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Old September 21, 2012, 10:27 AM   #1
kraigwy
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Ergonomics

This would have been WAY off topic from the sight it was posted so I'm starting another tread regarding ergonomics and thought it would better fit the General Rifle Forum

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Ditto the M16 (if there is a gun with worse ergonomics I don't know what it is but people who train on it swear by it). It just means you can train around any deficiency.
I don't know what some people call "ergonomics" but my ideal is ease of use.

Taking the M16 example. What other rifle has better ergonomics?

You can reach the selector switch/safety with your shooting hand without changing your grip that much, without taking it out of your shoulder.

You can also hit the mag release with your shooting hand while reaching for a second magazine, and if the magazine is correct, it will fall under its own empty weight, allowing your free hand to come up and insert the next magazine and hitting the bolt release (if you ran the rifle dry)

All

Without taking the rifle from your shoulder, or your eyes off the sights/target.

I've shot a lot of other military style rifles but none with the ergonomics I've found with the M16 series.

My favorite, and the one I shot the most, would be the M14/M1A. I really like the M14 rifle but it can't compare with the M16 when it comes to ergonomics.

You have to take your hand off the pistol grip to get to the magazine release, then push the mag, out and down. Then release the bolt, Yes the bolt released can be reached with your trigger finger, but still you have to take your hand off the pistol grip to remove and insert magazines.

The safety on the M14 can be reached with the trigger finger but even that is not as fast and easy as releasing the safety on the M16.

At least the with the M14 you can change the mag without taking the rifle out off your shoulder, something that I can't do in loading the M1.

To me that's ergonomics.................or is it that I don't know the meaning of ergonomics when it comes to rifles?
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:45 AM   #2
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To me, good ergonomics on a rifle mean that I can operate the rifle while expending the least amount of time and energy possible.

I think the M16 FOW got almost everything right.

The one change that I would like to have to the ergonomics of the AR is the ability to lock the bolt open with the same finger as I drop the magazine with.

So that if needed, I could lock the bolt open while drawing the bolt back with my off hand instead of having to drop the rifle down and use my right hand to draw back the bolt while engaging the bolt catch if needed for malfunction clearances.

Otherwise, it is superior to every rifle of it's time period and is the basis for basically all the newer generation rifles. (Same safety, mag release, bolt release)

While it is very possible to adapt to a gun with inferior ergonomics and that should not be a persons only reason for using a gun, superior ergonomics will always makes someone faster and more repeatable. (There are whole engineering disciplines built around shaving seconds and fractions of seconds off of operations by improving operator ergonomics.)
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:03 AM   #3
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My only complaint is that I wind up doing a lot of shooting with the lower edge of the stock touching my shoulder instead of the whole stock against my shoulder. Otherwise, I have to contort myself to get a good sight picture.

This is because the stock goes straight back instead of down like on traditional rifles. The reason it is designed that way is so the muzzle doesn't rise so much when firing on automatic. Less torgue around your shoulder.

The sights are elevated to make up for this. However, as I got older, I wanted the sights to be higher. Probably because I'm not as flexible as I used to be.

I don't recall having that problem when I was younger.
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Old September 21, 2012, 06:03 PM   #4
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My vote for the rifle with the best "ergonomics" (if there really is such a thing) goes to the Winchester Model 94 carbine. Now there's a little rifle that handles and points quickly, especially in thick cover, and the hammer is instantly available. The Model 94 made the 30-30 cartridge popular, not vice-versa, imo.
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Old September 21, 2012, 07:11 PM   #5
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There are all sorts of ways of looking at ergonomics, the efficiency work or design. What is 'efficient' can vary on perspective, but it all will come down to sustainability. How well is efficiency maintained for the period of time during which the work is done or device is utlized?

The M16 does well with the hand controls, no doubt about it. As with any design, it can be improved, but does well as put into service. However, it has one flaw disliked by many and it was done to be more ergonomic, the high sight system. Clint Smith would argue against the efficiency of the M16 due to this and that is because of getting "canoes" put through your head when the enemy shoots you there because your head sticks up higher with the M16 than with many other guns. Being dead destroys the sustainability of action in real life application (battle).

As with the 1911, there are folks for whom the grip and grip area controls are not easily manipulated. Modification of the gun makes that more possible.

Beyond the high head target complaint of Smith, most any action on the M16 can be performed repeatedly and comfortably over a long period of time and so that would qualify the rifle as being nicely ergonomic for most folks. Something to not here is that as with shoe sizes, there is no universally accepted single size that fits all. Just because some people find the gun ergonomic does not mean it will be to everyone.
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Old September 21, 2012, 07:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Clint Smith would argue against the efficiency of the M16 due to this and that is because of getting "canoes" put through your head when the enemy shoots you there because your head sticks up higher with the M16 than with many other guns.
LOL,

Never heard that one before.

