5.56 Timeline

Old musing of mine on an ideal infantry rifle.

After I did a tour in Iraq in 06, I was close to the end of my service, I ended up in a camp guard force. Spend 6 hours on watch, then 6 hours off. Spent that time in guard shacks in 3 walls (and an open side). It is was miserable, we were allowed to wear hooded sweatshirts and keep wool blankets in these guard shacks. During that time I spent a while thinking about how the M16A4 could be improved.

Early 2007ish when I was freezing my ass off in these guard posts (at least they had a roof, better than most USMC accommodations), I had what I thought would be a good product improved M16A4.

My first thought was the free float the barrel. Not so much that the barrel needed to be free floated for military use, but that there were much lighter and nicer tubular hand guards available. The Knight Armament M5 Quad Rail used on the M16A4 works great, but it is heavy and expensive. If I recall correctly, I had learned of the VTAC tubular handguard and thought that would be an excellent replacement for the KAC M5. It would make the gun lighter, free float the barrel, and you could still install rail sections if you needed them to attach accessories.

My next thought was that if the barrel was free floated, we wouldn’t need the silly government profile. The M16A2, M16A4, and the M4 have barrels that get heavier towards the muzzle, instead of any sort of common sense profile. Story goes that M16A1 barrels were failing the barrel straightness tests near the front sight base, so it was decided to strengthen the barrels there. Story then says that it turned out to be copper buildup at the gas port in the barrel causing the barrel straightness gauges to get caught. If we don’t need the government profile, we could use a lightweight barrel like on the M16A1. That would cut some weight off the rifle.

I wanted to keep it a 20 inch barreled rifle with fixed front sight and bayonet lug as back then I still believed all the chatter we were told in the Corps that the M4 was not suitable as an infantry weapon. Having that 20 inch lightweight profile barrel would give up more velocity, less wear and tear on the internals, the ability to mount a bayonet. Lastly, still having a fixed front sight base on a free floating barrel means that if you drop or damage your gun and tweak or bend that barrel. You are likely to still hit what you are aiming at if you are using your iron sights.

I wanted to maintain the ability to use a flip up rear sight, I thought the ACOG would be the best choice for a rifleman’s rifle. I still pretty much feel that way.

Last big change from the stock M16A4 I was thinking about back then was a collapsible stock. I did not like using that A2 stock with body armor.

Picture of Knife_Snipers rifle

It might have looked something like this.

In the decade plus since then, I’ve thought less about making “ideal” rifles, and focused more on purpose built guns. I’ve realized that the M4 is plenty good enough as an infantry rifle, but I still love free floating lightweight barrels. Now my idea of the closest thing you could get to an ideal AR15 would be something like a long freefloat tube with an accurate lightweight barrel. Something like the Larue PredatAR.

What would be your ideal AR15 for fighting?

Bonus Mini Optic Tool of the Week: Troy Sight Tool

I had debating posting this up and seeing if anyone could guess what it was, but as far as I know, there are less than 6 that exist. Many of you would have immediately guessed it was a sight tool, but as to what sight, that would have been random luck.

The tool it self is very simple, a knurled piece of aluminum, 4 stainless pins, and a sling stud so you can put it on a lanyard or key-ring.

So what is special about this?

Long ago there was this company that made flip up sights for the AR15. They were called Troy Industries. Their flip up sights were considered the best and a necessary upgrade for a flat top rifle. No one would have considered having a serious use gun with out a quality metal BUIS. I used one of their rear sights while I was in Iraq. It is for this same rear sight that I got this tool for.

Now, I recall Troy Ind had multiple gaffs leading to a boycott of their products. That is probably why you have never heard of them, as we all know how effective conservative boycotts tend be. The last few Troy Industries products probably sit in the back of closets and in boxes in basements. No one would want to be seen with one of their products now. Certainly, the boycotts against Netflix and Walmart by conservatives will cause them to go out of business the same way.

But back to the tool. Early Troy rear sights had a stainless pin that locked the windage adjustment in one of the holes in the windage knob. You had to depress the pin each time for each “click” of windage. This was a pain in the ass, so someone started making these tools with the intent to sell them.

As it always tends to work out, as soon as someone comes up with a business idea, someone else pulls out the rug. Troy redesigned the sight to use a ball detent instead, changed the hole pattern, and included a slot so that it could be adjusted with a coin. Now you could easily adjust a Troy rear sight. Rendering this tool not only unnecessary, but completely useless for the new Troy sights.

Chatter 20190928

Everything is better with an ACOG.

Had a hard drive fail in my personal computer. Making for lots of annoying delays.

I picked up some Zenitco rails for my AK. They are awesome. Also kicked my ass trying to get them installed. Not quite drop in. I’ll go into details some other time. Lots of time was spent with a hammer ~gently~ fitting the parts.

Previously I’ve told people that a FN SCAR rear sight will not work on an AR15 due to height issues. I’ve had several people since then tell me that I was wrong. Not wanting to put out bad information, I found another SCAR sight to give it a try. I was able to zero this one, but the front sight had to be cranked up rather high. So it is possible. I don’t know if there was something wrong with the previous sight I had, or if it was just tolerance stacking, but it was not possible to zero the other one. Still this front sight is high enough I was a little concerned about it coming out while I was making the adjustment. Might be worth running a taller front sight post if you ever run a SCAR rear sight.

Still, now I know it is possible.

