What Was the Powder Used During Early Vietnam?


Welding Rod
March 9, 2013, 10:00 PM
What was the powder used during the early Vietnam era that resulted in problems with the M16?

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March 9, 2013, 10:24 PM
IIRC it was ball (bulk factory) powder that was just wrong for the cartridge. I don't know if I've ever seen the full inside story on that debacle.

March 9, 2013, 10:42 PM

March 9, 2013, 10:46 PM

Later, the tolerances for lots of WC846 were divided and the faster stuff became WC844...the slower stuff remained WC846. This happened in 1970.

Win 748 is not and never was BLC-2. Contact Hodgdon's and they will tell you the same thing.

March 9, 2013, 11:05 PM

March 9, 2013, 11:08 PM
It was one of those situations where the perfect storm of events came together with some tragic results.
The part I find hard to understand is how the Army could state that the rifle did not need to be cleaned. As stated above, the rifles were issued without cleaning kits or any instruction on how to properly clean the weapon.
When the decision was made to issue the cleaning kits, they had to come up with a way to instruct the troops in the field on how to properly clean the weapon. There was a cartoon like instruction manual issued with the kits.

March 9, 2013, 11:24 PM
I hate to step on your party but WC-844 is very close to H335, not W748 or BL-C(2). That would be WC-846.

W231 = HP-38
W296 = H110
W540 = HS-6
W571 = HS-7
W760 = H414
WAP = Silhouette

While there are a handful of Hodgdon/Winchester powder clones and one Ramshot clone I was under the impression W748 and BL-C(2) were extremely close but not identical much like IMR4198 & H4198 and IMR4895 & H4895. Close but no cigar... ??? The current Hodgdon load data shows an almost 3 grain difference in charge weights in the 150gr 30-30 with almost identical velocities. Pressures are also higher with the lower powder charge than the higher BL-(C)2 charge. Almost 3 grains is a lot for powders that are the same???

Arkansas Paul
March 9, 2013, 11:34 PM
I think the fact that they didn't even send cleaning kits at first had at least as much to do with it as the powder.

March 9, 2013, 11:38 PM
The .223 Remington was not developed for use with ball powder. It was developed for use with extruded powder.

Welding Rod
March 10, 2013, 12:08 AM
That is what I don't get. I have heard that "ball powder" was the problem, but H335 and BLC2 are ball powders and as far as I have ever heard, they work great in the 556 / AR and have for many decades. No?

March 10, 2013, 12:17 AM
In April 1964, the Army approved two powders for use in loading M193: CR 8136 and WC846.
But there's much more to the story. Rather than type out a lengthy explanation, I'll just refer you to this link..... http://www.thegunzone.com/556prop.html

Welding Rod
March 10, 2013, 12:30 AM
Thanks Otto!

March 10, 2013, 05:55 AM
There was also the chrome lined barrel in the mix. I can't remember if that was one reason for the "not needing cleaning" deal , but I think it was added after the "issues".

March 10, 2013, 08:24 AM
my .223 shoots lights out with #7

March 10, 2013, 08:54 AM
Because the gas tube is "self-cleaning" at some point they assumed the RIFLE was self cleaning.
Waffle mags sucked.
Quality control for ammo and guns was so bad, some, should have been called sabotage.

It faced the AK47 for direct comparison.

March 10, 2013, 09:16 AM
Like the report said it amounted to criminal negligence.

March 11, 2013, 01:28 PM
The first Stoner designed weapons in 'Nam were AR15s, bought for AF Mps, by Gen. Curtis LeMay. These weapons were supplied with armorers kits and ammunition. I heard that none of the armorers kits were even opened, non of the AF guns ever jammed or failed.

So the Army had a go, immediately had problems, that later turned out to be related to an unfortunate combination of gas-tube design and ball powder. It seems that all those AF guns had been supplied with ammunition that used IMR powder, a MUCH cleaner burning powder than any ball that I know of, and the ball powder residue caused the Army guns to jam in short order.

