ar-15/m-16 in cold climates


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paintballdude902
January 8, 2010, 03:32 AM
hey guys

i was talking to a friend today and we were comparing the ak-47 and the m-16 designs, we were just going over important parts of the designs.

as i noted that they are two different ideas, the m-16 being a rifle and the ak-47 being more fo a machine gun, i began to think about how close the tolerances are on the m-16 and how it needs to be maintained to work well in dirty environments.

well that made me think more what about cold climates? will the m-16 face equipments like the germans did with vehicles while invading russia?

it seems like the us would have looked into this at the beginning of the design since russia was a big enemy of ours at the time but hey some times things get overlooked.

i know there are us forces that train in alaska so hearing from them(if anyone here is/has ever been affiliated with them) would be awesome, that would be great to hear first hand experiences of the rifle in cold evironments.

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Jaws
January 8, 2010, 03:48 AM
Well, the Canadians use an M16 version so it can't be that bad. I don't think is as reliable as the AK in the cold, but good enough. My opinion is based on that test done on NATO rifles some time ago. The Galil was found to be the most reliable in cold weather.

car15bill
January 8, 2010, 04:00 AM
why are close tolerances a bad thing? they are what keep the AR design sealed away from the elements, even with the dust cover down. loose tolerances are what let dirt IN on an ak.

Every rifle needs to be maintained to work well in dirty environments, want proof, just look at the ak video that is ruining the myth of the infallible ak. It totally failed, and the safety, which is now being blamed, is being called a "dust cover" all of a sudden. I watched the AR tests and they did NOT use the dust cover. The bolt carrier was exposed to the elements.

Then, if you really want to blow your mind, watch the AR movie of the guy burying the AR, multiple times, and shooting numerous mags through it, then burying it and driving over it with a jeep, and then only having two out of battery malfunctions that were quickly cleared.

If the ak were superior in ANY way, the armed forces would be using it, and not just couple, here or there, they would have adopted it and paid royalties, like we did with the mauser.

I read a comment along the lines of " how many grains of sand it would take to jam up an AR".

My answer is, About twice as much as an AK, lol........

RoostRider
January 8, 2010, 04:05 AM
I have used my AR in pretty extreme cold.... just to test it.... lower than -15f.... it is well maintained.....it shot two magazines fine... then I gave up.... lol

Interesting to note that the AR has a drop down trigger guard for use with mittens... so, yeah, I think they thought of that...

Jaws
January 8, 2010, 04:05 AM
posted by car15bill

why are close tolerances a bad thing? they are what keep the AR design sealed away from the elements, even with the dust cover down. loose tolerances are what let dirt IN on an ak.

Every rifle needs to be maintained to work well in dirty environments, want proof, just look at the ak video that is ruining the myth of the infallible ak. It totally failed, and the safety, which is now being blamed, is being called a "dust cover" all of a sudden. I watched the AR tests and they did NOT use the dust cover. The bolt carrier was exposed to the elements.

Then, if you really want to blow your mind, watch the AR movie of the guy burying the AR, multiple times, and shooting numerous mags through it, then burying it and driving over it with a jeep, and then only having two out of battery malfunctions that were quickly cleared.

If the ak were superior in ANY way, the armed forces would be using it, and not just couple, here or there, they would have adopted it and paid royalties, like we did with the mauser.

I read a comment along the lines of " how many grains of sand it would take to jam up an AR".

My answer is, About twice as much as an AK, lol........

Wrong thread.

paintballdude902
January 8, 2010, 04:07 AM
it just seems like if you had alot of metal on metal and snow/moisture in the air then the metal would have a chance of freezing up


what i was saying is the closer tolerances of the ar require care, not saying alot of care just general car, to allow it to run smoothly. you are obviously an AR guy( not a bad thing) and no matter what i say or anyone else says it wont change your mind. interesting note i had a failure to fire today with a wasr-10 it was a light pin strike

CMP
January 8, 2010, 04:34 AM
Well as long as its being used, the AR has all those hot gases coming back into the gun to heat it up :D couldnt the AKs piston freeze up? I heard something like that happened on the HK416

