Help dealing with manufacturer - out of spec

JesseB81

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May 1, 2018
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#1
I am humble and appreciate advice that can be of benefit. I purchased a barrel from Airborne Arms chambered in .224 VK ($500). The first barrel arrived short chambered. The replacement is out of spec according to SAAMI with a freebore of 1.8175 and after 300 rounds won't group well, let alone meet their 1 MOA promise. I presented them with my findings and they informed me that my chamber was reamed to this specification on purpose. I stated that I ordered a .224 VK barrel and expected a barrel that was within SAMMI specs. They insist that SAAMI allows this variance. He gave an example that the 6.5 CM has 5 different throats while SAAMI only lists one. I am new to this game and don't want to trash anyone, rather present facts and gather information.
1) Can a manufacturer sell a barrel out of published SAAMI specs and still list it as the SAAMI chamber?
2) Does SAAMI indeed allow such variances that are noted to be outside of the published variances on the drawings?
3) I argue that I received a product I did not order based on the out of spec freebore but am being told otherwise. Whats your opinion?

Thank you
 
Jun 12, 2008
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#3
Seems to me they would really be opening themselves up to severe liabilities if that gun exploded for any reason. Unless they documented the barrel would not be saami specs I'd say they are in the wrong. I'd demand a refund and if they refuse, start with the better business bureau, then file a claim in small claims court. They wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
 

JesseB81

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May 1, 2018
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#4
Did the rifle shoot well at first?
The rifle never shot well. When I received the second barrel I was just excited that it chambered a round correctly! After 200 factory rounds and 100 hand loads I came to the conclusion something was wrong. Thats when I measured....
 

GGK

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Oct 6, 2013
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#7
The issue with the freebore is kind of an issue with the cartridge itself almost every manufacturer has their own chamber.

What bullet are you trying to shoot?
 

GGK

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#9
Try the 75gr bullets. Most people I have read about cant get the 90smk to shoot that well, especially at any decent sort of velocity. JP even sent an email to their customers about the 90 gr bullets and how they don't seem to shoot. And I have been following a few groups on them for a few months, most cant get them to work and if they can they are slow.
 
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redneckbmxer24

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#12
I’ve heard good feedback from the Airborne barrels. Don’t take this the wrong way but are you absolutely positive that your assembly process and shooting ability is not a limiting factor? This is seriously something to consider. Did you order a barrel and bolt from them?

You can get a barrel that’s capable of drilling them through the same hole but if you just slap it in a sloppy receiver that’s got .005” of clearance and torque it down, then use a shitty milspec trigger and introduce shooter error that same barrel could make a 2+ MOA gun.

So, how did you assemble the gun? What other parts did you use?
 

JesseB81

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May 1, 2018
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#13
I’ve heard good feedback from the Airborne barrels. Don’t take this the wrong way but are you absolutely positive that your assembly process and shooting ability is not a limiting factor? This is seriously something to consider. Did you order a barrel and bolt from them?

You can get a barrel that’s capable of drilling them through the same hole but if you just slap it in a sloppy receiver that’s got .005” of clearance and torque it down, then use a shitty milspec trigger and introduce shooter error that same barrel could make a 2+ MOA gun.

So, how did you assemble the gun? What other parts did you use?
I did purchase the airborne arms pathfinder barrel and matched bolt. I used aero M4E1 upper and lower (rebranded by Airborne and others) JP gas block, fail zero BCG, and Elfman match trigger. The receivers are as tight as can be and still function. I actually shipped the entire upper with the short chambered barrel back to them and they assembled the upper with the replacement barrel and shipped it back to me.

I spent 9 years in the army and am intimately familar with this platform. I shoot well with other rifles.

My concerns are the reports of poor accuracy from a documented increased freebore and airborne arms telling me they increased my freebore on purpose
 

redneckbmxer24

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#14
I did purchase the airborne arms pathfinder barrel and matched bolt. I used aero M4E1 upper and lower (rebranded by Airborne and others) JP gas block, fail zero BCG, and Elfman match trigger. The receivers are as tight as can be and still function. I actually shipped the entire upper with the short chambered barrel back to them and they assembled the upper with the replacement barrel and shipped it back to me.

I spent 9 years in the army and am intimately familar with this platform. I shoot well with other rifles.

My concerns are the reports of poor accuracy from a documented increased freebore and airborne arms telling me they increased my freebore on purpose
In that case they should absolutely be doing something about this. IMO the increased freebore probably isn't what's causing your issues, but regardless, it's not shooting and they even assembled the thing the second go around. I'd be willing to bet that the chamber was just opened up the second time, not actually barrel replacement.

