H&K 416 vs. other M16's


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ruckus3008
September 19, 2007, 10:30 PM
Can someone tell me what exactly the H&K 416 (or POF) Gas piston upper is and why they are so special? How are they different from the other M16's? Are they worth the extra money?

And yes I tried the search function and was not able to find what I was looking for.

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brentn
September 19, 2007, 10:42 PM
this has been covered many many times, search for it and you'll find your answer.
To sum it up, the 416 uses a piston gas system for the bolt carrier and the regular AR's use a direct gas system. Piston gas systems are technically more reliable and direct gas systems result in better accuracy but can foul.There are a couple other things that the 416 has but that is the gyst of it.

RockyMtnTactical
September 20, 2007, 03:49 AM
This is a big debate.

Most people who hate the AR15, tend to hate it because they claim it ****s where it eats making it less reliable.

I haven't seen any reliability issues with my AR15's due to fouling, personally. The piston is just one more part that can break, and that was the thinking when the AR15 design was first created.

RevolvingCylinder
September 20, 2007, 06:13 AM
Most people don't realized that it all comes down to clearances vs. accuracy. It either "isn't accurate enough" or "an unreliable POS". It seems to me the direct gas impingement system is just a scapegoat.

I personally think that it's just an easy way to make money by introducing older unneeded technology to a newer system.

MassMark
September 20, 2007, 09:33 AM
I had a discussion on another site about the AR-15 gas system. I'm not sure if it's one of those cliched: "solutions looking for a problem" or if there is some validity to it. I got the opportunity to shoot a piston upper on an M-16 this past weekend. It was as smooth as butter and a joy to shoot, but it did hang up a few times, (using Wolf and after being fired constantly - literally all day). It was a joy to shoot, held to target well, (even during full auto) and had a crisp, Swiss watch like feel to it compared to other M-16's I have fired. On the other hand, I recently got rid of a 10-year old Colt National Match HBAR. I bought it new and put well over 15,000 rounds through it. It was gnats-arse accurate - no free floating tubes, no fancy triggers, no sniper grips - nada. Bone stock. In those years, I never, (I mean never ever) cleaned out the gas system. In fact, by most cleaning fanatics accounts, I poorly maintained this rifle. A rag with Hoppes here, a toothbrush there, a patch/brush down the barrel and some CLP. The guy I sold it to is also laxidasical about gun care and also shoots it more frequently than I did...Same story - no gas tube cleaning - no gas tube issues. Is the HK that cliche? I guess time will tell, but HK's disdain for we civilians will likely see them in short supply at our local shops-o-fun....

jpwilly
September 20, 2007, 09:44 AM
It's an attempt to make and M16 or AR15 more reliable / less dirty by ditching the gas impingment system if favor of an operating rod / gas piston. But the AK for example is probably the worlds most reliable automatic because of the loose tolerances more so than it's simple gas piston / operating rod! If an AR had those loose tolorances in the reciever, bolt lugs, bolt carrier, etc it could digest all the crud and sand fed to it by a direct impingment system. So basically it's a way to stop feeding it carbon.

Jeremy2171
September 20, 2007, 09:50 AM
In the long run its a moot point as the M16/Ar15 is reliable enough as-is.

Evil Monkey
September 20, 2007, 10:14 AM
First of all, a well built op rod shouldn't break. If op rods breaking was so common and problematic then engineers would never use that system. Guess what? It's the most common system on rifles today. You can't say the same for DI. If you want the best of both worlds, maybe some one will make a long stroke gas operated ar15 just like the AK. No op rods breaking, no crap in the receiver. Oh, but now people will complain about recoil and weight and blah blah blah.

A rifle should be reliable no matter what. It isn't a big artillery system a crew has to care for, it's a simple rifle. A simple rifle, in my opinion, should not be frequently dissected and cleaned if it can be avoided. The Taiwanese avoided that by adding a piston to their M16's.

Let's talk about the internals. First, knowing that there's going to be so much heat in this region of the rifle, why the hell would you use a spring loaded ejector? I've heard all kinds of problems, "spring broke...", "I found a brass shaving....", "spring broke...", "so much crude in there...", "spring broke...". Why not just have a simple fixed ejector and be done with it??? And another thing, a cam pin!? What the hell is a cam pin?!? Why is it a separate piece and why couldn't it be machined out of the bolt like an AK?

