Loose front handguard on a new Colt 6920 -- Normal?


July 19, 2007, 11:13 PM
I purchased my first AR-15 tonight at Cabela's, a new in the box Colt model 6920. I handled a number of different makes/models of the AR-15s, and ended up with the Colt based on my interpretation of a number of different boards' collective opinions.

My question is this, knowing that I have 30 days to return the firearm: The front handguard "wiggles" laterally about 1/16". There is no play in line with the barrel, only the slight wiggle perpendicular to the barrel. Everything else on the firearm appears to be very well put together. Is this normal play, or should I return the gun before I go shooting?

Every Colt of various models in the shop showed this wiggle, while the Bushmasters with similar handguards did not show any wiggle at all. I'm not yet skilled in the ways of stripping/breaking down my AR, but it appears that the ring at the base of the handguard slips on and off in line with the barrel to lock the handguard in place. This ring seems properly seated on my gun.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

If you enjoyed reading about "Loose front handguard on a new Colt 6920 -- Normal?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Slvr Surfr
July 20, 2007, 01:10 AM
If you are referring to the hand guards on your rifle moving slightly thats normal. I assume they are plastic, and can some times shrink a little causing a slight amount of play. If you plan on mounting optics on the handguard via the attachable rails I suggest you replace them with metal handguards. I replaced my old plastic handguards with metal ones from Yankee Hill Machine Co, and have no play what so ever. I highly recommend them. Keep in mind this is a battle rifle so some parts may have play.

July 20, 2007, 01:28 AM
30 days to return a firearm? I think you might be mistaken.

Anyhow, if you ever ytake off the handguards, be glad they're a little slack, rather than tight.

July 20, 2007, 01:54 AM
Thanks for the replies. I went ahead and started prepping the rifle, assuming I'm going to keep it. After holding the weapon for a while, the play doesn't seem noticeable at all when I've got the weapon up and aimed. If I do end up replacing the handguards, I'll likely get something slightly more functional, with some additional rails. As-is, it's a beautiful machine.

As far as the 30 day Cabela's retail store return policy on firearms, I don't have any specific references except the word of the salesman. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, though he could have been mistaken or (unlikely) intentionally misleading. His statement was that as long as the weapon had not been fired, Cabela's had a 30 day no-questions-asked return policy. After 30 days, or if the weapon had been fired, things got significantly hazy.

Don't Tread On Me
July 20, 2007, 02:09 AM
This is normal. Depends on the handguard shape or the delta ring spring tension. Could be either or both.

As long as it isn't rattling, it's fine.

Some handguards are so tight and the spring so strong, it is a nightmare trying to get the handguards off without using a special tool. Need like gorilla strength to do it on some of them. Others are easier.

I like them snug, but not impossible to take off by hand.

July 20, 2007, 03:51 AM
I've purchased guns from 2 different Cabelas locations, and at both they said they have a no-returns policy on firearms.

July 20, 2007, 05:19 AM
I was interested enough in getting an answer to this whole return question that I just spent 10 minutes on the phone with a very nice customer service rep from Cabelas who told me that while he wasn't 100% sure, as far as he knew you could return an unfired gun within 30 days. He was absolutely certain that was the case in regards to blackpowder rifles ordered via the internet or catalog. His logic was that barring some sort of law prohibiting returning firearms, Cabelas basically wants to keep you happy and would honor the store-wide return policy. I don't know if I will call them back, but he gave me a number and extension to talk with someone in the retail group for a better answer.

Gotta say it, Cabelas has good customer service. If I can call at 3:00AM and talk with a guy for 10 minutes over a question of simple curiousity and that guy is as friendly and as helpful as this guy was, thats a company that values it's customers.

Chuck R.
July 20, 2007, 10:12 AM

Youíve made a wise choice in buying the 6920, I love mine and itís been 100% reliable. One thing to keep in mind is that youíve purchased a gun aimed at the law enforcement/Government market. Basically a well put together tool. Every M16-M4 I was ever issued the forearms moved a bit, itís nothing to worry about.

What matters is the stuff you canít readily see like is your gas key properly staked, your bolt/barrel MPIíd, your front sight base the proper height, and your M4 feed-ramps properly cut.

I would shoot it a bit as is before swapping the handguard out. Railed forearms are cool, but they add weight and usually size. Freefloats aid in accuracy, but then again, it's a carbine. I think the functionality really depends on what you plan on hanging on your rifle. In my case, All I want is a light, so I went with a rail system that mounts to the bayonet lug. It saved me some weight, and I retained my slimmer handguards.


Bartholomew Roberts
July 20, 2007, 10:58 AM
I like Bushmaster and have two; but the Colt is a better product - right down to the handguards. In fact, one of the first things I did to my Bushmaster in 1999 or so was trade out my Bushmaster handguards for some Colt LE6920 handguards - which cost me $60 at the time.

The wiggle isn't important and won't afffect anything negatively. To give one example of how first impressions can be deceiving, some aftermarket handguards will use a cheaper plastic that melts easier; but they will incorporate tiny nubs that hold the handguards on tight and make for less play/more difficult removal. Those handguards feel more solid; but are actually more fragile. Meanwhile the M4 handguards feel sloppier; but are much more durable.

If you enjoyed reading about "Loose front handguard on a new Colt 6920 -- Normal?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!