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Frequently Asked Questions


Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from customers about ordering with Alexander Arms®. If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to ask us.

For answers to frequently asked questions about our products, please see the Product FAQs section.

Click a question to show its answer.

When am I charged for my order?

Alexander Arms® DOES NOT EVER charge a customer for any item or in any amount until the item is prepared for shipment. For customers who place an order in our Online Store, we take the opportunity to preauthorize your credit card for $1.00.

What is the initial transaction that appears on my credit card?

The initial transaction you see on your credit card ledger immediately after placing an order with us is a preauthorization. This is a temporary verification of credit card account status and is not a charge in any way. Preauthorizations are not charges and automatically expire after no longer than 48 hours.

Why does my initial preauthorization remain after several days?

Preauthorizations may still appear in your ledger after 48 hours. This fully depends on the policies and procedures of your credit card company or banking institution. We are unable to control how your credit card company or banking institution handles the preauthorization. We are only able to specify to them that it should expire after no longer than 48 hours. You and only you can correct this, if necessary, by contacting your credit card company or bank to request removal of the preauthorization. We are happy to assist as required by the other company.

When is my credit card charged for my order and what happens then?

Once your order is packaged and prepared for shipment, we will attempt to fully-authorize your credit card payment for the items being shipped plus any applicable shipping costs. Once payment is secured, a shipment confirmation e-mail message will automatically be sent to you. Your order will then be received by the shipping courier within one business day.

If my order is ready for shipment and my credit card is declined, will you automatically cancel my order?

No, we do not automatically cancel orders for any reason. We will always contact you regarding any issue of any kind that may occur with the processing, payment, or shipment of your order.

Will I be notified of the shipment of my order?

Shipment notification e-mail messages will automatically be sent to you. These, as well as each and every notification created during the processing and shipment of your order, are automatically sent to the e-mail address on your account as soon as activity occurs with your order. Shipment notification messages will, of course, contain the tracking information for your shipment.

What is the return policy on shipped items?

Our return policy is outlined here and detailed in our Terms of Sale in the Online Store. Basically, all products are welcome for return within 30 days of the invoice date. We must be notified of all shortages and shipping mistakes within 30 days of the invoice date. All returned items are subject to a 15% restocking fee, which is applied at our discretion.

Do you ship outside of the United States and its territories?

We currently do not ship our products outside of the United States. Please consult with a firearms exporter of your choice who may be able to assist you in this matter. If you have special order requirements, please contact us by telephone at 540-443-9250.

How is the shipment of my order handled?

Almost all order shipments from our facility are delivered by UPS Ground. The only other courier that we use is the United States Postal Service, which can be requested for orders not including high-value items or loaded ammunition. Following are some common restrictions applicable to shipments.

  • We cannot ship ammunition by air, such as with UPS 2nd Day or UPS Next Day.
  • We cannot ship ammunition directly to the states of Alaska and Hawaii. If you have placed an order requesting shipment of loaded ammunition to Alaska or Hawaii, please contact us by telephone at 540-443-9250 to discuss your options.
  • We will not ship items that are prohibited in the state to which it was requested to be shipped. Please review your state’s firearms laws before ordering. In the interest of quick and efficient order processing, most special permits are not requested or recognized by Alexander Arms®.
  • We cannot ship unregistered lower receivers or complete rifles to anyone or any company that does not have a current, signed, and legible FFL of types 01, 02, 07, 08, or 10 on file with us. These parts will be shipped to the premises address on a valid FFL. If you are a retail customer and you ordered a lower receiver or rifle without supplying us with the shipping and contact information of your FFL-holding dealer, we will not be able to fully process your order until we receive this information from you as well as a photocopy of your dealer’s current and signed FFL. If you are a dealer and we do not have your current FFL on file, please submit this to us as soon as possible.
  • Most shipments are sent with a signature requirement. We do this because most of our packages contain high-value items. Packages that contain a rifle, a lower receiver, or loaded ammunition require an adult signature for delivery and this is not optional. Customers not ordering items that require adult signature are welcome to request that no signature be required for delivery. However, we strongly encourage customers to not request that this requirement be removed for the safety and insurance of your order. Alexander Arms® reserves the right to place a signature requirement on any package, regardless of customer request. Alexander Arms® cannot be held responsible for lost or stolen shipments for deliveries sent without a signature requirement at the customer’s request.
How will I receive the factory-loaded ammunition that I ordered?

