Category Archives: Rifles and Carbines

Retro Rejoice: Colt to Reissue “Collector’s Edition” M16, XM177E2

Retro heads, rejoice: You have nothing to lose but your slavish obsession with parts gathering. Because Colt, the original maker of historic firearms like the M16A1 (Colt Model 603) and XM177E2 (Model 639), has something new in the works: the Model 603. The 639. The 602. Maybe even the 601, the 605, the 608, and all those other rarities. Here’s the first two of what is promised to be a line:


We learned this in an excited email from Shawn of this weekend, as he shared what Colt spokesmen have told him. (And the photo, a detail of which you see above). He has two posts:

Taken together, they cover most of what Colt has let out about the new vintage reissues. Here’s our distillation of it:

  1. The showing at the NRA Annual Meeting was just a tease, the “real” product intro will come at next January’s SHOT Show.
  2. Colt will make a short run, maybe as few as 1,000 pieces, of two models of these rifles every year for the next 10 years.
  3. Colt will make every effort to accurately produce the weapons as they were produced, except,
  4. They’re all going to be Title 1 firearms — no NFA weapons.
  5. The first two up are believed to be the M16A1 and XM177E2, the two key weapons of the Vietnam War.

Personally, we think this is brilliant. Guitar makers have done it for decades — we believe the first to get on the Vintage craze was Rickenbacker, whose use by the Vietnam War’s contemporaries like the Beatles and the Byrds made them a natural for vintage reissues (but it might have been Fender). Naturally other makers like Gibson and acoustic-guitar specialist Martin joined in. Soon the drum brands followed suit, and the amplifier makers, and by the time the Beatles Anthology was released in the mid-90s, a Ringo, John, Paul, or George wannabe could equip himself with everything but the talent by swiping his credit card at Manny’s or George Gruhn’s. For the guitar makers, this opened up an entire new market — aged-out rockers who had never given up their desire to sound like, say, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, could at least buy a ringer for his 12-string. Unlike today’s starving musician, the aged out former-starving-musician-of-the-70s now has the disposable income to buy the guitar he couldn’t in his Ramen Noodles days.

Your humble blogger may resemble that fictional aged-out rocker, with vintage reissues from Fender, Gibson, and Gibson’s budget brand Epiphone sharing guitar racks with real vintage instruments. (Some of which were merely “old” when put away, but emerged from storage “vintage,” like Schrödinger’s Guitar or something).

It’s not hard to conceive Colt’s marketing move as a parallel to what the guitar makers are doing. Yes, they’re still trying to reach today’s guy but they also want the dollars of the guy inspired by yesterday’s heroes. Colt, like Rickenbacker, ought to be able to survive as a nostalgia, vintage brand, but they are hoping, perhaps, to be more like Gibson — something for everybody, including the free-spending nostalgia buff.

Colt’s representatives promise attention to detail. Another photo Shawn has shows a rep holding an unfinished aluminum buttstock, as all Vietnam “submachine guns” bore (albeit coated by being dipped in vinyl acetate — it will be interesting to see how Colt handles this).  Colt has done something very similar, already, with the Colt 1903 pocket pistol; Colt also, now, stocks parts for the pistol that work in the new reissue and the originals.

We don’t know what this new Colt line is going to be called: Historic, Vintage, Reissue, Retro, or some combination, or maybe something with the model year (M16A1 Vintage ’66?) or a famous fight or hero (“Dick Meadows CAR-15”?). And that shows other paths that open up for Colt now:

  1. They can constantly tweak and reissue the reissues (Fender does this with guitars); or,
  2. They can support a two-tiered market with a standard mass-produced vintage reissue on the entry tier and perfect replicas of a specific firearm at higher tiers. But wait! They can also:
  3. Use the parts engineered for the retro clones to make new and interesting takes on modern AR15s. They could even support mass customization / personalization. The sky’s the limit.

If we have a squawk with Colt’s plans it’s the low production numbers they envision — perhaps as few as 1000 rifles of each model. That more or less ensures that they go direct to the kind of collectors that will keep them new in the box in a climate controlled vault in a salt mine somewhere deep beneath the lair of Dr. Evil.

Because we’re totally going to buy one. Of each.

Do go to Loose Rounds and read Shawn’s two posts if you’re interested in these guns.

Sometimes, a Modification is Not Bubba

When we really need to be hunched over the chomputer [sic] grinding out words for the two books due this summer, or at least need to be wading deep into Czech pistol research, we’re easily distracted by shiny things on the internet. OK, experts, ID this:


Got it? It’s so off-the-wall, you don’t. Here’s a better side view. The project is not completely finished yet, but it includes parts of at least four different service rifles — and is chambered for a round that has never been a service round.

