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Marine Corps NM M14s - Enjoy!

This is a discussion on Marine Corps NM M14s - Enjoy! within the Pictures forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; Art, I would like to take a moment to address your post. Its funny you say what you say. This past year, the old skipper ...


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Old February 5th, 2015, 09:25 PM   #46
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Art, I would like to take a moment to address your post.

Its funny you say what you say. This past year, the old skipper of THE Marine Shooting Team did authorize me to field a partial M14 team. My reasoning was that slow fires were the M14's strengths, and that's normally where most shooters lose most points. Our team had one of the consistently highest rapid fire averages in the nation this last year, so teaching rapids isn't as much of a concern - shooting a light load can solve most of this. Standing with the Big Gun has always been easier, and with the advent of extremely high BC bullets in .30 caliber, one can theoretically outshoot any AR on the line for wind at the 600SF. The M14 can be made as accurate as an AR with lots of careful work and good parts. The extended sight radius assists those with imperfect eyesight, and 1/2 minute corrections speeds up my work as a coach. Almost every adjustment at the 600SF is in half minute increments or more, one adjustment being given to both shooters on the line simultaneously 95% of the time.

There were three major conditions prevented this from happening 2015.

1. The armorer support is no longer there. 2112s no longer go through OJT, and no longer learn [ from school ] about weapons other than the NM M16A4, the NM M1911A1, and the M40A5 ( soon to be M40A7 ) sniper rifle. Even then, very little truly custom work is done on them these days.

2. My time to rotate out of the team was coming up, and I was the last one that had experience shooting the Big Gun across the course. Last time I did was a 490-11X, with a non-match conditioned gun.

3. The number of shooters that would remain on the team was dwindling. It truly takes, given the best of conditions, full support, perfect logistics... about 1.5-2 years to master the Big Gun.

The Big Team can assemble a NM M16A4 with a new Geissele Mk7 rail and a Satern 1-7.7 twist barrel within a day, and expect easily sub-minute performance without hardly any effort. The M14, logistically, isn't that easy.

So, can it happen? Maybe, but highly unlikely. It is feasible for an individual shooter to successfully field the M14 and win with it. It is possible for a highly-supported civilian team win fielding identically-built M14s for team issue, using universal loads, and enough industry support ( weapons, bullet and propellant manufacturers ). There are people out there that have a LOT of experience with the Big Gun. I'm talking shooters that have beaten my NMC course score of 497-22X and my NRA 800 AGG course score of 797-39X... and done it with the Big Gun. Guys who have shot multiple 499s and 500s under match conditions. There exist coaches capable of fully harnessing such shooters. But it is a difficult and expensive proposition.

It would be my dream to assemble the best and brightest in the nation, and field a team that beats the military teams with the Big Gun - just to show it can be done. But this is a serious undertaking. As a matter of fact, just before this sentence a Team guy that was one of if not my best student just popped his head in my room. He too is down to assemble a team like this and put the work in. Serious shooters, no nostalgia, just hard work, sweat, Doc Jones slings stretched to the max, and a team that has the serious skill and dedication necessary to wring that last 1-2% of performance out of a high-power rifle.

There are several issues you must solve.

1. There has got to be a better way than Marine Tex bedding. Maybe a steel bedding block like the one John Tank offered, with a provision to bolt in a double lug action. The block would have to be placed into an inletted stock, epoxied in, bolted, just made permanent essentially. Breakdown of bedding is something that I, as a coach, cannot and will not risk unless all shooters have primary guns with identical round counts, and they have a backup gun, identically set up, with perfect zeroes and a pre-fouled gas piston. If there is one major shortcoming of the NM M14, this is it. This MUST BE FIXED.

2. There has got to be a way to create a rear sight assembly that tracks at least 95% equal to a quality NM AR15 rear sight. That, and it can't fall off in the middle of competition, or have the sight ladder collapse under recoil. 1/2 MOA adjustments are just fine and in some ways preferred, but the sights have got to be re-engineered.

