A Proposal (Devil's Advocacy)


March 26, 2003, 02:27 AM
There is an endless debate back and forth about what is the ideal compromise between more ammunition and more powerful ammunition. Due to those pesky laws of physics, we can't have both (damn you Isaac Newton!).

It's a compromise. The more powerful your ammunition is, the larger, heavier, and bulkier it is. Whereas a soldier could probably carry comfortably hundreds and hundreds of rounds of .22LR, it wouldn't make a very good service arm.

There are those (and there are many of them) that insist that most engagements take place at 200 meters an in, and that ones at farther ranges than that are a statistical improbability. In any case, they say, if they do occur, the troops need only to call in artillery or air support. Due to the availability of support to modern forces, long-ranged rifle engagements are very rare, they say, not occurring often enough to justify a longer ranged weapon system with its subsequent disadvantages; weight and bulk.

Now, my own opinions aside, I got to thinking. IF this is true, is it possible that even the M4 carbine and similar weapon systems are not the best suited small arm? While I'm sure many of our AR buffs will insist that the M4 carbine is the epitome of small arms design, and that Eugene Stoner is a shining, gleaming man-god for cooking it up, I'm going to think outside the box for a bit.

First, I did some research on weapons that would allow the user to carry even more ammunition. Of course, there would be a range and power sacrifice, but remember, we have artillery for targets that are more than 200-300m away.

My research lead me to the FN P90 submachine gun, (http://www.fnmfg.com/products/p90/p90.htm) and the 5.7x28mm FN SS190 round it fires. Good armor penetration for something so small, and fifty rounds per magazine, but a little too lacking in terminal ballistics, due to the light weight 31gr bullet.

My research also called attention to the .224 Boz (http://www.civil-defence.org/products/ballistics/boz224/boz224.html) round of ammunition, which is a 10mm case necked down to a 5.56mm bullet. It's ballistically superior to FN 5.7mm, and uses readily available 5.56mm bullets to boot. This seems to be a step in the right direction, though if I use my imagination, I can think of a more creative weapon than a converted MP5/10mm.

So, while not necessarily using the .224 Boz round specifically (could be something similar, whatever tickles your fancy), I'm going to think up a weapon system that'll have several advantages. I'll call my round the .22 Nightcrawler. It pushes a 55 grain 5.56mm bullet to roughly 2400 feet per second, depending on barrel length. Effective range would be roughly 200m.

Stealing an idea from FN, I imagine a polymer-framed downward ejecting bullpup. However, instead of having complicated magazines that lay on top of the weapon, a more conventional box magazine would feed into the bottom of the stock. On a weapon this short, the manual of arms troubles that occur with bullpups probably wouldn't be a problem. In any case, a little extra training could deal with it.

Anyway, instead of a conventional box magazine, let's give it a four-column magazine, as seen on the Italian Spectre M4 submachine gun, giving each magazine a 50 round capacity.

It would weigh less than six pounds loaded. It would also feature roller-locking recoil operation, negating the need for any kind of a gas system.

The weapon would feature an ambidextrious cocking handle/bolt release, and the bolt would lock open after the last shot was fired.

The weapon would feature a threaded barrel, and would come standard with a very well designed compensator/muzzle brake/flash hider, to reduce muzzle climb.

The sighting system would be an adjustable tritium dot sight, with a wide objective, allowing for quick target acquisition and not requiring batteries. Additionally, rails would be on the sides of the weapon, allowing the installation of accessories like an infra red laser (for Night Vision use) and tactical lights.

The muzzle attachment could be unscrwed and replaced with a suppressor. Since it uses the same bullets as a 5.56mm rifle, and would easily push them to the same subsonic velocities, the .22NC Carbine would offer the same power and penetration as suppressed/subsonice 5.56mm carbines, but in a smaller, lighter package and offering more ammunition at the user's disposal.

The weapon would feature an ambidextrious safety selector, with SAFE-SEMI-BURST-AUTO available.

To summarize, the operator equipped with the Nightcrawler Advanced Tactical Carbine would have the following at his disposal.

-A short, light carbine. Loaded weight is under six pounds, overall length around 24". Handy for inside of an APC or inside of a building.

-A submachine gun sized weapon with effective ranges out to 200m, capable of penetrating NATO CRISAT armor and kevlar helmets out to that range.

-A compact weapon that offers the user 50 rounds per magazine load. A load bearing vest holding six spare magazines, plus one in the weapon, would give the user 350 rounds at his/her disposal.

