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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


After purchasing my original XM177E2 upper I have been trying to research some history on this weapon.

My main question is how many of these were made? The only number I have seen is that the original order was for 510 units. Could there have been subsequent orders?

Was the Model 639 built from the left over units or did they make them from scratch?

I figure the civilian units would be hard to pin down but there must be documentation for the military guns somewhere.

These weapons are among some of the most popular among those who build replicas but I am just floored by how little information about the original guns there is out there. Even "The Black Rifle" has only a small section on them.

To further muddy the water the seller of these consecutive serial numbered 639's claims there were only 100 of them made.

WTT/S: Two NIB Colt 639s, consecutive S/Ns, matching moderators -- *EXTREMELY RARE* - AR15.COM

I would appreciate any info or direction to source material you guys can provide.

Heck I'll settle for "I don't knows" and pics of your XM replicas.
 

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I remember mine as having an 11.5" barrel and a 4.5" flash suppressor - making the barrel assembly 15" long.

It was flat-sided, too - as was the original AR15/M16 in the early contracts.

Just in case you aren't aware - the 'XM' part of the nomenclature stood for 'Experimental Model' - it would be classified as the 'CAR-15'.

Tracking down the number of military ones contracted for will have to be done through Colt, as I kinda doubt Ordnance is going to provide any numbers.

Information was issued as a Supplement to TM 9-1005-249-14/1, and also through the Vietnam-era 'PS Magazine', with Connie Rodd explaining everything.
 

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After purchasing my original XM177E2 upper I have been trying to research some history on this weapon.

My main question is how many of these were made? The only number I have seen is that the original order was for 510 units. Could there have been subsequent orders?




[I would expect so. XM177E2 was Army designation. GAU-5A/A USAF designated Model 629's were probably a significant additional #.
Don't expect to find a precise answer.]



Was the Model 639 built from the left over units or did they make them from scratch?


[Built separately for LE, early 70's.]



I figure the civilian units would be hard to pin down but there must be documentation for the military guns somewhere.

[Estimate from my NFA dealer/collector sources, maybe 200 transferable Mod 639 marked rifles in the NFA registry. Plus a few US Prop/ XM177E2 marked that made it out as transferables . Don't expect precise #'s.]



These weapons are among some of the most popular among those who build replicas but I am just floored by how little information about the original guns there is out there. Even "The Black Rifle" has only a small section on them.

{There's not many, only seen a couple of 639's, and only military GAU-5's.]


To further muddy the water the seller of these consecutive serial numbered 639's claims there were only 100 of them made.

[My source estimates at least 200]

WTT/S: Two NIB Colt 639s, consecutive S/Ns, matching moderators -- *EXTREMELY RARE* - AR15.COM

I would appreciate any info or direction to source material you guys can provide.

{To me, a transferable 639 not neutered by a replacement flash hider (real 639 has a moderator, a second tax stamp needed), worth 24-25K. A transferable XM177/E1/E2 with Prop marking-good luck finding one- ? 35K?- who knows?}


Heck I'll settle for "I don't knows" and pics of your XM replicas.


The whole XM177, XM177E1, XM177E2, GAU-5A, GAU-5A/A thing gets more complicated , hope this helps.
 

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The only thing I'll add for the moment is that the seller's claim that only 100 of them were made stamped as Model 639.
That does not mean there were only 100 XM-177E2s made, merely only 100 with that specific stamping. Personally that picayune distinction means very little to me.

You will find some with the 10.3" and 11.5" bbl. uppers with slabside lowers, supposedly mismatched moderators between the two different barrel lengths and the two different moderator lengths.

I'll have slightly more to add about the subject tomorrow. Nothing earth shaking but it may be interesting.
But, Dogface is the expert on them since he lived with one for a spell.
 

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The only thing I'll add for the moment is that the seller's claim that only 100 of them were made stamped as Model 639.
That does not mean there were only 100 XM-177E2s made, merely only 100 with that specific stamping. Personally that picayune distinction means very little to me.
The Model 639 was later civilian production. They are later produced XM177E2 , just different roll marks.

Numbers of civvy transferable 639's (we can own those) , have zero to do ,with numbers of earlier non-registered military production of XM's or GAU-5's.
Apples and Oranges.
 

