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Thread: Bolt-action AR conversion

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Bolt-action AR conversion

    I hope this is in the right place, I considered factory or military rifles hut seeing as I want to get wierd with it I figured this is better.

    Not to head off the answer I know will come, simply plugging or eliminating the gas port still leaves the issue of the charging handle. Side-charging uppers are an option, but I'm looking for a more ergonomic solution for both bench and standing. What I'm looking to emulate is the British straight-pull ARs as offered by Lanner Tactical and the like. Image for edification:



    I'd buy from Lanner iff'nit weren't for the pesky pond betwixt us and them and the ITAR import/export woes. So, I'm looking for suggestions on who I might contact for such a conversion on my own rifles, alleviating the need for silly things like whether a load will cycle the gas system or not.

    My other option is to sell a bunch of rifles and whatnot and buy a ReVolt or Ruger Precision Rifle, but I'd rather maintain the LEGO-ability of the AR.
    Last edited by HATCH; 12-30-2017 at 04:19 PM. Reason: corrected link

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    What about a pump action as mentioned on another thread hereabouts? Quicker for repeat shots. Don't know if the one mentioned recently has a proper disconnector, that would be important.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ulav8r View Post
    What about a pump action as mentioned on another thread hereabouts? Quicker for repeat shots. Don't know if the one mentioned recently has a proper disconnector, that would be important.
    I looked at the PAR and similar. I'd jump on a 1715 or the .308 counterpart given the chance, but pumps are a pain to shoot prone or benched.

  4. #4
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    If I read your post correctly... Your end goal is to avoid, "silly things like whether a load will cycle the gas system or not." I think the simplest route would be a side pull charging handle style bolt/upper combined with an adjustable gas block. You can easily close the gas block all the way and in effect you will have just a straight pull bolt action. Once you work up a good load, or the novelty of a straight pull bolt action on a semi-auto platform wears off you can easily open the gas block up until the load reliably cycles the action.

    To me, the AR grip style and magazine are the awkward part of shooting an AR from the bench. You might look into some of those CA approved stocks that eliminate the pistol grip feature.

    Are you sticking with standard AR calibers such as 223/5.56? Or did you have longer more exotic calibers in mind?
    Last edited by 2ndAmendmentNut; 10-12-2017 at 10:09 AM.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndAmendmentNut View Post
    If I read your post correctly... Your end goal is to avoid, "silly things like whether a load will cycle the gas system or not." I think the simplest route would be a side pull charging handle style bolt/upper combined with an adjustable gas block. You can easily close the gas block all the way and in effect you will have just a straight pull bolt action. Once you work up a good load, or the novelty of a straight pull bolt action on a semi-auto platform wears off you can easily open the gas block up until the load reliably cycles the action.

    To me, the AR grip style and magazine are the awkward part of shooting an AR from the bench. You might look into some of those CA approved stocks that eliminate the pistol grip feature.

    Are you sticking with standard AR calibers such as 223/5.56? Or did you have longer more exotic calibers in mind?
    I'm looking for bench, prone, and standing. Calibers right now are .223 and .300blk. the reach on a side-charger is a bit long to shoot standing without breaking cheek weld. A left-side or ambi side-charger is an option, but a last resort.

    I'll be disabling the gas system entirely, no gas port at all. Makes inter-state and international portability easier. My big qualm with the ReVolt platform is that I can't easily rebarrel to something like a .357MAX-AR or .458 if I feel like putzing around.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have seen several AR Flat tops converted to side handles for NRA High power years ago. Most had a 5/16 slot milled back from the ejection port and a 1/4 28 hole tapped in the bolt carrier. They used a 1/4X28 allen head bolt for the handle. One issue with this conversion is the force a straight pull takes to unlock the bolt with the existing cam in the carrier with the pull coming from the side and not straight back. Maybe a slot milled in the bolt carrier and the Bolt handle attached to the actual bolt so it could be unlocked with a short raising of the bolt handle. This would possibly require modifying the bolt with a longer stem and bearing surface also. It will require mods to bolt carrier and uppers though, and possibly the back of the bolt itself.

