Reading too many books regarding the indochina war and the american involvement
plus the availability of RS parts whetted my appetite in building a "retro"
my love for carbine lenght guns made it an easy choice - i wanted to build an
XM177E1 (Late version, full fence).
First i started to search the net for some background.
there are many so called XM177 with google that it took me some time to
find some pictures of a real version and not another more or less complete
after some time i came across a picture i used as a reference of what i wanted
to have. (it's an early version with the partial fence)
the page i found http://www.retroblackrifle.com/
was a geat help cause it
showed all the small differences that are unique to a real XM177E1
the XM177E1 or Colt Model 609 was the first Colt carbine lenght version that was
used by the US Forces in larger scales. it came from production in late 1966 and lasted until early
1967 as it turned out that the 10'' barrel used in the E1 had some flaws.
the new XM177E2, or Colt Model 629 model, therefore had a 11,5'' barrel and other improvements.
The XM177E1 was an assault carbine developed to fulfill the need for a portable, close-in weapon system to be used by special forces. It was based on the classic ArmaLite AR-15. It chambered a intermediate 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge, the same as the M16.
Despite its assault rifle roots and its carbine functionality, the U.S. military classified the weapon as a Submachine Gun (SMG).
Colt was supposed to supply each XM177E1 with seven 30-round mags, but where unable to build a reliable 30-round curved mag that would fit in the M16 magwell at that time, so most XM177E1s were shipped with 20-round mags.
Later the Operators used to buy the 30-round mags on the civilian market by themselves.
Enough History .. back so the Build:
after finding my reference i started sourcing the items.
a PTW obviously needs
cause i work much on/with PTWs there was no need to buy those items.
the XM177E1 related items on the other hand are a pain in the ass especially
when you life in germany, like i do.
first thing i managed to get was the RS upper.
the upper came including the charing handle and the dustcover.
it had to be milled to accept the Systema Cylinder.
it's not that hard. one has to mill out a hole ~2cm deep and ~2,6cm wide.
there had to be a notch for the cylinder "nose" on the end of the
cylinder. then there had to be some place on the right inner side of the
upper to make place for the sungear located in the gearbox (which i manged
to miss in the first try .. )
the first hard to get part came along short after that.
other than the newer M4s that show a tappered delta ring, the XM shows a flat version of the delta ring, used to thighten the barrel and to attach the handguard.
after some days of unsuccessful researching the net for an EU based store
i found a shop that could supply the flat delta ring assembly needed
the Flashider or 4.5" Moderator was the first Airsoft part i would have to use
cause real ones a impossible to get and illegal here in germany.
The XM177 uses a unique flash suppressor sometimes called a flash or sound moderator for its 10'' barrel. It was designed as a counterbalance measure as the shorter barrel makes the weapon unwieldy. It reduces flash signature greatly and sound signature slightly, making the XM carbine sound like a longer barreled M16A1
the choice was the G&P Airsoft XM177 Flashider (14mm Clockwise)
the front sight was an easy thing too - a look in my "box of remainders" showed
many unused systema front sights. all i had to do was to cut off the attachment
for the bayonet. the XM was not supposed to be used as "charge weapon", so
there was no need for the attachment.
the outer barrel is a bit of an compromise - i do not like the steel barrels, cause
they make the gun to much "front heavy" from my point of view. so i used a aluminium version.
the lenght had to be 10'', the thread 14mm CW to accept the moderator.
the compromise was that the real XM barrels where 0,625 or ~1,58cm diameter and
the used aluminium "airsoft" barrel is thicker :around 1,9cm.
perhaps a milled barrel, and a RS frontsight will be fitted with an update of this review
cause this would be an item that is not that hard to get here.
the upper was almost done and the handguards could not be that problem. wrong,
they are if you are after a 100% correct verison. at the first look the handguard looks
like a normal PTW one. But those are more oval and the right ones are more round.
after some days i was happy to find something almost fitting with
brownells : the AR-15/M16/M4 SKINNY STYLE CARBINE HANDGUARD.
it is a carbine version - a round, or "skinny" handguard but it's not 100% "XM Style"
cause the original version shows only 6 holes - the brownells one shows 7.
the next "impossible to get" part is the stock and the receiver extension tube.
the XM shows a two position receiver extension tube with an
aluminum body stock that was scoated with vinyl-acetate.
the "real deal" item is extrem rare and extrem expensive too, here in the EU
more or less impossible to get.
so again i had to get an "airsoft" version.
i chosed G&P - this time an GBB G&P Airsoft WA XM177 Stock
problem was, mine came without the old style "castle nut"
with the E1 there is a castle nut / receiver extension tube nut
that does not look like the new more towerlike nuts. the old
one was just a round thing with a hole to fasten it.
so i had to get the Viper XM177 Receiver Extension Castle Nut
i wanted to add a recoil pad to my gun, cause it would cover
the area where the battery would be. again brownells
was a good source with the JOHN MASEN SEMI-AUTO RIFLE RECOIL PAD
the RS Grip is easy to get, but hard to rework to accept the motor,
so i made it easy an took the FCC Custom XM177 A1 Grip
but it came out that is was again a failiure to trust FCC.
the grip had to be reworked to accept the end plate.
FCC managed it that, without rework, the end plate would
not lie flat on top of the motor end and could not be screwed
in. a dremel job did the job.
the lower i used is G&P .. again i had to compromise, cause there
is no PTW lower with the right markings. the one lying around here
was an COLT M4A1 lower with a full fence.
as mentioned above .. there are to versions , the early and the late XM
which are distinguish by the fence in the magwell area.
the early one shows only a partial and the late a full fence.
there are XM177E2 or M16A1 lowers, but the right markings are :
to have a lower a bit more "fitting" i decided to remove some of the wrong
markings. I did not want the "M4A1 Carbine" and the " for Military and law enforment"
text on the other side of the receiver.
first step was to fill the the unwanted text, next was to paint the receiver.
then my next "wanted to do" thing came in my mind. why not cerakote it ?
i got myself the "graphite Black" cerakote but after filling, sanding,
soaking the lower in aceton i had a problem.
the G&P lower was painted with a color that came off with aceton.
so i had to sandblast it first to get rid off the paint that begun to peel off.
after doing this i hat to fill/sand it again then was able to cerakote it.
the lower now looks like this :
to complete the look i added a NOS M1 Sling dated from 1967
in the end the whole thing came out like this :
Here are some Pictures of the XM177E1 in Vietnam.