5.56 Timeline

Audie Murphy’s M1 Carbine

An interesting thread over on the old BARFCOM today turned up a few things that I found interesting. Everyone who reads this website knows who Audie Murphy is. One of , if not the most, decorated US Soldier of WW2. If there is an award for doing something, Audie received it. Including the MOH.

Don’t let that boyish face fool you. He was a very dangerous man

Audie was such a small little young fellow he had to lie about his age to get into the Army. The movie based on his autobiography was really hollywooded up. His fellow veterans said Audie was a real of a wild man. Unlike the movie, he was brave and aggressive with so much audacity that they no doubt left it out of the movie for fear average America wouldn’t believe a man really did all the things he did. While he had his problems after the war with PTSD, he was a born killer made for combat.

One of the members over at Brownells-ARF recently stopped by a museum displaying Audie’s M1 carbine used during the war. Audie LOVED the M1 carbine. That may come as a surprise to a lot of people. See, Audie didn’t have internet EXPURTS around during the big one to tell him how ineffective the M1 carbine was. So he naively went around killing Germans like it was cool using his useless carbine. He loved the so much he had some after the war and would give them away to friends.

This blog had a pretty good piece on it a few years ago. I will link you to the original website but there isn’t much need, I already gutted it for the best part.

Figure 1: Audie Murphy, the most decorated US Soldier of WW2. (Source)

Figure 1: Audie Murphy, the most
decorated US Soldier of WW2.

When I was a boy, I read the memoir To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy and was very impressed with his accomplishments as an infantry soldier during WW2 (Figure 1). It is a very American tale – a dirt poor teenager from family with a dead mother and missing father accomplishes amazing feats through sheer determination and force of will. He later starred in a movie version of his book that is well worth watching. I should mention that the book tells a better tale than the movie.

I recently read that the US Army had recovered his favorite rifle, which was an M1 carbine. The M1 carbine was shorter and much lighter than the infantry’s standard issue M1 Garand. The carbine was usually carried by troops who had limited space available (e.g. tankers) or who had to carry other things (e.g. radiomen, paratroopers). For example, my father was a radioman and he carried an M1 carbine. In Murphy’s case, he carried many different weapons, but appeared to prefer the M1 carbine. The story of its recovery is a testament to the power of modern database technology. The key to recovering the rifle was an interview with Murphy that provided a key piece of information – the serial number of the rifle.

Figure 2: Serial Number on Audie Murphy's M1 Carbine.

Figure 2: Murphy’s M1
Carbine Serial Number.

When Murphy had the rifle, it certainly had certainly seen better days. The explosion of a nearby mortar round had damaged it, and Murphy did a field‑expedient repair on it using a wire. He continued to use the rifle, which he referred to as his “wounded carbine”. I have read that at various times Murphy had used a Thompson sub-machine gun, an M1 Garand, and the M1 carbine. He must of have really like this rifle because during a 1967 interview, Murphy mentioned its serial number, 110878 (Figure 2). Over six million of these rifles were produced during WW2, but that serial number provided a means for uniquely identifying that rifle.

Figure 1: Warehouse in Movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Source)

The exact story of how the rifle left Murphy’s possession is unclear. It appears that Murphy was wounded by a sniper on 25-Oct-44. Thinking that the wound may send him home, Murphy gave his rifle to a sergeant who hoped that the carbine would bring that him luck. Unfortunately, most of that sergeant’s platoon was wiped out the following day. It is believed the rifle was recovered from the battlefield by the US Army, properly repaired, and put into storage. When you think of US government storage, think of a warehouse like what was shown at the end of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark (Figure 3). It seems like a miracle that this specific rifle could be pulled out of a warehouse like this, but it really happened. A person at the Center of Military History Clearinghouse at the Anniston Army Depot did a database search for that serial number, got a hit, and the rifle was found (Source).

Figure 4 shows the rifle in its museum display today. I should mention that another movie,  Carbine Williams, was made that involved the M1 carbine. It is the story of a convict, Marsh Williams , who created the basic operating mechanism of the gun while serving time in a North Carolina prison. If you are curious about the four rifles he designed while in prison, see this Wikipedia paragraph.

Figure 4: Museum Display of Audie Murphy's Rifle, Gear, and Medals from WW2.

Figure 4: Audie Murphy’s M1 Carbine in Museum Display.

Murphy’s favorite war time M1

Above is a picture from a museum in Norte Mexico ( AKA Texas) with Audie Murphy’s favorite war time M1, found from storage. You can see it has a bayonet lug which would not be time period correct, The gun was rebuilt after Audie’s time with it and brought up to specs seen in the Korean war era. Above it is the sniper rifle Audie took from a German sniper he personally smoked with same carbine.

