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M-16 performance in Iraq/Afganistan ?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Harve Curry, Jun 24, 2004.

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  1. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    What's the word from our soldiers? Does anybody know if they are still having jams due to the sand, oil collecting the sand ? I heard there was a good dry lube but not widely known about or used.
     
  2. AhmuqGB

    AhmuqGB Member

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    never had any problems myself and don't know of anyone that did with the one exception being people that did not maintain their equipment. All weapons require some level of maintenance. The dry lube we had was crap. I forget the brand name, but dust still built up on the weapons and without the higher viscosity of the "wet" lubes less dust had a greater effect of the dry guns. Others may have had different experiences though. My personal recipe was dayly field striping/cleaning, keeping it away from exposeure as much as possible and additional cleaning and lube before any mission. Hope that helps
     
  3. Blackhawk 6

    Blackhawk 6 Member

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    Despite what many internet commandos would have you believe, if you maintain your weapon it will perform. This applies to all weapons not just the M-16/M-4. Ten to twenty minuntes per day is all it takes.

    Dry-lube is great in theory, less so in practice. I had good luck applying Militec and then wiping the weapon dry(the idea being there would be a microspoci layer of lubricant; seemed to work). I know some others preferred drenching their weapon with lubricant and that seemed to work as well.

    Any reports of weapon malfunctions say more about the operator than they do the weapon.
     
  4. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    Everyone I've talked to who's come back is screaming about getting their hands on several bottles of Militec before going back if they go back.


    Daily maintenance does help. Under simulated combat conditions (rainy, muddy, very dirty conditions at Fort Knox) I never had problems with my A2 in my limited (say 600 rounds under those conditions) testing. Under range conditions, I've never seen an AR jam attributable to the weapon.

    Keep it clean, it will go bang when you want it to if you have good magazines.


    My father had one in Vietnam, first the M14, then the M16, then the M16A1, and eventually the M16A2 (Gulf War) and he says he never had a real jam (serious, not counting the occasional empty bouncing back in to the action or something) until the Gulf War, and even then, only one (he was mostly rear area then, did some message runs of classified material to the front though) due to sandstorms, etc.
     
  5. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    From what I've read, the problem isn't the M16/M4, it's the Beretta 92 (i.e. M9). They seem to have real issues with it - weak 9mm ball ammo, weak mag springs, slide failures, etc. Then again, I know plenty of Berettas (especially here at home) work without a hitch, so who knows?

    Then again, that unit that was captured in Nasiriya had most of their rifles jam IIRC. The hero of Jessica Lynch's unit had to use his forward assist every time when assaulting an enemy mortar, essentially turning his M16 into a bolt action rifle. :what:

    Then again, they were a back-line maintenance unit. ;)
     
  6. capt_happypants

    capt_happypants Member In Memoriam

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    The M4 is a pretty bad platform for long-range engagements using M855 ammunition. There are persistent complaints that it lacks stopping power at extended ranges. The 14.5" bbl limits the fragmentation range to under 100 yards or so.

    For close-in work, it does quite well, but if you plan to take shots past 150 yards or so, either load it with the Mark 262 Mod 1 77 gr OTM, or carry a '16A2 or A4.
     
  7. lbmii

    lbmii Member

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    The Marine Company that my brother was once part of just loves the Barret 50 cal and they want more of them.
     
  8. Delmar

    Delmar Member

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    Mulliga-has the military changed their load for the 9MM? From what I can find out in Cartridges of the World and a few other sources, Mil-spec ammo is tossing 124 grain FMJ's at 1250 fps., measured 15 yards from the muzzle, which is actually pretty stout for what I see on the factory shelves from Remington, Winchester, Federal, etc.
     
  9. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    Yes, but it's still FMJ - as I understand it, ball ammo has poor stopping power compared to modern hollowpoint ammunition - exactly why it is forbidden for hunting deer in most areas.
     
  10. Delmar

    Delmar Member

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    Oh, FMJ-gotcha;) . In that context, I certainly agree. Of all the "play nice" rules of war, that one is one of the strangest.....
     
  11. Domino

    Domino Member

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    Utility of an M4

    I have heard the same thing quite often. The short barrel does not allow for the .223 cartridge to perform as well as it should. Your getting what, 2600 fps with a 68g bullet? That wouldn't be my personal choice even for close combat. I would rather have an M1 carbine or like a said in one of my other posts, a carbine in 7.62X25 :D . 2000 fps with a 90g .30 cal bullet wouldn't be bad, plus it can still penetrate, but just fantasy I guess. With the complaints of the M4 I wonder if the military will adopt something else for the soldiers behind the lines, maybe the FN P90 like the Saudi's have. Actually, if I was in Iraq I would rather have a RAV02 than an M4. Accurate, modular, and seems tough as nails; plus plenty of mags that were only dropped in the sand once :evil: .
     
