Interest in "retro" AR15s.


PDA






jagdpanzer347
May 28, 2006, 01:04 PM
I was thinking about building up an M4-gery but seem to have been bitten by the SP1 bug. Maybe it was all of the SWAT episodes when I was a kid, but to me the original M16/AR15 was always the coolest looking gun ever. Sleek and simple with none of the "tacticool" stuff so prevalent today.

I know ARs are highly popular with many of the members here, but how do you feel about the originals? I'm also curious about recent SP1 pricing in your area and whether any of you have built up earlier models from parts recently.
If so, how hard was it to find the parts and how much did it cost?

Lastly, please feel free to post pics of your early model beauties!

-jagd

If you enjoyed reading about "Interest in "retro" AR15s." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
DMK
May 28, 2006, 01:23 PM
Mine's not accurate to any particular model. I just wanted a retro look after renting the old SWAT episodes from Netflix and watching "We Were Soldiers".


I picked up the Colt M16A1 upper complete AR15.com Equipment Exchange (http://www.ar15.com/forums/board.html?b=7). It came with an A1 FS (I swapped it for a three prong on the EE), chrome lined bore, chrome lined chamber and has a forward assist. It was like $250 IIRC and was in NIB condition. CDNN (http://www.cdnninvestments.com/arsp1upnewco.html) still has 'em for $370. The old style furniture is the original M16 type with no cleaning kit storage compartment (They didn't need to be cleaned, remember?). I got it off the EE, New Old Stock, still in the wrapper for like $40. The stripped DPMS lower receiver was purchased locally. The other parts (bolt/carrier, charging handle, lower receiver parts kit, NM trigger kit) are modern RRA from Brownells (www.brownells.com) and ADCO (http://www.adcofirearms.com/). The sling is an M14 sling from CDNN (http://www.cdnninvestments.com/m1greenwebne.html). After quick and dirty tally, it looks like it cost me around $650 assembled one evening after work with a cold beer in my garage .

I really like the looks, the feel, the simple sights and the lightweight barrel. It's accurate and handy. I just wish I could get that same barrel with a 1/9 or 1/7 twist since the 1/12 limits you to 55gr or lighter bullets. Other than that, I love the rifle.


http://home.mchsi.com/~davidkoch/myarms/LightRifle.jpg

jagdpanzer347
May 28, 2006, 01:29 PM
DMK, that's what I'm talking about. You built it yourself I presume? Nice looking weapon, how does it shoot?

-jagd

.45Guy
May 28, 2006, 01:33 PM
I put the round handguards on to sell her, but that is an actual A-1 upper. Ahhh the joys of buying a house.:banghead:

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g27/aguy123/Picture001.jpg

DMK
May 28, 2006, 02:03 PM
DMK, that's what I'm talking about. You built it yourself I presume? Nice looking weapon, how does it shoot?Thanks Jagd. It shoots great! In fact I keep meaning to bring it to the range with my A2 and compare them side by side for accuracy.

Yea, I took my time patiently scouring the web and gunshows for deals, then assembled it myself once I collected all the parts.

I edited my above post to include more details.


45guy, that's a cool little SHTF kit you have there. :)

Onmilo
May 28, 2006, 02:14 PM
I just built mine about two months ago.
It is based on the original Canadian C1 version of the M16 so I guess it qualifies as retro.
I did elect to use the heavy barrel profile the Canadians origianally wanted but Colt refused to grant license for.
Most of the parts are DPMS with a Bushmaster bolt and carrier, a Rock River two stage trigger assembly and I did manage to get ahold of an original Canadian .050" round post front sight, ( thanks Denny).
Mine cost $675.00 for the parts with shipping. The Rock River trigger and the original sight post added about $90.00 to the total cost but the money was well spent in my eyes.
http://www.fototime.com/00D69D0B35A5260/standard.jpg

BigG
May 28, 2006, 02:41 PM
The SP1 Colt is my favorite type. Don't have a picture handy, but mine are the standard Colts.

ABTOMAT
May 28, 2006, 02:42 PM
I really like the look of the older AR's. Don't know why, but the round handguards take away the basic design's spare beauty for me. And I'm not much of a platic gun guy anyway.

Onmilo
May 28, 2006, 02:58 PM
We just received M16A2 rifles shortly before I ETSed.
Nobody was crazy for the round handguards then either but I have since come to realize that they are a whole lot more durable than the early triangles and you don't have to keep one of each side for replacements which simplifies the logistics of the thing.

Zundfolge
May 28, 2006, 03:27 PM
I think a Dissipator upper with the old style triangle handguards looks sweet (I seem to recall this coming up here a while back and someone posted a picture of their Dissipator set up this way).

