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I note that gas-operated weapons operate by sending a quantity of propellant gas back along a tube to charge the weapon and feed in a new round.

 

No problem, understood.

 

My question is, what keeps the gas tube itself from fouling? Training with the M-16 I remember a bit of wisdom about cleaning the interface between bore and tube, but the tube itself must accumulate a lot of crud, and while the barrel itself gets cleaned regularly I don't remember any advice regarding the gas tube.

 

 

 

Shot

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Gas tube is made out of stainless steel, corrosion is not a concern. Gas pressures are high enough that obstruction is not a concern. A local gunsmith makes several repairs a year removing pipe cleaners out of gas tubes.

As for as I know none of DI weapons, AG42B (changed to stainless steel), MAS 49 family, have cleaning the gas tube as part of their PM.

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I suspect using service ammo it may not be an issue, but you might find different results with reloaded ammo that uses a variety of powders and volume resulting in more buildup.

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I won't count service methods as the end all in cleaning. Often they can be quite destructive to coatings and such. Not to mention most people in the military know very little about guns and ammo, other than what they are told.

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I won't count service methods as the end all in cleaning. Often they can be quite destructive to coatings and such. Not to mention most people in the military know very little about guns and ammo, other than what they are told.

 

I don't think anybody said they were. But they achieve their primary goal, which is keeping the weapons operational. How to clean the gas tube, or even whether to clean it, is that type of question.

 

WRT to knowing stuff about "guns and ammo", it's kind of hard to see that it makes even a shred of a difference to proper military employment of military weapons. Service users don't get to choose weapon and ammo combinations, they don't get a choice of what weapon to carry in a given situation, sometimes (as with mortars and machineguns, and suppressive fire with rifles) they aren't even using their weapons to shoot distinct targets. They just use the technology and tactics available to them. I gather you think that's a reason to criticize. To me, it's just a fact of life.

Edited by Tony Evans
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Not at all, I say that I can shoot pistol despite my army training. However far to many people including the military believe they are "experts" in the field of small arms and sadly only a minority are. The same goes for police. In the 80's the quality of small arms training in the Canadian military was dismal, today it is much better and most of that is because of soldier, police and civilians outside of the organizations experimenting and conducting trial and error that the larger organizations would never do. Most of that knowledge seeped into the military despite often their best effort to ignore it.

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Not at all, I say that I can shoot pistol despite my army training. However far to many people including the military believe they are "experts" in the field of small arms and sadly only a minority are. The same goes for police. In the 80's the quality of small arms training in the Canadian military was dismal, today it is much better and most of that is because of soldier, police and civilians outside of the organizations experimenting and conducting trial and error that the larger organizations would never do. Most of that knowledge seeped into the military despite often their best effort to ignore it.

 

It depends what you mean by "training". All of the high-speed, low-drag close combat firearms skills that have been promoted in the last two decades don't have much -- if anything -- to do with military application of rifles and pistols, except for maybe SOF operators. The average grunt is shooting at targets tens to hundreds of yards away, out in the open, in a desert, forest, or random built-up area.

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ha! In my day someone who could actually put a whole mag into a fig 11 target at 15 yards away with a pistol was considered "good". Rifle marksmanship was taught purely towards winning competitions. concepts like mag changes, effects of different types of ammo weren't even considered. All the training was focused on stopping the Red Hordes in their armour.

Our cleaning practices were terrible, focused on speed and shininess. bolts, bolt carriers swapped around, rifle zeroed perhaps once a year if you were lucky.

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ha! In my day someone who could actually put a whole mag into a fig 11 target at 15 yards away with a pistol was considered "good". Rifle marksmanship was taught purely towards winning competitions. concepts like mag changes, effects of different types of ammo weren't even considered. All the training was focused on stopping the Red Hordes in their armour.

Our cleaning practices were terrible, focused on speed and shininess. bolts, bolt carriers swapped around, rifle zeroed perhaps once a year if you were lucky.

 

Sound's like the US Marine Corps to me -- an organization with a notorious commitment to marksmanship. I think that perhaps you have an artificially inflated opinion of what military firearms skills should be.

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From what I saw in the 80's to what I see today. I realize how ruefully untrained we were in the firearms we were given and the knowledge that we should had. Yet the army and it soldiers felt they had the only "way", most based on practices with reasons long forgotten. There was arrogance, inertia and resistance to learning for that I am unforgiving. the army today is much more receptive and there are much better means for ideas to seep in and propagate. Heck on one forum I am debating issues with people I know are quite senior in rank in the forces and it's amazing considering how stratified things were even in the 80's.

 

Now my knowledge comes from working in our army, and meeting mostly US and British Soldiers. Other armies or even other portions may have different experiences in this regard.

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Gas tube is made out of stainless steel, corrosion is not a concern. Gas pressures are high enough that obstruction is not a concern. A local gunsmith makes several repairs a year removing pipe cleaners out of gas tubes.

As for as I know none of DI weapons, AG42B (changed to stainless steel), MAS 49 family, have cleaning the gas tube as part of their PM.

The AR has such a skinny gas tube, and cheap (still about 15 bucks at Brownells), the smart thing is just to replace it when you replace the barrel.

 

I have heard vague rumors that guys have caused problems by shooting brake cleaner down the gas tube towards the FSA, but I've not been given a first-hand account of such.

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From what I saw in the 80's to what I see today. I realize how ruefully untrained we were in the firearms we were given and the knowledge that we should had. Yet the army and it soldiers felt they had the only "way", most based on practices with reasons long forgotten. There was arrogance, inertia and resistance to learning for that I am unforgiving. the army today is much more receptive and there are much better means for ideas to seep in and propagate. Heck on one forum I am debating issues with people I know are quite senior in rank in the forces and it's amazing considering how stratified things were even in the 80's.

