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New Colt Battle Rifle in 7.62 NATO?

21 Sep

Soldier Systems and Defense Review are both reporting on a Colt battle rifle in 7.62 NATO designated the CM901. It will be a modular rifle/carbine/SBR (short barreled rifle) design and will be backwards compatible with existing 5.56 AR uppers.

To quote David Crane of Defense Review:  “If the CM901 was able to excite a Tier 1 operator, we thought it must be pretty cool. And, as it turns out, it is. It’s very cool. The CM901 is pretty badass, actually.”

Stay tuned for updates and photo’s on the CM901 as they become available…..

Remington Awarded Contract to Reconfigure M24 Sniper Rifle

21 Sep

The US Army awarded Remington Arms the contract to upgrade up to 3,600 M24 Sniper Weapon Systems (SWS) to the “M24E1”. Here are a list of upgrades to be completed:

– caliber conversion from 7.62mm NATO to .300 Winchester Magnum.

– new chassis (stock) assembly with a folding buttstock, a number of shooter-adjustable features, and accessories mounting points by removable Mil Std 1913 Picatinny Rails.

– An improved 6.5-20×50 variable power Leupold® riflescope with an enhanced reticle within the first focal plane and a .300 Winchester Magnum bullet-drop compensator (BDC)

– A quick-attach/detach Advanced Armament Corp.® suppressor with muzzle brake

– A 5-round detachable box magazine

– Advanced corrosion resistant coatings throughout the system

This contract is a result of a 2009 Army solicitation for reconfiguring the M24 to the following specs:

– Rebarreling/rechambering the SWS’s barrel optimized to accommodate Mk 248 (DODIC A191) .300 Winchester Magnum ammunition.

– Replacement of existing weaver rails with a MIL-STD-1913 rail capable of accommodating both a day optic and in-line forward mounted, AN/PVS-26 (NSN 5855-01-538-8121) image intensified (I2) night vision device.

– Reconfiguring the stock with a stock that incorporates a detachable box magazine, adjustable comb and length of pull.

– Addition of a detachable sound suppressor as well as any necessary barrel modifications required for a sound suppressor interface.

– Replacement of the existing day optic sight (DOS) and rings with an Army specified variable power day optic and compatible rings.

The contract is worth $28.2 million or about $7800 per rifle. At a time when the world’s armies are moving to the .338 Lapua, I see the M24E1 in .300 Win Mag as a bridge between the existing M24 and the SOCOM Precision Sniper Rifle solicitation (which is still open) for a .338 sniper rifle platform.

A full announcement on the awarded contract from Remington is below.

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US Army Awards Contract to Reconfigure M24 Sniper Weapon Systems to Remington® Arms
Madison, NC – Remington Arms Company, Inc. (“Remington”), a member of the Freedom Group of Companies, is pleased to announce that the United States Army’s Joint Munitions and Lethality Contracting Center has awarded Remington a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Indefinite Delivery/ Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ)

contract (W15QKN-10-R-0403) for the upgrade of up to 3,600 M24 Sniper Weapon Systems (SWS) currently fielded to the Army pending type classification as the “M24E1”. The major configuration change for this system is the caliber conversion from 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester) to .300 Winchester Magnum to provide soldier’s with additional precision engagement capability and range. The contract is for a five (5) year period and has guaranteed minimum value of $192K with a potential value of up to $28.2 million. This award follows a full and open competitive evaluation lasting 9 months, which began with the release of the Army’s Request for Proposal (RFP) on 13 January 2010. The program will be executed under the authority of Project Manager Soldier Weapons, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, and managed by its subordinate unit, Product Manager Individual Weapons.

Remington has a 22-year tradition of manufacturing long-range precision sniper rifles for the U.S. military and this award demonstrates Remington’s continued leadership in the art of producing sniper rifles for military applications. The M24 SWS was competitively selected by the Army as its first purpose-built sniper rifle on 27 July 1988, and the first 100 production systems were fielded on 25 October 1988. Thus far, Remington has produced nearly 15,000 M24 Sniper Weapon Systems, and the M24 is still produced today. Each rifle is tested to meet (and typically exceeds) the requirement to fire 1 minute-of-angle (less than 2-inch group at 200 yards) before being released for fielding. Remington is the military depot-level maintenance facility for the M24 and repairs and overhauls hundreds of fielded systems each year for the Army, other military services, agencies, and nations.

