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side by side comparison of T&N and Firebird fire control component

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In this installment we will discuss the T&N and Firebird fire control group.  Since the trigger used by both companies is a standard, milspec AR-15 trigger, I will only cover the hammer and disconnector.


Baseline facts, the fire control group is based and designed around an AR-15 fcg, with obvious differences in the geometry of the secondary sear and the design of the striking face of the hammer.


The original MKA hammer is manufactured from .200" thickness tool steel, and has a mild heat treat of apx Rockwell 48 to 50. It weighs approximately 510 grains, but 82 of those grains are in the trunion itself, which has an OD of .355".  This diameter prevents the use of an AR-15 hammer spring, and the MKA's original spring is marginal to impart the necessary force to reliably ignite all primers.  Secondly, due to geometric misdesign, the hammer overcocks and strikes the disconnector(or secondary sear), imparting shock into the trigger and it consistently bends trigger pins.


The T&N hammer is constructed from .187", or 3/16" material of an unknown alloy and unknown heat treat. It features an AR-15 dimension trunion that weighs approximately 33 grains. The total weight of the hammer is 441 grains.  T&N's hammer incorporates a feature that Firebird designed to prevent the hammer from overcocking and striking the disconnector by applying a rectangular feature to the back of the hammer that strikes the top of the safety trunion before it can strike the disconnector. This feature also adds to the mass of the hammer, allowing it to deliver more kinetic energy to the firing pin.


Although 3/16" tool steel is readily available, and relatively inexpensive, Firebird opted to have precision ground tool steel milled to the correct .200" thickness. The tool steel used for this hammer is American milled S7 tool steel, EDM cut, and the critical surfaces precision ground.  It is heat treated to Rockwell 60. The hammer features a weight of 503 grains, 33 of those being the trunion.  At this weight it is calculated to be optimum for reliable ignition of all primers. The other, unique design in the Firebird hammer is the addition of the weight/impact surface that prevents hammer overtravel.


The design of all 3 disconnectors is somewhat irrelevant, as all 3 perform the function properly. The differences however, show up in manufacturing and metallurgy.


The following pictures will display photographs of the hammer and disconnector taken from a customer's T&N built shotgun with 80 rounds downrange. The Firebird hammer and disconnector were taken from a test and eval gun having many thousands of rounds downrange.


Here we have a Firebird hammer, a T&N hammer, and a factory hammer.




Note the reason for the T&N hammer being off-center on the trunion is simply because their trunion slides freely in the hammer.




Close up of the striking surface of the T&N hammer, approx 80 rounds fired.  Note the brinelling(deformation) where the hammer strikes the firing pin. This is indicative of no, or improper heat treat, or incorrect metallurgy.




Close up of the striking surface of the Firebird hammer, approx 4,000 rounds fired.




Close up of the secondary sear surface of the T&N hammer.




Close up of the secondary sear surface of the Firebird hammer.




Close up of the secondary sear surface of the T&N disconnector, approx 80 rounds fired.




Close up of the secondary sear surface of the Firebird disconnector, approx 4,000 rounds fired.






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It is in really poor taste for Firebird to attack a business member on this forum and especially tacky to spam the boards with multiple threads. This series of posts really makes Firebird look bad. I also remember a Firebird employee talking trash on this forum. It reminds me of the douche bags at Alliance Armament.


A top notch builder would be too busy to make posts like this on a forum, Firebird obviously has plenty of free time, that is what most people will take away from this thread.




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To quote a smart HOG


"A top notch builder would be too busy to make posts like this on a forum, Firebird obviously has plenty of free time, that is what most people will take away from this thread."


I have products from both companies; all satisfactory except the Firebird lower (has a jacked up bolt / mag release).  Build some shit and kill the drama. .  Even "IF" you build a superior product, your shooting your damn self in the foot for your lack of tack.  Professionalism, GET SOME.

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It looks like he did build it. First. And put pictures to show the differences.


It is up to him to figure out whether it is better to lose some business for speaking out in what some would consider to be poor taste, or lose business due to a cheaper product taking his market share while remaining silent. Most of both of their customers will not get a chance to compare their products side by side. 


Since this is in an open forum, T&N and his customers have equal opportunity to disprove any negative comparisons they feel are unjust.


I personally find this sequence of pictures persuasive concerning quality at least. 


T&N could have come up with the hammer stop feature on his own, or he might have copied it. He has the opportunity here to say which. Since patents aren't involved, he has the legal right to copy anything he wishes, and the public can decide whether that is in poor taste, or whether he is performing a service for more reasonable prices. 


I'd rather they got it out in the open than have a long running feud and recruit customers into little brand loyalist camps. Ask questions now and vote with your wallet. Don't try to shout down the conversation.

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I dont mind if people find this set of posts in bad taste or what ever they may wish to call them.

I have worked hard to develop solid technology and the highest quality I can.

Every part I have designed has a provable history from the point it was conceived to when it was modeled in CAD.

If it comes to it, I am ready to back up any claims with solid proof.


This is no attack, its just the honest truth. all of the components shown are EXACTLY as described.

I have not been nasty about it, but in some peoples' minds just my having the spine to rebut is enough to bring rath.


If people have closed minds no amount of truth will change them.


An old saying...If an honest man is mistaken and presented with the truth.


He will either cease to be mistaken, or cease to be honest.



My comparison of components was honest, and I was not mean spirited or over critical.


Take it for what it is and do with it what you will.


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This was a one sided comparison.  What would have been wrong with donating parts to a reputable engineer to do independent studies? or joined with T&N instead of trashing them? Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in man. But here's a quote since we like them so well:


"A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships."