Probably the best encounter that was very public at the time was this account published shortly after he returned from the war. It appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the local Newspaper on 11 December, 1946 with the following headline:

“War Hero Handy With His Fist, Hijacker Discovers”

“130-Pound Hero Fells 190-Pound Holdup Suspect”


DALLAS (Tex.) Dec. 11. (AP) —

Little Audie Murphy, who is World War II’s most decorated soldier, won another battle singlehanded this afternoon when he subdued a 6-foot 2-inch, 190-pounder who apparently attempted to steal his automobile.
The freckled kid from Farmersville, Tex., told the Dallas Morning News he knocked out the 25-year-old man in a rural filling station near here after a furious 10-minute battle. Murphy weighs 130 pounds and stands 5 feet 7 inches tall.
State Highway Patrolmen Everett Brandon and F. H. Jensen, who talked with the News by telephone, said they arrested the man and lodged him in the McKinney Jail. No complaint was filed immediately.

Tells of Holdup

The 20-year-old Texas hero, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor and every other U.S. combat medal in World War II, related he was driving alone when he saw a large man limping along the highway. “It was raining like the devil and I thought I would do the fellow a favor,” Audie related. “I picked him up and we drove about a mile. “Suddenly this guy jammed something into my ribs, slapped me across the mouth and said: “‘I’m the boss now. If you won’t talk, this .45 will. I can use this car.’ “I admitted that he was pretty much the boss at that point and we drove about four more miles. He told me to pull into a roadside gasoline station and stop. I did and he took the keys and instructed me to slide along the seat and get out on his side of the car.”

Decides on Fight

Audie said the man’s left hand, hidden under an old army blouse, was still jammed into his ribs when he decided to make a fight for it. He grabbed the man’s hand, struck him a blow that tumbled him from the car and on to the filling station drive.
Murphy jumped squarely on the erstwhile tough guy and started swinging.
“We fought all over the place for about 10 minutes,” Audie said. “He was a pretty big fellow, all right. I finally got him, though.”
J. M. Peters, owner of the gasoline station, ran into the drive and ordered both men offthe premises before he knew the background, Patrolman Brandon added.

Calls in Police

Audie rushed to another gasoline station a mile north to telephone the State police and upon his return found that his attacker had recovered, escaped and gone to the home of Mrs. Park Grissom, a few hundred yards distant.
The man was scuffling with Mrs. Grissom and demanding fresh clothing to replace his bloody and torn garments when Murphy and the patrolmen overpowered him again.

dirtbag on left, Audie on right. Ever notice once in a while you run across some one you shouldn’t have fucked with?

Expanded Info On Army’s Infantry Arms Replacement Program

Got some more info coming out over the last few days about the Army’s next generation money hole. We will hear a lot of upcoming hype and marketing claims and will likely see all three join the ranks with the other “replacement for the M4”, like the XM8. But , maybe not. Who really knows even more. AS Howard cracked the other day, looks like the shills for HK quit and went to work for SIG.

On Aug. 29, the Army announced it selected three defense companies to deliver prototype weapons for the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) program.

The new weapons must be lighter and able to penetrate the world’s most advanced body armor from at least 600 meters away, defense insiders say.

“This is a weapon that could defeat any body armor, any planned body armor that we know of in the future,” former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has said.

“This is a weapon that can go out at ranges that are unknown today. There is a target acquisition system built into this thing that is unlike anything that exists today. This is a very sophisticated weapon.”

The announcement was originally posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website on Aug. 29. The notice said the Army selected AAI Corporation Textron Systems, General Dynamics Ordnance, and Sig Sauer as the three finalists for the NGSW program, reported Defense Blog.

For those that missed the reveal months ago, here’s AAI’s (@Textron subsidiary) prototypes for the #USArmy‘s NGSW program. The first pic is the offer for the NGSW-R segment (M4 rifle replacement), the 2nd pic shows the two NGSW-AR prototypes (M249 SAW replacement), both in 6.8mm. pic.twitter.com/SsUIhCgeku — Parthu Potluri (@Parthu_Potluri) June 18, 2019

The request asks AAI/Textron, G.D., and Sig Sauer each to supply 53 rifles, 43 automatic rifles and 850,000 rounds of ammunition for the 27-month test. The Army is expected to wrap up the test in 1H22 when it’s expected to announce the winning design. By 2H22, the Army could start fielding the new weapons to combat units.

NGSW weapons won’t initially replace all M4 carbine and M249 light machine guns but will be given to infantry and special operation forces first.

The 27-month test will include “soldier touchpoint” tests that evaluate “mobility and maneuverability on Army relevant obstacles, and user acceptance scenario testing,” the Army says.

The Army is expected to test each weapon’s round for ballistic effectiveness under simulated combat conditions. There’s a chance in the latter parts of the test, the weapons could be tested in a war zone.

“These evaluations may be conducted with multiple squads,” the Army added.

The NGSW program has been centered around a weapon that can support a new 6.8mm bullet.

AAI/Textron is seen as the leader in the NGSW since it has spent more than a decade developing its 6.8mm cased-telescoped round.

“We have assembled a team that understands and can deliver on the rigorous requirements for this U.S. Army program with mature and capable technology, reliable program execution and dedicated user support,” says Wayne Prender, Textron Systems’ Senior Vice President, Applied Technologies and Advanced Programs.

“Together, we are honored to support America’s soldiers with the next-generation capabilities they need in their most dangerous missions.”

