Tag Archives: Receiver

How to Safely Change AR Muzzle Devices and Barrel Nuts Using a Magpul BEV Block

If you like working on AR-type rifles and plan to replace a muzzle device or change a barrel nut to install a free-floating handguard or to swap barrels, you are going to need to apply a lot of torque. Torque and aluminum are not friends and this is certainly the case with the upper receiver for AR rifles and pistols.

What not to do?

I actually want to take a minute and tell you two things not to do. First, do not simply clamp your lower in a vise and go cranking on whatever on the upper. Remember that the upper is connected to the lower by two steel pins going through relatively soft aluminim. Not a good combination.

Number two, there are work fixtures that look like a rectangle that allow you to remove the upper from the lower and then pin the upper to this block that is then held by a vise. I’m not fond of this either because then your two aluminum connection points on the receiver take up all the stress and they weren’t designed to do so.

Please do not do either of those or you may regret it. The odds are that you will regret it. I word it this way because you may get by once or twice but these methods are risky so don’t do them.

So what do I recommend?

At this point, it comes down to two options that engage the barrel extension, which can handle the torque of any AR upper operation you may need to perform. The first is the Geisselle Reaction Rod. It’s pricey but it does the job and you can get a relatively good price on an AR tool kit from them on Amazon.

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The second approach, which is what I use, is to secure the upper in a vise using a Magpul Barrel Extension Vise (BEV) block. It’s a very well designed block that engages via the barrel extension with its own steel lugs that are designed for strength but also to not harm the extension.

This is the top of the BEV block. You can see the front engagement lugs, the rear protrusion is for the bolt carrier and I would recommend keeping that O-ring oiled. The hole just under the front lugs is for a cross pin to secure it to the upper.

The BEV block uses a bolt carrier with the bolt removed to further secure it in the upper. You could remove the bolt from the bolt you normally use. I have a bolt carrier body that I keep in my toolbox for just this purpose.

The following photo shows it partially inserted in the upper.

This next photo shows it fully forward with the bolt carrier assembly installed. It does not have a cross pin installed at that point. Even without the pin it can handle the rotation stress. The pin just keeps it all in position and is not load bearing.

At this point you are good to go to change muzzle devices, barrel nuts or whatever else you may need to do without risking damage caused by torque. It’s a solid tool and I highly recommend it.


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Uzi Part 1 of 7: The Uzi Kit, Receiver and Barrel

One of the firearms that had an impact on me growing up was the iconic Israeli Uzi.  In the 1980s you would see them in the news, TV shows and movies all the time.  Today, being quite a bit older, what interests me is the history and engineering that led up to this weapon.  Suffice it to say that Israel has known conflict even before the country was founded in May 1948 and certainly ever since.  Israel first fielded the Uzi in

I’m not going to duplicate the history as there are some excellent resources out there that explain the political climate and how the Uzi came into being.

  1. The first is a book by David Gaboury entitled “The Uzi Submachine Gun Examined” that is the single best reference guide I found.
  2. There are two overviews on Youtube that provide good context – especially if you prefer watching  a video to reading.
  3. Lastly, the Wikipedia entry provides a decent overview as well

The Uzi has evolved into a variety of weapons including the micro uzi, semi-auto versions and so forth.  What interested me was the full size Uzi that I had grown up hearing so much about and you’d see them with the original wood stock and the metal folding stock.

Over the years, I’ve made many AKs and ARs for personal use.  I’ve been really busy but wanted to build something different.  For the past several years I have noticed that there are a ton of Uzi kits for sale from the various parts kits vendors and this sparked my interest.  For me, part of the challenge of building from a kit is learning how to do so legally and finding all the parts.

I knew I wanted to build a carbine vs. a pistol so that shifted me in the direction of a wood stock for a number of reasons:

  1. To be classified as a rifle, the barrel needed to be at least 16″ with an overall length of 26″.
  2. To get the overall length, that meant I either needed an even longer barrel or a permanently attached stock that would surpass that 26″ minimum.
  3. The resulting carbine would be front end heavy and the wood stock would help balance things out.
  4. I am not a huge fan of my cheek being on sheet metal – I prefer wood with a gently bend.

Now you many have a different perspective and that is just fine but due to this I ordered two wood stocked Uzi kits from Robert RTG.  I only planned to build one Uzi but purchased a spare kit for donor parts just in case.  What arrived were two seriously oiled kits.  The wood was a tad beat up as were the pistol grip and handguard panels – probably from being packed with the parts.  The bolt and fire control group honestly looked like new.

In terms of the receiver, all my research pointed me to buying one from McKay.  They offer just the bent receiver shell and you can do all the welding or a fully welded receiver that is all set for semi-auto use and ready for you to assemble with.  I opted for the ready-to-go model and based on McKay’s reputation, I also ordered my 16″ 1:10 twist 9mm NATO chambered barrel from them also.  I placed my order direct with McKay, had them ship it to my FFL, Scott Igert, and it arrived a week later.

