The 5.56 X 45mm “Timeline” – A Chronology of Development by Daniel E. Watters

Prologue

Author’s Note: This chronology was inspired by the constant confusion on Rec.Guns regarding the intellectual and materiel origins of the .223 Remington (5.56x45mm) cartridge. Admittedly, Remington’s prolific release of .224 caliber cartridges in the 1950s and ’60s does not help. In order to provide a backstop for one of Dean Speir’s newsgroup posts, I developed the following timeline. It remains a work in progress, and the reader is encouraged to read the suggested texts for more in-depth analysis.

Alone, the saga of the .223 Remington and AR-15/M16 is a long tale of “NIH” (not invented here) skulduggery, panicked R&D fixes, all-out marketing efforts, old boys network flesh-pressing, inter-service rivalry, procurement end-runs, and Congressional witch-hunts. However, the saga becomes almost epic when you consider the related weapon systems (both competitors and accessories) along with the intellectual heirs of the SCHV and SALVO concepts, including the various micro-caliber rifle experiments and the current PDW craze. A careful reader will note that many ideas, solutions, and yes, even problems keep popping up again and again as the years pass.

Prologue: 1882 – 1956


1882

Maynard Arms Company introduces the .22-10-45 Maynard. It is one of the first, if not the first, centerfire .22 caliber rifle cartridges.

1885

Winchester introduces the .22 Winchester Center Fire (WCF). It is also known as the .22-13-45 WCF.

1888-1890

Gunsmith Adolph O. Niedner experiments with obtaining higher velocities from the .22 WCF and .22-10-45 Maynard cases. These experiments fail due to the limitations of the gunpowders then available.

1890

Swiss experimenter Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Hebler develops a 5.3x64mm cartridge. (In the previous decade, research by Professor Hebler and Swiss Army officer Eduard Rubin had been influential in coaxing European armies away from large bore rifle cartridges to .30-.32 caliber cartridges.)

1891

Professor Hebler develops a 5.5x50mmR cartridge.

1892

Gunsmith Reuben Harwood begins development of a wildcat .22 high velocity cartridge using the .25-20 Single Shot case (not to be confused with the shorter and fatter .25-20 WCF). It is dubbed the .22-20-55.

1894

In Mexico, the Mondragon M1894 repeating rifle is introduced with a 5x68mm cartridge. The cartridge was developed by Swiss Army officer Eduard Rubin. Rubin experiments with additional 5mm cartridges with case lengths up to ~73mm.

March:

The US Army’s Chief of Ordnance, Brigadier General Daniel W. Flagler, orders the construction of experimental cartridges to determine the military suitability of calibers smaller than 0.30″. Eight barrels are made, divided evenly between .22 and .20 caliber, with rifling twists of 1 in 6″ and 1 in 5.5″ respectively.

In an article, the founder and editor of Shooting and Fishing magazine, Arthur C. Gould, dubs Reuben Harwood’s .22-20-55, the “Hornet”. The nickname sticks, and it is hereafter advertised as Harwood’s Hornet. (It should not be confused with the later Winchester .22 Hornet.) J. Stevens Arms & Tool Co. even announces its intent to chamber rifles for it. (However, it is believed that Stevens never made it a production line item.)

August:
Gunsmith William V. Lowe advertises his own version of the .22-20-55 Hornet. It uses a different shape than Harwood’s version.

1895

January:

Brig. Gen. Flagler instructs Frankford Arsenal to fabricate 250 .22 cartridge cases and 300 bullets. 250 of the bullets are 118 grain, while the remainder is split evenly between 112 grain and 120 grain bullets. Based on data developed by Springfield Armory’s Lt. Tracy C. Dickson, the cartridges are tested in modified Krag rifles. Performance of the .22 cartridge is 2,600 feet per second with the 120 grain bullet. (It is not known whether the proposed .20 caliber cartridge was ever fabricated or tested.)

1896

J. Stevens Arms & Tool Co. introduces the .22-15-60 Stevens. The cartridge is designed by Charles H. Herrick.

1905

Late:
Experimenter Charles Newton experiments with a .25-25 Stevens case tapered down to .22 caliber. This is followed by experiments with the .28-30 Stevens case tapered down, and later, necked down to .22 caliber.

1907

Adolph O. Niedner builds a rifle for a wildcat cartridge based on the .32-40 Ballard case necked down to .22 caliber.

January:
In a letter, experimenter Dr. Franklin W. Mann announces his intent to rechamber a Winchester Lee rifle to a wildcat cartridge based on necking down the 6mm Lee Navy case for .226″ bullets.

1908

October:
Dr. Franklin W. Mann finally receives a barrel suitable for his wildcat .22/6mm Lee cartridge.

December:
In a letter, Dr. Franklin W. Mann announces that he has tested his wildcat .22/6mm Lee cartridge. He reveals that he cannot exceed 3,000 fps without blowing primers and overly stretching cases.

1910

November:
In a letter to gunwriter Major Ned H. Roberts, Adolph O. Niedner reveals that he has completed a chambering tool for Charles Newton for a new wildcat cartridge. It is based on necking down a 6mm Lee Navy case to .22 caliber.

1911

Fall:
Savage introduces the .22 Imp (later known as the .22 Hi-Power). Work had begun using Charles Newton’s wildcat based on the .28-30 Stevens case necked down for .228″ projectiles. At Savage’s request, Newton later switched to the .32-40 Ballard case based on the experiments of Adolph O. Niedner and Dr. Franklin W. Mann. In the end, Savage ultimately decided to use the .25-35 WCF case.

1912

Encouraged by Dr. Franklin W. Mann, Charles Newton begin experiments with the .30-40 Krag case necked down to .22 caliber.

1914

DuPont introduces the first of its Improved Military Rifle (IMR) powder line. IMR is intended to replace its earlier Military Rifle (MR) powder line, which includes the former standard powder for the .30’06: Pyro DG. However, US military use of IMR does not begin in earnest until 1925 with the standardization of the new .30 M1 Ball cartridge.

Charles Newton develops the .22 Newton, based on the 7x57mm Mauser case necked down for .228″ projectiles. This follows experimental work based on necking down the 6mm Lee Navy and .30’06 cases.

1919

Now a rifle manufacturer, Charles Newton presents gunsmith Jerry E. Gebby a sample of a wildcat using the .250-3000 Savage case necked down for .226″ bullets. Newton has abandoned work on the cartridge due to excessive pressures with existing gunpowders.

1920

Gunsmith Hervey Lovell begins importing 5.6x35mmR Vierling cartridges and cases from Germany. It is essentially the .22 WCF loaded with metal-jacketed bullets.

1925

Adolph O. Neider designs the .22 Neider Magnum, in both rimmed and rimless versions. These use shortened .22 Hi-Power and .25 Remington cases respectively.

1929

Captain Grosvenor L. Wotkyns begins work on an improved smokeless-powder variant of the .22 WCF cartridge. The test bed combines a BSA No. 12 action with a rechambered Springfield .22 LR barrel. Because of the smaller diameter bore used in rimfire .22 caliber rifles, Wotkyns uses bullets smaller in diameter than the original 0.226″ projectiles of the .22 WCF and the 5.6x35mmR Vierling. Springfield Armory employees Captain George A. Woody and Albert L. Woodworth conduct their own experiments, working on a conversion of the Springfield Model 1922M1 training rifle. Commercial interest grows after a visit to Winchester by Colonel Townsend Whelen and Capt. Woody.

March:
Dr. Fredrich Olsen of Picatinny Arsenal files a pair of patent applications related to the purification of nitrocellulose. This involves the removal of excess nitric and sulphuric acids left over from the nitrating process. Dr. Olsen developed this process while experimenting with methods to prolong the life of gunpowder, and possibly reclaim surplus cannon powders, all of which deteriorate due to these excess acids. On the basis of these developments, Dr. Olsen is hired by the Western Cartridge Company.

1930

January:
Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Robert H. Kent publishes “The Theory Of The Motion Of A Bullet About Its Center Of Gravity In Dense Media, With Applications To Bullet Design.” It is shown that the size of a bullet’s yaw in test medium is approximately independent of the striking velocity and the rifling twist. Giving examples for .30, .25, and .20 caliber projectiles, Kent notes that bullets with light noses are prone to early yaw, and suggests that lightweight, high velocity, small caliber bullets will cause more damage than heavier, slower, large caliber counterparts. Kent then argues the other benefits of SCHV rounds such as flat trajectories and low recoil.

1931

February:
The American Rifleman magazine carries an advertisement from the United States Cartridge Company (USCC) announcing that it is commercially manufacturing Wotkyns’ .22 Express wildcat as the “.22 WCF Improved.” (USCC is owned by Winchester.)

March:
Dr. Fredrich Olsen receives US Patent #1,798,270 titled “Purification of Cellulose Esters.”

November:
Franklin W. Olin begins negotiations to purchase Winchester. Winchester has been in Federal receivership since January.

December:
The Olin family purchases Winchester. Olin’s Western Cartridge Company is to take over Winchester’s operations on January 1, 1932.

1932

Winchester introduces commercial ammunition for the .22 WCF Improved as the “.22 Hornet.”

March:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen, Gordon C. Tibbitts, and Edward B.W. Kerone file a patent application related to the manufacture of Ball Powder.

June:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen, Gordon C. Tibbitts, and Edward B.W. Kerone file another patent application related to the manufacture of Ball Powder, specifically concentrating on the reclamation of nitrocellulose from deteriorating cannon powders.

1933

Western Cartridge Company commercially introduces its trademarked “Ball Powder,” based on the developments of Dr. Fredrich Olsen. (Over the years, the trademark has been carried by WCC‘s owners, Olin. In 1996, the “Ball Powder” trademark was passed along when Olin’s Ordnance division was spun off as Primex Technologies. General Dynamics purchased Primex in 2000, and “Ball Powder” production continues by St. Marks Powder.)

January:
Dr. Fredrich Olsen receives US Patent #1,893,677 titled “Purification of Nitrocellulose.”

Late:
Capt. Wotkyns asks gunsmith Adolph Lukes to assemble a Springfield M1903 rifle chambered for a wildcat using the .250-3000 Savage case necked down for 0.224″ bullets. (There are claims that Wotkyns and J.B. Sweany had worked with a version using 0.222-0.223″ bullets as early as the mid/late 1920s.)

1934

Capt. Wotkyns approaches Western Cartridge Company with test data regarding his .22/250 wildcat, dubbed the .220 Swift. After testing the wildcat, Western passes the information along to its subsidiary Winchester, who begins its own testing.

Jerry E. Gebby begins work on modernizing the .22 Newton by altering the case profile. The resulting cartridge is named the .22 Gebby. (After the introduction of the .22 Varminter, Gebby renames the longer cartridge the .22 Senior Varminter.)

May:
Hervey Lovell announces the wildcat .22/3000 Lovell in an article for The American Rifleman magazine. It is based on the .25-20 Single Shot case, necked down to .22 caliber. While similar in concept to Reuben Harwood’s .22-20-55, Lovell uses the smaller diameter bullets of Winchester’s .22 Hornet.

November:
Fred C. Ness, an editor for The American Rifleman magazine, sends a Springfield rifle action and barrel to J.B. Sweany to be chambered for Wotkyns’ .220 Swift. At some point in the future, Sweany convinces Ness to allow the rifle to be chambered for a new wildcat cartridge of Sweany’s own design, the .22×55. The wildcat is the result of experiments with necked down 7x57mm and .30’06 cases shortened to 62mm, 60mm, 55mm, and 48.5mm. As the designation indicates, the 55mm case length proves the most successful. Sweany claims that this cartridge will be superior to the forthcoming factory .220 Swift.

On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen files yet another patent application related to the manufacture of Ball Powder.

1935

Following previous work with the .22 Niedner Magnum, Experimenter Harvey A. Donaldson begins experiments with .25 Remington cases necked down to .22 caliber, both full-length and shortened. The shortened case ultimately proves more successful, and becomes known as .220 Donaldson Wasp.

January:
In correspondence to firearms editors and writers, Capt. Wotkyns announces that Winchester intends to release his .22/250 wildcat as the .220 Swift. Upon learning of Wotkyns’ pronouncement, Winchester contacts various gunwriters asking them to refrain from publishing any additional data on the forthcoming .220 Swift as changes are being made in its configuration.

April:
Fred C. Ness publishes an article in The American Rifleman discussing high velocity .22 caliber cartridge developments.

Winchester finalizes its specifications and drawings of the .220 Swift. Instead of the .250-3000 Savage, the cartridge is based on a modified 6mm Lee Navy case with an added semi-rim. This change leads to the original Wotkyns design being nicknamed the .22 WOS (Wotkyns’ Original Swift).

May:
Fred C. Ness publishes an additional article in The American Rifleman showing Capt. Wotkyns’ version of the .220 Swift and discussing Ness’ decision to allow J.B. Sweany to chamber his rifle for the .22×55.

June:
Fred C. Ness publishes another article in The American Rifleman discussing his testing of J.B. Sweany’s .22×55 wildcat.

On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen files an additional patent application related to the manufacture of Ball Powder.

Summer:
Custom gunmaker Reginald F. Sedgley introduces the .22/4000 Sedgley. The cartridge was developed by J. George Schnerring, the former Proof House Foreman of Frankford Arsenal. It is based on the 7x57mm Mauser case necked down for .224″ bullets. The .22/4000 Sedgley is later withdrawn from the market when it is discovered that the smaller .220 Swift can be chambered and fired in the larger Sedgley chamber with deleterious results.

July:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen, Gordon C. Tibbitts, and Edward B.W. Kerone file a patent application related to the reclamation of nitrocellulose from deteriorating cannon powders, emphasizing the use of Calcium Carbonate to neutralize acids.

August:
Fred C. Ness publishes yet another article in The American Rifleman discussing high-velocity .22 caliber experiments by Reginald F. Sedgley, Harvey A. Donaldson, Capt. Wotkyns, and Jerry E. Gebby.

September:
The American Rifleman magazine publishes a Winchester press release announcing that rifles and ammunition are now available for the .220 Swift. The press release includes the claim that the cartridge is suitable for wild game as large as deer. The cartridge is the first commercial offering to break the 4,000 fps barrier. It quickly gains a reputation in certain circles of being a spectacular killer of game, including large animals.

While stationed in Corregidor (Philippine Islands) during 1935 and 1936, Major Frank T. Chamberlin (US Army Medical Corps) later conducts a series of lethality tests, pitting the .220 Swift against Army mules in a variety of scenarios. (The mules were already slated to be destroyed, so Chamberlin had a fairly free rein to do as he pleased.)

The American Rifleman magazine also publishes a press release announcing that J.B. Sweany is ready to modify existing rifles to chamber the .220 Swift and Sweany’s own .22-4000 wildcat, based on a modified .303 British case.

1936

Springfield Armory issues the report “Test of ‘Swift’ Rifle, Cal. .220, and Ammunitions for Same, Manufactured by Winchester Repeating Arms Co.”

Adolph O. Niedner develops an improved .22 Niedner Magnum. Instead of using the .22 Hi-Power case, Niedner reverts to the .25-35 WCF case and alters the case profile.

January:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen, Gordon C. Tibbitts, and Edward B.W. Kerone receive US Patent #2,027,114 titled “Manufacture of Smokeless Powders.”

On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen, Gordon C. Tibbitts, and Edward B.W. Kerone file another patent application related to the manufacture of Ball Powder.

On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Harold F. Schaefer files an additional patent application related to the manufacture of Ball Powder.

April:
In order to improve accuracy, Winchester changes the rate of twist of .220 Swift barrels from 1 in 16″ to 1 in 14″.

1937

Jerry E. Gebby and J. Bushnell Smith introduce their own .22 caliber wildcats based on the .250-3000 Savage case. Due to Gebby’s trademark of the name “.22 Varminter,” most refer to the resulting wildcat as the .22-250. Harvey A. Donaldson claims to have worked with a version using .228″ bullets as early as 1916, and that he had designed a .224″ version in 1934 and submitted it to Savage in 1935.

German gunmaker E.A. Vom Hofe introduces the 5.6x61mm Vom Hofe Super Express. Both rimmed and rimless versions are produced.

Canadian gunsmith G.B. Crandall introduces the .22-303 Varmint-R. It is based on a shortened .303 British case. Cases intended for machine gun use were reportedly preferred over commercial cases.

May:
Winchester introduces the .219 Zipper. It is based on the .25-35 WCF case necked down for .224″ projectiles.

Harvey A. Donaldson later begins development of what becomes the .219 Donaldson Wasp using modified .219 Zipper cases, both full-length and shortened. As before, Donaldson has greater success with the shorter case.

1938

Soviet designers, including Federov and Simonov, reportedly experiment with various .22 caliber rifle cartridges.

Gunsmith Parker O. Ackley introduces the .219 Improved Zipper.

Custom loading die maker L.E. Wilson contacts Capt. Wotkyns regarding ideas on improving Winchester’s .220 Swift. Wotkyns suggest keeping the existing case profile with the exception of changing the shoulder angle. The resulting cartridge becomes known as the .220 Wotkyns-Wilson Arrow.

April:
Winchester announces the .218 Bee to gun magazine editors. It is based on the .25-20 WCF case necked down. Under development for nearly two years, it borrows from existing wildcats such as Emil Koshollek’s .22 Kosholleck and its more famous derivative, Adolph O. Niedner’s .22 Baby Hi-Power.

May:
Winchester commercially releases the .218 Bee.

In The American Rifleman magazine, an improved version of the .22/3000 Lovell is introduced as the 2R Lovell (AKA: 2-R, R2, or R-2). The name derives from the design representing the second chamber reamer profile produced by M.S. Risley. Harvey A. Donaldson takes credit for the change in case profile. (Some suggest that the case profile is close to that of William V. Lowe’s .22-20-55 of 1894.) Hervey Lovell continues to alter to the .22/3000 case’s shape at least four more times within the next ten years.

December:
The Research Division of Aberdeen Proving Ground is renamed the Ballistic Research Laboratory (BRL). Robert H. Kent is named an Associate Director of the BRL.

1939

May:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Harold F. Schaefer receives US Patent #2,160,626 titled “Explosive.”

October:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen, Gordon C. Tibbitts, and Edward B.W. Kerone receive US Patent #2,175,212 titled “Manufacture of Smokeless Powder.”

1940

Gunsmith Lysle D. Kilbourn develops an improved version of the .22 Hornet, dubbed the .22 K-Hornet. This was reportedly developed in cooperation with G.B. Crandall.

Gunsmith A.E. Mashburn develops an improved version of the .218 Bee, dubbed the .218 Mashburn Bee.

Gunsmith Leslie Lindahl develops the .22 Lindahl Chucker in both rimmed and rimless versions. These are based on shortened .219 Zipper and .25 Remington cases respectively.

July:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen, Gordon C. Tibbitts, and Edward B.W. Kerone receive US Patent #2,206,916 titled “Manufacture of Smokeless Powders.”

September:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen, Gordon C. Tibbitts, and Edward B.W. Kerone receive US Patent #2,213,255 titled “Explosive.”

1941

March:
On behalf of Western Cartridge Company, Dr. Fredrich Olsen receives US Patent #2,235,298 titled “Manufacture of Smokeless Powder.”

1943

After unsatisfactory experimentation with the .257 Roberts, .30’06, and .300 Holland & Holland Magnum cases necked down to .22 caliber, custom gunmaker Roy Weatherby develops an improved .220 Swift dubbed the .220 Weatherby Rocket. Weatherby later experiments with a shortened .300 H&H Magnum case necked down to .228″. The development becomes known as the .228 Weatherby Magnum.

1945

Summer:
Leslie Lindahl develops longer versions of the .22 Lindahl Chucker in both rimmed and rimless versions. These are dubbed the .22 Super Chucker.

1948

June:
The US Army’s General Staff creates the civilian General Research Office (GRO). Its mission is to supply the Army with scientific advice on conducting operations in an age of nuclear weapons.

September:
The General Research Office begins operations.

December:
The General Research Office is renamed the Operations Research Office (ORO).

1950

Roy Weatherby develops what will become known as the .224 Weatherby Magnum. He shelves it in wait for a suitable rifle action. In the mean time, he abandons commercial sales of the .220 Rocket and .228 Weatherby Magnum.

January:
Remington commercially introduces the .222 Remington as a varmint cartridge. Filling a “market gap” between the .22 Hornet and the .220 Swift, the “Triple Deuce” also gains quick acceptance in the benchrest community then dominated by the wildcat .219 Donaldson Wasp. Development of the .222 Remington is reportedly the end product of several Remington experimental cartridges, originally intended as a means to exploit existing cup blanks intended for the production of .30 Carbine cartridge cases. However, these experimental cartridges were considered too short to reliably feed in Remington’s Model 722 rifle.

Summer-Fall:
The ORO‘s research mandate quickly spreads out to conventional weapons, especially when the US enters the Korean “police action”. One of the first projects for the “Infantry” division of the ORO is Project ALCLAD: the development of improved body armor. The head of the division, Norman A. Hitchman, reasons that in order to improve body armor, one has to know how wounds are created and where they are received. A mathematical analysis of three million casualty reports from both World Wars are entered into the ORO‘s computers, along with on-the-spot analysis from ORO staffers in Korea. This leads to the creation of Project BALANCE, a study of infantry rifle use.

To Colonel René R. Studler, US Army Ordnance’s Chief of Small Arms Research and Development, this sounds as though the ORO is infringing on his turf. Between his distrust of ORO‘s civilians and the increasing pressure applied by the British for adoption of a mid-range cartridge, Studler attempts to buttress his position supporting a “full-power” cartridge. Studler requests that the Aberdeen Proving Grounds’ Ballistics Research Laboratory (BRL) prepare its own report on the effectiveness of the infantry combat rifle.

August:
On behalf of Olin, Dwight A. Alderson, Ralph V. Wakefield, and Emerald P. Reichardt file a patent application for reclaiming single base gunpowders possessing high percentages of modifying agents such as dinitrotoluene and dibutylphthalate. These include surplus cannon powders and small arms gunpowder. (DuPont IMR is given as a specific example.) The inventors claim that recycling these powders using Dr. Olsen’s patents result in a dirtier gunpowder due to the modifying agents causing incomplete burning of powder grains when fired.

November:
Donald L. Hall of the Aberdeen BRL begins the before-mentioned study of rifle effectiveness. Much of the two year study is theoretical, building on earlier research by the BRL‘s Robert H. Kent, but Hall also experiments with a .220 Swift firing a 60 grain bullet roughly homologous to that of the issue .30 M2 ball. The test firings are performed by William C. Davis, Jr. and Gerald A. Gustafson of Aberdeen’s Small Arms and Aircraft Weapons Section. (Remember those names….)

The crux of Hall’s experiment is that a smaller caliber could equal (or even exceed) the performance of a larger bore. Moreover, a smaller bore weapon might have superior hit probabilities at shorter ranges. Thus, combined with the additional cartridges carried per unit weight, a soldier carrying the smaller caliber weapon would be able to inflict more casualties upon the enemy than another soldier with a larger caliber weapon.

1951

February:
Irwin R. Barr, Chief Ordnance Engineer and co-founder of Aircraft Armaments Inc. (AAI), publishes the proposal “Study of Ammunition Improvements.” Barr promotes the use of a shotshell loaded with 37 “ice pick projectiles,” properly known as fléchette. He also proposes a saboted fléchette cartridge fired from smoothbore rifles.

August:
The ORO publishes the “ALCLAD Final Report” written by Hitchman, John H. Gardner, and Robert J. Best.

December:
Edgewood Arsenal publishes the report “Wound Ballistics of a .22 Caliber Brass Scale Model of the .30 Caliber M2 Rifle Ball.”

1952

March:
Hall’s study, “An Effectiveness Study of the Infantry Rifle,” is published.

April:
Thomas F. Colleran, the Director of Development and Proof Services (D&PS), and COL J. D. Armitage, the Chief of the Arms and Ammunition Division at Aberdeen, grant verbal approval to a project proposed by Gustafson to investigate the merit of “small-caliber, high-velocity” (SCHV) cartridges for use in rifles and carbines. COL Studler also gives oral approval to the preliminary investigation with the understanding that a program will be authorized by his office if the cartridges prove promising in early tests. However for now, Gustafson is instructed to proceed in such manner as to not interfere with the course of assigned development testing under the direction of the Office of the Chief of Ordnance (OCO).

June:
The ORO publishes Hitchman’s report: “Operational Requirements for an Infantry Hand Weapon.” Hitchman finds that the majority of combat rifle use does not exceed 300 yards, and that marksmanship is severely degraded by terrain and visibility at ranges beyond 100 yards. In fact, the chance of being struck by a rifle bullet is seen as being nearly as random as being struck by a fragment from a high explosive shell. The time and amount of target exposure had more bearing on whether a target was hit versus marksmanship skills. Given such, an infantry weapon designed to provide controllable “pattern-dispersion” within a 300 yd range might be preferable to a weapon that provides precise single shots at longer distances. Furthermore, at the shorter ranges, a smaller caliber weapon might give acceptable “wounding effects” and allow for controllable “salvo or volley automatic” fire. The key to effectiveness is control; an uncontrollable automatic weapon is seen to be no more advantageous than a semi-auto counterpart. Hitchman projects that a four round salvo with a predictable 20″ spread might provide double the hit probability at 300 yards over a single shot fired from a M1 rifle. A lighter, smaller caliber cartridge would have the side benefit of allowing enough ammunition to be carried for an equivalent number of fired salvos to the individual cartridge capacity of the current rifle. Hitchman even references Hall’s earlier findings.

Appended to Hitchman’s report is “Analysis and Application of Results of Rifle-Range Tests” written by Scott E. Forbush and George J. Blakemore, Jr.

July:
The ORO publishes “The Effects of Terrain on Battlefield Visibility” written by D.F. Bayly Pike and Charles Gopel.

November:
After considerable delay in obtaining appropriate barrels and chamber reamer stock, Gustafson begins a SCHV modification of a M2 Carbine on a “spare-time” basis. A .224″ barrel is fitted and is chambered for a cartridge based on the .222 Remington case shortened to 1.32.” (This is not to be confused with the many .22 wildcats of the .30 Carbine case, such as the 5.7mm Johnson/.22 Spitfire.) The ballistics of the .22 Gustafson Carbine (.22 APG/.22 SCHV) are approximately 3,000 fps with a 41 grain bullet. Case and chamber drawings are also prepared for a cartridge based on the .30 Light Rifle case necked down to .224″.

Hitchman’s concept of controlled “volley/burst” fire leads to the creation of the multi-agency Project SALVO. The BRL offers the most conventional design: Gustafson’s modified M2 Carbine. The Office of Naval Research, in cooperation with Aircraft Armaments Inc. (AAI), creates 12 gauge shotgun shells loaded with 32 steel fléchette. In contrast, the ORO‘s favored platform is a single barrel rifle using duplex or triplex loads (2 or 3 bullets in one case). Taking the opposite approach, Springfield Armory and Winchester both create multi-barreled weapons.

1953

As part of the SALVO program, Winchester introduces the “Homologous Series” of cartridges. This are based on the .30 Light Rifle case necked down to .18, .22, .25, and .27 caliber. Both simplex and duplex version are made of each, except for the .18 caliber, which is loaded only with single projectiles.

Springfield Armory designs and tests a five-barrel .22 caliber test fixture.

Fabrique Nationale (FN) experiments with the .280/30 case necked down to 4.5mm.

June:
The OCO approves moving SCHV research at D&PS from a “not-to-interfere” status to an assigned project to be continued at an accelerated pace.

On behalf of Olin, Dwight A. Alderson, Ralph V. Wakefield, and Emerald P. Reichardt receive US Patent #2,642,350 titled “Method of Reclaiming Single Base Smokeless Powder.”

August:
The Chief of Small Arms R&D COL Studler retires from the US Army. The former Chief of Small Arms Ammunition R&D, Dr. Frederick H. Carten, replaces Studler on an interim basis. (It appears that the position of Chief of Small Arms R&D was normally held by active duty Army officers and not civilians. While Dr. Carten would ultimately be bumped back to Assistant Chief of Small Arms R&D, he continued to wield a great deal of power over the process, so much so, that most authors assume he that remained Chief.)

September:
Gustafson publishes his findings in the report “Design and Fabricate a High-Velocity Caliber .22 Cartridge, Modify a Standard M2 Carbine to Fire the Cartridge, and Evaluate the Weapon-Ammunition Combination.” Gustafson concludes that the .22 APG cartridge and carbine is superior to the .30 caliber M2 Carbine and may prove to be a worthy successor to even the .45 ACP submachinegun. However, Gustafson probably pushes his luck too far when he states that the modified carbine “compares favorably with the M1 rifle” against targets out to 300 yards. Gustafson recommends that five converted carbines and 20,000 rounds of ammunition be procured and tested at Aberdeen, in the presence of members of Army Field Forces Board No. 3 (AKA: the Infantry Board).

The US Army Medical Laboratory publishes “Wound Ballistics Tests of .22-Caliber Bullets for the M4 Air Force Survival Gun.”

November:
The ORO publishes “The Causative Agents of Battle Casualties World War II.”

1954

March:
AAI conducts independent trials of a saboted fléchette rifle cartridge.

April:
Davis and Gustafson submit a new report discussing the theoretical advantages of SCHV cartridges. They outline their preliminary testing of additional experimental SCHV cartridges made from modified commercial and military cartridges, including the modification of existing weapons, including an automatic rifle. They propose designing a bullet and cartridge combination with suitable military characteristics. Gustafson and Davis already have a design in mind: a .224″ 68 grain homologue to the long-range .30 M1 ball projectile. The projectile is intended for a cartridge based on the .30 Light Rifle (7.62mm NATO) case necked down to .224″. After approval is received for further research, the proposed bullet design is procured from the Sierra Bullet Company. The ballistics for the .22 “NATO” are 3,400 fps with the 68 grain projectile.

The Ordnance Corps embraces the commodity command concept. The various product specialties will become individual commands. Responsibility for weapons development and production is tasked to the Ordnance Weapons Command (OWC), ammunition production to the Ordnance Ammunition Command (OAC), and so forth.

July:
AAI applies for patents for its saboted fléchette cartridge designs and sabot stripper muzzle devices.

October:
Fairchild Engine & Airplane Corporation creates its ArmaLite Division. George Sullivan is named president of the division. Charles Dorchester and Eugene Stoner are hired as plant manager and chief engineer, respectively.

November:
Davis begins formal development and testing of the .22 “NATO.”

Psychological Research Associates publishes “The Assessment and Prediction of Rifle Squad Effectiveness.”

December:
The OCO publishes the report “Development of Weapons for the Defeat of Personnel.”

The US Army Medical Laboratory publishes “Wound Ballistics Assessment of the .30-Caliber Ball, Carbine, M1, and an Experimental .22-Caliber Ball, Carbine.”

1955

Olin designs and tests a double-barrel .22 “NATO” test fixture. They discover that the recoil of two rounds being fired simultaneously is 25 percent greater than that of the M1 rifle. No further consideration is given to building double-barrel SALVO weapons in larger calibers.

January:
Ordnance Weapons Command officially begins operations at Rock Island Arsenal.

Dr. Carten approves Davis’ request for further testing of the Sierra bullet with the .22 “NATO,” along with testing of the wound ballistics of the combination by the Army Chemical Center.

The BRL publishes “A Provisional Criterion for Incapacitation by a Dart.”

February:
The US Army Field Forces are renamed US Continental Army Command (CONARC). With this change, Field Forces Board No. 3 is now known as CONARC Board No. 3.

March:
Liberty Powder Defense Corporation’s Robert R. Buell files a patent application for reclaiming the nitrocellulose and other components of double base gunpowders. (Liberty Powder Defense Corporation is owned by Olin Industries.)

April:
Davis forwards the request for wound ballistics testing of the .22 “NATO” to the Army Chemical Center. Davis specifically requests that the report be prepared in a similar fashion to their December 1954 report on the .22 Carbine.

The US Army Medical Laboratory publishes “Wound Ballistics of an Homologous Series of Bullets in Gelatin Tissue Models.”

June:
The US Army Medical Laboratory publishes “Wound Ballistics of an Homologous Series of Bullets – Animal Studies.”

August:
The BRL publishes “A Provisional Criterion for Incapacitation by a Dart – II.”

September:
Davis completes testing of the .22 “NATO.”

Springfield Armory begins work on a three-barrel, semi-automatic .222 Remington test fixture.

November:
CONARC Board No. 3 publishes “Evaluation of M2 Carbine Modified to Fire High Velocity Caliber .22 Cartridges.” The report recommends that the SCHV concept be given a high priority status, with the goal of developing a SCHV rifle.

The US Army Medical Laboratory publishes “Wound Ballistics Assessment of an Experimental .22-Caliber Lead Core High Velocity Rifle Ball: Comparison With the 7.62-mm NATO (.30-Caliber) Rifle Ball.”

At Springfield, David C. Fletcher completes drawings of a .222 three-barrel SALVO rifle.

Late:
Springfield Armory nears completion of the .22 “NATO” T48 conversions (the FN FAL, manufactured in the US by Harrington & Richardson for the US Army’s rifle trials).

December:
Davis publishes his findings on the .22 “NATO” in the report “An Investigation of an Experimental Caliber .22 High Velocity Bullet for Rifles.” Davis requests that additional weapons and ammunition be acquired for further testing. Gustafson and Davis are ultimately denied funding for additional SCHV/SALVO designs and experiments. They have proposed the development of yet another .224″ cartridge, intermediate to the .22 SCHV and the .22 “NATO“. The new cartridge would have launched a 55 grain boattail projectile at 3,300 fps(Remember those numbers….) In his denial for funding, Dr. Carten insists that Aberdeen is in the business of testing weapons and ammunition, not creating them.

The ORO publishes “Rifle, Carbine and Pistol Aiming Error as a Function of Target Exposure Time.”

1956

Colonel Henry Neilson becomes the new leader of CONARC Board No. 3. Neilson is an outspoken advocate of the SCHV concept.

Springfield Armory ships 12 converted T48 (.22 “NATO“) to Fort Benning for SALVO tests.

The BRL‘s Donald L. Hall and Ed S. Smith publish “Evaluation of a Salvo Rifle.”

Gunsmith Jim Harvey introduces the .224 Kay-Chuk, based on a shortened .22 K-Hornet. Harvey converts Smith & Wesson revolvers for the cartridge.

February:
Gene Stoner files a patent application for the aluminum magazine design later used in the AR-10 and AR-15.

Winchester begins contractual work on a double-barreled SALVO rifle. Chambered for the .22 “NATO” Duplex (long-neck), Stefan Janson’s design appears to be a pair of FN FAL grafted side by side with a single trigger and gas piston. (Janson is better known as the inventor of the British EM2 bullpup rifle.)

The BRL publishes “The Probability of Incapacitation by a Steel Sphere or by Darts When Portions of the Body Are Rendered Vulnerable.”

March:
Psychological Research Associates publishes “A Study of the Infantry Squad TOE.”

May:
CONARC Board No. 3 publishes “Evaluation of Light Weight Rifles.”

In support of an Army contract, AAI continues to develop its saboted fléchette rifle cartridge designs. The stated goal is to achieve a velocity of 4,000 fps. AAI creates three separate designs, each using a .22″ sabot with a 10 grain fléchette. The differences lay in the exact sabot attachment method.

Ordnance Technical Intelligence publishes “Firing Test: Soviet 7.62mm Assault Rifle Kalashnikov (AK).”

June:
The BRL publishes “Relative Effectiveness of Conventional Rifles and an Experimental ‘Salvo’ Weapon in Area Fire.”

Stefan Janson files a patent application for the design of Winchester’s double-barreled SALVO rifle.

Summer:
The first comparative test firings of SALVO concept weapons are performed. Included are the Gustafson .22 Carbine and the modified .22 “NATO” T48 rifle.

July:
Robert H. Kent retires from the BRL.

August:
Gene Stoner files a patent application for the gas system and bolt carrier design later used in the AR-10 and AR-15.

September:
At Springfield Armory, Charles F. Packard submits “Feasibility Study of Caliber 0.222 SALVO Type Shoulder Rifle.”

October:
The ORO publishes “Preliminary Report on SALVO.”

Springfield constructs a prototype triple-barreled SALVO rifle in .222 Remington.

November:
On behalf of the US Army, David C. Fletcher files two patent applications for the design of the .222 three barrel Salvo rifle.

Late:
A copy of Gustafson and Davis’ 1955 denied funding request “somehow” makes it to General Willard G. Wyman, Commanding General of CONARC. With the urging of Colonel Neilson, Wyman recommends that CONARC Board No. 3 submit a formal request for a SCHV rifle based around the Gustafson and Davis cartridge parameters. Furthermore, Wyman “hints” to ArmaLite’s Eugene Stoner that a scaled-down version of Stoner’s 7.62mm AR-10 rifle prototypes might fit the Infantry Board’s forthcoming SCHV request.

Year 1957


January:
The ORO publishes “SALVO Rifle Experiment: Preliminary Results.” 

The BRL reprints “The Theory Of The Motion Of A Bullet About Its Center Of Gravity In Dense Media, With Applications To Bullet Design.” 

CONARC Board No. 3 is officially renamed the Infantry Board.

February:
Fairchild/ArmaLite officials receive their first official briefing on the 1956 SALVO trails.

March:
CONARC HQ sends a letter to the Infantry Board titled “Study of Military Characteristics for a Rifle of High Velocity and Small Caliber.”

The BRL‘s Donald L. Hall and Billy S. Campbell publish “Upon Selecting an Optimum Rifle Round.” The study indicates that a projectile which tends to yaw soon after target impact also tends to result in greater kill probabilities. As a conclusion to this study, it is shown that a .22 caliber projectile weighing 50 grains could be made to result in good wound ballistic performance if the transverse moment of inertia is sufficiently low to encourage yawing immediately after impact. This results in the recommendation of a .22 caliber, 50 grain lead core projectile.

AAI files “Final Report – Small Arms Cartridge” concerning its fléchette development efforts. The report claims that a high velocity 10 grain fléchette is equally lethal as the .30 M2 rifle bullet out to 600 yards. Yet in terms of cartridge weight, five rounds of the saboted fléchette cartridge could be fired for each individual .30’06 cartridge. However, even at this early date, the issues of cartridge cost and individual accuracy are noted as potential problems.

Fairchild President Richard Boutelle goes on an African safari with US Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) commander General Curtis E. LeMay, radio and television personality Arthur Godfrey, and James Shepley, the head of Time-Life’s Washington bureau.

Spring:
The Infantry Board extends the original 300 yard “ideal” to 400 yards in order to pacify certain CONARC members, and once again to 500 yards, to insure acceptance at the Pentagon. The finalized request calls for a 6 pound, select-fire .22 caliber rifle with a conventional stock and a 20 round magazine. The proposed chambering has to penetrate the issue steel helmet, body armor, and a 0.135″ steel plate at 500 yards, while maintaining the trajectory and accuracy of M2 ball from a M1 rifle, and equaling or exceeding the “wounding” ability of the .30 Carbine.

At ArmaLite, Stoner is more interested in developing 7.62mm NATO weapons, and is already working on the design of what was to become the AR-12 rifle (the father of the AR-16 and grandfather of the 5.56x45mm AR-18). Sources disagree as to who designed ArmaLite’s first SCHV prototype, the AR-11 (AKA: The “Stopette”). Essentially a scaled down version of Stoner’s 7.62mm AR-3 rifle chambered for the commercial .222 Remington, the AR-11 is  credited to ‘Doc’ Wilson. The AR-11 proves to be too light, which combined with a high cyclic rate and the requested conventional stock, leads to difficulty in controlling automatic fire. Ultimately, the AR-11 prototype is wrecked when its barrel extension fails during testing. It is later claimed that the barrel extension was scaled down too far, weakening it. Remembering General Wyman’s favorable bent toward the AR-10 design, ArmaLite had also begun work on a scaled down version of the rifle. But this design, credited to John Peck, also uses the same small barrel extension as the AR-11. After the failure of the AR-11’s barrel extension in testing, work is discontinued on Peck’s design. Robert Fremont and L. James Sullivan are eventually tasked with starting from scratch in scaling down the AR-10 to .222 Remington.

Concurrently, Earle Harvey of Springfield Armory designs a lengthened .222 Remington case to meet the new 500 yard requirement. Remington loads 10,000 unheadstamped .224 Springfield cartridges: 9,500 with 55 grain projectiles and 500 with the 68 grain “M1 ball homologue.” Albert J. Lizza designs a rifle around the cartridge, using the best features of Harvey’s 7.62mm NATO T25 and T47 rifle prototypes, along with items inspired by the T22 (a full-auto variant of the M1 Rifle) and the T44 (pre-M14). It also appears that a T25 may have been converted to chamber the cartridge. Once Dr. Carten learns of Harvey and Lizza’s development, all further work on the .224 Springfield is ordered to cease. Ironically, Dr. Carten cannot claim that Springfield Armory is not in the weapon building business as he did two years earlier with Aberdeen. However, Carten is busy shepherding the T44 rifle into what is now known as the M14. No competition for resources (or attention) could be brooked.

April:
George Sullivan files a patent application for the use of aluminum receivers in the design of a firearm.

May:
Stoner provides a brief live-fire demonstration of the prototype AR-15 for General Wyman. CONARC formally requests the purchase of 10 test rifles for the Infantry Board (five days after the 7.62mm NATO M14’s official adoption is announced).

After a visit to Fort Benning, Stoner begins to tweak the .222 Remington round to fit the Infantry Board’s penetration requirements. First, Stoner and Sierra’s Frank Snow modify the .224″ 68 grain “M1 ball homologue” to 55 grains by shortening the bearing length and the boattail, while maintaining the original 7-caliber ogive and 9-degree boattail. The new projectile is also produced by Sierra. Robert Hutton uses Speer’s Ballistic Calculator to estimate the muzzle velocity need to provide the desired performance at 500 yards. The results indicate a muzzle velocity of 3,300 fps with the 55 grain bullet will be required. Hutton begins load development with IMR 4198, IMR 3031, and an unnamed Olin ball powder. Using a Remington Model 722 with a 22″ Apex bull barrel and a Lyman 25x scope, Hutton successfully perforates US helmets at 500 yards during a public demonstration. However, testing also indicates that the .222 Remington cannot achieve the required velocity without excessive chamber pressure. Stoner contacts Winchester and Remington about increasing the case capacity; Remington accepts the request. (This refusal is hardly surprising since Winchester had their own SCHV rifle and cartridge in the works.) The resulting cartridge is designated the .222 Special.

George Sullivan files a patent application for the forearm assembly used on the early AR-10 and AR-15 prototypes.

The T44E4 and T44E5 rifles are adopted as “US Rifles, 7.62mm M14 and M15.” (None of the heavy barrel M15 will ever be produced for issue prior to the M15 being declared obsolete in December 1959.) The USAF is the only service to decline use of the M14, and instead retains the M2 Carbine.

June:
Springfield Armory publishes the report “Chromium Plating of Caliber .22 Barrel Bores.”

Springfield fabricates barrels for .22’06 simplex and duplex cartridges. These cartridges are based on the .30’06 case necked down to .22 caliber. The barrels are fitted to M1 rifles.

Psychological Research Associates publishes “Psychological Effects of Small Arms Fire on Combat Experienced and Non-Experienced Infantrymen” and “Psychological Effects of Platoon Weapons – A Questionnaire Study.”

Summer:
CONARC invites Winchester to develop and submit a competing SCHV rifle. Ralph Clarkson, a member of Winchester’s in-house design team which developed the M1 Carbine, takes the assignment. Clarkson borrows heavily from David “Carbine” Williams’ shelved .30 Carbine design (completed two months after the adoption of the M1 Carbine). Working with David Mathewson, of the Mathewson Tool Company, Clarkson is able to complete the first firing prototype of the rifle in less than two months.

July:
The Infantry Board forwards a letter to CONARC titled “Draft Military Characteristics for a Rifle of High Velocity and Small Caliber.”

Psychological Research Associates publishes “Psychological Effects of Patterns of Small Arms Fire.”

September:
Laurence F. Moore of Aberdeen D&PS’ Infantry and Aircraft Weapons Division publishes the report “A Test of SALVO Rifle Materiel.”

October:
Clarkson’s design, the Winchester .224 Light Weight Military Rifle (LWMR) is demonstrated at CONARC headquarters.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “Penetration of an Experimental .22 Cal. Bullet in Gelatin.” The study involves a 50gr bullet fired at ~3,950 fps.

November:
The US Army Chemical Warfare Laboratory (CWL) publishes “Wounding by Salvo Bullets.”

November-December:
The LWMR is demonstrated to the Infantry Board at Fort Benning. The success of this demonstration leads the Ordnance Weapons Command and CONARC to order fifteen LWMR for further testing. However, it soon becomes clear that the new .224 Winchester cartridge will not meet the Infantry Board’s updated penetration requirements. Like its competitors, the .224E1 Winchester uses a lengthened .222 Remington case; however, the cartridge has a fairly short overall length (OAL). The stubby 53 grain projectile simply cannot retain enough velocity at longer ranges. As Stoner and Hutton had experienced before, Clarkson finds that he cannot load his .224E1 cartridge to a high enough velocity without encountering dangerously high chamber pressures.

Around the same period of time, the Infantry Board decides that Winchester and ArmaLite should cooperate to make certain that their ammunition will interchange between the competing rifles for future testing. The .224E1 Winchester’s case neck is lengthened to provide extra volume, and Winchester even chooses the same DuPont IMR 4475 powder used in the .222 Special. (At the time, DuPont owned a majority interest in Remington, while Olin owned Winchester.) However, the resulting .224E2 Winchester cartridge retains the same short OAL from the .224E1 in order to feed in Clarkson’s LWMR. Despite the fact that the .224E2 Win’s case is slightly longer than the .222 Special, ArmaLite is able to chamber their updated AR-15 to feed and function with both cartridges. In contrast, the Winchester entry can only feed their .224E2 cartridge. Subsequent trials are thus run using the Winchester cartridge.

December:
SALVO II trials begin at Fort Benning. Among the weapons and cartridges tested are modified M1 rifles chambered for .22’06 simplex and duplex cartridges.

The CWL publishes “Incapacitation Criteria for Salvo Bullets.”

On behalf of the US Army, Albert J. Lizza files a patent application for the stock and action clamp of the Springfield .224 rifle.

Winchester ends contractual work on the double-barreled SALVO rifle.

Author’s Note
This article was originally published at The Gun Zone — The Gunperson’s Authoritative Internet Information Resource. My friend and mentor Dean Speir has graciously hosted my articles at TGZ for nearly 16 years. These articles would likely have never appeared online without his constant encouragement and assistance.

With TGZ’s closure in early 2017, Dean encouraged me to find a new home for my scholarship so it wouldn’t be lost in the dustbin of the Internet. Loose Rounds has welcomed me with open arms. In the future, I intend to expand my legacy TGZ articles and add new contributions here at Loose Rounds.

1958


January:
General Wyman sends a letter to General Maxwell D. Taylor, Chief of Staff of the US Army, recommending caution in overselling the M14 rifle to Congress during the Fiscal Year (FY) 1959 budget hearings. The letter indicates General Wyman’s support of the small caliber rifle:

“As you know, in April 1958 we will receive two types of small caliber rifles, an Armalite and a Winchester, for evaluation at the USA Infantry Board. Should these rifles be found superior to the M14, as I am almost certain they will be, it would be most unfortunate if the Army had committed itself before Congress to irrevocable support of the M14 rifle. Disregard of the potential presented by the small caliber rifle at this time might well preclude Army exploitation of a superior rifle system which could conceivably appear on the developmental scene at an early date.”

On behalf of the US Army, Albert J. Lizza files a patent application for the operating system of the Springfield .224 rifle.

February:
Earle Harvey’s .224 Springfield is introduced commercially as the .222 Remington Magnum. (Robert Hutton has claimed in print that this was the first time he and Gene Stoner were made aware of the cartridge.)

CONARC sends the directive “Evaluation of Small Caliber High Velocity Rifles.”

The Infantry Board submits their test plan for evaluation of the SCHV rifles.

Springfield fabricates a Mann accuracy test barrel for one of the .224 experimental cartridges. It is fitted to a Remington M1903A3 action.

Department of Defense directive 5105.15 is signed, establishing the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The directive gives ARPA the responsibility “for the direction or performance of such advanced projects in the field of research and development as the Secretary of Defense shall, from time to time, designate by individual project or by category.” It is originally intended for research and engineering projects regarding spacecraft, ballistic missiles, and nuclear weapons. However, it will come into play later in conventional warfare research.

Ordnance Technical Intelligence publishes “A Test of Gun, Light Machine, 7.62mm Model RPD, Soviet and Gun, Light Machine, 7.62mm Mod 52 Czech.”

March:
Ten AR-15 rifles chambered in .222 Special are delivered to Fort Benning for the Infantry Board field trials. Due to the changes required for the new .224E2 Winchester cartridge, the Winchester LWMR is not ready. However, a number of new T44E4 (pre-production M14) rifles are included as a control. Stoner is allowed to participate since no instruction manuals are yet available for the AR-15. Embarrassingly, the T44E4 rifles turn in a malfunction rate of 16 per 1000rds. In contrast, the AR-15 displays a malfunction rate of 6.1/1000. Oddly, after all of the trouble to coordinate the development of the competing cartridges, the .224E2 Winchester still fails the 500 yard helmet penetration requirement. The tests are re-run with the .222 Special, which succeeds.

Engineering tests for the SCHV candidates are assigned to Aberdeen despite efforts by Dr. Carten to have them performed at Springfield Armory. Laurence F. Moore of the D&PS is assigned to conduct the tests, and William C. Davis volunteers to participate in firing testing.

In addition, examples of the candidate rifles are sent to Fort Greely, Alaska for Arctic testing.

The ORO publishes “SALVO II Rifle Experiment: Preliminary Results.”

April:
Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “A Comparison of Proposed Small Arms Weapon Systems,” concerning SALVO and SCHV developments. The authors conclude that a lightweight .22 caliber rifle with a 50 grain projectile will result in a considerably greater effectiveness than the other weapon systems compared.

The BRL also publishes the report “Retardation and Velocity Histories of an 8-Grain Fléchette.” The report is intended primarily to cover issues related to multiple fléchette canister cartridges.

May:
The Infantry Board publishes the report “Evaluation of Small Caliber High Velocity Rifles – ArmaLite (AR-15).” The Infantry Board concludes that:

  1. The AR-15 is a potential replacement for the M14 rifle;
  2. The AR-15 equipped with a bipod and hinged butt plate should be a potential replacement for the M15 rifle; and
  3. The penetrating capability of the .222 Special and .224E2 Win are significantly less than that of the 7.62mm NATO and should be improved.

The Infantry Board recommends that eight AR-15 modified to correct the deficiencies reported (three of these rifles to be equipped with hinged butt plate and bipod) be furnished for service testing. Development should be expedited to provide a round for the AR-15 that has greater resistance to bullet disintegration and better penetrating characteristics.

June:
The Infantry Board sends the memo “Estimated Requirements for Service Test of ArmaLite Rifle.”

The Chief of Ordnance, MG John H. Hinrichs, informs General Wyman that during rain tests at Aberdeen, two AR-15 experienced burst barrels. The combination of water in the bore and the heavily fluted barrels used by the rifles prove too much. (Later, the same occurs with the Winchester LWMR, but with less fanfare. Both manufacturers respond by providing unfluted barrels for subsequent prototypes.) CONARC orders the Infantry Board to conduct duplicate rain tests with the AR-15 to see if the same results occur. The Infantry Board subsequently duplicates the problem. Seizing upon the issue, Dr. Carten begins a campaign to support development of an alternate .258 SCHV cartridge. (The eventual pair of 6.35mm alternates are based on the .25 Remington case.)

CDEC publishes “Armalite Experiment Summary Report.”

Winchester experiments with a 38 grain steel projectile for their .224E2 cartridge. The velocity is credited as 3,618 fps.

July:
The Infantry Board informs CONARC of the results of their duplicate rain tests. CONARC orders the Infantry Board to prepare a supplemental report, in coordination with the Infantry School, which will re-evaluate the AR-15 rifle in light of the results of the rain test.

Winchester finally delivers their LWMR to Fort Benning for testing.

The Infantry Board publishes the report “Evaluation of Small Caliber High Velocity Rifles – Winchester.” One of the authors is Captain Herbert P. Underwood. The Infantry Board concludes that:

  1. The Winchester rifle is a potential replacement for the M14 rifle;
  2. The Winchester rifle equipped with a bipod and hinged butt plate should be a potential replacement for the M15 rifle; and
  3. The penetrating capability of the .224E2 Win is significantly less than that of the 7.62mm NATO and should be improved.

The Infantry Board recommends that eight Winchester rifles modified to correct the deficiencies reported be furnished for service testing. Three of these rifles are to be equipped with hinged butt plate and bipod. Development should be expedited to provide a round for the Winchester rifle that has greater resistance to bullet disintegration and better penetrating characteristics.

Trading is suspended briefly for Fairchild common stock on the New York Stock Exchange. The price of the stock plummeted after Fairchild President Richard S. Boutelle revealed that the company would have a first-half loss of about $5 million. The losses are in part due to the high costs of tooling up for production of the F-27 aircraft and slow sales.

Liberty Powder Defense Corporation’s Robert R. Buell receives US Patent #2,843,584 titled “Method of Reclaiming the Constituents from Double Base Smokeless Powder.”

August:
The results of the Infantry Board’s supplemental testing of the AR-15 are discussed in an additional report titled “Evaluation of Small Caliber High Velocity Rifles – ArmaLite (AR-15).” The Infantry Board concludes that:

  1. Surface tension and capillary attraction will retain sufficient quantities of water in the barrel of a fully loaded AR-15 to cause excessive overpressure when the weapon is fired;
  2. The retention of the water in the barrel of an AR-15 is a major deficiency. However, because of its other favorable characteristics, the AR-15 remains a potential replacement for the M14 and M15 rifles;
  3. The effect of the deficiency of the AR-15 may be avoided by taking proper precautionary measures such as partially extracting the cartridge from the chamber when draining;
  4. Retention of water in the barrel due to surface tension and capillary attraction is not peculiar to the AR-15; and
  5. Weapons of approximately .25 caliber or larger do not retain water in their barrels due to surface tension or capillary attraction when the rifles are fully loaded.

The Infantry Board recommends that SCHV rifle research continue and that the procurement of additional AR-15 be made for service tests. The rifles should be modified to eliminate the possibility of burst barrels. However, if this cannot be done, training should be modified to deal with possible water retention, and research should be conducted to determine the minimum caliber at which water is no longer retained in the barrel.

CONARC sends the letter “Directive for an Experiment with the Rifle Squad Armed with a Lightweight, High-Velocity Rifle (LWVR).”

General Wyman retires.

The CWL publishes the report “Wounding By Flechettes.”

September:
CONARC issues their final judgment regarding the Infantry Board’s tests in the report “Evaluation of Small Caliber High Velocity (SCHV) Rifles.” Both SCHV rifles are judged to be superior to the M14 in terms of lightness and ease of handling. It is noted that for the same weight, a soldier with one of the SCHV rifles could carry ~650 rounds of ammunition versus ~220 with the M14. The AR-15 is judged to be superior to the M14 and the Winchester LWMR in terms of reliability and ease of assembly/reassembly. However, both SCHV candidates are faulted on their burst barrels during rain testing. This said, CONARC notes that contrary to the Infantry Board’s proclamation, even rifles of .25 caliber or greater may also suffer burst barrels when retaining water. The .222 Special and .224E2 Win are judged to be inferior to the 7.62mm NATO in terms of their penetration and position disclosing characteristics. CONARC concludes that the SCHV candidates are not acceptable for Army use at this time. Still, the report recommends that both manufacturers be allowed to submit 16 improved rifles and 96,000 rounds each for further testing by the Infantry Board and the Arctic Test Board.

Winchester chooses to decline further development of the LWMR.

Deputy Commanding General of CONARC, General Herbert B. Powell assembles a general board to investigate the Army’s various rifle research and production programs. (Sources disagree as to whether this was ordered by General Wyman as his last act prior to his retirement, or by his successor, General Bruce C. Clarke.)

Meanwhile, Cooper-Macdonald, Inc, the sale representatives for ArmaLite, Colt, and Remington in Southeast Asia, encourages a manufacturing license agreement between ArmaLite’s parent company Fairchild Engine & Airplane Corporation and Colt for the latter to manufacture the AR-10 and AR-15 rifles. Fairchild has been unwilling to allow ArmaLite to start their own production line, and is more than happy to pass future development risks on to Colt. Confident of pending success, Robert W. Macdonald cuts an individual deal with Colt providing for Colt to pay Cooper-Macdonald one dollar on every AR-10 and AR-15 rifle and two percent for spare parts produced by Colt for a period of 20 years.

October:
Fred A. Roff, Jr., Colt’s Vice President and Director of Sales, sends Robert Macdonald a signed copy of the previous month’s agreement between Cooper-Macdonald and Colt.

November:
The ORO publishes “Multiple Flechettes for Small Arms.”

Fairchild President Boutelle reports an operating loss of $9,211,000.

December:
Stoner is asked to deliver replacement parts to the Arctic Test Board trials at Fort Greely. To his surprise, Stoner finds that many of the rifles have had parts substituted. In particular, the front sight assemblies have been removed from the barrels, and when reassembled, some of the tapered pins have been inserted in reverse while others have been replaced by pieces of welding rod. The upshot of this tinkering is that the front sight assemblies are very loose, and do not quite line up with the barrel’s gas port.

Stoner is subsequently requested to give a presentation on the AR-15 before the Powell Board. At the presentation, Powell inquires about the Arctic tests. Believing that the testing had only just begun, Stoner refers to minor problems that have been rectified. However, the Powell Board already has possession of an Arctic Test Board report critical of the AR-15’s cold weather accuracy and reliability.

Meanwhile, the US Army’s Combat Development Experimentation Center (CDEC) begins mock combat trials of the AR-15, Winchester LWMR, and the M14. Conducted at Fort Ord, California, the tests cover the effects of the new weapons on squad tactics and organization. More than 500 firing runs are made on two attack ranges and one defense range. Different fire techniques and combinations of techniques are studied, and four different squad sizes are examined to accumulate data bearing on the appropriate size for squads using these weapons.

Fairchild President Boutelle is fired. Fairchild’s losses have been compounded by the recent cancellation of US Air Force contracts for the Goose missile and its J83 engine. Concurrently, Boutelle is elected Vice Chairman of Fairchild’s Board of Directors. He quits just over a month later.

Watertown Arsenal publishes the report “Terminal Ballistic Study of Fléchettes.” While inspired by research supporting multiple fléchette canister cartridges, the armor penetration characteristics should be applicable to individual fléchette cartridges.

1959


Fearing the confusion of so many “Triple Deuce” nomenclatures, the
.222 Special is renamed the .223 Remington.

AAI receives two additional Ordnance contracts for fléchette cartridge R&D.

Picatinny Arsenal, which conducts ammunition R&D, is merged to the existing Ordnance Ammunition Command to create the Ordnance Special Weapons Ammunition Command (OSWAC).

Word leaks of Remington and Smith & Wesson’s joint development of a SCHV revolver cartridge.

Winter:
Colonel Neilson retires.

Robert Fremont leaves ArmaLite to join Colt.

January:
The Powell Board concludes its investigation and issues its report prior to the release of final reports from the Aberdeen engineering tests and the CDEC trials (which are not yet complete). The board approves of the SCHV concept, and recommends that 750 AR-15 rifles be purchased for extended trials. However, no further consideration should be given to the .223 round as a potential replacement for the 7.62mm NATO. Instead, the board recommends development of an AR-15 type of weapon, chambered for a .258 caliber cartridge, be expedited to replace the M14 in the rifle role. However, the M14 rifle should be retained for the automatic rifle role.

Upon review of the Powell Board’s report and urging by the OCO, General Taylor rules that production of the M14 will continue as scheduled. Furthermore, any additional Army purchases of the AR-15 should be canceled. The 7.62mm NATO will remain the standard cartridge, and all further product improvements will retain the caliber unless a new concept offers a very significant improvement. Finally, the development of the All-Purpose Hand-Held Weapon (APHHW) is approved.

ArmaLite protests General Taylor’s decision to Senator W. Stuart Symington (D-MO). Symington enters the protest in the Congressional Record but declines to push the issue any further.

Within days of Taylor’s decision, Colt and Fairchild finalize their licensing agreement. Colt pays a $75,000 lump sum, plus a 4.5 percent royalty on future production of the AR-10 and AR-15.

AAI submits “Proposal for Special Type Small Arms Ammunition, Continuation of Development.”

February:
The final report “A Test of Rifle, Caliber .22, AR-15; Rifle, Lightweight Military, Caliber .224; and Pertinent Ammunition” from the Aberdeen engineering tests is finally released. Laurence F. Moore’s recommendations and conclusions are missing, reportedly excised on the order of Dr. Carten.

Fred A Roff, Jr., now Colt’s President, sends Cooper-Macdonald an advance payment of $5,000 to begin promoting the AR-10 and AR-15. During the following “world” tour (primarily Asia), Robert Macdonald finds that there is very tepid interest in the AR-10. In contrast, the smaller AR-15 is an immediate hit. Small orders for the AR-15 come in from Malaya, India, Australia, Burma, and Singapore. However, some interested buyers, such as the Philippines, are ham-strung by their military assistance pacts with the US. While the AR-15 is an American rifle, it isn’t a US military issue rifle; thus, US military aid funds cannot be used to purchase the new rifle.

March:
CDEC ends its comparative trials of the AR-15, the Winchester LWMR, and the M14.

AAI files “Proposal for the Development of a .22 Caliber Fin-Stabilized Armor Piercing Round.” AAI proposes an armor piercing fléchette made of tungsten carbide.

Spring:
AAI proposes the construction of a “burst simulator” comprised of five single-shot fixtures bundled into a Gatling-type assembly. The individual fixtures are triggered electronically in a short sequence to simulate a high-cyclic rate burst from a single barrel rifle. This is intended to provide experimental data on optimum burst spread until AAI can construct an automatic weapon for its fléchette cartridges.

April:
The Arctic Test Board publishes “Evaluation of Small Caliber High Velocity Rifles.” Oddly, in one phase involving the firing of 40 cartridges, the AR-15 is charged with 48 malfunctions.

The ORO publishes “Design of Experiment for Effects of Weapon Configuration, Weight, Sights and Recoil on Rifle Accuracy” and “Range Estimation for Infantry Squad Weapons.”

Ordnance Technical Intelligence publishes “Wound Ballistics Tests of the Soviet 7.62mm Bullet.”

May:
CDEC publishes “Lightweight High Velocity Rifle Experiment.”

The final report of the CDEC trials, “Rifle Squad Armed with a Lightweight High-Velocity Rifle,” is released. It projects that a 5-7 man squad armed with AR-15 rifles would have a higher number of hits and kills than the then current 11 man squad armed with M14 rifles. The report particularly praises the reliability of the tested AR-15 rifles, and suggests that a SCHV design such as the AR-15 or LWMR should be further developed as a replacement for the M14.

The ORO publishes the papers “Optimum Duplex Spread” and “Optimum Dispersion for Gaussian Salvo.”

At Springfield Armory, David C. Fletcher and Herman F. Hawthorne publish the report “Feasibility Study of a Caliber .222, Salvo Type Shoulder Rifle.” The rifle under study has three fixed barrels and uses a rotary feeding mechanism. Without muzzle brakes, the rifle will have twice the recoil of a M1 rifle. Muzzle brakes will reduce recoil to less than that of the M1 rifle.

June:
The ORO publishes “SALVO I Rifle Field Experiment.”

Springfield Armory publishes the report “Water Drainage Characteristics of Caliber .22/06 and 7.62mm Barrels.”

General Taylor retires at the end of the month.

July:
Springfield Armory approves AAI’s “burst simulator” design and grants a contract for the manufacture of two units.

While operations manager for the Dardick Corporation, Melvin M. Johnson, Jr. completes an outline of various weapon concepts using the Tround principle. These include a Tround-firing Gatling (the “Dispenser”) and military rifles, all using a “super-velocity” .224 caliber cartridge.

September:
The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control approves of the sale of 25 AR-15 to Malaya.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #2,903,809 titled “Cartridge Magazine of Aluminum or Magnesium.”

The new Army Chief of Staff General Lyman L. Lemnitzer reaffirms General Taylor’s earlier position in regard to the small arms situation.

October:
CONARC HQ sends the Infantry Board a directive titled “Evaluation of Single Fléchette.” The Infantry Board is to conduct testing to determine whether the single fléchette has sufficient military value under temperate weather conditions to warrant further development. A similar directive is sent to the Arctic Test Board.

The USAIB publishes “Draft Military Characteristics for All-Purpose Hand-Held Weapon.”

The Combat Operations Research Group publishes “Infantry Small Arms Weapons. Technique for Evaluation and Application to the All-Purpose Hand-Held Weapon.”

November:
The OCO sends the Office Chief of Research and Development (OCRD) “Development of All-Purpose Hand-Held Weapon.” The Chief of Ordnance LTG Hinrichs proposes to the Chief of Research and Development (CRD) LTG Arthur G. Trudeau that development of the APHHW system be initiated, using single fléchette ammunition in the direct fire role.

The Infantry Board receives AAI single fléchette ammunition for testing.

On behalf of the US Army, Albert J. Lizza receives US Patent #2,912,781 titled “Stock and Action Clamp.”

December:
The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control approves of the sale of 23 AR-15 to India.

Gene Stoner files a patent application for the trigger mechanism of the AR-15.

AAI publishes the report “Final Report – Research and Development Activities on Fléchette Ammunition Test Rifles.” For the purposes of testing, ten Winchester Model 70R bolt-action rifles had been modified to fire individual fléchette cartridges.

The Infantry Board concludes testing of the AAI single fléchette ammunition. The Board sends a preliminary report to CONARC HQ, concluding that single fléchette ammunition has the potential for fulfilling the requirements of the direct fire ammunition for the APHHW.

1960


L. James Sullivan leaves ArmaLite.

January:
On behalf of the US Army, Albert J. Lizza receives US Patent #2,920,538 titled “Bolt Mechanism for Firearms.”

CONARC issues “Approved Utility Characteristics for All-Purpose, Hand-Held Weapons.”

February:
AAI’s first firing “burst simulator” is shipped to Aberdeen’s BRL. After initial adjustments, the device could simulate a cyclic rate of 2,300rpm.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “Provisional Estimate of the Wounding Potential of Fléchettes.”

The CWL publishes the report “Studies in Wound Ballistics – Temporary Cavities and Permanent Tracts Produced by High-Velocity Projectiles in Gelatin.” In these experiments, .30-06 M2 AP and M2 Ball, 45 grain .22 Hornet FMJ and JSP bullets, .30 caliber fragment simulators, and 1/4-inch steel spheres were fired into cylinders of 20 percent gelatin. Of note, energy absorption and momentum transfer in 20 percent gelatin are determined to be independent of temporary-cavity formation.

March:
The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control approves of the sale of 1,250 AR-15 to Indonesia.

The USAIB publishes the report “Evaluation of Single Fléchette.” The report covers testing of AAI’s “Arrow” fléchette cartridge using the modified Winchester rifles. For comparison purposes, both the short and long variants of the 6.35mm Simplex cartridges and 7.62mm NATO M59 Ball are also tested. Poor base accuracy, which deteriorated even further during use, is noted for the fléchette rifles, along with excessive muzzle flash and poor penetration against wood and sand. Comments are also made concerning the downrange hazard presented by the discarding sabot to friendly troops. The fléchette cartridges were found to be so lightly constructed that the case walls could be bent during handling. The cartridges had to be hand chambered individually, lest they be deformed during feeding from a magazine. On the positive side, the flat trajectory of the cartridge would require no sight setting changes out to 400 meters. Moreover, the future APHHW is projected to weigh roughly 3.5 pounds and possess a cyclic rate of 2,000rpm. Based on the projected characteristics, the fléchette is deemed to have a greater potential than the 6.35mm and 7.62mm NATO cartridges.

The OCRD reports back to the OCO “Approval of MCs for APHHW.”

Gene Stoner files a patent application for a magazine design utilizing a constant force spring.

April:
CONARC forwards the Infantry Board’s report on fléchette cartridge testing to Army CRD LTG Trudeau. CONARC concurs with the Infantry Board’s conclusions, and recommends that development of single fléchette ammunition be continued and directed toward, but not limited to, the correction of deficiencies listed in the report. Moreover, the improved ammunition should be submitted to the Infantry Board for further testing.

May:
The US Army Arctic Test Board publishes the report “Evaluation of Single Fléchette and 6.35-MM Simplex and Duplex Ammunition.” In these follow-up tests, AAI’s “Arrow” fléchette cartridge, now designated the 5.6x53mm XM110, has been pitted against duplex and simplex versions of the short 6.35x48mm cartridge, 7.62mm NATO M59 and M80 Ball, and even the defunct .224 Springfield (.222 Rem Mag). (Additional details concerning the latter were excised.) The duplex 6.35mm cartridge is dismissed as having insufficient military value, and while the same complaints noted by the USAIB are repeated, the XM110 cartridge is deemed to be the superior choice for future development.

AAI’s second “burst simulator” is shipped to Springfield Armory.

On behalf of Winchester, Stefan Janson receives US Patent #2,935,915 titled “Gas-Operated Automatic Rifle Having a Plurality of Barrels.”

June:
Colt requests new Ordnance testing of their improved AR-15 rifle. Dr. Carten refuses the request, citing the lack of military requirement for such a rifle.

Colt President Roff sends Cooper-Macdonald copies of the wire message from Dr. Carten denying Colt’s request for testing, a letter from Charles Dorchester outlining potential arguments for getting Carten’s decision overturned, a Congressional report with helpful statements made by Army CRD LTG Trudeau, and an Aberdeen test report.

Gene Stoner files a patent application for the triangle pattern forearm assembly.

The ORO publishes “Battle Sight Setting.”

The Infantry Board publishes “Evaluation of 6.35MM Simplex and Duplex Ammunition.”

AAI publishes the report “Final Summary Report – Small Caliber Demonstration Guns.”

July:
In hopes of generating interest (and royalties) in the AR-15, Macdonald invites General Curtis E. LeMay, then Vice Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, to a combination 4th of July celebration/birthday party for former Fairchild president Richard Boutelle. Boutelle and LeMay are long-time friends and fellow firearms-enthusiasts. In fact, LeMay had previously attempted to have ArmaLite’s AR-5 survival rifle adopted for the USAF. At the party, LeMay is conveniently given an opportunity to shoot a new Colt-production AR-15 at a trio of watermelons. After bursting the first two melons at 50 yards and 150 yards, LeMay is suitably impressed with the terminal results. (Note: The third melon is spared the firing squad and is subsequently eaten.)

LeMay offers to recommend the AR-15 as a replacement for the USAF‘s aging stock of M2 Carbines, and it is arranged for three Colt AR-15 to be sent to the Air Force Marksmanship School at Lackland AFB for testing. LeMay also holds a meeting with the Army CRD LTG Trudeau, and representatives of Cooper-Macdonald. As a result, the OCO is asked to complete additional tests of the AR-15 rifle for the USAF.

Colt President Roff writes Cooper-Macdonald confirming Colt’s authorization for Cooper-Macdonald to represent Colt in attempts to get the AR-15 tested and approved by the US Government.

August:
At the first of the month, the USAF Marksmanship School receives an additional five AR-15. Testing is conducted with Lackland Military Training Center’s commander General Robert M. Stillman, his Staff Officers, and Air Police personnel in attendance. Testing is conducted with both Remington and Norma ammunition. Accuracy testing is conducted using a mounted scope; however, there are problem with a loose scope mount. The AR-15’s ability to launch rifle grenades (both anti-personnel and anti-tank) is demonstrated. Gene Stoner and Charles Dorchester participate in the testing, and an AR-10 is demonstrated for comparison purposes.

A week later, Major Burton T. Miller of the USAF Marksmanship School sends the memo “Evaluation of AR-15.” Within, Miller notes that 10 AR-15 are now on-hand and that 5,000 rounds are scheduled for delivery. However, he anticipates that a total of 50,000 rounds will be needed, and wonders who is going place the order for additional ammunition and who will pay for it. Approval is requested to work out a test evaluation program with the Air Police School and the 3720th Basic Military Training School wherein a representative number of trainees will utilize the AR-15, firing the exact courses currently required for M2 carbine training. However, given the limited number of rifles, the AR-15 will need to be shuttled between the trainees and the range test staff conducting penetration, accuracy, and function testing.

During a staff meeting late in the month, General LeMay notes that a requirement exists for a better small arm for Air Force security forces to replace the M2 carbine. LeMay orders that an all-command survey be taken to validate the requirement and to determine the exact number of replacement rifles needed.

Fairchild Secretary Paul S. Cleveland writes Cooper-Macdonald laying out the relationship between the two companies.

  1. Cooper-Macdonald will attempt to secure an order and possibly a manufacturing license for ArmaLite weapons from India;
  2. Cooper-Macdonald will also attempt to secure approval from the US Government for sale of ArmaLite weapons to Military Assistance Fund (MAF) clients;
  3. In return, Cooper-Macdonald will receive 10 percent of any down payments and royalties from Indian licensing, and 10 percent of royalties from sales to the US Government and MAF clients; and
  4. The same terms as India’s will apply to any other foreign licensing deals made via Cooper-Macdonald’s efforts.

September:
The USAF Marksmanship School publishes “Evaluation Report of the Colt-Armalite AR-15 Automatic, Caliber .223.”

General LeMay is briefed on the latest small arms development programs of the Department of the Army.

Dr. Carten is ordered to provide testing of the Colt AR-15 for the USAF. Ironically, the testing is requested to coincide with Ordnance testing of Dutch-production AR-10 rifles. Moreover, General LeMay, Army CRD LTG Trudeau, and other representatives from the USAF and Army will be in attendance for part of the testing. Mr. Sloan, a representative from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), also attends. Among the other observers are Gene Stoner, Robert Macdonald, and Gerald Gustafson, representing his current employer, the USAF Armament Laboratory.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #2,951,424 titled “Gas Operated Bolt and Carrier System.”

November:
Ordnance releases the Aberdeen D&PS test results on the AR-10 and AR-15 in separate reports. Once again, Laurence F. Moore’s recommendations and conclusions are missing. However, the remaining data is encouraging. For instance, the Colt AR-15 displays a malfunction rate of 2.5/1000 rounds (less than half of the 1958 Fort Benning tests).

In a report to the OCRD, Dr. Carten summarizes the AR-15 results as “reasonably satisfactory.” Thus, the Colt AR-15 is approved for USAF trials.

Colt Chairman Sidney A. Stewart writes Cooper-Macdonald to propose the following commissions to be paid on AR-15 rifles sold to the US Government:


Rifles Sold

Royalty Per Rifle
1-25,000$1
25,001-50,000$1.50
50,001-100,000$1.75
Over 100,000$2.00

The ORO publishes “Rifle Accuracies and Hit Probabilities in Combat.”

December:
Ten AR-15 are sent to Lackland AFB for additional testing.

George Sullivan receives US Patent #2,965,994 titled “Gun Forearm.”

The US Army Chemical Research and Development Laboratory (CRDL) publishes “Wound Ballistics Assessment of Winchester-Western Caliber .25 Salvo Ammunition.”

1961


USAF testing at Lackland AFB continues, pitting the Colt AR-15 versus the M2 Carbine and the M14 rifle. 43 percent of the AR-15 users score “Expert” in marksmanship qualifications versus 22 percent of the M14 users.

Using the AAI “burst simulator,” Aberdeen’s BRL estimates that the proposed APHHW could produce three times the enemy casualties versus the M14 per engagement. Based on equal rounds expended, the APHHW could be up to seven times more effective than the M14.

First Half 1961:
Springfield begins design of two weapon concepts to fire the XM144 fléchette cartridge.

January:
Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes another report titled “A Test of Rifle Caliber .223, AR-15.”

Colt Chairman Stewart writes Cooper-Macdonald to confirm increase in commission from $1 to $1.25 on all AR-15 sold to the USAF.

The BRL publishes “Dispersions for Effective Automatic Small Arms Fire and a Comparison of the M14 Rifle with a Weapon Yielding Effective Automatic Fire.”

February:
Fairchild allows ArmaLite to split off into a separate company. ArmaLite’s management team purchases the right and titles to all of the ArmaLite designs with the exception of the AR-10 and AR-15. Around the same time, Gene Stoner leaves ArmaLite.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “An Investigation of the Wounding Potential of Fléchette Rounds When Fired from a Multi-Barreled Test Gun.” Experimental firings were conducted with the five-barreled test gun firing single fléchette cartridges in single shots and in bursts at a rate of 2,680 rounds per minute. Observations from the targets and photography indicate that most fléchette yaw in flight regardless of how they are fired. Those fired in salvos yaw much more than those fired in single shots. Yaw may be induced by transverse forces set up by the motion of the gun tubes, blast from adjacent muzzles, shock waves from other fléchette, and interference from the sabots.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “An Effectiveness Analysis of Spin-Stabilized Rifle Systems, Based on a Caliber .17 Projectile.”

March:
General LeMay sends a letter to the OCO requesting cost and availability figures for both the M14 and AR-15.

General LeMay is briefed on the Air Staff recommendations on selection and procurement of a new weapon for the USAF. Following the briefing, LeMay directs that the Air Staff select the weapon, and that the Air Force Materiel Command be directed to procure the weapon at the rate of 19,000 a year. LeMay further states that he felt that the AR-15 rifle is the weapon that should be procured.

The ORO publishes “Casualty Probabilities of Gaussian Salvos.”

On behalf of the US Army, David C. Fletcher receives US Patent #2,976,770 titled “Operating Mechanism for a Plural Barrel Rifle with a Feeding Rotor.”

The .22 Remington Jet is officially introduced by Remington and Smith & Wesson. The final cartridge is based on a necked down .357 Magnum case.

Spring:
ARPA‘s mission is reoriented to include research regarding the conduct of counter-insurgency warfare. Project AGILE is approved to further this new mission. Combat Development Test Centers are thus opened in Bangkok and Saigon, the respective capitals of Thailand and South Vietnam.

Project AGILE member, Colonel Richard Hallock (US Army), is lobbied by Robert Macdonald regarding the virtues of the AR-15 rifle in the hands of small-statured troops.

April:
The OCRD responds to General LeMay’s request in a memo titled “Replacement of .30 Caliber Carbine for USAF.” The memo points out the logistical difficulties which will ensue if a new rifle and cartridge are introduced. Instead, it recommends that the USAF consider the folding-stock M14E1, examples of which could be available for testing as early as June 1961.

ArmaLite’s George C. Sullivan files another patent application for design principles for using aluminum in a firearm’s receiver.

On behalf of the US Army, David C. Fletcher receives US Patent #2,981,156 titled “Firing Mechanism for a Salvo Gun.”

The CRDL issues the report “Wound Ballistics of the 7.2 Grain Steel Fléchette.”

May:
The USAF validates the quantitative requirement for procurement of the AR-15 and its ammunition.

Colt President Roff writes Cooper-Macdonald to confirm increase in commission from $1 to $1.25 on all AR-15 sold to the US Government, not just the USAF.

The ORO publishes “SALVO II Rifle Field Experiment.”

May-June:
CDEC conducts field experiments in support of the study “Optimum Composition of the Rifle Squad and Platoon.”

June:
General LeMay is appointed Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

The ORO‘s administrative organization, Johns Hopkins University, and the Army mutually agree to terminate the contract funding the ORO. This change is made so the Army can fire the ORO‘s director, Dr. Ellis A. Johnson. Dr. Johnson had long fought to keep the ORO‘s research from being a mere intellectual rubber stamp for existing Army orthodoxy. Despite Army pressure, Johns Hopkins was not willing to remove Johnson without cause.

Second Half 1961:
Springfield supplies Aberdeen and Frankford Arsenal with test weapons and ammunition to enable continuation of feasibility and development studies of micro-caliber weapon systems proposed at Springfield. Micro-caliber cartridges are considered a back-up to the XM110/XM144 fléchette cartridges. Terminal ballistic tests at the BRL confirm the feasibility of micro-caliber systems as indicated initially by lethality tests at the Chemical Center’s Wound Ballistics Laboratory.

Springfield completes the design and fabrication of one of its two weapon concepts to fire XM144 ammunition.

AAI continues the development of small arms mechanisms to fire XM110 ammunition. In addition to increasing mechanism reliability and development of a high capacity magazine, AAI directs development efforts toward reduction of automatic fire dispersion.

Winchester, under contract to Springfield, designs, fabricates, and develops a small arms mechanism incorporating an unique “soft recoil” mechanism. A request is made for funding of an additional contract to conduct additional dispersion and accuracy tests.

A contract is also negotiated with Winchester to modify the .224 LWMR to fire XM144 ammunition.

Summer:
General LeMay requests 19,000 AR-15 rifles in the USAF‘s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, with the ultimate goal of procuring a total of 80,000 in successive years. Initially, funds for procurement of the AR-15 rifle are withheld by the Department of Defense (DOD). The reasons given are that: 1) introduction of another rifle of different caliber and characteristics into DOD inventories is not desirable; 2) adoption of a .223 caliber rifle for the USAF is not consistent with NATO standardization objectives; and 3) Army and USAF depots hold large quantities of M1 and M2 carbines, which are still usable despite their age.

July:
General LeMay is informed that the Offices of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) and the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations & Logistics) – ASD(I&L) had not agreed to USAF procurement of the AR-15. Within days, LeMay confers with the executives of these offices. It is agreed that a study should be made of the entire matter to serve as the basis for a decision by the Secretary of Defense. By the end of the month, the study is complete. It recommends that the USAF be allowed to procure the AR-15 rifle.

ARPA selects the AR-15 as the weapon with the most potential for being compatible with small statured South Vietnamese soldiers. ARPA purchases ten AR-15 rifles out of their available funds.

August:
After several exchanges between the USAF and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), a meeting is held to discuss the procurement of the AR-15. Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell L. Gilpatric chairs the meeting. DDR&E Harold Brown and ASD(I&L) Thomas D. Morris support the USAF position. However, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Charles J. Hitch opposes the procurement of the rifle. The results of this meeting are contained in a memorandum to Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert, stating that the request for procurement of the AR-15 rifle is not approved. The prime reason given is the problem of justifying to the Bureau of the Budget or to Congress a proposal to procure another new weapon in view of the Army’s rifle program.

General LeMay continues to hold conferences with the Deputy Secretary Gilpatric to determine the best course to follow to obtain the rifles. From these and other meetings within the OSD, it is concluded that procurement of the new weapon depends on how the House Appropriations Committee feels about the matter. At the first approach, Representative George H. Mahon (D-TX), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, is not sympathetic with the proposal, and this information is presented to the LeMay along with the recommendation that the whole matter be dropped.

A week later, LeMay again broaches the topic of AR-15 procurement in an OSD staff meeting. It is suggested that the request be resubmitted on the basis of a need for new weapons for special warfare. Upon presentation of the new approach to Rep. Mahon, Mahon suggests that there should be no Congressional objections to procurement of the AR-15 for special warfare purposes. The Air Staff is instructed to submit a new request for a lower number of AR-15 rifles for use by Composite Air Strike Forces and other USAF personnel assigned duty in Southeast Asia. Oddly, while the idea was originally suggested by OSD staff, some in the OSD now voice objections to the approach.

Following successful demonstrations of the AR-15 rifle in South Vietnam, ARPA requests 4,300 AR-15 for testing with South Vietnamese troops (ARVN). This request is denied on the grounds that M2 Carbines were available from surplus.

September:
Upon review of the USAF‘s latest request for only 8,500 AR-15 rifles and 8.5 million rounds of ammunition for test, training, and unconventional warfare, Deputy Secretary Gilpatric authorizes funding the same day.

A few days later, the Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group in Vietnam, LTG Lionel C. McGarr, requests 4,300 AR-15 rifles for combat testing by the South Vietnamese. The request suggests three alternatives involving approximately 1,000, 2,500, or 4,300 rifles, and cites the political and psychological advantages of providing advanced weaponry for use by the small statured Vietnamese in their counterinsurgency war. DDR&E Brown and other members of the OSD staff brief Rep. Mahon on the entire effort in Vietnam. Mahon promises his support in the procurement of the rifles.

Deputy Secretary Gilpatric sends a letter to Congress supporting the USAF‘s procurement of the AR-15:

“Subsequent to Congressional action on the Defense Department budget, the Air Force introduced an urgent requirement for equipping a portion of its forces with the AR-15 Rifle.

The Department of Defense has investigated thoroughly and concurs with the need for the rifle. The necessity for it has been personally justified to me by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.”

Rep. Mahon allows only seven minutes for discussion of the AR-15 proposal before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Funding is withheld pending consideration of additional data. Days later, Mahon writes Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara stating that the Subcommittee has voted to deny funding for the USAF‘s AR-15 purchase. However, they are willing to give the matter further consideration when Congress reconvenes in January 1962, if requested to do so.

The Army establishes a new research organization called the Research Analysis Corporation (RAC). The RAC takes over the ORO‘s pre-existing projects, property, and most of its former staff. One wag jokes that RAC is short for “Relax and Cooperate.”

October:
President John F. Kennedy reportedly tells General LeMay to quit badgering the Army about the AR-15.

After conducting a limited test in Saigon with their 10 AR-15, ARPA resubmits their request for AR-15 rifles with the additional data. They further note that the requested rifles will be evaluated only in terms of their usefulness for ARVN units and their US advisors, not for general US military issue.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “An Interim Report on the Study of Parameters that Affect the Accuracy of Automatic Rifles.” This report is a brief summary of the work being done for the All-Purpose Hand-Held Weapon (APHHW). It gives some ideas of the present trends of thought and some indications of ways to improve the accuracy of automatic fire.

The CRDL issues the report “Wound Ballistics of High-Velocity Flechettes for Hand Held Weapons.”

Mel Johnson, with assistance from MBAssociates, designs a rocket-propelled fléchette weapon. Johnson converts a Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver to serve as the test bed. Later dubbed the “Discharger,” it fires three rocket fléchette from each cartridge fed by belt through an open chamber “star-wheel.”

November:
CDEC publishes “Optimum Composition of the Rifle Squad and Platoon. Final Report of Experiment.” The findings indicate that all members of a squad, except machinegunners, should carry the APHHW. While AAI had finally built APHHW prototypes, a burst control device had not yet been designed or incorporated. Burst length had been simulated by loading only the required number of rounds for a given “burst” into the magazine.

Late:
Springfield performs preliminary investigations concerning the effect of water in the bore of small caliber rifles.

December:
Fairchild sells Colt an exclusive license to the patent rights related to the AR-15 rifle. The license will last up to the expiration date of the last-to-expire patent. The agreement includes the right to grant sub-licenses, but does not cover the right to reassign the patents or the agreement. The purchase price is based primarily on subsequent sales by Colt of AR-15 weapons and parts incorporating the above mentioned patent rights.

The Director of ARPA, Jack P. Ruina, sends a memo to McNamara titled “AR-15 Armalite Rifles for Test in Southeast Asia” recommending approval of the request for 1,000 AR-15, necessary spare parts, and ammunition.

General LeMay makes a personal appeal for the USAF‘s rifles in a meeting with President Kennedy. Again, the request is denied.

McNamara approves the ARPA request, allowing for the purchase of 1,000 AR-15 rifles, accessories, and ammunition.

The USAF classifies the status of the .223 Remington cartridge as developmental.

The US Army Chief of Staff’s Office (OCSA) receives a fact sheet titled “ArmaLite Rifle (AR-15).”

Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman General Lemnitzer sends President Kennedy a memo titled “ArmaLite (AR-15) Rifle.”

The chiefs of the Technical Services are formally briefed as to McNamara’s planned reorganization of the Army. McNamara himself even appears for a time to take questions. While some like MG Frank S. Besson, Jr., the Chief of Transportation, embrace the plan, others such as the Chief of Ordnance LTG Hinrichs, and the Chief Chemical Officer MG Marshall Stubbs are vehemently opposed.

The BRL publishes “Effectiveness of Proposed Small Arms for Special and Guerilla Warfare.”

1962


Gene Stoner joins Cadillac Cage to begin work on the 7.62mm NATO Stoner 62 system.

At the World Shooting Championships in Cairo, the Russian “Running Deer Match” team uses the 5.6x39mm cartridge. It is based on the 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge case necked down to .22″. World Records are tied and broken for individual and team scores respectively in the two-shot event. (One source claims that the cartridge dates back to at least 1957, but the earliest found examples bear 1961 headstamps.)

Remington begins development of a bolt-action pistol chambered for a SCHV cartridge. Wanye Leek heads up the development team. Initial efforts center on the .222 Remington, but it is discovered that the cartridge is not as efficient as desired in a 10″ barrel. Experimentation then begins with shortened .222 Remington cases.

First Half 1962:
Springfield continues to supply Aberdeen and Frankford Arsenal with various small arms mechanisms for lethality, accuracy, and dispersion tests. These include multiple and single-barrel test mechanisms to fire micro-caliber, and the XM110 and XM144 fléchette cartridges.

Springfield completes the design and fabrication of both of its SPIW mechanism concepts. The function and development testing of these mechanisms are seriously delayed because of XM144 ammunition development problems, which remain to be resolved. The design, fabrication, and initial testing of a three shot, pump action grenade launcher are also completed.

Springfield completes its preliminary investigations regarding the effects of water in the bore of small caliber rifles, and a report is written. These tests have been conducted with the XM110 ammunition. Preparations for more extensive water-in-bore tests are also completed. Three commercial rifles are modified to fire XM144 ammunition. Each are fitted with three barrels of different wall thickness for the water-in-bore tests. Testing is scheduled to begin in mid-July and awaits a sufficient supply of XM144 ammunition, along with FY 1963 funding.

AAI continues development of small arms mechanisms to fire XM110 ammunition. The major portion of AAI’s work is devoted to decreasing the dispersion of short burst fire in preparation for a series of dispersion tests at Aberdeen. The results of these tests are quite favorable and are indicative of the feasibility of the single-barrel, serially fired approach.

Winchester completes the development of its first “soft recoil” mechanism prototype. While excessive clearances between the barrel-receiver group and the mechanism frame produce wide dispersions, the test results are encouraging regarding dispersion pattern and total recoil distance of barrel-receiver group.

Winchester also completes modification of five LWMR to fire Frankford Arsenal XM144 (FA-XM144) ammunition. (Sometime in FY 1963, Winchester will receive another contract to modify one of the five LWMR rechambered for FA-XM144 to accept Winchester’s own XM144-WE4 ammunition. At the completion of the contract, the modified rifle is then loaned back to Winchester to support a Frankford Arsenal contract.)

Winter:
Rep. Mahon and the Deputy Secretary Gilpatric are guests at the USAF firepower demonstration at Eglin Air Force Base. Both are impressed by a demonstration of the AR-15 rifle. A similar demonstration is later arranged for President Kennedy.

January:
Secretary of Defense McNamara abolishes the statutory positions of the Technical Service chiefs, transferring them to the Secretary of the Army subject to Congressional approval of his sweeping reorganization plan for the Army. McNamara proposes the creation of an Army Materiel Command and a Combat Developments Command (CDC). The new commands will be raised to the same level as CONARC. The responsibilities and subordinate commands of the formerly independent Technical Services (Ordnance, Chemical, Quartermaster, Transportation, and Signal Corps) will be divided among the three major commands. The Technical Services will lose their materiel functions to the Army Materiel Command, their training functions to CONARC, and their doctrine formulation functions to the CDC. The Offices of the Chief of Ordnance and the Chemical Warfare Services will be abolished, and their staff functions will be transferred to the office of the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (DCSLOG). The Corps of Engineers and the Surgeon General remain for the most part untouched.

When Congress reconvenes, Air Force Secretary Zuckert visits Rep. Mahon, and one of the items discussed is the AR-15 rifle. Mahon advises that unless the USAF AR-15 rifles are in the budget, it will be better not to bring the matter to the attention of Congress.

The USAF classifies the AR-15 as a standard weapon for its inventory.

ARPA receives the first shipment of their 1,000-rifle order.

In the letter “SPIW – Initiation of Project and Recording of Approved Military Characteristics,” the OCO approves formal specifications for the new Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW). The SPIW combines the point-fire capabilities of the APHHW with the area-fire capabilities of the 40x46mm grenade launcher.

The CRDL issues the report “Wound Ballistics of the 1.7 Grain Steel Fléchette.”

Mel Johnson and Jack Fitzgerald, representing Advanced Developments Inc (ADInc.), meet with ARPA Director of R&D, Dr. William H. Godel and other ARPA staff to discuss ADInc. projects. These concentrate on the rocket fléchette “Discharger” and a .22-caliber “Quick Fix” conversion for the M1/M2 Carbine. On its own, ADInc. obtains two M1 carbines for conversion, plus additional 15 and 30 round magazines. A third carbine is later ordered along with spare barrels and 1,000 rounds of .30 Carbine ammunition.

February:
Project AGILE begins operational testing of the AR-15 in Vietnam.

Hill AFB conducts testing to determine whether the .223 Remington cartridge is of sufficient quality to justify complete testing and development for USAF use.

Congress approves McNamara’s reorganization plans for the Army. Carrying out the reorganization is the responsibility of the Department of the Army Reorganization Project Office (DARPO). MG Besson is chairman of DARPO‘s planning group for the Army Materiel Command, then tentatively called Materiel, Development, and Logistics Command (MDLC).

US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) is formed. General Paul D. Harkins is its first commander.

Mel Johnson completes an outline of an ARPA proposal titled “Advanced Light Guerilla Cal. .224 Sub-Rifle System for Short Lead-Time, Lost Cost and Advanced Performance.” Johnson estimates a budget of $200,000 for prototype fabrication and testing. In addition, Johnson asks for a $18,000 fee to be paid to ADInc. Weeks later, ARPA Director of Special Projects COL Thomas W. Brundage (USMC) declines support for Johnson’s Sub-Rifle and Discharger proposals.

March:
McNamara orders Secretary of the Army Elvis J. Stahr, Jr. to accelerate the Army’s reorganization so that the new Army Materiel Command will be in full operation by 1 July 1962, nine months ahead of the previously proposed schedule. Secretary Stahr protests.