If you included factory-loaded ammunition in your order, you will have agreed to a statement indicating that you are at least 21 years of age. It is against federal law for anyone under the age of 21 years to purchase all types of loaded ammunition. All shipments containing loaded ammunition will be made by UPS Ground and will include an adult signature requirement; these are not optional. Loaded ammunition cannot be shipped directly to Hawaii, Alaska, New York City, Washington D.C., or APO/FPO addresses. Special arrangements are required to be made by the customer to ship ammunition to Alaska and Hawaii. If you are an Alaskan or Hawaiian customer wishing to order loaded ammunition, please contact us by telephone at 540-443-9250 for additional details. Illinois residents must contact us by telephone at 540-443-9250 to supply their F.O.I.D. card and to place an ammunition order. We must ship ammunition orders from Illinois residents to the address on the card. If you have special order requirements, please contact us by telephone at 540-443-9250.

How will I receive the upper receiver assembly that I ordered?

Upper receiver assemblies are not BATFE regulated products as they do not contain the firing mechanism and are not serialized items. Upper receivers can legally be shipped anywhere and to anyone.

How will I receive the lower receiver or rifle that I ordered?

As many customers of the firearms industry know, FFL-holding dealers must be used in the transfer of lower receivers and complete rifles. If you included a lower receiver or a rifle in your order and you are not an FFL-holding dealer who is registered with Alexander Arms®, you must specify the shipping address of your preferred dealer as the shipping address of your order. We also ask that, when you discuss the transfer of your lower receiver or rifle with your dealer, you please request that the dealer fax or e-mail a photocopy of their current and signed FFL to us. Fax can be sent to us at 540-443-9250 and e-mail can be sent to [email protected]. Alexander Arms® does not perform firearms transfers. Alexander Arms® cannot deliver a firearm directly to you.

Do your products have six-month, 12-month, or longer production lead times?

No, they do not. Production lead times can vary, most orders have a lead time between 10-12 weeks depending on the order. Please contact us at [email protected] or call us for a more exact lead time.

Your web site does not say an item is out of stock. Is it in stock?

It may or may not be. We do not yet have the capability to display the inventory status or quantity for any product in the Online Store. The Online Store does not indicate “in stock” or “out of stock.” We may occasionally include brief statements indicating general information about the production or availability of an item. If you must know if an item is in stock, please contact us. Any order placed with Alexander Arms® remains open indefinitely until it can be shipped, regardless of inventory status or production lead time. Normally, if an item is not an upper receiver, lower receiver, or complete rifle, it is in stock. All weapon assemblies are built to order specifications.

Can I order a product if it is not in stock?

Our web site is designed to allow customers to order any product, regardless of its inventory status or projected availability. Customers must place an order with the understanding that all of our rifle products are built to order specifications.

Should I order my ammunition or parts separately from my upper receiver assembly or rifle?

No, you should not order them separately. Parts and ammunition should be placed on the same order as an upper receiver assembly or rifle. This allows us to perform more expedient order processing and can also save you significant amounts of money on shipping costs. If a product that your upper receiver or rifle requires is ordered separately, it is possible that a back-order will affect its availability and shipment to you. We cannot combine orders to avoid these situations as this will unfairly adjust the order dates of the orders being changed.

I placed my order some time ago, but have not received it. Is my order cancelled?

We never cancel an order because of its age. Only the customer may choose to cancel an order. Your order will remain open without question or exception until it is prepared for shipment. All order activity including status changes, modifications, notifications, shipment confirmations, or other informative messages are automatically emailed to you. If we ever have a question about the processing of your order, you will always be contacted.

My shipment did not include all of the items that I ordered, but the missing items appear on my invoice. Are they cancelled? Are they lost? Will you ship them? What do I need to do?

All ordered items will be shipped once they are available and once payment is approved. We do not cancel a customer’s ordered items without cause and confirmation by the customer. No action needs to be taken by you to ensure that the remaining items will be shipped.

The invoice included with any shipment displays all remaining items on your order, whether they are being shipped or they are not yet being shipped. The items being shipped are designated in the Quantity and Extension columns of your invoice. If a large or significant portion of an order is ready for shipment, it usually will be shipped by us. We charge only for the items being shipped. The first shipment from an order incurs the total shipping cost of the order. Any remaining items are shipped at no additional shipping cost as they become available unless the order has been significantly changed by the customer. Please read the large statement at the bottom of your invoice for additional details.

