XM8 Assault Rifle

I’ve mentioned before that the biggest search engine draw to MO has been the XM8 assault rifle. Stryker searches bring in a lot, as well, but I’ve got an entire category devoted to the new combat vehicle and only one post about the new rifle.

Folks must be desperate for info on this baby. For a basic intro to the XM8, go to my previous post.

xm8c.jpg

The XM8 (M8 if it’s adopted) assault rifle is a proposed replacement for the current M16 rifle and M4 carbine, the standard infantry weapons in today’s US military. The XM8 action is based upon the Hechler & Koch G36, a tried and true infantry weapon with a reputation for toughness and reliability. The XM29 OICW, which combined both an assault rifle and a smart grenade launcher, turned out to be too heavy, fragile, and expensive. The rifle part of the XM29 was adapted to become the XM8. The smart grenade launcher part of the XM29 is being developed separately as the XM25.

xm8b.jpg The XM8 is a modular weapon that can be adapted to different roles fairly easily. It can use any of four barrel sizes: 9″, 12.5″, 20″, and heavy 20″.

The 9″ barrel makes the weapon a submachinegun-like personal defense weapon (called the Compact Carbine) that would be ideal for vehicle crews. Also, I imagine that Special Forces types would find it useful for urban raiding missions and the like. With the buttcap (as pictured on the right, second from the top) it is less than 21″ long overall.

The 12.5″ barrel is the standard set-up, and with the adjustable buttstock, makes the Baseline Carbine variant. With the stock fully extended, it is 33″ long, the same as an M4 (which has a 14.5″ barrel). It weighs in at about 6.4 lbs, with a goal of being reduced to 5.7 lbs. The M4 with comparable accessories weighs nearly 9 lbs. The pic at right shows an XM320 side-loading detachable grenade launcher mounted.

There are two versions of the 20″ barrel. There’s a standard weight match-grade unit for sharpshooter work and a heavy-duty machinegun unit with a folding bipod for use as a sustained fire automatic rifle.

The XM8 seems to be an aberration in the military procurement sector. It is a model that seems to improve upon its inspiration in terms of cost and weight, while sacrificing none of the qualities that made the original so good. An XM8 Baseline Carbine, with its integrated sight, will cost around $1800. An M4 equipped similarly costs over $2500. That translates into a savings of $2.4 million to equip a 3,500 man brigade.

Cost notwithstanding, the biggest advantage of the XM8 over the M4/M16 is almost certainly the new weapon’s durability and resistance to jamming. The manufacturer claims that the XM8 can fire over 15,000 rounds without lubrication or cleaning, even in harsh conditions. While I seriously doubt that those numbers would translate into the field, it is indicative of the weapon’s reliability. The BARREL LIFE of an M4 is rated at 8,000 rounds.

The XM8 achieves this phenomenal reliability in part due to a unique gas-operated pusher-rod operated bolt. This system does not send carbon gasses into the receiver with every round like standard weapons, and therefore reduces greatly the amount of propellant that could potentially foul the action or attract material that could. Additionally, the seal between the bolt and the ejection port is much tighter than in current weapons, which will limit the amount of crud that can get in that way. Also, the weapon can be fired even if the action is flooded with water. No draining required.

While I doubt any squad leader would ever allow anyone to go an extended period of time without cleaning their weapon, regardless of manufacturer’s ratings, there is a fair amount of time savings still to be found. First of all, the XM8 can be field cleaned in 4 minutes. This compares to more than 10 or 12 minutes for an M4, which translates into a an extra bit of rest, patrol, or other duties for the XM8-equipped soldier. Weapons are cleaned at least twice daily, if not more, so this 5-8 minute savings is not insignificant when multiplied by three thousand soldiers in a typical brigade. Also, the integrated sight is zeroed-in at the factory and does not require continual re-zeroing in the field by the troops.

Dirty and jammed weapons seem to have contributed to the defeat of the maintenance group that included Jessica Lynch during the invasion of Iraq. Part of the problem seems to be that the Army-supplied cleaning lubricant isn’t effective, especially against the fine Iraq sand. But non-combat units probably don’t devote enough time to cleaning and maintaining their weapons. The XM8 could help alleviate that by reducing the time required to complete the task, which will increase the odds that the task is attempted, and by being more forgiving if/when the task is forgotten or ignored.

