Putting together a late war special forces loadout

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Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Jin » Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:08 pm

I'm a longtime fan of Vietnam war movies and I've finally gotten around to learning more about the gear and weaponry used during the war, so I've been thinking about putting together a Nam loadout at some point.

I know all about the M-56 gear used by most infantry through most of the war and the odd bits of M-67 gear that came late in the the war, but I'm not sure what sort of kit would be used by a late war special forces unit. Mind you I'm exactly sure what kind of special forces unit I'd like to do an impression of (seal, marine, etc.) so I'm open to suggestion on this one.


One thing I do know though is that I want to use a slightly non-standard weapon with a small amount of customization and I'm not sure if it would fit the period or not, so I'd like some advice on it. It would basically be the gun from this picture...

Image

An XM-177 with a standard outer barrel mounted long M203 underneath. I know that's a picture from late in the war so the gun would fit, but what I'm curious about is if the 2 modifications I would like to do to it would fit the time period. First, I would want to replace the sliding stock with an M16A1 full stock. Would a customization like that be suitable?
The other thing is that I was hoping to be able to put a M16 carry handle mounted tube scope just like this one on it...

Image

Mind you I've done a lot of searching around and I've been unable to find any information about the use of scopes in Vietnam (aside from the gigantic starlight NV scopes) so I'm not sure if this type of scope would fit or not. Any ideas on that one?
The only other thing I'd do with the gun is to steal a M203 leaf sight off a M16 heat shield upper handguard and mount it on the upper handguard of the XM-177 since the operator of the M203 would need something to aim it with, and although you can't see one in the picture I posted I'm pretty sure there is one there.


So yeah... at this point I really just need some advice on if my non-standard weaponry would fit a VN late war special forces loadout and what kind of gear I should use for such a loadout (BDUs [tiger stripe?], LBE, helmet/no-helmet, etc.) :)
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Erik » Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:38 pm

Jin wrote: First, I would want to replace the sliding stock with an M16A1 full stock. Would a customization like that be suitable?

The other thing is that I was hoping to be able to put a M16 carry handle mounted tube scope just like this one on it...

http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x274 ... pe_jpg.jpg
The M16a1 stock would be realistic, this was done in Vietnam.

I am not so sure about the Colt scope. Most Vietnam-era SpecOps weapons I see have single-point scopes mounted on them. These are getting hard to find becuase they are used on Star Wars blasters, so propbuilders are snatching them up.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Shady-Cadence » Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:24 pm

Jin- I purchased an M-4 from Capt. Kill that has a full stock, a 203 and a 3 prong flash suppressor, that's my VN weapon. It looks sweet.
Also, thank you for posting another pic from Vietnam with someone wearing WOODLAND! (I thought my book was in error!)

I am also sending you a PM on another topic.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Tank » Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:11 pm

Shady-Cadence wrote:Jin- I purchased an M-4 from Capt. Kill that has a full stock, a 203 and a 3 prong flash suppressor, that's my VN weapon. It looks sweet.
Also, thank you for posting another pic from Vietnam with someone wearing WOODLAND! (I thought my book was in error!)

I am also sending you a PM on another topic.

Actually, that's not woodland....It's ERDL. They look kind of similar but are not the same.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Jin » Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:26 pm

Thanks Erik!

Good to know that fitting a A1 full stock to a XM-177 would have been a pretty common modification, but I just wanted to make sure. I did a bit of searching around and I still haven't been able to figure out exactly when the Colt scope went into production. I've seen early models sold bundled with Vietnam era AR15s but I'm still not sure if they really are period or not.
I did some searching around "single-point scopes" too but I came up empty, so if by any chance you could point me in the right direction of one that would be much appreciated.

I did have a quick gun related question that I thought you might know the answer to though...
What is the real difference between an XM-177 and an M733? Is a XM just a M733 with an A1 style rear sight instead of an A2 and a XM flashider rather than a birdcage one? I'm guessing that the M733 came too late to use for a Nam loadout, but a JG M733 might be pretty cheap to convert to an XM-177 if the barrel length & handguards are the same.