So much unneeded parts.

Geronimo45
September 20, 2007, 11:09 AM
Can someone tell me what exactly the H&K 416 (or POF) Gas piston upper is and why they are so special? How are they different from the other M16's?
It's got the gas piston... which pretty much everybody else in the world uses, AFAIK.
Israelis: Gas piston.
Italy: Gas piston.
France: 'Lever delayed blowback'. IOW, screwy beyond belief.
UK: Gas piston.
Germany: Gas piston.
Switzerland: Gas piston.
China: Gas piston.
Of course:
Canada: AR clone.
Denmark: Canadian AR clone.
Netherlands: Canadian AR clone.

I'm sure there's other countries adopting ARs, and I know there's more with gas-piston designs. From that list, though, it appears that most (major) countries prefer a gas-piston design. I'm sure their engineers can make a DGI setup, but I don't see anybody doing it on anything but ARs... which, incidentally, don't appear too popular worldwide in their standard form. I couldn't say why.

Jeremy2171
September 20, 2007, 11:09 AM
So much unneeded parts.

But yet still reliable............

rero360
September 20, 2007, 01:06 PM
I don't know muh about AKs, other than I'm still alive because of their inaccuracy, and bad guy's lack of skill.

However over the last 7 years, 6 infantry and this past one MP over in Iraq, I've put countless rounds through numerous M16 A2s, A4s, and M4s. In that short period of time, I've never once had a malfuntion, ball, tracer and blanks, no issues, using both CLP and Miltek.

My buddy's rifle for the longest time hd a piece of a paperclip in place of the firing pin retaining pin. Never had any problems with it and would qual expert every time.

RockyMtnTactical
September 20, 2007, 01:33 PM
I never, (I mean never ever) cleaned out the gas system.

The gas tube is self cleaning. You don't need to clean it.

rcmodel
September 20, 2007, 01:42 PM
I think it's much ado about nothing.

As has been mentioned, a properly maintained Colt or FN M-16 will run indefinitely without carbon scraping or gas tube cleaning.

Most of the civilian AR problems can be traced to out of spec clone guns, crappy ammo, and bad magazines!

The worst part of the whole gas impingement system is that NCO's and Officers like to see weapons white glove clean for inspections.
And GI's don't like cleaning carbon traces out of the innards of an M-16!

As for the validity of a piston upper?
I think I would just as soon stay with what works and is current issue.
I can find parts for an AR-15 at a well stocked garage sale!

What's the gas piston guys going to do in a few years when the company that made the upper goes out of business or stops making them!

As for the Military adopting them?
Not going to ever happen!

If & when they change rifles the next time, it won't be to another M-16 variant.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

cracked butt
September 20, 2007, 01:50 PM
Gas piston is a win-win for HK:
-More moving parts
-Much higher price than a D.I. upper
-Huge hype over nothing

Eyesac
September 20, 2007, 02:08 PM
Gas piston is a win-win for HK:
-More moving parts
-Much higher price than a D.I. upper
-Huge hype over nothing

Hehe... Yeah, funny thing about them and their followers. I have a few Big HK fans here at work, and I ask them what's so good about HK and they say: "they're the best firearms on the planet"
And they can never tell me why. I mean they can't name ONE single thing HK does that makes their stuff better.

Bartholomew Roberts
September 20, 2007, 02:27 PM
Well, if you look at the guys who are using HK416s, they generally have a need for a couple of things:

1. A higher than normal rate of fire
2. Very short barrels for protection/CQB/vehicle work
3. Suppressors

Now you can make an AR15 do all of those jobs, the problem comes when you want it to fire full-auto from a short barrel unsuppressed as well as suppressed. The same heavy buffer that keeps the bolt from battering itself to death now stops the rifle from cycling. None of which is helped by the fact that you are using parts designed around a 20" barrel with 13" to gas port in a rifle that now has a 7-10" barrel and 6-8" to gas port.

