Sign in to follow this  
Admin

M-4 Reliability in Combat

Recommended Posts

Army infantry troops deployed to Afghanistan are struggling to keep weapons clean and in good working order, with soldiers particularly concerned about the maintainability and reliability of the M-4 carbine and the squad automatic weapon, according to an Army report on lessons learned in Afghanistan.

Soldiers routinely reported having to purchase their own weapons cleaning kit items (in many cases asking friends and family to send them from home).

Out of 54 soldiers surveyed on the M-4, 27 stated that their M-4 carbine has malfunctioned.

And about one-third, or 18 of the soldiers, reported that the hand guards rattle on the M-4, and six soldiers noted that the weapon’s hand guards get uncomfortably hot while firing.

But soldiers also are more than pleased with the performance of other weapons, such as the M-240B machine gun, which won a 100 percent vote of confidence overall.

8>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never had any faith in any M16 variant. These reports are filtering thru everywhere including the reliability issue of the 92. The M16 has always been accurate and light but never reliable or battleworthy(based on history and empirical data) and all I've ever had to used it in has been training. I would be very scared to have to depend on it on a clinch. I'd use a medium to heavy barreled Mini 14 over that aluminum crap any day. It was a sows ear when politically(and I emphasize politically, not by merit) pushed into service in '65, and you can't make a purse out of a sow's ear, not even 43 years later. Proof of its fallibility are everywhere versus the venerable FNs, G3s, and M14s. They always worked and will always work. I can't understand with all the (bad)rhetoric that has surrounded this weapon that no one has seen the light to get an improved system???!!!!! They are available, but we won't try them out...

Also worth noting is the M240B which is an American made FN MAG. Takes us a little while to get a clue I guess. Our politics and economic ethics in this nation interfere with our troops getting the best material and it's a shame. This fact is all to true in many things we've seen in our lifetimes, young and old.

Now, in defense of the M16, I have had conversations with gentleman who claim its value and dependability, men in the Rangers, SF, and SEAL groups. But, these are individuals with skills to keep the M16 running. It is inferior as a grunt grade weapon as opposed to the afore mentioned works of machinery art and the AK family... We need the 308 back in action and a decent or better weapon than the 43 year old sow's ear, whether or not the 308 comes back.

d-day

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now the US Marines are considering replacing the M-16.

"The M-16A2 has been around a long time, so we're taking a look at replacing some of those weapons," said Lt. Gen. Emil Bedard, the deputy commandant for plans, policy and operations.

The two weapons being tested, the M-4 and the M-16A4, are modifications of the current rifle and are not great technological leaps forward in themselves. But they allow the use of a number of high-tech devices that would improve the Marine infantryman's basic weapon.

The M-16A4 is slightly shorter than the current rifle and can accept the same advanced sights as the M-4.

Capt. Chad Walton, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico, Va., said the two weapons were tested on 19 basic infantry training requirements, including in urban and open-country situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if a 1/9 twist wouldn't better suit this carbine. It seems that with a slower rate of twist the barrel wouln't overheat and shouldn't malfunction as often.

Just a thought

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience, I've never had any problems with the M4, M16A1, or the A2. I found that wiping the bolt down and knocking some of the carbon out of the chamber, keeps them running just fine. I personally clean my weapon each night I'm out, after my watch, before I turn in. But I usually don't run the bore but every few days. I do have a problem however with the knock down power of the 5.56 cartridge. Lots of soldiers in Afganistan are having trouble putting down Taliban fighters as there is no real knock down power. While running a 25m zero range, we ran out of ball ammo and had to switch to tracers. The 5.56 rounds were being deflected by the cardboard backing of the targets. After the rounds had hit the cardboard, their path was anyone's guess. Some climbed, some dropped into the dirt just feet past the target. It was pathetic. I'm all for the switching back to the 7.62x51\.308 cartridge. The Marines have already realized this in Afganistan, by re-issuing exsisting M14's to the squad's DM(Designated Marksman). As far as the new M16A4 is concerned, its just a newer model with all the goodies, like a removable flat-top receiver and mounts on the hand guard for tactical sights, IR emiters, foward hand grips, etc.... like Admin said. The Army's already issuing it to Basic Trainees at Ft. Benning, and several frontline Infantry units already have them. Don't know much about them, as I haven't used one, but I haven't had any problems with my M4. As for the hand guards rattling, You can tighten them down various ways. The M16 series handguards do have a bad tendency to over heat, and I've burned my hands on them before and can sympathize. Generally, it's not a terrible weapon system, as it does have a place, but we could do better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

