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Imaposer2
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Posted: 6/23/2010 11:48:54 AM
Ok, so I installed a Tapco G2 FCG in my newest AK the other night as part of its conversion process. While doing so and wrestling with the shepherd’s crook, I started considering switching to retaining plates on all three of my AKs. But then I hit upon a problem with them that I’m not sure of.

On my AKs, (all Chicom) the FCG has to be removed before rotating the selector up for removal, and reassembly is just the reverse with the FCG being installed last. If the FCG is left in place the safety block hits the rear of the disco so that it can’t be rotated far enough for removal.


Now, I’ve never used a retaining plate but from what I understand, they are installed after the hammer and FCG pins are in place, rotated down into position to lock the pins, and then the plate itself is locked in place by the selector shaft when it is installed last.

Is there a trick to installing these or, are they a no-go on Chicom AKs?

I don’t want to order three of the plates just to find that there is no way of installing them in my rifles.

I did notice one thing about the Tapco FCG that I don’t like. The original Chicom disco has a “tab”, for lack of the proper term, on the lower rear that prevents the safety block from rotating too for up, so that even with the top cover removed it stops positively. The Tapco disco lacks this “tab” so that the lever can rotate up until the safety block hits the rear of the disco, which stops it. If the hammer is back in the cocked position when the safety block hits the rear of the disco it pushes the trigger/disco forward and releases the hammer. Not that I really ever plan to operate the rifle with the cover removed, but I do think the original Chicom design is better. It doesn’t rely on the cover to prevent the selector from rotating up too far, and it won’t drop the hammer when rotating the selector up with the cover removed. Of course this isn’t even getting into the trigger feel, or the MIM vs. forged and milled parts.
MillerSHO
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Posted: 6/23/2010 11:56:06 AM
You're SURE you have to remove the hammer and trigger before taking out the safety?
I'm thinking that's not right.
Imaposer2
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Posted: 6/23/2010 12:56:10 PM
Originally Posted By MillerSHO:
You're SURE you have to remove the hammer and trigger before taking out the safety?
I'm thinking that's not right.


Yes, I'm sure. At least on on the one I was working on Monday night. I'm pretty sure the other two are the same but it's been a while since I fooled with them so I could be mistaken.

Like I said, on this particular one at least, the original disco has a stepped tab on the rear. The horizontal portion of the "step" is engaged by the safety block to prvent movement of the trigger group, the vertical portion on the "step" stops the selector from rotating beyond the "safe" position. I actually like this set-up and think that it is a better overall design than others.

The Tapco disco doesn't have this "stepped tab" on the rear so the selector lever can be rotated up beyond the safe position. When I first saw the absence of the stepped tab I was concerned that my safety may not work, but one installed I could see that the safety block does extend over far enough to engage the right rear leg on the trigger. But, as the lever rotates up the safety block hits the rear of the disco before it is up enough to allow it to be removed. Fooling with it and trying to figure out how to install a retainer plate is how I discovered that pushing the selector lever up will engage the trigger group in such a way as to push it forward (the top part, above the pivot pin. The actual trigger of course moves to the rear) and release the hammer. Even with the trigger fully pulled to the rear there wasn't enough clearance for the safety block to get past the rear of the disco. I could probably relieve the safety block in the area where it hits the disco and still leave the portion that engages the trigger arm, but I'd rather live with the shepherd's crook than tamper with a safety.

I've read that some AKs do require the trigger group to be removed before the selector lever, but I'm not sure which ones do and which ones don't. This one does and I'll have to check my others tonight to make sure. I just figured that since some do supposedly work this way, and the retainer plate is a common add-on part, that I must be missing something in my thought process of haw they install. I've never used one and don't want to waste the money if they won't work on my rifles.
Mak
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Posted: 6/23/2010 1:37:07 PM
[Last Edit: 6/23/2010 3:19:48 PM by Mak]
Can you pull the trigger and use another finger to press the disconnector downward at the same time to get the selector to clear? I've had to do that on some rifles.