I heard that as soon as Stoner heard of the problem, he re-designed the AR15 into the AR18, an AR15 with gas piston operation, (and other changes) but the Army wasn't interested, went ahead with a bunch of gimmick mods and fixes until the thing would run on ball powder, and the M16 was born.

Far as I know, the only other gas tube military rifle ever produced with the Egyptian Hakkim, most noted for its ability to resist damage from laying about in the sand...

Recently, the H&K 416 upper finally does away with the regrettable gas impingement design of the AR16..

Maj Dad
March 11, 2013, 02:26 PM
Like the report said it amounted to criminal negligence.
Have a retired Marine major friend who did 2 or 3 tours in RVN and who will still turn red in the face and pull out his soapbox at the mention of the subject. He experienced the problem, and let me tell you, he has the answers for the culpable parties, starting with McNamara (and not involving changing powder and proper cleaning). He was, is, and forever will be an M1/M14 Marine.
Semper Fi!

March 11, 2013, 02:43 PM
I was in Vietnam when the Marines still had the M14 and the Army had switched to the M16.

Too bad the parts chain for M14s is pretty much gone for the ones still being issued. Much if not all of the government machinery to make M14s was scrapped during the Clinton years, as I understand it.

March 11, 2013, 02:54 PM
I was in Vietnam when the Marines still had the M14 and the Army had switched to the M16.

Too bad the parts chain for M14s is pretty much gone for the ones still being issued. Much if not all of the government machinery to make M14s was scrapped during the Clinton years, as I understand it.
BUT, over in Afghanistan when they needed a rifle to shoot from mountain to mountain they broke out the M14's. Of course they don't look like then old M14's with their black synthetic stock, bi-pod and a bunch of other goodies but they are the M14's of old with a facelift. They are doing a great job over there in Afghanistan.


March 11, 2013, 06:19 PM
briankk wrote:Far as I know, the only other gas tube military rifle ever produced with the Egyptian Hakkim, most noted for its ability to resist damage from laying about in the sand...

Allow me to expand your knowledge........AG42 Ljungman. The Hakim is a decendant of the Ljungman.

March 15, 2013, 10:25 PM
I hope this helps. I was in Basic in the Army Spring 68.Several "volunteers" were gone several days and at the baracks at night they said all they were doing was firing 16's and cleaning at 500 rounds,repeat etc.We were concerned as most of us was drafted.They reported good functioning.In late summer I was in AIT Infantry and while we were using XM-16's,no malfunctions.Oct found me a grunt in the 4th Inf Div. my 16 saw a lot of use and no failures.The Battle on 947 lasted 36 hours and I went through close to 900 rounds,no malfunctions.I opened up a crate of 16 ammo and on each box was stamped"Dupont Powder".later in life I was to learn the original powder was Dupont,the Army switched to a Winchester Ball powder with too much calcium content.We did have cleaning rods and the then new LSA oil. My experience was good with the 16 and M-193.

March 16, 2013, 03:14 AM
I have been reloading for the 223/5.56 rifles for decades. I started in 1966 using DuPonts powder, never having a rifle freeze up. In the 1980's I was talked into trying Winchester powder as a cheeper alturnitive. After shooting two rifles I cleaned them as I always had before without the guns locking up, but this time after using Winchester powder a week later I could not retract the bolts. Once I got them apart I discovered that the bolt carrier, bolt piston rings and gas tube were a mass of light rust. I never had to clean these parts before using DuPonts. With Winchester these parts needed extra cleaning attention and a generious coat of oil to prevent the rifle and carbine from freezing up with rust.

Carl N. Brown
March 16, 2013, 06:20 AM
I have heard that 1960s military grade "ball" powder was often made with recycled nitrocellulose rather than newly manufactured nitrocellulose. That would be a really bad substitute in a rifle designed around a cartridge developed for cleaner burning extruded "rod" powder.

I suspect current commercial ball powder for reloading is a few steps above military ball powder of the 1960s.

March 17, 2013, 08:55 PM
The decision to use WC 846 ball powder in the 5.56mm cartridge was a very bad one. WC 846 powder increased the cyclic rate of the M16 rile and accelerated wear and tear. That ball powder burned much dirtier than granular powder.

