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Old 09-13-2010, 01:55 PM   #1
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Flash hider replacement difficulty?

Even though I have an '04 Springfield M1A, I like the flash hiders that have the bayonet lug and I'd like to get one and a bayonet just to give mine more of the classic M14 look. Anyway, looking through posts I haven't really found anything that says how difficult it is to swap them out. I'm thinking of getting the Fulton Armory FH if I end up doing this. However, I'm not sure if it's worth the time, effort, and expense just to have that little piece of metal on there. I'd definitely get the pliers to make things easier, but then I see they have an alignment tool that's crazy expensive and from what I've read it seems necessary unless I want to chance shrapnel injury and barrel damage. My other question is about replacing the front sights on a new FH, is this difficult or are they self aligning once you put the sight screw in? Option two is to have a professional put it on, is this a job that I should leave for a knowledgeable gunsmith? Option three is finding some one with the alignment tool that might lend it out for a small fee and do it myself? I just keep coming back to the price of that alignment tool, I would only use it once and that is a lot of money to drop for one small job never to be used again. But I want it done right.

Any comments, input from the pros here? Sorry for the rookie questions.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:24 AM   #2
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Re: Flash hider replacement difficulty?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pattycakes77
Even though I have an '04 Springfield M1A, I like the flash hiders that have the bayonet lug and I'd like to get one and a bayonet just to give mine more of the classic M14 look. Anyway, looking through posts I haven't really found anything that says how difficult it is to swap them out. I'm thinking of getting the Fulton Armory FH if I end up doing this. However, I'm not sure if it's worth the time, effort, and expense just to have that little piece of metal on there. I'd definitely get the pliers to make things easier, but then I see they have an alignment tool that's crazy expensive and from what I've read it seems necessary unless I want to chance shrapnel injury and barrel damage. My other question is about replacing the front sights on a new FH, is this difficult or are they self aligning once you put the sight screw in? Option two is to have a professional put it on, is this a job that I should leave for a knowledgeable gunsmith? Option three is finding some one with the alignment tool that might lend it out for a small fee and do it myself? I just keep coming back to the price of that alignment tool, I would only use it once and that is a lot of money to drop for one small job never to be used again. But I want it done right.

Any comments, input from the pros here? Sorry for the rookie questions.
I don't know what "crazy expensive" rings up as but this http://www.springfield-armory.com/store ... cts_id=302 is SAI's version and it's actually pretty good. Moreover, the way the FS is attached to the barrel makes it vulnerable to getting knocked out of alignment if it gets smacked hard, so you might find yourself needing it more than once. You will need the castle nut tool as you say. Moving the front sight involves loosening and perhaps removing the locking screw, sliding it off what it's on now, sliding it on the FS and positioning it. You'll need to verify zero again and perhaps rezero since very small position changes on the front sight give remarkably large POI changes 100 yds down range. Remember that you can use the front sight rather than the rear sight to set windage and this is the time to do it.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:31 PM   #3
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Re: Flash hider replacement difficulty?

The US Army required an alignment tool to install that part.

Geoff
Who would be very careful.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:16 PM   #4
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Re: Flash hider replacement difficulty?

Yeah, the Fulton Armory version is $70, which isn't a TON of money but the tool is just as much as the new FH. I guess I never thought about the FH getting knocked out of alignment from everyday shooting or jostled around in the safe so it might be worth it to have one. I wasn't going to attempt replacing the FH without the proper tools, I want it to be safe and done right or I wouldn't do it at all. It doesn't sound like a terribly difficult job, just wondered if anyone had an alternative to what I would consider an overpriced tool for the job. I thought awhile back people were loaning out (with collateral) throat erosion gauges so everyone didn't have to buy a set, anything like that for the FH alignment tool around here? Or, maybe it's too big or heavy to make it worth the effort and postage of mailing back and forth? The Springfield version seems a little better on price so I may go that route if it comes to it. Thanks guys.
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Old 09-15-2010, 06:22 AM   #5
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Re: Flash hider replacement difficulty?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pattycakes77
Yeah, the Fulton Armory version is $70, which isn't a TON of money but the tool is just as much as the new FH. I guess I never thought about the FH getting knocked out of alignment from everyday shooting or jostled around in the safe so it might be worth it to have one...
A FS with the bayonet mount you want can be mil spec (more or less) or NM reamed. The larger opening of the NM version makes alignment a bit less of a problem. The Fulton Armory FS is NM.

More to the point, the alignment of a FS should be determined by the tight fit of the splines inside the FS in the grooves they slide into on the barrel. Consider just the top spline. With a tight fit, the top spline may be able to rock up and down in the barrel's groove but it can't move move sideways, so the only motion possible to an otherwise unsecured FS (i.e., no castle nut yet) is up and down. Now, add a tight fit for the other two splines in their grooves at 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock around the barrel. Each may be able to rock up and down in their own grooves but when they do that, they're forcing the other two splines to move sideways so the only motion actually possible for the whole FS is to slide on and off the barrel. If the fit is loose, an extremely precise fit of the muzzle into the section of the FS forward of the castle nut space would be needed for alignment, as well as both the muzzle and that part of the FS being perfectly square to each other.

Add to that the possibility that the bore isn't perfectly concentric to the barrel, and there's all kinds of stuff an alignment tool can reveal.

You read it here first: nothing is ever simple.
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