1911Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Interesting Article.....www.rense.com

Jeff - I noticed your editor's question on the story about PFC Patrick Miller, where it was asked why so many American weapons jam during heavy combat situations.

On a quick reading of the story, I noticed that Miller said that he had grabbed his rifle when they got stuck in a shoot-it-out type situation. This means to me that Miller grabbed the standard-issue M-16 that has been Army and otherAmerican military branch issue since the Vietnam War.

And that answered the question in just a couple minutes' time, since the M-16 has always had this reputation of crapping out through jams just when you need it to work in the very worst way. The stories of our guys being found dead in Vietnam after firefights with a hopelessly jammed M-16 are legion, and apparently the so-called fixes the military put in place early on have not remedied the basic problem -- what we have in the M-16 is a basically inferior design as far as inherent ability to function under adverse conditions.

The situation with the M-16 is that it operates on direct gas pressure on the action of the rifle to operate the bolt during ejection of the spent cartridge case and subsequent loading of a fresh round from the magazine. This at the time the M-16 was introduced to American troops was a major departure. The old M-1 Garand, the M-14, and the Ruger Mini-14 all work on an indirect gas action. This means that the gas piston under the foreend of the rifel works on a carrier which in turn is attached to the side of the rifle's bolt. The gas from the piston pushes the carrier to the rear, and the carrier in turn pushes the bolt to the rear to eject the round and get another fresh round out of the magazine on its return cycle. No gas works on the innards of the rifle directly on the older military rifles and the Mini-14, as is the case on the M-16. Consequently, you don't find gunpowder residue building up in the action's working parts on the older rifles as you do on the M-16. And this buildup does occur in 100 to 200 rounds, which is easily gone through either on a firing range during practice and even more so, I've heard, when you're returning fire during a firefight.

And the M-16, if my memory of some readings in past years is correct, is also prone to adverse effects from things like dirt and SAND collecting in the action also, which doesn't help but gum up the works also.

Early on there was an explanation forwarded that the type gunpowder used in the initial lots of 5.56 mm ammo the M-16 uses clogged the works up more than usual, and that particular type powder was replaced by another type. And more attention was put to more frequent cleaning of the M-16 by the troops who had to depend on them. Also there were some changes made on the M-16A1 model, including that forward-assist button that was supposed to help seat a round in the chamber if the gun started to gum up to the point of maybe jamming. The firearm also got one of those selective fire switches that you could dial up a new three shot burst feature with also instead of just single shot, on safe, or full automatic. This was supposed to help in reducing the innards getting crudded up.

Apparently all those fixes didn't help Miller out since there was that reference to his having to beat on the rifle to get rounds chambered. What that reference means to me is that he was having to resort in a rapid fashion to using the forward assist button to get that next round chambered so he would have that next shot to defend himself and his fellow troops with. Good thing for Miller and his buddies that he didn't lose sight of what to do in a bad situation with the firearm wanting to jam up with each shot.

On the other hand, I once had one of those Ruger Mini-14s in semi automatic mode, back in the days when 20 and 30 shot clips were readily available for that type and other types of rifles. You could go through maybe a hundred rounds on the firing range in a short time period in semi auto fire, heating the barrel and other parts up fairly well, and it never jammed up. As noted previously this rifle uses the indirect gas action arrangement to function the action for each shot.

And the old AK-47, as well as the SKS rifle that preceded the AK, have apparently never had any problems with jamming like the M-16 has apparently had right up to the present day. I was fortunate enough to see a TV interview during a documentary on the AK with Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Red Army man who developed the AK-47. He said that he built that Army rifle 'loose' on purpose to make it as dependable as possible. Apparently he succeeded since I've never heard of any AKs jamming in a pinch. And I've also heard that some Viet Cong personnel were in the habit of leaving those WW II vintage SKS rifles at the bottom of a local stream only to take it out when some of our troops came in range, then open fire on them without having to do anything to the SKS other than load some ammo into it so it would shoot. They'd pop off up to ten rounds, I guess, and then put the SKS back into the stream and disappear back into the nearest village or rice paddy.

I guess all this shows that elegance in design might be a good thing, but dependability is a lot more important when you're talking about a rifle or other firearm you might have to use to save your life with in a bad situation.

