View Full Version : Damaged Imbel receiver - can it be saved?
December 27, 2000, 11:59
Due to my stupidity and misplaced trust in my wife's uncle, I now have a damaged Imbel receiver. Although we got the barrel installed on the receiver (pending headspace check), due to the way the receiver was put into the vise, the bolt carrier will now not slide through the receiver rails. In fact, it must be tapped with a punch to move the bolt into battery.
It looks as if one of two things has occured: 1) the top rail where the cocking handle goes has been squeezed in, or 2) due to the torque placed on the receiver, the receiver has been twisted behind the chamber area.
Obviously, I will be taking this barreled received to a gunsmith, but I would appreciate any feedback on whether or not the receiver can be "repaired", or if I have a paperweight.
Thanks for any feedback.
Double G Gunsmithing
December 27, 2000, 12:15
Dear MSU ( is that for MI State U ? )
I have repaired alot of damaged FAL / L1A1 recs in the 20 odd years I've been working on them :-) I fixed one for Casey Elliott that was bent and twisted and maade a fine pre-ban IMI / IDF Std rifle out of it.
The rifle was seen and shot at the Texas FAL Shoot.
We have a complete, fullservice machineshop.
I have been a journeyman machinist / diemaker for 20 yrs also, we won't hurt it:-)
Sincerely, George L. Gouger
Life Member NRA Since 1969
December 27, 2000, 12:35
ed note: GG got in ahead of me. Listen to him, that small voice you hear is "experience" calling
I did about the same thing to a rcvr. Mine only tweaked the top rail of the cocking slot a little, causing the same problem.
After carefully mic'ing and straight-edging all areas to determine what's wrong, I just applied some pressure to the offending rail w/a machinists hammer and an aluminum drift. A couple of taps and all was OK!
As far as the "twist" goes, try the alignment proceedure (sort of) for BBL timing. Use a straightedge on the side of the front of the rcvr and a large square on the back of the rails. The straight edge and the short (perpendicular) edge of the square should line up, ala' BBL timing trick.
My Imbel's were pretty soft (except for obviously hardened areas). I dropped one on the concrete floor, and it landed w/the corner of the back/top of the rails down. Bent the cover slot and a bit of the bolt carrier race. OOOPS! Fixed same w/hardwood block, lead block (as backers), aluminum drift and hammer. Didn't even spoil the pakerizing!
See if any of our resident gurus/'smiths will price out a repair for you. If a smith wants too much (not cost-effective), or won't touch it (probable ?), go to it yourself, since you're alredy out the price of a rcvr, and it's already fupduck. You really must have cranked down on that thing to twist it. Just reverse the proceedure,
then get it magnafluxed for cracks, for safety!
BTW, I thought mine was twisted too! Was only the lenses of my bi-focals giving me a curved image. I backed up and used my "good" eye(s) and Voila!, normal vision and no twist!
Best of luck,
They call us the"Right", don't they?
[This message has been edited by Deltaten (edited December 27, 2000).]
December 27, 2000, 17:33
I see or hear of this quite often. Some are lucky that their bbl timing didn't require much torque so their vice method seemingly worked. Use the right jig and be amazed how smoothly things flow. George did indeed do a receiver for me. I picked up an Izzy receiver that was bent, it was twisted, top cover rail was bent in and had vice marks on it. What a shame but I got it back looking like new, you would have no clue. www.angelfire.com/biz/tools4fals (http://www.angelfire.com/biz/tools4fals)
[This message has been edited by Casey (edited December 27, 2000).]
December 27, 2000, 17:52
Deltaten made alot of good suggestions. Maybe I can expand on some of his points and reiterate some others.
Its Not that hard a repair, Ive gotten many receivers in with that (and worse!) problems. Maybe if I ever make a supplement to my fal assembly video I'll show different ways to fix torqued receivers.
Fortunately, the same softness of the metal that allowed the receiver to bend will allow it to bend back, usually without cracking. I am assuming its binding on the R side from about the mid point of the ejection port toward the rear for several inches. I have made several fixtures and wedges to selectively bend receivers back into place, but if you wish to do it yourself, fist get a sanding block and scuff the R side of the receiver to see where and how deep its bent (inward I'm assuming). Then insert a cocking handle from the front to support the cocking handle rail if the receiver slips, clamp the receiver directly in a 5" (preferred) vise with smooth steel jaws. so the bent in portion is the only part above the level of the jaw. A bolt carrier in the back will support the rear. I use several sections of BC and a block in the magwell, but you should be okay without those extra precautions. Take a flat hardwood block and smack with moderate force repeatedly. Multiple moderate strikes are better than heavy strikes.
When the carrier can move more than it does, mark the inside with dykem or black ink and tap the carrier back and forth until you can identify any more high spots. If very minor high spots, you can skim with a file both inside rail and the flats.
T. Mark "Gunplumber" Graham
Arizona Response Systems
5501 North 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013
[This message has been edited by gunplumber (edited December 27, 2000).]
December 28, 2000, 02:38
Thanks for everyone's reply. After George replied to my post, and after looking at pics of his work and feedback from others for whom he's done work, I am sending my rifle to him for both the receiver and for assembly and refinishing.
It's gonna be hard waiting to get my rifle back, but I know it will be well worth it!
September 09, 2001, 13:50
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.