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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I didn't want to highjack any of the other threads on this. I'm not here to argue the merits of this rail, merely inform you of a project.

A friend recently acquired one of these rails and brought it to me. Why doesn't it fit he asked? I explained to him it was not meant for a loaded m1a like he has and showed him the problem, ie the med contour barrel is much larger behind the op rod guide. He then asked me if it could be modified to work. I said probably, so he then handed me the rail and his rifle. Get to work he said, its ok to trash the rail, just not the rifle. Being the type who will do a thing just to see if I can do it, I took his offer of a 12er of my favorite suds and went to work. (Also because all my friends are jumping off the bridge and I want to be a part of the group.)

So here goes my mod. The main fit issue is the barrel clamp on the rail that goes behind the op rod guide. With a dremel tool, I was able to match the angle of the barrel and bevel out the rail in this area. Either an angle finder or a bent piece of metal should work as a template. As with anything involving metal removal, GO SLOWLY, test fit and measure often. There was still plenty of meat left on the rail and I got a very good match to the barrel profile. The total length of the bevel is approx 1 inch, and it goes the half circumference of the inside of the rail. I found this section to be the only clearance issue. I found by moving the clamp just fore of the op rod, there would be no issues with proper barrel diameter. So approx 1 inch forward of the old rear clamp holes, I began drilling new holes. Now the holes are actually partway drilled into the curvature of the rail. The trick to drilling into an unlevel surface is to either have a good vice on a drill press, or start with a small hole (1/16 or smaller) and work your way up. Once the inner hole was drilled, I set in the countersunk portion, again, slowly step up in drill bit size. (also go slow, measure and test fit often). After this was done, I was able to assemble the rail with little issue. I did take pictures, but the wife's camera took a dump before I was able to download them. (200 foot half gainer down a cliff face... Story for another time.)

As a side note on the rail itself. I found the base metal to be a little on the soft side for what I would prefer, but then again, its not mine. This could have some benefits I guess. Flexing well with the barrel? But then again I'm no angineer. The chinese screws tend to be on the soft side, especially the heads, so I replaced them with some good old graded allens that I keep in the stockpile. So overall, I'd say it looks and shoots alright. Didn't notice any detriment to accuracy. I shot before and after, the patten was close enough.

So to sum up. Yes a UTG rail can be modified to fit a med contour barrel. It didn't really take any special tooling, just what the average handyman might have in his workshop. All it takes is a little courage (12 beers is a good amount of courage), a few hours in the afternoon, and a reckless nature that doesn't care if a $60 rail might get ruined. Any questions on the process, feel free to ask. I will also get the rifle from my friend a take proper measurements if you so desire.

His rail also came with the short rail that mounts into the stripper clip guide. Same material with a steel dovetail piece. I thought that was pretty cool and tried to talk him out of it. Alas, He wanted that installed too. Oh well, where's my beer?
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