Another nifty feature is the ability to be quickly adapted to fire AK-47 ammunition. This would be especially useful in Iraq, since there’s more AK-47 ammo in Iraq than there is sand.

For a comprehensive comparison of the XM8 Lightweight Modular Weapons System (LMWS) Baseline Carbine to the current M4, check out this .pdf. Keep in mind that it was published by the manufacturier of the XM8.

For an 18 second video of a full-auto firing of the XM8, check this out. HK-USA also has what amounts to a product brochure for the XM8 here. It includes drawings of many of the interchangable components of the XM8 system.

The XM8 has recently finished heavy testing. The next step is going to be to equip two full brgades with the weapons. I’ve been unable to learn which brigades get to be the lucky ones to try a new standard weapon out for the purposes of working out all the bugs. Maybe they haven’t been determined yet. I’d suggest that, in addition to the the big tests, some individuals or small units deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan get them. We must learn how these things really perform, and no amound of testing and simulation can teach as many lessons as a few minutes on a real live battlefield can.

For all the apparent good news surrounding the XM8, one basic issue remains the caliber of round our troops need to be firing at the bad guys. The XM8 will fire the NATO standard 5.56x45mm round, the same as the M4 and M16. There is a lot of grumbling among the troops that this round is insufficient, especially when fired from an M4’s shorter barrel. The standard XM8’s barrel is two inches shorter than the M4, so this issue will be even more pronounced.

This is a very controverisal subject, with feverent believers on both sides. Many who think that a larger round, like the 6.8mm or the good ol’ 7.62mm, is needed admit that the 5.56 might be sufficient if the type of ammunition was altered instead of the size. There have been many reports from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia that the current round just doesn’t cut it. I don’t know enough to have an opinion on the matter, but it certainly seems that something needs to be done.

Airborne Combat Engineer had a post back in November about the XM8 and the ammuntion debate. He notes that we’ve already got so much refinement and investment in the current M16 and M4 that it seems like a waste to start over with a new weapon. He asks why the current weapons can’t just be up-gunned with the new 6.8mm uppers that will soon be hitting the market. That’s a very good question, and one that I hope our military seriously considers.

Back in August I thought the same thing. But, if the XM8 performs in the field like it’s performed in the tests, we might be better off in the long run if we make the change. The cost, reliability, and adaptability of the new weapon may outweigh our experience with the current one.

UPDATE: A Sliding stock for XM8 compact carbine PDW has been added to the mix. Pictures and more.

Comments

  1. There does indeed seem to be a lot of internet interest in the XM-8 and the 6.8mm round. Looks like at least a short-term success in the civilian market for the 6.8mm cartridge and rifles chambered for it. It’s getting crowded in the 270 cal to 7mm cartridge range. I’m having a little trouble believing the ballistics specs for the 6.8 on the Barrett graphic, given the capacity of the cartridge, and look forward to more independent tests. If it’s due to a better powder, let’s load the 5.56mm with it (if it can take the pressure). Same skepticism with the reliability claims for the XM-8. What reliability claims were made for the M-16 before it was adopted? Aren’t current ARs very reliable? Let’s equip a unit in Afghanistan or Iraq with the XM-8 (once it passes the ‘lab’ tests back stateside) and compare results over some time period. If it’s really a quantum leap ahead in relability, perhaps the change is worth the cost. ACE

  2. I don’t know what the original claims of M16 reliability were. That’s a great question. Obviously, there were a lot of issues in the early going in Vietnam. A quick google didn’t get me any answers. With the introduction of the M16 so long ago, I’m not optimistic that we’ll be able to find reliable info on it. I’ll keep looking though, and definitely post if I find anything.

  3. ‘What reliability claims were made for the M-16 before it was adopted?’ I can answer that. It would appear that it was touted as perfectly reliable. There’s even a well known story about how they didn’t include cleaning kits with many M16’s because they said that it never needed to be cleaned at all! This meant that a vast number of rifles were marked as defective when they started to jam and had to be replaced entirely. I’m a pretty big guy (200 pounds), so I’ve never had any problem with shooting a large bore rifle. But many of my students are intimidated by the recoil of a .30-06 round. This is one of the main advantages of the .223, it’s something that everyone can learn how to use and use well. But, after saying that, I wouldn’t mind seeing the US go to something with a little more punch. I’ve always been concerned with the ineffectiveness of .223 over distance. There’s been plenty of claims to the contrary, but I’ve never had much luck shooting a standard M16 at anything over 300 yards. The 6.8mm seems to be a good idea to me, but I really don’t think the 7.62 is really that great a solution. So far as altering the ammo is concerned, expanding rounds are simply not gonna happen. Period. Is it a bad idea? You betchya! But that’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s gonna be unless something drastic happens. Good post, by the way. James

