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Old 10-14-2016, 09:50 AM   #1
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Retro Military Style Rifles

So when I think "Retro" I generally think of the pre-ban era (1994?), and in most ways I think of the '80's as the "Heyday" of "modern sporting rifles" in the US. Oh there certainly were a good number of them before the '80's but it seems like they rapidly gained popularity in the '80's.

So just wondering if anyone still has any of those cool "pre-ban" rifles from that era? Or the earlier days, what many are now calling the RETRO rifles?

Or if not, tell us about the one you remember with adoration.

Here's a photo of my "Boys from Dagenham"



My most memorable rifle from the "Salad Days" was the Sig StGw-57, that was a VERY remarkable rifle...wish I still had it.
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Old 10-14-2016, 11:20 AM   #2
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To me, "retro" means styled 2 or more generations behind Current Issue. IE, anything M16A1/equivalent and before.

More to the point, it specifically means a new rifle built to an old style: a new-build WWII-spec M1 Garand is "Retro" while an original from-perio is "Vintage" or "Antique."
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Old 10-14-2016, 02:13 PM   #3
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I have an unmolested Colt SP1 that dates to the early or mid '80s. Does that count?
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Old 10-14-2016, 03:28 PM   #4
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I have an unmolested Colt SP1 that dates to the early or mid '80s. Does that count?
That most certainly counts.

Back in the mid '80's I passed on a chance to buy a 1964 SP1...wanna know how long I've kicked myself on that one?
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Old 10-23-2016, 03:03 PM   #5
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The way it's going the M16/AR15A2 will soon be retro.
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:15 PM   #6
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I actually carried my Brit #5 on 911 when I joined several buddies to check the bridges I Cochise County. Had 10 rounds of armor piercing in it.
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Old 11-02-2016, 08:59 AM   #7
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The way it's going the M16/AR15A2 will soon be retro.
I guess if you went by the standards for a "classic car" (25 years) they're retro.

I have always liked the A1 over the A2. If I'm going into combat, I'd prefer the A1. If I'm going to a competition, I'd want the A2.

To me the A2 was a misguided attempt to turn the M16 into an M14. It was a case of the Marines getting "their" rifle 20 years after "their" rifle was taken away from them.

There were some good ideas and some bad ideas.
Barrel - More weight at the muzzle really didn't change anything for me but to make the rifle heavier. Sure it's nicer when in the prone position, but that's the only time it's nicer, and you have to carry it FAR more than you shoot it.

Longer LOP - I think some really appreciated this, and some didn't. Again, I really like it at the range, but on a combat gun it really didn't add anything but weight (FWIW I'm 6'2" and I didn't feel a need for the extra LOP).

3 shot burst - Well, we dropped that idea, so you can see how good of an idea it really was. Plus the constantly changing trigger pull made semi-auto fire even less effective. It was a poor execution of a marginal idea.

Round handguards - This was an excellent idea that should have happened 20 years earlier!

Adjustable sight - Of dubious value, certainly very nice on the range, but for combat it really didn't bring much but extra weight, and more knobs to fiddle with to lose your zero. The idea of the AR being an open sight 800m rifle is a foolish one. Regardless of version, barrel length, sights, or load, it's a 300-400m rifle for 99% of all soldiers.

The biggest sin was nearly 2lbs of extra weight. The whole idea of a 5.56 was to keep things light. On what planet does a 5.56 that weighs as much as an M14 make sense?
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:27 AM   #8
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As a sawed-off stubdude who needs a really short LOP, I'll take an M4 over either. (Frankly, IMO, the M4 telestock should be "Standard Configuration" servicewide except for DMR and other such specialized apps because it allows more flexibility in accommodating diferent-size soldiers than either the A1 or A2.)

--DB, whose ONLY accurate "rifle shoot" to date has been full-auto TSMG at minute-of-milkjug
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:53 AM   #9
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I'll stick with my old, out of date Bushmaster, thank you.


If the Aimpoint goes South all I have to do is standup the Knight rear sight and keep shooting.
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:08 AM   #10
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I'll stick with my old, out of date Bushmaster, thank you.


If the Aimpoint goes South all I have to do is standup the Knight rear sight and keep shooting.
I have always been a fan of the Dissipator concept. Full length handguards and sight radius, convenience of a 16" carbine; just makes way too much sense to me.

