US Marines switch to the "Russian" cartridge 7,62 mm

US Marines will soon have at their disposal the new semi-automatic sniper rifles M101A1, created as part of the CSASS (Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System) program. These rifles were originally developed under the cartridge caliber 7,62-mm. Many American publications call the cartridge "Russian", although naturally we are talking about the standard NATO ammunition 7,62x51 mm. The Russian cartridge of caliber 7,62-mm is called for its strong connection with the AK-47 assault rifle, which is widely used throughout the world and is well known to the Americans.

American analogue of SVD

The US Marine Corps soldiers have rightfully managed to earn a reputation as well-aimed marksmen, they confirm their ability to shoot well since the creation of the corps in 1775. Specialists note that it is the marines' snipers that are best at mastering their skills, in comparison with other representatives of the American armed forces. It is for this reason that the decision of the Marine Corps to switch to the new compact semi-automatic sniper rifles M101A1 attracted great attention of military experts and journalists.

The new semi-automatic rifle with German roots, responsible for its creation was the world-famous German company Heckler & Koch, which will replace the classic M110 sniper rifle. In turn, another Mk 13 Mod 7 sniper rifle in the Marine Corps will replace the single-shot M40 rifle with a longitudinally sliding rotary bolt. This rifle will receive a new cartridge .300 Winchester Magnum, presented in the same caliber 7,62-mm, but with a sleeve length 67 mm, which makes the ammunition much more powerful. The initial flight speed of such a bullet exceeds 1000 m / s, and the effective aiming range increases to 1200 meters. At the same time, the use of old 7,62-mm cartridges in the new CSASS semi-automatic rifle has caused some concern about the effectiveness of using this rifle as a sniper platform.

The new American sniper rifle M101A1, which was created by the designers of Heckler & Koch, is characterized by increased mortality precisely due to the use of cartridges of the caliber 7,62 mm. Such cartridges have a large stopping effect, compared with traditional rifle weapons US Army cartridge caliber 5,56 mm. In addition to the greater stopping power, the 7,62-mm cartridges are also distinguished by their better penetration ability, which becomes especially relevant in modern realities when the United States returns to the era of confrontation with large armies. A hypothetical military confrontation with China or Russia automatically suggests that soldiers in bulletproof vests with well-developed personal protective equipment will meet the Americans on the battlefield. Under these conditions, the old 7,62X51 NATO cartridge, which was adopted by the alliance countries in the 1954 year, becomes relevant again.


Today, cartridges of the 7,62 mm caliber, which have a high degree of kinetic effect on the enemy and have sufficient lethal force, are often associated in the USA with rifles in the style of the famous Soviet Kalashnikov assault rifle, the creator of which would have turned 100 years this year. Comparing the American AR-15 assault rifle and the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle, we can highlight several of the most noticeable differences between the two rifle systems. Since the American AR-15 rifle under the 5,56 mm caliber cartridge is a more accurate and light weapon (with the same number of rounds), AK, in turn, is traditionally famous for its reliability and great destructive force and stopping action of the 7,62 mm bullet, while losing weight and effective firing range.

Why do some experts oppose the 7,62 mm cartridge

Unlike modern, more powerful cartridges, for example, the 7,62X67 mm, which is used in the new American high-precision sniper rifle Mk 13 Mod 7, the classic 7,62 mm cartridges have good lethal force, but lose their effectiveness and accuracy at long distances, having a lower initial speed. Like the well-known and still widely used Dragunov army sniper rifle (the famous SVD), which shoots similar ammunition - the 7,62x54R, the American semi-automatic CSASS sniper rifle is limited by the effective range of 800 meters, which is a real problem for snipers who are accustomed to the Marine Corps targets at a distance of over 1000 meters. At the same time, the CSASS rifles, which, apparently, are an adaptation of the H&K G28 model to the requirements of the American military, have their obvious advantages. These rifles are lighter, and in their dimensions practically do not differ from traditional assault rifles. This not only does not distinguish a sniper from other fighters, but also allows you to effectively use weapons in modern short-range combat, especially in urban areas. In addition, weapons are more convenient when transporting soldiers with armored vehicles or vehicles.

At the same time, the 7,62x51 NATO cartridge exceeds the 5,56 mm cartridges in terms of the impact on the enemy, especially if the shooting is carried out on target in body armor. But the effective range of the CSASS system with such a cartridge is limited to 600 meters when shooting at a chest target and 800 meters when shooting at a growth target. In an interview with the American newspaper The Washington Post, one of the Marine Corps scouts noted: “It does not matter that you will be a more trained fighter if you are shot at a distance of a thousand yards, that is, before you can effectively shoot at the enemy yourself. What is the point of all training then? ”. True, the scout is clearly disingenuous, given that the new M110A1 semi-automatic rifle has its own quite obvious niche, the same as the Soviet / Russian SVD army rifle, while the marines will receive a standard "bolt" rifle Mk 13 to ensure truly high-precision shooting Mod 7, allowing you to reach targets at a distance of more than a kilometer.


At the same time, for now, simple marines will still be armed with weapons chambered for 5,56 mm. This is a variant of the automatic infantry rifle M27, the production of which is also engaged in the company Heckler & Koch. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that in the near future the entire American army will switch to larger caliber ammunition. In particular, serious work is underway to introduce the 6,8 mm cartridge and develop new shooting systems in this caliber. In terms of their ballistic qualities, such ammunition will in no way be inferior to 7,62 mm caliber cartridges, while remaining lighter, which is also of great importance for each individual fighter who carries pouches with additional stores.

In general, it can be noted that the US military is moving towards a return to the old calibers and the creation of new ammunition with great power, great stopping power and greater penetration. The US Marine Corps, like all the country's armed forces, is being reorganized in preparation for possible military conflicts with an equal or close enemy. The creation of new cartridges and the appearance of rifles such as the M110A1 CSASS and the Mk 13 Mod 7 are an integral part of the efforts being made in this direction.
Yuferev Sergey
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