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June 22nd, 2021

AR Platform Video Series from Brownells — Watch and Learn

Brownelss 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 four 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 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 PewPewTactical.com.

Barrel Gas Block Alignment — Key to Reliable Cycling

In this Tech Tip, 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.

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.

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December 31st, 2020

AR-15 Rifle Maintenance — How to Keep Your AR Running Right

Barrel cleaning AR15 bolt carrier carbon Jerry Miculek gas key direct impingement

Let’s face it, AR-platform rifles run dirty, at least compared to typical bolt-action rifles. The AR-15 works by piping gas from the barrel back into the bolt carrier, causing the bolt to unlock and the carrier to move the bolt backward. The “exhaust gas” from the barrel contains soot and carbon. The carbon will form hard deposits on the bolt. In addition, the carbon can combine with lube on the bolt carrier to make a nasty, paste-like sludge. This can be particularly problematic when the black paste pollutes the ejector and extractor recess.

This Editor has inspected dozens of ARs over the years. Other than mag-related malfunctions, the most common cause of AR cycling problems I found was oily gunk in the extractor and ejector areas. Many AR owners overlook these critical areas. Look at an AR that hasn’t been cleaned properly and you’ll probably find black gunk (and small brass shavings) in the ejector and extractor recesses.

If you want to keep your black rifle running smoothly and reliably, you must clean it regularly and follow the correct maintenance procedures. Here are three videos that explain how to properly disassemble and clean AR-platform rifles. And then they cover the essential lubrication ARs need to run reliably.

Take-Down and Full Cleaning of AR15 by Jerry Miculek

Here ace shooter Jerry Miculek takes down and cleans an AR-platform rifle belonging to his daughter Lena. This is a good video because Lena’s rifle was “run hard and packed up dirty” so you can see where carbon and grease build up. This 35-minute video is very thorough. Jerry is one of the nation’s top action carbine shooters, so listen carefully to his advice on cleaning and lubrication.

General AR-15 Maintenance and Lubrication

There are various schools of thought on AR lubrication. Some guys like to run “wet” with lots of CLP, while others choose to focus lubrication on the key spots that receive the most friction and wear, such as the contact point for the bolt carrier. We do advice check the ejector recess and extractor spring recess frequently as gunk can get in there, causing malfunctions. Here is a good video from Pew Pew Tactical — a 7-minute guide to cleaning and lubricating AR-platform rifles. This shows important details for both the upper and the lower.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

This video offers very specific advice on the bolt carrier group, which receives the dirty gas directly from the barrel. Be sure to check the extractor and ejector recesses. That’s where old lube, brass shavings, and carbon accumulate. Follow the directions in this video for lubrication, and don’t over-lubricate the bolt carrier — that will only capture more carbon.

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September 5th, 2020

Big Labor Day Weekend Sale at Palmetto State Armory

palmetto state armory labor day sale ammo AR15 rifles handguns pistols

In these trying times, with violence in our cities, and the Democratic Presidential candidate calling for the outright banning of mag-fed, semi-auto rifles, we know that many readers are seeking to purchase defensive firearms (while a citizen still can). If you are looking for a black rifle and/or a defensive pistol, check out Palmetto State Armory (PSA). This company, one of American’s largest Black Rifle retailers, maintains a large inventory of complete ARs, AR lowers, AR uppers, and handguns — all at very competitive prices. PSA also sells triggers and optics. And yes, PSA has ammunition in stock at fair prices.

Right now PSA is running a big Labor Day Sale. The sale has started, so you can enjoy significant savings for the next few days.

Black Rifles and Rifle Components on Sale

Whether you want a complete AR-platform rifle, a complete upper, or components for uppers and lowers, PSA has what you need. PSA also carries aftermarket triggers, sights, magazines, and other Black Rifle accessories. Here are some of the complete rifles, uppers, and lowers currently on sale at PSA. CLICK HERE for AR-Platform rifles, components, and accessories

palmetto state armory labor day sale ammo AR15 rifles handguns pistols

Handguns on SALE at PSA

With the record-breaking volume of gun sales in recent months, many smaller gunshops have very limited inventory of handguns, particulary compact pistols suitable for CCW. However, PSA has a large supply of pistols, including popular carry guns from S&W, Ruger, Springfield Armory and other leading brands. Here’s a small sample of handguns in stock today at PSA.

palmetto state armory labor day sale ammo AR15 rifles handguns pistols

PSA Ammunition on SALE

This is a small sample of the ammunition available now. This is in-stock now, ready to ship. Go to PSA’s Ammo Page to find other cartridge types on sale, including .40 SW, .357 Magnum, .308 Win, and .22 LR.

palmetto state armory labor day sale ammo AR15 rifles handguns pistols

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May 2nd, 2020

Canada’s Trudeau Bans 1500 Types of Semi-Automatic Rifles

Justin Trudeau assault rifle weapon ban dictator Canada Nova Scotia

In an unprecedented move, the central government of Canada, without parliamentary vote or debate, has banned a vast number of rifles, including most modern mag-fed, semi-auto rifles currently for sale. This action banning the firearms was done by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau via “Order-in-Council”, with no political debate and no vote of elected representatives. It was essentially an Executive action, rule by fiat, like a decree issued by a dictator.

