Like you, I have a bunch of police turn ins. Mostly 6920s and one 6721 Hbar
AR's aren't my thing. They never have been and they never will be. They are fun enough at the range but they will never be my first pick. BUT.....I have to admit, there is something special to me about a Colt rifle. Maybe it's because they are American made or maybe it's the Colt mystique....I don't know. What I do know is that, every time I pick one up, I get the exact same feeling I get when I pick up an M1, M1 Carbine, Johnson 1941 or when I get in my 46 Jeep to go for a spin. I guess it's a sense of American History and Nostalgia. To me, these things represent everything right about American and being an American. They give me a sense of Pride.
Anywho, I was doing a little reorganizing and had some of my Colts out for a look see so I thought I'd take some pictures. The following is nothing scholarly or comprehensive but rather just a look at some differences and similarities between a small selection of Colt AR 15 rifles and carbines that I own. Let's get started.
Here are a few laid out with an FN thrown in for good measure:
I like collecting these things for several reasons. Number 1 I've already explained above. Second, they are relatively cheap at the moment; so cheap that I can afford to buy them as I see them if I like what I'm looking at. My criteria is simple. I want it original and generally unmessed with. There is some slight deviance in this point but whatever has been done has to make sense to me. If it has ANY aftermarket parts on it, I don't want it unless I can easily put it back into factory trim. Third, it's fun. Isn't that what all this is supposed to be about anyways? I think it is.
Let's get a closer look. We'll start with the carbines:
All three of these are police trade in jobbers. I've become smitten with these for some reason. Monetarily speaking, I think these are sleepers and will really increase in value over time. I also like the general wear they show; it's like History frozen in time. Somebody carried this around in their patrol unit and trusted their life to it. That means something to a sentimental fool like me. I buy every police trade in I can find if I have the cash available at the time. My only criteria for these is that they have the "Restricted" roll mark on the magazine well and that they be in the same configuration as when they were traded in.
We'll start with the newest one, shown at the bottom in the picture above:
This particular carbine was has a barrel date of April 2009 and it's the only one shown with the magazine it came with. That's because it's also the only one I have that has a magazine that has been marked by the department it was issued to. In this case, Pittsburg Pennsylvania:
Here's the left side of the receiver:
I love the fact that it's marked "COLT DEFENSE". Note that the magazine is dated May of 2009. Of course I know that this is most likely NOT the magazine that came with it from Colt but it IS a magazine that was used by the Pittsburgh PD so I will keep them together. While I have not shot some of the rifles I'll cover in this thread, I have had this one to the range and it was both accurate and fun! But then, aren't they all FUN?? Notice that the front take down pin is actually a pin. That is 100% normal for you younger guys but us older guy remember when thus front pin was not a pin at all but rather a screw. We'll see that in a bit. Also notice the various scratches. Yeah....that gets me going. I LOvE wear. Pristine is for pretty boys!
The upper is marked "M4":
As we look at these six rifles/carbines, notice that, while the format is the same on each one, the font and size changes. Things like this are why I just keep buying more. The variations absolutely fascinate me!
It has the standard M4 seven hole handguard with double heat shields:
Personally, I prefer the six hole that we'll see on the next carbine but then I'm not in combat either. Of course, neither was the officer this was issued to. But ultimately, it doesn't matter. This is how Colt built it so I love it for what it is!
The flash hider uses a crush washer as was standard when this carbine was made:
Like you, I have a bunch of police turn ins. Mostly 6920s and one 6721 Hbar
This next one has a barrel date of December 1998:
I do not know what department this one was issued to but it came from a local dealer who had bought a number of ex police carbines and this was on of them. The stock is most definitely NOT the one it left the factory with but it is the one that it came from the PD with so it will stay that way. Judging by the contours, it's still a stock supplied by Colt. Originally it would have has on of the "1N" marked "Fiberlite" stocks. We'll see that on the next one.
The left side of the receiver:
Notice that this one has a screw instead of a captive take down pin at the front of the lower receiver. That's how they were made back then. Also notice the different manufacturer's mark and the slightly different safety lever design. It still has some nice scratches in the finish!
