AR15 Recce Build - P1 - Upper


February 23, 2008, 04:21 PM
Figure I'd post this for anyone who likes to see a project from start to finish.
I hope to not have much lag between updates, though I'm still debating on what components for the lower and getting loot together.

I'll include pictures along the way, though I'll wait until the THR servers are all finished up. Here's a general outline for now.
Feel free to discuss, ask questions, throw tomatoes, etc. :D

Here's what I've got spec'd for the upper:

Barrel: Pac-Nor 16" medium contour, polygonal bore, 5.56 chamber, extended feed ramps.

Receiver: CMT mil-spec with extended feed ramps.

Muzzle device(s): Smith Enterprises G6-A2 Vortex.

Gas system: Mid-length, direct impengement, Vltor low-profile gas block.

Handguard: LaRue 10".

Iron sights: (BUIS) Troy battlesights.

Bolt carrier group: LMT enhanced.

Charging handle: PRI M84 Gas Buster.


If you enjoyed reading about "AR15 Recce Build - P1 - Upper" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 27, 2008, 06:34 PM
Here's the Noveske 16" barrel group including a MP tested bolt:

CMT flat-top upper receiver:

Smith Enterprises G6-A2 Vortex flash eliminator:

LaRue Tactical 10" handguard shown with Tactical Beverage Entry Tool:

Troy Industries (Noveske marked) Battle Sights:

February 27, 2008, 10:18 PM
LMT Enhanced Bolt Carrier Group:

PRI Gas Buster charging handle:

February 27, 2008, 10:42 PM
Let me know how the polygonal rifled Noveske barrel shoots. I'm very interested. Usually I only see pistol barrels with the polygonal rifling.

February 27, 2008, 10:51 PM
Will do, Cesiumsponge.
I'm curious too.

March 4, 2008, 07:45 PM
The brown truck of happiness just showed up and brought me some tools, courtesy of Brownells:

On the left is the DPMS multi-tool.
At the top is a Starrett 565 pin punch set.

In the middle, left to right:
Sporting Conversions plastic pushtool (for take-down and pivot pins),
Sinclair cleaning link (keeps the upper in place for cleaning),
Brownells Colt 5.56/.223 field headspace gauge (for checking headspace after assembly),
Brownells 5.56 dummy rounds (for checking function after assembly),
Brownells Bolt Ejector tool (for ease of bolt assembly/disassembly).

At the bottom is the DPMS upper receiver block (for barrel installation and upper parts installation).

March 4, 2008, 07:58 PM
LMT Enhanced Bolt Carrier Group:

PRI Gas Buster charging handle:

March 4, 2008, 08:30 PM
This is getting exciting! You even got Starrett brand punches!

Wes Janson
March 4, 2008, 09:27 PM
I want a Tactical Beverage Entry Tool, too.

March 15, 2008, 09:22 PM

Waiting on the real hardware to show up, so for now ..

S'more goodies to 'show off':
Top to bottom: Sinclair cleaning cradle, lug recess tool, rod guide and solvent port, action brush, carrier key brush, chamber brush, small rod stop and azoom snap caps.

I know the cleaning stuff is not exactly germane to upper building, but I believe it is important to clean all the components thoroughly before assembly and testing.

March 15, 2008, 09:42 PM
Quake Splatter Box,
Sinclair vise block, safety block, bench block, and Dewey muzzle guide.

March 15, 2008, 10:04 PM
Almost forgot ..

PRI's barrel nut wrench:

April 6, 2008, 02:53 PM
Goodies for the upper came in friday :)
Everything except for the LMT BCG :(

In order to install the Larue free-float handguard, the gas block that was pre-installed on the Noveske barrel needs to be removed to allow the handguard nut, barrel nut, PRI wrench, and spacer to get to the chamber end of the barrel.
Secured in the vise with rifle and pistol bench blocks and some Duck brand Easy Liner - for lining your silverware drawer. Happens to be good for opening stubborn jars too.
Drive out the pin.
Unscrew the locking screw.
A little bit of lube will help in reducing any scratching of the barrel while sliding off the gas block.


April 6, 2008, 02:54 PM
Note the notch in the barrel for the gas block pin.


April 6, 2008, 03:13 PM
Current thoughts regarding some of the stuff I got, that won't likely be used..

Takedown tool: I can push the both pins with my finger. Might be helpul for tight fitting receivers.

Bronze action and chamber brushes: Noveske only recommends a chamber mop and I hear tell that bronze against anodized aluminum may not be the best thing. For now, it's going to be cotton or wool mops for both. Time will tell.

Muzzle guide: Might be good in a pinch, but not really needed if already using a bore guide and cleaning from the chamber.

More to follow when the BCG comes home.

