Special Forces Worry About M110 Durability

Ravage

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http://kitup.military.com/2011/08/special-forces-worry-about-m110-durability.html

Jack-Murphy-M110.jpg


The Army rolled out the M110 to much controversy, but in response to valid concerns and shifting tactical situations that snipers were encountering overseas. With soldiers fighting in built up urban areas, target ranges were decreased and the number of targets often increased, creating a need for a semi-automatic Sniper system to be fielded Army wide. However, many of us in the Special Operations community felt that the Army was getting the short end of the stick with the M110.

Where is the forward assist?

The first time I laid eyes on the M110 was at the SOF armorers course in Crane, Indiana. Crane’s Subject Matter Expert in sniper systems was giving a class on the rifle when I blurted out, “Where is the forward assist on that thing?” My SR-25 had one so what was the issue? The instructor responded that Colt was the patent holder for the forward assist design and it would have set the entire M110 project back years and millions of dollars to license the design or start from scratch to create something new that performed the same functionality.

Many shooters will no doubt tell you that they never use their forward assist anyway, so who cares? It is a different situation for snipers who may very well stalk into their hide site. In this scenario you are not going to have your semi-automatic sniper rifle loaded inside your drag bag and will need to chamber a round, slowly and quietly, once at your hide site. This is where a forward assist can be of critical importance to the sniper in making sure his first round is properly chambered. The solution we were given by Crane? Stick a cleaning rod in the bolt carrier and jamb it forward.

Scope zero set

Another major failure of the M110 is not the fault of the rifle, but rather the Leupold scope provided with it. There was no zero set on the elevation turret so after you slipped your scales the turret could continue to rotate counter-clockwise, causing the sniper to lose his zero-point.

Shot out barrels

I had a number of colleagues who attended our Special Forces Group’s SOTIC course at Ft. Campbell with their new M110 rifles. More than just a few came back reporting shot out barrels after less than five hundred rounds fired. The guns were dropping up to eight Minutes of Angle (MOA) and becoming hopelessly inaccurate. Snipers and spotters ended up sharing a weapon in many Sniper teams. While I did not have this experience with the M110′s on my team, I had too many Green Berets report this experience to me personally to discount it or chalk it all up to hype. The Army often keeps these types of failures in-house, worried that bad publicity will result in the Army getting something even worse down the line rather than simply correcting the flaws in the system. I’ve been told by soldiers recently rotated out of theater that the new generation of M110′s do not have this issue so it seems this flaw has since been corrected.

The M110 was developed and fielded for legitimate purposes, but in the rush to field a semi-automatic rifle I think that the Army lost sight of the big picture. In my opinion, replacing bolt-action sniper rifles with a semi-auto is short sighted. Bolt guns are much easier to fire, giving the sniper better feedback. Semi-autos are more difficult to master and sadly, many snipers simply don’t get that much range time. As one SOTIC instructor told me, “A lot of soldiers will like the M110 simply because they have nothing else to compare it to.”
 

Marauder06

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I've seen civilian AR-15s specifically marketed without a forward assist. For the guys with a bit more experience than me with ARs, is a lack of a forward assist a big deal, especially with people who know how to keep their weapons clean and may be using a more-reliable kind of ammo? I just don't think that the lack of a forward assist is a big deal, especially in light of the other issues raised in the article.
 

surgicalcric

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M06:

In light of other troubles with the 110 the lack of a FA is a small issue to some. However not having one is still an issue to many snipers, myself included, for the reasons noted in the article.

The M110 was IMHO a bad choice...We have 4 of them on the team and they stay in the cases along side the SCAR heavy's that we have. I will take my Mk13 or M24 every day of the week and twice on Sundays for S/O missions and my 16" heavy barrel 5.56 with 77 grain for close support.

Last thing to note, staying proficient at long distance shooting takes sending rounds down range often, calling winds, etc... Simply graduating SOTIC/SFSC a sniper does not make.

But thats just me...
 

Marauder06

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M06:

In light of other troubles with the 110 the lack of a FA is a small issue to some. However not having one is still an issue to many snipers, myself included, for the reasons noted in the article.

The M110 was IMHO a bad choice...We have 4 of them on the team and they stay in the cases along side the SCAR heavy's that we have. I will take my Mk13 or M24 every day of the week and twice on Sundays for S/O missions and my 16" heavy barrel 5.56 with 77 grain for close support.

Last thing to note, staying proficient at long distance shooting takes sending rounds down range often, calling winds, etc... Simply graduating SOTIC/SFSC a sniper does not make.

But thats just me...

Got it, thanks.
 

HOLLiS

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I've seen civilian AR-15s specifically marketed without a forward assist. For the guys with a bit more experience than me with ARs, is a lack of a forward assist a big deal, especially with people who know how to keep their weapons clean and may be using a more-reliable kind of ammo? I just don't think that the lack of a forward assist is a big deal, especially in light of the other issues raised in the article.

For civilian uses, it should never be needed. If it is needed, time to stop shooting and fix it. On the battlefield one can not call a time out. My AR10 does not have one.
 

SgtUSMC8541

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For civilian uses, it should never be needed. If it is needed, time to stop shooting and fix it. On the battlefield one can not call a time out. My AR10 does not have one.

I do not completely agree. For a civilian is it necessary? Maybe not, but I don't agree that it should never be needed. There are times where although it is not life or death, it could be a help. Why be forced to eject a live round that is not used when a tap on the FA will let you fire the round.
 

