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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alex needs to get in on this. At the very least the XCR deserves a shot at the title, even if it doesnt win the big prize...


http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/0...ebate_052408w/

By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday May 25, 2008 10:17:18 EDT

DALLAS — The M4 Carbine was not named anywhere on the agenda, but the Army’s individual weapon of choice for soldiers dominated discussions at this forum on small arms and fueled the debate over its future on the battlefield.

Speakers representing the small-arms industry, Congress and an arm of the Defense Department’s test community all used this year’s International Infantry & Joint Services Small Arms Systems Symposium to call for the Army to put its M4 Carbine in competition against all comers from the commercial market to find out whether soldiers are carrying the best available weapon into combat.

“We think there should be a competition,” said Bryan O’Leary, speaking on behalf of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in a brief May 21 speech at the symposium.

For more than a year, the Army has been under scrutiny for continuing to equip all of its combat forces with the M4, a weapon that many contend is less reliable compared to more modern carbine designs available today. The Army began fielding the M4 in the mid 1990s.

Coburn has pressured Army leadership to look at other options, pointing to U.S. Special Operations Command’s move to replace its M16s and M4s with the newly developed Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle, also known as SCAR.

Coburn has sought support from other members of Congress to convince the Army to hold a competition open to the entire small-arms industry, O’Leary said.

“We don’t care who wins,” he told audience members. “In the end, the taxpayers are going to win, and the soldiers are going to win and they are going to be carrying the best weapon that you can produce.”

The issue quickly became heated, however, when Air Force Col. Robert Mattes, the director of the Comparative Test Office for the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts, in a speech the same day, also cited the value of a carbine competition.

Retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James R. Battaglini, chief operating officer for Colt Defense LLC, the sole manufacturer of the M4, defended the company’s carbine. He pointed to a recent study by the Center for Naval Analysis that surveyed soldiers on their weapons’ performance in combat. Soldiers gave the M4 an 89 percent approval rating in the study, he said.

“Nobody is complaining from the field. Nobody is writing their congressmen to say they’ve got a problem,” Battaglini said. “Fewer than 4 percent indicated they had experienced a stoppage that had a significant impact during an engagement and only 1 percent of soldiers recommended that the M4 be replaced.”

Battaglini criticized Coburn’s office and others for raising concerns when three other carbines outperformed the M4 late last year in an Army-run reliability test involving extreme dust conditions. The M4 logged more stoppages than the other three carbines combined.

Army weapons officials performed the test at the request of Coburn in July. Coburn took up the issue after a Feb. 26 Army Times report on moves by elite Army special operations forces to ditch the M4 in favor of carbines they consider more reliable. Coburn is questioning the Army’s plan to spend $335 million to buy M4s through fiscal 2009.

“The spin on the dust test [was done] by those that have an agenda,” Battaglini continued, expressing disapproval of Army Times coverage of the M4.

“Army Times is totally out of line ... damning the service weapon that [soldiers in the field] have.”

Battaglini would not elaborate on his comments when Army Times asked for an interview after his speech.

He also pointed out that another symposium presentation, titled “Time for a Change — U.S. ‘Incremental’ Small Arms Fielding: Failures and Solutions” — was to be presented by a former military sales manager for Heckler & Koch.

H&K makes the 416 and the XM8, two weapons that performed better than the M4 in the Army’s recent reliability test.

Currently, Colt is the only company authorized to make the M4 for the U.S. military but that could change after the summer of 2009, when the arms maker will have to turn over the technical data rights to the Army.

Army officials have said the service may let other companies compete for a chance to make the M4 after that. the Army has budgeted $313 million in Colt M4 contracts for fiscal years 2010-2013.

When Battaglini concluded, Mattes responded that he respected Battaglini’s opinions, “but I disagree with them. All we want is a competition; that is all we are asking for.”

Mattes said SOCom did the same thing in 2004 when it held the SCAR competition and now it “has a first-rate, 21st century weapon that they are going to give to their war fighters.”

In an interview after his speech, Mattes said “I am not saying the M4 is a bad weapon system; it could win the competition.”

