Vietnam M16 thread


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mshootnit
October 11, 2010, 12:29 PM
I want to know, early in Vietnam when the first M16's hit the field there were reported problems which were addressed. How much of the problems were actually directly attributable to the fact that the early rifles were not chrome lined, and how much of the problems were due to other factors? I want to hear from the vets and/or serious students of the issue if possible. Don't respond with information you are regurgitating from some other thread or website unless it is referenced. Second: are the early Colt SP1 rifles chromed? To the vets if you want to respond: please feel free to describe your experience with the rifle and thanks for your service to our country. Thanks!

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husker
October 11, 2010, 02:09 PM
they were shipped with out cleaning rods or cleaning kits.

RainDownmyBlues
October 11, 2010, 02:30 PM
they were shipped without cleaning rods or cleaning kits

This, and they switched powders when they fielded them. It didn't have squat to do with chrome lined bores. It was the switching to a cheaper powder, that wasn't tested with the rifle, and the belief that the rifle was self cleaning.

JNewell
October 11, 2010, 02:55 PM
Buy a copy of The Black Rifle. It's full of period documents and other materials. It's a valuable read and likely must-purchase for anyone serious about understanding the AR-15/M16 platform, which at this point is one of the (maybe the) longest-serving general-issue, front line service weapons in the history of the Republic.

Quentin
October 11, 2010, 04:03 PM
I understand that the early problems were due to a combination of factors: poor magazines, lack of chrome lining, improper cleaning and maintenance and most of all - the use of old ball powder by the military even though Colt/ArmaLite warned that that would cause fouling of the direct impingment gas system. Chrome lining in and of itself wouldn't have been that much of a factor if the proper powder had been used and maintenance performed.

I was in Vietnam later (in 1968) and did not have any major problems with my M16 so was pleased with it but then I was a stickler for keeping it clean and learning its function - without anyone telling me to do that. But I believe by that time most of the problems above were being worked out and less of an issue. I can't remember if I had the old non-chrome lined M16 or the M16A1 which was chrome lined. Mine was scuffed up and had been around the block though so I bet it was older and probably an M16. Anyway it worked.

SlamFire1
October 11, 2010, 04:11 PM
The Black Rifle is a good read, most of its material seems to come from “The Great Rifle Controversy” by Edward Clinton Ezell.

Weapon system acquisition is an intensely political process. The replacement of the M14 with the M16 was absolutely due to the money that Colt Industries was able to bring to the table. Colt was able to create misinformation campaigns against the M14, bogus promotional claims for the M16, money to the pockets of Congressmen and impressions of post employment opportunities to senior Military Officials. Eisenhower coined the phase “Military Industrial Complex” and it works the same now as it did then.

Springfield Armory was shut down because Industry did not want competition from a Government entity. And so it has been for the last 60 years, the Government does not design anything inhouse, everything is contracted out.

The M16 did not go through a normal development and test cycle. The M14 at least was tested against and had to prove that it was equal to the FN. The M16 was sold as a fully developed weapon system to the whiz kids at OSD. It was not. It had been developed on a shoe string budget.

There were lots of issues. For example, parts were not interchangeable. Magazines were not interchangeable between rifles and M16 magazines though much improved from early production, are still a problem today. Because the system was sold as “self cleaning”, there was no reason to issue Soldiers cleaning kits or have maintenance training.

The powder issue is an example of what happens with undeveloped weapon systems. Stoner used one particular stick powder and it worked. He did not have the time or money to perform industry surveys or test alternate powders. It turned out that the powder specifications were tighter than period production processes could hold. The manufacturer, Remington, hand selected powder lots from all the powder lots they made. After the M16 was adapted, the Army told Remington to qualify their powder, that is guarantee that all powder lots produced would meet specifications. Remington, in so many words, told the Army to pee up a rope, and stopped being a powder supplier. The Army then had to use what was available. Their 308 ball powder did not meet pressure specs and the weapons malfunctioned.

From a user’s viewpoint of the Charlie Foxtrot that was visited on them, go to http://www.jouster.com/jouster_tales.html Click on “Sea Stories”, “The Saga of the M16”, read part one and part two.

The failure of the M16 adoption is easily understood and there is a large group of people who are interested in small arms. But each and every military system adopted is a product of the same military industrial complex, and each and every system has to go through its own set of issues where Soldiers/Sailors/Marines are killed or hurt, or the weapon system does not function in the real world, all due to the Military mismanagement and Industry profiteering. It is just that these problems rarely make it in the public domain.

AR-15 Rep
October 11, 2010, 05:07 PM
Many of the Vets I have talked to have had problems with the early M-16's and alot had to do with the type of powder used. The corrosive ( cheaper ) powder led to many rifles failing to extract and the lack of cleaning kits made the problems worse. Some vets even used nails instead of firing pins. The type of powder being corrosive, caused pitting in the chamber. Over a period of time, the pitting would grow to a point that brass case would stick and cause jams. They used the nails because some of the firing pins wouln't strike the primer hard enough or the lack of cleaning kept the pin from striking the primer. Those are just a few of the stories I have heard from vets that used the M-16's at the time.

rcmodel
October 11, 2010, 05:26 PM
Some vets even used nails instead of firing pins.Now that's a War Story right there!!!

I can assure you that didn't happen.

I served in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1970 during the whole progression from the M1 Garand, to the M14, to the M16.

The powder in 5.56 ammo was not corrosive.
Either the original IMR 4475 stick type the gun was designed around, or the later WC846 ball powder substitute.
There has been no corrosive GI ammo made since the early 1950's, well before the 7.62 NATO or 5.56 NATO were invented.

The whole problem was, it never stopped raining in Vietnam, the rifles were constantly wet, never got cleaned properly, and the chambers rusted before they chrome-lined the barrels on the M16A1's.

All the new powder substitute did was increase the cyclic rate on full-auto fire, which in turn broke parts and wore out guns prematurely.

No cleaning equipment to start with, as well as the wide-spread belief that the M16 would clean itself resulted in rusty chambers, and extraction problems on the very first AR-15's and later M16.
All that was sorted out by the time the M16A1 came into service in the late 60's.

I'm here to tell you the M16A1 I was issued ran 100% flawlessly the whole time I had it.
But I did have brains enough to clean it and oil it.

BTW: The powder substitute was not done to save money.
It was done because IMR did not have the production capacity to make enough of it for the escalating Vietnam war, and Winchester-Olin did.

rc

taliv
October 11, 2010, 05:42 PM
i was scratching my head on the nail-as-firing-pin story too. i can't remember ever seeing a nail that looks like it would be long and thin enough, and the hammer would strike the side of the nail instead of the end, since the retaining pin would not keep the nail where it's supposed to be. it would slam backwards all the way to the buffer.

and even if you looked past all that... how would a nail cause it to hit harder? the FP springs control that.

