Many of you have seen me write on this forum that Firearms Manufacturers are to be viewed the same way you would a used car salesman. "Trust, but verify."
The purpose of this thread is to help educate the consumer that is LOOKING to buy a high quality, DEFENSIVE weapon.
DISCLAIMER: If you are not interested in this type of weapon, this thread is not for you and don't bother reading it (or posting something silly about your Oly being the best).
Many firearm manufacturers use buzz words such as "Mil-Spec, Mil-Standard, Military Issued, TDP, 4150, CMV, MIL-11595E, HPT, MPI, Carpenter No. 158® steel, etc in an effort to get you to believe that their products are the best. Many of these companies believe that the words "Mil-Spec" actually means that their barrel’s, receiver’s, BCG's, lower’s, etc will fit on an M16 or M4. The term "Mil-Spec“ has nothing to do with quality or the TDP standard set forth by the US Govt for a fighting weapon.
Here are some cold hard facts:
1. The only way to get a TRULY Mil-Spec weapon is to be issued it by the US Military.
2. The current two companies with the OFFICIAL TDP (Technical Data Package) are Colt and FN.
3. Mil-Spec is a standard of quality that the US Govt will accept for a fighting gun.
4. If a company cannot meet these standards (Mil-Spec/TDP), then what standards are they following (if any)?
For the purpose of this thread, we are going to stick to the two main components that always cause the most confusion with the consumer. These are the barrel and the bolt.
Per MIL-B-11595E, barrels have to be made out of the following in order to comply with this standard AND have the correct chemical compounds. IF the barrel’s do not meet this standard, they will not meet the mil-standard MPI acceptance criteria! Below are the three types of steel (and their chemical compositions) that are allowed.
Then the barrels have to meet the following things:
• Chrome Lined Bore and Chamber
• Manganese Phosphate Barrel Finish on entire barrel
• HPT (High Pressure Test, per Milspec) barrel’s
• MPI (Magnetic Particle Inspected, per Milspec) barrel’s
• USGI 5.56mm NATO Chamber
Two of the big ones in the above list are HPT and MPI. In order to stress the barrel, you must use a high pressure load (referred to as an M197). Once this is completed, the barrel then must undergo MPI AND comply with acceptance and exclusion criteria from both the mil-standard and ASTME1444-01 standard and completed by a certified NDT facility.
Per the TDP, bolts are to comply with the following:
• Bolt machined from Mil-Spec Carpenter No. 158® steel
• HPT Bolt (High Pressure Tested/ Proof)
• MPI Bolt (Magnetic Particle Inspected)
• Shot Peened Bolt (per Mil-S-13165)
• Heat Treated
Now that we have all the correct names and standards called out, you need to see some examples of what the documentation needs to look like. Luckily for us, BCM has stepped up to the plate and become the FIRST Manufacturer to post their certs for their barrel steel, pressure loads, and MPI.
To get the full discussion on BCM rifles and all that goes into them, follow this link: http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=55930
Below is what the cert looks like for INDEPENTLY certified barrel steel (notice the date on the steel cert and that it specifically lists all the chemical compounds):
Below is what the cert looks like for proof loads:
Below is what the cert for MPI looks like (notice the date):
As you may have figured out by now, a lot of work goes into all of this. It is not an easy or cheap process and any manufacturer that goes through all the hassle of putting a program together like this is going to shout it from the rooftops because it clearly sets them apart from the competition. A manufacturer also cannot do all of the above and sell a barrel and bolt for a low price. So if it looks to good to be true, then it probably is.
Know what you are buying and what you are getting! YOU the consumer have the right to ask a manufacturer to provide proof to back up their claims!