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Discussion Starter #1
Giving M4 failures ‘an alibi’?

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2007/...umbers_080107w/



Giving M4 failures ‘an alibi’?

By Matthew Cox - Staff writer

Posted : Thursday Dec 27, 2007 16:11:26 EST

Army weapons officials briefed members of Congress and reporters on M4 carbine performance numbers that excluded more than half of the embattled carbine’s failures in a round of reliability tests.



Army testers threw out hundreds of M4 carbine failures from a reliability test this summer, causing the number of Class 1 and Class 2 stoppages, those that soldiers can clear themselves, to drop from 678 to 296, according to an Army briefing document.



Since late last year, test officials at Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., have performed three reliability tests, in each test firing 60,000 rounds from the M4 and other weapons in extreme dust conditions.



The first two tests, one in late 2006 and one in July, involved just M16s and M4s.



Dust test three, which was completed in November, compared the M4’s performance to the Heckler & Koch XM8, the FNH USA’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle and the H&K 416.



Army weapons officials praised the M4’s performance before members of Congress and reporters Dec. 17, emphasizing that the weapon experienced only 296 stoppages during dust test two this summer.



DISCREPANCY A CONCERN

By comparison, the results of dust test three show the M4 suffering 863 of the same kind of stoppages and finishing last in the test. Brig. Gen. Mark Brown said Army officials are concerned over this gap of 567 stoppages since the test criteria for both tests were the same.



“You can see that if you look at the performance of the M4 in dust test two, the results would have put it right in the shot group with the other three weapons for Class 1, 2 and 3 stoppages — no mathematically statistical difference,” Brown, the commander of Program Executive Office Soldier, told reporters Dec. 17. “The problem is at this point in time, at this stage of the test analysis, we don’t know what caused the difference on performance between dust test two and dust test three.”



But in a July 23 story, Army Times reported that the M4 suffered 678 of these failures in test two, citing the test briefing document a congressional source said he received from the Army.



‘GIVING JAMS ... AN ALIBI’

The congressional source said the discrepancy between the 678 failures the Army briefed to members of Congress initially after the test this summer and the 296 included in the Dec. 17 briefing, a difference of 382 stoppages means “the final report is not telling us how many times the weapon jams. It’s giving 50 percent of the M4’s jams an alibi and not reporting them.



Army officials explained that the 382 M4 stoppages not included in the results could have been discarded when ATEC officials finalized the results of dust test two in October through a process known as the Reliability, Availability and Maintainability, or RAM, Scoring Conference that is part of every such test, said Col. Carl Lipsit, project manager for Soldier Weapons.



The 863 stoppages reported in the results of dust test three represented the final number after the RAM process, Lipsit said.



ATEC officials did not provide test three’s initial number of failures and said the command “stands behind” the 296 stoppages in dust test two that are in the final report, said ATEC spokesman Tom Rheinlander.



RAM is considered in all acquisitions and is part of any system evaluation. The RAM Scoring Conference attempts to evaluate and classify each kind of failure in a test and to attribute each failure to a particular cause such as operator error, part failure or the system itself, Lipsit said.



For example, if testers link 10 stoppages to a broken part, they could throw out nine of those stoppages and count only one failure in the final report, Lipsit said.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
U.S. Army May Get Tougher Barrel, Better Mags for M4

On a related note..the Army continues to be full of it about the M4. Meanwhile the Marines continue to use the M16A4 since they don't trust the M4.



http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=3256175&C=america

U.S. Army May Get Tougher Barrel, Better Mags for M4

By MATTHEW COX



U.S. Army weapons officials said Dec. 17 they are considering equipping the M4 carbine with a more durable barrel and improved magazines during a Pentagon briefing that discussed why three newer carbines outperformed the M4 in a recent reliability test.

Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., completed an “extreme dust test” in late November that looked at the M4’s reliability compared to the Heckler & Koch XM8, FNH USA’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle and the H&K 416.

The weapons were exposed to 25 hours of heavy dust conditions over the course of the two-month long test that fired 6,000 rounds through each test weapon.

In the end, XM8 finished first, SCAR finished second, 416 finished third and M4 finished fourth.

Despite the findings, Army weapons officials are still pleased with M4’s performance, said Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, commander of Program Executive Office Soldier, the command that is responsible for equipping soldiers.

Brown described the Colt Defense LLC M4 as a “world-class weapon,” at a briefing with reporters.

“There is a very high satisfaction rate with this rifle,” Brown said, adding that soldier surveys give the M4 an 89 percent approval rating.

