McCann Industries MAS 49/56 in the Elbonian Royal Air Service

Elbonian Royal Air Service merch:

In the early 2000s, the Elbonian Royal Air Service was looking for an aerial interdiction rifle – something to arm snipers in dirigibles, for shooting down light aircraft and drones. In this, they were remarkably similar to a mission performed by French Army de l’Air snipers – and the Albanians made the critical mistake of attempting to copy the French.

They purchased surplus MAS 49/56 rifles from McCann Industries in the United States. These were rifles converted to 7.62x51mm, and then fitted with McCann’s modernization package. McCann manufactured a new aluminum lower that used AR grips and stocks, and fitted the barrels with quad rail assemblies.

The Real Story:
This is in fact one of the very few McCann Industries modernized MAS 49/56 rifles produced. It is also, in fact, very similar to the MAS 49/56 MSB and the modernization work done by French gunsmith Herlé Kaigre. The French Air Force snipers did apparently at least test one or two of this sort of modernized 49/56, as the semiauto action offered benefits over their bolt action FR-G rifles. Ultimately, though, they adopted the FN SCAR-H a few years ago. And yes, the aerial interdiction mission is a real thing.


  1. I’m torn between the “Oh, cool joke…” factor, and the horror at observing the Bubbification of a decent surplus rifle…

    Ah, well… They can’t all be kept pristine and flawless.

  2. Please put together a complete to date compilation on all things Elbonia and their varied service armaments.

  3. You’d think that the term “Royal” for the Elbonian Air Force was odd.

    Elbonia became a Republic sometime during the 1950s, when the King said he was going out for a smoke. (He never returned, and some say he opened a bait shop in Guntersville.) Once the government ministers stopped fearing that he might come back, the Crown and royal symbols were quietly removed.

    Except for the Air Force, whose Royal status was withheld during the Kingdom due to an extensive record of bad aircraft selection, self bombing, maintenance failures, crashes, and navigational errors causing the King’s mistress to be late for trips to Paris and Gstaad.

    Once the Republic was declared and he was beyond the King’s reach, Sky Marshal in Chief Krmpdxs ordered that the Air Force would henceforth be known as Royal, as it has ever since.

  4. Somewhat like the FR-F2 and the earlier FR-F1;

    They were both bolt-actions, of course, but the concept seems to be similar.

    So this really can’t be entirely blamed on Yankee Redneck Bubbification. More like misapplication of a French Army Ordnance idea that was questionable to begin with.

    Thus showing that other armies’ ordnance establishments aren’t necessarily any smarter than ours.

    clear ether


    • The entirety of the SA-80 debacle shows that… Then, there’s India.

      Also, Germany with the whole G11 thing. They narrowly dodged a tactical nuke on that one. I’m still cringing from what my guy who was on the ACR program had to say about the “proven technology” of the G11 that they handed off to them. I can only marvel at the sheer joy we likely would have experienced with the Octol-based propellant in the desert during OIF and OEF, had that program gone through and selected that flippin’ abortion. Wasn’t ready for ACR, and they never could get it to work during the LSAT cluster-fark.

      Caseless is one of those things that seems like a really good idea, until you try to implement it with the current technology. Then, it sorta… Recedes into the distance, like fusion.

      How ‘effing hard would it be to try doing things on an evolutionary basis? Y’know, like “OK, here’s today’s rifle, what’s wrong with it, what’s right… What can we fix on the next buy, when they wear out…?”

      I mean, if it were I, there’d be a continuing development cycle, with the next rifle already in the pipeline for production when the current system wore out past the point of economical maintenance. Proven, working technology continually evaluated for fitness of purpose, and incrementally improved based on user experience and feedback, along with actual tactical data that was gathered…?

      Too hard, I guess. The pie-in-the-sky thing is just too attractive, I suppose.

      • Every time somebody starts waxing poetic about the glories of caseless, I say, “pour a cup of water on it and wait five minutes”. That generally cools them off when they think about it.

