02 August 2012

The M16/AR15/M4: Why it's the choice of professionals everywhere

(I've never, in this blog, or in classes, hidden my affection for the M4 platform. It's a lightweight, ergonomic piece of engineering, and is more than adequately lethal from contact distances out to ranges beyond what most people can shoot under field conditions, contrary to popular opinion.-J.M.)

The M16's often lauded, largely over-rated predecessor, the M14, was a weapon that honestly, never should have existed. When NATO decided they wanted a common caliber, following WW2, extensive studies were conducted by both the U.S. military and our allies. The vast majority of that research positively indicated that the "ideal" infantry caliber for fighting rifles was an "intermediate" caliber; specifically something in the 6.5 millimeter, or .260 range. The U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, in its infinite wisdom and hidebound by the American "rifleman" tradition, refused to believe the evidence and insisted on retaining a full-power rifle cartridge. Wanting to keep the .30 caliber energy of the M1 Garand, but in a removable box magazine-fed rifle, they developed and settled on, the 7.62x51, or .308 Winchester round. NATO was brow-beaten into accepting that, due to the influence of the U.S. military. The Ordnance board went on to test proposed weapons in the new caliber. Most notable amongst these was the Belgian Fusil Automatique Leger (Light Automatic Rifle), the FAL, and the rifle that would become the M14. The FAL inarguably won the competition, multiple times, but the Ordnance Board, putting U.S. industrial pride before the weapons needs of the fighting man, chose the T44, which was adopted as the M14.
The FAL of course, went on to be adopted by over 90 different NATO armies and became known as "Freedom's Right Arm." The M14 served as the U.S. military's primary fighting rifle from its time of adoption in 1957, until it was retired in favor of the M16 in 1964 (although the USMC continued to issue the M14 to some degree until 1968 for use in Vietnam); less than a decade. It's long, heavy, has poor ergonomics, and the weight of the .308 cartridge limited the doctrinal "basic load" of ammunition.

The M14 continued in limited special operations use as the M21 sniper system. The M14 has been resurrected during the GWOT through its application in the Squad Designated Marksman (SDM) role, at ranges beyond the typical infantryman's marksmanship limit of 300 meters (Yes, I am aware the Marine Corps teaches BRM out to 500M. That doesn't change the reality in the field that even amongst 0311s, most can't hit shit beyond 300M under combat conditions). This is especially ironic, since there are numerous accounts of individual shooters making solid, one-shot kills with M4s, at ranges well beyond the 500M doctrinal point target maximum effective range of the M4. The M14, ultimately, was a weapon that never should have been adopted, firing a cartridge that the world's military forces never really needed (even in the sniper role).

The M16's Birthing Problems
The M16, from its earliest days of use in Vietnam, has been held in abject contempt by many, for many reasons (not all of them lacking in merit). The Stoner design has, however, managed to outlive every single one of its predecessors. It is the longest-serving rifle in American military history. There's a reason for that: it works, and well.

When the military adopted the M16, Armalite, who Stoner had originally designed the weapon for, had sold the patents to Colt. In an effort to lower production costs, thus increasing profits (seldom a sin in the corporate world...That's what businesses are supposed to do after all: make a profit for the shareholders. Just preferably, not at the expense of people's lives), Colt ignored Stoner's design parameters and began manufacturing the new weapon without the chrome-lined barrel and chamber (Today, some companies still manufacture new AR-15s without chrome-lined barrels and chambers, claiming it results in a more accurate rifle. While this may or may not be true, a chrome-lined barrel is more reliable and longer-lasting). In the humid and wet jungles of Southeast Asia, the burned powder residue in the chamber and barrel would absorb the moisture and quickly pit the insides. As cartridges were fired, they fire-form to the shape of the chamber, pitting and all. This quickly leads to stuck cases, and the resultant dead Marines, killed with cleaning rods shoved in the muzzles as they tried to unfuck their weapons in the middle of a fight.

Further, the Ordnance Board changed the powder used, contrary to Stoner's design parameters. This lead to increased fouling and reduced performance. Basically, the birthing problems resulted from people fucking around with the engineer's design.

