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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/17/2005 11:39:26 AM EDT
I recently traded for a set of A2 handguardsand what I received is quite interesting.

They have definite upper and lower features and can not be swapped around, the bottom handguard has no holes and no heat shield (it has the lugs but doesnt appear to have had one ever installed), the top one is typical and has a heat shield. These are made for a round handguard cap like a carbine rather than a triangular rifle cap (they will not work with a triangle cap). Finish is similar to my older Colt carbine handguards (very deep shiny black).

The previous owner was told that these were made in the early 70's and were transitional between A1 triangles and standard A2's that we have now, does anyone have any insight on these?

Also, what would they be worth to a collector?

Thanks

Jeff
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 12:13:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JKH:
I recently traded for a set of A2 handguardsand what I received is quite interesting.

They have definite upper and lower features and can not be swapped around, the bottom handguard has no holes and no heat shield (it has the lugs but doesnt appear to have had one ever installed), the top one is typical and has a heat shield. These are made for a round handguard cap like a carbine rather than a triangular rifle cap (they will not work with a triangle cap). Finish is similar to my older Colt carbine handguards (very deep shiny black).

The previous owner was told that these were made in the early 70's and were transitional between A1 triangles and standard A2's that we have now, does anyone have any insight on these?

Also, what would they be worth to a collector?

Thanks

Jeff




I thought the A2's came along in the early to mid 80's, not the early 70's. Am I wrong?
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 2:59:44 PM EDT
Umm, the A2 was developed in the 80s.
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 3:24:27 PM EDT
If you could post a picture it might help

Team member EKIE is most likely the one to ask
Link Posted: 8/17/2005 4:13:06 PM EDT
I cant post pictures (need to rectify that).

These look like any other A2 handguards except no holes in the bottom half and the front ends look exactly like carbine handguards otherwise they are non descript.

I thought perhaps the A2's were a phenomina of the 80's but had an M16A1 when i was in the Army for a brief stint. I do know that many of the ideas that culminated in the A2 were being worked on long before adoption and things have been known to show up when not of general issue.

These are very different, I had thought to modify them but would hate to ruin something even remotely unique.

lets hope Ekie chimes in, i can supply pics to whoever would be interested if you drop me a line.

Jeff
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:17:53 PM EDT
Well, Ekie knows more about the oddball AR/M16 stuff than I do, but my 1st thought is that it's some aftermarket maker's bright idea; and not anything Colt ever made.

I cannot imagine that Colt ever made any HGs w/o a heat shield.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 5:32:19 PM EDT
Well, I looked these over carefully and cannot find any markings. The bottom half without holes does not have the slots cut for a heat shield so it never had one installed.

I picked up one of my favorite books at the library (Small Arms of The World) and on page 64 under rifle and carbine development found a section on the US M16 PIP (product improved M16), Colt started development at the request of the armed services for improvements to the M16 to include round handguards, heavier profile barrel from sight tower to FH and a few other refinements, this occured in 1978 and 1979 and there is a picture of the rifle with round handguards AND a round handguard cap! In 1982 the Marines first and other later accepted the PIP M16 but with triangular handguard cap instead of the round>

Now, this is just a small bit of info but it appears (not 100% conclusive mind you but close), that these handguards were from that period of testinf prior to acceptance and are probably experimental in design.

I hope Ekie chimes in on this as well as others with compelling information, these are very intriguing HG's that are matching fiberglass and while not marked have the look and finish of older Colt HG's.

Jeff
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 7:10:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JKH:
Well, I looked these over carefully and cannot find any markings. The bottom half without holes does not have the slots cut for a heat shield so it never had one installed.

I picked up one of my favorite books at the library (Small Arms of The World) and on page 64 under rifle and carbine development found a section on the US M16 PIP (product improved M16), Colt started development at the request of the armed services for improvements to the M16 to include round handguards, heavier profile barrel from sight tower to FH and a few other refinements, this occured in 1978 and 1979 and there is a picture of the rifle with round handguards AND a round handguard cap! In 1982 the Marines first and other later accepted the PIP M16 but with triangular handguard cap instead of the round>

Now, this is just a small bit of info but it appears (not 100% conclusive mind you but close), that these handguards were from that period of testinf prior to acceptance and are probably experimental in design.

I hope Ekie chimes in on this as well as others with compelling information, these are very intriguing HG's that are matching fiberglass and while not marked have the look and finish of older Colt HG's.