How can I receive my order faster?

Expedited shipment can be requested by the customer any time before the order is shipped. Expedited shipment almost always costs significantly more than the cost calculated by the Online Store. We cannot and do not offer expedited order production. All incoming orders are produced on a first-come, first-served basis without exception.

How do I cancel my order?

Orders can be cancelled verbally or in writing at any time before the order is shipped. You may contact us using one of the methods on our Contact Us page to provide your order number and to request its cancellation. If you request to cancel an order that has been shipped, the items must either be refused upon delivery or returned by completing the Repair/Return Form. Refused shipments will incur additional shipping costs as we must pay for the return shipment. Returned items are subject to our 15% restocking fee, which is applied at our discretion. Please review the Terms and Conditions page for a general summary of our order cancellation policy and our Terms of Sale page for the complete customer order agreement.

Why has the lead time for my order been changed?

As with any specialty production facility, lead times can and will vary, even from one day to the next. It is for this reason that we normally do not provide specific production lead times. More often than not, a change in production lead time is the result of matters that are out of our control. This can happen due to vendor back-orders, quality control matters, shipping delays, weather delays, and many other reasons. If an Alexander Arms® representative specifies a lead time for you, this is courteously offered only as an estimate based on current production rates, parts availability, and delivery expectations. Lead times are not provided as a guarantee in any way. Lead times are provided only as a courtesy at the customer’s request and are subject to change without notice. We do not have the ability to automatically notify customers of adjusted lead times. We do our very best to notify customers of outstanding or exceptional circumstances related to their orders.

Can I add an item to the order I have already placed?

We allow the addition of an item to an order as long as the item is not out of stock or in limited supply. Order modifications may result in manual processing of the order by our team, which can delay processing and shipment.

Frequently Asked Questions about Products

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from customers about Alexander Arms® products. If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to ask us.

For answers to frequently asked questions about ordering, payments, and shipments, please see the Ordering FAQs section.

Click a question to show its answer.

Are your upper receivers compatible with my AR-15 lower receiver?

This is by far the most common question we receive. The short and easy answer is “Yes, absolutely.” All of our upper receiver assemblies will fit on and be compatible with any standard-specification AR-15 lower receiver. No fitting or modifications are needed. If your lower receiver is made to standard AR-15 specifications, all of our upper receivers will work perfectly. We do not catalog all compatible lower receiver assemblies as this is not possible. We cannot confirm whether your lower receiver assembly is considered standard or mil-spec; you should contact the manufacturer to confirm this.

Will my mil-spec AR-15 upper receiver assembly work with your AR-15 lower receiver?

Yes, it will work. Each and every upper and lower receiver that we produce is designed around standard AR-15 specifications and can be used interchangeably with other mil-spec uppers and lowers as long as those products also require standard AR-15 specifications. We do not catalog all compatible upper receiver assemblies as this is not possible. We cannot confirm whether your upper receiver assembly is considered standard or mil-spec; you should contact the manufacturer to confirm this.

Will my .50 Beowulf® or 6.5 Grendel upper receiver require me to replace the buffer or buffer spring with something heavier/stronger/different/better?

No, replacement of the buffer or buffer spring components is not required as long as the lower receiver is made to standard specifications. Buffer components should not be replaced if they are already standard. Please review the first Compatibility question. Both the .50 Beowulf® and our 6.5 Grendel weapons are properly designed to work specifically with standard-specification lower receiver assemblies containing standard-specification components. It is a common misconception that weapons with higher-than-average recoil, such as the .50 Beowulf®, automatically require a stronger buffer spring or heavier buffer to compensate for higher recoil in some way. That being said, standard specifications are sometimes different in the marketplace. In order for the .50 Beowulf® to function properly a 4.6oz buffer will need to be used with carbine length stocks and a 5.2oz buffer will need to be used with rifle length stocks. The AR-15 buffer and buffer spring are used only for the cycling of ammunition inside of the rifle. Recoil in an AR-15 rifle is almost entirely unrelated to the buffer components, especially with .50 Beowulf®. You can thank the 1,300 MPH projectile exiting the other end for the recoil.

