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Old 07-21-2017, 07:45 PM
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Franklin Armory f17 In-depth



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  Disclaimer: This will be a lengthy post, starting with an introduction . Also, I don’t claim to be an expert, just a passionate enthusiast of 29 years. Unfortunately, this is not an in-depth review, but rather answers to the most common questions I came across, plus some additional ones I had. Links to in-depth reviews from other users can be found through general google searches, which is where I got enough information to buy the F17 in the first place.

I’ve been a member to the board for a few months, and this is my first post. I recently decided to buy a Franklin Armory F17-SPR 18” upper for varmint hunting and wanted to share my findings across multiple factors. I own numerous calibers in the AR-15 platform, to which I reload for all, and wanted something a little different, inevitably leading me to the 17 wsm. Before purchasing, I did a bunch of reading (which I do all the time before buying anything) to learn about the guns/uppers available from Franklin. What I found were numerous questions from users, followed by fewer answers. Through my research, I found that Eric Mayer, located on this board, has had the most shared hands-on experience to date, and proceeded to ask him a bunch of questions. I also emailed Franklin, who unfortunately have only given me very basic answers to my more in depth questions. So, the whole point of this post is to share what I have learned through hours of reading, and hands-on ownership. I will also continue to share as time goes on.

Here’s an outline of what I’ll be presenting so you can skip to what interests you: Parts used by Franklin, ammunition performance testing, and aftermarket parts.

I contacted Franklin to learn more of the finer details of the upper, which was my focus for my purchase. I wanted to know if they used a mil-spec upper receiver or a proprietary design, to which I discovered they use a standard upper. The charging handle is also mil-spec, so any aftermarket ones will work. When it comes to the buffer system, a standard buffer and spring is used with an added tip that Franklin CS called a “special tip” which can be swapped out, but they gave no specifics on the purpose of swapping. Out of curiosity, I compared Franklins buffer to a standard carbine buffer I had laying around, and it is clear that they took the standard design and just swapped out the tips. As far as function is concerned, the tip is longer to limit the BCG’s travel. I’ll cover more on my findings on this particular feature in the “aftermarket parts” section. And last but not least, there is the handguard. The one that is used is Franklin’s own design, which coincidentally works on any AR-15 upper receiver, but I’ll leave that bit of info up to your own devices. I was told by Franklin that it is the only one that works with the F17, and it is for function purposes. But being that I am a builder, I’ll be testing that theory down the road. Although, I have found that the barrel nut threading on the upper receiver is mil-spec as well, and the few barrel nuts I did have to try all threaded on perfectly, your only issue will be handguard clearance for the gas piston system to allow free movement.

Ammunition and performance testing was fun, and was done just after initial break in, so I suspect the groups will get smaller with a better trigger and more shots fired. I had some issues with my spreads and need to diagnose my equipment before I post groupings (which I originally did, but some helpful members on this board pointed out there was something going on, so I pulled them and will repost once I get better results, thanks for the help guys!). (Edit for group sizes 1/27/18-My original groupings were 2.5-3" across all available ammo. My most recent groups, captured a few months back, were around 1.75-2". The best was 11/16", which I believe was just a fluke. My only thoughts for the improved groupings must be regarding the smoothing of the bore, due to more and more shots being fired (just over 400 rounds to be exact), which is still unacceptable for the price point). But in spite of the problems, I was still able to collect velocity results. Once I am able to rectify my problems, i'll post my better group sizes, which will be indicative of the gun. The ammo I tested consisted of all flavors from Winchester (15 gr, 20 gr, and 25 gr). American Eagle (20 gr), and Hornady (20 gr) through a chronograph at 15’ from the muzzle (velocity average is based off of 15 shots). I am in Northern California, and the elevation was 564’, temperature averaged at about 75 degrees, and humidity was not recorded.

• Hornady 20 gr = 2,984 fps average

• Winchester 15 gr = 3,267 fps average

• Winchester 20 gr = 2,918 fps average

•. Winchester 25 gr = 2,601 fps average

• American Eagle 20 gr = 2,955 fps average

So far, info on aftermarket parts are limited but obtainable if you like to dig, this is according to my findings. First, I’ll start with the triggers I’ve tried, and what I’ve heard from others. According to other forum users, the two stage CMC trigger and Hiperfire ECL work well. I plan on obtaining a Hiperfire 24 3G to use, which I believe will work fine due to its design. The triggers I used are the ALG Quality Mil-Spec Trigger at 5 lbs, and the Timney 3.5 lbs small pin drop in. The Timney had a miss-fire rate of around 60% across all ammunition types, and the ALG worked flawlessly in its Mil-Spec form. Although, I did try a different hammer spring on the ALG to lighten the trigger pull to about 3 lbs, which resulted in the same rate of misfires as the Timney. It is evident that the energy of the hammer falling has a lot to do with proper ignition of the 17 wsm, this is why my next trigger will be the Hiperfire. Check-em out, it looks like they have something pretty neat going on with their design. They state that their hammer energy, on the the “24” line of triggers, is 30% more than the mil-spec trigger while also accomplishing a 2-4lbs trigger pull weight, this is a win-win in my book! The only consideration, which I will cover next, is if the hammer clears upon reset of the bolt, which has a lot to do with the hammer design and Franklin choosing to have an extended buffer to effectively limit travel. But since another forum user states his ECL works, I’m sure there are no issues.

