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Thread: Perfecting the Recce concept: The case for .308/7.62

  1. #1
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    Perfecting the Recce concept: The case for .308/7.62

    No wheels being reinvented here gents, but rather just wanted to share some more of my always evolving thoughts on one of my favorite niches within the realm of ARs...the light precision 16" configuration. Any discussion or opinions on topic that get stirred up are certainly welcomed. With my normal caveat I'll just emphasize that everything contained below is nothing more than my personal thoughts, ideas, and found conclusions in regards to the Recce concept.

    For the purposes of this thread/discussion, the Recce concept will be defined as a 16" match barreled AR that incorporates several key components in order to create a highly accurized AR/M4 rifle. Match grade barrels, mid range variable powered optics, 2 stage triggers, long FF rails, bipods, etc., are all components that often times are found on Recce configured rifles.

    Lastly, and without diving back into the history books, the origins of the Recce/Recon/Seal Recon Rifle/sniper-m4 concept all lie within the original Special Purpose Receiver (SPR) program in which the SPR/MK 12 rifles have now grown out of. So traditionally speaking, the Recce concept is based, and designed around the .223/5.56 caliber for the record.

    Defining the critical areas, and requirements associated with the Recce concept


    1.)
    Must achieve high levels of accuracy/Precision on command: Generally 1 MOA or less is the norm for a Recce configured rifle with match quality ammo. These accuracy/precision capabilities must be readily repeatable, and on command regardless of the conditions that may be present...i.e. what you know you can hit VS. what you think you can hit.

    2.)Significantly increases maximum effective range(MER): With the large aid of powered optics on a Recce, one can expect to see on average around a 40% increase in max effective range(MER) over a standard RDS/iron sight equipped AR/M4. Personally I've found this translates to roughly 200-300yds more over a standard AR/M4....AR/M4 = 4-500yds Recce = 6-800yds (YMMV).


    3.) Overall must maintain max portability while fully satisfying the first two critical areas above. Without precision, and increased max effective range, portability doesn't offer anything different that the standard 14.5"/16" AR/M4 doesn't already offer. Nonetheless, portability is a vital part of the Recce concept. By nature, this rifle concept is one in which it will be humped essentially the same as a patrol AR, or standard M4 would be regardless if your a soldier or hunter whom uses it. Traditionally speaking, a good average weight for a Recce rifle is around 9-11lbs, and an OAL between 32"- 34".


    First critical area: A Recce should be capable of delivering very high levels of repeatable accuracy and precision on command. After examining numerous 10rd/100yd groups with both .223/.308 Recce rifles, I can find no discernible decrease in accuracy/precision between either specimen. Both can continually produce sub MOA/10rd groups with several types of factory match quality type ammo. I'm just posting some handy, rather cherry picked group examples just to display the almost equal level of accuracy/precision on both these rifles.

    MWS Recce:
    http://i888.photobucket.com/albums/a...2/target75.jpg
    http://i888.photobucket.com/albums/a...2/target42.jpg

    VS.

    MRP Recce:
    http://i39.tinypic.com/fycxoz.jpg
    http://i51.tinypic.com/30xg66g.jpg

    After shooting, and then examining large group samples for each rifle (numerous amounts of 10rd/100yd groups), I've found that both rifles dip well below the 1moa or less requirement, and neither one as far as I can tell gives up anything to the other in this arena.

    Second critical area: Increases max effective ranges, and ability to engage targets with precise/accurate fire in difficult conditions or at intermediate to longer ranges.

    I used two main things to evaluate, compare, and ultimately formulate the max effective ranges. Firstly, I used my own extensive trigger time while shooting these rifles at long ranges to determine, and then validate true max effective ranges....i.e. real world evidence. Over the last year or two I've become very confident in exactly what these rifles will, and won't do in terms of long ranges. The max effective ranges for each rifle I came to were based on reliability, and repeatability....and NOT a measure of lucky hits, random successes, or the all time best.