What kills me is how many Dissipators have carbine length gas systems. You certainly don't want a full length gas system because the M16 gas system really likes about 4" of barrel past the gas port. But there's no reason not to use the mid-length gas system, and in fact the Dissy is absolutely perfect for a mid length.

The reason they all use the carbine length is because most manufacturers are setup to make carbine AR's and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to create a unique supply line for just one item in their catalogue.

And honestly, as much as I prefer a mid-length gas system, the carbine length is well proven and has all the bugs worked out. For the end user who isn't an AR expert, it does simplify things. For parts just treat is as if it's an M4.

I like the way you have yours setup...simple and to the point. Looks like something a career NCO guy would put together. A combat proven optic with a combat proven BUIS. That's a nice rifle you have there Sam. And something tells me the "ol-man" behind the trigger is VERY up to the task.
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Old 11-02-2016, 01:45 PM   #11
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The latest 'sport' rifles, with their full-length handguards around a floated 16" barrel, seem to reflect the dissy concept; the BU front sight can be all the way out to a rifle sight plane.
With my aging eyes, I like the idea--get the front sight way down the rifle where it's sharp to me. I see myself getting a dissy upper.
----
"As a sawed-off stubdude who needs a really short LOP, I'll take an M4 over either. (Frankly, IMO, the M4 telestock should be "Standard Configuration" servicewide except for DMR and other such specialized apps because it allows more flexibility in accommodating diferent-size soldiers than either the A1 or A2.)"--Diamondback

I read somewhere that the AR collapsible stock was an exercise in serendipity. Originally conceived for compactness in storage, it was found to increase flexibility when wearing body armor and/or extra clothing. At 6'1" myself, I don't have a problem with the 'nose to charging hammer' hold with the stock fully collapsed.

Last edited by shep854; 11-02-2016 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:16 PM   #12
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I have always liked the A1 over the A2. If I'm going into combat, I'd prefer the A1.
Me too. I've got an original SP1, and a retro built around an original USAF upper and barrel, and the only A2 thing I've added to them is the square front sight instead of the original round one.
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Old 11-02-2016, 07:50 PM   #13
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The latest 'sport' rifles, with their full-length handguards around a floated 16" barrel, seem to reflect the dissy concept; the BU front sight can be all the way out to a rifle sight plane.
With my aging eyes, I like the idea--get the front sight way down the rifle where it's sharp to me. I see myself getting a dissy upper.
----
"As a sawed-off stubdude who needs a really short LOP, I'll take an M4 over either. (Frankly, IMO, the M4 telestock should be "Standard Configuration" servicewide except for DMR and other such specialized apps because it allows more flexibility in accommodating diferent-size soldiers than either the A1 or A2.)"--Diamondback

I read somewhere that the AR collapsible stock was an exercise in serendipity. Originally conceived for compactness in storage, it was found to increase flexibility when wearing body armor and/or extra clothing. At 6'1" myself, I don't have a problem with the 'nose to charging hammer' hold with the stock fully collapsed.
Shep, it helps to consider I'm a good seven inches shorter than you. Try getting the world to take you seriously on ANYTHING when you're only 5'6" sometime... (The exception being my ex's stalker when it was made crystal clear to him that "you WILL NOT get her, you might get me but I promise it's Game Over for you right here too"... Thank God he never decided to test his luck again after that one encounter--the knowledge that there's a .45 full of hollowpoints with your name on 'em makes a remarkably effective attitude adjuster, doesn't it?)
*Scoring: Touchdown is those entrusted to my overwatch get to go home intact, Point After is I get to do so with them.

Actually, rifle sight plane? Maybe even beyond--the build I'm working on will eventually be a 17" Keymod handguard around a 16" barrel and 2" linear compensator, so that's almost the entire 29"-30" or so of upper for sight radius--if we don't need to fight with watermarking our images I'll toss up a pic of my Diamondheads mocked up at mounting positions on the dinner table.

Last edited by Diamondback; 11-02-2016 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:44 AM   #14
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DB, I can imagine how a 'full-length' stock would be an uncomfortable challenge. For taller people, adjusting to a shorter stock isn't much of a problem. I like the 'WARPAC' length stock on my WASR.
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:38 AM   #15
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Aw heck, mods can remove if there's a problem.

