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The Nature of the M16 Rifle

Posted on 01/22/2013 12:24:43 PM PST by varmintman

The real stupidity of this entire business starts to sink in when people start to grasp the realities of the basic M4/M16/AR15 rile.

The M16 is a simpler weapon than an M14 or a FAL rifle. The ONLY thing about an M16 which is even a tiny bit difficult to manufacture is the barrel. Unlike a FAL rifle whose upper receiver has to take the stress of firing and which has to be hard forged and whose barrel is fitted to the receiver with something like 130 ft-lbs of torque, the only thing which takes any stress in an M16 is the barrel, the bolt carrier locks into the breach of the barrel and not into the receiver.

Also unlike the case with a FAL, the lower receiver of an M16 which, for all intents and purposes could be made of plastic, is the legal part of the gun i.e. carries the serial number. Ordering a complete upper receiver and barrel for an M16 is legally the same as buying a sack of potatoes, don't take my word for it check it yourself:

http://www.gunbroker.com/All/BI.aspx?Keywords=m16+upper
http://www.gunbroker.com/All/BI.aspx?Keywords=m4+upper

Anybody with any sort of a machine shop could manufacture M16 bolts, bolt carriers, triggers and springs and what not. No joke. My next door neighbor builds race-cars and he ends up needing parts which don't exist in the world here and there... No problem, he draws what he needs up on AutoCad, takes the AC file to a shop with computer controlled machines and voila, and it doesn't even cost much.

Very shortly, people will be making M16 lower receivers, butt-stocks, and magazines (the evil 20 and 30 round types) with inexpensive 3D printers and the only way you could get past all of these problems would be to ban and outlaw the M16 altogether, which would leave our military standing around with, in the immortal words of Santino Corleone, just their.... (in a sort of an unarmed condition).


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: banglist; guncontrol; guns; secondamendment
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1 posted on 01/22/2013 12:24:48 PM PST by varmintman
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To: varmintman

“The ONLY thing about an M16 which is even a tiny bit difficult to manufacture is the barrel.”

IIRC, mine in Vietnam was manufactured by Frigidaire.


2 posted on 01/22/2013 12:28:30 PM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: varmintman

I don’t think they’ve made it past 80 rounds with a printed lower receiver before it cracked. At this point it would be more like a throw away gun.


3 posted on 01/22/2013 12:30:10 PM PST by 109ACS (If this be Treason, then make the most of it. Patrick Henry, May 1765)
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To: BwanaNdege

Clarification.

My ENTIRE M-16 was made by Frigidaire! (or at least, their name was molded into the lower receiver.)


4 posted on 01/22/2013 12:30:35 PM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: BwanaNdege

Cool


5 posted on 01/22/2013 12:31:25 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Ding Ding Ding!!!

We have a WINNER in the Pun of the Day contest!


6 posted on 01/22/2013 12:33:14 PM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: 109ACS

One can do a lot with 80 well aimed rounds.


7 posted on 01/22/2013 12:33:57 PM PST by riverrunner
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To: varmintman

Level of difficulty has nothing to do with the issue.

At stake is whether or not free men ought to be armed. Period.

They should; to defend their liberty from all who would abuse, usurp and become tyrant over them.

As an aside, the critical components of the AR or most any other weapon for that matter is heat treatment of proper steels. The AR bolt does not lock into the breech of the barrel, but rather into a barrel extension, which is screwed onto the barrel breech, very much like a bolt actio or most all other actio types. It, the boltand carrier are made of not too common (but not rare) steels heat treated to be extremely hard, tough and wear-resistant.


8 posted on 01/22/2013 12:36:34 PM PST by Manly Warrior (US ARMY (Ret), "No Free Lunches for the Dogs of War")
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To: BwanaNdege
Its simplicity is also the source of its greatest weaknesses: the recessed chamber/narrow ejection port makes its occasional jams almost impossible to clear from the outside, requiring disassembly at the worst times..

It's a dandy little weapon for close in fighting in relatively clean environments...but the more-complex-to machine M-14s and FALs work more dependably in all environments, defeat all known body armor/light armor/cover and are effective at longer ranges.

