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Discussion Starter #1
I was checking out military.com and came across an article form late 2007. The article detailed an operational test of the colt m4 versus the Mk 16 SCAR, H&k 416, and H&K XM8 in a dust chamber at a US army testing center. With 60,000 rounds fired through 10 weapons of each type some interesting results surfaced. The Colt M4's experienced 882 stoppages during the test, the HK 416's had 233 failures, Mk16 226 stoppages and the winner HK XM8 had 127 failures. :shock:
Translated to average failures per number of 30 round magazines: HK 416 and MK16 1 failure in 9 mags, XM 8 1 failure in 16 magazines and Colt M4 1 failure in 3 mags. It is interesting to consider why the military brass has rejected the XM8 in favor of the Colt M4. I've included the web address below.

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,1 ... html?wh=wh
 
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I have heard that there were problems with parts of the gun melting. ?


Also, the Army is waiting for an improvement the likes of m-14 to the m-16 before they switch to a new weapon. While the new weapon systems are clearly superior to the M4, are they really THAT much more effective? It would cost far too much to switch to a new rifle to justify the slight advantages of these new rifles.
 

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Jbrown said:
I have heard that there were problems with parts of the gun melting. ?


Also, the Army is waiting for an improvement the likes of m-14 to the m-16 before they switch to a new weapon. While the new weapon systems are clearly superior to the M4, are they really THAT much more effective? It would cost far too much to switch to a new rifle to justify the slight advantages of these new rifles.
All they would have to do is purchase the HK gas piston uppers and use the current lowers and forget about the XM8. The XM8 is a butchered G36. I believe that it can be done over time and I believe the cost would be worth it. While it may not be that much more effective, it still more effective and that means a more efficient rifle and a safer and deadlier soldier.
 

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Here's what I don't get. Hasn't it been proven time after time that a Mid length gas system is more reliable. Why not do that?
 

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I am bothered by the results of this test. It is unexcusable to send someone into combat with a system as undependable as the M 4. The Army says it has been looking for a Buck Rogers ray gun pie in the sky replacement for the M 16 system for years. Any weapon evaluated in this test would be superior to what the troops have now. The X M 8 may be a buthered G36 but it proved at least in this test to be some decent butchering. Like you said the 416 is an easy improvement to make, at the very least it should be adopted as a stop gap measure. Since the Army controls the purchasing of small arms for all services the fate of marines and airmen are also riding on this decision.
 

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Amen brother.

what I don't get though is that the SF community, including our allies, has gone largely to M4 voluntarily, when they have their pick of anything they want. Even dumping mp5s for short barrel AR types. The izzys have done the same, moving away from the Galil of all things. is it really only because the platform is so common or is there more to it?

i keep thinking of the words of a former Marine i knew- "i hate it, but i can hit anything I can see with it."
 

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+1 to what PinkPanther said...
If anything, switch to the 416 upper... and sell ALL of the M4/16 uppers on the US civilian market :mrgreen:

Out of all the people I know that served in Iraq and Afghanistan - NONE of them had any compliants with the M4/16 rifles they were issued.

Then there are the AAR's, which all gave the M4/16 the thumbs up.

If it really ain't broke, what are we fixing (don't dump money into it)?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The Ar 15 M16 platform is without a doubt among the most accurate combat systems available. Maybe your marine buddy hit the problem on the head the systems acccuracy covers a multitude of other operational short commings. Good thought.
 

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It is all about CONTRACTS, and supporting the local economies of the industries who give politicians $$$ for elections.

Rule #1. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

I use the "Green Theory" of "follow the money trail" often, and
it clearifies ALOT of things that sometimes just don't make any sense.
 

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You know, I had several friends who spent multiple tours over there and none of them had any issues at all with their M4's. The general consensus is most of the 'M4 is not realiable' stuff was being pushed by companies or military officers who were trying to get their pet project rifle or upper adopted by uncle sugar.

[ETA] The XM8 was a particular General's pet project, he was in bed with HK, and it was their attempt to salvage the dropped XM21 OICW project.

FYI, the XM8, which is based off the G36 had plenty of its own issue, among which was the inabiltiy to use any standard mounting systems and the aforementioned reciever failures under high stress firing. The G36 is known for its own issues, among them being breakage of the polymer in the cold. You would essentially be traing one set of issues for another.
 

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Because of logistics.


There is a more accurate and more reliable rifle than the AK. It was tested in the late 50s against the AK (actually, against the AKM, as they were going to move up and change the design) and beat the snot out of it. It was even lighter... why was it not accepted? The AK had been in service for about 10 years, parts were in mass production, and soldiers knew how to use them. Even the AKM used many AK-47 parts in the early stages (slab side carrier for example) and the changes needed to make the different parts were minor. For the new rifle, it would have required complete re-tooling and also (IF I remember correctly, which I may not) a milled receiver which they were trying to get away from from the beginning due to time and cost.


The XM-8 has melting issues with a high round count, constant fire (as does/did the G-36 due to the materials used), has a short barrel and the accuracy (especially at longer ranges) isn't what you would call impressive. It would have required complete re-training of all soldiers plus paying to buy completely new rifles and several new spare parts lots for these rifles AND training thousands of armorers how to work on them. Plus, the brass probably thought H&K watched Battlestar Galactica too many times before finalizing the design.