A direct gas impingement weapon that allows too much gas pressure through the system will cause the buffer to bottom out very hard in the receiver extension, thus slightly increasing felt recoil. Our AR-15 products do not have this flaw in design.

Our products are specifically designed to use these particular, standard buffer components and no others just so that owners do not need to make specialized changes to their standard lower receivers.

Replacement of these standard buffer components when using our products will not reduce recoil or help the weapon manage the higher recoil in any way. The only possible result is the failure to cycle ammunition properly. To reduce felt recoil, we strongly encourage any customer to order a muzzle brake or compensator.

Will the .50 Beowulf® magazine feed .223 ammunition?

No, it will not.

Is the .50 Beowulf® legal in California?

Yes, it is. This question typically arises out of confusion of California state law surrounding the prohibition of the sale of .50 BMG rifles. The law applies exclusively to .50 BMG caliber rifles. The law does not apply to any other popular .50 caliber weapon, including .50 Beowulf®. If you are unfamiliar with .50 BMG or why .50 Beowulf® is so very dissimilar to it, below is a visual comparison.

While the .50 Beowulf® is designed to be the largest cartridge possible for the AR-15 platform, designed for the smaller 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington shown on top, it is less than half the size of the .50 BMG.

My .50 Beowulf® has no ejection port cover. Did you forget to put it on?

No, we didn’t forget it. The .50 Beowulf® was designed to not have an ejection port cover. Clearly, the port is much larger than a typical AR-15, so no, you cannot retrofit one. Trust us, you don’t need it. As an addendum, the hinge points are left on the receiver because the upper receiver would cost more to manufacture by removing them from the design. They are not left specifically so that port doors can be retrofitted to the upper and we do not encourage this retrofitting.

Can I purchase .50 Beowulf® stripped upper receivers, stripped lower receivers, barrels, or gas blocks?

No, we absolutely do not sell and have never sold these components. As we are the trademark holder and owner of the .50 Beowulf® cartridge, we manufacture these specialized components only for the production of the weapons we build. There are no exceptions to this rule. We do this to ensure that all .50 Beowulf® weapons are hand-made by our team and will work flawlessly. Some companies are now producing and selling knock-off, inferior, and potentially dangerous products that are either designated “.50 Beowulf” or are implied to be compatible. We are aware that some individuals are now building and selling non-functional complete rifles into the market that are made from these knock-off components. Please be aware that these components and any weapons built from them are not actual .50 Beowulf® products, are not genuine Alexander Arms® products, and are not tested or supported by Alexander Arms® in any way.

Can I use a collapsible butt stock on any Alexander Arms® lowers?

Any good quality, collapsible stock may be used on both the .50 Beowulf® and the 6.5 Grendel. The buffer should be the carbine type, which is externally-identical to the rifle buffer, but shorter. This buffer and spring is included with the stock. Some people choose to fit heavier buffers to slightly reduce the felt recoil, these being either the H1 type, which has a mix of steel and tungsten weights, or the H2 type, which has all tungsten weights, but the function of the gun must be checked to ensure that it is cycling fully. The heavy buffers designed for 9mm guns should not be used.

Will Alexander Arms® build a custom weapon or component for me?

We do not build custom weapons or components. Please see our Online Store to see all available products, parts, and options. If an item you wish to purchase is not displayed, it is not produced or sold by Alexander Arms®.

Can I purchase one of your factory assemblies without a particular component, such as the handguard?

No, we do not sell incomplete factory assemblies. We understand that the goal of many customers is to modify factory assemblies after receipt. All assemblies produced by Alexander Arms® are sold as fully-complete, fully-functional products. No exceptions can be made for this. Equally, we do not directly support customers in the modification of our products. Many modifications will void your product’s warranty.

How effective is the muzzle brake on the .50 Beowulf®?

They are extremely effective. Felt recoil is somewhat subjective, but we estimate at least 30% and possibly up to 50% recoil reduction. Obviously, the muzzle blast noise is dramatically increased, but it makes the recoil feel more like a 20-gauge shotgun load instead of a 12-gauge shotgun load. It is the single best option you can buy with the weapon.

What are the diameters of .50 Beowulf® and 6.5 Grendel barrels?