-A weapon that, when suppressed, is just as capable as a suppressed 5.56mm rifle (using subsonic ammo) in a much smaller package.

-Between the weapon's design, an installed recoil pad, and the compensator muzzle brake, recoil would be very light, allowing for rapid follow up shots.

Ideally, the carbine would be issued in a squad supplemented with machine guns, grenade launchers, and artillery/air support. These weapons would be used against any target that was beyond the range and capability of the Nightcrawler Advanced Tactical Carbine.

So, to those who insist that capacity and low weight is more important than range and power, and that all engagements are short-ranged (or are dealt with by heavier weapons), would such a weapon system, if it could be made to work and be sufficiently reliable, be an adequate infantry arm for a modern force with plenty of support? Why or why not? Keep in mind that every advantage the M4 carbine has over the M14 rifle, the NCATC has over the M4 carbine. Both the weapon and the ammunition are even lighter, and are smaller. The weapon has higher capacity and offers a greater rate of fire. For the same number of magazines, you'd get 140 more rounds over a 5.56mm rifle, for (ideally) about the same amount of weight.

So, if it were available, would you want one? Would you endorse it as a suitable combat weapon for the modern, fast moving, artillery/air intensive battlefield?

Again, this is all Devil's Advocacy. I, personally, would not endorse such a weapon as suitable for the battlefield, for my own reasons.

On the other hand, I sure as hell wouldn't want to get shot with one, even at 200+ meters. And many have said that any round that penetrates deep enough is usually enough to take the Spirit of the Bayonet out of someone. If not, you have fifty rounds at your disposal, so go nuts! Shoot them again and again, if need be! Right? 'Sides, if they're wounded, they may be able to fight for awhile, but they're bleeding, their abilities are decreased, and they're now a burden to their fellow troops, right?

What do you all think?

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March 26, 2003, 05:49 AM
I'm thinking you got a lot of "extra" time :D :D That said, I would rather see our troops get a lot more hands on weapon training, bring back the rifle men!!

March 26, 2003, 06:26 AM
Nightcrawler while I understand the logic behind your 'Nightpup 3000' ( :p ), I think I'll just stick with the Aug. ;)

Art Eatman
March 26, 2003, 09:44 AM
The drawback, to me, in this sort of discussion, is the divorce of the weapon from the overall battlefield philosophy of one's military system. The weapon has to fit in with the general philosophy, and this philosophy includes such things as training-time and re-supply of ammo and spare/repair parts--not to mention field-maintenance.

This doesn't mean I think that ideas for new weaponry/cartridges are "bad". I just think that one needs to keep in mind what the overall "big picture" entails. The "new war toy" has to fit in with that.

:), Art

March 26, 2003, 10:46 AM
What kind of operation are you envisioning this weapon with?
I was thinking of something similar, possibly even blowback that fires from an open bolt.
A closed bolt would be more accurate, but I think that you could get 200 yd accuracy with an open bolt.
I was thinking of a weapon that would be made out of sheet metal stampings. Cheap to make.
It is true that there would be drawbacks to such a weapon, such as lack of range, but that could be dealt with be having a couple of designated marksmen per squad.

I think that a better option may be to look at what the enemy is likely to use, then design a rifle to be better than that.
Maybe an AR-18 firing a 6mm caliber bullet at around 2800fps.
A long bullet, with a steel core and a little air pocket like the 5.45x39mm round.
That would be cool, but the only thing is that we couldn't have one:(

March 26, 2003, 11:34 AM
Again, I was just musing. While such a doodad would be cool, I don't think it'd be an especially great infantry weapon.

A lot of time? Yeah...was pretty sick last night, and still am. Couldn't sleep.

I hate being sick. :barf:

March 26, 2003, 02:04 PM
Nightcrawler... you lost me early with the "55 grain bullet at 2400fps" simply because of the well documented loss of consistent terminal performance (fragmentation) under 2700fps , but that aside, I do not disagree with your improved design.