SharpsDressedMan
October 11, 2010, 05:43 PM
Don't know about the powder being "corrosive", but the early powder used did foul more than subsequent powders. Most of the things mentioned above were true, and combined with soldiers not cleaning as often as they COULD (put together dirty propellant, small bores, tight actions, heavy fouling due to high round count between cleanings, and throw in a lot of water/humidity), and one more thing that a vet friend of mine added to the list...LSA. LSA was a synthetic based lubricant that apparently didn't mix well with water. A combination of gunk, powder residue, dirt, and this poor "blend" of water and an oil that didn't react well wet, and you get a rifle that doesn't want to function. I was in the service during VN, but was stateside. I did notice that not cleaning the rifle after firing it resulted in jams THE NEXT DAY, even in a dry, otherwise clean environment. I could only imagine the result if a GI got sloppy in 'Nam and blew off cleaning/oiling between gunfights. I know sometimes they didn't have time, or the knowledge that doing so would be SO important. Now we know that the M16 family needs a little attention to being clean, and the more the better. If I had ANY time in combat, day to day, to clean/check my rifle, I'd damn sure do it, even without the sergeant on my butt to do so.

Gottahaveone
October 11, 2010, 05:59 PM
Some vets even used nails instead of firing pins.
Perhaps this is a misunderstanding of using nails to clean the bolt rather than using the firing pin (as I was taught way back when) because the nail would do a better job. It's all I can come up with, anybody who has any idea at all about the construction/operation of this platform has to know that trying to use a nail in place of the firing pin is....ludicrous.

Byron
October 11, 2010, 06:28 PM
I went to Nam mid Oct 68.I was a grunt with D Co,3/8th Inf,4th Inf Div. We had LSA oil and used sparingly.Our 16's did not have a storage compartment for cleaning and those were carried in our ruck sacks. I recall opening a case of ammo and it was marked "Dupont Powder" and did not understand the significance at the time. The 3 prong flash suppressors were changed to the birdcage but we kept a couple with the 3 prong for opening cases of C-Rations. RC, I belive you too were with the 4th Inf and more so at Camp Enari. We never saw it and operated in the Central Highlands. We had long dry seasons. We kept our rifles clean and anyone in combat should.The 16 was a fine rifle as was the lethality of the M-193 round. March 5,69 we were in the battle of 947. I put over 800 rounds through my 16 on semi and the rifle never failed. Byron
http://www.ivydragoons.org/Files/Hill%20947%20Story_htm.html

briansmithwins
October 11, 2010, 06:43 PM
Springfield Armory was shut down because Industry did not want competition from a Government entity.

That's not how I would put it. I'd say something more along the lines of :

In the 12 years since the end of WWII the height of Springfield’s development was a product improved Garand with a 20 round box mag firing a shortened version of the .30-06 cartridge optimized for volley fire at 2000 yards.

The 'wonder weapon' that was supposed to replace the M1 carbine, M1 Garand, M3 subgun, and BAR turned out to be a expensive turkey that was only fit for the infanrty rifle role.

Too heavy, too big, too late, the M14 was killed by cheap assault rifles firing intermediate cartridges. Since the M14 (which had the shortest service life since what, the Krag?) was pulled from 1st line service there have been zero adoptions of full size, full power rifles by the world's militaries.* BSW

*Except by lower Bungholvia or some other place most map makers couldn't find on a map.

taliv
October 11, 2010, 06:56 PM
thanks for the link Byron

d2wing
October 11, 2010, 07:05 PM
Nails? Just where in Nam was a hardware store? Just kidding, we could have found some
at base camp. But then we only know what we were told and that wasn't much. I never thought of using a nail. It wasn't issued. I did not know until I was home a few years that
the M16 wasn't as wonderful as the Army told us.

Curator
October 11, 2010, 07:45 PM
I was drafted upon graduation from college in late April,1966. I trained with the M14 at Ft. Dix, N.J. then on to AIT at Ft. Polk, LA where we were introduced the the M16. I wasn't particularly impressed but the guns did work and were much lighter to carry. I arrived in Viet Nam assigned to Army 1st Division in October of '66 and was issued a M14. We carried these until Jnauary of 67 when we were issued M16s and our trusty M14s were taken away. At first the M16s seemed like the ones we shot in AIT but not too long after they began to jam upon extraction. The rims were being torn off the fired cases.

I had had some firearms training before entering the Army. I had an M1 rifle and reloaded cartridges for it to shoot in club competitions. I also knew how to clean a semi-automatic rifle. My gun was properly cleaned and lubed. The problem was the new ammo we were given. Old stocks (there wasn't much of that) shot fine. New ammo had the rim torn off. Army brass brass blamed us GIs for not cleaning properly (BS!) We all had 3-piece rods rubber-banded to the barrels of our M16s so we could knock stuck cases out of the chamber. We were told to oil the cases (yeah-right), Clean the ammo (it was new!) Clean the chamber (OK it's clean)

I even talked to a Colt Rep who was looking into the problem in May of 67. He was convinced that we slob GIs were badly trained in firearms maintenance and would not even consider what I suggested: too slow a powder burn rate causing too high pressure as the action was attempting to extract. Soft rims was another posibility, but no one was listening.

I wrappped my M16 around a tree and got issued an M79 grenade launcher and a Acme novelty made WW2 1911 GI .45, two guns that actually worked. M16s jammed often enough to undermine any confidence we foot soldiers had in our rifles. The only good side to this story was it was much easier to get guys to carry the M60 machine gun and ammo since everyone realized we needed firepower we could depend on. My squad carried two, and somtimes when the were available, three.

Sky
October 11, 2010, 08:14 PM
I would like to get in this discussion but I flew for the First Cav. I could have carried anything with me but after going through several selections to include a Tommy gun I ended up carrying the M79 with a few rounds and either a 1911 or a small 38. I never thought I liked or trusted the m16 even then; on all our lift birds we had two M-60s and on our Night Hawk birds we carried the .50 and 7.62 mini. I cannot remember any of our pilots carrying an M16 but I could be wrong.

Sky
October 11, 2010, 08:19 PM
P.S think it was size/weight as much as trust due to our limited space?

JNewell
October 11, 2010, 08:47 PM
Nails for firing pins? Give it a try and report back, please.

Corrosive powder? Nope, sorry.

Stories? Tall tales.

Many of the Vets I have talked to have had problems with the early M-16's and alot had to do with the type of powder used. The corrosive ( cheaper ) powder led to many rifles failing to extract and the lack of cleaning kits made the problems worse. Some vets even used nails instead of firing pins. The type of powder being corrosive, caused pitting in the chamber. Over a period of time, the pitting would grow to a point that brass case would stick and cause jams. They used the nails because some of the firing pins wouln't strike the primer hard enough or the lack of cleaning kept the pin from striking the primer. Those are just a few of the stories I have heard from vets that used the M-16's at the time.

mshootnit
October 11, 2010, 10:21 PM
Curator,
So, keeping it clean like that...did you ever see a rusty bore or chamber?

