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.276 Pedersen... a better alternative?

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by ScreamingEagleMG42, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. ScreamingEagleMG42

    ScreamingEagleMG42 Member

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    During the development for a new rifle post WWI Research was conducted on ballistics, determining that for ranges less than 500 yards (where most engagements would take place) the .30 caliber round was overpowered. (This same research would be conducted in the development of the modern 5.56 round years later) During testing John Garand's early design would be developed with the .276 pedersen cartridge in favor of the .30-06. The .276 Garand would prove to be the clear winner among trials with other semi automatic rifles.

    Obviously the .276 garand would never see combat as Macarthur demanded the rifle be developed for the .30 caliber round, using the vast surplus of .30 already produced.

    My question is do you think the Garand could have fared even better than it did as a rifle chambered in .276? In my opinion this technology was decades ahead of its time as the U.S. would not opt for a more intermediate cartridge until the development of the M16 and its' .223 (5.56mm) round.

    Keep in mind the .276 Garand used the same enbloc clip as a loading process, and having a smaller cartridge meant that the rifle could be loaded with 10 rounds instead of only 8. Recoil would have been less and smaller ammunition means being able to carry more.

    However the Garand being chambered in .30-06 meant that the U.S. had a universal round for many weapons (Browning 1919, BAR, Garand, Springfield 03), and you cannot argue the killing power of a .30 caliber round. Am i glad the Garand I own today is chambered in .30... Absolutely, its incredible to shoot.

    I am curious if you think the .276 Garand would have been a more advanced combat rifle?



    The .276 Pedersen
    -.276 today
     
  2. DAVEB47

    DAVEB47 Member

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    If the government had the money to switch over completely to the .276 I think it may have been a good move, but during the hight of the depression that would have been impossible. They stll had a bunch of 1903's, BAR's, 30 cal machineguns in the 30-06 round so you would lose that universal cartidge. Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and really most others fought WW2 with the same cartridge they did WW1. The reduced recoil and 2 extra rounds would have been interesting, but you have to just love the old 30-06 for knockdown. Going as they did was probably the prudent way to go. I love my Garand, but a little less recoil wouldn't be a bad thing.
     
  3. ScreamingEagleMG42

    ScreamingEagleMG42 Member

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    The universal cartridge was no doubt hugely important.

    I just find it so interesting that the .276 so tried to solve in the '30's the cartridge problems that still exist today. (.308 is too big, .223 is too small) The debate continues! I am fascinated that the recent development of the Remington 6.8mm(.277) cartridge is so eerily similar in idea to the .276.

    Is a 6.8mm Remington SPC in your future? | Guns Magazine | Find Articles at BNET
     
  4. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    We (Royal Norwegian Army) did calibre tests in 1911 and came up with the 6,5mm as the best round. We stuck with it until the .308 NATO round came along. We still use the NATO round and the "new" 5.56mm. The new HK 416 comes in that claibre, but curiously we did another bout of calibre testing in 2004 and found (surprise surprise) that the ideal calibre would be 6.5mm.
     
  5. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    My '03 Springfield with steal but plate and bolt action lets you know you fired something also.

    I find it interesting that certain units revived the M-14 in the desert wars because the 5.56 was inadequate at some of the open battlefield ranges.
     
  6. ScreamingEagleMG42

    ScreamingEagleMG42 Member

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    I think having a designated marksman with a 7.62 M14 in a unit would certainly give me peace of mind.
     
  7. Hanz Gooblemienhoffen

    Hanz Gooblemienhoffen Member

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    This is a great and never ending debate...not unlike the 9mm versus .45 in handguns.

    I think under the conditions that were mentioned in the test 500m and less..than the .276 would have been better...but...and this is a big butt!...combat rarely allows the ideal conditions to occur. There might be times when you need to shoot further...or a more likely one is that you might want to penetrate some cover you foe is behind, or you'd like to drop someone a mite bit faster.

    You can certainly argue that getting hit in the head by either would kill you but what if youre hit in the arm or the leg...which one is really going to put your foe on the ground.

    The whole concept that the .30 was overpowered is funny to hear. Since when can you kill someone too much?...its the same reasons in the military we build a few extra redundancies into things...for the "oops that's not in the manual times.."

