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Discussion Starter #1
I don't own a M4 or AR-15 but I have been saving up my money to get one. After this report came out it got me thinking maybe I shouldn't buy this anymore. I was wondering if you guys could let me know your opionions on this article for those of you that own a M4. Should I just get a AK47?

Thanks!


By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Dec 17, 2007 9:25:16 EST

The M4 carbine, the weapon soldiers depend on in combat, finished last in a recent “extreme dust test” to demonstrate the M4’s reliability compared to three newer carbines.

Weapons officials at the Army Test and Evaluation Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., exposed Colt Defense LLC’s M4, along with the Heckler & Koch XM8, FNH USA’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle and the H&K 416 to sandstorm conditions from late September to late November, firing 6,000 rounds through each test weapon.

When the test was completed, ATEC officials found that the M4 performed “significantly worse” than the other three weapons, sources told Army Times.

Officials tested 10 each of the four carbine models, firing a total of 60,000 rounds per model. Here’s how they ranked, according to the total number of times each model stopped firing:

• XM8: 127 stoppages.

• MK16 SCAR Light: 226 stoppages.

• 416: 233 stoppages.

• M4: 882 stoppages.

the results of the test were “a wake-up call,” but Army officials continue to stand by the current carbine, said Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, commander of Program Executive Office Soldier, the command that is responsible for equipping soldiers.

“We take the results of this test with a great deal of interest and seriousness,” Brown said, expressing his determination to outfit soldiers with the best equipment possible.

The test results did not sway the Army’s faith in the M4, he said.

“Everybody in the Army has high confidence in this weapon,” Brown said.

Lighter and more compact than the M16 rifle, the M4 is more effective for the close confines of urban combat. The Army began fielding the M4 in the mid-1990s.

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.

Coburn raised concerns over the M4’s “long-standing reliability” problems in an April 12 letter and asked if the Army had considered newer, possibly better weapons available on the commercial market.

John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn, who was traveling, said the senator was reviewing the test results and had yet to discuss it with the Army.

The M4, like its predecessor, the M16, uses a gas tube system, which relies on the gas created when a bullet is fired to cycle the weapon. Some weapons experts maintain the M4’s system of blowing gas directly into the firing mechanism of the weapon spews carbon residue that can lead to fouling and heat that dries up lubrication, causing excessive wear on parts.

The other contenders in the dust test — the XM8, SCAR and 416 — use a piston-style operating system, which relies on a gas-driven piston rod to cycle the weapon during firing. The gas is vented without funneling through the firing mechanism.

The Army’s Delta Force replaced its M4s with the H&K 416 in 2004 after tests revealed that the piston operating system significantly reduces malfunctions while increasing the life of parts. The elite unit collaborated with the German arms maker to develop the new carbine.

U.S. Special Operations Command has also revised its small-arms requirements. In November 2004, SOCom awarded a developmental contract to FN Herstal to develop its new SCAR to replace its weapons from the M16 family.

And from 2002 to 2005, the Army developed the XM8 as a replacement for the Army’s M16 family. The program led to infighting within the service’s weapons community and eventually died after failing to win approval at the Defense Department level.

How they were tested

The recent Aberdeen dust test used 10 sample models of each weapon. Before going into the dust chamber, testers applied a heavy coat of lubrication to each weapon. Each weapon’s muzzle was capped and ejection port cover closed.

Testers exposed the weapons to a heavy dust environment for 30 minutes before firing 120 rounds from each.

The weapons were then put back in the dust chamber for another 30 minutes and fired another 120 rounds. This sequence was repeated until each weapon had fired 600 rounds.

Testers then wiped down each weapon and applied another heavy application of lubrication.

The weapons were put back through the same sequence of 30 minutes in the dust chamber followed by firing 120 rounds from each weapon until another 600 rounds were fired.

Testers then thoroughly cleaned each weapon, re-lubricated each, and began the dusting and fire sequencing again.

This process was repeated until testers fired 6,000 rounds through each weapon.

The dust test exposed the weapons to the same extreme dust and sand conditions that Army weapons officials subjected the M4 and M16 to during a “systems assessment” at Aberdeen last year and again this summer. The results of the second round of ATEC tests showed that the performance of the M4s dramatically improved when testers increased the amount of lubrication used.

