SA80 Replacement on the distant horizon ?

Just adding my bit...I find cocking the AR type platform really awkward...

Compared to the SA80 reach-around?
 
I doubt we'd be exporting. It's already a crowded market. Even the French have gone non-domestic. In a world crowded with AR derivatives, who's going to rush to buy the 'SA2030'?

I agree on the tickets to do things but that's not insurmountable, either.

The one thing that we would need is a competent organisation to oversee quality control and brining everything together.

But don't get to thinking that parts manufacture isn't subbed out; I was at a heat-treatment exhibition in the 1990s where there were SA80 firing pins and flash-hiders on a company's stand as Just Another Job.
Nobody's going to tool up just to do a fairly short run of a fairly generic rifle for Britmil. Without asking a mahoosive fortune for the pleasure, since there'll be little or no export market once the Britmil contract is over so however many 10,000's of rifles has to pay for the whole thing from the ground up: plant, training, etc.

They'll be bought from a big manufacturer overseas who has a large number of purchasers already. IIRC M4's run about $750 to Uncle Sam at the moment...
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
I cant disagree with the sentiment of your post and many of the observations. I was commenting on the fact that after the various mods and effectively a complete bloody rebuild, which is where it is now, its has to be working effectively for goodness sake, surely?????

I shot my SLR on the 300m range at Bisley before the lockdown and there was a platoon strength bunch of lads out a dozen lanes down from me blatting away with their SA-80s are I didnt see any hands go up all afternoon with stoppages or misfires. Granted it was a range and not battlefield conditions, but after all the money that's been thrown at the bloody thing, it surely must work by now......?

Weight wise, I couldnt really comment. I've got a Suit on my gat and its balanced and it lifts to the eye like a thing of beauty. ACOG now is it not. Not sure if they still have the Daniel Defence Rail still fitted and various attachments, but it would be interesting to compare the weight of a fully tooled up SA-80 to an SLR with Suit fitted.
To be honest, my personal experience of the L85A1 and the A2 was generally positive. I used both on ops, and either there or in training I can't remember having many stoppages at all (then again, being an armourer I always looked after my gatt and my mags). In its initial incarnation there were obvious serious flaws (mag retention, brittle furniture etc), but the 36 modifications and similar number of Misc Instructions on the A1 made it a battleworthy weapon (for temperate ops), whilst the A2 rebuild upped its reliability in in the sandpit.

Ergonomically it's awful, but training negates that. It's a little heavy for a 5.56 assault rifle, especially when you hang all the fashionable accessories off it, but not prohibitively so. It's a very accurate rifle, the SUSAT was a brilliant optic for its day (and still pretty good now), and it's reliable. I always felt confident having it as my personal weapon.

I left the military over three years ago so I have no direct experience of the A3, but from what I've heard on the armourers' grapevine it is fine, although a bit funny coloured.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
7mm?

We ended up optimising on 4.85mm.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4.85×49mm
.280" for the EM2, abandoned when the US opted for 7.62x51 and force fed it to NATO.

4.85mm was for feeding the precursor to the SA80 the IW, and I believe used a necked down 5.56mm case (almost as if they knew they'd have to go with what Uncle sam said).

Edit: beaten to it by @Kitmarlowe ,damn him!
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
But don't get to thinking that parts manufacture isn't subbed out; I was at a heat-treatment exhibition in the 1990s where there were SA80 firing pins and flash-hiders on a company's stand as Just Another Job.

those firing pins, the sub contractor was using the factory floor sweep to heat treat them.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Nobody's going to tool up just to do a fairly short run of a fairly generic rifle for Britmil. Without asking a mahoosive fortune for the pleasure, since there'll be little or no export market once the Britmil contract is over so however many 10,000's of rifles has to pay for the whole thing from the ground up: plant, training, etc.

They'll be bought from a big manufacturer overseas who has a large number of purchasers already. IIRC M4's run about $750 to Uncle Sam at the moment...

Guys press forging tooling is up for sale. ;)

 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
BAE Systems is probably the only UK arms manufacturer that would be capable.
And if they gave it to some other company (but who?), BAE would immediately buy it out to ensure they retain their stranglehold on UK Defence spending...
 
Bearing in mind Colt Canada (Diemaco up until 2005) is a subsidiary of Colt USA, surely it's highly unlikely that the UK will enter into a contract to procure it's Armed Forces main personal weapon from a third party manufacturer.

The acceptable answer would be to acquire a licence from Colt to manufacture the weapon on UK soil.
Fabrique Nationale and Heckler and Koch licences were obtained after a bit of political wrangling. Will Colt be as aggreable?

Would that be CZ/Colt?
BREAKING: CZ In Late Stage Talks to Acquire Colt - The Truth About Guns
Jan 11, 2021
Apparently struggling since emerging from bankruptcy in 2016, Colt has likely drawn the eye of potential buyers ever since. Now, thanks to CZ (Česká zbrojovka) parent company CZ Group’s public filings, we know it is attempting to purchase all of Colt’s Manufacturing Company‘s assets and is well along in this process.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
And if they gave it to some other company (but who?), BAE would immediately buy it out to ensure they retain their stranglehold on UK Defence spending...

any reasonably competent engineering company could do it, but the set up costs would have to be amortised over just 100-150k rifles. In the AR world, that hobby manufacturing.

we had a manufacturer here, but its owner is still wanted by the Feds.
 
