Inland MFG M3 Carbine

We have seen a few really nifty M1 carbines out of Inland the last few years. It was just a matter of time before they offered us the version the least known or seen. The M3 was the variant done up to mount a huge active IR night vision “sniper” scope and a huge battery to run it. It didn’t really pan out at the time but it’s existence did mean the carbine Colt version of the M16 would forever be known as the M4.

Now, if you add some normal day time optic to the handy little carbine that is another story. Above you can see the base/ring mounting system Inland has developed for the mounting of optics. Simply put, the base uses the redfield/leupold turn in front ring and dual windage screw rear ring system. any rings you want to buy that work in this manner will fit and work. And it works really well. I chose to put a vintage Weaver K4 on the gun as it is more evocative of the time period this gun had its short heyday.

The machine work Inland put in on this is kinda of amazing. My friend and partner in crime when it comes to our more insane long range shooting ideas is an experienced machinist and when I showed it to him, we both at first thought the base was part of the receiver and machined into shape. It took a surefire light and a closer look to see that it was indeed not part of the gun. It really is a beautiful job.

One of the things that sticks out on the M3 was the cone flash suppressor. Inland did not forget this iconic attachment. And it is attachable. As you can see above it is a simple system. You can chose to put it on or leave it off. I found it did not really impact accuracy any amount I could determine while on and shooting at ranges the 30 carbine round was meant for. There was slight changes when shooting with our without though and depending on the mood or whichever gun you may have, the amount of re-zeroing could vary. I did not bother to re adjust the optic as it was less than 3/4 inch impact change and I was shooting for groups and location on the target did not matter to me.

As expected, being able to use some magnification helped with group size at longer ranges. The Inland M1s have been accurate for me over years since starting to test them.

Group above was shot off bags from bench at 100 yards. The group is a 10 round group and the one flyer I offer no excuse for other than I just touched it off without being ready. The group below was fired at the head at 150 yards.

All groups were fired using federal soft point LEO ammo. I have no idea where I ever got this ammo from but it is pretty accurate. Unfortunately I used all I had left for this test. Target below was fired at center body of target from 300 yards. With the optic it was pretty easy. It is still a carbine meant for combat but I can’t imagine anyone with any sense really having much to complain about its performance at this range. But I am sure some one will in the comments.

Hey, what more could you ask for considering the limitations of the round? Pair the optic with a Korean era 30 round magazine and you got one heck of a neat little carbine for something. Walking around the farm shooting ground hogs or maybe short range coyote gun. With proper bullet selection maybe even white tail at shorter ranges. I don’t know, your imagination is the limit. It doesn’t need justification if you want it. if you think it’s neat then buy one. The quality won’t let you down, nor it’s looks.

I apologize for not having a full glamour shot of the gun with optic for this review. Something went badly wrong with my camera during the uploading process. The camera decided to die after 9 years and it took the remaining pictures with it. This includes the rest of the groups shots and the glamour shots of the gun posed with period militaria collectibles and all that crap you are used to seeing when I do these. That is also why this review seems shorter than normal. It’s not just your imagination or my laziness. I have been trying to recover those photos and if so I will update this review ASAP. To add to that this was the first time I didn’t bother to back up every picture by taking the same pictures with my Iphone just in case.

A little Humor & Update

I know the website has not updated every day like I probably got you used to all of last summer and most of the fall. If you are wondering why it is because I had some medical things I had to get sorted out. Then I got pneumonia. Then it was the holidays. But that is all over now. So what is the hold up? Well it is winter here. Winter in Ky is sometimes very cold. Especially here in the eastern portion ( mountains). But more often its wet and windy and hovers around freezing. That makes it tough to do any real firearms testing up on “the range” AKA the reclaimed strip job on top of a mountain range. I have stuff sitting her ready to go if the rain stops for a bit. The Inland M3 sniper carbine review is almost done. To use Hognose’s schtick, it’s thiiiiiiis close( imagine fingers almost touching).

