Yesterday SAKO Ltd and Swedish Defence Material command and their Finnish counterparts decided to switch into common rifle system. The thought is not without some serious merit, and is in in a way step back into good old days of Swedish power in the late seventeeth century.
We can learn from the picture presented, that SAKO rifle is going to have ambidextrous controls all the way. MagPull MOE or CTR stock (As picture is a rendering of design, I cannot definitely say which. If you made me I’d wager for CRT). There will be STANAG 4694 rail and M-lock slots in fore end. Barrel length seems to be (27 times 10mm gives fore end length of 270mm and muzzle device and a bit extra say 30mm which would give approximate barell lengt of 300mm or 12 inches). So in effect the already weakish 5,56mm round will be bled out to near impotence due the lack of muzzle velocity. Difference with 55 grain or 3,56 gram in velocity is (between M-16 20 inch, or 500mm barrel and 12 inch or 300mm barrel) 3071 to 2646 feet per second, or 936 m/s to 806m/s. so difference of 130 meters per second. Weapon seems to be short stroke rifle. (Again based on study of the rendering)
Where this will really hurt the rifle is in kinetic energy and wounding. Muzzle energy from 500mm barrel is ½*0,00356kg*(936m/s)² or 1559 joules where as ½*0,00356kg*(806m/s)² gives out 1156 joules of energy. Difference of 400 joules. The 5,56mm round fragments upon impact, and this is it’s primary wounding method. Out of 20 inch or 500mm barrel the fragmentation will take place to aproximately 150m out. The 14,5 inch barrel (v0 of 856m/s) will achieve this to about 75meters, so looking at the 12inch barrel fragmentation effect might only take place out to 40m or so. This is a serious flaw in wounding capability of the weapon.
US Army and the British Army were disapointed in 5,56 mm’s lackluster performance in Sandbox wars in Afganistan and Iraq, and Brits brought out LMT’s L129A1 7,62 NATO rifle to supplement their SA-80 stocks, and to gain fire supremacy in firefights. So SAKO AR clone is a good weapon for wehicle or heavy weapons’ crews and of course all kinds of snake-eaters in respective forces, but is lacking as basic infantry fighting weapon. It sure is handy in 600mm or so lenght.
I wish to point out that we DON’T KNOW what will the use case of these weapons be. I’m sure we will know in a year or so.
Swedish side favours heavier “battle rifle” configuration in 7,62 NATO. Barrel lenght seems to be around 17 inch. And one can see that there is something on the gasblock, which seems to indicate short stroke mechanism on the rifle. As the standard 10 gram M80 ball round of 7,62 NATO works differently on enemy flesh compared to 5,56 NATO the barrel lenght is not that much of an issue here.
Certainly the fighter will carry less ammo, and we cannot really talk of any kind of controllability of burst fire here. Magazines will be standard 20 and with decent optick we can expect pretty serious accurate fire out to 500 m. Against circa Ukraine war Russian infantry with their Chinese Airsoft bodyarmour, this weapon will be a utter overmatch. Again we do not know about the optic, but I’d wager either something along lines Trijicon 3,5x or variable 1-6 power optic to really take advantage of the ballistic edge M80 and 7,62 NATO gives compared to 5,45 and 7,62 Soviet.
As my 0,02 cents worth I venture to question the wisdom of staying in legacy rifle calibers and not moving into 6,8 mm Fury. I do concur the Ukraine war has showed us that Russian army is pretty much the same it was in 1975 in weapons, armor and in tactics, so the near peer rifle round of 6,8 mm might not be needed in the end. Also only a barrel swap could be required on migrating from 7,62 NATO to new and smoking hot 6,8 mm Fury. Or say 6,5 mm Creedmore if you fancy that. But as of the “new common Nordic rifle and rifle round” I really really don’t know.
Both armies are moving into SAKO M10 in .338 Lapua Magnum time in marksman rifles. Solid choise and not much new there. Great rifle and Great round.