I'd be asking for a refund at this point, not a replacement or repair. The way I see it they've had two chances to make it right, the initial sale, and the trip back where they fixed/assembled it and should have test fired it. The fact they're giving you resistance after they assembled it and it still doesn't perform would make me not want to keep their product in the event of any possible issues down the road.
 

JesseB81

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May 1, 2018
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#15
In that case they should absolutely be doing something about this. IMO the increased freebore probably isn't what's causing your issues, but regardless, it's not shooting and they even assembled the thing the second go around. I'd be willing to bet that the chamber was just opened up the second time, not actually barrel replacement.

I'd be asking for a refund at this point, not a replacement or repair. The way I see it they've had two chances to make it right, the initial sale, and the trip back where they fixed/assembled it and should have test fired it. The fact they're giving you resistance after they assembled it and it still doesn't perform would make me not want to keep their product in the event of any possible issues down the road.
I asked for a refund and was told no such cash refund was implied in the sale. They offered to inspect the barrel and make sure it is free of defects. They told me they test fired it and it shot well. In 300 rounds I have not been able to replicate their findings. That’s why I absolutely need to know if an out of spec freebore indeed needs to be disclosed upon purchase. I claim I didn’t receive the barrel I ordered because I ordered an implied SAAMI spec .224 VK. They claim they did research and came up with this formula leading to my current ream job being 0.141” long. In summary they claim they are allowed to make such a variance and insist because it has SAAMI headspace etc. that it is still SAAMI. I don’t think you can pick and choose what SAAMI tolerances you feel need adjusting and make changes however that’s just me.
*** can they make out of spec changes to the throat and freebore without disclosing it prior to purchase***
 
Mar 12, 2013
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#16
Many factory rifles, including Tikka and Remington, have very long freebores, much longer than Saami. They tend to shoot well. I also shoot a 223 with a .100 freebore in an AR and it shoots fine with mag length ammo.

Have you tried 75-80gr ammo to verify that it isn't just an issue with the 90s?
 

JesseB81

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May 1, 2018
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#17
Many factory rifles, including Tikka and Remington, have very long freebores, much longer than Saami. They tend to shoot well. I also shoot a 223 with a .100 freebore in an AR and it shoots fine with mag length ammo.

Have you tried 75-80gr ammo to verify that it isn't just an issue with the 90s?
Great question. I have only been shooting 90g because I bought 200 factory and a box of 500 to reload. During previous conversations with airborne arms I was told they tested my replacement barrel with 90s and that was the “gold standard” for this chamber. I’m use to bolt rifles that like bullets seated .020 off. It’s hard to wrap my head around such a large gap. Doesn’t this lead to a loss of pressure and therefore volicity?
 

spife7980

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Feb 10, 2017
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#18
It’s hard to wrap my head around such a large gap. Doesn’t this lead to a loss of pressure and therefore volicity?
Minimally but plenty of stuff shoots good way off of the lands as well. While not a sierra document to match your bullet Berger recommends a test for their secant vlds that goes to .130 off of the lands. That loss in pressure could also mean you can handle more powder to make up that velocity but maybe it also puts your pressure band in a more optimal position. Only way to know is to test.
http://www.bergerbullets.com/getting-the-best-precision-and-accuracy-from-vld-bullets-in-your-rifle/

Edit: sierra has a blog article that says they also like up to .08 off https://sierrabulletsblog.com/2014/11/20/long-throats-and-accuracy/
 
Mar 12, 2013
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#19
Great question. I have only been shooting 90g because I bought 200 factory and a box of 500 to reload. During previous conversations with airborne arms I was told they tested my replacement barrel with 90s and that was the “gold standard” for this chamber. I’m use to bolt rifles that like bullets seated .020 off. It’s hard to wrap my head around such a large gap. Doesn’t this lead to a loss of pressure and therefore volicity?
It *can* but not necessarily, depends a lot on the diameter of the freebore as well.

How did you measure the actual length of the freebore? Is the 1.817 the base to ogive length? How much is it jumping at mag length?
 