Rogers0317

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Ive had many bad experiences with this weapons system. Accuracy averages about 1.5 moa which is not horrible by any means but there is much more accurate semi rifles out there. Absolute biggest problem is reliability. Ive had my m110 jam in multiple firefights. We had 3 in my team and every single one of them experienced malfunctions mid firefight. Pretty shitty.
 

Hitman2/3

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I don't know why the military doesn't just go with a proven system. My vote still goes to either the Larue OBR or the LWRC REPR. Both rifles with a 16" barrel will hold a minute or better out to 500m and are still deadly and accurate enough to make a kill at 8 to 900. I'm pretty sure with the REPR you can even adjust the gas so that it basically becomes a bolt gun with no moving parts between shots. Short enough to clear a compound with the right scope, but powerful enough to still be used as a true DM rifle. Like I always say, if I think I'm going to be engaging targets beyond 700m I want a bolt gun anyway.

As far as the M110's go the Marine Corps just got them and I've already heard bad things about them. Barrel pitting, double the maintenance of the Mk-11, malfunctions, the above mentioned forward assist issue, still gas operated (which really sucks when your shooting with a suppressor, might as well suck on a tail pipe), not holding zero's, and complaints about the adjustable buttstock that only adjust for length of pull. I'm sure I'll get to test it out before we punch out again but at this point not really looking forward to it.
 

HOLLiS

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I do not completely agree. For a civilian is it necessary? Maybe not, but I don't agree that it should never be needed. There are times where although it is not life or death, it could be a help. Why be forced to eject a live round that is not used when a tap on the FA will let you fire the round.

For self defense I want reliability. A failure to chamber is malfunction. So the Question is why the malfunction. I agree in your scenario it would be needed. Wouldn't prevention be better. Home defense I have a wheel gun and a pump shotgun. Need thing about a wheel gun a failure to fire is usually cured with another squeeze of the trigger. I was refering to the fact that about 99.99% of civilian shooting is recreational. IMHO if a firearm is having a malfunction, it needs to be inspected and fixed. Maybe this is why it is very important to choose one's self defense firearm carefully. For the Military, IMHO, a forward assists is a necessity. BTW, thank you for your clarification, very important point.

I don't use my AR10 for home defense. If I wanted a .308, I would use one of my M1A1s. They still have plenty of whack value when things go South compared to the AR platform.

They also could have developed the firearm with something besides a forward assist, that would have done the same thing.
 

DA SWO

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I do not completely agree. For a civilian is it necessary? Maybe not, but I don't agree that it should never be needed. There are times where although it is not life or death, it could be a help. Why be forced to eject a live round that is not used when a tap on the FA will let you fire the round.
I've used the forward assist when hunting hogs.
 

LM

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The guns were dropping up to eight Minutes of Angle (MOA) and becoming hopelessly inaccurate. Snipers and spotters ended up sharing a weapon in many Sniper teams.

This is what bothers me. We just had a 2 week event and one of the rifles was having these effects. ammo and conditions hadnt changed and we couldnt figure out why we were seeing such drastic changes..
 

Hitman2/3

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This is what bothers me. We just had a 2 week event and one of the rifles was having these effects. ammo and conditions hadnt changed and we couldnt figure out why we were seeing such drastic changes..

Sounds like this gun is a non-starter.
 

Marauder06

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Wasn't "clean it better" one of the "official" solutions to fixing the M16 when it was first fielded?
 

AWP

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I you read Reed Knights follow-up/rebuttal, he brings up some good points. At least for me. ill try a better cleaner and see if it helps with ours

http://hil001.blogspot.com/2010/06/m110-semi-automatic-sniper-rifle.html

But that's a garbage answer. He admits that the cause of the problem has a solution which isn't found in or approved by the Army.

And his comments about the FA issue? We have 4 or 5 snipers in this thread alone that would like to see a FA. I can presume that the testing of the M110 managed to find every single shooter in the services who didn't care for the FA?

Not knocking you, LM, just responding to the KA rep's.....spin.
 

surgicalcric

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I you read Reed Knights follow-up/rebuttal, he brings up some good points. At least for me. ill try a better cleaner and see if it helps with ours

http://hil001.blogspot.com/2010/06/m110-semi-automatic-sniper-rifle.html

Good points my ass...

The M110 was sold to the military as a combat weapon, one that will stand up to the wear and tear placed on it by the soldiers whose lives depend on it.

I can clean my M24, MK13, SPR, or mod'd Noveske 16" HB with mogas and a wire brush and they will all shoot sub-MOA.

We have 4 M110's assigned to our ODA, in their respective Pelican cases; they will remain on the shelf as long as I am the senior...
 

LM

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just throwin a link up to a rebuttal, im not arguing anything for the guy, but my specific problem may have been a poor cleaning. Im willing to test that part out. I would also like an FA, but I do very much like the M110 overall. Thats probably due to that fact i wasnt redneck to begin with so bolt action guns were new to me, but the AR platform im comfortable with overall.

I did test that same 110 with hold-offs from 1-900m and didnt have a problem with 1st rd hits to 800, 900 took me 3 shots. so i dunno. its worth looking into, and at least knowing that others have noticed issues with the weapon.

Im also not sure if our wepons are the "newer" version. we got them in sept of '09. if there are issues, ill send them all back to be re-barreled anyway
 
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