Home » Weapons » Guns » New Combat Rifle Enters the Fray

New Combat Rifle Enters the Fray

by Ward Carroll on August 31, 2007

Masada.jpg

Theres been a lot of debate recently about the whole issue of small arms, particularly with the effectiveness of the Colt M4 carbine. The Armys reliability study demonstrated that if well lubed, the M4 performs largely without fight-ending stoppage. But theres continued argument over the knock-down power of the 5.56mm round, the reliability of the M4 if constant care isnt possible and on the whole issue of whether or not theres a better operating system out there.

The debate is just reaching a critical point, with the Army recently caving to pressure from Capitol Hill and agreeing to hold a sandstorm test between its M4 and a couple other carbines that fire on a different operating system many say is more reliable. With the end-strength increase in the Army and Marine Corps and the overall focus of budget attention on land forces, momentum may be building to issue a new infantry rifle as the Army and Marine Corps build new brigade combat teams and infantry battalions.

Theres no one in the DoD officially saying this yet, but a lot more people in high places are asking previously taboo questions on whether its time to throw the stoner design to the side.

Weve already taken a look at three of the most popular competitors to the M4: the XM8, the H&K 416 and the FN SCAR — or Mk-17 and Mk-16. Well, a buddy passed along another interesting entrant into the new carbine world (thats not to say there arent others out there, but this ones the new kid on the block) which seems to meld all the best aspects of the previous three rifles into one.

Made by Longmont, Colorado-based Magpul Industries Corp., the Masada does have that first person shooter gamer nerd look to it. But look at the specs and it seems the Masada has some interesting aspects that would make operators give it a second look. One thing I noticed was the two interchangeable lowers one for 5.56mm, the other for AK-47 7.62x39 ammo. So for shooters going native in the AO, this could be the ticket — of course, as long as you have a compatible barrel.

The rest of the specs look pretty standard, but itd be interesting to get feedback from DT readers on some of the more deeply technical stuff. Take a look at the brochure and see what you think.

There are also a couple of cool videos of the weapon being test fired.

I dunno, has a new combat rifle entered the arena?

Christian

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{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark August 31, 2007 at 2:36 pm

What if you had a small knife in the hand gripe storage as an option. the knife could be used for almost any thing like self defence in close quarter battles or just evry day tasks. the knife would be an easy to twist lock so it quick and simple.
the knife would end up extending the hand gripe wich would really be the only problem.

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Harvey November 21, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Small knife in the hand grip for close quarter battles? thats a fantatic idea, how about a giving it a cool name like bayonet and having the option of sticking it on the end of the barrel

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BT August 31, 2007 at 2:11 pm

I’ve followed their rifles and mods for awhile. I am impressed. They are way cool, but I don’t know about field testing. Should be way better than the M4. However, even if their weapons are clearly superior, they do not have have the connections in DC, nor do they have the production capacity as FN, Colt, HK. If I could buy only one 5.56mm carbine it would be from these guys.

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Will Wheeler August 31, 2007 at 4:27 pm

This looks promising. More importantly this shows what happens when Government gets out of the way of the private sector. Since the Assualt Weapons ban expired the demand has gone up for weapons like these. So, private companies are vying for sales. Meanwhile, the free market will shape newer and better designs. What does this mean? Well it means that the Military can actually pull a design “off the shelf” and put it into production for the troops at a much lower cost than developing an entirely new system. Amen for the free market and private sector.

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Roy Smith August 31, 2007 at 5:27 pm

No,they should continue to give crappy M16/M4 series assault rifles to the “serf” soldiers & marines(because we have an endless “buttload” supply of both,thanks to the draft & “illegal” immigration”) & continue to place the blame & guilt on said above “serfs” by blaming the stopages on them because “they don’t clean them enough” instead of because the weapons are defective in the first place.
But, this weapon here would be ideal for the Special Forces/Blackwater/Triple Canopy Praetarian Guards(you know,the people you can depend on to shoot civilians in the street during “civil unrest & emergencies”).AND firing AK-47 bullets? Why the possibilities(& accompanying conspiracy theories) are endless here.

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Will Wheeler August 31, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Hey Roy,
Two things. First if you are going to start ranting, please at least be able to form a sensible sentence.
Second, go somewhere else. No one wants to listen to your crazy incomprehensible gibberish.
(there is such a thing as illegal immigration, in case you were not sure)

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Roy Smith August 31, 2007 at 5:58 pm

To Will Wheeler,when I was in the army,I had the misfortune of having the M16A1 rifle.Fortunately,it was in Germany where I didn’t have to worry about getting it “dirty” like in Iraq.
This rifle would be excellent for our soldiers & a tremendous 100% improvement over what they have right now. The cynic in me doubts that the Pentagon would buy this weapon for the common soldier & marine,so in extreme sarcasm I posted what I did.
This weapon is a double-edge sword. It can fire AK-47 bullets which would be great for “going native” or for creating “false-flag” events which could be blamed on someone else(the Black Ops “Intelligence Support Activity” are still functioning aren’t they?).
I’m sorry,I have no respect whatsoever for a government that gives lip service that they support the troops,but in reality will do nothing to help them.The Pentagon with their perfumed princes are just as guilty.

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Chad Crum August 31, 2007 at 8:22 pm

I’m currently in the military and have been looking at new battle rifle designs from a load of different competitors for a while now, to include ones in service with other nations’ armies. I have to say that, from the specs I’ve read, the modular capability (which we all know the military seems, at least, to love), and other aspects of this weapon… I’d abandon my M4 for the Masada any day of the week. It seems to have everything the modern combat infantryman could need (and us combat medics, too!). This is proof though that the AW ban and free market development of military/law enforcement weapons should bring us something better than the decades old designs we are currently using.

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Tod Glenn August 31, 2007 at 8:32 pm

Alternative rounds like the 6.8 and 6.5 Grendel have gone nowhere. The Masada looks promising, but it is just another 5.56 rifle. While many complain about the M16/M4, it has 40 years of battlefield experience and is a known quantity. All the other rifles are new and untested.

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Roy Smith August 31, 2007 at 9:24 pm

The M16/M4 is indeed a known weapon,its known to have a “Christine(like the movie)” like personality.Its known to jam when you need it the most & expect it the least.You can carry it in a protective bag all day long & then when you take it out,it immediately gets dirty & jams(okay,that might be an exaggeration),but I’m sure its like fighting against the clock shooting before the misfires start happening.The XM8 rifle looks too bulky & reminds me of a Sci Fi “ray gun.”This rifle sounds like you can attach a 6.8mm barrel to it & fire those type of rounds.It looks like the perfect fit.I’m just afraid that our government would only buy it for the soldiers they would consider the most loyal,dependable,& trustworthy & right now thats the soldiers,marines,sailers,& airmen “operators” in SOCOM.Also able to both afford & field this weapon would be the Private Military Companies like Blackwater & Triple Canopy. When I think of how our government really feels about & treats our men & women in the Armed Forces,three words come to mind,”Pawn,Expendable,& Throwaway.” I was in the military during the 80′s when a real president was in power who knew how to take care of the troops & that was Ronald Reagan. I’m sure NOBODY could or would compare George W. Bush to Ronald Reagan.I’ve had it with these present Neo-Con “Artists(Saying Neo-Con “Men” is too “sexist.” Thank you Hot Fuzz.”By the Power of Greyskull!!!”)”.

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S. Yates September 1, 2007 at 12:43 am

I would like to see somthing hevier than 5.56mm for a combat rifle.. When you hit someone you want to be sure he is down. The little 5.56 is not up to the job. It often passes through making a pencil hole in and out.. no real trama or wound producing capability. It also does not penetrate well through glass, doors, armor, ect.
In my experiance the old 7.62 (.308) is a much better manstopper. I’d like to see some work done on the Socom M1A1 design.. SF guys and seal teams already use them for a reason..

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Nadnerbus September 1, 2007 at 2:03 am

I have to say, I’m impressed. Its highly configurable due to the upper being the serialized part of the rifle. That effectively makes it possible to change the caliber to anything you want, provided the round fits within the receiver. You can change the bolt, barrel, and lower and you have a whole new weapon without having to go though a background check at an FFL. All the gizmos and goodies are nifty too. My only concern is that everything being so modular, and made of plastics and such, will make the weapon less durable and more prone to losing point of aim (detachable barrel especially.)