.50 Beowulf® barrels are 0.980″ diameter under the handguard and have a gas block diameter of 0.906″. They are set to balance well between the hands and have a responsive feel. The 24″ Advantage series 6.5 Grendel barrel is 0.890″ under the handguard and 0.830″ in front of the gas block. The profile provides a good foundation for shooting from a rest or bipod as the center of gravity of the gun is just behind the front hand position, but, equally, the barrel is not overly heavy and carries well. The weight of this barrel will not flex the standard receiver. The 19.5″ and 20″ 6.5 Grendel barrels are not only shorter, but are also a different contour to suit the differing application. This barrels are 0.770″ under the handguard and moves the center of gravity backward to give a lighter handling and carrying rifle, but still capable from a bipod. The lightest 6.5 Grendel barrels are the now-discontinued Tactical series, the current Lite series, and the new Incursion model. These are 0.730″ or less under the handguard and are very light for fast, responsive fire. Obviously, they are easy to carry, but, with the center of gravity near the rear hand, they are more of a challenge to shoot from a bipod or bags.

Will 6.5 Grendel or .50 Beowulf® cartridges feed from a .223 magazine?

6.5 Grendel and .50 Beowulf® cartridges will not feed properly or reliably from .223 magazines. Magazines for these cartridges are proprietary and can be purchased in our Online Store.

What are the differences in barrel lengths and what length is better for given circumstances?

This mainly refers to the 6.5 Grendel as the .50 Beowulf® is best in a 16″ barrel. The two 6.5 Grendel barrel lengths that are best suited for hunting are the 24″ and 20″ barrels. Shorter barrels may be applied, but, beyond slightly lighter weight and handier silhouette, they have no advantage and give up velocity. However, they are superb choices for general shooting or a utility rifle. A 24″ 6.5 Grendel is well-suited to most hunting applications and, if one can live with the longer barrel, it is the most versatile of the 6.5 Grendel barrels. Accuracy is superb and the rifle is capable out to 1,000 yards and longer with the right ammunition. The balance of the gun assists stability in most position-shooting and it is excellent for use from a bipod. This one barrel length can bridge across a range of shooting tasks including long-range varmint work. A 20″ barrel 6.5 Grendel is both shorter and lighter than the 24″ gun, which is a big consideration if the gun must be carried. While it gives up some stability from a bipod, it is just a versatile.

Between the .50 Beowulf® and 6.5 Grendel, which gun is better for hunting and why?

It is very difficult to compare the .50 Beowulf® and the 6.5 Grendel when discussing hunting as they are very dissimilar guns and were built for very dissimilar hunting needs. Equally, hunting equipment is somewhat a personal choice, so it is only possible to give general advice. The .50 Beowulf® is particularly well-suited to close cover hunting where shots are not likely to exceed 200 yards, but it is imperative to anchor the game quickly. The heavy bullets from the Beowulf® are quite capable of breaking both shoulders of a moose, but the trajectory of the round will limit the range over which it can be used. Conversely, the 6.5 Grendel has the ability to operate from 0 to 1,000 yards with flat trajectories and bullets well-suited to deer and varmints. For general, all-around use, the 6.5 Grendel is probably superior, but it lacks the pure short-range smashing power of the .50 Beowulf®.

At what distance do the .50 Beowulf® and 6.5 Grendel perform most accurately?

The accuracy of any gun is a function of the velocity, the barrel twist rate, and the bullet with consideration given to atmospheric conditions and other fine measurements. The .50 Beowulf® is not optimized for accuracy, but will typically report 1-inch to 1.5-inch groups or better at 100 yards. Good hand-loads will shrink these groups, but the .50 Beowulf® is simply not a bench rifle. The 6.5 Grendel is capable of superb accuracy and the barrels are set up to capitalize on this ability at ranges of 200 yards and greater with bullets in the 90-grain to 130-grain class.

To what is the recoil of the .50 Beowulf® most similar?

.50 Beowulf® recoil can best be described as similar to a light 12-gauge shotgun load. With the addition of the muzzle brake, the recoil is reduced between 30% and 50%, depending upon the shooter’s perception.

What is the origin of the 6.5 Grendel cartridge?