Jaws
January 8, 2010, 04:39 AM
Yes it can, but the AK has long stroke piston, that is directly attatched to the bolt carrier. You just hit the strong reciprocating charging handle and you can get it moving again.

zstephens13
January 8, 2010, 12:32 PM
I hunt moose with my LAR-8 during Alaskan winters (-20 to -30F) and every time i pull that trigger that moose falls on the tundra.
I would suspect that if it were any colder than that, we'd wait out the winter and shoot after it warms up. :)

B yond
January 8, 2010, 12:43 PM
I think the OP is trying to compare the close tolerances of an AR to those of a 98k, which did seize up on the Germans in cold weather at the battle of Stalingrad where the much looser tolerances of the mosin-nagant allowed the Russians to keep shooting.

Cold weather makes metal contract, and there is potential there for problems.

briansmithwins
January 8, 2010, 01:03 PM
Both the AK and AR passed the cold weather section of their respective military trials. The TMs detail when to switch to cold weather lube:

AK-47
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/winteraklube1.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/winteraklube2.jpg

M16
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/arlubrication.jpg

As I recall, the Arctic tests revealed that the early barrel twist rate on the AR15 wouldn't stabilize the bullets in Arctic conditions. That resulted in a slightly fast twist being adopted for the M16.

rcmodel
January 8, 2010, 03:11 PM
it just seems like if you had alot of metal on metal and snow/moisture in the air then the metal would have a chance of freezing upIf it's that cold the snow / moisture is already frozen and will not magically melt itself, get inside an AR, and then re-freeze.

Moisture & freezing guns is caused by condensation.

Condensation is caused by taking a freezing weapon inside a hot building and not drying it out before taking it back outside again.

As long as the weapon remains out in freezing temperatures, it won't condense mosture inside it and freeze.

rc

12Bravo20
January 9, 2010, 12:14 PM
Too much CLP will also freeze up. I found out the hard way while in the service. The CLP might not have actually froze but got thick enough to cause my M16 to lockup. A light coat of CLP is way better than a heavy coat in any weather/temperature condition.

bomb dropper
January 9, 2010, 12:48 PM
ive shot my m16<gov issue in cold weather like 10 degrees with nothing more then a light coat of clp. last october i shoot close to 500 rounds on burst as fast as I could in about 35 degree weather. only one failure due to some else having a bad mag they tossed me.

On the same note I had a 2lt. brand new to the fleet out with me. He scrubbed his brand new M4 everyday (the range was the last day of a 30 day field op) and his 1st round of his 1st magazine jammed and his weapon went down. Im not positive what happened to it but he didn't shoot the rest of the day.

Ive been making that argument about the AK being designed as a machine gun for a while now and people dont want to hear it because the M16 was designed as a "full auto" rifle. Those same people 99% of the time don't know that Eugene Stoner introduced the AR-10 as the weapon for the Army to test.

To me the biggest improvement that the AR/M* has over its competitors is that the stock is inline with the action. So that recoil is much more manageable. but thats just me.

Sport45
January 9, 2010, 01:33 PM
After our experience in Korea I imagine cold weather testing is a requirement for American service weapons. I wouldn't be afraid to use a properly maintained AR in cold weather. As RC mentioned, just keep it cold so it doesn't sweat and freeze.

gloucestergarand
January 9, 2010, 01:42 PM
Back in the early 90's, I was stationed at Ft. Wainwright. We had no issues with our M16A2's. Do remember visiting the ANG Armory in Kotzubue when it was about -40 or so, and was quite pleased to discover the Scout Bn had both M16's and M1 Garands! M16 for the "federal mission" and Garands for the "state mission" I was told. Sounded good enough for me!

