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The Best Rifle Never Made


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#26 KodiakBeer

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 02:22 PM

I can see why an army would go to a 20-25 caliber weapon for a foot soldier. Unless you are a "sniper" would there really be much benefit of a 308 size round.?

 

 

Well, yes.  People fall down and die when you shoot them.  I agree though, that the full-auto 7.62 was a concept that left a lot to be desired.  The US was the NATO force that pushed the 7.62x51 on everyone else (the British were developing a smaller round), and then we were the first to abandon the concept 10 or 12 years later and go with the 5.56.  


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#27 denny

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 03:13 PM

Let me ask this.....On the face of it, it seems like a Pretty Radical move. The 30 caliber was pretty standard, and had helped win WWII. To suddenly go to a 22 caliber as your main service rifle must have been a shock. But was it sudden...or had there been a slow build up over time to adopt a smaller caliber.?

If you know what I mean.? ...To the "average person" it kind of looks like, all of a sudden, in Vietnam, the USA had a plastic rifle that shot a 22 caliber bullet.

Was there a fairly long R&D process that led to The USA Military adopting the 22 caliber for their main rifle.?

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#28 lwd

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 03:33 PM

There was some considerable thought post WWI that something in the 6mm to 7mm range was probably the best for military rifles.  Note that there was a considerable reduction in caliber in the late 1800's as well.  Post WW2 many had the same opinion.  Some pushed for even further reductions into the sub 6mm area and they eventually won out.  I think costs may have been a big factor but allowing full auto for everyone and the requisit ammo supply also payed a part I believe. 

 

Now that I've presented a target for those who really know what happend we should see them posting shortly.



#29 KodiakBeer

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 03:49 PM

The M16 didn't come up through regular army ordnance channels.  Most rifles/cartridges have a long period of development that originates with specifications put forward by the ordnance people.  Stoner's rifle and cartridge was offered pretty much as a done deal from outside the normal channels, and the Air Force bought off on them for their security personnel.

 

The Army then took an interest and (in my opinion) rushed it into production too quickly.  It was plagued with problems, some due to the design and others due to changes by the ordnance people - the ball powder for example, was changed changed to a dirtier stick powder which tended to clog the direct impingement design of the rifle.  The reason for the rush, I think, was that we found ourselves in a jungle war and such a rifle was ideal (when it worked) for close range warfare.  There have been many, many changes to the rifle since it first came out, most of them revolving around making the rifle more reliable.

 

Some here will argue with this, but In My Opinion, the heart of the rifles problem from the beginning is the direct impingement system.  It vents heat and burnt powder directly into the action and chamber of the rifle.  Every other successful design uses a piston in between the gas vent and the action.  The piston drives the bolt back and release the heat and gas outside the action.  In effect, the M16 is a self-fouling design.  It has to be cleaned often and well to work properly.    


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#30 Biak

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 04:01 PM

Here is a link that may explain a main reason for the smaller cartridge. Higher quantity of lead flying with lower recoil being among a top consideration;

 

http://usacac.army.m...0831_art004.pdf

 

 

George Patton touched on the ballistic dominance in this thread;  http://www.ww2f.com/...un-collection/ 

with the Colt 1911 .45.


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#31 denny

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 04:38 PM

That first link is an interesting  article.

I always thought the M1 Carbine was a missed opportunity. I thought with an improved case (longer to hold more powder) and a 120 grain bullet, selective fire for full or semi auto, that it would have been a great gun.


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#32 lwd

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 05:16 PM

Well it got the selective fire in the M2 version.



#33 mac_bolan00

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 09:49 AM

a modern version with all the bells and whistles would probably weigh close to 20 pounds but would make a good emplaced battlefield weapon. it can double as a sniper rifle and a light MG.


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#34 USMCPrice

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 11:27 PM

The M16 didn't come up through regular army ordnance channels.  Most rifles/cartridges have a long period of development that originates with specifications put forward by the ordnance people.  Stoner's rifle and cartridge was offered pretty much as a done deal from outside the normal channels, and the Air Force bought off on them for their security personnel.

 

I agree. The Air Forces, Curtis Lemay, saw the rifle demonstrated, was enamored with it and pushed SecDef Robert McNamara into adopting the rifle. Unfortunately, a rifle suitable for security forces is not always the best choice for infantry forces constantly in the field. McNamara made the final call to go with the AR-15/M-16. McNamara was all about standardization of equipment across all branches, despite the unique mission requirements of each service that demanded different capabilities. 

 

The Army then took an interest and (in my opinion) rushed it into production too quickly.  It was plagued with problems, some due to the design and others due to changes by the ordnance people - the ball powder for example, was changed changed to a dirtier stick powder which tended to clog the direct impingement design of the rifle.

