Monday, June 22, 2009

Great M One Four pic from Afghanistan courtesy of Jeff Knox

He forwards with comment: "M14EBR-RI Being issued to 1 "Designated Marksman" per platoon moving toward 2 per platoon. Weight with scope and bi-pod is about the same as a wood-stocked M14."

Here's another image I found myself.

It is obvious from these photos why the troops want 7.62 NATO and larger caliber weapons. The terrain demands really long-distance shots.


nick said...

Love your stuff Mike, but I think saying, "It's obvious from the photos that troops want..." is a stretch - no matter where you are in the debate. I'm not saying that the conclusion is incorrect, but two pictures don't quite prove it.

nick said...

Sorry Mike, I read, "obvious THAT they want..."


pdxr13 said...

Long-distance shooting in terrain like Afghanistan rock hills will make a math wizard out of you if getting hits is important.

Having the biggest gun is not as important as being able to calculate and place the first shot. Surprise is the key to winning, and you only get that once per situation.

Bullet weight and shape make a huge difference past 800M. How much of a monster .30 cartridge you use is a better predictor of barrel throat erosion than hits/kills at a klick.

The .308Win/7.62Nato cartridge is a very efficient use of weight and powder to throw a bullet accurately. Throat erosion is much less than .300WM, and in a semi-auto, this is significant. I suspect that significant gains for DM hits at extreme range is to be had with better/more practice/training in similar terrain and hand-loading for their weapon. DoD would prefer to not depend on (expensive) training and individual Soldiers & Marines, instead add new hardware.

Weight is an issue when humping up hills at 8500+ feet above sea level. Even when I was in great shape, the hills of the front range in CO would set my lungs on fire and leave the big leg muscles working anaerobically (not for long!), so I sympathize with a soldier packing 65 pounds + weapon systems up in the thin air of Afghanistan.


Qi Ji Guang said...

In the Shot Show they had featured a new weapon built by Magpul Industries. It was called the Masada, and it claimed to be the most versatile combat system ever built.

You can even just switch some major component parts, and instantly convert a 5.56 chambered M-4 design right into a 7.62x39 chambered hunting or sniper rifle.

I wonder if the Masada is already being used by the troops in Afghanistan. The way they were talking about it at the Shot Show, it seemed really impressive.

pdxr13 said...

Neither the short-barrel M-4 firing 5.56NATO nor 7.62x39 do the long-range precision-fire job needed in Afghanistan. They are both great in the hands of gate-guards (better than an M-1C or a .45Auto) and mass-fire units of soldiers going after an inferior (number and quality) enemy.

On their terrain, I'm not sure that a genuine Afghan fighter is the inferior of the US soldier. He is a worthy enemy that makes up for his low-tech and make-shift weapons with patience, knowledge of the land and people, and many sons with many guns.


tom said...

Long Distance Shooting doesn't have anything to do with 7.62 NATO. Couch it however you want, there's better tools for that trade.

Having the biggest gun isn't terribly important, notice that past 300 yards the 6.5 Grendel stomps the 7.62 NATO rounds and if you're aiming a couple klicks away, put yer 7.62NATO back in yer pants and go to the chow hall and send somebody with a proper sniper rifle.

You ain't gonna snipe anybody unless god's resting on your shoulder that day and in your favor.

Feel free to call me a heathen, I'll call me a realist.

DM isn't a sniper, BTW. If they were snipers they'd have beter gear than M1A1s and old M-14s that have been re-arsenaled.

I know you loves your M-14s, Mike, but they aren't the be all and end all of long range shooting and NEVER WILL BE. BC is wrong. Loadings in military form are wrong. Quality of the re-arsenal jobs is often wrong.

Welcome to 2009.

(Qi--I can take a 19th century switch barrel/take down rifle using black powder and drill holes in rabbit heads at range, the "masada" is irrelevant. Believe it or not, most people go to the SHOT-head show to make their product impressive just like every gun a gun magazine or reviews is the new "be all and end all of firearms design", even if it isn't)

I'd take a REAL M1 over a M-14 any day of the week as selective fire is irrelevant in that sort of rifle and I'd take various wildcat and near wildcat versions of the AR/M rifles over an M-14 for the same reason.

I know how they work, I've taken them all apart and put them back together and I HATE people that have "holy grail" rifles because they are stupid and blinded by bigotry.

Ooops, I forgot to be a groveling camp follower, even if we are all sort of on the same side....Pardon me...Just don't ask me to apologize. I never will as I call them as I see them rather than as some people DREAM THINGS.

A good book is cool. Stupidity and stupid advice as to modern firearms designs isn't.