And Shady, hey man!
Glad I could help you out with the woodland camo reference. I can't say for sure exactly when/what woodland patterns were used in Vietnam, but it seems there was at least some use of it late in the war.
Edit: Ahh, turns out it's ERDL... that explains things :)
Nice setup you have with your AEG too, sounds pretty cool!


As far as my loadout goes, I think the whole SOF style loadout will make things a lot easier to put together than doing a GI loadout since I won't have to follow a standard kit list. As long as the gear is period or period replica it's pretty much mix and match as I see fit.
I'll probably just go with a M-56 H-Harness and pistol belt with a mix of M-56 and M-67 pouches and a Chi-Com chest rig to carry the larger 30 round AR mags ( hey, I'm doing late war SOF, I can get away with 30 rounders! :lol: ). An old OD boonie or bandanna should be just fine too, saves me cash on a brain bucket. After that just throw on some tiger stripe BDUs and jungle boots and I'm good to go. Maybe a period flak vest too if I can spare the cash, but we'll see on that one.



So that's pretty much my plan at the moment, but any other loadout advice would be much appreciated!
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Tank » Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:14 pm

There are several differences between the XM-177 and the M733.
There are also differences between the XM-177E1 & XM-177E2.

The primary, cosmetic, differences between the XM-177E2 & the M733 are as follows:
XM-177E2 has M16 A1 type upper receiver, pistol grip, and delta ring, as well as the elongated flash hider.
The M733 has M16 A2 type upper receiver, pistol grip, and delta ring.
The two guns also have different size handguards, and a differently shaped forward assist.

Also XM-177s have no bayonet lug.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Jin » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:09 pm

(We really need a "bowing" smiley)

Thanks a lot for that info Tank! :D
Looks like if I want an XM-177 E2 my best bet is going to be to just buy a Classic Army and not try to convert something into something else. Thanks much mate.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Risto » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:22 pm

One thing I'd like to say about the whole full stock on an XM issue is that, while it would be possible to fit a full stock on an XM177, I haven't seen substantial photo evidence of it being done. It really wouldn't seem likely that an SF/recon type would desire a solid stock on their colt commando, so this would give off the look of an "airsoft mod" more than anything.... I understand there might not be any way around it though, with the "battery space" up front being taken up with the 203.

If you're looking for a set of ERDL Jungle Fatigues, Moore Militaria makes replicas.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Yoroiden » Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:40 pm

I've only seen one picture of an XM-177 upper with an M16 lower combination, and it wasn't in the field. While the text claimed that it was a popular conversion, the evidence is showing otherwise.

As far as scopes go, I've got a few pics of the Colt scope in use around 1969-later (I think, book is packed away at the moment), and one pic that shows a commercial, likely hunting, scope mounted on an XM-177E2.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Chadwick » Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:44 pm

there is a great book on vietnam weapons with a whole chapter on snipers and scopes. i cat recal the author though.
So, as Woodstock rocked on and the boomers got all wild on their weed, the M16 continued to be, and continues to be, the military's weapon of choice - for some weird, unexplainable reason

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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Erik » Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:13 am

I've got some documentation, but I am at work and don't have access to it. I'll post more tonight when I get home.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Lord Ashtaroth » Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:35 pm

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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Erik » Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:03 pm

OK off work now.

It is entirely plausible that an operator might have an A1 stock on his CAR15. This could be an "in-country" modification. You could explain this as part of your persona's back story. Maybe the aluminum stock got bent when a jeep ran over the gun, and 'A1 stocks were all that were available for replacement? I wouldn't say it was in common use, but it's plausible.

For a lot of great info about historical M16 variants, check this link:

http://www.ar15.com/lite/topic.html?b=3&f=123&t=296919

You can see there the subtle difference in designs. Keep in mind, a lot of the early guns (such as my '607) were cobbled together by armorers "in country." The CAR15 did not go into full production for some time.

Here is a pic of the singlepoint scope:

Image

As I said before, these are highly sought after by Star Wars propbuilders and retro AR15 fans alike, however I have seen them on eBay.

