Bullpups advance (slowly)


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Tony Williams
November 17, 2004, 05:40 PM
I have been told that the FN F2000 has been ordered in small numbers (70) for Belgian special forces.

JDW reports that the Israeli Army ordered 15,000 Tavor rifles in July 2003. The IDF's Givati Brigade evaluated the Tavor against the M4A1 carbine as a replacement for the M16, and "favoured the Tavor as a solution to its increasing involvement in urban warfare operations". Initial deliveries began early in 2004 to equip the IDF's four regular infantry brigades and a further purchase of 40,000 rifles is expected at a future date to equip the IDF's reserve units.

The Tavor has been purchased by India for special forces - the ordinary troops are being equipped with the 5.56mm INSAS rifle (a modified AK design).

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and Discussion forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

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KaceCoyote
November 17, 2004, 06:01 PM
I maintain, that if we could get one quality bullpup on the market the Bullpup would really hit main stream. The M-17 is tough to mount optics on, and I'm yet to see a quality AK bullpup so there isnt sufficient demand to drive rapid inovation or so it would seem.

Bartholomew Roberts
November 17, 2004, 06:36 PM
I don't know, the one place where it seems a bullpup would really shine is CQB (long rifle in a compact package); but that is also the place where ergonomics and rapid manipulation of the weapon are critical and most bullpups don't lend themselves well to that - I am thinking of mag changes in particular.

Until soldiers start carrying a secondary weapon regularly, running a bullpup dry in close quarters is going to be a big oops.

Bigfoot
November 18, 2004, 01:16 AM
In my opinion the mag change is a matter of training. I have a bullpup, and I find it no more difficult to move the grip hand rearward to the mag than it is to go foreward to the mag. But I'm a little biased. The tradeoff is better velocity AND compactness.

Traditions die hard, even when the both the problem and the solution is staring the military in the face. I understand the need to be conservative, but I would think that the AUG proved the concept a long time ago. The FN2000 improved on that. Now if they could just make the LOP a little shorter.

What happened with the ROK DAR-21? http://bemil.chosun.com/spboard/board.cgi?id=board_special_guns&action=view&gul=366&page=1&go_cnt=0

Badger Arms
November 18, 2004, 01:30 AM
Don't know how a magazine can get FASTER than the one on the M16 or SLOWER than the one on the Steyer Aug. The other's I've handled (FAMAS and that British Abortion) were also slow. There's something to be said for the M16 and that's the ergonomics of the mag change. My only problem has been Waiting for the spent magazine to clear the gun so the new mag can go in. I can even work the bolt release and grab the front of the mag well for a quick follow-up shot.

Now, when a Righty shoots a Bullpup, he must reach far back, and work the mag release SOMEHOW while holding the new mag or before grabbing for the new mag. He then has to insert the new mag. In many positions, this is impossible to do with the gun mounted to the shoulder. Poor ergonomics.

Me, I have no problem maneuvering the 16" Barrel, but I think a 10" or 12" barrel would be better... stubby guns. Now, the problem with that is that the muzzle blast from these guns is not pleasant indoors. The problem with the Bullpup, though, is that it can only be fired from one shoulder. Try clearing a room or hall effectively that way? You can do it, but it's not as clean or effective.

The Grand Inquisitor
November 18, 2004, 02:04 AM
Tommarow I will find out if my local dealer is willing to sell his NIB Nornico 86S (Chinese AK variant bullpup banned after about 1100 got into the country) so I will potentially have real experiances with bullpups to comment besides my thoughts.

I am personally won over the the idea of bullpups and I think the idea of the mag swap has quite a bit to do with familiarity with the rifles - most American shooters cut their teeth with AR15/M16 style rifles, so it is only natural for these people to be most proficiant with these rifles. The bullpup (using the AUG as an example, which I think is the finest military firearm now available) is a radical redesign of the rifle format and requires radical new changes to tactics...which tend to change slowly.

As more shooters shoot with bullpups familiarity will set in and new skills will grow and I think more people will warm to the design.

I do agree that the American market really needs a good bullpup to gear up the desire of shooters to push manufacturers into bringing more rifles in the bullpup format to the market. Right now the AUG is running between $3-$5000, the USR between $2000-$2500 (anyone selling a USR for $2000 please sell it to me!!!!) and the price only goes up from there into the tens of thousands for the FAMAS and others. The M17 is a good start, but in my opinion it is bulky and awkward and needs to be slightly redesigned.

Lets get some semi-auto civilian Tavors, FN2000's, and FAMAS' on the US market!

Tony Williams
November 18, 2004, 03:47 AM
Now, when a Righty shoots a Bullpup, he must reach far back, and work the mag release SOMEHOW while holding the new mag or before grabbing for the new mag. He then has to insert the new mag. In many positions, this is impossible to do with the gun mounted to the shoulder. Poor ergonomics.

