Well, I am beat. We are still in El Paso for the Border Patrol Tactical Unit Tech expo. It was a great time. About 120 or so vendors were invited for 1 day of show and 2 days and 1 night shoot. The small arms vendors present in addition to LW were FN, HK, DPMS, CAV Arms, and a pile of others I am too tired to mention. Jet suppressors, Gemtech were there.
Some of the stuff we live fired, M249's, Ultimax, PKM's, HK's line, M2 50 cal HMG, countless sniper rifles, a nice 6 shot pump action grenade launcher, flash banks, full auto dumps into trauma plates, the FN line of 5.56 and 5.7 weapons. It was friggen mayhem. UAV's flying around. This was I assure you, every ARFCOMMERS fantasy. The BORTAC unit is one of the countries least known but extremely tight and professional special operations units. These guys looked like they were forged commando's. They were gracious hosts and made sure everyone had a blast.
We demo'ed beside HK, and got as much time on the HK stuff as we wanted and vice versa. The 416 is obviously very nice. We, other demonstratees and the HK rep himself described a large difference in the handling of the LW and HK weapons. The HK's like the LW's have a more recoil, and it is sharp, but it is straight back into the shoulder with almost zero muzzle rise. Even the LW 6.8's had a different and lighter recoil. One very significant dude in the SF said it was "smoother." This was strange to me as the HK was a little front heavy but it relates to the staged vent of the LW cup and nozzle design. HK makes one fine ass weapon and I hope to add one to the inventory one day as a well engineered weapon. The HK reps put alot of rounds through the weapons without problems.
Our goal and the reason why we were there was to allow people to compare 6.8 and 5.56. We had some ammunition problems with some development ammo, but with the remington FMJ 110 gr stuff, they ran like bats out of hell. 6.8 is a confidence inspiring round in such a small package. The difference in energy delivered is more than significant.
We also ran AAC cans on the LW SRT-C and SRT-K's. We got about 800 rounds through the shorty before the chamber became dirty enough from back pressure to cause a failure to extract. Quick clean of the chamber and bore to get the stuff up and running again (chamber brush and bore snake). They lasted longer than I thought suppressed. Rarely would a gun in the house clearing mode suppressed ever need to go this many rounds. The pistons required no maintenece to retain function despite the suppressors. The thing about the SRT suppressed is it shoots like a 22cal as the suppressor works as the worlds greatest bolt carrier.
Anyway, I gotta go to bed and get a plane out of here in the am, but I thought I would post a few pics. Some are redundant, but when are gun pics ever?
48th (above) on the 417. Lots of recoil, and difficult in full auto. More recoil than a FAL, but nice in Semi auto. The HK rep was expert at mag dumps in FA, making it look pretty easy. It is likely because the thing is very light.
By the way, the government supplied all of the ammo. I felt terribly guilty dumping mags of Win Gold Match ammunition in full auto.
ABOVE. George of LW. You don't want to know what George used to do in the Brit Army. He'd have to kill ya. Lets put it this way, lots of time sneaking around Northern Ireland.
George on the LW SRT-K.
George on the LW-7.62X51 Short Stroke Piston Urban Sniper.
BUSTIN CAPS on the FN 2000. A little awkward as I was not used to it, but it felt great, shot great, felt weightless because all of the weight is in the back end and it is very short, Great in auto. I need one of these too but I don't know if it will catch on with vigor with the US public as it is so different, and quite bulky.
All business! PLW our fearless leader getting ready to run the beast.
Me and the SRT-K.
George, shooting the 308 with the "technical" in the background.
George on the MA DEUCE, pre-nirvana smile. Asshole spent alot of time on the M2 in Iraq I, allbeit from a soft mount. This should be standard on all dodge trucks in TX. George did not miss the vehicle we were shooting at. A nice chunk of it flew off.
I on the other hand, was told to overcompensate on elevation as not to shoot the LaRue targets Mark lent us for the demo. With Mark Larue standing there, I friggen plugged one of his mounts with the first round of the burst.
Not on purpose! The rest flew over the car. I mean it, I really was aiming for that mountain!
I sucked on the big boy.
