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In depth info and history of your favorite rifle catridge

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    In depth info and history of your favorite rifle catridge

    Click on the round and voila, big smile.

    Below is an example of one of my own favorites: .308 Winchester. Just the first couple of paragraphs. It goes on and on................. History

    Toward the end of his second term as President of the United States, George Washington announced his intention to retire in his farewell address, given in 1796. Passing on the wisdom of his years to the young country, Washington, as part of his address, advised the American people to maintain trade but not become entangled in European rivalry, seeking neutrality at all times. This became a core value of the American people and policy makers. It was this policy that in 1914 influenced America’s decision not to enter Europe’s War. Nevertheless, in February 1917, British Intelligence intercepted a telegram from Germany’s foreign Minister to his Ambassador in Mexico suggesting an allied attack on America. America officially declared war on April the 6th 1917, committing American forces to battle until the war’s end in 1918.

    Due to industrialization, the First World War was dramatically different to all those before it. The main cause of casualties came from the widespread use of artillery. The second greatest cause of casualties came from the use of machine guns, based on Hiram Maxim’s design. This new style of warfare forced millions of troops to dig trenches running parallel to their enemies. These trenches stretched some 473 miles across Europe.

    After witnessing this new warfare, the American military was resolved to make improvements to infantry ordnance, beginning research during the 1920’s. Of particular interest was the effectiveness of the machine gun compared to the bolt action .30-06 Springfield rifle. The downfall of the machine gun was that it had to be fired from a static position however if it could be scaled down into a rifle sized weapon it would give a squad of twelve men the power of a 40 man platoon.

    Employed by the US ordnance department, firearms designers John D Pederson and John C Garand began work on prototype rifles capable of semi-automatic fire, a compromise between rapid fire power and economy of ammunition. While John Garand was having success with designing a rifle, Pederson had become convinced that the .30-06 cartridge generated too much recoil to allow reasonably accurate aim of the rifle during repeated fire. To this end he designed his own cartridge, the .276 Pederson (7x51) featuring a very tapered, smooth feeding case capable of firing a 140 to 150gr 7mm bullet at around 2400fps.

    In 1932 the Garand rifle in .276 Pederson was presented to the US Ordnance Department for review resulting in it’s unanimous acceptance. However when presented to General Douglas MacArthur for final approval, MacArthur rejected the design finding favor with the rifle but not the cartridge. MacArthur stated that the new rifle should fire the .30-06 cartridge to utilize the tonnes of ammunition in stock from the previous war. Garand subsequently remodeled his rifle for the .30-06 cartridge and had the design approved and accepted in 1936, three years before the next World War in 1939.

    Following the principles applied during the First World War, America initially refrained from involvement in this second European war. However far from complacent, a request from the chief of infantry for a light weight intermediate rifle for such soldiers as NCO’s, radiomen, engineers and paratroopers was put forwards to the Ordnance department gaining formal authorization in 1940.

    During 1941 several US firearms companies submitted designs for an extremely compact, lightweight rifle and suitable cartridge. The .30-06 cartridge would generate too much recoil and require to long an action for this purpose however a suitable cartridge would have to have a greater effective range than the M1911 A1 service pistol and Thompson sub machine gun. The Thompson and 1911 were both chambered in .45 ACP, firing a 230 grain bullet at 850fps with an effective range of around 50 yards.

    On October the 22nd 1941, the US Ordnance department approved and adopted the Winchester designed M1 Carbine, caliber .30 Carbine. At just 2.36kg (5.2lb) the M1 fired a 110 grain round nose bullet at1860fps. This became a very popular rifle with troops throughout the second world war, Korea and the early stages of the Vietnam war. Ideal for use at close ranges (inside 150 yards), the M1 did not fully bridge the gap between the infantry rifle and sub machine gun.

    On the 7th of December 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, committing US forces to war in the coming new year. During this Second World War, allies witnessed the brutal effectiveness of the German soldier armed with the MP43 (1943), MP44 and Stg 44 fully automatic assault rifles. These weapons were chambered for a low recoiling scaled down version of the 8x57 cartridge, the 7.92x33 Kurz which had the firepower of the sub machine gun but a far greater effective range.

