…but this one is mine.
Well, there may not be any like it. Looking at it completed assembled, my first thought was, “That looks like something out of Star Wars.” But now you know why I asked if 15 inches is too long: It’s installed on a Tactical Solutions AR-22T dedicated .22 rimfire upper. Ordinarily a 15″ handguard on a 16.5″ barrel is not a problem (although they are most often used on 3-gun type rifles with 18″+ barrels). However, because the rimfire barrel is recessed into the receiver by over an inch, I knew the barrel wouldn’t be too much longer than the handguard.
What I didn’t account for is the gap between the receiver and the back of the tube. That left all of 1/16 of an inch of barrel to extend past the end of the handguard.
Obviously, there won’t be any trouble finding a place to mount iron sights on top of that which was the reason for adding the rail to begin with. The plan is also to add a bipod stud as well and the handguard does have a row of vents along the bottom for adding accessories. One of the two included APC add-on rail sections could be used for that purpose. They are rock solid when mounted and offer impressive flexibility of mounting locations [@1:30, 3, 6, 9 or 10:30 o'clock any where along the length].
However, the idea of adding a rail only to have to add a bipod stud adapter to then attach a bipod just irks me. AP Custom will be introducing a simple, low profile bipod stud accessory but it hasn’t been released for sale at this time. [BTW, they recently released a lo-pro QD socket that I want to try too.] I did try IWC’s excellent V-2 Mount-n-Slot for MagPul MOE forends but while serviceable, it’s not an exact fit; MagPul vents are narrower and the surfaces around them are flat rather than curved like those of a free float tube. This leaves a very slight amount of play when MOE accessories are mounted to an APC tube (unless you really want to wrench them down; I didn’t).
That didn’t keep me from doing a mock up of what it would be like with a bipod mounted though.
So now all it needs are the iron sights that led to this whole undertaking. Well, they’re backordered. But I’m sure that they’ll be along shortly; this panic buying stuff is tapering off, right? *sigh*
Until then, I’ll still be having a great time with the ‘Blaster’. The TacSol upper is not only accurate and fun but it’s also an excellent training tool (inexpensive to shoot and great for introducing new shooters to the AR platform). Adding the AP Custom handguard and (eventually) aperture sights only makes it better.