After Congressional review, thanks to innumerable complaints from serving servicemen and their families, both of these were quickly remedied. The complaints along these lines were certainly merited. You fuck with a design and it kills people, you deserve to get fucked in the ass by a very well-endowed convict. Colt of course, maintained the contracts and simply fixed what they were told to fix.

In the early 1980s, in an effort to further improve the basic M16A1 series, and utilize the Belgian designed SS109 62-grain round (we'll get into that in a minute), the barrel was changed to a heavier barrel, with a different rifling twist, to stabilize the heavier cartridge. The fire control group went from being select-fire between semi-automatic and full-automatic to semi-automatic and a bizarre and fundamentally useless three-round burst. The sights were also changed.

The SS109, adopted by the U.S. as the M855 (commonly referred to as "green tip"), was specifically designed with a tungsten penetrator cored projectile to punch through Soviet body armor of the era. It was designed to function in the Belgian's Minimi machine gun, also adopted by the U.S. as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), not a rifle. Nevertheless, it was adopted for both the SAW and the M16A2.

In 1993, during Operation Gothic Serpent, U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF), most notably Task Force Ranger, noticed that the M855 round had a disturbing tendency to punch straight through the Somali militiamen they were trying to kill. Solid hits that should have been solid kills, were leaving pin-prick holes at CQM ranges.

The M855 projectile is designed to yaw dramatically after it penetrates the human body, fracture at the cannelure, and cause massive trauma as a result of multiple permanent wound channels. Unfortunately, due to the very slight physical structure of starving Africans, the rounds were punching all the way through, before they began to fracture. This is obviously a bad thing. (I've personally never had a problem with it. Everyone I shot with M855 seemed to stay the fuck dead, as long as I punched them where they needed to be hit). This led to the development of the MK262 round, with a 77-grain open-tip match (OTM) bullet, and a newer round, the MK316, a 62-grain round, also with an OTM projectile.

These rounds have increased the accuracy potential of the M4 platform, while also increasing it's maximum effective range.

One old variant of the M16 rifle system was the XM177 which became the CAR-15. In the early 1990s, this was re-developed into the M4 SOPMOD (Special Operations Peculiar, Modular). It featured the M16A2's heavier barrel, in a shorter, handier 14.5-inch length, a collapsible stock like the CAR-15, and a removable carrying handle with M1913 rails, designed to the Picatinny arsenal standards. This allowed the end-user to modify the weapon with various modular accessories, to suit different mission needs. By the beginning of the War on Terror, this had been adopted as a replacement for the M16A2 by most of the Army, and is now generally THE standard issue rifle of the U.S. military (with Marine Corps still issuing the full-size rifle in the M16A4 variant).

The M4 is fast-handling for close-range urban fights, lightweight enough to be carried all day long up and down the mountains of Afghanistan, and still packs an adequate punch.

So, with that very brief look at the history and development of the longest-serving infantry rifle in American history, where do I stand?

I ran the M16A2, the CAR-15, and the M4 as a soldier, at different times. I have somewhere in the millions of rounds fired through the M16/AR15 platform over the last twenty years, both in training and combat. I have run it with the older M193 55-grain round and the M855 62-grain green tip. It has never failed me; NEVER.
Common complaints about the AR15/M16/M4.

