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> Ballistics, Armor, Jungles, Real-world query with SR application...
Adarael
post Jan 5 2005, 07:16 PM
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Right. This is a fairly hypothetical question for those of you who know a bit more about armor and ballistics than I do. While I figure I know a fair bit, some of you probably know more about the practical application of said knowledge than I do.

Let us suppose a hypothetical situation:

There is an individual playing bodyguard to a reasonably well-off woman. The woman and her bodyguard do a lot of travelling via smuggler puddle-jumper aircraft, generally in the central and south american regions of the world - generally jungle and urban terrain is where they find themselves, with urban locales being slightly more prevalent. The woman in question is engaged in evading capture or possibly death at the hands of an unknown number of persuers who are reasonably professional and well-funded. Several times in the past, the woman has been fired at, generally in an urban location, generally while she is in a vehicle of some sort (though at least once, while she was on the foot). Despite these violent acts, bother persuers and persued wish to remain relatively low-profile; neither party has any particular ability to get military/restricted weaponry or armor.

The bodyguard in question, due to this turn of events, has opted to arm himself. For a weapon (beyond a pistol) he has chosen a Bushmaster AR-15; his round of choice is a Remington .223 Full Metal Jacket round.

My questions are these:

1) Assuming the south american climate, if the persuers are armored at all, I assume they would not be armored with anything heavier than Class III-A body armor, due both to the temperature/humidity, and their desire to remain relatively inconspicuous. I would assume, if they are armored at all (there is no evidence to suggest armor, and none to suggest there ISN'T armor) they will be wearing Class II body armor, probably of a low-profile, concealable nature. Am I correct in assuming these things? I've never worn body armor, so I only know what I hear.

2) Assuming the prior, what rationale would lead an individual to use Remington FMJ ammo in their AR-15 rather than soft-point or jacketed hollowpoint? As most of the engagements could be expected to take place in non-open ground against lightly armored or unarmored opponents, wouldn't softpoint or JHP ammo make much more sense? Especially considering the greater wound profile of non-FMJ .223 ammo?

3) Why would one choose to use an AR-15 rather than a more concealable or less 'flashy' looking rifle? Is there an inherent advantage to an AR-15 that I'm somehow missing? Let's assume this AR-15 has not been significantly modded, and does not have a short barrel or folding stock, as it has been described as 'large'.

4) If the bodyguard was military trained, and 'very experienced', what rationale might he have for using this combination of weapon and ammunition?

I realize this is a rather strange question. Humor me, please.
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Backgammon
post Jan 5 2005, 07:31 PM
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Uh, we are talking about Shadowrun, right?
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Adarael
post Jan 5 2005, 07:32 PM
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This is me trying to dispel certain things I find unbelivable in a very cyberpunk story. It's not specifically shadowrun, no, but it's very close.
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Jrayjoker
post Jan 5 2005, 07:35 PM
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Removed post due to "answered in previous post"
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Austere Emancipa...
post Jan 5 2005, 07:38 PM
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QUOTE (Adarael)
1) Assuming the south american climate, if the persuers are armored at all, I assume they would not be armored with anything heavier than Class III-A body armor, due both to the temperature/humidity, and their desire to remain relatively inconspicuous. I would assume, if they are armored at all (there is no evidence to suggest armor, and none to suggest there ISN'T armor) they will be wearing Class II body armor, probably of a low-profile, concealable nature. Am I correct in assuming these things? I've never worn body armor, so I only know what I hear.

RL: That really depends on availability and resources. You can get NIJ level III-A vests that are not that much thicker or heavier than level II. For example, with the ProMAX Concealable Kevlar/Twaron vests advertised here, the level II weighs 1.8kg and is 6mm thick, while the level III-A weighs 2.3kg and is 8.5mm thick.

With a difference that small, it probably comes down to factors other than bulk, most importantly "What is available?" and "What kind of threats am I facing?"

I do agree that rifle plates are unlikely in that kind of scenario, since they are extremely difficult to conceal (except for a brief exposure with limited upper body movement when wearing a large coat). That rules out level III and IV.

SR: I haven't got T:WL, so I don't know about any rules concerning temperature and body armor. For Concealability, you can easily get at least 6/2 Armor at 10+ Conc at a very low price.

