There’s always been a lot of debate over the M4 carbine, and whether it should be replaced or what can be done to improve it.
One of the complaints is that it overheats after firing several magazines of rounds.
Turns out, Colt and the Army are taking a look at that issue. The carbine that most troops carry is the M4. The M4 can fire either semi-automatically, or in 3 round bursts. But the M4 also comes in the M4A1 version, that can fire either semi-automatically, or in a full-auto mode. The M4A1 is issued to special operations forces. One difference between the two variants is that the A1 has a somewhat heavier barrel to cope with the heat stresses of automatic fire.
What happens when you fire a lot of ammo through an M4 very rapidly? Take a look. Colt modified an M4 to fire full auto, then put it through a stress test to destruction. I’m frankly a little surprised it failed that fast.
It looks like new production M4’s will feature the heavier barrel of the M4A1, but whether they will retrofit the heavier barrel to existing carbines is an open question.
In my own humble experience, I fired 7 30-round magazines on full auto through an M16A1 (with its notoriously light barrel) and it was getting kinda glow-y. And the handguards were smoking. And the gas tube was white hot. But the barrel didn’t rupture. Then again, I was shooting the relatively anemic M193 round, not the heavier M855.
Anybody else out there ever have a barrel problem with an M16/M4?