16 September 2008

The Butter-Cutter On The New USMC Rifle w/The Old Bullet

“I read last week where the Marine Corps is looking into replacing the SAW, or, Squad Automatic Weapon with something called, an Infantry Automatic rifle, or, IAR. The stated reason for the change is weight: an unloaded SAW weighs 16.8 pounds and the Corps wants the new IAR to weigh no more than 12.5 pounds,” I said to The Butter-Cutter. (1)

“Replace the SAW with an IAR? The SAW shoots with a 200-round belt of ammo. What does this IAR use?” he asked.

“Well, the article said that, 'Early on in the program, the requirement called for the IAR to use detachable, 100-round magazines. Now, Marine weapons officials are requiring only that it be able to run on the same 30-round magazines infantrymen use in their M16A4 rifles and M4 carbines.' " I quoted from the article.

“Wait a freakin' minute! Are ya tellin' me that the Corps is thinkin' about replacin' the SAW with a new automatic weapon that uses the same old pissy-ass 5.56mm bullet?” The Butter-cutter snarled.

“That appears to be the case since the article reports that the new weapon must use the same magazines as the 5.56mm M16 and M4,” I rationalized.

“MY STINKIN' DINGLE BERRIES!” The Butter-Cutter bellowed. “What the f*** is it gonna take ta get them Spear-Chuckers ta give the grunts a bullet that quiets the 40+ years of complaints on 5.56mm bullet knockdown power? What? Please tell me, what?” he asked with fire in his eyes.

“Well, it appears the Corps is sticking with the 5.56mm round based on its response to a 9 March 2005 Congressional inquiry to the Commandant. That inquiry requested that a survey be made of senior NCOs into the combat effectiveness of the M16 Rifle and that 'a couple of Marine units be equipped with captured AK-47 rifles for testing under actual combat conditions.'  That request resulted in a 9 May 2005 report from the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned (MCCLL) which concluded: 'Caliber of the round is only one of several factors impacting the ability to immediately incapacitate an enemy. Marksmanship is key.' "  I related to The Butter-Cutter. (2)

“What? The freakin' Spear-Chuckers blamed us Snuffies again! Waddabout the tests o' them AK-47s? What did the troops say about them?”

“Although, the MCCLL report stated that the Congressional tasking included having 'a couple of Marine units' test the AK-47, there was no further mention of such a test in the report,” I said with confusion.

“Ya mean the freakin' Spear-Chuckers said, 'F*** YOU CONGRESS! WE AIN'T GONNA DO IT!' " he barked back. “ 'n' them wimps in Congress didn't do a freakin' thing about it! Maaan, some shit! OK, then, waddabout them senior NCOs? What did they say?”

“There were several senior NCOs as well as commissioned officers quoted in the report. Salient to those quotes was that of a Marine captain, who served as an MCCLL 'collector', who stated: 'Heard one story from, I believe it was 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines, they shot a guy twice with a Barrett 50 Cal and he was still coming.' " I quoted to The Butter-Cutter.


“WHAT? An official Marine Corps report sends a 'Heard one story from, I believe it was . . . ' outta yer Yin Yang freakin' RUMOR ta the Congress of the United States of America! That's somethin'! Them Spear-Chuckers not only figure them Congress-types are wimps they also figure they're so freakin' stupid that they would believe that shit-ass RUMOR!” he protested.

“Not only members of Congress: At least a half-dozen active duty Marine officers have used that .50 caliber report to me personally in attempting to counter my arguments of 5.56mm impotence. They argued, as the report concludes, that that report constituted prima facie evidence that the purported 5.56mm shortcomings in lethality was a problem of marksmanship not bullet size.”

“Then them officers ain't stuck on stupid THEY ARE PERMANENTLY *&%$#*^$* STUPID! There's no freakin' way in hell anybody, who's been hit with two .50 caliber rounds, is gonna keep 'coming.' Have YOU ever seen a .50 caliber round?” he asked.

“Yes,” I responded, “up close and personal.”

“Well, I'm gonna refresh yer memory anyhow. These two things are: (1) a .50 caliber ball cartridge on the bottom; 'n', (2) a 5.56mm Green Tip cartridge on top--the one we're usin' in our M16s. Look at em 'n' tell me they got the same knockdown power.”

“That thing on the bottom got a bullet--(fer them half-dozen officers ya talked ta 'n' them Congress-types: THE POINTY PART)--that's over 11-TIMES the size o' the thing on top [Projectile Weights: 5.56mm, Ball, M855A1--62grs & .50 Cal., Ball, M2--709grs (3)]. Anybody who believes the thing on top got the same knockdown power as the thing on the bottom believes a tack hammer and a sledgehammer are the same thing! That makes the son-of-a-bitch somebody who ain't ever been in the arena or on the job!” 

Since I had been both places, I left without saying a word.

Semper Refreshed,

Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.)


(1) http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2008/09/marine_iar_091508w/


(3) Frank C. Barnes, CARTRIDGES OF THE WORLD, 9th Edition, Iola, WI: Kause Publications, 2000, Chapter 17

Waddaya think?

(12 Thinks)

HJT said:   September 16th, 2008 7:43 am

Would seem as I read through this article that the talking heads did not receive the reports they expected so they pencil whipped a response that satisfied what they wanted in order to not create waves. The answer was established as a forgone conclusion prior to any test and the test itself was merely a prefunctory sham to establish the illusion of doing something. Until something affects the heads directly nothing will be done and the warrior will continue to need relief. It is what it is as it has always been.

