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FWIW, the op rod does not appear to be bent and the guide does not appear misaligned).
Well, unless the piston/cylinder is out of whack either because of barrel timing or the splines/keys/whatever that position the cylinder on the barrel is out of whack (could be, don't know), you know that one or both of them has something going on.

It may be as simple as whacking the operating rod guide over a little bit with a mallet, if it hasn't already been loctited or otherwise secured. You can look down the line of the operating rod spring guide base to the cylinder and see how the guide lines up to see if you're going to be whacking it towards or out of center. If you're knocking it towards center, and it frees up your movement, maybe pull it apart, loctite it in place with the red, get that center pin through, let it set, and then go enjoy your rifle.

If the operating rod guide won't budge, you might need some heat to get it free, though I've never done that, and don't know if you have to worry about screwing up anything with too much heat, so I would consult further with somebody experienced with it, and if I didn't feel comfortable doing it, consider sending it to Bula, getting Jeff's attention that it's coming before you send it.
 

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Lots of used USGI oprods show an off center wear spot on the face of the tube. The important thing is to have the tab cycle smoothly. If that means an off center tube, so be it.
Kurt-
It's a brand new rifle. The op rod wasn't straightened correctly from heat treat.
 

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Was the tilt test performed with the barreled action in the stock or was it just the barreled action alone?

John
 

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If the operating rod guide won't budge, you might need some heat to get it free, though I've never done that, and don't know if you have to worry about screwing up anything with too much heat, so I would consult further with somebody experienced with it, and if I didn't feel comfortable doing it, consider sending it to Bula, getting Jeff's attention that it's coming before you send it.


Its a new rifle, it has a warranty right? Contact Bula and let them get right what should have been done before it ever left the factory.
Its a new $2000 dollar plus rifle, you shouldn't have to bang on it with a hammer, put a flame to it or anything else. It should have left the factory running like a Singer Sewing Machine, it didn't so let Bula make it right.

MORE THAN A HOBBY, A PASSION!

REN
 

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It's a brand new rifle. The op rod wasn't straightened correctly from heat treat.
Question...

Is warping from heat treatment and straightening it again after heat treatment just part of the regular process that, perhaps in a batch of rifles, got overlooked/skipped?
 

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Question...

Is warping from heat treatment and straightening it again after heat treatment just part of the regular process that, perhaps in a batch of rifles, got overlooked/skipped?
I'm not sure if warping and straightening was part of the process on op rods since the 1930s. I just knew all of the new ones were warped and needed straightening on a fixture. Not particularly affecting a certain lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I opened a service ticket at Bula this AM and Shelly responded almost immediately. They will be sending me a return authorization and then they will take a look at it to see if they can resolve the issue. Even though I was tempted to do my own gunsmithing I decided instead to take advantage of the warranty. I will do my first gunsmithing on something a little less...pricey.
Thanks for all the advice. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
 

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I opened a service ticket at Bula this AM and Shelly responded almost immediately. They will be sending me a return authorization and then they will take a look at it to see if they can resolve the issue. Even though I was tempted to do my own gunsmithing I decided instead to take advantage of the warranty. I will do my first gunsmithing on something a little less...pricey.
Thanks for all the advice. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
Wise decision. Let Bula learn from their mistakes. I am sure no one wants unhappy customers and want to see things resolved that should have been before initial shipping.
 

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I am watching intently as I really want to eventually buy a Bula. I like their M21 model and proprietary scope mount. I know Art holds them in high regard as well as a few other members which holds a lot of weight to me. As a potential future customer, I am nervous about the current issues
 

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I am watching intently as I really want to eventually buy a Bula. I like their M21 model and proprietary scope mount. I know Art holds them in high regard as well as a few other members which holds a lot of weight to me. As a potential future customer, I am nervous about the current issues
Yep, the M21 DMR is one heck of a tool if properly assembled as is their XM21. Top photo XM21 bottom M21 DMR both are excellent paper punchers.


