After many months of steady programming and setting work coordinates I finally got a receiver made. We have 76 different tools on this job and the machine only holds 20 tools, so not only do We have to hand load our 6 broaches but we also have to hand load 51 other tools. I also had to set 40 different work coordinates for the various rotations of the tombstone during the running of the 4 programs. Now if that wasn't enough Gary had already bought MasterCam, a programming software that I was not familiar with. I had been using SurfCam and a cam system made by SolidWorks called CamWorks so I had to go to a short school to familiarize myself with MasterCam. Well about the time I was familiar enough with MasterCam to get started setting up and cutting, our brand new Haas VF2 with a fourth axis arrived at about the same time, our fixture from Satterfield was delivered. After that I started "cutting iron" and completed our first run of receivers around January 2015.
GunWorks of LA was started about 2 years ago by retired Lt. Colonel Gary Mozingo.
He started the company because at his training range (GunPort), he kept breaking M1A receivers and he wanted to build a receiver, (like the ones from the 1960's), that would stand up to the high usage during training. After a false starts with some rookies, he ran across me (Charlie Sporck). I coordinated with Wyman Gordon and had them model a hammer forging die that left 1/8" on all surfaces of our receiver. We then had Wyman Gordon forge our stock blanks out of 8620. Next I had Satterfield make a horizontal tombstone fixture for us with 6 stations. I then designed and had made 20 different special cutters including, end mills, woodruff cutters, and broaches. I needed them to cut the many undercuts, grooves and angle surfaces on the receiver because all I had to make the receiver with was a 3-axis VF2 Haas mill with an add on 4th axis.
Why would I man that has no knowledge of manufacturing attempt to begin manufacturing at an advanced age??? That is a long story I’ll try to shorten. Fifteen years ago I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to train Small Arms for the government.
As I had no discretionary income I had to buy firearms as I earned the money to acquire more. Very few M1As owners are willing to sell them, so new was the ticket. I have eventually wound up with 15 or so. They are from different manufacturers. Of course I had to buy Beretta M9 or 92FS and Mossberg 500 shotguns. For the price paid, the Mossberg is the best investment.
As of June 2015 we have trained over 6,000 shooters. With a very conservative estimate we are firing 80 rounds per student. With perfect distribution of ammo that’s about 32,000 rounds per rifle.
That averages to roughly 428 shooters per year but we started out with fewer students and have built to almost 900 last year. This said to make the points our rifles and instructors are teaching every week except Christmas and New Years. Those numbers resulted in Instructors knowing their material and the best techniques as well as how to impart that knowledge to their students. It also works the rifles more that the vast majority of military and law enforcement agencies.
We have one true M14. One of my students said “it would shoot 30-06 if we could get it into the chamber.” Just keeps on shooting. They made them right. They were made from hammer forged 8620 steel as opposed to being cast in a mold. There are no places on the original receiver, that we saw, that remained uncut after the forging process.
We have had problems with our rifles. Everything from the receivers breaking where the stripper clip guides attach, operation rods breaking, and triggers breaking. This has caused me to take a critical look at my rifles. I have based my assumptions as to whether or not to commit to this expensive and time consuming undertaking on your wanting to buy quality. We have committed to building the very best receiver we possibly can build. Time and orders will tell if they are received well, if not, we’ll have the most expensive training rifles ever made.
There are many short cuts to take in manufacturing any metal part. One is to cast the part in a mold filled with raw molten steel. This makes for fewer cuts, and forms some of the features that won't be cut. This method will save much time and reduce the cost of tooling. Most of their designs have been altered from the original 1958 Dwg., last revised in 1975. They do this to reduce the manufacturing time, and reduce the number of tools required to turn them out faster and cheaper. We have not, and will not, select to sacrifice quality for profit.
Our goal and target is to manufacture the highest quality receiver possible. Some of our tolerances are tighter than blue print specifications but all fall within print tolerance . This standard has cost well over two years and several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We are using our rifles during training and qualification with our students and have one in endurance testing. Charlie has had to make some minor changes to our prototypes to tweak our rifle but it is still within the call out specifications.
Currently we are able to complete approximately 20 per month. Then expect another 14 days to have them heat treated, finished, and magnafluxed. They are then re-inspected prior to offer them to our customers. You can have full confidence is our workmanship and commitment to stand behind our pledge to warrant our product for life to the original owner assuming they are used as designed.
The FCat Story