        Due to HK being so anal about proprietary data, I never knew their solid propellant grain included Octol. If I had, I might have had a bad reaction the one time I handled a loaded G11 on a very hot summer day.

        Things like that are why I still advocate Plastic-Cased Telescoped Ammunition (PCTA) at least for high RoF weapons like automatic cannon. Combine that with electric ignition and liquid propellants derived from liquid fuel rocket technology, and you’ve got the “100% improvement” Ord keeps demanding, at least in things like aircraft guns, light AAA, and maybe the guns on top of (hackchoke) MICVs.

        The light AAA department is where we’re likely to need it most in the near future (next two decades or so) with all the f**king drones going Wile E. Coyote on everything.



        • Huh. I’ve known that Dynamit Nobel used Octol as long ago as the 1980s. I remember it being outlined as a major development by Dynamit Nobel in all the literature about the product, but then I saw most of that in Europe.

          My take on the future of small arms is that the whole thing is going to cave in on itself, because of (as usual…) incompetence and heinous stupidity on the part of the procurement people. You can already see the outlines of how/where NGSW is going to go down on a pile of overstressed brass and worn barrels, and the wonder of it all is how on earth they went from the noble goals of LSAT (reducing weight…) to NGSW and came up with this .277 Fury travesty.

          All, I might add, while not addressing the fundamental issues that were creating their mostly imaginary and highly nebulous “overmatch”. Hard to come up with another set of programs with similar delusional results.

          My guess is that they’re going to continue fielding NGSW, while simultaneously not doing anything really and truly effective to address drones, and then we’re going to get into a war with real, effective opposition. Wherein the contradictions and misconceptions are going to cave in the entire shoddy edifice of our tactical/operational system…

          News for the blind: Uber-rifles don’t win wars. Haven’t been a major component of warfare since we stopped doing volley fire against deep targets back in the latter 19th Century. Oh, and the cavalry ain’t riding those horsies any more, so you don’t need a horsie-killer as your primary cartridge.

          As well, do note that the current war in Ukraine does not see the combatants screaming for “overmatch”; from all I’ve seen and heard, the current lot of small arms choices out there are perfectly adequate, and likely will be for some time. Body armor is simply not all that big a deal, especially when said body armor is procured by a corrupt country that prefers to buy airsoft gear rather than the real stuff.

          TBH, I have some doubts about the utility of body armor going forward. I think we’re about to be on the cusp of “Yeah, the drones are big enough and bad enough that armor is effectively useless, and ohbytheway, if you’re too heavy to run, you’re dead…”

          I could see the benefits of stripping down to a track suit and a couple of magazines along with something like a skeet shotgun underbarrel affair. Agility is about to become a hell of a lot more important than survivability, would be one of my predictions. Could be wrong, but… I think you’re probably going to see a lot of guys ditching the heavy protection in order to be able to run and duck from the drones. Anything you can wear and still move? Likely useless against a drone with an attached RPG warhead. Not to mention, if you put out enough small fragments, armor is pointless because having all your extremities being peppered with significant wounds just means that armoring your core is ineffective when you bleed out from a thousand cuts and internal bleeding from the blast effect.

          I mean, it’s one thing when some random mortar drops a round “in your vicinity”. It’s entirely another when someone flies that mortar round to within feet or inches of your ass, and it goes off. Enough of that, and there’s really no damn point to the body armor that NGSW is supposedly addressing, sooooooo… Why NGSW?

          The “state of the art of war” is currently in flux; I would not venture a guess where it is heading, but I suspect that the squad/platoon structure of 2080 is either going to have heavy inclusion of jamming equipment, likely on the level of “Yeah, you guys are effectively carrying a Wild Weasel system with y’all…” or that the drone controller team is going to be the most important part of the squad. Maybe both. Maybe something else… Whole thing remains up in the air, as the Ukrainian/Russian conflict basically amounts to an open-air live-fire experiment.

          • I’ve always thought that “What difference does it make anyway” would be an interesting series. No one has yet shown me a war, campaign, or even battle in which same generation infantry arms met and one proved to generate victory. As Melvin Johnson said, these are all just meaningless guncrank details.