Initially rifles were issued without cleaning kits. Robert McNamera was the ultimate micro-manager: He was personally involved in M16 issues. McNamera called the rifle "self cleaning" and claimed a chrome plated chamber bore and chamber were not needed. As a result chambers sometimes rusted and the rifles ceased to function. Early M16 magazines were easily damaged and were not reliable.

During stateside testing the gas tube of at least one M16 rifle became plugged with residue from WC 846 powder.

Since 1968 i have fired hundreds of thousands of M193 5.56mm rounds. i own multiple examples of nearly every headstamp of M193 ball ammmunition used during the Vietnam war, including quantities of WC 846 loaded rounds.



One of the powders Robert Hutton used in the development of M16 ammunition was IMR 3031. IMR 3031 remains my favorite powder for reloading .223/5.56 ammo.

March 17, 2013, 08:59 PM
Our bolt carriers were dull nickel or chrome plated. It was a fine weapon when I got there in 68.We still had 3 prong flash suppressors and when switched to the Bird Cage, we kept some 3 prongs for opening cases of C-Rations.

March 17, 2013, 09:26 PM
I was a replacement for BLT 2/3 after the Hill Fights in 1967 and I took a 3 prong with the heavier gold buffer. Most of the older rifles had the lighter buffer and the ammo was really dirty burning. I don't think the chrome bore came into play until later, when the birdcage rifles started showing up with the new guys. When I rotated in 1968, we still had an M-14 in every squad in case there was a problem with the M-16's again. I cannot say what I think about McNamara, it wouldn't be THR.

March 17, 2013, 10:03 PM
COOP45,Welcome Home.I went over in Oct 68 and became part of Delta 3/8th Inf,4th Inf Div. The rifle I was issued had the chrome bolt carrier.I kept it clean and it never failed me.I think it was Nov 68 when I opened that crate marked Dupont Powder.We hardly ever came in and that made keeping it clean that much more importance.

March 17, 2013, 11:58 PM
From what I seem to remember, the root of 'the problem' was a gent by the name of McNamara and his cost saving measures in the Dept Of Defense.

Now, it seems as if we are traveling down that same road one more time. I wonder what the cost will be this time?


March 18, 2013, 10:14 AM
The chrome plating was done after the problems became an issue.It was suppose to be a bandaid to keep things clean without a kit, IIRC.
I wonder just how bad the guy that designed the m-16(Stein?? or something like that) wanted to use that gun on certain military officials !:fire:

Those guys should have run point for a month on patrols as punishment.

March 18, 2013, 07:12 PM
The basic problem was the AR15 was not a fully developed system. The cartridge was a back of the envelope design by Bob Hutton, he got a certain velocity at a certain distance.

If you read the Gun Zone article keep in mind that it turned out that the powder pressure requirements were beyond what state of the art powder manufacture could hold. The early stick powders were selected from lots that would work. I assume the lots that did not work were sold off for other applications.

This is an interesting read: APPENDIX 7 REPORT OF THE M16 RIFLE REVIEW PANEL



You can find some real stinkers the Ichord Report: Report of the special subcommittee on the M-16 rifle program of the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, Ninetieth Congress, first session, October 19, 1967.

The Ichord report can be found here, but you have to work the system to download


This section from it is a real stinker:

Colt's apparently was allowed to select the ammunition used in the rifle acceptance tests. Colt’s chose ammunition loaded with IMR extruded powder because of the cyclic rate test and the consistency of favorable test results obtained when firing IMR ammunition. Between the date of incorporating a new buffer in the rifle in production, December 1966, to slow down the cyclic rate, approximately 330,000 rifles were accepted from Colts by the military. More than 218,000 of these were delivered to the Army. Undoubtedly many thousands of these were shipped or carried to Vietnam, with the Army on notice that the rifles failed to meet design and performance specifications and might experience excessive malfunctions when firing ammunition loaded with ball propellant. It was also known that 90 percent or more of the 5.56 millimeter ammunition delivered to Vietnam was loaded with ball propellant.

In my opinion, not testing M16’s with the ammunition used in combat, because a large number of Colt rifles would have failed, shows that the Army was more concerned about maintaining Colt’s profit margins than the lives of its Soldiers.

