Firing-pin retaining pin
Charging-handle latch pin
1/16-inch roll-pin punch
1/16-inch roll-pin holder punch
Brass or plastic hammer Brownells bench block
Prior to doing do, I made a point to disassemble the bolt and add an MGI D-Fender D-Ring beneath the extractor to create greater tension for improved reliability. (The bolt was shipped with gas rings already installed.)
Install the charging handle by placing it in its slot in the receiver. Pull the bolt forward in the carrier, and place the carrier into the receiver so that its gas key rides in the trough on the underside of the charging handle. Make sure the carrier and the charging handle can move in the receiver without any problems. Then take both parts out and set them aside.
Optics sometimes make it hard to reach the charging handle. Since my rifle is destined for hunting, an optic is a definite. Unfortunately, most magnified optics feature large ocular lenses that can get in the way of accessing the charging handle. Fortunately, swapping out the standard charging-handle latch with an extended model, such as Badger Ordnance’s Tactical model is easy, or charging handle is easy.
Start the latch retaining pin in the charging handle. It will help to use a 1/16-inch roll-pin holder punch to start the pin. Place the spring in the charging handle, and insert the latch into its slot. Hold the latch under spring pressure so the holes for the retaining pin are lined up, and tap the pin into place using a 1/16-inch roll-pin punch. Should you have trouble lining up the holes, you can also use a 1/16-inch punch as a slave pin.
A plethora of aftermarket optics-compatible charging handles exist, as well. Being a southpaw shooter as a result of my physical disability, I opted for the ambidextrous design of Ranier Arms’ Raptor. While there may be less-expensive models out there, its large tabs make cycling the bolt a much easier, which is a huge plus as they will undoubtedly offset my reduced motor skills.
In the next entry, we’ll discuss how to install the barrel.