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Posted: 8/9/2002 3:50:45 PM EDT
I just got done reading a book (Dead Center) and the author had very little good to say about the M16 when it was first introduced in Vietnam. It's not the first time I've heard that it was not very well received initially. So here's my questions: - What was wrong with the rifle? - What was changed to correct it? Was the problem less with the rifle and more due to resisting change, new caliber, different maintenance procedures, etc????
Link Posted: 8/9/2002 3:55:16 PM EDT
Problems: 1. Wrong ammo used. Solutions. 1 Chrome Barrels 2 Forward assist 3. Cleaning kits issued 4. then eventually they changed to the right ammo (ie Powder) Sgtar15
Link Posted: 8/9/2002 3:57:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2002 3:59:26 PM EDT by KBaker]
1) The chamber and bore were not chrome-lined, so they rusted. 2) Insufficient cleaning materials were issued with the rifles, and the troops were told that they didn't need much cleaning. (They need a lot of cleaning, and operation in humid jungle conditions made the need even greater, exacerbated by the un-chromed chamber and bore.) 3) The ammunition issued used a powder different from the original formulation, and a build up of deposits in the gas tube caused malfunctions. And you cannot effectively clean the gas tube. Overall, not wonderful. They chrome-lined later models, changed the formulation of the powder, added a forward-assist, and taught the troops to clean the bejeezus out of them every chance they got.
Link Posted: 8/9/2002 3:58:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2002 4:00:30 PM EDT by thebeekeeper1]
Link Posted: 8/9/2002 4:00:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2002 4:03:52 PM EDT by Sukebe]
The first M-16's were built without Chrome lined bores and chambers. They were issued without cleaning kits. They were designed to shoot ammunition made with stick powder. The DOD had ammo made with ball powder. Many troops received extensive training with the M-14 and were issued M-16's for combat with very little training. All of these things combined added up to a new weapons system that wasn't ready for issue. The rifle itself was not really flawed. The problems were logistic and training related. The improvements were adding a chrome lined bore and chamber, a forward assist, a raised fence around the magazine release, issuing cleaning kits, correcting the problem with the ammunition and giving the troops proper training.
Link Posted: 8/9/2002 4:09:07 PM EDT
While we're at it, is the forward assist really necessary now? To my knowledge, the root of the problem is that a new weapon was rushed into service without being tested properly first. The bugs mentioned were discovered by troops in harm's way rather then at a firing range somewhere. Every new device has bugs, you just have to find them before it goes on the market. I'm somewhat less sure of this, but I think part of the reason why we put the M16 in service so fast was that most of our rifles (M1 and M14) then were long and heavy, deisgned for use in Europe, not in a tropical jungle.
Link Posted: 8/9/2002 7:35:38 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/9/2002 7:44:27 PM EDT
i think the source of the problem was our own elected idiots!
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 2:52:34 AM EDT
Maybe all the opium smoked through the barrels screwed them up!!!!!!
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 3:49:42 AM EDT
Troy, is the South African ammo marked with Ball on the outside of the battle packs the same kind of powder, or is "Ball" used differently there?
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 4:06:06 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 4:29:00 AM EDT
the stick powder was IMR powder they changed to Ball powder then when that happen the pressure increased more breakaged accured also the reason for the chrome chamber's were that if a round was left in the chamber the round would swell up from the humidity then the bolt would be stuckb very hard to open.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 4:29:14 AM EDT
Thanks Beekeeper
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 7:19:31 AM EDT
Along with what the others have written, let me add that since the calcium carbonate left over in the powder after manufacture had never caused any problems in other weapons, it just didn't occur to anyone that it would foul up the gas tubes on the M16. If I remember correctly, the ball powder initially used was left over stuff from WW2. When they started using newly manufactured powder, they changed the formulation to greatly reduce the left over calcium carboate. One other problem caused by the ball powder; it changed the recoil impulse pattern in the rifle, and the buffer had to be redesigned. Once these two changes were put into effect, malfunctions just about stopped.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 7:23:35 AM EDT
were the full skinny profile barrels not a problem? just curious...
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 9:00:19 AM EDT
Originally Posted By IAM_NAKID: ...also the reason for the chrome chamber's were that if a round was left in the chamber the round would swell up from the humidity then the bolt would be stuckb very hard to open.
