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Benelli M4 -- Weapon light mounting Options Suck!


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I also got the new handguards in to start working on. Area in green is where a switch might be able to be mounted internally. Red area can be sanded down to blend with contour of entire green area. Below area is mag tube. Above the barrel starts to encroach.

 

Y7XwRZ8.png

 

After that, there isn't a ton to that can be removed from the outside as a pocket. We'll see how that goes later.

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Good update. I didn't know you could drill he PCB like that. The floss should work fine. The rubber boot will keep it all together.

 

The areas of the handguard you highlighted is the same that I milled. What you need to determine is how big of a hole you are going to mill through the handguard to access your button sammich. You don't want it too big, since you want all four edges of the sammich to be supported by the handguard. I don't know the dimensions of your switch boot, but if it is like 1" in height, I would stay under 0.75" so you have 0.125" on the top and bottom.

 

 

The inside of the handguard is pretty forgiving. I would put blue painters tape over areas you don't want to accidentally hit. Put several layers. The only area you need to really avoid is the piston housing. You can also under cut the forward mount molding if needed to slip your PCB further forward. This may be where you determine if your current switch sammich is too long.

 

 

I think you mentioned using a dremel to modify the handguard. You need to get the extension adapter that allows you to hold the cutter tool like a pen if you don't already have it. The various sanding bit shapes will work the best for the plastic. Avoid the steel cutters and cutting discs. It's slower going with the sanding bits, but it'll give you more control and be a lot more forgiving.

 

 

I would determine where you want your switch, and use a drill press if possible to drill holes through the front of the handguard where you want your switch to be. A mill would be far better since you could then move the axis and make a horizontal cut, but I don't think you have access to one. A drill press will work alright, you'll just have to move the handguard a few times. You can then fix any uneven areas with the dremel.

 

 

Once you have your holes, you can then flip the handguard over and plot out the area you need to mill down for your sammich to sit nearly flush with the surface of the handguard. Be mindful of the fact that the handguard angles inward near the front. Test fit often to determine where your interference is. You can go quite thin, since you'll be backfilling the area with epoxy. The epoxy will add the strength back and prevent the handguard from deforming when pressure is applied.

 

 

For the switches wiring, I'm not sure what you had in mind. If you plan on just cutting a channel on the outside of the handguard, and backfilling it with epoxy or if you had a more complicated plan in mind.

 

 

With the rubber boot over the switch sammich, you could probably get away with not even using the Sugru material. Adding additional layers of material between you and the switches may effect the switches feel negatively. The boot will be pressed tightly against the inside of the handguard. Or, you could use the Sugru as the boot and wrap it around the switches. That should weatherproof them.

 

 

Expect the milling portion of this to take several hours. I didn't anticipate the length of time required, and began to get impatient around hour seven.

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All good advice.

 

Yes you can drill PCBs as long as you don't obliterate a conductive trace or do some other damage. Here I drilled small enough holes I left plenty of the conductor behind.

 

For the handguard switch. A point of clarification. The sandwich in the boot will just be stuck to the stock handguard on the outside. This will get me by in the mean time.

 

The internally mounted switch will use these same tac surface mount switches, harvested from a separate set of switches, but I am going to desolder them from PCBs and mount them on even thinner plastic and run wires between so I can make super small cluster of 4 switches that will fit on the space I have in the guard. I will screw the plastic down to the inside of the guard and then stiffen in with a thin layer of epoxy or glue.

 

That's going to be awhile before that project is done.

 

Once i have the interim boot and switch sandwich complete I will snap some pics, etc.

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bm4sbs, it seems you are well on your way. I can't wait to see those switch ideas realized.

 

Is there a reason you're going to de-solder switches instead of sourcing new ones from somewhere like digikey or mouser? I'm sure de-soldering will be fine, but why not use new parts? I suppose if you have another assembly laying around you wouldn't have to wait for new ones to come in...

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I will check out both of those websites. Finding ones that are the same size, and have the same activation qualities in terms of feedback is the primary concern. I may have to order a bunch to find ones I like if I do so, whereas with these there isn't a question on what they are and how they work.

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Yea. I have a M80 on my last full length M4. If you MUST have rails, it's a decent rig. For me it adds too much bulk to the hand guard and too much weight. I am not a fan. Understanding it is what it is if you need rails. I am not saying there is a better design.