Depends on how much you value your own life, I guess..

9 posted on 01/22/2013 12:38:25 PM PST by Chainmail (A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
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To: varmintman
It is a mistake to lump in AR15 in with the machine guns. It is a semi-auto. Turning it into full auto is not easy and is a felony.
10 posted on 01/22/2013 12:38:32 PM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: 109ACS

“I don’t think they’ve made it past 80 rounds with a printed lower receiver before it cracked.”

That is strictly a developmental problem. Go to greater wall thickness in the weak areas, sprinkle a few glass or Kevlar fibers between printed layers.

Lots of possible solutions.


11 posted on 01/22/2013 12:39:35 PM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: Chainmail
Yet, thousands of dead commies and taliban say otherwise.

The modern M4 is not your daddy's M16.
12 posted on 01/22/2013 12:42:25 PM PST by randomhero97 ("First you want to kill me, now you want to kiss me. Blow!" - Ash)
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To: 109ACS

> “I don’t think they’ve made it past 80 rounds with a printed lower receiver before it cracked.”

The first one made cracked in something like 3 or 4 rounds. It was an exact duplicate of the AR15 receiver only in plastic. Some changes were made to reinforce it at the weak point (which means it is no longer MIL spec dimensionally, but it still worked), and it made it to much higher rounds.

I have no doubt that they will work in some more dimensional changes and it will get to even more rounds. In addition, there are metal 3-D printing machines available now (but not at a reasonably low cost) that will become even more available in the next few years. The only reason this is happening now is that plastic 3-D machines are available at reasonably low cost.

Gun companies had better be looking into this technique if they want to stay in business. The music and movie industry did not deal with the “new information age” and they are having problems because they did not adapt.

Remember when lost wax castings came into being. The old companies would have no part of it. Some are no longer here. Several others are struggling. A new company (Ruger) did not invent it, but embraced it wholeheartedly. Look where they are now.


13 posted on 01/22/2013 12:47:56 PM PST by jim_trent
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To: varmintman

The M-16 is a weapon that must be cleaned, very often!


14 posted on 01/22/2013 12:50:05 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: BwanaNdege

“I don’t think they’ve made it past 80 rounds with a printed lower receiver before it cracked.”

That is strictly a developmental problem. Go to greater wall thickness in the weak areas, sprinkle a few glass or Kevlar fibers between printed layers.

Lots of possible solutions.

Try making the lower receiver out of carbon fiber or carbon nano tubes.That stuff is supposed to be stronger than steel.


15 posted on 01/22/2013 12:52:37 PM PST by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: Manly Warrior
At stake is whether or not free men ought to be armed. Period.

Indeed. And then the next question is "are we free men?"
16 posted on 01/22/2013 12:54:46 PM PST by Sopater (...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. - 2 COR 3:17b)
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To: Manly Warrior
“It, the boltand carrier are made of not too common (but not rare) steels heat treated to be extremely hard, tough and wear-resistant.”

I'm sure common o-2 tool steel would work. It is available everywhere at any tool supply. It is easy to heat-treat with just a torch and a bucket of oil.

17 posted on 01/22/2013 12:59:50 PM PST by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: BwanaNdege
My ENTIRE M-16 was made by Frigidaire! (or at least, their name was molded into the lower receiver.)

Well ... I wasn't there ...

But it's entirely possible that the only part of your M-16 manufactured by Frigidaire was the lower. One feature of the design is that parts can easily be made anywhere and put together at a facility that manufactures nothing. Like, for example, your garage.

18 posted on 01/22/2013 1:07:05 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: BwanaNdege
"Mine in Vietnam was manufactured by Frigidaire"

Frigidaire Division of General Motors, you mean. That's the one that was located in "The Arsenal of Democracy" before it was destroyed by liberalism.

19 posted on 01/22/2013 1:13:30 PM PST by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: varmintman

I recall fondly my M-16A1 in boot camp. The best part of the rifle range was actually shooting. I shot 10 bulls eyes at 500 meters. When we weren’t shooting the DI’s were putting us through all sorts of hell so we all wanted to shoot more.


