Skip to comments.Improved magazine increases weapons reliability
Posted on 12/20/2009 5:53:12 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The Army has begun fielding a new 5.56mm 30-round "improved magazine" that delivers a significant increase in reliability for M-16 and M-4 weapons.
Bolstering the already high reliability ratings of the M-16 and M-4, the improved magazine reduces the risk of magazine-related stoppages by more than 50 percent compared to the older magazine variants, according to officials at Program Executive Office Soldier.
Identified by a tan-colored follower, more than 500,000 of the improved magazines have been fielded to units in Iraq, Afghanistan and the United States.
"With the improved magazines, we're taking weapons reliability up another notch," said Lt. Col. Chris Lehner, product manager for Individual Weapons. "By incorporating a heavier, more corrosion-resistant spring, along with a new follower design that does not tilt inside the casing, our engineers were able to develop a magazine that presents a round to the weapon with even greater stability. Increased magazine reliability results in overall improved weapon system performance."
Currently, there are three different types of magazines in the supply inventory that can be identified by the color of the follower. The new, improved magazine follower is tan. Magazines with a green follower are strong performers and are acceptable so long as they are serviceable, but should be phased out from the force as the improved magazines are received. The oldest magazines have a black follower and should be turned in to supply sergeants
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I need to get me some of these.
Bookmark for later.
That’s good news. Seems like they should go with the .270 replacement round (or the .260) while they are at it to increase lethality of the weapon as well.
ROTFLMAO at more PR Bumwad
Yes, the magazine was a problem area. However it is one on of many problem areas. E.G., The weapons must be kept spotlessly clean to function reliably, the direct-gas impingement cycling mechanism is, and always has been a cause of fouling and stoppages in heavy continuing fire operations, say 5 magazines or more. The M-16 and M-4 variants are always reliable in only 1 category: i.e.,, coming in dead last in trials against other weapons, which invariably use a piston to recycle the action. Reliable? Yes. In many reported incidents, dead realiable.
One more question: Can the new magazine actually take 30 rounds, or is it wiser to load 25? The system/series is much better than it was in the early days, but still not good enough.
Time for a CHANGE.
How many bazillion has the army spent improving this trash piece already.
So, they took all their knowledge and designed a modular weapons system that has both a .223 and .308 version.
We're stuck with the AR platform for the forseeable future I'm afraid.
What an innovation!
The sim shows the ENTIRE cartridge being fired from the weapon (M16/M4).
Only the Army could come up with this.
We Marines stick with the tried and true method of having bullets exit the barrel and empty cartridge cases eject from the ejection port.
The 308 should be the weapon of choice, one round they stay down.
Grunts have bitched about their issue weapons for centuries, nothing new here.
The M16 family of weapons is cost efficient for their intended purpose. And as such, will remain our militarys’ popgun for the forseeable future.
Small arms don’t defeat the enemy, that job is done by crew served weapons and airpower.
Now if only the Army would do something about the low-bidder POS M9 magazines.... To say they provide gavity would be an understatement.
M4’s and M16’s don’t need to be “spotlessly clean” to run - they just need to be wet, and FN makes the M16’s for the Marines, but Army M4’s are made by Colt.
But yes, mags have been a problem, and I’m glad to see it’s getting taken care of. But Magpul followers have been out for years, this really should have happened long before now.
Hmm. The Wikipedia page on the SCAR says it was about 4x more reliabe in the super dust reliability test than the m4. The article reads as if More widespred testing is continuing.
Of couse Wikipedia is not always right. Got any links on the SCAR real world testing?
Unforrtunately the FN-SCAR costs $2,799 new to civilians the last time I saw one for sale. The military M-16 is less than half that cost to civilians in the AR-15 version.
I've always wondered about this... I mean, Eugene Stoner is a genius weapons designer, but this just seems like such a bad idea from the very begining! Yes, the direct-gas impingement design will have lower reciprocating mass, with lighter weight, but it shouldn't be enough to really matter. The design allows combustion gasses to travel all the way back to the locking lugs, which are also needlessly (IMHO) complex! And bad things will happen to the shooter if he or she is left handed and have a case blowout! Plus, the idea of such a long, thin gas tube that can foul just seems dumb. And then there's the need for a "forward assist," which I've read that Stoner opposed.
It just seems that so many problems could have been avoided with the use of an operating rod (and maybe an operating rod handle too). Ruger decided to use it on their new rifle.
Can you believe that absurd video? What a joke.
