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Old September 21, 2020, 03:51 PM   #1
Metal god
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How to remove old Colt AR 3 prong flash hider ?

A buddy of mine wants to change his muzzle device on his old 80's era maybe older Colt AR-15 . I took a look at it but there are no flats on the original flash hider to use a wrench . Is it a pare a visegrips/channel locks and thick piece of leather type of thing or does it even come off ?

I often use a screwdriver or similar to take off muzzle brakes because you can just put the screw driver through the ports . I would not want to pry on the 3 prongs like this , afraid I'd bend or brake one off .
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Old September 21, 2020, 04:01 PM   #2
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I've used screwdrivers before and never bent a prong. To avoid any dings you can tape well, use vacuum line, etc. Strap wrench perhaps. Never tried this but here you go: https://www.opticsplanet.com/surefir...ng-wrench.html
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Old September 21, 2020, 07:25 PM   #3
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During the Clinton AWB ban there was a movement in some states to ban rifles with numerous features, you could have no more than three or four items before it was deemed a violation. Many companies tried to skirt the rules of threaded barrels by permanently drilling and pinning the flash hiders so they could not be removed.
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Old September 21, 2020, 10:03 PM   #4
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I like the tool but they want $14 S&H . I had it in the cart ready to go because I have surefire flash hiders so it would be a nice tool to have but ...
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Old September 22, 2020, 08:58 AM   #5
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I'd let him deal with it. Simple task actually.
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Old September 22, 2020, 09:42 AM   #6
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Metal,,,,maybe you could talk to your friend and get him to split the cost of the tool with you?? and when you are done you keep the tool

just a thought

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Old September 22, 2020, 09:49 AM   #7
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I'd let him deal with it. Simple task actually.
What a friend you are , he knows nothing about the firearm and the flashhider needs to come off to be legal in CA . No actually not an easy task . We are talking vintage Colt AR . The type of firearm if there’s one scratch it’s devalued by x amount . I’ve already tried the simple ways and it did not come off . I applied some clp and I’ll try again soon . It’s my understanding this firearm has been sitting in an attic for 20+ years and has just recently seen the light of day . I’ll say , that rifle is in really good condition. Kind of cool to see the old triangle handguard A2 upper .
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Old September 22, 2020, 12:19 PM   #8
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The ONLY redeeming thing about the 3 prong is you can break wires holding C-Ration cases together. In jungle? They will catch EVERYTHING within sight.
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Old September 22, 2020, 04:43 PM   #9
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Actually one reason that the 3-prong flash hider was replaced was because too many guys were actually bending barrels opening C-rat cases. One positive was that with the ammo of the time they were much more effective in flash suppression than the later birdcage was. Clearly the 3-prong was designed by an engineer who never saw combat.....
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Old September 23, 2020, 06:21 AM   #10
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Simple stuff if you know what you're doing. CLP will not do anything and is not intended to break loose anything. If value is now of great concern, the tool price is minimal. Or you could buy a container of Kroil and pour it into a suitable container. Stick the muzzle end down into it overnight and that might work. You'll still be out the approx amount of money. Rcvr block in a good vise, wrapped / protected flasher and a pipe wrench will work as well.
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Old September 23, 2020, 01:22 PM   #11
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imashooter , lmao . Simple is how you take a modern flash hider off . Buying a specialty penetrant and other tools only useful for that specific task does not make it a simple task . Taking “any” nut off is a simple task but there are and or could be some complexities involved in some instances as you clearly just pointed out . Also , I wonder what the break free stands for on the CLP bottle , things that make you go hmm ? It may not be the best product but it’s what I had sitting in front of me at the time so I used it . Maybe I’ll try some liquid wrench I have .

The price issue is only because it’s not my firearm. If it were mine the hider would have been off and this thread never started . I thought it best I go slow and ask some questions .
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Old September 23, 2020, 07:36 PM   #12
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I’ve had some luck with soaking or submerging stuck parts for a couple of days in a good penetrant. I’m not short on penetrants, but I am unfortunately short of patience, but the soak has never failed me (yet).
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Old September 24, 2020, 12:06 PM   #13
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Rcvr block in a good vise, wrapped / protected flasher and a pipe wrench will work as well.
Shudders!!

Pipe wrench? really? Vice grips??

Aluminum upper receiver in a vice?

If you want to do the job right, get the CORRECT barrel blocks for your vice, and get the "armorer's wrench" combination tool, which has slots in it just for the removal of the 3 prong suppressor.

A breaker bar and a little force and its done. Most gunsmiths today will have the tool, and every hobbyist who "builds" AR's will have one, hell I have one somewhere, but haven't seen it or built an AR in decades.

Quote:
Actually one reason that the 3-prong flash hider was replaced was because too many guys were actually bending barrels opening C-rat cases.
Bending barrels breaking the metal straps on palletized supplies (c-rats, ammo, etc., often delivered by helicopter) was a real thing. The 3 prong flash suppressor wasn't replaced because of that, though, it was replaced because it snagged on dang near everything.

The fix for the troops bending barrels was two part. One part was the creation of the "heavy barrel" (civilians know it as the H-bar) which is only "heavy" between the handguards and the muzzle. the barrel under the handguards kept its normal profile.

The other part of the fix was to simply educate/instruct the troops (particularly NCOs) not to let the troops use their rifle barrels that way. and emphasize why not, and discipline those who did not follow orders.