    In 1944, one year before the war’s end, the US Ordnance Department under the direction of Colonel Rene R Studler, reopened infantry rifle cartridge research at Frankford Arsenal. The major goal was to develop a selective fire rifle chambered for a cartridge that would give controllable recoil during fully automatic fire as well as a useful and generous effective range. Experiments were conducted exploring the feasibility of a shorter version of the .30-06. Starting with the .300 Savage cartridge as a base design, several prototype cartridges were developed over the next few years before arrival at the final cartridge design, prototype T-65. The T-65 had less body taper than the .300 Savage, in order to increase powder capacity while the shoulder angle was reduced from 30 to 20 degrees for ease of production. The case rim was thickened for added reliability during extraction and a longer neck gave superior bullet grip as well as increased case capacity. Outwardly, the cartridge appeared to be a shortened version of the .30-06 however in essence, the T-65 was a subtle blend of both the .30-06 and .300 Savage combined with further modifications.

    Along with military ballisticians, the U.S Repeating Arms company (Winchester) was heavily involved in the development of the T-65. Today, with the Winchester brand having changed hands several times since the development of the T-65, it is difficult to identify to what extent Winchester influenced the final design. What is clear is that in 1952, Winchester applied and was granted permission from the Office of the US chief of Ordnance to standardize the T-65 commercially as the .308 Winchester.

    The American military was not alone in efforts to develop a selective fire rifle and cartridge. British ballisticians had been submitting prototype 7mm cartridges to the British Armament design establishment, beginning in 1947. In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed between the countries of the common wealth, several European countries and the U.S.A. As part of this alliance it was agreed that one military cartridge should be standardized for use by all parties. In 1950, Britain submitted for testing the .280-30 (7x43), firing a 140gr 7mm bullet at 2595fps. The rifles submitted for testing included the Belgian FN FAL and the radically designed EM2 Bullpup. The U.S submitted the T-65 cartridge in a John Garand designed prototype of the M14 rifle and while the Belgian FN FAL did prove to be effective, the U.S carrying much weight in NATO, insisted the T-65 was the superior cartridge.

    Britain, supported by Canada, next offered the 7mm Compromise (essentially the 7mm-08). FN FAL went a step further and produced rifles for the T-65 cartridge. Final tests were concluded at the Pendine trials of 1953, held at the US Aberdeen proving grounds. After much debate the T-65 was accepted as the NATO cartridge, re-named the 7.62 NATO. Europe and the countries of the common wealth adopted and began production of the FN FAL in 7.62 NATO during 1954. The U.S adopted the selective fire M14, finally tooling up for full production in 1957. The 7.62 was also chambered in the US designed M60 belt fed light machine gun.

    The M14 saw its first tentative tests in warfare in Vietnam during 1961. Capable of fully automatic fire, the M14 carried a 20 round magazine as opposed to the Garand’s 8 round clip which could not be reloaded easily until the clip had ejected after the last shot. The new rifle was effective and its cartridge very powerful.

    Unfortunately, the M14 was viewed as having one major shortcoming - the 7.62 NATO cartridge. While the 7.62 was developed as an assault rifle cartridge, it was designed to give .30-06 performance and produced velocities of 2750fps with a 147gr bullet, only 50fps short of the original .30-06 150gr loading. The rifle was difficult to control during bursts of fully automatic fire and some believed the rifle to be too long and cumbersome for jungle warfare. The M14 was 1118mm (44”) in length weighing 4.5kg (9.9lb) unloaded compared to the Garand at 1103mm (43.4”) long, weighing 4.37kg (9.6lb) unloaded . Oddly, complaints did not appear to come from troops but instead, from higher above.

    While the M14 was earning its keep in the field, the US Army began to conduct tests on Eugene Stoner’s AR15 rifle in 5.56. Eventually, US Defence Secretary Robert McNamara opened a full inquiry as to the effectiveness of the AR-15, demanding that it be tested in actual combat against the M14. After these tests were concluded, on the 23rd January 1963, McNamara announced that when that years M14 contracts were fulfilled, no more were to be built. The US was to adopt the AR15 (M16) rifle.

    With a huge amount of new M14 rifles in service, the M14 remained the standard infantry weapon until the Vietnam war heated up in 1968. Orders were then delivered, stating that the M14 rifles were to be recalled and replaced. U.S troops were satisfied with the M14 and were somewhat shocked when in the space of days and weeks, most units had their rifles taken from them, replaced by the new M16. Unfortunately, due to last minute changes in the design of the M16 and its ammunition, the adoption of the M16 proved to be a disastrous exercise (see .223 Remington). The vast stocks of M14 rifles were immediately shipped back to the U.S and apart from a few units and sniper teams who continued to utilize the M14, most American soldiers had no choice but to continue using the M-16 until its feeding problems were finally overcome.