While we are on the subject of singlepoints, you might want to think about an Ivory Coast impression.

Dick Meadows, a co-founder of Delta Force, armed with a CAR15 with a singlepoint:
Image

US Special Forces soldiers participating in the raid:
Image

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ivory_Coast

On to uniforms:

Judging by the many photos in the book "Green Beret in Vietnam 1957-1973" (Osprey, 2002) Special Forces in the field wore exclusively tigerstripes (locally produced) with no insignia. Tiger stripe boonie hats were the preferred headgear (you don't want to go without a hat in the jungle). A practice on some teams was to trim the brim to about 1/2 its diameter (I am told these boonies were wider and floppier than the ones issued today). Some troopers would remove the brim altogether and wear it like a skullcap.

Gear was the M1956 suspender system. In some pics, there are troopers wearing a BAR belt instead of the M1956 belt - presumably to hold several M16 magazines. I checked into it and BAR belts - even repros - are pretty expensive.

In Phillip Katcher's book "The American Soldier: US Armies in uniform, 1755 to the present" (Military Press, 1990) SF units in Vietnam are also shown wearing the tigerstripes. Colored scarves are shown in many photos (these were presented as unit-level awards; I would research them more before wearing one).

One picture in this book is very interesting, it's a SF soldier stationed in Thailand in 1972. He is wearing black BDUs with slant pockets (Thai Army issue) and has nametapes with black letting on a black background. His gear is standard M1956 stuff.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Risto » Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:05 pm

Heres the only picture of a full stock on an XM177 that I've ever seen: http://vietnamairsoft.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=609
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Erik » Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:52 pm

I knew I saw this somewhere

Image

Source, which is a goldmine of reference photos:

http://www.ar15.com/lite/topic.html?b=3&f=123&t=290812
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Zippy » Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:03 am

M16 carry handle scope used on LRRP modified M16's

I don't know if it is the exact model as the commerically sold M16 carry handle scopes but it looks exactly the same.

I can't find any on XMs because that particular album that I found those pictures are early in the war before XM's were issued

http://www.lcompanyranger.com

Image

Image
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by beanz27 » Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:39 am

I got a book called "Sniper" that has a lot of info on what scopes they used on their M1-D rifles and the early M40's, if you want that.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Lord Ashtaroth » Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:42 pm

How's your impression coming along Jin? I can't wait to see it!
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Jin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:01 am

Actually, I'm just about ready to start putting my impression together :D

Finally got the funds, now there's just a few details I need to sort out...


1) What mount set would I need to attach a CA long military type M203 to a CA XM177-E2?
Classic Army makes a whole bunch of different military type M203 mount sets and I have no idea which one I need. I contacted CA directly about this but I've yet to get a response.

2) Would an XM-177 with an M203 used in Nam have a leaf sight on the upper handguard?
I can't tell from the picture I've found if there is one there or not. If it should have a M203 leaf sight than I think I'll get a G&P A2 long M203 handguard and steal the leaf sight off it.

3) Are there any kinds of 8.4v or 9.6v battery packs that I could sandwich between the top rear section of the M203 and the outer barrel?
I'd really rather not have to go full stock on this one unless I absolutely have to, so I'm hoping I can find a way to fit a battery pack between the top rear section of the M203 and the outer barrel.



That's pretty much it! Sort those 3 details out and my impression is ready to be put together!
And thank you again (really, thank you thank you thank you!) to everyone who provided so much great information and historical references to help me out here. You guys are tops :mrgreen:
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Tank » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:48 pm

I can't answer #1 but here's my input on the other questions.

#2. It would most likely have the carry handle mounted quadrant sight.

#3. Unless you go Li-PO you're probably not going to find a battery to fit up front with the GL attached.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Shady-Cadence » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:09 pm

In regards to Tank's reply on #2:
http://www.forum.mnairsoft.org/viewtopi ... rant+sight

He may still have it.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by B-money » Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:50 pm

I recently picked up a GB M16A1. I believe this would make for a very accurate Vietnam era re-enactment.

