SA80 (A1) has competition from Colt

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by Stonker, Apr 21, 2008.

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  1. . . . competition, in a bad kind of way:

    and in Dallas, they are saying:

    . . . and smoe technical stuff about the three waepons they compared:
  2. The SCAR does look good. SCAR in an intermediate cartridge would be ideal.
  3. For a layman's benefit - intermediate between what? 5.56 + 7.62mm?

    And how would intermediate be better than either (of whatever)?
  4. The current options all suck because they're being designed to fit in the standard 5.56 mag, a clean sheet midsize round could offer significant andvantages over current rounds, but we'll probably never know.

    Interesting to note that the XM8 (essentially a rebodied G36) won, when the SA80 A2 is said to be more reliable than the plastic fantastic german offering, as for the FN SCAR, I'm more interested in the Bushmaster ACR (formerly the Magpul Masada)
  5. There's no reference to L85A2, so presumably it wasn't not tested. I believe that any weapon that you can't fire from both shoulders would be automatically disqualified under the US scoring system.

    Also, where does one buy a new L85A2 these days?
  6. The results of the recent US tests are interesting, but they are old news in the UK, which has known about the unreliability of the M16 in dusty conditions since the early stages of the SA80A2 upgrade programme (8 years ago now?). And repeatedly proven as such in trials in Kuwait, Oman and Afghanistan.

    As for the M4 - it's even worse than the M16, as the design of the gas system unlocks the bolt too quickly, leading to extraction problems.
  7. Hello Stonker,

    there are lots of "intermediate" cartridges.
    They fall into two main categories.

    Rounds like 6.8mm S.P.C. and 6.5mm Grendel are intended for "controlled automatic fire" from rifles designed for the 5.56mm.
    Consequently they are not much more powerful than 5.56mm.

    Then there are lots of 6.something mm full power rounds.
    These offer performance closer the 7.62mm (typically twice as powerful as 5.56mm) but with a smaller cartridge which you can carry more of.
    These rounds give range and terminal effects well beyond the 5.56mm but that extra power means you don't get the "controlled automatic fire" and you can't fire them from 5.56mm rifles like the M16.

  8. You'll have to translate 'terminal effects' into something more specific.

    20yrs ago I was impressed that 5.56 SS109 could match 7.62 for penetration, out to 300m, and exceed it for accuracy.

    N.I. seemed to show that SA80/SS109 were - in that setting - more lethal than 7.62 SLR.

    Right now, US and UK have adopted Minimi (instead of M60 and :roll: LSW ) at quad level.

    That seems to argue for 5.56 as a good round for most practical purposes, out to (say) 300m.

    So - what edge do you get from intemrediate calibres? You are saying (I think) it's not just more rounds/kg.

    The only terminal efect I ever really wnated, was that - if they were hit, they went down and feckin' stayed hit. :D
  9. Hello Stonker,

    I was being deliberately vague about "terminal effects" as there are interminable debates on the subject,see here:

    There is another interesting article here:

    Somewhere there is a 7.62mm vs 5.56mm thread where someone (Gun_Nut?) posted a graph about the effect of the 5.56mm plotted against range.
    It has a lot less energy than 7.62mm and it's ability to transfer that energy to the target decreases dramatically if it impacts below a certain velocity.
    Barrel length affects the range at which that velocity is reached.
    I think it is about 290m for the L.S.W.,210m for the I.W. and a lot less than that for shorter barreled weapons like the M4.
    To Quote Anthony G.Williams:
    "Given the importance of striking velocity to the effectiveness of the 5.56mm bullets, the higher muzzle velocity conferred by the longer barrel, compared with the American M4, is significant. Once source ( ) states that when fired from the short M4 barrel, the bullets will only reliably fragment (and thereby achieve maximum effectiveness) out to 50-100m compared with 150-200m in the L85 and M16 barrels, and further still in the L86, which has a muzzle velocity of 970 rather than 940 m/s (3,180 rather than 3,080 fps). Given recent American complaints about the lack of effectiveness of the 5.56mm cartridge, apparently associated with its use in the short-barrelled M4, that is important."

    On the other hand,5.56mm can also pass right through the target without doing much damage when it is flying fast.
    Somewhere on is a video of a captured insurgent with five bullet wounds,he looks none the worse for it.

    Some American forces were reporting the M4 as being ineffective beyond (I think) 50m in Afghanistan,see here:

    There is lots of information here (though parts of that page are now corrupted):

    Hence the range of more powerful 5.56mm rounds,two of which have entered limited service in the U.S. (6.8mm S.P.C. and Mk 262 Mod 0/1),see here:

    Comparisons of the penetration of 5.56mm SS109 versus 7.62mm are often criticised as being unfair as the former is effectively a semi armour piercing round versus a ball round.

    With the "full power" intermediate rounds the aim seems to be a much smaller cartridge than the 7.62mm with less recoil and similar or better performance at longer ranges,both in terms of accuracy and .......erm....terminal effects.
    The other major attraction of these rounds is the possibility of using a single calibre instead of 5.56mm and 7.62mm.

    There is a lot more about the M4 here:

  10. Again, gong back 20 yrs, my recollection is that SS109 had to be 'semi-armour-piecing' in order to match the penetration of NATO 7.62 in the approved acceptance trial against a steel helmet at (IIRC) 300m. (SS109's performance falls off sharply beyond that, for want of mass, as I recall it).

    That being the case, I don't see why anyone should carp: and speaking as a once-infantryman, it seems a bit academic anyway - as long as a round does "wot it says on the tin".
  11. The only things that ever concerned me about any gun is
    a - that the weapon is easy to clean and maintain
    b - that when I pulled the curly bit that something came out of the noisy end very very fast
    c - that whatever I hit went down first time
    d - that it/they stayed down
    e - that they didn't lay there trying to do the same to me
  12. You missed the bit where this thread started:

    f - that the weapon should be 100% reliable.
  13. Thought that was covered under section b?
  14. As usual, the civilian shooters in the US have already come up with a non gas piston solution to the M4 problem: the mid length gas system. It is still not quite as reliable as the full length gas system on the full-length rifle (it is almost, but not quite) , but it does bridge the gap somewhat.

    Probably not adopted by the military because it would require either lengthening the handguards or having the front few inches of the gas tube exposed, or some sort of shielding around it.
  15. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I was on the receiving end of the L85A1 in NI as in I was issued one when they first achieved general issue although recruits had already been trained on it and had to be taught SLR at NIRT. It wasnt issued for more lethality in NI that is an army myth based on the fact that there are very few lads around from that time still serving, it ranks with the designed to wound myth.
    It was issued because L1A1 was tired, was only a temporary rifle solution as L9 was caped thanks to Churchill and the Yanks. It was issued because the Govt needed a contract of weapons supply to make RSAF a sale attractive to BAE.
    The MoD decided to stop supporting L1A1 in 1986 and as such even training ammo was getting scarce. The run down of spares strted and the L85A1 was foisted on us almost immediately requiring several urgent modifications to the rifle and training pamphlet.
    Yes it is an exceptionally accurate rifle but that is no good if your mag has already fallen off the rifle before you can return fire.
    The initial issue to ARB in 87 was with some very tired colt magazines so then when resident bns were issued the shiny steel RG mags everyone was happy!
    It was a poorly planned and executed issue of an incompletely tested design.
    That said the A2 is better but its still and L85.
    Dont get me wrong, I liked mine, I also liked my SLR, I also liked my LMG (L4) over my GPMG but then as a lowly grunt what could I do but as I was told.
    Please dont perpetuate this lethality myth, it did make ammo carriage easier and shooting scores improved but it was just another rifle.