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Posted: 3/11/2002 5:29:59 PM EDT
what are the main differances between the M4 and Shorty carbines? Which is better?


Link Posted: 3/11/2002 5:43:29 PM EDT
"shorty" typically denotes a 14.5" or 16" HBAR barrel.

"M4" typically denotes a 14.5" or 16" M4 barrel, which is basically an HBAR, turned down to a thinner profile, with "cutouts" for the attachment of an M203 grenade launcher.

A true "shorty" will have carbine (smaller) handguards and could be A1, A2, or flat-top upper.

A true "M4" will be a flat-top upper, with M4 (fat) carbine length handguards.

"Shorty" HBARs are popular because they are cheap to produce (less machine work)

M4's are popular because they are a compromise between lightweight barrels and HBARS... and.... they are current military issue.

Oh, and because they look cool.

I'll take an M4 barrel anyday over an HBAR shorty, simply due to weight.
Link Posted: 3/11/2002 6:00:24 PM EDT
isn't the M4 barrel susceptible to warping due to execess heat for repeated firing?
Link Posted: 3/11/2002 6:16:32 PM EDT
No.

Whoever told you that does not know what they are talking about.

The M4 is current GI-issue. They carry and use full auto weapons. You think they would adopt a rifle with inherent defects such as that?

The original 20" lightweight vietnam era barrels supposedly would get bent due to soldiers taking a bad fall on them, or using the rifles for step ladders.

The M4 barrel is plenty strong enough for military or civilian use. If you get them hot enough, they will begin to cook off rounds before you damage the barrels to that degree. Anyone who continues to load mags into a weapon past the cookoff point deserve what he/she gets. :-)
Link Posted: 3/11/2002 6:23:29 PM EDT
I had a Bushmaster Shorty a while back. Very nice rifle. I have given this a little thought and agree with the cool factor of the M4. However, I don't see any advantage beyond that over the shorty. I'm one of those people that believe cutting away barrel steel for no reason is not always a good thing. Since we can't have M203s hanging off of it. I feel the same way about fluting. Of course, this is a carbine, so it's no big deal as accuracy out of a 16" rifle will not be a long range issue. Just a personal choice issue. The shorty was hardly heavy so I feel better with the extra steel in place.
Link Posted: 3/11/2002 7:11:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
.... they are current military issue.

Oh, and because they look cool.....



Yea, what he said!! (mine does)

DK
Link Posted: 3/11/2002 8:11:10 PM EDT
I'll be looking to trade my A2 Heavy BBL upper for a 16" M4 barreled upper, I was shocked to see the M-4 uppers selling for less than the full leignth ones. I was wondering what the chances are that I can find someone up for trading as the current consensus I've seen is that the A2 upper is superior...
Link Posted: 3/11/2002 8:32:28 PM EDT
just my .02

If you don't have access to a M203 get a mid-length hand guards over the short guards of the M4. You have a better site radius with the CAR15 with mid- length hand guards. The M4 doses weigh a little less but that’s really all it has going for it.

If you have access to a M203 by all means go with the M4.
Link Posted: 3/11/2002 8:45:25 PM EDT
Are you gonna approach a man w/ an M203 hanging off his M4, and tell him, "Hey you can't have that." ?

I know, but ya use what ya got.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 11:21:36 AM EDT
I've got both and one's just as good as the other from a civilian or law enforcement standpoint.The M-4 looks cool but as far as weight difference between the two barrels I think Adrenaline will make up for that.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 11:40:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
"shorty" typically denotes a 14.5" or 16" HBAR barrel.

"M4" typically denotes a 14.5" or 16" M4 barrel, which is basically an HBAR, turned down to a thinner profile, with "cutouts" for the attachment of an M203 grenade launcher.

A true "shorty" will have carbine (smaller) handguards and could be A1, A2, or flat-top upper.

A true "M4" will be a flat-top upper, with M4 (fat) carbine length handguards.

"Shorty" HBARs are popular because they are cheap to produce (less machine work)

M4's are popular because they are a compromise between lightweight barrels and HBARS... and.... they are current military issue.

Oh, and because they look cool.

