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Thread: definition of Retro, Clone, Clone Based, and Enhanced Clone

  1. #1
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    definition of Retro, Clone, Clone Based, and Enhanced Clone

    What is everyone thought of what is retro, clone, clone based, enhanced clone and other versions of what we think of when we talk vintage?
    for me
    Retro= modern parts mixed with original parts ie. A1 furniture on a A4 upper
    clone= Renagade04's collection
    clone based= Mostly a clone but a few parts that weren't offered on the original, ie. A1 pistol grip on a late model M733
    enhanced clone= modern equipment mated to a clone ie. 1:7 twist barrel where it should be a 1:12 or giessele trigger instead of an original gi trigger (basically cosmetic clone)

    what do y'all think when we talk vintage types?
    "Guns are tools; people are the real weapons!"
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  2. #2
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    Retro - Typically, this refers to any M16s and carbines that were made that had pre-Vietnam and Vietnam-era attributes (slickside upper, A1 uppers, slabside lowers, partial-fence lowers, and A1 profile lowers). This would also include M16A2 series carbines like the Model 723, Model 733, and even the Model 727 since these still shared some features of the earlier carbines. According to some, Retro should also include the M16A2. Many are on the fence about this.

    Clone - a facsimile of a military firearm. It could be from any era. There are varying degrees of cloning, including correctness. Even a clone made from reproduction parts, although not original, can be a clone and can look correct. There is a difference between looking correct and being correct. Some clones can even have upgraded barrels. Such as building a M16A1 clone with a 1/9 pencil barrel instead of a 1/12 twist barrel. With most clones, they cannot be 100% correct since they would not be select-fire capable, but with M16 clones, many go to the lengths of having 80% lowers engraved with all of the correct markings. Many of these guys will build such a clone with as many original parts as they can an have it as close to the original as possible. The more original parts used, the more pride in the build and the value associated with the sum of the parts.

    Retro-Inspired - These are not clones, but builds based on the look of the actually Retro firearm. This would be like someone building a XM607 with a mid-length barrel or a build based on the M16A1, but with various A2 parts including an A2 Gov't profile barrel or an upgraded fire control group. Guys that build these like the retro look, but are not concerned about building a clone due to the complications and commitment involved in building them.

    In essence, there will be varying definitions on what constitutes Retro, clone, and Retro-Inspired depending on how well versed a person is on the issue.
    "A Bad Day At The Range Is Better Than A Great Day Working"

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  3. #3
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    This is going to be a fun thread indeed.

    I just finished a build today using the strangest A2 upper I've ever seen. I've actually sort of addressed this particular upper in another thread on here and I'm supposed to post some photos. Regardless, I used some spare parts and came up with something I don't really know how it can be classified as per the criteria above so in a few minutes here I'll get back on and address this and let you all tell me how it should be classified. I have to go for now but I'll be back on in about an hour. I have to try to find my digital camera. (BRB)
    Never forget every word you spoke when you took your oath of office.

  4. #4
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    OK ... here goes

    I bought an alleged Colt A2 upper off the internet. I didn't give that much for it so I wasn't worried about it too much as it was advertised as a "Colt A2 upper complete with BCG, NOS."

    It arrives and it does in fact look brand new. Not a scratch on it and absolutely no tool marks anywhere, as if anything original had been changed out, etc., however I find it a bit odd.

    The barrel is definitely a new Colt barrel because the proper stamp(s) (proper as I believe) are there and in the right place. It has an A2 front sight gas block that is NOT "F"-stamped. This is a carbine barrel and it has the M4 notch for the grenade launcher with the larger double heat shield black handguard, newer style delta ring and is screwed on to a complete A2 upper. It appears to be an M4 barrel and it is a 1-7" twist. It does have the BCG and all parts and pieces look absolutely new. No scratches, wear marks, etc., so I'm convinced I wasn't lied to about it being "NOS" and most likely "factory".

    What baffles me is there are no other marks or stamps or engravings ANYWHERE AT ALL, other than the typical keyhole mark right about the rear sight wheel (or in that area - I don't have it in front of me right now). It has the proper 8/3 elevation wheel. Nowhere inside or outside on the A2 upper receiver is there any sort if ID, nor is there any on the BCG and/or bolt anywhere. The BCG appears to be the full auto configuration.

    I am not very familiar with the A2 line of Colts. I know they had a barrel profile redesign for the rifles from the A1(s) but I am not aware of any M4 barrel profiles being used for the carbines however I somehow knew they no longer typically used the pencil barrels for A2 models.

    If anyone could shed some light on what this may be I'm sure it would educate a lot of us. I've been told from some folks on another sight that this might've been some sort of special Colt build for a foreign military in the middle east or something, where of course Israel and Saudi Arabia first come to mind. If so, then I wonder how it wound up being sold here in the States - (???)

    I completed the build today using a Colt Sporting Rifle (CSR) contract lower with an A2 fixed stock and a RISE Armament trigger and a collection of Colt lower parts. Looks pretty impressive IMHO and has a good balance but again I don't know how we could classify this. IMHO, it's an A2 retro carbine.
    Never forget every word you spoke when you took your oath of office.

  5. #5
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    Thank you Renegade04 for your professional grade answer. I like it
    "Guns are tools; people are the real weapons!"
    - Anonymous
    "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
    - Albert Einstein
    “An armed society is a polite society.”
    - Robert Heinlein
    "Learn Something New Everyday!"
    -Me

  6. #6
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    Excellent question, OP. I don't have the experience to really have an opinion of my own here yet, but this was a can of worms that needs to be opened. If I may, though, I'd like to add a subordinate/followup question to yours: At what point does a build cross the line from "Retro/Clone" to "___-Inspired"?