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Paul Grove September 1, 2007 at 3:05 am

I’m no gun buff, to tell the truth I don’t like guns, but I’ve made damn sure I know how to handle them. So from a layman’s point of view it looks like one of the best designs in a long time. Compared to the company’s other designs – The Kriss, arguably the ugliest submachine gun ever, and the Down Low, a ridiculously small 5.56mm pdw – this one looks like it will have a future. If not in US hands, then in a few other countries.

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Barry 0351 September 1, 2007 at 9:55 am

Yup then again without sights most troops cannot tell friend from foe at 400 meters so the max effective range is about right and if you do happen to shoot at unknown figures out at 400 500 meters they most likly will be allies or your own troops. so the 5.56 might not end up a fatal blue on blue.
AK- 47 is a good gun works everytime shoots good ammo but any body who can pee holes in the snow can shoot one spray and pray. accurate it is not, and only the hits count.
M-14 is a fine battle rifle to fight WW2 all over again with but does not fit in the manuver doctrine of mechanized warfare.
any designe they pick will do the job as long as they make a choice and make it in 27 or 30 caliber.
For all those doubters try this little trick, get one of your friends to let you shoot him with an M-16 in 5.56×45 mm and see how long it takes him to stop what he is doing and maybe die!
I haven't found many folks that will let anyone test this poodle shooter round on their tender bodies, "ever wonder why?"
CAUSE THE DAMN THING WILL HURT YOU, SEVERLY AND MIGHT EVEN KILL YA WHEN THAT SLUG STRIKES AT 2000 TO 3000 fps.

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Steve September 1, 2007 at 10:14 am

Roy Smith:
Take your black helicopters and your tinfoil hat and git. If you have valid technical comments to make on the weapons, fine. Otherwise, I’m sure you have plenty to do to get ready for the “jack-booted” guv’mint thugs that will come to kick down your door.
Oh, in case you’re wondering: I served in the 80′s, and I’m still serving. I’ve been using the stoner design in various configurations now for almost 20 years. Is it the perfect infantry weapon? No. Are there battle rifles that are more soldier-proof? Certainly. But for all it’s faults, I’ve learned that, if kept clean and maintained properly, it will more than do what is required of them.
And CAG, who could get whatever it wanted for a rifle cartridge, has not abandoned 5.56. They’ve probably learned that with proper shot placement, the “puny” 5.56 is adequate for putting bad guys down.

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chud September 1, 2007 at 10:16 am

http://www.robarm.com/
Robinson XCR, all that and a bag of chips. Multi caliber capable, quick change barrel, gas piston, folding stock, solid construction…they are already out also, not like the Masada. Got mine in May and have fired every kind of 5.56 thru it and only cleaned it this past weekend after at least 2000 rounds. Lotsa crud in there, but no FTF or FTE. 1 stoppage was a bad round of Wolf.

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THX1138d September 1, 2007 at 11:05 am

As someone who has had to clean the M16A1 & A2 for hours and a couple of times days I can attest that all the carbon goes into the chamber and is a mess which impedes the operation of the weapon. It is a bad design where reliability is crucial. As far as the 5.56 goes, it nice to carry lots of ammo but unless we adopt plastic tipped hollow points or blended metal 5.56 ball will fail to stop the drugged jihadist coming at you to engage you at close quarters to finish you off. Please REMF Pentagon types do something for the ground pounders for once and adopt a better weapon.

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GBashaw September 1, 2007 at 11:09 am

DavidS, I will try and answer your questions concerning the M14. First off, it’s a reliable weapon that has saved countless lives over the years. If the proverbial you know what were to hit the fan in this country, the three weapons I would have in my hands are a .45 Colt, Remington 870 12 guage, and the M1A (M14). And I own all three..and the Colt is on my hip every day.
Now to your question, Using two different loads in two different mags, Bad Idea. Think about this, in a fire fight, you don’t want to be searching for the correct mag for the task at hand. Indecision and concentrating on something other than the task at hand will get you killed. And the two different loads, there again you will have reliability concerns with the lighter loads. The actions are set up to work reliably with a certain amount of gas pressure in order to function. Think about this, when your firing blanks, you have to have an attachment on the muzzle. This is to keep the gas pressure up to the required minimum to cycle the action. Now, imagine what would happen, if a soldier were to put the rifle on a LOW POWER SETTING so he could fire the reduced power loads on full auto, and during the excitement, SWITCHED TO THE FULL POWER LOADS… I would hate to see the results.
Now as to Full Auto fire. I know that some will argue this, but think about this for a moment.. In your daily activities, how much ammo can you carry and be able to move easily ? Three Round Burst’s are more effective and will save ammo. I can’t recall if the M14 had that feature or not. The M14 is one of the Old Warhorse’s that’s earned it’s reputation. Stick with the tried and true, and your better off in the long run. To borrow an old phrase, If it ain’t broke, Don’t fix it ! And NO,I didn’t like the Mattel Toy while I was in the service, and I still don’t.

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Camp September 1, 2007 at 11:24 am

Just a thought:
Maybe DefenseTech could, with a few Mil.Blog sites, have a “Shoot Off” their own. Computer hardware sites test equipment all the time. Who knows maybe some spongers would help out.
Tests could involve purely static range firing and/or simulated patrols. Just be fair & honest.

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JOSEPH DIGGS September 1, 2007 at 12:31 pm

I WAS THE DATA PROCESSING NON-COMMISSION OFFICER AND SUPERVISOR IN CHARGE OF COLLECTING ALL THE DATA WHEN TWO MAJOR EXPERIMENTS WAS CONDUCTWD ON THE M-16 RIFLE PRIOR TO IT BEING ADOPTED BY THE MILITARY. THE EXPERIMENTS CODE NAMED (SAWS) WHICH STOOD FOR”SMALL ARMS WEAPON SYSTEM” AND (IRUS) WHICH STANDS FOR “INFANTRY RIFLE UNIT STUDY” THE OBJECTIVE OF BOTH THESE EXPERIMENTS WAS TO TEST THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE M-16 RIFLE IN SIMULATED COMBAT. THE M-16 “FAILED” IN ALL THE TESTS MISERABLY,CONSTANT JAMMING,OVERHEATINS AND MALFUNCTIONING IN ALL AREAS. I PERSONNALY CONCLUDED THAT THE M-16 WAS ADOPTED BECAUS OF “HEAVY” LOBBYING BY RETIRED SENIOR OFFICERS. THESE EXPERIMENTS ALSO INVOLVED OTHER WEAPONS OF FORIGEN MAKE TO INCLUDE THE “AK-47 THIS WEAPON IN MY OPINION IS THE “BEST” COMBAT WEAPON IN THE “WORLD” IT PROVE TO NERALY BE “MALFUNCTION FREE” IT HAVE ONY (3) MAJOR PARTS,THE BUFFER RATE REDUCING SYSTEM,STOCK AND TRIGGER GROUP, SO THE SIMPLICITY OF THE WEAPON MAKES IT IDEAL FOR COMBAT,I HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT WHAT IF OUR GOVERMENT WOULD HOUSE THE “BALLASTICS OF THE AK-47 IN ANOTHER “STOCK” DESIGN IT OULD BE ADOPTED FOR OUR MILITARY, WE DID IT WITH THE 45 CAL. PISTOL BECAUSE THE BALLASTICKS OF THE 9MM PISTOL IS THE “GERMAN LUGAR” REDESIGNED.

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Neil B. September 1, 2007 at 12:53 pm

Why was it “taboo” to criticize the M-16 etc? Is Joseph Diggs on to something?

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Mang September 1, 2007 at 3:32 pm

What’s up. Here’s something I posted in the SCAR thread:
“Magpul’s Masada is a collection of M-16 parts in an injection-molded shell… Which may very well work excellently, but it’s not going to be any better than the sum of its parts. It’s a piston-operated M-16, M-16 trigger group, mags, everything – EXCEPT that the recoil spring is no longer in a fixed tube directly behind the bolt, so you can have a real folding stock, and not just a collapsible one.”
The Masada rifle takes advantage of the excellent aftermarket parts and add-on gas piston systems developed for the M16 rile, and puts them all together in one rifle. They didn’t really have to design much (compared to doing it from scratch). The rifle doesn’t even *look* unique: visually, it’s a combination of the SCAR and the HK G36.
But you know what, this might work out great. The Kimber .45′s put the best aftermarket parts together in a production pistol, and those turned out to be great guns. Depending on how serious Magpul is about their craftsmanship, the Masada could turn out to be just as good as the best M-16 clones, with the added advantage of a folding stock.

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Todd USN September 1, 2007 at 6:16 pm

I think its time for A larger caliber round. To even things out A bit. I ‘d like to see one shot one kill for all!!