Publish this or not, either way you read it and I meant it.

Tom to Dutchman6

Tom to Dutchman6

We have a situation up here at 2 klicks. Visible targets.

Could you send either Tac Air or a person with a rifle other than an old M-14?

...I've got antique rifles that fought in Afghanistan in Her Majesties Service. I wouldn't send anybody into the current battle with them.

One other thing to keep in mind. The DM in a base unit of infantry is very often NOT THE BEST SHOT IN THAT UNIT. The best shots are on call SNIPERS and they get called on to the targets after the DM with his old M-14 failed, as often as not.

Check your sources.

pyrewyrm said...

In response to Tom:

I think your perception of the DM is quite incorrect.

The DM is a small infantry marksman with a suitable semi-auto rifle used as a field expedient for pouring ammo at a distant target (250-500 yards). The DM doesn't take one shot kills (frequently, two or three shots) against MG positions or RPG positions. He is the true heir to the WWII unit "sniper", having little formal training but usually possesing such skill with a rifle as a modestly successful hunter. He equipped, not with a "sniper rifle", but usually an upgraded M16 or M14 with modest optics for operating in those intermediate ranges.

The assumption that he is or is not a good shot is rather ignorant, considering my uncle (Ranger) shot for the Army marksman unit and yet never desired to be a sniper and turned down two offerings during his career. His son (another Ranger) was impressive with a rifle in his own right and was never offered a spot before a jump accident got him discharged.

I am not a long-range marksman for lack of practice but even if I were, being a sniper has no appeal whatsoever. I don't buy the Hollywood romantic notions of the sniper nor do I care for crawling around in grass.

As far as chamberings for range and who's rifle is best, I have a simple solution. If you can hit your target at the desired range consistantly, I wouldn't care you you were killing him with your daughter's 270 or your grandfather's .65 muzzle-loader. All the macho rifle-size comparisons reeks of peacock strutting.

americansldr11b said...

For those of you that feel the need to throw your comments out there and have yet to set your boots to the sands, grape fields, or mountains of the country that I currently sit... Yes, the training of the DM is not that of the sniper and is not that way by purpose... The sniper is valuable in his own right but few units or commanders have the experience or the training to employ snipers as they should be. At this time in our counties fight, few commanders trust the sniper to manuever on his own or in a shooter/spotter team and to that affect even make the call on taking a shot. There are far to many rules and things to consider in the way our country fights in these times of political BS. The DM on the other time is designed by nature to do no more than bridge the gap between the grunts and the snipers. A simple soldier looking to his DM as an asset, of trust, as eyes and ears of his fellow soldiers. To look from the streets of no mans land and see your DM watching, waiting, controlling the surroundings. The DM is by design the best marksman "within" his unit. It isnt the (one shot, one kill) the DM looks for but a chance to meet the enemy at extended distance as to create time and space between the enemy and the boots on the ground. The DM fills a role that has in the past been void. For the soldiers within the unit that have a DM within them, he is an asset that in "this" country can turn the tides of an often suprise encounter with the enemy. I have yet to me an enemy in this country that would tell you the site of a "long gun" within a unit on the ground is not an unerving one. (Best regards to the fighters on the couch back home) Signed..... DM 10th mountain Division, Afghanistan. (M14EBR) (118 Special Ball, Match Grade)

pdxr13 said...

I stand by my assertion that the .308Win/7.62NATO with a boattail bullet is a price/performance/mid-distance winner that doesn't eat barrels too fast. The most important thing about this cartridge is that it actually exists in quantity in the Army inventory, along with surviving M-14 rifles.

"I have yet to meet an enemy in this country who would tell you the sight of a "long gun" within a unit on the ground is not an unnerving one." -americansldr11b

I love to hear reports like this. Unnerved enemy soldiers/irregulars don't fight as well as confident ones.

From the couch back home- and previously in the distant-rear fixing the precision test gear,


Anonymous said...

Is there anyone here that actually used a M14? It was the first machined weapon the military issued to the troops. It outpaced the M1 Garand by a mile, that is more accurate, but just as simple to tear down and repair. I would recommend the M14 be chambered in the 7.62X63 (30.06) and leave the 7.62Nato for the M60 which the army no longer uses anyway but should.

I've heard complaints by the Iwacki veterans of the inability to "bang" the bastards out of the concrete block houses that is built in Iwack. The 5.56 is just not be enough to crack the concrete to get to the fella that is sniping against them.. M14 or even the old M1 Garand with the larger round would do the job, and
by the way, they are anixous to get the .45 auto back and let the Italians have the Beretta in 9mm.

'nuff said.

Ol' Vet