Macdonald calls to report that he has information indicating that the House Appropriations Committee is ready to approve the USAF request for the AR-15.

The OCO approves the development timeline for the SPIW. Type classification of a SPIW as “Standard A” is projected for June 1966.

On behalf of the US Army, Herman F. Hawthorne files a patent application for a triple-bore Tround, which will be used later by the H&R SPIW.

Spring:
Remington submits the specifications of the .223 Remington to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI).

Mel Johnson finalizes plans for the commercial development of the “Johnson Semiautomatic Sub-Rifle” (JSSR).

April:
George Sullivan receives US Patent #3,027,672 titled “Firearm with Aluminum Alloy Receiver.”

The OCSA receives a fact sheet titled “ArmaLite Rifle, AR-15, Cal. .223.”

McNamara approves a plan by MG Besson to establish early operations of the Army Materiel Command. Upon approval of Besson’s plan, the activation of the Army Materiel Command is pushed back to August.

ADInc. and Interarmco make arrangements for Interarmco to represent ADInc. products overseas, particularly the Sub-Rifle/Guerilla Gun. Interarmco provides two additional M1 carbines for conversion to .224.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes the report “Test of Rifle, Assault, 7.62mm, Model 1958, Czech.”

May:
The American Rifleman publishes an article on the AR-15. From their limited testing during the winter, the authors allege that the rifle/cartridge combination is unreliable and inaccurate. This is primarily attributed to the stability of the bullet under cold weather conditions. They suggest that the rifling twist be changed from 1-in-14″ to 1-in-12″.

The USAF resubmits its request for the procurement of 8,500 AR-15 rifles and 8.5 million rounds of ammunition. During Congressional hearings, the USAF is asked to rebut the American Rifleman article. Members of the Appropriations Committee are suitably impressed with the quality of the USAF‘s arguments, and within days, the funding is approved.

The US Navy orders a small quantity of AR-15 rifles for service testing by its SEAL teams. Ultimately, 172 rifles are ordered for team use. (One source claims that SEAL Team Two’s Lt. Ray Boehm used the open purchase system to procure 136 rifles straight from Colt, with 66 going to SEAL Team Two and the remainder to SEAL Team One.)

Secretary of the Army Stahr tenders his resignation.

The Department of the Army officially establishes the Army Materiel Command (AMC) as a major field command.

MG Nelson M. Lynde, Jr. is appointed commander of the US Army Ordnance Weapons Command (OWC).

The Johnson “Guerilla Gun” is publicly demonstrated for the first time at the American Ordnance Association meeting at Aberdeen. Mel Johnson leaves one converted carbine behind for testing by the Limited Warfare Laboratory (LWL).

June:
Demonstrations of the AR-15 are held for OSD staff. Those in attendance include Systems Analyst Alain C. Enthoven and Comptroller Charles J. Hitch. Attendees are allowed to test fire the AR-15 along with the M14 and AK-47.

The BRL publishes “Estimated Incapacitation Probabilities of Caliber .14 Bullets.” Tests had been ordered on behalf of Springfield Armory, who had developed manufacturing techniques for micro-caliber barrels. The cartridge, based on a necked down .222 Remington, launched a 17 grain projectile at 4,400 fps.

Winchester is awarded a new contract to design, fabricate and test an improved “soft recoil” mechanism to fire short bursts of FA-XM144 ammunition.

Second Half 1962:
AAI continues development of its small arms mechanisms to fire XM110 ammunition. The contract is extended from August to October, and then to December when it is cancelled. During this period, AAI completes fabrication and limited testing of its Model #4 firing mechanism.

Winchester’s improved “soft recoil” prototype mechanism contract is extended from mid-December 1962 to mid-February 1963. Functional difficulties are experienced.

July:
ARPA‘s operational testing of the AR-15 in Vietnam ends. Later in the month, ARPA releases the report “Test of ArmaLite Rifle, AR-15.” The report concludes that the AR-15 is superior to the M2 Carbine, and better suited for Vietnamese soldiers than the M1 rifle, the M1918 BAR, and the Thompson SMG. Vietnamese troops and their US advisors reportedly considered the AR-15 “the best “all around” shoulder weapon” then in use. ARPA notes that there were no part breakages in nearly 80,000 rounds fired, and only two parts were replaced. The report also includes graphic details of the .223 Remington’s terminal effects. The results are typically described as “explosive.” ARPA recommends that the AR-15 be adopted as the basic weapon for all South Vietnamese forces. No deficiencies are noted, and only two minor changes are recommended. One is to roughen the texture of the upper surfaces of the handguard for a more secure grip when a soldier’s hands are wet. The second is to add an additional section to the cleaning rod along with a T-shaped handle.

Ordnance Weapons Command is renamed US Army Weapons Command (USAWC or WECOM). Ordnance Special Weapons Ammunition Command is renamed US Army Munitions Command (MUCOM). The Office of the Chief of Ordnance is officially abolished at the end of the month.

On behalf of Comptroller Hitch, the Systems Analysis Directorate of the OSD begins a study of rifle procurement.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #3,045,555 titled “Automatic Trigger Mechanism with Three Sears and a Rotatable Control Member.”

Department of Defense General Counsel Cyrus R. Vance becomes Secretary of the Army.

Mel Johnson prepares a detailed cost analysis for JSSR conversions. Johnson also prepares a press package on the JSSR and MMJ 5.7mm for firearm and hunting magazines.

August:
The USAF officially awards Colt the contract for 8,500 AR-15 and ammunition. Following the procurement of the initial quantity of weapons, the USAF includes 19,000 new AR-15 rifles in its FY 1963 budget.

The AMC is activated with LTG Frank S. Besson, Jr. as its first commander. AMC is organized initially into five commodity major subordinate commands (MSCs); Electronics Command, Missile Command, Munitions Command, Mobility Command, and Weapons Command; and two functional MSCs; Supply and Maintenance Command (SMC) and Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM). Dr. Carten is reassigned as the Technical Coordinator of the Weapons Development Branch of the AMC‘s Research, Development, & Equipment Directorate.

ARPA sends to the White House a brief titled “AR-15 Armalite Rifle, Test Completion and Adoption for Vietnamese Armed Forces.”

General Harkins, the commander of MACV, requests a $4.6 million add-on to the FY 1963 Military Assistance Program (MAP) budget. This funding will be used to acquire 20,530 AR-15 rifles for implementation of the Project AGILE recommendations.

The CRDL issues the report “Wound Ballistics of the 15.2 Grain Steel Fléchette.”

September:
Secretary Vance requests that the Army reassess the M14 program, taking into account the capabilities of the AR-15 and the SPIW.

Admiral Harry D. Felt, the Commander in Chief, Pacific Command (CINCPAC), denies MACV‘s request for AR-15 rifles. While the AR-15 is considered to be an excellent weapon, the decision is made on the basis of the cost of introducing the new rifle into the MAP. Moreover, these funds are needed for other projects with higher priority. The issue of funding is critical as Secretary McNamara had already reduced the FY 1963 MAP budget.

The Systems Analysis Directorate of the OSD finishes the report on rifle procurement requested by Comptroller Hitch. Titled “A Comparison of AR-15 and M14 Rifles,” known hereafter as the Hitch Report, it details the history of intermediate service rifle cartridges and related theory from the .276 Pedersen up to the current AR-15. The study concludes that the AR-15 is superior to the M14 and AK-47. AR-15 equipped squads are theoretically credited with the potential to inflict up to five times more enemy causalities to those issued the M14. The AR-15 is also credited with being more reliable and durable than the M14. The report further suggests that the M14 is inferior to the AK-47 and even the M1 rifle.

Two days after the Hitch Report is released, the OCSA replies to Secretary Vance’s query in a memo titled “Rifle Procurement Program.” The memo criticizes the AR-15 on several points. First and foremost is logistics and NATO standardization. It is alleged that it would take 27 months for AR-15 production to meet the current rate of M14 production (300,000 per year). It is considered undesirable to have Colt as the sole source of production. The American Rifleman article is cited for the AR-15’s inaccuracy in cold weather, yet changing the rifling twist would likely decrease the rifle’s lethality. Furthermore, the M14 is claimed to already be superior in penetration and lethality to the AR-15. It concludes that “The AR-15 is not now acceptable for the Army for universal use.”

WECOM HQ announces the possibility of an accelerated schedule for SPIW.

Fall:
Mel Johnson finishes work on his MMJ 5.7mm wildcat cartridge and “Spitfire” carbine conversion. Based on a necked down .30 Carbine case, the wildcat was designed in conjunction with Lysle Kilbourn (father of the wildcat .22 K-Hornet) and with assistance from H.P. White Laboratory and the Lyman Gun Sight Company.

October:
After receiving a briefing on the Hitch Report, McNamara sends a memo to Secretary Vance asking why the “definitely inferior” M14 was being procured when the “markedly superior” AR-15 was available? Vance passes the question on to the newly appointed Army Chief of Staff General Earle G. Wheeler.

In response to McNamara and Vance’s requests, General Wheeler orders a series of tactical and technical tests of the relative merits of the M14, AR-15, and AK-47. Testing is to be performed at bases in the US, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Arctic.

Department of the Army representatives contact General Harkins indicting that they are now willing to support MACV‘s request for AR-15. Furthermore, they recommend suspending the supply of all M1 rifles and carbines in the Vietnam FY 1963 MAP pending the approval of the AR-15. General Harkins resubmits his request. Admiral Felt again refuses to approve the proposal, stating that the AR-15 has already been considered and turned down.

Representatives from the AMC, Aberdeen’s BRL and D&PSTECOM, and the USAIB meet at AMC headquarters for an informal planning conference regarding the ordered rifle evaluations. A memorandum from the Infantry Board representative states:

“THE US ARMY INFANTRY BOARD WILL CONDUCT ONLY THOSE TESTS THAT WILL REFLECT ADVERSELY ON THE AR-15…”

The US Army orders 300 AR-15 and 600,000 rounds of ammunition for test and evaluation.

President Kennedy is briefed on the Hitch Report by science advisor Jerome Weisner.

The Ogden Air Materiel Area sends a letter titled “Production of Cartridge, 5.64 mm, H.V. Ball,” which outlines the USAF‘s additional requirement for ammunition above that already on order. A partial technical data package is sent to Picatinny Arsenal, asking if the Army had any interest. (5.64mm converts to .222″ in reference to the designation .222 Remington Special.)

WECOM briefs forty-six companies on the SPIW program. Emboldened by the positive industry response, the anticipated type classification date is moved to June 1965.

Springfield is told that it must eliminate one of its two SPIW designs.

November:
With President Kennedy’s interest peaked after the Hitch Report briefing, McNamara demands that General Wheeler provide his conclusions on the rifle issue by January 31, 1963.

Secretary Vance sends a memo to General Wheeler titled “Evaluation of the AR-15 Rifle.” Vance urges that “the CDC test plan be expanded or modified in a manner which will afford further evaluation of the conclusions reached in the…(1959) CDEC report.”

A meeting is held at Frankford Arsenal with representatives from the USAF. Frankford Arsenal agrees that they will prepare an initial technical data package for a one-time Air Force purchase of commercial cartridges for use in the AR-15 rifle.

LTG Besson approves adding 38 AR-15 to the existing order for 300 rifles.

The OSD submits a budget reprogramming action for the procurement of 19 million rounds of .223 ammunition.

Frankford Arsenal creates a small quantity of duplex .223 loads. This consists of a forward bullet of 33 grains followed by a trailing slug of 34 grains. The velocity is quoted as 2,760 fps.

Springfield reviews the SPIW program requirements, formulates a development plan, and down-selects its favored SPIW design for further development. The development plan includes the placement of contracts for support in the design, development, and fabrication of a large capacity magazine, a grenade launcher, and a muzzle device.

At the request of WECOM, contract negotiations with AAI are initiated for the fabrication of three of the Model #4 firing mechanisms. In addition to fabrication, the contract calls for additional development of the mechanism to improve functional reliability.

December:
Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes the report “Comparative Evaluation of AR-15 and M14 Rifles.” During testing, the AR-15 produces groups less than half the size of the M14 in full-automatic fire. However, the water in the bore issue raises its head once again.

The US Army Arctic Test Board publishes “Comparative Evaluation of AR-15, M14, and AK-47 rifles and M79 Grenade Launcher.”

The CDC‘s Infantry Combat Developments Agency files the report “Rifle Evaluation Study.” The objectives of the study were: to evaluate the employment of small arms to determine the desired military characteristics of a rifle; to assess the M14, M14 (USAIB), AR-15, AK-47, and SPIW to determine the preferable weapon in meeting the desired military characteristics; and to make recommendations on retention of the M14, adoption of the AR-15, and development of the AK-47 type and SPIW. The authors conclude that increased emphasis be put on the SPIW program to speed up its development. In the interim, M14 (USAIB) conversion kits should be put into production and be issued as soon as possible to field units. Full or partial adoption of the AK-47 or AR-15 would be unacceptable as they do not meet the requirements for an Infantry squad weapon. The number of malfunctions by the AR-15 indicates that the AR-15 is not now sufficiently reliable for issue to combat units. However, considerations should be made for its possible use by Special Forces units.

CDCEC publishes “Comparative Evaluation of Rifles.”

The CDC publishes its own report also titled “Rifle Evaluation Study.” The author concludes that the AR-15 is the best choice for world-wide use, but the rifle is not yet ready for deployment. The report recommends:

  1. Continue use of the M14 by US Army Forces in Europe and equip all units earmarked for deployment to Europe with the M14, except airborne and Special Forces units.
  2. Correct the AR-15’s deficiencies in reliability and night firing capabilities.
  3. Equip the following with the AR-15 in priority shown:
    1. Air Assault units;
    2. Airborne units;
    3. Special Forces units.
  4. Slow conversion from M1 to M14 in other areas. Final decision with respect to these units can be based on the experience of the units equipped with the AR-15.
  5. In units armed with the M14, replace the M14 with a version of the M14 (USAIB) for automatic riflemen only.
  6. Continue the SPIW program looking toward a long-range marked improvement over all other weapons considered.

The USAIB issues the reports “Rifle Evaluation” and “Comparative Evaluation of AR-15 (Armalite) and M14 Rifles.”

The US Army Infantry School (USAIS) publishes the report “Evaluation Exercise 3 Dec – 20 Dec 62” covering their evaluation of the AR-15.

The CDC also publishes the report “Comparative Evaluation AR-15 and M14 Rifles.”

TECOM issues the report “Comparative Evaluation of U.S. Army Rifle 7.62mm, M14; Armalite Rifle Caliber .223, AR-15; Soviet Assault Rifle AK-47.”

Laurence F. Moore, at the Army Research Office, publishes the report “Studies of Rifle Effectiveness.”

Secretary Vance orders US Army Inspector General MG Edward H. McDaniel to review the Army’s conduct of the comparative rifle testing.

Aberdeen’s BRL issues the report “Comparative Effectiveness Evaluation of the M14 and Other Rifle Concepts.” The study indicates that, in automatic fire, the number of hits per trigger pull for a fléchette-firing weapon will be from 10 percent to 270 percent higher than for the M14 rifle, at ranges between 50 and 300 meters and in bursts of from 3 to 5 rounds. In semiautomatic fire, the fléchette-firing weapon will produce about three times as many casualties as the M14 rifle. Although the incapacitating probabilities per trigger pull are about the same for the two weapons, the fléchette-firing weapon will produce 20 percent more casualties in the same period of time. The hit probability per trigger pull for the fléchette-firing weapon in semiautomatic fire at ranges of from 100 to 300 meters will be between 12 percent and 18 percent higher than for the M14; in automatic fire, the fléchette-firing weapon will be about twice as effective as the M14. On the basis of effectiveness per round of ammunition fired, therefore, the fléchette-firing weapon will be about seven times as effective as the M14.

Ten companies provide formal written SPIW proposals.

1963


Build a Better Mouse Gun, and the World Will Beat a Path to Your Door.” ArmaLite project engineer Arthur Miller scales down Gene Stoner’s 7.62mm NATO AR-16 design into the 5.56mm AR-18. Enticed by Stoner to join him at Cadillac Gage, L. James Sullivan and Robert Fremont scale down the 7.62mm NATO Stoner 62 into the 5.56mm Stoner 63. Beretta and SIG join forces for a 5.56mm rifle project. At Heckler & Koch, Tilo Möller begins development of a scaled down 7.62mm NATO G3 into the 5.56mm HK 33.

Remington commercially introduces the .221 Remington Fireball, a shortened .222 Remington, along with the XP-100 bolt-action pistol.

Weatherby commercially introduces the .224 Weatherby Magnum. While supposedly under development for nearly a decade, the cartridge is roughly an improved .219 Zipper with a belt and Weatherby’s radiused shoulder contour.

Valtion Patruunatehdas of Lapua, Finland begins loading the Russian 5.6x39mm Running Deer cartridge. Later, the cartridge and case are commercially manufactured by Sako as the .220 Russian.

January:
The Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations (DCSOPS) LTG Theodore W. Parker publishes the study “Rifle Evaluation: A Comparative Evaluation of the U.S. Army Rifle M14, the Armalite AR-15, and the Soviet Rifle AK-47.” The study recommends “only the M14 is acceptable for general use in the U.S. Army.” The study states that the AR-15 is less reliable, has poor pointing and night firing characteristics, has only “marginally satisfactory” penetration, and its adoption would violate NATO standardization agreements. Three alternative courses of action are proposed:

  1. Continue M14 production until a radically improved weapon can be procured, such as the SPIW or its equivalent;
  2. Terminate M14 production at the end of FY 1963 procurement. Rapidly procure a militarized AR-15 to complete inventory objectives. Reorient the research and development program to provide a weapon meeting or exceeding the SPIW‘s characteristics in the future; or
  3. Continue M14 production. Procure a militarized AR-15 in FY 1964 to equip air assault, airborne, and Special Forces units. Continue SPIW development to support procurement in FY 1967.

Not surprisingly, LTG Parker recommends the first course of action, with development of the SPIW projected for an initial procurement in FY 1965.

In a memo to Secretary Vance titled “Comparative Evaluation of the M14, AR-15, and Soviet AK-47 Rifles,” General Wheeler reports “The AR-15 is not now acceptable for the Army for universal use.” Supporting arguments included that adoption of the .223 Remington cartridge would violate NATO standardization, that the M14 was superior at ranges over 400m, and that the AR-15 design was not completely debugged or reliable. In the trials, the AR-15 suffered a malfunction rate eight times higher than that of the control M14 rifles. In addition, testing at Aberdeen and Edgewood Arsenal could not duplicate the terminal results reported by ARPA‘s Project AGILE.

General Wheeler recommends:

  1. In FY 1964, procure between 50,000 and 100,000 AR-15 rifles and use them to equip Air Assault, Special Forces, and Airborne units;
  2. In FY 1964, procure a sufficient number of the M14(M) rifles to provide an automatic rifle capability to all infantry squads armed with the M14 rifle;
  3. Reduce the FY 1964 M14 program by a number sufficient to accommodate recommendations 1 and 2 above; and
  4. Continue the current SPIW program and undertake expedited improvement of the AR-15 to determine which of these weapons will best meet the requirement for a follow-on rifle.

Some questionable decisions and outright skullduggery surface in the Inspector General’s investigation. For instance, the AR-15 was judged against M1 rifle-era requirements such as aimed fire out to 800m. The AR-15 rifles were required to fire full automatic, while the M14 rifles were allowed to remain on semi-auto. For comparison testing, the Infantry Board even brought out prototype match rifles and squad automatic versions of the M14 such as the M14(USAIB) (AKA: the M14E2 or M14A1). A representative from the Office of the Chief of Research and Development telephoned TECOM suggesting that Aberdeen’s D&PS use a specific form of rain test to induce failures in the AR-15. The M14 was not subjected to the same test. Aberdeen’s BRL switched out a M14 being used for accuracy testing when it showed signs of inaccuracy. Accusations were also made of the use of handpicked lots of match grade ammunition for M14 accuracy testing. Negative aspects of the M14’s testing were downplayed or even omitted from reports, while the AR-15 was consistently portrayed in a negative fashion even when the test results indicated otherwise. All attendees of the October 1962 planning conference were interrogated. They denied under oath that they had planned to fix the rifle evaluations against the AR-15. The USAIB representative, an Army Colonel, explained that his infamous memorandum was not what he meant to express, and blamed its wording on administrative error. Admittedly, some of the AR-15’s problems in testing were real, the result of rushed production of the rifles and their ammunition for the rifle trials. The biggest problem experienced was primers blown out of the case upon firing. (Robert Macdonald was so upset that he sent individual letters to Colt and Remington, accusing both companies of sabotaging the tests.)

In a report to the OSD, Secretary Vance recommends the following: 1) Procure enough rifles converted to the M14(USAIB) standard for issue as automatic rifles to all infantry squads; 2) Procure 50,000-100,000 AR-15 for issue to Air Assault, Airborne, and Special Forces units; 3) Production of standard M14 rifles is to be reduced; and 4) The SPIW program will be scheduled to provide a “follow-on” replacement for the M14 by the end of FY 1965. In response, McNamara announces the cancellation of M14 production once FY 1963 contracts are completed.

The Department of Defense also accepts the USAF‘s plan to procure a total of 80,000 AR-15 rifles during a five-year period.

The ODCSLOG submits a staff study of the Army’s AR-15 rifle requirements. Procurement and distribution is proposed as follows:

PurposeAir AssaultSpecial ForcesAirborneTotal
Initial Issue13,0006,66534,35254,017
Maintenance Float6303331,7182,701
Combat Support (6 months)5,0702,59813,38621,054
Pipeline (2 months)1,6903664,4627,018
Total20,41010,46253,91384,790

In the end, the Army proposes a “one-time” purchase of 85,000 AR-15 rifles. It is intended as a stopgap measure until the SPIW is ready for fielding.

CDCRE-E sends a letter to LTG Besson titled “AR-15 Rifle Deficiencies.”

The USAF type-classifies the .223 Remington under the designation “Cartridge, 5.64 Millimeter Ball MLU-26/P.” The military specifications for the ammunition is published as MIL-C-9963. The USAF also releases the report “Exterior Ballistics of the AR-15 Rifle.” The results of cold chamber testing at Eglin Air Force Base indicate that the ammunition cannot meet accuracy requirements in subzero temperatures. A change in the rate of twist from 1-in-14″ to 1-in-12″ is noted as solving the problem.

A meeting is held at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant between Army and USAF representatives. The purpose of this meeting is to develop practical drawings and specifications based on the previous experience of the USAF with Remington cartridges. The USAF points out that the performance of the Remington cartridges have not been satisfactory because of four principal deficiencies: keyholing, stripping of the bullet jacket, packaging, and a light powder charge. The MUCOM representative stresses the importance of having a military specification for the rifle, since any variation in the design of the rifle could require a change in design of the ammunition.

The USAF receives the final AR-15 of its original 8,500 rifle order.

Aberdeen’s Human Engineering Laboratory (HEL) releases the report “Summary of Studies Conducted with the AR-15.” The report contains a summary of firings conducted with the AR-15 using several muzzle brake deflectors and other means to reduce automatic fire dispersion.

The HEL also publishes “Measurement of Peak Sound-Pressure Levels Developed by AR-15 and M14 Rifle Bullets in Flight.”

WECOM begins contract negotiations for prototype SPIW construction.

Springfield submits Request for Proposals to various facilities for support in the design, development, and fabrication of a large capacity magazine, a grenade launcher, and a muzzle device for Springfield’s own SPIW candidate. After receiving and evaluating the proposals, Springfield requests the award of contracts. However, the development of the muzzle device is cancelled.

WECOM notifies Springfield that the accelerated program for the SPIW has been approved. Springfield begins major retrofitting of parts to its prototype, and initiates the fabrication of four test weapons.

February:
USMC Commandant General David M. Shoup convenes a board at the Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center to conduct comparative evaluation of the AR-15. BG Lewis W. Walt is appointed board chairman. The board’s findings are later evaluated by an informal board of officers at HQMC. They conclude that:

  1. The M14 and AR-15 are essentially equal and adequate with respect to training reliability, and combat effectiveness. However, the AR-15 is easier to handle, requires less mechanical training time, and is predominately lower in system weight. As such, the AR-15 would be a more effective combat rifle for the USMC.
  2. However, there is no comparable .223 machinegun to replace the M60.
  3. Until a .223 machinegun can be developed, no .223 rifle should be adopted by the USMC.

In a memo titled “Rifle Procurement Program,” the JCS recommends procurement of the AR-15. A day later, in another memo of the same title, McNamara officially approves the procurement of the AR-15.

LTG Besson writes MG Lynde directing WECOM and MUCOM to take necessary action to identify problems in weapon and ammunition compatibility, and to begin corrective action. Specific problems cited in the letter are:

  • Raised and uneven primers;
  • Inaccurate primer staking;
  • Bullets inadequately crimped to the cartridge case;
  • Excessive chamber pressures;
  • Sluggish functioning of weapons possibly due to wrong pressure curve;
  • Different cartridge and chamber dimensions.

The first firing model of the Stoner 63 is fabricated.

Johnson Guns, Inc. commercially introduces the MMJ 5.7mm Spitfire conversion for M1 Carbines.

Deciding to limit the SPIW competition to four candidates, WECOM awards SPIW development contracts to recently displaced M14 contractors H&R and Olin-Winchester. AAI and Springfield Armory have already begun developing their own SPIW.

WECOM requests a concept and feasibility study of a conventional configuration for the Springfield SPIW mechanism, currently in bullpup form. The study determines that it is not feasible to make any major design changes. However, a compromise approach is found which does not alter the basic mechanism’s functioning parts. By means of a conversion kit, the compromise design can be assembled to have a bullpup configuration or a conventional configuration. (The latter is referred to in drawings as the USAIB configuration.)

Winchester completes its contact for an improved “soft recoil” prototype mechanism. By this point, Winchester has overcome its functional difficulties.

March:
In a memo titled “Rifles,” Army CRD LTG Dwight E. Beach notes a conversion with General Wheeler in which Wheeler expresses skepticism about the SPIW and states that “Perhaps the AR-15 will be the Infantry weapon of the future.”

LTG Besson establishes the “Office of Project Manager for AR-15 Rifle Activities,” appointing LTC Harold W. Yount the Project Manager. The goal is to facilitate cooperation between the services in developing military specifications. However, the very same day in a meeting at the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations & Logistics) – ASA(I&L) Paul R. Ignatius, Army and USAF representatives clash over proposed changes to the rifle, including a change in rifling twist (favored by the USAF) and the introduction of a bolt closure device (favored by the Army).

Days later, OASA(I&L) sends the memo “Changes in the AR-15 Rifle.”

The Inspector General’s findings are released as a six volume report titled: “IG Rifle Evaluation.”

McNamara sends a memorandum to Secretary Vance titled “AR-15 Ammunition and Rifle,” designating the Department of the Army as the procurement agency for all DOD users of the AR-15 rifle and ammunition beginning in FY 1964. The military services are to agree upon a joint set of requirements for the rifle and ammunition. These items are to be produced with minimum delay and modifications. Modifications are to be made only if absolutely necessary.

LTC Yount directs that 600,000 cartridges be procured immediately to support the Army’s existing 338 AR-15 rifles.

The JCS concur with CINCPAC Admiral Felt’s decision to deny MACV‘s request for AR-15. Oddly, McNamara approves the JCS‘ recommendation.

Frankford Arsenal is assigned oversight of the procurement of .223 Remington ammunition. William C. Davis is assigned as “AR-15 Project Director” and is directed to prepare a technical data package.

Springfield Armory is requested to perform a modified weapons performance test on six AR-15 Rifles to evaluate and/or confirm problems reported during the previous Army-wide evaluation tests. The new tests are meant to determine the degree of seriousness of the reported problems and to recommend whether redesign or product improvement is necessary for the parts reported deficient. After Springfield testing confirms the earlier reported issues, LTC Yount orders Springfield to conduct “best effort” studies of the magazine and feeding system, development of an improved muzzle compensator, feasibility studies of a bolt closure device utilizing the charging handle, and a grenade launcher attachment. All the product improvements are to be accomplished, if possible, without a major redesign of the weapon or appreciable increase in the cost of the major item. In addition, an ammunition-chamber compatibility study in conjunction with Frankford Arsenal is to be conducted.

The report “Engineering Test on Interchangeability of Rifles, Caliber .223, AR-15” is published.

At the end of the month, MG Lynde establishes the “Technical Coordinating Committee” (TCC). The TCC will ultimately be comprised of LTC Yount, members of each service branch, William C. Davis from Frankford Arsenal, Charles F. Packard from Springfield Armory, and representatives from the OSD: the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Weapons Acquisition and Industrial Readiness James N. Davis and Frank J. Vee, a program analyst from the Directorate of Major Items, Materiel, Installations & Logistics. While LTC Yount is the titular chair of the committee, the OSD representatives have veto power over any decision made by the TCC. Within the next few months, over 130 changes are proposed for the rifle and ammunition. One of Army recommendations vetoed by the OSD is for chrome plating of the bore and chamber.

WECOM Deputy Commanding General BG Roland B. Anderson sends memo to USAF and USMC titled “Appointment of AR-15 Technical Committee.”

General Wheeler orders a review of the Army’s entire Arsenal system. The report ultimately concludes that only five of the Army’s ten arsenals be retained in their existing capacity. The reports recommends that Springfield Armory be among those studied for future closure.

The US Army Arctic Test Board reports on testing of the AR-15.

Springfield Armory publishes “Engineering Evaluation of the AR-15 Rifle.”

The USMC publishes “Comparative Evaluation of M14 Rifle and AR-15 Rifle.”

ARPA orders 25 Stoner 63 in various configurations. The contract will later be modified to add six fixed machine guns for the USAF for use in conducting pod-mounted tests for aircraft armament applications, and five complete systems, of which three go to the US Army and two to the USMC.

Gene Stoner files a patent application for the design used in the Stoner 62 and the Stoner 63.

Winchester requests that all government-furnished materiel, including the test fixture fabricated under the improved “soft recoil” prototype mechanism contract, be transferred to its new SPIW contract. WECOM approves the transfer.

April:
Secretary Vance submits a memorandum titled “Standardization and Procurement of the AR-15 Rifle” to McNamara outlining the Army’s plans for the AR-15 and ammunition. The USAF will be allowed to complete their FY 1963 procurement of 19,000 rifles independently of the Army. The order for FY 1964 is projected as 85,000 rifles for the Army and 19,000 for the USAFFY 1965 procurement will be limited to 33,500 rifles to complete the USAF‘s previously established requirement for 80,000 AR-15. MACV‘s request for 20,000 rifles is again ignored. Vance also states that relative costs and benefits of a sole-source contract versus competitive procurement have been considered. Sole-sourcing the contract to Colt is believed to offer lower cost, earlier production and delivery, and fewer problems with administrative, legal, and employment issues. Vance further outlines some of the proposed changes to the AR-15 design discussed so far: inclusion of a manual bolt closure device, redesign of the magazine, and modification of the chamber throat to ease extraction. These changes are considered to be interrelated and inseparable. Also proposed are a redesign of the sight protectors’ angle to improve instinctive aiming characteristics during night-firing, determination of the proper rifling twist to improve the stability of the projectile, and sorting out the dimensional incompatibility of the respective chamber and ammunition dimensions. As for the latter, it is proposed that the chamber be modified instead of the ammunition. If the changes in the chamber result in degradation of ammunition ballistics, only then will consideration be given to modifying the ammunition. Ammunition will be procured competitively from commercial sources.

The USAF signs a contract for another 19,000 AR-15.

It is discovered that IMR 4475 cannot reliably achieve the quoted muzzle velocity of 3,300 fps within the accepted maximum chamber pressure specs. At the same time, Olin-Winchester is proposing a new cartridge, the .224E5. The .224E5 and its predecessor, the .224E4, are both based on the .25 Remington case, shortened to fit within the same action length as the .223 Remington. However, the .224E5 possesses a rebated rim so that existing .223 Remington bolt faces need not be altered. (Oddly enough, these cartridges bear more than a passing similarity to the .219 Donaldson Wasp, albeit without a rim.)

USAF and USMC testing of the AR-15 indicate a “slam-fire” problem. The issue is originally blamed on high primers, but this is quickly dismissed as the cause.

At Frankford Arsenal, William C. Davis issues “First Memo Report on AR-15 Rifle-Ammunition Systems: Investigation of Firing Pin Energy and Primer Sensitivity.” The kinetic energy of the existing AR-15 firing pin is found to range from 4 to 14 inch-ounces when the bolt closes. While Frankford does not currently have equipment to determine the sensitivity limits of .223 primers, they have been told by Remington that it should be comparable to military .30 Carbine primers. Primers for military .30 Carbine cartridges have “None Fire/All Fire” tolerances of 6 to 36 inch-ounces. Davis recommends that the None Fire limit for .223 ammunition should exceed 15 inch-ounces.

Aberdeen’s D&PS releases the report “Evaluation Test of the Rate of Rifling Twist in Rifle, Caliber .223, AR-15.”

BG Anderson sends memo to US Navy titled “Appointment of AR-15 Technical Committee.”

Gene Stoner demonstrates the Stoner 63 to BG Lewis W. Walt, Director of the Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #3,087,270 titled “Ammunition Magazine with a Coil Spring.”

The BRL submits “Effect of Nose Shape on Incapacitation Probabilities for Caliber .14 Bullets.”

Springfield completes its first two SPIW test weapons for in-house development work.

The BRL also publishes “A Provisional Effectiveness Evaluation of Fléchette-Firing Machine Guns Mounted on Rotary Wing Aircraft.”

May:
MUCOM sends the letter “Production of 5.64 mm (caliber .223) Ball Ammunition for the AR-15 Rifle.”

Late in the month, the ammunition TDP becomes available to the USAF.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #3,090,150 titled “Hand Guard Construction.”

Plans are set forth to graft a SPIW-type 40x46mm grenade launcher onto the AR-15 rifle. However, this effort bogs down due to inadequate funding.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes “Feasibility Test of a 40mm Grenade Launcher on the AR-15 Rifle.”

H&R releases its final report for Phase 1 of the SPIW program.

Springfield completes four additional SPIW test weapons. Two of these are intended for use by contractors, while the others are reserved for development work.

On behalf of the US Army, Frederick Reed files a patent application for a mechanism with two magazines side-by-side which will switch feed to the second magazine once the first magazine runs empty. Reed also files an application for a mechanism which uses a combination of belt feed and magazine feed.

June:
McNamara sends a memo to Secretary Vance titled “Action on Rifle Production Base Plan.” McNamara complains of the lack of progress by the TCC, which are delaying rifle and ammunition production. He suggests that most of the modifications are not essential, and that Colt and Gene Stoner be consulted before any future changes are acted upon. For example, the OSD alleges that the slam-fire issue is mainly the result of improper handling, such as singly loading a round into the chamber without the magazine. Thus, no further consideration to primer sensitivity limits or firing pin modifications is warranted.

A meeting is held at Hill AFB to implement procedures for the transfer of USAF technical data to Frankford Arsenal for “5.64mm” ammunition.

The US Army completes the initial Technical Data Package (TDP) for 5.56mm ammunition. The TDP is based on commercial ballistics requirements with a slight amendment based on further review of commercial manufacturing experience.

At Frankford, William C. Davis files the report “Second Memo Report on AR-15 Rifle-Ammunition System: Investigation of Test-Weapon Chamber Configuration.” It is found that Colt’s chamber tolerances do not mesh with Remington’s dimensional specifications for the cartridge. Another report, “Third Memo Report on AR-15 Rifle-Ammunition System: Investigation of Bullet Configuration,” indicates that Remington is no longer using the original 7-caliber ogive bullet design. Instead, they have switched to a less aerodynamic 5.5-caliber ogive design. The replacement design is claimed to be easier for the company to mass-produce. Davis points out that if the original projectile design were reintroduced, the pressure level of the ammunition could be reduced 3,000 to 4,000psi by relaxing the required muzzle velocity to 3,150 fps. However, despite the reduction in initial velocity, the superior ballistic shape of the original bullet would still result in higher impact velocities at all ranges beyond 100 yards than with Remington’s inferior projectile design. However, further research will need to be completed to determine the proper rate of twist for the Sierra bullet, as well as examine its terminal ballistics. Frankford Arsenal also releases “Fourth Memo Report on AR-15 Rifle-Ammunition System: Investigation of Gas-Port Pressures in .223 Ammunition” Frankford Arsenal has designed a gauge to measure gas port pressure, and has begun taking measurements. However, engineers admit that there is no knowledge of the desirable range for gas port pressure. Gas port pressures with commercial ammunition appear to be around 15,000 psi; thus, the specification limits are set at 15,000 +/- 2,000 psi. (The tolerances are based on those used for 7.62mm NATO ammunition.)

At a subsequent meeting of the TCC, William C. Davis presents his discovery regarding the switch in bullets and its implications. The BRL also reports on its research regarding the stability and lethality of the Remington bullet design in barrels using the 1 in 14″ and 1 in 12″ rifling twists. LTC Yount asks the BRL to include the Sierra bullet in its future studies. Colt informs the TCC that a major redesign of the AR-15 will be required to implement modifications to prevent slam-fires.

Springfield completes samples of one of two AR-15 bolt closure device designs being fabricated. This pair had been chosen out of seven different concepts suggested.

After studying several independent flash suppressor and muzzle brake designs, Springfield completes design work on two combination flash suppressor/muzzle brake designs for the AR-15.

LTC Yount forwards the requirement for a chamber brush that was identified by the USAF Marksmanship Unit, Lackland AFB and by Gene Stoner. This information is passed along to HQ AMC and HQ CDC.

Richard Colby files a patent application for the front-to-back tandem magazine of Springfield Armory’s 1st Gen. SPIW.

Springfield awards separate contracts for development of their SPIW high capacity magazine and grenade launcher.

Summer:
TCC progress breaks down, as the US Army demands a bolt closure device. The USAF strongly objects, while the US Navy and USMC consider it “non-essential” but are willing to accept it. Colt and Springfield Armory submit various prototypes. Gene Stoner prefers Springfield’s first prototype, as it would only add two parts to the design. The Army prefers Colt second design devised by Colt’s Foster E. Sturtevant.

Springfield revisits the issue of conventional versus bullpup configurations for its SPIW candidate, along with a new issue of the magazine arrangement: “tandem” stacking versus “four to two row” stacking. Examples of both conventional and bullpup SPIW are sent to the Human Engineering Laboratory at Aberdeen for testing. As for the magazine, tandem stacking is selected. In addition to the activity related to the configuration tests, the cyclic rate of the SPIW is increased by approximately 50 percent. The test firing of prototypes is plagued by failures-to-eject, misfires, overheating, and excessive muzzle blast. The need to eliminate these problems results in the decision that additional development is required and that the Armory will not be able to make delivery of three SPIW to WECOM HQ in November. Springfield’s Model Shop begins fabrication of three SPIW, while the Operations Division is responsible for the fabrication of seven others. Each is expected to complete fabrication by the end of the calendar year.

July:
USAF lets a contract to Remington for 19 million rounds of ammunition.

In a memo titled “Procurement AR-15,” WECOM Deputy Commanding General BG Roland B. Anderson directs LTC Yount to formulate plans for the FY 1964 procurement of 85,000 AR-15 for the US Army. Yount is to include two items in the Army’s negotiations with Colt for the AR-15. First, they should attempt to acquire the production rights and the technical data package (TDP) for the rifle. Second, they should negotiate out Fairchild’s 15 percent royalty on spare parts. Representatives of the Project Manager’s office, Springfield Armory, and WECOM meet to develop the plan. Yount subsequently begins briefing higher authorities.

The “AR-15 Conference” is held at Springfield Armory. A task group of representatives from WECOM, Springfield Armory, the USAF, the US Navy, and the USMC develop performance specifications based on conventional type rifle requirements such as headspace, proof testing, firing pin indent, trigger pull, etc. These are published as Springfield Armory Purchase Description (SAPD) 253: “Acceptance Testing Specification for Rifle, AR-15.” Malfunctions and unserviceable parts permitted during the reliability test outlined in SAPD 253 are generally the same as those specified in the USAF‘s contract AF-33-(675)-10871. LTC Yount provides guidelines (which he received from Secretary McNamara) that final acceptance testing for the AR-15 Rifle cannot be more stringent than those required for the M14 Rifle.

Secretary Vance informs McNamara that “a modification of the AR-15 rifle (the bolt closure device) is absolutely essential to improve its reliability to an acceptable level in accordance with Army combat requirements.”

In a memo titled “Action on AR-15 Rifle Modifications,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Gilpatric issues a directive to the TCC to speed up the procurement of the AR-15. Quality control, parts interchangeability, and acceptance standards are to be relaxed as necessary. Gilpatrick also directs that the OASD(I&L) will take action on any requests made by the services or TCC if it required OSD attention.

McNamara signs off on the change of rifling twist from 1-in-14″ to 1-in-12″.

LTC Yount sends MUCOM the letter “Procurement Program, 5.56mm Ammunition for AR-15 Rifles.”

The HEL publishes “Ability of Shooters to Gauge Two-Round Bursts From the AR-15 Rifle.”

McNamara and Secretary Vance visit Fort Benning and witness a demonstration of SPIW prototypes. McNamara expresses the hope that 1,000 SPIW can be procured and sent to South Vietnam for testing. McNamara’s escorts talk him out of the idea on the grounds that a large procurement of any specific prototype model would effectively prejudice the SPIW competition.

August:
WECOM releases a Request for Quotation (RFQ) for the production and delivery of the AR-15 rifle. Included in the RFQ is a provision to obtain a complete TDP for the rifle along with manufacturing rights for second-source procurement. This will also eliminate the 15 percent royalty paid for spare parts. In addition, quotes are requested for repair parts, the M3 Bipod, Bipod Case, M7 Bayonet, and the Cleaning Brush and Pin Remover Tool.

Frankford personnel submit study to TCC regarding primer sensitivity level versus risk of slam-fires:


None Fire – All Fire limits

Risk of Slam-Fire
16-64 in-oz1 In 10 million
12-60 in-oz (Current sensitivity limit for 7.62mm NATO)1 in 160
12-48 in-oz1 in 6,400
14-56 in-oz1 in 11,000

The TCC formally approves the change in the AR-15’s rate of twist. They also approve the ammunition specification. The TCC agrees to primer sensitivity limits of a None Fire limit of 12 inch-ounces to an All Fire limit of 48 inch-ounces. The Army’s ACSFOR LTG Ben Harrell does not concur with the latter decision.

Lackland AFB notes four lots of Remington ammunition which have given accidental firing. The rates of accidental discharge range from 1 in 740 to 1 in 6,000.

LTC Yount issues program authority to MUCOM for the procurement of 1 million rounds of 5.56mm ball ammunition at a program cost of $75,000. This is a Specification Verification Quantity. A week later, program authority is granted for the procurement of an additional 27 million rounds.

Cooper-Macdonald enters into an additional agreement with Colt. Colt formally acknowledges that Cooper-Macdonald: 1) was instrumental in bringing about the Colt-Fairchild agreements of 1959 and 1961, and 2) performed a valuable service by promoting the use of the AR-15 by the US armed forces and in developing a market for it. For bringing about the Colt-Fairchild agreements, Colt is to pay Cooper-Macdonald one percent of the selling price of any AR-15 rifles, parts, and/or accessories produced by Colt or any sub-licensee. This retroactively stretches back from January 7, 1959 until some point in the future when US Patent #2,951,424 expires, including renewals of the patent. However, this is to last no later than January 6, 1979. If Colt sells a sublicense related to the AR-15, in lieu of the the previous payment plan, Cooper-Macdonald may receive 7.5 percent of any payments Colt receives from the sublicensee except for royalties paid as a percentage of the selling price for the rifles, parts, and/or accessories. Colt will continue to pay Cooper-Macdonald one percent of the sublicensee’s selling price for its rifles, parts, and/or accessories. In consideration of Cooper-Macdonald’s service in promoting the rifle and developing markets, Colt is also to pay Cooper-Macdonald $250,000 in 24 installments through December 1, 1964.

The USAIB publishes “Product Improvement Test of Armalite AR-15 Rifle (Test of Bolt Assist Device).”

September:
US Army type-classifies the AR-15 under the designation XM16E1. It is considered a “limited standard” weapon.

On request from Colt and the Military Assistance Group (MAG), Robert Macdonald demonstrates the AR-15 in Brazil.

The Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development (OACSFOR) sends a memo to NcNamara titled “Discussion of Alternatives Open to the Army in Regard to the AR-15 Rifle.” It recommends that the AR-15 be rejected “as an unsatisfactory weapon for Army procurement and use” based on the lack of a bolt closure device and the risk of slam-fires.

“Cartridge, 5.56mm Ball, M193” is officially type-classified. Pushed by OSD over the objections of the TCC, it specifies the Remington-designed projectile, a muzzle velocity of 3,250 fpsIMR 4475 powder, and the existing average 52,000psi pressure limit. Remington, Olin, and Federal Cartridge all refuse to offer bids. Olin objects to certain specifications on cartridge case wall thickness and to the specifications of IMR 4475 propellant. Remington objects to the same case specifications and recommends that the prescribed maximum mean chamber pressure be increased from 52,000psi to 53,000psi. Federal Cartridge expresses the view that the maximum mean chamber pressure should be
raised to 54,000psi.

Remington and Olin-Winchester representatives meet at Frankford Arsenal to discuss possible relaxation of primer sensitivity limits. They are reluctant to accept any limits other than 12-60 in-oz. Frankford indicates that this is unacceptable. Remington counters that a 12-48 in-oz limit will result in rejection of 50 percent of the primers. Olin-Winchester’s predictions are far worse, estimating that 2 out of 3 primer production lots will be rejected. This is later amended to estimate rejection of 90 percent of the primers.

Program authority is granted for the procurement of an additional 104 million rounds.

Frankford Arsenal sends a letter titled “Engineering Program for 5.56mm (AR-15) Ammunition.”

The Army Staff informs LTC Yount that the primer sensitivity limits contained in the ammunition specifications cannot be accepted because of the risk of inadvertent fire. The Army Staff prefers primer sensitivity limits of 16 to 64 inch-ounces. LTG Besson states that the only practical solution is to modify the weapon. Consequently, Colt develops and submits for test two modifications of the firing pin. These are a linear spring device and a cam pin friction device to reduce firing pin energy on bolt closure.

Both the USAF and USMC submit position papers on the bolt closure device issue. USAF BG Harry E. Goldsworthy, the Director of Production from Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff – Systems and Logistics, indicates that neither the Springfield or Colt bolt closure device designs are acceptable. USMC Chief of Staff LTG Wallace M. Greene, Jr. states that the Springfield bolt closure device is unacceptable. Moreover, the device is considered to be non-essential.

Colt counsel H.H. Owen states that the Colt-Fairchild agreement does not allow Colt to negotiate TDP rights. The Government would need acquire TDP rights directly from Fairchild. In negotiations, J.C. Linnberg indicates that a price of $112 per rifle would be acceptable to the government. Linnberg further advises that Colt offer an incentive type contact as an alternative.

J.C. Linnberg writes memo titled “AR-15 Procurement.” Linnberg indicates that Yount had been consulted as to the attitude of higher authority regarding rifle delivery of 5,000 versus 10,000 per month. Yount indicated that he was instructed to pursue 10,000 rifles per month for mobilization capability. Yount was then asked to substantiate the need of the higher rate as it would result in increased costs. Yount declined to do so as it would involve classified documents.

Colt ultimately rejects the Army’s RFQ on the issues of providing the TDP and manufacturing rights. Colt President David Scott states that they will only consider providing the TDP and manufacturing rights if the government orders more than 500,000 rifles.

The CDC publishes “Troop Tests of Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW).”

October:
Colt threatens to dismantle the AR-15 production line due to the lack of an official contract for further orders.

A meeting is held in the office of the ASA(I&L) Ignatius regarding Colt’s refusal to negotiate manufacturing rights for production of the AR-15. Also in attendance are DASA(I&L) Tyler Port, MG James A. Richardson III – OASA(I&L)MG Elmer J. Gibson – AMC Director of Procurement and Production, COL Williams – OASA(I&L), COL Walter J. Woolwine – Executive Officer OASA(I&L)LTC Frank A. Hinrichs – OASA(I&L)LTC Arthur G. Moors – Project Manager Staff Officer – AR-15 Rifle, and AMC General Counsel Kendall Barnes. After consulting with DASD James N. Davis by phone, ASA Ignatius advises deleting the RFQ‘s requirement for the TDP and manufacturing rights for FY 1964 procurement. However, these should still remain an issue for follow-on procurements. LTG Besson is informed of the change, and he concurs with the decision. MG Lynde and LTC Yount are advised to proceed as advised.

Secretary Vance sends McNamara a memo titled “AR-15 Rifle.” Vance indicates continuing disagreement between the services over the bolt closure device. However, Colt is said to have a promising design. Also discussed is the slam-fire issue. Vance notes that Colt is offering a new firing pin design with a spring. Vance recommends delaying the AR-15 contract award by two months to allow for additional tests be made on each of Colt’s designs.

McNamara replies to Secretary Vance in another memo titled “AR-15 Rifle.” Given imminent closure of Colt’s production line, procurement must go forward. The USAF can get the AR-15 without the bolt closure device, and the Army can have their own version. However, if testing indicates that the bolt closure device is not necessary, the Army can switch to the USAF version.

MG Lynde is briefed regarding the on-going price negotiations with Colt. MG Lynde approves the current prices and directs the preparation of an award approval for submission to his superiors.

MG Lynde then appoints his deputy BG Anderson as the contracting officer on an one-time basis for the upcoming award to Colt. MG Lynde explains that he will be absent at the contract award.

WECOM sends the memo “Submission for Approval of Award of Contract for Rifles, 5.56mm, M16” to Secretary Vance.

The USAIB publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of ArmaLite AR-15 Rifle (Test of Bolt Assist Device).”

The USAF orders 19 million rounds of MLU-26/P from Remington. Soon afterwards, Remington asks for permission to substitute WC846 for IMR 4475.

MUCOM suspends procurement of 5.56mm ammunition over continuing issues of primer sensitivity.

The BRL publishes “An Effectiveness Evaluation of the AR-15 Rifle with a Muzzle Attachment and Comparison with Other Rifle Concepts.”

The USAF and Aberdeen each order a pair of Stoner 63 for testing.

Springfield’s contractor for the multi-shot SPIW grenade launcher completes fabrication and test firing of its first prototype. The tests reveal magazine and extractor problems. In addition, the sighting and triggering methods require correction for satisfactory use at any angle of elevation. Moreover, the weight of the prototype is well above the estimate, and the potential for weight reduction appears limited without the use of lighter materials. The contractor is requested to investigate the use of magnesium and plastic. The dates of launcher delivery is rescheduled to fit in with the rescheduled SPIW rifle delivery dates.

November:
The US Army awards Colt with a $13,296,923.41 contract for 104,000 rifles. DA-11-199-AMC-508 includes 19,000 M16 for the USAF and 85,000 XM16E1 for the Army and Marines. (Ironically, this “one-time” buy will be amended multiple times over the next two years from 104,000 to a grand total of 201,045 rifles.) Rifle deliveries are to begin in March 1964 and end in April 1965. Eleven modifications are made to the rifle design prior to the start of production.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of Bolt Assist Devices for Rifle, Caliber .223, AR-15.” Three models of charging handle bolt assist devices for the AR-15 rifle were evaluated for effectiveness in manual extraction and bolt closure operations. A plunger-type bolt closure device was also evaluated. The devices were tested for operation under various adverse conditions, and other special tests were also conducted. Only the plunger-type bolt closing device provided an effective means for closing the bolt under adverse conditions. The modified charging handle did not provide adequate means for extraction operations under adverse conditions. It is recommended that the charging handle bolt assist device tested not be adopted.

Frankford Arsenal finalizes specifications for the XM197 High Pressure Test cartridge. These are loaded with a heavy charge of Hercules Unique. Also drawn up are the specifications for the XM199 Dummy cartridge.

Late:
WECOM decides to negotiate a contract with GE for Miniguns chambered in 5.56mm and the XM144 SPIW cartridge.

December:
LTC Yount grants permission for the USAF to accept lots of MLU-26/P loaded with WC846.

The USAIB publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of XM16 Rifles.”

Results of field testing of Colt’s bolt closure device are presented to the TCC. The Army Staff’s representative recommends going forward with procurement of rifles with the device. The final price is negotiated with Colt for inclusion of the bolt closure device.

In a memo titled “Bolt Closure Device,” LTC Yount writes DCSLOG LTG Colglazier informing him of the negotiated price for the bolt closure device, and indicates that the final decision on the bolt closure device must be forwarded to Colt by December 15 in order to be incorporated in scheduled production.

WECOM issues a Quality Assurance Letter of Instruction (QALI) to the Boston Army Procurement District regarding quality verification of Colt’s military rifle production. The letter does not specify a specific requirement for product inspection.

AGILE discontinues the refurbishment of their original AR-15 test weapons and the collection of related data. The AR-15 were undergoing refurbishment at the ARVN 80th Ordnance Rebuild Depot. AGILE had hoped that repair-parts usage data obtained from the refurbishment program would be of considerable value in determining the appropriate number of repair parts to procure for the recently adopted M16 and XM16E1. In addition, other data was being compiled under field conditions on wound effects, malfunctions, and parts failures, together with the causes for the latter, and suggested modifications for correction.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Eighth Memo Report on AR-15 Rifle-Ammunition System.” Frankford notes excessive fouling from two commercial lots of ammunition loaded with IMR 4475. The ammunition was not produced under the Army’s TDP requirements. Primer composition is noted as a possible cause. The ingredients in question are antimony sulfide and calcium silicide.

The USAF Marksmanship School publishes “Evaluation of M16 Modification – Firing Fin Retaining Devices.”

After a comparison of all tests done by the Army, USAF, and Colt is made, the TCC agrees to adopt a modified lighter firing pin.

CDC sends to ACSFOR LTG Harrell a letter titled “Machine Gun for Rifle Platoons.”

Engineering tests of the Stoner 63 begin at Aberdeen.

AAI delivers three Model #4 fixtures to Springfield.

1964


ArmaLite goes on a marketing blitz trying to promote their new AR-18. Testing of 10 rifles is performed at H.P. White, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and Fort Benning (for the Infantry Board).

AR-15 co-designer, Robert Fremont rejoins Colt.

Remington commercially introduces the .223 Remington. Remington also provides the first XM195 grenade launching blanks.

The Historical Evaluation and Research Organization (HERO) publishes “Historical Trends Related to Weapon Lethality.”

The USAF‘s Lackland Military Training Center publishes the report “A Comparison of the Training Suitability of the AR-15 Rifle and M2 Carbine.” The results obtained from the scores fired by basic airmen with no previous military marksmanship training revealed that both the AR-15 and M2 are satisfactory training weapons, although the AR-15 is superior to the reconditioned M2 carbine used in the study. More airmen qualify at both the minimum and expert score on the AR-15 than on the M2. Data concerning the weapon malfunction and failure rate revealed that the malfunction rate for the AR-15 was 1 in 783 rounds (total rounds fired: 50,698), and for the M2, 1 in 449 rounds (total rounds fired: 50,707). Neither of these rates is considered unsatisfactory for training purposes.

Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center publishes the report “Stoner 63 Weapons System.” A service and troop test was conducted on the Stoner 63 weapons system to determine its suitability for use within the USMC as the basic weapon and/or weapons system. The tests were also to evaluate the operational and organizational concepts, doctrine, tactics, and techniques affected by this weapons system. It is concluded that upon the correction of several deficiencies, the Stoner 63 weapons system will be suitable for use within the USMC as the replacement system for the present M14, M14(M), M60, and M3A1 weapons.

Uzi Gal begins work on a 5.56mm rifle. It is based on an earlier 7.62mm NATO prototype he had designed in hopes of replacing the FN FAL.

HK and CETME begin joint experimentation in micro caliber assault rifle cartridges (i.e., calibers smaller than 5.56mm). Efforts eventually concentrate on a 4.6x36mm cartridge (sometimes referenced as the 4.56mm.)

Rheinish-Westfalische Sprengstoff (RWS) introduces the 5.6x57mm RWS. Using a necked down 6.5x57mm Mauser case, the cartridge is designed to meet West German regulations for minimum retained energy at 200m for use in hunting roe deer and chamois. Both rimmed and rimless versions are produced.

January:
Secretary of the Army Vance is appointed Deputy Secretary of Defense. Under Secretary of the Army Steven Ailes is appointed to replace Vance as Secretary of the Army.

A meeting is held at Frankford Arsenal with representatives of the three cartridge producers (Remington, Olin, and Federal Cartridge), DuPont, USAF, and Army to review the requirements of the ammunition TDP. DuPont complains that it must manufacture lots of IMR 4475 that will develop a maximum mean chamber pressure 2,000psi less than that permitted to cartridge manufacturers. DuPont also expresses concern as to whether or not the company can consistently meet a chamber pressure limit increased by only 1,000psi. However, there will be no problem in supplying enough propellant to load one million rounds. The Army agrees to change the cartridge case drawing to reflect the new dimensions proposed by Remington, because Remington maintains that its first drawings had been misinterpreted by the Army. In addition, the Army agrees to a temporary waiver for the M193 pressure specs for only this order. The average chamber pressure limit for the powder is increased to 51,000psi, and the limit for cartridges is increased to 53,000psi, with individual rounds allowed to test as high as 60,000psi. All of the ammunition manufacturers react favorably to the waiver for the initial procurement of 1 million rounds. However, DuPont will not make a firm commitment to being able to meet the specifications for the podwer for the remaining 131 million rounds.

The rifle contract is modified to incorporate the bolt closure device in the XM16E1. Also added are the lightened firing pin and T-shaped charging handle. The number of XM16E1 is reduced by 750 rifles, but an equal number of M16 is added to the contract. The contract is now worth $13,671,195.91.

The TCC meets at Frankford Arsenal. Frankford Arsenal receives permission to test production lots of 25,000rds loaded with alternative powders. If one or more types of powder are selected, contractual changes will be made instead of specification changes. Candidates include DuPont’s CR 8136, Hercules’ HPC-10, and Olin’s WC846. (The latter was then in use by Olin for military production of 7.62x51mm ammunition, just as Remington had once done with IMR 4475.) The TCC is reluctant to allow Olin to submit WC846. Olin is directed to argue its case with the AMC‘s Director of Research and Engineering.

LTC Yount instructs the Ammunition Procurement and Supply Agency (APSA) that it should accept at least two of the bids for ammunition production if the costs can be justified.

In a memo titled “FY64 Ammunition Procurement Program – XM16E1 Rifle,” LTC Yount notifies LTG Besson of the difficulty the Army is having in obtaining responsive bids for the manufacture of the initial one million rounds of the 150 million total rounds required in FY 1964.

WECOM releases “Technical Development Plan – Special Purpose Individual Weapon.” The weapon specifications are quite optimistic: less than 10 pounds while loaded with a minimum of three grenades (increased from a single grenade) and sixty fléchette cartridges. The grenade launcher is desired to be a semi-automatic repeater.

Frederick Reed files a patent application for an improved variation of Richard Colby’s front-to-back tandem magazine used by Springfield Armory’s 1st Gen. SPIW.

Fabrique Nationale begins development of a “Mini-FAL” in 5.56mm.

February:
A purchase order is placed with Olin-Winchester for 13,000 rounds of XM197 High Pressure Test. This will satisfy acceptance test requirements through June 1964 based upon current delivery schedules.

In a memo titled “FY 64 Procurement 5.56mm Ball Ammunition,” PMSO AR-15 MAJ Robert C. Engle notes that the current three bids for M193 ammunition will be 5 million short of the 150 million rounds required by the US Army and USAF (131 million and 19 million, respectivly).

The Boston Army Procurement District notifies Colt that their general quality control plan and detailed written manual satisfy the requirements of specification MIL-Q-9858 as well as other applicable requirements. The manual was reviewed by representatives of the WECOMLTC Yount’s office and the Boston Army Procurement District.

WECOM subsequently notifies the Boston Army Procurement District that in developing their inspection plan, when verification results reflect consistently poor or inadequate inspection by the contractor, the government representative will not increase product inspection but will take the following action: 1) Defer acceptance of product; 2) Immediately notify the Contracting Officer; and 3) Assure corrective action is taken by the contractor before resuming acceptance of product.

The US Army awards contracts to Remington and Olin to supply 500,000 M193 cartridges apiece under the waiver.

The US Army requests the submission of candidate powders for testing. For the sake of uniformity, samples of the three powders are ultimately sent to Remington for loading in complete cartridges.

LTC Yount writes several letters to the BRL and Edgewood Arsenal’s Director of Medical Research urging early completion of stability and lethality studies of the Sierra bullet. In a letter titled “Evaluation of Sierra Configuration Cal. .223 Bullet,” LTC Yount requests that the BRL prepare a test plan designed to provide data to help determine which bullet design to adopt.

Later in the month, the US Army awards additional contracts for M193 ammunition: Olin – 77,880,000 rounds, Remington – 57,000,000, and Federal – 15,000,000.

Mr. Bowie of Remington’s Government Sales Division writes the USAF‘s Director of Procurement and Production. Bowie thanks him for his willingness to approve alternative propellants to WC846 for use in 5.56mm ammunition. The stated reason is to prevent dependence upon a single powder manufacturer or type.

In preparation for his pending retirement, MG Lynde seeks the opinion of US Army Adjutant General MG Joe C. Lambert regarding an offer of employment from Fairbanks Whitney Corp., the parent company of Colt. He states that in his proposed employment, he will not engage in any activity regarding US Government purchases of the M16.

Frankford Arsenal draws up specifications for the XM196 Tracer.

An US Army report recommends that Springfield Armory be declared excess to the Army’s needs. Its duties would be transferred to Rock Island Arsenal.

Colt applies for permission to use 325 bolts lacking a drain hole.

WECOM releases the completed SPIW Technical Development Plan (TDP).

AAI publishes “Research & Development on .22 Caliber Arrow Ammunition.”

Springfield’s Alfred L. Montana files a patent application for the lockwork for the Universal Machine Gun (UMG).

At the request of WECOM. Springfield tests the AAI Model #4 fixtures with lubricated cartridges.

March:
MG Lynde retires from the Army. BG Anderson takes command of WECOM.

Colt’s monthly shipment of rifles is detained because of inadequacies in the Colt’s quality assurance program. Areas requiring corrections are gauge calibration, the inspection system, and the identification and condition of materiel in process.

Twenty XM16E1 are delivered to the AMC‘s Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM) for comparison testing with the SPIW prototypes. Ten of the rifles are equipped with a Springfield-designed muzzle brake and five of these are also fitted with a new two-round burst device developed by Colt.

Remington and DuPont withdraw IMR 4475 from future use in 5.56mm ammunition.

The BRL recommends to LTC Yount that no tests be scheduled to define the performance of the Sierra configuration bullet, on the basis that extensive data was already available for rifle bullets. The BRL notes that if Sierra’s original bullet design is used instead of Remington’s own design, the rifle’s twist rate will need to be changed from 1-in-12″ to 1-9.5″. The BRL further advises that despite an increase in retained velocity, a review of data indicates that there will be little increase in lethality if the Sierra bullet is chosen. They see no justification for the concurrent investigation of all the aspects of performance defined by LTC Yount but feel that a small scale effort could be undertaken to examine wound ballistics if required. A complete study will require procuring new barrels with a faster rifling twist and another three months of experimentation.

Colt discovers that six out of 10 XM16E1 rifles will exceed the 650-850rpm cyclic rate requirements when tested with ammunition loaded with WC846. In contrast, only one of 10 rifles exceed 850rpm when using ammunition loaded with IMR 4475. Colt’s representative, Mr. Hutchins, informs the TCC of this development, and notes that rifles for the initial delivery of 300 had to be handpicked to find those which could pass the cyclic rate testing. Since this practice could not continue for larger delivery lots, Colt asks the TCC that the maximum cyclic rate limit for the XM16E1 be raised to 900rpm. (The USAF has already done so for their M16 rifles, as they had already accepted production lots of ammo loaded with WC846.) No increase in allowable malfunctions during acceptance testing is requested by Colt, as the increase in cyclic rate was not recognized as a source of rifle malfunctions. In the meantime, Colt will experiment with different spring rates to help maintain a cyclic rate of 650-850rpm.

The TCC‘s USAF representative William Aumen presents USAF endurance testing data from FY 1963 procurement. The first 27 rifles tested displayed a malfunction rate of 1 per 3,000 rounds. The last 13 rifles tested displayed a malfunction rate of 1 per 6,500 rounds.

The TCC creates a subcommittee to study various proposed changes in the ammunition TDP. The subcommittee recommends an engineering change to the TDP to include standards for ammunition fouling during the pre-acceptance testing of ammunition. They note that certain lots of ammunition created enough fouling to result in malfunctions in as little as 500 to 600 rounds fired.

The first 300 M16-marked rifles are delivered to the USAF.

Frankford Arsenal issues the report “A Casualty Probability Analysis of Small Arms Weapons Systems of Various Calibers.”

The CRDL publishes “Wound Ballistic Assessment of the M14, AR-15, and Soviet AK-47 Rifles.”

The military specification for the XM199 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-D-46399(MU), is published.

The US Army grants permission for Colt to use 325 bolts lacking a drain hole.

ARPA orders sixty Stoner 63 rifles along with 20 complete systems for USMC testing. USMC Commandant General Wallace M. Greene later becomes a proponent of the system.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes “Military Potential Test of Stoner 63 Weapons System.”

All four vendors deliver their requested ten SPIW prototypes on time for Phase I evaluations by Aberdeen’s D&PS. AAI continues to use its 5.6x53mm XM110 cartridge, Springfield and Winchester use a new 5.6x44mm XM144 cartridge, and H&R incorporates the XM144’s saboted projectiles into its own proprietary cartridge design.

The H&R design is immediately rejected as too heavy, not to mention unsafe. H&R already has a bad reputation for its M1 and M14 rifles, not to mention its poor conversion of the FN FAL for earlier US Army trials, and the new SPIW does nothing to dispel this reputation. H&R‘s SPIW uses David Dardick’s revolving “open chamber” concept. Each 5.6x57mm cartridge, cutely named a “tround,” is a triangular piece of plastic holding three separate sabots and fléchette with a single powder charge. Upon pulling the trigger, all three projectiles are fired at once. On the downside, each of the individual projectiles requires its own barrel, adding unnecessary weight; the weapon tops 23.9 pounds loaded. More significantly, the open chamber means that only the plastic case is available to contain the pressures of firing. Initial test shots prove that the plastic cases are not up to this task, with the walls splitting and bulging upon ignition. The testers are underwhelmed at the prospect of less than a millimeter of plastic keeping the weapon from blowing up in their face.

Colt’s Karl R. Lewis begins design work on a 40mm grenade launcher for the M16.

April:
LTC Yount’s office releases a staff study indicating that the change to the Sierra bullet would require a change in rifling twist to 1 in 10″. This change would then require replacing all existing barrels in rifles and spares stocks, along with replacing all existing stocks of M193 ammunition. In view of the pending qualification of alternative propellants, LTC Yount cancels further testing of the Sierra bullet by the BRL.

The TCC grants a monthly waiver of the cyclic rate maximum to 900rpm. In an internal company report, “Chamber and Gas Port Pressures,” Colt’s Foster Sturtevant notes an increase in pressure at the gas port when using WC846 versus IMR 4475. However, Sturtevant claims that the higher gas port pressures are “in no way harmful to the AR-15” and may even lead to more positive functioning of the rifle.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of Modified AR-15 Rifles.” This report describes the tests of five AR-15 rifles which incorporated the following modifications: the charging handle grip enlarged, the bolt closure-device plunger-head area increased, and three firing pins with inertia retarding devices. The weapons with modified parts were subjected to adverse conditions and endurance tests. Data recorded during testing indicate the charging handle and bolt closure device functioned satisfactorily; however, minor design and fabrication changes are recommended to increase the serviceability of the parts. A firing pin inertia retarding device appears to be unnecessary.

The USAF rejects an initial production sample of M193 ammunition from Olin-Winchester because it fails to meet their 500yd penetration requirements (0.135″ of mild steel). The USAF is urged to reduce the plate penetration requirement to 450 yards. The ammunition is shipped to Frankford Arsenal for final pre-production lot testing. Frankford is verbally told by the Ogden Air Materiel Area (OAMA) that the USAF will not approve a performance deviation.

Remington advises Frankford Arsenal that it does not have enough IMR 4475 propellant to complete the original 500,000 round contract and that it will be short 19,000 rounds.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes “Engineer Design Test of Alternate Propellants for Use in the 5.56mm Ball Cartridge, M193.”

Frankford Arsenal notifies Olin, Remington, and Federal that both CR 8136 and WC846 will be approved as permissible alternates to IMR 4475 in the loading of 5.56mm M193 ball ammunition.

Frankford Arsenal submits the memo “Tests of Samples from First Million Production of 5.56mm M193 Ammunition.” Since future production would be loaded with CR 8136 or WC846 propellant rather than IMR 4475, the testing of the samples lots of 25,000 rounds already delivered from each manufacturer will be limited to a simulated acceptance test. This will be similar to those for normal production lots of ammunition, except that the function and casualty tests will be omitted.

Army Chief of Staff General Wheeler directs that the Army Staff examine the alternatives for rifle procurement and distribution to insure maximum readiness of US troops. For the study, it is to be assumed that no more M14 rifles will be procured in peacetime.

Colt applies for and is granted permission to use 4,100 bolts lacking a drain hole and 106 barrels with a 0.010″ oversized chamfer on the muzzle.

The HEL publishes “Human Factors Evaluation of the Stoner 63 Assault Rifle.”

Firing trials of the three remaining SPIW candidates begins at Fort Benning. Winchester’s “soft recoil” SPIW rifle design is deemed too complicated. The barrel reciprocates within the stock housing (in a fashion similar to the more recent HK G11 and AN94), but the receiver length is too short to allow a three round burst to be completed prior to the action bottoming out within the receiver. In contrast, Winchester’s blow-forward grenade launcher is very popular due to its relatively compact dimensions. A single trigger in conjunction with a special selector button controls both the rifle and grenade launcher function. Given the rifle’s unreliability in adverse condition trials, Winchester later drops the rifle project. However, they will continue to develop the grenade launcher under contract to Springfield Armory.

Springfield Armory’s SPIW is a bullpup design with a unique tandem magazine arrangement. A pair of 30 round magazine bodies are arranged back to back in a single assembly. The mechanism allows the rounds of the rear magazine to be held in reserve until the forward magazine runs dry. A tab in the forward magazine’s follower then raises the rear magazine high enough to allow its rounds to feed. The designer, Richard Colby, could not get a conventional 60 round box magazine to feed reliably given the weapon’s high cyclic rate. (AAI and Winchester used drum magazines, while H&R used a tape belt.) In any case, a conventional box design would have been excessively tall, causing problems during use in prone firing positions. The Springfield SPIW passes the length restrictions, but it exceeds the weight requirement by roughly four pounds. This is in part due to their massive magazine-fed grenade launcher design.

The AAI entry is a very slick package given how crude their previous APHHW prototypes were. Their 1961 weight predictions are found to be optimistic (by about 10 pounds), but their predicted cyclic rate is met and exceeded at 2,400 rpm. However, their grenade launcher module is not semi-automatic. Instead, AAI has settled on a less bulky lever-action mechanism.

It is painfully clear that none of the weapons are very reliable. The Springfield SPIW has a Mean Rounds Between Stoppage (MRBS) of 21.3. AAI’s entry manages a MRBS of 23.5, and Winchester’s SPIW brings in the rear with a MRBS of 10.8. The grenade launchers are even worse. The best MRBS is posted by the Springfield design at 12.9. AAI’s launcher runs 4.66 MRBS, and Winchester once again pulls up the rear with a MRBS of 2.1.

The CRDL issues the report “Wound Ballistics of the 18.4 Grain Bimetallic Fléchette.”

Picatinny Arsenal publishes “Terminal Effects of Flechettes.”

May:
LTG Besson is promoted to General. He is the first US Army officer to achieve that rank as head of a logistical organization in peacetime.

LTC Yount attempts to have a five to seven minute briefing developed regarding the tactical use of the XM16E1 for the New Materiel Introductory Team’s presentation. CONARC and the CDC each deny responsibility for developing related training materiel. The PMSO brings the AMC‘s Training Division into play to try to resolve the issue.

At Frankford Arsenal, William C. Davis and Charles E. Schindler release “Tenth Memo Report on AR-15 Rifle-Ammunition System: Investigation of Alternate Propellants For Use in 5.56mm M193 Ball Ammunition.” CR 8136 and WC846 are recommended for use. However, they also note that these powders exhibit slightly higher pressure levels at the AR-15’s gas port than did IMR 4475. This said, no sound gas port pressure criteria have yet been established for the AR-15. HPC-10 is declined due to excessive pressures at extremely low (Arctic) temperatures and previous issues of bore erosion with tubular grain propellants. Before the report is even released, the two recommended powders are approved for use in M193 production. The suggested “None Fire/All Fire” primer tolerance of 12 to 48 inch-ounces is also included in the technical data package, despite Colt’s transition to a lighter firing pin.

Production of M193 ammunition with IMR 4475 ends at Remington after 1 million rounds have been loaded. At the end of the month, Colt receives their last batch of IMR 4475 loaded ammunition for use in rifle acceptance testing.

The US Army begins issue of XM16E1 rifles.

In the DCSLOG report “Study of Rifle Readiness,” the authors state that will be “no more procurement of XM16E1 (AR-15) rifles after the FY 1964 buy of 85,000.” It recommends that there be no additional releases of M1 rifles for the Military Assistance Program, the M1 rifles be overhauled for possible use by US troops, and the testing of M1 conversions to 7.62mm NATO be expedited.

The USAIB issues the report “Product Improvement Test of XM16E1 Rifles and Associated Items.”

Colt President Paul A. Benke presents a specially furnished XM16E1 to Army Chief of Staff General Wheeler. At the presentation, Colt unveils their “CAR-15 5.56mm Military Weapons System”. The projected CAR-15 family includes a pair of AR-15 HBAR light machineguns (the magazine-fed M1 and the belt-fed M2), a 15″ barreled carbine, a 10″ barreled SMG, and a stripped down “survival rifle” for aircrews. The earliest prototypes of the CAR-15 SMG and carbine use cut-down M16 triangular forearms and buttstocks. As an added feature, the chopped buttstock of the SMG has a latch recessed in the buttplate, which allows the buttstock to be extended or retracted. These models retain the early AR-15 Model 01’s open flashhiders. Colt also introduces the belt-fed “Light Machine Gun 5.56mm CMG-1.” However, the CGL-4 40mm grenade launcher, designed Robert E. Roy and Karl R. Lewis, attracts the most favorable attention, particularly from General Wheeler. This official interest starts the ball rolling again for an add-on grenade launcher for the XM16E1.

On behalf of the US Army, Charles F. Packard files a patent application for the design of a combination charging handle/bolt closure device for the XM16E1.

Colt submits two RTA requesting permission to revise drawings for 58 parts to improve the component parts and to eliminate certain malfunctions.

The Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center publishes “Requirement for a Close Support Weapon at the Rifle Company Level.”

Aberdeen files a report concerning its testing of the Stoner 63.

In support of Frankford Arsenal, Springfield performs limited ammunition tests of XM110 cartridges with increased body diameter cases.

June:
General William C. Westmoreland replaces General Harkins as the commander of MACV.

The report, “Study of Rifle Readiness,” is forwarded to General Wheeler by DCSLOG LTG Colglazier.

AMC General Counsel Kendall Barnes sends a letter to Colt attempting to reopen negotiations on licensing rights for the M16. Barnes hopes that licensing rights can be added in a modification to the existing contract.

Frankford Arsenal releases the “Eleventh Memo Report on AR-15 Rifle-Ammunition System.” This involves an investigation of gas port pressure limits.

The US Army awards an additional $2,240 to Colt for 20 M16. This is in response to a US Coast Guard MIPR. The Army also awards $1,651.72 for six additional repair part line items.

The first documented incidents of case head separations and rim pull-through are recorded.

Remington’s preproduction ammunition sample is qualified.

Federal Cartridge fails to submit their pre-production sample for approval, and as a result will default on delivery of 200,000 M193 cartridges. LTC Yount examines the possibility of terminating the contract or obtaining fines for late delivery. While the Director of Materiel Readiness studies the impact of the shortage, Yount attempts to fill the production gap with deliveries from the other manufacturers. Olin picks up the slack with accelerated production.

Development of blank cartridges and blank firing adapters is stopped due to lack of R&D funds.

Arthur Miller files a patent application for the gas system and operating rod for the AR-18.

Winchester officially introduces the .225 Winchester. Intended as a replacement for the .220 Swift, the cartridge is roughly an improved .219 Zipper with a rim sized to fit a .30’06 bolt face.

On behalf of the US Army, Frederick Reed receives US Patent #3,136,213 titled “Two-stage Tandem Type Feeding Mechanism for Firearms.”

July:
Army Chief of Staff General Wheeler is appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Harold K. Johnson becomes the new Chief of Staff of the Army.

Under Secretary of the Army Paul R. Ignatius writes General Johnson that he and Secretary Ailes would like to review the Army’s rifle program with particular emphasis on two questions:

  1. If it becomes necessary in the near term to place new orders, would we resume M14 production, increase M16 production, or some combination of the two?
  2. What is the status of current planning for the SPIW? To what extent are we considering other weapons such as the M16 with its available attachments or the Stoner system, in lieu of the SPIW?

General Johnson approves the ACSFOR and DCSLOG recommendations for rifle procurement, provided that improved oral rationale and appropriate viewgraph slides are presented to support the position taken. The Army position should be based upon:

  1. Applicable concepts of the CDC‘s Army Requirements for Direct Fire Weapons Systems (ARDFIRE) study;
  2. Weapon and ammunition system lethality;
  3. Basic input data to the January 1963 DCSOPS study “Rifle Evaluation: A Comparative Evaluation of the U.S. Army Rifle M14, the Armalite AR-15, and the Soviet Rifle AK-47″; and
  4. An explanation of the purpose and functional role of the rifle as an Army weapon.

General Besson sends a letter to General Johnson titled “DCSLOG Study of Rifle Readiness.” Besson states that the XM16E1 realizes at least 50 percent of the improvement that the SPIW generates over the M14. The cost of the XM16E1 system (including ammunition) will be a little less than the M14 for equivalent production rates. However, the SPIW System will cost at least 25 percent more than the M14. Moreover, the XM16E1 can be made available in production quantities four years sooner than SPIW.

Colt’s Foster Sturtevant files a patent application for the forward-assist mechanism.

The buffer assembly is shortened by 3/32″.

The OCRD releases a fact sheet titled “Delay in Type Classification of Special Purpose Individual Weapon.” The predicted date for type-classification is pushed back from 1965 to 1967, with deliveries to troops even further delayed to the early 1970s.

Mass production of fléchette cartridges is simulated. Construction of the fléchette itself is noted to be very labor intensive.

Richard Colby receives US Patent #3,140,554 titled “Double Tandem-Arranged Magazine Feeding Device.”

The OCRD files a report concerning Stoner 63 testing.

August:
MG Lynde (Ret.) is hired as an executive consultant by Colt Industries.

Remington delivers M193 cartridges loaded with DuPont CR 8136. Testing at Colt results in lower cyclic rates. The monthly acceptance waiver on maximum cyclic rate is rescinded.

General Johnson approves the revised ACSFOR/DCSLOG presentation on the Army rifle program.

General Besson informs the Chief of Research and Development LTG William W. Dick, Jr. that in his view the type classification date for the SPIW will slip from December 1965 to January 1967. He bases his opinion upon the most recent performance of the test prototypes, which had indicated a high malfunction rate and an unacceptably high noise level. Moreover, the need for a workable muzzle brake had yet to be met.

In a letter intended to refute General Besson’s arguments of a month earlier, DCSLOG LTG Lawrence J. Lincoln, Jr. writes:

“FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS WE HAVE FOUGHT OFF ANY SOLUTION WHICH WOULD COMMIT THE ARMY TO ANOTHER INTERIM WEAPON WHICH COULD HINDER THE DEVELOPMENT OF A GREATLY IMPROVED INDIVIDUAL WEAPON IN THE 1965-70 TIME FRAME. IF A CALIBER .223 WEAPON IS TO BE SELECTED AS THE SUCCESSOR TO THE 7.62MM M14, IT SHOULD BE THE BEST CALIBER .223 WEAPON AVAILABLE AND ONE WHICH FILLS THE QUANTUM IMPROVEMENT QUALIFICATION. THIS COULD POSSIBLY BE THE AR-18, THE STONER 63 OR SOME OTHER DESIGN. SUCH A DECISION CANNOT BE MADE UNTIL THE FUTURE OF THE SPIW IS CLEAR.”

Army Secretary Ailes is briefed by DCSLOG LTG Lincoln and ACSFOR LTG Harrell concerning the Army’s rifle plans. The Army Staff recommends:

  1. If procurement of rifles is authorized in the immediate future the Army should resume production of M14 rather than M16 production or a combination of M14 and M16 production. Additional M14 procurement will allow the Army to further reduce the logistical problems associated with multiple caliber ammunition requirements for small arms.
    “AT THIS POINT IN TIME, PRIOR TO THE AVAILABILITY OF A QUANTUM IMPROVEMENT IN INDIVIDUAL WEAPONRY, THE ARMY STAFF BELIEVES THE M14 RIFLE TO BE THE-BEST WEAPON ACCEPTABLE FOR GENERAL USE.
    “THE M14 IS THE ONLY U.S. RIFLE WHICH FIRES THE 7.62MM NATO STANDARD AMMUNITION. UNLESS THERE IS A QUANTUM IMPROVEMENT IN INDIVIDUAL WEAPONRY, IT IS DESIRABLE FROM A LOGISTICAL POINT OF VIEW THAT ALL UNITS PLANNING FOR DEPLOYMENT TO EUROPE BE EQUIPPED WITH BASIC WEAPONS FIRING NATO STANDARD AMMUNITION.”
  2. There are not enough M14 to equip and support the entire active Army. All units not having special mission requirements for weapons should be equipped with M14 rifles.
  3. The current procurement of 85,000 M16 rifles satisfies the entire requirement for this type of light-weight, small caliber weapon. The light weight is considered to be of overriding importance for airborne, air assault, and special forces units which are being equipped with these rifles. M14 should not be replaced with M16 in any other type of unit.
  4. The Remington caliber .223 round common to all of the 5.56mm systems is considered inferior to the 7.62mm NATO standard round in all respects except that of weight.
  5. The SPIW should be the standard individual weapon to replace the current rifles provided that the forthcoming evaluation of the program results in approval of a SPIW weapon.

They project type-classification of the SPIW in December 1965. In the meantime, the Army is continuing to examine several small caliber rifles as possible replacements for the current standard M14. These include other Colt CAR-15 developments, the Stoner 63 family, and the AR-18.

In response, Secretary Ailes directs the Army to prepare a study of the resumption of procurement of M14 rifles for presentation to McNamara. General Johnson passes this job on to DCSLOG LTG Lincoln in a memo titled “The Army Rifle Program.” General Johnson states that a case should be made for resumption of limited production using one production facility citing the advantages to be gained in terms of readiness and cost. They should also note that this option renews availability of M1 rifles for the Military Assistance Program (MAP).

The same day General Johnson is informed of the slippage of the SPIW type-classification date in a memo from LTG Dick titled “Cancellation of NATO SPIW Demonstration.”

The USMC complains directly to General Johnson that their requests for procurement of the Stoner 63 are being ignored. At some point, the opinion is expressed that there is “an effort by some Army individuals to submerge the program.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “Kinematic Evaluation of the Special Purpose Individual Weapon Prototypes.” Three prototype weapons from each of the four contractors were delivered to BRL for kinematic analysis and evaluation. An extensive series of tests were conducted to furnish data for selecting the prototype which would be most advantageous to develop for the SPIW system.

The BRL also publishes “Summary of Test Data and Effectiveness Evaluation of SPIW.”

CDC publishes “Analysis of Operational and Organizational Concepts for Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW).”

The HEL publishes “Auditory and Acoustical Evaluation of SPIW.”

The HEL also publishes “Human Factors Evaluation of Three SPIW Prototype Weapons.”

WECOM HQ requests Springfield to design, develop, and fabricate single-shot grenade launchers for the SPIW as a backup to the multi-round launchers. Delivery is requested to be no later than February 1965. Springfield conceives two types: a side pivot type and a center pivot type. Under an existing design support contract, Springfield uses an outside facility to design and draft the side pivot type launcher. The fabrication is performed in-house at Springfield. For the center pivot type launcher, Springfield places a new contract for the design, development, and fabrication of the launcher. Ultimately, the side pivot type launcher is not ready in time for testing. However, four center pivot type launchers are delivered to Fort Benning for evaluation.

September:
The 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg submits their first monthly field report on the XM16E1. Five of the rifles were defective as delivered from the factory. One rifle would not accept a magazine due to mismachining of the upper receiver. In another rifle, a carrier key screw was missing; its hole was not even threaded. The gas tube was bent in another, causing it to batter the carrier key. Two had the minor issue of being shipped with a M16 carrier, which is not notched for the XM16E1 bolt assist. They also report shortages in basic issue items, like magazines, slings, bipods, and cleaning materiel, which were to be shipped with the rifles. It is noted that the bolt carrier group will rust when exposed to moisture, and they recommend that the Technical Manual be revised to instruct a light coat of oil for the entire bolt and bolt carrier. Four firing pin retaining pins have broken . They also recommend that the fragile M11 cleaning rod be replaced as 49 rods have already broken at the joints during use. They also request issue of blank ammunition and blank firing attachments.

ACSFOR LTG Harrell submits a fact sheet to General Johnson with a description of the Stoner 63 weapon system and its current status, noting the limitations of the system cited by WECOM. These limitations are insufficient barrel life, weak belt pull, stock breakage while launching grenades, insufficient operating energy under adverse conditions, and unreliable tracer functioning in the machine gun.

Frankford Arsenal receives program authority to acquire 20 million 5.56mm M193 cartridges for the Army for FY 1965.

Anticipating problems with the commercial case hardness specifications, Frankford Arsenal also begins a study of 5.56mm case hardness.

The USAIB publishes the report “Service Test of Cartridge, Tracer, 5.56MM, XM196.”

Colt’s Foster Sturtevant files a patent application for a four-position selector switch mechanism for the CAR-15 family (Safe-Semi-Burst-Auto).

Colt’s Karl Lewis and Robert Roy file a patent application for the design of the CGL-4.

The BRL publishes “The Aerodynamic Characteristics of a S.P.I.W. Projectile.”

October:
Colt representatives verbally outline four different proposals for obtaining the M16 TDP and manufacturing rights:

  1. Establishes a price of $5,400,000 plus a 5 percent royalty. A $10 credit is offered for each rifle ordered. This includes rifles that have already been delivered. Credit will also be given for spare parts purchases. The TDP will include the M16, XM16E1, and two-round burst control, but not blank ammunition, grenade launchers, or grenades. The TDP will only be delivered after full payment is made;
  2. Provides immediate delivery of the TDP upon cash payment of $3,600,000, plus a 7.5 percent royalty;
  3. Requests the order of 400,000 rifles plus a 5 percent royalty; and
  4. Requests the order of 200,000 rifles, a cash payment of $2,500,000, a guarantee of 50 percent of all future procurement plus a 4 percent royalty.

Colt also offers a separate proposal for licensing the grenade launcher.

LTC Yount’s title is changed to “Project Manager, Rifles” (PMR). With this, he is now responsible for the SPIW program along with the M16.

In the 17th contract modification of contract “508”, the option clause is invoked to procure 33,500 M16 rifles for the USAF, 240 for the US Navy, and 82 for the Coast Guard. In addition, 25 repair part items are added to the contract. The changes are worth $4,305,749.62.

Aberdeen’s D&PS releases “Final Report of Comparison Test of Rifle, 5.56mm M16.” The purpose of this test was to determine if production-line samples of M16 rifles would comply with performance specifications; to detect any design, manufacturing, or inspection deficiencies; and to determine the accuracy and the ability of the rifle to function when subjected to automatic-fire roles and under various adverse conditions. While only based on a sample of five rifles, it notes that malfunctions tend to occur after 1,000rds are fired with cleaning and lubrication. It also suggests that special brushes be issued for cleaning the chamber, lug recesses, and the inside of the bolt carrier.

From Colt Industries, MG Lynde (Ret.) sends a letter to the Boston Army Procurement District requesting four classified reports, including “Comparative Effectiveness Evaluation of the AR-15, M14.”

The US Army awards $16,415.02 to Colt for changes in the bolt carrier assembly.

Colt’s Robert Roy files a patent application for a collapsible buttstock.

Frankford Arsenal completes a study on the measurement of 5.56mm case hardness. No action to establish metallurgical controls over production is taken. The TCC sees no apparent need for such controls in view of the absence of cartridge case ruptures with 5.56mm ammunition manufactured to current specification. Although some ruptures have already occurred, they have been attributed to other factors such as water in the bore.

The military specification for M197 High Pressure Test, MIL-C-46936(MU), is revised to MIL-C-46936A(MU).

The AMC publishes the report “Development of Special-Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) System.”

November:
McNamara announces the plan to phase out 95 military installations, including Springfield Armory. The closure of Springfield is justified by a projected annual savings of $4.6 million. Private industry is believed to be able to provide the military’s small arms at lower costs.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Vance receives a memo from the Department of the Army titled “Army Small Arms Weapons Program.”

The US Army signs the contract modification for the additional 33,822 M16 ordered the month before.

DCSLOG LTG Lincoln presents “Study of Procurement of M14 Rifles” to General Johnson. The study emphasizes that by the end of FY 1966, the combined assets of M14 and M1 rifles will be insufficient to meet requirements, and by the end of FY 1970, a deficit of 85,813 weapons will exist. The report also states: “Pending receipt of the follow-on weapon, the Army staff prefers the M14 rifle over the M16.” LTG Lincoln recommends that 100,000 M14 rifles be procured in the FY 1966 budget.

USMC briefers tell Deputy Secretary Vance that “the Army has a closed mind on the Stoner system and has been dragging its feet.” The Deputy DDR&E relays to General Johnson that concurrence to this opinion is rapidly growing hold in the DOD. Following this exchange, General Johnson orders that directives be prepared to the Army Staff, CONARCCDC, and AMC to include the following: 1) tighten the doctrinal bases for the rifle and machine gun; 2) establish the QM, and follow it by the military characteristics needed; and 3) concurrently conduct a thorough test of the Stoner weapons family in order to get the data needed in advance to measure against the military characteristics, which will be determined later.

In a memo to the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff titled “Army Opposition to Outside Proposals,” LTG Dick acknowledges that the “not invented here” (NIH) problem is a real one and is recognized as such by the Army Staff. However, it is his opinion, despite allegation and inference to the contrary, that NIH is not the real reason behind either the Army’s position or actions with regard to the Stoner and AR-15 rifle systems. It is rather that in these cases the Army has real doubt about the wisdom of developing and buying the proposed items or system for one or more of the following reasons: 1) no valid requirement exists; 2) the design capabilities of the proposed design system are dubious; 3) test results have been unsatisfactory; and 4) the items or system are not compatible with Army doctrine and other existing systems.

The AMC requests that TECOM prepare plans for engineering and service tests of the Stoner 63 system. A TECOM directive is issued and planning begins.

The day before the USMC is to brief Secretary Ailes on the Stoner 63 family, General Johnson writes Ailes:

“I BELIEVE THAT IT WOULD BE USEFUL FOR ME TO BRING YOU UP TO DATE ON WHAT HAS TRANSPIRED AND ALSO TO MAKE MY VIEWS KNOWN PRIOR TO THE TIME THAT YOU HEAR THE (USMC STONER) PRESENTATION. THE VICE CHIEF OF STAFF HAD MET WITH APPROPRIATE MEMBERS OF THE STAFF TO DISCUSS THE ARMY RIFLE PROGRAM GENERALLY AND SPECIFICALLY HOW WE INTEND TO COPE WITH WHAT WAS BEGINNING TO SHAPE UP AS AN ALL OUT EFFORT BY THE MARINE CORPS TO SELL THE STONER SYSTEM…. YOU WILL REMEMBER THAT AFTER YOU WERE BRIEFED ON THE ARMY RIFLE PROGRAM ON 18 AUGUST, YOU ASKED THE STAFF TO STUDY THE OVERALL RIFLE SITUATION IN ORDER TO DETERMINE WHETHER A LIMITED PROCUREMENT OF THE M14 RIFLES IN FY 66 COULD BE JUSTIFIED. DCSLOG HAS COMPLETED ITS STUDY, AND I CANNOT RECOMMEND THAT WE BUY IN 1966. AS A MATTER OF FACT IT NOW LOOKS AS THOUGH OUR ASSETS VS. REQUIREMENTS PICTURE REMAINS GOOD THROUGH FY 1967.

“IN SUMMARY, I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN AND SHOULD COMPLETELY RE-EVALUATE OUR SMALL ARMS WEAPONS PROGRAM, STARTING WITH A REVIEW OF DOCTRINE. OUR POSTURE IS SUCH THAT WE CAN AFFORD TO TAKE THIS ACTION OVER THE NEXT YEAR OR TWO WITH A MINIMAL RISK. ONLY BY SUCH A DELIBERATE AND THOROUGH APPROACH WILL I BE CONFIDENT THAT OUR SMALL ARMS WEAPONS PROGRAM REACHING INTO THE 70’S WILL BE ON FIRM FOOTING. I AM HOPEFUL THAT THE MARINE CORPS WILL SUBSCRIBE TO THIS APPROACH, WILL MONITOR OUR EFFORTS AS THEY HABITUALLY DO, AND WILL NOT ATTEMPT TO PRECIPITATE AN EARLY DECISION WHICH COULD PREJUDICE THE FUTURE COMBAT EFFECTIVENESS OF BOTH THE ARMY AND THE MARINE CORPS. GENERAL GREENE HAS GIVEN ME ORAL ASSURANCE THAT HE DOES NOT INTEND TO PURSUE A COURSE THAT DIVERGES FROM THAT OF THE ARMY AT THIS POINT.”

The next day, in the memo CSM 64-484, General Johnson formally directs the Army Staff to initiate a review and evaluation of the Army Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS), to include studies of doctrinal employment and desired characteristics, test and evaluation of existing weapon systems, and analytical evaluation of weapons under development or feasible within the time frame, 1965-1980. The object is to develop the necessary analytical background upon which to base a program for replacement of existing stocks of small arms as the inventory drops below requirements, or replacement of the inventory with weapon families of demonstrated superiority over all other families, based upon cost effectiveness considerations. The memo further states that the review must not be limited by present commitments, agreements, or doctrinal dogma, but must be of sufficient breadth and comprehensiveness to serve as a basis for the re-establishment of an Army position on small arms families. “It must be based on a dispassionate analysis of those factors which can be quantified, coupled with unbiased judgment applied to those factors which cannot be quantified.” Staff responsibility is assigned to ACSFOR LTG Harrell.

DCSLOG LTG Lincoln’s recommendation to procure 100,000 M14 rifles in the FY 1966 budget is officially withdrawn.

Federal continues to default on deliveries due to their continued inability to qualify a preproduction sample. The Chicago Army Procurement District sends a letter to Federal Cartridge requesting a fourth pre-production sample lot. By the end of the month, Federal is behind schedule by 9,837,000 rounds. LTC Yount refuses to give up on Federal Cartridge as he believes it is in the best interest of the government to have three manufacturers of M193 to provide for emergency requirements and assure competitive pricing. Remington also has a bad month and is behind 2,929,000 rounds.

The USAIB publishes “Final Report of Military Potential Test of Rifle, 5.56mm, AR-18.”

The Marine Corps Operations Analysis Group publishes “Analysis of Firing Data of the Marine Rifle Squad Armed with Stoner 63 Weapons.”

Results of the SPIW Phase I evaluation are complete. While the candidates are not considered to be mature enough for Phase II full-scale engineering development, certain trends are noted. The Springfield SPIW is judged to be the most reliable and accurate. AAI’s SPIW is the lightest, simplest, and considered to be most durable. However, none of the systems are considered to be particularly reliable or durable, and testers complained of the candidates’ weight, rapid over-heating, and their excessive muzzle blast and flash. Finally, the cartridges themselves are still too fragile, the pressures are too high, the tactical penetration and accuracy are inadequate, and the experimental fléchette tracer cartridge cannot provide a decent visual trace.

In a briefing to General Besson, WECOM reports on the current status of the SPIW program. Eight problems are discussed:

  1. Three-Shot Semiautomatic Grenade Launcher: No satisfactorily functioning prototype is available, and it is doubtful that such a launcher can be developed without exceeding the then maximum weight requirement for the SPIW system. The considerable bulk of any three-shot launcher also presents difficulties.
  2. Sabot Hazard: Limited tests of the ammunition indicates that sabot fragments are slightly hazardous as far as 20 feet from the muzzle. The technical characteristics require that the fragments be nonhazardous beyond 15 feet from the muzzle.
  3. XM110 Type Cartridge: This piston-primer cartridge is suffering from a number of deficiencies: high cost, low level of performance reliability, questionable safety, long-term storage failures, and interior ballistics problems.
  4. Sabot Manufacturing Costs: The sabot is the most expensive and difficult to manufacture of all the components of the point-target ammunition.
  5. Noise: All of the SPIW weapons (and the M16 with muzzle brake compensator) produce peak sound pressures far in excess of 159 decibels. Sound pressures are high enough to produce permanent damage to the hearing of as many as 20 percent of the personnel equipped with these weapons.
  6. Flash: Only the Springfield Armory variant exhibits acceptable flash suppression.
  7. Sabot Stripper: The maximum demonstrated life of the device is reported as 2,000 rounds.
  8. Tracer: The stated user requirements are reported to be beyond the then present state-of-the-art within the design parameters of the current fléchette.

Five possible approaches are discussed to continued development leading to type classification of SPIW. The current program is a 14-month accelerated development effort, with type classification scheduled for the end of the third quarter of FY 1966 (March 1966). However, this is described as an “extremely high risk alternative” and the plan least likely to result in an entirely satisfactory weapon at the time of type classification. Following this approach would necessitate continuing the development of only the AAI version, as there would be insufficient time to exploit the advantages of the Springfield design.

The alternative courses of action call for either 20, 26, 35, or 50 month development efforts. Type classification under these alternatives would be scheduled for the first quarter of FY 1967, the third quarter of FY 1967, the second quarter of FY 1968, and the third quarter of FY 1969, respectively. WECOM recommends the 35-month development effort as the course of action which will: 1) assure satisfactory completion of the engineering and service tests; 2) provide for type classification a system with the highest reliability and fewer manufacturing start-up problems; 3) have no unsolved technical problems with the piston-primer type cartridge; and 4) provide a tracer cartridge at the time of the engineering and service tests that would meet the WECOM-proposed relaxed characteristics. General Besson accepts the WECOM recommendation.

The CRDL publishes “Kinetic P/K Studies of a Sharp-Nose Beehive Configuration Versus a Blunt-Nose Sting-Ray Configuration.”

December:
ACSFOR LTG Harrell issues memo CSM 64-555 with a detailed directive for the SAWS study. It states:

“WHEREVER CURRENT DOCTRINE OF THE TACTICAL EMPLOYMENT OF SMALL ARMS WOULD SEEM TO RULE OUT CONSIDERATION OF A PARTICULAR SMALL ARMS WEAPON SYSTEM, IT WILL BE CAREFULLY RE-EXAMINED AND IF NECESSARY NEW DOCTRINE APPLICABLE TO THE PARTICULAR SYSTEM DEVELOPED.

“THE COMPARISON OF SMALL ARMS WEAPON SYSTEMS MUST BE BASED ON BOTH TECHNICAL AND TACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WHICH EXPLOIT FULLY THE SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS PECULIAR TO EACH SYSTEM. IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT NEW AND IMPROVED DOCTRINE FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF SMALL ARMS WILL HAVE AS MUCH INFLUENCE ON THE CHOICE OF A SMALL ARMS WEAPON SYSTEM AS THE TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WEAPONS THEMSELVES.”

The target date for completion of the SAWS study is July 1, 1966 with a final decision regarding procurement expected by July 31, 1966.

The US Army’s CDC begins work on the SAWS program.

After loading ~50 million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, Remington and DuPont withdraw CR 8136 from use due to the inability to maintain pressure limits from lot to lot. Remington asks for permission to finish their production run using WC846, and submits a pre-production sample of M193 loaded with WC846 later in the month. XM16E1 acceptance testing at Colt continues with remaining stocks of CR 8136-loaded ammunition.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Deliveries of 5.56mm Ball Ammunition.”

Gene Stoner files a patent application for the design of the Stoner 63’s clamp-on bipod.

1965


Colt offers an improved M16 buttstock. The design is ultimately rejected as it lacks a storage compartment for cleaning materials. However, the improved buttstock material is approved for further use.

Colt discovers a problem with its magazine subcontractor’s hard anodizing process.

While considered to be an unfinished design, a total of 27 (or 29, depending upon the reference) AR-18 rifles are ordered for the SAWS program.

Prototypes of the HK 33 first appear. H&R imports a small number and manages to have them included in the SAWS program. H&R marks these rifles as the T223.

Nederlandsche Wapen-En Munitiefabriek (NWM) of the Netherlands is granted worldwide manufacturing and sales rights by Cadillac Gage for the Stoner 63 system. Oddly, NWM produces only barrels for the system over its history, and only a handful of weapons are assembled using US-made parts.

Remington introduces a commercial version of the popular wildcat .22-250 cartridge.

At Frankford Arsenal, Andrew J. Grandy develops a “folded path” cartridge as part of a study to create a reduced recoil or even recoiless infantry rifle. By rearranging the position of the powder vis-à-vis the bullet, he ends up with a case that has potentially greater venting area than a conventional cartridge case. The folded cartridge is shorter, and the complete cartridge is fully supported by the gun chamber. Requiring only rearward ejection, the need for an extractor groove is eliminated. It is hoped that these features can lead to simplified gun mechanisms and improved cost effectiveness for rifle-ammunition systems. Plans to develop such a system are shelved due to the urgency of higher priority programs.

January:
The US Army awards a $56,000 contract modification to Colt for an additional 500 M16 for the US Navy. The Army also accepts Value Engineering Proposal #37 regarding the ejection port cover. As a result, the Army deallocates $7,533 from the contract.

Colt receives a Priority 04 MIPR from the US Navy for 50 additional M16 rifles.

Field Manual “FM 23-9 – Rifle, 5.56mm XM16E1” is released.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes the report “Comparison Test of Rifle, 5.56-MM, XM16E1.”

Colt’s Foster Sturtevant files a patent application for a rate reducing mechanism for the AR-15 family.

The USAF releases the report “Limited Range Test of the M16 Rifle with Eight Types of Rifle and Hand Grenades.” The following grenades were tested: M21 Hand Grenade with M1A2 Adapter, M30 Hand Grenade with M1A2 Adapter, M31 Rifle Grenade, M34 Hand Grenade with M1A2 Adapter, M22A2 Rifle Grenade, M23 Rifle Grenade, M27 Rifle Grenade, and the M7A1 CN Hand Grenade with M2A1 Adapter. No breakage of component parts of the guns or gun stocks occurred during the tests.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “Criteria For Incapacitating Soldiers With Fragments And Fléchettes.” Estimates are presented of the probability that single, random hits with a fléchette, which tumbles within a soldier, will result in the incapacitation of the soldier. Experiments at Edgewood demonstrate that within “ballistic” simulants of the human anatomy (i.e., gelatin or goats) relatively quick tumbling occurs with fléchette at striking velocities greater than 3,000 fps. It is suggested that the weight of the fléchette should not exceed about 13 grains else the tumbling will occur too late after entrance and that only a small portion of the fléchette’s energy will be deposited within the target.

FN produces a 2nd Generation 5.56mm rifle prototype with a 3 round burst mechanism.

Gene Stoner files a patent application for the design of the Stoner 63’s left-hand belt box and hanger.

February:
US Army Vice Chief of Staff General Creighton W. Abrams, Jr. approves the new 35 month development program for the SPIW. While sufficient funds are available for FY 1965, LTC Yount believes that a Program Change Proposal (PCP) may be required for FY 1966.

The US Army awards a $5,600 contract modification to Colt for an additional 50 M16. These are the rifles requested by the US Navy the month before. The Army also adds $4,972.80 for replacement upper receivers and bolt assist assemblies.

Colt representatives commence a series of visits and letter exchanges with the Army Staff concerning the maintenance of a production base for the XM16E1. Colt’s representatives declare that they believe there is an obligation to maintain an operating production base in view of the previous Army and USAF procurements, and particularly in view of the situation in Southeast Asia. Colt’s representatives note that the production base could be maintained either through direct contracts from the Department of Defense for stated quantities of rifles or through purchase of rifles for use by the Military Assistance Program. They also advise that if they did not have additional government orders by 1 May 1965, production quantity would decrease and unit costs would increase.

TECOM sends out a letter outlining different facilities’ responsibilities for the SAWS program.

CDCRE-E issues a letter titled “US Army Combat Developments Command Experimentation Center Experiment – Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS).”

TECOM issues the letter “Engineering and Service Test of Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS).”

The TCC requests new sources of powder for the M193 cartridge from DuPont and Hercules. The submitted powders are EX 8208-4 and HPC-11, respectively.

Colt applies for and is granted permission to use 2,160 modified XM16E1 upper receiver forgings for manufacturing M16 rifles.

Arthur Miller, Charles Dorchester, and George Sullivan file a patent application for the design of the AR-18.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “A Kinematic Evaluation of the AR-18 Rifle, Cal. 0.223.” Two AR-18 rifles were fired to obtain a kinematic evaluation of the weapon. A comparison in functioning of a lubricated and an unlubricated rifle was also made. It is found that functioning of the AR-18 rifle varies from lot-to-lot of ammunition. In view of the results obtained in the kinematic study, it is concluded that the basic design of the AR-18 rifle is good. However, because of the neglect in providing a positive feeding system and positive locking devices for some of the subassemblies, the weapon in its present state of design is unsatisfactory, and in some conditions, is unsafe. The authors conclude that the rifle is in an unfinished state of design, but could become both satisfactory and safe without major revisions.

Ernest Vervier, father of the FN MAG58, determines that while the 5.56mm Mini-FAL is satisfactory, a stamped receiver, rotary bolt replacement for the FAL would be more successful in terms of future sales.

Whirlpool Corp. publishes “Design and Development of New and Improved Flechettes and Applicable Weapon Systems.”

The CRDL publishes “Antipersonnel Evaluation of Aircraft Armament Type 6087-010036 Flechettes.”

March:
A letter contract is awarded to AAI for continuance of SPIW development work. AAI and Springfield Armory are to submit ten “second generation” prototypes apiece for a rerunning of the SPIW Phase I evaluation process. The US Army has expressed displeasure with the unconventional layout of the designs, from the Springfield bullpup to AAI’s use of an inline stock with a pistol grip. It is decided that the next generation of SPIW should have a “conventional” stock design like the M14. SPIW ammunition development continues at Frankford and Picatinny Arsenals.

The CDC issues “Combat Developments Directive: Army Small Arms Weapons Systems Program (SAWS).” The CDC assigns overall responsibility for conduct of the study to the Combat Developments Command Infantry Agency (CDCIA).

The CDCIA distributes tasks as follows:

  1. Engineering and Service Tests: TECOM
  2. Troop Tests: CONARC; United States Army, Europe; United States Army, Pacific; United States Army, Southern Command; and United States Army, Alaska
  3. Field Experimentation: CDCEC
  4. Computer Simulation of SAWS: Combined Arms Research Office (CARO)
  5. Weapon Systems Data: BRL
  6. Procurement and Cost Data: WECOM.

CDC issues a directive titled “Army Small Arms Weapon Systems Program (SAWS).”

The CDCIA publishes “Characteristics and Standards Against Which to Conduct Engineering/Service Type Tests for Small Arms Weapons (SAWS) Program.”

WECOM reports to the Boston Army Procurement District that based upon a quality verification visit to Colt in February, the contractor is now considered to be in full compliance with the Quality Control provisions of the contract.

DCSLOG LTG Lincoln submits the memo “Production Base Plan for the M16 Rifle.” The Army’s response to Colt is that the prospects were poor for any new orders for rifles in the near future; however, the Army is not aware of the USAF‘s plans.

At the end of the month, Colt receives their last batch of CR 8136 loaded ammunition for use in rifle acceptance testing.

Frankford Arsenal submits the memo “Request for Deviation Approval or Technical Action (RTA) CHPD 105-65(DV)–Cartridge, 5.56mm, Ball, M193.” In response, Frankford Arsenal has conducted tests to study the effects of bullet obliquity on ultimate function. The results of this test indicate that the bullet obliquity does not adversely affect cartridge performance, but to minimize user reaction, it is recommended that the use of these cartridges be limited to the Continental United States. Frankford Arsenal also recommends immediate process and inspection improvements be taken on the part of Federal.

The 173rd Airborne Division becomes the first US Army unit to deploy to Vietnam with XM16E1 rifles.

XM16E1 training is introduced in Infantry Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon for replacement troops headed to Vietnam.

Colt applies for a deviation on the surface finish on the rear face of 600 bolt carriers. Colt also applies for permission to use 3,210 modified XM16E1 upper receiver forgings for manufacturing M16 rifles.

A contract is signed with Colt to provide 30 CGL-4 grenade launchers for ET/ST.

The US Army awards a contract to Remington for FY 1965 Joint Army/USAF M193 requirements. 50 million rounds are purchased at the cost of $47.60 per thousand. This is down from FY 1964’s price of $61 per thousand. (These prices do not include the value of government furnished material.)

On behalf of the US Army, Robert F. Magardo files a patent application for the design of a pump action grenade launcher intended for Springfield’s early SPIW prototype.

FN‘s Vervier follows through on his proposal. The first stamped receiver, rotary bolt prototype is chambered in 7.62mm NATO for direct comparison with the FAL and HK G3. However, Vervier indicates that the lessons learned will be applied to the construction of a new 5.56mm rifle.

Spring:
The M16 ejector spring is strengthened.

Informal reports of the XM16E1 bolt and bolt carrier seizing begin to surface from Vietnam.

April:
In a letter to Vice Chief of Staff General Abrams titled “Troop Reaction Reports on XM16E1,” General Besson notes that the troops acceptance of the XM16E1 is “almost unanimously favorable,” with no serious problems reported. In a hand-written attachment to the letter, Besson predicts:

“My concern is that individuals becoming familiar with this rifle are going to complain bitterly to home and press when they find themselves in SE Asia with an M14….I think you have a potential flare-up–and I honestly believe the M16 is a better rifle for jungle and rice paddy warfare.”

OACSFOR releases a memo titled “Army Requirements for the M16 Rifle.” It states:

“Prior to the completion of the SAWS project, the Army has no logical or compelling reasons to expand the current basis of issues of the M16 rifle. Such an expansion might in fact be damaging to SAWS in that it could be interpreted as prejudgment of the expected results of the study.”

LTC Yount issues a letter titled “Army Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS) Program.”

TECOM issues letters titled “Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS) Program.”

Colt is granted permission to use 3,210 modified XM16E1 upper receiver forging for manufacturing M16 rifles. Colt is also granted a deviation on the surface finish on the rear face of 600 bolt carriers.

Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center publishes the report “Stoner 63 Weapons Systems.”

The US Army orders 861 Stoner 63 in multiple configurations for the SAWS program. (These are later named the XM22 rifle, the XM23 carbine, and the XM207 LMG.)

The Stoner 63 system ends Arctic testing.

The Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center (MCLFDC) submits “Stoner 63 Weapon System Final Report” to Marine Corps Headquarters. The Stoner 63 system is recommended for further advanced field testing.

FN produces a 5.56mm prototype constructed from stampings. They have also developed an accompanying grenade launcher.

The BRL publishes “Performance of a Bimetallic Fléchette in Gelatin.”

May:
Chief of Staff General Johnson advises ASA(I&L) Daniel M. Luevano of his decision to make no changes in the Army’s rifle program until the SAWS study is completed, and that the maintenance of an operating line for producing M16 rifles is not necessary.

A week later, General Besson requests approval to procure at least 60,000 XM16E1 rifles for potential Army and military assistance requirements in Southeast Asia. Besson states that although there is no firm requirement at that time to substantiate the proposed procurement, in his opinion it is probable that an urgent demand could develop.

DCSLOG LTG Lincoln replies to General Besson advising him that at present there is no requirement for additional XM16E1 rifles.

During a visit to South Vietnam, General Johnson is besieged by requests from ARVN generals for M16 rifles to equip their own units.

US Air Force Logistics Command sends a letter titled “M16 Rifles,” indicating a requirement of 65,358 M16 rifles per year through the FY 1966-70 time frame. Previous estimates for FY 1966 had indicated a requirement of 36,682 M16. The letter recommends that the US Army use multi-year procurement methods to fill the USAF requirement. AMC General Counsel Barnes makes preparations for renewing negotiations with Colt regarding manufacturing rights and technical data.

William C. Davis is temporarily assigned to Colt as the “XM16E1 Engineering Project Manager.” On Colt’s request, Davis designs the 68 grain GX-6235 projectile. The projectile features a 10-caliber secant ogive. This bullet requires a 1-in-9″ twist; however, it shows excessive fouling when tested in a 1-in-7″ twist barrel.

Charles E. Schindler replaces William C. Davis as Frankford Arsenal’s representative on the TCC.

The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control approves the export sale of 5,000 AR-15 to the United Kingdom. Many of these rifles will see service with the British SAS in Borneo.

LTC Yount issues letter titled “SAWS Information Letter Number 2.”

The USAIB files its test plan for SAWS testing.

Colt requests permission to parco-lubrite, instead of electrolize, the bolt, ejector, extractor, and extractor pin. This is justified as improving wear resistance and service life of these components.

The US Army awards $54,751.44 to Colt for 54 additional repair part line items.

DuPont completes US Army contract to develop IMR-type powder with greater ballistic stability over a wide temperature range. DuPont’s work with Picatinny had concentrated on 7.62mm NATO, but the resulting IMR 8138M is also suitable for 5.56mm. Unfortunately, the grain size of the powder prevents uniform machine loading of 5.56mm ammunition.

The Colt CGL-4 grenade launcher is officially designated the XM148. The XM148 receives safety certification for ET/ST. The tests are delayed by minor firing pin modifications to eliminate a misfire problem encountered at Aberdeen.

In response to a Springfield RFQ, Winchester proposes an improved version of their earlier SPIW grenade launcher.

May-June:
Colt’s supply of CR 8136-loaded ammunition runs out. Acceptance testing continues with WC846 loaded cartridges. As result, Colt requests reinstatement of the maximum cyclic rate wavier. The TCC refuses. In response, Colt suspends production of the XM16E1. M16 production for the USAF continues.

June:
LTC Yount broaches the subject of possible future contract options with Colt for additional M16/XM16E1.

AMC General Counsel Kendall M. Barnes reopens negotiations with Colt over TDP and manufacturing rights. Army desires to know whether Colt will still accept the same terms as their October 1964 offer. Colt President Paul A. Benke responds to the negative and presents a new offer with less favorable terms.

Colt’s TCC representative, Mr. Hutchins, requests Government-furnished equipment with which to investigate the reason for the increased cyclic rate.

Colt changes the bolt carrier’s finish from electrolized to a chrome-plated interior and a parco-lubrited exterior.

The US Army approves a change in M16 bolt hardness.

The US Army awards $21,882.84 to Colt for 22 additional repair part line items.

The CDCIA publishes “Systems Constraints for Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS) Parametric Design Task.”

The BRL publishes “Relative Electiveness of Conventional Rifles and an Experimental ‘Salvo’ Weapon in Area Fire.”

The BRL also publishes “On the Effectiveness of Various Small Arms Weapons in an Anti-Ambush Role.”

Olin declines to submit a new powder to replace WC846.

In the report “Study of Current Primer-Sensitivity Criteria for 5.56MM Ammunition,” Frankford Arsenal notes that the restrictive primer sensitivity requirements are having the predicted results, causing high rejection rates of primer lots by manufacturers.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes the report “Engineering Test of Cartridge, 5.56-MM, Tracer, XM196.” The purpose of the test was to determine the XM196’s physical dimensions, accuracy, tracer performance, cook-off temperature, vibration effects, brush deflection, erosion, penetration (pine board, steel helmet, and armored vest), and gun functioning. It is recommended that the XM196 be considered suitable for use with the M16 and XM16E1 rifles.

FN builds yet another prototype 5.56mm rifle.

AAI publishes “Tracer Study for SPIW Point Fire Ammunition.”

Technik, Inc. publishes “Sabot, Fléchette Investigations.”

On behalf of the US Army, Frederick Reed receives US Patent #3,190,023 titled “Multimagazine, Two-Stage Feeding Device for Firearms.”

Olin-Winchester’s Joseph A. Badali and James H. Johnson file a patent application for the design of their SPIW‘s semi-auto grenade launcher.

Summer:
Frankford Arsenal orders five XM16E1 fitted with .17 caliber barrels. The experimental 4.32x45mm “Micro-Bullet” cartridge is loaded using Remington formed and primed cases. Two of test rifles include Colt’s 2 round and 3 round burst mechanisms. Two other rifles are not equipped with burst mechanisms, while the final pair is sent to Springfield Armory for testing of micro-bore chrome plating procedures. Exploring use in unmodified XM16E1, 5.56mm cartridges are also loaded with saboted .17 caliber projectiles.

L. James Sullivan leaves Cadillac Gage to join Sturm, Ruger & Co.

July:
Stanley R. Resor is appointed Secretary of the Army.

MACV commander, General Westmoreland asks Army Materiel Command to examine the issues necessary to issue M16/XM16E1 rifles to all US troops in Vietnam.

Soon afterwards, General Westmoreland becomes commander of the newly formed US Army, Vietnam (USARV).

In an informal letter to General Abrams, General Besson suggests that the Army begin thinking about large scale procurements of the M16/XM16E1. He points out that according to the latest projection for commitment of forces equipped with the XM16E1 rifle to Southeast Asia, the CONUS stocks of the rifle will soon be depleted. Besson further points out that the lightweight and rapidfire characteristics of the XM16E1 rifle make it a much better weapon for use in Southeast Asia than the M14 rifle. A note added to this letter states:

“I have just received a TWX from MACV requesting for planning purposes cost and delivery schedule for 50,000 XM16E1 rifles and associated ammunition. In view of this request from Westmoreland, I think the 60,000 figure is too conservative.”

In return, Abrams sends a handwritten memo to ACSFOR LTG Theodore J. Conway.

“The heat’s on! It seems to me that General Besson’s line of reasoning might lead to a US requirement for about 8 division forces worth and an initial ARVN requirement somewhat in excess of 200,000.”

In a letter titled “FY 66 PEMA Program,” General Besson submits a PEMA Reprogram Request to DCSLOG LTG Lincoln for 43,000 XM16E1 rifles at a cost of $5,160,000.

The US Army awards an $112,000 contract modification to Colt for an additional 1,000 M16 for the US Navy.

CDCEC publishes “Outline Plan USACDCEC Experiment 65-4, Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS).”

SAWS testing by the USAIB begins at Fort Benning. Test items include the M14, M14E2, M60, XM16E1, CAR-15 SMG, CAR-15 HBAR M1, HK 33, AR-18, and the Stoner 63 rifle, carbine, ARLMG, and MMG.

The US Army Armor Board receives three Stoner 63 Fixed Machine Guns for testing as coaxial weapons for the M60 tank. Crews are unable to mount the weapons using existing hardware. Given the absence of the Colt CMG-1 Fixed MG, the test parameters are limited to vehicle stowed weapons. Five Stoner 63 Carbines and five Colt CAR-15 SMG are accepted for testing.

Springfield Armory publishes the report “Blank Cartridge and Blank Firing Attachment for 5.56MM M16 (AR-15) Rifle.”

Springfield assembles the first two prototypes of its second generation SPIW.

The CRDL issues the report “Wound Ballistics of the SPIW Fléchette.”

Picatinny Arsenal publishes “Fléchette Design Performance Characteristics and Potential Casualty Rates.”

Frederick Reed receives US Patent #3,196,568 titled “Switching Device for a Tandem-Type Magazine Feeding System.”

Springfield signs a contract with Winchester to design, fabricate, and develop the SPIW grenade launcher.

July-August:
The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) is issued XM16E1 rifles, completing the Army’s planned issue of XM16E1 rifles.

August:
SPIW Executive Committee meeting is held at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Springfield is directed to change the Winchester grenade launcher design’s feeding system. A contract change is placed to incorporate the feed system design changes. The committee tentatively decides to continue the development of the AAI semi-automatic grenade launcher. This will depend on the results of current testing.

The US Army awards a $4,182,304 contract modification to Colt for the 36,682 M16 requested by the USAF the month before, plus an additional 660 M16 for the US Coast Guard.

OCSA memorandum “Review of M16 Inquiry of 1962-63” responds to General Johnson’s request that a review be conducted of the Inspector General’s investigation of the AR-15 and M14 comparative evaluation conducted in 1962-63. The review is to provide information on the comparative evaluation and the decision to procure the M14 and M16, the factors leading up to the Inspector General’s investigation, results of the investigation, and significant events subsequent to the investigation which would bear on a decision to procure additional M16 rifles.

M16/XM16E1 contract administration is transferred from the Boston Army Procurement District to the Hartford Defense Contract Administration Services District (DCASD). Requirements established by the existing QALI are maintained. Various quality verification visits are made to Colt; however, no significant actions are taken as a result of these visits.

The US Army and Colt initiate work on a 30 round magazine.

Colt files a RTA for a bolt catch change to prevent battering of the lower receiver.

Frankford Arsenal draws up the specifications for the M232 Dummy cartridge.

The US Army Arctic Test Center publishes the report “Final Report of Service Test of Cartridge, Tracer, 5.56MM, XM196 Under Arctic Winter Conditions.”

The BRL publishes “Terminal Ballistic Evaluation of the XM144 Fléchette, the 5.56-mm, M193 Ball Bullet and the 7.62-mm M80 Ball Bullet.”

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #3,198,076 titled “Convertible Gun.”

CETME‘s Dr. Günther Voss files an US patent application for the design of the Löffelspitz (spoon-nose) projectile.

Springfield signs a contract with another private facility to develop an alternative feed system for the SPIW rifle. Development testing of the rifle is reinitiated.

Springfield’s Alfred L. Montana receives US Patent #3,200,709 titled “Firing Mechanism with Integral Safety.”

September:
The US Army awards a $2,072,481 contract modification for an additional 18,671 M16 for the USAF. Negotiations are in progress for an additional 4,669 M16 to fill the USAF‘s supplemental FY 1966 requirement.

In a letter titled “FY 66 PEMA Program,” DCSLOG LTG Lincoln returns without action General Besson’s request for a PEMA reprogramming action. This is based on a decision by the Chief of Staff not to buy additional XM16E1 rifles at that time to equip units not then authorized the XM16E1.

Colt changes the bolt carrier key’s finish from electrolized to chrome-plate and parco-lubrite.

At Frankford Arsenal, Charles E. Schindler releases a report titled “Fifteenth Memo Report on AR-15 Rifle-Ammunition System: Investigation of Alternate Propellants For Use in 5.56mm Ball and Tracer Ammunition.” DuPont’s EX 8208-4 is shown to have moderate fouling, but records higher gas port pressures than WC846. Hercules HPC-11 shows the least visible fouling, but further examination shows that heavy fouling has constricted the gas tube. The report recommends that EX 8208-4 be approved for use in M193 Ball and M196 tracer cartridges, that CR 8136 and IMR 4475 be withdrawn, and that Hercules and Olin reduce the fouling characteristics of their respective powders. However, unlike WC846, HPC-11 is not approved for current use.

At Colt, William C. Davis finishes evaluation of 5.56mm plastic training cartridges produced by Dynamit Nobel’s Geco.

The BRL publishes “The Drag Coefficient of 5.56-mm, M193, Ball Bullet in Gelatin.”

CDCRE-E issues a letter titled “Outline Plan, Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS) Experiment.”

Colt applies for a waiver for an oversized chamfer on 5,200 buttstocks.

The US Army Armor Board begins service testing of the Stoner 63 Carbine and the Colt CAR-15 SMG.

The first contractor-fabricated XM216 SPIW ammunition is delivered. Previous XM216 ammunition had been fabricated solely by Frankford Arsenal.

October:
Colt’s military sales manager, James B. Hall, informs General Westmoreland’s staff that Colt will stop producing XM16E1 rifles in January if no further orders were made.

DCSLOG LTG Lincoln includes in the Omnibus Program Change Proposal the anticipated combat consumption for the XM16E1 and advises AMC that the requirement will be included in the January Supplemental (FY 1966) budget. It is requested that 30,134 XM16E1 rifles be included in the budget to meet anticipated combat consumption for troops in Vietnam at that time.

The US Army awards a $597,396 contract modification to Colt for an additional 5,269 M16 and 100 XM16E1. The order covers the remaining USAF FY 1996 requirement, the recent US Coast Guard request, and replacement of the rifles provided by the Army to Australia. The Army also awards $813,138.47 to Colt for 90 additional repair part line items.

Springfield Armory publishes the report “Water-in-the-bore Investigation.”

Colt applies for and receives a waiver for oxidation at the spot weld on 12,000 bipods. Colt also applies for a waiver for an oversized chamfer on 278 front sights. Colt receives a waiver for an oversized chamfer on 5,200 buttstocks.

The CRDL publishes “Wound Ballistics Evaluation of Caliber .17 Bullets.”

Olin-Winchester’s James H. Johnson and Julius E. Brooks file a patent application for the “soft recoil” mechanism of the Winchester SPIW.

November:
McNamara orders Springfield Armory to prepare for closure by April 1968.

The US Army awards a $2,775 contract modification to Colt for an additional 25 M16 for the US Coast Guard. Two weeks later, the Army awards a $6,660 contract modification for 60 M16.

At Colt, William C. Davis releases the report “Effect of Ammunition Variables on Acceptance Testing of XM16E1 Rifles.” Davis notes that rifles which meet cyclic rate requirements when tested with CR 8136-loaded ammunition will often fail the same requirements when tested with WC846-loaded ammunition. Going further, Davis estimates that none of the rifles are likely to fail cyclic rate testing with CR 8136-loaded cartridges, while more than half of the rifles could be expected to fail when tested with WC846-loaded cartridges. Davis suggests that the maximum acceptable cyclic rate might need to be raised as high as 1,000rpm in order to accommodate acceptance testing with WC846-loaded cartridges. Davis also notes that bolt failures and malfunctions are more likely to occur at higher cyclic rates.

SAWS testing ends at Fort Benning.

CDEC personnel report to the TCC by telephone. CDEC suspects that the higher rate of malfunctions there are seeing vis-à-vis the 1959 test may be the result of higher cyclic rates and excess fouling caused by WC846.

Dr. Wilbur B. Payne, the Chief of Operations Research for the OSA, submits a memorandum to his DOD counterpart expressing his concern over problems being experienced with ammunition loaded with ball powder. Dr. Payne is concerned that the same problems experienced by CDEC during the SAWS trials may also be occurring Vietnam.

Colt applies for and receives a waiver for 360 barrels a point low on the Rockwell C scale in hardness, and a lot of 4,800 rifles which experienced a broken extractor spring at 2,614 rounds during endurance testing. Colt also applies for waivers for 23,500 oversize (internal diameter) hammer springs and the surface finish of 5,000 carrier keys.

At a meeting at WECOM HQ, problems with Frankford Arsenal-produced XM216 ammunition are discussed. There are issues with expanded case heads and primer punch-outs. Frankford quickly changes the thickness of the primer cups to alleviate the latter problem.

December:
Employees at Olin’s East Alton, IL ammunition plant go on strike. The plant is the sole source for Ball Powder and the current manufacturer of M196 Tracer.

General Westmoreland sends an urgent cable to General Johnson requesting 170,000 XM16E1 rifles for US troops in South Vietnam. The next day, Westmoreland bypasses the US Army’s chain of command, and uses USAF communication assets to contact Senator Donald S. Russell (D-SC), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Westmoreland requests 170,000 XM16E1 rifles, including 10,000 for immediate use and approximately 10,500 to be equipped with the XM148 grenade launcher. Westmoreland further requests that M16 and XM16E1 rifles now in hands of US forces not engaged in general combat be redistributed against his stated requirement. The ASA(I&L) Dr. Robert A. Brooks directs General Besson to award a letter contract to Colt for the accelerated production and delivery of 100,000 XM16E1 rifles. 68,000 are for the Army and 32,000 for the USMC. Besson is also directed to make plans for the immediate expansion of 5.56mm ammunition production capacity. Colt is told to prepare for production rates of 16,000 rifles per month. (Colt’s current production rate is 8,000 rifles per month.)

A day later, Westmoreland requests 106,000 rifles for ARVN troops and 17,000 rifles for South Korean troops. There is an additional requirement of 5,742 XM148 grenade launchers. McNamara contacts Westmoreland to clarify whether the request of 123,000 rifles for ARVN and ROK troops is part of his original total of 170,000 rifles, or in addition to the original request. Westmoreland revises his original request for US troops to 179,641 rifles.

USMC field commanders in South Vietnam agree with General Westmoreland, and recommend USMC adoption of the XM16E1 to replace the M14 in Vietnam. The decision is ultimately made to procure XM16E1 to equip all USMC forces in the WestPac and CONUS training bases.

Proposed Army-Marine Corps Fiscal Year 1966 Procurement for Free World Forces

QuantityAmount
South Vietnam Army
XM16E1 Rifles100,000$14.1 million
5.56mm Ammo535 million$33.2 million
ROK Army
XM16E1 Rifles14,000$2.0 million
5.56mm Ammo76 million$4.7 million
South Vietnam Marines
XM16E1 Rifles6,000$0.9 million
5.56mm Ammo32.3 million$2.0 million
ROK Marines
XM16E1 Rifles3,000$0.5 million
5.56mm Ammo14.5 million$0.9 million

CINCPAC Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp, Jr. concurs with the proposed FY 1966 MAP Requirement for the XM16E1, and recommends immediate JCS action to meet the requirement.

DCSLOG LTG Lincoln submits a change to the January 1966 Supplemental Budget for 100,000 XM16E1 at a cost of $11 million, and 494.9 million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition at a cost of $30.7 million. The DOD also adds funds for the 123,000 rifles requested for the Military Assistance Program, along with 657.7 million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition.

A communication between the Director of Procurement to ASA(I&L) Dr. Brooks titled “Expansion of Production Capacity for 5.56mm Ammunition” notes that DCSLOG LTG Lincoln recommends that a monthly production capacity of 100 million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition must be established to meet the increased Southeast Asia requirements. In a memo of the same title, Secretary Vance approves LTG Lincoln’s plan to convert .30 caliber ammunition facilities at Lake City Army Ammunition Plan at a cost of $2 million and at Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant at a cost of $3.5 million.

To alleviate the shortage of rifles for combat units, the USAF offers to provide production M16 rifles (without the manual bolt closure device) to the Army. The Army accepts 3,543 of these rifles from the USAF for issue to Continental United States training bases in order to release those bases’ assets of XM16E1 rifles on hand to MACV.

The US Army awards a $3,996 contract modification to Colt for an additional 36 M16.

The DOD denies clearance for Colt representatives to visit South Vietnam to check on performance of the XM16E1.

Singapore orders a small number of AR-15 and AR-15 HBAR for testing. These are delivered from January to March, 1966.

Michigan Governor George Romney (R) includes containers of Dri-Slide, a moly-disulfide lubricant, in Christmas packages sent to US troops in South Vietnam. This sparks a minor controversy over the suitability of Dri-Slide versus the issue lubricant VV-L-800.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Report on a Test of Cartridge, 5.56mm Ball, M193, Lots RA5074 and WCC6089 in M16E1 and AR-15 Rifles.” After firing 18,000 rounds each of WC846 and CR 8136-loaded ammunition. Engineers note a significant increase in cyclic rate with WC846. They note that cyclic rate is related to certain malfunctions, and suggest that cyclic rates over 850rpm are more likely to result in malfunctions. Further observations are needed before making definitive conclusions regarding fouling. While heavier fouling was noted with WC846, there were no attributable malfunctions due to the fouling. On the positive side, the function and endurance performance was superior to other standard weapons. The accuracy of the tested ammunition and rifles was also superior to other standard weapons with average quality ammunition. No accuracy differences were seen between the two powder types. They conclude that there is no immediate requirement for remedial action for the existing weapon and ammunition as fielded. However, they would like to isolate the interior ballistics differences between WC846 and CR 8136. This is so that the ammunition specifications could be modified to insure comparable performance with all qualified powder types.

The USAIB publishes the report “Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS).” Testing indicates that there are no significant differences between the SAWS weapons except for reliability. The current standard 7.62mm weapons (the M14, M14E2, and M60) are found to be significantly more reliable than their 5.56mm counterpart SAWS candidates (the CAR-15 family, Stoner 63 system, HK 33, and AR-18). Testing also indicates that XM16E1 rifles are more likely to foul, exhibit high cyclic rates, and suffer more malfunctions as a result when using cartridges loaded with WC846 versus CR 8136. The USAIB recommends that none of the 5.56mm weapons (including the XM16E1) be adopted until significant improvements over 7.62mm weapons can be made.

The US Army Armor Board publishes “Service Test of Small Arms Weapons Systems.” Service tests of the Stoner 63 Carbine and the Colt CAR-15 SMG were conducted to test their suitability as vehicular-stowed weapons on combat vehicles for local security purposes and other dismounted action. The Stoner 63 Carbine and the Colt CAR-15 SMG offerd significant advantages over the current standard caliber M3A1 SMG in range, general utility, safety, and handling characteristics for its intended purpose. Except for effective range, the Stoner 63 Carbine and the Colt CAR-15 SMG also offer the same advantages over the M14E1. The Stoner 63 Carbine as tested is suitable for US Army use as a combat vehicle-stowed individual weapon, and the Colt CAR-15 SMG could be suitable when its deficiency is corrected. Both the Stoner 63 Carbine and Colt CAR-15 SMG are safe for their intended use. It is recommended that, subject to action by Department of the Army to adopt 5.56mm weapons on a scale for general use by ground troops, the Stoner 63 Carbine weapon be adopted for US Army use as a vehicle-stowed individual weapon for combat vehicle crew members.

The US Army Aviation Board publishes the report “Limited Service Test of Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS) for Use as Individual Weapons by Army Aircraft Crew Members.” The SAWS candidates were tested in ten types of aircraft to determine their suitability for use by aircraft crew members.

The CDCIA publishes “A Method for Evaluating Small Arms Weapons Systems.”

D&PS publishes “Engineering Test of Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS): Volume I, Partial Report.”

TECOM issues the letter “Reports of Engineering, Service, and Service- Type Tests of Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS).”

Colt receives waivers for 278 front sights with an oversized chamfer, 23,500 oversize (internal diameter) hammer springs, and the surface finish of 5,000 carrier keys. Colt also applies for and receives a waiver for a lot of 4,800 rifles which experienced a broken extractor spring at 2,957 rounds during endurance testing.

On behalf of the US Army, Charles F. Packard receives US Patent #3,225,653 titled “Charging Handle Assembly.”

The military specification for the M232 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-D-60254(MU), is published.

AMC receives a request for 200 ruptured cartridge case extractors. WECOM modifies an existing Springfield Armory design for 7.62mm NATO. A decision is also made to test a commercial device as well. Springfield places an order for 200 ruptured cartridge case extractors from Edward C. Herkner. Later in the month, the order is increased to 250. Ultimately, Herkner is requested to hand deliver the extractors to Springfield. The extractors are then passed on to the AMC so that General Besson can take them with him on his upcoming trip to South Vietnam.

The USMC orders 1,080 Stoner 63 rifles and accessories for use in additional testing.

Springfield has completed fabrication of 11 second-generation SPIW. Seven are for development testing, and four are for delivery to the PMR.

Frankford Arsenal delivers the first XM216 cartridges with the thicker primer cups. The problem with primer punch-outs appears to be solved.

1966


FN introduces the 5.56mm CAL.

Spain’s CETME begins studies for a 5.56mm rifle design.

Brazil tests the AR-18.

Foster Sturtevant retires from Colt.

Lake City Army Ammunition Plant begins production of the M196 Tracer.

Federal begins to offer a 68 grain 5.56mm Ball cartridge.

General Electric designs a tungsten core 5.56mm AP bullet for ArmaLite. FN also produces a tungsten core AP projectile; the cartridge is later designated the P96.

Early 1966:
WECOM Commanding General MG Roland B. Anderson requests transfer to WECOM of responsibility for licensing rights negotiations. Anderson orders LTC Yount to draw up an unilateral plan to establish a second source of production for the M16/XM16E1.

January:
Army Theater Distribution of M16 Rifle

TheaterTotal on Hand 1 Jan 66
USAREUR1,408
Vietnam32,068
USARPAC Less Vietnam481
Other Overseas1,722
STRAF23,156
CONUS less STRAF2,514
Total Active Army61,349
Reserve Components1,197
CONUS Depot19,264
Total Worldwide81,810

Because of the increased requirement for the M16 rifle and the need for an expanded production base, OASD(I&L) proposes two alternatives. The first is to increase Colt’s production to the 25,000 monthly rate as rapidly as possible. The second is to establish a second source of production. It is estimated, however, that it will be 22 months before the first delivery can be made from a second source, since no military technical data package exists. The Army advises Colt that an order of approximately 400,000 rifles is forthcoming.

DCSLOG LTG Lincoln revises his projection for necessary 5.56mm ammunition production from 100 million a month to 150 million rounds per month. In a memo titled “Expansion of Production Capacity for 5.56mm Ammunition at Lake City and Twin Cities,” ASA(I&L) Dr. Brooks revises funding required for production line conversions at Lake City and Twin Cities.

Ammunition Production Expansion

FacilityPreviously ApprovedRevised to5.56mm Capacity per Month
Lake City AAP$2,000,000$1,621,00040,000,000
Twin Cities AAP$3,500,000$4,300.000100,000,000
Total$5,500,000$5,921,000140,000,000

Badger Army Ammunition Plant is reactivated. Olin had operated Badger AAP for the Army since 1951, but it had been in stand-by status since 1958. Days later, the labor strike at Olin’s East Alton plant ends.

The TCC notes that the XM16E1’s malfunction rate in testing is not serious enough to interfere with combat operations in the field, but it is enough to warrant corrective action.

Colt presents the TCC with Foster Sturtevant’s latest development, an improved buffer assembly with multiple internal sliding weights. While intended primarily to prevent light strike misfires due to bolt bounce in automatic fire, Sturtevant’s new buffer unwittingly saves the day on a second front. Since the new buffer weighs roughly three times more than Stoner’s original design, it reduces the overall cyclic rate to acceptable levels. The difference in reliability had already been seen in SAWS testing between the XM16E1 with the old buffer and the CAR-15 HBAR with the new buffer. The latter had 3.02 stoppages per 1,000 rounds compared with 11.15 stoppages per 1,000 rounds for the XM16E1. The TCC assigns the further test and evaluation of Colt’s new buffers to Springfield Armory.

Colt also offers improved handguards, handguard slip ring, and cadmium plated slip ring spring.

The US Army initiates work on incorporating center index zero on rear sight and upper receiver.

Frankford Arsenal reports to the TCC on their tests of the previous month, which indicated a higher cyclic rate for the M16 rifle with WC846 ammunition than with CR 8136 ammunition. By now, 12,000 rounds had been fired in each of four XM16E1 and two AR-15, utilizing the original design buffer.

ACSFOR LTG Conway transmits the letter “Procedures for Expediting Non-Standard, Urgent Requirements for Equipment (ENSURE).” It gives the authority and establishes procedures for directly forwarding to ACSFOR new materiel requirements for use by the US Army in the South Vietnam.

The US Army awards a $16,650 contract modification to Colt for 150 M16.

Procurement is authorized for 2,050 CAR-15 “Submachine guns.”

The CDC establishes a requirement for 30 round magazines. Ideally, all future production M16-type rifles will come equipped with these. However, Colt has difficulties with their first few designs. Made with a continuous curve, the magazines would not fit properly in some magazine wells given the machining tolerances in the lower receiver. (The current straight-then-curved 30 round magazine design will not be ready for production until late 1968/early 1969.)

Springfield Armory publishes the report “Barrel Erosion Study of Rifles, 5.56MM, M16 and XM16E1–A Joint Army-Air Force Test.” Twelve XM16E1 rifles were fired to the end of their barrel bore service life. Measurements of the barrel bore were taken periodically with an air gauge, and an expanding mandrel gauge. It was determined that the maximum acceptable barrel bore diameter would be 0.2206 in. The barrel bore was considered serviceable for either overseas or CONUS use if that diameter had not advanced forward of the origin of the rifling further than 3.625 inches. Advancement to 6.625 in. was considered the cut-off for CONUS use only, and advancement beyond 6.625 would constitute complete rejection of the barrel. Gage, Barrel Erosion C7799792, designed by Springfield Armory, is recommended for this purpose.

TECOM publishes “Analysis of Results of SAWS Engineering and Service Test.”

Colt requests permission to begin shot peening the bolt to increase its life span.

SPIW Design Approval and pre-In-Process Review Meeting is held at Aberdeen.

The first sample of contractor-fabricated XM216 ammunition with the thicker walled primer cups is received. Leaky primers and punch-outs are experienced.

Due to the breakage of hammers and the splitting of muzzle devices in testing, a meeting is held at WECOM HQ to discuss the Springfield SPIW‘s status. Frankford Arsenal and Springfield are to prepare position papers on the technical advantages and a cost estimate for a program slippage of 90 days. This is to be expedited to allow for preparation of the AMC‘s position paper for the formal SPIW In-Process Review Meeting scheduled for February.

On behalf of the US Army, Stanley Silsby files a patent application for the side-by-side magazine of Springfield Armory’s 2nd Gen. SPIW.

February:
M16 training is expanded for all US Army units and replacements deploying to Vietnam.

AMC General Counsel Barnes submits proposals to Colt President Benke for licensing agreement. Benke replies to Barnes proposing a $5,000,000 lump sum payment and a 5.5 percent royalty.

LTC Yount proposes awarding the M16/XM16E1 second source contract to one of the former M14 manufacturers. However, Yount states that a second source’s production is not likely to start for at lest 13 months after the award is made.

In a memo titled “Procurement of Rifles, 5.56mm, M16, and XM16E1,” the OASD notes the OSD decision to expand Colt’s production to 25,000 rifles per month. Colt is notified to prepare accordingly. Colt is also led to believe that the order of additional rifles will be added to the current contract.

WECOM‘s Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) reports that Colt’s Quality Control Program is generally satisfactory at that time.

The Army Chief of Research and Development, LTG Dick testifies to the House Armed Services Committee that the Army has submitted a proposal to Colt for obtaining M16 manufacturing rights.

ACSFOR LTG Conway approves request for expediting fielding of CAR-15 “submachine guns” to USARV as possible replacement for selected pistols and submachine guns currently in service.

The requirement for the Colt CAR-15 “Commando” is increased by 765.

USARV requests priority airlift of cleaning rods, and voices an urgent need for a chamber cleaning brush.

Research at Lackland AFB confirms Colt’s claim of increased parts life for shot peened bolts.

Rock Island conducts tests comparing relative merits of Dri-Slide versus the current issue small arms lubricant VV-L-800. Ultimately, the Army concludes that VV-L-800 is superior to Dri-Slide.

The ammunition specifications are changed to eliminate calcium silicide as an acceptable primer compound because its use contributes to excessive carbon fouling.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Test of Cartridge, 5.56mm Ball, M193, Lots RA 5074 and WCC 6089 in Rifles, 5.56mm, XM16E1, and AR-15.” It reports that the ammunition lot loaded with WC846 gave lower chamber pressures, higher port pressures, a higher cyclic rate, a greater malfunction rate, greater fouling, more variation in velocity due to variations in handling, and less bore erosion than did the ammunition lot loaded with CR 8136.

Colt’s Foster Sturtevant receives US Patent #3,236,155 titled “Firearm Having an Auxiliary Bolt Closure Mechanism.”

LTC Yount informs Edward C. Herkner that his ruptured cartridge case extractors worked perfectly. However, they are now having difficulty tracking the origin of the request for the extractors.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #3,235,997 titled “Bipod Gun Mount.”

WECOM conducts the formal In-Process Review of the SPIW program. Neither AAI nor Springfield Armory have their second-generation SPIW prototypes ready. Indeed, some items have not even been designed, much less manufactured. A 90 day waiver for delivery is given as a result.

On behalf of the US Army, Robert F. Magardo receives US Patent #3,235,993 titled “Ejector-Extractor Mechanism for Repeating Auxiliary Firearm of Pump Action Type.”

The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control authorizes ArmaLite to enter a co-production agreement for the AR-18 with Howa in Japan.

Frankford Arsenal issues the report “An Effectiveness Analysis of Spin-Stabilized Rifle Systems Based on a Caliber .17 Projectile.”

March:
McNamara testifies before the House Armed Services Committee. He is asked about whether a second source for M16 production is required in light of the recent strike at Olin’s East Alton plant. McNamara indicates that licensing is being negotiated with Colt, and Colt is being cooperative.

The US Army informs Colt that the forthcoming order of ~400,000 rifles will be part of a new contract.

The TCC discusses problems with the XM16E1’s rate of fire during testing.

Frankford Arsenal is instructed to continue investigating problems caused by ball powder. They are also to determine what changes need to be made to the ammunition purchase description to define acceptable performance with ball powder and IMR.

Badger AAP resumes production of Ball Powder. They had previously produced it during the 1950s.

D&PS publishes the Volume I and II Final Reports for “Engineering Test of Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS).”

The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) tests the ArmaLite AR-18. It is found to be fairly sensitive to sand and mud.

Cadillac Gage introduces a series of product improvements to the Stoner 63. The updated weapon is now known as the Stoner 63A.

Colt’s Robert Roy files a patent application for the design of the CMG-1.

Springfield is advised to proceed as if a 90 day slippage is in effect. Springfield immediately begins updating of its SPIW development weapons.

Frankford hurries to deliver a 2,000 round sample of XM216 ammunition with a second increase in primer cup wall thickness. The ammunition modification along with a modification to the Springfield SPIW‘s firing system eliminates primer punch-outs. Unrestricted development testing is now possible.

However, the alternate point weapon feed system contract is terminated because of the contractor’s increased costs, Springfield’s inability to keep the contractor supplied with an updated weapon, and a lack of supply of suitable ammunition for development.

Olin-Winchester’s James H. Johnson, Arnold L. Fowler, Julius E. Brooks, and Harvey H. Friend file a patent application for the lockwork of the Winchester SPIW and grenade launcher.

Spring:
LTC Yount is promoted to Colonel.

April:
The USMC Quartermaster General initiates procurement of the XM16E1.

The US Army awards $14,500 to Colt for altering 2,840 M16.

An updated version of the M16/XM16E1’s performance specifications is approved as SAPD 253B “Acceptance Testing Specification for Rifles, 5.56mm M16/XM16E1.”

AMC General Counsel Barnes writes Colt President Benke asking for comments on a draft license agreement. Barnes indicates that WECOM would like to see a license agreement in place before the new letter contract is finalized. Benke replies to Barnes indicating several problems with the proposed licensing agreement: 1) No payment for the TDP; 2) Includes rights for the XM148 for which Colt wishes to negotiate separately; 3) Ceilings on royalties; and 4) No provision for maintaining minimum production base at Colt.

USARV publishes “Evaluation of US Army Combat Operations in Vietnam,” ARCOV for short. The study is an evaluation of the four types of maneuver battalions operating in Vietnam. It recommends changes in doctrine, materiel, and organization to increase the combat effectiveness of the maneuver battalions. Amongst its findings are that the characteristics of the XM16E1 make it well suited for the rifleman in Vietnam. The light weight of the weapon and ammunition increases the mobility of the soldier and adds to his firepower since he can carry more ammunition. The automatic feature is desirable at the time of an initial attack or ambush and is effective at all ranges on area targets, which represent 76 percent of all targets. The frequency of situations where the automatic feature is need outweigh those where it is not required. All units still equipped with the M14 and M14A2 who were surveyed agreed that the substitution of the XM16E1 would increase the firepower of the squad and decrease the rifleman’s load. In addition, it was established that the M1911A1 pistol was an inadequate individual weapon for the M79 grenadier, but there was no consensus as to what should replace it other than that it should have offensive potential. Suggestions included replacing the M1911A1 with the XM16E1 or a M16-based carbine, or the replacement of both the pistol and grenade launcher with a dual purpose weapon like the XM16E1/XM148. Either change is estimated to add 25 percent to the firepower of the rifle squad. The authors recommend that all maneuver battalion riflemen be equipped with the XM16E1, and that the XM16E1 replace the M1911A1. A dual purpose weapon should be developed for the grenadier, such as the XM16E1/XM148 combination. In his transmittal letter, General Westmoreland recommends that the proposed replacement of the M1911A1 with the XM16E1 be coordinated with an planned USARV evaluation of 2,815 CAR-15 submachine guns.

The CDC publishes “Combat Developments Study Directive, Infantry Rifle Unit Study, 1967-1975 (IRUS-75).” IRUS-75 is to examine the ideal size, composition, and equipment of infantry and mechanized infantry rifle platoons and squads.

The TCC approves the use of EX 8208-4 powder.

In a document titled “Improved Performance of Ammunition for the M16 Rifle,” Gerald A. Gustafson recommends that the 68 grain .224″ homologue to the .30 M1 Ball be revived for use in the 5.56mm cartridge. Gustafson suggests that 50,000 bullets of this design be purchased from Sierra for constructing test ammunition. He also recommends using test rifles with both 1-in-12″ and 1-in-9″ twist barrels. (At the time, Gustafson is assigned to Aberdeen’s Test Analysis and Operations Office.)

Colt’s Foster Sturtevant files a patent application for his improved buffer assembly.

Springfield begins testing of the new buffer.

During testing at CDCEC, a XM16E1 suffers a casehead rupture with a cartridge from Federal Cartridge lot FC1830. Use of Lot FC1830 is suspended until MUCOM can investigate.

The BRL publishes “SAWS Effectiveness Data.”

CDEC-TB issues a letter titled “Essential Elements of Analysis (EEA), Small Arms Weapons System (SAWS) Program.”

Colt submits RTA to increase the tension of the bolt catch spring. This is in response to premature bolt catch engagement experienced during the SAWS trials at Fort Ord.

Arthur Miller files a patent application for the design of the AR-18’s folding stock and its lock mechanism. Miller also receives US Patent #3,246,567 titled “Operating Rod for a Self-Loading Firearm.”

Winchester delivers 10 SPIW grenade launchers, which prove to be functionally unsatisfactory. A contract supplement is placed for the functional improvement of the launcher with delivery scheduled early in July.

May:
The US Army updates its FY 1966 budget requirement for M16 rifles as follows:

US Army
Original Submission30,134
USARV68,000
In lieu of M14 rifles, plus consumption115,271
South Vietnam Army100,000
ROK Army14,000
Total Army Procurement327,405
Other Customers
US Air Force60,082
US Marine Corps91,872
US Navy2,000
US Coast Guard1,411
Total Other Customers155,365
Grand Total482,770

McNamara testifies before the House Armed Services Committee. He states that the sole-source procurement of M16 from Colt will result in faster deliveries than attempting to create a second-source.

At a meeting with Secretary Ignatius, Colt President Benke agrees to negotiate TDP and license rights in good faith.

In communications with AMC General Counsel Barnes, Colt President Benke expresses great interest in the US Army’s future requirements for the XM16E1.

Production of 5.56mm ammunition using EX 8208-4 begins.

Springfield Armory concludes testing of the new buffer and publishes “Evaluation of Proposed Buffer Designs.” It reports that the M16 with the new buffer and WC846 does not perform as well as the old buffer and CR 8136.

TECOM publishes “Engineer Design Test of Cartridge, 5.56mm, Ball, M193 (Evaluation of Improved and/or Alternate Propellants).”

After testing, the USMC recommends Dri-Slide as suitable for Marine use. The Marine evaluators were aware of the Army’s earlier negative assessment, and found fault with WECOM‘s testing.

The BRL publishes “Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS) Effectiveness Data.”

CDCEC publishes the report “Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS).” Field experimentation was conducted to determine the relative effectiveness of rifle and machinegun squads armed with US 7.62mm, Soviet 7.62mm, Colt 5.56mm, and Stoner 5.56mm weapons. This report describes the experiment, the effectiveness measures used, the results, and the conclusions. Results are concerned with training, materiel reliability, and the fire effectiveness of squads armed with the different weapons and firing both simplex and duplex ball ammunition. Measures of effectiveness were the level of target effects and the ability of the weapons to sustain the effects. Data includes the number of targets hit, total number of hits on targets, number of near misses as an indication of suppressive effects, and the amount of ammunition expended–all as a function of time. Squad size, organization, and weapon system weight were held constant. Squads armed with low impulse 5.56mm weapons were superior to squads armed with 7.62mm weapons in target effects, sustainability of effects, and overall effectiveness. Duplex ball ammunition was generally superior to simplex ball ammunition at close ranges. Data related to lethality was published in a separate classified annex. However, results indicate the superiority of 5.56mm weapons.

After testing, Frankford Arsenal clears Federal Cartridge lot FC1830 for use.

Colt’s Robert Roy files a patent application for an improved collapsible buttstock.

Colt submits RTA for the charging handle latch and its spring. This is in response to premature unlatching of the charging handle experienced during the SAWS trials at Fort Ord.

USARV submits ENSURE #77 for XM16E1 “silencers.”

A contract is finally awarded for the procurement of cleaning brushes.

June:
Contract DAAF03-66-C-0018 is signed with Colt for 403,905 XM16E1 rifles worth $45,035,407.50. The US Army will receive 213,405. Another 114,000 are earmarked for military assistance for the South Vietnamese, and the final 76,500 will go to the USMC. The contract will be amended 256 times before it is complete. One of the first comes less than a week later for an additional 15,372 rifles for the USMC and 2,000 M16 worth $1,835,804. The contract ultimately acquires a grand total of 808,230 XM16E1/M16A1 and 28,580 M16. A provision is incorporated into the contract that the Army and Colt agree to negotiate in good faith to allow the Government to obtain an irrevocable, nonexclusive license to manufacture the M16. Negotiations are to be completed on or before December 1, 1966.

Separate contracts for 2,815 Colt Commandos and 19,236 XM148 grenade launchers are also signed.

Sufficient M16 are made available to all US Army personnel armed with the M14 in divisional maneuver elements, separate infantry battalions and brigades, and armored cavalry regiments deploying to Vietnam.

Singapore broaches the subject of acquiring 15,000 to 23,000 AR-15 rifles. The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control consults with the DOD, which does not object to the sale.

AMC General Counsel Barnes again writes Colt President Benke announcing that WECOM has asked that Barnes’ office resume responsibility for licensing agreement negotiations. Barnes indicates that negotiations will not be possible on the basis of known future requirements, other than the relatively insignificant USAF requirement over the next five years.

CDC submits the report “Army Small Arms Weapons Systems Study.” It is based on information gathered by the CDC‘s Infantry Agency and Combat Arms Group.

CDC also publishes “Army Small Arms Weapons Systems Study (SAWS) Troop Training Test.”

CDCIA publishes “SAWS Troop Acceptability Test.”

Booz-Allen Applied Research, Inc. publishes “Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS) Computer Simulation” and “Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS) Troop Test Program.” The former evaluates the Springfield Armory and AAI SPIW and Universal Machine Gun (UMG) systems; the 13mm and 20mm Gyrojet systems; the Avco AVROC 5-20, 8-20, and 25-40 systems (rocket boosted grenade cartridges); and parametrically designed 0.65 lb-sec, 1.2 lb-sec, and 2.6 lb-sec impulse weapon systems.

TECOM also submits its SAWS report. It notes that the low level of reliability of the XM16E1 rifle is not considered to be representative of the rifle’s performance. Instead, it indicates the need for improvement in manufacturing quality control and the investigation of the effect of the ammunition on weapon function.

M193 and M196 cartridges loaded with DuPont EX 8208-4 begin to arrive for issue.

The US Army orders 997,410 pounds of EX 8208-4 for loading 5.56mm ammunition at government ammunition plants.

During the Infantry Rifle Unit Study (IRUS) at CDCEC, another XM16E1 suffers a casehead rupture with a cartridge from Federal Cartridge lot FC1830. The rifle is extensively damaged. This is the third incident of casehead failure recorded during the history of the M16/XM16E1 program. William C. Davis is sent to investigate. Upon examination, Davis requests a representative be sent from MUCOM. Testing by Frankford Arsenal and Federal Cartridge reveal no problems with Lot FC1830; however, case hardness tolerances are suspected. Despite ~230,000 other rounds having been fired without problems, Lot FC1830 is withdrawn and scrapped. Use of the follow-on Lot FC1831 is suspended as a precaution.

Frankford Arsenal finalizes drawings for the XM195 grenade cartridge. The military specification is not issued for another two months.

Aberdeen’s BRL releases the report “The Aerodynamic Properties of a Caliber .223 Remington Bullet used in M16 (AR-15) Rifle.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Tracer Projectile for SPIW Point Target Ammunition.”

Dunlap and Associates, Inc. submits “Human Factors Engineering for the Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) Launcher” to Olin-Winchester.

July:
The US Army approves the introduction of the new buffer.

A casehead rupture damages a fourth rifle, this time with Remington ammo (Lot RA5189).

2,753 XM16E1 are shipped to Fort Polk.

MACV approves the delivery of 630 XM16E1 rifles to the Philippine Civic Action Group, Vietnam.

Aberdeen’s BRL issues the report “Effectiveness of Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS).”

ACSFOR LTG James H. Polk sends a memo to General Johnson titled “Long-Range Program for Army Small Arms.”

Colt requests and receives waiver on 500 XM16E1 with illegible lower receiver markings.

Colt denies a WECOM request for the use of magazine drawings to support development of disposable magazines. In return, WECOM considers reverse engineering the dimensions from existing magazines and rifles.

The PMR Office publishes “Special Purpose Individual Weapon Newsletter Number 5.”

Springfield Armory releases POMM 1005-251-12 “Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) – Preliminary Operating and Maintenance Manual.”

Olin-Winchester publishes the report “Olin SPIW Launcher” outlining the development of their grenade launcher design.

Springfield Armory publishes the report “Investment Cast Components for SPIW.” An investigation was conducted to determine the feasibility of using investment cast components for the Special Purpose Infantry Weapon (SPIW). Suitably shaped components for the process were investment-cast, machined, and heat-treated for service tests. Results of these tests show that the service life of the cast components is equal to, or superior to, that of the wrought components. Investment casting is an efficient and economical method of fabricating the selected components.

August:
All US Army maneuver (combat arms) units in Vietnam have been issued the XM16E1. Some support units do not transition from the M14 until several years later.

500 XM16E1 are shipped to III MAF.

Aberdeen’s HEL publishes “Small Arms Use in Vietnam: Preliminary Results.” The HEL developed a questionnaire to find out how small arms are used in Viet Nam. This report gives preliminary results from a sample of 121 combat troops.

The CDC releases its final conclusions of the SAWS study. The CDCIA developed its study recommendations by placing primary reliance on the CARO computer simulation, the assumed availability of SPIW in 1970, the 1965 Army Materiel Plan (AMP) assets-requirements balance, and a concept of “selective modernization.” The policy of selective modernization envisages replacing one-third of the total small arms inventory every seven years, with priority for allocation of new weapons going to combat maneuver units. The principal CDCIA recommendations of the SAWS Study are:

  1. Procure no additional rifles beyond those XM16E1 rifles currently on order until SPIW becomes available in 1970;
  2. Initiate a program of selective modernization by procuring SPIW, when available, in sufficient quantities to replace rifles, automatic rifles, and grenade launchers for infantry maneuver units only (approximately 192,000);
  3. Retain the M60 as the future infantry machine gun until the Universal Machine Gun (UMG) is developed, about 1972;
  4. Improve the effectiveness of SPIW in the automatic rifle role or adopt the UMG with a bipod mount to this role;
  5. Continue development of the UMG to make it at least as effective as the M60, while preserving the weight-savings of the current conceptual UMG design, and then in 1972, replace all machine guns with the UMG;
  6. Initiate and fund a vigorous research and development program for the purpose of: a) developing caseless ammunition by 1976 with improved projectiles for use in a redesigned SPIW with a further improved area fire capability; and b) discovering or developing a new lethal mechanism permitting design of radically different small arms systems; and
  7. In 1976, continue the program of selective modernization by procuring 500,000 SPIW redesigned to utilize caseless ammunition. About half of these will have the area fire capability and half will not.

The secondary recommendations of the SAWS Study are:

  1. Develop a method of measuring in actual test firing the combat effectiveness of platoon weapon mixes. In particular, assess the interrelations between different types of weapons in a conventional mix and assess the value of fragmenting rounds in comparison with conventional ball projectiles;
  2. Establish a program to develop a comprehensive and detailed computer simulation models for evaluation than was possible with the computer model used in the current study;
  3. Procure and issue 7.62mm duplex ammunition to complement the M80 cartridges already in the inventory;
  4. Reduce the cost of small arms ammunition of current and conceptual systems; and
  5. Monitor rocket-type small arms systems continually to permit exploitation of any inherent military potential.

Behind these recommendations is the substantive conclusion that among weapons currently in the inventory the 5.56mm weapons are better for use in low intensity warfare, such as that encountered in Vietnam, whereas the 7.62mm weapons are more effective in high or mid-intensity warfare, such as that which would be encountered in Europe and Korea. This conclusion is mainly derived from the computer simulation.

The SAWS study is submitted to the Army Staff. In a letter to ACSFOR LTG Polk accompanying the study, the CDC modifies the CDCIA study recommendations in several instances:

  1. Rifle Procurement: An increase in stockage objectives or significant decrease in assets by combat loss or wear-out, requiring an additional buy of rifles before 1970, should be satisfied by purchase of XM16E1 weapons;
  2. Adoption of SPIW: The final decision to adopt and field SPIW must be contingent upon results of further experiments and tests. It is understood that some difficulty is being experienced in current SPIW comparative evaluation testing by the AMC. To be acceptable, SPIW should essentially equal the theoretical capabilities used in this study;
  3. Automatic Weapons: The need for an automatic weapon in the squad is recognized. This recommendation does not exclude from consideration weapons other than the UMG and SPIW; and
  4. General: While the 7.62mm systems do provide advantages over the 5.56mm systems against materiel targets, the intensity of conflict is not a sound basis for a clear choice between two weapons.

“AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISTINCTION, GIVING DUE CONSIDERATION TO TERRAIN, EXISTING BUILT-UP AREAS, AND ESTIMATED EQUIPMENT RESOURCES OF THE ENEMY OFFERS A BETTER BASIS FOR CHOICE. THIS MINOR ADVANTAGE OFFERED BY THE 7.62MM SYSTEM DOES NOT, OF ITSELF, WARRANT THE MAINTENANCE OF TWO DIFFERENT SMALL ARMS WEAPON SYSTEMS IN THE INVENTORY. IT IS THE POSITION OF THIS COMMAND THAT THE TOTAL SAWS STUDY DOES INDICATE THAT THE 5.56MM RIFLE OFFERS THE MOST PROMISE FOR IMPROVED CAPABILITY FOR THE MONEY SPENT . . . THE CONCEPT OF SELECTIVE MODERNIZATION IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA WHEREBY THE ARMY TAKES DELIBERATE ADVANTAGE OF PROGRESSIVE IMPROVEMENTS IN SMALL ARMS. EVERY REASONABLE EFFORT SHOULD BE MADE TO INSURE THAT ARMY UNITS ARE EQUIPPED WITH THE BEST POSSIBLE WEAPONS. TO THIS END, THE INDICATED TIMING MUST NOT BECOME A CONSTRAINT; ADVANCES IN THE STATE-OF-THE-ART MUST BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF AS THEY OCCUR.”

Colt’s Robert Roy receives US Patent #3,267,601 titled “Adjustable Buttstock Assembly.”

WECOM publishes “Evaluation of Dri-Slide as a Lubricant for Small Arms Weapons.” Rock Island testing concludes that Dri-Slide is inferior to VV-L-800 in wear and corrosion resistance except in a sandy environment.

The USMC issues “Specific Operational Requirement, Individual Weapon” and “Specific Operational Requirement, Lightweight Individual Weapon.”

Materiel developed by Springfield Armory during engineering support of the M16/XM16E1 program is transferred to Rock Island Arsenal.

Colt requests waiver on surface finish of 6,000 bolt carriers.

The military specification for the M232 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-D-60254(MU), is revised to MIL-D-60254A(MU).

In a informal briefing by COL Yount for the Commanding General of TECOM, the SPIW type classification objective is pushed back to June 1968.

The second-generation SPIW prototypes are submitted for testing. The Springfield Armory candidate required significant redesign from its original bullpup configuration. While the new design still meets the length restriction, it also remains overweight. The dual magazine design has been changed to a side-by-side plan constructed of clear Lexan. When one side runs dry, feed is automatically switched to the opposite side. The Winchester grenade launcher is fitted; however, it now uses a preloaded, disposable magazine. One thing that proves especially difficult is the US Army’s insistence that both weapons be fired from the same trigger. The complex linkages involved result in the grenade-trigger option having a 25 pound trigger pull.

AAI didn’t have quite as much work to convert their previous design. To met the “conventional stock” requirement, they design a clever one-piece polymer buttstock/rear sight housing/magazine well. AAI’s semi-automatic grenade launcher is finally ready, and uses a harmonica-style magazine. The magazine automatically ejects when empty. However, the overall weight still exceeds the project limit. (As an alternative, AAI proffers another grenade option, the DBCATA: Disposable Barrel and Cartridge Area Target Ammunition. The DBCATA allows the 40mm grenade to act as its own launcher. While it would lead to a major reduction in system weight, the DBCATA is considered to be prohibitively expensive. Essentially, you would be throwing a barrel away after each shot.)

Neither entry is terribly reliable, none achieve the weight goal, and the most of the pre-existing problems are still unsolved, including the various ammunition issues. (By this point, the XM110 and XM144 had been replaced by the 5.6x57mm XM645 and 5.6x44mm XM216 cartridges.) Observers state that the blast and flash signatures even exceed those of the unmodified Colt “Commando”.

The BRL publishes “A Kinematic & Dynamic Evaluation of the Universal Light Machine Gun, 5.56mm.”

Rock Island also publishes “Coordinated Test Program (CTP) for the Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW).”

The British MOD tests an improved model of the AR-18. It still fails in sand and mud tests.

September:
A shortage of M16 and M14 rifles results in the issue of M1 rifles to some units in the US.

Since March 1965, US forces in Vietnam have been consumed 99 million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition. Approximately 89 million of these cartridges were loaded with WC846, while the rest were loaded with CR 8136.

Colt submits first written offer on a licensing agreement: $9 million for the rifle alone (no XM177), 9 percent royalty, and $800,000 for reproduction of the TDP.

The US Army’s new systems analysis group, the Force Planning and Analysis Office (FPAO), begins studying the data collected during the SAWS trials. The civilian co-director of the FPAO, Dr. Jacob A. Stockfisch, is fresh from serving as the chief scientific advisor to CDCEC‘s portion of the SAWS trials. Stockfisch has little use for the computer simulations performed by CARO. Instead, perhaps not surprisingly, he concentrates on the data provided the CDCEC tests. In a memo to General Johnson, Stockfisch recommends that the SPIW be reoriented to a long-range research program, current procurement should center on the XM16E1 and the M60, with the possible adoption of the Stoner 63 to fill the Automatic Rifle role.

DCSLOG LTG Lincoln publishes the 1966 Army Materiel Plan. The new AMP implies that the SPIW has been selected as the successor system to the M14.

In a message to General Besson, the 1st Logistical Command requests the airlifting of 50,000 cleaning rods and 50,000 bore brushes to Vietnam as soon as possible.

The closed-end “birdcage” flash hider is approved to replace the open three-prong model. The latter was prone to snagging and breakage, and was also suspected in assisting the capillary movement of water into the bore.

Rock Island Arsenal releases the Preliminary Operation and Maintenance Manual (POMM 9-1005-294-14) for the “Submachine Gun 5.56mm, CAR-15.” Colt introduces multiple improvements including a smaller telescoping stock/buffer assembly, redesigned round handguards, which were held in place with a wedge-shaped slip ring, and the “noise and flash suppressor.” The suppressor incorporates multiple expansion chambers to slow and cool the propellant gases, thus reducing the muzzle blast from the short barrel. This is particularly important as safety certification was previously withheld due to the high sound levels recorded during testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. (However, the same device is later ruled to be a NFA-restricted “silencer” by the BATF.)

The Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center publishes “Marine Corps Position on Small Arms.”

USMC Commandant General Wallace M. Greene reviews results and recommendations of special study group formed to analyze the SAWS study, along with all other references and small arms. General Greene concludes:

  1. 5.56mm rifles and automatic rifles are superior to 7.62mm counterparts in firepower and system weight;
  2. There is no significant difference between the 5.56mm rifles; and
  3. The Stoner 63 MG is not an acceptable substitute for the M60.

General Greene decides that the XM16E1 should be procured for WestPac Marines, and further evaluation is needed for the Stoner 63 concept.

CDC also publishes “Army Small Arms Weapons Systems Study (SAWS) Troop Acceptability Test” and “Threat Considerations for the Small Arms Weapon Systems Study (SAWS).”

The US Army approves shot peening the bolt face and chrome plating the interior of the carrier key.

Edgewood Arsenal publishes “Wound Ballistics of 7.62-mm and 5.56-mm Rifle Bullets at Long Range and Transonic Velocity.”

October:
For a second month, a shortage of M16 and M14 rifles results in the issue of M1 rifles to some units in the US. Combined with September, ~15,000 M1 are issued.

After widespread reports of stoppages and other malfunctions, General Westmoreland requests technical assistance. A team including Colonel Yount’s assistant LTC Herbert P. Underwood, representatives from WECOM, and Colt are sent to Vietnam to investigate. A near total lack of maintenance and cleaning is blamed. Underwood is so appalled that he insists that Colonel Yount come to Vietnam to witness the conditions himself. Yount complies with the request in November. Colt’s Robert Fremont is sent to Rock Island to examine rifles returned from Vietnam. The Technical Assistance Team splits into four units of two men apiece. They visit units and provide maintenance instruction through December. The survey team verifies the existence of a malfunction problem and supports the findings of a preliminary investigation by concluding that the malfunctions are primarily due to inadequate cleaning, improper lubrication, and the continued use of worn parts. The most common faults observed are:

  1. excessive oil on the weapon;
  2. carbon buildup in the chamber, bolt, and bolt carrier group;
  3. overloading of magazines with 21 rounds of ammunition;
  4. oil and grit inside magazines (frequently accompanied by lubricated ammunition); and
  5. failure to replace worn or broken extractors and extractor springs.

Other deficiencies noted frequently are shortages of technical manuals, cleaning equipment, and repair parts, and a general lack of knowledge of the M16 among officers and noncommissioned officers.

Colt initiates work on chrome plated chambers.

Colt reports to the TCC on the issue of reverting to 1-in-14″ twist barrels. Colt indicates that existing rifle barrels already have a 10 percent rejection rate due to tested accuracy, despite meeting physical machining specs. Colt states that a change to the slower rate of twist would require relaxed accuracy standards.

General Johnson reviews the CDC SAWS Study, the Army Staff position, and the FPAO review and evaluation. Johnson decides to draw together the various activities of small arms developments under unified management.

The CDC publishes “Review and Analysis of the Evaluation of Army Combat Operations in Vietnam.” It is a evaluation of the USARV‘s ARCOV findings and recommendations. The CDC concurs with the recommendations that all maneuver battalion riflemen in Vietnam be equipped with the XM16E1, that the XM16E1 replace the M1911A1 (pending the evaluation the CAR-15 submachine gun), and that grenadiers be armed with a dual purpose weapon, specifically the XM16E1/XM148. They note that these recommendations have potential worldwide application. As such, they should not be implemented as such until the SAWS and Infantry Rifle Unit Study 1967-1975 (IRUS-75) projects are completed.

SAPD 253B is amended.

3,033 XM16E1 are shipped to Fort Polk.

Planned deliveries of XM16E1 to allied troops in South Vietnam are suspended. (At one point, there was a suggestion to provide South Vietnam with a military assistance grant of 126,862 XM16E1.)

The US Army initiates work on Delrin charging handle latch to prevent wear to the upper receiver.

The US Army approves a RTA for a dimension change on the charging handle. Colt is awarded $1,500.

DuPont delivers 137,259 pounds of IMR 8208M to the US Army for loading 5.56mm ammunition at government ammunition plants.

Frankford Arsenal finalizes drawings for the XM200 Blank.

With Springfield Armory scheduled for closure in 1968, WECOM realizes that no one will be left to compete with AAI for the SPIW contract. Industry representatives are invited to Fort Benning to witness SPIW testing in hopes of someone picking up the Springfield design. One of the representatives is Colt’s Engineering Project Manager, Robert Roy. Needless to say, Colt is curious to see what is competing against their M16 rifle; they have even gone to the extent of creating a 5.56x45mm fléchette load with a companion smoothbore M16.

Along with the Industry Meeting, the SPIW Executive Committee also convenes. The BRL submits data indicating that the three round burst and full automatic modes of fire of the SPIW are equal in effectiveness. Thus, it is argued that the full automatic mode can be removed from the SPIW to reduce complexity of the trigger mechanism. The OPMR‘s Charles Rhoades lays out the advantages of each mode of fire, but agrees that eliminating the full automatic mode may not reduce the SPIW‘s effectiveness. COL Yount asks the BRL to design and conduct a test which would compare the relative hit capability of the controlled-burst versus full automatic modes of fire. Later in the month, a subcommittee consisting of representatives from the USAIBTECOM, Frankford Arsenal, CDCIA, and BRL meet to discuss the BRL‘s proposed test plan.

The USMC asks Cadillac Gage to upgrade 286 of their early Stoner 63 to the 63A standard.

FN builds its third CAL prototype.

Colt’s Karl Lewis and Robert Roy receive US Patent #3,279,114 titled “Grenade Launcher.”

November:
General Johnson announces his recommendations from the SAWS study in the memo CSM 66-485 “Army Small Arms Weapon System“:

  • The XM16E1 rifle will be adopted as the standard Army rifle and will be reclassified as “Standard A”. The M14 and M14A1 rifles will remain “Standard A” initially. The Authorized Acquisition Objective (AAO) for rifles and automatic rifles will be computed on the XM16E1, rather than on the M14 and M14A1.
  • Pending the completion of…field experimentation…the XM148 grenade launcher will be issued as the companion grenade launcher for units armed with the XM16E1 rifle. Concurrently, action will be taken to improve the design of the XM148.
  • The Colt carbine/submachine gun will be adopted in lieu of the XM16E1 rifle in those cases where use of the XM16E1 rifle is impractical as the individual weapon.
  • A companion automatic rifle will not be adopted.
  • The M60 machine gun will be retained until an improved machine gun is developed and adopted. Evaluation of the 5.56mm machine gun will continue.
  • The development cycle of the SPIW will be reoriented to the status of exploratory development and become a part of a broadened small arms research and development program for the future.
  • The overall procurement objective is a single-family (rather than a multi-family) small arms weapon inventory based on the Colt 5.56mm individual weapons and, for the present, the M60 machinegun; and the first objective will be to eliminate at an early date the caliber .30 family of infantry weapons.
  • Product improvement…will be incorporated in the new production of XM16E1 rifles and 5.56mm ammunition.
  • The 7.62mm duplex ammunition will not be produced for other than development purposes at this time.

COL Yount and LTC Underwood visit II Field Force HQ, the commanders of the 25th Infantry Division and 1st Aviation Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Infantry Division, and LTG Walt, Commanding General III MAF. Yount starts investigation into the rifle’s finish and chrome plating of chambers. In addition, he emphasizes advance shipments of repair parts and cleaning materials.

The decision is made to issue the M16 to division base units of the 9th Infantry Division.

25 XM16E1 are issued to each USMC infantry battalion for training in Vietnam.

Colt delivers its first shipment of 1,190 Commandos to the military. These are quickly routed to South Vietnam.

The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control approves the export sale of 18,000 AR-15 and 2,300 AR-15 HBAR M1 by Cooper-Macdonald to the Republic of Singapore. Only 513 are shipped before Colt severs their relationship with Cooper-Macdonald. Colt then reapplies for a license to export the original amount of rifles to Singapore.

DuPont delivers 182,746 pounds of IMR 8208M to the US Army for loading 5.56mm ammunition at government ammunition plants.

The military specification for the XM200 Blank, MIL-C-60616, is released.

Ten round stripper clips enter production.

COL Yount is ordered to supervise development and procurement of scopes and mounts for WECOM.

General Electric’s Chemical Materials Department proposes a disposable polymer-bodied magazine for the M16.

With the assistance of the USAIB, the BRL conducts SPIW mode of fire testing at Fort Benning.

The USAIB recommends to General Johnson that the SPIW program be cut back, with greater responsibility given to AAI to develop a working model.

COL Yount terminates the current testing of the SPIW at Aberdeen and Fort Benning. Yount directs the submission of a final report to cover all subtests either partially or fully completed.

The USAIB publishes “Engineer Design Test for Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW).”

Frankford Arsenal files the report “SPIW Ammunition Cost Estimate Study.” The report claims that fléchette cartridges could be produced economically given enough study and effort.

In an internal memo at Colt, Robert Roy reports that there is no reason to save the Springfield SPIW, as the program is unlikely to be debugged anytime soon. Moreover, such efforts would only serve take attention away from Colt’s own M16.

Late:
Testing of the XM177-series flash/blast suppressor begins with an objective of reducing flash signature.

December:
Colt reaches the production capacity of 25,000 rifles per month.

The JCS reallocates the distribution of the XM16E1 rifle for the period November 1966 through June 1967. At the same time, provision is made for the delivery of 4,000 XM16E1 to Thailand in increments of 1,000 beginning with March 1967 production.

AMC General Counsel Barnes meets with Colt’s Benke, Gubbins, Ford, and Hall over production rights and the TDP. The Army claims a future requirement of one million rifles over the next four years. A second source of production is required, but it would be agreeable to the facility being owned by Colt. The Army foresees production at the second manufacturing facility representing ~10,000 rifles per month. The Government would be willing to fund this facility with $3-5 million plus tooling. Benke responds that it would not be worth Colt’s effort to start a second facility for production less than 12,500 rifles per month. Moreover, Benke insists on staying with his earlier proposed $9 million license fee, but announces that Colt is willing to invest the entire amount into the second facility in exchange for maintaining proprietary rights to the M16. Colt also desires to exclude rights for second sourcing magazines and parts that are already produced in house at Colt. Barnes counters that production of 12,500 rifles per month at a second facility would result in excess capacity. Barnes then threatens to contact the president of Colt’s parent company Colt Industries, George A. Strichman, to get their best offer. During the meetings, it becomes apparent that Colt’s representatives have access to the Army’s estimates for future requirements and to the Army’s plans for expansion of the production base. When this fact is brought to the attention of Army Chief of Staff General Johnson, he directs DCSLOG LTG Lincoln to prepare a memorandum establishing AMC General Counsel Barnes and COL Yount as the single points of contact with Colt until negotiations are completed. Barnes later writes a memorandum for record titled “Negotiations with Colt’s re. Rights to M16 and XM16E1 Rifle.”

The next day, Colt’s Benke and Gubbins call Barnes requesting clarifications. Barnes states that the first 150,000 rifles of any competitive solicitation will be reserved for Colt, and the next 100,000 will be awarded to the second source contractor. However, a third source will be considered if more than 250,000 rifles are required. The Government will require the right to manufacture and procure parts from other countries; however, production of whole rifles will remain in the US. In addition, any agreement will require a substantial reduction in the proposed $1.8 million fee to reproduce the TDP. Moreover, royalties could be no higher than 0.5 percent over those owed Fairchild and Cooper-Macdonald.

The Technical Assistance Team submit their findings to General Besson. They again point out the lack of maintenance, the shortage of cleaning equipment and spare parts, and the general lack of knowledge and training by officers and NCO regarding the proper care of the rifles. As a result of the technical team’s visit to Vietnam, the following action is taken:

  1. Instruction material on the care and cleaning of the M16 is published and distributed at company or rifleman level;
  2. Emphasis is placed on the need for adequate command supervision of maintenance programs;
  3. New troops are required to receive a minimum of two hours M16 maintenance training during their first week in Vietnam; and
  4. Immediate USARV inspection and repair of all Ml6s on hand by divisional direct support maintenance teams and elements of the 1st Logistics Command is directed.

The USARV distributes a preventive maintenance pamphlet for the XM16E1.

Colt conducts in-house testing of chrome plated chambers.

Colt begins equipping new production rifles with Sturtevant’s improved buffer. The first 8,000 to 10,000 rifles produced during the month have the older buffer. Retrofit of older rifles with the new buffer will not be complete for nearly a year.

Frankford and Rock Island Arsenals report that they cannot find a cause of the reported “blow-ups.” Only cartridges loaded with inappropriate powders (handgun or shotgun-type) caused the same level of damage during testing.

Secretary of the Army Resor sends a memorandum to McNamara outlining General Johnson’s recommended objectives for the rifle program:

  1. Rifle procurement should be limited to the XM16E1 for the near future;
  2. Steps should be made to replace the remaining M1 rifles and M1918 BAR in Army inventory with XM16E1 as soon as possible;
  3. Long term planning should concentrate on replacing the M14 with XM16E1;
  4. A second XM16E1 manufacturer should be provided for in the FY 1968 budget; and
  5. Small arms research and development should be accelerated to bring about further major improvements.

The memorandum further states that the XM16E1 is generally superior for Army use, the SPIW program is unlikely to delivery a satisfactory weapon in the near term, and some minor changes are justified in the M16 and its ammunition. This would include a change of propellant and the barrel’s rate of twist.

The DOD Program Budget Decision approves the Army’s request for FY 1968 procurement of 175,000 XM16E1 rifles, but limits the funding to $31.2 million. The Army had requested $35.7 million, which included $9 million for acquiring patent rights and $0.8 million for the TDP. The Army appeals the DOD‘s decision, but is denied.

The US Army awards a $6,908,750 contract modification to Colt for 10,000 XM16E1 and 65,000 M16. Another contract modifications is awarded for 27,531 rifles.

1,127 XM16E1 are shipped to Fort Polk.

The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control approves the export sale of 45 AR-15 to West Germany.

McNamara directs that the issue of XM16E1 to ARVN and ROK forces be deferred, and that the allocations previously planned for these forces be redirected to US units.

D&PS publishes “Engineer Design Test of Modified Flash Suppressor for 5.56mm, CAR-15 Submachine Gun.”

TECOM sends the message “PI Test of XM177E2, Submachine Gun.”

DuPont delivers 187,847 pounds of IMR 8208M to the US Army for loading 5.56mm ammunition at government ammunition plants.

COL Yount receives a directive from General Besson to “come to grips at an early date with the 3,250 f.p.s. velocity requirement.”

WECOM appoints Christo W. Kantany as the new QAR assigned to Colt. At the time of his assignment, Kantany is notified by DCASD-Hartford supervisory personnel that the company has a good quality control program and no serious problems were anticipated with Colt in the manufacture and quality control of the M16A1 rifle.

Frankford Arsenal issues the report “A Summary of Mathematical Methods in Hit and Incapacitation Probability Analysis of Small Arms Weapons Systems.”

The US Army approves a RTA for a dimension change of the disconnector. Colt is awarded $242.60.

Colt’s Foster Sturtevant receives US Patent #3,292,492 titled “Trigger Mechanism,” the four-position selector switch.

General Electric’s Robert E. Chiabrandy files three patent applications related to the design of a lightweight Minigun-style weapon suitable for small caliber cartridges like the 5.56x45mm.

The first XM148 grenade launchers arrive in Vietnam.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #3,293,986 titled “Magazine for Belted Ammunition.”

1967


Planned Fiscal Year 1967 DOD M16 Rifle Procurement

US Army0
US Navy19,237
US Coast Guard700
US Air Force65,000
US Marine Corps18,294
Total103,231

The USAF acquires 75 AR-18 for testing.

Howa Machinery Company of Nagoya, Japan buys the production rights to the AR-18 from ArmaLite.

Manufacture d’Armes de St-Etienne (MAS) of France begins development of a 5.56mm rifle. The project is led by Paul Tellie.

At Ruger, L. James Sullivan begins work on a scaled down M14 in 5.56mm. Several years (and modifications) later, it is released commercially as the Mini-14.

Singapore awards a contract to Kynoch in the United Kingdom for .223 Ball ammunition for both Army and Police use. Kynoch subcontracts to Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik in Austria for the brass cases and a Belgian company for the gunpowder.

NATO initiates a general feasibility study into caseless ammunition.

An ENSURE requirement is issued for a low-cost ($0.01 per round of ammunition contained) magazine capable of reliable one-time use in the M16A1 rifle.

Frankford Arsenal initiates the M16 Sight Enhancement Program to develop improved low-light sights, both iron and optical. Frankford’s Pitman-Dunn Laboratory also begins research into caseless cartridges.

Frankford Arsenal and Lake City begin the development of gilding metal clad steel (GMCS) jackets for the construction of M196 Tracer projectiles. This is the result of reported jacket failures with the M196.

The Naval Ordnance Laboratory produces a subsonic 5.56mm cartridge for use by SEAL teams. The projectile is a truncated lead slug. Another effort uses Sierra hollowpoints. Both are reportedly used for shooting sentry animals, but neither provides the desired terminal performance.

Nosler constructs 500 solid steel projectiles plated with bronze. The 41 grain projectiles are intended for testing by Frankford Arsenal.

January:
The Deputy Secretary of Defense Vance approves Army Secretary Resor and General Johnson’s first, fourth, and fifth recommendations for the rifle program. Approval is withheld on the second and third pending the following information:

  1. A comprehensive cost/effectiveness study of a single rifle weapon systems versus the current M1, M14, and M16, or the alternative M14 and M16;
  1. A replacement and distribution schedule;
  1. NATO implications of replacing the M14 with the M16; and
  2. Details of proposed changes to the M16 with concurrence of the TCC, along with the availability of alternative powders.

A follow-up of the first survey and instruction visit to Vietnam is made by WECOM from January 17 through February 20, 1967.

COL Yount notes an “urgent” requirement for swabs, bore brushes, chamber brushes, and cleaning rods.

“Test Plan on Military Potential Test of Weapon Lubricants” is published.

The closed-end “birdcage” flash hider is included in new production M16/XM16E1 rifles.

The CAR-15 Commando is type classified under the designations “Submachine Gun, 5.56mm XM177” (USAF – no bolt closure device) and “Submachine Gun, 5.56mm XM177E1” (Army – w/ bolt closure device).

D&PS publishes “Final Report on Engineer Design Test of Modified Flash Suppressor for CAR-15 Submachine Gun.”

Colt files the report “Delrin Charging Handle Latch Report.” The Delrin charging handle latch was designed in hopes of reducing user complaints concerning the charging handle unlatching while the weapon is firings. The “Commando” models are considered to be the worse offenders in this regard. However, it is eventually found that the Delrin handle latch is simply not durable enough for field use.

The PMR Office publishes “A Review of Primer Sensitivity Requirements for 5.56mm Ammunition.”

An US Army study and analysis of the internal ballistics mismatch of 5.56mm Ball and Tracer ammunition recommends that no changes be made despite the fact that 57 percent of the tracer ammunition was mismatched.

Colt’s Foster Sturtevant receives US Patent #3,301,133 titled “Mechanism for Changing Rate of Automatic Fire.”

Colt receives waiver on surface finish of 6,000 bolt carriers.

The US Navy orders eight belt-fed Stoner 63A LMG for field testing by the SEALs in Vietnam.

FN builds five additional CAL prototypes.

NWM and its parent company Mauser – Industrie Werke Karlsruhe AG (IWK) of Germany introduce a quartet of 5.56x45mm loads to support the Stoner 63. This includes a 63 grain tungsten core AP load, a 700m-range tracer, and a training blank. Most interesting is the 77 grain FMJ load (2,722 fps), which requires a 1-in-7.8″ twist barrel.

ACTIV publishes “Evaluation Plan-XM148 Grenade Launcher.” The primary purpose of this evaluation is to determine if the XM148 grenade launcher will operate effectively in the hands of the average soldier under combat conditions. A secondary purpose is to determine durability, maintainability, and future combat service support requirements. The evaluation of the XM148 grenade launcher is being conducted at the request of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development and the CDC.

The HEL publishes “A Human Factors Evaluation of the Two SPIW Prototypes.”

February:
Since the Marines of III MAF will soon be issued the XM16E1 rifle in Vietnam, rifles are shipped to Camp Lejeune, the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico, and the Staging Battalion at Camp Pendleton for testing. The rifles will be used by selected personnel in conjunction with contingency training.

A tentative agreement between the Army and Colt is reached. This will require a 5.5 percent royalty, a $4 million lump-sum payment, and commitments to purchase from Colt. This involves Colt receiving any requirements in excess of an educational order quantity for the first three years as a part of the Army’s five-year procurement plan. This agreement does not include the XM177.

The XM16E1 rifle is classified as “Standard A”. Its designation officially changes to “Rifle, 5.56mm, M16A1.”

Chief of Operations Research Dr. Payne sends a memorandum to Under Secretary of the Army David E. McGiffert titled “Modifications to the M16.”

General Johnson sends a memo titled “NATO Impact of SAWS Decision” to Secretary Resor. While the standardization of the M16A1 is a concern to fellow NATO allies, Johnson suggests that US troops assigned to NATO will not replace their M14 rifles prior to FY 1972. This would place the changeover safely behind the January 1968 expiration of the NATO standardization agreement.

CINCPAC Admiral Sharp restricts further issue of M16A1 rifles to other nations’ troops. After discussions with the commander of the US Military Assistance Command – Thailand (MACTHAI), Admiral Sharp relents and recommends that the Thai Army receive 900 out of the 4,000 M16A1 originally allocated by the JCS. The rifles will be taken from March production deliveries.

The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control reapproves the export sale of 18,000 AR-15 and 2,300 AR-15 HBAR M1 by Colt to the Republic of Singapore. This creates a political firestorm when news of the sale becomes public. While Colt claims that the export rifles will come from expanded production quotas, the sale not only angers those who think these rifles should go to US troops, but also US allies with troops stationed in South Vietnam. For instance, South Korean troops are still armed with surplus M1 rifles.

Winchester/Western proposes altering the direct gas system of the M16 to a short-stroke gas system.

The SPIW executive committee reconvenes. To support a future reactivation of the program, AAI is awarded a “nominal fee” contract to continue improvements of their SPIW candidate. Two of the second-generation SPIW prototypes are returned to AAI for further modification and experimentation.

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes “Final Report on Engineer Design Test of Special Purpose Individual Weapon.”

February-March:
The Stoner 63A system begins field-testing in South Vietnam with Lima Company, Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. Most Marines are issued the rifle, while officers and NCOs are issued the carbine. A couple of the Bren-style LMG are mixed in for squad automatic use, while the Weapons Platoon receive the belt-fed LMG and MMG variants. During the first two weeks of combat, 33 malfunctions are reported, most being failures to feed, fire, eject, and extract. During one night ambush patrol, only one of the four Stoners works reliably. The culprits are determined to be the weapons’ tight tolerances combined with the fine sand of the coastal plains in their Area of Operations. In response, Lima Company attempts to break-in their weapons with extended live-fire drills. For the most part, this plan succeeds, in conjunction with the delivery of a different production lot of ammo.

March:
General Johnson issues memo CSM 67-96 “Army Small Arms Program.” It is intended to provide guidance for the formal establishment of the Army Small Arms Program and future small arms weapon development. Among the projects suggested, the Chief of Staff directs investigation and test of alternative methods for launching 40mm grenades. He specifies consideration of grenades launched from the muzzle as complementary or as an alternative to the XM148 and M79.

President Lyndon B. Johnson promises 25,000 M16 rifles to the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

The allocation of M16A1 rifles for ARVN and ROK maneuver elements is reinstated.

Secretary McNamara announces that 4,000 M16A1 rifles with spares and ammunition has been funded in the FY 1967 Thai MAP. McNamara’s opinion is that these rifles, plus the 500 previously delivered to the Thai Army, will “establish a pool from which M16A1 rifles can be supplied to all RTA units actively engaged in internal security operations.”

The PMR office notes seven continuing issues with the M16A1: 1) Sources of alternate propellants; 2) High cyclic rates; 3) Chamber corrosion; 4) Barrel twist; 5) Fouling; 6) Tracer requirements; and 7) Product improvements.

Based upon newspaper reports of troubles with the M16A1, Kantany imposes mandatory inspections (Product Inspection Type B – PIT B) at Colt in selected areas. These inspections are expanded through the next five months. A vicious cycle ensues as inspections are performed for a period of time, stopped after good quality history is experienced, and then reinstated based upon additional adverse publicity, results of contractor decision verifications, or any other input indicating the need for closer control of component quality.

The US Army completes distribution of the XM177E1 to troops in Vietnam.

COL Yount sends message titled “Type Classification XMl77E1 Submachine Gun (CAR-15 SMG).”

Colt agrees to add the XM177 for a total of $4.5 million and 5.5 percent royalty plus a provision initially suggested by the Army for a higher royalty (11 percent) if the procurement of rifles exceeds 1.85 million in the FY 1968-72 period.

TECOM sends message titled “Type Classification of Submachine Gun (CAR-15).” TECOM concurs with a recommendation from AMC to type classify the XM177-series for temperate zone use. However, TECOM withholds comment on the suitability of the XM177E2 until a test of the product improvements is conducted.

The BRL publishes “Pressure Measurements: Caliber 5.56mm Cartridge.”

ODCSLOG sends a memo titled “M16A1 Rifle Ammunition.”

The USMC asks Cadillac Gage to upgrade another eight of their early Stoner 63 to the 63A standard.

Arthur Miller, Charles Dorchester, and George Sullivan file a patent application for the design of the upper handguard attachment of the AR-18.

384 Colt/Realist 3x scopes arrive in Vietnam for mounting on M16A1 rifles.

Mixed reports also come back concerning the XM148 grenade launcher. While M79 users quickly welcomed the rifle/grenade launcher concept, the XM148 proves completely unsatisfactory under combat conditions. Users complain that the quadrant sight is prone to snagging in brush, and worse, that the sight is difficult to use with any accuracy. Also listed as snag prone are the extended trigger and trigger bar. These can be bent or broken simply by opening or closing the rifle’s receiver during/after fieldstripping. The separate cocking lever is quite unpopular due to the 30lb (~14kg) force required to cock the weapon. Within a few months, units with the XM148 are clamoring to have their M79 reissued. This is significant as most M79 users are only issued a M1911A1 pistol as backup for their grenade launcher.

AAI publishes “Design, Development and Fabrication of a Multi-Shot, Automatic Launching Device.”

April:
HQ USARV requests technical assistance with the XM148 grenade launcher. The technical team sent in response stays in Vietnam from April 27 through May 18, 1967. The primary purpose of the survey is to evaluate and correct problems with the XM148 grenade launcher, but the team also examines large numbers of M16 rifles in the hands of troops to determine the status of maintenance, the availability of cleaning materials, and the condition of rifle barrels and chambers. The survey team concludes that rifle maintenance and the availability of cleaning materials has improved considerably and that the major remaining problem is deterioration of rifle barrels caused by chamber pitting and the accumulation of copper fouling. It is estimated that approximately 10 percent of the M16 in Vietnam will require a barrel replacement every three months. To reduce the rate of barrel deterioration, the team recommends speeding up deliveries of the recently adopted improved lubricant MIL-L-4600A (LSA), and chrome plating the rifle chambers.

In the NATO Standardization Meeting of Panel III, the British propose that a study be instituted to determine the desirability of accepting the 5.56mm as an additional standard NATO round. All nations vote in favor of the study at that time.

The Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee holds hearings on the Army’s procurement and distribution of the M16. Testimony is heard from ASA(I&L) Dr. Brooks and MG Henry A. Miley, Jr., Director of Materiel Acquisitions, ODCSLOG. During the hearings, Subcommittee Chief Counsel James T. Kendall alleges that there are widespread rumors that the rifles being sent to Singapore will be diverted to the People’s Republic of China. Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) also claims to have heard the rumors. Dr. Brooks and MG Miley both deny having heard such rumors.

All live firing in Vietnam-oriented Army infantry training has been converted from the M14 to the M16A1 rifle.

The South Vietnamese military receives the first deliveries of M16A1 rifles. However, there are only enough to equip the Airborne and Marine battalions of the General Reserve.

The Air Force Marksmanship School publishes “Test of M16 Rifle Barrels with Chrome Chambers.”

TECOM begins testing of lubricants for M16A1. The relative technical merits of VV-L-800, Dri-Slide, MIL-L-46000A (LSA), and NRL-4002-36 are compared.

COL Yount sends message titled “Effectiveness Evaluation of XM177/XM177E1 SMG.”

TECOM sends memo titled “Test Directive for Product Improvement (PI) Test of the Submachinegun, Cal. 5.56mm, XM177E1” to the Commanding Officer of Aberdeen Proving Ground and the USAIB President.

Negotiations begin for the procurement of 510 XM177E2 for the Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG).

Lima Company 3/1 1st MARDIV requests that the test period for their Stoners be extended by an additional month. This request is approved. However, the Bren-style LMG is removed from issue as being redundant.

The USMC places an order with Cadillac Gage for additional spare parts and ammunition linking devices to support the Stoner 63A.

All other USMC maneuver and reconnaissance units in Vietnam have been issued the M16A1.

May:
On May 3rd, Representative L. Mendel Rivers (D-SC), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, orders the formation of the Special Subcommittee on the M16 Rifle Program. The Subcommittee is comprised of Representatives Richard Ichord (D-MO), Speedy O. Long (D-LA), and William G. Bray (R-IN).

The May 13th issue of Paris Match magazine publishes photos of dead Marines with field stripped (or otherwise hors de combat) M16A1. The photos were taken by French photo journalist Catherine Leroy during the recent battles for Hills 861 and 881 (North and South) near Khe Sanh (24 April-5 May 1967).

Two days after the Paris Match photos are published, the Special Subcommittee on the M16 Rifle Program opens hearings.

Rep. James J. Howard (D-NJ) reads to Congress a letter reputed to be from a wounded Marine asserting that many Marine fatalities at Hill 881 were due to jammed M16A1. Rep. Howard requests that McNamara answer the charges and declares his dissatisfaction with the reply received from Marine Corps Chief of Staff LTG Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. LTG Chapman notes that some malfunctions were reported, but they were not out of line other weapons when first introduced. LTG Walt, just having returned from the South Vietnam as commander of the III MAF, describes the M16A1 as the best rifle ever issued to the USMC and that jamming is the result of soldiers and Marines failing to keep the rifle clean. USMC Commandant General Wallace M. Greene also holds a press conference to defend the M16A1.

The King of Laos, Sri Savang Vathana, makes a request for M16 rifles, stating that he would like to equip one elite Groupe Mobile (GM), ~1,800 men, with the rifles. When CINCPAC Admiral Sharp inquires about the matter, the Deputy Chief of the Joint US Military Advisory Group-Thailand (JUSMAG-THAI) voices his objections. However, the Deputy Chief will be willing to drop his objections if the delivery is deemed politically necessary. The JCS indicates that 2,000 M16 rifles could be made available from September 1967 production, if Admiral Sharp approves the transfer.

A chrome-plated chamber is approved for the M16 rifle family. A fully chromed bore will not be approved until later.

Colt changes the finish of the firing pin from electrolyzed to hard chrome.

The US Army Arctic Test Center publishes “Engineer Design Test of Preservative Lubricants for Small Arms Weapons under Arctic Winter and Spring ‘Break Up’ Conditions.”

The SEALs order an additional 36 Stoner 63A LMG. In contrast, the remainder of L/3/1 1st MARDIV’s Stoners are exchanged for M16A1 at the end of their test schedule.

Arthur Miller, Charles Dorchester, and George Sullivan receive US Patent #3,318,192 titled “Locked Action Rifle for Automatic and Semi-Automatic Selective Firing.”

ACTIV publishes the report “XM148 Grenade Launcher.” US Army Maneuver Battalions throughout Vietnam were sampled to record user reaction to, and experience with the weapon. Deficiencies of the XM148 were the poor position and projection of the sight, difficulty and unreliability in operation of the cocking and firing mechanism, unsatisfactory pointing and handling characteristics, slowness in loading, and degradation of mobility in some circumstances. Additional deficiencies were slow rate of fire, unreliability of functioning, and inadequacy of safety features. The XM148 is deemed unsatisfactory for further operational use in Vietnam. It is recommended that the XM148 grenade launcher be withdrawn from US Army Maneuver Battalions and that the M79 grenade launcher be reissued on an interim basis until an improved launcher or a new system is developed. Research and development activities should be continued on systems to provide soldiers in small combat units with the dual capability of point and area target destruction in a single individual weapon.

June:
The Ichord Subcommittee visit Vietnam to examine M16 reliability issues first hand.

Retired Army Colonel E.B. Crossman files “Report of Investigation of M16 Rifle in Combat” with the Ichord Subcommittee. Comprised of 250 personal interviews with Army and Marine units in Vietnam, it reports that roughly 50 percent of the troops have experienced serious malfunctions with their XM16E1 rifle, of which 90 percent were failures to extract. The cause of these malfunctions was not determined. Other observations are that: 1) The bolt closure device is used frequently enough to justify the Army’s insistance upon this product improvement; 2) Extractors and extractor springs require replacement fairly often; 3) While there is no general shortage of cleaning and preserving equipment, many individuals are short of the critical cleaning rod and chamber brush; 4) Approximately 50 percent of the men preferred the M14. Most of the men who want the M14 feel that it is a more reliable rifle and are concerned about the M16’s possible malfunctions in combat; and 5) Many cases of a stuck or jammed selector lever are reported. COL Crossman recommends to Rep. Ichord that an immediate investigation be conducted of ammunition design and manufacture, rifle design and manufacture, and maintenance in the field to determine the cause and cure for failures to extract.

III MAF institutes a biweekly malfunction report for the M16A1.

Colonel Yount is relieved of his duties as PMR. Colonel Alvin C. Isaacs is ultimately named as Yount’s successor. Until Isaacs can assume the post, LTC Robert C. Engle serves as acting PMR.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Vance resigns.

A Defense study concludes that a one-rifle system based on the M16A1 will be the most cost-effective for the period 1969 to 1980.

An In-Process Review of the IRUS-75 study is conducted.

The US Army’s ammunition procurement request for FY 1968 is increased to 708 million cartridges at a total cost of $73.2 million.

TECOM publishes “Military Potential Test of Weapons Lubricants.” The report recommends use of MIL-L-46000A (LSA) for M16A1 at temperatures above 0F.

The first shipments of LSA for purposes of rifle lubrication (as opposed to its original use for the M61A1 Vulcan) are shipped to South Vietnam.

M16A1 maintenance instructions are revised to recommend liberal use of lubricant on rifle.

WECOM sends a letter titled “Lubrication and Preservatives for M16A1 Rifle” to commanders in South Vietnam detailing changes in recommended rifle lubrication.

New USMC testing also recommends LSA for general use, with Dri-Slide retained as a supplemental lubricant for sandy areas.

TECOM directs that a product improvement test of the redesigned buffer be conducted using the old and new buffers with the objectives of comparing cyclic rates of fire and of comparing the bolt rebound upon closing (bolt carrier bounce).

Springfield Armory releases the report “Erosion Test on 5.56MM Rifle Barrels, Small Arms Weapon Study (SAWS).” Results are reported on limited erosion testing of three barrels each fabricated from AISI/SAE 4150 steel and Cr-Mo-V steel, with and without chromium plated bores. Tabulated test data include projectile velocities, land and groove diameters, temperature versus time curves, and ammunition expenditures. The unplated 4150 steel barrels were rejected after approximately 1,900 rounds were fired at 60 shots per minute. Rejection was based upon the projectile instability criterion, exceeding 15-degree yaw. The chromium plated 4150, and the unplated and chromium plated Cr-Mo-V barrels withstood 3,600 rounds fired at rates of 60 and 80 shots per minute.

Springfield Armory also publishes the report “Development of a Stellite-Lined, Chromium-Plated Barrel for 5.56MM Machine Gun.” Springfield Armory’s procedure for the design and fabrication of a Stellite-lined, chromium-plated barrel for the Stoner 63 machine gun is described. Results of erosion tests of the Stellite-lined barrels, standard barrels, and two other types of barrels show that the Stellite-lined barrels are superior in erosion resistance. One of the Stellite-lined barrels was fired 43,994 rounds prior to rejection. A maximum of 12,476 rounds was fired from one of the standard barrels prior to rejection. The two other types of barrels – a standard barrel with a nitrided bore and a barrel of two-piece construction – were fired 29,874 and 990 rounds, respectively, before rejection. The two-piece barrel has an 18-inch forward section made from Cr-Mo-V steel and the rear section, including the chamber, is made entirely from Stellite. All barrels were rejected on the basis of the projectile instability criterion – 15 degrees yaw of 20 per cent of the projectiles fired. All barrels were fired at an average rate of 200 shots per minute.

Colt’s Robert Fremont files patent applications for a partially curved 30 round magazine and a disposable plastic magazine.

A private research firm, Planning Research Corporation, files a report claiming that given sufficient development a SPIW would be more cost-effective than other available infantry small arms. It recommends that the AAI SPIW rifle and DBCATA be chosen for further development.

The brief “Six-Day War” leaves Israel troops unimpressed by the reliability of theirFN FAL and FALO. Testing for a new rifle begins. After testing the M16A1, Stoner 63, HK 33, and others, it becomes clear that nothing matches the reliability of their Arab enemies’ Kalashnikov rifles. IMI sets about to create an improved clone. With the assistance of Interarms and Valmet of Finland, Israeli Galili and Yaacov Lior combine Valmet M62 receivers, Colt barrel blanks, FAL folding stocks, and a modified Stoner 63 rifle magazine to create the Galil.

A small development requirement for a 40mm detachable grenade launcher for rifles is approved by ACSFOR LTG Arthur S. Collins, Jr.

FN builds a pair of 40mm grenade launcher prototypes for the CAL.

June-July:
The US Army finally obtains the manufacturing rights and the TDP for the M16 and XM177-family. This is necessary for the establishment of additional production sources. Colt employees promptly prove the Army’s point by going on strike in protest the very next day. The Government agrees to pay $4,500,000 in cash and a royalty of 5.5 percent on all rifles and parts purchased from companies other than Colt. In addition, the Government agrees to purchase 632,500 rifles from Colt through April 1970.

July:
The Federal Mediation Service summons both Colt management and labor representatives to Washington in an effort to end the strike.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul H. Nitze issues a memorandum directing a technical evaluation and field study of the M16. The is to determine whether any major deficiencies exist, and if so, recommend corrective action.

Thirty XM177E1 barrels with chrome-plated chambers arrive in Vietnam.

ACSFOR LTG Collins publishes a draft of the US Army Small Arms Program (ARSAP).

USMC announces that LSA will replace VV-L-800 as the standard rifle lubricant and that Dri-Slide will not be retained in the supply system.

Remington sends a memo titled “Development of Caliber 5.56mm Ammunition.”

Lake City begins development of a steel 5.56mm cartridge case.

CDCEC publishes “XM148-40mm Grenade Launcher Evaluation Report.”

The US Army briefs representatives from private industry concerning what is to be later titled the Grenade Launcher Attachment Development (GLAD) Program. This briefing is intended to solicit interest in the development of alternative grenade launchers to the XM148. Out of 17 companies, only seven express interest: AAI, Aerojet General, Colt, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company’s Aeronutronic Division, Harvey Aluminum, and United Aircraft.

FN submits a CAL prototype to Sweden for testing.

August:
The strike at Colt ends.

USMC Commandant General Greene sends a message to AMC critical of the quality of M16A1 rifles.

Yet another batch of comparison testing is conducted between 1-in-12″ and 1-in-14″ twist barrels. 2,000 new M16A1 rifles are used, evenly divided as to the installed barrel’s rate of twist. The 1-in-14″ barrels exhibit double the average extreme spread of the 1-in-12″ barrels at 100m.

At the request of WECOM, Aberdeen begins product improvement testing of the XM177E2. The product improvements of the XM177E2 are:

  1. Chrome-plated chambers to minimize corrosion and promote extraction;
  1. 1.5″ longer barrel and grenade launcher spacer for mounting XM148 grenade launcher;
  1. Delrin charging handle latch to minimize wear on upper receiver;
  1. Handguard slip ring reshaped to provide ease of assembly;
  1. Cadmium-plated slip ring spring to minimize corrosion;
  1. Shot-peened upper and lower receiver to minimize corrosion;
  1. Nylon coated buttstock and release lever to minimize corrosion; and
  2. Although the buffers of the XM177E2 and those of the XM177E1 in this test are the same, they represent a different design from those used by the CAR-15 SMG in the SAWS test.

In addition, Aberdeen will evaluate weapon performance when using both IMR 8208M and WC846-loaded cartridges with both ball and tracer projectiles. The test results will also be evaluated regarding suitability of the XM177E2 product improvements for application to the M16A1 rifle.

On behalf of COL Isaacs, William C. Davis sends a memo titled “Approval of Test Plans for Product Improvement Test of Sub-machine Gun, Caliber 5.56mm, XM177E2” to the Commanding Officer of Aberdeen Proving Ground. The letter requests that test firing of the XM148 Grenade Launcher mounted on the XM177E2 be included in both the USAIB and D&PS test plans. The test should determine if it is technically feasible and safe to fire the XM148 when attached to the XM177E2.

TECOM sends a letter titled “Approval of Test Plans for Product Improvement Test of Sub-machine Gun, Caliber 5.56mm, XM177E2” to the Commanding Officer of Aberdeen Proving Ground and the USAIB President. Forwarding the OPMR‘s request, the memo requests that safety release for firing the XM148 from the XM177E2 be provided by September 29.

Frankford Arsenal completes development of case hardness standards for the 5.56mm.

Frankford Arsenal sends the letter “Quality Assurance Provisions for 5.56mm Cartridges.”

CDCEC publishes “Infantry Rifle Unit Study (IRUS-75): Phase I, Field Experiment.”

The PMR Office distributes a fact sheet titled “Chamber Brush–M16A1 Rifle.”

August-September:
A multi-service field survey is conducted by the Directorate for Inspection Services (DINS), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Administration). Out of 2,100 troops interviewed, only 38 wished to trade in their M16 rifles. Of these, 35 wanted an XM177-variant.

September:
All new production M16 rifles and spare barrels are now manufactured with chromed chambers.

TECOM begins comparison testing of old and new-style buffers.

As a result of the USMC Commandant’s letter, representatives from WECOM, Rock Island Arsenal, the Headquarters of the Defense Supply Agency (DSA)/Contract Administration Services (CAS), and DCASD-Hartford conduct an inspection of the rifles located at the USMC Supply Center, Barstow, California. Of the 14,676 rifles inspected, 326 defects are found in 320 rifles. Thirteen of the defects are classified as being in the “major” category. In approximately the same time frame, representatives of WECOM and Colt proceed to Camp Forster, Okinawa and reinspect the 172 rifles set aside as defective by the USMC as a result of their inspection of 39,512 rifles. The team concurs with the USMC‘s findings and classifies 12 of the defects in the “major” category. Also, an evaluation of rifles representing this month’s production is conducted at Letterkenny Depot and at Colt by a WECOM/Defense Contract Administration Services (DCAS) team. A total of 15,460 rifles are inspected, and 281 are found to be defective, 20 of which are in the “major” category.

The OCSA sends a memo to Secretary Resor titled “M16 Rifle Testing.” Inside are the results of the first full scale-testing of the Sturtevant buffer.

The Department of the Army submits the report “Summary of Facts Concerning Comparative Evaluation of AR-15, M14, and AK-47 Rifles.”

The brochure “M16 PM Indicators for Inspectors” is published.

Three contract modifications are awarded to Colt for 124,772, 74,414, and 43,530 rifles. Together, these are worth $25,871,701.

AMC HQ sends a memo titled “Significant Elements of Second Source Procurement Plan – M16 Family of Rifles.”

ACTIV publishes the report “CAR-15 Submachine Gun (XM177E1).” An evaluation of the CAR-15 Submachine Gun (XM177E1) was conducted at the request of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development and Headquarters, US Army, Vietnam. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine the employment and performance of the XM177E1 in combat, assess its suitability for use in Vietnam, and to recommend a Basis of Issue. Major combat unit throughout Vietnam were surveyed through interviews, questionnaires, and special reports. Data on user experience, opinion, recommendations, and suggestions were recorded and analyzed. The XM177E1 was found to be reliable and durable, with no major deficiencies. It is deemed suitable for extensive employment in Vietnam. Combat leaders and their troops at all levels desire the weapon. The report recommends that: 1) The XM177E1 be issued as a standard weapon in Vietnam; 2) The M3 SMG be eliminated from the Army’s inventory; and 3) Combat Developments Command develop a Basis of Issue plan by TOE line number.

CDC publishes “Infantry Rifle Unit Study 1970-1975 (IRUS-75): Phase I.”

The Philippine Secretary of National Defense, General Ernesto S. Mata, makes an urgent request to the Chief of the Joint US Military Advisory Group-Philippines (JUSMAG-PHIL), for 200 M16 and 90,000 rounds of ammunition for the Philippine Constabulary (PC) as soon as possible. These are for use against the Huks in the Tarlac and Pampanga Provinces, which are in the area around Clark Air Base. The Chief of JUSMAG-PHIL strongly recommends the speedy approval and fulfillment of the request. A similar request is made by Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos to the US Ambassador, William McCormick Blair, Jr., who also agrees that the US should furnish the requested items.

Only three of the remaining seven firms are awarded GLAD contracts: AAI, Aerojet, and Philco-Ford Aeronutronic Division. Each of the contract winners offers a different approach. AAI’s single shot prototype is a forward opening, pump action design. Aerojet submits a bulky SPIW-type semi-automatic launcher. Philco-Ford offers a single shot launcher with a barrel that swings open to either side. Significant by its absence in the contract award is Colt, who has by this point delivered 27,400 XM148.

AAI begins in-house trials in support of their SPIW improvement program. Real progress has been made in extending functional reliability. However, the pre-existing issue of rapid heating as surfaced with actual occurrences of cartridge cook-offs. Ironically, the prototypes had never managed to function long enough to experience this problem in the past.

Fall:
Colt makes a connection between gas tube fouling and calcium carbonate levels in WC846.

After strong recommendations on the part of General Westmoreland, an accelerated schedule of M16A1 shipments to the South Vietnamese military is approved.

October:
The Ichord Subcommittee releases its 51-page report, plus a 600-page hearing transcript. The US Army and Department of Defense (DOD) are faulted on a total of 31 points. Some of the primary criticism include the use of ball powder, hinting that Olin Mathieson’s WC846 was given contract preference over DuPont’s IMR powders, misinterpreting Olin’s “sole source” status. (Olin owns the rights to “ball powder.” However, Olin was not the Army’s only source of gunpowder. It just so happened that no one else managed to develop an alternate powder that would reliably meet the velocity/chamber pressure spec for M193.) In addition, Army sponsored modifications are blamed for malfunctions, delays, and cost increases. This includes the introduction of new buffers and the recent decision to chrome plate chambers. The effects of OSD interference are not mentioned.

McNamara sends a memo to Secretary Resor titled “Evaluation and Survey of the M16 Rifle.”

DDR&E John S. Foster, Jr. reports on a technical evaluation of the M16A1. It finds that the new buffer is a marked improvement and satisfactory with either WC846 or IMR. Malfunction rates are now approximately equal to the M14.

Colt submits 18 RTA to modify drawings for the stated purpose of improving dimensional control and depicting the parts as they are actually being produced.

COL Isaacs requests that WECOM‘s Quality Assurance Directorate provide overall quality assurance support with respect to the M16A1 Rifle Program. This represents a basic change since, prior to that time the WECOM QA Directorate furnished QA support to the PMR only as requested on a case-by-case basis.

An analysis of the criteria established for contractor periodic reliability testing (SAPD 235B) of the M16A1 rifle is initiated to determine whether these requirements should be continued or modified to conform to current small arms knowledge, technology, etc. The study includes all aspects of the program to determine numbers and types of allowable malfunctions and unserviceable parts, appropriate sample sizes, and testing procedures.

Out of 25 firms invited, twenty attend a pre-solicitation conference for M16/XM177 second sourcing. Only nine make the $1,000 bid deposit to receive a copy of the TDP and two M16A1 rifles.

Although he believes that the current Philippine inventory of small arms are adequate for their needs, CINCPAC Admiral Sharp recommends to the JCS that 200 M16 rifles from the September production be allocated to the Philippines. In his view, the expenditure of $35,000 in MAP funds will have a favorable political impact far out of proportion to the amount spent. The Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown suggests that the 200 M16 rifles can be loaned from USAF stocks at Clark AB. The State Department refuses the request on the basis that first priority for the limited production of the M16 should remain with Vietnam-associated forces. Ambassador Blair appeals the denial as does Admiral Sharp.

Colt’s Robert Roy receives US Patent #3,348,328 titled “Adjustable Buttstock Assembly.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “The Lethality of a Bullet as a Function of its Geometry.” From a set of formulae, the author concludes that the M193 projectile could be made to yaw more readily if the cylindrical section behind the cannelure were shortened.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Quality Assurance Review of 5.56mm, M193 Ball Ammunition.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Metallurgical Analysis of 5.56MM Bullet, Copper Plated-Lead Cored.” Samples of 5.56mm bullets, copper coated and lead cored, representing two production lots (lots A and B), were analyzed. The purpose of the analysis was to ascertain metallurgical properties and characteristics of each lot which relate to quality and possibly to method of manufacture. The testing procedures included chemical, metallographical, electron micro-probe, and hardness analyses. The results indicated that the electroplating quality of Lot B was superior to that of Lot A, especially with respect to adhesion and strength of coating. The electroplating techniques used in the manufacture of each lot were different as evidenced by Lot A having one continuous layer of copper and Lot B having a banded structure of three distinct layers of copper.

Aberdeen’s D&PS releases “Engineer Design Test of Magazine, 20-Round, Disposable, For M16A1 (XM16E1) Rifle.”

On behalf of the US Army, Stanley Silsby receives US Patent #3,345,771 titled “High Capacity Magazine and Cooperating Firearm Structure.”

CDCEC publishes “XM148 Grenade Launcher Report With Addendum.”

D&PS sends a letter titled “Safety Evaluation and Feasibility Study of Attachment and Firing of Grenade Launcher, XM148 on Submachine Gun, XM177E2” to TECOM. Testing has confirmed the technical feasibility of firing the XM148 grenade launcher while attached to the XM177E2, and such firings can be considered safe from hand-held and shoulder positions. However, due to the configuration of the launcher sight, and its proximity to the shooter’s face, there is a possibility of injury from the sight when the XM148 is fired from an underarm support position. In addition, no firings should be attempted from the shoulder or underarm position with the buttstock in a forward position. The buttstock must be firmly latched open lest the recoil collapse the stock and drive the XM148 sight or any other protrusion of the XM177E2 into the shooter’s face. Eye protection is considered essential. Until a more comprehensive firing Evaluation has been conducted, it is recommended that the launcher not be fired with the XM177E2 loaded nor vice versa.

November:
McNamara announces his pending resignation as Secretary of Defense.

General Johnson orders an “intensive review” of Army management practices related to M16 product improvements. The DOD‘s Weapons System Evaluation Group (WSEG) with the assistance of the Army-funded Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) prepares for yet another operational trial of the M16.

The M16 Rifle Review Panel convenes in the Weapon Systems Analysis Directorate of the OCSA.

As a result of complaints received from the USMC and other users, a program is conducted to provide a monthly quality audit of M16A1 rifles and repair parts representative of production on Colt’s current production contract. Rifles and components are selected monthly from accepted items on the contract and shipped to a Government Arsenal for a quality audit to determine conformance to contract requirements.

A new QALI is issued to DCASD-Hartford, requesting that the Government representative perform certain mandatory inspections (Product Inspection Type A – PIT A) considered necessary to determine conformance to contract requirements prior to the acceptance of rifles. The letter further requests that periodic reports containing results of contractor’s monthly performance testing and final examination of rifles be provided for utilization in the analysis of data and preparation of the monthly M16A1 rifle product assessment report.

A program is established for obtaining information concerning malfunctions encountered with the M16A1 rifle during Vietnam-oriented training at CONUS training stations. This is accomplished by visits of a team of quality assurance personnel who gather data on-site and provide appropriate recommendations relative to utilization of the data. These actions will be accomplished in connection with the basic infantry training conducted at Fort Polk, Fort McClellan, and Fort Jackson.

The “M16A1 Rifle System Test Coordinating Team” is established at Frankford Arsenal. Its job is to investigate ammunition performance and its relationship to M16 rifle function.

CDCEC publishes “Report on the Reliability of the M16A1 Rifle During Phase I of IRUS 70-75 Field Experimentation.”

The US State Department defends its refusal of M16 for the Philippine Constabulary. Philippine Under Secretary of Defense Syquio make a strong personal appeal for the rifles stating that the PC need the rifles as the Huk already have them. The US Embassy forwards the argument that the Huk unrest could lead to a Communist insurgency, and must be stamped out quickly. So far President Marcos has been unwilling to take decisive action, and the delivery of the rifles could be used as leverage to encourage such actions.

MUCOM suspends use of M196 Tracer Lot LC-12081 for anything but emergency combat use. This is due to bullet jacket breakup. The ammunition lot is loaded with WC846.

While on a visit to Aberdeen, Frankford Arsenal representatives are told of the poor performance of M196 Tracer with the XM177E2.

Colt’s Kanemitsu (Koni) Ito files a patent application for a magazine dimension “Go-No Go” field gauge.

Colt’s George Curtis and Henry Tatro begin work on the CMG-2.

CDCEC also publishes “XM148/M79 Basis of Issue Experiment Report.”

AAI begins a second set of in-house SPIW trials now concentrating on eliminating the cook-off problem.

December:
US Army Theater Distribution of M16 Rifle

TheaterTotal on Hand 31 DEC 67
USAREUR1,408
Vietnam191,354
USARPAC Less Vietnam9,053
Other Overseas1,947
STRAF32,802
CONUS less STRAF30,340
Total Active Army266,904
Reserve Components1,151
CONUS Depot7,438
Total Worldwide275,493

A two-week quality verification visit is conducted at Colt by a team of two quality assurance specialists to assess the overall adequacy of product inspection, inspection equipment, and the quality assurance program.

SAPD 253B is amended for the second time. It now requires 100 percent testing of the rifles for function firing, targeting and accuracy, headspace and trigger pull. Each barrel assembly and bolt is subjected to a high-pressure test with subsequent magnetic particle inspection. On a sampling basis, rifles are tested for firing pin indent, interchangeability, cyclic rate and reliability. In addition, each rifle is subjected to a manual and visual examination.

AMC issues “Rifle 5.56mm M16: Queries on Grenade Launcher Attachment and the Powder.”

Aberdeen publishes “Letter Report of the Initial Production Test of Chrome Plated Chambers for M16A1 Rifles.”

OACSFOR publishes another draft of the ARSAP.

A central point of contact is established in the ODCSLOG, to monitor and control funding, procurement, modification, distribution, and maintenance of the M16A1.

Three additional firms place bid deposits for the M16 TDP, while four of the original bidders withdraw.

US Charge d’Affaires Wilson tells Philippine President Marcos that delivery of the rifles is contingent upon taking decisive action against the Huk. Marcos agrees to further US conditions that the M16 be on loan and that no publicity about this agreement be made. Upon receiving Marcos’ assurances, the State Department approves the loan of 200 M16 and 90,000 rounds of ammunition from USAF stocks at Clark AB.

The Department of the Army and the Commander in Chief, US Army Pacific (CINCUSARPAC) agree to release 2,320 M16A1 to Thailand for training purposes. MACV commander General Westmoreland and the MACTHAI commander coordinate plans to provide the remainder of the 4,943 M16 rifles required by the Thai Army division deployed to Vietnam.

Aberdeen’s BRL issues the report “Effectiveness Comparison of 1:12 and 1:14 Inch Twist Rates for M16A1 Rifle.”

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Fouling Test Investigation of 5.56MM Ammunition/Weapon System.”

WC846 is withdrawn for use in loading M196 tracer cartridges. WC846 is replaced by DuPont’s IMR 8208M (formerly EX 8208-4).

Stephen A. Doilney, Chief of Aberdeen’s Small Arms & Aircraft Weapons Branch, sends a message to WECOM titled “Firing of M196 Cartridges in XM177E2 Submachine Gun.” Doilney states that testing has shown excessive yaw and dispersion with the M196 Tracer. There is serious concern that the incompatibility of M196 Tracers with the XM177E2 cannot be solved by changes in ammunition only. Total compatibility may require redesign of the XM177E2 muzzle device.

IWK‘s Ludwig Six and Rudolf Niemann file an US patent application for the design of a heavyweight 5.56mm projectile.

CETME‘s Dr. Günther Voss receives US Patent #3,357,357 titled “Rifle Bullet.”

Colt’s Henry Into files a patent application for the design of the CGL-5 grenade launcher.

William C. Davis sends a memo to COL Isaacs titled “Redirection of SPIW Program to Caseless Ammunition.”

1968


WECOM issues “Rifle 5.56mm M16: Selection Process for NATO Standard.”

Twin Cities AAP issues the memo “Small Caliber Ammunition Modernization Program (Outline & Description) 5.56mm Cartridge Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.”

Colt switches from 6061 T6 aluminum forgings to 7075 T6 aluminum forgings upon suggestion by Gene Stoner. The earlier forging were found to be prone to intergranular exfoliation in the humid climate of Vietnam. Thin areas of the receiver, such as the area around the front pivot pin hole, could completely corrode apart within as little as three months.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 3,265 M16A1 and 52 XM148 to South Vietnam.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 1,400 M16A1 to Laos.

Singapore voices interest in making a private arrangement with Colt to develop a domestic M16 production facility.

Frankford Arsenal discovers that some cartridges shipped to South Vietnam have unusually soft cases.

Frankford Arsenal begins experiments with the Low Noise Duplex Cartridge (LNDC). The earliest cartridges are loaded with a pair of 110gr tungsten core slugs. The initial projectiles use a blunt round-nose profile, but later efforts consist of a semi-spitzer shape.

Nosler continues to test its solid steel projectiles, now loading them in a .22-250.

FN experiments with a heavily tapered version of the 5.56x45mm case. The case taper resembles that of the Soviet 7.62x39mm.

L. James Sullivan leaves Ruger for Hughes Advanced Armament.

The SEALs discover a serious quirk with their Stoners: the “spin-back” jam. When in the belt-fed configuration, the Stoner ejects to the left. However, the 63A also feeds the belt from the left side. Occasionally, an ejected case will hit the drum or belt, and “spin-back” into the ejection port, causing a malfunction. On a positive note, Cadillac Gage introduces several enhancements, the most popular a short LMG barrel. This removes 6.25″ in length and drops 1.56 pounds from the standard LMG barrel. Equipped with the new barrel, the LMG becomes known as the “Commando” model.

Beretta and SIG part ways on the 5.56mm rifle project over SIG Director Rudolf Amsler’s insistence on using roller locking. SIG goes on to produce their SG530-1, a gas operated, roller locked design. At Beretta, Giuseppe Mazzetti, Leandro Zerneri, and Vittorio Valle set to work on a more conventional gas operated, rotary bolt design. The resulting design becomes the AR70. Both rifles still bear a fairly similar profile.

RWS and gunmaker Friedrick W. Heym introduce the 5.6x50mmR Magnum. It is essentially a lengthened and rimmed .222 Remington Magnum.

The US Navy begins research on sound suppressors for the M16/M16A1 for use by UDT and SEALs. Part of the Swimmer Weapons System Program, the project is assigned to the Mechanical Systems Materiel Division of the Underwater Mechanical Engineering Department of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory.

New Zealand begins limited issue of the XM148 to troops issued the M16A1.

January:
After receiving final approval from General Johnson, ACSFOR LTG Collins creates the Army Small Arms Program (ARSAP) to handle all Army small arms projects. Nearly fifty projects are sorted into four major time spans: Continuing, Immediate (up to five years), Mid-term (up to 1980), and Long-term (up to 1990). Among the short term projects are product improvement tasks including M16A1 weapon system components such as a muzzle brake compensator and two-round burst control device, grenade launcher attachment development, alternative methods of launching grenades, advanced development of a 40mm disposable barrel cartridge area target ammunition (DBCATA), and development of a family of 40mm cartridges. Experiments, evaluations, and simulations will address analysis of the tactical value of machine guns in squads and platoons equipped with automatic rifles, the effectiveness and utility of the SPIW and automatic rifles, and the effectiveness and utility of the SPIW and automatic 40mm grenade launching systems. Among the mid-range projects are development projects appropriately designated the “Future Rifle Program” (FRP). This includes projects such as the SPIW, now renamed the Serial Fléchette Rifle (SFR), the micro-caliber Serial Bullet Rifle (SBR), and other experimental cartridge concepts such as multiple fléchette loadings and caseless ammunition. Long range objectives will be covered by the Army Small Arms Requirements Study (ASARS). ASARS I will establish measures of effectiveness, and the importance of small arms relative to supporting weapons in casualty production, and will identify types of weapon mixes applicable to the Army in 1985. A follow-on study, ASARS II, will relate data on the contribution of small arms weapon characteristics to overall combat effectiveness.

The M16 Rifle Review Panel travels to Hawaii to review the files and records at Headquarters, US Army Pacific and CINCPAC. Upon completion of this review, the panel continues on to Vietnam and conducts a field survey to determine the current status of M16 reliability, training, supply, maintenance and overall effectiveness.

McNamara instructs Secretary Resor to obtain maximum production of the M16 from Colt. It is estimated that a progressive build-up to 40,000 rifles per month could be achieved by June 1969.

WECOM‘s AMSWE-QA releases “M16A1 Rifle Quality Assessment Report.”

The Commander, DCASD-Hartford, writes to Colt President Benke, regarding the existence of quality control problems at the contractor’s facility. In response, Benke takes exception to many of the deficiencies cited in the letter. However, he does admit:

“THE ONLY APPARENT DEFICIENCY IN OUR QUALITY CONTROL PROGRAM APPEARS TO BE THE DOCUMENTATION OF OUR QUALITY INVESTIGATIONS AND THE DOCUMENTATION OF THE FOLLOW-UP TO INSURE THAT CORRECTIVE ACTION HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED. THIS CONDITION HAS BEEN DISCUSSED WITH SEVERAL QUALIFIED GOVERNMENT QUALITY ASSURANCE REPRESENTATIVES. IT IS AGREED THAT IMPROVEMENTS CAN BE MADE BY THE CONTRACTOR IN THIS AREA. AT THE PRESENT TIME, WE ARE CONDUCTING A COMPLETE QUALITY AUDIT OF ALL COLT VENDORS TO INSURE THAT THEY ARE COMPLYING WITH CONTRACTUAL REQUIREMENTS. A REPORT OF THIS AUDIT AND THE CORRECTIVE ACTION TAKEN WILL BE SUBMITTED TO THE GOVERNMENT BY 23 FEBRUARY 1968.”

Colt performs a survey of twenty-eight vendors, and all are reported to have adequate quality history. Seventeen of them have inadequate inspection records, and 18 have inadequate gauge control systems. In the latter two categories, 16 vendors had both inadequate inspection records and gauge control systems.

WSEG testing begins at Fort Sherman in Panama. 522 Marines test M16A1 rifles using new buffers and a mix of chromed and unchromed chambers with a mix of ammo from ball and IMR-loaded lots. M14 rifles are used as control. Ironically, M193 ball ammunition loaded with IMR 8208M exhibits the highest malfunction rates.

Based on the preliminary results of the WSEG tests, McNamara directs that until further notice, no M193 ammunition loaded with IMR 8208M is to be manufactured, or shipped to Vietnam. IMR-loaded lots of M193 are suspended for use except for CONUS training. IMR‘s use in M196 tracer rounds is allowed to continue. The lot numbers of the effected ammunition are ordered to be compiled and forwarded to USARV immediately. Frankford Arsenal subsequently distributes the requested lot numbers.

QALI is issued to DCASR-St. Louis regarding inspections related to Olin-Winchester’s production of M196 Tracer ammunition.

Another field survey of troops armed with the M16 rifle is begun. It is part of a review of the M16 program presently being prepared by the Office of the Chief of Staff of the US Army. The purpose of the survey is to evaluate measures already undertaken to improve M16 reliability, to identify any current rifle problems, and to determine the general performance and acceptability of the system under combat conditions. All major Army units in USARV and one Marine Division are included in the survey sample. Two means are used to collect data: personal interviews and a questionnaire.

TECOM concludes comparison testing of old and new-style buffers.

The Exterior Ballistics Laboratory (EBL) of the BRL initiates testing of the XM177E2. Earlier, the PMR, at the request of General Besson, had requested an effectiveness study and evaluation comparing the XM177/XM177E1 with the M16/M16A1 rifle. By this point, the XM177E2 have already replaced the earlier models, so testing progresses with the newer model. Interestingly, the XM177E2 is in such demand that only a spare barrel and blast suppressor are available. Since the testing relates to ballistics and not functioning, the spare barrel is fitted to a M16A1 on hand at Aberdeen. It quickly becomes clear that the suppressor has a significant influence on the flight behavior of both the M193 and M196 projectiles. To investigate this phenomenon further, two additional suppressors are obtained from D&PS. The three suppressors are used to signify various phases in the life of the weapon. The suppressors had approximately 1,000, 3,100, and 9,200 rounds of ammunition fired through them prior to the EBL tests.

Rock Island Arsenal issues the report “Commercial Weapons Lubricants.” It concludes that 90 to 95 percent of the evaluated products are not suitable weapons lubricants based on poor corrosion protection.

The BRL publishes “Limitations on the Performance of Hand-Held Automatic Rifles Equipped with Muzzle-Brake Compensators.”

Aberdeen’s D&PS releases “Product Improvement Test of Redesigned Buffer for M16A1 Rifle.”

Colt’s Foster Sturtevant receives US Patent #3,366,011 titled “Buffer Assembly Having a Plurality of Inertial Masses Acting in Delayed Sequence to Oppose Bolt Rebound.”

The first 120 “Noise Suppressor HEL M4” arrive in Vietnam. These require the installation of a special bolt carrier and an add-on gas deflector.

General Johnson writes a letter to the new Marine Corps Commandant, General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., titled “Stoner Weapon System Evaluation.” The Army agrees to cooperate in a continued evaluation of the Stoner 63A LMG.

FN submits a CAL prototype to the Belgian military for testing.

AAI publishes the report “5.56 MM Caseless Rifle Study.” The objective of the program has been the development of a concept for an individual shoulder fired weapon capable of firing 5.56mm molded caseless propellant cartridges. The weapon concept shall be lightweight, gas-operated, and possess a selective semi and full automatic fire capability. The six month program consisted of a detailed engineering design and theoretical analysis; and the fabrication and testing of an experimental firing fixture. This program has demonstrated the feasibility of using the firing pin actuated mechanism as a simple and effective means of firing caseless ammunition.

Olin-Winchester’s Joseph A. Badali and James H. Johnson receive US Patent #3,365,828 titled “Grenade Launcher for Attachment to a Rifle.”

February:
McNamara leaves the post of Secretary of Defense at the end of the month.

ACSFOR LTG Collins announces that the First Small Arms Conference will be held at Fort Benning later in the month. This meeting is the first in the series of semi-annual conferences, called for by the ARSAP for the purpose of providing coordination of Army small arms activities. The specific purposes of the meeting are to review and refine task descriptions and funding requirements. The revised ARSAP includes:

“CONDUCT FEASIBILITY STUDIES OF A 5.56MM, OR SMALLER, SUCCESSOR FOR THE M60 MACHINE GUN. EMPLOY NEW CONCEPTS TO ELIMINATE SENSITIVITY TO VARIABLES INHERENT IN NORMAL AMMUNITION PRODUCTION. EXPLORE APPROPRIATENESS OF 5.56MM DESTRUCTIVE POTENTIAL, INCLUDING POSSIBLE USE OF HEAVIER PROJECTILES, IN COMPARISON WITH LETHALITY REQUIRED FOR LIGHT MACHINE GUN SUCCESSOR.”

While no money will be programmed for this effort in the FY 1968-71 time period, two sub-tasks involving feasibility studies of a 7.62mm successor to the M60 machine gun will be funded. The BRL, however, have a small program in the preliminary stages directed in part toward the use of heavier 5.56mm projectiles to obtain greater effectiveness range.

Among the five grenade launcher tasks, the highest priority is accorded the GLAD program, with completion scheduled for the fourth quarter of FY 1970. Related to the GLAD program is the advanced production engineering for the DBCATA. Product improvement of existing systems and development of a family of 40mm cartridges is a continuous effort. Granted a second priority, with no funds scheduled until FY 1970 and with a projected completion date of the fourth quarter of FY 1971, is the investigation of alternative methods for launching grenades.

The AMC M16 Executive Committee is established by COL Isaacs to improve communication between commands associated with M16 development and further integrate rifle and system management. Chaired by COL Isaacs, the committee includes senior technical representatives from WECOMMUCOMTECOM, and the BRL. Responsibility is assigned for overall programs to optimize the weapon system’s performance.

The PMR sends a new investigation team to South Vietnam.

MACV recommends distributing 268,000 M16A1 to South Vietnam Regional and Popular Forces (RF/PF).

The full conversion from the M14 to the M16A1 rifle in Army training is approved subject to the gradual availability of weapons following priority shipment to Vietnam.

Representatives of the different QA elements familiar with the various quality assurance activities pertinent to M16A1 rifle are appointed to the AMC/DCAS M16/M16A1 Rifle Quality Assurance Committee to assist in the integrated control over the numerous efforts being made to insure that Colt’s production output meets desired quality levels. As a result, coordination on all quality assurance matters relative to contractor performance will be accomplished with the contractor, DCASDCASR-Boston, DCASD-Hartford, MUCOMPMRWECOM elements, and AMC.

A Task Group is established to review the final examination and performance requirements as specified in SAPD 253B to determine the adequacy of these requirements and revise them, as necessary, to assure that desired performance and quality levels are being met. The reliability analysis and specification review are then conducted concurrently. As a result of the above, revisions are made to SAPD 253B. These revisions are reviewed by the AMC/DCAS QA Committee and are discussed with the QAR at Colt. These changes include: a revised table of allowable malfunctions and unserviceable parts, improvement to the sampling plan for cyclic rate of fire testing, addition of a mission performance test, addition of an interplant interchangeability test, addition of cleaning and lubrication criteria for testing, addition of inspection and tests for packaging, and revised criteria for inspection lot size. The format is made consistent with standardization procedures for Military Specifications.

Another Task Group of inspection engineering personnel is established and will be located in-house at Colt for the purpose of reviewing inspection equipment designs to determine their adequacy and compatibility with the product drawings. This action is considered essential to correct deficiencies in the criteria for assuring that current hardware conforms to product drawing and to further assure that uniform criteria is furnished to other sources of production. The changes generated by this Task Group’s review will be implemented into the contracts of the other sources of production as well as Colt. Inspection Instruction Sheets are updated, as necessary, for consistency with such changes to the inspection equipment designs determined necessary by the Task Group.

Work begins on a revised Plant Quality Assurance Program (PQAP) for the QAR at Colt by an experienced QAR from the Quality Operations Branch, DCASD-Hartford.

A feedback channel for transmittal of data generated through tests of ammunition is established to provide information on parts mortality, performance and durability of slave weapons (M16A1 rifles) and magazines used in ammunition tests. Rifle performance and replacement data, as well as dimensional measurements recorded prior to and after firing tests, will be used by product assessment activities in the development of reliability and performance requirements for acceptance of product on future contracts.

A representative of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations & Logistics) – ASD(I&L) visits Colt and, among other things, is critical of the requirements placed upon Colt to perform vendor surveys. This results in a study by the AMC/DCAS M16 Committee of the specification and contractual requirements for vendor control.

The DOD‘s Institute for Defense Analysis publishes “Study of the M16 Rifle System.”

DDR&E Foster publishes a rebuttal to the Ichord report: “Appraisal of the M16 Rifle Program.”

On contract to the US Army, Comprehensive Designers, Inc. (CDI) studies the tolerance relationships in Colt’s TDP for the M16/XM177. 140 areas of potential interference are found and reported to Colt along with the bidders for the second source contracts.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Special Tests of 5.56mm Ammunition.” It is comprised of the results from ten tests using 150 new M16A1 rifles and 420,000 rounds of ammunition. Before testing, the chamber dimensions of all 150 rifles are checked in seven areas. Depending on the exact point of measurement, up to 77.5 percent of the rifle chambers were out of spec.

“Operational Reliability Test M16A1 Rifle System, WSEG Report 124” on the Panamanian trials is classified and sealed by the OSD. This is suspected to be result of WC846’s superior showing over IMR 8208M, which directly contradicted the allegations of the Ichord report.

Aberdeen’s D&PS releases the reports “Final Report on Special Study of High Temperature Bore Fouling of 5.56-MM, M196 Tracer Cartridge in M16A1 Rifle” and “Initial Production Test of Chrome-Plated Chambers for 5.56-MM, M16A1 Rifles.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Interim Quality Assurance Report of 5.56 Fouling Test conducted at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.”

The field survey of troops armed with the M16 rifle in Vietnam ends.

Aberdeen’s BRL releases the report “SPIW Modes of Fire.” The study investigates the most effective mode of aimed fire to engage linear and point targets with the rifle portion of the SPIW system. Basic test data were generated by a group of riflemen firing a total of approximately 23,000 rounds at different types of simulated targets. A supplementary phase of the report discusses the applicability to the SPIW of doctrine evolved for full automatic fire from other rifle systems. The report recommends that while the AAI’s high cyclic rate burst mechanism might give a higher percentage of hits over its much lower cyclic rate in full-automatic mode, the rifle would probably gain in reliability by removing the burst mechanism and tuning the weapon for a single “optimum” rate of full-auto fire.

Arthur Miller receives US Patent #3,369,316 titled “Apparatus for Mounting and Locking a Folding Stock on a Rifle.”

The USAIB begins a Military Potential Test of the HEL M4 sound suppressor.

March:
Clark M. Clifford takes over as Secretary of Defense.

At the beginning of the month, an analysis of M16 requirements and assets shows the following:

CommandGross Requirement (Excluding replacement of M1 rifles)On HandRemainder to be filledNeeded Urgently for use in Vietnam
PACOM1,568,318534,7061,033,612376,796
Other943,639170,559773,0800
Total2,511,957705,3651,806,692376,796

The urgent requirement will be distributed as follows: 91,258 for USARV for Combat Service Support troops and maintenance float, 61,938 for ARVN to complete their equipping, 72,000 for potential Army deployments, 36,600 for potential Marine deployments, and 115,000 for South Vietnamese RF/PF.

Deputy Secretary Nitze sends a memo to Thomas D. Morris, ASD(I&L), requesting analysis of how M16 production can be increased.

In a reply to Deputy Secretary Nitze titled “Expanded M16 Rifle Production,” ASD(I&L) Morris proposes adoption of two different actions: 1) Move Colt to a three-shift, seven day a week schedule as suggested; and 2) Award two additional contracts for M16 production, not just one as proposed.

JCS Chairman General Wheeler sends a memo to Secretary Clifford titled “Increased Production of the M16 Rifle.” Wheeler recommends that the Department of the Army be provided with sufficient funding and authority to increase current production at Colt, start production at a second source as soon as possible, and explore possibilities of adding additional sources of production.

A Quality Assurance Comparison Test of M16A1 rifles is conducted by an independent Government test agency in accordance with a coordinated test plan.

Colt’s contract is amended to require that Colt abide by its own updated TDP, the same version that was previously sold to the US Government.

Aberdeen’s BRL releases the memorandum report “Accuracy of Rifle Fire: SPIW, M16A1, M14.” These include the results of full automatic and burst mode accuracy testing at Fort Benning between the M16A1, M14, and AAI SPIW prototypes. Of note is the performance of the test M16A1 rifles, equipped with two round burst mechanisms. These are found to improve the hit probability over controlled automatic fire in the same weapon. The M16A1 also allows for the highest number of target engagements. Not surprisingly, the SPIW is found to be the easiest to control in automatic fire, and this produces the highest hit probability per target engaged. The M14, combined with either the standard M80 Ball or M198 Duplex, is found to give a higher hit probability per target engaged than the M16A1. With the M198 Duplex, the M14 is considered to be competitive with the SPIW, at least per target engagement.

CINCPAC Admiral Sharp proposes the FY 1968 MAP Augmentation Plan for South Korea. Included is $2.4 million for 10,000 M16 for the ROK Army and Marines. Secretary of Defense Clifford approves the plan; however, he adds the condition that no M16 are to be delivered to Korea until all MACV requirements are filled.

On behalf of ARPA‘s Office of Advanced Engineering, the Battelle Memorial Institute begins a study of the analysis of test and selection procedures for small arms lubricants.

D&PS issues the report “Final Report on Special Study of High Temperature Bore Fouling of 5.56-MM, M196 Tracer Cartridge in M16A1 Rifle.”

TECOM releases the report “Comparison Test for Cyclic Rate Comparison of Ball Cartridges in WSEG Weapons.”

General Electric submits a proposal to continue development of Springfield’s orphaned SPIW. (GE’s Armament Division was already renting portions of the Springfield Armory facility.)

The USAIB concludes testing of the HEL-M4 sound suppressor.

April:
The ARSAP is revised again. This includes a task resume for evaluation of contender 5.56mm machine guns. The assumption is that the primary mode of employment will be with the rifle squad as a supporting weapon to the M16A1 rifle. The 5.56mm machine gun is not expected to replace the 7.62mm M60 machine gun at conventional machine gun ranges. $1,000,000 is listed as required in FY 1969, but no money is programmed until FY 1970.

The Office of the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Army publishes “Impact of the Abolishment of the Office of the Chief of Ordnance on the M16 Rifle Program.” The authors conclude “There is no substantial evidence from which to conclude that the problems experienced with the M16 rifle would not have existed or would have been fewer had there been a Chief of Ordnance.” The Vice Chief of Staff adds the comment: “I am convinced that the problems related to the M16 would have been more severe had there been a Chief of Ordnance with his traditional bias against any item which was not Ordnance developed. The attached record on the M14 development engenders little confidence in the old Chief of Ordnance management system.” The study is passed on to General Johnson for approval, whereupon he sends it on to DDR&E Foster.

The DOD budget decision approves procurement of 658 million rounds at a cost of $57 million.

An updated version of the M16/M16A1’s performance specifications (SAPD 253C) is drafted.

As a result of the monthly quality audits, additional mandatory inspections at Colt are found necessary, and DCASD-Hartford is advised by an amendment to their QALI.

Colt’s deficient vendors are resurveyed, and all but one are found to be satisfactory. The deficient vendor agrees to improve.

In a memorandum to Chief of Staff General Johnson, ASA(I&L) Dr. Brooks recommends that a task force be established to perform the following functions:

  1. Conduct analyses of all available and pertinent test data to provide a good understanding of the current quality of M16 Rifles, ammunition, and magazines;
  1. Prepare a critique of the procedures, specifications, and contractual provisions which constitute the current quality assurance program; and
  2. Prepare a set of suggested revisions to the appropriate elements of the quality assurance program.

Dr. Brooks further indicates that this project would serve to broaden the application of appropriate statistical analyses and techniques to the Army’s Small Arms Program and other programs.

ASD(I&L) Morris, in discussion with the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army (Operations Research), also raises certain questions regarding the Army’s quality assurance program in general, and as applied to the M16 Rifle program. Specific areas addressed are:

  1. Army implementation of DOD procurement policies outlined in Section XIV of the Armed Services Procurement Regulations (ASPR);
  1. Army application of statistical methodology in development of contract specifications;
  1. AMC/DCAS system interface; and
  2. Relationship between the QAR and PMR.

DCSLOG LTG Engler requests that AMC establish a task force and on a priority basis accomplish the objectives cited above.

A memorandum titled “Review of Production Quality Control of M16 Rifle” from ASD(I&L) Morris to ASA(I&L) Dr. Brooks encloses a list of questions originally developed for an OSD study of the M16 Rifle. An understanding is reached that the Army study, as a minimum, will investigate the elements identified in Phases I and II of the memorandum.

Springfield Armory is officially closed at the end of the month. Of 480 employees, less than 20 members of the staff agree to transfer to Rock Island Arsenal. The remainder quit. (Richard Colby, designer of the Springfield SPIW, is hired by GE’s Springfield office.)

Letter contracts are awarded to H&R (DAAF03-68-C-0045) and GM-Hydramatic (DAAF03-68-C-0048) for 240,000 M16A1 rifles apiece. In response to grumbling by the other bidders, Maremont and Cadillac Gage, the Ichord Subcommittee is reestablished and the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee establishes its own “Special M16 Rifle Subcommittee” chaired by Senator Howard Cannon (D-NV).

The Weapon Systems Analysis Directorate issues the report “An Annotated Bibliography of M16A1 Rifle System Tests.”

Aberdeen concludes product improvement testing of the XM177E2.

The JCS sends a memo to Secretary of Defense Clifford discussing the accelerated expansion of the South Vietnamese Armed Forces (RVNAF). The JCS requests permission to equip the RVNAF, including RF/PF, with M16 rifles.

The US Army Arctic Test Center publishes “Service Test of Lubricants for M14 and M16A1 Rifles Under Arctic Winter Conditions.” The purpose of the test was to evaluate LSA and an experimental lubricant. After approval of the test plan, another objective was added to the test, comparison of the performance of the M16A1 rifle when using IMR and ball powder ammunition under arctic winter conditions.

General Electric’s Robert E. Chiabrandy receives US Patents #3,380,341 titled “Safing Means for High Rate of Fire Multi-Barrel Automatic Weapon,” #3,380,342 titled “Clearing Mechanism for High Rate of Fire Multi-Barrel Automatic Weapon,” and #3,380,343 titled “Firing Mechanism for High Rate of Fire Multi-Barrel Automatic Weapon.”

The USAIB publishes the report “Military Potential Test of Noise Suppressor, HEL, M4, for M16A1 Rifle.” The purpose of the test was to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the HEL-M4 in realistic operational exercises characteristic of Vietnam. Factors such as position disclosing effects, system functioning, durability, reliability, and maintenance were considered. Fifteen M16A1 rifles with HEL-M4 attached were used to conduct this test, with fifteen standard M16A1 rifles used for control purposes. There were no deficiencies found; however, three shortcomings were noted. The gas deflector failed to deflect all of the escaping gases from the firer’s eyes; the ejection pattern of the M16A1 rifle with the HEL-M4 attached caused the expended cartridge to strike the cheek of left-handed firers; and the malfunction rate of the test weapon was unusually high (primarily double feeding). It is concluded that the HEL-M4 has military potential and accomplishes the purpose for which it was designed, i.e., to deceive observers located forward of the test weapon as to the location of the weapon when it is fired. It is recommended that the HEL-M4 be considered as having military potential, and further development be directed toward correction of the shortcomings.

Arthur Miller, Charles Dorchester, and George Sullivan receive US Patent #3,380,183 titled “Upper Handguard Fixedly Mounted on Barrel Assembly by Breechblock Guide Rods.”

May:
The report “M16 Rifle Survey in the Republic of Vietnam” is published. The survey indicates that the M16 rifle system is suitable for the war in Vietnam. Particularly desirable qualities are its high rate of fire and its light weight. However, failures to extract were still occurring with enough frequency to undermine confidence in the M16. Although troops generally preferred to carry the M16 in combat, some misgivings were entertained about its reliability. Introduction of the chromed chamber appears to have reduced the number of failures to extract, but this development has not been fielded long enough to permit adequate evaluation. The authors conclude that continued product improvement and user efforts will be required to improve reliability.

The survey also notes the following:

  1. Approximately 23 percent of the personnel are lubricating their ammunition, which is contrary to all published directives.
  1. The buffer retrofit program has not been completed. 16 percent of the personnel questioned report no new buffers.
  1. Approximately 28 percent of the over 2,000 personnel questioned have not received M16 training after arrival in Vietnam and 24 percent report receiving no M16 training before arrival in Vietnam.
  1. Approximately 10 percent of the personnel have never zeroed their weapon and another 33 percent have not zeroed within the previous three months.
  1. 18 percent of the personnel report that their units did not test fire weapons.
  1. Although the rifles are cleaned almost daily, the magazines and ammunition are cleaned on the average only once a week.
  2. Adequate supplies of cleaning materials are available in theater; however, shortages do exist at unit level from time to time because of distribution problems.

Representatives from Frankford Arsenal and WECOM meet at Colt to agree upon chamber drawing changes that will eliminate the possibility of a reverse taper in the neck area after chrome plating.

QALI are issued to the applicable DCAS Regions (DCASR) for the new sources of M16A1 procurement: H&R and GM-Hydramatic.

Quality assurance personnel associated with 5.56mm ammunition and the M16A1 visit an ammunition test site to investigate reported magazine failures. This visit results in several modifications of test procedures. In addition, reporting procedures are modified to assure that usable data is provided for on rifle QA program.

Rock Island Arsenal and Winchester/Western conduct testing on alternative gas systems for the M16 rifle.

CDCEC publishes “Weapons Basic Infantry Element Experiment Report.” This is a supplement to the IRUS-75 Phase I study.

MACV commander General Westmoreland advises CINCPAC Admiral Sharp the increased issue of M16 rifles to ARVN and RF/PF will also require an increased allocation of 5.56mm ammunition. In messages to the JCS and Department of the Army, Admiral Sharp supports General Westmoreland’s request and recommends an increase in 5.56mm ammunition production.

South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) representatives meet with OSD staff and broach the topic of establishing a small arms manufacturing plant in Korea. Minister of National Defense Choi indicates a preference for the M16. Deputy Secretary Nitze and Ambassador Brown endorse the proposal

Sound suppressors are submitted for evaluation for the ENSURE #77 requirement.

AAI and Philco-Ford deliver their grenade launcher prototypes. Aberdeen’s Materiel Testing Directorate begins testing the GLAD prototypes alongside the AAI DBCATA. The testing consists of velocity, accuracy, reliability, adverse conditions, ruggedness, and lubricant compatibility tests.

FN‘s Ernest Vervier files an US patent application for the design of the CAL’s removable three-round burst mechanism.

June:
Contract DAAF03-69-0021 is let to Colt for 740,803 M16A1 and 1,000 M16 rifles. 135,001 of the ordered M16A1 are later requested to be manufactured as M16 instead. Colt also contracts to produce 1,000 30 round magazines for initial production testing. This contract also includes the Technical Data Package for their manufacture. Delivery is projected in 6.5 months.

In testimony to the Ichord Subcommittee, a GAO spokesman renders the GAO‘s conclusion the Army’s followed legal procedures in its awards to GM-Hydramatic and H&R. Ichord will later comment that a minimum of $40 million has been squandered on the M16. In both HASC and open House debates over the defense appropriations bill, Ichord fights to reduce the Army’s R&D spending by $20 million as punishment for not accepting the lowest bids in its second source contracts for the M16A1.

Aberdeen’s D&PS releases the report “Final Report on Product Improvement of Submachine Gun, 5.56-MM XM177E2.” The primary purpose of this test was to evaluate the product improvements introduced for the Colt Commando/XM177-series since the SAWS trials of 1965-66, and was not intended to serve as an engineering test leading to type classification. The product improved components of the test weapons were: chrome-plated chambers, new buffer, 1-1/2 inch increased barrel length, Delrin charging handle latch, handguard slip ring, cadmium-plated slip ring spring, shot-peened upper and lower receivers, nylon coated buttstock and release lever, and grenade launcher spacer (for attaching an XM148 grenade launcher). With the exception of the Delrin charging handle latch, the durability of all the product improvements was satisfactory throughout the test. The Delrin charging handle latch experienced structural failure at -65F. Moreover, no difference could be detected between the delrin charging-handle latch and the metal latch with respect to receiver wear. No advantages in corrosion resistance were demonstrated for the shot-peened receivers, nylon-coated buttstock and release lever, and cadmium-plated slip ring spring. The chrome-plated chambers demonstrated improvement over nonplated chambers in reducing failures to extract, and the new angled handguard slip ring offers advantages over the previous design in ease of assembly and disassembly of handguards. Kinematics studies showed that the energy absorbing characteristics of the urethane end cap on the buffer are subject to change under repetitive impacts, causing undesirably large variations in cyclic rate within a burst. Progressive buildup of fouling in the flash/sound suppressor during firing tends to increase muzzle flash and sound level, and apparently has an adverse effect on bullet stability and flight. M193 Ball projectiles were found to yaw up to 10 to 20 degrees on occasion, and M196 Tracer projectiles were even worse in this regard. Both M193 and M196 projectiles exhibited more yawing with WC846-loaded ammunition than with IMR 8208M-loaded ammunition. M196 projectiles were also prone to breakup regardless of the powder used in the cartridges. Both the XM77E1 and XM177E2 weapons gave unsatisfactorily high malfunction rates in the low temperature fouling test, and both weapons demonstrated more severe fouling in the operating mechanism with WC846-loaded cartridges than IMR 8208M. It is recommended that further development of the XM177E2 submachine gun buffer and noise/flash suppressor be accomplished, that the Delrin charging handle latch be considered unacceptable, and that the remaining product improvements under test be considered suitable for use on the XM177E2 submachine gun and, as appropriate, the M16A1 rifle.

The OCSA‘s Weapons Systems Analysis Directorate publishes the 12 volume report “Report of the M16 Rifle Review Panel.” The individual titles are as follows:

  • History of the M16 Weapon System
  • Small Arms Test Policies and Procedures
  • Audit Trail and Analysis of M16A1 Weapon and Ammunition System Tests
  • Review and Analysis of M16 Rifle Training
  • Ammunition Development Program
  • Procurement Production and Distribution History of the AR-15-M16-M16A1 Weapon System
  • Review and Analysis of M16 System Reliability
  • M16 Surveys in the Republic of Vietnam
  • Review and Analysis of the Army Organizational Structure and Management Practices
  • Audit Trail of Chief of Staff – Army Actions and Decisions Concerning the M16
  • The Army Small Arms Program
  • M16 Product Improvement Modifications

After receiving delivery of 6,000 AR-15, further shipments to Singapore are suspended by the OSD due to higher priority commitments.

Secretary of State Rusk and Secretary of Defense Clifford issue a joint message questioning whether South Korean production of the M16 is in the best interest of the US or Korea. They request the Commander of US Forces in Korea (COMUSKOREA), CINCPAC Admiral Sharp, and the JCS assess the optimum future shoulder weapon for the Korean military. In particular, they should weigh the possibility of surplus M14 becoming available within the next few years.

Battelle Memorial Institute submits the report “Analysis of Test and Selection Procedures for Small Arms Lubricants.” It covers the history of the M16 and its recommended lubricants. It also details the results of combat experimentation with other non-standard lubricants.

An 18-pound test fixture for the CMG-2 mechanism is completed.

Colt’s Robert Roy receives US Patent #3,386,336 titled “Convertible Machine Gun for Right- and Left-Hand Cartridge Feed and Operation.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “BRL Survey of the Army Caseless Ammunition Program.” An in-depth review of the Small Arms Caseless Ammunition Program was conducted. The results of the review, determined from interviews with contractors and Government personnel, and from reviews of progress reports prepared by contractors show the current status of the Caseless Ammunition Program. The results of this study show that the Caseless Ammunition Program has not reached the concept formulation phase.

Mid 1968:
The Philippine Government and Colt enter negotiations for the establishment of a domestic M16 production plant. It is envisioned that 10 percent of the production will be SMG, 3.9 percent as HBAR, and the rest as standard M16. US Government permission has not yet been negotiated.

Summer:
All regular ARVN infantry maneuver battalions have received M16A1.

Due to Japanese export restrictions on Howa-made AR-18, ArmaLite establishes their own production line for the AR-18 at their facility in Costa Mesa, CA.

July:
Secretary Clifford visits South Vietnam. While there, he promises to speed up deliveries of M16 rifles to the ARVN, even at the expense of US units.

The new MACV commander General Creighton Abrams informs CINCPAC Admiral Sharp that the recent changes in the distribution plan for the M16 will eliminate a previous requirement of 20,000 M2 carbines, and request the cancellation of the shipment. Admiral Sharp passes on the information to the JCS who cancels the carbine shipment.

COMUSKOREA informs Admiral Sharp that the South Korean Government has publicly expressed its intent to build a modern domestic small arms plant, and they have suggested this can be achieved without cost to the MAP. The South Koreans favor either the M16 or AR-18. COMUSKOREA suggests other alternatives for reequipping the South Koreans with a new rifle, and recommends that he be authorized to develop with the Koreans a detailed five-year program for rifle modernization.

Aberdeen publishes the report “M16 Rifle System Reliability and Quality Assurance Evaluation.” A comprehensive study of the reliability of the M16 Rifle was undertaken. The report contains an extensive analysis of statistical and engineering data to estimate the reliability characteristics of the M16 Rifle system, analyze factors affecting the reliability of the system (propellants, projectiles, ammunition lots, cyclic rate, cycle time, chrome chambering, cleaning, lubricating, mode of fire, magazines and environments), and to establish a sound technical base for other parts of the study indicated below. The report also includes an analysis of the pertinent specifications for the rifles, magazines and ammunition, with particular emphasis on the validity of the parameters, the tests, the standards, the statistical sampling plans, the criteria, and their compatibility with the requirements for a reliable rifle system. Basically, the M16 Rifle is deemed a reliable system. Although the M16 Rifle and the M14 Rifle are not comparable in design, weight, ballistic parameters, operating features and effectiveness, their reliability characteristics are approximately similar. The M16 Rifle is more reliable than the M14 Rifle during its initial life, but it is slightly more sensitive to environmental effects and maintenance. Although the M16 Rifle currently is reliable, the study indicates that there is appreciable potential for improvement.

The HEL publishes “Accuracy and Rate of Fire for Single Shot and Semi-Automatic Grenade Launchers.”

CDCEC publishes “Operational Hit and Kill Probabilities XM148 Grenade Launcher System.”

Olin-Winchester’s Joseph A. Badali and James H. Johnson receive US Patent #3,390,475 titled “Magazine Having a Movable Door Hinged Thereto.”

The USAIB conducts testing of the HEL-M4, the improved HEL-M4A, Frankford Arsenal’s FA-CM and FA-XM, and the Sionics MAW-A1, MAW-A2, and MAW-A3. The Sionics suppressor requires no modification other than the removal of the flash hider. During safety testing, a Teflon bushing melts only after the can temperature reached 1,000 degrees. In contrast, one of the Frankford FA-CM bursts during automatic fire due to erosion of its porous aluminum.

August:
The AR-15/M16 Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) is disbanded. The new Army Chief of Staff General Westmoreland creates the US Army Small Arms Systems Agency (USASASA) at Aberdeen to manage research and development efforts related to individual and crew-served weapons up to .60 caliber. This includes the Army Small Arms Program (ARSAP), but not the PMR‘s office. Other responsibilities included infantry grenade launchers (but not the GLAD project), sight and fire control systems (but not electronic night sights and GLAD sights), and all related ammunition programs (except for 40mm grenades and those cartridges controlled by the PMR.)

The South Korean MND informs COMUSKOREA that they consider the domestic establishment of a M16 manufacturing plant in their best interest. The South Korean Government will bear the cost of personnel and operating expenses, but they desire the US to provide the plant construction equipment, raw materials, and technical assistance under the MAP. In reply, COMUSKOREA emphasizes the limitations of MAP funds, but points out that credit financing may be available through the DOD or private enterprise. He adds that a DOD specialist team has been requested to assist in the development of the technical, administrative, and legal aspects of the proposal.

The new CINCPAC Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. writes the JCS listing the key advantages and disadvantages of the M14 and M16. He states that the M14 would excel at the long ranges found in Korea, but also notes that the M16 is an effective weapon for internal defense operations. With this in mind, McCain suggests that there is a strong argument to arm the Koreans with a mix of weapons. The relative costs of the weapons and accessories will be a major factor in any final decision. McCain concurs with COMUSKOREA‘s recommendations with the understanding that the US Government is not pre-committed to any resulting program. He estimates the study could be complete in four months. The JCS approves the proposed study and assigns McCain with recommending the optimum rifle upon completion of the study.

In a message to COMUSKOREA, Admiral McCain points out that rearming South Korean support personnel is not a priority. Immediate rearming of the rest of the Korean forces with the M16 may not be a financially sound decision given the possibility of surplus M14 becoming available in coming years. In future discussions, the Koreans need to be reminded that the US is not committed to the construction of a M16 plant.

Admiral McCain recommends to the JCS that the DOD specialist team be dispatched to South Korea for handling the co-production proposal. However, the initial attitude to the request is negative, perceiving it as premature.

At Frankford Arsenal, Laurence F. Moore files the report “Gas Tube Fouling Characteristics of M193 Ball Cartridges in M16A1 Rifle.”

At Colt, work begins on an actual CMG-2 prototype.

Aberdeen’s Materiel Testing Directorate ends testing of the 40mm grenade launchers.

A letter contract is awarded to AAI for their grenade launcher design. It is unanimously selected based on its performance and cost.

An Engineering Design Test for the AAI launcher begins at Aberdeen and Fort Benning.

Major Francis B. Conway, Commanding Officer of the US Army’s Marksmanship Training Unit (MTU), supervises accuracy testing of the Sionics and HEL suppressors. The Sionics equipped rifle actually improves in 100m and 300m accuracy over the same rifle equipped with the standard flash suppressor. The HEL-M4 suppressor does well at 100m but falls back at 300m.

September:
The Senate’s Special M16 Rifle Subcommittee concludes that the Army is spending millions of dollars more in its contracts to GM-Hydramatic and H&R because it did not take costs into consideration. The Army’s contract award process is declared to be “a most inept performance.”

On the House side, the Ichord Subcommittee publishes its latest report calling the awards to GM-Hydramatic and H&R “an exercise of extremely poor judgment.”

The GAO publishes its audit of Colt’s M16 contracts as requested by the Ichord Subcommittee a year earlier. The report concludes that Colt had overcharged by $506,500.

The JCS finally approves the request to send the DOD specialist team to South Korea, but only after Admiral McCain reemphasizes the strong feelings of the South Korean Government and Deputy Secretary Nitze’s commitment to the issue.

Due to its long lead time, supply action for the M16 in the FY 1968 South Korean MAP Augmentation is suspended until the Congress approves the FY 1969 MAP. The argument is that if the FY 1969 Korean MAP is drastically cut, the inclusion of the FY 1968 MAP Augmentation is also in danger.

The JCS instructs Admiral McCain to advise the South Koreans that establishing a M16 plant in Korea may not be wise for the following reasons:

  1. Current US M16 production will soon be large enough to meet any additional requirements;
  1. MAP and other economic aid is likely to be reduced in the future; and
  2. The cost of establishing the production facility will cut into the funds needed for other Korean modernization projects.

The BRL publishes “Computer Simulation of 5.56mm Propellants.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “Launch Characteristics of the M193 (Ball) and M196 (Tracer) Projectiles from the XM177E2 Submachine Gun. The data indicate that the XM177E2’s blast suppressor decreases accuracy over no muzzle device, and that accuracy decreases even further as the suppressor sees continued use.”

The USAIB publishes the report “Military Potential Test of Noise Suppressors for M16A1 Rifle.” The purpose of this test was to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the seven sound suppressor designs with respect to such factors as: accuracy; position disclosing effects; system functioning; durability, reliability, and maintenance; and to select a device suitable for a Vietnam field evaluation and/or further development. As a result of the testing, the decision is made to manufacture and field the HEL-M4A.

100 HEL-M4A suppressors are shipped to Vietnam.

On behalf of the US Army, Warren W. Wells files a patent application for a metal reinforced, plastic M16 magazine.

Colt’s John Jorczak and David Behrendt file a patent application for an auxiliary cartridge case extractor.

October:
Colt produces its one millionth M16.

Secretary of Defense Clifford approves Phase I of MACV‘s RVNAF Improvement and Moderization Plan with the proviso that M16 are not be provided to Vietnamese logistic troops.

Admiral McCain passes along the JCS‘ instructions to COMUSKOREA. In reply, COMUSKOREA notes that the DOD specialist team needs to be supplemented with experts on the financial and legal aspects of a co-production plan. McCain passes the recommendation along to the JCS, who denies the request. The OSD position is that discussing financial and legal aspects is premature, and might imply US commitment to the Koreans’ plan.

When Admiral McCain visits South Korea, COMUSKOREA submits a joint proposal for the M16 plant. The plan is to produce 600,000 rifles and accessories. In addition, the Korean arsenal will be expanded in order to meet all of the Korean military’s training ammunition requirements for 5.56mm, .30’06, .30 carbine, and .50 caliber. Basic load and war reserve supplies of 5.56mm ammunition could be met by expanding the arsenal’s hours of operation. McCain also meets with South Korean President Park who expresses his interest in the project.

After a three week visit, the DOD specialist team concludes that South Korean production of the M16 and 5.56mm ammunition is technically feasible and that it might be cheaper for the Koreans to build the rifles than to supply them from US production.

Philippine President Marcos questions US Ambassador G. Mennen Williams as to the reasons behind the US Government’s delay in approving a domestic M16 production plant. Ambassador Williams requests that Secretary of State Rusk provide a status report on Colt’s application. Williams voices his approval of the proposal.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “Comparison of the Exterior Ballistics of the M193 Projectile when Launched from 1:12 In. and 1:14 In. Twist M16A1 Rifles.” Two rifles with 1-in-12″ twist barrels and two with 1-in-14″ twists were tested at five temperatures: 125, 70, 0, -30, and -65F. The 1-in-14″ twist barrels were in new condition and had very few rounds fired from them (estimated as less than 100). The 1-in-14″ twist barrels had been prerated, on the basis of Colt testing, with one as having “average” dispersion (7.5″ maximum spread at 100 yards) and the other as having good dispersion (4.0″ maximum spread at 100 yards). The 1-in-12″ twist barrels used in the tests were in good condition but much older, and no record was available on how many rounds had previously been fired from them. Projectiles fired from the 1-in-14″ twist barrels showed greater yaw in flight out to 70 meters, with the initial yaw increasing dramatically as the temperature decreased. The initial in flight yaw for projectiles fired from the two barrel twists were about equal at 125F, around 8 degrees of yaw. However, at -65F, the average maximum in flight yaw was 36 degrees for projectiles fired from the 1-in-14″ twist barrels, while there was barely any increase from the 1-12″ twist barrels. Out to 70 meters at -65F, the projectiles from the 1-in-14″ twist barrels were averaging greater yaw than even the 1-in-12″ twist barrels did at the muzzle at the same temperature. Projectiles from the 1-in-12″ twist barrels had stabilized to an average maximum yaw of around 3 degrees at 70 meters regardless of the temperature. As a result of their greater instability, the projectiles fired from the 1-in-14″ twist barrels were found to lose velocity faster than their counterparts fired from the 1-in-12″ twist barrels. While dispersion was worse across all temperatures for the the 1-in-14″ twist barrels, it held close to the 1-in-12″ twist barrels down to around 40F. By -65F, dispersion for the the 1-in-14″ twist barrels was around four times greater than the 1-in-12″ twist barrels.

Naval Weapons Center-China Lake modifies a limited number of M16A1 with side-mounted “jungle slings” and integral cleaning kits. The latter is contained within a modified pistol grip and buttstock.

Production of 960 additional HEL-M4A suppressors is transferred to Edgewood Arsenal.

Aberdeen’s Materiel Testing Directorate releases the report “Engineer Design Test of 40-mm Grenade Launcher Attachments for M16A1 Rifle (GLAD).” The report concludes that the performance of the AAI pump-action launcher is superior to that of the AAI DBCATA and Philco-Ford launchers. Additionally, it was found that the test launchers, irrespective of type, are detrimental to the functioning performance of the rifle to which they are attached. The firing of the launcher causes the operating parts of the rifle to recoil out of position, resulting in failures to fire and failures of the hammer to remain seated. On two occasions, the latter condition caused inadvertent firing of the rifle when an attached Philco-Ford launcher was fired.

AAI is awarded a letter contract for development of a Serial Fléchette Rifle (SFR). (SFR is the new name for the rifle component of the SPIW.)

AC Electronics-Defense Research Labs publishes the report “Study to Increase Gun Barrel Life by Plating the Bore with Tungsten.” During testing contracted by the US Army, a 0.004 inch oversized .220 cal rifled gun barrel was plated with 0.002 inches of tungsten, restoring its original bore size. The plated barrel and an unplated standard barrel were test fired with 1500 rounds of .220 Swift. Less erosion was experienced over a shorter barrel length in the tungsten plated barrel than in the unplated barrel.

November:
The USASASA begins limited operations.

Admiral McCain requests data on the availability and cost of the M14 for equipping the South Korean military. The Department of the Army replies that there is a study underway to determine whether the Army should retain both the M14 and M16, or standardize solely on the M16. They cannot provide the availability and cost data until this decision is made.

Given an increase in the number of border incidents and infiltrations, COMUSKOREA and the Commanding General of the US Eighth Army request expedited delivery of the 10,000 M16 and accessories budgeted in the FY 1968 Korea MAP Supplemental. CINCUSARPAC concurs in the recommendation and requests that Admiral McCain consider an increase in rifle production to allow for early distribution of the M16 to the ROK Army and the US Eighth Army, as well as meeting RVNAF modernization requirements. The Department of the Army provides the AMC with the data necessary to make a partial shipment of 2,500 rifle immediately, with preparations for 3,000 each from November and January production.

Admiral McCain contacts COMUSKOREA with alternative plans for South Korean rifle modernization. Among the alternatives are the issue of the M14 or a mix of the M14 and M16. He requests clarification as to what weapons COMUSKOREA had recommended to the Koreans and justification for upgrading support troops. The rifle modernization plan also needs to be prioritized against other Korean requirement. In addition, McCain requests the size of the loan desired for the modernization plan.

CINCUSARPAC expresses concern that US Army units in South Korea are not being prioritized in receipt of the M16 versus ROK Army and Marines.

In a message to the JCS, Admiral McCain concurs with the plans of expedited shipments of the first 8,500 of 10,000 M16 for the South Koreans, but recommends that the remaining 1,500 be provided from other than PACOM allocations.

COMUSKOREA replies to Admiral McCain that he still recommends construction of a M16 plant in South Korea; however, the choice of the M16 was solely the Koreans’. COMUSKOREA argues that: 1) The M16’s design was inspired by the US’ previous combat experience in Korea; 2) The South Koreans already have combat experience with the M16 in Vietnam; 3) It would give the South Koreans parity with the North Korean’s AK-47; 4) South Korean forces would suffer a loss in morale if issued an older, less capable surplus weapon; and 5) The M16 will most likely be standardized by the US Army, and South Korean adoption of the M16 will simplify logistics between the two nations. COMUSKOREA also recommends the arsenal expansion to meet the Koreans’ ammunition needs. He estimates it will cost $70 to $75 million for construction of the M16 plant, manufacture of the 600,000 rifles, expansion of the arsenal, and manufacture of a five year supply of training, basic load, and war reserve ammunition

The US Country Team for the Philippines recommends to Secretary of State Rusk that Colt be allowed to license production of the M16. This will satisfy the political needs of President Marcos, provide standardization with the US and its Asian allies, add to US export sales, ease pressure of the MAP budget, and save the possible embarrassment of the Philippines pursuing a licensing agreement with another country.

The Chief of the US Military Equipment Delivery Team-Burma advises Admiral McCain that officials of the Burmese Ministry of Defense have requested 10 M16 and 33,000 rounds of ammunition for test and evaluation. The Burmese Defense Forces are interested in their suitability for counterinsurgency mission. McCain contacts CINCUSARPAC for the availability of the items requested, who passes along the request to the Department of the Army. McCain also advises the MEDT Chief that if the Burmese tests result in a larger order, follow-on deliveries will not be available until FY 1971 due to the current heavy demand for M16.

End-user comments indicate that Colt’s modified “noise and flash suppressor” for the XM177E2 is prone to rapid fouling, reducing the efficiency of the sound suppression. It is also found that the M193 ball projectile is prone to excessive yaw once this fouling had progressed far enough. The effect on the XM196 tracer is even worse, occasionally leading to in-air breakup of the projectile. Most troubling is that cyclic rate problems caused by ball powder in the parent M16 rifle are even worse in the XM177 family. Colt estimates that a complete ballistic/kinematics study of the XM177E2 will take 6 months at a cost of $400,000. In response, the US Army suggests an in-house, 29 month, $635,000 R&D study. However, this proves to be straw that breaks the camel’s back in regards to additional procurement.

The Human Resources Research Organization releases “Training Implications, Extended Field Test, Infantry Rifle Unit Study, IRUS – 75 (IRUS IIBX).”

The AAI grenade launcher is type-classified under the designation XM203.

The report “Noise Suppressor Assembly HEL E4A” is published.

Olin-Winchester’s James H. Johnson and Julius E. Brooks receive US Patent #3,410,175 titled “Recoil Assembly for Firearm.”

December:
GM-Hydramatic delivers its first 100 rifles two weeks ahead of H&R. Two of the H&R rifles fail 6,000 round endurance testing, one to a cracked bolt and the other due to excessive failures to chamber.

The Department of the Army indicates that there no M16 available for purchase to meet the Burmese request. Admiral McCain questions CINCUSARPAC as to whether there were enough rifles available so that they could loan the 10 rifles and ammunition to Burma. CINCUSARPAC replies that the rifles could be loaned but that the Burmese would need to purchase the ammunition.

CINCUSARPAC advises Admiral McCain that the introduction of additional M16 rifles to USARV will not generate any surplus M14 as these rifles are will be needed for CONUS training units.

Secretary of State Rusk informs Admiral McCain and the US Embassy in Singapore that the US Government has given approval to Colt to negotiate a license agreement with Singapore for a domestic M16 manufacturing facility. However, any license agreement will still require US review prior to approval. Rusk emphasizes that there will be no US financial support for the venture and Singapore will not be able to export the rifles without US approval.

The US military transfers 10,000 M16 rifles to the South Korean Army. These are intended for use in defense against North Korea, not for ROK troops stationed in Vietnam.

The DOD specialist team submits their final report to Admiral McCain regarding South Korean M16 co-production. Their final report differs only slightly from their interim report: estimated material costs for 5.56mm ammunition is higher while costs for expanding the ROK arsenal is smaller. The new overall cost estimate ranges from $78 to $83 million versus COMUSKOREA‘s earlier estimate of $70 to 75 million. Admiral McCain adds cost estimates for royalties and follow-on spares to settle upon a final figure of ~$97 million.

Admiral McCain writes the JCS requesting that the Department of the Army accelerate their determination of whether the US Army will retain a mix of M14 and M16, or standardize solely on the M16. Whether or not surplus M14 will become available will help decide which rifle to provide the South Korean military. As long as no extra funds are required from the MAP budget, McCain recommends that the US should support the Koreans’ small arms modernization plans.

The US State Department informs the US Embassy in Manila that the US has approved Colt’s request to negotiate a license agreement with the Philippines for a domestic M16 manufacturing facility. However, any license agreement will still require US review prior to approval. There will be no US financial support for the venture, and the Philippines will not be able to export the rifles without US approval. Approval is given only for the manufacture of M16 rifles. Embassy officials are to emphasize that the US does not endorse the project as they believe it to be uneconomical.

In communication with the JCS and the Chief of JUSMAG-PHIL, Admiral McCain states that he agrees with the view that Philippine M16 co-production is not justified economically nor militarily. McCain believes that the Philippine military has higher priority requirements which could use the funding that will be spent in establishing a manufacturing plant.

Construction of a Philippine ammunition factory is tentatively approved.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Investigation of 5.56mm, Cartridge Lot LC-12387 in Standard 5.56mm, M16A1 Rifles.”

Authorization is given for 600 XM203 to be assembled and sent to Vietnam for extended testing.

On behalf of the US Army, Harvey H. Friend files a patent application for a combined extractor/ejector for the Winchester/Springfield semi-auto grenade launcher attachment.

1969


The US Army’s plan to equip all basic combat training units with the M16A1 rifle is modified as a result of diversions to the high priority modernization program for South Vietnamese troops. Thus, only units at Fort Gordon and Fort Jackson are equipped with the M16A1. The conversion is now scheduled to be completed in February 1970.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 516,464 M16A1 to South Vietnam.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 4,042 M16A1 to Laos.

Lake City begins production of M196 using GMCS jackets. This is discontinued years later due to complaints of barrel erosion.

Industries Valcartier Inc. (IVI) of Canada begins production of a 68 grain 5.56mm Ball cartridge. This and a companion 800m tracer are later designated XM287 Ball and XM288 Tracer by the US Army.

Frankford Arsenal publishes test results on the solid steel Nosler projectiles. They are considered insufficiently stable, but Frankford recommends that they be studied further for their low cost and ease of manufacture.

The Infantry School publishes “Analysis of Vietnam Weapons Questionnaires (M16A1 Rifle and Others).”

The CDC publishes “Infantry Rifle Unit Study, IRUS-75, Phase 1” and “Infantry Rifle Unit Study, IRUS-75, Phase 2.”

Cadillac Gage introduces a right-hand feed mechanism for the Stoner LMG, which replaces the feed cover and feed tray. However, the existing belt boxes are only configured for left-hand feed. Thus, work on an improved belt box begins, resulting in the definitive 100 round box.

The West German government awards individual contracts to Diehl, HK, and IWK for caseless ammunition and weapon research.

HK engineers Tilo Möller, Günter Kästner, Dieter Ketterer, and Ernst Wössner begin work on what becomes the caseless G11 rifle.

The Royal Thai Army contracts with HK for 15,000 complete HK 33, parts to assemble an additional 25,000 HK 33, and the eventual manufacture of 30,000 HK 33 completely with Thailand.

France begins preliminary studies for a new assault rifle. The first prototypes of what becomes the FAMAS are made.

USASASA starts a Personal Defense Weapon program.

Colt’s Henry Into begins work on what will later be dubbed the SCAMP.

Sionics loans the US Army 20 MAW-A1 suppressors for field trials in Vietnam.

January:
Admiral McCain submits two plans for South Korean rifle modernization. The first is the before mentioned M16 co-production plant, and the other is supplying a mix of M14 and M16. 250,000 M14 could be provided from US sources for infantry maneuver units, while M16 could be provided for counter-infiltration battalions and other internal defense units. In reply, the JCS suggest providing 255,000 M16 from US production for Korean maneuver units, and 360,000 M14 for support personnel. All three of the plans will include the conversion of the ROK arsenal to manufacture the required ammunition. However, the Department of the Army can only provide tentative data on the availability of the M14, and warns that the M14 may not be available for free to the Koreans.

Concurring with Admiral McCain’s position, the JCS recommends that alternatives to Philippine M16 co production be examined, even though the Philippine government appears politically unwilling to accept anything less.

Aberdeen files the report “Analysis of Consolidated Cyclic Rate Data for M16A1 Rifle.”

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “A Study of the Effects of Cartridge Case Mouth Waterproofing Compound on Fouling in the 5.56MM, M16A1 Rifle.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “A Comparative Evaluation of the 7.62MM and 5.56MM, G3 Assault Rifles.” A test was conducted with 7.62mm G3 and 5.56mm HK 33 Assault Rifles to evaluate and compare the kinematics, reliability, safety features, physical characteristics, recoil impulse, rates of fire, projectile velocities, muzzle motion and accuracy of the weapons. No serious problems were detected during the tests, and the reliability of the weapons was comparable.

The British MOD tests yet another AR-18, a Howa production model. The mud tests continue to pose problems for the design.

WECOM publicly announces its SFR contract award to AAI. GE is also issued a contract for revamping the Springfield SPIW.

Colt’s John Jorczak files a patent application for an improved sight for an attached grenade launcher.

February:
The Department of the Army informs Admiral McCain that firm cost and availability data on the M14 for South Korea will not be available until Army Secretary Resor and the new Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird approve the cost-effectiveness study of the US Army standardizing solely on the M16.

Admiral McCain contacts the JCS outlining why he does not consider their January proposal for reequipping the South Koreans to be a practical solution. McCain recommends that further consideration of Korean M16 co-production be deferred until firm cost and availability data for the M14 can be determined. In reply, the JCS suggests providing 100,000 M16 from US production to meet the immediate Korean Counter-Infiltration/Guerilla and Force Improvement Requirement (CIGFIR), and supporting Korean co-production of 510,000 M16.

Admiral McCain passes along the JCS suggestion to COMUSKOREA, who in reply does not concur. Instead, COMUSKOREA recommends providing 30,000 M16 via CIGFIR funding, and continues to support the full plan for Korean co-production of 600,000 rifles.

The Army Materiel Systems Analysis Agency (AMSAA) publishes “Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS) Effectiveness Models and Assumptions.”

WECOM‘s Research and Engineering Directorate publishes “Arctic Test for Small Arms Lubricants (Winter 1966-1967).” An Engineer Design Test of small arms lubricants was conducted at the Army Arctic Test Center utilizing MIL-L-14107 (LAW), MIL-L-46000 (LSA), MIL-L-46010 (S/F) and a pair of experimental lubricants. The weapons utilized were M14 and XM16E1 rifles and M60 and M73 machine guns. The purpose of the test was to determine the suitability of the lubricants under winter (-10 to -59 degrees F) and spring “break up” (32 degrees to 44 degrees F) conditions as compared to the currently authorized lubricant LAW. Data were obtained concerning the number of malfunctions and evidence of rust, carbon and wear for each lubricant, and the ease of lubricant application. It is concluded that the pair of experimental lubricants are best suited for use on all of the weapons.

William C. Davis and James B. Ackley file the report “Results of a Dispersion Test of 2,000 1:12 and 1:14 Twist M16A1 Rifle Barrels.”

Aberdeen’s D&PS publishes the report “Comparison Tests of M16A1 Rifles.”

March:
Admiral McCain proposes two new plans for South Korean rifle modernization. In the first plan, 40,000 M16 will be provided from US production and paid for via MAP and CIGFIR funds. The Korean M16 co-production will then involve 570,000 rifles. In the second plan, 20,000 M16 will be provided from US production and paid for via MAP and CIGFIR funds. These will be supplied to quick reaction forces, and ROK infantry maneuver units will receive 230,000 M14. Support personnel will retain their existing weapons. McCain indicates that he will concur with the JCS recommendation from February as long as the cost of 60,000 of the M16 does not come from the MAP budget.

A week later Admiral McCain concedes that cost and availability data for the M14 will not be provided soon. Thus, all options for supplying the South Korean with M14 should be discarded. McCain now supports Korean M16 co-production as long as it does not represent a continuing cost to the MAP budget beyond the first six years. The Koreans will require a loan of $25 to $35 million for capital investment, and they will cover any labor and utility costs through their own national budget. The MAP budget will cover the costs of raw materials, but the Koreans will progressively take a larger share of the costs over the following years.

Colt’s Robert Fremont files a patent application for an improved magazine design which would prevent double-feeding of cartridges.

The SEALs request an official “Mark” number for their Stoner Commando LMG.

Testing firing begins for the completed CMG-2 prototype. Afterwards, Colt begins demonstrations for the US military.

Spring:
In response to requests from SEAL Team Two for even higher magazine capacities, Colt delivers a prototype 50-round magazine. The magazine is fabricated from three 20-round magazines welded end to end. The design uses a special follower paired with a pair of constant-force springs. (This feature was designed by Navy engineers at Naval Weapons Laboratory (NWL) – Dahlgren.) 35 magazines are known to be made to this pattern for testing by the US Navy. However, their performance is considered to be poor. NWL-Dahlgren later designs a series of 50-rd magazines on its own.

April:
In a memorandum to Secretary of Defense Laird, the JCS recommends: 1) accepting modernization of the South Korean rifle inventory with the M16 as a desirable and pressing military requirement; 2) providing Korea up to 100,000 M16 from US production and allowing the remainder to be manufactured in Korea; and 3) approving the delivery to Korea of 30,000 M16 as an urgent military requirement.

WECOM initiates case study of M16 rife negotiations.

Colt’s Robert Fremont receives US Patent #3,440,751 titled “Firearm Box Magazine with Straight End and Intermediate Arcuate Portions.”

William C. Davis and James B. Ackley file the report “An Investigation of Gas-Port Pressures for Two Lots of 5.56mm Ammunition Containing Two Different Types of Powder.”

The CDC files the report “Noise Suppressor for M16 Rifle and Night Vision Device.”

FN‘s Ernest Vervier receives US Patent #3,440,925 titled “Automatic Firearm with Burst Control Means.”

500 XM203 are sent to Vietnam for a three-month evaluation to determine its suitability for tactical use by US Army units. ACTIV distributes the launchers to the 1st, 4th, and 25th Infantry Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), and the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

On behalf of the US Army, Herman F. Hawthorne receives US Patent #3,437,039 titled “Multicharge Cartridge for Multibarrel Automatic Guns.”

May:
In a joint statement, Secretary of State William P. Rogers and Secretary of Defense Laird announce that the US Government agrees in principle to establish a plant for the manufacture of M16 rifles in South Korea. Final approval hinges upon further study of the politico-economic implications.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Combined Initial Production and Inspection Comparison Tests of M16A1 Rifles.”

Remington publishes the report “Report, Feasibility Study to Investigate the Sensitivity of Certain Small Caliber Incendiary Type Bullets.” Remington’s study had been conducted on behalf of Aberdeen’s BRL.

The report “Burst Control Selector M16” is published.

WECOM‘s Science and Technology Laboratory publishes “New Preservative Lubricants for Small Arms Weapons for Use in a Tropical and Saline Environment.” Comparative laboratory evaluations were made with several experimental and conventional preservative lubricants for small-arms weapons. The evaluations covered the protective capacity of these materials on Aluminum 7075 T6 and steel alloy in saline, high-temperature, and high humidity conditions, which simulate the Vietnam environment.

IWK‘s Ludwig Six and Rudolf Niemann receive US Patent #3,442,216 titled “Infantry Rifle Bullet.”

The military specifications for the M199 and M232 Dummy Cartridges are amended.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “Drag and Stability Properties of the XM144 Fléchette with Various Head Shapes.” The drag and stability properties of a family of conical head fléchette are presented, with cone angles varying from 5 to 90 degrees. The data cover a range from Mach 2 to Mach 4, determined from free flight spark range tests. Limited results on a spike-nose configuration are also discussed.

June:
Colt Industries splits the Firearms Division into military and civilian production units. Paul A. Benke is promoted to Vice-President of Colt Industries and becomes the executive in charge of the new Firearms Group. William H. Goldbach is named President of the Military Arms Division.

Colt representatives begin negotiations with South Korean officials regarding a commercial licensing agreement for the M16. Several points of dispute surface. Colt representatives are unwilling to offer in-country production of more than 20 parts, with the remainder to be purchased from Colt. Korean representatives claim that the earlier technical study led them to believe that they would be able to produce the entire rifle. Moreover, Colt’s proposal of partial construction is more expensive than the estimates for 100 percent Korean construction.

The FY 1970 Philippine MAP contains 1,454 M16 for the Philippine military.

The Naval Training Device Center publishes the report “Ballistic Tests on the M16 Training Cartridge.”

Colt’s Henry Into and John Jorczak file a patent application for the trap-door buttstock.

WECOM designates the AAI SFR as the “XM19 Rifle, 5.6mm, Primer Activated Fléchette Firing.” At Springfield, GE has redesigned their SPIW, eliminating 58 parts from the 1966 model. GE lobbies for development of fléchette cartridges based on the 5.56mm M193 cartridge case. This would allow them the option of producing either a SFR, a micro-caliber SBR, or even a standard 5.56x45mm weapon. GE even proposes necking the 5.56x45mm case out to 6mm, especially with the saboted ammunition types. The larger bore volume is cited as having the side benefit of reducing flash and blast, equivalent to an extra five inches of barrel length. Olin-Winchester chooses a separate path, developing multiple-fléchette cartridges. (Note: The intended grenade launcher attachment for the competing rifles is to be either the XM203 or the DBCATA.)

On behalf of the US Army, Stanley Silsby files a patent application for an improved version of the side-by-side magazine used by Springfield Armory’s 2nd Gen. SPIW (AKA: The current GE SFR.)

Dale M. Davis files a patent application for the basic design of what will become the IMP.

July:
The first competitive bidding for M16A1 rifles results in awards to Colt (DAAF03-70-C-0001) for 458,435 M16A1 and to GM-Hydramatic (DAAF03-70-C-0002) for 229,217 M16A1. Initially worth ~$41 million, Colt’s contract is later changed to total 407,937 M16A1 and 65,000 M16.

In testimony before the Ichord Subcommittee, MG Walter J. Woolwine, AMC Deputy Commanding General of Materiel Acquisition, states that the M16A1 rifles produced by H&R are “a very fine quality.” The next day, government inspectors reject five lots of rifles at H&R. The issues include defective bolts and bolt carriers, and failures to pass accuracy and endurances tests. Later in the month, the Army completely stops acceptance of rifles from H&R.

The FY 1970 Taiwan MAP contains $1 million for 5,000 M16.

Frankford Arsenal begins a three-year development effort to create a viable aluminum cartridge case for 5.56mm cartridges.

CDCEC publishes “Infantry Rifle Unit Study 1970-1975 (IRUS-75): Phase IIB-X, Extended Duration Field Experiment.”

The military specifications for the M199 and M232 Dummy Cartridges are amended for a second time.

Colt’s Robert Fremont receives US Patent #3,453,762 titled “Disposable Magazine Having a Protective Cover and Follower Retaining Means.”

AR-18 production begins at ArmaLite’s Costa Mesa facility.

Representative Richard L. Ottinger (D-NY) writes the US Comptroller General concerning the General Accounting Office’s (GAO) investigation of the Future Rifle Program, specifically the SPIW.

August:
Discussions continue between the South Korean MND and US OSD regarding M16 co-production.

The US Army’s Marksmanship Training Unit publishes the results of accuracy testing initiated by Colt. Three standard M16 have been pitted against a trio of heavy barrel M16 rifles. Three National Match M14 rifles are used as the control. At 300m, the heavy barrel M16 rifles produce an average group of 7.6″ versus 12″ from the issue M16 rifle. The M14NM rifles average 6.4″. The MTU reports the obvious superiority of the heavy barreled rifles over the standard M16 rifles. However, they recommend that a heavier bullet and faster rifling twist be investigated for M16 use at ranges exceeding 300m.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “M16 Gas Tube Fouling — Composition, Properties, and Means of Elimination.”

Aberdeen issues the report “Product Improvement Test of Redesigned Bolt Catch.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “Terminal Behavior of the 5.56 mm M193 Ball Bullet in Soft Targets.”

WECOM‘s Science and Technology Laboratory publishes “Mechanical Property Evaluations of 7075 Aluminum Alloy Forgings for the M16A1 Lower Receiver.”

The AMSAA publishes “Effectiveness of the 7.62mm M60 Machine Gun (Firing M80 Ball) and the 5.56mm Stoner Machine Gun (Firing M193 Ball and Several Low-Drag Configuration Bullets).”

ACTIV files the report “XM203 Grenade Launcher Attachment Development.” The evaluation finds that the XM203 is suitable for use by US Army units in Vietnam. During combat, personnel prefer to use the XM203 rather than the M79 because the M16/XM203 combo provides greater fire power and versatility. The battle sight and the quadrant sight are useful during training. However, the following changes need to be made:

  • Remove the front sling swivel;
  • Modify the trigger so the safety does not inadvertently slip to the safe position;
  • Modify the trigger guard so the firer’s fingers will not be pinched between the trigger guard and the M16’s magazine;
  • Checker the handgrip of the XM203 to give the firer better purchase when his hands become slippery;
  • Modify the sling for attachment to the front sight and buttplate;
  • Modify the handguard insert so it does not break when the firer tries to disengage it from the front;

It is recommended that the XM203 replace the M79, the modifications detailed be made, and that the quadrant sight be eliminated. The recommendation on adoption is accepted and the XM203 becomes the M203.

Debell and Richardson Inc. publish “Development of Plastic Disposable Magazine for XM16E1 Rifle.” Following the preliminary design studies and material selection, three design concepts were carried into the pilot production stage and field tested. Work was done at the same time on ways to retain rounds in loaded magazines, and on the design and pilot production of a protective cover for loaded magazines.

On behalf of the US Army, Stanley Silsby files a patent application for yet another improved version of the side-by-side magazine used by Springfield Armory’s 2nd Gen. SPIW (AKA: The current GE SFR.)

September:
The maximum allowable level of calcium carbonate in ball powders is reduced from 1 percent to 0.25 percent.

Sen. William Proxmire (D-WI) alleges that the South Vietnamese Government has offered for sale weapons provided by the US, including over 5,000 M16, to private arms dealers.

The military specification for 5.56mm Reference cartridges, MIL-C-46397A, is revised to MIL-C-46397B.

Representatives from the OPMR contact ArmaLite for price quotes on AR-18 rifles and licensing rights. This information for an undisclosed client. ArmaLite offers licensing rights for $500,000 and a 5 percent royalty on each rifle produced.

Litton Scientific Support Laboratory publishes “XM148 Investigation.”

October:
Aberdeen publishes the report “Operational Reliability Study of M16A1 Rifle”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “Deformation Characteristics of One Lot (LC SP412) of 5.56mm M193 Ammunition.” Physical measurements of the ammunition were taken before and after launch and the results compared on an individual basis. Rounds were launched at standard muzzle velocity, recovered and refired at a reduced velocity and compared with other rounds launched only at the same reduced velocity. Several before and after launch rounds were contour measured and comparisons were made on the shape of the projectile.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Bullet-in-Bore Study of 5.56MM, Ball, M193 Cartridge and M16A1 Rifle.” This test consisted of the firing of cartridges crimped to 100 pound average bullet pull (normal representative production value), 35 pound average bullet pull (minimum specification requirement) and uncrimped cartridges, all reassembled without propellant from each of two 5.56mm, ball, M193 cartridge lots (LC12507 and TW18310) in each of three M16A1 Rifles with varying records of rounds fired.

WECOM‘s Future Weapons Systems Division publishes the report “A Methodology for Choosing the Best Caliber for a Light Infantry Machinegun.” The best caliber is taken to be that one which yields the greatest effective range under constraints on weapon recoil energy and system weight. For bullets and guns having a particular configuration, relationships are developed which express these constraints. Semi-empirical expressions for recoil energy and system weight are obtained as functions of caliber and muzzle velocity. When energy and weight are constrained, a feasible region is defined in the two-dimensional space of caliber and muzzle velocity. Within this feasible regions, the greatest effective range is found at the smallest caliber (and largest muzzle velocity.)

Aberdeen also publishes the report “Engineer Design Test of 20-Round Plastic Magazine for M16A1 Rifles.” A series of engineering design tests was conducted on 20-round plastic magazines of 6-10 nylon with 50% fiberglass reinforcement, for the M16A1 rifle. Equal numbers of test and control magazines were subjected to a series of comparative evaluations to determine function performance characteristics and material durability at extreme and ambient range temperatures, and in adverse conditions of mud, sand, dust, and water. The test magazine material was also checked for compatibility with various nonstandard solvents and lubricants. A displacement time study was made of the magazines to determine cartridge positioning characteristics during firing. The test results reveal that the test magazine requires further design engineering to improve performance in adverse conditions and to increase material durability at low temperature.

USMC issues a request to the AMC for further tests of the Stoner 63A1 machine gun, rifle, and carbine. The tests are to be conducted in two phases: 1) engineering design tests by WECOM, and 2) engineering tests by Aberdeen. Successful completion of Phase 1 is a prerequisite to Phase 2.

CDCEC publishes “XM19 Serially Fired Fléchette Weapon Evaluation.”

At Frankford Arsenal, Andrew J. Grandy publishes “A New Concept for the SPIW.” Grandy’s folded path cartridge concept is examined for use with a multi-fléchette .330 SPIW cartridge. A .330 inch folded system was designed, fabricated, and tested. The system was capable of being used in full and partially recoiless firing modes.

November:
Production of XM177-type weapons is deleted from the second-source contracts.

LTC Rex D. Wing replaces COL Alvin C. Isaacs as PMR. Isaacs has been selected for promotion to Brigadier General and reassignment as Deputy Commanding General of the US Army Tank-Automotive Command (TACOM).

WECOM concludes case study of M16 rife negotiations.

The USAIB publishes “The Development of Combat-Related Measures of Effectiveness for Small Arms Weapons Systems.”

The Army Logistics Management Center publishes “Analysis of Program Factor-Demand Relationships for M16 Rifle Parts.” This report contains results of an empirical study of the relationship that exists between demand for parts of the M16 and rifle density or round expenditure. Actual demands from Vietnam and the actual monthly density and round expenditure in Vietnam for 1967 and 1968 are used in the analyses. Density appears to have no bearing on demand. Round expenditure seems to affect demand but the changes are not proportional. Moreover, forecasts of future round expenditure are not very reliable.

Since Secretary of Defense Laird believes that the cost of producing 600,000 M16 is too high for the South Korean government to support over six years, the DOD considers two new plans for South Korean rifle modernization. The first is to allow Korean production of only 300,000 M16. The second is to substitute Korean production of 600,000 AR-18. The AR-18 is believed to be significantly easier and cheaper to produce. The US Army is expected to expedite testing of the AR-18 so that results will be available by February 1970.

On behalf of the US Navy, Robert A. Leverance and Morrison B. Moore, III file a patent application for a lightweight, inexpensive sound suppressor for the M16 that is easily drained during amphibious operations.

The letter “Evaluation of AAI SFR” is sent to the commanding officer of the USASASA.

The US Army begins renewed testing of the AR-18. Tests are conducted at Aberdeen and by the Infantry Board at Fort Benning.

The British publish a report titled “Future Small Arms, An Intermediate Calibre Solution.”

December:
The US State Department grants an export license for 10,000 M16 rifles for the Brazilian Air Force three years after the initial request. Brazilian officials had cancelled the order a year earlier.

Aberdeen files the report “Reliability Characteristics of the M16A1 and M14 Rifle Systems at Low Temperatures.”

Colt’s Kanemitsu (Koni) Ito receives US Patent #3,482,322 titled “Method for Preventing Malfunction of a Magazine Type Firearm and Gage for Conducting Same.”

The US Army reports on tests of Colt’s latest belt-fed LMG, the CMG-2. Despite using the 68 grain GX-6235, the CMG-2 is considered to not offer enough range or a high enough rate of fire.

The Stoner 63 Commando LMG (w/ right-hand feed) is officially type classified by the US Navy under the designation “Gun, Machine, 5.56mm Mark 23 Mod 0.” 48 of these are eventually procured.

The USAF awards a contract to Colt for the construction of four Individual Multi-Purpose Weapons (IMP), as a proposed air crew survival weapon. The original goals for the weapon are a “lethal” range of 100 meters, a weight of less than 1.5 pounds, a maximum length under 13,” and a minimum magazine capacity of 7 rounds. Dale M. Davis of the USAF‘s Armament Laboratory (Eglin AFB) is responsible the stockless bullpup design which others dub an “arm gun.” The Colt IMP, later designated the GUU-4/P, are technology demonstrators chambered in .221 Remington Fireball. The .221 Fireball is chosen because in falls in size between the intended final chamberings. The intent is to chamber a survival rifle variant for an experimental .17 caliber cartridge based on a Frankford SPIW case. Firing a 25 grain bullet at 3,000 fps, it measures 1.725″ in length and 0.333″ in diameter at the base. A rifle/submachine gun variant is also envisioned chambered for the standard 5.56x45mm. (The latter idea is developed and marketed commercially years later by Mack Gwinn Sr. and Mack Gwinn Jr. as the Bushmaster pistol.) At least one of the IMP prototypes is rebarreled years later for a trio of .30 caliber wildcats intended for suppressed use. One of these cartridges is based upon a slightly shortened .30 Carbine case while the other two are based upon shortened 5.56mm cases (sort of a stubby forerunner to J.D. Jones’ later Whisper experiments). Eglin will also later (circa 1973) use the IMP in .221 to test Remington experimental cartridges using hybrid polymer/brass cartridge cases. These are often found loaded with a saboted .17 caliber projectile.

1970


Dr. Carten, now Chief of the Technical Evaluation Branch of the AMC‘s Research, Development, & Equipment Directorate, submits the report “The M16 Rifle – A Case History to the Blue Ribbon Defense Panel.” Carten pins the primary blame for M16 malfunctions on the lack of specifications for case hardness. (Somewhere along the line, Colt reduced the strength of the extractor spring to help prevent rim shear. After it was found that this caused its own problems, Colt introduced the rubber nub insert for the extractor spring.)

WECOM issues “M16 Series Rifle Weapon System – Transition Plan.”

The US Army begins delivery of M16A1 to National Guard units.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “M16 Rifle/Ammunition Malfunction Modeling.”

Production of the XM177E2 ends.

CIS begins manufacture of M16S rifles in Singapore.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 83,762 M16A1 to South Vietnam.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 16,162 M16A1 to Laos.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 3,376 M16A1 to Cambodia.

ArmaLite experiments with coated projectiles in hopes of reducing bore friction. The coating is a new process developed by Du-Kote. ArmaLite also introduces the compact AR-18S.

C4 booby-trapped 5.56mm cartridges are encountered in the Phu Yen province of Vietnam. One soldier is killed and another wounded in separate incidents. EOD personal confirmed the contents. (Note: Dean has sources which indicate that conventional rifle primers should not be sufficient to detonate C4. However, I am including this claim from David R. Hughes for future reference. If Hughes’ claims are indeed genuine, perhaps the C4 acts as a bore obstruction for subsequent shots, inadvertently providing the desired destruction of the weapon.)

Frankford Arsenal produces a variant of the FA-XM sound suppressor for use on the XM177. These are intended for use by USAF Combat Control Teams (CCT).

Recently transferred from the USASASA to the T.J. Rodman Laboratory (Rock Island), AAI’s XM19 program continues to debug the design. Early in the year, the CDEC starts a new series of field experiments at Fort Ord using the XM19.

The British Director General Weapons (Army) instructs Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) Enfield to begin a two-year Preliminary Study to consider future replacements for the 7.62mm NATO cartridge and the L1A1 SLR. Calibers ranging from 4mm to 7.62mm are to be considered.

The West German Department of Defense completes a list of design criteria for a new combat rifle. These design criteria are as follows:

  • Total length of the weapon less than 750 mm
  • Total weight of weapon including 100 rounds under 4.5 kg
  • A minimum of 50 rounds on the weapon
  • Full performance even under adverse conditions
  • High hit probability in three round burst
  • An effective range without sight adjustment out to 300m

Spain restarts testing of the 4.6x36mm.

IWK experiments with a 4x37mm cartridge.

RWS introduces the 5.6x50mm Magnum. It is a rimless version of the 5.6x50mmR Magnum introduced two years earlier.

January:
Secretary of Defense Laird approves the FY 1970 Taiwan MAP.

Olin admits that WC846’s manufacturing tolerances have played a role in cartridge performance. WC846 best suited for use in the 5.56x45mm is at the opposite tolerance end from WC846 best suited for 7.62mm NATO cartridges. Other manufacturers were not made aware of the differences. Henceforth, WC846 suitable for 5.56x45mm is relabeled as WC844. The remainder of the WC846 tolerance range retains the WC846 label.

Fort Benning performs weather resistance testing on brass and steel cased cartridges. The cartridges are test fired after 30 days of exposure.

ArmaLite submits to WECOM the proposal “Production of the AR-18 Rifle in the ROK Compared to M16.”

February:
The Philippine Embassy in Washington DC expresses interest in a FMS purchase of 5,000 M16, 50,000 magazines, and 4.75 million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition. JUSMAG-PHIL and the US Embassy recommend against allowing the purchase. Instead delivery should be expedited of the 1,208 M16 programmed under the FY 1970 MAP. The rifles could be paid for by transferring the purchase of diesel fuel from the MAP budget to FMS funds. Admiral McCain suggests the alternative of allowing the 1,208 M16 to be purchased by FMS funds to allow MAP funds to be spent on other priorities. JUSMAG-PHIL indicates that the Chief of Staff of the Philippine military has stated that they would be willing to cover the cost of commercial consumables if delivery of the M16 can be expedited. With this, Admiral McCain forwards his recommendation to the JCS and Secretary of Defense Laird to expedite delivery of the 1,208 rifles along with ammunition.

Thailand receives 23,806 M16.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Elimination of Gas Tube Fouling in the M16A1 Rifle when using the M200 Blank Cartridge.” The culprit turned out to be the use of a white lacquer used by Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant to seal the crimp of the blank cartridge. The titanium dioxide pigment in the white lacquer caused the observed fouling. Frankford recommends that clear or organically dyed lacquers be substituted for future M200 production runs.

Frankford also releases the report “Metallurgical Examination of Fouled Gas Tube and Flash Suppressor from an M16A1 Rifle.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “The Gas Flow in Gas-Operated Weapons.” The theory presented here predicts the pressure history in the gas cylinder and the motion of the piston for a given pressure and temperature history in the barrel.

General Electric’s Armament Department publishes “Proposal for Development of a Special Purpose Individual Weapon.” This document covers their SFR/SBR developments to date. However, it appears that GE never receives any further funding to follow up on their recommendations, effecting shelving the revised GE/Springfield SPIW.

March:
Secretary of Defense Laird announces that all US troops assigned to NATO duties will be equipped with the M16/M16A1.

All US Army infantry training has been converted from the M14 to the M16A1 rifle.

The US Ambassador indicates that the Philippine government still wants to purchase an additional 2,500 M16. The Embassy requests that if a FMS or commercial sale is approved, delivery of these rifles be withheld until after the MAP provided rifles are delivered. Admiral McCain concurs with the recommendation

Secretary of Defense Laird approves delivery of the 1,208 M16 to the Philippines from the FY 1970 MAP. He requests that Department of the Army deliver the rifles by April 25.

The US State Department approves the sale of 2,500 additional M16 to the Philippines.

The CDCIA publishes “Army Small Arms Requirements Study I (ASARS I): In-Process Review.” The purpose of ASARS is to develop documented data pertaining to the interaction of variable small arms characteristics, and the capability, through scientific method, of conducting subsequent trade-offs among these characteristics. The results of ASARS, in conjunction with the results of other ARSAP tasks, will assist in the development of the optimum small arms system for the future.

In hopes of preventing rim shear, Lake City experiments with 5.56mm cartridges using a thicker rim (0.055″ versus the standard 0.045″)

The USAIB at Fort Benning and Gerald A. Gustafson at Aberdeen each file a report titled “Product Improvement Test of Cartridges, 5.56-MM, Assembled with Steel Cartridge Cases.” The purpose of the test was to determine suitability of the 5.56-mm steel-cased cartridges to replace standard brass-cased cartridges, and to determine the physical and technical characteristics of the 5.56-mm steel-cased cartridges. Specific test phases to which the steel-cased cartridges were subjected were physical characteristics, safety, cartridge-weapon compatibility, adverse conditions (60-day open storage period), reliability, and human factors. There were no deficiencies and one shortcoming found: the susceptibility of the test cartridges to rust. There were 47 incidents of split cases out of 21,642 steel-cased rounds fired. However, these split cases did not adversely affect the operation of the weapons. There were 71 malfunctions with weapons firing control cartridges and 53 malfunctions with weapons firing test cartridges. All malfunctions, with the exception of three, were either weapon- or magazine-caused. The blast, flash, noise, and felt recoil produced by the test cartridges were comparable to those of the control cartridges. The test cartridges ejected farther to the rear and right than did the control cartridges. It is concluded that the steel-cased 5.56-mm cartridges are compatible with the M16A1 rifle and are suitable for US Army use under intermediate climatic conditions.

Remington’s John J. Scanlon files a patent application for a composite plastic body/metal head cartridge case.

On behalf of the US Army, Harold H. Wiese files a patent application for a disposable plastic magazine for the M16.

Because problems have been identified in the design of the weapons during engineering design tests by WECOM, the Stoner 63A1 are returned to Cadillac Gage for evaluation. The evaluation of these weapons leads to a redesign program.

Navy Ammunition Depot-Crane requests samples of the Colt CMG-2 for testing.

April:
Secretary of Defense Laird returns the logistic management of M16 rifles to the services. Due the high demand and low supply of the M16 over the past four years, allocation and distribution of the rifles had been controlled by the Secretary of Defense, based on recommendations from the JCS.

Re-titled “Product Manager, Rifles,” COL Wing’s responsibilities are limited to the M16A1, XM203, and related ammunition.

The US Navy type-classifies the “Rifle, 5.56mm Mark 4 Mod 0.” This is a M16A1 modified for dedicated use with the HEL-M4A suppressor (AKA: Mk 2 Mod 0 blast suppressor) and optimized for maritime operations by the SEALs. Most of the operating parts of the rifle are coated in Kal-Guard, a quarter-inch hole is drilled through the stock and buffer tube for drainage, and an O-ring is added to the end of the buffer assembly. The weapon can reportedly be carried to the depth of 200 feet without damage.

Colt presents a contract proposal to the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC. The proposal indicates that 2,500 M16 will be shipped within 10 days after a letter of credit or cash payment is delivered to Colt.

Meanwhile, the Philippine military takes delivery of the 1,208 M16 from the FY 1970 MAP. The Chief of JUSMAG-PHIL note that this delivery brings the Philippine M16 inventory to 1,408. An additional 1,292 rifles are scheduled for future delivery under the FY 1971 MAP. Should the purchase of the 2,500 rifles be completed, the Philippines could have 5,000 M16 by mid-FY 1972. With this in mind, a technical data package for the manufacture of 5.56mm ammunition has been requested from the AMC to support a Philippine ammunition plant currently under construction. Completion is scheduled for mid-1971.

The Commander of MACTHAI informs Admiral McCain that the Thai government desires to establish a manufacturing capability for the M16. The Thai are requesting information on the availability of equipment and the cost for establishing the capability of producing 1,000-3,000 rifles per month. The Thai believe that the factory could serve a dual purpose of manufacturing civilian goods. While he believes the funds could be better spent on counter-insurgency efforts, the MACTHAI commander feels that the information should be provided so that the Thai government could make an informed decision. Admiral McCain concurs, and passes the request on to Secretary of Defense Laird. McCain requests that Laird comment on whether it is advisable to redirect the Thai government to the US Agency for International Development (AID) or commercial sources for developing a manufacturing capability.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Experimental Study of the Flow Characteristics in the Gas Tube of the M16A1 Rifle”

Pier Carlo Beretta files an US patent application for the design of the AR70.

Colt’s Henry Into receives US Patent #3,507,067 titled “Grenade Launcher Having a Rotatable Forwardly Sliding Barrel and Removable Firing Mechanism.”

May:
Shipments of M16A1 rifles to US Army NATO troops begin.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Evaluation of the 5.56mm Nosler Steel Bullet.”

The military specification for M193 Ball, MIL-C-9963D, is revised to MIL-C-9963E.

The military specification for M197 Tracer, MIL-C-60111A, is revised to MIL-C-60111B.

The GAO releases the report “Development and Cost of the Army’s Special Purpose Individual Weapon System.” It recommends that the US Army does not procure any further SPIW-type weapons until the cost of the ammunition can be reduced.

Rep. Ottinger charges that the SPIW has been developed by the US Army without the knowledge of Congress. He describes it as a “secret poison dart gun-type weapon” and “diabolical and inhumane”, shooting “flesh-ripping” darts.

June:
The JCS informs Admiral McCain that current law and regulations do not provide for service funding of ammunition for the Philippine military. Moreover, there are no present stocks of the required ammunition to support the Philippines.

The CDCIA publishes the multi-volume “Army Small Arms Requirements Study I.”

Aberdeen publishes the report “Initial Production Test of Magazine, 30-Round, for M16A1 Rifles.”

Testing of the Colt CMG-2 begins at NAD-Crane.

The USAF‘s Marksmanship School releases the report “Evaluation of AR-18 Rifle.”

Hughes’ Morris Goldin files a patent application for the “lockless” firearm principle.

July:
The South Korean MND announce that construction of a M16 manufacturing plant will begin within the year, contingent upon an US defense loan. Details are still being discussed with Colt.

US Army Foreign Science and Technology Center publishes “A Wound Ballistics Comparison of: Bullet, 43-Grain, 5.56-mm Ball, Soviet, MEN-29108 and Bullet, 55-Grain, 5.56-mm Ball, M193, US.”

Remington provides prototype grenade cartridges for launching the RAG-B ring airfoil grenade. These cartridges are later standardized as the M755.

The US Army approves an Advanced Development Objective for a new LMG, introducing the nomenclature “Squad Automatic Weapon.”

The British Jungle Warfare School’s Trial and Development Wing issues the report “Trial of Section 5.56mm Light Machine Guns.”

CDCEC publishes “XM19: Serially Fired Fléchette Weapon Evaluation.”

AAI publishes “Results of Engineering Study on SPIW Muzzle Device.”

August:
Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Ballistic Evaluation of 5.56MM XM287 Ball (68 Grain) and Matching XM288 Tracer Cartridge for XM207 Machine Gun.”

Testing of the Colt CMG-2 ends at NAD-Crane. After modifications are made, the three weapons are transferred to the SEALs for field testing.

France decides upon the 5.56x45mm for use in its new assault rifle.

October:
The US Army awards a new $20.8 million contract to Colt (DAAF03-71-C-003). By January 1975, this contract’s orders will total 751,245 M16A1 and 2,300 M16 rifles.

In debate over the defense appropriations bill, Rep. Bray speaks out against eliminating funding for one of the three M16 manufacturers. Bray also mentions rumors that the production tooling from the eliminated source would be shipped to a foreign country for co-production of the rifle. Rep. Robert L.F. Sikes (D-FL) supports the elimination of one of the manufacturers for the saving of $14.3 million, but denies any knowledge of plans to move the tooling to another country. Rep. Bray points out that the original defense appropriations bill passed out of the House Armed Services Committee insisted on maintaining three sources of production, but that someone on the Appropriations Committee amended it to allow for funding only two sources. This was reportedly done on request from the Department of the Army. Rep. Philip J. Philbin (D-MA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, offers an amendment that would prevent the Army from procuring additional M16 unless three sources were maintained. The amendment is struck down 24 to 40.

An US business magazine reports that the US will allow South Korean M16 co-production despite the objections of congressmen and labor unions that this move will result in unemployment of US workers.

South Korean negotiations with Colt bog down again. The disagreement centers on patent royalties and treatment of US technicians.

Aberdeen releases the report “Military Potential Test of Short Range Cartridges, 5.56-mm Ball, 7.62-mm Ball, and 7.62-mm Tracer.” The objectives of the test were to determine the safety of the cartridges when fired from the M14 and M16A1 rifles and the M60 machine gun, and to compare cartridge characteristics and performance with that stated in the descriptive brochure. The cartridges with their short-range capability were designed for the training of military troops. The test cartridges differed statistically from values given in the manufacturer’s brochure in cartridge weight, projectile weight, propellant weight, cartridge length, and projectile length.

The British Armament Design Establishment (ADE) at RSAF Enfield creates a 5x44mm cartridge (roughly a .20/223 Remington), and an initial order is placed with Radway Green for test cartridges. Since 1969, the ADE‘s experiments have centered around the ’50s-era prototype EM2 rifle with its 7x43mm cartridge case necked down to 6.25mm. The change is inspired by a West German study indicating that future ideal military calibers will be 5mm or smaller. The final adopted 5mm projectile requires a 1-in-5″ twist. Existing AR-15, AR-18, and Stoner 63 rifles are converted to the new cartridge, including the belt fed Stoner 63 variant. Later, bullpup conversions of the AR-18 and Stoner 63 rifles are executed.

Olin’s Winchester-Western Division publishes “Summary and Recommendations – Multiple Fléchette Weapon System Development Contract.” Winchester reports that they have finalized a 9.53mm multiple fléchette cartridge with an aluminum cartridge case. The loadings include a standard four fléchette payload (4,240 fps), a pair of “ball” fléchette paired with a tracer, and even a specialized armor-piercing “penetrator”. Despite pushing pressures of up to 75,000psi, the large bore volume limits this to a brief spike, allowing the aluminum cartridge case to remain intact.

November:
The South Korean MND announce that the US has agreed to formally transfer ownership of equipment and weapons (including the M16) currently issued to ROK forces deployed in Vietnam. The equipment and weapons will be shipped to Korea when ROK forces are withdrawn from Vietnam.

The last production lot of the white lacquer sealed M200 is completed at Twin Cities.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Contribution of the 5.56MM, Ball M193 Cartridge Metal Components to Gas Tube Fouling in M16A1 Rifle.”

The Institute for Defense Analyses publishes the report “Primer Selection for Small Arms Ammunition.” The paper examines the arguments for and against the Army’s prospective standardization of primers for 5.56mm ammunition. The question is essentially whether one manufacturer shall continue to use primers containing basic lead styphnate in primers for the 5.56mm cartridges that it produces at its own plant and at a Government-owned plant it operates or whether that manufacturer shall use primers containing normal lead styphnate, as do all the other six producers of these cartridges. Findings indicate that the continued use of basic lead styphnate would yield minor advantages in lower cost to the manufacturer, possibility in manufacturing safety, and in competitive environment, while standardization on normal lead styphnate would yield a minor advantage in primer performance and two significant advantages: a reduction in possible problems associated with future changes in cartridges and weapons and a reduction in the testing required.

Remington publicly announces the .17 Remington cartridge at their annual Gun Writers Seminar. (Oddly enough, H&R had already offered a production-custom line of bolt-action rifles chambered for a wildcat .17/223. However, the two cartridges are not interchangeable.)

On behalf of the US Army, Harvey H. Friend receives US Patent #3,538,635 titled “Combined Extractor and Ejector Mechanism for Automatic Grenade Launcher .”

December:
The ODCSLOG‘s central point of contact for the M16A1 is discontinued.

WECOM‘s Systems Analysis Directorate publishes the report “Analysis of M16 Rifle Dispersion and Dimensional Data.” An analysis of the M16 rifle barrel dimensions and dispersion was conducted. Dispersion prediction equations were obtained using several categories of dimensional data. A discriminating procedure was developed suitable for use by field troops to separate barrels with “acceptable” dispersion from those “not acceptable”. Depth-of-muzzle-penetration by the erosion gage was selected as the discriminating variable.

The Chief of Staff of the Philippine military requests US approval of the FMS purchase of 4,000 M16. The US Ambassador and JUSMAG-PHIL support the request.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Feasibility Study of Spin-Stabilized Subsonic Projectiles.”

Colt has completed delivery of all four IMP to the USAF.

1971


M16A1 rifles begin to ship with chromed bores and chambers. Previously, only the chambers were chromed.

ARES, Inc. is co-founded by Gene Stoner and Bob Bihun.

WECOM issues “Commodity MA Plan for Rifle 5.56mm M16/M16A1 & Grenade Launcher 40mm M203.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Semiempirical Model for Predicting the Upper Size of Solid Particles Migrating from the Barrel to the Gas Tube of the M16A1 Rifle.”

The US provides a military assistance grant of 38,468 M16A1, 64 XM177-type, and 43 XM148 to South Vietnam.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 18,880 M16A1 to Laos.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 99,022 M16A1 to Cambodia.

The US provides 15,000 M16A1 to Indonesia as part of a military assistance package.

The US provides 21,000 M16A1 to Jordan as part of a military assistance package.

The Philippine government requests proposals from foreign firms to establish a domestic 5.56mm rifle plant. Proposals are reportedly submitted by Colt, ArmaLite, Beretta, CETMEIMIFN, and HK.

Malaysia enters negotiations to purchase 20,000 M16 and five million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition.

The National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) approves the M16 and the civilian Colt AR-15 for use in their rifle matches. (Rules and Regulations For National Matches: Change 2 to AR920-30)

The Swiss introduce the 5.56x48mm Eiger, a cartridge roughly in size to the .22-250. It is intended for military rifle experiments.

Hughes submits an unsolicited proposal to ARPA for a light machine gun using its proprietary “chiclet” cartridges.

The USASASA produces the concept of a Dual Cycle Rifle (DCR), a weapon in which a burst is fired at a very high rate while feed and extraction occur at a fraction of the speed. The DCR is the brainchild of USASASA commander Colonel Raymond S. Isenson and Technical Director Leonard R. Ambrosini. Fifteen companies eventually submit proposals and two are accepted. Multiple barrel designs are rejected due to weight and bulk. The winning proposals instead apply revolver cannon technology: a single barrel combined with a multiple chamber cylinder. The cylinder is fed from a box magazine holding three individual rows of cartridges. During the feed cycle, the top three rounds are simultaneously stripped into individual chambers. One design uses an asymmetrical three-chamber cylinder while the other uses a symmetrical nine-chamber cylinder. By 1973, the prototypes reportedly achieve cyclic rates of ~4,500 rounds per minute in three-round bursts.

The Brazilian Air Force purchases 15,000 HK 33.

MAS completes ten 5.56mm rifle prototypes. These are known as the A1.

The 40mm M433 HEDP grenade cartridge is type-classified as “Standard A”.

January:
The Commanding General of CONARC orders all major commands to field at least one M16A1 rifle team for the US Army’s championships.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “Sensitivity Study of Rifle Gas Systems.” Results of a sensitivity study of the M16 rifle gas system are presented; this study is based on a simulation of rifle gas system operation developed in the BRL. The calculations indicate that thermodynamic variables in the bolt carrier cavity are only weakly sensitive to variations in the following parameters: pressure and temperature in the gun barrel when the bullet passes the port, friction in the duct flow, and frictional resistance to motion of the bolt carrier. The computational results are sensitive, however, to the chosen origin of time on the oscillogram showing barrel pressure at the port station. Graphs are presented for a typical round illustrating pressure, temperature, density, and piston motion histories for M16 and AR-18 rifle gas systems.

A delegation led by the South Korean Ministry of National Defense’s Assistant Vice Minister for Logistics MG Shin Won Shik visits the US to consult with the DOD and Colt. They conduct final negotiations regarding a M16 co-production agreement.

Admiral McCain requests the support of Secretary of Defense Laird for the Philippine FMS purchase of 4,000 M16. According to the US Ambassador, Philippine President Marcos has requested that delivery be made within 60 days. The US State Department subsequently approves the sale, and indicates that a delivery date of February 28 could be met as long as the Philippine government signs the DOD Letter of Offer and submits payment by January 29. The Philippine government beats the deadline with the submission of a check for $780,042.38.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of Quadrant Sight for the M203 Grenade Launcher.” The sight was inspected for physical characteristics, fired for accuracy, and subjected to high and low temperatures, and to ruggedness and lubricants and solvents compatibility tests. No deficiencies were encountered; four shortcomings, however, were experienced. Three shortcomings were similar to shortcomings on the present standard quadrant sight. It was concluded that over-all performance of the test sight was equal to that of the standard sight and that neither was correctly calibrated to impact grenades at the 300 and 375-meter ranges when using ammunition with a velocity level in the lower limit of acceptability for the M203 grenade launcher. It is recommended that action be taken to produce ammunition with a velocity level of 245 +/- 5 fps from the M203 launcher, or that the sight (test or standard) be recalibrated for 40mm ammunition in the lower limit of allowable velocity acceptability (235 fps).

Comprehensive Designers Inc. publishes the report “Limit Dimensional Study of the M203 Grenade Launcher, M16, M16A1 Rifles and Quadrant Sight Combinations.”

HK hedges its bets with the introduction of a more conventional micro-caliber rifle, the HK 36 (not to be confused with the later G36). Its 4.6x36mm cartridge is the product of the joint Spanish/German study. It is best known for its asymmetrical “Spoon-nose” projectile: the Löffelspitz. The Löffelspitz is the product of studies by CETME‘s Dr. Günther Voss to find methods to deliberately induce yaw once a projectile strikes flesh, while not adversely effecting its accuracy during flight

February:
Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “A Compendium of Ballistic Properties of Projectiles of Possible Interest in Small Arms.” The shapes cover a range of Length/Diameter ratios ranging from conventional bullets (approximately 3.5) to that of fléchette (approximately 20), and include such shapes as cones, cone cylinders, and cone flares. The ballistic properties are mapped over a range of calibers (5.56mm, 6.5mm, and 7.62mm) and projectile densities. A drag-reducing tracer is included as one of the prime design considerations as a means of reducing base drag.

Colt’s John Jorczak and David Behrendt receive US Patent #3,564,950 titled “Cartridge Case Extractor Tool.”

Carroll D. Childers and Joseph C. Monolo file “NWL Technical Report TR-2536” concerning the NWL-Dalhgren’s third model 50-round magazine. The authors recommend that the magazine be adopted and issued one per every deployed SEAL Team member.

Cadillac Gage resubmits the redesigned Stoner 63A1 for renewed Phase 1 testing by WECOM.

ARPA, in conjunction with USASASA, awards TRW Systems a contract to develop an infantry rifle which will require far less maintenance than the issue M16A1. Appropriately, the project is named the “Low Maintenance Rifle” (LMR). An engineering team led by Don Stoehr is assigned to the project. The final design uses a gas-operated, roller-locked action, and bears more than a slight resemblance to the German FG42 paratrooper rifle. Since the weapon fires full-automatic only from an open bolt, the LMR borrows the trigger housing of the M60 GPMG, itself an amalgamation of the FG42 rifle and MG42 GPMG. Besides the 5.56mm models, at least one prototype is chambered for the XM216 SPIW cartridge.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Packaging Concept Study for 5.56 mm Caseless Ammunition.”

Radway Green delivers its first batch of 5x44mm cartridges.

On behalf of Frankford Arsenal, Colt’s Technik, Inc. publishes “Feasibility Study of Fléchette Fired from Rifled Barrel.” In these experiments, saboted fléchette have been loaded into standard 5.56x45mm cases and fired through M16 rifles. Conceived as a low-cost way of testing different sabot/fléchette designs, the improved accuracy results cast doubt upon the existing SFR weapon and cartridge designs.

March:
The US and South Korean governments sign the M16 co-production Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which specifies the total quantity of rifles authorized for production in South Korea. This consists of 600,000 complete rifles and 48,000 rifle equivalents in spare parts. The MOU also authorizes $42 million in FMS credits to support production equipment, raw materials, technical assistance, construction, royalty fees, and training. South Korea is prohibited from transferring rifles or components to third parties without the consent of the US, and the MOU can be terminated only by mutual agreement. Licensing and technical assistance agreements are also signed by Colt and the ROK Ministry of National Defense. This implements the MOU, establishes royalty fees, and provides training, production know-how, and technical assistance. South Korea is authorized 100 percent rifle manufacturing capability, involving 124 individual parts ranging from springs to buttstocks. (In contrast, Colt’s factory produces only around 12 parts in house, and the remaining components are subcontracted among 70 vendors.) Full production of 10,000 rifles per month is planned for May 1974, with the completion of the production run expected by February 1979. By the end of the month, the first $15 million in FMS credits is approved for FY 1971.

The military specification for M197 High Pressure Test, MIL-C-46936A(MU), is revised to MIL-C-46936B(MU).

Colt’s John Jorczak receives US Patent #3,568,324 titled “Battlesight for an Auxiliary Projectile Launcher.”

The Chinese PLA‘s logistics department holds the 713 Conference, a research meeting to determine the desired characteristics of a SCHV cartridge.

Spring:
AAI submits an unsolicited proposal for the development of a plastic cased blank.

April:
More than 1,000 union workers from Colt petition Rep. William R. Cotter (D-CT) to stop the US-Korea M16 co-production agreement. Cotter lobbies the White House in an attempt to stop the plan.

The Colt CMG-2 is submitted for Navy nomenclature assignment.

May:
The Pentagon refuses Rep. Cotter’s Freedom of Information Act request regarding details of the US-Korea M16 co-production agreement.

The CDCIA publishes “Army Small Arms Requirements Study II (ASARS II) Study Plan.”

The Colt CMG-2 is officially designated “Gun, Machine, 5.56 Millimeter, EX 27 Mod 0.”

HK‘s Tilo Möller and Dieter Ketterer file multiple US patent applications for the HK 36’s carrying handle and integrated optic, trigger pack attachment, and ambidextrous charging handle.

Colt’s Stanley Silsby files the report “Lightweight Rifle/Submachine Gun.” The report details the design and fabrication of the four IMP prototypes for the USAF. Demonstrations proved the basic concept of utilizing the shooter’s arm as the gunstock was not only feasible but exceeded expectations. Further efforts will be made to improve trigger pull, trigger guidance, pistol grip locking, the arm rest, sighting, and to modify the design for quantity production.

June:
The CDCIA publishes “Army Small Arms Requirements Study II (ASARS II): First In-Process Review After Action 16 – 17 June 1971.”

The Army Aviation Systems Test Activity publishes the report “5.56/7.62MM Weapons Comparative Evaluation, OH-6A Helicopter.” The objectives of the test were to evaluate and compare the 5.56mm XM214 and the 7.62mm GAU-2B/A automatic guns for firing accuracy and effect of the weapons firing on flight characteristics. Only minor differences were noted in firing accuracy at ranges of 500 meters or less. A pronounced loss of accuracy was noted with the XM214 at ranges of 1000 meters and greater. Helicopter reactions were most apparent, for both weapons, during hover firing at a high rate of fire and were more severe with the GAU-2B/A than with the XM214. At forward airspeeds, only minor differences in flight characteristics were noted during firing of the weapons. Vibration levels of the instrument panel and gun mount were reduced significantly with installation of the XM214.

Rodman Laboratory publishes the report “Concepts of Single Shot Grenade Launchers Attached to an Infantry Rifle.” The report discusses the initial phase of an in-house design activity for the development of a 30mm grenade launcher. The launcher work is one aspect of the total Future Rifle System Program. As such, the conceptual efforts were molded around many of the requirements of that program so as to produce a composite weapon system consisting of both area and point fire components. In a span of ten weeks, a team of five people produced 14 deserving concepts from more than 23 basic approaches. Out of these 14, two concepts were selected for further development and inclusion in the overall Future Rifle System Program. Detailed design activity is currently underway to translate these two concepts to firing hardware for a projected delivery date of Fall 1971.

At Frankford Arsenal, Andrew J. Grandy and Martin Horchler publish”The Encapsulated Folded Ammunition Concept.” The authors have experimented with 5.56mm folded path cartridges in order to duplicate the performance of the M193 cartridge.

HK‘s Tilo Möller and Dieter Ketterer file an US patent application for the HK 36’s semi-integral magazine and loading system.

The Army awards a $365,340 contract to Honeywell to design, fabricate, and build a prototype automated machine line for production of sabots for SPIW fléchette cartridges.

July:
Rep. Cotter proposes legislation that would bar foreign production of US weapons without authorization by Congress. The House Foreign Affairs Committee rejects Cotter’s proposal.

$10 million in FMS credits are approved for South Korean M16 production in FY 1972.

Twin Cities AAP issues the memo “5.56mm Production Equipment Based on New Concept for Manufacture of Small Caliber Ammunition.”

Reynolds Metals publishes the report “Development of Aluminum Alloys for Cartridge Cases.” The study was aimed at developing an aluminum alloy suitable for use in a 5.56mm cartridge case. Two distinctly different types of properties were required. In the annealed condition, the alloy must have good formability, such that the many cup and draw operations can be readily performed without the introduction of defects. In the final heat treated condition the alloy must exhibit both high strength and toughness. Ideally, a yield strength of 80,000 PSI and a tear strength to-yield strength ratio of 1.5 were desired by the Sponsor. Such a combination of properties is not currently available in any known commercial alloy. Variations of the commercial alloys 7075, 7178, and 7001 were studied.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of 5.56-MM Gilding-Metal-Clad Steel-Jacketed Tracer Projectiles.”

MIL-STD-1453(MU), the military standard for the ballistic standards and test method for evaluating and selecting 5.56mm ammunition for M16/M16A1 weapon acceptance tests, is published.

Frankford Arsenal begins computerized parametric design analyses to design a cartridge from scratch to meet the SAW requirements. Five candidate designs are considered. These include a 6.5mm fléchette cartridge, and 5.56mm, 6mm, 6.35mm, and 6.5mm cartridges using conventional bullets.

WECOM publishes the report “Chromium Plating of Caliber .17 (4.32mm) Barrels.” Caliber .17 (4.32mm) barrel blanks were machined to the exterior contour of an M16 Rifle barrel. Attempts to chromium plate these barrels with conventional plating fixtures were unsuccessful because misalignment of the electrode caused discoloration and shading of the plating. Attempts to obtain satisfactory, chromium-plated bores by use of better electrode alignment with the conventional fixtures were also unsuccessful. A self-aligning rotating electrode fixture was fabricated, and a technique for chromium-plating the caliber .17 bore was established. With the use of the rotating electrode fixture, many of the problems were eliminated that were encountered with the conventional fixtures on the caliber .17 bore.

August:
The Office of Product Manager, M16 Series Rifles is disbanded. The staff is reassigned within WECOM.

WECOM publishes the report “Procurement History and Analysis of M16 Rifle.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “Comparison of a Theoretical and Experimental Study of the Gas System in the M16A1 Rifle.” Results of the study show that functioning of the rifle is quite sensitive to variations in gas port diameter, initial volume, and effective pressure area in the gas system. However, functioning is quite insensitive to variations in leakage area, vent area, and the distance the bolt carrier travels before uncovering the vent holes in the gas system. The study concludes there is no great advantage in changing any parameter in the M16 gas system.

COMUSKOREA advises Admiral McCain that a MOU will be negotiated between the South Korean MND and the DOD for FMS credits for converting and expanding the ROK arsenal for ammunition production.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “An Analysis of Local Temperature Profiles Encountered in the Aluminum Cartridge Case Drilled Hole Experiment.” In order to gain a better understanding of the failure phenomenon experienced with aluminum cases, a combination experimental and theoretical program was initiated to study the failure dynamics using intentionally induced failures in 5.56mm aluminum cases.

“Military Characteristics for Plastic 5.56mm Blank Cartridge” is published.

Frankford Arsenal narrows its SAW cartridge studies to 5.56mm and 6mm. The 5.56mm candidate design is based on a case 1.949″ long and 0.4313″ wide, loaded with a lead core 68gr bullet. The 6mm candidate design is based on a case 1.715″ long and 0.372″ wide, loaded with a steel core 80gr bullet. (Note that this case is actually smaller than the standard 5.56x45mm.)

The US Army Arctic Test Center issues the report “Service Test of Launcher, Grenade, 40mm, M203, Attachment for Rifles, under Arctic Winter Conditions.” The M203 is found unsuitable for arctic use due to two deficiencies: fracture of the barrel guide during firing and failure of the adhesive bond between the handguard and the barrel. The latter problem had already been identified as an issue during 1969 testing at Aberdeen.

Colt’s Stanley Silsby files a patent application for a rate reducer for the IMP.

WECOM publishes the report “Evaluation of Experimental Drive Springs for the XM19 Rifle.” Laboratory tests and a theoretical study were conducted to determine the optimum design for increasing the life of the XM19 drive spring. Spring endurance tests were conducted by the Research Directorate of the Weapons Laboratory at Rock Island. Fatigue properties of eight experimental drive spring designs were evaluated under simulated firing conditions. The experimental springs consisted of various materials and strand constructions of three, seven, or 14 wires. A theoretical study was performed by the University of Illinois under direction of the Research Directorate on the dynamic response of helical compression springs. Theoretical and experimental data were correlated and were in close agreement. It is determined from this investigation that of the eight experimental designs that were evaluated, the two-piece spring assembly is superior because it retained maximum loads at the completion of the endurance tests.

September:
WECOM completes Phase 1 testing of the redesigned Stoner 63A1.

Frankford Arsenal begins work on developing actual 6mm cartridge cases based on its computerized SAW model. Minor dimensional changes are made to accommodate existing equipment and case components (5.56x45mm 2nd draw pieces).

The M203 grenade launcher’s military specification, MIL-L-45935, is issued.

On behalf of the US Army, Harold H. Wiese receives US Patent #3,603,020 titled “Magazine Assembly with Expendable Cartridge Container Unit.”

Stanley Silsby, on behalf of the US Army, receives US Patent #3,604,142 titled “Four-Stack Cartridge Magazine.”

October:
MUCOM Commanding General BG Graham issues a directive that the SAW cartridge cases be made of an alternative material other than brass, such as steel or aluminum. This change is in order to fully comply with the spirit of the DOD‘s copper conservation policy.

Colt’s Henry Into files a patent application for the design of the SCAMP.

Dale M. Davis receives US Patent #3,611,872 titled “Lightweight Compact Rifle.”

November:
The Connecticut Citizens Action Group, an organization affiliated with Ralph Nader, release a report titled “The M16: Colt’s Lethal Lemon.” It charges that Colt has deliberately circumvented Army quality control requirements in the production of the M16. The House Armed Services Committee staff begins a probe.

The US Army, through the Land Warfare Laboratory at Aberdeen, signs a contract with AAI for the development of their proposed plastic case blank.

Colt’s Robert Fremont receives US Patent #3,619,929 titled “Magazine with Anti-Double-Feed Indentations in the Side Walls.”

Colt’s Henry Into and John Jorczak receive US Patent #3,618,248 titled “Buttstock Assembly with a Latchable Door for a Compartment Formed Therein.”

Frankford Arsenal begins work on developing actual 5.56mm cartridge cases based on its computerized SAW model. Minor dimensional changes are made to accommodate existing equipment and case components (7.62mm NATO final draw pieces trimmed to 1-3/8″).

Frankford Arsenal publishes drawings of the initial 6mm SAW case as Sketch BCX-1: 6MM Brass Case (Special). Approximately 800 cases are fabricated to this design. These are held back awaiting design of the 80gr bullet. (It appears that the 80gr bullet was never designed, and that these cases were never loaded.)

Colt submits an unsolicited proposal to the US Army for the Small Caliber Machine Pistol (SCAMP). The Colt SCAMP fires a short .224″ caliber proprietary cartridge known as the .22 SCAMP.

Late:
Thailand contracts with HK for the construction of a HK 33 manufacturing plant.

December:
Rep. Howard claims that the FBI is investigating allegations that Colt has “deliberately cheated” on factory tests of the M16. The FBI will only confirm that an inquiry is in progress.

$5 million in FMS credits for South Korean domestic ammunition production are approved for FY 1972.

The Naval Training Device Center publishes the report “Clothing Penetration Tests for the M16 Training Cartridge.” The report indicates that trainees are not adequately protected against stray projectiles based on penetration tests for the M16 training cartridge.

Fairchild Industries’ John F. Dealy and Michael W. York file a patent application for a low profile set of M16 sights that are viewed through the struts of the carrying handle.

USMC Commandant General Chapman directs that the contract to Cadillac Gage to design and produce the Stoner 63A1 required for Phase 2 testing at Aberdeen be terminated at no cost to the Government. With this, production of the Stoner 63A1 ends.

Colt’s George Curtis and Henry Tatro file patent applications for the design of the CMG-2.

Physics Technology Labs publishes the report “Feasibility Study of the Sputtering of Coatings Onto the 4.32mm Barrel Bore.” The research is under contract to the USASASA.

Frankford Arsenal begins limited fabrication of the 5.56mm SAW cartridge case. Approximately 100 cases are made through January 1972. These are held back waiting for the procurement of the 68gr bullets and a special test barrel.

Col. Raymond S. Isenson of the USASASA rejects Colt’s SCAMP proposal as the US Army is experimenting with a parallel small arms program called the “Personal Defense Weapon” (PDW).

1972


The Army National Guard (ARNG) and the US Army Reserve (USAR) receive 129,000 M16A1 rifles.

Rock Island’s Small Arms Systems Laboratory is assigned development of a Firing Port Weapon (FPW) for the XM732 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle (MICV).

Aberdeen discovers that M196 Tracer cartridges loaded with IMR 8208M is clocking lower than normal cyclic rates. WC844 is tested in an experimental batch of tracer, and the cyclic rates return to normal.

Frankford Arsenal conducts a test program to optimize the hardness gradient of the 5.56mm case.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Optimum Bullet Study.” While the use of aerodynamic computations as a design basis for artillery shell has been well established, the information generated had not been on shapes (or in sizes) of obvious interest to the small arms designer. Further work is needed to establish a base of confidence in computing the behavior of small arms projectiles and this should be done in bullet sizes and subject to typical small arms systems constraints. In an effort to provide this more general design basis, several programs are generated within the BRL and later partially supported by other agencies, particularly AMSAA and USASASA.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “An Analysis of 5.56mm Aluminum Cartridge Case Burn-Through Phenomenon.” This work was aimed at understanding the “burn-through” problem that has impeded orderly engineering development and application of aluminum alloy cartridge cases in high-performance ammunition since the 1890’s. It has been shown that a gas path through the wall of an aluminum case, and through which propellant gas can flow during the internal ballistic cycle, is a precursor to the “burn-through” phenomenon. Solutions to this problem have been found that either prevent propellant gas flow through a path in the case that develops unintentionally during firing of the ammunition, or alter the effect of propellant gas flow through such a gas path. Since an engineering understanding of the “burn-through” phenomenon is available, work is currently underway to demonstrate the feasibility of aluminum cartridge cases.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 77,417 M16A1, 6,145 M16, 83 XM177-type, and 164 XM148 to South Vietnam.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 70,497 M16A1 to Cambodia.

The US provides 90 M16A1 to Indonesia as part of a military assistance package.

The US provides 24,000 M16A1 and 900 M203 to Jordan as part of a military assistance package. (Deliveries of the M203 stretch through 1973.)

The CDCIA publishes “ASARS II Overview.”

The CDCIA‘s Systems Analysis Group publishes “ASARS II Battle Model: Working Description of Logic.”

RSAF Enfield’s preliminary study concludes. Not surprisingly, the ideal caliber chosen is 5mm, for use with both the IW and LSW. Unconventional technologies such as fléchette and caseless cartridges were deemed too technically difficult to master within the desired time frame. A bullpup configuration is preferred as it gives the desired reduction in size without resorting to folding/collapsible stocks. (The latter design concepts are deemed to lack rigidity, causing accuracy to suffer.) To increase first-shot hit probabilities, the weapons must also be equipped with an optical sight similar to the SUIT. Based on the recommendations, a General Staff Target (GST 3518) is written to give specifications and goals for the following two-year Feasibility Study.

HK introduces a 5.56mm box-fed LMG, the HK 13.

MAS completes ten A2 rifle prototypes.

Mikhail Kalashnikov reportedly receives his first samples of the 5.45x39mm cartridge, and is instructed to develop an AKM variant for the new cartridge.

Cartoucherie de Toulouse experiments with a 4.5x54mm cartridge.

The US Army awards a contract with the Honeywell Corporation’s Ordnance Division (now part of Alliant Techsystems) for the development of a 30mm grenade cartridge to replace the existing 40x46mm. (The actual design is credited to Picatinny.)

Winter:
Colt Industries recombines the Colt Firearms Division.

January:
Aberdeen publishes “Comparison Test of Rifle, 5.56-MM, M16A1.”

Singapore receives US approval for an export license to sell M16S to Thailand. This one of the few export sales that Colt and the US State Department will ever approve.

Frankford Arsenal publishes drawings of the 5.56mm SAW case as Sketch BCX-30: 5.56MM Brass Case (Special).

Because of the delay in the design analyses of prospective SAW bullet designs, Frankford Arsenal decides to procure commercial cartridge cases and bullets. These will be handloaded for ballistic tests to confirm additional computer predictions. Frankford orders 1,000 .222 Remington Magnum primed cases, 1,000 .250 Savage primed cases, and various bullets from local commercial sources.

February:
The Justice Department orders a FBI investigation of allegations that Colt has cheated on Government quality-control tests for the M16.

The US Army MTU prepares a lesson outline for the development of a National Match M16A1 rifle. Testing has indicated the superiority of a 1-in-9″ twist heavy barrel over a 1-in-12″ twist barrel of the same profile. Bullet weights as heavy as 70gr are also tested with handloads.

The US Coast Guard publishes the report “Evaluation of the M16 Rifle as a Line-Throwing Gun.” A M16 rifle was adapted to a line throwing gun using an inert Mecar grenade. The results of the test firings indicate that the M16 is an unacceptable line throwing device.

Frankford Arsenal begins experiments with the standard 5.56x45mm case necked up to 6mm. Testing continues through at least May 1972. (Around 1974 or later, Brunswick Corp. submits a similar experimental 6x45mm round as an unsolicited proposal to Frankford. The cartridge is also based on a reformed 5.56x45mm case with a slightly different profile, and is loaded with commercial projectiles.)

March:
The US Army issues a “Materiel Need” document for a “Squad Automatic Weapon, Light Machine Gun.” Before the end of FY 1972, development contracts for ten SAW prototypes are let to Maremont (Saco) and Philco-Ford (later, Ford Aerospace). A design team at the Rodman Laboratory ultimately develops their own candidate, the XM235. The goal is to procure a weapon with an effective range of 800-1,100m that weighs 17-21 pounds when loaded with 200rds of ammo. The ball cartridge must be able to defeat a helmet at 800m, and the tracer must remain visible beyond the same range. Gene Stoner has reportedly advised Cadillac Gage not to bother with adapting the Stoner 63 design to the new requirements.

Frankford Arsenal’s Case Shop is requested to fabricate an additional 800 5.56mm SAW cases with a 0.10″ longer neck. The change in neck length is intended to accommodate a longer bullet design.

Frankford Arsenal receives its order of 1,000 .222 Remington Magnum primed cases, 1,000 .250 Savage primed cases, various commercial bullets, and loading dies. The latter includes forming dies to neck up the .222 Rem Mag cases to 6mm. The 6mm/222 Rem Mag wildcat cases are loaded with the 0.243″ Speer 105gr spitzer and the Remington 100gr “Pointed Special.” The .250 Savage cases are loaded with the 0.257″ Remington 100gr “Pointed Special.” After testing, the .250 Savage is deemed unsuitable, and the 6mm/222 Rem Mag case is deemed to be too small to achieve the desired velocities with 100-105gr bullets.

For unknown motivations, the British ADE decides to rename their 5x44mm cartridge as the 4.85x44mm (based on the diameter of the barrel’s lands).

Andrew J. Grandy files a patent application for a “folded path” cartridge and weapon system.

April:
AMC issues “M16 Rifle: Maintenance Layaway of H&R Equipment.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Investigation of a Low Noise Duplex Cartridge (LNDC).”

Frankford Arsenal also publishes “Firing Shock Measurements on the M16 Rifle.”

In addition, Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Compilation of Frankford Arsenal Memo Reports on 5.56mm AR-15/M16 Rifle/Ammunition System (1963-1970).”

Remington issues the report “Tracer Simulation Study.” Under contract to the Army, Remington investigated infrared laser ignition of 5.56mm tracers. The results were mixed as sensitivity to laser stimulation did not correlate to live fire performance.

Mellonics Systems publishes “The Identification of Objective Relationships between Small Arms Fire Characteristics and Effectiveness of Suppressive Fire.” Performed under contract to ARPA, the purpose of this study is to identify objective relationships between small arms weapons characteristics and effectiveness in suppressive fire. In addition, this study provides a methodology through which the suppressive capabilities of various small arms weapons may be assessed. Beside literature searches of battlefield experiences and surveys of combat veterans, life fire testing was conducted using the M1A1 SMG, XM19, M16, AK-47, M60, and M2 BMG. Of interest is that the XM19 ranked far last in perceived dangerousness in incoming fire.

Frankford Arsenal completes fabrication of the 800 modified 5.56mm SAW cases. Again, these are held back in anticipation of test barrels and development of load data. (Once again, it appears that these cases were never loaded as the test barrels were never received, and the 68gr bullet design was never created.)

Frankford Arsenal draws up 6mm variants of the 5.56x45mm case lengthened to 1.898″, 1.981″, and 2.031″. Alternative 6mm cases with a wider 0.410″ case head are also drawn up. These are design studies only, pending a mutually agreeable decision between MUCOM and WECOM‘s R&D agencies.

USASASA holds a PDW conference at Aberdeen.

May:
Rock Island publishes “Investigation of the Interaction of Weapon-Ammunition Subsystems.” Acceptance-test data for five manufacturers’ production of 5.56mm ammunition were analyzed through time-series modeling, an empirical cumulative distribution function was formulated, and a bivariate histogram of chamber pressure and port pressure was developed for use in the selection of weapon-test ammunition.

The BRL publishes “Interior Ballistics Study of the M16A1 Rifle.”

MUCOMWECOM, and USASASA representatives meet at Frankford Arsenal. It is agreed that the new SAW cartridge will use a 105gr 6mm projectile, possess a 0.410″ case head, have a case taper of 0.1746″ per inch of length, and use a steel case. (A brass cased variant will be designed as a backup.) Frankford Arsenal estimates that the new cases will not be available until August 1972.

“Personal Defense Weapons (PDW) Summary Report” is published.

Aberdeen’s BRL releases the report “A Technique for Quality Control of Piston Primer Ammunition.” Sponsored by the USASASA, the study desired to find ways of improving the reliability of AAI’s primer-actuated action.

June:
The BRL publishes “Experimental Ballistic Properties of Selected Projectiles of Possible Interest in Small Arms.” This report includes data collected from test firing 0.224″ projectiles using the “AR2 artillery shape.”

Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, on contract to Frankford Arsenal, publishes “Determination of Temperature Gradients in 5.56 mm Aluminum Cases.”

ArmaLite ceases AR-18 production at Costa Mesa.

Frankford Arsenal publishes Drawing D-11744216 depicting the new 6mm SAW cartridge case design.

CDCEC issues the four-volume report “XM19 Serial Fléchette Rifle Experiment.”

Stanley Silsby, on behalf of the US Army, receives US Patent #3,672,089 titled “Large Capacity Magazine.”

July:
WECOM publishes the report “Solid Lubricant Coatings Curable at 225 F-300 F.” Experimental solid-film lubricant coatings based on urea-formaldehyde, epoxy-polyamide, epoxy-silane, alkyd-urea, melamine-acrylic, and epoxy-urea resins were formulated for use on the M16A1 rifle. These coatings are cured after being applied to the rifle, and thus low temperatures are needed so as not to adversely affect the rifle’s strength. None of these coatings when cured at temperatures of 225-300F had antiwear or corrosion preventing properties comparable to the fully cured MIL-L-46010A type of solid lubricant coating now used. Of the experimental formulations tested, those based on the urea-formaldehyde and epoxy-silane resins gave the best results. However, with the addition of a curing agent, boron trifluoride monoethylamine complex, to a qualified MIL-L-46010A base, the product could be cured at 275F, and all test requirements could be satisfied.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Sealing of Sabot and Primer of XM645 Cartridge.” Waterproof sealing of the sabot and primer of the XM645 Cartridge (SFR) was achieved using a pigmented resin-solvent formulation. Firing tests conducted on experimentally sealed rounds have given every indication that the seals are acceptable. Efforts to effect sealing of the sabot by means of commercially available dry-shrink or heat-shrink preformed plastic caps, or to mold caps having the desired wall thickness, were successful.

Frankford Arsenal completes fabrication of the first 1,500 6mm SAW brass cases ahead of schedule. These used 7.62mm NATO case final draw pieces.

Pier Carlo Beretta receives US Patent #3,675,534 titled “Automatic Rifle.”

Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of Modified Leaf Sight for M203 Grenade Launcher.”

Abraham Flatau files a patent application for the Ring Airfoil Grenade (RAG).

August:
Aberdeen publishes the report “Comparison Test of 5.56-MM Tracer Ammunition Loaded with IMR 8208M and Ball WC844 Propellant.”

Due to bullet seating issues with the 4.85x44mm, the British ADE decide to elongate the case neck, creating the 4.85x49mm. An order is placed with Radway Green for 4.85x49mm cartridge cases.

Edgewood Arsenal issues the report “A Kinetically Non-Hazardous Ring Airfoil Projectile for Delivering Riot Control Agent.”

September:
The US Army Armament Command (ARMCOM) is created. Headquartered at Rock Island, it will combine MUCOMAPSAWECOM, and USASASA.

The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) announces that due to the results of weapon evaluations by the Philippine military, only Colt, ArmaLite, HK, and IMI will be eligible for further consideration. The BOI indicates that the co-production program will call for 150,000 rifles to be produced over five years. Domestic content of the rifles will ultimately increase to 100 percent (exclusive of imported raw materials). The foreign firm will provide technical assistance, parts, and materials. The Philippine government will hold the license.

October:
The US ambassador and Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs sign a protocol related to a purchase of M16 rifles.

The Philippines opens negotiations to various international arms makers for construction of a domestic small arms plant. Colt and HK are considered to be the front-runners. Colt informs JUSMAG-PHIL that they estimate a cost of $22.5 million to cover the total package of technology, equipment, and materials.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Effect of 5.56mm Primer Components on Ballistic Performance of the M16A1 Rifle/Ammunition System” As a result of previous testing at Frankford Arsenal, it was decided to conduct more extensive testing of 5.56 mm primers. A factorial experiment was conducted to determine the effects of these primers on interior ballistics for both ball and tracer ammunition. The primer mixture, the primer weight, and the conditioning temperature of the ammunition were varied to investigate their effects, individually and in conjunction with each other, on the cyclic rate of the M16 rifle, on the action time of the ammunition in the rifle, and on the velocity of the projectile. The results of this test show that within the limits tested, primer components did effect ballistic performance, but to a lesser degree than external factors such as the rifle used and the conditioning temperature of the ammunition.

Frankford Arsenal also publishes the report “Effect of Propellant Additives in Reducing Fouling and Erosion in the M16A1 Rifle.”

WECOM publishes the report “New and Improved Rubber Compounds for Weapon Systems.” The report notes that newly developed fluorosilicone rubber inserts significantly increased the service life of the M16A1 rifle extractor springs.

November:
The new CINCPAC Admiral Noel A.M. Gayler suggests that the Philippine government consider a commercial purchase of M16 from Colt. JUSMAG-PHIL indicates that the Philippine government is currently negotiating for the direct purchase of 7,000 M16.

Frankford Arsenal releases the report “Aluminum Cartridge Case Feasibility Study Using the M16A1 Rifle with the 5.56mm Ball Ammunition as the Test Vehicle.” Identification of the “burn-through” problem associated with high-performance aluminum cartridge-cases was made as the result of studies to isolate the elements of this problem and relate these elements to the interior ballistic cycle of the M16A1 rifle system. One practical solution (the flexible internal element) to this problem was found. This solution was coupled with improvements in mechanical performance of the aluminum case by new analytical design techniques, tougher high-strength aluminum alloy, and novel case processing techniques. With the different improvement combined, the feasibility of the aluminum cartridge case was demonstrated by test firing.

Frankford Arsenal also publishes the report “Investigation of the Piston Primer For Use in the XM645 Cartridge.”

Aberdeen’s BRL releases the report “Resume of Special Tests of the XM19 Rifle and XM645 Ammunition.” These tests were to examine the causes of health related complaints made by troops testing the XM19. Reported aliments included severe nausea, inflammations, and even eye injuries, all apparently caused by particles from the fiberglass sabot of the fléchette cartridges.

The US Army Arctic Test Center begins a new check test of the M203.

The US Army Chemical Systems Laboratory publishes the report “Evaluation of the Wounding Potential of Single Projectiles From the 40-mm Multiple Projectile Cartridges XM576 and the XM576E2.”

Abe Flatau, Donald N. Olson, and Miles C. Miller file a patent application for a pair of non-lethal RAGs, one with a payload and the other without. These become known as the Soft RAG and the Sting RAG, respectively.

December:
GE‘s Richard S. Rose and Burton P. Clark file a patent application for GE‘s version of the Dual Cycle Rifle. It uses an asymmetrical six-chamber cylinder. During its forward stroke, the central operating rod/bolt strips three rounds from the magazine while ejecting three spent cases. During the rearward stroke, three rounds are fired in sequence while three spent cases extracted from the other chambers.

Battelle Memorial Institute publishes the report “Research and Development on Coextrusion of Bimetallic .220 Swift and 25mm Gun Barrels.” This was a research and development program on lined gun barrels directed toward selecting desirable barrel and liner material combinations, which will increase the life of barrels in rapid fire gun systems, and developing the fabrication processes for producing these barrels with a metallurgically bonded liner. Coextrusion was used as the method for producing the lined barrel stock. The program was divided into two parts with the first part directed toward producing lined .220 Swift barrels of selected material combinations for testing in the M60. A-286 steel was selected as the barrel material, and TZM, Mo-0.5Ti, L605, Ta-1 OW, and T-222 were selected as the liner materials for the barrels. All the liners coextruded with the barrel steel satisfactorily over a small mandrel except T-222. The four successfully coextruded combinations were fabricated into .220 Swift barrels with swaging being used to rifle the barrels.

Philco-Ford publishes the report “Development of an Electrochemical Machining Process for Rifling Lined Gun Barrels.” A 16-month program was conducted to advance high performance gun barrel technology by developing an electrochemical machining process for rifling high performance barrel liner materials. A total of 15 electrolytes and numerous electrochemical machining parameters were evaluated in conducting electrochemical machinability studies on iron-nickel-base, nickel-base, and cobalt-base superalloys, and on refractory alloys of columbium, molybdenum, tantalum, and tungsten. Four materials (L-605, VM103, CG-27, and alloy 718) were selected for electrochemical rifling and fabrication into .220 Swift barrel liners. The rifled liners were insulated externally and assembled into outer barrel jackets using a drawing process, thus producing insulated composite test barrels. A total of 12 MG3 test barrels, representing the four liner materials and three jacket materials (H-11, A-286, and Pyromet X-15), were fabricated and delivered to the USAF. The results of this program indicate that electrochemical machining is a feasible process for obtaining high quality and low cost rifling, and that extrapolation of this process to larger calibers appears feasible.

Prior to the manufacture and delivery of Radway Green’s new 4.85x49mm cartridge cases, RSAF Enfield requires preliminary ballistic data with 4.85x49mm pressure barrels. As a result, Enfield is forced to use 4.85x44mm cases with the bullets’ cannelure seated 5mm above the case mouth.

1973


Congress deletes all but $3.6 million for the purchase of 37,533 M16A1 rifles in a supplemental defense appropriations request.

Twin Cities receives the first complete SCAMP production line. (SCAMP: Small Caliber Ammunition Modernization Program) The new production line includes high speed loading presses, with the goal of increasing cartridge production from 60-100rpm to 1,200rpm.

Frankford Arsenal contracts additional aluminum case testing to be performed by Thiokal Chemical Corporation. Frankford also develops an aluminum-cased blank cartridge, which Aberdeen finds to be equivalent in performance to the issue M200.

Gulf + Western Industries Inc. begins development of a plastic cased ball cartridge.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 82,446 M16A1, 157 XM177-type, and 13 M203 to South Vietnam.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 3,449 M16A1 to Cambodia.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 43,185 M16A1 to Laos.

The US provides 1,618 M16A1 to Indonesia as part of a military assistance package.

The US provides 700 M16A1 to Jordan as part of a military assistance package.

22,887 M16 rifles are deleted from the Philippine MAP.

CIS begins delivery of roughly 30,000 M16S rifles to Thailand.

The Danish Army begins testing of selective fire rifles to replace their M1 rifles. The M16A1 wins the testing, but the Danes are reluctant to adopt the 5.56mm cartridge outside of a wider NATO adoption. Instead, the Danes decide to lease 70,000 G3 rifles from West Germany. (The G3 had finished in 10th place in Danish testing.)

The US Army awards a rifle development contract to ARES, Inc. In return, Stoner creates the Future Assault Rifle Concept (FARC) prototype. Oddly enough, it is Stoner’s first 5.56x45mm design that hasn’t started life as an earlier 7.62mm NATO design.

After failed experiments involving conventionally arranged bolts, HK‘s G11 development team happen upon a solution for providing gas obturation with caseless cartridges. Their chamber and breech will rotate about an axis at a right angle to the barrel.

HK introduces a 5.56mm belt-fed LMG, the HK 23A1.

HK begins delivery of equipment to Thailand for their new HK 33 production facility, the Royal Thai Armory.

MAS completes ten A3 rifle prototypes.

Frankford Arsenal experiments with a 4.32x40mm cartridge. It is dubbed by some as the 4.32mm Optimum or 4.32mm Optimized.

Cartoucherie du Mans experiments with a 5.56x54mm cartridge.

FN experiments with a 3.5x51mm cartridge.

R&D work begins on the Civil Disturbance Control System. It is based on non-lethal variants of Abe Flatau’s Ring Airfoil Grenade (RAG).

January:
ARMCOM officially begins operations.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Study of the Pressure Distribution Behind the M193 Projectile when Fired in the M16 Rifle Barrel.”

The US Army CDC approves a Materiel Needs Document for a Future Rifle System (FRS). In many ways, it is a restatement of the SPIW requirements, incorporating both point and area target capabilities. However, the FRS is opened up to more than the previous fléchette cartridge systems. Among the requirements: The ability to maintain a rate of fire of 540 rounds every six hours for an entire day (15 grenade firings during the same six hour period). The point fire cartridge must be 25 percent more likely to incapacitate than the M193 from the M16A1. It must have a 30-50 percent probability of hitting a kneeling target at ranges from 300-500 meters. The area fire cartridge must be smaller than 40mm, yet maintain the lethality and range of the larger cartridge. The loaded weight of both systems combined must be less than 9-11 pounds. The point fire weapon is to display a minimum MRBS of 1,000 for the first 10,000 rounds fired. The area fire weapon is to display a minimum MRBS of 500 for the first 5,000 rounds fired.

Hughes’ Morris Goldin receives US Patent #3,713,240 titled “Lockless Firearm System.”

February:
The Indonesian Minister for Defense and Security makes a personal plea to Vice President Spiro Agnew requesting additional military assistance. Among the requests is the desire to establish a domestic manufacturing plant for either the M16 or AR-18.

NATO‘s Action Committee 225 (AC/225) Panel III, Subpanel 4 issues “Operational Requirement for Light Support Weapon.”

The British ADE is at work developing a rifle design for their 4.85x49mm cartridge. The Project Leader is Col. John Weeks, and the rifle design team is led by Sydney Hance. (Hance had been chief design assistant for the EM2 rifle.) The resulting IW and LSW are both equipped with separate, push-through selector and safety buttons. While the IW fires from the closed-bolt position in all modes, the LSW fires from a closed-bolt position only in semi-auto mode. 3 round burst and full-auto fire are from an open bolt position. In addition, at least one prototype is chambered in 5.56x45mm for comparison purposes.

Prototype 4.85x49mm ammo is created by reforming fired 5.56mm blank cartridges from FN.

The US Army Arctic Test Center testing of the M203 is terminated pending design reevaluation and a product modification to correct primer punch-out problems. The latter problem had also been identified as an issue during 1969 testing at Aberdeen.

March:
The FY 1973 Indonesian MAP is cut nearly in half. The US Ambassador to Indonesia suggests possible concessions to soften the blow. These mirror the previous month’s requests by the Indonesian Minister of Defense and Security. CINCPAC Admiral Gayler concurs in the need to make some concessions, but recommends that the small arms plant be reserved for a joint study proposal. The US State Department points out that the establishment of an Indonesian small arms plant is already being negotiated on a commercial basis.

The military specification for the M16 and M16A1 rifles, MIL-R-45587, is revised to MIL-R-45587A.

The US Army Arctic Test Center publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of Gilding Metal Clad Steel (GMCS) Jackets for 5.56MM Projectiles.” The testing had been conducted on behalf of Frankford Arsenal.

The US Army Arctic Test Center issues the report “Check Test of Launcher, Grenade, 40mm, M203, under Arctic Winter Conditions.”

TRW ceases development of the LMR.

Morris Goldin files a patent application for the design of the plastic-cased “chiclet” cartridge.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Determination of Normal Forces Arising from In-Bore Pressures on an N-Segmented Sabot: Single Fléchette.”

April:
Radway Green delivers the first purpose made 4.85x49mm cartridges.

Colt’s Stanley Silsby receives US Patent #3,724,325 titled “Rate Reducer.”

May:
On behalf of the US Army, Warren W. Wells receives US Patent #3,732,643 titled “Cartridge Magazine.”

Aberdeen’s BRL releases the memorandum report “Analysis of Exhaust Gases from the XM19 Rifle — An Application of Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy.” A technique combining gas chromatographic and mass spectrometric analysis was developed and applied to determine the chemical composition of gases resulting from firing the XM19 rifle with the XM645 fléchette round. Cyanogen, carbonyl sulfide, carbon monoxide, nitrous and nitric oxides were among the products detected.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) issue its first batch of IMI Galil rifles.

HK‘s Tilo Möller and Dieter Ketterer receive US Patent #3,731,417 titled “Firearms.”

June:
The Philippine government announces that it will accept Colt’s proposal for establishing a domestic small arms plant. The agreement will call for the direct purchase, initial in-country assembly and eventual production over a six year period of 150,000 rifles and the equivalent of 22,500 rifles in spares.

Proposed Philippine Rifle Program

MonthQuantityActivityLocal Content
0-95,000Assembled by Colt0 Percent
10-1815,000Local Assembly10 Percent
19-217,500Local Assembly/Production20 Percent
22-247,500Local Assembly/Production50 Percent
25-3630,000Local Assembly/Production80 Percent
37-4840,000Local Production100 Percent
49-6045,000Local Production100 Percent
61-7222,500Local Production of Spares100 Percent

The Chief of JUSMAG-PHIL informs CINCPAC Admiral Gayler that the Philippine government has requested approval of a FMS loan to finance the local co-production program.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “A Limited Analysis of a New Ammunition Concept for Potential Future Rifle Application.” This report concerns the FABRL “low-impulse” cartridge, created in a joint project between Frankford Arsenal and Aberdeen’s Ballistic Research Laboratories (BRL). (While it is clear that the initials FABRL indicate the parent agencies, it is later explained away as: “Future Ammunition for Burst Rifle Launch.”)

The original projectile shape chosen by the BRL is the “AR2 artillery shape”; however, this proves difficult to manufacture. A slightly shorter compromise projectile known as the “Von Korman” bullet is used instead. This projectile weighs 32 grains as manufactured. The idea is that if the long, low drag projectile is launched at the same velocity as the shorter 55gr M193 projectile, the two cartridges will exhibit in similar trajectories. The lighter projectile will also provide the side benefit of reducing recoil by a third in comparison to the M193. Testing indicates that the “low-impulse” FABRL cartridge could improve the average probability of incapacitation by 60 percent over the M193, between the ranges of 0 to 500 meters.

Since the lighter “Von Korman” projectile does not need as much propellant to reach the target velocity, it is realized that the FABRL cartridge case could be made shorter. Experiments with the shorter case leads to additional experiments with aluminum cases, achieving an overall cartridge weight of 87 grains versus the ~182 grain weight of the M193 cartridge.

MAS publicly introduces its new 5.56mm bullpup Fusil Automatique. This is better known as the FA MAS, or FAMAS.

HK‘s Tilo Möller and Dieter Ketterer receive US Patent #3,736,686 titled “Automatic Hand Firearm with Interchangeable Magazine.”

July:
The USASASA is disestablished.

Control of the SAW project is passed on to Rodman Laboratory.

Remington’s John J. Scanlon receives US Patent #3,745,924 titled “Plastic Cartridge Case.”

Fairchild Industries’ John F. Dealy and Michael W. York receive US Patent #3,742,636 titled “Firearm Having a Carrying Handle and Associated Rear Sight.”

Aberdeen’s BRL issues the report “A hybrid computer model of the XM19 weapon.”

August:
The Philippine Secretary of National Defense requests an FMS loan to partially finance the M16 co-production project. The loan would be for $15,614,000, divided into two annual installments: $8,622,000 in FY 1974 and $6,992,000 in FY 1975. The Philippine government requests that repayment be conducted over a period of 10 years, in eight equal annual installments following a two year grace period. The Philippine government will obtain additional foreign and domestic financing to fund the remainder of the project.

CINCPAC Admiral Gayler supports MACTHAI‘s recommendation for an one-time exception to MAP policy to provide 4,600 M16 to the Thai Border Police and National Police.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “An Analysis of Various Primer Vent Configurations in 5.56mm Ammunition.” Statistical techniques were used to determine the ballistic effect of various primer vent configurations in 5.56mm ammunition. The results indicate that the 5.56mm standardized primer vent provides the most efficient ballistic system (i.e., the highest velocity-pressure ratio) of all vent configurations tested. Velocity, chamber pressure, action time, propellant ignition time, temperature coefficient of velocity, and the temperature coefficient of chamber pressure are all affected by a change in primer vent cross-sectional area.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Development Test III of Cartridge, 5.56-MM, Aluminum, Blank.”

September:
The US Embassy advises that it strongly recommends US support for the Philippine M16 co-production plan and approve the Philippine request for FMS credits, preferably out of FY 1974 and 1975 funds. The rest of the US Country Team and CINCPAC Admiral Gayler also recommend approval. The Embassy points out that the Philippine government will go ahead and establish a small arms factory, with or without US support. HK appears to be their backup choice.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Stress Corrosion Susceptibility of Aluminum Cartridge Cases.” The report concerns the investigation of stress corrosion cracking of experimental aluminum cartridge cases in a 6 percent sodium chloride boiling solution. The 5.56mm cases were of 7475 aluminum alloy, tempered to T6 or T73 condition, and the empty cases were assembled with projectiles to represent the stressed condition of finished cartridges. Stresses applied to the mouth rim and neck of the cases were calculated from the interference (i.e., projectile diameter versus internal diameter of the case mouth and the case neck wall thickness.) For each of three calculated stress levels, a range of failure times was observed.

William B. Ruger and Harry H. Sefried, II file a patent application for the three-round burst mechanism of the AC556.

Colt’s George Curtis and Henry Tatro receive US Patent #3,756,119 titled “Machine Gun.”

Andrew J. Grandy files a patent application for folded path ammunition and weapon systems.

Rodman Laboratory publishes the report “Rifle-Gas Launched Grenade Concept.” The report describes a feasibility study on a novel approach for launching a 40mm grenade. The study was undertaken with the goal of conceiving and developing a future grenade launcher which would be applicable to the Future Rifle System Program. This program advocates a weapon system which is a combination of both a rifle (point fire) and a grenade launcher (area fire). To maximize integration of the launcher to the rifle design, it was theorized to utilize rifle propellant gases to launch a grenade projectile. The proposed concept would provide for reduced grenade ammunition costs, reduced number of launcher component parts, lighter total weapon system weight, and more grenade rounds per combat load. A concept which contained all of the above features was generated, designed, fabricated, and tested.

October:
Colt announces the signing of a preliminary agreement with the Philippines to establish a M16 manufacturing plant. The license, held by the Philippine government, will last 10 years and allow for export of an additional 65,000 rifles. The license includes a M16A1-type rifle and a 14.5″ barreled carbine. Colt designates these variants the Model 613P and 653P, respectively.

On behalf of the US Army, Leonard R. Ambrosini and Charles N. Bernstein file a patent application for the design of an external tracer projectile.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Analytic Study of Extraction Forces in the M16 Weapon.” A parametric study involving six geometric and materials parameters for both conventional brass and 7475 (TMT) aluminum 5.56mm cases in the M16 weapon is presented. Results defining the lowering of extraction force in terms of six materials and design factors are stated. It is found, based on these results, that the aluminum case is superior to brass in ease of extraction.

Philco-Ford publishes the report “Process Development and Characterization of Chemical Vapor Deposited Tungsten for Gun Barrel Applications.” A 20-month program was conducted to develop improved chemical vapor deposition (CVD ) processes for applying tungsten to the bores of gun barrels, and further, to characterize the physical and mechanical properties of the CVD tungsten as deposited. Conventional and high strain-rate tensile and compression tests were conducted on CVD tungsten as deposited on 4150 steel at temperatures of -65 F, ambient, and 200 F. Density, thermal expansion, and thermal conductance measurements were also made. Barrel materials of CG-27, L-605, 718, and Pyromet X-15 were also investigated. Based on test firings, acceptable CVD tungsten adherence was demonstrated on 4150, but the other four alloys revealed only marginal quality. Fourteen MG3 test barrels of the five materials (chambered in .220 Swift) were fabricated and delivered to the USAF.

November:
Rodman Laboratory publishes the report “Effect on the M16A1 Rifle of Firing .22 Caliber Ammunition.” A 25,000 round test program was conducted to determine the effects on the M16A1 Rifle of firing up to 10,000 rounds of .22 caliber rimfire ammunition through it. No significant permanent degradation of the rifle was found.

Rodman Laboratory also publishes the report “Holographic Analysis of Small Arms Barrels.” Double-pulse holography techniques were used to observe gun-barrel deformation and motion during firing. Radial barrel deformations of an M16 barrel of approximately 0.0002 inch were observed.

Colt’s Henry Into receives US Patent #3,774,500 titled “Machine Pistol.”

HK‘s Tilo Möller and Dieter Ketterer receive US Patent #3,774,498 titled “Charging Device for Automatic Firearms.”

Andrew J. Grandy files another patent application for a “folded path” cartridge and weapon system.

December:
Secretary of the Army Howard H. Callaway establishes the Army Materiel Acquisition Review Committee (AMARC) to conduct a comprehensive review, analysis, and critique of the Army’s materiel acquisition process. Recommendations for improvement are to be made, with concentration on procedures and organization (especially that of the AMC).

The DOD informs CINCPAC Admiral Gayler that it supports the Philippine M16 co-production plan; however, further action is awaiting State Department concurrence. The US Ambassador reemphasizes his support for the plan.

Rodman Laboratory publishes the report “M16A1 Rifle Accuracy Parameters.” An accuracy test program was conducted to determine which factors if any limit the accuracy of the M16A1 Rifle, those factors being looseness of the weapon’s components, lubrication, corrosion, mixing of different types of ammunition, and types of rests used.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of Cartridge, 5.56-MM, Ball, M193 with Gilding-Metal-Clad Steel-Jacketed Projectile.”

ARMCOM removes fléchette cartridges from “immediate consideration” for use in the Future Rifle System Program.

On behalf of the US Army, Robert F. Magardo, Leonard R. Ambrosini, and Raymond S. Isenson file a patent application for their version of the Dual Cycle Rifle.

HK‘s Tilo Möller and Dieter Ketterer receive US Patent #3,777,381 titled “Firearm Carrying Handle and Sight Protector.”

Andrew J. Grandy files yet another patent application for a “folded path” cartridge and weapon system.

Abe Flatau, Donald N. Olson, and Miles C. Miller file another patent application for the Soft RAG.

1974


Singapore completes a sale of 10,000 M16S to the Philippines without US approval.

In light of the levels of South Korean ammunition production not being able to keep up with Korean M16 production, the Department of the Army and JUSMAG-K arrange for shipment of 5.56mm ammunition from the US. By the end of the year, 25 million rounds have been delivered to the Korean and 15 million are in transit. Increased amounts of raw material are also provided through FMS to support the acceleration of Korean ammunition production.

The DOD transfers at least $5.7 million in M16 rifles and other non-excess equipment to Thailand as Excess Defense Articles. This leads to Congressional interest and GAO investigations.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 5,435 M16A1 and 63 M203 to South Vietnam.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 2,527 M16A1 to Cambodia.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 4,800 M16A1 to Laos.

The US makes a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 470 M16A1 to Chile. Chile separately purchases an additional 5,500 rifles.

The US makes a FMS of 4,500 M16A1 to Jordan.

Haiti purchases ~500 M16A1 from Colt.

Lake City begins production of M193 Ball using GMCS jackets. These are later discontinued the same time as the GMCS jacket M196.

The US Army also experiments with thin walled steel cartridge cases as an alternative to aluminum cases.

The NRA High Power Rifle Committee eliminates the caliber restriction for NRA Match Rifles in High Power Rule 3.1. The NRA Board of Directors later approves the M16 and civilian AR-15 for Service Rifle matches.

Whittaker Corporation’s Shock Hydrodynamics Division and Frankford Arsenal publish “Vulnerability of Small Caliber Caseless Ammunition to Accidental Ignition.”

The Soviet Union adopts the AK-74 rifle and its 5.45x39mm cartridge. This cartridge uses a smaller diameter case than the .220 Russian, but has a slightly larger head than the 5.56x45mm.

Dr. Louis Palmisano and Ferris Pindell begin work on modified variants of the .220 Russian, creating the .22 PPC and 6mm PPC. (PPC: Pindell-Palmisano Cartridge)

Sterling Armament Company of Dagenham, England purchases the production rights to the AR-18 from ArmaLite. Further development is reportedly stopped for a 5.56mm rifle designed by Frank Waters, Sterling’s chief designer.

FN introduces Ernest Vervier’s final design project, the Minimi LMG. While a pair of prototypes were assembled in 7.62mm NATO, further prototypes are constructed in 5.56mm.

Beretta introduces a carbine variant of the AR70: the SCS70.

SIG introduces the SG540 rifle. A more conventional design using a gas operated rotary bolt action, SG540 spawns a family of weapons. To circumvent Swiss export laws, the production rights are licensed off to Manurhin of France. Manurhin does make several sales to former French colonies, but their biggest coup is a stopgap sale to the French Foreign Legion to tide them over until the FAMAS is ready for issue. SG540-series production is later licensed to INDEP of Portugal and FAMAE of Chile.

The British Feasibility Study indicates that the 4.85mm ammunition exceeds the IW‘s 300 meter effective range requirement while just barely meeting the LSW‘s 600m requirement. The LSW also has a limited sustained fire capability that could only be corrected by replacement with a belt-fed weapon. (However, this would violate GST 3518’s goal for a common magazine.) Burst control and full-automatic fire capabilities are deemed unnecessary. On the positive side, the prototype SUSAT works well. Despite the mostly negative results, GST 3518 is formalized as a General Staff Requirement (GSR 3518). The IW is intended to replace the L1A1 SLR and the L2A3 SMG (Sterling), while the LSW is to replace the L4A4 LMG (Bren) and the L7A2 GPMG.

The West German government selects HK to officially continue with caseless ammunition and weapon research.

MAS completes 29 A4 prototypes of the FAMAS.

The Greek Powder & Cartridge Company experiments with a 5.56x49mm cartridge.

January:
Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “The Flow Field About the Muzzle of an 6 Rifle.”

South Korea begins production of the M16A1 at Pusan Arsenal. 90,000 rifles are completed by the end of the year.

COMUSKOREA submits a proposal for South Korean FMS credits. He requests $3 million to support M16 production and $2.2 million for expansion of the ROK arsenal.

The Army Electronics Command publishes the report “Laser Aiming Light.” A laser aiming light (LAL ) for use with small arms was developed and field tested. The aiming light was designed with advanced state-of-the-art components consisting of a room temperature laser diode, low impedance laser diode mount, and microelectronic pulser. The LAL has an emission wavelength ranging from 820 to 850 nanometers for use with night vision goggles, is considered to be eye-safe. The LAL housing is 6.25 inches long, 0.78 inch diameter, with a 1.20-inch-diameter lens compartment, and weighs 7.87 ounces. Powered by an 11.2-volt battery, the average optical output power ranges from 50 to 350 microwatts. The aiming light has a boresight mechanism that interfaces with the rifle adapter. The LAL was field tested on the M16 rifle in the single as well as rapid-fire mode and did not exhibit degradation.

Rodman Laboratory publishes the report “M7 Bayonet Handgrip, Reversible Handgrip for Bayonet-Knife: M7.” As the title indicates, the report contains the design of a reversible handgrip for the Bayonet-Knife: M7. The reversible handgrip design can be used on either the right or left hand side of the bayonet handle. The present grip design for all current bayonet-knives consists of a separate design for right and left handgrips. It is recommended that bayonet-knives designed in the future consider the reversible grip design.

Paul Tellie files an US patent application for the FAMAS’ breechface.

GE‘s Richard S. Rose and Burton P. Clark receive US Patent #3,788,191 titled “Burst Firing, Single Barrel, Armament.”

February:
Colt’s George Curtis and Henry Tatro receive US Patent #3,791,256 titled “Machine Gun.”

Andrew J. Grandy files five additional patent applications for a “folded path” cartridge and weapon system.

March:
The US State Department approves the requested multi-year FMS credits for Philippines M16 co production. In a message to the US Embassy, the State Department notes that the $6.922 million for FY 1975 is subject to sufficient New Obligational Authority (NOA) appropriations for FMS by Congress. They also emphasize that the Philippines will have to provide the balance of the funds needed.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of 5.56-MM Steel-Cased Ammunition.”

CETME‘s Dr. Günther Voss files an US patent application for the design of an improved Löffelspitz. This version uses two asymmetrically shaped recesses in the bullet’s ogive.

April:
AMARC publishes its final report. Among its recommendations is the creation of a new Armaments Development Center (ADC) at a single location. This should be accomplished through an evolutionary process by consolidating selected elements of Frankford, Picatinny, Rock Island, and Watervliet Arsenal RD&E activities together with the BRL and portions of ARMCOM‘s RD&E Directorate. Edgewood Arsenal’s missions should be incorporated without relocation. A minimum of essential engineering functions should be retained at other arsenals to support required production activities.

May:
AMC Commander General Henry A. Miley, Jr. creates an ad-hoc committee to study the AMARC recommendation for an Armaments Development Center.

The US signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of the Philippines to establish a M16 rifle assembly and manufacturing capability. Under this agreement, the US will provide a maximum of $15.6 million in FMS credits or in loan guarantees. In the years preceding this, the Philippine government has received ~4,000 M16A1 through FMS.

The testing of FPW candidates results in the decision to continue development of an M16A1-based weapon. Other contenders were the .45 ACP M3A1 SMG and a modified 5.56mm HK 33 known as the MICV. (The latter is a forerunner to the compact HK 53.) The original Rock Island design is later passed on to the US Army Armament Research and Development Command (ARRADCOM) at Picatinny Arsenal for additional work. The prototype FPWs are designated the XM231.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Model for the Gas Transmission System of the M16A1 Rifle.”

AAI publishes the document “Final Report – Design and Develop a Simplified Serial Fléchette Rifle.” This document covers AAI’s contractual progress in development of the “XM70 Simplified Serial Fléchette Rifle.” Oddly, instead of removing the burst device as Aberdeen’s BRL had suggested earlier, AAI has instead eliminated the full automatic option.

HK‘s Tilo Möller files an US patent application for the design of the G11.

Paul Tellie files multiple US patent applications for the FAMAS’ bolt, locking piece, sights, safety, selector switch, lockwork, the twin ejection ports with its cheekpiece/port cover, bipod, and stock.

Jean-Claude Marie Minaire separately files another US patent application for the FAMAS’ bolt and locking piece.

June:
Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of 5.56-MM Cartridge Case with Optimized Hardness Gradient.”

The US Army Land Warfare Lab publishes the report “Plastic 5.56mm Blank Cartridge.” An expendable plastic 5.56mm blank cartridge for the M16A1 rifle has been developed and tested successfully. The prototype cartridge cases were molded in a 4-cavity production-type mold to insure that the tested cartridges would be producible in quantity without sacrificing quality. This cartridge performs satisfactorily in the semiautomatic mode of fire and operates the rifle reliably in the fully automatic mode when using the standard blank firing attachment (0.063-inch orifice). This blank cartridge will outperform the M200 blank cartridge in feeding and equals its other performance characteristics. Unfortunately, when the Land Warfare Laboratory is closed at the end of the very same month, AAI’s plastic blank cartridge design dies with it.

Aberdeen’s Land Warfare Lab publishes the report “Knife Cutter-Bayonet.” The task was to design and develop a knife cutter-bayonet which could be used as a fighting and survival knife, a bayonet, a wire cutter and a general purpose tool. Requirements such as light weight, an ability to cut both barbed wire and barbed tape and compatibility with the standard Army M16 rifle were essential. Additional features suggested included a built-in saw, a screwdriver, and a sharpening stone. Development was terminated when it was concluded that it was beyond the current state of the art to develop a single item encompassing all the features stated as essential. The report recommends that the US Army continue to issue and use the bayonet and the wire cutter as separate items.

Summer:
Rock Island Arsenal tests an ARES FARC-2 prototype. Over 4,000 5.56mm rounds are fired. The results lead to a pair of improved prototypes designated as the FARC-3.

July:
WAC recruits begin a sixteen hour basic rifle familiarization course on the M16A1 rifle. (Rifle familiarization had been discontinued for WAC recruits back in 1963 for fear that the women could not handle the M14 rifle.) All trainees attend and participate in the M16A1 weapons training classes; however, firing the weapon is voluntary. Over 90 percent of the women opt to fire the rifles.

At Rock Island, Laurence F. Moore submits a proposal “Engineering Test of Small Caliber Rifle-Ammunition Systems.” Moore suggests that technical arguments do not support the assertion that the variation in ballistic performance associated with the location of the air space in standard rifle cartridges is critically important.

The SAWS Directorate at Rodman Laboratory publishes “Gun, Machine; 6.00mm, XM235,” a Preliminary Operators and Organizational Maintenance Manual.

August:
South Korea requests permission from the US to sell 1,500 to 2,000 Korean-production M16 to Morocco. Despite the small number of rifles involved, the US Embassy and COMUSKOREA voice their opposition to the sale. In contrast, the US Embassy in Morocco recommends approving the request.

FN‘s Maurice Bourlet files an US patent application for the Minimi’s belt box design.

Remington begins delivery of prototype XM742 Soft RAG projectiles to Edgewood Arsenal.

September:
The US Army Arctic Test Center is directed to conduct another check test of the M203 under arctic winter conditions.

The military specification for the M203 grenade launcher, MIL-L-45935, is revised to MIL-L-45935A.

The French decide to delay work on the FAMAS for an evaluation of foreign 5.56mm rifles. The HK 33 ultimately wins the French Army trials against the M16 and FN CAL. However, the adoption of a German rifle is not considered to be politically acceptable.

Colt publishes the report “Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) Gun Barrel Bore and Rifling Feasibility Study.” A 12-month program was conducted to advance the technology of the EDM process to be applicable to the stringent requirements of gun barrel boring and rifling. The type of barrels employed in the test were .220 Swift gun barrel liners and gun barrel blanks. The various materials were selected on the basis of their resistance to withstand the high stress, high temperature, high pressure, high rate of loading, and high erosion rates encountered in high performance gun designs. The materials investigated were iron/nickel base superalloys, cobalt base superalloys, tantalum, columbium, and tungsten refractory alloys. These materials do not lend themselves to traditional types of machining, and an investigation was undertaken to see if advances in the state of the machining art, such as EDM, were capable of the task. The final effort on the program consisted of boring and rifling 18 gun barrel blanks for delivery to Philco-Ford for final fabrication and testing in .220 Swift M60 test barrels. These barrel blanks, however, were out of specification and could not be fabricated into test barrels.

October:
While tendering an apology for the unauthorized sale of M16S to the Philippines, the Singaporean government informs the US Embassy that the Royal Thai Police have requested an additional 25,000 M16S. Colt is reluctant to approve the sale since they have not been paid royalties from the Philippine sale. The US government will not act without a formal request from Colt. Moreover, assurances are needed from Thailand that the rifles will not be transferred to yet another country.

Aberdeen’s HEL publishes the report “Determining Human Performance Reliability with Infantry Weapons.” This report describes an experiment to measure the extent and consequence of human error in the operation and maintenance of the Stoner 63 rifle and machinegun. Human error rates were related to hardware components, and procedures are explained for modifying otherwise inflated “system reliability” forecasts.

The Human Engineering Labs at Aberdeen publish the report “Dispersion Versus Cyclic Rate Test of 4.32mm Cartridge.” An adjustable brake compensator was used to control, and minimize, round-to-round dispersion of three round bursts. Two weapons, an M16 and a SPIW, were rebarreled to fire 4.32mm ammunition. The impulse levels during the test were on the order of 0.57 pound-seconds. Only the SPIW was further modified to permit external control of firing rate. Ten subject soldiers fired the M16 from the prone and standing positions at its natural rate, and the SPIW from the standing position at 1500 and 800 rounds per minute (rpm). The mean extreme spread (MES) for the SPIW was 10.1 mils at 1500 rpm and 13.1 mils at 800 rpm. For the M16, the MES was 10.2 mils for the prone position and 14.7 mils for the standing. It is concluded that a tunable brake compensator will reduce dispersion; however, the gain in reduced MES is not proportional to the reduction of impulse levels.

The Human Engineering Labs also pit the sole AAI XM70 Serial Fléchette Rifle (SFR) prototype against a pair of Frankford Arsenal’s early experimental 4.32x45mm XM16E1. The XM70 breaks after six bursts.

November:
Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger announces the plan to close Frankford Arsenal.

Colt representatives meet with representatives of the Philippines government and Elisco Tool (Elitool). It is agreed that the Philippines has the right to purchase castings, forgings, and extrusions for manufacture of the M16 from suppliers other than Colt.

The US Army Arctic Test Center begins testing of an improved M203 design. The purpose of the test is to evaluate improvements intended to correct previously reported problems related to guide rails, handgrips, and primer punchouts. The tests are conducted at ambient temperatures varying from -4 F to -64 F in a variety of typical arctic field locations. Testing consists of preoperational inspection, transportability and handling, maintenance evaluation, reliability, and adequacy of corrective actions.

William B. Ruger and Harry H. Sefried, II receive US Patent #3,847,054 titled “Burst Fire Mechanism for Auto-Loading Firearm.”

Rodman Laboratory publishes the report “Thermal Analysis of a Liquid Propellant Automatic Rifle.” This effort was undertaken to determine chamber temperatures as a function of firing schedule for a liquid propellant (L. P. monopropellant NOS-283) gun. The automatic gun analyzed was a 6.0mm designed by the P.S.I. (Pulsepower Systems Incorporated) Company under Contract No. DAA-D05-73-C-0317.

December:
AMC Committee-Armament releases its four volume report on the creation of an Armaments Development Center. The Committee prefers a two-site arrangement with Picatinny as the headquarters with the Large Caliber Systems and Small Caliber Systems Laboratories. Aberdeen would retain the BRL and Chemical Systems Laboratory. An alternative arrangement would locate the headquarters at Aberdeen with the BRL, Small Caliber Systems Laboratory, and Chemical Systems Laboratory, while Picatinny would host the Large Caliber Systems Laboratory. The last of the recommended arrangements would locate the headquarters and all of the laboratories at Aberdeen.

Development Test / Operation Test I ends for the SAW candidates. In addition to the three 6mm SAW prototypes, three 5.56mm LMGs have been tested: a Colt M16 HBAR, the FN Minimi, and the HK 23A1. A standard M16A1 was used as the control. The Colt HBAR didn’t make the cut due to its mere 30 round magazine. The decision to drop the HK 23A1 for safety reasons was particularly controversial. First, the HK entry suffered numerous problems due to the experimental XM287/XM288 cartridges. The lot of IVI ammo used possessed thinner case walls than the usual M193/M196 cartridges. Aberdeen personnel also disassembled the trigger group beyond the limits of factory recommendations. During reassembly, critical parts were bent. HK co-founder and managing director Alex Seidel complained vociferously, to no avail.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Engineer Design Test of 5.56-MM Fabrique Nationale Machine Gun, Model MINIMI.” The purpose of the test was to determine the physical and functional characteristics of the weapon. One weapon was provided and tested with 8,653 rounds of special heavy projectile ammunition. The weapon and ammunition physical characteristics and functioning performance were determined in tests for accuracy and dispersion, endurance, and operability at temperatures of +155 F and -50 F. Maintenance and human factors aspects were evaluated. The weapon and ammunition generally exhibited satisfactory performance during all testing. In those instances where performance was marginal, the problem was either corrected or could be corrected by component design changes.

Aberdeen also publishes the report “Engineer Design Test of 5.56-MM Heckler and Koch Machine Gun, Model 23A1.” The purpose of the test was to determine the physical and functional characteristics of the weapon. A total of 2400 rounds was fired. The weapon was subjected to an initial inspection and safety investigation, an accuracy and dispersion test at 100- and 300-meter ranges, an endurance test, and maintenance and human factors evaluations. The evaluations were terminated prior to completion of the endurance test due to the frequent occurrence of feeding failures, and for safety reasons. Firing of the weapon produced severe case-head swelling and ejection of the primer from the case. The testing of the weapon in a high- and low-temperature environment, originally scheduled after the endurance test, also was cancelled. The cause of the weapon-related malfunctions and cartridge-case casualties was not determined prior to test termination.

The US Ambassador to South Korea informs Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong Pil that the US has declined approval for the sale of Korean-made M16 to Morocco.

Colt’s Stanley Silsby and Henry Tatro file a patent application for a hydraulic buffer assembly for the AR-15/M16 family.

Rodman Laboratory publishes “Bore Erosion Gage Calibration Test for M16A1 5.56mm Rifle Barrels with Chrome Lined Bore.”

Rock Island Arsenal publishes “Application of Lubricating Composites to the M16A1 Rifle.” A firing test made on a single M16A1 rifle indicates that a combination of self-lubricating composites applied to the bolt carrier group and a solid-film lubricant coating applied to the upper receiver could reduce malfunctions and maintenance time as compared with conventional lubrication.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “An Analysis to Determine the Feasibility of a Non-Luminous Pyrotechnic Fumer.” Results of a mathematical analysis of the thermal radiation emitted from pyrotechnic compositions indicate that non-luminous, base drag-reducing fumers are not feasible. Cartridges from 5.56mm to 30mm were used for testing. The major conclusion reached is that no developmental effort on non-luminous, pyrotechnic fumer ammunition should be initiated.

The USAIB publishes “Development Test II (Service Phase) of Night Vision Sight, Individual Served Weapons, AN/PVS-4.” The AN/PVS-4 is a portable, battery-operated, electro-optical instrument used for observation and aimed fire of weapons at night. It uses the low light level illumination of the night sky (i.e., starlight, moonlight) reflected from the object and its background to form an erect, clearly defined image. The sight can be mounted on the M14 and M16A1 rifles, M60 machine gun, M67 recoilless rifle, M72A1/A2 rocket launcher, and M79 and M203 grenade launchers.

Andrew J. Grandy receives US Patent #3,857,339 titled “Ammunition and Weapon Systems.”

Abe Flatau publishes “Feasibility Study of the 2.5 inch Ring Airfoil Grenade (RAG): A Review and Summary.”

1975


The US Army Small Arms Program (ARSAP) is renamed the Small Caliber Systems Program.

A second phase of the FABRL experiments plays with adding “fumer” or “base bleed” technology to reduce the drag even further. Base drag of the “Von Korman” projectile is calculated as 63 percent of the total drag. Base bleed technology is estimated to give a reduction of 75 percent of base drag, and thus cut overall drag by half.

Thiokol Corporation publishes the report “Prevention of 5.56mm Aluminum Cartridge Case Burnthrough.”

The US provides a military assistance grant of 7,819 M16A1 to South Vietnam.

The US provides a military assistance grant of 2,101 M16A1 to Cambodia.

The US provides 1,148 M16A1 and 66 M203 to Indonesia as part of a military assistance package.

The US provides 14,546 M16A1 to Thailand as part of a military assistance package. Prior to this 61,084 M16A1 had been provided though military assistance packages. A separate FMS is made of 2,822 M16A1.

The US makes a FMS of 18,000 M16A1 to Jordan.

The Philippine government receives 35 M16A1 through FMS and 22,991 more through the MAP.

CDEC publishes “Army Small Arms Requirements Study II – ASARS II: Experiment FC008A, Final Report.”

After eight years of testing, Frankford Arsenal has evaluated sixty different sight systems from which five main concepts emerged. Two of these are considered significant improvements. The two concepts are early versions of iron night sights using “promethium” and non-magnifying “reflex sights.” The reflex sight is considered superior. The leading model at this point is the Reflex Collimator Sight (RCS) designed jointly by Frankford’s Fire Control Laboratory and AAI. The preferred reticule consists of three small yellow wedges configured in an inverted ‘Y’.

The US Army’s 12th Special Forces Group evaluates the US Navy’s Mk 2 Mod 0 Blast Suppressor.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Caseless ammunition technology (5.56MM & 7.62MM).”

Hughes delivers a prototype of its Advanced Light Machine Gun (ALMG) with 2,000 rounds of 5.56x30mm “chiclet” ammunition. L. James Sullivan is responsible for the ALMG‘s design, based upon Morris Goldin’s “lockless” principle. The 5.56mm cartridge uses a 68-grain projectile launched at ~3,000 fps.

HK introduces the compact HK 53.

SIG introduces the SG543 carbine.

Dr. Louis Palmisano begins to trounce the competition and smash records at high-profile Benchrest matches while using rifles chambered for his new .22 PPC and 6mm PPC cartridges.

The British initiate Phase I of the IW/LSW‘s initial development stage. The goals are to improve the 4.85mm cartridge, the IW, the LSW, and the SUSAT. New prototype models of the latter three are developed for further testing. The 3 round burst mechanism is deleted from the new IW and LSW prototypes, the magazine release is moved from the right side of the receiver to the left side, a lever switch replaces the push-through selector button, and a tungsten inertia pellet is placed within the bolt carrier. At least one IW is configured for left-hand use, and one LSW prototype is produced with a quick-change barrel.

The Argentine Army General Staff’s Operations Division publishes the basic requirements for an assault rifle.

Chile purchases ~500 HK 33. (One source claims delivery of 4,000 rifles.)

The Royal Thai Armory begins production of the HK 33.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “On the Accuracy of Flechettes by Dynamic Wind Tunnel Tests, by Theory and Analysis, and by Actual Firings.”

January:
ARMCOM publishes the report “System Assessment for the 5.56mm Rifle M16A1.”

Rodman Laboratory publishes “Life Cycle Time and Cost Estimates for Squad Automatic Weapon System Candidates.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Prevention of 5.56mm Aluminum Cartridge Case Burn-Through.” This report documents recent developments in cartridge case coatings designed to prevent the occurrence of burn-through in 5.56mm aluminum cartridge cases. The research work performed determined the effectiveness and general feasibility of five materials: red grip core paste, polyimide varnish (DuPont), NASA’s 45B3 intumescent coating, polysulfide sheeting, and RTV-734 (Dow Corning) used in combination with other materials. As a result of test firings conducted using the aforementioned materials, two formulations, the NASA intumescent coating and the polysulfide sheeting, internally applied, emerged as the most successful candidates. In light of the general efficiency demonstrated by these materials, it is concluded that an internally applied case coating materiel could prove to be most effective in the prevention of burn-through 5.56mm aluminum cartridge cases.

Thiokol Corporation publishes the report “Development of a Flexible Internal Element (FIE) for Aluminum Cased Ammunition.” The primary purpose of this study was to develop an FIE composition that could be preformed and perform at least equally to a liquid FIE. (The latter had already been tested successfully by Frankford Arsenal.) A preformed FIE and an experimental fabrication process had to be established prior to manufacturing a quantity of 6mm aluminum cases for the SAW program. For convenience, 5.56mm cases were used before 6mm cases were available. A series of FIE sealing cups were fabricated from several polysulfide formulations and test fired. Of the formulations tested, three types, identified as P10, P18, and P28, were effective in preventing erosion and flash, otherwise known as burn-through, in aluminum cased ammunition.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of CMR-170 Propellant for Cartridge, 5.56-MM, Ball M193.” (CMR is short for Canadian Military Rifle.)

The AMC publishes “Analysis of Dispersion Measurements for the M16A1 Rifle with Chrome Plated Bore.” This report is a result of the higher than expected wear out rate of barrels used on the M16A1 rifle during its use in Vietnam. The wear out rate was due to the normal mechanical erosion plus the corrosive effect of the Vietnam environment. To correct this problem, it was decided to chrome plate the bore of all replacement barrels. The sample barrels selected from three manufacturers were fired until they were worn out with accuracy checks taken after each thousand rounds fired. The average value of the extreme spread measure of dispersion was used to establish acceptance and rejection criteria for new barrels and to establish the amount corresponding to a worn out barrel.

Andrew J. Grandy receives US Patent #3,861,308 titled “Ammunition and Weapon Systems.”

February:
Aberdeen’s HEL publishes “Observation Test of External Tracer Ammunition.” As a preliminary study of the utility of one concept of “external tracer”, five types of chemically coated ball ammunition (which when fired, left visible vapor trails to mark projectile trajectory) were compared with 7.62mm M62 tracer, 5.56mm M196 tracer and 7.62mm ball ammunition on two measures of observation. Twenty infantrymen reported after each of 80 single rounds whether tracer was detected and which of three targets 400 meters downrange was engaged. Standard tracers (M62 and M196) were associated with substantially more accuracy in ammunition target identification than external tracers. Only when observers in daylight were located directly behind the weapon firing were they able to detect external tracer with an accuracy approaching that of standard tracer.

Aberdeen releases the report “Comparison Test of Rifle, 5.56-MM, M16A1 with M203, 40-MM Grenade Launcher.”

The US Army Arctic Test Center ends testing of an improved M203 design. A total of 1000 rounds of 40mm M433 HEDP ammunition was fired from each of five improved M203 launchers. Cold weather performance characteristics of the 40mm M433 HEDP ammunition were recorded and reported for information only.

March:
The AMC publishes “Correlation of Breech Erosion Gage to Accuracy for M16A1 Rifle with Chrome Plated Barrel Bores.” The research was designed to answer the following questions: 1) Do calibrated gauge rods act as good predictors of accuracy extreme spread, and 2) What gauge rod diameter gives the best performance? Data was obtained from M16A1 rifles fired at different rates for the life of the rifles. For each rifle, extreme spread was recorded along with the corresponding gauge reading at periodic intervals. The data was then analyzed to determine a relationship between the extreme spread dimension and the gauge reading. The report concludes that gauge rod readings are not an accurate predictor for extreme spread. However, the 0.2206 inch gauge rod gave the best prediction of performance.

Rodman Laboratory releases the report “M16A1 Thermal Barrel Firing Test.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “The Design, Manufacture, and Ballistic Assessment of Special 5.56mm Bullets.”

HK‘s Günter Kästner, Dieter Ketterer, Tilo Möller, and Ernst Wössner file an US patent application for the design of the G11.

Andrew J. Grandy receives US Patent #3,872,615 titled “Ammunition and Weapon Systems.”

April:
The Republic of South Vietnam collapses. Over 946,000 M16-type rifles are lost. Many find their way into the hands of various Communist insurgent groups during the late 1970s and ’80s.

On behalf of the US Army, Leonard R. Ambrosini and Charles N. Bernstein receive US Patent #3,875,864 titled “External Tracer Projectile.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Coefficient of Friction of Brass or Gilding Metal on Nylon.” It was found that the high frictional forces believed required for successful firing of gilding metal jacketed .17 caliber bullets and glass-filled nylon sabots could be attained by surface modifications.

The US Army Arctic Test Center publishes “Check Test of Launcher, Grenade, 40mm, M203, under Arctic Winter Conditions.” The report concludes that the previously reported problems had been corrected and that the improved M203 launcher can be operated successfully in the arctic winter environment. It is recommended that the improved M203 launcher be considered acceptable for use in the Arctic.

Abe Flatau receives US Patent #3,877,383 titled “Munition.”

May:
The Singaporean Ministry of Defense notifies the US Embassy that the Thai Army Chief of Staff General Kriangsak has requested immediate delivery of 50,000 M16S rifles.

Aberdeen’s HEL publishes “An Exploration of the Contribution of Strike Feedback to Combat Effectiveness with Ball and Tracer Ammunition.” A field test was conducted in which 22 machinegunners each engaged double E-type silhouette targets at ranges from 350 to 650 meters with the M60 and Stoner 63 machineguns during daylight with ball ammunition and the 4:1 ball:tracer mix in a test of the hypothesis that targets would be hit faster and with fewer rounds if located on strike feedback-enhancing terrain. Intervening factors precluded a clear answer to the question, but suggested that it might be of less importance than other factors. Data are analyzed for the performance measures percent targets hit, number of bursts per engagement, and score.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “The Effect of Statistical Velocity Variation on the Gaussian Bivariate Probability of Hit for Small Caliber Systems.” The statistical variations in both the average velocity and the linear standard deviation of velocity, due to the location of propellant airspace, are investigated by trajectory conversions to errors on a vertical target and by calculations of rectangular hit probabilities with the Gaussian bivariate distribution. The two cartridges examined are the 7.62mm, Ball, M80 and the 5.56mm, Ball, M193. Sources of errors and their magnitudes are discussed. Two diverse levels of aiming error are assumed, corresponding to present requirements for the Future Rifle System. The range-dependent errors due to velocity variations are treated as perturbations of the ballistic error. The nose-tap (NT) procedure of chambering cartridges is compared to the standard base-tap (BT) procedure. The changes in hit probability due to the statistical velocity variations corresponding to the BT and NT air space positions are shown to be insignificant for these two standard cartridges.

The BRL publishes “Lethality Estimates for Various Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) Contenders.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Ammunition Weapon Interface of the 6 mm Dual Piston Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).”

The French Defence Ministry resumes development of the FAMAS.

Paul Tellie files an US patent application for the FAMAS’ twin ejection ports and its cheekpiece/port cover.

Paul Tellie also receives US Patent #3,882,625 titled “Breech Mechanism for Guns.”

Remington releases the report “Advanced Development, XM742 Soft RAG Projectile.” Their development work has been performed on contract to Edgewood Arsenal.

“Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) System Ammunition Summary Report” is published.

June:
Singapore pays Colt $638,170 in back royalties for the M16S.

The Thai requirement for Singaporean M16S has increased to 60,000 with immediate delivery required of 30,000 rifles. In negotiations between the Singaporean Ministry of Defense’s Director of Military Industries, Mr. Ong Kah Kok and Colt’s President David C. Eaton and Vice President Fiddler, Colt indicates that they would like to make a direct sale to Thailand. Mr. Ong warns that any attempt by Colt to take the Thai contract would result in an anti-Colt campaign in Southeast Asia. Ultimately, both parties compromise on providing Thailand 30,000 rifles apiece.

Rodman Laboratory publishes “Projectile Engraving Mutations and Their Relationships to Accuracy of the M16A1 Rifle.” A two-phase test program was conducted in order to evaluate the hypothesis that changes in the accuracy of a rifle are reflected in changes of the engraving patterns found on projectiles fired from that rifle. Three mutations of projectile engraving characteristics were isolated. These mutations were: 1) widening of the grooves engraved in the projectiles; 2) increasing variation in the lengths of the grooves on a bullet; 3) the appearance of surface mutilation on the bullet jackets. Each of the mutations demonstrated some correlation with accuracy. The widening of the grooves correlated best with accuracy, exhibiting correlation coefficient above 0.7 over a wide range of firing rates, ammunition types, and barrel manufacturing processes.

Gulf + Western’s Advanced Development & Engineering Center publishes the report “Final Report on Feasibility Study of 5.56MM Plastic Body/Metal Insert Cartridge Case.”

Andrew J. Grandy receives US Patent #3,890,730, US Patent #3,890,732, US Patent #3,890,878, and US Patent #3,890,880, all titled “Ammunition and Weapon Systems.”

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “The Influence of Muzzle Gasdynamics upon the Trajectory of Fin-Stabilized Projectiles.”

Mid 1975:
The South Korean M16 plant has completed ~150,000 rifles. Due to inflation, the production program now requires an extra $10 million in funding over and above the original budget of $42 million. Korea desires to speed up production for completion by September 1977 versus April 1979.

Summer:
The Infantry Board concludes a six-month trial of twenty-five Frankford/AAI RCS with 28 rifles, using 66,230 rounds of ammunition. Nothing more comes of the project.

July:
The US Army awards $35,000 to Colt as part of the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

WAC recruits begin a forty hour defensive weapons training course, including the M16A1 rifle. Firing of the weapons is now mandatory.

Rodman Laboratory releases the report “External Barrel Temperature of the M16A1 Rifle.” The work is part of a Product Improvement Program to improve the M16A1 barrel’s accuracy life. One of the goals is to reduce bore temperatures by optimizing the heat transfer characteristics of the barrel’s exterior profile. The report establishes a base line from which this work can proceed.

Morris Goldin receives US Patent #3,892,181 titled “Flat telescoped cartridge casing.”

August:
The US Army awards a $17,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16. The Army also deallocates $22,000 related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

Secretary of Defense Schlesinger requests and receives confirmation from the US Defense Attaché Office – Singapore that a Thai Navy vessel had left Singapore with a cargo of M16S. The US had not approved the deal nor had it received assurance from Thailand that the rifles will not be resold. The Singaporean government claims that they went forward with the transaction due to extreme political pressure from the Thai government. They claim that the rifles will be returned to Singapore if the US does not approve the sale.

The US Army awards a $57,000 contract modification to Adventure Line Mfg. Co. Inc.

Abe Flatau, Donald N. Olson, and Miles C. Miller receive US Patent #3,898,932 titled “Non-Hazardous Ring Airfoil Projectile for Delivery of Non-Lethal Material.”

MAS completes the A5 prototype of the FAMAS.

September:
The US Army awards $1,576,000 and $1,214,000, and deallocates $664,000 from Colt in contract modifications related to the M16. The Army also awards $26,000 to Colt as part of the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

On behalf of the US Army, Curtis D. Johnson, Lonnie D. Antwiler, Larry C. McFarland, Arthur R. Meyer, Fred J. Skahill, Doyle L. White, Keith L. Witwer, and Richard L. Wulff file a patent application for the design of the XM235.

On behalf of the US Army, Hugh D. MacDonald, Jr. and Peter Tietz file a patent application for the “fumer” projectile design.

The military specification for M197 High Pressure Test, MIL-C-46936B, is amended.

October:
The State Department notifies the US Embassy in Malaysia that it is willing to approve a request for various military equipment, including 101,800 M16 and 30 million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition. Congressional approval will be sought for FMS guaranteed loans through FY 1979.

Rodman Laboratory releases the report “Study of Man-Weapon Reaction Forces Applicable to the Fabrication of a Standard Rifle Firing Fixture.” A study was conducted of the man-weapon interaction force relationship to define the parameters to be incorporated in the design of a universal small arms test fixture, which simulates man as a flexible mount. The mathematical simulation was supported by an extensive test firing program, involving shooters of various sizes firing the M16 rifle, and the M79 and M203 grenade launchers. In these tests, the shoulder reaction force and the dynamical motions of the man-weapon system were recorded.

Andrew J. Grandy receives US Patent #3,913,445 and US Patent #3,913,446, each titled “Ammunition and Weapon Systems.”

November:
NATO‘s AC/225 Panel III, Subpanel 4 issues “Operational Requirement for Individual Weapon.”

Secretary of Defense Schlesinger approves an amendment to the South Korean M16 MOU, increasing the FMS credits by $10 million and authorizing accelerated rifle production.

Paul Tellie receives US Patent #3,916,530 titled “Sighting Means for Firearms.”

December:
The US Army announces their plans to establish an Armament Development Center and an Armament Logistics Command.

The US Army awards a $2,170,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

Rodman Laboratory publishes “Calibration of Breech Erosion Gage for 5.56mm Chrome-Plated Bores.” A firing test was conducted to provide a database for the optimization of the design of a breech erosion gauge for 5.56mm chrome plated rifle barrels. Nine separate gauge diameters, 27 barrels, three rates of fire, two types of ammunition, and three barrel manufacturers were represented in the test to give the broadest possible database. Analysis of the firing test led to the determination that the optimum gauge diameter range is from 0.2210 – 0.2218 inch, and that barrels should be rejected when gauges within this diametrical range penetrate more than 2.62 inches beyond the rear of the locking lugs on the barrel.

Rock Island Arsenal publishes the report “Cold Rotary Forging of Small Caliber Gun Barrels.” The objective of this program was to provide an improved method of manufacturing military gun barrels ranging in bore size from .17 to .50 caliber. (This includes barrels for the M16.) During this project, suitable equipment was purchased from GFM Machines in Austria, and a pilot line for cold rotary forging of barrels was established. Excellent bore qualities, reproducibility, reduced process time and reduced tooling costs were demonstrated. By rifling, chambering, and simultaneous exterior contouring, many conventional machining operations were eliminated with a gain in production rate. The cold rotary forging of gun barrels has been implemented as a production process for the Rock Island Arsenal.

Aberdeen’s HEL publishes the report “Human Factors Evaluation of A Rifle-Launched Rocket Projectile.” An experimental investigation was made of the aiming and cant errors associated with the firing of a rocket round from the muzzle of a rifle. The unusual features of the system were an appreciable weight at the muzzle (5-7 lbs) and an appreciably delay (.3 second) between ignition and launch. If ignition is accomplished by firing a ball round from the rifle, launch errors of 4-7 mils may be expected. If the ignition is recoilless, errors of 2 mils may be expected. Cant errors of about 1.40 deg appear typical.

1976


ARMCOM publishes the report “System Assessment for the 5.56mm M16A1 and Grenade Launcher M203.”

The HEL publishes “Squad Automatic Weapon System (SAWS) Human Engineering Evaluation.”

The 5.56 XM287 Ball and XM288 Tracer are redesignated XM779 and XM780 respectively.

Lake City receives its first SCAMP machines.

The US State Department again declines permission to South Korea to export M16A1 rifles to Morocco.

Elisco Tool Company of Manila begins manufacture of the Model 613P and 653P. In the years preceding this, the Philippine government has purchased nearly 45,000 Model 613 directly from Colt.

The US provides 1,148 M16A1 and 66 M203 to Indonesia as part of a military assistance package.

The US provides 2,262 M16A1 to Thailand as part of a military assistance package.

The US makes a FMS of ~1,000 M16A1 to Zaire.

Chile purchases ~5,000 M16A1 from Colt.

Ghana purchases ~2,000 M16A1 from Colt.

Nicaragua purchases ~6,000 M16A1 from Colt.

The Human Engineering Labs (HEL) at Aberdeen develops a four-shot, semi auto grenade launcher for the prototype 30mm grenade. These are then mounted to different test rifles.

The US provides 229 M203 to the Philippines as part of a military assistance package. A separate FMS of 1,500 M203 is also made.

FN introduces its replacement for the CAL: the FNC. The Swedish military enters the FNC in its 5.56mm rifle trials. Competitors include the Colt M16A1, the FFV 890C (a modified IMI Galil SAR), the HK 33, and the SIG SG540.

HK shelves the HK 36 project in favor of the G11.

Beretta introduces the AR70/78 LMG. Unlike many HBAR rifle designs, the AR70/78 possesses a quick-change barrel.

CETME introduces prototypes of its new 5.56mm Model L rifle and Model LC carbine.

AAI introduces its 4.32x45mm Serial Bullet Rifle (SBR) prototype.

Taiwan introduces the domestically produced Type 65 rifle, a variant of the M16. Prior to this, ~47,000 M16A1 had been purchased from Colt.

The US Army Chemical Systems Laboratory considers the analysis “Provisional Tumbling Fléchette Criteria.”

January:
AMC is redesignated the US Army Development and Readiness Command (DARCOM).

The US Army awards a $541,000 contract to Colt related to the M16. The Army also awards a $126,000 contract modification related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement and an additional $60,000 contract modification for overhaul and maintenance.

ARMCOM‘s Systems Analysis Directorate publishes the report “Analysis of Proposed Solutions to the 5.56mm Blank Cartridge (M200) Malfunction Rate.” The objective of the study was to compare alternative solutions to correct the 5.56mm Blank Cartridge (M200) malfunction rate. Several alternatives were evaluated to determine the expected time and cost to correct the problem. These alternatives included: redesign the 5.56mm Blank Cartridge using brass, steel, and aluminum; increase the length of the present M200 blank cartridge; modify the 20-round magazine; or use the 30-round magazine. Redesigning and/or increasing the length of the M200 Blank Cartridge are the most expensive alternatives in terms of cost and time. The modified 20-round magazine is likely to solve the stubbing problem, but the introduction of another item into the inventory has met with user opposition. Based on limited test data, the 30-round magazine has demonstrated an acceptable stubbing rate (3 percent). This is the low cost alternative because the 20-round magazine is currently being phased out and replaced by the 30-round magazine. It is recommended that a confirmation test should be performed by the user to verify the low stubbing rate of the M200 Blank Cartridge used with the 30-round magazine.

Paul Tellie receives US Patent #3,930,316 titled “Sighting Means of a Firearm.”

Jean-Claude Marie Minaire receives US Patent #3,930,433 titled “Automatic Firearms with Bolt Assisted by an Additional Mass.”

The US Army Electronics Command publishes the report “Thermal Imaging Rifle Sight Development Program.” The Army Armament Command funded the Night Vision Laboratory for the development and test of a Thermal Imaging Rifle Sight having a semi-automatic aiming function. Threshold, search, and firing tests of the 3 micrometers to 5 micrometers system mounted to a M16 rifle were conducted. Test data showed average threshold recognition ranges of 811 meters for man targets and 960 meters for large, vehicular targets. Firing tests at 300 meters using man-size targets produced 32 percent hits with the standard system lens compared to 67 percent hits with a telephoto lens. The semi-automatic aiming function requires further refinement in order to obtain meaningful test data.

February:
The US Army deallocates $305,000 in a contract modification to H&R related to the M16.

After Army brass makes it clear that they and their NATO allies are not likely to adopt a third infantry cartridge, the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) chooses the FN Minimi and the Rodman XM235 for future development, in conjunction with the new 5.56mm XM777 Ball and XM778 Tracer. The US XM777 is similar in construction to what we now know as the FN SS109; however, the XM777 projectile is shorter and lighter making it suitable for 1-in-12″ twist weapons. The XM778 tracer is capable of a visible trace out to 750 meters.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Study of the Temperature Effects on the Ballistic Performance of 5.56 mm Ammunition.”

Rock Island Arsenal publishes “Evaluation of Lubricating Composites for the M16A1 Rifle.” A follow-up test is carried out with five composite-lubricated rifles and one MIL-L46000A lubricated rifle as a control. The composite inserts, though slightly different in shape, were placed in the same areas as for the original test. The test on the five composite-lubricated rifles had an average of six malfunctions versus one in the original test. Three of the rifles were terminated before 10,000 rounds because of the fracture of the inserts. Nevertheless, there tests have demonstrated the feasibility of the use of the self-lubricating inserts. However, care must be exercised to insure that the inserts fit properly and are backed up with sufficient high-strength material.

Frankford Arsenal publishes “Firing Shock Measurements on the M16 Rifle/M203 Grenade Launcher System.” Shock measurements were obtained on a mock-up of a proposed Mini-Laser Rangefinder when attached to a M16 Rifle fitted with a M203 Grenade Launcher. Firing data was obtained using both 40mm and 5.56mm ammunition.

Paul Tellie receives US Patent #3,938,273 titled “Firearm Having Two Pivoted Props,” US Patent #3,938,422 titled “Automatic Firearms Having a Bolt Assisted by an Additional Mass,” and US Patent #3,939,589 titled “Firearms with Forestock.”

March:
The US Army awards a $13,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “Computer Study and Experimental Verification of a Short Gas Tube and Floating Piston Gas System for the XM19.” Arriving far too late to matter, the BRL suggests that a gas-operated action would have been preferable to AAI’s long use of a primer-actuated action.

April:
The US Army awards a $35,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Interdraw Annealing on the SCAMP Case Submodule.” A decision risk analysis was performed to determine the optimal number of cup draws and interdraw anneals required during manufacture of 5.56mm brass cartridge cases on modernized, high speed production equipment. The recommended approach to satisfying the current 5.56mm TDP consists of a two draw process without an interdraw anneal. However, should a grain structure requirement be imposed on the existing TDP, then the optimal configuration would be two draws with an interdraw anneal. These recommendations are limited to 5.56mm brass cases only and can not be extended to other calibers or case materials without reviewing and revising the input data.

Waterbury Farrell publishes the report “Case, Cartridge, 5.56mm Sub-Module.” Waterbury Farrell designed and furnished eight PC115 presses as well as ancillary equipment for the complete manufacture of the 5.56mm brass cartridge case from the standard three draw cup to a finished pierced case ready for priming. The PC115 is a 15 station, variable speed, inline press of commercial design which was modified and supplemented for this submodule. The entire line was designed for a gross output of 1440 pieces per minute and has the capacity to produce cartridge cases up to .30 caliber and 7.62mm. The submodule is completely automated so that the operator need not handle the draw piece from the cup to the finished case. The developed design features a series – parallel system for greater flexibility, electronic automatic sensing and warning devices, and preset tool modules for ease and speed in replacing tools.

Calspan Corp. publishes the report “Caseless Ammunition Heat Transfer. Volume III.” Heat transfer studies were performed for small and medium caliber caseless ammunition to evaluate the thermal performance of existing fixtures and ammunition, devise and evaluate mathematical techniques by which the thermal behavior of future weapons may be predicted and problem areas identified prior to weapon design, and obtain information which can lead to improvement in future weapons and ammunition. The study continues previous work on 5.56mm and 27mm caseless ammunition. Some measurements of the heating of an M16 rifle firing cased 5.56mm ammunition are initially reported as a basis of comparison of caseless ammunition. The primary emphasis of the 5.56mm testing is directed toward High Ignition Temperature Propellant (HITP) rounds. Firing tests and laboratory cook-off tests were conducted with HITP and analysis was conducted to evaluate the potential of caseless ammunition during burst firing schedules. A mathematical model was developed which provides an adequate tool by which the thermal effects of rapid fire may be predicted based upon single-shot testing.

Argentina’s Fabrica Militar de Arms Portalies “Domingo Matheu” (FMAP-DM) begins development of a 5.56x45mm rifle. Enrique Chichizola leads the project team.

CETME‘s Dr. Günther Voss receives US Patent #3,949,677 titled “Small Caliber Projectile with an Asymmetrical Point.”

Paul Tellie receives US Patent #3,952,440 titled “Firearms Having Two Orifices for Ejection of the Empty Shells.”

Abe Flatau, Donald N. Olson, and Miles C. Miller receive US Patent #3,951,070 titled “Non-Hazardous Ring Airfoil Projectile of Non-Lethal Material.”

George L. Reynolds, on behalf of the US Army, files a patent application for the feed system of the HEL 30mm semi-auto grenade launcher attachment.

May:
Robert Snodgrass and Michael Tyler, on behalf of the US Army, file a patent application for a recyclable burst mechanism for the M16A1.

DARCOM publishes “The Effect of Varying Certain Parameters on the Performance of the S.C.A.M.P. Produced 5.56 mm Projectile.” This study investigates the effect of changing the boattail and the nose radius on the performance of the current 5.56 mm bullet. The results showed that elimination of the boattail had a detrimental effect on the performance while a change in the nose radius had no change on the performance of the 5.56 mm bullet.

June:
The US Army awards a $3,081,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16. The Army also awards a $14,000 contract for inspection gauges and precision layout tools.

DARCOM and TRADOC recommend changes to the SAW Materiel Needs Document: 1) Indicate the re-emphasis to 5.56mm from the earlier 6mm; and 2) Reduce the tracer requirement to “up to 800 meters” from “over 800 meters.”

During the Conference of National Armament Directors, ten NATO countries, along with France, sign the “Memorandum of Understanding Relating to the Testing and Evaluation of Small Arms Ammunition and weapons for the Post-1980 Period.” This leads to the creation of the Small Arms Test Control Commission and paves the way for the eventual adoption of a second standard NATO cartridge.

RSAF Enfield publicly unveils its new 4.85mm Infantry Small Arms System.

Sterling begins production of the AR-18 rifle.

The US Army awards a $27,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M203.

July:
The US Army awards a $29,000 contract modification to Colt for overhaul and maintenance.

The British Army’s Infantry Trial and Development Unit (ITDU) begins trials to determine the ideal reticule configuration for the SUSAT. The early model used an inverted post like the earlier SUIT. Later models use a standard post/pointer with a clear midsection.

August:
Colt’s Stanley Silsby and Henry Tatro receive US Patent #3,977,296 titled “Hydraulic Buffer Assembly for Automatic or Semiautomatic Firearm.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Development of a Structurally Sound 5.56 MM Bullet with a GMCS Jacket.”

FN‘s Maurice Bourlet receives US Patent #3,974,739 titled “Belt Ammunition Box for Portable Weapons.”

Aberdeen’s HEL publishes the report “Experiment for the Selections of Reflex-Collimating Sight Components.” An evaluation and selection of certain optical components of the reflex-collimating sight for the Improved M16 was conducted.

September:
Abe Flatau, Donald N. Olson, and Miles C. Miller receive US Patent #3,982,489 titled “Kinetic Energy Ring Projectile.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Feasibility Study of 5.56 MM Folded Ammunition/Weapon System.” Testing was conducted with M16A1 and FN FAL modified for a 5.56mm folded cartridge loaded with the FABRL bullet.

The BRL issues the report “Calculation of Criteria for Fléchette Deformation in a Tissue Simulant.”

October:
The US Army awards a $206,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

The US Army approves the changes to the SAW Materiel Need Document. DARCOM requests a bid to redesign the Rodman XM235 from 6x45mm to 5.56mm, incorporate improvements, and produce 18 prototypes. The redesigned model is renamed the XM248.

The military specification for M193 Ball, MIL-C-9963E, is revised to MIL-C-9963F.

The military specification for M197 Tracer, MIL-C-60111B, is revised to MIL-C-60111C.

On behalf of the US Army, Robert F. Magardo, Leonard R. Ambrosini, and Raymond S. Isenson file another patent application for their version of the Dual Cycle Rifle. Their design uses an asymmetrical three-chamber cylinder, and can reportedly achieve three-round burst rates of up to 4,900 rounds per minute.

HK‘s Tilo Möller and Dieter Ketterer file an US patent application for the design of the G11.

MAS delivers 23 A6 prototypes of the FAMAS for evaluation.

November:
HK submits its latest G11 prototype to NATO‘s Small Arms Test Control Commission.

The BRL publishes “A Study of Heat Transfer in Folded Ammunition Gun Tube Chambers.”

On behalf of the US Army, Hugh D. MacDonald, Jr. and Peter Tietz receive US Patent #3,988,990 titled “Projectile.”

December:
For the first time, female trainees and student officers in the US Army have to qualify on the M16A1 rifle before they can graduate from basic training.

Funding for the SAW project is eliminated for Fiscal Years 1978 and 79.

NATO‘s AC/225 Panel III publishes “Evaluation Procedures for Future NATO Weapon Systems: Individual Weapons; Support Weapons; Area Fire Weapons.”

On behalf of the US Army, Curtis D. Johnson, Lonnie D. Antwiler, Larry C. McFarland, Arthur R. Meyer, Fred J. Skahill, Doyle L. White, Keith L. Witwer, and Richard L. Wulff receive US Patent #3,999,461 titled “Modular Lightweight Squad Automatic Weapon System.”

HK‘s Günter Kästner, Dieter Ketterer, Tilo Möller, and Ernst Wössner receive US Patent #3,997,994 titled “Shoulder Arm with Swivel Breech Member.”

Paul Tellie receives US Patent #3,999,318 titled “Firearms Involving Two Ejection Outlets for Empty Cases.”

1977


Testing at Aberdeen confirms that the XM777 and XM778 are indeed “superior” in performance to the issue M193 and M196.

The US provides 3,153 M16A1 and 72 M203 to Indonesia as part of a military assistance package.

The US provides 2,020 M16A1 to Thailand as part of a military assistance package.

The US makes a FMS of 20,000 M16A1 to Israel.

Austria adopts the 5.56mm Steyr AUG bullpup rifle as the Sturmgewehr 77 (StG 77).

Phase II of the British IW/LSW‘s initial development stage has begun with the construction of a third series of improved prototypes. These models now have flip-up, back-up iron sights fitted, the magazine release has been moved from the left side of the receiver to the rear of the magazine well, and a lever switch has replaced the push-through safety button. Left-hand models are also available for the IW and the LSW. The right hand models are named the XL64 IW and the XL65 LSW. The southpaw models are designated the XL68 IW and the XL69 LSW.

The Swiss drop further experiments with the 5.56x48mm Eiger in favor of a new 6.35mm cartridge. This is later increased in size to create the 6.45x48mm.

Remington engineering assistant Jim Stekl begins competing in benchrest matches with the experimental .22 BR. It uses a modified .308 Winchester case shortened roughly to the same length as the .22 PPC.

The US provides 500 M203 to the Philippines as part of a military assistance package.

The US makes a FMS of 500 M203 to Burma.

Early 1977:
At the Biathlon World Championships in Norway, the Russian Biathlon team uses a 5.6x45mm cartridge. It is roughly a lengthened version of the 5.6x39mm Running Deer cartridge (or possibly, a 7.62x45mm Czech case necked down). Collectors claim to have found cases with headstamps dating back to 1968.

January:
ARMCOM is split into the US Army Armament Materiel Readiness Command (ARRCOM) at Rock Island and the US Army Armament Research and Development Command (ARRADCOM) at Picatinny. The R&D missions of the Rodman Laboratory at Rock Island and the fire control laboratory at Frankford are transfered to Picatinny. Arsenal is dropped from Picatinny’s name.

Robert Snodgrass and Michael Tyler, on behalf of the US Army, receive US Patent #4,004,496 titled “M16A1 Burst Control.”

Paul Tellie receives US Patent #4,002,101 titled “Firearms.”

February:
The US Embassy receives a request from the Indonesian Department of Defense and Security the availability of $30 million in FMS credits for a M16A1 co-production facility. Indonesia desires to convert the Indonesian Army Military Industries (PINDAD) small arms factory. Colt and Lockheed have both submitted proposals.

Ford Aerospace outbids Maremont, and is awarded the XM248 contract.

Rodman Laboratory publishes “Bore Erosion and Accuracy of M16A1 Rifle.” An analysis was conducted on the performance of M16A1 rifles made by three manufacturers with the use of two kinds of ammunition and three rates of fire. Data include extreme spread and bore erosion gage measurements, each as a function of the number of rounds fired. Consistency is lacking in the experimental data, even though identical tests were performed. Probably, random vibrations of the gun barrel or other unknown phenomena may be the reason for inconsistency of spread data. Inconsistency in the penetration of erosion gages may be due to fouling deposits on the bore surface and to lack of properly designed tools for unique measurements. Large variations occur in the useful life of the barrels due to variations in manufacturing, ammunition, and firing rate. The typical rate of erosion is about one-thousandth of an inch per thousand rounds of fire. Gauge Number 6 may be used to measure barrel erosion and ultimately to indicate when to discard the barrel. Erosion increases and the useful life of the weapon decreases with an increase in rate of fire. The useful life of the weapon may be approximated as inversely proportional to the two-third power of the firing rate.

March:
Secretary of the Army Clifford L. Alexander, Jr. approves the decision to close Frankford Arsenal.

The USMC drops testing of a prototype M16 HBAR developed by Maxwell Atchisson. It was intended to serve as an interim SAW.

Paul Tellie receives US Patent #4,012,844 titled “Sighting Devices for Firearms.”

Singapore requests a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for co-production of the M203. This is to be a joint venture with Thailand. Initial estimates for production are 2,000 for Singapore and 6,000 for Thailand. This is revised to 2,000-2,500 and 5,000-6,000 per year. The US Defense Attaché Office (USDAO) in Singapore, the Chief of JUSMAG-THAI, and the US Embassy in Thailand endorse the proposal.

April:
The NATO trial candidates (ammunition and weapons) begin technical testing.

On behalf of the AMSAA, the Vertex Corporation publishes “Study of the Small Arms Incapacitation Prediction System.”

Frankford Arsenal publishes the report “Laser Annealing of 5.56mm and 20mm Cartridge Cases.” The feasibility of using a CO2 laser to perform production rate mouth annealing operations on 5.56mm and 20mm cartridge cases as part of the small caliber ammunition modernization program (SCAMP) is examined. Experimental results with a 1 KW CO2 laser confirm that the 5.56mm cartridge case can be mouth annealed in approximately .100 seconds, as predicted analytically. These times, however, are longer than that desired for SCAMP production rates and as a result, larger lasers are required. Although the laser annealing process does have some special attributes, unless they can be fully utilized and are required, replacement of present annealing techniques with the laser does not appear to be economically practical at the present time.

FN‘s Maurice Bourlet files an US patent application for the Minimi’s loaded feed tray indicator and another for its auxiliary magazine feed system.

George L. Reynolds, on behalf of the US Army, receives US Patent #4,019,424 titled “Cartridge Soft Feed Mechanism with Magazine Interrupter.”

May:
The US Army awards $2,726,000, $533,000, and $23,000 contracts to Colt related to the M16. The Army also awards a $499,000 contract to Colt for FMS.

MAS delivers the A7 prototype of the FAMAS.

HK‘s Tilo Möller receives US Patent #4,024,792 titled “Automatic Shoulder Arm.”

The US Army awards a $863,000 contract to Colt related to the M203.

June:
The Office of the DDR&E requests a review of the SAW program. While briefing DDR&E personnel, the new SAW project officer, MAJ Robert D. Whittington III, requests additional funding: $1,945,000 for FY 1978 and $875,000 for FY 1979. This will permit completion of the advanced development phase and allow for head-to-head trials of the FN Minimi and XM248.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of Cartridge, 5.56-MM Ball, XM777.”

Sydney Hance files an US patent application for the cosmetic design of the XL64 IW.

HK‘s Dieter Ketterer files an US patent application for the G11’s magazine and magazine chargers.

July:
The US Army awards a $41,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

The US Army awards a $330,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M203.

Testing concludes of the FAMAS A7.

August:
The US Army awards a $924,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

While briefing Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development, and Acquisition (DCSRADA) LTG Howard H. Cooksey, MAJ Whittington outlines plans for an engineering development phase for the SAW program. LTG Cooksey does not approve the plan. Instead, the advanced development stage is to be continued through the end of FY 1979. A design maturity phase can begin only after NATO approves its new cartridge. This phase should be an eighteen-month effort with an eye toward fielding the SAW at the beginning of FY 1982. In addition, the program should include a new M16 HBAR variant, requested by the ODCSOPS.

The US Army awards a $314,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M203.

The French Army General Staff adopts the FAMAS A7 as the FAMAS F1. An order is placed for 236,000 rifles. These will be delivered without the three round burst mechanism as it has not yet been perfected.

September:
Frankford Arsenal is closed at the end of the month.

The US Army awards a $626,000 contract and a $427,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

Aberdeen publishes the M1report “Product Improvement Test of CMR-170 Propellant for Cartridge, 5.56-MM, Tracer, M196.”

The US Army awards $55,000, $38,000, and $48,000 contract modifications to Colt related to the M203.

MAS continues study of the three round burst mechanism for the FAMAS.

October:
President Carter personally assures the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew that the sale of the M203 TDP will be approved.

November:
DARCOM and DCSRADA LTG Cooksey scrape up enough funds to sustain the SAW program through FY 1978.

The Singaporean request for the M203 TDP is formally approved by President Carter.

December:
The USMC provides an additional $200,000 in funds for the development of the new M16 HBARSAW.

Lake City begins production of cartridge cases using SCAMP machines. SCAMP machines are also provided to Taiwan.

The Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA) receives Colt’s request for an export license for the establishment of a M16 manufacturing facility in Indonesia. By the end of the year, the DSAA has not received the contract information needed to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for approval of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Congress.

1978


The Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SPRI) publishes “Anti-Personnel Weapons” by Malvern Lumsden. The author recommends that the use of SCHV cartridges such as the 5.56x45mm be restricted by international law.

The US Army and USMC begin discussions with Colt concerning the development of a product-improved M16A1 to replace their stores of severely worn rifles.

The US provides 6,314 M16A1 and 350 M203 to Indonesia as part of a military assistance package. Indonesia also orders an additional ~50,000 M16A1 from Colt. Deliveries of the latter go through 1981.

The US makes a FMS of 8,000 M16A1 to Lebanon.

After an Infantry Board “conceptual evaluation,” the HEL 30mm grenade launcher is shelved.

Development of the ARES FARC ends.

CIS starts shopping around for alternate small designs for export sales and perhaps even domestic use. ArmaLite is approached concerning the AR-18, and are passed along to Sterling. Sterling sends Frank Waters to Singapore with the AR-18, along with his early design. The end result turns into the SAR80. On a tip from ArmaLite, L. James Sullivan also moves to Singapore and ends up developing the 5.56x45mm Ultimax 100 LMG. (This move was reportedly the byproduct of US regulatory attempts to control arms exports for even mere weapon designs, originating from the US.)

The Swiss Federal Arms Factory, Eidgenössische Waffenfabrik Bern (W+F), introduces the MP C21, SG C22, and MK C23.

The Swiss conduct troop trials with 40 SIG SG540 and SG543, along with a number of the W+F rifles. Afterwards, the Gruppe fur Rustungsdienste (GRD) draws up a staff requirement. The new rifle has to incorporate the following characteristics: 1) It should serve as the basis for a family of weapons, including a standard rifle and a carbine; 2) It should be at least as accurate as the Stgw. 57 out to 300 meters; and 3) It should weigh much less than the Stgw. 57.

Delayed by the Cultural Revolution, Chinese SCHV cartridge development begins in earnest.

Remington begins offering the .22 BR as a special order chambering in the Model 40XB-BR bolt action rifle. However, factory formed brass and loaded cartridges are not offered. Jim Stekl later wins the two-gun (Sporter and Heavy Varmint classes) championship with 6mm BR and .22 BR rifles at the 1978 Super Shoot.

Nicaragua buys ~10,000 IMI Galil.

Tunisia receives Steyr AUG.

Interdynamic introduces the MKR rifle with its proprietary rimfire 4.5x26mmR cartridge.

Singapore begins acquisition of 300 M203. Deliveries continue through 1981.

January:
Aberdeen’s BRL is assigned development of the M16 HBARSAW, now named the XM106. Unlike earlier efforts, the XM106 is to incorporate a quick change barrel, a magazine capacity in excess of 80 rounds, fire from an open bolt, attach the bipod somewhere other than the barrel, and include an 800 meter adjustable rear sight.

FN‘s Maurice Bourlet files an US patent application for the FNC’s dust cover.

February:
The US Army awards a $27,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The Munition Control License application for Indonesian M16 co-production is approved. The MOU and FMS credits still need to be reviewed by Congress. The State Department and DOD work out a FY 1978 FMS credit of $22 million for the project. However, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown advises that Indonesia should be told that the US is not willing to commit to a multi-year FMS financing plan. Any additional FMS credits for FY 1979 and 1980 will depend upon Congress.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee signs the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for co-production of the M203.

March:
HK offers its HK 21A1 with the 5.56mm conversion for further SAW testing. (The HK 21A1 is designed for 7.62mm NATO use.)

HK‘s Tilo Möller and Dieter Ketterer receive US Patent # 4,078,327 titled “Automatic or Semi-Automatic Small Arm.”

April:
Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser files an US patent application for bolt/bolt carrier design of the Steyr AUG.

The DSAA informs the USDAO in Singapore that the proper notification for the M203 TDP transfer has not been filed with Congress. Moreover, assurances are still required from Thailand under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) that no M203 will be sold to other countries without US approval.

May:
The first XM106 SAW prototype is completed. The XM106 project never goes far, as the prototype 83 round drum and the Tri-Mag (a co-joined trio of standard 30 round magazines) are strongly disliked.

Rock Island’s Engineering Directorate publishes “NDT Measurements of Chromium Plate Thickness on Small Caliber Gun Barrel Bores.” The objective of this project was to make use of improved nondestructive testing methods to measure chromium plate thickness in small caliber gun barrels. Chromium-plate thickness of gun barrel bores are necessarily assumed since the air gauges used simply provide differences in bore-size reading before and after plating. The only means previously available to accurately determine plating thickness, including concentricity, is to use destructive methods to examine microspecimens representing cross sections of the gun barrel.

Singapore receives the M203 TDP.

The base components of the Civil Disturbance Control System are type-classified. This is comprised of the M742 and M743 Riot Control Projectiles, the M755 blank cartridge, and the M234 adapter which mounts on a M16A1 rifle. Roughly 500,000 M742 and over 12,000 M234 are built and stockpiled.

June:
The US Army awards a $40,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement. The Army also awards a $589,000 contract to Colt for FMS.

Field-testing begins for the NATO individual weapon entries. Testing is staged primarily at the West German Infantry School in Hammelburg. However, other test locations include the European Regional Test Center at Cold Meece in northern England, the Meppen Proving Ground in Meppen, West Germany, the McKinley Climatic Hanger at Eglin AFB, and Camp Shilo in Canada. The rifle tests continue through November. Entrants include Colt’s M16A1 (loaded with XM777 Ball and XM778 Tracer), RSAF Enfield’s 4.85mm XL64E5 IWFN‘s FNC, France’s FAMAS, HK‘s 4.7mm G11, and an IMI Galil SAR submitted by the Dutch as the MN1.

The control weapons are the 7.62mm NATO HK G3 and the 5.56mm M16A1 loaded with M193 Ball and M196 Tracer. The FN FNC is submitted with FN‘s new SS109 series of cartridges, and the remaining 5.56x45mm entries use M193-type ammunition. The SS109 projectile has a dual core design: steel forward and lead to the rear. It is the latest of a line of experimental cartridges by FN, including the SS92/1 and the SS101. (FN‘s M193 clone is known as the SS92.) These new ball cartridges require a 1-in-9″ twist while the long L110 tracer projectile requires an even faster 1-in-7″ twist. The faster twist offers not only a technical benefit, but a political one as well. Certain European countries, led by Sweden, see the faster twist as a means to reduce the “inhumane” terminal effects of the 5.56mm cartridge. Of course, the G11 and XL64E5 use their own proprietary cartridges.

Villanova University publishes “Heat Transfer of the Folded Cartridge Phase II Report.”

The US Army awards a $2,559,000 contract to Adventure Line Mfg. Co. Inc.

AAI publishes the document “Proposal for the Development of Improved Small Arms Fléchette Ammunition.”

The Human Engineering Labs at Aberdeen publishes “Preliminary Operation and Maintenance Manual for the 30mm Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher (Rifle Mounted for Conceptual Testing on a Modified M16A1).”

July:
On behalf of the US Army, Robert F. Magardo, Leonard R. Ambrosini, and Raymond S. Isenson receive US Patent #4,102,241 titled “High-Rate-of-Fire Rifle Mechanism or Dual Cyclic Rate Mechanism.”

The BRL publishes “A Heat Transfer Study in Folded Ammunition Gun Tube Chambers.”

The US Army awards a $898,000 contract modification to Adventure Line Mfg. Co. Inc.

ARRCOM issues a RFP for tritium front sight post assemblies for M16/M16A1 rifles.

August:
The US Army signs a contract for 18 FN Minimi for the latest SAW trials. The Minimi is now designated the XM249. DARCOM orders that the HK 21A1 be included in the testing. The HK is given the name XM262.

The US Army awards a $77,000 contract to Colt related to the M203.

Thailand provides the US with assurances that that no M203 will be sold to other countries without US approval.

September:
The US Army awards a $790,000 contract and a $442,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

FN‘s Maurice Bourlet receives US Patent #4,112,817 titled “Supply Device for a Portable Firearm by Means of Cartridge Belts or by Means of Rifle Magazines Using the Same Ammunition.”

The US Army awards a $239,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M203. This is for FMS.

The State Department authorizes the US Embassy in Singapore to notify Singaporean authorities that they can transfer the M203 TDP to Thailand.

October:
The US Army awards $5,083,000 and $90,000 contracts to Colt related to the M16.

During discussions with the US Ambassador, the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Indonesian military indicates that while Indonesia would like to eventually establish a M16 co-production facility, the country’s current budget will not allow them to pursue the project. In the meantime, Indonesia will purchase 30,000 M16 from Colt to meet their immediate requirements.

Olin-Winchester’s James H. Johnson, Arnold L. Fowler, Julius E. Brooks, and Harvey H. Friend receive US Patent #4,117,761 titled “Fire control mechanism.”

November:
The US Army awards a $994,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16. The Army also deallocates $183,000 in a contract modification related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

Late:
MAS tests an improved three round burst mechanism for the FAMAS.

Singapore and Thailand express interest in co-production of 40x46mm grenades. This will allow them to support their M203 in case the system is phased out by the US Army.

December:
The Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP) is formed.

The British ITDU holds comparative trials of SUSAT sights.

Frank E. Waters, on behalf of CIS, files an US patent application for the bolt and bolt carrier design of the SAR-80.

1979


The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control returns without action an export license application to send 20 M16 rifles and carbines worth $1,024 to Guatemala.

The M231 FPW is finally adopted for use with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s (BFV) six firing ports. Seen as the cure for BMP-Envy, 27,000 are ordered. The M231 retains a 65 percent parts commonality with the M16A1; however, it is full automatic only, firing from an open bolt. Lacking a front sight, it is intended for use only with M196 tracers. A collapsible wire buttstock (FSN #1005-081-4830) is originally standardized for issue with the M231, but these are withdrawn at the last moment. (The supply of these buttstocks appears to have been sold later as surplus.) While the Technical Manual (TM 9-1005-309-10) warns that the M231 should not be used outside the BFV, this advice is known to be ignored, at least during training.

Aberdeen tests the hardness gradient of 5.56mm cases produced by the SCAMP process.

Sterling’s own variant of the SAR80 is submitted for British Army trials.

SIG introduces the SG541, a modified SG540.

FMAP-DM completes five prototype assault rifles for technical testing.

The US makes a FMS of 100 M203 to Greece. Deliveries continue through 1980.

January:
Field-testing begins for the NATO light support weapon entries. Once again, most of the testing is conducted at the West German Infantry School. Testing continues through June. Entrants include the 4.85mm Enfield XL64E4, the 5.56mm FN Minimi, and the 7.62mm NATO Rheinmetall MG3E (a cropped variant of the MG3, itself a modern version of the WW2-era MG42). The control weapon is the 7.62mm FN MAG58.

SAAMI releases its warning on firing 5.56mm military ammo in a firearm chambered for the commercial .223 Remington.

Villanova University and ARRADCOM publish “Thermal Analysis of Folded Ammunition.”

Singapore and Thailand formally request permission to co-produce 40x46mm ammunition. CINCPAC Admiral Maurice F. Weisner supports their request.

February:
The US State Department grants an export license to Colt for 15,000 M16, 60,000 thirty round magazines, and 15,000 M7 bayonets for shipment to Indonesia.

Aberdeen’s HEL publishes “Aiming Point Displacement from Firing a Rifle from the Open-Bolt Position.” The displacement of a gunner’s point of aim when firing a rifle from both the open bolt and closed bolt position was measured in dry-fire and live-fire tests. Results of the dry-fire test showed a shift of the aiming point upwards and to the right for right-handed gunners and upwards and to the left for a left-handed gunner. Aiming error dispersions were substantially larger for open bolt versus closed bolt. These effects were more pronounced when firing from the standing position versus firing from the prone position. The time history of aiming error from trigger pull to cartridge firing was measured for the open bolt firings. Live-fire test results were inconclusive due to large round-to-round dispersions of the test weapon, an XM19 rifle.

The British REME reports on NATO testing results for the IW. The ten prototypes collectively turn in a MRBS of at best 97. The results might have been worse as these only accounted for incidents witnessed by REME armorers. The REME had also intervened with constant inspections, repairs, and modifications to keep the weapons running, in violation of the testing rules.

March:
The South Korean Ministry of National Defense informs the US of its plan to transfer ownership of Pusan Arsenal to Daewoo Precision Industries.

Aberdeen publishes the report “Product Improvement Test of Hardness Gradient in Cartridge Case of Ball, 5.56-MM, M193 Ammunition for M16A1 Rifle.”

Pier C. Beretta files an US patent application for the adjustable bipod legs used by the AR70/78 LMG.

FN‘s Maurice Bourlet receives US Patent #4,142,443 titled “Visual Checking Device for Machine Guns and Similar Weapons,” and US Patent #4,145,831 titled “Closing Device for the Slot Through Which Passes the Cocking Lever of Automatic Weapons.”

US Army Missile RDECOM issues the report “Aerodynamic Analysis of the Rifleman’s Assault Weapon.”

April:
The US Army awards $98,000 and deallocates $12,000 in contract modifications to Colt related to the M16. The Army also deallocates $19,000 from the overhaul and maintenance contract.

Head-to-head testing begins for the US Army’s four SAW candidates.

The US State Department approves sale of the 40x46mm grenade TDP to Singapore and Thailand. However, use of the data is restricted to study and evaluation purposes only. If Singapore and Thailand desire to begin production, the State Department will require Presidential approval.

May:
The US Army awards a $10,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

Sydney Hance receives US Patent #D251,979 titled “Automatic Firearm.”

HK‘s Dieter Ketterer receives US Patent # 4,152,857 titled “Means for Loading Small Firearms Including a Box Magazine and Cartridge Clips.”

Lyttelton Engineering Works (LEW), a division of ARMSCOR, introduces the R4 rifle, a modified IMI Galil AR.

June:
The US Army awards a $826,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

Testing ends for the NATO candidate weapons.

The French Army begins an official evaluation of the improved three round burst mechanism for the FAMAS.

July:
The M231 FPW‘s military specification, MIL-S-63348(AR), is issued.

The French Army Chief of Staff approves the adoption of the improved three round burst mechanism for the FAMAS.

August:
The US Army awards the tritium front sight contract to Saunders-Roe Developments, Ltd., of the United Kingdom. Self-Powered Lighting, Ltd. files a GAO protest over the award.

September:
The US Army awards $24,000, $14,000, and $1,975,000 delivery orders to Colt related to the M16. The Army also awards a $1,961,000 delivery order to Colt for FMS.

USMC brass hold a strategy meeting to examine ways to improve their small arms inventory. Four mutually exclusive options are considered: 1) Retain the M16A1 rifle as is; 2) Reintroduce the M14; 3) Review other potential replacements; and 4) Upgrade the M16A1.

ARRCOM issues “Engineering Analysis of the M16 Rifle Production Line: 1976-79.”

A “Full Development” plan is approved to improve the Enfield Weapon System (EWS).

The US Army awards a $15,000 contract to Okay Industries.

Singapore and Thailand sign LOA for the 40x46mm grenade TDP and fuse primer services. Delivery is promised by the end of January 1980.

October:
The US Army deallocates $11,000 in a contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

Based upon additional NATO trial results, the British conclude that the EWS development should be switched to 5.56mm. In addition, a M16-type magazine should be adopted and the safety switch should converted back to a push-through button design. In the mean time, Phase III weapons are created based on the Phase II pattern, with the exception of chambering in 5.56mm.

The US Army awards a $25,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M203.

November:
The US Army awards a $1,254,000 contract and a $43,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

The British ITDU begins trials to determine whether open sights attached to the SUSAT‘s body could adequately serve as an Emergency Battle Sight.

December:
Self-Powered Lighting files a lawsuit against the US Government over the tritium front sight award. As a result, the GAO suspends their protest.

1980


The HEL publishes “Human Factors Engineering Assessment of the Squad Automatic Weapon System.”

South Korean Ministry of National Defense officials inform Joint US Military Assistance Group-Korea (JUSMAG-K) officials that they are examining whether the transfer of ownership of Pusan Arsenal would allow Daewoo to increase M16A1 production and allow export of rifles and parts without US approval.

IMI begins 5.56mm production using SCAMP machines.

The US Congress and the DOD order the Army to investigate reloading 5.56mm brass for training ammo.

The US makes a FMS of 17,000 M16A1 to Lebanon.

The US makes a FMS of 3,000 M16A1 to Somalia.

The US makes a FMS of 164 M16A1 and 122 M203 to Honduras.

The Sterling SAR80 is dropped from British military consideration.

RSAF Enfield redesignates its bullpup family as “Small Arms for the 1980s” (AKA: SA80). The Production Engineering stage results in three prototypes of an improved, yet simplified pattern. Despite the decision to switch to 5.56mm, the so-called “Production Rifles” are originally chambered for 4.85mm. At least one is later converted over to 5.56mm. Of note is the introduction of replacement iron sights for issue in lieu of the SUSAT. The magazine release has been moved from the rear of the magazine well back to the left side of the receiver, and a pair of ejectors have been fitted to the bolt. The single LSW prototype is now designed to fire from the open bolt position in all firing modes.

W+F introduces the MP E21 and SG E22 in 6.45x48mm and the MP C41 and SG C42 in 5.56x45mm.

Saudi Arabia takes its first delivery of Steyr AUG.

Parts for 55,000 HK 33 rifles are shipped to Malaysia. These are then assembled for use by the Malaysian Army.

The US makes a FMS of 200 M203 to Jordan.

January:
The USMC opens unilateral negotiations with Colt to supply three product-improved M16A1 rifles.

February:
JSSAP meeting is held. It is determined that there is enough interest to justify a Joint Service Rifle Product Improvement Program.

March:
The US Army awards $32,000 and a pair of $20,000 contract modifications to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,191,089 titled “Breech-Closing Mechanism for Automatic Rifle.”

The GAO denies Self-Powered Lighting’s protest over the tritium front sight award.

April:
The House Armed Services Committee requests that JSSAP conduct a study of the M16A1 rifle with an eye to possible improvements and eventual replacement.

The US Army Infantry School (USAIS) sends a letter to JSSAP outlining their recommendations for a product-improved M16A1. The USAIS desires a heavier barrel with a 1-in-7″ rifling twist; improvements to the furniture, sights, and magazine; and a “permanent cure” for left-handed shooters being struck by ejected cases.

May:
NATO‘s International Test Control Commission and Panels of Experts analyze the test data and issue a final report. This report concludes that: 1) 5.56mm should be adopted as the second standard NATO caliber for small arms; 2) The Belgian SS109 ammunition should be used as the basis for a 5.56mm STANAG (Standardization Agreement); and 3) No recommendation be made for standardization of an individual or light support weapon.

The US Army awards a $14,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

After head-to-head trials at Aberdeen and Fort Benning, DARCOM considers the FN XM249 to be the best choice on the ground of performance and cost. The HK XM262 has placed a close second.

July:
USMC Commandant, General Robert H. Barrow grows tired of Army inaction and forces the issue. Barrow directs the Development and Education Command to form a task force to decide once and for all which weapons systems the Corps requires. The task force led by LTC Richard Maresco begins by conducting “Mission Area Analysis,” outlining seven major OPFOR targets/threats, and then determines which weapons can counter them.

The US Army awards a $3,937,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

The military specifications for XM777 Ball and XM778 Tracer, MIL-C-63352(AR) and MIL-C-63367(AR), are published.

Orlite Engineering’s Azriel Kadim files an US patent application for the design of Orlite’s polymer M16 magazine.

The US Army awards a $60,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M203. This is for FMS.

August:
The US Army awards a $889,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) – Dahlgren releases “Improved M16A1 Rifle Instrumented Tests and Results,” the results of their testing of a pair of M16A1 rifles equipped with heavy barrels and improved forearms. Two standard M16A1 are used as control. Despite all four weapons being equipped with 1-in-12″ twist barrels, the rifles using heavy barrels show superior accuracy in both automatic and semi-automatic fire. The experimental rifles are also considered to have superior handling qualities. In temperature testing, the improved round forearms are found to be cooler than their original counterparts, regardless of whether the handguards are installed on heavy or standard barrel rifles. Of course, the combination of the heavy barrel and round forearm gave the best results.

September:
HQDA approves DARCOM‘s recommendations regarding the SAW selection. FN is awarded a “maturity phase” contract for further development of their XM249.

The Mellonics Systems Development Division publishes “Adequacy of M16A1 Rifle Performance and Its Implications for Marksmanship Training.” The document reports firing test results for typical M16A1 rifles, providing data for simplified and improved marksmanship training procedures. Sixty rifles were selected at random and subjected to bench-type serviceability checks and accuracy firing tests. Following initial testing, a representative sample (good, average and bad) of nine rifles was selected for the following tests: zero procedures, zeroing with the long range sight, trajectory, rimfire adapter, effects of barrel stress, firer error, and firing by initial entry soldiers. The current zeroing procedure is confirmed as being correct. However, the rimfire adapter is considered to be inadequate for attaining a correct zero and results in an increase group size. The authors also conclude that external stresses on the rifle (hasty slings, bipod use) actually have a greater effect on POA/POI errors than the usual culprits such as sight misalignment.

FN begins series production of their FNC.

The US Army awards a $393,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M203.

October:
NATO agrees to standardize the 5.56x45mm cartridge as the 5.56mm NATO (STANAG 4172). In particular, FN‘s SS109 Ball cartridge design is adopted for standardization. Individual nations may adapt the design for domestic production. Individual countries also adopt the related FN L110 Tracer; however, the P112 AP and the intermediate L102 tracer cartridges appear to fall by the wayside. In the US, the SS109 and L110 become the XM855 and XM856, respectively. Canadian equivalents are the XC77 and XC78. NATO ultimately declines to adopt any of the candidate weapons. In addition, a draft standard (STANAG 4179) for M16-compatable magazines is proposed for future 5.56mm NATO weapons; however, this is never ratified.

The Marine Corps Development and Education Command releases “Mission Area Analysis of Infantry Aspects of Close Combat” by LTC Maresco, LTC John C. Short, and MAJ Jerry L. Creed.

The US Army awards a $825,000 contract modification to Adventure Line Mfg. Co. Inc.

The US Army awards a $15,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M203.

November:
USMC LTC Maresco briefs Commandant Barrow with the task force’s recommendations: 1) Procure the 40x53mm Mk 19 Mod 3 automatic grenade launcher; 2) Begin fuse development of HEDP warheads for the 40mm grenades; 3) Support JSSAP‘s development of improved AP projectiles such as the SLAP; 4) Cancel testing for 7.62mm NATO SAW candidates; and 5) Procure the .50 BMG M2(HB), a product improved M16, a 9mm NATO pistol, and a 5.56mm NATO SAW. General Barrow immediately approves the recommended items.

The US Army Combined Arms Center (USACAC) and TRADOC approve the USAIS‘ recommendations for M16 improvements.

The USAF‘s Systems Command indicates that they were not adverse to product improvements, as long as they did not require modification or replacement of their existing M16 rifles.

The US Coast Guard indicates they intend to dispose of their existing M16 rifles, in exchange for a new 9mm NATO SMG and the FN XM249.

December:
The USMC approves a “statement of need” for an improved rifle. However, a product-improved M16A1 would satisfy their immediate requirements.

The US Navy indicates that existing 5.56mm and 7.62mm rifles will not meet their requirements. Until such time that a suitable design can be found, they intend to keep their 7.62mm M14 rifles.

The US Army awards a $62,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

1981


With the approval of a joint service Rifle Product Improvement Program, fifty experimental M16A1(PIP) are ordered for testing. These rifles are later designated M16A1E1. These rifles include requested improvements such the 3 round burst mechanism, strengthened materials for the butt stock and forearm, a longer buttstock, the improved round/symmetrical forearm, a tapered slip ring for retaining the forearm pieces, a heavy profile barrel with a 1 in 7″ twist suitable for XM855 and XM856 cartridges, and a fully adjustable 800m rear sight. Ironically, Colt had developed many of these improvements during the 1960s and ’70s.

The US provides 11,868 M16A1 to El Salvador as part of a military assistance package. Deliveries stretch through 1982.

The US provides 6.058 M16A1 to Thailand as part of a military assistance package.

The US makes a FMS of 743 M16A1 to Fiji.

Lesotho orders M16A1 and Model 653 carbines.

Qatar begins purchase of 6,000 M16A1 and Model 653 carbines. Deliveries continue through 1983.

Italy receives SCAMP machinery.

L. James Sullivan moves to Italy to work on the ARMi rifle project for Beretta.

HK introduces their G41. It is roughly a HK 33 variant redesigned for compliance with various NATO standards. HK also introduces the product improved HK 13E and HK 23E.

The CETME Ameli is introduced. (Ameli is short for Ametralladora Ligera, which translates to Light Machine Gun.) Designed by CETME director Col. Jose Maria Jimenez Alfaro, the Ameli resembles a scaled down version of the German MG42.

The Swiss conduct troop trials with the SIG SG541 and the W+F SG C42. The 6.45x48mm cartridge is no longer in consideration.

Indonesia adopts the FN FNC. They opt for domestic production of the rifle.

Australia acquires ~100 M203 from Colt.

The US provides 208 M203 to Lebanon as part of a military assistance package.

January:
JSSAP publishes “JSSAP Combat Rifle Study.” For the short term, JSSAP recommends staying on the course of the Rifle Product Improvement Program, which was already beginning to take shape. For the long term, JSSAP recommends that the technology base should be developed in areas such as salvo weapons, caseless ammunition, and advanced optics. Truly revolutionary improvements would have to wait until the year 2000 and beyond.

Thermold Design & Development, Inc. submits “Final Progress Report on Contract DAAK10-79-C-0403.” Thermold was under contract to ARRADCOM to study the feasibility of designing and making a spring that would lie inert for a long period, in a relaxed mode, in a preloaded rifle magazine, with the capability of being instantly tensioned upon need. This was based on Daniel D. Musgrave’s US Patent #3,964,199. Thermold deems it impossible to make the concept of Musgrave’s patent function properly in the standard issue 30 round magazine.

The US Army awards a $2,079,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M203. This is for FMS.

February:
The US Army awards a $100,000 contract to Colt related to the M16 for RDT&E.

Phase A of British Ordnance Board Trials begins for the XL70E3 IW (Left-hand: XL78E1) and XL73E2 LSW. These models are improved versions of the so-called “Production Rifles” with the exception of being chambered for 5.56mm. However, these are barreled for original M193-specification ammo, not the new SS109 NATO standard. In addition, the gas system is revamped, the extractor has been redesigned, and the tungsten inertia pellet has been deleted from the bolt carrier. The latter change was forced by the decision to add a third guide rod to the recoil spring assembly. While it has been decided to ignore the left-hand variant of the LSW, both open-bolt and closed bolt variants of the LSW are now available.

Pier C. Beretta files another US patent application for the adjustable bipod legs used by the AR70/78 LMG.

HK‘s Dieter Ketterer, Horst Jakubaschk, and Emil Rommel file an US patent application for the G11’s rotating breech.

March:
The USMC awards $49,000 and $12,000 contracts to Colt related to the M16.

The Swedes adopt the FNC as the Ak5. Domestic production of the rifle is given to FFV Ordnance (later absorbed as part of Bofors).

FMAP-DM completes development work for their 5.56mm rifle.

April:
Aberdeen publishes the report “Technical Feasibility Test of German 5.56-MM Plastic Training Ammunition.”

May:
Aberdeen publishes the report “Renovation Test of Reloaded 5.56-MM Cartridges.”

June:
The US Army awards a $22,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

Testing of the improved XM249E1, along with US-manufactured XM855 and XM856, begins at Aberdeen.

Trainees at Fort Leonard Wood use one of the first lots of reloaded 5.56mm ammo. A second lot has to be pulled and salvaged due to poor case annealing. Lake City was responsible for the remanufacturing of the two lots.

The US Army Mobility Equipment Research and Development Command publishes “Integral Color Anodizing of Aluminum Alloy 7075-T6 Upper Receivers of the M16A1 Rifle.” An investigation to determine the suitability of integral color anodizing (ICA) for application to upper and lower receivers of the M16A rifle is described. Report includes details of laboratory tests comparing conventional hard anodizing with various ICA processes. A description of the results of a field test of treated receivers is also described.

Frank E. Waters, on behalf of CIS, receives US Patent #4,272,902 titled “Fire-Arms.”

The US Army awards $61,000 and $4,206,000 delivery orders to Colt related to the M203. The second is for FMS.

July:
US officials raise concerns over potential problems associated with the pending transfer of Pusan Arsenal to Daewoo, including unauthorized M16 rifle exports.

The British ITDU draws up a trials plan for testing of the IW/LSW. In addition, they investigate alternate secondary sights for the weapon.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, files an US patent application for the buffered sear of the Ultimax 100.

L. James Sullivan and Robert L. Waterfield, on behalf of CIS, file an US patent application for the drum magazine of the Ultimax 100.

August:
The military specification for the M231 FPW, MIL-S-63348(AR), is revised to MIL-S-63348A(AR).

Colt’s Henry Tatro files a patent application for an open bolt firing mechanism for a new M16-LMG which is under development. (This is the same LMG design which has its rear sight design borrowed for use with the M16A1E1.)

Development tests of the improved HK G11 begin at the Meppen Proving Ground in West Germany.

September:
The US Army awards a $71,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

With manned firing clearance given as a result of the Ordnance Board Trials, the ITDU begins User Trials of the XL70E3 IW.

Pier C. Beretta receives US Patent #4,288,939 titled “Adjustable Legs Support for Automatic Weapons.”

The US Army awards a $447,000 contract to Colt related to the M203. The US Army also awards $22,000 and $1,451,000 delivery orders related to the M203. The second is for FMS.

October:
The US Army awards a $98,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

November:
The US Army awards a $119,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

Colt delivers fifty M16A1E1 for testing.

A draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the US DOD and West German Ministry of Defense is circulated regarding the sharing of caseless ammunition technology.

The US Army awards a $1,147,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M203. This is for FMS.

November-December:
As the lead service for the program, the USMC Firepower Division at Quantico conducts a “Modified Operational Test” pitting 30 M16A1E1 rifles against 30 standard M16A1. Twenty Marines and 10 troopers from the US Army’s 197th Infantry Brigade participate.

December:
Aberdeen’s Materiel Testing Directorate (MTD) begins a technical feasibility test on 10 M16A1E1 and ammunition. The latter includes FN-produced SS109, Lake City-loaded XM855E1(FN) using FN-produced projectiles, and M193. The rifle testing involves inspections, parts interchange, endurance trials, high and low temperatures, sand and dust, mud, lack of lubrication, accuracy/dispersion measurements, cartridge cook-offs, rough handling, position disclosure evaluation, and sustained fire. The test cartridges are subjected to salt fog, high and low temperatures, mud, and cook-off tests. Safety, human factors, logistic supportability, and reliability evaluations will then be conducted using the data collected.

The British ITDU ends User Trials of the XL70E3 IW.

SIG‘s Alois Bernet and Eduard Brodbeck file an US patent application for the sealed bolt handle slot used by the SG541.

1982


Under Secretary of the US Army James R. Ambrose endorses a potential 10-12 year rifle development program, which leads to a new Future Rifle Program and the eventual Advanced Combat Rifle (ACR) program.

At Picatinny, Vince De Siena and MAJ Dave Lutz (USMC) machine off the carrying handle of a M16A1 upper receiver, affix a commercial Weaver scope rail, and then mount a Kahles 1.5x optic. Tasked with the supervision of the M16A1(PIP) program, MAJ Lutz lobbies for the addition of an optic-capable flat-top receiver into the list of improvements incorporated in the M16A1(PIP). (Lutz also believes that this prototype may have been the genesis of the later Canadian flat-top project, due to his sharing an office with the Canadian Army Liaison Officer to JSSAPMAJ Rick Wilson.)

The DOD expresses initial interest in a M16A1(PIP)-based carbine.

The Army orders 18,850 M231 FPW with an option for an additional 550.

The US provides 1,060 M16A1 to the Dominican Republic as part of a military assistance package.

The US makes a FMS of 20,743 M16A1 to El Salvador. Deliveries stretch through 1984.

The South African Defence Forces (SADF) field the R4 rifle.

Singapore fields the Ultimax 100 LMG.

Gabon acquires 800 FAMAS.

The Indonesian Air Force orders 10,000 FN FNC.

The Omani Royal Guard acquires Steyr AUG.

Somalia purchase 20,000 SAR80. Deliveries continue through 1983.

The East German company Spezialwerkzug und Hydraulic GmbH Wiesa (SW&H) acquires a license to produce an AK-74 variant, the MPiKMS-74.

January:
The US Army awards a pair of $473,000 contracts to Colt related to the M16. One of these is later deallocated in full. The Army also awards a $57,000 contract to Colt for FMS.

The Joint Service Operational Requirement Document is published for the M249.

Daewoo takes over ownership of Pusan Arsenal.

The US Army awards a $129,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M203.

February:
The USMC Analysis Support Branch issues “Analysis of the Modified Operational Test for the M16A1E1 Rifle.”

The US Army awards $25,000 and deallocates $51,000 in contract modifications to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The FN M249 Squad Automatic Weapon is officially adopted and standardized. Original goals are for the US Army to procure 49,979 and the USMC to purchase 9,974.

The British ITDU investigate the ability of left-handed users to adapt to right-hand only models of the IW and LSW.

The US Army awards a $2,424,000 contract to Adventure Line Mfg. Co. Inc.

March:
The US Army awards a pair of $872,000 contract modifications to Colt related to the M16. One of these is later deallocated in full.

The British ITDU publishes the results of the IW User Trials. The MRBS is a disappointing 182.

Spring:
FMAP-DM begin construction of a pilot lot of fifty 5.56mm rifles.

April:
The USMC‘s Firepower Division releases “Final Report: Test Results, Analysis, and Recommendations of Testing Conducted on the M16A1E1 Service Rifle.” Not surprisingly, the Marines are very pleased since the rifles were effectively made to order.

The US Army awards a $26,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16. The Army also awards a $1,600,000 delivery order to Colt for FMS.

ARRADCOM‘s Fire Control and Small Caliber Weapon Systems Laboratory (Picatinny) publishes the first volume of a two volume report “Investigations Concerning the Reloading of 5.56-MM Ball Ammunition.”

May:
The DOD awards a contract to FN to provide the data necessary to complete a TDP for the M249. This does not include data regarding manufacturing techniques.

June:
Naval Weapons Support Center-Crane issues a solicitation for 1,350 M16A1 sound suppressors. Knight’s Armament Company (KAC), INTERRAND, and Qual-A-Tec submit models. KAC ultimately wins.

July:
The US Army awards a $12,000 contract to Colt related to the M16. The Army also awards a $70,000 contract modification related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

Aberdeen’s HEL issues the report “Some Human Factors Considerations in the Design of a Combat Rifle.” The report presents views on some of the human factors considerations in the design of a modern combat rifle. It draws upon previous HEL testing over the past 25 years. A figure is included showing a hypothetical combat rifle configuration embodying desirable human factors characteristics.

HK‘s Paul Thevis, Helmut Danner, and Erich Weisser file an US patent application for the three-round burst mechanism of HK‘s roller-locked firearms.

August:
The US Army awards a $13,195,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16. The Army also awards a $1,260,000 contract modification to Colt for FMS.

Aberdeen releases the report “Development Test II of XM249E1 Squad Automatic Weapon.”

The US Army awards a $77,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M203.

September:
The M16A1E1 is officially type-classified under the designation M16A2.

The US Army awards a $15,487,000 delivery order and a $70,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16. The Army also awards a $1,170,000 contract modification to Colt for FMS.

The US Army awards a $19,380,000 contract to FN related to the M249.

Picatinny publishes the final volume of the report “Investigations Concerning the Reloading of 5.56-MM Ball Ammunition.”

Colt informs the US State Department that the South Korean Ministry of National Defense has stopped paying royalty fees. The Ministry states that payments had ceased because certain M16 patents held by Colt had expired.

Picatinny’s Fire Control and Small Caliber Weapon Systems Lab awards 25-month contracts to HK ($3.8 million) and AAI ($3.3 million) for development of an Advanced Combat Rifle (ACR). HK‘s entry is their 4.73mm caseless G11 rifle, while AAI pursues their own caseless rifle system, which bears more than a spitting image to the XM70. AAI’s 5.56mm cartridges, developed in conjunction with Hercules Powder Company, offers a 70gr “heavy-bullet” load along with a sabot load using the old .17 caliber micro-bullet. (This is not the same system that AAI submits for the late-1980s ACR trials.)

The British ITDU begins User Trials of the XL73E2 LSW.

L. James Sullivan and Robert L. Waterfield, on behalf of CIS, file another US patent application for the drum magazine of the Ultimax 100.

HK‘s Dieter Ketterer, Horst Jakubaschk, and Emil Rommel receive US Patent #4,348,941 titled “Shoulder Arm with Swivel Breech Member.”

The US Army awards a $2,103,000 contract modification to Adventure Line Mfg. Co. Inc.

The US Army awards a $842,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M203.

October:
The US Army awards a $62,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The military specification for the M231 FPW, MIL-S-63348A(AR), is amended for the second time.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, files an US patent application for the lockwork mechanism of the Ultimax 100.

November:
Aberdeen completes the M16A1E1 technical feasibility test.

FN grants a license for the Minimi TDP to the DOD.

The US Navy withdraws the designation EX 27 Mod 0.

The British Secretary of State for Defence announces the Government’s intent to solicit bids for the privatization of the Royal Ordnance Factories.

Pier C. Beretta receives US Patent #4,359,834 titled “Multipositioned Two-Legged Support for Portable Automatic Weapons.”

December:
The US Army awards a $713,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

The Mellonics Systems Development Division based at Fort Benning publishes a rebuttal to the USMC‘s adoption of the M16A2. Fault is found with nearly every change made, even the decision to modify the rate of twist for the use of XM855 and XM856 ammunition. Another bit of nit-picking decries the lack compatibility of the 1-in-7″ twist for use with the M261 .22LR conversion unit.

Phase A of British Ordnance Board Trials ends for the IW/LSW. Several bolt carriers have cracked and fractured during testing, with as low as 287 rounds fired. During cold chamber testing, one IW barrel splits lengthwise from the chamber to the gas port. Reliability is also quite disappointing. The IW turns in a MRBS of 175, the open bolt LSW tallies 339 MRBS, and the closed bolt LSW turns in a more respectable 1,356 MRBS. The Ordnance Board plays fast and loose with the figures, counting only the most severe stoppages/failures (those unable to be cleared or fixed by the user) for only the endurance phase of testing. By doing so, they exactly achieve the 2,500 MRBF for the IW required by GSR 3518. However, no amount of refiguring can push the LSW anywhere close to its 8,000 MRBF requirement with the open bolt LSW posting 2,713 MRBF and the closed bolt LSW tallying 4,746 MRBF.

The ITDU ends User Trials of the XL73E2 LSW.

The US Navy awards a $353,000 contract to KAC related to the M16.

The US Army awards a $181,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M203. This is for FMS.

1983


Colt, on behalf of JSSAP‘s Future Rifle Program, begins work on a flat-top M16A2. (This is not the first time that Colt has built flat-top M16-type rifles. In the 1970s, Colt produced a pair of prototype sniper rifles: the M16A1 Special High Profile (RO655) and the M16A1 Special Low Profile (RO656). The “High Profile” mounted its optics to the carrying handle while the “Low Profile” was of a flat-top configuration. Colt engineer Henry Tatro was involved in both the early and current projects.)

Under Secretary of the US Army Ambrose encourages TRADOC to update current doctrine based upon the plans for a caseless ACR.

Production and deliveries of the M231 FPW are complete.

The US makes a FMS of 21,000 M16A1 to Lebanon.

The US makes a FMS of 118 M16A1 and 18 M203 to Honduras.

Gabon purchases a mix of ~2,000 M16A1 and Model 653 carbines.

Elisco Tool Company purchases ArmaLite. Production of the AR-18 rifle by Sterling ends.

The SEALs remove the last of their Stoner LMGs from active duty.

RSAF Enfield is tasked with comparing the XL70 and XL73 to the requirements set down by GSR 3518. The IW is found to be longer than specified, both the IW and LSW weigh more than the stated requirement, the LSW has yet to meet its 8,000 MRBF target, and the LSW in automatic mode is inadequate for suppressive fire. On the positive side, the IW with SUSAT is found to be more accurate than the L1A1 SLR and L2A3 SMG. (However, the deck was stacked, as the SLR was reportedly not fitted with the SUIT during testing.)

IMBEL‘s Fabrica de Itajuba develops a prototype 5.56mm rifle using a number of FAL parts.

The Omani armed forces receive Steyr AUG.

Senegal purchases ~250 FAMAS.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) receives delivery of FAMAS.

The Czech military assigns creation of an AK-74 variant to the Prototypa design bureau.

The US provides 224 M203 to El Salvador as part of a military assistance package.

Early:
Colt terminates the South Korean license agreement for default. The South Koreans, in turn, rescind the license agreement, but request that the MOU remain in effect.

January:
SIG‘s Bruno Schwaller files an US patent application for the co-joinable magazine design eventually used in the SG550.

The US Army deallocates $285,000 in a contract modification to Adventure Line Mfg. Co. Inc.

February:
Aberdeen releases the report “Technical Feasibility Test of M16A1E1 Rifle.” Out of the 27 criteria used in evaluation, the M16A1E1 met 19, partially met 5, and failed 3. Some of the problems are blamed on the extremely poor quality of the Lake City XM855E1(FN) cartridges. The major criticism of the rifle centers on the ejection pattern, which results in firers to the right of the rifle being struck by hot cartridge cases. This characteristic was carried over from the M16A1, and there had been training incidents in the past where the adjacent shooter would lose muzzle awareness upon being struck by hot brass and negligently discharge his weapon. In some instances, this had resulted in neighboring shooters being shot, and in certain cases, killed. As a result, this characteristic is classified as a “Catastrophic/Occasional” deficiency. Also noted are marginal firing pin energy and buffer failure in cold temperatures. These are classified as shortcomings.

The US Army awards a $12,682,000 contract modification to FN related to the M249.

The Canadian government grants $1.7 million to Diemaco for the Small Arms Replacement Program (SARP). This paves the way for the eventual replacement of Canada’s 7.62mm NATO rifles and LMG with 5.56mm NATO counterparts.

The British ITDU evaluates Tascorama and Ring Sight optics as possible SA80 secondary sights.

The Swiss Federal Council selects the SIG SG541 over the W+F SG C42 to become the Swiss Army’s next service rifle.

March:
The US Army awards a $3,360,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

BRL representative attends a meeting with personnel of the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) Project Office. The subject of the meeting is the unacceptably high lot rejection rates of early production M855 Ball and M856 Tracer manufactured at Lake City. The rejected lots fail to meet the accuracy specification, and Lake City has indicated to the SAW Project Office that they believe the government-furnished test barrels might be contributing to the problem. The result of the meeting is a joint recommendation, by the BRL and the SAW Project Office, to conduct a three-part test at the BRL free-flight range facility.

Picatinny awards a $1,140,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

The US Army awards a $1,211,000 contract modification to Cooper Industries Inc.

April:
The US Army awards $84,000 and $29,000 contract modifications to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

Phase B of British Ordnance Board Trials begins for the XL70E3 IW and the XL73E2 LSW. The LSW is now configured for closed-bolt firing only. The weapons have been fitted with 1-in-7″ twist barrels and the test ammunition is NATO spec.

May:
With test materiel and funding provided by the SAW Project Office, the BRL begins the first phase of testing of the Lake City M855 and M856. An accuracy check is performed using the Kart-manufactured barrels supplied to Lake City. Testing includes rejected lots of M855/M856, control lots of the Belgian SS109/L110, and handloaded ammunition using 52 grain Sierra Benchrest bullets, in both Lake City cartridge cases and commercial match grade cases.

L. James Sullivan and Robert L. Waterfield, on behalf of CIS, receive US Patent #4,445,418 titled “Drum Magazine for a Gun.”

June:
Rock Island Arsenal employee, Loren Brunton files a patent application for the design of a M16 upper receiver incorporating an improved case deflector.

July:
The establishment of the US Army Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCOM) recombines ARRCOM and ARRADCOMAMCCOM is headquartered at Rock Island. The Picatinny R&D facilities are renamed the Army Armament Research and Development Center (ARDC).

USAIS publishes “Individual and Collective Training Plan (ICTP) for the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).”

Colt learns that Springfield Armory, Inc. is attempting to sell M16-type rifles to El Salvador.

Picatinny awards a $243,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

LEW completes construction of 100,000th R4 rifle.

The US Army awards a $437,000 contract modification to Adventure Line Mfg. Co. Inc. for FMS.

The British ITDU publishes a report on Radway Green-manufactured magazines for the SA80.

Orlite Engineering’s Azriel Kadim receives US Patent #4,391,055 titled “Ammunition Magazine.”

August:
The US Army awards a $358,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

The military specification for the M231 FPW, MIL-S-63348A(AR), is amended for the third time.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, files another US patent application for the lockwork mechanism of the Ultimax 100.

September:
The US Army awards a $4,849,000 delivery order and deallocates $1,410,000 in a contract modification to Colt related to the M16. The Army also deallocates $653,000 from a delivery order to Colt for FMS.

The BRL begins the second phase of testing of the Lake City M855 and M856. The tests consist of aeroballistic range firings to determine the aerodynamic and flight characteristics of the Lake City and FN ammunition, using downloaded propellant charges to simulate ranges out to 800 meters.

Colt files suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois against Springfield and its sister company Rock Island Armory, Inc. for patent infringement and infringement of federally registered and common law trademarks, false advertising and designation of origin, unfair competition, misappropriation, dilution of distinctive trademarks, and tortious interference with contracts. Colt alleges unauthorized use of Colt’s production trade secrets. Springfield responds claiming that it copied the weapon by reverse engineering.

A South Korean M16 sales agreement is concluded between Daewoo and a US company (Springfield?) to supply 12,500 spare parts for about $127,000. Delivery of the parts is stopped by a court injunction brought by Colt Industries against the US company.

ARRADCOM awards a $679,000 contract modification to HK for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

Fall:
The SIG SG541 is type-classified by the Swiss Army under the designation Stgw. 90. SIG receives a credit worth 85 million Swiss Francs for a pilot production run of 15,000 Stgw. 90 rifles. This is in hopes of a 1986 delivery date.

The British ITDU publishes the report “The Final Evaluation of Small Arms for the 80s to meet GSR 3518.” Of interest is the statement:

“DURING ALL ACTIVITIES THE IW PROVED ITSELF TO BE A ROBUST, RELIABLE WEAPON THAT SUFFERED FROM FEW STOPPAGES… THE MODIFICATIONS THAT HAD BEEN INCORPORATED WERE, IN THE MAIN, VERY SUCCESSFUL AND THE MAJORITY OF THE PROBLEMS PREVIOUSLY NOTED HAVE NOW BEEN OVERCOME. THERE ARE STILL A FEW POINTS THAT REQUIRE ATTENTION BUT THESE ARE ALL MINOR….”

October:
Finding that Springfield Armory had copied Colt’s production secrets, the District Court grants a preliminary injunction. Springfield appeals the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Abandoning its reverse engineering claim, Springfield Armory now claims that the weapon cannot be reverse engineered. From this claim, Springfield argues that its inability to mass produce the M16 establishes the failure of Colt’s patents on rifle parts to comply with 35 U.S.C. Sec. 112 p 1.

Colt’s Seth Bredbury and Harold Waterman, Jr. file a patent application for the new M16A2-type forearms. Waterman also files a separate patent for the M16A2’s improved buttstock.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, files an US patent application for the “Constant Recoil” design of the Ultimax 100.

November:
The M16A2 is type-classified as “Standard A”. The USMC places an initial order for 26,028 rifles.

AMCCOM awards a $40,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The Canadian SARP plan receives final approval.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, receives US Patent #4,416,186 titled “Sear Buffer.”

AMCCOM awards a $694,000 contract to Sanchez Enterprises Inc.

December:
AMCCOM awards $29,000 and $26,000 contract modifications to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

AMCCOM awards $39,000 and $33,000 contracts to Cooper Industries Inc.

1984


General Richard H. Thompson renames DARCOM the US Army Materiel Command (AMC).

Australia receives SCAMP machinery.

Fiji purchases ~750 M16A2 from Colt.

The US makes a FMS of 40 M16A1 to Egypt for evaluation.

The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control denies an export license to Guatemala for 3,350 laser sights for the M16 worth $ 7,705,000.

Spain places an order for 14,000 CETME Model L rifles.

GIAT introduces the FAMAS Commando.

Beretta introduces the AR70/84 LMG, a product improved variant of the AR70/74.

Daewoo introduces the K2 rifle, K1A carbine, and K3 machinegun.

RSAF builds a pilot model SA80 carbine. A Phase III prototype is sacrificed for the purpose. The resulting weapon is as short as a L2A3 SMG with its stock folded. In fact, the weapon is so short that there is no provision for a foregrip.

The British approve Radway Green’s SS109 equivalent as the Cartridge, Ball, L2A1. The L1A1 Tracer and L5A1 Drill Cartridges are also approved.

Sweden places an order for 80,000 FN FNC (Ak5). Initial deliveries come directly from FN, until domestic production of the rifle can begin at FFV Ordnance (later absorbed as part of Bofors).

FMAP-DM begins limited production of their 5.56mm rifle, now dubbed the FARA-83.

Cameroon’s military purchases the Steyr AUG.

Djibouti acquires 400 FAMAS.

Early:
Under Secretary of the US Army Ambrose increases the funding available for the ACR program and other small arms projects.

January:
The first 1,500 M16A2 rifles are delivered to the USMC Marksmanship Training Unit at Quantico for use in matches. Grumbling arises from Marine competitive shooters about the negative effects of the 3 round burst mechanism upon the consistency of trigger pull weight in semi-auto use.

AMCCOM deallocates $1,443,000 from a delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

The M249 SAW‘s military specification, MIL-M70446(AR), is issued.

Lake City AAP files “Study Plan for Monthly Production of 5.56mm Rounds to Determine Staffing.” Later, Lake City issues its findings in the study “Total of All 5.56mm Rounds & Plant Staffing (1980 Through 1983).”

The military specification for M197 Tracer, MIL-C-60111C, is amended.

The military specification for M862 Plastic Practice Ball, DOD-C-70463(AR), is published.

Pre-Acceptance and Provisional Acceptance Meetings are held to determine whether the SA80 IW/LSW are ready for service introduction. British manufactured 5.56mm NATO Ball and Tracer ammunition is given full approval. Limited approval is given to the IWSUSAT, Colt-manufactured magazines, the armorer’s tool kit, and the bayonet with its multi-purpose scabbard. However, acceptance is deferred for the LSW due to its lack of burst fire accuracy. Comparative trials with foreign LSW alternatives are approved.

After five years of trials pitting the FN FNC versus the M16A1, the Canadian government decides for the latter.

LEW introduces the R5 carbine.

February:
AMCCOM awards a $46,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

Colt files suit against Daewoo and the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.

Diemaco is awarded over $107 million (Canadian) for 79,935 rifles, 1,565 carbines, 470,570 Thermold magazines, and 6,500 FN Minimi. The C7 rifle is to become a variant of the Colt M16A2, albeit retaining the full-auto mode, rear sight, and shorter buttstock pattern of the M16A1. (Diemaco claims to have eventually made 150 changes to the TDP.) The C8 carbine is closer to the profile of the old Model 653 carbine, updated to the 1-in-7″ twist and other “M16A2” improvements (except for the M16A1-style rear sight). The C8 is to retain 86 percent parts commonality with the C7. Colt designates these Canadian variants, the Model 715 and 725 respectively. The FN Minimi becomes the C9. These are intended to be built to Canadian specs using a number of Diemaco-made parts.

Colt’s Henry Tatro receives US Patent #4,433,610 titled “Open Bolt Firing Mechanism for Automatic Firearm.”

AMCCOM awards a $287,000 contract modification to Parsons Precision Products.

March:
AMCCOM awards a $493,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16 and M203.

US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirms the lower court’s decision granting the injunction against Springfield Armory and Rock Island Armory.

The BRL begins the third phase of testing of the Lake City M855 and M856. The testing is a real-range determination of striking velocity and limit-cycle yaw for the four ammunition types, using the limit-cycle test equipment in the BRL Transonic Range.

The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989(AR), is published.

The military specification for 5.56mm Heavy Bullet Reference cartridges, MIL-C-70460(AR), is published.

The military specification for the M857 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-C-70468(AR), is published.

ARRADCOM awards a $250,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

ARRADCOM awards a $712,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

April:
The flat-top M16A2 rifle project is relabeled the M16A2 Enhanced Rifle, or M16A2E1.

ARRADCOM awards a $81,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $100,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16 and M203 for FMS.

AMCCOM also awards a $92,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M203.

Indonesia finally negotiates for a production license for the FN FNC.

Phase B of British Ordnance Board Trials ends for the IW/LSW. The performance is even worse than the Phase A results. The IW turns in 106 MRBS and the LSW dramatically falls to 116 MRBS. However, the creative accounting continues. With only the most severe stoppages/failures counted during the endurance phase alone, the IW posts a 4,035 MRBF. Under the same method, the LSW falls to 1,984 MRBF. The “split-burst” phenomenon also rears its head for the LSW. While the first round in a burst will hit near the point of aim, the remainder of the burst will group elsewhere. A separate meeting is held to review the LSW accuracy issue.

SIG‘s Alois Bernet and Eduard Brodbeck receive US Patent #4,443,962 titled “Bolt Slot Guard for a Hand Weapon.”

May:
AMCCOM deallocates $28,000 from a delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

The US Embassy in Fiji propose liquidating $35,000 from a Fijian Army holding account for the purchase of additional M16, if they could be transferred to a funding package for the Sinai Multilateral Force and Observers (MFO). If not, the funds could be used to purchase badly needed M16 repair kits. The rifles are needed for training personnel who be assigned to the Sinai MFO.

ARRADCOM awards $147,000 and $33,000 contract modifications to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

L. James Sullivan and Robert L. Waterfield, on behalf of CIS, receive US Patent #4,445,418 titled “Drum Magazine for a Gun.”

June:
The USMC and Colt sign a follow-on contract for 50,364 M16A2 rifles.

The US Army issues a RFP for the production of 28,750 M249.

Lake City AAP issues the study “5.56mm Staffing Levels.”

The British ITDU begins LSW Comparative Weapon Trials. The LSW is pitted against the FN Minimi, HK 13, and Steyr AUG-HBAR. The L4A4 LMG and L7A2 GPMG are used as controls. The LSWs used have been modified with a pistol grip near the butt, and a swing-up shoulder support.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, files US patent applications for the bolt carrier design and the lockwork mechanism of the Ultimax 100.

AMCCOM awards $2,046,000 and $2,083,000 contracts to Parsons Precision Products.

July:
AMCCOM awards $65,000 and $593,000, and deallocates $1,398,000 in delivery orders to Colt related to the M16.

The British ITDU ends LSW Comparative Weapon Trials. The LSW fails the semi-auto accuracy standard, still produces split groups, yet manages to pass the revised standard for full-auto group size. Reliability is still deemed to be poor, and the new shoulder support is considered useless as it is mounted too high to actually contact the shoulder. The foreign competitors are all considered to be more robust and reliable; however, each possesses their own deficiencies. The FN Minimi produces excessive sized burst groups, the HK 13 produces split groups in full-auto fire, and the Steyr AUG-HBAR fails to meet the semi-auto accuracy standard. While the Steyr is the favorite of the trials staff, its use of a non-standard magazine makes it unacceptable as a LSW replacement.

As a result of the trials, a new version of the LSW is created, the XL73E3. The main difference is the introduction of a full-length receiver extension, which places the bipod under the muzzle.

HK‘s Horst Jakubaschk and Erich Weisser file an US patent application for the G11’s magazine.

August:
AMCCOM awards a $25,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

September:
Colt is awarded a third contract for 63,188 M16A2 rifles.

AMCCOM awards $31,341,000 and deallocates $29,000 in delivery orders to Colt related to the M16.

Colt holds a meeting to begin development of a M16A2-based carbine, what will later become the XM4. The USAIB begins testing of the prototypes as they are made available.

Springfield Armory and Colt settle the patent suit. Under the settlement, Springfield/Rock Island is permanently enjoined from selling M16 rifles to El Salvador. Moreover, Springfield/Rock Island cannot use Colt’s proprietary drawings and information in the manufacture or sale of M16 rifles, unless Colt is later determined to have lost its trade secret rights.

The British finally give provisional acceptance to the Enfield LSW.

October:
The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989(AR), is revised to MIL-C-63989A(AR).

The military specification for M856 Tracer, MIL-C-63990(AR), is revised to MIL-C-63990A(AR).

The military specification for 5.56mm Heavy Bullet Reference cartridges, MIL-C-70460(AR), is revised to MIL-C-70460A(AR).

The military specification for the M200 Blank, MIL-C-60616A(AR), is revised to MIL-C-60616B(AR).

The military specification for the M857 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-C-70468(AR), is revised to MIL-C-70468A(AR).

After improvements, SIG redesignates the SG541 as the SG550.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, receives US Patent #4,475,437 titled “Sear Actuator,” and US Patent #4,475,438 titled “Gas Operated, Automatic or Semi-Automatic Guns.”

Honduras purchases Ultimax 100.

November:
Picatinny awards a $68,000 contract to Colt related to the M16 for RDT&E.

A senior US Administration official indicates that the US will provide FY 1985 military aid to Fiji to allow them to standardize on the M16 for the country’s three army battalions. Ultimately, $300,000 in aid is provided under the FY 1985 MAP.

The British ITDU begins hot weather trials of the SA80 family.

Pier G. Beretta files an US patent application for the ambidextrous magazine catch of the AR70/90 family.

SIG‘s Bruno Schwaller receives US Patent #4,484,403 titled “Weapon Magazine.”

December:
AMCCOM awards a $80,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The British ITDU ends hot weather trials of the SA80 family.

HK‘s Rudolf Brandl and Heinz Matt file an US patent application for the linkless ammunition feed system for the HK 73.

1985


The US Army orders 50 M16A2E1 rifles for use in testing experimental sighting devices. Oddly, the Army has yet to order any standard M16A2 rifles for issue. Later in the year, the Army terminates its work with optical sights for the M16A2.

The USAIB conducts Operational Test II with the prototype XM4 carbine.

Colt develops a new plastic collapsible stock to replace the original aluminum model.

The US State Department’s Office of Munitions Control returns without action an export license application to send 10,000 M16 rifles and carbines worth $6,000,000 to Guatemala. It also returns without action an export license application to send to Guatemala 3,350 laser sights for the M16 worth $7,750,000.

The UAE orders 30,000 M16A2 with full-auto controls instead of three round burst.

Beretta submits its improved AR70/90 rifle for Italian 5.56mm rifle trials. Other competitors include the HK G41 (submitted by Franchi) and the IMI Galil (submitted by Bernadelli).

HK introduces the GR3, roughly a HK 33 with a 1.5x optic integrally formed with the receiver stamping.

Australia adopts the Steyr AUG, and opts for domestic production of the rifle.

Britain’s Royal Ordnance Factories are privatized, albeit the MOD controls 100 percent of the shares.

The XL85E1 IW and XL86E1 LSW appear on the scene. The differences in the new build standard fall mainly in tolerances between the receiver and bolt carrier, and the fabrication of the magazine well housing. In addition, the twin ejectors have been replaced by a single unit.

The British L1A1 Blank enters service.

SW&H begins production of the MPiKMS-74.

January:
The ACR Operational and Organizational Plan (O&O) is approved.

Picatinny awards a $148,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards a $1,147,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

Aberdeen’s HEL publishes “An Evaluation of the Hitting Performance of the M16A1 Rifle with and without a Sight Rib.” A field evaluation was conducted of a sight rib designed by the report’s author to improve the pointing qualities of the M16A1 and M16A2 rifles. The sight rib is an integral part of a new upper handguard and bridges the space between the front sight assembly and the carrying handle. It is parallel to the rifle bore and creates a strong visual cue as to where the barrel is pointing. Past firing tests have indicated that such a cue would improve a shooter’s ability to hit targets quickly when there is insufficient time to aim properly. Twenty seven combat arms riflemen participated in the evaluation. They fired at pop-up E silhouettes emplaced in a fan at both 30 and 75 meters. The targets were presented for 2 and 3.5 seconds. Both range and exposure time were varied randomly. The test participants fired with both standard and sight rib equipped M16A1 rifles using both aimed fire and pointed fire techniques. Time to fire and hit or miss data were gathered for each target presentation so that the data could be graphed to show the cumulative percentage of targets hit as a function of time. The results indicate that the sight rib on the M16A1 rifle significantly improves the soldier’s ability to hit a target when the target is exposed briefly or the shooter fires quickly.

Lake City AAP issues the study “5.56 Unit Cost & Standard Hours/1000 Rounds.”

The British ITDU begins trials to determine the compatibility of the S10 Respirator with use of the SA80 family.

February:
AMCCOM awards $367,000 and $266,000 delivery orders to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

The Mellonics Systems Development Division based at Fort Benning publishes “Training Program Development for the M249 Bipod-Mounted Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).” Research was conducted to develop a program of instruction that includes both familiarization and qualification courses of fire for the M249 SAW. Major findings were: 1) successful engagement of targets at ranges greater than 400 meters is limited by system design deficiencies; 2) the most effective beaten zone is created by firing rapid two to three round bursts with short intervals between bursts for reacquiring and relaying on the target; 3) the M856 tracer round is impossible to observe from behind the sights; 4) the most effective position for firing the SAW is the M60 position published in FM 23-67 (1964); 5) the SAW should be zeroed using single shot fire at a range of 10 meters with 500 meter range setting on the sight; 6) SAW transition range; and 7) both M855 and M193 ammunition are suitable for SAW training; however, ballistic variances preclude mixing of training ammunition and limit use of M193 ammunition to ranges of 300 meters and less.

The Mellonics Systems Development Division also publishes “Training Effectiveness Analysis: M60 Machinegun and Squad Automatic Weapon.”

Picatinny awards a $1,312,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

March:
AMCCOM awards $603,000 and $2,197,000 contracts, and a $32,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

Colt informs the US Army that it is adding the M16A2-based carbine to the 1967 TDP and Licensing Agreement.

AMCCOM awards $233,000, $2,016,000, and $881,000 delivery orders to FN related to the M249.

The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989A(AR), is amended.

Picatinny awards a $150,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $238,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

The British ITDU ends trials to determine the compatibility of the S10 Respirator with use of the SA80 family.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, receives US Patent #4,502,367 titled “Firearms Bolt Carrier Assembly,” and US Patent #4,505,182 titled “Firearm Trigger Mechanism.”

Spring:
Jordan purchases 7,000 M16A2 from Colt.

April:
The AMC creates a soldier individual weapons group.

AMCCOM awards a $1,147,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

Colt delivers M16A2E1 rifles to the US Army for testing. Rifles sent to the USAIB are evaluated in Operational Test II.

AMCCOM awards a $3,000,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

Olin’s Randall G. Habbe files a patent application for the Olin “Penetrator,” the trade name for the M855 projectile produced at their facilities. During testing, it has shown enhanced performance over the FN manufactured SS109.

Harold Waterman, Jr. receives US Patent #4,512,101 titled “Rifle Buttstock Assembly.”

Picatinny awards a $33,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

Diemaco delivers the first pre-production C7 rifles.

Phase C of British Ordnance Board Trials begins for the XL85E1 IW and the XL86E1 LSW.

The British ITDU begins LSW reliability trials.

May:
Picatinny awards a $397,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

The British ITDU ends LSW reliability trials.

The ITDU also evaluates a bracket to fit the IWS Night Sight to the LSW.

June:
Picatinny awards a $214,000 contract to Colt for 40 XM4 carbines for military testing.

AMCCOM awards a $196,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

The GAO denies and dismisses Ross Bicycles’ protest of the Army’s RFP for M249 production. Ross alleges that the RFP shows favoritism toward FNMI by not providing manufacturing data for the M249 to other bidders.

RSAF Enfield receives the first production contract for the SA80 family. A total of 175,000 IW and LSW are ordered.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of CIS, receives US Patent #4,522,106 titled “Gun Hammer Mechanism.”

HK‘s Paul Thevis, Helmut Danner, and Erich Weisser receive US Patent #4,523,509 titled “Shoulder Arm.”

July:
The GAO denies Ross Bicycles’ appeal of the GAO‘s previous protest decision.

The British ITDU evaluates contenders for the CWS Night Sight, a replacement for the older IWS. (The adopted L14A2 CWS is known commercially as the Pilkington Kite Weapon Sight.)

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of Beta Co., files a patent application for a 100-round saddle drum magazine (better known as the C-Mag).

August:
Colt is awarded another contract for 116,722 M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $53,109,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $29,000 contract to FN related to the M249.

Aberdeen awards a $114,000 contract to Colt related to the M249.

Under Secretary of the US Army Ambrose suspends M249 production pending the development of the PIP kit. Congress deletes funds for the M249 from the FY 1986 defense budget. Adding insult to injury, Congress retroactively sets aside FY 1985 funds for the M249 program for other purposes, including retirement and pay raises. Although found to be reliable and accurate, the XM249E1 is considered to present unacceptable hazards in the form of an exposed hot barrel, sharp edges, and a front sight that requires special adjustment tools. Over 1,100 XM249E1 already issued are to remain in use, but be retrofitted. The remaining 7,000+ XM249E1 are to stay in depots until corrective changes can be made. (Some XM249E1 already in the field do not receive their PIP updates until after the 1991 Gulf War.)

Colt’s Seth Bredbury and Harold Waterman, Jr. receive US Patent #4,536,982 titled “Cylindrical Rifle Handguard Assembly.”

The military specification for 5.56mm Reference cartridges, MIL-C-46397B(AR), is revised to MIL-C-46397C(AR).

Picatinny awards a $100,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $106,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

Diemaco’s pre-production C7 rifles pass acceptance testing. The rifle parts are still a mix of Colt and Diemaco production, with the eventual goal of complete parts production by Diemaco.

Firing trials begin in support of Phase C of British Ordnance Board Trials.

September:
AMCCOM awards a $46,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

The military specification for the M16A2 rifle, MIL-R-63997(AR), is revised to MIL-R-63997A(AR).

Picatinny awards a $27,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $197,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

Firing trials are suspended for Phase C of British Ordnance Board Trials. Safety issues have arisen with the safety catch (plunger), firing pin, and hammer.

The British ITDU evaluates the Saco Defense .22 LR adaptor for the SA80. In addition, they test a modified wire-cutting bayonet.

October:
AMCCOM awards a $1,566,000 contract, and $523,000, $1,495,000, and $921,000 delivery orders to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “Aerodynamic and Flight Dynamic Characteristics of the New Family of 5.56mm NATO Ammunition.” US manufactured M855 and M856 cartridges were tested head-to-head against its Belgian made counterparts SS109 and L110. Tolerances in bullet jacket wall thickness and bullet seating alignment are identified as contributing to the dispersion problem in the US made ammunition.

Lake City AAP issues the study “Standard Hour Cost for 1 OCT 1985 Contract (5.56mm).”

The British Army issues their first L85A1 IW and L86A1 LSW.

AMCCOM awards a $3,975,000 contract to Parsons Precision Products.

AMCCOM awards a $5,042,000 contract to Sanchez Enterprises Inc.

December:
Colt’s Henry Tatro files a patent application for the new double heat shield forearms for the XM4.

The military specification for M197 High Pressure Test, MIL-C-46936B(AR), is amended for a second time.

Royal Ordnance’s Alexander Newman and Derek Skinner file an US patent application for the cosmetic design of the L85A1’s bayonet.

Pier G. Beretta files an US patent application for the open-bolt mechanism of the AS70/90 LMG.

1986


The HEL conducts soldier-machine interface design studies on the Enhanced M16A2.

Picatinny conducts new trials for alternative case material blanks. Candidates include the aluminum XM941 by Omark and plastic cased variants from Action Manufacturing and Winchester. After a year of testing, none are adopted.

The USAIS publishes the paper “Small Arms Strategy 2000” (SAS 2000). Despite the ACR program’s current push for caseless, duplex, and fléchette ammunition, SAS-2000 proposes that the infantry rifle has already reached its technological peak. The only way to increase the hit/kill probability of the infantryman will be to introduce individual weapons that fire explosive/fragmentation warheads. A family of three weapons is proposed: an advanced personal defense weapon (90 percent hit probability at 25 meters), an advanced individual combat weapon, and an advanced crew-served weapon. Admittedly, this is less of a stretch than the “Future Alternatives Assessment” which indicates a need to investigate the application of directed energy (DE) and electromagnetic (EM) technology for individual weapons.

The UK purchases 400 M16A1 for Belize troops.

North Yemen acquires six M16A2 for evaluation.

New Zealand adopts the Steyr AUG, intending to purchase Australian production rifles.

FAMAE of Chile begins licensed production of the SIG SG540 and SG543.

SIG introduces the SG551 carbine.

FFV begins licensed production of the FN FNC (Ak5).

ARES introduces the LMG-1 (AKA: the Stoner 86) as a potential sales competitor to the M249 SAW.

Production of the CETME Model L rifle and Model LC carbine begins.

Panama receives Type 65 rifles from Taiwan.

The USAIB conducts testing of the XM9 Multipurpose Bayonet System.

Winter:
British Royal Marines training in Norway experience a variety of problems with the L85A1 during troop trials. Besides functioning issues, at least one L85A1 discharges when dropped. The rifles are recalled to replace the trigger and trigger spring. The recall/upgrade spans roughly three months.

January:
Colt employees go on strike. The previous union contract had run out 10 months earlier. The strike ultimately lasts more than four years.

AMCCOM awards $188,000 and $863,000 contracts to Colt related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $753,000 delivery order to FN related to M249 RDT&EAMCCOM also deallocates $232,000 in a contract modification related to the M249.

February:
The ARDC files an industry-wide solicitation for ACR candidate submissions.

Colt delivers 40 XM4 carbines to Picatinny. The carbines are not yet equipped with the double heat shield handguards.

The Mellonics Systems Development Division based at Fort Benning publishes “Analysis of M16A2 Rifle Characteristics and Recommended Improvements.” It is in many ways a rehash of their December 1982 “Memorandum of Understanding.” The characteristics of the M16A2 rifle developed by the Marine Corps were analyzed to determine what impact the new rifle’s features would have on Army marksmanship training and on combat effectiveness. It was found that use of the M16A2 rifle by the US Army would be extremely problematic, due in part to the vast differences between the marksmanship training philosophies of the Army and the Marine Corps. Numerous recommendations are presented, which could result in simplified training and improved combat performance if adopted.

AMCCOM awards a $95,000 contract to FN Manufacturing, Inc. (FNMI) related to the M16. (FNMI is FN‘s facility located in Columbia, SC. It was created to support production of the 7.62mm M240 (MAG58) for use with the M1 Abrams tank.)

March:
The US Army announces their first major order for the M16A2, totaling 100,176 rifles.

AMCCOM awards a $47,859,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

Loren Brunton files another patent application for the design of the M16A2 upper receiver, which incorporates an improved case deflector.

AMCCOM awards a $2,314,000 delivery order to FN related to M249 RDT&E.

Picatinny’s ARDC is renamed the Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC).

Pier G. Beretta files an US patent application for the lockwork mechanism of the AR70/90.

AMCCOM awards $1,359,000 and $3,158,000 contracts to FNMI related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $9,240,000 contract to Okay Industries Inc.

The US Army issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) for M249 belt boxes. This includes 216,731 for combat use and 107,686 for training.

April:
AMCCOM awards a $997,000 contract to Colt related to the M16. AMCCOM also deallocates $55,000 from a delivery order related to the M16 and M203.

TECOM starts the XM4 Carbine program with a direct entry into Development Test / Operational Test II. The USMC Firepower Division, under the leadership of MAJ Jack Muth, later acquires seven XM4 from the Army. Marines from the Foreign Materiel Acquisition and Exploitation unit assist in testing. The testing is with the goal of issuing the XM4 to the USMC‘s Special Operations Capable (SOC) units then under development. The only compact shoulder weapons authorized for use by Force Recon to this point has been the M3A1 SMG (bolstered by very unofficial use of XM177E2). Originally, the Colt Commando was considered to be an acceptable replacement by the USMC Development Center, but certain parties demanded that any potential replacement accept the mounting of a bayonet. This is possible with the XM4.

Picatinny awards a $33,000 contract modification to Colt for the XM4.

Colt makes delivery of double heat shield handguards for the XM4 under evaluation.

AMCCOM fields a Request for Deviation on the M16A1.

AMCCOM awards a $2,400,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

The military specification for M856 Tracer, MIL-C-63990A(AR), is revised to MIL-C-63990B(AR).

Picatinny awards $900,000 and $1,000,000 contract modifications to HK for ACR RDT&E.

Pier G. Beretta files an US patent application for the detachable carry handle/rear sight for the AR70/90 family.

The BRL publishes “Candidate Muzzle Devices for the Improved M16.” Among the devices tested are the muzzle brakes of the AK-74 and AKS-74U.

May:
AMCCOM awards $183,000 and $125,000 contract modifications to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

AMCCOM awards a $6,520,000 delivery order to FN related to M249 RDT&EAMCCOM also awards a $727,000 contract modification related to M249 RDT&E.

Firing trials restart for Phase C of British Ordnance Board Trials.

HK‘s Horst Jakubaschk and Erich Weisser receive US Patent #4,587,756 titled “Magazine for a Small Arm.”

AMCCOM awards a $666,000 contract modification to Parsons Precision Products.

AMCCOM deallocates $611,000 in a contract modification to Sanchez Enterprises Inc. The contract has been terminated for default. The next day, AMCCOM awards a new $27,000 contract to Sanchez Enterprises.

June:
AMCCOM awards a $5,169,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16. AMCCOM also awards $704,000 and $276,000 delivery orders related to the M16 and M203. The second order is for FMS.

AMCCOM awards a $44,000 contract modification to FN related to M249 RDT&E.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser files an US patent application for a folding cocking handle for the Steyr AUG.

AMCCOM awards a $25,000 contract to Cooper Industries Inc.

Summer:
Diemaco’s Phil O’Dell and Ian Andersen visit Colt to examine a Henry Tatro-designed M16-LMG. Diemaco has been considering the possibility of producing the design in a joint effort. They eventually decide to do so.

Naval Weapons Support Center-Crane’s Weapons Department issues a safety statement for the Ultimax 100. This clears the way for operational testing by the SEALs.

July:
The AMSAA publishes “A Limited Evaluation of the Burst-Fire Performance of the M16A1 Rifle With AK-74 Muzzle Brake Compensator.”

An Interim Report of SA80 troop trials is published.

The British discontinue work with the Saco .22 LR adaptor for the SA80.

Ketron, Inc., under contract to the BRL, submits “Personnel Degradation: Wounding by Flechettes.”

August:
Loren Brunton receives US Patent #D285,236 titled “Rifle Receiver.”

Picatinny awards a $300,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

US Army receives proposals for the M249 belt box solicitation. Four days later, the contract officer for the RFP is notified that production of belted 5.56mm NATO ammo is in danger of being stopped at Lake City. Lake City lacks sufficient belt boxes to pack the ammunition. In response, the contract officer awards the belt box contract to Proll Molding Co. as it already has experience in producing the item.

FN begins work on what is to be become their P90 PDW. Initial development of the companion 5.7x28mm cartridge starts with the loading of the polymer core SS90 projectile in various commercial cartridges such as the .22 Hornet and the .30 Carbine. The latter is reportedly used unmodified with sabots and in a necked-down format.

September:
ACR Phase I contracts are awarded to AAI, ARES, Colt, HK, McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company (MDHC), and Steyr. Picatinny awards $798,000 to ARES, $452,000 to Steyr, $598,000 to AAI, and $828,000 to MDHC for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards $980,000 and $115,000 delivery orders to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

AMCCOM awards a $6,235,000 contract modification to FN related to the M249. Part of the order is for FMS.

Aberdeen awards a $208,000 contract to Colt related to the M249.

Naval Weapons Support Center-Crane publishes “Final Report for Joint Services Small Arms Program 6.2: M16A2 Rifle Signature Suppression Project.”

The US Army adopts the Dynamit Nobel (DAG) M862 Plastic Training Ammunition along with the required M2 Practice Bolt for the M16A2.

AMCCOM deallocates $50,000 in a contract modification to Parsons Precision Products.

Daylight Plastics, Inc. files a GAO protest over the US Army’s award to Proll Molding Co. for M249 belt boxes. Daylight Plastics has learned that Proll Molding’s quoted prices were significantly higher than its own. In response, the Army cancels Proll Molding’s contract. However, the Army then issues a sole source solicitation and award to Proll Molding for the same items. The Army justifies the sole source solicitation and award on the account of the urgent need to make deliveries of belt boxes to Lake City by November 30.

Fall:
The US Government announces its intent to supply 300 reconditioned M16A1 to Papua New Guinea.

The Canadians begin development of a flat-top C7.

October:
Olin’s Randall G. Habbe receives US Patent #4,619,203 titled “Armor Piercing Small Caliber Projectile.”

AMCCOM awards a $3,103,000 contract to La Belle Industries Inc.

Phobris is awarded a contract for the new M9 Bayonet. (Production is licensed to Buck Knives.)

Daylight Plastics, Inc. files a GAO protest over the US Army’s September sole-source award to Proll Molding Co. for M249 belt boxes and the cancellation of the original solicitation. Daylight Plastics alleges that a shortfall of M249 belt boxes will not be experienced, if at all, until March 1987 and not November 1986 as the Army had suggested. Two days later, the GAO denies Daylight Plastics’s protest of the US Army’s August award to Proll Molding. The GAO justifies this since the original contract being protested was canceled.

The British ITDU evaluates the HK .22 LR adaptor for the SA80.

Pier G. Beretta receives US Patent #4,615,134 titled “Retaining Mechanism for Rifle Magazines.”

The Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences publishes the report “Development of a Stadiametric Ranging Device for the M203 Grenade Launcher.” A prototype stadiametric ranging device that used hole sizes scaled to each of 10 man-sized targets located between 50 and 350m from the firer. Range estimates with the unaided eye typically overestimated the range, while those using the devices typically underestimated. The magnitude of range estimation errors was smaller and less variable when the devices were used as opposed to the unaided eye.

November:
US Army frontline units receive their first M16A2.

FN has delivered only 11,628 M249 belt boxes of the 48,000 due under its current contract with the US Army. Further delays are anticipated due to a labor strike at FN.

The British ITDU conducts endurance and reliability trials of SA80 .22 LR adaptors.

December:
The military specification for the M16A2 rifle, MIL-R-63997A(AR), is revised to MIL-R-63997B(AR).

AMCCOM awards a $1,047,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

Diemaco conducts a function and tolerance study of the M16-LMG‘s firing mechanism. Colt has sent one of their prototypes for reference.

Picatinny awards a $503,000 contract modification to Colt for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards a $137,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

AMCCOM awards a $6,490,000 contract to FNMI related to the M16.

1987


The US Army Cold Regions Test Center conducts arctic testing on the M249.

Abu Dhabi (UAE) orders 20,000 Colt Model 727.

The Daewoo K2 enters service with the South Korean Army.

News of Chinese SCHV cartridge research is leaked to the West through interviews with Soldier of Fortune magazine. While at least 50 cartridge configurations have been examined, ranging from 5.2 to 6.2mm, a 5.8x42mm cartridge is reported to be the early favorite. No further details are given concerning the ammunition or host weapons. (More recent sources indicate that the 5.8x42mm was chosen as early as 1979, and that the cartridge completed its final development in 1987.)

HK announces development of a LMG variant of their G11 rifle. Like the parent rifle, the LMG will be chambered for the 4.7x33mm DM11 caseless cartridge.

The British approve an improved version of L2A1 Ball as the Cartridge, Ball, L2A2.

The SADF adopts the R5 carbine.

Ecuador receives delivery of Steyr AUG.

VEB Kombinat Spezialtechnik Dresden and IMES give development order to SW&H for creation of a MPiKMS-74 variant in 5.56mm This is in response to India’s desire for a 5.56mm Kalashnikov-type rifle. The resulting rifles are named the Wieger, and testing begins within the year. Problems are subsequently found in the chrome plating of the barrels.

The British MOD expresses interest in the Beta C-Mag for use with the SA80.

R/M Equipment Company introduces the M203PI (Product Improved), which allows the grenade launcher to be fitted to a wider variety of weapons. (The M203PI’s design is alternately credited to Joseph C. Kurak and Bernard White, the designer of the Desert Eagle pistol.)

January:
AMCCOM awards a $120,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16. AMCCOM also awards a $150,000 contract modification to Colt for FMS.

Picatinny awards a $50,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $37,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

The final report from the SA80 troop trials is published. The results are not positive; the pages are filled with a litany of parts failures.

The British ITDU evaluates the SAWES Projector for the SA80. The SAWES unit is a laser training system, the British equivalent to MILES.

February:
Colt begins working with a FATS simulator to test different sighting systems for their ACR.

The Full Acceptance Meeting for the SA80 is postponed from July 1987 until October 1987.

AMCCOM awards a $1,383,000 contract to FNMI related to the M16.

March:
ACR Phase II contracts are awarded to AAI, Colt, HK, and Steyr. ARES and MDHC appeal the decision. Picatinny ultimately awards a $300,000 contract modification to Colt, a $166,000 contract modification to Steyr, a $171,000 contract modification to AAI, a $198,000 contract modification to ARES, and a $138,000 contract modification to MDHC for ACR RDT&E.

Colt conducts live-fire testing with the ACR to confirm the FATS testing results from the previous month.

FN delivers the TDP for an improved M249.

Diemaco completes development of the M16-LMG.

Picatinny is officially redesignated as an Arsenal.

Royal Ordnance wins the second MOD contract for production of 150,000 additional L85/L86-weapons.

The British ITDU has a busy month. They investigate the effect on zero of different firing positions with the LSW. In addition, they evaluate an articulated recoil rod assembly for the SA80.

The GAO denies Daylight Plastics, Inc.’s protest of the US Army’s September 1986 sole source award to Proll Molding Co. for M249 belt boxes.

Phrobis III’s Charles A. Finn files a patent application for the design of the M9 Bayonet.

The ITDU also investigates zero retention of the SUSAT when in mounted in different positions, and it runs endurance trials of the .22 LR adaptors’ plastic parts.

April:
The XM4 carbine’s military specification, MIL-C-70599(AR), is issued. The USMC is the first to standardize the XM4. A proposal has been put forward that the XM4 replace all of the pistols in the Marine Infantry Battalions as well as being used by Force Recon, ANGLICO, and others. Unfortunately, procurement funds for the Marines’ carbines are killed during Congressional review for four consecutive years in a row. Afterwards, the USMC Comptroller refuses to allow the XM4’s inclusion in the small arms budget, and the matter is dropped until the Army ultimately adopts the weapon. In the mean time, the M3A1 are replaced by HK MP5N received from the US Navy.

AMCCOM awards a $3,151,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

The House Committee on Armed Services requests that the GAO review South Korea’s compliance with its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States on coproducing the M16 rifle.

The design of the M16-LMG is frozen at Colt to allow Diemaco to produce 12 pre-production units. These prototypes are sent to Colt for further testing during the summer.

Aberdeen’s BRL publishes the report “Dynamic Tests of the 30-Round Magazine for the M16A1 While Firing from the M231 Firing Port Weapon.” Time displacement records of the magazine spring for the M16A1, while firing from the Firing Port Weapon, were obtained to determine if excessive spring surge was causing a stoppage problem during testing at Aberdeen. Results of the tests show there was no excessive magazine spring surge in the 30-round magazine for the M16A1 when firing from the M231 Firing Port Weapon. The results show the stoppage problem was caused by faulty magazines.

ARDEC‘s Close Combat Armaments Center publishes the report “Caliber .22 Rimfire Blank System for M16 Rifles.” This study successfully demonstrates the use of a .22 caliber rimfire blank system as a substitute for the standard 5.56mm M200 blank cartridge in the M16 rifles. Compatibility of the prototype rimfire blank system in the M16 rifles was firmly established and the possibility of a substantial cost savings realized. Further efforts to refine the configuration for competitive procurement and fielding will be performed.

British Aerospace (BAe) purchases Royal Ordnance (RO). The British MOD allows BAe to reconsider the recent L85/L86 contract.

The British ITDU test a bipod retaining clip for the LSW in an attempt to solve ongoing problems with the bipod swinging loose at inappropriate times.

AMCCOM awards a $2,270,000 contract modification to FNMI related to the M16.

The GAO denies Daylight Plastics, Inc.’s appeal of the GAO‘s decision of the previous month.

L. James Sullivan, on behalf of Beta Co., receives US Patent #4,658,700 titled “Drum Magazine.”

May:
The military specification for M862 Plastic Practice Ball, DOD-C-70463(AR), is amended.

Colt’s Henry Tatro receives US Patent #4,663,875 titled “Rifle Handguard Assembly Having Outer Shell with Outer and Inner Liners.”

Picatinny awards a $472,000 contract modification to Colt for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $434,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $387,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

AMSAA publishes “An Evaluation of the Soviet 5.45 X 45 MM, AK-74 Rifle and Type PS Ball Cartridge.”

Pier G. Beretta receives US Patent #4,663,878 titled “Removable Handle with Auxiliary Sights for Transporting Automatic Rifles.”

The British ITDU investigates SA80 zero distribution and reassesses the need for a left-hand SA80 family.

In addition, the ITDU conducts compatibility trials of the SAWES Projector with the SA80 during full-automatic fire, and tests .22 LR adaptors with tracers.

Joseph C. Kurak, on behalf of R/M Equipment, files a patent application for the mounting system design of the M203PI.

June:
Aberdeen’s BRL publishes “Kinematic Analysis of the M231 Firing Port Weapon.” The firing characteristics of a new M231 Firing Port Weapon were checked while firing M196 ammunition loaded with ball and IMR type propellants. Measurements of muzzle velocity and rate of fire were made during these tests. The average muzzle velocity for the M196 ammunition loaded with ball and IMR type propellants is about 914 m/s. The average rate of fire for the M196 ammunition loaded with ball propellant is about 1255 rds/min which is about 50 rds/min higher than the average rate of fire for the M196 ammunition with IMR type propellant. A complete kinematic study was also made on a new lubricated weapon while firing M196 ammunition loaded with ball and IMR type propellants. Displacement versus time of the bolt carrier and the striker were measured using electro-optical displacement followers, Optrons, during firing of the test rounds. Pressure versus time in the bolt cavity was measured using a Kistler 601H Pressure Gage during firing of the test rounds.

The British ITDU evaluates a modified magazine release catch for the SA80.

The military specification for the M203 grenade launcher, MIL-L-45935A, is amended for the second time.

July:
AMCCOM awards a $248,000 delivery order to FN related to M249 RDT&EAMCCOM also deallocates $537,000 in a contract modification related to M249 RDT&E.

The military specification for 5.56mm Reference cartridges, MIL-C-46397C(AR), is amended.

The Canadians seal the dimensions for their flat-top receiver rail design. Richard Swan of ARMS, Inc. has been consulted in this process.

Phase C of British Ordnance Board Trials ends for the IW/LSW. The performance is worse yet than the Phase B results. The IW turns in 69 MRBS and the LSW fails yet again to 48 MRBS. Still, the creative accounting continues unabated. With only the most severe stoppages/failures counted during the endurance phase alone, the IW posts a 28,442 MRBF. Under the same method, the LSW achieves 8,422 MRBF, finally surpassing the GSR 3518 requirement. However, this was helped along by the proposed issue of spare bolts and firing pins. While never actually issued, these parts would allow certain “critical” failures to be downgraded (and thus not counted) as the shooter would theoretically be able repair the weapon in the field.

Gene Stoner files a patent application for a telescoped cartridge similar in design to that used in ARES’ AIWS.

HK‘s Rudolf Brandl and Heinz Matt receive US Patent #4,681,019 titled “Magazine for Automatic Weapons.”

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser files an US patent application for an early variation of telescoped cartridge design used by the Steyr ACR‘s SCF cartridge.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser files an US patent application for the design of the Steyr ACR.

August:
In a letter to Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-LA) alleges that DOD investigators have been warned of the possibility of serious defects in the M16A2, failed to inform the Army about such concerns, and did not conduct any independent tests of the rifles. In response, an Army spokesman admits that the AMC has been working with Colt on two issues.

AMCCOM also deallocates $841,000 in a contract modification to FN related to the M249.

Aberdeen awards a $166,000 contract to Colt related to the M249.

Picatinny awards a $255,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

BAe agrees to accept the L85/L86 contract only if production is transferred from RSAF Enfield to RO‘s Nottingham facility.

British armorers receive an improved safety plunger for retrofit to the SA80. The previous model was prone to accidentally engage/disengage when dropped.

September:
AMCCOM awards a $48,224,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

Colt publishes the report “XM4 Carbine Development Program.”

Loren Brunton receives US Patent #4,691,615 titled “M16 Rifle, Improved to More Safely Accommodate Left Handed Shooters.”

Picatinny awards a $68,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR caseless ammunition RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $1,152,000 contract modification to ARES for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $670,000 contract modification to MDHC for ACR RDT&E.

Gene Stoner files a patent application for the design of the ARES LMG (AKA: Stoner 86).

British armorers receive a magazine catch shroud for retrofit to the SA80. Intended to be glued in place, the shrouds are meant to prevent accidental release of the magazine.

Pier G. Beretta receives US Patent #4,693,169 titled “Control Device for Rapid Firing Particularly Automatic Weapons.”

October:
ARDEC‘s ACR Project Office conducts the third quarterly review meeting for ACR Phase II. They announce that ARES and MDHC have both been reinstated in the ACR program.

Aberdeen’s BRL releases the memorandum report “Injury to Personnel from the Partial Penetration of a 19.6 Grain Fléchette.”

The Full Acceptance Meeting for the SA80 is held.

Pier G. Beretta receives US Patent #4,697,495 titled “Tripping Mechanism for the Conversion Closed-Bolt Automatic Rifles to Open-Bolt Ones.”

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,702,144 titled “Cocking Slide for Automatic Hand Firearms.”

The first firing prototypes of the FN P90 are tested.

AMCCOM awards a $74,000 contract to Okay Industries Inc.

AMCCOM awards a $267,000 contract modification to Parsons Precision Products.

November:
AMCCOM awards a $62,000 contract modification to Colt for maintenance and repair.

During an In-Process Review of the ACR project, Colt makes the decision to forego 2 and 3 round burst devices in favor of full-automatic fire.

Picatinny awards a $643,000 contract modification to Colt for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $693,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $348,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser files an US patent application for the annular primer design used by the Steyr ACR‘s SCF cartridge.

The INSAS LMG enters user trials.

Late:
Diemaco and Colt begin series production of the M16-LMG. Diemaco is responsible for the upper assembly, some of the fire control parts, and the hydraulic buffer. Colt is responsible for the lower receiver, final assembly, and final testing.

The British ITDU publishes a summary of SUSAT trials ranging from 1975 to 1987.

December:
AMCCOM awards a $132,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

MDHC begins development of their Advanced Individual Weapon System (AIWS). L. James Sullivan is hired to design the weapon, based on Hughes’ 1970s-era “Lockless” breech design. (McDonnell Douglas has earlier bought out Hughes’ helicopter and armament interests, which now comprised the MDHC division.) Evoking comparisons to H&R‘s 1962 SPIW entry, the “Lockless” system uses a plastic-cased cartridge. However, unlike the triangular Dardick Tround, the “Lockless” cartridge is described as a “chiclet,” due to its flat, rectangular box profile. The projectile(s) are set in the center of the box, surrounded on either side by compartments filed with propellant. The weapon’s barrel is closed off at the breech end, and the chiclets feed into the chamber through a slot through the side of the barrel. A pressure sleeve then closes over the open chamber’s sides before the round is fired. The spent case is pushed out the opposite side as the next cartridge slides into the chamber. The drawback of this system is that the amount of propellant needed is quite high, in this case nearly 3.5 times that of the 5.56mm NATO. Initial work begins on duplex and triplex loadings of conventional projectiles, but due to high recoil, this is scaled back to multiplex fléchette loadings. This starts with a .42 caliber five fléchette load, and is eventually whittled back to four and then three fléchette loaded in a .338 caliber sabot.

ARMS, Inc.’s Richard Swan writes the JSSAP office proposing that a standard rail interface be developed to replace the variety of existing mounting blocks for different weapons. The proposed rail interface should allow for multiple positions to accommodate different optics’ individual eye relief, quick attachment/detachment of optics without loss of zero, and capable of withstanding the recoil of heavy crew served weapons.

The British ITDU begins testing of the “Low Tech Sound Suppressor” from List Precision Engineering. (Bert List was responsible for the integral suppressor designs of the De Lisle Carbine and the Sterling L34A1 SMG.)

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser files multiple US patent applications for the design of the Steyr ACR.

1988


The AMC completes the system fielding of the M16A2.

The US Army Cold Regions Test Center continues arctic testing of the M249.

Aberdeen begins trials for the XM858 short-range training cartridge. Candidates include an aluminum-cased cartridge from Omark and plastic cartridges from Federal, Winchester and the United States Ammunition Company.

The US Navy SEALs begin issue of the Colt RO727 carbine.

Diemaco begins production of flat-top upper receivers.

The CETME Model L and LC enter Spanish military service.

FFV production Ak5 (FN FNC) enter Swedish military service.

CIS introduces the SR88, a product improved SAR80.

RO introduces the L98A1, a straight-pull cadet rifle conversion of the L85A1 rifle. They also introduce a proposed SA80 Carbine. Unlike the 1984 prototype, this model is just long enough to incorporate a vertical foregrip ahead of the trigger guard. In addition, they introduce the 40mm Enfield Close Assault Weapon (ENCAW), an underbarrel grenade launcher for the L85A1.

Papua New Guinea purchases 5,000 Australian-made AUG.

Testing resumes for the Wieger rifle. With the successful conclusion of testing, the Wieger 940 system is rushed into production.

Chinese engineers begin development of a long range, heavy bullet loading for the 5.8x42mm cartridge. This is intended for a future sniper rifle and LMG.

GIAT of France begins work on a PDW cartridge and weapon. The Armes de Défense Rapprochée (ADR) is envisioned as a family of three weapons: a pistol, a PDW, and a small assault rifle. Initial efforts are centered around a 5.7x25mm cartridge, apparently based on the 7.63x25mm Mauser (.30 Mauser) case necked down. It appears that later prototypes are chambered for a 5.7x22mm cartridge, based on the 7.65x21mm Luger (.30 Luger) case necked down.

The US Army Environmental Hygiene Agency publishes “Health Hazard Assessment Report on the Enhanced M16A2 Rifle Optical Sight.”

January:
The GAO publishes a classified report titled “US-Korea co-production: A Review of the M16 Rifle Program.” An unclassified, redacted version is released three months later.

ARDEC‘s ACR Project Office conducts the fourth quarterly review meeting for ACR Phase II.

Colt’s testing of Reed Knight’s muzzle brake/compensator (MBC) assembly indicates a successful decrease in recoil combined with a 15 to 20 decibel reduction in muzzle blast.

Picatinny awards a $449,000 contract modification to MDHC for ACR RDT&E.

Ireland adopts the Steyr AUG. The AUG has beaten out the Beretta AR70/90, the Colt M16A2, the Enfield L85A1, the FN FNC, the HK G41, the IMI Galil, the FAMAS, and the SIG SG550.

HK introduces camouflaged variants of the HK 33 and GR3. C-suffix rifles possess a woodland camo scheme while S-suffix rifles are finished in a desert scheme.

The British begin Environmental User Trials for the SA80. Besides standard production L85A1 and L86A1, two different modification packages for the IW/LSW are tested. To complicate matters, the two alternative build standards are labeled A2 and A3, not to be confused with the recent HK-modified L85A2/L86A2. RSAF Enfield labels the prototype IW as XL85E2 and XL85E3, with the LSW as the XL86E2. Parts modified for the A2 and A3 include the following:

  • Bolt
  • Magazine Catch
  • Trigger return spring
  • Safety plunger
  • Recoil spring
  • Gas plug
  • Gas port
  • Gas cylinder
  • Gas piston
  • Piston spring
  • Cocking handle
  • Ejection port dust cover

In addition, the A3 adds an extra recoil spring and uses a lightened bolt carrier.

AMCCOM awards a $1,235,000 contract modification to FNMI related to the M16.

February:
During an In-Process Review of the ACR project, Colt decides to use Olin’s full-caliber duplex cartridge and adopt Reed Knight’s MBC for use with their ACR. In addition, deliveries have been made of the ELCAN optic and the new 7-position collapsible buttstock.

The military specification for the M16A2 rifle, MIL-R-63997B(AR), is amended.

March:
AMCCOM awards a $31,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

Aberdeen awards a $357,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M249.

Guatemala begins negotiations with Colt for a purchase of M16.

The HK G11 enters technical trials in West Germany.

Joseph C. Kurak, on behalf of R/M Equipment, receives US Patent #4,733,489 titled “Apparatus for Reconfiguring Automatic Rifle to Include Grenade Launching Function.”

April:
Colt concentrates their ACR program on recoil control, tweaking the design of their hydraulic buffer assembly.

Picatinny awards a $157,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,739,570 titled “Firearm.”

AMCCOM awards a $1,593,000 contract modification to FNMI related to the M16.

May:
AMCCOM issues an open solicitation for M16A2 construction over a five-year contract.

AMCCOM awards a $99,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

ACR Phase III contracts are awarded.
Picatinny awards $104,000 and $700,000 contract modifications to Colt, a $500,000 contract modification to HK, a $800,000 contract modification to Steyr, and a $700,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

MDHC fabricates their first complete, firing AIWS prototype. The final version is semi-automatic with a 10 round side-mounted magazine. The cartridges feed upwards from the magazine into the chamber. Spent casings are pushed out through the top of the weapon as the next cartridge slides into place.

The HK G11 receives its Safety Certification.

HK‘s Rudolf Brandl and Heinz Matt file an US patent application for the linkless ammunition feed system for the HK 73.

The British end Environmental User Trials for the SA80. The new bolts prove to be problematic as several fail during use. Two break after a mere four rounds have been fired. The A2 standard is found to be the most reliable, but all of the rifles still show problems in dirty conditions.

June:
MDHC is dropped from the ACR program.

The military specification for the M16 and M16A1 rifles, MIL-R-45587A, is validated.

The military specifications for the M199 and M232 Dummy Cartridges are canceled.

The HK G11 enters troop trials in West Germany.

July:
The Army Biomedical Research and Development Lab publishes the report “Comparison of Particulate Lead Levels for Different Ammunition Types Used with the M16 Rifle.” This study compares the relative amounts of airborne lead produced by the M16 rifle firing the M193 standard M16 5.56mm conventional ammunition, the M862 5.56mm plastic training ammunition, and the conventional caliber .22 rifle cartridge. Both breech and breech plus muzzle lead emissions were determined for each type of ammunition.

Picatinny awards a $532,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $200,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $269,000 contract modification to MDHC for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM deallocates $647,000 in a contract modification to FNMI related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $182,000 contract to Balimoy Mfg. for replacement M16A2 lower receivers.

August:
Aberdeen awards a $74,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M249.

Picatinny awards a $989,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $400,000 contract modification to ARES for ACR RDT&E.

Picatinny awards a $200,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,760,663 titled “Firearm.”

September:
AMCCOM awards $32,264,000 to FNMI for M16A2 production. It is the initial order of a multi-year contract worth $112,652,562 for 266,961 rifles.

AMCCOM awards $15,442,000 to FNMI for M249 production. It is the initial order of a multi-year contract worth ~$41 million for ~30,000 SAW.

AMCCOM awards a $675,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249. This is for FMS.

Picatinny awards a $493,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

RSAF Enfield finishes its last complete SA80.

At the ADPA Small Arms Symposium, HK reveals additional details of their G11 LMG. The design will use a three-chamber cylinder in order to help prevent cook-offs, and feed from a 300 round magazine located in the butt. HK has produced a working hardware model of the ammunition feed system, and have fired a fully functional breech and loading system. They are conducting live fire testing to determine the cook-off threshold.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #4,770,098 titled “Telescoped Ammunition Round.”

October:
Colt files a protest with the GAO over FNMI‘s M16A2 contract award. Colt contends that proposals were not evaluated in accordance with the RFP evaluation criteria. In addition, Colt challenges the Army’s determination that FN is a responsible contractor claiming that the Army failed to consider information that FNMI was delinquent on a substantial number of its current contracts, lacked financial capacity, and had quality deficiencies. Colt alleges that the Army in bad faith deliberately chose to ignore the “performance risks” associated with the FN award, and that the Army awarded the contract to FN simply to deny the award to Colt.

A group of US Congressmen urge the State Department to halt a $13.8 million sale of 20,000 M16 to Guatemala.

The military specification for the M231 FPW, MIL-S-63348A(AR), is validated.

RSAF Enfield ceases production of SA80-related parts, and is closed soon after.

November:
Colt conducts the End of Phase II Maturity Demonstration for their ACR prototype.

AMCCOM awards a $800,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

Royal Ordnance’s Alexander Newman and Derek Skinner receive US Patent #D298,644 titled “Bayonet for an Automatic Firearm.”

Late:
Brunswick begins a company funded NDI qualification of the Rifleman’s Assault Weapon (RAW). The RAW is bowling ball-shaped, rocket-propelled grenade fired from a device attached to the muzzle and bayonet lug of a M16.

December:
AMCCOM awards a $7,936,000 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

AMCCOM awards a $483,000 contract modification to FN related to the M249. This is for FMS.

AMCCOM awards a $212,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

1989


BAe/RO purchases Sterling Armament and then closes its facilities soon afterwards.

The British hold additional Environmental User Trials for the SA80. As before, two different modification packages for the IW/LSW are tested. These are known as the XL85E3/XL86E3 and the XL86E4/XL86E4. Parts modified for the E3 and E4 include the following:

  • Bolt
  • Ejector spring
  • Magazine housing insert
  • Interceptor sear
  • Pistol grip (E3 only)
  • Trigger
  • Take-down pins
  • Safety plunger (E3: Plastic; E4: Aluminum)
  • Safety plunger spring
  • Trigger return spring
  • Butt plate assembly
  • Cam stud rail
  • Ejection port dust cover
  • Dust cover spring
  • Flash suppressor
  • Cheek pad
  • Recoil rod assembly and springs
  • Gas piston
  • Piston spring
  • Gas plug
  • Cocking handle
  • Handguards
  • Receiver extension (LSW)
  • Bipod (LSW)

The Australian Engineering Development Establishment (EDE) conducts, on behalf of the Small Arms Replacement Project (SARP), an evaluation of the FN Minimi LMG to ascertain its level of acceptance into Australian service.

Japan adopts the Howa Type 89.

FFV begins deliveries of the Ak5B, a designated marksman version of the basic Ak5. It is equipped with a British SUSAT optic.

SIG introduces the SG550 Sniper.

Approximately 7,500 Wieger rifles and 1,800,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition are shipped to India.

The Czechs begin field testing of the 5.45mm LADA rifle.

GIAT offers to provide the TDP for its 5.7x22mm PDW cartridge to other designers and companies.

Early:
The Peruvian Army awards a $7,867,550 contract for the delivery of 10,000 Wieger STG942 and 10,000,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition.

January:
The GAO denies Colt’s protest over FNMI‘s M16A2 contract award.

AMCCOM awards a $25,493,000 contract modification to FNMI for the M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $291,000 contract modification to Colt for ACR RDT&E.

Colt tests ELCAN’s final design for the ACR optic.

Diemaco achieves the goal of 100 percent Canadian production for the C7.

The British ITDU starts SA80 Cold/Dry Environmental Trials in Norway.

Beta Co. receives a L85A1 and L86A1 on loan from the British MOD for testing with the C-Mag.

FN‘s Rene Predazzer files an US patent application for the design of the P90’s horizontally-mounted magazine.

February:
AMCCOM awards $222,000 and $58,000 delivery orders to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

Colt completes assembly of the first six Phase III ACR prototypes.

AMCCOM awards a $728,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

The British ITDU ends SA80 Cold/Dry Environmental Trials in Norway.

Brunswick completes NDI qualification of the RAW.

March:
Colt submits their Phase III ACR prototypes to Aberdeen.

Colt’s Paul G. Kennedy files a patent application for the ACR‘s handguard design.

AMCCOM awards a $198,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

HK delivers the first five ACR, along with 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

The Canadian military announces that they are adopting ARMS, Inc.’s proposed dovetail dimensions for their flat-top C7 project.

The Australian EDE finds that significant reductions in the dispersion size of 5-round bursts with the FN Minimi are achieved when the original Minimi flash suppressor is replaced with a flash suppressor from either the F88 rifle or a MAG58 GPMG.

April:
The five submitted ACR designs are narrowed to four by Aberdeen’s Combat Systems Test Agency. The remaining four candidates are then cleared for the 9 month field experiments at Fort Benning. Colt’s ACR is most the conservative, being merely a flattop M16-variant with an improved hydraulic buffer, a more ergonomic collapsible stock, and the muzzle brake/compensator/flash hider assembly designed by Reed Knight. The oddest addition is the forearm, featuring a tall sighting rib inspired by the earlier HEL tests. The Colt ACR is submitted with an Olin-designed duplex 5.56mm load. The two projectiles weighed 35 grains (front) and 33 grains (rear), giving a velocity of ~2900 fps. The rifle retains the ability to use the issue M855 cartridge.

HK‘s ACR is yet another variant of their G11 caseless rifle. Most will note the change in cartridge nomenclature: 4.92x34mm versus 4.73x33mm. However, this is merely a matter of semantics; the projectile size remains the same (0.194″).

AAI’s ACR entry harkens back to their 1970s-era SBR. However, instead firing micro-caliber cartridges formed from a 5.56x45mm parent case, AAI loads a standard 5.56x45mm case with a saboted fléchette (similar in principle to Frankford Arsenal’s earlier experiments). Unfortunately, while the AAI ACR‘s magazine is specially sized to prevent insertion of standard 5.56mm NATO cartridges, a standard cartridge could still be manually chambered in the rifle. Combined with the fléchette-tuned gas system, such a mix-up could result in a very serious mishap. (As Dean would say: kaBOOM!) As with earlier AAI fléchette rifles, users complain of the high noise levels. However, the addition of a sound moderator/muzzle brake brings the muzzle blast down nearly to the level of a standard M16A2.

Steyr’s ACR outwardly resembles their flagship AUG family; however, the internal mechanism of their ACR is quite radical. Nearly the entire design, from the “raising chamber” mechanism to the completely cylindrical, synthetic-cased fléchette (SCF) cartridge, is credited to Ulrich Zedrosser (later known for his SBS rifle action). Upon firing, the chamber slides down and a separate piston strips a new cartridge from the magazine into the chamber. As the new cartridge enters the chamber from the rear, it pushes the fired case forward out of the chamber to eject it. Then the chamber rises in line with the barrel for firing. The extremely high chamber pressures quoted for the system (60,000-70,000psi) cause some concerns; however, there is no hard data to indicate that any real problems developed. While the light fléchette/sabot combination allow for the very high cyclic rate to remain controllable, both Steyr and AAI have limited their designs to three round bursts.

ARES fails to perfect their own belt-fed, bullpup ACR design in time, and withdraws their entry. Designed by Gene Stoner and developed by Francis Warin, the ARES Advanced Individual Weapon System (AIWS) fires a conventional 5mm tracer projectile (weighing 45 grains) from a synthetic cased cartridge, using a raising chamber design similar to the Steyr ACR.

AMCCOM awards a $376,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,817,496 titled “Firearm.”

British armorers receive a modified magazine catch for retrofit to the SA80. The new magazine catches have a reduced profile to prevent the accidental release of the magazine.

The Brazilian Army issues a Experimental Technical Report clearing the way for series manufacture of the IMBEL MD1 rifle.

NATO publishes document D/296, outlining a new requirement for a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW).

Phrobis III’s Charles A. Finn receives US Patent #4,821,356 titled “Military Bayonet and Scabbard.”

May:
Colt conducts final test firing of their Phase III ACR prototypes. The final fifteen rifles are then submitted for the ACR field trials.

AMCCOM awards a $3,761,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

The British ITDU conducts SA80 Hot/Dry Environmental Trials.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser files an US patent application for the annular primer design used by the Steyr ACR‘s SCF cartridge.

Peru receives a shipment of 2,000 Wieger STG942 and 2,000,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition. No further deliveries are made after the collapse of the East German government.

The ITDU also ends testing of the “Low Tech Sound Suppressor” from List Precision Engineering.

June:
AMCCOM awards a $1,840,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The AMSAA publishes “Independent Evaluation Plan (IEP) for the Advanced Combat Rifle.”

AMCCOM awards a $238,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

The British ITDU conducts SA80 Hot/Wet Environmental Trials in Brunei.

The ITDU also tests a one-piece sling for the SA80.

July:
Olin’s Stephen J. Bilsbury, William G. Dennis, Jr., and Stephen K. Kernosky file a patent application for a low-cost method of fabricating the M855’s steel penetrator.

Colt begins training the military trainers assigned to the ACR field tests.

AMCCOM awards a $386,000 contract modification to Colt for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards a $117,000 contract modification to ARES for ACR RDT&E.

ARDEC releases “Molding of Fiber Glass/Epoxy Handguards for the SFLM (Serial Flechétte Launch Mechanism) Advanced Combat Rifle.”

The Australian EDE publishes “Australian MINIMI F89 Light Support Weapon (LSW)/Plash Suppressor Test Report.”

The Indian Army asks the Ordnance Board to accelerate development of the INSAS family in hopes of service introduction as early as 1990.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,846,068 titled “Cartridge for Firearms” and US Patent #4,848,237 titled “Peripheral Primer Firearm Cartridge.”

August:
AMCCOM awards a $25,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

Richard Swan of ARMS, Inc. is shipped a sample of the Colt ACR‘s upper receiver and forging along with a purchase order for reengineering the upper receiver’s scope rail. One of the main goals is to increase the strength the rail, as the existing rails cuts make the receiver too thin. (Reportedly, Swan demonstrated to Colt’s Robert Roy that he could pierce the receiver at the bottom of the cut using the point of a Number 2 pencil.)

AMCCOM awards a $216,000 contract modification to Colt for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards a $163,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards a $50,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards a $260,000 contract modification to MDHC for ACR RDT&E.

September:
Special Operations Special Technology (SOST) Modular Close Combat Carbine Project is funded. (This is the forerunner to the terminology “Special Operations Peculiar Modification,” SOPMOD for short.)

The US Army Infantry Center (USAIC) publishes a new edition of the Small Arms Master Plan (SAMP). The SAMP continues to outline objectives for a new family of infantry weapons. These are now named the Individual Combat Weapon (ICW), Personal Defense Weapon (PDW), and Crew Served Weapon (CSW). The ICW is to weigh no more than 10 pounds fully loaded, and be effective out to 500 meters versus troops wearing body armor. The ICW is also intended to be effective against vehicles and low flying aircraft. The PDW is projected to weigh no more than 1.5 pounds, and be capable of defeating troops wearing body armor at 50 meters.

AMCCOM awards a $923,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $2,628,000 contract to FNMI related to the M16.

FNMI receives an order for 4,419 M16A2.

AMCCOM issues “Rifle M16 Stock & Guards: AMC National Training Center (NTC) Lessons Learned (LL) Program.” The author recommends changing the furniture material to Zytel.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser files multiple US patent applications for the design of the Steyr ACR.

The British ITDU restarts SA80 Hot/Dry Environmental Trials.

The Canadian government pays ARMS, Inc. for its set of standardized rail dimensions.

The BRL publishes “Live Fire Performance Evaluation of Optical Sights on the M16A2 Rifle.”

Candidates for the US Army’s Multi-Purpose Individual Munition (MPIM) competition submit Proof of Principle test rounds. Two of the three candidates are fired from launchers attached to the M16: the Brunswick RAW and the McDonnell Douglas Scorpion. The Scorpion Urban Fighting Weapon is another rocket-propelled weapon. Its launcher is attached underneath the barrel much like an overgrown M203.

The BRL submits “Candidate Fléchette Projectiles.”

October:
The DOD begins a refurbishment program to update M16 and M16A1 rifles to the current M16A2 standard.

November:
Colt Industries announces its intent to sell the Colt Firearms Division to CF Holding Company.

AMCCOM awards a $130,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The British ITDU ends SA80 Hot/Dry Environmental Trials.

Late:
HK delivers 15 additional ACR plus 90,000 rounds of ammunition in two batches (15,000 and 75,000).

The HK G11 receives type classification by the Bundeswehr.

December:
A 6,000 round endurance test is run on the ACR candidates.

After Reed Knight witnesses press coverage of US soldiers during the invasion of Panama using duct tape, hose clamps, and other improvised methods to attach flashlights and other accessories to their weapons, KAC begins development of a modular accessory attachment system for the M16. Internally, the project is dubbed the “LEGO System.”

FN‘s Jean-Paul Denis and Marc Neuforge file an US patent application for the projectile design used in the 5.7x28mm SS90 cartridge.

1990


The Weapon System Management Directorate at Rock Island Arsenal conducts a Fielded Systems Review of the M16A2. For the most part, the rifle is well received. They are complaints however about the 3 round burst feature, and the accuracy of the M855 and M856 cartridge.

The British hold additional Environmental User Trials for the SA80. Only one modification package for the IW/LSW is tested. These are known as the XL85E5 and XL86E5. Parts modified for the E5 include the following:

  • Trigger
  • Safety plunger
  • Hold open latch
  • Interceptor sear
  • Ejection port dust cover
  • Dust cover spring
  • Gas block
  • Gas plug
  • Handguard

IMI introduces the Negev LMG.

HK licenses manufacture of the HK53 to Greece.

CIS introduces the SR88A, a product improved SR88.

The Czech State Defense Council instructs CZ to produce a 5.56mm version of the LADA.

GIAT purchases FNWith this, GIAT quietly shelves their 5.7x22mm PDW project.

January:
AMCCOM awards a $30,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

AMCCOM awards a $13,580,000 contract modification to FNMI for the M16A2.

The M4 Carbine Required Operational Capability Document is issued.

AMCCOM awards a $88,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

The British ITDU starts SA80 Cold Trials.

February:
The British ITDU ends SA80 Cold Trials. The ITDU also tests a shroud for the SA80’s magazine catch.

British armorers receive an improved hold open device for retrofit to the SA80.

March:
Colt Industries finalizes its agreement to sell the Colt Firearms Division to CF Holding Company. The ownership of the renamed Colt’s Manufacturing Company will include the striking union employees, current Colt management, and the state of Connecticut. As a result of the sale, the four year old labor strike at Colt ends.

AMCCOM awards a $10,104,000 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

AMCCOM requests a JAG legal review of the ACR candidates to ensure that they comply with international laws of war.

AMCCOM awards a $167,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards a $73,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

FN‘s Rene Predazzer receives US Patent #4,905,394 titled “Top Mounted Longitudinal Magazine.”

Spring:
The Burmese Army contacts Omnipol in Czechoslovakia about converting their 7.62mm G3 rifles to 5.56mm.

April:
The US Army awards a contract to Bushmaster for 65 carbines having “all the physical and technical characteristics of the M4 Carbine.”

The British ITDU restarts SA80 Hot/Dry Trials at Ascension Island.

HK and Dynamit Nobel develop an experimental 4.7x25mm caseless cartridge, essentially a short variant of their DM11 caseless rifle cartridge. HK plans to use it for the development of a new PDW project known internally as the NBW (Nahbereichswaffe: Close Range Weapon).

AMCCOM awards a $1,428,000 contract to Center Industries.

May:
AMCCOM awards a $236,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement. AMCCOM also awards a $28,000 contract modification related to the M16 and M203.

The International Affairs Division of the Office of the Judge Advocate General issues a legal review of the ACR candidates. All of the rifles are considered to be compliant with the international laws of war.

The military specification for the M200 Blank, MIL-C-60616B(AR), is revised to MIL-C-60616C(AR).

The military specification for 5.56mm Heavy Bullet Reference cartridges, MIL-C-70460A(AR), is amended.

The British MOD introduce a product improvement kit for the L85/L86 family. Changes include a redesigned trigger, cross bolt safety, and a number of other small parts, pins, and assemblies. (However, less than half of weapons will have been upgraded by 1993.)

The British ITDU ends SA80 Hot/Dry Trials at Ascension Island. The MRBS is 260. (Reportedly, the threshold figure was a mere 120 MRBS, with an objective figure of 240 MRBS.)

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,928,597 titled “Ring Fuze for Firearm Ammunition.”

AMCCOM awards a $39,000 contract modification to FNMI related to the M16.

The USAIS creates a draft ROC document reinitiating the search for an optical sight for the M16A2. It also suggests that the same sight be used with the M249.

June:
Italy adopts the Beretta AR70/90.

HK‘s Rudolf Brandl and Heinz Matt receive US Patent #4,930,400 titled “Magazine with Linkless Cartridge Feed System.”

Two Czech specialists are sent to Rangoon to begin work on the G3 conversion to 5.56mm. They test a pair of G3 already converted by the Burmese. These are found to be lacking in reliability and accuracy. As a result, the Burmese Army decides to have the Czech firm ZVS-VVÚ develop a conversion process. The Czech firm subsequently converts three G3 and completes their testing by the end of the year.

Beta Co. sends an interim report to the British MOD concerning the SA80 and the C-Mag. The MOD indicates that there is no formal requirement for a 100 round magazine, but agrees to loan an additional pair of weapons of the improved design.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,930,241 titled “Hand-Held Firearm Provided with a Detachable Sight.”

Summer:
Improved Ultimax 100 are shipped to Naval Weapons Support Center-Crane for further testing.

July:
AMCCOM awards a $1,796,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16 and M203.

AMCCOM awards a $73,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM deallocates $98,000 in a contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM deallocates $53,000 in a contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #4,942,802 titled “Convertible, Belt/Clip-Fed Automatic Gun with Positive Shell Casing Ejection.”

British armorers receive an improved bipod lock for retrofit to the LSW. The new lock is to help prevent the accident release of the bipod legs from the folded position.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,944,109 titled “Rifle.”

August:
The ACR field trials end.

FNMI receives an order for 20,000 M16A2.

AMCCOM awards $8,400,000 and $1,441,000 contract modifications to FNMI for the M16A2.

Colt and ARMS, Inc. sign a non-disclosure agreement relating to their improved flat-top rail design. Oddly, the final design does not match the dimensions of Swan’s earlier rail designed for the Canadians.

Colt’s lawsuit against Daewoo and the South Korean Ministry of National Defense is settled.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,949,493 titled “Firearm.”

September:
All US Army testing of the ACR candidates end.

AMCCOM awards a $7,003,000 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

Naval Weapons Support Center-Crane publishes its final report regarding Ultimax 100 testing.

The British ITDU retests a shroud for the SA80’s magazine catch and a bipod catch shroud for the LSW.

AMCCOM awards a $3,850,000 contract to Okay Industries Inc.

The ITDU also begins provisional assessment of a SCDRE modified sling for the SA80.

October:
AMCCOM awards a $139,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The military specifications for M855 Ball, 5.56mm Heavy Bullet Reference cartridges, and the M857 Dummy Cartridge are validated.

IMI‘s Adi Flashkes files an US patent application for the design of the IMI Negev.

The British ITDU ends provisional assessment of a SCDRE modified sling for the SA80.

November:
AMCCOM awards a $172,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

December:
AMCCOM awards a $13,603,000 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $1,425,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

1991


The US Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA) publishes the internal report “Evaluation of the Operational Test of the Advanced Combat Rifle Concepts.”

Aberdeen’s HEL publishes “HEL Evaluation of a Product-Improved (PIP) 200-round Magazine for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).”

The Canadian government purchases nearly 65,000 ELCAN Wildcat scopes, which will be type-classified under the designation C79.

ADI-Lithgow begins licensed-production of the FN Minimi (F89) for the Australian military.

Malaysia begins licensed production of the Steyr AUG. National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI) and SME Aerospace Sdn Bhd are responsible for production.

Production for the Spanish military of the CETME Model L and LC ends.

Given ARDEC‘s Bursting Munitions Program revival of their earlier 30mm grenade experiments, Alliant Techsystems sponsors the Individual Grenade Launcher System (IGLS), a 10 round semi-auto launcher designed by Knox Engineering.

January:
AMCCOM awards $122,000 and $96,000 contracts, and a $58,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $31,000 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens announced that the Belgian government would pay the bill for the US Military’s order for 978 M249 from FN. Worth ~$2.6 million, the payment is intended as a gesture of support for the Allied forces involved in the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi control.

Burma receives the Czech-converted 5.56mm G3 along with technical documentation.

The British Infantry Sales Demonstration Team (ISDT) tests the DateStyle Muzzle Stabiliser with the L1A1 SLR and the SA80 family. The device works as advertised in reducing group size during automatic fire. Oddly enough, it also appears to reduce the number of stoppages suffered by the SA80.

AMCCOM awards a $2,021,000 contract modification to Okay Industries.

AMCCOM awards a $4,141,000 contract modification to Center Industries.

February:
AMCCOM awards a $4,369,000 contract to Colt related to the M16.

Czech technicians arrive in Rangoon to set up production facilities for the 5.56mm G3 conversions.

March:
AMCCOM awards a $5,034,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $8,065,000 contract modification to FNMI for 5,930 M249.

The US Army requests funding for the M4 carbine in its Fiscal Year 1992 budget.

BAe/RO purchases HK.

The British ITDU publishes the LANDSET report. The Land Systems Evaluation Team had interviewed soldiers from three Armoured Infantry battalions involved in combat during Operation Granby (Gulf War). The results were not favorable for the SA80 system. Troops lacked confidence in their rifles and most expected stoppages to occur as early as the first magazine. In a throwback to the dark days of 1967 and the XM16E1, some troops had even taped assembled cleaning rods to their rifles to use as ramrods for clearing cases jammed within the chamber. In addition, the tips of firing pins were prone to breakage (as were bayonets). Colt M16 magazines were preferred over Radway Green magazines.

After the contents of the LANDSET report reach the press, it is officially dismissed as fake, then as unofficial, later as semi-official, and finally, as unscientific and not authoritative.

The US Army issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) for modified NDI telescopes to be used with the M16 and M249. The scopes are to include laser eye protection, tritium illuminated reticles, and lens covers.

The military specification for the M203 grenade launcher, MIL-L-45935A, is amended for the third time.

April:
The military specification for the M16 and M16A1 rifles, MIL-R-45587A, is amended.

The military specification for the M16A2 rifle, MIL-R-63997B(AR), is amended for a second time.

Colt’s Paul G. Kennedy receives US Patent #5,010,676 titled “Hand guard for firearms.”

Olin’s Stephen J. Bilsbury, William G. Dennis, Jr., and Stephen K. Kernosky receive US Patent #5,009,166 titled “Low Cost Penetrator Projectile.”

May:
AMCCOM awards a $1,699,000 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

AMCCOM awards a $134,000 contract modification to FN related to the M249.

The military specification for M193 Ball, MIL-C-9963F, is amended.

FN‘s Jean-Paul Denis and Marc Neuforge receive US Patent #5,012,743 titled “High-Performance Projectile.”

AMCCOM awards a $215,000 contract modification to Center Industries.

June:
AMCCOM awards a $178,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16. AMCCOM also awards a $927,000 contract modification related to the M16 and M203.

AMCCOM awards a $37,000 contract to Canadian Commercial Corp. for RDT&E/Weapons Engineering Development related to the M16.

The military specification for M197 Tracer, MIL-C-60111C, is amended for a second time.

The British ITDU begins trials of a modified sling swivel for the LSW.

HK‘s Raimund Fritz, Norbert Fluhr, and Berthold Weichert file an US patent application for the receiver design of the G11.

July:
Aberdeen’s HEL publishes “Effects of Competition and Mode of Fire on Physiological Responses, Psychological Stress Reactions, and Shooting Performance.” This research supported the Advanced Combat Rifle field test and the HEL‘s stress program by evaluating competition as a methodology for producing a known level of stress in soldiers. The subjects in this field experiment were volunteer infantrymen from the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). During the 2 competition weeks, 10 soldiers from each division participated; during the control week, 20 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division served as subjects. The subjects fired M855 ball ammunition loaded into 30-round magazines from M16A2 rifles equipped with Naval Weapons Support Center-Crane No. 1 muzzle devices. Each subject fired two different target scenarios during the record-fire days, one scenario in semiautomatic mode and one in burst mode. Each scenario consisted of 36 target presentation events. Events involved presenting one, two, or three targets for 1.5, 3, or 5 seconds at 50, 100, 200, or 300 meters. The stress created by competition was assessed by comparing the psychological and physiological responses of the soldiers firing competitively with the responses of soldiers firing during noncompetitive, control conditions, and with the responses obtained from subjects in other stress protocols.

