What are your thoughts on the 3-round burst on the M16A2?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by natedog, Aug 8, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. natedog

    natedog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,634
    Location:
    Bakersfield, California
    Do you think that the 3-round burst mechanism is good, bad, or what? I have heard reports that the 3-round burst on the M-16A2 is flawed. For example, if you have it set to three round burst and you pull the trigger briefly for one shot, the trigger pull will be different from shot to shot. Also, if you shoot 1 round and then stop and then pull and hold the trigger, it will give you the 2 rounds left over from your previous burst. Just my thoughts...
     
  2. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    33,841
    Location:
    Alma Illinois
    It's a mechanical solution for a training problem. It's easy to train someone to squeeze off 3-5 round bursts with a full auto M16A1 or A3.

    Besides never knowing if you are going to get a one, two or three round burst when you press the trigger, the cam set up gives three distinct trigger pulls on semi auto, making accurate fire difficult.

    Very little of what was changed between the M16A1 and M16A2 was actually an improvement.

    Jeff
     
  3. ACP230

    ACP230 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,293
    Location:
    Upper Michigan
    I haven't had the "pleasure" of firing an M16 equipped with three round burst, but reading about them makes me think I haven't missed much.

    I have fired subguns including the Thompson, M3, MAC, Madsen M50, Reising, Beretta M38, a Glock converted to FA, plus AR18, M16, and M14. I was able to fire short bursts from most of them (the MAC being the exception) with just a little familiarity time.

    I also think the three-round burst control is a solution to a problem that training can solve.
     
  4. M16

    M16 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    155
    Location:
    Texas
    Worthless.
     
  5. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,513
    Location:
    Winter Haven, FL
    I think the 3-round burst only is a lousy idea and the method the A2 uses to get the burst sucks. I like guns with burst and full-auto capability and H&K's burst mechanism has excellent trigger pull in semi-auto.
     
  6. WonderNine

    WonderNine member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    4,331
    Location:
    always offline!
    I would want the full auto/semi-auto version (20" barrel M-16) if I was going into harms way. Full auto is for up close and personal and has a major advantage against a 3 round burst IMO. If a soldier can't handle the recoil of a .223 in full auto then they shouldn't keep their finger on the trigger.
     
  7. TechBrute

    TechBrute Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Messages:
    3,264
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    It's a pencil-pusher's worthless solution to a training problem.
     
  8. Quartus

    Quartus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,172
    Location:
    Virginia
    It wasn't invented for recoil problems, it's supposed to cure full auto spray-n-pray behaviour which was commonplace in 'Nam. It's a great way to burn up ammo but a lousy way to hit the enemy.


    Sure is fun in peacetime, though! :D


    Agree with the comments about training. I favor a well trained small force as opposed to a large, cannon fodder approach.
     
  9. Devonai

    Devonai Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I've had a lot of experience with the M16A2, and I rarely use anything other than semi to begin with. Three round burst is fine with me, it's worked fine during training exercises.

    My opinion is that is helps conserve ammunition and allows for more accurate high-volume fire. Any disadvantages others have mentioned are unlikely to impact the average soldier. Full auto is fine for LMG/GPMGs, but it's not necessary on an infantry rifle.
     
  10. WonderNine

    WonderNine member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    4,331
    Location:
    always offline!
    Which is a recoil problem, right?

    Controlled accurate fire is what semi-auto is for. Might as well not put the burst on at all if that's your point. Full auto, much better, but it should only be used up close. Tell someone in close quarters combat fighting from house to house that they shouldn't be allowed full auto because it burns up too much ammo....

    This topic really annoys me everytime it comes up...
     
  11. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    21,232
    Full auto anyday over burst. With some practice, the operator can learn to get a two or three shot burst easily. The problem is that most people don't get that type of practice to develop the proficiency. Like Jeff White says, it's a problem with training.

    The problem with the 3 shot burst concept is that you've got a more complicated firing mechanism. More to jam, break or clean. More parts to keep on hand too. Full auto by comparison is very simple & clean to work with.
     