    I really cant say much about the .276 as im not super familiar with it or any of its individual ballistics...but Ill say what I did about both the .45 v 9mm and the 7.62 v. .223 Id rather have a more powerful round any time...After all were trying to kill here and not with the most efficiency but the most lethality.
     
  8. ScreamingEagleMG42

    ScreamingEagleMG42 Member

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  9. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    But it is overpowered... 30-06 is a hard hitter for sure, but the bullet is heavy which limited the amount of ammunition an infantryman can hump. A lighter bullet, like the modern Russian 7.62 or NATO 5.56, allowed a soldier to carry more than twice the amount of ammo.

    The amount of ammunition a rifleman can shoot off in an engagement is of importance because fire superiority is what wins infantry battles. Historically, HE accounts for three quarter of all combat casualties, and most of the remaining 25% to small arms were inflicted by machine guns and snipers. If you are relying on individual weapons for killing power, you are already in deep do-do.

    The German sturm platoons armed primarily with 9mm machine pistols were highly effective inspite of the lack of stopping power of their weaponry. This is proof that stopping power is not the sole, if even among the most important, criteria in defining a successful infantry weapon.

    That said, this long distribute of blasphemy would not go unnoticed by formerjughead, and I expect him to demonstrate some fine fire superiority on me with his beloved M-14 at the immediate future. :D
     
  10. Hanz Gooblemienhoffen

    Hanz Gooblemienhoffen Member

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    Interesting point Triple C,

    i think this is one of those questions that is really a matter of what you value the most...ammo, light wieght etc...versus lethality.

    For me lethality is more important than ammo load.

    As you mentioned, most fatalities and injuries are caused by the God of War (arty) and then MG/Sniper...in both of the small arms cases I think the MG and Sniper are better off with the 30-06.

    A sniper clearly may engage targets past 500m and at those ranges the effective stopping power of 30-06 is superior at those ranges.

    In the case of the MG, other than SAW types, the issue of the wieght is less crucial as the HMG are a more stationary type weapon where there is more than one man on the gun and ammo loadout is not as much an issue...still important butnot the be all and end all. I site the case of the .50 Browing..a weapon of such immense power and reliability that its still used today..primarily becuase of its power and versitility.

    As well I still think that the ability to penetrate cover is of great importance..almost as much as other factors.

    The M-14 is as you say another example of where this debate can go.

    To me the question comes down to philiosophy more than pure "which is better bullet?"....its more what do you value more.

    I agree that in a smg 9mm is a great round...but were really talking about rifles here....i mean most SMG's wont be fired from 500m so its a rather mute point.

    A person looking to push this forum off topic might say...what do you prefer MP40 or .45 Tommy?...but lets not go there and I imagine there already is a thread about it...
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The question then is how to measure leathality. Do you want to look at the effect of an individual bullet or something like "stowed kills"?
     
  12. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    There is a thread about SMGs indeed.

    Modern snipers and MGers still keep their 30-06 (OK, 7.62 NATO but it's relatively close ballistic equivalent). The problem is that the lethality of a weapon is only meaningful in the tactical system it is deployed and in actual field conditions.

    A rifle with superior killing power means little if your squad is effectively silenced by superior volumes of fire. I brought up German sturm platoons and their SMGs because it illustrates a point, that in a real fire fight no one wants to get hit no matter how small the incoming bullet is. The side that consistently pour more fire on target wins by taking initiative and controlling the battle.

    This issue becomes more clear to me after I read a report the other night about a fight in Wanat Valley, Afghanistan. The American soldiers got jumped in their fire base and all of their crew served weapons were knocked out or suppressed in the initiating moments of the battle. They were outnumbered six to one and the Taliban fighters had numerous RPGs, PKMs and a DShK.

    In the end, the soldiers were only able to prevent the enemy from overrunning their position by firing their M-4 carbines and SAWs at cyclic rate until the barrels were white hot and the bolts fused to the chamber. Troopers burned through 12 sticks of ammunition in less than half an hour of combat. Firepower parity was what saved them. Would they have survived if they were shooting the heavier 7.62?

    It's not about the lethality of individual bullets, it's about the power of suppressive fire to turn an engagement in your favor. Like I said, rifle bullets don't kill that much. You hose down the other side because you want to nail him down to the spot and kill him with artillery or aircraft delivered munitions.
     
