.408 Status???

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by PrimeTime, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. PrimeTime

    PrimeTime Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully someone has information on the .408 and it's role in the military.
    I heard some rumors that the military may not be interested and hope this isn't true.
    It wouldn't surprise me though as top brass seem to be very conservative and against change. I just read that it took many years (over a decade) for the AR 15/M16 to be accepted.
    From the available info on the .408, it certainly appears like it would make an unbeatable long range sniper round. Lighter and far more efficient than the .50 and uses modern technology and theories in its design. Hopefully one of you has some information on the status of this cartridge.
     
  2. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Well-Known Member

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  3. moosehunter

    moosehunter Well-Known Member

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    The only reason the military went from the M-14, 7.62 round. Which was a huge mistake I think. Was that tricky dicky wanted to take the contract from Rock Island and give it to Colt which is owned by the Morman church of which he was a devout member. Going from the tried and true M-14 to the .223 cut back a grunts effective range by several hundred yards and gave him a projectile that would bounce all over hell in the bush. Plus, how many versions did they have to go through before they came up with one that didnt foul up after a mag or two. Maybe Im talking out my ho-ho but thats the way I see it. [​IMG]
     
  4. ross spagrud

    ross spagrud Active Member

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    Here is the status of a 408 we shipped out
    today. LRT-2, 30" Pac Nor, A-2 Stock, 5
    round magazine and the best part is the
    weight is under 13lbs.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. texas

    texas Well-Known Member

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    As usual Ross nice work think I might like something along those lines but, not that color.
     
  6. CatShooter

    CatShooter Well-Known Member

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    PrimeTime...

    So far, the military is cautious about the .408 Cheytac.
    It's easy to accuse the "Top brass" of being very conservative and against change, but that accusation is without merit, if the desire is for change itself.

    In comparisons with the 50BMG, in a quality rifle, with state of the art ammunition, the .408 offers small advantage, and gives many disadvantages in return.

    Some of the disadvantages from the civilian point of view...

    The bore size... No one has a passion for the .408 bore size, and it is 0.008" over the maximum size for most of the competitions in the USA... though this may be changing, as the true bore size is .400"

    The fact that brass is available from only one, small proprietary source, means that if you pay out the $8,000 to $9,000-ish price, and if CheyTac goes belly up, you eat the rifle.

    The fact that the price of brass is formidable, compared to the 25 to 50 cents each for 50BMG and other long range brass. And even .338 Lap is less than half of that. The fact that no one but Warren (Lost River) makes bullets, and they are also quite pricey, around $2.50+ each.
    No one else is making .408 projectiles... and Sierra is not tooling up for the .408, so this makes other bullet options very limited.

    I think many would be more confident in the cartridge and it's long range-range accuracy, if the .408 CheyTac and/or the cartridges or bullets were seen in competions, and placing in the upper levels, but that hasn't happened as yet.

    I think the comparison between the .408 and the 50BMG that they post on their website is is unfair. They compare long, hand made .408 bronze bullets with high BCs, to production 50BMG bullets made for M2 machineguns...
    A fairer comparison would be with one of the better "sniper" or match bullets, like the 750gr A-Max, or one of the Barnes 50 cal Bronze solids, with higher BCs than the .408.

    ---

    On the military side...

    In spite of the fact that the .408 has now been around for a while, it has a difficult sell to the military. THe 50BMG is well entrenched, ammo is made in every technological country in the world, and there are match/sniper bullets, plus alternative ammo should other targets of opportunity arise. To sell the 408 to the military, they have a dificult task ahead of them.

    The 50BMG has the advantage of a ton of projectiles that are active... Trace, straight incendiary, API, AP, APIT, SLAP, ROUFAS, and the list is almost endless.
    But... there isn't enough room in the .408 to get it to go "Bang" in a big way.

    Plus... the whole proposed advantage of the 408 is based on the long, needle like, bullets with high BCs.
    If you go to conventional construction for Incendary, APIT, or other active munitions... you must give up that design for for interior pyrotechnics, and the BC would drop like a brick. There goes all that work on those long beautiful bullets,

    As to it's use as a sole sniper weapon against personel, I think they are missing the boat by not entering LR matches, and proving their worth against 50BMGs...
    The PRL bullet guys first shoot in the civilian arena, and now the government buys everything they make.