  1. It's a "varmint round" and is insufficient for killing human beings. Yet, more people have been killed with the M16 than were ever killed with the M14. No shoulder-fired rifle is a magic talisman. Anyone who feeds you the line that .308 is a one-stop killing machine is lying to you. I've watched bad guys hit with multiple rounds of .308 keep coming, just like I've watched bad guys hit with 5.56 keep coming. Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. You punch two or three or four rounds through a guy's upper thoracic cavity, hips, or head, and he IS going to stop being a threat. I don't care if you're shooting a fucking .22LR! Never, ever assume that one, or two, or three rounds is adequate. You keep shooting the motherfucker until he's on the ground, and no longer poses a threat, whether it's one round or ten rounds. Don't try and tell me that 5.56 won't kill people, I've seen it and I've done it.
  2. It's not any good past 75 yards, because it loses too much velocity to ensure fracture at the cannelure. There's some truth to this. No, the round isn't going to fracture and cause massive hemorrhage at 500 yards, the way it will at 50 yards. It will create holes however. Holes mean the bad guy bleeds. Multiple holes (remember that whole thing about not expecting one round to do the job?) means he bleeds more quickly. If you're accurate with your marksmanship, he's not just bleeding, but has a punctured lung or two, a ruined femoral artery, or a broken femur. Anyone of those is going to very quickly take the fight out of anyone, with very limited exceptions (do a web search for the award citation for SSG John Wayne Walding, 7th SFG). The ability to utilize precision, aimed fire is far more critical to battlefield success than what size your penis...er...caliber...is.
  3. It shits where it eats. Yes, you will have more fouling with a direct-gas impingement system weapon than with a piston-driven gun like the AKM. A dirty gun CAN be a source of malfunctions. However, Pat Rogers' EAG training school has a Bravo Company Manufacturing rifle that has well over 30,000 rounds through it without ever having been cleaned. It still runs flawlessly. If you lube the M4 it will continue to run. The old adages about running it dry were wrong (and I don't give a fuck what your daddy, granddaddy, or drill sergeant told you!). It's like a woman: the wetter you keep it, the better it will serve you. In classes people are still amazed at how much lube I use on my weapon. When a student's rifle starts shitting the bed, I add lube...lots of lube. 99% of the time, it fixes the problem (except that one time, when the hammer spring was in backwards and it took us a bit to figure out why the hell the weapon wouldn't fire a round...I'd actually never seen that before). I've never had a problem with my weapons malfunctioning from being too dirty. Of course, I lube the shit out of them, and clean them as frequently as possible (in the field this may be no more than a thorough wiping down of the bolt-carrier group and a patch or two down the barrel).
  4. It's only a 200/300/500 meter gun; my M1A will shoot to 1000 easily. BULLSHIT. Number one, most .308 rounds go transonic (cross back below the sound barrier), well before 1000 meters, meaning the round loses it's stability, and thus accuracy. You CAN learn to shoot .308 to 1000 meters, but you can also learn to shoot 5.56 to 1000 meters. Don't believe it? Look at the records of Service Rifle competition...
    There are numerous accounts of solid hits at 600, 700, and 800-plus meters from both Iraq and Afghanistan with M4s. I personally know at least a dozen guys who have made these shots in combat. I've made hits in excess of 500 meters in combat. I can consistently hit E-type silhouettes at 400 and 500 meters, with iron sights, all day long. With optics, I can reduce those to upper thoracic cavity shots, and still get hits out to 600+, under field conditions.
  5. The AKM is more reliable and has better lethality. The Kalashnikov was designed to be operated by illiterate, third-world peasants with minimal training. It is not, and never was, intended to be a precision weapon (there's a reason the safety selector switch goes to full-auto before it goes to semi-auto!). The 7.62x39 cartridge has the external ballistics of roughly the .30-30. It's a 200 meter round. Yes, there are guys that can hit further out with it. I'm among them. I can make hits at 200 meters standing (and at 100 meters while moving) with the AKM, and have made hits out to 300 consistently, with occasional success out to 400. It's beyond the technical limitations of the round however, and with the exception of some of the newer U.S.-manufactured weapons with U.S. made barrels, beyond the limitations of the rifle. As far as lethality? Not so much. At CQM ranges, it makes a slightly larger hole (specifically about 7/100ths of an inch larger in diameter). It delivers more weight into the target. But it does not kill any better, or worse, than the 5.56.
    As far as reliability? I've never had an AK-variant fail to work, but then, I've never had an M16/M4/AR15 shit the bed on me either...Further, the ergonomics of the Stoner design are far beyond those of the AKM. Reloads are faster and more intuitive, the safety is in a far more logical and efficient position, and the charging handle on the Stoner weapon is faster and more efficient to operate.
  6. The 5.56 won't punch through cover as well as heavier rounds. What kind of cover? A cinder block wall? Earthen berms? Sandbags? Automobiles? Body armor? I've put 5.56 rounds through all of them, depending on the thickness, and even the vaunted .308 won't punch through a thick enough earthen berm or sandbags...(remember, M855 was designed to punch through armor, and hell, 115-grain 9mm ball will punch all the way through a vehicle). In a one-on-one gunfight, the ability to punch through some light cover MIGHT be a factor. In a small-unit action? It's less critical. the purpose of the support-by-fire element is to kill the enemy, but more important is to keep the enemy from killing the maneuver element. If the bad guys are hiding behind cover, guess what? They're not shooting at your buddies.
  7. The magazines are weak and cause malfunctions. When Stoner designed the M16, the magazines were DESIGNED TO BE AN EXPENDABLE ITEM! They were supposed to be pre-packaged with ammunition already loaded in them at the factory, palletized, and shipped to the war zone. Guys were supposed to get reloads already in their magazines, shoot them empty, and leave them laying on the battlefield. That's why they're made out of fucking aluminum. Then some logistics guy decided maybe they could save the Army some money by having guys re-use the magazines. So, they did. Unfortunately, in the way of any bureaucracy, this quickly led to magazines being used until they were past their serviceable lifespan. Aluminum is an extremely malleable metal. It bends pretty easily. Well, if your feed lips are bent on that quintessential American gun of lore, the 1911, guess what happens? It fucks up. Same-same with the M16 magazines, except they were designed to be aluminum which bends much easier than steel. Steel mags have a longer service life, because they're less likely to bend. Polymer mags, at least the higher end ones like the PMag, don't bend at all, the feed lips will break before they bend. While that sucks, at least you can SEE that it's fucked up, and discard the magazine. So, to overcome this problem? Test-fire your magazines. If a mag fails, throw it away and replace it. Stockpile plenty of magazines NOW, while you still can. In the long term, they are all going to go bad. Guess what though? The government owns MILLIONS of them. Re-supply, during the coming unpleasantness, WILL be available.

