Tag Archives: m4

New Colt Battle Rifle in 7.62 NATO?

21 Sep

Soldier Systems and Defense Review are both reporting on a Colt battle rifle in 7.62 NATO designated the CM901. It will be a modular rifle/carbine/SBR (short barreled rifle) design and will be backwards compatible with existing 5.56 AR uppers.

To quote David Crane of Defense Review:  “If the CM901 was able to excite a Tier 1 operator, we thought it must be pretty cool. And, as it turns out, it is. It’s very cool. The CM901 is pretty badass, actually.”

Stay tuned for updates and photo’s on the CM901 as they become available…..

Army wants soldiers to have improved carbine

7 Sep

The Army Times published an article recently about the Army’s “dual strategy [for]…… a more accurate, durable and lethal weapon that will be the mainstay for the next 40 years.”

The article describes a two part strategy: 1. overhaul the current M4 platform and 2. Simultaneously begin looking for a new carbine that can outperform the M4.

M4 Overhaul: An overhaul of the M4 platform is planned to occur in 3 phases outlined below:

  • Phase 1: To begin immediately, distribute what is essentially an improved M4A1 carbine (heavier barrel and full auto capability) to all troops. Would include ambidextrous controls and an improved magazine design for better reliability.
  • Phase 2: Beginning Fall 2010, host an open competition for a new bolt assembly and/or different materials or coatings to enhance the bolt life. Also calls for a strengthening of the forward rail assembly on top of the receiver, possibly with a free floating rail.
  • Phase 3: To begin in about 18 months (which would be March 2012), improve the gas system by allowing less gas and dirt in or replacing it with a a piston! (yes folks, a piston M4!).

The next carbine: The Army’s open, industrywide Individual Carbine Competition was approved Aug. 4 by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. Here are a few highlights of the Army’s carbine request:

  • No caliber restriction has been placed on a new design.
  • It will be at least a 500-meter weapon.
  • This weapon will be modular and able to carry all the existing attachments soldiers use.
  • It can have a gas or piston system.
  • Interchangeable barrel sizes, such as those seen in the SCAR, are not required but certainly won’t be a negative thing.

A draft request for proposals (RFP) will go out late this year (2010) with the official RFP to go out early in 2011. Manufacturers will then have a few months to respond with their proposed weapons. After that a period of function and durability testing will begin and last for 12-18 months.

So it could be 2013 or later until we see a new carbine, if the project doesn’t get delayed or cancelled…..

For more information, be sure to check out the full article in the Army Times.

Ruger to Pursue M4 Upper Contract?

29 Jul

During their 2010 Q2 conference call this morning, Ruger CEO Michael Fifer discussed the possibility of government contracts for the Ruger SR-556 AR platform rifle. According to Fifer the Ruger SR-556 program is so new it would likely take years to gain a foothold in the military and police markets. However he did mention the possibility of pursuing a contract to supply replacement M4 uppers to US armed forces. When queried about the caliber of these replacement uppers he stated “I don’t even think the Pentagon knows”. Additional details on their pursuit of an M4 contract, or what the possible specs would be (would it have a piston????), were not discussed.

Fifer talked about the large number of first time gun buyers during the recent boom in gun sales and whether they will become repeat customers. He believes some of these new buyers are likely to purchase a second or third firearm since they had already crossed any perceived barriers when purchasing their first gun.

Fifer does not think the recent favorable Supreme Court decisions in Washington D.C and Chicago will have a large impact in the firearms market. These cities have quickly passed new laws making private firearm ownership nearly impossible, according to Fifer.

When asked whether Ruger would enter the derringer market, Fifer said the derringer market was good but quite small at about 50,000 units annually. A Ruger derringer would be a nice compliment to their SAA revolvers, but don’t expect them to enter such a small market.

Below is the Ruger press release announcing their 2010 Q2 earnings:

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Ruger Reports Q2 Earnings, Declares Dividend
SOUTHPORT, CONNECTICUT–Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR), announced today that for the second quarter of 2010, the Company reported net sales of $64.4 million and earnings per share of 43¢, compared with sales of $72.4 million and earnings per share of 46¢ in the second quarter of 2009.

