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LWRC IAR on FutureWeapons

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Strakele, Jul 3, 2008.

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  1. Strakele

    Strakele Member

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    Hey guys,

    I just saw a future weapons episode about the new LWRC IAR... Infantry Automatic Rifle. Perhaps it has its uses somewhere, but the way they explained it made it sound completely reduntant and useless.

    Mack's walking around with an M249 with a belt of ammo slung over his arm like Rambo, talking about how suppressive fire works, and how heavy the SAW is, and how since it fires from an open bolt, all sorts of crap can get into the action. True.

    Then they introduce the IAR. Exactly the same as any M16, except a heavy barrel, and the ability to fire from open bolt in full auto, but closed bolt in semi. The idea behind this was to keep the bolt closed normally but to have it stay open during and after automatic fire to cool the barrel faster. Ok. Don't see how that would make much of a difference but let's assume it does. (To demonstrate this remarkable ability, they put a mag through an M4 and dump water over the barrel/gas tube, where it steams, showing how hot it is. Then he puts a mag through the IAR and immediately touches the bolt with his hand, to demonstrate how much cooler it runs. LWRC makes gas piston uppers, so the fact that the bolt is cold is completely unrelated to the fact that it fires auto from open bolt. I'm sure the barrel was just as hot as the M4.) They then talk about how cool it is to be able to get an extra mag from your buddy carrying an M4 in case you run out. The M249 can take M4 mags as well. No gain.

    This weapon is being talked about as a replacement for a SAW type weapon. It uses M16 magazines (which is so cool cause you don't have ammo belts that can snag and fall apart, because nobody actually uses the stupid box magazines when they can have 200 rds draped over their arms), so 30rds max, unless they send a drum with it, which they don't.

    So basically this fantastic, lightweight, replacement for the M249 is a heavy barrel M16 that fires from an open bolt in full auto. I fail to see how this is any gain. It's probably a loss, because an open bolt system is generally less accurate. This weapon doesn't do anything that any ordinary M4 can't do, especially if it's a gas piston upper.

    Sorry if this was a bit of a rant but I was sitting there yelling at the TV wondering why they would put money into something that doesn't accomplish anything. I normally love any new gun invention but this just struck me as particularly stupid. I love LWRC's 6.8 gas piston upper.

    Anyone else feel the same way?
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  2. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    It doesn't sound great from what you described, although the concept of a squad automatic rifle is perfectly valid. You know what gun filled this role for a whole lot of years? The BAR. It was a good idea then, it's a good idea now. I am not a particular fan of the SAW, and I am not suggesting that the BAR be pressed back into service, but I do think that a rifle squad needs the capacity to lay down some automatic fire.

    It's worth mentioning that the SAW can also use regular old M-16 magazines, so it's not like that is any sort of magical upgrade.
     
  3. zerosignal

    zerosignal Member

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    While I agree that the IAR is a bit redundant, I'll have to challenge a few of your points:

    1. Firing from an open bolt has been proven to keep fully-automatic rifles much cooler than their closed bolt counterparts.

    2. While the piston upper does reduce heat on the bolt by a small amount, most of the heat coming off the bolt is from the round itself, not from hot gases pushed back into the action. The open bolt makes a MUCH larger difference in the amount of heat that stays in the action.

    3. The M249 has always had huge reliability problems when feeding from standard STANAG magazines. No serious SAW gunner uses them unless he must.

    4. Accuracy is not a huge issue with a Squad Automatic Weapon. They are used for suppressive fire, not aimed.


    Even considering those inaccuracies in your post, the IAR will most likely not replace the M249, mainly due to the normal military stubbornness.
     
  4. Strakele

    Strakele Member

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    I stand corrected on the heat issue. Thanks.

    Yes, the M249 rarely has to use a STANAG mag, but the capability is there if its a really SHTF situation. The TV episode made it seem as though this was not the case.

    The show has demonstrated on at least one other occasion in the past that a bolt can be handled immediately after firing a full mag in auto or fast semi when using a gas piston upper. TV magic? I don't know. I don't know how hot the bolt gets using the regular DI system.

    While I see how having the bolt stay open after firing could help cool the weapon faster, I don't see how after firing one magazine there would be much if any difference between being an open and closed bolt design. I realize this is more of an issue with how it's portrayed in the show rather than the weapon itself.

