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Discussion Starter #1
Have a Imbel receiver M-444 FAL and was looking into removing the Hesse recoil intensifying brake and going back with the original belgian FH....Problem is I'm getting conflicting answers as to how the original brakes were attached. Some say the brake was pinned then welded over in the same way an AK FSB/GB is pinned, left-to-right across the underside of the barrel. Others say that the brake was blind pinned then welded over (??).
Has anyone here actually removed one of the Hesse brakes from an M-444 FAL ?? I was planning on locking it down in the angle vise and using the drill press and depth stop to make sure I didn't go too far and drill into the barrel. I need to know if it was pinned left-to-right or just blind pinned so I can drill in the right spot. I think I've found where the welded part is and it looks like it was pinned and just welded over in the one spot but I would like to know for sure before I start. Thanks..

ETA: already asked over at FALfiles..
 

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If it's pinned and welded you'll see the weld. I've never seen this weld dressed up or turned down. I think you are on to the answer, chuck it up and drill it out. If we are wrong and you don't drill into the barrel nothing is lost, it'll be soldered. All pinned brakes I've seen have been pinned at 6 o'clock.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Most I've seen have been pinned at 6 o'clock too. This is one of the reasons this is throwing me off, the area which has the welded look is at 9 o'clock on the charging handle side. Definitely been machined/ground down to match the rest of the brake, the park didn't take to it as well as the surrounding metal so it looks a bit different and there looks to be a small void in that spot. I'll try to get some pics up....
 

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From what you describe that sounds like the spot. Weird that it'd be at 9 though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
My particular rifle had the muzzle brake spot/plug welded to the barrel in 2 places, 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. One weld could barely be seen and it gave the impression that there was only the one weld so initially I thought it was pinned and then welded. Set it up in the drill press and drilled the weld but couldn't locate the any pin, so back to the drawing board. After searching a bit I came across a few posts saying these were double spot welded. So back to the DP I go....
Set it up in the DP and grabbed the only endmill I own currently and got to work. You can use an endmill in a DP just have to use it like a drill bit and not an endmill, in other words do NOT side load an endmill in a DP the bearings won't take the load and there is the very real chance that the quill will detach from the head and send the chuck, quill, and endmill spinning off thru the garage...Did I mention endmills are VERY SHARP. Locked the 1/2 in. endmill in and set the depth stop on the DP by bringing the endmill down until it touched the top center of the barrel behind the brake, then locked down the depth stop to prevent drilling into the barrel.
Set the speed for about 1300 rpm and started cutting into the brake. Watch closely as the endmill gets close to the final depth of the cut and you'll notice very faint lines of slivers of metal being removed from around the actual weld.


Stopped cutting and grab a small chisel to tap the rear of the brake and get it moving. This has the added benefit of moving some of the metal around the weld further exposing it. Take a dremel and lightly grind the edges of the weld so you can tap the brake off with the punch from the rear of the brake. When done you should be left with two small pimples of weld on either side of the barrel that you can hand file so they contour back into the barrel. The brake on my rifle wasn't screwed onto the muzzle, it was just slid on and welded. With the muzzle threads now exposed you can add whatever muzzle device you want.
 

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Good job. I've learned something today.
 
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