“We are honored to be providing US soldiers with the M24E1 solution – an evolutionary leap in precision engagement capability and survivability,” noted Jason Schauble, Vice President of Remington’s Defense Division, “Remington has made significant investments in manufacturing modernization, end-user driven research and development, and complementary technologies to provide a wide range of reliable, durable, and maintainable small arms solutions, and the M24E1 award is a significant achievement for our company and its proud U.S. workforce. ”

This long tradition of production and repair makes Remington the natural choice to upgrade this venerable system for the Government. Current operations in Southwest Asia exposed the need for a more powerful and longer-range sniper round. The baseline M24 was designed from inception to chamber a longer and more powerful round than the 7.62mm NATO, so an obvious solution to the capability gap was to finally exploit the M24’s long bolt action and chamber it for .300 Winchester Magnum.

The M24E1’s capabilities meet the initial requirement spelled out in the Operational Needs Statement (ONS) submitted by the 10th Mountain Division on 14 March 2006 while conducting operations in Afghanistan. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Michael Arcuri (D-NY) supported this operational need and led the effort in the Congress to ensure funding of the Army’s M24 upgrade program in both FY09 and FY10. Senator Schumer and Representative Arcuri were also instrumental in supporting a revision of the New

York State law on suppressors to allow the Remington facility in Ilion N.Y. to possess and test military weapons.

Remington’s winning sniper rifle features the following enhancements above and beyond caliber conversion from 7.62mm NATO to .300 Winchester Magnum:

– A completely new chassis (stock) assembly, which maximizes the amount of physical adjustments for the sniper to provide a true customized fit. The chassis has a folding buttstock that radically shortens the system for easier transport and greater concealment during movement and accommodates the mounting of

accessories via removable Mil Std 1913 Picatinny Rails.

– An improved 6.5-20×50 variable power Leupold® riflescope with an enhanced reticle within the first focal plane and a .300 Winchester Magnum bullet-drop compensator (BDC)

– A quick-attach/detach Advanced Armament Corp.® suppressor with muzzle brake

– A 5-round detachable box magazine

– Advanced corrosion resistant coatings throughout the system

While virtually every aspect of the M24E1 has been updated and improved, the U.S. Army specifically required that the M24E1 continue to be built around the same 700™ series long action and that the fire control requirement continue to be met by the combat proven M24 SWS fire control. The M24E1’s fire control is set to a pull weight requirement of 3 to 5 lbs pull +/- 8oz, and has been found to survive near constant use, in and out of theater, for well over 10 years of service without adjustment or replacement.

Remington Defense looks forward to working with PM Soldier Weapons to rapidly field this system to the Army and other American military services, agencies, and allies to improve the capability of our nation’s highly trained and capable snipers.

The Remington point of contact for the M24E1 program is Trevor Shaw, Director of Defense Programs, (336) 548 8577, trevor.shaw@remington.com.

Remington’s complete military product line can be viewed at www.remingtondefense.com.

About Remington Arms Company, Inc.

Remington Arms Company, Inc., founded in 1816 and headquartered in Madison, N.C., designs, produces and sells sporting goods products for the hunting and shooting sports markets, as well as solutions to the military government and law enforcement markets. With plants and facilities in Ilion, NY, Lonoke, AR, Elizabethtown and Mayfield, KY, Remington is the only United States manufacturer of both firearms and ammunition products and one of the largest domestic producers of shotguns and rifles. The Company distributes its products throughout the U.S., and in more than 55 foreign countries. More information about the Company can be found at www.remington.com.

Media Contact:
Linda Powell or Todd Seigmund
(800) 243-9700 ext. 8578 (Press only)

Ruger Mini Thirty Tactical in 7.62 x 39

15 Sep

Ruger has announced they will be offering their Mini Thirty in the popular and affordable 7.62 x 39. If you’re looking for a rifle in this caliber but are looking for an alternative to the AK, I can’t think of a better package than the Mini Thirty.