OK ,here’s the barreled action before parkerizing:


Hmmm…. detachable magazine, looks like it’s 10-20 rounds. What are those squatty little rounds? The sharp shoulder and loooong bullet make it look like it might be a good long (well, intermediate long) range round. Mauser type sight. Machined receiver. Both stamped and machined components in the trigger group, and a safety like a Garand. Feeds from Mauser/Springfield type strippers, and the bolt carrier locks back to enable that. Could be a couple things, but look at those serrations in the receiver cover. It’s a Czechoslovak vz. 52 semi-auto rifle, but that round sure isn’t 7.62 x 45mm… nor is it the 7.62 x 39 or the vz. 52/57 variant.

As the guy explains in the build thread at Gunboards, it’s a conversion to 6.5 Grendel. That requires him to change the barrel, and if he was doing that…

[T]his will be a 6.5 Grendel VZ-52 conversion. But will look nothing like an original VZ. A new Green Mountain 1:9″ blank has already been contoured, fitted, and chambered. The next step will be the stock. Just from cycling the action, I can tell the 6.5 Hornady ammo feeds flawlessly.

He’s doing something really, really smart here: if you’re experimenting with the gun, don’t experiment with the ammo. Mess with one or the other at a time. An experienced troubleshooter never changes two or more things before retesting… one experiment at a time is the way to rifle nirvana. Hornady ammo is expensive, but shoots straight (and accuracy is why he chose 6.5 instead of his other option, 7.62 x 39. Sure, the Czechs picked it, but that was because the Soviets told them they had to, not because any of the Czech engineers thought it was a good idea).

The Denver-based owner, who’s unknown to us, had to try a lot of gunsmiths before he found one willing to take on the barrel-fitting project: Pete Hubbard of Homeland Gunsmithing, La Junta CO.

Pete was interested in the project and we discussed the details throughout the whole process. Nothing but good things to say about him. As for caliber, the only other feasible choice would be 7.62×39, and it’s not at all an accurate cartridge. I’d rather chamber for a known accurate cartridge than settle for something mediocre.

Remember that we said he was using parts from four guns? It’s actually more like six guns, plus some extras. Those are (clockwise-ish in the picture):


  1. The vz. 52 barreled action, custom-barreled from a Green Mountain blank by Hubbard;
  2. An uninletted Wenig M14 stock, which he inletted himself (he intends to glass-bed the action, and add a customized M14 wood handguard, minus op-rod cut, that he got from the maker of his stock blank;
  3. Not from a gun, but an aftermarket Tech Sights TS-200, an SKS aftermarket aperture sight adjustable for both windage and elevation, with the dual flip apertures and the  windage knob copied from the decent M16A1 sight;
  4. A front sight and base from a CETME (with the bottom bow destined to be ground/filed off);
  5. Not in the picture, but an M1 butt plate;
  6. Not in the picture, but a sling bar from a French MAS 49/56 semi-auto rifle;
  7. Not in the picture, but a front band from an HK SL6 or SL7 sporting semi-auto rifle.

It’s quite the mixmaster.

An update to what I’m calling the VZ52/15. Just received my M14 contoured un-inletted blank from Wenig today. A much more ergonomic stock (better aesthetics too) than the Czech one. The stock will get an M1 Garand buttplate, a MAS 49/56 butt sling bar (rear) and an H&K SL6/7 front band that has a sling mount loop welded on. The handguard will be tackled later.

I’ll be removing the rear sight leaf and permanently attaching a steel TS-200 Techsight to the receiver. A CETME triple frame will be altered (lower ring ground off) and pinned on for the front sight. The triple frame will need a bushing welded in to give a snug fit over the barrel. The sight radius will be increased by about eleven inches with the new 23″ barrel.

Inletting has begun, and the stock will be contoured tighter for the more slender vz. 52 (compared to the robust-and-a-half M14).


Inletting complete, the barrel is free-floated:


And finally, inletting and contouring complete, butt plate fitted, metal parts parkerized, and stock treated with Chestnut Ridge Dark Stain and Tom’s (a work in progress).


Still remaining is to adjust the front sight to final position (depends on shooting results; it’s currently fastened with set screws so it can me moved to tune barrel harmonics, if needed), route out the buttstock pocket, glass bed the receiver, add the handguard and a more hand-friendly windage knob.

It is a very different looking gun from the original vz. 52 with its gaudy laminated or light-colored hardwood stock, hooded sight and permanently-attached folding bayonet.

VZ 52 (top) and 52/57. Black paint on the handguard and receiver cover is a 52/57 telltale, by the way.

