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Old May 9, 1999, 07:37 PM   #1
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Join Date: October 13, 1998
Location: Arizona.
Posts: 853
I recently acquired a Colt A2 HBAR. 1/7 twist, NATO upper, full length barrel.
Don't ask me why, it was a moment of weakness.
It is very accurate and reliable as it is, but there are some perceived shortcomings I would like to address if possible.
It is my first AR15, and I am a newbie to them, so bear with me please.
It is an entirely different animal than the FALs I am so used to.
If the needful things are not readily had, I will probably just get rid of it, and stick to guns in real calibers, with steel receivers...

First, what are the pros and cons of the Smith Arms hard chromed "Match" bolt assemblies?
It would seem that if ever there were a great place for hardchromed parts, this would be it. For cleaning and lubricity reasons, if no others.

Second, are there any really good adjustable trigger assemblies, and who makes them?

Third, the standard handgrip is a little short in the reach from the trigger finger/thumb web area, to the trigger face. It seems that there must be a better grip that would position the trigger finger a little better for target shooting by moving the web of the hand back a bit.
I know of the Sierra Precision grip, but have not seen one to know if it is what I really want.

Fourth, the thing is a real bugger to clean. Is there some magic tool that gets into the area where the bolt locks up with the barrel, without tearing the damned thing apart?
This is extremely frustrating.

Lastly, any other suggestions for accessories and whatnot would be apreciated.
Thanks in advance for any assistance,
Mad Dog

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Old May 9, 1999, 08:13 PM   #2
Mike Baugh
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Location: Indiana
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MAD DOG , Midway sells an action/chamber cleaning tool for bolt guns that I use for my AR . It is a plastic handle that you insert a cotton "wick" onto the end sideways , then just insert into chamber locking area and twist . Good luck with the AR . Mike...
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Old May 9, 1999, 10:00 PM   #3
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Join Date: November 18, 1998
Location: Virginia
Posts: 412
Mad Dog,

think twice about those chromed carriers.
the one example I saw was crap. I assume you
are looking in Brownells? keep in mind
that there are ARs and M-16s that are
decades old that still work; as far as
I know there's nothing wrong with the
current surface finishes. if you've just
got to have some shiny stuff on your gun,
go for a match-grade stainless barrel.

for trigger assemblies, the Compass Lake
unit gets a lot of good word. but a good
AR 'smith can do a serious trigger job
using the mil-spec components.

grips; there is a Pachmayr unit (that sucker
weighs 8oz all by itself! not the thing to
put on a 6 lb rifle), Hogue, the ErgoGrip,
and probably a half-dozen more. I tried
the Pachmayr; well-made but heavy as hell
and at a bad angle for me. next one I
want to try is the Ergogrip.

for cleaning the barrel extension, the
mil-issue chamber brush has a brush section
sized to get at the lugs in the extension.
plus, the next time you're at a gun show,
peruse the goodies at the tables of cleaning
stuff. the "toothbrush" units with a big
end and a little end are made for that

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Old May 9, 1999, 10:04 PM   #4
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You might visit to see if their page can readily answer your questions.
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Old May 12, 1999, 01:01 AM   #5
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Location: Idaho
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1) Smith makes good quality stuff, but the need for chrome plating has never really been established. The military does bother with chrome-plating barrels, but doesn't do the bolt or carrier. Certainly no accuracy advantage has been demonstrated. For what it's worth, you CAN get a steel upper receiver for the AR-15 if you want one.

2) There are several excellent triggers available for the AR-15. Two great books are The Competitive AR-15 by Glen Zedicker (available through Dillon's catalog) and Black Magic: The Ultra Accurate AR-15 by John Feamster, available through Precision Shooting magazine. They both discuss trigger alternatives. Duncan Long's Paladin Press book, The AR-15/M16 is my favorite basic book.

I've used several. FWIW, my preference would be the Milazzo-Krieger trigger if you want a military-style, two-stage trigger, or the JP Enterprise trigger if you want a standard style trigger. The Brownell's catalog also carries several styles. Unless you're a better gunsmith than me, having an experience AR-15/M16 smith install the trigger is worth a few bucks.

3) Some folks do find the pistol grip reach a little short, although I do fine with my big mits. The Sierra Precision Rifles grip is nice. David Tubb developed a fairly simple adaptor that offsets the pistol grip and might be just what you're looking for. The Dillon catalog lists this.

4) The area where the bolt locking lugs mate with the barrel is tough to reach, but doesn't seem to be very critical. The military has an odd brush with a forward chamber brush with a rear wide brush that scrubs these surfaces. Most any surplus store should have them for a buck each. I use the jointed military rod and just leave one attached for whenever I clean an AR.

The Brownell's catalog, Sinclair's, and lots of other folks carry some other handy devices. I do like the Delrin cleaning guides that slide into the upper receiver and keep your cleaning rod aligned.