Army weapons officials say there is no movement toward replacing the M4 but say they will continue to improve upon the design.

“We want to increase reliability,” said Col. Robert Radcliffe, the head of the Directorate of Combat Developments for the Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga.

One of the upgrades that may be coming in the future is a more reliable magazine. The test revealed that 239 of the 882 stoppages M4 suffered were magazine-related.

The hope is that upgrades, such as stronger springs, will increase the magazine’s ability to feed rounds more effectively, Radcliffe said. If all goes well in testing, the improved magazines could be ready by next spring.

Another upgrade under consideration is a “hammer-forged” barrel, Brown said.

While there is no timeline in place, Brown said switching to this specific manufacturing process could yield M4 barrels that “have a longer life.”

Army weapons officials agreed to perform the test at the request of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in July. Coburn took up the issue following a Feb. 26 Army Times report on moves by elite Army combat forces to ditch the M4 in favor of carbines they consider more reliable. Coburn is questioning the Army’s plans to spend $375 million to purchase M4s through fiscal 2009.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Finally from Mad Ogre who i couldn't agree more with on this subject;



http://www.madogre.com/News.html



It's well known among the US Military that the M-4 carbine is a total piece of crap. I've mentioned the resent dust tests the US Army have conducted and posted links to the articles. Those tests show that the M-4 did worst than any other rifle tests. Last Place. Yet they keep making excuses for it. “But it works fine if you clean it!” Guys, a combat weapon is not something that should have to be kept clean. That's just a basic fact. If you argue that, you've got a Hollywood (or a Navy) view of what warfighting is. Read this. The Military is trying again to get a replacement. Jams are only part of the problem with the M-4, which is a problem with all the M-16 based arms... but the other problem is the 5.56MM's crappy performance out of the M-4's short barrel. The US Marines have decided to ditch the M-4 as a whole and are issuing the M-16A4 which is a full length flat top version. But what does the US Army do? They decide that they M-4 needs a hammer forged barrel. So instead of fixing the problems with the rifle, they use a marketing phrase that describes the method of manufacture. There was no problem with the barrels themselves to begin with. This is like taking your car in to sort out a braking problem and the mechanic installs LED brake lights. “Longer barrel life.” That's just peachy. How about something that gives our Soldiers a longer life? Is that too much to ask? Luckily they did change up the magazines from the crappy aluminum ones we've been using for almost a half century. This is a small improvement, and doesn't address the mechanical issues in the weapon's internals. Namely the Direct Gas Impingement System, the under achieving plunger ejector, and the star shaped chamber that is impossible to really clean.

I've written my “I hate the AR-15/M-16” article years ago and it seems like the .Mil has finally listened. The article gets me a lot of hate mail all the time. Usually in cycles when the article gets posted on some video game forum or something. It starts out with the poster calling me an idiot, and then the poster proceeds to make all the old excuses for the weapon. All I'm saying is that the Military needs a rifle that needs no excuses. No excuses for reliability issues. No excuses for poor ammunition performance. Let's get a military weapon that uses a cartridge based on one that was designed to kill deer (at least) instead of squirrels.

Now, all you guys that say the M-16 and the M-4 are so great, explain to me then all these articles I just linked to and all the efforts to get a different weapon for our troops? If the weapon was just fine, we wouldn't be having this conversation, would we?

The weapon has a lot of good points that make it great for a lot of different purposes. Combat is just not one of them. Like I've mentioned before, I just picked up another one myself. They are a pain in the ass to clean, but they are fun and accurate and easy rifles to hit with... as long as you are not hitting anything bigger than a coyote. And they are only marginal at best for that much. For police work, riding around in a clean cruiser, they would be just fine too. For home protection, sure. Even most ranch work. But to outfit our Armed Forces? It's one of the worst choices out there. The only thing worse is probably the UK's SA-80 rifle. A lot of our forces have gone back to the M-14. I've been told by the M-16 Bevets out there that “Yeah, they did, but they've been sending them back.” That's a big Negative right there. I've got reports from front line troops over there right now that there are more M-14's on duty right now than ever. Some units are using more than 2 per squad now. You can debate the numbers, but the fact remains that there are military commanders out there that would rather be using left over rifles from the Korean War.
 

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I'm not saying the M4 is a great idea (IMO the barrel is jsut TOO short for the design), but something was flawed with the test everyone keeps bringing up.



