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Posted: 2/27/2006 7:28:58 AM EDT
Hey folks,

I found a stat online that said the maximum effective range of the military M4 was 360 Meters. 393 yards. 1181 feet.

Anyone know how that compares to the maximum effective range of the 16" civilian version ?

I'm trying to determine which one I want for an M4-style build.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:34:22 AM EDT
Dude, there are WAY too many factors involved.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:41:36 AM EDT
I'm sure there are a ton of variables that need to be taken into account.

I'm really just interested in a rough estimate of how much range you 'sacrifice' by dropping the inch-and-a-half of m4 profile barrel.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:47:09 AM EDT
You gain 300 fps going to a 16'' over a 14.5" at barrel tip.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:47:43 AM EDT
If you are talking range at which various ammunitions will still fragment, ie, most effective, then we can use these numbers:

www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=173

If you're using XM193 type ammo, then with a 16" barrel, you gain about 15 yards fragmentation range (105ish vs 90 for 14.5" barrel).

If you're using M855 type ammo, you have an approx 90 yard frag range with a 16" vs 65y with am M4.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:49:17 AM EDT
This may be of some use to you.
www.ammo-oracle.com/body.htm#fragrange
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:54:57 AM EDT
You lose 87 meters by going to 14.5"
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:55:54 AM EDT
The 14.5" M4 is effective past 360 meters. The book answer for it as set by the US Army and US Marines I believe is 500 M on a point target and 600 on an area target. Max range is 3,600 Meters useing M855 with a muzzle velocity of 2,970 fps.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 8:16:20 AM EDT
The correct answer is "farther than you'll be able to see anyone who is trying not to get shot by you".
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:17:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By okguy91:
You gain 300 fps going to a 16'' over a 14.5" at barrel tip.



You gain about HALF that going from a 14.5" to a 20".

JHaines,
You're going to have to define 'Effective Range'.

Range at which a well trained soldier can hit a point target (plastic Ivan)? about 500M

Range at which a well trained soldier can hit an area target (Ivans in a squat formation)? about 800M

Range at which the round can still produce a 'lethal' wound by the old Army Standards (about 70ft-lbs IIRC - the actual figure is in Hatcher's Notebook) so that gives you well over 1000yards.

The range at which the round will fragment? That depends entirely on the round used. For M193 that would be 100y for the 14.5" and about 125y for the 16". Better rounds like the 75gr OTM will extend that to the 150-200y range. Again lots of variables in here.

Range at which YOU can effectively hit the vial zone of a moving target that is taking cover? Expect it to be less than 100y.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:44:11 AM EDT
Right on, Forest.

FWIW, Noveske sent an Afghan to, of all places, Afghanistan where it is reportedly making hits to 750 meters, per Noveskerifleworks.com. It uses a 1-4X Short Dot and a CMC trigger. Thats a lot further than a stock M4 will get hits.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:53:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 9:56:33 AM EDT by JHaines]

Originally Posted By Forest:

JHaines,
You're going to have to define 'Effective Range'.

Range at which a well trained soldier can hit a point target (plastic Ivan)? about 500M

Range at which a well trained soldier can hit an area target (Ivans in a squat formation)? about 800M

Range at which the round can still produce a 'lethal' wound by the old Army Standards (about 70ft-lbs IIRC - the actual figure is in Hatcher's Notebook) so that gives you well over 1000yards.

The range at which the round will fragment? That depends entirely on the round used. For M193 that would be 100y for the 14.5" and about 125y for the 16". Better rounds like the 75gr OTM will extend that to the 150-200y range. Again lots of variables in here.



Thanks folks.

For purposes of this discussion, I would say that the Ammo Oracle table that was linked above covered the fragment ranges (as far as a general idea - which is what I was looking for).

When I was in the Marine Corps and we were going through Marksmanship training, we were told that the M16A2 maximum effective range for a point target was 500 to 550 meters (depending on who was giving the class). Area target was 800 meters. We qualified at 500 (old KD course, back in 93'), but I don't think I ever shot at a target past that distance while I was in the Corps.

