SAW


PDA






Nolo
December 19, 2007, 04:31 PM
What do you guys (who've served with one) think of the M249 SAW? What do you think of possible replacements, like the Ultimax 100? I've been thinking about SAWs a lot recently, and I wanted some input.

If you enjoyed reading about "SAW" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
pgeleven
December 19, 2007, 05:29 PM
great gun, easy to fix a jam. they make shortened barrels with collapsible buttstocks on it so its easier to take indoors with you to conduct your business. until they cop down the 240G this is an excellent entry weapon

Kalashnikov
December 19, 2007, 06:26 PM
They're not fun to carry, do jam rather frequently, don't take mags very well (which is fine by me anyways but it does remove one of its primary adopotion points [being able to use M16 mags]) and the chopped version is almost as big as a full size M16 and much harder to fire. Personally I'd like to see either the Ultimax or the Stoner 63 replace it.

AndyC
December 19, 2007, 06:41 PM
I liked mine - extremely reliable, but it was inefficient at killing vehicles (obviously a funtion of the caliber rather than the weapon itself) - but it was all we had available to us until we finally got hold of more powerful MGs.

Heavier than it should be for the little caliber it shoots, IMO - but very controllable.

http://img107.mytextgraphics.com/photolava/2007/12/19/crowds-48w113thq.jpg

Float Pilot
December 19, 2007, 07:58 PM
I was on the Army side when they frst came out and they had some problems. Some units had the SAWs with the semi-tube stock.
Later when I transferred to the Air Force I discovered a newer model being issued with the fixed synthetc stock and the PIP improvements.

Due to the smaller parts they tend to need cleaning more (lots more) than a larger caliber weapon. But when properly manintained, they are very accurate and provide a good rate of fire. We discovered that they were a tad picky about using M-16 magazines, but we eventually discovered that they would reliably fire from certain mags. (which made the whole point rather moot.)

We wondered just how the barrel would hold up, so we picked a hot gun during a shooting demonstration and then linked the contents of three 200-round boxes together. Then I fired a 600 round non-stop burst into a 55 gallon drum. The barrel was super hot but later cooled and was still usable for several months thereafter.

The cartridge cannot compete with the 7.62mm MGs for penetrating plating and vehicles at range.

We sent a couple SAWs to a few inter-service machinegun matches and did well with scoring against the paper targets due to the M-249s good accuracy. ( We had a few guys who could hit a 300 meter gong while firing from a standing position, if it was used like an suto-rifle and not a base MG)

HOWEVER, there is a part of the competition which requires the gunners to knock down steel plates with short burst at 200 or 300 meters. Our SAW gunners were able to hit the plates with no problem, but the 5.56mm round just went " tink" against the plates causing them to wobble a little but not fall over. Most embarrassing. In that case the M-240 gunners did much better than the SAW guys or the units who brought old M-60s.

Evil Monkey
December 19, 2007, 09:00 PM
It is my understanding that weapons like the M249 SAW are a low priority weapon, meaning there's one in every fireteam for suppressing a close range enemy while other small units maneuver. Whether it's belt fed, mag fed, open bolt, closed bolt, quick change bbl, etc, doesn't matter as long as the weapon does it's job. I would like to add that it seems like the belt fed is the most effective for a squad automatic weapon. The SAW/automatic rifle is truly an INDIVIDUAL weapon. Doctrine calls for the SAW gunner to be able to carry all of the tactical amount of ammunition needed and be completely autonomous.

Full power GPMG's are too heavy for one person to use and require at least a crew of 2 to carry the tactical amount of ammunition. Further, in the crew served platoon MG role, they are a high priority combat support weapon in that they engage enemy personnel infantry and combat support alike all the way out to 1,000 meters. That's a hell of a job compared to a SAW and thus needs to have a large round.

So what I don't get is, why would some want a "more powerful" squad MG when, in order to still remain autonomous, would need to cut in half the ammo you can carry since the full power rounds are bigger and heavier than the intermediate rounds? Also is the fact that these full power GPMGs are much heavier than intermediate caliber LMG's.

It doesn't sound like a good trade off. It's the same argument as suggesting we go back to 7.62x51mm battle rifles. It's ridiculous.

HorseSoldier
December 19, 2007, 09:26 PM
I've always liked the SAW, but then have never been stuck with one I had to hold together with zip ties or was otherwise pretty close to the end of its service life. Back when I was a cavalry scout, we always thought they'd be great for break contact drills, filling a niche between the 16s/203s and 7.62 MGs we had.