VZ 52 (top) and 52/57. Black paint on the handguard and receiver cover is a 52/57 telltale, by the way, as is the magazine. But the receiver markings tell the tale. With the delta between the prices of the two variants being over 100%, exercise caution when buying a 7.62 x 39 52/57, and don’t modify one of those rarities!

At some time in the future, will this well-crafted custom be worth less than if he had left the surplus rifle unmolested? The answer’s a probable yes. But does he care? He’s taken a mass-produced rifle chambered for an obsolete cartridge, built something that was neat and attractive, and he’s having fun with it. This case is an illustration of the fact than an individual can plan and execute a worthwhile custom job, using professional help where necessary, and putting sweat equity into the gun. This is not Bubba!

We can’t wait to see how the “vz. 52/15” performs on the range.

On a sad note, enjoy Gunboards while you can. You know how Canadians have a reputation for being square-dealing and decent folks? You’re about to meet the exception that proves the rule. The site and its content and revenue streams have been bought by the media moguls of the anti-American and anti-gun Toronto Star, through its notorious forum-exploitation subsidiary, VerticalScope. Forum sponsors, brace for a 300% boost in ad charges and a 75% loss of eyeballs.

This is a really good time to review your ad placements with Gunboards. You’re about to get pressed for a deal that will lock you in to a long term of automatic billing, and fewer and fewer readers will be seeing your ads.

If VerticalScope runs true to form, the site will shed its moderators within weeks, and it will be thick with pop-up spam and new Nigerian “vendors” in days. Also, they go through musical admins, whom they pay below market rates and work to exhaustion… so it’s a pretty safe bet your login information, and personally identifiable data if they have it, is not safe. If you have an account there, this might be a good time to zero it out.

Apparently the site owner has been setting this sale up for some time, but didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag until a bolus of memberships and sponsorships renewed. (Indeed, he’s emailing people about the sale, but if there’s an announcement on the site, I can’t find it). That’s kind of a dirtbag thing to do, so one has to wonder if he’s kind of a dirtbag. If he isn’t, it doesn’t really matter, because the forums’ new Canadian overlords are. 

Army’s New Compact Semi-Auto Sniper System (CSASS)

We’re far from the first with this story, but we hope that means we can get it right. (Not everybody has). First, a picture:

Army Compact Sniper System 2

Then, the key facts:

  1. The Army wanted a new semiautomatic sniper system to replace the Knight’s Armament Company M110, the more general issue version of the successful Mk11 SOF SASS. They wanted to meet or exceed the performance of the M110, suppressed, in a lighter, more compact firearm.
  2. Every single entry was SR-25/M110/AR-10 based.
  3. Unlike some Army procurement boondoggles (cough Modular Handgun cough) the competition proceeded without much drama. A shortlist was developed, more tests conducted, and a contract awarded.
  4. The winner was Heckler & Koch Defense Inc, the Virginia-based subsidiary of the Oberndorf firm.

Enough facts, here’s another picture:

Army Compact Sniper System

Here’s the meat of HK’s press release, available with more boilerplate on their website:

Ashburn, Virginia —Heckler & Koch Defense Inc. was awarded a contract worth up to $44.5 million from the U.S. Army for a new compact sniper rifle. The Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) will provide the service with a small, lightweight, highly accurate weapon, addressing a critical need to replace older and heavier rifles currently in use.

Under terms of the award, HK Defense will produce up to 3,643 rifles. The new HK rifle is a lightweight variant of the 7.62 mm G28 in use by the German Army. The HK CSASS capitalizes on the proven G28 design, meeting the Army’s requirements for accuracy, reliability, and size. Heckler & Koch will also provide spare parts, support, and training to the Army.

“This award represents another significant achievement for Heckler & Koch,”said Wayne Weber, President of Heckler & Koch USA. “The HK CSASS rifle is a substantial upgrade over the Army’s current sniper rifles, enhancing accuracy and reliability while providing for a handier, more compact arm. It also confirms Heckler & Koch as a leader in providing small arms to the U.S. military.”

Knight’s Armament, which competed but didn’t make the shortlist, issued a statement that’s a model of corporate class, and perhaps a gentlemanly brushback against some of the subtext in Weber’s statement:

For over a decade Knight’s Armament Company (KAC) has produced the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) for the U.S. Army. The M110 semi-automatic rifle was the first purpose built U.S. semi-automatic sniper rifle fielded.

The Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) competition was driven by evolving requirements pioneered by KAC products in use by today’s warfighter. Government competition drives industry innovation. Industry’s common goal is getting the best product to the warfighter as quickly as possible. Knight’s Armament Company congratulates the winner of the CSASS program.

Knight’s Armament Company continues its long tradition of innovation, design and manufacture of premier small arms, small arms accessories and night vision for the U.S. military.

