Rumors swirl that Sig may NOT be the favorite because the ammo is not enough of a departure from traditional stuff and not enough weight savings. While Sig could be closest and fastest to production...it's a gamble which may or may not pay off.
While it's not clear within these rumors who actually is the "#1" of the remaining 2, I would guess that with so many times "bullpups need not apply" criteria in rifle solicitations...the above might be top dog????
IMO, I think that this could end up being like other programs that the US Army initiated to try and find a replacement for the M16/M4/AR-15 that dated back to the 1960s. It could lead to something, or it can go nowhere. The biggest thing that stands in the way IMO is the Army's ammo specs. I think that having a 6.8mm round with .270 Win Mag ballistics being fired out of short barreled automatic rifles is asking too much. Sig claim that their 6.8x51mm/.277 Fury round can be loaded up to 80K PSI. I don't see the Army adopting such a potent loading for a general issue battle rifle. It might be pudloaded to .308 Win/7.62mm NATO or even .280 British levels of power.
Also IMO, given that if they want that kind of power, why not adopt a rifle in 7.62mm NATO and use the M80A1 ball round? That seemed to be the snag when the German Army postponed adoption of a new rifle from last year to first half of this year.
It should also be noted according to the TFB article that HK had really nothing to do with the mechanical design of the rifle, just the ergonomics and layout, which hint at the 416/433 to an extent.
While history and logic would agree with that initial statement quoted above, I believe that while there may not be immediate adoption, these are significant steps for future small arms even if they are not implemented immediately. Like the X SAPI plate, it will at least be on the shelf even if it's not the answer. Additional scuttlebutt is that 277 round (or perhaps the Cross rifle) is a bit of a dog in terms of accuracy (coming from a precision rifle guy who got to review it).
M80A1 (and don't quote me on this) probably isn't defeating the potential armor threat that is projected. It just doesn't have the speed.
What I find interesting is hearing about all the quite stuff from SHOT like the 140gr 6.5CM round for SOCOM...the LMG use...and other things that actual "shooters" are up to.
I'm thinking that 6.5mm Creedmoor is more realistic as a new infantry round. I just think that what the Army wants is too ambitious vs 6.5mm Creedmoor or 7.62mm NATO M80A1. They could've had something with the M855A1 5.56mm rounds if it could be used in existing 5.56mm rifles without breaking them after a few hundred or few thousand rounds ahead of normal. BTW, 5.56mm M855A1 was loaded up to .308/7.62mm NATO chamber pressures, hence the problems.
I'd like to see something like the .280 British be revived. Even in 1950 it was a very hard hitting round that was accurate (of the time) at long range and even outperformed the .30-06 Springfield in penetration at long range.
For reference, the M80A1 was intended to have a muzzle velocity of 2950-3000fps from a 22+ inch barrel. It also doesn't use a lead core, instead a steel core with a copper slug behind it. Here's the damage it did to a 3/8 inch steel plate at 330 yards:
A New 7.62 Round? - Soldier Systems Daily
However, I understand based on combat in Afghanistan, the US Armed Forces and NATO desire rifles more powerful than 5.56 due to being outraged by Taliban/Al Queda insurgents with PKMs and SVDs and having to rely on DMRs and M240s/FN MAGs/other GPMGs to even the odds. However, I do feel that the Army's being a bit too ambitious with their pursuit of new rifles/LMGs and ammo for them when it seems that with 6.5mm Creedmoor and 7.62mm NATO are here already. As well as the .338 Norma Mag GPMGs like Sig's.
Honestly, I don't find the quoted velocity numbers from Sig to be all that impressive. 140 gr 6.8 projectile at 3,000 fps from a 16" barrel. Consider for a moment that 130 gr MK319 loads were getting 2,900 - 2,950 fps from 16" guns, and were developed over a decade ago. More food for thought...during development of their short barrel optimized 308 load, ATK / Speer was pushing 150 gr projectiles at 3,000 fps from 16" barrels and still stayed just under SAAMI MAP. This was with standard brass. No special base needed. The production load, which is now a 140 gr at 2,820 fps from a 16" gun, was watered down a bit for guys who will inevitably shoot it in longer barreled rifles. Will exceed FBI protocol from barrels as short as 10".
