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I am curious if anyone has ever SBR’d one of these rifles, down to 14.3 in order to have a 551-2 swat look.

Can the barrel be cut and threaded post Form 1? Thinking about doing this and looking for input, thanks as always.


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Posts: 2503 | Location: FL | Registered: May 07, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Of course it can be done. It's mainly a matter of having a fixture for barrel removal/installation, and a good gunsmith for the threading. I have a fixture I'd be willing to let you borrow, if you decide to do it.
 
Posts: 1959 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you're going to SBR a WCA 551, why not jut buy a police surplus Swiss 551 and remove the extension?

The WCA is not special....it's a 556 upper that was marked as 551 and serialized to the Swiss parts from kits from Canada or something that got stuck in import when ATF changed it's mind on barreled receivers with 922r.

I've owned three WCA 551's and they cost nearly as much as proper Swiss guns. If you want to shorten a 16" US-barreled upper to 14.3" to mimick the Swiss rifle, why not just get the real deal?

Unless of course you already own a WCA.
 
Posts: 3034 | Registered: December 21, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by PGT:
If you're going to SBR a WCA 551, why not jut buy a police surplus Swiss 551 and remove the extension?

The WCA is not special....it's a 556 upper that was marked as 551 and serialized to the Swiss parts from kits from Canada or something that got stuck in import when ATF changed it's mind on barreled receivers with 922r.

I've owned three WCA 551's and they cost nearly as much as proper Swiss guns. If you want to shorten a 16" US-barreled upper to 14.3" to mimick the Swiss rifle, why not just get the real deal?

Unless of course you already own a WCA.


So. That’s a great question.

The real deal is is almost double the cost of 551s in addition to devaluing if not zeroing out the value when you meet the engraving requirement for SBR’ing it.

That’s the reason for the question.


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Posts: 2503 | Location: FL | Registered: May 07, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you can get a WCA for $2xxx then do it. I’ve owned three and paid that price on each. They go up and down in value.
 
Posts: 3034 | Registered: December 21, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree with PGT. There is nothing special about the WCA 551s. They are just rebadged 556s with Swiss steel lower.

Once you factor in having a Swiss rear diopter housing or steel optic rail welded on, the upper refinished, dust covers reinstalled, it’s a losing proposition.

Personally I don’t think you’ll tank the value of a Swiss rifle by engraving it in the right location. The best I’ve seen is on the bolt rail that’s visible through the magwell without a mag in place.

You could also buy a JDI 16” 551 and swap the barrel. That’s a very sound option. Less costly than a LE trade in 551.


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"AND YEA THOUGH THE HINDUS SPEAK OF KARMA, I IMPLORE YOU...GIVE HER A BREAK, LORD". - Clark W. Griswald
 
Posts: 2300 | Location: The South | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Swapping barrels would devalue more than a discreet marking, IMO.

Building clones is NOT the way to go, now that JDI guns are out there. I have more than a few clone builds, and will likely never do another. About the only clone project worth doing is breathing life back into the commando 552 kits still out there. It's the hardest one to do though.
 
Posts: 1959 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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swapping out a Swiss 16" barrel for a Swiss 14.3? The modification to p/w a 14.3" to 16" would devalue more than the swap
 
Posts: 3034 | Registered: December 21, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was comparing a form1 factory 14" 551 to a swapped Swiss 16" gun. You're correct in your assessment of the modded barrel. My fault, for not being more specific.
 
Posts: 1959 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In my opinion swapping a 551 barrel is not going to devalue a JDI import. A pre-89 import, yes. JDI imports are the lowest on the collectibility totem pole.


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"AND YEA THOUGH THE HINDUS SPEAK OF KARMA, I IMPLORE YOU...GIVE HER A BREAK, LORD". - Clark W. Griswald
 
Posts: 2300 | Location: The South | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
JDI imports are the lowest on the collectibility totem pole.

Though that may be the case, all other things being equal, I wouldn't give the same money for a gun that had a barrel swap done, as I would for one assembled at the factory in Switzerland. Hume is the only guy I know of that is a "certified" Swiss 55X armorer, and, even if you had documentation of his work on the weapon as authentication, you've exhausted one of the three barrel changes. I know I am splitting hairs, but I just don't think there is zero value lost.

I can change barrels on a 55X. I know you wouldn't give as much for a 14" 551 that I made that way, as you would for a factory gun, even if all the parts were brand new. Hume would be a different story, but you're still making a small compromise.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
 
Posts: 1959 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by KSGM:
quote:
JDI imports are the lowest on the collectibility totem pole.

Thought that may be the case, all other things being equal, I wouldn't give the same money for a gun that had a barrel swap done, as I would for one assembled at the factory in Switzerland. Hume is the only guy I know of that is a "certified" Swiss 55X armorer, and, even if you had documentation of his work on the weapon as authentication, you've exhausted one of the three barrel changes. I know I am splitting hairs, but I just don't think there is zero value lost.

I can change barrels on a 55X. I know you wouldn't give as much for a 14" 551 that I made that way, as you would for a factory gun, even if all the parts were brand new. Hume would be a different story, but you're still making a small compromise.


I’ve known David for about 15 years. He and I have had this conversation re: the three barrel change life of a Swiss 55x receiver. When I was younger I worried about that detail. Considering the very high longevity of Swiss barrels it’s of no concern to me any more so long as the barrel swap was done correctly. I too have all the tools to swap barrels and personally trust my skills.

