If any of you guys have a M-17 I have a list of mostly simple upgrades that IMO should be done to all of these great little carbines. First thing (and the most expensive, difficult) was to machine the upper receiver with cooling/lightening slots on the fore-end/grip. Anyone familiar with M-17s knows that this section has a tendency to get pretty toasty after firing a few magazines and/or just letting it sit in direct sunlight for a while. This was a pretty big upgrade and helped the balance after an optic was mounted (prior to adding the gun would balance on its pistol grip) as well as the heat problem, but arguably was not worth the cash (unless you have a milling machine).
The next upgrade (done at the same time as the former) as to remove the atrocious top carry handle/sight/charging handle and replace it with a dedicated charging handle and a large picatinny rail. This is the most worth while upgrade because it gives you a solid mounting platform for optics and/or decent sights (original sights had about a 5" sight radius).
After adding the cooling slots (which do help...just not enough IMO) I added the VFG made by YHM. It is a reasonably priced grip that feels solid and fits the styling of the gun pretty well. To do this I filed off the front sling swivel (machined into the upper) and added a YHM P. rail in this position. To attach the rail I lined up the holes, then drilled and tapped to match the included hardware (which I found too small and bought larger SS bolts as replacements after the aluminum receiver started to strip on the fore hole). After I removed the front swivel I was left with no mounting point for my sling so I first tried a P. rail mount, but quickly became dissatisfied with the results. I then decided that I would use a swivel stud in place of the through-bolt on the VFG, and this has worked out beautifully.
The final (most recent) addition was to add a small strip of plastic on the inside of the receiver to block out-gassing at the charging slot at the top. This was a very good addition as it blocked about all of the noctious gas that formerly vented directly in your face.
The only thing that I need to do now is to slicken up the trigger bar (that runs from front to rear) and add a better scope (Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x44mmAO is likely).
I will publish additional photos and dimensions/specs. upon request. Please let me know if you found this useful, or if you have any other additions/upgrades that you have done to this particular rifle/never-ending-project. :)
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June 29, 2009, 04:45 PM
Oh yeah forgot to add the final product (so far) photo...
June 29, 2009, 11:15 PM
Don't all post at once. :neener:
June 29, 2009, 11:22 PM
You posted this before correct (or was it in another forum)? Nice rifle, not my cup of meat though, but it looks a lot better without the abomination carrying handle and the vents break up the industrial trim look of the original.
June 29, 2009, 11:34 PM
You posted this before correctI have posted photos of the rifle several times, but never the upgrades that I have made (some of which are very recent).
but it looks a lot better without the abomination carrying handle and the vents break up the industrial trim look of the originalThanks, well I think. :D
June 30, 2009, 02:07 AM
I've got the same generation M17S as you have and have been doing pretty much the same. My ultimate plan is to SBR it, but for right now I'm just having the receiver cut back and barrel shortened till it's 26.25 overall. I can't remember the 'planned length' at the moment but the barrel was only 4 inches past the gas block (the 'smith I'm using said that shouldn't be any problem for a short-stroke gas piston).
Kurt's Kustom Firearms used to do some very nice modifications to M17's but I heard recently that Kurt died while on his motorcycle this year. One of the ideas he came up with that you may want to look into was a cheekpiece. From the description it was a bit of curved and padded metal that was secured by the three screws on the receiver and wrapped up and over it.
June 30, 2009, 08:54 AM
I like it.WIth my M17S my plan so far has been to keep it stock. What I think I would like to do would be to get rid of the carry handle and just attach a top rail. Nothing more than that. I would like to do it so that I could return the gun back to stock if I wanted. I think this is a rifle that will have significant collector's in the future so doing nothing permanent to the rifle is desirable to me.
June 30, 2009, 09:05 AM
Thanks, well I think
Sorry, yes was a compliment. You made an ugly rifle with some questionable design points into one that is pleasing to look at and at the same time made it more functional. Of course no offense meant to those who like them stock, just one man's opinion.
Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 30, 2009, 09:21 AM
You hit the nail on the head with the upgrades. Since you have the skills and equipment, and since Kurt at Kurt's Kustom has gone to the great big firing range in the sky, if they were still making these, you could set up a business like Kurt's. Why don't your cooling slots extend further back along the receiver?