That said, it would be nice to know the same 'military criteria' values for the 14.5" M4, and 16" M4-style rifles.

Again, I'm not looking for a precise scientific answer here - and I know that people love to overanalyze this kind of crap...I'm more interested in finding out how much difference there is between the 14.5" and 16" barrels to help me decide which one I want for my build.

Thanks again for all the input.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 10:07:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JHaines:
That said, it would be nice to know the same 'military criteria' values for the 14.5" M4, and 16" M4-style rifles.



I just did.

To recap on the M4:
500M/Point 600M/Area (limited by the detachable carry handle - the 20" M16A4 has the same limit).

Rifle (M16A2) is 550M for a point / 800M area as previously mentioned.

No difference between the 14.5" or the 16" as the sight radius is the same, with only a minor increase in MV. Heck as you can see there is not much difference between the M4 and the M16A2/M16A4.

It's not like the data is hidden. You can find it published in the -23&P on page 1-5, and the -23 can be downloaded for free from this site.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 10:37:29 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 10:55:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bigbore:


A2 Square Front Sight Post for flat top Colts


Other than "just for looks" there is no good reason to select a 14.5" barrel over a 16".



I can fit my 14.5"+Vortex M4 in a Tennis Racket case. I cannot fit my 16" LW+A2 FS in the same case...
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 10:55:44 AM EDT
not this shit again
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 10:56:49 AM EDT
Your bbl is going to be a certain minimum length no matter what overall bbl length you choose unless you want to register it as a short barrelled rifle.

I would take the extra bit of muzzle velocity of a 16 over the looks of a 14.5 anyday. That way you can play around with flash hiders if you want to rather than having to do the legal permanent mount thing with a 14.5. Make it a midlength too so that you have a little more handguard real-estate and the bbl doesn't look too silly poking all the way out there.

That's my advice--and worth every penny you paid for it.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 11:00:51 AM EDT
As I understand it, 14.5" barrel was selected for the M4 as it provides the same effectiveness/lethality on targets at 300 meters as the 20" barrel. As told to me by an instructor from the AMU a few years ago.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 11:01:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fogofwar:
Your bbl is going to be a certain minimum length no matter what overall bbl length you choose ....



Back in the day's of the AWB the choice between a 16" bare barrel and a 14.5" + muzzle brake - the choice was obvous - go with the longer barrel.

Now that we can have FS the choice isn't as easy IMHO, not too many people are going to keep that 16" a bare muzzle when they can put on a flash supressor (adding at minium of an inch to the overall length).

It's a pretty good problem to have - go shorter or get the easy to remove muzzle device?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 11:03:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Forest:

It's a pretty good problem to have - go shorter or get the easy to remove muzzle device?



It's a damn vexing world we live in, for sure!
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 11:21:52 AM EDT
The military says the max effective range for the M4 is 500 meters for an individual/point target, and 600 for area targets. (Have the multi-branch manual on my lap as I'm typing.)

Now that might mean justa 50% it rate though.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:10:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JHaines:
I'm sure there are a ton of variables that need to be taken into account.

I'm really just interested in a rough estimate of how much range you 'sacrifice' by dropping the inch-and-a-half of m4 profile barrel.

Thanks.



If this is a civilian build you'll have to go with 16 inches anyway, or permanately attach a long flash hider to a 14.5 to bring it to legal length . Besides, in the same sized package, it's always better to have another inch or two of rifling, definately dont hurt, so why not go with the 16?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:12:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 12:26:55 PM EDT by Psychojeeper]

Originally Posted By DM1975:
The 14.5" M4 is effective past 360 meters. The book answer for it as set by the US Army and US Marines I believe is 500 M on a point target and 600 on an area target. Max range is 3,600 Meters useing M855 with a muzzle velocity of 2,970 fps.



These stats are for the 20" A-2 and new USMC A-4 variants, not stubbie barrels.