“Let me make it clear — this has nothing to do with Colt; this is all about the war fighter, and what the war fighter needs. All we are saying is let’s compete [the M4]. If you think this is the best weapon system in the world, then let’s compete it and find out. I don’t know why the Army is afraid to do that.”

Col. Robert Radcliffe from the Army’s Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga., defended the M4 at several points of his presentation during the May 20 kickoff of the symposium.

“The M4 in my view is a world-class weapon,” Radcliffe said, speaking as part of the Joint Services Small Arms Synchronization Team. At Benning, Radcliffe is the head of the directorate of Combat Developments, the office that sets the requirements for Army small arms.

“M4 is effective in combat,” he said, referring to 6,000 entries by soldiers in Benning’s Post Combat Surveys that give M4 “a 90 percent approval rating.

“Our soldiers are not comparing M4 with other weapons; what they know is M4.”

Jim Schatz, the former H&K military sales manager, took issue with the survey results the Army used, saying during his May 21 presentation that soldiers in conventional combat units generally aren’t familiar with rifles or carbines other than the M16 and the M4.

“Keep in mind, most of these soldiers, the only thing they knew was the weapon that replaced the weapon that they received, so their point of reference is very limited,” said Schatz, whose presentation touched on everything from the history of Army weapons choices to how the service has spent several hundred million dollars on futuristic weapons projects that haven’t yielded any real results.

Schatz now works for the Technical Support Working Group, a test and evaluation agency under the Defense Department that supports multiple counterterrorism efforts in the federal government. Schatz did make it clear that his presentation was based on his personal perspective and not the position of TSWG.

His main focus though was to persuade Army weapons officials “to test what are deemed superior small arms that are available on the market today,” he said, adding that his presentation “pertains to more than just one weapon” and “to no particular manufacturer.”
 

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About bloody time!
 

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It seems to be all about the Politics. Bottom line, our service members need the best equipment they can get.
 

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Our armed forces need the 6.8 or something simular that can kick ass. I very much doubt that they will buy a new rifle. That said, the upper could be exchanged on the AR platform, a gas piston swap out in a better caliber would not be near as expensive. That also creates a problem with caliber in the light machinegun. :duh: :2cents:
 

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I doubt they will change the caliber along with the rifle, althugh common sense would say that its the time to do it. The logistics requirement would be as massive as the training needs. Now would also be a good time to start as war stocks of 5.56 are at an all time low and they are also looking at purchasing new rifles so why not buy new rather than old? There will be risk however as it will take time to tool up any new caliber in sufficient quantity assuming it isn't already available in quantity. Then there is increased ammunition cost for the bigger rounds,(more brass , lead and powder). Also NATO would then either have to remain different or switch again and i'll bet they will lobby to remain on 5.56.

They are looking to replace the M249 Minimi light machinegun anyway. I can see one logic stating not to change a weapon during a conflict but that's what they did in Vietnam so lessons learned should make this a smoother process.

Common sense never prevails here and as VB has been hammering into me, don't expect good service from the firearms industry. Their special interest groups and lobbying will win over any other form of common sense. Look at the Dragon Skin washout. Also the only way RobArm will win is if they partner with a larger manufacturer or sell/licence the rights to the design. Currently they are too small to cope with military volumes. Also any lobbying budget would kill the company financials.

Personally I'd like to see 6.5 Grendel come in as it can replace 5.56 and 7.62 out to 1200 yards. But I suspect the US will either remain with the M16/M4 or a piston version of the same.
 

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Cool read.

1) Kickback!, that is the only reason I see change has not been made yet for a newer weapon. Some decision maker is getting major kickback from Colt.

2) Cost. But I don't really seeing it being that expensive (relatively speaking), we pay 13 Billion for ONE F22 FIGHTER JET!!! I estimate the cost to equip the entire Army cheaper than one fighter jet.
 

