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"Ammo for the Marine Corps .50 caliber is getting a whole lot lighter" UPDATED Jan 21, 2020 Login/Join 
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posted
The link has a couple stock photos.

https://www.marinecorpstimes.c...Early%20Bird%20Brief

Ammo for the Marine Corps .50 caliber is getting a whole lot lighter

By: Todd South   20 hours ago

One of the first polymer case ammunition rounds for wide production in the Marine Corps will be for its heavy duty machine gun, the venerable M2 .50 caliber Browning Machine Gun.

The Marine Corps recently selected a company build polymer casings for .50 caliber ammunition, the largest direct fire, bullet projectile in the ground combat arsenal and a mainstay of machine gunning for nearly a century.

MAC LLC, a company out of Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, won the sole source contract to deliver an estimated quantity of 2.4 million cartridges for the Corps over three years.

It will be producing both ball and armor-piercing rounds.

The weight savings sought by the Corps aims to cut 20 pounds off of the current weight of a can of .50 caliber ammunition, or a cut of up to one-third of the existing load.

Marine Corps Systems Command posted the request in April 2018 and awarded this contract this April 1, according to a posting on fbo.gov, a federal government business website.

A belt of 100 lightweight .50-caliber cartridges with 101 links will have to see a 15 to 30 percent weight reduction under the Corps’ requirements listing.

And no performance can be sacrificed — the new cartridge must meet the same ballistics requirements and lethality of the M33 projectile in service now.

Polymer is the new steel in many of weapons accessories and ammo casings.

The Corps authorized the use of polymer magazines for the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle in recent years.

An ongoing Army program to build the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle, a parallel project to replace both the M4/M16 carbine/rifle and the Squad Automatic Weapon, is taking on submissions with polymer cased-telescoped ammunition.

One such version is the Textron Systems offering. Textron has spent years building a polymer-cased ammunition and essentially redesigned a weapon system around the new round.

All of these are part of larger efforts across the services to lighten the load with new materials, designs and configuration of everything from body armor to weapons systems and ammunition.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Sigmund,
 
Posts: 14196 | Location: Eastern Iowa | Registered: May 21, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another interesting tidbit.
Will this really mark the introduction of reliable cartridges with plastic cases, or is it just one more pie in the sky announcement by the military?




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Posts: 40996 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
Another interesting tidbit.
Will this really mark the introduction of reliable cartridges with plastic cases, or is it just one more pie in the sky announcement by the military?


great question

hard to believe we are transitioning from a supremely reliable design - the centerfire metallic cartridge - to a largely un-proven design

seems like advancements to the actual bullet itself would be where the 'improvements' would yield the best results -- effect on target

but what do I know

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Posts: 7598 | Location: Florida | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
MAC LLC, a company out of Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, won the sole source contract to deliver an estimated quantity of 2.4 million cartridges for the Corps over three years.


How does a company "win" a sole source contract? There apparently were no other competitive bidders. More like simply "awarded".

"Sole-source contract: is one in which the supply of product or service is only available from one company because it is the only one that can supply the needed product or service in a particular time when that product or service is needed. After exhaustive search and sourcing, only one company is ready to supply."

I would be interested in seeing the lot acceptance test criteria and watching said tests. IMO, heat build-up in the receiver is the biggest issue for polymer cased ammo (turning the chamber into a mass of plastic goo). Maybe the materials science in polymer is advancing significantly.

The Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Command in New Jersey and a number of companies have been researching and testing polymer-cased ammunition, along with case-telescoping ammunition, for the past 20 or so years.

Apparently Nammo has now taken a majority ownership position in MAC, LLC. Linky


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Posts: 7388 | Location: Northern Virginia | Registered: November 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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IIRC, 50 cal goes straight from can to gun, no middle man with minimal handling of the belts compared to say, 7.62. Maybe the polymer cases will work here.

Unlike the Army, USMC has forces on mini-aircraft carriers (LPH or LHD) that are typically resupplied or deployed via helicopter. It doesn't seem the weight savings will be significant, but what do I know.

Well, I know none of that other services have ordered this ammo.
 
Posts: 14196 | Location: Eastern Iowa | Registered: May 21, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I watched a show on modern marvels that were turning plastic bottles into rail road ties.
Tested at 300 ton and passed the test.
That plastic goo had additives that seem to work.
 
Posts: 22058 | Location: Georgia | Registered: February 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The Navy/Marine Corps 2019 and 2020 budget requests do not include these cartridges (ball and AP). Plus, the 2.4 million cartridges are over a 3-year period. My guess is that these are engineering development cartridges for the final R&D/operational testing before full acceptance/TC-STD. The last 2 years may be options to the contract (if all goes well).


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Posts: 7388 | Location: Northern Virginia | Registered: November 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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awarded this contract this April 1


Hmm.
 