Guys, here's the skinny. I've run FALs, G3s, M14s (real M14s, not M1As), and run them all well. I can run a stock AK as well as damned near anyone, and better than most guys run AR15/M4s. Yet, I still choose to run the M4.

Part of that is simply the fact that I've got more rounds through the platform than all others combined. Muscle memory, familiarization, and all that...I could overcome that though, if I switched over and trained on one of the others exclusively. Yet, I continue to run the M4. Granted, it's the weapon of the U.S. military and much of law enforcement, so there's the whole compatibility issue. I can ALWAYS get a re-supply of ammunition and magazines. Mostly, I run the M4 because I LOVE the weapon, and I TRUST the weapon. It's never failed me.

I don't care what YOU choose to carry and use. Just know, there's a reason that most of the special operations forces of the "free" world choose the M4. Because it works really well for killing people.

Nous Defions!
John Mosby
Somewhere in the Mountains


  1. Your comments are out of line today, I'm tempted to add here, but an M14 which I went through basic, and carried on a med cruise with 3/10, is an awesome weapon. Today I say it is as good as then as I can take a Desert Eagle in a 6inche configuration iron sight to 200yards. Defense seems to be your area.

    1. I've never owned an Ar10 but think that or a bm59 or a galil might be interesting

    2. i like my mini14 bullpup w/90 rounder, sorry. It is as always matti matel, and F Mcnamara

  2. After thirty years in both the Military and Law-Enforcment I can say without resrvation that the AR-15/M-16/M-4 platform sucks as a main battle rifle. Lousy round and a bad adaptaion of direct impingment recoil. How ever , I can kill effectivly with it since that was the primary long arm I have used.

    Now, having said that, the bottom line is that the enemies of liberty and freedom will be using the M-16/M-4 platform and that will become the most used weapon and round. Since effective use will require plenty of practice everyine should find a modle of the AR platform in the standard issue 5.56 that is to thier overall liking and learn it inside and out. We can not prepare for the war that we will not be fighting so must be prepared for the war that is most likely to happen.



  3. I also have shot AKs, FALs, Galil, M14s, M16s, and even more platforms. The m16 sucks, the M4 variant is even worse than the M16a2 when I went in the corps, as it is less reliable.
    I can put head shot after head shot with a M16 at 500 yards, that doesn't mean it is a good weapon, it means I can shot somewhat.

    A piston system will always work better than a direct gas system.