  4. Well, it’s ugly. Looks like something out of the Starship Enterprise’s armory, but if it works, who cares? Here’s my problem with it. As you noted, a lot of people have a dislike the 5.56NATO chambering, and I’m one. The 5.56 was designed around a 55 grain bullet that was designed to tumble and fragment on impact for maximum wounding effect. It was designed to do this at a pretty good velocity – I believe something on the order of 2700fps. With a muzzle velocity out of a 20′ M16 in excess of 3200fps, that meant the round was effective (i.e., would perform as designed) out to 300+ meters. Then we went to carbines with 16′ barrels. And then switched to a steel-cored 62 grain bullet. Some carbines have even shorter barrels. The 62 grain bullet doesn’t fragment well to start with, and launching it out of a short barrel reduces the chance that it might even further. A .22 caliber in-and-out hole just isn’t that incapacitating. Here, the standard XM-8 barrel is only 12.5′, and you can bet they’re going to stick with the 62 grain SS109 bullet. My take: This is a 200 meter carbine – max. Realistically 150 is pushing it. And we need more range in places like the desert landscape of the Middle East. BTW – I own and love my AR-15 carbine, but I wouldn’t want it as a battle rifle. At least not with the standard NATO ammo.

  5. I’m another person who dislikes the 5.56 round in it’s current configuration. Training on the M-16 flat out sucked. When they made me a SAW gunner, my attitude improved about the round, but only because the rounds now had more powder in the case, and the gun had a longer barrel. My max range with the M-16 was 250 years. I could pick targets off at 400 yards with the SAW, and if they had targets farther out, I would have been able to hit them as well. If you’re going to use a shorter barrel, you need a heavier round. There’s no getting away from it. The 5.56 doesn’t cut it any more.

  6. Compared to the HK G36’s gas system, the AR15 is the aberration. Virtually all other gas-operated service rifles used a piston, or piston and operating rod. G36 looks a heck of a lot like an AR18 inside. The AR15 was sold as an improvement over these systems because it lacked these extra parts and the weight that came with them. The tradeoff was a design that ducted the gas back into not just the action, but the bolt carrier itself, where was located the surface against which the gas pressure would bear to cycle the action. The chum that came with the gas was a result of changing the propellant in the military round. An aftermarket gas system retrofit was offered for AR15 rifles in the early 80’s, which replaced the loooooong gas tube with a short tube and a tappet fitted to cover the tube—a more conventional piston-and-cylinder affair that would just barely protrude from the handguard. Never caught on. As for caliber, I’ve posted on that over at my place. Five-five-six is a varmint cartridge, it isn’t adequate for humans at 200 meters. I’d be really pleased with the 6.8mm. The Coast Guard is adopting a .499 cartridge and replacement AR upper receiver assembly, for boarding and foot patrol. Before the Army changes rifles or calibers, though, they need to answer the question: for what kind of fighting is this service rifle or carbine intended? Then choose the cartridge, then choose the platform to fire it.

  7. The book you need is ‘The Great Rifle Controversy’ by Dr Edward Ezell. I’d quote from it but my copy lies buried in one of my book boxes. Essentially he discusses the lessons learned from 2WW and relates them to the rifle-ammo developments following the war. Included are discussions of the M14 and M16 procurements, and subsequent service histories. The book was published in 1984. Cheers JMH

  8. I recently read an after-action report by the marines coming out of Iraq and when it came to the 5.56 there seemed to be little complaint. And in Iraq where there are vast stretches of open desert, the average firefight range was 50 yards, with 100 yard engagements being rare. Right now there isn’t really any need for a more powerful cartridge. When you’re shooting at unarmored targets (i.e. terrorist ‘rock’n’rollin’ an AK-47) the 5.56 is perfectly adequate. In the future, perhaps, if our enemies start acquiring fashionable kevlar, a revival of larger caliber weapons might become the order of the day.