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  13. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Re:

    Penetration versus cover is nice, but remember how much action was fought in-doors. A stray bullet can penetrate the wall and kill your buddy in the other room or kill a civie (admittedly not a big problem in WWII). For the absolute majority of man, a rifle caliber bullet to the body is incapacitating and even if that did not bring a man down immediately he is likely to be hors de combat for the duration.
     
  14. Hanz Gooblemienhoffen

    Hanz Gooblemienhoffen Member

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    Triple C,

    You're point is well taken in a modern context...but it is really true for WW2?..im not so sure.

    We could talk about Vietnam and Marines not being too pleased how M-16 wasnt dropping people that M-14's were shredding.

    I mean are we really talking about a vast differance in volume of firepower between a 10 round .276 and the .30 at 8 rounds?

    Is there a tremendous differance in the cyclical rate between those two models of Garands? I doubt it...but I really dont know either.

    An even in your example ..its not like Taliban were firing single shot Lee Enfields? They too were firing high rounds/minute rifles and Mg's. Volume of fire most definately keeps heads down...but when two enemies are firing equally high volumes of fire..whats the real differance?

    Training, overwelhming firesupport (arty/Air) and individual initiatiive probally is the real differance...not wether youre firing 5.56 or 7.62.

    When the "bullet hits the bone"..the lethality of the round becomes of paramount importance.

    Is say the Lee Enfield superior to the K98 simply because it can put out more rounds per minute? I dont really think so...but Im willing to be proved wrong...(again...;)).
     
  15. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    In the Afghanistan scenario I talked about, airpower and artillery played no role in the first sixty minutes of the engagement during which the Americans stopped the Taliban cold. By the time the cavalry arrived in the form of four gun trucks and Apache helicopters the fight was mostly gone from the Taliban.

    As for the alternative caliber Garand, lower recoil and bullet weight means soldiers would have more ammunition and therefore more a corresponding willingness to expend them. The 30-06 recoil was quite substantial, and as some soldiers recall it, was quite bruising after a good day of shooting. Anything that could increase the weight of fire against the Germans, no matter how minute, would have been well appreciated by the men, considering how much the German regular infantry squad had.

    The Pederson was very close to the ideal assault rifle caliber, 6.5mm, which would have a satisfying mixture of lethality and high velocity. In my humble opinion, 30-06 was the right choice only because of the fiscal constraints put upon the army by the hard times of the 30s.
     
  16. ScreamingEagleMG42

    ScreamingEagleMG42 Member

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    I agree. I don't think you will hear of ANY vets complaining of their .30 ammo.

    However let me speak hypothetically for a moment... Say the Garand was chambered .276, and add a 20 round box mag?... I'd carry that sucker into battle tommorow.
     
  17. Hanz Gooblemienhoffen

    Hanz Gooblemienhoffen Member

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    Sorry Triple,

    I wasnt inferring that in that scenario Air or Arty was used...I was speaking in "general terms" about what wins battles when all else is equal.

    But more to the point of that scenario: wasnt the Taliban applying the same "volume of fire" that the US was?

    If so ...what is the difference? I think its the training/discipline and individual initiative of indvid. soldiers.

    How about the Lee vs. K98? Is the volume of fire from Lee so superior as to make it better than K98? i don't think so.

    But i absolutely agree that from a logistic approach the 30-06 was the right choice in the same way I would suggest mass produced Panthers and P4's are superior to Tigers.
     
  18. ScreamingEagleMG42

    ScreamingEagleMG42 Member

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    I see what you are saying about the Lee vs. K98. Among two bolt action rifles can one really have an advantage in terms of volume of fire?

    Perhaps not a great advantage, but to me it is a simple matter of ten rounds vs. five rounds. Having a ten round box magazine vs a five round stripper clip means that the Lee shooter won't have to break his aim after shooting his first five rounds, he can sustain fire for a longer period of time.
     
  19. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Actually, there is a major difference between the Lee and others, and not just the larger mag. capacity. There is another little difference between the Lee-Enfield and the other bolt action rifles of the time (Mauser, Springfield, Arisaka, Mosin-Nagant, etc.), and I believe in most bolt action rifles in service yet today.

