Improving The Deadliest Rifle In The World: The M1E Series (Light Rifle, Part III)

0830150741i

This is the third part of a series of posts seeking to describe and analyze the 7.62mm Light Rifle concept promoted by the Americans, and subsequently adopted by NATO in various forms. This series will cover development from before World War II to the present day, but will focus primarily on the period from 1944-1970, which constitutes the span of time from the Light Rifle’s conception until its end in the United States with the standardization of the M16. This article itself deals primarily with the M1E series of modified Garand rifles created at Springfield Armory between 1941 and 1945. However, some rifles in the series are left out, these being the sniper rifle variations (M1E2, M1E6, M1E7, and M1E8), as well as the 7.62mm M1 conversion (M1E14) developed in the early 1960s. My readers should also note that while I consulted a variety of sources to write this article, my narrative heavily favors Bruce Canfield’s magnum opus The M1 Garand Rifle, as it is the most recent and complete source of information on the M1E series that I know of. On some matters, Canfield contradicts earlier sources like R. Blake Stevens’ U.S. Rifle M14 from John Garand to the M21, which is itself an excellent volume.

You can read the other parts of the series by following the links below:

 

The M1 rifle emerged in 1933 as the first selfloading rifle adopted by the United States, and after a three-year interval was standardized, making it in 1936 the first standard issue selfloading rifle in the world. However, in many ways this signalled the beginning, not the end, of a long road of development that would eventually result in the M1 truly earning the title, through the production of over 6 million units.

EJV61-Z-CU22-L

The M1 rifle’s “old front end”, the distinctive gas block of the now rare gas trap model. Image source: rockislandauction.com

 

Our story, though, will focus less on the M1’s service and more on the developments that affected the post-war project to develop a truly lightweight select-fire general issue weapon. The first such project was at the time it was being developed called the M1’s “new front end”. Garand collectors and enthusiasts will be aware that the earliest rifles did not use the gas port operating mechanism that we now recognize on the M1, but a “gas trap”, which was a muzzle device that camptured expanding gas and applied the pressure from it to the gas piston. This system was initially seen as desirable because the entire gas system could be removed and replaced, a major advantage in an era lacking corrosion-resistant materials and noncorrosive ammunition primers. During the development of the rifle and its initial production, however, several problems arose with the gas trap design. First of all, the gas trap was a somewhat dubious mount for the bayonet, and hard use in bayonet fighting could at least hypothetically damage it. Second, the trap tended to catch cleaning patches, which would stop the gun from functioning properly. Additionally, the gas trap – being located at the end of the muzzle – was susceptible to carbon buildup that could stop the weapon from functioning. Frustratingly, this also proved impossible to clean without disassembling the gas trap. Finally, the gas trap could, under certain conditions, loosen, resulting in the next round fired striking it and causing the whole assembly to jettison off the front of the barrel.

US2287032-0

The patent drawing for the M1 Garand’s “new front end”. Note that John Garand has left the last two inches of barrel unrifled; production gas port M1s would have rifling to the muzzle.

Even though this case for redesigning the Garand’s gas system had become apparent by the mid-1930s, it wasn’t until March of 1940 that the new gas port system designed by John Garand had been incorporated into the production drawings for the M1. In fact, the last gas trap Garand left the factory in August of 1940. This coverage of the gas trap Garand and its replacement with the gas port design is decidedly cursory, but the reader should take away that the M1 rifle was originally designed to tap gas from the very muzzle of the barrel, and was later retrofitted with a gas port. Therefore, the length and weight of the M1 rifle’s gas system was not dictated by the ideal location of a gas port system, but by the necessity of the gas trap being at the very end of the rifle’s muzzle, a design that was later replaced.

EJV61-Z-F2-L

A gas trap M1 rifle, with its distinctive front end. Image source: rockislandauction.com

 

It is for this reason that during the Second World War, Ordnance undertook to design improved variants of the M1 with revised gas systems that would improve the handling and reliability of the rifle, while reducing weight and cost. The modifications to the rifle made during this period, including those with new gas systems, have become known as the “M1E” series. This series also included variants with mechanical improvements, sniper rifle variants that will not be discussed here, and a carbine variant with a folding stock.

Extensive harsh environment testing conducted at the beginning of the war of the M1 rifle revealed that if sufficient lubricant were washed away from the operating rod cam surfaces, then the metal surfaces of the cam track and bolt camming lug would gall and stick together, causing a failure to cycle. One of five possible solutions to this problem were investigated: The first was fluting the chamber to ease extraction, the second was to redesign the operating rod and bolt cam angles to slow unlocking, the third was to improve the finish and surface treatment of the bolt and operating rod cam surfaces, the fourth was to use a special heat treatment for the cam surfaces, and the last was to enlarge the gas port diameter to .100″ to give the action additional power. The M1E1 rifle represented the product of the second solution, and featured a new bolt and operating rod with camming surfaces machined at a more generous angle to slow down the unlocking of the bolt.

Eventually, the solution chosen was the issuance of more water-resistant Lubriplate 130A lubricant, which essentially solved the problem without the need to change any element of production.

The continuation of investigations into reducing galling of the cam surfaces resulted in the M1E3 rifle, which was the logical conclusion to the M1E1 line of investigation. Instead of simply redesigning the angle of the camming surfaces, the M1E3 introduced a roller cam lug in place of the shaped, fixed cam lug of the original M1 and M1E1. This roller-lug redistributed the friction experienced by the cam surfaces and was perhaps the most successful solution to the galling problem. However, the replacement of the cam lug with a roller came with a downside: The friction-reducing anti-pre-engagement surface of the M1 rifle had to be eliminated in its implementation, but the feeling was that this was well-worth it to fix the galling problem for good. It should also be noted that the roller-lug design as implemented by Springfield Armory did not provide a roller surface between the bolt and receiver, only between the lug and the operating rod.

0830150739a

A comparison between the operating groups of the standard M1 rifle and the prototype M1E3. Visible is the roller lug of the M1E3, a feature much later carried over to the M14 rifle. Image source: Stevens

 

While the roller-lug design was never implemented in the M1 rifle’s production, it would become a fixture of most of the post-war improved Garand designs.

Although the change to the gas port configuration for the M1 fixed the issues that troubled the earlier gas trap models, the new configuration inherited several of the compromises made for the gas trap system. The gas cylinder was situated at the end of the barrel, where it added weight and impeded balance. The gas port tapped gas at the end of the bullet’s travel, when pressure was the lowest. To reach to the end of the barrel, the operating rod had to be long and could be easily bent, and it also complicated manufacture. In short, the gas port M1 worked, but it could be better. In the early part of 1941, Springfield Armory employed one Earl A. Harvey, a former employee of the Stevens-Savage Arms Company, and a person of some importance to the history of the Light Rifle. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, Colonel Rene Studler, the recently-appointed Chief of Ordnance’s Small Arms R&D Division, took notice of Harvey, who would become Col. Studler’s small arms design protege. After an abortive stint in Washington, D.C., cut short by the Japanese attack, Harvey began working on modifications to the M1 rifle’s gas system. The first of Harvey’s experiments was the M1E4, which utilized a new gas cylinder and gas system derived from an obscure .276 caliber contender in the original selfloading rifle trials designed by a Mr. J. C. White, from Boston. The White rifle was submitted in the 1929 and 1930 rifle trials, but was rejected. White’s gas system, on the other hand was promising: In it, gas was tapped into a cylinder and onto a cup-shaped piston. As the piston slid rearward, holes in the cup body that allowed gas to enter the cylinder went out of alignment with the gas port, cutting off gas to the system. The gas that remained in the cylinder continued to expand, driving the piston rearward the full stroke. This system, commonly referred to as the White gas system or “cut-off” system, would become the central operating mechanism for the most important post-war Ordnance rifle projects like the T25, and eventually the M14.

whitesemiauto2

The .276 cal. White rifle. Image source: forgottenweapons.com

 

whitesemiauto5

The White rifle disassembled. Note the gas system. Image source: forgottenweapons.com

 

Harvey rediscovered White’s gas system while searching patent filings for ideas for a new gas system for the M1. The first rifle he designed using this system, a hand-made model with no designation, was a crude workshop model. Initial testing of this system showed a gentler velocity curve for the operating rod, and it was hoped that this gentler movement would solve the bolt cam lug galling problem. However, a report published in October of 1943 showed that the gas system did not prevent galling of the operating rod.