Again, if we are talking a JDI 16” 551 getting a 14.3 barrel swap, I would not devalue it unless something was done incorrectly or the finish was scratched.


---------------------------------------------
"AND YEA THOUGH THE HINDUS SPEAK OF KARMA, I IMPLORE YOU...GIVE HER A BREAK, LORD". - Clark W. Griswald
 
Posts: 2300 | Location: The South | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Considering the very high longevity of Swiss barrels

That's true.

However, I maintain that any of us, if presented with two otherwise identical rifles, for the same money, would opt for the one that hadn't had a barrel swap, regardless of who performed it. Does the swap devalue the gun in any meaningful way? Maybe not, but it'd still be a deciding factor, in favor of the other gun.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
 
Posts: 1959 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by KSGM:
quote:
Considering the very high longevity of Swiss barrels

That's true.

However, I maintain that any of us, if presented with two otherwise identical rifles, for the same money, would opt for the one that hadn't had a barrel swap, regardless of who performed it. Does the swap devalue the gun in any meaningful way? Maybe not, but it'd still be a deciding factor, in favor of the other gun.


That’s a fair assessment. To me it would depend on who did the swap and on what gun.

If a JDI gun and it had the barrel I wanted, so long as someone swapped the barrel properly, it personally wouldn’t bother me at all. I don’t put a whole lot of collectibility on the JDI guns.

I prefer my non-JDI Swiss 55x to my JDI imports because of the better earlier finish and recent JDI 553 and 551 with steel lowers have a larger gap between the upper and lower. That gap irks me. The earlier imports, M+M imports, SigSauer USA imports don’t have the prominent gap. It’s a minor thing and I think most wouldn’t notice it unless pointed out. It bugs me.

I realize I’m in the minority on this issue and this is just one man’s opinion. Ymmv.


---------------------------------------------
"AND YEA THOUGH THE HINDUS SPEAK OF KARMA, I IMPLORE YOU...GIVE HER A BREAK, LORD". - Clark W. Griswald
 
Posts: 2300 | Location: The South | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a flat top 551 with 14.3" barrel; with the new brace rule, I'm considering swapping out to a spare 17" LB barrel I bought from Gatewood. I've got an SBR'ed 553 but since the uppers carry the S/N, that means the 551 upper is on it's own.
 
Posts: 3034 | Registered: December 21, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I realize I’m in the minority on this issue and this is just one man’s opinion. Ymmv.


I think we'd all agree with your assessments on collectability. I can't hardly afford to "collect" these guns, so I am content with JDI shooters. Lord knows I should have bought a nice Arkansas DNR (or F&W?) gun years ago, before prices went up, but that ship has sailed. As far as mileage varying, I definitely agree; my 553 is an Exeter import, and it has a canted rail and some rather odd fitment idiosyncrasies around the gas system; in honesty, the gun had reliability issues early on.
 
Posts: 1959 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by KSGM:
quote:
I realize I’m in the minority on this issue and this is just one man’s opinion. Ymmv.


I think we'd all agree with your assessments on collectability. I can't hardly afford to "collect" these guns, so I am content with JDI shooters. Lord knows I should have bought a nice Arkansas DNR (or F&W?) gun years ago, before prices went up, but that ship has sailed. As far as mileage varying, I definitely agree; my 553 is an Exeter import, and it has a canted rail and some rather odd fitment idiosyncrasies around the gas system; in honesty, the gun had reliability issues early on.



Shooting is far better than collecting imo. And the later imports, M+M, SigSauer USA, and JDI are great shooters.

That’s a bummer re: your Exeter import 553. My first M+M imported 553 had a very slight cant to the rail. An Exeter import 553 had noticeable foreword and backward play of the bolt when locked into the trunion. I know of a guy with a LE trade in 551 that had an out of spec trunion and all sorts of function issues. Even the Swiss can put out a lemon here and there.

The 551s that Otte had were from Louisiana Fish and Wildlife. Roger at Midwest Distributors found them and sold them to Otte. They were nice rifles. At one point I had two. I have zero now, but they were traded for something I wanted more.


---------------------------------------------
"AND YEA THOUGH THE HINDUS SPEAK OF KARMA, I IMPLORE YOU...GIVE HER A BREAK, LORD". - Clark W. Griswald
 
Posts: 2300 | Location: The South | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes; Louisiana. I don't know why Arkansas is what I recalled. I am glad I am not the only one to have ever seen or experienced a 55X "lemon". I suspected the trunnion dimensions were to blame for my 553's fitment issues; your mention of trunnion trouble lends a bit more credebility to that theory.
 
Posts: 1959 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you're going through the trouble of SBR and engraving something I'd definitely go with a true "Swiss" gun, be it JDI, Michaels Machines or if you've got more dough, those LEO trade ins from way back when.

Collectability wise, any Swiss gun would be superior to a 556 and it's derivative any day of the week.
 
Posts: 10826 | Location: Orange County, CA, USA | Registered: March 18, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Gentlemen,

I always appreciate the lengthy review. I wanted to offer a prologue.

I think I just need to continue to look for the real deal. The issue is the asking prices are just not what I am willing to pay at the moment.


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