How the heck do I take off an AR-15 stock?!


May 12, 2008, 09:36 PM
I've already broken one wrench, and just bent up another one trying to get my AR-15 stock. I just want to put a single point sling mount on. Does that nut turn clockwise or counter clockwise? How hard to I have to wrench on it? Or do I have to do some special trick to get it to turn? Help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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May 12, 2008, 09:38 PM
did you push the detent pin out of the way? The one that holds the buffer in the buffer tube?

(wait, are we talking about an A2 stock, or a M4 stock?)

May 12, 2008, 09:38 PM
Is it red loctited on? A little heat while you turn might fix it for you.

Here's a exploded drawing to make sure we're talking about the same stuff. Can you explain with that where you're breaking the wrenches?

May 12, 2008, 09:39 PM
you broke a wrench on a castle nut? It turns CCW. Is the end plate staked?

ETA: I didn't even consider the possibility of a fixed stock, I have no experience there.

May 12, 2008, 09:42 PM
What brand AR, and what model?

May 12, 2008, 09:49 PM
It's a Rock River. Collapsible stock. Do I need to take the buffer tube out first? The nut I am trying to remove is not on the exploded diagram. It would go on the end of #21, on the threads of #21 snugged up against the lower receiver.

May 12, 2008, 09:52 PM
Just broke the secong f%*&#ng wrench! I must be doing something wrong! This is the one I broke.

May 12, 2008, 09:52 PM
How are you immobilizing the receiver? Are you using an actual AR stock wrench?

May 12, 2008, 09:56 PM
Can't tell from the pic, is that metal or plastic?

May 12, 2008, 09:57 PM
I'm just holding it in my hands. MidwayUSA says it is an AR stock wrench. See the picture above. It's a metal wrench. It started to bend right at the neck, then the nub broke off.

May 12, 2008, 09:59 PM
Rock River apparently loctites their extension tube nuts. Plenty of people have a lot of trouble with them. Can't tell you how to fix it, though...

May 12, 2008, 10:00 PM
So maybe I get another wrench, heat up the extension tube a bit and then give it a go? How hot do I need to get it?

And, does just that nut turn, or the whole tube? Thanks guys.

May 12, 2008, 10:01 PM
I think RRA uses loctite. Are you breaking the little nub off the wrench? Try some heat if you have any. DPMS makes a really nice wrench, if you want to spend the money, or maybe you can borrow one. Or take it to a smith if you still can't break it free.

First remove the buffer and spring from the stock. Then loosen the castle nut. Behind the castle nut is a flat plate. Behind that flat plate is a spring and a detent. #93, #92. Those will shoot out across the room if you are not careful. Then when you start to unthread the tube, #18, #19, will shoot out across the room.

Quick Karl
May 12, 2008, 10:07 PM
Any Locktite can be undone by applying a little heat, but donít get too crazy around all that aluminum and plastic... A propane torch a little at a time should do the trick Ė but aluminum melts WAY easier than steel. Heat is what you want, not molten parts :eek:

Of course you have to make sure the castle nut is NOT staked on (swaged into a notch somewhere along the circumference where it meets the receiver).

May 12, 2008, 10:10 PM
Yeah, it's the castle nut that won't budge. I'll order yet ANOTHER wrench and try a little heat. I'll probably end up hating the sling too, and that will piss me off even more!

May 12, 2008, 10:11 PM
Last time I took mine off, I used this method. I removed the stock. Then I used a couple of wooden clamps, one on the buffer tube, almost flush with the nut, the other clamp to hold the first to a table. Apply wench and a good counter clockwise (facing butt end) yank. Poor man's vise.

If you're looking for a new wrench, I recommend one of the stamped steel, three lugged type.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 12, 2008, 10:12 PM
Some manufacturers use Loctite instead of staking because they use cheaper metal on the castle nuts that will fracture if staked.

I would look for staking and if you don't see that, apply some heat. The stock GI castle nut wrench isn't that great either. Most of the nicer armorer's wrenchs also have a good castle nut wrench built into them.

May 12, 2008, 10:21 PM
I assume I'll see a pin or some other indication of staking? The castle nut appears to be intact. If it is staked, does that mean I can't remove it?

May 12, 2008, 10:29 PM
Any deformations in the end plate, lining up with the notches in the receiver face of the castle nut? If yes, it is staked. Its not a problem, mine was staked and came off with the proper application of leverage. It does seem though that RRA uses loctite rather than staking.

May 12, 2008, 10:43 PM
the castle nut has little square notches in it that, amazingly enough, make it look sort of like miniature battlements. if some metal from the plate has been squished into one of the notches, it's been "staked". You should unstake it before trying to spin that nut, but I'm inclined to doubt that's your problem, as the nut would probably have moved a bit before the stake really provided much resistance.

as others have said, red loctite is the disease. heat is the cure.

btw, when you get around to putting it back together, don't use loctite :)

Quick Karl
May 12, 2008, 10:51 PM

May 12, 2008, 11:09 PM
You really need to heat up the castle nut since RRA loctites theirs.

Use a heat gun or a hair drier.

May 12, 2008, 11:13 PM
You have to heat the castle nut to 300 degrees to get the locktite to break down.

May 12, 2008, 11:17 PM
I don't think it has to be that hot. I don't have a problem removing castle nuts on AR15's as long as they are moderately hot. I've never had one to 300 degrees though...

You don't have to break down the loctite completely, just heat it up enough to get the bond to loosen a little bit. I would say that 120-150 degrees would be plenty warm from my experience.

Trust me, I have removed a lot of castle nuts for people...

January 6, 2009, 08:19 AM
Ok I have the same problem.

It is an Olympic Arms K23 Pistol.

Trying to get the castle nut off.