    The 7.62 NATO cartridge did however survive within the U.S military, utilized in the M60 LMG for heavy suppressive fire and as a sniper cartridge. As a sniper cartridge, the 7.62 proved to be effective and was eventually standardized for all Allied sniper operations. In the U.S, the 7.62 was housed in the Remington bolt action rifle as the primary sniper weapon and utilized in the M14 as the secondary weapon, carried by the spotter within a two man team.

    Although the 7.62 NATO cartridge was adopted by commonwealth forces in 1954, New Zealand could not not yet afford this change. Instead, New Zealand forces continued to utilize the SMLE No.4 and No.5 Jungle Carbine which would once again see use during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960). The 7.62 NATO cartridge was finally employed during 1959, at which time New Zealand soldiers committed to combat were issued the Belgian FN FAL rifle. The New Zealand Army officially adopted the Lithgow L1A1 SLR rifle during the years 1960 to 1965 as sufficient numbers of the Australian rifle became available. This rifle was used during the Malaysian Indonesia Conflict (1963-1966) when New Zealand soldiers entered the conflict in 1964. Following this, the NZ forces used the SLR rifle throughout the Vietnam war with New Zealand involvement beginning in 1965. The Australian Army shared a similar rifle service history, the two countries fighting alongside and supporting each other during these South East Asian communist conflicts. Australia and New Zealand were bound to both Common Wealth and ANZUS (Australia, NZ, U.S) allied agreements.

    The Canadian military are notable for being more enthusiastic regarding the adoption of the 7.62 NATO cartridge, adopting the SLR rifle on mass immediately after its ratification. British forces utilized the SLR rifle from 1954 onwards, the rifle being used in the Malayan Emergency and Malaysia Indonesia conflict which bound Australian and New Zealand forces to Common Wealth obligations. British forces also used the SLR rifle during the Falklands war in 1982 and during ongoing conflicts in Northern Ireland.

    While the infantry service life of the 7.62 NATO cartridge was short lived in the U.S, many commonwealth countries remained with the 7.62 NATO as late as the early 1980’s. Countries such as Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand remained committed to the FN FAL or the obtained rights to its design, adopting the L1A1 SLR (Self Loading Rifle), capable of semi-automatic fire only. Eventually, the heavy FN FAL / SLR type rifle (4.45kg / 9.79lb bare) was replaced with rifles chambered for the 5.56 (.223 Remington) cartridge.


    Presently, the 7.62 continues to see use as a sniper cartridge. This cartridge has a huge following within the military and many incredible feats of marksmanship have been achieved with the 7.62 over the last 5 decades. The 7.62 is still used for heavy suppressive fire in LMG rifle designs but is these days considered less versatile than a squad automatic weapon (SAW) chambered in 5.56.

    Since its adoption as a hunting cartridge, the .308 Winchester has become a best seller worldwide. The .308 has proven to be a powerful, effective game killer and combined with readily available sporting ammunition, cheap surplus military ammunition and rifles of every conceivable design, the .308 Winchester is one of the most popular cartridges of our time.
    Performance

    The .308 is a highly effective medium game cartridge, supported by a huge range of ammunition and projectile designs that enable it to achieve optimum performance at varying ranges and on varying body weights.

    Loaded with conventional soft point bullets, many bullet brands lose the ability to produce hydrostatic shock at impact velocities below 2600fps and in such cases, dead running game can be a common occurrence when using the .308 at ranges beyond 50 yards. In fact with some bullet brands, its as if a magic button has been switched off right at the 2600fps mark. Several bullet brands do however have the ability to produce hydrostatic shock (instant collapse) of game down to velocities as low as 2400fps, depending on target resistance and relevant factors. Regardless, hunters can manipulate speed of killing by matching bullet construction to the job at hand and in this caliber, there are some excellent options, capable of extremely fast killing via wide wounding. The 2600fps parameter and the gradual reduction in shock with conventional SP bullets below this velocity is common throughout the small bores, up to the .338 caliber.

    In the .308 (actually all bores 7mm and above), a simple rule of thumb for best results on deer is to use either a stout 150 grain bullet or a soft/ frangible heavy bullet, as a means to effect wide wounding combined with adequate penetration. This may seem an overly simple rule but it can be used with great success prior to load selection. Of course, tough game call for a different approach.

    The .308 can be loaded with 110 to 130 grain bullets and used with great results on varmints and light bodied game however; heavier bullet weights can in many cases give better results than their lighter counterparts regardless of reductions in muzzle velocity. In this regard, light bullets are often better utilized, down loaded, for training new hunters.