Out of the 60,000 rounds fired in the tests earlier in the summer, the 10 M4s tested had 307 stoppages, test results show, far fewer than the 882 in the most recent test.

in the recent tests, the M4 suffered 643 weapon-related stoppages, such as failure to eject or failure to extract fired casings, and 239 magazine-related stoppages.

Colt officials had not seen the test report and would not comment for this story, said James Battaglini, executive vice president for Colt Defense LLC, on Dec. 14.

Army officials are concerned about the gap between the two tests becaus the “test conditions for test two and three were ostensibly the same,” Brown said.

There were, however, minor differences in the two tests because they were conducted at different times of the year with different test officials, Brown said. Test community officials are analyzing the data to try to explain why the M4 performed worse during this test.

Weapons officials pointed out that these tests were conducted in extreme conditions that did not address “reliability in typical operational conditions,” the test report states.

Despite the last-place showing, Army officials say there is no movement toward replacing the M4.

The Army wants its next soldier weapon to be a true leap ahead, rather than a series of small improvements, Brown said.

“That is what the intent is,” he said, “to give our soldiers the very best and we are not going to rest until we do that.”

Col. Robert Radcliffe, head of the Directorate of Combat Developments for the Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga., said the test results will be considered as the Army continues to search for ways to improve soldier weapons.

For now, he said the Army will stick with the M4, because soldier surveys from Iraq and Afghanistan continue to highlight the weapon’s popularity among troops in the combat zone.

“The M4 is performing for them in combat, and it does what they needed to do in combat,” Radcliffe said.
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Discussion Starter #3
Its in fashion to bash the AR-15 and its derivatives but the weapon system has been getting it done since the 1960s. I have owned AR-15s and M4s for the last 25 years and find them very dependable as long as you maintain them.

Are there better weapons systems for harsh environments? Yes, there is but its not an issue with me nor is it with the overwhelming number of civilians who buy them. I have had countless rounds through a variety of ARs and M4s over the years and can count on my one hand the number of malfunctions I have had.

Bottom line, buy one and not worry about it. The gun will run when you need it to as long as you do your part.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I took the 16A2 through kuwait and Saudi. Just do what we did and keep it clean , if we where not firing it we where cleaning it. That "Dust" gets into everything. Not only the weapons but you should see what it does to all the engines over there.

If ya take care of your weapon it will take care of you.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
You have to put this story into context.1. The Army TImes is not a US Army sponsored publication, it is private, and as such is most certainly driven by $. 2. There is quite a bit of talk both within the Army and outside the Army about improving or replacing the M4. Both HK and FNH have excellent products and will probably be on the short list of competitors for a replacement. 3. Not all the conditions and control measures of this test were announced. HOw was the test conducted? What exactly constituted a malfunction or failure. Simply conducting SPORTS (Slap mag, pull back charging handle, observe chamber, release cahrging handle, tap forward assist, squeeze trigger)Pls don't jump on the AR-15/M4 sucks train just yet.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
If ya take care of your weapon it will take care of you.
True of any weapon, but if we have the ability to make an effective weapon system even more reliable and less maintenance intensive, its damn foolish of the DoD to thumb its nose at it.

Im not saying the M4/M16 family of weapons sucks, but its stupid to ignore the fact that there are better things out there. Its an outstandingly accurate platform, the cartridge is pretty effective, and you cant beat the parts interchangeability. But the direct gas impingement system is a significant contributor to the ridiculously high maintenance requirements of these guns. Again, it works, but it aint the best thing since sliced bread.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Are you going to buy a real M4 (select fire & all)? If not, don't worry about it.
Are you going to the middle east (to fight, not for vacation)? If not, don't worry about it.

That report is 100% about trying to provide the best weapons for our troops (or at least should be.)

I'm all for new weapons if it's what's best for the troops. People that say the M16 doesn't need replace because whatever they replace it with will be incompatible with the M16 is nuts. If that were the case, we would have never left the M1 carbine or M1 Garand.

