/4/249's in the US arsenal is going to take BILLIONS.

It's hard to think of anything more important to the US Army than getting the bullets right.  With what we've learned about the importance of aimed shots and the improvments we've made in materials, switching back to the 7.62 M-14/M89/Socom makes sense and would be worth the money.
 
 
Quote    Reply

WarNerd       12/28/2011 2:29:01 AM

Suppressed deer hunting could be fun, though.
A low velocity round with limited penetration and hardly any wound cavity. Don’t bother with expanding bullets, they won’t work that slow. You will need to be close to get reliable hits, and unless you get the brain or the heart you better be prepared for a long chase, unless you are the type of hunter that will just let the animal suffer for days before it dies.
 
Or you could just take up bow hunting. It is quieter, has better penetration, and with broadheads they bleed out quick. Plus the season is longer. 
 
Quote    Reply

JFKY    Ricky   12/28/2011 10:46:31 AM
7.62mm X 51mm is far to big a round...the vast majority of Infantry Combat (WWII evidence) occurs within 200 metres, the rest within 400 metres to 600 metres.  Verty little combat occurs at ranges greater than 600 metres....and as a GLOBAL force, that matters...we won't be fighting in Afghanistan, the next time. 
 
And why is 7.63mm "better?"  Be specific.  Is it more "lethal?" Define Lethal....
 
Quote    Reply

YelliChink       12/28/2011 11:30:32 AM


7.62mm X 51mm is far to big a round...the vast majority of Infantry Combat (WWII evidence) occurs within 200 metres, the rest within 400 metres to 600 metres.  Verty little combat occurs at ranges greater than 600 metres....



Russians adopted this approach since WW2.
 
Their way of dealing with it? Anything but single caliber solution.
 
That's why they have DMR with Dragunov integrated at platoon level.
 
That's the rare thing which Russians got it right from the beginning.
 
 
Quote    Reply

JFKY    Yellichink   12/28/2011 11:40:03 AM
What are you saying?  I don't follow...the US doesn't have a single caliber policy, hasn't since the M-16 was adopted...PRIOR to that it did, 7.62 X 51 (M-14, M-60/1917/1919) or .308 (7.62mm X 63mm-Garand/BAR/Browning MMG).
 
I'm saying the Garand/Lee-Enfield/Mauser/FN-FAL/G-3 are a waste of resources...too large a round, for their user(s).  The M-60/Browning/Bren/MG-42/MG-4 are a better use of the round.  And a move to re-adopt the 7.62mm NATO is a mistake, for the rifleman, because it's too large and long-ranged...most infantry combat occurs at 400 metres or less...and an infantryman needs a weapon optimized for that, not a round that is lethal to 800-1,000 metres, producing too heavy a weapon system, with too much recoil, on a target set the infantryman doesn't engage. 
 
Quote    Reply
1 2 3 4   NEXT