    CatShooter

    [ 08-28-2002: Message edited by: CatShooter ]
     
  7. PrimeTime

    PrimeTime Well-Known Member

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    CatShooter-
    First off, my question pertains to military use only. To be more difinitive, its use as a sniper round. I do believe most of the published data on the 408. It would seem that for a sniper cartridge, the advantage would favor the .408 over the 50bmg for several reasons. First, the availability of a high quality bullet. Second, having high quality brass to launch these bullets. You also have less recoil and can carry more more ammo due to the smaller size and weight. If I were a sniper, those things would be important to me. I shoot in 1,000 yard competition and spend hours of my time and almost embarassing amounts of money trying to achieve long range accuracy. I have seen military ammunition for the 50bmg and I cringe at the thought of using it for sniping. Maybe the snipers have their own better quality ammo, I hope so.
    I am certainly no expert on either of these cartridges but it seems to me that the 408 would be a better round for long range accuracy.
     
  8. CatShooter

    CatShooter Well-Known Member

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    PrimeTime...

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>
    To be more difinitive, its use as a sniper round. I do believe most of the published data on the 408.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Most of the published data is probably true, except for the accuracy claims. But... the comparisons with the 50BMG should be done with equal quality bullets for in the 50BMG, for a realistic (and fair) comparison.


    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>
    It would seem that for a sniper cartridge, the advantage would favor the .408 over the 50bmg for several reasons. First, the availability of a high quality bullet.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    There are MANY different "quality" match bullets for the 50BMG. There are the 750gr A-Max. and the Barnes Bronze match bullets, plus a plethera of unique bullets by makes... bore riders, and others... many of these bullets have PROVEN accurace records in registered matches... something the .408 has yet to accomplish.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>
    Second, having high quality brass to launch these bullets.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    There is quality brass available... 1000 yard matches with 50BMG rifles are shooting smaller groups than their 30 cal brothers... the 50 cal record with a 50BMG is under 3" @ 1000 yds. All done with select brass... just like any 30 cal match shooter does.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>
    You also have less recoil...
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The recoil on my 50BMG bolt gun is about that of a .308... virtually ALL of these big guns, the .408 included, have effective muzzle breaks fitted to them, otherwise, shooting a rifle that has 12,000+ foot pounds of muzzle energy will kill at both ends, and one shot would be all you could stand!
    The recoil differences between the 408 and the 50BMG is a non issue.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>
    ... and can carry more more ammo due to the smaller size and weight. If I were a sniper, those things would be important to me.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The weight of the ammo is also a non issue. To field one of these guns takes a "bunch" of kit... the weight difference of a few pounds would not even show up in the overall weight load of all the equipment that went with the gun and the team.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>
    I shoot in 1,000 yard competition and spend hours of my time and almost embarassing amounts of money trying to achieve long range accuracy. I have seen military ammunition for the 50bmg and I cringe at the thought of using it for sniping. Maybe the snipers have their own better quality ammo, I hope so.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The military ammunition that you have seen for the 50BMG is mass produced machinegun ammo... it is required to shoot 2" groups at 100 yds.

    But I will take your comment to it's logical conclusion...
    "I have seen military ammunition for the .308-7.62mm and I cringe at the thought of using it in a match (or for sniping)."

    The military 308 (M80) ammunition is the quality equivalent to the 50BMG ammo that you saw. I doubt that you would shoot that .308 ammo in one of your long-range matches.
    However, it is certainly clear to anyone that follows Palma shooting, that the .308 is a VERY capable cartridge at 1000 yards.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>
    I am certainly no expert on either of these cartridges but it seems to me that the 408 would be a better round for long range accuracy.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    After 3-ish years, that "better round for long range accuracy" has yet to be demonstrated in a fair comparison to the public, or the military.

    CatShooter.

    [ 08-28-2002: Message edited by: CatShooter ]
     
  9. PrimeTime

    PrimeTime Well-Known Member

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    CatShooter,
    Maybe you can answer this question for me. I am aware that there are quality bullets for the 50 caliber and that it is capable to load this round to bench rest standards. However, when a sniper goes into the field and needs to make an accurate shot as lives may depend on it, what ammo is he using? Do they have access to ammo loaded with these high quality components or are they using the same .50 cal ammo that the machine guns fire?
    You have made some good points. I would like to see someone try the .408 in 1,000 yard matches. At the club here in Pa., the .408 would actually be legal. The line is drawn at .410, so anything .409 and down is legal. Hopefully someone will take the plunge and gives this round a thorough testing.
     
  10. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Well-Known Member

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    Moosehunter, I agree to all of what you said about the 7.62 thing. The .223 is weak in my opinion. We should have stayed with it, but had a different rifle that the M14.

