Threading barrels helps make sure your suppressors and muzzle brakes fit and work. Learning how to thread a barrel is a handy skill every gun enthusiast needs to learn.
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In this article:
- Required Tools for DIY Threading Barrels
- These Extra Tools Are Also Recommended for Muzzle Threading
- Important Preparations on How To Thread A Barrel
- How To Thread A Barrel Step-by-Step Guide
- Factors to Keep in Mind When Threading Barrels
- Finishing Up
How To Thread A Barrel: AR 15 Barrel Threading
Required Tools for DIY Threading Barrels
- Different taps and dies
- Thread pitch
- Vice grip
Note: Depending on the rifle you have, you will need a different thread pitch.
These Extra Tools Are Also Recommended for Muzzle Threading:
- Cutting oil
- Hand towels
- Firearms cleaning kit and toolkit
- 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 will risk the integrity of the firearm.
Important Preparations on How To Thread A Barrel
Measure the diameter of your firearm’s barrel before starting. Then cross-reference 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 also provide specification lists with firearm make and models detailing each barrel thread pitch.
Of course, these specifications follow factory models. So, also make sure your firearm is a factory model.
An example of this is a Norinco MAK-90 AK47. A factory barrel will need 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 for the job to get done. No instructions come with the toolkit, though, but there are many videos popping online that provide do-it-yourself examples.
How To Thread A Barrel Step-by-Step Guide
To get started, fit the guide through the cutting tool. You need the guide to thread through the cutting tool itself and place it concentrically to the barrel. Make sure all the components are well-oiled with the cutting oil before starting.
- 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, then proceed back forward cutting in the proper direction.
- Repeat this process for every half turn with due diligence and patience. A single mistake during this process can risk the firearms’ integrity and performance.
- Once there are three to four thread cuts made, remove the tool and the guide, then repeat the process without the guide. The guide tool is no longer needed at this point. This is because the first few thread cuts are enough to complete the rest of the job with proper alignment.
Factors to Keep in Mind When Threading Barrels
- Besides patience and caution, make sure all the components are well-oiled and lubricated with the cutting oil throughout the process. If the components are not lubricated, the cutting tool can chip and damage the barrel during the cutting process.
- 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 rush the process. You can use minor distractions to calm your excitement.
For example, the beer we mentioned earlier? A bottle of it could help.
The point is to take minor breaks to keep excitement or boredom under control during the process. It prevents rushing the task which may risk permanent damage to the barrel of the firearm.
- Precision is important as a minor kink in the thread pitch can damage the entire firearm. This is when one round fires through a muzzle brake or suppressor that's not in proper alignment.
- Upon finishing up, remove the cutting tool with as much upward pressure as possible. This works by pulling upwards on the tool with the opposite hand, spinning the tool off the threaded barrel.
Remove all the excess metal chips and cutting oil with a paintbrush, then remove the firearm from the vice.
Before assembling the firearm, clean it well, including the bore, barrel, gas system, and internal moving components. If the firearm is not clean, then shooting the weapon will be at risk of damage.
This is because the metal chips will 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!
DIY threading barrels for muzzle brakes and suppressors is a tedious task. Yet, it's vital in the care and maintenance of your weapons.
How many of your guns are threaded? We're interested to find out about how it went in your comments below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 21, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.