AR-15/M4/M16 Opinions
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:05 PM   #1
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Default AR-15/M4/M16 Opinions

I was wondering if anyone on this forum had any experience with the AR-15/M4/M16 family of rifles and what your opinion of them in regards to quality and above all RELIABILITY is? I've heard that the gas impingement system they run on is pretty un-reliable and that they fail alot but others suggest that they are rock solid dependable firearms that take the harshest abuse and continue to function. Opinions from individuals with military and/or law enforcement experience would be HIGHLY appreciated.

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Old 11-02-2009, 01:36 PM   #2
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I always kept mine in immaculate condition, even when in the field. The few major problems that I found with them was that they're prone to double feeds and the gas system fouls pretty quick and is difficult to clean. There are also small parts in the bolt group that are easy to lose when cleaning in the field.

These are problems that the average civilian user wouldn't experience under normal use though.

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Old 11-02-2009, 01:46 PM   #3
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I have put tens of thousands of rounds down range threw an M-16 never had too many problems. I shot one so much that the hand guards started to melt it kept on banging away....

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Old 11-02-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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the quality of the AR15/M16 platform varies as much as the selection that is available. when the AR series of weapons first appeared in the early 60's they were a new gadget with a small diameter bullet being used as a main battle rifle. it had teething problems that ranged from recievers shattering to severe stoppage problems in combat. by the early to mid 80's most of those issues were worked out and the M16/AR15 starting showing up with more reliable and dependable models. it really wasnt until desert storm and desert shield when soldiers were being interviewed in a positive light for the first time since WW2 taht the AR line really took off with the M4 carbine lots of our troops were seen to carry.

there are some really good AR15 assemblers and manufactureres out there from to colt to DPMS and S&W. there are a lot more i could name but the list is long and varied. what really makes the AR platform stand out is its modular design allowing the owner to choose between wide varieties of avalable rounds by simple switching out the upper reciever with a new one and changing the magazine. there are upper recievers avalable that will allow a person to fire 22LR to the big 50BMG and everything in between. almost off of which will fit and fire through a standard lower reciever.

there has been a lot of talk lately about piston gas systems which have been around pretty much as long as there have have been automatic and semi-automatic weapons. and the direct gas impingment or DGI which is becoming a buzz word with little understanding of what that means.

DGI means you need ammunition that is delivering gas in a narrow range for the weapon to function correctly. while this makes a weapon reliable as long as the ammunition does not change very much in performance it has other issues. it makes the weapon more difficulty to clean it makes larger ranges of ammunition less accessable and heats the internal parts up faster which can lead to the weapon firing without having to pull the trigger while the round cooks in the chamber. with all that being said most of it isnt that much of an issue and does not mean that it is a worse system than gas psiton or direct or delayed blowback style weapons.

an example of a delayed blowback is the browning hi-power and the 1911 .45acp design. direct blowback is what you find commonly in 22LR semi autos and most famously the tommy gun and uzi systems. you wont be seeing very many direct blow back or delayed blowback weapons in much past 10mm due to the stress that heavy recoil places on current metals. normally thse systems are reserved for small caliber rounds which are typically found in pistol ammunition.

gas piston designs are such things like AK47, M60, M1 Garand, and M14. one fo the issues with gas piston designs is they are subject to piston failure and binding in the bolt travel area when ammunition pressures outside the current gas setup is used. this can often lead to failure and since the piston system can be extremely difficult to repair as compaired to the DGI system it can be frustrating.

all designs have a narrow range of pressure at which the weapons function. the MAIN difference is how easily it is to change or adjust the weapon to fire different loads reliably. with DGI it is not possible to adjust the weapon to fire ammo outside of its default range without going to very expensive and extreme measures. direct blowback and blowback it is simply changing the mainspring to a different strength. with gas piston designs some have means of user adjusting by turning a knob or replacing the gas piston itself.