0830150740c

The M1E4 rifle, with stock removed, showing its White-derived gas system. Compare with the image of the disassembled White rifle above. Image source: Stevens

 

0830150812i

The assembled M1E4 rifle. Image source: Stevens

 

After the rifle had been demonstrated to not solve the galling problem, Studler’s enthusiasm for it cooled, and the production model M1E4 was not finished until August of 1944. This rifle used a two piece fixed piston/operating rod with a female end, and a modified front end with a gas port closer to the breech, replacing the distinctive gas block/front sight combination with a shorter gas block, and separate front sight. Because the gas cut-off piston head and piston body were rigidly connected, this model had problems with severe overheating and inaccuracy, and its springs quickly lost their set due to heat. An improvement of the M1E4 was thus developed in the first month of of 1945, called M1E9, which separated the gas piston and operating rod into two components, thus converting the M1 into a short-stroke design. It was this system that would eventually be incorporated into Earl Harvey’s T25 rifle, and later the Garand-derived T44, which became the M14. The M1E9 also sported distinctive, single-piece upper and lower stocks, and a similar separate front sight and gas block, as in the M1E4.

0830150741e

The M1E9 rifle with its stock removed. Compare to both the image of the M1E4 and the image of the White rifle above. Image source: Stevens

 

0830150741b

The assembled M1E9 rifle. Note the full-length, one piece stocks. Image source: Stevens

 

Work on an improved M1 gas system tapped concepts from other countries, as well. One rifle that caught the attention of Springfield’s designers was the Ljungmann AG-42 rifle, the first-generation Swedish selfloading issue rifle. Like the French MAS series of selfloaders, and the later AR-15, the AG-42 utilized a gas tube that piped high pressure gas back to the action to drive the operating group, doing away with the long and easily bent operating rod entirely. A variant of the M1, called the M1E10, utilized the Ljungmann-type gas system to vent gas to an piston-head situated near the operating rod hold-open catch. The M1E10 retained the long operating rod of the M1, but it no longer was acted upon by gas, instead functioning only as a spring guide and additional moving parts mass.

8001-SA.I

The M1E10 direct gas impingement rifle. Image source: ww3.rediscov.com/springar, NPS

 

0830150741k

The disassembled M1E10, showing the gas tube, gas vent, and the impinging surface on the operating rod. Image source: Stevens

 

The M1E10 was determined to be an unsuitable modification to the M1 rifle due to excessive heating to the operating rod, similar to the difficulties encountered with the M1E4.

Harvey also developed two more White gas system prototypes, the M1E11 and the M1E13, the latter of which Stevens describes as an attempt to apply the White gas system to the M1 rifle with as few changes as possible. Sources are conflicted as to when the M1E13 was developed, with Stevens stating it was an earlier prototype than the M1E4 and M1E9, but Canfield holding it as the final evolution of the Harvey-White M1 modifications, and leading directly to the M14. It’s unclear which author is correct, but perhaps there should be greater weight placed on Canfield’s work, as it is both newer, and more congruous with both the rifle’s designation and the earliest prototypes of the T44. The M1E11 is described by Canfield as using a gas cut-off system, but Stevens calls it an application of the Williams tappet gas system to the M1 rifle. It used a cast gas block very similar to the original M1’s, and a single-piece aluminum top and front handguard. Photos of the M1E13 show both of these features, as well, suggesting the two rifles were closely related. Like many of the other experimental gas system prototypes, the M1E11 suffered from overheating and development was discontinued. Photos suggest that the M1E13, in contrast, was the direct predecessor of several post-war improved Garand prototypes that would eventually lead to the M14.

0830150742c

The M1E13 rifle, field stripped. Image source: Stevens

 

Due to the seeming difficulty of adapting the M1 to other gas systems, there was produced a prototype rifle, called M1E12, that used the same direct gas system as the gas port M1, but with the gas port and gas block moved breechward six inches. The M1E12 was determined to provide no significant improvement over the existing M1, and development was subsequently dropped late in the war.

0830150742

The M1E12 direct gas piston rifle disassembled. Note the shorter gas cylinder and separate gas block and front sight. Also note the one piece aluminum forward handguard. Image source: Stevens

 

0830150741i

Top to bottom: The M1E10, M1E13, and M1E12 rifles. Image source: Stevens

 

The M1 Garand itself, like its predecessor the M1903 Springfield, was designed to act both as a carbine and as a rifle, but that requirement dated back to the late 1890s, and with the advent of heavily mechanized and especially airborne troops, a new, smaller carbine was desired. This was one of the primary reasons for developing the M1 Carbine, but by early 1944 there grew a desire to combine the great handling characteristics and light weight of the carbine with the full power rifle round of the M1. After some initial, encouraging tests by the Infantry Board of an ersatz M1 Garand carbine created by the 93rd Infantry Division, Colonel Studler’s Small Arms Divison was tasked with developing a suitable carbine based on the M1 rifle. The designer in charge of this effort was none other than the M1’s designer, John Cantius Garand, and the resulting arm was designated M1E5. This Garand carbine utilized a new 18″ barrel and an underfolding pantograph stock attached to a metal rear stock cap, and was completed in February of 1944. Ordnance tested the M1E5 alongside two modified No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifles that were also shortened to carbine configuration, with, oddly, a standard No. 4 rifle as the control. The tests concluded that the carbines did have increased flash and blast, but that durability, velocity, and accuracy were not significantly reduced. However, testing in May of 1944 at Aberdeen Proving Grounds concluded that the M1E5 had excessive flash and blast, was uncomfortable to hold, and that the stock was fragile and in need of redesign. During testing, an awkward-looking bean-shaped pistol grip was added to the singular M1E5 prototype, to improve handling characteristics. Development was also begun of a new improved stock pattern, but ceased when the project was cancelled. The M1E5 was type classified as Rifle, Type M1A3 but the design was never finished, as other projects were deemed higher priority.

 

0830150740f

The M1E5 compared to a standard M1 Garand. Image source: Stevens

 

0830150756c2

The M1E5, with added pistol grip. This is the same rifle as above. Image source: Canfield

 

Over the nearly four years that the US fought World War II, the Ordnance Department undertook to improve the M1 rifle’s functioning, handling, and other characteristics. This effort included many projects that will be discussed in upcoming installments of this series, but what is remarkable is that only minor improvements were ever actually incorporated into the production of the M1. Without knowledge of the problems that plagued the rifle, and the effort expended to correct them, some have taken this lack of change as evidence that the M1 rifle was near-perfect, but this is hardly the case. It could instead be taken as evidence of the importance of production over improvement, or that “perfect is the enemy of good enough”, and for the wartime M1 rifles this is probably true. However, the rifles produced from 1952-1957 were not subject to the same overwhelming demand for rifles, and yet still no major changes were made to the weapons, not even enough to warrant a change in designation. This series will explore only a segment of the most important modifications made to the M1 for testing; there were many different ideas explored, from different stock materials to fully automatic M1s, to the different gas systems and bolt configurations discussed in this post. Yet, still, even the M14 which began production only by 1959, and which would have perhaps been better designated “M1 PIP”, represented only a modest improvement at best over the existing rifles. Development of the second generation US selfloading rifle was seemingly agonizing in its slowness and reticence to change. This reluctance on the part of Ordnance to accept the genius at their fingertips and make significant strides forward is one of the major coloring factors in the story of the Light Rifle.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


Advertisement

  • For those wondering why this post isn’t about the .280 British, here are the updated titles:

    Light Rifle I: Prologue

    Light Rifle II: To Challenge a Newly Won Throne

    Light Rifle III: Improving the Deadliest Rifle In The World

    Light Rifle IV: The M1 Learns To Rock And Roll

    Light Rifle V: Lost Pride: The Two Eight Oh Story, Part I

    Light Rifle VI: Lost Pride: The Two Eight Oh Story, Part II

    Light Rifle VII: Full Power Perfected: The .30 Light Rifle

    Light Rifle VIII: The T25 Saga

    Light Rifle IX: The NATO Rifle Trials

    Light Rifle X: Unbridled Optimism: The AR-10

    Light Rifle XI: The Light Rifle Paradox

    Light Rifle XII: The Fall of The Light Rifle

    Light Rifle XIII: The Light Rifle In The 21st Century

    Light Rifle XIV: A Retrospeculative

    I wouldn’t expect these titles to stay put, either. Posts II, III, and IV in this list were all supposed to be covered in Post II in the original list, and it’s reasonable to expect that other posts may have to be expanded as we go along!