20 posted on 01/22/2013 1:16:21 PM PST by rfreedom4u (I have a copy of the Constitution! And I'm not afraid to use it!)
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To: Yosemitest

With a standard gas impingement system, this is correct. 1500 rounds is the most that made it through an acquaintance’s RRA before it started to hang (occasional addition of lube). The piston guns run cleaner and can go longer with less attention.....they are also a bit heavier in the front.


21 posted on 01/22/2013 1:20:44 PM PST by petro45acp (More sheepdogs please...)
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To: mountainlion

i wonder how difficult it is to make a sear trigger with a 3-d printer...


22 posted on 01/22/2013 1:24:52 PM PST by SteveH (First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.)
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To: 109ACS

That they went from nothing to 80 rounds in a few months of part time puttering should be rather sobering.

Won’t be long before those chinchy little 3D printers are churning out solid metal parts ready for tempering.


23 posted on 01/22/2013 1:31:23 PM PST by ctdonath2 (End of debate. Your move.)
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To: petro45acp

M16 craps where it eats. The only military rifle with direct gas operation.


24 posted on 01/22/2013 1:35:09 PM PST by USAF80
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To: Yosemitest

“The M-16 is a weapon that must be cleaned, very often!”

Disagree. There have been numerous torture tests where many thousands of rounds were fired without cleaning and without malfunctions. The key to reliablility is to keep them well lubed. I will admit they do get filthier than any rifle I have ever seen but it doesnt seem to effect functioning.


25 posted on 01/22/2013 1:35:29 PM PST by Brooklyn Attitude (Obama being re-elected is the political equivalent of OJ being found not guilty.)
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To: 109ACS

Learning Curve ~ they’re just starting ~


26 posted on 01/22/2013 1:40:06 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Brooklyn Attitude
With over 26 years of experience with the M-16 in the USAF, I SAY AGAIN: You admit as much yourself whenyou say:
27 posted on 01/22/2013 1:42:23 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: ArrogantBustard; BwanaNdege
Whether your ever there or not the military gave everybody demonstrations of just about everything during basic training ~ even the difference between Chinese, Russian and Soviet Bloc AK-47s and other items.

Sometimes you'd get a really experienced lecturer who could tell you why the Chinese weapon had a piece of wood in it under the bolt, and the Russian weapon didn't, and why they did that.

Everybody who designs firearms for use in the field worries a lot about how to keep them clean and working under very adverse conditions. Designers have all sorts of solutions ~ and during the Nam they were all found wanting, discarded, and replaced with other solutions.

The new generation of home built firearms will need to be designed for looser tolerances ~

28 posted on 01/22/2013 1:45:38 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: varmintman
Smallest correction, only because I am intimately familiar with all the AR bits: the bolt locks into the barrel extension, not the barrel itself.

The extension threads onto the chamber end of the barrel and becomes essentially part of the barrel. Never heard of anyone removing the extension, though I am sure it has happened.

Therein lies most of the accuracy inherent in the AR platforms, the bolt and barrel assembly are darn near independent of the rest of the parts.

Good write up.

29 posted on 01/22/2013 1:50:57 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: rfreedom4u

“When we weren’t shooting the DI’s”

Shooting DIs? They didn’t give to you a dishonorable discharge for that? Why aren’t you in prison? :-)


30 posted on 01/22/2013 1:53:14 PM PST by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (Learn three chords and you, too, can be a Rock Star!)
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To: BwanaNdege
My ENTIRE M-16 was made by Frigidaire! (or at least, their name was molded into the lower receiver.)

At a gun show, I once saw an M1 carbine that was stamped "International Business Machines". I should have bought it, just to show it to my software developer friends.

31 posted on 01/22/2013 1:55:51 PM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: Yosemitest

With the M16 and variants, over the years one thing has changed a lot. That is lubricants. The slickest one I have found is “Tec-Shield CLP”. It is water based and lubricates at a molecular level. It seems to overcome many of the weakness of the M16 system.


32 posted on 01/22/2013 1:57:29 PM PST by jimbobfoster
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To: PapaBear3625
I once saw an M1 carbine that was stamped "International Business Machines"

Yep ...

