About Paul Craddock
"I've pretty much been gunsmithing my whole life, my grandfather William Craddock was an amateur gunsmith and taught me much from an early age regarding barrel making and truing / fitting actions. Between an old Logan lathe and Index Wells mill, the man could do virtually anything and his engineering abilities would probably humble the Egyptians. Grandpa was in the Army during WWII and served in both the Pacific and European theaters, he saw some of the worst in humanity but lived a humble life after. Much of what he instilled is still in practice today in our shop; doing things right every time no matter the time it takes. While I've been able to utilize CNC machines in order to merge speed and consistency in some aspects, we still hand chamber and crown every single barrel - and always will. Many shops these days either fully automate or skip steps to save time and make more product, or worse yet they don't know the proper steps in the first place. To be clear there is a place in the market for lower end barrels; not everyone is a competitive shooter or counting on their rifle in life-or-death situations daily. We strive to be among the best and I'm confident that our customers agree."
Somewhere back in the early 2000s it became very obvious that 4 gas lengths (at the time Pistol, Carbine, Mid and Rifle) just weren't enough to cover the vast range of cartridges and barrel lengths. By 2010 Paul had worked up 15 different length tubes to best suit any given configuration. Was this daunting work - yes, but at the same time it was necessary and gratifying to optimize the platform. This optimization goes beyond accuracy, it improves part life of nearly every component in the rifle and in many instances will improve brass life. Moving into present day, there are so many countless cartridges employed in ARs and these gas lengths have paved the way to smoother running and more accurate rifles.
Another key focus is gas port size, especially when considering the ever-increasing use of suppressors in our field. We have an extensive chart of gas port sizes to encompass countless configurations, and often times customers will ask for intentionally undersized ports they can finish ream for use with their exact part configuration. You can always remove material, but you can't put it back!
Which Muzzle Threads to use?
I have always encouraged larger muzzle threads than the norm for several reasons; for one it leaves more material on the barrel around the crown to ensure it keeps tight longer as the barrel heats up, the other is so the shooter will use larger ID muzzle brakes in the event the brake is not concentric. There remains a number of variables / tolerances anytime two parts from differing companies (sometimes from across the world) are screwed together so good luck maintaining concentricity between the barrel bore and muzzle brake ID. Surprisingly some of the higher end muzzle devices have the worst run-out, but using one designed for a larger caliber diminished any negative effects it could have. It also makes cleaning the crown much easier -