My Colt 6940 FDE

Some time back Colt did a limited run of FDE anodized LE6920 and LE6940 models. I’ve heard there was something like 300 of these tan 6940s made, and 1500 of the 6920s.

Shawn was a pretty early adopter of the monolithic upper model of the 6940. He wrote a nice write about the 6940 back in 2012. You can see it here. When the FDE 6940 came out, he picked one up and switched to it.

An old picture of Shawn’s FDE 6940

I always thought how he has his rifle set up is pretty practical. So years later when I picked up a LE6945, a shorter barreled 6940, I set it up similarly.

My LE6945

Every so often I would see one of those limited run FDE 6940s come up for sale. Often $3000+. Insane.
Then I saw one for sale just a little over what I thought was reasonable, so I snatched it up.

This rifles comes out of the box ready for use, it even included a nice accessory kit I teased about here.

The kit comes with 2 mags, sling, cleaning kit, ladder covers, manual, a vertical forward grip, and a QD sling swivel.

Now I could write about this rifles performance, reliability, etc. But being it is a Colt, I think you what is going to be said. Now sometime down the road I plan to do some accuracy testing, but that hasn’t happened yet.

The 6940 has two heat shields in the hand guards. One above the gas tube and one at the bottom to help protect the shooters hand from heat when rapid firing.

The bottom rail is removable when you press a recessed button.
A 6940 has a 16″ M4 profile barrel. A notch in the upper receiver allows for a M203 grenade launcher to be mounted.

The 6940 model is a great gun, but I think it has a similar problem the FN SCAR has. It is a product of an older time. Now people want longer slick hand-guards, greater molecularity, etc. It is great at what it is, but you are limited to what you can change on it.

So what did I change on mine?

The Magpul MOE stock and grip on the rifle are fine, but I replaced them with the CTR (with extended pad) and A2 grip as I prefer. I removed the Magpul winter trigger guard and replaced it with a standard trigger guard (why?). A Tango Down stubby VFG was added to the hand guard. This rifle will normally wear an Aimpoint T-1 with a 300m zero. A KAC Ambi-Safety & Norgon Ambi-Catch aid in making the rifle more ambidextrous.

Eventually I’d like to swap out the Magpul rear sight for a KAC 2-600m sight. I’m also going to add a Surefire Warcomp so I can mount my silencer. I’d like to add Surefire Scout Light, once I can find another one cheap. Other than that, it is as it will be. I just need to shoot it more.

Small News Items on Army Small Arms

Today we have another re-post from our departed friend. Kevin O’Brien, AKA “Hognose” owner and writer of weaponsman.com.

There’s a bunch of little news bits going around the Army about maintenance issues and problems. We’ll cover them from most to least serious:

Item: Somebody Blew It

Beretta_M9_FAIL

File photo of failed M9 slide. Not the mishap firearm.

In late 2015, a very high (but unknown) round count M9 pistol had a catastrophic failure of the slide. With the Army scrimping on O&M money, especially on the ripe-for-replacement Beretta handgun, failures are not unusual and usually turn out to be fatigue failures from parts that have been carelessly used long past their service life. So was this one. The pistol was older than the soldier shooting it, and, as it turned out, someone, somewhere had pencil-whipped the maintenance records.

Slides fail every week, somewhere in an Army with hundreds of thousands of pistols that were almost all bought 30 years ago. But what happened next wasn’t supposed to happen. When the pistol slide failed at the slide’s weakest point, the locking-block cuts, the rear half of the slide kept on motoring, striking the GI in the cheek and upper jaw area and causing non-life-threatening injuries.

The investigation determined that a mandatory maintenance work order, MWO 9-1005-317–30-10-1, issued twenty-seven years ago in March, 1989, had never been complied with. They couldn’t track where the pistol was at the time it was not repaired; Army units and activities with M9s had until June, 1993 to comply.

Somebody reported that his M9s were in compliance, when they weren’t. This is what you get when a zero-defects, up-or-out culture undermines integrity while at the same time penny-pinching undermines maintenance. The soldier who drew that defective M9, and every soldier that’s been drawing and shooting it since 1989, is damned lucky to be alive. (Fortunately, when a slide fails on most pistols (or a bolt on a Mauser C96, etc.), gravity usually  ensures that the part hits below the eye, on cheek, jaw, chest or shoulder).

