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Heckler & Koch HK CAWS (Close Assault Weapon System)

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Donald McKelvy
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The Heckler & Koch HK CAWS (H&K CAWS) is a prototype automatic shotgun—designed as a combat shotgun—co-produced by Heckler & Koch and Winchester/Olin during the 1980s. It was Heckler & Koch's entry in to the U.S military's Close Assault Weapon System program.

It is a 10-round, 12-gauge, bullpup shotgun with three firing modes: safe, semi-auto, and full-auto, and is fully ambidextrous.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_HK_CAWS
http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=75
http://cartridgecollectors.org/cmo/cmo06june.htm
 

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Rickshaw

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You'll note that it utilises metal cased rounds. The problem with most semi or fully-automatic shotguns which utilise standard shotgun rounds which are plastic cased is that they suffer badly from cook-offs. The need to go to metal cased rounds was one of the things which basically killed off the weapon concept IIRC.
 

buzz_knox

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rickshaw said:
You'll note that it utilises metal cased rounds. The problem with most semi or fully-automatic shotguns which utilise standard shotgun rounds which are plastic cased is that they suffer badly from cook-offs. The need to go to metal cased rounds was one of the things which basically killed off the weapon concept IIRC.

I thought the metal case was 1) because this was a higher pressure load than for standard shotguns and 2) to insure that they would not chamber in standard shotguns (due to issue no. 1). While cook-offs are not uncommon in high volume fire with closed bolt weapons, I've never heard it as an issue with shotguns.
 

Lauge

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rickshaw said:
You'll note that it utilises metal cased rounds. The problem with most semi or fully-automatic shotguns which utilise standard shotgun rounds which are plastic cased is that they suffer badly from cook-offs.

Never the less, composite cases (aluminium base and plastic body) were apparently investigated near the end of the program:
http://cartridgecollectors.org/cmo/cmo06june.htm

The site also has a pretty neat sectioned cartridge.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Denmark
 

Rickshaw

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buzz_knox said:
rickshaw said:
You'll note that it utilises metal cased rounds. The problem with most semi or fully-automatic shotguns which utilise standard shotgun rounds which are plastic cased is that they suffer badly from cook-offs. The need to go to metal cased rounds was one of the things which basically killed off the weapon concept IIRC.

I thought the metal case was 1) because this was a higher pressure load than for standard shotguns and 2) to insure that they would not chamber in standard shotguns (due to issue no. 1). While cook-offs are not uncommon in high volume fire with closed bolt weapons, I've never heard it as an issue with shotguns.

If you look on youtube, you'll find severel videos of semi/fully-automatic shotguns which use plastic cased rounds. Invariably towards the end of the video, there will be a cook-off. The articles I remember reading from the 1980s invariably mentioned this was a problem with the weapon during early testing with plastic cased rounds.
 

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Cookoffs can happen with rapid fire of any closed bolt weapon system, especially in hot weather. In my carbine classes, we have to download lock the bolt open on our ARs to prevent a cookoff. I've never heard of shotguns having the issue (you typically don't shoot them anywhere near fast enough to cause a problem, even in combat) but I'll check the videos.

I'd always heard that the CAWS program died the same way most programs die: the brass lost interest in it. It was interesting, but didn't offer that much capability over existing weapons systems.
 

Lauge

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The "closest living relative" of the CAWS would probably be this:
http://world.guns.ru/shotgun/sh29-e.htm

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Denmark
 

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John21

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What happened with the AA12? I remember videos and articles from a few years back talking about its .223/5.56 level recoil and it undergoing evaluation by the USMC. Than diddly squat, it just dropped off of the radar. What happened?
 

Lauge

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John21 said:
What happened with the AA12? I remember videos and articles from a few years back talking about its .223/5.56 level recoil and it undergoing evaluation by the USMC. Than diddly squat, it just dropped off of the radar. What happened?

As far as I know, the current iteration of the weapon is alive and well, and being manufactured/marketed by Military Police Systems, Inc. (can't find them on the web, though).

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Denmark

Update, 2009-08-11: The AA-12 was featured in the 2005 "COMBAT ARM" special by Guns & Ammo magazine. Here, Military Police Systems, Inc. are also given as the manufacturer. I can find references to this company on the web, but no company website. If they've gone tits-up, that's too bad. The AA-12 looks like a useful piece of kit.
 

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