Installing a free-floating handguard for the first time

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Gene Rojas, Sep 29, 2016.

  1. Gene Rojas

    Gene Rojas
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    I took the plunge tonight and upgraded my PSA barrelled upper with a Midwest Industries T-series free-floating handguard- despite the intimidation factor I decided to attempt it myself, since I assembled my first build solo for the most part. I was really surprised how a handguard with multiple attachment points really changes the look of the rifle- choosing an color like FDE makes it stand out too. Experienced rifle builders, please excuse my narrative...
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    PSA's handguard is functional and has an old-school look, but leaves something to be desired

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    This is where the fun starts

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    The 2-piece handguard comes off easy even without the lower attached- any tools help

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    PSA really stakes their front sights well- I had to use PB Blaster, punches and a BFH to loosen the front sight pins. Patience helps.

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    Off with the old, on with the new barrel nut. I torqued mine to 40 ft-lbs.

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    Test fit- looks really nice already. This swap is impossible without the right tools and jigs. Don't forget to follow instructions, and apply the green loctite to the outside of the new barrel nut. Set screws on the bottom get tightened to 55 in-lbs.

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    I need to take a better pic- the look with the new quad rail is phenomenal.

    Part 2: Lower receiver assembly and obligatory outdoor rifle porn pics!

    Geno
     
  2. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up
    NW USA
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    punching out the FSB pin is the bee-och of the bunch for sure.

    nice post and it should help many folks who've thought of taking on the task.

    well done.
     
  3. 308

    308
    SW Idaho
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    Especially when the pins are tapered and one is pounding the fat side towards the skinny side :)
     
  4. Gene Rojas

    Gene Rojas
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    I was beating on the front sight pins and they weren't budging- I had the sight itself clamped to a wooden block, tried 3 different punches, a bigger ball peen hammer, no joy. Then it occurred to me some penetrating oil would do the job- and it did. PSA uses the mil-spec combo front sight/gas block, and while it does the job, I would have replaced it w/ a low-profile gas block and gone with a 12" long handguard if I had to do it the next time. Experience teaches us well.

    Some other shooting buddies have told me too that the quad rail- style handguard is obsolete, but I like the style and with four Picatinny rails there are plenty of mounting options for accessories.

    Geno
     
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  5. Gene Rojas

    Gene Rojas
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    I finally finished the lower last night- despite a blackout and a break to go to a farewell party for our minister, I got it done afterwards and the results were well worth the effort. The FDE finish from Midwest Industries and from Magpul aren't an exact match, but compliment each other well.
    It's apparent to me that I will need rail covers on the quad rail- I can see it getting hot after putting a few mags through the rifle and I usually don't wear gloves when shooting.

    Geno
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  6. 3MTA3

    3MTA3
    Western Oregon
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    @Gene Rojas excellent write up and it turned out very well! I've become a fan of the A2 sight since I got my Ruger, just wish there was an aftermarket one like it (I dig the machining and built in QD) or Ruger's used standard pins.

    Yeah, quads have been out of fashion for a couple of years. What's in AR fashion now will also be out in a few years. Get what YOU want for the reasons YOU want and let others play Barbie guns.
     
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  7. 308

    308
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    Looks good mister!
    Keep up the good work :)
     
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  8. 2A2Dend

    2A2Dend
    Non 2A State
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    Nice job
     
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  9. Brutus57

    Brutus57
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    Gaaaaaaaahhhhhh, I think my BCM upper has the FS "pinned and welded" because it's a 14.5 barrel....so I would not likley attempt what you have so successfully and nicely accomplished.

    Brutus Out
     
  10. clearconscience

    clearconscience
    Vancouver, WA
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    Only reason I don'5 like the A2 front sight is it can interfere with scope vision, However, I do like that it's a solid sight.
     
  11. Gene Rojas

    Gene Rojas
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    Thank you for the kind words, guys- I hope my post will be of help to anyone looking to install a free floating handguard on their AR. The MI quad rail has specific steps, but the flat barrel nut seems to be a common part.

    I'm curious how BCM would remove a barrel after pinning and welding the flash hider- obviously the welds could be ground down. Is the hand guard a free floater or a 2-piece guard that can be removed by pulling the Delta ring back (if it has a delta ring)?

    Geno
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
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  12. No_Regerts

    No_Regerts
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    You could cut down the A2 front sight and use it as a gas block. Then cut off the delta ring and you are ready to go free floated handguard.
     
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  13. Alex V

    Alex V
    Portland, OR
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    The front sight is part of the reason I decided to do my first build completely from scratch. I went with a BCM 15 inch KMR Alpha. I'm one of those cargo shorts kind of guys. I don't need all the pockets, I just like the shorts. Anyways, a few things I would have done differently, like waiting to stake the castle nut because the buffer tube was a bit shallow and the BCG wouldn't clear the bolt catch, but all and all, it came together nicely. Fired the first 200 rounds without a problem.
     

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