What type of slings and scopes would mount on this gun for authentic Vietnam-era looks?

It does not have a removable carry-handle so I would need one like discussed above.

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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Tank » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:10 pm

B-money wrote:I recently picked up a GB M16A1. I believe this would make for a very accurate Vietnam era re-enactment.

What type of slings and scopes would mount on this gun for authentic Vietnam-era looks?

It does not have a removable carry-handle so I would need one like discussed above.

-Brian
By "GB" do you mean Golden Bow (aka JG)??

If so...They are not accurate for VN era. W/O getting into the specifics, the JG M16A1 is actually an M16 A2 with A1 handguards and pistol grip.

As to the type of mounts/scopes...Yes, you would need the above mentioned.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by B-money » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:22 am

Image

Ok so we have M16A1, M16A2, M4, M16A4, from top to bottom. I see the slight differences between my JG/GB M16A1 and a real M16A1. The clip my JG/GB came with is the same size, the gun is the same size, the foregrip is the same. The main difference is the pistol grip versus the standard grip on the M16A1, the sights, and the stock also looks a bit different (smaller).

What manufacturer produces a more accurate M16A1?

My gun :
Image
Last edited by B-money on Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by WarGod » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:31 am

Tokyo Marui makes a M16VN.

On a side note, not that it's a HUGE deal...but the carry handles are different, the A2 has a sight adjustment wheel on the side of the carry handle, and the A1 does not seem to have the brass deflector that the other three has.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Tank » Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:44 pm

B-money wrote:
Ok so we have M16A1, M16A2, M4, M16A4, from top to bottom. I see the slight differences between my JG/GB M16A1 and a real M16A1. The clip my JG/GB came with is the same size, the gun is the same size, the foregrip is the same. The main difference is the pistol grip versus the standard grip on the M16A1, the sights, and the stock also looks a bit different (smaller).

What manufacturer produces a more accurate M16A1?

-Brian Lambertz

My gun :
Your gun also has a removable carry handle. M16 A1 does not.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Viper » Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:01 pm

The main differences between the A1 and A2 are:

Foregrip
The rear sights
The A2 has a brass deflector
Pistol grip
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by B-money » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:35 am

Tank wrote:Your gun also has a removable carry handle. M16 A1 does not.
Unfortunatly my GB M16A1 does not have a removable carry handle. One other thing I noticed, which JudgeViper also pointed out is that my gun has the brass deflector, and a real M16A1 does not.

-Brian

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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Chadwick » Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:10 pm

you DO NOT want the detatchable carry handle. the detatch handle is on the M4/ 16a3
So, as Woodstock rocked on and the boomers got all wild on their weed, the M16 continued to be, and continues to be, the military's weapon of choice - for some weird, unexplainable reason

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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Tank » Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:27 pm

B-money wrote:
Tank wrote:Your gun also has a removable carry handle. M16 A1 does not.
Unfortunatly my GB M16A1 does not have a removable carry handle. One other thing I noticed, which JudgeViper also pointed out is that my gun has the brass deflector, and a real M16A1 does not.

-Brian
Ah, well that photo you posted shows a gun with a removable carry handle. And you said "my gun" so, silly me, I assumed your gun had a removable carry handle.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Yoroiden » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:27 am

Classic Army's M15A1 Rifle is a pretty decent XM16E1 replica. Doesn't have the correct trademarks, but it's not going to be an issue when the game starts.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Risto » Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:25 pm

Another difference the JG M16A1 has vs. the real M16A1/Marui's is the barrel, the JG has a fat front barrel set from an A2, not the correct "pencil thin" outer barrel the marui has.

The JG "M16A1 vietnam" is nothing more than an M16A2 with different foregrips thrown on.
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by McClane » Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:03 am

Here is a good looking M16 for a Vietnam impression
http://airsoftglobal.com/product_info.p ... ts_id=5547
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Re: Putting together a late war special forces loadout

Post by Fatal » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:21 am

I think Jeans for a SEAL/Frogman loadout is spot on.
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