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Old April 30, 2010, 05:28 PM   #1
Firepower!
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Advantages and practical limitations of M4 Carbine.

Hello,
I want to discuss and ask you about your views on advantages and practical limitation of M4 Carbine irrespective of the fact if they are auto or semi.

In my view and experience, I found M4s to be magazine sensitive. The best ones in my opinion are the cheap military ones. I noticed that M4 gets heated up fairly quickly compared to some other autos I have, but in semi auto mode it rates average. This is my only concern.

I found it to be very accurate at 300 yards with ACOG scope. I didnt shoot groups just small snaple size bottles. I am not sure if it is fair to push M4 beyond that for accuracy- not that it wont perfrom.

I also feel that M4 is a very ergonomic weapon which is why it is very controlable during any mode of fire.

I like quite a few weapons, but in all honesty I think M4 is on the top of its game with respect to size and efficiency. And this comes from some one who owns over 150 full auto firearms.

I like the fact that any accessory that you can imagine is made for this weapon and fits without any gunsmithing.

I would like to know from the experts here how to make my M4s more efficient, if thats even possible.

So far I have had three jams, but they all happened when I was using fancier HK mags.

Furthermore, I would like to add that all those stories about M4s jamming and getting troops killed are about as much true as any other weapon failing. I think it a heck lots easier to clear M4 jam then for example AK's.

Every weapon is a machine and one must train and practice to learn its optimal use. In this, clearing jams is an important drill to master since they will happen sometime with any weapon, but if you have done your homework- it should not be a debilitating factor to hinder your response in a combat.

Lastly, I would like to mention that 2006 dust test is a complete BS. To me its a gimmick to degrade M4 in order to secure contract for new weapons, if such decision is made. And believe me that new weapon will soon have critics and cry babies whinning. Changing a weapon for an army is niether easy nor cheap, but yes it is profitable for big corporations that push their agenda through politicians and retired generals with little or no combat experience who have been retained as consultants.

In conclusion, I rate M4 to be an excellant weapon with no immediate need for any change. It is very user friendly and effective in modern combat scenarios.

Regards,
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Old April 30, 2010, 05:46 PM   #2
ndking1126
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My only complaints against the m4 is fixed with the gas piston design. It keeps the chamber area cleaner and the bolt cooler.

You are spot on with your comments regarding ergonomics, abundance of accessories, accuracy, modularity and reliability. Except when using a bad magazine, I've never had reliability problems.
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Old April 30, 2010, 06:55 PM   #3
R1145
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From my armchair:

I agree with your assessment.

I think the M4 will remain standard until the next generation of ammunition technology (not just a beefier caliber: I mean, like, caseless ammo, ray guns or whatever).

There can be advantages in different calibers, piston systems, etc., but when one considers the amount the US Government has invested in the current system, it seems the M-4 will persist in all but niche applications.

This is rightfully so, as the M4 is second-to-none in a fight, regardless of the various preferences and quibbles we all have.

The M-4 platform would be my first choice in a SHTF situation, because of superior ergonomics and my familiarity with it.

ARs must be properly maintained and lubricated to operate reliably. This is mostly a function of training, and I don't see it as a limitation in the real world.

As for modifications, I would add a tactical light and an Aimpoint or EO-Tech optic. I feel that most of the situations I would be involved in would be at fairly close-quarters and at night. In a military context, a magnified optic like the ACOG would perhaps be better.

Am I the only one who thinks that mag clamps, slings, handles and additional optics just get in the way, making the weapon heavier, bulkier and slower?

Do you really intend to engage targets beyond 300m with an individual weapon? In a non-military context, it would be hard to justify. In a military context, one would be better served with a sniper, crew-served weapon or artillery. Thus, I don't see this as a significant limitation of the M4 (or 5.56mm ammo).

Last edited by R1145; April 30, 2010 at 07:22 PM.
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Old April 30, 2010, 08:43 PM   #4
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I've got a Smith M&P15ps and the piston system is sweet! But I've found it to be slightly mag-sensitive. It likes cheap surplus mags with the green followers the best. The magpul pmags - not so much. In 350 rds of federal bulk from walmart I had three failure to feeds which bent the catridges at the neck pretty badly. No issues with any other 223 ammo. It does run clean. I like the M4 style carbines because of their light weight, ergonomics, ect.
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Old April 30, 2010, 08:50 PM   #5
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The ergonomics are AMAAZING!!!!!
Rifle is so light, especially the Carbon variants.
Ammo is so light.

