6.8 SPC Gov't Ballistics Test FOIA Request


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rkh
November 6, 2007, 10:53 AM
THR:

I'm preparing a FOIA request to obtain a copy of the recently published ballistics testing report which compared the 6.8 SPC with a variety of other calibers. Information within the report would be of great interest to hunters and sportsmen, and I believe that if the DOD wishes to keep circulation restricted, they should be compelled to at least produce a reasoned statement explaining why public disclosure would be detrimental to national security.

Invoking FOIA, however, is similar to rubbing a Djinni's lamp. It's possible to obtain a lot of great stuff, but you have to phrase your request as specifically as possible. Otherwise you end up with nothing at all, or worse, swamped with irrelevant documents and huge photocopy fees.

Thus, it would be extremely helpful if I could obtain an official document number and title for the published report. I know a few THR readers have this information, and I also know that the title and document number are not themselves restricted. If you would like to assist in making this report available to the THR community, please PM me at your earliest convenience.

Kindest regards,
rkh

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Jim Watson
November 6, 2007, 11:57 AM
I just wonder what kind of ballistic information you could get out of a government study that cannot be obtained from a Remington catalog and a trajectory chart. The military would likely have limited testing to FMJs which are not much use to a hunter or serious target shooter.

rkh
November 6, 2007, 12:14 PM
We won't know until we read the report. :D

Hauptmann
November 6, 2007, 01:37 PM
The government has done weapons testing for decades that if that testing were made public would cause a major uproar. That is why it is never released to the public. Animal testing, combat testing,....etc in which a civilian company could never get away with legally.

I talked to Roberts and he wouldn't give me any more information on the 6.8 testing.

rkh
November 6, 2007, 01:56 PM
Potential for public uproar is not a legitimate reason for denying a FOIA request.

At least within the continental US, the DOD is governed by the same laws as everyone else--and then some. They aren't free to conduct unethical animal or human tissue tests, and they can't use misbehavior as an excuse to deny lawful FOIA requests on national security grounds.

Can you confirm that the report was published in September 2007? If so, that's at least something to go on.

elmerfudd
November 6, 2007, 02:18 PM
My guess would be that the DOD keeps this stuff under wraps because they don't want opportunistic politicians, lobbyists and activists out there making trouble for them. Say for example that the DOD discovers that one particular cartridge has greatly increased lethality, but there are many other considerations that they would look at as well, such as current inventories, shootability and weight so they opt to continue with the 5.56. The last thing they want is some grandstanding politician up there telling the public that our troops are being equipped with second rate weapons.

rkh
November 6, 2007, 02:49 PM
I hate to sound like a broken record here, but potentially inconvenient test results do not justify classification of findings or denial of FOIA requests for related documents.

elmerfudd
November 6, 2007, 03:10 PM
I'm not trying to say they're a state secret or anything, just that there is stuff you publicize and stuff you don't. If it's potentially inconvenient, my guess would be that they tuck it away, make you jump through a few hoops to get at it and then give you a mountain of unnecessary crap to sort through to get at anything of value.

HorseSoldier
November 6, 2007, 03:13 PM
They aren't free to conduct unethical animal or human tissue tests, and they can't use misbehavior as an excuse to deny lawful FOIA requests on national security grounds.

I think it does bear noting that what the scientific community would consider ethical testing on animal subjects and what looks ethical splashed across the evening news with an interview from PETA activists to provide a counterpoint are significantly different things.

Not that such sidesteps FOIA requests, of course, but I'm not sure allegations of unethical activities involving people or animals are appropriate when discussing this issue.

Owen
November 6, 2007, 03:25 PM
i think you have a long row to hoe if you're trying to get technical data on a future weapon system.

rkh
November 6, 2007, 03:41 PM
It's not technical data on a "future weapons system."

It's ballistics data on a presently and widely available commercial off-the-shelf product that that's legal for civilian use in all 50 states and DC, is not subject to any special export restrictions, and is believed (pending review of the tests) to be especially suitable for legitimate sport shooting and hunting purposes.

Jeff White
November 6, 2007, 05:45 PM
The test data could contain proprietary information that belongs to a private company or individual. If it does, you will not get the data from the government as release to a third party (you) would violate the agreement and cause the government to have to pay damages to the owner of the proprietary information.

When and if the data on the new tests are released to the public, you will be able to see it. In the meantime, chill out. Anyone who might know anything about these tests isn't about to post information on a public internet forum unless that information has been cleared for public release.

There is no sense in continuing this conversation.

Jeff

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