    All of that said I like the AR platform, but the M16 sucks. I carry a piston version in AR-10, which is the caliber orginally designed by Stoner, but improved with time (flat rail, improved sights yada yada yada).

    My second choice is a M14 variant, then a Galil, then a FAL. I would prefer all of these before I would be forced to take a M-16 with a gas system that sucks.

    1. Gas system that *blows*...

    2. A friend just got his FAL with a sleve system back. It is more accurate and is dead even with my AR-10. This moves the FAL up to and even witht the AR-10.
      The fact a FAL is more bullet proof makes this a great weapon. I still don't like the sights on a FAL, but that is what an EOTECH sight is for.

  4. What is your take on the 5.45 x 39 round from an AK-74, is it possibly (not counting op-for resupply issues) a good compromise between the M-4 and AK-47 with the 7.62 x 39?

  5. I've also owned and shot most of the battle rifles and AR variations. A couple of the reasons I own and use an AR:
    1. I know the system. If it's fouled, I can fix it. It's like a Snap-Tite model. No glue, no timing of the system to keep it running.
    2. It is inherently accurate and very low recoil.
    3. ammo is lightweight. I can easily carry 300 rounds on my person, whereas the same weight would get me maybe 120-150 rounds of .308.
    4. It's the preferred or issued weapon of potential enemies, so battlefield pick ups will be available. If they're not, it's because of one of two reasons- you can't shoot for shit and you're lucky to be alive, or you're dead.

    Having said that, it's not my favorite system. I love the G3. I'm good with it. I've hunted with it. I can handle it in automatic fire. I like the feel of the gun and it's design. I no longer own one. I'll use the AR because it does work. I've seen the terminal ballistics and I'd rather not be on the receiving end of it. The rounds make nasty wounds when they work.

  6. When I was building my AR-15 I did a thorough search through all of the available information on piston systems for ARs as of two years ago. Here's what I found.

    Without a specific bolt carrier, carrier tilt will eventually damage your lower receiver to the point of ruin.

    The piston system adds complexity to the weapon.

    A piston system effective doubles and in some cases triples the cost of the weapon.

    Add to that a few other issues, I abandoned the piston system as simply an unnecessary, needless, expensive addition to a well developed weapon.

    While I maintain the 7.62x51 round has the edge for defending a fixed position because you don't have to worry much about carrying heavier ammo anyplace and it will punch through most body armor; it hardly crushes the 5.56x45 round for a mobile battle.

    I have a M14, Chinese receiver with GI parts, and like it for nostalgia reasons, but hate cleaning it with it's demand for muzzle end cleaning and inability to easily take the bolt out for detailed cleaning. Anyone arguing that the M14 is superior to either a large frame AR or FAL is just plain blowing smoke. I also have an FAL and can say with certainty that it is a MUCH better weapon than the M14 ever was or ever will be. The large frame AR has all of the modern ergs that the AR-15 has, with the higher power of the 7.62 round, if you must have that.

    However, the AR-15/M16/M4 is and should be the basic go to main battle weapon for anyone who MAY be conducting mobile operations, including a vehicle. With just a Fighting Load Carrier, one can have 300 rounds of 5.56 ammo on his person and in the weapon, versus 200 rounds of 7.62.

    As for the AK, well, there aren't any IRA songs about them.


  7. Outstanding commentary. I used to own a semi-auto AKM from Romania. One day I accidentally racked the charging handle with the safety on and popped the lever clean out! Thankfully the shepherd's hook wasn't broken. Then it hit me: could I get/manufacture this if I had to? The gun stores where I live don't often carry the vital operating parts of the AK, just ammo and mags.

    If you live in America and expect trouble in the coming years, get an M4 for one simple reason: logistics

  8. Monday my friend who did 5 tours with 5sfg in Vietnam told me he and his friends used .45 colts with 30 round grease gun magazines hp rounds.during those human wave attacks. The stopping power of the 223 was lacking at close range. Otherwise he likes the system and today has a short barreled colt for home defence.