    • iksnilol

      Holy crap! This is going to be a legit book? Right? I want it for my bookshelf… Also, I sorta want a bookshelf.

      • Naw, just poasts on a blag.

        • iksnilol

          You could at the very least make a paperback. Not that I care or anything.

          I think it would be appropriate to kick a can across the road and say “aw shucks”.

          • I have no intention of making it a book yet; at the moment I’m focusing on finishing it here on the blog. However, who knows what may happen after it is done.

          • Nashvone

            I would love to have it in book form.

          • ostiariusalpha

            There’s definitely the seed here for a book, but it’d be a pain with the footnotes and trying to dig through the original documents sited by your source materials. It would have to be a labor of love too, not a ton of money to be made off the few people (like myself) that are fascinated by the development histories of mechanisms and eagerly aquire literature on the topic.

    • Haunted Puppeteer

      I just feel like these posts are missing something..

      Ah! A paywall! That’s it!

      TFB: “Shouldn’t I be paying for this..?”

      Good work, as always.

      • Tell your friends, link them to this site. There’s your paywall. 😉

  • Wolfgar

    Another excellent post, this is the information I have been searching for. Well done!

  • Charlie Taylor

    Holy crap the M1E5 would have made for a super compact package, kinda sad that it got cancelled before they could make the requisite improvements.

    • Haunted Puppeteer

      Except that you’d either have to be really uncomfortable holding and firing it, or you’d have to have that unutterable, non-euclidian, loathsome, daemoniac ‘pistol grip’.

      Also, I bet the balance was awful.

  • Griz

    This series is one that really made me start to read tfb. I hope I am not the only one wants an m1e5, someone call the current Springfield Copy cats and tell them we want a .308 version yesterday!

    • Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 I think Tim Shufflin of Shuff’s Parkerizing might be the guy to talk to about that!

    • Kevin Harron

      Doesn’t look like it would be fun to fire tho…

  • UCSPanther

    I don`t think anyone knew that a young boy from Canada would ultimately not only create one of the first semi auto battle rifles to be standard issue in a world power`s army, but to create a small family of firearms that used a similar style bolt and layout.

    The safety, sights and the visible mechanical operation of the bolt are my favorite features of both the M14 and Ruger Mini 14.

    • oscar dirlewanger

      You need to stop sodumbmizing your poor cat with your choo choo train

      • UCSPanther

        You need to stop running around randomly insulting people and naming yourself after dead, psychotic SS officers…

        • n0truscotsman

          Nazi zombies are apparently not grounded in horror/fiction after all…

          • UCSPanther

            That troll is a two-bit edgelord who is trying to shock by running around and being a wannabe Nazi. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

  • Kevin Harron

    Ugh, that M1E5 with a pistol grip is truly hideous. And I don’t think I would want to fire the M1E5 unless my life was on the line.

    • UnrepentantLib

      True, but what if they’d put a decent pistol grip on it, a beefy folding stock like the modern Galil has, and a flash hider/muzzle brake. They might have had a decent rifle for paratroops and armored infantry.

      • UCSPanther

        The Beretta BM 59 Alpine comes to mind.

        • Kivaari

          How many of them were used, and how many remain in use?

          • UCSPanther

            I think the BM59 is more or less obsolete, and the alpine version seemed to be intended as a special issue carbine of the main rifle.

            A bit like the “carbines” of the bolt actions of old, and the FAL Paratrooper of the Cold War.

          • Kivaari

            I wonder how many were sold world wide. The Italian Alpine troops had to be a pretty small unit. A few thousand? The Beretta rifles were nicely made. Magazines were hard to find when the rifles were imported, and the prices were off the charts in the 1970s.

          • UCSPanther

            I wish someone would make a BM59 alpine-style folder for the M14/M1A.

            I would love to build an M14 Paratrooper…

          • Kivaari

            With a few exceptions, Galil and FAL, most folding stocks are a negative adaptation. Adjustable stocks, for length of pull, make sense.

          • Shuff’s Parkerizing does for the M1, and I bet he’d do it for the M14.

            http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f197/Garandlover/BM59/Picture677.jpg

          • Possum

            Contact Tim at Warbirds Custom rifles in Texas. If you can get the bm59 folding hardware, he will make you a M14/M1A walnut stock adapted to the folder mech. I had this done and love it. Or, you can hunt one of the old original SA Inc. M1A folders, they are exactly as you want. But, they are kind of rare and a tad pricey. Best bet is Warbirds for the wood, and find the folding parts online. Works great!

          • UCSPanther

            Unfortunately, I live in Canada, and I am not sure if those guys would be able to help me (Even though the Norinco M1As are very popular up here, and people have done some pretty amazing things with those rifles).

            I may have to take the home shop fabrication route…

  • Darkpr0

    “This reluctance on the part of Ordnance to accept the genius at their fingertips and make significant strides forward is one of the major coloring factors in the story of the Light Rifle.”

    Wow, it’s amazing how at every step of the way they said they wanted something new and improved, and every time something remotely new came up they snubbed it and went with the same thing that was familiar. Boy, it’s a good thing we learned our lesson about constant improvement and development in the modern day or we’d end up using the same basic rifle for the past 50 years. …wait…

    • It may just be my perspective, but I feel like Ordnance missed out on a rare glut of great designers that we don’t now enjoy. Pedersen, Garand, Johnson, Williams, and Harvey just to name a few of the greatest!

      • Darkpr0

        I have to respect the Russian design philosophy with stuff like the AN-94, the AEK-971 and variants, ADS rifle… Weird stuff. It doesn’t make it into general issue so their main army is every bit as guilty of overconservatism, but they’re willing to try new, stupid stuff just to see what works. I feel like the American branches have lost that willingness to explore new stuff in favour of the next AR-15 variant. Their next-generation rifle/carbine competitions have certainly done nothing to overturn that suspicion.

        • I suspect the Russians historically have more heavily funded small arms development than the Americans.

          • Zebra Dun

            I believe the Russian’s just love guns LOL like Us.

        • Kivaari

          I suspect that no one in or out of the government has had that mental breakthrough that is really a leap forward. It has taken 50 years of tinkering and tactics to get to the M4A1. The system is so good, that it will take a totally new system to get beyond it. Just look at the civilian versions of all the new rifles. Regardless of it being Israeli, Belgium, Germany, Finland, China or the USA, not one of them seems to be improvements. Many of them are awkward, unreliable and prone to failure. Almost all of them need after market parts to make them just OK.

          • The Brigadier

            H&K made an upper that supposedly solves the AR jamming problem, but they wanted too much for them and the Ordnance Dept said no. If they can make one for the AR10 as well, the AR platform will last for many more decades to come. Perhaps H&K will set up shop here to make these uppers and get the price down to a realistic level. Their trick is to loosen the action up at various jam points without sacrificing overall accuracy.

            The gun of the future will be shoulder armed rail guns and they are closer than you think, maybe another five years and certainly no more than ten. Smaller ones will have a velocity around 6000 FPS or about 3 miles a second, and larger guns will shoot at 9600 FPS or 5 miles a second. These latter ones will allow a single shooter to take out close attack planes and even fast movers.

            In the interim time left for the AR platform we really need to pressure H&K to make these uppers here so our existing weapons can be retrofitted and be next to perfect. Sometimes our Europeans brethren need to be hit up the side of the head with a two by four to make them realize how huge the American market really is. They think in terms of one or two million units instead of one hundred or two hundred million units.

    • CommonSense23

      Name a gun that truly beats the AR10/15 currently. The AR has modernized extremely well. There is a reason that it is still beating out the competition.