3. A modified gas spindle valve is going to be necessary in order to protect the op rod from damage shooting hot loads. This and a bored/vented gas plug and a grooved piston.

4. One can get away with just not touching the upper handguard, but if one does, there has got to be a way to keep the handguard from popping off the clips. The damn thing has got to be bombproof as sooner or later, the rifle is going to get bumped, and the handguard will take an impact.

If these issues can be fixed and be somewhat affordable, the M14 can be a seriously competitive platform minus a lot of the risk. As a unit-issue gun, the Big Gun has seen it's sunset...

...But there's no sunset for MY Big Gun...

S/F

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Old February 5th, 2015, 09:46 PM   #47
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My heartbeat just went up several points, hearing that there are some people dedicated to the same dream as mine.

I have several things that go toward your wish list:

1. I know how to make a rear sight that is repeatable in windage to +/- 1/16MOA with unmodified USGI 1MOA threads. I've basically created a pinned rear sight, except the pin is horizontal, so it stabilizes the sight base in horizontal movement. I've done it on demilled heels, and will happily demo for you. It might take a wire EDM cut to the receiver, but can be done. I also have some prototypes of bushed sight bases that Gus Fisher said he had never seen before, and they reduce carriage wobble, so there is more potential there. I have not tackled elevation yet, though I have some ideas.

2. I disagree with you on the gas plug and grooved piston. I agree that you need to protect the oprod with hot loads, but I disagree that the best way to do it is to let too much gas into the system, and then struggle to vent it. My idea is to prevent it from getting in in the first place. My idea is to cross drill gas valves, so rather than on/off they are on/reduced flow. Make the cross drilled hole small enough to choke off the flow. I think the magic number is going to be in the 0.06 range - 1/16". It might take some experimentation to start with a hole that is too small, and won't cycle, and gradually build it up till it works smoothly. As far as I understand, this is legal, as the gas system would remain operational, though I question why you cannot simply turn off the gas system at 600. Turned off is still operational - just like a parked vehicle is operational, it is just turned off.

3. I have never looked at bedding options, but there are V-bedding blocks that are made for the Rem 700. Gotta wonder if a design could not be whipped up for an M14. There is someone on here making carbon fiber stocks, perhaps it could be integrated. Do USMC have to use wood?

4. Never looked at the handguard issue. My usual price for doing creative problem solving is payable in beer, so at some point I'd like to learn more about the problem.

5. Small apertures give a bigger depth of field. Dunno why AMU stopped at 0.052 apertures for the M14, while the AR guys stepped all the way down to 0.042. I now have 0.042 hoods for NM sight racks, and it makes a big difference. Blur is directly proportional to aperture diameter, so 042 versus 052 is a 20% reduction in blur.

6. Every shooter should be using a +0.50 lens. I know some have young enough eyes that they can get by without it, but they are doing so by exerting their ciliary muscle in the eye, and trying to hold the muscle still in the tensed position. The +0.50 lens will give them the same sight picture, but it leaves the eye muscle totally relaxed, so it can not fatigue.

7. As discussed, my speed hammer drops the hammer swing time from about 8ms to 5-6ms, which is consistent with NM triggers for ARs. In offhand, you can feel it.

Best,

Art

Thanks from 2336USMC

Last edited by ShootingSight; February 5th, 2015 at 10:08 PM.
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Old February 5th, 2015, 10:09 PM   #48
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I remember we had talked briefly about this. To be fair, many of the other former and current service team coaches all have the same talking points against the M14. They are very valid, and much M14 use is bathed in nostalgia. But, I do believe some serious eyebrows would be raised if all of a sudden the Big Gun no longer broke down, no longer lost accuracy, didn't require any maintenance but piston cleaning, and shot some serious scores. This isn't necessarily MY wishlist, just accumulated experience that has shown me what the real shortcomings are.

And yes, I absolutely want to field a seriously hard M14 team that will go forth and crush the service teams. I know how to do it. Hell, there's other members within the service teams ( NOT saying names at this time ) that are seriously thinking of returning to the Big Gun. Its just going to take some serious work, and some creativity to bomb-proof these guns, and pulling together the best and the brightest to make the perfect conditions set needed to destroy all the black gun teams during the NTT.

