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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
To build on a previous post by another member, located at:
http://hkpro.com/forum/showthread.php?t=56713&highlight=416

I put a few thousand rounds through my issue 416 over the past couple weeks. It shoots well, about the same as any other M4 or civilian CAR-15 I have used. I was issued an Aimpoint with it, but it doesn't have the right height mount to be effective with the sights mounted, so I shot strictly open sights. I removed the front sight that was on the Picatinny rail in favor of the backup front sight that was also installed. I didn't see a point to having two front sights when the backup folds forward it just catches blast coming out the flash suppressor, anyhow. Not to mention, any reduction in weight is appreciated. The rotary rear sight is alright, but typical gov't...the elevation adjustment tool was not issued, so I had to lollipop the head at distance to hit center mass (<=100yds.). I would prefer a traditional AR/M4/M16 backup sight's adjustment. I was the only one shooting the State-DSS rifle course with the 416 in the group, but was high shooter. It definitely shoots accurately, but so do most Stoner designs. The only two malfunctions I had were both caused by the same brand new HK magazine, but the others all functioned fine. The rest of my peers fired the same number of rounds with no malfunctions using Bushmaster 16" CAR-15s and standard magazines. The only maintenance done to either the 416 or the Bushmasters was one pass of a bore snake, despite the high round counts and rain on multiple days. All in all, it's a good rifle, but the Bushmasters handled everything just as well and they were commercial off the shelf. Not much else really stood out, it was just another AR-type; a little less time necessary afterwards to clean the inside, that's about it. It definitely is a nice rifle, but not the be all and end all of 5.56mm rifles.
-R
 

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... The only maintenance done to either the 416 or the Bushmasters was one pass of a bore snake, despite the high round counts and rain on multiple days. All in all, it's a good rifle, but the Bushmasters handled everything just as well and they were commercial off the shelf. Not much else really stood out, it was just another AR-type; a little less time necessary afterwards to clean the inside, that's about it. It definitely is a nice rifle, but not the be all and end all of 5.56mm rifles.
I agree that when I shoot my H&K 416 it can be somewhat anti-climatic; especially when I set my $4,500 H&K 416 down and pick up and shoot my $1,600 LWRC. For all practical purposes, not much of a difference.

However, I remind myself that owning a quality gas-piston operated firearm like the H&K 416 is very long term and a short 300-round range session is not a true measure of the quality and reliability of a Bushmaster against an H&K 416. The real test is many thousands of rounds later, under military type conditions (mud, rain, dust, physical abuse), that the H&K 416 will show its real stuff.

Also, I remind myself that H&K 416s are still very rare and coveted; making them some what collector and prestige items to own. Ha, ha, I know that Wilcox and H&K just signed a agreement to produce some H&K products, but I personally believe that the Wilcox – H&K produced H&K 416 is still a long time off, if ever!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
While I appreciate you taking the time to post a reply, I think my personal opinion is based on more than "a short 300-round range session." Additionally, your statement of: "The real test is many thousands of rounds later, under military type conditions (mud, rain, dust, physical abuse), that the H&K 416 will show its real stuff," seems misplaced to me. How many thousand rounds will show a difference? More than the "few thousand" that we fired just in the past two weeks alone? How much rain, mud, etc., makes the difference? Five days of rain and mud didn't make the difference during our training; of course, in combat conditions we would not have had to wait until the end of training to PM our weapons, as maintenance must be done at least twice per day OCONUS. Has your personal "military testing" gone beyond our daily training and experience with it in combat? To me, when military members train with their weapons and they function, whether piston driven or not, and they function, that doesn't tell me that testing was insufficient, that tells me both weapons work in comparable conditions. I don't mean to offend when I state that commercial Bushmasters worked as well over the past weeks of field training for my peers as did my issued 416, but I can't make one rifle being compared fail by telling it that it is an inferior system by design or price. All I can tell you is that it worked and that the Bushmasters were owned by the commercial vendor providing the training and that everyone in the training who was using the Bushmaster will be carrying a Colt M4A1 overseas in the near future. You may remind yourself that HK 416s are rare and coveted, but does that make it function any better? I have one that I didn't pay for, I train with it, I carry it in combat, I've probably fired more rounds through it than any civilian owned HK 416 has had through it (PROBABLY being key...there is always the exception), and that doesn't change my impression of its function in comparison to other weapons I have used. If you are saying that had I paid out of pocket for it and appreciated its rarity I would have a higher opinion of it, then I think you are misguided in the purpose of my initial evaluation. Please don't get me wrong, I think it is a fine weapon, but I think putting it on a pedestal because of one reason or another that has nothing to do with function is wrong and I am not going to contribute to that. It is a good weapon, that's all.
-R
 

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Well, if you've fired those "thousands and thousand" of rounds and not had to replace your barrel, then there's your answer. 6,000 and OUT for the Colt. 20,000+ and still good to go for the HK416. (And I seriously doubt that the Bushmaster's barrel is any better than a Colt's . . .)