      • Giolli Joker

        Rheinmetall 120 mm L/55.

        (hey, you just sad “a gun”… 🙂 )

        • Zebra Dun

          Now that my friend is a Gun!

      • Darkpr0

        Your question is hilariously vague. This is the classic internet “which is better” argument that goes nowhere because nobody defines scope or purpose. If I want a weapons platform that just beats the AR platform, I will take an Iowa-class battleship.

        You can’t talk intelligently about what is better unless there is something to be better at.

        Realistically though, I would cheerfully take a Tavor or an Austeyr AUG variant. If you want a more compact weapon, get rid of that buffer tube and go bullpup. If you are addicted to the conventional layout, take a SCAR. The Army’s own testing showed it to be more reliable in dust tests at the very least. And if you watch InRangeTV at all, you can check out their interviews with Jim Sullivan as he talks about fundamental problems with the AR that have been there since its very first adoption that still have not been tackled by the army or general users at large.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/08/25/2004-m4-dust-tests/

          http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/01/09/jim-sullivan-m16-vietnam/

          I see I need to write a post on why bullpups are not all that just to achieve the perfect prepared counterargument.

          • Darkpr0

            You can give bullpups all the grief you want, but they’re taking a desire for a more compact firearm and making use of a resource: there’s a giant block of polymer and air at the rear of the gun not filled with mechanical goodies that make the gun work. If you then fill that with mechanical goodness, you’re making more efficient use of the volume that the gun takes up. It’s an aggressive change. Does it have weaknesses? Absolutely. Do they outweigh the advantages? I don’t think so, myself. Your mileage may vary.

            At some point, if they are actually committed to getting a higher-performance weapons system the military is really going to have to give serious consideration to things they can’t stand: layout changes, calibre changes, cartridge ignition system changes, action length changes… Some of them will work and some of them won’t, but if you stop pushing to improve then you won’t get anywhere.

          • crackedlenses

            What makes you think the military isn’t pushing to improve (i.e. LSAT)?

            Just because they are not adopting the weapon you want does not mean that they are not looking for something better.

          • Kivaari

            Look at TFBs Saturday article about New Zealand DF buying M16-type rifles from LMT to replace all those AUGs. All that is wrong with AUGs will be fixed by going to an AR.

          • Kivaari

            Bullpups are all awkward, have slow magazine changing, most are either right hand or left hand (the FN2000 wont hit a barn) and are more suited to use as baseball bats.

          • The Brigadier

            I don’t like bullpups much either Nate, but the PS90 is just so damn accurate I just gotta get one.

        • CommonSense23

          The SCAR in no way improves on the AR design, its why the MK16 got dropped so quick by the Rangers. Why did SOCOM shortly drop the MK16 from the armory afterward? Why aren’t the SMUs using the SCAR platform? The Army’s testing was a farce to say the least. Using M4 of unknown round count, STANAG mags instead of PMAGs, and not using the current M4A1.

          • Kivaari

            As reported elsewhere on TFB, the GI magazines outperform all other makes. Even Pmags were said to fail sooner than the GI/Brownell’s (with sand colored follower).

          • CommonSense23

            From my understanding of the test, the anti tilt followers were not used.

          • Kivaari

            Look at yesterdays comments about the LMT NZDF. Read the comments regarding the commercial range use data. In my personal experience the GI magazines work fine. I am wondering why I bought 25 Pmags, when I had a stack of GI.

          • CommonSense23

            GI mags refer to the external dimensions and locking cut of the mag. Not the follower and springs. I got a ton of GI mags issued to me on my last deployment, and had three different models.

          • n0truscotsman

            You have to remember that the GI magazine claims, like everything else, were anecdotes and there was much to be desired on the “science” part. Making proper comparisons, which magazines (Gen 1 or 2 magpul vs gen 3), firing cycles, etc. Too many variables.

            I consider the claims made perfectly valid, however. There is no experience equivalent of sheer quantities of lead downrange, in automatic usually, operated by enthusiastic non-gun people for the most part.

            But ill say if you already have aluminum mags with anti-tilt followers, theyll work just fine. D&H and brownells have performed admirably for what i’ve used them for. So have the lancers and magpuls (really digging the Gen 3s). If you have any of them, be happy and confident.

          • Kivaari

            Wasn’t there another HK that was already named the new US Army rifle, a G8, that after Army Times published all the stats, was the new rifle. Didn’t it melt like a G36. So far no rifle has shown itself to be a significant improvement over the M4 and M4A1. The big picture keeps showing that the Army picked the right carbine and rifles.

          • Thomas Weißhuhn

            G8 is a Hk 21, it is or was in use for the federal border guard, you are refering to the G38 a Hk416A5. When a German agency adopts a gun it will get a domestic designation G forrifles P forpistols and so on. It does not mean that the Bundeswehr is about to adopt it.

            Also an 11″ barrel might be a bit short so the standard issue rifle.

            G8 would be cool tho ^^

            fixed

          • He means XM8.

          • Thomas Weißhuhn

            i just demonstrated selective reading … guess the breaking news are still stuck in my head.

          • Kivaari

            Yep. Did you see the articles in Army Times. It was great, and believing it, led many of us anticipating new rifles. A big no go came months later. Leaving us with M carbines, was perfectly fine.

          • The Brigadier

            Sure wish they could change the upper for the H&K upper. Then it would be stupendous. Put a 22″ barrel on the AR10 and even that one would be major battle rifle for the world.

          • The Brigadier

            The reason the SCAR hasn’t been adopted is the high cost. It doesn’t use direct impingement, but has a gas tube and piston to cycle the action. Like the AR Platform the bolt and the barrel are in line and this causes the recoil to come straight back into the shoulder and not 17 degrees off like the Garand or the M14. This helps the average shooter shoot more accurately. At $3200 retail this price is a non-starter and the reason the DoD gave up on it. They do make a 19″ barrel for the 17S and a few small manufacturers have 21″ inch competition barrels. That’s what our forces needs, but they need the price down to around $1100. Its still more than the government pays for the M4 and the last price I saw for that procurement was around $740. Still $1100 for a 7.62 x 51 is pretty good if FN can produce it here and not in Europe with all their manufacturing taxes.

          • CommonSense23

            The SCAR? The gun that couldn’t replace the M4 in the Ranger Batts, due to absolutely sucking. The whole battalion had switched over and less than a year they dumped it and went back to the M4. They had the funding, SOCOM had the funding, they dropped it cause it wasn’t good. You ever wonder why the SMUs don’t use the gun and stick with a AR in both 5.56 and 7.62? Its cause the SCAR doesn’t do anything better than the AR design and a lot of things worse. Been issued a good bit of them, know a lot about the program. They aren’t that great of a gun. Only thing they had to be better than was the MK14 and its not hard to be better than a 14.

          • CommonSense23

            Also, SCARs don’t have gas tubes, the AR15 also uses a piston to cycle the action, the bolt and barrel of a Garand and M14 are also in a line. You can’t even get the basics right. Also you keep mention the HK uppers. You know where that design came from of a AR upper that was OP Rod driven, Eugene Stoner.

        • Phil Hsueh

          It’s not about simply being better, but about being significantly better to justify the expense of procuring a new rifle and everything that goes with it. Basically, the Army and the rest of the US military doesn’t want to spend X millions of dollars and X amount of time to procure and field a brand new rifle that’s only marginally better than the M16/M4.

      • The Brigadier

        Mainly price. You can buy new decent ARs between five and six hundred dollars. If you shop wisely, you can make a decent one for around four hundred. That is the price of some .22 rifles you see now. They still jam unless you are compulsive about keeping them spotlessly clean.

        • CommonSense23

          Wow, the still jam if you don’t keep them spotlessly clean myth. Thought that got debunked a while ago. So why is it that I go thousands of rounds without cleaning my issued rifle, all suppressed, in multiple different environments, getting it extremely dirty from the outside elements, and it never malfunctions. Why do I keep seeing this with everyone I work with.

