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Thread: Grendel LMG

  1. #181
    So what I'm hearing is: "We need a belt-fed SAW because only it can provide sustained, short-bursts of accurate suppressive fire vs. a mag-fed auto rifle based on an assault rifle platform."

    Which boils down to: "Multiple mag changes disrupt a gunner's concentration on targets and thus degrades his accuracy, his effectiveness."

    I don't see platform stability, use of bipods, or better optics as prohibitive in an IAR, and thus is not really a differentiating factor.
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  2. #182
    Chieftain stanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinzgauer View Post
    The article's points are largely an echo of the Marine Auto Rifle argument points. And there is strong suspicion in some ranks that the Marine Auto Rifle case was just a back door to get the HK into mainstream inventory ("Does it make sense to have both the M4 and the M27? They are so close. let's just simplify").
    I do wish this bit of historical revisionism could be killed off. The M27 was not adopted as a backdoor replacement for the M4.
    It was impossible, because the M27 was adopted five years before the M4 became the primary individual weapon for infantry.
    2004 Marine Corps Gazette article on the automatic rifle concept: http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=5289
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  3. #183
    Quote Originally Posted by stanc View Post
    I do wish this bit of historical revisionism could be killed off. The M27 was not adopted as a backdoor replacement for the M4.
    It was impossible, because the M27 was adopted five years before the M4 became the primary individual weapon for infantry.
    2004 Marine Corps Gazette article on the automatic rifle concept: http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=5289
    Yeah, probably should have said M16/M4 platform. We'll never know...

    Quote Originally Posted by BluntForceTrauma View Post
    So what I'm hearing is: "We need a belt-fed SAW because only it can provide sustained, short-bursts of accurate suppressive fire vs. a mag-fed auto rifle based on an assault rifle platform."

    Which boils down to: "Multiple mag changes disrupt a gunner's concentration on targets and thus degrades his accuracy, his effectiveness."

    I don't see platform stability, use of bipods, or better optics as prohibitive in an IAR, and thus is not really a differentiating factor.
    Yeah, I guess. Don't think the heavier SAW could be more stable in burst fire than an IAR??? Same for bursts, let's say both are really good at 3-4 round bursts. Going to be doing mag changes every 7-10 bursts with an IAR. VS 35-70 bursts per belt? Guess it depends on mission, movement, etc. But I'm having a hard time seeing those as a wash.

    So we are gun hobbiests. Interested in the technology, etc. Conjecture on pros and cons, because it's an interesting topic of conversation and speculation. (and it is, not trying to shut down discussion)

    They (The guys who use the SAWs) are focused on missions, capabilities, results. Which they own and live. And based on that, when I ask, they are a bit baffled by the Marine's focus on the M27 and the anti SAW. But will admit they don't fully understand Marine method, etc. They have different platoon & company structure, etc. Maybe different tactics.

    Some of it I do believe is Army IN doctrine, but that's hammered into them. Some of it is physical reality. If you pull a SAW from a platoon, what do you replace it with? what can it do. What's the value add, whats the drawback? How do you use it in overwatch? Movement to Contact? Defense on a reverse slope? other scenarios they have to plan and execute.

    And based on that... the whole concept is not something that fixes any problem they have. So even though they are young pups, I have to trust the judgement of my Army IN officer son, as he's been hands on and running teams with these in a front line, respected IN ABN unit. And in Ranger school and similar prior to that. He and every peer completed Ranger School. His CO is from Ranger Regiment, as is his 1SG and past PSG. Significant deployments in his teams and leaders. They live in the world that uses these tools.

    Again, don't mean to kill the conversation. Just that I find the credibility of the author a bit light and the general points a bit recycled.

    Unfortunately, similar discussions about Grendel, Grendel LMG, 7.62 rifles, and similar head down the same path. I'm a Grendel fan, believe it's the best compromise AR-15/M-16 cartridge. But also recognize the logistical challenge that will make it virtually impossible for the US Army to move to it. But also see that a smaller country (Serbia?) could do so.

    I will admit I was a bit surprised to find support for the SAW given it's somewhat checkered history, etc. But what I'm hearing is it's still a valued tool. And maybe a bit maligned.