If you have to solve that particular problem, then a gas piston is a good engineering solution for that problem. As to enhanced reliability and other claims made by H&K (who does have the reputation of marketing hype exceeding actual performance), I would like to see a comparison between new Colt M4s and a new HK416.

I'm sure some of the guys with 416s in the field love them; but let's face it: If your previous rifle was a 7yr old Colt M4 and you were firing 5,000 rounds a month through it; pretty much any new modern rifle is going to look really good by comparison.

ForneyRider
September 20, 2007, 02:34 PM
Here is a good place for HK's: http://www.hkpro.com

H&K have gas-piston in several models, old and new.

AK-type and FN-FAL are other 2/3 of the world and are gas piston.

Argument goes ways beyond reliability/accuracy. Lethality of the 5.56x45 NATO is another big argument. Plenty of other chamberings avail. for AR-type rifles.

Bobarino
September 20, 2007, 03:24 PM
I would like to see a comparison between new Colt M4s and a new HK416.

ask and ye shall receive. http://www.defensetech.org/archives/003625.html

the test was done last month but i haven't been able to find any results yet.

Bobby

MisterPX
September 20, 2007, 03:31 PM
If you're thinking about one, I'd wait until they get teh bugs worked out of them first. Gas piston AR's are failing just as much as DI ones in training classes.

Zundfolge
September 20, 2007, 04:12 PM
There are other gas piston AR uppers besides the HK ... anyone know how well the ZM performs compared to the HK?

http://www.zmweapons.com/

Honestly the only reason I could see for dumping the stock direct impingement upper for the gas one is if you're going to suppress the rifle, or if you really really really want a side folding stock.

taliv
September 20, 2007, 04:46 PM
after shooting an HK SL8-1 for several years, if the factory and aftermarket parts for that rifle were as ubiquitous as they are for ar15 pattern rifles, i'd be shooting a G38 pattern gun. I really loved it. but hey, that's never going to happen and so i sold it last year and have been satisfied with half a dozen AR15s

Nolo
September 20, 2007, 08:34 PM
I don't get why people rag on HK so much. They make really good weapons. If they didn't, no one would use them. Now, I hear HK is a real socialist organization, but no one's proven that so far. So what if they wanted to get by the AWB by making the SL8? They thought the climate would stay that way. And, being European, that was probably a reasonable assumption.
As for the M16 vs. HK416 debate. I'm confuzzled. So many vastly different reports by so many different people. All I know is that the DI system is used by only one major rifle: the AR-15 series. I'm sure DI is fine for civilian use, but if you want a military-grade weapon, I'm not sure I'd make it the first choice. But it works. We wouldn't use it if it didn't. I'll stick to the AK. Even if it's 99.99998% reliability versus 99.999999999%, I still want my AK. Piece of mind, mate.

Joe Demko
September 20, 2007, 08:52 PM
Which AK is that? Unless you have a real rarity, you have a semi-auto Kalashnikov-based rifle that is a mixture of foreign and domestic parts assembled an/or modified here in the US. It is not a military AK and, therefore, not a military-grade weapon. If you like it and have confidence in it, more power to you; but don't call it something it is not.

Nolo
September 20, 2007, 09:14 PM
Joe, I don't have an AK. I was using "my" to refer to an affection towards the weapon. And don't nitpick, because you know what I meant. I meant that I don't think I'd arm a military with M16s, they may be perfectly reliable for use civvies, but we're shooting our rifles in nice conditions at the range, cleaning them every so often. Taking care of them. Same reason there's a big difference between civilian and military shotguns; the military weapons have to stand up to much more. The M16 is adequate, else we wouldn't use it, but I think that there are significantly better weapons out there.

CleverNickname
September 20, 2007, 10:46 PM
There are other gas piston AR uppers besides the HK ... anyone know how well the ZM performs compared to the HK?
Yes there are other gas piston uppers, but the ZM isn't one of them. It's direct impingement; it just uses a different bolt carrier and recoil spring setup from a normal direct impingement upper.

brentn
September 20, 2007, 11:01 PM
Canada: AR clone.
Denmark: Canadian AR clone.
Netherlands: Canadian AR clone

Geronimo, they are not clones, they are made by colt. Colt has a factory up here in the frozen north called 'colt canada'.

