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Weapons: Distrust In The Dust
   Next Article → MURPHY'S LAW: Naming Names
May 14, 2007: The U.S. Army has just ordered another $375 million worth of M4 rifles . This got a lot of troops agitated because of the continuing jamming problems with the M4 and M16 rifles. In dusty places like Iraq and Afghanistan, you have to clean your M16 and M4 rifles constantly, otherwise the combination of carbon and dust in the chamber will cause jams. The army and marines both decided to stick with their current weapons, rather than adopt an easier to maintain weapon, like the XM8 or H&K416, because of the billion or so dollars it would cost to switch rifles. If the issue were put to a vote, the troops would vote for a rifle using a short-stroke system (like the XM8 or H&K416). But the military is not a democracy, so the troops spend a lot of time cleaning their weapons, and hoping for the best.

 

The debate involves two intertwined attitudes among senior army commanders. First, they don't want the hassle, and possible embarrassment, of switching to a new rifle. Second, they are anticipating a breakthrough in weapons technology that will make a possible a much improved infantry weapon. This is likely to happen later, rather than sooner, but the generals keep thinking about it.

 

Earlier efforts to just get the troops a more reliable rifle have failed. Back in 2005, the U.S. Armys design for a new assault rifle, the XM8, was cancelled. But now the manufacturer has incorporated one of the key components of the XM8 into M4 rifles, and calls the hybrid the H&K 416. Heckler & Koch (H&K) designed the XM8, which was based on an earlier H&K rifle, the G36. SOCOM is using the 416, but no one else is (except for a few police departments).

 

The XM8 had one major advantage over the M16. The XM8 (like the G36 and 416) uses a short-stroke piston system. The M16s uses gas-tube system, which results in carbon being blown back into the chamber. That leads to carbon build up, which results in jams (rounds getting stuck in the chamber, and the weapon unable to fire.). The short-stroke system also does not expose parts of the rifle to extremely hot gases (which wears out components more quickly). As a result, rifles using the short-stroke system, rather than the gas-tube, are more reliable, easier to maintain and last longer.

 

H&K developed the 416, for SOCOM, at the same time the XM8 was being evaluated by the army. SOCOM got the first 416s in 2004, a year before the army cancelled the XM8. The 416 looks like the M4, for the only thing that has changed is the gas system that automatically extracts the cartridge after the bullet has been fired, and loads the next round. SOCOM can buy pretty much whatever they want, the U.S. Army cannot. SOCOM listens to what its troops want, the army doesn't. In trying to avoid embarrassment and scandal, the army leadership is blundering into it anyway.

 

 

Next Article → MURPHY'S LAW: Naming Names
  

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LoneWolf545       5/14/2007 10:11:58 AM
HK has been making a big PR push to get first the XM8, and now the HK416, adopted by the Army, claiming unreliability on the part of the M4.  But a lot of troops are NOT having problems with their M4's, my brother spent a year in Iraq carrying one and reported no problems, but they did maintenance on their rifles.  Use the wrong lube and the M4 will jam, but you can have the same problem with the HK416, if you let dust and grime build up inside the bolt carrier group.
 
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Herald1234    One more time?   5/14/2007 10:57:06 AM
Who writes this stuff?

I've finally done the research, myself, and talked to professionals who are well versed on this subject. The pros would like a better man wounding bullet with more effective reach over range for the current rifle, if you could keep the bullet small, lightweight and probably the same caliber as now, but as for the rifle operating system? They've told me, the open literature I read, and I have FOUND NO GOOD TECHNICAL REASON among the opinions written, those the shooters expressed, or any that I could mechanically find myself, that convinces me we should  change the US infantry weapon, yet.

I would like some damned good reasons for kowtowing to more H&K propaganda bullsh!t.before we blow a billion scarce training dollars on new rifles.

Herald

 
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Yimmy       5/14/2007 12:38:29 PM
Norway recently held a competition for a new assault rifle to serve alongside some upgraded G3 battle rifles they are keeping in service.
 
A Norwegian friend of mine said the competition was out of the C7, G36, H&K416 and some others.  From what he said the H&K416 was adopted force wide, while the C7 and G36 apparantly did very badly.
 
 
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Herald1234    Have the trial results been published, Yimmy?   5/14/2007 12:56:25 PM
Data is better than anecdote.

Herald
 
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Yimmy       5/17/2007 4:50:20 PM

Data is better than anecdote.

Herald


I said a friend told me.  Go search for the competition yourself.
 
 
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Herald1234       5/17/2007 5:14:04 PM



Data is better than anecdote.

Herald



I said a friend told me.  Go search for the competition yourself.

 


I will, Yimmy and when I find it I will publish the results, here. As for your discourtesy and your lack of factual backing with first sources,; ["a friend told me"], it speaks volumes about how you express an opinion.
 
To each his own.
 
Have a nice day.
 
Herald
 
 
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Horsesoldier       5/17/2007 5:36:24 PM
Yimmy is correct about the Norwegian adoption of the HK 416.  I don't know any details of the trials, but would note it is a significant improvement over the G3 (not really a favorite of mine, even among 7.62x51 rifles), and the money on it is well spent I'd think.
 
The HK 416 is a good weapon.  The question is whether it is good enough to justify a huge expense to replace existing stocks of M4s and M16s which, internet rumor mongering aside, work quite well.  I don't think the benefits justify the expense -- just keep your weapon moderately clean and it will work.  Doesn't need to be detailed to a basic training drill sergeant's satisfaction every day, but needs to be checked and cleaned periodically. 
 
I'm looking forward to when I can get some hands on time with a SCAR-L and do a side by side comparison with an M4 with HK 416 upper on it.  Should be interesting. 
 
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Herald1234    Interesting, H&K still hasn't solved a little problem.........   5/17/2007 5:39:12 PM
 
30% bolt failure rate in US Army testing? Ummmm, that's not good.
 
Herald
 
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Herald1234    Interesting, H&K still hasn't solved a little problem.........   5/17/2007 5:39:14 PM
 
30% bolt failure rate in US Army testing? Ummmm, that's not good.
 
Herald
 
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Yimmy       5/17/2007 6:09:40 PM






Data is better than anecdote.

Herald





I said a friend told me.  Go search for the competition yourself.



 




I will, Yimmy and when I find it I will publish the results, here. As for your discourtesy and your lack of factual backing with first sources,; ["a friend told me"], it speaks volumes about how you express an opinion.

 

To each his own.

 

Have a nice day.

 

Herald

 


Herald, this is an internet forum of fairly low standards.  It is a place to gossip.  When you look at the awful standard of the front page articles, you can not expect for posts to be better referenced and supported.  It simply is not practical.
Would the readers of this thread rather I didn't mention what I know?  I said where I gained the informtion from, and as such any reader can give it the weighting they think it deserves.
 
That said, I don't appreciate pointless responses to my posts (which are clearly looking for confrontation.).

 
 
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