Military Gunsmiths

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

  1. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
  2. 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;)
  3. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    No problem. Very glad to help get some rounds going back downrange:)
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    When did you work in the shop?
  10. 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...
  11. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Ah yeah.

    We had a guy bring his personal AR out one day. Fired some green tip 5.56mm in it. It wouldn't grab another round for nothing. Was a single shot.

    We was all up in the damn thing then somebody was like....it says .223 Rem on the barrel. HHhhmmmm.

    So he has some white box .223 dropped off that afternoon. Shot fine. What we figured was the 5.56mm was doing an ugly number on the gas system, pressure wise.

    In an AR, I think the ammo should never be ruled out too quickly in the investigation.:D
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    yes sir, in my experience.... you live and learn;)
  13. denalirmi

    denalirmi New Member

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    Chuck,
    I was wondering if you and the others on this post could help me out with some information. My son who will be a senior in HS this year is interested in the military and in gunsmithing. Are there schools that you all recommend him attend and any advice on career options? I'm trying to figure out how to combine his love of guns and the military into a career. I'd appreciate any help you can give me.
    Nancy
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Steer him toward the marines. All marines are trained weapons experts and sharpshooters. Once hes in he will know where to go... Probably find himself in an armory working on service weapons if hes adamant about the gunsmithing part...
  15. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Combining a hobby with a profession can ruin a hobby:)

    Most of the "gunsmithing" has been contracted to civilian companies. The catch is that they place high preference on armorer MOS's, almost exclusively for hiring. (One reason is that a guy just out of the military still has a Secret clearance, so the company doesn't have to drop several thousand dollars on a fresh civilian + training costs. And why hire anyone you must train if the military ETS pool makes new applicants every week?)

    The high paying overseas contracts (almost $100,000 yr) go to Aberdeen (APG) trained first.


    Don't let the recruiter tell him "your unit can send you to armorer school when you get there". That is a unit armorer, which just manages an armsroom for accountability and minor fixes, and the unit armorer course will be local and never count for crap anywhere else.

    If his AIT doesn't say Aberdeen (Army/Marine) or Lackland AFB (Air Force), tell the recruiter he has a misunderstanding.
  16. guntutor

    guntutor New Member

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    Delta 13 is correct. Aberdeen is the place for Army/Marine Corps ordnance training, but that will change next year when the US Army Ordnance Center and School relocates to Fort Lee, Virginia as the result of a BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission) ruling. All combat service support MOS training will be done at Fort Lee in the future. Most of the ordnance museum's historic artillery and tanks have already been moved from Aberdeen (by the way, I am an expert on this issue, I just retired from federal civil service at my last duty position; police chief at Aberdeen).
    The USAF teaches it's weapons repair people at Lackland AFB. I attended school there in 1986 as a member of a security police squadron in the Air National Guard. Their schools are top notch; I graduated with a 4.0 average as the distinguished honor graduate of my class, and I worked my TAIL off at that school!
    The Air Force is a great employer and out of all the branches of the military, they are more respectful of the individual, and their personnel policy instructions (formerly called regulations), bear that fact out. I spent 12 years in the Air Force System. The Marine Corps is by far the most professional, weapons-oriented organization. They also believe in building men out of boys, and their expectations are high for individual performance. There is a high degree of risk in the USMC, because everyone is a rifleman first, and a specialist second.
    The Army, as Delta 13 stated, does not have formal training for armorers in the larger sense. I was the armorer instructor for the US Army's 10th Mountain Division back in the days before I became a law enforcement officer. I was appalled to learn that the Army had NO SCHOOLS I could attend for higher level training (I was an Ordnance Equipment Specialist, GS-1670-09 at the time). Instead, the Army suggested that I should teach their ordnance specialists because of my combat experience with military weapons, and USAF weapons background. I was invited to Aberdeen Proving Ground and interviewed by the Director of the Ordnance School for a position as a senior weapons maintenance instructor. I was disappointed by what I saw of the school, because it was rudimentary. At Fort Drum I was also the quality assurance inspector for all of the weaponry on post, and I was always very disappointed by the lack of knowledge that 45B small arms specialists suffered from. The warrant officers who supervised them were a little better, but not much. At times I had to tighten them up on technical standards, including the art of taking critical measurements, metallurgy skills such as stress testing and hardness testing, etc.
    I'd walk way from the army. I spent years as a soldier and then many years as an Army civilian. If I had to do it all over again, I'd tkae the Marine Corps or the Air Force in a heartbeat. Hope this helps.

    Chuck
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  17. mrorang3

    mrorang3 New Member

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    Mr.Ruggiero,

    I was hoping you could help me with a situation. I attended one of your courses during early February 2006, and was hoping you could help me out. I'm sending you a private message with a little more details. Sorry for "stalking" you on the internet...... ran out of options with range control.


    Detective Champion
    DoD Police Dept.
    Washington, DC
  18. spence.smith

    spence.smith New Member

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    I am not gunsmith professionally but for the most part I do everything besides welding and re-barreling. I refurbish old military rifles including wood, do my own repairs and parts replacements, tune 1911's and do my own trigger's, including double action S&W's. I just finished my second glass smooth, 10.5 pound trigger on an N frame and have done a couple of K and L frames as well. Maybe I'll post a video of it later. I'm just an enthusiast and I learned everything from my dad growing up in my teenage years. He's the wood refinishing expert and probably one of the best in our state. Another local fella taught me the basics of S&W DA revolver trigger jobs. Anyhow, I think it's very cool that you're getting into this field as I already know you're a shooter and enthusiast. I'll be eager to hear how this unfolds for you.
  19. rob.greenlee

    rob.greenlee New Member

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    Gun safety requires that people properly maintain and understand the
    mechanics of their firearms. But information is not so easy to find on
    proper assembly and dissassemble, gunsmithing and maintenance.
    To address this deficiency in public domain knowledge, this collection
    of books and field manuals has been assembled as a public service. This
    collection includes the following books:
  20. wpage

    wpage Active Member

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    My Granddad and Father both Army had their arms favorites. The military is a good proving ground for smiting. What they learned was passed down just as my Moms Marine brothers passed on to their heirs...
    Great legacy's.
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