Jeff White
September 20, 2007, 11:39 PM
Geronimo, they are not clones, they are made by colt. Colt has a factory up here in the frozen north called 'colt canada'.

Before it was Colt Canada it was Diemaco and built the C7 and C8 under license from Colt.

Jeff

Jeremy2171
September 21, 2007, 01:56 AM
And the Philippines....

Lanyard
September 21, 2007, 09:46 AM
Norway just switched over to the HK416 and should be on this list

"It's got the gas piston... which pretty much everybody else in the world uses, AFAIK.
Israelis: Gas piston.
Italy: Gas piston.
France: 'Lever delayed blowback'. IOW, screwy beyond belief.
UK: Gas piston.
Germany: Gas piston.
Switzerland: Gas piston.
China: Gas piston.
Of course:
Canada: AR clone.
Denmark: Canadian AR clone.
Netherlands: Canadian AR clone."

taliv
September 21, 2007, 10:25 AM
yeah, well, the last time most of those countries had respectable militaries, they were still wearing feathers in their hats

jon_in_wv
October 14, 2007, 02:04 AM
Someone posted earlier that the AR15 is "reliable enough as it is"

Reliable "enough?" If you have ever operated an AR15 in any type of sandy or dirty environment you night think otherwise. If your life depended on it you might also think otherwise. In most cases, I would take an AK47 or other piston type assault rifle over an AR15 hand down. The AR15 is a superior sporting rifle but as an assault rifle it is lacking in reliability and toughness. They are much better suited in operating system and caliber for what our boys are doing now. Its better to give up a little long range accuracy for a weapon that will go BANG when you need it too. The AR15 is not a BAD weapon, there are just better tools for the job in our current environment. IMHO.

Don't Tread On Me
October 14, 2007, 07:00 AM
H&K marketing is deceptive.

They start off by bashing existing systems and their reliability in *sandy* environments. They then work the sales pitch propaganda into a matter of operating system and carbon fouling.

The problem is, it has long been established that the impingement system is not a detriment to reliability. Regardless of gas piston or gas impingement - sand is an issue in both due to the clearances of the AR, the bolt design and other features of the action and system.

Your mind is filled with the subject of AR's jamming in the desert - then it switches over to a piston system to cope with the poor reliability of fouling in the action.

The goal is to have you assume the desert related sand/dust issues are a function of the gas system and that H&K has a solution for this. Which they clearly do not.

Jeremy2171
October 14, 2007, 08:48 PM
jon_in_wv Someone posted earlier that the AR15 is "reliable enough as it is"

Reliable "enough?" If you have ever operated an AR15 in any type of sandy or dirty environment you night think otherwise. If your life depended on it you might also think otherwise. In most cases, I would take an AK47 or other piston type assault rifle over an AR15 hand down. The AR15 is a superior sporting rifle but as an assault rifle it is lacking in reliability and toughness. They are much better suited in operating system and caliber for what our boys are doing now. Its better to give up a little long range accuracy for a weapon that will go BANG when you need it too. The AR15 is not a BAD weapon, there are just better tools for the job in our current environment. IMHO.

That would have been me..... since I just got in off the road from a trip to Fallujah and TQ, I have "some" idea on using it in a sandy/dirty environment...and my life does depend on it so I won't think otherwise. I've seen plenty of AK's break out here as well and they aren't always the "perfect" weapon you think they are.

Our "boys" are doing just fine over here with no problems with the rifle/weapons we have.

Again ...no need to replace the M16 type weapon since it is reliable enough and gets the job done when needed.

jon_in_wv
October 15, 2007, 09:00 PM
When did I say the AK was PERFECT?? Sorry if my opinion of your pet AR doesn't click with yours I didn't realize I needed to be in Fallujah to have an opinion. The fact of the matter is the AK isn't perfect but it has a reputation for reliability and toughness the AR only WISHES it could have. Does it work fine? For the most part, yes. I just said the AK was better suited to the environment. If your going to attack my statement at least TRY to be honest or at least accurate about what I said.

