M4 may get tougher barrel, better mags

From Army Times

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One of the upgrades that may be coming in the future is a more reliable magazine. The test revealed that 239 of the 882 stoppages M4 suffered were magazine-related.

The hope is that upgrades, such as stronger springs, will increase the magazine’s ability to feed rounds more effectively, Radcliffe said. If all goes well in testing, the improved magazines could be ready by next spring.

Another upgrade under consideration is a “hammer-forged” barrel, Brown said.

I didn’t think that they were actually planning on replacing the M4 when they announced the testing. Even without magazine stoppages the M4 performed very badly.

DID has a very comprehensive article

“Even with extreme dust test III’s 98.6 percent success rate there was a total of 863 class 1 and 2 weapon/magazine stoppages with 19 class 3 stoppages. During extreme dust test II conducted during the summer, there were 296 total class 1 and 2 stoppages and 11 class 3 stoppages.

A class 1 stoppage is one a Soldier can clear within 10 seconds; a class 2 stoppage is one a Soldier can clear, but requires more than 10 seconds; and, class 3 is a stoppage that requires an armorer to clear.”

DID will simply point out that 10 seconds can be a rather fatally long time when people are shooting at you, and at your friends. So, what happens when the Extreme Dust Test III stoppages are broken out by weapon?

The M4 Carbine is the Army’s existing weapon.

* 882 jams, 1 jam every 68 rounds, again using heavy lubrication. In addition all 10 of the M4 barrels needed to be replaced, and a number of their parts were replaced during the test. None of the cold hammer forged HK416 and XM-8 barrels needed replacement.

The HK416 is a modified M4 carbine, which can be and has been converted from existing rifles. Used by US Special Forces.

* 233 jams, 1 jam every 257 rounds, 3.77x more reliable than the M4.

FN SCAR is US special Forces’ new weapon, designed by SOSOCM. It just went into production in late 2007.

* 226 jams, 1 jam every 265 rounds, 3.85x more reliable than the M4

XM-8 is a developmental rifle. It’s an advanced version of HK’s G36, a rifle in wide use by many NATO armies. The US Army cancelled the XM-8 weapons family 2 years ago.

* 127 jams, I jam every 472 rounds, 6.95x more reliable than the M4.

Hat Tip: Murdoc Online



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Sam Suggs

    wow thats not good if they just keep their lower revevers and replace the barrel and improve the gas system not sayin piston just saying you could do better