  12. capt_happypants

    capt_happypants Member In Memoriam

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    The heavy(68 gr and up) match HP loads actually require a much lower impact velocity to initiate fragmentation, which makes them excellent choices for SBRs like the M4 or Colt Commando.

    There's some pics of the newer stuff in ballistic gelatin over www.ammo-oracle.com
     
  13. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    I can personally attest from what I've seen attending several shootings that without good aiming the 9mm FMJ has crappy performance. If you don't hit the heart/lungs or other seriously affecting you stuff, it just goes right through. I saw a guy take 4 9mm FMJ in the leg from about a foot, he drove off seven blocks and limped into a house little to the worse for wear aside from the bleeding. Then again I saw a guy take a 9mm FMJ to the upper chest in a drive-up shooting and two shots hit something vital cause he crawled up onto a porch and expired.
     
  14. AhmuqGB

    AhmuqGB Member

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    I've never seen issues with stopping power at range with an M-4. I've seen them used effectively at ranges in excess of 300m (granted that was with optics). The M-4 is not a sniper system and it cannot be the best at everything. For the requirements we(the military) put on it it does an excellent job being a jack of all trades. At range an M24/M21/Barrett will smoke it in performance, but try carrying one of those while clearing a room, or while marching up the side of a mountain in afghanistan. At close range 9mm/10mm/.45 sub machine would out perform it. All in all it is an excellent weapon in my opinion, not saying there are none better out there, but it holds it's own among the best.
     
  15. Blackhawk 6

    Blackhawk 6 Member

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    Domino,
    Three quick points. One, there are no more lines and consequently no soldiers behind them. Two, having worked with the "best" the Saudi Military has to offer, I would not copy anything they do. If anything they serve as an example of what not to do. Three, while the FN P90 looks cool and scores well on the CDI index, it has very little to offer.

    Mulliga,
    Those issues existed with every weapon in the unit. See earlier comments regarding maintenance.

    Please forgive the rant.

    Let me begin by saying that I appreciate all of the attention the M-4 is getting and the fact that many people want the military to have a more effective rifle. That said, there is a lot of speculation surrounding the performance of this weapon system, most of it founded on fiction rather than fact.

    The notion that the M-4 is ineffective is false. I am not sure who the ballistician is that came up with the fragmentation theory, and it may have some merit on paper. The fact is that complaints about the M-4's inability to instantly incapacitate are being reported at all ranges. The most credible reports (read: those from highly-trained special operations personnel) are being reported at much shorter ranges, 25 meters or less. That there is an issue at extended range (in excess of 300 meters) is valid and the Mk262 rounds were developed to correct that short-coming, specifically for the SPR. That the Mk262 performs at least as well and probably better than M855 is fact. That there is room for improvement with regard to the terminal performance of the M-855 is also fact.

    Here are a few more facts:
    1. The overwhelming majority of the U.S. special operations community uses the M-4, including those who have the latitude to use different weapon systems. Ditto most coalition special operations units.

    2. The overwhelming majority of private contractors, the overwhelming majority of whom are former SOF personnel, are using M-4's despite having no tie to the U.S. military.

    3. Many SOF units are going to shorter barrels on their rifles.

    4. No bullet guarantees instant incapacitation. None. There are a few credible reports of enemy personnel staying in the fight, albeit briefly, after being hit by .50 BMG.

    With that out of the way, here are my opinions on the matter:

    1. Much of the poor reputation that the M-16A2/M-4 family enjoys is a by-product of the Vietnam War. A combination of M-14 champions and arm-chair commando's have kept the controversy alive. Before a Vietnam Veteran comes and flames me, let me say I am in no position to comment on the M-16 and its performance in Vietnam. If you don't tell me how bad the M-4 is in Iraq and Afghanistan, I won't tell you how good the M-16 was in Vietnam.

    2. I love our soldiers. I have spent my entire adult life in their company. To put it kindly, they are prone to exaggeration. "I emptied an entire magazine into him, center mass, and he kept coming," can often be translated into "I fired eight rounds and hit him in the foot once."

    3. The majority of soldiers are great people but they are not weapons experts and many have difficulty qualifying with their weapons. Ego, especially when it comes to marksmanship, is alive and well. A number of reported, ineffective hits were probably misses. Question:What does a soldier see when he hits someone at 150 meters and it has no effect? Answer:The same thing he sees when he misses. Who decides whether it was a hit or miss?

    (Curiously, the Army and I apparently agree on the last two points.)

    4. Prior to 9/11 the population in the Army of people who had actually engaged in close combat was relatively small, to include our special operations units. While we had a number of combat veterans, very few had actually shot a person and witnessed the effects. Very few of our soldiers have shot anything, to include deer. Consequently, hollywood has shaped our perception of how a shot person reacts. Most people understand that bullets do not blow people through walls, but they do not understand much beyond that. Comments like "A .45 will knock a man down," or "Even if you miss with a .50 cal, the bullet passing by can rip a man's arm off," are not uncommon. As a result, when they center punch a person with a 5.56mm at 10 meters and he stands there for five seconds before falling down, they get upset. Time tends to get distorted when your life is threatened and five seconds becomes a minute. I think you all get the idea.