I always take Wiki with a grain of salt. The statement about "4x more reliable" can be 100% true, and yet totally misleading.
I've read some of the test reports, where most of the tests are designed to be torture tests under once-in-a-century conditions, whether heat, cold, sand, water, unlubed, etc. Vendors submit their weapons, and then complain or brag about how theirs turned out.
In almost every case, the M4/M16 came in dead last with a reliability of about 99.4%. The best weapons, which varied by brand depending on how the testing was done, never did better than 99.7% reliability. Remember, this is "reliability" under the worst conditions the testers could dream up.
These weapons are all almost as perfect as anyone can make them. We're excluding oddballs like the British SA80 and French FAMAS. Things can be tweaked, but we're at the point of diminishing returns. I have my own preferences, but I couldn't gripe too much being issued any one of these. It's still my responsibility to keep it working properly because it's still my own life that depends on it.
Now 5.56mm magazines are another matter, and that problem has been around for almost 40 years. Weapons get political attention, because they are sexy, especially if built in your home district. But debugging springs, curves, followers, lubes, etc. is not sexy, although the magazine is probably the most common source of day-to-day trouble, not your average sandstorm.
The world has pretty much shaken things down to either the NATO 5.56mm, or the ex-soviet 7.62mm round. Usually the choice for most countries is cost and availability. Most countries that use 5.56mm now have weapons that use M16-type magazines, rather than their own unique types. This is a benefit because a lot of people are now working on their own ideas of how to improve these magazines. And we have millions of American civilians participating in the testing and debugging process, which is also a benefit.
The US military has always listed this magazine as "semi-expendable", meaning "get a new one when you get back to base". The problem is surviving until you get back. The price point for magazines of this type is about $5, as far as government purchasing goes, but they buy in lots of hundreds of thousands. Civilians buy a few at a time in the $20-$40 price range, and expect them to run perfectly, and last forever, at that price. So there's a difference in viewpoint between some bureaucrat buying what the military will use, and me buying something with my own money. But overall, the picture continues to improve.
And before anybody mentions it, the "perfect" AK47 spent ten years in debugging mode, with large numbers issued starting only in 1957. It was only with the appearance of the AKM ("modernized" Kalashnikov) in the late 1960s that the weapon started to look (and be built of stamped parts) the way Kalashnikov originally envisioned. It had it's teething problems too, but we never heard much about problems like that coming out of closed dictatorships.
By no means am I minimizing the logistical difficulties involved in making a change., or for that matter, the "overall" excellent service the series/system has given.
However, I have personally received information that the direct-impingement system has caused, and is now causing, some serious problems when a weapon is most needed, and in enough cases that it warrants serious attention.
In those cases where people are choosing their own unit weapons, they are rather uniformly choosing weapons with piston-driven systems.
PS, I know nothing about operations in arctic conditions, but thanks to you, I'll try and get up to speed in that area as it relates to this. Thanks for the heads-up and
Here's a much better, more professional, and accurate animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSqYvWib1og
I happen to own a AR-10 without the forward assist. Much of my shooting is done in very very gritty desert conditions on a large dry lake. The fine grit there gets into everything and is a pain. One failure I've had several times if a failure of the bolt to go into battery. Because of the design of the AR the gun can not be disassembled when it fails in this way. The bolt if short of full battery by as little as 1/3 of an inch or so prevents the upper and lower from swinging apart when the takedown pin is pushed free.
To disassemble it I have to take a small allen key, put it into one of the holes in side of the bolt that is visible through the ejection port and pound the bolt forward.
The forward assist is a much faster and simpler way to accomplish this. I think the Army did well to insist on it and I would be reluctant to buy another AR pattern weapon that lacked it.
Quality costs, regardless of design. Yes, the cost of the AR series design is fully amortized and it's more or less in the public domain. Still high quality AR's are pricy guns.
The Navy Seals use the Knight's Armament SR-25, the final perfection of the AR-10 design that Eugene Stoner himself worked on until shortly before his death.
Over here at Impact Guns they have SR-25s between $6,200 and $9,000. These aren't fancied up builder specials, these are box stock Knight "AR-10s" that are full milspec quality for the Navy.
The DPMS AR-10 cost $1,000. The Armalites run to about $2,000. Surplus FN-FALs cost $1000 in 1985, 25 years ago. FN no longer makes them, so used examples fetch $3,000 to $5,000 depending on variant and condition. According to this inflation calculator $1000 1985 dollars is $1975 2008 dollars.
