Military Gunsmiths

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by guntutor, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    I don't know about the Air Force gunsmiths, but back in the 60's and 70's they had some top notch pistol shooters, Rupp, Teague, John Ditmore, Legg, and Vitarbo. I'm not sure of the spellings, but they were world class shooters.
  2. Roughrdr

    Roughrdr New Member

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    Check out http://www.togetherweserved.com. they have one for every branch. There may be better sites out there, but I frequent the Marine section and my Dad in the Army and we have met a lot of nice folk from when were serving.
  3. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Allow me to bring the first fix it question to the board.... I have been tinkering with my father-in-laws bushmaster AR-15. It has developed a condition where it doesnt want to cycle. It will kick the empty out but not chamber a new round. I have thoroughly cleaned the rifle, so dirt and excess residue are out as causes, I have changed the gas piston rings to the one piece design, so no possiblilty of gas blow by due to bad rings. I am getting excessive blast out the side of the bolt upon firing, the bolt will cycle enough to kick the empty free of the action but shortstrokes back into battery. My question is, What else am I overlooking? The only other part to the gas system is a manifold that isnt leaking, and a gas tube that fits snug to the manifold and seals well with the bolt. could the cylinder be worn and letting the gas out around the rings? I need help guys...:confused::confused::confused::eek::mad:
  4. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    I'm guessing you checked the carrier key for tightness, and checked the bolt moves freely inside too, and checked that the hammer is properly returning and staying locked all the way back.


    1. Try an entirely different ammo. That kinda sounds like 5.56mm in a .223

    2. Swap in another recoil spring. Check for obstructions in the tube. Check the bolt and upper for wear, bends, or snags.

    3. Consider a new gas tube.


    Check the mag release for good tension and adjust just in case it is letting the mag play. Check that the bolt catch has no signs of premature catching.
  5. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks delta, I checked the gas tube again, except i miked it where the nipple indexes with the carrier key and found it was beyond tolerances and wasnt sealing. It was worn on the bottom side probably because it had a slight bend in that direction from when the free float tube was fit to the action im guessing, Now i just need to find a replacement. It seems they are just as scarce as ammo and reloading components these days.
  6. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
  7. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    thanks again delta, brownells did indeed have one, so i bought 2 and got a new recoil spring. ill have this thing spittn empties again soon enough;)
  8. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    No problem. Very glad to help get some rounds going back downrange:)
  9. guntutor

    guntutor New Member

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    Often overlooked in the AR-15 bolt group is the firing pin retaining pin. If the pin is bent along its length, it may not properly seat itself. If so, the head of the pin may be making contact with the left interior wall of the upper receiver, creating a friction point. Over the years I have found many firing pin retaining pins that were worn, bent out of tolerance, or not even close to the original dimensional specifications. Many "homebrew" gunsmiths, and unfortunately some of the less gifted parts vendors, think a common cotter pin can be substituted; which is wrong. The head of this pin must be of a curved "D" pattern configuration, and the degree of curve in both directions from the apex must be identical. If not, you'll induce drag. A small detail, but in many years in practice, I have found this to be the problem more often than you would believe.
    Similarly, I have observed that many people use this pin, and the firing pin itself, as disassembly tools. What a mistake! I have also dressed down hundreds of soldiers over the years for using the tip of the firing pin as a cleaning tool to remove fouling from the inside of the bolt. When a person buys a new or custom AR-15 type rifle, this is seldom a problem, but it's common to find malformed parts such as these in military service rifles or used rifles purchased at gun shows. If you acquire parts from any source other than a manufacturer, always check the dimensions of the parts.

    Chuck Ruggiero
    aka - Guntutor
  10. Dakota Red 1

    Dakota Red 1 New Member

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    Nothing to add but encouragement to keep this thread going. This level of information and expertise is hard to come by. Did everything but hire a skip tracer to track down this old retired guy that could help us maximize the functionality of a bunch of old M60s. I had used that weapon for 20 years and had had an advanced course but he helped us stop the oscillation between the range and MATES.
    A conex full of manuals doesn't make you a genius. In this case it took a few beers (found him in a bar), a sharp old mind (18K in new parts helped too) and once again we could hear the rythmic popping of 6 to 9 round bursts and the festive ping of dancing, spring steel links and brass cases. A song that lifts the heart of every infantryman and causes his foe to tear his way into mother earth with his fingernails.
  11. hatfield

    hatfield New Member

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    Mr. Militano is correct. The United States Army Marksmanship Unit does have a shop full of "real-deal" gunsmiths. The USAMU team generally has several members on Team USA for each Olympics as well as producing top notch pro shooters such as Max Michel, Julie Goloski, KC Eusabio, etc... long list. The USAMU also does "Train the Trainer" marksmanship clinics, research & development, and testing for the Army as well as fielding a world class team.
  12. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    Hatfield, your name sounds familiar. Were you ever a military shooter? I retired from the Military in 1979 and from the Dept. of Defense in 2002. I got hurt pretty bad while working for the Dept. of Defense in 2001.
  13. hatfield

    hatfield New Member

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    Nope not a shooter.I was a gunsmith for the USAMU Pistol Team. I have a custom shop in Va now.
  14. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    When did you work in the shop?
  15. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Update on the AR-15 problems... One little thing I cant believe I overlooked. I replaced the gas tube in the bushmaster, that helped, but did not completely fix the problem of not wanting to eject the empty and if it did it wouldnt strip a new round from the mag... so, I was just about ready to order a new bolt when I actually accidentally stumbled upon the solution. I had began the task of developing a hunting load for deer and hog using H4895 and 53 gr. Barnes TSX bullets. So I loaded my first batch of trial loads for accuracy and bullet expansion tests and headed to the land. I loaded up the first mag and dropped the bolt on a loaded round, zeroed in on the target, BANG, so out of habit from fighting my up til then problem i grabbed the charging handle, pulled it sharply to the rear and, WHAT? A loaded round popped out of the chamber... hmmm, thats odd... so i put it back into the magazine and zereod back in on the target, BANG, held zero, BANG, BANG, BANG. All 5 shots within an inch of one another at 100 yds and EVERY round functioned through the rifle. What the HELL?! I pondered. So I loaded up the next 5 and once again flawless function. AS was all the rounds I tested that day. So, I get back to the house and begin to pilfer through my various books and loading manuals. Even googled the internet. Heres my educated conclusion... The handloads I was using (21.5gr of Reloder 7 behind a 55 gr. Hornady V-max) was not producing a long enough pressure curve for reliable operation of a semi-autmatic action. The peak pressure was dropping off before the bolt was halfway through its opening cycle. and the powder the test loads was using (25.5 gr. H4895 behind a 53 gr TSX) was a little slower than the reloder 7 (reloder 7 = 93 of 173 on the burn rate chart and H4895 = 110 of 173) so this got me to wondering. I loaded several different powders from reloder 7 to reloder 15 and the only 2 powder i used that did not operate the action were reloder 7 and IMR 3031. the others used, Reloder 10X, H4895, IMR 4895, Varget, IMR 4064, and reloder 15. ALL other performed well and the best group obtained using 53 gr sierra Matchkings was 5 shots in 5/8" using 25.5 gr. IMR 4895 ( i did not use the barnes TSX for testing powders. Too expensive) I had a very close second using 26.9 gr. reloder 15 (compressed load) which yielded a 3/4" 5 shot group at 100 yds. All in all it turned out well and Im glad to have solved my problems and obtained some useful knowledge in the mean time...
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