I like the feel of the old style handguards better than the round style ... however I've got a CAR so I'm stuck with the round.

Detritus
May 28, 2006, 06:24 PM
go check out the Retro forum over at AR15.com, lots of stuff there.

i built one for my wife and it groups well, but the Olympic "Plinker Plus 20" upper that i got was in SERIOUS need of re-indexing, rear sight full against the left stop is what brought POI and POA together!!:cuss:

so right now my upper is in Olympia WA for repair, wife got to shoot it ONCE before we sent it back! (remainds me i need to call up and check on the progress of this, it's getting close to 4 weeks or more that it's been there and 5-6 was the estimate to get it back in my hands)

Henry455
May 28, 2006, 07:50 PM
This is my SP1, serial # 05X89 that was shipped from Colt in Oct., 1966. The other one is its brother serial # 05X90 that belongs to my cousin. My Dad bought these 2 ARs with their names factory engraved on the right magwells. He paid $214.00 apiece.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v691/Henry455/SP1%20Twins/SP1Twins01.jpg

Hkmp5sd
May 28, 2006, 08:27 PM
Original Colt SP1 (top) and Colt M16A1 (bottom)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Hkmp5sd/Colts.jpg

DMK
May 28, 2006, 09:28 PM
Hkmp5sd, a CAR-15 (Colt 60x whatever) or GAU-5 clone would be way cool on that NFA lower. :)

Hkmp5sd
May 28, 2006, 10:58 PM
Been considering an XMG upper....

http://www.brpguns.com/images/matt%20e.jpg

rangerruck
May 30, 2006, 04:51 AM
really old school is: No brass deflector, nor forward assist, three prong flash surpressor, triangle hand guards. doubt you will find one with no forward assist. The dude with the first pic looks very authentic. One thing though, the adjustment on that rear site, bites. the a2's were much improved.

Detritus
May 30, 2006, 05:38 AM
doubt you will find one with no forward assist.

the majority (90%+) of Colt SP1 uppers are slicksided, what's rare is to find an A1 type upper with the Foward Assist and no brass deflector that was produced for civilian sales, instead of being a surplused M16 upper.

ugaarguy
May 30, 2006, 06:57 AM
Scroll to the bottom of this page, http://www.sarcoinc.com/m16.html, and you get a full surplus M16A1 parts kit. They say it has all parts less auto sear and lower reciever for $425, or $450 with original Colt upper & bbl.

DMK
May 30, 2006, 07:13 PM
really old school is: No brass deflector, nor forward assist, three prong flash surpressor, triangle hand guards. doubt you will find one with no forward assist. And a shorter stock and no chrome bore. If fact, I believe the first M16s issued in Vietnam didn't even have chrome chambers which caused a bunch of problems in that environment (along with the type of powder they used and the fact that they didn't issue cleaning kits).

Yea, that would be first generation M16s. Later M16A1s came with birdcage flash suppressors(three prongs got caught on brush in the jungle), chrome lining, the teardrop FA and a cleaning kit in the butt stock compartment.(for the reasons stated above). They still had triangle handguards and real full auto though (not that three round burst crap).

The dude with the first pic looks very authentic.

Thank you. It's not really though. It's on an A2 lower and has an M16A1 upper. The hard part is getting the slabside lower. Those are pretty much non-existent these days unless they are attached to a Colt SP1 or a real M16.

I actually have one of those uppers without the forward assist and a non-chrome bore which would be more authentic with the three prong FS and no compartment stock. I thought about using on the rifle above, but since I can't get the correct lower anyway, I ended up making a dedicated 22LR out of that one since the FA is superfluous with the 22 conversion kits.

One thing though, the adjustment on that rear site, bites. the a2's were much improved.

I actually prefer the old school rear sight mount and carry handle. It's simple, it's locked into adjustment, and there's less to break. I'm a big believer in battle zero the rifle at 50 yards and forget about it. The rounds pretty weak past 200 yards anyway. I will agree that the A2 arperture and front post is better though. I think the perfect medium is the XS sght systems Same Plane arperture on an M16/SP1/E1/A1 upper with an A2 front post.

Hkmp5sd
May 30, 2006, 07:27 PM
As you can see, mine has no forward assist. It does have a chromed barrel, however.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Hkmp5sd/AR-15SP1.jpg

Coronach
May 30, 2006, 07:51 PM
I'm about to be issued a retro M16. Does that count? Triangle hand guards and A1 everything, baby.

