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  • M4 does poorly in Army's own test

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nat...,3932605.story


    M4 does poorly in Army's own test
    By RICHARD LARDNER | Associated Press Writer
    11:24 AM EDT, April 20, 2008

    HARTFORD, Conn. - When the dust finally settled, Army officials sought to put the best face on a sandstorm test that humbled Colt Defense's vaunted M4 carbine.

    The tests were conducted at an Army laboratory in Maryland last fall. Ten M4s and 10 copies each of three other carbines -- the SCAR from Belgium's FN Herstal, and the HK416 and the XM8 from Germany's Heckler & Koch -- were coated in heavy layers of talcum-fine dust to simulate a sandstorm. Tens of thousands of rounds were fired through the rifles.

    The M4s malfunctioned 882 times. Bullets that didn't feed through the rifles properly or became lodged in the firing chamber were the biggest problems.

    The other carbines had far fewer hitches. The carbine with highest marks was the XM8, a gun with a Star Wars look that the Army considered buying just a few years ago but didn't. The program collapsed due to bureaucratic infighting and questionable acquisition methods.




    Despite the testing troubles, the Army and Colt are defending the M4, the rifle U.S. forces rely on in combat. The tests, they stressed, were only meant for research purposes and didn't represent actual conditions.

    Dust and dirt are constant obstacles in Iraq, but no properly trained soldier would ever let his weapon become so clogged that it misfired.

    "This is not what soldiers encounter on the battlefield," says Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, the officer who runs the Army acquisition office that buys rifles and other battlefield gear. "It doesn't matter if you're firing a flintlock from the Revolutionary War or you're firing the M4, you've got to clean your weapon."

    The XM8, Brown adds, had 10 cartridges break apart during testing -- a flaw that can injure the shooter. The M4 only had one ruptured cartridge.

    In overall scoring, the M4 finished the sandstorm test with a 98.6 -- roughly 1 percentage point behind the others, according to Col. Robert Radcliffe, director of combat developments at the Army Infantry Center in Fort Benning, Ga.

    "That is good performance," Radcliffe says.

    But the M4's chief critic wasn't buying the Army explanation spelled out in Power Point charts.

    "What it shows is out of the four weapons tested, the M4 is the worst," says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "If it's your son that's the 1 percent that takes a bullet in the head (from the enemy) because his gun jammed, that 1 percent is pretty meaningful."

    Colt executives can't account for the M4's poor showing. And they hinted that the M4s sent from Colt's plant in Hartford may have been mishandled after being delivered to the lab.

    "There's no way they left the factory like that," says Phillip Hinckley, Colt's executive director of quality and engineering. "It does leave a major question mark in your head."



    Intresting article...I'm still learning about guns this article caught my attention.
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  • #2
    Old news, and reports from the battlefield say differently.
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
    8541tactical.com - Ammo Wallets

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    • #3
      I agree with Blackdog. Nothing in the article led me to interpret it as a failure.

      There ain't no failproof rifle in a fire-fight. MSNBC reported a different take on this, about Colt's hogging the market in M 4s. The objection was raised by a senator and by a reporter.

      I think the M4 is fine, and the user satisfaction rate verifies this.
      "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Funny how these reports always contradict what the end users in the field say....
        “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

        "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

        Comment


        • #5
          Why would you be surprised that the Army is defending a gun that they didn't want in the first place? The M4 is a decent carbine with excellent ergonomics but it is far too maintenance intensive for a battle rifle. My preference would be for a gas piston M4 like the 416, but cost on the civilian market is prohibitive. I do not like the gas impingement system at all, I think the Galil was a much better design, it took the best of the M16 and the ak and combined them.

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          • #6
            The Galil was replaced by the M 16 in Isreali service. Too heavy, and apparently other problems. At any rate, the Isrealis are buying M 16s now, and seem quite happy with them. The Galil had the advantage of being invented by an Isreali, but apparently no other real advantages or they wouldn't be buying M 16s from us.

            I don't see a big advantage over a piston-type system. I've shot them, and they offered nothing on a practical level over a gas impingement system. They're heavier, and may be a way to go in the future, but when the Gov starts spending huge cash, they can shop around and run the tests and see which is best, and how much it is better.

            As for the intensive care called for, I don't thin it is. Just regular care for a rifle capable of cycling 650 RPM. The M 16 works as well as any ACCURATE rifle with tolerances worth calling the accuracy rifle-like. If you ever shot a AK at a target, you'll know its limitations. Get a civilian AK to shoot like an AR, and you've got a miracle weapon.

