What happened to caseless ammunition


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joehxx
April 23, 2012, 02:42 PM
Mid 1980s,the Germans;developed caseless ammo. I think HK or Blaser developed a rifle for it .It was going to be the next big innovation .What happened?

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Steel Horse Rider
April 23, 2012, 02:46 PM
There wasn't a "case" for it? :D It should be interesting to see if anyone knows what did come of the attempt as I remember that as well.

451 Detonics
April 23, 2012, 02:55 PM
Daisy actually developed a caseless ammo as well but the ammo were too fragile and did not hold up well with much handling. Also in Daisy's case they were trying to pass it off as airgun ammunition but the ATF ruled otherwise.

HK was just never able to develop a binding agent that would stand up to rough handling and moisture and still not foul the action quickly.

drsfmd
April 23, 2012, 02:59 PM
The Daisy was called the V/L. You can still buy them, but ammo is pretty scarce. It was very fragile, and the "pellet" of powder would often break off, becoming an obstruction that would bulge the barrel with the next shot.

Shame it didn't work better-- it really is a neat concept.

rcmodel
April 23, 2012, 03:04 PM
The military has always been the driving force.

And as said, numerous problems keep coming up.

Namely, waterproofing, breaking, chamber sealing, and cook-offs in automatic weapons.

Caseless ammo leaves all the heat inside the gun, unlike convential ammo that carries away a large part of the heat in the empty cases.

But small arms for the average GI small arm just isn't happening due to the conditions a ground pounder puts ammo too.

rc

henschman
April 23, 2012, 03:12 PM
Yes, they aren't without problems, but they would be pretty cool for handloaders... you could make cartridges on the equivalent of a pill press!

Snowdog
April 23, 2012, 03:23 PM
Among some of the concerns I've read, one was heat dissipation. Apparently, when the fired brass is slung out the rifle, along with it goes much of the heat.

I'm intrigued by the idea of caseless as well, but there seem to be many significant hurdles to overcome that make one question whether the concept is worth it.

DM~
April 23, 2012, 03:56 PM
I've had a couple of those Daisy VL's... I wasn't too impressed with it's performance...

DM

briansmithwins
April 23, 2012, 04:23 PM
HK had worked out a lot of the bugs and was getting ready for large scale trials of the G11, if I recall correctly.

Then the wall came down, the Soviet Empire disintegrated, and Germany spent 20 years of GDP getting the East Zone to be not such a hellhole.

Hence the low risk, cheap G36.

BSW.

wlewisiii
April 23, 2012, 04:33 PM
Two big problems, one small problem:
1) Fouling could be quite bad
2) Very hard to clear in the case of a misfire
3) Cost per round rather high, though that would have been solved by quantity.

But then the wall fell as briansmithwins mentions and rebulding the former East still isn't done.

It's possible someone will solve the problems but my guess is binary liquid propellants will come to small arms first.

Steel Horse Rider
April 23, 2012, 05:05 PM
I guess what we are really looking at for a caseless cartridge would really be a miniature rocket shot from an open ended tube. Probably not a lot of economy or practicality there.

mdemetz
April 23, 2012, 05:43 PM
I guess what we are really looking at for a caseless cartridge would really be a miniature rocket shot from an open ended tube. Probably not a lot of economy or practicality there.

Like the Gyrojet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrojet)?

Cosmoline
April 23, 2012, 05:54 PM
Caseless ammo has been invented, adopted, issued and used to excellent effect by our military. 13mm explosive tipped caseless. State of the art baby!

http://www.berdansharpshooter.org/buerger05.jpg

The point being, caseless ammo was already rendered moot a century and a half ago. The next step will involve new propellant to replace smokeless.

SlamFire1
April 23, 2012, 05:55 PM
That is a good question. Because the Germans were just about to adopt the thing and put it in service:

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/small-arms-personal-weapons/49134-case-less-ammo-vs-conventional-ammo.html

I was talking to a German Army Officer just last week about the H&K G11, and the caseless ammo thing.

The German Army ordered the G11 prior to the German re-unification, The busy bee's at H&K tooled up for mass production, ordered all the raw materials and, the Government withdrew their order as they had just inherited a few AK's from NVA. The result was H&K nearly went bankrupt, but were bought out by ???, who couldn't have the G11 as the German Govt. had paid the R&D. Then about a decade or so ago, as ??? was going down the tube's a Few H&K employees were able to raise enough money to buy the company back.

I also had heard the costs of re unification killed the program. The Brits bought H&K and H&K fixed all the problems with their Bullpup rifle.

There are a lot of advantages to case less ammunition, this HK section discusses all of them:

http://www.remtek.com/arms/hk/mil/g11/caseless.htm

What I don’t understand was if in the 80's the system had been developed to the maturity level that it was going to be adopted into the service, why then did countries, like China, develop new service rifle rounds that use brass cases?

RPRNY
April 23, 2012, 06:04 PM
http://www.cartype.com/pics/3368/full/delorean_brochure3_81.jpg

This was also the Next Big Thing in the 80s. Maybe caseless ammo fell foul of a coke rap as well....

maskedman504
April 23, 2012, 09:05 PM
http://www.lolroflmao.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/back-to-the-future.jpg

Arkansas Paul
April 23, 2012, 09:48 PM
Mid 1980s,the Germans;developed caseless ammo. I think HK or Blaser developed a rifle for it .It was going to be the next big innovation .What happened?