Good fun :D

April 6, 2008, 03:38 PM
Impressive, keep it coming as you move along!

April 6, 2008, 07:24 PM
Thank you, SpeedAKL :) will do.

Part 2 (Lower) is up for any interested,


April 10, 2008, 08:29 PM
Bronze action and chamber brushes: Noveske only recommends a chamber mop and I hear tell that bronze against anodized aluminum may not be the best thing. For now, it's going to be cotton or wool mops for both. Time will tell.

Technically nothing wrong with bronze in the chamber because the chamber is actually a steel insert that is pressed into the aluminum upper itself. Of course, depending on alloy, bronze can wear out an aluminum surface pretty quick so if you're careless, you can abrade off the anodizing from surrounding surfaces inside the upper.

I rarely need to scrub my AR chamber. Those star shaped felt chamber mops seem to be plenty good when you spin them around and use good solvent.

April 11, 2008, 05:49 AM
Aye, Cesiumsponge, I can see using the bronze chamber brush if it gets really filthy. I'll likely never use the bronze 'receiver' brush though.

Got the BCG in. It's not the enhanced, just the standard.. for anyone waiting on the enhanced BCGs, LMT is supposedly shipping them July 31.

Here's more build:
Shown in the order installed.
From left to right is the spacer, barrel nut, handguard nut, and keeper.
Apply some anti-sieze compound to the threads.
And suddenly it just disappears :eek: :D
Place the keeper against the upper receiver.
Slide the handguard nut so it rests on the barrel threads.
Hand tighten the barrel nut.

April 11, 2008, 07:30 AM
Set the spacer aside (fits into the Larue handguard, shown later),
and prepare to torque-set the barrel ...
Torque the barrel nut to 30 ft-lbs.
Loosen it up. Tighten and loosen two more times.
One more, this time to 35 ft-lbs.
Break out the "Eyeball Mark VII" and take a look ..
If your lucky, it will look to be aligned, if not, tighten until the nearest hole lines up, but don't loosen to get aligned, only tighten. If things just don't seem right, just start over .. loosen it up and tighten again to 35 ft-lbs.
I hear tell folks have gone up to 90 ft-lbs to get it aligned..

I wouldn't recommend going very high if using the plastic DPMS upper receiver block (claw) like I'm using, I probably ended up at around 50 ft-lbs and I could feel it start to bend. The clam-shell style block with insert would be best for high torque.
When it looks close, use a gas-tube or (brownells) gas-tube alignment gauge to check..
It looks straight.
But is it really?
Find out in the next episode .. :cool:


April 11, 2008, 07:57 AM
Awesome post buddy!! My dept is sending me to Colt armorer's school for AR's later this month so I can't wait to get one done on my own!

April 11, 2008, 08:42 AM
Thanks, BsChoy! Awesome deal .. going to Colt, that'll be cool!

If your interested .. The books I read up for this build are:
"The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide" by Walt Kuleck and Clint McKee - got this from brownells.

Also, Army/Air Force technical manual - got this from midway (Army TM 9-1005-319-23&P)
(Air Force TO 11 W3-5-5-42)

:) Have fun at Colt!


Build continued..

One way to test alignment is to place a straight piece of gas-tube or an alignment tool into the carrier key and then slide the carrier assembly into the receiver to see if it will pass through everything it needs to, without undue binding. For better feel, I wanted to remove the bolt from the carrier..
The firing pin retainer .. looks like a cotter pin, but it's straight .. no bent legs.
Slides right out.
Point the bolt to the sky and the firing pin drops out.
The cam pin in it's normal orientation.
(Warning- never fire without the cam pin in place! You will asplode!)
The cam pin rotated 90 degrees for removal.


April 11, 2008, 09:19 AM
Heh heh, I've done this with the exception of fitting the barrel.

Ladies and Gentlemen, THIS is why "building your own" is NOT cheaper than store bought! Loading your build with the EXACT top-shelf parts you choose will always cost more than what the big builders use :)

April 11, 2008, 09:21 AM
Pulls right out.
Note the hole in the cam pin .. this is for the firing pin.
Ready to pull out the bolt assembly.
Out it comes. Set the bolt assembly aside.
A few twists inside the carrier key with the brush.
Slide the brownells alignment tool in about 3/4" .. I tried both ends of both tools to find the best fit.

To be continued ..

April 11, 2008, 09:25 AM
Indeed, jason10mm .. not cheap 'tall.
Raman noodles anyone? :p

I'm glad to have done it (so far), what for the learning, nifty tools and all..

I just hope it shoots well ..