All do respect to Clint Smith, but........ Didn't seem to be a problem in SE Asia, when I attended the Live Fire FTX with pop-up, shoot-back targets.
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
You can also hit the mag release with your shooting hand while reaching for a second magazine, and if the magazine is correct, it will fall under its own empty weight, allowing your free hand to come up and insert the next magazine and hitting the bolt release (if you ran the rifle dry)

All Without taking the rifle from your shoulder, or your eyes off the sights/target.
I can't seem to do this with my rifle. From a standing position, I can't hold it against my shoulder, with only my right hand on the pistol grip. When I take my left hand off the handguard to reach for a mag (or to do anything else), the muzzle falls down, rotating the stock off my shoulder. My usual process is to drop the mag and then point the weapon at the sky, holding it in my right hand, while using my left to insert a new mag. Then back on target.

I have a 16 inch barrel, a modest 4x scope, no light or assecories mounted forward. I have handled other AR carbines, and mine does not seem unusually muzzle heavy. They all seem a bit muzzle heavy. Am I doing something wrong?

I don't want to derail the discussion too much. I love the AR-15 and consider it to have very good ergonomics... BUT, it is different from most other rifles. If you are accustomed to shooting bolts, levers, pumps, you get use to supporting the weapon with your left hand while your right hand loads and manipulates the action. The AR-15 may be better, but it is different, and that takes some getting use to. Particularly if you shoot a wide variety of long guns.
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:32 PM   #8
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The thing about ergonomics is that it is highly individual. One size does not fit all, and neither does one rifle.

That's why we get to collect so many
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:39 PM   #9
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The very first time my wife shot my AR-15, she shot it very well. After the first 20 round mag, she was making 300 yard shots on a 12 inch gong. She could hit the 100 yard gong shooting rapidly.

More so than any other rifle, the AR-15 design is very easy for beginners to shoot very well. And THAT might be the clearest defense of the AR-15 ergonomics.
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Old September 22, 2012, 08:03 AM   #10
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I first heard the word applied to cars. Comfort and convenience when driving. Location of controls, seating positions and all that.

So, same for rifles. The caveat is that most designs of anything are okay for some 85% of all people--but some 15% of all people are either taller or shorter or skinnier or fatter than the 85% "standard".
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Old September 22, 2012, 02:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Clint Smith would argue against the efficiency of the M16 due to this and that is because of getting "canoes" put through your head when the enemy shoots you there because your head sticks up higher with the M16 than with many other guns
I got to thinking about this and it drove me nuts until I went out and measured the center of the rear sight to the comb or where your face is suppose to do.

My A2 Style AR is right at 1/2 inch higher then the rear sight to the comb on the M1.

I really think that's a non-issue.
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Old September 22, 2012, 03:18 PM   #12
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kraigwy,I take it you measured drop at the comb to sight height.The 1/2 inch difference is even less significant if you figure in drop at the heel.The M-16 has zero,the Garand has some.

These days most folks are carrying the M-4 .The collapsable stock is useful for varying LOP.From up close and moving with the butt on the chest below the eye,stock collapsed,to extended for conventional positions,tall to short,thats pretty ergonomic,too.

The vertical foregrip is pretty common .I have the folding Yankee Hill on mine.Now,I'm talking my scoped prairie dog gun.I sometimes shoot in a modified Hawkins position.My left fist is on the ground.The vertical foregrip is in that fist.Very low,best with 20 rd mags,and very steady.
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Old September 22, 2012, 04:19 PM   #13
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I have a Colt sporter in 5.56. I guess you'd call it an 'A2', no removable handle, no bells, no whistles, no rails no optics but iron sights, nothing.

I've never served. When I wanted to buy an AR I took along a friend who did serve, US Army. We looked at a bunch and he picked up the rifle I have now, and said "you want this one"

He taught me to use it in 30 seconds, and the instructions he gave me stuck in my head. From completely untrained to being able to use the rifle even if it jams (which I haven't had happen) in such a short time tells me that there's something 'right' about the rifle, regarding ease of use. It's easy to use and easy to shoot, and easy to be passably accurate with

That's not the classic 'ergonomics' as we think of it today, but easy is still easy
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Old September 22, 2012, 07:25 PM   #14
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Another vote for the model 94.
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Old September 22, 2012, 07:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Ditto the M16 (if there is a gun with worse ergonomics I don't know what it is but people who train on it swear by it). It just means you can train around any deficiency.
Someone is confusing esthetics with ergonomics.

An M-16 or AR may not be pretty by some peoples definition, but they are probably the most ergonomic, functional rifle ever developed.
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Old September 22, 2012, 09:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
All do respect to Clint Smith, but........ Didn't seem to be a problem in SE Asia, when I attended the Live Fire FTX with pop-up, shoot-back targets.
That was where Clint Smith got his experience with the M16 was SE Asia.