Israel dumped the Galil because its heavy as a sack full of numerous bricks and the M-16/M-4 rifles are FREE from us. The Galil would probably win in a reliability test, but if even under the WORST conditions the failure rate is only 1 round in every 3 mags versus 1 round in every 10... is it REALLY worth changing EVERYTHING (or paying a lot more) just for reliability in a scenerio you may never, ever see? Especially since the M-4 and M-16 rifles have other advantages you may need more, such as better accuracy... and oh yeah, they are free.
 

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Q-gunner hit the real issue on the head. They would be spending literally billions on new rifles, spare parts, retraining not only armorers but every soldier with a rifle, plus having to maintin the current inventory of M16's/M4's to boot. The M16/M4 platform has not shown any serious deficiencies, and although it may not be quite as reliable as some other rifles in current use, it is plenty reliable for combat use.

If anyone can find a copy, I highly recommend reaidn "The Great Rifle Contrversy" by Ezell. it is a fantastic history of the adoption of the main infantry rifle for the U.S. military from about 1900 on, and explains the process involved.

A good summation of the process is that the miilitary prefers to upgrade an existing system instead of switching out for a completely untested one and discovering (the hard way) the teething troubles of the new system in combat.

Every system has flaws, there is just no way around that- the very nature of engineering is a balance between certain capabilities and certian limitations.
 
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albert said:
I wish they had included an AK in the test.
Now that just wouldn't be fair. The AK uses dust like the M4 uses CLP :twisted:


Back to the M4, I don't get how they got those test results anyway. In my two years over there, I NEVER experienced a failure with my M4 that was not my fault. The only time i could even make it malfunction was by putting a full magazine into a VERY dirty rifle = fail to feed first round. :doh: Simple fix = load 28 rounds into mags, and clean my rifle.

I am guessing that in their dust chamber, they gave the M4 a generous dose of CLP. That is great, if you are not in a dust chamber. CLP = dust magnet. We carried our rifles dry or used "strike hold."

Replacing the M4 would entail more cost than most people realize. First, retraining and requalifying every soldier would put a huge burden on the already strained small arms ammunition stockpile, retraining every armorer and every -30 level weapon tech, replacing every weapon including those used for basic training, and replacing all of those wonderful toys we put on our M4s that don't fit on the XM8.
Sure, we could do this but think where the money comes from. To do this the Army would have to sacrifice another program, perhaps get a few less MRAP vehicles or wait a little longer before getting the best body armor. Or I guess they could always ask the Air Force for the money.
:lol:
 

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albert said:
I wish they had included an AK in the test.
Unless you want your mental image of the "magical" AK blown, you probably don't really mean this.
 

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Jbrown said:
I am guessing that in their dust chamber, they gave the M4 a generous dose of CLP. That is great, if you are not in a dust chamber. CLP = dust magnet. We carried our rifles dry or used "strike hold."
The dry AR concept has been disproven. AR's need to be run wet in all environments for reliable functioning.
 

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My cousin was in 7th group SOG and then later 20th group. He currently is back attached to 7th in Afghanistan. Yes he is fully tab and is an 18E ( commo guy ) . I asked him about the different weapons he has gotten to handle and shoot and ask specifically which one would he want to carry in the war zone. He commented the M4 without hesitation. That doesn't make him an expert in everything or anything. But the M4 is still what he wants to carry. I pray for his safe return, WarDawg
 

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Thekatar said:
albert said:
I wish they had included an AK in the test.
Unless you want your mental image of the "magical" AK blown, you probably don't really mean this.
I guess it all depends on the type, but, I think it would fair very well. I know the lose AK tolerances allow more shit to sneak in, but the method of operation also blows the weapon clear. Toss dirt in the action or gas system of your AK (see Templar's video) or try it with a suppressor. All the dirt gets blown under the rear trunnion simply by the rough action. Same with the gas system, excess gas venting around the piston blows the carrier off each shot and it either gets knocked out the ejection port or blown under the rear trunnion.
 

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We could probably rearm the entire US Army with HK 416 uppers and buffer systems for the cost of 5 F-22 Raptors.

Yes, there are better systems out there, but I don't know how much good it would do to switch right now, unless we've got something truely revolutionary with a better caliber ready to go.

That's possible, yes.

We're getting pretty close to the pinnacle of brass cased chemical propellant weapon systems.

The next big step, and I've got a feeling it will certainly happen in the next 30~40 years if not sooner, is going to be another try at caseless, or some type of man portable energy weapon system.
 

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The AR design is still one of the best for a cheap, mass production rifle. It has had two problems since the late 1950's, it fires a freak of a cartridge, and the military now comes up specifications that negate any inherent benefits the AR design has.

Or to paraphrase Reed Knight (quoting Eugine Stoner)... "I wasn't thinking about attaching lasers to the rifle back in the 50's".

Somehow I don't see the M4 surviving when cost and performance are not optimal. Speaking of not optimal, some of the competitors to the M4 meet, or exceed expectations in non-optimal catergory.

Aluminum is pretty light, but an AR-15 that is now primarily aluminum and steel isn't light at all.
 
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