Senator Tells Army to Reconsider M4


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Echo Tango
May 2, 2007, 09:45 PM
Sound off......what do you guys think of this?



http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,133962,00.html?ESRC=dod-bz.nl

Senator Tells Army to Reconsider M4
Military.com | By Christian Lowe | April 30, 2007

The debate over the Army's choice to purchase hundreds of thousands of M4 carbines for its new brigade combat teams is facing stiff opposition from a small group of senators who say the rifle may be inferior to others already in the field.

In an April 12 letter to acting Army Secretary Pete Geren, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said purchase of the M4 - a shortened version of the Vietnam-era M16 - was based on requirements from the early 1990s and that better, more reliable weapons exist that could give Army troops a more effective weapon.

Coburn asked the Army to hold a "free and open competition" before inking sole-source contracts worth about $375 million to M4 manufacturer, West Hartford, Conn.-based Colt Defense - which just received a $50 million Army contract for M4s on April 20.

"I am concerned with the Army's plans to procure nearly half a million new rifles outside of any competitive process," Coburn wrote in the mid-April letter obtained by Military.com.

A Geren spokesman said the secretary's office is putting together a reply to Coburn's letter, but provided no further details.

Coburn has banded together with a small group of like-minded senators to push the Army into a competition to determine whether the M4 is the best choice to equip newly-forming brigade combat teams, a top Coburn aide said.

The senator's concerns grew out of media coverage that showed the M4's design fails in critical situations and that special operations forces prefer other designs.

"Considering the long standing reliability and lethality problems with the M16 design, of which the M4 is based, I am afraid that our troops in combat might not have the best weapon," Coburn wrote. "A number of manufacturers have researched, tested and fielded weapons which, by all accounts, appear to provide significantly improved reliability."


Special operations forces, including "tier one" units such as the Army's Delta Force and the Navy's SEAL Development Group - or SEAL Team Six - have used their own funds to purchase the Heckler & Koch-built 416, which uses a gas-piston operating system less susceptible to failure than Colt's gas-operated design.

"That's significant, because these guys don't screw around," the aide said.

In fact, Colt included four different weapons in the competition to build the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR, none of which used the M4s gas system, the aide said.

In a routine acquisition notice March 23, a U.S. Special Forces battalion based in Okinawa announced that it is buying 84 upper receiver assemblies for the HK416 to modify their M4 carbines. The M4 fires using a system that redirects gas from the expended round to eject it and reload another. The 416 and SCAR use a gas-operated piston that physically pushes the bolt back to eject the round and load another.

Carbon buildup from the M4's gas system has plagued the rifle for years, resulting in some close calls with Soldiers in combat whose rifles jammed at critical moments.

According to the solicitation for the new upper receiver assemblies, the 416 "allows Soldiers to replace the existing M4 upper receiver with an HK proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapon's interior. This reduces operator cleaning time, and increases the reliability of the M4 Carbine, particularly in an environment in which sand and dust are prevalent."

Yet the Army has still declined to buy anything other than the M4 for its regular troops, requesting about $100 million in the 2007 wartime supplemental to buy M4s for its Soldiers.

The office in charge of equipping Soldiers said in a March 30 statement the service has no plans to purchase the HK416.

"I am certain we can all agree that America's Soldiers should have the best technology in their hands," Coburn wrote. "And there is simply no excuse for not providing our soldiers the best weapon - not just a weapon that is 'good enough.' "

The Army has not yet responded to Coburn's letter, but his aide said if the senator doesn't receive a response to the letter by Monday, Coburn plans to call Geren personally to address the issue.

"Our feeling is once people see the facts on the face of it they're going to say that this is ridiculous and demand that the Army does it right and competes the contract," the aide said.

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MarshallDodge
May 2, 2007, 09:55 PM
Follow the money.

I really like the AR platform BUT I don't have to shoot it in a full-auto configuration. The gas system on the M16/M4 should be designed to keep the gases out of the action and there are companies selling them in these configurations.

They have the full-auto HK down at the local range along with about a dozen other full-auto guns for rent including the M16 and M4. The guy who runs the range said the HK is the most reliable gun they have.

Werewolf
May 2, 2007, 10:10 PM
Springfield Armory's line of M-14 Clones with 16" barrels come to mind as an excellent choice for a carbine or something like it.

Maybe something in .270 or whatever the military version of that caliber would be (6.8 SPC???).