AndyC
December 19, 2007, 10:00 PM
So what I don't get is, why would some want a "more powerful" squad MG when, in order to still remain autonomous, would need to cut in half the ammo you can carry since the full power rounds are bigger and heavier than the intermediate rounds? Also is the fact that these full power GPMGs are much heavier than intermediate caliber LMG's.

It doesn't sound like a good trade off. It's the same argument as suggesting we go back to 7.62x51mm battle rifles. It's ridiculous.
Because not all MG's are carried by a man on the ground. Some are in static positions, some are carried in vehicles - so why wouldn't you want a more powerful MG in those places? Use the right weapon for the mission - the SAW has its place but it's not right for every place.

kBob
December 20, 2007, 10:15 AM
Nolo,

I have never used a MiniMAG and my use of the fullsized MAG in 7.62 NATO was very limited as I serves when dinosaurs rulled the earth and there were only two M-60 GPMGs in an entire Infantry Platoon.

That said I realize there have been detractors of the M249. I would say first look at what came before.

Ya want true inter changability, go back to the M-16A1 with clothes pin bipod. Uses same ammo in same feeding system as the squads other rifles. Of course you have to change magazines every 27 to 30 rounds, the gun is not exactly stable, and heats up right quick and start to shoot where it pleases after a couple of magazines........BTDT

7.62 Folks? how about re issuing the M-14A2 or even A1? Got that 7.62 NAto power.....and those 20 round magazines. Truth be told , from the prone, bipod either was more stable than the Internet warriors will believe, but for get MG length bursts of 6 to 9 rounds and work that trigger for 2-4 round bursts. And they got very darned hot and as they did point of aim teneded to need to be adjusted. Really could go to 750 meters on semi auto if you could though and those short bursts actually worked to the published 300 meters......BTDT.

Some one meantioned re issuing the M-60 or issuing the MAG as a SAW. As a former -60 gunner let me say that a gun and 300 rounds is pretty much a load what with all your other crap, and that ammo can be gone in 30 seconds if linked together. Not very manueverable in building tunnels or vehichles at all.....BTDT

And before it gets meantioned the BAR weighs as much as some GPMGs and has all the problems of the M-14A1 and just a governer rather than a real selector switich ( yes trigger manipulation can give you singe shots.....just as it can on the M-60) Great old gun and fun to shoot but carry all day and feed strange ammo in strange feeding devices? I like the way they shoot but as a SAW in a modern Army, no thanks.

(Bren fans, don't go there, you won't like it.)

I have heard the U-100 described as the 5.56mm RPK. I have not fired one or even handled one, but I have been told by some one invovled in weapons selection at the begining of the Airbase Ground Defense of the USAF program that the early U-100s could not hold a candle to the early -249s. As both have matured a bit I imagine that would still be true.

I will say that we longed for a heavy barreled M-16 with a gas piston system, reliable 75 round drums and decent bipod back before the -249 was a gleem in FN's eye, and had day dreams of someday some one making a down sized MG-42 with heavy barrel and bolt system to keep the cyclic rate down to a reasonable 500-600rpm ( did the Spanish mess that one up or what?)

-249 makes sense from every thing I have heard. No I d not like the fact that the advertised ability to use M-16 mags was over blown. The ability of Sqaud mates to hand over ready to use magazines was very attractive. Still all in all the -249 looks a lot better than a smoking hot, drifting point of impact, same problems as others of its type M-16 with clothespin bipod.

So what is the failure rate of a U100 compared to a belt fed -249? WHich offers better sustained fire capability and continuity of fires? which is more accurate out to 300 meters? 600? WHich is more robust? Which is more GI proof and easier to maintain? Has any one issued 100 of each to troopers not previously trained on either, given them a few hours instruction and turned them loose on a range and then week long excercises at say DWTC, Florida phase of Ranger training, Alaska, Ft Benning, Ft. Polk, Ft Lost in the Woods, Ft drum, Graff, and Combatville in Berlin? ( and let the Jar-heads drag them around 29 Palms, Places where they can get salt water on them, and wherever they can get a variety of environments on them. Even let the Air Force, Navy, and Coasties run their own tests and compare them all)

Will it cost more to maintain the U10O than the -249? What are breakage and wear rates on the guns' various parts?

That's what I want to see before discussing a change from a gun we know works(dispite warts) to a gun with neat pictures in the gun mags.

-Bob Hollingsworth

Nightcrawler
December 20, 2007, 10:25 AM
I had only a few gripes about the SAW that I carried:

-It was too heavy for its caliber;

-The magazine feed option was, in my experience, so unreliable as to be useless, and should be omitted to save weight (and has been on some models).