  9. I run a Sig 556. It's more or less an AR platform, takes AR mags, but with a piston system. It's based on the SIG 550 series rifles the Swiss military uses. The charging handle is on the bolt, not some silly flimsy bullshit at the back of the weapon. It's front heavy, but the recoil is straight back and allows for easier follow up shots. I like the feel of the trigger much more than a generic AR. I can easily use an AR as well, but I prefer the feel of the SIG.

    As for ammo, the .556 round is very good, far preferable to carrying .308

  10. Unfortunately, debate on this subject invariably becomes driven by emotion as opposed to logic. That being said; Mr. Stoner designed his rifle to be direct gas impingement....not piston driven. When you fundamentally change the original design that dramatically, problems abound, as I have repeatedly seen with several variants of the piston guns. I would humbly encourage all to revisit the K.I.S.S. principal when considering an M4/AR platform. Stick with quality parts and reputable manufacturers....when you buy a $600 off the shelf AR, you get $600 worth of quality. If you are running a 16" barrel, use a mid-length gas system as this gives the appropriate dwell time and doesn't over-pressure the gun leading to a sharper recoil pulse and a measurably higher parts failure rate. Choose the right barrel twist for what you are feeding your gun. 77gr SMK's don't stabilize too well in a 1/9 twist barrel FWIW. I have found the 1/8 twist to work very well for my purposes...your results may vary. As JM has mentioned here before...use quality magazines. I can't tell you how many times I have seen weapon malfunctions that are attributable to old, deformed, cheap, should-have-been-stomped-flat-years-ago mags.
    Have a good one...

  11. What, you're saying the Gabe Suarez's love affair with Mr. Kalashnikov is wrong? How could that be? Pillow penetration with a 7.62x39 is incredible!

    I installed an Adams Arms piston kit in my wife's Bushy M4gery, and it runs great. Bolt stays clean, ammo and mag stay clean, what's not to like? Contrary to those who have only _read_ about the conversions (see K@CSG above), I have had zero issues actually _using_ ours, after almost a thousand rounds and only running a Boresnake down the barrel. I plan on doing one for myself, as well.

    By the way, the _predecessor_ to the M-16/AR-15 was the AR-18/AR-180, which was designed from the ground up as a piston system. I have about 12,000 rounds through my Sterling (made under license in England) AR-180, with zero issues. Also, the Adams Arms piston kit was copied directly from the AR-18/AR-180.

    I am an unrepentant fan of my German HK91 in 7.62x51, though. Great accuracy (incredible for a semi-auto), even if it is a bit heavy. I'm not saying it is better than an M-4, just that I like it.

    1. "Contrary to those who have only _read_ about the conversions (see K@CSG above), "

      RegT, just to clarify, I am speaking from experience in the field and as an armorer with the HK416 and from first hand accounts from colleagues with the LWRC piston guns. To say these firearms have a few issues would be an understatement. I have no experience with the Adams Arms conversion kits, but am pleased to hear that it is serving you well.
      Also, the AR 18 was not the predecessor to the AR 15. Stoner crafted the AR 15 years prior to the AR 16(7.62), of which the AR 18 is a modified 5.56 version of. Again, I am no authority on Adams' system, but saying it is a copy of the AR18 system is an "apples/oranges" comparison in my opinion.
      Best Regards....

    2. My apologies, K. I'm guilty of "assuming". I have heard a lot of folks put down the conversions on lists and blogs, and none that I know of have actually used them.

      The folks at Adams Arms state they modeled theirs on the AR-18/180, and having disassembled mine more than once, I can vouch for the very strong similarity. The piston parts are appear to be identical in design, even though the bolts, bolt springs, etc. are different on the two rifles, of course. I should have been clear that it was the piston design I was referring to.

      I have no experience with any conversion systems besides the Adams Arms kit, but I can vouch for it. The Bushmaster Patrolman (M4-clone) that I installed it in runs just fine with US 55gr FMJ and US 62gr green tip surplus, and functioned fine even with steel cased Wolf .223. I truly have not had any malfunctions so far after running 960 rounds of various types of 5.56 and .223 through it. I have also loaded some 68gr Sierra bullets that functioned without a hitch. (I never tried them in my AR-180 because of the 1-10 rifling.)

      Thanks for the correction on the AR-18/180 timeline. It was indeed the original Armalite AR-10 that preceded the AR-15, not the AR-18.

