5.56 Timeline

Belt Fed Colt CAR15 HBAR M2

Here is a neat piece of M16 history up for auction. Thanks to Alex over at the AR15 resource facebook page I can bring this to your attention in case you want to place a bid.

Description: This is an exceptionally rare piece of Colt history, with less than 20 having been made. Colt developed these rifles during their experimentation with the new CAR-15 system, during which they focused on seven different versions. Ultimately, the HBAR M2 was discarded, but before production was discontinued, less than twenty were produced. This gun is pictured on pages 175 and 176 of “The Black Rifle” by Stevens Ezell, and close examination of both the photos and the gun confirms that this is the actual item pictured in the book, despite not being listed by serial number. This example has the early second type three prong flash suppressor, heavy barrel, modified M2 bipod, fitted with one of the early round interchangeable handguards from Colt’s first offering, carryhandle sights, early A1 style pistol grip, and buttstock with rotatable sling swivel and cupped rubber buttplate. Colt then added a very clever belt feed mechanism, that sits in the magazine well when the rifle is opened and locks in when the rifle is closed. The vertical actuator attaches to a special cut in the bolt carrier group to actuate, and a slot was added on the right side, where a feed chute would feed spent links into a separate compartment of the feed box. This rifle is accompanied by three drum magazines and a link of 25 dummy cartridges. One drum magazine has the removable top attaching section, other two do not have this piece and are filled with links. There is also an additional pin equipped with a pull ring. CONDITION: Very fine overall, retaining the vast majority of its finish with some markings from usage. Bolt face is excellent, bore is excellent, mechanics are crisp. As to be expected of an early experimental gun, some of the work is a little crude, but still well executed. This lot is also accompanied by a copy of “The Black Rifle” by Stevens and Ezell, as well as a printout of the Bob Miller Estate sale, where this gun was number 32. PROVENANCE: Bob Miller Estate. If you are a collector of rare firearms, belt fed machine guns, or even Colts, this is a collector’s prize. THIS IS A NATIONAL FIREARMS ACT ITEM AND REQUIRES BATF APPROVAL PRIOR TO TRANSFER. THIS ITEM IS FULLY TRANSFERABLE ON AN ATF FORM 3 OR FORM 4. EWAccessories: Ammo links, three total magazinesBarrel Length: 21 – 3/4″Caliber/Bore: 5.56mm NATOFFL Status: NFAManufacturer: Colt FireamsModel: AR-15Paperwork: Copy of “The Black Rifle” and a copy of Bob Miller Estate sale paperwork.Serial Number: 018954

You can bid on it now if you have thousands of dollars burning a hole in your wallet.


Where are they now? – Redi-Mag edition

The name of the picture above is, “CarbinePerfection001.jpg”. Among the many accessories this gun wears, is a Redi-Mag.

What’s a Redi-Mag? It is a magazine holder that you clamp to the side of your gun. It is like having a second mag well. When you drop the first mag, you then use the mag on the left side of the gun to reload.

There are several version of the Redi-Mag, and there was apparently enough demand that Blue Force Gear offered a modified version of it (now discontinued). Older models have been discontinued and replaced with a lighter machined aluminum version. Most Redi-Mag mag holders had a lever to release the magazine in the Redi-Mag, but there was a model that was slaved to the rifle magazine release. When you would need to reload, you would grab the mag in the Redi-Mag with your left hand, hit the mag release to button to drop the mag in the gun and release the mag in the Redi-Mag. Then you would reload as normal.

Never been done before, right?

Oh wait, it pretty much fills the same niche as a mag coupler. Unlike a mag coupler, you jettison the spent mag, and have the option of putting a replacement magazine in the now empty Redi-Mag.

Now let’s take a trip back in time.

It is 2008ish. Most all commercial AR15s come with heavy barrels. We are installing heavy quad-rails, lights, lasers, vertical forward grips, and optics. Our guns have a huge increase in performance than the older slick iron sighted rifles, but our guns have massively grown in weight and bulk. Instead of carrying a 6-7 pound rifle or carbine, we are carrying 9+ pound railed mess of tactical gear. A great increase of capability at the cost of weight.

So the idea of slapping on a half pound accessory that is suppose to make you faster was not exactly disliked. Then adding another pound of loaded magazine was not considered terrible.

Especially when you had folks like Tarvis Haley and Larry Vickers pushing the product.

Look at that gun above. Two optics, light, laser, silencer, redimag, you have one heavy gun there.

The Redi-Mag was most often recommend for police officers. The idea being that often when they grabbed their patrol carbine they did not grab extra ammo, or a chest rig, etc. Having a Redi-Mag meant that they would have a reload right there on the rifle. Sort of like a side saddle on a shotgun.

So where are all these Redi-Mags?

I was noticing that I haven’t seen a rifle with a Redimag for a long time now.