            The Boer War is closest, but not a result of the rifles.

          • On the one hand I could see trench warfare coming back, as it did in the “static” phase of the Iran/Iraq war. Which pretty much lasted until both sides ran out of arty supply, much like what happened to both sides in Flanders in the late summer of 1918.

            (Both sides guesstimated how much they’d need to stockpile for their respective Plan 1919s vs. how much they needed for day to day operations. Both sides guessed wrong.)

            Of course, sitting still in a dugout makes you a very good sitting duck target for a drone, so there’s that.

            Alternatively, we may end up with the kind of war Arthur C. Clarke predicted in one of his stories. Controllers in deep underground complexes hundreds of miles from the “front lines” remote-controlling “dirigible torpedoes” to seek out and destroy targets in the enemy’s divisional rears.

            Of course that presupposes a sort of “gentlemen’s agreement” not to drop said torpedoes on each other’s control sites. Which sort of brings us back to the whole ICBM/MAD argument.

            Also, if the “fighting” is being done that way, who needs “front lines” to begin with?

            Like you, I don’t see conventional infantry being the “decision arm” in the future. Mostly infantry will be trying to do what we tried (and failed) to do in Iraq and AFPAK; “pacification” and “hearts and minds”.

            The problem with that, of course, is that our projected opponents for the next century or so have already decided that they hate our chromosomes, so there’s about as much chance of it working as there is of a joint Cyberman/Dalek Andromeda Peace Mission.

            We may yet end up in Keith Laumer territory. A century or so ago, the stock response to a “crisis” was, as C. S. Forester would say, “Send a gunboat”.

            A half-century from now, it might be “Send a Bolo”.

            Or worse yet, an Ogre.

            clear ether


          • @Staghounds,

            It’s one of those quantum effects things, I suppose. I think that a lot of the really important bits sort of vanish into the background noise so long as you’ve got something close to parity, but you’re gonna be hating life if there’s something like the mismatch between the M14-armed US forces and the AK/SKS-armed Vietnamese “insurgents”.

            It takes real audacity and incompetence to recreate those conditions, but I think we’ve managed it with the NGSW abortion. Remains to be seen… I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

            Rifles are important, but they’re not as crucial as they used to be. As you said, “current generation” makes things meaningless, but if you were to, say… Put something like the early version of the HAC-7 into the field without first having thoroughly wrung out the design? You’re gonna get really bad results with your troops running up against someone with a fully-developed and properly-fielded member of the AK family.

            Likewise, say you just started out copying “best of breed” features, and didn’t do all the requisite work to integrate and field the weapon properly… Can you say “INSAS”? Something like that could very well lose you a war, given it failing hard enough in combat to influence morale and so forth.

            There’s an issue here with regards to soldier confidence and morale; if you put an inferior weapon into their hands, and write that off as “OK” because you’ve decided it isn’t “necessary” (and, it may well not be… I remain ambivalent, on that question…), well… Don’t be awfully surprised when the soldiers take that attitude of yours as signifying that you don’t care about them, and that they don’t matter enough to arm properly, which then means that they aren’t going to fight… Hell, they may even turn on you.

            There were reasons that the major European armies were so set on high-quality, carefully-finished individual small arms, and that had very little to do with their utility as weapons. The “shiny” had a lot to do with keeping soldier morale up; “They must care about me, they spent big money on this nice rifle…”

            It’s one of those things. Yeah, it may not be actually important or all that influential in some areas, yet totally relevant and a huge deal in others.

            To a degree, I think that the US should have done more to address the “failure” issue of the M16 than it did, especially with the legacy it carried into later years. I enlisted in ’81, and people were still bad-mouthing the rifle. I don’t think that anyone really had any real confidence in it, either, despite the vast majority of its flaws and vices having been corrected by then. I don’t believe that the majority of the soldiers I served with and around really began to have confidence in the system until after we were into the GWOT, and there’d been enough “Yeah, it works… Just take care of it…” experience to refute all the “Old Soldier’s Stories” about finding their buddies dead with cleaning rods in their hands next to broken-down M16s.

