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View Full Version : Can't remove tight AR buffer tube


RogueSniper
05-18-2010, 5:23 PM
I'm trying to take the commercial buffer tube off a Colt lower and install my Vltor milspec. It's stuck tight, I can't even budge it. I've got the following tools that I've used:
Guntec USA armorer's AR wrench
Model 1 AR vise block
Hair dryer
Propane torch
Butane microtorch
Open end wrench
Strap wrench (from Sears)

If it's got Loktite on it, then I thought the heat would loosen it up. Has anyone tried the Kroil solvent to loosen up the Loktite? What else could be causing it to bind up and preventing me to loosen up the tube?

diginit
05-18-2010, 5:54 PM
Ouch, Heat should do it, But if you heat only the buffer tube, It will expand in the reciever making it tighter. You would need to heat the reciever on the outside which can discolor or disfigure it. Try the oven with just enough time to warm the reciever and not the tube. Did you use red or blue locktite? I can understand why it has seized. Use blue locktite on the castle nut only next time to keep it from backing off, Not on the reciever to tube connection.
There is another way. But it would involve cutting the tube an inch or so from the reciever. Then cutting a couple of groves on the inside with a hack saw blade to relieve pressure, being careful not to cut the threads in the reciever and spin the tube out.
I wouldn't recommend this unless you have done it before.

If you have a vise block, slide a 3' piece of pipe (a breaker bar) on the wrench handle to increase the torque. This will give you more power with less effort. Just be careful not to snap the reciever.

CHS
05-18-2010, 6:05 PM
Drill a hole in the body of the tube, then use a screwdriver through that hole as a wrench to get it off.

It's worked for me before.

Noobert
05-18-2010, 6:08 PM
I've used channel lock pliers before to good effect, although it completely destroyed the tube

CHS
05-18-2010, 6:24 PM
I've used channel lock pliers before to good effect, although it completely destroyed the tube

It's a commercial tube. Good riddance :)

RogueSniper
05-18-2010, 8:10 PM
Did you use red or blue locktite? I can understand why it has seized. Use blue locktite on the castle nut only next time to keep it from backing off, Not on the reciever to tube connection.

It's the factory buffer tube. I can't understand why they would put loktite on it?

I've used channel lock pliers before to good effect, although it completely destroyed the tube

It's a commercial tube. Good riddance :)

I'm thinking the same thing, but I don't want to wreck the tube if it isn't going to come off, then I'd be in bigger trouble. I need to find a Heat Gun. What temperature does it take before Red Loktite (worse case scenario) softens? When I removed the Front Pivot screw, there was Red on the threads but it only took a couple of determined minutes of twisting the screwdriver before came off, and it came off pretty easily.

If you have a vise block, slide a 3' piece of pipe (a breaker bar) on the wrench handle to increase the torque. This will give you more power with less effort. Just be careful not to snap the reciever.

I can feel the whole lower torquing when I put pressure on the tube. Damn you, COLT!!!

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b20/TheSpaniard/Joke%20Images%20etc/noooooooo.jpg

kendog4570
05-18-2010, 8:46 PM
Red loctite will release at around 425-450 F. I doubt there is any on a factory tube. The red stuff on the pivot screw is not a thread locker, more like a nylon patch material to keep the parts from vibrating apart.
I use a GI type combo wrench with a 1/2" breaker bar. Secure the lower in a large, solid, well padded vise and apply steady, even force to the bar. Keep a hand on the wrench where it engages the tube to keep it from popping off. Try not to side load or twist the tube away from its axis. Instead of using the mag well block, grab the whole lower in the padded vise (being carfeul not to crush it) and support it at the tube ring area. Dont tighten it in the vise so much as to crush it, just snug it to trap it and support it. You can even fill the trigger well with snug fitting pieces of wood or plastic (Nylon or Delrin) to add support.
Hope this helps.
Ken

CHS
05-18-2010, 9:48 PM
There shouldn't be a commercial tube on a factory Colt.

Someone added it afterward.

