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December 11, 2003
Better bullets

Looks as if the Army is experimenting with upgrading the varmint rifle M-16 to accomodate a larger round, 6.8mm versus the 5.56mm round currently in use.

Kim has had a lot to say in the past about the M-16 being, alternately, a "banjo" or a "poodle shooter" (or both simultaneously), and I find it hard to disagree with his assessment. The 5.56mm NATO cartridge is simply inadequate (unless your primary concern is the number of rounds a soldier can carry.)

Up-gunning the M-16 (and the M-4 carbine) to a better round (more energy on target = more knock-down/stay-down power, e.g., more lethal) has to be an excellent idea. Let's see if the Department of Defense has learned anything about weapon systems at the low end of the scale.

And no, I don't mean this monstrosity.

Posted by Russ at 05:40 PM, December 11, 2003 in Guns & Shooting

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Jeff Cooper proposed a concept he called "Thumper." It's basically a short, light, semi-auto only carbine in .44 Automag or .45 Win Mag. I would have a 20 round magazine and operate via the "Bang system" - with a muzzle brake capturing gas and pulling the weapon forward, at the same time providing energy to unlock and actuate the breech.

He maintains that such a design would have the advantage of reliable single-round stops out to about 250 meters with manageable recoil. (Essentially, "Thumper" is a handy, semi-auto, military version of the venerable 94 Winchester lever gun in a heavy pistol caliber.)

Interesting idea, but the chances of it seeing the light of day are about zero.

Posted by: Moriarty at December 13, 2003 11:44 AM

I'm not so sold on the idea that 5.56 is inadequate. I served as an airborne infantryman, and was very attached to my M-16. The purpose of the lighter round, from the briefings I received over the years, isn't to kill, but rather to incapacitate. A wounded enemy soldier is a huge burden to enemy supply lines -- he has to be carried back by two other troops, then treated, fed and tended. Dead is just dead.

The same logic went into the AK-74's unbalanced rounds, which cause horrific injury, by all accounts.

Anyway, not an expert, but this is what I've been taught along the way.

Posted by: Discoshaman at December 15, 2003 07:02 PM