Special guest "18D" sent us this post on polymer cased 50cal ammo being tested at Crane. Stay tuned for more from 18D in the coming months...
Naval Surface Warfare Center- Crane, has been quietly testing polymer cased ammo for the .50 BMG. The best part about this new ammo? It works in conventional weapons systems. This means that our troops can benefit from the lightweight of polymer cases right now, instead of 10 years from now.
It is almost identical to the standard M33 ball round, however with a significant weight reduction. It features a clear polymer case, with a standard brass head fused at the bottom. The polymer cased ammo comes from an aerospace company called Mac LLC., who started a special division specifically to deal with "lightweight polymer solutions for the lightening of components".
The new ammunition is being tested primarily in heavy machine guns, and has been performing very well.
The most exciting thing about this new technology is that it has already been type classified as the MK 323 MOD 0. This tells me that the new ammo has already proven itself and is here to stay. However it is unclear when or if the MK323 will be fielded in large quantities to the warfighter overseas or used for training.
Either way, the MK 323 MOD 0 will give the troops on the ground a significant weight reduction as opposed to standard brass casings. This will allow the warfighter to carry up to 40% more ammunition.