QUOTE (Adarael)
2) Assuming the prior, what rationale would lead an individual to use Remington FMJ ammo in their AR-15 rather than soft-point or jacketed hollowpoint? As most of the engagements could be expected to take place in non-open ground against lightly armored or unarmored opponents, wouldn't softpoint or JHP ammo make much more sense? Especially considering the greater wound profile of non-FMJ .223 ammo?

That's a tough one. All I can say is, read this article. And, in case you haven't, this too. At a full length AR-15 barrel, the fragmentation effect of M193 and M855 bullets will reach out to the edge of the expected combat range (by your description).

In canon SR, it makes no difference, of course.

QUOTE (Adarael)
3) Why would one choose to use an AR-15 rather than a more concealable or less 'flashy' looking rifle? Is there an inherent advantage to an AR-15 that I'm somehow missing? Let's assume this AR-15 has not been significantly modded, and does not have a short barrel or folding stock, as it has been described as 'large'.

Longer barrel = higher muzzle velocity = longer reliable fragmentation range and higher accuracy at range. Folding vs non-folding stock is more or less a judgement call, especially if you don't particularly need to hide the weapon.

In CQB and urban terrain, though, the large size of a full-length AR-15 is a bit awkward. Is this a semi-auto-only weapon? Would the bodyguard have military gear available?

[Edit]Yup, of course the AR-15 is semi-auto-only... Well, I must say, that seems like a weird choice of a weapon for a body guard. A shorter weapon with a telescoping/folding stock would seem like a much saner choice, because it would be much easier to operate in cramped surroundings, such as in cars and with crowds around. The longer barrel is not very necessary in bodyguard-work either.[/Edit]

In SR, again, makes no difference, and there'd no reason to use an unmodded weapon.
QUOTE (Adarael)
4) If the bodyguard was military trained, and 'very experienced', what rationale might he have for using this combination of weapon and ammunition?

Personal preference. Maybe he really likes Bushmaster guns, he was probably trained with an AR-15 (or M16) and knows how to use those best. The choice of ammunition is rather well explained by the article I linked above.

This post has been edited by Austere Emancipator: Jan 5 2005, 07:44 PM
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Adarael
post Jan 5 2005, 07:39 PM
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Alas, JRay, I wish I were quite that simple... I'm attempting to poke holes in a story that is ostensibly 'true'; the weapon choices by the bodyguard 'expert' are only a bit of what I find to be unbelievable at worst, highly suspect at best. Since the Lounge was taken out, I have no real way to ask all the smart weapons folks like Raygun and zee Emancipator at once.

The story, however, is extremely shadowrun... and I do wish to adopt the tall tale for a later series of runs, yes. So I want to rule out some of things I find unlikely. *G* It's too fun of a story not to, even if I believe it to be factually BS.

Edit - to Austere Emancipator:

Temperature and Body Armor: I think the rule is something like every 3 points of ballistic/2 points of impact (whichever is more) adds 1 to the difficulty of survival rolls to avoid getting all tired from the heat and stifling.

Folding Stock: Considering the bodyguard and his charge are regularly on the move or otherwise in public, I would consider concealment (if just from location to car) a useful thing. Not neccessary, but preferable.

AR-15: AR 15s are semi-automatic only, and have a standard clip size of 10 (though snagging a surplus 30-rounder wouldn't be that hard). Assume the bodyguard does not have access to military grade hardware.

A lot this doesn't really STRICTLY for rules, but when describing evidence to investigators, I like to be precise, since my players tend to have very good deductive skills.
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PBTHHHHT
post Jan 5 2005, 07:55 PM
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QUOTE (Adarael @ Jan 5 2005, 02:39 PM)
AR-15: AR 15s are semi-automatic only, and have a standard clip size of 10 (though snagging a surplus 30-rounder wouldn't be that hard). Assume the bodyguard does not have access to military grade hardware.

Thirty round clips? Heh, my friend has two clips of those fancy Beta C-mags that holds 100 rounds for his AR.