    I realize accuracy isn't normally a big deal with SAW's, but they had a 4x ACOG on it, and while reading through LWRC's site, they mention taking 1 or 2 shots to take out a guy at like 300m or something, vs spraying the area with an M249, so it is designed for well aimed shots. If all you're doing is shooting 3rd bursts with a 30rd mag, I fail to see why they need the open bolt feature. Any M4 is perfectly capable of doing so. You need all the cooling features when you're laying down heavy suppressive full auto fire.

    Anyway, as I said, some of this was just an issue with the way it was portrayed in the show. I don't think this is a viable option for replacing the M249 but I'm sure it has it's place somewhere between the basic assault rifle and the SAW.
     
  5. zerosignal

    zerosignal Member

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    I agree with you there, FutureWeapons almost always sensationalizes the products they are promoting.

    I actually forgot to mention the main reason that an open bolt is important on a fully automatic rifle. With an open bolt you do not end up with a round left in the chamber after you release the trigger. This is a huge issue after firing long strings, as a round in a hot chamber can "cook off" fairly easily.
     
  6. Strakele

    Strakele Member

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    Yes, I remember they did mention something about that. They made it sound like it happens way too easily though. Either way, I don't think its a big issue if they're just tapping out short bursts though.
     
  7. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    I saw the episode you're talking about, Mac is an idiot and even a non gun person would feel the same. The things he said and did during that whole grand standing for the LWRC upper was horrible. How this guy can even say that he was a Navy Seal is an insult to all former and present Seal's.

    All I saw and got from it was that he was trying to promote the LWRC upper with a lot of lies and false advertisement. :barf:
     
  8. Strakele

    Strakele Member

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    You are talking about thier IAR right? I agree that Mack was stupid in that episode. But I liked the one about LWRC's 6.8 SPC gas piston upper. Probably mostly because I had always thought someone should make a 6.8 piston upper ever since they invented the gas piston uppers and the 6.8 cartridge.

    Anyway I can usually tolerate Mack, mostly cause I like the show and would be in heaven if I had his job..
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Nothing for you to stand corrected about!


    The whole purpose of the open bolt MG is not to cool the barrel.

    It is to prevent chambered rounds from cooking off in a red-hot barrel.

    Barrel cooling has nothing to do with it one way or the other, although it probably does help a little.
    If you face upwind and let the cool breeze blow through it!

    rcmodel
     
  10. SnakeLogan

    SnakeLogan Member

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    /still waiting for the military to adopt something chambered in 7.62x39. ;)
     
  11. Acheron

    Acheron Member

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    Futureweapon? This thing is a update on a 60-year-old idea. The concept of a automatic rifle/LMG that fires from a open bolt in auto and a closed bolt in semi has already been done, with minimal success. The Germans introduced the Fallschirmjagergewehr 42 (FG42) in 1942 to fill the role of SAW for their paratroopers. It was heavy and uncontrollable on full-auto. The control issue was caused by the gun's chambering: 7.92x57mm. The weapon itself was reasonably accurate (in closed bolt) and functioned well enough, but it was too expensive to produce and next to useless on auto.

    A recurring theme I've noticed about Futureweapons is that rarely are the weapons featured ever that new at all.
     
  12. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    And if it doesn't have a quick-change barrel, it is way behind the curve already for a modern SAW!

    rcmodel
     
  14. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    Not to mention the momentum of the bolt slamming forward before the shot might throw off your aim.
    I think it's kind of a novel idea but don't see it's advantages over the SAW as enough to make a switch. The thing that kept going through my head was "but you are limited to 30 rds...in a suppressive weapon!"
    Maybe if they could use beta mags (which I heard they tried but weren't reliable enough in the sandbox), but with 30 rounders you've only got 15% of the ammo in the gun you'd get with a SAW. I guess the BAR worked in that role, but they were firing a lot meaner cartridge.
    Maybe somebody can bring out a belt-fed open bolt M-14 :p
     
  15. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    Yeah, the military should really go to an Ultimax variant. It's a great weapon system and I'm a big fan of drums on the squad level. I think most everyone's used belt-feed guns with the mud-movers and I'm pretty sure that he conclusion has been the same all around: mag feed is better.
    Now, drums have their problems, but I think they are fixable problems.