Given all these factors I don't think the SCAR is overpriced, though it may be out of reach for many people. At least some of our elite units are equipping with them.
The box fed .308 semi-automatic magazine is the choice of the thinking civilian for self defense. So far the FN-FAL is the still the best of the bunch*. The SCAR looks to be the rifle most likely to take the title from the FAL, from everything I've seen.
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on one to put it through its paces sometime in the future.
*Apologies to the M-14/M-1A fans.
For civilian use, and for some special ops use, the .308 is still the best choice. That's why besides the .223 we still issue a variety of .308 rifles, including AR-10s and SR-25's as well as Remington Model 700s.
Strangely the FN-FAL 20 round magazine is almost indestructable. You can stand on an empty one without damaging it. Pre-ban you could but them all day for $7 a piece. Looking at the SCAR it appears to me that it may use the FAL magazine. (That would make sense, both guns are FN designs. Why redesign what wasn't broken.) It's odd that 40 years into it's time as the rifle of the worlds most powerful military the AR-15 magazine is still an issue.
One of the main problems with the FN was that it didn't have any provision for mounting optics. Another approach to upgrading the FN design has been taken by DSArms who has many variations, including "flat top" designs that make mounting scopes a lot easier. Most go for about $1800.
Armalite makes AR-10s, they are the first of the reproduction makers to re-introduce the AR-10. They have both flat top and iron site/ carrying handle models. My favorite of theirs is their clone of the original AR-10, which was only used by Portugal and their clients in Africa - Mozambique and Angola. It has the charging handle inside the carrying handle, another idea that the Army did away with when productizing the design. (Along with reducing it to varmint caliber.)
This is close to the way Eugene Stoner originally designed the gun.
DMPS Panther Arms is the other viable source for civilian .308 caliber AR-10s.
Happy holidays! Stay armed! Stay safe!
I agree with you there... I've got an old Colt CAR-15, and it doesn't have a forward assist. I've never had a problem with the bolt not going into battery, but then I don't fire it that much. Being left handed, wer glasses, and tall, there's not enough stock pull, but worst of all, there's no shell deflector "nub" on the upper, so every ejected shell hits my glasses! I've also got an AR15-A2, and we get along much better.
I just got a bunch of mags from J&G for $14 each. Not quite down to pre-ban levels but still not bad for a battle-tested magazine that, as you said, is practically indestructible.
One of the main problems with the FN was that it didn't have any provision for mounting optics.
Well, neither did the M-16. That changed with the advent of the flat-topped models. So if you have an old AR with the carry handle you need a new gun to put optics on it.
On my FAL I just put one of these on it:
...and now for an investment of about $30 my FAL has a place to mount advanced optics.
The AK-series is a wonderfully reliable design but the accuracy sucks. This is great for the illiterate soldiers of many non-industrialized countries that are expected to take part in a human wave. Not so good for taking that deer at 100 yards.
The AR-series is a wonderfully accurate design but it's rather delicate and really needs the support of an armorer and a parts department to be of serious use. This is great if you're in a rifle company with the US Army. Less so if it's just you out in the backwoods.
The FNs are good out to at least 400 yards or so and while not as rugged as the AKs, require almost no maintenance to keep them shooting.
I carried the M1A more than the M16 variants during my service career.
Had em in our armory yet the Hk’s an M1A’s seem to be on the road more than the mouse guns.
I am savin my duckets for a civy version of the Hk 416 for 3 gun matches.
Who is making this new improved mag mentioned here ?
You know, I don't know if the brand was mentioned in the article. My guess is that the "new" magazine is just a new follower, and the reset stays the same GI lowest-bidder M16 mags. Maybe they are also getting away from the stainless steel springs, which don't rust, but do take a set when stored under tension too long. I've replaced all my GI springs with Wolff chrome-silicon extra-power ones.
You can't beat the H&K all-steel magazine in 5.56mm. It started out as part of their project to save the SA80, and is the Rolls Royce of bunch. In plastic, the Magpul pmag/emag seem good, along with the plastic Lancer. After that, there's the standard American-style 30 rd mag that should do well with the right spring and follower. Some are in steel, some in aluminum.
Interestingly enough, a Korean company is making respectable copies of MP5 and H&K SA80 magazines. They're also a US military supplier of M14 mags, along with the one remaining American company that makes them.
The really interesting is that there are now about three producers of the FNH 50-round mag for the P90, including this Korean company. The quality ranges from vey good to crap, but they've brought the price of the genuine FN mags from near $100 to about $40.