McKay really did a real nice job on the receiver.  Here it is with some of the original stubs sitting by it:

Here are the details that McKay took care of when they make their fully welded receiver:

  1. The front trunnion has a reduced inner diameter to prevent installation of a military model
  2. The rear barrel support ring must not allow a military barrel to be installed
  3. The bottom of the semi-auto feed ramp will block a full auto sear – in other words, it is just a tad too long for the full length original sear to fit.
  4. The right side of receiver behind the ejection port has a block bar welded in place that prevents the installation of an original full auto open bolt.

The other plus is that everything above is American made so that means the receiver and the front trunnion count as US-made parts.  By the way, in terms of 922r, an Uzi has 13 parts on the 922r parts list so that means three must be replaced with US parts to meet the maximum limit of 10 foreign parts.  The McKay receiver, front trunnion and US-made barrel will enable you to meet the parts count requirement.

By the way, there are a lot of other posts about how to do an Uzi:

For Uzi parts, my go-to sources are:

At any rate, let’s wrap this post up and will discuss the the parts you will want to remove from the old kit.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


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ATF letter stating you can build an AR pistol from a receiver transferred as such and never assembled as a rifle

Okay, I posted a couple of ATF letters and a guy sent me a message asking if I had the letter specifying that an AR pistol can be built from an AR receiver that was transferred as a receiver and never assembled as a rifle.  It just so happens I did save that one back when I built a couple of AR pistols a few years back.  I like to have the letters of anything someone may ask about and keep them in my case with the weapon when I take it shooting.  At any rate, here is the ATF letter in case anyone else needs it:

Please note that I am not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Very Good AR Lower Assembly Guide Web Pages – Not videos

So in my last blog post, I gave you a number of Youtube videos you can watch to learn how to assemble an AR lower.  In this post, I’ll give you some web pages where you can visit them and read step by step instructions with photos.  This way, you can print you the pages and have them by you for reference if so desired.  As with the videos, check out all of the links and see how the authors do the assembly of their AR lowers.

First off, AR15.com has an assembly guide you can check out:
http://www.ar15.com/content/guides/assembly/lower/

Here is one from the Arms Guide:
http://thearmsguide.com/3277/how-to-build-an-ar-15-lower-receiver-tools-and-components/

The Truth About Guns has a guide:
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/06/foghorn/ask-foghorn-assembling-an-ar-15-lower-receiver-from-a-stripped-receiver/

The New Rifleman does as well:
http://www.thenewrifleman.com/how-to-build-a-lower-receiver/

 

I hope this helps you out!

Very Good AR Lower Receiver Assembly Videos on Youtube

Have you ever wondered how to assemble an AR lower receiver and were curious  what free resources are available?  I spent some time on Youtube and collected  a list of videos that show the viewer how to assemble a lower receiver for an AR-type rifle.  I would recommend watching several as each presenter’s methods has pros and cons plus there are different details and camera angles in some cases.

“Gunsmithing – How to Build an AR-15 Lower Receiver” by MidwayUSA


“EASIEST AR15 lower build diy, step by step” by dutchofsc

“AR-15 Lower Receiver” by bgallaher77


I really liked all of the above and hope you find them useful.

ATF Opinion Letter on AR Pistols – Some Key Considerations

In this ATF letter, the author asked the ATF’s opinion on a number of great AR pistol related questions.  I am paraphrasing a few points I found important to help folks doing full text searches for opinions:

1) An AR lower receiver is neither pistol nor rifle until it is built the first time.  If you want to make a pistol, a lower receiver must *never* have been built in a rifle configuration.

2) AR pistols do not have a barrel length restriction.

3) AR handguards can be used on an AR pistol

4) An AR rifle and pistol can be in the same household — note, and this is a personal comment, what got a guy in trouble years ago was that he had only an AR rifle and a pistol upper with no lower to mount it on.  I don’t remember all of the details but the main thing here is that you never want it to look like the only reason you have a pistol/SBR upper is to put in on your AR that is legally classified as a rifle.

5)  Magpul angled fore grips (AFGs) are permissible on the bottom accessory/picatinny rail.

AR_Pistol_1AR_Pistol_2AR_Pistol_3

 

I recommend people print and keep copies of letters just in case they need to show someone that some aspect of a weapon was “approved” by the ATF at some point.  Just bear in mind that ATF letters are not absolutes but it helps to have them handy if asked.  A state or local government may have their own more restrictive regulations as well so this may not mean AFGs are legal for everyone everywhere.

Legal Disclaimer:  I am not an attorney and am not giving legal advice.  I am just passing this information along and it is up to you to determine what you can/can’t do.