As much as I enjoy my M4 I wouldn't want to go into combat with one unless it was going to be strictly urban and I doubt if that's the only type of combat this new carbine purchase will be used for.

Soybomb
May 2, 2007, 10:54 PM
I hardly ever feel like a senator is well informed on a subject they speak on that I consider myself well versed in as well. I don't believe the senator is well informated on this subject either.

buzz_knox
May 2, 2007, 11:20 PM
They have the full-auto HK down at the local range along with about a dozen other full-auto guns for rent including the M16 and M4. The guy who runs the range said the HK is the most reliable gun they have.

There's a range with a 416 available? Nice.

Geronimo45
May 2, 2007, 11:24 PM
Wish they'd give 'em something from FN - the FNC, F2000, SCAR - all seem to be nice weapons. And FN seems to be reasonably friendly towards civvies.
'Course, that'd be a nightmare for spare parts/gunsmithing work, I reckon. Nice thought, though.

Fn-P9
May 2, 2007, 11:24 PM
The senator brings up a good point in that they are purchasing these rifles without competition. I don't mean to say that every time we buy some guns that we need a whole new review but the M16 has been around for awhile and with modern machining techniques, we may be able to build a better rifle for the same price, or near to it.

O and I think we should give a + 1 to an American company while doing any and all reviews FOR AMERICAN guns. Maybe use HK's idea and purchase their patent :evil:

Dienekes
May 2, 2007, 11:35 PM
Old saying--"The best is the enemy of the good". Small arms development has always been more about politics and marketing than anything else. We were extraordinarily lucky in this country to have gifted, patriotic men like John Browning and John Garand as designers--and even then it was iffy at times.

Even though I had a very personal interest in what I carried in the days of godless Communism, the truth is that small arms per se are not deciding factors in modern conflicts. Good troops could probably get along pretty well with SMLEs and Webleys. Sort of the WWII era Jeep and the Humvee--do you really get more bang for the buck or was it just bling? I'd go for less concern with gee-whiz stuff and more--much, much more--live fire under all conditions.

Life magazine circa 1940 was running similar stories about whether the Garand was a big mistake and if we should dump it for the Johnson rifle.

PPGMD
May 3, 2007, 12:17 AM
I can understand looking at new rifles periodically, but this is just another purchase for newer units of an already fielded weapon system. The time and money it would take to do a full competition would mean that these units wouldn't have the weapons they need when they need it.

Of course this Senator forgets that there have been recently two different replacement systems proposed none of them provided much more over the M-4/M-16 system for the added cost. Only the Hk 416 (and related clones) provides any enhanced capabilities, but are those worth the cost over a traditional M-4?

bogie
May 3, 2007, 12:43 AM
Gee... I didn't know there was a government weapons contractor in Oklahoma...

Go with what works. If the other stuff works, phase it in, but don't do a complete switchover until the guys on the ground say to.

You'll KNOW when they say to.

KC&97TA
May 3, 2007, 01:07 AM
I personally like the HK configured AR upper, BUT... there is nothing wrong with the AR/M16 platform... Gen Conway USMC, recently stated that "Marines need to be trained better, on how to shoot and there is nothing wrong with the M855 5.56mm round"... Practically how do you train Marines Better? As a Tactical Weapons Instructor, for an "abc soup/secret squirel" training unit, If we aren't on top of our game currently, I don't know how much better training we could provide.

Personally I believe Marines and Soldiers could use a 77gr or bigger round, chambered in 5.56mm. That's just me, I'll testify that green tip will kill a man with one shot, placed center mass, but I'll also testify that it will shoot through a mans gut and he'll still shoot back at you. Since 2001 concentration on shooting has improved, and if they're worth shooting once they're worth shooting twice, has become LAW. There are Millions, if not Billions of dollars invested into the M16 and varriant accessories, so replaceing such a weapons system would be just plain dumb. The Law Enforcement Dept's don't seem to be haveing a problem with ammo such as Hordy TAP, so give US Fighting Men better ammo.

BTW: Clean M16's don't jam and I fired my rifle dirty for 8 days in Fallujah w/o a hic-up, I've never had a properly maintained weapon go down because of the weapon, Magazines Yes, carbon NO. Maybe if NCO leader ship would do there job and double check thier gun slingers weapons, certain people wouldn't have problems. The Problem isn't the M16, those issues have been resolved over 40 years of use, the problem is lack of proper military dissipline on and off the battle field.

