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Old May 02, 2015, 23:44   #51
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Today, I took the FG42 out to the range for the first time this year. As with each of the previous four range trips, I took 100 rounds to put through the rifle. So far, I had yet to actually get 100 rounds through it without something going wrong. Well, today, I came the closest yet with 99 out of 100. I had one failure to extract but the bolt cycled and tried to load a live round into the back of the spent casing still in the chamber. The live one was destroyed (we'll see it in a bit) and the rifle jammed of course. I removed the magazine, pulled and held the bolt to the rear, dumped out the live round and eased the bolt closed onto the spent casing in the chamber. The rifle locked up too tight to charge by hand but placing the charging handle on the edge of the table and pushing lightly unlocked the action and the spent casing was extracted. So, I had 99% reliability this time. That's acceptable to me. Less acceptable to me is the fact that the rifle is still locking up once warm if I let the bolt close (as in easing it, not letting it fly) on an empty chamber. However, today it wasn't nearly as bad as earlier trips. Maybe it's wearing in. I haven't sent it back to SMG to address this problem because I'm testing it. I want to see whether it will self correct or not. If it's still locking up, however slightly, when I finish my tests at 1000 rounds, I will be sending it back to SMG in an effort to see what can be done. So, to date, I'm at 396 rounds fired. Today was also the first time out with the new and 5 Rockwell points harder sear. The trigger pull is still very long and heavy but it's smooth. There are marks on it after 99 rounds but I don't feel any ratcheting so they may just be normal metal to metal marks. More rounds will tell the tale. Time for some pictures.

After the range but before I started ripping things apart:







I fired 38 of the first 40 rounds at an actual target. One of the 40 was the previously mentioned jam and one was at an object in the berm (I like shooting dirt). Of the remaining 60 rounds, 20 were fired at stuff in the berm by a friend who happened to show up and the other 40 were fired by me....again at stuff in the berm. It's no target rifle but then I never expected it to be:



A better trigger would help. I better shooter behind the trigger would help too!

Here are what 9 random spent casings and the destroyed round ended up looking like:







All 99 rounds were 1969 dated Portugese FNM surplus. It's considered to be the best 8mm surplus ever imported. Almost all cases ejected consistently at about 45 degrees and landed about 9-10 feet away.

The blue locktite on the scope rings is holding just fine as is evidenced by the screw heads still aligning with the pencil index marks:





So I might have that problem solved.



As usual, we'll be looking at wear areas so that we can see the ongoing progression from new to 1000 rounds. But this time, I also took some pictures of stuff dirty and after cleaning so that you can see what to expect fouling wise after a range trip.

We'll start with the muzzle dirty:



After cleaning:



The gas block and piston fouled:





I didn't take pictures of them clean...oops!


The bolt and carrier removed prior to disassembly and cleaning:




These next few pictures show you how much the grease spreads around but on the parts it's been applied to but doesn't sling around all over the place:

Firing pin yoke. Notice the small piece of brass from a spent casing stuck in the grease:



Locking lug:



Other locking lug:



Bolt face:



Firing spring guide and other side of firing pin yoke:



Disassembled showing firing spring, firing pin, firing spring guide, and yoke area of bolt carrier:



And after cleaning:



Inside of bolt:



Inside of bolt after cleaning :



Normal wear in cam slot. The darker grey looking area is actually bright bare metal but the lighting makes it look dark:



Wear areas on firing pin yoke. Front left:



Right rear:



As noted in earlier posts, SMG says that this is perfectly normal.


Firing pin and firing spring guide. They're finally starting to look nice and worn in:





Rifling for no other reason than I haven't shown it before:





Breech/trunnion area dirty. This also shows some wear on the sear after only 99 rounds. Again, the trigger isn't ratchety so I'm not worried about that yet:





After cleaning:



You have to periodically clean the breach and trunnion because the bolt lug locking recesses are up in there and it gets funky but it's almost impossible to get to because it's up in there deep. What I do is CAREFULLY spray some Brake Cleaner in there and flush all the gunk down the barrel. USE THE LONG STRAW ATTACHMENT so that you are squirting a stream rather than a mist and go with small bursts. You don't want to get that stuff on the wood because it will strip the finish right off on contact. The Brake Cleaner liquefies the grease and lifts the carbon fouling too. After you are satisfied that it's clean enough, dab a cotton rag down in there to soak up any remaining Brake Cleaner. This method of cleaning the quick, easy and effective.