I'll take an M4 barrel anyday over an HBAR shorty, simply due to weight.



Many valid points, however:
A "true" M4 is an A2 upper configuration (vs the M4A1 flat-top configuration.

The M4 barrel profile more closely resembles the M16A2 profile, shortened, with a turned down cut for the M203. Underneath, it's still a lightweight barrel like the M16A2. The HBAR is a true heavy barrel, not a cosmetically appearing HBAR like the A2 or M4-series.

While the M4 looks "cool" it gives none of the benefits of an HBAR, but does give the benefit of the lower weight. Wether that is really important with a weapon as light as the AR/M-16 series is up to the shooter. However, once you hang all the SOPMOD crap all over it, you're already out of the "lightweight" range.

As far as your later comment: "The M4 is current GI-issue. They carry and use full auto weapons. You think they would adopt a rifle with inherent defects such as that?" The irony is chilling.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 11:57:46 AM EDT
It seems to me that with what you lose in velocity from a 14.5" barrel compared to a 16" barrel that it is not worth it. Your are only making the gun 1.5" shorter. I don't see what the big deal is about M4s other than "coolness factor".
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 12:43:38 PM EDT
First let me say that I'm a traditionalist and minimalist when it comes to any gun, car, etc.


Originally Posted By FALARAK:
"shorty" typically denotes a 14.5" or 16" HBAR barrel.



I disagree. I was first exposed to the whole AR scene back in 81 and when someone said "shorty" in terms of semi auto stuff they meant 11.5" or shorter. "Carbine" was what I always heard used to describe the 16 inch guns and I think it applies to the 14.5" guns.

Maybe that can be chalked up to regional and age differences.

Nowadays when I say "shorty" I'm talking about an 11.5" or shorter upper for an NFA lower like a RR or SBR lower. Most folks seem to understand me, or at least nod politely until they can run away.



The M4 is current GI-issue. They carry and use full auto weapons. You think they would adopt a rifle with inherent defects such as that?


HELL YEAH! Are you crazy? You obviously haven't been around DoD much or at all. DoD will spend $200,000 to save $1000.

back to the orginial question, Which is better?
It's my opinion that the current issue M4 is little or no improvement over the Colt 653. For you who are not nomenclature freaks that's an M16A1 carbine with the light 14.5" A1 style barrel. The closest semi-auto thing to it is the SP1 carbine. I think you can argue either way over the Colt plastic vs. aluminum stocks. The flat top uppers are nice if you're a gadget freak and I'll stipulate that they MAY be an improvement if the repeatability of zero problems are worked out. The barrel doesn't need to look all crazy to mount the M203.


The feed ramp cuts are of arguable value. I'm sure they improve feeding with the M4's higher cyclic rate but didn't a lot of carbines get sold before the M4 that worked just fine?

The M4 is the result of lessons learned and incorporated into an improved product. That's fine. The massive POS SOCOM pistol is too. The Army is VERY capable of learning the wrong lesson from experience.

Just like the M1 Abrahms, the M3 Bradley and the AH-64 Apache, I'm sure that it will have the kinks and rough edges of the M4 will be worked out and we'll all benefit from the changes, even if some of us don't want to.

Some of what I know about the M4 is from second hand knowledge. My little brother is in the 82nd and three of my coworkers are former intel guys for SFOD-D and worked daily with the operators. All four of them share my opinions or rather mine is biased due to theirs. Most of what I know is from handling and shooting an M4gery built on a Colt 614 lower and Colt M4 (not M4A1) upper. I admit that I don't head off to the range and do bounding overwatch drills and buttstroking practice with a $6500 machinegun for fun, but I do dump and assload of ammo through one as fast as I can change mags. That should give me a somewhat qualified opinion.

If everyone shared my opinion you'd all be shooting bone-stock SP1s with 20 round mags and cloth slings in your Members Only jackets, $4.30 aviator sunglasses, mullets and Chuck Talor High tops. Everyone would listen to ZZ Top and there wouldn't be one SUV on the road anywhere ever and telephones would still have rotary dials and short cords.