    Of course, I could be entirely off my rocker.
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well, Whisper Boy has never been accused of finding anything wrong with anything they show on Future Weapons.

    But if it's a sorta-sniper rifle, it sure shouldn't fire from an open bolt, and it doesn't need burst or full-auto capability.

    If it's a sorta-SAW, it needs a quick-change barrel & belt feed capability.

    If it's a civilian mall-ninja range toy, it wouldn't matter.

    IMO: Drums suck!
    They weigh more & take up more room then the ammo they carry, and take forever to reload with fresh ammo.
    Same goes for the packing & shipping containers they have to be resupplied in.
    And drums are also tempermintal, and often just don't work right.

    rcmodel
     
  17. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    Current drum designs leave a huge space in the center, but that's not the only way to do it. If one used a spiral layout, then much more space would be conserved. Of course, making the drum simpler would be a problem, but I think it's a fixable one.
    And belts don't?
    Well, naturally. Again, it would be solved through redesign of the drum.
    And mags and belts aren't?
    It's all in the design. The design of drums we're working with are outdated, for the most part. Many need lubricant. There is a better way, I'm sure of it.
     
  18. Strakele

    Strakele Member

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    Ok, I see most everyone is basically on the same page in that, while this weapon may have its uses, the role of squad automatic weapon isn't it.
     
  19. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    Belts aren't especially slow to reload once you know what your doing. Even if they are slower to load than a drum, the reliable nature of belts still makes them preferable to a drum. Machine-guns in general and the SAW in particular are not unreliable, but you do have to know how to shoot them. It's really not just as simple as pulling the trigger and sweeping the treeline. SAW's will jam almost immediately if you try and shoot bursts of less than about 6 or 7 rounds. Some guns with slow rates of fire, like the M2, can be shot single shot with no particular problem, but most need an operator with a concept of trigger control to function properly.
     
  20. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well, the U.S. Army I was in didn't reload belts.

    They come from the factory in ammo cans already loaded.

    If any belt loading was being done, it was far from where I used them.

    rcmodel
     
  21. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    How are they reliable when they drag crap into the action?
    If you're gun is on a pintle mount, I can see why they are preferable. But when you are getting down-and-dirty with the rest of the infantry in muddy, sandy and otherwise cruddy environments, then I think belts lose out. A belt brush definitely helps, but you still have crap coming into the action.
    Drums don't have the best record, but I also think they're rather unrefined.
     
  22. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    I know, but you don't have to load either in the field, except in really bad situations. And in those situations belts can't be reloaded.
    I understand that drums are heavy. But I think you can make them less heavy. Certainly an all-metal 75-round AK drum is a beast to haul around, but polymers and proper design can help alleviate that problem enormously.

    One of the things I was thinking of is a 90-round drum in spiral configuration, with a composite, flexible spring. If you made the spring with maybe two small (4-8mm wide) steel "frame" springs, and then made the body out of a flexible polymer, you could get excellent flexibility out of your spring, allowing spiral and even zig-zag layouts.
     
  23. CBS220

    CBS220 Member

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    Drum mags have a lot more place on the shooting range than on a battlefield.

    A royal PITA to load, they weigh a ton, they're harder to carry, and the ones I've used in various cartridges and guns were none to reliable.

    All of the reading I've done on the subject has shown that most experts are no fan of drums either. Too many ways for them to get broken and not work when a plain stick mag will work.
     
  24. Evil Monkey

    Evil Monkey member

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    There's no such thing as a suppressive fire weapon unless it's belt fed. Case closed.
     
  25. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Nolo said;
    I think you should get some first hand knowledge of these things before you pontificate on how things are in the Infantry. Where did you get your CIB?

    Belt fed machine guns have been used to great effect in the mud since they were first invented. No platoon sergeant allows his machine gunners to drape ammo belts over their bodies like you see in the movies. Belted ammo is carried in pouches or cans until it's used. The assistant gunner feeds the belt into the gun, keeping it out of the dirt.

    Tell ya what, in a year or so when your old enough, I'll hook you up with my son, his tour as a recruiter won't be over for another two years, and we'll get you some first hand experience at Ft Benning. A few weeks at Sand Hill just might change your perspective.

    Jeff
     
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