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Posted: 4/28/2003 3:41:26 AM EDT
What kind of alterations (if any) are required to my bolt carrier in order to use a side cocking upper?
Link Posted: 4/28/2003 7:40:16 AM EDT
The DPMS side charger uses the FAL L1a1 bolt carrier. The ASA version uses its own style carrier.
Link Posted: 4/28/2003 11:31:19 AM EDT

Did you buy a DPMS high rise side charging handle upper without the charging handle and carrier?

I did and made my own cocking handle from an L1a1 folding handle, and cut the slot in the carrier with a dremel tool, works great.

Let me know if this is the information you need and e-mail me, I can detail what I did and send some pics.

Link Posted: 4/28/2003 1:58:08 PM EDT

Why don't you post some specifics of your conversion on here. I am sure there are a lot of people interested in this type of conversion.

Link Posted: 4/28/2003 2:01:46 PM EDT
...haven't bought the upper yet & I agree with Cruizer - please post some pics of your fine work!
Link Posted: 4/28/2003 2:19:51 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 5:31:04 AM EDT

Why don't you post some specifics of your conversion on here. I am sure there are a lot of people interested in this type of conversion.

View Quote

I will second that!!!  I am building a Post-Ban AR-15 pistol in a Bolt-Action configuration and I am planning to use one of these side-cocking upper receivers to make it easier to use.

Now, can someone help me understand how the FAL system came into this?  Is there something special about the FAL's handle?

If you can't post pics, e-mail them to me and I will set you up a small webpage that shows what you did...  I am waiting for my new barrel from Kurt before I buy anything else for this project...

Link Posted: 4/29/2003 5:35:15 AM EDT
Thanks for the info guys...
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 6:04:44 AM EDT
Treetop is on the money.

I bought my upper from a board member, the L1A1 cocking handle I had but these can be picked up from various vendors or check the marketplace on FALFiles, usually around $15 to $20.

You need to modify the cocking handle by shortening it, you will need to remove approximately 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" so that when it is in the forward postion the tail end centers on the recess for the bolt catch. Smooth and square the end and round all corners and sharp edges to prevent them from gouging into the receiver grooves.

You will need to check the fit of the handle in the grooves and slim it down as needed, mine was already reduced in thickness to fit a metric FAL receiver but I dont think this is necessary for the AR upper, I did have to reduce the overall width on the actual rails outside to outside, it may also be necessary to reduce the width of the actual handle slide or body but probably not. Smooth and polish every contact surface and round off any sharp edges, lube it up and work it in the receiver to break it in.

The folding handle will need some modifications also. The inner (when closed) edge that fits into the notch in the receiver will need to be filed down to allow the handle to fold in parrallel with the receiver, again smooth and polish so it does not gouge, etc. You want it to be able to catch the rear of the notch and prevent rearword motion but it will be best to remove sufficient material so that it does not actually contact the recevier when closed if possible (some handles will not stop against themselves and will still go in to hit the receiver, install a small piece of rubber on the receiver to protect it), when the handle flies forward it folds automatically by inertia and can translate a fair impact to the receiver if you dont prepare for it as above, probably wont do any material damage but its worth taking into consideration.

The folding part of the handle will also be to long on the average L1A1 handle and will hit the rear edge of your free float tube, remove enough material from the end to prevent this and re-contour to match original profile, smooth and polish.

When you have made all these mods to the handle and it slides freely in the receiver you are ready to finish. polish it all up however you like with crocus cloth, wet/dry sand paper, buffing wheel, etc. and cold blue or finish with paint. Personally I recommend cold blue as paint or parkerization will alter the rail fit and cause friction and or wear to the reciever (especially from parkerization).

Now on to the carrier.

Install the carrier into the receiver without the handle for now. Pull it back so you can see the front edge, now take a sharp scribe (as fine as you have for better accuracy) and scribe the carrier along the top and bottom edges of the opening in the side of the reciever, get as tight to the edges of the slot as you can and scribe the lines about 1 1/4" back from the front edge, make sure they are visible.

Now push the bolt carrier into battery (I forgot to mention the you should have the barrel installed with the float tube at least hand tightened in place, preferably final torqued), install the cocking handle and slide all the way forward and fold the handle against the receiver. Now take your thin sharp scribe and insert it through the hole where the carrier lug goes, scribe around the perimeter against the carrier. When you remove the carrier you will see the lines scribed along the receiver slot and the circle from the handle lug hole, your carrier will need to have a slot cut to slightly wider than that width (not critical as long as it is at least a few thoudandths wider than the reciever slot, to wide wont hurt) and as far back as the back side of the circle towards the back end of the carrier (you have to have a few thousandths minimum space between the handle lug and this spot on the carrier so that when the bolt goes into battery it does not hammer the lug forward damaging it and or the receiver, not to much play though).