Jeff


That would've been my theory that somehow these handguards came from M16A1 PIP/M16A1E1 transitional rifles, before the M16A1E1 pattern was finalized and adopted as the M16A2. However, I find it odd that they would've appeared on the civilian market. If they're legit, then I would guess they're pretty rare.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 7:48:03 PM EDT
Didn't the early early type round HG's have less ribs than A2 round HG's ???
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 4:17:18 AM EDT
Good question, I'll count the ribs this evening and see what shakes.

I can take pictures if someone wants to post them for me.

Thanks guys

Jeff
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 5:15:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2005 5:16:12 AM EDT by Ekie]
I would consider your handguards to be "tool room experiments", and not early M16A2 handguards, or even M16A1E1 handguards. The round handguards date back to the 1960's, and there was short and long versions, short version used on the XM177E1 and XM177E2, etc. These experimental handguards both long and short used a round handguard cap.

The "regular production" M16A1E1 had a triangle handguard cap, so that the handguards would be interchangeable with M16A1 handguards. As am sure you already noticed the rifle just below the one you mentioned is a M16A1E1 with triangle handguard cap. Here is a digital M16A1E1 picture I just happen to have on hand:



Don't have it with me, but there are a few pictures of the early experimental round handguards in TBR, one is in the late 60's section, and is just a picture with a short notation. There is also a write up about a 1970's Navy experiment with these handguards, complete with a few pictures.

The M16A1E1 was Coldblue's baby, and he could provide details in regards to the handguards used on those rifles.

And yes, we want pics!
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 9:56:07 AM EDT
Ekie,

Some very good information you have, these could be much older than the late 70's then?

I did notice that in the picture of the 1982 PIP rifle it had the triangle HG cap, the pictire of the 78/79 rifle had the round but the lower HG in that picture appears to have holes.

My handguards are molded fiberglass but the holes in the top half look to have been drilled later.

Can I send some pics to you for posting? If so please e-mail me at XXXjkhampshire@adelphia.netXXX

Thanks

Jeff
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 10:11:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JKH:
Ekie,

Some very good information you have, these could be much older than the late 70's then?

I did notice that in the picture of the 1982 PIP rifle it had the triangle HG cap, the pictire of the 78/79 rifle had the round but the lower HG in that picture appears to have holes.

My handguards are molded fiberglass but the holes in the top half look to have been drilled later.

Can I send some pics to you for posting? If so please e-mail me at XXXjkhampshire@adelphia.netXXX

Thanks

Jeff



E-mail sent, will host pics once I got em.

Yep, could be older then late 1970's.
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 4:38:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2005 4:41:15 AM EDT by coldblue]
The first round A2 handguards Colt showed me in early 1980 were interchangable and fit up front to the standard triangle forend cap.
I would guess that the HG's you have are some sort of earlier effort that was never completed (so no holes, heat shield, etc.) once a front end design that could go on either a round or triangluar cap was devised. (If you can find a retired Colt Engineer named Harold Waterman, he might remeber.)
There was so much doubt from the Army Logistics side that the A1 HG's (or any other USMC A2 "improvements") could be improved, we found it polictically prudent to keep the Army in the program by making every effort to keep the improvments both forward and backwards retrofitable.
The square front sight post is a good example. We did not change the thread pitch from the original 5-detent post to achieve a whole fractional MOA value for the new square--4 detent post.
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 7:38:59 AM EDT
I sent a batch of pictures to Ekie, I think he is correct about the tool room aspect. The cuts in the ends for the protrusions on the round HG cap and for the gas tube appear to be cut after as you can see raw fiberglass, the holes also appear to have been drilled later and the upper heat shield may have been hand made.

At any rate, Ekie is going to look these over and post a few and will weigh in with more info.

Jeff
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 6:36:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2005 6:36:43 PM EDT by Ekie]






Yep, real deal. The experimental handguards had 14 holes on the top guard, and Colt's messed around with different numbers of holes in the bottom. Colt's figured round handguards = round handguard cap. In the end the Govt did not like the idea of top and bottom guards, and the fact they would not fit the M16/A1.

Far as value, I have no idea. Will advise some collectors I know. I figure coldblue's boss may be interested, I don't think he has a set?
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 6:43:21 PM EDT
Thanks Ekie!

I greatly appreciate your help, good thing I didnt take the dremel to these

The guy I got these from bought them of flea-bay, its amazing what floats to the surface now and then

If you want more pictures let me know, I snapped those in a hurry between nitro's so their not as good as they could be.

Jeff
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