    My personal conjecture is we won't see much change in this space until a breakthru in caseless or similar changes the whole paradigm. Changing LMG ammo without a matching change in carbine I don't think will happen. Not enough numbers/advantages in changing the crew served MG's to something like Grendel.

    Do I think Grendel would have been a better light cartridge when the M16 was initially being developed? Of course. But too much inertia vs any potentially gains to revisit that now for mainstream units. Special folks can use what they want anyway, so if it was a big advantage I think we'd be seeing/hearing more on it.

    I'll say this: I'd love to have an M27. And would love to shoot one. And one in Grendel would be cool as well. :-)
    Last edited by pinzgauer; 12-06-2017 at 10:28 PM.

  4. #184
    Quote Originally Posted by stanc View Post
    2004 Marine Corps Gazette article on the automatic rifle concept: http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=5289
    That's an interesting read, had forgotten about that trial. Here's an interesting tidbit:
    Recommendations for modifications were requested for each of the weapons systems. The M249 and Colt were viewed as too heavy. The HK failed to stay on target in burst fire while the Ultimax sight system did not present to the eye at all. When the shooter laid his cheek on the stock of the weapon and achieved a proper stock weld he found the sights of the weapon lay below the line of sight capability of his eye. Accuracy—although according to raw data better than the current M249 SAW in every test—was of such a limited amount as to be statistically insignificant. Only on Test 3 did any weapon outperform the SAW by more than 10 percent accuracy.

    “Automatic fire is inherently less accurate than semiautomatic fire.”15 The difficulty becomes achieving a balance between weapons that provide a combination of the accuracy of semiautomatic fire while maintaining the ability to employ full automatic fire when required. This is the reason the Marine Corps modified its BARs so they could fire semiautomatically—to provide both capabilities.

    Infantrymen feel strongly about replacing the M249 SAW with a true AR inside the fire team but feel just as strongly about keeping the M249 SAW for its automatic fire suppressive capability. Given the results of this assessment, accuracy alone is not a strong enough reason to replace the M249 SAW. However, most would argue that accuracy was never the problem with the M249 SAW. The problem with the M249 SAW was the lack of mobility when manned by an individual while attempting to move at the pace of a rifle team.
    So even then, some of the points I'm hearing now were surfacing. Also, multiple comments about HK controlability/accuracy in burst fire.

    To me the test will be if the Marines remove the SAW from use/issue/training. If they are committing hard, they have a reason.

  5. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinzgauer View Post
    That's an interesting read, had forgotten about that trial.

    So even then, some of the points I'm hearing now were surfacing. Also, multiple comments about HK controlability/accuracy in burst fire.
    Judging by the timeline and the description of the HK rifle, they were undoubtedly using a standard G36, so the controllability/accuracy results would not apply to the M27.
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  6. #186
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  7. #187
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  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluntForceTrauma View Post
    Just cuz everyone's doing it the way everyone else has always done it doesn't make it smart.

    Still want to know WHY.

    And what's the real difference between an IAR and an AR. Heavy barrel? That's it?

    Somebody please justify belt-fed in a modern infantry squad in 2017. "Everybody else does it" is not a justification.

    "Well, you really need 200 rounds on-board for those scenarios when you need to do a 200-round burst." THAT'S a justification. Not a very good one, but at least it's an attempt.

    Or, "Mag changes every 30 rounds slows weapon too much and puts unit at tactical disadvantage."

    Or, "Need physically heavier weapon for less round dispersion at range."

    Somebody please think through the fundamental premise and articulate it.
    Weapons design, types, and their effect on MTO&E
    What this whole discussion illuminates is how technology affects organization and employment of soldiers and weapons. We have several tracks of weapons designs coming into play, including:

    * Battle rifles capable of defeating enemy cavalry horses at distance (obsolete)
    * SMGs
    * Medium Machine-Guns
    * Intermediate Cartridge, Select-Fire "Assault Rifles"
    * Automatic Rifles
    * Light Machineguns

    Great War MGs, SMGs, ARs
    If you look at the Great War era, they had better sustained fire capabilities with water-cooled Maxims and Browning M1917s, but very limited mobility with them due to the weight and bulk of the guns, tripods, and water-cooled barrels, water cans, and the Gun Team that it took to support one. These types of machine-guns were normally MTO&E'd at the Company and Battalion levels. What a medium machine-gun brings to bear is the ability to focus fire on an enemy at greater distances, transition to another target quickly once that target is reduced, and continue to reduce targets until the enemy unit or vehicle is suppressed to the point that it is totally defensive, unable to direct fires at your elements until they are on him. This is more true when fired from the tripod by a highly-trained gun team.

