Fun With Flintlocks

Inexpensive flintlocks are great project guns to learn how to work on a host of gunsmithing tasks. Here’s how to hone your skills with one of the oldest firearm types.

by Paul Mazan
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Gas Tube Alignment Revisited

The never-ending saga continues. Here’s an update on gas tube alignment for AR-15 builds.

by Joe Carlos
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Ruger Revolver Tuning

Ruger’s single-action revolvers have a deserved reputation for reliability but benefit from gunsmith attention. Here’s how to tune them up.

by RK Campbell
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HM Defense HMB Bolt

The AR-15 is America’s longest serving service rifle and has a deserved reputation for performance and reliability. However, as with any machine, parts can fail. While not a particular weak point (10,000 round counts are a reasonable minimum) AR-15 bolts can break. One potential point of failure is the center hole fitting the cam pin.

HM Defense designs, develops, and produces AR rifles and parts that feature a number of their own patent-pending technologies. The company manufactures and final machines rifle components in-house in their Mt. Orab, Ohio facility. To improve bolt longevity, HM Defense designed their HMB Bolt, an enhanced durability part for M16/AR-15 and AR-10 rifles. The HMB Bolt corrects a natural weak point in existing bolts where the cam pin hole passes through. Under extensive use, standard bolts can fail there. The HMB Bolt eliminates the pass-through cam pin hole and replaces it with a socket and tapered pin. This reinforces a natural weak point by significantly increasing the amount of metal and strength at the cam pin location.
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Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield “Consumer Advisory”

Smith & Wesson has launched a “consumer advisory” notice for owners of the M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety pistol, a common concealed-carry sidearm.
“It seems the function of the M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety pistol can be influenced by the type and quality of ammunition used with the pistol,” said Todd Woodard, Editor of Gun Tests Magazine. “Most gun owners realize that’s the case with most firearms.

“In the case of the M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety, however, the company has found ‘that in very rare circumstances,’ ammunition that produces a high level of felt recoil can cause the manual safety to move from the Fire position to the Safe position during firing. That means your Shield unexpectedly might not go bang after it’s fired. That could be very bad for a concealed-carry gun owner who’s depending on the EZ in a self-defense situation.”

Should this occur, a company statement says, “You will not be able to fire the next round unless and until the manual safety is reset to the Fire position.”

So, as of April 4, 2018, Smith has engineered the manual safety so that it will be less susceptible to the influence of ammunition weight, velocity, and loads, Woodard reported.

“Any M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety pistol produced before April 4 is eligible for a no-cost upgrade,” he said.

To determine if this consumer advisory applies to your pistol, please utilize the serial number verification tool on the company’s consumer advisory page. Click here to navigate to that page.

Then, Woodard advised, if your pistol is subject to this fix, call Smith & Wesson at (800) 331-0852 or email them at A FedEx return label and shipping instructions to facilitate the return of your M&P 380 Shield EZ pistol will be mailed to you.

Also, Woodard said it’s worth noting a significant ammunition restriction Smith & Wesson posted in the announcement:



New For 2018

A selection of new tools and parts for gunsmiths.

by American Gunsmith Staff
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Tools Explained

Submitted by John Tate to help all gunsmith professionals.
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