Quote:
We are talking vintage Colt AR . The type of firearm if there’s one scratch it’s devalued by x amount .
Consider this, if you take off the flash suppressor, its no longer a correct vintage collector's piece. A part has been removed (and I would hope, replaced with a thread protector!). Keep the flash hider with the gun, so all original parts are there, but don't expect full value from a collector since the rifle has been "modified".

You could have your friend take the rifle to a gunsmith (a real one, not bubba the builder) and EXPLAIN the importance of not damaging the finish in any way. Pay the professional what he wants for his time and work, and accept the cost of getting the job done right.

Would take me less than 5 minutes in the shop I used to work in.

DO not "block" the upper and put it in a vice, you need the BARREL in the vice to support it. IF you can buy, beg, borrow or rent the right tool and blocks its a simple job. If you can't, and are unwilling to risk possible finish damage, pay a professional who will do the work to your satisfaction.

.
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Old September 24, 2020, 12:30 PM   #14
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DO not "block" the upper and put it in a vice, you need the BARREL in the vice to support it. IF you can buy, beg, borrow or rent the right tool and blocks its a simple job. If you can't, and are unwilling to risk possible finish damage, pay a professional who will do the work to your satisfaction.
I have a upper vice block but think it only allows flat tops and not the integrated carry handle uppers . I guess I should go look to be sure . I do have the plastic and aluminum inserts for my vice to avoid damage to the items being clamped down . I have no less then 3 AR armorers wrenches and none have the 3 prong section that I remember , guess I'll look at that as well while looking at the vice block haha .

EDIT

My vice block does appear to allow for a carry handle , None of my armorer wrench's have the 3 prong section .
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Old September 24, 2020, 01:17 PM   #15
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None of my armorer wrench's have the 3 prong section .
Probably because they are too "new" and likely of commercial origin. The tool used by the Army in the 70s has slots for the prong flash suppressor, a slot for the birdcage flats, the buffer tube, and the pins for the barrel nut, with a square hole in the center for a breaker bar or torque wrench.

It does not have anything to use on the "castle nut" found on current collapsible stock ARs.
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Old September 24, 2020, 03:39 PM   #16
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A buddy of mine wants to change his muzzle device on his old 80's era maybe older Colt AR-15
Why don't you contact Colt and ask them how it is attached?
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Old September 24, 2020, 04:01 PM   #17
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I think 44 has answered what they would likely say . The older armorer wrench is likey what they would say or the tool linked above which is likely what I’ll get if soaking the muzzle does not work .
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Old September 25, 2020, 07:06 PM   #18
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And you're sure it's not pinned on? If a Colt, I'd leave it the way it is. Gotta be worth a nice sum in the original configuration.

Last edited by ed308; September 26, 2020 at 12:24 AM.
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Old September 25, 2020, 10:20 PM   #19
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And you're sure it's not pinned on?
No I'm not but this is way pre ban so there would have been no reason to pin it . Although I did not look close for a pin I did look close at the hider in general and did not notice anything . I've seen other good and bad pin jobs so I'd think I would have noticed but I could have pissed it . Next time he has it out I'll take a closer look .
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Old September 25, 2020, 10:24 PM   #20
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on his old 80's era maybe older Colt AR-15
Not 100% certain, but pretty sure the flash suppressor was just screwed on with a lock washer. I don't remember the torque specs but I'm sure there were some.

In the pre-ban days, there was only one reason for making the flash suppressor "permanent" and that was the the NFA barrel length requirement/

Civilian semi auto copies of the XM-177 had to do that. In order to be ordinary semi auto rifles and not NFA items. The 11.5" barrel had a 5.5" flash suppressor "permanently" fixed in place to make the 16" barrel length.

Pinned, with the pin hole welded over, or silver soldered met the ATF requirement.

No military M16 variant had a pinned flash suppressor.

Colt assembled their early ARs with GI spec parts, other than the lower, and of course left out the auto sear.

Later on, over time, the internal parts got changed to AR-15 (semi auto only). Never heard of Colt pinning the flash suppressor, on any model.

Without seeing it myself, my bet would be that, with the proper tool and wiht the barrel properly held the suppressor will just twist right off.

DO take a good look at it, first, though. No telling what any previous owner did, or had done.
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Old September 26, 2020, 12:24 AM   #21
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I looked pretty close for a washer and did not see one . My surefire muzzle device recommends no washer so I thought nothing of it .

Quote:
DO take a good look at it, first, though. No telling what any previous owner did, or had done.
Oh yes for sure , that's why I came here first after the most basic try failed . I know a good amount about this stuff but by no means do I know enough to just wing it .

Edit, There is definitely a washer on there
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Last edited by Metal god; September 26, 2020 at 02:09 AM.
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Old September 26, 2020, 06:08 PM   #22
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Edit, There is definitely a washer on there
It should be a smooth "split ring" type washer, to function as a lock washer. Often looks like a solid ring at a glance. It's not the kind of lock washer usually seen on common nuts & bolts with all the little points around the outside.

What some aftermarket maker recommends for their product is what they recommend. The GI models and the original Colt civilian guns used the same parts, barrel, lock washer and suppressor, back in the day. Today, I have no idea, but guns from the 60s through the 80s were all the same pattern, as far as I know.
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Old September 26, 2020, 06:31 PM   #23
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Yep I looked closer last night and it was the crack/split in the thin ring at the base of the suppresser that gave it away .
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Old October 13, 2020, 10:44 PM   #24
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Update

That tool linked above fits perfectly , I'll try removing it tomorrow .

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Old October 20, 2020, 02:55 PM   #25
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So, its been a week, have you done it yet??
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