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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/8/2005 1:52:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2005 2:26:00 PM EDT by Ekie]
We, as in pettifogger, Thatguy96, BattleRife, dewatters, myself and others never did come to agreement on what is what with the Air Force 601, 602, and 604. Here is the old thread now archived members only:

archive .ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=225187

First off, let me run this past you all. Think we can agree that the first large orders were placed and deliveries made in 1962? Of these 1,000 went to ARPA for project AGILE, a few to the SEAL teams, a handful to the US Army for field testing, and 8,500 to the US Air Force. I maintain that these were all 601's. First off check out the serial numbers listed for US Army tested rifles in Dec 1962, they are in the 08000 range, as in 601's. Plus surplus 601 parts are available, I have a few, that would not be the case if they were not delivered in large numbers. In addition we do know that the ARPA rifles were 1/14. And for those that like visual aids here are some pics of a US Air Force 601 taken just prior to it's destruction:











So where to shoe horn in the 602? Arguably a late 601 and a 602 look to be the same thing, save the markings, flash suppresor, and the furniture (and a few other little details). I figured that the 1/14 makes the 601 a 601, and 1/12 makes it a 602.

The 603 and the 604 appear to be identical rifles, save the FA, both originating with contract 508. First 508 deliveries were in March of 64. Another clue, the M16 rifles tested during May-September 64 were in the 040000 serial number range, that is 604's. Check out the picture in TBR of the "first batch" of 508 contract rifles being inspected at Colts, sorry don't have the book in front of my, don't know the picture number. The title caption says they are XM16E1's but they are actually 602's.

And for inspiration, here is a pic of a 601 in service, probably a rifle purchased thru ARPA:

Link Posted: 7/8/2005 2:03:03 PM EDT
That looks exactly like the rifle I had as an Air Force SP while I was in the Phillippines from '88 to '90.
Link Posted: 7/8/2005 2:30:08 PM EDT
I qualified with a buddy that had a 4xxx serial # on his m-16. We still have a bunch with four digit serial #'s, but they have now all been converted to A2's.
Link Posted: 7/8/2005 2:38:49 PM EDT
I am purdy darn sure that thousands of 601's were delivered to the Air Force, and am not surprised you guys were issued them.
Link Posted: 7/8/2005 2:44:57 PM EDT
My Dad has a color slide of himself holding his issue M16 in Vietnam 1967,he's retired Air Force.I had forgotten about it until I saw the pic of the early M16 like he had.
Link Posted: 7/8/2005 2:50:22 PM EDT
We had (2) 601's in my USAF unit up until the late 1990's. They were in original configuration with green furniture, early flash suppressor, charging handle & bolt release. The serial#'s were 4 digit and they were marked as Colt/Armalite.

Coming from the Army I was surprised to see an M-16 that was that old still in the inventory and in pristine condition. I tried to get them pulled and sent to a museum, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. I was one of the unit's weapons couriers and I had it set up to where I would get issued one if we ever deployed.

Sadly they were converted to A2 configuration in the late 1990's and I was unable to get the old parts. I really wished I could have gotten a camera in and taken photos before they converted them.
Link Posted: 7/8/2005 2:51:14 PM EDT
We had (2) 601's in my USAF unit up until the late 1990's. They were in original configuration with green furniture, early flash suppressor, charging handle & bolt release. The serial#'s were 4 digit and they were marked as Colt/Armalite.

Coming from the Army I was surprised to see an M-16 that was that old still in the inventory and in pristine condition. I tried to get them pulled and sent to a museum, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. I was one of the unit's weapons couriers and I had it set up to where I would get issued one if we ever deployed.

Sadly they were converted to A2 configuration in the late 1990's and I was unable to get the old parts. I really wished I could have gotten a camera in and taken photos before they converted them.
Link Posted: 7/11/2005 10:42:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 10:13:28 AM EDT by Ekie]
Edit:

Added to first post.
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 4:52:08 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 7:53:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wirebrush:
I qualified with a buddy that had a 4xxx serial # on his m-16. We still have a bunch with four digit serial #'s, but they have now all been converted to A2's.



4 digit? So you are the guys hoarding all the new weapons.....


Link Posted: 8/27/2005 7:58:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Stickman:

Originally Posted By Wirebrush:
I qualified with a buddy that had a 4xxx serial # on his m-16. We still have a bunch with four digit serial #'s, but they have now all been converted to A2's.



4 digit? So you are the guys hoarding all the new weapons.....


img97.imageshack.us/img97/5143/greengunandfirends0276qb.jpg



Three digit, you tease!
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 8:05:10 PM EDT
When I PM'd you, did you think I was making it up?

It will probably still be awhile, but let me know.
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 8:07:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Stickman:
When I PM'd you, did you think I was making it up?

It will probably still be awhile, but let me know.



No, you already posted a pic. Just had not got around to replying, E-mail sent...............
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:38:26 PM EDT
My unit just converted from the green furniture 601 type last year. We now have -A2's. Pretty incredible that we still had those things right up to 2004. I really wished I had a pic of all them when I was in the vault doing inventory..