The M4 was jamming every 68 rounds. That means each one had to fail severely and regularly. Go ask some of the guys actually using them in Iraq, and they might lady about having to clean them more, but they aren't experiencing that level of failure.





Look at the 416, it's just an AR with a piston rather than direct impingement. However, the rifles were being tested for dust, not carbon fouling, so was it lubed different?



Yes, the easiest thing to do with an ar is run it very wet, which is what they did in this test. That doesn't mean it is the ONLY way to run it, nor is it the RIGHT way to run it in dusty environments.



If you ran it with a dry lube, like they likely did the 416, would the failure rate have been different from the 416?



It's also a pretty bad comparison set.



THe XM-8 is a waste. THe army is not throwing out every picatinney attachment for the new style, nor are they going to tolerate it melting before the duty cycle of the barrel is hit under full auto.



The 416 has enough people bitching about it that it would never be adopted just becuase there are 5 or 6 other offerings doing the exact same thing with less issues.



THe scar from all accounts is a nice platform. Likely it has a definite advantage here in that it's design keeps the dust out whenever it is in battery. Just like the XM-8. However, it still can't magically make a .22 bullet ocme out of a shor barrel sufficiently faster to fix the problem.



But why not also run a regular m16a2 in it, and maybe an m-14. Both of which are also being used in Iraq and you can comparre test failure vs field failure for all three platforms.





I means seriously, I can make a test where I require putting the gun in a 1000 degree furnace for an hour and have it hold minute of angle before and after without having to replace any parts. Any gun that could do that would be an AWESOME gun. But it doesn't mean it's relevant to finding a gun that is affordable and will run 100% for long durations in real world use.



I don't run my AR wet, and I don't have fouling issues, and I can get through a case of wolf before it gets sluggish on cycling. How I go about lubing it isn't dead simple though, and for the military, you kind of want simple. As for cleaning them.. it's not hard ifyou use the right stuff. But once agian we are talking the amry here, who isn't goign to go for a distinct solvent and lube, but rather an all in one product.



For those that think we need something new, I think some inherent issues need to be sorted out.



It needs to be as accruate as the AR.

It needs to use AR magazines

It needs to use picatinney mounted devices.

It needs to not require lots of armorer retraining.

It needs to use 5.56 and get it out the end of the barrel at a decent velocity.

It needs to be small or large as needed.

There needs to be at lest two designs to compete for a contract without it becoming stupid.



Unfortunately, the army wants M4 short, 20 inch barreel power, and 5.56 small light cartridges. You can pick two of those, and that's a political problem. Thus it is screwd.



Realistically, a monolithic piston operated uppoer that worked on existing AR lowers could probably seal the deal if the army would accept them in 16 inch length. Maybe even wiht polygonal rifling if posisble to bump velocities a bit if the bolt-face is changed enough to take the pressure. Feed everything XM855 and you are probably good to go. Except nobody is offering such a beast.
 

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So I just got a copy of the official powerpoint presentation that the Army test lab used to present this info to the higher echelons. There is some genuinely interesting information, including:



  • Presentation made it very clear that it was a technical, as opposed to operational, test. In other words, the test conditions were not an example of real world field conditions and cannot be interpolated into actual MRBS numbers in the field.
  • While Class I and II malfunctions were greater with the M4, Class III malfunctions were consistent across the board with all weapons (from 11-19 per weapon system over 6,000 rounds).
  • The HK 416 was chugging along great right up until the end, and then from the final cleaning through the end of the test got progressively worse. Possibly someone frakked the cleaning and lubing? (there is a rumor floating around, which I cannot confirm, that one of the HK416 rifles started to have a lot of problems near the end of the test, which could indicate either one bad rifle or one improperly maintained rifle; the other 9 allegedly ran as well as the XM8 throughout the test
  • The M4, HK416, and SCAR were all equally accurate (mean average dispersion) at the beginning of the test, while the XM8 was substantially less accurate. By the end of the test, all of the guns had loosened up to the same general level of accuracy.
  • All weapons exceeded headspace specification by the end of the test. The M4 was substantially less likely to have a split case (1 instance total) compared to the others (416 3 times; SCAR 7 times; XM8 10 times).
  • And since I know some feel only the soldier's opinion counts: 89% of the surveyed soldiers were satisfied with the M4; only 1% said the weapon should be replaced; 3% had experienced a stoppage during combat which they felt prevented them from engaging the enemy for a significant portion of the firefight
 

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As has been said elsewhere....the XM8 and the SCAR were built for the test; there is no "shelf" to take those guns off of.