Jeff Williams said:   September 16th, 2008 8:00 pm

WOW! What a picture! Major, if your quote from a captain working for the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned is accurate, there is NO hope the USMC is going to LEARN anything from that organization.

Don Hepburn said:   September 16th, 2008 9:06 am

The picture is worth ten thousand words!

GI Wilson said:   September 16th, 2008 9:33 am

This apparent fixation with the 5.56 is a symptom of a Marine bureaucracy that finds it impossible to think or shoot its way out of a open paper bag...the current emphasis on critical "warfighting capabilities" such as tattoos, running suits, and looking good signals that PC and careerism dominates the Corps' modus operandi.

Paul Sofranac said:   September 17th, 2008 1:00 am

Size matters! Obviously, some politicos and their underlings still try to make us believe otherwise.

MarineGrunt said:   September 17th, 2008 8:04 am

Sir, I can't understand how any Marine would think somebody could keep coming after being hit by one, much worst, two 50 cal rounds. The one I saw, the guy was almost cut in half with one hit. These Marines can't be serious.

Mike McKeever said:   September 17th, 2008 11:06 am

Major; I have to ask again, what the heck is influencing Senior Marine Officers? Why would ANY senior, experienced Marine balk at arming our Marines with a competitive combat implement? I know a few retired Colonels and even a couple of retired GOs who are shocked that we still have a .22 cal rifle and cannot answer the above questions. You must know others. What is your opinion about the cause of this continuing criminal, negligent decision making? I am baffled, dismayed and disgusted. R/S M. McKeever, MSgt USMC(Ret)

C.B. Clement, MSgt, USMC Ret. said:   September 18th, 2008 12:01 pm

Sir, I think that the answer to the "Why" a 5.56 & M16 question is, $to someone. SF C.B. Clement MSgt. USMC Ret. 

Dick Culver said:   September 18th, 2008 4:18 pm

Gentlemen and Ladies... Without taking up your bandwidth with my rantings and ravings, suffice it to say I have never been in love with the Matty Mattel, nor of course with the "anti-rodent" projectile it fires. The M16 PROBABLY would suffice for the job the old .30 Carbine was designed for, specifically as a substitute for the handgun for those who are suddenly inducted to the armed forces in time of war without proper training time. The carbine worked OK except in extremely cold weather, but in more temperate climates it was alright if you substituted marksmanship for effective terminal ballistics by the projectile (i.e. head shots). Mercifully we already have a most excellent round in the inventory, 7.62mm NATO, and it is totally unnecessary to develop a "new" round to take up the slack (this is usually a time consuming task, and often a "sop" to the ego of the ballistician). Is it necessary to be able to carry a basic load of 400 rounds ashore, or is perhaps the real answer, well placed shots by a trained Marine (somewhere I seem to remember a slogan "Every Marine a Rifleman"... but then we had leadership in those days, and nobody had gotten the idea that volume of fire was superior to accurately placed rounds). If you will read the articles set forth in the included links, you will educate yourself on what we have in our possession, and how it can be utilized to our advantage without jumping through hoops. Hell, gents, let's get the job done! If you will check the Selection of a Viable Counter-Sniper Rifle, I think you will see that the answer is within our grasp with no new training necessary - Our troops have been using the AR system since the 1960s, we've simply been using the wrong cartridge... Read my recommendations, or delete as you see fit. Semper Fidelis, Dick ****************************** The Selection of a Viable Counter-Sniper Rifle http://www.jouster.com/cgi-bin/m16/m16.pl?read=11996

Wm. R. Miller Jr. said:   September 18th, 2008 6:57 pm

I can not believe, that the US Marine Corps is still backing the future use of the 5.56mm. I can not also believe that anyone would still be standing or advancing after catching "2" .50 cal BMG rounds........Someone "Big" in the arms industry is moving a hidden agenda within the Corps, for maximum profit and the expense of Marines. Keep a weak round in production and not going to something bigger and better. Someone needs to get thrown in prison for this sham. 

Dick Culver said:   September 18th, 2008 5:13 pm

For those with a little time on their hands, I recommend going to the top of the thread I recommended "The Selection of a Viable Counter-Sniper Rifle", and check out the M16 Rifle Historically Speaking... It has my two articles on the early days of the M15, and why it was not corrected much earlier than it was... My XO and I both spent an extra year in grade over that debacle... Money, Political Correctness and the unwillingness of those who've put their "chop" on a bad idea to correct the error without looking like they screwed up! Sigh... Semper Fidelis, 

SNIPERBAIT66 said:   September 19th, 2008 11:58 pm

Same old shit different century Marines, Colt Arms is building AR-15s chambered for the 7.62X39 Russian AK round. That is the weapon our Marines should be carrying into combat along with the standard issue SAW. Fuck the moneymen! They just want to change weapons, kill several hundred good Marines, then sell them back the SAW at twice the price. That's what they learn at the Academy these days. How to Suck Up to your Next Employer. Ike warned us about these bastards his last night in office, on National Television. Nobody listened. Now where are we? The M16-A3 should be the 7.62X39 round in 50 round mags. That way we can use AK or M-60 rounds. Fuck those arms dealers. The Marine Corps should be designing and testing it's own weapon systems. If some brown nosed ZERO fucks up, it's off to the brig where his or her cocksucking will do them some good, and we can get a REAL Marine to do the job correctly. Screw the nepotism, screw the Congressman's son or daughter, and for ONCE think of our Marines in the shit. Give them the firepower to do the job, and get their asses HOME, where we need them to protect the American People from the Politicians and their BLACKWATER Mercenaries.