OK - I'll get off my soap box.

heypete
May 3, 2007, 01:27 AM
The M16's been around for ~40 years now. It's been through several iterations and improvements. When properly maintained, it's a perfectly serviceable military rifle. One cannot neglect maintenance and expect their equipment to work properly, whether we're talking about a rifle, a vehicle, an aircraft, or even a pair of boots. Boots need new laces and soles now and again too.

For SF guys spending months out in the middle of nowhere without regular periods of maintenance, I can see how the 416 would be beneficial, but for your average soldier who comes back to base (usually every night, but say up to once a month), it's hardly a problem. Somehow, I don't suspect it's the gas tube itself gumming up with carbon, but rather a lack of proper cleaning of the bolt carrier, bolt and locking lugs combined with the fine dust and sand in the area that's causing the issues.

I have friends who have full-auto M16s (some DIAS, mostly RRs, a few post-86 dealer samples) and shoot the everliving snot out of them. They shoot some of the dirtiest surplus, Wolf, and other ammo by the caseload and clean them "when they need it" (when the gun stops working, or when shooting corrosive ammo). The guns require a few drops of oil after a thousand or so rounds, but otherwise keep working fine until about 5,000-7,000 rounds have been fired before they really start malfunctioning due to accumulated crud. A quick shot of CLP from an aerosol can or spray bottle (like a Windex bottle) into the ejection port and a few cycles of the bolt carrier will keep the rifles running indefinitely, though it does cause more crud to accumulate. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary. I've never seen dirtier guns of any sort (I wouldn't be surprised if the bolt carrier and bolt increased in weight by 10% due to the crap building up on them), yet they keep ticking. These guys shoot more ammo in six months than most military companies shoot in a year, even in combat operations.

I suspect that the issues the military's having with their M16s and M4s are due to training issues (use the CLP to clean, wipe parts almost completely dry, keep your dust cover closed, magazine inserted, round chambered, and muzzle cap on whenever possible) rather than hardware issues with the guns itself.

If the Army wishes to have gas-piston M16s, why not just replace the uppers with gas-piston uppers as barrels need replacement? Buying them onesies and twosies costs several hundred bucks (what, $500 or so?). I'd imagine if they were buying 20 million, they'd get some sort of discount. It's an easy two-pin replacement, and all the soldiers would have to do is re-zero their guns and they're ready to rock. Cheaper than replacing the whole rifle...somehow, I suspect the 416 lower is identical in all respects to the current M16/M4 lowers.

I'm not sure if there's any AR/M16 manufacturer in the US other than Colt which can produce the quantity of rifles necessary in the proper timeframe. Even big manufacturers like Bushmaster simply don't have the same production lines that Colt does. A sole-source contract to Colt is because Colt's one of the very, very few companies than can actually make and deliver that quantity of M16s within the timeframe required.

Just my $0.02. I had no problem with either an M16 or an M4 when I was in the army. The M4 was a bit handier to keep in the turret of the tank and when kicking in doors, but I preferred the M16 for its stock and balance.

usmarine0352_2005
May 3, 2007, 01:39 AM
The Senator sounds right to me.

M4's and M16's are prone to jam.....still.

I saw the 416 on the show "Future Weapons" and it seems ultra-reliable.

Why not give it a shot????

Competition is good. And the American soldier/Marine needs a better rifle!!!!

If I was going back into it again, I wouldn't want a M16. I can tell you that.

I had a 9mm....ha. Ouch.

30 cal slob
May 3, 2007, 06:02 AM
HK. Because You Suck, And We Hate You.

ServiceSoon
May 3, 2007, 07:23 AM
The standard M16 gas system causes blow back, thus jamming and the Hk 416 upper doesn't. Why not change?

El Tejon
May 3, 2007, 07:32 AM
"Blow back"? "Jamming"? "M16 not reliable"?

Well, I see the good Senator has been reading the usual nonsense on the Errornet.:D What is it about Senators from Oklahoma and the M16? Been through this before in the '60s, right?

I tremble to think that military hardware decisions may be made on such "knowledge" of the Errornet.:uhoh:

delta53
May 3, 2007, 07:50 AM
I hope they change to another cal then we will get some cheap 223

possum
May 3, 2007, 07:52 AM
i read about this just the other day in the recent issue of armytimes. as a solider i believe that the m4/m16 system works, but i would love to see a different cartridge used. like the 6.8, the weapon system has never given me a problem i just wish they packed a little more punch.