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"The round would swell up from the humidity..."?!?!? Brass is hygroscopic?. I think you're thinking about cardboard shotgun shells. Chrome lining is a corrosion resistance measure.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 9:38:38 AM EDT
The specific malfunction experienced in Viet Nam was failure to extract. The empty cartridge case was left in the chamber after the extractor tore off the case rim. This is a classic example of too slow burning powder. When the bolt unlocked and started to extract, chamber pressure was still high enough to expand the brass case against the chamber wall. The result was many GIs killed while stuffing a cleaning rod down the barrel to clear the unextracted case.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 9:44:14 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DnPRK: The specific malfunction experienced in Viet Nam was failure to extract. The empty cartridge case was left in the chamber after the extractor tore off the case rim. This is a classic example of too slow burning powder. When the bolt unlocked and started to extract, chamber pressure was still high enough to expand the brass case against the chamber wall. The result was many GIs killed while stuffing a cleaning rod down the barrel to clear the unextracted case.
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Yes and no. Yes, that was ONE of the problems, and I missed that one. Failure to extract was also blamed on corroded chambers, which chrome-lining was supposed to address. But a major problem, pointed out above, was failure to extract due to clogged gas tubes, and failure to chamber for the same reason. Forward assist was added to help with that. That's what happens when you field test a new weapon system in battlefield conditins. Of course the Brits are having all kinds of trouble with the SA-80, and they've had years to make [i]it[/i] work.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 10:18:12 AM EDT
If I recall correctly, the use of ball powder also upped the cyclic rate significantly, so in addition to all of the other factors mentioned, there was not enough lock time for the powder and residue to be expelled out of the bbl, causing excessive fouling of the chamber, bolt and carier, which contributed to the other problems, particularly failures to extract.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 12:03:26 PM EDT
actually....., when it comes to the bottom line, the main reason for the M16s problems & failures was [b]POLITICS...![/b] the hands on people knew what was needed.., it was the bureaucracy that tried to screw up somthing they knew nothing about......
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 12:36:31 PM EDT
How were GI's killed pushing a cleaning rod down the barrel to extract an empty case with the rim torn off?
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 1:00:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By byron2112: How were GI's killed pushing a cleaning rod down the barrel to extract an empty case with the rim torn off?
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Because they did not have a working weapon in their hands when the enemy killed them.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 1:17:26 PM EDT
Oh I see,thanks for clearing that up.I guess that would be a real problem when people are actually shooting at you.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 1:56:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 3:06:01 PM EDT
[url]http://www.jouster.com/articles30m1/index.html[/url]
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 3:10:51 PM EDT
Also the rifling twist, though that was more a design oversight.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 3:21:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Kroagnon: Also the rifling twist, though that was more a design oversight.
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Again, if I recall correctly, the rifling twist change was prior to adoption by any armed service, even the Air Force, who was the first agency to buy them. The change from 1:14 to 1:12 was to address severe accuracy problems that occurred when the weapon was tested in Artic conditions. Apparently, rounds would frequently keyhole or otherwise pitch and yaw uncontrollably. I do not think the rifling change had any effect on reliability down the line, and 1:12 stayed on until 83, when 1:7 was adopted to stabilize the new ammo for the M16A2, and primarily the over-long M856 tracer at that, because M855/SS109 is stable at slower twists.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 3:29:48 PM EDT
Originally Posted By natez: Again, if I recall correctly, the rifling twist change was prior to adoption by any armed service, even the Air Force, who was the first agency to buy them. The change from 1:14 to 1:12 was to address severe accuracy problems that occurred when the weapon was tested in Artic conditions. Apparently, rounds would frequently keyhole or otherwise pitch and yaw uncontrollably. I do not think the rifling change had any effect on reliability down the line, and 1:12 stayed on until 83, when 1:7 was adopted to stabilize the new ammo for the M16A2, and primarily the over-long M856 tracer at that, because M855/SS109 is stable at slower twists.
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I believe the original M16 had a 1:14 twist rate, the M16A1 had a 1:12 (and nearly all the aforementioned issues addressed) and the M16A2 went to 1:7. I could be wrong but I believe that was the revision history.
Link Posted: 8/10/2002 6:47:11 PM EDT
What Superdave said pork bellie,swine in Gov taking a martini lunch selling thier brand of ball propelents for cash back, killing many a good man in the process. Westmoreland said he would not use any of there new ammo! Bob [8D]
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