    For example, I'm starting to work up a PDW based on the Mk 18, except that mine's a pistol and the Vltor CASV-EL is the wrong color, along with a few tweaks for user needs like a heavy-duty blast deflector and a better rear-sight for my horrid nearsighted eyes, which is obviously an "Inspired" at best, but at the same time I'm also working up specs for 16" Mid-Lengths based on the M4 and Canadian C8 (main challenge on the M4 being a Middy handguard that looks close to "if KAC made a drop-in Middy RAS"--would these be considered Enhanced, Inspired or something else?

    Also, well said, Renegade04.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRA556 View Post
    OK ... here goes

    I bought an alleged Colt A2 upper off the internet. I didn't give that much for it so I wasn't worried about it too much as it was advertised as a "Colt A2 upper complete with BCG, NOS."

    It arrives and it does in fact look brand new. Not a scratch on it and absolutely no tool marks anywhere, as if anything original had been changed out, etc., however I find it a bit odd.

    The barrel is definitely a new Colt barrel because the proper stamp(s) (proper as I believe) are there and in the right place. It has an A2 front sight gas block that is NOT "F"-stamped. This is a carbine barrel and it has the M4 notch for the grenade launcher with the larger double heat shield black handguard, newer style delta ring and is screwed on to a complete A2 upper. It appears to be an M4 barrel and it is a 1-7" twist. It does have the BCG and all parts and pieces look absolutely new. No scratches, wear marks, etc., so I'm convinced I wasn't lied to about it being "NOS" and most likely "factory".

    What baffles me is there are no other marks or stamps or engravings ANYWHERE AT ALL, other than the typical keyhole mark right about the rear sight wheel (or in that area - I don't have it in front of me right now). It has the proper 8/3 elevation wheel. Nowhere inside or outside on the A2 upper receiver is there any sort if ID, nor is there any on the BCG and/or bolt anywhere. The BCG appears to be the full auto configuration.

    I am not very familiar with the A2 line of Colts. I know they had a barrel profile redesign for the rifles from the A1(s) but I am not aware of any M4 barrel profiles being used for the carbines however I somehow knew they no longer typically used the pencil barrels for A2 models.

    If anyone could shed some light on what this may be I'm sure it would educate a lot of us. I've been told from some folks on another sight that this might've been some sort of special Colt build for a foreign military in the middle east or something, where of course Israel and Saudi Arabia first come to mind. If so, then I wonder how it wound up being sold here in the States - (???)

    I completed the build today using a Colt Sporting Rifle (CSR) contract lower with an A2 fixed stock and a RISE Armament trigger and a collection of Colt lower parts. Looks pretty impressive IMHO and has a good balance but again I don't know how we could classify this. IMHO, it's an A2 retro carbine.
    Colt did build carbines with the upper like you describe. Early M4s had an A2 upper and a 14.5" 1/7 barrel with M203 cuts and double-shielded M4 type handguards. The Model 727 was built in a similar configuration, but had the skinny 6-hole CAR handguards and these were made for foreign distribution.

    Here is my 727 clone.



    I am baffled about the upper assembly you have as far as its authenticity. No markings or forge code other than the Cerro Forge (keyhole) is strange. Is the BCG marked with a "C"? How is the barrel stamped?
    "A Bad Day At The Range Is Better Than A Great Day Working"

    USMC Force Recon 1978-1984
    US Air Force Res. 1995-2004 (Air Transportation)
    M16/AR15 shooter since 1978, gun collector and AR builder since 2004
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondback View Post
    Excellent question, OP. I don't have the experience to really have an opinion of my own here yet, but this was a can of worms that needs to be opened. If I may, though, I'd like to add a subordinate/followup question to yours: At what point does a build cross the line from "Retro/Clone" to "___-Inspired"?

    For example, I'm starting to work up a PDW based on the Mk 18, except that mine's a pistol and the Vltor CASV-EL is the wrong color, along with a few tweaks for user needs like a heavy-duty blast deflector and a better rear-sight for my horrid nearsighted eyes, which is obviously an "Inspired" at best, but at the same time I'm also working up specs for 16" Mid-Lengths based on the M4 and Canadian C8 (main challenge on the M4 being a Middy handguard that looks close to "if KAC made a drop-in Middy RAS"--would these be considered Enhanced, Inspired or something else?

    Also, well said, Renegade04.
    Thank you. In the case of the builds you mentioned, I would consider them "Inspired" builds. Not really retro or clone. I had someone on a FB group I belong to ask about how a M16A4 Dissipator would fit in. I told him the same thing. Pretty much just an 'Inspired" build. There is nothing wrong with this at all. A lot of guys build ARs based on something they see, but want to put their own twist on it.
    "A Bad Day At The Range Is Better Than A Great Day Working"

    USMC Force Recon 1978-1984
    US Air Force Res. 1995-2004 (Air Transportation)
    M16/AR15 shooter since 1978, gun collector and AR builder since 2004
    Oath Keeper member
    III% United Patriots member

  9. #9
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    Here's the photos of the key parts I described above. One correction is I did find an "F" on the FSGB and once I got the M4 hand guards off I found a 03/13 stamped on the barrel right behind the FSGB (towards the receiver).
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Never forget every word you spoke when you took your oath of office.

  10. #10
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    The final photos:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Never forget every word you spoke when you took your oath of office.

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