    3. No worries Reg.
      Some of the earlier LWRC guns were having issues with the piston strike point(gas key on a DI gun) breaking off, as well as having cycling issues. In all fairness, these were schoolhouse guns that were being run pretty hard. I believe LWRC has since gone to a one piece carrier design.
      Without getting off into the weeds on the subject; the short stroke piston introduces a lot more "stress" into the weapon system than DI, which in the long run is going to induce premature parts breakage. I would also add that I know many guys that are very happy with their piston guns....so, results obviously will vary. Just my observation....use what works.

    4. California MidwesternerAugust 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      No, the predecessor to the AR-10 and AR-15 were not the AR-18 and -180.
      The AR-18 was devised AFTER the AR-15, as a less-expensive, stamped rather than forged and machined, service carbine. And the reason it was piston-driven is ArmaLite had a patent on the direct-impingement system in the AR-10 and AR-15.

  12. ...all other things aside, the AR platform is what i know, and know well, been using them since the late seventies...own several variants, and love them all...same same with the '1911' models

    ...point is, get good with what 'You' choose...without begrudging someone else for 'Their' choice.

    From The Hands Of God To The Minds Of John Browning and Eugene Stoner

  13. JM, do you have any experience with Ferritic Nitrocarberization, like Melonite or Tennifer? I'm running a carbon steel barrel that's FN with no chrome lining.

    Also, K@CSG, what kind of problems are you running into with the pistons, especially LWRC?

    1. The Sig also runs a nitrocarbonized barrel. It doesn't have a chrome lining.

      Some companies offer ferritic nitrocarbonized ( aka Glock tennifer/melonite) barrels ( Smith and Wesson) that may over time prove to be a better choice than chromelining ( wear and corrosion resistance without a lining to mess up accuracy)

      Smith has bought out Thompson center so they started using a 5R rifled 1/8 twist melonited barrel for example.

      Very few ARs offer plain unlined steel barrels today. Most commercial ARs are 1/9 twist using 4140 steel .

      Check the manufacturer specs for further info if you can find the used brand you are looking into. Usually the twist rate/chambering ( 5.56 vs only .223) is stamped on the barrel as well. As for the lining, take a peek down the bore ( after the weapon is made safe and quintiple checked LOL we love safety! ) or break the weapon open, remove the bolt carrier group and you will see if the barrel extention/bore is chromlined.

  14. The round is accurate enough.
    I have a B/A Stevens in .223 sold to me by a fellow who demonstrated its value by hitting a 12x12 inch target at just over 1000 yds three times in a row.
    Not bad for a 300 dollar rifle.

  15. I jumped in and painted one of mine. Check it out.

  16. Mosby, any thoughts on the relatively new 300 AAC BLK round? The only thing you need to change is the barrel. Seems to have good terminal ballistics. Only downside is that it's not all that common. Yet.

  17. Dear Mr. Mosby,

    I can not express to you adequately enough in words how valuable and helpful your wisdom and experience shared is to me.

    Your efforts and courage to share what you know is beyond compare. It is not lost on this American.
    Thank you.

    God bless you and your loved ones, our great Republic too. (I think we are going to need it)

    Kind regards,
    Mt Top Patriot

  18. I have two corrections I would like to make to your article (otherwise a brillant tear down of some myths).

    1. M14 has seen constant service since inception in the US Navy and Military Sealift Command as a ship defense weapon and line-passing rifle for UNREPs. The M14 was the M1 Garand by newer means and its niche utility as a semi-auto .30 cal DMR-style rifle can not be denied. For those who champion the FAL, I point to the fact that every marksman at the top levels seeks a heavy, stable rifle. The FAL is too light for a point-target engagment rifle. Thus, any role where mobility can be sacrified to some small extent for greater power and a heavier, accurate .30 Cal rifle, all around world, militaries and misc forces elect to keep older, heavy .30 Cal rifles. Perhaps the FAL with a modern muzzle brake might do the job but I've not seen its employment. In addition, most purpose-designed long range .308 cartridges do not go transonic before 1000 yards (we're in American and I DGF about meters) because 99% of us use a 168gr or heavier bullet with a BC of .440 or better. The best 5.56 bullets for ultra-long range shooting must be hand-fed into the chamber because of COL. There is a reason no one shoots a 5.56 rifle in the F-class competitions (BTW, they are dominated by .30 cal rifles). NRA high power is a joke, much like Olympic rifle competitions and not the proving ground of rifle accuracy it once was.