          • The Brigadier

            I don’t why I respond to a stupid post like you wrote. Are you trying to tell me that you never cleaned your AR after shooting it? Never mind if its not an AR. Cleaning a rifle ensures that it will shoot when you need it to. Furthermore while modern primers and powders are largely non-corrosive, leaving all the carbon and nitrates in your action and barrel traps moisture that will pit and rust everything. Shame on you. I bet you never served did you? Your drill sergeant would have kicked your ass from hither to yon if he saw your weapon in the way you described it.

          • CommonSense23

            Drill Sergeant? Hilarious. Yeah I didn’t clean my rifle unless I was on deployment or got salt water into. Ran fine cause I knew actually how to maintain it. This isn’t the 60s anymore. You can run your AR fine without cleaning it. You obviously have no real clue about small arms in general, and just regurgitate the oldest myths about them. Some simple google searches would help you a lot.

          • The Brigadier

            I’m glad I’m not in your unit. I think you should change your name to DirtyCS23.

          • Zebra Dun

            He is saying his rifle, unless he was on deployment or swimming in the ocean sat in the armory and did not need cleaning I believe.
            If that’s the case then D’oH!
            I cleaned mine even if it sat in the armory at least every week, just to fondle it LOL

          • Zebra Dun

            I went a year once not cleaning an AR-15 medium shooting and messing about in all kinds of dirty places civilian style, it began to jam steady after about a year till it stopped completely in semi fire.
            My M-16A1 in service time jammed if I didn’t clean it at least once a day CLNC!
            More in the JOTC CZ.
            Even more At Twenty nine stumps.
            The nature of the environment and the Troopers intimacy with that environment makes the difference I’ve found.

        • CommonSense23

          I just realized you stated that HK solved the jamming problem which is hilarious in itself, and we will have rail guns with a decade. And that the M14 has no flaws. Wow.

          • Zebra Dun

            The M-14 has flaws, it cannot be controlled in auto fire, it is heavy, it does not lend itself to GL mounting and must be re rigged completely to mount rails for gear geeks.
            Many have running sights unless they are locked down in Combat sight positions.
            Wooden stocks rot in the jungle, the open receiver attracts crud and dirt which will jam all but the Holy Kalashnikov (PBUH) type weapons, the recoil is stiff for those unused to it.
            Now you must know though the M-14 is MY Choice for a rifle over the AK and AR platforms, not that I am planning to use one in combat.

      • Zebra Dun

        “GUN!”
        Crack O’ My Ast Do you know where your gun is?
        >rhetorical question< LOL

    • The Brigadier

      That is the sad entire history of the Ordnance Dept. Not accepting the Henry rifle for the troops in the Civil War and again not accepting it after the war or the two Winchester models for our cavalry during the Indian Wars. Screw ups abound in the history of that dept by whichever name they go by. In fairness they have some good successes. The M1 carbine was the most widely produced firearm in America and has inflicted more casualties on our enemies then any other rifle in our history including the M16/M4. It was a nearly perfect light arm and was used by dozens of our allies for over fifty years. I’m glad to see Kahr is making it again with modern updated materials, and I’d also like to kick Hillary Cinton in the ass for single handedly blocking the return of thousands of these arms from South Korea. Thumbs up for Kahr, thunbs down for the Hildebeest.

  • Esh325

    It seems like the USA wasted so much time trying to improve a rifle that was obsolete by the end of WW2. They didn’t go straight to work on developing an assault rifle like many countries did after WW2. I think the only reason why the M14 soldiered on was because they didn’t have any suitable modern .308 replacements at the time and it was a quicker and cheaper solution than adopting a more modern rifle .308 rifle

    • Kivaari

      We had the M2 carbines, that with some thinking could have been adapted to a better round. The M2 was America’s assault rifle, until it was displaced by the M16.

    • Kivaari

      Intermediate rifle cartridges had been in the works in several nations circa 1930 and earlier. Soviets tested 6.5mm (Japanese) select-fire rifles in the early 1920s. Soviets also tested 7.62 and 5.5 caliber cartridges before WW2. The Swiss had several 7.5mm rounds and carbines in testing. I think the primary reason the Soviets went with the 7.62x39mm is they had huge supplies of 7.62mm barrel making machinery.
      The PPSh 41, used M91/30 barrels, allowing them to get 3 PPSh barrels out of one M91/30 blank. The 5.5mm round from pre-war years was necked up. It took them another 30 years to get back to pre war ideas. We had the .276 in the early 30s, yet we had generals without vision.

      • marathag

        Or the original intermediate cartridge, the .25 Remington, shown here, in-between the .223 and 308.

        Produced in 1906 for the Remington Model 8 Autoloader.

        See, JMB got something else right on the first try

        • Kivaari

          The Remington rounds used the cases from Mannlicher rifles, like the 6.5 Carcano. All the 6.5×51-52-53mm cases of the 1890s. The Mannlicher cases used the same diameter head, as the AK M43 ammo. Nothing new here, move along, and ignore your ancestors.

          • Incorrect. The Remington rounds actually did not all use the same case head. The .35 Remington uses a .460″ wide case head, while the .30 Remington used a .422″ case head. The .32 and .25 Remington is listed by most sources as using slightly different case heads than the .30 Remington, but I can hardly imagine that a single manufacturer would introduce two rounds at the same time that used very close but different case heads. As a result, I think the .25 Remington, .32 Remington and .30 Remington all use the same case head, but manufacturer variances have differentiated them slightly.

            The 6.5×52 Carcano uses a .450″ case head, in contrast, while the later 6.5×54 M-S uses a .452″ case head. Both of these case heads have slightly different rim dimensions to each other, and both of these cases have significantly different rim dimensions to the Remington autoloading series.

            None of these rounds are based on any of the other (besides the .25, .32, and .30 Remington), and so far as I can tell Remington created the case heads for their autoloading series entirely out of whole cloth, and they are best considered rimless versions of the .25-35, .30-30, .32 Winchester Special, and .35 WCF cartridges which they were designed to compete against.

          • Kivaari

            Nathaniel, Aaaa, .450 v. 452, is the same case head within normal tolerances. Before you use your micrometer, get out a stack of reloading manuals, especially those from the 1950s forward. Even the manuals will give varying case dementions. The case measurement shown will be shown as what the author made from his samples of brass. Look at the cases, before the rim is turned. We can use the parent cases and turn them into its children. A 6.5x54mm run into a sizing die and trimmed, makes most of the others. Remington did screw around with case head diameters. Look at the M8s and M14s. Them M8s were in .25, .30, .35 Rem and .300 Savage. Various case heads. The M14s used the same with the exception of the .300 Savage to my memory.
            Mauser and Mannlicher pretty much created the cases we see today. Head/rims with 10,11, 12,13mm etc. Like the bore of the.
            275 Brit and 7x57mm are the same. 7mm = .275, but after the rifling is cut both use .284 bullets. There was no great desire to re-invent cartridge cases until recently where new non-belted magnums started showing up. Commercial cosmetics. The .25 and .30 Remington were simply .30-30 (.30WCF) cases with the rim machined off, and a groove cut. The .30 WCF was simply a Mannlicher case with a rim. Grab a couple boxrs of 7.62×39 from various sources and see if you find a 0.002″ difference. Often within the same lot that will show up.
            Like I mentioned earlier. Look at the 7.62×54 v. the 7.5 French. Get your micrometer out and start measuring. Do it with the 7.62×51 and all of a sudden, most of the cartridges other than the M-S rounds and Japanese rounds come back to just a couple parent cases. Another example is the .244/6mm Remington. It was nothing new, it was the 6x57mm Mauser. In fact Mauser pretty much used every 6mm to 9mm bullet size on the 57mm case. I don’t recall the Mauser brothers going to 5.5mm since in their era no good powders existed so bores would be eaten up fast.
            It is one reason we see such case deformation in fired cases. Sloppy chambers could use sloppy cases.

          • Hi Kivaari,

            I knew the conversation would go this direction. Yes, you can turn 6.5×54 MS brass into 6.5×52 Carcano brass, if you so desire, but that is not the point. The point is that the cartridges mentioned don’t share lineages with the other ones (6.5×52 and 6.5×54 might, but .35 Rem isn’t related to either of the 6.5s).