  9. i personaly dont like the use of 5.56 rounds, i mean yea it not to REALY kill a target but to wound him. with that in mind and my experience in afganistan and iraq almost every opfor we took down, (even with a double tap sometimes)seemed to come back to life because the round went straight threw them. I know many american soldiers who would agree with me in this.

  10. I personally think the 5.56 round is adequate in that you dont have to kill the target immediately when you shoot. The round is smaller therefore you can control your shots more easily. If the larger round was used we would lose accuracy and there would probably be not much noticable effect on te target.

  11. i would like to know the range of the xm8 and how tough it is. the sa 80 had lots of good reports but we all know the problems with that weapon .one of the things the brits in the field did`nt like about the 5.56 rounds is the stopping power

  12. 2500 for an m4 equipped like an xm8? http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/pcwa2x14m4my.asp + http://www.trijicon-inc.com/user/parts/products1.cfm?PartID=139 Is only 2120 at RETAIL prices man. I don’t trust a thing they say about the xm8 will all the crap going on in procurement. The STryker is a pile, the comanche was just canceled for god knows why. THe osrepy fiasco needs no introduction. We can’t even get the damn RUCKSACK and LBE correct and they expect us to believe the party line on the most basic and important tool in the military? I think this is another stage in the plan to undermine the us military. To jay commenting on 5.56: The ammo is NOT why the british complain about the SA80, it’s because bullpups suck(the sa80 goes even further by being a BAD example of a bullpup) and intergrated sights usually suck. Didn’t we settle the debate on 5.56 in Vietnam? Desert Storm? OIF? Please give me a break. THe main problem right now is the m203, not the 5.56 cartride. We need a dedicated GL that is clip fed. The EX-41 was a good idea they had going on at China Lake, dunno why that was canceled. Probably because it worked well. The standard rifleman doesn’t need to reach out and touch anymore than 300 meters with 500m being a good buffer zone to have effective max range at. Unless you imagine infantry platoons somewhere stranded without their companies mortars, there is just no point in trying to sacrifice other areas to punch up the maximum range. Another solution as said above to have a dedicated GL per squad that would have an soft range of about 800meters. This way the platoon mgs don’t get into dueling matches with enemy mgs and you have another powerful organic tool in the squad. We need to lose the ‘Sexy’ lightfighter doctrine and start equipping EVERY infantry unit with m113s and variants. We can GIVE them away to egypt and israel, yet our own guys ride around in thin skinned humvees and now the death trap stryker? It’s a sad time to be in the military. Any body with a few years in that has common sense could make the current force 5times as lethal for probably 1/2 the price. S/F

  13. —quote— Training on the M-16 flat out sucked. When they made me a SAW gunner, my attitude improved about the round, but only because the rounds now had more powder in the case, and the gun had a longer barrel. My max range with the M-16 was 250 years.

  14. Sh0t: I’m not arguing about the shortcomings of military procurement. They’ve proven over and over that they’re wrong at least as often as they’re right. That being said, what are the worst problems with the XM8? Everyone’s opinion seems to be that the 5.56 might not be good enough. I’m not talking about analysts, here. I’m talking about concerns raised by troops from Gulf War I, Somalia, Afghanistan, and OIF. SOF guys use up-gunned versions of M4s and M16s quite a bit. I certainly don’t have an answer, but to dismiss those concerns is dismissing the testimony of the people who count on that rifle to survive. When they talk I’m all ears. I agree with the need for a better grenade launcher. The XM8 can mount a side-loader GL, and the XM25 ‘smart’ GL is in the works. The thin-skinned Humvees must be upgraded with armor. No doubt about that. But hold off on the ‘deathtrap Stryker’ talk until someone actually dies in a Stryker. They’ve been performing pretty well so far. No soldiers have been killed in a Stryker despite 4 hits by the RPG that was going to make mincemeat out them, and a few IED hits. Since the Stryker deployed in early December, one caught fire and burned after hitting an IED. No one was seriously injured. Also since that time, one M2 Bradley has been blown to smithereens with 3 US and 2 Iraqis dead. Is the Bradley also a ‘deathtrap’? I’m not convinced that either the XM8 *or* the Stryker is the answer. But they certainly seem to be legit options at this point.

