10/11/2009 8:25pm, #1
According to MSNBC, M4 fails during intense firefights
MSNBC is apparently now highlighting the fact that AR 15 type carbines are prone to failure especially during lengthy firefights when many rounds have been fired. Normally I'd dismiss something like this in the news as sensationalism, but it seems to me that pretty much "everyone knows" that M4/M16 rifles begin to malfunction if you feed over 500 rounds consecutively through them. The article pretty much is articulating something that people knew for a long time, but at the same time it has got some specific examples of failures at crucial times.
Far be it from me to call myself a firearms expert, but I never fully understood why most people I talk to seem to consider something reliable but less accurate, like a Mini 14, to be inferior to something with more accuracy but which is a lot more likely to fail, like some kind of AR. I figure that if you're under a lot of stress you lose a lot of fine motor control anyway so the single most important thing with a firearm has got to be reliability.
Anyway, here's a link to the article with some quotes: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33267598/
The study by Douglas Cubbison of the Army Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., hasn't been publicly released. Copies of the study have been leaked to news organizations and are circulating on the Internet.
Cubbison's study is based on an earlier Army investigation and interviews with soldiers who survived the attack at Wanat. He describes a well-coordinated attack by a highly skilled enemy that unleashed a withering barrage with AK-47 automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
The soldiers said their weapons were meticulously cared for and routinely inspected by commanders. But still the weapons had breakdowns, especially when the rifles were on full automatic, which allows hundreds of bullets to be fired a minute.
The platoon-sized unit of U.S. soldiers and about two dozen Afghan troops was shooting back with such intensity the barrels on their weapons turned white hot. The high rate of fire appears to have put a number of weapons out of commission, even though the guns are tested and built to operate in extreme conditions.
Cpl. Jonathan Ayers and Spc. Chris McKaig were firing their M4s from a position the soldiers called the "Crow's Nest." The pair would pop up together from cover, fire half a dozen rounds and then drop back down.
On one of these trips up, Ayers was killed instantly by an enemy round. McKaig soon had problems with his M4, which carries a 30-round magazine.
"My weapon was overheating," McKaig said, according to Cubbison's report. "I had shot about 12 magazines by this point already and it had only been about a half hour or so into the fight. I couldn't charge my weapon and put another round in because it was too hot, so I got mad and threw my weapon down."
The soldiers also had trouble with their M249 machine guns, a larger weapon than the M4 that can shoot up to 750 rounds per minute.
Cpl. Jason Bogar fired approximately 600 rounds from his M-249 before the weapon overheated and jammed the weapon.
Bogar was killed during the firefight, but no one saw how he died, according to the report.
10/11/2009 9:49pm, #2
They got white heat? The powder doesn't burn at white heats . . . how did it get the barrel that hot? Given that steel at yellow heat is about the consistency of Play-doh (warm Play-doh at that) and that I've forge-welded carbon steel at yellow heats (and at that heat, carbon was shooting out of the steel like tiny sparks) I have a hard time believing that.
ARs and their clones have a reputation for unreliability. It's hard to say exactly how much truth there is to it. People used to cite the engagement where what's-her-name was captured in Iraq, for instance, because her weapon and someone else's malfunctioned. But in that incident, the sand and dust had taken such a toll on the weapons that a vehicle-mounted M2 .50-caliber machine gun jammed up tight. That takes some doing.
10/12/2009 11:45am, #3
Thats because that dumbass soldier was lazy and didn't clean her weapon. Anyone who has been overseas knows you can't go from your tent to the shitter without a layer of dust and crap coating the weapon.
Jessca Lynch didn't maintain her weapon properly (self admitted despite the USA trying to make her seem like wonderwoman fending off a horde of barbarians and earning the medal of honour) and she got captured because of it and her best friend and mother or 2 (?) died. She too didn't maintain her weapon properly.
AR 15 series weapons work a lot better when their clean :)
Not harping on you DG (nor would you give a **** if I was) I've just seen a lot of soldier with jessica lynch's mentality and it pisses me the hell off. Not too impressed with the US army's media spin on that one either.You are not free whose liberty is won by the rigour of other, more righteous souls. Your are merely protected. Your freedom is parasitic, you suck the honourable man dry and offer nothing in return. You who have enjoyed freedom, who have done nothing to earn it
10/12/2009 2:18pm, #4
I have been "out" for a number of years now and when I was "in" we carried M16A2's. The M4 only being issued to select soldiers. If I am not in error, the M4 is a safe/fire/burst weapon and the M4A1 has an "Auto" option.
Which is the general issue weapon these days?