maybe they should give em all AKs? j/k lol

although i dont know if the m4 will be going anywhere soon, id like to see a design that will be used for a long time, like the Browning automatic rifle or the colt 1911. (especially the latter)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

personally i think the m-16's place is just as a civilian/militia arm. it's got excellent balance, controls and the most versatile aperture sights i've seen. what the military should do is not start re-issuing .308 rifles, as that ammo is far too heavy when carried in large quantities. what they should do is make a gun chambered in something like .243 win and base the gun on the g3 action. that combination would provide decent long range trajectories, knockdown power, penetration, and reliability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wodasini, the basic load for a combat infantryman is only 210 rounds, 7 mags, with existing 5.56mm ammo, which only weighs a little over 10 pounds. And granted, the equivalent in 7.62 is double that, but I would gladly carry it for the knockdown power it brings. I'm a big fan of the 7.62 battle rifles, the G3, FN FAL, etc.... I think the M14 should be brought back into a wider service. I think the Army needs a .30 caliber battle rifle, whether it's .308 or even a 7.62x39mm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the assessment that the M16 series of weapons are inherently unreliable in very harsh operating conditions. When in dire need, soldiers may not have the luxury of breaking down the rifle and cleaning it. I believe the OICW program, or whatever they change its name to, is meant to address this and other shortcomings, Last I heard, H&K was on the project, then off, and now on it again.

We shall see what comes of that.

Despite the poor reliability of the M16 I believe it is still a superior weapon to the AK series of weapons at distances greater than 75 yards, due to the inherent inaccuracy of the AK type rifles. However under that distance and in CQB, there is no doubt the AK47/74 is an effective and reliable weapon.

I believe the US Military should adopt a reliable wepon such as the HK93 or FN P90 and retire the M16 as the main battle rifle, for all combat forces except Military police, and law enforcment agencies, where keeping the rifle clean is not a problem. I love my AR15, but I rarely have to fire it after low-crawling 50 meters though sand and mud, as I did in the service. I was lucky to get off 2 rounds before it jammed, in those conditions.

But, just as the retired Roman legionnaires kept a Gladius sword with them after they left Caesar's legions, so will I always have an m16 variant or AR15 nearby. Better the devil you know, than the one you don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The .223 is illegal in some states to hunt dear with, because it doesn't have enough knockdown power. You might be able to pack around more ammo for the .223, but the weight evens out when you have to use twenty rounds to kill someone instead of 2 with like a .308.

Another thing I don't like is the 9mm being the main pistol now. It is almost as worthless as the .223. I wish they would bring back the 1911 .45.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You gotta remember though, in combat not even half of the rounds you fire will be hits. My friend told me some statistics once, and while I've not bothered to verify them, they seem credible enough. It was something like 1 kill for every 1,000+ rounds fired on the battlefield. When you see a machinegunner on tv blazing away at the horizon, it's not hard to see that 50 out of those 50 rounds he fired hit nothing but dirt, that's just the way modern combat has become. .223's strongpoints are the physical light weight of the bullets, combined with the narrow casing. That allows you to carry more ammo comfortably than the fatter .30's; even the 7.62x39. I think we should pull our heads out of our asses and admit we were wrong back in the 50-60's. From what I've read the british EM2 in .280-30 would have been one of the greatest weapons systems ever, but America just had to have it chambered in .308, which it couldn't handle. We shouldn't even try to develop new technology, the old designs that were discarded 50 years ago show far more promise than the "OICW".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wodasini,  the basic load for a combat infantryman is only 210 rounds, 7 mags, with existing 5.56mm ammo, which only weighs a little over 10 pounds. And granted, the equivalent in 7.62 is double that, but I would gladly carry it for the knockdown power it brings. I'm a big fan of the 7.62 battle rifles, the G3, FN FAL, etc.... I think the M14 should be brought back into a wider service. I think the Army needs a .30 caliber battle rifle, whether it's .308 or even a 7.62x39mm.