1. If you can make a sight that repeatable, and somehow prevent them from ever falling off or collapsing, that would be a huge improvement.

2. I do think a spindle valve modification might be enough, but until I can run one, I don't have a choice but to protect an op rod the best way I currently can. I think your concept is valid, as some members here have done it successfully. The reason the rifle must cycle stems from the military origins of the CMP. The point is to train a civilian populace in service rifle marksmanship so that they may be ready for war if called upon. A service rifle must function as intended at all times. Turning a gas spindle valve in order to fire a rifle grenade isn't going to happen in a rifle-centric gunfight. However, single loading does have a place in ensuring the most consistent feeding, weapon weight, bolt/carrier velocities and dwell time possible for the 200 and 600SF. Also, if a weapon decides to go full auto, it'll only go full auto for one round. That's not a bad proposition.

3. I did own a Remington 700 chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum that I had built with a Whidden V-block. It was a freakishly accurate gun. However, the 700 is a cylindrical rifle action, and I don't yet see a way for an M14 to be treated in the same manner. You'd have to create steel bedding surfaces that 'wedge' the two lugs in tighter the more the torque screws are tightened. I can say that carbon fiber is not a good idea - the McMillans remain your best bet. The Big Team right now does have a few .338 Lapua Magnum sniper rifles, and two have carbon fiber stocks. Inletting for a bedding block and big, bulky action led to way too much flex in the stock, killing accuracy. The Marine Corps will never use wood stocks again, and more than likely will never rebuild these guns again. A private team, however, can.

4. The upper handguard issue is fixable with a rivet or something, it just needs to be dummyproofed. Every element of a high-master shooter's performance ( one that is to consistently be in contention ) must be part of an error free process. Everything we speak of all relates to risk mitigation, and offering the highest probability of a stable, predictable, error free performance.

5. The sight size issue is going to be dependent upon length of pull/eye relief and available light. From a coaches perspective, I would love everyone to achieve the 'keyhole focus effect', but one must have a system that isn't going to hinder them on darker, duller, rainy days. There has to be a sacrifice made for the sake of balance - match conditions always will be worse than practice. The Big Team used 0.052" apertures for the long range M14s, but the highest XTC scores were recorded as always shot with 0.0595". Its going to vary per guy. For the record, my best XTC scores with my NM M16A2 and A4 were shot with a 0.040" rear hood and a 0.040" NM taper front, utilizing VERY close eye relief. I am a freak in that regard. Hell, I even shoot with both eyes wide open for the most part. I do not represent the 99% competitor.

6. Your triggers are the reason I don't consider it an M14 weakness anymore. No longer does one have to get it tuned by a professional armorer. The lock time is respectably faster and is VERY noticeable to me.

S/F

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Old February 5th, 2015, 10:21 PM   #49
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Please clarify exactly what the failure is in which a sight falls off or collapses. Not quite sure what the problem is.

Yes, Whidden's block is what I'm thinking about. There is a spot, just forward of the receiver, where a V could sit under the barrel, but I'm also thinking of a billet aluminum stock liner. You'd have to relieve a lot more material from the stock, but the liner would go from the bottom to the top, establishing clamping surfaces for the trigger and the receiver, with solid aluminum between. It might even be able to go back as a monolithic piece to support the heel. There would be a lot of material to cut out of the stock, but that's what CNC is good at.

I've also heard of a bolt used to draw in the lug. Never seen one in real life. I'll need to dig to see the design.

Looks like I need to start shopping for a McMillan, to see how it needs to be modified. Anyone here have one for sale?

While length of pull and eye relief will influence the field of view of a particular aperture, nothing in the optical math suggests that those will influence the brightness or the focus, so I remain a fan of smaller = better in apertures. Reality is that absolute focus is not as important as constant focus, so a lens to remove eye strain is more important than the aperture size, if I had to chose. However the optics are that lens does one thing (determine focal point), and the aperture does something else (determine depth of field). Ideally you want to optimize both.