What is should come down to is: Would weapon system ________ be better for the gound troops than what we currently have? or... Can we upgrade the current weapon system for $____ per weapon and get the same reliability as a new weapon system?

Compatibility shouldn't be much of a factor.

Don't let paper pushers and politicians decide. True independent tests should be run. Sorry to say, I don't think Aberdene should be run by the Army. It should be run by someone that has no alliances with any gov't agency or defense contractor. The Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Airforce, USCG, Homeland Security, DOJ, ATF, FBI & CIA should have input into what kind of testing should be done. Raw data should be produced and mined. If the Marines want to test a new system for artic conditions, then it should be done independently. If FBI wants to know how a new bullet shape will go through windows, it should be tested independently.

ok... enough of my rant....

Over in another forum, a guy that's over in the sandbox stated, if they change weapon platforms, he'd like to see a new caliber. 6.8 SPC. I tend to agree with him.

Hardwarz
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I don't own a M4 or AR-15 but I have been saving up my money to get one. After this report came out it got me thinking maybe I shouldn't buy this anymore. I was wondering if you guys could let me know your opionions on this article for those of you that own a M4.
Heavy lubrication shown to improve M16, M4 effectiveness



By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jul 16, 2007 17:34:05 EDT
Army weapons officials might have found a way to improve the M16 family’s performance in the desert.
“Dust chamber” tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., last year show that M16 rifles and M4 carbines perform dramatically better when the weapon’s bolt assembly is heavily lubricated.
During each phase of the two-part “system assessment” at Army Test and Evaluation Command, testers fired 60,000 rounds through 10 weapon samples of each model.
Treated with light lubrication, new M16A4s and M4s, performed poorly in the extreme dust and sand conditions of the test, according to a January report from ATEC.
But when testers applied a heavy coat of lubrication to the weapons, the test results showed a “significant improvement.”
Out of the 60,000 rounds fired in each phase, the M4 stoppage-rate dropped from 9,836 with light lubrication to 678 with heavy lubrication.
The M16A4 stoppage-rate dropped from 2,124 with light lubrication to 507 with heavy lubrication, results show.
For years, Army weapons officials have preached to soldiers to virtues of applying a light coat of lubrication during weapons maintenance.
But the test results reinforce a recent change in weapons maintenance guidance Army units are practicing in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Col. Carl Lipsit, project manager for Soldier Weapons.
At the request of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., the Army will conduct a similar dust-chamber test in August, pitting the M4 against the Heckler and Koch 416, the H&K XM8 and FNH USA’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle.
All of the participating weapons will be treated with a heavy coat of lubrication during the test, Lipsit said.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
To answer the question... yes, if you'd like to have one, then please come join the rest of us with them. Take what you will from the posted articles, leave the rest. If you wait a few more minutes, I'm sure someone will post the much vaunted "Chart" to point out what you really want.

Then again you could just buy an AK and be just as happy.. or even better, just get an M14, M1A, HK91/G3, CETME or 10/22 and do just as good.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
QUOTE
Out of the 60,000 rounds fired in the tests earlier in the summer, the 10 M4s tested had 307 stoppages, test results show, far fewer than the 882 in the most recent test.
END QUOTE

Sounds to me like they got a bad gun that threw the figures off. 307 is a lot lower than 882.
Pat
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Then again you could just buy an AK and be just as happy.. or even better, just get an M14, M1A, HK91/G3, CETME or 10/22 and do just as good.
I have an AK, M4, HK91 and a Ruger 10/22. I was happy, until you mentioned M14 & M1A, now I'm not happy until I buy those.... great... thanks for the new hang up....;)

Hardwarz
 
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Discussion Starter #14
Just my .02, but how many situations are you going to be in where you're going to need to fire 60,000 rounds... That is about a 1.5% failure rate, or .05% considering 307 failures.

I've already got BRD, as soon as the xmas bills are paid i'm in for something like an M4/AR.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
I have an AK, M4, HK91 and a Ruger 10/22. I was happy, until you mentioned M14 & M1A, now I'm not happy until I buy those.... great... thanks for the new hang up....;)

Hardwarz
I'm there for ya man! I need one of each of those too, but the Masada and most like a SCAR will come first..
 
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