Build my own AR-15 ???


June 14, 2007, 04:00 AM
I have read a couple of threads concerning this matter, and have spoken with a guy that says he actually built his own. He told me that he bought a Stag lower, and I can't remember what kind of upper. He also said that you can build your own for around $800-$850 vs. $1000- $1500 for a new, completely assembled one. So, what does " build your own AR " mean? Does it involve alot of tiny parts and labor, along with a tedious search for parts that have to be just the right size, or is it really worth the time :scrutiny:? I'm not machanically savvy by any means :banghead:, so any help will be appreciated.

If you enjoyed reading about "Build my own AR-15 ???" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Don't Tread On Me
June 14, 2007, 04:12 AM
I'm not machanically savvy by any means , so any help will be appreciated.

Given that, I would recommend getting a complete factory rifle. RRA is a good choice. So it Stag. Shop around well, you can find some excellent prices on the web that are definately worth the time and trouble to have it FFL'ed.

If you want to "build" ...I'd opt for what isn't really a build, but more of an assembly. That is, choosing an upper and a lower and slapping them together. You can take this a set further by even choosing a separate bolt carrier group, upper and lower. Still stays within the realm of basic field strip - no building involved.

Now, if you're just being hard on yourself, building an AR is not that difficult. Doing the lower is just a matter of putting a few pins in and following simple instructions. Doing an upper is a bit more complicated, requires some special tools, and there are things you need to know to do a proper job. I wouldn't do an upper until I knew I had a good understanding of all the various little concerns most people are oblivious to. Building an AR isn't gunsmithing, it's plumbing.

Zeke Menuar
June 14, 2007, 04:35 AM
DTOM is right on.

To "build" an AR, you need tools and stuff.

Probably $200-$300 or so. Throw in a big honkin' vise and a bench to bolt it to.

Buy a gun first. A complete gun or you can do what I did and buy a complete Stag lower and a CMMG upper.

Then I bought the tools and then tore it apart to figure out how things worked and add a carbon fiber FF tube.

Detail stripping a No1 MkIII Enfield was more complicated.


June 14, 2007, 05:08 AM
Most "AR Kits" come with the barrel installed on the upper receiver, head spaced and ready to go.

You will need some simple hand tools, some punches will make the job easier. The only "special tool" you will need is the stock spanner wrench, if you get a CAR/M4 collapsable stock vs. the A2 solid/fixed stock.

You can pick up a kit for @450-550 and a lower receiver for @110 and be done for 660 or less. More money will get you some "up grades" like flat top gas blocks, or different style barrels or such. Or you can spend more $$ for "better quality" parts.

Getting a complete upper (you have to ensure that it comes with a bolt, bolt carrier, and charging handle, to be a "complete upper") will have most of the technical building done, and you can mount this on most any complete lower.

You can get a lower kit (to put on your lower) for @$50-60 and a stock for @$50-75, so you can add up the cost.

This process is quite easy and within your capabilities. You can get the AGI AR15 tape and it will give you the information you need to assemble a kit, or you can search out someone locally (there is a thread with folks willing to help here somewhere) that are willing to help you a little.

Good luck, you will have fun on the process.

By the way, if you are going to build just a basic AR15, you will only save $75-125 over a complete built basic Bushmaster, so it may not be worth the hassle. However, if you are going to specialize a rifle, you can save more.

June 14, 2007, 07:01 AM
I didn't build one of my AR's but I was able to out together a RRA lower with a NM two stage trigger and a complete FNMI 20" HBAR upper with a 1/7 twist for $750. I travel as part of my job and found the two pieces on opposite sides of the state. I got the upper first and the lower about a year later.

June 14, 2007, 08:54 AM
I think it depends on what you mean by build. I bought a completely assembled upper, a stripped lower, and a bag of parts. It took me about an hour, sitting at the dining room table, following an excellent tutorial over on to get the thing completely assembled. I used one specialty tool which I purchased from a THR member for about $5.00. That was the wrench for tightening the castle nut on the collapsible stock, and I got it from RockyMtnTactical. The rest were common tools I already owned. I've put quite a few rounds through it with no problems.

But if you are not confident in building one, buying one is a worthwhile option. I saved $198.00 in building mine over buying one locally, so it was worth it, and now that I have built one, others may follow - if Mrs. Plinker lets me, that is. ;)

June 14, 2007, 09:15 AM
Even If it is not the true sense of the worn "build" You can get a complete lower and a complete upper and probably still save a few bucks. If you dont want to mess with building the upper from scratch, you can buy an upper and assemble the lower your self. The lower is the easy part. Just go slow. Also, check out They have a step by step guide with pictures and drawings. Take your time and read the article and you will be OK. A big plus is that most, if not all of the parts can only go in one way, so there is no guessing. Also if you use the standard rifle stock there are no special tools, just a screwdriver and a punch. an awl does help if you get a stubborn part.

June 14, 2007, 09:18 AM
I think there is building and then there is assembling.

Buying a complete lower somewhere that has the options you want and then buying a complete upper that has all or most of the options you want is a form of building.

Buy all the little bits and pieces parts you want, buying a stripped lower and stripped upper, buying all the proper tools and then fitting everything together from scratch is assembling.

If you are planning to put but one rifle together assembling will end up costing you much more than building because you will have the additional cost of tools and single parts always cost more than completed assemblies.

You will, however, have a rifle that has ALL the features you want exactly the way that you want them.

If you are not willing to accept the extra cost of assembling you can shop around and find an upper and a lower that have most of the features you want and then build your own rifle..
If you wish to upgrade at a later date, you can always incur the additional layout at that time.

Anyway that is how I see the answer to your dilemma. HTH

June 15, 2007, 06:01 PM
There is an 11% federal excise tax on firearms. Since the lower reciever is the only part you "have" to buy from an FFL you can save some money by purchasing the lower from a dealer and buying your upper right from the factory. Then all you do is remove two push pins from the lower, fit the upper and lower together and push the pins back in.

I just did that today, mating a Stag lower with a CMMG upper. Tomorrow I start my research on the "no Wolf Ammo in an AR" debate that has been raging for years.

June 15, 2007, 06:14 PM
He also said that you can build your own for around $800-$850 vs. $1000- $1500 for a new

You can save a few dollars, but you will not be building a $1500 rifle for $850, or anywhere close to that. (that is assuming you buy a complete upper, because as others have said, you need tools. Tools are for when you are ready to heavily invest yourself in an AR passion.)

June 15, 2007, 07:39 PM
It just depends. You can build your own by taking two complete halves and mating them together... or you could build your own and assemble the barrel, handguards, lower parts, buttstock assembly, etc...

It just depends on you. Partly on what you think you are capable of and also partly on what tools you have or are willing to buy, and also how much you want to customize your AR15...

June 15, 2007, 07:43 PM
Get a complete rifle from Stag. Call my friend Chris @ LAN World, Inc.
801-865-8550 or visit his web site @ You can get a complete Stag Model 3 RIFLE for $840.00.

June 15, 2007, 07:54 PM
I was considering building assembling my own AR (first) and I ended up buying a Bushmaster ORC for $800 at a gun show. There were other Bushies for less and DPMS, RRA, and Stags in the $700 range. You should be able to find something in your budget for about what you expect to pay for building one.

If you enjoyed reading about "Build my own AR-15 ???" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!