BurningSaviour
January 9, 2010, 02:20 PM
My first duty station was Fort Drum. Our weapons and equipment worked in the cold just fine, and I don't remember ever using any other the heavy duty CLP while there (although it's possible we might have).

zstephens13
January 9, 2010, 03:07 PM
In this AR-10 promotional video around 7:25, Eugene Stoner freezes the rifle and fires some rounds on full-auto...
Not conclusive, but pretty impressive.

dakotasin
January 9, 2010, 08:48 PM
went coyote hunting this morning w/ the ar-15... temp was -25 f and about 30" of snowpack, and i had no failures w/ the rifle (a couple coyotes had critical failures of vital organs, however...).

Destructo6
January 11, 2010, 10:40 AM
why are close tolerances a bad thing? they are what keep the AR design sealed away from the elements, even with the dust cover down. loose tolerances are what let dirt IN on an ak.
Never confuse "tolerance" with "clearance."

"Tolerance" is how closely do the parts match or conform to the design print.

"Clearance" is how much space there is between parts, as designed.

akforlife
May 4, 2010, 01:07 AM
out of all the worship of the ar im hearing in this thread you havent adressed the issue that actually matters hot weather conditions like we are experiencing in afghanistan once the metal expands in an ar in extreme heat the close tolerances will cause many failures enough to account for way to many us soldiers deaths in heated battle which where the current complaints exist in heat alot of soldiers are buying there own aks over there to use because of this its just like an engine block overheating and siezing the aks loose tolerances prevent this the reason the usa hasnt adopted the ak is because it is viewed as the enemys weapon which is changing as i type due to recent reliability issues of the ar in very hot environments and the lack of stopping power of the .223 and penetration power. i got a good laugh at the focus of cold weather firing with the ar and ak seing how metal shrinks in the cold and doesnt swell which is where tight tolerance cause major problems sorry to burst your fragile ar bubble

Tim the student
May 4, 2010, 02:39 AM
I've shot my RRA when it was about 0 with no issues. The gun wasn't in any bad conditions other than the cold.

I've been in the field (with an M4) when it was cold enough for me to wake up with snow on top of me (maybe 15-20), and then gone and shot later that day. No issues then either.

alot of soldiers are buying there own aks over there to

Uh, really? You know soldiers who have bought their own AKs to use while deployed?

due to recent reliability issues of the ar in very hot environments

What issues are you talking about?

Boba Fett
May 4, 2010, 02:45 AM
Uh, really? You know soldiers who have bought their own AKs to use while deployed?

I was wondering about that too.

I'll need some of our military members to confirm or refute this for me, but I thought I remembered hearing or reading somewhere that, generally speaking, our military doesn't allow the troops to buy their own firearms. They have to use what they are issued.

Again, I may be remembering that wrong.

Tim the student
May 4, 2010, 02:49 AM
generally speaking, our military doesn't allow the troops to buy their own firearms. They have to use what they are issued.

That was how it was when I got out a couple years ago. In two trips to Iraq, I never even heard about guys buying AKs to use. Maybe it did happen, but I guarantee it is not kosher.

There were some oddball weapons used (we got some Glocks somehow) but they were issued, and in calibers that are in the pipeline. Have fun waiting for that 7.62x39 ammo request.

Art Eatman
May 4, 2010, 02:51 AM
Cold weather issues only, or else. Grammar corrections are best done by POLITE PMs.

Shadow 7D
May 4, 2010, 03:34 AM
Well I shot my M-4 at negative 58 degrees F (-58F) because my "wonderful" commander decided to save money and use FT. Wainwrights ranges during the cheap time of the year ( the local units were in... southern Cali, Australia and the Sand Box)

There are tricks to keep it functioning, the main one is
you take the bolt out and clean it as soon as you get done, because if you don't, it don't work, cant say why, but it doesn't. Might be ice in the FP channel. Some went so far as to keep it in their pocket until needed.

Also, at that temp you get some noticeable delays in ignition, and we shant talk about trying to zero your rifle, as the POI changes drastically when the barrel warms....

