View Full Version : Charles Daly D-M4LE Carbine Guide and Review

1 May 2008, 18:11
Charles Daly (CD) has been a well known name in firearms for years, but for the average AR15 shooter and enthusiast, its a name which hasn't had any real connection. While many companies have recently jumped into the AR15 market, Charles Daly has taken a somewhat different approach. Starting from scratch, CD had the opportunity to sit back and question what exactly it was that gave the AR15 its cult following, and as they found out, the devil is in the details.

While Charles Daly has a stable of AR15s that they are releasing, this guide will walk through the D-M4LE carbine. Below are the stats given off the Charles Daly website.


Item No.: CDDM4E
Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
Barrel Length: 16"
Rifling Twist: 1x7
MSRP: $1,169

* Chrome lined 4150 barrel with M-203 mounting groove
* M4 Feedramps
* Forged "F" front sight base with bayonet lug & rubber coated sling swivel
* Milspec diameter receiver extension with "H" buffer
* T-Marked Flattop upper
* 6-position telestock
* A2 "Birdcage" flash hider
* Oval Double Heat-Shield M4 forend
* One 30 Round Aluminum Mil-Spec Mag with Magpul self-leveling follower


1 May 2008, 18:23
Starting from the front, the D-M4LE comes with a standard A2 flash suppressor, also called a compensator if you have been through certain schools. This A2FS was properly timed with the use of a crush washer. Pretty standard stuff, and assembly was up to spec as far as I am concerned. While I don't need a weapon to look pretty, details like no wrench markings on the A2 FS show attention is going into the little things.

The barrel is stamped "5.56 NATO 1x7 CHROMED" indicating that the weapon is chambered in 5.56 Nato, 1/7 twist, and chromed lined. For those who wonder about barrel steel makeup, it is 4150.


1 May 2008, 18:25
In viewing the barrel profile, it is similar to the 16" M4 profile that most of us have grown used to. The machining is smooth, and there are no obvious burrs, nicks, or gouges anywhere. The parkerizing is even and consistent in color. While there are people who feel no need for a M203 cutout on their barrels, it doesn't change that the M4 barrel profile balances much nicer than their heavy weight siblings, especially if you are on target (or pulling perimeter duty) for extended periods of time.


1 May 2008, 18:33
Next we come down to the Front Sight Base (FSB). The FSB is "F" marked, which gives proper height for the flattop upper receiver that it wears. While it makes sense that these parts should match up, some manufacturers fail to do this. The Front Sight Post is the standard A2 style, which gives a notched post (4 sides) instead of the A1 style which is rounded. The sling swivel is rubber coated, which cuts down on extra noise when it moves around. Visible in the below picture are the FSB pins, which are neatly placed, and free of marring. The picture also reveals a gas tube rollpin which has been nicely installed without getting mangled during assembly.


1 May 2008, 18:38
Under the standard M4 handguards that come on the weapon we see that they are the double shielded style. When mated together, there were no visible gaps or ugly seams. Its hard to get worked up about handguards, but those people who have ended up with warped handguards that don't fit together correctly have a reason to be irrate. In any case, I have no complaints in how these fit, and they locked in tightly to the Delta ring while not being so tight that they were a pain to remove or assemble.


1 May 2008, 18:43
Moving to the upper receiver, its evident that these are engraved with T numbers. The machining is even, and free of chatter or tool marks. The finish is even, and a deep satin black which is a dead match for the lower receiver. The ejection port cover snaps into place without needing undue force, which is more than I can say for some upper end weapons I've dealt with lately. The spring is correctly in place on the ejection port, and is silver in color.


1 May 2008, 18:47
Popping the rear take down pin, and removing the Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) and Charging Handle (CH) gives us a good look at the gas tube and M4 feedramps on both the barrel extension and the upper receiver. In this case, the gas tube is perfectly centered, and the alignment on the extension to receiver is well done. The below picture shadowing gives a little more shadow than is actually present on the right feedramp. The feedramps were smooth, despite what my picture may make it look like, and not only does it chamber rounds slowly without hanging up, but pressing in with a fingernail shows nothing out of the ordinary.


1 May 2008, 19:12
Inside the upper receiver we have what many will argue is the most critical part of the weapon, which is the Bolt Carrier Group (BCG). To start, the barrels are randomly proof fired, and then barrels and bolts are batch Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI). While this isn't something that shooters will ever notice, its a nice step to ensure quality is staying on track in the production line.

