Colt’s Repro M16A1 | SHOT 2017

In this episode of TFBTV, James discusses the 100% faithful reproduction of the Colt M16A1 now being offered by Colt. It’s spot-on, and pretty sweet, but is it $2,500 sweet? You be the judge.

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James Reeves

James Reeves is a licensed and practicing concealed weapons instructor, the winner of Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, a graduate of Front Sight, the Shooter Performance Institute, and Tier 1 Group, and is an Appleseed-qualified Rifleman. James previously owned and operated a gun shop in Tallahassee, FL and worked as a regional sales representative for distributor/importer, Interstate Arms Company. He is a coverage litigation attorney by day. James likes traveling with his wife, boating, America, photography, guns, gear he doesn’t really need, cold beer, and a little exercise here and there (James is also GORUCK Tough). Above all, James enjoys creating content for TFBTV. Follow James on Twitter @jjreeves.


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  • CS

    It’s not a 100% faithful reproduction of the m16 if it lacks the capabilities of full auto. I’m out.

    +FN’s military collector version is far cheaper and nicer.

    • Gary Kirk

      It’s still cheaper to just build one than buying the FNs.. But they’re still at least reasonable, Colt has completely lost their self sense..

  • Heretical Politik

    It’s like they purposefully insult their fans. Alienation is not a workable business model, Colt.

    • Jack Morris

      Agreed. At this point they are practically begging their fanboys to bail them out of financial ruin with these inflated bs prices.

      • Heretical Politik

        I am a fanboy, and making these in a limited run priced at $2500 is a slap in the face. The whole appeal of colt is its history and heritage. They should be making the 1903s, the WWI and WWII 1911s, and the old school ARs as regular models. They don’t have to be cheap, but they do have to be ACCESSIBLE. I’ll pay a little extra for the prancing pony, but I will not be fleeced for it.

        • Rob

          There is an entire market built around limited production Colt products that sell at a premium. This is just another limited production gun. This gun caters exactly to their fans.

          They will sell every one they make.

      • Kivaari

        A few thousand rifles and pistols with a few hundred dollars profit wont bail them out. I suspect if they made them available at a reasonable price and made as many as the market could absorb, that would bail them out. I know I’d buy one if it were like the rifle I had in the army. That was an M16A1 with a bird cage flash hider and a full chrome bore.

    • AC97

      My favorite BS explanation for why it cost so much on InRangeTV was because they “had to retool their machines”

      • Heretical Politik

        That comment made me so mad. They think we’re dumb.

      • ExMachina1

        Retool their machines and THEN only offer it in limited production runs. I mean, isn’t the best way to offset retooling costs to then INCREASE production?

      • Paul White

        InRange had the best SHOT coverage; they actually questioned companies rather than deep throating them

    • The Blinded One

      What would Colt know about workable business models? That’s not a rhetorical question, I genuinely want to know.

      • Heretical Politik

        The management knows how to use their corporate equity as a personal piggy bank. Not really a sustainable business model, but it’s great if sustainable earnings and growth aren’t things you care about.

        • The Blinded One

          Sorry, it seems I’ve accidentally misled you. My question wasn’t rhetorical, but it was exceedingly sarcastic. Colt has changed hands more than a drunk unconscious freshman at her first frat party, and everyone’s making the same mistake as the guy before them…

          • Heretical Politik

            Oh I got the sarcasm. And I’m in complete agreement with your subtext. What irritates me the most is that the same corporate masters that drove colt into bankruptcy bailed them out just so they could keep lining their personal pockets by leveraging the Colt name – exactly what drove them into bankruptcy in the first place. Colt has a plausible path to profitability, but not with their current management’s MO.

          • The Blinded One

            Coasting on their brand legacy isn’t just the current management’s MO. It’s been their primary MO since the late 80’s. What amazes me is that in nearly 30 years, no one in upper management has been able to come up with a functional business plan apart from the classic “indefinitely leech off government contracts” buisness plan. The only plausible explaination is that the entire upper managment team is either dead/comatose, while middle management has been imposed into taking the “Weekend at Bernies” approach at every quarterly shareholders meeting for decades.

