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.”
ALWAYS had a love affair with Bullpup configurations...
And the FN-FAL has always been one of my favorites too. The “Free World’s Strong Right Arm”...a great nickname. Too bad NATO didn’t adopt the M14, though...
“Never do an enemy a small injury.” - Niccolo Machiavelli
I understand being able to hump more ammo. I also understand that a DEAD enemy is one less coming at you later on. And if you wound one, take out the other two IF they come to get him...threesies...
Also - We need to be able to outrange the other guy - why engage him on HIS turf with limited-range smaller calibers? Take him out with well-aimed, optically directed surgical shots (like any good RIFLEMAN) so his close-up tactics are useless. Especially when they like to hide behind women and children...
Carbines are good for house-clearing, CQB, etc., but why go “muzzle to Muzzie” when you can perform .308 Ballistic Cranial Surgery from long range (on ANY enemy)?
Just my “ignernt” two cents...
“...the jamming on a grain of sand issues...”
Again, that’s because of the design flaw of the M16/AR15 rifles - it craps where it eats. Very dirty design.
But it’s an OK weapon overall if you keep it clean. I like my AR and will keep it. But the Garand and the M14 hold a special place in me ol’ heart...
As well as Enfield No.4 MkIs and No. 5 Jungle Carbines, AK’s, SKS’s, lever-action Marlins and Winchesters...KAR98K’s, Springfield 03’s...etc.,
Even my old Mosin-Nagant M44 gives me a warm and fuzzy occassionally...
Great to be an American, ain’t it?
Don’t get me started on that Treasonous SOB Klinton. Those ‘14s should have come BACK to the States, been converted to semi-auto for civilian use, and should now be gracing the gun racks of American Citizens as their primary “Homeland Defense Rifles”. The government would have MADE money on that one, AND earned the trust of the Citizens.
He, like most of the Dem leadership, is scum...but then again, why didn’t our side prosecute him to the utmost extent when they had the chance? Easy - no balls. “When men reduce their virtues to the approximate, then evil acquires the force of an absolute, when loyalty to an unyielding purpose is dropped by the virtuous, its picked up by scoundrelsand you get the indecent spectacle of a cringing, bargaining, traitorous good and a self-righteously uncompromising evil.” _ Ayn Rand
BM-59 was the Beretta version, I believe...?
ArmaLite made the AR-10 in .243.
Here is the article
New .243 Service Rifle Cartridge, A Proposal -- By Chuck Hawks
I think you’re right about getting used to the extra weight. The SOCOM II is really intended for SOCOM guy, all of who are serious athletes. I think they’ll happily trade the extra 2-3 pound for the stopping power. They’re studs, they can handle the weight.
My only other concern would be long range accuracy. I haven’t fired the SOCOM, but the M16/.223 combo is very accurate at ‘longish’ ranges (say 300+ yards). I wonder how the SOCOM compares, especially with its shorter barrel. I suspect within 150-200 yards it compares very well (and much better than the sloppy AK-47 and its variants). And frankly most combat is within that range. I suspect this weapon is already being tested in Iraq and Ashcanistan. Looking forward to the field reports.
That’s nice. I may have to look into one.
The “designed to wound” notion is a myth.
Used _as_designed_, the 5.56/M16 system is terminally devesating. High-velocity catastrophic fragmentation is not “designed to wound”, it is designed to make a very large and very messy and very terminal hole.
The problem is that the 5.56/M16 system, while excellent when used as designed, gets awfully tempermental when used as _not_ designed. When first introduced to combat, it lacked the chromed barrel, proper powder, and cleaning was discouraged. Today, usage often includes improper twist/weight/length combinations, hard-target rounds on soft targets, and wet lubes in dusty environments, predictably leading to substandard results. Garbage in, garbage out.
Because sometimes the range is short, not long. If you're planning on doing urban CQB, don't take a tool designed for half-mile applications.
Good read - thanks for the link!
5.56 mm is an inadequate cartridge for reliable one-stop hits. Doesn’t mean I’d like to be on the receiving end of one, but if I had to choose a round on which to stake my life, that wouldn’t be it. .308 is nice and hard-hitting, and I’ve got 2 rifles that shoot it (a Remington 700 and an M1A).
If I had to pick a new cartridge for the grunts to use, I’d pick the 6.5 Grendel. It is based on the very accurate 6mm PPC round. The ballistics of the 6.5 bullet are superior to virtually anything out there, and it is inherently very accurate. One can hump many more rounds of it than .308/7.62mm, and have far greater hitting power than the 5.56. Excellent sniper round, as it is accurate at up to 1,000 yards (because of the ballistics).
Check it out at http://www.65grendel.com/
Me, I’d use this new cartridge with a piston-powered version of the AR series. You get the ergonomics of the AR series, the reliability of not $hitting where you eat, and the superior ballistics of the 6.5 bullet. Logistics will be simplified - get rid of all of the mouse-gun cartridges and the .308. Use this for LMGs, and if you need some really long-range stuff for sniping, use either .338 Lapua or .50 BMG.