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 willyp | Home > Weapons of the world photo Albums > US Colt/Armalite AR15/M16 (5.56)  
US Colt/Armalite AR15/M16 (5.56)
This folder is dedicated to the US Colt/Armalite AR15/M16 & also includes an album on it's attempted successor the Armalite AR18/180, main focus is on "retro" variants, up to the end of the VietNam war. Please note that ALL rifles in the albums are semi-auto only but are as close, cosmetically, as possible to the original military variants, there are albums on the Model 601/M16, Model 603 XM16E1/M16A1, Model 604, Model 629 XM177E2, M16A2 & current M4. Also an album with pics of the parts differences between all the variants to help other "retro" builders. Hopefully this album will supplement the excellent info on these rifles available to collectors/shooters on RetroBlackRifle.com & the fantastic site (& members) of the retro Forum on AR15.com, these sites & knowledgeable members of them enabled me to get as far as I did with my builds!, many thanks to you all!
1 - 20 of 20 Total. Shared
Research, projects etc.
1. Research, projects etc. 
There's many questions re: the M16 series as far as parts, markings, variants, timeframes etc., this folder will have topics under research w/info that is ONGOING not "set in stone", I'm putting this here instead of on public forums to keep it from becoming "internet fact" before there's verifiable facts or evidence to prove or disprove it, notes will be made for each item as to the current "correctness" or "probability" of the theories contained so please read carefully & don't repeat the info as fact at this point, also if you have any info that may help in the topics please contact me thru email at the bottom of each album.
1 Albums
Shared Folder
M16 replica collection group
2. M16 replica collection group 
A collection of semi-auto replicas of US military M16's, including, Colt 601, XM16E1, 72 era M16A1, 89 rebuilt M16A1, M16A2, M16A4, carbines, Colt 605, Colt 607 (GX5857), XM177E2, 723, 727,& M4A1. All are built as close to original (appearance wise) as legally possible. Note that each has it's own album w/more detailed pics & info on the build to (hopefully) help other builders/collectors in their projects.
15777 Visits
32 Images
Shared Album
Colt/Armalite Model 601 (AF & Army)
3. Colt/Armalite Model 601 (AF & Army) 
The 601 is the original Armalite designed but Colt mfg. model first sold to the Air Force & to the Army in small numbers & used in trials early in Viet Nam, Colt subsequently obtained the rights to the design & developed all the further models of M16. The rifle shown is built to represent a Model 601 used by the Army in the Agile program early in the VN war.
14941 Visits
65 Images
Shared Album
Armalite AR18/180 (5.56mm)
4. Armalite AR18/180 (5.56mm) 
Armalite sold the mfg rights of the AR15 to Colt who marketed it to the US Govt, early in this process the AR15 went through a "bad" period, Armalite, in hope of capturing military contracts designed the AR18 to compete w/the AR15, it used the same basic locking system/action as the AR15 but used a piston assembly rather than direct gas impingement as on the AR15, it also utilized stamped steel for the upper/lower receivers rather than the AR15's forged receivers & Armalite believed the rifle would be more reliable, simpler, and less expensive to buy & operate. It was tested by the Army in 64-65, at the time it wasn't near fully developed & was "passed" over, later it was retested, around 1969, & found to be a reliable & accurate weapon but at this point the M16 was already in service in large numbers so it's chance had passed. It was developed into the AR180, a semi-auto variant & built/sold by Armalite in Costa Mesa Ca, later it was license built by Sterling in UK & Howa in Japan. The rifle pictured in the album is an original Costa Mesa (USA mfg) AR180.
21543 Visits
42 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 603 (XM16E1, M16A1 Army)
5. Colt Model 603 (XM16E1, M16A1 Army) 
After the "trial" of the 601 the Army requested a number of mods, mainly the addition of the forward assist to the upper receiver, this is the Model 603 which became the XM16E1 in 1964, as more modifications were made & needed they were added during the production runs & resulted in the type being "type standard" by the Army as the M16A1 in 1967. Shown in the album here are replicas of an early 65-67 XM16E1, a 71 era M16A1, an early build of a late M16a1 w/an A2 lower (to be replaced) w/a starlight scope & a rebuild A1 86-94.