          • Heretical Politik

            Upper management in most businesses typically specializes in turning articulate bull$h!t into big paychecks and bonuses.

  • Ben

    $ 2500? Thanks but no thanks. I’ll just build one on a nodak spud reciever set and have a ton of money left over.

    • Jack Morris

      You mean like this?
      I’m not sure what the going price is for original parts kits nowadays, but I built this a year ago for around $1,500 (including the $400 spent on the original colt optic)

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/441de56cfe4257f7d343e727655c67bffd10ba1d0139d68f3a9c0cf81606ed4e.jpg

      • Ben

        Just like that ! Very nice.

        • Jack Morris

          Thanks! I’m obviously pretty proud of it :p

          • Gus Butts

            Why is it sitting on a 9×19 can? 😉

          • Jack Morris

            Cause I hadn’t cut the paint stencil for my 5.56 cans yet. I really should retake that picture or just Photoshop out the 9mm designation. Trust me, it bugs me too. Bad decisions.

      • Norm

        What barrel did you use. A few years ago, I had one put together with a green mountain 1/12 pencil barrel. First three shots in a dime at 25 yards. After that it ballooned to 4″ after 20 medium pace shots. I said never again to them.

        • Jack Morris

          To be honest, I don’t remember. It shoots really well though. I know that Fulton Armory has some good barrels available in the right profile. Check them out.

      • Gary Kirk

        Pretty, thinking about building one myself.. Have a lower sitting in my safe.. And already did my A4..

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/189e25f14a966b9aabdea687ec286ae443536aedaafcf6830a71cb9a7e8d796f.jpg

    • g box

      Yep, I bought a complete colt m16a1 parts kit minus receiver from sarco 6 or 7 years ago for either 299 or 350.
      It had some scratches on the furniture and a red strip and numbers painted on the stock but perfect otherwise. Got a nodak receiver for $175 and traded the m16 trigger parts for rock river takeout 2 stage trigger and would rather that than the $2,500 colt.
      I wish I still had it but traded it figuring I would pick up another parts set but they dried up.

  • TechnoTriticale

    Well, Cabela’s is asking $1800 for used Colt AR-15 SP1’s, so there is apparently some market for such curios.

    Do owners of registered M16s need replacement of non-NFA parts that badly?

    • g box

      I would never use cabela’s used gun pricing to verify anything other than an insurance claim. I’ve found lots of times they try and get more than the guns go for new. I’ve seen classic guns listed on GunBroker that were in much better condition for 30 to 60% less when I tried to negotiate the gun down to a reasonable and fair market they refuse. I figure the gun section paid too much for them.
      They had a savage 99g 300 savage that had 20% blue and a cracked fore grip and they wanted $1,775. It was a good project gun. Maybe a truck gun.
      At the time in 80% condition it was a $700 gun. It sat there for over 9 months. They then sent it to another cabelas because I found it listed in their online gun room in Texas after it disappeared from the rack in Gonzalez.

      • TechnoTriticale

        re: I would never use cabela’s used gun pricing to verify anything…

        Well, sure, but it probably fools people in Colt’s Marketing dept.

  • Lance

    Sorry to disappointed you but seen this A1 on here and shooting USA on TV two big errors they did. If it was a true M-16A1 it would have a birdcage flash hider not s three pronged. And have a but stock that have a cleaning kit compartment. Think Colt had the A1 mixed up the XM-16E1 version.

  • Kodi

    I see no value other than to collectors who can’t afford an original.
    The hand guard was slippery, the trigger sucked, the barrel whip of the pencil barrel was nuts. The carry handle was, well, handy… and that’s about the only thing good I can say about it.
    I like the current USMC M4 carbine and some AR15s. I could live with an M16A4, if I needed a select fire service rifle.
    For $2,500. I like the reproduction even less than I liked the original, when they took my M14 away.