Some of the yahoos over at ARFCOM were implying that shooting a M203 one handed would be impossible, or it would be possible, once, as you would injure your self. I’m pretty sure those are the same “experts” that will tell you that a near miss from a .50 BMG will rip a person to pieces, that a .223 round tumbles end of end in flight, and that the world is flat.

I made up some chalk round reloads with blue chalk. At the end of the range session, a very tired and shaky me taped my self firing off a round one handed.

Note the lack of any yelps of pain or nor any sounds of snapping bones.

I was doing a bunch of AK shooting today. Was shooting right handed and feeling like a badass with the rifle. Uber-competent. When I started doing the left handed AK shooting my confidence was put in check. Left shoulder wasn’t used to the shape of the AK buttstock and was uncomfortable. The great recoil control I had shooting right handed was absent while I was shooting left handed. I don’t even want to admit how slow and awkward the reloads were.

Now I know what I need to work on more.

The P80 I built the other day worked well enough. Only issues came from cases sticking in the chamber of the .22 kit. Due to how the threaded barrel is set up on that, it is a pain in the ass to clean the chamber. I must not have cleaned it well enough the last time I used it some years ago.

Look at that terrible left handed iron sight AK shooting. Slow and rapid fire from 7-50 yards. Look at that shot in the hair line and the one the cheek. At least I figure I shouldn’t get worse with practice.

I was feeling pretty cocky after the right handed slow and rapid fire. I should have taken a picture of my first 5 shots slow fire. At 50 yards with the iron sights I engaged a target like the one shown above. I felt all shaky and slow. For the 5 shots I raised the weapon, quickly got a sight picture, and fired. When I inspected my target, 4 of the 5 were in the T, one just outside it. I was feeling pretty good after that.


I’ve designed a 40mm projectile where I would 3d print the exterior, then fill it with wax for cheap weight. I haven’t made any yet, so I don’t know how it will work out. I worry that the 3d printed exterior might not be water tight enough to keep the molten wax from flowing out. I’ll find out.

Lastly, I just learned about the Hensoldt ZF 3.5-26X56 Riflescope. While it doesn’t have locking turrets or any sort of rotation indicator, it still seems like it would be an ok scope. If one of you were thinking about buying me a Christmas present, keep that in mind.

Colt CM16A1 Part 1

The M16A1 is an iconic piece of American history. Easily identifiable by silhouette.

The moment I read that Colt was going to sell a new production run of M16A1 clone rifles, I knew I was going to get one. Then I saw the price and decided I could wait a while. Only 2500 of these rifles were made

Most dealers had them listed for $2500. A few had them closer to 21-2200. I waited as long as I could. When the news came out of Colt pausing civilian sales, I knew that people would go nuts and start to panic. So I went ahead and broke out the credit card and order one at the cheapest place I could find it. I’m very glad I did. I also started digging though all my junk and selling off stuff I didn’t need. Between ordering the rifle and the time I received it, I ended up selling enough stuff to offset the cost. I should have done that long ago.

It showed up at my dealer, in the standard Colt box. Blue plastic wrap instead of the clear I am used too. But I have since then seen that the uppers that are sold separately also wrapped in the same blue plastic.

Also in the box is a Colt AR15 manual, 20 round magazine, black silent sling, and a type 2 3 prong flash hider.

My first impressions. It is awesome. It is the nicest Colt I have ever seen. Everyone I have shown it too has also been impressed by it. Out of the box it was flawless. I’ve been using it, so it is not staying that way.

I’ve been handling and using the Capco A2 I bought recently. I’ve been thinking about how light and handy that is. After using this A1 for a while, going back to the A2 makes it feel like a heavy pig. What a difference.

My first shots out of it made me love it even more.

There are plenty of people online whining about this gun. That it is too expensive, that it isn’t correct, or that the finish is wrong, etc. I’ll address some of those in a follow up post.

Canada’s new Sniper Rifle, the Colt C20.

Apparently this was announced back in May, but we didn’t hear about it until today. Thanks Tomcat_AL200.

Canada has adopted a version of the MARC901 as a sniper rifle. This version has a monolithic MLOK upper and an 18 inch barrel. It also had a LMT DMR stock installed on it.

The Colt Canada site ” https://www.coltcanada.com/c20.html ” says that it is 9.1 pounds.

Colt Canada’s C20, 7.62 NATO, Semi-Automatic Sniper Weapon was developed to support the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) requirement for an Intermediate Sniper Weapon. In third party tests, the weapon provided better precision and reliability than other products available on the market and is now in the process of being adopted into the CAF small arms fleet. The C20 has been tested and proven to all relevant NATO D/14 standards for safety, functionality in extreme conditions, and endurance, having fired 8,000 rounds with no stoppages. In terms of precision, the C20 achieved an average of .66 MOA over 144 five round groups, collected throughout endurance testing. All groups were shot first round cold with suppressor, using 175gr Federal Gold Medal Match ammunition.

That is pretty impressive. Not just cherry picking a single good group, but taking the average of 144 groups.

A couple of notes, Colt Canada says the rifle is available with a chrome lined or non-chrome lined barrel. I’d bet that it is a 18 inch stainless match barrel. Also it appears to have the same ambi-charging handle catch as the C7/C8 rifles, not the new ambi charging handles on the CM901 available in the US. This has the monolithic upper that has previously been shown by Colt Canada. We hear it has a dual ejector bolt, unlike the 901s in the US.

Canada requires their military firearms to be made in Canada, so we are not likely to see this model in the US.