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For some folks (and I include myself), AR-15s can be a work in progress for a very long time. While I don't subscribe to the "new accessory of the month club", I do appreciate quality hardware. And every now and again, I find myself wanting to do an upgrade after coming across a good forum thread on a particular item. In my case, I have a backup AR-15 (for my trips to Front Sight), so the take-offs from my M&P15 have a good home already lined up. I'm not sure if that is a simple way to help rationalize the need for an upgrade or not, but I know I don't feel bad accumulating a drawer full pieces and parts. <grin>
Last year, I installed a Troy 7" CAR/M4 Drop-In BattleRail on my M&P15. The BattleRail is not a free floating rail. I had the opportunity to put it through its paces on my last two Front Sight trips. It did a good job but every now and then, I believe I was seeing a bit of POI shift due to the various positions we were using. Along with the positions, I was switching back and forth between a GripPod (attached at the front end of the rail) and sand bags. When using the sand bags, I had them back against the front edge of the magazine well. Without a free floating rail (handguard), different pressures against the barrel can cause POI shifts.
I decided it was time to replace the Troy rail with one that was free floating.
My Eagle Arms EA-15 HBAR, could make good use of the Troy rail. Time to
find a replacement.
I didn't want to go the barrel removal route as is required for some free
floating rails. After a few nights spending searching and reading several
gun forums, I decided that the Daniel Defense Omega 7.0 rail was the one I
wanted. It free floats the barrel and does not require a barrel removal or
a change in the barrel nut. No special tools are necessary for the
installation. I had to supply a screwdriver and Daniel Defense included
the Allen wrench.
A few days and the FedEx guy arrived with my Omega rail. I was pleasantly
surprised to see a full set of rail ladders, something I was not expecting.
Since the rail is installed without the need to remove the barrel, front sight
base, etc., it comes as a two piece unit. My research indicated that the
two piece rail fit very tightly together and that movement was not an issue.
I was hoping this would be the case and was anxious to see if it were true.
The two rail pieces are held together with four screws (supplied).
It was time to get the installation going. I grabbed a handguard
installation tool from under the bench along with a set of gunsmith
screwdrivers. The first thing to do was to remove the Troy rail from the
Like the Omega 7.0 rail, the Troy BattleRail is a two piece rail that is also held together with screws. With the screws removed from the Troy rail, I used the handguard installation tool to compress the Delta ring and remove both pieces of the rail from the M&P 15.
The DD rail weighs in at 7.6 ounces and is CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum.
This is some pretty strong material. I used the same aluminum alloy on my
Jeep's transmission skid plate.
Daniel Defense applies a military spec Type III hard coat to the rail which
gives it a very durable anodized finish. Needless to say, I didn't apply a
hard coat finish to the skid plate on my Jeep.
Omega 7.0 Rail