Do I need a Rear Lug Receiver?

LRB M14SA Rear Lug Receiver

LRB M25 Rear Lug Receiver
Photos Courtesy of LRB OF LONG ISLAND, INC

There is a lot of interest in rear lugged receivers these days. Lugs have specific advantages over non-lug receivers, but not everyone can benefit from them or desire the added expense.

Lugged receiver cost more and add additional costs to glass bedding in stocks that require it. Using any stock that doesn’t require glass bedding mitigates the purpose of having a lug gun in the first place.

Most know that the lugs have benefits in lengthening the life of bedding, but accuracy benefits are a controversial subject. Very accurate M14 rifles have been built without lugs. However, lugs can improve a rifles accuracy if combined with a pillar and bedding screw. The bedding screw is installed just under the rear most pads of the trigger housing. It can be torqued to consistent draw on the receiver. When a receiver is held in the stock by trigger clamping pressure alone, recoil forces, wear on the trigger guard cam lugs, and other factors create inconsistencies which are detrimental to accuracy.

Another advantage of the rear lug with a pillar is that it can be bedded in such a way that it takes a good deal of stress off the receiver. Receivers without lugs are bedded so the trigger guard meets resistance to locking about 3/8 of an inch before it fully closes. This action pulls the receiver down into the stock bedding and is intended to keep things from moving around. You may have noticed that properly bedded rifles have an area about 1 ¾ inches long from the rail to the start of the horse shoe area out of contact with the stock. Clamping pressure actually pulls this area down slightly tweaking the receiver. You can’t see the receiver bend, but it does. This bending creates stress on the receiver which, in some cases has been known to cause malfunctions as serious as failures to extract.

The screwed in lugged receiver can be bedded without this heavy clamping pressure. The trigger group is bedded with the trigger guard fully closed and minimal pressure. It needs just enough to keep the trigger group secure so it doesn’t move around.

Now I may be off base, but I believe taking this stress out of the receiver enhances accuracy and reduces malfunctions related to that stress.

This doesn’t mean that everyone should have a lug gun. Most shooters would never notice the difference between having a lug or no lug. It’s benefit comes to those who are master class shooters, serious competitive shooters, and those who demand all the advantages for long range accuracy. The added cost is certainly a factor and an unnecessary expense for most.

I had a chuckle when one of my customers expressed concern about finding McMillan stocks were not inletted for the metal liner found in GI wood stocks. I assured him that the liner was unnecessary - don’t worry, be happy!

It was common practice to cut away about 1/8 inch from the inside legs of the stock liner when bedding stocks in the military. I know the Army did it, but I don’t know about the Marines. Anyway, this area was filled with bedding compound which gave the receiver a perfect fit. I always thought they did this as a military expedient since most armorers had a lot of rifles to bed and it was much easier that way. The problem was it only would last about 1200 rounds or so before the bedding would start breaking apart between the receiver legs and the liner. This didn’t bother the military all that much. It gave the guys something to do.

As a civilian, I couldn’t afford to re-bed my rifle every 1200 rounds. My practice was and is to remove the liner and carefully fit it to the receiver. It is reinstalled during the bedding process and after the action has been clamped into the stock, the liner screws are given their final tightening. This allows solid metal to metal contact and greatly extends the life of the bedding. Works for me….

By Ted Brown
Shooters Den


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