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Old February 5th, 2015, 11:10 PM   #50
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I will add my .02 and then I will go back too into my dark hole. I've seen a guide rod fitted too a rear sight base that fit inside the pocket without holes through the receiver, each side used a small stiff spring this loaded the base on each side equally L/R so there was no slack. This would fix the windage tracking, but for elevation it is what it is I'm no help.

The hand guard, for years both of the "Big Green teams" used epoxy and glued them down. Well over time it drys out and brakes down or cracks, it never really supported the H/G all that well but it did keep it from moving for a while, less if it took a hit. If you want too Sailor/Marine proof your hand guard Hi-temp silicone is the answer and use as much as you need, the more the better. Doesn't burn or smoke it will firm up but not too hard and if you need too remove it, use a wire and slice it. A side effect is this also helps too dampen the barrels harmonics.

In my own rifles I have always ran with a grooved piston, currently my spindle valve is set at .070 starting at .060 and working up sure can't hurt either. I also use the M25 mod its a extra hole in the tail of the G/C. This keeps the trash out of the piston longer and also keeps the inside of the stock and the underside of the barrel that the stock covers cleaner as well.

Not the answers for everything but I hope it knocks a few off the list....

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Old February 6th, 2015, 05:30 AM   #51
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Phil,

This might actually turn into a fantastic thread (well, it's already a fantastic thread, but it would turn into a fantasticer thread) if it server as a collection of what can be done, and the best techniques. I know there is a lot of information out there, but a lot of it is 20 years old. New techniques have been developed, but those are less broadly shared.

Rear sight. Multiple people have suggested the two spring approach. It does not work. But if you only use 1 spring it will. Two springs counter each other, so you do not have postitive force of the base against the threads, and you get lash. With one spring, you seat the carriage against the windage threads solidly. I have a technique where I got a special foam rubber that does not take a set over time (used in car door seals), and put a small block on one side, under the spring cover. It presses against the aperture and both takes lash out of the windage knob threads, as well as out of the aperture sliding in the track.

My solution uses a ground pin that is held by a hole in the ears, and runs through a tight hole in the sight base to act like a guide rod. This prevents the base from twisting side to side. Trouble is: you need to drill two holes in your receiver, which requires some testicular fortitude. Plus, you need to be a good machinist, because I have not found carbide drills (the receiver is hard) that are long enough to go through both ears in one setup. So you need to set up twice. And if your two holes are not parallel, or perfectly horizontal, the base won't track straight, and will bind. This is why I have only ever executed this on chopped heels that I bought for $10. I've not tried it on my LRB. This project might be the reason to go there however.

For elevation, I'm thinking of making new rear apertures, machined from billet. If you wire cut the teeth, you ought to be able to leave a few thou of fat, so they engage in the pinion more positively. Originally (I was told) they were made as a big ring on a lathe that had 15 or so apertures chained. This way you machine all the tongues on the sides, and use a gear hob to cut the teeth. Then you split them and do the final machining for the aperture face.

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Old February 6th, 2015, 11:30 AM   #52
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I think its a great thread.....I'm just offering my .02 too anyone that's willing too listen. The thing about setting up a Long Range M14/M1A everyone is a pro on how too get it done....
While others say is been done and it didn't fair well.... I guess I have a hard thick Irish skull...I think it can be done, and done better today than it was done back then.

There are guy's that will offer expert advice, however there unwilling too listen too anything new. There pearls of wisdom is the only way, well there is more than one way too skin that cat. I myself am willing too listen and maybe try as long as it makes sense too me.

Case in point a lot of guys love the oversized vented plugs with grooved pistons. I like the grooved piston but not the plug, yes I have tried the plug. Like you my idea was if the gas cylinder didn't get all the gas why bother too use the plug? The spindle valve has been sitting right there all these years and very few people have looked at it more than twice, its always been just a off and on switch nothing more... Another thing that is overlooked is that we need all the velocity we can get while still keeping the rifle locked up longer. Modifying the spindle valve solves that problem, the plug doesn't. If someone wanted too use the plug with all of the above I'm fine with that too.