    2. .308 ARs have thus far blown big time that I've seen. I'm not impressed with performance and most still have had issues with feeding reliably. Word from the field on the M110 SASS is huge problem with reliability (hence the replacement request currently out). If you want a semi-auto .30 Cal in a full power cartridge, it is old school or no school right now. M14, SVD, PSL, M76, FAL, G3, etc.

    The M4 has its place but to think that the .30 Cal full power cartridge has no place is a fallacy. I can appreciate its qualities but a few guys making a few good shots does not replace the wind fighting or flight qualities of .30 cal cartridges. Nor does the NRA High Power competition make it so. Competitors get to wait for the wind and pick their moments. Fighting men in the field do not have that luxury and a 10knt cross wind with 12-15knt gusts is not 5.56 territory to start relying on a .22 to hit the right spot. It is time to break out a heavier rifle in a bigger cartridge to buck the wind and deliver with energy to target. God did not divide the range of gun utility between the 5.56 out to one range and .408/.416/.50 on the other. It is a continum of power versus weight versus accuracy versus lethality (yes that's different from power) versus quantity etc. 7.62x51/.308WIN/7.62x54R/7.92x57/etc all still have their place, based in the terrain and conditions expected.

    Otherwise, an excellent educational bit (though I think the AK's qualities have been dimished somewhat; there is a time and place for a rugged weapon of its kind.. I'm thinking Louisana swamps). Finally, the "reason that most of the special operations forces of the "free" world choose the M4..." is because they get the opportunity to get close and deliver several rounds in close order. That is not always an option for the rest of us.

    1. ",,,308 ARs have thus far blown big time that I've seen. I'm not impressed with performance and most still have had issues with feeding reliably. Word from the field on the M110 SASS is huge problem with reliability (hence the replacement request currently out). If you want a semi-auto .30 Cal in a full power cartridge, it is old school or no school right now. M14, SVD, PSL, M76, FAL, G3, etc."

      FN SCAR 17 has been getting good reviews, is light weight and a decent platform for the .308. Have not had the first issue with my 17S, though it would really be nice if FN would sell some 20" barrels for the civilian market.

      So, I don't believe you have to go "old school or no school" for a quality semi auto 308.

    2. Only seen one mk 17 in my area and it has been gathering dust for a little while. Evidently, the local price hike is sticker shock enough to not entice the locals.

      It still is on the light side. And thus, for the reasons cited above, not as preferable to me personally. I'm already awash in 30 cal rifles, so I'll let them hang storage market another 5 years before I'd consider picking one up.

      You say the 20" barrel isn't available for civilians? Are the barrels a manufacturer propriety design connection? Are the magazines FN's own design or based off a common one?

      I also recently encountered a REPR at the range the owner was satisfied with. Not sure how hard he runs his but for the price, it is hard to justify just to edge out any of the 50+ yr old designs. I'd rather hold my breath and see where the current gen of .308s like the mk 17 go from here.

      Best of luck with yours.

  19. i own both a m1a and a m-4, and as of lately i am getting better with the m-4 due to the fact i can not afford to run a .308 system . the cost of the ammo with trying to keep a home and wife and kids , makes it unfeesable for me to stock pile and use as my main system. also the difference in buying spare parts for the two rifles is crazy. check out the cash you have to shell out for usgi parts vs. spare parts for a m-4. i dont have the taxpayers funding my supply, so i began to concentrate more of items ammo ect for my m-4.

  20. Effectiveness= rapid shot placement (requiring continuous training); Logistics= battlefield recovery (for us anyway). Anon 2:25 effectively argues the combination of. End of argument short of DMR applications.

  21. There are different firearms available in the market and every person have it own choice. But important thing is about to shoot it perfectly and safely. Good firearm training should be required for it. MA Firearms Safety Course is one of the firm which provide expert firearm shooting and safety course.