In 1969 Colt offered their model 703 as an upgrade to the M16 and M16A1 rifles. There is a well-traveled rumor that this rifle was known as the M16A2 because Colt was confident it would be adopted. While this could very-well be true, it is further confused by the fact Colt re-used the 703 designation for direct gas impingement M16A2 export models.
The following stats are taken from a May 1969 Colt data sheet.
|Model||703 Prototype 1||M16A1|
|Height (without magazine)|
|Height (with 30rnd magazine)|
|Weight (without magazine)||6.9 lbs||6.5 lbs|
|Weight (with loaded 30rnd magazine)||8.7 lbs||8.3 lbs|
|Weight of Reciprocating Group||1.33 lbs||1.0 lbs|
|Rate of Fire||gas adjustable 600-800 rpm||700-940 rpm|
|Operation||“Piston Impingement”||“Piped Gas”|
|Total Unique Parts|
The firearm can be seen at Knights Firearm Museum. Interesting to note is the Knight’s museum appears to have Prototype 1, as well as a later 703 model; The World’s Assault Rifles claims only two were ever made. The M703 or CAR Model 703 should not be confused with the Colt ACR, a future prototype, which Olin developed the ammunition for.
Colt’s Firearm Division, Colt’s Automatic Rifle Model 703 1969-05
Johnston & Nelson, The World’s Assault Rifles, Ironside Intl. 2010 p.1051
Sapp, Rick, Standard Catalog of Colt Firearms, Gun Digest Books 2007 p.225
As always, we like corrections, but we like corrections with references even more.