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Old February 8, 2013, 11:52 AM   #1
WillyKern69
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Vietnam era stlye AR rifle specs.

Hello, I have a friend that I am trying to help. He wants to get his father for his B-Day) a AR, but the father wants it to look like the one he carried in Vietnam. I quess he has some sentimental feeling for that M-16 style. So my question is there any modern manufacture making a copy of that style AR? It seems the ones, with that style, on gunbroker.com are rare old rifles that are commanding huge prices. Any thoughts? Thanks.

WK
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:09 PM   #2
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http://rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?f...ategory_id=226

A2 buttstock, carry handle, 20" barrel, 2 piece handguard

not the real thing but it looks practically identical.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:11 PM   #3
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thanks
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:11 PM   #4
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...except for the shiny stainless barrel.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:13 PM   #5
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That sounds like the lightly-used Bushmaster I got for $615 back before the madness started:



Fixed carry handle, A2 stock, nothing fancy. The model number is XM15-E2S, but I think that same number covers a lot of Bushmaster variants.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:19 PM   #6
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Does he want it to look like an M-16 or an M-16A1? The M16 had no forward assist, m-16A1 had the forward assist.

The civilian version of the original M-16 was called the AR-15 SP1 by Colt when they were offered. They had triangular handguards, a shorter stock, fixed sight bridge with L-shaped rear sight adjustable for windage (flip up to switch from 300 yds to 500 yds sights), and a very thin pencil barrel with a 3-prong flash suppressor. There are outfits that offer the smooth-side receivers, but I don't know if anyone offers a complete rifle with all of the correct features. Others on here will know.

The M16A1 used a teardrop shaped forward assist, had no case deflector lump, had triangular handguards and shorter stock, had a fixed sight bridge (carry handle) with an L-shaped rear sight adjustable for windage only (flip up to switch from 300 yds to 500 yds sights), and a cage flash suppressor with vents all the way around. All of these features are available as parts, again I don't know if anyone offers a complete rifle with these features.

So, long story short, if he wants an AR15 that looks just like the M16 he carried in VietNam, he may have to build one.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:21 PM   #7
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You're going to have to find the Colt SP1 to get the real thing. We didn't have those round handguards, they were tri-angle.

They are gonna be pricy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:19...t_AR15_SP1.jpg
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:26 PM   #8
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They supply a lot of retro parts, but are currently not taking any new orders.

http://www.nodakspud.com/

This is an excellent website to help show the different versions and variations of the early AR/M16s.

http://www.retroblackrifle.com/
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:39 PM   #9
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Pretty much everything AR is commanding huge prices right now, regardless of vintage. But if the father of your friend wants an Vietnam era look-a-like, I'm not aware of any manufacturers who are currently building M16A1 clones. You can piece one together yourself, but it's gonna take a little work hunting down the right components.

I think the best bet is to look through the various gun auction sights for a Colt SP1. The SP-1's were early civilain variants of the M16 and should be dead ringers for what the father saw in the service.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:59 PM   #10
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Thank you for all the great input.
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Old February 8, 2013, 05:38 PM   #11
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look alike

A 1 stock and A 1 grip. Keep digging and you need a 1/12 barrel and a wait a minute flash supressor.
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Old February 8, 2013, 06:34 PM   #12
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Like others have said, AR prices have been berserk for a few months now, Century Arms makes (assembles rather) just the rifle you're looking for using Colt parts. They're not known for being the highest quality manufacturer but usually they make good shooters and Century has good customer service and will fix most any problem a rifle comes with.

Edit- posted a bad link
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:50 PM   #13
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M16 and M16A1 also did not have the built in brass deflector and the rear sight was adjustable for windage only. didn't have the knob for elevation like the A2. 20 inch barrel, triangle shaped handguards. Fixed stock that was about an inch shorter than the A2 stock. Had a hinged metal cap on bottom of the pistol grip for storage. Also didn't have the finger ledge on the pistol grip, grip was smooth.
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Old February 8, 2013, 10:16 PM   #14
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I'm late to the party but IMHO, look around and spend the extra on a Colt SP1 20" rifle.
It'll be the real deal Colt in the config you want. Early SP1s get the 3-prong, later SP1s get the birdcage. I think the last of the SP1s had the FWD Assist?

I have one and had been looking at asking prices to get a sense of market value for my gun; the SP1s are not that crazy as everyone wants that Call of Duty M4rgery look.

A close and cheaper alternative are the Century subcontracted "C15" - mostly Colt M16A1 parts but with a new lower and barrel. If I didn't have an SP1 already and badly wanted one, I'd consider it as a budget-tolerable alternative.
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Old February 8, 2013, 10:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
A2 buttstock, carry handle, 20" barrel, 2 piece handguard

not the real thing but it looks practically identical.
Sorry, no. No A2 parts are correct for a Vietnam era lookalike. For a lookalike, you need the "smooth" upper reciever (no brass deflector bump), no forward assist for the M16, and the three prong "wait a minute" flashsuppressor. And, of course the carry handle must be part of the upper, not a separate piece.