Curator
October 11, 2010, 11:44 PM
I was a infantry squad leader so I checked on my mens' rifles regularly. The Army did not give too much emphasis on cleaning except for inspection. I was more concerned with survival so took an interest in our squad's equipment. I never saw any chamber or bore rust. Dirty, yes, particularly after a slog through 3 kilometers of rice paddies or 10K on a dusty laterite road. In '67 our rifles did get used regularly but often to little effect.

We used shaving brushes and tooth brushes to keep the action reasonably clean and our issued 3-piece cleaning rod and cloth patches for the bore. One other thing I noticed to my surprise was little to no copper fouling in the bores, even on the M60 that got pretty hot. I have since learned that military powder of the time had a special additive to reduce or eliminate copper fouling. I'm pretty sure none of the M16s we were issued had a chrome bore or chamber in 1967. I occasionaly wonder if the experiments with powder lead to the rim-tearing problem.

husker
October 11, 2010, 11:49 PM
This has been a great read

Vlad357
October 12, 2010, 04:23 PM
I was issued one, an M16A1, in the early 70's and it too ran flawlessly. In my unit constant cleaning was pushed (maybe by experienced old hands). Somehow that green cleaning kit found its way home with me and still goes in the field with me today, with different patches and brushes.

Rugby8
October 12, 2010, 04:25 PM
Yut

rocky branch
October 12, 2010, 04:42 PM
Did two tours-68-70.
VN is bone dry about hlf the time-wet and dry seasons.

GIs hear and pass around stories and tales like kids, sometimes.

We actually knew very little about powder, chrome bores, etc.All that came later.

Cleaning was important-I had a jointed rod I kept taped to my CAR.

Cleaning mags was important-they got full of crud, especially in water, and that got on the cases as well. Serious dust the rest of the time.

The design certainly has persisted, even in the face of so much derision.

Sometimes rumours outgrow themselves.

I will say I had a FTF n a very bad situation.
Lucky for me the other guy was bent on getting away.

Quentin
October 12, 2010, 07:30 PM
...I'm pretty sure none of the M16s we were issued had a chrome bore or chamber in 1967...

Thanks for that, Curator. I've always wondered if I was issued a chrome lined version but suspected it was the older non-lined M16. I got there in early Feb '68 which isn't long after what you observed above.

We actually knew very little about powder, chrome bores, etc.All that came later.

Cleaning was important-I had a jointed rod I kept taped to my CAR.

Cleaning mags was important-they got full of crud, especially in water, and that got on the cases as well. Serious dust the rest of the time.

The design certainly has persisted, even in the face of so much derision.


Have to agree with that too, rocky branch. I sure didn't know much except to keep the darn thing clean. Used gasoline and motor oil, whatever. Guess that was enough though. A lot of guys, especially the older ones didn't like the M16 but I was just a kid. I heard horror stories about jamming but mine worked and since it was much lighter than the M14 I liked it.

USMC8541
October 12, 2010, 07:58 PM
I started with M16 as a Marine in 1981, 20 years later I carried the rifle for a short time in Iraq, I ditched the M16 for an AK47, better gun , better round.

clem
October 12, 2010, 09:24 PM
In 1967, there were NO chrome bores for the XM16E1 (M16), there was limited cleaning gear, there was bad ammo (powder) and there was a problem with the rate of fire (to fast, 1,000 RPM & up).

All of these and some other things (care & cleaning) compounded the problems of the rifle, it killed a lot of Marines & soldiers.:fire:

mshootnit
October 12, 2010, 10:11 PM
clem, that must have been a sad, frustrating and hard thing for you and a lot of guys to go through, and I feel for you and them. Maybe there is a silver lining to this cloud somewhere.

JDMorris
October 12, 2010, 10:27 PM
how did a marine get an AK-47?
did you just trade some arab?
that has to against rules?

writerinmo
October 12, 2010, 10:36 PM
The M16 seems to have been bad-mouthed by generations of soldiers. I was too young for Nam, entering service in the Kansas National Guard in 1979. My issue M16 worked flawlessly, but I bought and used my own personal magazines in it, and kept the weapon cleaner than most.

In 1982 I went back through basic again as I had decided to go Active Army Infantry (long story there). Once again, my M16 in Basic operated perfectly. At my duty station at Fort Ord, CA. I was issued a 1911 as I was a guided missile gunner.

Throughout various enlistments in the Guard after my Active Army stint, I never had a problem with the M16 issued to me... until...

In 2003, amidst rumors that our unit was slated for activation, we turned in all firearms and were issued brand spanking new ones. I cleaned my new issue thoroughly and inspected it carefully. At the range, it absolutely refused to extract the spent brass from the chamber after firing. Other's were experiencing the same problem. Our armorer was pulling what hair he had left out in clumps... our first, second and third trip to the range resulted in the same failures.
I don't know what 'fix' they came up with, as I transferred units due to the Federal position that I had requiring a different MOS, and when the transportation unit I joined was called up I was medical discharged since I seemed to have about 8% of my hearing after 12 years in an artillery battery, a year as a missile gunner, and 2 years driving HETS... I had sworn to get hold of the first AK I could if possible.

Jaws
October 12, 2010, 10:43 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v258/<FA>Jaws/CC19109M16s.jpg



Too many good men died because of this and nobody paid for this criminal negligence. :banghead:

clem
October 13, 2010, 12:15 AM
Jaws,
That is a photograph I took in July 1967 at Dong Ha. Where did you get it from?

Jaws
October 13, 2010, 12:23 AM
I think in one of your posts in this forum a few months back.

Is so sobering. :(

Is sad that so little has been done about this. :(

clem
October 13, 2010, 12:28 AM
No problem on the picture.

Your right. I think a lot of very higher ups made a lot of money off of this. And what pisses me off is that even though they have worked out the bugs and the rifle is fairly decent. They still use a 22 ROUND for combat!

husker
October 13, 2010, 12:53 AM
Sorry but i have to ask. What is that a picture of? At first i thought it was an old Printing shop. but that aint right

clem
October 13, 2010, 03:09 AM
Stacks of jammed up M16s from KIA & WIA Marines in Vietnam, July 1967.

Read Post #33.

USMC8541
October 13, 2010, 05:05 PM
Future Ranger, Hadji had no further need of his rifle

JR47
October 13, 2010, 07:25 PM
I was issued an M16 in 11/67. and my too heavy, too long, and WAAAY to reliable M14 was turned in.

We were given about three hours of "training", and sent to the range. There was ONE cleaning kit allotted for every THREE rifles. We were told that the M16 didn't need cleaning during "normal use".