RogueSniper
05-18-2010, 10:19 PM
Red loctite will release at around 425-450 F. I doubt there is any on a factory tube. The red stuff on the pivot screw is not a thread locker, more like a nylon patch material to keep the parts from vibrating apart.
I use a GI type combo wrench with a 1/2" breaker bar. Secure the lower in a large, solid, well padded vise and apply steady, even force to the bar. Keep a hand on the wrench where it engages the tube to keep it from popping off. Try not to side load or twist the tube away from its axis. Instead of using the mag well block, grab the whole lower in the padded vise (being carfeul not to crush it) and support it at the tube ring area. Dont tighten it in the vise so much as to crush it, just snug it to trap it and support it. You can even fill the trigger well with snug fitting pieces of wood or plastic (Nylon or Delrin) to add support.
Hope this helps.
Ken

Good advice. I doubt the factory overtorqued the tube. I'll be gentle with it. If it doesn't let go, as a last resort, I'm taking to a gunsmith.

RogueSniper
05-18-2010, 10:21 PM
There shouldn't be a commercial tube on a factory Colt.

Someone added it afterward.

It's original, I'm the first and only owner. I'll put a caliper on it to double check the dimensions. I just want to replace the A2 with a Vltor EMOD.

CHS
05-18-2010, 11:05 PM
It's original, I'm the first and only owner. I'll put a caliper on it to double check the dimensions. I just want to replace the A2 with a Vltor EMOD.

OOOOOOHHH ok.. You said commercial.

Commercial implies a carbine tube. Commercial vs. Milspec.

There's only one A2 tube.

RogueSniper
05-19-2010, 12:02 AM
Really? Didn't know that. I just put bullets in it and shoot it! :D When it stops working, I just grab my secondary and keep shooting until all the bad guys are gone. I just figured it was commercial, being a Colt A2 Target Sporter. I'm still slogging my way through my AR education. :P

ar15barrels
05-20-2010, 10:05 AM
Drill a hole in the body of the tube, then use a screwdriver through that hole as a wrench to get it off.

It's worked for me before.

Savages!

I have never needed more than heat to break loctite and pure leverage on a proper wrench to break a castle nut loose from the staking.

ar15barrels
05-20-2010, 10:07 AM
Really? Didn't know that. I just put bullets in it and shoot it! :D When it stops working, I just grab my secondary and keep shooting until all the bad guys are gone. I just figured it was commercial, being a Colt A2 Target Sporter. I'm still slogging my way through my AR education. :P

You need to specify what TYPE of buffer tube you are working with...

http://ar15barrels.com/tech/stocks.jpg

RogueSniper
05-20-2010, 10:15 AM
You need to specify what TYPE of buffer tube you are working with...

http://ar15barrels.com/tech/stocks.jpg

I have the one on the Left, A2.

ar15barrels
05-20-2010, 10:19 AM
I have the one on the Left, A2.

Then get the reciever bridge up to about 350 degrees with a heat gun or a torch and then use a wrench on the two flats at the rear end of the tube.
Of course this is after you have the stock pulled off the tube.
Don't lose the takedown pin, detent and spring as those will be loose in the lower once the stock slides off!

CHS
05-20-2010, 1:41 PM
I have never needed more than heat to break loctite and pure leverage on a proper wrench to break a castle nut loose from the staking.

A guy brought in a lower with an A2 tube attached that had out-of-spec threads. Rather than back off his wrench when he ran into difficulty installing it, he kept going. The tube was almost a part of the lower, it was so badly in there. It wasn't even threaded more than about half-way in.

We heated it, put some penetrating oil in there, and did everything we possibly could to remove the tube without too much damage. Unfortunately, the guy had already mangled the flats on the end pretty badly, and due to the out-of-spec threads (way too fat), it was stuck on there.

The drill was the only way :)

ar15barrels
05-20-2010, 3:10 PM
A guy brought in a lower with an A2 tube attached that had out-of-spec threads. Rather than back off his wrench when he ran into difficulty installing it, he kept going. The tube was almost a part of the lower, it was so badly in there. It wasn't even threaded more than about half-way in.

