SLR15 AR-15 / M-16 / M-4 / AR308 Armorer Course, Columbus OH

SLR15 AR-15 / M-16 / M-4 / AR308 Armorer Course

When: February 25-26, 2020

Where: Columbus, Ohio

We conducted a 2-day (16-hour) AR-15 / M-16 / M-4 Armorer Course that was hosted by the Ohio State University Police Dept. This was our seventh time doing course here, and we look forward to coming back for future courses. The onsite facilities offer plenty of table space, decent lighting, and a large screen and projection system that allowed us to project animated graphics of the weapons system and powerpoint of detailed pics of gun parts, especially when looking at finer detail things like machining, stress cracks & wear.

The student base was a mix of Law Enforcement Officers & Gun Enthusiasts from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky.

Rifles represented in this course were SLR15, Bravo Company, Rockriver, American Defense Manufacturing, Colt, Bushmaster, Springfield Saint, DPMS, Smith & Wesson, Aero Precision, Ruger, Daniel Defense, JP Rifles, Anderson Mfg, and a few custom builds.

Day-1 started the day by going through the course manual that all students are given. Students were supplied with their own set of basic tools that are necessary to do 95% of the work on their rifles (short of restocking and rebarreling, of which wrenches and sometimes fixtures are necessary), Slip2000 "EWL" Extreme Weapons Lubricant and #725 Cleaner Degreaser, etc. A short session of nomenclature was covered, at which time covered every feature and exterior piece of the rifle to include all the hidden design features that most people are not aware of, and everyone prepped the rifles for disassembly work. Everyone was taught the procedure series of checks that we recommend.

Everyone was taught our recommended way to field strip a rifle, and why we do it this way so as not to cause damage, premature wear or stress on anything. We covered maintenance of where and what to clean, and what needs lubrication to keep it running. We showed why not to use the firing pins as tools. We showed everyone our recommendation of how to remove fouling and why, and everyone got to use our methods.

The entire bolt carrier assembly was covered, to include inspections, maintenance, upgrades, 3 types of gas rings, and differences in finishing and machining. carrier key (gas key) installation and staking, ejector systems, etc. Everyone was introduced to the different types of gas rings. We went through what each types does, and their proper installation order.

Note: There were four American Defense Manufacturing rifles in this class. None of them had extractor spring inserts. We supplied them with inserts.

Note: We went through proper carrier key staking. Several people found their gas keys were lightly staked, where the staking wasn't touching the screws on American Defense Manufacturing, Rockriver, Springfield Saint, Anderson, and Ruger. We supplied everyone with a MOACKS and Sully Gas Key Staking Tools, everyone decided to use the Sully Gas Key Staking Tool and get things corrected.

Note: Two Officers found broken Colt 6920 ejector springs. These were replaced with a new ones. We recommend that these are pulled on a regular basis, inspecting for signs of stress, and replace as needed. I have seen these broken into enough parts, that the rifle failed eject, so a regular inspection is a must and replace as needed.

We got into the lower receiver assemblies, starting with the fire control group (trigger group). We teach this in a building block format, starting with baby steps of getting things out and in, then build into how things work. Everyone learned how to install and remove things so you don't cause damage. We went through detailed inspections of all the sear engagement surfaces, spring types, single stage, and two stage trigger systems.

Note: Several people had anti-walk pins in their rifles, which the screws had been installed with a thread locker. They soon learned that these were hard to get out, all but one person couldn't get them out. This could be an issue if/when the trigger system would need to be removed for maintenance, blown primers, etc.

At the end of the day everyone put their rifles back together, making sure that everything was in proper working order.

Day-2 started with a review of everything that was covered on day-1, with some greater details and myths covered. We then went back into trigger groups in great details, covering single stage, 2-stage, good and bad triggers, differences and options in spring systems, diagnosing problems when semi-auto turns into burst, and showing the differences in quality of triggers that are on the market. Once done with semi-auto trigger systems, we went into select fire trigger groups covering full-auto and burst trigger groups, to include replacement and diagnosing and repairs when experiencing malfunctions.

After trigger systems, we went through the rest of the lower receivers. Everyone in this class had collapsible stocks. We covered the proper mounting & gauging, and proper castle nut staking. Everyone stripped their lower receivers, which allowed a chance for further inspections, and we went through a session on troubleshooting. Once everyone was comfortable with the entire lower receiver assembly, the were put back together, inspected, and made sure everything is in proper working order.

We then got into a session on the timing. This is where we cover proper cycling, covering what effects timing, and how & what happens when it is out or proper time, dwell time, suppressor issues, etc, and how to get things into proper timing. This also led us into piston systems. Nobody students had a piston system rifle with them in this class, luckily we had brought one. We covered how the piston system works, break down and maintenance of the system (Yes piston systems do get dirty and have to be cleaned and maintained), how to properly adjust for timing changed, and trouble shooting. We also covered dwell time, and how it pertains to cycling issues, and hopefully got the point across of why we do not recommend barrel lengths shorter that 11.5" on unsuppressed rifles.

We showed how suppressors are properly mounted and gauged. Several people took advantage or our bore gauges, and checked their alignment. One Officer brought his newly configured upper with direct mounted suppressor that had been done by a local gunsmith, of which the bore gauge showed that a bullet would strike the baffle upon exiting the suppressor due to the threading on the barrel being slightly off. He is going to take it back to the gunsmith that did the work.

The last half of day-2 was spent on the upper receiver assembly. We covered barrel removal, mounting, fixturing, gauging & inspections. We show numerous ways to fixture a barrel into a vise, and our preference as to which fixtures/methods to use when and how. We showed how to mount, then properly torque and gauge the barrel system, which ensures it is in proper working order. A couple of students took advantage of having access to the tools and hands on instruction by pulled and remounted their barrels.

Note: One Officer discovered that his Rockriver freefloat upper barrel nut was loose, as it could be rotated under finger pressure, and the only thing holding it in place was the gas tube. This barrel was removed, and remounted, torqued and indexed.

At the end of the day everyone put their rifles back together, everything was inspected and gauged to make sure it was in proper working order. Everyone did chamber inspections, checked & gauged the four gas seals, firing pin protrusion, trigger press, and headspace.

Here is a brief overview of a few things that were covered:
History of the Weapon
Cycles of Function
General Disassembly & Assembly
Identification of Common Problems and Parts
Identification of Group Components
Semi, Burst, and Full Auto Parts and Conversions
Complete Armoring Disassembly / Assembly
Barrel Replacement
Cleaning and Maintenance
Sight and Distance Considerations
Ballistic Issues
Barrel: Twist, Length, and Profiles
Gas Systems & Piston Systems
Parts Interchangeability, including Brands
Firing Pin Protrusion
Trigger Systems
Chamber Inspection and Issues
Troubleshooting, diagnosis & repair
Gauging, Inspections, Stress & Interval Issues
Accessories and Customizing
Tool Options and Selection
SOP/MOD Accessories and Additions

Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
(763) 712-0123