Dec 5, 2013

Aftermarket Accessories and DIY Gunsmithing

Universal Bipod Properly Fitted
Putting a bipod on a rifle is an excellent means to stabilize your shots when hunting deer this season in a deer stand or at the firing range. Some purchase bipods because they look so military or the rifle was originally designed to have one.
There are several models and styles available that a firearm owner can install themselves; however there are draw backs.
For example, if you have a tactical poly-type stock that has a sling lug built in to the forestock and use the universal type that clamps onto that lug – in many cases that lug will crack and break. This type is best for metal lugs that have been machined and installed into wooden stocks.

Handguard Rail Clamp
The best type is a quality bipod that requires a threaded hole in the forestock and a machined screw, a pair of them to be exact or those that securely clamp to a handguard rail. Taking your electric hand drill and creating the hole to be tapped will mean that the hole may not be true centered – straight for proper tapping; whether the rifle has a wood stock or tactical space-age material stock.
A customer who I had fine-tuned the trigger system and installed and fitted a scope decided to purchase an aftermarket universal bipod that clamps to the forestock sling lug. The bipod fell off after some use because the lug cracked and broke. It was brought to me. The lug was not repairable, so I ground it down to match the rest of the forestock contours and replaced the universal bipod with a bipod that requires to be screwed to the stock. 
The stock was put into a jig, centered and holes drilled for the tapping procedure and gunsmith screws. In the end, he had a bipod that would withstand the rigors of use with adjustable spring legs like the universal had, the bipod only costing about $8 more than the universal bipod cost him plus installation fee and applicable sales tax.
Most gunsmiths detest fixing what others attempted to do, and failed, in order to set things right – and will charge more for doing so; mainly because it requires more time than the rated job requires and is usually a hassle to correct a bad job. In the case mentioned concerning the hunting rifle, I did not charge extra, but it cost a little bit more for a job-labor rate because the stock had to be ground and cleaned up because of the broken lug. 
Rail Clamp Bipod
There are bipods that fit on the barrel either by a spring or clamp; the former is apt to scratch the finish on your barrel during use and is not stable. M16s used to have a military issue bipod that merely clamped onto the barrel which was better than nothing, but scratched even the tough parkerization after a period of time and slipped back and forth across the barrel.
When I build a rifle or customize one; I install a proper-fit bipod as part of the package.
The moral of the story is that if you want a bipod or aftermarket item added to your firearm, it is doesn't hurt to spend the money to have a gunsmith perform the procedure – better for the firearm and your pocket book in the long run.
A reputable gunsmith's motto is: “do it right” and “do not accept rush jobs”. Any good craftsman only practices good work ethics and pride in the result.
Aluminum Receiver with Jig
This story also brings to mind the latest fad: purchasing 80%, 90%, and 100% rifle lower receiver forgings to build and save cost of completely finished product. Most often the mill work is done with a bench drill. There is a jig available to aid in properly machining and drill and/or tap the holes required for an AR-15 style rifle. One does not need an FFL to purchase the jig. 
However, whether you are making the rifle for your own use (which is technically illegal without an FFL manufacturer's license) it still must have a serial number in the lower receiver stamped according to ATF standards at the proper depth and size – and the name of the manufacturer with city and state stamped beneath the name. 
Serial Number on Receiver
For example, my registered manufacturer name/trademark is Grey Wolf ArmsGWA, which on firearms I build will have Sturgeon Bay/Wisconsin also engraved/stamped on the firearm. If a firearm requires bluing and the firearm is for resale – a manufacturer designation on an FFL is required. Which means if a firearm belongs to a customer and requires refinishing of any kind, this can be done by a person with a gunsmith FFL because it is not for resale; but does not to apply to firearms that are for resale.
A video on YouTube actually claims that this is legal and acceptable by the ATF to manufacture a rifle from spare parts. This is false. I have an FFL that is Class 7, which allows me to manufacture firearms and do not have to pay a manufacturers surcharge if I produce less than 50 firearms per year. It also affords me to be a gunsmith and dealer (Class 1) and Class 3 in firearms transactions. All firearms must have a serial number, so if I purchase a lower stock blank from a manufacturer, mill and machine it, I must stamp a serial number, register it, and include GWA, city, state on the lower receiver. 
80% Poly Lower with Jig
Lower receivers are available made of poly material and forged metal, usually aluminum, bot aluminum and poly are easy to work with when it comes to machining.Serial numbers are not only required by law, but is useful in case your firearm is stolen.
If you are thinking of machining and milling a lower receiver for your own use, remember that firearms require exacting measurements. If those measurements are off, the parts may not fit properly and the firearm becomes a piece of manufactured junk that either is not reliable or may be dangerous to fire ammunition. I do not say that it is impossible to build yourself a custom rifle, for there are folks out there with the knowledge and experience to do so; just remember safety is paramount when it comes to firearms. You invest a good piece of change in firearms, so take care of them and make sure work performed upon them is of good quality craftsmanship.
Firearms are an investment and over time their value grows if you take care of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

No SPAM, please. If you wish to advertise or promote website, contact me.