The M25 mod too the G/C, I think was originally a Navy idea for there M25 rifles. This kept the Gas System cleaner longer. So why not use it in a Match Rifle? I hate too clean it just for the sake of cleaning it. Another benefit is that the M25 mod is its unseen, the stock covers the tail of the G/C and the added hole in the G/C blows the chunks of junk out of the stocks drain hole. The whole gas system stays cleaner longer and the G/C and the piston last longer. So its a win, win, win. in my bag of tricks.

When I dropped my rifle off at Tonyben's place for bedding and too center the op-rod guide. He called me last night and said that when he did the tilt test on my rifle he could hear and feel the piston slide faster than the pistons did in his rifles. It was his concern that maybe the G/C was out of spec or maybe the piston, I said that I had the M25's extra blow hole in the tail. He replied how do I like it? I said, I really liked it a lot but when you shoot it you will see for yourself how well it works. He said he liked the idea and was going too have too take a closer look at mine again, and looking at doing it too one of his own rifles.

Neil mentioned using a modified Ft Devens type liner in the hopes that it would help the bedding last longer. Here is my thoughts for better or worse, I don't think its going too fly that well the bedding used too lock it in is still going too take the brunt of the recoil punishment supporting the liner even as good as todays bedding materials are compared too the types used in the past there is less bedding material because of the liner. Personally I think he would be better served by adding a healthy amount of fine SS filler too the mix, and skim it at the end of the season if its needed.

Back too the rear sight, I hadn't thought of the two springs canceling each other out. But I have seen it tried the way I described. How well it worked or how well it worked in one direction or if at all I don't know. I like the idea of the firm foam being used, this would take a lot of pressure off the spring in the elevation knob. I'm not keen on the idea of the holes in the receiver even if there covered by the sights knobs. A short rod fitted inside the RSB is how I would do it, even if it took growing a third hand too get it all put together.

My .02

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Old February 6th, 2015, 01:34 PM   #53
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Speaking of rear sight, one of the shortcomings of the 14s, contrary to some claims it is the best iron sight out there, it is not. It is not as far as a target gun. It is adequate at best. It can work, but you need to work the backlash to your advantage, just like working against the backlash in lathes and mills to get precise cuts. What does it takes, in machines, adjust in the same direction, or back out and come back and continue with the adjustment. On the 14 sight, decide which way direction you want to keep the backlash tight. I like to work on the CW direction, the R direction. If I were to intending to move the POI half minute L I would crank 3 clicks L and 2 R.

For a battle rifle, I do love the Garand/M14 rear sight, they are indeed great in their intended use.

If you want to scare yourself and lose confidence in your rear sight never put an indicator on it and simulate clicking for wind just like what you do in a match.

Phoenix Precision modified one of my rear sight bases and windage knobs by precise single point threading the windage knob, bushed the base with bronze bushing, and single point threaded it to match the windage knob. I can tell you, this is the best fitted base to windage knob I've ever tested with a dial indicator. He managed to get the least backlash on the thread using his CNC threading machine, the same machine he uses to thread the match sights he sells. Unfortunately, he only did one for me, too much PITA for him and with little or no return. With the windage knob modified for ball and detent, I could click L-R-L and the indicator follows.

Almost forgot to mention, despite the close fitting thread with minimal backlash, I still used Shooting Sight's wonder "special foam rubber" in this rifle to get me the last bit of precise click repeatability.

Thanks from Phil McGrath and 2336USMC
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Old February 6th, 2015, 02:33 PM   #54
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Wait I'm confused. You are saying these are still in service? I was on the PI team and never saw these at competitions.