    Secondly, I created, and analyzed the ballistic charts for each rifle using it's actual military match grade ammo...i.e. theoretical evidence. The charts were created using actual MV that I collected. Outside of lots of time behind these rifles at long ranges, these charts if examined closely should give one the next best tool in order to evaluate which Recce in question will yield the longest max effective ranges, and which one will do so with significantly increased lethality.

    Notes on the ballistic charts below:

    The most important/informational part in the charts below is the windage values for the purposes of this discussion. Be sure to study the amounts of windage at the various distance intervals along the 1000yd chart. After the windage, the next most relevant and informative data in the charts would be observing the actual velocities of the rounds throughout the 1000yd chart. Even more specifically, pay attention to the velocities of the rounds when traveling from 600-1000yds. Why is that info important for this discussion?......because we're concerned with the regions at which our rounds enter transonic flight, and bullet stability becomes a concern for particular projectiles. Luckily both the 77gr. SMK, and the 175gr. SMK aren't known to suffer major stability issues when going transonic unlike the 168gr. SMK for example. The charts will reflect that the MWS Recce using M118LR will remain barely supersonic for the entire 1000yds, whereas then you'll note that the MRP Recce using MK262 Mod1 starts to enter transonic flight sometime shortly past 800yds.

    That windage difference between the two plays largely into my belief that the .223 Recce is a reliable 800yd rifle, whereas the .308 Recce is a reliable 1000yd rifle. I've had some limited success with the .223 Recce and SPR rifles at 1k, however there is very little rhyme or reason to it. On the other hand, the .308 Recce in a skilled shooter's hands is easily a very consistent 1K capable rifle. Once you get to 600yds or so with both these rifles, it's crystal clear how much easier it is to land hits with a .308 vs. .223.

    In short, the .308 Recce will generally yield a 200-300yd increase in effective range over it's little brother, and that alone makes most of the .308/7.62 case in my book.

    Ballistic charts:





    Third critical area...portability: both rifles maintain incredibly portable configurations considering the range and precision abilities that are built into them.

    The .223 Recce is extremely handy and portable I've found, but so is the .308 Recce. Ultimately it comes down to whether the end user is willing to trade roughly 1-1.75lbs in weight for the ability to increase max effective range out to 1k, as well as exponentially increase the actual lethality and knock down punch behind the rounds fired. Personally, I'll take that trade 10/10 times. I've found that either one of these rifles is almost as easily humped as the other, and the big difference lies b/t the shoot-ability of the .223 vs. .308..i.e. recoil, and loudness, rather than an extra pound here and there.

    Here are the measurements on these rifles when keeping variables to a very minimum. Each rifle was recorded with two weights....1. the weight w/o the optic, bipod, or mag., and 2. The weight of the rifle fully configured with mag (both rifles were weighed with the same kit...i.e. optic, and bipod).


    MRP Recce .223:
    1.) 7.60 lbs
    2.) 9.86 lbs

    OAL: 33"

    MWS Recce .308:
    1.) 9.51 lbs
    2.) 11.98 lbs

    OAL: 34"

    Last edited by ALCOAR; 04-29-12 at 19:38.

  2. #2
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    I'll conclude my 7.62/.308 case with some strong evidence from the wild......dare I say real Recce rifles in combat

    LMT L129A1s with 16" SST barrels and magnified optics....










    HK 417s with 16" barrels and magnified optics...





    Scar 17s with 16" barrels and magnified optics...




  3. #3
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    I like the recce concept. Still trying to save up enough to either buy a complete recce upper in 5.56 or wait longer to get an LMT MWS 308. The 308 is very appealing.
    http://www.m4carbine.net/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=20651&dateline=1303766618

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    Wait for the LMT MWS, you will not be disappointed. Meanwhile, look up Tridents videos on long range MWS fun.

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    I agree with pretty much everything Trident. There's some overlap with the DMR thread in this discussion, so I'll just reiterate and repost some of the things I wrote in that thread, specifically things related to the advantages of a 16'' 7.62 gas gun.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is the first I'm seeing this post. I'm going to briefly touch on one of the original issues....5.56 vs 7.62 for a DMR.