            I ain’t kidding when I say it detracted from morale for a lot of people for a lot longer than it should have. I really don’t know what I would have done to try and turn that around, post-Vietnam, but I damn sure would have put some effort into doing so. It’s bad enough nutting yourself up to get on those damn planes, without having that doubt about your rifle in the back of your head…

            And, in the final analysis, the rifle is the weapon of last resort when it comes to dealing with the enemy up close and personal. If you don’t believe in yours, you’re not too likely to hang around and have it out with the bastards when they come for you…

          • Bolo comes from Kieth Laumer’s science fiction writing, and was sufficiently amusing/interesting that a bunch of other authors adopted the idea of sentient tanks the size of city blocks…

            The Ogre comes from a Steve Jackson mini-wargame, and basically ripped off the Bolo idea, absent the sympathetic heroic controlling sentience of the Bolo. An Ogre is a city-block size mass of brutality and firepower, with the game having them go up against agile little ground effects vehicles… Thus, the successor to the game, which was G.E.V.

            Fairly interesting little games; I used to play them at lunch hour in high school. Along with a bunch of others like Avalon Hill’s Third Reich and Squad Leader.

            I’m gonna have to go back and look at Squad Leader, one of these days. I lost interest in wargaming about the time I made Corporal, because there was such a massive difference between doing it for real and in real life vs. game space. I vaguely remember the tactical system of Squad Leader, and it absolutely did not match up with what I came to understand of modern small tactics and operations. Highly stylized and sterile, compared to the unpredictable nature of reality, plus there’s the flaw in that you have the “God’s eye” view of the battlefield.

            Which is something you might get with modern UAV assets, when you think about it.

            I’d sum the whole thing up as “Effective simulations have to match reality, and if you don’t train with simulations that match reality, bad things happen when you encounter said reality…”

            And, as a corollary? Every “simulation” is bad; you don’t go into one with the mentality that you’d have in real life, which is that you could get yourself killed for real. This lends the whole thing a certain falsity, in that you’d do things in training, even with MILES gear, that you’d never, ever do in real life. As a leader, you kinda get cavalier about things… “Oh, I’ll just send a couple of guys forward to see if they get shot…”, which you hope to God you never catch someone doing in reality. But, the habits get formed, and we did indeed find asshole leaders sending critical slice (combat support elements not belonging to the parent tactical unit, like Engineers and ADA…) forward to draw out enemy fire, not thinking about the fact that a.) that was basically criminally negligent, and b.) those elements were sliced out for a reason, and if you expended them doing “draw fire”, well… You wouldn’t have them to get your stupid ass out of the minefield you later drove into.

            I lost a couple of friends of mine to a situation that I’m sure stemmed from this mentality on the part of an Infantry commander, but nobody could ever prove a damn thing, and the sorry asswipe went on to promotion. Simulation choices have strong downstream effects, whether you want to admit it or not.

          • Kirk;

            I once had someone tell me that a Bolo, Ogre or even Colin Kapp’s Gottlos was impossible because of ground pressure.

            Then I showed them a picture of Big Muskie.


            Moral; never turn a hillbilly from coal country loose in a construction equipment factory with a blank check.




          • @eon,

            I think anything like the description of the Bolo or the OGRE is technically unfeasible, at this time, things like the various giant mining machines notwithstanding.

            For one thing, you’d need some serious advancement in materials technology and power generation, especially if you wanted the weapons effects described.

            I always figured that if you were gonna hand-wave the armor and energy issues away, you might just as well spend the extra time and hand-wave the weight issues away with anti-gravity, as well. The tracks always struck me as just being egregiously superfluous, TBH.

            I enjoyed most of the novels and games, but if you asked me to try and implement the ideas? I’d honestly plump down for some sort of heavily armored core controller setup with a huge number of swarm-droids to do all the work. Something you’d have to spend a lot of time taking down individually, playing “Which one is which…” with a bunch of decoy control modules.