El Tejon
May 3, 2007, 08:07 AM
delta, what make you think President Clinton would allow it to be sold to you?:confused:

Clinton I destroyed millions upon millions of rounds of .308, destroyed all the guns he could and sent bunches of M14s out of the country (so there was no hope of Congress changing the Title II to I rule because of import restrictions). Clinton II will do much worse.

delta53
May 3, 2007, 09:26 AM
:neener: After the first sub machine gun

Geno
May 3, 2007, 09:42 AM
That they continue with the same Colt M4 design is fine if that is what they want. However, to expend that amount of money without a sealed bid process should never happen! Bushmaster, DPMS, Colt et. al. should all have the chance to bid. Colt has been notorious for over a century of bilking the government for its government contracts. In the civil war era, Colts were costing double a Remington. Competition is good.

cbsbyte
May 3, 2007, 10:02 AM
Its about time the military reconsider the future of the M16 platform. There are now far better weapons systems out there compared to the M16 which has always been plagued by negative press.

GEM
May 3, 2007, 10:03 AM
With all the problems the military has, funding and testing a new gun with little real effect is a waste of time.

All the rifle changes won't stop one IED or will a new handgun.

El Tejon
May 3, 2007, 10:05 AM
Plagued by bad press?:confused:

"Johnson, get on that computer and type up some good PR. Then we'll defeat the enemy with glam photos, photo ops and then book the M16 on Oprah. We'll win this war yet!"

ArfinGreebly
May 3, 2007, 10:32 AM
Funny.

I was having that same dialog in my head.

:D

Correia
May 3, 2007, 11:12 AM
I saw the 416 on the show "Future Weapons" and it seems ultra-reliable.

Yes, because it was on the Discovery channel, then by all means, we need to hurry and switch the entire US military over to it.

romma
May 3, 2007, 11:16 AM
I trust my M4 clone, I would hope to trust a real one if needed...

GEM
May 3, 2007, 11:17 AM
The Future Weapons show had a rave review on the new San Antonio amphibous class ship. All the naval press points out that it is a true mess.

Oh, well.

Chuck R.
May 3, 2007, 11:33 AM
Interesting reading:

http://www.bob-oracle.com/SWATreport.htm

and

http://www.sftt.org/article06102003a.html

and

http://www.army.mil/-newsreleases/2007/03/29/2471-army-position--m4-carbine-is-soldiers-battlefield-weapon-of-choice/


I think the bottom line is the M4 & M16s are working pretty well. Nothing tested thus far has shown a substantial improvement that justifies replacement. The Department of defense isn’t likely to change until something comes along that does.

I do think that HK does a pretty good job of marketing at the risk of soldiers losing confidence in their issued weapons. I also think there’s a bunch of manufacturers “wishing” that new tests would happen, but the truth is we’re currently in a war, and when this is over some senior folks are going to have to make some tough decisions on what needs to be replaced and upgraded with limited funding.

So it may come down to X number of limited dollars against worn out vehicles, body armor, or buying a new weapon system that’s Y % better than what we have now. I also read an interesting theory that every time we’ve changed out small arms it was based in a change in caliber.

Chuck

usmarine0352_2005
May 3, 2007, 11:38 AM
Competition is good. And the American soldier/Marine needs a better rifle!!!!

Note, I also said this. We should be testing new weapons. I didn't say for it HAD to be 416.

I said, why not give it a shot......obviously in competition there are OTHER rifles that are tested as well.

buzz_knox
May 3, 2007, 11:53 AM
Note, I also said this. We should be testing new weapons. I didn't say for it HAD to be 416.

Additional weapons have been tested over the last few years. Notwithstanding a lot of the hype (i.e. XM8) nothing was found that sufficiently beats the M16 system to justify the switch from that platfrom to another.

It's not sufficient that there be something better (and that is debatable). There has to be something that is so superior that the time and expense of reequipping an entire military is justified. We aren't anywhere near that yet.

buzz_knox
May 3, 2007, 11:56 AM
I do think that HK does a pretty good job of marketing at the risk of soldiers losing confidence in their issued weapons.