  15. http://www.hk-usa.com/pages/Military-LE/rifles-carbines/m4.html is a link for people to check out. It seems that H&K has ‘product improved’ The M4 to the same performance levels as the XM-8. Changes include a rod type operating system instead of direct gas impingement. It is listed in 5.56 but I’m sure they could make it in the new 6.8 cal. This would mean the improved performance of the 6.8 round and the improved reliability of the XM-8 with the added bonus of minimal troop training to use the product improved M4

  16. For first hand comments/stories on the original introduction of the M16 and .223 ammo in Viet Nam check out Dick Culver’s Shooting Page at http://www.jouster.com I believe he commanded some of the first Marines that were issued the then new rifles and ammo. They are not happy stories.

  17. Having just heard about this rifle while spending some time with some folks at Ft. Bliss, I’m wondering if anyone has given any thought to making a training version? I’m talking about a version which could fire .68 caliber paint marking pellets, as opposed to regular rounds. With such a weapon it’d be possible to reduce costs for much of today’s force-on-force tactical training. I’m not proposing this as a replacement for MILES, or Blue Tip rounds, rather as another option which our military has ignored for the most part. I welcome comments as well as advice on this topic as long as it’s constructive. Andy Van Der Plaats

  18. Although not getting to go to OIF, I have had some experience with the m16A2 and 5.56 rounds, and have never had any trouble hitting a target out to 500 yards, I understand it would be more difficult in a combat environment, but thats what the fundamentals are for. As far as effect on the opposing combatant, I can not attest to that. I figure if you shoot them in the head, their probably not going to be getting back up, whether the round goes all the way through or not. I wouldn’t mind a 7.62 round either, as long as it is atleast the same accuracy. As far as a need for a new GL, I believe we could use anything that could give our grunts more killing power, I vote we bring back carpet bombing with NAPALM! Oohrah, USMC.

  19. For all of you gun nuts out there… The best thing about the XM8 is the adjustable butt-stock and the safety on the right side instead of the left side of the weapon. Beyond that, the ability to attach a 40mm grenade launcher.

  20. From the videos I have seen on HK-USA, the brass ejection port isn’t very ‘leftie friendly’. The expended ammo seems to eject directly to the right shoulder when used by left handed people.With all the effort for making ambidextrous controls, why ignore possible injuries from this? Also, I couldn’t find any backup sights on the weapon. The G36 has rough ironsights which is great considering that a battery may deplete at any time (the LED probably just stays red when it is time to change it so I’m pretty sure that some will try to continue to fight, like one would risk with a car’s fuel indicator). The retaining pins seem very practical because there is no need for extra tools but it worries me. Since they only need to be pushed in to be removed, can they become loose because of constant snagging?

  21. One of you guys were talking about reliabilaty issues with the m-16. I can answer this question easily. The same time the M-16 was adopted the US contractor that made the ammo for it changed the propellant without telling anyone. This is why there were some problems. Also many say the m-16 is almost just as reliable as the ak-47 only you have to clean it alot. As for this XM-8, I hate it. The barrel is to short and there isn’t even a bayonet lug.

  22. Necessary cleaning is proportional to reliability. The less you are forced to clean it before inevitable misfire, the more reliable it is. Saying that an m-16 is almost as reliable as an AK despite constant cleaning is a contradiction.

  23. Josh: I’d hesitate to call the statement ‘stupid’, but it illustrates a good point. Early results indicate that the XM8 doesn’t need to be cleaned as often (good), when you do clean it it doesn’t take nearly as long (good), and when you don’t clean it it’s more likely to operate (very very good). I’d say that the XM8 might be approaching AK-47 reliability, but that’s based on claims made by the manufacturer and by Army officials who actively want to adopt it. Only time will tell. As for the powder affecting the M-16 reliability, you are totally correct. Everyone seems to know this, so why hasn’t anything been done about it? The XM8 action is designed to negate the downside of the current powder. Wouldn’t changing powder to negate its downside be another option? What would the losses of returning to the original or similar powder be? The expense? What about the expense of procuring all the new rifles and retraining the entire Army? I’m just asking. Any opinions?

  24. Josh: Also, the 20′ and 12.5′ barrels DO have a bayonet lug according to HK information. It doesn’t appear apparent in photos, though, so I don’t know for sure.

