Skip to comments.Army Taps Industry for M4 Replacement
Posted on 09/17/2008 9:00:29 AM PDT by LSUfan
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“How about going back to the M-14?”
If you’ve ever had to lug an M-14 and a standard issue of ammo through the jungle, you wouldn’t suggest that.
That is one heavy weapon, and absolutely useless on full auto. I never knew anyone that could fire it full auto without ending up shooting at the moon.
Somewhere out there is another Moses Browning, Tolliver Thompson or Gene Stoner who will revolutionize small arms for the 21st century.
The M-14 is a difficult weapon to produce. McNamara went to M-16 in large part due to numerous delays in M-14 production by Springfield Armory and other producers. M-16 family was easier to produce in quantity.
Look at current semi-auto M14 production - costs as much to by a forged M-14 receiver as a entire AR-15. The supply of M-14 parts is running out and the cast copies have a poor rep.
The M4 in 6.5 gets my vote as well. They should keep the gas impingement system too as the piston system increases weight, decreases accuracy, and has very dubious claims to increased reliability.
Our enemies are more likely to leave their wounded to be a drain on OUR medical infrastructure, than to provide them with decent care.
I also agree with you on abandoning our "one size fits all" mentality, even if it does complicate logistics.
Let me add: the M4 platform _is_ tempermental about configuration, and all too often people assemble the parts into a sub-optimal system (then wonder what’s wrong). With the right balance of powder, length, twist, weight, composition, distance, etc. the whole thing apparently works very nicely (say: 75gr no-penetrator match ball, cannelured, 1:7 twist, 14.5” barrel, ball powder). Too often the wrong combination is used (say: 65gr steel penetrator, 11.5” barrel, extruded powder) to lessened effect.
The M4 is a _system_: with the right components, it works great; skimp or overgeneralize and it suffers. While some systems inherently work across all “normal” configurations, some don’t, and this must be taken into account with Stoner’s good but cranky design.
Unfortunately, the next Stoner et al won’t be able to ply his trade precisely because it’s illegal to make full-auto anything without explicit government blessing.
How far would have Thompson have gotten had he faced 922(o)?
Chamber the HK416 for 7.62x39 and 7.62x51 with all lowers being completely interchangeble and as many as possible upper rec. parts being interchangeble as well. I’m a huge fan of HK design, build, mystique, reliability etc. Remember the all the cool HK ads back in the day? For that matter, re-design a partial polymer HK93 or 91 in order to reduce weight. Why do spook types dig the MP5 etal.? It’s basic operation is very reliable, as long as it is manufactured to HK spex.
Just my dbl. tap..
Danke. . .
Will the HK416/17 ever be produced in civilian dress?
A civilian variant of the HK416 was announced in 2007 known as the MR223. It is a semi-automatic rifle with several 'sporterized' features. It is slated to be released in the third quarter of 2008. A similar sporting variant of the HK417 is also under development, designated MR308.
Actually. I much prefered to carry the folding stock AK 47.
OTOH, the 6.5mm grendel has had many good reviews lately. I could envision this mod to carry over the M16 line instead of developing a totaly new weapon system from scratch.
A very much under-rated weapon, IMHO. Long before the Grendel was even being talked about, I thought a great service cartridge (ammo weight vs. ballistic performance) would have been a stoked up .250 Savage. Factory loads were always at reduced pressures to accomodate the M99 lever actions, but loaded for a more robust action I'd be willing to bet it would do everything the 6.5 Grendel would and then some (albeit in a slightly larger case). The .257 WSM is one helacious little round, albeit too fat for practical military use...nevertheless, I think the Grendel is an awesome little compromise.
Wish I'd have thought of it.
It is a very reliable design. I have a genuine (full auto, suppressed) MP5SD3 that is an absolute bullet hose, but that integral suppressor sure gets hot!
I have to vote for keep the M4/M16 but
1. Go up to a more effective round. 6.5 or 6.8. You only lose 3-4 rounds from the 30 round mag. And you can just change out the followers on existing mags.
2. Gas piston upper with integral free floating rail forgrip.
You get more of what the users need and want with minimal retraining. And all of the do-hickey hang ons and optics don’t need to change.
This is moving in the right direction. I've read a few articles on the 6.5 MPC. Much of the existing weapon system can be reused: Magazines, belts (for full-auto), bolt, cases. It will require rechambering and increasing bore size, but the logistic, long range and terminal ballistic advantages make this a very attractive alternative to the current 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendl which require new cases, new bolt, special mags and followers.
I’m not envious about much. . .
I bought my 1st HK(93) in Jr. Hi School for $500.00. Those were the days.
As for the integral suppressor heat, could a silicone-based shield be incorporated? The HK design aint the best at heat dissipation, I’m painfully well aware. Its a low-profile material, with grip properties, melt-point would have to be determined, could be tested by going to WalMart and by picking up a silicone oven mitt. I’m a baker/clinger/-neck so the idea is kinda 2+2.
I had to convince my senior NCOs (mostly Engr and Inf types) that the M4 was just as accurate at combat range as the A2. I wound up betting a C-note worth of Push-ups with my OPs SGM that I could clean the standard qualification scenario with a zeroed, open-sighted M4.
So, in the wind, sleet, rain and snow of a dreary November morning at Fort Drum NY a handful of years back, I proceeded to do so. 40 straight, then 18 more until I dropped one at 250m. My NCOs thought they'd better figure it out.
Granted, the stubby barrel does not add to range, but it certainly does not detract from accuracy.
I have compared many a platform to the AR- especially with a rail or a free floated hand guard system, no other combat rifle of old or new design can hold up to it-especially with a standard chrome moly nonchrome plated bore.
The best SKS or AK with issue ball can usually do no beter than about 4-6 inches while a mil-spec M4 with M855 will usually do half or better than that.....