40147 Visits
68 Images
Shared Album
H&R & GM M16A1
6. H&R & GM M16A1 
In 1968 the US Govt finally reached a licensing agreement w/Colt (which they had been trying to obtain since the first 601/M16 purchases) which enabled the Govt to sign contracts w/2 other makers to produce M16A1's for the Army, General Motors Corp (GM) & Harrington & Richardson (H&R), both of these manufactured M16A1's for the Govt from approximately 1969-1971. Very little concrete info is available on these rifles regarding parts markings, suppliers etc which would enable replica builders to build accurate replicas. The info provided here has been supplied by numerous people & is ongoing, H&R has been a bit easier to obtain info on GM rifles are proving very difficult!
21947 Visits
42 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 604 (M16 Air Force)
7. Colt Model 604 (M16 Air Force) 
The Air Force did not want the forward assist on their rifles & the Air Force rifles were mfg without them resulting in this rifle the Model 604 (M16). Other than the forward assist the 604 followed the improvements/modifications of the Army's model 603's.
14536 Visits
17 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 605 carbine
8. Colt Model 605 carbine 
The 605 was Colt's 1st "carbine" variant of the AR15/M16 line. Developed 64-65 it was listed in Colt's 1965 catalog as "CAR-15 carbine". It was basically a standard rifle w/the barrel shortened in front of the FSB to 15", all other parts are the same. There appear to be a number of variations using, auto, burst, auto & burst FCG's & even a mid-length gas system (believed to be a 1 off prototype). The 605 was not officially "adopted" by the military but did show up in small numbers on an apparent trial basis. "Delineating" the "correct" features of a 605 is difficult as there were a number of "variations" of it, most of the surviving pics of the era are of "tool room" rifles & most of the surviving rifles show a wide variation in "collectors" features. These "carbines" appear to have been built as almost "one offs' in most cases w/parts on hand at a time when there was a large changeover to many of the parts, along w/the fact there are different "models" of the 605, 605A, 605B etc w/different features.
18795 Visits
30 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 607
9. Colt Model 607 
The 607 was Colt's 2nd "carbine" M16 after the 605 & was the first type to use a retractable type stock to shorten it's length. The 607 used a 10" barrel & the first type retractable stock, they were in Colt's catalog in 1965 listed as a sub-machine gun even though it fired the .223 rifle cartridge. They were never a major production model & will be found in a variety of configurations, they were superceded in 1966 by the AF GAU series & Army XM177. There were reportedly a small number bought by the Army & US property marked as GX5857, this rifle is built to replicate one of these. The replica pictured below is a legal BATF registered semi-auto SBR (ahort barreled rifle).
26914 Visits
52 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 629 (XM177E2)
10. Colt Model 629 (XM177E2) 
The Model 629 was a carbine variation of the M16A1 w/retractable stock, 11.5" barrel & large moderator, it was the final version in VietNam of a number of low production carbine variants used by all services. They were originally issued to Special Services troops but subsequently found their found way to other units late in the war.
19365 Visits
22 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 705 (M16A2)
11. Colt Model 705 (M16A2) 
The M16A2 was made to a Marine Corp request for modifications to the M16A1 involving the rear sight, handguards, heavier barrel etc, it became the standard arm in the early 80's (USMC)& in 1986 (US Army) & is still in service today. The M16A2 used a 3rd "burst" fire action, the M16A3 was basically an A2 w/full auto fire, the M16A4 uses a "flat top" upper receiver (similiar to the M4 carbine). Besides these variants the military has ordered conversion kits, consisting of complete A2 uppers/barrels, lower parts kits, stock groups/handguards & converted many A1's into A2 configuration. This may be the reason a lg number of M16/M16A1 style uppers came on the market within the last 2 years.
12696 Visits
35 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 723 carbine
12. Colt Model 723 carbine  
After the model 629 (XM177E2), Colt sold the model 639 which was a 629 with the 4.5" suppressor deleted & fit w/a standard A1 FH, following this was the model 653 which was basically a 629 w/a 14.5" barrel w/A1 FH, all the above models, 629, 639 & 653 used the 1/12 barrel. The next carbine model was developed after the adoption of the M16A2 rifle w/ a 1/7 barrel. This carbine, the 723 basically started as a 653 but using a thin profile 1/7 14.5" barrel w/A2 FH. The 723 was first marketed in the mid 80's & some were purchased by the military & used mainly by Special Operations Units but were never "officially" adopted. The 723 can be found in a bewildering array of configurations, some w/early A1 uppers w/no deflector, some w/later A1 uppers w/deflector, some w/A2 uppers, the same for the lowers, they have been seen w/A1 style lowers marked Colt M16A2 & A2 lowers w/the same markings. Some late 723's were even made w/the M4 profile barrel w/M203 cut! Tracking the "correct" configuration for a 723 has proven to be almost impossible & bulding a replica is pretty much personal preference! The 723 in this album was built using an NDS A1 lower, late A1 upper w/deflector & 16" thin profile 1/7 barrel cut to 14.5" & permanently fitted w/an extended A2 FH for legal length. These carbines (723) & the later 727 are the basis for the "Black Hawk Down" carbines used in Somalia.