Jon

Link Posted: 3/12/2002 12:53:37 PM EDT
Awsome picture! Looks like Muhammed took a head shot! And I thought brains only splattered on the wall like that in Hollywood.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 1:15:18 PM EDT
I nabbed that off of Yahoo News. I think it was from one of the commie pinko services like AP or Reuters.

I had not notice the splatter matter until after I'd grabbed it. That's the first pic I've seen of a M203 on a Colt 653. The Israelis use LOTS of the 653's and you don't see them ditching their current issue for the Colt 727 (M4).
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 1:35:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By J_E_D:
The Israelis use LOTS of the 653's and you don't see them ditching their current issue for the Colt 727 (M4).



Actually if you go on the IDF SF pages you will see they are updating to the M4 as money permits when weapons need a new barrel.

I've yet to see ANY advantages of an HBAR over the M4 other than cost. The .8 lbs of weight is a big difference when you are carrying your rifle in your arms all day. It also allows the rifle to swing and point much easier. Even with a Trijicon Reflex sight my BM M4/AK weights less than the Bushmaster 16" HBAR carbine and is just as accurate.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 6:54:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Philadelphia_GunMan:
It seems to me that with what you lose in velocity from a 14.5" barrel compared to a 16" barrel that it is not worth it. Your are only making the gun 1.5" shorter. I don't see what the big deal is about M4s other than "coolness factor".



Then buy a 16" M4. Thats what I did. Postban and preban.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 7:00:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By J_E_D:

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
"shorty" typically denotes a 14.5" or 16" HBAR barrel.



I disagree. I was first exposed to the whole AR scene back in 81 and when someone said "shorty" in terms of semi auto stuff they meant 11.5" or shorter. "Carbine" was what I always heard used to describe the 16 inch guns and I think it applies to the 14.5" guns.

Maybe that can be chalked up to regional and age differences.




Most likely so. Bushmaster markets their 14.5" and 16" uppers, as a "shorty"

When people see the word "shorty" today looking at new weapons, that is typically where they are getting that from.....
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 11:42:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/12/2002 11:44:14 PM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
Phili Gun Man.

1.5in does make a difference in the gun snagging things getting in and out of cars, or when wearing the gun, having it spear into things when you try to sit down. So does the extra 2-3 ounces of weight if you carry the thing all day. Also, at most the difference in velocity is 75fps.

14.5in is, however, the shortest you can get and have the FMJ bullets do their thing at reasonable ranges, the 11.5's really require 40gr ammo. And traditionally they arent known for their reliablity- though the manufacturers may have gotten better at that and it does improve when you put a suppressor on the end.

J.E.D

Browse around here: www.isayeret.com LOTS of 653 Colts, and they do commonly wear M203's. What I dont know is how much difference in weight there is between the M4 profile and the pencil barrel.

Personaly I like gagets, I have used a Reflex for hunting pigs and I love those things, when I get my carbine I am going to get a flat top and put a Reflex on it. Considering it has no moving parts and no batteries does a reflex qualify as a gaget?

SJSAMPLE

According to my copy of TM-9, the difference between M4 and M4A1 isnt the flat top, its the trigger group. M4A1's have the original M16 trigger group with full auto instead of 3rnd burst. M4's have the M16A2 trigger group with ratchet and 3rnd burst. There simply isnt a difference in designation between those with carry handles and those without.

To make it more complicated, the AF, Navy, and guys like Delta have- or had, since the M4A1 came available- some "bastard" guns put togeather for them in the early to mid 90's that had the then-new early M4 upper with carry handle mounted on recycled M16 or CAR-15 full auto lowers. Thus when you look at a photo- especally from the left, where you cant see if the fence is there- it can be hard to tell though a educated guess can be made if the unit is known. Also, I am not SURE, but I don't beleve the US military ever took delivery of any M4A1's with the fixed handle upper, I do beleve that they were all flat, even though Colt has sold fixed handle/full auto M4 type carbines to other countries and to LE agencies.