I note that that story mentioned failure in the "Auto" selection. I also note that the story segues into the M249. To be honest I have seen malfunctions in EVERY weapon I have ever fired. The idea that a weapon is failureproof is a myth...even the vaunted AK47. I think that in this study the rate of fire is a large part of the equation vs. the number of rounds fired.
And I have to ask Ronin...I recall you were thinking about buying a new weapon (that was you right?) and that YOU have a Mini14 and were considering buying an AR or AK. Is this part of your reasoning for posting this? Trying to make a decision or justify one you have already made?
If it is, remember that you are not an infantryman...for general civilian use I wouldn't worry too much about AR reliability. My AR hardly ever malfunctions and when it has it was due to magazine issues (which wasnt ruled out in this study I note). I have had zero malfunctions while using new magazines. You also have the option of aftermarket "tweaking" of whatever weapon you choose that a soldier does not.
Last edited by tgace; 10/12/2009 2:29pm at .
10/12/2009 2:51pm, #5
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
- Dayville, Connecticut, United States
Pick up any man portable anti-personnel weapon you want. As a matter of fact, get 99 buddies and have them grab one too.
Run 500 rounds through it at full auto in the desert. Count the failures. I bet even a revolver would have a few bad moments under those conditions.
ALL MECHANICAL DEVICES WILL FAIL UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS.And lo, Kano looked down upon the field and saw the multitudes. Amongst them were the disciples of Uesheba who were greatly vexed at his sayings. And Kano spake: "Do not be concerned with the mote in thy neighbor's eye, when verily thou hast a massive stick in thine ass".
--Scrolls of Bujutsu: Chapter 5 vs 10-14.
10/12/2009 3:14pm, #6
Agreed...but as an owner of an AR-15 I can tell you that they are pretty damn picky with regards to how they perform. Some ammo goes through perfectly, some jams every other round. At least that has been my experience.
10/12/2009 8:38pm, #7
For me the thing that really caught my attention about the article was how it said the failures seemed to occur well into firefights where many rounds has been fired. Considering that I go through 150 rounds or so during a leisurely peaceful sporting event using semi-auto weapons, I can see how if you were fighting for your life with automatic weapons and laying down suppressing fire you could easily go through thousands of rounds in a day. I remember a staff member at a gun store telling me how in his experience AR15s tended to start to malfunction after firing 500 rounds or so consecutively in one session, and when I tried to corroborate this information by asking a local instructor who used to be in the Army he told me that although there was a certain amount of truth to that sort of statement that the AR 15 would work again if you took the time to just oil the moving parts. Of course in a massive hours long-firefight you probably wouldn't be able to oil the parts.
I dunno, I just thought it was interesting.
10/12/2009 8:39pm, #8
10/12/2009 8:56pm, #9
Based off what I'm saying, it's imperative that soldiers clean their weapons daily with a detailed strip and assemble weekly.
I've never used a grease gun before but from what I can tell they don't match up to assault rifles, nor should they.
You'll read an AR15 (M16a2) has an effective range of 300 or 400 meters. I think maries talk about pushing that out to 600 meters.
We found the effective range to be 150 meters. Now you CAN have hits out to 400 meters (in this case with a CQB type 552 Holosight) but anything past 150 we found guys weren't always staying down for the count. M4, maybe 100 meters.
M9 Baretta? That's a pistol. I think everyone should carry one as a sidearm but their secondary weapons, I don't like the idea of trying to find a happy medium between assault rifle and pistol.
Going off topic a bit but lynch (and many others problem) is discipline (or lak there of stemming from laziness) level of professionalism and a warriors mentality.
I've had a Mini-14. Their fun. I'm not sure how much I would trust it as a miitary-grade assault rifle.You are not free whose liberty is won by the rigour of other, more righteous souls. Your are merely protected. Your freedom is parasitic, you suck the honourable man dry and offer nothing in return. You who have enjoyed freedom, who have done nothing to earn it
10/12/2009 8:57pm, #10
- Join Date
- Jul 2002
- Rhineland Pfalz, Der Vaderland
I haven't been in an "intense" firefight. 500 rounds consecutively is A LOT and you don't even carry half that with you. Since I've been here I've only put 200 rounds through my weapon and about half of that was on the range. I am big on making sure my guys service their weapons weekly, which includes the magazine which so many forget. . Some have already been engaged on a convoy and we've been hit when visiting COPs. So far no failures however any weapon will fail at some point.
BTW the M4 doesn't have full auto so I don't know what this was for:
The soldiers said their weapons were meticulously cared for and routinely inspected by commanders. But still the weapons had breakdowns, especially when the rifles were on full automatic, which allows hundreds of bullets to be fired a minute.______
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