We found that: The ammo was "dirty". The rate of fire was much higher than we were told. The magazines sucked, and they had already issued a second type, then a third, by 11/67. The furniture was brittle. The buffers failed early and often in well-used guns. Many of the brand new M16s weren't reliable out of the box. FTE was a serious problem, along with a bolt-over jam.

As for rust, we were in the Mekong region, in the Rung Sat Special Zone, and it was always wet. I also found it less than amusing that the initial flash-suppressors were really great weed-catchers. Then, the guns, when moving through wet grass, would wick up moisture into the barrel. If you crossed by fording, and the gun became submerged, it wasn't safe to fire upon surfacing. This wasn't a problem with the M14.

The current rifles appear to be somewhat improved, but my USMC daughter, at Parris Island in 2005, told us horror stories about the reliability of their M16 rifles that sounded much the same as 1967.

I have to agree that the M16 was sold to the Whiz Kids, who had a vested interest in the commercial purchase of weapons developed outside of the old arsenal system, as a completely developed weapons system. The lack of actual testing, as demanded by the older Ordnance system would have saved a number of lives.

FYI, the M14 was developed under the direction of the Army. They wanted it to do the things mentioned. Springfield did as much as it could to follow those directions. Blaming them is akin to blaming Chevrolet for developing a Corvette with a 4 cylinder engine for a group who wants to buy 30,000 of them.

USMC8541
October 13, 2010, 08:05 PM
Yeah that pretty much sums it up, changes made were throwing good money after bad, I was trained by Vietnam Vets, Their statement stays with me to this day, "Listen up girls, a lotta boys died cuza that rifle" The failure of the M16 is the bolt carrier group and and that POS charging handle. Vietnam Vets told me the Commies got it right with the SKS and AK.These ass kissers in the rear say their M16 was great, they never spent 4 weeks in suck with crappy food, diaper rash and bug bites, Like I said bunch a guys got an AK and used em well

Quentin
October 13, 2010, 10:56 PM
No doubt there were problems with the M16 and it was a crime to dump those problems on our men. But the M14 had plenty of problems as well and wasn't a good choice in Vietnam. I was glad to turn mine in and get the M16. The military did rush it out but the design is good. There's a reason why we still use it and the M4.

Art Eatman
October 13, 2010, 11:57 PM
There is a guy named Pate who's a pretty good investigative journalist who's written for Soldier of Fortune magazine. He's pretty well tapped in to a military good-old-boy network. Excellent articles on Ruby Ridge and Waco.

His article on the M-16 deal covered many facets, but what I remember most was the thing about the powder.

Stoner's design was set up for full-auto at around 750 per minute with IMR type stick powder. The Olin Corporation lobbied the Pentagon to change to their Ball powder. Olin won a contract.

The problem arose that the rate of fire increased to some 900 rounds per minute, IIRC. I don't recall comments about fouling, but for sure the higher rate of fire meant more heat, which leads to sticky extraction. Sticky extraction means jams.

So, FWIW, that's what I "know" about that era...

HorseSoldier
October 14, 2010, 05:01 AM
Like I said bunch a guys got an AK and used em well

It's a popular weapon with under trained shooters.

In almost five years in an SF unit, I never once saw a Team guy who'd take an AK over an M4, and the only support guys who professed a preference for the AK lacked basic gunfighting skills and tended to be the ones who were "gently" encouraged to be fobbits.

coloradokevin
October 14, 2010, 06:55 AM
Some vets even used nails instead of firing pins.

Not that this point hasn't already been beat to death, but I just wonder where some of this rumors even come from. I can't picture any nail that could even come remotely close to serving as an AR-15/M-16 firing pin!

Maybe they meant to say that they gave up on the M-16 and used the M-16's firing pin as a nail?

SlamFire1
October 14, 2010, 10:56 AM
The problem arose that the rate of fire increased to some 900 rounds per minute, IIRC. I don't recall comments about fouling, but for sure the higher rate of fire meant more heat, which leads to sticky extraction. Sticky extraction means jams.

A cyclical rate above specs is going to cause problems. All gas operated weapons are designed using the “residual blowback effect”. This is explained in Col Chin’s Vol IV Book of the Machine Gun. This is a way for the gun designer to increase the time that energy is available to activate the mechanism. All gas operated weapons unlock when there still is residual pressure in the bore. This pressure has to be below the burst strength of brass, in Chin’s book that was 650 psia for a 20 mm cannon shell.

The inset on this 7.62 MM pressure curve is there for a reason. This came out of an AMCP design book and this residual pressure curve is there so designers can work out the dwell of their mechanisms.

Once the timing of the mechanism is set, changes to bullets, powders, pressures often muck up the dynamics of a semi automatic mechanism.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Reloading/Pressuretimecurve762NatoAMCP706-260.jpg

If you change to slow burning powders that high port pressures, high bore pressures, powders that open the mechanism before pressures have dropped enough, then you are going to have problems.

The shooting community believes that friction between the chamber and cartridge is good, when, in fact , the exact opposite is true. Cases that stick to the chamber will have rims pulled off, in extreme cases get ripped in half, and in the example of the M16 and ball powder, when the residual breech pressure was too high at unlock, jams happens.

Colt advised the troops to oil their cartridges, to reduce the friction between the case and the chamber. The Army hates grease and oil and the dirt that stuff attracts, so that temporary field fix was discontinued.

Roller bolt mechanisms open so early in the pressure curve that the Germans used chamber flutes which float the upper 2/3 rds of the case off the chamber in order to reduce breech friction.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Reloading/ChamberFlutesMP5.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Reloading/FlutedChamber.jpg

Even after hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to fix what could be fixed, the M16 cannot overcome its inherent limitations and is still not the best design. However, it will, and its M4 variants, remain in Army inventory and will so for decades to come.

The Army likes what it has, wants something better but only a little different, and totally rejects revolutionary change.

husker
October 14, 2010, 10:58 AM
This & nothing else is how the NAIL Myth was started. & Yes unfortunately i have heard the Nail story Years & years ago. Only the story i was told? I ALWAYS KEEP A NAIL WITH ME OUT IN THE FIELD IN CASE I BREAK A PIN.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wirenails.net/nails/double_head_nails.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.wirenails.net/duplexheadnails.html&h=188&w=257&sz=11&tbnid=pUb0uqGAt1dGKM:&tbnh=82&tbnw=112&prev=/images%3Fq%3Ddouble%2Bheaded%2Bnails&zoom=1&q=double+headed+nails&hl=en&usg=__SIrO8YYuZ_TGOb9EOUcROhEMWKE=&sa=X&ei=dwy3TMzBK4K0lQeItZXADA&ved=0CCEQ9QEwAQ

LOOK FAMILIAR ^^
I have a lath. I should tool a nail & case harden it & see what happens LOL

Ragnar Danneskjold
October 14, 2010, 11:24 AM
how did a marine get an AK-47?
did you just trade some arab?
that has to against rules?

