Skip to comments.M4 does poorly in Army's own test
Posted on 04/20/2008 11:54:38 AM PDT by Dawnsblood
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M262 being hard to get, and M4gery being what many have, does anyone know a good recipie for reloading to M262 specs?
As has been noted: the M4 didn’t perform that much worse, and the tests were of dubious value.
(Rumor has it one reason the XM8 hasn’t been approved is it’s tendency to _melt_ under not-unreasonable conditions.)
No, largely because the powder being used in military loadings won’t be available to you. You would have to start with the ballistics reported and the bullet used (the 77gr Sierra) and work your way up. M262 shot out of a 20” barrel (or an 18” barrel) shows 2,800 fps or more at the muzzle; SAAMI spec ammo tends to top out in the 2650 to 2700 fps range (depending on powder) for a 77gr pill. If you don’t hold a NFA license, you won’t be able to own a 14.5” barrel for a AR, so let’s not worry about that.
When loading to 2800+ fps is done with commercial powders you, the civilian, can obtain, you’ll see your primers flatten - indicating a hot load. Modern firearms should withstand the load, but they’d better be in spec on the headspace or you’ll start to see case failures. I’m not going to give a load that would replicate M262 velocities because I’m not going to assume any liability for failures of case, firearm or reloader. There are benchrest types out there who claim they can push a 77 or 80gr pill at nearly 3,000 fps, but I don’t think that sort of load would be at all wise, in either a bolt or semi-auto.
You can obtain a commercial loading of the 77gr Sierra bullet from Black Hills Ammunition, at a bit over 2,700 fps. Nosler is also shipping a 77gr round, at 2,600 fps.
Both of their products are of very high quality, so expect a high price accordingly.
That is a big question for me — were the M4’s the same as before or pulled out of production, or what?
The whole thing does cry out for a more uniform test, indeed. And perhaps they should standardize a test, rather than slap one together that is dictated by political pressures inside the DOD. This is another issue where the private sector should run the show. The test should be a “black box” as far as the DOD is concerned. A test which is run by a private sector lab, using weapons pulled at random from production, using issue ammunition, in standardized environments, much as is done for other gear, is what is needed.
The M16/M4 platform is, unlike most calibers, suffers dramatic changes in performance when assorted factors vary. Barrel length is significant, as is twist rate, bullet weight, expansion/fragmentation behavior, velocity, etc. Seems it works quite well when all these factors are tuned correctly as required for certain needs ... but use the wrong parameters under certain conditions, and of course it doesn’t work as desired.
Biggest problem I can tell is the insistence on using “green tip” rounds on soft targets using short barrels. Use Mk262 and it works fine; use a lighter round that won’t yaw/fragment, well duh performance is sub-optimal.
In the end, the 6.8 SPC will be where the AR system evolves into. IMHO. It is an excellent cartridge, requiring only a bolt and magazine change to function in the AR system and awesome downrange ballistics.
Now if they had necked down the M1 Carbine to 6.5 in the begining we wouldn't be having these issues.
“Found” ammo loaded with C4 (or otherwise rigged) is not unheard of.
The insistence on 1:7 twist, combined with lowered velocity and 62gr steel core pill, leads to subpar terminal performance.
Given M855 and 1:7 twist, the short barrel is a poor choice.
Additionally, the short gas system reduces available power to cycle the action compared to mid or full length gas systems.
It’s usually considered doctrine to not use ANYONE’s “found” munitions ‘cept for “last resort”.
Not unusual in competitions or other range activity to find loose rounds rolling around. It’s awfully tempting to use them, esp. considering price (you’re looking at $0.20-0.50 per round); a common warning entails you not knowing what is inside (risk of over/under-pressure, KaBoom or squib), who made it (you really wanna use Bubba’s handloads?), what happened to it (deep-seated => overpressure; damage => jam), what it’s made of (over-used shell, copper-wash vs. FMJ), etc. ...and that’s protocol involving “found” stuff left behind by people like you & on your side. How much worse coming across “found” stuff made to far lower standards, handled with far less care under far worse conditions, made for different platforms, and quite possibly sabatoged?
I have an 11.5" AR (Colt 6933 M4LE, as close to a true M4 as a civvie can get), that's why I'm interested. (Yes, it's NFA papers are in order.) I have a small & diminishing supply of Mk262 that it rather likes, hence my question.
You can obtain a commercial loading of the 77gr Sierra bullet from Black Hills Ammunition, at a bit over 2,700 fps.
Got a link handy?
a few times a years I get a truly optomistic idea...and just damn...lolol...all good points that have beaten me about the head, neck, and shoulders...lolol...
heh ... all that aside, I’ve all too often used “found” rounds. Stupid, but irresistable at times...
As was mentioned above, just the thought of bubbas handloads give me the willies, not to mention babalous' stuff...
even I aint that cheap...
Because we will NOT be using one cartridge for the infantry/airmobile and another for the mechanized forces. And because having a weapon in the vehicle that is longer-ranged than our probable adversaries' weaponry is desirable.
Why not come back and say We need vehicles that will withstand attack better rather than create a morphodite rifle to fix this problem?
Because you begin with a *quick fix* to do what can immediately be done to cut down on your casualties [IE, up-armored HUMVEES and *bedspring armor* on Strykers, even though it breaks axles and tires have to be run over-inflated. Which results in more replacements being needed, which costs airlift. Eventually, better vehicles [MRAPs] come along, in a year or two or three. But they should probably be considered a *quick fix* for the present problem only; in the Spring/Winter thaws of central europe, they're a bigger headache waiting to happen. When tracks get stuck, wheels get stuck worse.
To this engineer, this problem isnt fixed by changing the rifle.
Nope, not at all. But a change of rifle can very easily impact the tank, especially if a change of cartridge is also involved. And conversely, if the *all purpose* weapon is to replace a vehicle crewman's weapon [as the M4 carbine replaced the M3 and M3A1 SMGs carried by American tank crews since mid-WWII] then it's use in and from the vehicle also has to be considered.
The Israelis found that out when they replaced the 20,000 Uzi SMGs carried by their tank crews with M16 rifles cut down to M4 specifications. Two years later, they found a third of them destroyed or damaged to near the point of uselessness, and set about giving their tankers 20,000 new shorty *Micro Galils* [Glilon or Gilatz Galil Tzalafim, in Israeli tanker speak] And soon, I suspect, they'll be getting 20,000 more new weapons....
Got mine: http://donath.org/M4LE_Omni.JPG
As I recall, around 1980, the Marines were pushing hard for a rifle upgrade. They were offered two options: continue with the M16 and minor changes (sights?) and wait 10 or 15 years for the next generation of rifle which would include caseless ammo, or get nothing. They took what they could get.
Im sure someone closer to the process will be along to fill in the blanks.
BTW At the beginning of WW II, those .45-70 single shots were still in National Guard armories. Your great-grandkids will be training with M4s some day.
The troops seem mostly satisfied with the AR. Once we had the cleaning issue resolved in Vietnam, I found the M-16a1 to be quite a nice weapon. We cleaned them with gasoline and lubed them with that LSA stuff and they worked fine.
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