For the six months ended July 3, 2010, net sales were $132.7 million and earnings were 86¢ per share. For the corresponding period in 2009, net sales were $135.9 million and earnings were 76¢ per share.

The Company also announced today that its Board of Directors declared a dividend of 10.0¢ per share for the second quarter, for shareholders of record as of August 13, 2010, payable on August 27, 2010. The amount of the dividend was based on a percentage of Operating Profit after adjustment for certain items, the same approach used by the Company since 2009. Under this approach, the amount of the quarterly dividend fluctuates directly with certain operating results of the Company.

Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Fifer made the following comments related to the Company’s results of 2010:

* New product introductions remain a strong driver of demand and represented $42 million, or 32% of sales, in the first six months of 2010.

* The estimated sell-through of the Company’s products from distributors to retailers in the first half of 2010 increased 1% from the first half of 2009, despite a reduction in National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background checks of 2% during this period.

* Cash generated from operations during the first half of 2010 was $17.8 million. At the end of the second quarter of 2010, our cash and equivalents totaled $58.7 million. Our current ratio is 4.0 to 1 and we have no debt.

* During the first half of 2010, capital expenditures totaled $12.6 million, much of it related to tooling and equipment for new products. We expect to invest approximately $18 to $20 million for capital expenditures during 2010.

* At the end of the second quarter of 2010, stockholders’ equity was $109 million, which equates to a book value of $5.68 per share, of which $3.05 per share was cash and equivalents.

* For the third consecutive year, a Ruger handgun has been named the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence “Handgun of the Year”. The Ruger SR9c is the compact version of the SR9 striker-fired pistol, one of the slimmest and most ergonomic 9mm pistols on the market today.

The Company filed its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the second quarter of 2010. The financial statements included in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q are attached to this press release.

The Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q is available on the SEC website at www.sec.gov and the Ruger website at www.ruger.com/corporate/. Investors are urged to read the complete Form 10-Q to ensure that they have adequate information to make informed investment judgments.

About Sturm, Ruger
Sturm, Ruger was founded in 1949 and is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of high-quality firearms for the commercial sporting market. Sturm, Ruger is headquartered in Southport, CT, with manufacturing facilities located in Newport, NH and Prescott, AZ.

USNI Proceedings Takes Aim at M4 Myths

26 Jul
Bartholomew over at The Firing Line Forum did an excellent job of summarizing an article in the current US Naval Institute Proceedings magazine. I think you’ll find the article and the summary below quite interesting. Many thanks to Bartholomew for letting me re-post his information!
The July 2010 article of the USNI Proceedings magazine includes an extremely interesting article by Kirk Ross (a previous USNI award winner for his historical writing of battles in Afghanistan) called “What really happened at Wanat?”.

Wanat by itself has been a rich source of discussion in Internet gun forums, so I was interested in seeing what new information the author brought to illuminate that battle. I was surprised to find that rather than just address Wanat, the author ended up challenging all kinds of currently held ideas on the M4 and the history behind it.

Here is a short summary of some of the key points I found interesting:

1. In 2006, the Center for Naval Analyses conducted a survey of Afghanistan and Iraq combat veterans (at least 5 engagements) and found the following results:

A. Despite studies by NSWC Crane in the 1990s and the two more recent Extreme Dust Test studies indicating that generously lubricated weapons perform better even in dust, the CNA survey found that soldiers using dry lubes decreased the probability of a stoppage by half.
B. Ironically, the more times a soldier cleaned his weapon during the day, the more likely he was to experience a stoppage.
C. Magazines were the number one complaint cited by the CNA survey participants.
D. Over 1/3 of survey participants had not been issued a cleaning kit for their rifle (these are combat veterans with at least five engagements!)
E. Accessories ziptied, corded or duct taped to an M4 increased stoppages by 2-3 times and more accessories = more stoppages regardless of how they were attached.
F. Soldiers using rebuilt M4s (apparently not a small number) were 3.5 times more likely to have a stoppage.
G. Based on the survey, CNA concluded that stoppages during engagements happened between 6.75-2.37% of the time or less with the M4. Large-impact stoppages (unable to engage the target for a significant portion of the fight) happened between 1.21-0.42%

2. The author also goes into some detail on the infamous Extreme Dust Test pitting the M4 against the SCAR, HK416 and XM8. Some of the new details from that test that I was previously unaware of:

A. The M4s chosen for that test were drawn from Army inventory and competed against brand new rifles from the manufacturers.

B. Six of the ten M4s chosen in the test did not meet the minimum military requirement for cyclic rate of fire (i.e., they were undergassed – not a great thing when the test involves lots of foreign debris).

C. Colt alleges that the ATEC testers were unfamiliar with the M16’s 3-round burst cam and counted 1 and 2 round bursts resulting from the funky camming mechanism as “stoppages” during the course of the test.

D. After this test, Colt conducted a DoD certified testing facility, Stork East-West Technology Corporation, to repeat the Extreme Dust Test with the above factors corrected and MilSpec 810F followed (Colt alleges this was not followed in the first test). In that test, the M4 suffered 111 stoppages over 60,000 rounds.

3. Colt takes off the gloves and flat out calls the writers at Army Times shills for H&K – “Numerous media outlets have blamed the M4 for the death of Soldiers at Wanat, or continue to deride the weapon in favor of the commercial off-the-shelf products of Colt competitors-part of what Colt alleges to be a “concerted media campaign” led by writers at Army Times, Military.com, and others to promote the products of German firearms manufacturer Heckler & Koch.”

4. Gas pistons – The Army has dismissed gas piston ARs as offering no significant increase in reliability (compared to the 20″ rifle) repeatedly. Colt started offering the Army a gas piston option (the Model 703) as early as the late 1960s. Every comparative assessment since then has reached the same conclusion.

A. “A December 2005 study conducted by the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), for example, which evaluated the HK416 and Colt’s Close Quarters Battle-Receiver (CQB-R), concluded that CQB-R “out performed the HK416 in mechanical reliability.”32 Other reports have rendered similar conclusions about other possible M4 replacements, including the XM8. The Army’s own April 2008 Small Arms Capabilities-Based Assessment, carried out to support “a small arms acquisition strategy through 2015,” did not fault the M4 carbine, but instead called for improvements in ammunition, sights, and optics.33″

5. Everybody agrees the M16 magazine is a problem.

6. Widespread agreement that full-auto and exceeding the 12-15rpm sustained rate of fire seriously degrades reliability.

Overall, regardless of whether you like or hate the M4, there is a lot of information in this article challenging how you think about it. It challenges the wisdom of the gas-piston conversion, it challenges the “latest & greatest” wisdom on weapon maintenance (lots of wet lube) in a dust environment. It challenges the perceived reliability problems of the M4. I’ve got some thoughts about some of the conclusions; but I am still digesting the article at this point.

My Take on the AR Rifle

5 Jul

For most of my adult life I was pretty much uninterested in AR type rifles for a variety of reasons: I am more into ‘traditional’ arms, AR’s are more expensive than the guns I typically buy, and I can’t hunt with them in my home state of Pennsylvania.

Then in the months after Obama was elected, I started thinking maybe I should get an AR ‘just in case’ they would again be design restricted or banned. By the time I made up my mind to get an AR, apparently several million others had already decided to get one… all my local shops were sold out with lengthy wait times on back ordered rifles. Prices had risen dramatically too.

Earlier this year, when I noticed my local shops had AR’s back in stock (supply caught up with demand?) I decided it was time to take the plunge -not because I was terribly interested in them, but ‘just in case’ I couldn’t own one in the future.

Well in the process of researching, reading about, and handling all the different makes and types of AR’s I got totally hooked! The design is perfect when shouldered and can be had in a zillion combinations of stocks, brands, barrel lengths, colors, etc. I ended up getting a Rock River Arms M4 style lower then decided I wanted a heavy varmint rifle. So I currently have a nice RRA 18″ heavy stainless upper on a tele-stock lower. Not exactly what I want but I’m working on another lower and may end up with two AR’s (a complete varmint and a carbine) when it’s all said and done 🙂

What I really like is the number new and younger shooters I see in the gun shops and at the range these days because of their interest in AR’s. Anything that brings new people into the shooting world is simply fantastic in my opinion. If you’ve not yet discovered the world of AR rifles, there is no better time than now to check it out for yourself!