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March 09, 2006

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Substandard Issue: Why can't the military give good guns to our troops?

And while we’re on the subject of military rifles, it’s worth mentioning that the U.S. has less than a terrific record on equipping our troops with the latest and best. Consider:

  • The Union Army fought the Civil War with single-shot muzzle-loaders, despite the fact that practical breechloading repeaters were available for almost all of that period.
  • After the war, the Army went with the single-shot Model 1873 .45/70 Springfield, despite the demonstrated superiority of repeaters. General Custer could tell you about this.
  • We stayed with the Model 1873 right up until the Spanish American War in 1898, when we met up with the Mauser, firing smokeless powder. Ooops. Our mistake.
  • Despite the availability of the Mauser, we replaced the Model 1873s with a strange Danish bolt-action called the Krag-Jorgensen. It lasted all of ten years or so.
  • We fought World War I with the Springfield Model 1903, a great rifle, and a flagrant copy of the Mauser. Mauser sued the U.S. Government for patent infringement and won.
  • For the first year of World War II we got by with the Springfield. Then M-1s got to the troops. It was the best rifle of the war for two years until the Germans came up with the MP43—the first assault rifle.
  • Korea was fought with World War II surplus.
    In 1963, the Army began issuing the M-14, an improved (?) M-1. it was obsolete the day it was first issued.
  • The M-16 was our weapon of choice for our excellent adventure in Southeast Asia. Its introduction was a disaster, due to: a) the Army’s alteration of the inventor’s design; b) the use of ball powder instead of the original extruded powder; and c) no cleaning equipment was issued with the rifle, despite the fact that it required frequent and careful cleaning.
  • Despite this, the M-16 has had a 40-year run as our standard infantry weapon, having been tortured into an acceptable state. Why, however, are we still using it, considering that all our other Vietnam-era equipment, from helmets to jet fighters, is stone age compared to what he have today?



I think that the FN SCAR will end up being the replacement for the M-16. If it does replace it we'll end up making the change to 6.8 spc. I've looked over the SCAR pretty well and even got to play with ont at SHOT show and if we end up making it standard issue I think the military will be good for another 40 years at least. Unless they make some sort of super crazy heat seeking bullet ammo.

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Have you every run into info on the Springfield 45/70 being brought out of moth balls for use on Guadalcanal by the Marines?

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