    The BAR was one of the first successful Squad-Level Automatic Rifles issued, but very limited in sustained fire or maneuverability due to the 20rd magazines and heavy weight of the weapon and soldier's load. It provides supporting fire to the advance of the Rifle Squad, while adding to the defensive fires of a unit in place.

    While machine-guns had been game-changers in the Great War, armies invested more and more in their development to make them lighter and more maneuverable.

    With the introduction of the MG34 and later MG42, the Germans took some of the sustained fire capability of the older box-receiver machine-guns, and made a more maneuverable system relying on quick barrel changes rather than water-cooling. They still needed a large section to support each gun, with one man carrying the Lafette tripod (which folds up and includes padding on the tripod itself already), several ammo bearers, the gunner, and an NCO Gun Team Leader with optics to direct fire of the MG.



    They also included a mechanical computer into the flex mount, so that the gunner could literally program the beaten zone for depth and windage for a desired pattern, depending on what type of fire was desired. As the gun recoils in the flex mount, it cycles the mechanical gears, which elevate and traverse within a specific pattern. He also does this from a depressed position while looking through a superb quality Hensoldt periscope, allowing him and the team to build the MG into a position where the gun has grazing fire over a covered area, without exposing the team to direct fires.

    That system really revolutionized machine-guns that are carried by dismounts, but the Allied nations never really picked up on the tripod and T&E of the Lafette system, and used very simple tripods. If you look at the lessons-learned post-Great War, the Germans took a much different approach to machine-guns than the Allies by focusing on development of the Medium Machineguns and keeping their Mauser battle rifles, whereas the US focused on developing the rifle with the self-loading Garand, while using the same basic Browning 1919 box receiver MG and tripod and the BAR for the Automatic Rifleman.

    After WWII, the Allies realized how effective the MG34 and MG42 were, hence the MAG58, L7, M240, and M60, owing their heritage to the MG42.

    Doctrines, Directives, and Philosophies
    Before WWII, Infantry had a lot of riflemen and these emerging heavier machine-guns on tripods to support them. The US, British, and Canadian forces had different doctrine for how to employ machine guns than the Germans, and the Asians armies had their important directives for machine-gun employment as well. The Anglo nations historically see machine-guns as support for the rifle platoon and company advance when attacking, while forming pivotal nodes in the defense. MGs would establish support positions to provide over-watching fire for riflemen to bound or flank towards the enemy. The Teutonic approach was to heavily focus on gun teams as more of a main effort, with riflemen supporting their advance and penetration of fixed enemy positions when on the attack, to include envelopment. The Asian approach relies more on hasty ambushes, ensnarement, and patience with use of machine-guns, allowing your opponent to work himself deep into your fields of fire, until you unleash your belt-fed weapons at the optimum time for maximum shock and devastation.

    The lines get blurred in practical application because all roads lead to Rome, but the German concept of medium machine-gun use during the attack sticks out to me.

    SMGs and the Stg
    The submachine gun was introduced for trench-clearing, then evolved into a very useful and cheap weapon to equip infantry focused on the attack. The Russian PPsH-41 equipped units were probably the pinnacle of SMG use with dismounted infantry. The Germans issued their SMGs to NCOs and other soldiers for more of a close range weapon, since their primary tasks were leading and directing junior soldiers, but they also realized the firepower and maneuverability of SMGs gave them an advantage in the attack, especially in built-up areas, in addition to trenches. What if they could have a weapon that more closely fit the profile of an SMG, but had retained energy closer to a rifle, after seeing that rifles were rarely used beyond 300m anyway, now that cavalry were obsolete?

