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  1. #1
    "Carlos Spicyweiner" T-DOGG's Avatar

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    Tacticool22 free float handguard install - S&W MP15-22

    I didn't want to fill up the rimfire madness thread with tons of pictures in one post, so here is a brief overview of what's involved in upgrading from the flimsy factory polymer handguard on a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle.

    Tacticool22 came out with a handguard specific to the 15-22. Their adapter barrel nut has been out for years and while very popular, it does not allow a tight fit between many aftermarket AR handguards and the upper receiver and leaves an unsightly gap. They offer their handguard in various lengths of 10"/12.5"/15". I chose 10" to match the factory length handguard. Due to the POI shift I was encountering with the factory handguard when resting it at the end, I decided I didn't want to add length to the equation, further compounding the issue. However, after the install, the new handguard is very noticeably stiffer and I probably would be okay with a longer handguard.

    https://www.tacticool22.com/




    Here is what I purchased: handguard kit (includes barrel nut & hardware) and factory barrel nut tool




    Picture of the upper disassembled. Note that the barrel slides out the back of the receiver.
    I already have non-marring jaws on my vise, so clamping the barrel was not a problem.




    Upper has a metal bushing/sleeve installed where the barrel is inserted. I also took the liberty of finishing installing the two roll pins the rest of the way for Smith & Wesson while I had the barrel off (pic below only shows the one pin). They attach the barrel extension/feed ramp/ejector to the barrel.






    Comparison of the factory handguard and the Tacticool22 version. Both use the M-Lok design. The T22 version has a front QD swivel with anti-rotation at the 3:00/6:00/9:00 positions towards the muzzle end of the handguard, I personally prefer the other end, but I probably won't be using a sling on this rifle anyways as it's main use is benchrest using bags.




    Comparison of nuts, of the barrel variety that is. Such a difference that it actually made me laugh a little when taking the pics. The larger barrel nut, the fact that the T22 handguard isn't "sammiched" in between the nut/receiver and that the T22 is aluminum instead of polymer all factor into the increased stiffness of the whole setup. Note: the factory barrel nut is steel, the T22 one is aluminum. That would bother me if it were an AR-15 in 5.56 where the torque values are higher, but not in this case.





    New barrel nut on and torqued. The instructions say to call S&W for the torque spec, but then state it's around 20 ft/lbs.

    I lightly cleaned the edges around where my tool contacted the barrel nut with a small file before installing the handguard, to help aid in installation.

    These are the vise jaw inserts I've used for a few years now, they work great by the way and held the barrel really well without damaging it.
    https://www.amazon.com/Vise-Jaws-Mul...y&sr=8-1-fkmr1




    New handguard installed, used blue Loctite on the 3 screws for peace of mind. I did struggle a little with the front screw that threads into a separate little nut that has a pin (kinda teardrop shaped), which ended up being resolved by tightening the other two screws first. Notice there is no gap between the handguard and receiver as promoted by Tacticool22 (I feel like there's a "mind the gap" joke for all you Chivers out there ).

    Rock solid feeling now, honestly it's pretty much as solid as my other AR's in 5.56. Looks good, feels good, life is good.






    I decided to repurpose the factory polymer M-Lok handguard and replaced the quad rail on my gen1 camo 15-22. It's pretty much gonna stay a red dot gun used for plinking and not groups anyways, so any shifts in POI shouldn't be too noticeable. Unless I run across a solid deal on a Volquartsen barrel, then things might change.




  2. #2
    Hop
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    Thanks for the write up. My daughter's pink tiger striped camo 15/22 is a lot of fun but is not very accurate. I'd like to do this mode but wonder if there's a way to modify the factory S&W quad rail to fit this new barrel nut. Open up the hand guard and re-tap the threads maybe? Any ideas?

  3. #3
    "Carlos Spicyweiner" T-DOGG's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hop View Post
    Thanks for the write up. My daughter's pink tiger striped camo 15/22 is a lot of fun but is not very accurate. I'd like to do this mode but wonder if there's a way to modify the factory S&W quad rail to fit this new barrel nut. Open up the hand guard and re-tap the threads maybe? Any ideas?
    They don't seem to sell the barrel nut for their handguard separate, but do have a conversion barrel nut that has standard AR upper receiver threads on the outside of it. As far as reusing the factory handguard in that fashion, that sounds like a lot of work and not sure if feasible.

  4. #4
    Marksman

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    A lot of good info thanks

  5. #5
    Grandmaster WebSnyper's Avatar

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    Thanks for the write up and pictures. Mine is mostly used with a red dot to beat up steel, but I have contemplated this for a while. My 15-22 is the quad rail variant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank_N_Stein
    I am trying to turn every thread I involve myself in into a **** show.

  6. #6
    "Carlos Spicyweiner" T-DOGG's Avatar

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    I wish I could find a better price than $300 for the VQ barrel, I'd consider trying one if they were not so expensive.

  7. #7
    Expert Simon6101's Avatar

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    Im waiting on my rail to arrive so I can get mine installed. Your post drove me over the edge.
    2 to the chest and 1 above the vest

  8. #8
    "Carlos Spicyweiner" T-DOGG's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon6101 View Post
    Im waiting on my rail to arrive so I can get mine installed. Your post drove me over the edge.
    I'm glad to hear that. I kept reminding myself to take pictures during the work, just in case someone else was on the fence about doing the upgrade and wanted to see a step by step. It was much easier than I originally thought and the handguard fitment is very good. I'm chomping at the bit to find out if my groups improve. Range time is almost here, just a few more days.

  9. #9
    "Carlos Spicyweiner" T-DOGG's Avatar

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    Simon, what length handguard did you get?

  10. #10
    Expert Simon6101's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by T-DOGG View Post
    Simon, what length handguard did you get?
    I decided to go all out. I ordered the 15inch handguard. Should look really good with the suppressor and running the binary in it. If I like it, I may do the other one I have been letting the grandkids use but i am only gonna do the 12.5 if I do.
    2 to the chest and 1 above the vest

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