Leitner-Wise is currently presenting the LW15/.499 assault rifle. The LW15.499 is an evolutionary development of the M16 direct gas, rotary bolt rifle combining the proven reliability of this system with a Leitner-Wise purpose designed .50-caliber cartridge and rifle. The result of this collaboration is a lightweight and dependable weapon system that develops overwhelming terminal ballistics. It should be understood however, that the LW15/.499 is a complete weapon system in its own right and not a mere conversion of the 5.56 mm gun. The technological ingenuity shown in developing the LW15/.499 was of historic proportions. The first prototype was originally designed and built in 1994 as a proof of concept demonstrator, developed from the outset to overcome the recognized lack of knock-down power of the 5.56 mm weapon system. This it achieved, but it also showed that the platform could not exist as a conversion; more time would need to be spent on developing the sub-systems and understanding how the LW15.499 actually worked. As a result, the LW15.499 was shelved as a project until 1998 when it was decided to fully develop and manufacture a commercial variant for general sale. Two years later, Leitner-Wise presented the first 10 commercial weapons at the 2000 SHOT Show. Essentially these were prototype units to gauge international dealer and law enforcement reaction to the concept. These were semi-automatic weapons and although all the components were manufactured by Leitner-Wise, they were still based on the designs of existing commercial parts. What followed was an extensive 18 month development program to re-engineer and prepare the product for sale. However, that all changed with the events of September 11th. Leitner-Wise were called upon to take the LW15/.499, a semi-automatic, commercial rifle, and turn it into a fully-automatic military battle rifle. In an unprecedented program, Leitner-Wise achieved this goal in less than seven months. The cornerstone of this tough precision rifle is the bolt and carrier assembly group. As with any part in its high-quality products, Leitner-Wise entrusts the manufacture of these components to a few specially trained technicians. Each carrier group is meticulously manufactured to exact tolerances from materials precisely hardened to insure the utmost in reliability. The LW15.499 is a weapon system incorporating magazines and ammunition. If we focus for a moment on the magazine; Leitner-Wise engineers liaised with trusted vendors to design and perfect this. This whole process was necessary because unfortunately, due to the nature of the .499 cartridge design, the traditional 5.56 mm magazine would not allow a reliable transition of the cartridge to the breach. Undaunted, the engineers came up with a straight configuration constructed of high tensile strength steel alloys which added another level of reliability into the system. Complex calculations and computer design ensured that the magazine was neither overly long nor exerted an unacceptable level of friction to the underside of the bolt carrier and as always, Leitner-Wise s vast knowledge of available materials and our willingness to experiment with new concepts have ensured that the component make-up of this assembly is as state-of-the-art as the rest of the system The final element in this mix is the ammunition. The .499 LWR cartridge is a unique piece for it is not based upon any other commercially available ammunition, rather, it stands by itself. The brass case design alone took nearly four years to develop using our computer design and modeling programs to fully analyze and understand the nature of the stresses and plasticity the material faces during the ignition phase and how the integrity of the case would hold up during the ejection phase.
Submitted by: PIERANGELO TENDAS