I am amazed in the face of liberal media claims that the US military is on the brink of breaking down. The troops, both SF and from all branches of service were the most professional soldiers I have ever seen. I don't believe they have ever been in better shape as a force at least the guys we are exposed to on the SF side. We have not been fortunate enough to deal with many in the big army divisions other than brass who are EXTREMELY troop friendly IMO. They are a long way from the regular infantry folks I dealt with when I was in the Canuck Army. For the lib media to say this is disrespectful and completely untrue.
Friggen great time. I can't wait until next year. We closed a deal with the Border Patrol and an un-named entity of the army for trial uppers. All in 6.8. Regardless of what you believe about 6.8, the ARMY, USAF, USMC, USBP all have aggressive eval programs and are pushing through the red tape. 5.56 afficianados would not resist this if they had some experience with it. It makes the AR even more formidable than it ever was.
Excellent write-up 48th and Paul. Thanks! I'm sorry to hear you had trouble with some of the 6.8 ammo. I take it the Gov provided all the ammo, EXCEPT 6.8? Glad to hear it ran like a top with standard ammo.
The 417 and LW .308 appear to be two completely different beasts. How could you compare the two? With the short barrel of the 417, I think it would more closely be comparable to the 6.8 SRT-K. And I would suppose the 6.8 SRT-K would kick its ass!
BTW- The 417 appears to use a rocking mag. What kind of mag is it? It doesn't look like a G3, M14 or FAL mag, so I guess they made a whole new proprietary mag for this rifle?
How many other semi-auto "sniper" rifles were there? I assume they are probably currently using a bolt-action rifle for this role. What was the view on going to a semi-auto for this role? Just curious what kind of market you are looking at, and how the sniper community is receiving (or not) the semi-autos out there.
As you say I cannot make comparison of the LW 308 and the 417. I was only commenting on the 417 as I am used to mainly FAL's and HK's in 308. That is where my measure of controlability comes from but it seemed plenty controllable when the HK rep shot it. The LW and HK have 2 completely different roles. The LW is more of an intermediate sniper. The HK has undergone more refinement. That does not mean the LW doesn't work as reliably etc, but it was essentially a tech demonstrator and the 308 project will simmer as opposed to boiling as there are other more pressing irons in the fire to include a certain GB.
So, in its current form the LW is heavier than the 417, allthough much lighter than similar guns in its catagory. The LW is semi-auto only currently allthough it is so light recoiling it would make an excelling impromtu 7.62 light mag fed machine gun that could offer very accurate longer range harrassment and suppressive fire if you were in a pinch. It would be very disconcerting in that role to the enemy as it would seem to come from nowhere. Especially with the jet can.
The main difference that will not change if and when we came up with a similar product role weapon as the 417 is that the buffer barely bottoms out if at all on the LW. With a rifle tube, it absolutely does much like an SPR with an MGI buffer. So there is no appreciable jarring, just a push back. We have a carbine 308 allthough we didn't have it there. The HK is quite a bit sharper.
I wouldn't kick it out of bed. It is pretty damn cool. I am not sure of which role it fills other than a sort of light short DMR for intermediate ranges for heavy hitting firepower. However in that role does it made sense to have a scar L and scar H or just use an intermediate cartridge like 6.8 in all of the weapons? For barriers I suppose the 7.62 has great advantage, but then you start getting into way more weapons per squad that are not common than seems to make sense.
It uses off the shelf HK G3 mags. These as you know are some of the best mags ever made. They push straight in, and fall straight out. You can use the standard location HK mag release or the paddle mag release. I really liked the 417. Pretty cool.
Quote from Paul LW on LW forum about the demo.
The quality of the HK's are outstanding, I particularly liked the weight of the 417, it had a fairly slow cyclic rate in FA but even so, was pretty much in the same catagory as an M14 in that role with a 3 or 4 round burst disapation which walked off a man size target at 15 yards. HK are pitching this against SCAR H and as an alternative to the SASS; SCAR is very entrenched in SOCOM although it has a way to go to full deployment and it is not picking up momentum in big Army - that's why HK is pitching. SF don't want the 417 as a recce hence the interest in 6.8. This will all make sence one day I promise but we can only give out about 20% of the information we receive at these events for obvious reasons.