    • Steve Milliron

      Regarding barrel whip, isn’t the profile of the M16A4 barrel the same as (or pretty damn close to) the A1 under the handguards? And, therefore, wouldn’t it whip around just as much?

      And, yeah, the price is just a slap in the face. I’d be willing to pay maybe $150 more than a 9620 (for the A1 carry handle upper and 20″ 1:12 pencil barrel with a pinned fsb, both of which are less common and therefore more expensive than their M4 counterparts), but definitely not more than twice as much. You could buy two A1 clones from Fulton Armory at that price…

      • Kodi

        The barrel profile of the M4 from breech face to muzzle end is heavier and shorter in total, minus the short reduction in diameter for the grenade launcher.
        In the progression from the original AR15 (Armalite = AR) to M16A4 rifle, upgrades requested by the US Marines to the M16A2 included a thicker barrel in front of the front sight to create stiffness and still allow use of the grenade launcher. When the Marines introduced the M4 Carbine as standard issue for their infantry replacing the M16A2 and A4 rifle, one of the considerations was the stiffer barrel provided by a combination of length, profile and thickness.
        My estimation of relative value I admit comes not from a collectors point of view but that of a Marine who values function over all. That’s why I listed the collector caveat, while wondering why a replica would even have that value as opposed to an original. The reduced number manufactured I assume is responsible for some of the increase while an optimistic pricing is the other component.
        The original AR15, XM16, XM16A1 and M16A1 of course had 20 inch A1 profile barrels, auto fire capability and were never available as a non-NFA item to civilians except police and government.
        While the under hand guard portion of the barrel for the current 20″ long A2 profile barrel of the M16A4 is similar to the 14.5″long barrel M4 with the A2 profile, the original AR15/M16/M16A1 series was thinner and shaped differently providing less stiffness and allowing more whip.
        Shorter barrels will generally be stiffer than longer ones of equal thickness. Add in changes to contour and thickness and the difference in resistance to heat damage, heat warp, durability and accuracy are notable.

    • Evandisqusblows

      You mean the Army M4 carbine the USMC recently and belatedly decided to adopt?

      • Kodi

        No I don’t. The Army has never adopted the Mr as standard issue to all infantry and is only considering it now. The Marines did so years ago. They were also the first to request the modifications that became the A2 rifle.
        The Army used several different versions over the years, many of which most have never heard of, but never adopted them as standard issue for all infantry forces.

        • Evandisqusblows

          Yeah I think you have that backwards Kodi. Army infantry units have been using the M-4 almost exclusively since around 2007. The Marines decided that the M16A4 was more reliable than the M4 after a test conducted in 2002 and did not issue carbines to conventional units until 2007, when they decided unit leaders and vehicle crewmen should carry it instead of a pistol. It wasn’t until November 2015 that the Marines finally signed off on replacing the M16A4 with the M4 for all infantry and security units. The phase-in was supposed to be complete by the end of 2016.

  • Gann

    So is it going to be chrome lined or not? I’ve heard it is but this guy said it wasn’t. My dad was issued this gun after his M14 in Vietnam, his was chrome lined.

    Wish Someone would come out with a non-cast metal M14…… M1A is a sorry replica.

    • Ben

      It was my understanding the chrome lining was part of what made it an A1. I thought they also ditched the 3 prong for the birdcage on the A1.

      • Kivaari

        Correct. The 3-prong flash hider funneled water into the bore and hung up in the brush.

        • iksnilol

          I also imagine it could snap relatively easy?

      • What folks consider to be definitive M16A1 features were actually introduced in a rolling fashion as they were tested, approved, and the new parts became available to the production line.

        The birdcage flashhiders reportedly began to show up on new production rifles in January 1967, roughly a month before the XM16E1 was redesignated the M16A1.