And if they gave it to some other company (but who?), BAE would immediately buy it out to ensure they retain their stranglehold on UK Defence spending...
Given than Manroy is now FNH UK, H&K UK maintain and upgrade the SA80, AEI systems and Accuracy International exist and there may be more, I don’t think it’s quite so cut-and-dried
 
any reasonably competent engineering company could do it, but the set up costs would have to be amortised over just 100-150k rifles. In the AR world, that hobby manufacturing.

we had a manufacturer here, but its owner is still wanted by the Feds.
Guy's been extradited and is currently sporting an orange jump suit, last thing I heard.

Also, given the reasons why he was extradited, I suspect he never produced a complete rifle from UK-made parts.
 
Given than Manroy is now FNH UK, H&K UK maintain and upgrade the SA80, AEI systems and Accuracy International exist and there may be more, I don’t think it’s quite so cut-and-dried
Doesn't matter - as noted above, the entire setup cost would have to be amortised over a relatively small number of rifles so it wouldn't be economic compared to buying from Foreign.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
If I remember rightly the move from 7.62mm to 5.56mm was based on, at heart, Reichwher research that showed that much of the capability of the rifles and ammo in use was wasted as it was very rare for anyone to engage at those sorts of ranges. Given the Eastern Front experience the decison was made to push for 7.62mm short as used in the Stg 44. When we looked at that research late WWII and did our own we ended up looking at the 7mm in the EM2. The Yanks screwed that up for us.
5.56mm was painted as a sensible move as again, the ranges at which engagements would take place didn't justify the power of 7.62mm long.....

TBH. That was mostly bollacks as the Yanks had moved to 5.56mm due to their obsession with Vietnam.

We generally should have moved to something like 7.62mm short as that had decent power and a decent range for the late 40s and 50s.

Strange, because l have read that the U.S. Military adopted the 5.56mm Round on an interim basis until the new experimental Flachette Round could be perfected and mass produced for the U.S.
Ultimately the Flachette Round concept was a failure and the 5.56 Round became standard by default.

Mr Anthony G. Williams wrote about all of this on his Website.
 
Doesn't matter - as noted above, the entire setup cost would have to be amortised over a relatively small number of rifles so it wouldn't be economic compared to buying from Foreign.
No doubt, but my point was more that if the MoD decided to pay the price for on-shore production, the company wouldn’t necessarily be instantly swallowed up by BAE.

That said, how much of a modern rifle actually requires specialised tooling?
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Guy's been extradited and is currently sporting an orange jump suit, last thing I heard.

Also, given the reasons why he was extradited, I suspect he never produced a complete rifle from UK-made parts.
Link?
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
EM2 was chambered for the .280 also known as the 7mm Mk1Z or the .280 Enfield.

The 4.85mm was a experimental round that didn't survive testing against 5.56mm.
Indeed but my point was that the subsequent research went smaller - and was based in part on further German research that also advocated a round of 5mm or less. Sorry to be unclear.

The German WWII studies showed that most encounters were short-range; a 100m average is the figure oft-quoted. You don't need a heavy barrel encased in a solid wood stock for that. More to the point, you don't habitually need to be able to shoot a bloke at a mile. It wasn't just the calibre but the size of the propellant charge and so on.

There've been all sorts of comments on all sorts of threads about this; the designed range of MILAN, for instance, and the not-entirely-coincidental average distances between hedgerows and villages on the North Germain Plain.

But, lower ranges/propellants meant lighter construction. Steel stampings, etc.

As an aside, it's interesting that the Swiss use 5.56 but with a higher propellant charge - that 'shooting across a valley' thing.

And then off we went to Afghanistan...

It's interesting, going back to 7mm, that 6.8 is where a lot of the conversation is now centred.
 
H and K retain a UK subsidiary, after it was flogged back to them by BAE.
Nobody's going to tool up just to do a fairly short run of a fairly generic rifle for Britmil. Without asking a mahoosive fortune for the pleasure, since there'll be little or no export market once the Britmil contract is over so however many 10,000's of rifles has to pay for the whole thing from the ground up: plant, training, etc.

They'll be bought from a big manufacturer overseas who has a large number of purchasers already. IIRC M4's run about $750 to Uncle Sam at the moment...
It worked for Diemaco and they were initially only supplying the Canadian Military after after receiving the contract via Canada's Small Arms Replacement Program.

It's unlikely that HMG will want to find themselves beholden to Foreigners for the supply, maintenance, and development for the British military's main personal weapon. So it will be either home grown (Sterling, SA80, LE No.4and L115A3) or manufactured under licence here (Bren, HP35, L1A1, MP5). Am I correct in saying that the only personal weapon that isn't manufactured here is the L129A1?

BAE are probably not in an ideal position to ask for a 'mahoosive fortune' from the same Government that unofficially lobbied on their behalf during a certain recent legal unpleasantness (one of a few). The SFO have other quarry now it seems.

They will also be in a position to improve upon the original by, for instance, installing GPS trackers (via the technology from recently acquired UTC). Adapting the platform to produce a replacement 'marksman' rifle for the L129 and a whole lot of other stuff which, to be fair, I probably don't have a clue about.

They also have existing trading partners in the Middle East who can be persuaded to take large quantities of the product off their hands (assuming the SFO keep their snouts out of it)
 

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