I consider that a real stinker, and incidentally, nothing has changed. The military exists to serve the industrial complex, not the other way around.

March 18, 2013, 08:37 PM
Here's a fella's URL that appears to have a pretty concise history of the weapon. It pretty well matches historical info I've read in other publications. Farther down is a text version of the 1967 Ichord committee's investigation into its failure. Eugene Stoner himself explained the reason for the failures. For me, his opinion carries the most weight. See: http://www.bobcat.ws/rifle.htm

I agree with Slamfire's take on what can happen with the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned us about. When procurers and manufacturers come up with a system or change that ignores the guy in the field, it's a win-win for the money guys, a lose-lose for the grunt.

March 18, 2013, 09:06 PM
In 1982in Germany we had M-16A1 rifles that were failing to cycle. We checked the bolt rings and made sure they were aligned properly, cleaned the rifles inspected the recoil spring tube for mud and tried to fire with again the rifle functioning as a poor straight pull.

Although it was officially beyond unit maintenance level the armorer and I (property book officer/supply officer and unofficial gun nut) pulled the gas tube from one of the offending rifles. We mostly straightened out the wire binder from a spiral bound note book and began shoving it into the gas tube.

We got a white to yellow lime like deposit falling out like larg chunk play sand. After running the wire through until no more sand fell out we put the gun back together and guess what? It worked fine. As it turned out every gun in our arms room that was having short cycle or no cycle problems was found to have such deposits as were many guns that had yet to show problems.

I believe the problem there and perhaps with the M-16 A1s I saw and an enlisted man were caused largely by the use of blank ammunition, but could never prove it.

As an enlisted man in the early 1970s it seemed that especially on cool humid or wet days (European standard we called it)that the M-16A1 was especially prone to converting any LSA in the action area into black gummy mud that slowed things down. Some of us ran the guns pretty much dry and had better results, some used a light coating of PL-Special that we had for use in the M-60 GPMG with good results and some (don't laugh) coated everything with graffite in the form of "writting" on the bolt carrier and bolt with a #2 pencil.

It was unusual for eight men to be on line at one of the million mark ranges and not have on gun quit on cool wet mornings.

At Graf the guns soaked up the red clay dust and the guys with too much LSA made red mud before firing. The dry guns made scraping sounds when the actions were worked and frequently short stroked.

My first military AR 15 was marked XM-16E1 and was shot to junk by being in a training outfit. Even with M-16A1s so new they had now sling buckle scars on them yet and still looked fuzzy I saw repeated stoppages after one round, including one that lead to a rather interesting night and trying to follow a blood trail with out showing a light.

I like the layout and erganomics of the AR15 family I just don't want to have to trust it with the lives of me and folks I care about.


March 20, 2013, 07:15 AM
Robert McNamara was the ultimate micro-manager

Political-Appointee that have far too much War Fighting authority. McNamara -- Donald Rumsfeld and all of the successors. The House - Senate and Executive maintain the MIC - mil indust comp. In order to smoooose the skids the Politician must control the Who and What inside of the Military branches - top dogs Admirals-Generals that never bark obscenities. Heck-oh dear, Sen Feinstein made big money on Mil Spec contractor stock until they sold in 2008. Generals that do Not speak - speak plenty in their silence. Pecking Order.

Carl N. Brown
March 20, 2013, 07:51 AM
There was another gun that used a "self cleaning" gas system: the M1 carbine. The "self cleaning" part relied on the use of more expensive non-corrosive primers. So all US issue .30 carbine ammo used non-corrosive primers. Which is a good thing, because the M1 carbine gas system was not normally disassembled in routine cleaning (the piston nut was staked in place and the system serviced only by armorers not by field users).

The Army did some proving ground tests with .30 carbine ammo loaded with corrosive primers: rust after a few days was a killer.

If we had had McNamara in WWII, he probably would have OK'd the cheaper corrosive primers because they were good enough to use in .30-06 and .45 ACP, why not .30 carbine?