If you go through one of those clips for a single firefight with an AR in SR... Something is seriously wrong... :P
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Adarael
post Jan 5 2005, 07:58 PM
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Wow.
That's ridiculous.
I love it.
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PBTHHHHT
post Jan 5 2005, 08:08 PM
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Glad you liked it. Don't forget that AK's also have their own drums for increase ammo capacity, I think it's like 70+ rounds. Fun for the whole family! :P
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Lindt
post Jan 5 2005, 08:35 PM
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You mean neighborhood... bloody kids, GET OFF MY LAWN!
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Kagetenshi
post Jan 5 2005, 08:47 PM
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Meh, that's only seven passes of suppressive fire.

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Austere Emancipa...
post Jan 5 2005, 08:54 PM
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Yeah, it's surprising how fast you can burn 100 rounds in FA, even when firing in rather short bursts.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Jan 5 2005, 09:33 PM
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I realize you're probably just waiting for Raygun to reply, but is there anything you'd like to discuss in more detail until then? Raygun is a busy guy, it could take a while before he replies.
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The Amazing Myst...
post Jan 5 2005, 10:45 PM
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QUOTE
Temperature and Body Armor: I think the rule is something like every 3 points of ballistic/2 points of impact (whichever is more) adds 1 to the difficulty of survival rolls to avoid getting all tired from the heat and stifling.

Where is this found? I could put this to good use.
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mfb
post Jan 5 2005, 11:16 PM
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it depends on where he's going. there are some locales in the world where you're better of not concealing anything, using your highly visible weaponry and armor as a deterrent against possible attack. some of those locales can be found in central and south america. an AR-15 is nice because it's basically an assault rifle that's easy to get ahold of.

depending on the guy's background, he might have also chosen it because it's what he's familiar with; if he's ex-US military, for instance, the long gun he's probably most comfortable with is the M-16--basically an AR-15 with burst-fire and a few other features. in a firefight, you're often better off using a familiar weapon over a "better" weapon, because most of your actions in combat are going to be a sort of trained reflex. if your reflexes are trained for use of an M-16, you might be better off using something similar to an M-16, rather than something with a more powerful cartridge, higher reliability, ectcetera.

as for the FMJ, who knows. hollowpoint or something might be better, but maybe he couldn't get ahold of that.

what reasoning did the guy give for his choice of loadout?
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Arethusa
post Jan 5 2005, 11:45 PM
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The problem with an AR15 showing up in such locales in the hands of a professional is the classic reliability argument. Your call on how reliable or unreliable the weapon is, but there is a reason that operators behind enemy lines don't tend to pack them. In urban situations, it's not much of an issue, but I'm not sure it's quite as plausible that a knowledgable mercenary, with everything to choose from, would choose an M16 variant to slog through jungle with.

I'll second everything Austere said about weapon size and barrel length; there's a reason all images of bodyguards that you see in newspapers show them packing M4s, Commandos, G36ks, etc. On the other hand, a full size weapon isn't nearly as much of a liability if you're worried about engaging targets in jungle and open terrain, but if you're just one guy and protecting one high profile target, your best weapon is going to be stealth.

As for FMJ, it's basic, it's cheap, it's available, and it'll do most jobs well. It comes down to personal preference, but if you don't know quite what you'll be dealing with, in most calibers, it's your basic middle ground. The articles Austere linked to do a good job of explaining.

In terms of magazines, 10 rounds just isn't combat viable for any select fire weapon (or, really, and semiautomatic rifle carried onto a modern battlefield), and reloading hurts most when you don't have anyone to cover your back. Even if this bodyguard's charge is trained as well and capable of helping him, she's only one woman. 30 rounds is baseline, and depending on the situation, the 100 round beta c mags might be viable. Keep in mind, however, that they earned their reputation for jamming, and they're certainly bulky and slow to load. Again, there's a tradeoff.

That's about all I can say given information thus far. Hope that's helpful.
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Cray74
post Jan 5 2005, 11:57 PM
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QUOTE (Adarael)
Temperature and Body Armor: I think the rule is something like every 3 points of ballistic/2 points of impact (whichever is more) adds 1 to the difficulty of survival rolls to avoid getting all tired from the heat and stifling.

