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Thread: I Think I Have a Colt Addiction

  1. #31
    Senior Veteran The War Wagon's Avatar
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    OWG. Old West Guns. Didn't I see an article in the lamestream media about him & his wife not too long ago? Did they retire from the business in the last few years... or, did I just imagine it?
    We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other. - John Adams, 2nd U.S. President -

  2. #32
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    I have absolutely no clue sir.

  3. #33
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    Absolutely awesome AR's! I love them.

    Are you going to do a short post showing off the equally awesome waffle mags? I love those things as well and would like to see some close-up detailed pics of them.
    14EH AIT Instructor-PATRIOT Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer

  4. #34
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Guaranteed along with a few other interesting things.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Combloc View Post
    Guaranteed along with a few other interesting things.
    Nice! Thank you. Looking forward to it.
    14EH AIT Instructor-PATRIOT Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer

  6. #36
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    We're going to look at this next one is some detail. I'll point out some neat features that you don't see anymore but I'm not going into a long history lesson as I do so. That's not the point anywho. The point is to document this one particular rifle. However, other than in one small detail, this example is fairly typical of all rifles produced in the first run of 300. That's not to say that you won't find variation. In fact, I'd be surprised if you didn't. In other words, while using this rifle as a general reference point for all early 601 Colts can be useful, it would be folly to use it as an in stone template for ALL early production Colt 601 rifles. Let's get started. Be warned, this is going to take a while so you might get bored.

    Colt started production of the AR15 in the fall of 1959. All of the early ones were select fire and this one is no exception. Remember, their target customer was the US and international military markets, not civilians. Series production of civilian specific models wouldn't begin until late 1963 with sales beginning in January of 1964. This is the 151st series production Colt AR15 made.



    We are looking at mid-twentieth century firearm History here. Just as with the MP44 and AK47, for better or worse, this design changed the world forever. I cannot put into words how lucky I feel to have had the access to it the following pictures document.

    As an aside, many times when taking close-up shots, holding the camera won't give you a clear enough focus shot and a tripod is too clumsy. Often times, I use whatever is laying around at the moment to steady the camera and many times the magazine is most handy. As with many previous rifles, that was the case here only I was using the first design "waffle" magazine. There were several times I caught myself using it as a support and thought "Wow...some folks would put this in a display case never to be touched and here I am using one as a camera prop to get a steady shot!" It was a little surreal and I loved every second of it. I guess that's neither here nor there and maybe you don't even care but I just wanted to share it.

    I also want to show you the receipt from the last time it was sold in February of 1986. Times have changed a bit:

    Notice the seller wrote on the invoice "M16". At that time, very few people saw this rifle as nothing more than an obsolete version of a then currently available much better version. Why would I want a beat up used rifle with fragile, painted furniture when I can buy factory new and improved model?? Duh! It's a no-brainer! Fortunately, some guys understood. That price included the rifle, a magazine and the original box. I didn't take pictures of the box. It's beat up just like the other one we looked at and it's identical except there are no Styrofoam inserts.


    We'll start at the front with the flash hider:

    Note the knurled lock washer.



    I hear these make excellent prybars for everything from opening ammo cases to field ration cans. They are really good at NOT catching on vegetation in jungles too. An EXCELLENT all around design!


    Notice how nicely finished the front of the sight tower is:



    The back is pretty schweetly smooth too:



    A roll pin was used to affix the sling swivel:

    Later, they switched to a rivet and never looked back.


    Here's the other side:

    For and aft of the roll pin used to hold the gas tube in place, you can see the mild you can see what I presume to be the mold ejector pin marks. The forged sight tower didn't exist yet. You can also see some sort of proof mark in the upper ejector pin mark on the bulge the front sight post threads into.


    You can clearly see the mold line on the bottom of the assembly:



    The adjustment mark is molded into the tower and the sight post is round:



    A top and bottom view of the handguards:



    The green paint has worn away exposing the brown coloring of the polymer/bakelite/fancy space age molded thingy.


    Here's a close-up of that:

    I really like the swirly appearance of it. It's pretty!


    The inside of the left handguard showing the aluminum heat shield:



    The shield is missing from the right side one:

    That kind of blows but it does have an upside in that we get to see the reinforcement ribs molded into it; something we would never see otherwise.


    Here, we are looking at the inside of the slip ring flange at the rear of the handguard:

    Notice how the paint has crazed. Whether this from age, was like that when it was applied or it's from solvent contamination, I have no idea.