GGK

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Oct 6, 2013
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#20
I am jumping the 75 eld-m like .09" in my buddy's 223 without issue (shoots in the .1-.3 range repeatably)


I am hearing that the 90smk has issues being pushed hard. Possibly something to do with the way the bullet is actually made (core shift or something)
 

redneckbmxer24

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#21
I asked for a refund and was told no such cash refund was implied in the sale. They offered to inspect the barrel and make sure it is free of defects. They told me they test fired it and it shot well. In 300 rounds I have not been able to replicate their findings. That’s why I absolutely need to know if an out of spec freebore indeed needs to be disclosed upon purchase. I claim I didn’t receive the barrel I ordered because I ordered an implied SAAMI spec .224 VK. They claim they did research and came up with this formula leading to my current ream job being 0.141” long. In summary they claim they are allowed to make such a variance and insist because it has SAAMI headspace etc. that it is still SAAMI. I don’t think you can pick and choose what SAAMI tolerances you feel need adjusting and make changes however that’s just me.
*** can they make out of spec changes to the throat and freebore without disclosing it prior to purchase***
Addressing the freebore over true SAAMI spec, I don't think you really have much of an argument there. As mentioned, it's not uncommon for factory guns to have longer freebores. If it was short it could be a safety hazard, but long, no, and a lot of longer throats shoot great with many bullets. Mine is a bit on the longer side and it hammers with everything I've used.

You said you've loaded ammo, what bullets have you tried? What jumps have you tried?

You're best basis for a refund is going to be that the rifle just doesn't perform. Even if it doesn't perform with factory match ammo, it still doesn't perform even if there's only a limited sample out there. Focusing on the freebore is not going to get you anywhere IMO and I'm sure they have barrels with the same freebore that do perform, so I would drop basing my request for a refund on that. I really believe that you just have a bad barrel if everything you're saying is accurate.

An unbiased and professional third party evaluation would probably be a good thing here, you're going to pay out of pocket though and most likely won't recoup it but IMO would be money well spent.

Their argument of no cash refund implied in the sale is complete bullshit, it doesn't have to be implied, it was implied the moment you bought a product which is supposed to perform by a certain standard set by them. You bought a product that is supposed to perform to a certain standard, that was a contract/purchase agreement the moment you purchased it. By failing to provide you with the product that is advertised to perform to that standard which is set by them, they did not uphold their part of the contract. By them assembling the upper the second time around and it still not performing also eliminates you from any blame for lack of performance outside of optic performance and shooter ability.

I'd give them one last chance to make it right but I would settle for nothing less than a guaranteed full refund upon the return of the barrel. No repair, no replacement, refund of payment. If they deny then file a chargeback with your credit card company. The chargeback isn't going to be easy though and you're going to deal with someone who has no clue about guns. They're going to say you were sent the item and are going to have to prove it's not up to par.
 
#22
Welcome

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) is an association of the nation's leading manufacturers of firearms, ammunition and components. SAAMI was founded in 1926 at the request of the federal government and tasked with:


  • Creating and publishing industry standards for safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality

  • Coordinating technical data
There is your argument.
 
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#23
I am hearing that the 90smk has issues being pushed hard. Possibly something to do with the way the bullet is actually made (core shift or something)
Maybe a long time ago. I think some service rifle guys were having them blow up or group terribly if they pushed them fast with really fast twist barrels. That is no longer the case.
 

redneckbmxer24

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#24
Welcome

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) is an association of the nation's leading manufacturers of firearms, ammunition and components. SAAMI was founded in 1926 at the request of the federal government and tasked with:


  • Creating and publishing industry standards for safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality

  • Coordinating technical data
There is your argument.
By that arguement almost every Remington 700 would be eligible for repair or replacement.

At the end of the day a customer purchased an item that has a guaranteed performance standard, the product as delivered twice does not meet that standard. That’s all that matters. The why should not fall on the customer and it would be very hard to prove that the freebore is the route of the problem.
 

Fig

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#25
It is just kind of stupid when everyone knows gun people talk like bitches. If they would just refund or send a replacement just to keep the customer happy, even if they loose a few bucks, they'll make more in the end, because they have to know that the first thing a pissed off customer does is go on line even if it's just to see what other people's experience with that company has been. I'm not saying I'm any better or different. Just pointing it out that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to let a customer go away unhappy if you sell esoteric specialty items like a .224 VK barrel.
 

GGK

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Oct 6, 2013
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Toledo, OH
#26
Maybe a long time ago. I think some service rifle guys were having them blow up or group terribly if they pushed them fast with really fast twist barrels. That is no longer the case.
Velocities out of a Service rifle 223 and a 224 Valk are not really comparable. Why is the 90 SMK not the go to bullet for stuff like the 22 Creed?
 
