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Posted: 6/27/2015 1:33:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 7:16:24 PM EDT by mjcarter]
How does one tell the difference? I have quite a few and some appear different than others but I don't know what to look for. I'm not looking to buy any, just asking a question.
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 9:34:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 9:34:48 AM EDT by M4BlackRifle]
If the part is fully machined, you cannot tell by looking at it, the origin of the original raw part.

The simple answer is to buy a charging handle with a good description of its specifications. Most AR parts sellers have forged charging handles, and say so in the description.
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 4:32:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 4:34:15 PM EDT by mjcarter]
What if I don't trust the description?
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 4:53:52 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By mjcarter:
What if I don't trust the description?
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...Then don't buy it

Link Posted: 6/27/2015 5:06:10 PM EDT
I'm trying to picture how "extrusion" would be a usable process to make a charging handle. On the other hand, "cut from sheet" (which may actually be termed "billet") would be more logical to me. Am I just not familiar with production methods for charging handles?

OP, if you "don't trust the description," pass on that part and go with BCM, Spike's, RRA, (etc., etc., etc.). In other words, go with a trustworthy source and let "the market" kick the "untrusted" vendor out of competition.
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 5:51:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 5:52:17 PM EDT by jparish62]
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Originally Posted By GHPorter:
I'm trying to picture how "extrusion" would be a usable process to make a charging handle. On the other hand, "cut from sheet" (which may actually be termed "billet") would be more logical to me. Am I just not familiar with production methods for charging handles?

OP, if you "don't trust the description," pass on that part and go with BCM, Spike's, RRA, (etc., etc., etc.). In other words, go with a trustworthy source and let "the market" kick the "untrusted" vendor out of competition.
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There would be no way to actually extrude the finished handle, however for the blank, I could see it being extruded, but then the finished product would realistically be billet as the "blank" would just be extruded to the pre mfg size and shape

ETA: and then machined to finished product specs.
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 7:06:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 7:42:23 PM EDT by mjcarter]
Ok. Maybe extruded was not the correct terminology. Title edited for correction.
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 7:52:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 8:05:42 PM EDT by 556Cliff]
BCM charging handles are machined from billet, they are not forged.

Standard charging handles would be hard to tell apart but if you want to be guaranteed a forged charging handle stick with Colt.
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 10:05:15 PM EDT
Are there any markings on the Colt?
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 10:35:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 10:36:11 PM EDT by zackmars]
May i ask why it is so important that your charging handle be forged?
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 11:00:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 11:02:41 PM EDT by jparish62]
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Originally Posted By zackmars:
May i ask why it is so important that your charging handle be forged?
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I wouldn't say it important that it be forged necessarily, but for a single piece CH you have two options, forged or billet. Forged is simply more common because its cheaper to produce than a billet one.
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 11:07:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 11:11:38 PM EDT by 556Cliff]
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Originally Posted By mjcarter:
Are there any markings on the Colt?
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I have 5 Colt charging handles in a box and there are no markings on any of them. I also had a Bushmaster charging handle that was supposedly forged but it also had no markings.
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 11:10:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2015 11:11:41 PM EDT by jparish62]
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Originally Posted By 556Cliff:


I have 5 Colt charging handles in a box and there are no markings on any of them. I also had a Bushmaster charging handle that was supposedly forged but it also had no markings.
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Originally Posted By 556Cliff:
Originally Posted By mjcarter:
Are there any markings on the Colt?


I have 5 Colt charging handles in a box and there are no markings on any of them. I also had a Bushmaster charging handle that was supposedly forged but it also had no markings.


Typically no

ETA: sorry, qouted the wrong one
Link Posted: 6/27/2015 11:43:04 PM EDT
Did anybody ever make cast charging handles?
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 12:58:34 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By AASG:
Did anybody ever make cast charging handles?
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I seem to recall at one time they were made but from what I remember reading, they were not all that great. Pits in the metal, not straight etc.....
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 1:05:56 AM EDT
In addition years ago someone manufactured sheet metal charging handles. The rear was a casting.

I knew a shooter that had one, it failed in short order.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 10:14:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/28/2015 10:17:15 AM EDT by M4BlackRifle]
I suppose there might be some cast charging handles. Billet is actually a type of forging, but billet parts are not as strong as a forged parts.