XM21 with Hi-Lux M1200-XLR.jpg
. Then if one is not a shooter, it would make no difference.
IMG_3103.JPG
 

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Wise decision. Let Bula learn from their mistakes. I am sure no one wants unhappy customers and want to see things resolved that should have been before initial shipping.
Running a small business with employees is difficult. Once you get beyond being able to handle everything yourself, the organization and delegation requirements escalate exponentially. Getting a picture of the actual operations and the best way to address them requires filtering information from multiple parties, who may have conflicting views or ideas and are usually drawing conclusions based on a limited view. Fingers get pointed in multiple directions, and it can be difficult to figure out which ones to trust, if any.

On top of that, sometimes it's just hard to trust somebody else's expertise, even in an area, particularly when they're not looking at the whole business and how it may impact aspects (like cash flow) that are critical to staying in business. They could be right, and their advice could benefit the whole system, but every decision has impact, and every potential negative impact is potential risk, and if you're not dealing with cash cows (which would likely be short-lived unless you've got a patent) or sitting on a pile of capitol, it can be difficult even to take the best advice, let alone discern and filter out the worst.

I am hopeful for Bula. Despite the recent apparent slips in the QC department, as long as I've known of the company, while things that shouldn't have gotten out of the building have, I have never heard of them telling any customer to just suck it up and live with it. It may be that some employees need some training. It may be that the selling price needs to go up a little to retain skilled employees and allot more time and care in assembly and parts manufacturing. It may simply turn out that directing and training employees to take more time to get more of it right the first time in the long run takes less time and money, with less wasted time, materials, and wear, and reputation erosion spent addressing rejects.

I can only speculate, based on what I've seen in other businesses, but it boils down to dropping the reliance on 'should' and 'who', divorcing the ego, and focusing on 'why' a process failed, 'how' a process, can get better results from all involved. I can't find it, but I recall something from 'The Art of War' about a good general not relying on the action of heroes. If Jeff can not just identify who screwed up, but also resist the obvious temptation to blame that link, and figure out formalizing a process of and around that link to make that screw up more difficult to miss, easier to avoid, and more efficient as a whole, and keep doing that along the whole chain, I can't think of any reason Bula cannot emerge with stellar QC. But it might require a different approach to management, beyond simply expecting employees to inherently have high standards.

I can say that this last part isn't just difficult, but has been my personal experience. When you get as far as you do by doing the best job you can, because you're obsessive about getting it right, regardless of whether anybody notices, it can be somewhat bewildering trying to wrap your head around why others can't simply be the same way.

Unfortunately, that is simply expecting too much, and there's a reason why good management makes a big difference. When the management can start seeing failures of individuals as failures of management process, understanding that revision of management process is normal and desired, things usually start coming together.

I wish Jeff the best in this, whatever the details. Not only is Bula a valuable player in a market of limited options, but they make some cool stuff you just can't get otherwise.

I am watching intently as I really want to eventually buy a Bula. I like their M21 model and proprietary scope mount. I know Art holds them in high regard as well as a few other members which holds a lot of weight to me. As a potential future customer, I am nervous about the current issues
If I really wanted one, these issues wouldn't prevent me from buying one. I would just factor in the QC checks on the receiving side, possible hoop-jumping to get any discovered issues resolved, and expect that there might have to be a little back and forth after the sale. I would also contact Jeff before the purchase, let him know my concerns, and that I would be doing QC (even if I'm paying a third party expert to evaluate it), even mentioning specific checks that would be done to determine that the rifle is acceptable, and seek assurances that my expectations are not only reasonable, but that every reasonable effort would be made to ensure that the rifle doesn't have to go back for fixes, and that everyone would spend less time and be happier with a few minutes spent ensuring that it's right the first time. If it actually is, awesome. If it isn't, I'm prepared. I shouldn't have to do that, sure. But, if it's what I want, personally, I'm willing.

And I guess I am, in a sense, but have just diverted the legwork of both QC and building to TonyBen. It's taking longer than if I bought one directly from Bula, but I also have no reservations that what I get will work great. So, on top of TonyBen's special sauce, there is money and time on the front end instead of the back.

But that's my perspective. It doesn't have to be yours.

Allegedly that stock sat for a long time in the back room because of the color scheme
I love it. I think 'Swamp Monster'.
 

