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Posted: 4/7/2002 3:07:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/7/2002 3:08:20 PM EDT by M4]
Just saw a show on the developement of Special Forces soldiers. When showing the weapons they used, they got to the M4's. Many that I saw were M4's with the thinner handguards, like the ones Bushmaster puts on their M4 uppers. Clearly M4's in every other respect.

I was somewhat surprised, because I thought Colt supplied the M4's to the military. Colt M4's always have the fat handguards, so I'm pretty sure the rifles weren't Colts. Does Bushmaster have a contract with the Army for M4's?
Link Posted: 4/7/2002 3:32:51 PM EDT
No, only Colt makes the current M4A1 carbine. The current M4A1 is the RO977, those weapons could have been RO927s which i believe had the single heatshield handguards.
Link Posted: 4/7/2002 3:45:31 PM EDT
Bushmaster did dupply M4 to the military for a small time. It's possible.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 10:59:23 PM EDT
ive seen fixed handle M4s made by bushmaster. also buchmaster supplys all the ISMIT training rifles.
Link Posted: 4/9/2002 8:18:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/9/2002 8:19:41 AM EDT by Stottman]
The early (late 80s, early 90s) Colt M4s with A2 or A1 sights had skinny handguards. Bushmaster M4s were delivered in this time frame. In the 1994/95 time frame, the flattop Colt M4A1 started to get issued. Last year, SF units received the heavy barreled version. Regular Army started to recieve the flattop M4 around 1997. Some of the early (1995) manuals show the M4 with a carry handle/burst and the M4a1 with flattop/auto. Now though all are flattop, with the M4a1s being auto. The newer manuals reflect this.
Link Posted: 4/9/2002 10:29:37 AM EDT
My limited understanding is that Bushmaster provided a small run (about 10K or so) to the Army during the Gulf War time period to meet immediate needs. This was before the M4 had been formally type classified, so there are probably some variations from the normal production runs. I have an issued (non-military)M16A2 carbine from the same era; it would be an M4 if it had A2 sites and a 4-position stock (instead of 2 pos). I don't know if Colt was even considered for the Gulf War contract, but given their relative inflexibility and lack of response to customers, Bushmaster getting the contract makes sense. Colt later sued the government and won, arguing that the M4 technical data was proprietary, and that the government was wrong to release it to another contractor. As a result, Colt has a lock on M4 production for the next several years. Colt's thickheadedness probably explains how they lost the M16A2 contract to FN, though.
Link Posted: 4/9/2002 2:31:19 PM EDT
Prior to official adoption of the M4A1, many of the Carbines at the Special Forces School were Colt M723s (both with standard A1 and A2 uppers, but with full-auto selectors). Many even older variations with the lightweight M16A1 Carbine barrels were retro-fitted with M4 barrels, but kept the standard forearms.

SF has issued several "CAR-15" variations thru the 80s and 90s before the USSOCOM "fleet" buy of the M4A1.

I personally don't like the new, fat M4 forearm panels. If I'm issued an M4 I usually put on a KAC RIS, or take the internal of the two heat shields out of the panel so there's some air flow (no air, no cooling).
Link Posted: 4/9/2002 3:47:48 PM EDT
from my understanding, special forces requested the m4 from bushy, instead of the colts which were being issued. most operaters from my understanding liked the bushmasters better and just replaced the thin front handguard with ras rails. but I can't prove it but that is what I heard from an insider.
Link Posted: 4/9/2002 5:33:05 PM EDT
I've never seen an issue Bushmaster (rifle or Carbine), but that's only based on the last 23 years. I assume they went to the Navy. We've had issue GM Hydromatics (M16A1) and FN's (M16A2), but none in Carbine configuration. I'm told some of the best shooting M16A2s that the USAMU has are based on FNs.
Link Posted: 4/11/2002 5:52:36 AM EDT
Is the M4A3 the current issue?
Link Posted: 4/11/2002 6:42:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 226man:
Is the M4A3 the current issue?


There is no such thing as an M4A3.

M4 has the 3 round burst - early models had a fixed handle later models are flattop.

M4A1 is full auto - all are flattops, they are also going to be retrofitted with a heavier barrel (to handle the copious amounts of full-auto fire SF uses).
Link Posted: 4/11/2002 7:33:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sinister:
I've never seen an issue Bushmaster (rifle or Carbine), but that's only based on the last 23 years. I assume they went to the Navy. We've had issue GM Hydromatics (M16A1) and FN's (M16A2), but none in Carbine configuration. I'm told some of the best shooting M16A2s that the USAMU has are based on FNs.



Sinister,
Are you down in Fayetteville?
If you have the chance go to the new Spec Ops/Airborne musem off-post and look in the desert storm section. There are some pics on the right hand side as you are facing the door. In one of them a SF troop is holding a carbine that seems to be a bushmaster. I was last there about 8 months ago so it should still be the same.
www.bragg.army.mil/rbc-tng/training/T_musSOF.htm

AMMOTECH
Link Posted: 4/11/2002 10:14:03 AM EDT
OT: Somewhere in the blizzard of sales brochures from Quality Parts Corp/Bushmaster, I read they didn't bid for subsequent M16s contract because the company could not supply them in qualites specified by the contract.
Link Posted: 4/11/2002 1:10:54 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/11/2002 3:57:58 PM EDT
Troy

This "heavy M4 barrel", any truth to the rumor that it is a fluted 14.5in HBAR like Bushmaster has been offering for years? And that Bushmaster might even be the source, since they are only ordering barrels not complete guns?
Link Posted: 4/11/2002 5:44:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/11/2002 5:49:37 PM EDT by Stottman]
I am a commo support guy in an SF battalion. Early last year all of the M4a1s in the battalion were replaced by brand new in the box heavy barreled M4A1s. Every light barreled M4A1 was turned in. The barrel looks the same as a normal M4 barrel, except it is a little heavier under the handguards. You can still mount the 203, as there is a groove in the heavy portion also. I can agree with Sinister on the hodge podge of M4s in use before USSOCOMs fleetbuy. It should be noted that all the early "pre flattop" M4s that I have seen had commercial markings ("M16A2" on the lower), not the "property of US Gov't" markings like the new M4s. My guess is that the early M4s were more of a commercial off the shelf purchase.
Link Posted: 4/12/2002 1:08:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Troy

This "heavy M4 barrel", any truth to the rumor that it is a fluted 14.5in HBAR like Bushmaster has been offering for years? And that Bushmaster might even be the source, since they are only ordering barrels not complete guns?


No this is not true. The barrel is not fluted - just a bit heavier under the handguards with a flat notch for the M203. Late last year someone had posted pictures of it in the Rifle/Uppers forums. IIRC its only 4oz heavier than the current M4 barrel.
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