I am putting my money on the TAR-21 being the standout champ for the next 20 years and the US refusing to adapt it(3x cost of M4).
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Old April 30, 2010, 09:14 PM   #6
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i think the AR would be alot better rifle if it didnt have a DI gas system. piston is way more reliable. im not really a big fan of a bunch of crap hanging all over the rifle. put a scope on it and maybe a grip pod and be done with it. i like the fact that we are using 77gr. otm bullets now. it makes the AR more effective than it already is.
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Old April 30, 2010, 09:58 PM   #7
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The Marine Corps is currently working on an 'Upgrade' kit to improve the reliability of the M4. It consists of three things.

1) A heavier spring, similar to what Sprinco sells. Rumor has it that they already have the contract.

2) A heavier ejector spring ... again .... may be Sprinco with a Crane O-Ring.

3) H3 weighted buffer. A lot of reliability problems in the M4 can be attributed to the light spring and buffer. FTF, Ejection, and Full Battery issues ... 99% of the time can be attributed to a light buffer.
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Old April 30, 2010, 10:12 PM   #8
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No trying to hijack a thread, but my piston M&P has FTF and full battery issues at times. A heavier spring sounds like the ticket, ya think??? Sorry, its my first foray into AR type rifles.
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Old May 1, 2010, 06:07 AM   #9
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This is an interesting article regarding the M4
http://www.defensereview.com/the-big...m4-unreliable/
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Old May 1, 2010, 02:29 PM   #10
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The reliability, or lack of, that most people claim in regards to the AR15 is often HIGHLY exaggerated. That is the nature of people though. If they don't like something or if they are trying to make a point, they exaggerate.

Those who have a lot of experience with AR15's or M4's often find out the truth for themselves.
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Old May 1, 2010, 04:14 PM   #11
Kmar40
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I'm much more comfortable with a GI DI AR15 that has been subject to 40 years of product improvement than an add-on piston system at least at this point.

Clean your AR15 occasionally and lube it all the time and it'll do anything you need. Bad mags and lack of lube calls most malfs in my experience.
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Old May 2, 2010, 03:20 PM   #12
ndking1126
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Quote:
The reliability, or lack of, that most people claim in regards to the AR15 is often HIGHLY exaggerated.
My issued weapon at Basic (either m16a1 or a2, can't remember) was ratty and obviously had seen plenty of use. And I'm not talking about the kind of use a responsible owner that cares about his weapon gives it either. I'm taking about Privates who generally don't care about their weapon because they don't understand how it important their weapon is just yet. Never had problems with it unless it was a magazine problem. Replace the magazine and off we went.

In my experience, your statement is very true.
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Old May 2, 2010, 03:56 PM   #13
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I am relieved to see that most of the guys are agreeing with me on M4 reliability issue. However, I would like to hear the other side or the bad experience if any.
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Old May 2, 2010, 09:06 PM   #14
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In my 19 years of military service most problems with the M-16A2 and M-4 have been attributed to magazines, which is this weapons weak spot. Lack of cleaning and lack of lubrication. I did have the gas tube on my M-16A1 break at the range in basic training, but it was probably 20 years old by the time it made it into my hands.

Does Pakistan use the M-4? I thought you guys were still using the G-3.
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Old May 2, 2010, 09:08 PM   #15
Bartholomew Roberts
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On the H&K magazines, the U.S. military has cancelled several contracts with H&K due to problems with those magazines. My understanding is that they work well initially; but that they degrade quickly and start causing problems.

For good reliable magazines, I am a big fan of the PMAGs.
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Old May 2, 2010, 10:25 PM   #16
johnwilliamson062
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I have pmags and they are impressively well built, especially when compared to some of the polymer AK mags i have had my hands on before.
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Old May 2, 2010, 10:37 PM   #17
Firepower!
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Red Eagle,
Yes you are right Pakistan Army uses GIIIs. However, the elite forces use M4s and M4A1s which are purchasedd from the US. They still have Property of the US Government markings. I got mine through the government, since lot of them were given to civilians that the Government of Pakistan considered VIP and in need for protection. They are exactly the same as the ones used by the US forces. We also have AUG in limited use.
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Old May 2, 2010, 10:46 PM   #18
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Hmmmmmm.....