Not sure if you're joking...but you do know that the AK-47 was the standard issue weapon of the North Vietnamese right?

Blackrock
October 14, 2010, 11:37 AM
I went in country Sept 69' and cleaned and treated my M16 the way my father had taught me to care for our guns at home. He was a War2 vet and before I left for Nam told me to clean and care for my weapon before I cleaned myself. I was a heavy equipment operator anddust was our biggest problem. I stil have a complete cleaning kit for an M16.

Tirod
October 14, 2010, 12:04 PM
Lots of war stories about trading for an AK don't include the fact that after a few firefights, you knew the distinctive sound and directed fire at it. In dense cover, there's no way to tell who is carrying it.

I put it with the "firing pin as a nail" BS.

It's archived at arfcom, and their server won't allow links. A post up this year discussed all the powder and chrome issues, along with the magazine changes, which were significant. Lots of comparisons are made to the AK, look at the robust design, then check out theGI M16 mag. You can drop it fully loaded on the feed lips and it will be screwed up good. FTF will start happening because of the light sheet metal lips getting bent, unlike the machined steel feed lips on AK mags.

There is another element frequently left out. Colt was making M16's just fine, and up to 1967 they ran OK. They were in low production rate mode, and the contracts were small, allowing a lot of fitting to get the parts right. It's NOT like it is today, weapons makers got good tolerances, just not as tight as some would like. Sometimes they needed a lick or too to get right, and they got it. There were glowing reports of the early contract rifles going quite well.

As an aside, that aluminum receiver and composite furniture added a lot to the "don't need to clean it" concept. On the outside, the only parts that were steel were the sights and exposed barrel. ALL the rest didn't rust or corrode. You really DON'T need to clean it - like a wood stock and steel M1 or M14. Huge difference.

Once the ramp up in production was going full song, Colt was putting out 4 times the production. There's only one way to do that, buy outside parts, and hire new workers. Quality suffered (just like it did in the '80s,) and inspecting each incoming part from an outside supplier apparently didn't happen in a thorough manner, if at all.

If you've worked a production line and understand tolerance stacks, you know this, but in the last 30 years, those jobs have all gone overseas. It's not part of the American labor experience any more.

One supplier of barrels got the chambers too tight. The M16's shipped. They jammed, especially during a infamous firefight in which the soldiers, with almost no training, no cleaning supplies, and a large number of draftees, had problems.

I say draftees because when the Army says you have to do something, it's part of human nature to resist. Even volunteers, and non-firearms enthusiasts are a larger part of draftees than volunteer in the day. And since you were literally kidnapped and forced to be there largely against your will, don't expect them to fully understand and cooperate with mundane grundgy tasks they don't want to do.

Subsequent to that action, it was discovered the chambers in those weapons were tight, and armorer action teams put in country with truckloads of new M16's with inspected chambers. Every unit was hunted down, some even in contact with the enemy, according to the participant's eyewitness accounts. Chambers were gauged, no go's set aside, and new weapons issued on the spot. If you were lined up waiting, you caught on fast, and some created expedient damage to get a new rifle, deserved or not.

Once you sort out the stories, as I have even before I graduated high school in 1971, you get the idea that firearms knowledgeable soldiers had little problem. They cleaned them however, as I did, and had to, without sufficient supplies. If your issue T-shirts are stained at the tail, and smell like lubricant, you know. As for the others, I seriously doubt they would have done much better had supplies and training been given to them. They simply refused to do what they were told, and that is another reason the all volunteer army works better.

Were they told wrong? No, not always, and the easy excuse to blame nameless higher ups for a conspiracy to make millions doesn't change the fact that lots of other units with competent commanders and NCO's didn't have major problems. A lot of it was due to a mindset that create some bad situations, and never should have happened. That is a continuing problem in the military, and it will never go away, regardless of the effort to educate and train every soldier. It's directly related to being human, and humans are not perfect.

Expecting perfection from organizations of humans is it's own reward.

JNewell
October 14, 2010, 02:25 PM
Wow, great post - thank you!

A cyclical rate above specs is going to cause problems. All gas operated weapons are designed using the “residual blowback effect”. This is explained in Col Chin’s Vol IV Book of the Machine Gun. This is a way for the gun designer to increase the time that energy is available to activate the mechanism. All gas operated weapons unlock when there still is residual pressure in the bore. This pressure has to be below the burst strength of brass, in Chin’s book that was 650 psia for a 20 mm cannon shell.

The inset on this 7.62 MM pressure curve is there for a reason. This came out of an AMCP design book and this residual pressure curve is there so designers can work out the dwell of their mechanisms.

Once the timing of the mechanism is set, changes to bullets, powders, pressures often muck up the dynamics of a semi automatic mechanism.



If you change to slow burning powders that high port pressures, high bore pressures, powders that open the mechanism before pressures have dropped enough, then you are going to have problems.

The shooting community believes that friction between the chamber and cartridge is good, when, in fact , the exact opposite is true. Cases that stick to the chamber will have rims pulled off, in extreme cases get ripped in half, and in the example of the M16 and ball powder, when the residual breech pressure was too high at unlock, jams happens.

Colt advised the troops to oil their cartridges, to reduce the friction between the case and the chamber. The Army hates grease and oil and the dirt that stuff attracts, so that temporary field fix was discontinued.

Roller bolt mechanisms open so early in the pressure curve that the Germans used chamber flutes which float the upper 2/3 rds of the case off the chamber in order to reduce breech friction.




Even after hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to fix what could be fixed, the M16 cannot overcome its inherent limitations and is still not the best design. However, it will, and its M4 variants, remain in Army inventory and will so for decades to come.

The Army likes what it has, wants something better but only a little different, and totally rejects revolutionary change.

eye5600
October 14, 2010, 05:01 PM
I went in country Sept 69'

Me, too.

I was a base camp type, so while I was issued a rifle, I only fired it on the rifle range. The first one I was issued would barely get 3 rounds out before jamming, however the reputation of the M-16 was such that the blame was always put on me for not keeping it clean (however clean it really was). Shortly before I turned it in, an armorer looked it over, pronounced it crap, and changed the buffer spring. I didn't even know it had a buffer spring.

When I changed divisions mid-year, I got a new rifle. It was better and would only jam every 10 or 15 rounds.

As you might be able to tell from reading between the lines, training for the M-16 left a lot to be desired. Although we were told to keep the rifle clean, there wasn't much info on exactly how to do that. Maybe they got into it more at Advanced Infantry Training to which I did not have to go.

For most of Basic Training, we had M-14s. Here on THR there is always a lot of praise for the M1 Garand, and rightly so, but if M-14s were equally available, they would have as many or more adherents. (And I take Willie Mays over Mickey Mantle, but have soft spot for Duke Snider if you're keeping track.)