While the contract looks great for HK — who wouldn’t want to land a $44.5 million account? — it leaves the company facing considerable risk. That number is what HK stands to take in if the full 3,643 firearms are ordered. But the contract only guarantees a buy of 30 rifles for QA/QC testing (and possibly an Operational Test as well). That would leave HK trying to recoup its development costs against only about $375k in revenue. So how different is the CSASS from the earlier G28 version of the HK 417? Here’s a G28, “Patrol” variant:

HK G28 Patrol Rifle

Among the immediately visible changes:

  1. Changed scopes;
  2. Delete forward assist. In fact the whole upper is different (on Bundeswehr G28 it’s steel and significantly heavier);
  3. Changed furniture;
  4. Delete muzzle brake, add suppressor;
  5. Color
  6. back-up iron sights (CSASS uses Troy’s at 45º).
  7. Modular rather than 100% picatinny rails.

The whole package costs the US a good stiff amount, about $12,000 — but less than the same number of M110s or Mk 11s would go for!

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week:

nylonrifles_dot_com_websiteWe have a brief one tonight, and it’s off our usual topic of service weapons. And thereby hangs a tale. If you were fortunate enough to grow up in the 1960s, you not only experienced a golden age of pop music and auto design, you also grew up in era of the Space Age, atomic energy, and the incredible wonder material, Plastic. These things together were going to revolutionize everything. We saw this at the 1964 worlds fair in New York. By the turn-of-the-century, people would be working or vacationing in orbit or on other planets, keeping their personal helicopters with plastic bubble canopies their garages, and commuting by jet pack.

While the future is not what it used to be, we can look into the past and see that Remington offered a Space Age rifle to its customers: the Nylon 66. We always thought them name came from the year of introduction — 1966, when even the Beatles had a Rubber Soul — but 1966 just when we first saw one. It actually was introduced in 1959, and was named after the material used for the rifles unitary stock/receiver, DuPont’s Nylon 6/6.

It seemed like a brilliant idea. After all, the boys in the field had a “plastic” gun, isn’t it time the casual plinker had one, too?

Lots of Nylon 66s

The Nylon 66 also had Buck Rogers styling with swoopy, “artistic” (traditionalists said “cartoonish”) lines. Indeed, your opinion of the Nylon 66 was unlikely to be neutral: early adopters loved ’em, and traditionalists — and most gun buyers are traditionalists — were aghast. When Uncle Jim showed up with one of these new rifles, our Winchester suddenly seemed frumpy, dowdy and cobwebbed next to this new ray gun. (What can we say? At that age, we actually did read comic books).

The story of the Nylon 66 and its plastic stablemates is told at


One thing the site offers is a collection of old manuals, including maintenance information.

While there was a great deal of engineering in the Nylon 66 — worked out by both DuPont and Remington working together — it gave a strong impression of being fashion forward, and in 15 or 20 years they looked as dated as the 1966 Plymouth Barracuda, unlike the “classic” Winchester. One fashion decision was for the gun to load its tubular magazine through the butt, which prevented the N66 from having the clunky underbarrel magazine tube of most semi .22s, but at the cost of lower ammo capacity. Did that matter, in a plinking and small-game gun? The squirrels weren’t shooting back; suppressive fire wouldn’t fill the pot.

DuPont was in it to win it, “it” being a share of the plastic rifle market, and was behind Remington as the New York gunmaker expanded the line. In time, or at various times, it included guns with green and black stocks, chromed (not nickeled!) rifles, magazine-fed Nylons (the Nylon 77), special models for high-volume retailers, and .22 short Nylons for shooting galleries (remember them?) Most of these models were short-lived. The shortest lifespans were for the bolt-action versions — gaudy Space Age styling applied to the traditionalist’s choice of action was a pretty good way to count down sales to zero.

Anyway you look at these guns: as marketing lessons learned, as examples of engineering problem-solving, or as cultural and historical artifacts, they’re fascinating. Which brings us to our Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: is a bit haphazard, but it’s more information on these guns than you’re going to find anywhere else. Here’s the site’s own overview:

There were about 1,050,000 Nylon 66s made. The standard model had a brown stock (called Mohawk Brown) with blue metal. It was a tube fed through the stock semi auto. Variations included a green stocked version (Seneca Green), a black stock and chrome receiver version called “Apache black” and a black stock rifle with a blued receiver cover called the “Black Diamond”.

via » Introduction to the Remington Nylon Rifles.

Naturally, the images in the post come from the site.

The last gasp of the Nylon 66 came in 1989, with the costly injection-molding molds on their last legs. It would have cost Remington a fortune to keep producing what was, by that point, a retro-60s-nostalgia piece. And the Chinese were making a decent knockoff that was already underselling the genuine Remington with its aging but fully-amortized and -depreciated production tooling.

