Entréprise Arms sent me pre-production L1A1 receivers for review and comment. Over several months I evaluated their changes and recently received a fourth production receiver. It is of the British pattern, which makes it unique, as no other companies have released a British pattern receiver. (Update: Coonan Now offers UK cut). Entréprise Arms had previously released an Australian Pattern.I wanted to determine if it was suitable for the typical home builder, or if it would require significant adjustment, best left for the professional or experienced home-builder. If there are flaws, what will it take to correct them? I started with initial observations, then test fitted parts to the receiver. Then I did a complete build and testfire. When I found issues, I determined what the most appropriate fix would be and the level of complexity. I hope this commentary is of value in making your buying decision.
The first receiver came with a dark gray manganese phosphate finish. I found that removing the phosphate finish and using a fine bead-blast made it easier to photograph different aspects for my long discussions with Matt at EAI. After mentioning this to EAI, I received subsequent receivers in the white, and bead-blasted them to accentuate the detail. Receivers shipped to the customer will be phosphated.The receiver is machined from a casting. Hardness test marks on the underside of the receiver suggest it was hardness-tested after heat treatment.
Any new product will require some field testing, feedback, improvement and retesting. This is normal and expected. It is not fair to draw conclusions about the quality of a production unit based on the prototypes. Since the first three receivers I examined (one returned with comments) were pre-production models, including them here is only to track improvements. Since the issues I had with them were mostly cosmetic, I made the corrections myself on the prototype receivers.Receiver #46 (kit = wood furniture, 18″ barrel), was a production unit, but had some issues with the magazine catch & bolt hold-open fit that I had not seen on earlier receivers. I suspected that it was a glitch unique to that one receiver and not a pattern that would be repeated on an entire production run. Once I identified the problem, it was easy to correct. While a novice builder would not have much trouble correcting the problem, without a little experience, it might be difficult to correctly identify the problem. I recommend thorough test-fitting of all parts and careful analysis of anything that doesn’t fit or fits tightly, before cutting or filing on the receiver. The rife test-fired fine.
Test-fitting the parts on prototype #45 (kit = plastic furniture, 21″ barrel) showed a looseness to the magazine fit that was not in the earlier receivers, nor the subsequent. I had seen this same problem in years past. Essentially, the distance from the front of the magazine well to the ejector block (which holds the magazine catch) was too long. Since the magazine catch attaches to the ejector block, this allowed the rear of the magazine to droop slightly. This could result in “bolt over base” where the bolt passes over the cartridge rim. Test-firing confirmed this problem. The “fix”was to weld a slight extension on the magazine catch – about .040″, which holds the magazine all the way up against the rails. I have not determined if the ejector block position is too far to the rear, or the magazine well cut is too far to the front. The same result could have been obtained by welding up the step above the magazine catch recess that contacts the front of the magazine under the tab, but getting in there to clean up the weld would have been a lot more difficult. While extending the magazine catch is addressed a symptom, rather than the problem, it fixed the problem and was much easier. Again, this was a prototype receiver.
Test-fitting the parts on prototype #37 (kit = plastic furniture, 21” barrel) showed no problems other than the cosmetic ones identified above. The kit went together and testfired fine.
All three receivers went together with no issues other than those identified above. While not perfect, these receivers are fine for the home builder with the patience to test fit everything first. With EAI’s renewed commitment to customer satisfaction, testing everything before making any modifications will allow EAI to track any issues, and replace receivers as needed. I’ve also discussed enhanced test fitting procedures at EAI to minimize the number of receivers that make it out the door with problems.
Assuming that subsequent receivers have no greater issues than these (and hopefully less), I have no problem accepting the EAI inch pattern British cut receiver for builds.