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Thoughts on AR Flat-tops

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 15:11
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Hey all,

I have been kicking around recently tuning my my flat-top rifles. And in so doing I have run into the age old problem of mounting a scope on an AR without killing charging handle ergonomics. I like most folks have tried various versions of tactical latches and personally, while I find them an improvement, I can't say I find they eliminate the problems.

For me the core of the issue is the conflict between scope mounting height vs access to the charging handle. My preference when firing from the prone is about 2" to the center of the scope and about a quarter to half in above that when firing upright. So the biggest problem for me in on heavy varmint rifles where I want a low mounting combined with what is a generally fairly larger ocular lens housing. I don't find the issue too annoying when dealing with Aimpoints or the like.

Solutions I have tried and my opinion (for what it is worth):

Badger Gen I Tactical Latches - A little big and tends to get caught on things. I also worry about bending the longer charging handle on AR-10s when grabbing it off-center.

Badger Gen II tactical Latches - Not so bad when it comes to getting snagged, but a little hard to grab, especially when wearing gloves - sometimes pinches the fingers without gloves. Still have a bit of worry about bending.

Aluminum Ambidextrous Tactical Latch (unknown maker): Gets caught on nearly everything.

So far I like the Badger Gen II over all.

I am thinking about trying a couple of other ideas... I am thinking about drilling a stock handle and latch so that I and fit a short (3 inch) length of 550 cord through in a way that will activate the latch when pulled. (I will post a pic if it works).

If the 550 cord works I might try finding a semi-rigid cord.

Anyone else try other ideas?


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 15:29
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switch to robinsons with the charge handle on the left where its supposed to be. , or galils which is better but not quite as good.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 16:02
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How about just using the left index finger to pull the charging handle from the left side.  That is how they are designed to be used.  Most people try to grab them on both sides with two fingers many times with the right hand.  If you do it that way then you are for sure going to have problems with scope clearances.  An AR weapon system in designed to be run completely with the left hand while never having to take your right hand off the grip. 
Try it, just use the pad of your finger between the tip and first joint on your left index finger.  I can pull mine with gloves on with my scope and have absolutely no problems.  All these so called tacticool latches are trying to fix a problem that does not exist and it reality makes your weapon more prone to having a problem.  People bend those big old things all the time and then they don't work properly.
That should fix your problem. 


Edited by supertool73 - January/29/2008 at 16:23
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 16:10
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Also how far back do you have your scope?  Really they are designed to have a scope mounted that is flush or just a bit forward from your charging handle.  Lots of people mount them way back and you almost have to been leaning back to get the proper eye relief. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 19:03
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 I love my AR, but I sometimes wonder what Mr. Stoner smoked for breakfast the day he designed the charging handle arrangement on the AR platform.  The reason most people grab it with the right hand is because it's more natural to hold the forend when operating it than it is to hold the pistol grip, where leverage works against you. A charging handle on the right side of the receiver would work as well or better, as it does with 90% of all other semi-autos ever produced AND a closed-off rear receiver would eliminate the annoying little puff of gas that escapes the charging-handle cut and blows into your face when you fire.

Heck, if he had to have it operable from the left, he could have put it on the left side just as easily. 

Mini-rant is now over.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 19:17
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stoner just did the rotating bolt, and straight stock , the rest was a commitee.
tool --ior looks good on the gun-boy you did dremel the end off.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 19:42
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Originally posted by RONK RONK wrote:

The reason most people grab it with the right hand is because it's more natural to hold the forend when operating it than it is to hold the pistol grip, where leverage works against you.


If you put the buttstock against your shoulder and hold the grip you have all the leverage you could ever need.  I can clear type 1, 2 and 3 malfunctions so fast that way, it just works perfect.  I really don't see a problem with that part of the design, its all about practice and training in my opinion.  Not saying it could not be better, but I think it works just fine.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 19:44
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Originally posted by Dale Clifford Dale Clifford wrote:

boy you did dremel the end off.


It works so much better now.  They give you 3.5 inches of eye relief but then set the glass into the scope 1 to 1.5 inches.  Stupid design in my opinion, it is perfect now.  Looks kind of funny but no more hitting myself in the head with those prone shots Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 20:38
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Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

Originally posted by RONK RONK wrote:

The reason most people grab it with the right hand is because it's more natural to hold the forend when operating it than it is to hold the pistol grip, where leverage works against you.


If you put the buttstock against your shoulder and hold the grip you have all the leverage you could ever need.  I can clear type 1, 2 and 3 malfunctions so fast that way, it just works perfect.  I really don't see a problem with that part of the design, its all about practice and training in my opinion.  Not saying it could not be better, but I think it works just fine.
 
 I understand what you are saying, but I was speaking more in terms of holding the rifle in  a manner more natural for the best muzzle control than anything else, especially with a heavy barrelled varminter. Or one equipped with forward weight ( Tac light, bipod, bayonet, etc.)Holding it by the grip is like holding a big handgun. Relatively awkward IMO.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 20:42
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[QUOTE=Dale Clifford]stoner just did the rotating bolt, and straight stock , the rest was a commitee.
 
Yeah, I kind of wondered if that was the case even as I typed it, but I had to blame SOMEBODY!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 21:05
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Sorry to keep debating this, but I still disagree. You can hold it straight down by the pistol grip and run it much simpler and easier with your left and than trying to do it with the right.  And its not to heavy, I do that with my varmint rig all the time.  That is why the latch is on the left side of the charging handle.  They just put grasping spots on both sides in case you have a malfunction and have to really tug on that sucker to get them to break loose.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 21:26
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 LOL!
 Don't apologize! I love a friendly debate!
 BTW, I agree that it works best to do it your way, AS THE AR IS CURRENTLY CONFIGURED. I just find myself constantly asking "what if"...
 I'd love to hear a Lefty's viewpoint on this issue.
 Paging Cheaptrick!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2008 at 21:44
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Originally posted by RONK RONK wrote:

 I'd love to hear a Lefty's viewpoint on this issue.
 Paging Cheaptrick!