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I have the custom surface mount switch complete. I wasn't able to use the original molded rubber boot as I had planned. It turned out it was too tight for both switches, it stuck the activation on occasion which wasn't an option. So I had to go with a custom one. I made the boot out of Sugru. I am not entirely happy with the aesthetic results of that, but functionally the entire thing is awesome. I would consider using Plasti Dip for a future boot if I re-do this portion.

 

 

The entire rig is as light, compact and adds as low of a profile as is possible. The switch is a dream to operate. Great feedback you can feel it activate both the laser and the light. You can press lightly and activate only the laser, and not accidentally go over the edge and hit the light. Pressing on full and both go on. I couldn't be happier with the way that turned out.

 

As noted earlier, I rigged a tactical switch to a ~600 lumen single 123 cell light and replaced the awful lasermax switch with the same style tactical switch. I then sewed them together and put them in a boot. I ended up using sugru for the boot material. Interesting to note with the sugru, double sided stick tape (Good 3M Stuff) would not stick to it's slick silicon surface, so I ended up using a thin layer of sugru to bond the switch to the handguard, using a clamp to hold them together.

 

NzY9KVp.jpg

 

rpmolWL.jpg

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BTW -

 

Speaking of making a tool-less designed mounting system for the M4. Thinking of your concerns StrangerDanger. One could make one by having something similar to the LaserLyte Triple Rail, but instead of clamping to the mag, one could make it so a section fits up over the front ring connected to the barrel which slides over the mag and clamp to that instead. The rails could sit in the same position they do, as the piece over the ring is only for clamping and then it would profile down to float over the mag tube. It would then slide right off/on with the barrel during assembly/disassembly.

 

It would be only for the M4 obviously so the sales wouldn't reach the same market but a design like that would be awesome.

Edited by bm4sbs
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This is looking great. Glad to hear the switch sammich is working as intended. The next step will be making a switch pocket. I'd probably just grind a flat spot into the handguard, seat the switch, then backfill around the edges with epoxy. Leave the Sugru switch portion exposed. If you're concerned about the looks, have the handguard Cerakoted. I'm considering doing that with mine. I'm thinking of painting the handguards inside and out black, then having the inside of the grooves painted in burnt bronze. The metal portion of the mount would also be painted burnt bronze.

 

I have some other ideas for the rail mount I need to draw out. I sold a FN Five Seven today, so I'm taking the massive profits and putting it towards a South Bend lathe I found for sale. That's going to be fun to move.

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.......... putting it towards a South Bend lathe I found for sale. That's going to be fun to move.

 

SD,

FYI this website is fabulous for tricks and tips on lathe use and other metal working skills.....his internet moniker is "Tubalcain" and has ~MACHINE SHOP TIPS 150+ youtube videos on instructions for metal working. Heres the index to his videos.

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SD Are you thinking of making a mounting system for the M4?

 

If so, consider a modular system as well, where one can use a direct light mount ring like the thorntail or mount a section of rail. I like rails when you have a rail accessory, but don't like the overhead when trying to mount something that doesn't have a rail interface built in - such as most lights.

 

I am playing with 3D modeling programs, if I can model one I can have it 3D Printed even in Titanium, etc or CNCd. The ideas I have would put the light in very tight right between the mag tube and the barrel with a ring for the size light you have, etc.

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Benelliwerks, thanks for the link. I've watched many of his videos in the past. My father is a skilled machinist and is employed as such. So I bought the lathe for him and I to work on together. My plan is to learn much of the end user skills from him.

 

Making a mounting solution is one of my plans when I skill up a little. I agree that systems that circumvent the need for rails is the ideal design. I believe a barrel clamp design that attaches to the rear barrel hanger is the ideal method. That way the weapon retains its tool free disassembly design and the light is indexed in a usable position.

 

I think a two piece design that clamps around the barrel and rear barrel hanger would work well. The two pieces would be screwed together from top to bottom. The top part would be thin so it doesn't obstruct the sight plain at all. He bottom piece would be shaped like a 'U' and fit snugly around the rear barrel hanger.

 

Fastener holes would be present. If making simply for a specific light, there are ways to make the mount a low profile as possible and with fewer parts. Example, a Surefire M600 or m300 Scout light has to threaded attachment points. The mount can be drilled so there are countersunk holes from the inside of the 'U', no threading is required. With the fastener screwed into the Scout light, this design would not allow the fastener to ever back out because the fastener would be trying to back out into the barrel hanger.

 

Another option for the X300 would be to remove the existing mount and use the six existing fastener points.

