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Thread: AAR: Semper Paratus Arms 2 day Armorers Course, May 11-12, McDonough, GA

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    AAR: Semper Paratus Arms 2 day Armorers Course, May 11-12, McDonough, GA

    AAR - Semper Paratus Arms Armorer’s Course May 11-12, 2013

    I attended Iraqgunz’s 2 day armorer’s certification course in May and wanted to share this long overdue AAR so that people could get an idea of what to expect if they plan to attend one of IG’s classes. IG had actually been in the Atlanta area last Fall and I missed his class announcement for his first class hosted at the Henry County PD. After realizing that I had missed a great opportunity, I started bugging IG about making a return trip to the Peach State. We settled on a date and I started laying the groundwork locally, contacting the local gun clubs & shops to get the word out for the class. Of course, I enlisted some of our local M4C members to assist. Thanks to Sam, Ash556, Ra2bach, E-man and a few others for spreading the word. I would also like to extend a special Thank You to the HCPD for hosting the event. Unfortunately, IG and I didn’t realize that the course date just happened to fall on Mother’s Day! In spite of this fact, we were able to round up a good group of about a dozen guys for the class. Many thanks to all who attended.

    Due to the volume of information covered within the course and the passage of time, everything has sort of run together in my mind. As a result, I will present this AAR based on a summary of course content and not necessarily a step by step for each day. The first day was spent covering the basics, including the various assemblies, operating system, nomenclature, etc. IG likes to refer to it as “death by powerpoint”. In truth, it was exceptionally educational. I consider myself fairly well versed on the AR15 and have been wrenching on my own guns for 9+ years. The class attendees varied widely in experience and I found the class to be well suited to all skill levels. We started out with a discussion of the history of the AR15 / M16 FOW, including the development of the weapon and the early design changes that led to its original challenges in the battlefield.

    Next, we moved on to the various assemblies and general nomenclature, including the upper receiver assembly, lower receiver assembly and their various parts. Points of discussion included the barrel assembly, bolt carrier group, the Direct Impingement gas operating system, fire control group and buffer system. Each portion of the operating system was discussed in great detail in order to explain each parts function as well as common causes of failure. This portion was designed to bring everyone up to speed and lay a foundation for the rest of the course. Naturally, some time was also spent on the TDP and its application to the various parts, establishing a baseline for component quality and explaining why certain criteria exist. I’m not going to go into this in detail, as I assume most M4C members are already well versed in the basic TDP criteria. If not, well, that information can be easily obtained here on the site via our infamous orange SEARCH button. ;-)

    This part of the day immediately generated a lot of questions, as guys started looking more closely at their weapons and comparing notes. There was a wide variety of AR’s represented in the class, ranging from a vintage 20 year old Colt rifle, a DD Mk18 and quality custom guns to the lesser regarded Jim Bob specials and even a Bushmaster Carbon15 pistol.  That one was interesting! The best thing about this is that there were several examples of well-made guns alongside some not-so-great examples for comparison. And thus, the learning began! There really is nothing like hands on experience, especially for those who are less well versed on the AR. You could literally see the lightbulb going on as some guys pulled the BCG from their Bush-River and started seeing the differences. Early on, we found several carriers with poor staking and at least one flat top with a rifle FSB. FYI, the gentleman with the Carbon15 pistol went home at lunch and got his carbine after he realized what a cluster**** that particular gun represented.

    Before lunch on Day 1, we started getting into assembly / disassembly of the lower receiver. IG demonstrated the proper removal technique for each individual part from the lower receiver and by the time we broke for lunch, each class member had a nice pile of parts laying in front of them on the table. A good deal of time was taken to explain the need for proper tools and technique. As IG stated, if you have to force anything, STOP. With the correct tools & technique, each lower came apart easily without damaging the various parts, pins or the lower itself. When we returned from lunch, we began reassembly. One of the better tips I picked up from IG was to always work from front to back on the lower, starting at the pivot pin and working back to the extension. One tool that was recommended was the Brownells pivot pin tool, which I found to be invaluable. By the end of the day, we had disassembled & reassembled the lower twice and once more on day 2. There was plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the various parts, their function and proper installation.

    Day 2 was spent mostly on the upper receiver and this is where things really got good. A summary of discussion & demonstration points is described below:

    The Barrel Assembly was discussed to describe the barrel, barrel extensions and a gas blocks, including fixed or pinned FSB (Front Sight Base) and low profile gas blocks. This included a demonstration of how to properly remove FSB taper pins, as well as the proper installation of a low profile gas block on a virgin BCM barrel. During the second half of Day 2, IG demonstrated the assembly of a stripped upper receiver, followed by students disassembling their own upper receiver if they so choose. Following this, the proper assembly of an upper receiver was demonstrated, including the Delta Assembly and the barrel installation. A couple of students came with a box of parts and assembled their uppers & lowers during the class.