    As Sniper Section Leader, I was heavily involved in TTP development as it relates to SDM's throughout the unit at large. Official doctrine is lacking, and units are thinking out of the FM 7-8 box as they should be.

    It needs to be 7.62 and here is why (bear with me as I arrive at my point):

    The vast majority of kinetic operations carried about by infantry in the contemporary operating environment (COE) are kill / capture missions. At its basic level the formula is simple....support by fire and assault.

    Current edit: this is not really true anymore as far a Kill/Capture being an everyday infantry task, but the point still stands.

    Keep in mind that due to Afghanistan's extreme terrain, SBF positions are often further away from the elements they are tasked with supporting than is ideal. It is not uncommon for the SBF to be 600-800 Meters from the target house and even further from the Assault element at the beginning of their movement. Yet the SBF is still fully expected to support them.

    SDM's are rightly being placed solely on support by fire lines, and here is why. In Afghanistan, assaulting elements are often in small arms contact during movement to the target house. Effective support by fire is absolutely critical for their success and safety. Current doctrine dictates that supporting fires from M240's and MK48's must be kept at least 15 degrees ahead of assaulting elements when the guns are tripod mounted. You're looking at double that on bipods.

    So, the machine guns are often forced to completely lift fire to prevent fratricide, even as assaulting elements are still in contact and have to move considerable distances under fire with no support from machine guns. Sure, those elements have organic MK46's, but what happens when they are effectively suppressed? This issue is exacerbated exponentially with an increase in range due to the angular nature of the surface danger zone standard.

    Enter the SDM. At no time does the SDM have to lift fire. Under direction of the SBF senior leader, an SDM may continue to engage point targets on the objective in close proximity to the assaulters. They may even continue to engage the upper floors of a building as friendly elements are breaching at ground level. The expansion of a machine gun's cone of fire makes this relatively unsafe at 700-800M.

    With a 5.56 DMR, this capability is severely degraded at extended range. When the 7.62 MG's have to go silent, what will replace them? Without a 7.62 DMR, the answer is nothing. No-go.


    Lastly, the KAC SR-25 EMC in 7.62MM with a 16'' barrel and a NF 2.5-10 would be about as ideal a DMR platform as one can imagine. The M14 EBR's are having a lot of issues and are not well liked by anybody that I know. Yet the capability mentioned above that it brings to organic infantry platoons cannot be overstated. Until the M14 is replaced (the sooner the better), it will continue to fill an important role in daily combat operations.

    Current edit: we were talking about M110 carbines in that thread and my KAC recommendation mostly hinged on that possibility. It's the characteristics of the rifle that matter in this discussion (16'' and 7.62). LMT, KAC, and others all offer viable options. Also, a NF 2.5-10 is probably not the BEST choice either. Not sure what exactly I was thinking when I wrote that, but it probably came out of a sense of realism about what we could possibly end up with.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by a0cake; 04-30-12 at 23:12.

  6. #6
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    The base role for the Recce was/is to give eyes-on-target Sniper-Observer teams the ability to get close while providing a more capable/longer 5.56 reach and an emergency assault and/or break contact capability. The S/O role does not equate to a GP Forces Sniper or DM.

    TTP-wise at the time (going back to the mid-late 80s) the S/Os are in-close while you have a security force controlling an outer perimeter and avenues of approach. A 14.5 Colt 723/ pre-M4 carbine did not give the same capability as a precise/slow bolt gun, an M25, or first-generation SR25, and was marginal for a break-contact capability (even with a short-barrel M203)..

    The niche today would be perfectly filled by a mid-length 5.56, a KAC EMC, or an AR-10T Carbine. The LMT fits the niche while adding a little weight for the interchangeable barrel capability (nice to have/mission-enhancing but not mission essential). A well-worked / no malfunctions / stoppages DPMS AP4 Carbine would also fit the size/weight niche.

    I have no experience with the SCAR-Heavy but there seem to be both fans and detractors for that weapon as well.

  7. #7
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    Good write up Trident.

    Im really starting to come around to the SDM using a 7.62 rifle rather than a 5.56.

