Replacement/replica SA80/M4/M16 barrels

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by IndependentBoffin, May 4, 2011.

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  1. Hi guys,

    I've been looking to buy replacement/replica SA80/M4/M16 barrels with muzzles identical to existing service rifles. I'm very happy with surplus or spare barrels from the real thing, or replica ones as long as they are identical to the real thing with a 5.56mm bore. My interest is in the first few inches or so of the barrel.

    Are the muzzles of these three service rifles basically identical? IOW same flash suppressor dimensions, etc.

    Can you guys point me in the direction of someone who can sell these to me?

    If I wanted to buy a working 5.56x45mm firearm with the same muzzle as a SA80/M4/M16, am I better off in terms of availability and price to get any 5.56x45mm bolt action rifle and replace the barrel, or to look for a SA80/M4/M16 with the gas operation removed to be compliant with UK firearms legislation?

  2. Rifle grenades much?
  3. Something along those lines :)

    Tested successfully with a 5.56x45mm hunting rifle.

    2nd product for my company soon! This one hopefully has a larger market than reactive shaped charges.
  4. It's a standard NATO flash hider, n'est pas? For the very purpose of fitting rifle grenades. There must be a STANAG or similar somewhere to define it. 22mm diameter is referenced a fair bit.
  5. Presumably to do any non target paper shooting testing on it I must be allowed to use the rifle for hunting and not target shooting purposes.

    What are the odds of me getting a hunting permit if I live in a suburb of a city without any sizeable land of my own to hunt on?

    If I found a willing farmer with a few hundred acres of land who was willing to let me hunt on his land, will that be OK?
  6. Eeeere, Boff - PM sent
  7. It doesn't sound like your idea of expanding ammunition will match the Police expectations of the same!
  8. Do you have any suggestions on how I can test 5.56x45mm SS109 or even black tip ammo against a target of my choice as a private inventor without loads of dosh to spend?
  9. What you are after is really quite easy. Any rifle in 5.56 (or .223) can easily have its barrel threaded 1/2 x 28 tpi for an M16 style birdcage flash suppressor. Most good gunsmiths do steady business threading rifle barrels for sound suppressors, so this is not a difficult job. An M16 style flash suppressor is only about £15-20.

    As for rifles, you could get an AR15 style straight pull - these are section 1 in the UK. There are plenty of people who supply these. Off the top of my head there is Southern Gun Company, Bradley Arms, North West Custom Parts, Low Mill Ranges and probably quite a few others. Cost is about £900 upwards.

    The other option is to get a bolt action .223, i.e. a heavy barreled Remington 700 and have the barrel threaded. A .223 chamber is not quite the same as a NATO 5.56, but it's close enough that many people shoot surplus 5.56 without any problems, as long as you get one with a 1 in 9 twist barrel. Any gunshop should be able to supply this. Cost is about £650.

    The M4 and the M16 use the same design of flash suppressor. The SA80 is a different, longer design, albeit with the standard 22mm end dimensions. There is actually no STANAG for flash suppressors, but 22mm has become a de-facto industry standard. You should note that many of the SA80s on ops have had their standard flash suppressor replaced with a more effective Vortex flash suppressor. This is a non-standard dimension, so cannot be used to launch rifle grenades.

    If you really want the barrels to be identical in every way, the M4/M16 and SA80 barrels are manufactured by different processes. The M4/M16 barrels are mostly broached whereas the SA80's is hammer forged. Broached AR15 barrels are readily available from the straight pull gunsmiths, but if you want a hammer forged barrel, then the only place that I know that can supply these in the UK is Pete Sarony from Armalon in London, who bought up all the old RO hammer forging plant from Nottingham when it closed.

    As for the FAC, my advice would be to ring up your local Firearms Licensing Dept and be completely honest about what you want to do. Although there is a bit of a postcode lottery, most of them are fairly helpful.
  10. Your best bet is to approach a Registered Firearms Dealer (RFD) who will have access to such firearms. The GTA will be able to point you in the right direction for a suitable rifle barrel etc The Gun Trade Association Ltd.

    You could try and get an FAC for a 'straight pull' version of an AR15 derivative such as M4/M16 for testing purposes. It will depend on how you approach your local firearms licensing dept. However, most people who do testing are RFD's in their own right. Whether one would wish to make you a 'servant' of theirs, for the testing would be up to them.

    I personally wouldn't say I wanted it for hunting when in reality it was for testing. You could become a cropper which would lead to revocation.

    STANAG on flash eliminators: Project X. SA80 Grenade Page. the problem is they are (flash eliminators) are considered component parts, so swapping them etc will be a lot of time, effort and paperwork.

    Become a firearms dealer (RFD) in your own right. £150 for three years. That allows you to test, prove etc the rifle(s) you intend to work on plus you then get the items at trade price.
  11. Thanks for your advice, Gun_Nut.

    That sounds like the best option. I think my first step is to examine a suppressor on a service rifle barrel and assess the best way of attaching my invention to the muzzle. I thought I needed a working barrel to see if barrel damage ensues from using my invention with non-blank cartridges. I did do my first tests at a proper munitions range (that will go unnamed) but there were only a few lanes and I was very self-conscious I was holding up all of them on a club night, doing my tests, going downrange to see what happened, etc.

    And the guy whose rifle was borrowed was very twitchy about damage to his muzzle by the (at the moment) non-standard gun modification.

    Do these guns retain their resale value once my tests with them are complete for me to sell them on?

    Keeping a non-auto AR-15 is like buying a Ferrari with a 1L engine in a country with a national 20mph speed limit. One guy who occasionally comes to my gun club has a cadet version SA80 and I think it must be frustration personified to have a gun you know could do better. If you have it, better to sell it on I think!

    Yeah I tried looking for a STANAG for flash suppressors but drew a blank. Didn't know if I was just not looking for the right thing.

    Nah the barrels were just to inspect for damage and in the unlikely event that the invention needs some length behind the flash suppressor to mechanically fit to. I'm hoping for versatility I can fit it directly to the flash suppressor.

    The last time I contacted my explosives liaison officer for another invention I just got a load of questions about my ID, where I live, etc. and no firm answer on anything. All yes/no questions were referred to the relevant law and the interpretation left to me. The guy wouldn't put down in writing the police interpretation of what the law said.

    I guess they must have ticked the "low risk" box because so far I haven't had any trouble with them.

    But I'll try to do what you suggest.
  12. Really? Where do you live? What ELO questions do you have? COER and MSER have the guidance next to the regulations and they're ACOP's under Health and Safety legislation.
  13. Straight pull AR15s retain their value fairly well. As long as your tests don't bend the barrel, damage the crown or scratch the rifling, you shouldn't have any problem selling it on. The flash hider actually protects the crown fairly well - another benefit of having them on a military rifle.

    Straight pulls are actually a lot better than you might think, especially if you get one with a side cocking handle. They are very accurate and can shoot surprisingly fast. All of the manufacturers listed above will supply them ready fitted with a flash hider.
  14. Please check your PMs in a moment.

    OK thanks that's good to know.

    I'm hoping to get no barrel damage but if I do it is just a matter of tweaking the final design a bit. Not a physical obstacle but an engineering one.
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