By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
All photos and video clips contained in this article were shot by DefenseReview.com (DR), and are copyrighted. DefenseReview.com owns the copyright on these materials. The photos and video clips were shot with a Canon PowerShot S90 10-megapixel digital camera (still camera with video capability).
January 26, 2012
PCP Ammunition bills its polymer-cased (i.e., plastic-cased) rifle/machine gun ammo tech as “the future of ammunition”, and that might not be just your usual marketing hype. It may actually be the truth. PCP ammo’s main claim to fame is it’s signficant weight savings versus current brass-cased ammo. The PCP polymer rifle case weighs half as much as a comparable brass case in for any given rifle caliber, and cuts 30% off the overall cartridge weight. That means you can carry 30% more ammo for the same combat load, or the same number of rounds at 30% less weight, allowing you to carry additional supplies. Personally, I’d opt for more ammo.
DefenseReview (DR) first published info on PCP polymer cased ammo last September (2011). We’d seen it at SHOT Show 2011, but at the time looked like just another example of a polymer-cased rifle/machine gun ammo pipe dream in the making. Defense Review has changed its mind on this, however. PCP plastic-cased ammo now looks viable and potentially ready for prime time, i.e., military combat applications.
DR was allowed to fire some PCP Ammo rounds down range at SHOT Show 2012 Media Day, and, while we only fired a few, the ammo seemed pretty accurate. PCP’s Tony Padgett informed us that the ammo is good to go not only for rifles, but also for machine guns including the FN M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) / FN Mk46 MOD 1 5.56x45mm NATO (5.56mm NATO) light machine gun (LMG), FN Mk48 MOD 1 and FN M240 MMG/GPMG (Medium Machine Gun/General Purpose Machine Gun) 7.62x51mm (7.62mm NATO) machine gun. The PCP development team is currently in the process of “working through some of the the final issues [i.e., tweaking/refining and strengthening] of the Minigun” with respect to their 7.62mm ammo, so it can handle the aggressive loading/chambering (and extraction?) aspect of the Dillon Aero M134 series (M134D, M134D-T, and Hybrid M134D-H) and Garwood Industries M134G Gatling Guns/Miniguns, which are actively-powered guns utilizing a feeder/de-linker.
Tony Padgett of PCP Ammunition told us when we interviewed him at the firing range on Media Day that while the PCP ammo’s polymer case can theoretically melt at extreme temperature, in the practical application the gun will go into cook-off, cooking off the round(s) (i.e., involuntarily firing the round(s) due to ambient heat ignition) before the case can melt in the chamber, so melting isn’t actually a practical “issue” for the case polymer.
At present, the company has 5.56mm NATO/.223 Rem., 7.62mm NATO/.308 Win., 6.8 SPC (6.8x43mm SPC), .300 Win. Mag (.300 Winchester Magnum), .338 Lapua Magnum, and .50 BMG/12.7x99mm NATO ready to go, but it’s DR’s understanding at present that the PCP Ammo development team is also looking at potentially producing polymer-cased 300 AAC Blackout ammo (of which DR is a fan), as well.
The proof will be in the military combat shooting, though, as the PCP polymer cased ammo must prove itself in adverse conditions and high round count while being run on semi-auto (rapid fire) and full-auto in military assault rifles and on heavy full-auto in military machine guns for months and years on end by front-line infantry warfighters. DR hopes the ammo works as advertised for this purpose, as it will save our warfighters a lot of ammo weight if it does.
Here’s the video clip of DR’s interview with Mr. Padgett:
Company Contact Info:
PCP Ammunition Company
2001 W Oak Ridge Rd, Suite B
Orlando, FL 32809
Email Contact Page: http://www.pcpammo.com/contact.htm
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