5.56 Timeline

M231 Firing Port Weapon

I found some great photos on the M231 today. The M231 is a modification of the M16 to be used in firing points designed into the Bradley fighting vehicle.

everyone has seen this common photo of a M231 in use in the first year of the Iraq invasion

The M231 installed in one of the firing port in a rear door.

Superbowl Snipers

Some youtube video of LE snipers training for the super bowl. I was surprised how many people didn’t know they did this at the actual stadiums. Why would you not practice shooting and working out the angels at a place like this when you have the chance? A sportball stadium filled with a zillion people is not the place to be working out the angle for a shot the first time. Years ago I read a story of the Secret Service training snipers before a huge sporting event the POTUS was going to be attending. I recall the Top Men had trouble working out what round to use for the plexiglass type stuff in the arena and settled on Federal Trophy bonded bullets to penetrate and still make it to the target. I forget where I read this but think maybe it was Plaster’s manual on sniping.

The T48 FAL.

Above is a great image from when the USMC was testing the FAL for possible adoption to replace the M1 Garand. You can tell how early it was by the Marine’s uniform and webgrear. He’s using the BAR belt with older should strapping, and a canteen cover still using the m1910 wire hanger system. His helmet cover is the old WW2 camo reversible model and the flak vest is the Korean war model. The uniform itself is the one used before the OG107s. You can also see the wooden furniture of the T48 rifle.

The U.S. tested the FAL in several forms; initially as manufactured by FN in experimental configurations, and later in the final T48 configuration as an official competitor for the new Light Self-Loading Rifle intended to replace the M1 Garand. The US Army procured T48 rifles from three firms for testing, including two U.S. based companies in an effort to assess the manufacturability of the FN design domestically. The T48 was manufactured for testing by Fabrique Nationale (FN), of Herstal, Belgium; (H&R) of Worcester, Massachusetts; and High Standard of Hartford, Connecticut. The United States also received a small number of FAL Heavy Barrel Rifles (HBAR) (either 50.41 or pre-50.41) for testing, under the designation T48E1, though none of these rifles were adopted by US.

Well, we all know how that turned out…

In the end, the T44 was selected over the T48/FAL primarily because of weight (the T44 was a pound lighter than the T48), simplicity (the T44 had fewer parts), the T44’s self-compensating gas system, and the argument that the T44 could be manufactured on existing machinery built for the M1 rifle (a concept that later turned out to be unworkable).

The pound less made no difference and the rest of it turned out to be complete bullshit .

In 1957, the U.S. formally adopted the T44 as the…

The M14. ahem..

The fix was already in for the M14 just like it was when the M16 was submitted. People say the FAL was “almost” a US rifle but that isn’t really true.

For the record I don’t care much for the FAL but I like it slightly more than the M14 which isn’t saying much. I do prefer the FAL a lot more than the G3.

A Marine pictured below holds a T48 in 2008.

Captian Ben Grant with one of 70 H&R T48s via FAL Files, 2008

Captian Ben Grant, USMC with one of 70 H&R T48s in Marine Corps storage, photo via FAL Files, 20

Ten yankee dollars says he still thinks the USMC should still be using the M14.

Some M16 Magazine History

Now here is something we all wish we would find at a yard sale. A complete box of never issued twenty round Colt M16 magazines. Never used. Made in 1970.

The cotton bandoleer came with 7 pockets of two stripper clips of 10 rounds each. The box comes with 7 mags. The bandoleer will hold the loaded mags. Who knew there was a time when the government got something right that made sense?

one of my VN era bandoleers with era made 20 rounders to demonstrate

The Winchester Model 72 ( A Boy And His Rifle Part V)

I picked this up last week. The Winchester Model 72 is one of the two Winchester vintage rimfires I have wanted for many years, The other being the Model 69A. Both come with peep sights and are essentially the same gun except for one thing. The 69 takes a detachable magazine, the same used by the Model 52 and Model 75 and the Model 72 uses a tube magazine.

For background I am going to let Dyspeptic Gunsmith fill in the background and add a few comments of his own.

“Production of the 72 started in 1939, and was a response to dealers wanting a “boy’s rifle” which was a .22 bolt action with a tubular magazine. Today, we all would ask “Why a tubular magazine over a detachable box magazine?” The Model 69 had a “clip” or detachable stacked magazine and preceded the 72. Why the tubular magazine?

Glad you asked. A DBM has a real problem trying to feed .22 Long Rifle, Long and Shorts interchangeably. With a tube magazine, you can stack .22 LR’s, Longs and Shorts in the tube on top of each other in any order you want, and then just cycle the bolt as you want. They all feed. They all go ‘bang’. They all extract and eject. They don’t all make the same noise, however. More on that later. You also cannot lose a tube magazine. It’s attached to the rifle. This is a consideration when you’re a father or uncle, buying a .22 rifle for a young lad who is prone to dropping things in the woods.

The 72 came with a 25″ barrel, and the barrel was screwed into the receiver (as I recall from one I’ve worked on). This was notable, because in the quest for cost-reduction in .22 rifle manufacturing, some gun makers of the post-WWII era would make the receiver be part of the barrel steel. ie, the barrel and receiver (which was a tubular receiver) were all machined from the same bar of steel. This can make a gunsmith look pretty damned silly when he tries to remove the barrel from the receiver, only to discover that won’t ever happen.

The 72’s were not serial numbered (as I recall), ( he is correct )so dating them might be a tad tricky. There were two models of the original 72 made – one with a LR chamber (in which you could use Long or Shorts as well) and a “gallery gun” which was .22 Short only. It was marked on the barrel as such. They had a magazine that ended a bit less than 8″ from the muzzle or the other, longer magazine that ended about 6″ from the muzzle. They were available with open or aperture rear sights.

Production was discontinued in 1941 as Winchester tooled up for WWII. Production resumed in 1946, and continued until the 72/72A were discontinued in 1959. I think over 161,000 of the 72/72A were made.

They’re plenty accurate for the original price of the rifle – a less expensive, “boy’s rifle” that was used for plinking, squirrel/rabbit hunting and the like. Rifles like the 72, when used with .22 Short ammo, were nearly silent. I killed all manner of raccoon pests with a 72 and Shorts/CB caps when I was a kid.

Now lets take a look.

Above you can see the excellent target type sights for the rifle. The rear fully adjustable rear peep and the hooded front post. Capable of some very fine shooting as opposed to the lame open style barrel mounted sights found on the majority of “boys rifles” from since the dawn of time.

Windage is adjusted by loosening the rear peep, this lets you slide it to the left or right. Not as nice as a redfield rear and takes a little trial and error to know how much to move it but it very workable. It’s more of a set it and leave it alone deal. I think adding a mark on the black piece with a file would allow repeat return of your zero once you set it. Elevation ins made with the small screw forward of the peep on top.

As you can see, it press against the receiver to move the sight up and away or to lower it. Very simple but not repeatable. But once it’s set, its set. The safety is seen on the right side .

The stock of the rifle feels like it should be on a centerfire rifle. This is back when they made them like they still gave a shit and took pride. It shows. The rifle feels like a target rifle. Like most “boys rifle’s ” from the day its realistically too big for a boy. Unless the “boy” is a 17 year old. That’s OK though. It makes it just right for adults.

I took it out and did some shooting to see what the zero was like and how it might group.

From 30 yards it did pretty good with Remington bulk standard velocity ammo. I will need to tweak the zero just a hair to get it dead on. Range dog was not impressed much though.

I will follow up with a part 2 in a few days once the weather allows me some time on a bench and we will see how my stock refinishing job turned out.