Earlier today on Twitter I laid out my thoughts on what my “ideal” rifle would be (those of you who aren’t yet following me on Twitter can do so here), since I’ve been unable to find the “one gun” that would do everything that I would like a rifle to be able to accomplish (nor have I been able to find a unicorn).
In general theory, this rifle would be adequate as a hunting rifle for North American big game animals (deer, elk, bear, moose). It would also be useful as a self-defense/militia firearm, capable of running well in battle-rifle courses of fire.
These are the qualities I desire in this “do anything” rifle:
- A semi-automatic, magazine fed rifle.
- The “standard” magazine would be ruggedized and nearly “bombproof,” made of steel, and would have a 20-round capacity. 20-round magazines tend to work better in the prone position. Magazines of 5 and 10 rounds could be used for hunting and target shooting.
- The cartridge I want doesn’t yet exist. I desire a caseless 6.5-7mm cartridge firing bullets of 110-140 grains. I’d want sub-MOA performance, a practical barrel life of 10,000 rounds, and 1,200 meter range. Theoretically, the lack of a case would mean you could carry more rounds with less weight as opposed to brass-encased ammunition.Why caseless? No brass to litter the ground (or give away your firing position), no ejection port to allow in outside muck and mud, and no ejection cycle means no ejection-related malfunctions (a more reliable firearm).
- The rifle would feature an integral brake to reduce recoil to .223 Remington/5.56 NATO levels, and would port gases in such a way as to prevent creating a dust cloud that would give away the shooter’s position.
- Suppressor capable.
- The rifle would feature an integral 1x-6x variable power scope with an illuminated bullet-drop compensating reticle with range-finder.
- The rifle would be in a bullpup configuration to minimize overall length, while providing an optimal barrel length to maximize bullet velocity and reduce flash.
- It would feature intelligently designed sling attachment points, and would have a purpose-built sling to take advantage of slung-rifle marksmanship techniques in standing, sitting/kneeling, and prone positions to maximize practical accuracy in the field.
- The rifle would be relatively “clean” with minimum attachment options for geardos to weigh it down with unnecessary crap.
- Length of pull and cheekweld adjustments would be integral, repeatable, bomb-proof, and simply to adjust.
- The rifle with optic would weigh about 7.0-7.5 pounds with integral optic and a full 20-round magazine.
- The cost of the rifle with integral optic and sling would be at or under $1,500.
Folks on Twitter suggested that what I wanted sounded like a “Super Tavor” chambered in either 6.5×55 or 6.5 Creedmoor… which wouldn’t be a bad choice of conventional cartridges. But I really do want a caseless cartridge (it’s my dream rifle, your mileage may vary).
What I found later is that the British came reasonably close to matching a lot of what I was asking for, at least in terms of general layout, in the EM-2 “Janson Rifle” that was very briefly chosen to be the standard British service rifle in a .280 British intermediate caliber before the United States bullied NATO into accepting the 7.62×51 NATO. The .280 cartridge designed for the EM-2 outperformed the .6.8 SPC that was created to address the short-comings of the 5.56 NATO.
Now, do I expect to see a rifle meeting all of these specs in my lifetime? It’s certainly possible.
Each and every one of these technologies exists right now in differing levels of maturity, including caseless ammunition. Whether or not there is a desire and a demand marry all these components into a “do anything” rifle, and the ability to hit a $1,500 price point at this time, is another matter entirely.
I have faith that if the industry was so inclined, it could produce the DA rifle within three years.
I just don’t know if there is enough demand for such a rifle when so many people are wedded to conventional cartridges and rifles.