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Old January 17, 2008, 03:54 PM   #1
rgitzlaff
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AR-15 side charging handle mod

Has anyone modified thier AR for a side charging handle? I think this is something I might want to try. I really like the idea. I can't seem to find anything explaining exactly how this is done. I know I have to mill a slot back from the ejection port, and will have to drill and tap the bolt carrier. Just need to know dimensions and sizes for all this.
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Old January 18, 2008, 01:08 PM   #2
James K
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It can be done (and probably has) but I would be hesitant about weakening the receiver with the slot. If you want an AR-15 type with a side handle, check out the AR-180B, which not only has the side handle but has several advantages over the AR-15.

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Old January 18, 2008, 10:47 PM   #3
DnPRK
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fulton-armory.com sells a side charging upper and bolt carrier with removable handle.
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Old January 19, 2008, 11:08 AM   #4
Alleykat
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You can always add a "tactical" latch to your existing charging handle. That's what I use. Makes charging when scoped a lot easier.
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Old January 19, 2008, 12:11 PM   #5
rgitzlaff
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I already have a tactical charging latch on it. I just thought that a side charging handle would be even more convenient, and plus I like to make modifications myself instead of buying things to do it. I take a lot of pride in doing that.
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Old January 19, 2008, 05:18 PM   #6
nbkky71
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I know a number of NRA highpower match rifle shooters that have the bolt handle modification done. None have reports any problems whatsoever with their rifles. It's an easy way to manipulate the bolt while remaining in position.

Here's some pics from the White Oark Armament website showing left/right handed bolt mod.

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Old January 19, 2008, 05:22 PM   #7
hoytinak
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Quote:
I like to make modifications myself instead of buying things to do it. I take a lot of pride in doing that.
If you do go through with it, make sure you take prenty of pics during the process and give us a good writeup.
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:25 PM   #8
mariner3302
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I am seriously planning this mod on my AR pistol. Due to the short design it puts a huge amount of side pressure on the charging handle. This not only is hard on the handle but also on me. Soooo...


The locations are approximate but close. I realize the bolt handle will move with the carrier, of course. I think a groove of about 1/4" will accomodate the side handle. I would like any advice you may have. I am not sure what size would be best yet. I am just starting to build the specs. I have to determine what size to tap into the carrier. The bolt handle threaded piece can't be too small so that it would be weak but I want to keep the weight down. I figure an aluminum knurled end permanently attached to the carrier anchor.
As far as weakening the reciever, the stresses are not from pressure and the directed force is straight to the rear. So there would be minor if any compromise to the structure.

Last edited by mariner3302; January 20, 2010 at 11:41 PM.
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Old March 7, 2010, 09:53 PM   #9
limitdown
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Any progress on the modification? I'm quite interested in this.

A few links that I've found on factory products

As mentioned above, Fulton. Looks like The modified bolt carrier and stripped upper are sold separately. The bolt carrier with bolt handle is $150 and the stripped upper is $200
http://www.fulton-armory.com/M6Parts3.htm

Alexander Arms has a beefed-up side-charging upper with a chromed carrier for $325
http://www.alexanderarms.com/sitesho...?cat=2&item=80

American Spirit sells the upper plus modified carrier for $375
http://www.americanspiritarms.com/pr...ver-38-12.html
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Old March 8, 2010, 09:00 AM   #10
mariner3302
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I was only interested in modifying the left side of the bolt carrier/upper but no one wants to do it. I found out why, and it makes lots of sense. The bolt carrier is drilled and shaped and then hardened. It is so hard that it eats the strongest drill bits up. So the only way to do it would be to anneal the carrier and then tap it. Which would make the annealed part weak and prone to possible failure. So it needs to be drilled and tapped prior to hardening.
I still think that for the AR-15 pistols that the carrier mounted charging handle is best but I will have to wait til I can get a carrier specially made. Which equals funds.
I contacted White Oak and they don't do the left side carrier anymore and said they weren't interested in making any. It was the same story from about four other gunsmiths. I only wanted the drill carrier and wanted to do the mod myself so the modded uppers being sold I didn't look into very much.

"As mentioned above, Fulton. Looks like The modified bolt carrier and stripped upper are sold separately. The bolt carrier with bolt handle is $150 and the stripped upper is $200
http://www.fulton-armory.com/M6Parts3.htm

Alexander Arms has a beefed-up side-charging upper with a chromed carrier for $325
http://www.alexanderarms.com/sitesho...?cat=2&item=80

American Spirit sells the upper plus modified carrier for $375
http://www.americanspiritarms.com/pr...ver-38-12.html "

I think the Fulton and Alexander carriers are were manufactured by the same place then sold to each company for final assembly. They look so similar in form and function that it leads me to believe that someone did a run of carriers then sold them off.
I like the American Spirit job but don't want to spend the money. A small tapped hole in the area I showed in the picture would be easy and functional and inexpensive but I have to find someone willing to do it then put it through the hardening process. Maybe if there was a large lot it would be easier.

Last edited by mariner3302; March 8, 2010 at 09:11 AM.
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