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compromises in extreme reliability for the sake of performance under most conditions Login/Join 
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Old video.
I've shot at Blue Steel Ranch in Logan, New Mexico a handful of times, it's tough on rifles both bolt and AR. ONLY place I'll have lube on my action is on the lugs. Thoroughly hose out my trigger of any lube. Even seen a AI AW go down there. Brutal place to shoot. Amount crap in my ears after a day.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zu9JEoHMBPA
 
Posts: 3197 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Web Clavin Extraordinaire
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Only thing I'd add here which occurred to me when I watched the test is that the most common initial failure point was manipulating the safety on most of the guns that have an AR style safety.

Probably shouldn't be too surprising that it's easier to actuate a frozen AK safety than a frozen AR safety because the lever is so much longer on the former than the latter.

The other thing I was thinking about is that, again, many of the rifles that failed, especially those that went click and not bang (i.e. their hammers were retarded by ice) all have considerably tighter receiver dimensions than, say, the AK, which is wide open.

It seems to me far easier for a component to free when there is a smaller volume of receiver to fill up (takes less water infiltration and easier to freeze a smaller volume of water solid).

So a wide-open AK receiver has far less chance to collect a sufficient volume of water right on the fire control components and subsequently freeze them solid enough to hinder their operation than a tighter receiver like an AR/MCX/SCAR.

Just my thoughts after seeing that last week.


----------------------------

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Educating the youth of America, one declension at a time.
 
Posts: 19825 | Location: SE PA | Registered: January 12, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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As often when a good question is posed here, it’s piqued my interest. I’m giving more thought to the scenario I posed and the issue of clearing the rifle after it was immersed in water.

Assume that the air temperature and that of the cold-soaked gun was something like 20°, then because the water wasn’t frozen it would be warmer than the gun. How quickly the gun’s temperature warmed to that of the water would affect how soon ice would form inside the gun after it was removed from the water.

At this point I’m assuming that unless the gun was extremely cold, ice wouldn’t form in/on the gun when it was immersed, but I’m not certain. I also don’t know how fast the metal of the rifle would warm to the water temperature. Would it actually make sense to leave an immersed gun in the water a bit longer rather than pulling it out immediately?

Those would be fairly easy questions to experiment with. Hmm …. We shall have to see.

quote:
Originally posted by Oat_Action_Man:
So a wide-open AK receiver has far less chance to collect a sufficient volume of water right on the fire control components and subsequently freeze them solid enough to hinder their operation than a tighter receiver like an AR/MCX/SCAR.


All are reasonable thoughts.




7/93
“Cet animal est très méchant, quand on l’attaque il se défend.”
 
Posts: 46406 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've no idea what actual practical significance this testing has. Clearly we have temps that are substantially below freezing. Clearly one doesn't have quantities of liquid water in those temps landing in volume on your gun. I've been swimming with guns on several occasions as part of rescue events and the first thing one does when you get out of the water is get the f*** water out of the gun. shake, disassemble, what ever. I'm struggling with how this test resembles any possible real life event. OK I go through the ice with my gun and its soaked. First step is get myself managed. Second step get the gun online and that won't be let it sit there and freeze. Or if it visibly froze then get it unfrozen in some manner likely the same as got me unfrozen. What possible real world event does this simulate? Because I think its none. I've done a lot of testing about reliability under adverse conditions and nothing about this video makes me think the better guns overall (Like SCAR and AR) suffer in actual conditions one might face.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 10375 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Disregard the "testing" in the video for a moment, and consider one of the questions indirectly posed in the OP: would you, as a shooter and prepared citizen, favor ultimate reliability or an elevated level of performance under most conditions, with sacrifices made on the extreme ends of the reliability spectrum? Considering the unlikelihood of most extreme circumstances, I'll take the enhanced performance.

I never once took issue with the realism of the video; obviously it's silly. I did find it interesting that certain rifles struggled more than others, when all were subjected to very similar circumstances, and attributed it to the mentality I postulated above.

