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bangdazap t1_j125ws6 wrote

The assault rifle concept is a bit counterintuitive because compared to the M1 Garand/M14 rifle, the StG-44 has a shorter effective range. The US military wanted to squeeze a "full power" cartridge into an automatic rifle like the M14 to achieve that greater range. We now know that 200-300 meters is the typical engagement range in a modern firefight, and therefore the /.62 mm NATO cartridge is unnecessarily powerful and the recoil is too much for the user to control it during full auto.

Another factor was an obsession with "stopping power", the M16 was derided as a "varmint rifle" because it used a .223 caliber cartridge.

A third factor was the arrogance of the victor, it can happen to every nation. The US military felt that since they won WWII with the Garand, it was a proven winning concept, so they went ahead with the /.62 mm NATO cartridge for the M14 which was essentially a further development of the M1 Garand.


aught4naught t1_j12bvkf wrote

Plus bigger bullets weight more so consequently soldiers can carry fewer.


dittybopper_05H t1_j13mwib wrote

Ironically, though, the StG-44 is about 1 or 2 lbs heavier than an M-1 Garand. It doesn't *LOOK* like it, you'd think the Garand is heavier just looking at it, but it's not.

The other thing to consider is that the StG-44 is, essentially, a disposable gun. It's made largely of stampings, and they will wear out much quicker than a Garand. You can put tens of thousands of rounds through an M-1 with no difficulty, but a Sturmgewehr will wear out long before that. Plus, it's more prone to being damaged than an M-1.

But I think perhaps the biggest reason why is because the M-1 was a battle-proven platform which the US literally had millions of them in stock. Completely switching over from that to a new gun with new ammo (.30'06 Kurz?) would have been seen as an unnecessary waste of money.


ArkyBeagle t1_j15oh4v wrote

I think the new weapon adopted , the Next Generation Squad Weapon or XM5 they use "practice" rounds at lower velocity and only switch to "combat" rounds when it's For Real. The barrel seems to wear out with the fairly extreme round chosen for that. That's a sea change from prior doctrine.


dittybopper_05H t1_j18hu2s wrote

I'm still aghast at that decision. Fully loaded with the suppressor, that's an 11.24 lb rifle. That's actually the heaviest infantry rifle ever adopted by the US military.

And the cartridge is another matter. The practice rounds are still zippy enough to be used in combat, and I'm willing to bet that cost considerations are going to ensure that the reduced version gets used in combat. Which is still nothing to sneeze at: It's essentially a 7mm-08.

I mean, I'm one of those weirdos who likes the concept of a battle rifle, but they shouldn't be significantly heavier than an M-1 Garand or an M-14.


ArkyBeagle t1_j1953zj wrote

> That's actually the heaviest infantry rifle ever adopted by the US military.


> I'm willing to bet that cost considerations are going to ensure that the reduced version gets used in combat.

Huh. What I've read says the gain of function looked for was piercing body armor. So maybe you're right.

> but they shouldn't be significantly heavier than an M-1 Garand or an M-14.

Most likely. I imagine the M16 will still be in use.


dittybopper_05H t1_j198kku wrote

From what I hear the M-4 is going to still be issued to non-infantry troops, while the actual trigger pullers are going to get the XM5.


Eokokok t1_j1327xm wrote

And yet we are back at big bullets with next gen rifle going into production.


fiendishrabbit t1_j134ygh wrote

Because the US have been fighting all their battles in the middle east where a bigger bullet has certain advantages, mainly that it has a better effect against heavy bodyarmor and that it can penetrate double-brick walls (which is a really common feature in the middle-east and afghanistan.

Neither of those two were a factor back in the days when the US decided to go for 7.62 instead of a more suitable mid-weight cartridge. The only good argument for the 7.62 back then was that it was also a suitable cartridge for general purpose machineguns, so using the same caliber in all small arms simplified logistics.


greennitit t1_j13upru wrote

Also terrain in the Middle East tends to be flat and tree-less leading to longer engagement distances.


akodo1 t1_j20jln4 wrote

And there countyside is different. Sparce vegetation on flat terrain or scrub brush on mountains means a lot more long shot possiblity (as well as long range machinegunnery) that was experienced in Vietnam or the conflicts in Latin America


TurboTortois3 OP t1_j12m78p wrote

Ah, so it seems like its mainly because the US army wanted tried and true long range high caliber rifles rather than a new and unproven technology that failed to win a country a war. That makes sense, since automatic weapons had been a relatively new concept, at least compared to musket and rifle technology.


degotoga t1_j12ygpn wrote

don’t forget that the Garand itself was a fairly groundbreaking design as one of the first widely adopted semiautomatic battle rifles


Rethious t1_j136bns wrote

Automatic weapons weren’t new. Every squad had an automatic rifleman, and submachine-guns were used widely. The question was whether it was worth equipping every rifleman with an automatic weapon. This wasn’t obvious at the time.

The M1 and M14 had superior range and stopping power. Being able to reliably kill the enemy and not end up outranged are intuitively important. Semi-automatic weapons also mean you don’t have your entire army burning through ammunition. When you’re fighting expeditionary wars, this is a major concern because every bullet has to get shipped halfway around the world.


akodo1 t1_j20mmry wrote

No, it wasn't.

Automatic weapons were coming on line at pretty much the same time armies were going with fully rifles barrel breach loaders.

The Gatling gun is only not a machinegun by virtue of whacky legal definitions, and was around when most militaries had just upgraded their muzzle loaders. WW 1 was the era of the belt fed machinegun. Take a crew served belt fed MG on a tripod firing 30-06 or 8mm Mauser and you can rain hell down on incoming troops at 2000 yards.

People talk about how the WW 2 German army with their bolt action rifles weren't really outgunned because individual rifle fire was secondary to the MG. That was true of the USA too just not quite to the same degree.

Even look at Afghanistan today. A dozen fighting men can be engaging the enemy with 5.56 weapons but once you bring that M240 into the fight shit changes in a big way


ArkyBeagle t1_j15o3h6 wrote

Part of it is the tradition of measuring weapon effectiveness in shooting competitions within a military. There are people who frame the M14 debacle as sort of a conspiracy :) The whole story of the Armalite designs is complex; some still consider the AR10 the best in breed .