About grease. I've posted it before but I'm posting it again. I use Swiss Automatenfett. It comes in little plastic tubes with a screw lid and a brush in the lid. It came in the dirt cheap (as in cost NOT Quality) surplus Swiss cleaning kits for the STG57 that were all over the place just a few years ago and can still be easily found with minimal searching. This stuff is absolutely top notch Quality (it's Swiss so of courst it's the best) and just a little bit of the stuff goes a long way. I have a lifetime supply and love it. It doesn't break down with age or use and it stays where you put it. Here's what it looks like:





I use it on lots of firearms, not just the FG42. Get some....you will NOT regret it.


Last are a couple more shots of the sear:





You can clearly see marks in the middle of the face but it's smooth (heavy but smooth) so far. I really do hope it holds up. If this one doesn't, I will send the rifle back to SMG prior to 1000 rounds to see what they can do. I can live with the locking issue until 1000 rounds but a scratchy ratcheting trigger is a deal breaker for me. I'm not spending 75 cents per round if I can't enjoy doing it. We'll see.

That's it for today's range trip. I'm hopeful..........
See you soon.
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Old May 03, 2015, 00:44   #52
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Very sweet, still bueatiful.
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Old August 27, 2016, 16:05   #53
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Today, I took the FG42 out for the first since May of last year. I got to the range and a local C&R club was there so there was a decent number of people with a bunch of WWI and WWII firearms. One guy even had a semi auto 1919. As I walked down the line, people actually set their rifles down and got up to follow me. By the time I got to my bench, there was actually a crowd a people around me gawking and making "oohs" and "ahhs" sounds. I hate attention. So, I answered a bunch of questions (Where did you get that? , How much did it cost?, etc,) and made nice until everyone went back to what they were doing. I set my target up at 100 yards and loaded up two magazines. By the time I was halfway through my first magazine, there was a crowd again. Did I mention that I hate attention? The first magazine went off just fine. Magazine two, round thirteen.......the right bipod leg snaps at the axle and the muzzle falls flat on the bench. In the process, the bolt cycles but the round does not extract so a live round rams up into the back of the spent casing and rams the bullet into the case causing a jam. So, I pull the bolt back, remove the magazine, dump out the live round and let the bolt go home on the empty casing. I try to pull the bolt back to extract the spent casing and it's LOCKED....again. A 19-20 year old kid walks up to me with his $100 Mosin rifle that has been functioning perfectly and says, "That's some well built German steel ya got there. How much did you say you paid for that??" 20 minutes later, I'm home and the rifle has cooled down. The bolt opens easily and the empty casing falls out on my kitchen floor. After approx. 429 rounds through this thing, I'm done with commercial firearms. Pictures:





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Old August 27, 2016, 16:30   #54
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Hang in there, don't give up. The broken bipod piece looks cast. A proper machined/hardened replacement part doesn't look too difficult to fabricate.
The bolt locking up is another matter.
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Old August 27, 2016, 16:59   #55
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To my knowledge, SMG gets these legs from SHOEI of Japan. They are cast aluminum and it's what they use on their non-firing reproduction. I've sent an email to Estes Adams to see if he's willing to mill me a steel set. As for the locking, SMG has offered in the past to rework the rifle to solve the locking problem but I've never sent it back for fear that it would disappear in transit (I have some REALLY bad luck). I'm sure that SMG would send me a new leg now (their customer service has ALWAYS been phenomenal in my experience) if I would ask them but I'd just be getting another cast aluminum leg. Obviously, that's not an ideal fix. So, I'll see what Mr. Estes tells me first.
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Old August 27, 2016, 19:41   #56
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Hi,
Just saw this and had to check in. Yes we will replace the leg as it is probably the weakest part on the rifle and yes it is cast aluminum. Back when we looked at making the rifle we were quoted 35-75k to make the dies to stamp them and just couldn't do it. And were it not for Shoei kindly being willing to sell the castings to us we probably would never have been able to pull the rifle off.