    Catshooter, I remember when I started on this site that there were some "rules" I had to follow so I'm not going to say anything, but I will say this. My neighbor is an Ex Navy SEAL and he was a sniper instructor and he didn't like the .50 BMG for all of the disadvantages that PrimeTime mentioned. Also Sierra is making a bullet for the .408 with a lead core because it is on an e-mail from the designer of the .408 sent to me. The advantages of the .408 are not soley bases on the bullet. If you have "read up on it" you would have seen that there is more than just the bullet, there is the powder, and the case also. If you were to use a .50 in what ever bullet you wanted and compaired it to the .408 I beet you would see an advantage in the .408 whether you like it or not. Maybe when you said that is it is as good as it should be then it should be winning all of the 1,000 yard competitions, maybe you should have considered that since it is such a new round that knowbody has one or they don't want to spend thousands more to get one and they will stick with their .50. About the record with the .50 having better groups at 1,000 yards than the .30 can't really be true because the record at that 1,000 yard mark is 1.5 inch groups from a .300 Win Mag and if I'm not mistaken that is a .30 cal. About the weight a few pounds less to me would be a good thing. I think everything you have against the .408 is opinion too. You like the .50 better because you have one. How do you know that the Military has little interest in the round so far? Are you in the Military and know all about this?
     
  11. DANTEC

    DANTEC Well-Known Member

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    for primetime

    at this time sniper team use match ammo from :

    major company as for example IMI which ''handload '' cartridge for sniper use with selected component

    small company which handload for special team / special force ammo with match bullet as AMAX , french PPI and other solid bullet .

    I agree with CATSHOOTER that sevral points in 408 CHEYENNE are unclear .

    I have several 50 cal rifle ( not BMJ because BMJ need special autorisation in France ) but even if they are wilcats ( from shortened 50 BMJ case to improved BMJ case )

    any of my rifle even the light FORTMEIER ( German made French assembly / improved with weight 25 pounds ) have no more recoil as 12 gauge .

    I get very good groups with 50 components and mach bullet quality .

    price of each round is not amazing and component are plenty not as 408 CHEYENNE CASE and bullets.

    but I can run my own production of bullet as I do for my 338/50 and my 375/50 still in developement at this time .

    I have request to the ''designer '' of the 408 CHEYENNE to became their agent in Europe and to make trials and tests at this time I have any answer from this company I find that strange because I have a rifle ready to rebarrel and enought of knowledge in gunsmithing / weapon engineering/ ballistic to drive professional tests and trials .

    As we say in Europe as SAINT THOMAS ( Catholic religion ) just believe in what he see .

    that easy to make a website with amazing values and results but .....I need to see myself .

    put 5 or 6000 USD in a rifle with not use a 50 BMJ ? even a titanium /aero space material to make ultra light rifle .

    good shooting

    DAN TEC
     
  12. CatShooter

    CatShooter Well-Known Member

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    Alex...

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>My neighbor is an Ex Navy SEAL and he was a sniper instructor and he didn't like the .50 BMG for all of the disadvantages that PrimeTime mentioned.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I am constantly amazed at how many people have neighbors that are "ex SEALs"... I didn't know that there were that many SEALs in existance...

    I can't speak to what your "ex seal" friend liked or didn't like, or how long ago he was actively shooting the 50.
    In the early days, the only rifles that were available were the Barretts and Amac 5100, and while they were nice rifles, they did not have the accuracy potential of the current 50BMG sniper rifles... the current 50BMG sniper rifles are pleasent to shoot, and VERY, VERY accurate at long range... plus there is the advantage of being able to use other types of ammo for unexpected contingencies... armor piercing for punching through steel... a bronze bullet will just be a "Splat" on the surface of hard steel... Incendary for igniting gas tanks, etc.

    And... the military version of the .408 is NOT a light weight rifle... go to their websight and look at it. It is a BIG puppy... ALL of the very long range sniper (or benchrest) rifles are in the 30 pound "plus" range

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR> ... Also Sierra is making a bullet for the .408 with a lead core because it is on an e-mail from the designer of the .408 sent to me. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As of this date, Sierra is NOT tooling up for any .408 bullet, and has no intention to do so.

    Plus, the whole ballistic advantage to the 408 is the long bronze bullets, with vary high BC... without these bullets, the .408 is just another round in the .416 Rigby class.
    The 408 rifle is a very specialized weapon, and needs the bronze bullets to live up to its purpose.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>The advantages of the .408 are not soley bases on the bullet. If you have "read up on it" you would have seen that there is more than just the bullet, there is the powder, and the case also. If you were to use a .50 in what ever bullet you wanted and compaired it to the .408 I beet you would see an advantage in the .408 whether you like it or not.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That is a "beet" that you can't back up, so there is no point in making it.

    They use standard powders and primers.

    There is nothing magical about the case... most high intensity cases (300WM, .338 RUM, 50BMG) will easily take 60,000+ psi, all day long.