    Weapons technology and how it evolved the Infantry
    The introduction of the Sturmgewehr certainly revolutionized dismounted infantry warfare and small arms design, but it never changed the need for belt-fed weapons. It combined the most useful aspects of submachine guns and battle rifles, making both mostly obsolete from then forward. The select-fire, intermediate cartridge-chambered, automatic rifle would immediately become the standard for the Soviet Union after the War (Avtomat), whereas the West was handicapped by the US Army Ordnance who insisted on using basically a battle rifle cartridge reminiscent of .30-40 Krag and .30 Caliber M1, but now with a detachable magazine. The British and Belgians both had developed post-War select fire rifles with smaller cartridges that were heavy compared to the Stg44's Kurz, but still smaller and less-recoiling than the US T65 .30 cal "light rifle" cartridge. Due to US post-war dominance and redevelopment of Western Europe, the UK, Belgians, and West Germans were pulled into the US's T65, which eventually became the 7.62x51 NATO, duplicating the performance of obsolete rifles the Wermacht and Soviets had realized were obsolete by 1945. The M14, FAL, L1A1, and G3 were the result.

    What a lot of people wanted was the sustained fire capability of belt-fed weapons down into smaller units, like the Platoon and even Squad-level. The evolution and emergence of the Infantry Squad seems to be something relatively new in warfare, as Companies were the basic unit of maneuver in 1914. After the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of British soldiers in The Great War, particularly the Somme, they started to reevaluate their MTO&E, which had been very centralized at higher levels, with companies executing the attack based on orders from above. There were precious few junior leaders, and many were decimated early on in their assaults on German fortified positions. They began de-centrlizing to an extent, equipping Platoons with the Bren Gun. If we look at the math of how many rounds could be expended on target by a company of riflemen reminiscent of the Somme, versus a Platoon equipped with Bren guns and Riflemen, you start to see why machine-guns naturally fueled the evolution of the Infantry Company into Separate maneuver elements of Platoons and Squads.

    In the US Army, this was facilitated by the Garand, BAR, and M1919. In the USMC, Companies broke down into Platoons and Squads, with Squads broken down into 3 separate Fire Teams, each equipped with a BAR.



    The Germans relied more on individual initiative, with a lot of autonomy even at the Platoon level. Platoons and squads in WWII became more of a reality because of the fast nature of maneuver and advance by attackers, combined with the ability to saturate more firepower into less men with self-loaders and machine-guns.
    Last edited by LRRPF52; 12-07-2017 at 04:59 PM.
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  9. #189
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    So where are we at now?

    Since WWII, the US effort to keep the battle rifle cartridge alive failed quickly with the M14, but left the poorer recovering Western European nations with 7.62 NATO self-loaders. What units found immediately was that you could not effectively fire a 7.62 NATO rifle on automatic, and within the US, British, West German, Belgian, and other NATO allies, rifle marksmanship training focused entirely on semi automatic fire with rifles. A BAR-type variant of the M14, the M14A1, would serve as the Squad Automatic Rifle by means of a muzzle brake, heavier barrel, inline stock design, and bipod.



    In the Soviet system, they focused on semi automatic fire, as well as controlled bursts with the Avtomat, with a mix of belt-fed RPDs firing the same 7.62 Avtomat cartridge (7.62x39 M43). They would later adopt the SVD Sniper System firing the 7.62x54R (7.62 Vintovka) as an integral supporting arm of the Infantry Platoon.



    With the early failure of the M14/M14A1/M60 single cartridge system, the US needed a stop-gap before we would introduce the SPIW in 1968, so the AR15 was allowed to fill that temporary void after the USAF insisted on standardizing it as their service rifle for SPs and Security Forces to replace the M1/M2 Carbine. The M14A1 proved to be incapable of sustained fire, and the M14 service rifles were neutered with a cap in place of the selector, since they were uncontrollable by most soldiers on automatic in the rare event that someone actually placed it on auto.