Swiss Family Bubba

These nightmares were found on Reddit, in /r/guns, a good hunting ground for Bubba and all his works. The worksmanship on these is rather good, which we attribute to the whole Swiss thing; on the other hand, the concepts are purest inbred Bubba.

To start with, let’s have a Martini with a long-eye-relief scope. Apparently the Swiss immediate action drill for TEOTWAWKI is “grab Martini, go inna woods mountains“. Somewhere, an SKS breathes a sigh of relief:

Swiss Bubba Martini

Here’s the story behind these, uh, unusual pieces:

So the story goes that this guy had thousands of guns inside a bunker in his house. He was very keen of modifying the guns, mostly adding pistol grips, suppressors and other modern sights.

Unfortunately he died, and supposedly his son inherited the collection which he’s been slowly selling. He even had a couple of K31s with pistol grips, but he sold those. Sometimes you see some nice rare stuff that he tries to sell, but the problem is knowing if those were modified in any way.

The best is probably this pistol vetterli! I also find that K11 with a Stgw 57 magazine interesting, who wouldn’t want a K11 with a 20 shot capacity?

It’s a nice example of bubba transcending borders and nationality.

IF he says so. They’re available at this link, for those in der Schweiz or able to negotiate the import-export maze.

Here’s another:

Swiss Bubba SBR

Ow. Its purpose is unknown, as the creator has apparently yodeled his last, and family members have been trying (for a while) to shift some of these unique modified firearms.

They probably need to be aiming closer to “parts value.” Here’s a “trench mag” adapted from a SIG auto rifle.

Swiss Bubba TActical

With the ever popular pistol scope forward of the action — not so far forward you can load the mag with anything but single rounds.

Finally, there’s a Swiss take at the Obrez concept.

Swiss Bubba Obrez

Honestly, we’ll stop now. For anyone traumatized, counsellors are standing by.


Names for Malfunctions

“I’ve never had a malfunction on paper.”

George M. Chinn

On this page at the international website all4shooters, we noted the following paragraph from Andrea Giuntini:

American experts invented names and achronyms for all kind of gun-related malfunctions, yet there isn’t one that suits this. That was definitely not an FTF (“Failure to Feed”), as the round were fed and fired properly, nor an FTE (“Failure to Extract) since, as a matter of fact, the case was extracted and ejected; nor it is a stovepipe malfunction − if it was, the case would be stuck vertically in the ejection window.
May you, ALL4SHOOTERS.COM readers and followers, invent a name for this kind of malfunction? Tell us about it, and about any peculiar kind of malfunction you may have experienced in your everyday shooters’ lives!

The article actually looks into a screwy, one-off malf of a Glock 17, in which a fired casing got turned around backwards and jammed the slide from going into battery on the next round:


We couldn’t duplicate the jam with a G17 and dummy rounds in the office, but Andrea traced it to a piece of metal debris under the extractor (his Glock was brand new).

A gun is a machine, and a machine does the same thing every time, given the same input; therefore, a machine never fails for no reason, and the reason is always discoverable, given the right theory, concept, and inspectional technique. Basic troubleshooting, which worked for Andrea Giuntini and should make a good post here some day. But meanwhile, it got us thinking about what are the types of malfunctions?

Most of what an Internet search will find is the same stuff repeated endlessly, which probably comes, ultimately, from Cooper. We leave finding it in Cooper’s voluminous bibliography as an exercise for the reader; his Commentaries are online, for example.

Cooper, in turn, followed Chinn. But an even earlier taxonomy of malfunctions comes from then-Captain Julian Hatcher and his assistants, Lieutenants H.J. Malony and Glenn P. Wilhelm,  at the Machine Gun School of Instruction at Harlingen, Texas in March, 1917.

Jams, Malfunctions, Stoppages

Distinguish carefully between these terms, and use them correctly. Any accidental cessation of fire is a stoppage. It may be due to a misfire, or to the fact that the magazine has been emptied, etc. In this case it is not a malfunction.

A malfunction is an improper action of some part of the gun, resulting in a stoppage. For example, a failure to extract the empty cartridge case.