Stephen Covey

Edited by CalveryDemon
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I'm still forming my own opinion from these recent comparision of parts threads, but I do have to ask a question.  Can't anyone copy an idea if there is not a patent?  I've never dealt with a patent personally, but isn't a patent what keeps others from copying an original design/idea?


If there are patents on FB's design, then shouldn't this be in the court system to handle?  If there are NOT patents, then why comment about copying someone's design?


I'm no engineer, but seems to me as though without a patent, then any difference (ie. no matter how small) would not be considered copying someone elses design when we are talking about small parts such as these that have to fit within specs.


**Not sure which thread to ask the above qustion since there are so many similar threads at the moment comparing the various components.

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You may be surprized...But things and designs even with out patents can be defended in court with great success.

Laws to protect intelectual property can be a real bear to get around. and millions of $$ trade hands each year because people thimk they can just copy other peoples stuff.

The patents can help make claims just about bullet proof,


I have spent quite a bit of time and $$ on just this subject as of late.


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It is plainly clear that all this has come about over Matt's post about having 4 out of the top 5 in an amateur championship match and was immediately attacked by JT as they took offence for some reason, what is it with people picking holes in success.


As for the side by side comparisons they are a joke. Having spent 25 years in sales and marketing and having produced independent reviews myself as well as read lots of so called side by side comparisons produced by manufacturers it is clear they are never unbiased.


By default if one of the companies writes it then it is never written in and objective way, emotions, pride and insecurities always come in to them and they end up bashing the other product, plus their own products always come out on top as they only focus on their perceived advantages and will rarely self critique their own work. The only way is to have both companies send complete guns with all their parts to an independent third party on a long term test, maybe a magazine, we could then all read the review and make our own minds up. However, the review must contain the basics of a good independent review in the real world, price, quality, fit for purpose, ease of use, ease of installation etc etc must all be covered.


In the end though it is us the consumers who will make up our own mind and choose a product that suits our needs and budget, some will go for their favourite brand, best customer service, best quality or others the cheapest price, but each serves a purpose and each is equally important to us.


Now let's stop this bashing of products, it's immature, wastes time and serves no one

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I can honestly and proudly say we had not had a single Firebird part in our shop up until September 27, 2013. On this day a customer called me and stated that he had assembled his gun with your lower and his reliability dropped from 100% to 70%. He asked if he could stop by before we left for the match this last weekend so we could help him out. We told him that would be fine. A few hours after he arrived, he left with a gun that functioned 100%. We focus on our customer service not who's parts come through the door. I wouldn't care if someone shipped us a stock gun and all Salem 6 products. If they wanted the work done and assembled, we would do that for them because that's the business we are.


The pictures you have posted are the most detail we have seen of any of your products. We have not copied a single item of yours. Everything has been developed here, in Missouri, with long hours and a lot of prototype parts. Our designs are just that...Ours. Every single one of our parts was done in house. From conception, to CAD drawing, to writing the code for the mills, to milling the actual part, and final finishing. EVERYTHING is done here in our shop. Anyone with mechanical knowledge and some experience with CAD can sit down and draw some parts to work with this gun. There are certain constraints and boundaries that every company must deal with which is why you will have some parts that look similar, there is no way around it. I don't see Firestone complaining because Pirelli has a round tire as well. Companies generally let their products speak for themselves and let customers decide.


As a business who has been in this market for just under a year, we are constantly improving our products as well as developing new ones. We have had some QC issues in the past and we may have a few in the future, its part of running a manufacturing business. We have expanded from doing this part time, to full time with 4 employees. With growth there is always problems and mistakes that must be worked out. If we have a customer that has an issue with anything at all, we get it resolved, the same day. We have always stood behind our products and always will.



ETA: My son just informed me we have installed a few firebird anti-walk FCG pins that customers have supplied.

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The photos and descriptions I have posted have nothing to do with who placed where in any match, its completely irrelevant

If people did well in a match, thats great! What gear they used means nothing to me, a good shooter will do well with any brand equipment.


This was all about showing parts side by side with an honest description of each to the best degree possible.

Who originally designed the parts is also irrevelant at this point, but it was mentioned.

The gun and parts I used are logged into my books, and would also appear in the T&N books as well, so the origin can be tracked.


I invite any owner of T&N parts that vary in any way from the pics I posted, to post your own pics.

Please show me any inconsistancy with what I have shown.


I know there is an engineering company in Colorado that has done studies on many firearms and components for many companies in the firearms industry.

They are Professonal Engineers with the ability to test and evaluate designs,stress analysis as well as metalurgy and manufacturing processes.

I would be happy to pay for one half the cost to have both guns and all the parts evaluated by that company, as their findings would be beyond Reproach.


I am NOT bashing anyone, nor am I attacking anyone I am only showing products side by side.


Any reader may simply discount any thing I have said about the parts from both companies, and just compare the pics, they are what the are, and they speak for themselves.


If you are a reader who is happy to see both sets of parts side by side, thats great.

If you are a reader who is upset at seeing both sets of parts side by side, thats fine as well.


This whole thing can be seen for what it was intended, or you may twist it or call it whatever you like, you may defame me or call me any name you like.

The representations were honest and I stand by what I have shown.


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I see nothing wrong with a side by side comparison. That is fair. What is not fair is a competing company taking parts off a gun that has been used to what extent I do not know (abnormal wear marks on several parts). Then comparing their new or used parts to the competition. It is a completely biased comparison. I am not calling anyone a liar but anyone can see that results can easily be swayed in your favor if you are the one doing the comparison.



This is not a biased comparison. An individual on a different forum posted this up. Found it a few weeks ago. I have linked to page 4 where he does a comparison. Read the whole thread if you wish.




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