    We discussed the various common barrel steels, including Mil-Spec 4150 CMV, 4140 & Stainless Steel.

    Barrel Twist Rates & stabilization characteristics

    Gas Operating System Lengths
    Carbine length
    Mid-length
    Rifle Length
    Pistol gas system & .300 Blackout
    Intermediate gas length – Noveske & KAC (not common)

    Gas Port Sizes: Common gas port sizes were covered and their effect on function were discussed for all barrel lengths from 10.5” – 20”

    Bolt Bounce: A short discussion on Bolt Bounce, its causes and symptoms was discussed.

    Holy crap this thing is long! If you’ve hung here in this long, just go take the class! ;-)

    Front Sight Base: Differences between the A2 and F marked FSB was demonstrated via graphic representations and hands on examples

    Barrel Extensions:
    * Rifle extension – standard feedramps
    * M4 Extension – extended “M4” feedramps

    Bolt – Mil-Spec bolts are made from (Carpenter) C158 Steel, a proprietary steel produced by Carpenter Technologies. Original TDP called for chrome treated bolt & carrier. Newer coatings were also covered, including Nickle-Boron, Melonite / Ion Bond, etc. Other specifications for milspec Bolts: HP / MPI tested, Shot peened, Tool steel extractor

    Bolt Carrier Types: SP1 – Ban Era semi-auto carrier, AR15 “enhanced” – Semi-auto carrier, M16 – Full auto carrier.

    Gas Key: Proper installation of the gas key was covered in detail, including proper specs, staking, correct Grade 8 screws & torque specs. IG stayed pretty busy for about a half hour demonstrating the correct installation of gas keys & the use of a MOACKS tool, repairing at least a half dozen poorly built student carriers.

    Buffers: Buffer sizes and weights compared, including discussion of appropriate applications depending on barrel & gas system length. Included a discussion and comparison of the Vltor A5 system.

    Lower Receiver Extension (Buffer Tube): Noted differences between commercial & milspec RE, including instruction on proper staking methods.

    Cycle of Operation: Troubleshooting discussion.
    F – Feed
    C – Chamber
    L – Lock
    F – Fire
    U – Unlock
    E – Extract
    E – Eject
    C – Cock

    Malfunctions:
    M – Magazine
    E – Extractor
    A – Ammunition
    L – Lubrication is very important
    O – Operator induced malfunctions or “operator headspace”

    Barrel Installation with USGI Barrel Nut - Barrel Nut needs to be installed with 30-80 ft-lbs of torque. Proper technique was demonstrated, including gas tube alignment

    Gas Rings: Demo of removal & install of the gas rings. Included demo of Gas Ring wear test methods.

    Action spring specs & replacement protocols (rifle & carbine)

    Aside from the typical brass / nylon hammer, armorers wrench, roll pin punches and roll pin holders, other specialty tools that were recommend were as follows: Brownells bolt catch pin punch, Geissele Reaction Rod, FSB Bench Block, MOACKS & a Hammerhead tool.

    Conclusion
    Overall, the class was excellent. The bullet points noted above only represent discussion points and a great deal of time was spent discussing each and every topic. We actually covered a great deal of additional material which has been omitted for the sake of brevity. (Brevity? That's sort of ironic considering the length of this post!) One distinct advantage that the Semper Paratus Arms course offers is the discussion of a wide variety of AR types, going beyond the typical manufacturer course and exploring a wider variety of systems. Additionally, where else can you show up with minimal experience and a box of parts and leave with a complete properly assembled AR? Personally, it was an opportunity to soak in a huge volume of information from a true Subject Matter Expert and pick up a few tricks of the trade along the way. There were several little tricks that I picked up from IG that typify a work smarter, not harder ethic. I am still amazed at the volume of information we covered in just two days. If you have the opportunity to attend a class near you, I would highly recommend it. If you don’t see one on the Calendar, get with IG, round up a group of guys and host one at your local Department, range or gun club. Hopefully, this will provide a better idea of what to expect to those of you considering taking the class. It was an exceptional learning experience and I hope to take the course again in the future.

  2. #2
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    Matt,

    Thanks for posting this and rest assured that I appreciate you taking the time. Also, for those reading this I did not have any input into this AAR. I have never asked for anything other than an honest assessment of the class and the knowledge gained.



    Owner/Instructor at Semper Paratus Arms

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SemperParatusArms/

    Semper Paratus Arms AR15 Armorer Course http://www.semperparatusarms.com/cou...-registration/

    M4C Misc. Training and Course Announcements- http://www.m4carbine.net/forumdisplay.php?f=141

    Master Armorer/R&D at SIONICS Weapon Systems- http://sionicsweaponsystems.com

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