I am the proud owner of an M4 sized AR-15. I say "M4 sized" only because it does NOT have an M4 profile barrel, and the telescoping stock is of the original "CAR" configuration (yes it's real). But although it is THE weapon I would grab were 5' tall aliens to land on our planet and go on a rampage, I certainly don't consider it the "epitome of small arms design", nor do I think that "Eugene Stoner is a shining, gleaming man-god". :scrutiny: I would definitely welcome improvements with open arms... I appreciate that you remembered us Southpaws in your design. It cost me $135 just to get my AR up to speed in that department. I know that people "work around" the AR's right-hand only controls all the time, but I want the same "index finger mag release" that everyone else has. In today's PC environment, those of who are "Right hand impaired" need to be catered to just like everyone else :D

I do believe that polymer is going to be the next "big improvement" in military service weapon design. I would personally like to see something along the lines of the "556 NC" chambered in the Beretta CX4. I have always liked the Steyr AUG with it's short OAL, but bullpup has definite disadvantages. I think that putting the mag in the grip itself makes a LOT of sense. None of the negatives associated with mag changes under your arm, and none of the negatives associated with a forward positioned mag. Just keep it compact, light weight, easily maintained, and quick to put into action.

I may be "odd man out", but I don't really like the idea of"folding stocks" in combat. I have never been in combat, nor will I ever be, but just in going shooting with my old Ruger Mini-30 with Choate folder in the woods, I had to stop, press the button, swing the stock outward, being sure to clear my arm, and then mount to the shoulder. That takes time. I wouldn't want to "take time" while being shot at, nor would I want any of my friends, relatives, or neighbors in the service to have to take that extra time just to be able to aim their weapon.

If it's affordable, I'll certainly be the proud owner of a Nightpup 3000 just as soon as you get them to market! :D

March 26, 2003, 02:13 PM
I'm left handed too. Hence the emphasis on ambidextrious usage.

The idea behind this was that the ammo would be smaller and more compact than standard 5.56mm, allowing the operator to carry more. It's running on the theory that the PRIMARY things a soldier needs in his weapon are light weight and high capacity, a theory I don't necessarily agree with.

Would it be ballistically less impressive than a 5.56mm? Sure. Does 5.56mm work best over 2700fps? Sure. But some members scoffed at the notion that M4s should be limited to about 200 yards and in. Besides, SS109 ammo doesn't fragment anyway.

And besides that, 5.56mm is less powerful than 7.62x51. Yet the lighter weight of the cartridges is a compromise many are willing to make. Is 5.56mm really exactly the right amount of power for a service arm? Could we get away with less if we allowed the user to carry 140 more rounds per battle load?

If we really wanted, we could drop the grainage and up the velocity.

The idea behind this is to equip the user with a light weight, high capacity chattergun, offering 50 rounds per magazine and allowing him to easily carry 350 rounds. It's not something I'd want our troops to be equipped with by any means.

Still sick, too. :barf:

March 26, 2003, 02:17 PM

Check my post again and you'll see that I saw your point with the shorter ammo. I also realized that your new ammo (dubbed the 556 NC) would allow the mag to fit in the grip, which is my preferred location to the other 2 options, so I edited my opinion to fit my new outlook.


Why are you still online? Don't you have a business to start? I'm waiting for my NightPup!

March 26, 2003, 02:17 PM
I don't like this "what is the smallest and lightest package that probably could get the job done"-approach. It's the same approach that's behind questions like "what's the smallest round that's still enough for deer/moose/whatever?"

I prefer to ask, "what is the most effective package that I can still carry?"
And therefore: Give me the opposite of an FN P90, gimme a G3. ;)

March 26, 2003, 02:29 PM
I prefer to ask, "what is the most effective package that I can still carry?"
I understand that thought process...

I'm sort of a "gadget guy". I've never been happy with doing a job using a tool that will "work" or "make do". I prefer to have the exact tool for the job at hand. If there were 1 tool that did 3 things well, but 3 seperate tools would do a better job on each specific task, I'd want the 3 tools. :D

I don't want to carry a sledgehammer for everything I might need to pound on. I might want a claw hammer for some jobs, a tack hammer for others, a brass mallet for still others, and then the big sledge hammer for the biggest jobs.

I would consider the G3 a "ball peen" hammer. It's bigger than the average hammer, but not as big as the biggest. Indeed most hammering jobs can be done quite well with a smaller hammer, but for the job that specifically calls for the ball peen, none fits the bill better.

I wouldn't want to go into an Urban Combat or CQB situation with an FAL. I'd want an M4, or maybe a Steyr. But then again, If I were fighting in a wide open area like, oh, say, a desert, then I could probably find a good use for the 7.62...

I'd have to have a rifle caddy :D

Porter Rockwell
March 26, 2003, 02:52 PM
Hello, NC try some more research online. The 5.56 Short & Weak as envisioned by H&K and FN is a failure in real life reports.
A couple american PDs have returned P-90s that were supplied gratis by FN.
Cool gun tho, the examples I've fired lacked tritium in the heads up sight but function and accuracy was first rate.