788Ham
October 15, 2010, 01:54 AM
Byron, Enjoyed your writing, and the long piece about the unit you were in. Thanks for your service, and to all of the other Army and Marine grunts. I was Navy during 67-71, was aboard ship in 3-68, hauled the Riverine Forces up and down the coast of SVN, USS Gunston Hall- LSD-5. We didn't have use for the M-16 out there on the water, but when I got injured and helo'd out, I spent 8 months in Tripler Army Hosp. in Honolulu. I respect the troops that fought and gave their lives in the Nam. God bless troop's, OORRAAHH ! Semper Fi

Chindo18Z
October 15, 2010, 03:12 AM
I can't picture any nail that could even come remotely close to serving as an AR-15/M-16 firing pin!

I once observed a Soldier disassemble/reassemble an M16A1 at a timed testing station I was supervising. A nail was allowed & provided on the table along with a test rifle. The nail was to facilitate depression of takedown pins, which were a little stiff to "punch out" by hand.

My young hero smoked the test, flawlessly tearing down and then reassembling the rifle in well under stopwatch time...everything perfect...except for the left over firing pin...sitting on the table next to the reassembled rifle.

The nail fit inside the bolt carrier group quite nicely. Not sure I'd have been willing to live fire with it...

CZguy
October 15, 2010, 10:51 AM
I guess that's what my Grandpa meant when he said "haste makes waste". :D

Tirod
October 15, 2010, 11:41 AM
I used to be a .308 Battle Rifle kind of guy, wanted a FN FAL the first time I saw one, but settled for an HK91 as it was $160 NIB at the gun show. I mounted a 1Gen Aimpoint on it. Great hunting rifle, or so I thought in the late '70's. The three in our county then may have constituted 50% of the state total back then.

I also carried the M16 in service. The only one I didn't shoot was an H&R. They always worked fine, the only malfunction I ever experienced was paper residue left in the chamber. Never use paper to clean with. But, as usual, it was all I had. Fortunately, a cheap lesson.

Over the years, I had no problem accepting the problems, excuses, and obvious design failures of the M16's I used - and never experienced. It was only after I ETS'd after 22 years Reserves that the whole situation came into focus. Much of the griping and finger pointing is flat out BS. The entire experience in '68 is there, no doubt, but that was fixed 42 YEARS AGO. It's history.

The M16/M4 have been in service twice as long as the .308 battle rifle, which was dumped as the overweight, overpowered, underused, and short lived problem child it really is. That's the rifle with the inherent deficiencies, and I'm happy to say I sold the HK. The whole concept is it's own indictment. The full power cartridge can't be used full auto, and that failure alone was enough to doom the M14. It's a designated marksman's rifle - and very few are needed in a combat unit. For logistics, command, and support, it's stupid, and that is 90% of who is issued a rifle or carbine in the first place.

Is the M16 perfect, no, and none of it's predecessors were either. Check the history of the M1 and the controversy of including a roller bearing on the bolt /op rod. Lack of one was killing soldiers, according to some, but Uncle Sam wouldn't cost justify it. The Garand had it's problems, too, but a generational difference and lack of aggressive journalism in a time of war was expected. You just didn't dredge that stuff up, a war was on.

For the M16, the expansion of journalistic coverage and presence of children raised to have a lot more material goods given to them without hard work created a entitlement attitude that disliked the concept of a "call to duty." It's very apparent in the continued whining put forth by them ever since. They wouldn't accept responsibility for their own (lack of) actions, and are still fingerpointing to misdirect the blame.

The M16 glitch is done with, as much as the M1's. They are a great comparison in how America changed, too.

CZguy
October 15, 2010, 01:49 PM
I for one, think you hit the nail right on the head Tirod. And I'm a member of the baby-boom generation.

USMC8541
October 15, 2010, 03:21 PM
Why is there no contrversy about the HK-93? M16= another special interest boodoogle, polititions and defence contracters made money.

Bartholomew Roberts
October 15, 2010, 04:33 PM
It's a popular weapon with under trained shooters.

I hear it is popular with the ever vocal Internet Scout Sniper units too.

Quentin
October 15, 2010, 04:35 PM
Well one thing's for sure (for me anyway) - though the M16 I had in '68 worked all right, the midlength AR I built last year is a whole lot better! It's now MY RIFLE.

Andrew Wyatt
October 15, 2010, 04:40 PM
Why is there no contrversy about the HK-93? M16= another special interest boodoogle, polititions and defence contracters made money.


No one cares about the HK93.

SlamFire1
October 15, 2010, 06:11 PM
The Garand had it's problems, too, but a generational difference and lack of aggressive journalism in a time of war was expected. You just didn't dredge that stuff up, a war was on.


I have known a very good number of WWII veterans, Korea War Veterans. I can recall one Korea War Veteran unprompted tell me that his Garand functioned no matter how much dirt and muck got on the thing. I have never heard from those generations any complaints about the reliability of the Garand in combat.


The Garand operating rod seized up in hot, wet, constant rain and all it took were grease kits in the butt stock to fix that problem. I have never heard or read of entire units being over run due to Garand malfunctions. This did happen to units armed with the M16. Any and all Garand problems were small potatoes compared to the M16 disaster.

I have also been squadded with and talked to a lot of early Vietnam War veterans. They never complained about the reliability of the M14. The only real negative comment was that you could only carry half the ammunition load of a M16, which was about 400 rounds. I asked that Vet if he had ever shot 400 rounds in combat, and he had. Must have been a very bad day.

However, it does not take much prompting before you hear lots of M16 malfunction stories from early and mid Vietnam War veterans. For late war veterans, most of the worst M16 issues were worked out.

I have talked to Iraqi war veterans, been squadded with them at Camp Perry, and they have one common theme on the M16/M4 variants: Lots of maintenance. Depending on the region they are having to clean the weapon three times a day to keep it reliable. M16’s are dust sensitive. These guys have often performed their own “torture” tests on AK47’s, and I am surprised to hear from them how much sand can be poured into a AK47 mechanism and the thing still functionings.

Given that there are lots of proven weapon systems out there, why don’t we issue a rifle that does not require a lot of maintenance to keep it running?

USMC8541
October 15, 2010, 06:38 PM
It's a popular weapon with under trained shooters.