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SMSgt Mac September 1, 2007 at 7:10 pm

Normally I stay away from the personal arms discussions because EVERYBODY has an opinion (and some bang theirs out in all caps in the mistaken impression that their command voice can come over the web), and like medical care, there is nothing more ‘personal’ than a weapon you have to carry 24/7.
This time though I

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Scott September 2, 2007 at 7:12 am

I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Many a time I’ve gone to a range without cleaning or putting any CLP on it and it’s never jammed on me. Aside from the 5.56 being nothing more than a suped- up .22 round I think the M4 is a great weapon, it just needs a heavier round.

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Bill September 2, 2007 at 12:16 pm

I believe that the M4 is a superb weapon. I have carried it in combat and if maintained properly its a capable and reliable weapon. I believe that for Iraq and other sandy environments, it should be stripped of all lube, then the bolt and other moving parts coated with spray moly lube. This is what i did and i never had a problem. Selecte fire capability like the M4A1 would be nice.

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thompaine September 2, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Haven’t seen many comments on this new rifle:
Fires a bigger round with more stopping power than the M-16.
(I copied and pasted this description from the Barrett Web page.)
The Barrett Model M468 is a high-performance rifle that has proven to be a life-saver in dangerous places. The rifle’s enhanced power is packaged in the familiar AR-style configuration. It is a no-nonsense rifle designed specifically for those who must have a trustworthy, compact rifle that delivers conclusive results. The Model M468 forged 7075 aluminum upper and lower receivers are type 3 hardcoat anodized. The lower houses a smooth, dependable, two-stage combat trigger without adjustment screws that can shoot loose. The upper supports a free-floated, chrome-lined barrel with M-4 style feed ramps machined into both the receiver and the barrel extension. A super-efficient muzzle brake all but eliminates recoil. The nickel phosphate plated bolt is silky smooth, easy to clean, and purposely sized for the 6.8 SPC cartridge. The rifle is designed to run cool, be easy to clean and be 100% reliable. The Model M468, optimized for use with optics, is equipped with the A.R.M.S. SIR accessory mounting system. The integral, fully adjustable #40 L backup rear sight is always ready. The Barrett gas block is threaded for a Barrett suppressor and also provides a solid base for the folding front sight. A unique ratchet is built into the gas block to positively maintain a Barrett suppressor’s position. The Model M468 is also available as an upper receiver conversion. The Model M468. It can be useful to a hunter and it is fun to shoot. But the Model M468 was built for someone whose life depends on a gun that works; both in his hands and down range. The Model M468 is what you expect in a Barrett. Powerful. Dependable. Caliber – 6.8 Remington SPC Weight – 8.1 pounds (3.7 kg) Overall length – 35.5 inches (90.2 cm) standard stock 32 inches (81.3 cm) fully collapsed stock Operation – Semi-automatic, gas operated Barrel – 16 inch, chrome lined (40.6 cm) Twist – Right, 1 in 10

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Justin September 3, 2007 at 3:36 am

The Masada is a gas piston rifle, which is just like the AK. That means it’s hella reliable. And it’s mostly plastic. That means it’s pretty lightweight. They have also said it will be available in 3 or 4 different calibers and like 4 different barrel lengths. And unlike the XM8, soldiers can still put all their beloved lights, lasers, and sights on this bad-boy.

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Sven Ortmann September 3, 2007 at 4:59 am

There are dozens of possible replacements, the choice is being only narrowed down by the marketing power of their producers.

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Pat Flannery September 3, 2007 at 5:03 am

If nothing else, I think they should change the name from “Masada” if it is intended to be sent for use in Islamic countries.
We need a more catchy American name for it, that holds the same place in our history that Masada holds in Israeli history… yes, the new weapon must be named the “Alamo”!
Pat

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Paul Harmon September 3, 2007 at 6:31 am

What’s wrong with the tried and true, and a weapon that has a huge backing, like the M-14?
I’d carry the extra load if I had to.

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bobkovacic September 3, 2007 at 7:22 am

My goodness, I have written this doctor Congressman dozens of times, no results…You do not need a new rifle, you need quality lubrication and that is MILITEC. The USG has cut the b—s off the manufacturer, yet thousands of troops know how MILITEC works super in the desert, once applied properly..which is not hard to do..is no one listening?? I realize the greedy gun makers wanna big contract, but dont need it..
its the p— poor lube, CLP, not the weapon..

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ernest September 3, 2007 at 10:38 am

i work for fn the producer of the scar if the military thinks we need a new weapon then so be it just like the change from the m-14 to the m-16 but they dont need to spend an ass load of dollars doing it

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Andre' M. Dall'au September 3, 2007 at 12:38 pm

IF we keep a 5.56 weapon then why would we want the HUGE expense and effort to have yet another weapon that will need years and years to perfect? If anything get one of the exisitng piston designs (from LWRC, LMT Colt or H&K.) Beyond that, the 7.62×39 round is an obsolete and tactically inferior round. Anybody that wants to field it today is hopping on board a train that left the station fifty years ago. Better still is the 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC that has a .308 flight path out to 500 meters and is DEVESTATING in tissue up to that range. They are 80% of a .308 with 50% of the recoil. The 7.63×39 has a arc-like tracjectory and is poorly suited for accurate long range fire. OK, at short ranges it is useful, but modern warfighter like to keep those fights further away than the round shoots. Bottom line, keep the M4 clean and cared for or at most stick on an upper with a piston and maybe with a 6.5 Grendel – and you will be fine.

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C.H.Cox September 3, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Do we need a new rifle?? Don’t know, but it seems like a good idea to have knowledgeable folks out there thinking, designing and testing new concepts.
The Stoner design and its progeny won’t last forever;if we stuck to the “tried and true” doctrine we would still be throwing stones

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ant September 3, 2007 at 12:46 pm

The UK land forces are also beginning to look at selecting a replacement for the previously shocking, but now rather spiffy, L85a1. Whilst I don’t recommend a joint project (the UK would be a VERY junior partner in such an exercise) it is at least interesting. Points to bear in mind from the UK point of view:
The L85a1 is now the most reliable weapon available and current research shows that there really isn’t anything else out there up to the same standards.
The long barrel of the bullpup design and it’s excellent sight (the SUSAT) have also raised the bar for accuracy higher than most other options can meet.
The current UK expectation is that we’ll stick with 5.56 nato because that’s the logistics train for the US, and we often share that train.
Clearly if (and it’s a very very big if) the US are contemplating a calibre change then this opens up more options for the UK. However, my guess is that even if the US went with 6.8 some other choice, we’d stick with 5.56, because it’s lower risk, and there is more chance of an off the shelf weapon- the UK simly cannot afford to design it’s own weapon.
And why don’t we just buy more L85a1s? Last one rolled out of the since demolished factory sometime in the mid 1980s.

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Stephen Hughes September 3, 2007 at 2:06 pm

There needs to be an updated 223 round, the military 223 round is designed to wound not kill. Left over from the cold war era, with the belief you tie up the enemies recourses with massive causalities. A common GI complaint the bullets are not taking down the enemy . A new combat rifle is useless without new ammo. It also important to note Iran is producing fielding armor piercing rounds as its standard. If you donot think that is much of a threat, you should review the infamous LAPD Bank of America Shoot-Out – 02/28/97 where 2 men with AP held off an entire police force.

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Jack September 3, 2007 at 6:50 pm

We don’t need a new rifle. The M-16/M-4 works just fine. After 40+ years as the main line issue rifle I still have trouble believing this argument is still going around. I’ve carried the M16A2 and M-4 in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the world and I have seen it work quite well in very bad conditions. Yes, you have to keep it clean, but that also goes for every other weapon in theater. Everything jams in the desert, to include the AK series.
As far as the 5.56 goes, I don’t recall anyone I ever shot with it getting back up again, but it does lack in the cover penetration and range departments. So if you want a bigger bullet, blow the 5.56 case out straight walled and top it with a .30 caliber bullet and your problem is solved.