March 26, 2003, 04:07 PM

You need to look at a G11. It answers all of your concerns, has better ballistic performance than the P90, the caseless bullets are stuck together so you don't need magazines at all and can be endlessly fed in, like a machinegun belt. They also are much lighter than any other comparable ammo, in clips or not. Caseless ammo means no ejection port, so the gun truly is ambidextrous. The mag well is horizontal, so all the advantages of a bullpup and no disadvantages. The light fast ammo and recoiling action mean little felt recoil. The accuracy enhancing 3 round burst is just a bonus, not a necessity.

The G11 wasn't a silly experiment either. Germany was about to adopt it before the expense of reunification. Had things timed differently, an Army would have fielded just such a rifle in Bosnia, etc.

March 26, 2003, 04:33 PM
Yet again. I am not a fan of small bore, light weight, high velocity bullets. They have their uses, of course, but 5.56mm is about as small as I'd feel comfortable with. A 6mm, pushing 90-100 grain bullets to 2700 or so FPS would be much better, in my opinion, supplmented by light machine guns in the same chambering, as well as GPMGs and scoped designated marksmen rifles in 7.62x51mm.

While I'm sure the G11 is neat and all, I don't know that a four point something millimeter bullet is going to be especially effective, especially when the enemy is hiding behind cover. Lightweight bullets tend to break up and not easily penetrate heavy cover. Fragmentation in the badguy is nice. Fragmentation in the tree that the badguy is hiding behind, or in the badguy's body armor, is not.

March 26, 2003, 04:55 PM
*oops*, uninformed, unintelligent, inconsiderate post deleted.

March 26, 2003, 05:50 PM
Onslaught, I think he was referring to the 5.7x28mm FN round, which ballistically is rather anemic, with it's 31 grain bullet and all.

March 26, 2003, 07:09 PM

The 4.7mm projectile was designed to do certain things that the client requested. It has little to do with the gun's design.

You want 6mm? 7mm? Fine. You could chamber the basic G11 in whatever, it would still operate as advertised. The ammunition wouldn't even get much bigger, just a little thicker.

The G11 system, being recoil based and not having an ejection cycle, can be chambered for whatever you want.

March 26, 2003, 07:36 PM
What happens if your G-11 jams?
How ya gonna clear that?
With an AK, M-16, FAL, etc , you just yank on the charging handle, and you are back in the fight.
But where is the operating handle on the G-11, and where is the offending round gonna come out?
Did they ever clear up the heat build up problem?
And did they ever come up with a way to seal the ammo so it wouldn't lose power and reliability if it got wet?
If they have dealt with those problems, then they may have something.
Until those issues are addressed, you would be better off to stick with old fashioned weapons.
The caseless round is the next step in the evolution of firearms.
Just don't know if it is here yet...

March 26, 2003, 08:18 PM
The G11 ejects unfired rounds through a port behind the grip.
The operating handle is on the left side, folds flat when not in use and is turned to work the rotating chamber.
The caseless rounds are waterresistant.
The risk of cook-offs was dealt with by using a propellant that needs a higher temperature to ignite.

March 26, 2003, 10:32 PM
In that case, the G-11 may be the next thing.
Now we can have our larger caliber round with the same weight, since they won't have to lug around all of that brass.

March 26, 2003, 10:57 PM
Hmm...A 7.62mm caseless rifle with the same ballistics as .308 Winchester, but with a cartridge that's a little block made up of propellant surrounding a cartridge? Now you're onto something. Could quite possibly blur the lines between "pistol" and "rifle" cartridges....

March 26, 2003, 11:04 PM
The only way lines are getting blurred is if this rifle bullet kicks like a handgun. That's a bit unlikely.

Equal and opposite re-action, you know.

March 27, 2003, 08:41 AM
What about handgun bullets that kick like a rifle? .500 S&W, anyone? :D

March 27, 2003, 10:28 AM
Onslaught, I think he was referring to the 5.7x28mm FN round, which ballistically is rather anemic, with it's 31 grain bullet and all.
Awe @#%! NC, like I need any help looking like a complete arse! OK OK, my sincerest apologies to all, and I've removed my uninformed, short tempered comments from my post. It's not me, it's the new ADHD medication. It's helping my concentration, but not my attitude.

Again, I apologize.

Have I mentioned yet that what I want is a 10mm CX4? :D

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