#27
By that arguement almost every Remington 700 would be eligible for repair or replacement.

At the end of the day a customer purchased an item that has a guaranteed performance standard, the product as delivered twice does not meet that standard. That’s all that matters. The why should not fall on the customer and it would be very hard to prove that the freebore is the route of the problem.
Those happy with the performance of rifles wont bitch or ask for a return. Maybe the performance is good or they just don't know it should be better.
Some are happy hitting a beer can at 50yds and some wont be happy with anything more than 1/2MOA.
I've had 700s that shoot inder 1/2 and some that shoot 2MOA+.
I've been in the industry since the 70s. I've never heard anyone that knows anything say you should get better accuracy with more jump to the lands except in that .010 off to .010 jam range and we are talking about a .090" jump here. Federal promoted this cartridge as using factory loaded 90gr SMKs and shooting 1200 yds or something. In the wrong chamber there is .090 jump to the lands with factory ammo. In a SAAMI spec chamber the jump is .010-.015. I'm betting factory 90s will shoot better in a SAAMI spec chamber with all other things being equal. I'm not saying a $99 barrel will out shoot a Krieger but don't let price be the marker of a good barrel or a bad barrel. I know for a fact there are barrels that cost under $100 wholesale being sold for around $400 retail. Others selling the barrels made by the same company are selling for $200.
Real benchrest quality barrel blanks will cost apx $300 then another 100-200 to get them chambered and finished. If I buy something in that range the blank better have a name tied to it. Krieger, Bartlein, Broughton, Brux, Lilja, Hart, Rock(cut rifle not rock creek). On the other side of the coin, I've seen $200 barrels shoot under 1/2"...specs can make a difference.
 
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#28
Velocities out of a Service rifle 223 and a 224 Valk are not really comparable.
They actually are closer than you would think. Case capacities aren't far off, and I know guys getting 2650+ in 20" 223's with the 90's, so easily 2750+ with a 24". The only difference is they are well over mag length, 2.4"+.
 

redneckbmxer24

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#29
Those happy with the performance of rifles wont bitch or ask for a return. Maybe the performance is good or they just don't know it should be better.
Some are happy hitting a beer can at 50yds and some wont be happy with anything more than 1/2MOA.
I've had 700s that shoot inder 1/2 and some that shoot 2MOA+.
I've been in the industry since the 70s. I've never heard anyone that knows anything say you should get better accuracy with more jump to the lands except in that .010 off to .010 jam range and we are talking about a .090" jump here. Federal promoted this cartridge as using factory loaded 90gr SMKs and shooting 1200 yds or something. In the wrong chamber there is .090 jump to the lands with factory ammo. In a SAAMI spec chamber the jump is .010-.015. I'm betting factory 90s will shoot better in a SAAMI spec chamber with all other things being equal. I'm not saying a $99 barrel will out shoot a Krieger but don't let price be the marker of a good barrel or a bad barrel. I know for a fact there are barrels that cost under $100 wholesale being sold for around $400 retail. Others selling the barrels made by the same company are selling for $200.
Real benchrest quality barrel blanks will cost apx $300 then another 100-200 to get them chambered and finished. If I buy something in that range the blank better have a name tied to it. Krieger, Bartlein, Broughton, Brux, Lilja, Hart, Rock(cut rifle not rock creek). On the other side of the coin, I've seen $200 barrels shoot under 1/2"...specs can make a difference.
I'm very aware of SAAMI specs but with how many manufacturers use longer than standard freebore with great accuracy plus the fact that it would be difficult to prove that it's the cause of the poor accuracy I just don't think it's the proper avenue in this case. The company advertises a 1MOA guarantee and the product delivered twice now does not meet this guarantee with factory ammo or handloads even after their in house assembly of the upper. That's all that matters, not debating back and forth about freebore being the culprit. Not working as advertised is reason for a return for almost any item in the retail industry, especially when it's already been replaced or repaired once.
 

JesseB81

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May 1, 2018
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#30
After speaking with Adrian from Airborne arms he doesn’t remember shooting my replacement barrel to confirm accuracy although Ryan from that company originally told me Adrian shot it and it was “well below MOA”. This leads me to wonder how many returns a small company has that the head tech guy can’t remember testing a replacement prior to shipping it out. They are willing to inspect the barrel. I’m sending the entire upper back again so they will have all the parts to fire. I’m also requesting a target be sent back showing it is capable of MOA or less. While I am irritated by having to go through what amounts to bull shit I am glad they are attempting to make it right.
 