From http://world.guns.ru/

M4 Carbine:
Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 838 mm (stock extended); 757 mm (stock fully collapsed)
Barrel length: 370 mm
Weight: 2.52 kg without magazine; 3.0 kg with magazine loaded with 30 rounds
Rate of fire: 700 - 950 rounds per minute
Maximum effective range: 360 m

M16A1 M16A2
Caliber 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington), M193 5.56x45mm NATO / M855
Action gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length 986 mm 1006 mm
Barrel length 508 mm 508 mm
Weight, empty / loaded w. 30 rounds 2.89 kg / 3.6 kg 3.77 kg / 4.47 kg
Magazine capacity 20 or 30 rounds standard
Rate of fire, cyclic 650 - 750 rounds per minute 800 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity 945 m/s 975 m/s
Maximum effective range 460 meters 550 meters


Anytime you shorten a berrel you will be losing velocity and as a result range. A 16 inch barrel over a 14.4 should (?) get you 25 or so more meters over the 360m.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:24:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 12:25:26 PM EDT by DM1975]
You are wrong bud, read the manual again, it is 550 for point and 800 for area for an A2 or A4 (and the A4 just aint for the Corps either)


Originally Posted By Psychojeeper:

Originally Posted By DM1975:
The 14.5" M4 is effective past 360 meters. The book answer for it as set by the US Army and US Marines I believe is 500 M on a point target and 600 on an area target. Max range is 3,600 Meters useing M855 with a muzzle velocity of 2,970 fps.



These stats are for the 20" A-2 and new USMC A-4 variants, not stubbie barrels.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:34:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 12:34:26 PM EDT by DM1975]
Now try reading a real technical manual instead of a website
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:35:50 PM EDT
DM,
the A-4 is only a flat-top version of the A-2, 20" barelled RIFLE,,,, it is not the same as the M4 CARBINE. As of now the only Service using the A-4 is the USMC, the M4 is in use by all services, although the Army may go with the A-4 eventually, it is unlikely as they want a sexy little shorty instead of a real rifle. Check your terminology, big difference in a rifle and a carbine.


The Max effective of the M4 is only 360 meters,,,and wishing otherwise wont make it so.
If you want 550 meters out of this platform you have to go with a 20 inch barrel
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:36:45 PM EDT
Tell me why I carried an M16A4 in Iraq IN THE ARMY know it all?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:51:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Psychojeeper:

Originally Posted By DM1975:
The 14.5" M4 is effective past 360 meters. The book answer for it as set by the US Army and US Marines I believe is 500 M on a point target and 600 on an area target. Max range is 3,600 Meters useing M855 with a muzzle velocity of 2,970 fps.



These stats are for the 20" A-2 and new USMC A-4 variants, not stubbie barrels.

From http://world.guns.ru/




Wow quoting a russian gun site about the capabilities of the US weapon, and you don't even know the US Army uses M16A4s.

Several of us have quoted the US Military published figures, I think you'll find these a 'tad' more accurate than those posted by Ivan who's probably never shot a M4...
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:52:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DM1975:
Now try reading a real technical manual instead of a website



No need to sit on my ass reading manuals when I have been carrying and USING these weapons for over 22 years. I know how these weapons preform from experience, not time in the library.

I dont know what manual you are reading or what "Gun-God" wrote it but ALL the Military referance material I have that we use for training, zeroing, etc all state the A-2 & A-4 at max effective of 550 meters and the M-4 carbine as 360meters. Dont believe me, fine, hit the range and try hitting at 550 meters with only a 14.5 or 16 inch barrel. The key word is "Effective",,, as in "able to produce a lethal hit", you might get a hit at 550 with a short barrel, but penetration will suck, and so will the "effectiveness" of the weapon.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:52:59 PM EDT
First off kid, you need to start lisning instead of talking, you might learn something.


Originally Posted By Psychojeeper:
DM,
the A-4 is only a flat-top version of the A-2, 20" barelled RIFLE,,,, it is not the same as the M4 CARBINE. As of now the only Service using the A-4 is the USMC, the M4 is in use by all services, although the Army may go with the A-4 eventually, it is unlikely as they want a sexy little shorty instead of a real rifle. Check your terminology, big difference in a rifle and a carbine.


