[Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

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[Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Lonestar » 2015-04-06 01:51am

From the Firearm Blog

From reuters.de
Berlin (Reuters) – The future of the G36 as the standard assault rifle of the Bundeswehr is questioned due to technical failures.

“The G36 apparently has a precision problem at high temperatures, but also in the hot shot state,” said Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Monday, citing initial assessments of experts who had examined, built by Heckler & Koch rifle after defect reports. In the coming days Inspector General Volker Wieker will issue a transfer, as the troops could continue to use the weapon and on which Ausrüstungsmix the soldiers should take in use. Once the final report of the expert vorliege, the Ministry will consider further consequences. “This includes the question of whether and to what extent the force must be fitted in the medium term with another assault rifle.”

Inspector General Wieker advised the Stewards of Defence and Budget Committee of the Bundestag and the troops. According to the experts the accuracy inaccuracy in G36 was significantly greater than in the investigated comparison weapons, he told the soldiers. The G36 was thus clearly part of the problem – and not just the ammunition or other factors. The defects were observed with all tested types of ammunition and delivery charges.

The investigations showed so clearly a “capability gap in a given scenario,” said Wieker. The problems träten at high temperatures, but also for hot shot weapons. For a transitional period, the rifle can be used in the opinion of the army but. The temperature problems are particularly severe for the troops, because to a large part of their missions in hot regions like Afghanistan, Mali and the Horn of Africa.Armed Forces patrols in Afghanistan, however, were equipped in the past, not only with the G36, but also with other guns like the older G3 or newer G28.

....

What HK has to say:
....

Unfortunately, the current statements by the German Armed Forces about the G 36 rifle were first brought to the attention of Heckler & Koch through enquiries from the press. Despite several offers by Heckler & Koch to involve the extensive know-how of the company accumulated over many years, the German Armed Forces have not involved Heckler & Koch in the investigation.

Quite to the contrary, the German Armed Forces have not communicated with Heckler & Koch for nearly six months regarding unsupported allegations regarding accuracy issues with the G 36 at high temperatures. The G 36, is acknowledged worldwide as a, technologically superior assault rifle. Unfortunately the German government did not afford an opportunity for Heckler & Koch to contribute correct information and facts that would have clarified and addressed any issues.
....
Some of the commentators(TFB staff) have reported experiences that the POI changes significantly in hot and cold weather, and Tim from the Military Arms Channel posted on his FB page that he felt the M4 was more consistently reliable than the G36. Obviously, these are just mooks who are bloggers/youtubers, but given reports we've been hearing about the G36 over the past several years from semi-official sources there's little reason to doubt them.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Thanas » 2015-04-06 02:04am

Yeah, I posted about these troubles before. The Army has now conducted independent testing and these are the results. But geez, did they use google translate for the "translation"?

Nobody I have spoken to in the Bundeswehr (got three buddies serving) actually likes the rifle, they view it as plastic piece of shit and prefer the G3. One theory I've heard is that the plastic parts of the rifle were never designed to be operated at desert temperatures and then handle the temperature increase of heavy fire on top of the higher surrounding temperatures. Which doesn't make a lot of sense to me at first glance, but I got no way of knowing either way.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Lonestar » 2015-04-06 04:42am

But geez, did they use google translate for the "translation"?
Yup, they said so in the first paragraph :P

Not sure if "Plastic" is a good complaint, the Tavor and SCAR both are used in desert/warm environments and they don't have the reputation the G-36 does.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Elheru Aran » 2015-04-06 11:28am

Well the Tavor is designed by Israelis, I'd say they have a pretty good idea about what plastics and such will work for a gun being used in desert/high temperature environments. Can't say about the SCAR.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Beowulf » 2015-04-06 04:44pm

I thought the SCAR had an extruded aluminum upper receiver, and only a plastic lower receiver. Since the aluminum isn't going to soften under any but the highest heat, it's not going to suffer the same issue as the G36. The Tavor has the sights mounted to the barrel, and so even if the receiver starts to soften, the sights will stay properly aligned to the bore.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Lonestar » 2015-04-06 06:51pm

The Tavor sights aren't mounted to the barrel.... In fact there's a reciprocating handle right under the forward sight.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Batman » 2015-04-06 07:38pm

Pity...for a conventional rifle the G36 looked pretty nifty, and the Bundeswehr definitely needed something in 5.56. 7.62 is just plain overpowered for a standard infantry rifle.
So, assuming this turns out to be for real, what would be your alternatives?
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Adam Reynolds » 2015-04-06 08:21pm

I am surprised that this was never noticed before. I remember reading some of Shep's old posts here about just how absurd some of the testing is for US weapons, did the Germans not do the same thing?

