Woodhouse Eaves, 1989, there were 2 of these in the armoury. No magazines that i saw. ... lots of AK, and defunct British weapons in there, occasionally brung out for half-arsed exercises.Good Evening,
Late last year I posted a thread about MoD use of the AR-15 rifle from Borneo through Operation BANNER. I'd like to pick your brains again on an obscure subset of the AR-15, namely the very first few rifles that were purchased from Colt back in 1963. The AR 15 was first tested by the South Vietnamese Army, US Special Forces Advisors and SEALs for Project AGILE in 1962 where it received high praise for it's light weight, resistance to corrosion, and the lethal ballistics of its 55 grn high velocity cartridge.
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This is the Model 602 from Colt (who bought the patent from Armalite in 1959) it is a product improved model of the 601. The major improvement was tightening the rifling twist from 1/14" to 1/12" to better stabilize projectiles in arctic conditions. Minor changes included black furniture instead of the 601's green painted brown fiberglass stock and hand guards, and thicker prongs on the flash suppressor to prevent breakage.
The UK would purchase a number of this model for the Indonesian Confrontation in Borneo and use them to great effect in the hands of none other than THEM
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Photos of THEM with the 602 variant of the AR-15
These early models lack one significant feature, a captive front take down pin. Both the 601 and 602 had a front pin that could be totally removed from the lower receiver during routine cleaning, clearly not a desirable feature while on a weeks long patrol in the most remote jungle in the world.
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DON'T lose this...
This defect would be rectified by Colt in early 1964 with the introduction of a captive front pin in models 603 and 604
The next two photos will illustrate the difference
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The 602 Lower receiver with the push through front pin
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The improved 604 lower that prevent the loss of the front pin by means of a spring detent in the small tube or fence
In the field
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US Navy Seal in Vietnam circa 1963 or '64
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USAF Security Forces mid 90's (the USAF kept these things for a rather long time, though the flash surppessor has been upgraded)
I apologize for using US images, I cannot find any clear UK images of the earliest models.
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You can see the "fencing" on the Gurkha's AR-15 just below the ejection port
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On the Falklands 1982, a really clear shot of the "fencing"
The question to ARRSErs is did you ever run across any of the older "slab side" AR-15's during your service?
If so, what happened to them? I've not seen any photos of them in UK service apart from early pics of Borneo.
In the US the Air Force held on to the 601's and 602's in their security forces until the mid to late 1990's
As always, thank you all for your time and insights.
I was a keen reader of War Machine mag and recignised the rifle - Int Corps WO2 took the time to have a natter, said they'd come in from some esoteric Green Slime connection, been there for years.