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"How do you rate the modern armies rifles?" Topic


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829 hits since 24 Feb 2017
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Field Marshal24 Feb 2017 2:42 a.m. PST

Whose do you think is good? which ones need replacing?
Looking for an interesting discussion on as many of the rifles used by modern forces as possible

Gaz004524 Feb 2017 3:07 a.m. PST

The Israeli Tavor is an interesting ' adoption' by one of the most active militaries in the world, a bullpup design that fits with the IDF mechanised formations and seems to be well designed and built.
The Austrian Steyr, H&K reworked SA80 and even some Russian bullpups are pushing against the conventional battle rifle layout.
The saga of bigger/smaller cartridges and range/effectiveness continues…..development of mid size round's, akin to the 7.62x39, continues….I've seen talk of 6.8 and 7mm rounds….but it would take years to roll out across an international group such as NATO…….unless there was a sudden leap in caseless ammo or some such.
The AK will be around for a good few years yet! Ease of use and sheer ruggedness are great traits to have…..price and availability back them up too.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2017 6:01 a.m. PST

The M16 platform is pretty solid and so deeply embedded in popular use that making any major changes to the current US rifle setup will be an uphill task. Future US rifles will retain this configuration (safety, mag release etc) until something really new comes along. You can see this in weapons like the SCAR and H&K 416, which outwardly look like an M16, but are mechanically very different.

Bullpup rifles seem to have lost their lustre. The SA-80 was a distaster, the FAMAS was ok-ish, the AUG was probably the best of the batch, but is starting to show its age. As for the TAVOR, I've heard both good and bad things, but I'm a bit wary of a weapon whose exterior was designed before they actually decided what mechanism would fit inside. Some love it, others feel it's one of the most over-hyped weapons out there. The AK-12 looks promising and the AK-74 still remains a viable weapon. Bullpup rifles are an interesting option when you want a compact weapon with a rifle-length barrel, but the ejection and weight distribution remain problematic and most people seem to prefer shooting a conventional design. Indeed both the British and French have taken to more conventional weapons for certain units.

Modern M16 variants have benefited of decades of improvements to the point that most are probably even more reliable than say an AK. I've seen M16 and AR-15 perform extremely well in mud and debris torture tests. The old received wisdom that the AK can keep on going in the worst conditions is a holdover from five decades back, when most existing firearms were more sensitive to dirt, but the tight fit of the M16 receiver and bolt, once said to be the cause of many problems also prevents dirt and debris from getting in the rifle whereas the AK can take a lot of dirt, the mechanism will shut down if too much junk gets inside.

I've previously said that the original idea of 5.56mm, hydrostatic shock and wound cavity and all its Byzantine intricacies never really has been proven in reality. The 5.56mm is a small, light, high velocity projectile which will easily go in any random direction as soon as it hit something, sometimes tumbling and fragmenting inside the target. But there is only so much traction you can get out of the bullet. A 6.5mm and thereabouts round has a better ballistic coefficient and even the russian 5.45mm has the advantage of being a much longer bullet with slightly higher mass and the capacity to do more damage when tumbling (forget the nonsense about the nose cavity being some fiendishly clever attempt to shift the balance of the bullet, the Soviets simply didn't have decent quality control and recent ammo has actually removed that cavity.)

Modern rifles have certain requirements, unlike say 20+ years ago, you can't issue a clean rifle to any "major" nation, modern rifles need extras such as scopes, bipods, more rails than a Marklin trainset and more such things, so much of the weight that was saved by switching to plastics, smaller ammo and reducing the length is being lost to more accessories, meaning that some have looking into making weapons like the M4 into "sub-carabines" trying to lighten it even further and ditching anything that even looks like a full size rifle. Bullpups don't really cut down on weight either and with certain disadvantages have never become mainstream. And weight-saving causes problems down the line. The G36 suffers from chronic overheating due to the use of lighter materials that don't disperse heat as easily as a more conventional design.

Designers seem to have stepped away from increasing the mechanical complexity caused by three-round burst or the system tried in the AK-94, we seem to be back good old, safe, semi and full auto for many modern weapons.

Lion in the Stars25 Feb 2017 6:36 p.m. PST

Honestly, the major change I expect to see eventually is a caliber change. 6.5mm caliber throwing a ~9gram slug at ~770m/s as the basic infantry ammunition, for both basic rifle and Squad Automatic/LMG. While that does happen do be 6.5mm Grendel specs, ironically it's also 6.5mm Arisaka stats from over 100 years ago. Note that this could replace 7.62mm MGs. In place of the 7.62mm MGs, I'd expect a change to 8.5mm/.338.

Either that or we're going to see a split in military weapons:
For 'civilized' war between European nations (and other signatories/followers of the Geneva Conventions), pansy-caliber weapons like 5.7x28. Just enough to wound a person and suggest that they might need to sit out the rest of this fight.

For counter-insurgency warfare, bigger bullets that will hit hard enough to incapacitate someone high on qat/hashish/opium.

In either case, I don't expect a caliber change to happen before the US finishes the LSAT program and transitions to caseless ammo (dragging the rest of NATO along for the ride).

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2017 2:45 a.m. PST

Every time someone brings up a change in calibre, the military does everything to confirm that the 5.56mm can handle any job, except long range effectiveness, barrier penetration, a consistent wound pattern and squeeze more velocity from increasingly shorter barrels.

They also love to point out the massive disadvantages like "greater recoil" which would cause increased discomfort to the shooter. (Our thoughts go to the valiant GI's who had to endure the perpetual torture of having to fire 30-06 ammo in WWII !) Or the increased weight of the ammo that severely affects the amount of "vital tactical gear" that can be spammed all across the surface of the weapon.

And then there are those who flatly claim that rifles are useless on a modern battlefield anyway and that the person with the radio is the one doing all the killing, calling in arty and air strikes.

With costs rising and new Chiefs being picked for the accountancy skills above all else, it's highly unlikely that anyone will risk submitting the bill for a new ammo type and all further costs down the line. And even when they do introduce new ammo, at least a quarter of military personnel will find a damn good reason to keep their 5.56mm kit going. Just like they still find ways of keeping the M14/7.62mm going or the .45 and the 1911 …

Lion in the Stars01 Mar 2017 6:08 p.m. PST

@Patrick: that's why I don't see a caliber change happening before the shift to caseless (or plastic case-telescoped, but most likely caseless).

Make it so that the caseless 6.5mm doesn't weigh any more than a brass-cased 5.56mm and half the arguments against the change go away. Sure, it recoils a little more, but you can still hold an AR15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel to your genitals and fire it without ill effects.

Murvihill02 Mar 2017 10:09 a.m. PST

"…but you can still hold an AR15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel to your genitals and fire it without ill effects."
Ask him how he knows.

Lion in the Stars02 Mar 2017 8:23 p.m. PST

evil grin

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