Even an M14, stock issue, will hold not much less than 4 inches with M80 ball. True, occasionally you will find a hammer, but that is the exception, rather than the rule.
The 6.5 Grendel in a lightweight carbine is no significant improvement over the M4 in 556. To take advantage of the better interior ballistics possible from any of the AR sized wildcats (6.8 SPC incl), you NEED as long a barrel as reasonable-out to 26 inches is best. Each inch less of bbl length and you lose approx 25-50 f/s. No real gain of energy nor trajectory, just more blast, recoil and less capacity. (assuming a 6.5 Grendel will push a 120 BTHP at 3000f/s from a 26 inch tube, take of almost 50% (to get to 14.5inches) and assuming only 25 f/s loss per inch and your hot rodded killer slug now is a sedentary 2625fs hole puncher, actually slower than the M855 from an M4. Bigger longer bullet requires higher striking velocity to get the same destabilization effect than a faster, shorter slimmer projectile (I think it is called the Greenhill effect and related to rate of spin and change of media-as in air to flesh in this case).
Hitting a threat with a slightly bigger (.264-.224=.040”) bullet at less than optimum velocity for destabilization and you are back where you started with an M4 at ranges past 250-300m-its design limit.
Add 5.5 inches to the M4 and you get a still stubby tool with a slightly greater range of 400m or so before you lose terminal velocity below the 2400 f/s threshold. I do not recall many squad engagements past 250m in Iraq or other theaters, maybe a rifleman would be called on to fire on a stationary target at range with an M4 and a CCO, but not often. Call the SDM, Redleg or your CAP.
Until there is a quantum leap in technology, the AR is my choice. I know it's limitations, and know when to swap with the 30 caliber.....
Oh, an M4 at 10 lbs with optics and perhaps an aiming light is quite light compared to the 11.5 lbs of a Garand with sling and bayonet, or the M14 with one mag , sling an bayonet....
God Bless and thanks for your service.
My God, it was my understanding that most of our guys in Korea were still using Garands. I stand corrected!
Thanks for the update!
You make an excellent point. Weight and bulk must definitely be weighed against “stopping power”.
Perhaps something with the M14 design which is a bit smaller and fires a lighter round?
I’ve always wondered why the gov’t never seems to consider the .243 as a nice compromise between the .308, with it’s excellent “stopping power” but hindered by size/weight issues of both the weapon AND its ammo; and the lighter, smaller, easier to carry .223 which lacks something in the “punch” category.
I’m sure it would never happen due to NATO compatibility issues and whatever else, but I think something like the .243 would be better from the standpoint of the safety and convenience of OUR troops.
I recently saw an AR-15 “clone” (I think they called it an AR-17 or some such) which is chambered for .243. I am seriously considering adding it to my collection.
.243 is a great round. I have two rifles I used to use for deer hunting. (not legal or safe where I live now) One is chambered for .243 and the other for 6.5mm Swedish.
6.5mm Grendal or the .243 would both be a good match for the requirements.
Changing bullet weight/powder/rifling twist/port length etc all impact the basic design parameters to some extent.
As long as adjustments are made in the system components-it will work very well.
One aspect most civilians worry about which Soldiers could care less about is damage to brass on extraction/ejection-a Soldier needs robust, perhaps overpowered cycling to insure the fired case is tossed and new one is fully chambered, while a target type worries about how far the brass gets tossed and what kind of damage it suffers while being extracted.
The idea of swapping a 14.5 inch upper chambered for the 6.8, 6.5 Grendel etc is probably flawed-these cartridges begin to shine at rifle barrel lengths, and may require port distance adjustments as well to optimize operation. Bumping up to a larger caliber, larger cased round burning slower powder using a short barrel is not efficient use of the available energy-basically one just gets a bigger blast and no or little improvement in terminal performances....
Add a ton of optics, bipods, lights, lasers, GPS and bottle washers takes the modular concept well past its intent.
Add a lightweight short range optic, and a combat light, or add a mid-range optic and bipod, maybe a laser designator and you have the flex to make good use of the modular concept.
A bipod on a CCO equipped carbine is like adding a tail hook on a 747-makes little to no sense. Same as putting a CCO and a combat light on a 338 Lapua mag AI precision rifle.
The M4 is a good sytem-could be improved by adding a few inches of barrel. The M16A3 (maybe add the collapsible stock)with rail HGs is probably what most troops, both USMC and USA, could use.
The above reflects my personal opinion and is based on fairly wide experience in real world situations as well in tactical training and competitive uses. Your results and opinion may vary.
God Bless and MOLON LABE!
I hope so, but that person appears to have been aborted or murdered as of 5/18/1986. No sales of full autos to civilians = retarded development of firearms.
“rechamber the weapon to fire 6.5mm grendal.”
I’d say that this is a good solution. Honestly, I don’t care much about the cost of producing a bunch of new mags or uppers - we spend more money in Iraq in one month than it would cost to buy 1 million brand new ARs chambered in 6.5, plus mags, plus spare parts plus ammo for years of use. If this puts down Mohammed or Ivan faster, it’ll save lives. If this puts down Mohammed or Ivan at longer ranges, and behind heavier barriers, it’ll save lives.
I’d agree that we need to have longer barrels to take advantage of the Grendel’s ballistics, but even in a 14.5” barrel you are shooting a heavier, larger diameter bullet into Mohammed or Ivan, thereby increasing the chance that he’ll be incapacitated or dead vs. the existing M4 and its 5.56 mm bullet of whatever weight. The advantage to the Grendel round is that it can be used by the infantrymen, by the DM and in the SAW. It can also be used by snipers at 800-1,200 yards, though other rounds are undoubtedly better, esp. at longer ranges. IOW, simplified logistics.