The Air Force wanted the M16 to replace the M1 carbine for airfield security: USAF wanted anti personnel weapon that would kill infiltrators or saboteurs without serious damage to aircraft. Quick political adoption by the US Army w/o proving ground tests of guns and ammo actually issued by the DOD was a big mistake.

March 20, 2013, 10:50 AM
Here's a fella's URL that appears to have a pretty concise history of the weapon. It pretty well matches historical info I've read in other publications. Farther down is a text version of the 1967 Ichord committee's investigation into its failure. Eugene Stoner himself explained the reason for the failures. For me, his opinion carries the most weight. See: http://www.bobcat.ws/rifle.htm

I printed out the text of that site and found the excerpts very interesting.

The Black Rifle http://www.amazon.com/The-Black-Rifle-Retrospective-Military/dp/0889351155 and Shiver’s The Gun http://cjchivers.com/aboutthegun are the best two books on the subject that I have read to date. The Black Rifle has the most information on all the technical problems the early M16’s had, how they surfaced, and what it took to fix. The book “The Gun” provides information that is not in the Black Rifle, the promotion campaign, the politics and the Army Coverup of the faults of the M16. I was very disappointed to read that the Army classified malfunction reports “Top Secret” to prevent information from getting out in the public domain. I think that explains how even the Program Manager could testify to Congress that he had never heard of the M16 jamming in combat. This information was withheld from Congress and anyone without a “need to know” . In the Congressional Record you see the disconnect between Soldiers and their testimony that the gun had jammed, and the Army Hierarchy saying it was all due to dirty rifles used by those slothful, slovenly, uncaring GI’s. :barf:

While the Ichord committee and the testimony focused on powder problems, that was just one of the many problems the M16 had because it was not a fully developed system. Anyone who has used new software packages can understand that even extensively tested software can cause your computer to lock up. Same for first year cars. If mechanical items are not thoroughly examined from all aspects, once in mass production, they will lock up too. Even today, the M16 magazine design is inadequate , too difficult to fix once form, fit and function were set, and sixty years later the magazine causes more malfunctions than anything else.

Assuming the weapon is kept clean, the M16 is still intolerance to dirt.

A common theme that has always been true, the military will not acknowledge faults in their products and services. As an example, the current F-22 aircraft is suffocating pilots, but the Air Force determined the crash of one F-22 was pilot error. Yes, he had passed out due to lack of oxygen, but apparently the Air Force believes that they have trained their pilots so thoroughly that they are can fly in their sleep. Therefore an unconscious pilot is at fault for not safely landing his plane!

This is what the sister of the dead pilot said:
The Air Force was more interested in protecting a $79 billion program than the lives of its airmen.




Sixty years ago it was the M16, the V-22 Osprey has killed bunches of Marines, now we are reading about the F-22. Nothing changes.

March 20, 2013, 01:02 PM
Oh. they jammed. I was issued one.
Got rid of it as fast as I could.

The reason to this day I will NEVER trust an AR of any type.


March 21, 2013, 12:19 PM
That Ichord report is VERY interesting! Looks like in a lot of instances that the left hand (rifle developers) didn't know what the right hand (ordinance and Army) was doing. Rifles developed and made to a certain spec and then given ammuntion to make it run out of spec and more dirty than tested.

As a handloader I can see the correlation between powder burn rates and dirtiness in reliability. The average GI is going to just give up on his rifle that won't go bang every time. It's a plain fact that the AR system is built tighter and is less tolerant of dirt and fouling than say an AK, but I don't think it's a bad weapon at all when the user knows it's limitations (clean it and lube it!). It's also a heck of a lot more accurate because of its design.

It's just amazing to read about the testing and development that went on without people like Stoner, who designed the damn rifle, being consulted on the propellant changes and how they affected the rifle. Not only that but when they talk about extraction problems and things of that nature I would say that he should've been a primary source of how to fix the problem. He even said using the ball propellant was risky but they wanted to use up that darn surplus powder without testing it on the rifle! :banghead:

I love the AR system but I'm using it after basically fifty years of field testing and improvements and not in combat conditions. I just can't get over the neglagence of the Army in not testing everything before completely switching to ball powder, not to mention cutting out the chrome chamber...

