SLR15 AR15 / M16 / M4 / AR308 Armorer Course
When: March 27-28, 2023
Where: Wichita, Kansas
We conducted a 2-day (16-hour) AR15 / M16 / M4 / AR308 Armorer course, that was hosted by the Wichita University Police Dept. This was our first time teaching courses here, and we look forward to more in the future. The training room was set up to allow plenty of table space. There room is equipped with a HDTV system that allowed us to show animated graphics of the weapons system and powerpoint of detailed pics of gun parts, especially when looking at finer detail things like machining, stress cracks & wear.
The student base was a mix of Law Enforcement Officers from all over Kansas and Missouri.
Rifles represented in this course were SLR15, Bushmaster, Larue, BCM, Aero precision, DPMS, Colt, Sig Sauer, LWRC, BCM, Daniel Defense and a few custom builds.
Day-1 started the day by going through the course manual that all students are given. Students were supplied with their own set of basic tools that are necessary to do 95% of the work on their rifles (short of restocking and rebarreling, of which wrenches and sometimes fixtures are necessary), Slip2000 "EWL" Extreme Weapons Lubricant and #725 Cleaner Degreaser, etc. A short session of nomenclature was covered, at which time covered every feature and exterior piece of the rifle to include all the hidden design features that most people are not aware of, and everyone prepped the rifles for disassembly work. Everyone was taught the procedure series of checks that we recommend.
Everyone was taught our recommended way to field strip a rifle, and why we do it this way so as not to cause damage, premature wear or stress on anything. We covered maintenance of where and what to clean, and what needs lubrication to keep it running. We showed why not to use the firing pins as tools. We showed everyone our recommendation of how to remove fouling and why, and everyone got to use our methods.
The entire bolt carrier assembly was covered, to include inspections, maintenance, upgrades, 3 types of gas rings, and differences in finishing and machining. carrier key (gas key) installation and staking, ejector systems, etc. Everyone was introduced to the different types of gas rings. We went through what each types does, and their proper installation order. Bolts were fully gone through, which included extractors, extractor springs/inserts/O-rings. The ejectors were removed, cleaned, and inspected.
Note: There were 2 bolts found with broken ejector springs. Both of these were rifles that had lots of rounds through them. Broken and stressed ejector springs are something we see on occasion. We recommend that these be removed on a regular basis, inspected, lubed, and reinstalled or replaced, as we have seen rifles with ejection issues that had broken springs.
Note: We went through proper carrier key staking. Several people found their gas keys were lightly staked. We supplied everyone with a MOACKS and Sully Gas Key Staking Tools, everyone decided to use the Sully Gas Key Staking Tool and get things corrected.
Note: One of the Smith and Wesson M&P15T rifles in class had a bolt carrier with no exhaust port holes ever machined into it. The Officer who brought it stated that he had no idea of any issue, as the only problem was that he would go through lots of gas rings due to lack of a seal. Upon inspection of the rifle, it was very filthy on the inside, and showed signs of a lot of rubbing on parts where they rub into each other. I recommended he get it back into Smith and Wesson's hands to see if they would replace it with a bolt carrier that has exhaust ports.
We got into the lower receiver assemblies, starting with the fire control group (trigger group). We teach this in a building block format, starting with baby steps of getting things out and in, then build into how things work. Everyone learned how to install and remove things so you don't cause damage. We went through detailed inspections of all the sear engagement surfaces, spring types, single stage, and two stage trigger systems.
At the end of the day everyone put their rifles back together, making sure that everything was in proper working order.
Day-2 started with a review of everything that was covered on day-1, with some greater details and myths covered. We then went back into trigger groups in great details, covering single stage, 2-stage, good and bad triggers, differences and options in spring systems, diagnosing problems when semi-auto turns into burst, and showing the differences in quality of triggers that are on the market. Once done with semi-auto trigger systems, we went into select fire trigger groups covering full-auto and burst trigger groups, to include replacement and diagnosing and repairs when experiencing malfunctions.
Everyone stripped their lower receivers, which allowed a chance for further inspections, and we went through a session on troubleshooting. Once everyone was comfortable with the entire lower receiver assembly, the were put back together, inspected, and made sure everything is in proper working order.
After trigger systems, we went through the rest of the lower receivers. Everyone had collapsible stocks. We covered the proper mounting & gauging, and proper castle nut staking on the collapsible stocks, and there were a few that had to be remounted to get them properly indexed, and a hand full of them needed to be staked.
We then got into a session on the timing. This is where we cover proper cycling, covering what effects timing, and how & what happens when it is out or proper time, dwell time, suppressor issues, etc, and how to get things into proper timing. This also led us into piston systems. We covered how the piston system works, break down and maintenance of the system (Yes piston systems do get dirty and have to be cleaned and maintained), how to properly adjust for timing changed, and trouble shooting. We also covered dwell time, and how it pertains to cycling issues, and hopefully got the point across of why we do not recommend barrel lengths shorter that 11.5" on unsuppressed rifles. During the timing session, we showed examples of adjustable gas blocks, and we also showed the gas control system from https://www.riflespeed.com/, which we like as it is adjustable with a quick turn by hand to one of the 12 different settings, and is well built for durability.
We showed how suppressors are properly mounted and gauged. Several people took advantage of the bore gauges that we make, and checked their alignment on their rifles that had suppressors.
The last half of day-2 was spent on the upper receiver assembly. We covered barrel removal, mounting, fixturing, gauging & inspections. We show numerous ways to fixture a barrel into a vise, and our preference as to which fixtures/methods to use when and how. We showed how to mount, then properly torque and gauge the barrel system, which ensures it is in proper working order.
At the end of the day everyone put their rifles back together, everything was inspected and gauged to make sure it was in proper working order. Everyone did chamber inspections, checked & gauged the four gas seals, firing pin protrusion, trigger press, and headspace.Here is a brief overview of a few things that were covered:
History of the Weapon
Cycles of Function
General Disassembly & Assembly
Identification of Common Problems and Parts
Identification of Group Components
Semi, Burst, and Full Auto Parts and Conversions
Complete Armoring Disassembly / Assembly
Cleaning and Maintenance
Sight and Distance Considerations
Barrel: Twist, Length, and Profiles
Gas Systems & Piston Systems
Parts Interchangeability, including Brands
Firing Pin Protrusion
Chamber Inspection and Issues
Troubleshooting, diagnosis & repair
Gauging, Inspections, Stress & Interval Issues
Accessories and Customizing
Tool Options and Selection
SOP/MOD Accessories and Additions
Greg Sullivan "Sully"SLR15 Rifles DefensiveEdge.com