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Posted: 12/19/2005 7:15:55 PM EDT
Hi y'all. I'm a newbie on this forum and a long time AR fan. I own a home cooked M4gery and use the real ones at work. That being said, I work on the range quarterly for a large law enforcement agency you've seen on the news alot lately. (Hint: we wear pickle-green uniforms). I've seen many failures with the M4s over the years and maybe 90 percent are magazine related. This has reduced my confidence in the M4, and I personally prefer to carry a slug-fed shotgun, cause I know it will work when I need it to.

I was looking over the posts on various mag problems people have. Even though many are using GI mags, there seems to be a high incidence of unexplained failures, as compared magazine related posts seen another forum, ie FAL files, ak47.net. I know that HK has tried to rectify this problem with the design of their new HK 416 Gen II mags, but in reading their own review, I've noticed that they stop short of saying, "We've fixed the problem!" I'm testing the waters here and probably risking getting kicked off the board by bagging on the design of the AR but I've drawn the conclusion that the design is inherently flawed. I'd like to stimulate conversation by posing this question: Why do AR mags suck?.

FLAME AWAY!!!
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 8:05:57 PM EDT
Well, depends on what you define as sucks? A higher frequency of jams as compared to an HK MP5 but more reliable than a Mini14? The aluminum USGI M16 magazine is designed to be mass produced, lightweight, and per the US military, not designed to be re-useable for 20 plus years as many have been and done. The 5.56 round is a very slim cartridge and therefore the front end of the magazine feed lips must be high as not to let the second round in the magazine double feed. When you mass produce an aluminum $7 magazine ( $12 or $14 retail ), you may get some that slip through the cracks that have out of tollerance feed lips. HK, Magpul and others have come up with some innovative ideas to improve the reliability of the M16 magazine. The Magpul follower in an Okay Industries Magazine may be as reliable as an HK 416 magazine.

As far as all the jams you have observed; I am the firearms instrctor for an 1850 man agency with Colt AR15/M16/M4 issued. I see a few jams every now and then, but nothing like what you describe. The magazine related failures I have seen are typically not magazine related failures as they are operator related failures; such as stuffing 31 or 32 rounds in the magazine which can cause feed problems, swolen magazines, and overcompressed magazine springs. All our Ar15/M16/M4's are Colts. Although there are some great AR15/M16 variant manufacturers out there, in some of the M16 operator classes I instructed, I saw plenty of hodge podge put together Ar15's that jammed a plenty. If the operator didn't know what he was looking for, it would be easy to blame it on the magazine.

In summarizing it all; The USGI M16 magazine combined with a quality AR15/M16 doesn't have as high a reliability as an MP5 with factory mags and good ammo, but the M16 still appears to be the most popular choice in an accurate, relatively affordable, lightweight semi auto weapon.

Full-Auto
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 9:18:23 PM EDT
Good point. I'm sure that most mag related failures on our range have often been caused by operator error / poorly maintained mags. Even in an agency with seemingly unlimited funds, I'm floored by the unwillingness to buy new mags just for field use. Maybe I haven't given the design enough credit in this sense, but I've seen some failures in perfectly new mags. As far as a magazine being a little out of spec, it shouldn't matter. Some of my FAL mags are as crude as they come but they always work. I envy the AK design because of the fully curved magazine. I know that the .223 design is more forgiving for this but the straight walled mag well on the AR bothers me and I wonder how much this contributes to problems.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 2:20:06 AM EDT
If I am correct, your agency issues Colt M4 carbines, select fire with 14.5 inch barrels. All the ones I see here have the older Colt gray finish and are marked US Property. They are probably built in 1988 or somewhere thereabouts. Not sure what upgrades your armorers have done, but since then a heavier extractor spring has been introduced with the Colt's. A black rubber insert within the extractor spring should indicate the heavier spring. Blue means probably still the older spring. The heavier spring should reduce extraction problems. Also check to see of the buffer has an H stamped on the flat portion. This will indicate the heavy buffer which will also help in reliability with the shorter barrel select fire carbines.

Two years ago I instructed a four day select fire M16/M4 operator class for an agency SWAT team. 12 students, 12 brand spankin new Colt R0977 M4, 14.5 inch carbines. I installed 10 Eotechs, 2 ACOG TA01NSN's, and all with Surefire classic 6 volt lights. The carbines came with the heavier extractor springs and H buffers standard. Ammunition used was 20,000 rounds of Winchester Q3131A ball and 6,000 rds of Federal American Eagle 55 gr FMJ. Three jams total. All were late in the day when the weapons were getting filthy and all three were American Eagle ammo. I had instructed the officers early in the class to clear jams immediately and resume the course of fire, so I didn't get a chance to inspect the malfunctions. All the magazines were new 30 rd Colt/Okay Industries mags with green followers. All the weapons were cleaned and inspected at the end of each day and the students were constantly warned to consistently load no more than 30 rounds in each magazine. You know how cops are, BS with their pals while loading magazines and forget how many rounds they loaded. They have to be warned of the potential problems in overstuffing an M16 magazine. That is probably the one true fault with the magazine in that it can be loaded with 31 or sometimes 32 rounds.
The Remington 870 is a great tool, and I still carry mine, but every now and then I see a short pump, or worse yet a double half pump ( operator error ) delaying the reload or causing a double feed
( major malfunction ).