            One big damn target just makes it too easy for the enemy. It’d be about like a Maus, in WWII: Sure, it’s big and deadly, but… It’s also slow, easily spotted, harder than hell to hide, and vulnerable to the undoubted ton of fighter-bombers it’d naturally attract…

            Size has a quality, but I really don’t think it would scale, in the real world. You’d have to have a bunch of different technologies develop just right, in some very unlikely ways, for anything like a Bolo or an OGRE to really make real-world sense.

            Or, so I surmise. It might be my 12E instincts, but I feel like a couple of guys with a MADM or SADM could make some money going after either of them…

          • @ Kirk;

            Yeah, Steve Jackson himself said (In Game Design; Theory and Practice) that the problem with the Ogre was that putting all that firepower on one platform makes it something the enemy might decide is worth smacking with a theater-level nuke.

            He also was thinking in terms of 1970s-80s computer technology, the same way Laumer was thinking in terms of 1960s computer architecture. The Bolo or Ogre had to be big to accommodate the computer that ran it.

            Today, we’d probably put an AI in an “autonomous weapon platform” about the size of a Jeep. 1942 model, at that.

            My definition of a genuinely believable future war technology concept now hovers somewhere around the short story “Second Variety” by Philip K. Dick. (The movie Screamers didn’t do it justice, even with Peter “Dr. Banzai” Weller in it.)

            Swarming drones flying around are bad enough. If they learn to dig, it’s time to get the Hell outta Dodge.



          • “(…)Kieth Laumer’s science fiction writing, and was sufficiently amusing/interesting that a bunch of other authors adopted the idea of sentient tanks the size of city blocks…(…)”
            Now I have conflicting information: are you neutral toward said entity or show disdain considering not keeping name right?

          • @Daweo,

            I haven’t clearly laid out my position, vis-a-vis the idea of giant cybernetic tanks, I suppose…

            So, to clarify… I think we can agree that all the fairy tales we were told as children served a purpose beyond that of shutting the kiddies up and getting them to go to sleep. Those fairy tales served as teaching opportunities, cautionary tales: “Don’t trust strangers bearing apples…” “Don’t screw with things you don’t understand, like fairies that show up out of the blue at your christening…” “Treat things you don’t understand with respect, at least…”

            So, even though there are valuable meta-messages embedded in all the various fairy tales of yore, in every culture… I still wouldn’t advise going out looking for dragons as a solution to real-world problems. They’re not really real.

            I feel about the Bolo concept about how I feel about dragons; neat ideas, good basis for instructional tales and the imagination, but… Yeah. Not. Really. Real.

            I do think there’s some value in all those stories; narratives and stories are how we understand the world. But… The problem is, as I’ve pointed out innumerable times when it comes to simulations, the simulation has got to maintain fidelity to reality for it to have any real utility when the people who’ve undergone training within it encounter said reality…

            So, yeah… I love the idea of a Bolo, or an OGRE, but at the same time, I have to point out the flaws in the idea. Same as I’d point out the flaws in the idea of domesticating flying dragons in order to make war using them…

            Great ideas that give you things to think about, but ya gotta remain grounded in reality. Right now, the Bolo and OGRE are technically not feasible, and were you to come to me with a set of blueprints, I’d be saying the same things about them as I’m saying about that sweet little .338 SIG machinegun we’re discussing down below: Not addressing the problem, my friend… I love the idea, but it ain’t addressing the reality of things.

      • “(…)evolutionary basis(…)”
        But is not that like MAS 49/56 come to be?
        To my understanding MAS mle. 1940 spawned MAS mle. 1944 which spawned MAS mle. 1949 which spawned 49/56.

        • I would indeed pull the MAS lineage out as a good example of some common sense on the part of the procurement folks. Too bad they didn’t extend that out to the FAMAS family, whose development seems to have followed the usual US-adjacent pattern.

