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Removing SCAR 16 Front Rail

SCAR 16 9 o'clock rail removed.

Been running a SCAR for at least 4 years. Over time I have developed some opinions about it’s features. So this past winter I decided I needed to address one glaring issue I have. The for-end is too thick. Well, at least for how I keep the rifle configured.

SCAR 16 before rail removed.
SCAR 16 before rail removed.

One, I prefer a light at 12 o’clock. My reasoning is very simple. Building / structure search is very important to me and something I train for. When I keep the light at 12 o’clock, I don’t have any issues of blinding or back-washing myself. If I can see the red dot around the corner, or over the top of a structure, my light can also “see” it.

Overall thickness reduced greatly.
Overall thickness reduced greatly.

Some will get this. Some won’t. I’ll go into more detail on anther post about the finer points of the theory. Now back to this rifle.

As it currently sits, I run a Surefire Scout Light at 12. I have a tape switch at 3 o’clock. As a right handed shooter, this is deliberate. I am very comfortable reaching under the rifle and activating the light with my left hand. If I need to switch to my off-shoulder, like many shooters, my motor skills degrade somewhat to “special needs” status. So by having the full tape-switch under hand, I am leveraging the larger contact area for a greater percentage of success under stress. Again…admitting my shortcomings when operating off-shoulder.

But that leaves me with a problem. When you look at the SCAR 16, the front end is crazy railed. The top is railed. The sides are railed and the bottom is railed. So something needs to go. As it turns out, the bottom rail is integral to the SCAR barrel assembly: The barrel uses it.

That leaves the top and side rails. The top rail would need to be milled flat, but I don’t shoot C-clamp. Especially with a reciprocating charging handle so I gain nothing there anyway. The sides on the other hand, are screwed to the body. And on balance are VERY thick. So the 9 o’clock rail must go.

Removing the Side Rail

Notice the heat gun. You will need one. Or a torch. A soldering iron won't work.
Notice the heat gun. You will need one. Or a torch. A soldering iron won’t work.

First, you need to break loose the thread locker on SIX screws (3 each side). The two rear screws hold the rail in place. The forward screw mounts to a sub-structure on the barrel assembly. You need that for accuracy and barrel stability. But there is a surprise. The rear screw also mounts into a substructure for the barrel assembly.

And by removing the rail, that screw is now too long and needs to be replaced with a shorter screw. There is another screw on the SCAR rifle that fits this dimension perfectly. So ordering a replacement is a easy option. The second option would be to cut the offending screw down to size. I choose the latter since I wanted this project done same day. Read that as…I didn’t see this problem coming until I had the rifle apart.

When you look at the before and after pictures, it is obvious how much space I am removing from with the width of the rifle. If I ever switch to a Surefire X300 light, I would be very tempted to remove the opposite rail for overall thinness.

So…if you feel the front end of the SCAR rifles needs to go on a diet, there is no reason why the home gamer can’t cut it down to size. Just be aware of the 3rd screw issue.

SCAR 16 finished product. Rail removed.
SCAR 16 finished product. Rail removed.



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