Ya, that will probably change things a bit. LOL
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 04:23
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My AR set up typically is with a carry handle or Eotech/Aimpoint. Scopes are only mounted for short periods, usually for some "testing" I'm doing. 

When the scopes mounted, I use the Weaver AR Single Rail "Tactical" Bucky Mount System for a flat top. This clears the charging handle pretty good. As supertool stated, I too shove my scope forward as much as I can to get away from the CH.
 
As you can see, my AR is just your normal RH version.
 
I learned to adapt to the RH controls and didn't want even an ambi selector switch. I run my safety with my left thumb, though my high speed friends tell I should use my left index finger to flip the safety on and off. Thumbs faster for me and I just leave it on the switch.  
 
 
 


Edited by cheaptrick - February/01/2008 at 04:25
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 17:16
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 Thanks for your input, Mark.  I wondered how you work things from the "wrong" side.

 Gotta ask you- if you could trade even up for a similar quality AR in a mirror- image left-hand model, would you? Or are you happy with the system you've got worked out?

 ( I don't have one to trade or anything, just curious.)


Edited by RONK - February/01/2008 at 17:17
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 18:37
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Originally posted by RONK RONK wrote:

Gotta ask you- if you could trade even up for a similar quality AR in a mirror- image left-hand model, would you? Or are you happy with the system you've got worked out?
 
 
The ejection port on the RH version is probably the biggest thing too me, Ron.
It used to bother me more years back because I shoot an AR "nose to charging handle" and it's kind of creepy having your face exposed that close to the inner workings of the rifle. A "KABOOM" on a standard AR is even less desirous for a LH shooter I would think, though I have never had one. 
Shooting glasses.....Thunbs%20Up
 
Then theres the hot brass that seems hell bent on getting inside my shirt and burning the sh*t out of me.
The "gas blow back" you mentioned seems multiplied for LH shooters as well.
 
Charging handle is pulled using my left index finger on the latch and my left thumb on the rear of the CH. Weird I know, but it works for me. Wink 
 
I thought seriously about getting the Stag Arms LH upper, but found a guy selling a Bravo Co. "middy" upper I have now, so I went that way.
 
My next AR upper will probably be a Stag Arms LH just so I can
stick it to the man!!!  Head%20Bang  Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 20:43
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 I guess I kind of steered this thread from the O.P's question of whether the charging handle could be accessorized or modified, to instead ask whether it should even be where it is in the first place!  I just can't find a good reason for its' location. I get what Supertool said about being able to work it with the left hand if the shooter prefers to keep his right hand on the grip/trigger, but that could be done with a handle on the left receiver as Dale Clifford noted is successfully employed in some other platforms, or even with an ambidextrous handle straight through the bolt carrier, protruding on both sides perhaps?

 Just thinking out loud, pay no attention...Loco
  I think the gas  blow-back is definitely worse for southpaws, because you get not only that gas which escapes the charging handle cut, but also get more from the ejection port as well because so much more of your face is exposed to that side. It's a real annoyance when shooting into the the wind, regardless of right or left-handedness.


Edited by RONK - February/01/2008 at 20:50
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 21:01
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Check this one out.  I have never heard much about this company so I don't know how their weapons run, but they have done just what you want with an AR.
http://www.americanspiritarms.net/store.php?crn=205&rn=388&action=show_detail
http://www.americanspiritarms.net/store.php?crn=209&rn=397&action=show_detail


Edited by supertool73 - February/01/2008 at 21:04
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 21:11
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 Hey, now that looks like a better idea to me!  I wonder if they retained the forward assist on the right side or just eliminated it?
 Thanks for posting that, I'd never heard of them until now.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 21:30
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Here is another one, not a very big pic though
http://www.ameetecarms.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=53


Edited by supertool73 - February/01/2008 at 21:30
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 21:35
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I may buy one of those American Spirit arms stripped uppers, I have been needing to get one to build a new rifle anyway.  It would be interesting to see how well they work
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 21:52
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 I checked out thier website, seems like a great American company. The owner is quite the enterpreneuer, having made parts for Porsche engines, and aerospace applications he knows what precision means, I'd imagine.
 They also make a wicked-looking .308, in a side-charger, but at $2300- plus bucks, I'll have to pass for now!
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2008 at 22:03
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There is not much about them on the net that I can find.  The reason I knew about them is I saw there booth at a gun show years ago.  I picked up one of there catalogs, but their prices were so high I never looked into them to much.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/02/2008 at 09:01
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 It seems that every component they sell individually is a little on the pricey side, and they just keep adding them up until thier complete rifles are priced out of the market, regardless of how good they may be. I could live with a 250 dollar premium on a stripped side-charging upper, if only because of it's unique niche in the marketplace.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/03/2008 at 21:49
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Just to clearify, I was taking about a rifle with a larger scope (and ocular housing) as I mentioned in the post. I was also specifically talking about a rifle where a very low mounting was selected to optimize from prone shooting. In such a circumstance, you often can't get more than the tips of your finger onto the charging handle.

Perhaps I am just showing my nostalgia, but I still think the M-14 has some of the best ergonomics when you get the gun out into the field. Although, the mag release could use just the slightest bit of tweaking...


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