In almost five years in an SF unit, I never once saw a Team guy who'd take an AK over an M4, and the only support guys who professed a preference for the AK lacked basic gunfighting skills and tended to be the ones who were "gently" encouraged to be fobbits.
For the record I shot a 240 out of 250 with the M16 at the parris island rifle range OCT 1981, attended Marine Corps Scout Sniper school in Nov 1982, Amphibious Recon school in summer 1982, I hope you don't think I'm an Under trained shooter.The M16 is a Okay weapon that is easy to carry, I do believe there are better choices in a harsh environment

Bartholomew Roberts
October 15, 2010, 07:06 PM
For the record I shot a 240 out of 250 with the M16 at the parris island rifle range OCT 1981, attended Marine Corps Scout Sniper school in Nov 1982, Amphibious Recon school in summer 1982,

So you finished boot camp around October 1981, graduated from the School of Infantry, made it into the Scout/Sniper platoon, made Lance Corporal rank and managed to score not one; but two very competitive schools in your first year in a Marine infantry unit?

That would be impressive if it were true.

Al Thompson
October 15, 2010, 07:20 PM
I have heard or read of entire units being over run due to Garand malfunctions

Think you meant "I have never heard or read of entire units being over run due to Garand malfunctions".

Me either, but there are numerous instances of units running low or running out of ammo.

Martin Russ was a Marine Armorer in Korea and hated the Garand. Felt like it was too sensitive to dirt and ice with the open action. ~Shrug~ Nothing's perfect. The 4th ID guys I worked with in Iraq liked the M4, no issues. The trainers I worked with didn't like the ergonomics or sights of the AKs. The Iraqi National Police wanted M4s. The SAS carried M16s. The Israelis dropped the Galil for the M-16. South Africa troopies liked the 5.56 Galils they carried.

Nuttin's perfect. :D

JR47
October 15, 2010, 08:44 PM
The M16/M4 have been in service twice as long as the .308 battle rifle, which was dumped as the overweight, overpowered, underused, and short lived problem child it really is. That's the rifle with the inherent deficiencies, and I'm happy to say I sold the HK. The whole concept is it's own indictment. The full power cartridge can't be used full auto, and that failure alone was enough to doom the M14. It's a designated marksman's rifle - and very few are needed in a combat unit. For logistics, command, and support, it's stupid, and that is 90% of who is issued a rifle or carbine in the first place.

If that were actually true, then why are our current forces trying to find more accurate long-range rifles for Afghanistan?

I keep seeing references to theM14's "problems". What were they? Ours were stone reliable. Enlighten us. please.

I do know about some initial problems, and that the old Ordnance system pulled ALL M14s off-line until it was corrected. Contrast that with the response on the M16.

The old "too long, too heavy, couldn't carry as much ammo" is pretty worn out now. Weight is relative to load, as is "more ammo". I saw quite a bit of combat in Vietnam while using an M14. I never experienced any of what some consider such "problems". Anyone familiar with their weapon will learn to compensate for things like weight, or length.

I also note that many of those who post here never used the M14 in combat. They apparently parrot what others say.

The entire experience in '68 is there, no doubt, but that was fixed 42 YEARS AGO. It's history.

Note to those who are posting that the M16 has changed. The OP was talking about VIETNAM era M16 rifles. Try to keep up.

I hate to say this, but the M16 has never faced off against a truly modern enemy. It's environment has always been in battles where America had air superiority, untouched lines of supply, and artillery on call. Sooner or later, this will come to at least a temporary end. Then, we'll see if the rifle can perform in situations where parts aren't plentiful, against an enemy quite capable of sustaining long contact. I just hope that it isn't 1968 all over again.

SlamFire1
October 15, 2010, 09:17 PM
"too long, too heavy, couldn't carry as much ammo"

As for too heavy, the Army has porked up the M16 over the years.

from TM 9-1005-319-10

M16A2/A3/A4 weight with 30 round mag 8.79 lbs. (8 lbs 12.5 ounces)

M4 weight with 30 round mag 7.5 lbs.

From FM23-8 M14 and M14A1 Rifles and Rifle Marksmanship

M14 rifle with full magazine and cleaning equipment: 10.1 pounds. (10 lbs 1.6 ounces)

The difference in weight is 1 lbs 5 ounces between the M14 and the M16 models.

The M4 is doing good at 7.5 lbs, but that does not include all the accessory equipment that our troops are strapping on the things.

Seems to me the weight issue is about a wash.

Have Americans have gotten weaker over time?, the average Civil War Solider was 5’ 7” and lugged a 9 lb M1861 Musket.

USMC8541
October 15, 2010, 10:07 PM
So you finished boot camp around October 1981, graduated from the School of Infantry, made it into the Scout/Sniper platoon, made Lance Corporal rank and managed to score not one; but two very competitive schools in your first year in a Marine infantry unit?

That would be impressive if it were true.
I don't remember it being all that difficult, But since you are making my record an issue here you are. Actually I Forgot Army Jungle training in Fort Sherman Panama Also. Okay Listen up, Boot camp platoon 3068 Aug 19 to Nov, I was home for Thanksgiving, ITS Camp Geiger NC around Dec-Jan, assigned 1st Bat 6th Marines B Co, Did a good job as a rifleman and asked to go to Sniper school, CO said no but he had an opening for Amphib Recon school in Little Creek VA, completed that in Jul 82 and was transferred from B Co to H&S Co STA Platoon, Still with me Barthowomew? Yes It's still 1982! Attended 2nd Mar Div scout Sniper School at the rifle range in Around Nov-Dec 1982, Entire Bat deployed to Okinawa from Jan to Jun 1983, Our Bat CO was Lt Col Wesely Fox MOH Vietnam.He taught us to act as the eyes & ears for the Bat. Got back from Okinawa and went to Jungle Training in Panama for a second time, Then Honduras, Can you believe I left out a bunch of stuff, There was Korea, PI, Guam, Tinnian and Japan. There was time for Beer & girls. This is gratuitous and I'm going to try and forget you doubted me. I expect to receive some fine Whiskey from you

Hangingrock
October 15, 2010, 10:51 PM
Do a search “Hill Fights 1967”. The M16 of that period was problematic. There were Marine officers that put their careers on the line resulting in congressional hearings.

I did my tour with the M14. Those of us that used the M14 day to day would not have traded it for a M16 of that period.

Bartholomew Roberts
October 15, 2010, 11:37 PM
Boot camp platoon 3068 Aug 19 to Nov, I was home for Thanksgiving, ITS Camp Geiger NC around Dec-Jan, assigned 1st Bat 6th Marines B Co, Did a good job as a rifleman and asked to go to Sniper school, CO said no but he had an opening for Amphib Recon school in Little Creek VA, completed that in Jul 82 and was transferred from B Co to H&S Co STA Platoon

Missing a few schools in between ARS and Scout Sniper School aren't you? I think your timeline is a little off there. So far, all I've gotten from you is that you've read Lt. Col. Fox's memoir or his online interview with VMI. If me doubting you is something that concerns you, you'll need to do a lot better than that.

springmom
October 16, 2010, 12:08 AM
I once observed a Soldier disassemble/reassemble an M16A1 at a timed testing station I was supervising. A nail was allowed & provided on the table along with a test rifle. The nail was to facilitate depression of takedown pins, which were a little stiff to "punch out" by hand.

