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ECCLESIASTES 1:9 READS: “What has been can be once more. What has been accomplished can be accomplished once more. There may be nothing new beneath the solar.” This brings to thoughts the 6.5 Creedmoor and conjures up the biblical rant to observe. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a traditional cartridge that’s no completely different from some other standard cartridge, and but folks go nuts over the factor. And it’s not new; it has morphed from what has gone earlier than. It’s simply extra proof that there’s hardly something actually new on the planet of weapons.

What’s the quickest business cartridge? It’s the .220 Swift, which produces a muzzle velocity of 4,600 fps. When was the Swift developed? In 1935. What cartridge was it based mostly on? The 6mm Lee Navy, a service cartridge that was declared out of date in 1895. Can any sporting rifle cartridge outspeed the 88-year-old Swift? No.

Uncommonly Previous

Right here’s one thing that should be new: In 2019, the U.S. Military, along with SIG Sauer, introduced a brand new spherical referred to as the 6.8×51 Widespread Cartridge. Why “Widespread?” As a result of it’s meant for twin use within the Military’s new infantry rifle, the XM5, and in its new squad automated weapon, the XM250. It was, the announcement mentioned, the primary time in 60 years that the service was introducing a brand new bullet diameter. Effectively, new for the Military. A 6.8mm bullet is .277, as in .270 Winchester, which is of 1925 classic.

What makes the Widespread Cartridge particular is that it’s much more highly effective than the 5.56 NATO. It fires a 140-grain bullet at 3,000 fps from a 16-inch barrel. However how does it obtain such velocity? The pressures should be insane. They’re. The 5.56 NATO operates at 62,000 psi. The Widespread Cartridge cranks up 80,000 psi, which is Get-Proper-With-God strain.

How did SIG handle this? By strengthening the case head, which is the weak level of any shell. The pinnacle of the Widespread Cartridge case is metal, which is screwed into the brass case and held in place by an aluminum lock washer. It could possibly deal with 80,000 psi simply effective. Ingenious? Sure. New? Not precisely.

In 1984—that’s, practically 40 years in the past—the O’Connor Rifle Merchandise Firm of Edisto Island, S.C., launched what it referred to as Steelhead Instances. These had been unformed brass instances threaded for hardened-steel heads. They got here in .30/06 and 7mm Remington sizes, and also you tailored them to your caliber by working them by way of a collection of sizing dies after which fire-forming them. As I recall, O’Connor Rifle Merchandise additionally beneficial using twin powder costs*—a small cost of a quick powder first, and an even bigger cost of a a lot slower powder. The aim of all this was to mean you can get magnum velocities in an ordinary rifle, and tremendous velocities in a magnum rifle. I had a field of the .30/06 measurement for years however was too rooster to make use of it. When you strive mixing powders or utilizing twin costs, it’s possible you’ll get away with it, or your mates might find yourself calling you “Stumpy.”

Rockets and Rail Weapons

An MBAssociates Experimental Mark 1 Gyrojet pistol, with ammo and presentation case, bought by Rock Island Public sale Home in 2022. Rock Island Public sale Firm

However certainly there’s one thing new on the market. Effectively, there may be, kind of. Again within the Sixties, a California firm referred to as MBAssociates developed a line of handguns, carbines, and rifles that used projectiles referred to as Gyrojets. These had been miniature rockets, not cartridges, and so they burned rocket gas, not gunpowder. In operation, the rocket fed up from {a magazine}, and while you pulled the set off, a hammer mounted in entrance of the rocket snapped backward and smacked the rocket on the nostril, driving it onto a set firing pin. The rocket left the gun slowly, choosing up velocity till it reached about 1,200 fps.

I bought maintain of 1 and located that there was hardly any noticeable recoil, however neither was there any noticeable accuracy. When you had been standing in Austin with a Gyrojet, you may be capable to hit Texas. There have been benefits to the system, however too many issues, and as we had been gearing up for Vietnam, the concept was scrapped. However was it new? Sure, it was, and we’d see it once more sometime.

The opposite genuinely new “gun” is the U.S. Navy’s rail gun, which had its plug pulled in 2019 after 15 years of growth and $500 million spent. The rail gun is a linear motor system that operates on electromagnetic drive. The primary (very small) one was developed in 1917, however the Navy picked up on the concept once more in 2005, and constructed an ideal massive one to be mounted on the deck of a warship. What a rail gun can do is impart monumental velocity and kinetic power to a 23-pound aluminum projectile crammed with tungsten pellets. Think about such a projectile touring at Mach 8 (8,695 fps) with a spread of 110 miles, and sufficient kinetic power to sink a ship when it hits.

The issue with rail weapons is, they require a colossal quantity of electrical present. To fireside a projectile, a rail gun requires 25 megawatts, or the output of a whole civilian energy plant, for one second. Due to this, they generate an enormous quantity of warmth, burn out in a short time, and need to be rebuilt at nice expense. They’re not correct sufficient both. So, the Navy gave up on the concept and went with hypersonic rockets.

An Unsure Future

The Navy rail gun is 30 toes lengthy and weighs 40 tons. This might be awkward as shoulder-fired ordnance. However who is aware of what the long run holds? Hunters of the long run might carry rail weapons and have energy packs strapped to their backs. I can’t be amongst them.

That we haven’t seen a lot of something actually progressive within the design of firearms or cartridges in additional than a century is disappointing. Do I feel we’ll get there? Sure, eventually, and possibly sooner. The times of the interior combustion engine are most likely numbered, and it will likely be changed earlier than too lengthy. I’ve heard fighter pilots speculate that these engines are of their remaining many years, and that they are going to be changed earlier than very lengthy by drones. AI will do what? Nobody is aware of. Weapons, as we all know them, have been evolving for the reason that Center Ages. It appears nearly inevitable that one thing radically completely different will come alongside and change them earlier than too lengthy. 

Within the meantime, fashionable ammunition is pricey, soiled, and possibly not able to rather more enchancment (though I could also be useless incorrect about that). However it works. In actual fact, it really works unimaginably higher than it did once I started taking pictures. So why fear if the Phaser is just not on the horizon? Moreover, there are few issues on the planet that odor as good as gunpowder smoke.

*I’ve to say that dual-powder ignition does have a use, and it really works effective…within the bigger naval weapons. The powder cost for a 16-inch gun—the sort that comes three to a turret—consists of six silk luggage holding 648 kilos (every) of cordite. The bottom of every bag incorporates a small cost of black powder, and there’s a “thread” of black powder working up by way of the middle of the cordite cost. Since black powder ignites very simply, the Navy can make the most of a primer concerning the measurement of a shotgun shell to set the entire thing off. (When you’re pondering of experimenting with a 16-inch naval gun, make sure you name the ATF and get a Class 3 license first.)

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