Over all not a pleasant experience

Billy Shears
May 4, 2010, 04:24 AM
Guys, I hate to tell you this, but akforlife is making that up. He doesn't know any troops who are buying their own AKs because of reliability issues with the AR. Look at his username, and the fact that he's only got one post on this board. He registered just to post this comment. He's just a guy who has bought into every last little bit of hype on the AK, until it has become, for him, the end all and be all of rifles, completely indestructible, and will work under all conditions, every time, no matter what, ever. When the sun has expanded to a red giant, and the oceans have boiled away, the great Avtomat Kalashnikov will still be working flawlessly, despite being millions of years old and surviving the extinction of humanity.

The AK is, indeed, perhaps the most reliable, and most "idiot proof" assault rifle yet fielded, and will probably survive abuse and neglect better than any other design. But at the end of the day, it's still a mechanical device, with points of failure, and it will choke under the right circumstances. It's just that it's become hyped like the Japanese katana, which, despite its truly superb qualities, is so overhyped as the world's most awesome sword ever, that some regard it as practically a lightsaber, and there are urban legend-type stories about Japanese officers in WWII cutting through .50 caliber machine gun barrels with their katanas. There's no evidence that ever happened, and such stories always turn out to be just like urban legends -- you can never trace these stories back to any verifiable eyewitness, and you never have any actual physical evidence (e.g. "my dad fought on Iwo Jima, and he knew this guy from another company who saw this Japanese officer...). I guarantee this guy's stories about U.S. soldiers buying their own AKs because their issue rifles are unreliable have exactly this same sort of provenance: none.

Shadow 7D
May 4, 2010, 04:40 AM
No they got picked up for all the reasons you would pick up a gun and ammo, now some people operating away from supply might pick one up to say have something to shoot, but I doubt that an operator would be posting about that here.

Oh and they are fun to shoot, lets not forget that

Opoche
May 4, 2010, 05:07 AM
I would say it depends on what you mean by cold weather issues. In the the lower 48, I would say no problem. The Canadians apparently keep some Lee-Enfields on hand for when they send their rangers to places like Resolute, which is above the arctic circle, since it's loose tolerance prevent it from seizing up.
I know my uncle swears by his AR and he uses it in constantly during the winter in northern New Hampshire so I am going to lean towards not worrying about it as long proper maintenance is observed. I'll try it out this winter, we'll do a torture test in the cold. His AR vs. my swede mauser (which if anything has the tightest tolerances of any of mauser I've used).

C-grunt
May 4, 2010, 07:23 AM
One of the guys I shoot with at rifle qual every few months at work was a Navy SEAL (verified). He said that when they trained in Alsaka they would use the M14 because he was told that the Lube would freeze in the M4/16s. He said he had his M14 freeze shut before but was able to force it open with the bolt/charging handle.

Tirod
May 4, 2010, 11:09 AM
how close the tolerances are on the m-16 and how it needs to be maintained to work well in dirty environments.

ALL firearms have to be maintained in dirty environments. The M1 and M14 were also required to be cleaned daily in combat.

As for the weapon contracting in cold weather and having tolerances get tighter, sorry. It doesn't happen that way, a lot of people were apparently asleep in physical science class that day.

When an object gets colder, it contracts, but it cannot get get smaller. A tube is the best example - measure it at 72* - INSIDE AND OUTSIDE DIAMETERS - then at 0*. You will find the outside diameter will get a few ten thousandths smaller. You will also find the INSIDE diameter gets a few ten thousandths smaller. The whole object contracts, but overall, it can't shrink smaller than it is.

In a weapon, the measurable clearances - the space between moving parts - may actually increase, not get smaller. The real problem in cold conditions is moving back and forth between outside and inside. Urban combat in places like Stalingrad would subject a rifle to temperature swings of more than 75*, from below zero outside to a toasty fireside 80* inside.

Even your glasses will fog over in those conditions, condensate will appear anywhere ambient air can get, and the results will be ice within minutes of stepping back outside.

Artic Warfare teaches keep the weapons cold, leave them outside. Cold isn't a problem per se, it's what you do - leave them cold, don't even try to warm them up. A cold weapon doesn't have problems. It's in tune with the environment.

Owen
May 4, 2010, 01:34 PM
If I remember a brief correctly, the Canadian Rangers aren't like the US Army Rangers. Rather than being a highly trained light infantry unit, the Canadian Rangers are more like constables, and their regular issue is the Lee-Enfield. I'm sure a Canadian member can pop in and clarify.

