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Almost half a century after its inception, it still is. The M16 (originally called the AR-15) is a child of the late Eugene Stoner, then-chief engineer for Armalite, a division of Fairchild Aircraft. The AR-15 was essentially a scaled-down version of Stoner’s AR-10. A small quantity of AR-15 rifles was delivered to Ft. Benning for test and evaluation against the M14 on 31 March 1958. In a simulation of combat environments, the M16 proved to be three times as reliable as the M14. But General Maxwell Taylor, the Army Chief of Staff, vetoed any further CONARC development of the AR-15 in favor of continued procurement of the M14. Fairchild, disenchanted with the AR-15 program, sold the entire AR-15 package to Colt in December 1959. The AR-15 was tested in Vietnam by the Defense Department in the summer of 1962, under the code-name Project AGILE. The AGILE report was more than enthusiastic, as great claims were made for the caliber .223 cartridge’s killing power, and the improved handling, reliability, durability and ease of maintenance over the M14. A favorable cost-effectiveness report followed from the DOD Comptroller’s Office. The anti-M14 group now had an alternative to rally around. A number of Pentagon agencies entered the fray and began comparing the AR-15 and M14. A comparative evaluation between
the two rifles was held at Aberdeen Proving Ground late in 1962. The results were ambivalent. A comparative lethality and wound ballistics test at Edgewood Arsenal stated that the earlier Project AGILE report of the .223’s killing power was a gross exaggeration. The official Army reply to Secretary of Defense McNamara’s order for the comparative examination of the two rifle systems flatly concluded that “…only the M14 is acceptable for general use in the U.S. Army…” But too much evidence pointed to an opposite conclusion. An Army Inspector-General’s investigation decided that the Army had rigged some of the tests against the AR-15. As a consequence, McNamara terminated procurement of the M14 rifle on 23 January 1963 and announced a “one-time buy” of 85,000 AR-15 rifles for the Army and 19,000 for the Air Force. An entirely new weapon system called SPIW (Special Purpose Infantry Weapon), firing small-caliber cartridges using steel-flechette, multiple projectiles imbedded in plastic sabots, was believed to be at hand. SPIW never materialized, and intensification of the war by 1965 caused General Westmoreland to request the M16A1 rifle for all ground combat elements in Vietnam. Procurement was accomplished by August 1966. In December of that year, the U.S. Army type-classified the M16A1 rifle and it replaced all .30 cal. rifles in its inventory, except those eventually retained for use as sniper rifles.
The LWRC Short-Stroke Gas Piston system provides a worthwhile improvement in reduced fouling and reliability over the direct impingement gas system of the M16.
By the spring of 1967, Colt’s bed of roses started to rot as reports of widespread malfunctions in combat began to appear in a mainstream media hungry for every tainted tidbit about the war in Vietnam. The press gleefully printed melodramatic letters supposedly written by GIs whose comrades had fallen dead next to their jammed M16s. There were real problems. Foremost was the change in midstream from a cartridge using an IMR propellant to a ball powder. Innuendos of intrigue were leveled against the powder manufacturer, Olin Winchester. In truth, ball propellants generally burn cooler than extruded IMR-type powders, extending barrel life. This no small consideration for modern, lightweight assault rifles with selective-fire capability. The M16 upper and lower receiver bodies are fabricated from T6 aluminum, not steel, which is a far superior heat reservoir. The tradeoff—and there always is one—is that ball propellants generate more carbon residue which, of course, accelerates fouling of the gas system. And, “there’s the rub,” as Shakespeare’s Hamlet would say, since the M16’s gas system has been subjected to unending criticism from day one.
The short-stroke gas piston system used by LWRC borrows heavily from the World-War-II-era Soviet SVT40 Tokarev rifle (top) and the subsequent German G43 (bottom).
After firing a round, the projectile passes through the gas port, permitting gas to flow back through a stainless steel gas tube and a so-called bolt carrier key into the hollow interior of the bolt carrier. This is usually referred to as a direct impingement gas system. As the carrier moves rearward, a cam slot cut into the carrier turns the bolt’s cam pin, which causes the bolt to rotate clockwise, freeing the eight locking lugs from their abutments in the barrel extension. The carrier’s momentum draws the bolt rearward at a slightly reduced velocity. There is no primary extraction and the extractor withdraws the cartridge from the chamber. The spring-loaded, bump-type ejector emerges from the left side of the breech face and rotates the empty case, after it has cleared the chamber, around the extractor claw and out the ejection port of the upper receiver body. The bolt carrier assembly continues rearward, compressing the recoil spring and cocking the hammer. The buffer and recoil spring return the carrier and a fresh round is stripped from the magazine. All forward bolt motion stops after the round is chambered. The carrier continues forward to contact the rear face of the barrel extension and its cam slot turns the cam pin, which in turn rotates the bolt and its lugs anticlockwise into the locked position. The M16’s trigger mechanism is based upon that of the .30 M1 Garand. The direct impingement gas system was taken from the Swedish Ljungman AG42(B) rifle. This method of operation was also used in the French Model 49 series of rifles prior to being duplicated by Eugene Stoner in the AR-15. This method of operation has been subjected to a great deal of criticism. While the bolt carrier key can be cleaned by the operator, usually by means of a tobacco pipe cleaner, the stainless steel gas tube cannot be successfully maintained by a soldier in the field, and its replacement requires special tools and training. As the original 20-inch barrel has been compressed to 14.5 inches in the M4 configuration so popular with Coalition troops in
the Middle East, the problems associated with this portion of the M16 system have increased. Reducing the length of the gas tube shortens the gas pressure curve and increases the potential for bolt bounce and firing out of battery, short-stroking, feeding malfunctions, increased wear on the reciprocating components because of faster cyclic rates and a greater recoil impulse. Many of these problems can be reduced or eliminated by use of a short-stroke gas piston method of operation. SHOTGUN NEWS was recently sent an upper receiver using this latter method of operation for test and evaluation by LWRC, Inc. (Dept. SGN, 7200-G Fullerton Road, Springfield, Va. 22150; phone: 703-455-8650; fax: 703-455-8654; website: www.lwrifles. com; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). The LWRC gas system is similar to that of the World-War-IIera German G43 rifle, which, in turn was patterned after that of the Soviet SVT40 Tokarev rifle. The LWRC system uses a fixed piston (called by LWRC the “nozzle”) and a reciprocating cylinder, which they refer to as the “piston cup.” The nozzle is fixed to a low-profile gas block. The nozzle has a collar and is ribbed with integral rings. The piston cup slides over the nozzle. Using a hollow piston cup instead of a solid piston reduces the reciprocating mass. In addition, the nozzle scrapes carbon fouling from the inside of the piston cup with each firing cycle, blowing the fouling out of vent holes. LWRC suggests taking the piston assembly apart and soaking it in copper solvent every 2,500 to 5,000 rounds, although it will continue to function reliably much longer than that. While in recoil, the cup floats on the venting gas while reciprocating, thus making a complete disconnect with the barrel assembly. The collar on the nozzle is 6/10ths of an inch long. One hundred percent of the energy of the tapped gas is used to propel the operating rod to impinge against the carrier. It hits the carrier key with a sharp hammer blow during a very short stroke to overcome the operating group’s mass and all associated springs and allow inertia to propel the reciprocating com-
This M16A2 with LWRC SRT upper receiver is in M4 configuration except for the buttstock. It’s equipped with an EOTech Model 553 sight and SureFire vertical foregrip.
ponents through their cycle. The piston spring is stout and rectangular and ensures that the piston cup does not move off the nozzle’s collar until enough energy is collected. The stroke off the collar occurs in this 6/10ths of an inch. After the piston cup has passed the collar, the carrier group unlocks and moves through its cycle. Venting of the propellant gases is a staged event, so the gases are not released in a single “dump” at the end of the recoil stroke. As a consequence, use of a sound suppressor or higher energy impulse ammunition does not alter the piston stroke. To access your gas piston, simply remove the upper polymer hand guard of the weapon. In the case of the SRT upper receiver sent to SGN for test and evaluation; remove the top rail portion of the Accessory Rail Modular—Rifle (ARM-R). This is a return-to-zero removable top that is pushed on to high tensile steel retaining pins and under the angled rail clamp by two captive pusher screws that are designed to be turned finger tight only. With the cover installed, the unit is as strong or stronger than any one-piece rail on the market with zero movement of the top rail. No re-zero of optics or the iron sights is required after removal and reinstallation the top rail portion of the ARM-R. One of the issues associated with a piston is that kinetic energy is applied to the bolt carrier off axis. That means the steel carrier could tilt and wear on the aluminum receiver. LWRC uses a proprietary bolt carrier (but standard bolt) in which a special carrier key is used. The carrier key is made from a billet of ARAMAT (a material used in the fabrication of jet engine turbine blades). ARAMAT is impact resistant and does not peen or bend as other alloys do. It is completely hardened, not just casehardened. LWRC has dovetailed the carrier to accept this solid key. No forces are applied to the carrier key screws. The screws are there to prevent lateral movement only. To prevent carrier tilt, LWRC has designed a slight downward angle on the carrier key—toward the operating rod to re-vector the delivered kinetic energy to the carrier so that it moves straight back in the receiver instead of tilting. The carrier is also stabilized by a boss of increased diameter on its back. The carrier is devoid of gas vent holes as no gas passes through it. The carriers are phosphate-finished and then coated with Dupont Teflon so the weapon may be run devoid of any lubricant. The inside of the receivers are coated with Sandstrom finish like the exterior of the original M16A1, which allows the carrier to travel smoothly. This SRT (Special Rifle—Teams) upper receiver has a stepped 14.5-inch barrel for attaching an M203 40mm grenade launcher. Both the chamber and barrel are chrome lined. The six-groove rifling has a 1:7 righthand twist. An M16A2 flash suppressor was attached to the muzzle. It’s similar to the
are blue (which shows up blood), but white and red are also available. The Millennium M910A Vertical Foregrip WeaponLight sells for $616. I consider this to be at the highest possible level of truly professional combat equipment. It’s an essential accouterment for the modern battlefield rifle and receives my recommendation without reservations of any kind. Collapsible buttstocks look “professional.” There are some applications, such as within vehicles, where their potential for compressing the M16’s envelope can be of benefit. However, they just do not provide the degree of stability that a fixed stock does. To obtain as stable a firing platform as posThe handguard is equipped with full-length MIL-STD-1913 rail interfaces at 12, 3, sible, there is almost no scenario in 6 and 9 o’clock. The rail interfaces have removable rubber guards for comfort. which I would not select the excellent M16A2 buttstock. The A2 buttstock is 5/8-inch longer original M16A1 birdcage-type, except that the sixth port on the than that of the M16A1 and this increased length-of-pull was bottom was deleted to reduce muzzle climb slightly during burst- determined to be ideal by the Human Engineering Laboratory at fire and diminish position disclosure when firing from the prone Aberdeen Proving Ground. Fabricated from foam-filled, highposition in dusty, arid region environments. The flash signature impact plastic designed to resist fracture from launching rifle remains the same. grenades, the A2 buttplate is deeply checkered to improve retenThe handguard is equipped with full-length MIL-STD-1913 tion in the shoulder pocket. rail interfaces at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The top rail interface has There are dozens of different pistol grips that can be installed index numbers from “T1” forward to “T12” in the rearmost rail on the AR-15/M16. I prefer the Model BG-16 Battlegrip manunotches. The rail interfaces have removable rubber guards as cur- factured by TangoDown (Dept. SGN, 884 North Fair Oaks rently used by the U.S. Army in the Middle East. I attached this Avenue, Pasadena, Calif. 91103, website: www.tangodowwnupper receiver to a Colt M16A2 selective-fire lower receiver. llc.com). The Battlegrip, available in either black or tan, comes Vertical foregrips are popular with Coalition troops serving in complete with anti-rattle foam battery spacers, stainless steel the Middle East. Without doubt, combining the advantages of a Dry-Lok fastener, grip installation tool and complete instrucvertical foregrip with a flashlight designed for combat is the tions. most attractive alternative of all. Since they introduced their first The salient feature of this grip is its ability to store two flashlight in 1987, SureFire (Dept. SGN, 18300 Mount Baldy Aimpoint-type power cells in addition to two AA or 123 lithium Circle, Fountain Valley, Calif. 92708-6122; phone: 800-828- batteries all in a water- and dust-resistant cavity, sealed by an 8809; fax: 714-545-9537; website: www.surefire.com) has come easy-to-access cover. This is an important attribute as so many of to totally dominate the field of combat flashlights. the devices now attached to the M16 require batteries, which The SureFire Millennium Vertical Foregrip System is on the always fail at the wrong time. The LWRC SRT sent to us for test and evaluation was equipped ground, in combat, with Coalition forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I installed a Millennium M910A Vertical Foregrip with folding iron sights manufactured by Troy Industries, Inc. WeaponLight on the LWRC, Inc. SRT upper receiver’s 6 o’clock (Dept. SGN, 17 Main Street, Lee, Mass. 01238-0308; phone: 413243-9315; fax: 413-383-0339; website: www.troyind.com; e-mail: rail interface. The M910A attaches to the MIL-STD-1913 rail interface by email@example.com). This Folding Battle Sight Set is available in means of a built-in dual thumbscrew mount. Two lamp assem- USSOCOM flat dark earth and black and carries a manufacturblies are included. The high-output MN10 lamp assembly pro- er’s suggested retail price of $250, including a front sight adjustvides 125 lumens of light for one hour of runtime. The ultra ment tool. When attached to a MIL-STD-1913 rail interface and folded, high-output MN11 lamp assembly offers 225 lumens with a runtime of 20 minutes. The “A” model Millennium features a stan- the profile is only .460". The post front sight has protective ears dard 1.625-inch bezel. The “AB” model is equipped with a 2.5- and can be adjusted for elevation zero with a fired cartridge case. The rear sight, calibrated for M855 ammunition, has dual sameinch TurboHead reflector. The M910A is equipped with five separate switches: two pres- plane apertures: .197" for 0 to 200 meters and .070" for 300 to sure-sensitive momentary activation pads to control the main 800 meters. The stainless steel cross locking is easy to use and remains up battle light—one on each side of the vertical foregrip for ambidextrous operation, a constant on/off switch at the rear of and zeroed under the most extreme battlefield conditions. To the light housing, a system disable switch at the base of the ver- fold, simply press the release button located on the left side of tical foregrip to lock the system in the OFF position, and a third, each sight. These robust combat sights are in use by Coalition smaller momentary switch at the rear of the grip assembly to troops in the Middle East and have been well received. Red-dot sights are very popular. They provide rapid target control two low-output LED lamps. The LED lamps are designed for deployment whenever there is a requirement for a very small amount of light, such as for stealth navigation or nighttime breaching operations. The Millennium uses three lithium 123 3-volt batteries with a 10year shelf life. The housing is fabricated from Nitrolon, a non-conductive, impact-resistant, aramid glass-filled polymer. The lens window is made of Pyrex with a shockisolated aluminum bezel featuring a hard-anodized finish. The flawless white beam is always in focus and is bright enough to temporarily blind an opponent. The secondary LED navA stepped 14.5-inch barrel allows attachment of an M203 40mm grenade launcher. Both the chamber and barrel are chrome-lined. An M16A2 flash suppressor was fitted. igation lights on the unit sent to us
When folded, the profile of the Troy Industries Battle Sights is only .460". The post front sight has protective ears and can easily be adjusted for elevation zero.
acquisition and more than adequate accuracy at ranges less than 100 meters. And, in fact, no matter what the terrain, the average distance to contact with the enemy is less than 100 meters throughout the world. I learned this in Angola in the mid-1980s when I interviewed South West African Defense Force platoon leaders who were at that time engaged in heavy combat with SWAPO terrorists. They informed me that even in the relatively open landscape encountered in South West Africa (now Namibia) and Angola, their troops rarely fired at enemy personnel at distances greater than 100 meters. And, so too today in both Iraq and Afghanistan where rapid acquisition red-dot-type sights of one type or another are found on most of the M4 rifles fielded by Coalition troops. In my personal opinion, the very best of all those available is the EOTech HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight (HWS) manufactured by L3 Communications EoTech (Dept. SGN, 3600 Green Court, Suite 400, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48105-1570; phone: 734-741-8868;
The Troy Industries rear battle sight is calibrated for M855 ammunition and has dual same-plane apertures: .197" for 0 to 200 meters and .070" for 300 to 800 meters.
The TangoDown Battlegrip comes complete with antirattle foam battery spacers, stainless steel Dry-Lok fastener, grip installation tool and complete instructions.
fax: 734-741-8221; e-mail: john.bailey@L-3com.com; website: www.L-3Com.com/Eotech). Just introduced is the long awaited Model 553 Military HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight (HWS—order code: 553.A65/1). Developed in conjunction with and standardized by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as its 1X weapon optic for close quarter, urban combat zones, the M553 Military incorporates a number of new features required within the SOPMOD Block 2 program. These important new features include two quick-release throw levers on the left side for instant attachment as designed and manufactured by Atlantic Research Marketing Systems, Inc. (Dept. SGN, ARMS, Inc., 230 West Center Street, West
Bridgewater, Mass. 02379; phone: 508-584-7816; fax: 508-5888045; website: www.armsmounts.com). These throw levers are intended for interface with a MILSTD-1913 rail system. The M553 HWS is powered by two 123 lithium batteries, permitting cross application with other electronic gear, such as the SureFire Millennium M910A Vertical Foregrip WeaponLight. Battery life is 1,100 continuous hours at the M553 HWS’s nominal setting of 12. Other new features include 66 feet (2 atmospheres) of water submersibility and a unique battery cap tether to avoid loss in the field. It also has a 7mm (quarter-inch) raised base to provide the operator with a consistent cheek weld with all other standardized optics. The Model 553 is available with either a black or Flat Dark Earth finish and this anodized finish has been beefed-up to meet Type III, Hardcoat anodization standards. Without doubt, this is the best EOTech unit of all. It is destined for total dominance of the rapid-acquisition-sight market. The EOTech HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight is a transmissiontype hologram and thus projects what appears to be an illuminated reticle pattern directly on the target. Yet no forward light is actually projected. To me, the HWS’s most important feature is the operator’s ability to acquire the target without regard to a cheek weld or consistent alignment of the shooter’s eye, the sight’s reticle pattern and the target. No matter how you move your head and eye about, the reticle pattern will always remain in exactly the same place on the target. This is an incredibly important phenomenon, especially when rapid and accurate target acquisition under stress becomes literally a matter of life and death during a gunfight. Mud or other obstructions do not affect the operator’s ability to effectively see the reticle pattern and engage targets, even if the display window is almost completely covered. The heads-up display window is 3/8-inch thick, with three panes of glass bonded together to form a shatterproof laminate. The two outside panes have an anti-reflective coating. The Model 553 HWS sent to SGN for test and evaluation was equipped with the standard reticle, which is a two-dimensional ring (65 moa in diameter) with tick marks and a center 1 moa dot. Custom reticles are available. The exit aperture is 45º. After adjustment of elevation and windage zero, you simply look through the sight assembly’s window; place the reticle image on the target, and fire. The eye relief on the Model 550 HDS is an incredible 1 inch to infinity. Both the elevation and windage adjustments are in half-moa click increments. In a tactical environment the operator’s peripheral vision is almost unlimited and up to 50% on each side of the target. That’s because there is no tube, the reticle window remains close to the eye, and the large reticle pattern neither covers up nor obscures the target. As no light is cast upon the target, there is no signature to compromise the operator’s position.
Glint screens (sometimes referred to as Anti-Reflection Devices) are not necessary. The Model 553 HWS has 20 levels of brightness adjustment in the normal visual spectrum. When the sight is turned on, the brightness level is automatically set at the factory to level 12. There is also an auto shutdown mode and the unit will automatically shut itself off eight hours after the last push-button control has been pressed. The user can also program the HWS for a fourhour shutdown mode. As the batteries run down, the reticle brightness will remain at the set intensity and then shut down abruptly. Overall, AK47/AKM magazines have outperformed M16/AR15 magazines for almost half a century. We have tested and are favorably impressed with the 20- and 30-round M16/AR-15 magazines distributed by Brownells, Inc. (Dept. SGN, 200 South Front Street, Montezuma, Iowa 50171-9989; phone: 800-7410015; fax: 800-264-3068; website: www.brownells.com) and carrying their logo on the floorplate. Both the 20- and 30-round magazine bodies are curved and thus use the same MIL-STD green plastic follower. The magazine bodies are MIL-STD hard-coat anodized with a dry-lube coating. They’re available with either chrome silicon or stainless steel follower springs. While not MIL-STD at this time, I prefer the chrome silicon follower spring as it doesn’t continue to take a set and thus can be stored with a full load of rounds. With either type of follower spring and in either capacity the Brownells magazines have a manufacturers’ suggested retail price of $17.95. In general, I much prefer 20-round M16/AR-15 magazines for a number of reasons. They are less cumbersome when shooting off a bench or in the prone position. In addition, I feel that they promote fire discipline, as operators with less ammunition in the well are not as likely to draw so deeply from it and thus program themselves to more conservative fire techniques, which almost always yield greater hit probability. In my opinion, the so-called Giles Sling is one of the very best combat slings available. Designed by Giles Stock, a retired sergeant and SWAT team armorer for the Phoenix Police Department, it is manufactured by, and available from, The Wilderness (Dept. SGN, Wilderness Plaza, 1608 West Hatcher, Phoenix, Ariz. 85021; phone: 602-242-4945 or toll free 800-7755650; fax: 602-242-8260; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.thewilderness.com). Because of the MIL-STD-1913 rail system, a so-called “TriGlide”-type forend attachment was mounted on the left-side rail at 9 o’clock. This version of the Giles Sling costs $46. The Tri-Glide forend attachment was interfaced to the MIL-STD-1913 rail by means of the excellent GG&G (Dept. SGN, 3602 East 42nd Stravenue, Tucson, Ariz. 85713; phone: 520-748-7167 or toll free 800-380-2540; fax: 520-748-7583; website: www.gggaz.com) “Sling Thing” for dovetails, which costs $35. Fabricated from heavy, 1.25-inch, black, coyote or foliage green (US Army ACU) nylon webbing with 1.25-inch Delrin
Just introduced is the new EOTech Model 553 Military HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight that incorporates a number of new features required within the SOPMOD Block 2 program.
The SureFire Millennium Vertical Foregrip System is popular with Coalition troops. Combining a vertical foregrip with a flashlight is the most attractive alternative.