All testing was done with all recommended parts by Franklin, but once that was done I played around with part swapping. When it came to the buffer system, I started with changing to the standard carbine buffer weight first. I never fired a shot in this form because the BCG caught on the ALG hammer upon charging the firearm. The only way I was able to release the bolt was by pulling the front take down pin out first, followed by the rear in order to release the upper from the lower. I then tried swapping out the whole buffer system with my JP Silent Captured System, it also would not work, again due to the hammer design. Next, I swapped out the ALG for the Timney and reinstalled the standard carbine buffer and spring, which worked just fine. Finally, I threw the JP Silent Captured Buffer System back in and charged the firearm which proved to work just fine, no hang ups or function problems, except for the misfires because of the light hammer spring in the Timney. In summation, the design of the hammer has a lot to do with the function of the gun in regards to the buffer system, I.E. Timney has a much more rounded hammer design, whereas the ALG mil-spec is more angular. But bear in mind, this is only based off of general function checks and minimal rounds fired. YMMV, and longevity and integrity of parts over an extended amount of time, a long with 100’s-1000’s of rounds fired, could prove this is unadvisable.

Finally, the last part I attempted to swap out was the Franklin Handguard for a Daniel Defense M4 RIS II, it is the only spare one I had to try. Everything went together quite smoothly from the barrel nut and mounting bracket, to the installation of the gas piston system, which moved freely like it did within the Franklin Handguard. When I tried to install the actual handguard is where I ran into the biggest problem, clearance. The piston system would not allow the RIS II to go on all the way before it would hit and bind. This showed me that proper clearance is needed on the inside of the handguard, hence the “proper function” mentioned by Franklin Armory. Although, I do believe that any hand guard with proper internal clearance will work just fine if one wanted to change it out in the future.

Of course, this is all up for debate, and is objective depending on parts used. Hopefully this information comes across as helpful to those with the same types of questions I had, and currently have. Feel free to add any of your experiences and knowledge, it can only help to add to the knowledge base for the F17. Also, feel free to ask questions, it’s likely I could have missed something’s. And finally, all of these mods were done at my own risk, and if you choose to do the same it is at yours. I did all things under careful scrutiny, and an approach that was cautious. I look forward to more information shared and gathered!

Last edited by cebiNg; 01-27-2018 at 12:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2017, 09:36 PM
MTWA

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My experience with triggers: I have a Elftmann match 2 3/4 lb trigger. You must install the 047 hammer spring to get detonation on the 17 round.

Since installation of the stiffer spring I've put 500-600 rounds thru my f17l with no issues. I love this gun and I love the trigger.

JD
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2017, 11:53 PM
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Thanks for the info JD, i'll defintely keep that in mind when I go to buy a new trigger. Im definitely open to suggestions, even though my post mentioned I was getting the Hiperfire. I forgot to edit it to infer that I was thinking about it. A 2 3/4 lbs pull sounds glorious. All my triggers run at 3-3.5 lbs.

Chris
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:16 AM
B23
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No disrespect intended but aren't you a little upset to have spent that much and the best it'll do so far is a 1.5 in group AND you have to spend even more for an aftermarket trigger because the one it comes with kinda sucks???
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:10 AM
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Those groups are terrible and don't really reflect what the rifle should be able to do. I don't know if a change in trigger will help tighten them up, but something is not right.

Give me more information on your shooting set-up (bench, bags, rests, etc).

Eric
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:32 AM
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Eric,

Totally, the groups are a far cry from what I consider "excellent", and I should have made the point to say the results aren't indicitive of the gun (i'll update my post so as not to mislead anyone) especially considering I was confirming a load I worked up in a 240 wby that same day that gave me an 1/8" three shot group on the same bench and rest. The bench I used is a standard 4' wooden table for rigidity with sand bags on the legs for support, and the rest was a Caldwell Led Sled, also held down by sand bags.

Chris
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cebiNg View Post
Eric,

Totally, the groups are a far cry from what I consider "excellent", and I should have made the point to say the results aren't indicitive of the gun (i'll update my post so as not to mislead anyone) especially considering I was confirming a load I worked up in a 240 wby that same day that gave me an 1/8" three shot group on the same bench and rest. The bench I used is a standard 4' wooden table for rigidity with sand bags on the legs for support, and the rest was a Caldwell Led Sled, also held down by sand bags.

Chris
I didn't think you were misleading anyone, I just know that the F17s shoot very well (I have an SPR as well), so I'm trying to seek out a possible reason for the poor groups. What optic are you using (brand, power, mount)?

With regards to the triggers, I am working on a definitive list for my 17WSM.com site, so any information you can provide when I put the word out, will be appreciated.

