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Lightening the AR-15

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Badger Arms, May 19, 2003.

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  1. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    I wanted to field this question. What ways are there to practically lighten the AR-15? I know that one of the most common ways is to turn the barrel smaller, down to about .600" is about as small as I've seen it. Are there any other ways to help the weight situation? It's not that the gun is overly heavy, but the .223 doesn't kick that much either. I want my kids to be able to transport it themselves along with the ammo, earmuffs, targets, and shooting glasses. I believe they will feel better about transporting them themselves. These kids are NOT recoil shy, so that is not a factor. Please help me out?
     
  2. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    I've been wanting to build up a lightweight AR for my wife. The old Colt SP1 would be ideal, but we don't want to pay pre-ban prices.

    If you're willing to go with the older skinny barrel and shoot 55 gr ammo, there's a lot of weight savings right there. Add a A1 butstock and ditch the carry handle for a flat top receiver (especially if you're using optics) and you'll save some more weight. If you really want to dump every ounce, try a shorter barrel or even use an flat side upper without a forward assist. Of course, with those you'd still have the carry handle, but if you wanted to keep the handle anyway it would be lighter.
     
  3. MolonLabe416

    MolonLabe416 Member

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  4. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Some of the fake collapsible stocks are lighter then even the A1 stock. You could try to find an M16 upper (no forward assist).

    Have you looked at the MDAR15shooters site? I think Forest had some articles there on building super lightweight ARs.

    Jeff
     
  5. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    Jeff, do you have a link? I've been on that site for 10 minutes now and can't find the darn thing.
     
  6. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    No, I don't have a direct link. I'll e-mail Forest. It was also the subject of a few threads on the AR15 mailing list.

    Go to AR15-L@yahoogroups you should be able to pull it out of the archives. Some of the guys got pretty creative. I think there was one or two down at around 4 pounds.

    Jeff
     
  7. Jack19

    Jack19 Member

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    And don't forget Bushmaster's Superlight with the Stubby/"Entry" stock. Under 6 pounds unloaded.

    I've got a Bushmaster Superlight barrel on my current A3 AR, comes in around 7 pounds.[
     
  8. Onslaught

    Onslaught Member

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    Those "Entry Tactical" or "Stubby" stocks are AWEFUL short (10.5" LOP) and adding anything to make it longer and more comfortable is gonna add weight too.

    The ACE Boom Tube stocks are lighter than any of the AR stocks I personally know of, and they are available in A2, A1, and custom LOP's.
     
  9. jthuang

    jthuang Member

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    How about fluting the lightweight barrel? Might shave off a few more ounces.

    My Bushie carbine has a Surefire M500A weaponlight that makes the gun noticeably barrel-heavy. Fortunately my (heavy) barrel is fluted so it saved a bit of weight.

    Justin
     
  10. BigG

    BigG Member

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    The beauty of the AR15 has been lost in all the bloat, hasn't it? The lean and mean Colt SP1 was the ticket for you. It's my favorite type of AR15. Pray for the AW to end so you can buy an original! :eek:
     
  11. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

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    Sure, get one of the Bushmaster made Corbon 16s.

    On the Bushy website they advertise a rifle under 4 pounds!

    But then that doesn't solve your currect dilemna. You might think of trying one of the Cavarms lowers and mate it with an ultralight barreled upper.

    Good Shooting
    Red
     
  12. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    So far the options aren't looking so good. I've talked to a few around here and got shown a picture of the OlyArms 'Swiss Cheese' gun and their 'noodle barrel' featherweight. My concern is that these barrels will heat up faster and be less accurate. I've already got a DPMS featherweight barrel and that is about as light as I'm willing to go. I don't think it's safe to flute it. The other concern is that I don't want a CAVarms lower. I've looked at their crap and just want to stay away from that. Plus, the stock on the CavArms is LONGER than an A2 stock!!! What the 'offline' concensus was was this... the parts that need to be looked at OTHER than the barrel are:

    Front Sight (steel... do they make an aluminum one?)
    Upper Receiver (need A-1)
    M-4 Stock pinned in place (so I can pin it short enough for my Daughters)

    The things I was thinking of as possibly saving weight were:

    Removing the weights from the buffer (is this adviseable?)
    Milling the Bolt Carrier to lighten it
    Drilling holes in the lower that are hidden by the grip, stocks.
    Replacing the handguards, barrel nut, delta-ring/spring assembly with Armalite fiberglass handguards.
    Naturally I'll use the featherweight 16" barrel

    Any comments on the above modifications?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. mrstang01

    mrstang01 Member

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    Badger Arms,

    Not sure where you get the CavArms lower is crap, it gets rave reviews at AR15.com. Their new lowers are A1 length, and the AR15 crew all seem to agree that they are the way to go for the lightest weight lower.

    As to your other concerns, naturally when you lighten a barrel and make it thinner, it's going to heat up faster, if you want super accuracy, go for a 24" heavy barrel. For your stated purpose of a lightweight carbine for the kids, a CavArms lower with a Bushy lightweight upper sounds like the ticket to me.

    Michael
     
  14. Paul Gomez

    Paul Gomez Member In Memoriam

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    Cav Arms lower are the bee's knees, particularly if you have them shorten the stock.

    Another route would be the Stubby Stock from Bushy on a regular lower.

    For the top-end, a Les Baer flattop upper with no provision for forward assist should cost around $90 and they don't get no lighter. Mate a Bushy SuperLightweight 16 barrel and call it a day.

