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Early M16 Question


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#1 JW Collins

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 2227 PM

I've often read that American personnel in Vietnam loaded their 20 round magazines with only 18 rounds to improve reliability. Just how common a practice was this really? Were there really problems with the magazines that caused them to misfeed if fully loaded or was it incorrect reaction to the other problems the rifle was having at the time?

 

If the magazines were flawed, when did they fix the problem and start to phase out the older magazines? Was the same practice applied with the early (and very rare) 30 round magazines?


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#2 Ivanhoe

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 2244 PM

Keep in mind that another reason to download by 1 or 2 is that a full mag doesn't want to seat when the bolt is closed. Even with today's mags, some folsk download to ensure they can perform a reliable tactical reload. 

 

It occurs to me that all those years of Garand use, and thus the "keep firing until lockback" manual of arms may have adversely influenced the AR mag specs. 


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#3 bojan

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 0205 AM

It occurs to me that all those years of Garand use, and thus the "keep firing until lockback" manual of arms may have adversely influenced the AR mag specs. 

 

Most adverse thing was that it was made to be a semi-disposable, and sized so. Even worse magwell, since it is straight insert is sized based on original specifications. So it could not be reinforced when it was realized that mags are not gonna be disposable.


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#4 shep854

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 0758 AM

Actually the magazines were originally intended to be used once, then discarded.  This didn't happen*, so with use they became unreliable, even if damage wasn't evident.  Even now, the only reliable way to eliminate unworkable magazines from the system is to essentially destroy them so they don't get recycled through negligence.  I've read where this is considered a feature of P-Mags; when they finally fail, it's so obvious that there's no risk of being reissued.

Part of this was concern about spring fatigue.  The reasoning was that downloading a round or two would reduce stress.  With time, experience and newer materials, this has proven to be a non-issue.

 

*I've read accounts of 1970s magazines still in the system.


Edited by shep854, 16 July 2018 - 0800 AM.

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#5 Chris Werb

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 1608 PM

How do PMAGs fail?
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#6 rmgill

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 1641 PM

Cracks at the top near the feed lips.


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#7 bojan

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 1705 PM

As Shep noted, unlike Al/Steel mags you at least have a visual clue mag has died.


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#8 Colin

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 2214 PM

Most of our SMG and Hi-power failures could be attributed to this. I became QM for my unit and realized no new mags had ever been ordered, so next range ex, we labelled every mag, those with issues I stuck in a box, sent them back to depot and got brand new mags. Some of ours were 20-30 years old and people were using them as bottle openers.


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#9 shep854

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 2325 PM

Most of our SMG and Hi-power failures could be attributed to this. I became QM for my unit and realized no new mags had ever been ordered, so next range ex, we labelled every mag, those with issues I stuck in a box, sent them back to depot and got brand new mags. Some of ours were 20-30 years old and people were using them as bottle openers.

Hopefully they were destroyed and not reissued since they were on hand and probably looked OK.

Edited by shep854, 16 July 2018 - 2341 PM.

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#10 T-44

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 0424 AM

Ian and Karl if Inrange Tv also discussed m16 mags and issues (basically same point: alu mags can work fine but feed lip deformation is not alwaysvobvious vs polymmer breakages)

https://www.full30.c...44899f89d24a338
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#11 shep854

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 1949 PM

An even more brutal 'torture test', including smashing loaded mags against a wooden beam while inserted into a rifle (well, 'pistol')


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