            The thing is, there’s a difference between two cartridges being inter-compatible in such a way that brass from one can be turned into brass for another and one being the parent case of the other. A good example of this is the 7.62×39. Yes, you can form it from .220 Swift, or 6mm Lee, or 6.5×52, or 7.35×51, but it’s not descended from any of them. It’s a clean-sheet design.

            And of course the .25 and .30 Remington are totally different from the 6.5×52 and 6.5×54, and aren’t based on them in any conceivable way.

            I had a very similar conversation to this one in an email thread a while back, and I’ll copypasta some of what I said there:

            “As I have all three rounds in front of me currently, I can easily compare them. The Russians did manufacture the 6.5×50 SR, but the rim and base dimensions are not similar to the 7.62×39, so by any reasonable account it cannot be the parent case. The 6mm Lee Navy is much more similar to the 7.62×39, but still distinct. I also have seen no evidence the Russians had much experience with the 6mm Lee Navy at all, and the idea that by 1942 they would be designing cartridges based on it is a bit of a stretch without direct evidence.

            I think a much more likely theory is that the 7.62x39mm case was created from whole cloth. This is not so unreasonable to suggest; they had no suitable rimless round available at the time to serve as a parent case, so there was no “easier” option (unlike the Germans and their 7.92×33). Further, while I agree the Russians have traditionally been happy to “copy what works”, they have been equally happy to come up with their own solutions to design challenges. I would caution against needlessly explaining away Russian design practices as examples of copying without overwhelming evidence. Even in cases that seem straightforward (such as the Russian spaceplane Buran) the truth is often more complex and interesting.”

            “Here are some photos:

            http://i.imgur.com/NnluW62.jpg
            http://i.imgur.com/sLTxY3v.jpg
            http://i.imgur.com/jrxCepq.jpg
            http://i.imgur.com/9N83E9s.jpg
            http://i.imgur.com/DZQjyza.jpg

            You can see that even the two most similar rounds (6mm Lee Navy and 7.62×39) still have significantly different dimensions (look closely at the chamfer on the rim, the rim thickness, and the extractor groove angle). Having said that, I would not consider it impossible that the 6mm Lee Navy was the parent of 7.62×39, but I would need definitive proof that the Russians in the 1940s had any meaningful access to the round.”

          • ostiariusalpha

            No, it sure as hell doesn’t! You need to check the .25 Rem’s case dimensions again, it’s certainly not a Mannlicher.

        • Kivaari

          Remember the US Navy 6mm (.236 jnch) before 1900.

          • marathag

            rimmed, and ate barrels in bolt action form.
            Don’t want that for an early autoloader

          • The 6mm LN was rimless.

          • marathag

            That’s what memory will do for you. One strike removed from it then.
            That’s one I really wish that they would have used a cooler burning powder way back when.

          • Not a difficult mistake to make. There was a rimmed companion round that I think was released commercially (but never used by the Navy), and the .220 Swift is semi-rimmed, despite being based on the 6mm LN case.

          • The Swift’s semi-rim allowed it to be used in existing .30-06 bolt faces.

          • Yes, the commercial gun marker goons up yet another fine thing forcno reason whatsoever.

          • Kivaari

            Look around today, and what do most intermediate rounds have in common? Smaller cases in both diameter and length. A trimmed .236 Navy.

          • milesfortis

            “way back when” was when smokeless powders were just beginning to be used.
            Deterrent coatings and many other manufacturing methods that we’re used to seeing today were barely even in development.

          • marathag

            The original bulk smokeless was fairly cool burning, but lower in energy, being singlebase.
            IIRC, the Lee used one of the early Dupont Doublebase powders, that were not easy on steel at high pressures. Buy yeah, one of the early German Triple-Base Powders would have been ideal

          • Kivaari

            Nathaniel. Here is what I was getting at. First up is the cartridge followed by base diameter (ahead of the rim) and the rim diameter.
            We need to allow for different lots so a couple thousandth here and there are variable.
            6mm Lee Navy .445/.448
            .25 Remington .420/.421
            .32 Remington .420/.421
            .22/6mm PPC .443/.445
            .22 Swift .445/.473 (the rim dia. is the same as .30-06)
            225 Win .442/.473
            25-35 Win .442/.506
            7-30 Win .442/.506
            7x57mm .470/.473
            .30 Remington .422/.422
            .30-30 Win .422/.506
            .303 SAV.AGE .442/.505
            .32 WCF .422/.506
            .35 Rem .457/.460
            .38-55 WCF .421/.506
            6.5mm M-S .447/.450 (semi-rimmed)
            6.5 Japanese .445/.448 (see how close it is to M-S)
            7.62x39mm .443/445 (real close to M-S, Japanese)
            .280/.30 British .470/.473 (same as Mauser and ’06)
            A few 1000ths here and there obviously explain commonality.

          • I’m not sure what your point is.

          • Kivaari

            The point is many cartridges share a common size. Take a shell from one country, and make some cosmetic changes, like a longer or shorter neck, and a tiny semi-rim or a full rim, and then sell the rifle buyers ammo. When an existing cartridge is fine, it wont do as it isn’t a Winchester or Remington round. Every pre-1940 round using the Mauser base and rim sizes could have stopped making their own version and just use the 7.65mm Belgian round as it performs as well as a 7.9×57, .30-03 and ’06, and 7.62 NATO.

          • ostiariusalpha

            A few 100ths here and there and you have completely unrelated cartridges. Like the Mannlichers and the .30 WCF.

          • Kivaari

            Ever look at cases fired in real military rifles like M98s and No.3s. Sloppy chambers allow ammo with not so precise casings to chamber, fire and swell. Reloading them a couple times usually causes case head separation. It quite common in military rifles of the past. You shouldn’t see it much in a good AR15.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I have a 1898 .30-40 Krag, and have fired a WWI era 1903. They both have nice chambers because no idiot got ahold of them and fired hot reloads through them, stretching that old steel out of spec. Even back in the day, they didn’t cut the chambers so sloppy that you could stuff .35 Rem in a Lee Navy.

          • Kivaari

            You have not been around enough rifles then. Chambers on many military rifles had room for dirt and crude. In particular look at .303 British rifles. Shoot one, and look at the case before and after. You will even see the shoulder has moved forward. It head spaces on the rim, allowing quite a bit of room for dirt or trench mud. Millions of Mausers have sloppy chambers, except for headspace. Try many of Savage M99 in .300. If you own a Krag and have shot an ’03, try a bunch more.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The .303 is an exception, it has an absurdly sloppy chamber. The Mauser only has generous chamber, it’s the bolt that is sloppy and loose; when it locks up it should be snug and they were well known to jam up when dirty easier than other combat bolt guns.

          • Uh, sure, I guess, except many of these rounds weren’t actually developed that way, or weren’t based off of the other rounds that have similar rim sizes.

          • Kivaari

            A point not understood is the rim is the proprietary device more than the case. Little stuff like the .307 Winchester, making a .308 into shell unique to the M94. Most of the rounds with a rim, could be used without a rim. That was a left over from single shots. I guess I can’t convey my thoughts adequately.

          • Um… I mean it’s all just shaped brass, so, I don’t know what’s so proprietary about it.

            I’m talking about the relationships between different rounds and what can be discerned from looking at their case head dimensions, not limited to just the diameter.

          • Kivaari

            Ahh! The old was not good. Well, this isn’t 110 years ago. We used a great case, with under-developed powders and with a long round nosed bullet. Even by 1920 powders were better, bullets for the most part had morphed into pointed designs weighing less. Take that case, add a good bullet, with a shorter case neck. modern powders and we get a spectacular assault rifle cartridge.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The Lee Navy is semi-rimmed, that’s typically a no-no in an assault rifle. You can do work arounds for anything, but rims always waste space in the magazine.

          • Kivaari

            That semi-rim case is but a few seconds under a lathe tool can do. The rim would not be there if the intention was to make a rimless case. But look at what it could be regardless of rims or
            semi-rimmed. Look at how much better the .3.3 British would have been, had they not wanted to use them in convert Martini-Henry rifles. Look at the case dimensions without the rim. There were just about ZERO new ground to be had after 1900. Mauser’s 7.65x53mm Belgian M1889 rifle had one of the finest rounds even made, and world armies could have stopped right there, until his 7mm hit the stage. Once the concept of intermediate rounds hit the pavement in the early 1890s, the 6.5mm and 6mm Mannlicher cases made sense. Except US and German top brass had fixed ideas. Like Hitler thinking the STG43/44 was a bad idea until it was called STG and not a rifle.