Impact Guns has the Mini Thirty Tactical listed for $684 which is in line with their other Mini Thirty rifles. The full Ruger press release on the Mini Thirty Tactical is below:

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Ruger Introduces Mini Thirty Tactical Rifle
September 08, 2010
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR), announces a new model of the simple, rugged and reliable Mini Thirty® Rifle, the Mini Thirty Tactical Rifle. Like all Ruger® Mini Thirty rifles, which have been extremely popular since first introduced in 1991, the Mini Thirty Tactical allows shooters to fire the 7.62 X 39 round in an affordable, quality, American-made auto-loading rifle.

The Mini Thirty Tactical has a blued 16-1/8″ barrel with flash suppressor and comes with a black synthetic stock. The rifle weighs approximately 6.75 pounds, has an overall length of 37.5 inches, and is shipped with one 20-round magazine.

The sighting system on the Mini Thirty Tactical includes an adjustable “ghost ring” aperture rear sight and a protected, non-glare post front sight. Patented Ruger scope bases are machined directly into the receiver and can never shoot loose. A set of Ruger scope rings is included at no charge with each rifle. Side ejection of cartridge cases easily clears the lowest-mounted optics, and a patented recoil buffer helps protect optics from damage from repeated firing.

Army wants soldiers to have improved carbine

7 Sep

The Army Times published an article recently about the Army’s “dual strategy [for]…… a more accurate, durable and lethal weapon that will be the mainstay for the next 40 years.”

The article describes a two part strategy: 1. overhaul the current M4 platform and 2. Simultaneously begin looking for a new carbine that can outperform the M4.

M4 Overhaul: An overhaul of the M4 platform is planned to occur in 3 phases outlined below:

  • Phase 1: To begin immediately, distribute what is essentially an improved M4A1 carbine (heavier barrel and full auto capability) to all troops. Would include ambidextrous controls and an improved magazine design for better reliability.
  • Phase 2: Beginning Fall 2010, host an open competition for a new bolt assembly and/or different materials or coatings to enhance the bolt life. Also calls for a strengthening of the forward rail assembly on top of the receiver, possibly with a free floating rail.
  • Phase 3: To begin in about 18 months (which would be March 2012), improve the gas system by allowing less gas and dirt in or replacing it with a a piston! (yes folks, a piston M4!).

The next carbine: The Army’s open, industrywide Individual Carbine Competition was approved Aug. 4 by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. Here are a few highlights of the Army’s carbine request:

  • No caliber restriction has been placed on a new design.
  • It will be at least a 500-meter weapon.
  • This weapon will be modular and able to carry all the existing attachments soldiers use.
  • It can have a gas or piston system.
  • Interchangeable barrel sizes, such as those seen in the SCAR, are not required but certainly won’t be a negative thing.

A draft request for proposals (RFP) will go out late this year (2010) with the official RFP to go out early in 2011. Manufacturers will then have a few months to respond with their proposed weapons. After that a period of function and durability testing will begin and last for 12-18 months.

So it could be 2013 or later until we see a new carbine, if the project doesn’t get delayed or cancelled…..

For more information, be sure to check out the full article in the Army Times.

Ruger Named 2010 “Manufacturer of the Year”

1 Sep

Congratulations to Ruger for being named the 2010 Manufacturer of the Year by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. Named in the award notes were Ruger’s development of the SR-556 platform, their first compact pistol (SR9c) and an enhanced web presence.

The Shooting Industry Academy had this to say about Ruger and the award:

For diligently working to meet the desires of customers at all levels: consumer, retailer and distributor. For continuing the Voice of the Customer program, which has resulted in a new product category with the SR-556 and Ruger’s first true compact pistol, the SR9c. For ongoing efforts to enhance information access through a Web site that features expanded video content, up-to-date product information, customer input and an interactive online catalog. For expanding engineering and production staff and processes to support new product development and lean manufacturing.

Ruger also won Manufacturer of the Year honors in 2008, 2005, 1993 and 1992.

Two Sight Solution?

25 Aug

Phil Bourjaily over at the Gun Nuts blog did a post yesterday on the two sight solution that a number of 3-gun competitors are using. The solution is to mount a red dot sight at a slight angle from the scope. A shooter can use their scope for long range precision shots while allowing a quick close range shot with the red dot by slightly canting the rifle. Dick Metcalf showed a similar setup on an episode of Modern Rifle Adventures.

While I can see the merits of the ‘two sight solution’ in competition, I think it would be a little confusing on a hunting or tactical rifle setup. Although it does make more sense to me than mounting a red dot on top of the scope like in the photo below. What do you think?

