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Posted: 2/21/2006 5:39:00 PM EDT

I just saw a post how everyone was ripping the guy with the
HESSE CARBON FIBER LOWER.

OK - I know HESSE has a bad rep - but

FILL ME IN ON THE CARBON FIBER HESSE ISSUE..

Don't bash em'- just fill me in..

Believe me I know what everyone thinks of HESSE.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 5:59:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GETSUM:
I just saw a post how everyone was ripping the guy with the
HESSE CARBON FIBER LOWER.

OK - I know HESSE has a bad rep - but

FILL ME IN ON THE CARBON FIBER HESSE ISSUE..

Don't bash em'- just fill me in..

Believe me I know what everyone thinks of HESSE.



youve been marked.....

your stay here will never be the same.....

Link Posted: 2/21/2006 6:09:28 PM EDT
Oh no, I'm getting marked so soon! I read a long time ago to stay away from Hesse. I am curious about what the deal is with these as well. I hear they make a nice backup bats for the softball tournament.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 1:03:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/22/2006 1:03:40 PM EDT by GETSUM]
Yeah - I know HESSE is supposed to be LOW END STUFF.

But my real Question is --


Is the CARBON FIBER stuff really that bad ??

If so - WHY ?
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 3:12:37 PM EDT
The carbon fiber lower seemed to do well when slumlord build a lightweight rifle 2 years or so ago. And Vulcan on assaultweb.com also built one. The upper on the other hand was not a good once it was actually used. The barrel nut threads on the upper melted, and the charging handle latch catch wore down. This caused the CH to fly back when the rifle cycled under recoil.

Link Posted: 2/22/2006 3:22:53 PM EDT
in general they have a bad rep also, more of their guns have issues than anything else and their customer service is lacking to put it mildly. A guy at a local gun shop told me he picked up one of their .50bmg rifles and with in the first few shots the chamber went out of spec and almost took his face off. his exact words were F**K Hesse.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 3:26:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Trey-W:
This caused the CH to fly back when the rifle cycled under recoil.




That sure sounds like fun!
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 3:30:52 PM EDT
I believe there is a picture of a cracked Hesse CF lower floating around
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 3:35:56 PM EDT
This is heresay, but the lowers only have seemed to hold up ok. I wouldn't put it to hard use. Unlike the upper, it isn't subject to heat, or the friction of the bolt carrier. Stress points will be the pivot pins, hammer and trigger pin holes, trigger guard, and the receiver extension.

Hesse/Vulcan chose to make the lower out of a different material while following the dimensional specs of the aluminum lower. Contrast that to CavArms who redesigned it with a knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of plastic.

On the Hesse/Vulcan, vulnerable points would seem to be the hammer and trigger pin holes if the pins rotate. Trigger guard holes. We're talking pretty thin material here and I don't think it would take a huge impact to fracture those ears. Front pivot pin area. The Armalite AR180B has suffered breakages here when owners broke the weapon open for cleaning and allowed the upper to swing open without restraining it. I think the Hesse/Vulcan might be vulnerable in the same way.

The receiver extension/buffer tube is aluminum screwed into carbon fiber. Don't buttstroke someone or use the toe of the stock to brace yourself when going prone.

Again, I haven't owned one or personally seen one break. I've not heard of any complaints about any of these areas. But I'd be careful.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 3:40:21 PM EDT
The AR15 (as designed by Gene Stoner) was meant to be built out of ALUMINUM, not plastic, steel, carbon fiber or oatmeal.

Cavalry Arms AR15 lower is not a copy of the Stoner AR15 built of plastic, it was designed to be made of plastic and built the way it's built to take advantage of the strengths of the plastic.

Bushmasters Carbon abortion is designed to be made of carbon fiber and that's why it looks like it does.

Link Posted: 2/22/2006 4:09:19 PM EDT
I have a Cav Arms lower.. lot of people say they hold up great, don't know, havn't shot it yet. Will say it is VERY nice looking and feels very sturdy. Also, the upper is on there very tight due to the speed pins(they switched from the push pins do to damage from the detents and such I believe).
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 4:49:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/22/2006 5:08:22 PM EDT by Homeinvader]
I don't think anyone was baggin on the guy, just the lower. I posted the following under the thread I think you're referring to. I would add the actual quality of the carbon fiber used by Hesse and Vulcan. The weave is too fine for this application on top of it being entirely the wrong execution of the wrong idea. Carbon fiber COULD be used very effectively as material for a lower or upper, but it would require substantial use of embedded steel or aluminum reinforcements wherever there would be metal to metal contact (all pin holes, barrel mounting threads on the upper, buffer tube female threads) as well as reinforcements to protect against torque (front of mag well, pistol grip mount). To do this would make the lowers VERY expensive and they would not be as durable as aluminum anyway. And as someone mentioned above, a point well taken, carbon fiber was NEVER meant or designed to absorb ANY heat whatsoever. The barrel mounting threads of the upper, being almost pure, low-quality carbon fiber (low epoxy bond content) simply melt with too much heat. A Hesse/Vulcan upper will not withstand the mere mention of a high-round torture test, usually cracking under nothing more than the weight of the barrel when it gets too hot:

"The best advice is to leave it alone in every respect. Shoot it normally, but be very careful when disassembling it. Remove the front pivot pin entirely, do not actually pivot the upper on the lower when you want to take it apart or you'll eventually break the front of the lower off. Do not unscrew the barrel (if the upper is carbon fiber) or the buffer tube unless it's to replace a broken part. The threads are of course carbon fiber and they will not last more than a few disassemblies before they round out and cease to secure anything.