The origin of the 6.5 Grendel may be traced back to the Soviet 7.62×39. This was modified for European competition, being necked down to form the 220 Russian. From here, Dr. Lou Palmisano and Ferris Pindel took the case and blew out the shoulder to create the 22 PPC and the 6mm PPC, which currently dominate bench rest competitions. In designing the 6.5 Grendel, the starting position was the PPC design, but it quickly became apparent that the caliber of the PPC was not as flexible as was needed. Early research with a wildcat 6.5 PPC also showed that the case lacked powder capacity, which, in turn, created pressure problems. The final 6.5 Grendel design draws on the PPC, but it is very much its own cartridge. The internal capacity was expanded by shifting the shoulder forward and the wall thicknesses in the neck and shoulder were increased to provide a more robust case capable of being fed within a semi-automatic rifle. Finally, the external taper of the case was adjusted for reliable feed in the magazine.

What is the origin of the .50 Beowulf® cartridge?

The .50 Beowulf® is the original big-bore caliber for the AR-style rifle. Its parentage is from the 50AE, which IMI introduced for the Desert Eagle pistol, but, as is obvious from its external appearance, this is a somewhat removed relation. From the ground up, the .50 Beowulf® is simply the biggest cartridge that can be fed reliably through an AR-style mechanism without massive internal changes. The case length is set to allow the use of near-standard magazines without having to use filler blocks and the volume allows the cartridge to work at very modest pressures, which is essential for such a large cartridge to be safe in the AR chassis.

What is the twist rate of the 20" and 24" 6.5 Grendel barrels?

The twist rate for the 6.5 Grendel 20″ and 24″ barrels is 1 turn in 9 inches. The twist rate for the 6.5 caliber must be carefully matched to the application for the best results, and one should note that we do not refer to 100-yard accuracy. This is because the ideal twist for such a range would not work well at longer ranges with heavier bullets.

.17 HMR Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about our .17 HMR upper receivers and rifles. If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to ask us and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Isn't the .17 HMR cartridge unsafe to use in semi-automatic weapons?

No, it is not. This is a common misconception based primarily on the reputation of a select few, failed semi-automatic .17 HMR rifle designs as well as certain statements made by popular information sources in response. These statements were propagated throughout the firearms community and gradually became interpreted to mean that the .17 HMR cannot safely be used in semi-automatic rifles. Poor design and performance of these earlier rifles by other manufacturers resulted in relatively unsafe and unreliable weapons.

The .17 HMR cartridge is not inherently unsafe to use in a semi-automatic rifle. It simply is unsafe to use in a semi-automatic rifle that is not designed to fire it properly and in a safe manner. We have proven its capabilities by utilizing correct design techniques in critical areas of the weapon. We have been manufacturing and selling our .17 HMR weapon systems since late-2011 with great success. Our .17 HMR rifle’s reputation is backed by excellent reviews from professionals, dealers, and retail customers across the country. Please consider this review of our rifle featured in the May/June 2012 edition of Rifle Shooter magazine, for one example. Also, please see a statement by Steve Hornady regarding this very subject of safety.

What ammunition do you recommend using in the .17 HMR?

The rifle was designed to operate with all good-quality .17 HMR ammunition. The 17-grain and 20-grain types run best, but the new lead-free ammunition will also function. Ammunition must be essentially new as certain older batches were problematic. We normally say to use ammunition no older than one year that is manufactured by Hornady, CCI, Federal, or Winchester. To be clear, the weapon cannot use ammunition other than specifically .17 HMR.

I have some older .17 HMR ammunition. Can I use it?

With older ammunition, there is a potential problem with quality and rim cracking. Our advice is to avoid this when possible. However, if you have ammunition that runs well and does not exhibit problems in this rifle, then it is safe to use it.

What target-type triggers do you recommend using in the .17 HMR?

As currently designed, our . 17 HMR rifle is balanced to operate properly with a full-weight hammer and full-weight hammer spring typical of the stock semi-automatic parts. Specifically, this includes the round-top hammer profile and not the earlier notched front profile. Therefore, target-style fire control groups – specifically those with reduced hammer weight and reduced hammer spring weight – typically will not be suitable as the increased bolt speed will create a number of reliability issues. For those wishing to reduce the trigger pull weight for the .17 HMR rifle, it is possible to substitute either the Alexander Arms® or the Geissele SSA trigger groups with the addition of the aftermarket heavy buffer unit now available on our website. We hope to be able to recommend alternative fire control groups in the future, as time permits for reliability testing. Again, we would like to emphasize that using alternative fire control groups without properly balancing the gun through the installation of heavy buffer units will lead to functional problems. Additional details can be found in our .17 HMR Trigger Function Notice.