Anyway, Howard lives in Florida but isn’t Florida man. Yet. So thankfully he can still do some stuff at his range on the weekends. Duncan has apparently ran off to pursue his dream to be a transgendered stripper in NYC since the Gov shut down since our tax dollars are not being sent to him to pay him to oppress us as a Fed for the nonce. Daniel you will see posting Daniel Watters stuff on the Looserounds facebook page if you want something good to read while goldbricking on the toilet at work.

So what is upcoming? well, more videos will start being introduced to the website. Yea yeah. I know, Don’t worry. We aren’t gonna turn into Full30 over here. We will always be 90 percent writing and images. Once you see some of the videos you will understand why I chose video. I’m sure you will appreciate that decision.. Ahem.

That’s about it for now. I will leave you with some funny pictures for a chuckle. It’s ok, the Gov is shut down so they can’t do anything to us if we laugh.

Figure of merit and string length

This was sent along to me to share:

Just FYI.  The primo sniper rifle of the 1850s-1860s.  How accuracy was measured and compared.  The price of this rifle was outrageous but still the Confederacy bought some when they could.  Used a different style of rifling and bullet.  For best results the gun was cleaned after each shot and one had to be careful how much pressure was used to seat the bullet as that changed the point of impact.

BTW  Often used in contests, was ‘string length’.  A string was stretched from the center of the bull to each of the bullet holes, the total length of the string was the ‘score’.  Winner was the shooter with the shortest string length.

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

LaRue, Colt, KAC Battle Carbines Compared Part 2

Part 1 is located here.

I wanted to do an informal precision and shooting comparison between these three rifles.  From left to right in the picture there is a Larue Ultimate Upper kit, a Colt LE901-16SE, and a KAC SR25-EC.  The Colt and the KAC are used rifles, the Larue kit has only had about 32 rounds thought it at this point.

Last weekend I took the three rifles out and fired them at 100 yards using three different types of ammo.  For the test I used a Leupold MK6 3-18 power, and fired the rifles from a Cadwell rest and rear bag.  I singled loaded each shot and fired a 5 shot group with each ammo type.

My initial intent was to fire 5 rounds from each rifle cycling between the rifles before switching brands of ammo.  Unfortunately the point of impact was different enough between the rifles that I was initially off paper as I moved the scope, so I ended up firing all the groups from one rifle, then moving to another.  I used the same firing position, scope, target frame, etc with each rifle.  Fortunately weather and shooting conditions stayed consistent through the course of fire.

Before starting, I expected the Larue to group the best and the SR25 to be the easiest to shoot due to its weight.

I am glad it was an informal test, as I ran into a bunch of issues, mostly all my fault.  I was using my phone to snap photos and I dropped it and broke it very early on.  It was a good thing I had already planned to single load the shots for the groups, as I left all my .308 magazines at home.  The Larue kit comes with a PRI Gasbuster charging handle which I loved, until I cut my trigger finger good on the corner of it.  Good thing I don’t get paid to do this.

An aside, so as my trigger finger was slowly bleeding, I was looking at the medical supplies in my car.  I had something like 3 tourniquets, 2 chest seals, a nasopharyngeal airway, a decompression needle, lots of large pressure dressings, etc, but no band-aids.  I ended up staunching the trickle of bleeding using a McDonald’s napkin I had in my car.  Note, I need to add boo-boo gear to my car medical supplies.  I’m pretty sure McD napkins aren’t considered high speed-low drag, or even clean & sterile bandages.

Anyways, shooting went ok.  Of all the strings of fire I only felt like I pulled 2 shots.  I will bring them up when I discuss the groups.

The targets side by side.

First, the SR25-EC. The EC has a 16 inch heavy barrel that is chrome moly (not chrome lined).  Twist rate is 1:11.

I was surprised, I found the SR25-EC the hardest to shoot of the rifles off the bench rest.  I had expected the combination of it being the heaviest rifle along with the rifle length gas system would make it the lowest recoiling and smoothest shooting rifle.  Firing it off the bench I felt like it had the most movement out of all the rifles when I was shooting it.  This may be in part due to the KAC rail covers being ribbed and as the rifle recoils that may have caused more visible movement though the scope.

