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March 19th, 2022

Saturday at The Movies: AR Platform Set-Up & Maintenance

Brownells tech tip video AR15 ar platform rifle gunsmithing

Do you own or shoot an AR-platform “black rifle”? Then you know these rifles run dirty, and have some unusual maintenance requirements. On the other hand, the AR “Modern Sporting Rifle” is fun and versatile with a vast range of options among buttstocks, barrels, handguards, and grips. You can assemble a simple 16″ barrel .223 Rem rig for home defense, or build a long-barreled 6mm ARC rifle with bag-rider buttstock and high-magnification optic for long range target work. The choice is up to you.

To help with your black rifle journey, here are eight helpful videos from Brownells. These will help ensure your AR rifle cycles reliably and runs longer, with reduced wear. Brownells also explains how to choose the optimal barrel twist rate. CLICK HERE to order AR parts, accessories, and ammo from Brownells.

AR Bolt/Bolt Carrier Lubrication — Smarter Methods

This video shows the proper way to lubricate an AR-15 bolt-carrier assembly. The video identifies the key metal-on-metal friction points where you actually need lubrication: the rails on the underside of the carrier, shiny wear points on top, and just a dab on the cam pin. How much oil/lubricant should you use? The AR-15 is pretty forgiving on that point. Some spots work best with grease, others work best with a lighter oil. Just keep it out of the combustion areas. Those little holes in the carrier are gas vent holes, NOT oil holes!

AR Maintenance — General Cleaning Procedures

Let’s face it, ARs with the original gas system tend to run dirty. You’ll need to regularly clean the bolt carrier and bolt. In addition you should regularly clean the chamber area and the inside of the upper. Also make sure to clean the lower (see video 3:15) and ensure the trigger assembly is properly maintained. This video covers general cleaning and maintenance of AR-platform rifles. We highly recommend that all new AR owners watch this video. NOTE: When cleaning the bolt, don’t forget the extractor recess and ejector recess. The majority of ARs we’ve seen that did not function properly had gunk (lube, carbon, brass shavings) clogging these areas.

AR Barrel Twist Rates — What You Need to Know

AR barrels can be ordered with a variety of twist rates from 1:12″ to 1:7″. Basically, the longer/heavier the bullet you plan to shoot, the faster the twist rate you need. For example, Sierra recommends a 1:7″ twist rate for the 90gr SMK. A 1:12″ could work with the small lightweight bullets up to 55 grains. The 1:9″ barrel will stabilize the light and mid-weight bullets up to about 77 grains. We recommend a 1:8″ or 1:7″ twist rate for the best versatility. You’ll find a detailed discussion of AR twist rates on

How to Install an AR15 Trigger Assembly

One of the most common AR upgrades done by black rifle owners is swapping out the trigger for a better unit (perhaps a two-stage). Trigger replacements on ARs can be done fairly easily with basic tools. But there are some recommended procedures to ensure the trigger group swap goes easily. You’ll want to have a proper mount to secure the lower, and tools that fit the pin diameters on your lower.

Must-Have Spare Parts for AR-Platform Rifle

With 350,000 views, this is one of the most-watched AR videos on the Brownells YouTube Channel. Brownells Gun Techs Steve and Caleb list key spare parts AR owners should have. Top of the list are bolt gas rings, which wear out through normal use. Also you’ll want a spare extractor spring and pin, because these both can fail. The cotter pin and cam pin can break, but more often they get lost when the Bolt Carrier Group is disassembled for cleaning. Additionally, the large buffer springs wear out with time, so have a spare. Downstairs on the lower receiver, keep spare springs and detents for the pivot and takedown pins. Finally, if you’ve upgraded your trigger, keep the original one as a backup spare.

Checking Headspace on ARs

In this Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem walks users step-by-step through the process of checking headspace on their AR-15 rifles, both new and used. It is very important to have proper headspace to ensure proper feeding and extraction, and to ensure good brass longevity (with less risk of dangerous case separation). Starting at 2:10, this video explains how to check headspace with go/no-go gauges and maximum headspace gauge. Ostrem notes: “If you have an AR that closes on a no-go gauge, we recommend taking it to a gunsmith before heading to the range.”

brownells AR AR15 headspace video go gauge
Excessive headspace in AR platform rifles can lead to dangerous case separation.