M1 Carbines were made by a bunch of unlikely contractors, including Rock-Ola, Underwood, National Postal Meter, and several divisions of General Motors.

33 posted on 01/22/2013 2:04:30 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: BwanaNdege

I wasn’t being critical when I stated that 80 rounds before failure has been the record so far. I’m sure the kinks will be worked out over time.

When we reach the point that entire firearms can be cranked out by any Joe in his garage, the whole gun control issue will be a moot point.


34 posted on 01/22/2013 2:05:03 PM PST by 109ACS (If this be Treason, then make the most of it. Patrick Henry, May 1765)
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To: Yosemitest

The M-16 is a weapon that must be cleaned, very often!

During my six years of service in the Air Force I found the M-16 and its shorter variant,What we in the K-9 field called the GAU to be very good rifles.

The problems were not the rifles the problems were the cheap Ammunition the government procured during the Vietnam war and the period just after that.

If they bought smokeless powder for that Ammo,The M16 would have been a dream.

With the Cheap Ammo that rifle would gum up and become a filthy mess.So it was really important to clean right after use.


35 posted on 01/22/2013 2:14:54 PM PST by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: puppypusher
Thank you for that clarification.
36 posted on 01/22/2013 2:21:45 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: varmintman

The funny thing is you can’t buy an AR15.

They are sold out nationwide. Just not available. I’ve tried.


37 posted on 01/22/2013 2:24:08 PM PST by Captain Jack Aubrey (There's not a moment to lose.)
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To: Yosemitest

“So it was really important to clean right after use.”
Thank you for that clarification.

With that cheap Ammo from the Vietnam war,YES.it needed serious cleaning.

With modern Smokeless powder Probably not as much since Smokeless powder burns much cleaner.


38 posted on 01/22/2013 2:27:39 PM PST by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: Yosemitest

“You admit as much yourself whenyou say:
“The key to reliablility is to keep them well lubed.
I will admit they do get filthier than any rifle I have ever seen but it doesn’t seem to effect functioning.”

Just because it gets dirty doesnt mean it HAS to be cleaned very often. You might find the article below interesting.

http://www.defensereview.com/the-big-m4-myth-fouling-caused-by-the-direct-impingement-gas-system-makes-the-m4-unreliable/


39 posted on 01/22/2013 2:41:18 PM PST by Brooklyn Attitude (Obama being re-elected is the political equivalent of OJ being found not guilty.)
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To: Brooklyn Attitude
I carried an M-14 during my first tour in VN, great Rifle. I carried an M-16 during my Second Tour POS.

My Cousin was in The Hill Fights in 1967 with the Marines, the Marines with drew the M-16 until Mods were made. It was still unreliable.

40 posted on 01/22/2013 2:43:47 PM PST by Little Bill (A)
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To: BwanaNdege; varmintman

>>>>“The ONLY thing about an M16 which is even a tiny bit difficult to manufacture is the barrel.”

>>IIRC, mine in Vietnam was manufactured by Frigidaire.

Various armories were making pretty darn good rifled barrels well before the advent of AC motors. The Colt armory in Hartford, Liege in Belgium, Steyr in Austria, Tula in Russia (well before the USSR), etc.

This stuff isn’t rocket surgery, people.


41 posted on 01/22/2013 2:45:21 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Little Bill

“My Cousin was in The Hill Fights in 1967 with the Marines, the Marines with drew the M-16 until Mods were made. It was still unreliable.”

No doubt. Early development and testing of the M16 used an extruded powder and it worked so well the army decided the rifle didnt need cleaning. In fact they didnt even include a cleaning kit. The reliability issues started when they changed to a ball powder with the wrong burn rate. They fixed that 40 years ago.


42 posted on 01/22/2013 3:08:58 PM PST by Brooklyn Attitude (Obama being re-elected is the political equivalent of OJ being found not guilty.)
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To: varmintman
Watched this last night: Tales of the Gun - M-16. Old but interesting.
43 posted on 01/22/2013 3:32:23 PM PST by BubbaBasher ("Liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals" - Sam Adams)
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To: Brooklyn Attitude
“I will admit they do get filthier than any rifle I have ever seen but it doesnt seem to effect functioning.”