A jam is some malfunction which causes the mechanism to stick or bind so that it is difficult to move. Do not use the word “Jam” too much. Most troubles with the guns are merely temporary stoppages due to some malfunction, and real jams are comparatively rare.1

An alternative version comes from the Royal Armouries of England and Great Britain. In the 1960s, its standard report format (which we saw in the Vz 58 report) contained this boilerplate key2 to malfunctions:

1. b.f.c. Breech Block fails to close. The round has been fed into the chamber but breech block not fully home.
2. b. f. r. Breech Block fails to remain to the rear. When the trigger is released the breech block fails to engage on the sear.
3. d.t. Double Tap. When the mechanism of the weapon is set to single shot firing two rounds are fired with one pressure of the trigger.
4. f. e. Failure tc Eject. This occurs when the round is correctly fired and fired case is extracted from chamber but not thrown clear of the weapon.
5. f. e. c. Failure to Extract Fired Case. This occurs when the round is fired correctly but the fired case is left in the chamber when the breech block moves to the rear.
6. f. f. Failure to Feed A conplete failure of the breech block to contact the base of the round and remove it from belt or magazine i.e. breech block closes on empty chamber. Position of round in magazine or belt indicated where possible i.e. 19th
7. hf.      Hangfire This occurs when the time interval between the striking of the cap by the firing pin and the firing of the round is apparent to fixer. Definite time lag in milli seconds is however used by Ammunition personnel.
8. l. s. Light Strike This occurs when the cap of the round receives a slight indentation from the firing pin which is insufficient to ignite the cap composition.
9. p. f. f. Partial Failure to Feed or Malfeed. This is a partial failure in that the round has beer taken partially from the magazine or belt by breech block but has not chambered.

Position of round in magazine or belt indicated where possible, i.e. 19th round etc.

10. mf. Misfire. This occurs when the cap of the round has been correctlv struck but fails to ignite the charge and fire the round.
11.  r. g.  (3),(4),(5), etc. Runaway Gun. No. of rounds in brackets. When the mechanism of the weapon is set either at single shot or auto and continues firing after release of trigger,
12. s. c. Separated Case This occurs when a portion of the fired case is left in the chamber, the remainder being extracted normally. The succeeding round will fail fully to enter the chamber and breech block will fail to close.
13. s. n. r. Snubbed Nose Round. This occurs when the nose of the bullet does not enter the chamber correctly but on striking the barrel face is crushed by the foiward movement of breech block. This snubbing may take place at various points on the barrel face or lead in and where possible, is indicated as SN 3 o’clock SN 9 o’clock etc.
14. t. f. c. Trapped Fired Case. This occurs when the fired case is correctly extracted but on ejection the fired case rebounds into the mechanism and is trapped between some portion of the moving parts (usually the breech block) and the body of the weapon.
15 Failures through Breakages These will obviously cause stoppages and will be described in full.

The fact is, malfunctions are conceptualized differently by the engineer, by the armorer or gunsmith, and by the firearms operator. From the operator’s-eye view, you don’t need to get wrapped around the axle trying to name them al. What you really need to know is what sorts of malfunctions a particular weapon is prone to, and how to correct them. And there is no better way than experience to master the art of malfunction correction.


  1. Hatcher, et. al. p. 1.
  2. UK Ministry of Defence, Inspectorate of Armaments, Woolwich, Small Arms Branch Testing Section, RSAF Enfield Lock, Form 7248/1. Retrieved from:


Hatcher, Julian S., Wilhelm, Glenn P. and Malony, Harry J. Menasha, WI: George Banta Publishing Co., 1917.

UK Ministry of Defence, Inspectorate of Armaments, Woolwich, Small Arms Branch Testing Section, RSAF Enfield Lock, Form 7248/1.

A New Pistol Caliber Carbine?

Have a look at this teaser picture, from Grand Power in Slovakia. It’ll embiggen a wee bit, but not much, if you click on it. We found it on their website at

Grand Power Stribor

In the foreground, four of Grand Power’s ingenious patented roller-locked pistols. Background… well, here are all the facts that we know GP has said about it on its website:

  1. It is called the “Stribog,” a very cool name (He was the pagan Old Slavic god of the wind and sky).
  2. It is coming in August (presumably, for EU customers). Remember, it takes GP about a year to work their way through both Slovak and United States red tape with any new product.

We’ve learned that a full-auto version has been manufactured.

Stribog Typu U

However, the S9 semi-auto 9mm variant of the Stribog is trickling out to Slovak domestic reviewers, if not to the market just yet. This Slovak-language video reveals some more details, some by giving the firearm itself the beady eyeball, and some by applying an understanding of Czech to the Slovak speaker. Mostly, the gun just sits there and you can look at it.

There’s some firing of an automatic version at the end, Significant facts here are the use of standard AR trigger internals; the weapon is as modular as possible. Also, there is expected to be availability of an adapter to use AR stocks instead of Grand Power’s own folding stock, reversibility of those controls not ambidextrous, and use of GP proprietary magazine or, with an adapter that slips into the magwell, Uzi mags.