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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Beowulf » 2015-04-06 09:23pm

Lonestar wrote:The Tavor sights aren't mounted to the barrel.... In fact there's a reciprocating handle right under the forward sight.
You take a look at it disassembled? The sight rail attaches to the gas system only, and that's only attached to the barrel. The cocking handle doesn't reciprocate. The part with the cocking handle comes out the front of the gun when disassembled (take the rail and front sling swivel off, then remove the foregrip, and the cocking assembly slides out). It's all in the manual.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by montypython » 2015-04-06 11:59pm

What was the reason the G41 rifle wasn't adopted? Wasn't it supposed to be the second line rifle for troops not equipped with the G11?

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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Lonestar » 2015-04-07 12:08am

Beowulf wrote: You take a look at it disassembled? The sight rail attaches to the gas system only, and that's only attached to the barrel.

Seriously? It's attached to something that's attached to the barrel? That's what you're going with for your winning argument?

No one says that the front post sights for the AR-15/M-16 platforms are "attached to the barrel", they say that they are attached to the gas block.
"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."

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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Beowulf » 2015-04-07 01:18am

Lonestar wrote:
Beowulf wrote:You take a look at it disassembled? The sight rail attaches to the gas system only, and that's only attached to the barrel.
Seriously? It's attached to something that's attached to the barrel? That's what you're going with for your winning argument?

No one says that the front post sights for the AR-15/M-16 platforms are "attached to the barrel", they say that they are attached to the gas block.
Way to ignore the point: the sights aren't attached to the plastic receiver. Instead, they're (indirectly) attached to the barrel. So if the barrel shifts, the sights shift with it, keeping the zero steady. And the part that connects to the two is steel, so it's unlikely to warp until well after you've dumped your entire basic load through the rifle on full auto.

This is in contrast to the G36, which has the sights attached to the plastic receiver, without any metal bits to keep the sights aligned with the barrel.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Thanas » 2015-04-07 04:11am

Adamskywalker007 wrote:I am surprised that this was never noticed before. I remember reading some of Shep's old posts here about just how absurd some of the testing is for US weapons, did the Germans not do the same thing?
Unsurprisingly, nobody tested desert conditions for a rifle that was never supposed to move outside Central Europe.
montypython wrote:What was the reason the G41 rifle wasn't adopted?
German reunification killed the G41 as it was not necessary at that time.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Adam Reynolds » 2015-04-08 09:48am

Thanas wrote: Unsurprisingly, nobody tested desert conditions for a rifle that was never supposed to move outside Central Europe.
That does make sense now that you mention it. I guess only Americans have the idea that their armies need to be able to attack everyone on Earth. Though even domestically, America does have a bit more diversity in climate than Europe.

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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by salm » 2015-04-08 10:28am

Why was it not supposed to move out of Central Europe?
Or why would anyody assume that the geopolitical situations stays the same and risk an expensive thing like the standard weapon of the army to be useless in a relatively common climate?
Not testing something like this in a desert seems rather negligent.

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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Thanas » 2015-04-08 01:09pm

salm wrote:Why was it not supposed to move out of Central Europe?
Because it was ordered and introduced in the period of 1994-1996. This is the period where Kohl was in power, who was deadset against any attempt to intervene out of Europe. Heck, do you remember how much resistance Schröder faced when he ordered four Tornadoes to provide aerial reconnaissance in the Kosovo?

The Bundeswehr acting outside of Europe was not in the plans until after 9/11.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Sidewinder » 2015-04-08 01:40pm

Thanas wrote:
salm wrote:Why was it not supposed to move out of Central Europe?
Because it was ordered and introduced in the period of 1994-1996. This is the period where Kohl was in power, who was deadset against any attempt to intervene out of Europe.
Do the Germans hate their domestic arms manufacturers that much? I presume you should design a rifle so it's useful in any environment, if you want to export it. (Yes, the Americans managed to export the M16 DESPITE the fact they EPIC FAILed to design the weapon to function in the desert and in the jungle. But the government was subsidizing the arms manufacturers, meaning American allies can import the rifle for pocket change.)
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Thanas » 2015-04-08 01:51pm

We manage to sell weapons all over the world despite the design, so who cares if the weapons actually work or not?
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by salm » 2015-04-08 02:24pm

Thanas wrote:
salm wrote:Why was it not supposed to move out of Central Europe?
Because it was ordered and introduced in the period of 1994-1996. This is the period where Kohl was in power, who was deadset against any attempt to intervene out of Europe. Heck, do you remember how much resistance Schröder faced when he ordered four Tornadoes to provide aerial reconnaissance in the Kosovo?

The Bundeswehr acting outside of Europe was not in the plans until after 9/11.
That is true and perhaps it´s just hindsight but I still find it odd that an army wouldn´t want their standard tool to be testet in all kinds of scenarios, just in case.
And it is also odd because HK want to export their weapons and it seems like a rather cheap design task if you think of it early enough.
Perhaps I am wrong and such tests, Q&A and development are a lot more expensive than I think they are.

