Skip to comments.The Little Black Carbine
Posted on 05/27/2008 12:13:42 PM PDT by DmBarch
There is much talk lately about the shortcomings of the M16 series, so I was particularly interested to see how it was performing in Iraq. Its popular today, in some circles, to deride this weapons family for its direct gas method of operation. Some claim its not reliable enough for military use, especially in the dust and sand of Iraq.
Plus many still scorn its small-caliber, high-velocity 5.56mm round. Its common to hear people say the terminal performance of this cartridge, especially in its standard military 62 grain M855 loading, is inadequate. So I was interested to see not only how the weapons were performing but what the troops thought of them.
The standard combat rifle issued to the men of the 3rd Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry is the M4 carbine. This is simply a shortened version of the M16A2/A3 rifle and utilizes the same method of operation. However, unlike the full size rifle the M4 wears a short 141⁄2-inch chrome-lined barrel and a collapsible stock. Barrel twist is 1:7 inch to allow use of all standard U.S. military 5.56mm ammunition including tracer, armor piercing and sniper/match loads.
Overall length with the stock extended is a handy 33 inches. Collapse the stock and this shrinks to just 29.8 inches. Loaded weight is only 6.9 pounds, making for a short and handy package. Like the M16A2, the M4 can be fired either semiautomatic or in three-shot burst mode but does not fire full automatic like the old M16A1 (although the M4A1 has this capability). Velocity for the standard 5.56mm 62-grain M855 ball round is approximately 2,900 fps.
(Excerpt) Read more at rifleshootermag.com ...
There is never enough CLP for a M16A2 in the desert.
The answers are a) Yes, it could be improved, and should be. b)opinions differ, probably, yes, it's better. c)No. It's underpowered.
This reprto matches EXACTLY the reports I get from returning Service members. Nice to see a fair and balanced article. Now off to the sotre for CLP.
go back to the M14 series rifles. Springfield now makes it in the SOCOM II (and other shortened) configurations - lightweight, synthetic stock, integral Picatinny rail set forward of the receiver for mounting optics/lights, short barrel with a wonderful compensator...MMMMMM. A lot less susceptible to dirt and grit, and it doesn’t crap where it eats like the M16 series rifles...
And it’s in man-stopping .308 caliber...one-shot drops, just like it’s WWII cousin the M1 Garand in .30-06 (although it doesn’t have quite the reach that .30-06 does).
Still...it’s formidable, potent, and a better weapon...IMHO
Check out the Kel-Tec RFB rifle series. .308 battle rifle designed as a bullpup - very, very interesting piece.
If I am not mistaken (and I probably am) part of the military’s “philosophy” behind the adoption of the smaller 5.56 (.223) cartridge was their belief that in most cases in battle it is actually better to WOUND the enemy than to kill him outright because a wounded soldier actually takes two or three people “out of action” (the soldier who is wounded AND one or two others who must tend to him/remove him from the field for treatment). How this works with an enemy who has no respect for ANY human life including those on “his” side is, I suppose, debatable.
Also, it is definitely true that a given weight of the smaller ammo contains more rounds than the .308 or .30-06.
Personally, I like them ALL. My .30-06 rifle is awesome and I really like my new High Standard AR-15 variant too.
Any idea when the RFB is going to be available? Sometime this fall?
I handled one of the new Springfield SOCOM II rifles at the latest gun show and I didn’t think it was all that light. It actually seemed a bit heavier than my AR-15 and it was definitely bulkier. But I do like the .308 for its stopping power. I think in any squad a mix of .308 and .223 would be a good way to go.
Less is more in the desert. The biggest problem with CLP is operator error. CLP is a light oil that acts as a carrier for particulate teflon. The only way to get the particulate teflon into suspension is VIGOROUS shaking of the container is comes in. Additionally, placing a nut or bolt into the bottle, or several into the gallon sized containers will help break up the teflon sediment that settles to the bottom of the container. With CLP, the carrier can move away, and the teflon remains, keeping the mechanism running. Some folks prefer white lithium or TW25B grease, and this works too, keeping dust at a distance from moving parts.
Nothing replaces regular attention with a paintbrush, keeping the “DUST COVER” closed, and some troops have been seen with neoprene coolies (those foam things that keep one’s beer cold) wrapped around their primary patrol magazine and pushed up against the bottom of the magazine well. This helps seal the system against some of the larger dust particles.
The rifle runs with disciplined maintenance.
That’s the word, yeah - 3rd or 4th Q 08.
The RFB looks a great deal like the Israeli “Tavor” rifle. Bull pup, long barrel, and integral optic. The Tavor is still in 5.56 though. Not a bad round, wouldn’t want to stand in front of one!
I think it's a compromise. Some soldiers end up in situations where they are outnumbered 10-to-1 and have to hold out for an indeterminate amount of time before help or supplies can arrive. One shot one kill isn't possible even among the best snipers. What additional ammo buys is time. Sometimes, you simply need to fire in a given direction to keep the other guys' heads down. Staying in an exposed position long enough to aim could result in getting shot immediately. Having the additional rounds of ammo is insurance against missing. Higher caliber weapons are also harder to shoot accurately on the move because of recoil. And they are difficult to control during multi-round bursts unless you're built like Rambo.
How about this? A good bit of a compromise in .243?
January 1975—”One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure—and in some cases I have—that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.”