Cartridge Requirements



  Choosing a "universal infantry cartridge" must start with realistic requirements for lethality, engagement ranges, accuracy, weight, and barrier penetration.



1.  LETHALITY:  There is no assured "one shot one kill" when firing shots into a living creature, but soldiers expect reasonable and realistic lethality of their weapons on targets they hit.  Having to shoot a target several times to kill or neutralize it is unacceptable. 


     a. Manufacturers, administrators and ordnances personnel have always blamed the user for reported failures of their weapons to kill or destroy the enemy.  This is the same bureaucratic system that blamed the failures of the MK14 torpedoes on Navy captains in WWII.  It was finally proven that the MK14 was never properly tested, was a bad design made with faulty or untested parts.  This inability to admit deploying a bad weapon probably cost many sailors their lives in WWII.  User induced failures do occur, but all reported failures should be examined without fear of hurting a manufacturer's reputation, damaging an engineer's ego, or faulting training doctrine. 


     b. Consult the medical profession; they see the damage of gunshot wounds. 


Some notes from the Introduction by Dr. Fackler for the reprint of Louis LaGarde’s Gunshot Injuries


One striking element common to LaGarde's work and that of Theodor Kocher (20) was a close collaboration with their respective Army Ordnance Departments.  The scientific facts regarding wounding that are used by the Medical Corps to assure appropriate treatment of projectile wounds are also used by the Ordnance Engineers to develop weapons adequate to protect our soldiers.  If either group errs and distorts this body of information, it can adversely affect the other.  For this reason, close cooperation is mandatory.  It takes little insight to recognize the enormous potential for error engendered by Ordnance Engineers who make determinations on "incapacitation" of the human body while isolating themselves from medical expertise.  This, however, is what apparently has happened; and it seems to have been largely responsible for the decline in wound ballistics competence.  Government ordnance engineers assumed that expensive high-speed cameras, high-speed x-rays, and computers provided information they could substitute for medical expertise.  Only one very poorly informed about the complexities of the human body, both physiologically and psychologically, could make such a mistake.


     c. Check big game hunting data, this is killing living creatures.  Colonel La Garde shot live animals at the Chicago stock yards to test and demonstrate the differences of the .30 cal, .38 cal, and .45 cal pistols.



     2.  RANGE:  Realistic ranges that the average infantryman can be reasonably expected to detect and engage a target that his weapon can kill, destroy, or damage.  The published effective range of one's weapon systems should not be relied on as propaganda to frighten a future or current adversary.


     a. Long ranges encountered on plains and deserts should not be held as standard, but as non-standard range environments.  Fighting did occur on the steppes of Russia during WWII, but most of the combat took place in cities, forest, bridgeheads, transportation control points, or river junctions.  A large percent of the combat in Iraq was in and around cities, along highways and at bridgeheads.


     b. Urban environment, where most engagement ranges are very short, "in your face", there are times when longer range shots can be taken.  In Afghanistan a lot of fighting is in and around villages or built up areas, with open terrain and mountains close at hand. 



3.  ACCURACY:  Realistic accuracy is demanded for ranges that the infantryman is expected to engage targets. (Ref. section 2) 


     a. The battle field projectile must have good ballistic coefficeincy (BC) for good flight characteristics and retained velocity on target.  A cartridge/projectile must develop sufficient velocity as to provide the flattest possible trajectory to aid in hitting targets at varying ranges.



4.  WEIGHT:  Weight is a real-time concern for combatants moving to contact.  The lighter a soldiers' load is, the faster, longer, and more energetic they can maneuver on the battle field.  The smallest cartridge that meets the overall requirements should be adopted.  Special teams, who are on the ground 2-4 hours if everything goes as planned, going back to 7x62x51mm NATO may be great for them, but the Soldier and Marine who’s have to carry 7.62x51mm NATO and the associated weapons their whole deployment , it is an added weight burden. 



5.  BARRIER PENETRATION:  Intermediate barrier penetration has really come into the forefront using the 5.56X45mm.  Projectile weight (x) velocity and sectional density combine to equal penetration potential, hence a projectile must have a large enough mass and velocity to penetrate an intermediate barrier efficiently.


6.  Over penetration:  Over penetration is a law enforcement concern and can be dealt with by projectile design.   



  In conclusion, a "universal infantry cartridge" is cheaper than any two cartridge system, it’s logistically easier, more efficient in its function of neutralizing the threat, and most of all the Soldiers and Marines on the ground are only concerned with one cartridge, whether for their rifles or machine guns.



  All 7x46mm U.I.A.C. testing has been done with conventionally constructed lead cored projectiles.  My final accuracy and velocity tests were conducted with the Speer 8.4g/130 #1624.  This Speer projectile has a .411 BC and has a shorter overall length than the Sierra 7mm 8.4g/130gr MK.

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