Have you actually shot any battle rifles or do you just like them because they're so manly? Personally I own an FAL and a G3 along with some AR's and AK's. I'd rather fight with the intermediate cartridges than the .308 any day. .223 has just as much knockdown power as a .308 at typical engagement ranges. You all think .308 is SO much more powerful, but in reality it's an entirely stable bullet and will just go straight through whatever it hits; meaning minimal damage. It does have a place in combat, especially for penetrating buildings, but like I said before, in combat hits are very rare. That means the more ammo you can carry the better. .223 has poor stability in flesh and will tumble when hitting targets, causing it to bleed off energy at the rate of a frangible or hollowpoint load. This gives it a real advantage over NATO .308 loads. If you people want power just use a .303 brit or 7.62x54R. Anyone who replies to this quoting "ballistics data" obviously hasn't shot either. I know on paper they appear inferior, but they do far more real damage than .308 and both do it with less powder. It's not power you need, we need to train our troops to hit their targets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if any of you have realized this, but the U.S. armed forces generally use Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) ammunition. FMJ ammunition doesn't expand much and mostly just penetrates. If we want more knockdown power, we should switch to softpoint bullets.

There is a reason for using penetrating bullets though. By wounding one enemy soldier, you typically take out 2. Any GOOD soldier is going to help out his wounded buddies, which will take him out of the fight for the most part.

Of course this isn't always the case, but it is something to consider.

-Altoid

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

America technically isn't bound to that policy of nothing but FMJ, we just respect it. That is exactly the reason both us and the soviets developed the .223 and 5.45x39. Both of these rounds at close range will yaw and flatten inside targets, making them near exact equivalents to frangible loads while providing decent armor penetration at long range (with SS109 not M193). If you've seen the wound track in ballistic gelatin these rounds make, you'd see why they were adopted over the 7.62x51 and 7.62x39.

In regards to the 5.45x39, I have a diagram of that bullet's makeup right here, and it's not actually a hollowpoint. It's a full FMJ, only it has a big piece of steel at the rear, a small lead insert towards the front, and an air pocket under the jacket at the tip. I suppose that air pocket would give it all the properties of a hollowpoint, while keeping it legal for warfare, if that's what you're talking about.

In handguns you're right, 9mm would be fine if we could use hollowpoints. If you've read the Strausbourg tests, you'll see that even a pathetic .380 ACP will outperform .357 magnum provided the right bullets are used. The data I'm looking at show a 60 grain .380 magsafe defender (7.12 seconds average incapacitation time) and a 70 grain Glaser safety slug also in .380 ACP (7.94 seconds), consistently outperformed some 158 grain JHP .357 rounds from CCI, Federal, Remington and Winchester (average of about 8.3 seconds for all of these). And that's just an example of the best bullet in the worst caliber vs the worst bullets in the best caliber of the test. When normal rounds were used like .40S&W and 9mm, times dropped to under 5 seconds. It's not about the caliber, it's about the actual bullet.

I totally agree with the 6mm PPC too, although I think that something in the 7mm's would be even better. You'd get better bullet weights ranging from 120 up to 175, velocities from 3000+ down to 2500, and you would have the benefit of a larger bore size, mainly for cleaning purposes and heat dissipation. I think maybe a .300 savage necked to .280 would be one of the better options, but a smaller 6mm would be good too.

Edited by wodasini

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only real disadvantages I can think of for lighter/faster rounds are quicker heat buildup and less penetration. My friends M-4 with a wilson HBAR upper, heats up WAY faster than any of my .30 cals under 30'06 regardless of barrel type. The two primary causes for heat buildup I've found are:

1. excess powder in cartridge. If the round is not efficient (overbore), it will heat up the barrel faster. .223 would seem exempt from this which brings me to my next point.

