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Old 06-18-2017, 09:36 PM
hughejass hughejass is offline
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Default Handguard End Cap

What would be the downside of removing the handguard end cap and leaving it off? I notice a definite improvement in accuracy w/out it. I've heard of converting to a free float handguard, but I'm just wondering if it would harm the rifle to leave the endcap off.

I'm sure one downside would be if the rifle was banged around there could be some trouble; but under normal/gentle use, would having no endcap cause any damage?
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:16 PM
tomcatt51 tomcatt51 is offline
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Originally Posted by hughejass View Post
What would be the downside of removing the handguard end cap and leaving it off?
I'm just wondering if it would harm the rifle to leave the endcap off.
Your rifle will be fine with the end cap removed. Free floating forends are a common mod.
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Old 06-22-2017, 07:39 PM
P'cola P'cola is offline
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I noticed accuracy issues with mine while zeroing off a bipod with the end cap installed. Removing the end cap solved the problem, and was fine for several thousand rounds before I ended up changing out the entire handguard.
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:33 PM
hughejass hughejass is offline
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Thanks for your comments. I'm glad the end cap doesn't need to stay on the handguard because leaving it off really tightens up the groups.

I know the 15-22 isn't designed to be a target rifle, but I'd like it to be as accurate as possible. I could use all the help I can get when it comes to accuracy.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:22 AM
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wood714 wood714 is offline
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I'm most confused. Why would the end cap have anything to do with accuracy?

I've got them on 2 of my AR's and they don't even touch the barrel.

This one is on a 7.5" 556 upper.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:14 AM
sithlord sithlord is offline
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On the 15-22, the endcap MAY come in contact with the barrel when a bipod is added. It also may not allow the barrel to FLEX as much when actually shooting, which will alter the barrel whip, and absolutely can contribute to accuracy via a point of impact shift.

However, since one often isn't shooting 'match' 22lr ammo, and the firearm is 2-4 MOA anyways, it's really hard to say that the endcap would have (or not have) a significant impact on accuracy. Some people just 'believe' that it causes issues. The bottom line is that if it impacts your accuracy (or perception of it), then feel free to remove it.

In Wood714's picture above, the endcap is not just decorative; on a direct impingement firearm such as the AR-15, the gas tube and block need to be aligned correctly. The gas tube fits into the top hole in the endcap, and assists in keeping it aligned into the upper receiver. Since the 15-22 is a blow-back action, the endcap serves only decorative purposes (although I guess if you are dragging it through the mud, it might let a little less mud inside the handguard).

Remember to CLAMP THE BARREL when removing the flash hider (necessary to remove the endcap). Failure to do so on the 15-22 can result in upper receiver damage.

Last edited by sithlord; 08-05-2017 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:06 PM
bamashooter bamashooter is online now
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The gap is so tight on the 15-22 I can see where solid contact would occur with the barrel using a bipod or rest. Especially leaning into the rifle. Does is really matter? No idea. Those experiencing improved groups and accuracy, I take their word for it.

I chose not to use my drill press. Being a bit ocd, I put a stepped bit in my little vise and with firm / even (but not stupid firm) pressure, rotated the endcap. What ever step I started with, I went one bigger which appears to have given me a 1/32" gap. Calipers would say different but it's extremely close to 1/32". Had the wife hold a mirror out front while I rested the handguard on the back of the couch with what felt like my normal (pretty much none / just the weight of the rifle) firing dynamics are. I saw no movement of the handguard in that static position. I then did the same resting the barrel with same results.

Firing the weapon could produce different results but I don't believe there's any contact between barrel and handguard. The thing's darn accurate out to 50 meters. Haven't fired enough beyond that to comment.

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Old 08-06-2017, 01:24 PM
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The end cap is purely decorative.
The barrel free floats from the barrel nut, which is way back at the chamber.
The plastic hand guard flexes and can allow the end cap to touch the barrel. That messes up consistency.
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacticool22 View Post
The end cap is purely decorative.
The barrel free floats from the barrel nut, which is way back at the chamber.
The plastic hand guard flexes and can allow the end cap to touch the barrel. That messes up consistency.
I did notice if I firmly grip the handguard and grasp and "move" the barrel, I can make the barrel touch the inner ring of the end cap. Surely I'm only bending the handguard?
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