Meanwhile, the Army sent an urgent Safety-of-Use message mandating an Army-wide inspection of all M9s for completion of the MWO. Since the resources for completing the MWO no longer exist, the remedial action is to immediately deadline and turn in the offending M9 and draw a replacement.

How many units pencil-whipped their response to that ALARACT message?

Item: Safety? Sometimes it’s Evolution in Action

FOOM!

Word is, some genius removed himself from the breeding population of Homo sapiens in 2014 by “improvising” M203 ammo (may have been 320) by cutting the links off of (higher-pressure) Mk19 belted ammo. The links were actually designed so they couldn’t snap off by hand, to prevent that.

Can we get a “FOOM!” from the assembled multitudes?

And oh, yeah, trying to belt up 203 ammo and fire it in an Mk 19 leads to FOOM also, of a different variety — out of battery ignition. Another opportunity for poka-yoke missed.

Item: Ambi Selectors Reaching Troops.. slowly

The Army has finally woken up to two facts:

  1. About 10% of the troops are left-handed, and
  2. There are lots of good ambi selectors available.

So the Army chose one and put it into the pipeline. So far so good, right? Not entirely. The selectors are only being replaced when the weapons are overhauled. And they don’t fit in the M12 racks many units still have. Work around is to cut a notch in the rack with a torch, or with a file and plenty of time, or to bend the part of the rack that hits the right-side selector out of shape so that the selector clears the rack.

Also, the slow migration of the ambi selectors means not all M4/M16 weapons in any given unit have them. Why don’t they just push the parts down to the unit armorers? Three reasons:

  1. The big one: they’re afraid of armorers stealing parts if they take rifles apart
  2. It doesn’t fit the concept of echeloned maintenance, even though that’s being streamlined;
  3. They don’t trust the armorers let alone the Joes, not to botch the installation.

On top of that, of course, it’s not penny wise and pound foolish in the great Army tradition.

Item: New Stuff Coming in, Old Stuff Going Out

A number of new arms are reaching the troops, and old arms are going away.  We’ll have more about that in the future, especially the M2A1 and the coming “rationalization” of an explosion of shotguns and sniper rifles. We just broke it out of this post to keep the length manageable.

ITEM: MG Maintenance Problems = Operator Headspace & Timing

m249-PIP

The biggest single problem the Army has with the current pair of machine guns (M240 and M249) is burned out barrels. That’s caused by not changing barrels, either in combat, or especially on the range. Often, units go out without the spare barrel so it’s not like they gave themselves any option.  (The M2 version of this is going out with only one set of gages for the M2s. The gages are not required for the M2A1). The Army is falling back into the peacetime mindset of “leave it in the arms room and we can’t lose it.” True enough, we’ll just destroy the one we take out instead.

The fact is, and it’s a fact widely unknown to GIs, MGs have rate-of-sustained-fire limitations that are lower than they think. (Remember the MGs that failed at Wanat? They were being operated well outside their designed, tested envelope).

The M249 should never be fired more than 200 rounds rapid fire from a cold barrel. Then, change to a cold barrel, repeat. The Army being the Army, there are geniuses who think that they can burn a couple belts in a few seconds, change barrels, burn a couple belts in a couple more seconds, then put the original honkin’ hot barrel back in and burn — you get the idea. If you have a situation where you’re going to fire a lot of rounds from a single position, like a predeployment MG familiarization for support troops or a defensive position, you might want to lay in some extra barrels (and yes, Army supply makes that all but impossible, so you have to cannibalize your other MGs).

The M240 is a little more tolerant but should still be changed every 2 to 10 minutes of firing, and even more frequently if the firing tends towards real sustained fire. (The deets are in the FM, which is mostly only available on .pdf these days).

One last thought, your defensive MG positions need to have alternate, displace positions, and you need to displace after sustained fire from one position — unless you want to share your hole with an exploding RPG, ATGM or mortar round. “Where’s your secondary position?” or “-fallback position?” should not produce the Polish Salute.