5) There are INNUMERABLE goodies for AR's. Lots are junk or useless, but everybody seems to argue about their choices. The two books I mentioned are excellent resources if you're looking for top accuracy.

My favorite fairly useful toy is the C-More red-dot sight system. Their "Colt Scout Sight" attaches to the carry handle and presents the red dot in the same line as the aperture sight system. It provides for very fast target acquistion, but in no way impairs the use of the open sights in case of the inevitable dead battery.

Have fun, and don't trade that rifle!
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Old May 12, 1999, 07:04 PM   #6
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Location: Arizona.
Posts: 853
Thanks to all for the assistance.
I am not such a gadget hound as some people I can think of, but I do insist on accuracy and reliability.
Hence, the need for a couple of the items mentioned.
Since I am not totally queer for AR15s, the chances of me spending much on extra nonessential trinkets to outfit it with is slim.

However, there is one thing I still need to know.
What the heck can I really use it for?
Eventually, my wife is going to ask why I bought it, and I have no ready answers that are plausible enough to pass as the truth.

I do not consider it a proper battle or large game rifle, due to it's ridiculously designed gas system and limited range. The caliber is one generally reserved for itty bitty stuff like Coyotes, gophers, and crows.
I already have quite a variety of things built expressly for those little devils.
I suppose I can go blast the odd varmint with it now and again, and it does look really cool. Punching paper is fun, but only for a while. I guess I can use it for weaning the girls off of the .22 LRs and getting on to larger weapons as they grow.
Oh well. I have it, so I will shoot it.

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Old May 13, 1999, 10:03 PM   #7
Unkel Gilbey
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Join Date: February 26, 1999
Location: Danby, Vermont
Posts: 349
The Military is now using the M16/AR15 for it's High Power competition. If you're unfamiliar, that is out to 600 yards. With the advent of VLD bullet technology, I think they're starting to play with this rifle out to 1000yds, although I would think I would run out of windage on the rear sight before too long on a windy day...

The rifle can be tuned to sub minute accuracy, which means bye-bye gophers, prairie dogs and woodchucks out to 200 yards or more with a good scope and position.

As a Marine, I HAVE to use this rifle. I prefer the M14 or even the M1 Garand as a High Power competition rifle, but when every one else has transitioned over to the Black rifle (for Matches), we had to follow suit. The Army teams had about a 4 year head start, and we're just now starting to be competitive again. Don't sell the AR out just yet, I think you'll do fine with it.

Incidentally, I use Carb Cleaner to clean out the gas tube, and a bunch of long, wooden Q-tips to get into all the nooks and crannys in the chamber area. These cleaners leave a white residue on the parkerizing, but a light coat of CLP or equivalent keeps everything looking good and protected.

Hold in the Ten ring!

Unkel Gilbey
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Old May 14, 1999, 07:58 AM   #8
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Unkel Gilbey, My younger brother is a Marine Sgt. He echoed your Q-tip cleaning advice. It works quite well. Though, I'm sure, I can't clean a rifle as well a Marine can! hehehe
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Old May 14, 1999, 04:37 PM   #9
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MADDOG- I see you're in Arizona- Accuracy Speaks, in Mesa, does fine AR work. They did a trigger job on my Colt many years ago and it's still as crisp and light as the day I got it back from them. Their shop is at the Rio Salado range. Web address, I think, is or something like that.
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Old May 17, 1999, 08:01 PM   #10
Jeff Thomas
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Location: Texas
Posts: 4,753
MAD DOG, most here on TFL have much more experience than I do, so take this with a grain of salt. However, I took a couple of Tactical Carbine / Shotgun classes from Gunsite recently, and our instructors in those classes made a strong argument in favor of using the AR-15 for home defense. This surprised me.

Their logic was that that AR-15's have plenty of knockdown power for BG's, you can obviously carry lots of ammunition and make quick reloads, and with 55 gr hollowpoint rounds they claim the penetration is less than 00 buckshot, and definitely less than a 9mm or .45ACP round (that argument surprised me especially). You can also mount tactical lights on an AR-15 just like a shotgun, if you choose that route.

Personally, I'm still a little goosey about the penetration issue, so I'll rely on my 870 with 7 1/2 birdshot followed up by #00 or #1 buckshot. But, my next choice would definitely be the AR. Someday I hope to test the penetration theories. Perhaps Shawn Dodson or one of our other ballistics guru's can chime in.

I still think an AR is one of the best resources I have in my gun safe.
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Old June 2, 1999, 04:47 AM   #11
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MAD DOG - Try brake parts cleaner for the gas tube. I works just as well as the carb cleaner without the residue. You might try Castrol's Gun Scrubber or WD40 as well.

Don't underestimate the 5.56mm, a 55gr slug traveling at 2500 - 2900fps will put a serious hurt on you.

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Old June 8, 1999, 03:24 PM   #12
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It sounds like that Black rifle is causing you to lose sleep, so I volunteer to keep it for you for awhile if you like.
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