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SA80A2 reliability

Unknown_Quantity

War Hero
Moderator
#1
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/01/22/nirq122.xml

Members of 7 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, were forced to use weapons taken from Iraqis because their SA80 rifles jammed, said Mike Hancock, MP, quoting evidence put to the Commons defence committee.

The SA80 rifle was revamped after a series of problems with stoppages. The new version works well but only if it is properly oiled.

One Army officer was also left with no ammunition for his 9mm pistol, Mike Hancock, the Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, told Gen Anthony Palmer, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, who was giving evidence to the committee.

The officer then took the SA80 rifle of an injured soldier but that jammed. "He took an AK47 off of a prisoner, who had plenty of ammunition," the MP said.
Does anyone know if this story concerns the SA80A2?
 

Unknown_Quantity

War Hero
Moderator
#3
I thoughts so, but wasn't there so didn't want to make assumptions.

I thought the general view of the A2 was that it was excellent and few problems were encountered. How did this (if true as descibed) not make national news? Or did I miss it that day?
 
#4
IMHO its still an SA80 under all the mods the inf board would probably give you a better idea.
 
#5
i'm only at sandhurst but we've had the a2 for 6 months. i've never had a live stoppage with it yet but plenty with blanks. i reckon the blanks are shit, not enough charge to recock the weapon. as for people complaining, its generally jack buggers who don't bother oiling their rifles. plenty of jack bastards at sandhurst.
 
#6
Members of 7 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, were forced to use weapons taken from Iraqis because their SA80 rifles jammed, said Mike Hancock, MP, quoting evidence put to the Commons defence committee.
Where the hell did they come up with that? I know of noone in the regiment who had to use an enemies weapon as their own jammed, and the above article is the first I've heard. We used the A2 which performed admirably and above all of our expectations.
Only AK's which were used was in the keeping down of the dog population during the PSO phase.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#7
DoorBundle said:
......

We used the A2 which performed admirably and above all of our expectations.

......
Bit of a downer when shooter squeezes the trigger, wpn goes BANG ! then shooter thinks, "Wow - didn't expect that !"

:wink:
 
#8
Havent had to use my a2 in anger .But had a couple of stoppages on range so dont really see any improvement from a1 I'll take other peoples word thats it an improvement . But over a 72hour period of rain
when my weapon was loaded at all times so i couldnt clean it just wipe it down and apply more oil the safety catch was so rusty i had problem taking it off and according to papers i,m not the only one
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#10
Apparently the Mk 1 is better for use in fake photos.

Particularly if its in a drill hall in UK rather than Basrah.
 
#11
One thing though - a weapon that fires reliably only if oiled properly - isn't reliable.

The old AK will fire when rusty, full of crap, after being dropped into mud, sand , sh@te, stood on, trampled by runaway elephants ... well, maybe not the last but you get the picture. I've seen film of AKs so bad that the owner had to stand on the lever to cock it - and it still works.

That is the gold standard for weapon reliability. Does the SA80 A2 meet it ? I think not. Whining that in case of failure the owner didn't take care of it misses the point completely. If a 60 year old design will work with zero maintenance then I think that modern designs should as well.
 
#13
If you wonder what the asterix was - it was c0ck - zero used to evade the word filter in place. I'll use make ready next time.

Anyway, I'll say it again:

60 year old design plus no oil = working weapon
"modern" design plus no oil = ornament

I know which I would award the designation reliable to.

And while I'm at it I'd refer the previous poster to the research underway in the motor industry aimed at an engine that is sealed for life - ie no oil change, no maintenance, no nothing. I'd also point out the increases in mileage between services seen in cars as they become more reliable.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#14
One_of_the_strange said:
The old AK will fire when rusty, full of crap, after being dropped into mud, sand , sh@te, stood on, trampled by runaway elephants ... well, maybe not the last but you get the picture. I've seen film of AKs so bad that the owner had to stand on the lever to * it - and it still works.