21916 Visits
31 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 727 carbine
13. Colt Model 727 carbine 
After the 723 Colt developed the 727, this model is even more confusing for collectors/builders than the 723! Most references, photos etc of 727's seem to show a carbine w/A2 upper & 14.5" M4 profile barrel w/m203 cuts but I've seen photos & references of carbines w/late A1 type uppers & thin profile 14.5" barrels id'd as 727's also!, to further complicate things the 727 has been id'd in a couple references as the model Colt developed for the Govt. of Abu Dhabi which in turn led to the XM4 series for the US & eventually the M4! It appears that for a collector/builder the features that "make" a 727 are pretty much left open to personal preference just like the 723! This 727 replica is built using an NDS A1 lower, Colt A2 upper, 1/7 14.5" M4 profile barrel w/M203 cut w/extended A2 FH permanently pinned for legal 16" length & a standard non F marked FSB. These carbines (727's) are also period correct for a "Black Hawk Down" build as far as I've been able to ascertain.
29411 Visits
27 Images
Shared Album
Colt Model 920 (M4) carbine
14. Colt Model 920 (M4) carbine 
The current US service rifle, M4/M4A1 is a 14.5" collapsible stock developement from the M16A2, it's the primary US combat arm in Afghanistan & Iraq. This M4 "replica" is based on a Colt 6520 carbine lower w/an M4 upper w/14.5" M4 barrel that has an xtended A2 FH pinned to the barrel to make it a legal 16", the use of the 14.5" original length barrel & the extended FH for the extra length allows the bayonet to fit the rifle properly.
15244 Visits
34 Images
Shared Album
M16 parts variations
15. M16 parts variations 
In this folder are albums, upper receiver parts, barrel assembly parts, lower receiver parts & furniture which show differences in the parts & an approximate time line in their use in manufacture.
4 Albums
Shared Folder
M16 accessory items
16. M16 accessory items 
In this folder you'll find pics/descriptions of various items/accessories for the military M16's, slings, bayonets, cleaning gear, attachments, etc. This album will see continuing additions as I acquire new items & take pics of the ones I have!
The items have been seperated & placed into their own albums, ie:, album for bayonets, another for training aids etc.
7 Albums
Shared Folder
Colt SP1 carbine
17. Colt SP1 carbine 
The SP1 was the original civilian version of the Colt M16, the AR15, it was produced in regular versions w/20" barrel & the carbine (shown here) w/16" barrel. These rifles were semi only & did not use a military style pivot pin in the front receiver boss, rather they had larger diameter front upper/lower receiver bosses & used a double ended screw to secure the upper/lower together.
13382 Visits
21 Images
Shared Album
Colt 6520 carbine
18. Colt 6520 carbine 
This carbine is (reportedly) an X-PA State Police LE carbine. It's an A2 lower, A2 upper (no M4 cuts), Colt thin profile 16" 1/7 NATO mkd barrel, A2 FH, w/later M4 stock & 4 pos tube. It's shown here as I got it. it's been used as a "donor" gun for a couple of projects, the lower has been used in the M4 replica & the barrel was cut to 14.5" w/a pinned xtended A2 flash suppressor & used on the 723.
8168 Visits
8 Images
Shared Album
Colt 6920
19. Colt 6920 
9675 Visits
24 Images
Shared Album
Bushmaster XM15E2S
20. Bushmaster XM15E2S 
Bushmaster is another producer of AR15's for the civilian market (& I understand recently for military & law Enforcement also). This particular rifle is a VietNam era XM177 carbine "lookalike" in appearance but uses a lot of newer (A2) features, it's an excellent shooting/functioning weapon & has the proper "VN era carbine look" but is very different in a lot of details.
10015 Visits
26 Images
Shared Album

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