Here is a close-up of the rear of the receiver showing the reinforcement done where the buffer tube threads in:
Compare this with the reinforcement done in that area on the previous carbine:
A detail shot showing the staking of the buffer tube:
I've never seen a Colt staked like this. We'll see a standard Colt stake mark on the next carbine. I can only assume that the PD this was issued to not only replaced the stock but also the buffer tube. That's just a guess though.
This one has a peel washer instead of a crush washer. This is consistent with a Colt from 1998:
While the flash hider flat shows some wear, I think this is due more to handling than removal.
Again, the upper is marked "M4":
This one has a six hole handguard with only one heat shield:
This is consistent with a non-military Colt of this era. It's round instead of the diamond shape of the M4 handguard and it also has only one heat shield. Also notice that it's a little more shiny than the M4 handguard of today.
I believe all the recent light weight carbines came from Pennsylvania state police
That is one SCHWEET looking rifle!
Thanks! It shoots better than I can.
I took 20 rounds of IMI 77 grain OTM Razor Core to the 250 yard range with just iron sights.
20 out of 20 in a 10 inch pie plate. Cleaned and oiled the rifle, put it back in the bag.
I ought to get a Trijicon ACOG but I got better things to do with a grand.
Valor and Skill
Picking up where I left off, we'll look at the third carbine in this post:
I bought this from a Colt distributor who originally sold it to the Philadelphia PD and then took it back years later with a batch of others on trade for newer models. They let me look through them and pick the one I wanted. This one has a barrel date of May, 2000 which is just under a year and a half later than the last one we looked at. For all intents and purposes it's exactly the same as the previous carbine only the stock was never switched out. As far as I can tell, it's exactly as it left Colt.
Left side of the receiver:
So, assuming the barrel date is indicative of when the carbine was built, we can figure that Colt made about 2528 A3 Tactical Carbines from December of 1998 to May of 2000. That's not many when you think about it.
I didn't show it on the other two but here is a shot of the "Restricted" roll mark on the right ide of the magazine well:
The roll mark on the other two carbines is identical to my eyes.
It's interesting to note that this upper, although manufactured later than the last one we looked at, in not marked "M4":
It does have the M4 feed ramp cuts though. Maybe they just forgot to mark it. I don't know but this is just another example of why I keep buying these things.
The stock is correctly marked "1 N":
To my knowledge, ONLY Colt fiberlite stocks are marked this way and it has not been faked so far. Apparently Colt also used unmarked stocks too though so the waters are muddied when trying to verify whether or not the stock you are looking at is genuine. Absent the 1 N mark, experience is your only guide.
Proper stake mark on buffer tube nut:
Web in the rear of the receiver preventing the use of full auto parts:
The previous two carbines look identical.
That's it for this one. In the next post, we'll begin looking at the rifles. Thanks for your time!
If anybody getting into the AR game asks me for purchase advice I tell them go Colt. If you're not willing to spend an extra couple hundred on the industry standard you're a fuckin' tourist so GTFO. I've built and assembled several AR's for other shooters. I will personally only run Colt and Knights. My Colts have run with the exactly same predictable reliability as my Knights. In many ways I prefer Colt.
As prices are now its kind of silly not to buy a Colt if you have the extra hundred or so.
I have seen 6920s in the high 500 range so to me that is a bargain.
I don't knock the low buck guns for what niche they fill but a wise buyer would spend the extra for a Colt.
Some of my project guns have been Colt uppers just because I got them at a fair price and they will eat any kind of ammo.
I tend to stock up on Colt bolts and bolt carriers when they pop up for sale and use them in my project guns.
I never see just the lowers for sale at what I think would be a fair price.
My retro (601) is a Brownell's lower but all the rest of the parts are Colt.
Now we're moving on to the rifles. None of these are police trade-ins or anything special; just plain jane civilian rifles. Also, none of them have dated barrels because I don't think Colt started dong that until about 1996. The first one we're going to look at is also the newest of the three and probably dates to around 1992-93 but that's just a guess. Certainly it was made prior to the 1994 Clinton ban.
Notice that it has the "full fence" on the right side of the magazine well but it's not drilled for the front take down pin detent. That's because Colt was not making civilian rifles at this time with the pin. Instead there is a double sided screw installed. You can take it apart but you weren't supposed to.
