Rifle Ready: Preparing for Competition and Hard Use

Rifle Ready: Preparing for Competition and Hard Use

Winter is here and I am in the basement. Its during this time of cold solitude that we can take our equipment and prepare it for the competitive season. During my first competitive season I learned many lessons, and I like to keep passing them on. Keep in mind, that despite your best efforts, junk breaks all the time, but their are steps we can take to give our best effort at keeping your gun running and to keep the important bits from falling off during prolonged use.

Torque It Down, Glue It Down

Rifle Ready Rocksett

These exposed screws are just asking to fall out if a thread locker isn’t used.

Nothing will ruin your chances quicker than screws backing out and things falling off your gun. If your weapon has threaded screws, there is no reason not to use a locking compound. Among the strongest for heat resistance is ROCKSETT. Its well respected for being heat resistant, yet it is removable by the common man when the part needs to come off. The screws on my Aero Precision M4E1 got a nice dollop before final torquing.

Rifle Ready marks

Need a paint pen? Head to the nearest Wal-Mart.

If you still rock thumbscrew mounts like I do, then its important to torque them down. I had a thumbscrew rear sight on my LMT BUIS back out during competitions and all of a sudden I couldn’t hit anything. Guess what? Finger tight was useless. The LMT sight was wiggling at the end of that run. Now I use the flat slots to torque my screws down far tighter than hand tight. I also mark the amount of torque I need to ensure repeatability of the mount. I also mark the optics position on the gun to ensure I don’t mis-slot it when it comes off and goes back on.

Rifle Ready Trijicon ACOG

If it can be staked, stake it!

Rifle Ready staked castle nut

Ugly? Yes, but it has stayed put.

See that ugly, crappy stake job there on the castle nut? Its held up for many shooting seasons and hasn’t loosened. Its ugly, but I don’t care. It stays put.

Rifle Ready Gas key

Some good staking on this bolt carrier

I hope your gas key has good staking, give it a look over and try to wiggle it. This gas key is staked solidly and doesn’t wiggle.

Rifle Ready Gas Rings

Does your carrier group stand up on a fully unlocked bolt? If yes, then your gas rings are still good to go.

Testing my gas rings by placing the bolt carrier bolt down. If it stays put without falling into the locked position, your gas rings are still tight enough to form a decent seal.

If it falls down to the locked position, replace the rings.

Wrapping Up:

So these are a few things I went over on my rifle today in preparation for the first range trip of the year and to prepare for the 2 gun series I signed up for. I am really looking forward to the function test in addition to a review of the Criterion 18 inch Hybrid Contour Barrel.

Written by lothaen


  1. Will Krause · January 21, 2015

    What do you use to make your index marks? The only thing I’ve ever found were some paint markers, but they all had tips that were too fat to be of any use.

  2. Ryan · February 10, 2015

    On screws that need to be removed on a somewhat regular scedule try grease. It fills the voids to reduce vibration from loosening threaded “stuff”. It seems counterintuitive but it works.


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