Ordinance has the right idea, but the wrong cartridge. It looks like they’re trying to replace both the 5.56 and the 7.62 with the SOCOR 6.8mm. I think for a light, crew served weapon they should go back to the full 30.06 machine gun and get rid of the .308 entirely.
In a previous discussion I indicated that the .257 would be a good replacement for the .223. I’ve been researching it further, and it looks like a 6mm (.243) “secant ogive” of 87 grains would give the best results. With a ballistic coefficient of about .400 its superior to the 62 grain 5.56, and still has decent velocity. As you might know, the flatter the trajectory, the easier it is to stay on target.
This bullet would still be effective to about 500 meters, which is to say very effective at 100-300 meters. And long range effective – as in full auto suppressive fire – out to maybe 1000 meters. The biggest concern with the 5.56mm is that it is not lethal out to the ranges that regular troops are able to target with proper training (et. al., did any of you qualify behind the grenade shed?)
A slightly heavier and larger diameter bullet would solve the problem without sacrificing sufficient velocity and therefore trajectory. If Ordinance foregoes politics and really try’s to do the right thing, I think they should come up with the same conclusion. The only other thing they need is to get rid of that stupid crimp in the middle of the cartridge. It was supposed to stop people from shooting street cartridges in the full auto M-16, but we all know how easy it is to modify.
This gives comparable powder volume to the 6.8, which doesn’t have the crimp either. The reason for the ball propellant was to save money, but in the context of a new cartridge, it makes sense to spend a little more on powder to save weight (along with retooling.)
The ballistics of the 7.62×51(.308) and the 30-06 are nearly identical, in military loads. Why change? Our 7.62 weapons can use ammo from any of our Allies. I don’t think any military uses 30-06 any longer. If they still have some of the old Browning MGs, they’ve been converted to 7.62.
I’m not knocking the 30-06. It’s a fine cartridge, I own four 30-06 rifles. An advantage of the 7.62 is it is shorter than the 30-06(7.62×63), that 1/2 inch means the action has 1 inch less to travel during firing. The shorter action weighs less.
Any Grunt will tell you, lighter is almost always is better.
I may be mistaken, but I believe the Mexican Army still uses the “Mendoza” which is chambered in 30-06 (7.63 X 63). It’s their own design, and I think used the best ideas from the BREN, and BAR for its operation.
As far as replacing the NATO 5.56mm, it’s never going to happen until everyone in NATO, or expecting to be in NATO, will agree to a common new round, and re-chamber all of their weapons accordingly, and chances are they can’t afford to do that.
The original Mendoza design was in 7×57 Mauser, in 1943 they produced some in .30-’06, but they were not adopted by the Mexican Government. After the war he (and his son) tried to develop a “Fusil de Asaulto” in 7.62mm NATO, but that too, was not adopted by the Mexicans, they instead chose the G-3.
Due the Mexican Laws, no company is allowed to export military weapons, and very strict anti-gun laws, Products Mendoza switched to producing office products (compasses, staplers and hole punches) and sporting goods (knives, bicycles and air rifles).
Although now, they do produce a 9mm submachine gun and some .22 cal rifles.
I agree it’s unlikely they will replace the 7.62mm any time soon, unless it’s with 17 wsm ammo a smaller cartridge. More importantly, why is SOCOR trying the 6.8mm M468 if its not needed? Maybe they should shoot for two different .277 cal cartridges. The reason for going back to 30.06 would be that they’re not using the .308 as much as they used to (i.e. M60 etc. replaced with SAWs).
The M-60 WAS NOT replaced by the SAW (M-249.) The M-240 replaced the M-60 and, the 240 is heavier. The SAW is, as the acronym spells, a Squad Automatic Weapon. The Squad level, the M-60 or the M-240 is GPMG, General Purpose Machine Guns. In an Infantry unit, they are a Platoon asset.
I saw the report when it first came out. I work in the firearms industry. Nowhere does the report advocate dropping the 7.62 in favor of the 30-06.
I’ll base my decision on four years as a Grunt.
An M-240 in 7.62 will be lighter than an M-240 in 30-06. The 7.62 ammo is lighter too. The lighter the ammo, the more the gunner and his team can carry. That’s also one of the arguments for the 5.56 against the other rounds.
Now, I’ll give you an example. My Son was a Grunt also. He served three years in an Airborne Infantry unit. He did tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His rucksack alone, in Afghanistan, weighed 104 pounds. Now add his helmet, weapon, ammo, water, IBA etc. The weight difference between a 30-06 weapon and ammo as opposed to a 7.62 weapon can add up real quick under those conditions.