As ordnance experts have observed ever since World War II, a barrel can be burnt out due to overheat and still mic and even air-gauge good. You only know it’s hosed when it can’t shoot straight.

Well-maintained MGs are more accurate than people seem to give them credit for. Some SOF elements have selective fire M240s and really, really like them. (The standard M240 has no semi setting). They’re capable of surprising accuracy from the tripod.

ITEM: For Want of a Cord, a Career was Lost

GIs frequently lose or throw away the idiot cord on the PVS-14 night vision monocular. If these sights were being properly inspected, which they usually aren’t until a team comes in just before deployment, they’d be tagged NMC (non mission capable) for missing  that stupid cord. You don’t want to be in the bursting radius of a unit CO who’s just been told 85% of his night vision is NMC… especially when that news is delivered in earshot of his rater and senior rater. It’s a bull$#!+ requirement but it’s in the book, and if the Army ever has to choose between following the book or winning the war, the book comes up trumps every time.

You’re not going to stop GIs from losing cords, but replacement cords are in the supply catalog

AUG + M203

Today is a picture of friend of the website, Marc. He showed this picture of him while still in the Australian military. Of note is the M203 mounted to his AUG service rifle. The attachment was an experimental system for getting the M203 onto an AUG.

Things have slowed down here during the Holidays as I am sure you noticed. Things will start to pick back up this week and get back to normal after the new year.

Looks like the barrel is shot on my favorite AR.

My favorite gun started key-holing last weekend.  It is the most distraught I’ve felt in a long time.  Like losing an old friend.  Extra kick in the nuts was that I just rebuilt the gun as I was upgrading it.

After I had issues with my first SBR I decided I’d have another built no holds barred.

I started seeing pictures of 10.5 inched barreled carbines with the 9.5 inch long Daniel Defense Lite rail.  I really liked that setup.  That rail was a predecessor to the RIS II rail.  Similar profile but the bottom rail was lower and did not detach.  I was planning to use one of those when I learned about the RIS II rails.  I liked the idea of being able to remove the bottom rail for cleaning.  And one of the Daniel Defense reps told me that ALL the RIS II rails could mount a M203.  Later I learned that was not true of their MK18 Rail.

I like this upper setup so much I decided I’d swap the old WOA upper on it with a Colt FDE upper and have one of my SBR lowers Cerakoted Burned Bronze to turn this setup all FDE.

Sort of like that, but with an FDE lower.

It was interesting pulling this old upper apart to rebuild it.  There was a little corrosion:

Along with lots of gunk.

But everything cleaned up nicely:

The barrel was part of a limited run from a company that no longer exists.  They had Douglas blanks turned down by Compass Lake Engineering with wylde chambers.  Then a small part of this batch was given an ion bond finish.

Now days I wouldn’t recommend a match barrel on a SBR.  But it sure was a fun combination.  I don’t know how many rounds I had through it, but it is somewhere around 10,000 +- 3,000.  Match ammo, m193, m855, lots of wolf and other assorted cheap ammo, some of it fired full auto on other peoples lowers, lots of rapid fire.  Only failures I had were two case head separations with Black Hills blue box remanufactured ammo.

I often drove my self nuts trying to shoot very small groups with that 75 grain boat tail open tip match Black Hills ammo.  I would shoot 5 or 10 round groups and have 3 or 8 rounds touching under half an inch at 100 yards.  Then always I would have a shot or two that opened the group up to 1.1 inches.  Drove me mad.  Later I was told by some other shooters that used the same ammo that about 1.1 inch groups at 100 yards were what they normally got out of that ammo.

For a long time this was my main AR.  It also functioned as a test bed.  If I had something new to test, try it on with this gun.  Note, I have multiple SBR lowers and I move uppers between them.  In no particular order here are a few of the setups I’ve used other the years and happened to take photos of.

I hated the UBR stock, but when I had one, it was on this rifle.

I even ran an A1 fixed stock on it for a while after I got rid of the UBR.

I’ve used many different iron sights and scopes on it.  I used Troy BUIS for a long time before finally deciding that I liked the sight picture of the KAC sights the best.