 

Not exactly true, and you have ball and stick powder flipped. The rifle as originally designed was to use IMR (Improved Military Rifle) 4475, an extruded or "stick" powder. The US was using granulated, ball powder, in its ammunition. Two problems emerged, DuPont could not produce adequate amounts of the extuded powder to the required specifications, and the military already had stockpiles and industry had production lines that could make adequate amounts of the ball powder so it was switched. Ball powder is dirtier than IMR powder and did lead to increased fouling. This problem was made worse though by LeMay, Stoner and Colt, pitching the new wonder weapon as a self-cleaning rifle, McNamara bought into it and when the rifles were first deployed it was without appropriate cleaning gear or training of soldiers in how to clean it. What were they thinking? "Yeah we'll save money on unnecessary cleaning gear and save time and money on training and weapons cleaning time."

 

The ordinance people other than the change to ball powder, which was partially based on an inability to get sufficient quantities of IMR powder, didn't cause the issues. The military required, as it did in the rifles currently in service, that the M16 have a chromed bore and chamber. Stoner and LeMay argued this was unnecessary. Ordinance, after testing wanted a forward assist to chamber any partially chambered rounds. Stoner, LeMay and McNamara argued this added to complexity and cost and was not necessary. Had these changes been adopted, as ordinance requested, many of the early issues with the weapon would have been prevented. The only other major change for the A1 was a change in the strength of the extractor spring. In Vietnam it sometimes pulled the lip off stuck cartridges, of course these stuck cartridges would have been much more infrequent had the ordinance departments requested changes been implemented. As it was, after the initial fiasco which led to congressional inquiries and public outcry, the changes were incorporated into the A1.

 

There have been many, many changes to the rifle since it first came out, most of them revolving around making the rifle more reliable.

 

 

Other than the initial changes, which the Army and Marine Corps requested prior to adoption of the original model, very few changes have been reliability based. In the A1 the three prong flash suppressor was changed to the bird cage type because the prongs on the original surpressor were easily bent or snagged on vegitation, and the stock had a well added for holding cleaning gear. The A2 developed by the Marine Corps had a heavy barrel to better dissapate heat, a change to 1:7 rifling twist to match a new heavier round, a three round burst mechanism, further refined flash suppressor/recoil compensator, round vs triangular handguards, and improved sight adjustability. The A3 had the fire selector changed back to safe/semi/auto. The A4 had a detachable carrying handle and incorporated a full length quad Picatinny rail for attaching optics. So you see most changes have been to increase functionality and not reliability. Had the initial Army/Marine Corps requests been acted upon during initial adoption, there would not have been major reliability problems.

 

Some here will argue with this, but In My Opinion, the heart of the rifles problem from the beginning is the direct impingement system.  It vents heat and burnt powder directly into the action and chamber of the rifle.  Every other successful design uses a piston in between the gas vent and the action.  The piston drives the bolt back and release the heat and gas outside the action.  In effect, the M16 is a self-fouling design.  It has to be cleaned often and well to work properly.

 

In a piston design the gas and fouling are just vented/directed to a different part of the operating system. Same problem different area. Gas (heat and burnt powder) is vented off the barrel, into the piston cylinder, pistons do get covered in carbon, stick and have to be cleaned. The biggest problem with the M16 series is that the heat vented into the receiver dries out the lubrication on the bolt/bolt carrier group. I got around this by carrying a bottle of LSA in my helmet band. If I noticed the bolt carrier hadn't moved fully forward (a fairly rare occurrance), a quick squirt of LSA through the ejection port, hit the forward assist, aim, pull the trigger and the weapon ran like new again.


Edited by USMCPrice, 09 August 2015 - 11:29 PM.

"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f**k with me, I'll kill you all."Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."Gen. Alfred Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps

#35 KodiakBeer

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 01:34 AM

In a piston design the gas and fouling are just vented/directed to a different part of the operating system. Same problem different area.

 

 

Actually, no.  The heat, gas and carbon are vented completely out of the rifle near the front sight.  I've actually installed an Adams Piston System in my M4gery.   Most of my shooting is with the cheap eastern European stuff, because... well, it's cheap.  Prior to installing the system, the rifle would shut down short of 200 rounds, usually closer to 150 rounds.  With the system it never shuts down.  When I first installed it, I shot an entire Spam can of Wolf over a couple of sessions - with no cleaning, no oil - just to see how it worked.   It never shut down, ever.  That was just a test, I don't normally abuse my firearms and I clean them regularly.

 

With quality ammo and a squirt of oil now and again, they just run and run.  That's why all the operators like Seals, Delta and so on have all gone to piston AR's.  The only place that can foul is the vent hole itself and that just works the action a bit harder, which might actually be helpful in a hot rifle.  The vent hole can be cleaned with nothing more fancy than a toothpick or a piece of wire.

 

You can see the gas being vented in this photo. In a standard M4, that same heat, gas and carbon is venting into the action and chamber.  Not a good system.

 

AR-15-piston-information-2.jpg


Edited by KodiakBeer, 10 August 2015 - 01:38 AM.