    The bolt action rear locking lug type, an invention of the American; James Paris Lee (along with magazine), is I believe rather unique in main battle bolt action rifles of the time, in that the rotating bolt has two lugs that lock into the receiver walls at the rear part of the bolt, thus saving some part of the bolt length and bolt pull, when comparing to the forward lugs doing the locking as in a Mauser, Springfield, Arisaka, etc..

    In the Lee-Enfield the bolt's distance of travel was identical with the length of the cartridge, not slightly longer as in the Mauser-style actions to make up for the forward locking lugs, and its (Lee) rotation was only 60 degrees compared to the conventional 90 degree rotation of Mauser-style actions.

    This design creates a much shorter, quicker bolt pull, and the SMLE was a striker fired gun, with its two-stage trigger cocking on the bolt closing action, thus the bolt handle ends up slightly behind the trigger itself. The Mauser and other Mauser-like rifles set their trigger cocking mechanism differently, and the bolt handle ends up slightly ahead of the trigger, requiring the shooter (in most cases) to shift his eye line and holding of the rifle in order to "jack in" another round. Not so with the Lee Enfield, it can be shot at a much higher rate of speed, in fact the British had a training for it's use called "the Mad Minute", which put so much lead downfield the Germans sometimes believed they were under fire from semi-automatic weapons.

    So with a shorter bolt pull/rotation for reloading the chamber, position of the bolt in relation to the trigger, and its ten round box mag., the SMLE could be fired quite rapidly and accurately for a bolt-action rifle of the period.
     
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  20. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    Yes the US would have been better to switch to the intermediate round. They didn't until well after the war, for the reasons you state. The opinion of the foot soldier never seems to have any weight when an army chooses its battle round, anyway, if they had they would have switch to a 6.5 as you state.

    7.62 nato is a great caliber for machine guns but a poor one in shoulder fired rifles due to the virtual impossibility of accurate full auto fire, and the heavy weight of the rounds vs. 5.56. 5.56 is way too small for a battle rifle cartridge and why it was adopted by the USA is a mystery, that i suspect pertains purley to "politics" and not what the soldier really wants or needs. However, if nothing else, 5.56 is very good for gaining fire superiority in a fire fight since it is so light you can carry a shet-load of it compared to 7.62, and if your enemy runs out of ammo before you do, you usually win.

    Goldilocks apparently running US ordnance all these years, we have 7.62 which is too big for a rifle, and 5.56 which is too small. Something 5.8, 6.5, or 6.8 mm would seem to make more sense and one billion people agree with that assesment, they are the Chinese! They just adopted a new bullpup rifle chambered in a 5.8 mm round. One suspects they will keep their heavier AK-47 7mm round for a lot longer, for the same purpose the US does, for machine guns, but they're not telling, for now.

    It is unlikely the US will switch calibers again anytime soon until some radically new technology becomes workable, such as caseless ammo (which HK has been working on for decades but not gotten right yet). The US even turned down a replacement riflefor the M-16 in the same caliber, the XM-8, which was smaller, lighter, more reliable, and even cheaper to procure then the almost 50 year old M-16.

    I think the whole point may be that attemping to inject logic into an argument about what caliber will actually be chosen as a country's service round (versus what caliber ought to be) is usually pretty futile!

    TripleC makes a very good point, being armed with 5.56 weapons may have saved the survivors since in a situation like this, weight of supplies is everything, being able to haul almost TWICE as many bullets into the remote outpost for the same weight might have been crucial in this dogfight.
    To stray off the subject a bit, the m-4/m-16 ought to have been replaced along time ago. Many people may have seen the demonstration on military channel where an ex-special forces guy shoots a special M-16 with redesigned upper reciever, (different from the standard issue one, and that uses a gas piston). He blasts through a 30 round mag, then immediately breaks open the receiver and pulls the bolt out with his bare hand (to prove how cool it is even after firing). He then takes a regular m-4 (exactly like the one used by our troops), and agai nfires 30 rounds full auto; then he presses an unlit wooden match against the gas tube (the part under the handguards that carries the gas to the bolt), the match instantly bursts into flame (to show how hot the gun is).
    I knew a Vietnam vet who was in a perimeter defense firefight in Vietnam, he said he fired so much, so fast, he watched the barrel end of his m-16 glow red hot and droop like a piece of licorice!
     

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