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Discussion Starter #1
OK,
Has anyone out there in cyberspace ever REALLY needed the Forward Assist on an AR pattern rifle?
I learned to use it back in the 1970s as part of the US Army malfunction drill, but I have limited experience with semi-auto ARs. I've never had to force feed my Mini-14.
Geoff
Who is a curious fellow.:confused:
 

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The forward assist can be used to quietly chamber a round and I have heard of it being used for that.

My opinion is, if you have a round that doesn't want to chamber, the worst thing you can do is try to force it in.
That can get a partially chambered round jammed and the operating handle is not big enough to allow getting a really good grip on it to force ably pull the action open.
With the old M1 and M14, you could put the butt on the ground and use your foot to force the bolt open.

If you have a round that's JUST short of chambering due to fouling, you might used the assist, but I'd rather extract it and try again rather then get one really stuck.
 

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My opinion is, if you have a round that doesn't want to chamber, the worst thing you can do is try to force it in.
That can get a partially chambered round jammed and the operating handle is not big enough to allow getting a really good grip on it to force ably pull the action open.
See that little cutout in the right side of the bolt carrier? The one that just about fits your thumb exactly? (A clue!) That's the original "forward assist" as designed. If you can't close the bolt by pushing on that, you have a problem that needs to be resolved.

As I learned from TSG Mango in USAF Small Arms Marksmanship Instructor Tech School in 1972, "The ONLY reason the Army M16A1 has that stupid forward assist on it is that the Army could not STAND buying a rifle off the shelf that the Air Force had developed. They had to put that thing on it just to 'improve' it and save face."
 

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Back in 1970 the Army investigated itself over the M-16 disaster.

http://pogoarchives.org/labyrinth/09/02.pdf

Had I read that in 1972..I would have joined the USAF.
There is a reason why this report was unpublished. The author, Col. Hallock, was the fellow who lobbied ARPA to buy AR-15 for the ARVN. He was covering his own butt for his part in pushing the rifle on the DOD.
 

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I didn't get to finish reading the report, getting about 100 pages. I note some curious (on second thought not really, after all, it is burnishing a perception) ommissions. One of those was lightening the firing pin to reduce slam fires. After reflection, I also have to strongly doubt the phrase "SAAMI chambers". Especially since Colt had/has it's own headspace gauges.

I've been forced to live with iterations of the system for ~42 years. I think I used the FA a couple of times, but the amount of force I used was intentionally limited. There's no point in making a situation worse. Added edit: there's a big difference between a gentle push with the thumb and a blow from the heel of the hand. However, if the widget is there, anything is possible.
 

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See that little cutout in the right side of the bolt carrier? The one that just about fits your thumb exactly? (A clue!) That's the original "forward assist" as designed. If you can't close the bolt by pushing on that, you have a problem that needs to be resolved.

As I learned from TSG Mango in USAF Small Arms Marksmanship Instructor Tech School in 1972, "The ONLY reason the Army M16A1 has that stupid forward assist on it is that the Army could not STAND buying a rifle off the shelf that the Air Force had developed. They had to put that thing on it just to 'improve' it and save face."
In the mid to late 70's and early 1980, I was lucky enough to be able to fire thousands of rounds through the M-16 prepping for matches. I even intentionally didn't clean my rifle for a couple of weeks of 200-300 round practice sessions and never experienced a problem.

This was,of course, post Viet-Nam and certainly not in field conditions. Still...

I actually got to meet then retired general Curtis E. LeMay, the driving force behind the adoption of the M-16 for the USAF and eventually all armed forces. He visited the range during the matches held in San Antonio in 1980. A short but imposing man, even in civies.
 

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He was even more impressive with a chest full of fruit salad and four stars.

Years later I got to interview him for a story about the marksmanship shcool.

Small world ain't it Terry
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Did anyone ever find out how the USAF ended up with the Combat Masterpiece in .38 Special as the standard side arm?

Geoff
Who picked up an unbreakable .45 habit in the US Army.
 

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I've used the FA on several occasions. Usually at the end of the day at the range, shooting ammo that probably should not have been fired, just to prevent having to do the paperwork to turn live ammo back in.
 

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He was even more impressive with a chest full of fruit salad and four stars.

Years later I got to interview him for a story about the marksmanship shcool.

Small world ain't it Terry
Sure is, Charlie. Being a former SAC Rat, I was too intimidated to do much but say "good morning, sir." He was being followed around by a sales rep who let us shoot one of his semi auto's. The recoil plug and spring went flying down range after a couple of magazines. Wish I could remember the make and model.

I guess ol' Curtis had some pull with weapons procurement even after he retired.:D
 

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Did anyone ever find out how the USAF ended up with the Combat Masterpiece in .38 Special as the standard side arm?

Geoff
Who picked up an unbreakable .45 habit in the US Army.
Geoff, all I have is anecdotal info (hope Dean isn't reading this!)

I was told the USAF was having problems getting the rank and file to qualify with the 1911, so they went with a .38 special revolver, choosing the M-15 because of adjustable sights.

As a side note, General LeMay created the SAC Elite Guard who provided security for SAC HQ at Offutt AFB, NE. They carried their M-15's in a cross draw holster with stag grips.

Here's a great old photo...

Google Images
 

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He did a tour through the gunsmith shop with a couple of O-6s following like baby quail. He was introduced around and shook hands and was gone.

Later when I did the interview I told him I had been at the gunsmith shop and he said he remembered. Certainly a nice thing for him to say.

I'm currently doing some research on the various Aircrewman models and seem to remember some reference to the Model 15.

I've told this story before, but at one of the reunions (25?) the Red Hats had a pistol match with the old farts vs the kids. I think they could have lost more gracefully but we beat them badly. The best part was thay they were shooting Model 15s with wadcutter and we shot rack grade .45s with brown box ammo...:boohoo:
 

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He did a tour through the gunsmith shop with a couple of O-6s following like baby quail. He was introduced around and shook hands and was gone.

Later when I did the interview I told him I had been at the gunsmith shop and he said he remembered. Certainly a nice thing for him to say.

I'm currently doing some research on the various Aircrewman models and seem to remember some reference to the Model 15.

I've told this story before, but at one of the reunions (25?) the Red Hats had a pistol match with the old farts vs the kids. I think they could have lost more gracefully but we beat them badly. The best part was thay they were shooting Model 15s with wadcutter and we shot rack grade .45s with brown box ammo...:boohoo:
:D

Kinda like the story Robert Duvall told in "Colors".

An old bull and his son were standing on a hill, looking down at a heard of cows. The young bull says, "Hey, Pop, let's run down there and make love to one of them cows!" The old bull says, "No, son, lets WALK down and make love to ALL of them."

Experience versus youth. ;)
 

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The Marine Corps couldn't see a need for a forward assist, either. All the more reason for the Army to include them, I suppose.
It's still amusing to me that LeMay wanted the AR as a replacement for carbines (M1/M2)!
 

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I recall watching a special on the Hitler Channel about the development of the M-16.

Supposedly the weapon was issued without a cleaning kit \ protocol because it was "self cleaning".

True or false?
 

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It's what I remember hearing.....
"Self-cleaning." The only thing I know that is self cleaning is my cat.


Plus, IIRC the powder was changed and it was dirtier than Stoner's choice of powder was, which hardly helped.
 

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I recall watching a special on the Hitler Channel about the development of the M-16.

Supposedly the weapon was issued without a cleaning kit \ protocol because it was "self cleaning".

True or false?
Actually is was an oversight (what else is new?). The rifle was rushed into the field (Vietnam) before enough cleaning kits were available.
 
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