I previously wrote about what I thought would make an excellent rural patrol rifle. Since then I have made some updates to mine that I thought might be interesting to some of you.
My first alteration to the rifle after I got it was to remove the barrel and have it threaded for a Silencerco Trifecta mount for my Silencerco Saker. I took this to a gunsmith friend of mine and he had it done in under an hour. We discussed fluting the barrel, but he did not figure there would be enough gained to justify doing it.
My next upgrade was to mount some rails to the carbon fiber forend. Had this been aluminum then this would have been a very simple task, but as I learned carbon fiber is not the same animal as aluminum.
Before I started I did research on how to drill through carbon fiber and I learned that a brad point drill bit is preferred because it makes a cleaner hole then a normal drill bit. I needed to drill 1/8 inch holes to bolt the rails on, and I wanted to drill about a dozen half inch holes along the top of it for ventilation. I was thinking about something similar to the PRI carbon fiber handguards
The eighth inch holes drilled fine and I didn’t have any issues with those, but the half inch holes are another story. With carbon fiber, you have to press very gently as you drill so you do not blow out the back side of the carbon fiber. I found with my first half inch hole that I could not drill gently enough to keep from blowing out the back.
So after my first hole I decided the ventilation holes were not that important, and I filled the hole with epoxy and sanded it smooth. I also smeared some epoxy on the backside to help strengthen it.
The rails that I used are a variety of different lengths of polymer Picatinny rails. The bottom side of these rails are designed to be mounted to a flat surface so I had to modify them to fit the curved surface of my handguard.
To do this I took a chunk of inch and a half PVC and using some sandpaper slowly sanded the back of the rails until they had a curve that matched my hand guard.
A trick I found to helping do this was to use a rail mounted accessory like a grip to help hold the rail while I sanded it.
When I was ready to begin mounting the rails, I lightly sanded the entire handguard to get rid of the glossy sheen it had. I then used more epoxy and smeared it along the back of the rails before I bolted them to the handguard. I wanted to make sure that these were as strong as I could make them.
I let the handguard set for two days to cure, and then mounted it back to the rifle using blue Loctite. DPMS uses red Loctite on everything from the factory, and it is an SOB to get loose. It takes a lot of patience, and a lot of heat. If this handguard had a set screw to tighten into the barrel nut I wouldn’t have used loctite at all, but since it only has a locknut I thought it couldn’t hurt.
I would not recommend this method of mounting rails if you are planning on mounting some sort of optics or other precision instrument. The only things I’m worried about mounting are a light if needed, a bipod , a sling and maybe some backup sights. I think I mounted the top rail good enough to be able to sight in some folding sights for closer ranges.
The next modification was simply to paint it. I used to use Cerakote type c on all my firearms, but I found the prep work is just too much for the time I have available so I just use Krylon. The nice part about Cerakote is the different colors that are available and it does last really well where Krylon is only limited to a few colors and wears somewhat easily. Of course it’s very easy to touch up as well.
I started out by masking all the parts of the gun that I didn’t want to paint, including the optics and turrets and the muzzle. Other than that it was free game. I then removed the scope mount with the scope in it and degreased the outside of it with some denatured alcohol.
Once this was dry, I painted the bottom side of the scope and the mount with some khaki paint since that would be a hard place to reach when it was mounted on the gun. When your painting you always start with the hardest places to reach first, that way you don’t get the whole thing 99% done, and see you missed a spot and end up causing a run trying to get it. After that was dry I re-mounted it to the rifle to paint the rest.
I prefer to leave everything mounted on the gun while I paint because I feel it blends better. Once I was done masking, I took a can of brake cleaner and sprayed the gun down holding it up by the muzzle and letting the brake cleaner run down and off the gun. I repeated this step a few times to get all the oils off before I painted.
I started with the darker of the two colors, which is a medium colored brown spray paint that was sold under the Remington name that I got a while back. I like to start with the dark colors first so if I accidentally put too much on I can cover some of it up with a lighter color. Now when you’re painting don’t forget accessories like scope caps, especially the inside, and bipods and magazines.
I’ll give you my two cents on camouflaging a weapon. A lot of people, including myself, are always worried about what pattern to use. You can find thousands of discussions on which pattern is better. All I can say is some patterns look cool up close, but cool up close isn’t what we’re going for. We’re going for invisible.
Now the first idea you should probably get used to is that your not going to make your gun invisible by just painting it. Painting is the base to your camouflage. So what we want to do here is break up the general outline of the rifle with natural, non contrasting colors. By non-contrasting I mean non-contrasting with your environment.
You also want to avoid darker colors because at distance the human eye tends to blend whatever it sees into one color. That’s why most people would look at a bush at 100 yards and say it is “green”, when in actuality up close it is made up of many different colors and shades of colors. This is why bigger, blotchy patterns blend better than little patterns. So don’t worry about using black, unless your environment has a lot of shadows. It takes a lot of thought and observation to come up with a scheme for your rifle. A little advice I could give is lighter is better. Darker objects tend to jump out at distance to the human eye compared to lighter colored objects. Now obviously you still want to use colors that blend well in your environment, so use your own discretion.
The next time you’re out and about just look around and see what jumps out to you when you look across the terrain. I think you’ll find that areas in shadow or darker colored plants and rocks tend to be more noticeable at first glance than objects that are slightly lighter.
Now that I’m done taking this rifle apart I should be able to finally fine tune the ballistics on it. I’ll build a data book for it and prove the ballistics at longer range. I’ll be sure and write up an article for those too.