…and it turns out there’s more on the Slovak-language version of the Grand Power page, including some specs:

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Method of Operation: Semi-Automatic
Overall Length: 484.5 mm folded (19″)/ 747 mm extended (29.4″)
Height without Magazine: 200 mm (7.87″)
Overall Width: 46.5/57 mm (1.83″ stock extended/2.24 ” folded)
Barrel Length: 254 mm (10″)
Weight w/o Magzine: 2800 g (6.16 lb).
Standard Magazine Capacity: 10/20/32

(Written Slovak is a lot easier for a Czech speaker than the spoken language).

What we find curious about Grand Power is that, as a domestic producer that makes high-quality firearms, they haven’t been tagged by the Slovak Army for them. The SK military uses Czech pistols, for instance.

What GI Joe Knew about Landser Fritz’s Small Arms

Here’s a once-classified (if mildly so) World War II training film that teaches American GIs how to recognize, operate, field-strip and reassemble four basic German infantry weapons: the Kar.98k rifle, the MP.40 submachine gun, and the MG-34 and -42 general purpose machine guns.

If you ever wondered how the three different feed arrangements for the MG-34 worked, or what that big washer on a Kar.98 stock was for, this movie has your answer. If you knew all that, enjoy learning what was thought to be important, sensitive information to pass to American GIs.

There are a few errors in the film. They even correct one with a title card: no, don’t disassemble the MP.40 (or anything else!) with the magazine in place. Another is referring to the MP.40 as the Schmeisser, which came about, as we understand it, because some early MP.38 magazines noted that the dual-column, single-feed magazine was made according to a Schmeisser patent. 

If you ever caught yourself wondering why everybody used to call an MP.38 or .40 a “Schmeisser,” showing this video to 12 million or so GIs may have been a factor.

The classification with which this video is marked, “Restricted,” is long defunct. (In some postwar documents, it is labeled “Restricted — Security Information.”) It is not to be confused with the sensitive “Restricted Data” marking used for nuclear weapons information, much of what is still not classified, and is marked “Formerly Restricted Data.” RD/FRD was not an Army/Navy or DOD clearance, but an Atomic Energy Agency, later Department of Energy, clearance.

Regular Army/Navy “Restricted,” on the other hand, was a notch below the first true stage of classification, “Confidential.” It was often used on things like this that discussed enemy and/or threat weapons, tactics, or operational art.

A civilian might suspect that classifying such things is a classically military example of blockheadedness, but the reason for the secrecy is not because some cretin in the Pentagon thinks it would be dangerous to show the  Germans how to field-strip their own machine guns, but because we’d rather not have had the Germans knowing what we know about their guns.

And this video, in Wehrmacht hands, would have told them something about our understanding of their weapons policy. By this point, the Wehrmacht had been combat testing the intermediate-round assault rifle for months if not a year, and this film makes no mention of the Mkb.42 (H) and )(W) or the MP.43. Our best guess is that the Germans were testing these new weapons primarily on the Eastern Front, not in the Western Desert or Italy where they were engaging American or British forces. But in the end that is only speculation.

The movie itself is a fact, a primary source for all of you, from World War II. Source here if you’d like to download an MP4 copy or grab embed code for your own blog.

Seven is Six and Six is Five…

Especially when we’re talking about AR locking lugs. The AR is often described as having 8 locking lugs. It has 8 locking lug recesses, but take a good look at the ‘”locking lug” on the extractor!

Anyway, this was Kyle Defoor’s harvest at a recent carbine class:

defoor failed boltsThe most common failed lug is the one just before the extractor, looking at the bolt face and counting clockwise, and three out of four of these have lost that lug. The fourth from the left has lost the first lug after the bolt face, and the second from the left has lost both.

This picture was posted to Instagram with this terse but sound advice:

Change at 6k, 5k is better

Indeed. Some of these bolts — they’re all Colt, magnetic particle inspected bolts — have telltale markers of high round count. Look at how, on the left-most bolt, the first locking lug after the extractor recess has one corner rounded off, and the locking lug closest to the ejector seems to be similarly rounded.

Sumdood, who’s clearly not mechanically inclined, asked Defoor this:

Kyle you replace the entire bolt or just the extractor, spring and o ring?

Uh, the extractor is not the problem here, son. Defoor didn’t dignify that one with an answer. But he did respond to this one:

the locking lugs are obviously broken, and since there are more it will still lock and function for a while, but….

The maestro replied:

I’ve run bolts with 3 locking lugs missing for hundreds of rounds

And then there was this question:

Is this just from shooting 556 out of a 223 rated Chamber?

Uh, no.

The guns likely would have kept running, at least for a time, if the bolts were assembled back into them.