Starting now, around 1,500 models of long-arms have become illegal to sell, transport, import or use in the Canada, according to CBC News.

Justin Trudeau assault rifle weapon ban dictator Canada Nova Scotia

“The government implemented the ban immediately, and without the need for legislation in Parliament, by reclassifying about 1,500 firearm models as prohibited. In the meantime, a two-year amnesty is now in effect for Canadians who own the banned firearms and government officials said gun owners will also have the option to be ‘grandfathered’ in with weapons they currently own, although no details were available for that program yet”. Source: NationalPost.com

Nova Scotia Killer Posed as Police Officer
This action came in response to the Nova Scotia killings by a madman, Gabriel Wortman, who dressed in a police uniform and used vehicles with law enforcement markings and lightbars. Wortman was NOT licensed to possess his weapons and had obtained his firearms illegally. According to Global News: “During the shooting, the gunman was traveling in a replica police vehicle and wearing an authentic police uniform.”

Justin Trudeau assault rifle weapon ban dictator Canada Nova Scotia

Canadian Investigators said Gabriel Wortman had several semi-automatic handguns and at least two semi-auto rifles, which may have been AR-type rifles, but we are not certain about the exact configurations of Wortman’s long guns. Notably, most if not all of Wortman’s guns were already ILLEGAL for Wortman to own under existing Canadian laws. The crazed shooter had violated multiple firearms laws already on the books, and did NOT possess his weapons legally (it is believed he sourced them from outside Canada). AR-type rifles required a special permit in Canada. And of course he violated multiple laws in impersonating a law enforcement officer.

Trudeau Exploits Nova Scotia Shooting to Ban Guns without Normal Legislation
Prime Minister Trudeau used the Nova Scotia mass killing as the impetus to fulfill his campaign promises to ban so-called “assault-type” weapons. Seven months ago, Trudeau pledged to ban modern semi-auto rifles, which he called “assault rifles”. Trudeau opportunistically leveraged the mass shooting to execute his plan with no public debate and no vote by elected officials.

Trudeau’s actions were criticized by many in Canada. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer declared: “Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally”. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stated: “Today’s order does little to target criminals … instead, Ottawa is singling out law-abiding gun Canadians who purchased their property legally”. And Alison de Groot, Director of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association, said Trudeau’s gun ban “will strand somewhere between $200 to $300 million worth of pre-paid merchandise in stores”. READ MORE.

Q: Would a Ban on Semi-Auto Rifles Have Prevented the Nova Scotia Tragedy?
A: No. The killer Gabriel Wortman also used pistols, and could have been just as deadly with a pump shotgun. And nine of the 22 killed “died in house fires” set by Wortman. (Source: RCMP per Reuters.) Remember that fact — 40% of the victims were burned to death: “Of the 22 people killed, 13 were shot and nine died in house fires.” Source: CNN.com.

The real reason for the high kill count was that Gabriel Wortman was an insane maniac wearing a police uniform and driving a police car. The important questions to ask are how did he get the uniform and why were vehicles sold complete with police markings?

Terms of Canada’s Broad New Gun Ban
Under the Canadian gun ban, owners of prohibited firearms now have two years to turn in their rifles. According to CTV News: “Owners will also have the ability to be compensated through a buyback program, though the details of these options have yet to be outlined. Gun owners must be in compliance with the law by April 2022. Those who have not disposed of any banned firearms by that time may face sanctions under the Criminal Code.”

Was Trudeau’s massive gun ban necessary? Consider this comment from a Canadian gun owner: “Handguns and AR15s in Canada [were] highly regulated already. To get the license you go through a 2-day course. There was a 3- to 6-month wait for your application. Spouse must sign. No history of metal disorders. [Authorities conduct] phone interviews with credible people who know you. When you get your licence you must join a shooting club[.] Now you have your restricted license … and a government issued travel licence.”

Here is a list of all the firearms that have been banned (without Parliamentary vote) by Trudeau’s government. This includes AR15-platform rifle, AR10 rifles, Ruger Mini-14s, Semi-Auto M14-type rifles, and many other varients. Some big bolt-action guns will banned as well. ELR Researcher notes: “Read down to section 96: ‘Any firearm capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 joules[.]’. Well 10,000 joules is 7375 foot-pounds, meaning [this would ban] ALL firearms chambered for most commercially-available .408 CheyTac, .416 Barrett, and .50 BMG ammo.”