Left side of the receiver:
This rifle is essentially an A2 HBAR but not marked as such. In the interest of it being seen as a purely sporting rifle, the "A2" designation was removed and it was remarked as a "Sporter Match". The serial number prefix is "MH" which stands for "Match HBAR" and the bayonet lug was removed. All of this was done because Colt could see the ban on the horizon and they were hoping to be excluded from it if they did enough neutering to the design. There were also other changes made but we're not going into all of that. Frankly, I'm not 100% sure of everything that was done. Still, we will see a couple more things that were done to permanently keep them semi-auto only as we move along.
Contrary to what you might read in some places, the "C" in front of "MP" stands for Colt, NOT Chrome or Chromed or Chrome Lined.
Muzzle showing the correct for this period peel washer:
Detail of the full-auto block:
Receivers of this era did not have the web we are accustomed to seeing in newer receivers in order to block the installation of full-auto parts. SO, Colt put this block in place and held it there by drilling a hole in the receiver and inserting a pin. On this rifle, that pin can be seen four pictures above on the right side of the receiver just above the safety axle. Note that the pin does not pass through the left side of the receiver, only the right.
A closeup of the small head forward assist still used today:
Man this thread couldn't have come at a better time for me. Never been a big AR guy myself, but always been a big Colt fan. Jumped on those brownell's complete M4 marked Colt lowers and Form 1'd it into a 6933. I knew my collection needed a Colt AR or I'd never be happy. While certainly there are cheaper options, I couldn't be happier with my decision and this excellent thread is reaffirming that for me! As always, thanks for taking the time to share with us
Last edited by Fiorentino; 07-06-2019 at 09:51 PM.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote"
Moving back in time 21,792 rifles, we come to this jobber:
For all intents and purposes, it's the same rifle as we looked at above but it's nowhere near identical. The first obvious difference is the complete lack of a fence on the right side of the lower receiver. This is basically just an SP1 receiver only marked differently. By the way, what the hell is that phone doing in there???? Shoddy photographic skills!!
Left side of receiver:
It's very similar to the previous rifle but again, there are differences. For one, notice that the full auto block pin protrudes through to this side where it did not on the other rifle. Yu can see it above word "FIRE". Also notice the little circles to the left and right of the safety. On the previous rifle those areas were more tic-tac shaped. There is a technical word for those thingees but it escapes me. I'm no expert on AR-15's. There is also a difference in reinforcement at the rear of the receiver where the buffer tube mounts but we'll look at that in more detail on the next rifle.
Here is a closeup of the right rear of the lower receiver showing that the full-auto block pin passes through this side too:
I guess Colt eventually figured out that you could just drive this pin out so they changed it to a blind pin at some point as seen on the previous rifle.
Same information but a different font and size.
Again, a peel washer:
When I bought this rifle, it had a leather "Colt" marked sling on it. It also had a Colt cheek riser on the stock and a Colt marked scope rail attached to the carry handle. At one point they offered a "Delta" version of this rifle that had these parts and a cheepie scope for a few bucks more. Apparently, someone wanted a Delta but either couldn't find or couldn't afford one so they tried to make this one. I took the cheek riser and scope mount off but left the sling as it works well enough. Here is a detail of the mark on the sling:
The forward assist button is identical:
The receiver block:
You'd hate what I did to my Colt A4...
Seriously though, nice ponies.
Get up on your feet, Don't look so obsolete, And thrash like an athlete!
I picked up a few of the Colt M4 lowers with CR serno prefixes from Brownells a ways back. Definitely wishing I'd kept more than one since they don't seem to be available anymore. The CR stands for Colt Replacement, and its my understanding that these Colt lowers were not designated as rifles at the factory, so its legal to use them for pistol builds. Slapped on an SBA3 brace and put it under a Colt 6945 monolithic upper. Makes a very nice all-Colt unit.
We've got a hell of a lot more in common with the fellow citizens we're being trained to hate than the puppetmasters training us to hate them.
I can organize and sell your Commbloc weapon/parts/accessory collection
if you lack the time or desire; send a PM if interested.
Kalashnikov Collectors Association