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Heath J. Hamilton September 3, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Well guys, it’s like this. I definitely think that we need a better functioning rifle. While I was an Officer in the Army National Guard, I had the opportunity of firing the M-16 for over 12 years. The A-2 was a definite improvement over the A-1 and the accuracy was excellent out to 800 meters, if you could make out the target at that distance. Unfortunately, because of the way the gas system was designed it caused excessive heat and carbon buildup in the chamber which made it very susceptible to jamming when even the least amount of dirt or grime worked it’s way into the upper receiver. This happened fairly often on the firing range, so I’d hate to see how they worked in combat conditions. I’ve often thought it would be great if we could adopt a design based on a modified Kalashnikov “AK-47″ design chambered in .308 NATO 7.62 x 51 instead of the current 5.56 NATO round. This would solve a lot of reliability problems plus add the additional knock down power of the larger caliber. It would also keep us from having to add another different caliber of ammunition to our inventory “6.8″. Why try to reinvent the wheel? The Isreali Galil is a fine example of a rifle like I described and I know that there have to be others. I’ve seen the tests of other newer rifles tested on Future Weapons and I think that H&K have definitely come up with some important design changes. The Barrett rifle seems to be really good but again, do we need to add another caliber to our arsenal? We could at least go to an AR-10 model, if nothing else and have it retro-fitted with the H&K gas system/barrel. I know that there has to be a better more reliable rifle with better ballistics. If the AK could be modified (re-chambered to the NATO .308) and manufactured with higher quality machined parts, the accuracy problem could be addressed and we would have without a doubt, the world’s greatest combat rifle.

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Gary D. Schlagel September 3, 2007 at 9:06 pm

The military definitely need the knock down power of the 7.62×51 Nato. The .223 round lacks penetration and stopping power. It does not take out an engine block sometimes not even a windshield. It can not penetrate the walls of the buildings in the comabat zone. It also does not have long range knock down power. It is a varmint round for critters up to coyote or wolf size. The troops deserve the best.

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jsabotta September 3, 2007 at 9:20 pm

Why not just give up and adopt the AK-47? License it or just have them start stamping them out for in in Izveskt?

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J Scott Haberer September 3, 2007 at 10:04 pm

I am afraid that the rifle that will be selected will be the worst possible, selected only by who gets the kick-back and whose district will manufacture it… Just like selecting the 9mm… it was criminal to depart from the .45 to go to something so ineffective as 9mm, I’m betting that our new weapon will be selected with as much incompetence. Hope not, but don’t hold your breath. Scotty/Sioux City

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Justin September 4, 2007 at 3:34 am

I forgot to say grips after I said lights, lasers, and sights at the end of my previous post.

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David Hudson September 4, 2007 at 8:57 am

On several occasions I have fired the M16 A1 rifle and found it to be just fine. I have never had any problems with the rifle and enjoyed shooting it. I understand the jamming problems with it under combat conditions though and think we need a rifle in combat that is just more dependable. The same holds true for the M4 we can do better. The 9MM pistol is junk and should have never been issued. We should go back to the standard .45 for the sake of our people and throw away that 9mm.

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Rohug September 4, 2007 at 9:50 am

I have been issued and used the M-1 Garand, M-14 and the M-16. Used the M-16 in vietnam for 2 tours if it is maintained it is a viable combat weapon when not maintained properly it is useless. The M-1 can and has been used in all types of weather and conditions and is still in my opinion the finest combat weapon ever made.

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Coolhand77 September 4, 2007 at 11:48 am

Okay, I would just like to drop in a couple of points that have been glossed over or miss represented. The XCR does NOT have a quick change barrel. I would not call barrel that needs to be unbolted “quick change”. Admittedly it can be done, in the field, with an allen wrench, and it only takes a couple of minutes, but it is not truely “quick change”. The M16/AR15 is even more difficult, but we all knew that. The Masada on the other hand, replaces the barrel nut on a STOCK AR BARREL with an interrupted thread nut with a handle and lock on it. THIS is a true “Quick change” system as it takes NO special tools and can be done in SECONDS. Also, the interrupted thread design has been used for decades for good solid lockups. Just look at most large caliber naval artillary breaches.
Now, about that stock AR barrel. Yes they replace the gas tube with a piston, but that not only keeps the chamber cleaner but pistons have a reputation for being alot more forgiving if designed right, than the direct impingement system. As long as the piston gets enough KE from the gas, the gun will cycle. Not only that but because it uses stock AR parts, it will not only be cheaper to retool to build them, but you can chamber any round that will fit in the AR sized reciever envelope, from .22LR up to .50 Beowulf. Yes I agree a better round would be good, but being able to use both 5.56, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, or 7.62×39 with just a barrel and bolt swap would be good too.
One final note. Were the military to go with a common PDW, CAR, AR, SAW/Autorifle, DMR platform, the Masada would be uniquely positioned to fill this roll BECAUSE of the modularity and barrel swap capability. The only issue they might have is with the lack of a belt feed, and with C-Mags becoming more and more reliable, this may no longer be an issue. But now I am interjecting personal opinion instead of factual information.
One final personal opinion. Yes, Magpul is a small company, but their Quality Control is top notch and their rep is solid. Unfortunately unless they either sell the design to a big name like Colt, FN or someone else with the facilities for mass production, the chances of our soldiers seeing this design in an issue weapon are slim to none.

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Hooded swan September 4, 2007 at 3:22 pm

As if 49 comments weren’t enough already…
M14 fans – Sorry, it’s not coming back. 7.62 X 51 mm ammo is too heavy & bulky. Too much recoil. Existing ammo requires a long barrel (the G3 had the shortest barrell, at 18 inches, among the successful weapons of the 1950s)
M16/M4 fans – The fact that that the AR-15 design has been in use longer than any other in US history suggests that a better gun should be available after 40 years. We’re not talking about the M2-HB here – there’ve been problems since the beginning, like all those other guys wrote about.
The Army was about to choose HKs XM8 when other companies pointed out that with the OICW project dead, it was time to start over. These questions have to be answered 1st:
1) Is 5.56 X 45 mm ammo powerful enough?
2) Conventional or new technology, such as fully telescoped cased ammo?
3) Bullpup or folding stock?
My guess is the answers will be no, we can’t afford it on account of the Iraq war, and bullpups over my cold, dead, 4-star shoulders.

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Mang September 5, 2007 at 8:34 pm

Word.

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ford1938 September 5, 2007 at 10:31 pm

The day that DOD finds the ideal weapon for the individual,will be the same day that pigs fly.During WWII the Wermacht had the ideal machine gun the MG 42,as the victors in the conflict we could have adapted the design and the weapon.Did WE Heck NO, it seems that the mentality of the ARMY WAS we do not copy and we will design our own.Now we have the Stryker that doesnt swim,the humvee that offers no protection to it’s crew,a mask protective field that offers no protection to some chemical agents and has a short filter life. Another was the battalion commanders nuke weapon ( DAVY CROCKET) if ever fired in anger bye bye to the gun crew and the element used to provide security to the firing site. Because of the range and fallout patern. There are very good rifles out there but we still refuse look,test and evaluate,in the field under actual conditions.

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Greg September 6, 2007 at 6:09 am

For all of you that are nostalgic for the M1, M14 and M1A, yes, they were great weapons. Yes, we did defeat German, Japan and North Korea with them. But like the jeep and steel pot helmet, they just aren’t going to be making a comeback. Sure, the AK series of rifles are great. You can drop them in mud, dirt, etc. and they will still work. Will be ever adopt that as our battle rifle? Probably about the same time we start buying our fighter aircraft from Mig. The M-16/M-4 is a forty year old design, that everyone agrees could use improvement. The gas blowback is old technology compared to the better design of the SCAR-L, G-36/XM-8, HK-416 or Masada. The military needs some weapon that is reliable, sustainable and adaptable. Today’s fight isn’t the same as WWII; our troops are going to ride into battle in the back of deuce and a halfs, cook and bathe in their steel pots and listen to Benny Goodman while writing letters back home on the back of C-ration boxes. Today’s Soldier is going to be listening to his IPOD while scanning the road ahead with thermal sights, wondering if his last email back home made it through the internet. Build a rifle for this Warrior, don’t hand him his grandfathers.

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Cpl Andrews September 6, 2007 at 12:28 pm

As a US Marine (OIF II), here is my opinion.
The M-16/M-4 is a good design, ergonomic, good shooting characteristics, accurate, a freaking Christmas tree for add-ons. Why is it that no-one wants to improve the current system and then design, from the ground up a new rifle? Yes, I would rather have had a Phaser/Caseless/Gauss/Metalstorm device that could take out a whole armored division and then cook my MRE. But the point is I do not want to wait 20 years more for a trial program, testing, corruption, etc. We all agree (or most of us) that the M4/M16 system has two main design flaws:
- 5.56x45mm ammo is not powerful enough in its FMJ format.
- Direct impingement was a design flaw from the beginning.
So, how about:
- Either re-design 5.56 ammo (use a heavier bullet/enhanced rounds) or replace it with an intermediate cartridge (6.8 or 6.5 or .280)
- Switch the uppers for short-stroke gas piston.
Heck, you don’t even need to replace the uppers; you could just re-furbish existing weapons.
You could do this in a few short years; very little additional training required, racks, attachments, ballistics, ergonomics, almost everything is the same. We (in the field) will not have the perfect rifle, but we will have an excellent one. Then take 20 years to go and give us the Phaser. Our focus should be to push the best rifle we have NOW that requires the minimal implementation time (a re-designed AR in other words) and then go about designing a replacement. Makes sense to me. But then again, I was only a Cpl.

