Skip to comments.M4 does poorly in Army's own test
Posted on 04/20/2008 11:54:38 AM PDT by Dawnsblood
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at seattlepi.nwsource.com ...
The 6.5 Grendel, (on the 5.56 case form factor!) has better down range ballistics than the 7.62 NATO!
The XM8 would have been like handing an anvil to a soldier. Have never touched or seen the other two “competitors”.
I’d keep the M4 — it’s battle tested/proven, unlike some of the other participants in the exercise.
(PS, when referring to Incredible Hulk, I do NOT mean Dona Schalela on top of Janet Reno.)
The XM8 sure is ugly, but if it works.........
That's more than a "problem" -- that's a freaking death blow to the poor grunts relying upon the failed weapon.
Exactly. It would not be THAT ugly.
The M8, based on the AR18 is similar in operation to an M16 and provides nothing new other than a design that doesn't blow the carbon into bolt, giving a marginal advantage for the user. The rest is all show. Once someone can come up with something that brings a “significant” advantage to the table then we can start talking. Until then, the M4/16 is fine, and in fact it's still among the best standard issue weapons any Army carries.
Any weapon, new or old, can be made to fail under the right conditions. Most of these “tests” are intended to give predetermined outcomes. The DoD engages in this consistently when they try to justify new purchases.
Which just goes to show that the Goat Board, the Pig Board, the European ballistics tests... all have been proven right.
For the umpteenth time.
For some reason that I cannot fathom, the US military mind seems to gravitate to ideas that simply ignore vast amounts of ballistics research over the last 100 years.
The Garand was going to be chambered in .276 Pederson, but MacArthur vetoed the idea, mostly on supply logistics of the 30’s - we had a lot of .30-06 ammo on hand, and no .276 ammo. Simple decision.
When we got to the M-14, we had an opportunity to use superior ballistics, but the Army brass derided anything less than .30 cal bullets as being too small. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago for these guys that they were using .45-70’s in Trapdoor Springfields. So we got the 7.62x51 (.308).
The best exterior ballistics for a battle rifle are found in the .264 to .284 caliber range, depending on the length and configuration of the bullet, and in the 140 to 165 grain bullet weight.
The next “sweet spot” in exterior ballistics is about .338 to .340, in bullets of 300 grains or so. These recoil far too heavily at 2500 fps muzzle velocities, and they weigh too much for supply logistics.
An even more dramatic demonstration of how real thought and design in bullets can lead to outstanding exterior ballistics is the .408 Cheyenne Tactical, out of a private-sector Idaho company. The .408 CheyTac can outshoot a .50BMG for long-range sniper and light armor penetration - out to 2,000 meters and beyond. That’s the result of starting a weapon design with the bullet, and nothing but the bullet, and then once you’ve found the superior bullet, you work forward from there.
The 5.56 round was a ridiculous compromise all the way around, an example of what happens when someone starts a design with the action, then the weapon, then the chambering, then the bullet. It is only today, after 40 years of service, that the M262 round (a 77gr bullet) has appeared to provide some ballistic performance for the M-16.
If we want superior long range ballistics in an infantry weapon, we should start with a 6.5mm (.264) bullet, in 140 to 160grains, like the Lapua Scenar bullets. Then we should decide on how fast we want to push it, (like 2800 fps or so) and decide on a case. Then we should look at a rifle to push it.
Want to see long-range shooting in the private sector?
Look at the 6.5x284 rifles today. Superior ballistics at 1,000 yards and beyond.
"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."
The M4s malfunctioned 882 times. The article doesn't say how many malfunctions the other weapons suffered.
Hinckley is making excuses for the poor quality he is palming off on the military. Maybe if he blames someone else he can keep his job.
I hate to say this but American Made doesn't always say quality anymore.
Jesu Cristo! WTF? Why didn’t the fools include Klashnikov’s 7.62x39 Model of Nineteen-fricking-Forty-Seven in the test!?!? The 882 stops for the M4 pro’ly woulda been 88.2 stops for the 60-year-old-design AK!
882 times out of "tens of thousands" may not sound like much but it sure matters to the 882 men whose rifles malfunctioned. Not good.
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