2. velocity. Higher velocity cartridges create more friction and thus heat up faster.

Also, I think that smaller bore sizes heat up faster and stay hot longer simply because colder air cannot travel through the bore. This one is kinda speculation and I don't have any physics data or anything to prove it, nor have I even really tested for it.

As for what gun should arm our troops, I couldn't tell you. The FAL is no good; it's the gun that was used primarily to design the m16. They both really have the same exact problems. The G3 is better but needs a LOT of design improvements, namely m1a or m16 sights, forward assist and/or fixed charging handle. Plus it's reciever gets dirtier than the 16's. Seriously the best thing out there is the AK; it's the ultimate infantrymans weapon. Little or no maintenance required, extremely reliable, decently powerful. But like everything else it's got it's flaws too. Face it, no one is ever going to design the "perfect" gun, it doesn't exist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 2 .308's and 3 .223's and after even short bursts of rapid fire, say 10-15 rounds, .223 is way hotter than .308. at least that's my memory of it; my friend burned his arm after firing only 20 rounds in his 16" HBAR while my g3 was cool enough to hold after firing 20 rounds. I rarely do rapid fire anyway and stick mostly to long range precision shooting.

The FAL's unreliable tendancies in sandy/dusty environments stem more from it's poor magazine design than grit getting into the reciever area. Also, the m-16 (a1 and up) HAS a forward assist, and any FAL can be modified with a fixed charging handle which doubles as a forward assist. Personally I think the FAL is far superior to the m-16 in terms of maintenance, construction, and design. The use of the rear locking mechanism and large screw instead of the pushpins, as well as the use of all steel components instead of aluminum, give the rifle a much more solid feel. Although I feel the FAL has a better trigger pull than the 16, the 16 has better sights and overall control placement. The FAL does benefit from having the magazine well in the upper reciever, which could be useful if anyone were to make an upper in anything but .308/.243.

Although I really don't know a lot about the sig 550, I'm looking at the fieldstripped picture on the world.guns page and the bolt assembly only vaguely resembles that of the ak, in fact the gas piston looks more like that of an FAL. The whole gun looks like it borrowed a huge part of it's design from the FNC. The actual bolt itself may be similar to that of the ak, but other than that the only similarity is that it uses long stroke piston operation. It also doesn't appear to have any of the features that make the m-16 such a popular choice such as last shot hold open and straight insertion magazines, it's got the same cam action mags as the ak. As far as your vague accuracy claims, any 2 lug locking bolt is going to be grossly inferior to a 6+ lug system or delayed blowback. As for calling this gun the best... I wouldn't go there. There's way better designs out there, but like I said before, they're all flawed in some way or another. In the end it boils down to personal preference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i had my share of problem with the bushmaster ar15 (m16a3). i bought it brand new and never even fired it. all i did was loaded it up, and played with the action, and watched the catridge getting ejected out of the chamber. well, what do i know...half of the time, the bullets would get stuck in there causing double feed. sometime, one bullet will go up to the chamber, while 2 other tried to feed. that's some scary sh*t.

even though i took the firing pin out of the action and the safety was on, there still a chance that thing could go off because the sharp end of one bullet often jabbed at the back end ofthe other.

i took the gun back to the store and they examine it and agreed with me that it malfunction. my friends told me that the mag is to blame because damn brady bunch made sure we get shitty mag from strange places. those mag was funky looking that get scratch easier, and has the stamp saying England on it. anyway, the store treat me like a stranger now when i come in. they don't even want to have anything to do with me. i am pissed at them so i don't buy sh*t from them, just go in and look at sh*t, then bargain the price at the other store.

anyway, i would never want to own a m16. i stick with my ak. it's accurate enough. if i want something really accurate and really comfortable to shoot, then i go buy a bolt-action winchester or a remington. for target practice, m16 is too expensive. for self-defense, using m16 is like running a red light and hoping not to get caught, it's too risky to depend your life on it. i stick with ak and a damn good ear mug for home defense.

