First, a video from MidwayUSA. It doesn't show everything, but it is close enough:
There are a few things you MUST have before you do this. For the Hogue tube specifically, you will need a strap wrench because most armorer's wrenches won't be able to reach the gas tube holes, which are in the rear of the barrel nut on this assembly. Second, for ANY work like this, you should have an armorer's block. Mine is a simple piece of machined delrin (plastic). Many of the more complex multi-rail, heat-seeking, quadruple flux capacitor models require a specific torque figure, which will require a very expensive torque wrench, so although this is a fairly straightforward procedure, it might make more sense to buy the parts and have a gunsmith fit it so you don't have to buy all the tools.
And on to some pictures of the finished product:
|With the Vortex Strikefire, it even looks a little 3-gun-ish.|
|There's a gap I'm not wild about, but I'm not hung up on looks.|
|There are the oddly placed gas tube holes. No such holes exist in the front of the nut, so your average free float wrench won't work.|
Although I built this AR with the intent of it being a basic off-the-rack gun, I am now trying to build it into more of a cross between a rugged combat piece, and a polished 3-gun rig. I want my rifle to be good at everything, so here's a list of things to come.
First, next summer (provided the world doesn't end tomorrow) I will invest in a Vortex PST 1-4x30mm scope with 2/10mil adjustments. This piece has a ton of good reviews, and my personal experience with Vortex has been great. The Strikefire may not be the best red dot out there, but it is head and shoulders above ANYTHING under $350. I will probably go with a one-piece mount like a Burris PEPR or something similarly priced.
To finish it off, I'm going with a Geiselle trigger, and I'm not exactly sure which one yet. I'm torn between the Super Dynamic Enhanced and the SSA-E. A good trigger makes your job SO much easier. I am still of the mind that the glass makes more difference than the trigger, but a good trigger will take a lot of pressure off the shooter.
I haven't done a test-fire yet, and probably won't until the 29th thanks to the snowpocalypse, so I don't know yet if the surgery was successful. More updates to come, and probably lots of pictures of holes in paper once the extras are fitted.