    The barrel and gas tube contour:

    I stuck a few magazines in there as a backdrop because the camera was having trouble focusing on the skinny barrel. Although it's out of focus, here is the same shot without the magazines:

    These early gas tubes are not made out of stainless steel. That wouldn't last long for reasons obvious today. It's also bent differently than a modern one.


    A Colt proof on the top rear of the barrel:

    It might be marked by Colt but it was manufactured by Winchester. I could find no other marks. If I remember correctly, roughly the first 18,000 barrels were made by them until Colt had their own barrel production machines. These early barrels were broached too where Colt used button rifling. The twist rate is 1/14.


    That's it for tonight. Now wake up an go to bed!

  7. #37
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Next up are some detail shots showing what I consider interesting parts from the middle of the rifle and stock. We'll start with the magazine well and manufacturer's markings:



    "PATENTS PENDING" That dates it!


    Detail of the trigger area showing how well they cleaned up the forge seam:



    Pistol grip showing worn paint:



    Bottom view:



    Detail view of the right rear area of receiver:

    Some things of note are the dimpled take down pin and safety axle, the roll pin to secure the buffer tube from unscrewing (totally unnecessary and later omitted), svelte early buffer tube boss, full auto sear pin and early style triangular charging handle.


    Very fine serration machining on the charging handle (right side shown):



    Left side of charging handle:

    We'll look at it removed from the rifle later.


    Here, we see the charging handle removed showing a detail of the exquisitely machined cut for the charging handle latch:

    Murica!!! LOL


    Some detail shots showing how well they cleaned up the forge lines inside the carry handle on these early rifles:







    Early style windage adjustment knob (these things always remind me of a telephone dial which in turn reminds me of the Yip-Yip aliens (google "Yip-Yip aliens telephone):





    Everything about these early examples shows that a lot of care was taken in production and assembly. All of the details are finely rendered and almost on par with what we would see in a commercial hunting rifle. If it were blued instead of phosphate and anodized, it would be absolutely beautiful. BUT, it has a special beauty all its own as it is.


    And here is the rear sight leaf:





    This thing hasn't been cleaned in a while; it's kinda' dusty! Ignoring that, the sight sure hasn't changed much over the years.


    HOLY CRAP!!! I FINALLY remembered to take a picture of the ejection port door from the outside!!

    This is the first pattern and has the large,flat, square thingamajig.


    Here it is open showing the early roll pin setup:
    Notice that the detent pin body is rounded and not faceted on this one. VERY interesting! Instead of an early faceted one and a later rounded one, is it possible that both existed at the same time? Yep, I think so.


    Green painted butt stock:

    Normally, the wackjob side of me would have taken a picture of the other side even though it's identical but I resisted the compulsion this time! I will NOT be ruled by OCD!! HAHA!! While we are looking at this area, note the sling swivel is held in place by a roll pin. This would be the standard arrangement until the stock design was reworked to include a storage trap. At that time the rear sling swivel was redesigned to be static and held in place by the lower butt plate screw.


    The hard rubber butt plate:

    Note the early stock retaining screw which lacks a drain hole.


    A close-up showing the left side of the front takedown pin in situ:

    These early ones were not captive and were held in place with a spring and ball bearing. Here it is removed from the receiver:



    These were easy to lose so they changed the design so that they were retained in the lower receiver at all times.


    Well, after I took the front takedown pin out and pushed the rear takedown pin to the side, the whole cursed thing fell apart! This is a good stopping point. We'll cover the insides in the next post.
    Last edited by Combloc; 08-09-2019 at 10:40 PM.

  8. #38
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    In this post, we'll start looking at some internals. To be honest, there isn't a whole lot to look at because very little seems to have changed over the years. Still, there are some things to be seen. We'll start with a basic field stripped shot:

    Everything looks pretty normal. The most obvious difference is the entirely chromed bolt assembly. We'll be looking at that in detail in the next post.


    Looking into the trigger group cavity with the hammer cocked:

    I'm not sure what that extra part behind the hammer is for.....


    With the hammer decocked:



    Hammer profile and proof mark:



    A view into the magazine well from the top for no other reason than it was there:



    Now here is something VERY odd:

    The hold open has been modified and there is a spring and detent arrangement which allows you to click the hold open into either the engaged or disengaged position. It will still work just like a regular hold open when the magazine runs dry but it will not automatically return to the disengaged position if charging handle pulled to the rear after the magazine is removed. You must press the hold open button in order for it to release. In a similar fashion, inserting a fresh magazine and pulling the charging handle to the rear will not release the hold open. Again, you must press the button. This is not a normal feature and seems to be a one off modification done by the factory. Why Colt did this is unknown but my understanding is that sometimes standard rifles were removed from the assembly line and sent to the tool room for experimentation only to be later returned to stock and sent out the door in the modified state. I assume this is one of those rifles.