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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Thanas » 2015-04-08 03:47pm

We are talking about the same army here which managed to not hold any tests on their drones, much less check them for basic flight safety. The Bundeswehr is not a great example of rigid testing.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2015-04-08 04:48pm

The early models (most of those produced!) have a questionable stock material; the A4 model uses a different material, though the German government made the brilliant decision last year to hold up production of this gun, which also has multiple other needed features like a telescoping stock, over the poorly documented complaints about the G36A1. Because totally that's how to solve that! Support your troops by forcing them to use a weapon you think is flawed! Buy nothing to replace it, and don't even allow them to issue the G3 rifles in storage which are probably better for Afghanistan anyway because of the higher caliber.

The situation is not helped by the utter hysteria coming out of the German press over the past few year, including an insane claim from I want to say 2012 that the stocks were failing at 23 C. Which is about how hot it was outside yesterday in Philadelphia. TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE! The stocks melt at room temperature!

Still the gun was not designed for really high intensity fire, or for long range accuracy in the manner of basically all other military grade assault rifles, HK's own written defense of its product makes this clear. HK basically designed a giant submachine gun; which did make some sense for Europe, but not really, because if you physically don't expect to fire over 300m then the barrel length of the rifle makes no sense! Expensive gun too, though everything HK touches magically becomes expensive anyway.

HK tested the gun to the cookoff limit, which is about the same as any other 5.56mm self loading rifle at 140-150 rounds, but neither it nor the Bundeswehr conducted tests with heavy sustained fire where short bursts of cooling can allow the gun to exceed the cookoff limit by hundreds of rounds, but the overall gun heats up more due to thermal soak into the stock. Troops can easily carry 300 rounds of 5.56mm ammo in magazines given a reason, but the tests did not reflect this, or at least HK certainly isn't citing any as having happened and in fact sort of denies firing more rounds is tactically relevant.

The G36 action also just runs hot. This actually makes the gun more reliable by destroying carbon fouling, and numerous tests have shown the gun to be highly reliable without cleaning... as long as you avoid the overheat. Which isn't a problem in 99.9% of combat because automatic fire is borderline useless outside of room clearing in the first place. But if you need it, oh god will you badly need it.

The HK416, XM8 and a few other guns exist because HK knew the G36 series needed revision over its heat issue, though said guns also includes other revisions found on the G36A4 which have far more to do with the trends of the last 15 years of more customizable rifles in NATO then any sort of technological issue with the original design. Just nobody was doing that earlier over cost and because such features can detract from durability if you smash someone in the face with the gun.

The MG36 light machine gun had to be dropped because of overheating though, but this isn't all that surprising, many attempts to make rifles into LMGs have failed before, it isn't easy to toughen a gun up for the job. The newer M27 meanwhile based on the 416 passed USMC tests no problem and that requires thermal soak to 140F before firing among other tests. That's so hot you'd rapidly get a third degree burn from touching the metal.

In the end though the G36 problems are only under certain extreme conditions, but the whole point of military arms as opposed to random civilian products is supposed to be they'll work under any possible demand. Oh and also the German military just sucks at writing contracts in general, this is a very long running problem known before the Eurohawk fiasco or the slow moving disaster the Puma project appears to be turning into. So it wouldn't surprise me one bit if they never even specified test conditions to HK or something asstarded like that. Since then corruption and usual political ass covering have engaged full stop since 2009 when this was first talked about and still NOBODY has conducted formal trials, at least not public ones, to formally settle the issue.

The infamous problems with the British L85 were partly linked to this same issue, gun simply not tested for firing large numbers of rounds rapidly, but only to the raw cookoff limit, about 180 rounds IIRC in that case. Funny enough it was HK who finally fixed that gun, at the price of making it even heavier.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Alyeska » 2015-04-08 04:59pm

From what I've read, complaints about the M16 and L85 eventually became mythical and the reputation simply followed the gun and people continued to complain about it after improvements were made.

H&K sunk a lot of money into fixing the L85. Early reports were grim that the gun was still falling apart at the seams. But then people actually dissected the reports and the L85A2 was actually performing just fine in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by salm » 2015-04-08 05:19pm

I guess we should just go back to playing with broom sticks and leave the fighting business to real armies...

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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Thanas » 2015-04-08 06:09pm

I'm sure you remember the old joke "Die Bundeswehr ist dazu da, den Feind solange aufzuhalten, bis die Armee eingetroffen ist".
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Re: [Blog]G-36 rifle controversy intensifies

Post by Thanas » 2015-04-11 11:50am

In true Bundeswehr fashion, there are now two special commitees looking into this. Because one wasn't enough, no, gotta have two.
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