They're removing the fun switch, though. :cuss: ;)

Mike

JNewell
May 30, 2006, 09:56 PM
I'm another person who believes that most of the A2 changes were unnecessary or undesirable. Most of what I would choose is A1/SP1, though I'd choose the A1 lower for the mag release "guard" and stronger pivot pin boss...the forward assist I could take or leave...don't need the A2 brass deflector wart. I have built and shot just about every possible permutation and prefer:

A1 barrel - lighter and better balanced
A1 rear sight - set and forget for a combat zero
A1 buttstock - better length (the best are the A1 length made from A2 materials)

A2 front sight post- square, not round = better sight picture
A2 handguards - never warmed up to the A1 triangular guards (ymmv)

DMK
May 30, 2006, 10:11 PM
I'm about to be issued a retro M16. Does that count?
Only if you take a pic of it for us. ;)

Coronach, will you get ammo issued, or do you get to choose your own? I'm just curious to see what those who use these old rifles professionally are using.

Coronach
May 31, 2006, 01:40 AM
Will do. It will be a while before I get it; they're doing small groups at a time, and it will take them a while to get to my unit. We'll be issued some flavor of ball ammo (maybe even AP?) for penetration-specific situations, but the standard ammo used will be Hornady TAP.

Mike

kentucky_smith
May 31, 2006, 11:46 AM
Mann Coulter :barf:


I'm looking for triangle handguards, anyone know where to get a set?

cuervo
May 31, 2006, 01:05 PM
If you could live with an A1 forgery instead of an SP1, you could use your own lower and buy an almost-complete A1 upper from CDNN.
http://cdnn.stores.yahoo.net/arsp1upnewco.html

They say these are SP1 uppers, but since they have a forward assist and are small hole, they are really A1 uppers.

The differences between the original SP1, A1, and newer A2 lowers are pretty small. The only ones I can think of are:
1. the length of the stock, which most people wouldn't notice,
2. the butt piece on the end of the stock, and
3. a fence around the mag release

The only significant difference would be that non-SP1 lowers are going to be small hole; but since the CDNN upper is small hole, it would work with newer lowers without an adaptor pin.

Finding a true SP1 would be pricey, figure at least $1000.

Detritus
May 31, 2006, 07:34 PM
I'm looking for triangle handguards, anyone know where to get a set?

got mine from Northridge (http://www.northridgeinc.com/)

But be aware that they tend to follow a order filling and shipping system that sems to be them asking each other "wanna pull some orders today, or play poker" :banghead:

but they were the only place i was able to find a decent set for a good price, and in stock instead of havign to beat the bushes for it.

lightweight
May 31, 2006, 08:53 PM
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/demusn79/th_Im000509.jpg (http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/demusn79/Im000509.jpg)
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/demusn79/th_Im000374.jpg (http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/demusn79/Im000374.jpg)
:)

DrDeFab
May 31, 2006, 10:19 PM
NOS Colt A1 Uppers & buttstocks
DPMS Lower & B/BC/CH
$550 each

Fine rifles.

The only drawback is that while the 1:12 twist works for M193, M855 is tumbling by 50 yards.

http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/7204/kisstwins2small4yu.jpg

Wes Janson
June 1, 2006, 12:03 AM
Question: I have a recent-manufacture semi-auto lower, what would I need to do in order to fit one of CDNN/Sarco's M16A1 uppers to it? Are there any significant non-cosmetic differences between one of the Sarco uppers, and a standard current production upper?

Detritus
June 1, 2006, 12:46 AM
I have a recent-manufacture semi-auto lower, what would I need to do in order to fit one of CDNN/Sarco's M16A1 uppers to it?

other than needing to supply a bolt/bolt carrier group and charging handle (these are missing on the sarco units b/c the ATF considers the bolt carrier assemblies to be a "machine gun part") the only thing you'd have to do is set it in place and push the pins in.

Are there any significant non-cosmetic differences between one of the Sarco uppers, and a standard current production upper?

a 1in12 "pencil" barrel it's lighter weight than pretty much all current non custom 20" barrels, but the 1in12 won't stabilize a bullet over 55gr. so you can't use the current crop of fairly cheap surplus 5.56 NATO ammo (beyond 50 yards or so).
lack of a shell deflector (though you may consider this cosmetic)

only other thing IS a cosmetic difference, most will probably be close to the so called "colt gray" color and not quite match a modern lower which will usua;;y be pretty much black.

rangerruck
June 1, 2006, 01:52 AM
collectors firearms in Housotn has a sp1 ar 16 with 3 prong flash, no forward assist, triangle handguards for 1300 bucks. but i noticed that it has instead of pushpens at the front takedown hinge, they look like large flatblade , screw types. is this correct? does any bodly else have any tips to look for , little lettering or mods and the like to make sure im really looking at an old one?