 

Each mount would be made by hand on the tooling, so the mounting solution would be left customizable. There is no way I could afford a CNC for mass production. There isn't enough demand for such a thing on this platform anyway. This would be just a hobby job to help offset the cost of my tooling.

 

I'd then have the aluminum type 3 parts anodized by a third party.

 

I will need a mill more than a lathe to make these mounts.

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It would be pretty slick. Would be interested to see the results. Could mill in a QD there as well to replace the BLAM.

 

Very interested if rigged with a variable ring or clamp for other lights as well. Surefire makes great products but I rarely use them on my firearms even though I try to put a light on all my arms. I do alot of custom flashlights and there are always incredible LEDs that Surefire has not adopted into their lights yet. Takes them years the way their product lines evolve due to the markets they serve, etc.

 

There are some modded surefires that are awesome btw, if you want to check out a production type shop look at overready .com .

 

But I can almost always get a brighter more compact package without a large reflector/head with a single 123 cell by going to other manufacturers, etc.

 

 

Check out this X300 - 1000 lumens...

 

x300.jpg

Edited by bm4sbs
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X300 WARNINGS:

 

 

  • This light creates excessive heat.
  • This light may cause eye damage
  • This light may burn the skin at close range.
  • This light may cause combustibles to ignite
  • Monitor temperature during use
  • Do not leave unattended while running
  • Light will get hot if run continuously for 10 minutes or more
  • Continuous operation depends on ambient temperature and airflow

I'll take two!

Edited by Tango two
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X300 WARNINGS:

 

 

  • This light creates excessive heat.
  • This light may cause eye damage
  • This light may burn the skin at close range.
  • This light may cause combustibles to ignite
  • Monitor temperature during use
  • Do not leave unattended while running
  • Light will get hot if run continuously for 10 minutes or more
  • Continuous operation depends on ambient temperature and airflow

I'll take two!

 

 

I get it. That's why if you are deployed, Surefires are the way to go for the most part which leads to spectacular popularity in all circles.

 

However, not everyone has those same use case scenarios. When I build firearms, and choose accessories for them, they are usually purpose built for specific use case. The X300 by Overready is a great Home Defense weapon light or for Entry Work. Blinding power. Only have to burst, etc. What is the outer limit on length for an entry operation on a 800sq ft house used to sling crack rocks?

Edited by bm4sbs
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I've seen some of that overready stuff. Impressive output, but there are some risks involved. That amount of output really puts a hurt on 123a's, and the risk of explosion is a lot higher. Heat is the primary concern. Particularly for me since I work in Arizona with weapon lights. Certain times of the year, I'm working at night when it is over a 100 degrees still.

 

Suspect searches can last a lot longer than 10 minutes. I've had them go on for hours. Recently I purchased some Surefire X300 Ultras. 500 lumens is pretty damn good with a decent run time.

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Ah... makes sense. I was wondering why one was so worried about accidental discharges of the light. Now I see, can't give away your position.

 

BTW, yes the new surefires adopted LEDs that they have been testing now for years, bringing them up to 500 lumens. Before that the X300 was ~200 lumens for years and years when the modded one was 1000. I totally get why surefire does what they do - and in your case and in deployed soliders cases, that's exactly the product I would go to. The rock.

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The new M600C Scout light is due out soon, they'll be pushing it to 500 lumens as well.

 

When I get this mount put together, I'll come up with a solution for mounting standard bodied lights/lasers. I'm pretty happy with my existing mounting solution. I don't know if I would even switch from my IWC mount to what I am working on. The IWC mount does everything I want. It was just a PITA to make.

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If it fits on the MOE/CTR without modifying the stock, it will on the B-M4 C-Stock, they are the same dimensions - the sling loop cut out that is.

 

What do you think of using this IWC QD Rail Mount directly in front of the rear sight?

 

productimage-picture-45-offset-1913-rail-qd-rotation-limited-sling-mount-n-slot-500_JPG_280x280_q85.jpg

 

 

This puts it just a tad bit higher, and a few inches forward of the ideal, but it maybe a decent option for those that don't want/have an optic right in that spot... not sure how it would hang with a single point sling, but could be interesting.

 

 

 

The best part is that it works well with the factory rail!

[ATTACH=CONFIG]2030[/ATTACH]

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Thanks. Apparently this lathe spent its life in a hospital. It looks like it was barely even used. Sometimes the older equipment is better than the newer stuff. It's certainly better than the import crap. There isn't a single piece of plastic anywhere on this thing.

 

These pictures are of it before it was cleaned up too.

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