When I first started the DMTR project, my goal was to have an upper to practice with that would closely emulate a M16A2 that I would be issued and compete with at my base’s annual EIC match. I ordered it and the furniture quickly and set out shooting. However, I’ve come to find that I greatly enjoy the smoothness of the 20″ government rifle-gassed barrel. In fact, combined with the Vltor A5 kit on all of my lowers, it may become my all-around favorite AR configuration.
However, I made some trade offs early on in order to start shooting more rather than part hunting. One of those trade offs was using standard plastic handguards rather than free floating. I felt that that at the range I was typically practicing at (25-100 meters), the amount of tension I was putting on the front sling swivel was not enough to dramatically affect the point of impact of the bullet. Now that I’ve been shooting the gun a lot, and want to do more with it, I believe the time has come to install a different handguard system that would allow me to free float the barrel and move my sling attachment to the rail rather than the front sight base. It also gives me more options as far as mounting flashlights, bipods, or anything else that I may rotate on and off as it becomes more my “primary” gun.
The question is, though, what is the most efficient way to do this? I do not have the tools, or know how, to disassemble the upper myself and then properly remount the barrel and FSB. I also don’t trust any of my local gun shops to do the job correctly. I suppose I could send the upper off to Rainier Arms or ADCO, but that is turn around time that Im not entirely convinced I need to put up with. That rules out rails that have propriety barrel nuts.
Another option is to take advantage of a rail that uses the standard barrel nut, and fits behind the rifle FSB. There are a lot of these on the market, but they would at least require removing the FSB. I would prefer not to do that, which means I need to look at the various two-piece options out there.
At this point, I think my top two options are the Centurion Arms C4 or a Daniel Defense Omega. The former is a slightly newer design, but necessitates cutting off the delta ring assembly. The latter can be installed in place with no other modification, but may be a slightly less robust design (at least according to internet “experts”). The weight difference between the two is about one ounce (in favor of the Centurion).
I think I’m leaning towards the Omega. It may be the older design, but a lot of people who are far rougher on rifles than I have beat it up and it continued to function. It also leaves me the possibility of reinstalling the nice MOE handguard for a more “traditional” look.
Here’s a pic of the Omega 12. All the credit belongs to the photography giant of the firearms world, Stickman.