So we decided to use them after putting a hardened steel insert and bushing in them to at least have a chance and have honestly had fewer failures than we had a right to hope for.

Send all the leg parts and we will send you another one.

This same problem of money to stamp is what steered us away from making the type I in the beginning as well but now we are getting close to an approval of our ATF sample I am hoping. And still trying to figure out what to do about that stamped buttstock!

And man I wish you would send that bolt back so we can fix that issue of a sticky bolt when warm for you as it is so simple normally. Just send it FedEx insured for a couple of hundred dollars. They won't loose it and we can turn it around pretty quick.

Then after the bipod and bolt are fixed you can sell that problem rifle pretty easy I think.

Rick
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Old August 27, 2016, 22:45   #57
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Thank you Rick. Are you telling me that I only have to send back the bolt and NOT the whole rifle? All this time, I thought I had to send back the entire rifle. If it's just the bolt, I will most certainly send it back to you post haste. As for selling it, I really, REALLY don't want to........I really don't!


Again, we see the level of customer service I have come to know from SMG.
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Old August 28, 2016, 13:44   #58
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Yep, the bolt is all we have ever needed for this.

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Old August 28, 2016, 15:24   #59
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Both bolt and bipod leg will be in the mail by the end of the week Rick. How much would a spare set of legs (both left and right) cost?
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Old August 29, 2016, 17:00   #60
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Very cool write-up, Combloc. Good to see that SMG is taking care of you, too.

The firing pin-to-bolt arrangement looks like it was lifted almost directly from the French FM-24/29 automatic rifle.
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Old September 21, 2016, 22:11   #61
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Today, I received my bolt and replacement bipod leg back from Rick Smith at SMG. I figured that, while I was sending the bipod leg back for replacement, I might as well send the bolt in for resizing too because Rick says that will clear up the lockup issue I have been experiencing with a hot rifle since it was new. I sent the parts out to him via registered mail and he must have begun work on them as soon as they arrived because he contacted me just a couple days (at most) after receiving them to tell me that they were ready to be shipped back. They arrived via FedEx packed just literally exactly as I had shipped them to him. He used the same box and even the same packing material. This was perfectly fine by me as I tend to over-pack things for protection. When I unwrapped the parts, I was pretty amazed at what I saw. I expected the bipod leg to be new and it was so no surprise there. What amazed me was the bolt. It's 100% guaranteed my bolt but it looked absolutely new. I had cleaned it off with carb cleaner prior to sending it in to Rick so that he wouldn't get a funky bolt to work on but the wear marks were a bright silver and contrasted with the overall dull grey finish on the part. I don't know what Rick did but, while the wear marks can still be seen upon close inspection, the finish is back as it was when new. Perhaps he bead blasted it? I don't know but the work is VERY professional As an example, here's what the cam slot looked like when I sent it in:



You can clearly see the bright spot where the cam on the carrier rubs.


Now, here is what that area looks like now:



Schweet! To be clear, it doesn't appear that any metal was removed. No polishing or work of any kind appears to have been done. It's just that, whatever SMG did, the original look of the finish was restored. Of course, one range trip will put it back to how it was; I just want to impart how thorough it appears Rick is. This is Excellent attention to detail and that equates to Excellent customer service.


Here's the bolt overall:





Rick also replaced the extractor spring. He said that the one on it seemed a little weak.

A few close-ups:








This brings me to what was actually done to the bolt. According to Ricks' email, he "updated" it. What this means, I think, is that he ground the bolt down in some areas to give just a bit more clearance between it and the trunnion at the front while also reducing the rear collar a hair where it rides in the receiver. I hate to use the words "ground the bolt". That sounds rough and like a rig job. Rather, he appears to have reshaped it only where necessary paying VERY close attention not to touch the locking lugs. He also blended in the work so as to make it almost invisible. Only under close scrutiny can you even tell that any work was done.
For example, in the picture below, can you tell where the bolt was resized?



