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Handguards - polymer vs metal?

This is a discussion on Handguards - polymer vs metal? within the AK-47 Talk forums, part of the Long Gun Talk category; A lot of the handguards I like seem to have reports of melting since they are polymer. Is this a known problem with all polymer ...


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Old 05-03-2011, 12:30 PM   #1
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Handguards - polymer vs metal?

A lot of the handguards I like seem to have reports of melting since they are polymer. Is this a known problem with all polymer hand guards? im going to be taking my AK to the range once a month, putting about 250-300 rds through it. Any suggestions on good handguards with a tri or quad rail setup that will fit milled receivers that can handle the use I described?

Thanks
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Old 05-03-2011, 01:10 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with the rail scene, but KVAR's poly fore-ends have internal metal heat shields. Might be a place to start.
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:25 PM   #3
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This depends entirely on how you shoot, where you shoot - and what handguards you're talking about.

Cheap crap like most Tapco products etc. have non-metal-lined polymer handguards. These are subject to bending/melting if submitted to sustained firing, particularly in a hot climate. In AZ, temps could be up to 100-110 when I was out shooting, so if you started burning through ammo, I bet things would melt.

Proper military-style handguards should have metal heat shielding inside the polymer (at least the bottoms, most do not have lined upper handguards as they don't fit with the gas tube). K-Var sells quality military grade furniture. What are you looking at?

PS: 250-300 rounds is enough to heat up a forearm pretty well, but you shouldn't worry about melting unless you're planning on making 10 straight mag dumps, at which point most things would catch fire.

Remember, AKs can be purchased cheaply...but it doesn't mean you should treat them cheaply. I put around 650 rounds through my 74 this past Saturday during a class, and had no issue with the standard lower handguard.
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:50 PM   #4
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Mine is a Arsenal SLR 95 with milled receiver.........I dont know much about AK's at all, but ive been told this is a pretty quality rifle........Im looking at adding a more modern "tactical" handguard with upper/lower/side rails for red dot/vertical grip/light......Ive studied a few and think I have narrowed it down to the Metal upper / lower handguard offered by Midwest industries Midwest Industries: AK47/74 Handguard

Ive read the Tapco's are crap...........I liked the Command arms version but it too is plastic and its imported, I want my handguard to count as a 922r compliant piece
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:38 PM   #5
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MWI makes good stuff from what i have seen. Since its aluminum its safe to say it wont melt, but if it gets hot watch your hand!
My arsenal handgaurd stays cool enough to hold after dumping 100 rounds, but dont touch it anywhere else!
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:03 PM   #6
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I don't think I would switch mine from the wood unless I had to. a tac light might be nice but the wood is pretty trouble free.
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:44 AM   #7
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Midwest Industries rails are nice (I had a set). I found it to be a bit pointless eventually, as I wasn't using much of the rail-estate. They also make a version with US Palm, which has different top covers to fit various RDS optics, so check it out if you're planning on running one. The "generic" MI rails are a bit tall --- so you can't get any cowitness with irons.
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:08 PM   #8
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IMHO anything more than a Poly furniture, Ultimak type rail and a small red dot is over kill on a AK... Of cours a side mount scope also..
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:48 PM   #9
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Metal handguards will tend to heat up a lot under sustained fire. Some poly will melt. You can cut heat shields out of aluminum cans, and that will help a lot. The heavier cans, like the large high energy drinks, work best because they use thicker aluminum. Put the shiny side towards the heat. It takes a little hand fitting, try and trimming, but done right they won't be visible. Mine are just held in place by the pressure of the fit, and they don't seem to want to move, but you could tack them to wooden handguards with small shortened brads. The alternative is a glove, and that is actually a good idea anyway, but I don't want to "Ninja suit-up" to just plink.

CX
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:25 PM   #10
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Plastic Is OK Because....

....They act as a good thermometer since when they begin to smoke, then melt, then catch on fire....it is a good time to back off on your rate of fire....unless you are up against ZOMBIES.... then all bets are off. HB of CJ (old coot)
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