I think the comments made about moving between warm/cold environments are very valid. The fogging and frosting of optics is a critical hindrance. I suppose this phenomenon will likely be most problematic in an urban environment or a structure raid with a preceding movement. The comment referring to the "trunk gun" falling victim may or may not be realistic, depending on the vehicle, and whether or not you actually keep your weapon in the trunk; some trunks are not much affected by a car's climate control. This scenario also calls upon some aiming alternative that doesn't have you peering through glass. I have mentioned the Elcan Specter before, and it's obtuse BUIS; this is a scenario in which that would shine.

Keeping your weapon cool is perhaps a bit more practical in the military infantry context one response mentioned, than it is in a home defense or prepared citizen scenario. I suppose if you lived in an extremely cold climate, you could have a weapon stored just outside your door, in some sort of easy-access secure container.

I appreciate the good conversation.
 
Posts: 1248 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Both performance and reliability are important, and an acceptable level of both is essential. The question, of course, is what constitutes “acceptable” in a certain situation.

I could discuss such a question at length, but I’ll condense my comments as much as possible. If something isn’t clear (and in the highly unlikely possibility that anyone really cares what I think), ask and I’ll expand.

The rifles I have that could conceivably be used for relatively short range defense need to be more reliable than the precision rifles I use to entertain myself by shooting small groups at hundreds of yards. Those defensive rifles don’t need to be as capable of shooting small groups, i.e., they don’t need to perform as well by being as precise as the other guns.

That said, however, there are limits to what sorts of environmental and mechanical challenges I expect the defensive rifles to deal with. There is no conceivable situation I could find myself in that would require them to function reliably after being pulled out of a cesspit or having fired 10K rounds with no maintenance.

One of the most significant factors beyond the firearm itself is our own individual capabilities. I believe I’m in better physical shape than most men my age, but I don’t have the strength and endurance I did 40 years ago. That means I’m probably not going to deal with a zombie attack by running for my life across a wintery snow-covered landscape. My personal situation also limits what I could do even if I had the ability. I know that my primary short range defensive rifle will function just fine in any foreseeable situation and therefore I don’t need to rely on a rattletrap that I can use after I fished it out of the Arkansas. In other words, I am more concerned about performance because I know that the gun I’d rely upon would be acceptably reliable.

If, however, I were faced with a long range engagement (even less likely), then performance does become more important. One of my ARs that has served in a DM role is a very precise performer with the proper ammunition, but although I don’t have reason to believe it would be less reliable mechanically in winter weather than an LE6920, its 3.6-18× optical sight is certainly not as rugged as the Aimpoint on the Colt.

As for other factors, some must be considered first and foremost. For example, some competitions limit how heavy the rifle and accessories can be. If we’re limited to 16 pounds, then it doesn’t matter if we can shoot the wings off a gnat at 1000 meters with our 18 pound rifle and it will run reliably for 30K rounds without any maintenance: it’s still unacceptable for the purpose. Some hunters strive for the lightest reasonable rifle weights because they know they’ll have to carry them a long distance, and most don’t demand 1/4 MOA precision from their guns or even that they will be reliable despite extreme environmental challenges.

My last point is that it really isn’t that difficult to protect a rifle from extreme environmental challenges in most situations. But if it’s impossible, learn what to do to compensate, and if that means relying on an AK that was built in a sidewalk shop in Pakistan from old auto parts, then do it.

Added: I don’t know if I expressed myself very well with all that. In short, reliability matters, and ultimately most of all because it’s got to work, but under reasonably likely conditions. No gun made or could be made will work under all conditions, and striving for such an impossibility would be foolish.




7/93
“Cet animal est très méchant, quand on l’attaque il se défend.”
 
Posts: 46406 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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The results of a brief immersion experiment.

The test used a block of steel that weighs 23 ounces (1 lb, 7 oz), and measures 4×1.94×0.625 inches. It was put in my garage and reached the ambient temperature of the surroundings of 14° after about an hour.

Cold tap water was run long enough to stabilize at 37°, and filled a 3 quart container.

The test consisted of moving the steel block from the garage to immersion in the water. After about one minute the block was removed from the water and its temperature had reached 32°; it was placed back in the water and after a total immersion time of about two minutes it had reached the water temperature of 37°. No ice was formed at any time.