That picture is from when I was joking on a forum about having an offset ACOG for close in work when you are running your fixed 10x scope.  The ACOG was mounted to an offset rail which at the time I was normally using a Doctor sight on.

Yup, I even had an ACOG with piggyback T-1 back in the day.  I love the combo of running the Nightforce 2.5-10×24 on this rifle as the rifle is accurate and the scope makes hitting what you want to hit easy.  I sent a good number of round downrange at 565 yard targets with a Nightforce on this upper.

In the past I’ve called this gun my “Micro-Recce”.  A rifle small and handle enough for fast work, but plenty accurate enough if you needed to take a little longer shot.  But in hind sight I think everything practical that I ever did with this rifle could have been done just as well with a chrome lined barrel.  Had I started with a chromed barrel I probably wouldn’t be rebararreling it now.  While a well made stainless barrel will hold  up to a great deal, it just is not made for sustained abuse.

I’ve tried a great number of fun or odd setups with this gun.

I was debating if it was time to retire this upper and build something different but instead I decided that I am going to rebarrel it.  I’m taking a Colt M4A1 SOCOM barrel that I have lightly used and having it cut down to 10.3 inches by ADCO Firearms.  The old 4 slot Legacy Surefire mount is going to be replaced with a new Warcomp.  I know a collector who is going to give that 4 slot a good new home.  This new set up should give me a good reliable accurate barrel (but not a match barrel, which I feel is excessive on a SBR).  The Warcomp will reduce the already minor recoil.  That will give a great deal more life out of this gun.

I’m relieved to know that I am going to still be using this years to come.

SCATTERED SHOTS II

I am a little unorganized today, the post yesterday about  H. W. McBride took longer to get together  than I thought it would and it really eat in to the time I spend on the rest of a weeks line up.  So, today we are  doing another “Scattered shots” post where I say a few things about a gun and gun related subjects that cross my mind.  The first time I did this seems to have been well enough received so lets try it again.

First up I want to put you on to something that is actually pretty useful.  arma-dynamics has a page up showing graphics on where all manner of zeroes will hit on target with AR15s with most popular barrel length and ammo.  http://www.arma-dynamics.com/zero-considerations.html

If you are curious  about what I use  here it is.   For guns like a  MK12 or any precision rifle I use a 100 yard zero and I adjust my optic for shots further than 200 yards. I hold off for 200 and then start to dial it in further for precise shots.  The idea being I am am using an optic on a precision rifle I want to be able to hit the smallest target I can.   For guns like  an A2 or M4 using iron sights I use the 25.300meter zero.  The idea being I want the easier zero to keep all shots in a man’s chest out to 300, at which point I can start using the adjustment on the A2/A4 rear sight and apply elevation.   If I am shooting something that is just for playing or say, a retro A1 carbine or SBR with older style iron sights, I use the 50 yard zero. It works well with 55 grain M193 and its  a great  zero for  that ammo and gun.   I know it seems  like it would be a lot to remember but its really not. Or not for me anyway.

Earlier this week Howard wrote about the ACOG  and the models he has and likes best.  I meant to send him this graphic but like an idiot I forgot.   I think it came from Brian from over at The New Rifleman, who sometimes writers a post for us here when he isn’t being a lazy gold brick.

This image is from a report/power point from the U.S. Navy. – Howard

There is no doubt that shooting your carbine with an optic is just plain fun.  Never mind the fighting applications of the force multiplier of a magnified optic on a  carbine, it is just fine. What is more fun is when you put a huge optic on a small handy carbine.

Some years ago Howard bought this Leupold and sent it to me to borrow a while and play with it.    Man, I loved it.  The Mk 6  Leupold is a 3x-18x and in my opinion is my favorite optic of all time.  I love it’s features, I love it’s size and it’c clarity.  If I had to have only one optic to use for precision shooting at long range and moving it around on various AR pattern rifles in 5.56 and 7.62 it would be this one.  I slapped it on my 6940 with some bipods and put a real hurt on the crows that season.  I smacked the above crow in the head at  278 yards using  Hornady TAP 75 gr OTMs.

