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How hard is it to change out a barrel on an AR-15 upper?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Kenneth Lew, May 16, 2004.

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  1. Kenneth Lew

    Kenneth Lew Member

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    Thanks.

    Kenneth Lew
     
  2. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Real easy. Ya need a vise or action block and a barrell wrench..if ya cant find someone to do it, send it to me Ill do it for ya

    WildalmostflashidertimeAlaska
     
  3. DMK

    DMK Member

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    Simple

    It's even easier than assembling a lower except you need three special tools.

    It's just a matter of removing the hanguards, removing the gas tube, unscrewing the barrel nut and removing the barrel. New barrel goes in, torque to just 30 ft lbs, put in the gas tube and snap the handguards back on. As Wildalaska said, you need a barrel wrench, a torque wrench and an upper receiver block to hold the receiver in a vice without damaging it.

    A gas tube wrench would be very helpful also, but you can use a vise grips if you are very careful and clean up any burrs in the gas tube hole of your new barrel assembly before installing it.
     
  4. hube1236

    hube1236 Member

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    You dummies forgot the most important tool. An ice cold beer.

    :cool:

    Really I get sh($( from friends because I shoot gasp russian ammo through my AR. I built the gun up from a receiver last summer. It was so painfully easy, that I swore I would never spend $170 for a case of Wincester when a case of Barnaul costs 100.

    I have over 1500 rounds through the new set up with no cleaning. I spray some CLP on the bolt action and go to work. I shoot mainly tac rifle matches so its only 200 rounds a day, but they are fired in up to four stages, that's a lot of acute demand. Cheap ammo = mosey for new parts if they ever break. It is so easy to install new parts./
     
  5. cosmonick

    cosmonick Member

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    What about headspace? Is that not an issue with the AR?
     
  6. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Member

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    Headspace isn't an issue unless you plan on assembling the barrel to the barrel extension.

    - Chris
     
  7. DMK

    DMK Member

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    With the AR, the headspace is set by a collar(barrel extension) attached to the barrel. Headspace is set when the barrel is made and is not adjustable.

    The specs on the bolt head and locking lugs are such that as long as you buy a new barrel and new bolt from quality manufacturers, the headspace will be OK. If you use worn or low quality parts, all bets are off.

    Of course, headspace gauges are cheap insurance. All you really need for assembling a new rifle is the no-go gauge. If the no-go gauge chambers with new parts, then something is wrong with your barrel or bolt head and one or both will need to be replaced by the manufacturer.

    The field gauge is for checking rifles that have a lot of wear on them to see if they are safe to fire.
     
  8. Kenneth Lew

    Kenneth Lew Member

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    I'll just change out the upper to a 11 inch one since this is for a full auto M16. I burned out the last barrel doing 15 mag dumps.

    Kenneth Lew
     
  9. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    I wouldn't use vise grips for the gas tube. I've always been able to do it by hand.

    As for a barrel vise, measure the outside diameter of the barrel and drill a piece of oak (or other hardwood) to match. Saw in half on a bandsaw & instant barrel vise.

    You do need the barrel wrench though to loosen & barrel nut. The pliers to compress the circlip spring is good to have too.

    It's not hard at all. Go for it!
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2004
  10. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    4v50 we actually just use a vise with lead inserts...

    WildbecasueothertoolshavelegsAlaska
     
  11. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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  12. Traveler

    Traveler Member

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    Okay, for the most part everything here will get the job done. However, I always check headspace, and yes, it can be adjusted on am M16. For the most part it never needs to be. But with the large number of different manufacturers of parts, and the extremes of tolerence, it is not unlikely that sooner or later you will run across a gun that needs to be adjusted.

    Bob Dunlap (who used to run the Gunsmithing course at Lassen College) and I had a long talk about this a couple of SHOT Shows back. I use the question of adjusting headspace on the AR type rifle as one of the ways I judge a gunsmith. If they can't answer, they don't get to touch my guns.

    It does require special tools though. I have one in storage somewhere based on a design Bob worked out. I've never seen one for sale though.
     
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