Use the scoll bar (on right) to move through the list of prohibited firearms.

Canada Federal Government New Firearms Restrictions:

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January 30th, 2017

How an AR15 Works — Cool 3D Cutaway Animation Video

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

Ever wondered how the parts inside an AR15 work together? Just exactly how does the reciprocating bolt carrier feed rounds from the magazine? How do the elements in the trigger group work and reset after each shot? How does the gas system bleed gas from the barrel and operate the bolt carrier? These and other questions are answered in this eye-opening video from 45Snipers. Using “cutaway” 3D computer animation, this 5-minute video shows all features of an AR15 inside and out. This fascinating firearms animation allows the viewer to look inside the upper and lower receivers, into the bolt carrier, chamber, barrel, and magazine.

This video starts off slow and has annoying background music, but it is well worth watching if you own or shoot any AR-platform rifle. It illustrates all the key operations during the charging, loading, firing, and ejection processes. The cutaway animation shows how rounds are stripped from the magazine and then chambered. It then shows how every part of the trigger group works, and how the firing pin strikes the primer. You can even watch the bullet move down the barrel before the empty shell casing is removed from the chamber and tossed out the ejection port. Here are sample frames from the video:

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

Video find by Grant Ubl. We welcome reader submissions.
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January 6th, 2017

Savage Turns to the Dark Side — Introduces AR-Type Rifles

Savage AR15 AR10 AR-10 Black rifle AR MSR Modern Sporting Rifle

Savage Arms has joined the black rifle bandwagon with its new MSR Series of gas guns. Savage will offer four AR-style semi-automatic rifles in 2017. Savage will offer a variety of buttstock configurations, barrel lengths, along with some interesting chambering options. The MSR 15 Patrol and Recon feature a .223 Wylde target chamber for use with 223 Rem. or 5.56x45mm. The MSR 10 Hunter and MSR 10 Long Range models are AR-10 platform rigs offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win chamberings. The top-of-the-line MSR 10 Long Range model carries a hefty $2284 MSRP price-tag, but it does include a two-stage AR Blaze target trigger, adjustable gas block, and a genuine Magpul® PRS Gen3 buttstock.

While most of the engineering of the MSR series is classic AR, there are some interesting features and notable upgrades. The MSR 10 Long Range offers a non-reciprocating, left-side charging handle (along with conventional rear charging handle). All the MSR rifles have high-quality barrels with a durable surface hardening treatment known as Melonite QPQ. This should make the rifles run longer (with higher round count) before needing replacement barrels. Bill Dermody of Savage states: “These are high-performance barrels you’d have to buy as an upgrade with standard AR-15s.”

Savage MSR Notable Features:
Non-reciprocating SIDE charging handle on MSR 10 LR (plus normal charging handle)
1:8″-twist Barrels, Melonite QPQ hardening, 5R rifling (MSR 15 Patrol and Recon)
1:8″ or 1:10″-twist Barrels, Melonite QPQ hardening, 5R rifling (MSR 10 Hunter and LR)
Conventional AR-Type Gas System (No Op Rod)
Adjustable Gas Block (MSR 10 Hunter and LR)
Modular-Style Fore-end/Handguard
Flip-up Front and Rear Sights

Field Test of Savage MSR 15 Patrol
YouTube ace .22 Plinkster got his hands on one of the very first Savage MSR 15 Patrol M4 models. In this video, he tests it for function and accuracy, finding the MSR 15 to be “a good shooter”. He adds: “The Patrol is Savage’s entry-level M4. Because this rifle is brand new … you may want to check out Savage’s website at www.SavageArms.com.”

Savage AR15 AR10 AR-10 Black rifle AR MSR Modern Sporting Rifle

This Twang ‘N Bang video explains the key features of the MSR 10 Long Range, including the side charging handle and QPQ-treated barrel. It also describes the specs of the other three models.

Savage’s new MSR 10 Hunter and MSR 10 Long Range are purpose-built modern sporting rifles for game hunting and long-range shooting. Both are available in .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor chamberings. Both models are built on compact, lightweight frames and feature adjustable gas blocks, plus the MSR 10 Long Range is equipped with a non-reciprocating, side-charging handle (see below).

Savage AR15 AR10 AR-10 Black rifle AR MSR Modern Sporting Rifle

On the AR-15 platform, the new MSR 15 Patrol and MSR 15 Recon are chambered in .223 Wylde for safe, reliable function with both 223 Rem. and 5.56x45mm ammo. All Savage MSRs offer premium features such as 5R button-rifled barrels with Melonite QPQ surface hardening, new BLACKHAWK! furniture, upgraded sights and more. To learn more about Savage’s new line of MSR rifles, visit www.Savagearms.com/msr.

