I saw this going around the various facebook gun groups last night. It’s funny that its “invented” Like spiral barrel fluting hasn’t been around since dirt was a new thing. In fact, I would even bet Colt played around with this idea at some point 20 years ago and the Army said no.
Two small arms engineers at the U.S. Army’s CCDC Armaments Center have invented a new M4A1 barrel for extended cyclical fires.
On Tuesday, the Army was granted a 15-year design patent, which is now available for license to businesses that would manufacture the barrel.
Thomas Grego and Adam Foltz designed the heavy barrel at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. It features spiral fluting in three distinct areas that increase the exterior surface area of the barrel as well as reduce overall weight.
The new barrel dramatically reduces the risk of barrel failure or premature ammunition detonation, i.e., a cook-off, by diffusing heat faster than the conventional M4A1 heavy barrel, which soldiers had reported were failing during combat in Afghanistan.
“(The M4A1) allows us to fire a better suppressing fire,” Lt. Col. Terry Russell told the Army Times in 2015. “At some point, a barrel is going to bend. It could be solid steel, but as soon as you reach a certain heat point it’s going to do some damage to the barrel. … But (the improved barrel) would have helped out to a certain degree.”
The new barrel’s fluting has fin spacing and a thickness that is optimized for heat dissipation and weight; the fin height gradually tapers down.
The design patent is the second patent the Army has received for the new barrel. In April, a 20-year utility patent was also granted.
Brian Metzger, a senior technology manager at TechLink, is facilitating licensing discussions for companies interested in producing the barrel.
“The design patent reinforces the utility patent, makes it a complete package for a licensee,” Metzger said Wednesday morning.