Import of Korean M1 Garands and M1 Carbines Blocked

23 Aug

“Korean War Rifles Sold Back to US” was the title of a promising news story out of Seoul last Fall.  The proposed sale consisted of 86,000 M1 rifles and another 22,000 M1 carbines. Reportedly they were to be sold to one or more of a pre-selected group of six US wholesalers. CMP was not involved in the deal. The Koreans expected to sell Garands for $220 Carbines for $140! Many shooters and collectors were looking forward to buying a genuine Korean war Garand or carbine. Never mind the thought of the Koreans selling rifles back to us that we gave them….

US soldiers in front-line trench during Korean War. With rifle, left, PFC. Richard Pantoliano of Brooklyn, N.Y., and right, foreground, with carbine is PFC. Robert Curtis of Torrance, Calif. Other soldiers, background, are unidentified - 1 May 1951

Well, according to the Koreans, the current US Administration (the specific agency or official was not named) have stymied efforts to bring these rifles back to the US.

The problems the U.S. government cited were somewhat ambiguous, said an official at the Ministry of National Defense on condition of anonymity.

“The U.S. insisted that imports of the aging rifles could cause problems such as firearm accidents. It was also worried the weapons could be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions,” the official told The Korea Times.

John at No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money blog posted a great response to this nonsense:

As to the assertion by some unnamed U.S. official that gangs might use M-1 Garands, I think someone watched the movie Gran Torino a few too many times. Can you imagine how many cases of “M-1 thumb” there would be if the Crips, the Bloods, or the Latin Kings were to attempt to use a M-1 Garand?

Lets hope that someone in the current administration comes to their senses, or more likely that enough grass-roots pressure is applied by interested collectors and shooters, so that importation of these fine historical arms can begin.

FN Admits US SOCOM Not Buying SCAR MK16

20 Aug

As reported on the Firearm Blog, Gabe Bailey (Marketing Director, Combat Rifles, FNH USA) admitted on M4Carbine.net that US SOCOM does not plan to buy the MK16 combat rifle:

You are correct and I am not hiding any facts. And, as the main customer has stated, they do not plan to buy the MK 16…in my humble opinion, this has nothing to do with performance but rather smartly-weighed budget decisions.

Performance fact: As I previously noted, the MK 16 (and MK17, MK 13) met all requirements. Those requirements ARE well above and beyond the weapon(s) it is intended to replace. Neither the MK 16 weapon nor the program were ever cancelled as we all have come to realize through factual evidence (MS C & FRP).

Thanks for participating.

Sincerely,
Gabe

As reported previously on Military.Com, the MK17 could well serve as a common receiver platform for both 5.56 and 7.62. Doing so would eliminate any issues with parts commonality between platforms which makes a lot of sense, although there already was a pretty high degree of commonality of parts between the MK16 and MK17.

US SOCOM Approves FN SCAR for Full Production

17 Aug

After news of it’s cancellation on June 28 (and a July 1 press release from FNH USA defending the SCAR MK16 and MK17 and then a July 7 release from FN Herstal refuting the cancellation), FNH USA announced yesterday the FN SCAR family of weapons (including the MK16, MK17 and MK13 grenade launcher) have been approved by US SOCOM to go into full production.

So can we assume this really only applies to the MK17 and MK13 when we consider reports that US SOCOM has decided not to purchase the MK16? I posted an excerpt below on yesterday’s release from Military.com. Be sure to read through the reader comments at the Military.com link for additional perspectives.

The company says it has “ramped up production and assembly at its manufacturing facilities to meet the delivery orders placed by USSOCOM.” I shot a note to their spokesperson asking for clarification on this, but haven’t gotten a response yet. How much has it “ramped up” and what are SOCOM’s orders?

Again, as we wrote exhaustively about in June, SOCOM has decided not to purchase the Mk-16. So how much the company is “ramping up” for a relatively limited buy of Mk-17s and Mk-13s is unclear.

The full press release on the announcement from FNH is below.

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FN SCAR™ systems approved for full-rate production

McLean, VA, The U.S. Special Operations Command notified FN that the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) family of weapons—the MK 16 (5.56mm) and MK 17 (7.62mm) combat assault rifles and MK 13 grenade launcher—was approved for full-rate production. The Full-Rate Production Decision Review by the Milestone Decision Authority occurred on July 30, 2010.