I myself am not 100% sure but I think I can see it. To the left of the picture and stopping approximately where the stitching on the zeltbahn intersects the bolt, you can see fine annular rings where the part was turned in a lathe. To the right of the stitching, those rings disappear. That is where the resizing was done......I think. The work is so finely done that I cannot be 100% sure. Below are four pictures showing all four sides of the bolt. I have used a China marker to show the areas where it appears Rick did his thing:









At least, that's my best guess. So thank you Rick Smith for standing behind your product! This kind of customer service and this level of Quality speaks volumes about your Integrity with a capital "I". This weekend, I plan on taking this thing back out to the range with another 100 rounds. Hopefully, the lock up problem is now gone. Of course, I'll post my findings.

In the next post, I'll show you guys the new bipod leg.
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Old September 21, 2016, 22:36   #62
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Now on to the new leg. not much to see really; it just looks like the old one:




Here, we see the steel collar that SMG presses into the axle hole so that you don't have aluminum riding on steel as you pivot the leg:




I inquired about buying a spare set of legs so that I have some on hand should this happen again. Rick told me that wile he's not opposed to selling me a pair, each leg is hand fitted so that they position where they should both stowed and extended. The reason he needed the old leg back was so that he could match the new one to the old one. That is evidenced in the pictures below. You can clearly see where the leg was ground to the right of the detent plunger hole:





The bare aluminum between the detent plunger hole and the axle hole appears to just be a lack of paint. These legs are sourced from SHOEI. SMG is aware that they are a weak point in the design. As a matter of fact, even the original steel legs were prone to bending and breakage. Both war time trials by the Germans and post war testing by the United States cited how weak the legs were. I'm not making excuses for SMG. I wish these were made out of steel but, even if they were, they would be fragile. According to Rick, he tried to source stamped steel legs from multiple vendors but was quoted a price of $45,000 per 300 pair and that was the LOWEST quote! Stamped parts are cheap and cost effective.......if you making them by the millions. Otherwise, the price is horrendous. Someone suggested to me that I should only use them for static display and not range use. I asked Rick about that and he said,

"They will not stand up to being pulled back under tension before firing or dropping prone on them but they will serve as a shooting barrel support for a long time from what users tell us. Please use it when you want to and we will fix it when it fails."

I don't think a customer can ask for more fair treatment than that.
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Old September 22, 2016, 15:52   #63
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Hope that solves the problem. I'll watch for your next range report.
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Old September 22, 2016, 17:22   #64
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Did you happen to catch the episode on "The Weapon Hunter" a few months back on the search for the FG42?
Great thread also,very interesting,thanks!
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Old August 21, 2017, 20:27   #65
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No pictures to post, just an update. Since the bolt was reworked, I have put 209 rounds through the FG42 on three separate occasions. The locking bolt problem has been entirely eliminated. A bonus of the bolt being reworked is that it is also now easier to charge the rifle even when cold. The first time after rework, I had two failures to extract which caused the next to rounds to be destroyed as the bolt tried to force them unto the rear of the non-extracted round. I found that curious because the extractor spring had been replaced while the bolt was with Rick (he said it seemed a bit weak). But it has not happened again so I'm just chalking that up to coincidence.
The second time out, I was testing magazines and had one jam (round 16 or 17 from the top of a full mag) but I'm certain that was due to a weak magazine spring. As I was trying to clear the jam, I could not get the action opened no matter how hard I pulled. Then I noticed that the charging handle had come part way out of the oprod and was tearing some new chunks out of the idiot mark I had put in the handguard way back at the beginning of this adventure. How it came loose, I do not know but I cannot discount operator error the last time I put it together so I'll take the blame. After I disassembled the rifle and fiddled with it for a few minutes, I got it open and the mangled round fell out. The charging handle is fine and everything seems to be in order so I put it back together and kept on going. No more problems.
The last time out was just a few days ago. I was again testing magazines and I had two jams which I am again sure was the result of a weak spring. The magazines are the weakest part of the equation. You have to remember that they at 70-80 years old (or more) and some of them are just plain worn out.
Ejection remains steady with spent casings being ejected at an approximately 45 degree angle and landing in the grass about 10-12 feet away. Some of the cases get mangled necks while others are still perfectly round. Almost all bear a small dent along the side of the case.
I noticed this last time out that the screw on the replaced bipod leg was working its way loose from recoil. This is not good as a wobbly leg will most likely result in a destroyed leg. I did not re-peen it as I don't want to screw up so I have used blue locktite. That has worked on the scope ring screws so I'll try it here and keep an eye on it. DO NOT use red locktite as it cannot be loosened without heating the parts! If it doesn't work, I'll have to try re-peening.
The new sear has a few marks on it but it's still pretty smooth. It's still heavy and it's not perfect but it does seem to be holding up far better then the first one.
So......currently I am at 639 rounds. A this point, every jam I am having seems to be caused by a weak magazine spring. I am starting to think that the rifle is now sorted out and I am hopeful that the last 361 will be trouble free. I will keep you updated.
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Old August 21, 2017, 23:36   #66
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Thanks for that report Combloc, I only used the Bipod once on my FG42 for 80 rounds. I think I will keep it that way seeing they are not Milspec. The originals were stamped steel correct?