In general, the less you remove or disturb anything the longer it will last. I don't mean to make it sound like it's made of porcelain, but if you treat it like it was, it will last longer. Just remember, it's not a combat gun. If you drop it, it will break.

Carbon fiber is great at reducing weight while maintaining strength against flex, but it is NOT a material that can withstand torque very well nor was it ever intended to be used as a fastener (threaded). AR lowers (and uppers) do not flex under normal use and it has never really made sense to me why someone thought carbon fiber was a good material to use. When you see carbon fiber used correctly in this manner, it has embedded metal inserts when a fastener is needed and uses embedded metal to strengthen areas where torque is applied (the area where the buffer tube attaches or the barrel threads). You would NEVER thread carbon fiber to fasten metal, unless of course if you're an engineer at Hesse or Vulcan, in which case you're genius.

Next time you are at a high-end bike store, check out any carbon fiber frames they may have. Look at the brake bosses, the wheel drop outs, the bottom bracket, etc. They're all steel or aluminum inserts bonded to the carbon fiber, NOT carbon fiber themselves. This is how you would properly use carbon fiber."
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 5:58:10 PM EDT
I'm the ignorant cuss that bought the Hesse that has the carbon fiber lower.

(but I'm educating my self here now... he
I'm planning on putting the Hesse on a torture test starting march (when the state park ranges open again here in Ohio). I'm not too far from AIM Surplus, and will likely get a Stag lower for replacement in the meantime. IF I never have to replace the Hesse Lower, I'll build the Stag up at a later date.

After tearing it down and looking for flaws, I found one.

The hole where the Buffer Retainer and Buffer Retainer Spring reside is a bit worn at the top front. After tearing the rifle down I can see why... if someone (like the previous owner) had not put the buttstock back on properly, when pulling back the charging handle and letting it slide home, it would pull the buffer retainer forward and out of its' hole.

I played around with it and after getting the buttstock installed properly and snugly, this isn't a problem I can replicate (though I can dick it up on purpose and replicate at will)... but that is now a weak point in the receiver.

http://www.angelfire.com/realm/cruffler/images/RetainerPin.jpg
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 6:02:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GETSUM:
Yeah - I know HESSE is supposed to be LOW END STUFF.

But my real Question is --


Is the CARBON FIBER stuff really that bad ??

If so - WHY ?



At a gun show, I saw two guys talking, one was a dealer, one was a random guy at the show, and both had hesse/vulcan plastic lowers that shattered at the buffer tube. One of them said he dropped the rifle on soft carpet and the reciever shattered. This stuff is not carbon fiber, it is plastic. Do yourself a favor and get a bushmaster or a cavalry arms rifle.

friends don't let friends buy hesse/vulcan
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 11:37:43 AM EDT
August of 2001 (before I knew better) I bought a Hesse Carbon Fiber lower. I put a dedicated .22 upper receiver on it, and have been using it ever since. My best estimate is that I have close to 18,000 rounds through it (the dedicated upper is NOT Hesse, or carbon fiber). When I first got it the pins were very tight. I needed a punch to open the AR. Over time they loosened up a bit so that I no longer need to use the punch, but they are very snug and won't open on their own. I have changed stocks. The first time was to take off the colapsable stock he had on it when he sold it to me (during the ban, if you recall). The second time was to put the stock back on when the ban ended. When cleaning I shotgun the rifle. I've done this every time, so far no problems. The hammer / trigger pins are tight, but I have not attempted to remove them. I figure that would cause some problems.

I am not defending the quality nor character of the company. Knowing what I do now I would not buy another carbon fiber lower. I'm too cheap to replace it though, because it is still working fine. The fact that this has been used exclusively with a dedicated .22 upper might help, and I don't use the rifle for anything but plinking, so there is never any stress on it.

This is my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Thanks,

Brad
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 3:38:51 PM EDT
I bought some of those uppers and lower for builds I never have got around to. Part of the reason why I did was b/c I was planning to go work over seas for a year and I wanted to get certian things built in the event of a new or wors Assault weapon ban. Anyway, BM at that time had neither uppers nor lowers of carbon fiber that took normal parts. Now they do. What am I going to do w/ my handful of stripped vulcan uppers and lowers?
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