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Isaac September 6, 2007 at 6:29 pm

While I liked the M16 and the M4, I think their time has come and gone, in this new era of warfighting. As the Army and USMC have begun reconfiguring for the new battlespace, I think the weapons need to, too, and that means no more 5.56. The .223 is too weak for today’s battlefield, and I’m not totally impressed by the Masada; I’m more of a fan of the M-468 (http://www.military.com/soldiertech/0,14632,Soldiertech_M468,,00.html). It seems it’d be a cheaper option (with the replacement of just the upper reciever in the M-16 & M-4), and it uses the 6.8 SPC, as opposed to the NATO 5.56.

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Will Taylor September 6, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Given the ideal situation — unlimited funding, distant deadline, more advanced technology and the go-ahead to implement it — what weapon system would advance to the forefront? Gauss, caseless, non-projectile/directed energy? Let’s assume we could mass-produce these weapons economically and efficiently. Which qualities would be more effective in modern combat?

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ed Foster September 6, 2007 at 7:34 pm

Bull. I started out as an M-14 Marine, and I still think it’s a great weapon for mountain or desert war, particularly for leg units without direct fire support. But, I was on the M-4 design team at Colt, ran design and Q.C. at Stag Arms, where I designed the left handed upper and got a patent on the best .22LR upper going (if they ever put it into production. I have friends in Afganistan and Irag now, not armchair commandos. Reality check. Every weapon out there that fires the 5.56 cartridge and uses m-16 magazines is inferior to the very type improved M-16. I spent 2 years with the Israeli design team of the TAVOR, a great bunch of guys, and a really crappy weapon. Piston uppers? You don’t think the Army Ordinance types have tested every one of them? They suck in cold weather. Every one of them jams, badly. Bottom line: Go to a squad auto weapon in linked 6.8mm, keep the M240 for a serious base of fire, and change out the uppers for 6.8. The only thing Uncle Sam will lose is a couple of billion belt links. The 249′s are all worn out anyway. And keep your weapon cleaned and lubed. Plus, I have never seen a weapon that can absorb as much crap as the M-16 and keep on shooting. Think about it.

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ed Foster September 6, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Bull. I started out as an M-14 Marine, and I still think it’s a great weapon for mountain or desert war, particularly for leg units without direct fire support. But, I was on the M-4 design team at Colt, ran design and Q.C. at Stag Arms, where I designed the left handed upper and got a patent on the best .22LR upper going (if they ever put it into production. I have friends in Afganistan and Irag now, not armchair commandos. Reality check. Every weapon out there that fires the 5.56 cartridge and uses m-16 magazines is inferior to the very type improved M-16. I spent 2 years with the Israeli design team of the TAVOR, a great bunch of guys, and a really crappy weapon. Piston uppers? You don’t think the Army Ordinance types have tested every one of them? They suck in cold weather. Every one of them jams, badly. Bottom line: Go to a squad auto weapon in linked 6.8mm, keep the M240 for a serious base of fire, and change out the uppers for 6.8. The only thing Uncle Sam will lose is a couple of billion belt links. The 249′s are all worn out anyway. And keep your weapon cleaned and lubed. Plus, I have never seen a weapon that can absorb as much crap as the M-16 and keep on shooting. Think about it.

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James LaFoy September 6, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Iv’e shot em all, owned em all, and (as another m14 Marine), would like to know when the “expert” writers are going to stop talking about KNOCK DOWN POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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gunner September 6, 2007 at 10:34 pm

“Plus, I have never seen a weapon that can absorb as much crap as the M-16 and keep on shooting. Posted by: ed Foster”
Simple answer – M1 Garand.
In service 70-81 fired many different weapons, all have good and bad points. M-16 light, maneuverable, lots of ammo for the weight. Excessive maintenance required.
My choices – pistol M1911, rifle for open ground or mountain M14, jungle AK or SKS, MG MG3, Heavy M2.
On topic, a new upper for the M16 lower sounds like an economical choice for change.
As a reloader I will have to look at changing the ballistics of the 5.56 round and see if that can help.

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garywilson1 September 6, 2007 at 10:39 pm

Ahhhh, Urban Legends.
Many of the posts were made by those who had extensive personal experience with the Colt. They seemed to be evenly split between “it is great” to “it is a POS”.
Some of the posts are obviously made by folks who ‘heard’ someone who heard someone talk about the history of the Colt and the 5.56.
If you are really interested in the factual history and the trials that were conducted prior to the military adopting the rifle, read (it even has pictures):
‘The Black Rifle’, volume three of the modern US military small arms series by Stevens and Ezell, and
‘Black Rifle II’ by Christopher R. Bartocci.
Both are published by ‘Collector Grade publications Inc.
Of course, it will cost a few bucks but you might learn something and be able to discuss the weapon in an intelligent manner without so many inaccurate statements based on “someone said”.
All weapons have some type of issue.
As far as the 9mm, several units are now using several variations of .45 auto, including the more modern Sig.
How anyone can claim that a new weapon that has not been tested, produced, and then used on the battlefield is better that what is in use is beyond me. Especially when those proclaiming that the new one is a better weapon have not claimed to have even seen the ‘new’ weapon, much less used it.
Yes, the M14 was a fine weapon… and it had its faults.
The M1 was a fine weapon… and it had its shortcomings.
The .50 Hawkins was a fine weapon too… with issues.
Be careful what you ask for… you just might get it!

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Hari K. September 7, 2007 at 2:13 am

Seems to me the classic AK models can handle just as much abuse as any M model rifle the service has used. I think with the passing of time, new technologies are always going to emerge and present new opportunities for the advancement of arms, which I think is what the original post, and various tests done, were about. If we are going to argue which weapons kicks which weapons ass, look at what H&K are doing with personal protection weapons that are smaller, lighter and still put a 556 downrange at a deadly pace.
And if you’re worried a 556 isn’t going to stop someone in their tracks, I wouldn’t. A 556 will do the same thing to a human being that a 762 will do, with less mess. Remember, at high velocity, a lead slug is going to penetrate deep. As a corps man i’ve helped the enemy and i’ve helped the dogs and I assure you both can kill a man just fine.
As far as keeping a clean weapon goes… there’s a reason AK’s a highly valued.. you could drop it in a sand bar, a mud puddle, or a dirt pile and it will still spit downrange. Daily cleanings are not only good for your weapon, but almost manditory for the continued good performance of the M class rifles. No offense to all you ground pounders out there.

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John September 7, 2007 at 8:22 am

I was in the Marines in 67-70 and used the M-14 and the M-1. I didn’t use the M-16, didn’t see the need to. Too many folks were screaming that they were down due to malfunction at every firefight while using the M-16. I never had a problem with the M-14 except once it didn’t eject because the gas plug worked loose. Don’t make the changes where it is needed, in the weapon. A weapon based on the action, barrel and bullet of the M-14. It would be easy to replace the stock of an old ’14 with some lightweight material or a folding/disappearing stock. If anyone took the rifle apart they would soon notice that about one third of the weight of the M-14 was there, solid walnut. Lose that weight and the M-14 is about what the 16 weighs. As for ammo, be your own judge. Would you like to use a 55 grain bullet or a 165 grain one? At close range, it doesn’t matter but at some long range, say 500 meters, a 165 grain bullet is still traveling at close to the muzzle velocity of a 30-30 or an AK! Which would you like on your side? Just a thought for the fellas that seem to think the end of all weapon tech is the M-16. As for me, I would rather be killed with no bullets than three full magizines or a full can of useless
Someone said in one of the comments I read that he’d use the .45 colt/1911, the Remington 12 gauge model 870, and an M-14/M1A1. I could not agree more.

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Bruce September 8, 2007 at 10:38 am

I was Army (Infantry, 1961 to 1971, pvt e-1 to cpt o-3) with two tours in vietnam, served in korea, Germany and Texas. I have carried the M-1, m-14, M-16 and the M-1 carbine while in service. I now own a Ruger Mini-14. Semi auto only. It is reliable, accurate, and easy to carry through woods and brush. I don’t know why our military has never used this fine rifle.
Bruce

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charles wolf September 9, 2007 at 10:32 am

There is no magic rifle. All need cleaning. True, the gas piston rifles have less build-up than the M16, but the M16 passes all the tests. The Magpul rifle has 6 prototypes and they’re still working on it. There is no advantage to keeping the M16 chassis … we’re going to buy new uppers to put on worn-out lowers to save money?
There is no magic bullet. If a 12 gauge 300-400 grain slug with 2 thousand ft-pounds of energy won’t instantly incapacitate a 140 pound mammal, what will? The answer is look at our own hx casualty data: thousands wounded compared to kills. A slightly bigger, slower FMJ/TMJ is nice, but you pay the price in trajectory and recoil. If you don’t hit the heart or brain, humans keep running.
What kills best is an integrated gun, sight, ammo, & training system. If you field a new short barrel gun with a changed gas system with peep sights and don’t design new ammo, then you get problems. If you “movie-train” folks that one shot “kills” the target, then you create ineffective habits and expectations.
Issuing a light M-14 has already been done. Putting folks in combat with a semi-auto against folks with a full auto is an interesting idea.
The Squad Designated Marksman (SDM) are getting high kill rates. Hmmm, better training, sights, rifles, and ammo. Novel concept.
What might be useful is discussing what the weapon mix might be in the METT-T. Maybe one gun-one bullet-one target is not the best solution? How about a 20mm flechette gun with a variety of special purpose ammo? Good for 250m (90+% of targets) in MOUT.
Keep on posting new stories of magic guns and magic calibers. I need the humor.

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22lr September 9, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Bullets Bullets Bullets, is all that needs to be changed. Give the pistols the black talons, and give the 5.56 a spoon tipped bullets with every 3rd one in the mag a FMJ problem solved.
My 2 cents on the whole m16 thing is that the m16 has served many years, and killed hundreds of thousands of the enemy for us. However, change isnt always bad, but change for the worse is bad. A gun is only as good as its user, give a good gun to a bad user, and a bad gun to a good user, and have them duel. The good user will be able to win with any weapon.

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zig pinchut September 9, 2007 at 11:51 pm

Where can I buy a Masada rifle

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zig pinchut September 9, 2007 at 11:52 pm

Where can I buy a Masada rifle

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Steve kenney September 10, 2007 at 1:29 pm

All we need is a new reliable rifle for our military that shoots a bigger "man stopping" bullet. Such as the 6.8 remington SPC round, or an american intermediate round like the 7.62×39 russian round. The problem with the 5.56 is that it takes more rounds to kill the enemy. So the logical thing to do is switch to a heavier bullet.

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mike September 27, 2007 at 9:56 am

Being a Marine from 96-03 I have shot the M16A2 and now been out a few year and big into the shooting sports.
I have a M4 and a M1A and I like them both and each as there rolls to fill in different areas,If you want long range a M1A is great but carry that sucker all day and you will not like it as much and less ammo is a downside.
The M4 is lite more ammo but range is less, but you have to look at most of what we are fighting is close range and room clearing and the M4 comes into it’s own in that area.
You can’t think the service is going to stock 2 different rifle systems to issue to fill different needs. The 5.56 round is just fine but with any load it’s all in shot placement not the size of the round. Would a 6.8 do better maybe but there nothing wrong with the system they have in the field now and why spend even more money when it is not needed.
Also you have compines just looking to make money that is why they want the service to switch has nothing to do with a better wpns system.

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Coolhand77 September 28, 2007 at 9:58 am

I would just like to add one more comment about the rifle in question.
Magpul has been making acessories for the AR for years. Their gear is top notch. Now they are building a rifle, designing it, using the lessons learned with various combat arms over the past 60 years. If their execution in construction is the same as their previous products, it will be “all that and the bag of chips”. The fact that it uses some existing AR parts (ones that have proven themselves somewhat reliable. IIRC the barrels and trigger packs have never had a complaint since they started chroming the bores) is a bonus and will reduce tooling and manufacturing costs.
I would still prefer an Ambi Bullpup, but I wouldn’t turn down the Masada either.
And using a JEWISH name in the ME when fighting islamic extreemists…hell, I thought it was stupid our troops couldn’t use Israeli manufactured surplus ammo over there because it was “insulting”. Frankly, if you are going to war, WHO CARES IF YOU PISS THEM OFF!
Hehe, rant over.

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Rhyno327/lrsd September 30, 2007 at 12:08 pm

the M-14 is NOT dead. they are pulling 40,000 out of storage. with a differnt stock made of polymers its a lighter weapon. the EBR version is just one of a couple. as far as a .223 cal weapon, the Hk 416 is said to be very good. a rifle you can change barrels and fire 2 different sizes? sounds interesting….

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Rhyno327/lrsd September 30, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Interchangeable lowers, but wat about the barrel?

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Mjolnir October 3, 2007 at 7:50 pm

What of the Israli Tavor?

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Nat Aispuro October 10, 2007 at 2:32 pm

As a former Marine, the most memorable part of the M16 is the unreliability. It looks like a toy, feels flimsy and doesn’t instill a sense of trust in the user. That said, I think they should start some pilot programs where these weapons get real action. What can be better than actual field results from experienced soliders and Marines?

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Austen October 15, 2007 at 9:55 am

I can’t claim to be a Marine or anyone else who may have gone to Iraq or Afghanistan or Vietnam but my solution is either a bigger cartridge or start using hollowpoints.

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Sean October 15, 2007 at 10:49 am

I’ll tell you what of the Israeli Tavor; even if they are using our money to design and produce it, it’s still not made by the US. That poses a problem to the Pentagon. Of course, we’d have a brand spanking new infantry service rifle if they’d lower the demands from +100% of the M16. We’ve had submissions that have achieved +75% more than the M16A3 and it still hasn’t been accepted. Infantry tests and interviews said that soldiers were much happier with the XM8 than the M16A2.

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jOHN bOLLETTE October 15, 2007 at 5:17 pm

All i know is i can’t tell you how many marines I saw get blowen away in vietnam because of the m16 jamming in the field it was notheing but a peice of polotical crap. shame on the big guy’s. I wonder how many of them were out in the field depending on that peice of junk, for there lives. or there son’s lives? what goe’s around comes around, wish I could be there to see the payback.Let the real grunt’s test it……………then decide.

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John October 15, 2007 at 5:20 pm

All i know is i can’t tell you how many marines I saw get blowen away in vietnam because of the m16 jamming in the field it was notheing but a peice of polotical crap. shame on the big guy’s. I wonder how many of them were out in the field depending on that peice of junk, for there lives. or there son’s lives? what goe’s around comes around, Let the real grunt’s test it……………then decide.

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Ranger_Rick_LRRP October 28, 2007 at 4:51 pm

No disrespect intended for those of you who served but I think I spelled the “NAM” incorrectly, My father served 3 tours as a Marine in Nam and I served 2 tours in Iraq so again no disrespect intended. And I would like to thank all of you who served in combat whether you were in Combat Arms or in a support type job, because if you didn’t serve then this message might be in a different language or we might not be allowed to have this forum in the first place. Again ” Thanks!”

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robert brown November 5, 2007 at 7:13 pm

i think that this weapon is the answer that the military is looking for and i really mean that(it truly is the answer . all of the different rounds that you can use 6.8mm 7.62×39 and of course 5.56mm and 5.45×45

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Rhyno327/lrsd November 13, 2007 at 11:48 am

Reliability. Give me a rifle that won’t jam in a fight. In a running gunbattle, you don’t have time to take it apart and clean it properly. The 416 is probably the most reliable, cost effective replacement out there. I liked the M-14 i was issued, and now they are being brought back and tricked out. The .270? That would be a great move, but can it be used in a reliable rifle? Sand sucks, mud is worse…

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Kevin November 26, 2007 at 7:09 pm

Please stop compairing the failures of the Nam M16 to the modern version. Most of the failures was the implimentation our Gov was responsable for.
They used the WRONG powder which fouled up the rifle bad and cycled full auto way too fast.
Our Gov also didn’t think our soldiers were worth chrole lined barrels in a climate that would rust the high carbon barrels before any shots were fired.
No cleaning kits were issued.
Mix these 3 things together. On top of that over the years many improvements to the gas operating system like the water problems in Nam.
I have full trust that my Bushmaster will fire when I need it too and place the shot where I need it.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is many garbage AR type copies. Don’t go offbrand. Stay Mil contract quality.
Problems with M4′s is the short 14.5 barrel. The gas system was not designed to be that short from the start. Personally for speed, accuracy and reliability I recommend staying with a 16inc and above.
These rifles are in another class from the Nam days. The barrels are much thicker, better materials, MUCH better alloys for the reciever. Even the stock is much stronger.
I also for dmg prefer the origional 55 grain M193, or as they were called “shredders”. They were replaced with the ss-109 due to the fragmenting amount being against the “humain” standards.
Sure a 7.62×51 has more range, more penitration through hard cover, but it is twice the weight. You will have half the ammo.
I have seen first hand how nasty 55 grain m193 is in flesh. Even had someone die from a leg shot where the fragments shot up through his lungs. Your not picking these slugs out.
Problems with ss-109 is the steel penitrator. If it is slight off balance it will cause problems with fragmentation. Yaws late or not at all. M193 is also faster. More penetration in the short to medium ranges.
It all comes down to what you want out of your rifle. My 16inch Fluted HBAR does the job I need it to. Fluting takes .5 lb off the barrel not to mention makes it more rigid. I highly recommend this option as it gives a much better balanced feel.

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fmJK-47 November 27, 2007 at 6:06 pm

A new rifle in 5.56… A shame!
I don’t have major problems with the 5.56mm but there are other possibilities for chambering assault rifles.
The 5.56 has reasonable wounding capabilities, (remember… WOUNDING) but once the projectile’s speed is reduced below 2700 fps. the tumbling of the round after initial impact that eventually results in severe fragmentation ceases to occur. And because of the low mass=density of the round it is very bad at retaining velocity and energy as it travels through the air, this doesn’t take long. Not to mention the already mentioned low mass creates a tendancy to be more affected by crosswinds.
I think its an exceptional cartridge for urban warfare but something like a long range assault rifle would need a little more uummph.
Heres some chamebering ideas–
6.8x43mm SPC
7.62x51mm NATO

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Frank December 13, 2007 at 10:50 am

I was an infantryman in the Americal (69-70) in VN. Being staight-leg infantry we carried a lot of crap. When your weight load gets up to 125 pounds, you sure appreciate that light M16 and the ammo that goes with it. Our squads were structured such that we were covered for all ranges and terrain. We had 2 M60s, 2 M79s, 2 M14s and the rest M16A1s (sometimes only about 6) per squad. This let the people with the M16s carry more stuff like M60 ammo, Prick 25 batteries and all the other crap we needed. There were only 5 LIBs in VN and I doubt if there are any units like those in Iraq today (no tanks, no APCs – the heaviest weapon we had was the 80mm mortar). You Iraq vets should be able to answer that question. The caliber issue is not only one of bullet performance. It also has much to do with tactics. The M16A2 is a great weapon (I would have prefered one to my “mattie mattel” anyday). I can see how it would be a problem in the sand though. I would much rather have an AK in sandy conditions like Iraq depending on what kind of terrain and whether any urban was involved. It depends. The 5.56 round was not designed to kill, only wound. This is because wounding a bad guy is worse for the other bad guys (assumming they give a shit). If units are smart and I hope some of the special forces units are included in that group, they will carry an assortment of weapons and calibers. The Navy Seals now have Chicom type 56 AKs bought though Norinco. This proves that the Seals believe an assortment pays off in situations where you don’t know what the conditions are going to be(and how can you ever know that?).

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Anonymous December 28, 2007 at 6:11 am

Reeper_4:
You have a Silver Star and 407 confirmed kills? You must be a living legend in the Ranger community. Everything you say is perfectly believable, including the guy who got his hip blown off and hopped away. However, how did you manage to convince the Army to let you do 3 tours back to back to back? That must have been one for the song books.

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Dave December 31, 2007 at 12:23 pm

After reading all the specs I just have one question WHERE CAN I GET ONE? this is one seriously bad ass toy!!!!!!

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Steeley January 2, 2008 at 10:59 am

Now days the only 5.56 in my gun safe is the Mini-14. (I have to have SOMETHING shooting the small NATO). It’s a fun plinker. Otherwise, it sits next to the M1, M1A, R700 BDL, and a handfull of foreign milsurps (Czech 8mm, Mosin Nagant, Swedish 7.5..), plus others (Win M94, etc..). Obviously I prefer big projectiles. Yes, that’s open-country stuff. For room work, give me a 12 gauge auto-loader stuffed w/#2. If I had to arm up for both scenarios, I’d seriously consider slinging both a .30 and a 12 Gauge, rather than a compromise 5.56 that has the predominant shortomings both have in their wrong scenarios. Don’t like the 5.56, never have, never will. That’s just me.
Therefore, while the Masada appears to address many of the peripheral issues of the M-16, M-4, etc. regarding ergonomics, functioning, durability and such, it serves to perpetuate the main problem with high-tech, well-engineered turd polishing (don’t get me wrong, there’s money to be made doing that). But it’s still a freakin .223 [sigh]

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Steeley January 2, 2008 at 11:14 am

….but on the other hand, since I don’t have anything doing 7.62×39, the Masada in that chambering is a serious candidate for my collection. But if they want to do the DOD and all my brothers (and sisters now) currently under arms a huge favor (and still make beaucoup bucks), field one chambered for the 7.62×51 NATO.
Pretty please?

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PhilLeech April 24, 2008 at 2:25 am

I think we should fix the cartridge first, then worry about a new operating system. If we go back to stick powder, then we shouldn’t have all these jams in the AR platform. That leaves the “Knock-Down Power”. We can neck up the 5.56mm round to 6mm, with a 75 grain bullet, with hardly any loss in velocity. Yes, I know Hornady came up with a truncated 6×35 version. He even e-Mailed me once – before it came out – and told me the military shouldn’t use a 6mm! The problem with a simple neck-up is that it won’t be proprietary because it’s already an in-use wildcat cartridge. That means they can’t make extra money off of it, so no one wants to build a new weapon based on a cartridge they can’t sell at a premium. Tradition says that when we’re at war, its easier to rip off the military, so I suppose they won’t really change anything ’til its’ over. I just think its worth a try for someone to try a 6x45mm out in an M16, or M4, using stick powder instead of ball, and then proceed with fixing the weapon: IF it still needs it.

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Robert Fridell April 24, 2008 at 1:04 pm

We’re back to the same old problem..Wrong BULLET.. You need a 7 to 8 mm bullet to do the job..I don’t hunt deer or bear with a 5 mm. You should not go for big game under powered. Don’t give me the choice between four bad choices..

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Daniel May 4, 2008 at 1:20 am

If you dont like the 5.56 get the gun in the 7.62 people. Its a great looking piece, I would like to see it tested with the 7.62 rounds.
I know a lot of you like to go big. The problem with big that is over looked is 99.96% of the time that your not shooting the weapon your hauling the weight of heavier ammo and gun.
I used to be a 60 gunner and the weight of that moster sucked. I would think to myself Im sitting here with a belt of a 100 rounds. I wonder how much they weight. How many .22 rounds could I have instead of the m60 rounds? If it was a 1000 rounds to the weight of a 100 m60 what would be more effective in a close fight? Sounds kind of funny doesnt it? But if you have a gun that barley has recoil and spits hell on earth at you with out having to ever reload it seems like it might be effective. No take down power obiviosly but its just a out of the box thought.

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Dave May 20, 2008 at 4:59 pm

The Masada is now the Bushmaster ACR. You can change calibers in less than two minutes without tools. It has all the perks of the HK-416, the XM-8, and the SCAR’s. The weapon absolutely rocks. It is a true modular weapon system that works. And it works in 5.56, 6.8, 7.62 soviet and 5.45 soviet. This is the weapon that the military has been waiting for. It is a little bulky but it makes up for it.