Thanks for your report and for your service.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
diesel,
Thanks for the information. I don't have any experience with changing barrels on AR-type rifles. My personal Colt ARs still shoot fine, but only one may have had more than 6,000 rounds through it, and that is because I bought it used. My HK was issued new on a used M4A1 lower, but the school uses those Bushmasters for one of these courses per month about eleven months per year. I have no idea how often they replace them, as the course we shoot for qualification is not a significant challenge for rifle accuracy. On a side note, I don't have any documentation to back it up, but one of the PWS gunsmiths told me that the standard for accuracy on a US Gov't issue M16 to be considered serviceable is 8" at 100 yards. If that is true, I have never fired one that was "at" standard; all of the Colt and FN M16s and M4s have been pretty accurate. Have a good one.
-R
 

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Well, there's no question the weapons are often asked to go much further than 6,000 rounds; however, it is Colt themselves who state that the service life of their barrels is 6,000 rounds and they state they've done so due to the fact that this is the standard requested of them by the Army . . .

The HK is designed to go to 20,000 rounds and beyond--not because some government bureaucrat asked for it. No--HK designed them that way out of an abundance of Teutonic efficiency which, in my opinion is laudable.

And I think you would agree that 8" at 100 yards is laughably lousy. Either as a standard or as an ambition.

Good luck!
 

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Thanks for the post P9. Very informative and more than most people can say informatively about the subject on these boards. Fact is, these are designed to be military rilfes, not rare and coveted. Would I rather have an M4 that can have the barrel replaced @ 1000 rounds if need be, or a 416 that I'd be SOL if the barrel got damaged in theatre? Easy question for me to answer.

Is the 416 the better system? I think so. Is it the be all end all, as you put it... not quite.
 

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I have to agree with all the above. I use the LWRC for my duty rifle and flat out love the thing, especially when the colt rifles (that are aging) jam in the lanes next to me and I keep going. For the price its a no brainer imo.
 

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Well, if you've fired those "thousands and thousand" of rounds and not had to replace your barrel, then there's your answer. 6,000 and OUT for the Colt.
SHENANIGANS!! What's your evidence? Colt's literature? I'd wager good money that's just so Colt can charge the .gov for more barrels. A chrome lined M16 barrel should be good for far more than 6K rounds.

I have a very early 1:12 Colt M16 pencil barrelled upper from the Vietnam era. I have personally put over 15K rounds down the barrel and it still shoots ~3-4" at 100m with 55gn ball. And God only knows how many thousands of rounds were put through it in theaters around the globe prior to my owning it.

Some people need to ease up off the Koolaid a bit. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What kind of failures were the HK 416 magazines giving you?
Sorry, I hadn't seen your post before I responded to your PM. As I mentioned in the PM, I had one magazine that would not feed the last two rounds and caused a stovepipe every time I used it, regardless of whether I started with 10, 20, or 28 rounds in the magazine.
-R
 

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When we are talking about barrel life, what are we talking about? Are we talking 3 moa and when the barrel can't shoot that it's done?

So in other words 6,000 rounds and Colt feels it can't meet 3 moa?
 

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SHENANIGANS!! What's your evidence? Colt's literature? I'd wager good money that's just so Colt can charge the .gov for more barrels. A chrome lined M16 barrel should be good for far more than 6K rounds.

I have a very early 1:12 Colt M16 pencil barrelled upper from the Vietnam era. I have personally put over 15K rounds down the barrel and it still shoots ~3-4" at 100m with 55gn ball. And God only knows how many thousands of rounds were put through it in theaters around the globe prior to my owning it.

Some people need to ease up off the Koolaid a bit. ;)
I'm not making this up--I'm taking the info straight from the threads here on hkpro and the article that was linked to in Army Times a while back. And I'm specifically referring to the M4 here and NOT the M16. The Army spec'd barrel life to Colt and Colt's CEO even states that's what they delivered--based upon THE ARMY's request. I have no dog in this hunt. No one's saying that the M4's won't shoot more rounds than that--only that they won't necessarily be within spec or accuracy standards after that round count.