In all honesty, I would like us to keep the present system we have but I would like to switch to one of the heavier calibers on the market to add a little more penetration and versatility to the weapon.

MisterPX
October 16, 2007, 03:46 AM
Reliable "enough?" If you have ever operated an AR15 in any type of sandy or dirty environment you night think otherwise. If your life depended on it you might also think otherwise.

Do the sands of Iraq and Kuwait count? No issues whatsoever with functioning, in fact, none of my men had any issues with operation. Oh, and my life did depend on it.;)

jon_in_wv
October 16, 2007, 06:25 AM
Point taken. I wish everyone's experience was as positive. I have experienced otherwise, it was a few years ago though, and several of my friends have relayed different experiences in more recent years. I'm glad yours was more positive. Again, the statement wasn't an attack on the AR platform merely a comparison to the different platform as a MORE RELIABLE design. I would think if someone had the opportunity to have access to a tougher more reliable style of weapon to take into combat this would be a good thing. If the piston gas system weapon can operate when it is dirtier, or wetter, or is less ammo sensitive than the DI system than, to me, this is a plus.

Don't Tread On Me
October 16, 2007, 08:15 AM
If an AR jams in the dirt, so will the HK. AFAIK, they haven't "fixed" anything that changes that fact. All they did was add a piston. All the piston does is reduce fouling from being blown back into the action. Fouling in the action has been proved to NOT be a problem.

Evil Monkey
October 16, 2007, 02:15 PM
Fouling in the action has been proved to NOT be a problem.

It's not the fouling.......it's the damn way the M16 family works! The gas uses the back of the bolt as leverage to push the bolt carrier rearward as the gas fills the space in between the bolt and carrier. The pistons were introduced to solve the problems of the short M4 carbines. Apparently, there's alot of over pressure and, thus, premature wear of parts like the bolt, which in about 6,000rds would break in half.

Don't believe me? Get to page 44.
http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2006smallarms/taylor.pdf

A piston just pushes the carrier. There's no gas violently trying to separate the bolt from the carrier. I think that the easiest way of solving the overpressure problems is by introducing a mid length gas system.

jon_in_wv
October 18, 2007, 10:28 AM
They did more than add a piston. The bolt and buffer are heavier. There is more momentum to slam the bolt forward which aids reliability. I personally think a gas piston system in a heavier caliber would make for a much more reliable and versatile weapon for our troops than what we have now. Really, just a heavier caliber would probably have the same result. Heavier bolt, buffer etc...

I've worked in Law Enforcement for more than 16 years. I don't every remember firing the AR15s in qualification (30 rounds) where at least one person on the firing line didn't have a jam of some type. These weapons weren't filled with dirt, just carbon from shooting. Normally they didn't fire more than a couple hundred rounds each during qual. (And this is with high quality commercial ammo)

jlbraun
October 18, 2007, 10:31 AM
I heard that 416s were given to some OIF guys (one of whom posted here) that said the 416 shot a spectacularly accurate... 4MOA.

Limeyfellow
October 18, 2007, 10:52 AM
I heard that 416s were given to some OIF guys (one of whom posted here) that said the 416 shot a spectacularly accurate... 4MOA.

Not too surprising. Too pass the tests for the US military, the M16s made at the FN plant in South Carolina have to be able to do 4MOA too. The same is true with the Colt plant that makes the M4s.

Of course many are capable of doing much better than this, but thats beyond expectations and comparing the standard military arm to an accurasied AR15, specifically designed to be more accurate and for match play is a bit unfair.

ozwyn
October 18, 2007, 01:55 PM
Stolen from another thread, yet oddly fitting and necessary:

http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/output/motivator1109951.jpg

Geronimo45
October 18, 2007, 10:49 PM
Geronimo, they are not clones, they are made by colt. Colt has a factory up here in the frozen north called 'colt canada'.
I stand corrected. Are you folks up there allowed to have those things by any chance?

rkh
October 18, 2007, 11:40 PM
The problem is, it has long been established that the impingement system is not a detriment to reliability.

Negative.

Carbine length DI systems put excessive strain on the bolt. See report linked above.