  25. I dont have military background but this gun looks good so far. I have just done some looking at the MX-8, online, and so far it looks to be a good weapon. It is truly as muli-role as a rifle comes. I think the Full-Auto option is a good idea, Spray and pray. Another great thing is using a gas operated piston, instead of that open gas operation. The interchangeable barrels are a good idea. just hope the 20′ one is accurate at long ranges. 2 more things the Grenade launcher is side loaded, its about time. I would bet that is better then having to load the thing from the bottom. Last a short 12gauge can be mounted insted of a grenade launcher, that is realy awsome to have somthing that could do a lot of damage at short range if you just used up your clip. Anyhow we need to see this in action agreed but best way is to mix a unit half mx6 and half m4 or m16 so if the thing is crap in the field our guys are not out of luck in a bad way. Guess thats it for now.

  26. Hey guys, whats happening. I’m probably wrong on a few points, as I have never been in the military, but here are just a few observations. First, check out this link on the XM8, it shows a guy firing 30 and 100 rounds fully auto with one hand behind his back. The other links show assembly/dissasembly, and firing with sand and water all over it. http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?s=1-292925-xm8.php Now that you’ve see the demo, how can you military guys not be jumping all over this? A fully modular assault rifle that is quickly field stripped and stable enough to fire 100 rounds with one hand. The thing was flooded with water and the guy fired off a full clip like it was a super soaker. The complaints about the ammunition size seem mundane, because both rifles use the same ammo. If anything the XM8 is the superior rifle because of its quick, user-field conversion to AK rounds. The Iraqi sand issue is a big one, even a civilian like myself remembers CNN telling us how the dust storms were jamming our boy’s guns. Granted I don’t beleive everything I read or see, it seems like a reasonable concern. All in all the XM8 seems to be a superior improvment on the 4 and 16. Looking at its weight, modular design, sustained rate of fire, barrell life, easy of breakdown and cleaning and cost…why hold on to something thats 40 years old. We live in the age of technology, might as well embrace it. Let me know if I’m wrong, again I’ve never been there so all I can go off is what I read and see.

  27. The XM-8 is the weapon needed by our troppers on the line now and in the future. Don’t let the politicians sell them out to NATO ‘Allies’ with the 5.56 varmint round to be politically correct and to make sales to NATO easier with compatible ammo size. As a WWII vet I can tell you that stopping power in combat is life to the grunt on the line. The argument that the 5.56 and a plastic piece is easier to tote by modern troopers is an insult to our people on the line. I was 17 and weighed 129 lbs and handled an M1 .30 shoulder bruises and all with pride and lived to tell you about about it. Punching one hole in each of the bad guys and rotating home is the drill not ‘wounding’ them in a ‘Nation-Building ‘ futile effort for people who hate us. Contact your Congressman and Senator at Congress.com and President Bush and demand the best for our troops now and for the next 30 years in combat (who knows where). We can not afford to guess where the next theater of combat will be. Deserts now maybe Indonesia next year. The XM-8 with the 6.8 round is the tool they need to do the job and to come home.

  28. I was trained on an M-14 in 1964 (USMC). I subsequently used my skills as a part-time sniper in Vietnam with the 3rd MarDiv up in the I CORPS. Most Marines remember those damned M-16 varmint rifles weren’t worth a hoot for stopping power. I had no high power rifle experience before I went into the Marines. They taught me how to shoot well and 750 yards was about my max distance with a 10 power scope on my glass bedded M-14 Rifle. The 6.8mm round sounds one hell of a lot better than that goofy .223 (M-16) round. With a shorter barrel, believe me, you will want a heavier bullet (heavier than 55 gr) for any kind of accuracy and stopping power. Don’t let anyone tell you differently!

  29. The XM8 does indeed have backup sights. If the battery is dead or the red-dot turned off, the optics have a traditional sight feature. Well, at least according to the HK guy showing off the XM8. I’ve seen the video of the XM8 firing after being dunked and after being buried in dust. Its simply amazing. Aren’t water and dust supposed to be bad for firearms? Here’s the link to the video: http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?s=1-292925-xm8_dust.php

  30. I would disagree with the earlier thread regarding bullpups sucking… They have some drawbacks such as they are a tad scary when you have your cheek right on top of the chamber and ejection port and they are hard to handle with a beta c-mag, but I have both a bushmaster m17s bullpup and a RRA Varmint 20′ and if my life were to depend on it, at this point I would grab the m17s. It is all about ease of handling. The RRA is more reliable, well built and accurate but I’d grab the m17s for the length, weight and balance. The ideal rifle in my opinion would be a bullpup with a free floated 20′ or so barrel, a hand guard that stayed cool, a piston operating system, a low pistol grip so a c-mag could fit it well and it should be light. Bullpups pack punch and accuracy. They look short and wimpy but trust me they aren’t.