I have about 600 rounds on my Gun, been flawless after Rick looked at it.
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Old September 18, 2017, 23:28   #67
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Yes, original bipod legs were stamped steel and were prone to breakage too. Originals are actually pretty thin and flimsy:










My hard drive died on my computer so I went dark for a while but I'm back.

On August 21st, I took the FG42 out for a light range day, just 40 rounds. I loaded up two magazines with 1970 FNM (Portugese) ammo and had at it. First magazine, zero problems and normal ejection (about 45 degrees toward the front and about 12 feet distant). Second magazine was chugging along normally too until round 14 (approximately round 673 total so far) when something didn't seem quite right. There seemed to be more flash than normal and the recoil seemed heavier too.....exactly as it did when I removed the muzzle brake earlier on.....better take a look up front. HEY!!!! where did my muzzle brake go?? The threaded part of it is still on the barrel but the majority is completely gone!! I unloaded the rifle, checked the internals for damage and looked down the barrel. Everything looked normal except for the missing brake. Well, I still had 6 rounds left so I put it back together and finished the magazine. You can really see and feel the difference firing without one, that's for sure. The last six round went off without a hitch. At this point, I am certain the sticky bolt problem has been rectified and reliability is good. There were two other guys at the range and they helped me walk the freshly mowed field for a solid hour looking for the remnants of the brake but we never did find it. I even came back just a bit before dark with my honey and she helped me look for another 20-30 minutes with no luck. Maybe it's in orbit for all I know! The only bit I did find was a tiny sliver right after it happened and that was somehow BEHIND me about 2 feet and 2 feet to my left. I couldn't help but laugh. Like most little kids, I often get a chuckle out of things getting destroyed....I can't help it! I wish I could have found it as it would have made a neato souvenir.....oh well. Anywho, when I got home I snapped a few pictures before cleaning:

Here is the muzzle with what's left of the brake still attached:



Notice that it broke away pretty clean right at the first set of holes.


The threads seem to be unaffected:




Here are a couple shots of it removed and the little sliver I found behind me:








When I contacted Rick Smith, he was very apologetic; explaining that some of the early brakes made had been cut with deep threads leaving the walls too thin and causing exactly the type of failure that had happened to me. He thought he had culled all of them out prior to shipping and said that, of the over 200 rifles sold to date, this has happened only one other time. Still finding the whole occurrence funny, I told him that no apologies were necessary and thanked him for his offer of replacing the brake even though the rifle is long out of warranty. All he asked was that I send him the threaded remains so that he could match the threads to a replacement thus ensuring that it would be neither sloppy nor tight on my rifle. He also ensured me that the new part would have thicker walls which should eliminate the possibility of this happening in the future.
Within days of receiving the old part, a new one arrived in the mail and it's just as good looking as the old one. There is absolutely no wobble on the threads yet it spins on smooth as the stem on a Rolex. I haven't had it out to the range yet but I should get to that next weekend:











As explained way back in this write-up, the numbers on the part, "124" in this case, have nothing to do with the serial number but rather are assembly numbers so that the threaded adapter and brake can be kept mated during assembly. Mr. Smith says that regardless of how careful you are in cutting of the threads, they barrel adapter and brake still need to be matched up by hand to ensure the best possible fit. Yes, it sucks that the part failed in the first place but the fact that Rick was straight forward about the cause and immediately offered to make it right without even being asked speaks volumes about his Integrity and Commitment to his customers. In my opinion, this is another case of absolutely rock solid customer support by SMG. THANK YOU MR. SMITH.
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Old September 25, 2017, 22:23   #68
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Today I put another 63 rounds of Portuguese surplus through the rifle bringing my total up to 742 rounds. The odd number is the result of my finishing up the last of my 1965 dated stock. I am happy to report that the muzzle brake is still attached and I had no problems at all. That makes about 300 rounds now jam free other than a couple that were the result of weak magazine springs. The two magazines that are numbered to the rifle work perfectly. Any weak springs that I am encountering are from other magazines that I have picked up along the way. I really think that the sticking bolt was a large part of the various stoppage issues I was having. I believe that so much energy was being used up just unlocking the bolt that there was minimal left to properly cycle the action. Couple the reworked bolt with the remaining parts wearing in and I think ( I hope I don't jinx myself) I'm in the clear reliability wise. 258 rounds to go.
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Old October 14, 2017, 23:19   #69
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Today, I took the FG42 out for some fun. Using 1969 Portuguese FNM surplus, I put 138 rounds through it (my largest number in one trip so far) bringing the total up to about 880. I only had one malfunction and it was a stovepipe on ejection. One out of 138 is just fine with me and I call that perfectly acceptable. I took the muzzle brake off for about half a magazine or so and amazed my buddy with some huge fireballs. It's also still amazing just how much more the muzzle rises without the brake attached. At the end of the day's shooting, I took the hot, greasy, sooty muzzle brake off again, ran it down my face in a few places leaving black shiny stripes and screamed like the crazed lunatic I am. It was fun and we had a good laugh!
Cleaning it this evening, I took a look up into the locking recesses in the trunnion and noted just how grimy and funky it gets up in there. The problem is, it's a long way up into the recesses and it's hard to get to. It doesn't matter how far up in it is..... ya' gotta' get that funk out now and then,; not very often but just every now and then...... but how? Now, you can spend a bunch of time driving yourself nuts trying to get a tooth brush or some such thing up in there. That'll work I guess but I'm sure it'll also frustrate the hex out of you in the process. That ain't for me. Or you can use MY method!! You see, I'm as lazy as I can reasonably get away with so I always try to find the easy way of cleaning if I can. Well, the easiest way I've found is using good ol' Gumout Carb Cleaner!



It works on kitchen grease too but that's another story. Let me show you what I do.

First, REMOVE THE TRIGGER HOUSING. You DO NOT want carb cleaner getting on anything other then blued or chromed steel. It'll eat plastic pistol grips, remove paint from your bipod legs and take the finish off your pretty walnut hand guard if you get it on them......so don't!!


Next, stand the barreled receiver up on end, muzzle down:



Please don't pay any attention to my messy work bench. Make sure the muzzle is resting on something you don't mind mucking up because you're going to have Carb Cleaner running down the barrel.


Then, attach the little straw thingee to the nozzle on the cleaner, stick it down in the trunnion area and spray:



Spray it generously but don't go wacko; you don't want it splashing out of the breech area and onto you hand guard. As you spray it, most of the funk in those recesses will wash out and run down the barrel. Then use your finger and a bore wipe to scrub around down in there paying careful attention to get into the recesses as best as you can. You'll probably have to do this a couple a three times working through both the magazine well and the ejection port. You don't have to get it factory fresh but do your best to get most of it.


Here's an example of the kind of gunk you can expect to get out:



I threw the gas plug in there for scale. You can't see it because the picture isn't 3D but there's some crusty stuff (carbon I figure)mixed in with that grease and those brass shavings. Because I use grease, stuff really accumulates in those recesses but you can't let it build up indefinitely or you're most likely going to run into reliability problems over time. I think this is only the second time I've really deep cleaned this area so far so you don't have to do it very often. The first patch was even more filthy but I threw it away before I got the bright idea to take pictures.


After you are done, take a look down in there and admire your handiwork:





Pretty down in there ain't it??

So, just like momma taught you when you were a kid, KEEP YOUR RECESSES CLEAN!! That's it for this post. I'm only 120 rounds away from 1000! Yay!!
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Old October 14, 2017, 23:35   #70
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That thing is still a really beautiful rifle
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Old October 14, 2017, 23:53   #71
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Thank you and I agree. Rick really put his heart into these rifles.
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