In a bombshell report that may shake up the sporting rifle market, the Washington Times says that a Navy deep dive into military programs to improve the M4 carbine found one rifle that performed way better than competitors during tests to find a new rifle for the Army.

The Center for Naval Analyses report found that during Army tests in the search for a replacement for the M4, one of eight competitor rifles was able to fire around 5 times more rounds before failure than the M4 — rising well above the current issued rifle and others who were part of the test.

The problem is, however, that the report does not specify for proprietary reasons which rifle is the one that performed so well, calling it “Rifle C” without a name or manufacturer attached to it. Competitors in the so-called “Improved Carbine” competition included FNH USA with a variant of the Mk-16 SCAR; Remington Defense’s ACR; the H&K 416; the Colt CM901; the Beretta ARX-160 and the Adcor Defense BEAR.

The issue hinges on the Army’s insistence that the competitors be judged on the service’s new M855A1 5.56 round, dubbed the “green round” since it does not contain lead. Reports indicate the round is very dirty and the competitor guns submitted for the Army tests were designed to fire the M855 round.

All of this controversy is moot, though, since the Army cancelled the Improved Carbine program last fall, citing a lack of “significant improvement” in performance and preferring to spend its money upgrading the current M4 rather than launch an entirely new rifle program.

But that still leaves the question out there for all of us in the shooting sports industry…what is that mystery “Rifle C” that spit out 2,500 rounds before jamming? Wouldn’t we want that bad boy on store shelves? If there’s anyone out there with insight into what this rifle might be, please leave a comment and let us know.