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Running a small business with employees is difficult. Once you get beyond being able to handle everything yourself, the organization and delegation requirements escalate exponentially. Getting a picture of the actual operations and the best way to address them requires filtering information from multiple parties, who may have conflicting views or ideas and are usually drawing conclusions based on a limited view. Fingers get pointed in multiple directions, and it can be difficult to figure out which ones to trust, if any.

On top of that, sometimes it's just hard to trust somebody else's expertise, even in an area, particularly when they're not looking at the whole business and how it may impact aspects (like cash flow) that are critical to staying in business. They could be right, and their advice could benefit the whole system, but every decision has impact, and every potential negative impact is potential risk, and if you're not dealing with cash cows (which would likely be short-lived unless you've got a patent) or sitting on a pile of capitol, it can be difficult even to take the best advice, let alone discern and filter out the worst.

I am hopeful for Bula. Despite the recent apparent slips in the QC department, as long as I've known of the company, while things that shouldn't have gotten out of the building have, I have never heard of them telling any customer to just suck it up and live with it. It may be that some employees need some training. It may be that the selling price needs to go up a little to retain skilled employees and allot more time and care in assembly and parts manufacturing. It may simply turn out that directing and training employees to take more time to get more of it right the first time in the long run takes less time and money, with less wasted time, materials, and wear, and reputation erosion spent addressing rejects.

I can only speculate, based on what I've seen in other businesses, but it boils down to dropping the reliance on 'should' and 'who', divorcing the ego, and focusing on 'why' a process failed, 'how' a process, can get better results from all involved. I can't find it, but I recall something from 'The Art of War' about a good general not relying on the action of heroes. If Jeff can not just identify who screwed up, but also resist the obvious temptation to blame that link, and figure out formalizing a process of and around that link to make that screw up more difficult to miss, easier to avoid, and more efficient as a whole, and keep doing that along the whole chain, I can't think of any reason Bula cannot emerge with stellar QC. But it might require a different approach to management, beyond simply expecting employees to inherently have high standards.

I can say that this last part isn't just difficult, but has been my personal experience. When you get as far as you do by doing the best job you can, because you're obsessive about getting it right, regardless of whether anybody notices, it can be somewhat bewildering trying to wrap your head around why others can't simply be the same way.

Unfortunately, that is simply expecting too much, and there's a reason why good management makes a big difference. When the management can start seeing failures of individuals as failures of management process, understanding that revision of management process is normal and desired, things usually start coming together.

I wish Jeff the best in this, whatever the details. Not only is Bula a valuable player in a market of limited options, but they make some cool stuff you just can't get otherwise.



If I really wanted one, these issues wouldn't prevent me from buying one. I would just factor in the QC checks on the receiving side, possible hoop-jumping to get any discovered issues resolved, and expect that there might have to be a little back and forth after the sale. I would also contact Jeff before the purchase, let him know my concerns, and that I would be doing QC (even if I'm paying a third party expert to evaluate it), even mentioning specific checks that would be done to determine that the rifle acceptable, and seek assurances that my expectations are not only reasonable, but that every reasonable effort would be made to ensure that the rifle doesn't have to go back for fixes, and that everyone would spend less time and be happier with a few minutes spent ensuring that it's right the first time. If it actually is, awesome. If it isn't, I'm prepared. I shouldn't have to do that, sure. But, if it's what I want, personally, I'm willing.

And I guess I am, in a sense, but have just diverted the legwork of both QC and building to TonyBen. It's taking longer than if I bought one directly from Bula, but I also have no reservations that what I get will work great. So, on top of TonyBen's special sauce, there is money and time on the front end instead of the back.

But that's my perspective. It doesn't have to be yours.



I love it. I think 'Swamp Monster'.
well written and I agree with what you say. However, you should never have to pay for a 3rd party to do QA! I can’t think of any product where you have to do that let alone a gun. But in the end, make no mistake, I am rooting for them to fix these issues...I really am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Running a small business with employees is difficult. Once you get beyond being able to handle everything yourself, the organization and delegation requirements escalate exponentially. Getting a picture of the actual operations and the best way to address them requires filtering information from multiple parties, who may have conflicting views or ideas and are usually drawing conclusions based on a limited view. Fingers get pointed in multiple directions, and it can be difficult to figure out which ones to trust, if any.

