Threading barrels for muzzle brakes and suppressors can be a somewhat tedious task. However, it’s vital in the care and maintenance of your weapons.
DIY Threading Barrels
Before you can get started threading the barrel of any rifle all the right tools will need to be first made available. Depending upon the rifle a different thread pitch will need to be required; this means a different set of taps, dies, and overall tools. If the rifle is of a heavier caliber and is of a foreign chassis than vices will be needed in order to secure the firearm in a place that will prevent damage to the barrel when you’re cutting the threads. Be sure to have all the recommended tools before beginning to thread the barrel of any firearm as well as any other additional tools that might be of assistance.
Some additional tools that are recommended and that will provide further assistance are:
- Cutting Oil
- Hand Towels
- Firearms Cleaning Kit and Tool Kit
- Measurement Tool e.g. Dial Caliper
- Spare cutting tools (if possible)
- Steel construction caliper 6" dial
- Precision Ground Jaws for Accuracy
- Jaws Designed for Inside, Outside, and Thread Measurements
A cool beverage will also help maintain patience as cutting threads on a barrel is a job requiring extreme precision and time. A simple mistake can risk the integrity of the overall firearm.
An option prior to getting started is measuring the diameter of your firearm’s barrel and cross-referencing that information with the specifications list at CNC Warrior’s website.
CNC Warrior provides barrel threading kits for a variety of firearm platforms in a wide range of calibers. They provide specification lists with firearm make and models detailing each barrel thread pitch. Of course, these specifications are based on factory models so make sure your firearm is a factory model. An example of this is a Norinco MAK-90 AK47 with a factory barrel will require a thread pitch toolkit of a 14X1 LH (Left Hand).
CNC Warrior provides these same specifications as a ‘shortcut’ to measuring your barrel but regardless; the best advice is to use the list as a source for cross-referencing your findings. The barrel threading kit from CNC Warrior comes with a guide, cutting tool, cutting oil and a fitted handle so that the job can be done professionally. No instructions come with the toolkit however, many videos can be found online providing do it yourself examples.
See a video example by the author here:
To get started, fit the guide through the cutting tool. This will require the guide to be partially threaded through the cutting tool itself than placed concentric to the barrel.
Ensure that all the components are well oiled with the cutting oil prior to beginning. Once on the barrel begin the thread cutting process by turning in the direction of the thread pitch e.g. left hand or right hand. For every half turn, reverse the direction to break off the freshly cut chip than proceed back forward cutting in the proper direction.
Repeat this process for every half turn with due diligence and patience as a single mistake during this process can risk the firearms’ overall integrity and performance. Once three to four thread cuts are made remove the tool and the guide than begin the process again without the guide. The guide tool is no longer needed at this point as the first few thread cuts are enough to complete the rest of the job with proper alignment.
Factors to Keep in Mind
Besides maintaining the utmost patience and caution, ensure that all the components are well oiled and lubricated with the cutting oil throughout the process. If the components are not lubricated than the cutting tool can chip and damage the barrel during the cutting process.
Another important factor to keep in mind is to use a paintbrush to wipe away the excess chips that build up during the cutting process. It is important to use a paintbrush as opposed to an air gun because the metal chips can easily get into an eye risking possible permanent injury.
Do not be tempted to rush the process; use minor distractions to calm your excitement. For example, having a beer during the process will calm mental focus during the job or having a plate of snacks nearby.
The point is to take minor breaks to keep excitement or boredom under control during the process which would rush the task risking permanent damage to the barrel of the firearm. Precision is required as a minor kink in the thread pitch could damage the entire firearm once a round is fired through a muzzle brake or suppressor that is not properly aligned.
Upon finishing up remove the cutting tool with as much upward pressure as possible. This can be done by pulling upwards on the tool with the opposite hand that is spinning the tool off the threaded barrel. Remove all of the excess metal chips and cutting oil with a paintbrush than remove the firearm from the vice.
BEFORE ASSEMBLING the firearm, clean the firearm very thoroughly including the bore, barrel, gas system and internal moving components. If the firearm is not thoroughly cleaned than shooting the weapon will risk damage as the metal chips can scratch and damage important moving components operating within the weapon. These metal chips can also ruin the rifling of the barrel reducing accuracy, trajectory, and even velocity.
Once the firearm is clean thread the muzzle brake or suppressor onto the barrel, lock it down with a crush washer or the notch located on most AK47 gas blocks. Run a bore snake or barrel cleaning tool once more to ensure alignment, then take the firearm to the range and enjoy!