  31. The XM8 asault rifle may be the ideal (?) weapon of the future being discussed at the moment. But the immediate answer to the elimination of the less than desirable 5.56mm round is the: SR-47! If I’m not mistaken I’ve seen them in the field in the hands of Special Forces. US special operations forces have received a small number of new assault rifles optimised for the type of cave-complex fighting experienced in Afghanistan. The weapons are based on the M-4/M-4A1 carbine variants of the M-16 assault rifle family, but fire the 7.62 x 39mm Soviet-designed cartridge and magazines used in the AK-47 assault rifle. Knight’s Armament Company of Vero Beach, Florida, delivered the first six rifles, called the SR-47 (Stoner Rifle-47), to the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in January. The company received a contract for an initial six weapons in late October 2001. David Lutz, vice president of military marketing for Knight’s Armament Company, said: ‘For the last couple of years there was a requirement in USSOCOM for an addition to their [M-4 series carbine] SOPMOD [Special Operations Peculiar Modification] kit that they called a ‘Special Purpose Receiver’ (SPR). ‘Originally they called it the SPR V1 for ‘variant one’, and it was to be a drop-in 7.62 x 39mm receiver replacement.’ According to Lutz, government laboratory efforts to satisfy the SPR requirement were further complicated by ‘user input’ from the USSOCOM specifying that special forces did not want to use the ‘straight box’ M-16 magazines but instead wanted to utilize ‘battlefield pick-up’ AK-47 magazines taken from opponents. ‘That was a dilemma because the AK-47 magazine won’t go well in a straight chute dimensional magazine – it just won’t happen,’ he said. He added: ‘But actually this program was kind of on a back-burner until US special operations guys were going into these complex of tunnels that were so deep, expansive and target-rich that they couldn’t take enough loaded M-16 magazines. So they wanted a weapon that had all the muscle memory of an M-4 – safety, grip, everything that’s familiar to the soldier or the SEAL – but capable of using battlefield pick-up magazines.’ Instead of a drop-in receiver addition to the SOPMOD kit, design changes mandated a completely new weapon with resulting change in terminology from Special-Purpose Receiver to Special-Purpose Rifle (SPR). ‘To enable the use of battlefield pick-up magazines, we had to make the upper and lower receiver 0.25in longer. You couldn’t take an M-4 receiver and even machine it out to take the AK-47 magazine because it was too short. That also meant that the bolt carrier had to be made longer and the firing pin had to be made longer. ‘So you started losing what some people would have liked to have in terms of optimal interchangeability of parts; that’s just part of the trade-off to fire the different cartridges,’ Lutz said. He highlighted the advantages of the 7.62mm size round for close-quarter battle (CQB) operations. Noting that many of the world’s counter-terrorist organizations have evolved from 9mm to 5.56mm ammunition over the last decade, he highlighted the larger 7.62mm ammunition for the ability to package heavier, slower bullets that could provide greater contributions in CQB scenarios. In addition to the extended upper and lower receivers, another challenging design effort in the SR-47 involved getting the M-4/M-16 magazine catch to externally function like the M-16 magazine but work with a curved AK-47 magazine. In practice, US soldiers use gravity to ‘drop’ their empty M-16 magazines. The SR-47 design requires the introduction of an internal magazine ejector to push the empty AK-47 magazine from the bottom of the weapon. Additional design features include the introduction of a free-floated match grade barrel. ‘This particular 7.62 x 39mm is probably the most accurate 7.62 x 39mm in the world because it’s got a really fine free-floated barrel,’ Lutz added. ‘And, of course, it has the rail system so all of the other SOPMOD accessories off the M-4s are compatible. ‘There’s also a possibility, although they haven’t let the contract yet, that there could be another variant that we’d call the SR-74. That could be used if our special operations guys go to a country that has the ‘newer’ 5.45mm former Soviet weapons. Then they would also have the same ability to pick up magazines.’ All six of the SR-47s were delivered with sound suppressors, which Lutz described as ‘essential’ in tunnel operations because of the weapon report. ‘We don’t know how the six did,’ he said. ”We don’t know if they are ever going to order one more. We don’t know if we’re going to get the second phase, which is to develop the 5.45mm version. But this is probably the hottest weapon that’s out there right now.’ Lutz concluded: ‘The SR-47 is a great gun because of the three technologies that it marries: the basic Stoner gun design; the AK-47 series cartridge and magazine; and the modular weapon concept.’