That is the gold standard for weapon reliability. Does the SA80 A2 meet it ? I think not. Whining that in case of failure the owner didn't take care of it misses the point completely. If a 60 year old design will work with zero maintenance then I think that modern designs should as well.
I'm in total agreement: the AK can't be faulted for reliability, though it does have shortcomings in terms of accuracy and handling. Personally, having been trained originally on the SLR, that remains my 'ideal' infantry rifle.
 
#17
It certainly looks like the grenade version - the foregrip with trigger and the extended iron sights would certainly seem to indicate so. It doesn't look like the usual 203 version. I'll take a guess and say that it's an H&K model.

I've fired the SA80 (not the 'new, improved' version), the Steyr AUG and the FN FAL: I found the SA80 cumbersome, heavy, difficult to handle, and needlessly complicated to reload. From a purely aesthetic point-of-view it is possibly the ugliest assault rifle ever created and it looks like it's made of lego and therefore fragile. The Steyr is probably the finest bullpup currently available and the reputation of the FN speaks for itself. What with all the controversy about this weapon and the expensive (and apparently pointless) modifications made to it, I cannot imagine that many soldiers have much confidence in it, which is the crucial point. If there were no problems with this rifle then why are we talking about it? There is little value in the SA80A2 being accurate - which it certainly is - if it is prone to stoppages or the odd piece falling off. Where there is doubt leave out. With the millions that have been spent on modifications in the almost twenty years this rifle has been in service, a far better alternative could have been introduced. The 57 year-old AK47 and it's variants are not exactly what I would bring on a deer stalk, but for pure reliability and robustness it cannot be beaten. I read a report in the Telegraph (so it is therefore gospel truth) that the current SA80 (A2?, A3? A4?...) will be phased out in 2006, and that the HKG36 is being spoken of as a possible replacement.
 
#18
in procurement terms surely 2006 is practically the day after tomorrow; we're almost halfway through 2004 now.

with regard to the bean-counters, what would the MOD have to sacrifice in order to equip the Armed Forces with a new rifle? perhaps CVF is reduced in size (again), or no conscious effort is made to reduce the defecit in helicopters or pilots.

i'm not convinced as to the A2 being aesthetically displeasing anyway.
 
#19
Don't give a sh*te about aesthetics! I just want a weapon/cartridge combination that will sledge an enemy down in CQB conditions and at long range, not try to peck him to bits with the probability that he might get the last shot into me!
5.56m/m? 6.8m/m???.... Vote for 7m/m, nothing less will do!
 
#20
Apologies all round. My point about the aesthetic ugliness of the SA80/A2 is that it's appearance betrays the fact that it is a badly designed and badly made weapon - it looks cobbled-together. In fact, it almost looks like two weapons mutated into one - all the green furniture and then metal. I remember when I saw it first I couldn't help but think of those homemade weapons that street gangs often produce. I concede that aesthetics counts for nought if a weapon is reliable and effective - take the Bren, which surely many old sweats thought looked distinctly goofy when it was introduced - but reliable is not an term that I feel can be readily applied to the current SA80.

As stated by another contributor, what an infantryman wants is a rifle that will work and put the opposition down (and keep him down). I would certainly agree that the 5.56mm isn't in the same class as the 7.62mm round. I recall reading recently that Western armies are now slowly realising that the 5.56mm round is not having the 'psychological impact' intended in terms of WIAs as opposed to KIAs (excuse the jargon). Apparently 'the wounded' are not a priority nor a political consideration for an opposition composed of fanatics. I seem to recall about the origins of the SA80 and how it had been originally designed (in the 1940s) around a c.7mm cartridge. Perhaps the original spanner-in-the-works with regard to the SA80 can be traced back to the decision to start meddling with it? I agree that 2006 is tomorrow in terms of any assault rifle change, but then I did read that in the Telegraph, and surely the Labour Government would not dream of rushing through such an important matter?
 

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