Try one again with the upgrades and some new mags before you give up on the M16/M4 completely.

Be safe

Full-Auto
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 2:40:10 PM EDT
You, sir, are a wealth of information. hecked
Thanks for the info.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 5:32:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By beavegun:
You, sir, are a wealth of information. I checked and, indeed, the buffer is heavy, but looking at the extractor spring, I don't see a rubber insert, blue, black or otherwise. I'll ask our armorer what he knows about it. As far as giving up on the M-4, no way. It's the most user friendly long arm out there, and I do believe it is reliable enough if properly maintained. Hey,its the best we have. Our mags are crappy due to wear & tear and few agents invest in their own. In the conditions we carry these guns, often we don't have proper gun racks and they get knocked around too much. IMHO, An AK would be more "agent proof", but we'll never see those in service. I just wish that the M4s wouldn't have to be tinkered with so much to make them acceptable.

Thanks for the info.



Uhm....with new teflon D&H mags for around $10 apiece.....where's the investment? How many mags do you need for duty? 10? thats only $100. Use agency mags for training, and good mags (tested) for duty...I don't see the "investment." I'm sure that they spend way more on gadgets that aren't nearly as important. Hell, past a reliable weapon, the 2nd most important (probably equally as) part of an AR-15, or any other semi-auto is reliable magazines.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 5:35:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 5:39:37 PM EDT by Tack]
Total BS.

A properly set up AR Weapons System, with quality Magazines falls well within the limits of an "Acceptable Defensive Weapon", which is normally recognized as 1 failure in 1,000.

My M4, which has >6,000 rounds on it, has zero failures, and this is not my first such experience. I don't know what is wrong with your weapons. Maybe maintenance issue related, but your original comment about AR Magazines being unreliable is not subsatntiated on this forum.

Quality USGI Spec. 20 and 30 round magazines are very reliable in deed.

A "Slug filled shotgun"? C'mon...who do you think your talking to? A bunch of "Arm Chair" commandos??? That weapon system will get you "terminated" 25% quicker than a properly maintained AR Weapons System.

Sorry for the "Rant", but I think this is some what a post that needs to be dealt with.

Tack
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:29:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 7:36:22 PM EDT by beavegun]

A "Slug filled shotgun"? C'mon...who do you think your talking to? A bunch of "Arm Chair" commandos??? That weapon system will get you "terminated" 25% quicker than a properly maintained AR Weapons System.

OK, yeah, I guess I am an armchair commando. I speak from experience: nine out of ten agents grab the scattergun when the poop hits the fan. I wish I had a cool name like "Tack" (tactical, tacky, what does it mean?). Maybe then people would think I know what I'm talking about. I guess I don't though, because I've never been in a shooting, just close to it a couple of times. I'm just talking about what I've heard from more experienced agents whove been there, done that, and not terminated because they made the right choices.

A properly set up AR Weapons System, with quality Magazines falls well within the limits of an "Acceptable Defensive Weapon", which is normally recognized as 1 failure in 1,000.

If I was forced to carry any gun that would go "click" once every thousand rounds, I would consider seeking employment elsewhere. This is not an "acceptable defensive weapon" (otherwise known as ADW in your circles, or "Tactical" ADW. Maybe "Tactical SOCOM ADW") for duty use and most properly maintained M4s in our agency far exceed this. I reiterate: I like the M-4! I'm merely pointing out that other assault carbines are available out there that stay reliable when not babied and that the weakest link in the M4 in my opinion is the magazine design. If you don't believe me, look at the various other rifles, carbines, etc. out there who make a point of using beefy, well designed "bullet holders".

Contrary to popular belief, most law enforcement agents don't put much thought into the condition of their guns. You would probably scream if you saw the condition of some of these guys sidearms, much less their M4s. As to your rant, "TACK", here's back atcha: FLA556guy, where can I get some D&H mags? Most of us consider it an "investment" 'cause we're cheap bastiges, All this discussion has inspired me to buy some. Never mind, I saw the TAPCO thread.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:10:09 AM EDT
The biggest operator errors I have seen is people not pulling the charging handle completely to the rear and releasing without riding the bolt forward. Also not having the magazine locked in completely and possibly the rounds not seated evenly to the rear. I have fired thousands of rounds through atleast 6 different M-16A2s (5 Colts and 1 FN) without failure. I don't credit the failures other people, as there are too many factors to attribute to it. I only care about my 100% history and my history with the rifle I have in hand. Just because they're PD doesn't mean they have the best knowledge of firearms. Like other people have mentioned the majority of PD just think of their gun as another tool on the belt that they use once or twice a year to qualify. I'm sure those of us who have 99-100% reliability history have their own rituals they go through to make their rifles so reliable. I know I do. Remember any rifle can and will fail in time.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 9:11:24 AM EDT
I purchased 3 of the black mags from DH, fired about 500rds with them, and had no problems, does anyone have experience with the maritime mags? I think thats what they are called, supposed to be enhanced? and salt water resistant, they look very good, real black, but looks aren't the main concern. Thanks Treeman
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