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I was recently asked by a coworker if I could fix an AR he's owned for about 15 years. He purchased it from a pawn shop after the AWB was put in place and claims to put about 8k rnds through it. He said the bolt had been replaced at about 2k rnds due to a broken lug and that's all he's done to it since. He's also not much of a gun enthusiast as he is your typical fudd with an AR in the safe. The rifle saw mostly Wolf steel cased ammo throughout its life (not that this has any bearing on the fact PWA couldn't build an AR to save their life). My coworker said that the rifle started to malfunction a lot the last few times on the range and that it was also literally "falling apart". The rifle suffered a long life of malfunctions and problems here and there from the time he purchased it, but now it couldn't make it through more than a mag or two without issue. I offered to rebuild the rifle and would let him know what parts to order. Upon receiving the rifle, I quickly discovered that there was a big problem (legal wise). The rifle in question was a PWA "Commando" with a 4 digit serial number and an 11.5" barrel and a (what was supposed to be permanently attached) extended XM clone flash hider. The flash hider was canted and the owner claimed he was getting keyholed bullet holes in his targets at 25yds. Upon inspection and a quick twist of the wrist the flash hider threaded right off. I separated the upper and lower at that point to keep everything legal (I have SBR lowers). The owner also claimed he had issues with the mag release, front take down pin, FCG, and receiver extension not staying tight. Shortly after I got it I proceeded to strip the lower.




Upon doing so I found a plastic buffer with what sounds like lead shot inside
, a buffer spring that was compressed about an inch shorter than it should be, a commercial spec receiver extension with galled and stripped threads, buttstock with a broken latch, a magazine catch in some sort of cheap out 3 piece configuration (button, double threaded "stud", and catch), a very worn out FCG that was probably not hardened at all, and a broken front take down pin detent spring. The detent spring proved to be a challenge because this particular lower has no drain hole for the spring channel. At some point moisture corroded the spring and it rusted in half. The half seated deeper in the channel did not want to come out for the life of me. I finally grabbed the smallest drill bit I had and hand turned it until it caught on some of the spring. I was able to extricate it this way and followed up with a good squirt of CLP and used the air chuck to clear the channel out of the remaining debris. Here's the el'cheapo buffer and half of the detent spring.



And the odd 3 pc. mag catch...



I had the rifles owner order a lower build kit and Magpul MOE+ (which he wanted) from PSA, which came in a few days (surprisingly given their black Friday sales). They've gotten a lot better at processing orders this time of year (compared to last year). The kit arrived and all parts dropped into the PWA lower without issue...which let me breath a sigh of relief just based on their level of quality control. The milspec receiver extension was installed without issue, blue Loctite applied to the castle nut, properly torqued, and then staked.

Next problem was to tackle the flash hider issue. I offered to properly drill, blind pin, and weld the flash hider onto the barrel, of which the owner didn't care and stated a reweld job would be fine. Either worked for me, so I cleaned up the previous welds which didn't take much work. The original weld was not done nearly hot enough and chipped right off of the barrel and flash hider. With the flash hider torqued and properly aligned now...it was quick work with the MIG. It was run a little hot to allow the weld to penetrate deep enough. As you can see I'm no professional welder, but it's not going anywhere and didn't damage the barrel. This isn't a show piece, but simply a range blaster. Here is the weld pre clean up and refinishing.



Now that we're all legal again...back together, finished, and ready for the owner to pick up.



No this wasn't as exciting as some of my past builds or the builds others here have done...but it's always nice to help a friend out and keep them out of jail (he wasn't even aware there was a legal issue with the rifle). On top of that, I love wrenching on guns and it gave me something to do for two hours... Nothing like giving life back to an old POS AR-15. It actually functions as it's supposed to now and runs better than it did new out the door from the MFG... Enjoy!
 

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fun project with no cash outlay, and bringing a rifle back to life - win win win

good job
 

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Nicely done Chris!
 
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