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The Model 639 was later civilian production. They are later produced XM177E2 , just different roll marks.

Numbers of civvy transferable 639's , have zero to do ,with numbers of earlier non-registered military production of XM's or GAU-5's.
Apples and Oranges.
Yes, I know. I should have mentioned that. Due to law signed by Pres. Carter, and with policy enforced by the Dept. of State and Customs, Colt was not allowed to sell this model internationally with the moderator. Later models with 11.5 " bbls. and A2 type flash hiders were called Commandos and sold internationally and domestically. First with the M-16A1 style upper and then the later A2 type upper. Both have separate Colt model numbers.
Israel was one of the best customers for the various Commando models. Only 11.5" bbls. and both the A1 and A2 type uppers. One model is my email address, as a matter of fact :)

"Numbers of civvy transferable 639's , have zero to do ,with numbers of earlier non-registered military production of XM's or GAU-5's.
Apples and Oranges.[/QUOTE]"

I particularly agree with this and it was one of the main reasons I made my comments. Right on, as we used to say
:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
They are apples and oranges if the uppers are different. If the uppers are the same then my upper could be either.

My information indicates that the barrel markings ( C MP C ) were used '67-'70 as was the counterbored front pivot pin boss.

If this is the case then the 639 should have different markings and no counterbore. I can find no info on the 639 so I can compare.

I contacted the seller of the two 639's and they are currently at Julia's and he can't lay hands on them to tell me what markings they have. I hope to check out the auction photos to answer some questions.
 

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I read in a number of sources that said the Vietnam "CAR-15" with the 4 1/2" moderator was plainly marked "Colt Commando".
Some sources wondered why people called it the CAR-15 when it was marked "Commando".

I suspect a lot more were made then thought.
I read some sources that said Special Ops units had to use very badly worn carbines because the CAR's were being short-stopped by REMF staff officers in the early days of it's use.

Later, the situation improved and a lot of people were issued the CAR including Special Forces, Ranger/LRP and LRRP units, SOG units, SEAL's, and Air Force forward air controllers, among others. That's a lot of CAR's.

Here's my old carbine. Not totally authentic.
Gun Firearm Trigger Rifle Assault rifle
 

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I read in a number of sources that said the Vietnam "CAR-15" with the 4 1/2" moderator was plainly marked "Colt Commando".
Some sources wondered why people called it the CAR-15 when it was marked "Commando".

I suspect a lot more were made then thought.
I read some sources that said Special Ops units had to use very badly worn carbines because the CAR's were being short-stopped by REMF staff officers in the early days of it's use.

Later, the situation improved and a lot of people were issued the CAR including Special Forces, Ranger/LRP and LRRP units, SOG units, SEAL's, and Air Force forward air controllers, among others. That's a lot of CAR's.
Absolutely, and one reason I have never been impressed with those Mod 639s. Aside from the fact I couldn't afford them!
They have no military history and are somewhat irrelevant.

But, since BigRix wants to find out barrel stampings I'll take my Colt parts reproduction XM-177E2 out and take a look for him. It has a Colt 11.5 bbl. that was on an Israeli upper with the A1 sight system that one of the AR companies were selling years back. I used the barrel for the project carbine and found a really nice Colt gray upper civillian large hole upper to use with my Colt AR-15A2 SBR lower, obviating the need for one of those danged screw adaptors. I could never cotton to the civilian large hole and screw retained rifles very much. Since the two receiver halves are both .325 take down holes, I have some sort of nice oversize front take down pin on the weapon. I can't remember who made them. Now there are 3 or 4 companies that make pins like that.

Rix, the barrel that came from my Commando upper is later than the XM series rifle. Still, the barrel markings may be of some use to you. I will report back.

Out, Mike
 

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The CAR to XM to E1 to E2, to civilian Model 639, were a continuum.

Followed by the M16A1 carbine, which sort of had the bugs finally worked out .

Reportedly Colt is coming out with a semi retro XM w/ faux moderator- maybe more practical for BigRix to get one of those.

Hmmmmm....... Maybe I could use one too....;)

Cheaper than a 639 .....:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No updated pics on this build as I ended up selling the upper to someone who is restoring a real registered XM177E2. I have since replaced it with another of similar vintage and will post some pics when I get back home from the road.

