May 16, 2012

For Those Days When .308 Just Doesn't Cut it

General Dynamics has announced a new machine gun at the current NDIA conference. It's an interesting weapon, weighing in at just over 3 pounds less than the army's current 7.62 mm machine gun the  M-240B. However, it's about a pound heavier than the recently fielded M-240 L (lightweight). Its overall length is slightly longer and it's rate of fire is slower.

Oh, and it's chambered for .338 caliber (8.58mm).

The .338 Lapua Magnum, an exceedingly powerful round of Finnish origin, has gained a fearsome reputation in the current unpleasantness.  The new machine gun is actually chambered for the .338 Norma a new round that is slightly shorter and fatter so that it can accommodate an even longer, more aerodynamic bullet. It's also optimized for belt feed. One interesting feature of the round is that the high ballistic coefficient means that at very long ranges its ballistics approach that of the .50 caliber BMG round. Reportedly, current weapons chambered for .338 Lapua can be adapted to fire this weapon via a barrel change.1
I wonder how much 600 rounds is going to weigh.

Anthony G. Williams has some thoughts.2

I’ve just been examing the gun at NDIA and talking to the GD people there (including the ammo designer, Jimmie Sloan). The gun isn’t based on the FN MAG / M240, it’s actually based on the .50 cal XM806. It uses the same soft-recoil technology, in that the gun fires as the barrel group is moving forwards. This smoothes out the recoil dramatically, allowing the gun to weigh about the same as the M240 (24 lbs) and to use a lightweight tripod. I’ve been watching a video of it firing and it doesn’t move – most impressive.

The 338NM was chosen to keep the length down with long, heavy bullets. The loading used for the MG is a 300 grain FMJ at 2,650 fps.

  • .338 Norma Magnum
  • 24 Pounds
  • 49 inches
  • 500 rounds per minute
  • .338 Norma Magnum
  • 300gr Sierra HPBT, FMJ, AP
  • Muzzle Velocity 2650 FPS
  • 24 inch barrel
  • 1700 meters effective range
  • 5642 meters maximum range
  • uses M192 tripod

There's more at the Firearm Blog and on Anthony Williams forum.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 02:41 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 369 words, total size 4 kb.

1 I'm wondering why nobody else adopts Russian "Back To The Hotchkiss" approach of fixed barrel with ejection shroud. From what I heard, Pecheneg is well-liked by the troops.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wed May 16 15:45:26 2012 (5OBKC)

2 I'm guessing that in this case it has something to do with recoil. The.338 round is a monster.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Wed May 16 15:49:21 2012 (EJaOX)

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