Although preliminary and needs to be confirmed, a fairly massive block of cold steel warmed to the temperature of the water quickly and no ice formed during the immersion. I tentatively believe, therefore, that if a gun were completely immersed in liquid water that it would quickly warm to above freezing and therefore water inside the gun could be cleared if the shooter acts immediately.


Updated with additional tests.

This time I used the refrigerator freezer.
About 2 1/2 quarts of water were left inside until a skin of ice formed.
Test object was a virtually new (70 rounds fired previously) 5.56 Colt AR-15 bolt carrier group that was left in the freezer until it had reached the ambient temperature. All lube was removed to avoid that variable.

First test: Temperature of the BCG was 15°. The BCG was immersed in the water for 20 seconds. Although the exterior temperature of the BCG was 32° after removing from the water, within a few seconds ice formed around the bolt, cam pin, and evidently inside the bolt because the firing pin that had fallen out initially couldn’t be inserted fully (the firing pin retaining pin had been removed to allow manipulating the firing pin freely).

Second test: BCG was immersed in the water for 60 seconds and for some reason the freezer temperature was lower at 7°, as was the temperature of the BCG when immersed. Again the water had been left in the freezer until a thin skin of ice had formed.

After 60 seconds the temperature of the outside of the BCG when removed from the water had warmed to 32°, which was about that of the water at 34°. That time no ice formed anywhere on the BCG after removal from the water that I could determine. The firing pin and bolt moved freely. All that seemed to confirm my speculation that it was better to leave the BCG immersed somewhat longer to allow the entire unit to warm to the temperature of the water rather than removing it immediately after submersion.

My experiments were not of course a perfectly valid test of doing something similar with a fully loaded rifle at whatever ambient air temperature seems appropriate. (My tests were colder than the 20° I believe was mentioned in the video.) I don’t intend to do that, but if someone does, the results after clearing the gun as I suggested above would be interesting to know.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,




7/93
“Cet animal est très méchant, quand on l’attaque il se défend.”
 
Posts: 46406 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I can't tell if I'm
tired, or just lazy
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It best to keep in mind that Garand Thumb's video is a "worst case scenario" situation and knowing this, it would behoove us to take the steps necessary to minimize those affects in the event they should occur.


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Posts: 1951 | Location: South Dakota-pheasant country | Registered: June 20, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Having seen piles of broken MK 11s and SR 25s, along with mediocre accuracy to the point that guys would draw specific rifles to qual as several were such poor shooters that you would fail…I’m no longer a fan of KAC rifles.


They work. Cool guys use them. They are rare and expensive. Their AR bolt is outstanding.


However…they just don’t do a whole lot that can’t be done by another system and without the HK level No Parts For You.


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If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to hunt insurgents and give him a fish, you can win a war with enough fish.
 
Posts: 3045 | Location: CONUS | Registered: June 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by FedDC:
Having seen piles of broken MK 11s and SR 25s, along with mediocre accuracy to the point that guys would draw specific rifles to qual as several were such poor shooters that you would fail…I’m no longer a fan of KAC rifles.

It is very possible those guns you're referring to were victims of poor maintenance and abuse. "Lesser" guns could have potentially been much worse-off. I have seen an M2010 that was the same way; the barrel was shot out, and no-one could shoot worth a damn with it. It was a pain to get it fixed, and no-one wanted to put in the work. I would never let a military arms room example of any particular gun mold my opinions of a brand. Also, timelines come into play. The MK11 is a dated firearm now. Military arsenals are sometimes behind the performance curve, and it wouldn't be constructive to compare those models to what we're familiar with in the current market.
 