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There you go, being rational and intelligent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I doubt they will change the caliber along with the rifle, althugh common sense would say that its the time to do it. The logistics requirement would be as massive as the training needs. Now would also be a good time to start as war stocks of 5.56 are at an all time low and they are also looking at purchasing new rifles so why not buy new rather than old? There will be risk however as it will take time to tool up any new caliber in sufficient quantity assuming it isn't already available in quantity. Then there is increased ammunition cost for the bigger rounds,(more brass , lead and powder). Also NATO would then either have to remain different or switch again and i'll bet they will lobby to remain on 5.56.

They are looking to replace the M249 Minimi light machinegun anyway. I can see one logic stating not to change a weapon during a conflict but that's what they did in Vietnam so lessons learned should make this a smoother process.

Common sense never prevails here and as VB has been hammering into me, don't expect good service from the firearms industry. Their special interest groups and lobbying will win over any other form of common sense. Look at the Dragon Skin washout. Also the only way RobArm will win is if they partner with a larger manufacturer or sell/licence the rights to the design. Currently they are too small to cope with military volumes. Also any lobbying budget would kill the company financials.

Personally I'd like to see 6.5 Grendel come in as it can replace 5.56 and 7.62 out to 1200 yards. But I suspect the US will either remain with the M16/M4 or a piston version of the same.
Another point is we outsource a huge amount of ammunition production. If we made a switch to 6.8 for example, it would be an instant ammunition shortage, without any allies to bail us out.

On some level, we need this sort of tough love so the Fed. stops gutting the firearms industry. On the other hand, soldiers need ammo to shoot.
 

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One more thing to consider are the STANAG issues. The only way we can really shift from any of the existing NATO calibers in anything more than a very limited way (i.e. a couple of SOF units) would be to get everyone to commit to a wholesale change. The last one took 25+ years to get everyone on the same sheet of music, so I don't see it happening no matter how much better the round is. Economics don't work.

I'm hesitant to spend money in a wholesale weapons switch, when the improvement they're looking for (the only real improvement to be found for that matter) is the switch to a piston operating system. The tolerances on the M4/16 are always going to be very tight causing problems for dirty weapons, but proper lubing has corrected some of that. The piston system would get past the DI disadvantages while sacrificing some weight advantages and a bit of accuracy (although not enough to deter a combat system from being put in place), and economically it could be done by replacing uppers on existing platforms.

There are enough people building them that a real competition could be had to see if Colt, HK or someone else would win the design and then it'd be an industry competition to see who built the design if the design house is too small to ramp up effectively fast enough.

Interesting ideas.
crap...I just read some of the other posts...hope I didn't repeat too much of what was already said....gotta start reading the threads better....
And VB is right...we've been stripped of ammo production capability by retiring arsenals and ammo plants. There's no excuse for it, and it was short sighted.
 

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The AR.M16/M4 issue isn't so much the tolerances, but the need to lube heavily due to the DI action. The lube attracts dirt and compounds the problem.

Piston uppers would seem the most sensible and cost effective change but as a result is also the reason why they probably won't happen that way. A shame as a piston upper AR is actually quite a good weapon. 16" LWRCs manage an MOA and with a few other changes and you'd have a very nice rifle.

Also a wholesale switch to 77 grain bullets will improve terminal ballistics but a caliber change is tough but manageable. If you announce a change and start stockpiling, six months later you have enough in sores to start issueing the weapons. I was a soldier during the switch from 7.62 to 5.56 and it was smooth. For us, frontline units got the new kit first and the support troops/units got them last. It's expensive as you have to buy both old and new calibers for a while and then keep the old caliber in use until stocks are gone but with ROTC, Cadets and Guard units that shouldn't take long. Here you could always sell the excess to civilian sales.

I think the bulk of the problem is also a comfort zone issue. No one wants to support the move in case it is a failure. For generals and upcomming senior officers that is a carreer killer.

I was surprised to hear that Lake City is the only federal ammo manufacturer left. That does seem a little short sighted given the size of the Us militray machine.
 

