Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Been out of the AR realm for about a decade and decided it was time to get back into it while the prices and availability were right. I also wanted to build my own so I sourced all my parts from about a half dozen different online vendors to get it built just how I wanted it and for the price I wanted. This journey led me to Brownells for a lightweight BCG at what seemed like a decent deal and I liked the weight it had versus many other lightweight BCGs along with the overall design.

    BCG #1 came missing the ejector, spring and roll pin so I called and had a new one sent out to replace it since they couldn't just send me the missing parts. Easy enough, although this "complete" BCG was apparently inspected before shipping. This was the TiN finish LWBCG.

    BCG #2 was also a TiN finish example but looked like they kicked it around the shop and slapped in whatever parts they had laying around before sending it out. There were scratches, scuffs and gouges all over this thing, although not crazy important in something that is going to be scratched up during use it was still annoying considering this was supposed to be new and the ejector in this one was not a matching finish. So I get another return label and figured why not.

    BCG #3 was a slight departure from the first two, went with a nickel boron finish instead. When it got here it looked great and I thought finally, I can get the upper completed but not before one more step. Took the barreled upper and the new BCG to a local fun shop to check the headspace before I called it complete and lo and behold it eats it. Had to mortar it out and the gunsmith wasn't too happy about the skinned knuckles! We tried a mil spec BCG to see if it was the chamber or not and it passed the no go gauge. So I'll be sending Brownells garbage back and won't be ordering another replacement.

    TL;DR...
    What I learned from all of this is first never buy a Brownells LWBCG and second I will ALWAYS check headspace going forward. Figured I should probably do it in this case but glad I did and didn't decide to skip it before shooting. Also, I'd like to slap the guy who called these things Lego, I've had nothing but problems trying to get this completed including missing parts from a PSA parts kit but that's another rant for another time.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
    μολ ν λαβέ
    What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Brownell's sells thousands of parts, so I'm sure they aren't inspecting every item that's received. Most companies out source and Brownell's is no different.

    I personally wouldn't have given them three tries, but that's just me. I've worked for Streamlight and will tell you they have accepted parts they knew were defective...but they built many flashlights with those defective parts.

    I'm not saying this was the case with Brownell's.

    I've never personally checked headspacing on AR's and I've built a lot of them over the years. You can get defective items from anywhere, so give them a break and don't put any company on a pedestal.

    I've had my own run of "bad luck" with firearms related projects, so I feel your pain. The great news is that there are so many companies offering AR parts and it's the "salad days" in terms of pricing.

    BTW, I also wouldn't pay a gunsmith for anything AR related, but once again that's just me.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    I hear ya. I was still waiting on other parts to come in while sorting out the issues with the first and second BCG so it wasn't like I needed it right away so I figured why not try to get it right.

    I wonder who makes these Brownells branded BCGs.

    As far as the gunsmith comment, did you mean you wouldn't have paid to have a headspace checked? They only asked for 15 bucks for their time so I felt it was fair. And I was concerned about them mortaring my new build initially but this one isn't meant for safe duty and figured the hell with it, if it can't survive that then it can't survive being dropped either and I'd rather know now than when I'd need it I guess.

    It did kind of irritate me a little though tbh haha.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
    μολ ν λαβέ
    What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Sorry to hear about the troubles.

    I've ordered a lot from Brownells in the past and never an issue.

    That being said I also stay away from anything that's not "milspec" when it comes to the bolt carrier. Chances are that's what is going to take a dump and as well as the brunt of the abuse in the rifle.

    I also check the headspace of all my rifles factory or home build because why take the chance for the cost of a $30.00 gauge and 5 minutes of work. With the current influx of rock bottom parts coming from all over something tends to give sooner or later and that's typically QC.
    Last edited by Hodgie; March 12th, 2019 at 10:36 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Be careful when you see the term "mil spec" thrown around by makers.
    "Mil spec" is an advertising term and means nothing. The implication is, the part or rifle in question conforms to the military technical data package- which it does not, unless it's been inspected and accepted by the military. In which case, it's stolen government property.

    If you are going to twist together your own AR it pays to buy the best parts you can afford. If you want to bake a good cake, you use the best ingredients, no?
    BTW, I always check the headspace on barrel and upper configurations. It's rare given the number of makers out there but every now and them I run into parts that are off dimension enough to swallow no go gauges.
    Crusader's local #556 South Central Asia chapter

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by cdi View Post
    Be careful when you see the term "mil spec" thrown around by makers.
    "Mil spec" is an advertising term and means nothing. The implication is, the part or rifle in question conforms to the military technical data package- which it does not, unless it's been inspected and accepted by the military. In which case, it's stolen government property.

    If you are going to twist together your own AR it pays to buy the best parts you can afford. If you want to bake a good cake, you use the best ingredients, no?
    BTW, I always check the headspace on barrel and upper configurations. It's rare given the number of makers out there but every now and them I run into parts that are off dimension enough to swallow no go gauges.
    I understand what milspec is that’s why I put it in quotes. For me it’s more of sticking as close to the original design as possible so a full auto M16 carrier is the way to go that uses the same materials as the milspec design calls for.
    Last edited by Hodgie; March 13th, 2019 at 08:21 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Adding to my Brownells rant it seems that they screen their reviews as well. I left a 1 star review for the TiN BCG that never appeared and tried leaving a review about the out of spec NiB BCG and their website won't allow me to enter it. It has a button to preview the rating but never allows me to enter it.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
    μολ ν λαβέ
    What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Gixxer View Post
    Adding to my Brownells rant it seems that they screen their reviews as well. I left a 1 star review for the TiN BCG that never appeared and tried leaving a review about the out of spec NiB BCG and their website won't allow me to enter it. It has a button to preview the rating but never allows me to enter it.
    That I don't like at all.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Hodgie View Post
    That I don't like at all.
    To be fair, every time I've called their customer service they gave me no issues at all. If it weren't for the Brownells markings all over the packaging and the inability to leave reviews about all this on their website I'd probably not be as disappointed.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
    μολ ν λαβέ
    What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A Headspace Lesson and a Brownells Rant/Experience

    Did my research and when done right milspec is by milspec's
    https://www.joeboboutfitters.com/Too...oauto-010m.htm

    runs slick as snot and no prob with my White Oak Arms NM BBL.
    TriggerTime LLc 01/02 FFL "Range Rosco"

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