Anyways, that report was well worth the time to read if you like to know how the government gets things done. :rolleyes:

March 21, 2013, 04:57 PM
It's just amazing to read about the testing and development that went on without people like Stoner, who designed the damn rifle, being consulted on the propellant changes and how they affected the rifle. Not only that but when they talk about extraction problems and things of that nature I would say that he should've been a primary source of how to fix the problem.

The testimony shows that Stoner understood that high residue breech pressures and high port pressures would cause the extraction problems that happened with ball powder.

The Army and Colt were misdirecting the issue by blaming the buffer. You see them claiming the malfunctions were during the feed cycle and had nothing to do with powder that was not appropriate for the m16 operating characteristics.

Why they were misdirecting I don’t know. But the ball powder issue was a top down decision. I suspect from the Government side it was a matter of the ammunition guys keeping their powder contractor profitable. These conflicts happen all the time as different Government Agencies represent the interests of the commercial sector they “manage” and they fight to keep their contractors funded.

March 27, 2013, 02:35 AM
WC844 is a barrel burner. For longest barrel life I would go with a stick like 4895, VV135 etc

March 27, 2013, 07:59 PM
So, I should use that jug of 846 for pasture fertilizer?

March 30, 2013, 10:06 AM
I was an Air Force FAC (Forward Air Controller) flying Bird Dogs (L19 in Army parlance) in lll Corps, RVN from January to December of 1970. Assigned to a Special Forces unit, I lived in their "B" camp at An Loc and flew exclusively in support of their operations around the Fish Hook, north of Saigon as well as their involvement in the Cambodian incursion in May of that year.

I was issued and carried a CAR 15, the early version of today's M-4, in the aircraft with me. Slung through the emergency door release handle, it was my bailout or shot down survival tool, til the Army could get a Huey in to pick me up. I had, at the time, a lot of experience with it both in the camp proper during night probes by sappers, and on night ambush operations with our "A" camp personnel. In that use, I never had a jam...but that was 1970, sometime after the Army got it's act together regarding cleaning gear and ammunition supplies.

All of that said, every chance they got, my Green Beret friends there, would use Air Force issued ammunition if possible. At one point, I had to respond by endorsement, just why I was going through ammunition so fast, being that I was a pilot and not a grunt. The squadron CO, down at Bien Hoa, promptly issued a cease and desist order regarding my supply efforts and participation in Special Forces operations on the ground. An order I chose to ignore for the most part. (I did qualify for a CIB many times over, though thankfully, never a PH....).

In response to the jamming issues with the M16 at the time, we all kept our weapons clean... every day...and operations in the field began with a weapons check just before jump off, complete with a "mad minute" where live fire confirmed operational readiness. At that point in the supply chain machinations, the powder and jamming issues had been solved to my knowledge, but my buddies did not completely trust the upper echelons, hence the requests for Air Force issued ammo.

A good, in depth recounting of the powder/design/ supply issues with the early M16, can be found in, "The Black Rifle" by Stevens and Ezell.

Best Regards, Rod

March 30, 2013, 11:11 AM
Rod, were you issued a CIB?

March 31, 2013, 11:16 AM
Below is what it takes to qualify for The Combat Infantry Badge(CIB).

Award eligibilityPost WWII As defined by The United States Army Institute of Heraldry:[5][6]

a. There are basically three requirements for award of the CIB. The Soldier must be an Infantryman satisfactorily performing Infantry duties, must be assigned to an Infantry unit during such time as the unit is engaged in active ground combat, and must actively participate in such ground combat.

b. The specific eligibility criteria for the CIB require that:

(1) A Soldier must be an Army Infantry or Special Forces officer (SSI 11 or 18) in the grade of Colonel or below, or an Army Enlisted Soldier or Warrant Officer with an Infantry or Special Forces MOS, who subsequent to 6 December 1941 has satisfactorily performed duty while assigned or attached as a member of an Infantry, Ranger or Special Forces unit of brigade, regimental, or smaller size during any period such unit was engaged in active ground combat. Eligibility for Special Forces personnel in Military Occupational Specialties accrues from 20 December 1989. Retroactive awards for Special Forces personnel are not authorized prior to 20 December 1989.

