After reading my last article I was contacted by Michael Vickers from Helston Forensics. He linked me a couple articles that he felt my readers and Jonathan Ferguson in particular would be interested in.
The first article is just chock full of interesting tidbits including Sterling AR-18S mods Sterling made, like a longer barrel to increase reliability, SAR-80 info as well as the connection to Mark Westrom, who went on to build the AR180B. Check it out Here.
Also mentioned in the article was the FAC-70. The Foote Automatic Carbine that Sterling considered making before taking on the AR-18/180 from Armalite. Michael sent me a second article that digs deeper into the particular weapon. The original article is Here.
I had never heard of this particular rifle before. I definitely want to learn more. It reminds me of the ARAK-21 line of rifles. I need to build a clone, don’t you think?
Got an email the other day and I knew y’all would be interested in it.
A brand new Sharpshooter kit.
This one is packaged as coming from Timberline Hawk and differs in construction from my example. The hand guard cover is improved by the addition of Velcro to allow it to be removed easily. The butt stock cover is the real pain in the ass to install. If I made a new version of this I would certainly use Velcro for that as well.
Just for fun I am including a pic from the movie Daylight’s End showing a Sharpshooter in use.
The most obvious and interesting thing about serial number 021 AR18S is the hand guard. Lets have a closer look.
The hand guard is made of wood and is the only one I have seen like this. What wasn’t apparent until these auction photos surfaced was that it is made of multiple pieces and different materials.
The upper hand guard is much taller than a traditional AR18 part almost making up the entirety of the hand guard itself. This setup does not use a metal retainer like other 18S models do. No picture are shown of the top but I am going to guess there are vent holes and ribs just like the standard pieces.
The left side shows some damage. The right side has a crack that might turn into a break like this.
The front of the hand guard was the most interesting to me. It looks like a different material was used, possibly fiber board. Hopefully something that can withstand the heat. This piece appears to be pinned and glued to the main hand guard and is retained by a protrusion on the front sight base. we will explore the FSB in another article.
What I can’t be sure about is if this piece is slotted so the hand guard can be removed in a normal fashion or if the front sight base must be removed first and the hand guard slid off the front.
The lower piece looks to be made of yet a different type of material. I’m guessing Micarta.
It is retained at the rear my the lug on the trunion but I can not for the life of me figure out how it is attached at the front. Looking closely at the first picture in this article you can make out ribs cut along the bottom. I first thought it might be held on with a screw into the FSB but I don’t find one.
I welcome any comments about things you see that I have missed.
And if anyone wants to buy this gun and let me inspect and document it for posterity just head over and throw in a bid. I’m staying out of this one.
Work progresses sporadically since I am mostly only able to work on this during the weekends. I formed a thicker front hand guard retainer and tried my hand at silver soldering for the first time. Got a little carried away with the amount of solder but at least the centering sleeve is not gonna come loose.
A quick glass bead to clean it up and off to my tabletop park tank. (stainless bowl from goodwill on a hot plate)
I also modeled up a set of fixtures to hold the front sight base and receiver for drilling and reaming the taper pins. Didn’t quite get it perfect the first time so I adjusted the model and printed another one.
Cut down a set of hand guards and we are almost there. Looking the part now.
Need another flash hider so I better get that modeled up as well.
Having built 5 shorty uppers so far I can say it is getting easier. I’ve worked out the bugs but even now I discover new things. What did I learn this time? I learned that the curves of an original AR180 upper hand guard are different than the AR180B. This is the first time I have cut down an original upper hand guard and now it makes sense why the retainers I have milled out of aluminum do not match pictures I have compared them to.