On top of that, sometimes it's just hard to trust somebody else's expertise, even in an area, particularly when they're not looking at the whole business and how it may impact aspects (like cash flow) that are critical to staying in business. They could be right, and their advice could benefit the whole system, but every decision has impact, and every potential negative impact is potential risk, and if you're not dealing with cash cows (which would likely be short-lived unless you've got a patent) or sitting on a pile of capitol, it can be difficult even to take the best advice, let alone discern and filter out the worst.

I am hopeful for Bula. Despite the recent apparent slips in the QC department, as long as I've known of the company, while things that shouldn't have gotten out of the building have, I have never heard of them telling any customer to just suck it up and live with it. It may be that some employees need some training. It may be that the selling price needs to go up a little to retain skilled employees and allot more time and care in assembly and parts manufacturing. It may simply turn out that directing and training employees to take more time to get more of it right the first time in the long run takes less time and money, with less wasted time, materials, and wear, and reputation erosion spent addressing rejects.

I can only speculate, based on what I've seen in other businesses, but it boils down to dropping the reliance on 'should' and 'who', divorcing the ego, and focusing on 'why' a process failed, 'how' a process, can get better results from all involved. I can't find it, but I recall something from 'The Art of War' about a good general not relying on the action of heroes. If Jeff can not just identify who screwed up, but also resist the obvious temptation to blame that link, and figure out formalizing a process of and around that link to make that screw up more difficult to miss, easier to avoid, and more efficient as a whole, and keep doing that along the whole chain, I can't think of any reason Bula cannot emerge with stellar QC. But it might require a different approach to management, beyond simply expecting employees to inherently have high standards.

I can say that this last part isn't just difficult, but has been my personal experience. When you get as far as you do by doing the best job you can, because you're obsessive about getting it right, regardless of whether anybody notices, it can be somewhat bewildering trying to wrap your head around why others can't simply be the same way.

Unfortunately, that is simply expecting too much, and there's a reason why good management makes a big difference. When the management can start seeing failures of individuals as failures of management process, understanding that revision of management process is normal and desired, things usually start coming together.

I wish Jeff the best in this, whatever the details. Not only is Bula a valuable player in a market of limited options, but they make some cool stuff you just can't get otherwise.



If I really wanted one, these issues wouldn't prevent me from buying one. I would just factor in the QC checks on the receiving side, possible hoop-jumping to get any discovered issues resolved, and expect that there might have to be a little back and forth after the sale. I would also contact Jeff before the purchase, let him know my concerns, and that I would be doing QC (even if I'm paying a third party expert to evaluate it), even mentioning specific checks that would be done to determine that the rifle is acceptable, and seek assurances that my expectations are not only reasonable, but that every reasonable effort would be made to ensure that the rifle doesn't have to go back for fixes, and that everyone would spend less time and be happier with a few minutes spent ensuring that it's right the first time. If it actually is, awesome. If it isn't, I'm prepared. I shouldn't have to do that, sure. But, if it's what I want, personally, I'm willing.

And I guess I am, in a sense, but have just diverted the legwork of both QC and building to TonyBen. It's taking longer than if I bought one directly from Bula, but I also have no reservations that what I get will work great. So, on top of TonyBen's special sauce, there is money and time on the front end instead of the back.

But that's my perspective. It doesn't have to be yours.



I love it. I think 'Swamp Monster'.
Well said and thanks. I am rooting for Bula as well (and not just for obvious reasons).
 

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Running a small business with employees is difficult. Once you get beyond being able to handle everything yourself, the organization and delegation requirements escalate exponentially. Getting a picture of the actual operations and the best way to address them requires filtering information from multiple parties, who may have conflicting views or ideas and are usually drawing conclusions based on a limited view. Fingers get pointed in multiple directions, and it can be difficult to figure out which ones to trust, if any.