    Loaded with 150 grain bullets, the .308 is immensely effective across a wide range of game species. Hunters have a choice of fast expanding through to stout, deep penetrating projectiles. This bullet weight can be used to produce clean kills on medium game out to ranges of around and exceeding 600 yards.

    The 165 to 168 grain bullet weight in .308 is, generally speaking, somewhat more effective on game weighing above 90kg, than on light bodied game. Performance of this bullet weight can be altered by matching bullet construction to the job at hand. Soft, frangible bullet designs work extremely well on a wide variety of game while the vast range of semi stout projectiles work well on tough animals. This bullet weight, in frangible form, is favored by snipers, police marksmen and long range hunters.

    The 180 grain .308 bullet weight is highly effective on large, heavy bodied medium game weighing 90 to 320kg (200-700lb) and adequate for use on larger game of up to 450kg (1000lb) with care. Frangible bullet designs can also be used to promote fast killing on lean animals, adding a great deal of versatility to the .308.

    The .308 is immensely effective when loaded with 200 grain bullets for use on large bodied game at close to moderate ranges. This cartridge is pushed to its limits on 450kg game (1000lb). On the largest of animals, readers must understand that the .308 caliber cannot produce wound channels as large as that of a wider bore, even though penetration is quite often outstanding. The .308 can be used reliably and with a great deal of satisfaction on game weighing as much as 600kg (1300lb), but produces best results with head and neck shots.

    As a military snipers cartridge .308 Winchester is most definitely inferior to modern cartridge designs, the 7mm Remington Magnum being one example of a cartridge that tactically outclasses the .308Win in every way. The .308 Winchester remains the standard sniper anti personal cartridge of the military due to the heavy support structure that surrounds it. All sniper training including exterior ballistics and optical training is focused on the .308 Winchester cartridge, supported by volumes of research and training literature. The .308 also generates low recoil inertia to its bedding platform and to the shooter, optimizing accuracy. The .308 cartridge is not generally fussy, producing excellent accuracy without need of special attention to load development or idiosyncrasies of the tactical rifle.

    One of the greatest virtues of the .308Win comes as a result of the carefully developed case design. The cartridge can be loaded to quite high velocities and without any great difficulty in obtaining accuracy. Initially the .308 was loaded with Win 748 ball powder which optimized performance in 20” military barrels. Sporting ammunition followed suit but only for a time. Today, factory ammunition features rather slow burning stick powders, limiting the performance of the .308 in 20” barrels. Hand loaders can obtain excellent velocities with or without W748, by careful load development.

    The .308 is often compared to the .30-06 Springfield, specifically, the ability of the .308 to duplicate the larger cartridge’s performance. Using modern powders the .30-06 remains more powerful than the .308, producing 150fps greater velocity.



    #2
    Well, the info on the round may or may not be accurate but I ad difficulty getting past the history of why the USA got into World War I.
    Pretty ridiculous.
    If they write stuff like that it makes everything else they write suspect to me
    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Comment


      #3
      This owner of a M1A and an A-Bolt 7mm Rem Mag liked the article.
      "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction" R.R.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by C6NY View Post
        This owner of a M1A and an A-Bolt 7mm Rem Mag liked the article.
        I like my Belgium browning in .308
        I just get very suspect of a source when they begin with such misleading statements.
        "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Martin Luther King, Jr.

        Comment


        • C6NY
          C6NY commented
          Editing a comment
          I read years ago that the Mexican angle thing did actually happen. To just state that as 'the' reason is of course not telling the whole story. I kinda winced also when reading it but the rest of the info seems pretty much what we know about the firearms in the piece.

        #5
        Originally posted by Aquabach View Post

        I like my Belgium browning in .308
        I just get very suspect of a source when they begin with such misleading statements.
        Why?
        Belgium Brownings do exist in .308

        Comment


        • Aquabach
          Aquabach commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes. I own one. It was my Dad's. Beautiful rifle

        #6
        Originally posted by Aquabach View Post
        Well, the info on the round may or may not be accurate but I ad difficulty getting past the history of why the USA got into World War I.
        Pretty ridiculous.
        If they write stuff like that it makes everything else they write suspect to me
        I want to know absolutely everything that's happened up till now.

        Well, let's see. First the earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat, so they all died and they turned into oil. And then the Arabs came and they bought Mercedes Benzes. And Prince Charles started wearing all of Lady Di's clothes. I couldn't believe it.
        • To be human is to be armed.
        • Ideology is the nemesis of intellect.
        • Social media are the "Assault Weapons" of the First Amendment.

        Comment

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