Jun 12, 2008
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#31
How was the fit between the receiver and the barrel when you put the rifle together? I just finished a build where my barrel to receiver fit was very sloppy. I trued the receiver face by lapping it. I needed to do this for two reasons. One the receiver face was not square at all and it helped with timing my barrel nut. I then bedded the barrel into the receiver using loctite 620. When I first assembled this gun it shot just under 1 moa. The next day it was shooting 2 moa. Same ammo. First thing I looked at was the scope. Everything was fine. Nice and tight. Nothing I did would make it shoot like it did on the first day. I finally took it apart and did the lapping and bedding job. It's shooting consistently under 1/2 moa now. It eats up everything I feed it.
 

redneckbmxer24

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Jan 15, 2005
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#32
How was the fit between the receiver and the barrel when you put the rifle together? I just finished a build where my barrel to receiver fit was very sloppy. I trued the receiver face by lapping it. I needed to do this for two reasons. One the receiver face was not square at all and it helped with timing my barrel nut. I then bedded the barrel into the receiver using loctite 620. When I first assembled this gun it shot just under 1 moa. The next day it was shooting 2 moa. Same ammo. First thing I looked at was the scope. Everything was fine. Nice and tight. Nothing I did would make it shoot like it did on the first day. I finally took it apart and did the lapping and bedding job. It's shooting consistently under 1/2 moa now. It eats up everything I feed it.
Agree 100%, also if there's .002" or more clearance between the barrel extension and you should get some shim stock and reduce it to .001" or so and then bed with lactate.

You'd also be surprised how much difference having your gas tube perfectly aligned into the gas key makes for accuracy.

Outside of starting with quality parts these two steps IMO are the most important to getting an accurate and consistent rifle.
 

JesseB81

New Hide Member
May 1, 2018
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#33
How was the fit between the receiver and the barrel when you put the rifle together? I just finished a build where my barrel to receiver fit was very sloppy. I trued the receiver face by lapping it. I needed to do this for two reasons. One the receiver face was not square at all and it helped with timing my barrel nut. I then bedded the barrel into the receiver using loctite 620. When I first assembled this gun it shot just under 1 moa. The next day it was shooting 2 moa. Same ammo. First thing I looked at was the scope. Everything was fine. Nice and tight. Nothing I did would make it shoot like it did on the first day. I finally took it apart and did the lapping and bedding job. It's shooting consistently under 1/2 moa now. It eats up everything I feed it.
I am using an Aero M4E1 upper and really like the innovation they put into it. When I assembled the rifle it went together perfectly. But the barrel was short chambered so I could not shoot it. Airborne arms assembled the upper the second go around.
 
#34
A piece of typing paper is .004" thick. Wrapping a piece around the barrel extension all the way like it should be to prevent making the alignment worse would add .008" to the diameter. A piece of shim stock .001" in diameter would increase the diameter of the extension .002".

In the past Vltor and Mega receivers have usually had a tighter bore so the extension would have to be tapped into place. The alignment of the barrel is then held by the OD of the extension and ID of the receiver instead of relying on the flange of the extension and front of the receiver threads. If at all possible that would be the best connection. Since that is the connection between the scope and barrel you want that as rigid as possible.
 

redneckbmxer24

Gunny Sergeant
Jan 15, 2005
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#35
I am using an Aero M4E1 upper and really like the innovation they put into it. When I assembled the rifle it went together perfectly. But the barrel was short chambered so I could not shoot it. Airborne arms assembled the upper the second go around.
In talking to a prominent smith that builds a lot of precision gas guns, he actually recommends against using these types of receivers and the similar Seekins. The reason is that the way the barrel nut threads in and tightens with it's external threads actually expands the receiver outwards when it's tightened. He's seen multiple issues with them and accuracy and the same barrels shot fine when installed into other receivers with traditional style barrel nuts that tighten onto the receiver vs into the receiver. He also explained why the same design has caused sheared index pins when installing but I don't recall the explanation as to that. He also said he's taken apart these uppers that were properly torqued and when taken apart seemed hardly more than hand tight tension.

My experience with this style of receiver is limited and I haven't noticed any issues but this shop makes a ton of rifles, uppers and barrels so they are more likely to see an issue with a design if it's present.

If you have a standard receiver laying around it may be worth trying out to see if it fixes your problems. I't still take the measures highlighted here to check clearance and shim the extension if needed, lap the receiver face, and bed the extension just to eliminate those tolerances as well.
 
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