  32. Dear Sir, With reference to above we require 1 Nos of above said Rifle to be kept for exhibition towards presentation by the Chairman which will be directly imported by the Learning Institute a Govt organization of INDIA. They will make the payment in advance or LC in your name after getting a offer from you. In this case our Company Orion Chem (P) Ltd will act on your behalf and get the order immediately for which intend to have a commission of 10 % which may be included in the pricing. Please reply ASAP. As this is for exhibition we request you to initially give us your offer for following rifle 1 No. Each of all different model specified below. MODEL OF DIFFERENT COUNTRY /WEAPON 5.56 ASSAULT USA M 46 AZ ISRARAEL GALIL BELGIUM FN USSR AK 101 GERMANY H2K SA STAYRAUG AUSTRALIA SIG FRANCE FAMAS STRPER -7.62 DRAGMOV 7.62 FN 4.7 USSR /USA 14.5 -S.A 12.7 -S.A 12 BORE – PLISTEA SUN RF1 9 – RF1 .32 – PARKE -GSF COM NEON SAF .38 X .22 RIFE -RF1 REVOLVER -RF1 We await your early response. Thank you (Mr. Rajrattan Mohatta) Director ORION CHEM PVT. LTD. MILLENNIUM BUSINESS PARK, SECTOR – III, BUILDING – III GALA NO. 2, MAHAPE NAVI – MUMBAI – 400 710. INDIA TEL NOS. 91 22 24980458, 91 22 24900759, TEL NOS. 91 22 27782942, 91 22 27782943 FAX NO. 91 22 24932748 CELL : + 0 98202 36 878

  33. the XM8 is a great looking gun, mind you i think they should upgrade the bullet size to at least 6.8mm or 7.62mm then you could have a hell of a lot more range over the weak 5.56mm and then when you hit the target its most likely that they wouldn’t get up again. the XM8 is a much needed replacement for the ageing M16/M4 series. me being australian i think it would be a great replacement for australia’s F88 styers which are ugly as hell. great gun if upgraded with 6.8mm or 7.62mm bullets.

  34. People seem to be forgetting that when bullet size/weight increase, recoil increases as well. When a bullet is fired, the same amount of force pushing the bullet toward it’s intended destination pushes back on the gun. The xm-8 is already a light gun, so therefore if you increase bullet weight you can make recoil nearly unmanagable in full-auto.

  35. Okay, the 5.56 NATO is a little small to kill. But what you have to remember is that if Hasem bin Seen takes a bullet to the arm, the guy is going to runaway and probably bleed out any way. The only gun that should have a larger bullet is the marksmanship rifle so it can take down tangos at extreme ranges.

  36. i dont understand how the xm8 works on full auto if it does not use the gas from the round going into a piston like the m4/16. can anyone explain?

  37. You guys certainly know your stuff. One point the British and Germans after WW2 study the Sturmgewehr (I think thats right) concept with captured STG44 (ancestor to the AK47) and trialled different calibres,rim diameters and case lenths. They found the .280/30 caliber around about 49 mm long had the optimal killing power (I think 2550 fps at 150 yards or something like that as opposed to the SLR of something like 3200 FPS and later 1800 FPS. Dont quote me I running off a failing memory) and combination of recoil as everyone wanted selective fire rifles. The US eventually steam rolled NATO into 7.62 x51 (a good meaty round) and then backtracked with the 5.56mm. If this 6.8mm is approaching this then why the hell the pissing around with 5.56mm. Its seems to be a 40 year U-turn. I think someone was watching a profit margin when they should have been looking at the Yank Aussie and New Zealand casualties at the time of this rounds introduction in the 60’s. (Aus and NZ’s generally had SLR in Vietnam but the odd Sig. would have been trusting his life to it.) The 5.56 round does the job but barely. That never did reassure me. Cheers. Any Aussies keep your hands off Phar Lap,Crowded house,and that Webb Ellis Trophy.