Monday, December 13, 2010

Entreprise Arms -- poor quality and even poorer customer service

Chapter 1:

I recently purchased a Entreprise Standard Rifle from Atlantic Firearms. To my surprise, when I checked the headspace I found that a NOGO gauge would chamber in the rifle. To my non-precise estimation, there seemed to be an additional 0.02" of play with a NOGO gauge chambered. I contacted Matt at Entreprise and he suggested I return the rifle for evaluation and correct. I did that.

Chapter 2:

Rifle was returned. Entreprise changed NOTHING; not even a letter explaining their conclusions. Hmmm.

I had a 0.274" locking shoulder lying around, so I replaced the original with this one and off I went to the range to measure actual headspace by measuring fired cases in an RCBS 308 mic. Three cases measured at +0.011", +0.013" and +0.011" meaning the headspace with a 0.274" locking shoulder was 1.644" (a Forster GO gauge measures 1.630" and a NOGO measures 1.634"). The scary part is that with the original locking shoulder, the headspace was 1.662", a full 0.030" larger than nominal!!!!!

The second thing I noticed was that the rifle consistently shot 18" to the right at 100yds. Using similar triangles (18" is to 100yds what X is to 22") I calculated that the rear sight needed to be drifted 0.11" to the left. After I made the adjustment the group was on paper and not bad actually.

However, the amount of displacement I needed to apply to the rear sight bothered me so when I got home I pulled the hand guards and gas tube and examined the "verticleness" of the sight and gas block. It seemed a little off, as if the barrel had been over-tightened. I then took a look at the relative position of the timing cutout relative to the receiver and after a little arithmetic, made it out to be about 3.5 degrees past dead center, i.e. too tight. Since the top of the sight post is 1.93" above the center of the boreline, 3.5 degrees would put the top of the sightpost about 0.118" to the left ... hmmm imagine that .... exactly the amount we had to move the rear sight.

The third obvious problem was that on occasion the rifle would “double fire” – yes not good. Examination at home confirmed that the rear of the trigger was damaged/worn to the point where holding the trigger down (with the selector in the semi-auto position) while manually cycling the bolt resulted in the hammer to drop .... a situation which can result in uncontrolled fire.

At this point I can only assume that whoever assemble the rifle had no idea as to what they were doing and since I've already returned the rifle once, giving Entreprise a chance to correct the faults, I'm assuming that Entreprise has no interest in fixing it. Additionally, I've already corrected the three problems myself so the rifle is no longer in warranty. And yes, I attempted to contact Entreprise by email and have had no response.

Summary:

A supposed NEW rifle from Entreprise arrived with 0.030" excessive headspace, 3.5 degrees off optimal timing and a trigger so damaged that uncontrolled fire would result. No response from Entreprise so apparently no desire to stand behind their products despite claims of lifetime warranties.

Disappointed is an understatement. I had high hopes for Entreprise, being a CA company, but at this point I can’t recommend Entreprise to anyone looking for a FAL.

To add insult to injury, the rifle I received didn't have the required number of 922(r) compliance parts. Of the 20 parts on the ATF list, 17 are applicable to the FAL meaning that a FAL builder must replace 7 with US made parts. The rifle I received had the following US made parts: (1) receiver, (2) muzzle device, (3) buttstock, (4) pistol grip, (5) forearms, (6) magazine floor plate, i.e. one short of the required number of parts.


UPDATE:

I had acquired another IMBEL barrel for a build onto an IMBEL receiver. This barrel handtimed to the expected 10:30 o'clock position on the IMBEL receiver and some quicky estimation indicated a locking shoulder in the 0.256"-0.266" range.

I tried that barrel on this sad Entreprise receiver. It too (over) handtimed to the 2 o-clock position. After reintroducing the 0.010" shim, I torqued the new barrel into the Entreprise receiver and proceeded to measure headspace with pin gauges and a Forster NOGO gauge. The smallest pin required to provide any closing resistance to the NOGO gauge was 0.280"!!!!!!!!! A safe gun would require a 0.284" locking shoulder. That's HUGE!!!

My only conclusion at this point is that this Entreprise receiver is severely out of spec. Quite simply, the barrel threads are miss-cut/mis-located by 110-120 degrees, thus accounting for the excessive headspace.

Some supporting arithmetic:

barrel threading is 1-16"
A 120 degree mislocation would add 120/360 x 1/16" = 0.021" to the headspace

expected locking shoulder should be in the 0.256"-0.262" range
0.256/0.262 + 0.021" = 0.277"/0.283" ... mine is 0.284"

So, at this point this receiver is unusable. I can't in good conscience flip it on some unsuspecting sucker so I have a nice paper weight.

Anyone considering buying an Entreprise rifle or receiver ... DON'T!!!

3 comments:

dlawick said...

Thanks for a very informative blog re: your L1A1 fix. I'm in the same bind (no pun included) replacing a crap L1A1 receiver from Century with a new inch receiver from DSA. With the barrel timed properly, the old Australian locking shoulder marked "D" (.267") is too small. Now to find the right size... Hopefully I'll end up with a nice shooter and an expensive paperweight/doorstop. Q: any problems shooting the rifle with all that excessive headspace?!

Felix Estrella said...

I wouldn't shoot a rifle with 0.030" excessive headspace. Head separation, and unrestrained gas release at 60,000PSI, is not a good thing.

dlawick said...

Sorry - I misunderstood. I thought you had fired the gun and measured excessive headspace of 0.01" (1.644" when No Go is 1.634") Based on this assumption, I wondered if there were any case head separations or other problems.