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Aluminum AR barrel nut?

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  • Aluminum AR barrel nut?

    I bought a Yankee Hill slim free float key mod forearm and was surprised that the replacement barrel nut is made of aluminum. My first impulse is how can the barrel be properly torqued using a soft aluminum nut? Should I send this back and look for something else?
    "some people never let their given word interfere if something they want comes along"
    The real problem with the world are laws preventing culling.

  • #2
    Re: Aluminum AR barrel nut?

    No. The receiver it's threading on to is AL & you're not worried about torquing down a steel nut on that. Same thing.

    Many rails come with the long AL barrel nut threaded at both ends. You will tear up the 3 prongs on the back side of your [steel] armorer's wrench before getting those threads to break. I would use anti-seize in that application though to prevent galling. Better than heavy oil most commonly used since you have similar metals in contact. Just a little - that stuff is messy.
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.<br /><br />-- Benjamin Franklin

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    • #3
      Re: Aluminum AR barrel nut?

      The only wrench I have is an original USGI three prong, I've hair lipped a few steel nuts with it trying to full torque barrels, even more often removing barrels that have been in place for years. Is 30 ft pounds actually enough? Thanks for the anti-sieze tip, I've always used white lithium in the past.
      "some people never let their given word interfere if something they want comes along"
      The real problem with the world are laws preventing culling.

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      • #4
        Re: Aluminum AR barrel nut?

        No, 30 lbs is not enough. 35 is min spec. You can lube the threads & run the nut on/off 2-3 times to 30 lbs to help mate the threads, but then 35 lbs is min. 80 max. I'll shim to get right around 50 lbs. I want to be able to disassemble in the future w/o having to go ape but still want to be far enough above min that I'm not worrying about my non-calibrated torque wrench being a little off. Surprising how much alignment difference you get on the holes with just a .003" shim. To look at it you'd think it's so thin that it won't do anything, but can make the difference in lining up the hole perfectly at the torque you want or else needing to be at an extreme end of the torque range to make it work.
        They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.<br /><br />-- Benjamin Franklin

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        • #5
          Re: Aluminum AR barrel nut?

          So, I need to get some shims then before I go further. I intend on using the sight base, cut down as opposed the using a low profile gas block, I don't want to be bothered with it loosening on its on. One other thing that bothers me is how easy aluminum gets nicks and wear spots, an all aluminum handguard is going to be something different for me.
          "some people never let their given word interfere if something they want comes along"
          The real problem with the world are laws preventing culling.

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          • #6
            Re: Aluminum AR barrel nut?

            Not necessarily. That's why the torque spec is so broad - so you can line up the holes. Otherwise it would be a set # like "45 ft lbs" and everyone would shim to achieve that number. There's a decent amount of 'hole movement' over just 20 lbs of torque. Watch your wrench when lining up & you'll notice it. But sometimes it just won't line up unless you are at one extreme end or the other. Most (bubbas) in that situation will just take a cheater pipe & over-torque. I can't think of any problems an over-torqued barrel nut would cause (within reason) other than the risk of damage and a much harder disassembly someday. The anti-seize will really help in that situation because it will allow more torque before galling.

            The absolute easiest way is to just have several barrel nuts. If one doesn't line up close to the torque you want, just swap for another. OR just stay in the range - it's uncommon to NOT be able to line up somewhere between 35-80, but it does happen. What problem are you having? Only lining up at 30 lbs & not again at 80? Before buying shims (& waiting on delivery) I would put some flitz or rouge on the threads and keep torquing the barrel nut to 70 lbs & loosening. Wear away some of the anodizing. Clean well, apply a little anti-seize, and see if if you aren't where you want to be. If a lot closer but still not there, try again. Just do that 2-3 times & check - it won't take much. The only reason I have shims is because I build a lot of ARs - I wouldn't suggest someone keep them on hand if they're only going to build a handful of rifles. You can always make what you have work - I just prefer to go faster since I'm already spending a lot of time on a rifle I build. Wherever I can save some time I do so.

            If you use anti-seize, go very sparingly with it. If you think you have enough on there, you probably have way too much Won't hurt anything, but will ooze out every time you go shooting & that stuff is extremely messy.
            They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.<br /><br />-- Benjamin Franklin

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