April 11, 2008, 09:26 AM

April 11, 2008, 11:43 AM
Carrier and key assembly into the upper. Brownells gauge is inside the carrier key.
Almost .. just needs to be tightened a scotch.
A scotch did it. Cool.
Larue spacer. Don't forget it needs to be on before the gas block is pinned ..
I almost forgot .. luckily, no pins had to be removed.
Gas block was placed on the barrel and eyeballed for pin alignment.
Gas-tube shown pushed in an extra bit, then 'rotated' widdershins to line up with the gas block gas-tube port.

Sold original doorknob to buy gas-tube. Replaced with cheaper "tactical" doorknob :o


April 11, 2008, 12:28 PM
Temporarily (no loctite) snugged up for tests.
Captured gas tube.
Off the block.
Charging handle clears with no drag.
Carrier and key assembly clears with no drag.
Shown is the whole shebang .. BCG and charging handle, together pass the test.

April 11, 2008, 12:38 PM
Well done, Sir! :cool:

April 11, 2008, 12:55 PM
Driving in the gas block retaining pin .. gas block wanted to spin on the barrel axis, so I had to tighten the set screw a bit more. Once the pin got started in far enough, the block centered itself. Not shown, but I tested the BCG and charge handle (again) for gas-tube clearence :p
After satisfying my paranoia, I dripped o drop of blue loctite and snugged the set screw down.
Bip, bip. bip.
Tap, tap, tap.
Bling, bling, bling :D


April 11, 2008, 12:56 PM
Chipperman, thank you, sir. :)

April 11, 2008, 01:24 PM
Larue free float ready to install. Note the locating pins.
Once this opening is past the gas block, you can press the spacer onto the pins .. if you need to get the spacer off the pins (fairly tight fit), a bent paperclip works great.
(Spacer installed inside of handguard, does not show in picture.)
Twisting the handguard toward me while tightening the handguard nut.
Craftsman 1/2" strap wrench (Sears item# 00945533000)
'Tis straight!


April 11, 2008, 01:50 PM
For the keeper lock-screws, the instructions say 25-30 in-lbs .. since I don't have a in-lb torque wrench, I'd estimate it was like picking up a half-gallon jug of water with tip of the index finger.
(Used blue loctite on screws)
Final lab test .. Colt field gauge.
Into the chamber it goes.
Pushed the rear of the BCG until the extractor popped over the case rim.
This is as far as it would go .. test passed :D


April 11, 2008, 01:58 PM
The completed upper and my favorite cleaning rag :p

Final specs:
The changes from the original specs are the standard F/A BCG rather than the enhanced and I went with the hK style front sight without noveske markings.

I'll get a pic or two up of the complete rig soon..

If there is interest, I'll post a range-report.

Good fun! :D

Bartholomew Roberts
April 11, 2008, 08:35 PM
Great post Sylvan Forge - thanks for taking the time to share everything with us. Those Starret punches are top notch - you have to work really hard to break them (but it is possible :))

I am going to put this in the Reading Library so it doesn't get lost.

April 12, 2008, 03:26 AM
Thank you for the kind words Mr. Roberts. It's an honor to have this included in the library.

Before the Starretts were added to the toolbox, I had a haphazard collection of rather poor quality punches and half-broken punches .. I just couldn't bring myself to use any of them on this build.

Did I mention the Brownells roll-pin punches are pretty handy? I only needed to use two so far but they worked just fine.

April 12, 2008, 08:19 AM
Here's a few pics:

April 12, 2008, 08:28 AM

April 12, 2008, 12:48 PM
nice build thread.

i enjoyed it very much.

excellent photography and illustration.

this makes me want to do something technical so im going to go set up a progressive 5 stage loader press with case and bullet feeders, powder drop system, factory seat and crimp dies, and a quick change shell plate.

and its all your fault >:-)

April 14, 2008, 04:10 AM
Thank you, FlyinBryan.

Well wishes setting up your new system.


Bartholomew Roberts
April 14, 2008, 08:36 PM
Part 2 continues here:

Thanks again for sharing this with us Sylvan-Forge.

April 15, 2008, 11:16 AM
My pleasure, Mr. Roberts :)

Following is some of the prep performed before the live-fire test..

Various brushes (mostly pistol type) used to clean the insides of the carrier.

Carrier key brushing.

Carrier in ATF to soak for awhile.

Pushing out the extractor pin.

Bolt and bolt parts into ATF to soak.

While the BCG parts were soaking, I did a cursory cleaning on the upper ..
mopped out the receiver, cleaned the locking lugs, mopped the chamber, brushed out the bore, and finished with a couple patches down the bore wet with ATF.


April 15, 2008, 11:21 AM
Wiped down the carrier and bolt to remove excess ATF.

Reinstalling extractor pin.

Bolt going back into the carrier .. extractor orients to the right.

Pipe cleaner to swab the key followed by one drop of ATF.

Applying ATF to carrier/receiver contact points.
Cam pin shown in its proper orientation.