Actually it was around in about 1855 or so for use in Volcanic pistols. It is not a new concept.

kozak6
April 24, 2012, 08:07 AM
What happened? The wall fell.

Just like before, it remains a lab toy of the military. The LSAT program is about the same thing, except now it's our lab toy instead of the Germans.

Kush
April 24, 2012, 01:08 PM
What happened? The wall fell.

Just like before, it remains a lab toy of the military. The LSAT program is about the same thing, except now it's our lab toy instead of the Germans.

I think the LSAT looks promising, 40% reduction in ammo weight(in the polymer cased version), impossible to rip of the rim of the case, have a double feed, break an extractor, or break an ejector due to the way that it feed the cases (next round pushes the previous round out.) Due to the way the LSAT feeds, if you have any type of stoppage you just cycle the bolt and get back to firing.

280shooter
April 25, 2012, 02:09 AM
I recall the same thing,, I was thinking about the what ever happened to the caseless ammo that was going to change t ammo world.I recall reading about it in one of the Guns and ammo mags, or shooting times,I got rid of almost all my old mgazines,a few years back, But I may still have the one where they did a big layout, If I recall right,, the ammo was set off by a battery,

Tirod
April 25, 2012, 12:09 PM
The LSAT is moving along to the Battalion level tests, with hundreds of prototype rifles, and SOCOM has signed on as a development partner. Read into that whatever you want, especially in light of them dumping the SCAR.

Caseless really isn't what is moving forward. The LSAT is a polymer cased round, with the propellant telescoped around the projectile. There's video out there demonstrating a belt fed LSAT firing off 100 rounds with no difficulty - which should be more concrete information about "carrying off the heat." Brass cases didn't do that much, another video of an M4 being fired to destruction is evidence the barrel is largely responsible for the job. Most MG's are NOT operated continuously, they simply cannot handle the heat load. That's why so many were water-cooled for static defense, and why the Army teaches "fire a burst of eight." Those of us who've trained know better.

What the LSAT does is reduce the weight 40% because you don't have to use a heavy brass cartridge to seal the chamber. With a side charging shuttle bolt, the mechanism seals the chamber itself, allowing the plastic case to keep the ammo clean, hold a primer, and contain the powder without chipping off particles and messing up ballistics. It shoots consistently that way, you can trust the trajectory, and get the same amount of gas pressure to operate the gun. Caseless couldn't do that with an exposed propellant.

The real problem isn't perfecting a design - it's getting the ammo industry to step up to production challenges. On one hand, having to acquire and capitalize new machinery to load the stuff means inventing it first. And without a million round contract, nobody is going to bother. Without big lots of ammo, the project gets stymied. There's also all the other stuff on the table: caliber? Ballistic range? Combat effectiveness, does it get more first round hits, or more hits at all? Cost savings not messing with brass cases, collection, salvage, transportation, etc? Big pluses there, but that has nothing to do with combat effectiveness.

If large unit testing shows it's easier to get more hits, then it's going forward. Each soldier carrying 40% more ammo, with a larger percentage of hits, means more combat firepower and superior control of the battleground. He can outhit and out fight his adversaries' larger numerical forces. It adds that multiplier to the defense even more.

Just because "caseless" hasn't quite made it to prime time doesn't mean it won't work. DI was around since the 1900's, it wasn't implemented for 50 years. It took the right engineer and application to get it adopted, and it's happening now just like Armalite was busy in 1958. You just have to look and see it, nobody's going to spoon feed you the news.

Remington getting the M4 contract is just a closing chapter in the history of that platform.

Edarnold
April 26, 2012, 02:31 PM
I believe the current champion of 'caseless' ammunition is the 120mm Rheinmetal smoothbore on the Abrams tank: the case is combustible, with a base containing the primer and obdurator. So, just scale that down about 20X and : voila!, the next big idea nobody will buy. Like Remington's electronic ammunition...

BCRider
April 26, 2012, 10:04 PM
Some of the weight saved by not needing to toss the empties away could be used towards adding a workable heatsink to the chamber and barrel. That could easily deal with the heat issues. Even to the point of conducting the heat away from the chamber area using the same heat pipe technology as used in some of the PC's we're typing these forum postings with.

Sure, the barrels may well grow to a physical size reminiscent of the old Vickers water cooled guns of WWI but it would be a lightweight shroud to protect the heat radiating fins inside rather than a heavy water jacket that needed a bucket sitting alongside the gun. In fact it would not take much to make the typical 4 rail shroud found on AR style guns do double duty as a heat radiator. And NO it wouldn't get hot enough to burn the soldier's hand. The big surface area would ensure that didn't happen. It would be warm but not hot after some serious firing.

Ash
April 27, 2012, 07:32 AM
What about ejecting a live round? Seems to me caseless rounds aren't very friendly in this regard - kind of like a loaded musket, what do you do if you want to unload it rather than send the round down-range?

Kush
April 27, 2012, 12:00 PM
What about ejecting a live round? Seems to me caseless rounds aren't very friendly in this regard - kind of like a loaded musket, what do you do if you want to unload it rather than send the round down-range?

I don't know how the lsat does it, but the g11 you just pull the charging handle and the chamber rotates and drops the cartridge that's in it out the bottom of the gun.

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