A while ago a small box arrived in the post, inside was the receiver of an AAC Handi Rifle in bits with a note telling me it had been light striking so the owner had pulled it apart, could I please assemble it and sort the problem out.
Now I have to admit I am not a fan of these things and have certainly never had need to break one down into its individual components so off I went to the internet to look for some ‘Handi’ hints and tips and a drawing or two and a wasted couple of hours later I came to the conclusion I was going to have to do this the hard way…
First job was to work out how these things actually operate and I opted to build the parts externally using the pins to hold everything in place, it immediately became apparent that my fingers were not going to assemble things inside the receiver without some help and one ‘Handi’ thing I had found was people talked about using a short pin to hold everything together.
So off to the lathe and two short brass pins were assembled, these ones are 15,0mm long by 4,70mm diameter with rounded ends. Next job was a couple of dummy pins, these are 8,0mm 316 stainless reduced to 4,70mm diameter for a length of 39,0mm again with a rounded nose. The 4,70mm is not super critical, just aim for a sliding fit.
Time to assemble the main parts and put everything together. This is probably the culmination of three hours work as it really was a trial and error thing and I tried building from bottom up, so trigger first and top down so hammer first and opted for the latter in the following stages.
Firstly, assemble the trigger, key part here is to correctly index the trigger extension to the trigger however there is a little pin that ensures the trigger and extension are correctly orientated.
You can hold everything together with one of your short brass pins and don’t forget the barrel catch spring, this one was coloured red which was handy when I dropped it on the floor…
Place the trigger asassembly to one side for fitting later on. I use small clear plastic trays from my local Chinese take-away for this task, they are convenient and I have a good excuse to order one from time to time.
Next job is the striker and lifter assembly, this is easy enough once you have worked out which way the lifter spring goes in and once you have this sorted assemble the parts with your other short brass pin. This picture should show how the spring is correctly fitted.
Now you can fit the firing pin and spring, I did not put the release lever in at this stage however I did use one of my stainless dummy pins, to keep the notch on the back of the pin correctly aligned and everything secure.
Next job is pop the lifter into place from the underside of the receiver, push your dummy pin through, do remember the final assembly pins only push in from one left to right so whatever happens you need your dummy pin head on the right hand side at some point so you can push it out with the correct assembly pin. A quick word of warning here, the top firing pin retaining pin is slightly shorter so do not get it mixed up with the others.
With the lifter in place you can now fit the hammer, I pushed the dummy assembly pin in from left to right initially to enable me to locate the spring afterwards, the short leg fits behind the stand off pin on the hammer.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here you go. The forceps serve no purpose other than to add some weight to the long leg of the spring so you can see the short leg located correctly.
If you do not have any locking forceps get some, for me they rank alongside dummy pins, punches and good files and are every bit as important as decent turn screws and hammer spring compressors or bolt take down tools. They cost very little on that well known auction site. Now you can push the long leg down into place, it is located on the inside of the trigger guard well.
Next job is to fit the trigger guard assembly. This simply slots in from the bottom however I would suggest you confirm the fit, which is front first without the barrel catch spring to make sure you understand how it goes in. If you are happy so far fit the spring and lift the assembly into place with the receiver held vertically or the spring will fall onto the floor and hide in a dark corner. Guess how I know this…
OK, now fit the thin front trigger guard retaining pin, followed by the rear pin. As you slide the rear pin in the short brass spacer will be pushed out of the other side. I push the pins in until they meet the knurled section only and drift them into place when everything is together and operation checked.
Now you can fit the release lever and check it really is OK, all good, push the remaining pins in, I use a brass drift and small hammer for this operation and there you go, a fully assembled and functional Handi Rifle action. You can probably read this and assemble the action in 45 minutes on a good day however please do spare a thought for me, wading through misinformation and poor videos before I got this far. No doubt some lovely young lady at the factory would put the receiver together in three minutes flat however she probably has thinner fingers than I have and the benefit of having assembled hundreds if not thousands of the things.
If you look at my pictures closely you will spot that I fitted the lifter before the firing pin and also added the barrel release lever earlier than I described however with hindsight I believe my written description is the best way to assemble one of these things.
One final thing, would I have one now? Actually I probably would in .300 Blackout or something equally as quiet.
I do wonder what next will arrive in a box of bits in the post. right, it is time to get out and test a gun now so at least I get to make a noise for a few minutes 🙂