  12. DMK

    DMK Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    8,868
    Location:
    Over the hills and far, far away
    In a few autobio type books about SEALs and Green Berets, I've noticed that the authors made a point about the fact that they preferred semi-auto fire over auto with M-16s except in very limited circumstances. I also noticed that the statement was made by the Rangers in the Black Hawk Down book(probably part of the reason they were able to hold out so long when they only prepared for a one or two hour mission).

    However, part of the reasoning that semi-auto fire is preferred is probably due to the fact that ammo dicipline is especially important to the more elite troops. These guys tend to travel light due to the types of missions and types of transportion methods they use (ie, HALO drops into water or rapelling off a chopper, etc).
     
  13. cookhj

    cookhj Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    Capitol of the Confederacy, VA
    to get away from the argument of whether or not it is worthless, it is very controllable. i have fired at sillhouette on 3-rd burst at 200-300yds and it is quite easy to keep all 3 shots on target. however, y'all are right. it IS a mechanical solution to a lack of training. Hkmp5sd is right, the 4-position triggers on the HK subguns is good, but then again, your average soldier/marine is never going to get the training necessary to know how and when to use the burst or auto function.
     
  14. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    33,841
    Location:
    Alma Illinois
    Fire discipline is important to all troops. When I was a rifle platoon sergeant in a Guard light Infantry company, you couldn't get any more low speed high drag, but we only used full auto fire in a break contact drill, to gain fire superiority after making contact and in the initial stages of an ambush. Other then that it was semi only with a couple different rates of fire for that. This was with M16A1s.

    Jeff
     
  15. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    46,725
    Location:
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    A neighbor and close friend of mine would agree with Jeff. During his tour in Nam as a Marine Lt, he's told me that the procedure was to burn off a magazine on full auto if hit by an ambush, but immediately going to semi-auto upon breaking contact and/or taking cover. It must have worked, as he's alive to talk about it and is rather proud of the low casualty rate in his platoon...

    Hard to do suppressive fire with three-round bursts, when you have a whole lot of other things on your mind. Yeah, it's easy to say, "But, all ya gotta do is keep pulling the trigger!", but even that's a distraction at a nasty moment...

    I'm purely guessing that the three-round burst would be less of a problem in open-country warfare--but maybeso a bummer in clearing buildings.

    Art
     
  16. Sir Galahad

    Sir Galahad member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Messages:
    1,332
    Location:
    Camelot (er, Flagstaff, AZ)
    From a maintenance standpoint, the FCG in an A2 is a real pain to replace. Problem was with the A1 is some guys would fire mag after mag full-suto and this eats up barrels. Barrels cost money. It also causes the high heat to practically weld the hardened steel barrel nut to the aluminum upper receiver resulting in having to replace both barrel, barrel nut, and upper receiver. I could very rarely break these two apart even with penetrating oil when these A1s had been full-auto continuously. This is expensive. Whenever I saw a night fire with A1s going full auto loaded every fifth round tracer, tracers were all over the place. So that meant four other rounds were missing all over the place too. Where is the benefit in that? The only automatic weapons hitting anything were M-60s. Training solves lots of things, but you cannot instill into a soldier not to squeeze trigger until mag empties when he's scared excrement-less. You cannot. During the Civil War, soldiers in combat would panic and load five or six minies down the tube and never cap and fire the piece once. They were thinking they were firing, but weren't. This is why burst was developed, to physically stop a panicking soldier from blowing all his ammo out the tube and hitting nothing. Again, training is nice, but it's not a guaruntee. For example, SAC crews in the ICBM missile silos were armed with handguns so that if one decided he wasn't going to launch his bird in spite of being trained to do so, the other could threaten to shoot him if he did not do so. Or if he went against his training and tried to monkey around with the birds, he could be shot. On average, the U.S. Army doesn't have time to train everyone the way folks think they should. So many units are missing trained personnnel as it is, they can't spare the time. The burst fire is not perfect. But running out of ammo is not such a great option, either. Especially if the alternative is being captured by fanatics.