The part of the selector tab that hits the disconnector can be filed to miss the disconnector. The part of the selector that rests on the trigger leg to block the rifle from firing is left in place. I have done this modification on a few when replacing the fire control group.

Yes, the selector on most Chinese rifles may have to be rotated counter-clockwise to remove the selector with FCG installed. On my Chinese rifle I just used the Chinese retainer.
PreemptiveStrike
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Posted: 6/23/2010 2:06:17 PM
When I converted mine I had to remove the FCG before the safety selector because it wouldn't rotate past the FCG. When I reinstalled the Tapco set with a retaining plate I installed the FCG first then the safety lever after and it rotated fine.

When using the retaining plate you have to install the selector last, at least that's how it was with the Tapco set I used.
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Emegbers
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Posted: 6/23/2010 2:08:03 PM
My Saiga 5.45 had this problem. I just ground off the offending portion of the selector lever and now it clears without touching the FCG. I'm not sure why some manufacturers clear that out and others don't.
Imaposer2
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Posted: 6/23/2010 2:09:17 PM
[Last Edit: 6/23/2010 2:18:59 PM by Imaposer2]
Originally Posted By Mak:
Can you pull the trigger and use another finger to press the disconnector downward at the same time to get the selector to clear? I've had to do that on some rifles.

I'll try that and see. I pulled the trigger and tried it the other night but I can't remember if I also pushed the disco forward at the same time.

The part of the selector tab that hits the disconnector can be filed to miss the disconnector. The part of the selector that rests on the trigger leg to block the rifle from firing is left in place. I have done this modification on a few when replacing the fire control group.

I considered doing this, but for my own paranoid legal reasons I prefer not to "tamper" with a safety device. Yeah, I know and you know, and probably most everyone here knows that it is perfectly fine to do this. But, trying to persuade a jury that it is ok to do is quite another matter. And yeah, I know, I won't ever have to do that, but it is just one of my rules for any gun that may be called upon in a defensive role, and in my case that is the majority that I own with a few exceptions. I will look at this area again tonight though, just to see how much more clearance it needs in the event that your first suggestion doesn't work.

Yes, the selector on most Chinese rifles may have to be rotated counter-clockwise to remove the selector with FCG installed.


Do you mean clockwise when looking at the right side of the rifle? If so, I considered that too, but then I would have to bend it out a good bit to clear the stop attached to the trigger guard. Didn't want to tweak it so I didn't go that route.


On my Chinese rifle I just used the Chinese retainer.


If your first suggestion doesn't give me the required clearance this will probably be what I do too. I don't have the aversion to the shephard's crook that some seem to and never really gave it too much thought until the other night. The Chinese wire retainer on this rifle seems to work just fine and really isn't that difficult. You don't even have to remove it. Just pull up on the rear portion that engages the trigger pin a bit and remove the pin, then just push down on it a bit where it goes under the hammer pin to clear the groove and remove that pin. The spring wire can then be left in its place wrapped around the receiver support. Reassembly is just the reverse. The only reason I really considered a plate was when I had trouble finding my pick tool to do the pushing and pulling with.





Responses in red within quote.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Mak
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Posted: 6/23/2010 2:24:41 PM
[Last Edit: 6/23/2010 2:25:05 PM by Mak]
Originally Posted By Imaposer2:
Originally Posted By Mak:
Can you pull the trigger and use another finger to press the disconnector downward at the same time to get the selector to clear? I've had to do that on some rifles.

I'll try that and see. I pulled the trigger and tried it the other night but I can't remember if I also pushed the disco forward at the same time.

The part of the selector tab that hits the disconnector can be filed to miss the disconnector. The part of the selector that rests on the trigger leg to block the rifle from firing is left in place. I have done this modification on a few when replacing the fire control group.