Accept the fact that the Stoner system works less well with the shorter weapons than it does with the M16.
 

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I'm not making this up--I'm taking the info straight from the threads here on hkpro and the article that was linked to in Army Times a while back. And I'm specifically referring to the M4 here and NOT the M16. The Army spec'd barrel life to Colt and Colt's CEO even states that's what they delivered--based upon THE ARMY's request.
It's highly likely the info received here is biased and agenda driven.

Yes HK barrels were designed to last to 20k rounds min, however you can't blame Colt for accepting the Army criteria and designing to meet that criteria. It doesn't mean Colt can't design a barrel to meet that spec. But that is part of the spin and the assumptions those "in the know" would like us to come to. Do you believe HK's barrel are the only one that can be made to last in excess of 20k rounds?

BTW, I have a Colt w/M4 Spec barrel (profile, weight, chrome lined, 1/7 spin) in excess of 8K rounds, that hasn't showns signs of loosing accuracy.
 

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I hope you're not pitching a conspiracy here. I think your assumption is that there's just that, with respect to HK barrels. They just make incredible barrels and have their own marketing problems. But whereas Colt will do nothing more than what's expected of them, at least in the engineering dept., that's never been HK's credo.
 

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It's highly likely the info received here is biased and agenda driven.

Yes HK barrels were designed to last to 20k rounds min, however you can't blame Colt for accepting the Army criteria and designing to meet that criteria. It doesn't mean Colt can't design a barrel to meet that spec. But that is part of the spin and the assumptions those "in the know" would like us to come to. Do you believe HK's barrel are the only one that can be made to last in excess of 20k rounds?

BTW, I have a Colt w/M4 Spec barrel (profile, weight, chrome lined, 1/7 spin) in excess of 8K rounds, that hasn't showns signs of loosing accuracy.
It's also a fact of life that Soldier wear will break a barrel long before it ever reaches 20,000 rounds. Issue weapons don't sit in a laboratory and get massaged through a largely pointless controlled conditions test of barrel longevity. They get used, abused, knocked around, cleaned with sandy, bent, metal sectioned cleaning rods on a daily basis while issued (sometimes more), shot with sand and dirt in the barrel, get blank adapters screwed into them so hard that it takes tools to get them loose, and then get cleaned some more. Notice all of this type of wear is irrespective to the wear on the upper receiver itself, which will likely need to be replaced long before 20,000 even if the barrel is made of diamond-coated unobtainium and will last for 20,000,000 rounds.

It is really neat to say that you have a barrel that will last 20,000 rounds, but it is pretty meaningless to say that about a service rifle. Strange as it may seem, the Army did not arrive at the 6,000 round figure by rolling some dice or by random number generator.
 

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It's also a fact of life that Soldier wear will break a barrel long before it ever reaches 20,000 rounds.
Exactly...That's almost verbatim of a previous reply I had in this same thread.

I also think it's a stretch to imply I think there is a "conspiracy" because some opinions on this board may be biased towards the HK. Ya think?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update - Lessons Learned

No reliability issues in desert and mud conditions.

Lessons learned:

CHUNK the rotary rear sight!!! Put on low speed, high drag, not-so-cool backup sights that can actually be adjusted.

Take the aluminum issue magazines over the steel ones; they weigh less and flex rather than dent.

Toss the HK sling...never did figure it out. Get a good two-point sling.

I removed the foregrip once in country...never did feel natural to me when not shooting extreme close range and is limiting in barricade shooting.

Wish there was a way to get rid of the bulky rails up front.

Used the Aimpoint on one operation until I could replace it.

Mid-way through tour photos:


 

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No reliability issues in desert and mud conditions.

Lessons learned:

CHUNK the rotary rear sight!!! Put on low speed, high drag, not-so-cool backup sights that can actually be adjusted.

Take the aluminum issue magazines over the steel ones; they weigh less and flex rather than dent.

Toss the HK sling...never did figure it out. Get a good two-point sling.

I removed the foregrip once in country...never did feel natural to me when not shooting extreme close range and is limiting in barricade shooting.

Wish there was a way to get rid of the bulky rails up front.

Used the Aimpoint on one operation until I could replace it.

Mid-way through tour photos:


Good to hear the 416 performed reliably for you. Any idea on its current round count? Also, what is the date code on it?


Tspeis
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I lost count a long time ago on the round count. I don't remember the date on it. The hybrids are gone now and the complete HK rifles have replaced them, though.
-R
 
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