Posted: 5/17/2002 2:41:53 PM EST
Anybody catch the article in the June Soldier of Fortune on the SOCOM SPR? Makes for a very interesting read. Thumbnail sketch of SPR is surplus M16A1 lower, Armalite M4A1 flattop upper with heavy stainless match 1 in 8 bbl. Article says they've made "pinpoint" hits out to 600-plus yards in Afghanistan using 77 grain Sierra Match Kings. Article also says the lethality of 5.56 has been "disappointing." Check it out.
I'm no ballistics expert, but after reading some folks who sound pretty good on the ammo forum here, I can't believe U.S. soldiers are using M4s in Afghanistan for general purpose ops. I mean, the relatively open terrain and vegetation would tend to open up the engagement ranges, and with a good part of the 5.56mm bullet lethality dependent on terminal ballistics (bullet fragmentation at bullet velocities over 2600 fps at impact), the carbine bullet velocity falls off quickly. The bullet fragmentation and much greater wounding would not happen beyond 100 to 150 yards. Why use a CQB weapon in this scenario? They ought to be using M16A2s.
It would not surprise me to know that terminal ballistics did not even figure into the decision to widely use the M4, or that most SOCOM soldiers are not even aware of this limitation of their weapon system.
One simple reason the soldiers are using M4's......they are smaller and lighter than a 20" A2. Not many soldiers know what we know about terminal ballistics and many don't seem to care. They just know how to shoot and care for the weapons. Other than that they just don't really seem to care. I have talked to so many that were like that. And besides, the use of M855 out of a 14" barrel only makes them that much less effective. But given they are in such high altitudes sometimes, they just prefer the lighter weapon. Is that flawed thinking? Maybe. But they prefer the mobility over lethality it seems. And add to that, I'm not sure what say the individual soldier has in his weapon choice anyway. The brass hats are the ones that need to convince the units to use 20" barrel weapons I suppose.
Yeah, I read the article where they wrote that the SPR recorded kills out to 600+ yards, but with a scope a match grade A2 will do better. The SPR with it's 16" match barrel must be heavier than a standars issue A2. I don't see the need for this weapon when an M4 is lighter, as is the M16A2 I would guess, and it also has better range with a scope on it. The Marines got it right IMO. They are using a SMR Special Marksmanship rifle, most likely to be issued to the designated marksman and perhaps sniper teams will have one for the spotter. This weapon has a krieger 20" barrrel with a 1/7" twist, a new gas block?, a KAC RAS, and probably scoped by US optics. This weapon is lighter than the SOCOM SPR! Good thing the Marines are still very concerned about marksmanship and the tools needed to get the job done.
Let me clear this up for all of you out there that can only get their information from the media, whether it is SOF or CNN. I returned in March from SWA. Where I was stationed at had Rangers (for awhile and then they redeployed), SF, SEALS, DELTA, and KSK stationed there. I handled and took a good long look at the weapons that SF had over there (easy to do since their tents were right across from the front gate I usually worked at. The following weapons were what they carried for the most part:
Remington 700/Leopold Vari-X III in .300 Win
M-4 Flattop with the RAS. Different scopes mounted..Aimpoint and others. But mostly Aimpoints
A weird M-16 such as described above. It had a stainless bull barrel over 20-in w/ a flattop upper/Leopold Vari-X III. The really weird part was that the rifle had the flattop sections running on all four sides (i.e. similar to a RAS), no iron sights, and they only shot 77-Gr Sierra Match King Ammo (Which I saw cases of at the ammo dump we had to guard...no I did not bring any back, but I was sorely tempted)
M2 .50 (Both of these two were mounted on their "Rat Patrol HMMWV's)
I hope that this clears up some of the confusion from someone that was on the ground.
In Blackhawk Down, the Special Forces did have M14's according to the book and the movie. Do you think that they are not in Afganistan?
I read the article, in fact that's the reason I bought the magazine. I was actually quite disapointed with the overall article. It was your basic GPJ AR15 article that he writes, just fill in the blanks with the specific brand AR15. He used a couple of pics of the actual rifles but then had some of a KAC rifle with some different optics.
But does any pic captioned contain the words "brass flies..."? Usually "Brass flies as Mooseturd CT SWAT sniper Steve Wannabe puts the .....through its paces....":)
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