Roller-Lock Buyer's Guide (pictorial)
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Thread: Roller-Lock Buyer's Guide (pictorial)

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Roller-Lock Buyer's Guide (pictorial)

    I've put this together in response to the growing number of questions regarding the quality of various roller-lock brands and what things that a buyer should look for when selecting a gun, either online or at a gun show. The audience for this thread is the new-comer and HK-pro alike as I will try to cover items that existing roller-lock owners should go back and review against their current firearms.

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    DEFINITIONS

    Critical aspects: These are key areas of a delayed roller-blowback firearm that are critical for safe and reliable operation of the firearm. Correctness of these areas will also contribute to increased reliablity, smoother operation and maximum longevity of parts. An example is trunion installation/alignment.

    Non-critical aspects: These are items that do not contribute to the overall safety or reliable operation of the firearm but will create some form of hinderance that must be overcome with a "work-around" fix. These have a range of severity from a mis-installed front sight to an improperly cut (or non cut) claw-mount tab.

    Cosmetic-only: Self explainatory.

    ------------------------------

    THE "GRADES"

    Collector-grade: These are at the top of the quality scale. They are built with all critical aspects correct and typically have almost every non-critical and cosmetic detail correct in comparision to a factory H&K firearm. Collector-grade firearms will typically last longer, operate smoother and be more reliable due the critical aspects being correct. The correctness of the non-critical aspects will ensure that handguards, stocks, trigger packs and optic mounts attach as easily and accurately as a factory H&K firearm.

    Typical-grade: Some critical and non-critical aspects are correct and often times have slightly less than fluid operation and require "break-in". Weld quality is good without excessiveness and finish quality is good as well. Accessories such as handguards, stocks, trigger packs and optic mounts often times, but not always, require additional modification or "effort" to be attached. At the lower end of this grade, firearms may require replacement parts for reliable operation and most cosmetic aspects and deatails are neglected.

    Shooter-grade: These are at the bottom of the quality scale and possibly represents the most misleading and dangerous of firearms. The concept of the shooter-grade firearm is ideally a firearm that is built inexpensively yet correctly to ensure safe and reliable operation. Most of the severe non-critical items are done correctly with lesser non-critical and cosmetic details ommited. The primary purpose of this firearm is that it will fire when you pull the trigger despite its overall cosmetic appearance or lack of details. Unfortunately this is not the case with nearly all shooter-grade firearms. They typically will have poor welds, cosmetically and sometimes structurally. Most of the critical and non-critical aspects are not done correctly, at least not to the extent where there is consistency from example to example within the same product line. To compensate for errors made in manufacturing, "work-around" fixes are performed often times to the degree that the firearm becomes dangerous to the operator. Even though these firearms appear to function reliably, their longevity and parts service life is diminshed greatly and they are very often times unsafe.

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    PRICES AND PARTS

    Some of the biggest mis-conceptions come from price and brand of parts. There is no formula or guideline to determine if the selling price of a firearm is a true reflection of its quality. The correctness and details of the manufacture are are just as important as the brand of parts used. Do your homework, study the details!

    Here is a quick list of how the commonly available parts typically rank in order of expense when priced as complete build kits:

    - Rim Country Manufacturing (RCM)
    - HK Germany
    - Maylaysia (HK contract)
    - Special Weapons/Coharie (SW/CA/BMP)

    ------------------------------

    EXAMPLES

    Below are examples of critical, non-critical and cosmetic issues. Please use these photos along with the information above to help you assess firearms that you may be interested in purchasing as well firearms that you currently own. These photos are from firearms that I have had in for repairs as well as Internet photos that I have been able to indentify the problem areas.


    Critical:





















    ----------------------------------------

    Non-critical:


























    TO BE CONTINUED...
    Last edited by Chopstix Kid; 06-15-2016 at 03:17 AM.
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    This rocks.
    We've been needing something like this for a while.

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    Some photos of non-critical items added.
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    Wow , Every potential H&K94 /MP5 owner should see this thread. as they say a picture is worth 1000 words . great work on the thread Joe

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    Thanks guys. When I started building the roller-locks, I apparently raised the bar for quality as I chose not to "settle" on what people were willing to accept. Rather I set my goals on what I thought people deserved for their money. I'm hoping that this thread not only helps educate buyers on what to look out for, but also serves as a wake-up call to other builders to do their dilligence when building a firearm.
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    Thank you Joe. What an excellent thread. I really appreciate this thread.

    Scott

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    You welcome! And thank you. I can already see the impact that threads like this are having; many manufacturers are starting to pay closer attention to quality and consistency. Hopefully by our generation setting higher standards and raising the bar, future generations will be able to continue to enjoy exceptional quality roller-lock firearms.
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    Great eye for detail! Nice of you to share and educate, good to see someone push to deliver a better product.

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    I noticed that in some of the pictures the sling clip rivets have small triangle impressions, are those hk receivers that someone botched ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by a.stoop View Post
    I noticed that in some of the pictures the sling clip rivets have small triangle impressions, are those hk receivers that someone botched ?
    No, those photos are of a U.S. made receiver. The marks are from the specific rivet tool that the manufacturer uses.
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