Also, I'd like to see a mid-length gas system used in the same test, and a LWRC or other piston AR upper (other than that HK) in the test.



Additionally, were the 416 and the M4 run on the same mags? Or did the 416 get the HK mags?
 

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ToddG said:
[*] All weapons exceeded headspace specification by the end of the test. The M4 was substantially less likely to have a split case (1 instance total) compared to the others (416 3 times; SCAR 7 times; XM8 10 times).


There's exactly what i was lookign for.



So, realisticly, NONE of the rifles passed the test ubnless they mean that it accepted a NO-GO guage but not a field guage.
 

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raz-0 said:
So, realisticly, NONE of the rifles passed the test ubnless they mean that it accepted a NO-GO guage but not a field guage.


In fairness, it was not a pass/fail test. They were gathering data to compare different weapon systems. And while failing headspace isn't a good thing, I would imagine it's much less important to a front line soldier than whether or not the gun goes bang and launches its projectile in the proper direction at a high rate of speed.
 

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raz-0 said:
Unfortunately, the army wants M4 short, 20 inch barreel power, and 5.56 small light cartridges. You can pick two of those, and that's a political problem. Thus it is screwd.


Hi new here. Anyway you can resolve these problems with a bullpup style like the new TPD AXR , which is an American made AUG clone. An M4 carbine with 14.5 inch barrel is going to be between 29.75" and 33" in overall length depending on buttstock position. One of the new AUG's with 18" barrel is only going to be 30.25" and with 16" barrel is only going to be 26.25" long! Oh plus it accepts AR magazines, has a rail system, is short piston operated, and is made in the US. MSAR is developing a similar model (STG-556) but it wont accept AR mags. Neither weapon is available yet but will be soon. Of course since this is the logical solution, it will never happen.
 

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Stab74 said:
Hi new here. Anyway you can resolve these problems with a bullpup style like the new TPD AXR , which is an American made AUG clone. An M4 carbine with 14.5 inch barrel is going to be between 29.75" and 33" in overall length depending on buttstock position. One of the new AUG's with 18" barrel is only going to be 30.25" and with 16" barrel is only going to be 26.25" long! Oh plus it accepts AR magazines, has a rail system, is short piston operated, and is made in the US. MSAR is developing a similar model (STG-556) but it wont accept AR mags. Neither weapon is available yet but will be soon. Of course since this is the logical solution, it will never happen.


yeah but then it has to be ambidexterous. A lefty shooting a righty ar might be a little freaked, but the brass deflector does keep it out of your face. Ejecting hot brass into your ear isn't going to make people happy.



Also bullpups generally haven't fared well in real world use, but that might jsut be because nobody has tried doing it right yet.
 

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Well they make lefty versions. I've been looking online for info about combat uses and its hard to find. Apparently the Australians have fielded it in East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq but I cant find any real good after action reports on it. Really though, if the Army wants full length barrel in a short weapon bullpup is the only way to go, barring any breakthrough in propelent technology. Oh wait here's one!







"Hey, I want to introduce you to a personal friend of mine. This is an M41-A pulse rifle, 10 millimeter, with an over-and-under 30 millimeter <cocks> pump action grenade launcher. Feel the weight." — Corporal Dwayne Hicks, United States Colonial Marine Corps



Lieutenant Gorman states that the M41-A fires "10 millimeter explosive-tip caseless, standard light armor-piercing rounds"



 

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Stab74 said:
Well they make lefty versions.


Yeah that right there makes it non-viable. They aren't going to keep lefty only inventory. If they did it like the beretta storm where you just swap some bits from left to right, it'd be doable.
 

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ToddG said:
I thought the AUG was rather easily changed by the operator from right-shoulder to left-shoulder configuration?


Well as long as you stock left handed bolts. IIRC the storm is a delayed blowback deal like a pistol. So it you just build it so you can swap the ejectr, extractor and have a movable hole (blocking plate) all works fine. With a gas operated rotating bolt setup, it gets more complicated.



Then there's the issue of bullpup triggers. They always have messy linkages, which armorers and durability tests tend to frown on.



Also magazine changes tend to be a lady.



The aug in particular lacks a rail system for all the modular doodads we have in our arsenal these days.
 

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My whole lady with the entire series of Stoners 'boners' is the gas system they use. It sucked 30 years ago and it still sucks now.

Insert a AK style gas piston and watch the failure rates drop to minimal.

I'm in the process of changing all mine over.