          The thing I’d advocate above all is actually bothering to gather the data, which nobody does. You had a perfect laboratory in the so-called “Global War on Terror”, and what they should have done was take a battalion of troops with weapons, and baseline all of those weapons with gauging and testing before deployment, monitoring what those weapons did on deployment in terms of combat, and then do the same baselining on return. What parts wore? What parts broke? Where did the finish wear off, and what finish processes worked best?

          Then, take that data and roll it into the next iteration of the weapon. “Oh. Seems like making these parts out of stainless steel might be a good idea… That coating doesn’t work, this bolt needs reinforcing… Man, they flatly abused the snot out of this carbine, WTF happened…? Oh, they were in a once-in-a-lifetime firefight at Wanat? Gee, what went wrong, there? Do we need better barrels? Would CHF processing of those help? How about a different steel…”

          We don’t do that crap in any systematic way. They also don’t bother to do any predictive wear projections, and say “Yeah, you guys have fired 100,000 rounds through those guns, about time to pull them in for rebuild… Oh, and by the way, here are the pre-built packages of spares for your next deployment, so you’re gonna have them on hand already…”

          Nobody, to my knowledge, does any of this anywhere in the world. And, why? Because they really don’t care to go to the bother; if PFC Smith has a weapons failure in combat that could have been prevented, it’s “Oh, well… Too bad, so sad, send the family a check…”

          It’s really irritating when you’re Smith, but I guess that if you’re the guys in charge, it ain’t that big a deal “…in the grand scheme of things…”


          • The leadership couldn’t write the test schedule because the war will be over by Christmas. Everyone knows every war will be over by Christmas.

          • Except, I suppose, we deeply cynical career professional types. None of us ever said among ourselves or to any others that the “war would be over by Christmas” for either OIF or OEF; we all knew and acknowledged that we’d be at it for years and years, maybe decades.

            I’ve no idea why any of the brass let the politicians blow smoke up the collective public ass about getting in and out in short order. Even as they were saying that crap on CNN, we knew they were wrong, not if the goals of the conflict were as stated.

            That was true in my experience of war, and I’d lay you long odds that every conflict in history has been like that. The politicians in WWI were the ones who were saying that crap out loud, but I believe that the career professionals out in the ranks were making much darker predictions…

    • The wider lesson to be learned would be “Converting calibers is not a trivial thing…”

      Particularly with some design formats. And even operating principles. Gas-operated rotating bolt seems to be pretty tolerant of caliber changing games, which we can witness with Brandon Herrera’s successful creation of a .50 BMG AK rifle.

      The careful balancing and precision of placements and angles on an action like that of the MAS49 is probably a major reason why so many malfunctions were encountered. The design has literal decades of optimization for 7.5 French, and the sudden imposition of a cartridge with different pressure profiles and all that likely creates unforeseen issues that would take a fair amount of time to work through.

      It’s a little unfair of a comparison, but I’d lay you long odds that you could take an equivalent 7.62 NATO rotating-bolt gas action and adapt it to 7.5 French fairly simply. It’s just one of those things… Tilting-bolt actions are perhaps a bit less sensitive to changes than pure recoil designs like the G3, but the raw fact is, they’re still prone to issues that you don’t get when converting a rotary-bolt weapon. The rotary-bolt designs simply don’t give much of a rat’s ass about when and where the pressure curves are met; they’re just like the flippin’ GE minigun, in that they just keep on keeping on, so long as the gas gets where it needs to in order to actuate the system.

      Or, so I surmise. I could be quite wrong, in that regard.

      • “(…)MAS49(…)malfunctions(…)encountered.(…)”
        Observe that MAS 49 is direct gas-impingement system, as such this exposes certain parts to gases (thus direct), I would suspect different powder in 7,62×51 NATO (newer cartridge) might give more heat and thus more temperature is applied to said parts than its’ designer assumed.

        Observe that SAFN-49 which is gas-operated/tilt proved to be adaptable to many cartridges. Observe that SAFN-49 does have piston. It also highly likely than it was designed as able to be adjusted to many cartridge types from beginning considering Fabrique Nationale’s prior export sales of military rifles.