The Max effective of the M4 is only 360 meters,,,and wishing otherwise wont make it so.
If you want 550 meters out of this platform you have to go with a 20 inch barrel

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:53:55 PM EDT
I IM'd you, I suggest you read it there commando


Originally Posted By Psychojeeper:

Originally Posted By DM1975:
Now try reading a real technical manual instead of a website



No need to sit on my ass reading manuals when I have been carrying and USING these weapons for over 22 years. I know how these weapons preform from experience, not time in the library.

I dont know what manual you are reading or what "Gun-God" wrote it but ALL the Military referance material I have that we use for training, zeroing, etc all state the A-2 & A-4 at max effective of 550 meters and the M-4 carbine as 360meters. Dont believe me, fine, hit the range and try hitting at 550 meters with only a 14.5 or 16 inch barrel. The key word is "Effective",,, as in "able to produce a lethal hit", you might get a hit at 550 with a short barrel, but penetration will suck, and so will the "effectiveness" of the weapon.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:57:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By Psychojeeper:

Originally Posted By DM1975:
The 14.5" M4 is effective past 360 meters. The book answer for it as set by the US Army and US Marines I believe is 500 M on a point target and 600 on an area target. Max range is 3,600 Meters useing M855 with a muzzle velocity of 2,970 fps.



These stats are for the 20" A-2 and new USMC A-4 variants, not stubbie barrels.

From http://world.guns.ru/




Wow quoting a russian gun site about the capabilities of the US weapon, and you don't even know the US Army uses M16A4s.

Several of us have quoted the US Military published figures, I think you'll find these a 'tad' more accurate than those posted by Ivan who's probably never shot a M4...



This is the first stats I found online to post here as Im not at my computer with my training info on it.
I'm not trying to start a pissing contest here, just answer a question the man asked at the start of this thread. If you cant handle someone questioning your info,,, sorry for the hurt feelings.
As for the Army now fielding the A-4,,, well maybe so but thats not news my unit was provided, so I'll have to take your word at it. Again, the key word is Effective,,, the short barrel just doesnt have the longer range terminal ballistics to be an effective killer beyond 360m.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:59:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 2:12:14 PM EDT by Forest]

Originally Posted By Psychojeeper:
I know how these weapons preform from experience, not time in the library.


if so you would know the M4 had a much longer effective range. Hell the top Marine to qualify a couple of years ago did it with an M4 (and they qualify to 500y)


it but ALL the Military referance material I have that we use for training, zeroing, etc all state the A-2 & A-4 at max effective of 550 meters and the M-4 carbine as 360meters.



I've posted the page in the -23&P where it states the official max ranges for the rifle & the carbine. Those are the same figures as published in the -10.

You on the other hand have yet to tell us which manual/document you are reffering to (most likely because there is no such US Military document). No the instructions booklet to Counter-Strike doesn't count.


The key word is "Effective",,, as in "able to produce a lethal hit", you might get a hit at 550 with a short barrel, but penetration will suck, and so will the "effectiveness" of the weapon.

The M4 has no problem meeting penetration requirements at 550M to make a 'lethal' hit.

There have been several cases of Hajis going to their virgins after being hit at 500M from an M855 round fired from M4s during 'Operation Anaconda'.

Edited to add: I just checked the -10 (M16/M4 Operator's Manual) Yep right there on Page 3 it has 500M/600M listed for point/area targets, just like the -23&P. Hmm Maybe I should check FM3-22.9, Yep on page 2-1 of the Army's Markmanship Manual it lists the effective ranges as 500M/600M in table 2-1.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:00:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Psychojeeper:
As of now the only Service using the A-4 is the USMC, the M4 is in use by all services, although the Army may go with the A-4 eventually, it is unlikely as they want a sexy little shorty instead of a real rifle.



Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:00:33 PM EDT
What "unit" are you in? What training manuals are you reffering to? And why would you try to come on here with inadiquite information and make an argument if you know WTF you are talking about?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:04:05 PM EDT
Go pose as a soldier somewhere else. If you realy were you would know better.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:10:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Psychojeeper:
As for the Army now fielding the A-4,,, well maybe so but thats not news my unit was provided, so I'll have to take your word at it.


Hmm I've been out for a while and even I know they have been using M16A4s at OSUT at Benning. And I guess you guys don't read the Army Times either?





Again, the key word is Effective,,, the short barrel just doesnt have the longer range terminal ballistics to be an effective killer beyond 360m.


The terminal ballistics of the M855 from an M4 at 500M is pretty much identical to the M16A4. WIth a difference of only 71ft-lbs (for those of you interested in that sort of thing). The 403.5 ft-lbs the M4 has with M855 @ 500y exceeds the Army's criteria for a "lethal wound" by over 500%. But as ft-lbs is really a BS argument, you have look at the wound profile - and I'll bet you couldn't tell them apart.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:23:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DM1975:
Go pose as a soldier somewhere else. If you realy were you would know better.



Let me tell you about DM1975 he is a professional soldier and knows what he is talking about.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:24:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 1:27:33 PM EDT by Psychojeeper]

Originally Posted By DM1975:
What "unit" are you in? What training manuals are you reffering to? And why would you try to come on here with inadiquite information and make an argument if you know WTF you are talking about?



FYI, I am in a First Sgt's slot in the Texas Guard, formerly I served with the 82nd Airborne. We do not have all the newest toys in inventory. The info I use is that which was provided me by the USMC Reserves here in town, as we share range time and training facilities sometimes. I am not posing, and I am not playing soldier. The Marine mentioned above who qualified at 500m with an M4 should be noted that he was a Scout/Sniper, not the normal Marine grunt.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:26:48 PM EDT
Thanks for the great info folks.

Forest - what is that in your avatar pic ?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:27:38 PM EDT
If I reacll correctly any Marine that qualifys with the M4 does so at 500M Scout Sniper or not.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:45:01 PM EDT
That I wouldnt know, all Marines I have dealings with still use the A-2 or A-4. I only remember that it was a "Big Deal" they made about him qualifying at 500 with an M4.

I'd still take a lnger barrel for anything other than CQB.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 2:00:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By knightsar:

Originally Posted By DM1975:
Go pose as a soldier somewhere else. If you realy were you would know better.



Let me tell you about DM1975 he is a professional soldier and knows what he is talking about.



That was his post not mine. I am not questioning his service.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 2:06:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JHaines:
Forest - what is that in your avatar pic ?



LOL! That is my "Duck of Death" - an 'inside joke' for those of us that attended FIRE's June 04 Handgun 1 class.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:17:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 3:18:55 PM EDT by Psychojeeper]
OK,
I admit when I have bad info, and it looks like now is one of those times. I just drove down to the armory and picked up an FM 3-22.9 from the CSM's desk (hope he doesnt miss it) and the info I had been given before and passed is indeed wrong. I will cease taking info from the HQ/S-3 element of my unit and the USMC Reserves.

It states the following.

Max Range: 3,600 Meters
Max Effective Range: 500 meters
Velocity: 2,970 fps.

As for the website I posted info from. I am not at my computer so I ent with the first info that popped up on Google. My mistake for not reading further than stats.

So, I stand corrected, but I still stand my my original answer to this question which is to go with the 16 inch barrel because longer is always better and it has to be of legal length anyhow. I also dont take it well when people start questioning my service, so I reacted acordingly and will do so again when necessary. No excuses.


Link Posted: 2/27/2006 5:48:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 5:54:31 PM EDT by Amric]
I am going to answer this question from a ballistics point of view. I am not disagreeing with any of the manuals of statistics that were drilled into me over the years, but these numbers help to more directly compare the different barrels. Muzzle velocities were measured for M855.


Barrel Length
20
16
14.5

Muzzle Velocity
3095
2989
2907

Range @ 2500
190
155
130

Range @ 2000
370
340
315

Range @ 1500
595
560
540


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