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  1. #1
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    1968 M16A1 maintenance comic - do you field strip your AR this far?

    So I learned about this comic from 1968 about how to clean and take care of your M16A1 for troops in Vietnam. As I am sure everyone here knows the first run of M16s had major reliability problems that were related to many factors including improper ammunition, inadequate cleaning supplies, Colt's bizarre insistence that the rifle was somehow "self cleaning", and of course the humid jungle environment.

    The comic is by Will Eisner and portrays the M16 rifle as a beautiful 1960s caucasian woman. It also contains lots of supplemental tips on protecting the rifle from the environment and alludes a bit to the M4 carbine style variants that had started to arrive in theater.

    Apparently the magazines and lower receiver used to be made of aluminum. The lips on the magazines could easily bend and cause feeding problems, and apparently if you removed the various steel pins from the lower receiver they would eventually make the holes in the aluminum bigger and become prone to falling out. No wonder the M16 had a reputation for fragility!

    http://www.ep.tc/problems/25/index.html

    The comic is fascinating from a historical and cultural perspective. I do have one question for the people here, though. When you field strip your AR style rifle, do you take it down as far as they're saying to take it down in this comic? They're actually telling the troops in the field to take apart the bolt carrier assembly, jam pipe cleaners in the gas ports, remove the firing pin, and so on and so forth. Do you think that's really necessary for field stripping?

    When I clean my contemporary AR I just remove and lubricate the bolt carrier assembly, clean the extractor without removing it, use a q tip briefly in the gas port (there's never heavy fouling in there) and scrub any fouling from the barrel, chamber and the put a little bit of lube on any exposed metal parts. I've never had a failure to fire, extract, feed, or anything with my AR. Am I doing it wrong, or do I need to do it like they say in this comic? Is it really critical to jam pipe cleaners as far as they will go into the gas port?
    Best Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg

  2. #2
    ghost55's Avatar
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    I take down the bolt all the way. I don't **** with the handguard or buffer spring though. Also, AR lowers and USGI mags are still made out of aluminum.

  3. #3
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    I take down the bolt all the way. I don't **** with the handguard or buffer spring though. Also, AR lowers and USGI mags are still made out of aluminum.
    Oh wow. I guess I got used to the nice plastic magazines and custom lowers that are so available on the civilian market.
    Best Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg

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    BKR's Avatar
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    I just have to be a butt...
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

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  5. #5
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    I just have to be a butt...
    Oh yeah. Using a historical manual that I found on the internet, I took my AK down much further than my AR. I even removed all the wood furniture and refinished it, just as a kind of self-education project. The AK is a tremendous learning gun as far as disassembly, care, and maintenance goes. The one piece steel cleaning rod is awesome too because basically it's not going to bend or break and it's always with you.
    Best Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg

  6. #6
    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
    Oh yeah. Using a historical manual that I found on the internet, I took my AK down much further than my AR. I even removed all the wood furniture and refinished it, just as a kind of self-education project. The AK is a tremendous learning gun as far as disassembly, care, and maintenance goes. The one piece steel cleaning rod is awesome too because basically it's not going to bend or break and it's always with you.
    Not to mention overall reliability...
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

  7. #7
    Cassius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    Not to mention overall reliability...
    The sealed DI system has a lot to offer that many don't appreciate. Stoner was really ahead of his time. His system might poop where it eats, but the maintenance cycles are very predictable, and the sealed system keeps out most garbage from the environment. The gas and carbon blowing back into the system does a decent job of clearing debris and unfreezing a stuck bcg. The precision manufacturing ensures that broken components require very little skill to replace.

    AKs are reliable, but they are poorly sealed against the environment. When AKs go down, they go down hard.
    "No. Listen to me because I know what I'm talking about here." -- Hannibal

  8. #8
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cassius View Post
    The sealed DI system has a lot to offer that many don't appreciate. Stoner was really ahead of his time. His system might poop where it eats, but the maintenance cycles are very predictable, and the sealed system keeps out most garbage from the environment. The gas and carbon blowing back into the system does a decent job of clearing debris and unfreezing a stuck bcg. The precision manufacturing ensures that broken components require very little skill to replace.

    AKs are reliable, but they are poorly sealed against the environment. When AKs go down, they go down hard.
    So is that what they meant by "self cleaning"?

    Basically, "somewhat resistant to debris but not so much to buildup, so clean it at regular intervals or you'll be sorry"?
    Best Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg

  9. #9
    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cassius View Post
    The sealed DI system has a lot to offer that many don't appreciate. Stoner was really ahead of his time. His system might poop where it eats, but the maintenance cycles are very predictable, and the sealed system keeps out most garbage from the environment. The gas and carbon blowing back into the system does a decent job of clearing debris and unfreezing a stuck bcg. The precision manufacturing ensures that broken components require very little skill to replace.

    AKs are reliable, but they are poorly sealed against the environment. When AKs go down, they go down hard.
    But easy to take-down and clean. Look at the number of steps involved between the two...
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

  10. #10
    ghost55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
    Oh wow. I guess I got used to the nice plastic magazines and custom lowers that are so available on the civilian market.
    Most lowers are still made out of aluminum. There are some polymer and magnesium lowers, but those generally suck and break more easily.

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