My young hero smoked the test, flawlessly tearing down and then reassembling the rifle in well under stopwatch time...everything perfect...except for the left over firing pin...sitting on the table next to the reassembled rifle.

The nail fit inside the bolt carrier group quite nicely. Not sure I'd have been willing to live fire with it...

ROTFLMFHO!!!!! I dunno...I've wondered many times whether some of the nails in my husband's toolbox couldn't be used in a pinch. Probably better to just keep a couple of extra firing pins around, though. :D:D:D

Jan

I do

CZguy
October 16, 2010, 12:26 AM
Have Americans have gotten weaker over time?, the average Civil War Solider was 5 7 and lugged a 9 lb M1861 Musket.


I can only assume that you are correct.

Several days ago at the gym that I go to three times a week, I observed a young Army Captain teaching four new recruits how to do the simple exercises needed to be accepted into the Army. (Like four chin-ups)

On 28 Aug 1972 at my draft board everybody passed everything.

RhodesianRLI
October 16, 2010, 01:35 AM
The M16/M4 have been in service twice as long as the .308 battle rifle, which was dumped as the overweight, overpowered, underused, and short lived problem child it really is

The .308 FN FAL seemed to work quite well for the Rhodesian military, considering they were never beaten by their enemies!

Byron
October 16, 2010, 11:45 AM
I used the cartridge for my 16 to take it apart.It worked fine. When I was in Basic,Spring 68,four trainees were "volunteered" and were gone several days to the range.They said they spent the day firing 16's and then cleaning after about 500 rounds(I think that was the number) and doing it again. We had heard about the poblems with the 16 in Nam. They indicated there was no malfunctions.it apperas they were shooting ammo with DuPont powder and had LSA. We trained with the 14 but the Basic Training company next to us had the 16. The Air Force perfected the 16 which with them was the AR 15. The Army got a hold of it and messed it up. Byron

shootr
October 16, 2010, 12:40 PM
Missed Vietnam and have never been in combat. Raised in a mil family, served Navy and knew/know many vets.

Always interested in this kind of thing and in discussions re M16 have noted exactly what we're seeing here. Those who used the early M16 tended to have problems and the more problems the more they disliked it.

PPL I knew who served in-country later tended to like it because of the weight. Some disliked the round for lack of penetration and knock-down power; disliked the rifle for being frail. Their experiences with it drove their perception.

A gunny I served with in particular liked it for weight and ammo load. He was a southerner and a farm-boy who knew guns. A LRRP and served 3 tours in-country IIRC. Makes sense those characteristics would be important to him serving in that role.

"Matty Mattel" was how another former Marine always spoke of that rifle. He was a grunt and was there in the mid-late 60s. A mild, soft-spoken guy but passionate on the subject. Hated that rifle and said it got Marines killed. Called it a POS whenever the subject came up. He was a northern farm boy and a deer hunter. Much preferred the 14.

Early-on I recall it being considered a "meat axe" and the reason given being the 1:14 twist rate causing the bullet to tumble. These days, fragmentation is what I mostly see as the reason for deadliness. Maybe the former facilitates the latter. Dunno. Where range allows velocity to be right - it works well. In others - not so well. In VN ranges were shorter, in ME not always so short and in the interim, bbl length has decreased and twist has increased.

Suspect changing characteristics of the early M16 over the years and its application in different situations drives it's perception of usefulness over the years in the minds of users. Where it works, it works reasonably well. Where it doesn't - it doesn't and is not well-liked.

A tool has to fit the application and no one rifle can be expected to fit all requirements or wars. M16 is a good example of something that's morphed to fit the needs of different applications.

Byron
October 16, 2010, 01:21 PM
This link should answer a lot of questions:
http://ammo.ar15.com/ammo/project/term_velocity.html

Nicky Santoro
October 16, 2010, 02:08 PM
OP,
I was late to the game (early '69-early'70) and had what I now know to be an A1. Just called it an M16 then. I had a DI in '68 who had been in the 101st. Amazingly, Army SOP was to still refer to the rifle as self-cleaning. Then he told us the truth. It doesn't self-clean and if you don't keep it clean it will jam and you will die. An exact quote that I recall... "Chuck will walk right up to you and your f***ed weapon and shoot you in the face". The instructor at the range told us the same. I took both at their word as I planned to complete my glorious two years of service alive. I always performed a fast cleaning whenever I had a chance and never had a malfunction of any kind.
FWIW
YMMV

Doug Kennedy
October 16, 2010, 09:23 PM
wasn't the stick powder imr8208?

sorry I commented on this thread.................there sure is alot of tall tails and bs

Sky
October 16, 2010, 10:41 PM
Byron that was good info, Thanks!

http://ammo.ar15.com/ammo/project/term_velocity.html

Wispa
October 16, 2010, 10:45 PM
My father was a Sgt. during his time there in 1967-68 C Company, 65th Combat Engineers, 25th Infantry. He had trouble with his and saw other guys run into trouble due to malfunctions. I don't know the exact type of issues or the causes of them though. I'm sure it's like others have said, a mixture of the environment, lack of cleaning supplies, ammo specs, etc.

When talking about it he says using the M60 was his preference since he knew it would work, but that it was bitter sweet since doing so ended up drawing more attention.

Tirod
October 17, 2010, 12:16 AM
The M14 refit for SWAsia amounts to less than 5,000 rifles. Compared to the 100,000 M16's and M4's, it becomes obvious they are just another asset, like the M2, Mk17, M60, M249, etc. The 7.62 isn't replacing the 5.56, just being added to the assortment.

Please note it was cheap and easy for the Army to do that, SOCOM would rather buy more SCAR -H, and the Brit's bought an AR-10 they designated the L129A1. None of those are replacing the 5.56, just supplementing it.

As for the Civil War soldier, he didn't carry 130 pounds of gear. They simply didn't have that much. No radios, batteries, NVG's, helmets, armored vests, really, it's silly to bring it up. There is no comparison. All they had was a musket, and if they could have gotten a forged aluminum autoloader that weighed less than 7 pounds loaded, they would have changed in a heartbeat. Every group of humans has always bought into technology. I don't see too many of us using analog bag phones and deliberately choosing to keep their black and white analog TV's.

We took years to change from the M16A1 to A2, longer to adopt the M4, and still use the M16 in the A4 form. Well over 40 years in all that, but the initial fielding was done in a rush and obviously not in a thorough manner. There are lessons to be learned there, most of which are why we won't adopt a different caliber or rifle in any great hurry.

Art Eatman
October 17, 2010, 01:13 AM
"There are lessons to be learned there, most of which are why we won't adopt a different caliber or rifle in any great hurry."

Thanks, Tirod. That's a pretty good summary and will serve to let the old horse have a chance to breathe...

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