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My unit still issues M16A2s, so the "Army wide swap" to M4s is still ongoing. It wouldn't be extremely difficult to phase in a new caliber, we phase in new aircraft all the time. My old aircraft (CH-47 Chinook) is currently undergoing upgrades. A handful of units have the new aircraft while the majority have the old "D" model. I am used to a phased upgrade and switching to 6.8 or 6.5 or 7.62 wouldn't be difficult, at least not in hardware. If they made the desicion tomorrow to switch it would probably 6-8 months until some of the "big" units started receiving them. The major obstacle would be getting the ammo stores built up. I don't think it would be difficult to get the uppers and Mags done. The technology and parts are already out there, people just need to up production.
 

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The rifle they end up with and its ammo needs to be built in the USA ,period.
Giving it all to FNH is very stupid ,one the money and jobs go over seas ,FN is huge and supply's a lot of other country's ,Some of them not real friendly toward us ,and FN has a real bad habit of doing things their way and if you question them about it ,they throw a fit. H&K is also over seas ,and the 416 may be good ,but it isn't any better than what we can make here also if allowed to. Just because you are an American gun manufacturer doesn't mean you fell off the pumpkin wagon last night and don't know anything. Also the US Navy has done extensive research into rail gun technology,it has actually ordered and intends to out fit some of its heavy cruisers with them ,replacing conventional deck guns. The entire concept of gun powder ,cartridge firing weapons is very close to being shadowed. We all hear claims about ray guns ,plasma ,pulse ,sound ,but if you look it up, the rail gun is not a fantasy ,in fact it is real now and it works.Shooting an aluminum ,conductor banded projectile at super sonic speeds over 30 miles is not fiction now. And if the Government did in fact have a working prototype that an individual soldier could use it would be foolish to disclose that at this time.
The impact of that would send other Country's into the biggest arms race we had ever seen.
Think about it ,Like one Scientist said ,If that were the case ,conventional firearms would be obsolete over night and would be like muskets by comparison. Rate of fire would triple ,Battery packs would become the new magazines, weapons could carry three times the ammunition at half the weight and cost , todays body armor would become ineffective, Armor would have to be upgraded if a simple soldiers rifle could shoot a bullet that was made out of anything he needed to penetrate that armor. Don't laugh ,this isn't made up ,it may be the reason we are dragging our feet about riding ourselves of the M4 and the 223.
The gun is one thing ,the coils of a rial gun do not pull as much Amperage as a laser or something else .The projectile on the other hand can even have an impact trigged plasma helix tip on it ,on impact it would go through just about anything we know of ,and this technology is here today and proven.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The rifle they end up with and its ammo needs to be built in the USA ,period.
Giving it all to FNH is very stupid ,one the money and jobs go over seas ,FN is huge and supply's a lot of other country's ,Some of them not real friendly toward us ,and FN has a real bad habit of doing things their way and if you question them about it ,they throw a fit. H&K is also over seas ,and the 416 may be good ,but it isn't any better than what we can make here also if allowed to. Just because you are an American gun manufacturer doesn't mean you fell off the pumpkin wagon last night and don't know anything. Also the US Navy has done extensive research into rail gun technology,it has actually ordered and intends to out fit some of its heavy cruisers with them ,replacing conventional deck guns. The entire concept of gun powder ,cartridge firing weapons is very close to being shadowed. We all hear claims about ray guns ,plasma ,pulse ,sound ,but if you look it up, the rail gun is not a fantasy ,in fact it is real now and it works.Shooting an aluminum ,conductor banded projectile at super sonic speeds over 30 miles is not fiction now. And if the Government did in fact have a working prototype that an individual soldier could use it would be foolish to disclose that at this time.
The impact of that would send other Country's into the biggest arms race we had ever seen.
Think about it ,Like one Scientist said ,If that were the case ,conventional firearms would be obsolete over night and would be like muskets by comparison. Rate of fire would triple ,Battery packs would become the new magazines, weapons could carry three times the ammunition at half the weight and cost , todays body armor would become ineffective, Armor would have to be upgraded if a simple soldiers rifle could shoot a bullet that was made out of anything he needed to penetrate that armor. Don't laugh ,this isn't made up ,it may be the reason we are dragging our feet about riding ourselves of the M4 and the 223.
The gun is one thing ,the coils of a rial gun do not pull as much Amperage as a laser or something else .The projectile on the other hand can even have an impact trigged plasma helix tip on it ,on impact it would go through just about anything we know of ,and this technology is here today and proven.
Sounds incredible...until our soldiers meet the first EMP and get mowed down by people with AK47's
 

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Err, FN's guns for the military are made over here, so the jobs are here.