M4 Finishes Last in US Army Reliability Test:

XM8: 127 stoppages/malfunctions

Mk16 SCAR-L: 226 stoppages/malfunctions

HK416: 233 stoppages/malfunctions

M4 Carbine: 882 stoppages/malfunctions

http://www.defensereview.com/colt-m4...iability-test/

Army Times - Better Than the M4, But You Can't Have One:

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/02/atCarbine070219/
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Old May 3, 2010, 12:34 AM   #19
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M4 Advantages
1. light weight short easy handling rifle
2. lighter ammo and magazines means you can carry more ammo on patrol
3. lighter recoil, more controllability on full auto, faster follow up shots on semi auto, easier to train newbies marksmanship on without developing a flinch.
4. accurate

M4 Disadvantages
1. range, at the longer ranges a 308 is better
2. penetration of hard targets or hard cover, trees or bamboo etc, a 308 is better.
3. killing or wounding power, a 308 is better
4. more maintenance more cleaning and lube, there are more reliable less maintenance rifle platforms out there
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Old May 3, 2010, 02:51 AM   #20
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Overall I believe it's a really good weapon. Having served in the army I can say that a lot of the M4s and weapons aren't kept in the best condition because often people are trying to clean the weapons for time or don't know what they're doing. Also the magazines aren't kept in the best conditions for the same reasons so I believe some of the stories of unreliable M4s might be in part because of that.

One of the soldiers I deployed with was given an M16A2 which was in terrible shape, he had to literally pull back the charging handle after each round was fired. Obviously the M16A2 isn't supposed to be like but that particular weapon was probably more than ten years old, kept in the back of some arms room, and used by dozens of soldiers who didn't really care about if they damaged it in the process of cleaning it.

On a side note the M9s are probably kept in some of the worst condition I've ever seen. I guess because they're not seen as a primary weapon this particular company I used to belong to never cleaned them and had terribly worn down magazines for them. I recall firing an M9 at a qualification range and having to rack the slide every time I fired.

I never had a problem with any of M16A2s or M4s that I used during my career. I can't think of any other weapon with better ergonomics, size and portability is great, and the modularity is probably the best for that kind of weapon.

Jamming was never a problem for me and views of the 5.56mm round varied. I know that a lot of people think that the 7.62x51mm is like the perfect round but I believe that relatively few people have used both the 7.62x51mm and 5.56mm in combat to really know how much more effective the one is over the other. I think that a 6.8mm round would probably be a little better than the 5.56mm but it wouldn't be a significant enough improvement that the military would adopt it. I don't believe that the 5.56mm is bad round considering how many countries in Europe adopted it and that the Chinese and Russian made their own variants. I've fired M4s, AK-47s, and M1s before and for putting fire on a target quickly at close range and accurately I have to say I'd choose the M4 every time.

I believe that a M4 properly taken care though is a very effective weapon.
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Old May 3, 2010, 08:52 AM   #21
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50 years ago the M-14 might have made sence, but with the current combat load we're forced to carry now it just wouldn't work with a 10 lb rifle. Even support troops are carrying nearly 100 lbs of equipment. Body armor alone is 40 lbs. Tactics have changed as well. Now days the first one to achieve supressive fire wins. I don't see how a typical rifleman could carry enough ammo to do that. A basic combat load of 160 rounds for the M-14 vs. 210 for the M-16. All things being equal the M-14 may be a better weapon, but all things are not equal.
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Old May 3, 2010, 09:02 AM   #22
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While in the Army I found the m4 more difficult to shoulder and stabilize than a1, a2's. extra pieces = extra snags on stuff also.

As far as effectiveness of the 5.56, that can be debated all day, but many a bad guy has been eliminated by that round. A squad of American soldiers can defeat a lot of people armed with AK's.
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Old May 3, 2010, 09:11 AM   #23
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Today's warriors need a weapon that will stop a potential kamikaze car bomber with one shot.

I would consider it extremely unfortunate to have my understanding of shooting and ballistics characterized by this statement.

The internet is a wonderful thing to exercise free speech, but it's also right out there for everyone to examine in detail. It's not like a passing conversation between friends where lies and brag are just part of the fun.

The M4 is a carbine. It was adopted because that's what the Army wanted for ALL it's warriors, most of whom are male US citizens. The Mattel joke is my kind of humor, it's amazing how many still don't understand 35 years later that the people who saw that on a rifle couldn't tell a toy gun in the rack from real.

As for the 5.56, it does what it's designed to do for 45 years, and no amount of griping by old school high power precision shooters can make it go away or give back the trophies it's earned. It the .308 was all that good, it would place in the top ten in competition. It doesn't any more. Having hunted with one, the disadvantages in weight, recoil, length, and controls leave a lot to be desired. It didn't help that I also used the M16 as issued at the same time.

This is about why the M4 may be good or bad, I guess the OP did leave out the part that what is discussed needs to be grounded in reality.
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