The flat top is now standard on all M4's and has been for a few years now, I think 96 or 97 was the cut off but DONT hold me to that since its been a while- there ARE websites that exist though that can tell you to the month and by serial numbers. If you look at the pics from Afghaninstan on the news wires you see that the 10th Mountain and the 101st both have flattop carbines as standard issue. But those are M4's with 3rnd burst NOT full auto. The M4A1 was championed by SOCOM and are carried mostly by units under their umbrella, including the Green Beret SOG's but possibly not the 75th, though that could have changed if all the original orders have been filled. If you saw the photo thread I posted over the weekend of SpecOps guys in Afghanistan they all had flattop carbines too- but because of who they were they probably were all full auto M4A1's.

Link Posted: 3/13/2002 2:21:32 AM EDT
I've looked at the isaryet site a little, but obviously not enough.

Despite Bushmaster's marketing it just doesn't seem right to call a 14.5"+ barrel a "shorty" instead of a "carbine". It's just words though.

ArmdLbrl: A reflex is DEFINATELY a gadget in my book. I'm going to get one when I put a 9mm upper on my M16 and I'm going to hate myself for it just like when I use my remote keyless entry on my Audi and my Motorola cellery phone.

It's nice to know that not everyone has given in to these new-fangled flavor of the decade M4 fads!!!

Jon
Link Posted: 3/13/2002 5:56:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Phili Gun Man.

1.5in does make a difference in the gun snagging things getting in and out of cars, or when wearing the gun, having it spear into things when you try to sit down. So does the extra 2-3 ounces of weight if you carry the thing all day. Also, at most the difference in velocity is 75fps.

14.5in is, however, the shortest you can get and have the FMJ bullets do their thing at reasonable ranges, the 11.5's really require 40gr ammo. And traditionally they arent known for their reliablity- though the manufacturers may have gotten better at that and it does improve when you put a suppressor on the end.




If you are using M855 ammo, in a 14.5" barrel the bullets will fragment at a range only half the distance that they would fragment in a 16" barrel. This is why I don't think taking 1.5" off makes any sense.
Link Posted: 3/13/2002 7:25:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Philadelphia_GunMan:
If you are using M855 ammo, in a 14.5" barrel the bullets will fragment at a range only half the distance that they would fragment in a 16" barrel.



HALF the distance??

In a 14.5" barrel the threshold for 2700fps is 85 yards, for a 16" barrel its 90 yards. That is a 5 yard difference - hardly significant. If you go to the low end of probabiliity (2500fps) its still on 5 yards of difference (150Yd vs 155yd).

You actually have a larger difference with M193 but that is only 15 yards.

Not a lot a difference if you are using M855....

Link Posted: 3/13/2002 9:19:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By J_E_D:
I've looked at the isaryet site a little, but obviously not enough.

Despite Bushmaster's marketing it just doesn't seem right to call a 14.5"+ barrel a "shorty" instead of a "carbine". It's just words though.

ArmdLbrl: A reflex is DEFINATELY a gadget in my book. I'm going to get one when I put a 9mm upper on my M16 and I'm going to hate myself for it just like when I use my remote keyless entry on my Audi and my Motorola cellery phone.

It's nice to know that not everyone has given in to these new-fangled flavor of the decade M4 fads!!!

Jon



I've got nothing personal against the M4 configuration, I'm just partial to heavy barrels for field rifles. The lighter M4 barrel is appreciated for CQB, but the accuracy of the HBAR is why I chose Colt's DC6721 "Tactical Carbine" upper. As for gadgets, I use both the TA01NSN ACOG and the original Reflex (off and on) and I have a mount for my M3 Glock light. After that, there's too much high dollar junk that I can slap all over the thing. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't do it if I had the big $$$.
Link Posted: 3/13/2002 11:16:26 AM EDT
I have begun designing a carbine for me to put togeather in 04. I want it to be short so it will work easily indoors and in getting in and out of cars and be light enough to wear all day if I have to. So I am going to spend the extra time and money to get a 14.5" barrel as opposed to 16. But I have been juggling the weights, light (A1), HBAR and the inbetween M4.

I am not after the look, I am after function, so I am going to wait untill I can put a REAL telestock on it, not a Continental kit. Also havent decided on a forend, standard M4 or a rail system, I saw the C-More rail forend in the Bushy catalog and I did find it appealing. I am a civilain and intend to carry it for self defense so a illuminator of some kind is pretty much a requirement.