    My personal AR predates the Bushy SuperLightweight barrel. It's got a Wilson Match, profiled down to A1 dimensions and chopped to 14.5 prior to the vortex being mounted, but the end state is the same. It ways well under six pounds.

    For a rear sight, the Canadian C7A1 backup sight works well (and ways nothing), but there are plenty of rear sights to choose form nowadays.
     
  15. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    CavArms:

    My opinion of CavArms comes from personal experience. I have personally examined 5 lowers now and two rifles. ALL WERE ABSOLUTE CRAP in my opinion. I hear others say great things and I have to wonder if they have ever looked at one or if they are just relating second-hand experiences or what. I can't imagine that all 5 of the ones I've seen (from three diferent sources) were lemons and the the majority of guns out there are the cat's meow. What I observed were huge mold lines, improperly 'welds' between the two halves, warpage, bad lines, voids, and an all-around poor workmanship. You can mold a lower out of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic that works just like the current lower without the need for non-standard takedown and safety detents and without much hassle. I haven't seen a good one but I'll wait.

    I might be wrong about CavArms but I want to see a good one in person and I doubt I'll be swayed by online arguments. Anybody up here have one? I'd love to eat crow on this one because I like the concept but I don't much like what I've seen execution wise. Enough said...

    Now, as for the stock length, I'm pretty much set on the M-4 stock pinned to a short length. I don't like the stubby stocks because they are too short and I don't like the A2 or A1 stocks because they are too long. My choice on that one. I'd also like to make the guns 'non-kidlike' as they grow and perhaps lengthen them.
     
  16. Handy

    Handy Guest

    I remember GunDigest listed a weight of less than 6 pounds for the old Colt Lightweight model with 16" barrel. How did they do that?

    It's kind of funny how heavy these rifles have gotten.
     
  17. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    Carbon fiber handguard and ACE skeletonized stock?
     
  18. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    Badger, I've got a Cav Arms lower. Unfortunatly I can't help you much since mine is a "factory 2nd" and it is butt ugly. Got it for $75 though. And it seems to work. Big mold lines, and dings but it holds the upper on while I shoot it. :)
     
  19. 444

    444 Member

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    I have a Cav Arms lower. I think it is terrific. In fact in all the posts I have ever read about Cav Arms lowers, I have read one that is negative. It also doesn't use any non-standard parts. I assembled it and know what parts are in it.
    I have never weighed one, but I don't think it would be your best bet for the lightest weight rifle. I am putting together a lightweight AR right now. I am using a standard lower with an ACE ARBT stock. The stock is shown here: http://www.riflestocks.com/html/ar15_m16_products.html
    I then sent a Bushmaster 16" upper to Kurt at KKF for his ultralight conversion.
    One note on KKF. I sent him this upper in February and haven't gotten it back yet. If I am not mistaken, we deployed our troops, invaded Iraq, swept from one end of the country to the other, won the war, and have started sending our troops home in less time that it has taken Kurt to turn this upper down on a lathe and sent it back to me.
     
  20. gun-fucious

    gun-fucious Member

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    one would wonder what Bushmaster is going to be able to do with the PO polymer reciever technology they have aquired

    a carbon wrapped barrel like ole St. Eugene had in the late 50s would be light too...
     
  21. Onslaught

    Onslaught Member

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    Badger,

    Just a quick note...

    I keep reading that you plan to "pin an M4 stock" to your desired length.

    Don't know if you're concerned with this, but technically, a true M4 stock is not BATF approved on a post-ban rifle, even if it's pinned in place, since it can be "unpinned", etc.

    The post-ban tele-style stocks that are available now are not converted M4 stocks, they are built from the ground up to LOOK like the telescoping stocks, but cannot be made to telescope. They also use a full length buffer tube rather than the carbine.

    I agree with others (and may have mentioned it already) that the ACE stocks are the lightest way to go for an ultralight AR, and are available in any length you want from 10.5" to full A2 length.

    Check out their new "Ultra Lite" from Del-Ton
    9oz lighter than an A2 stock!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2003
  22. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    Now if you got a 'factory 2nd' then perhaps there are other factory seconds out there. Maybe those are the only ones I've had the chance to observe?

    About the legality of pinning an M-4 stock, it's legal on a Bushmaster and Rock River gun, why wouldn't it be legal on mine? I've looked at these stocks and they are pinned in place with the hardware that adjusts them replaced with a screw. That is my plan. I don't have any intention of breaking the 'law' that covers this.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  23. MessedUpMike

    MessedUpMike Member

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    Don't know if you're concerned with this, but technically, a true M4 stock is not BATF approved on a post-ban rifle, even if it's pinned in place, since it can be "unpinned", etc.

    That is not, to my understanding correct. My Oly has a "pinned" stock, which I could, and plan on, return to it's former telestocking glory with a few minutes of work, and a handful of small parts. I believe the term is that the stock has to be in a "permament" fixed position, or at least on that cannot be adjusted without the use of tools. Why bother forcing fixed molded stocks on rifles when you can buy a folded and put it on aftermarket anyways?

    The MD AR-15 site it
    www.Md-AR15.com
     
  24. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    And the nice thing about them M-4 stocks is that the ribs hide where the pins were in the first place. You can epoxy and paint and, being down in a recess, the holes will be completely invisible.
     
  25. gun-fucious

    gun-fucious Member

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    the commercial stocks have been BATF approved as fixed stocks

    you would not want an agent doing a 300 pound collapse test on your rights
     
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