 

Now my knowledge comes from working in our army, and meeting mostly US and British Soldiers. Other armies or even other portions may have different experiences in this regard.

 

I think you missed my point. What you perceive to have been poor doctrine and instruction is really just how services need to train soldiers with firearms. Your description of how you were trained in the 80s seems very much like my experience in the US Marine Corps in the 80s and 90s. And I think it was adequate to the purpose. Even in the 21st Century, rifles and pistols don't decide battles. They're just self-defense, plus (in the case of rifles) just a little more suppressive firepower to add to machine guns and mortars.

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Gas tube is made out of stainless steel, corrosion is not a concern. Gas pressures are high enough that obstruction is not a concern. A local gunsmith makes several repairs a year removing pipe cleaners out of gas tubes.

As for as I know none of DI weapons, AG42B (changed to stainless steel), MAS 49 family, have cleaning the gas tube as part of their PM.

The AR has such a skinny gas tube, and cheap (still about 15 bucks at Brownells), the smart thing is just to replace it when you replace the barrel.

 

I have heard vague rumors that guys have caused problems by shooting brake cleaner down the gas tube towards the FSA, but I've not been given a first-hand account of such.

 

IIRC, when I was issued an M16A1, we were told to leave the gas tube strictly alone; presumably it was dealt with at armory level. As Ivanhoe points out, replacement as a wear item is not a big issue, especially those who have assembled their own rifle.

----

Is it OK to bring up piston systems yet? :P

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The scrubbing of the pistons/gas plugs on our FNC1's resulted in the chroming coming off, which resulted in more pitting, resulting in more carbon, resulting in more scrubbing........

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IMO the "self cleaning GAS TUBE" was very wrongly interpreted in Nam ( or by "the System" ), with very bad results ...

 

Hermann

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IMO the "self cleaning GAS TUBE" was very wrongly interpreted in Nam ( or by "the System" ), with very bad results ...

 

Herman

 

It had nothing to do with the gas tube. It was the perception that the rifle overall didn't need regular cleaning. This led to fouling in the receiver and chamber area, which led to malfunctions.

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Actually, the high calcium content of the powder lead to restrictions in the gas tube which contributed to the cycling issues primarily caused by rusty/dirty chambers and lack of lubrication.

 

Competence with rifles and other small arms is part of the nearly infinate factors which make up success in combat. It is a factor that you have control over, so you can improve your odds, as it were. Of course, there are other factors which yield better returns, but as the last decade has demonstrated, sometimes those are politically verbotten. So we're back to proficiency with small arms. As we reduce our #'s, we need to get more performance per individual. And as time progresses, we slowly begin to actually act as if we actually have a professional military, instead of simply overpaid conscript cannon fodder too dumb to do anything else. S/F.....Ken M

Edited by EchoFiveMike
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Well put, Ken, but do the line units have time for doing all the tables in the new [edit 2009] cbt marksmanship program? It seems a lot for the non infantry, but the infantry are doing the night tables as well,, right?

 

Table I: Fundamental Cbt Marksman

For completion of Table I, a shooter must demonstrate

proficiency in his ability to engage stationary targets

with the service rifle at known distances.

Table II: Basic Cbt MM

Zeroing and weapons carries.

• Presentation: control pair and failure to stop drill.

• Perform tactical and speed reloads.

• Engaging multiple targets.

• Engaging moving targets.

 

Table III: Internediate Cbt MM

• Field expedient zero with iron sight or rifle optic,

to include any night-firing devices.

• Presentation: hammer pair drills.

• Pivots: left and right.

• Engaging while moving forward.

• Pivoting into forward movement.

• Engaging targets at unknown distances.

• Engaging targets in low light/darkness.

Table IV: Adv Cbt MM

Table IV all of the skills learned in Table III are reinforced

with the use of the rifle combat optic. The Marine

also will learn how to engage targets while moving

laterally. He is required to pass a night-qualification

course.

 

I thought this a big load for units, but if done it would certainly yield the kind of professional infantry your are advocating?

Edited by Ken Estes
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What else more productive are they going to spend their time doing? In the total training time per yr, this isn't much, all things considered. Especially since we'll doubtlessly soon be back to 1990's ish training plans of endlessly filling time with COD, busting rust, weapon's cleaning, nattering JOB/wall locker/uniform inspections and the like. Plus new creations such as sensitivity training, sexual harrasment training, and so forth.

 

Compared to serious shooting courses for the SOF guys like SFUAC or even HRP(which the USMC runs for all of DoD IIRC), it's baby steps, but it's better than 1 week/yr on the square range learning the absolute basics on how to manipulate your weapon and (sort of) make it do what you want. It's important to be excellent at the basics, but we're not willing to allocate the time to even become good at the basics. I suspect it's because it's one of those things where we simply don't know what we don't know. Or quite possibly we knowingly accept a lessor standard, which is fine, but then we dishonestly pretend it's something other than a lower standard, which I've always found loathesome. S/F.....Ken M

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IMO the "self cleaning GAS TUBE" was very wrongly interpreted in Nam ( or by "the System" ), with very bad results ...

 

Herman

 

It had nothing to do with the gas tube. It was the perception that the rifle overall didn't need regular cleaning. This led to fouling in the receiver and chamber area, which led to malfunctions.

 

 

May very well be correct, but was not, what I was at.

 

There HAS to be a reason, where that "self cleaning" claim stems .. and that was, IMO, the "self cleaning gas tube".

 

Yes, I know about too few cleaning kits, Nam, Hamburger Hill, Non chromed chambers and Ball powder issues. And where the dirt is in an AR. I know also about bolt rotation and loosing spring pressure on cartridge rim.

 

Hermann

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