Will an M-15/M-4 work at the range? Sure, most of the time. In the severe rigors of sustained combat in a filthy environment? No.
I think it was James Rowe who wrote about the problems of the M16 in his book about being a POW in Vietnam.
” M-16 and its idiot caliber “
What caliber should it be?
It seems the only flaw to the armies that are armed with AK47’s is their inability to shoot and be tactical ... not the weapon itself
The original M16 design was so robust they didn't even think it needed to be cleaned and in fact shipped it without cleaning kits. It wasn't until some procurement half-wit decided to change the powder the ammo was using that it started to experience problems.
In terms of caliber, it was also originally designed to fire the .308 so blame a pencil pusher for that change. Regardless, the AR platform can be modified to use a large variety of calibers. It is also significantly more accurate than any piston rifle is capable of.
When I was a squad leader in Nam, I was regularly screaming at my guys to lighten up on the “auto” spot on the selector lever.
The M-16 rifle was NOT designed to be a Light Machine Gun. It doesn’t have a quick change barrel and it fires from a closed bolt. There is a time and place for full auto. (Gaining initial fire superiority, suppresive fire, final few yards of an assault, and when final protective fires are ordered.) Sometimes you may be forced into continual rock and roll but most often you are not.
But much of the time full auto is used unnecessarily, and leads to an unnecessary need for resupply and undue wear on overheated barrels. The direct impingement gas system does allow more carbon fouling into the reciever, but it also helps with controllability in full auto fire. The straight line recoil and the lack of a piston slapping back and forth makes it much smoother in that mode.
In Vietnam I carried an M-16A1 with a basic load of 600 rounds plus, often went through much or most of that in a day, and had very few stoppages with my routinely maintained rifle, none of which were not easily cleared with an immediate action drill.
The AK series and the AR platform rifles are both great infantry weapons with their own strengths and weaknesses. I am extremely familiar with it and would not hesitate to select it as an infantry arm. But as I consider their aggregate virtues, I would go with the M16/M4 every time, and I served as infantry in two wars.
I have also put in a lot of high dollar parts to get it that way.
But for a dirty environment, it wouldn't be my first choice.
Direct gas impingement on the bolt face - It craps where it eats.
Go to a piston-drive upper receiver ala AK47-series weapons, and it runs cooler and cleaner and most of the reliability issue goes away.
Not a difficult fix; the uppers are already available, and they are a drop-in retrofit.
LWRC makes them, as well as other companies.
I don’t know why they wouldn’t go to that simple expedient upgrade.
Sort of on the order of going from the M1 Garand to the M14 service rifle.
Wasn’t it a wrong powder issue in the early M16s?