I considered doing this, but for my own paranoid legal reasons I prefer not to "tamper" with a safety device. Yeah, I know and you know, and probably most everyone here knows that it is perfectly fine to do this. But, trying to persuade a jury that it is ok to do is quite another matter. And yeah, I know, I won't ever have to do that, but it is just one of my rules for any gun that may be called upon in a defensive role, and in my case that is the majority that I own with a few exceptions. I will look at this area again tonight though, just to see how much more clearance it needs in the event that your first suggestion doesn't work.

Yes, the selector on most Chinese rifles may have to be rotated counter-clockwise to remove the selector with FCG installed.
Do you mean clockwise when looking at the right side of the rifle? If so, I considered that too, but then I would have to bend it out a good bit to clear the stop attached to the trigger guard. Didn't want to tweak it so I didn't go that route.


On my Chinese rifle I just used the Chinese retainer.


If your first suggestion doesn't give me the required clearance this will probably be what I do too. I don't have the aversion to the shephard's crook that some seem to and never really gave it too much thought until the other night. The Chinese wire retainer on this rifle seems to work just fine and really isn't that difficult. You don't even have to remove it. Just pull up on the rear portion that engages the trigger pin a bit and remove the pin, then just push down on it a bit where it goes under the hammer pin to clear the groove and remove that pin. The spring wire can then be left in its place wrapped around the receiver support. Reassembly is just the reverse. The only reason I really considered a plate was when I had trouble finding my pick tool to do the pushing and pulling with.





Responses in red within quote.

Thanks for the suggestions.



You're right, clockwise rotation completely around in a 360 degree rotation. Not counter-clockwise. I was doing it in my head .

Filing down the part of the selector that hits the disconnector is not going to make the rifle unsafe. The part that blocks the trigger movement it to the right of the disconnector. And when filing it to miss the disconnector you only file enough to let it clear when the trigger is pulled rearward and the disconnector is depressed downward on its spring.

Once installed the selector still will not pass by the disconnector unless yor are also pulling the trigger and depressing the disconnector. It cannot occur unless you are intending to do it when stripping the rifle.
Wayward_Texan
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Posted: 6/23/2010 2:33:52 PM
trim the safety so it clears the disco, but still engages the trigger...

like the one on the right side of this pic....
http://www.mulchmatters.com/images/Picture1.jpg
(I would have just posted the pic, but it's friggin' huge!!)
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Mak
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Posted: 6/23/2010 2:40:04 PM
On my Saiga 5.45x39 with a G2 Installed the disconnector is hit by the selector. The selector in this Saiga has the tab all the way across. On most Romanian rifles I had the selector was stepped to clear the disconnector. The tab hits the top of the disconnector in this rifle, I just need to reach into the receiver and push the single hook on the trigger downward and the disconnector moves enough for the selector to clear.



Mak
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Posted: 6/23/2010 2:57:16 PM
[Last Edit: 6/23/2010 3:07:05 PM by Mak]
Bulgarian factory Arsenal SLR105 selector




Here is one from a Saiga 7.62x39, that came from the factory like this.



Here is a factory selector out of my Hungarian rifle. You can see how much material they have left on the tab. This shows the difference of selectors and removing a minor bit of metal that touches the disconnector isn't going to affect safety as long as you don't change the part that actually blocks the trigger leg.



The Bulgarian and Hungarian selector tabs come nowhere near hitting the disconnector when rotated.
Mak
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Posted: 6/23/2010 3:14:49 PM
[Last Edit: 6/23/2010 3:18:44 PM by Mak]
Here are some pictures that Wayward_Texan linked resized, clearer than mine.







toyotaman
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Posted: 6/23/2010 3:46:50 PM
What's the consensus on these? Are they an improvement to the original design?

I think Krebs also sells one that is slightly different than the Tapco.

Is there an advantage to one over the other?
Imaposer2
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Posted: 6/23/2010 4:32:55 PM
[Last Edit: 6/23/2010 4:34:28 PM by Imaposer2]
It seems from the posts I've read on the subject, that most people advise using the retaining plates and doing away with the shephard's crook.

