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What are free float handguards?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by beerslurpy, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

    You know, for the AR series rifles. What are they and how do you they install specifically?

    I'm getting an integral AR can done by SRT and they told me that I can install free float handguards over the can. I assume they attach directly to the base of the barrel, correct?
  2. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    A free-float tube attachs to the barrel nut and is essentially a rigid handguard tube that extends down the barrel but doesn't touch it. Because it doesn't attach to the barrel at both ends (only the receiver end), the barrel is free from the stresses of slings and other perturbations that would be imposed upon the handguard.

    Some float tubes attach to the stock barrel nut, but most thread onto a custom-for-that-tube barrel nut. If you think you might want one, it's best to decide while the rifle's being built.
  3. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    A free-float handguard does not contact the barrel at any point. This gives you a little better consistency from shot-to-shot since sling pressure or similar influences do not change the point of impact.

    On an AR15, a free-float barrel is usually done by replacing the barrel nut with a new nut that has external threads. The free-float handguard is then screwed on to the threads on the barrel nut. However, there are a lot of inventive ways to attach them.
  4. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

    Yeah, I'm gonna need one. Normal handguards arent going to fit over a big old can.

    How hard is removing the barrel nut?

    The finished result should look like this, only mine is going to be a flattop + optics in 45 ACP isntead of a carry-handle in 22LR. I already have the lower finished and sitting in the gun safe.

  5. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    Simple mechanical process that requires two special tools - a receiver block to hold the upper receiver in a vice, and the wrench to spin off the nut.
  6. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    heh, that's Tactical Perturbations, btw

    (that might be a good band name)

    slurpy, are you only getting a barrel from them? i mean, they're not installing it in your receiver? why don't you send them the receiver and let them install the barrel/handguards?
  7. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    You also have to remove the gas block unless it's very, very small and allows the barrel nut to slip over it.

    That looks like a fun carbine. Will it use Thompson mags?
  8. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    Ooops - good catch.

    The gas block will either be pinned on (need a punch a hammer to remove) or bolted on using allen-head screws. Most gas blocks for flattops have a railed top which sticks up too far to get the tube over 'em, and they'll have to be removed. You can get low-profile gas blocks from YHM, Badger, DPMS, etc.

    If you don't spec a float tube during the build, you may get a railed gas block that's bolted on or a traditional front sight/gas block that's pinned on; either would most likely need to come off to install a float tube.
  9. TonyRumore

    TonyRumore Well-Known Member

    I don't know how big your can is going to be, but most FFT's have a 1.750" ID. If you need to go larger, the Accuracy Speaks FFT's have a 2.0" ID.

  10. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

    Thanks for the info Tony.

    This gun wont have a gas block at all as it is blowback. I will just smack out the pins for the front sight and ditch the stock handguards before sending it in.

    I will be using grease gun mags in a cav arms lower (which has a cruciform magwell to accept the wider greasegun mags). I have the lower and the magazines and am expecting my oly arms upper to arrive in the next few weeks.

    I was considering going with one of tony's 458 socom uppers, but I think the cost of ammo would have infringed upon my enjoyment of shooting the gun. 600 grain subsonics are sweet though. Scary even.

    Anyway, this gun should be an awesome toy. Kind of like a Red Ryder that shoots 230 grain bb's. I cant wait to get a brick of ammo and plink at squirrels
  11. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    Oh yea, that's right. It's a pistol caliber. And it won't have a gas port to plug will it, being a .45 bore?

    Be aware those pins can be a real bear to knock out sometimes. Also, they are often tapered and will only come out one way.
  12. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

    Oh, I ended up getting the yankee hill lightweight carbine tube with the rails. I can use my extra PDW vertical foregrip and be tacticool.

    It also occurred to me I should install the barrel nut before I send it off, which I realized thanks to this thread.

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