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From: (Roger Fleming)
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 16:21:18 GMT (Mp5dw) wrote:
>Can someone please explain to me what "caseless" ammunition is and how it

Normal ammunition has a brass (or sometimes steel) case containing the
propellant. It's main function is to provide a gas tight seal of the
breech during firing, but it also protects the propellant, supports
the primer, holds everything in one piece, and removes some excess

When H&K was developing the G11, they decided that to achieve the
extremely high rate of fire they wanted for 3 round burst mode, they
needed to remove the ejection phase of the weapon's cycle of
operation. Consequently, they designed a round which had projectile
and primer embedded in a solid block of waterproof propellant. Apart
from the projectile, all parts are combustible, so no ejection is
required. However the breech maechanism is much more complicated, as
it now needs to provide a really good gas tight seal by itself, as
well as suppporting the extremely high RoF with a sort of
multichamber rotating loader. Rounds come preloaded in magazines of
50, as they aren't tough enough to have rolling around loose.

Apart from supporting the G11's capability of a 3 round burst at ~2500
rpm, they are also lighter than normal rounds.

Well, despite being a technical success the G11 arrived at a bad time
and didn't get much of a market. Since then, a couple of candidates
for the US Army ACR competition were caseless; the competition closed
with no entrants achieving the standard required, and was replaced by
the OICW project.

Finally there does exist a caseless civilian rifle (made by Steyr??),
but it's a totally different concept. Never seen it, but I've been
told that in this, the projectile has a hollow base into which
propellant is pressed, and ignition is external instead of by primer.
It's a bit like a Minie bullet with charge and ball combined. I'm not
sure that it has any advantages over conventional cartridge rifles,
apart from building on the publicity of the G11.

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