I understand the heat if loctite has been used.

But what is staking ? I do see a notch in the middle of the castle nut.. do I need to depress this thing or what ?

Man could they have made it any harder? On the other hand I understand that doing all they do makes it perform like a charm.

January 6, 2009, 12:22 PM
Ok I have the same problem.

This castle nut is staked.


See the little piece of metal from the receiver plate that's pushed into the little slots on the castle nut? Since you have an olympic, your castle nut is most likely not staked.

January 6, 2009, 12:52 PM
Try putting the lower in the freezer, and use a better castle nut wrench, one that grabs the castle nut at three points instead of just one.

I went through the same exact thing before: .

January 6, 2009, 01:05 PM
I had the same problem with my M&P15. I was wanting to install a sling adapter, and bought a stock wrench to get the castle nut off. The wrench kept slipping off the nut, and stripped some of the metal off the nut, and some of the black finish on the buffer tube. I got fed up, and took the lower to a gun smith. He installed it with no problem, and did it for free too. Now I just have a slightly scratched buffer tube and slightly messed up castle nut.

January 6, 2009, 01:07 PM
Rock River incorrectly affixes their castle nuts with red Loctite, as posted above. Red Loctite requires heat to remove, also as posted above.

This is not only incorrect, but is actually 180 degrees from the correct method, since the receiver extension should have grease on it, not glue.

The receiver extension "castle" nut is meant to be held in place by staking the receiver endplate into the notches as shown in the picture above. This is a MECHANICAL solution rather than a CHEMICAL solution like the Loctite. A properly staked castle nut should not require excessive force applied with the moment arm that is a decent castle nut wrench.

Somewhat ironically given their propensity for incorrectly installing the part to begin with, RRA actually does make a pretty decent inexpensive stock wrench ( that should work for you just fine. I only wish that the receiver extension slot they have in it was a 3/8" hole for a breaker bar,and then it would be about perfect.

When you reassemble, make sure you put some moly grease on the threads before you tighten the nut.

January 6, 2009, 01:51 PM
The castle nut wrench posted in the link by rob_s is the best for the money.

DO NOT use the wrench shown in post #7!! Refer to the link I posted in post #27 and you will see I had the same crappy wrench shown in this thread, and managed to break it easily.

Spend the extra $3-4 on the better wrench.

...took the lower to a gun smith....Now I just have a slightly scratched buffer tube and slightly messed up castle nut.

Sounds like a sloppy gunsmith to me. :scrutiny:

January 6, 2009, 01:56 PM
The Rock River castle nut is, I beleive, an MIM part. This is inferred since staking it will usually cause it to crack. Hence their use of a chemical solution to lock it in place.

I used a multi-wrench to remove mine, along with some clamps to hold the lower in place. It took some force but came off. Remember the rear take-down detent spring is held in place by the receiver plate, so be prepared to control it's departure from the lower.

I have heard of people stripping the threads on the buffer tube when removing and installing castle nuts on Rock River lowers. This is probably due to the adhesive present on the threads.

January 6, 2009, 02:13 PM
Since you're not actually staking the nut, and are in fact staking the receiver endplate, the construction of the nut shouldn't matter.

But, not all endplates are created equally. I've encountered some so hard that they didn't want to take a stake, and others that appeared to flake like a pastry.

My hands down favorite receiver endplate, and the one I always install any time I remove a castle nut, is the Danel Defense Rear Receiver QD Swivel Attachment Point ( Takes a great stake without failing and gives you an extra sling mounting point. Even if you don't need the attachment point now, your needs may change down the road, and this builds in the flexibility now.

January 6, 2009, 04:18 PM
Get a lower receiver block to hold the lower in a vise, and get a good armorer's wrench, not that pot-metal hook. Those little hook type "stock wrenches" are junk. The metal they're made of is way too soft and weak.

January 6, 2009, 04:39 PM
Keep in mind, the little hook stock wrenches were also designed for an entirely different nut (that has one little round hole to match the wrench), and work quite well for those. Trying to use one of those wrenches on the newer castle style nut is like putting a metric wrench on a standard nut - asking for trouble.

January 6, 2009, 06:20 PM
Thanks. I got that single castle nut tool ( with just one tooth ) crapola.

Will get the right tool first.

Thanks for the info all.

Bigger question though!!!

The reason I am doing this is to install a Gunsmoke Enterprise Buffer Tube.

Now I understand how it all fits, but the instructions say to get rid of the retainer clip and spring once u take the top / bottom apart and remove the old buffer tube innards. Really?? The new stuff they give will stay in ? I am thinking it will jump out at you each time u take the top apart !

January 6, 2009, 06:42 PM
That's nothing. The castle nut is BACKWARDS on my Olympic.

January 6, 2009, 08:22 PM
That's nothing. The castle nut is BACKWARDS on my Olympic.

i saw a bunch of ARs with backwards castle nuts at a gun show in Portland recently... half of them were olympics- olyarms is just a couple hours drive from Portland so they always have strong showing at the Rose City Gun Shows. I have to wonder if some Big Head didn't write an article talking about the merits of installing a castle nut backwards or something.

it makes it impossible to use a three-prong wrench, at the very least

January 7, 2009, 09:13 AM
Keep in mind, the little hook stock wrenches were also designed for an entirely different nut (that has one little round hole to match the wrench), and work quite well for those. Trying to use one of those wrenches on the newer castle style nut is like putting a metric wrench on a standard nut - asking for trouble.

Excellent point. I recently went to remove the stock on an older 9mm AR only to find that the owner had it for quite some time and the nut was the old non-castle style. I didn't have the right tool for once!

January 7, 2009, 04:10 PM
use a pipe wrench and a cheater bar,that will do it by thunder.;)

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