The top of the BCG houses one of the weak links in the AR15, and of course that is the Carrier Key. Staking the Carrier Key provides that the screws will not rotate or vibrate loose. When this loosens, gas bleeds and begins to cause short stroking in the system. There have been a lot of unhappy shooters with issues traced back to a loose Carrier Key. Proper staking causes enough metal to displace, and contact the screw head which locks them in place. While heavily staked, CD has made sure they do not encroach above .025 which is the max allowed for Mil Spec.

For those readers who feel that the proper staking is something which can not be over emphasized, here are two pictures to illustrate the staking from different angles.



1 May 2008, 19:14
Inside the Bolt, the ejector had positive pressure, and didn't leave me wondering about its lifespan. The extractor spring was firm, and contained a black insert, as well as Crane style O-ring. This should be enough to rip out just about any casing.


1 May 2008, 19:27
The lower receiver shares the same deep satin black which covers the upper receiver. It appears a teflon coating is used over the anodizing, which provides a finish which resists chipping, marring, and scratches.

Fit between the upper and lower receiver was as good as any of the custom ARs I've spent time with. The push pins were tight, but could be pressed out with firm finger pressure.

The A2 pistol grip is standard, and familiar to all of us who have spent time in military service.

The magazine catch is smooth, and without burrs, though mine appears it could be in an extra turn. With several different new and used USGI magazines, as well as HK, and a plethora of Magpul PMAGs, there were no issues with magazines dropping free. The safety is smooth, has positive release, and "clicks" into place the way I am accustom to with my Colts. The non-safety side shows a red mark to identify at quick glance whether the weapon is on safe or fire. Its a thoughtful touch, and one sometimes done by individual shooters.

The Charles Daly uses standard fire control group parts and pins.



1 May 2008, 19:34
Moving down the weapon, we run into the castle nut. This is another item that some manufacturers tend to skimp on. The military calls for staking of the castle nut in the same way that they demand staking of the carrier key. Some people feel that a dab of thread locker will serve the same purpose, but I've taught courses where those weapons have had their castle nuts loosen up, or in some cases even back off enough to allow the stock to rotate.

Staking serves a valid purpose,and Charles Daly does it nicely. The below picture shows two points on the castle nut that are well staked.


1 May 2008, 19:43
In the world of receiver extensions, there are two types, one is the mil spec, and the other is a commercial variant. Often called "buffer tubes", the actual terminology is receiver extension (RE). The military sized RE is machined out of one piece of aluminum, and has deeper engagement with its threading into the lower receiver. The commercial RE is extruded, and has threads which are more shallow. While there aren't many cases of commercial RE failing, there are plenty of cases of owners finding a variety of different dimensions. The mil spec REs are well built, and tend to provide a wobble free stock. Its another small detail, but its one that many people, including myself find important.

The Charles Daly D-M4LE also comes with the "H" buffer. Buffers are available in several different weights, with the "H" being slightly heavier than its non-H sibling. The "H" reduces bolt bounce, smooths out the gas curve and alters the muzzle rise for those shooters which are in tune with their weapon. While it might not be mandatory to make the weapon run, its another item which I would upgrade if my weapon were without it.


1 May 2008, 19:47
The stock is similar to the current batch of issued ribbed stocks coming out on the military M4s. The stock slides freely, and has slight wobble from side to side when tested. This basic stock works fine for most people, and is an easy part to upgrade if the end user desires. With the Mil Spec RE the weapon comes with, there are a wide variety of stocks to choose from if stock replacement is desired.


1 May 2008, 19:52
The Charles Daly D-M4LE comes without a Carry Handle, and I feel its a good choice as most people are going to drop on an optic of some sort, as well as a Back Up Iron Sight (BUIS). In the case of the below pictures, the D-M4LE is wearing a Aimpoint Comp M4 and MI BUIS.

Hopefully this Guide provides you with a basic overview of this weapon. An actual review will take place in the near future after several MIL, LEO and instructors run it through its paces. Until then, if you have any questions, comments, or thoughts, feel free to post them at the below link.