Is there a break-in period for the .17 HMR?

Yes, there is a break-in period. Like any mechanical device, the rifle must be run in a well-lubricated condition for around 200 rounds before all of the contact surfaces have smoothed out. During the break-in period, correct lubrication and cleaning of the rifle will dramatically reduce problems both at this time and later.

Are additional magazines available for the .17 HMR?

Yes, magazines can be ordered in the Online Store.

My magazine has split. What should I do?

Typically, it is not possible to repair a magazine that has split and such an item should be replaced with a new unit. Magazines will wear with time and should be replaced on a periodic basis regardless of whether or not they are damaged.

How should I clean my magazine?

It is not recommended to disassemble the magazine for regular cleaning. Firing residue may be removed from the follower and magazine lips using either a small cloth or cotton swab and Mili-tec oil or Break-Free® CLP®.

I have experienced a split rim and the magazine was damaged. What should I do?

The magazine actually forms part of the safety system for the rifle. Magazines are manufactured from acrylic plastic, are stitch-welded, and have a clip-on base plate. In the event of a split rim, the magazine may break such that all remaining live rounds are not contained within the rifle. This weak link may, on occasion, fail without any particular cause and the magazine will need to be replaced. In the event of a case failure, the magazine and its contents may be ejected from the weapon. Therefore, do not place any body part or hard surface in the proximity of the magazine. Also, do not hold the magazine or brace the weapon against the magazine while firing the weapon.

What kind of accuracy can I expect with the .17 HMR?

Typically, the .17 HMR will shoot around 1.0 MOA or better at most practical distances. Obviously, shooter skill and wind will have a large effect on this as ranges extend. Please bear in mind that we do not provide an accuracy guarantee with this weapon.

To what range is the .17 HMR capable of shooting?

We routinely shoot our .17 HMR rifles to 200 yards and will shoot out to 300 yards in calm conditions.

What types of lower receivers function well with the .17 HMR?

The .17 HMR will function with any good-quality, mil-spec lower receiver. It is, by the nature of the conversion, sensitive to parts that are out of specification, specifically the alignment of the lower receiver extension, the extension itself, and the fire control group.

How do I install the conversion parts kit?

The instruction manual included with your .17 HMR upper receiver or rifle fully explains the installation. A digital copy of the manual can be downloaded here. We have also produced a detailed instructional video for this procedure.

Will commercial-spec, collapsible receiver extensions work with the .17 HMR?

Commercial-spec receiver extensions will work well as long as they are correctly manufactured. It has been our experience that certain extensions are internally too short and cannot be used (see the next question). Less frequently, these extensions are internally too long and are unsafe to use.

My recoil cassette does not fit. What is the problem?

Typically, the main problem to date has been receiver extension tubes that are internally too short. The recoil cassette must be fitted with the aluminum buffer resting against the bolt. The original buffer and spring of the rifle have to be removed before fitting the recoil cassette.

I am using a fixed-length stock and full-length receiver extension. Why does the recoil cassette not fit normally?

Fixed stocks with rifle-length receiver extensions require that a spacer be inserted into the stock before the recoil cassette. In some instances, specifically, where receiver extensions are too short, it is not possible to correctly position the recoil cassette. In these cases, it is possible to fit the parts by shortening the spacer by the required amount. This is not always an easy or obvious solution and should only be attempted by a competent gunsmith. The extension spacer can be ordered as an upgrade to a .17 HMR upper receiver assembly or individually in the Online Store.

Are high-capacity or hunting magazines available for the .17 HMR?

At this time, magazine capacity is restricted to 10 rounds, which creates a magazine that may be easily inserted and removed while shooting prone or from a bench. A higher-capacity magazine currently is not part of the development plan. Any new .17 HMR parts will be displayed in the Online Store as soon as they are prepared for sale.

What is the muzzle thread size?

The thread size is 1/2-28 TPI RH. This accommodates most .223 and similar muzzle devices.

What scopes do you recommend for the .17 HMR?

Accuracy and range for this rifle typically will demand a variable magnification scope in the 4-16 range or similar. Equally, it works well with fixed magnification scopes such as x10. We find the mil dot reticle to be useful in shooting various ranges out to 300 yards. Despite the perceived low recoil, this rifle can be hard on an optic and higher-quality units should be used.

What handguard options do you offer for the .17 HMR?

