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Thread: Question for the Vietnam vets

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Question for the Vietnam vets

    First off thank you for your service!!!!!

    I was looking at some old photos and saw some of these pictures and I noticed they were M16s with AK mags!! So I did some digging and research and came across an article stating that veterans would take Chinese flat back AK 47 magazines and retrofit them to fit in M16S. They would file off the mag catch and file the feed lips down until the rounds would chamber and then they would file a mag catch in for the M-16. Have any of you ever seen this in real life and what was the functionality? The article went into more depth about it about how the Chinese mags head thinner followers and how the European mags had the rib on the back so they specifically mentioned the Chinese magazines.

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    They mentioned in the article that they did this before the 30 round mags made it to the war, and even when the 30s came into the war they never had enough supplies for everyone to get them

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    nicholst55's Avatar
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    Not AK mags. They are very early (as in, experimental) M16 30-round mags. The design was changed to what we're generally familiar with pretty quickly, because the design pictured didn't perform terribly well. I think that the source that you were reading is either just highly inaccurate, or was making things up.
    Service members, veterans and those concerned about their mental health can call the Veterans Crisis Line to speak to trained professionals. To talk to someone, call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I never saw those I was over there from Dec 1969 until Feb 1971.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I did several tours from 1963 to 1972 and never saw anything like that.I did see M14's with 40 round magazines made from two 20 rounders.They were used as back up door guns on UH-i gunships.
    The M16 was initially used in Vietnam by the Vietnamese Airborne as a suitability test.They were recalled and issued to Army helicopter units.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy alfadan's Avatar
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    The AK mag is about an inch wider and 1/4 thicker, roughly, than an m16 mag so I don't think some filing is going to do it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    The use of AK mags in M16s has been a myth ever since those first 30 round magazines made for the M16 were first used in the late '60s. Same myth as "commies can use our 7.62 ammo in their rifles but we can't use theirs"......
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    IMHO this is the best reference for M16 info...

    http://retroblackrifle.com/index.html

  8. #8
    Boolit Master derek45's Avatar
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    Judging from the ribs, they sure look like AK mags. I'm guessing locally made


    https://www.ar15.com/forums/AR-15/In...s-/123-758367/




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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Those are Philippine solders, probably in the Philippines, who had magazines altered as shown. They were generally unreliable and the few that were reliable were few and far between. It was not a common modification and not "issue" by any stretch. Note the ammo pouches are probably filled with 20 round mags as they are too small for 30s.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy eastbank's Avatar
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    all we had were 20 mags for the .223 m-16, never saw any altered ak mags.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicholst55 View Post
    Not AK mags. They are very early (as in, experimental) M16 30-round mags. The design was changed to what we're generally familiar with pretty quickly, because the design pictured didn't perform terribly well. I think that the source that you were reading is either just highly inaccurate, or was making things up.
    You mean people just make stuff up on the internet???
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by pworley1 View Post
    You mean people just make stuff up on the internet???
    What!!! People making stuff up on the internet??!!! I was hoping it would be real I have a nice vintage colt id love to make one for

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    In the early days, there was a lot of trial and error going on with M16 mags.

    The first ones were throwaways, and not designed to be reloaded in the field.
    There was a 25 round one that didn't feed right and the govt. didn't buy it.
    There was problems with them being so thin, they'd crush easily and jam the follower.
    There was a generation of springs that instantly corroded in the jungle.

    It all got resolved pretty quickly, and the govt. ended up with the 20 round one we've come to know and love.
    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.


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  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek45 View Post
    Thanks for that pic - it pretty well illustrates what I was wanting to say.

    The rifle was designed for the 20 round mag, which was basically a down-sized M14 mag, and those things RUN.

    But we had folks grumbling that the V.C. had 30 round mags and WE needed 30 round mags. . .thus began the quest to figure out how to make a 30 round mag that needs to curve (because of the total round count) work in a rifle designed for a straight 20 round mag. It was NOT an easily accomplished bit of engineering, and I don't think the final tweaks on the metal mags were really completed until well into the GWOT.

    The right nerd could probably make a pretty good living in Hollywood JUST on making sure the director has the RIGHT AR-15 accessories for the period his picture is set in.
    WWJMBD?

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    In mid 67, the 1st Cav issued 5 CAR-15s per company. As you might expect, officers only got them. A few 30 rd. AR mags showed up but did not work well with more than 20-22 rounds loaded in them. There was a lot of "cool" factor associated with having a CAR-15/XM-177, but an M-16A1 was a superior weapon.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaysouth View Post
    In mid 67, the 1st Cav issued 5 CAR-15s per company. As you might expect, officers only got them. A few 30 rd. AR mags showed up but did not work well with more than 20-22 rounds loaded in them. There was a lot of "cool" factor associated with having a CAR-15/XM-177, but an M-16A1 was a superior weapon.
    Got to play with one of those for a while. An Ass't Div. Commander's aircraft went down in April or May or '67 (a Brigadeer General but don't remember his name) and his Aide had a Car-15. We did the recovery on the crash site and my door gunner snagged onto the CAR. Took it to our test-fire range before turning it in. Don't recall being terribly impressed...muzzle blast was awesome, and, as mentioned, couldn't load the more than 24-25 rounds in the 30-round mags. Also, probably due to short sight radius, accuracy wasn't all that great either.

    Bill

    11 Avn Gp, 1st Cav Div(Airmobile) 1966-67-68
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  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Was NOT a fan of the CAR or the M16 or M16A1...gimme my M-14 or " pig" M-60 any day ! The new crowd in certain " volunteer " outfits in each state love their " space guns " ( all the bells & whistles attached to ne ), but my Mauser with a pig sticker on the end of it really surprises them, especially on night ops. My answer to them about throwing masses of boolits down range is " Ya can't throw em if ya get tagged 700 meters out "...they chew on that for a few.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    I was born three years after 'Nam ended and I've never been in the military, but I have to say the M16A1 with 20 round mag just looks perfect to my eyes. I use 20 rounders in my M16A4 clone.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, 6.5 Creedmoor, .30 WCF, .308 WCF.

  19. #19
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    I went in the Army in 1977 we used 20 round magazines at first. Later in the yrs. When I was in recon plt. We where issued 30 round magazines I don’t remember that yr.
    The Soldier that Volunteers, fighting for Country and his rights,
    makes the most reliable Soldier on Earth.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master roverboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    The use of AK mags in M16s has been a myth ever since those first 30 round magazines made for the M16 were first used in the late '60s. Same myth as "commies can use our 7.62 ammo in their rifles but we can't use theirs"......
    I had a work supervisor years ago that was a Vietnam vet. He had heard that story about the ammo too. He said he didn't know how it would ever work. I told him there was no way the VietCong could use our ammo in AK's. He said maybe they used 7.62 Nato in a Mosin somehow. Since then, I heard of taking tape or wire and building diameter of case up to fit better in a Mosin chamber.
    Mrs. Hogwallop up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T.

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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