You can now take the stripped carrier to your local machine shop or machinist buddy and have the slot milled or you can use a dremel if you have the skill (not super difficult but you want it to be decent). The depth of the slot will need to be approximately a 10th of an inch, deep enough for good engagement of the lug but not all the way through the carrier (that would necessitate replacement of course and thats not cheap), so if you have any doubts about your dremeling capabilities take it to a mchinest.

If you dremel set it up in a padded vise, tape off everything to keep out garbage from the dremel (easy clean up) and place tape up close to your scripe lines (it will make it easier to see them and also will help prevent overrun and scarring of your carrier outside the lines).
Install a thin cutoff wheel (emory? the type that breaks very easily so have a good supply, if your carefull though you can do the job with one). Carefully start your cuts along the top and bottom, start out light and continue to deepen the cuts till it is close to final. Now start making additional cuts through the material between your outside cuts to approximatley the same depth, keep working at the material that is left to completely open the slot. Stop yor cuts just short of your rear mark as this will be finished later. Look at your slot carefully and dremel down any high spots to even it out as much as possible.

For this part you will need a dremel tip that has diamond bits impregnated into the sides and end, you could use a carbide end mill type cutter but those little shavings are like super fine needles and hurt like hell when you get them in your hands (ask me how I know). Carefully start to finish the end of the slot back to the line (cut so the line dissapears and that should give you the clearance you need), work the cut to the width of the slot and deepen the end where your cuttoff wheel left a ramp until its the same depth as the rest of the slot, work slow and use both hands keeping a death grip on the dremel for maximum control. Take it slow and easy and you will get nice results. After your done with the dremel find a good sharp triangular needle file, start working on the bottom of the groove till its flat and all the "mill marks" are gone, now true up the sides of the slot in the same manner. You can leave it as is or touch up with cold blue (recommended).

Now for the final fitting. Clean the carrier and reassemble, insert into the receiver and lock the bolt home. Install the charging handle and slide all the way forward. Insert the lug into the handle to see how it fits, if it protrudes out so the pin cant be intalled or it drags in the carrier slot you will need to file and polish the bottom edge down to fit (you want a little clearance so the carrier does not drag on it during cycling), check to see that you have some for and aft play in the handle, if the carrier is tight against the lug, file a little off the backside for a little relief. Touch up as needed with cold blue.

Now lube everything as normal (dont forget the charging handle slots) and try it out, pull it all the way back (the back end of the handle slide should NOT touch the lower buffer tube ring) and let it fly forward, the carrier and bolt should lock freely and the folding handle will close (if the spring is tight in the handle it might not self close till it breaks in a while but will eventually).

Thats it, sorry for the long diatribe, if some parts arent clear let me know and I will clarify. I wont post pics right now but will later of the finished product when I am able.
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 6:40:31 PM EDT
Thanks JKH,
I have a DPMS side charger upper receiver on my parts shelf( a LONG term project), and I'm going to print this for later. [;)]

-Quarterbore, realize the DPMS is only available in the Hi-Rider style upper receiver.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 5:03:26 AM EDT

My pleasure, I know its a bit long winded but I get a little anal about details (I write specifications for a living). Any time you have questions please feel free to e-mail me.

If anyone else has done this and has a better perspective on doing it please chime in, the more info the better for others attempting the project.

ASA makes a side charger that is not a high rise flat top, their lever is right on the side rather than closer to the top like the DPMS, I'm not sure but theirs almost looks like the handle reciprocates with the bolt carrier. Anyway, I like the concept of the standard height side charger for more of a tactical type rifle. The DPMS is really nice though on a varmint rifle, if I ever move to PA where semi's are not legal for hunting, I will disable the gas system to make a straight pull bolt action, the side charger is perfect for this application.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 6:12:21 AM EDT
Well, I am not so sure that the ASA system travels with the carrier BUT I tried to E-mail ASA about their system and I never got a reply... to be honest, I forgot that I had asked them!

Also, like you posted, living here in PA I can use a rifle or pistol to hunt with but not if it's semi-auto.  An AR-15 pistol in 300/221 as a bolt action pistol would be legal for deer hunting in my area!

I am anxious to get my barrel as deer season opens in 6.5-months and I have a lot of work to do before then!

Link Posted: 4/30/2003 9:04:14 AM EDT

What is the smallest caliber allowed for pistol hunting in PA? I have a Carbon 15 pistol that is actually legal to use in NY now that they allow any centerfire round, and being that my barrel is less than 10" I can have unlimited magazine capacity. Now if I made this pistol non-semi auto by defeating the gas system would it be legal to use in PA in .223?

As far as using the side charging upper for a pistol I really dont think you would gain much unless your optics crowded the standard charging handle, I think it would probably be easier to charge with the standard handle than the side unit being that your only holding the gun by the grip. Speaking of grip, I just put a Fobus G27 grip on my pistol, what a huge difference. I am a 1911 man with not very flexible wrists so the A2 grip was like a Ruger .22 pistol, when I would pull up it was always aiming slightly skyward, now it is more natural and a much better fit for large hands.