-Front sight adjustment tools were in short supply. For qual ranges they'd have us "zero" the weapon using the rear battle sight to adjust for elevation.

-The stock needs to be more like a conventional rifle stock. As is it lacks a cheek weld. The SAW is used more like a conventional rifle, not like machine gun (where you grab the stock with your off hand and make a cheek pad out of it).

-The 200 round drums are too big, too noisy, and too complicated to work with if the belt breaks. Okay for vehicle use, but for foot patrol stuff, the 100-round nutsack was a blessing. They're less bulky so you can carry more of them.

Other than that, I liked it.

rero360
December 20, 2007, 12:54 PM
One thing that I noticed that I don't think has been mentioned yet is cleanliness. Having used M4s with and without the 203, SAWs, 240Bs, M2s and MK19s and M9 I can say that in my little portion of Baghdad I noticed that the SAW would get much dirtier from just sitting in the HMMWV during a patrol then any other weapon, there are so many openings in the weapon that dust gets everywhere.

Trebor
December 20, 2007, 02:26 PM
So what I don't get is, why would some want a "more powerful" squad MG when, in order to still remain autonomous, would need to cut in half the ammo you can carry since the full power rounds are bigger and heavier than the intermediate rounds?

Maybe because at the squad level there is a need to disable vehicles or penetrate cover and the heavier 7.62 round works better for that purpose?

Granted, there are some vehicle mounted 7.62 weapons in service, but those are not always available at the squad level.

Now, there would be the trade-off of weight and being able to carry fewer rounds if a 7.62 weapon was used at the squad level. That is a valid concern. But, being able to better penetrate vehicles and cover is also a valid concern.

There are no perfect solutions. Using a 5.56 weapon at the squad level *might* be the best compromise. But, I do hear reports from guys in Iraq complaining about the 249's ability to stop/disable vehicles when compared to the 7.62. That seems to me to suggest that wishing for a 7.62 weapon at the squad level is a valid concern. Saying that is "ridiculous" belittles those experiences.

Evil Monkey
December 20, 2007, 02:49 PM
I clicked on the "My Iraq Pics" that AndyC has in his sig and he seems to be in a protection team that mostly operates in vehicles. I can see the appeal of the PKM in stopping enemy vehicles that may have car bombs in them that are getting to close. It seems that AndyC is not in a team that would dismount and maneuver around the enemy to go in for a kill. I may be wrong, but that's probably why the PKM is better than the M249, considering if you are not lugging the weapon on ground then wight isn't of concern and the bigger round is appreciated.

mljdeckard
December 20, 2007, 03:00 PM
My experience is that the 5.56 steel core is at LEAST as good as 7.62 for penetration. Hotter velocity, steel core, narrower profile.

If I must be given a crew served weapon, there is no other I would like to use.

HorseSoldier
December 20, 2007, 03:20 PM
I may be wrong, but that's probably why the PKM is better than the M249, considering if you are not lugging the weapon on ground then wight isn't of concern and the bigger round is appreciated.

If you don't have to lug the ammo and weapon around, bigger bullets and higher rates of fire are pretty much always better.

MudPuppy
December 20, 2007, 07:02 PM
Ooh, an RPK in 5.56 and chinese style drums...

I think my cycle at Benning was among the first (perhaps the first) to shoot the 249 on the range. The cleared brush was still on either side and the tracers from the little beast set a couple of fires (the drought of the summer of 85...was that as bad as I remember?).

After that, all I ever saw again was the '60. And everyone then hated those.

Jeremy2171
December 21, 2007, 01:13 PM
M249s rock.... They are easy to maintain and extremely reliable....I mean hey...it's a belt fed AK.

It does what its supposed to...."automatic rifle"...good to put down a base of fire and still be light enough to move with the fire team.

Bart Noir
December 21, 2007, 03:31 PM
Interesting thread, thanks all.

Let me be the first to mention that there actually is a 249-version SAW in 7.62x51.


http://www.world.guns.ru/machine/mg38-e.htm

Bart Noir

Evil Monkey
December 21, 2007, 03:42 PM
Minimi 7.62

http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=320309

possum
December 21, 2007, 07:14 PM
i was a saw gunner for a while so i will weigh in. i think they are a great concept and when they work they work great. in the pas i have experieced many issues and he soliders under me have too as well. but recently ie ths deployment, and the pre deplotment trin up wet well and there were no issues with any of the saws in the company. and the system has been futhur improved, with the colapsing m4 style buttstock, and the short barrel, it makes it lighter, and shorter overall, which makes it better for the cqb enviorments which we operat in. though they have been great s of late i will never have one at the front of a stack.

If you enjoyed reading about "SAW" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!