The "new" upper has a little more wear. Just the way I like them.
 

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Not long ago, I posted some info on my NIB Colt Model 639 with matching numbered original sound /flash suppressor. Lots of trivia detail. Included was the story behind the 100 units made that were transferable. Rather than re-write that extensive post, I would hope it is still available. Check it out.
 

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Found my old post and not as detailed as I recalled. The 100 number of Colt Model 639 came from an order by "Aeromarine", a Class 3 dealer in Alabama? Apparently, they order 100 Model 639's for an export deal and then that deal either fell through or Aeromarine decided the guns were more valuable on the American civilian market (I suspect the latter). Once Aeromarine had possession of the guns, which Colt never sold directly on the civilian market - only to PD's and as "sales samples" to Class 3 dealers. Colt always restricted M16 sales as such and if a Class 3 dealer sold their M16 samples to civilians, then Colt would not sell them any more. That's how Colt M16's have ended up in civilian hands - or by PD's selling theirs to Class 3 dealers or civilians.

The 100 Model 639's bought by Aeromarine had the flash/sound suppressors - unmarked, no serial numbers. ATF later ruled they were "sound suppressors" as they reduced muzzle signature by 3dB's. ATF then contacted all 100 owners demanding they return to ATF the sound suppressors for which they would replace with a traditional "birdcage" style flash suppressor. ATF tried this heavy-handed approach and most owners complied. My seller refused (and rightfully so as he came into possession prior to the ATF ruling - an ex post facto law illegal under the Constitution since legal when purchased). He went back and forth with ATF until they said he could keep it tax-free if he allowed ATF to serial number the offending suppressor. He insisted the ATF etched serial number match his Model 639 serial number - and ATF did so. Most all other Model 639 owners just let ATF keep the original sound/flash suppressors or let ATF etch a 4 digit number of ATF's choosing. On mine, the ATF serial number was obviously shiny, etched through the suppressor's parkerized coating. I would bet out of the original 100 Model 639's that only very few have matching serial numbered suppressors like mine did.
 

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Found my old post and not as detailed as I recalled. The 100 number of Colt Model 639 came from an order by "Aeromarine", a Class 3 dealer in Alabama? I would bet out of the original 100 Model 639's that only very few have matching serial numbered suppressors like mine did.
Do you know where this one went to?
 

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If I can find my POS camera, I'll take a few more pics of my 639. I'll even try to get some pics of the factory box with all internals and the "Aeromarine" shipping label.

My understanding is that Colt had an order to ship some 639s to the Shah of Iran and the deal fell through for one reason or another. The weapons sat around the Colt plant for some time during which Colt came under financial difficulty. Colt sold all the 639s to Aeromarine for some much needed positive cash flow. Somewhere along the line, Uncle Sugar came forward and determined that all the 639 moderators were suppressors and needed to be serial numbered and registered. The 639s that were still in Aeromarine's inventory were returned to Colt, serial numbered, registered, and returned to Aeromarine. All retail customers who had purchased a 639 prior to the new registration requirement were given the option to either get them to Colt for registration or send them back to Aeromarine and get a flash hider.

Of the dozen or so 639s I have seen, all had matching serial numbered moderators. They had the same serial number as their receiver with a "SU" prefix added. Nothing more was done. But, one also had a Colt logo added. I assumed that this weapon was one of those that was returned to Colt from a retail customer and not Aeromarine. Who knows...





 

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As promised here are a few pics of my 639 with packaging:


(The original Aeromarine box. My 639 and M16A1 Carbine are in the background.)


(Aeromarine shipping label)


(Easter basket type green box filler.)


(Factory accessories that came in the box. The Colt 20 round magazine is .223 marked on its bottom plate.)


(US Army manuals that came in the box. They don't appear to have been used.)


(The 639 was placed within a Colt rust preventative plastic bag. The bag is not s/n stickered as I have seen with new AR-15s.)


(M16A1 Carbine over the 639. The black gizmo between the two is a clip on/off brass deflector made of metal and wood. It works quite well.)


(This was the last picture taken prior to my camera going tits up. Oh well...)
 

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Here's mine I found it in a pawn shop last winter. It has a Stag lower, I don't know who made the upper, but it runs just fine.
 
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