A quick look on a few popular AR part websites (PSA, Spikes, Anderson, DoubleStar, Midway, Brownells) shows that all have charging handles described as forged.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 10:28:29 AM EDT
Forgings are stronger, I don't get peoples fascination with billet. Tends to be less expensive to produce and weigh less too. But whatever.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 10:36:17 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By M4BlackRifle:
I suppose there might be some cast charging handles. Billet is actually a type of forging, but billet parts are not as strong as a forged parts.

A quick look on a few popular AR part websites (PSA, Spikes, Anderson, DoubleStar, Midway, Brownells) shows that all have charging handles described as forged.
View Quote


Billet isn't a forging....a forging typically means the metal was heated and forged into a shape, and in the case of these parts, then machined down to the proper dimensions . Billet means the final product was machined right from an extruded piece of metal as it would come from a supplier...sans cutting down on a saw to smaller pieces from bar stock.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 12:59:16 PM EDT
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Billet isn't a forging.....
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Technically billet material can be considered a forging depending on how it was manufactured in the mill. I have been a machinist for 18 years and use both billet block and forgings in steel and aluminum to produce aerospace parts.

Generally speaking when using the same metal, forgings are the strongest. Forgings also tend to cheaper to machine to the final form as they require less machining time than a billet blank would require.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 1:39:48 PM EDT
Just in case anyone is curious as to why forgings are stronger, its due to the grain structure of the metal.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 5:19:08 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By M4BlackRifle:


Technically billet material can be considered a forging depending on how it was manufactured in the mill. I have been a machinist for 18 years and use both billet block and forgings in steel and aluminum to produce aerospace parts.

Generally speaking when using the same metal, forgings are the strongest. Forgings also tend to cheaper to machine to the final form as they require less machining time than a billet blank would require.
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Originally Posted By M4BlackRifle:
Billet isn't a forging.....


Technically billet material can be considered a forging depending on how it was manufactured in the mill. I have been a machinist for 18 years and use both billet block and forgings in steel and aluminum to produce aerospace parts.

Generally speaking when using the same metal, forgings are the strongest. Forgings also tend to cheaper to machine to the final form as they require less machining time than a billet blank would require.


I guess if you look at it that way, yes it can be, but the way this was worded was implying that all billet pieces are forged...I am machinist as well.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 5:44:01 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By OldArmy:
Just in case anyone is curious as to why forgings are stronger, its due to the grain structure of the metal.
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The grain structure of billet is aligned also, castings are random.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 8:16:14 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By jparish62:


I guess if you look at it that way, yes it can be, but the way this was worded was implying that all billet pieces are forged...I am machinist as well.
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Originally Posted By jparish62:
Originally Posted By M4BlackRifle:
Billet isn't a forging.....


Technically billet material can be considered a forging depending on how it was manufactured in the mill. I have been a machinist for 18 years and use both billet block and forgings in steel and aluminum to produce aerospace parts.

Generally speaking when using the same metal, forgings are the strongest. Forgings also tend to cheaper to machine to the final form as they require less machining time than a billet blank would require.


I guess if you look at it that way, yes it can be, but the way this was worded was implying that all billet pieces are forged...I am machinist as well.

"Forged billet" makes strong flats to mill into a final shape. Forged blanks, hammered into the raw shape that will later be milled to final dimensions, produces stronger blanks that will be stronger when finished than a part milled from the forged flat billet. With a charging handle, this may not make much difference, but in other things, like AR receivers, it makes a difference.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 8:33:10 PM EDT
Billet is fine. It won't be any more likely to break than a forged piece. You'll just pay more for a billet and it'll have a more unique appearance from extra machining.
Link Posted: 6/28/2015 11:19:13 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By zackmars:
May i ask why it is so important that your charging handle be forged?
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It's important to me because if I buy something that says forged I want to be able to look at it and know.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 5:25:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/29/2015 5:25:45 PM EDT by M4BlackRifle]
You cannot tell by looking. Simply buy one described as forged from a reputable parts seller.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 8:24:22 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By mjcarter:

It's important to me because if I buy something that says forged I want to be able to look at it and know.
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Originally Posted By mjcarter:
Originally Posted By zackmars:
May i ask why it is so important that your charging handle be forged?

It's important to me because if I buy something that says forged I want to be able to look at it and know.

That's the very best reason to want to know. And since there is no visible sign that a part was made from a forged blank, that makes buying from the most reputable sources the best bet.

If a site sponsor sells a part and lists it as "forged," I'd be pretty comfortable that it is, indeed, forged.
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