Maybe with some types of retaining wires it really is a pain to deal with them, and maybe some of them don't work that well, IDK, but I've never had a wire that was installed properly fail, and the method I use (described above) makes them easy to use. The one on this particular rifle doesn't have to be removed to take the pins out. It's just a simple push/pull deal to release the pins one at a time and the retaining wire is just left in place. Other types may not work this easily.

The only reason I was thinking about using a retaining plate instead was because I've just read so much about how much better they are and I can see that they could be very secure. But, mainly because i thought it would make detail stripping easier if I couldn't find, or didn't have access to a hook pick or other suitable tool. On a rifle where the selector lever can be removed before the TG it would make it an easy no tools affair to remove everything. In my case, unless I can get the lever out without modification I'll just keep the good ol' wire in this rifle.

I haven't looked into the differences so I can't say if any are better or worse than another.
Mak
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Posted: 6/23/2010 5:12:31 PM
The Century, Arsenal and other wire shepard's hooks are worthless for me. Take too much to get them in and my fingers aren't nimble enough.

The Chinese L shaped wire goes in much easier and take about a minute. The plates are even faster but don't fit in some rifles I have tried.
AKsRule
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Posted: 6/23/2010 7:11:54 PM
Tapco Retainer Instructions

BEGIN BY MAKING SURE YOUR RIFLE IS UNLOADED
1. REMOVE YOUR RECEIVER COVER, RECOIL SPRING, BOLT, BOLT CARRIER, SAFETY LEVER
AND ORIGINAL RETAINING SPRING/PLATE.
2. THE TAPCO RETAINING PLATE WILL INSTALL WITH THE “TAPCO USA” RIGHTSIDE UP AND
FACING THE INSIDE OF THE RECEIVER.
3. ANGLE THE OPEN SIDE DOWNWARD AROUND THE GROOVE IN THE HAMMER PIN AGAINST
THE RECEIVER. (BE CAREFUL TO ENSURE NOTHING IS BETWEEN THE RETAINING PLATE AND THE
RECEIVER)
4. SLIDE THE RETAINING PLATE DOWN ONTO THE TRIGGER PIN AND LINE UP THE PROPER HOLE
IN THE TOP LEFT CORNER OF THE PLATE WITH THE SAFETY PIN HOLE. (DIFFERENT AK VARIANTS
WILL UTILIZE DIFFERENT HOLES; USE THE HOLE THAT MAINTAINS A HOLD OF THE HAMMER AND
TRIGGER PINS)
5. INSTALL THE SAFETY LEVER MAKING SURE THAT THE LEVER SECURES THE PLATE IN PLACE,
UTILIZING THE HOLE IN THE RETAINING PLATE. ENSURE THAT THE RETAINING PLATE IS FLUSH
AGAINST THE RECEIVER WALL.
6. REASSEMBLE YOUR RIFLE AND PERFORM A SAFETY CHECK BEFORE FIRING.

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POLYTHENEPAM
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Posted: 6/24/2010 10:53:41 AM
[Last Edit: 6/24/2010 10:54:40 AM by POLYTHENEPAM]
Originally Posted By Imaposer2:
Maybe with some types of retaining wires it really is a pain to deal with them, and maybe some of them don't work that well, IDK, but I've never had a wire that was installed properly fail, and the method I use (described above) makes them easy to use. The one on this particular rifle doesn't have to be removed to take the pins out. It's just a simple push/pull deal to release the pins one at a time and the retaining wire is just left in place. Other types may not work this easily.