I really wonder what happened to them all. I just shudder to think about all those rifles meeting the torch..
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:46:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BravoSierra:
My unit just converted from the green furniture 601 type last year. We now have -A2's. Pretty incredible that we still had those things right up to 2004. I really wished I had a pic of all them when I was in the vault doing inventory..

I really wonder what happened to them all. I just shudder to think about all those rifles meeting the torch..




USA or USAF?
Link Posted: 8/29/2005 11:41:39 AM EDT
Sorry, I was in the army at one point. lol

This was the USAF I was referring to in my post.
Link Posted: 8/29/2005 11:59:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2005 11:59:46 AM EDT by Ekie]
The Army along with the SEALs did get some 601's, but they were small purchases compared to the Air Force. I have not heard of a recent Army inventory sighting of a 601 outside a museum.
Link Posted: 8/29/2005 7:30:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ekie:
The Army along with the SEALs did get some 601's, but they were small purchases compared to the Air Force. I have not heard of a recent Army inventory sighting of a 601 outside a museum.



A perfect segue to my next comment.

I was browsing through my second favourite AR-15 book the other day, when I came upon this statment, talking about how word was quickly spreading through Vietnam that ARPA was testing a new rifle, and it was catching everybody's interest:

By May (1962), McNamara's analysts as well as members of the Mahon subcommittee had warmed to the AR15 issue sufficiently to encourage LeMay to resubmit his reprogramming request. This Mahon approved on May 15, and the Air Force contracted with Colt's for 8,500 AR15s a week later. That same month the Navy decided to equip its Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) teams with the rifle. And over the summer General Harkins, commander of the U.S. advisory group in Vietnam, put in his order for some 20,000 rifles for both Vietnamese units and their American advisors.

If the statement about 20,000 rifles for the advisors group is accurate, it goes a long way to explaining how we ended up seeing M601 rifles with serial numbers approaching 40,000. But the inconsistencies keep popping up. Later in the book, mention is made that no more orders are forthcoming, and that "Colt's thus planned to shut down its production line in November (1963), when it had finished assembling the 8,500 AR15s the Air Force had ordered in May 1962".

So was the advisory group order cancelled, or did Colt's do them first? It would seem that 19 months was a long time to make 8,500 guns. Maybe the Air Force demanded some changes, which produced the M602, and in the interim Colt's ran the 20K guns for the advisors as M601s. This is especially plausible since the Air Force confirmed the problems with the 1-14 twist, and issued a report recommending a switch to 1-12 in January, 1963.

The book in question is The M16 Controversies, by Thomas L. McNaugher, Praeger Publishers, 1984. The book is written like a Ph.D. thesis (not a picture in the whole thing), and is impeccably bibliographed. The item about the 20,000 rifle purchase is sourced as follows:

US Congress, House, Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Department of Defense Appropriations, Hearings, 88th cong., 1st Sess., 1964, Part 6, P. 224.

Link Posted: 8/29/2005 8:13:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2005 10:31:49 PM EDT by Ekie]
Hey Battlerife, good to see you participate. Anyhow, the original Colt's Model 601 serial numbers run from 000101-013XXX were marked ARMALITE AR15, and produced from 1959 through 1963. The bulk of these went to the USAF. There was no 20,000 delivery, and there was not that many produced. During the early 1960's there were many large orders that never happened or were delayed.

The rifles in the 018000-039XXX range were Model 02's.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:33:57 AM EDT
I have several good pictures of M16 serial number: 55,758 that I was issed last year when I deployed to Haiti. It is still here in the armory. I just don't know how to post a pic to the site. I was also issued and M16 with a serial number in the 75,000 range when I went to Iraq in 2003.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:45:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 10:16:28 AM EDT by Ekie]

Originally Posted By EL_TIRADOR:
I have several good pictures of M16 serial number: 55,758 that I was issed last year when I deployed to Haiti. It is still here in the armory. I just don't know how to post a pic to the site. I was also issued and M16 with a serial number in the 75,000 range when I went to Iraq in 2003.



Those are early Model 604's. Send the pictures to me, I will host em:

psiarmored@juno.com

We had an XM16E1 with the serial number 054XXX. The M16 (604) and the XM16E1/M16A1 (603)share the same serial number range. Reed Knight has a US Property marked 604 with the serial 040XX.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 2:04:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By EL_TIRADOR:
I have several good pictures of M16 serial number: 55,758 that I was issed last year when I deployed to Haiti. It is still here in the armory. I just don't know how to post a pic to the site. I was also issued and M16 with a serial number in the 75,000 range when I went to Iraq in 2003.











Link Posted: 8/30/2005 2:14:48 PM EDT
I asked on another thread but never got a response. What are the pros and cons of the chrome plated bolt group?
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 2:15:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BattleRife:
The book in question is The M16 Controversies, by Thomas L. McNaugher, Praeger Publishers, 1984. The book is written like a Ph.D. thesis (not a picture in the whole thing), and is impeccably bibliographed.



FWIW: It was the author's Ph.D. Thesis.
Link Posted: 9/19/2005 7:53:27 AM EDT
Hey BattleRife. I just got confirmation that Colt's did in fact receive a US Government contract 19,000 rifles in April 63. This contract was separate and prior to contract "508". This explains where the 602 fits into the time line.
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