HK is great at marketing, such as asserting that the XM8 was lighter than the M4, by using the weight of a stock XM8 but a fully loaded out M4.

Correia
May 3, 2007, 12:06 PM
HK's marketing team is amazing.

Their guns are okay, but their marketing is awe inspiring.

Titan6
May 3, 2007, 12:11 PM
I won't tell him what kind of eye glasses to wear, he shouldn't tell me what kind of weapon to carry when my life is on the line. I have no problem with the M4, it does everything I want it to do so long as I treat it the way it should be treated (kind of like my wife).

But there is an even better reason not to get them. If the regular Army guys all carried them than the Special Ops community would have to go out and find something they think is even more high speed. Can't be carrying the same as the REMFs. :cool:

RNB65
May 3, 2007, 12:14 PM
I saw the 416 on the show "Future Weapons" and it seems ultra-reliable.

Everything is ultra-reliable on Future Weapons? When was the last time you saw something not work perfectly on that show?

Ah, the magic of television.

Correia
May 3, 2007, 12:24 PM
Yeah, and when you clearly load the blue 40mm practice rounds (filled with orange powder) into a grenade launcher, and fire it downrange, you get a chain of huge explosions.

Good old Future Weapons.

phoglund
May 3, 2007, 01:31 PM
I am admittedly no expert on these guns and haven't been in anything close to combat (having served my time in the Coast Guard during a non-war period) yet it seems changing your primary infantry weapon during an active conflict is a very bad plan. Any mass distribution of a new weapons system will inevitably have its share of teething problems and "issues" to be dealt with. Having this done by front line soldiers in the heat of battle seems foolhearty in the extreme.

Titan6
May 3, 2007, 01:38 PM
Any mass distribution of a new weapons system will inevitably have its share of teething problems and "issues" to be dealt with. Having this done by front line soldiers in the heat of battle seems foolhearty in the extreme.

Why not? We did it in Vietnam... oh wait never mind

buzz_knox
May 3, 2007, 01:53 PM
Why not? We did it in Vietnam... oh wait never mind

That was an example of how not to do it. Between the ammo specs being changed due to budget cuts (trying to get the same powder for both 7.62 and 5.56) to disastrous miscommunication between the Ordnance Dept. and the line trooops, the M16 got a rap it didn't deserve.

We've done it, and quite successfully, several times before, especially in WWI. We went from: a few B-17s to fleets of B-24s and B-29s in WWII; replaced the '03 with M1 Garands; F4Fs to F6Fs and F4s; Devastators to Avengers; P-36s and P-40s to P-47s and P-51s; replaced (on a limited basis) Thompsons with M3s; went from a few tanks to hordes of M3s, M4s, and M26s; and last but definitely not least, entirely new classes of ships and submarines. The best way of doing this is having new units equipped and trained up with the new gear before heading out, or reequipping as they are pulled off the line. But in many cases, replacements took place with minimal prior training and went quite well.

The Germans, Japanese, Italians, etc., tried the same thing but failed because they got in their own way. They second guessed each other, didn't commit to the decisions, tried to do everything all at once in the search for a superweapon(such as the myriad variants of Luftwaffe aircraft and Wehrmacht equipment all competing for the same resources) and didn't have the resources to make a go of it.

The key is to communication and supply. As long as you aren't trying to take someone's rifle away from them while they are shooting and replacing it with something utterly unfamiliar, you should be good.

Phantom Warrior
May 3, 2007, 02:11 PM
The "there's nothing out there that would really be worth the expense and headache of changing over" crowd is doing quite well. I don't think there is anything for me to add (and it's late.) Carry on, gentlemen...

ChrisMG
May 3, 2007, 02:16 PM
I'm somewhat new to firearms in general but just in this brief amount of time I've seen more discussion on piston vs. gas in the AR platform. Hasn't Colt and a few other prominent individuals thoroughly debunked the H&K hype behind their piston design?

Vern Humphrey
May 3, 2007, 02:22 PM
Experience shows us no amount of peace-time testing will reveal the flaws of a weapons system. The M16 platform is the most throughly battle-tested rifle we've ever had. It has flaws, but we know what they are and aren't surprised by them.

Adopting a new rifle -- especially during wartime -- is a risk. Who knows what flaws will reveal themselves on the battlefield? Who knows how long it will take us to learn the ins and outs of the new rifle? Who knows how many lives it will cost?

