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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Picture of us waiting for everybody to assemble before going in the Bula Forge.


Sorry I only took the one picture out in front the office of Bula Forge, there was plenty interesting things inside.

On the morning of the NTI this year at Camp Perry we awoke to rain and not just a sprinkle, but a real down pour. We had no way of knowing if or when this rain would stop. From all the weather forecast it didn't look good. Although it did clear up before “game time” conditions where damp and windy. As a group we decided to take Bula Forge up on their offer.

The M14 forum group had been invited to tour Bula Forge the place where JRA Rock-Ola M14 receivers are born. On a minutes notice we called Bula and asked if we could move the scheduled tour date of Friday to Wednesday.... without hesitation Jeff Miller of Bula said come on over.

We arrived at Bula in 4 different vehicles, they are located about an hour and 20 minutes East of Camp Perry in Cleveland, OH. We were greeted and introduced to the President Mr. Wayne Phelps and key members of the staff by Jeff Miller. Then brought to their conference room for an overview of Bula Forge's operation and processes. Of course we were all ears when the metallurgical differences between a casting and a forging (from the experts) were explained. Then we were treated to some fine finished examples of the firearms products that Bula makes and it's a good deal more than just the M14 bolt & receiver. Bula prepared handouts with the details for us to take home with us.

Then it got even better, we all got to go into the work area and watch first hand how the forging process works. I mean the whole process, from the the time the raw metal comes into the plant until it leaves as a finished product. Bula does a lot of work for the government so their ability to track and document the production of a product from start to finish is very meticulous. There's no scrap metal going into anything Bula makes, certification and testing insure that if they say it's made with 8620 steel you could bet the farm on it. This seems to be the only way they know how to do business. The M14 parts were treated to the same care and attention to detail as something they would make for a C130 transport plane. (yeah they make stuff like that too)

We saw a pair of gentleman stamping out M1 Garand firing pins. Bula is going back to the source and original government specs to produce these firing pins. They have even built their own gages and hold tolerances far in excess of what is necessary for the proper operation of a Garand firing pin. We saw the same thing at every workstation, people engaged and interested in what they were doing. The CNC machine where the M14 bolts were being manufactured we got a good explanation of the process by the machine operator. It was clear he understood what he was doing. He was able answer any question we put to him. The fixtures to support the bolts during the cutting process are all manufactured in house, pretty much the only way to maintain good quality control. Each workstation had a folder with the specs and inspection process, to make sure the finished parts are free of burrs and sharp edges BEFORE the heat treat process. Anyone who has done their own gun plumbing can really appreciate that.

Of course the trip would not have been complete without seeing the M14 being manufactured. All (well most of us) were drooling over all the pretty receivers sitting there in the “white”. A very chipper lady operator answered our questions and shared her part into what it takes to build a quality receiver. Here again there was a LONG check list of places to clear and clean of burrs and extra material before moving towards the heat treat process.

Then it was off to the technology guys, Bula has spent a considerable sum on R&D, software, and technology to build the M14. They are in the M14 and firearms parts business for the long haul. While many of the hi-tech devices Bula has for measuring and QC are used on all of their products. Bula has spent incalculable hours modeling the M14, it's parts, and operation in CAD/CAM software. It was enlightening to see practically the entire M14 mapped into the virtual world. Where a person could gain insight of the fit, relationship, and interaction of parts. This is the commitment that Bula Forge has made to the M14 platform. For the folks who were paying attention on the tour we got to see some other custom tooling like a barrel indexing fixture. I know Bula has a lot more exciting things to introduce in the near future. Bula Forge, I believe is planning on being in the M14 business for a while and along with JRA will be sensitive to guys who do their own gun plumbing.

Our group was just tickled pink to have had such an in depth tour of a facility that builds our beloved M14, given by folks who were just as invested and excited to build them. If all that time and effort of the tour wasn't enough Mr. Phelps then took the group to lunch. He let us know the support for the M14 part of Bula Forge's business is encouraged and supported from the very top. We invited Jeff Miller out to come out and watch the SAI match at Camp Perry. Just before the match the “Got 7.62?? team guys gave Jeff and Mr. Phelps a couple of our team shirts as a small thank you for the very impressive tour of their facility.

Rumor has it, Jeff Miller might be on the line shooting the M14 next year with our group... man I wish I could write off my ammo as “market research” GI6
 

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In the gilded halls of Valhala
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sounds like you were a kid in a candy store.


and you can write it off. anyone can start a gun related business (and likely be solvent very soon after) I guess you gotta start with a kitchen table FFL and go from there. unless of course you just make parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
sounds like you were a kid in a candy store.
We were like kids in a candy store.

I think that's why Jeff reminded everybody that none of the parts had been heat treated and would be unsafe to use... to keep us from coming out with pockets full of candy GI6
 

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Geeck,

Bamban committed to making sure I don't make a fool of myself. I see Texas, a new barrel and lots of practice in my future. The only thing I ask is that I get to do the rattle battle as well! That was awesome!

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Geek,

Bamban committed to making sure I don't make a fool of myself. I see Texas, a new barrel and lots of practice in my future. The only thing I ask is that I get to do the rattle battle as well! That was awesome!

Jeff
Watch out for Bamban, he's like the Pied Piper of all things shooting... especially the M14.

If you make it to Texas I'll come over and bring the shrimp & bodin.
 

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Geeck,

Bamban committed to making sure I don't make a fool of myself. I see Texas, a new barrel and lots of practice in my future. The only thing I ask is that I get to do the rattle battle as well! That was awesome!

Jeff

Jeff,

Texas welcomes you.

Name the date, we'll make it happen. I have keys to a ranch by the border near Laredo where we can shoot day and night up to 1000 yards, and maybe pop some Coyotes as well.

We can discuss logistics for the trip later on, flying with 308 ammo is a pain due to weight limitation. We can crank out the ammo In TX. I got 2 Dillon 650s, rolling out hundreds of rounds is no problem.

Timing willing, I may just have my Rock Ola Rear Lug S/N 8888 built up by the time you come down.

For the Nationals next year, I am quite sure if you wish to shoot rattle battle you will have a spot in the team.

Chef Geeck can roll out some mean Cajun dishes. Another reason to come down.
 

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I had no idea that this place existed and I live in the Cleveland suburbs. When I saw James River at the National Matches, I thought "Who the #@]] is Bula Forge?".

Danny

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