US Military Gamers - Powered by vBulletin

Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    USMG Beer & Boob Judge
    River_Rat_459's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Bridgeport, WV
    First Name
    Blog Entries

    Lighter weight SAW and lighter ammo closer to reality

    Some of you may recall this article I posted earlier regarding the possible replacement of the SAW. Looks like those Marine SAWs won't be the only ones getting replaced.

    A SAW at Half the Weight? It’s for Real

    by christian on July 23, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Read more:

    From this morning’s lead story (I’ll run through it with some commentary):

    Army Engineers at the Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.-based Joint Service Small Arms Program office have been working for the last six years on a radical approach to ammunition and weapons that has the potential to cut the weight Soldiers carry by nearly 50 percent.

    Researchers are using so-called “cased telescoped” ammunition that does away with the propellant-holding brass shell and replaces it with a lightweight plastic case. So far the program, dubbed Lightweight Small Arms Technologies, has built three M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon-like machine guns and fired more than 10,000 of the lighter rounds with the same rate of fire and accuracy of a standard SAW.

    A couple quick things here…According to Kori Phillips, lead engineer on the program, the JSSAP office was told by the infantry center at Benning to concentrate on the light machine gun — in this case the SAW. So at least to some extent, the Army has telegraphed its priority as lightening the M-249 in one way or another (they recently did it with the M-240 by fielding the Mk-48).

    And one other interesting thing of note is that they developed a whole new firing system for the LSAT SAW that has a rotating bolt…

    The new cased telescope-firing SAW looks almost the same on the outside as its M-249 counterpart but uses a rotating action and a novel feed system that fires a standard 5.56mm ball projectile and ejects the plastic case and link from its own port.

    “One of the other things we’ve completely avoided in this system is the failure to feed and failure to eject,” Phillips added. “In your SAW system, that’s where you primarily have failures and malfunctions.”

    According the Phillips (and I only half understand what she’s even saying) the chamber supports the entire length of the case which is “key with a polymer case. You can’t have any exposed surface otherwise it will sheer.” It’s a straight through feed and eject and the chamber is not attached to the barrel. Also since the weapon is lighter, it has a lot more kick than a SAW. So engineers put in a “long stroke soft recoil” spring system in it, “so there’s no buffer spring in the butt stock.”

    Engineers have also built a prototype M-4 that fires the lighter rounds. The experimental M-4 weighs about the same as a standard M-4 but has a 40-round magazine that’s slimmer than the current one and straight instead of curved. And since half the weight of a legacy bullet is due to the brass case, a Soldier’s load of more than 200 rounds in combat will drop substantially.

    Phillips admitted you can’t shave much weight from the already pretty light M-4 system. But the unique characteristics of the ammo allow engineers to fashion a straight mag, just as long as the current one but with ten more rounds.

    The M-4 variant of the cased telescope rifle has a so-called “rising chamber” action that’s fed ammo from the rear — what JSSAP engineers jokingly call a “fauxpup” after the so-called “bullpup” operating systems popular with European small arms. It looks similar to a standard M-4, but the operating system actually gives the experimental rifle an extra four inches of barrel length, Phillips said.

    The rifle looks almost the same as the M-4 — no magazine behing the trigger, Stoner lovers — but since the ammo is fed from behind the bolt, the same size gets four extra inches of reach out and touch you.

    While the cased telescoped ammo is almost ready for prime time, the more exotic caseless rounds still need some work, Phillips explained. Testers are having problems keeping the rounds — which are essentially hard, molded propellant with an embedded 5.56 mm bullet — from degrading in high heat. They’re also expensive, hard to make, and tough on the shooter.

    Now here’s where things got dicey. The caseless ammo is just simply not there. Though it offers a huge advantage in weight and volume, the instability of the round and its expense and difficulty in manufacturing have kept it in the lab. But I’ve been around more than a few SAW gunners who’d take the 40 percent weight reduction over nothing any day.

    Read more: ... #more-1384#ixzz0ucH4DOmV
    Related story on the ammo:
    Army Closer to Era of Lightweight Ammo

    by christian on July 22, 2010 · Comments (6)

    In an exclusive story to be posted on tomorrow morning, Kit Up! has learned that the Army is in the final stages of planning a major field test of a weapon designed to fire ammunition that weighs half of what current rounds do.

    The so-called Lightweight Small Arms Technologies program run out of Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., has come a long way in the development of cased telescope ammunition that uses a plastic shroud to contain the propellant and 5.56 bullet instead of brass.

    Readers will recognize this technology has been around since at least the late ’70s, but only now have real resources been brought to bear on the idea. The program, run out of the Joint Service Small Arms Program office, will field at least eight SAW-like machine guns to troops for an exercise in the summer of 2011 to see how the reduced weight and reliability helps the mission.

    The experimental SAW with 600 rounds of cased telescope ammo weighs 23.8 lbs — the current one comes in at 38.3 lbs with ammo.

    We’ll talk more about this tomorrow on Kit Up!, including a belt-fed battle rifle the engineers are thinking about putting together that weighs as much as an M4. But be sure to read tomorrow morning’s for the full story.

    Read more:
    Finally, there's a brief demonstration video here:


    Indecision may or may not be my problem.

  2. #2
    USMG [Retired Staff] Member
    Ironhide400's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Springfield, IL
    First Name
    Blog Entries

    Re: Lighter weight SAW and lighter ammo closer to reality

    WOW! That is amazing....lightweight ammo! The saw is a great idea also, but lightweight ammo! :shock:
    The possibilities that this could bring are great! Especially if they could up the M4 from 5.56 and give our troops some heavier firepower!

  3. #3
    Airborne Recon Gy-reen Rexasaurus
    Timmy_2_Tones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Sandy, UT
    First Name
    Blog Entries

    Re: Lighter weight SAW and lighter ammo closer to reality

    The only issue I can see, and they talked about it, is the fact that a plastic casing us not going to do well in the hot ass desert. That and combine the sand with this new weapon, I would like to see the results of months in Iraq.

    Also, how is the casing going to handle extreme cold? If it gets brittle, that could cause some further issues.

    I like the idea if light weight, but the environment in which it is used is going to be the real deal breaker.

    I can say that some of the engineering they put into these weapons is pretty amazing, I would love to test some if these systems out.

    Signature thanks to jgreco138

  4. #4
    Tim's Bromance Partner
    saviger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    In the ether between websites
    First Name

    Re: Lighter weight SAW and lighter ammo closer to reality

    very cool!
    "Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves"

    William Pitt, 1783

  5. #5
    USMG [Retired Staff] Member
    jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: Lighter weight SAW and lighter ammo closer to reality

    Quote Originally Posted by saviger
    very cool!

    "It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes".- Andrew Jackson

Similar Threads

  1. Reality Check on Life.......
    By Ironhide400 in forum Scuttlebutt
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-24-2011, 16:25
  2. Weight Loss
    By Mirisido in forum Scuttlebutt
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 07-30-2010, 11:07
  3. Weight set
    By Crusty in forum Scuttlebutt
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-15-2010, 08:44


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts