About 10 years ago the ARFCOM retro forum had not become the price driving monster it would end up. During that time it was still still possible to find some pretty rare parts on ebay and various places. Some of those parts could be made into a full weapon minus the lower of course. That is the goal for most of the retro builders. Ideally they want all original parts they can get to finish the gun. A lot of people manage to piece together a gun by finding all the correct parts. Obviously I am leaving out the full auto lower, but when I say all, I mean everything but that lower and whatever other parts that would risk crossing the absurd rules.
What really sticks in the craw for a lot of people, is getting 90% there. Ewww that has to burn! You get something super rare and cool and you just can not wait to post pics of it all over place at the gun prom! But. You just can’t. Get. It. All! So what do you do? Give up? Sell it all off to some other guy who still has a hope of finishing it up?
Nope. You go online and find some one who knows a guy who knows a guy and just have the parts you need made from scratch of course!.
So now we come down to the “rest of the story”. The two guns shown are of course Colt M2231 post firing weapons. An oddball from a period of time where the military wanted to have something to fire from the side holes of a Bradley. You can look up the details yourself but it basically a M16 simplified down and with a really high cyclic rate meant to be used from the Bradley. There are a few variants of it but one in particular more or less stands as the standard model as far as looks and recognition goes. A guy who ended up becoming a dear friend came on the retro forum one day after ending up with a hand full of M231 parts from some auction and wanted to finish it up as it was not something being done at the time. He was really stuck on a couple of parts that seemed to be impossible to find and was out of options or ideas. I happened to wonder into that thread and after seeing the almost finished weapon, really got hot to see it completed.
I contacted my friend who is a skilled machinist about the possibility of making that part for the arfcommer. After some emails and back and forth the project was on its way.
The major hold up for the arfcom retro guy was the gas block that was also that part that hooked into the vehicle. No one could find measurements or even a picture to show it from all angles and sides. Some found some specs some where and I sent it on to my machinist friend. Just using pictures found online that no one took for the purposed of making a copy of it and eye balling it, my friend came up with a plan. Below is a picture of a real one and the fake one made up by my friend, who has made an appearance on this website a few times over the years.
Everyone has heard of the 10 foot rule or some version of it. Well most will agree that if you have never handled a M231 yourself and even if you did you likely never cared, this copy would most likely pass the 10 inch test for anyone other than people very , very familiar with it
You can see the places where the fake , faked it. Mostly this is a result of making a copy from pictures.
In this case, the length of the barrel gives it away. The real M231 upper has a slightly shorter barrel. The longer 16 inch barrel is used as the variant with stock, makes for a legal carbine. Real M231 upper with shorter than 16 inch barrel is a “Pistol” so as not to have to get into NFA laws.
The machining to make that gas block took a few months and trial and error. Some experimenting had to be done with the gas system and gas tube. A gas tube had to be cut down by the machinist and a one of a kind gas system made. We tested fired it one night and it was feeling of real accomplishment.
The gas block above is pictured in the white. The machine shop my friend worked at did not have an ability to park’ it and the owner received and and sent it off to be finished in the appropriate shade for retro looks.
it was a lot of effort to pull this off. I did not mention that I and my friend live in Ky and the owner close to the other end of the country so much phone calls and emails , shipping and a lot of effort by guys on Arfcom retro forum went into getting this thing together. It tunred out pretty good I have to say.
Of course it was all kind of a waste because a month or two after it was all completely a real completely M231 came up for auction on gun broker and the owner of the M231 bought the complete upper. If he had only waited ! It was all worth it regardless. things were learned, some one worked on something at work he was not supposed to. life long friends were made and some esoteric M16 retro parts skyrocketed on ebay ever after. Good times had by all.
Bellow I am posting some more picture of the oddities M231 parts. Most are the major parts that are a hang up for any one pondering putting one together. At the time, I recall some other machinist was making copies of some of these parts.
Today we have a guest post from sporadic contributor and quasi-Looserounds member “CJ”, about his favorite topic.
All of us are human, we can all make mistakes. This goes doubly true for firearm companies.
A friend of mine purchased a Larue rifle on my recommendation. Much to our dismay, it did not function out of the box. (My punishment for highly recommending anything) It was short stroking. Closer inspection showed that one of the socket head hex screws on the boltcarrier key appears crooked. Most likely the head has broken off the bolt shaft allowing the Bolt Carrier Key to become just loose enough to cause the gun to short stroke. Larue Tactical is already replacing the BCG.
If you buy quality, you are less likely to have issues, but there is always the chance of problems. Test your gear.
The following is repost from Hognose at weaponsman.com. Weaponsman is an excellent weapon related website that is a friend to this website and also a favorite internet stop.
The most annoying person in the world is the write-only device. You know that guy: he never shuts up, yammering on and on, and never stopping to listen, only to take a breath. As you might expect, that habit which makes everyone want to kill him in a peacetime classroom or office, makes it easy for the enemy to literally kill him in combat.
There is much to be said about stealth and silence. The first thing that we will say is this: truly silent motion across terrain is not possible. It is an ideal for which you must strive, but even Mark Twain recognized it as nothing but a literary convention, when he was beating the defenseless James Fenimore Cooper senseless in a battle of wits:
Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was the broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn’t step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn’t satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can’t do it, go and borrow one. In fact, the Leatherstocking Series ought to have been called the Broken Twig Series.
It was always a Cooper white man who broke the twig, because Indians were born to patient stealth, at least in his universe. (Cooper, one must remember, was no frontiersman, but a cashiered Naval Academy midshipman). The Indian, in fact, was no more capable of silent movement than a ninja, an SF soldier, or you.
It was a crushing disappointment to learn that we would not, in SFQC, learn the Indian ninja art of silent walking on dry oak leaves. Instead, however, we learned something more practically useful: how to be quieter than the other guy, and as quiet as we needed to be.
If silent movement is not possible — and it isn’t, if your enemy can’t hear you, his dogs, with their superhuman hearing, can — then moving stealthily at night requires several things:
The first two are fairly obvious: you can move much more rapidly without giving yourself away when a train is passing by, and high-pitched sounds travel poorly. (You do need to bear in mind that sound travels differently in different atmospheric conditions). The most complicated of those three principles of night movement to apply is the periodic listening halt.
Immediately after inserting, assembly, or crossing a danger area (of which more in some subsequent article), the patrol or team must conduct an initial listening security halt. While the details of the halt may vary, something like this works:
Why five minutes? You can change that time if you like, but it’s a good minimum because it’s quite a long time to be frozen in one place. Even a patient enemy, who stops when you do, will move and give his existence and position away before five minutes is up.
Active listening? That means concentrating on listening. You’re not only listening for the enemy, but also to develop a mental picture of what normal night sounds in your location are like. What are they like immediately when you stop? If you have been halted for a time, are there animal noises that come back (and that presumably stopped while you were moving)? Knowing this gives you an edge in the woods, compared to someone who doesn’t.
After the initial halt, the element leader must have a way to silently signal the element to begin moving again. If there is sufficient illumination, hand and arm signals may be effective; if not, touch signals should be used. Only in the most extreme case should a command be verbalized, and then, it should be whispered (remember, a higher-pitched whisper will travel much more poorly than a normal-pitched vocalized word — which is a good thing in a night full of hostiles).
It goes without saying that all these modes of command and control, and the listening security halts themselves, must be practiced in controlled conditions in garrison before attempting them in the face of an armed enemy. Night combat patrol operations are at the far end of a long crawl-walk-run pipeline; they’re the Boston Marathon of crawl-walk-run.
Animal and bird sounds make both effective stealth command and control means, and also excellent “cover” if you inadvertently make a sound in the possible presence of the enemy. Do a Leatherstocking and break a twig, or snap back a branch? The risk of exposure may be mitigated, if you can fake the snort of a deer or porcine species native to the area.
Once the element is on the move, further listening security halts should be executed at relatively short but variable periods. You can set these by distance or by time; it’s also helpful to be cognizant of terrain. If you have just passed through some stuff that was impossible to be truly quiet in, like dense mountain laurel or the dry leaves of an oak forest in winter, a listening security halt on the far side should be able to reassure you about the prospect of being tracked or tailed. As in all patrol technique, principles are iron but the means of serving those principles are best mixed up so as not to simplify the enemy’s counterpatrol planning.
Don’t be the foot-shufflin’, twig-snappin’, noise-makin’ equivalent of the yammering guy in the first paragraph. On patrol, the silent man comes home; the guy who loves the sound of his own noise dies from it.
I took advantage of the Blue Force Gear Labor Day sale to pick up a couple more Ten-Speed pouches. I found the new production pouches (one on the right) noticeably looser than the old ones(left). This is a good thing, as the old ones I have are still very tight and can be hard to remove mags from. The black pouch on the right will be mounted to a Pocket Shield for carrying a CCW spare mag. Tom Kelly of Dark Star Gear told me about this setup and I have been using it for over a year now with the pouch on the left.
I don’t think I would recommend the Ten-Speed pouches as heavy use gear on chest rigs and plate carriers due to the tightness of the pouches and how they can be cut or have holes worn through them. That said, due to their super low profile you can easily place them under other items.
For example, I have a Ten-Speed triple mag shingle on my plate carrier. So I can carry 3 mags with out anything else on the carrier. If I don’t have any mags on that, it almost like it isn’t there, and I can use a chest rig over the plate carrier.