But outstanding work. P.S. Kurt's proprietary fold-down charging handle was a nice design. Again, if they were still making these, it would have been worth contacting his surviving heirs to purchase the rights to it.
June 30, 2009, 09:21 AM
Of course no offense meant to those who like them stock, just one man's opinion.
None taken here! I agree that the carry handle is fugly. And, the tactical iron sight built into it is totally worthless. And lets face it, the aluminum frame looks like the push bar on an emergency exit door. But, to me that is just part of the interest fo the rifle. It was a design that would have evolved but the life of the rifle was cut short. It's almost as if the gun never left the prototype stage.
I think I'll have to look seriously at making the rifle more practical to use while retaining the ability to put it back into stock condition. I think the rail will be easy. The issue will be the charging handle.
June 30, 2009, 12:19 PM
One of the ideas he came up with that you may want to look into was a cheekpiece.That is something that I will have to look into. Thanks for bringing it up, I will see what I can come up with. :)
June 30, 2009, 12:25 PM
You hit the nail on the head with the upgrades. Since you have the skills and equipmentThanks, unfortunately I haven't the equipment (milling machine) to do all of the work myself. I had a local smith do the cooling slots and the charging handle. All of the other upgrades were performed by myself in my home workshop. The reason for not extending the cooling slots was to protect the chamber should there ever be a catastrophic failure. As unlikely as that may be my face is worth the extra ounces. :)
June 30, 2009, 01:05 PM
Thats pretty slick man, I like the cooling slots and the charging handle. The plastic piece that prevents gas from coming out around the charging handle is a nice touch as well. If you don't mind, I may look into doing something like that myself.
I did a little work on mine although it was definately not pro stuff. I don't have the tools to do the milling so I just drilled some holes to assist with cooling. Here are some pics...
I would actually like to improve the trigger a little more myself, and add a spring loaded firing pin. I have been having frequent slamfires with Russian ammo that has me a bit concerned.
June 30, 2009, 02:08 PM
Quick question. How does the carry handle come off. Does one of the bolts serve to anchor the charging handle return spring internally? The rear bolt seems impossible to get at from the outside.
Never mind, I just looked at a schematic and I see that the bolt that holds the return spring internally also holds down the rear of the handle and the rail. The bolt does triple duty. How do you get at that bolthead internally? I assume you have to remove the barrel?
June 30, 2009, 02:46 PM
If you don't mind, I may look into doing something like that myself.That my friend, is why I posted it. I have no problems with that, and let me know (here or PM) if you need any additional specs./dims./photos or have any questions. :)
June 30, 2009, 02:57 PM
How do you get at that bolthead internally? I assume you have to remove the barrel?Yes, to remove the "do-all" handle you must first remove the bbl...which is not a overly complicated process, just the flash hider (brake, suppressor, or thread protector), the barrel sleeve, and one bolt. :)
June 30, 2009, 03:18 PM
Yes, to remove the "do-all" handle you must fist remove the bbl...which is not a overly complicated process, just the flash hider (brake, suppressor, or thread protector), the barrel sleeve, and one bolt.
Sounds to me like I'll just be letting this rifle be :o
June 30, 2009, 03:21 PM
Sounds to me like I'll just be letting this rifle beIt's not as hard as it sounds...but that's okay too. :)
June 30, 2009, 03:25 PM
It's not as hard as it sounds...but that's okay too.
I may do it eventually, but I would need to see it done first or have good diagramed instructions. No matter, still a fun rifle.
June 30, 2009, 03:32 PM
I may do it eventually, but I would need to see it done first or have good diagramed instructions. No matter, still a fun rifle.Let me know if I can be of some assistance, and I agree a very fun rifle. :D
June 30, 2009, 10:20 PM
Nice rifle. Well done. Is there anyone else doing work like Kurt was with the M17s?
June 30, 2009, 10:40 PM
Is there anyone else doing work like Kurt was with the M17s?As far as milling the receiver and the charging handle, I would find a good smith or take it to a competent machinist. If you do take it to a machinist, just make sure and disassemble the rifle first (giving him only the upper). The other work can be performed by about anyone that is reasonably handy and has some basic metalworking tools.