Less cleaning

Runs cooler even under full auto fire (touch a bolt after 200 rounds! it will burn you to the bone, vs being able to hold an AK gas bolt in you hand)

Bolt not fouled with carbon (Stoners biggest 'boner')

The week I got out of the service I bought an AK. I clean it every few years (2k+ rounds) Let me see 100 M-16's do that!

Fat chance.
 

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Puffy said:
My whole lady with the entire series of Stoners 'boners' is the gas system they use. It sucked 30 years ago and it still sucks now.

Insert a AK style gas piston and watch the failure rates drop to minimal.

I'm in the process of changing all mine over.



Less cleaning

Runs cooler even under full auto fire (touch a bolt after 200 rounds! it will burn you to the bone, vs being able to hold an AK gas bolt in you hand)

Bolt not fouled with carbon (Stoners biggest 'boner')

The week I got out of the service I bought an AK. I clean it every few years (2k+ rounds) Let me see 100 M-16's do that!

Fat chance.


Hmm.. except in these tests, it failed due to sand and debris, not fouling. I think in this cse it is coming down to the design of the dust cover. All the rifles that ran lots better had an integrated dust cover that doesn't need ot be reset.
 

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Stoners DI system still sucks. It's a fact. It always has. It cost a few friends their lives. Specs are too tight so when any dirt gets in the wep fails. 30 yrs later same problems.

The AK style piston system in an AR rocks! A friend has a Korean version thats superb. Great accuracy and you play hell killing it.



If the Army is covering up failures the trail will be a mile long. Its been going on for 30 years.



I refused to by an AR till a better gas system was designed. Took a long time but the wait is over.

Now I have 2 about to be converted and several lowers stashed in case Nancy (the ignorant hippie socialist slut) makes a move on the 2nd amdt. 2 more in 5.56 2 in 7.62 and 1 in 6.8. I'm covered.



I wont throw out my AK's either. 200yds in and they are awesome. After that they are kinda iffy as range drops off quickly. But they are bulletproof and even on one with 3000 un cleaned rounds in it it always goes bang when you pull the trigger. :wink:
 

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Puffy said:
Stoners DI system still sucks. It's a fact. It always has. It cost a few friends their lives. Specs are too tight so when any dirt gets in the wep fails. 30 yrs later same problems.

The AK style piston system in an AR rocks! A friend has a Korean version thats superb. Great accuracy and you play hell killing it.



If the Army is covering up failures the trail will be a mile long. Its been going on for 30 years.



I refused to by an AR till a better gas system was designed. Took a long time but the wait is over.

Now I have 2 about to be converted and several lowers stashed in case Nancy (the ignorant hippie socialist slut) makes a move on the 2nd amdt. 2 more in 5.56 2 in 7.62 and 1 in 6.8. I'm covered.



I wont throw out my AK's either. 200yds in and they are awesome. After that they are kinda iffy as range drops off quickly. But they are bulletproof and even on one with 3000 un cleaned rounds in it it always goes bang when you pull the trigger. :wink:


Don't hold back now....
 

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Giving a buggy wep to a soldier from the greatest country in the world is a crime within its self. The democratic run congress is in denial that we are even at war! They don't want to spend a dime on our soldiers. They would rather spend money on programs to get them re elected to keep their socialist ideals in power.(cough) Thats all that matters to them. No wonder their approval is around 10%!

It's about time the AR series was replaced. Produce a weapon to give the soldier an advantage. And while you are at it get rid of the crappy 9mm too! Go back to the .45 that served us and me so well. Seals and SpecOps already have gone back to the .45, it just works better in CQB.

Given a choice I prefer a 7.62 gas piston and a .45 any day! :wink:



Sometimes a good rant just makes me feel better.
 

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Puffy said:
Giving a buggy wep to a soldier from the greatest country in the world is a crime within its self. The democratic run congress is in denial that we are even at war! They don't want to spend a dime on our soldiers. They would rather spend money on programs to get them re elected to keep their socialist ideals in power.(cough) Thats all that matters to them. No wonder their approval is around 10%!

It's about time the AR series was replaced. Produce a weapon to give the soldier an advantage. And while you are at it get rid of the crappy 9mm too! Go back to the .45 that served us and me so well. Seals and SpecOps already have gone back to the .45, it just works better in CQB.

Given a choice I prefer a 7.62 gas piston and a .45 any day! :wink:



Sometimes a good rant just makes me feel better.
Ranting might make you feel better...doesn't make you right though.
 
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