A couple of interesting items

I got my weekly round-up email from Military.com and there were a couple items that caught my eye.

First up, the Army is upgrading some of its M24 sniper rifles from 7.62mm NATO to .300 WinMag. It’s about time. When the M24 was introduced about 20 years ago, the Army bought them based on the Remington 700 long action, specifically so they could be converted.

According to PEO for Soldier weapons Col. Doug Tamilio, the service is taking “some” of its Remington-made M24s and converting them to .300 Win Mag shooters — which Tamilio says will increase the rifles range beyond its current 800 meters. They’re also going to replace the forward stock with a new one that incorporates picatinny rails, replace the current 10x scope with an adjustable one up to 25x that “when we adjust it from 3 power to 25, the reticle inside changes with that” and make the rear stock adjustable for length and cheek weld (so no more foam and duct tape customizations, Joe).

There’s of course, a lively discussion in the comments about what the Army should have done, but there’s also a lot of idiots who are upset that COL Tamilio, the guy who actually buys small arms for the Army, hasn’t shot any of the alternatives. Who cares if he’s shot it? He’s a Colonel, not a sniper. He listens to his customers, the guys who ARE snipers, and buys them what they want.

And of course, there’s a lot of folks worried about flinching and what not. Look, I’m not a small arms guru, but I’ve owned and shot a .300 WinMag. Yeah, it has a hefty recoil, but it isn’t some horrific experience. I wouldn’t shoot more than about 20 rounds a day, but that was mostly because I couldn’t afford the ammo, and because I had a light barrel, I didn’t want to overheat it.

Next up, foot patrols in Afghanistan. There’s an article that talks about one way of avoiding losing troops to IEDs is to simply ditch the vehicles and go where you must by foot.  I’m a little nonplussed. Has the author not seen any of the hundreds of videos available on youtube or other hosting sites? In fact, I’ve not seen a lot of clips showing mounted patrols. Most of the pics and vids I see show dismounted patrols.

Roadside bombs have been the biggest killer in Afghanistan for coalition troops, and as armor has improved, the bombs have gotten bigger and more sophisticated.

Capt. Kirby Jones, the commander of the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment’s Company B, sees a simple solution to this: Never drive. Anywhere.

That’s fine. Indeed, there are a number a parts of Afghanistan where there is no option but to walk. There just aren’t any roads at all, and the terrain is too rugged for off-road mobility. But there are also a number of places where opting for dismounted operations would be folly. Distances and lack of any cover or concealment argue against having troops spend two days walking just to get from one village to the next. And even if you do conduct most of your operations dismounted, not all logistics can be done by helicopter. To a great extent, you just have to use wheeled vehicles to move your supplies.  If you look at the article as a “slice of life” piece, it is interesting. But if you are looking for a “magic bullet” to solve all the problems of the war, you are being very silly.

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