It will be a flattop with folding irons and a reflex. I am primarily interested in how it shoots from 1 to 150m, and care not at all about over 300m, I already have a 20in HBAR for that. But within 150m I want the tightest groups possible. I want to be sure that when I put that dot on something that all the rounds are going to land in the dot, even if I screw up a little, and I am not going to fetch something that I didn't intend.
Link Posted: 3/13/2002 2:50:20 PM EDT
Let me get this off my chest...I still don't understand the fascination with M4's and short barreled AR's. I carried an M16A2 for 5 years. In and out of vehicles and buildings, in combat in Somalia. Ran with it, skied with it, rappeled with it. I never found the 20" barrel prohibitive. More velocity, longer sight radius, more steady to shoot, more reliable gas curve. I can see the M4 as a replacement for the MP5, but I think the reason so many military units have M4's is beacause many never received M16A2s. With the exception of the Marines and Rangers, many units fielded M16A1's for decades. Then there is the condition many PD's and military units suffer from-buying the newest and most exotic toys available. My solutions;
USMC M14 designated marksman rifle-Sell every one through the CMP and issue an ACOG to every fire team. The best M14 shoots worse than the worst M16A2.
SOCOMP pistol-sell these through the CMP and issue a case of ammo with a M9.
MP5-if the military is committed to the M4, sell these to the Saudis. They will buy anything.
M60-give these to any third world country that will take them and issue M240's (gpmg) like we should have done in the 50's.
We could end up with a situation where anyone on the battlefield could pick up and use anyone else's weapon-what a concept.
Link Posted: 3/13/2002 3:16:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GreenLocust:
Let me get this off my chest...I still don't understand the fascination with M4's and short barreled AR's. I carried an M16A2 for 5 years. In and out of vehicles and buildings, in combat in Somalia. Ran with it, skied with it, rappeled with it. I never found the 20" barrel prohibitive. More velocity, longer sight radius, more steady to shoot, more reliable gas curve. I can see the M4 as a replacement for the MP5, but I think the reason so many military units have M4's is beacause many never received M16A2s. With the exception of the Marines and Rangers, many units fielded M16A1's for decades. Then there is the condition many PD's and military units suffer from-buying the newest and most exotic toys available. My solutions;
USMC M14 designated marksman rifle-Sell every one through the CMP and issue an ACOG to every fire team. The best M14 shoots worse than the worst M16A2.
SOCOMP pistol-sell these through the CMP and issue a case of ammo with a M9.
MP5-if the military is committed to the M4, sell these to the Saudis. They will buy anything.
M60-give these to any third world country that will take them and issue M240's (gpmg) like we should have done in the 50's.
We could end up with a situation where anyone on the battlefield could pick up and use anyone else's weapon-what a concept.



Anyone who can use a M16 can use a M4 and vice versa. I havent seen a M60 yet in film from Afghanistan, only M240B's and M249's, some of the latter with sliding stocks. As to the Marine M14, if really want a DM they should have issued M16A4's with DCM type HBAR barrels. If they absolutely HAD to have 7.62 for penetrating armor they should do what the Navy did and buy SR-25's, now the Mk11 Mod0 Sniper Rifle. Again, anyone who can use a M16 can use a Mk 11, he just has to remember which ammo to ask for when calling for resupply. The Mk11 has a RIS forend so it can even mount a M203 and be used as a battle rifle, which the Seals in Afghanistan might be doing.

I am glad to hear that you had no trouble clearing houses in Somalia with a 20in, cause that is what I got at the moment. But I can tell you that getting in and out with it from a passenger car isnt always easy. Nor will it just hang at your side easily when you are using your hands to do other work. The pictures from Isreal of people going around doing their daily busness with their carbines just hanging beside them like a purse yet still redily available have been what has turned me on to the short guns. When I get my carbine I will use it as a concealed weapon with my CCW, that is leagle here in AZ.

However note that the one I bought FIRST, was a 20" HBAR. As far as actual shooting it is better. I wouldnt take a 14.5 hunting but I do use my 20" for that, up to and including deer, with the heavy bullets.

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