        • An acquaintance of mine claimed to have spent significant cash and a lot of time trying to modify the gas system of the MAS 49/56 to work with the converted 7.62 NATO. Started with the sleeved barrel version, eventually went to a true 7.62 NATO-chambered match barrel. No matter how much he screwed around with the size of the gas orifice and gas tube, he could never quite get the conversion to work as well as the original in 7.5 French. About the only thing he didn’t do was start screwing around with the bolt shoulder and other elements of the locking system in the rifle, and it was his conclusion that that was what you’d have to be doing in order to get everything working properly. Something about the interaction of the bolt lock-up system with 7.62 NATO just was not happy. Since that would have taken extensive and very expensive work with machine tools and re-hardening of surfaces, he abandoned the project.

          That was one of those deals where he got into it thinking “Oh, I’ll just make myself a cheap plinker with this MAS 49/56…” and it wound up consuming exponentially more time and money than it was really worth. Rueful comment made to me one day was “If only I’d just bought a damn AR-10…”

          • For even more fun, try to get an AA52 aka ANF1 GPMG converted from 7.5 x 54 to 7.62 x 51 to work. The dumb thing barely worked in 7.5. I can only imagine how much cursing and swearing in French it provoked when the French Army officially went to 7.62 NATO.

            In 2010, they threw in the towel and adopted the MAG58. Like us, they ended up with a design dating to the bobby-sox era.

            clear ether


          • “(…)ended up with a design dating to the bobby-sox era.(…)”
            Keep calm, 58 in MAG 58 stands for 1958, no? 52 in AA52 stands for 1952, no? They replace *older* design with *newer* one. Everything is ok.

            “(…)make myself a cheap(…)”
            If you want to uplift, inform that 2nd Polish Republic ended with more than 1000 examples of Ciężki karabin maszynowy wz. 25 Hotchkiss
            which was made as minimal-effort conversion to 7,9 mm (which Poles elected to be their default cartridge) of Hotchkiss 1914, without changing rifling (yes, they do not bother to change that despite using smaller bullet) and any thinking about different energy (resulting in bigger Rate-Of-Fire and parts wear).
            Finally Poles elected to made unlicensed but not illegal (no patents were secured in Poland) copy of Browning 1917.

          • @ Daweo;

            My point is that there don’t seem to be any designs younger than I am (I’m a “’58 model”, too!) that are any improvement. Even things like HK416 and SCAR-L or SCAR-H are basically revisions of designs of six or seven decades ago. Firing cartridges of equal “maturity”.

            So where are the new designs? Where are the new concepts? The best they can come up with is a cosmetically pimped M16A2 chambered for yet another 7 x 57 Mauser clone. (At 10X previous MSRP.)

            Caseless is still “twenty minutes into the future”. Flechette, as in the Steyr ACR prototype, never seems to work out as advertised. Plastic Cased Telescoped Ammunition (PCTA) using liquid propellant looks promising, but the ordnance departments yawn when it’s mentioned.

            If I didn’t know better, I’d say no army today takes the infantry seriously, in their general infatuation with (1) huge expensive programs like Lockheed’s F-35 Lightning 2 and (2) the promotions that go with same.

            So what happens when some unenlightened boor decides to fight an old-fashioned “I want your country and everything that’s in it” war?

            Because like it or not, that’s what the entire Second and Third World still thinks “War” is supposed to be.

            We keep preparing for the war we want to fight. History keeps giving us the war somebody else wants to fight.

            Big difference.

            clear ether


          • “(…)where are the new designs?”
            There exist FN EVOLYS where The feed mechanism is designed to be loaded by simply placing the belt on the tray, and then closing the feed cover. When the feed cover is closed, its paws automatically position the first round in the belt for the feed to the chamber. Additional levers are built into the feed unit to automatically eject the last two links of the fully expended belt, thus further speeding up combat reloads.
            It also noticeable lighter than machine guns offered by FN so far.