If there is a quantuum improvement in firearms -- comparable to, say the transition from muzzle loaders to breechloaders, or from blackpowder to smokeless, or from bolt actions to semi-automatics, the risk would be justified. But absent such a quantuum improvement, it isn't.

Chuck R.
May 3, 2007, 02:36 PM
Experience shows us no amount of peace-time testing will reveal the flaws of a weapons system. The M16 platform is the most throughly battle-tested rifle we've ever had. It has flaws, but we know what they are and aren't surprised by them.

Adopting a new rifle -- especially during wartime -- is a risk. Who knows what flaws will reveal themselves on the battlefield? Who knows how long it will take us to learn the ins and outs of the new rifle? Who knows how many lives it will cost?

If there is a quantuum improvement in firearms -- comparable to, say the transition from muzzle loaders to breechloaders, or from blackpowder to smokeless, or from bolt actions to semi-automatics, the risk would be justified. But absent such a quantuum improvement, it isn't.

Vern,

That is without a doubt, the best post I have ever read on this subject.

Chuck

cheygriz
May 3, 2007, 03:12 PM
No matter what the army buys, unless it's an M-14, Cooper's disciples are going to scream like mashed cats.

If they bought a Star Wars phaser to replace the M-9. these sam folks would still be shrilly screaming to bring back the 1911 and the .45 ACP. And no matter what rifle we buy, they will scream for the M14.

It's useless to argue with folks who live in the past.:(

buzz_knox
May 3, 2007, 03:51 PM
If they bought a Star Wars phaser to replace the M-9, these sam folks would still be shrilly screaming to bring back the 1911 and the .45 ACP.

Naturally. The Star Trek phaser beam doesn't have the sectional density or momentum of the .45 round. Thus, it must be ineffective.

Of course, most phasers don't have sights so they'd actually have a point. ;)

GEM
May 3, 2007, 03:54 PM
Hey, they did a lot of point shooting practice on the Enterprise with those moving ball thingees on the range. So it's really a point shooting vs. aimed shooting debate with phasers, not a 1911 vs phaser argument.

Besides can you set your 1911 to blow up? Well, maybe with the right handloads!

Chuck R.
May 3, 2007, 04:04 PM
Besides can you set your 1911 to blow up? Well, maybe with the right handloads!


No, that is a distinctive Glock feature!:D

Chuck

Titan6
May 3, 2007, 04:17 PM
With a phaser you don't need sights. You can walk your energy beam right into the target.

mpmarty
May 3, 2007, 04:19 PM
Properly maintained the M-4 is as reliable as any other self loading battle rifle in the world. Unfortunately, the downrange performance of its cartridge leaves much to be desired. Unfortunately there seems to be a move away from the fire team concept I'm familiar with. If we had every third man, squad, platoon armed with a more powerful, longer range weapon the .223 might be able to live on in infamy for decades.

phoglund
May 3, 2007, 05:06 PM
Vern,

If we could just get somebody as articulate and well reasoned as you to oppose your every view we could dispense with all this mucking about with multiple posts and posters and just go with you and your opposite to make all the salient points to be made on any given subject. :p

Capstick1
May 3, 2007, 05:11 PM
The 5.56mm rifles in use now are basically varmint rifles. The armed forces need to bring back the M14's and make the 7.62mm the standard issue round.
I know they're already talking about replacing the Beretta 9mm's with .45's.

Vern Humphrey
May 3, 2007, 05:12 PM
Vern,

If we could just get somebody as articulate and well reasoned as you to oppose your every view we could dispense with all this mucking about with multiple posts and posters and just go with you and your opposite to make all the salient points to be made on any given subject.

Yes, but where could we find such a misguided and ill-informed person?

buzz_knox
May 3, 2007, 05:14 PM
The funny thing is that in terms of wound ballistics, the standard M80 7.62mm ball round isn't the lightning bolt of Zeus that so many make it out to be. It many cases, it works the same as 5.56, which means it works if the shot placement is great and the moons of Uranus are aligned with Jupiter and Mercury is in Venus' third house or whatever.

Vern Humphrey
May 3, 2007, 05:23 PM
The funny thing is that in terms of wound ballistics, the standard M80 7.62mm ball round isn't the lightning bolt of Zeus that so many make it out to be. It many cases, it works the same as 5.56, which means it works if the shot placement is great and the moons of Uranus are aligned with Jupiter and Mercury is in Venus' third house or whatever.