The simplest and one of the most rewarding/beneficial additions was the bottom cover for the charging handle slot. It does a great job of keeping the rifle from belching noxious gas in your face. I think everyone should at least give this one a shot. :)
July 1, 2009, 09:25 AM
The simplest and one of the most rewarding/beneficial additions was the bottom cover for the charging handle slot. It does a great job of keeping the rifle from belching noxious gas in your face.
Maybe I could fit one of those on my dog :what:
I was looking at the charging handle and was thinking that possibly a standard AR charging handle could be modified to replace the stock one. Also, as I work extensively with plastics one could be fashioned out of polymer.
July 1, 2009, 09:58 AM
possibly a standard AR charging handle could be modified to replace the stock one.That was my original thought, but one would take more modification than it's worth. It is easier to just design a new one from scratch, but I don't see why polymer couldn't be used. :)
July 1, 2009, 10:31 AM
but one would take more modification than it's worth. It is easier to just design a new one from scratch, but I don't see why polymer couldn't be used.
Yup, definitely more effort than it's worth to use an AR handle. I think I'll start with the charging handle. Polymer should be fine. The B&T TP-9 uses one. If that works out I will take care of the rest. Other than having to drill one more hole the gun can be returned to stock. Possibly an adequately long rail could be installed using existing holes.
July 1, 2009, 10:54 AM
Maverick, to remove the barrel is it a matter of removing the two front barrel lock nuts and the one barrel extension retaining screw at the rear of the barrel/gas housing? BTW, my rifle doesn't have a flash hider/muzzle break.
July 1, 2009, 12:51 PM
to remove the barrel is it a matter of removing the two front barrel lock nuts and the one barrel extension retaining screw at the rear of the barrel/gas housing?Yes sir, you got it. :)
July 1, 2009, 02:57 PM
Unfortunately the two lock nuts at the muzzle take a tool to remove that I don't have, something on the order of a very small AR tool for dealing with a notch. I'm sure my gun smith could take them off, but this was to be a "no gunsmith" project. I think I was more in love with the idea of crafting the charging handle from polymer than anything else. Truth be told I have used the open battle sights, and while I generally like to think of them as worthless, I have to admit that I have had some good results with them at shorter ranges. I wasn't really thrilled about loosing them. I find that the broad center notch allows me to line up POA very well spatially. The great downside is the super short sight radius, but they do sell back-up tactical sights like these for AR's for the same ranges.
So, I'll leave this one stock, but will continue to appreciate all of the great custom jobs.
July 1, 2009, 03:09 PM
So, I'll leave this one stockGotcha, you can still add the polymer seal under the charging handle though, you need not remove anything but the charging handle (but take care not to let the spring shoot back). :)
July 1, 2009, 06:03 PM
Unfortunately the two lock nuts at the muzzle take a tool to remove that I don't have, something on the order of a very small AR tool for dealing with a notch. I'm sure my gun smith could take them off, but this was to be a "no gunsmith" project.
Actually I have found a Tapco FAL gas tool like the one in the below link to work really well when removing those pesky lock nuts. Once that is done, you can cut and file down the barrel extension tube and clean up the threads to allow enough space to securely mount a flash suppressor. Er, that's how I did mine...
July 1, 2009, 07:01 PM
I have one I bought a few years back.I like it.I will admit it could stand a few changes to it.I do like the top rail and charging handle mods.I also see where a VFG would help when she gets hot.I need to get her out and shoot some.
I too would be interested in SBR it.
July 1, 2009, 07:40 PM
I too would be interested in SBR it.I would buy another to SBR if my local Sheriff didn't hate me (and everyone else in the county) and refuse to sign off on any BATF stamp. :banghead:
The carry handle is milled from a block of aluminum and anodized. Everything's been refinished in GunKote.
No BUIS :(, \ but the optics are a Bushnell HOLOsight with a Hensoldt 2.5x magnifier.
July 3, 2009, 01:18 AM
Nice looking gun Wolfhvnter, I hve been trying to figure out a way to add folding BUIS to mine as well...but have yet to figure a solution without raising the scope above the current location (which is a perfect check-weld for me). It looks like my solution will have to be a bulletproof scope (a Ziess is in its future). :)
September 16, 2010, 06:42 PM
Been a while since I visited this thread, but I figured an update was long overdue. I added a Magpul AFG a while back and couldn't be more pleased with it. It required a little modification to the sides to make it fit (just a little trim with a razor knife), but I am very satisfied with it nevertheless.