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AR-15 and M-16 manufacturing facts

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#1 cavalino328



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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:18 PM

There have been thousands of atricles written on the M-16 problems when they first came out, all about jamming this and that. In the reacent issue of Guns and Ammo there is another article that is no different from the rest that is totally not correct. So, here is the real deal, if you were to start from the beginning of combat firearms, more specifically Pratt and Wittney during the Civil War. P & W's whole premise was one word...."interchangeability" with repairs made in the field. Swapping parts from one gun to another.

Jumping ahead a hundred or so years to the M-16, manufacturing then was light years ahead from the time of the Civil War, but the premise of interchangeablility was still there, along with new materials, cutting tools and machinery, and cutting fluids, we just got better at it. So when this gun gets into the battle field, the real short commings surface.

Thousands of words were written about "loosening up the tolerences" of that firearm to solve the problems of jamming. This will not work...period...in order to keep interchangeability at the front of the line. What really happened was the "clearences" were opened up by just a few thousanths of an inch, but the high tolerances were kept the same, otherwise, you can get a collision or an interference with its mating part.

Thermal expansion is another word. A lot of gun barrells are now out of stainless steel. When it comes to thermal issues, stainless steel is far worse than aluminum. Just ask any welder that welds stainless sheet metal parts. Fluted barrells, are a gimmick many shooters fall into. How many everyday shooters, shoot that many bullets, to get their gun that hot? In order for the flutted barrell to work effectively and stay stable, every flute has to be exactly in the center axis of the bore. Every flute has to be exactly alike in every diminsion with +/-0.00000" tolerance. There is nothing better than a good, high grade steel barrell.

So, when you go to buy your next gun and want a fluted barrell, ask what the tolerances are of the flutes. From my first job in the metal trades in 1970, and having my own laser/cnc machine shop for the last thirty years, quality is everything, and tolerances are first. Some good reading is anything about Pratt and Wittney, and also anything on Dr. Demming. The single most important man to bring America's Industry to full production during WWll.


#2 tommybuilt



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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:34 AM

Varmint Al has a page on fluted barrels. All you ever wanted to know about fluted barrels and then some. Interesting stuff, but all those numbers make my head hurt.

#3 docskinner



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Posted 01 July 2012 - 10:11 PM

"One time in band camp..." Leave flutes to those that need them.

#4 Kephers



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Posted 03 July 2012 - 05:28 PM

We dont need to stinkin fluted barrels

#5 sxshooter


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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:59 AM

My recollection of the fluted barrel origin was that it was weight saving tact to provide heavy barrel stiffness and lighter weight. For the hunter that fires only a couple rounds at a time, an axial wrapped carbon configuration has better performance and weight savings.

Just my view from my knothole... Stainless steel has some advantages as a barrel material over carbon steels (4140). The higher nickel and chromium content provides wear and errosion resistance advantage over carbon steel. Thermal expansion is much less than aluminum, but not a lot different than carbon steel.

#6 ShooterJohn



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Posted 28 July 2012 - 12:41 PM

Mine is fluted! It shoots great and does reduce some weight. But the guys at White Oak Armament do a real nice job on their stuff. Oh, and it's fluted under the hand guard too.

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#7 rdsii64



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Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:32 PM

My AR hasn't jammed once since I built it. I keep it properly cleaned and lubricated and it runs like a champ. It shoots tighter than I can hold. I bet anyone who says its no good past 300 yards won't go stand in front of one to prove that theory either. Take care of them and they will run like a sewing machine.

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