George Belanus
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
where are you getting your info?? I've carried one for 24 years and never had a problem. But then again, that may be because I actually cleaned it occasionally.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,404 Posts
Remember also...even with GPS systems, those soldiers got lost. None of them sounded like the sharpest knife in the drawer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
865 Posts
You know, I keep reading posts from various people talking about the numerous cases of soldiers dying in Vietnam because their M16's weren't reliable. Yet, I have never seen one real documented incident from Vietnam. And since our military has been using the M16 with various upgrades for almost 30 years since the end of Vietnam, I also haven't seen any documented cases. This, even though we have fought and prevailed in numerous engagements since then. I can't speak for the Army, but I guarantee you that if the M16 wasn't performing up to par, the Marine Corps would have tried to replace it in their inventory. And the Marine Corps being the Marine Corps, we would have heard about it. During my time in the Marines and Army, I never experienced an unreliable M16, probably because the Marine Corps drilled into my head the importance of a clean weapon. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians favor the M16 over the AK. I figure they have about as much experience as anyone fighting in the Persian Gulf environment. The Israelis actually ****canned their Galils in favor of the M16.

PFC Miller's unit was a rear area maintenance unit. Anyone who has spent time in the Army knows that the only time rear area units ever fire their weapons is maybe once a year on the rifle range. That would also be the only time they cleaned their weapons. My guess is that PFC Miller didn't spend too much time keeping his weapon clean, if at all, because he wasn't expecting to be involved in a firefight.

Now, having said all that, if it turns out that the M16 is as bad as some people are saying, then I agree it should be replaced, but I haven't seen any proof of that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
456 Posts
I've never carried a M-16 into harms way but I've got an AR-15 that I enjoy rec shooting with, no problems with it...but I do use a Mini-14 for work and had it jam up on me during a qualification shoot last week.

Seems like the .223 rounds stayed a little too long in the magazines and got 'sticky' enough whereby the bolt couldn't strip the top round off of the stack. Soon as my partner figured out what was going on and reloaded the mags, the rifle was back in business. I guess it doesn't matter what you carry, maintenance is the key to a functioning weapon...

P.S. the Mini-14 I was using was a loaner, wasn't issued to me...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
280 Posts
modifications

Look into the modifications to the early M16's, the forward assist was previuously mentioned. Another mod was chrome adding in essential and critical areas. This was per the Armys original specifications. A certain Secretary of Defense who thought the military should be run like General Motors overrode the spec's for cost. The last one of these I saw was 1975 and never saw them in other than a training unit then and never since, they were pretty much replaced and only the oddball survived or was retrofitted.

The problem was between 1964-1966 (ish) and fixes were identified and being fielded, not sure when the date that front line units saw the last of these..Some military armorer from the era probably has better more exact dates.
 

·
Super Moderator
EDC: SIG P938.
Joined
·
22,297 Posts
I see a lot of ARs in 3-gun matches, which I would consider ideal conditions, as opposed to combat conditions, and they jam A LOT. Now, it could be that stock, G.I. versions are more reliable than those that have been fiddled with (like a well-known pistol we all know and love), but you'd think the bugs would have been worked out in forty years of development. Under the same conditions, my M1 Carbine has about a 1% failure rate, and I don't know how that jibes with its service record.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
377 Posts
Another thought on maintenance. My Nat. Guard unit uses the Posts "Weapons Cleaning Facility". This a building with several bays for the machine cleaning of weapons. I don't remember the order but there is a steam gun chamber, parts washer, and disassmbly and reassembly. We havn't done a hands on personal cleaning for a few years. I would rather clean my own weapon and know that it will go bang every time vs trusting that the assmbly line got all the crap out. The facility seems to be fine for carbon and general junk but I still don't like it. Our armorer isn't the most thrilled either.

By the way, it's an artillery unit.

And it's wondered why weapons jam....

Steelheart
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
449 Posts
Here's a good account of the early days of the M16 (XM16E1) in Vietnam. It's worth the read. Eye opening. This is from Culver's Shooting Page.

I've seen a lot of hick-ups with AR rifles at matches. Many of them are ammo or operator related problems. IMO, it is not the most robust weapon out there--it can be finnicky about fouling.

Ty
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
RickB,

You said...
Under the same conditions, my M1 Carbine has about a 1% failure rate
Are you saying that your Carbine jams one time out of every 100 rounds? That is not too impressive. Is that typical of Carbines? I was thinking about getting one, but not if yours is typical of them. My M1A has yet to jam in several hundred rounds. My Mini 14 has yet to jam as well after several hundred rounds. I am sure malfunctions will occur (it is a man made device...it isn't perfect), but one time every 100 rounds seems a bit much.
 