Me, I have no problem maneuvering the 16" Barrel, but I think a 10" or 12" barrel would be better... stubby guns. Now, the problem with that is that the muzzle blast from these guns is not pleasant indoors. The problem with the Bullpup, though, is that it can only be fired from one shoulder. Try clearing a room or hall effectively that way? You can do it, but it's not as clean or effective.

I've watched British soldiers changing mags on the SA80, and they are very fast indeed. I have also heard from a British soldier who has served in Iraq who reports that the rearwards mag position is a positive advantage when travelling in vehicles with guns at the ready, as it means that the magazine is 'inboard' of the vehicle and much easier to change.

The problem with short barrels is that the effectiveness of the 5.56x45 cartridge is very dependent on striking velocity; maximum effectiveness is achieved when the bullet fragments as it tumbles. The problem is that the M855 ball loading will only fragment at up to 150-200m from a 20 inch barrel, and about 50-90m from the 14.5 inch barrel of the M4. From a 10 inch barrel it probably wouldn't fragment even at point-blank range.

If you want good effectiveness at battle ranges (who doesn't?) coupled with maximum compactness for CQB and use in vehicles (who doesn't?) then the bullpup is the blindingly obvious answer. The problems of left-handed use have been solved in the FN F2000, which is genuinely ambidextrous with all controls, and there are also other technical solutions which could be used if the will were there. The problem is that the US Army isn't interested in trying.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and discussion
forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

MrMurphy
November 18, 2004, 11:19 AM
The FN2000 solved the major problem of bullpups in that it ejects round into a little tunnel and they pop out forward of the gun in a little pile (no 5,000 mph empties pinging off the guy next to you's helmet.. annoying, and possible to put someone's eye out). No hot brass down your collar either. Apparently, this idea was around in 1904 on a early Maxim HMG, but everyone forgot about it.

Badger Arms
November 18, 2004, 12:21 PM
I have also heard from a British soldier who has served in Iraq who reports that the rearwards mag position is a positive advantage when travelling in vehicles with guns at the ready, as it means that the magazine is 'inboard' of the vehicle and much easier to change. If you want good effectiveness at battle ranges (who doesn't?) coupled with maximum compactness for CQB and use in vehicles (who doesn't?) then the bullpup is the blindingly obvious answer.Okay, but one BIG question is who is watching the RIGHT SIDE of the vehicle! Think about it, when you point a right-ejecting gun out of the right side of the vehicle, the ejection port is in your face! I'd never considered mounted troops primarily because it seems an impossibly uncomfortable situation. Am I missing something?

The problems of left-handed use have been solved in the FN F2000, which is genuinely ambidextrous with all controls, and there are also other technical solutions which could be used if the will were there. The problem is that the US Army isn't interested in trying.
Well, no, it's not that we aren't interested. We've tested bullpups before (notably the Steyer ACR candidate and a 7.62 Nato bullpup around the M14 development time). The problem is, we were not obsessed with them as British efforts seem to indicat they were. All this for, what, 12" of barrel length at best? That and a much heavier weapon. What's wrong with subguns for CQB? If we're going after body-armored bad guys, there are several designs designed to defeat that these days notably the FN P90 and HK MP7. Even an 11" barreled M16 variant is notably effective at defeating body armor.

Now to the FN2000. Sure, it ejects forward, but how reliable is it? Give the gun about five years in service and see what they say about it... if it gets there.

MrMurphy
November 18, 2004, 02:41 PM
Actually, all the bullpup designs (L85, FAMAS, SAR-21, Tavor, FN2000) have barrels around 16-20", in a rifle that's shorter than an M4.

I've handled several AUGs and the balance isn't bad. The Tavor and FN2000 appear to be balanced pretty well, and the FAMAS, surprisingly for a French weapon, appears to be both completely reliable, and fairly well balanced.

I'm not an overwhelming fan of the bullpup design, but the FN2000 appears to have gotten it "right". especially with the Fore-end Light or grenade launcher attachment that replace the foregrip without making the rifle really bulky (seen an M203 on a Aug?)

The Grand Inquisitor
November 18, 2004, 11:23 PM
As bullpups continue to be refined (I still think the AUG is the jewel in the bullpup crowd) they will become the standard military firearm across the world. I think there will probably still be a role for conventional and traditional rifle designs, but the bullpup will be the standard for the future.

Tony Williams
November 19, 2004, 12:40 AM
Okay, but one BIG question is who is watching the RIGHT SIDE of the vehicle! Think about it, when you point a right-ejecting gun out of the right side of the vehicle, the ejection port is in your face! I'd never considered mounted troops primarily because it seems an impossibly uncomfortable situation. Am I missing something?

Well, it depends on the type of vehicle you're in and the seating arrangement, but the simple answer would be to sit facing outwards, or even backwards. An attack is just as likely to come from behind as in front, after all.

Now to the FN2000. Sure, it ejects forward, but how reliable is it? Give the gun about five years in service and see what they say about it... if it gets there.

Any new weapon is, by definition, untried. But if that excuse were used to reject them, we'd never get anything new. FN has probably the best reputation of any Western military gun designer/maker, so I'd be surprised if there were major problems.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and Discussion forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

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