    The buffer in place:



    Buffer removed:

    Looking down the tube, you can see a small hole that was used for tightening the tube down.


    First pattern buffer:



    A detail shot showing the rear of the buffer:



    Front of magazine well and pivot pin lug machining detail:



    First pattern charging handle:









    While neat looking, it really is too small and fiddly. The newer version may look less space-age but it's a much more ergonomic design.


    Front lug detail:



    If I understand this thing correctly, the counter bore in the picture immediately above is for the ball bearing in the takedown pin to lock into.


    Rear lug detail:



    The bevel is there to allow for any misalignment between the upper and lower receivers during reassembly.


    Looking forward into the breach from the bottom:

    Other than the missing M4 feed ramp cuts, it looks pretty much the same as current production.


    The next post will be entirely devoted to the bolt. See you then!

  9. #39
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Now it's time to look at the bolt assembly. For the most part, it's the same as a standard modern AR15 bolt but it's got lots of bling because it's almost entirely chromed. Still there are some differences and I'll point out the ones I know as we go. I'm no expert so you might see things I missed. If so, let me know because this is all about learning!


    Right side:



    Left side:

    Note that the firing pin retainer pin is different. We'll look at that in a bit.


    Top:



    Bottom:



    Bolt face:

    I want to say that newer locking lugs might be beefed up compared to these but I might be wrong??


    Rear of the firing pin in situ:



    Disassembled:

    There is nothing special in the way it comes apart. It's still the same today.


    Closeups of the firing pin retainer pin:



    From what I've seen, these tended to be fragile and were eventually replaced with the now ubiquitous cotter pin of today.


    First pattern firing pin:





    Compare this to the one in your personal AR and you'll immediately see just how beefy this one is. Very soon after US military acceptance, a slam fire issue arose. After the typical stupid amount of time and money spent government approach, it was decided that lightening the firing pin solved the problem. I would think that should have been a five minute discussion but hey, I'm just a dumb grunt.


    The cam pin:

    This is one of the few parts not chromed. The other major parts are the bolt key screws and the gas rings. I'm sure stuff like the ejector spring and extractor spring aren't chromed either but that should go without saying.


    The bolt head:



    I guess "bolt head" is not technically correct and I should just be calling it the "bolt" but I'm a roller delayed blowback kinda' guy and used to that terminology. Sue me. Notice no "MP"mark. That wasn't happening yet.


    The extractor showing some neato torpedo looking machining marks:



    A closeup showing one side of the extractor retaining pin:

    Nice chamfer on the pin!


    So nice in fact that we might as well see if the other side is so well done:

    And it is! Schweet!!! Whoa dude.....it's just a pin.


    The bolt face again:

    We already saw this but I took the picture so I didn't see the point in letting it go to waste. Melvin Johnson of Johnson Rifle fame came up with this locking lug configuration and he worked for Armalite so now you know about that. But you already knew that didn't you? Yeah, you did.


    A close up of the bolt key and carrier:

    Again, compare this to your modern AR15 and you'll see some slight design changes to the key.


    Closeup of the hole the head of the firing pin retaining pin nests in:

    The dark veiny looking funk is grease.


    And BLAMMO!!! That ends this semi-detailed look at AR15 number 251, the 151st one ever to roll off the assembly line at Colt's manufacturing in Hartford Connecticut. The thing that strikes me most about these early rifles is the care and craftmanship that went into them. Compared to today's production, this thing is finely made. But in the context of 1959 manufacturing, this rifle was cheaply made and even kind of rough. Today everything is made by robots and CNC machines but this was made before that stuff existed. Yes, much of it was made with then cutting edge casting and forging, but the touch of the human hand is quite evident in many places, particularly the well dressed mold lines of the upper and lower receivers. Also, not only is it quite light of weight compared to today's AR15/M16, but it just feels more handy and well balanced. I like the 601 because it's pure and close to the original design. It's what the designers intended before bureaucrats and committees sullied the vision. It's the Original AR15 and it is good. So that's that. But we're not done boring the pants off you yet my friends. In the next post, we'll take a detailed look at some early magazines and pouches. And after that....well, I don't want to give it away just yet. Keep checking back though; you might enjoy what's coming up. I hope you do anyway. Bye for now!
    Last edited by Combloc; 08-12-2019 at 10:13 PM.

  10. #40
    Senior Veteran The War Wagon's Avatar
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    GREAT pictures, btw. What camera are you using?
    We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other. - John Adams, 2nd U.S. President -

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