  7. #7
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    David Tubb used a Bolt Upper he built years ago before he developed his Tubb 2000 xc rifle. I'm sure others have been done, but the easy button would be to buy a Ruger Precision rifle or a savage if you want a modular switch barrel rifle.
    The ruger can be re barreled with ar 15 tooling, uses ar15 handquards, buttstocks, and several companies are making aftermarket barrels for them. The only downside is the triggers on some are kind of creepy, but they have aftermarket triggers and the factory can be improved with stoning in the right place.
    I don't think a side charging ar 15 as used in Highpower would work for you. Without the gas, the bolt will not extract the fired case from the chamber, youll have to do the "pogo stick" on each shot. Pulling back on the handle will not cam the case out, and in fact will usually result in a broken charging handle as the threads are quite thin in the bolt.
    I have built a few, and always carried extra handles as I have seen too many of the broken on the line.
    They strictly came into being to allow the use of adjustable height cheekpieces as they would interfere with the charging handle, they offer no practical benfit than that.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by akajun View Post
    David Tubb used a Bolt Upper he built years ago before he developed his Tubb 2000 xc rifle. I'm sure others have been done, but the easy button would be to buy a Ruger Precision rifle or a savage if you want a modular switch barrel rifle.
    The ruger can be re barreled with ar 15 tooling, uses ar15 handquards, buttstocks, and several companies are making aftermarket barrels for them. The only downside is the triggers on some are kind of creepy, but they have aftermarket triggers and the factory can be improved with stoning in the right place.
    I don't think a side charging ar 15 as used in Highpower would work for you. Without the gas, the bolt will not extract the fired case from the chamber, youll have to do the "pogo stick" on each shot. Pulling back on the handle will not cam the case out, and in fact will usually result in a broken charging handle as the threads are quite thin in the bolt.
    I have built a few, and always carried extra handles as I have seen too many of the broken on the line.
    They strictly came into being to allow the use of adjustable height cheekpieces as they would interfere with the charging handle, they offer no practical benfit than that.
    I agree an RPR or Bergara would be ideal, I just need to find one in a .223/5.56 to complement the .308 in the safe. I'll continue selling stuff and see if I can find one.

    I'm still going to pursue the project. The cost is less an issue than the 8+ months to register the new gun as an SBR. We'll see I guess.

  9. #9
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    Update: I found a couple shops that offer turn-bolt uppers for standard lowers in AR10 and AR15 pattern. Downside, they cost about $1500 for he complete upper. I'm laying aside some money for a couple suppressors to be rebuilt, and then I'm going to experiment with a side-charger upper and adjustable gas block to see if it gets the results I want without (effectively) paying more for an upper than if I just bought a complete RPR.

  10. #10
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    try a devil dogs concepts side charging conversion, its cheaper than getting a side charging upper and bolt carrier assy and works really well

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacomdiver View Post
    try a devil dogs concepts side charging conversion, its cheaper than getting a side charging upper and bolt carrier assy and works really well
    I looked at it, but I'm concerned about bolt drag, and I would still need to be off my cheek weld when cycling.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I have built two AR uppers with side charger setups. One is my 6.5 Grendel, the other is my 204 Ruger. Both work very well for what I do, targets and varmints mostly. The biggest reason I went with manually operated for these two is the cost of the brass... Grendel brass is pricey! Oh, and to close off the gas port, just install the gas block the wrong way around... the set screw dimples lined up just fine, but the port is closed, yet can be easily reversed down the road if I want it. Oh, and there's obviously no gas tube on either upper.

    That's what I did, and it's been working well for me.

  13. #13
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    I can see where this type of action would appeal to a varmint shooter. And being one, I might consider getting one myself.
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  14. #14
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    I don't see why one couldn't drill and tap a bolt carrier for a handle and cut a slot in the upper receiver to match. Or just get a side charging upper and or bolt carrier too.
    I got a side charging setup for my new 6.5 Grendel to try out and I was quite impressed with it. I can see using a straight pull like the British are doing already. I like the side charger setup as the charging handle doesn't work with a cheek rest and it is difficult to use the handle with a large scope in the way.

  15. #15
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    Side Charger with an Adjustable Gas Block you can shut off is the way to go. You get best of both worlds as you can run the gun Manually or Semi Auto.

    I have a Fight-Light SCR that has a 16" PSA upper on it. I am planning a 24" Side Charger Upper for it for long range shooting. This gun deserves it.

    I want to be able to manually run the gun like I do with my Garand with it's Adj GB, so when shooting prone slow fire I don't have to chase empties.

    With a 6.5 anything, the cost of cases alone would dictate manual operation.

    I even bought a 2 gun case for this gun for when the longer upper arrives.

    My .02

    Randy
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Interesting.
    I didn't see it in .308 AR10.
    That would make it something I'd be interested in.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Usually you can put the gas block on backwards and it will block off the gas port. Then it is easy to convert it back if you decide you don't like it or something.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by abunaitoo View Post
    Interesting.
    I didn't see it in .308 AR10.
    That would make it something I'd be interested in.
    Why? You can take anything in HI with a .223 with 75-80 gr bullets. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot Goats or Pigs or Fallow Deer with a .223 loaded like that.

    Also I just found this yesterday and it is a simple solution to the side charging problem without having to use a special upper receiver or altering the gun in any way. https://devildogconcepts.com/

    Randy
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  19. #19
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    I need to get one of them, would be perfect for my reduced power loads that won't cycle an AR

    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    Why? You can take anything in HI with a .223 with 75-80 gr bullets. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot Goats or Pigs or Fallow Deer with a .223 loaded like that.

    Also I just found this yesterday and it is a simple solution to the side charging problem without having to use a special upper receiver or altering the gun in any way. https://devildogconcepts.com/

    Randy

  20. #20
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    Well I got mine in yesterday and mounted it and got to play with it. I removed my Sight so I'll have to re-sight the gun in.

    The thing is really well made and works very nicely. I have to figure out how to lock the bolt back somehow on the SCR however on my AR which has a BAD Lever it would be no sweat.

    It will do exactly what I want for single loading with the gas block shut off.

    Here's a pic.

    Randy
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check