April 15, 2008, 11:24 AM
One drop of ATF in each hole.

Just in case there is contact with the buffer retainer.

ATF on rear of carrier where it contacts the buffer.

Lube points focus.

Lube points focus II.

Reinstalled the BCG and worked the bolt several times, did some dry firing, checked all the mags for function..

One pull through with the bore-snake and I'm
ready to go get some ammo and shoot this thing! :D


April 18, 2008, 06:34 AM
so... did you shoot it?

April 18, 2008, 09:19 AM
Range report!!!!!


April 18, 2008, 09:51 AM
heck yea i wanna know the range report and like has been said a couple of times thank you for sharing. especially in the quick and informational way. hope to see more of your threads

April 20, 2008, 02:39 PM
:D Thanks for the kind words and interest ..

Shoot? I did!

All went well .. average group size at 50 yards with BUIS was grapefruit-sized .. had to hold low, as shots were hitting 10-13" high and I didn't have a front sight tool (since rectified - thanks Brownells) ..
No failures except for me loading 21 rounds in a 20 rd mag causing a first round feed jam, Doh!

Ammunition tested:
Winchester 5.56mm 55gr. FMJ Q3131 - 20rds
Federal 5.56mm 55gr. MCBT XM193 - 20rds
Remington UMC .223 Rem 45gr. JHP L223R7 - 20rds
American Eagle 5.56mm 64gr. Tracer XM856 - 20rds
Remington UMC .223 Rem 50gr. JHP L223R8B - 40rds

Going to go soon and test some more and make sure the irons are zeroed.

I'll do something a bit more comprehensive once I get some optics and a bipod and/or rest.


April 20, 2008, 03:05 PM
Some thoughts and notes:

I didn't like the sopmod stock, my skinny self and the generous butt pad width = discomfort .. I could get a nice cheek weld though.
Going to sell it and try something else.

Switched my "modified" BattleGrip out for an unmodified one .. much better.
Bright idea+Dremel tool = $30 lost :rolleyes:

Need optics! Nightforce 1-4x looks good .. Maybe a Trijicon Accupoint .. depends on the money available.

Need a sling! Vickers 2 point or something more traditional ..

A 24" rod is too short for use with the rod-guide and solvent port ..
Got a 30" and returned the 24".

Interesting and rather pretty sounding ringing note w/sustain after firing .. emitting from buffer tube area .. or maybe I'm just crazy :p

Got some Magpul rail covers and ladders .. scratching my head on the covers, wondering how much gorilla I'll need to bring forth to install 'em ..
Ladders went on easy and look cool.

The 1st 1/2" or so of the mini Maglite's head fits perfectly into the back of the upper receiver (with BCG removed) for inspection lighting..


April 20, 2008, 09:57 PM
Dude, you are seriously anal! :D

I don't even have half the tools you have. Just a receiver block, multi-tool, a few punches and an Army TSM I printed from a PDF file. ARs get cleaned with an old toothbrush, a .22 jag and brass brush on a Dewey rod, just the same as my 22LR rifles. Any fluids that drip into the action, get wiped out with a rag (probably a dirty one).

When I build my new ARs, I put a few drops of CLP on the bolt and carrier then a few weeks later, I go shoot them just like that, mostly with surplus XM193 or Guat. ammo.

Nice thread, though. Although I've never had a single problem with my ARs, I'm sure your way is better than mine.

Edited to add: If this comes across as sarcasm, it's not. I'm just contrasting my nonchalant method with a very meticulous one.

April 20, 2008, 10:58 PM
Hehe :D

With all the futzing I do with mine, yours will probably last twice as long!

April 21, 2008, 02:10 PM
First off, your bench is too tidy and organized. Your tools are way too nice and clean. AND, your rifle looks too dang good! Gonna have to keep an eye on you!:scrutiny:

BTW, the pics of you tightening the delta nut, what is that wrench thingy you were using?:D:neener:

April 22, 2008, 01:01 AM
Thanks DougW .. shucks .. :)

In which pic?
The handguard nut? Used a craftsman strap wrench.
For the barrel nut, a PRI wrench with 3/8" torque wrench or 1/2" breaker bar ..
or do you mean my hands? lol .. those are 73 series, mark IIIs with the honkyneverseenthesun finish and black hair option :p

Kind of Blued
April 22, 2008, 01:16 AM
I can't handle this!!!


:D Seriously. :D

April 22, 2008, 04:33 PM
Sounds fun! :D

Mud tests are pending!

Rather, foreign particulate-matter tests, ahem :cool:


April 22, 2008, 04:51 PM
Great thread and posts... quite a project.

Results look fantastic - very impressive.

If you enjoyed reading about "AR15 Recce Build - P1 - Upper" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!