The real M16A1:
The current M16 (the M16A2 or A4) in .223 Remington is one of the most accurate (as issued) weapons in any armed forces today.
And, the M16 series has become one of the most accessorized weapons in the U.S. arsenal (night sights, laser sights, red-dot sights, detachable fore-grips, mounted flashlights etc.)
Also, it is now one of the oldest issued weapons in the U.S. armed forces (1966-preasnt) at first designated the XM15, and after extensive trials it was adopted into the U.S. army, in 1966 as the M16E1. It was then subsequently re-designated the M16A1 in 1967. Although it was a good design, the M16 suffered from rushing it into combat too soon with often disastrous results.
Despite the problems with the rifle ( unannounced change in powder for the ammunition, lack of issued cleaning tools, easily bent/broken flash suppressor, rusty barrels/chambers, 20 round magazines, too high rate of fire and the proper instructions for cleaning) constant improvements by Colt on the design led to a very reliable weapon. (chrome plated chamber, faster rifling twist rate, an improved (heavier) buffer ASSY an improved flash suppressor, bolt forward assist ASSY and a cleaning kit storage compartment in the stock) along with other improvements leading to the M16A1 designation.
The current issue of the M16 series is the M16A4, with the detachable carry handle, round hand guards and various improvements .
Although, the M16 series has served the country well.....Lately, however, there have been discussions on replacing the M16 (all variants) as the standard rifle of the U.S. armed forces. So, it might be just a matter of time before the Stoner designed series is replaced.
The M16 has, (due to the gas system and 7lb weight) very light recoil, it is like a gentle push to the shoulder, making the M16 easy to control in semi or full auto leading to increased accuracy. Making the M16 series a very popular weapon for new recruits.
When I fired my first M16A1 in 1981, it was a memory that is hard to forget, it was loud and, as it had an earlier (lighter) recoil buffer assembly in it. (which increased the rate of fire in full-auto to about 900 rounds a minute!) cool, but wasteful! still, it was easy keeping the sights on the target despite the high rate of fire. I enjoyed firing the M16A1.
The MGC M16A1:
The Model Gun Corporation did a superb job replicating the M16A1, down to the replica gas tube under the hand guards (solid-non-functioning) and the "forward-assist" feature which actually functions, as in the real M16A1! the whole gun feels solid and well built, (although, it is a bit light weight) and everything truly does function. (Earlier, MGC had produced a all zinc version of the M16 that like the "MGC68" mp40- it fired "paper caps" this version is totally different from the abs version on the inside, as it used a "open bolt" type of "hammer". And it resembled the earlier M16 in appearance)
MGC replicated the internals of the real gun beautifully (and faithfully) with a correct hammer, auto sear, trigger, semi-auto sear and selector and it all works great! It also features quite a lot of zinc parts (almost all of the fire control components, parts of the bolt, charging handle etc.) and some steel parts. The disassembly method is also the same (with minor differences) as the real M16A1.
The MGC M16 magazines are made out of thin gauge sheet steel stampings and feature a "ramp" at the magazine front and a shorter follower because of this. (The Marushin 20 round magazines have this "ramp" too) They also are different dimensionally than the real M16 magazines, (and Marushin magazines for that matter) leading to problems replacing the magazines, if they are missing or damaged that is. Thankfully, I have 3 magazines for my MGC M16's (2) 20 round versions and (1) 30 round version (I wish I could get more!)
The version of the MGC M16A1 that was imported into the USA by the collectors armory, (before a federal law, passed in 1988 stopped the importation of any replica gun that didn't feature orange muzzle markings.) did not feature the colt markings-due to the trademark issues, all that is printed on the receiver is SPG ( that incidentally, stands for Safe Plastic Gun) made in Japan, Modelguns Corporation.
Obviously, in the past MGC (and the other manufacturers Marushin, Kokusai etc.) accommodated any request to modify it's product line to meet the standards and laws of the USA and other countries, as I have several modelguns in my collection, that had their trade-marks machined off at the factory. As well as their boxes and literature had all of the trade-marks removed or defaced.
Although MGC did a beautiful job making this modelgun, it did have some faults, the barrel seems to "warp" easily due to being a long piece of abs tubing with very little support and a heavy zinc "flash hider" on the muzzle end, the weight is also a factor (too light) the finish is a little "glossy," compared to the original M16's anodized flat gray finish, the easily lost (and easily miss-installed) ejector actuator and the easily broken ejector piece.
When I bought my first MGC M16A1, the ejector actuator was missing, and the ejector itself was broken! meaning of course, that I couldn't "shoot" it until I acquired the parts (or made them) So first, I had to come up with an original ejector and actuator (which thankfully, my other MGC M16, an M655/XM177E2, had.) After I carefully studied the parts (They where originally stamped from hardened carbon steel and then blued) I then acquired some 1.52mm T stainless steel sheet stock for the project, as I figured that regular carbon steel would rust faster and be harder to finish.
After I bought the stainless, I then realized that it would be difficult to reproduce the ejector actuator without a proper "jig" (to obtain the proper bend at the right place) So I made a "jig" out of a single piece of hot rolled mild steel plate, 9.45mm T x 37.84W x 200mm L. In which, I then milled a step 1.61mm deep. I then drilled and tapped the plate for (7) 4mm stainless cap screws, to hold down the actuator during the bending operation.
To make the actual bend, I used an "arbor" press. (a dulled chisel and hammer will do to make the required clearance bend) The part turned out very nicely and fit's really well into the upper receiver's ejector actuator groove.
The ejector itself was considerably harder to make, as the part had to be sawn out of the 1.52mm stainless sheet stock, it was not an easy task as this is a small part.
The ejector has a slot for the securing pin (as the ejector moves back and forth when struck by the side mounted ejector actuator) machining this slot, was the most difficult operation, as the stainless sheet stock that I had acquired was extremely hard to drill, and I didn't have an end mill at the time that was small enough to make the slot, so I used a needle file to make the slot . (a lot of hard work!) But all of the hard work was rewarded...As the action works great and it "shoots" so much more reliably!
When I received this MGC M16A1, it had originally came with a very nice 20 round magazine. I was lucky to have a 30 round magazine that came along with my MGC M655, that I could use, although, the magazine lips had been slightly damaged (dropped?) at some time in the past.
So, I used a pair of pliers to straighten the lips out. Even so, still they gave me some problems feeding the cartridges. Also, when I acquired this modelgun it only had 5 original MGC cartridges with it and they didn't even have the CP pistons or the "primers"!
The original cartridges used in this modelgun are the "CP" type (Cap Piston) that have a piston with an used (The MGC modelguns that originally featured the CP system, came with a strip of 50, new un-fired empty cap body's to use as the seals. When these ran out, you where expected to utilize the fired cap body's instead.) cap placed on the piston "pin" that function's like an "umbrella seal" trapping the fired cap's expanding gasses and providing the push against the "detonator"( in the barrels camber) driving the cartridge backwards and out of the gun when hit by the ejector.
However, the used cap body sometimes splits or deforms due to high gas pressures it is exposed to and often causes a jam or a misfire, due to the gas leakage around the piston. So it's not the best system, but it is close! The cp style piston was eventually replaced by the "HW" style piston which has a O-ring at the center of the piston body that eliminated the splitting/deforming used/new cap body's.
The Model Gun Corporation was defiantly one of the best when it came to modelguns, as they always seem to work well with very few exceptions.
I used the MGC "gold" caps and the Marushin "silver" caps for the video. I think it turned out good. Although, I did have some problems with cartridge feeding issues. (I will work on the feed lips on the 30 round magazine.)
Click here: to see the M16A1 video
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