Quote:
I really think that's a non-issue.
I see you have fallen into your own trap, so to speak, about what is being ergonomic. The M16 is great because you like the erogonomics, but when somebody points out something less ergonomic, you discount it as a non-issue. That is something interesting about ergonomics, the little 1/2 here and 1/2 there problems that mean the difference between what people like and what people don't.
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Old September 22, 2012, 10:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
I see you have fallen into your own trap, so to speak, about what is being ergonomic. The M16 is great because you like the erogonomics, but when somebody points out something less ergonomic, you discount it as a non-issue. That is something interesting about ergonomics, the little 1/2 here and 1/2 there problems that mean the difference between what people like and what people don't.
While having your face .5in higher might get it shot off, I don't think it really falls under "ergonomics."
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:18 PM   #18
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When you get your spot weld, the M16 any different then any other battle rifle.
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Old September 23, 2012, 07:29 AM   #19
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To me, ergonomics with sporting rifles means that the rifle has the right combination of weight, balance, length of pull, drop at the cheek rest and heel, and shape to minimize felt recoil and align the eye with the sights.

For example, a Winchester 94 was mentioned as having perfect ergonomics and while I agree to a great extent, it can be one of the worst when a scope is mounted on it, especially the older ones that need a side mount.

I like my rifles to snap up quickly and perfectly aligned. Low-mounted scopes on Remington 700s are close to perfect, but I also like Tikkas, which also have palm swells that feel nice.

My Franchi O/U 20 gauge shotgun is the most ergonomic firearm I've ever handled. It seems made just for me! I can flip the safety off and bring it up in a half-second, pointing perfectly every time. Recoil is well-directed, making a second shot very quick, but not often necessary. I'd thought my Rem semi-autos pointed well, but they are a bit slower to mount and don't down as many clay birds.
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Old September 23, 2012, 12:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
For example, a Winchester 94 was mentioned as having perfect ergonomics and while I agree to a great extent, it can be one of the worst when a scope is mounted on it, especially the older ones that need a side mount.
Though I nominated the Model 94 as a leading candidate for The Rifle That Fits Best category, I was careful to not mention putting any kind of optical sight on it. With the exception of one Savage Model 99 rifle, all of my lever-actions have the Williams "FoolProof" receiver sight mounted on them. I have an early Remington Model 760 rifle that was made with a stock having a relatively low drop on the comb. It is also best suited in terms of fit (proper eye to stock "weld") with a receiver sight. But in terms of a scope destroying or diminishing the handling qualities of the Model 94 or its ilk, the same can be said for a lot of other rifles, including the AR-15.
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Old September 23, 2012, 06:03 PM   #21
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Quote:
I can't seem to do this with my rifle. From a standing position, I can't hold it against my shoulder, with only my right hand on the pistol grip. When I take my left hand off the handguard to reach for a mag (or to do anything else), the muzzle falls down, rotating the stock off my shoulder. My usual process is to drop the mag and then point the weapon at the sky, holding it in my right hand, while using my left to insert a new mag. Then back on target.
Do you have weakness in your shoulder or arms? The AR platform (especially in carbine form) is very light. There should not be much of a problem with holding the rifle against your shoulder while you perform a mag change.
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Old September 23, 2012, 06:38 PM   #22
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Quote:
Do you have weakness in your shoulder or arms? The AR platform (especially in carbine form) is very light. There should not be much of a problem with holding the rifle against your shoulder while you perform a mag change.
Out of curiosity, I just tried this with four rifles:

1903A3
M1 rifle
M1 Carbine
Colt Sporter with 20" barrel

Of those four, when I hold the Colt Sporter to my shoulder and drop my left hand, the barrel wanders down. The other rifles, even the relatively heavy M1, do not produce this effect and I can hold them to my shoulder with ease, one handed

It's because as I pull back with my right hand to sock the Colt rifle into my shoulder, my right hand, on the pistol grip, is lower than my shoulder, causing me to pull down as well

If I do not try to sock the butt into my shoulder, there's no problem doing it

As for strength, I have no problem whatsoever holding that same Colt Sporter out at full Arm's length, with just my right hand, as if the rifle were a pistol I would shoot one handed in the classic stance

It seems to me that this is a body mechanics issue that will vary from shooter to shooter
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Old September 23, 2012, 06:55 PM   #23
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Chris, that is interesting. I suppose it could vary person to person, and have to do with body type/mechanics. I have just never had a problem with it and have never heard of others having it either.
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Old September 23, 2012, 07:15 PM   #24
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Yes, I was surprised when it happened

Been messing around with it. It's because of the height of my elbow

I typically have my right elbow fairly high when I shoot. If I lower my right elbow while holding the Colt, there's no problem socking the Sporter in one-handed. raise it, and the barrel droops

I learned something new today! I wonder how that new mechanic will influence my shooting that rifle. I feel it can improve it, as it must be more stable to have my elbow lower
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Old September 23, 2012, 07:17 PM   #25
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Quote:
I learned something new today! I wonder how that new mechanic will influence my shooting that rifle. I feel it can improve it, as it must be more stable to have my elbow lower
Learning something new about our body mechanics is always a good thing when it comes to shooting. It cannot make our shooting worse, it can only help!
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