Gun Smoke

…as in, blowing smoke up our ass.  Here’s a breathless little piece which, after careful reading, sounds like the kind of scam you would expect from a Nigerian con man:

Has the next generation rifle already arrived?

My immediate take is: no.  Not even close.  Not when you see puffery like this:

The Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) efforts have resulted in multiple, unique 6.8 mm cartridge designs. Each of the companies involved has tried to develop a solution to the Army’s reported desire to penetrate modern, peer-level body armor far beyond close-combat ranges. The selections of SIG Sauer’s 6.8×51 mm hybrid-case ammunition, XM5 carbine and XM250 light machine gun as solutions have been met with both fanfare and skepticism. While the velocities that are reported for the 6.8×51 mm, and its .277 SIG Fury commercial counterpart, seem to generate the most excitement, this cartridge’s projectile energy is likely to be the main driver of the DOD’s interest. 

According to SIG’s published numbers, its hybrid steel-and-brass cartridge case allows chamber pressures to reach a whopping 80,000 psi. Subsequently, its 150-grain projectile is reported to leave a 16-inch barrel at 2,830 fps with 2,667 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy. Running those numbers through a ballistic program shows that SIG’s loads should fly flatter and hit much harder than anything used in current battle rifle and light machine gun designs, including 7.62 NATO/.308 Win. loads, out past 1,000 meters.

Long experience in examining the .dotmil’s record in tinkering around with this issue makes me think they’re still in the “oh what if” and “wouldn’t it be nice if” stages — wishful thinking, in other words — and even so there’s this little warning sign:

Pushing a bullet faster so that it will fly flatter and hit harder is one thing. Doing it without rapidly burning out barrels or prematurely wearing out other parts has proven difficult with several past attempts to achieve game-changing muzzle velocities.

Yeah, that bastard Newton enters the fray again.  But all is well:

One bit of reassurance on barrel wear concerns comes from a reliable source within SIG, who told me the special material technology used in their 6.8 barrels can hold up to this high pressure cartridge.

Oh, well then we don’t have anything to worry about, do we?  Manufacturers never lie about this kind of thing, especially when there’s a multi-billion dollar military contract dangling in the wind.

No doubt, their “special material techology” will be super-inexpensive too, cheaper than the current steel even.

Just think:  if the US Army had adopted the superb .280 British (actually 7.2x43mm, or .284 in Murkin) cartridge back in the late 1940s, we’d still be fielding it — but no, we had to go to the 7.62×51 which was oops too powerful and then over-correcting with the .223 which was oops too underpowered.  Ever since then, the Army has been fucking around trying to find ammo’s Holy Grail — and I have to say that based on what I can see, the 6.8x51mm isn’t going to The One.  (FFS:  .277 SIG “Fury”?  Better ammo through marketing?)

It’s like watching a kid with learning issues trying to fit the multi-shaped sticks into the proper slots:

So, to answer the headline’s question, the answer is…


Our Leaders

Two different takes on the people who purport to be our nation’s leaders, first a global view from VDH:

As the nation sinks inexplicably into self-created crisis after crisis, debate rages whether Joe Biden is incompetent, mean-spirited, or an ideologue who feels the country’s mess is his success.

A second national discussion revolves around who actually is overseeing the current national catastrophe, given Joe Biden’s frequent bewilderment and cognitive challenges.

But one area of agreement is the sheer craziness of Biden’s cabinet appointments, who have translated his incoherent ideology into catastrophic governance.

The common denominator to these Biden appointees is ideological rigidity, nonchalance, and sheer incompetence.

They seem indifferent to the current border, inflation, energy, and crime disasters. When confronted, they are unable to answer simple questions from Congress, or they mock anyone asking for answers on behalf of the strapped American people.

We don’t know why or how such an unimpressive cadre ended up running the government, only that they are here and the American people are suffering from their presence.

And then a local perspective from Kurt:

The clusterfark in Uvalde is just a symptom of a much bigger pathology. It is a symbol of the failure of every institution in our society. And the solution is never to revamp the institutions and eject the parasites heading them. It’s always – always – to take power from us and give it to the people who screwed up in the first place.

November 2022 can’t come quickly enough (and we need November 2024 to come even more quickly) so we can get rid of these lying, incompetent and corrupt assholes at federal, state and local level.

There are quicker ways, mind you, but I’m not going to go there.

In The Air Again

With only a few exceptions, anyone who knows anything about history and aviation has respect (at worst) and love for the extraordinary De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber-reconnaissance airplane.

As a number of my Readers fall into the history/aviation dork genus, here’s an hour or so of the restoration of a Mozzie.  I loved every minute of it.

Even better, in Canada (????).  Brilliant stuff.

Blades Of Grass, Trees Of Pine

Via Insty comes this report:

In Finland, adolescent males report for a short and intense period of military training, followed by shorter refreshers for most of their adult life. The training is not, as in the Israeli model, a few years of dedicated service. Nor does it emphasize military discipline, such as keeping one’s bunk tidy and shoes polished, or the Prussian-style transformation of citizen-recruit into fighting machine. Instead, it prepares civilians to be ready to join their unit and harass and kill invaders. A country of Finland’s size can rapidly field nearly 1 million trained soldiers.

And they’re doing this right now.  One of my Loyal Readers has a spy at Sako, who tells him that we’re not going to be getting new Sako rifles in the U.S. anytime soon, because their entire production is being directed towards “local consumption”.  As I posted earlier:

Insty’s final comment on the report is absolutely on the nail, by the way:

“America should do this too.”

I’ve been trying… A Nation Of Riflemen, remember?

Two Takes, Same Conclusion

First take:

You won’t hear this on CNN, but Putin’s Army of Darkness, in the most complex and ambitious ground maneuver operation since World War 2, following the Soviet “deep war” playbook, is also working on cutting off the Ukrainian army group in the Donbass from Kiev. This is by far the most capable (or only capable) large portion of the Ukrainian army. Yesterday, its main reserves of diesel fuel were destroyed from the air. It will soon be cut off and immobile.

Once that happens, the entire Donbass front collapses (they will no longer have a “front”), and BILLIONS of dollars in U.S.-funded or U.S.-supplied weaponry will be captured almost without a battle. (To be clear, it’s almost all U.S. funded or supplied—even most of the Soviet vintage stuff was bought and shipped in from Poland, Czechia, etc. by the CIA, “off the books” but well documented in videos of tank trains crossing the border into Ukraine, in 2015-2016.)

The Russians have finally entered Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, very close to the Russian border. Previously, they had bypassed it the same way that America bypassed every town in southern Iraq to reach Baghdad in 2003. On Saturday night, they finally wasted all significant, organized resistance with a rain of thermobaric death in the outskirts. Today, they started to go in and mop up. Of course, it’s not a job for one day.

Second take:

It remains to be seen if Putin’s plan will succeed or fail, but what is clear is that there was a plan to invade Ukraine in force, and that plan has been executed since day one.

Ukrainian troops are putting up a valiant fight facing long odds and difficult conditions. Russia holds most if not all of the advantages.  It can, and has, attacked Ukraine from three different directions. The Russian military holds a decided advantage in manpower, as well as air, naval and armor superiority.  It has vast resources to draw on. While Ukraine has the support of much of the international community, which is providing weapons, Ukraine is fighting alone.

Believing Russia’s assault is going poorly may make us feel better but is at odds with the facts.

Sobering stuff.  And given the fog of war at the moment, both are plausible and well-reasoned arguments.