Well, here's the wiki...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Rangers

Zerodefect
May 4, 2010, 07:41 PM
Someone want to put their AR15 in the freezer for petes sake allready! LOL. High tech idea, I know.

Measure you parts with a mic. They don't shrink up that much. My AR cycles dummy rounds smooth a silk after being frozen. I use ATF/STP/15w40 mixed to get a lube that sticks without freezing or getting too thick in the cold. Generous lube will melt any snow that gets inside.

We often get carried away in the winter. It's the only time we practice using the quickrelease on our single point slings to drop the whole sling, not just the weapon, for a goofball type pistol transition in our winter run and guns. Not worried about the optic or BUIS hitting the ground hard when theres 2 feet of snow on the range. Never had winter problems with the better AR's out there. (Colt, LMT, BCM)

Just don't ask me to try baking it.

HorseSoldier
May 4, 2010, 11:14 PM
The Canadians apparently keep some Lee-Enfields on hand for when they send their rangers to places like Resolute, which is above the arctic circle, since it's loose tolerance prevent it from seizing up.

Not exactly. Canadian Rangers are locals who live in remote areas of Canada (mostly First Nations people -- Inuit, whatever). They don't really get any military training to speak of, just some quick shake and bake courses on basic military topics. They also don't get paid for their service except when called up for active duty . . . but they do get a free Lee-Enfields and a yearly allowance of 200 rounds of so of .303. Where most of them live, they're still partially subsistence hunters/fishers, and ammo costs an arm and a leg, so that's nothing to laugh at.

I haven't run an AR or M4 as cold as Shadow7D, but haven't had any issues at -20. I've heard you can get PMags cold enough that they have breakage issues, but whatever temp is the magic number on that its' colder than -20.

Float Pilot
May 5, 2010, 01:22 AM
The coldest I have used military issued weapons was negative 56 degree F. (Fort Greely AK.)
M16s worked with all the lube removed, but would jam up when removed from a semi-warm M-113 A-Cav. It would eventually work again when all the metals became the same temp. Break Free becomes thick and glue-like at those temps.
Arcttic brake fluid or kerosene works well as cold temp lube.

The coldest I have used personally owned weapons was Neg 76 F at Fort Yukon Ak,
(Winter of 82-83).
My S&W m-25-5 revolver jammed rock solid when I pulled it out from under my parka. (trying to shoot a rabid dog.)
A tiny bit of petroleum based lube acted like a weld. I later cleaned it with acetone and then lubed it with silver dry graphite.
My 1911A1 did not like to fire more than a couple shots at that temp. My personal AR-15 patrol car gun did not work at 76 below, but my Finnish Valmet M-76 FS did when I dry lubed it.


Cold Weather Firearms Lube Test with a Stag AR chambered in 6.8mm SPC.
Negative 20 F.

Tetra Gun Lube.........................................Very slippery but semi thick
GS-96.......................................................Works well, semi dries.
Penn Synthetic Reel Oil P/N 92340 Very Fluid, Extremely slippery
Marvel Mystery Oil Very fluid, Very slippery
3 in 1 Oil Fairly fluid, somewhat slippery
LPS-2 Fairly Fluid, somewhat slippery
Klean-Bore Formula 3 Some separation, fairly fluid, somewhat slippery
Tri-Flow Separated, does not adhere or film on metal
Break-Free Separated, somewhat tacky and semi syrup like
Mil-Tech Thick, somewhat tacky, syrup like
Outers Gun Oil Very thick syrup. Tacky
Mil spec MIL4-46000c Lube Oil Separated, some was in thick jell state.
Rem Oil Thick jell, tacky
Boe Shield T-9 Thick Jell, tacky
Corrosion X HD Thick jell, tacky
Ballistol very thick jell. Separation
Exxon Elite 20-50 Syn Av Oil Very Thick, glue like
AeroShell 15-50 Semi Syn Av Oil Very thick, glue like

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