  5. @Daweo:

    The SIG MG338 is both mechanically and conceptually different from currently-used guns. It’s a gas-operated gun with a recoiling barrel/action to absorb recoil (though the BESA did that too) at a weight of only 20 pounds. And it uses .338 Norma to finally push into the tactical divide between battle-rifle caliber machine guns and the .50 caliber heavy machine guns. The combination creates the potential for mobile infantry with light anti-material capabilities.

    I haven’t ascertained if the MG338 fires the round while the barrel is still returning to battery, which is the sort of advanced primer ignition used by Furrer long ago.

    It is also screamingly expensive, so it must be innovative.

    • It’s a lovely and very interesting design, but it completely misses the real issue, which is that the problem of engaging anything with a bipod-mounted MG system past about 800m is due to the issues inherent to the bipod and the limitations of the human whose shoulder backs it up…

      There are exceptions; I’ve observed a couple of machinegunners who could, indeed, hold their weapons so as to get sufficiently tight beaten zones out to 1200m. They’re extremely rare, but they do exist; it’s a natural talent, one that I don’t think is trainable. It’s about like that “natural shot” asshole we all know, who can instinctively hit targets the rest of us can’t even see. I knew a friend of my stepdads, a genuine-article Montenegrin “man of the mountains” that had left Yugoslavia for “reasons”. That sumbitch? I kid you not, that guy used to hunt quail with a 7X57 Chilean Mauser; he’d blow their heads cleanly off at 50-150m, every damn time. He should have been a goddamn Olympic shooter, but he lacked the interest, because it was “too easy”. God help the person trying to learn his ways, either, because he could not, for the life of him, explain how he did what he did or teach the skills to anyone.

      The real issues with what the morons at Department of the Army have chosen to describe as “overmatch” have rather more to do with their essential failure to grasp how machineguns work, and how they function in modern combat. You have to have the damn things on platforms that can repeatedly and consistently deliver effective beaten zones out to range, which means either tripods with traverse and elevation mechanisms, or some sort of machine mount like the M240 as coax in the M1 or Bradley. The human shoulder and a bipod are totally insufficient to do this, no matter what f*cking caliber you build your machineguns around.

      In general terms. There are, as I said, a few Carlos Hathcock’s of the machinegun out there, but they’re vanishingly rare, and generally don’t last very long on the guns before either being expended as casualties or promoted into other positions with other weapons.

      I never qualified as anything other than Expert, with a machinegun. Unfortunately, my time on the guns was limited as hell, because as soon as I made Corporal, that was it. And, having been “that guy” trying to pass those skills on, I’m here to tell you that the knack is only somewhat trainable; particularly with US Army training conditions and techniques. You really want to “get good” with a machinegun, you need a bunch more ammo than the average unit spends on its gunners. I had that ammo, and honed my skills, because I was canny enough as a young private to work my way into the Arms Room, and maintain involvement there. I probably got ten times the ammo to train with, learning the M60, as the average gunner. Why? Because, I had to be at every range (armorer, right…?) and whenever there was extra ammo or a gun that needed to be evaluated for repair, I was the guy who fired it.

      Which is why I loathe the M60, and have a much better idea of what is possible with a machinegun than the average soldier; I know the damn things intimately, far better than most.

      And, what I’m telling you? They’re going after the wrong end of the machinegun equation with that .338 monstrosity. You don’t need that ‘effing thing in the usual conditions we’re fighting in, and it’s not going to help with regards to this “overmatch” fantasy; the overmatch idea exists because the assholes behind it don’t understand how machineguns work in combat, nor do they grasp what to do in order to fix the problem.

      What they need are better and more stable firing platforms than the bipod and shoulder. 800m is about the best you’re going to get, out of those, and still be effective with anything. Past that point, with the average gunner? You need either a tripod or some sort of machine-based support system like you find in a turret.

      I completely “get” that culturally, the US Army is dead set against tripods. That f*cking M122 or a derivative is likely to be under the first plasma cannon we issue the Infantry; can’t change that. However, we could sure as hell build something like a friggin’ Boston Dynamics “Spot” with integrated functions akin to what we would have with a real tripod system and crews trained to use them…

      .338 ain’t the answer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.