·
Super Moderator
EDC: SIG P938.
Joined
·
22,297 Posts
My M1, using my mags and my handloads, has a failure to feed or failure to eject about once every 100 rounds. I don't know if this is representative, or not. In my game-playing, I use 30-round mags exclusively, and I know they can be finicky compared to fifteens. I sorted through eight or ten 30s to find two that work 99/100.
My rounds (110 fmj over 14.3 of IMR4227) hit a couple of inches lower than S&B factory ammo, even at 100 yards, so they might be marginal for pressure; that could explain some of the problems, but since the gun shoots about 3" high at 100 yards, with the sight all the way down, I'll take the 99/100 in exchange for minimizing the POA/POI problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Jessica Lynch, in her Diane Sawyer interview said her rifle jammed too. That's 2 rifles out of a squad size unit, what are the odds? I shot expert on my qualifications and never had a failure in 4 years of service with either the M16A2 or M9

BTW, I'm soooooo in love with PFC Lynch.....makes my wife jealous as heck, even tho she's a former Army nurse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
449 Posts
Rrotz said:
Jessica Lynch, in her Diane Sawyer interview said her rifle jammed too. That's 2 rifles out of a squad size unit, what are the odds?
Depends on who's inspecting the small-arms (or whether they're being inspected at all).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
For what it's worth.....

I was active duty from 1977 to 1992, and due to my demonstrated proclivity for firearms, went through a lot of additional training, and had five arms rooms of my own. I trained initially on the M16A1, transitioning to the A2 later on. I managed to get in a lot of trigger time. How? When we went to the range, I wheedled my way into firing up the excess ammo, which usually was at least one 840 round can per range session. Sometimes on my off days, I would secure permission to accompany other units within the battalion to the range, and would do the same thing. At a conservative estimate, I have fired roughly 200K rounds through military rifles.

My observations?

In basic, during a live fire exercise, my rifle would NOT fire. It was found that a small rock had bounced up and had been lodged in the face of the bolt. I could NOT fire it until I pried the rock loose with a small screwdriver.

At numerous duty stations, I found that if I cleaned and lubed my weapon, it would fire without problems for about 4 magazines--120 rounds. Then, it would start to experience failures to feed, which were remedied by use of the forward assist. Another 50 rounds, and the stoppages included failure to extract.

Soon after that, the weapon's action would lock up solid. And, I mean SOLID. Could not extract, eject, or chamber another round--unless you squirted some light weapons oil onto the bolt, and let it migrate through the bolt carrier. (PL-S worked fine; LSA could work, along with CLP--as long as you did NOT shake up the bottle.)

Still, I felt comfortable with my weapon, but this came with a caveat:

KEEP YOUR WEAPON CLEAN, ALMOST STERILIZED.
CARRY A SMALL BOTTLE OF OIL WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES.
ENSURE THAT YOUR MAGAZINES ARE PROTECTED FROM DIRT AT ALL COSTS.

Remember the trick of loading with 28 rounds? Believe it!

Also, you must unload and check your magazines frequently--at least once every few days.

Interestingly enough, I also had opportunity to fire a few M14's. The military ones.

After proper cleaning and lubrication--which included grease on the bolt roller, and on the friction parts of the trigger group--I had the chance to put over 600 rounds of 7.62 ball and tracer through the rifle.

It never stopped.
It didn't burp.
It did not even get sluggish.

And, as long as I held the proper sight picture and alignment, everything I aimed at was in serious trouble, out to 1000 yards on the pop-up silhouettes. (We were shooting on an M60 qualification range at the time.)

Bottom line?

The M16 is a good weapon.

The M14 is better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Powderman said:
Bottom line?

The M16 is a good weapon.

The M14 is better.
I agree with you on the 14. I owned 3 rewelded semi-auto M14's (HRA, WRA, TRW) made by the infamous Mike Kelly. I put thousands of rounds through them, in the time I had them, before ATF relieved me of them. Not a single failure over a period of 3 years without cleaning any of them......and the most accurate 7.62 rifles I've ever shot.

Keeping your weapon squeaky clean in a harsh environment is easier to say than do. Getting a trooper to clean his weapon everytime you stop for a break is even harder. If the Iraqi theater doesn't test the capabilities of the M16, nothing will. It's probably the worst environment you can put your weapons into. We don't hear any stories of Minimi's or GPMG's jamming.....possibly due to the fact that they are both FN's and operated, not unlike the FAL?

I agree with the author of the article about indirect gas actions. The gas tube in the 16A2 is too narrow. It would be a better action if the bolt was worked with a piston, like the FAL, instead of as the piston itself..... It would be nice to be able to adjust the gas setting in a 16A2......when starting to experience failures, crank the gas wide open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
Exactly.

Whoever thought up the direct-gas impingment system for the M16 neglected to figure in these very facts.

