Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Content At I Work On A Starship

It's a bit of history this time, the inconclusive Battle of Ganymede....

He came to still annoyed, his XM-16E in his lap, a spent casing broken and stuck in the chamber. Frickin' poodleshooter! The light was wrong and he still felt seasick. They said you got used to it but he was starting to doubt that applied to everyone. He reached for his "advanced lightweight combat weapon" — the miserable malfing toy — and winced at sudden pain in his right arm, stabbing like lightning. He looked down and felt his irritation change to a stab of fear as he saw the huge dent in the joint protector at the right shoulder of his spacesuit. Lucky I'm not dead, he thought, pushing the fear away, then raised his head to stare at the empty, icy waste before him, a maze of pressure ridges and drifts of powdered ice and and rock dust, punctuated by the starker black and white chaos of a fresh crater perhaps a hundred feet away. It was hard to judge distances, until he realized a lumpy shape in the middle distance was a spacesuited form, awkwardly sprawled face down; on the edge of the crater, other shapes had to be a helmet, an arm, possibly a torso— He looked back down at his rifle. Yeah, some luck.

Story continues at I Work On A Starship.


Drang said...

Mehtinks if the ejected brass broke off in the ejection port, something weird happened. Never saw that with any iteration of the M16 family, myself.

Then again, I never used one in 0-G, vacuum, either.

That you know of... ;-)

Roberta X said...

It's stuck in the chamber. Early M-16s suffered from this, made worse by powder fouling and some degree of belief the advanced design didn't need cleaning. I think there may be an additional problem with vacuum-welding in this instance.

Your modern AR-15 has had that problem designed right out, of course.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Another stellar installment. Can't wait for a hard copy :)

Drang said...

Your modern AR-15 has had that problem designed right out, of course.
Ahem. You forget, dear lady, that I spent more than a few days toting those things, including XM16s, and at one point an M16 (no modifier) with a stainless steel bolt. (those were a problem in Earth's atmosphere, can't say what vacuum would have done to them.)
I was referring to "a spent casing broken and stuck in the chamber"; never saw the brass break. Maybe I misunderstood what you meant. Saw plenty of other malfs, though, including some they say can't happen.

WV: kitican. Pretty much anything she sets her mind to...

Drang said...

Oh, yes: Having the M16 developed for space combat answers a lot of questions, too.

sam said...

Very Heinlein-esque, m'dear. Can't wait to see where this goes.

I am familiar with the XM-177/GAU-5 variants of the M-16 platform. The ones I worked around usually had a telescoping stock and a short barrel, and were used by troops who needed to work in close quarters.

The only shiny bolt carriers I saw were chrome-plated. I was never issued one. Easier to keep inspection ready clean.

I would think temperature extremes in space (and very fine dust, as on the Moon) would be problematic with any M-16. There were several different lubricants issued for the platform, depending on climate.

I still have a couple of bottles of 1980's vintage LSA in my cleaning kit, that still work just fine.

Roberta X said...

D.W., so, is the issue "broken" but not "stuck in the chamber?" I can fix that.

sam said...

There was a malfunction with the M-16 (and the M-60 for that matter) called a "ruptured round."

IIRC, that meant a split casing stuck in the chamber. The tool for correcting that malfunction was called a "ruptured round extractor," and in my experience, was not generally issued for the M-16, at least not in peacetime.

Drang said...

"Ruptured round", broken brass, yes. Like I said, never heard of it, although it was a problem with the Trapdoor Springfields (lots of Trapdoors at Little Bighorn with busted brass stuck in the chambers), and I believe that brass extractors were issued for the '03 Springfield and Garand, although, again, I don't recall hearing that it was a particular problem. Tam would know more about it than I.

Again, in the context of the story, vacuum welding may be a particular problem, maybe they used the issue Lubricant, Small Arms and it didn't last in vacuum, something like that. (Maybe Lubricant, Arctic Weather would work better?)

Yes, early M16s had problems because someone told the troops that they did not need to be cleaned. Units that did not believe it and made cleaning a daily rite had no such problem.

The XM177 was also known as the CAR15, and was the predecessor of the M4 carbine.

WV: thorsang. Really. I cannot decide if I want to know the song that Thor sang or not.