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August 25th, 2014

AR Ejector Mod For Improved Reliability with Larger Cartridges

TECH TIP by Robert Whitley, AR-X Enterprises LLC
Over the years, while working with various AR-15 cartridges that require a larger bolt-face bolt (i.e. bigger than a 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem bolt-face, like those cartridges that use a 6.8 SPC bolt or the bolt face suitable for the 6.5 Grendel-based cartridges), I have found that there is an increased potential for a certain type of jam if a modification to the standard “Mil-Spec”, square-edged ejector is not made.

The original AR-15 square-edged ejector design was made for a much smaller-diameter bolt face and the smaller diameter 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem case, and it works perfectly in that application. However, as people have adapted the AR-15 platform to shoot bigger cartridges, some parts have been modified to accept the larger cartridges (i.e. bigger bolt-face bolts for the 6.8 SPC and the 6.5 Grendel, and different extractors), yet other parts have been all but ignored. One of these “ignored” parts has been the ejector. Most of the larger-bolt-face AR-15 bolts still use the standard “Mil-Spec”, square-edged 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem. ejector. That’s the problem. But there is a simple, reliable fix!

Robert Whitley AR-X Enterprises AR AR15 Bolt jam fix ejector mod

Chamfering AR Ejector for Improved Reliablity with 6mm, 6.5mm and 6.8mm Cartridges
With the larger bolt face and the larger-diameter AR cases, the old-style “Mil-Spec” ejector can cause infrequent but still annoying jams if the ejector is not modified. The jam can occur when a cartridge case feeds up and out of the right side of the magazine, and as it does so, the back of the case must slide across the bolt face and sideways over top of the ejector if it is to center up to the chamber and feed in. If the side of the case catches on the sharp-edged ejector you can get a jam. (See picture above).

Fortunately there is an easy fix for this. One way is to take the ejector out and spin it in a lathe or cordless drill and machine or grind it and round or chamfer the sharp edge. (See picture of rounded ejector next to square edged ejector).

Robert Whitley AR-X Enterprises AR AR15 Bolt jam fix ejector mod

Quick Fix Alternative — Bevel Your Ejector
Another “quick fix” is to leave the ejector in the bolt and chamfer the sharp edge with something like a Dremel tool. (See picture). This fix is easy to do and permanently resolves this potential feeding jam issue. There are no downsides to this modification if done right and I would recommend this modification for the ejectors in all larger bolt-face AR-15 bolts.

Robert Whitley AR-X Enterprises AR AR15 Bolt jam fix ejector mod

Robert Whitley AR-X Enterprises AR AR15 Bolt jam fix ejector mod

This gunsmithing tip provided by Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises LLC, 199 North Broad Street, Doylestown, PA 18901. Phone: (215) 348-8789. Website: 6mmAR.com.

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June 16th, 2014

ARs by the Numbers (Stats on Modern Sporting Rifles)

Who is buying ARs and AKs, and in what quantities? Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s Director of Industry Research, answers those questions in the May 2014 Issue of AR Guns & Hunting. In this interesting article about “Modern Sporting Rifles” (MSRs), Curcuruto provides answers to questions such as “How many Americans own an MSR?”, “Why are they being purchased?”, and “Who is buying them?”.

What the Heck is a ‘Modern Sporting Rifle’?
The term “Modern Sporting Rifles” is used to describe “AR- and AK-Platform rifles” — semi-automatic rifles with detachable box magazines. These are generally derivative of the original AR15/M16 or AK47 designs, although Modern Sporting Rifles may have different furniture, modular components, and scope rails in place of iron sights. Note: The “AR” in “AR-15″ rifle stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”

Modern Sporting Rifle AR15 AK47

MSR Questions and Answers

Q: How may AR-type and AK-type rifles have been sold in recent years?

We don’t have an exact sales number. However, since 1990, over 8,200,000 MSRs have been “brought to market” in the USA. This is based on manufacturing stats, ATF sales records, as well as International Trade Commission (ITC) import numbers.

Modern Sporting Rifle AR15 AK47Q: How Many Americans Own MSRs?

A: 4.8 million American have an AR-type or AK-type rifle, according to a consumer survey and ATF and ITC statistics.

Q: What Kind of People Purchase MSRs?

A: MSRs are purchased by successful, educated people: “The average MSR owner is 35+ years old, married and has at least some college education. 54% of MSR owners have a household income of more than $75,000 and they are spending approximately $1,060 on each MSR[.]” Roughly one-third of MSR owners are active or former law enforcement or military personnel.

Q: Why Do People Purchase ARs and AKs?

A: The main reason Americans purchase MSRs is for “recreational target shooting”. The second most important reason is for home defense.

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