Posts: 1248 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by KSGM:
I recently watched a video by Youtuber Garand Thumb, in which he performed an extreme cold weather torture test on a relatively diverse spread of firearms. I found it surprising, initially, that a few weapons choked on the first round of abuse. After considering it though, only one was really surprising. The three weapons were a Sig MCX, KAC SR15, and SCAR17s. I have never owned any of these, but have held them in high regard, and still do. All three stuttered pretty significantly, at an application of water in below-freezing temperatures, when the water was allowed to sit and freeze on/in the weapons. I don't recall the exact trouble each rifle experienced; the bottom line is that they choked at all. After thinking about it though, as the title of this discussion implies, I don't think it's unreasonable that a weapon's performance on the ragged edge of extreme conditions be compromised, when the gun has been tuned and refined to perform at an elevated level under all other conditions. I considered my efforts over the past year, in playing with different aspects of a suppressed build, in an effort to mitigate negative effects of the silencer; those tinkerings and fine-tunings serve to optimize the rifles function in the conditions I find myself in over the course of a year, but I would wager that the gun would fail in any kind of circumstance that really taxes the system. I was surprised at the SCAR though, considering it's military adoption, likely extreme testing associated with adoption, and 7.62x51 chambering. I can't help but wonder how a Sig 550 would have done, considering it has an adverse gas setting, for these exact conditions. The MCX has adjustable gas, but only in a downward direction, that I know of; as does the SCAR, I think. Anyway, I thought it was kind of neat. The video certainly gives some ammo to the AK crowd, in their war against the AR15; though I don't think folks bother much with that debate anymore.


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Posts: 14865 | Location: Florida | Registered: June 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mud run..
A little more realistic type scenario.

 
Posts: 1274 | Location: Portland Oregon | Registered: October 01, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
You have cow?
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That video is hard to watch. 100K worth of hardware getting mud stepped into it, optics included.

Couldn't the FNC just sit out and watch? It's not really fighting for position anymore.

For some reason it brought me joy to see the HK get stepped into the mud.


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Posts: 6748 | Location: Bay Area | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The mud video was an interesting contrast. The high-end weapons that fell victim to the cold/ice handled the mud fine.

The Galil Ace definitely showed it's ass; I am surprised it was able to fire in that out-of-battery condition. The mud didn't knock it out of service, but served to instead highlight a potential safety issue. Did they make those guns solely for the civilian market? Surely that design flaw would knock it out of any real military evaluation.

I think the Rifle Dynamics AK did a good job of illustrating my initial query. It seems as though it's tuned to be a very smooth, low-recoil shooter under normal conditions, and is compromised by the hardship induced by the mud. I don't recall it being too hindered by the ice though.

The adjustable gas systems show their worth under these conditions. As a citizen shooter, I often see little merit in adverse gas settings, and would prefer normal and suppressed settings instead, if I can only have two. But, it seems no less than three positions is the way to go; or a system like the FAL, which offers a wide range of adjustment, without pre-designated positions.

The ARs kicked butt. I'd be interested in seeing a G36 and Sig 553 or 551 endure this test, as those are guns I am a fan of. I am not eager to do it to mine though, for no other reason than the clean-up required afterward. Razz

The OP remains largely unanswered by most conversation participants: Would you knowingly/willingly sacrifice extreme reliability for better performance under most conditions? Would you opt for a gun that is on an "adverse" setting all the time, over a weapon that is a nicer shooter but might choke under extreme circumstances?

I would choose the finer-tuned gun, and take the chance on problems under extreme circumstances. Especially given my affinity for silencers.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
 
Posts: 1248 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by YooperSigs:
During my days on the SAC Ramp I was often out in -20 degree weather and it was often snowing like hell. Not unusual to have my M-16 (USAF model-no forward assist) coated with snow. If I got the chance, I would sneak out to the base dump and shoot it in very cold weather. Ran fine for me. What lube or lube methods used by the Armorers might have been, I could not say. I will say I never let ice actually form on the gun and I shook the snow off it every chance I got. YMMV.


So you were the guy substituting broken pencil pieces in your GI mags at shift change !! Big Grin
(Worked in the Armory for a few months and we would find these all the time during periodic strip downs)
 
Posts: 4979 | Registered: April 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
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quote:
Would you knowingly/willingly sacrifice extreme reliability for better performance under most conditions? Would you opt for a gun that is on an "adverse" setting all the time, over a weapon that is a nicer shooter but might choke under extreme circumstances?


Completely dependent upon the intended use of the gun. Self defense/duty weapon? Absolutely not. I'll put up with a heavier trigger, more pronounced recoil, and other incremental disadvantages in defference to ensuring that the gun goes bang every time. A range toy or competition gun? Sure. I'll put in lighter springs for that softer trigger pull, change out buffers and reduce gas flow to get a softer shooting gun, because I can a.) Control the conditions that the gun is subjected to and b.) at the end of the day, the cost of a malfunction is just the annoyance of having to clear it or a lost stage in a match...it's not life or death.
 