Also a rail gun can be light, but the 4 ton battery pack is a bitch to carry and reloads take hours.
 

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I didn't know that about the Plant for FN being here ,but still a foreign country.
As far as Battery pack .Wrong ,the entire concept has been around for years in something called a Liner Motor.
Onan Cooperation used them successfully ,and still is in their Automatic transfer switches.
The conductive rod would move through a series of coils that move both of the disconnect levers up ,then reverse the polarity and move them down. When i worked for them we layed one on a table by itself and powered it up ,BAD move ,the rod went through the wall .into the parking lot and through the cab of a truck and into a field.
The principal is that you are moving the rod through coils in a series that fire their magnetic pulse one after the other.
These coils only have to be energized for Milli seconds ,not remaining latched in which would require high Amperage, The total power draw is in Milli amps .
Also the use of a Buck Boost Amplifier transformer allows you briefly to apply Milli amps to the primary coils ,and produce higher currents on the secondary if needed.
With todays technology ,a 6 volt battery the size of a magazine with amp load capacity of 5 amp duration for one hour .like in most hand held two way radios ,broken down into a 3 watt cycling activation would be able to pulse over 250 times. Like you taking the hand held radio and hitting the transmit button over and over briefly until the battery went dead.
Hay ,this really is my job !! Amp draw would depend on the weight of the projectile,being that the coils in series had to pull it from coil to coil to achieve the needed velocity ,this weight to field current ratio is where the battery size and power come into play.
This is where the Aluminum or Titanium projectile for foot soldier use comes in with conductor bands around it for the magnetic Fields.
A Navy Ship has large Generators .so a Naval Vessel could do what ever it wanted.
Also ,rule of thumb ,Higher voltage means lower Amps , but KVA remains the same so the coils would need to be wound accordingly.
Its really simple stuff guys and its been around for years ,if there is a hold up on these it is not weight ,or battery's ,it is how long they would be to get enough coils in them to achieve the velocity and range you wanted. smaller coils mean less weight ,but you need more of them.
Large coils mean a shorter rifle ,but it adds weight and they would draw more off the battery.
Rail and Mag Liv Trains also work by this principal ,and have been used for 30 years .
The coils on these trains have to be layed out the trains entire route to keep it moving, and levitated. These coils are very small for the train to move over them ,and are segmented every 5 feet over miles of track .Showing you it doesn't take the power you might think to pull and float a 20 ton Train ,or shoot a bullet ,or then it would be called a Bolt.
 

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Hey, I learned something. How come the navy isn't using this for their rail gun technology platform? Their solution currently appears to be generators charging capacitors.
 