Eric
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Old 07-22-2017, 02:01 AM
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Ok, good (phewww)! I just wanted to make sure I didn't come across that way. I definitely appreciate all the feedback. I hope to find an answer as well for the poor groups ��. The scope I am using is a Leupold VX2 6-18x40 AO with an LRV reticle. The mount is a Larue tactical cantilever QD mount (LT104). Just FYI, I only mentioned the 240 wby to show that I didn't think 2" groups were all the rage. Is my over caution in ensuring my posts are respectful and not of ill intent showing yet ��? Haha.

Also, I'd be more then happy to share any info I gather.

Chris

Last edited by cebiNg; 07-22-2017 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 07-22-2017, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by B23 View Post
No disrespect intended but aren't you a little upset to have spent that much and the best it'll do so far is a 1.5 in group AND you have to spend even more for an aftermarket trigger because the one it comes with kinda sucks???
None taken, you are definitely correct in drawing attention to the groups, they are less then stellar, and far from what this gun is capable of. My optimism lies in the fact that there is probably something I missed that caused these groups. If it is the barrel, I'm sure Franklin will help me figure it out. Hopefully this answers your question

Chris
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:47 PM
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If those are the groups the gun is making now then that is what it is capable of doing. Could be you can do something to make them better, but if you have to change out the barrel, trigger and BCG to do it then it is not really the same gun.
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Old 07-23-2017, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by trotterlg View Post
If those are the groups the gun is making now then that is what it is capable of doing. Could be you can do something to make them better, but if you have to change out the barrel, trigger and BCG to do it then it is not really the same gun.
I agree, those are my thoughts as well, especially considering this is a 1/2" gun proven by other owners. The only thing I can do to check my equipment is make sure the scope mount is tightened correctly, and that the scope isn't failing. I'll only know if the scope failed by swapping it out with another. If the base is tight, and it shoots as it should with a different scope, then I'll send my Leupold in for warranty work, and the problem is solved. If it still shoots the same, even with those changes, then i'll be contacting Franklin to have them look at the upper. A trigger swap will only net me a tighter group by so much, which is highly dependent on my shooting ability, it definitely won't fix a 2" group problem, or ones inability to achieve tight groups. Unfortunantly, due to how Franklin sells these guns, I can't get replacement parts, I can only replace defective parts by sending it to them. Thank you for your observation and input!

Chris
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Old 08-13-2017, 05:22 PM
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Anyone else having this problem with the F17?

I waited a year to receive my Franklin F17, finally receiving it last December. Shot less than a 100 rounds through it couldn't get three rounds out before jamming. What rounds I could shoot, sprayed all over the target, couldn't even two shots to group at all. Was first told by Franklin that it was my scope, couldn't be the rifle. So I changed scope same thing and cycle problems continually got worst. Finally took the rifle back to my gun store in March haven't seen the rifle since then. Was finally told Franklin was rebuilding the parts for the rifle and will be another month. My Brother bought one same time went through two broken cam pins and they finally just sent him two more bolts just in case it brakes again. My son-in-law bought his F17 same time as ours, springs were backwards and cam problems as well. According to my gun store, sounds like there might be a recall coming on the F17. Many problems. They are redesigning parts for the rifle as we speak. Pretty disappointing. Any one else had these problems???
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:47 AM
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I waited a year to receive my Franklin F17, finally receiving it last December. Shot less than a 100 rounds through it couldn't get three rounds out before jamming. What rounds I could shoot, sprayed all over the target, couldn't even two shots to group at all. Was first told by Franklin that it was my scope, couldn't be the rifle. So I changed scope same thing and cycle problems continually got worst. Finally took the rifle back to my gun store in March haven't seen the rifle since then. Was finally told Franklin was rebuilding the parts for the rifle and will be another month. My Brother bought one same time went through two broken cam pins and they finally just sent him two more bolts just in case it brakes again. My son-in-law bought his F17 same time as ours, springs were backwards and cam problems as well. According to my gun store, sounds like there might be a recall coming on the F17. Many problems. They are redesigning parts for the rifle as we speak. Pretty disappointing. Any one else had these problems???
Nope, guess I have been lucky with mine. No issues. Hope they get your issues resolved, because when it works right its the funnest gun in my arsenal.
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:55 PM
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I've been waiting for a semi auto .17 WSM because I was unsure. The reliability is questionable, the guns are heavy and expensive. Other than PD hunting, I'm not sure of the value. I bought a .17 WSM bolt action, but glad I waited on the semi auto. That's a lot of time and $$ to be disappointed.
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:33 AM
pathway
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Really hope Franklin can correct the issues, I really do like the gun and as MTWA stated above, I have had many others say they have not had any issues with F17. I always believe the quality of a company is how they respond to problems and how quickly. We shall see hopefully in a month or two. I guess I was more disappointed in the response from their customer service, instead of hearing me out, just to say basically it was my fault, was not something I wanted to hear. Then to hear the rifle is a screwed up mess. It finally took my gun dealer to personally call Jay, the president of Franklin, to get any action. There was one other problem, the rifle came with the wrong stock and then Franklin tried to blame the store for ordering it wrong but I was there when the store was on the phone with them to make sure they got the order right. again its hard not to be disappointed. It just wasn't what I have always heard from others about Franklin. I have two other Franklin lowers and haven't had any problems with them.
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