Wes Janson
June 1, 2006, 10:12 PM
On http://cdnn.stores.yahoo.net/arsp1upnewco.html it's showing a price of $369.99 for a complete upper minus the bolt/bolt carrier/charging handle.

On http://www.sarcoinc.com/m16.html they're offering a complete upper minus "bolt carrier assembly and cocking handle" for $275, +$10 for special select.

Is there any appreciable difference between these two, or is CDNN overcharging? Right now I've got a lower reciever and lower parts kit, so all I'm needing is the upper and a stock. What is the difference between a small hole and a normal hole? And how does one go about adapting a small-hole upper to a normal lower? Thanks!

kentucky_smith
June 1, 2006, 10:28 PM
Thanks Detritus, 19 bucks for the entire stock set is well worth a little waiting. I'm gonna make my A3 Doublestar a faux A1.

cuervo
June 2, 2006, 12:34 AM
collectors firearms in Housotn has a sp1 ar 16 with 3 prong flash, no forward assist, triangle handguards for 1300 bucks. but i noticed that it has instead of pushpens at the front takedown hinge, they look like large flatblade , screw types. is this correct? does any bodly else have any tips to look for , little lettering or mods and the like to make sure im really looking at an old one?

The three-prong was the original flash supressor style which tended to snag on things, so was replaced. This would indicate an older rifle most likely, but I cringe at the thought of spending $1300 on an AR15.

AR15.com used to have (and maybe still does someplace) a serial number page listing ranges of Colt s/n by production year.

The screw up front is correct for Colt, and it is a large hole, so would not be compatible with most uppers without an adaptor pin. The bbl should have CMP on it, indicating "Colt magnetic particle," aka magnaflux, for barrel testing.

Henry455
June 2, 2006, 09:32 PM
Rangerruck,

This is what it should look like:


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v691/Henry455/SP1%20Twins/SP1Twins05.jpg




http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v691/Henry455/SP1%20Twins/SP1Twins02.jpg

DMK
June 2, 2006, 09:53 PM
On http://cdnn.stores.yahoo.net/arsp1upnewco.html it's showing a price of $369.99 for a complete upper minus the bolt/bolt carrier/charging handle.

On http://www.sarcoinc.com/m16.html they're offering a complete upper minus "bolt carrier assembly and cocking handle" for $275, +$10 for special select.

Is there any appreciable difference between these two, or is CDNN overcharging? Right now I've got a lower reciever and lower parts kit, so all I'm needing is the upper and a stock. What is the difference between a small hole and a normal hole? And how does one go about adapting a small-hole upper to a normal lower? Thanks!

SARCO's description is a little vague (maybe someone here has one and can comment, mine came from CDNN). They may not be exactly the same thing, but if it were me, I'd save the $100 difference and go with SARCO (although CDNN is much better to do business with, that's a big difference in price and I've never heard of anybody getting screwed by SARCO, I certainly haven't).

I think the cool thing about the SARCO upper is they charge you extra $25 for Colt handpick. I'm not sure who else made those older M16 uppers (way before FN got involved I believe), but personally, I think it would be really cool to get a GM Hydromatic. :)

As far as small hole/ large hole. The large hole is a Colt proprietary thing. If it's a small hole upper, it will fit any other AR15 lower and some Colts.

rangerruck
June 3, 2006, 01:25 AM
henry 455, thanks for that info. yes it does look like that, and that is the screw. also it does say sp1, what does that mean? Should it also say colt ar 15?anybody else out there with some old school tips to look for?

Wes Janson
June 3, 2006, 02:50 AM
Where does one get the adaptor to go from large to small hole?

cuervo
June 3, 2006, 01:08 PM
I think "SP" was just Colt's prefix for "sporter," which is how they tried to market the rifle.

IIRC, all Colt AR15s will be an SP model, either 1 or 2. When you get into the SP2s, you run into different color box nomenclature to distinguish them. (I was never able to keep all of them straight.) Even though SPs existed preban, Colt felt the bayo lug was bad so left them off, but kept the flash suppressor.


And, IIRC, Colt switched to small hole as well for their civilian market.

Offset pins are available from Bushmaster:
http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/lowers/
You can also replace the big double screw with a large push-pin, but make sure the ball bearing moves freely before tapping it into the receiver.

Here is some other general info:
http://www.ar15.com/content/legal/serialNumberList.html
http://www.ar15.com/content/articles/history/evolution.html
http://www.ar15.com/content/products/barrels/twist.html

If you enjoyed reading about "Interest in "retro" AR15s." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!