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Benelli M4 -- Sidearmor Rail Review


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one question, as i am planning to get the sidearmor rail system: are the LaRue QD mounts for aimpoint and eotech fully compatible with this rail?

of course they are all said to be mil spec, but so said benelli with their rail, and look what it did to duggan's LaRue mount. scratched all over.

thats not what i want for mine to happen.

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The match between the Sidearmor and the Larue isn't the best due to the center cut. However, I haven't had any damage to my rails from either the LaRue Scout light or the Aimpoint T1 mount.

 

I've put quite a bit of buck and slugs through the gun, all high brass.

 

I followed Mark LaRue's suggestion of tightening the mounts so tight that it is hard to get closed and a real sumbitch to get open. Also, when you seat the mount, pull the indexing lug all the way to the rear so it is pressed against the rail before you lock it down.

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The match between the Sidearmor and the Larue isn't the best due to the center cut. However, I haven't had any damage to my rails from either the LaRue Scout light or the Aimpoint T1 mount.

 

I've put quite a bit of buck and slugs through the gun, all high brass.

 

I followed Mark LaRue's suggestion of tightening the mounts so tight that it is hard to get closed and a real sumbitch to get open. Also, when you seat the mount, pull the indexing lug all the way to the rear so it is pressed against the rail before you lock it down.

 

I may have to try this ... if you've put plenty of rounds through your gun without damaging the larue mounts, then perhaps the stubs are wide enough to properly support the larue mounts design without causing damage ...

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Since mounting both, I'd say I've put 500 rounds of birdshot (low brass), approximately 25 high brass slugs and about 100 rounds of high brass 00 buck through it. Some 2.75" and some 3.00".

 

There doesn't even appear to be a contact mark against the rail where the LaRue's recoil lug seats. I think a big key to it is not to mount overly heavy items and to tighten the crap out of the throw lever. I can still get it off with one hand, but you need a kung fu grip.

 

I don't have any of Unobtainium's elephant gun rounds, but the 3" magnum's should be an okay test bed.

 

The ADM mount is also nice. I prefer the LaRue though.

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sounds good, so hopefully it's gonna work. does everyone agree that LaRue produces the best mounts available atm? any other suggestions?

 

Most A.R.M.S. throw-lever mounts use a full cross-bolt, so a partial cross-section on a rail shouldn't affect them at all. Don't know for sure if the T-1 mount (A.R.M.S. #31) uses the full cross-bolt, but I think it does. $74 manufacturer-direct; it can probably be found a bit cheaper through a retailer.

Edited by LeoAtrox
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so you think the ARMS are just as good as the LaRue mounts?

because the EOTech i might be interested in, the 553, has got dual ARMS throw levers already installed.

 

They are not nearly as good.

 

However, due to the benelli's piss poor rail design, in this specific instance their cross bolt design has somewhat of an advantage.

 

On a normal, proper rail, it's no comparison ... there is reason ARMS has lost most of it's business to ADM and LaRue.

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on the ADM homepage i just read the following:

"Auto Lock™ Lever system to accommodate both in spec and out of spec rail systems"

what do you think about it? sounds just like it was made for the benelli :D

it should also work well with the Sidearmor, right?

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on the ADM homepage i just read the following:

"Auto Lock™ Lever system to accommodate both in spec and out of spec rail systems"

what do you think about it? sounds just like it was made for the benelli :D

it should also work well with the Sidearmor, right?

 

I'm a fan of the ADM stuff. They lock on good. But, if I was being picky, I'd say they could of made the throw lever slightly smaller

 

Hookster :)

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ok, so now i get to choose between ADM and LaRue.

i really want that sidearmor, for the light-mounting options and the shell holder, what advice would you give me?

 

KAC is another option I think. Get out your wallet though...I priced their T1 mount a while back. $200+

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It's on sale currently.

http://www.sidearmor.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=7&products_id=46

 

Here are some weight break downs to consider:

Benelli M4 Factory Handguards: 5.0 Ounces

Surefire M80 Rail System: 7.9 Ounces

Surefire Ladder Rail: 0.4 Ounces

Daniel Defense Picatinny Rail Sling Mount: 1.5 Ounces

Magpul XTM Panel (two pieces): 0.25 Ounces

Factory Top Rail with screws and washers: 1.59 Ounces

SideArmor top rail with no side rails: 10.3 Ounces

SideArmor Long Side Rail: 1.1 Ounces

SideArmor Short Side Rail: 0.5 Ounces

SideArmor Shell Carrier: 4.0 Ounces

Titanium Full Length Tube: 5.5 Ounces

Factory Magazine Tube Plus Limiter: 10.6 Ounces

Surefire X300: 3.7 Ounces

Surefire X400: 4.4 Ounces

Surefire Mini Scout M300A: 4.5 Ounces

Surefire Scout M600C: 5.26 Ounces

 

The M4 is quite heavy to begin with. So plan what accessories you intend to install carefully. Remove as much weight as possible. When installing the SideArmor, you remove the top rail, so there is some weight reduction there. Remember, adding an extended magazine tube not only add's additional capacity, but it adds two rounds worth of weight that you must contend with. Given that a typical 12 gauge round weighs approximately 2 ounces, you can see how the weight can add up quick. I even removed the factory front sling mount to save on a fraction of an ounce.