The .17 HMR comes standard with a non-vented, G10 fiberglass composite, free-float tubular handguard. As an upgrade, we offer the MK10 vented handguard, which includes threaded inserts for the mounting of optional three-inch rail sections. The monolithic railed upper receiver is also an option.

I want to change my handguard. What do I need to do?

First, please be aware that we cannot provide direct instructions or support for the disassembly of our products. Any damage or issues that occur as a result of its disassembly are not covered by the warranty. Any disassembly or modifications to the product will void the product warranty. The standard handguard is screwed into the upper receiver in the same manner as a regular AR-15, free-floating handguard, and includes thread-locking adhesive to achieve a long, reliable life by preventing unwanted rotation of the handguard over time. Lastly, any modifications that an owner decides to make should be undertaken only by an experienced and competent gunsmith using the correct tools. Alexander Arms® does not perform customization services or produce custom parts for its products.

How often should I clean and lubricate my .17 HMR?

The chamber will require cleaning and wiping at regular intervals (100 to 200 rounds) to ensure reliable operation during use.

Are replacement parts available? What are they?

All of the small parts within the .17 HMR that may require replacement due to wear or damage are available as replacements. These parts are as follows.

  • Magazine
  • Extractor
  • Extractor roll pin
  • Extractor spring
  • Ejector
  • Ejector location pin
  • Firing pin
  • Firing pin spring
  • Firing pin retaining pin

Additionally, we offer a heavy buffer for use with target-type or lightweight trigger groups. For items not posted to the Online Store, you may contact us by telephone.

I want to customize my .17 HMR rifle. What parts should not be modified?

First, please be aware that we cannot provide direct instructions or support for the disassembly of our products. Any damage or issues that occur as a result of its disassembly are not covered by the warranty. Any disassembly or modifications to the product will void the product warranty. Modifications of the internal working mechanisms and parts should not be undertaken. This includes the complete bolt assembly, the recoil cassette, and changes to the fire control group outside of the approved target-type triggers. Pistol grips, stocks, and other peripheral components may be exchanged without negatively affecting the function of the rifle.

What cleaning solution should I use in my .17 HMR?

For all normal conditions, the rifle should be operated in a lightly-lubricated condition after cleaning, using Break-Free® CLP or Mil-Tech. These lubricants will function in all but the coldest conditions and can be used down to -35°F, although application below 0°F requires the lubricant to be warmed. When applying Break-Free® CLP, always shake the bottle before use and clean and apply using a clean rag or cloth. The bolt, firing pin, firing pin retainer, ejector, and extractor assembly should be inspected for any damage before cleaning and lubrication. When applying lubricant, a light film implies that the surface is only just visibly oily while a heavy film implies the oil can be smeared with a finger. Break-Free® CLP and Mil-Tech lubricants can be obtained from all good gunsmiths. Tri-flow may be substituted for Break-Free® CLP or Mil-Tech in cold weather if the action is sluggish.

How should the .17 HMR be cleaned and lubricated?

Use a pull-through or a cleaning rod to pull a tight-fitting patch lubricated with Hoppes Elite Bore Gel through the bore of the barrel from the chamber to the muzzle. Repeat this procedure until the patch comes out clean. Clean the chamber with a brush, tear a small section of paper towel, wrap this around the brush, and use this to wipe the chamber dry. Lightly lubricate the magazine catch as required and wipe down the internal and external surfaces with a patch or rag and a few drops of Break-Free® CLP. Finish by applying a light film of lubricant to all surfaces of the receiver and barrel. Clean all surfaces of the bolt, carrier key, and trigger mechanism thoroughly with Break-Free® CLP. Apply a few drops of Break-Free® CLP to the inside of the tube that houses the recoil spring and buffer. We have also developed an informational video to explain these processes.

What is the recommended cleaning frequency for the .17 HMR?

You should clean your rifle every 100 to 200 rounds.

Can I use a polymer or cast lower receiver?

No, you should not use polymer or cast lower receivers. The rifle is designed to use either a forged or billet aluminum receiver, typically with mil-spec tolerances. Polymer receivers will have problems with respect to tolerances and strength.

Does the .17 HMR bolt lock open?

No, the .17 HMR AR-15 weapon system does not feature the ability to lock the bolt open after the last round is fired. The design of the weapon prevents the inclusion of this feature. It cannot be retrofitted or added.

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