Just to pitch my pet concept again:

Refrigeration systems for clothing are lightweight now, and should be able to fit within the listed mass of body armors:

The coolant (water or air) circulation system is of negligible weight, 1kg today for a liquid-filled vest.

The portable refrigeration system that could supply chilled coolant to that vest dropped from 21lbs to 4lbs in just a few years. The goal is to have the battery and refrigeration system down to 6lbs by 2015.

You could probably model this in SR with the "fire protection" option for armors in the Cannon Companion. Presumably, cold-insulated armors could use active heating, too.

Armors need not have the options, of course. They may be plain vanilla armor without the air conditioning. I figure the GM would need to determine if the various NPCs/PCs would go for climate control in the armor.
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Arethusa
post Jan 6 2005, 12:00 AM
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Actually, I think it would make more sense to simply have a more technologically advanced version of something like a current cool suit and have that as a separate system and piece of clothing from any armor you throw over it. Personally, I'm not sure I like the idea for combat (more overcomplification in an environment when anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time), but it's at least possible in terms of engineering.
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Adarael
post Jan 6 2005, 01:31 AM
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More queries and thoughts to come in a bit - I'll collect my thoughts later tonight. Thanks for the dilligence, guys.

And no, I wasn't just waiting for Raygun to reply. While the world of weaponry might start at his doorstep, it doesn't stop there by any means. A lot of the rest of you are full of smarts, too.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Jan 6 2005, 01:39 AM
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Well it's 3:30 AM where I'm at, so I guess it's up to Arethusa, Cray74, mfb and others to hold the fort.

This post has been edited by Austere Emancipator: Jan 6 2005, 02:00 AM
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mfb
post Jan 6 2005, 01:52 AM
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QUOTE (Arethusa)
The problem with an AR15 showing up in such locales in the hands of a professional is the classic reliability argument.


they're only unreliable if you don't take good care of them--not always the easiest task in the field, sure, but it's not like it falls apart at the first sign of moisture. also, Commandos and such might be nicer, but the question is whether or not he had access to toys like that. the places that sell Bushmasters are not necessarily the same places that sell Commandos; if they guy can only get access to a Bushmaster, well, that's what he's going to go with.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Jan 6 2005, 02:04 AM
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QUOTE (mfb)
also, Commandos and such might be nicer, but the question is whether or not he had access to toys like that. the places that sell Bushmasters are not necessarily the same places that sell Commandos; if they guy can only get access to a Bushmaster, well, that's what he's going to go with.

Bushmaster sells a whole line of AR-15-family weapons of different sizes. The majority of them are shorter than the original AR-15. Looking at the lineup here, more than half have shorter than 20" barrels, and a large number have folding/telescoping stocks.

Still, it's possible he couldn't get his hands on a more compact weapon. I don't think it's very likely, though. If he's had any time at all to prepare for the trip, he would have been capable of procuring a weapon to his liking. Thus, if he chose the AR-15, he would have had a reason for that choice.
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toturi
post Jan 6 2005, 02:23 AM
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The M16s I've used aren't prone to jam and let me tell you, my M-16 has seen a lot abuse (despite the mantra being drilled into us that our rifles are to be handled with kids gloves). It has not jammed any more than my GPMG. Granted that jamming occurs with higher frequency when we are using blanks (god, how I hate blanks), I've never gotten a single jam (yet) in live fire.

In the jungle, cover and concealment plays a large part in deciding whether you are hit or not, IRL or in SR. Even acclimatised, I hated the bullet proof vest the army foisted on us. It is hot, heavy (you don't want more weight in the jungle), and it gets water logged. It has not stop raining here in Singapore for the past four days and the radio says it is much the same way all over SE Asia.

Off Topic: I know you guys have probably seen this on the news or read it in the papers until you are sick of it. But please do donate generously to the tsunami victims. Normally, I wouldn't be appealling to people to make donations, but my buddy in Basic is still missing in Indonesia, so it hits close to home.
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Crusher Bob
post Jan 6 2005, 05:09 AM
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There's also the time period to consider. Is this supposed to be current day, the 1970s? etc. This may limit the alternative weapons available.

If you are already familiar with the M16 family of rifles, might as well stick to it, the 'learned reflex' that lets you do things with you hands while you think about something else is very important in combat.