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#36 mac_bolan00

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 08:46 AM

nah. remember people also had a brief love affair with the galil? the israelites adopted it only because it was a cheap alternative the the pricy FN.


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#37 mac_bolan00

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 10:06 AM

on the other end, long before WW2, could this pistol have become the longest (and most loved) military sidearm in service? the Savage 1907 in .45 auto was one of two finalists in the 1906-1911 US military trials for a sidearm, eventually bowing out to the Colt.

 

2011101916747-ihtog_savage_mdl_1907.jpg


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#38 KodiakBeer

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 12:45 PM

The problem with fixed barrel designs like the 1907 are the fixed barrels.  They are just a tad fussier about feeding and so you must have ammunition in perfect spec, and the pistol itself very clean to assure reliability (which is problematic in the field).   That's why 95% of the centerfire pistols used today copy Browning's tilting barrel design - the barrel unlocks and dips just a tad to aid feeding the next round from the magazine.

 

At any rate, had the Ordnance Department adopted the 1907 it probably would have been dropped early on in favor of a tilting barrel design like the 1911 or Hi-Power.   . 


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#39 mac_bolan00

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 02:34 AM

i was suprised to find out the '07 also had a full-length slide. you can the the actual barrel peeking through. just not sure if also uses the disengaging mechanism of the 1911 barrel.


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#40 CAC

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 06:25 AM

So which is the deadlier? A good, reliable weapon/rifle...or the type and calibre of the bullet? A C130 can deliver a missile to an area...and its the missile that does the damage...An expensive, reliable rifle isn't particularly deadly if the round its firing is too small...or too fast (goes straight through the target quickly and easily) or has low cavitation. I rate the M16 but don't think of it as a particularly deadly weapon...

So as im sure others have pointed out..."the best" depends on what you want your rifle to do...fire rounds all day without a stoppage...fire all day whilst really dirty...fire quickly...fire accurately...or kill someone (at least drop them on their arse and take the fight out of them)??


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#41 mac_bolan00

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 08:12 AM

i posted this long ago but still can't find online literature as it was messaged to me by a soldier in another forum.

 

it was after desert storm when the US army did a serious study regarding hand weapons for soldiers. they did a statistical analysis on nearly all the wars from 1900 to maybe desert storm. here are two interesting disclosures:

 

1. small arms accounted for only 5% of total war casualties

2. 95% of small arms engagements happened inside 200 meters.

***

 

if you are to really accept these two findings, then it doesn't make sense to equip your entire army with rifles each costing more than $3000 (2001 prices), weighing 8 pounds bare, and capable of killing the enemy out to 600 meters. a carbine costing at most $2000, weighing 4.5 pounds bare, and a respectable man killer out to maybe 300 meters will do.

 

for specialized weapons, whether you are a regular or a specwarrior, the choice is as wide as your imagination.


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#42 KodiakBeer

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 02:43 PM

So which is the deadlier? A good, reliable weapon/rifle...or the type and calibre of the bullet? A C130 can deliver a missile to an area...and its the missile that does the damage...An expensive, reliable rifle isn't particularly deadly if the round its firing is too small...or too fast (goes straight through the target quickly and easily) or has low cavitation. I rate the M16 but don't think of it as a particularly deadly weapon...

So as im sure others have pointed out..."the best" depends on what you want your rifle to do...fire rounds all day without a stoppage...fire all day whilst really dirty...fire quickly...fire accurately...or kill someone (at least drop them on their arse and take the fight out of them)??

 

CAC, starting with the M855 (NATO SS109) they began using a slug a with the front half interior made of soft steel.  That makes the rear lead half heavier and thus when striking a target it yaws or completely tumbles within the flesh. Messy. In addition, at close range (highest velocity) it usually breaks in half at the cannelure to produce two wound channels and in the best case the rear (lead) half actually fragments to produce even more damage.   That kept the slug within the laws of the Geneva (or Hague?) conventions outlawing soft points, but still created a big mess within the target.  When they introduced the shorter M4 barrel which had less velocity, it was noted that the slug was much less likely to yaw, so they created a newer slug designated as the M855A1 intended to produce the same effects at M4 velocities. They also changed the powder to reduce muzzle flash from the new carbine, AND made the front half of hardened steel to better penetrated masonry, vehicles, etc.

 

At any rate, the days of those original conventional jacketed lead slugs that just zipped through a target are long gone. It's still not as deadly as a hunting soft point or a larger (.308) slug, but they are much better than the early design.   


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#43 Dave55

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 12:47 AM

That first link is an interesting  article.

I always thought the M1 Carbine was a missed opportunity. I thought with an improved case (longer to hold more powder) and a 120 grain bullet, selective fire for full or semi auto, that it would have been a great gun.

 

I agree.

 

Almost happened too.  We saw one of the trial batch on our recent visit to the Fort Benning Infantry Museum

 

https://www.american...24-light-rifle/


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