I am highly interested in the .30 caliber round, please keep us informed on the project.

Anyone have experience with a 6mm/.223 pistol barrel?
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 10:35:18 AM EDT
The DPMS is really nice though on a varmint rifle, if I ever move to PA where semi's are not legal for hunting, I will disable the gas system to make a straight pull bolt action, the side charger is perfect for this application.
View Quote

My project idea is to use the DPMS single shot lower, and no gas system.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 10:39:21 AM EDT

Are you going to make it an auto unloader? That would be quite handy especially if your left handed. Does the DPMS single shot lower have a bolt hold catch? If not it probably wouldnt be hard to do and make it spring loaded to operate as if a mag were present.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 10:40:05 AM EDT
Do yourself a favor and avoid ASA at all costs. You'll thank me later.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 10:47:26 AM EDT
I never personally bought from them but did call once to inquire about there .308 AR's, lovely customer service[rolleyes], I set up an account with DPMS and havent looked back.

Speaking of DPMS, they have some really top shelf stuff (at least in my opinion), my 24" SS bull barrel was shooting sub 3/4" groups with 70's vintage FN ball and a 3x9x50 scope at 100 yards.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 11:33:34 AM EDT
Thanks Again for the advise...  as for hunting in PA I know I have seen my father use a 22-250 one year when his normal deer rifle had problems and with a shot to the head the deer was a dead as dead gets!  

I looked up the regs and this is what it says...

General Statewide Seasons: (1) Manually operated center-fire rifles, handguns and shotguns with all-lead bullet or ball, or a bullet designed to expand on impact; (2) muzzleloading long gun of any type or caliber; and (3) long, recurve or compound bows with a peak draw weight not less than 35 pounds, and crossbows with a draw weight of not less than 125 pounds, and not more than 200 pounds. Bowhunters must use arrows equipped with broadheads having an outside diameter of at least 7/8-inch with no less than two cutting edges, which shall be in the same plane throughout the length of the cutting surface. Crossbow hunters may use bolts tipped with broadheads of cutting edge design. The use of buckshot is illegal, except in the Southeast Special Regulations Area.
View Quote

So, according to the LAW I guess I could use a 17 Remington or 22 Hornet...[:O]  Just the same, I think we can all agree that even a 223 is pretty darned light for deer.  Heck, I don't like anything smaller than a 243 BUT remember that a 300 Whisper has about the performance of a 30/30 so it will be more than adequate!

Edieted to add the link [url]http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/PGC/faq/deerlaws.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 11:51:29 AM EDT

Your right about the .223 on deer the size of NY and PA's. Down south they use it heavily. If I were to use it for deer it would be striclty limited to neck and head shots.

Where are you getting your barrel from?
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 12:55:49 PM EDT
Here's the [url=tp-commerce.techpro.com/pantherarms/shopexd.asp?id=1154]DPMS[/url] lower. It can't be an auotoloader, because it has no magwell, but it does have the bolt hold.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 6:10:26 PM EDT
My barrel is being built by Kurt from AR15.com's forums (Kurts Kustom)...  it is going to be 10.5-inches made from a douglas 1:8 blanh with a straight HBAR Profile.  The barrel is also being threaded for a Gem-Tech Bi-Lock for the TRP-S as eventually I want an SSK semi-auto upper in 300 Whisper Upper....  

Then a Gem-Tech TPR-S is next on my list along with Bi-locks for my Rem 700 PSS, and AR-10 if the crime bill dies...

One silencer for a 300 WHipser Pistol, AR-15 carbine, 308 Bolt Gun and AR-10....  at least that is the plan?
Link Posted: 5/1/2003 5:29:58 PM EDT
Has anyone looked at the Fulton Armory side cocking upper receiver with it's bolt carrier and side cocking handle?  It's is very much like the ar 180's upper and with direct control over the bolt negates the need for the forward assist.  It is in flat top version only.
Link Posted: 5/2/2003 3:27:57 PM EDT
DavidZapr - I just went to Fulton's site and read up on it - couldn't find a photo tho - do you have one you can share with us?
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 9:31:57 PM EDT
[b]Do yourself a favor and avoid ASA at all costs. You'll thank me later.[/b]

Hmmm. I saw a side cocking upper that was identical to ASA but with an AZ machining company logo engraved in the side at a Dallas gun show a couple months ago and inquired about it. I was told by the vendor that this particular company started making these for ASA but as usual, ASA pissed them off or didn't pay them and they started puting their own name on the side. It seemed that the side cocker was very well built and finish out was superb. One issue I did have with it was you had to make sure you folded the cocking handle down before you released the bolt catch or it would smash your hand. This problem was supposed to be addressed soon by spring loading the cocking handle. I wish I could remember the company- it was like RM machine or something. Sorry... [:\]

Link Posted: 5/5/2003 9:38:36 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 6:50:47 AM EDT
thats the company, thanks.
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