Bummed at the Biathlon
Cavalry Arms is getting out of the firearms business. Apparently two years of an ongoing dispute with the BATFE has taken its toll. Despite admitting some "regulatory compliance mistakes" had been made, Cavalry had maintained it had tried to run a lawful and honest shop, and continued to work to stay viable.
The ongoing battle was the result of an ATF investigation that culminated with a February 27, 2008 raid on Cavalry's offices and the residence of Cavalry owner Shawn Nealon. Throughout the time since that raid, Nealon has admitted administrative errors, but vehemently denied any intentional wrongdoing.
Now, it appears the battle has taken enough of a toll in time, attention and expense that Nealon has decided to close their FFL and stick to the accessories business. A statement posted on the company website says that the company is now in the winding-down business mode, and asks that all customers no send any firearms for either repair or replacement. Instead, final processing and shipping of firearms receivers already in their inventory will be the company's priority.
Cavalry Arms CAV-15 Rifleman. The future appears to be in the hands of a "relevant asset purchaser".
At the same time, however, negotiations are actively underway with at least on potential purchaser. According to the Cavalry Arms statement, the "relevant asset purchaser" is expected to begin operations in March.
No word -yet- on any further announcements, but we'll keep you posted.
This was supposed to have been our year. The year that biathletes from the United States proved to the world that they belonged. Not just at the winter games, but on the medal stand; maybe even atop the medal stand.
But the luck of the draw doomed Tim Burke, formerly the top-ranked biathlete in the world to a forty-seventh place finish in the ten meter sprint. A sudden snow squall doomed the twenty-eight-year old Burke and anyone else caught in the white-out. Penthouse to outhouse, courtesy of a freak white-out.
Burke's called it the most unfair race he'd ever been part of. To those of us who have watched Olympic competition longer than Burke's been on planet Earth, it's just another of those Olympic moments we'd all just as soon forget.
These infamous Olympic moments aren't reserved for those who have grand aspirations, Norway's Ole Einar Bjorndalen, who already has a record nine Olympic biathlon medals, got stuck in the same heavy, wet snowfall. He finished seventeenth.
The good news: more races. The not-so-good news: finishes in early races determine latter race starts. Maybe the U.S. team can take a page from six time world champion Magdalena Neuner of Germany's playbook and come from behind to win. Yesterday Neuner came from behind to win her first Olympic gold, beating Slovakia's Anastazia Kuzmina by 12.3 seconds.
The United States Marine Corps is once again breaking from the norm when it comes to their equipment. This latest break is in their 5.56 ammunition. This latest change means the Corps will be using an "open-tipped" round as opposed to the heretofore standard M855 ball round.
The New 5.56 SOST a "couple million" are already in theatre, and more is on the way.
So what's the advantage? The new SOST round (Special Operations Science and Technology) is a more deadly and more accurate round - especially when fired in the Corps' shorter barreled rifles. Initially, the SOST was only cleared for use by the Special Operations Command troops (SOCOM) with their Special Operations Force Combat Assault Rifle (the SCAR).
This new round is essentially an open-tip round, similar to sniper ammunition. It's also supposed to be "barrier blind" - staying on target better than M855s after penetrating windshields, car doors and other objects. It's also reported to stay on target longer when fired and deliver increased stopping power through "consistent, rapid fragmentation which shortens the time required to cause incapacitation of enemy combatants".
In other words, the new SOST round is, ala-the high-tech hunting ammunitions which have existed for some time to quickly deliver the knockout punch to an enemy.
According to reports in the Marine Corps Times, the round at 62-grains, weighs pretty much the same as other NATO rounds, and have a lead core with a copper shank. Speculation is they are a variation of the Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw round.
Originally, the rounds were purchased for use in the SCAR, but its performances in penetration, accuracy and decreased muzzle flash convince the Corps to make it available to their general troops as well.
The standard M855 round has been around more than three decades and has long been the focus of complaints regarding its overall effectiveness. Today, troops quietly criticize the round as lacking enough "oomph" to stop typical adversaries. The Pentagon first asked for an improved round in 2006.
Despite determining the M855 no longer was meeting acceptable USMC performance standards, there are no plans to remove the millions of existing rounds from inventory.
In the document clearing the use of the new SOST round, the director of the Navy Department International and Operational Law Division recommends the use of the new SOST-formally known as "MK318 MOD 0 enhanced 5.56 ammunition".
"Based on the significantly improved performance of the MK318 MOD 0 over the M855 against virtually every anticipated target array in Afghanistan and similar combat environments where increased accuracy," Crisfield wrote, "better effects behind automobile glass and doors, consistent terminal performance and reduced muzzle flash are critical to mission accomplishment, USMC would treat the MK318 MOD 0 as its new 5.56mm standard issue cartridge."
It will be issued to both the short-barreled M4 carrying troops - the original users, and field forces carrying the full-length M16A4. There's only one weapon that won't be using the new round - the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, and that's temporary. Currently, the round isn't being produced in the linked version needed for the SAW.
Having cleared the international legal hurdles over using an "open tipped" ammunition, the USMC appears poised to go into combat with a more lethal round that is specifically suited to meet the needs of today's non-traditional combat.