Charles Daly Discussion Thread (http://www.weaponevolution.com/forum/showthread.php?t=405)



11 May 2008, 06:04
I think most people are pretty familiar on this board with the new Charles Daly D-M4LE. Its the AR15 variant that strives to mirror 6920 specs, but at a price more people can afford. My initial thoughts were that it was a lofty goal, but one that would probably fall short.

For years the AR15 community has heard about Brand "X" is just as good as Colt, or that Brand "X" is better than Colt. There is lots of talk, but in the end, its usually based off one person who shoots infrequently, and is unfamiliar with what makes up the differences between the various AR15s. Without getting into brand wars, or brand bashing, there isn't much question that Colt is a pretty solid bench mark when it comes to the AR15.

The basic stats for the Charles Daly D-M4LE are listed below for those who haven't seen them yet.

# Chrome lined 4150 barrel with M-203 mounting groove
# M4 Feedramps
# Forged "F" front sight base with bayonet lug & rubber coated sling swivel
# Milspec diameter receiver extension with "H" buffer
# T-Marked Flattop upper
# 6-position telestock
# A2 "Birdcage" flash hider
# Oval Double Heat-Shield M4 forend

Additional items of note are that the barrels and bolts are proof fired and MPI tested on a random basis. The BCG is well staked, as is the castle nut, and the extractor uses a black insert, stout spring, and o-ring.

The below configuration is how the D-M4LE spent its first days, it was later reconfigured based on how I would carry it myself.


11 May 2008, 06:06
Starting out with the D-M4LE, I gave it a quick wipe down, then lubed it with Breakfree CLP. In initial firing I used the aluminum USGI 30 round magazine (with Magpul follower) that came with the weapon. With the first round fired, I thought the trigger was a tad stiff on release, but it loosened up quickly, and caused no issues or concerns. The next 400 rounds were fired without cleaning. There were no issues of any kind. The weapon fed, fired, extracted, and ejected without problems of any kind. I had thought that perhaps there would be some initial break in reliability issues, but that proved not to be the case.

At the 400 round mark, I pulled the BCG looking for any abnormal wear, and there was none. I also checked the FCG, and found nothing out of the ordinary there either. I relubed the BCG with CLP, and reassembled the weapon. 400 rounds had been fired, and no malfunctions of any kind had been noted.

The next 600 rounds were fired primarily through Magpul 20 round Pmags, with some 30 round PMAGs, and other magazines thrown in to verify that it fed from everything. There were no malfunctions of any kind within this 600 session.

Its probably worth noting that the above 1,000 rounds was carried out in one day, with much of it being rapid fire drills. The weapon was extremely hot, and was left to cool down on more than one occasion so it could be handled easier in a cooler state. The initial 400 was done by me, as was the cleaning and inspection of the weapon. The next 600 was partially by me, and partially by others. The total of 1,000 rounds is a conservative estimate, and its probable that the total for that day was closer to 1,200, however, I can verify without question the 1,000 round mark.

The next day started with a now detail cleaned D-M4LE, and another 540 rounds were fired, much of it again working close in drills with extended strings. No malfunctions of any kind were found. This day was again completed using mostly 20 round PMAGs.

The following day, another 580 rounds were run through it, and while it had not been cleaned from the previous days shooting, I did relube it with CLP. This was again done with PMAGs, but mainly 30 round PMAGs as I had left most of the 20 rounders in another vehicle. No malfunctions of any kind were noted.

The week continued with a last day of using the Charles Daly lower on another upper. Nothing against the D-M4LE, we were simply doing some work that required use of another upper.

In the end, we concluded being rather surprised that we went the entire time without any malfunctions of any sort. It was odd enough that I double checked with everyone at least once to verify I had all the correct information. I understand that some people will feel that 2k through a single weapon is not enough to mean anything. However, for people who have been in, or taught courses where brand new weapons are fired, this is enough hard exposure to give an idea how the overall level of quality is with this particular carbine. I've seen plenty of new carbines choke on the morning of day 1 in a course, but the D-M4LE isn't one of them.

In the end, I guess the questions come down to if I would recommend one to a friend, would I own one myself, and would I feel comfortable carrying one for duty. The answer to all of the above is that I would.


11 May 2008, 06:07
Last, but not least, here is the tested Charles Daly D-M4LE in its current configuration.


11 May 2008, 06:23
Below is the link to the Charles Daly discussion thread.