(2) A recipient must be personally present and under hostile fire while serving in an assigned Infantry or Special Forces primary duty, in a unit actively engaged in ground combat with the enemy. The unit in question can be of any size smaller than brigade.

(3) Personnel with other than an Infantry or Special Forces MOS are not eligible, regardless of the circumstances. The Infantry or Special Forces SSI or MOS does not necessarily have to be the Soldier’s primary specialty, as long as the Soldier has been properly trained in infantry or special forces tactics, possesses the appropriate skill code, and is serving in that specialty when engaged in active ground combat as described above. Commanders are not authorized to make any exceptions to this policy.

March 31, 2013, 09:42 PM
In late 66, we carried an assembled cleaning rod taped to the handguard like a ramrod to clear jams. We had multiple jams in every firefight. One thing we did that we thought would eliminate the jams was to clean the chamber at first light stand-to and chamber a fresh round.

The problem did not go away until we finally were issued the A1s or what ever the nomenclature of the M16 with the birdcage suppressor.

In the first cav, it was a court marshal offense to break the steel bands on C-ration boxes with the three prong flash hider. Not only did it throw off your sight zero but often bent or torqued barrels out of spec.

March 31, 2013, 11:11 PM
Jay, Welcome Home. We kept a couple of 3 prongs in each platoon.It never affected our front sights. The wires on the C's were not that hard to break.Maybe we were lucky but I talked to other line units who did the same.
I was in the 4th Inf 68-69 and we took over a lot of your AO.

April 1, 2013, 07:22 AM
67-68 IV Corps with !st Aussie Task Force.
Call sign "Jade".

Traded my CAR for a FAL. Never looked back.

No CIB. Air force wasn't eligible. Pissed a lot of us off.


April 1, 2013, 07:46 AM
Jay, Welcome Home!

April 1, 2013, 07:15 PM
Rodfac and Airforce shooter, it seems y'all wanted a CIB.Would you have joined the Army Infantry to have gotten one as 11 MOS was the only one entitled to it.

April 16, 2013, 01:07 PM
Byron, nope as to the CIB...AF personnel were not authorized the badge...the incoming was the same tho, no matter what shade of green you were wearing nor who shared the slit trench with you. It didn't matter to me then, and doesn't now, but sorely wish that some of my friends on that black wall in DC were here to pass the time of day in our old age.

AFshooter, I worked a lot of Aussie air from time to time,... call sign "Magpie", flew B57's and dropped 750's and 1000 pounders...about the only TAC air that still had them. Different guys...no hi-angle dive bomb either, straight and level on the run-in, no matter what kind of fire they were taking...but each one they dropped was a shack...good partyer's down in the FAC and Ramrod hootches at Bien Hoa when they stayed over...BTW, my call sign was Rod 24 when in-country, Sun Dog 24 when working across the fence.

Welcome home, Rod

April 16, 2013, 02:06 PM
Rodfac, I know the feeling of The Wall. March 5,69, my company took about 70% casualties in a 36 hour battle. If not for our CO, I do not think any of us would have walked off 947.

April 16, 2013, 02:08 PM
Alsaqr - if you'd share your 3031 load data for 55-gr bullets, I'd love to see it. In my experiments with 3031, I found the ammo to be a somewhat smokey and a little less accurate at 100 yards than my usual loads with TAC and V-133. I'm using 20-inch 1/7 and 1/8 barrels, as well as 16-inch 1/7 barrel.

Just for fun, I'd like to experiment with 3031 some more, so your successful load data would provide a nice starting point.

April 16, 2013, 04:21 PM
From what I seem to remember, the root of 'the problem' was a gent by the name of McNamara and his cost saving measures in the Dept Of Defense.

Now, it seems as if we are traveling down that same road one more time. I wonder what the cost will be this time?


Absolutely! I actually got sick reading his book "In Retrospect". I despise the man.

Dustoff 22
45th Medical Company Air Ambulance (III & IV Corps)
RVN 67-68

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