    The AR15 was more controllable on Automatic, but training for infantry focused on use in the SEMI mode only. Operational exceptions in Vietnam included nighttime full auto H&I fire around a defensive perimeter to deter sappers from low-crawling into their defense, designated Squad Members as the Automatic Rifleman, as well as undisciplined automatic fire upon contact mostly from untrained draftees. Widespread adoption of Night Vision made the nighttime H&I fire practice unnecessary. The use of Automatic fire was trained out of the "panic-mode" reaction many soldiers used by the 1980s, and another weapon system was added to the Infantry Squad to fill the Automatic fire needs.



    During the Vietnam era, the US Army experimented with several different book answer MTO&Es for introduction of the M60 into the Squad to fill the Automatic Rifleman role. A need for a light machine-gun was again identified, and answered with some belt-fed experimental variations of the M16 (not adopted), then with the SAW trials of the 1970s, in which one of the worst entrants won the contract, the Belgian FN Minimi-a combination of a scaled-down MAG58 feed tray mechanism and the bolt carrier group and piston of the AK housed inside a sheet steel receiver. The earlier 6mm SAW cartridge would have provided a much better LMG answer for squad support, with excellent barrier defeat and long range reach.



    The Stoner LMG 63A Weapon System was much lighter, constant-recoil operated weapon but no longer in production.

    As to Colt LMGs based on the M16, there were basically one type for each decade through the 1980s. The 1960s-era Colt LMG was part of the CAR-15 Family of Weapons concept, the Colt RO606. It was never adopted, whereas the Commando variant evolution of one of the CAR-15 family weapons were adopted in very large numbers as the XM177E1 and XM177E2, as well as the USAF GAU-5A/A carbines.

    In the 1970s, Colt had a SAWS trial entrant in the XM106 BRL, which was mag-fed, while the Rodman/Ford Aerospace, FN, and HK entrants were all belt-fed. The original FN Minim M249E1 was lighter than what we ended up with, but still about as heavy as the Soviet PKM Platoon support machine-gun chambered in 7.62x54R.
    Last edited by LRRPF52; 12-06-2017 at 11:46 PM.
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  10. #190
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    That video Stan posted of the M27 during a USMC live fire shows why I'm not a big fan of a box mag fed LMG in the Squad.

    The M27 also isn't anywhere near as controllable as designs that are now 80 years old, some of which were German. The Sturmgewehr itself remains one of the only controllable select-fire intermediate cartridge rifles if you look at constant recoil principle.

    Another was the Stoner 63A. Watch how the gun barely moves even in the assault rifle configuration:



    There are two major technological developments that have really changed LMGs in the Squad though that deserve mentioning:

    1. Widespread use of optics

    2. Own the Night Aiming systems

    These 2 developments do make a magazine-fed IAR more viable, with a major consideration: High levels of training for the IAR gunner.

    In my experience, those levels of training rarely happen in most infantry units because of training distractions, unambitious leadership who are content with status quo, and limited training resources for larger units.

    In Ranger Regiment, those levels of training are the standard, to the extent that deployments with 150 missions within a 180 day period are vacations from the Stateside training cycle.
    Last edited by LRRPF52; 12-06-2017 at 11:51 PM.
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  11. #191
    Quote Originally Posted by LRRPF52 View Post
    That video Stan posted of the M27 during a USMC live fire shows why I'm not a big fan of a box mag fed LMG in the Squad.
    that's where my head was at, and I'm not a user!

    The M27 also isn't anywhere near as controllable as designs that are now 80 years old, some of which were German. The Sturmgewehr itself remains one of the only controllable select-fire intermediate cartridge rifles if you look at constant recoil principle.

    Another was the Stoner 63A. Watch how the gun barely moves even in the assault rifle configuration:
    That Stoner 63 was amazing! had always heard, but never seen video. I want one! How did we miss this and get the minimi?

    There are two major technological developments that have really changed LMGs in the Squad though that deserve mentioning:

    1. Widespread use of optics

    2. Own the Night Aiming systems
    My understanding is that this has improved SAW effectiveness as well. Even in the last 5-10 years.

    These 2 developments do make a magazine-fed IAR more viable, with a major consideration: High levels of training for the IAR gunner.
    That is my take-away, we are training limited on all of this stuff, even in active line units. Does not make sense to debate 400+ yard carbine 5.56/grendel performance if you don't teach/train 200-300 yard stuff as much as needed. And getting live fire for stand-off (SAW/203/AT) is apparently harder than rifle/carbine.