    5. I am not a ballistics expert, but my high school biology background and a little reading lead me to believe that the three mechanism for incapacitation would be a CNS hit, loss of blood and shock. Shock is highly dependant on the individual and can not be counted on. That leaves a CNS hit and loss of blood. A bullet to the heart is a bullet to the heart. If you placed your shot correctly, as everyone apparently has, even if it went right through the body the operation of the heart has been disrupted. If you hit something in the heart, it takes time for it to die. If you want it to fall down immediately, you have to hit the CNS and that is hard. Talk to a deer hunter and when you do keep in mind that the deer is not a fanatic bent on killing you.

    6. I find it interesting that much of the criticism levied against the M-4 and M-16A2 is not levied against the M-249. It has comparable barrel lengths and fires the same round. I have yet to hear anyone say that the para-SAW sucks beyond a 150 meters despite its short barrel length. Why is that?

    Let me reiterate. I do believe there is room for improvement with regard to the terminal performance of the M-4/M-855. It is just not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Hopefuly, the XM-8 makes progress in this regard. I appreciate the concern shown on this and other forums, and I look forward to the day that I am issued a rifle that disintegrates the target with a marginal hit.

    Thank you for tolerating my rant.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2004
  16. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Member

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    Blackhawk 6: What a great rant! It was literate and logical and didn't claim secret knowledge. Just because we like rifles (or we wouldn't be on this forum) doesn't mean the government wants to spend money to make us happy in our search for theoretical perfection. The government's point of view is that they could spend the same money and get tanks, trucks, artillery, electronics, or whatever, and make a real difference.

    Jaywalker
     
  17. Warbow

    Warbow Member

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    Thanks, Blackhawk 6. Very good post. :)
     
  18. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    I had one young paratrooper corporal tell me in all seriousness once that a hit in the hand by a .50 BMG would cause your head to blow off from the "hydraulic shock"....... granted, he was probably passing on a story from someone else, but I nearly died laughing. Knowing far more about weaponry, ballistics and actual shootings (having seen the results of about 15-20 at least in person), and having a dad who's a Vietnam and Gulf War vet, and can personally attest what a 5.56mm, 7.62mm or .50 will do to people..... yeah, a finger hit's going to blow your head off your neck? :) I think my dad would disagree, and he was ALSO in the 101st. Or attached at least.
     
  19. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    Thanks Blackhawk 6,
    I think it will be hard to come (if not impossible) up with a 22 caliber full metal jacket bullet that make one shot incapacitating hit. Even a FMJ 30 or 50bmg can't do that, it just goes on through. The bullet would have to be unstable and turn sideways when it hit somebody. Then the trade off is accuracy.
    So I wonder what's up with the new cartridge being a 28 caliber. It gives more range to a good shooter, that's it.

    But I still have a question about the M-16 action.
    Is it more prone to dirt and feeding problems then the enemies weapon? The AK/SKS action design doesn't seem to have these problems.
    But the AK isn't an accurate rifle, the SKS's I've shot can be. I don't know why that is, but they are.
     
  20. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    :D
     
  21. Blackhawk 6

    Blackhawk 6 Member

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    I don't think there is any question that the AK-47 is a more reliable design than the M16/M-4. However, as previously stated, those reliability issues can be eliminated through regular maintenance.

    I have not fired the AK-47 or SKS extensively. It is important to keep in mind that the ones encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan are, in many cases, decades old and generally poorly maintained. I would attribute the poor accuracy of the weapon system to the operator. There is a penchant for removing the stock and a general reluctance to use the sights, neither of which contributes to hitting the target. I did, however, encourage both practices with every Afghani I encountered.....

    AhmugGB is probably better qualified to comment on AK's.
     
  22. AhmuqGB

    AhmuqGB Member

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    I worry that we over dramatize the amount of maintenance required to ensure the performance of the M-4.

    Blackhawk6:
    I was more toward the 10 min per day mark and never had a problem, and there were days I skipped. :eek: I don't think, even at the 20 min mark like BH6, it is too much to ask in terms of maintaining something that your life depends on. Even with an AK in combat I field stripped it daily and wiped it down. I never want to die from lack of shooting back.
     
  23. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    Blackhawk6 & AhmuqGB,

    How often is the forward assist used?
    It's needed right?
    thanks, Harve Curry
     
  24. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    I've heard this, and I don't really buy it. I see my two friends' ARs running all day long without a hitch, and it makes me wonder - could people on the Internet possibly be wrong? :D

    True, they don't pour mud and crap all over their guns, but then again, I've never poured mud on my AK, either. ;)
     
  25. DMK

    DMK Member

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    Blackhawk6, I take it that you are not a believer of M193/M855's fragmentation performance?
     
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