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As is often the case, a good story usually begins with "Once upon a time". So I guess that is how I need to start this one.....Once upon a time, I had the opportunity to purchase a used heavy barrel Eagle Arms EA-15 rifle at a reasonable price, so I did. Not that it makes much difference to someone living in AZ, but this was a pre-ban vintage AR-15 pattern rifle. If you are not familiar with Eagle Arms, it was formed in 1986 by Karl Lewis (of Lewis Machine and Tool) and Jim Glazier. By 1995, after being acquired once or twice by someone else, it became a division of ArmaLite and exists today.
A little research on the internet shows that the early 5.56mm EA-15 rifles do OK. I've been very happy with mine except for one thing.....the optic rail. It isn't a mil-standard 1913 rail. It is more along the lines of a Weaver rail.
Here is Wikipedia's take on it: "The only differences between the Picatinny rail and the similar Weaver rail are the size of these slots and the fact that they are standardized. Weaver rails have a slot width of 0.180 in (4.57 mm), but are not necessarily consistent in the spacing of slot centers. Some accessories are designed to fit on both Weaver and Picatinny rails; but most Picatinny devices will not fit on Weaver rails."
I can vouch for that last statement.....an item, such as a Picatinny rail scope mount, will not fit on my rail. Since everything is virtually made for a Picatinny rail now days (at least in the AR-15 arena), I decided it was time to correct this problem. I started looking for a rail, an adapter if you would, that would fit on my EA-15 and give me a mil-spec Picatinny rail for an optic to fit on.
I found such an item at GG&G, an
accessory/parts manufacturer in Tucson, AZ. This wasn't the first time I
turned to GG&G for a solution. I e-mailed them to see if the 1/2" riser
rail I found on their web site would fit my Weaver railed EA-15 (I included that
in the e-mail). I was told it would.
It didn't. $100 (including tax & shipping) later, I had a 1/2" x 7" riser that would not fit my EA-15. Needless to say I was a little ticked off. The problem was simple....the inconsistent spacing (as mentioned in the above Wiki quote), ending up with a rib in the location where there needed to be a slot. The holes in the new rail, which carry the screws to secure the rail in place, didn't line up with the slots on my EA-15 rail.
After some more e-mail exchanges, GG&G told me my EA-15 had a non-standard
rail. (DUH! Tell me something I didn't already know!) They did
offer to refund my money. But that did me little good. I wanted to
get my EA-15 up and running as a functional backup AR for my Front Sight
practical rifle training trips. What to do?
It was time for a little adjustment to the EA=15's rail. After
determine where I wanted the new Picatinny rail mounted on the EA-15, I marked
the rib that needed to be removed. A trip to the garage for several metal
files got me the necessary tools. It was time to give it a try.
If I had a mill to machine this, it would have been done in a few minutes.
It took me about 30 minutes to remove the rib by hand. I wasn't in any
kind of race. As you can see, I had one little slip of the file.
Other than that, I had a pretty steady hand and I was pleased with the results.
Here is the after photo of the EA-15's rail. As you can see, the rib
has been removed in the exact location where the mounting screw for the new
Picatinny rail will be going.
More Picatinny Rail for EA-15