          • For the last time the 6mm Lee Navy is rimless, all you have to do is look at a picture of it to see that!

            “StG” = “Sturmgewehr”, “gewehr” is German for “rifle”. The original designation was “Machine Carbine” (“MKb”), but Hitler didn’t like the idea of an issue automatic weapon, or so the story goes, so they renamed it “MP” for “Machine Pistol”. Then, apocryphally, Hitler decided he liked it and dubbed it a “Sturmgewehr”.

          • No it isn’t semi-rimmed. It’s rimless. The .220 Swift’s rim was added later.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Oops! That’s on me. I was remembering that the 6mm LN was metrically classified as 6×60mmSR, but forgot that I, myself, had concluded awhile ago that was a miscategorization of the case design. The case taper keeps the (very slight) .003″ increase in rim diameter from interfering with case stacking & feeding.

          • 6mm Lee Navy isn’t 6x60mm SR. It’s just 6x60mm.

            Many, many rimless rounds have a slightly wider rim than the base, just because of case taper. By that standard, 5.56 is also semi-rimmed.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Ah, I found it. The original 236 Navy (and the rifles it was chambered in) were the 6×60mmSR I was thinking of. The Navy pretty quickly became unenamored of it’s habit of rim locking and had Winchester change over to the rimless cartridge, of which the subsequent rifles and ammunition are vastly more common. The commercial rimmed variant was just an attempt to recoup some use out of the earlier case making tooling. You can see from the pic that the rim is a different design from what ended up on the .220 Swift.

          • That would be a 6x60mmR. If I recall correctly, no actual production military 1895s were made for that round.

          • ostiariusalpha

            That’s not entirely correct. There were no 6×60mmR (I’ve never seen it referred to as such, but it’s definitely not a semi-rim) rifles issued to the Navy and Marines, but the commercial release of the rimmed 236 U.S.N. included all the M1895 rifles that had the larger bolt face. It was not a tiny number, and they can still be found with some searching. One poor fellow had his blow up and kill him not all that long ago.

          • “No actual production military 1895s were made for that round”

          • ostiariusalpha

            They were made, they were adopted, they were never issued to the troops. It’s not that complicated to understand.

          • We can argue semantics all day long. I’d rather not.

          • ostiariusalpha

            If you don’t care to argue it, that’s fine, I won’t hold it against you that there might be better uses of your time. Still, the semantics here are not irrelevant: these were military rifles created under contract with the U.S. Navy.

          • Are you getting this information from Wikipedia? I ask because the Wikipedia article on the M1895 is full of errors. For example, it claims the 6mm LN round was semi-rimmed “to work in both rifles and machine guns”, which ignores that machine guns work perfectly well with rimless rounds, and that the 6mm Lee Navy rounds that exist today, two of which are in my collection, are demonstrably rimless. Further, the Wikipedia article claims the rounds were loaded with Rifleite, which is so far as I know totally false. The round I have dissected was loaded with Laflin & Rand .30 cal powder.

          • Here is the Annual Report of The Secretary of The Navy, and in it you can search for “6 millimeter”, “236”, and “rimless”, and it makes it very clear, especially in the section about the US Navy’s testing of the Colt machine gun, that the ammunition the Navy has adopted is of the rimless type.

            The rimmed rifles and ammunition, so far as I know, existed only for commercial purposes and trials (the Navy did test a rimmed variant of the 6mm round, but rejected it).

            https://books.google.com/books?id=sXxGAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA306&lpg=PA306&dq=The+Annual+Reports+of+the+Navy+Department:+Report+of+the+Secretary+of+the+Navy+%E2%80%93+Report+of+Naval+Small+Arms+Board+1894&source=bl&ots=aRlHmIUhq8&sig=96xCTWEHSRj4WBtml3qWKXaxcYY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CC0Q6AEwA2oVChMIhsjNzsrbxwIVwkGSCh2nzQd9#v=onepage&q&f=false

        • Keep in mind, the .25 Remington is less powerful than the .223 Remington.

          But yes, I’d hold it up as an early intermediate, and the US Army thought so, too.

          • Kivaari

            A rimless .25-35. Take that case shorten the neck or push the shoulder forward, add a good pointed boat tail bullet, and now we have something better.

        • n0truscotsman

          I was going to post something about the 25 rem and you beat me to it 🙂

          Imagine the possibilities

      • Here’s a comment I’ve reposted a couple of times on a closely related subject:

        (Regarding the .276 Pedersen vs. 6.8mm SPC):

        The two cartridges are not very similar. The 6.8 SPC has a 1.6864″-.020 long case and a 2.26-2.32″ long max overall length. This limits case capacity relative to the caliber, and also means the cartridge can only be loaded with stubby bullets of poor aerodynamic shape. It generally can fire a bullet of about 110-115 grains with a BC of about .160-.185 G7 between 2,550-2,660 ft/s from an 18″ barrel. Read my more thorough examination of 6.8 SPC’s ballistics here.

        In contrast, the .276 Pedersen has a larger cases that is 2.02″ long, with a 2.83″ long max overall length. It can use extremely fine form factor bullets of heavier weight, fired faster than the 6.8 SPC is capable of doing. The PD-42 loading we shot during the shoot was loaded with the excellent PC-50 bullet having a G7 BC of about .248, and produced muzzle velocities of about 2,740 ft/s (note that we did not chronograph the rifle during the shoot, this figure is based on instrument velocities from over 80 years ago!). As a result, the .276 Pedersen is ballistically much more elegant and capable than the 6.8 SPC, while also being much more potent, producing about 20% more energy.

        (.276 Pedersen vs. .280 British):

        Hi, both the .280 British and .276 Pedersen underwent a variety of changes during their life with regards to performance, but in particular the .280 British is difficult to pin down because unlike the .276 it had a more tumultuous history and less certainty as to what, exactly, would be adopted by NATO.

        It was decided fairly early on what the .276 Pedersen would look like: It was loaded into the PD-42 (small Boxer primer), FB-9892/FB-10865 (almost identical cases with large Boxer primer), or A-11 (large Berdan primer) cases, with either the PC-50 (125grs) or T1-E19 bullet (126grs), both of which were identical in shape*. Standard loads produced just under 2,700 ft/s at the instrument, equating to about 2,740 ft/s at the muzzle. In general, when people talk about the .276 Pedersen, it is this configuration they are referring to. Interestingly, this is not the configuration that would have been adopted, but that is a separate topic. This performance represents the overwhelming quantity of .276 ammunition in existence.

        In contrast, there is no single version of .280 British that generally is being referred to. I will be doing a more thorough article on this, but basically the .280 British was loaded to performance levels ranging from approximately equal to 7.92mm Kurz to almost 7.62 NATO levels. What can be said is that in terms of case volume, the .280 British is just slightly lower than the .276 Pedersen, and was never loaded with bullets as aerodynamic as those used in the .276. To further confuse matters, the round the British abortively adopted, the 7mm Mk.1Z (augmented .280/30), was more powerful than the majority of .280 ammunition produced, giving a muzzle velocity of 2,595 ft/s with a lead-cored 140gr bullet – which, it should be noted, was reported in tests as being uncontrollable in fully automatic, negating the primary virtue of the .280 round. In terms of muzzle energy, that performance is very comparable to the .276 Pedersen, but the projectile was not as well-streamlined, and as a result it had about the same ballistic coefficient as the PC-50 and T1-E19 bullets of the .276, despite being 15 grains heavier. Combined with the lower velocity of the .280 British, the .276 thus outperforms the Mk.1Z.

        To further confuse the issue, at least two wildcatters of the era, Phil Sharpe and Lewis Potter, made their own versions of the .280/30 British and the performance their handloads developed are sometimes published as if they were the official figures.

        So at its low end, the .280 British was not so far off from the 6.8mm SPC, in fact, but at its high end it was much, much closer to .276 Pedersen or 7.62 NATO in performance. Unfortunately, conflation of these two ends of the spectrum, especially by 6.8mm SPC fans has led to some confusion regarding exactly what the 6.8mm is capable of and what its performance looks like.