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Weight / power ratio Mickey ,and it is a rail platform ,but like i said ,A Heavy Cruiser has Big Generators so they are not limited to how heavy the projectile is ,what it is made of ,and they can have coils as big and powerful as they want.The Caps called electrolitics are only a way of storeing an imense amount of energy when useing AC to fire a heavy load and take the strain off the feeding wireing ,an aluminum projectile wouldnt be what they would want to fire at another vessel ,they would still want explosives in it ,and pierce heavy armor . Some of the videos on the web show the guns firing ,both in testing and on ship prototypes ,the noise of a gun that size still sounds like a Cannon. I was showing the answers to the obstacles in making a weapon using this technology self reliant and Mobile .as one for a soldier would need to be. The Air Force is testing them on Aircraft ,The Army is on Armor, any vehicle with an engine wouldn't be restricted to battery packs like a Soldier would be. A Train moving through the country could pick up power from several points along the line. Battery packs are not even needed ,but the Military may use them as a back up like say on a Tank ,or Ship ,Enemy fire takes out your engine or Power Plant you still want to be able to fire. Other than that AC ,voltage rectified and transformed to DC voltage to to fire your weapon. If the Tank is DC and i am sure they are ,then no problem if fireing lighter bolts ,and this Tank may also need to use Caps of the DC variety when fireing heavyer rounds ,but the Ship would be AC . But the rail coils will always be DC because of direct polarization ,you know ,positive to negative. AC would work great like this because it can be Produced and sent in high voltage ,long distances and is easily transformed and it would work well for really big guns ,and the DC end would need to be matched to the rated coil voltage and amp load with coils that were large enough to have a wide range of tolerance ,but very heavy ,likewise with the Tank. The soldier ,and his weapon may incorperate Caps ,but then you add weight as opposed to small magnatron ,transducer , or tricac ,that would boost and pulse the voltage from the battery to the coil and bolt specs. His weapon would be speced out exact ,adding anything to the bolts weight would have to result in a smaller or shorter bolt ,saveing weight ,power consumption ,size of the weapon and keeping it simple yet powerful would be the goal ,in other words when building his weapon it could only fire what it was set up to fire as far as weight of the bolt ,you could sacrifice Velocity, but then you start adding to the weapon with computers that would change coil voltage ,rate of pulse ,causeing less battery life.
I had to go to a school in Mich .over the Train aspect of this ,and in that they discussed all of this ,and the Professor talked about the weapon aspects of this in real life.
Ray guns ,pulse rifles ,photon torpedo's , now all of that isn't feasible in todays real world.
But this is , and it isn't a pipe dream ,the science is there and it can be done ,and if anything replaces gun powder it will be this as a reality.
Case less ammo was experimented with by several company's ,it had a lot of draw backs and problems.
If this is so why hasn't some other Country come up with this?
Simple ,Price ,a true hand held rail gun a Solder could carry isn't going to be cheap ,and the man who Carry's it needs to at least be smart enough to use it.
An AK is cheap ,and there are lots of them out there.
Also ,coil rail synchronizing is an American original ,never used anywhere except here because of price until now , other materials used in the production of the coils make them even more efficient ,and i bet that is classified as well as the new Battery technology coming out and the Micro chip that is small enough to fire the coils correctly.
Even NASA is looking into this as a way to replace Rockets as a means to launch into space.

Sorry ,i added to this to explain more of what i was trying to get across
 

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Oh ,as far as weapons go , Rails really only have one true competitor.
Microwave focusable cluster pulse , Raytheon has done a lot with this and i am sure it is turning some heads. Not good for Ships ,Armor , buildings ,but devastating to flesh.
Vaporizes it on contact , in weaker use ,it is being looked at as the answer to what Police want in a weapon for passive force. But like the flash on a camera ,the cathode has to charge up coming up pulse level.
Spielberg in his movie war of the worlds ,the new one that sucked ,read about this technology ,and what Raytheon showed would happen if it was shot at a 10 pound piece of meat. So he adopted something like it to the weapon used by the invaders ,he mentions this in the making of DVD.
Sounds very nasty huh ?
 

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Sen. Coburn is doing the right thing. The COO of Colt, Battliagi is a man with connections on Capitol Hill and in the Pentagon. Let's face it, if I was out in the desert, I would not want something that jams as much as the M4.... and I'd certainly would want a caliber that knocks Hajji down!!!!

My nephew was over there... some of the insurgents had body armor... the 5.56 wouldn't do a darned thing to them. One of the Tennessee Army National Guard boys had a 12 ga with deer slugs... one insurgent got it straight in the chest, down he went. Darned near killed him....but he didn't get up.

There's an expert on ballistics wounds at Bethesda Naval Hospital who says up and down that the barrel on the M4 is not long enough to get the proper velocity on the M855 round to do damage.

Let's face it... the reason the Army has Colt doing all the M4s is because someone at the Pentagon is getting BJs and promises of a cushy post-retirement package. That's how Pentagon purchasing REALLY works. Just ask Darleen Druyun. Yeah, she got 9 months in prison but got to keep her pension!!!!
 
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