Although carbon fouling never accumulates enough to cause stoppages, all that hot gas blowing around quickly dries out lubricant on the bolt carrier. For optimum reliability, it's necessary to relubricate every 200-300 rounds.


While not reliability related, DI ARs are unpleasant to shoot suppressed and take a lot longer to clean than their gas piston counterparts.

I'm guessing that the gas piston critics here have never actually shot a gas piston AR. My LWRC wins converts every time I take it to the range.

Jeremy2171
October 19, 2007, 01:25 AM
I guess the excessive strain on the carbine gas systems is why I'm surrounded with M4s and broken bolts here in Iraq? (not) Havent seen one broken bolt in an M4 and I've been around these for a while now....

rkh
October 19, 2007, 01:29 AM
I guess the excessive strain on the carbine gas systems is why I'm surrounded with M4s and broken bolts here in Iraq? (not) Havent seen one broken bolt in an M4 and I've been around these for a while now....


I think that speaks to the attentiveness of your unit's armorers. Wear issues associated with short gas tubes are well known, well documented, and not debated.

Jeff White
October 19, 2007, 08:33 AM
I think that speaks to the attentiveness of your unit's armorers. Wear issues associated with short gas tubes are well known, well documented, and not debated.

Really??? How many rounds can you get out of a bolt in a carbine? What is the wear rate on various parts of the M4 system? If this is so well documented, you should be able to come up with the answer right away...and the source of your information. Enquiring minds want to know.

The fact is, you hit on the only advantage of a gas piston AR, shooting with a can. You gain nothing but weight with a gas piston for any other application and you lose accuracy. The latest batch of 416s to be delivered has been lucky to get 6 MOA. Function problems have also been reported.

I'm really interested to see your wear data. And where you got it.

Jeff

HorseSoldier
October 19, 2007, 08:40 AM
Really??? How many rounds can you get out of a bolt in a carbine? What is the wear rate on various parts of the M4 system? If this is so well documented, you should be able to come up with the answer right away...and the source of your information. Enquiring minds want to know.

There's a published notice calling for inspection rather than replacement (if I remember right, read it months ago) of bolt and related components at the 5000 round mark.

Jeff White
October 19, 2007, 08:50 AM
There's a published notice calling for inspection rather than replacement (if I remember right, read it months ago) of bolt and related components at the 5000 round mark.

I saw that notice too. The problem is, no one that I know of keeps 2408s on small arms. Most units would have no idea how many rounds were through a particular M4.

The rate of fire has a lot to do with the wear issue. Heat, especially in the M4A1 rather then the speed of the bolt carrier group in recoil is the biggest factor in wear. "H" buffers have the M4s and M4A1s running fine. It's when you get into 10 inch barrels that you start having problems, although Crane seems to be happy with the MK 18.

Jeff

rkh
October 19, 2007, 08:50 AM
Really??? How many rounds can you get out of a bolt in a carbine? What is the wear rate on various parts of the M4 system? If this is so well documented, you should be able to come up with the answer right away...and the source of your information. Enquiring minds want to know.

The fact is, you hit on the only advantage of a gas piston AR, shooting with a can. You gain nothing but weight with a gas piston for any other application and you lose accuracy. The latest batch of 416s to be delivered has been lucky to get 6 MOA. Function problems have also been reported.

I'm really interested to see your wear data. And where you got it.

Jeff



Why don't you check the SOPMOD slideshow that was linked a few posts up?
If I have time later tonight, I'll see if I can't dig up an armorer manual.

Jeff White
October 19, 2007, 09:05 AM
If I have time later tonight, I'll see if I can't dig up an armorer manual.

TM 9-1005-319-23&P doesn't say anything about excessive wear. The fact is, that nobody really knows the service life of a lot of arts because until recently, few organizations fired their weapons enough to start gathering any data at all. And like I said in my earlier post, records of rounds fired aren't kept on small arms.

The information in the SOPMOD slide show is largely anecdotal. There was a proposal for a round counter for small arms. I'm not sure if anyone ever adopted one.

Firearms are machines. Use them and parts wear. There hasn't been a big push to run out and replace bolts as a prophylactic measure nor has there been a big rush to acquire piston driven weapons except for certain applications (sub 14.5" barrels with suppressors) by certain units.