Posts: 6582 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I watched that vid for the same reason I watch most of them, its fun. I was thinking during the freezing, about a car I had back in MD in the winter. It rained and then froze and while the car started up just fine, the back wheel rim had been partially submerged. This led it to be sitting in a solid block of ice in the morning that went between the spokes when I had to go to work. Long story short car wasn't moving but it wasn't the fault of mechanical performance.

I have to think most of it is due to an actual block of ice forming within and just physically blocking the mechanism. Back in the army I would sleep with my rifle in my sleeping bag. Spooning with clp probably wasn't the best idea in retrospect but my rifle worked and it wasn't cold during fire guard. I agree with Sigfruends points about the realism of copious running water in freezing temps but it is fun and a bit interesting. I would have loved to see a Sig 550 and a bit more detail on the Aug functioning.
 
Posts: 2870 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As said, the compromise between all around performance and an extreme one is usually handled by the soldier who has specific training to prevent and overcome the issue before it becomes one. If you are in a subfreezing environment and water exists, it's a lethal hazard for a human - and carrying the rifle into that hazard is much the issue. I'd worry less about the normal and almost inevitable freezing of the action if submerged in below O Centigrade temps - the SOLDIER being immersed is a much bigger problem.

Lets test it that way. Volunteers?

Goes to some other protocols, an infantryman who gets mud on his rifle gets mud on HIM. Instead of stomping one into a mud pit, low crawing thru it (under barbed wire) and shooting it down there after 100 feet of that might be a more realistic test.

That's where the test protocols aren't designed around the reality of how the firearm is used, they are designed around other artificial standards, like repeatability of the conditions - which rarely happens in the real world, you get a wide variability. And the testers don't often engage those conditions in the same way as a soldier. As seen, a muddy rifle shot from a clean soldier in the prone. There is a certain amount of "lets not get too icky" when these protocols are imagineered.

All in, the governments who test in these highly publicized ways are also subject to making it "fair" due to legal contractual issues. How do you standardize a frozen water or mud test that 5 -7 bidders can use in different hemispheres and get them conducted identically? It requires conditions and standards that are able to be recreated - which are therefore artificial, ie less than realistic.

As for the use of a bolt action rifle in Arctic conditions there is a tactical reality. On open tundra the likelihood of lack of cover and engaging at longer ranges implies a slower rate of fire and longer trigger time on target getting the best shot. It's not clearing a alley 6 feet wide with door openings everywhere with the risk of imminent attack while upright.

I've spent some time in the Army, Joe Snuffy coming up to his squad leader saying, "my rifle is frozen up" would likely mean warming a bolt carrier under his primary ECWCS layer to thaw it out. Just like a frozen chicken sandwich, ask me how I know. At least until he learned better, which would be the second part of the corrective instruction. And if pushups are needed to enhance his body heat, by all means. Institutionally most Armies have already solved this problem long ago.

I believe it would be realistic to include that in the test protocol too. Looking forward to that video. Eek

It's been a few years since Valley Forge, France in 1917, the Ardennes, and Korea. Those weren't lessons lost. DON'T get your weapon wet and you don't have an issue in subfreezing temps.
 
Posts: 613 | Registered: December 14, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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I had reason to find this thread again, and because I don't see a link to the original video that it referenced, here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbjpIP5ShH0

I believe it's worth bringing up again because it is, after all, winter again. Smile




7/93
“Cet animal est très méchant, quand on l’attaque il se défend.”
 
Posts: 46406 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sigforum K9 handler
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On a somewhat related note, recently I service lubed a Colt 6920 with my current lube which is Lucas heavy duty gun oil. I placed the gun outside under a pull behind trailer for two days that highs were only in the single digits and lows below zero. The rifle was far enough under the trailer that snow didn’t get on it and sunlight never shined on it.

I pulled it out in the dark with an air temp of 3 degrees. The bolt did not freeze but was sluggish.

I’ve never experienced a problem with a properly lubed Glock or AR in snowy conditions. But, I have never exposed my equipment to the harsh, wet conditions of this video.




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Posts: 36387 | Location: Logical | Registered: September 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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