A Mystery in Springfield

Meet Colt XM16E1 Serial Number 50,000, held by ATF SA Allan Offringa on a visit to the Springfield Armory Museum.

SA Allan Offringa w sn-50000

The ladies flanking him are forensics types: Nancy McCombs of the California State DOJ, Katherine Richert of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, and Lily Hwa of the Houston PD. Might as well keep the names with the picture, yes?

This M16 has some sort of a gold finish, and is a bit of a mystery gun. Most likely it was dressed up because of it’s serial number: 50,000. It was made in 1963, and Springfield Armory National Historic site notes a rumor that it may have been intended for presentation to President John F. Kennedy, himself something of a gun buff (Kennedy accepted a gift of an AR-15 at some time, and that rifle is in a collection in the USA). It didn’t come to the Museum until 1966.

XM16E1 SN50000 left

Springfield describes the rifle like this:

U.S. ASSAULT RIFLE XM16E1 5.56MM SN# 050000
Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct. – Special presentation XM16E1 assault rifle. Gold finish and black plastic stock and black sling. Weapon has forward assist. 85,000 manufactured under Contract “508” at a cost of $121.84 each. Weapon complete with 20-round detachable box magazine and in good condition. There is some belief that this weapon was intended for presentation to President John F. Kennedy.

Magazine housing: COLT/AR15/PROPERTY/OF U.S. GOVT./XM16E1/CAL. 5.56MM/SERIAL 050000.

Weapon transferred to the Museum on 8 February 1966. At that time weapon was appraised at $250.00.

Army card #8986 – “Presentation weapon.”

XM16E1 SN50000 right

Contrary to common belief, there is no definitive difference between an “XM16E1” and an “M16A1” except the roll mark, which was changed when the rifle was finally standardized on 28 February 1967. All of the changes that collectors discuss as if they marked the transition from XM16E1 to M16A1 were actually running changes on the production line: the closed-end “birdcage” flash hider, the protective boss around the magazine release, and the parkerized instead of chromed bolt and carrier, were among the hundreds of changes that the M16A1 rifle experienced during the first three or four years of its long production life. Every XM16E1 and M16A1 from Day 1 of production had the forward assist.

Number 50,000 has some markers of a very early production rifle. The stock appears to be Type C (it’s hard to tell without a comparison in the picture). The magazine is a very early “waffle” type. The lower receiver is one of the earliest forgings, with no protective boss and a reinforcement line that lines up from lower to upper receiver. (It is possible that, when the receiver change came through, one or more of the now-surplus older forgings was set aside for use on “specials” like this presentation gun. Colt often used obsolete parts on tool-room prototypes, and was still using slick-side first-generation forgings on SP1 semi-autos into the late 1980s). This firearm is not semi-auto — you can see the sear pin quite clearly above the safety/selector, thanks to the contrast between the Parkerized pin and the gold-finished lower receiver.

The gold finish must be some kind of plating or paint. Is it possible to get plating to adhere evenly over aluminum (the receivers) and steel (the barrel) at all?

By the time this gun arrived at the Springfield Museum, the writing was on the wall for Springfield Armory. This gun’s page at the Museum website includes extensive quotes from a news story that also ties Colt (maker of this M16) and Springfield: in 1966, Colt was recruiting soon-to-be-unemployed Armory workers for its busy plant an hour south, down newly built Interstate 91.

Springfield Union, July 1, 1966 – “Business & Industry. Colt Firearms Div. Gets Recruits from Armory. Hartford Plant Said Capable Of Matching Job Skills Exactly.
Springfield Armory workers, apparently resigned to the projected closing of the installation by the Department of Defense, are responding in undisclosed numbers to a recruitment program at Colt’s Firearms Division of Colt Industries, Hartford, Conn.
That word came Tuesday from Bruno Czech, personnel director of the firearms manufacturing concern, who said that recruitment for the Hartford plant from Greater Springfield in on the increase.
Workers Hired – Skilled and unskilled workers are being hired by Colt’s which now has a training program in operation for the first time in its history.
The facility manufactures hand guns, shotguns, machine guns, the AR15 rifle and military pyrotechnics.
Czech said that although the firm is generally recognized as a military producer, more than 60 per cent of its sales are commercial.
Plans for an increase in military production of heavy weapons systems had in part resulted in an expected 30 per cent increase in employment by the end of the year, he said.
Armory Conference – ‘When the proposed Armory closing was announced by Secretary MacNamera,’ Czech said, ‘we conferred with officials there pointing out that we desired capable workers and that if the closing became a reality, we would definitely offer positions in our plant.

One wonders how it felt for former Springfield workers to be offered work on the production line of the M-16 — the very rifle that many of them blamed, fairly or not, for their unemployment.