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WW2 Small Arms Lessons Learned and Ignored

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by DarkLord, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. DarkLord

    DarkLord Member

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    Yes it is...I have been an AR-180 fan from the beginning. I have had several... I got rid of my Costa Mesa because they were known to break hammers, and since the hammer is a stamped part on a 180; it's a very difficult part to replace. The Costa Mesa's and Howa's are rare enough that I feel a little guilty hammering 500 rounds through them at a range session.

    The one in the photo is a Sterling, and that is an original Armalite scope. I chose the Sterling because Sterling didn't have any parts breakage issues, and since the Sterling is the most common of the 3 makers; I don't feel bad about shooting the crap out of it. My youngest son is in love with the AR-180... He can field strip, and reassemble in under one minute.

    So what are the issues with the AR-180...
    The military tested the AR-18 pretty extensively and they helped Armalite work out some of the issues. Most of the issues were just materials and manufacturing techniques; the design itself was pretty darned sound.

    The civilian AR-180 really doesn’t have any significant issues. The stock hinge isn’t real stout and would never survive military service, but for a civilian, it’s no problem at all. Magazines are rare and expensive; I have a few original magazines and they work perfectly. For my range sessions, I have about a dozen PMAG’s that have been modified to work in the 180 and they work perfectly. PMAG’s are the easiest magazines to modify for a 180. The over-insertion stop needs to be cut off, a new magazine catch needs to be cut on the other side of the magazine, and the back of the follower has to be cut down by about 4mm to accommodate the 180’s last round hold open.

    Issues with the AR-18
    The biggest issue the AR-18 (select fire version) had was bolt bound in full auto. The AR-18 really has no system to prevent bolt bounce, and it causes malfunctions on a rare occasion. Since the US military wasn’t really all that interested in the AR-18 Armalite chose not to address the issue. It happened rare enough that Armalite didn’t consider it a significant issue, while the Army did. So Armalite didn’t do anything about it…I will admit, of the full-auto AR-18’s I have fired, I have never personally encountered a bolt bounce malfunction (or any other kind of malfunction for that matter).
     
  2. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    I got an AR180 from a gunshop in old Los Angeles industrial district. It fired well but after serveral weeks started firing bursts first 3-5rds then more till it was working full auto pull fire till I let go the trigger stop, pull fires till the mag empty or I let go stop. Anyway a couple of guys with 15s had come up I was at an open fire range and were watching me. Came up and asked what modification I did. I said I didn't do anything, that is illegal the gun is as I bought it over the counter. They asked if they could try it I said sure. Told them what I thought was wrong and what might fix it. Then the guy says how about a trade my ar15 and 500bucks. Hell I knew that was a deal the 15 was what I was after but they were 500+ and my180 was just over 300. Sold it found out later the 15 had problems wasn't cycling. Showed it to a friend who wanted it I was afraid it was going to be expensive to fix so I gave it to him for 250. Turned out to be a close gas tube. I got my 15 a couple of years later as a kit gun was fun to build. I had bought both the ar15 parts and maintenance manual and the m16. One of the parts looked wrong compared to my arms manual. Looking at the m16 book found it. In CA any m16 part in your ar is a felony called the kit company and told them I was supposed to have a all ar15 kit told me come to the gun show next month and exchange it for free. Told them fine, got the part finished my gun and test fired. I got the kit with the collapsing stock. Can't remember the name of the company they were at all the gunshows based in Arizona, heard they were shut down for illegal gun sales. American eagle or something
    Oh I forgot my 180 was stamped made in the Philippines. Never buy a maddi eygptian AK the finish was like a rat file deep grooves and scratches
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  3. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....full auto fire is usually mostly wasteful with hand held rifles--especially if the enemy is not ''close'' ......that's why they switched the M16A2 to 3 round burst.....
    ...however, you do want/need an MG for suppressive fire/etc...
    .....generally, most engagements were found to be 300 meters or less--so that's another reason the smaller round was logical...also, in combat conditions-, it's ''hard'' to hit past 300 meters....it's hard to hit past 300 meters on the range without tight sling/taking your ''time'' etc--especially with iron sights...at 500 meters, iron sights ''mostly'' cover up a man sized target = very hard to aim in...and I'm talking semi-auto
    .
    ..the US had the Garand when most were using archaic bolt action
    ..the US had an ''assault'' rifle --it was the Thompson

    ..if I'm not mistaken, the MG was a critical factor, especially in defense, like at the Canal..I thought most kills were from US MGs rather than rifles, after mortars/arty ....especially at night and/or jungle .?..the MGs had belts--less reloading/etc
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    can you go into detail on what the Marines changed/small arms//vs Army/etc? I was in USMC mortars in the 80s
    ty
    IIRC, 1980s, the rifle platoon had three squads, with three 4-man fireteams in a squad and the squadleader...I thought each squad had 1 SAW, and maybe 1 M203......hard to remember that far back [ hahahahha ] ,,and I was mortars
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  5. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..yes, I had the BB gun M1..it had a mag that carried extra BBs....I think it was a Crossman BB gun....can't carry that around now, can you!!!??
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    I
    If I remember correctly I read that th
    They say that was one of the problems with the Japanese they had no belt fed mg mag and clip and lots of limitations on the clip. Why was that they must have capture bunches or our Browning's in the Philippines.
     