_____

ban this U> brady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Asianthug the magazines are not responsible for doublefeeds when it was a failure to extract problem. If you had actually shot the rifle, all parts would be moving at the rate they were intended to and you probably would have had no failures. Bushmaster is fine quality and the entire series of rifles is sufficiently reliable; at the very least if it were to jam, you would be able to clear it quickly because it has some of the best located controls you will find on a rifle. No gun stores allow you to chamber ammo in store anyway, so how is it they agreed it had a problem?

Cap Eddie, I checked out those links. The 550 does look like a decent rifle. But still I'm extremely sceptical about some of the accuracy claims I saw knowing that it is a two lug bolt. I saw nothing but praise for the trigger pull. That could be the cause for the gun's apparent accuracy, even though it's like a 7 pound pull. Some guy said he shot a 7/8th inch group at 100. Hell I couldn't do that with my FAL or my match AR-15, I really doubt that a two lug 550 can do better.

The reliability tests were impressive though. In fact the only bad thing they said about it was that dirt could easily get into exposed magazines. If that's the only reliability issue... Do you know who imports these and how much they cost, or if anyone makes them here? It just might be worth it to check one out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the store had plastic bullet with real casing. the tip of the bullet is plastic, the casing is similiar to the real one. so it was real bullet. they load the gun with those bullet and tried to extract them out manually by cocking the action in the back. and the gun fail to extract at least 50% of the time. the switch magazine, and the same thing happened. so they went back to the stock room and pulled out some surplus m16 magazine, and the problem is reduced alot.

why didn't i shoot the gun to test whether it will extra? because if i shot it, then i wouldn't be able to take it back in 15 days. most gun sales are final and they want u to deal with the manufactures. so i didn't shoot it. instead i just test the basic functionality of the gun. at the range, i used real bullet to perfomed the tasks because i didn't know they make fake bullet for m16.

i probably won't get any m16 or it's clone ever. that experience was quite scary. plus, ar15 is so damn expensive in comparison to anything else.

____

ban this U> brady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah, give our troops ak with black furniture so people around the world don't recognize it right away. most battle are fought in close distance so we don't need m16 or m4. plus, ak ammo got much more knock down power.

hell, just give our troop shotgun and leave the long range fighting to robot. lol. it'll be nice to have a machine shotgun.

___

ban this U> brady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh man, that one at the top of the page on the first link... I want. The sig 510's are supposed to operate similarly, if not exactly, like the cetme's and g3's (I read that the Swiss engineers modified the CETME design a little). From what I've read about em, they're extremely accurate and reliable and their only big drawback is the weight of 12 pounds. If that was a real one it'd be chambered in 7.5x55, but the one designated SIG 510-4 is in .308. They have an integrated bipod that folds up on top of the barrel behind the front sight assembly.

It seems all of the sig rifles are priced way too high. Those parts kits were going for like $2200+. I feel ripped off if I spend more than $200 on a parts kit. I think the best cheap accurate assault rifle is still the m-16/m4. My friend got a one shot hit at 265 yards on a 3 foot target with his 16" HBAR. At that range the front sight post was nearly twice the size of the target. I'd still put my money on the AR-15 for accuracy over the 550. Although if the ban does expire and prices DO drop, I'll almost certainly be picking one up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, how's -10% sound =). Anyway, you probably need to make your own reciever for those Stg 57 kits. I'm sure real guns would go for over $7,000. I checked this webpage for blueprints but they didn't have it. Either way, it's a pretty cool site. They have operators and armorers manuals for a LOT of guns including the SIG 550/1/2, the G3, and even the browning M2, along with standard military tactics for everything from urban combat to advanced sniping and marksmanship programs. They also have quite a few blueprints for both gun recievers and COMPLETE guns. I haven't had a chance to read up on the SIG yet, but I glanced through the file and it looks pretty cool. Anyway, the link is http://www.biggerhammer.net/manuals

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this