Imagine that you have a choice between a 'regular' car and a slightly better car that has the steering reversed... Most people are going to go with the regular car, since the extra performance isn't worth the risk of turning the car the wrong way. Sure you could take a while a become accustomed to the reversed steering system, but you might not have the time/money/etc to do so.

As for choosing FMJ rounds, they tend to feed a bit more reliably that hollow point and soft point rounds. Since engagement ranges are probably well inside the frangible range of 5.56, there probably won't be too much difference in actual deliverd wounds.

A shorter length AR15 variant would make more sense though. Of course, the storyteller could be referring to a shorted variant of the AR15 and still be calling it an AR15...

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Raygun
post Jan 6 2005, 09:46 AM
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QUOTE (Adarael)
The bodyguard in question, due to this turn of events, has opted to arm himself. For a weapon (beyond a pistol) he has chosen a Bushmaster AR-15; his round of choice is a Remington .223 Full Metal Jacket round.

My questions are these:

1) Assuming the south american climate, if the persuers are armored at all, I assume they would not be armored with anything heavier than Class III-A body armor, due both to the temperature/humidity, and their desire to remain relatively inconspicuous. I would assume, if they are armored at all (there is no evidence to suggest armor, and none to suggest there ISN'T armor) they will be wearing Class II body armor, probably of a low-profile, concealable nature. Am I correct in assuming these things? I've never worn body armor, so I only know what I hear.

That would make sense to me. I also agree with Aus's suggestions here.

QUOTE
2) Assuming the prior, what rationale would lead an individual to use Remington FMJ ammo in their AR-15 rather than soft-point or jacketed hollowpoint? As most of the engagements could be expected to take place in non-open ground against lightly armored or unarmored opponents, wouldn't softpoint or JHP ammo make much more sense? Especially considering the greater wound profile of non-FMJ .223 ammo?

This depends largely on how you play the game, I think. As far as canon rules are concerned, "hollowpoint" ammunition is much more effective than it should be in relation to "regular" (read: FMJ) ammunition, so if those are the rules you're using, you might want to consider using hollowpoint ammunition.

In the real world, the only difference it would likely make would be in use against body armor. FMJ performs a little better against it.

QUOTE
3) Why would one choose to use an AR-15 rather than a more concealable or less 'flashy' looking rifle? Is there an inherent advantage to an AR-15 that I'm somehow missing? Let's assume this AR-15 has not been significantly modded, and does not have a short barrel or folding stock, as it has been described as 'large'.

These days, the advantage of the AR-15 over other rifles is that it's semi-automatic, readily available (at least in the Americas), has an enormous support market (accessories, modifications, etc...), and is manufactured in far greater numbers than most other rifles of the same type. Other than that, there's really no great advantage to them. The next semi-auto rifle up would probably be the Ruger Mini-14 or the various foreign-made semi-auto AK variants that have been imported here.

Are you dead-set on a Bushmaster AR-15? While I'm sure it would be possible to find one in Central/South America (if this is where your bodyguard picked it up anyway) it might be easier to find other types of rifles in that region of the world. While you've already stated that the characters in question are not particularly connected to someone who can readily get them automatic weapons, Imbel makes a semi-automatic variant of the FAL rifle in Brazil. From what I understand, they are particularly common there. It certainly has more punch than an AR-15, so it may be an option that said bodyguard would consider. On the other side, it may be more rifle than he's willing to tote around. Imbel also manufactures a modified FAL in .223/5.56mm that should be fairly easy to find in that part of the world.

QUOTE
4) If the bodyguard was military trained, and 'very experienced', what rationale might he have for using this combination of weapon and ammunition?

Because it's familiar, serviceable, and available.

QUOTE (Crusher Bob)
There's also the time period to consider. Is this supposed to be current day, the 1970s? etc. This may limit the alternative weapons available.

I'm assuming he's playing within the SR timeline (2060's). In that case, you can simply substitute "AR-15" for "AR-23" or something similar. I consider the M23 line to be kind of a cross between Bushmaster's Carbon 15 and Heckler & Koch's HKM4/M416 concept (a short stroke piston-operated AR-15 platform).
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