My point is, I don't think a fancy base and 80,000 PSI chamber pressure is the ONLY way to achieve the performance they're after. I would think velocity numbers would be significantly higher given the stated chamber pressure for these new hybrid cases.
One cool thing about the CT technology that HK and Textron are working on is that you could use super high BC bullets with very pointy tips (think Warner Flatline bullets) and not have to worry about tip deformation. This was found to be an issue with the Flatline bullets, which is why they made a variant specifically for mag fed applications.
I have to agree with your assessment, and probably why the German Army ultimately wanted a 7.62mm NATO compatible rifle in the current rifle trials (or at least a 5.56 to 7.62mm multi-cal capability like the FN SCAR 17). The 417 and the SCAR 17 in full auto with 16 inch or shorter barrels are perfectly controllable, plus US SOCOM is looking at 6.5mm Creedmoor as a long range cartridge where the power of .308 Win/7.62mm NATO isn't absolutely necessary. Think an intermediate round that's good for long range work.
It has to be remembered shortly after World War II that the British decided that the optimum caliber for a new intermediate round was between .256/6.5mm to .276 (AKA .280)/7mm. Also, the original US Army trials that lead to the .223 Rem becoming the 5.56mm NATO originally recommended a round of 6-6.5mm.
I just see the US Army's 6.8mm round as an overpowered intermediate round when the 6.5 Creedmoor, current or better optimized 7.62mm NATO and even like a revived .280 British or a 6.25mm, 6.5mm or 6.8mm or even .30 version would work just as well. And the Sig .277 Fury may be nice for those who like to hot rod the living hell out of their rounds, but I can't see it being much better than a +P version of the 7.62mm NATO, and it's basically a hot rodded .308 with a 6.8mm bullet in it. As has also been pointed out, there's no current belted magnum rounds even that SAMMI or CIP have rated for 80K PSI.
Last edited by BarnOwlLover; 02-02-2020 at 10:50 PM.
@Tspies...true about those 308 rounds, but their BC's where **** LOL.
Personally, I think this 6.8/270 caliber size is goofy. That's all I'm gonna say about that.
@BarnOwlLover , there was some talk about SOCOM and their 6.5CM at SHOT. 140gr Berger is going to be their bullet and Berger is apparently doing some nice work getting their meplat pointier and more consistent...which is nice.
Problem is that as good as 6.5mm Creedmoor is as a long range round, especially considering that it's basically a high end intermediate rifle round (the parent case for the 6.5 Creedmoor is the .30TC, which is a shortened .308 Win/7.62mm NATO shell casing and was an attempt by Thompson Center to make a good .30 intermediate round that was similar to the .308 Win and even the .30-06 Springfield in performance but with much less recoil), outside of marksman use, it's long range capabilities are sort of useless to the common foot solider.
One area where the 6.5mmm Creedmoor wins out is that it's got much more lethality and stopping power than 5.56mm NATO, 5.45x39mm, and 7.62x39mm. And gets you longer range when you need it and can still be easily used in an automatic rifle. But then again, rounds like the .280 British had very good ballistics compared to even many 6.5-8mm full power rifle rounds, and I'd argue could've been that generation's 6.5 Creedmoor if given a chance. I actually don't see what the 6.5mm Creedmoor brings to the table as a long range round that the .308 and .30-06 don't. I know that 6.5mm-7mm bullets tend to have excellent ballistics, but it seems that the Creedmoor brings lower weight and recoil to the table. Which, IMO, isn't a big deal to marksmen, snipers and users of GPMGs. However, those advantages wold be appreciated by infantrymen, LMG users and such who want a more powerful round without going back to full bore .30 rounds.
The US Army is talking overmatch capabilities. Well, 6.5mm Creedmoor does give overmatch against 5.56mm, 5.45mm and 7.62x39. I think that US SOCOM is on to something, and it may be big if the Army's quest for their 6.8mm wonder round and the rifles and LMGs to fire it come to naught.
Last edited by BarnOwlLover; 02-02-2020 at 11:23 PM.