For most combat situations, Amor Piercing is the proper round -- people will get behind things when you shoot at the, as unsporting as that sounds. 7.62mm AP is an impressive penetrator. It's particularly good for repeat shots at a material barrier.

Chuck R.
May 3, 2007, 05:30 PM
The funny thing is that in terms of wound ballistics, the standard M80 7.62mm ball round isn't the lightning bolt of Zeus that so many make it out to be. It many cases, it works the same as 5.56, which means it works if the shot placement is great and the moons of Uranus are aligned with Jupiter and Mercury is in Venus' third house or whatever.

Yup, Infantry Magazine SEP/OCT 2006 had an article titled “Small Caliber Lethality” dealing with wound ballistics. Here’s a quote:

“The specific values of the
chart are not meaningful; what is
meaningful is the fact that all of the rounds
act in the same band of performance.
Interestingly, the one 7.62mm round that
received the full evaluation, the M80 fired
from the M14 rifle, performed in the same
band of performance, which would indicate
that for M80 ammunition at least there
appears to be no benefit to the larger caliber
at close quarters range.”

Kind of surprising. Bottom line of the whole article is that “shot placement is key”.

Chuck

Titan6
May 3, 2007, 05:31 PM
Actually the funny thing is they are not even thinking about getting rid of .223.

seeker_two
May 3, 2007, 05:40 PM
I've always thought the M4 made a great submachine gun, but a poor battle rifle... :uhoh:

I'm with the politicians...let's open up the competition to everyone...and every caliber...and get a battle rifle that will do the job. :cool:

buzz_knox: Silly rabbit...everyone knows the Star Wars Han Solo blaster is the best of them all.... :D

another okie
May 3, 2007, 05:44 PM
He's not demanding a change. He's asking for openness and competition, which seem like the American way to me.

There are no small arms contractors in Oklahoma. Why does everyone think that cynicism is the best reply to everything? I don't agree with Coburn all the time, but he is honest and hard-working, and he doesn't believe in ear-marks or graft. And he doesn't care if he gets voted out of office for following his conscience. That's pretty rare in Congress. Let's be nice to him.

Titan6
May 3, 2007, 05:45 PM
There are no small arms contractors in Oklahoma. Why does everyone think that cynicism is the best reply to everything?

And Bill Clinton is not from China.

blitzen
May 3, 2007, 06:14 PM
If we all took an objective look at the two different systems. One blew hot gas and crud into the bolt carrier group and the other used a piston to move the bolt. Witch one would you buy? You just have to pretend there hasn't been 30 years of marketing hype to make a good choice.

ServiceSoon
May 3, 2007, 06:42 PM
If we all took an objective look at the two different systems. One blew hot gas and crud into the bolt carrier group and the other used a piston to move the bolt.

Exactly! Why use a system that seems designed to fail. It appears that there are a few people here who think the M16 platform is the holy grail.

This Tom guy is only asking the Army secretary to do their job and "consider" fully investigating the possiblities before spending and possibly wasting our tax dollars.

Vern Humphrey
May 3, 2007, 06:50 PM
The M16 is a mature system, and as a system matures, there comes a point where theoretical issues become irrelevant. We don't ask, "Do you think such-and-such a design feature will affect performance," we look and see what the effect is.

As odd as the M16 gas system is, there is no other weapon with such a long combat history, under so many different conditions. And certainly not one that has demonstrated greater reliability under those conditions.

The theoretically perfect system may well fail under the conditions the M16 has met -- and there are no tests we can perform to ensure that won't be the case.

Shadowangel
May 3, 2007, 06:56 PM
As odd as the M16 gas system is, there is no other weapon with such a long combat history, under so many different conditions. And certainly not one that has demonstrated greater reliability under those conditions.


Er....AK-47? In use over a decade longer, in half the world. More AK's have been produced than any other assault rifle, and i'd wager that the AK has higher reliability than the M16 or its variants under pretty much any conditions.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 3, 2007, 06:57 PM
He's not demanding a change. He's asking for openness and competition, which seem like the American way to me.

I might be inclined to agree if we were talking about purchasing a new weapon system; but we are talking about purchasing another batch of a weapon system we have already adopted. Colt is the sole manufacturer (currently) who has the legal rights to the M4 TDP, so they are the only people to buy the rifle from. It isn't like DoD could walk over to Bushmaster and buy them right now.