Mocking up mount positions (each square on table checkerboard = 2")


Sight view
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:21 AM   #16
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I read somewhere that the AR collapsible stock was an exercise in serendipity. Originally conceived for compactness in storage, it was found to increase flexibility when wearing body armor and/or extra clothing. At 6'1" myself, I don't have a problem with the 'nose to charging hammer' hold with the stock fully collapsed.
Yes, it was a very weak attempt at a folding stock on a rifle that just doesn't lend itself to a folding stock. The fist were just two position, all the way out, all the way in. Someone decided to put a couple of intermediate holes on the gas tube, and history was made. The XM stock became the new standard for ergonomics.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:47 AM   #17
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Me too. I've got an original SP1, and a retro built around an original USAF upper and barrel, and the only A2 thing I've added to them is the square front sight instead of the original round one.
I would love to have an SP1 to go along with my AR-180. I may just build up a SP1/601-ish copy so I can have one...kinda brings back some old memories.

And I'm 100% in agreement. Just like the round handguards, the square sight post was just one of those "well-DUH!!" innovations that was LONG overdue. So my SP1 will get an A2 front sight post, and I'll probably put on on my AR-180.

That round post would throw you off just a touch if sunlight was coming over your shoulder at an angle. It would reflect slightly off the side of the post and unless you were just carefully shooting targets you wouldn't notice that your aim was slightly to the right or left depending on which side the sun was coming over your shoulder.


What I have in mind for my build...
For some reason I recall the M16 I qualified with in basic, and that ONE M16 has always kinda stuck in my head. There were a lot of mix-match M16's in the Army but this one stood out as being just a little more "Franken-16" than most.

It had a partial fence lower, which I clearly remember because that was the first time I had ever seen that, and I was a little perplexed. So I'm sure it said XM16E1 on the side, but I don't recall ever looking at the manufacturers marks. It had a fully chrome bolt & carrier, but the carrier did have the serrations for the forward assist. Both of those features are typical of an early XM16E1 or 603.

The buttstock was the late style with the trap door, and it was darker black than the pistol grip & forend (or anything else on the rifle).

The flash suppressor was still the old 3 prong, and it was the 3 prong flash suppressor that caught my eye when we were grabbing weapons. I knew it had to be a very old M16, was probably beat to shit and probably didn't shoot worth a crap, but I wanted to shoot an M16 with a 3 prong, and by the time I went in, 3 prong flash suppressors were very rare. Surprisingly it shot pretty well and I easily qualified as expert. Since it was a 3 prong flash suppressor I assume that rifle had it's original barrel...I have no clue if the barrel was chrome lined or not; probably was.

Those are the only details I really remember of that rifle, aside from it missing at least 50% of it's finish on every square millimeter of exposed metal. I can't explain why I clearly remember and can picture that one M16, but I can. So when I build one up, that's what I'm going for. I don't care if it's "correct" for any one model, it will be "correct" to me.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:49 AM   #18
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Aw heck, mods can remove if there's a problem.

Mocking up mount positions (each square on table checkerboard = 2")
That BUIS is just SO proper for a guy who calls himself Diamondback

Last edited by GunGeek; 11-03-2016 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:43 PM   #19
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That BUIS is just SO proper for a guy who calls himself Diamondback
Thanks, Kevin. Wait 'til you see one of the rifles I've got a paper concept for if I can ever figure out how to build it... a Western Diamondback head "figurehead" around the muzzle with fangs extended or retracted in sync with the safety, so when the trigger's pulled it looks like a snake spitting fire and lead. At the other end, a rattle attached to the stock with both a mild shaker mechanism and audible noisemaker indicating "Off Safe, ready to bite"... three independent audible, visual and tactile warnings that it's ready to fire. Finish is, of course, the colors and markings of Crotalus atrox...

(Funny thing, though, I just flat DO NOT LIKE Diamondhead's muzzle devices and handguards--too much "style over substance" IMHO.)

I figure that'll be my "Artwork/BBQ Gun" AR... and I have a few electronics ideas it'll be the testbed for if built. (Bluetooth, RFID, Arduino... as Hardison used to say on Leverage, "Age of the Geek!" )
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