The ARL conducts a limited durability and human factors evaluation for prototype 100 round belt boxes for the M249. Both hard pack and soft pack magazines are tested. Testing is cut short due to numerous shortcomings and deficiencies.

The British ITDU ends trials of a modified sling swivel for the LSW.

Picatinny issues a sources sought notice for research and development of a battlefield optical munition (BOM) concept, designated “Perseus.” The munition will be used in the M203 grenade launcher.

August:
AMCCOM awards a $125,000 delivery order to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

Mark Westrom, a civilian employee at Rock Island Arsenal, drafts a Joint Service Operational Requirement (JSOR) for a 5.56mm Special Purpose Rifle (SPR), an “especially accurate” 5.56mm Rifle for use in tactical situations and CMP competition. In an annex, Westrom also drafts the requirement for a Special Match 5.56mm cartridge for use with the proposed SPR.

The military specification for the M200 Blank, MIL-C-60616C(AR), is amended.

ARL personnel assist an ARDEC engineer in reevaluating the 100 round belt box designs for the M249. The goal is to determine the causes of the reported deficiencies. The findings lead to both types of magazines being redesigned.

September:
The US State Department grants Colt an export license to ship M16 to Indonesia.

The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989A(AR), is revised to MIL-C-63989B(AR).

The military specification for M856 Tracer, MIL-C-63990B(AR), is amended.

ELCAN delivers the first batch of C79 sights to the Canadian military.

October:
The GAO upholds Trijicon’s protest of the Army’s contract awards to Hughes Leitz Optical Technologies, Inc., Optic-Electronic Corporation, and S-Tron. The contract was for modified NDI telescopes to be used with the M16 and M249.

Late:
The ARL submits a recoil research proposal to JSSAP. The last known research on the effects of recoil on shooter performance dated back to the 1950s. JSSAP subsequently funds a two-year research program in support of their bursting munitions program.

December:
US Marine Corps Systems Command awards a $29,378 contract to Colt related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $1,606,800 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

1992


A Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP) is initiated for a 5.56mm AP cartridge to be designated the M995. The desired cartridge, produced by Bofors, uses a tungsten core projectile.

The US Navy SEALs begin issue of the M16A2E3, an M16A2-style rifle with full automatic capability instead of 3 round burst. (Note: Later designated the M16A3, the Navy’s rifle is not the same configuration as Colt’s commercial “M16A3,” which simply indicates a flat-top M16A2-type rifle.)

Colt commercially introduces their flat-top receiver for rifles and carbines. These are commercially designated the M16A3 and M4A1 respectively. (However, these weapon’s features should not be confused with those of the military type-classified weapons using the same designation.)

Colt also unveils the “CQB Carbine”, equipped with a single rail adapter system for the attachment of the M203, a breaching shotgun, or other accessories. Colt also introduces the M203H, a stand-alone adapter for the existing M203.

Oman makes a FMS purchase of M16A2.

The US Army awards a contract for 4,200 AN/PAQ-4C Infrared Aiming Light (IAL) Systems.

ARMS, Inc. introduces the Swan Extended Rigid Frame Sleeve (SERFS) System, an early forerunner to their current Selective Integrated Rail (SIR) System.

Diemaco receives a follow-on contract for the production of C7A1 upper receivers, along with a smaller number of complete weapons, for the Canadian military. The A1 configuration is flat-top variant intended for mounting the ELCAN C79 optic. The C79 is purchased in equal numbers for issue to Canadian forces.

The British House of Commons forms a Defence Select Committee to investigate the poor performance history of the SA80.

The British L1A2 Blank enters service.

Colombia adopts the IMI Galil.

The “Future Technology Conference” reorients from concentration on directed energy weapon applications to exploring Non-Lethal technologies.

FN works to reduces the overall length of the 5.7x28mm cartridge. The purpose is to allow the cartridge to more easily fit into the grip of a handgun. During this process, FN creates the first prototypes of what will become the SS190.

January:
AMCCOM awards a $27,184,500 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $1,286,274 contract to FN related to the M249.

AMCCOM deallocates $112,269 in a contract modification to La Belle Industries.

February:
AMCCOM awards $1,537,122 and $2,639,177 contracts to Colt related to the M16.

AMCCOM awards a $128,749 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

JSSAP publishes “Advanced Combat Rifle: Volume I, Program Summary.”

The Army awards a research contract for the Laser Countermeasure System (LCMS). The LCMS is intended to be a one-person portable, manually operated, shoulder-fired, battery-powered, system mounted onto an M16A2 rifle. The LCMS‘ primary objective is to detect, jam, and suppress threat fire control, optical, and electro-optical subsystems.

March:
Colt files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

The military specification for the M16A2 rifle, MIL-R-63997B(AR), is amended for a third time.

AMCCOM awards a $199,024 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

ARMS, Inc.’s Richard Swan files a patent application for the Swan Extended Rigid Frame Sleeve (SERFS) System.

April:
The US Army announces that the ACR trial candidates have all failed to provide the required 100 percent improvement over the M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $5,088,297 contract modification to FNMI for M249. Part of the order is for FMS.

The US State Department grants an export license to Colt to ship M16 to Indonesia.

British armorers receive an improved interceptor sear, improved take-down pins, and yet another improved safety plunger and spring for retrofit to the SA80. The previous interceptor sear could fail to release, and block the trigger from resetting. The earlier pins were prone to either falling out or being too difficult to remove, causing permanent damage to the lower receiver. The previous safety plunger, made of plastic, was prone to breakage. It would also swell when wet, causing the safety to jam in place.

The British ITDU begins trials of modified bipod feet for the LSW.

HK‘s Helmut Weldle and Hubert Krieger file an US patent application for the ambidextrous cocking handle of the G36.

The INSAS LMG completes user trials.

May:
AMCCOM deallocates $501,313 in a contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

The military specification for M197 High Pressure Test, MIL-C-46936B(AR), is amended for a third time.

The military specification for 5.56mm Reference cartridges, MIL-C-46397C(AR), is amended for a second time.

The military specification for the M857 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-C-70468A(AR), is amended.

Mission Research Corporation, on behalf of the Natick Soldier Center, publishes “Algorithm Development to Describe Fléchette Retardation in Human Tissues.”

The British ITDU tests the effect of a stronger trigger return spring on the accuracy and consistency of the SA80.

The ITDU ends trials of modified bipod feet for the LSW. They also test an improved retention system for the SA80 bayonet.

The MNS for the SOPMOD kit is signed.

June:
The M16A2E3 rifle’s military specification, MIL-R-71135(AR), is issued.

The GAO upholds Trijicon’s second protest of the Army’s contract awards to Hughes Leitz Optical Technologies, Inc., Optic-Electronic Corporation, and S-Tron. The contract was for modified NDI telescopes to be used with the M16 and M249.

IMI‘s Adi Flashkes receives US Patent #5,117,735 titled “Machine Gun with Belt and Magazine Feed.”

July:
AMCCOM awards a $124,610 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

The military specification for M862 Plastic Practice Ball, DOD-C-70463(AR), is canceled. It is superseded by the military specification for M862 Short Range Training Ammunition (SRTA): MIL-C-70725(AR).

August:
AMCCOM awards a $7,738,097 contract to FNMI for 19,387 M16A2. AMCCOM also awards an additional $36,090 related to the M16. This is for FMS.

AMCCOM awards a $113,464 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

British armorers receive shake-proof washers for retrofit to the SA80’s SUSAT. Windage zeroing screws were prone to losing their lock nuts, and then the SUSAT would be prone to lose its zero.

September:
AMCCOM awards a $478,833 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

AMCCOM awards $26,889, $71,427, $490,383, and $37,215 contract modifications to FNMI for M249.

The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989B(AR), is amended.

British Army Colonel R.H. Forsyth, Project Manager Infantry Weapons, informs DateStyle that:

“…we have no requirement for improved accuracy (for the SA80) as offered by your muzzle compensator.”

After the British MOD reconsiders its requirement for a higher capacity magazine for the SA80, Beta Co. submits an additional report and forwards six C-Mags for evaluation.

October:
Colt receives a contract for 8,624 M16A2E3 for the US Navy.

AMCCOM awards a $3,596,208 contract to Colt related to the M16.

The military specification for the M200A1 Blank, MIL-C-70724(AR), is published.

British armorers receive an improved buttplate and a redesigned trigger for retrofit to the SA80. The new buttplate are reinforced with a steel strip to prevent the plates from being torn off of their mounting screws during use. The LSW version also has a redesigned shoulder support, with the pivot point lowered to allow for solid contact with the user’s shoulder. The third model trigger has a V-shaped rear edge to prevent foreign material being trapped between the trigger and trigger guard, causing a failure to fire. (This was commonplace with the second model trigger.)

November:
The military specifications for the M16 and M16A1 rifles and M4 carbine are each amended.

British armorers receive an improved magazine catch shroud for retrofit to the SA80. This model will be spot welded in place, instead of merely glued.

HK‘s Raimund Fritz, Norbert Fluhr, and Berthold Weichert receive US Patent #5,164,537 titled “Small Firearm with Receiver.”

December:
The military specifications for the M16A2E3 rifle, MIL-R-71135(AR), is amended.

The British ITDU conducts trials comparing the accuracy of the LSW with and without a VAMS compensator installed.(Next: 5.56mm 1993)

by , Small Arms Historian
Post questions or comments at The 5.56mm Timeline’s Facebook page.

1993


The US Army Infantry Center (USAIC) publishes the fourth edition of the SAMP. The SAMP outlines objectives for a new family of infantry small arms. This translated into the following project name: Objective Family of Small Arms (OFSA). Requirements include the Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW), Objective Personal Defense Weapon (OPDW), and Objective Crew Served Weapon (OCSW). The OPDW is projected as a lightweight system (less than 1.5 pounds) with a 100 meter effective range, and capable of defeating body armor at 50 meters. There is also discussion of an Advanced Medium Machinegun (AMMG) requirement.

The Modular Weapon System (MWS) program is introduced as a SEP.

IMI begins development of the Tavor assault rifle.

SIG introduces the SG551-1P (AKA: SG551 SWAT).

CZ introduces the LADA family of 5.56mm and 5.45mm weapons. It is later renamed the CZ2000.

India publicly introduces the INSAS rifle and LMG. The INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) has been in development since the mid-1980s. With a requirement for 48,000 new rifles, the Indian Army places an initial order of 7,000 INSAS rifles. None are delivered.

The British ITDU publishes a summary of IW and LSW trials running from 1976 to 1993.

The ITDU also conducts user trials of a cant limiter for the LSW bipod.

NATO forms Sub-Group 1 under AC/225 Panel III. The Ad-Hoc PDW Working Group is tasked with determining whether FN‘s 5.7x28mm cartridge meets NATO‘s PDW criteria (D/296). Preliminary specifications are also drawn up for two types of PDW-class weapons: a pistol that weighs less that 1 kilogram (700 grams or less is desired) for engagements out to 50 meters, and a shoulder-stocked weapon weighing less than 3 kilograms capable of engaging targets out to 150 meters. Each is desired to possess magazine capacities of no less than 20 rounds, with a higher capacity considered as ideal for the larger weapon.

FN replaces its existing SS90 plastic core projectile with the improved 31 grain SS190, which uses a dual core of steel and aluminum. While offering a large increase in performance against armored targets, this change reportedly required a redesign of the P90’s magazine.

January:
The British ITDU begins user trials of the Beta C-Mag with the LSW.

February:
The ARL publishes “Flash Suppressor Comparisons and Analysis for the F89 and M249 Machine Guns.” The Australian Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) reported a reduction in dispersion of 40 percent (single shot or burst) for the F89 light machine gun simply by changing the standard Minimi flash suppressor to a MAG58 flash suppressor. The reduction was first observed by the troops in the field and replicated by DSTO in the laboratory. This report documents a test conducted at ARL using a M249 SAW machine gun to verify DSTO‘s results. The ARL study failed to show a similar dispersion reduction.

British armorers are instructed to remove material from the LSW bipod’s feet due to interference with the bipod lock. Armorers are also instructed to reposition the cotter pin which secures the trigger rod to the trigger. It was possible for the pin to contact the safety catch and prevent the trigger from being pulled.

FN‘s Canio Fortunato files an US patent application for a magazine design capable of feeding the long 5.7x28mm SS90 cartridge but narrow enough front to back to allow for a managable grip frame.

Colt’s William M. Sokol, David M. Camera, and Ronald E. Giddish file a patent application for the adapter design for the stand-alone M203H.

March:
The military specification for the M249 SAW, MIL-M70446(AR), is revised to MIL-M70446A(AR).

AMCCOM awards a $40,689 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

April:
The military specification for M197 Tracer, MIL-C-60111C, is amended for a third time.

The military specification for the M200 Blank, MIL-C-60616C(AR), is amended for a second time.

The Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) of the ARL conducts a durability and live firing exercise of the redesigned 100 round magazines and the latest product-improved 200 round magazine for the M249. The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the durability of a reusable 100 round soft pack, a disposable 100 round hard pack, and a product-improved version of the disposable 200 round hard pack. The primary objectives are to determine if the magazines stay attached to the SAW during obstacle course maneuvers, if any of the magazines adversely affect the integrity of the linked munitions, and if the munitions in these magazines can be fed into and fired from the SAW after portability maneuvers. In addition, magazine removal and attachment trails are conducted to determine the ease with which the 100-round magazines can be removed from the ammunition carrying cases and attach to the SAW.

The British ITDU ends user trials of the Beta C-Mag with the LSW. They discover persistent feeding problems with the final 15 rounds in the magazine. Beta Co. blames the British ammunition, which develops lower port pressures than US made cartridges loaded with ball powder. Without a change in ammunition, Beta Co. offers a special C-Mag variant, which holds only 86 rounds. (Author’s note: I guess that would make it a LXXXVI-Mag instead.)

May:
AMCCOM awards $151,482 and deallocates $75,250 in contract modifications to FNMI for M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $8,608,611 contract to Colt for 18,597 M4 carbines.

The Jamaica Defence Force adopts the L85A1 and FN Minimi.

British armorers are instructed to remove material from the SA80’s bolt face around the ejector’s opening. This is to prevent brass build-up which could jam the ejector in place.

HK‘s Helmut Weldle and Hubert Krieger receive US Patent #5,214,233 titled “Cocking and Loading Device for Self-Loading Small Firearms.”

FN‘s Jean-Louis Gathoye files an US patent application for a delayed blowback system intended for a pistol chambered in 5.7x28mm.

June:
The M4 carbine enters the Pre-Production Engineering Phase.

The British Commons Defence Select Committee releases the report on their investigation of the poor performance history of the SA80.

July:
The military specification for the M16A2 rifle, MIL-R-63997B(AR), is amended for a fourth time.

August:
JSSAP issues a RFP for the OICW. The OICW will include ammunition, fire-control, and weapon technologies capable of firing high-explosive and conventional projectiles. The RFP states that “substantial improvements in performance can be obtained in an individual weapon using an airburst concept.” The OICW should be capable of hitting point targets at 500m 90 percent of the time, and area targets at 1000m 50 percent of the time. The government will fully fund three project stages, but will only fund one stage at a time. The first six month phase will involve concept design. The twelve-month second phase will include “breadboard” subsystem tests and overall design refinement. The twelve-month third phase will result in fabrication of a complete, demonstration-ready “brassboard” prototype weapon.

ARDEC publishes the report “Trigger Pull Testing M16A2 Rifle and M4 Carbine.” Using the current procedures of MIL-R-63997 for M16A2 Rifles, 22 percent of random trigger pulls taken failed the requirement of 5.5 – 9.5 pounds. Based upon an acceptable failure rate of 1 percent, trigger pull shall be taken three consecutive times with a requirement of 5.5 to 11.0 pounds. Using the current procedures of MIL-C-70599 for M4 Carbines, 65 percent of random trigger pulls taken failed the requirement of 5.5 – 9.5 pounds. Based upon a acceptable failure rate of 1 percent, trigger pull shall be taken three consecutive times with a requirement of 6.5 – 12.3 pounds.

President Clinton signs Executive Order #12856. The goal is to insure that all Federal agencies, including the DOD, conduct their facility management and acquisition activities so that, to the maximum extent practicable, the quantity of toxic chemicals entering the environment is reduced as expeditiously as possible through source reduction. Moreover, they should help encourage markets for clean technologies and safe alternatives to extremely hazardous substances or toxic chemicals through revisions to specifications and standards, the acquisition and procurement process, and the testing of innovative pollution prevention technologies at Federal facilities or in acquisitions. This kicks off DOD activity in replacing lead and other toxic metals in ammunition.

Colt’s William M. Sokol, David M. Camera, and Ronald E. Giddish receive US Patent #5,235,771 tiled “Hand Held Grenade Launcher.”

September:
AMCCOM awards a $45,312 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $11,099,810 contract to FNMI for 4,644 M249. AMCCOM also awards a $52,778 contract modification for M249.

Germany issues new technical and tactical requirements for a 5.56mm rifle.

The ORD for the SOPMOD kit is validated. (The ORD will be amended four times leading up to 1999.)

The US Army publishes “Operator’s and Unit Maintenance Manual, Light, Aiming, Infrared AN/PAQ-4B.”

October:
AMCCOM awards a $85,376 contract to FNMI related to the M249.

British armorers receive an improved wire cutter to retrofit to the SA80’s bayonet scabbard.

November:
AMCCOM awards a $88,043 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

British armorers receive an improved bipod axis screw for retrofit to the LSW. The original screw was prone to loosen and allow the bipod to fall off of the weapon.

December:
The Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army for Operations and Plans, Force Development approves the OICW Mission Need Statement (MNS).

The military specification for M862 Short Range Training Ammunition (SRTA), MIL-C-70725(AR), is revised to MIL-C-70725A(AR).

1994


The US military finally accepts an improved buffer assembly for the M4/M4A1 originally recommended during the carbine’s initial development. Previously, the military did not want to introduce a new part different from that used by previous Colt carbines in inventory.

The USMC approves “Operational Requirements Document 1.14.” This document repaves the long and twisting path for the eventual adoption of the M4A1 Carbine by Force Recon and other units with need of a CQB weapon more capable than the current pistol-caliber SMG (HK MP5N).

Colt receives an order from the UAE for 5,200 M16A2 rifles and 2,500 M4 carbines.

KAC produces a very small quantity of cropped M4A1 variants, dubbed the M4A1K, for use by USSOCOM helicopter aircrews. (By early 1997, less than two dozen have been produced.)

IMI introduces the Galil Micro (AKA: Galil MAR). The South Africans introduce a similar variant as the R6 along with a 5.56x45mm conversion for their SS77 GPMG.

IMI provides technical assistance to Colombia’s INDUMIL for limited production of the Galil.

GIAT introduces the product improved FAMAS G2. Intended primarily for export sales, the G2 variant offers a STANAG 4179 magazine well along with other modifications. (A transition model, the G1, did not possess the STANAG magazine well.)

FN introduces the Minimi Mk2, which roughly parallels the improvements from the US M249 (PIP). On the 5.7x28mm PDW front, FN begins to release new details of their long-awaited 5.7x28mm pistol.

At the 1994 ADPA Small Arms Systems Division’s annual conference, Chinese representatives from the PLA‘s Changping Research Institute confirm the development of a 5.8x42mm weapon family.

RO produces a new SA80 carbine, longer than the 1988 model. The new carbine uses an unmodified LSW forearm.

The US Army Cold Regions Test Center conducts arctic testing on the M249 collapsible buttstock.

The British ITDU conducts trials concerning a bayonet catch, a modified bayonet, pintle mounts for the LSW, and additional user assessments of the Beta C-Mag.

January:
Acceptance trials for the M249 PIP are complete.

The military specification for the M4 carbine is revised to MIL-C-70599A(AR).

The M4A1 carbine’s military specification, MIL-C-71186(AR), is issued.

The Australian Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) publishes “Experiments to Determine the Effects of Different Flash Suppressor Designs on Accuracy of an F89 Light Machine Gun.” Tests were performed to determine the accuracy of a F89 LMG having barrels fitted with and without flash suppressors. It was observed that the addition of a flash suppressor from a FN MAG58 machine gun could reduce the size of mean radius dispersion by as much as 41 percent over an original FN Minimi flash suppressor and 35 percent over none being fitted. It appears that when using standard taper-ended Minimi barrels, 19 percent of this improvement can be attributed directly to the mass of the MAG58 flash suppressor. However, this mass had no apparent effect on accuracy when using heavier F89 barrels. It is concluded that gas dynamic effects due to flash suppressor design may have a significant role in weapon accuracy and merit further study.

February:
AMCCOM awards a $1,000,000 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

On behalf of USSOCOMAMCCOM awards Colt a $2,640,749 contract for the production of ~6,000 M4A1.

The military specification for M193 Ball, MIL-C-9963F, is amended for a second time.

The military specification for M197 Tracer, MIL-C-60111C, is amended for a fourth time.

The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989B(AR), is revised to MIL-C-63989C(AR).

The military specification for M856 Tracer, MIL-C-63990B(AR), is revised to MIL-C-63990C(AR).

March:
AMCCOM deallocates $47,264 in a contract modification to FNMI for M249.

The Dutch military adopts the Diemaco C7/C8 family, with an initial contract for 52,285 weapons worth DFL 96.4 million (US $51 million). C7A1 are procured for the Army and Marine combat units, C7 for support troops, C8 Carbines for the Air Force and Military Police, C8A1 for Special Forces, and C7A1 LSW (Light Support Weapon) for the Marines. The Marines will receive 4,750 C7A1 rifles and 535 C7A1 LSW. The Army will receive 33,500 weapons, the Air Force 12,000, and the Military Police 1,500.

HK‘s Helmut Weldle files an US patent application for the upper receiver design of the G36.

HK‘s Ernst Mauch and Manfred Guhring file an US patent application for the G36’s upper receiver gas relief ports. These are intended to help prevent damage and/or injury if a case failure were to occur.

April:
AMCCOM issues a solicitation for additional M4 carbines.

AMCCOM awards a $411,124 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

British armorers receive an improved flash eliminator spring for retrofit to the SA80. The new spring is to help prevent the bayonet or a rifle grenade from falling off of the muzzle.

June:
AMCCOM awards a $30,616 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $722,250 contract to FNMI related to the M249.

The OICW Phase 1 design study begins with three competing teams led by AAI, ATK, and Olin. AAI’s team includes:

  • Dyna East (Warhead development)
  • Dynamit Nobel
  • Hughes Aircraft (Fire control and Training)
  • Mason & Hanger

ATK‘s team includes:

  • Contraves (Fire control)
  • Dynamit Nobel
  • HK

Olin teams solely with FN.

The ARL publishes “Durability Evaluation and Live Firing Exercise for Two 100-Round Assault Packs and a Product-Improved 200-Round Magazine for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).” The findings are fairly positive for the 100 round soft pack vis-à-vis the other two designs. The 100 round soft pack was more likely to remain attached to the SAW, and was less likely to damage the dovetail rail assembly. The soft pack was also more easily removed and attached to the weapon than even the 100 round hard pack. However, there were problems with misaligned rounds in the soft pack, causing failures to feed. The 100 round hard pack fell off in 10 of the 100 trials and suffered 11 critical failures during testing. The 200 round hard pack was found to be much less reliable than the version tested in 1991, suffering 36 percent failures and 15 percent critical failures during the trials. This contrasted to 6 percent and 3 percent respectively in 1991. The difference is blamed on a change in the plastic used to construct the hard pack.

Summer:
Field testing of the AN/PLQ-5 LCMS results in negative comments about the system’s overall weight of 42 pounds.

July:
AMCCOM awards a $8,256,003 contract to Colt for ~18,000 M4 carbines. AMCCOM also awards a $153,102 contract modification related to the M4 carbine.

AMCCOM awards a $12,849,530 contract to FNMI for 5,844 M249.

August:
AMCCOM awards a $369,600 contract to Colt related to the M16.

The US Army officially adopts the M4 and M4A1 Carbines. Only the first lot of M4 will be delivered with fixed carrying handles. Afterwards, all M4/M4A1 in inventory will be shipped with flat-top upper receivers.

AMCCOM awards a $58,769 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

The military specification for M856 Tracer, MIL-C-63990C(AR), is amended.

Australian Defence Minister Senator Robert Ray announces the possible sale of ADI-made AUG to Indonesia. After public criticism, the government claims that is merely donating 20 rifles for evaluation.

September:
Colt exists Chapter 11 Bankruptcy with its sale to Zilkha & Company.

ARDEC publishes “External Barrel and Handguard Temperature of the 5.56mm M4 Carbine.” This test report examines the external barrel temperature of the 5.56mm M4-series carbines as a function of time and as a function of longitudinal location on the barrel. It also compares the effects of the handguard on barrel temperature and measures the temperature of the M4 Carbine handguard external surface and internal liners.

The military specifications for the M4 and M4A1 carbines, M16A2E3, and M16 and M16A1 rifles are each amended.

ARDEC, the US Navy, and USAF form an initial tri-service working group to identify needs and goals for each service regarding the “green ammunition” initiative.

ARMS, Inc.’s Richard Swan receives US Patent #5,343,650 titled “Extended Rigid Frame Receiver Sleeve.”

FN‘s Jean-Louis Gathoye receives US Patent #5,347,912 titled “Elements for Decelerating the Recoil of the Moving Parts of a Fire Arm.”

October:
AMCCOM is disestablished. The armament and chemical defense functions of AMCCOM become the Armaments and Chemical Acquisition and Logistics Activity (ACALA). The Tank-Automotive Command takes operational control of ACALAARDEC, and the Belvoir Research, Development and Engineering Center (BRDEC). As a result of the added responsibilities, Tank-Automotive Command is redesignated the Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command (TACOM).

The military specification for the M231 FPW, MIL-S-63348A(AR), is amended for the fourth time.

December:
The OICW Phase 1 design study is completed. The teams headed by AAI and ATK are chosen to proceed to Phase 2, the system design and critical subsystem technology demonstration stage.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 200 M16A2 to Belize at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 4,562 M16A1 to Uruguay at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

FNMI contracts with Richard Baker to develop a modular rail system based on ideas from FNMI engineer Aurelius A. Mooney.

1995


Upon request by the Defence Procurement Agency, Royal Ordnance assigns HK to examine the issue of L85A1 and L86A1 reliability.

Bofors introduces the CGA-5/C2, a compact variant of the Swedish military’s Ak5 (itself a FN FNC variant).

The British L14A1 Drill Cartridge enters service.

China completes development of the 5.8x42mm heavy bullet load. The selected projectile weighs 77 grains.

The INSAS LMG completes troop trials.

The Civil Disturbance Control System is declared obsolete.

HK introduces a variant of their 40mm HK 79 underbarrel grenade launcher for the L85A1.

The US Army type-classifies the M5 collapsible buttstock for the M249. This is the same buttstock used for the Minimi Para.

Early:
Mark Westrom, now president of Eagle Arms, purchases the rights to the ArmaLite name and trademarks. The corporation is reorganized as ArmaLite, with Eagle Arms reassigned as a division of ArmaLite.

January:
Richard Baker provides FNMI with design drawings for their requested modular rail system.

February:
MIL-STD-1913 is approved, providing a standard for accessory/scope rail dimensions.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 34,744 M16A1 and 2,469 M203 to Israel at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

ACALA deallocates $142,501 in a contract modification to FNMI for M249.

The military specification for M193 Ball, MIL-C-9963F, is amended for a third time.

The military specification for M197 Tracer, MIL-C-60111C, is amended for a fifth time.

The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989C(AR), is amended.

The military specification for M856 Tracer, MIL-C-63990C(AR), is amended for a second time.

CECOM issues a market survey announcement to locate additional sources for the AN/PAQ-4C Infrared Aiming Light (IAL) System, for use with the M16A1, M16A2, M16/M203, M4, M249, M60, and M2. CECOM intends to order up to 22,534 IAL.

Diemaco completes delivery of rifles and carbines for the Canadian military.

The British ITDU conducts User Reliability Trials of a modified gas system for the SA80.

The Objective Personal Weapon Shooters’ Conference is held.

FN‘s Canio Fortunato receives US Patent #5,388,360 titled “Loader with Tilting Cartridges for Pistol or Machine Pistol.”

March:
FNMI is awarded a $9 million contract modification for an additional 4,098 M249.

ACALA awards $8,995,110 and $1,862,711 contract modifications to FNMI for M249.

ACALA issues a solicitation for 24,144 M16A1 Modification Kits. The kits will be used to upgrade existing M16A1 to the current M16A2 standard.

ARDEC publishes a report titled “ARDEC Evaluation of Blown 5.56mm M4A1 Carbine Barrel.”

Diemaco begins delivery of rifles to the Dutch military. The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps is slated for the first deliveries, with the other branches following.

USAF Materiel Command issues a sole-source solicitation to Havis-Shields Equipment Corp. for 403 Advantage Point Aiming Lights. The latter offers IR laser targeting and IR visible illumination from a single lightweight, unibody component mounted under the weapon.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 200 M203 to Jordan at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

April:
ACALA awards FNMI a $6,955,520 contract for production of the M16A2.

ACALA awards a $191,665 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to FNMI for 4,618 M249.

ARDEC and JSSAP, in conjunction with the American Defense Preparedness Association (ADPA), announces their intent to hold an Objective Personal Weapon (OPW) Conference in August 1995.

May:
ACALA awards a $31,036 contract modification to FNMI for M249 RDT&E.

The German Bundeswehr officially adopts the HK G36 rifle, choosing it over the Steyr AUG. Later in the year, the Bundeswehr’s Special Operations Command (KSK) requests the development of a carbine variant, which becomes the G36K.

ACALA announces its intent to purchase a Multiple Magazine Holder (MMH) as a non-developmental item (NDI). The MMH will interface with the M16 series rifle or the M4 carbine, and hold a pair of 30 round magazines. If the MMH attaches to the weapon itself, the MMH must be compatible with the M12 arms rack and the M203 grenade launcher. The weight of the MMH shall not exceed four ounces.

CECOM issues a sole-source solicitation to Lockheed Sanders Inc. for the AN/PLQ-5 LCMS.

June:
The US Army’s SAMP is updated and accepted by JSSAP as the Joint Services Small Arms Master Plan (JSSAMP). The OPW (formerly OPDW) is now described as a concealable lightweight system (less than 3 pounds), with recoil no greater than a 9x19mm pistol, an effective range out to 200m, and a low magnetic signature. Requirements for an Objective Sniper Weapon (OSW) are also added.

ACALA deallocates $40,500 in a contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

ACALA awards a $668,180 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines. ACALA also awards a $740,904 contract modification related to the M4 carbine.

ACALA awards a $36,548 contract modification to FNMI for M249 RDT&E.

CECOM issues a solicitation for up to 20,719 AN/PAQ-4C Infrared Aiming Light (IAL) Systems.

ACALA issues a solicitation for 17,107 Combat Slings for use with the M4/M4A1.

Denmark purchases 2,572 Diemaco C7A1 rifles for Danish troops assigned to UN Peacekeeping duties in Bosnia. The contract is worth $5 million.

Summer:
The Luxembourg Army adopts the Steyr AUG.

July:
ACALA awards a $10,789,042.75 contract to FNMI for 4,618 M249.

The French Army awards a contract to GIAT for pre-feasibility studies of the PAPOP (Polyarmes, poly-projectiles) multi-role weapon, similar in concept to that of the US Army’s OICW. By the end of the initial study phase, GIAT is required to deliver a computer-generated, three-dimensional rendition of the Arme Infanterie Future (AIF) kit and a plastic model of the PAPOP design. GIAT’s development team ultimately includes its subsidiaries FN (weapon architecture, system integration, and kinetic-energy ammunition), Euroimpact (air-burst ammunition), and SFIM ODS (fire control).

Picatinny awards a $200,530 contract to Trijicon for Reflex Collimator Sights and Mounts.

August:
FNMI receives an order for 88,500 M16A2.

NSWC-Crane requests copies of the M4A1 TDP from ACALA. The TDP is needed in support of the SOPMOD kit.

ACALA awards a $8,120,825 contract modification to Colt for 16,217 M4 carbines. These are for FMS to Lebanon and Colombia.

ACALA deallocates $43,138 in a contract modification to FNMI for M249.

KAC receives a contract award for production of their Rail Interface System (RIS) forearm to meet USSOCOM‘s MWS requirements.

NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for 50 to 21,000 Close Quarter Battle/Reflex Sights.

Robins AFB awards a $63,450 contract to Beta Co. for C-Mags and another $56,173 for magazine kits.

CECOM awards a $12,004,548 contract to Lockheed Sanders Inc. for 20 AN/PLQ-5 LCMS.

Aurelius Mooney, Edward Schmitter, and Richard Baker file a patent application for their accessory rail forearm.

Oak Ridge National Laboratories hosts an industry conference concerning OPW technologies.

FN officially announces the development of the 5.7x28mm “Five-seveN” pistol.

September:
Rock Island Arsenal, on behalf of ACALA, responds to NSWC-Crane that it does not have a copy of the M4A1 TDP.

ACALA awards a $61,991 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines. ACALA also awards a $70,799 contract modification related to the M4 carbine.

ACALA awards Capco, Inc. a $5,728,164 contract for 24,144 conversions kits to upgrade existing M16A1 rifles. The kits are earmarked for the USAF and USCG. There were 65 bids solicited, and five bids were received.

ACALA issues a solicitation restricted to HK and Sarco for Multiple Magazine Holders.

October:
Both AAI and ATK demonstrate their OICW prototypes. AAI’s OICW team also reorganizes. Dynamit Nobel and Mason & Hanger leave while Olin, FN, and Omega Systems join.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 10,000 M16A1 to Egypt at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 30,000 M16A1 to Israel at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

ARDEC publishes “5.56-MM M856 Tracer Mini Round Robin Study.” Testing had been conducted to determine the amount of variation in the 5.56mm ballistic test results between ARDEC, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, and Olin Ordnance. The testing included the use of the same lot of 5.56mm M856 tracer ammunition; test equipment; and 5.56mm electronic pressure, velocity, and action time test barrels from all three sites. The research concludes that there is less than a 2 percent variation between the three facilities.

A Joint Working Group is officially formed to pursue elimination of toxic materials from ammunition. Representatives are from all four services, plus the USCGDOEFBI, and FLETC.

Colt and Singapore Technologies are eliminated from the first round of Turkish 5.56mm rifle trials. FNGIATHK, and IMI remain in contention.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 102 M203 to Bahrain at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

November:
NSWC-Crane personnel directly call an ARDEC engineer at Rock Island Arsenal requesting the M4A1 TDP.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 22,500 M16A1 to the Philippines at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

ARDEC, under the Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP), solicits information on less than lethal 40mm rounds commercially available for use with the M203. The rounds must be capable of incapacitating an individual target out to 30 meters, with a desired effective range of 50 meters.

December:
ACALA awards a $2,925,000 contract to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

ARDEC issues a solicitation for a NDI 5.56mm non-toxic training cartridge. The cartridge must satisfactorily function all 5.56mm military weapons with no attachments or weapon modifications and must present no unusual risks or hazards to the user. All cartridge components must be free of toxic materials as defined by the EPA. The projectile must exhibit a ballistic match to the M855 cartridge to 100 meters or more and have a maximum range of 1000 meters or less. The projectile must completely break up upon impact with light weight (1/8 inch) steel plate.

The military specifications for 5.56mm Reference and 5.56mm Heavy Bullet Reference cartridges are inactivated.

MIL-STD-1453, the military specification for the ballistic standards and test method for evaluating and selecting 5.56mm ammunition for M16/M16A1 weapon acceptance tests, is canceled.

Jane’s reports that the Dutch Ministry of Defence will refuse further deliveries of Diemaco rifles if technical problems with the weapons are not solved. So far ~9,000 rifles have been delivered. In particular, there are problems with the rifles not feeding the last two or three rounds in the magazine in the magazine, along with failures to eject. Diemaco blames the issue on the overuse of training rifles.

Diemaco begins delivery of C7A1 to the Danish military.

The French Navy orders 20,000 FAMAS G2.

HK‘s Ernst Mauch and Manfred Guhring receive US Patent #5,475,940 titled “Firearm with Gas-Escape Port.”

NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for a sound suppressor to be issued with the SOPMOD M4 kit. The order will run from 50 to 10,000 suppressors. They desire a 25 decibel sound reduction, a 3,000 round lifespan, and mounting without interference with the use of an attached M203 grenade launcher.

NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for 50 to 10,000 Visible Lasers for issue with the SOPMOD kit. The Visible Laser shall have the following characteristics:

  1. Able to attach to the RIS installed on a M4A1 Carbine;
  2. Use 1.5V AA batteries;
  3. Include a detachable tethered pressure switch and an integral toggle switch;
  4. Be small, lightweight, rugged, and waterproof;
  5. Incorporate finger adjustable windage and elevation adjustments; and
  6. Project eye-safe laser light a minimum of 300 meters at night.

1996


Colt receives a contract for M16A2E3.

Work begins on a “green” replacement for the lead core of the M855 Ball cartridge.

FNMI introduces the Floating Integrated Rail Mount (FIRM) system, their contender for the US Army’s MWS requirement. They also announce development of what is to become the M249 SPW (Special Purpose Weapon).

Colt begins work on the 5.56x30mm MARS (Mini Assault Rifle System). In many ways, the cartridge is a throwback to the .22 Gustafson Carbine (.22 APG/.22 SCHV) cartridge. Colt’s James F. Taylor and Special Analytical Services’ (SAS) LTC Michael R. Harris (US Army, Retired) and are responsible for the new design. The cartridge uses pistol powders in the WW296/H110 range to achieve 2,600 fps with a 55gr bullet. Reportedly, the bullet specified is similar to the original Sierra 55gr projectile used in early .222 Special testing. The new cartridge is mated with a bisected Colt Commando. (In some pictures, you can see the welded seem in the upper and lower receivers.)

Spain begins new rifle trials to replace the CETME Model L. Candidates include the Diemaco C7, the FN FNC, the HK G36E, the IMI Galil, the SIG SG550, and the Steyr AUG.

January:
The DOD strikes funding from its FY 1996 budget totaling $13.5 million for the M16 rifle, $6.5 million for the M4 carbine, and $28.5 million for the M249.

The ARDEC engineer authorizes the release of the M4A1 TDP to NSWC-Crane. However, the TDP is not yet complete.

Diemaco completes delivery of C7A1 to the Danish military.

The British ITDU starts SA80 Hot/Dry Reliability Trials.

February:
The OICW Phase 2 system design and critical subsystem technology demonstration stage is completed.

ACALA issues a solicitation for 29,667 M16A2.

FNMI receives an order for 31,700 M16A2.

The military specification for the M249 SAW, MIL-M70446A(AR), is inactivated

The military specifications for M193 Ball, M196 Tracer, M197 High Pressure Test, M200 Blank, M855 Ball, and M856 Tracer are inactivated.

The British ITDU ends SA80 Hot/Dry Reliability Trials.

JSSAP issues a market survey announcement seeking innovative concepts and technologies of a non-conventional nature in support of a future OPW program. The OPW should provide immediate incapacitation out to 50 meters against personnel wearing body armor. Instead of traditional “bullet launchers,” technically advanced, leap-ahead concepts and technologies are being sought, such as pulsed lasers. Anti-personnel effects must have a lethal capability, and can include a less than lethal capability, if such effects are tunable from the lethal effect. Respondents will be selected to give presentations to Technology Assessment panel, which will meet in May 1996.

Aberdeen Proving Ground issues a requirement for a mount to interface between the AN/PAQ-4C Aiming Device and the M4 Carbine Rail System.

March:
Awards are given to support the OICW Phase 3 Advanced Technology Demonstration program. This involves the fabrication of prototype systems for non-firing Dismounted Battlespace Battle Lab experiments.

The “M995, 5.56mm, Armor Piercing Cartridge” is officially type-classified.

The Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP) Executive Council meets and votes to fund 15 new projects and 13 continuing programs in FY 1997. The following project proposals are set for funding beginning in October 1996: M249 feed tray cover, M249 flex mount, M4 improved buttstock, weapon flashlight, and close quarters battle sling for the M4 carbine. Programs to be carried over include an optic sight for the M249, M60, and M240G, 40mm less-than-lethal grenades, and a less-than-lethal 5.56mm cartridge.

NSWC-Crane issues the RFP for the SOPMOD kit sound suppressor. Samples are required in 60 days.

April:
ACALA awards a $29,946 contract modification to Colt related to equipment and materials testing for the M4 carbine.

OPS, Inc. files a protest with the GAO claiming that not enough time is allowed by the SOPMOD RFP to develop a new sound suppressor and deliver samples by the May 1996 deadline. OPS, Inc. also claims that the agency downgraded the RFP specifications in order to make it possible for a particular vendor to be able to meet the specifications. OPS, Inc. maintains that the endurance firing standard of 3,000 rounds is less than one-third that required under the terms of an earlier US Army contract. In addition, OPS, Inc argues that the sound pressure level requirement penalizes suppressor designs that raise the relatively low frequency gun shot sound to a very high frequency.

The Danish military places a follow-on order worth $8 million with Diemaco for 5,000 C7A1 for the Danish International Brigade assigned to NATO‘s Rapid Reaction Corps. (It would appear that 200 C8A1 were ordered around the same time.)

May:
ACALA awards a $927,380 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines.

ACALA awards a $50,000 contract modification to FNMI for M249 RDT&E.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to FNMI for 9,430 to 13,638 M249.

HK‘s Helmut Weldle receives US Patent #5,513,461 titled “Light-Weight Automatic Rifle.”

ARDEC issues a solicitation for 75 to 4,200 XM145 Telescopes for use with the M249, M60, and M240B.

Colt’s Laurance Robbins files a patent application for an improved four-position selector switch.

The ARL publishes “The Effects of Recoil on Shooter Performance.” The research was funded by JSSAP in support of their bursting munitions program. The goal was to investigate the effects that weapon recoil has on aiming accuracy and on the number of shots that soldiers are willing to fire. The research also investigated the possible benefits of adding a recoil-mitigating device to high recoil weapons. Results showed that although significantly more shots could be fired with weapons with a recoil-mitigating device, the aiming accuracy was no better than that of weapons without the device. However, the higher recoil test weapons had significantly poorer aiming accuracy than the weapon with the lightest recoil, and the aiming error with the high recoil weapons was consistently above the target. Of note is that calculations for the M16A2 and proposed Advanced Rifle Grenade Munitions (ARGM) indicate that the latter combination would exceed the recoil energy of a 10 Gauge Magnum shotgun or .375 H&H Magnum rifle at minimum, and at maximum, even exceed the recoil energy of a .460 Weatherby Magnum rifle.

June:
ARDEC awards a $77,106 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

ARDEC issues a market survey/sources-sought announcement to identify potential sources of lead/toxic-free small caliber primers in 5.56mm, 7.62mm, 9mm and caliber .50.

The military specification for the M857 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-C-70468A(AR), is canceled.

The British ITDU conducts additional trials of a modified gas system for the SA80.

NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for 1,125 to 2,125 M4A1 training ammunition adaptor kits.

ARDEC issues a sources-sought notice for NDI slings or adapters for the current sling. These items will allow either the M16A2 Rifle and/or the M4 Carbine to be carried in an upright, muzzle-forward, assault mode while the weapon is suspended from the sling.

ARDEC issues a sources sought announcement for a weapon flashlight capable of attachment to a standard M16A2, M4, and any other weapon equipped with MIL-STD-1913 accessory rails.

FNMI‘s Christophe Degoix, Gary A. Sniezak, and Kevin Langevin file a patent application for a multiple magazine clamp to be used with the M16, M4, and M249.

FN publicly introduces its 5.7x28mm “Five-seveN” pistol prototype.

Michael Harris and Colt’s James Taylor file a patent application for the MARS design.

July:
ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 9,785 M4 Carbines.

ACALA awards FNMI $24,875,495 of a multi-year contract worth an estimated $35,949,764. The initial order is for 9,430 M249 and TDP maintenance. The anticipated second and third year orders are expected to be for 3,802 and 406 M249 respectively.

ACALA also awards separate $42,655 and $52,596 contract modifications to FNMI for M249.

The GAO denies OPS, Inc.’s RFP protest regarding the SOPMOD kit sound suppressor.

The Security Operations Training Facility at Fort Bragg issues a sole-source solicitation to KAC for 175 non-adjustable flip-up sights, 65 QD shotgun mounts, and detachable pistol grips for the M4 carbine.

ARDEC issues a sources-sought announcement for a recoil attenuating mount (“soft mount”) to interface with both the M249 machine gun and the M122 tripod.

NSWC-Crane issues a sole-source solicitation to Litton Inc., Optical Systems Division, for 325 Submersible Aquila Night Vision Weapon Sights (4X). The sights will be used on the M16 and 7.62mm rifles.

August:
ACALA awards FNMI a $11,840,880 contract for the production of 88,500 M16A2 rifles.

ACALA awards a $170,451 contract to Colt related to the M16 for FMS.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 9,785,716 M4 and M4A1 Carbines.

NSWC-Crane releases the M4A1 TDP to 21 contractors in support of the training ammunition adaptor kits. The contractors include FNMI and Colt. Colt promptly informs NSWC-Crane that it has violated the 1967 Licensing Agreement. The US Army also faxes information to NSWC-Crane regarding the licensing agreement. In response, NSWC-Crane quickly attempts to recover the TDP from FNMI.

The ARDEC engineer releases additional drawings from the M4A1 TDP to NSWC-Crane.

ARDEC publishes another report titled “ARDEC Evaluation of Blown 5.56mm M4A1 Carbine Barrel.”

The military specification for M193 Ball, MIL-C-9963F, is amended for a fourth time.

FN‘s Rene Predazzer files an US patent application for the forward ejection system which will be used in the F2000.

ARDEC‘s May 1996 solicitation for the XM145 Telescope is corrected to include up to 20,000 units.

The US Marine Corps Systems Command MARCORSYSCOM issues a sources-sought notice for COTS/NDI products in support of the Special Effects Small Arms Training System (SESAMS). This system is a special effects marking system, used in the training environment, that allows the individual shooter to use his designated service weapon with a low velocity projectile at short range. The following performance capabilities and characteristics apply but will not be limited to:

  1. Kits will convert the current small arms;
  2. Kits will allow for user installation and maintenance;
  3. No bore sighting will be required once the weapon is converted;
  4. Converted weapons will not be capable of firing live ammunition;
  5. The SESAMS bullet will be multiple colors and wash off with standard off-the-shelf detergent;
  6. When fired at any range, the SESAMS bullet will not penetrate human skin clothed in the normal service uniform; and
  7. The kits will cause no more wear beyond what is expected from standard weapons fire.

September:
ACALA awards a $1,775,794 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

NSWC-Crane sends out Non-Disclosure Agreements to the 20 other contractors who received the M4A1 TDPFNMI fails to sign and return the NDA.

ACALA cancels their previous solicitation for 9,785,716 M4 and M4A1 Carbines. The solicitation is corrected to add 716 M4A1 Carbines to a July solicitation for 9,785 M4 Carbines. FNMI submits a unsolicited proposal for the contract, which is rejected. ACALA then awards Colt a $5,510,617 contract for the production of 9,861 M4 and 716 M4A1 Carbines. FNMI in response files a protest to the GAO.

ACALA awards a $772,366 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines.

Rock Island’s Engineering Directorate publishes the report “Fire to Destruction Test of 5.56mm M4A1 Carbine and M16A2 Rifle Barrels.” Reports had been received of barrels rupturing on M4A1 carbines issued to Special Forces units. Concern was expressed that the M4A1 might be more susceptible than the M16A2 to ruptured barrels due to overheating. M4A1 Carbines and M16A2 Rifles were tested at a high rate of fire until the weapon was severely overheated and destroyed due to ruptures in the barrel. The testing indicates the M4A1 Carbine performs as well as, or better than, the M16A2 Rifle with respect to barrel ruptures from overheating.

The military specification for M855 Ball, MIL-C-63989C(AR), is amended for a second time.

The military specification for M856 Tracer, MIL-C-63990C(AR), is amended for a third time.

The military specification for 5.56mm Reference cartridges, MIL-C-46397C(AR), is amended for a third time.

Germans troops assigned to the NATO Rapid Reaction Force are issued the HK G36 family. Other Bundeswehr units are issued the G36 as quantities permit.

The XM68 Reflex Collimator Sight (AKA: Close Combat Optic or CCO) is type-classified. (The XM68 is an Aimpoint Comp-M red-dot sight.)

NSWC-Crane awards KAC a contract for suppressors for the SOPMOD kit.

October:
ACALA cancels Colt’s $5,510,617 contract for M4 and M4A1 Carbine production. Colt notifies ACALA that it should not have released the M4A1 TDP to NSWC-Crane, and that NSWC-Crane has breached Colt’s licensing agreement by releasing the TDP to other contractors. The Congressional delegation from Connecticut requests a DOD audit of the US Army and Navy’s handling of the M4A1 TDP, and the decision to cancel the before mentioned contract.

ACALA deallocates $3,673,169 in a contract modification to Colt for the M4 carbine.

Armalite’s Mark Westrom files a patent application for an improved M16 bolt.

The military specification for the M200 Blank, MIL-C-60616C(AR), is amended for a third time.

The military specification for the M857 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-C-70468A(AR), is reinstated.

MARCORSYSCOM issues another sources-sought notice for COTS/NDI products in support of the Special Effects Small Arms Training System (SESAMS). This system is a special effects marking system, used in the training environment, that allows the individual shooter to use his designated service weapon with a low velocity projectile at short range. The following performance capabilities and characteristics apply but will not be limited to:

  1. Kits will convert the current small arms;
  2. Kits will allow for user installation and maintenance;
  3. No bore sighting will be required once the weapon is converted;
  4. Converted weapons will not be capable of firing live ammunition;
  5. The SESAMS bullet will be multiple colors and wash off with standard off-the-shelf detergent;
  6. When fired at any range, the SESAMS bullet will not penetrate human skin clothed in normal service uniform; and
  7. The kits will cause no more wear beyond what is expected from standard weapons fire.

November:
ACALA awards a $4,725,363 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

A Live Fire Test and Evaluation (LFT&E) for the M995 AP cartridge is approved.

December:
Colt notifies the Government that the failure to adequately to protect Colt’s proprietary data constitutes a material breach of the 1967 Licensing Agreement. Thus, Colt announces the Government that the licensing agreement is terminated, and that the Government will no longer be permitted to use the data in the procurement and/or manufacture of the M16 and M4 family.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 1,012 M4A1 Carbines.

ACALA awards a $28,026 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines. ACALA also awards a $286,404 contract modification related to the M4 carbine. This includes items for FMS.

ACALA awards a $10,005,792 contract modification to FNMI for 3,802 M249.

A detailed test plan for the M995 cartridge LFT&E is approved.

TACOMARDEC issues a sources sought/market survey for 5.56mm M995 AP Cartridges. A basic production contract will be awarded in the third quarter of FY97 for a quantity of 1,150,000 5.56mm M995 AP cartridges. The contract will include four additional option years (FY98-01) for up to 4,375,000 cartridges.

ACALA awards a $996,167 contract to Colt for commercial R0705 rifles and M203 grenade launchers.

The military specification for the M203 grenade launcher, MIL-L-45935A, is inactivated.

1997


The USAF begins to convert older M16 rifles to a M16A2-type configuration using modification kits.

The final “M4 Carbine Production Engineering Report” is released.

Aimpoint receives a US Army contract for 100,000 CompML red-dot sights, later to be designated the M68.

FN is awarded a contract to provide M5 collapsible buttstocks for the M249.

The L85A1 and L86A1 are withdrawn from NATO‘s Nominated Weapon List.

British researchers begin work on the experimental L85A1 Electronic Individual Weapon (EIW) program. Certain mechanical parts (hammer, sear, firing pin, etc.) are replaced with an electronic fire control system to modify cyclic rate and burst length. Even the ammunition uses electrically ignited primers. Live-fire testing centers around cyclic rates of 300, 450, and 700 rounds per minute. The 300rpm rate provides the most benefits, increasing hits by 19 percent and decreasing full-auto groups by 30 percent.

Turkey adopts the HK 33. The rifles will be produced domestically by MKE.

Vektor introduces the CR-21, an inspired bullpup conversion of their standard R4 rifle. (Vektor is the successor to LEW.)

January:
ACALA awards Colt a $527,252 contract for M4A1 Carbine production.

ACALA awards a $162,552 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines.

The US Army publishes “Operator’s and Unit Maintenance Manual, Sight, Thermal, AN/PAS-13(V)2 and AN/PAS-13(V)3.”

Aurelius Mooney, Edward Schmitter, and Richard Baker receive US Patent #5,590,484 titled “Universal Mount for Rifle.”

February:
The Government acknowledges that Colt might be entitled to damages because of the unauthorized release, but disputes that the licensing agreement had been materially breached. Relying on Article XX of the licensing agreement, the Government asserts that a breach would arise, and termination would be appropriate, only in the event that the Government failed to use its best efforts to remedy the violation. Because it had presumably corrected its error by recovering all copies of the TDP from the US Navy, and by securing non-disclosure statements from 19 of the 20 contractors (FNMI merely provided a letter attesting that it had not improperly used the data), the Government maintains that it had met its obligation under the licensing agreement. Therefore, the 1967 Licensing Agreement should remain intact.

ACALA awards Colt a $932,069 contract for M4A1 Carbine production.

The military specifications for the M4 carbine, M16A2, and M16A2E3 rifle are each inactivated.

NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for 50 to 20,000 Backup Iron Sights (BUIS) for issue with the SOPMOD kit.

NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for COTS/NDI Night Sights (3X-4X) and Pocket Scopes (1x with add on 3-4x magnifier) for issue with the SOPMOD kit. Requirements are that the sight/scope be securely mountable to the upper receiver group of the M4A1 Carbine (MIL-STD-1913 Rail), provide passive aiming capability to 200 meters (further with IR illumination), be durable and waterproof to 66 feet. The intention of mounting the pocket scope to the carbine is for use in combination with a reflex type sight. It would be mounted behind the reflex sight (with and without magnifier installed). The pocket scope should also have head mounting capability as well as a versatile helmet mount. The Night Scope is intended as a stand alone item to replace the 4x ACOG Day Scope for night use. It will have a reticule and adjustments for elevation and windage . Desired Night Vision characteristics include minimum 60 line pair per millimeter resolution and manually adjustable gain control. Power source should be AA batteries (preferably only one).

The first M68 CCO are issued.

British armorers receive improved washers for retrofit to the SUSAT‘s windage screws. The new washers are less likely to rust.

March:
The military specification for the M16 and M16A1, MIL-R-45587A(4), is inactivated.

ACALA awards a $35,055 and $63,264 contract modifications to FNMI for M249.

The US Army Research Laboratory publishes “Venting Propellant Gases to Obtain Nonlethal Projectile Velocity.” The reduction of muzzle velocity by variable venting of a gun barrel was investigated as a means to create a selectable lethal/non-lethal weapon system. Simulation was performed with an interior ballistics code (IBRGA) that was modified to model venting of the barrel. Simulation of an M16A2 rifle showed that venting might reduce the muzzle velocity to non-lethal values if venting could commence earlier than is possible with the present M855 round. To obtain data for comparison, M16 barrels were vented by drilling pluggable holes in the barrel at given intervals. Venting propellant gas from the M16 barrels yielded data that agreed with simulation results for the lower venting areas but exhibited less agreement for high area venting. Thus, the authors conclude that 5.56x45mm weapons are not suitable platforms for the selectable lethality modification. A .50 caliber conversion of the M16 platform is suggested as being more suitable for the modification and will form the basis for future research.

Center Industries receives a contract for 140,000 thirty round magazines.

April:
Gene Stoner dies.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 2,031 M4A1 Carbines.

ACALA awards Capco, Inc. a $5,094,384 contract option for the manufacture of 24,144 M16A1 Modification Kits. 65 bids were solicited, and five bids were received.

TACOMARDEC announces a sole-source solicitation to AAI and ATK in support of OICW development. A Phase IV will be held after the down-select from the current Phase III program. Phase IV will consist of the final prototype system design development, integration, validation, and fabrication. The successful contractor will perform prototype design refinement and validation, laser steering integration and validation, and fabricate and deliver ten complete OICW systems with associated manuals, spare parts, and ammunition.

The M995 cartridge LFT&E is completed.

The military specifications for XM777 Ball and XM778 Tracer are canceled.

HK‘s Manfred Guhring files an US patent application for the bolt and bolt carrier design of the G36 and another patent application for the G36’s ambidextrous cocking handle.

HK‘s Manfred Guhring and Helmut Weldle file an US patent application for the gas operating system of the G36.

May:
ACALA awards Colt a $1,058,151 contract for M4A1 Carbine production.

ACALA also issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 80 M4 Carbines.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer a large number of weapons and ammunition to Bosnia-Herzegovina at no cost. This includes 46,100 M16A1, 17,000,000 rounds of 5.56mm Ball, and 2,000,000 rounds of 5.56mm blank ammo.

NSWC-Crane reissues their solicitation for 50 to 20,000 Backup Iron Sights (BUIS) for issue with the SOPMOD kit.

June:
The DOD‘s Inspector General files an audit report on the issue of the M4A1 TDP release. It concludes that both the release of the data to the US Navy, and the Navy’s distribution to contractors, were improper. The Inspector General recommends that procedures be implemented to better safeguard Colt’s proprietary data.

ACALA awards Colt a $41,680 contract for M4 Carbine production.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 200 M203/M4 Compatibility Kits.

The USAIC develops an operational requirement for the M4 Modular Weapon System (MWS) calling for an accessory attachment shotgun. The USAIC later drops the item, instead choosing to support the Joint Service Combat Shotgun requirement.

TECOM publishes “System Evaluation Report (SER) of the Close Combat Optic.”

HK‘s Manfred Guhring and Helmut Danner file an US patent application for the trigger mechanism of the G36.

July:
The M16A2E4 (AKA: M16A4), the XM4 and XM5 Rail Adapter Systems (KAC‘s RAS for the M4 and M16), “Sight, Reflex with Mount, M68,” “XM145 Telescope” (a variant of the ELCAN C79), and M203A1 grenade launcher are all type-classified. The XM145, later renamed the M145 MGO (Machine Gun Optic), is intended for use on the M249 and M240B. The M203A1 is designed for use on the M4 carbine.

In a letter to the US Army, Colt estimates damages between 43.5 and 70 million dollars from the improper release of M4A1 TDP.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to make a FMS to Thailand for 37,500 M16A2, 4,700 M4, 2,600 M203, bayonets, and spare parts. The sale is worth ~$40 million.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 200 M16A1 to Lithuania at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

The military specification for the M857 Dummy Cartridge, MIL-C-70468A(AR), is inactivated.

JSSAP hosts a Future Small Arms Conclave to discuss improvements to the OFSA.

The Chinese 5.8x42mm weapons family is publicly unveiled with the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese control. The bullpup rifle system carried by the Chinese troops is dubbed the Type 95. Export variants chambered for 5.56x45mm are dubbed the Type 97.

KAC‘s Doug Olson files a patent application for an improved RAS.

TEXCOM publishes “Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, AN/PAS-13 Thermal Weapon Sight (TWS).”

NSWC-Crane announces its intent to procure from 5,100 to 30,000 Insight Technology Inc. (ITI) Model # ITP002 Infrared Target Pointer/Illuminator/Aiming Lasers for use with the M16A2, M4, M60, and M2.

ARDEC‘s May 1996 solicitation for the XM145 Telescope is increased to up to 36,000 units.

August:
ACALA awards $2,118,609 and $345,205 contract modifications to FNMI for M16A2. The second is for FMS.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 268 M4 Carbines.

The JSSAMP is updated yet again. The Objective Personal Weapon (OPW) is now described as a selective fire lightweight system (less than 3 pounds) capable of “immediate incapacitation” against personnel wearing body armor within 50 meters, and an effective range of 200 meters.

The US Navy approves a Materiel Needs Statement from the SEALs for a new 5.56mm LMG. The goals include a weight under 13lbs, SOPMOD kit compatibility, and high corrosion resistance.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to make a FMS to Kuwait for M16A2 and M4. The sale is worth in excess of $1 million.

The military specifications for the M4A1 carbine and M231 FPW are each inactivated.

The US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine publishes the technical report “The Effect of Gender, Rifle Stock Length, and Rifle Weight on Military Marksmanship and Arm-Hand Steadiness.” Thirteen female and fifteen male soldiers were recruited to take part in the study. Performance on the Noptel marksmanship simulator showed no gender differences in marksmanship with the M16A2 rifle and the M4 carbine. However, reducing the stock length from 10.3″ to 7.0″ significantly improved marksmanship scores for both male and female soldiers. Weapon weight was also a critical factor. Shot groups were tighter with the lighter M4 versus the heavier M16A2. Similar findings were found with arm-hand steadiness: shorter and lighter weapon configurations allowed a steadier hold regardless of gender. However, no live-fire testing was completed as a part of the study.

Steyr introduces the A2 variant of the AUG. Instead of requiring two separate receivers, one with the integrated carry handle/optic and a second with a sight rail, the AUG A2 features a single receiver that can be equipped in either configuration, interchangeably.

The Indian Ministry of Defence awards a Rs500 million ($13.88 million) contract to IMI for 50 million rounds of 5.56mm ammunition for the INSAS. Up to this point, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has repeatedly delayed importing equipment to manufacture the INSAS’ proprietary 5.56mm cartridge. While the INSAS was specifically designed around the latter, it can accept standard 5.56x45mm cartridges.

TACOMARDEC, in support of PM-Small Arms, conducts a market survey to identify potential sources of a compact, lightweight accessory shotgun for attachment to the M16A2 Rifle and M4 Carbine. They desire a 12 gauge shotgun capable of handling all 2.75 and 3 inch loadings, either manually-operated or semi-auto, weighing between 3 and 3.5 pounds, and possessing a four to six round magazine capacity.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation notice for the procurement of 257,742 magazines from Okay Industries.

The ARL publishes the report “Development of a 40-mm Nonlethal Cartridge.” The report details the research and development that went into creating the XM1006 non-lethal sponge grenade.

September:
JSSAP hosts a second Future Small Arms Conclave to discuss requirements for the “Army After Next.” This involves so-called “Blue Sky” speculation for armaments for the year 2020 and beyond.

Colt and the US Army hold settlement negotiations regarding the M4A1 TDP release.

ACALA awards Colt a $139,628 contract for M4 Carbine production.

Colt’s Laurance Robbins files a patent application for an improved gas block/front sight housing.

ACALA awards a $87,875 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

NSWC-Crane awards KAC a $2,165,900 contract for Back-Up Iron Sights (BUIS) for the M4A1.

October:
ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 24,000 M4 and M4A1 Carbines spread over a four-year period. Later in the month, ACALA awards Colt a contract worth up to ~$12.5 million for 24,000 M4 and M4A1 Carbines. The initial order is worth $3,126,000.

ACALA also issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 3,143 M16A4 Flat Top Upper Receiver and Barrel Assemblies.

ACALA issues a solicitation for 59,370 M16A1 Modification Kits over a three-year period. The kits will be used to upgrade existing M16A1 to the current M16A2 standard.

Olin’s Henry J. Halverson and Anthony F. Valdez file a patent application for a lead-free M855 projectile.

Michael Harris and Colt’s James Taylor file another patent application for the MARS design.

FN‘s Rene Predazzer receives US Patent #5,675,924 titled “Ejection Device for Firearm.”

FNMI‘s Christophe Degoix, Gary A. Sniezak, and Kevin Langevin receive US Patent #5,676,241 titled “Holder for Plural Ammunition Magazines.”

November:
Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer M16 and 5.56mm ammunition to Israel at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

The Belgian region of Walloon purchases FN from GIAT.

December:
Colt and the US Army reach a final agreement, referred to as the “M4 Addendum.” The “M4 Addendum” is comprised of two parts: the first characterizing the Army’s rights for the M4 TDP, and the second clarifying of the status of the M16 licensing agreement. With regard to the M16 rights, the Addendum reaffirms the status quo set forth in the 1967 Licensing Agreement. This means that the terms of the 1967 license essentially will remain in place with Colt neither pursuing its multi-million dollar damage claim, nor maintaining its position that the license was terminated in light of the alleged breach. As to the M4 data rights, the Addendum grants the Government a non-exclusive, non-transferable, limited rights license for the M4 TDP that precludes the Government from using the M4’s TDP in competitive procurements until July 1, 2009. Afterwards, a 5 percent royalty will be due on any second-sourced rifles until December 31, 2050.

ACALA awards a $1,129,347 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

HK‘s Rudolf Brandl and Heinz Matt file an US patent application for the design of the Phase II OICW.

AAI’s Paul Shipley, Frederick S. Brown, Sr., Christopher J. Yaniger, Mark Mayo, George R. Christ, and David O. Cleveland file a patent application for the cosmetic design of AAI’s OICW submission.

ARDEC issues a sources-sought notice for COTS/NDI non-lethal 40x46mm crowd control cartridges. The cartridges must have the following characteristics:

  1. Compatible with the M203 grenade launcher with no changes to the standard operating procedures associated with loading, firing, and unloading the cartridge;
  2. Compatible with standard rifle and/or grenade launcher sights;
  3. Shall demonstrate an 80 percent probability of hitting an 8 foot high by 15 foot wide rectangular target array at 15 meters required (30 meters desired) with a minimum of 15 submunitions or 75 percent of the total submunitions;
  4. Area of target coverage shall be a minimum of 20 square feet at 15 meters (60 square feet minimum at 30 meters desired);
  5. No black powder propellant;
  6. No residue from firing deposited in barrel to the detriment of subsequent weapon firing/function;
  7. Effective non-lethal incapacitation from a minimum engagement range of 10 meters to a maximum engagement range of 15 meters required (30 meters maximum engagement range desired);
  8. Operational in climatic conditions from 0 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit;
  9. Capable of storage in climatic conditions of -46 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit;
  10. Shall be non-explosive and non-fragmenting upon target impact; and
  11. Have a functional reliability greater than 95 percent at temperatures between 0 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

ARDEC issues a draft RFP for Backup Iron Sights (BUIS) for use with the M16A4 and M4.

TACOMARDEC announces its intent to solicit and negotiate with Colt on a sole source basis for the manufacture and delivery of 300 M4 Carbine Improved Buttstock Assemblies.

FNMI‘s Kevin Langevin and Gary A. Sniezak file a patent application for a M16 buttstock that possesses two separate sling slots for carriage of the rifle at different positions.

1998


The US Army announces its intent to gradually replace the M16A2 with a flattop M4 carbine equipped with the M4 RAS. (Some sources indicate that this variant was initially known as the M4E2.)

Norwegian Special Forces (FSK) adopt the Diemaco C8A1.

HK releases the results of its testing on the L85A1 and L86A1. Included are recommendations on potential fixes. HK is contracted to upgrade 200 weapons and test them again.

British researchers continue the Electronic Individual Weapon (EIW) program. EIW technology is included in the British equivalent to the US Land Warrior system: Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST). Samples of the L86A1 LSW are also converted to create the ELSW.

IMI introduces the bullpup Tavor family.

SIG introduces the SG552 “Commando.”

Modification Work Order (MWO) 9-1010-221-30-1 mounts the M203 on the M4/M4A1 and redesignates the launcher as an M203A1.

January:
NSWC-Crane announces its intent to purchase nine 5.56mm Light Machine Guns. The weapons must weigh between 9 and 14 pounds, with a firing rate of 700+ rounds per minute.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 75 M4A1 Carbines.

ACALA deallocates $2,000,000 in a contract modification to Colt for the M4 carbine.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 380,000 rounds of 5.56mm Tracer to Estonia at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

NSWC-Crane, on behalf of USSOCOM, issues a sources sought announcement for a commercially available/ non-developmental Mini Night Vision Sight (Mini NVS). The Mini NVS must be capable of use either as held-held, helmet-mounted, or affixed to a M4A1.

FNMI‘s Kevin R. Langevin and Gary A. Sniezak file a patent application for the cosmetic design of a one-piece buttstock for the M16.

Turkey orders 200,000 HK 33.

February:
ACALA awards FNMI a $12,621,672 contract option for the production of 31,700 M16A2 rifles for FMS.

ACALA awards a $39,075 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to make a FMS to Kuwait for M16A2 and M4.

HK‘s Rudolf Brandl and Heinz Matt file an US patent application for HK‘s Phase III OICW candidate.

OICW Phase 3 is completed with the demonstration of prototype systems.

CECOM issues a market survey announcement to locate additional sources for a Target Pointer/ Illuminator/ Aiming Light (TPIAL), the AN/PEQ-2A, an Infrared Aiming Light (IAL), the AN/PAQ-4C, mounting brackets, and spares.

March:
ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 15,925 M4 and M4A1 Carbines.

ACALA issues a solicitation for 6,497 to 32,402 M16A4.

Colt receives a new contract for 32,402 M16A4.

ATK‘s OICW system candidate is picked over AAI’s for advancement to the Phase 4 live fire simulation and field tests.

The SOPMOD kit ORD is amended for the second time.

NSWC-Crane issues a solicitation for the finalization of a SOPMOD Manual to include technical and training information, and also an abbreviated pocket reference card.

TACOMARDEC issues a market survey notice to identify potential sources for an off-the-shelf weapon flashlight mount. The mount will permit attachment of flashlights to M4 and M5 Adapter Rails.

ACALA awards a $2,076,300 contract modification to Center Industries.

The PM-Small Arms, in support of the US Army Infantry Center, issues a sources sought announcement for candidates capable of improving the accuracy of the 40mm M433 HEDP cartridge.

Michael Harris and Colt’s James Taylor receive US Patent #5,726,377 titled “Gas Operated Firearm.”

April:
ACALA awards FNMI a $3,233,855.52 contract option for M16A2 production.

ACALA awards a $99,996 contract to Colt related to the M16.

ARDEC awards ATK a $8,423,586 contract for development of the OICW.

NSWC-Crane, on behalf of USSOCOM, issues a sources sought announcement for a 5.56mm belt-fed LMG. The LMG must weigh between 9 and 13 pounds and be between 40 and 44 inches in length. It must possess MIL-STD-1913 rails for the attachment of optics and the use of accessories from the M4 SOPMOD kit. A minimum service life of 50,000 rounds is required, and the barrel must have a service life of 10,000 rounds. Mean rounds between stoppages are to be no more than 1800-2200 rounds. Retractable stocks are optional, but no provision for the use of box magazines is desired.

SPECWARCOM finalizes a Joint Operational Requirements Document (JORD) for frangible ammunition. It is based on existing frangible technology and operational requirements. The JORD is then submitted to other USSOCOM activities.

TACOMARDEC issues a market survey notice for an enhanced fire control device/system for the M203 grenade launcher. The enhanced device/system must provide increased performance over the current leaf and quadrant sights. They desire range resolutions to 10 meters or less. The system must not weigh more than either 12 or 24 ounces, depending upon the incorporation of advanced sensors.

ACALA awards a $131,400 contract to Colt for R0801 (commercial M203) for FMS.

The M4 and M5 RAS are standardized.

William R.H. Alexander and Trevor J. Barraclough file an US patent application for the .224 Boz.

May:
ACALA awards Colt a $8,296,925 contract for the production of 15,925 M4 and M4A1 Carbines. The following day, FNMI delivers a proposal claiming that they are also capable of producing the M4 for the US Army. The Army rejects the proposal for being late based upon the date the solicitation was filed on the Internet. However, the submission would have been on time based upon the date that the printed version was filed. FNMI, in response, files a lawsuit with the US Court of Federal Claims.

ACALA awards a $295,580 contract modification to Colt related to the M4 carbine.

HK‘s Johannes Murello, Rudolf Brandl, and Wilhelm Fischbach file an US patent application for the receiver construction of the OICW‘s grenade launcher.

June:
ACALA awards Colt a $18,148,960 contract for 88,037 conversion kits to upgrade existing M16A1 rifles.

ACALA also awards Colt an order for 5,000 M16A4.

The US Court of Federal Claims denies the Government and Colt’s motion to dismiss FNMI‘s suit. The Government and Colt’s lawyers argued for dismissal on the basis that FNMI‘s submission was late.

Colt’s Laurance Robbins receives US Patent #5,760,328 titled “Four Position Firearm Fire Control Selector.”

NSWC-Crane conducts a performance evaluation to determine if any commercially available cartridges could meet the frangible ammunition JORD requirements. None of the cartridge designs meet all of the operational requirements.

TACOMARDEC announces its intent to award a sole source contract to ATK for the manufacture of (X)M95 Area Fire Non-Lethal Rifle Munitions. Developed in support of the Non-Lethal Program, the munition will be fired from a standard M16/M4 series weapon. The non-fragmenting and non-explosive submunitions will produce non-lethal effects at a range of 50 meters.

ACALA awards a $3,693,677.65 contract option to KAC for MWS components and assorted spares.

TACOMARDEC, in support of PM-Small Arms, issues a solicitation for 50 to 96,364 Backup Iron Sights (BUIS) for use with the M16A4 and M4.

NSWC-Crane announces the Government’s intent to hold a combined Government/Industry conference in October 1998 to discuss the future requirements of the SOPMOD M4 Accessory Kit Program. The procurement/fielding of the Accessory Kit (Phase I) is nearly complete; however, the program is looking to continuously improve the existing kit components as well as providing new NDI/COTS technologies to Special Forces. Currently, the Accessory Kit is comprised of the following components: 4X Day Scope, Reflex Sight, Rail Interface System (MIL-STD-1913), Vertical Forward Handgrip, Quick Attach/Detach M203 Grenade Launcher Mount and Sight, Infrared Laser Pointer/Illuminator, Visible Laser, Visible Bright Light, Backup Iron Sight, Combat Sling, Sloping Cheek Weld Stock, Mini Night Sight and 9 inch M203 Grenade Launcher Barrel. The intent of this conference is to establish communication between Government and industry in order to determine future requirements and capabilities of the SOPMOD Accessory Kit.

Marine Corps Systems Command, on behalf of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL), announces its intent to negotiate a sole source, commercial item contract with Raytheon TI Systems. The contract is for Raytheon’s NightSights W10009 uncooled thermal weapons sight and associated equipment for attachment to the M16A2, M4, and M240.

July:
ACALA awards Colt a $2,514,339 contract for production of 6,497 M16A4. ACALA also awards a $53,454 contract option related to the M16.

The US Court of Federal Claims rules that FNMI did not submit sufficient evidence that it could produce the M4 carbine within the time constraints of the solicitation.

HK produces its 50,000th G36.

Spain announces its intent to adopt the HK G36E. The intent is for an initial purchase of German manufactured rifles followed by domestic production by Empresa Nacional Santa Barbara.

The British ITDU publishes an investigation of the LSW Trails ranging from 1981 to 1996. The author indicates that the recommendations and conclusions from the earlier trials reports did not match the data collected. Moreover, outside factors appear to have influenced decision making.

TACOMARDEC‘s earlier solicitation for Backup Iron Sights (BUIS) is cancelled.

ACALA awards a $749,998 contract modification to Center Industries.

August:
ACALA awards a $238,896 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2 for FMS.

A field test of the prototype “green” tungsten-core M855 is conducted at Stewart River, Alaska. 5,200 rounds are fired by 72 riflemen during range qualifications.

USSOCOM approves the frangible ammunition JORD.

TACOMARDEC issues a requirement for a Weapon Flashlight Mount (WFM) for attachment to M4 and M5 Adapter Rails.

ARDEC issues a market survey notice for an off-the-shelf, non-developmental Rifle Launched Entry Munition (RLEM). The RLEM must be capable of breaching a metal security door or solid wood door 1.75 inches thick from 6 to 40 meters range with up to a +/-70 degrees offset angle.

September:
ARDEC awards ATK $119,839 for development of the OICW.

ACALA awards $1,154,536 and $26,660 contract modifications to Colt for M4 and M4A1 carbines. ACALA also awards a $212,400 contract modification related to the M4 carbine.

Colt receives an order for 3,249 M16A4.

ACALA awards a $1,257,363 contract option to Colt for M16A4.

ACALA awards a $36,636 contract to Colt related to the M16.

USASOC proposes another amendment to the SOPMOD kit ORD.

TACOMARDEC, in support of the USMC and the US Navy, intends to modify its existing contract with Aimpoint by procuring an additional 300 M68 Reflex Collimator Sights.

ACALA awards $1,040,073 and $1,525,934 contract modifications to Center Industries.

TACOMACALA issues a market survey notice to identify potential sources for a M203A1 Mounting Kit. Intended for mounting the M203A1 to the M4, the contract will request approximately 4,615 kits.

Picatinny awards a $1,393,270 contract to ATK for M95 Area Fire Non-Lethal Rifle Munitions.

Todd Griffin, on behalf of R/M Equipment, files a pair of patent application for the interbar attachment system of the M203PI.

October:
The US Court of Federal Claims rules that neither 10 USC 2320, nor the “Competition in Contracting Act” (CICA), 10 USC 2304, prevents the Government from entering into a settlement agreement relinquishing rights in technical data if the data was developed at both public and private expense, and if a reasonable assessment of litigation risks reveals that the rights at issue are legitimately in dispute. To the extent that the M4 was not developed solely at public expense, the Government was free to relinquish rights to the M4’s TDP without retaining the authority competitively to procure the M4 dependent on that data. However, the relinquishment of these rights may represent a violation of the CICA if the settlement adopted a position not realistically within the outcome risks posed either by the threatened breach of contract action or by Colt’s separate claim of ownership of the M4. The court leaves open for further inquiry the factual issues as to whether the rights to the M4 belonged to the Government, and if so, whether the loss of those rights could reasonably be
interpreted as within the litigation risks the Government faced.

The JSSAMP is updated yet again. This is reportedly the last fully staffed JSSAMP.

Colt receives an order for 1,551 M16A4.

ACALA awards a $600,237 contract option to Colt for M16A4.

Turkey increases its order of HK 33 to 500,000.

HK‘s Johannes Murello files an US patent application for the ambidextrous charging handle of the G36.

HK‘s Manfred Guhring receives US Patent #5,821,445 titled “Loading Lever Assembly for Hand-Operated Firearms.”

HK‘s Manfred Guhring and Helmut Weldle receive US Patent #5,824,943 titled “Self-Loading Rifle with Gas-Pressure Loading Arrangement.”

The first issue of the M4 and M5 RAS begins.

The US Army Research Unit for the Behavioral and Social Sciences publishes “Training Effectiveness Analysis (TEA) of the Land Warrior (LW) System: Phase I – the Baseline Platoon.” A platoon from the 82nd Airborne Division had been chosen to serve as the control for future experiments with the devices from the Land Warrior system.

KAC‘s Doug Olson receives US Patent #5,826,363 titled “Rail Adapter Handguard Systems for Firearms.”

Michael Harris and Colt’s James Taylor receive US Patent #5,827,992 titled “Gas Operated Firearm.”

November:
Initial testing begins of the OICW Virtual Simulator. The Simulator is a joint effort between NAWCTSD and the ARL.

LMT‘s Karl R. Lewis files a patent application for an improved M16 bolt.

ACALA awards a $4,019,900 contract option to FNMI for M249.

WARCOM tasks NSWC-Crane to procure and safety certify 5.56mm, 9mm and .45 caliber frangible ammunition.

British armorers receive improved cocking handle slides for retrofit to the L98A1 Cadet Rifle.

The SOPMOD kit ORD is amended for the third time.

ACALA issues a solicitation notice for the procurement of 440,000 magazines. The solicitation is limited to Okay Industries and General Stamping Company.

Late:
The 5th Special Forces Group collaborates with the USAMU regarding development of a SPR.

December:
ACALA awards a $52,100 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines.

The Bolivian Senate authorizes the Defence Ministry to sign a $11.78 million contract for 10,000 IMI Galil rifles.

The SOPMOD kit ORD is amended for the fourth time. This amendment includes the Accessory Kit Carrying Case.

A platoon from the 82nd Airborne Division receives training with the M68 CCO, the AN/PAQ-4C IAL, the AN/PEQ-2A ITPIAL, and the AN/PAS-13 Thermal Weapon Sight (TWS) in preparation for a Land Warrior operational test. This was the first time soldiers were trained on all four systems simultaneously.

1999


After more than a decade of wrangling, USMC Force Recon, Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams (FAST), and Military Police Special Response Teams finally receive their long awaited M4A1 Carbines, dubbed the Close Quarter Battle Weapon (CQBW).

The M4 and M5 RAS, the M16A4 rifle, and the M995 AP cartridge are all approved for full materiel release.

HK begins work on the compact G36C in hopes of winning a GSG-9 contract.

CIS introduces the bullpup SAR-21. Despite the earlier SAR-80, SR-88, and SR-88A, the SAR-21 becomes the first rifle to officially replace the aging M16S in the armed services of Singapore.

The Canadian military initiates a PDW requirement to replace the Inglis No. 2 Mk. 1* pistol (WW2-era license-production FN GP35) and the Diemaco C8 carbine. Projected quantities have ranged up to 10,000 units. Over the years, the CF PDW candidates have included 5.56x45mm entries such as the Military Manufacturing (M2) Corp. M16X and M16C (4″ and 6″ barrels respectively), and the Diemaco CQB (a Colt Commando variant) and PDW (an even shorter Commando variant). The specialty caliber PDWs such as the FN P90 and HK MP7 have also been considered.

Australian F89 (Minimi) top covers are switched from a proprietary rail design to MIL-STD-1913 rails.

The “M95, Munition, Rifle, Non-Lethal, 5.56mm” is type-classified. The muzzle-mounted M95 contains fifteen rubber-coated, steel spheres that are launched with a M195 blank cartridge.

The US military purchases nearly 30,000 ELCAN M145 MGO.

January:
The first M16A4 are issued.

ACALA awards Colt a $6,371,568 contract option for the production of 16,464 M16A4 rifles. An additional option is awarded for 15,121 M16A4.

ACALA awards a $2,632,500 contract option to Colt for M16A1 Rifle Modification Kits.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer a number of small arms to Panama including M16 rifles.

ACALA awards a $4,019,900 contract option to FNMI for M249. This is for FMS.

NSWC-Dahlgren issues a sole-source solicitation to Winchester for the production of frangible 5.56mm ammunition. (This is later cancelled.)

February:
ACALA awards a $56,215 contract to Colt related to the M16.

ACALA awards a $3,287,510 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines.

NSWC-Crane, on behalf of USSOCOM, issues a solicitation for the 5.56mm belt-fed LMG. Procurement will run between 425 to 2,000 units.

TACOMARDEC issues a solicitation for 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 lead-free projectile cores for use in 5.56mm M855 Ball projectiles. These cores, utilizing either Tungsten/Tin or Tungsten/Nylon material, will be used for standard M855 projectile production processes at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.

NSWC-Crane, on behalf of WARCOM, issues a solicitation for 5.56mm frangible ammunition.

NSWC-Dahlgren, on behalf of the USMC, issues a solicitation for 592,340 rounds of frangible 5.56mm ammunition. The ammunition will be used with the M4A1 CQBW.

Armalite’s Mark Westrom files another patent application for an improved M16 bolt.

FNMI’s Kevin R. Langevin and Gary A. Sniezak receive US Patent #D405,148 titled “Rifle buttstock.”

March:
ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to Colt for 300 M4 and 9,000 M4A1 Carbines.

ACALA awards $3,105,648 and deallocates $2,376,617 in contract modifications to FNMI for the M16A2. The first is for FMS.

Colt receives a trio of additional orders for 4,641, 1,328, and 15 M16A4.

ACALA awards a $1,796,067 contract option to Colt for M16A4.

The USMC tasks NSWC-Crane to catalog, conduct safety certification testing, and obtain WSESRB release of 5.56mm Winchester Ranger frangible ammunition.

ARDEC issues a sources-sought announcement for COTS/NDI non-lethal 40mm crowd dispersal cartridges for use with the M203. The cartridges must have the following characteristics: 1) Shall demonstrate a .90 probability of hitting 4 of 5 standing E-type silhouette targets standing shoulder to shoulder at a range of 30 meters (threshold), 20 meters (objective). A minimum of 75 percent of the total number of submunitions shall hit the target containing the five silhouettes; 2) Effective non-lethal incapacitation out to a minimum range of 15 meters and maximum range of 30 meters (threshold) and a minimum range of 10 meters and maximum range of 50 meters (objective); 3) Shall be non-explosive and non-fragmenting upon target impact; and 4) Possess no black powder propellant.

The ARL publishes “Ballistic Evaluation of the Under-Barrel Tactical Paint Ball System.” This report contains test data for the Under-Barrel Tactical Paint Ball System (UTPBS). Developed by a contractor on behalf of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, the UTPBS device attaches under the barrel of either the M16 rifle or M4 carbine, similar to an M203. It consists of a trigger group and a central launch tube, which is surrounded by five rotating magazine tubes. A compressed gas bottle is located coaxial to the launch tube and supplies high-pressure gas for operation of the device. Five different types of projectiles were evaluated with the launcher. These were based upon a spherical paint ball with a hard plastic shell and various fills that contained bismuth powder and a combination of paint or water. The system was fired for target impact dispersion, launch dynamics, aerodynamics, and clay penetration. The ability of the weapon to target and hit a triple silhouette at 100 m was almost zero. The cause of this inaccuracy was tracked to the shifting of the bismuth powder inside the projectile, which creates mass asymmetry.

ACALA issues a sole-source solicitation to FNMI for 6,000 M249 top covers equipped with an optic rail.

April:
ACALA awards a $1,822,500 contract modification to Colt for M16A1 Rifle Modification Kits.

Picatinny awards a $5,000 contract to KAC for 50 BUIS for the M16A4 and M4.

ARDEC also awards a $4,342 contract to Guns, Gear, and Gadgets (GG&G) for 50 BUIS for the M16A4 and M4.

ACALA awards a $2,472,420 contract to FNMI for M249 top covers with integrated rails.

TACOMARDEC hosts the Soldier Lethality Modeling & Simulation Conference. Included are modeling efforts related to OICW effectiveness and lethality.

HK‘s Manfred Guhring files a US Patent application for the two round burst mechanism of the G36.

NSWC-Crane announces its intent to purchase 645 nine inch barrels for the M203.

May:
ACALA issues a sources sought notice for vendors who can provide 55,262 to 122,500 M16A4 rifles over a five-year contract period.

The SOPMOD Program Management Office (PMO) receives a directive from the commander in chief of USSOCOM (USCINCSOC) and Program Executive Office – Special Programs (PEO-SP) to study and improve the basic M4A1 Carbine platform.

ACALA awards $6,500,700 and $29,862 contract modifications to Colt for M4 carbines. The first is for FMS.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to sell 1,945 M16A2, 349 M249, and 245 M203 to Argentina as Excess Defense Articles for the price of $60,295, $46,417, and $7,350, respectively.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to transfer 2,000 M16A1 and 2,600 M576 40mm Multiple Projectile rounds to Senegal at no cost as Excess Defense Articles.

Picatinny awards a $1,245 contract to Tactical and Rescue Equipment, LLC for weapon flashlight mounts for the M16A4 and M4.

June:
ACALA awards a $187,036 contract to Colt related to the M16.

ARDEC issues a sole-source solicitation to Fastac Design & Development, Inc. for Program Management of Small Arms Weapon Programs. Working for the Individual Weapons Product Director, the contractor will support the planning, execution, and monitoring of specific small arms weapons programs; namely, M4 Carbine, M16 Rifle, and M203 Grenade Launcher. In addition, the contractor will be responsible for monitoring activities in related programs (i.e. M249 Machine Gun and the fire control activities as related to the 40mm grenade launcher). The contractor will be required to analyze the cost, performance, and schedule aspects of assignments, and be prepared with recommendations for courses of action. The basic award is for a six month duration. There will be three additional options, each for a period of six months apiece.

The OICW Virtual Simulator is completed and sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Armalite’s Mark Westrom receives US Patent #5,911,173 titled “Breech Bolt Assembly for a Firearm.”

The US Army Research Unit for the Behavioral and Social Sciences publishes “Assessment of Training on Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) for the Land Warrior (LW) Weapon Subsystem.” This contained early results gathered from the 82nd Airborne Division’s earlier training with the M68 CCO, the AN/PAQ-4C IAL, the AN/PEQ-2A ITPIAL, and the AN/PAS-13 TWS.

TACOM adds an Engineering Change Proposal to Colt’s M4/M4A1 production. 15,925 Improved Buttstocks, worth $47,775, are to be included in current production lots. This would appear to be the design developed by Picatinny project engineer Lily Ko.

FNMI‘s Kevin Langevin and Gary A. Sniezak receive US Patent #5,907,918 titled “Rifle Buttstock.”

HK‘s Manfred Guhring and Helmut Danner receive US Patent #5,913,261 titled “Trigger Arrangement.”

ARDEC issues a solicitation for 50,000 to 550,000 40mm M1006 Non-Lethal cartridges.

ACALA awards a $27,000 contract to Colt for 30 RO801 (commercial M203). These are for FMS to Lebanon.

July:
The US Court of Federal Claims hears testimony from Edward L. Stolarun, the senior attorney in the Intellectual Property Law Section of the AMC‘s Office of Command Counsel. Stolarun explains the Army’s decision to approve the “M4 Addendum.” Stolarun states that although the Government had breached the 1967 Licensing Agreement by failing adequately to protect Colt’s proprietary data against improper disclosure, there was little likelihood that Colt could make good on its threat to terminate the agreement. Based on this assessment, the potential loss of M16 TDP rights was not a factor that influenced the Government’s decision to recognize Colt’s sole rights to the M4 TDP. In addition, Stolarun claims that Colt’s claim to sole ownership of the M4 TDP rights is traceable to technology that preexisted the parties’ 1967 Licensing Agreement and was not licensed to the Government under that agreement. Finally, Stolarun concludes that Colt’s participation in post-1967 Government-funded development efforts involving the M4 carbine did not eliminate Colt’s rights to the unique elements of M4 component design and manufacture that originated with Colt. Stolarun argues that Colt’s earlier efforts to include the M4 under the 1967 Licensing Agreement was not meant to grant license rights to the M4 TDP to the Government, but instead, was an attempt to invoke the disclosure restrictions of the Licensing Agreement.

ACALA awards a $52,400 contract modification to Colt for M4 carbines.

The SOPMOD PMO begins fielding of M4A1 Extraction Parts Set #1 (EPS-1) to Navy and Air Force units.

The PM-Small Arms issues a sources sought announcement for the execution of the Program Definition and Risk Reduction (PD&RR) Phase of OICW development.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to make a FMS to Egypt, which includes among other items 12 M16A2.

NSWC-Crane completes evaluation of five vendors’ bid samples of 5.56mm frangible ammunition. None of the samples meet all the performance requirements. While the samples display acceptable function & casualty, lethality, accuracy, and ballistic match, there are issues of overpenetration on hard targets, primer sensitivity, and waterproofing. As a result, the solicitation’s specifications are modified.

HK‘s Manfred Guhring receives US Patent #5,920,028 titled “Self-Loading Rifle with a Rotatable Breech Block Head.”

AFSOC requests an increase in the SOPMOD kit Basis of Issue Plan (BOIP).

TACOM awards KAC a $5,827,916.80 delivery order for the production of 8,000 M5 RAS, 12,000 M4 RAS, and 4,320 M203 Quick Release Brackets.

August:
The US Court of Federal Claims rules that the Government had the right to recognize that the M4 TDP belonged to Colt outside of the 1967 License, and in settling its dispute with Colt, the Government had properly entered into the “M4 Addendum.” Therefore, the “M4 Addendum” did not violate the CICA, and was fully valid and enforceable. Based on the this, FNMI‘s action for injunctive relief is denied, and its complaint dismissed. FNMI does not appeal.

Congress is notified of the government’s intent to allow the direct commercial sale to Greece of hardware kits and components to manufacture and assemble 117,000 M16A2 rifles, M4 carbines, and 7,000 M203 grenade launchers. The sale is worth in excess of $50 million.

PEO-SP orders the SOPMOD PMO to plan unrestricted evolutionary block upgrades for the SOPMOD kit.

NSWDG issues a solicitation for 25 MWS Rail Sling Mount Adapter Assemblies with Standard OD Swivel, 50 MWS Rail Sling Mount Adapter Assemblies with Push-Button Swivel, 25 PAQ-4 IR Aiming Light Mounts, 30 M4 (FF) RAS Handguard Nuts, 60 M4 (FF) RAS Barrel Nut Pins, 30 M4 (FF) RAS Barrel Nut Assemblies, 30 M4 (FF) RAS Gas Block Assemblies, and 30 M4 (FF) Medium-long Carbine RAS, and M4 (FF) Long RAS.

The US Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command – Soldier Systems Center (SBCCOM-SSC), on behalf of the USMC, issues a combined synopsis and solicitation for a Combat Assault Sling (CAS) for use with the M16A2 Rifle. Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 slings are expected to be ordered.

C-More’s Ira M. Kay files a patent application for the design of the LSS.

Todd Griffin, on behalf of R/M Equipment, receives US Patent #5,930,935 titled “Method and Apparatus for Attaching a Supplemental Device to an Unaltered Host Firearm.”

Colt’s Laurance Robbins receives US Patent #5,945,626 titled “Gas Operated Firearm with Clamp On Gas Block.”

September:
TACOMARDEC, in conjunction with PM-Small Arms, announces its intent to issue a sole-source contract to ATK to conduct the OICW‘s PD&RR effort.

TACOM issues a solicitation for 13,757 M16A1 Modification Kits. The kits will be used to upgrade existing M16A1 to the current M16A2 standard. The solicitation is limited to Colt, FNMI, and Saco. Later in the month, FNMI is awarded a $2,737,643 contract for the requested number of kits.

TACOM issues a solicitation to convert the technical drawings of the M16A2/M16A4 Rifles and the M4 Carbine. The conversion will be from a raster image 2-D line drawing format to a 3-D solid model format with associated parametric 2-D drawings and related engineering services. This conversion is to be done using Pro/ENGINEER parametric 3-D solid modeling Computer Aided Design software, version 20. Interested offerors will need their own above-mentioned Pro/ENGINEER software program and their own workstations. The Government