We just looked at one of the oldest Colt AR15's made so now we're going to shift gears a bit and take a quick look at a couple current production carbines that also happen to be semi-automatic only examples of the current government issue M4A1. The reason we're going to look at two examples of the same model is to illustrate that even the newest and most current production shows variation from rifle to rifle. I'm not bothering to show the same thing twice for each example because most things are identical between the two. I'm also not necessarily going to point out which carbine a particular picture is illustrating unless it is germane to the conversation. And finally, the main focus here is to point out variation, not to present an in-depth look at this particular model so I'm not going to cover every little detail. Okiedokie, here we go...…
First up is the box:
It's cardboard..... yay!! It's nothing special but it serves its purpose well enough.
I have no idea what "2013 Config"uration means. Notice that the model number starts with "LE" but the serial number starts with "CR" Also, the barrel length is listed as 16" but that is only achieved by pinning and welding an elongated flash hider on the end of an M4 14.5" barrel.
Inside the box is the rifle wrapped up in an unsealed storage bag and a sealed bag of accessories:
Bag marking detail:
Both carbines came in bags dated April of 2019.
The bags o' accessories:
Both are supposed to be melted shut to seal them but one was only partially sealed. I guess a melty baggie tool thingee was too deep for somebody. The contents are a manual, magazine, lock, vertical foregrip and a short rail cover for use when the foregrip is used.
One accessory bag was dated September of 2018 and the other was April of 2019:
These were bought for collecting, not shooting so the bags are not going to be opened. Still, we can read the cover on the manual and see that somebody needs to be fired in the editing department:
It CLEARLY states that this manual is for semiautomatic rifles and carbines but later states that the manual should always accompany this pistol. Nice.
Because the one bag was only partially sealed, I could get the foregrip and short rail cover out without disturbing anything:
I could get the lock out too but who wants to look at that??
Although not a real variation that matters, the chamber flags, while made by the same company, were two different colors:
Alright, now we get to the carbines proper. Because there are two, we can see both sides in one frame:
Ugly damn things aren't they? I prefer the looks of the 601 myself. It has the neato space age look to it and the elegant curves of the carry handle make the rifle look like it's actually moving forward even though it's sitting still. This thing has all the elegance of a hammer. I think somebody either forget to finish putting it together or lost the carry handle. And what's with those handguards? Oh, I forgot......you need someplace to hang all your tacticool crap and it doubles as a cheese grater. To be serious though, the handguard is made by Knights Armament and provides rock solid multiple mounting points for essential tools on the modern battlefield. Normally, I would make fun of range "operators" who put this stuff on their rifles but Colt is selling this as a semi-auto version of the current military issue carbine so it gets a pass.
While we're on the subject of the handguard, I took one off to see what markings are inside both the upper and lower were manufacturer marked but I found it interesting that the upper one was dated:
These models have a heavy barrel with flat areas milled out for mounting the M203 just as they should:
There is a small "0" on the rear of the barrel:
If I remember correctly, this mark signifies that the bore and chamber are chrome lined.
As stated earlier, this model uses actual military production M4 barrels that have had an elongated flash hider pinned and welded on so that they meet ATF length requirements. According to Colt, the entire upper is straight off the military production line. Here, we see the weld at the bottom of the flash hider:
Markings on top of the barrel:
"13629" is Colt's Cage Number. Any time you see that on a part, that means Colt made/supplied it.
I've got more to post about this but I'm up WAY later than I should be so that's it for tonight. I'll be back tomorrow night (later today at this point) to pick up where I left off. See you then.