It may look odd to some people but it is hard to describe just how fun it is to put high quality optics with  higher magnification optics on a handy carbine and smack steel at range. Or even just shooting groups or skeet on a berm a a few hundred yards.  It is even funner when you put it on  a lightweight profile barrel and use it to really see what kind of accuracy you can squeeze out of a A1 profile barrel carbine.

The Leupold MK6 firmly placed it self as my favorite scope also. -Howard

Speaking of shooting targets at long range.  Here is a picture from a training range at a military range not too far from me. I hate to be”that guy”  but I can’t say where or a few people could get in trouble.  We have thought about trying to recreate this  unknown distance range with steel targets  all over, but the local morons would destroy the targets just out of drunken ignorance.  Anyway it is a great picture of a pretty nifty training range.

Speaking of military ranges, I been re-reading for the 4th time, the autobiography of Col. Charles Askins.   Col. Askins was a very controversial gun writer while he was alive.  If you get talking about ithim on certain gun forums you can still cause a  fuss.  the Colonel was not shy about his love for killing  people.  He was a champion pistol shot a veteran of the border Patrol in its wildest days, was in WW2, and Vietnam  and he was an accomplished big  hunter.

The good Colonel loved to describe all of his kills ( human) with the detail and satisfaction  of a man who really loves his work.  It was said of him he was the only man that many met that truly loved to be in a fight.   He killed several in his days in the BP where is famously used a shotgun with the “duckbill spreader” choke. He sniped Germans from building on the allied side of the Rhine when bored and killed   a few.   He went on to shoot a few Vietnamese commies  in the early days of the US involvement  with a .44 magnum.  Probably the first to do so in combat.   He wrote  several books on shooting and hunting and countless magazine articles.  He was a user of Colt 1911s and revolvers being a believe in the “fitz special”   wheel guns for carry. In that he really loved the New Service colt in .45  done up as a Fitz Special.    Which is the bobbed hammer and the front  part of the trigger guard removed and the barrel and ejector shortened.  Guns magazine has been making their older issues from the past 50 years available for reading for free on their website. You can read some of his articles there.

While looking though some of my old picture folders fore something else I ran across these. They are models Colt  had made up for future adoption or replacement of the M4.

The top SCW and the bottom rifle are piston guns.  A limited number of SCW stocks were sold at a crazy price.  I would have probably still bought one had I had the chance. -Howard

You can see some pretty interesting details. It is a shame they never made some of these.   The rifle with a monolithic rail and a collapsible butt stock would have been pretty cool to have. The SCW stock is something I wish they would turn loose of.   I am not sure how popular the  piston would be on the others.  They knew even back then not where near as many people actually wanted one as  people online would have you think.  The army  did some testing and found piston guns aren’t really all that much better than a DI  operated m4 and here we are , years after the HK416 came out and the piston crazy came and went.

And with the topic of popular myths that make an Ar15 work better is the old chestnut about downloading the magazines by two rounds.   Usually the problem comes from some worthy putting 21 or 31 rounds in a magazine.  Not from weak springs or something or other.

Some sources report that the 20 round mag spring could be installed backwards.  If someone did so the mag was reliable for 18 rounds, but not 20.  Some claim that is why downloading the 20 round mags was recommended.  I have had no issue with running 20 rounds in old USGI 20 round mags. -Howard

Back in those days the M16 was only supposed to be a stop gap until their wonder weapon of the future came out.   If you ever wondered what some of those atrocities looked like here are a few.  Maybe Daniel will pop into the comments and give some detail info about this for those interested.

Of course that didn’t happen and the M16 went on to be arguably our country’s greatest service rifle.

Above you can see a impressive selection of weapons used by US forces during the  Vietnam war.   There are M16s of all kinds, some  Stoner 63s, a Remington 7188 shotgun and the Xm148  launcher that was used before the M203.

Back in 2010 I was in D.C. and was able to stop into the NRA firearms museum.   It is worth going to if at all possible but I found it kinda sloppy in most of it’s displays with very little detail added.  I wish they would let me be in charge of the displays, I would give them something to be proud of. But they had two that I really liked.  One was Ed McGivern’s guns and some items,   He was one of the best pistol shots of all time.

The  other display was this  old shooting gallery.  Man, those were the days.

 

That is about it for the day.  I will leave with this.