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Thread: Original M16 question

  1. #1
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    Original M16 question

    I got issued a number of original M16s in the 80s (not A1s). Air Guard still had some in inventory as late as 2001, and still may for all I know.

    Most of them had hard chrome carrier groups, and the hard chrome lined barrels. I think I remember that the breech face and barrel extension were chromed as well, but I'm not positive. Anyone got documentation on this?
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    Mike,
    The way I've read it, the original lot of M-16's did not have the chrome chamber, barrel or cg and caused a LOT of trouble over in 'Nam with the powder fouling adding to the problems. Was an ultimate dumb-ass move by Macnamara to save a few pennies where they had been well spent.

    I had A-1's and they were all chrome chamber/barreled but the bolt carriers were parked. Never seen one chromed in all the Marine rifles I looked through when in so maybe that was a Guard thing to have them retro-chromed...which would be a great idea. The original rifles weren't good for much without the chrome so that addition would make them serviceable. Hope someone has some documentation for you on this.

  3. #3
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    Found this:

    http://www.ar15.com/lite/topic.html?b=3&f=123&t=241681

    Bolt/carrier groups. Top is the early AR-15 and M16 bolt group, no forward assist cuts. Later transitional M16 bolt group is not pictured (mix of chrome and parked parts). Second down is the early XM16E1 bolt group, has added forward assist cuts. Next is the late XM16E1 and M16 and early M16A1 bolt group, now parked (transitional bolt groups are a mix of chrome and parked parts). Third from bottom is the later C marked M16/A1 bolt group. Second from bottom is the M16A2 bolt group. Bottom is the M16A4 bolt group, it is parked a lighter color:


    I had mine on active duty. No one had them retrochromed, but they should have. These were not A1s. These were M16s, slick side.

    The Army's change was strictly cosmetic--the bolt carrier might be visible and shiny to the enemy if it reflected any of the light from your 12" of muzzle flash./sarcasm

    I've been trying to find a rifle design the Army didn't screw up, to little avail.
    http://SharpPointyThings.com
    http://www.MichaelZWilliamson.com

    FREEHOLD, Jan 04 from Baen Books
    THE WEAPON, Aug 05 from Baen Books
    CONFIRMED KILL, Sep 05 from HarperCollins
    BETTER TO BEG FORGIVENESS..., Winter 07 from Baen Books

    ~~~

    "The Finest battle implement ever devised." Ung the Caveman on the M1 Pointy Stick.

  4. #4
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    McNamara changed the powder used for the early .223 cartridge. This caused the jamming problems, that and the rifles being issued without proper( read ANY) cleaning kits. The powder change was never tested and carboned up the chamber and bolt. That is why the forward assist ws added. The full chrome barrels were added to withstand the wear of full auto fire.

    MacNamara probably killed more of our boys by NOT leaving the rifle as designed, than enemy action did.

    I am not going to describe what I wish to do to his grave, as it not very High Road.

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  5. #5
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    McNamara was not involved.

    As designed and as bought by USAF and SEALs early on, the weapon had hard chromed reciprocating mass, extension, breech and chamber.

    Chrome bore was added, and was a good thing.

    Army logistics changed powder due to the need to load billions of rounds, from flake IMR to ball, but did not consult with Stoner or Colt. This changed the pressure curve and caused calcium deposits as well.

    Poor information from Colt marketing changed "the gas tube is self cleaning" to "the weapon doesn't need cleaning." This, combined with Army failure to provide training or cleaning kits led to massive failure from dirt, jams, case separations, calcium buildup, damage to gas tube from GIs poking things into it, etc.

    The Army still does not teach proper cleaning or maintenance.

    I got to use the chromed vs parked for 5 years side by side in the 80s. The chromed guns ran like bandits.


    At the extreme end, I saw a sealed container of M16s that were put away wet and dirty. They were opened up 12 weeks later, because someone decided it might be a good idea to double check before an IG visit.

    Parked assys, rusted shut into the lugs, unsalvageable, trash.

    Chrome assys required replacement of rusty hammers and some very serious cleaning and oiling, but were functional.

    It doesn't matter how good the materials and workmanship are when oxygen comes calling.

    I'm tempted to do a salt water immersion test. I have a spare BCG I could donate.

    http://www.ar15.com/lite/topic.html?b=3&f=123&t=241681


    Bolt/carrier groups. Top is the early AR-15 and M16 bolt group, no forward assist cuts. Later transitional M16 bolt group is not pictured (mix of chrome and parked parts). Second down is the early XM16E1 bolt group, has added forward assist cuts. Next is the late XM16E1 and M16 and early M16A1 bolt group, now parked (transitional bolt groups are a mix of chrome and parked parts). Third from bottom is the later C marked M16/A1 bolt group. Second from bottom is the M16A2 bolt group. Bottom is the M16A4 bolt group, it is parked a lighter color:



    Stoner intended and designed hard chrome. Parkerizing was a cosmetic change by the Army, for "tactical" reasons, since chrome is shiny. ( I have the TM quote here somewhere.)

    Chrome operating mass, combined with this chromed extension, led to almost flawless functioning regardless of sand, muck, carbon.

    http://SharpPointyThings.com
    http://www.MichaelZWilliamson.com

    FREEHOLD, Jan 04 from Baen Books
    THE WEAPON, Aug 05 from Baen Books
    CONFIRMED KILL, Sep 05 from HarperCollins
    BETTER TO BEG FORGIVENESS..., Winter 07 from Baen Books

    ~~~

    "The Finest battle implement ever devised." Ung the Caveman on the M1 Pointy Stick.

  6. #6
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    Do. Sorry for the repost. Forum sharing yields a lot of info. Then I have to remember to read back.
    http://SharpPointyThings.com
    http://www.MichaelZWilliamson.com

    FREEHOLD, Jan 04 from Baen Books
    THE WEAPON, Aug 05 from Baen Books
    CONFIRMED KILL, Sep 05 from HarperCollins
    BETTER TO BEG FORGIVENESS..., Winter 07 from Baen Books

    ~~~

    "The Finest battle implement ever devised." Ung the Caveman on the M1 Pointy Stick.

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