  • Hornady American Gunner 155 gr BTHP
    • I fired a 1.42″ 5 shot group
  • Hornady Match 168 gr BTHP
    • This gave me a tighter 1.25″ group.
  • Federal Gold Metal Match 175 gr
    • The first shot landed rather far away from the rest of the group.  Ignoring the first shot, the rest of the group is .77″  Including that first shot the group is a little over 1.7″

I didn’t feel like I pulled any shots or did anything noticeably wrong during those strings of fire.  I am rather disappointed that I didn’t shoot better groups.  I can’t say at this time if it was the rifle or me that was under performing.

The Colt rifle has a chrome lined 1:12 twist rate.  It appears to be that the intent with the 901 is to have an accurate combat rifle, verses say something like the Larue rifles where are meant to be a reliable precision rifle.

The Colt LE901-16SE standard trigger made it a little harder to shoot groups with than the other two rifles.  I found the VLTOR stock on the rifle didn’t fit in the rear bag as well as the CTR stocks that were on the other rifles for shooting.  In hindsight, it might have been nice to use the same stock on each rifle so that they would fit the rear bag the same.  The slick forarm of the SE rode the front bag nicely.

The 901 was the only rifle where I felt that I had a 2 pulled shots.  When I fired the 4 shot of the Hornady 168gr BTHP match I pulled that shot left.  On the 5th shot of the FGMM I had a bug land on my neck as I was pressing the trigger and I jerked the hell out of the trigger in surprise.  I am sort of surprised that shot was even on paper.  But I suppose that lack of discipline is why I was a rifleman and not a sniper.

  • Hornady American Gunner 155 gr BTHP
    • We had a ~1.69 inch group.
  • Hornady Match 168 gr BTHP
    • Excluding my pulled 4th shot, the group was about 1.5 inches, including that shot 1.9″
  • Federal Gold Metal Match 175 gr
    • Excluding my pulled shot, the group is .95 inches.  Including it it is a 1.62 inch group.

Using FGMM 168gr, I have shot sub 1 inch groups with the Colt LE901-16S, and this rifle in the past.

Between each group, I took a break and and would touch the barrels to make sure they had cooled off.  My no means a reliable test, it seemed to me that the 901 got the hottest.  That just seems weird to me.

The Larue Ultimate Upper kit can be ordered with a variety of different barrel options.  This one has the lightweight PredatAR profile.  It is a 1:10 twist rate.   Rifle rifle having the lightest trigger, a nice smooth long hand guard, and the muzzle break was the easiest and smoothest to shoot by a noticeable margin.

I was surprised and disappointed with how the Hornady ammo shot in this rifle.
  • Hornady American Gunner 155 gr BTHP
    • This 5 shot group was 2.1″  I was pretty surprised and disappointed at this.  3 shots landed in .54 inches, but those were the first, second, and 5th shot.
  • Hornady Match 168 gr BTHP
    • This 5 shot group came in at 1.56 inches.  Best 4 of 5 would be .93 inches.
  • Federal Gold Metal Match 175 gr
    • Now this performed more like what I expected.  The 5 shot group is approximately .93 inches, best 3 of 5 being about .53″.

I’ve never shot the Hornady American Gunner or their 168gr match before.  I don’t think I am ever going to buy it again when I could just buy the FGMM instead.  All three rifles put at least 4 rounds of the 5 round group of FGMM in under an inch.  Normally when I would shoot for groups with factory .308 I’d use the FGMM 168 gr.

I was making sight adjustment between groups, and I found that the FGMM 175 gr ammo was impacting about 1 mil (3.6 inches) low compared to the loads at 100 yards.  This was consistent from rifle to rifle.

So what are my takeaways from this?  No more factory Hornady ammo for me.  I believe each of these rifles could do MOA or better with the Federal Gold Medal Match ammo, but unfortunately one five shot group with that ammo doesn’t really tell the true performance of a rifle.  I’d love to just sit at the bench and do a bunch of groups from each rifle but I not sure if I will get the chance to do so.

I’ll be posting up a part 3 which will compare some the internal parts.  I find it interesting on how the Larue rifle has a much lighter recoil spring than the others and feels like it is cycling in slow motion compared to the others.