Setting Up Gas Tube Systems

This Tech Tip examines AR-platform gas systems, and shows how to select the proper length gas tube, and how to configure multiple tube systems if you change your barrel to different lengths. This is worth watching for anyone re-barreling an AR.

Barrel Gas Block Alignment — Key to Reliable Cycling

In this video, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains surefire methods to align your gas block. The most common problem with AR builds is poor cycling, commonly caused by misalignment between the gas block and the barrel’s gas port.

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March 19th, 2022

Ukraine Ammo Donation + Family Hunting on Gun Talk Radio

Tom Gresham gun talk radio Ukraine ammo ammunition family hunting contest

American ammo companies helping Ukraine, and getting the family involved in hunting, are the lead topics this week on Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk Radio, the original nationally-syndicated radio talk show about guns and the shooting sports. Now in its 27th year of syndication, Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk radio show airs on Sundays from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET on more than 270 stations, and is live-streamed on the web.

This week, Tom Gresham talks with AMMO Inc’s Chairman and CEO, Fred Wagenhals, about the company’s decision to donate one million rounds of ammunition to Ukrainian armed forces. Read more about the donation on It’s worth noting that Vista Outdoor recently announced that it was also donating one million rounds to the Ukraine military forces defending the country (STORY HERE).

Tom Gresham gun talk radio Ukraine ammo ammunition Ammo Inc.

Fred Wagenhals, Ammo Inc’s CEO, said “Ammo Inc., and we as Americans, stand firmly in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, as we stand for freedom and democracy everywhere. While we fervently hope for a quick and peaceful resolution to the crisis and that diplomacy will win the day, we condemn the Russian aggression and its threat to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and freedom.”

Also on this Sunday Julie Golob, a top competitive shooter and the first-ever Woman of the Gun Award winner*, explains how to get the whole family involved in hunting as a pastime.

Julie golob family hunting woman of gun award

Tom Gresham gun talk radio Ukraine ammo ammunition family hunting contestTom Gresham’s Gun Talk radio show airs live on Sundays from 2 PM to 5 PM Eastern time on 270+ stations. You can also live-stream the show via the GTRstream.

Everyday Carry Giveaway

And be sure to enter Gun Talk’s Everyday Carry Giveaway through March 31st for a chance to win one of three Grand Prize Packages that include a SCCY DVG-1 Red Dot Ready 9mm pistol, a CrossBreed Holsters gift card, a SuperTuck Deluxe Holster with Found Series Leather, and the SureFire Stiletto Pro flashlight. One First Prize winner will receive the SureFire X300U-B handgun weapon light, and a $100 CrossBreed gift card. And there are three (3) Grand Prize winners. Enter the Giveaway contest now at

Gun Talk Radio — Podcast Archive
If you miss the live show broadcast or Live Streaming, past broadcasts can be heard online via the GUNTALK PODCAST Site and Apple iTunes. The Gun Talk Podcast Archive has hundreds of past shows you can access online. Here is a recent podcast about suppressors:

Gun Talk Podcast from 3/3/2022 — Silencer/Suppressor Questions Answered

In a wide-ranging conversation covering everything you want to know about suppressors, Gun Talk Nation’s Ryan Gresham talks with Silencer Central’s CEO Brandon Maddox about all things “can”. Topics include suppressor engineering, new ATF e-Forms, and legal qualifications.

* The NSSF named ace shooter and safety advocate Julie Golob the winner of its first-ever “Woman of the Gun Award” during the 2022 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. The award recognizes Golob’s achievements and contributions to shooting sports, as well as her work to promote the mission and message of NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program. NSSF President Joe Bartozzi stated: “Julie is a mom, veteran, hunter, and one of the most decorated handgun shooting champions in the world For more than a decade, she’s also been an invaluable partner to our Project ChildSafe program, giving of her time, her talents and her energy to promote firearm safety education.”

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