There's more than one way to skin this cat. I've used two ways:Please don't bash too hard on me for this but how do you remove the hand guard?
I only use the rubber hammer (yes, rubber) it to get the hand guard clip to slide forward out of the channel...it's not as intense as it sounds. Sometimes, the clip has been previously bended outward enough to where the clip will come right out of that channel, but then again that makes for a loose hand guard clip which I hate. I guess I should have specified that this method I use with a walnut hand guard.I place the receiver/barrel group on the bench with the bottom facing up. Then I take two punches that will fit in the holes on the handguard clip and push outward. Once the clip ends are out of the grooves on the barrel, I push the handguard off.
If you have to force anything or use a hammer to remove the handguard, I would take a moment to reconsider before attempting to force anything.