The reason some people have so much difficulty with the "shepard's hook" retainer and you don't is simple.
You're disassembling the rifle as intended. Many people don't. They remove the retainer with the pins in place, which is a PITA. They also try to replace the retainer after the pins are installed, which seems almost impossible to me, which is probably why those people resort to the plate.
dskeet
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Posted: 6/24/2010 11:20:06 AM
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
Originally Posted By Imaposer2:
Maybe with some types of retaining wires it really is a pain to deal with them, and maybe some of them don't work that well, IDK, but I've never had a wire that was installed properly fail, and the method I use (described above) makes them easy to use. The one on this particular rifle doesn't have to be removed to take the pins out. It's just a simple push/pull deal to release the pins one at a time and the retaining wire is just left in place. Other types may not work this easily.


The reason some people have so much difficulty with the "shepard's hook" retainer and you don't is simple.
You're disassembling the rifle as intended. Many people don't. They remove the retainer with the pins in place, which is a PITA. They also try to replace the retainer after the pins are installed, which seems almost impossible to me, which is probably why those people resort to the plate.


Whats the intended way to do it? Just curious since I have never attempted to remove a FCG because people make it sound like the retainer is such a pain in the ass I didn't want to not be able to get it back togather.
Imaposer2
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Posted: 6/24/2010 12:02:11 PM
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
Originally Posted By Imaposer2:
Maybe with some types of retaining wires it really is a pain to deal with them, and maybe some of them don't work that well, IDK, but I've never had a wire that was installed properly fail, and the method I use (described above) makes them easy to use. The one on this particular rifle doesn't have to be removed to take the pins out. It's just a simple push/pull deal to release the pins one at a time and the retaining wire is just left in place. Other types may not work this easily.


The reason some people have so much difficulty with the "shepard's hook" retainer and you don't is simple.
You're disassembling the rifle as intended. Many people don't. They remove the retainer with the pins in place, which is a PITA. They also try to replace the retainer after the pins are installed, which seems almost impossible to me, which is probably why those people resort to the plate.



Well, of course you're right. I knew it but didn't want to offend anyone by suggesting the correct method, and stirring up a virtual shit storm of controversy. I did allude to it in my earlier post and I’m surprised that no one asked what I meant or for me to explain further, or even try to tell me that I was doing it wrong.

From my experience working on many other firearms over the years the correct method seemed normal to me. The AK isn’t the only firearm that uses spring wire for parts retention. The method I use on my AKs is the same basic idea that I’ve used many other times on other weapons. Never really gave it any thought since it is self evident. Then I read the “proper” way to remove the FCG pins somewhere. I tried it once and said, “WTF?”

Why people feel the need to remove the retainer spring is beyond me. I just thought that maybe on some designs it was necessary. On my rifles it isn’t and takes about 2 minutes, tops, to remove the FCG and 'bout the same to put it back in. The spring stays in and really doesn’t need to be removed on two of my AKs. On another that uses the Chinese L-wire you can remove the FCG and leave the wire unless you also remove the selector lever, since the wire is held in place by the selector shaft.

I’ve seen the “proper” method posted in numerous forum posts and even in books. It seems to be the prevailing technique described and discussed. And it seems to be the main reason people have probelms with the wires. If I did it that way I would too and would have wondered if MK had too much Vodka the day he came up with that idea. I have no idea why it got started or what the rationale for it was. Maybe the plate makers came up with the method so they could “solve the problem” by selling a plate to eliminate the wire.

Like I said, I never really thought about a plate before since I didn’t see the need. But, after enough brainwashing I guess I decided to try one out and see. When I considered it the other night I saw the problem with installing it in the Chicom rilfes, which prompted me to start this thread.

On the Chicoms with the original FCG in place the TG is removed before the selector lever. This would make it impossible to install the retainer plates. Maybe with the non-original disco in place, like Tapco’s, it can be made to work but, like I described earlier, the Chicom disco has a design that prevents it.