The Pentagon’s current shift from urban warfare in Iraq and Syria to the mountains and open terrain of Afghanistan have been the driving force behind modernizing standard issue weapons for infantry units. While standard rifles are well-suited for close combat in cities like Mosul and Raqqa, it lacks the range to kill adversaries in open stretches.

AAI/Textron will likely secure the contract for NGSW by 1H22. The contract could be as large as 250,000 weapons and 150 million rounds for the first order.

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.

The AR15, right arm of the Free World.

For far too long the FN FAL has held the title, “The right arm of the Free World” due to it’s use by over 90 countries in the past. The reign of the FAL has passed. About seven million were made by about fifteen counties.

Between the US, Canada, and China we have made more than eight million AR15s. That doesn’t include all the other countries making them. More than 80 counties have used the M16, or a variant. As far as I can tell, that 80 countries number does not include many users of the M4 and similar.

You have countries like New Zealand, who switched from the M16 to the AUG and then back to an AR, the LMT MARS. France switched to the HK416.

Many countries that don’t use an AR15 variant for their standard army, use them for their special forces. UK Special Forces use the L119A1 (Colt Canada C8SFW), Australian special forces use the HK416.

Derivatives of the AR are seen around the world as well. From the Daewoo K2, Norinco CQ, etc. 9mm AR submachine guns have been used by Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Israel, Malaysia, and others. The SIG MCX, a gun that is based off the AR, but changes even more of the design, has been used by at least 12 countries.

Shawn loves to point out a great argument about the marketability of the AR. Look that companies that make competetors to the AR15. Most of them still make AR15 also. FN makes the F2000 and the SCAR-L. They still make AR15s. IWI just added an AR15 to compete with their Tavor for market share. Stateside, companies that has less popular .223 rifles like the Ruger Mini-14, now also make and sell AR15s. Companies like S&W got into the AR15 market to get some of that massive amount of money being throw around for the AR15.

Companies all around the world make AR15s locally for their respective markets. A couple of examples: Oberland Arms or Schmeisser for Germany. In Russia, Molot made the Vepr-15 aka VPO-240. Now ADAR in Russia is building AR15 from Molot barrels and outsourced parts.

Hell, search the news, you can find articles of shipping containers of AR15 parts made in China being confiscated because of the parts are being imported illegally into the US. Where else did you think some of these super cheap parts were coming from?

The commercial market loves the AR15. These can be found nearly anywhere in the world, and most of the western world has individuals trained and ready with some form of the AR15 to fight on their behalf. You will find that the majority of elite professional gunfights in the Western World are using the AR15.

The FAL had its’ day. It is time to correctly call the AR15 the right arm of the Free World.

A look at the Capco M16A2 upper – Part 1

Once again I spend money I shouldn’t have spent on something I don’t really need. But I wanted it. I carried a M16A2 for most of my time in the Corps.

Capco is a defense contractor that has been around since 1968. I only learned about them a year ago. At some point, they provided M16A2 replacement uppers for the U.S. Military.

For the past little while, there were lots and lots of Capco M16A2 uppers for sale. Used uppers in the $350 range, and new in wrap uppers for $430-450ish. I’d been watching these for sale and kept telling my self I was going to get one. There were what appeared to be hundreds of them for sale from various sources. I kept waiting and waiting and finally broke down and got one. It was the last one on Gunbroker. Now more might get listed as any time, but I don’t see any for sale currently. Good thing I didn’t wait any longer. As the supply might have dried up.

It came sealed in a rust preventive bag.

It had a wick in the bore, but that had slid down into the receiver.

It had some various little blemishes on the bottom. Looked like when someone hammered in the forward assist roll pin they caught the upper a couple of times.

The upper is finished black (Not like the older “Colt Grey”). It has the newer style small forward assist.

The upper receiver is marked with a raised P and the Splintered A. The barrel markings are very faint on mine. At first I thought the barrel wasn’t marked and I looked over it several times. Finally after oiling it all up I was able to make out the stamping on the top near the muzzle. “P MP 5.56 NATO 1/7”

Bottomed out at 8/3-1

Out of the package, the rear sight bottomed out at 8/3-1. I used a 1/16th allen wrench to implement the RIBZ (Revised Improved Battlesight Zero).

Bottomed out at 8/3-3

By doing this, 8/3-3 will be my 100 yard setting. 8/3-2 will be my 200 yard setting.

I noticed the pin under the elevation knob has some type of black goo or sealant on it. I don’t know if they were trying to rust proof or water proof that, or cover up for damage. I have seen a couple of cheap Capco M16A2 uppers where the upper was damaged by improper installation of that pin. It could be they put a dab of black paint to cover up heavy handed clumsy roll pin installation. The black stuff is dabbed on both sides, so I’m not sure.

Much to my annoyance, the windage knob was not timed so that the bold line next to the R would be straight up when the sight is centered. I’m enough of a nut case to care about such things, so I removed the knob and reindexed it.

If someone is looking for a minty perfect looking upper, this Capco would be a poor choice. It has a handful of various blemishes, and plenty of things to nit pick. But for someone wanting to get something semi-retro, or for the collector with more money than common sense, the Capco M16A2 upper might be a great choice.

I’ll write more after I get to shoot it.