  7. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..well, they didn't have as many engineers, scientists, factories, etc to develop weapons as the US had
    ..as far as capturing and copying our weapons = that takes much time = much time in designing and modifying the new machines to make the '''new''' copied weapons
    ...it's like in the tank production threads where I've stated it takes time to design, test, produce,etc new weapons - even copied weapons ....
    ....then they need the materials for these ''new'' copied weapons...the other weapons are being manufactured, so they didn't want to stop production on those
     
  8. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..their manufacturing ability was many, many times lower than the US
     
  9. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    They were also desperate for steel, read they tried to stretch the steel by mixing something that was incompatible and weaken the steel causing weapons to blow apart
     
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  10. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    Like the British and the two pdr, lost so much equipment panic rebuilding. They had serveral factories building them the dummies could have used one factory to start making the 6pdr what a difference it would have been if the 6pdr was available sooner. Maybe a lot of British tankers would have survived the war. Sad those guys saying how the Germans were firing at them they fired back to watch the rounds fall to the sand because the Germans sat out of range. Like the Germans were messing with the British, I can hit you but you can't hit me haha. That was a major failure of British command. They got so focused on restocking they didn't see the bigger picture.
     
  11. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...there's a lot to it.......
     
  12. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...o yes, a very, very critical element of firing the M16A1 and A2 at range [ 200, 300 yds or more ] is you can't see the impacts without a spotter.....
    ...in the USMC KD course [ Known Distance ] after each slow fire shot and after the rapid fire shooting, a spotter in the butts would lower the target and put a round spotter on the target where the impact is-- so you could see where you hit...then you adjust your sight picture, etc.
    .....in the video below, the spotter by the shooter has a scope
    ....if no spotter, [ combat conditions ] you have no idea at all where your rounds are going = you will miss a lot --even with slow, aimed fire and solid rest
    ..this shooter is firing ''slow'' fire with rest and a spotter ....he fires at 150, 200, 250, 300, etc etc range...and these are above ground targets
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  13. DarkLord

    DarkLord Member

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    My comments about full auto were in relation to infantry rifles. As it turns out, the Army ended up not liking the 3 round burst and the beginning with the M4A1 it was dropped. They have found full auto from an infantry rifle was most effective at very close ranges, and at such ranges 3 round burst was a liability, not an asset.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the reply
    ...like I said, depends on the ranges/terrain/area/etc for accuracy

    ..we were taught to double tap in single fire mode with the M16A2 for close range/etc firing - for accuracy ....depended on your mission/enemy situation/etc

    ..so, M16A1, you have single and full auto, then with the A2 you have single and 3 round burst, then with M4 you go back to single and full auto = this tells me, that it's complex and the studies on it are complex/questionable.......
    ..plus, they are trying to adjust to the changing types of warfare

    ....a critical issue on military weapons is training----'''a mediocre weapon in trained hands is better than a great weapon in untrained hands ''''
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
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  15. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    Well, I hope you guys are talking about standard Army combat tactics. Because special warfare (specwar) has come up with its own rules and a whole bunch of acronyms. In specwar, full auto in CQC is still practiced, as are certain other things like preferring the standard rifle configuration to the bullpup design. A lot of spec warriors would have stayed with the MP-5 9mm submachine gun if the Pentagon hadn't insisted on training with the M-16 or M-4.
     
  16. DarkLord

    DarkLord Member

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    Unless using suppressed, I can't think of ANY time I would want an MP5 over an M4. And special ops tactics always filter down to regular infantry (at least in the US military). If the change from M4 to M4A1 was purely at the request of special ops, then they wouldn't have made it for the entire Army.

    And you can see both the Army and Marines are putting a much bigger emphasis on sustained full auto fire. Take a look a the new arms they're using/evaluating. The Marines adopted the M27 squad auto as their standard infantry rifle specifically because it is far more effective in sustained full auto fire.

    The army's Next-Generation Squad Weapon... well it's all in the name isn't it? All of the submissions are spec'd for much greater sustained fire performance over the M4/M4A1.
     
  17. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    AR-180's beauty (like the AR-7) is it's easyfor the average person to replace parts. Stamped hammers breaking? No problem. Use the broken hammer as a pattern and get some 4140 steel and make a new one. Drill pivot pin hole (since all references are from it) and then have at it with a file. Should harden and then temper it.
     
  18. DarkLord

    DarkLord Member

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    Speaking of AR7's, I picked up an original Armalite with the swirly stock last night on my way home from work. Stopped in at a gun shop and there she was for about half of what they tend to go for these days, so I walked out with it.

    Don't have a photo but it looks just like this:
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Make sure those magazines feed. I wrote an article for American Gunsmith on modifying the magazines to make them more reliable. This was of course not an original Armalite but one of the newer ones. Henry copy/version of AR?
     
  20. DarkLord

    DarkLord Member

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    AR7 magazines always sucked. I hear rumor the new ones are made right...there's very little excuse not to do it right anymore.

    I have actually never owned an AR7. And as a gunsmith, I just don't take them in for repair because its not worth my time to tweak magazines until it finally feeds something. I'll take it out and shoot it, and I'm sure it won't work...they never do. I can already tell the recoil spring is binding (probably a bad spring guide), so I'll have to sort that out. I'll buy a new magazine just to see if those work. And if you can make suggestions on how to fix the original magazine, I'd love to hear it...that's easier than figuring it out for myself.
     

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