For the M16A1 look, you need the forward assist, either teardrop or round button is correct, and the birdcage flash suppressor.

Both use the same triangle handguards. Sights are the two position flip type rear and round post front. I do not know if any of the tritium night sight front posts were in use in Vietnam, but they were in use shortly afterwards (76 on).

The buttstock should be the solid rubber buttplate style, although some of the trapdoor ones might have been used in country by the end. Pistol grip with no finger grooves or bottom cap.

Barrel is the lightweight style with the triangle handguard cap and the early style slip ring. Some of the "heavy barrels" were used but they were not full length heavy barrels, only the exposed part was thicker. The portion underneath the handguards was the same diameter as the "regular" barrel.

Magazines should be the "strait" 20 rnd type, which was the general issue. The curved 30rnd common today was used by some troops (if the could get them) but were not general issue for infantry during Vietnam.

The Colt SP1 sporter is the period correct semi auto. Early Colt semis used all the same parts as the M16/M16A1, except that the auto sear was not installed. Later SP1s used "semi auto" internal parts, which prevented simple conversion to full auto capability.
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Old February 8, 2013, 10:26 PM   #16
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@nfafan: You might want to look again at the value of that SP1. the early models without forward assist are listed at $2100 in 100% and $1975 in 98%, $1850 in 95% and that has nothing to do with the latest hysteria.
@44AMP: you are probably right about the bottom cap on the pistol grip. I went in in '76 and the A1s we were issued had them but that was my earliest experience with them. Don't remember on the butt plate whether we had the trap door or the rubber. Seems like there may have been some of both.

Last edited by CTS; February 8, 2013 at 10:32 PM.
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Old February 8, 2013, 11:39 PM   #17
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The C15A1 isn't a perfect copy, but it may be "close enough" if the father wants something that generally looks and feels like a Vietnam era rifle but isn't 100% accurate. And it's probably the most affordable option these days to get close to a Vietnam era styel rifle.
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Old February 9, 2013, 08:30 AM   #18
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Quote:
A2 buttstock, carry handle, 20" barrel, 2 piece handguard

not the real thing but it looks practically identical.
That is a post VN look.

A1 upper, A1 furniture, three prong flash hider well get you very close to the look you want. You can even get current production lowers that have the same profile as the early lowers.




Before the panic you could find a Bushmaster A1 real cheap, change the furniture and FH, done.
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Old February 9, 2013, 11:11 AM   #19
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The Vietnam and 1970s/early 1980s era M16/M16E1/M16A1 styled rifles look like mine below and Madcratebuilder's above.

Nobody makes complete rifles like this any more. I had to build mine with New Old Stock parts. The furniture, 1/12 twist barrel, and upper are all surplus M16 or M16A1 parts. But still my lower doesn't look right (it's a DPMS A2 type lower with an M16 stock and grip).





This is the M16A2 style (Panama/Gulf War I/Somalia era) that most ARs are patterned after today. Most obvious is the thicker barrel (at the muzzle anyway, a real M16A2 barrel is still thin under the hand guards), different carry handle, different sights, round handguards, longer stock, even the pistol grip is different. The rifling twist also changed from 1/12 to 1/7.


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Old February 9, 2013, 11:37 AM   #20
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I found a milsurp A1 upper at a gunshow and then got a deal thru a distributor
for an A1 stock set and ordered a NODAKSPUD lower and a LPK from some other company and I had a M16A1 copy ready to shoot. My dad got it for his birthday this year.

I payed $700 for the upper, $45 for the stock set, $150 for the lower, $60 in other parts.
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Old February 9, 2013, 11:48 AM   #21
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For more than you ever wanted to know, go to the Retro forum at AR15.com. There's a wealth of info there from folks who are into the old SP901 look.

It's difficult to build one up to match it exactly (less the select fire capability), but it is possible to get close.
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:21 AM   #22
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VN

Forgot one thing. Gray instead of black.
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:54 AM   #23
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The M-16A1 I carried on Parris Island in 1980 was made by General Motors. Does anybody know how many and when G.M. made m-16s and how many other companys made them?
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Old February 12, 2013, 12:24 PM   #24
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This post got me fired up. I dug my SP1 out of the safe and shot the heck out of it.

It still shoots and shoots well.

I like the light weight. Not much heavier then a pistol.

It don't like heavy bullets though, the 1:12 twist is only good for 55 grn and under.

Don't know what they are selling for, but I'm gonna keep mine, I'll let my kids and grand kids fight over it when I go to join the Great Jumpmaster in the Sky.
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Old February 12, 2013, 02:09 PM   #25
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Quote:
The M-16A1 I carried on Parris Island in 1980 was made by General Motors. Does anybody know how many and when G.M. made m-16s and how many other companys made them?
No, but I'm pretty sure I remember one stamped Mattel and I know I have carried one made by Singer Sewing Machine Co..
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