There is something seriously lacking in a system (derived from the Ljungman gas operating system, I believe) that uses the powder and carbon laden gas directly on the bolt and carrier.

I believe that some grooves down the carrier--sort of like the HK chambers--could help relieve the friction of the carrier when it's loaded with that fine sand.

And, by the way, why not a fluted chamber for the M16? The case would not stick to those chamber walls, and functioning would improve, IHMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Powderman said:
Exactly.

Whoever thought up the direct-gas impingment system for the M16 neglected to figure in these very facts.

There is something seriously lacking in a system (derived from the Ljungman gas operating system, I believe) that uses the powder and carbon laden gas directly on the bolt and carrier.

I believe that some grooves down the carrier--sort of like the HK chambers--could help relieve the friction of the carrier when it's loaded with that fine sand.

And, by the way, why not a fluted chamber for the M16? The case would not stick to those chamber walls, and functioning would improve, IHMO.
BTW, that was great recounting of personal experience with small arms. Cheers!

:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
953 Posts
My AR has been up to 800 rounds with no cleaning, and it doesn't malfunction. I've shot Wolf, S&B, Lake City, SA and various other ammo and my rifle just keeps on going. 90% of the malfunctions I have seen are due to faulty mags.

Another point to consider is too much lube is just as bad as no lube. After you clean (maintain) your rifle no lube should seep from inside the receiver anywhere. A thin layer of Breakfree applied with your finger is adequate protection on all surfaces. People who soak their rifles with oil are asking for trouble. Dirt and fouling stick to oil readily and makes a gummy mess that will jam a rifle with tight tolerances.

GI mags, proper maintenance, and light lubrication are all that is needed for the AR family to run reliably.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,480 Posts
RickB said:
I see a lot of ARs in 3-gun matches, which I would consider ideal conditions, as opposed to combat conditions, and they jam A LOT. Now, it could be that stock, G.I. versions are more reliable than those that have been fiddled with (like a well-known pistol we all know and love), but you'd think the bugs would have been worked out in forty years of development. Under the same conditions, my M1 Carbine has about a 1% failure rate, and I don't know how that jibes with its service record.
Sadly Rick, this is pretty much the same argument Glock owners use for why 1911s suck. Mind you, I love 1911s, but the argument is just about the same. Switch "ARs" with "1911s" and "M1 Carbine" with "Glock" and it is frightenly familiar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
505 Posts
The original post had a few blatant errors, and no facts to back up the writer's opinions. Sadly, this is the same old anti-16 crap being regurgitated for the umpteen-thousandth time with little or no basis in fact. Let this nonsense die!

As others have provided their personal observations, I will add a few of my own. When I was in the Army I used the A1 model, well worn. None of my rifles every experienced any problems, even after a few hundred rounds. Those soldiers who did not know how to clean and maintain their weapon did have problems. The lesson? Proper maintenance will keep your weapon working properly. That goes for rifles, pistols, artillery, and armor.

I too have seen AR's in matches and on the range malfunction. They are usually the result of user error. When they are not, they are generally parts guns. Not that some of these cannot be reliable, but when Homer the Handyman gets his hands on a group of parts, assembles them to "eyeball spec" (i.e. that looks about right) and has problems it is disingenious to claim it is a problem with the rifle design.

My personal AR has never had a failure of any sort. It has spent days on the range with over 500 rounds, been put away for a month or two, pulled out, oiled, and fired some more. no problems. This is not my regular practice, but it happens on occasion.

The M-14 may be a better rifle for some operations, but the M-16 is a better rifle for others. Don't forget that the 16 is lighter, the ammo is lighter, it does not kick, etc. These qualities make it good for the average soldier who has to lug the thing around day in and day out. The 14 is more powerfull, and has a longer range, but is a boat anchor, is more difficult to take down for a basic cleaning, etc. If you have a longer range operation, you would be well served with the 14. The key is to fit the weapon to the mission. Blanket statements like rifle A is better than rifle B are nonsense.

Another one I hear all the time is how much better the MP5 is than the Colt SMG. From people who have never fired either. I have, and I am here to tell you that they will both get the job done. The MP5 looks cooler, and is a smoother action, but tends to be finiky with it's ammo and costs an arm and a leg. The Colt platform is familiar to most operators, is every bit as durable and accurate as the MP5, will run hollow-points with no trouble, will ru when filthy (100+ rounds from personal experience with reloaded JHP ammo) and runs about 1/3 less money.

I guess, to sum it all up, if you want to dis one weapon in favor of another, get your facts straight. Quite citing unverified reports of dubious lineage that have been long ago put to rest by reliable sources. The information is out there guys, all you have to do is look for it.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top