    Militarys are very reluctant to get involved with weapons systems that have only one source of ammo, and in this case the source in not a big, well established munitions company like Winchester or Remington... but three guys in Idaho, and a small brass maker in Europe... that is a tough sell.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Maybe when you said that is it is as good as it should be then it should be winning all of the 1,000 yard competitions, maybe you should have considered that since it is such a new round that knowbody has one or they don't want to spend thousands more to get one and they will stick with their .50.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It is NOT new... it has been around for a few years... and there are quite a few .408s floating around, and if it was that good, it would have showed up at a match... also, if the Lost RIver bullets were all that much better, they would be winning matches in other calibers... these bullets ARE available in 30 cal, .338, and 50cal... but they are not showing up at the matches... but the A-Maxs and the Barnes ARE showing up.

    If they are good... they need to make an effort for more public exposure.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>About the record with the .50 having better groups at 1,000 yards than the .30 can't really be true because the record at that 1,000 yard mark is 1.5 inch groups from a .300 Win Mag and if I'm not mistaken that is a .30 cal.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I didn't state that the 50BMG held the current world record... though it did hold it for about 1.5 years.
    What I said was... "1000 yard matches with 50BMG rifles are shooting smaller groups than their 30 cal brothers...

    Please note the part about 1000 yard matches with 50BMG rifles are shooting smaller groups than their 30 cal brothers... Please note the use of the plural "s"...By this, I meant that if you took a large group of top 50BMG shooters and an equal number of top 30 cal shooters, and held a 1000 yd benchrest match (or class "F" match) the average group size of ALL the 50 cal shooters would be smaller than the average of the 30 cal shooters... I would have thought this would have been obvious by my original wording... but I guess it was not.

    And I said "... the 50 cal record with a 50BMG is under 3" @ 1000 yds." in responce to your coment that implied a lack of quality cases for the 50BMG.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>About the weight a few pounds less to me would be a good thing. I think everything you have against the .408 is opinion too. You like the .50 better because you have one.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is a blatantly false statement, and NOT true by any means... you presume knowledge about me and my buying habits that you don't have. .. without knowing me, or what and why I purchase firearms.

    When I shot a 300WM, I didn't "dislike" the 50 because I didn't own one... I looked at the 50 from many points of veiw, and liked what I saw, and I bought one.


    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>How do you know that the Military has little interest in the round so far? Are you in the Military and know all about this?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No... I'm in the research business... and do research in many areas, including firearms and bullet design... I also have built tactical (Sniper) rifles... and some of my very good friends are currently the top instructors at SOTIC (where the snipers are trained, and sniper equipment is evaluated).

    CatShooter.

    [ 08-28-2002: Message edited by: CatShooter ]
     
  13. FatBoy...

    FatBoy... Well-Known Member

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    If I may add but one small point,,,

    If a military sniper gets screwed out of his match ammo (IMI, Hornady, HSM etc. ) he has the option of walking over to HHC company and pulling 10 rounds off a M2 belt. Though not as effective, it's better than nothing. This would seem to allow the 50 caliber an advantage that the 408 does not have (to the military sniper) and that's EXSISTING logistical support. Anyone who's ever been out in the box for 30 days knows that you can't get food and dry gear to guys on a training exersice, no less combat. Shix, you can't get toilet paper in garrison. If a team was equipment with a 408 and either expended their rounds or (more likely) the rounds are sitting in a PEHA somewhere and never show up in the first place, the 408 SWS would be a really heavy, expensive paper weight.

    NOTE: I'm not attacking the 408 as a round. I like to look at things from the guy on the grounds point of view. I have my doubts about Canada's choice of the 338 Lapua for the same reasons as the 408. At least 308 and 50 cal have a commonality with weapons systems employed in EVERY unit in the Army.(save for some REMF units)

    For now, my money would be on the 50cal (a Robar if I had the scratch). If the Army was to adopt a belt fed 408,, I would have to reconsider, and give it another look.

    BTW,, I also shoot 1K matches. One or two a month from April to Oct, and have yet to see a 408. I would LOVE to see one (as the Air Force has yet to ban them from the range)and how it performs. I can say from a f class perspective, if this round will do what they say, guys will buy them. That rifle further up this thread is beautiful, and not too much more expensive than a 338 Lapua. It's not the price keeping guys from buying. Maybe it's lack of exposure.

    FatBoy...

    [ 08-10-2002: Message edited by: FatBoy... ]
     
  14. titanium

    titanium Active Member

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    In defense of Canadas .338 Lapua choice. [​IMG] Some basic sniper math....1 shot = 1 kill [​IMG] Some top snipers in history, Hathcock, Mawinney etc. 110 misc. kills each, multiple tours. Canadian Sniper goes to war (for 6 months), leave duty free beer and smokes behind and brings 100-150 rounds of ammo. Comes back with a bunch of brass that I trade him for smokes and beer. [​IMG]

    Just having fun since this thread is getting ugly.


    Steve