If Sen. Coburn is suggesting that we should have new competitive trials anytime we buy another batch of small arms, he is introducing even more expense and problems into the process - and one of the "problems" with the M4 is simply that some carbines have been in service for decades now and need replacement and/or repair. Adding a competitive bid before that can happen means less rifles for the same money and a longer wait for the replacement.

As to special operations guys using the HK416 - they have different requirements and some of those requirements (shorter 10" barrels and sound suppressors) are areas where a gas piston has an edge over a direct gas system.

For all the people pimping the HK416, I've yet to see any key pieces of data from H&Ks marketing department like:

1) What is the difference in the mean rounds between stoppage between a newly issued M4 and the new HK416 over a random sample of 100 weapons?

2) What is the total cost (logistics, new rifles, etc.) of replacing the M4 with the HK416?

The threshold MRBS for SCAR was 1 per 2000. Usually the threshold requirement indicates what is already being achieved, so let's assume that the M4 is making 1/2000 MRBS. The highest threshold number I've seen is for the Swedish AK-5 at 1/3,500 MRBS. How much money is it worth to have three less stoppages in 10k rounds?

If we all took an objective look at the two different systems. One blew hot gas and crud into the bolt carrier group and the other used a piston to move the bolt.

Objective eh? If we all took an objective look at the two different systems. One torqued the bolt carrier group violently with every shot and flexed the barrel and upper receiver. The other used the gas impulse of the fired round to move the bolt straight back with minimal weight or disturbance. Which would you choose? Everything in engineering is a tradeoff - you don't get something for nothing.

bpsig
May 3, 2007, 07:55 PM
+ 1 on a open bidding if they pick the winner not like in the m9 trials. where beretta was 2nd and became #1 when dropped $ per unit. then military had to beg sig for enough to fill orders in 228 at 3x $ . I hope he can force the military to convert all rifles to a m5 piston assembly or one in a larger caliber because good enought just is not . I carry my issues m16 or a frankenstein m4 at work daily, Instead of replacing a older m16 it was converted with a new barrel. Which would be good if I ever got to sight it in, instead i use a new m4 for training. But they only replace parts after they break no good pm program . My personal carbines have rails, sights and trijicon or an aimpoint . good tactical slings. BUt if you still dont get regular maintence they go down. Especially with bad magazines which are easily fixed with c mags and magpul followers . we procured another 40 m-4's but had option of colt m-5 model 1020's the piston version . We immediately ordered the m5's instead but We were overruled by upper staff told we could not have them didnt need anything that reliable. So my thought is go with a piston assembly or an ak reliable and fires a round that works albet less than 400 yds. I have used 6.8spc in a m4 and like it but availability is an issue. I would convert my personal and work weapons in a heart beat if possible to a pistol . Failure to stop or work with issue ammo or rifles / pistols do not engender feelings of faith in my weapons. A new round in rifle or changing of cartridge in 5.56 for leathality would go a long way. 9mm is in the safe boat marginal effectivness in fmj. and bad magazine springs . Simple fix call mecgar get new ones and federal efmj ammo . But a better choice is a 40 sw pistol capacity and power. regardless unless forced we are going to be stuck with another varient of m4 without fixing the problems.

Steelcore
May 3, 2007, 08:46 PM
You don't change rifles in the middle of a war.look what happened to the French in WW2.They had two rifles and two cartridges and there were reports of units with Lebels getting MAS ammo and vice versa.

Echo Tango
May 3, 2007, 10:01 PM
Alot of you guys are talking about the old" not changing weapons/ammo" in the middle of a war statement seem to be missing a key factor. Sen Coburn seems to me by the way the article reads to be pushing the HK 416 agenda, which is basically just a upper switch. That means same ammo, same basic functionality of the weapon, just a different gas delivery method.

I think the Senators call for open testing really means....a competition between colts system and HK system with no other weapon systems involed.....wonder if HK is funding his campaign :)

Onmilo
May 4, 2007, 08:50 AM
Forty years and six million rifles later and people are STILL arguing about the M16!:D

buzz_knox
May 4, 2007, 08:56 AM
That means same ammo, same basic functionality of the weapon, just a different gas delivery method.

With all sorts of problems of its own. At least, that's what the US Park Police found out when they started training with their 416s . . . and having failures.

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