Dskeet,
It depends on the type of retainer wire your rifle has. On two of mine I remove the TG pin first and on one I remove the hammer pin first. Just start on whichever one is closest to the free end of your wire. Just use something like a dental pick and pull the free end of the wire up out of the retaining groove on the pin and push the pin out from right to left. Once the wire has cleared the groove you can release the wire and the pin will slide the rest of the way out. Then you just repeat on the other pin. The pushing and/or pulling just depends on the routing of your wire.
I described the “correct” method I use in an earlier post in this thread. It applies to that one particular rifle but the principle should work in a similar fashion on most wire types.
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Posted: 6/24/2010 1:39:04 PM
A portion of six-inch or so portion of coat hanger that's been cut and had the end bent to resemble a dental pick works pretty well as a removal tool too. Anyone wishing to just keep the plain ol' wire in their rifle would be well served by having a tool like this handy and then practicing it a few times.

Also, the "punch" that's in your AK cleaning kit capsule is made to be used as a sort of 'slave pin' to make holding your FCG together whilst replacing the pin back into the receiver. That's what the fat end of the punch is for (aside from providing a surface you can smack with a hammer if need be).
Imaposer2
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Posted: 6/24/2010 2:01:33 PM
Like I said earlier I only have experience with two styles of retaining wire so other types may work differently. All I can discuss is the ones I know about so here are a couple of simple diagrams that may make my earlier descriptions a little more clear.

This first one in the one I was working on the other night, and the one I described earlier in this thread:




This one is the typical Chinese L-wire and the way I recommend removing the FCG from rifles using them:





No special tools are needed for this although I do find a dental pic type tool makes it easy to do the pulling part, but in a pinch you can use about anything to pry it up. Pretty much anything can be used to push the wire down; screwdriver, punch, thumbnail, cleaning jag, whatever. It only needs to move enough in either direction so that it clears the groove in the pins, so what's that, about 1/16" or so?

To reinstall the pins you just have to move the wire out of the way of the hole so you can get the pin in. Just be sure you move it in the correct direction so that the wire is either above or below the pin, as the case may be.

If anyone has problems with this they probably shouldn't be allowed around tools...

or firearms.

POLYTHENEPAM
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Posted: 6/24/2010 2:30:24 PM
Originally Posted By Imaposer2:

If I did it that way I would too and would have wondered if MK had too much Vodka the day he came up with that idea. I have no idea why it got started or what the rationale for it was.

No one would ever try to remove the fcg from the rifle as Mr. K designed it by removing the retainer first, or to install it last. It's part of the spring for the auto/safety sear and the forward end is wrapped around the pivot pin for that part.
It's litterally impossible to disassemble the fcg incorrectly on a FA AK.
Imaposer2
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Posted: 6/24/2010 2:58:57 PM
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
Originally Posted By Imaposer2:

If I did it that way I would too and would have wondered if MK had too much Vodka the day he came up with that idea. I have no idea why it got started or what the rationale for it was.

No one would ever try to remove the fcg from the rifle as Mr. K designed it by removing the retainer first, or to install it last. It's part of the spring for the auto/safety sear and the forward end is wrapped around the pivot pin for that part.
It's litterally impossible to disassemble the fcg incorrectly on a FA AK.


Oh yeah, of course. I tend to forget that MK didn't design the AKs that we all discuss most frequently, or at least not the FCG that we are most familiar with, my mistake.

I still don't understand why someone, whoever it was, came up with the idea to remove the retaining wire first. It just flys in the face of conventional wisdom for removing parts that are secured by spring wire retainers. At least in my experience. Even after someone thought that it was the best way, I don't understand why it has persisted to become the most often cited method. It seems that most everyone complains about how difficult it is. Some replace the wire with a plate and others just accept the difficulty and try to avoid removing the FCG.

The way I describe above is cake. I just never really gave it much thought until this thread came up. I've read it many times but just didn't get it.

Oh well, I guess the world will continue to turn, people will continue to struggle and bitch, or replace their retaining wires with plates. I've decided to skip the plates and just keep the wires that have always served me fine. Sorta seems like a recoil buffer to me, but that's just me.

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Posted: 6/25/2010 5:25:26 AM
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