            The M 16 has lasted longer in general issue than any rifle in American history. Says a lot for it. It's not a 'battle rifle," it's an assault rifle. The last battle rifle the US issued was the M 14.
            "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"

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            • #7
              Indeed the M4 does very well. The differences in testing is nominal at best. Take into account that I don't know anyone, Mil or LE that leave their weapons in a condition remotely similar to that type of testing, so in essence those testing points become moot.

              As Gene mentioned, while the M4 is no AK as far as how it will run in adverse conditions, it is a very good assault rifle up close and at a distance. I equate the M4 similar to that of a 1911. Take care of it and it will take care of you.
              The comments made herein are those solely of author and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency or other entity.

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              • #8
                I seem to recall the term being "Direct Impingement" not "Gas Impingement". I would much rather have a PD (Piston Driven) gas system over a DI. I would probably go w/an LWRC over the 416.

                W/out mags the LWRC weighs 6.8lbs w/a quad rail system and the Colt M4 weighs 5.9lbs w/out any rails, so add the rails, use the same stocks, sights, accessories and your going to be damn near the same weight. I don't see how a tiny little spring is going to make the PD Carbines noticeably heavier.
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                • #9
                  if money was no object, i think we would be using the HK416...

                  i didnt clean my rifle much overseas and it always went bang..keep it dry and use a barber brush on the inside occasionally and youll be fine..

                  one thing that doesn't help is the crappy ball ammo the military issues..on about the same quality level as Wolf IMO..
                  In the end we're all just chalk lines on the concrete drawn only to be washed away, for the time that I've been given, I am what I am. I'd rather you hate me for everything I am, Than have you love me for being something that Im not

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by krinkbusta View Post
                    I don't see how a tiny little spring is going to make the PD Carbines noticeably heavier.
                    If you're talking about weight over the M 4, a gas piston and cylinder would add weight, as I'm thinking an operating rod for the piston to push against.

                    The one I shot had more recoil (it seemed, but could be from the stock design) and was heavier.

                    I know it sounds better, an enclosed system, and it may be better, but I'm not sure it is. The M 14 had a closed system, and it got dirty and caked up with carbon and had to be scraped. Not every time, but enough so they gave you a tool to remove the piston.

                    Personally, I'd like to know the reason for a gas piston preference. Any thoughts on that?
                    "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting.

                      I had 2 Marine buddies come back from Iraq (1 didn't) who were part of the initial invasion (3D MEB, I believe?)

                      They were "allowed" (don't know how it works) to drop their M4s and carry AKs.

                      I've only recently gotten into the AK scene. I was a big AR-15 buff. After hearing what the Marines had to say about the AK and how it functioned in the desert, it perked my interest.

                      Obviously for accuracy, I'd pick the AR/M-16/M4..... but for reliability, there seems to be no comparison (according to them).

                      Keep in mind, I've never done a torture test with either, I'm just relaying what they've told me across the poker table.
                      1*

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chit2001 View Post
                        Interesting.

                        I had 2 Marine buddies come back from Iraq (1 didn't) who were part of the initial invasion (3D MEB, I believe?)
                        I think when the first group went over, they were using standard CLP as a lubricant. A wet lube will collect dust and get gummy. I think they have since developed a dry lube, that works better in that environment.

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                        • #13
                          I don't know about the Marines, but the Army had large numbers of people picking up AKs, SKS, Dragonovs, etc just to carry. There were no real advantages to carrying an AK over your issue weapon.

                          GGG, as far as the dry lube, I've seen a bunch of "MilTec" floating around there. I stuck with CLP or 10-30W.
                          “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

                          "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gene L View Post
                            The M 16 has lasted longer in general issue than any rifle in American history. Says a lot for it. It's not a 'battle rifle," it's an assault rifle. The last battle rifle the US issued was the M 14.
                            You're splitting hairs there for sure. You are correct, a battle rifle by definition fires a full power cartridge. However, if it is a rifle that is used in battle, it pretty much becomes a battle rifle. Also, I believe that the Flintlock musket was in general service for more than 40 years. Just because a weapon has been used for 40 years does not mean it is the best design.

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                            • #15
                              I like to hear my dad talk about the M-16 (US Army 1968-1974)....

                              "Those damn plastic rifles! We trained with the M-1 and there hasn't been a gun to this day that's matched it for power, accuracy, and reliability!"

                              I'll never forget the look I got when I told him I bought my first AR..... lol.
                              1*

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