Posts: 2819 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Sig209:
hard to believe we are transitioning from a supremely reliable design - the centerfire metallic cartridge - to a largely un-proven design

seems like advancements to the actual bullet itself would be where the 'improvements' would yield the best results -- effect on target

but what do I know


Well, a lot of people would argue the terminal ballistics of the .50 don't need much improving. For a given caliber, there is only so much you can do. There is a sweet spot for bullet weight to optimize effective distance. If you concede that the projectile weight is almost perfect for a given caliber, then the only place to shave weight is in the case or the powder, and obviously there is more potential in the case than the powder.


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Posts: 1462 | Location: Southwest Ohio | Registered: October 07, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I hear they’re talking about putting the cap, powder, and bullet all together in a copper metal package. How reliable will that be?
Once again the gummint just can’t leave a proven system well enough alone.




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Posts: 40996 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm surprised they didn't go with a ShellShock NAS3 case approach. The difference in weight in 9mm is significant, particularly when comparing loaded high capacity magazines.

Maybe the technology doesn't scale / doesn't deliver cost savings.
 
Posts: 472 | Registered: March 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As I recall several years ago there were some polymer cased rounds being made > that failed miserably.
I guess they fixed the issue, huh?
 
Posts: 17550 | Location: Houston, TX | Registered: June 11, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by smschulz:
As I recall several years ago there were some polymer cased rounds being made > that failed miserably.
I guess they fixed the issue, huh?


I find it very surprising that the polymer can handle the pressures.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by jimmy123x:
quote:
Originally posted by smschulz:
As I recall several years ago there were some polymer cased rounds being made > that failed miserably.
I guess they fixed the issue, huh?


I find it very surprising that the polymer can handle the pressures.
In a firearm, the pressure is mostly taken up by the chamber and bolt face. A brass case would not stand up to the pressure, either, if not supported by those steel confines. That is why headspace and chamber diameter are so important.

flashguy




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Posts: 23016 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by flashguy:
quote:
Originally posted by jimmy123x:
quote:
Originally posted by smschulz:
As I recall several years ago there were some polymer cased rounds being made > that failed miserably.
I guess they fixed the issue, huh?


I find it very surprising that the polymer can handle the pressures.
In a firearm, the pressure is mostly taken up by the chamber and bolt face. A brass case would not stand up to the pressure, either, if not supported by those steel confines. That is why headspace and chamber diameter are so important.

flashguy


Every time someone goes down the polymer case route it always ends the same way with case head seperations. They never seem to solve the issue, and I don't think they ever really will.


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Posts: 6471 | Location: Newyorkistan | Registered: March 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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https://www.marinecorpstimes.c...-caliber-ammunition/

Marine Corps to shell out $10M for lightweight polymer .50 caliber ammunition

Philip Athey
3 days ago

The Marine Corps has awarded a $10 million contract for new lightweight polymer .50 caliber ammunition for the M2 Browning Machine Gun ― a staple of the military’s arsenal since World War II.

The contract was awarded Thursday to MAC LLC, a Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, based company, according to a Marine Corps Press release.

The company is set to provide the Marine Corps with an estimated 2.4 million cartridges throughout the next two years.

The new ammunition will use lightweight polymer to replace the brass on the cartridges as well as the metal on the ammo cans used to transports the bullets.

The company will also use nylon to replace the tradition metal links between the bullets, resulting in a weight reduction of approximately 20 pounds per can of ammunition, Marine Corps Times previously reported.

The decreased weight will allow Marines to carry more ammunition to battle, the release said.

“When we go to war, we need more ammo to defeat our adversaries,” Lt. Col. Bill Lanham, Marine Corps Systems Command deputy program manager for ammunition, said in the release. “Polymer ammo gives Marines the opportunity to carry more ammunition or make trades with what gear is important to carry during combat."

Having Marines carry more ammunition will have secondary affects on mission planning that could ultimately save lives, the release said.

“When we reduce the weight of ammunition, we also reduce the number of vehicles in a convoy, amount of funding and the number of Marines we put in harm’s way,” John Carpenter, assistant program manager for engineering with PM Ammunition said in the release.

The new polymer ammunition was required to have the same ballistic requirements and be just as lethal as the brass M33 projectile currently used by the Marine Corps.

The release suggests that beyond just matching the performance of the old rounds, the new polymer rounds will have qualities that allow for extended use of the “Ma Deuce."

The plastic like material absorbs heat significantly better than brass, slowing down how quickly the barrel of the machine gun heats up allowing the gun to fire for longer bursts before worrying about overheating, the release said.

The Marine Corps will receive the first small batches of the polymer rounds in late 2020 and through 2021, the release said.

The Corps estimates the rounds will start hitting the fleet in 2022.
 
Posts: 14196 | Location: Eastern Iowa | Registered: May 21, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I saw that and it got me to thinking. The older stuff from PCP suffered from case neck seperations, as well as case ruptures where the polymer was joined with the case head. The current ammo from True Velocity uses a different style of case and that appears to have solved the case head seperation\kaboom issues PCP was known for. We shall see.

https://www.gunsandammo.com/ed...ed-ammunition/247607


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