 

This is the beauty of Kip's magazine tube. The reduction in weight you receive is balanced out by the added weight of the additional capacity.

 

When you start picking what light and optic to mount, weight should be your primary concern. Light's like the Surefire X300 are about as light as you can get. How you want to activate the weapon light will be key.

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wow, that's a nice list you got there! the best way to activate the light would be via my support thumb i guess.

KAC doesn't have many options for aimpoint/eotech, i'll stick with ADM and LR, and just tighten it as hard as i can.

 

edit: in another thread here i just saw the LRP conversion kit from aimpoint themselves. what do you think of that option? using the sidearmor with the factory aimpoint t-1 mount and the LRP kit?

Edited by xamoel
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a thought, but all this crap about running wires. Fail. What would it take to produce a RELIABLE wireless system. My TV has one. I have used computers/mouses with one. Why not a light activation pad that uses one? I understand it would take some work to make it 100%, but it's a worthy endevour.

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The SideArmor top rail does not block the sights due to the center cut down the top rail. If you put a ladder rail cover on the top, you will only be able to see the top of the front sight post.

 

I agree with the wires. I hate them. They're easy to damage, suffer from the firearms heat, easily ripped off in the field and just all around suck. Pressure switchs are crap too. They're easily damaged, easily ripped off and they usually hinder your aiming while you're changing your grip on the forearm. They're more likely to be a source of an accidental discharge of light than tail cap buttons.

 

I've thought about a remote switch also. If I recall, Magpul was experimenting with the idea back when they were developing the MIAD grip. They wanted to install a micro switch in the front grip piece and have its power source inside the removable core. The receiver activation cap would then be installed on the weapon light/laser. This would give a CTC laser grip type activation without any wiring. It never really panned out though.

One issue is the light would be drawing power constantly listening for an activation signal.

 

I'm pretty sure I am going to SHOT this year, so I will be looking around at some of the new options coming out this year. Surefire has a butt load of products that are being developed in the activation area. However, if they are anything like the XT07 switch, I won't use them ever. The platic rail mount for the pressure switch is absolute crap. You can knock it off with you pinkie.

 

Saying all that, I do use an evil tape switch on my Benelli. No other option seemed remotely functional to me. Few are as willing to cut their stock up like I did though.

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Hi guys im new to this m4 and wanted some info on this side armor .does the side armor interfere with the view of the ghost sight ? viewing it from top to bottom..i been reading the post looking for some good info..stranger Danger has a good write up..was good help..

 

Hi Thunder and welcome to the forum!

 

No the Sidearmor rail doesn't interfere with the ghost ring sights. I'm currently running no optics just Meprolight irons on my Sidarmor set up

 

001.jpg

 

if you put Sidearmor in as a site search you'll find a lot more info here about it.

 

Later,

Hookster :)

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i bought my m4 on the 12-10-09...now im jut waiting for the release ..all i been doing is reading your post and threads..i cant stop thinking about it my m4..:D ..you guys got some good info on here all help is great..your quick replys are great..im placing my sidearmor order asap.... is the tactical bolt .and bolt release pad something i can install or should i take it to gun smith ???

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i bought my m4 on the 12-10-09...now im jut waiting for the release ..all i been doing is reading your post and threads..i cant stop thinking about it my m4..:D ..you guys got some good info on here all help is great..your quick replys are great..im placing my sidearmor order asap.... is the tactical bolt .and bolt release pad something i can install or should i take it to gun smith ???

 

These items are all user-end modifications. Just buy the correct punch for the job. In fact, there is nothing that would be a job for a 'smith except possibly changing out the recoil tube, which you don't need to do as you have an 11707. The M4 is very simple and user-friendly.

 

ETA: Unless you lucked into a design concepts Ti handle, ditch it. None of the handles currently for sale are worth a darn. Just my .02

Edited by Unobtanium
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i bought my m4 on the 12-10-09...now im jut waiting for the release ..all i been doing is reading your post and threads..i cant stop thinking about it my m4..:D ..you guys got some good info on here all help is great..your quick replys are great..im placing my sidearmor order asap.... is the tactical bolt .and bolt release pad something i can install or should i take it to gun smith ???

 

Congrats on your new aquisition ThunderOne. Let us know what you think once you get it together and take it out blastin'. Kip at CarrierComp should be coming out with a good titanium bolt handle option fairly soon. You'll also want to check out his full length titanium mag tubes.

 

Later,

Hookster :)

Edited by Hookster
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How many days are you stuck waiting?

 

The bolt release can be tricky to install. A proper punch is mandatory. I recommend blue painters tape to cover the receiver to protect the finish. Pay close attention to how the spring is seated between the bolt release and the receiver. If I recall, GG&G's instructions weren't very good. Buy the release from Brownells with a LAw Enforcement discount. That'll save you 30 bucks. I sold my old release for 30 dollars on gunbroker. This helps offset the cost.

 

Design Concepts is currently the only bolt handle worth owning. Stick with the stock unit until you find one, or Kip releases his.

 

Take a look at Mesa Tactical. They're releasing a shorter LOP stock early this coming year. Another benefit is it counts as a US made part. Throw a titanium magazine tube on and a US made magazine tube follower, and you'll cover yourself legally.

 

What do you plan on mounting to the SideArmor?

 

I've got a 11707 due in around Christmas. I have most of the small parts already like a titanium tube. Next year, I hope to buy a desert M4 also.

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