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robert June 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm

the guns impressive buy they should make it in 7.62×51 Nato or 6.8 Rem. SPC

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Cavscout August 3, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Having carried both the M-16 & the M-14 in the Army I much prefer the 14. The 7.62X51 is just so much better a combat round there is just no comparison. If you aren’t man enough to handle the recoil and hump the ammo you have no biz in the service. As far as replacing the 16 it’s obvious to me that Ronnie Barrett has the answer in his M468 upper. Snap it on your existing M-16 lower, pass out the 6.8 mags and ammo and problem solved cheaply and effectivly. The larger round is as close to perfect a combat round as I’ve ever fired and the Barret upper is clean and familiar to all who are used to the M-16. If not this then purchase AR-10′s from Armalite chambered in .243 Win and shoot 75-100 grain ammo and be done with it.
ScoutOut

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Bill Nagel August 12, 2008 at 2:44 pm
Randy October 9, 2008 at 10:53 pm

I do not claim to be a Ranger, Marine, or even an “Airborne Sapper (!)” but I have alot of experiance hunting Arizona whitetail deer which weigh between 70-80lbs. Using good softpoint ammo, I have seen deer drop with one shot, entering through a shoulder and exiting through a rib. Entry wound looked like a pencil exit wound was between a quarter and half dollar in size. It would seem to me that if the politics of the Hague Convention were thrown aside, these problems could be solved for those engagements under 300 yards by using some of the excellant ammo offered by Federal or Winchester. Couple it with SS109, if you are worried about body armor, and problem should be solved without changing weapons platforms. I fire these rounds through a Bushmaster M4 and have never experianced trouble nor is the point of impact dramatically differant between brands. For those regularly engaging targets at intermediate ranges, perhaps a larger caliber is justified. For our “Airborne Sapper” friend, it is low class to use Shugart’s name as your handle in any capacity.

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Zeke December 2, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I was in the Marine Corps from 1962 to 1965. We trained as counter insurgents. Okinawa 1963 to 1964, 2 Battalion, 9th Marines 3rd Marine Division.
I carried an M-14. Yes the ammo was heavy, but there was more emphasis about bringing down your target with fewer rounds.
I was in Okinawa but did not go in country. Years later I heard from my buddies who were there and how horrible it was.
Over the years I kept reading about the M-16 versus the M-14. I do not get the appeal of a weapon that fires a 55 grain bullet over a 168 grain bullet.
I bought an AR-15 5.56mm black rifle. I have fired it many times on the range at our club.
The energy of the bullets 7.62mm versus 5.56m differ greatly at long range.
My question is why did the Miltary not request that the 5.56mm rifle fire a heavier 5.56mm bullet(early in the war) of at least a 90 to 100 grain bullet?
Why not redsign the 5.56 to allow us to load a magazine of 100 grain bullets into the chamber?

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Marcus December 16, 2008 at 12:42 am

I was in Viet Nam and carried most of the weapons at one time or another. M16, M14, M79, M60. There definitely is something to be said about the weight difference in a hot, humid place like that. But unless you have just leaves to shoot thru, the .556 won’t cut it. It deflects off of thick brush, shrubs, bamboo, etc… There is no saving that round for combat. A heavier and larger round is what is needed. Period. If you’ve ever thought you had good cover and were being shot at with AK’s you would know what I mean. So, go back to the basics and design the rifle around the cartridge.
Bullet weight should be from 120 grains up. Size anywhere from 6.5 to 7.62. Almost all bullets in the Communist block use bullets with a empty space between the tip of the bullet and the core to destabilize the bullet along with fragmentation. We should start there and improve on it.
The rifle should be heavy enough that on automatic fire the muzzle is controllable and stout enough to be used a club when needed. That leaves out the full size 7.62 Nato round as the rifle would be too heavy. It would take a BAR type of weapon to stabilize the muzzle with the round. Way too heavy. So, something on the order of the 7.62 x 39mm round and something similar to the AK47 rifle. Take it from there and make sure all the improvements work better in all cases than the AK47 and you have a real winner there.

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PatMelbourn January 5, 2009 at 2:14 pm

77705256
Where does this retoric come from…a fool…idiot…or just plain anti everything type.
-No,they should continue to give crappy M16/M4 series assault rifles to the “serf” soldiers & marines(because we have an endless “buttload” supply of both,thanks to the draft & “illegal” immigration”) & continue to place the blame & guilt on said above “serfs” by blaming the stopages on them because “they don’t clean them enough” instead of because the weapons are defective in the first place.
But, this weapon here would be ideal for the Special Forces/Blackwater/Triple Canopy Praetarian Guards(you know,the people you can depend on to shoot civilians in the street during “civil unrest & emergencies”).AND firing AK-47 bullets? Why the possibilities(& accompanying conspiracy theories) are endless here.
Please stay constructive and on topic. This is extremely important to our “USA” future security.

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Munhsuh March 2, 2009 at 3:37 am

Long Live Brothers of Arm
God bless USA

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Wm April 4, 2009 at 5:04 pm

I was in Viet Nam as well and the M-16 Light but as stated to fast it deflected of most things.And you had to fuss with keeping it clean. Get this new weapon into service A.S.A.P. we dont need more Jets and Ships we need Men with the right Equipment.And I say Men many of them no woman Grunts and you know the rest.

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Wm April 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm

The new Barrett 6.8Round into new Weapon.Ged rid of current weapon

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r pistol May 23, 2009 at 6:00 am

I agree with so many of you, I too carried the m14 and m16 in Vietnam C 1/5 Marines, 3 pucs while in country, 67-68 and saw much combat. The 14 put a man down with one hit. It penetrated brush, leaves and light cover such as 1″ thick wood and still would kill. The 500-600 yard range changed the dynamics of the enemy’s tactics as they were not effective with the ak 7.62×39 round unless within 250 yards. At400-500 yards, we owned them.
One startling proof happened in the summer of 67. I had a new clean m16 and spotted a single armed vc in the middle of a rice patty, appx 250 yards out. I shouted halt, he ran to a treeline parallel to me. I had a 17 round magazine with every third round a tracer(I learned to eliminate the tracers later). I began firing single shot and emptied the mag without a knockdown cursing my terrible aim and swearing I would somehow get in a few magazines of practice somehow to true my aim. I fired 3 more rounds and he went down. I ran to him and he was still alive and tossed a grenade between us which blew him up after I ran away. I studied his body and found that I WAS NOT MISSING, there were numerous entry and exit wounds. I swisscheesed him and he kept going with probably a dozen or more hits. Now I understood. One round would not stop a man with the 5.56 round… you had to get repeated hits. I was also attacked by a water buffalo once. the entire team (3) were firing and I was hitting the head and watching rounds richochet off his skull. Finally at our feet he fell… with about 100 rounds fired and innumerable hits at inside 100 yards.
The M14 fired clean or dirty, full of sand or mud, rusty or carboned. That Piston threw that heavy bolt back and when it came home to close that chamber that round went in. Innumerable M1 and M14 thumb injuries prove my point.
Screw the weight, if your life is on the line you don’t care about anything except a good reliable rifle to keep you breathing one more minute, one more day. Go back to the M14, the 7.62×51 round,put the 3 round option on it and fix the rise to the right tendency on automatic. You then have the battle rifle that rules the field, bar nome. Been There, Done That and too shot up and old to do It Now and know they won’t listen to a thing we say and more will die because of it.

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buddhadan August 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm

my son is in iraq last time we talk he complained about shitty ar-15 wants me to send him his remington 700 scope and ammo we load our own wonderif its possible to ship it to him doubt I was in corp for 12 yrs don’t have any contacts that could help any ideas my grandpa used to send my dad shotgun shells in veitnam long time ago

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usmc2004 September 16, 2009 at 11:28 am

I fought in operation phantom fury, the taking of fulujah, in november of 2004. The 5.56mm was great at the ranges we were engaging the enemy. I could fire my m16a4 more accurately and faster than the enemy with their ak47s. I personally saw one shot one kills through the torso. YES, a little bigger would be better, but mk262 mod1 77gr otm easily defeated our mostly unarmored enemy. Even the .308 can’t defeat that.
By the way, when working in a squad, we had 3 men with the m249 to provide suppression, and one to two m240g to provide penetration. Not to mention near instant artillery and 60 and 81mm mortars which were spot on.
Tactics today include a combination of arms, the 5.56mm being the lightest main weapon. I would of taken my m16a4 over any of the new mods for the m14.
Cpl Black
USMC

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Troy December 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Still don't undrstand why we have not switched to the Barrett 6.8 REC-7 …must be a logistics problem with all the 5.56 out there,and the way we started to arm allied forces with the 5.56…rifle action of the M-16 is good enough…just needs a little more punch.

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Sean January 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm

The Sig 516 is the rifle , or the HK416. I personally own the Bushmaster ACR that used to be the Magpul Masada but the design was sold to Bushmaster/ remington due to Magpul could not produce a weapon in Mass and I also own the FN SCar in the 7.62 and the 5.56. But the soilders need a gun that can not be knocked out of the fight and a gun that is accurrate as they come and if anyone has seen the testing done on the HK416 or new Sig 516 those two rifles can be filled with water and sand and immediately start sending rounds down range.

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