A number of individuals had George take some photo's of them shooting the LW weapons because their cameras had failed - he was told in no uncertain terms that these photos were to be e-mailed back to them and the deleted - they were not to appear on the internet or in company publications - you understand why we comply with such requests. George, by the way, sits on the board of directors of the company and is a tremendous addition. He's highly competitive and shoots that sissy 3 gun stuff (only joking) - he's also competing in the Iron Man shooting events.
The 416's were easy to keep on target with zero muzzle rise as Highlander stated although the recoil is more pronounced and the cyclic rate is higher. The op-rod movement is also detectable, you can feel the slap of the rod on the carrier, not in an accuracy way, despite what the DIL's suggest even though they have never fired them, and attributable to the G36 system and some of the looser tolerances employed in the manufacture.
Following on from what 48th posted, it was interesting doing the immediate back to back comparisons with the HK's and LW's. We get grilled on our pricing, although we are pretty much in the same ballpark as HK, but our prices relate to the cost of machine time on running the tighter tolerances on the operating system. It was interesting to see the surprised looks on the faces of guys who deploy with 416's or have been using them for some time when they first shoot our kit. Mid way through their firing drills they would turn to us with amazement and comment on the feel and operation of the LW piston system saying that they were not able to detect the op-rod operation. When you have guy's who put their lives on the line daily, commenting in glowing terms about your design you feel pretty good.
The LW approaches the design and execution in a different way to the HK 416. The HK 416 is perhaps a little more brutal in its approach, it gets the job done and you feel that you could go anywhere with it and use it for anything including a billy club! The LW is more like a precision tool, a surgical instrument, it still retains the ruggedness of the M4/HK 416 but with it's lighter weight a smoother operation won a lot of fans here.
Anyway, you can't go wrong with HK or the LW IMO. Both definate evolution in the platform and in small arms in general. We spent alot of time with David Tubb of uber accuracy fame (see his books and products if you are not familliar). He has several improvements to the AR buffer spring, ejector and extractor springs that essentially showed incredible potential when we experimented with them at BORTAC. Dealers should get into contact with David NOW as he is likely one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on accurizing and tuning AR's, and his yet unreleased products do everything they say as we spent a few hours doing back to back comparisons at bortac. We need to do some further tuning with David to optimize for piston operation.
Jet suppressors is quickly becoming the recognized unofficial standard in the sniper community with their Titanium cans. They are personally buying his stuff in droves and not using issued kit. It has come under the scrutiny of the brass, and Mike Brown has been doing alot of travelling lately. His QD shorty TI can is AWESOME! He ignores the hooplah in the suppressor industry. For instance Silencer Tests.com results look poor on his cans. To the ear however, they do not sound like firearms when fired and to the ear are about the quietest cans on the market. I heard them all. This company has a bright future despite whether civvie shooters ever figure that out. When you test a can with electronic equipment, it may hear sound in frequencies that are not audible to the human ear and that is exactly what the jet cans do. I can't describe the sound other than it sounds like a very light ping. Almost like a pellet gun. He offers lighter suppressors with much more volume while not adding overall length by some agressive telescoping of the suppressor by his proprietary design. I can't say enough how impressed we are. We have zero affiliation with jet other than supporting the best products on the market. They have never received a dollar from us other than the dollars they are getting from the cans we will be ordering from them that mike developed for our end use requirements.
It is unfortunate, the HK may never be realized in the civvie market (I hope it does! I want to add one to my personal pattern room.), and LW are backordered but are taking steps to rectify with a factory in VA. Finally! Focus is completely on building inventory so LW have items in stock as opposed to filling back orders, and development of a dealer network so LW can spend as much time manufacturing as possible.
The international sales team have landed 2 possibly 3 foriegn contracts, and those are working through the respective countries procurement process which involves tech package requirements, schedules etc. Our Malaysian contact reported the after action from the Malay Royal Police Special Operations force and the LW had no failures in torture testing, was the most accurate, and had zero stoppages throughout. The other 2 contenders were certain swiss rifles, and a large US carbon fiber rifle to stay vague. They spec'ed magpul, larue, trijicon, products allready, and in a few months we will be giving them choices of suppressors, grenade launchers and some other bits.