    Wondernine, in urban combat, automatic fire is not necessarily preferable. If you have civilians running about, you may wish to limit the outgoing fire, or, at least, keep it accurate. Sure, the civilians shouldn't be in the way, but, hey, they live there. Trucks dumping loads of kids, grandpas and old ladies killed by gunfire into lime-besprinkled pits doesn't do well for the psy-ops units convincing the locals that it was all for their own good and this is what creates guerillas. You can bet the enemy will make the most of out scenes like that. Staying alive also means you don't want pissed off civilians booby-trapping your humvee.
     
  17. goon

    goon Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Messages:
    7,265
    When I was in the Army, I learned to shoot single shots on machine guns that were only full auto, and I learned to do it with my M-16A2 on burst as well.
    If my dumb, ham-handed a$$ can learn to do that, then there is no reason that you couldn't learn to let go after three or so rounds.
    But I never got to try out my techniques when being shot at either.
    I could do it under ideal conditions, but combat isn't know to be ideal.
    I kinda think that they should just go back to semi-auto only on the standard rifle, and upgrade to a round between the 5.56 and 7.62.
    Then spend more money on ammo.
    Stick with flash bang or fragmentation grenades for house to house work. :D

    Another point. I was one hell of a good shot before I joined the Army, but not as good once I was in.
    The difference was that I was running 500-1000 rounds of .22lr a week or so downrange with my 10/22 and any other .22 I could get my hands on from about age 14 until I left for basic. I could pick flowers at about 50 yards with an open sighted gun most of the time just a few weeks before I left.
    During the time I spent in the Army, I shot about 250 rounds through the M-16's I was issued. Making expert wasn't hard, but I was still nowhere near as good.
    Perhaps we should lobby congress to create rimfire shooting clubs on every military post...;)
     
  18. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,513
    Location:
    Winter Haven, FL
     
  19. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    46,725
    Location:
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    "The problem is, becoming skilled at delivering automatic fire is very difficult until one has expended a great deal more ammunition than most military training budgets allow."

    "Aye, there's the rub."--some old English playwrite.

    Art
     
  20. SodaPop

    SodaPop member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,430
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I heard the AC556 was like that and NOT the M16A2.
     
  21. Biff

    Biff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    208
    Location:
    Eagle River, Alaska
    3 round burst

    My thoughts on the3-round burst? I would tell you, but I can't figure out how to spell the sound produced when you stick your tongue between your lips and blow!

    Seriously, it is a beaurocrat's answer to a training deficiency. If the first round isn't on the target, the other two won't be either.
     
  22. benewton

    benewton Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    603
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    "Thanks" to the Army training I got on the A1, I can easily generate 3 round bursts from the M16. In fact, I doubt I've ever sent more than 4 rounds down range, and that would have been from a clean weapon.

    Somehow getting wacked on the helmet over 25 years ago did the trick.


    FWIW:

    Had to do recoil testing on sights, of the electronic type, and, having done it before, had no interest in dumping 1-2K rounds into the 25 yard berm out of a full auto A2.

    So, we had a party, and the wife, and various and sundry who'd never fired full auto before, were invited. We all had a great deal of fun, except me, since it was my 50th birthday party, and, while I'm not impressed with the alternatives, I'm not at all sure I like the current situation much better!

    All of them had three round bursts down within a 30 round mag, and none fired more than 5 rounds.

    It ain't that hard to do, and, like wearing hats indoors, once trained, you never forget. It's a training problem, no more or less, and it doesn't make sense to complicate the tools to correct what shouldn't be a problem.
     
  23. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,513
    Location:
    Winter Haven, FL
    That one brings back memories. I remember how strange it felt going outside without a hat just after I was discharged. :)
     
  24. voilsb

    voilsb Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    633
    Location:
    Ft. Lewis, WA
    I don't like it.

    For one, it's an extra mechanical piece, which means more chance for failure.

    Another, there are three separate and distinct trigger pulls, regardless of whether it's in semi or burst, which affects marksmanship.

    Third, that it has the possibility of creating a two-round burst or a one-round "burst" makes it FUBAR.

    And lastly, it's a mechanical solution to a training problem, as stated before.
     
  25. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    21,232
    benewton: can you tell me more about being whacked in the helmet? Just curious as to what you mean by that.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice