M-16 Series Rifles [Automatic Rifle]:

The M-16 rifle was developed after a study by the US army`s ORO (Operations Research Office) showed that for all intends and purposes, a light and small cartridge would be just as effective on the modern battlefield as the more heavy .30-06 cartridge. Incidentally this mirrored the findings of German engineers and scientists a decade earlier. Their findings led to the development of the 7.92x33mm Kurz round and the infamous Sturmgewehr.

After many pitfalls (among which the development of the M-14 rifle) a US general named Willard G. Wyman asked the ArmaLite compagny to design a rifle and certridge that would fulfill the findings of the ORO research. Enter Eugene Stoner, who had just developed the AR-10 rifle. In order to fullfill the specifications set by the general, Stoner asked Remington to upgrade their .222 Remington round to fire a 55 grain bullet at over 3300 feet per second. The new round became known as the .223 Remington, and later as the 5.56x44 mm NATO round. The design that Stoner ultimately used to fire the .223 resembled in much parts his earlier AR-10. It had a direct gas operated bolt, a straight stock, fired from a twenty round magazine, had a hinged reciever, and was eminently controllable even in fully automatic fire. But mistakes were also made. One of these was the reliance upon a certain kind of gunpowder for the cartridge, another was that the barrel wasn`t chrome lined.

After many trials and tribulations the M-16 as it was now called was finally adapted by the US army, and it was immediately issued to troops in Vietnam. Here, disaster struck. The army hadn`t bought cleaning kits for the rifle, and the ammo that they issued did not use the powder that Stoner had intended to be used in the rifle. This, combined with the lack of a chrome layer in the barrel quickly resulted in many problems in the field. Some soldiers claimed that the M-16 was responsible for as many deaths as the vietcong. When congress heard of the debacle a commission was formed, and the result cleared Stoner and ArmaLite of any blame, putting it all in the army`s lap. After the needed changes had been implemented the M-16 proved to be a valuable weapon, and it has served in various guises in the US Army and in other armies over the entire world since.

There are countless variations on the rifle, incluiding many civilian ones, but the current incarnations of the rifle include the M16A2, with improved ergonomics, a faster twist in the rifling, allowing the rifle to fire the new NATO standard SS109 round, a redesigned flash hider, interchangable handguard, a three round burst setting replacing the fully automatic one for ammo conservation, and redesigned sights that are fully adjustable. A M203 grenade launcher can be fitted in place of the handguard. Civilian versions are made by Armalite, Bushmaster, Colt, and Olympic Arms. While .223 Remington is the most caliber, some manufactures manufacture the rifle in 7.62 BLOC (Same as the AK-47), 9 mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and a variety of lesser known calibers.

A carbine version named the M4 and M4A1 is also available, these feature a shorter barrel, collapsible buttstock, and a modular upper reciever, on which a variety of different sights can be placed in a matter of seconds. The M4 is limted to three round bursts but the M4A1 is capable of fully automatic fire. There was an earlier version of the carbine is the CAR-15 which is a short barrel version of the M-16 that was used during Vietnam. The latest varients of the Military M16 are the M16A3 and A4. These are identical to the A2 variant, but feature the modular upper reciever. In addition to that, the A3 is capable of fully automatic fire in place of the three round burst. The A4 varient retains the three round burst setting.

For much more information on the troubled history of the M16, and its good current status, follow THIS link
The rifle is available with magazines that hold five, ten, twenty, or thirty rounds. There is also a snail magazine (Curves around) that will hold 99 rounds.

Weight: M-16A3/A4: 8.30 lbs (3.77kg), M4/ M4A1 7.30 lbs (3.32kg).
Caliber:5.56x45 mm NATO (Various versions are available in SS109, 7.62 BLOC, 9 mm, .40 S&W, .45, and a few lesser know calibers as well).
Barrel Length:Varies by type (16 inches / 40.6 cm to 20 inches / 50.8 cm)
Overall Length:M-16A3/A4: 39.37 inches (100 cm), M4/ M4A1 (Extended): 33.9 inches (86.1 cm).
Action:Gas Operated.
Mode of Fire: Military: Fully automatic or Three Round Burst, Civilian: Semi Automatic only.
Range:M-16A3/A4:1333 feet (400 meters), M-4 /M4A2:1200 feet (366 meters).
Magazine:5, 10, 20, 30, or 99 rounds.
Cost: $800 to $1,200.
Made in: USA (Other Nations make copies for their militaries).
Special: Effective and combat tested rifle that is accurate yet is light weight. Available in a great many different versions at different price ranges. Stocks are sythetic.

[ M-14, M-16, AR-15, CAR-15, AR-10, Stoner, Armalite, Bushmaster, Colt, Olympic Arms, and Remington are copyright of their respective owners. ]

Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa ) and by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 1999, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.