I guess people don’t want to spend 100-200 dollars to slap a pound and a half on the side of their rifle now.

Nowadays more rifles are coming with lighter weight barrels, light weight free float tubes, and our optics have gotten smaller and lighter. We don’t want another pound a half on our guns slowing down how fast we can swing them from target to target.

Would you use a Redi-Mag now? Comment below.

3D Printed AR15

Some interesting stuff from a guy in Switzerland who has made his own 3D printed AR15. If you are into the 3d printing technology for gun stuff this is worth your time.

I couldn’t help but build an Ar15 toy on my new 3D printer with Cineam4D software.

The 3D printed M4A1 AR15 CQBR consists of over 64 3D print parts carefully developed and tested. The result is stunning. Features of the model are the same as the original.

You can see the result here in the video

Capco A2 upper – Part 2 – Range Report

If I were naming a company, I wouldn’t use the name Capco as I think it would be too easy for people to accidentally or intentionally drop an R into the name.

I know some people like to see all the various stampings and forge marks. Here is the front sight base:

I work up early yesterday morning , first thought was to go back to bed, but instead I went to the Range with the Capco A2 upper on my Colt AR15A4 lower and some other items. Right before I got to the range, I realized I left my range bag at home. Of course, the thought entered my mind first was, “I could turn around, go back home, and go back to bed. But I realized I had a couple of targets, ear and eye protection, so I could still do what I wanted to do with the A2.

I had printed off a couple of M16A2 25m zeroing targets. The Army would zero the M16A2 at 25 meters using 8/3+1. The USMC would zero at 36 yards using the 8/3 setting. Since I was just trying to start with a rough zero, I started at 25 yards with the intent to fine tune at farther distances. I set the sight to 8/3+1 and I know that I am not getting a proper long distance zero using 25 yards. But as I said, I wanted to make sure I was on paper and that there would be no major issues or deviations at longer distances.

As I had left my tape and stapler at home, I use abandoned shootnc patches to hold up my targets.

Not a good group, but well enough I can learn and adjust from it. I ignore the high round and looked at the 2 close together. I make an adjustment of 3 clicks left on the rear sight and 6 clicks up on the front sight. Then I fire 3 more rounds.

Once again I had one round high. I’m curious if that was the first shot from each group, but I don’t know as I didn’t bring a spotting scope. Not a great group, but good enough that I know I will be on paper at longer distances. I’m tempted to bring it up a click and left a click, but I’ll leave the sights set for where they are for now. It is sometimes recommended that it is best for your group to be in the bottom half of the white circle in the zeroing target. Though, that advise is generally said for the M4.

Previously I set the rear sight on my rifle so that it bottoms out on 8/3-3 for a 100 yard setting. Some advocate setting the adjustment so it will go to 8/3-4 so that the 8/3-3 will be more consistent. I would think that metal on metal contact of the sight bottoming out would be as consistent as one could get. But I certainly see some merit to their argument. If it is bottoming out, it might not be fully moving into place.

8/3-3 for 100 yards

I set up a target at 100 yards, and fired a 5 shot group.

Well, that is a crap group. Here was I was thinking about packing up and going home to go back to sleep, or putting up a new target and never mentioning this one to anyone. I generally figure that M855 should deliver a 2 MOA group and if I am doing worse than that it is my fault. I have had some lots of M855 that didn’t seem to shoot very good, what I shot yesterday is not one of those lots.

While is the group is terrible, I can still learn from it. Each shot I fired felt like a good shot, so I’m not going to discount any of them. I’d say that the center of the group is right of the center of my point of aim, and the group is about 4 inches high.

I gave the rear sight 1 click left for 1/2 inch left adjustment at 100 yards. Front sight clicks are 1 1/4 MOA, so I did 3 clicks down in order to bring the group 3 3/4 inches down. Then I fired another 5 shot group.

I had an odd experience. I often have issues with my glasses fogging up. Usually the center fogs up so I have to wipe them off or use the sides of the lenses. As I shot this next group, the side of lenses fogged up giving me tunnel vision so I could only see the sight picture. Never had that happen to me before. I called the 3rd shot as pulled left.

Now that is more like it. Not quite as good as I would like, but close to acceptable. I figure the shot to the left is that 3rd shot of the group that I called as being left. If I ignore the shot to the left, the group is ok, and I could likely go a click up in adjustment. If I do a click up, it should bring the group 1 1/4 inches up.

But I think I’ll wait. Next time I shoot 200 meters, I’ll fine tune the rifle zero at that distance.

I did a little off hand rapid fire at 50 yards shooting at clay pigeons left on the berm. That was for fun and to double as a function check. It has been some time since I’ve done rapid fire with an A2. I had no malfunctions or issues with the Capco M16A2 upper.

Then I went home and went back to sleep. It was a good day.