That's because the military uses Winchester ball powder ammunition instead of Remington IMR “Improved Military Rifle” which was what the M16 was designed to fire. It's a much cleaner power that the army in it's infinite wisdom decided not to use. Kind of like using rifle muskets in the Civil War instead of lever action rifles because the Quartermaster Corps decided it was a waste of ammunition.

44 posted on 01/22/2013 3:51:20 PM PST by HenpeckedCon (What pi$$es me off the most is that POS commie will get a State Funeral!)
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To: ArrogantBustard
M1 Carbines were made by a bunch of unlikely contractors, including Rock-Ola, Underwood, National Postal Meter, and several divisions of General Motors.

I have one made by Underwood.

45 posted on 01/22/2013 4:30:43 PM PST by OldPossum
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To: Captain Jack Aubrey

I saw a DPMS A-15 (Plain vanilla A2 model) at a gun show on Saturday ... price tag was $2400 ...


46 posted on 01/22/2013 4:38:07 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: OldPossum

It would be really cool to see a full collection, one of each make.


47 posted on 01/22/2013 4:40:46 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: USAF80

Yep. Big part of the problem was/is the propellant. Stoner’s original design called for a chemical that after burning would deposit a thin film like graphite, contributing to lubrication. Olin had the ammunition contract at the time and said no to the new propellant. The vagaries or acquisitions and the lack of a chromed chamber and bore were the reputation killer of those first m-16 rifles.

Cheers


48 posted on 01/22/2013 4:55:41 PM PST by petro45acp (More sheepdogs please...)
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To: varmintman

Well, there’s a couple details you sort of blipped over.

In order of complexity of manufacturing, I’d rate the parts on the AR-15/M-16 in this order:

1. barrel. Obvious. Deep hole drilling is part art, part science. Reaming and rifling can be done reasonably easily, but slowly. Getting the initial hole through the barrel stock and mostly straight is a challenge and requires high-pressure lube/cutting fluid, as well as that fluid coming out the cutting bit used for the deep hole drilling.

But for someone with some skill, they can make their own deep hole drill. It’s been done.

2. The bolt & carrier. Lots of fiddly little machining, but possible. You’ll need a super-spacer or indexing head to get this done on a Bridgeport.

3. The barrel extension. This is the bit you sort of blipped over... the back end of an assembled AR-15 barrel is a “nut” that gets screwed onto a threaded and chambered barrel. The tenon on an AR-15 barrel is supposed to be 0.6200” long, 0.8125x16TPI, Class 3 fit. The finish reamer is sunk deep enough into the barrel that a go gage sticks out by about, oh, 0.129” for a spec barrel extension and a spec bolt.

But even after machining this all in at tight tolerances (this is the part of the AR-15 that has anything remotely resembling tight tolerances), unless we used pre-hardened 4140 for the bolt and the extension, we’ve got to harden both parts and draw them back a bit. Not difficult, but not something that most people making their own are going to remember to do, and their bolts and/or extensions will wear too quickly and the headspace will open up in time.

The fastest way to get around the heat treating is to use pre-hard 4140 and then use carbide tooling to make the extension and the bolt.

When you have the extension done, then you’ll have to torque it onto the barrel to 150 ft-lbs of torque. This will result in about 0.002 of crush on the tenon shoulder and the extension. Once this is to spec torque, you’ll have to drill the 0.125” hole through the extension on the frontmost part of the cylinder that gets put into the upper receiver, then put in the indexing pin for keeping the barrel oriented correctly in the upper receiver.

Then you’ll have to reckon your gas port size, make a gas block to fit your gas tube, put it on the barrel, etc.

Once that’s done, the rest of the job is a downhill run...


49 posted on 01/22/2013 5:19:29 PM PST by NVDave
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To: ArrogantBustard
It would be really cool to see a full collection, one of each make.

I'll bet there are collectors out there who have such an array of M-1 Carbines. I have but one and I think it's really neat.

50 posted on 01/22/2013 5:28:57 PM PST by OldPossum
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