18 August 2011

Idle hands, Devil's Workshop

My 14.5" conversion of Kaylee is on hold while I wait for ATF to lick the stamp.

I'm staring at my Early M16 (R604); Charlotte and wondering if I would prefer an XM16E1 (R603) clone.

Yes, I would.

Do I want to convert Charlotte?

At first I did.  It's real simple.  The difference between an early M16 and an XM16E1 is the upper receiver and the bolt carrier.

But I don't think I want to lose my R604 clone.

I realized that I enjoy it because just about nobody clones an early R604.  Lots of people have done and are still doing R601 and R602 clones which are the other two slick-side-upper rifles.  The retro rifle world is inundated with all the variations of the R603.  She's kind of a rarity.  Especially with the chrome plated bolt carrier.  That's a fairly scarce vintage part.

An attitude problem happens with clones of the R604, I think.  It's not associated with any "been there, done that" units.  The vast majority of them went to the Air Force, with a scattered few going to the brown-water Navy guys and the Seabees.  A very few are rumored to have gotten into Army hands when XM16E1 production was falling a bit behind.  The USAF units who "went there and did that" carried XM177's or GAU-5A's.

It's hard to summon romantic martial notions about a rifle that probably spent its entire life slung on some kid's shoulder in North Dakota guarding B-52's.

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