    Interesting stuff, all, though.

  12. #192
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    My understanding why we got the FN Minimi was because of the 3-way NATO nation requirement for the licensed manufacture of the F-16A/B.

    Denmark and Norway had already agreed to the deal and were waiting on Belgium to join, otherwise it wouldn't have been a viable option for only 2 nations to attempt to manufacture the multirole fighter.

    Belgium smartly negotiated to include their SAW entrant as the deciding factor, then they would gladly jump aboard the F-16A/B licensed mfg deal.

    The US was providing the engines and much of the critical components, while the European partners would manufacture the airframes, so there was a lot of money to be had all around for General Dynamics, Pratt & Whitney, and the other sub contractors.

    Instead of the US Army getting the Colt LMG, Ford Aerospace LMG, or HK select-fire SAW entrants, we got an AK smashed together with a MAG58 feed tray mechanism inside of a welded sheet receiver with a lot of slop between the parts, especially the fire control mechanism housing and how it attached to the receiver.

    Since World War II, the Infantryman has basically been neglected as to his weapons, equipment, and training. More focus has been allocated to armored personnel carriers, tanks, artillery, and Army aviation because those were correctly seen as more decisive systems in conventional warfare, and proven as such in the Gulf War. The only problem is that every other war we've fought has been an Infantry and SOF-centric asymmetric engagement driven by concern for collateral damage of civilian populations, elusive insurgents that require small arms fire to engage under restrictive ROEs, and adaptive combined component commands with better trained dismounted soldiers.

    The budget still dictates that the conventional systems will get the funding, while infantry might get a bunch of modern weapons and equipment, but very little training, and most senior leadership seem to be perfectly comfortable with that.
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  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRRPF52 View Post
    That video Stan posted of the M27 during a USMC live fire shows why I'm not a big fan of a box mag fed LMG in the Squad.

    The M27 also isn't anywhere near as controllable as designs that are now 80 years old, some of which were German. The Sturmgewehr itself remains one of the only controllable select-fire intermediate cartridge rifles if you look at constant recoil principle.

    Another was the Stoner 63A. Watch how the gun barely moves even in the assault rifle configuration:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF0aPSyUMjk
    A couple of comments:

    1. In the assault rifle configuration, the barrel centerline is lower relative to the buttstock than in the machinegun configuration, which aids in controllability.
    2. It's Jerry Miculek! He makes even a .50-caliber Barrett look controllable in rapid fire. In the hands of a mere mortal, the Stoner LMG isn't quite as steady.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVC-CTa3fzw
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  14. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinzgauer View Post
    That Stoner 63 was amazing! had always heard, but never seen video. I want one! How did we miss this and get the minimi?
    "Very temperamental weapon." "Requires meticulous care." "Not for the average Soldier or Marine."


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zb8OgPwf5Q
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  15. #195
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    The members of the boot camp platoon that did the initial MARINE CORPS trials of the 63 have (had) a face book page. stoner platoon 236. If its still up they should know how good or bad it was.

  16. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluntForceTrauma View Post
    Mag changes are quick.
    Wanna see how fast it's possible to reload a belt-fed? Check out the last 30 seconds of this video.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUk43giNulI
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  17. #197
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    Hey, anybody here understand Norwegian? I'm wondering why the gunners put their faces to the mat before and after firing their brand new Minimi LMGs.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dpyf7TTi2s
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  18. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanc View Post
    Hey, anybody here understand Norwegian? I'm wondering why the gunners put their faces to the mat before and after firing their brand new Minimi LMGs.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dpyf7TTi2s
    Standard starting and ending position from prone shooting to allow the shooting instructors to see when everybody are ready to start, and also to see when they are finished firing.

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    Now, that is how not to shoot a machinegun.

    Also, if he had to change ammo-boxes, that reload would take a lot longer. Especially if he was on the move...

  20. #200
    Dobrodan, I know you have some strong opinions about machine guns. What is your opinion about a belt-fed vs. mag-fed SAW?
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