penetrates steel fire doors to deliver terminal results on the other side. TAP Barrier ammunition maintains structural integrity through barriers while still offering expansion in soft tissue. For tactical applications that require both barrier penetration and expansion in human targets, this projectile provides the ultimate answer to an ugly question. The caliber 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge has been the subject of a great deal of criticism. However, at the most common distances at which contact with the enemy occurs, 100 meters and less, this cartridge can be quite effective. The performance generated by 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition is primarily a consequence of bullet fragmentation. As long as this FMJ bullet travels point-forward its wound track remains small and there is little tissue damage. However, after from 2 to 6 inches of penetration, both the M193 (Vietnam era) and M855 (current) projectiles will yaw to 90º, flatten and break apart at the cannelure (crimping groove). The bullet point remains as a flattened triangular section, retaining about 60% of the original bullet weight and penetrating about 13 inches in soft tissue. That portion to the rear of the cannelure breaks into numerous fragments that penetrate up to 3 inches radially away from the main wound track. These multiple fragments perforate and weaken tisBrownells’ new 20- and 30-round M16/AR-15 magazines are sue. Tissue between two perforations is often completecurved and available with either chrome silicon or stainless ly detached when subsequently subjected to the sudden steel follower springs. They have been big sellers. stretch of temporary cavitation. Weakened tissue may be split by stretch that would otherwise be absorbed by the tissue’s elasticity. buckles, the sling is stitched with heavy polyester thread, which It’s important to note that there’s a direct correlation is more sun-resistant than nylon thread. Available for the between the 5.56x45mm bullet’s velocity and the fragmentaM14/M1A, Armalite series, Steyr AUG, Colt M16/AR-15 series, tion pattern. At a range of 100 meters, the M193/M855 bullet Ruger Mini-14, Heckler & Koch rifles and the Benelli and generally breaks into two large fragments. At ranges more Remington Model 1187 and 870 shotguns, the Giles Sling is also than 200 meters, the bullet flattens somewhat and only a few custom-made for other shoulder-mounted weapons, which must small fragments squeeze out of the base. Thus, if the be fitted in the shop. M193/M855 bullet passes through an arm or leg without strikIt can be used as a carry, shooting or hands-free sling (in the ing bone and before it yaws and fragments, the damage will manner of the H&K combat carrying sling). Most important, the be minimal. Giles Sling permits the operator correctly and safely to transition to his service sidearm in a combat environment. Hornady TAP Our test and evaluation of the LWRC short-stroke gas piston system was conducted using ammunition provided by Hornady Mfg. Co. (Dept. SGN, P.O. Box 1848, Grand Island, Nebr. 68802-1848; phone: 800-338-3220; website: www.hornady. com). We used three different loads of Hornady’s TAP (Tactical Application Police) .223 Rem. ammunition, which was specifically designed for law enforcement tactical applications. When fired off the bench with a scope of high magnification, all three of these loads will punch half-moa five-shot groups into paper at 100 yards. My advice would be to use the heaviest bullet (up to 77 grains) that can be stabilized through flight to the target with this caliber. The barrel’s very fast 1:7 twist permits you to do so with considerable effectiveness. The 60-grain TAP (part #83286) is a polymer-tipped spitzer flat base bullet with a ballistic coefficient of .265. This bullet offers high velocity in medium length (14.5-inch or longer) barrels with NATO chambers. It provides rapid expansion, high fragmentation and low retained weight. This bullet will begin to fragment in a sheetrock wall, but still has significant retained velocity, weight and penetration in ballistic gelatin. I especially like the 75-grain TAP (part #80265), which is a match-grade bullet that is Hornady’s heaviest TAP offering in 5.56x45mm NATO. It demonstrates rapid expansion and excellent fragmentation. It provides deeper penetration than the 55- and 60-grain bullets, yet penetrates less than most police handgun service rounds. It penetrates glass with minimal deflection due to its retained weight. This bullet exhibits minimal breakup on sheetrock, retaining most of its weight and penetration. The ballistic coefficient of this boattail hollow point is .390. The most specialized Hornady round we tested was the 60grain TAP Barrier (part #8375), a protected-point spitzer with a ballistic coefficient of .245. This projectile was originally designed for use in nuclear power plant security. The bullet
LWRC LWRC is a firearms manufacturer and defense contractor. LWRC is an acronym for Leitner-Wise Rifle Company; although the company is undergoing a name change to reflect the fact that the founder and namesake of the company no longer have any affiliation with the company. The company will retain the acronym LWRC. LWRC started in 1999 and generally was an R&D “skunk works” and small manufacturer but now has moved to fullfledged manufacturing in its plant in Springfield, Va., after management reorganization in early 2006. Jesse Gomez and Darren Mellors of Grenadier Precision folded into LWRC and formed completely new management along with the new CEO, Patrick Bryan. LWRC is currently a contender in the US Marine Corps Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) Solicitation along with Fabrique Nationale and General Dynamics. IAR is a program developed to replace the SAW (M249) at the squad level with a light automatic rifle harkening back to the Browning BAR concept. Essentially IAR is a light automatic rifle that the squad rifleman can use for all the duties of a standard rifleman with the added capability of providing light automatic fire support when required. Conclusions While the number of rounds fired through the LWRC SRT upper receiver sent to SHOTGUN NEWS for test and evaluation was limited to only a thousand of the assorted Hornady TAP ammunition described above, there were no functional problems of any kind in either the semiautomatic or full-auto modes. The recoil impulse appeared to be slightly less than that usually experienced with M16-type rifles using a direct impingement gas system. The rifle’s accuracy potential was not affected. Upon disassembly, the amount of fouling observed was minimal. I intend to leave this short-stroke gas piston upper receiver attached to my personal M16A2 lower receiver as I have no reservations about it whatsoever and feel that it is a worthwhile and significant improvement. I recommend it highly. The LWRC SRT upper receiver supplied to us complete except for the emergency iron sights carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,645.
LWRC SRT Upper Receiver Specifications
5.56x45mm NATO (also available in caliber 6.8x43mm SPC and .499 LWRC). Short-stroke gas piston; rotary bolt with eight locking lugs; fires from the closed bolt position in both semiautomatic and full-auto modes. Cyclic rate: 700-900 rpm. Barrel: Six-groove with a 1:7 right-hand twist Barrel length: 14.5 inches—available for use with registered Title II firearms only (other barrel lengths available)—stepped for installation of the M203 40mm grenade launcher. Sights: Post front sight with protective ears that can be adjusted for elevation zero with a fired cartridge case. The rear sight, calibrated for M855 ammunition, has dual same-plane apertures: .197" for 0 to 200 meters and .070" for 300 to 800 meters. Folding-type, designed for installation on MIL-STD-1913 rail interfaces. Finish: Aluminum components—Type III Hardcoat black anodized; barrel—black polycoat over phosphate. Manufacturer: LWRC, Inc., Dept. SGN, 7200-G Fullerton Road, Springfield, Va. 22150; phone: 703-455-8650; fax: 703-455-8654; website: www.lwrifles.com; e-mail: email@example.com. T&E summary: Outstanding reliability with minimal fouling, worthwhile improvement and highly recommended. MSRP: $1,645. Ammunition: Hornady Mfg. Co., Dept. SGN, P.O. Box 1848, Grand Island, Nebr. 68802-1848; phone: 800-338-3220; website: www.hornady.com. Holographic optical sight: L3 Communications EoTech, Dept. SGN, 3600 Green Court, Suite 400, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48105-1570; phone: 734-741-8868; fax: 734-741-8221; e-mail: john.bailey@L-3com.com; website: www.L-3Com.com/Eotech. Magazines: Brownells, Inc., Dept. SGN, 200 South Front Street, Montezuma, Iowa 50171-9989; phone: 800-741-0015; fax: 800-264-3068; website: www.brownells.com. Folding iron sights: Troy Industries, Inc., Dept. SGN, 17 Main Street, Lee, Mass. 01238-0308; phone: 413-2439315; fax: 413-383-0339; website: www.troyind.com; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Giles Sling: The Wilderness, Dept. SGN, Wilderness Plaza, 1608 West Hatcher, Phoenix, Ariz. 85021; phone: 602-242-4945 or toll free 800-775-5650; fax: 602-242-8260; email: email@example.com; website: www.thewilderness.com. Pistol grip: TangoDown, Dept. SGN, 884 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, Calif. 91103, website: www.tangodowwnllc.com. Caliber: Method of operation:
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