FN Herstal, a worldwide recognized firearms supplier to generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines since 1897, has ramped up production and assembly at its manufacturing facilities to meet the delivery orders placed by USSOCOM.

Following a worldwide solicitation to the firearms industry in 2004, nine vendors submitted a dozen designs for a new modular, multi-caliber weapons system. In November 2004, FNH was awarded the contract by USSOCOM for its SCAR submission after passing the Go/No-Go criteria required by the solicitation and being selected by a source selection board composed of senior operators from every SOF component.

The SCAR weapons system is modular and easily adaptable to future enhancements and calibers. It is built with an eye to careful economic stewardship and the small logistical footprint required of today’s highly mobile military. Overall life cycle costs are reduced by features such as a chrome-lined, hammer forged steel barrel with a service life of far more than 15,000+ rounds. Each component of the SCAR weapons system is built for years of dependable service while minimizing maintenance downtime.

The heart of the FN SCAR system consists of two highly adaptable modular rifle platforms and a grenade launcher. Type-designated as the MK 16 and the MK 17, both rifles are available with three different barrel lengths optimized for conducting operations in close-quarters combat, standard infantry and longer-range precision fire roles. All SCAR barrels are tightly attached to a monolithic receiver and can be easily interchanged by the operator in minutes to instantly meet virtually any mission requirement. The MK 13 40mm Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module (EGLM) easily mounts under the barrel of either SCAR platform, providing another useful tool for the warfighter and is easily configured for use as a stand-alone weapon as well. Because of the SCAR system’s modular design, ergonomic (100%) and parts commonality (greater than 80%), it represents a significant reduction in training costs and life-cycle support. The weapon system’s open architecture supports future enhancements and modifications in operational requirements including ammunition, aiming devices, sighting systems and other mission critical equipment.

The MK 17 (7.62mm) is also the base of the SCAR common receiver currently under final test and evaluation by USSOCOM. The SCAR common receiver can accommodate multi-caliber conversion kits.

The SCAR weapons system is the first new assault rifle procured by the U.S. Military through a full and open competition since the M16 trials held in the mid-1960s. It was tested for reliability, accuracy, safety and ergonomics from August 2005 to September 2008 in a variety of environments including urban, maritime, jungle and winter/mountain operational test scenarios. The SCAR weapons system successfully endured more than two million rounds of ammunition during these trials thereby making it the most heavily tested weapons system in the history of small arms. No other current so-called modular weapons system has endured even a fraction of this degree of strenuous testing, and none are in use by U.S. forces.

FN firearms manufactured in the United States are produced by FN Manufacturing in Columbia, SC. The Herstal Group is represented by FNH USA, FN Manufacturing and Browning within the United States and directly employs more than 1,000 individuals. U.S. operations are located in Virginia, South Carolina, Utah and Missouri. FNH USA is the sales and marketing arm of FN. Its corporate mission is to expand the company’s global leadership position in defense, law enforcement and commercial markets by delivering superior products and the finest in training and logistical support. For more information, or to view the entire line of FN products, visit http://www.fnhusa.com. FNH USA, LLC, P.O. Box 697, McLean, VA 22101 USA.

Premier Collector’s Firearms Auction of the Year

11 Aug

If you’re a fan of fine collectible firearms, then you must check out the Rock Island Auction’s online catalog for their September 10-12 auction.

There are hundreds of firearms to be auctioned off including one of the most desirable of all Winchester’s, estimated at $300,000 – 500,000! It is an extraordinary “One of One Thousand” Winchester first model 1876 lever action rifles. This fine gun is certainly above my pay grade but it’s fun to look at the pictures!

The 1876 is just one of 250 Winchesters to be auctioned off. There are also over 400 Colts, fine English and American doubles, and a array of American and European military arms.

There are even guns for those of us with a more modest budget. Consider this Smith & Wesson M&P model 10 revolver made between 1948-1951. It’s in excellent condition and is offered with the original box and hang tag. It’s estimated to be worth between $850-$1,200.

I’m going to be browsing through the catalog over the next few days and will post anything else that strikes my interest. Then I need to start convincing my good wife how much I need another gun 🙂