        However, Colt did not begin delivering 100% of its contract rifles with chromed chamber barrels until September 1967. Fully chromed bores would not appear for a few more years.

  • Kivaari

    I want one, but not at that price. Colt has no shame regarding price.

  • Mike N.

    Not even actually made by Colt.

  • Broz

    The A1 model did NOT have the three prong flash hider…one of the changes made when the A1 was adopted was changing the original three prong to the fully closed ‘bird-cage’ design…the story was that the open design was causing the muzzle to get caught on vines so prevalent in the jungles…another story I heard in the Army (May ’71- Jul ’74) was that GIs were using it to twist open the wire bands on cases of ‘C’s….either way, the ‘bird-cage’ is authentic for the A-1 model…the three prong hider IS authentic to the original Colt SP-1

    • Bill

      Not necessarily. In the Ft. Douglas Military Museum in SLC there is an M16A1 with a three prong FH attached to a weird barrel with what looks like a miniature gas block just behind the lock washer. Weird!

  • Brian Peterson

    Cool. But maybe 800 dollars cool. Definitely not 2500 dollars. Are they insane? We could build one for waaaaaaay cheaper.

  • int19h

    Meanwhile, Fulton Armory has what looks like a decent reproduction of the original (pre-A1) M16 for $1270 – FAR-15 Legacy…

  • jerry young

    Come on $2500 for a look alike M16A1 AR, you can buy all the parts way cheaper and assemble your own, of course legally it can’t be full auto and the infamous third hole has to be just a mark, the hardest part would be getting the engraving done right, I’m starting my 3rd AR build and this is exactly what I thought I’d do so I have been gathering parts, anyone can do it, it isn’t hard to assemble your own

  • Norm

    It’s off this topic, but did you guys manage to get to the POF USA booth? I’m wondering about their .308 Revolution and if/when that might come out.

  • Arandor Thinnorion

    I’d buy one of those 1903s in a heartbeat at $499. Maybe even $599. But $1,395? Never.

    Colt and HK are a lot alike. They both seem to be learning their lessons in some cases, but when you see stuff like this, it makes you wonder what they are thinking. Obvioulsy they are selling these guns as collectors’ items and not shooters. Too bad.

    If some other company could make a 1903 knockoff for under $500, they would sell a *LOT* more than Colt.

    It’s funny that this is a design they were able to make affordable in 1903, but in 2017–with much advanced technology–we can’t do the same.

  • g box

    They guy at colt are doing their best to go into bankruptcy yet again. A colt m16a1 that’s not an m16a1 and cost more than a high end custom ar. I would probably buy one for about $700, but $2,000 they can suck it.
    A colt cobra that only has the name in common with the original cobra.

    Colt, you guys are stuck in stupid.

  • BigR

    Colt is not a gun manufacturer anymore, they’re a hollow shell. I have 2 Colt revolvers that I bought way back when Colt was Colt, and I’ll never get rid of them. I also have two Smith & Wesson revolvers, that I’ve had as long as I can remember, and they’re staying too. Both companies have gone to hell in a hand basket. I won’t buy their products today. Old is good! New, is not so good!!!

  • GR Arnold

    Non-lined 1-12″ twist barrel does NOT motivate be to buy this AT ALL, especially at the $2500.00 overpriced tag. They could’ve offered a lot more for this price. They also should’ve planned on offering as many as they can sell instead of a set limited number.

  • Anonymoose

    That’s nice and all, but I’ll just get the parts from Brownells and build my own.

  • Wow!

    Let this be a lesson to other firearm mfg in the same way Kmart is a lesson to Walmart. Once you bow down to gun control measures you will be left a shell of your former self.

  • supergun

    The last few years, Colt, has been marketing many things with the name Colt on it. They have hoodwinked the public much. What a shame for the ownership to eat the Golden Goose.

  • Joe Gamer

    I Judge that no…
    It’s not worth it…
    Not even close…