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Old February 6th, 2015, 03:20 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Bamban View Post
Phoenix Precision modified one of my rear sight bases and windage knobs by precise single point threading the windage knob, bushed the base with bronze bushing, and single point threaded it to match the windage knob. I can tell you, this is the best fitted base to windage knob I've ever tested with a dial indicator. He managed to get the least backlash on the thread using his CNC threading machine, the same machine he uses to thread the match sights he sells. Unfortunately, he only did one for me, too much PITA for him and with little or no return. With the windage knob modified for ball and detent, I could click L-R-L and the indicator follows.
Sounds like something they ought to sell as a product.

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Old February 6th, 2015, 04:05 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Phil McGrath View Post



When I dropped my rifle off at Tonyben's place for bedding and too center the op-rod guide. He called me last night and said that when he did the tilt test on my rifle he could hear and feel the piston slide faster than the pistons did in his rifles. It was his concern that maybe the G/C was out of spec or maybe the piston, I said that I had the M25's extra blow hole in the tail. He replied how do I like it? I said, I really liked it a lot but when you shoot it you will see for yourself how well it works. He said he liked the idea and was going too have too take a closer look at mine again, and looking at doing it too one of his own rifles.
There sure are a lot of ways to skin the M14 cat. Development stopped when the AR15 took over. I imagine, a lot like race car driving or military development...all the trickle down research and test that ends up in our hands one day taken for granted and unappreciated.

My match M1A's were run through a High-Master, distinguished "retired" military match rifle builder. He undersized the USGI pistons slightly, just to keep them running smooth and unobstructed. In his training and practical experience, pistons were key to consistency. When guys talk about shooting M14's at 1000...I listen!

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Old February 6th, 2015, 07:38 PM   #57
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Phil - Can you show a picture of the M25 gas cylinder modification? I am interested in running it if just to extend the interval between cleaning. The way I see it, if I can get a modified gas spindle valve, plus the vented plug, and maybe the gas cylinder modification, it should theoretically allow me to drop port pressures as low as possible. Do you happen to have a specification as to where it must be located, and what diameter hole is called for? If I can get numbers/measurements/location, I'd run it on my LRB gas cylinder.

The bedding concept is not just for extended life but easier support. If one has to remove and reinstall the action, that rifle will achieve settle and original zero faster. This, and sensitivity to potential solvents/water lessens. The Big Team done tons of testing on the longevity and weather resistance abilities of metal chassis guns. It is always beneficial from a standpoint of serious use.

Jason - As of late, these rifles have been reserved for the M1A match, and prior to the NM Mk11s coming online, as LR service rifles. Service in the LR service rifle capacity has come to an end, however.

Missilegeek - I wish, but there is not enough demand signal to justify tooling up for such a small audience.

Nez - Most of the Big Team M14s track fairly well, not so much slop that you have to pass your true zero point and return to it, but you are right. There is considerable slop compared to say, a White Oak AR sight.

A new beginning.





S/F

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Old February 6th, 2015, 09:11 PM   #58
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I hope this works, I"m on the wife's laptop. The sole reason for the M25 mod is keeping the gas cylinder cleaner longer its not used for any added pressure reduction if there is any pressure reduction its very slight. Pic #1 is forum member Sweeny's and #2 in mine. If you measure .21 from the tail of the G/C housing you will land in the trapaning(sp) groove, I moved mine back just a little bit extra too ensure I was as close too the wall in a attempt too use that as a flow/debris director of sorts. It worked out very good, the actual diameter of the hole is .0625 or 1/16th if you go too big it looses velocity and stalls, too small and it junks up and cruds over. I used a center punch and a cheap TiN coated drill bit from china. Getting through the hard skin took a little effort but once threw it was easy going with no bur on the inside. Total time about 5min....
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File Type: jpg IMG_0807_zps00bc059a.jpg (34.8 KB, 121 views)
File Type: jpg Gas Cylinder Mod.jpg (370.5 KB, 131 views)


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Old February 7th, 2015, 06:12 AM   #59
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Great thread guys -- keep the information flowing.

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Old February 7th, 2015, 06:18 AM   #60
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Thanks for the pix! It's good to see the old "smoke poles" in the rack with the 14s. The canary sweatshirts bring back memories as well.

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