    When I was a SDM in 05 I carried a modified M16A4 with an ACOG on top and fed it M262. For my purpose it was great. However from reading on here, especially a0cake's posts, it seems the SDM role has changed since I was one.

    When I was one I was still an active member of my fire team. I still had to clear houses and other CQB activities. Then when we stopped I would provide long range security, ususally with a SAW gunner nearby. There were only a few instances where I was used as overwatch for other elements. But then again my AO in Iraq was far more rocketing and IEDs than gunfights so we never really got a good hands on feel of how the SDM should be deployed.

    Now they seem to be used as more of a fire support element where I think they belong. In that situation, coupled with the great success we are seeing with 16 inch AR10s, the 7.62 really shines.
    C co 1/30th Infantry Regiment
    3rd Brigade 3rd Infantry Division
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    OIF 1 and 3

    IraqGunz:
    No dude is going to get shot in the chest at 300 yards and look down and say "What is that, a 3 MOA group?"

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    With the Army looking seriously at a more compact M110 setup, I think the concept of a precision 5.56 rifle (Recce, Mk12, SDMR, SAMR) might wind up being an orphan of sorts.

    Given the requirement among the Marine Corps for magazine commonality while maintaining some extended precision point fire, the Mk12 made some sense, but a good optic was the most useful part of that equation to us, followed by the OPS 12th can (mostly for dogs) on patrol. We were in a uniquely SDM friendly environment with terrain features that worked well for overwatch, and a distinct need for Target PID and CWIED spotting, so it worked.

    Once past that range, the only assets we had were M40's and M82's for point fire - same issue with the M240's being a fratricide risk, and very few had the high powered ACOG to really help either.

    As for the enhanced capability on the 5.56 side, even our M16A4's with RCO and GripPod were pretty capable at range - shrink those to 16" and float them it's still just fine, and the limitation is still the shooter and ammunition. Even a simple fixed zoom optic and a relatively light grippod is enough to make damn solid hits at half a click.
    Another odd thing I kept seeing in requirements is automatic fire desired in the Mk12 and SAM-R. I know admittedly very little on the SOF side where the Mk12 originated, but high cadence aimed fire still strikes me as more valuable.

    IF a 16" 7.62 precision platform with a 2.5-10x NXS or 3-18x Mk6 becomes available in squad deployable numbers, and an enhanced M4 with FF handguard becomes common, I think the 5.56 precision rifle will be forced into an even smaller niche.
    عندما تصبح الأسلحة محظورة, قد يملكون حظرون عندهم فقط
    کله چی سلاح منع شوی دی، یوازي غلوونکۍ یی به درلود
    Semper Fi
    "Being able to do the basics, on demand, takes practice. " - Sinister

  9. #9
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    What is everyones opinion on a rifle like the PredatAR being used as a SPR? From what I have read and discussed with owners is that its pretty darn accurate and even when the light barrel heats up its a 1.5 MOA rifle.

    Is the lighter weight and mobility worth the trade off if accuracy drops a little with sustained fire? I know a0cake has talked of prolonged engagements using a Mk12.
    Last edited by C-grunt; 05-03-12 at 23:10. Reason: Change heavy barrel to light barrel
    C co 1/30th Infantry Regiment
    3rd Brigade 3rd Infantry Division
    2002-2006
    OIF 1 and 3

    IraqGunz:
    No dude is going to get shot in the chest at 300 yards and look down and say "What is that, a 3 MOA group?"

  10. #10
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    Even though the S/A precision sub forum hardly sees any traffic at all, the opinions of the major contributors in it are extremely knowledgeable. The best part is that these folks have so much real world end user feedback/opinion to share with us all, and I've grown to really appreciate that aspect now of this sub forum. So thanks for some great replies guys, I'd enjoy seeing a bunch more

    RE: PredatAR....personally I wouldn't run anything less than a medium contoured barrel on any precision AR of mine. Once I acquire my said dope for the target and practice the solution for a few rounds, I let em fly....
    Last edited by ALCOAR; 05-02-12 at 21:59.

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