        For visual reference, he’s a picture I took earlier today of a few samples from my collection:

        http://i.imgur.com/vRTG2Df.jpg

        Bear in mind, the image is distorted towards the edges. I should probably refrain from taking pictures of so many cartridges in one shot with my camera phone, in the future. Oh well. From left to right, 7.92×33 Kurz (just PPU commercial stuff), 7.62×39 M67 Yugoslavian, 5.56×45 NATO Danish SS109, 6.8 SPC 115gr Sierra BTHP, 6.5 Grendel 123gr Lapua Scenar Alexander Arms, .30 Remington Western Cartridge Co 170gr Super-X, .280 British 140gr “Type C” steel-cored projectile, 7mm Second Compromise, the forerunner to 7mm Liviano, 140gr S12 FN bullet, 7.62×51 M198 Duplex for scale, .276 Pedersen FB-10865 loaded with T1-E19 bullet, fired .276 Pedersen PD-42 case, originally loaded with PC-50 bullet – this was from the lot of ammunition we fired in the video above, and an unfired pulled T1-E19 bullet from an FB-10865 case. Note the very fine shape of the T1-E19 bullet.

        The US Army did think the .30 caliber (in the very potent M1 Ball load, mind you, which had much longer range than either the later M2 Ball or M80 7.62mm Ball) was necessary to retain for machine guns, and neither they nor the British later with the .280/30 intended to replace their existing .30 caliber medium machine guns. The US in the 1930s in fact had no .276 caliber machine gun program of any kind – I’ve not even seen any evidence of a .276 BAR or comparable automatic rifle (some expected the advent of a semi-automatic rifle would negate the need for the automatic rifle, an assessment that sounds pretty weird to modern ears). However, the experience since then definitely suggests the .276 Pedersen could have replaced the .30-06 in the machine gun role, since it has superior ballistics to the later 7.62mm NATO. The only concern I would have about that hypothetical – and a major concern of the time – was that the .276 had difficulties meeting requirements with steel-cored armor penetrating projectiles, and while we don’t think of that being so important today, in WWII .30 M2 AP was a very useful round to have.

        *It should be noted that there were a huge number of designations of cases and projectiles that represent largely identical ammunition. I have only mentioned some examples, for a more thorough treatment please read History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition, by Hackley, Woodin, and Scranton.

        (Factory cartridge drawings):

        Oh, also, factory drawings of the .276 Pedersen and .280 British, and the SAAMI drawing for 6.8mm:

        http://i.imgur.com/gnyzLCm.jpg

        http://i.imgur.com/y07FJzX.jpg

        http://i.imgur.com/zjdWGEF.png

      • Also, I address why the .276 was rejected in the segment I did for Gun Guys Radio.

    • milesfortis

      Your first and last sentences contradict each other, and you even contradict yourself within your last sentence.
      Come on Esh, you simply have to do better than this.

      • Esh325

        I don’t understand

        • milesfortis

          That’s certainly apparent.
          For the sake of illumination so you’ll – hopefully – be better prepared in the future; How can SA have “wasted time” by not adopting a more modern “.308” (7.62mmNATO) rifle when it was cheaper and quicker and they didn’t have any suitable modern replacements at the time? So you wrote.
          That fisking took me about the time it took me to simply read your post.
          Please Esh, if you’re going to be of further interest, you must do a much better job of writing from a logical foundation.

    • Kivaari

      They could have just used the .300 Savage that they tested. Just more curve to the magazine.

  • Jim_Macklin

    The patent drawing for the new gas cylinder design was changed to allow the use of a grenade launcher attachment. The original solid gas plug was altered to allow a venting valve which was opened by a stud on the muzzle attachment.
    The necessity of having rifle grenades became a factor, which is why the complex machined gas plug valve was issued during the early days of WWII.

  • ostiariusalpha

    That’s exactly the round I was thinking of; the Arisaka cartridge did the Fedorov automat no favors.

  • Well, yes, most cartridges were designed by countries using the Metric system, and in some cases (e.g., .30-03 and.30-06), the cartridge was designed by a nation in Imperial measurements, but based on a Metric case.

  • mig1nc

    I never thought of it before, but the gas-cutoff operating system might be ideal for use with a suppressor in that it would eliminate the gas-venting pop of traditional short and long stroke piston designs.

    In the error of “silence is golden”, I wonder if it is time to revisit this operating system? What are your thoughts? I frankly don’t know much about the gas cut-off system.

    • Zebra Dun

      Good thinking, yet the noise of the cycling Bolt of the M-1 is quite loud even if cycled by hand.

      • mig1nc

        Good point. What if we put it on a platform with a lighter action, like something tuned along the lines of .300Blk for example?

        • mig1nc

          For that matter, what other guns already use the White/Garand style gas cut-off system?

        • Zebra Dun

          Well if the gas port is turned off the bolt won’t cycle upon firing I’m thinking, yet to recharge the receiver weapon by hand even with the .300 Blk will make a noise.
          If you ease it back and ease it forward it might not lock up but you could slap the rear of the bolt to lock it closed.
          At a long enough range noise would not be a factor to the target or targets inside a certain amount of yards/meters.
          Yet they put silencers on this caliber/type weapons don’t they?
          Interesting line of thought for sure.
          Any expert or those who know want to chime in?

  • Zebra Dun

    Excellent information to study!
    The only variants of the M-1 Garand I’ve ever fired on a military range was the of course M-1A1 or Standard issue M-14, the standard 30.06 M- 1 and the US Navy version of the M-1 Garand modified with some type of filler in the receiver to accept 7.62 x 51 mm NATO.
    My outfit while it was taking rifle range at Camp Blanding Fla. took a whole list of old firearms out to play with from the armory the Navy had. All World War 2 weapons, we had a great time! Thanks to Gunny!
    I am no firearms expert and at 18 certainly wasn’t then I recall firing the 30.06 and the 7.62 x 51 NATO M-1 Garand’s one after the other showed me no difference in recoil, accuracy or handling, I simply could not tell them apart outside the obvious ammo size and shape. We had to be told which M-1 rifles we were shooting and some could tell the difference.
    We were told it was an experimental event the Navy dreamed up.
    Overall I will agree, the M-1 Garand in 30.06 is the most deadly lethal Battle Rifle ever made.

  • Jerry Goldstein

    I just finished another WWI history book entitled “A CALL TO ARMS” by professor M. Klein. It focuses on armament production, materials, aircraft, synthetic rubber, gasoline, etc. and not on actual battles. Very interesting. One main point is that the U.S. government decided arms production volume was the way to win the war. So they intentionally ignored modifications/improvements to existing designs that would slow production. The opinion was that 90% perfection was good enough if they could produce three times as many arms as the Axis powers. Apparently it worked!

    • Rock or Something

      “Amateurs talk tactics, Professionals study logistics.”

      – Gen. Robert H. Barrow, USMC (Commandant of the Marine Corps)

  • anomad101

    As a result of the failings of the M1 the allies lost WWII.

  • Secundius

    I own a M1E5 Tanker/Airborne/Garand, but it doesn’t have a Folding Stock. More of a 3/4-scale M1 Garand and wasn’t the M1E14 7.62x51NATO and NOT .30-06 (7.62×63.3)…

  • The Remington and Winchester rifles both predate it, as do the Italian Cei-Rigotti and the French ENT B1.

    • Kivaari

      Yes. Many of the 1900-1925 rifles fired full-sized rounds, in semi-auto. Anyone for Mondragons? Even Remington M8s saw service. Interesting rifles, suited for dry, non-dusty places. The small rounds most of the M8s used would be great starting places for future military rounds. I have claimed for over 30 years that the Italians had the right idea (as did Mannlicher) that the 6.5mm rounds were adequate. With a little tuning of neck lengths, powders and bullets they would still be in use.
      The self-loaders of that era seemed to share common traits. Malfunctioning (ammo induced?), mud, dirt, dust, failure to maintain, poor quality steel, corrosive primers and likely more issues.
      If the New Zealanders could turn No. 3 Enfields into light machineguns, just about every is possible.