We heated it, put some penetrating oil in there, and did everything we possibly could to remove the tube without too much damage. Unfortunately, the guy had already mangled the flats on the end pretty badly, and due to the out-of-spec threads (way too fat), it was stuck on there.

The drill was the only way :)

You guys need a lathe chuck for grabbing round parts.
Even when not attached to a lathe, they are wonderfully handy things.

diginit
05-20-2010, 3:28 PM
The A-2 tube can be harder to remove because of the flange. There will be a tight seal between the flange and the bridge. If it was overtorqued, there could be some gauling of the threads that will make it really hard to remove. Personally, I'd listen to AR-15 Barrels' advice. A VERY knowledgeable CG'er.
Hope to see you a Panoche when you get it fixed!

freonr22
05-20-2010, 3:30 PM
op, I have a heat gun in san jose tommorow if you like, fyi

RogueSniper
05-21-2010, 2:03 PM
I might take you up on that offer. I'm digging around to see if I have heat gun at home. I'll PM you tonight.

diginit
05-24-2010, 9:14 PM
You get out yet?

RogueSniper
05-25-2010, 12:42 AM
Not yet. I just bought a heat gun from Home Depot today. I'm going to clean off any oil residue off the tube and bridge. Then, I'll start low, 200F, on the tube and slowly warm it up toward the buffer threads. I'll try the wrench as it warms up. The heat gun has multiple settings, 200, 500, 750, etc.

I'm going to try it tomorrow morning.

Barabas
05-25-2010, 7:16 AM
What happens when you heat metal? It expands.

Heat the bridge, not the tube.

Put an ice pack on the tube while you heat the bridge if you are feeling frisky.

ar15barrels
05-25-2010, 7:19 AM
What happens when you heat metal? It expands.

Heat the bridge, not the tube.

Put an ice pack on the tube while you heat the bridge if you are feeling frisky.

This.

And get on it hot and fast.
Don't *****foot around with the low settings.
If you heat it slowly, the heat transfers and you get nowhere.
If you heat it fast, you can better concentrate the heat in just the bridge.

RogueSniper
05-25-2010, 11:37 AM
Okay, no more kitty-footing around. The temperature settings on the heat gun (Ryobi) are 200, 500, 800, and 1000. I was trying it this morning. I'll give it another go later this evening.

tacticalcity
05-25-2010, 12:20 PM
Sounds like they used RED LOCTITE. You could end up damaging the lower if you are not careful.

While trying to get a trigger guard out once I snapped the wing off the lower that holds them in place. Man oh man I was I mad at myself. These lowers are more fragile than you might think. I wasn't doing anything unsual, and had the correct tools and wasn't using more force than normal. Than pin just really did not want to come out, and the lower gave out instead.

Point being, make sure you REALLY want that buffer tube off there if it is going to take this much effort, as there is a chance you could ruin your lower in the process. Better to spend the money on a second lower and have two, then have to spend the money anyway because you broke the first one (Colt's can't be replaced if you are in CA).

RogueSniper
05-25-2010, 12:46 PM
Sounds like they used RED LOCTITE. You could end up damaging the lower if you are not careful.

Point being, make sure you REALLY want that buffer tube off there if it is going to take this much effort, as there is a chance you could ruin your lower in the process. Better to spend the money on a second lower and have two, then have to spend the money anyway because you broke the first one (Colt's can't be replaced if you are in CA).

I'm starting to think the same thing. This morning I was using the heat gun at 200F and just heating the tube and bridge. I didn't want to start getting impatient but the bridge just wasn't getting hot enough. I did try the 500F setting for about 5 minutes and kept a constant movement so as not to overheat and mess up the finish or the metal. It was definitely hot to the touch. I tried the AR Wrench but it still wouldn't wiggle. I could hear the vise block squeak from the pressure and I could see the bridge flexing. When I get home tonight was going to try it again. I'm having second thoughts. :confused::(

Maybe it just isn't worth gacking or destroying my RAW just to change out the stock. I'm going to put it back together and keep it original. Time to start shopping for a 80% and start from the beginning.