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How do I remove the handguard from the Varminter / Predator rifle?

Overview

Follow the steps below to remove the handguard from the Varminter or Predator rifle.

Note:

With all free floating handguards it is not recommended to remove the handguard for cleaning unless absolutely necessary and definitely not without the proper equipment so that it can be reinstalled correctly.  

 

If you feel it is necessary to remove the handguard for cleaning, follow the steps below to remove the handguard from the Varminter or Predator rifle.

Handguard Removal:

To remove the forward tube the upper receiver is placed in an Armorer's Action Clamp in a vise. A strap wrench is used to loosen the forward tube. It is a right hand thread so it comes off counter clockwise. After it is loose it can be unscrewed from the barrel nut.

 

Handguard Installation:

The Varminter/Predator three piece handguard is installed by placing the upper receiver in an Armorer's Action Clamp in a vise. The barrel nut threads are lubed with Tetra Grease and the nut installed with an Armorer's Wrench to 32 to 45 ft lbs until the nut lines up with one of the holes in it and the upper receiver for the gas tube. The locking ring is turned on all the way on and the forward tube is threaded onto the barrel nut. To index the tube it is backed off to about 45 degrees from the slots and the bipod stud lining up. The locking ring is turned until it contacts the tube. A strap wrench is then used to tighten and align the tube onto the locking ring. The gas block or front sight base with gas tube is then installed.

 

Gas Block Removal and Installation:

The older Varminter/Predator gas block is held on with # 680 High Strength Sleeve and Bearing Loctite. To remove it the gas block needs to be heated with a propane torch until the Loctite softens then it can be tapped off with a plastic mallet. To reinstall the gas block all traces of the old Loctite must be removed or the new Loctite will "freeze" instantly before it can be indexed with the witness mark on the bottom of the barrel. The barrel and gas block should be cleaned with denatured alcohol before installing. Slip the gas block with gas tube installed onto the barrel. With the gas block on the barrel about 1/2" before the final position apply the Loctite around the barrel in the two places where the bands of the gas block fit. With the receiver upside down slip it in position and line up the witness mark on the bottom of the barrel to the hole in the bottom of the gas block. Wipe off excess Loctite with a patch dipped in the alcohol. Let it sit overnight to cure.

 

New Varminter/Predator barrels use a gas block held on with two set screws and no Loctite so they are easier to remove or install with a 7/64" allen wrench. To remove the forward tube the upper receiver is placed in an Armorer's Action Clamp in a vise. A strap wrench is used to loosen the forward tube. It is a right hand thread so it comes off counter clockwise. After it is loose it can be unscrewed from the barrel nut. To reinstall the forward tube the locking ring is turned on all the way to the rear of the barrel nut and the forward tube is threaded onto the barrel nut as far as it will go. To index the tube it is backed off to about 45 degrees from the slots and the bipod stud lining up. The locking ring is turned out until it contacts the tube. A strap wrench is then used to tighten and align the tube onto the locking ring.

 

Like all free floating handguards it is not recommended to remove the handguard for cleaning unless absolutely necessary and definitely not without the proper equipment so that it can be reinstalled correctly.

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