anyway none of the designs are inherently bad they just have different advantages and disadvantages. i own one of the new ruger SR556 rifles with a gas piston system, a colt AR with the DGI system, and a ruger 10/22 with direct blowback as well as pistols using delayed and direct blowback systems.
i would look more at the reiability and quality of the weapon itself rather than the gas system or recoil system it uses as a selling point.

hope this helps

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Old 11-02-2009, 03:59 PM   #5
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This is my opinion, so don't get angry everybody...I think that the m16 family of rifles are the best that the military has ever fielded. They are accurate, dependable (when cleaned properly), and the soldier or LEO can carry a lot more ammo than they could with other rifles that were previously being carried.

The cartridge firearm combination is a wonderful platform that has been on the front line for the U.S. Military for many years, that alone is enough for me to want one in my arsenal now.

The only draw back with this system in the hands of military personell is the ball ammo that the military feeds it. The ball ammo had a purpose, and that purpose was to wound, that does not work in the types of battles we face today.

I learned quite a lot about this weapon system in the Army, but I have learned just as much since I left the military. I have learned a lot in the few short months that I have been a part of this forum. I think that with the right ammo combined with this weapon system and a good cleaning kit will do the job that it was made to do.

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Old 11-03-2009, 05:00 PM   #6
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I have several and they have always been reliable. I use quality parts from reputable companies, keep it well oiled and it runs for a long time w/o cleaning.

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Old 11-03-2009, 05:33 PM   #7
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Pardon me sir but you are confusing delayed blowback with recoil operated designs. Recoil operated means the barrel & slide are locked together until the barrel drops out of lockup with the slide. Then the slide continues on to the rear.

In a delayed blowback there is NO lockup at all and the blowback action is simply retarded slightly.








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Originally Posted by JonM View Post

with all that being said most of it isnt that much of an issue and does not mean that it is a worse system than gas psiton or direct or delayed blowback style weapons.

an example of a delayed blowback is the browning hi-power and the 1911 .45acp design. direct blowback is what you find commonly in 22LR semi autos and most famously the tommy gun and uzi systems. you wont be seeing very many direct blow back or delayed blowback weapons in much past 10mm due to the stress that heavy recoil places on current metals. normally thse systems are reserved for small caliber rounds which are typically found in pistol ammunition.

gas piston designs are such things like AK47, M60, M1 Garand, and M14. one fo the issues with gas piston designs is they are subject to piston failure and binding in the bolt travel area when ammunition pressures outside the current gas setup is used. this can often lead to failure and since the piston system can be extremely difficult to repair as compaired to the DGI system it can be frustrating.

all designs have a narrow range of pressure at which the weapons function. the MAIN difference is how easily it is to change or adjust the weapon to fire different loads reliably. with DGI it is not possible to adjust the weapon to fire ammo outside of its default range without going to very expensive and extreme measures. direct blowback and blowback it is simply changing the mainspring to a different strength.

hope this helps
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:03 AM   #8
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When I was active, I kept mine as clean as possible and tested the magazines I was to be carrying. Never had a problem.
The military could be using cleaner burning powder in their loadings. I found this out after I got out and started reloading and using VihtaVhouri powders, much cleaner, I can shoot 100+ rounds and hardly tell the rifle was fired.
I think if they did that, as well as using the new mags they are issuing, that they shouldn't have very many malfunctions. As long as fire discipline is followed. If you get carried away and start pumping rounds downrange ASAP.
You're rifle will heat up quickly, as will any rifle firing 800-850 rpm. It's called friction, caused by the bullet moving through the bore. Changing to a different designed gas system won't cure this. But a better, cleaner burning powder would be a big help.

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Old 11-05-2009, 04:43 PM   #9
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Most of the misfeeds that I experienced were due to bad magazines. Old magazines seem to be really problematic of ARs though. Other weapons platforms don't seem to be as picky about mags as the ARs are.

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