Ages for handling a firearm (stamina etc, not law)?
Question:I'm writing a fictional piece involving hunting ans shooting and need some advice on ages for firearms (hence, I'm asking hypothetically, I'm not planning on doing this).
What would be the minimum age at which a boy with an average build could accurately use a late 1970s model M-16 for target shooting or hunting, and how long would it be before the strain of the recoil and weight on the shoulders caused enough discomfort to make them badly want a break?
As a demonstration of how little recoil the M-16 rifle has, when I was in Basic Training a drill intructor took a rifle with a 20 round magazine, held it with the rifle's butt firmly against the bridge of his nose and fired the full magazine in one long burst. He then reloaded and moved the weapon to his throat and did the same, and for the demo that everyone wanted placed the rifle firmly against his groin and burned the magazine. All were done with no ill effect (though with the weapon on his face he had no control at all, of course).
The .223 that the M-16 shoots is loud enough to where a person should wear ear protection, but it doesn't kick. I would say a 5-8 year old that didn't get bored easy could put hundreds of rounds through the M-16 per day. Of course this isn't the three burst automatic fire the M-16 is capable of, but rapid fire is purely spray and pray and not useful at hunting. How useless? I saw a guy unable to hit a rabbit at 10 feet away with an automatic while standing up. I met one guy from the Korean war that was given a machine gun and he wouldn't even start firing till the enemy was 20 yards away because it was so inaccurate.
I'd say an 8-10 yr old would be able to handle that, as for strain of recoil. the M-16 (sold to the civilian market as the semi-auto AR-15) is chambered in .223 and really doesn't have much recoil as .223 really isn't that powerful of a round and the gas powered bolt absorbs a fair amount of the recoil.
ones finger would likely become tired and raw long before the recoil did anything to the shoulder, holding the rifle up is another matter, that would become tiring after a half hour or so with out a break, or about 200 rounds. That is assuming your intending for the boy to be fireing from a standing position or with out a rest of any kind.
I've seen a friends 10 and 12 yr old sons do this with my my ruger ranch rifle (mini-14) a semi-auto rifle chambered in the same .223 as the M-16/AR-15, which is something you might want to consider, the mini-14 is a little more commonly used (than the AR-15) for hunting in states that allow calibers that small to be used because its a lot cheaper and especially during the late 70's the mini was a lot more reliable (didn't jam or have feed problems when it got a little dirty like the AR and m-16 did) although the mini is not nearly as accurate at long range as the AR/M-16.
military model would be the m-16a1 or an early a2 in the late 70's both of which are semi-auto and 3 round burst selectable, the m-4 would the full-auto select fire rifle, the m-16 today sells for about $5000 for a good used one and the last m-4 I saw went for $13,000 and in order to purchase or own either one you must have a class 3 firearms license issued by the ATF. that being said I'd say 200 rounds of sustained full auto fire (or burst fire) would be enough to make a well trained and experinced (if there is such a thing) 12 year old want a break, that would take about 5min with 10 mag changes (assuming standerd 20rnd military magazines)
I Had to do some checking, m-16 was full auto up until the 80's when the A2 were issued with burst fire instead of auto, the M-4 remains full auto w/collapseable stock (basicly a small full auto m-16 but is a much later development).
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