Jeff

Jeremy2171
October 19, 2007, 09:42 AM
rkh Quote:
I guess the excessive strain on the carbine gas systems is why I'm surrounded with M4s and broken bolts here in Iraq? (not) Havent seen one broken bolt in an M4 and I've been around these for a while now....

I think that speaks to the attentiveness of your unit's armorers. Wear issues associated with short gas tubes are well known, well documented, and not debated.

I doubt it....since you see I am the Unit Armorer. I'm at the Regimental level with several Battalions under my supervison......and we've had "no" M4 bolt failure issues. My personal M4 has had over 5k rounds that "I" put downrange...who knows how many before me.

HorseSoldier
October 19, 2007, 09:48 AM
I saw that notice too. The problem is, no one that I know of keeps 2408s on small arms. Most units would have no idea how many rounds were through a particular M4.


This is true, definitely. And, while I haven't seen many M4 bolt failures, several of those I have seen were weapons that supposedly had just been overhauled and refurbished. (To be fair, that may have been related to a bad batch of ammunition as an alternate theory, or may have been shoddy work by the company that did the overhauling. The exact issue was never sorted out.)

It's when you get into 10 inch barrels that you start having problems, although Crane seems to be happy with the MK 18.


Guys I know who were issued them in theater never had any problems with 10" barrel uppers, or at least I've never heard anything but praise of them from guys who carried them.

HorseSoldier
October 19, 2007, 09:53 AM
I doubt it....since you see I am the Unit Armorer. I'm at the Regimental level with several Battalions under my supervison......and we've had "no" M4 bolt failure issues. My personal M4 has had over 5k rounds that "I" put downrange...who knows how many before me.

I'd have to agree with Jeff White's suggestion that it's not just about the round count but how the rounds are put downrange. Much like wear and tear on the otherwise generally reliable M9 pistol, it's no accident that the most failures are seen by SOF units during training, when daily round counts can exceed what conventional units do in a year (during peacetime).

rkh
October 19, 2007, 09:54 AM
Intuitively, it makes sense that metal under stress will last longer if it is kept cooler rather than warmer. Steel just starts to lose rigidity when it gets hot.

As you know, an AR's bolt gets gets very hot, very fast. The same isn't true for my LW's bolt. I can dump a mag and pull the bolt and hold it in my hand without burning myself. I challenge anyone to try that with a DI gun.

Be that as it may, what really attracts me to the gas piston platform is ease of maintenance. Some people like--or at least don't mind--scraping carbon out of the interior of a rifle's receiver. I don't count myself among that number. It takes me about 1/5th as long to clean my GP AR as it does my DI. That, in and of itself, makes the system worthwhile.

Fantastic as they are, superior lubricant retention, parts longevity and ease of suppression barely register on my radar.


As to the HK's reported accuracy and breakage issues, I really can't comment. I have no experience with the rifle, but I will say that if true, they're HK-specific and not indicative of gas pistons in general. My LW has been an outstanding performer.

Tully M. Pick
October 19, 2007, 01:15 PM
As a Marine armorer, of the literally thousands upon thousands upon thousands of M16A2s I handled and repaired during my enlistment, not one of them had a problem due to the gas tube being dirty. Not one.

It's a great solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

jon_in_wv
October 23, 2007, 08:30 PM
I've never seen a dirty "GAS TUBE" jam a gun either. Its the burn off of lubricant and carbon build up around the bolt that has caused the numerous problems I have seen in 16 years of using the AR15s. Even after a limited number of rounds the bolt will be hot, dirty, and DRY. A gas piston system will not exhibit that characteristic. That is in my book and improvement worth notice. Not such and improvement I think we should rush out to switch over, but I would LOVE to see us switch to a heavier caliber and while we are switching uppers, lets make a switch there too. I think it would give us a much tougher (read better ) weapon system to last us for many more years of service.

woodycreek
February 28, 2008, 02:17 PM
I guess time will tell, but HK's disdain for we civilians will likely see them in short supply at our local shops-o-fun....?

I was thinking about getting a 416 but after hearing just a few pros and the heavy price tag.........

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