On top of that, sometimes it's just hard to trust somebody else's expertise, even in an area, particularly when they're not looking at the whole business and how it may impact aspects (like cash flow) that are critical to staying in business. They could be right, and their advice could benefit the whole system, but every decision has impact, and every potential negative impact is potential risk, and if you're not dealing with cash cows (which would likely be short-lived unless you've got a patent) or sitting on a pile of capitol, it can be difficult even to take the best advice, let alone discern and filter out the worst.

I am hopeful for Bula. Despite the recent apparent slips in the QC department, as long as I've known of the company, while things that shouldn't have gotten out of the building have, I have never heard of them telling any customer to just suck it up and live with it. It may be that some employees need some training. It may be that the selling price needs to go up a little to retain skilled employees and allot more time and care in assembly and parts manufacturing. It may simply turn out that directing and training employees to take more time to get more of it right the first time in the long run takes less time and money, with less wasted time, materials, and wear, and reputation erosion spent addressing rejects.

I can only speculate, based on what I've seen in other businesses, but it boils down to dropping the reliance on 'should' and 'who', divorcing the ego, and focusing on 'why' a process failed, 'how' a process, can get better results from all involved. I can't find it, but I recall something from 'The Art of War' about a good general not relying on the action of heroes. If Jeff can not just identify who screwed up, but also resist the obvious temptation to blame that link, and figure out formalizing a process of and around that link to make that screw up more difficult to miss, easier to avoid, and more efficient as a whole, and keep doing that along the whole chain, I can't think of any reason Bula cannot emerge with stellar QC. But it might require a different approach to management, beyond simply expecting employees to inherently have high standards.

I can say that this last part isn't just difficult, but has been my personal experience. When you get as far as you do by doing the best job you can, because you're obsessive about getting it right, regardless of whether anybody notices, it can be somewhat bewildering trying to wrap your head around why others can't simply be the same way.

Unfortunately, that is simply expecting too much, and there's a reason why good management makes a big difference. When the management can start seeing failures of individuals as failures of management process, understanding that revision of management process is normal and desired, things usually start coming together.

I wish Jeff the best in this, whatever the details. Not only is Bula a valuable player in a market of limited options, but they make some cool stuff you just can't get otherwise.



If I really wanted one, these issues wouldn't prevent me from buying one. I would just factor in the QC checks on the receiving side, possible hoop-jumping to get any discovered issues resolved, and expect that there might have to be a little back and forth after the sale. I would also contact Jeff before the purchase, let him know my concerns, and that I would be doing QC (even if I'm paying a third party expert to evaluate it), even mentioning specific checks that would be done to determine that the rifle is acceptable, and seek assurances that my expectations are not only reasonable, but that every reasonable effort would be made to ensure that the rifle doesn't have to go back for fixes, and that everyone would spend less time and be happier with a few minutes spent ensuring that it's right the first time. If it actually is, awesome. If it isn't, I'm prepared. I shouldn't have to do that, sure. But, if it's what I want, personally, I'm willing.

And I guess I am, in a sense, but have just diverted the legwork of both QC and building to TonyBen. It's taking longer than if I bought one directly from Bula, but I also have no reservations that what I get will work great. So, on top of TonyBen's special sauce, there is money and time on the front end instead of the back.

But that's my perspective. It doesn't have to be yours.



I love it. I think 'Swamp Monster'.
If you ever get a chance, tour Nighthawk's facility in Berryville, Arkansas.

I stopped in and had an almost 2 hour tour, met their gunsmiths, and fired one of their 1911's that was being worked on.
I wasn't expecting the amount of time they took with me. I carry a Glock but grew up shooting 1911's and let them know that. I was impressed!!!

Nighthawk has a mantra - One Gun, One Gunsmith. Each of their gunsmiths builds each 1911 all the way through, and then stamps the 1911 with their initials. If that gun ever comes back it goes to the gunsmith that built it. You can read more about that mantra here:

 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
The rifle was returned from Bula about a week ago but I wasn't able to open the box until last night.

According to the paperwork the problem was the op rod itself. That is, they straightened the op rod. I have not done a tilt test yet but I will later today and report back.

I am completely happy with the customer service.
 
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