Tools For AR Build?


December 15, 2009, 07:03 PM
So I've just picked up a Spike's Tactical stripped lower to build my first AR totally from scratch. I started watching some of the really helpful assembly videos on Brownell's site, and noticed that they frequently use a lower receiver vice block sold on their site. I see how this wonderful piece of plastic would be really useful, so I search it on their site to aide in my assembly.

That was about the time I stroked out :eek: as I saw its $52 price tag - Found Here:

So are there any suggestions for aiding in assembly in terms of support of receivers etc while driving pins? I've heard that the ears around the trigger guard are extremely prone to snapping if you don't taper the pin and support the side of the receiver while driving the pin.

Just looking for some help thanks.

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December 15, 2009, 07:03 PM
block of wood or hockey puck, adjustable thin pipe wrench, pin punches....yea.

December 15, 2009, 07:06 PM
I use a upper vice block, but never did feel the need of a lower vice block

December 15, 2009, 07:13 PM
And the upper vice block is $80 :what:

Maj Dad
December 15, 2009, 07:25 PM
I got by with vice grips & crescent wrenches for years; then I discovered properly made tools and the vastly superior results from using them. Brownell's sells high-quality tools that may be more expensive than the average hobby gun enthusiast is willing to spend, but gunsmiths use them for good reason: they are effective & they work. I have some, and wish I had more, but they're hard to justify for the little jobs I use them on. One day... :cool:

December 15, 2009, 07:51 PM
I'm also a proponent of using the proper tool for the job. Having said that, I blame the Army for teaching me what they referred to as "field expediency", which I employ when being too impatient or lazy.

December 15, 2009, 07:52 PM
You can assemble a lower with just vise grips (locking pliers), but it will be much easier and probably a better result if you have proper rollpin punches. I have assembled two lowers and have used both vise-grips and rollpin punches on each build. Otherwise a padded workbench (towel doubled over works fine) and some scrap wood or plastic to support the "ears" while driving the triggerguard rollpin into place will be sufficient. If you have a telestock it is really handy to have a telestock wrench also. There is a $20ish AR "armorer's tool" sold under many brands that is quite handy for a couple different purposes.

December 15, 2009, 08:02 PM
what I've used on my two AR lowers I've 'built':

old leatherman
AK-47 cleaning pod kit
small hammer
fine needle-nosed pliers
piece of paper to protect the finish
my knees pinched together to hold the lower
youtube just fine.

December 15, 2009, 08:10 PM
glad to see i'm not to only guy that learned how to assemble a lower watching youtube

December 17, 2009, 11:32 AM
Shoot, if you are going to spend that much money for the block, you might as well just use a Pmag, they're cheap, plus it would probably still work after.

December 17, 2009, 12:59 PM
Without the right tools you will EASILY make mistakes that could cause gouges and damage in the metal. Use the correct tools and you'll be alot happier.

December 17, 2009, 01:33 PM

December 17, 2009, 01:50 PM
The upper clamshell block is needed if you're going to install the barrel, it'll keep the upper from twisting and deforming from the torquing of the barrel nut, if you look around you can find it for about $35, that's what I paid about 4-5 yrs ago and it was marked Brownell's so it was the same one without the markup (back then it was $65-70 IIRC)

December 17, 2009, 02:42 PM
DPMS multi tool usually sells for around $29 and will take care of most if not all of your wrenching needs.
For a lower receiver block( which you might never need, use an old magazine that don't ever plan on using again. A junker steel one made by National Magazine works well (it might be the only thing a magazine from this company is useful for.)
A model 1 Upper receiver block along with the DPMS tool will take care of your rebarreling needs for $35.

December 17, 2009, 05:56 PM
A lower receiver vise block is not neccessary, but helpful. An upper receiver vise block is neccessary. The torque required to tighten the barrel nut can damage the upper if it isn't properly supported inside and out by an appropriate vise block. Brownell's makes a good one.

December 17, 2009, 06:07 PM
When building my one and only lower I used the vise grip trick and drill bits as guides for tapping in other pins and the plastic bag trick to catch the pivot pin detent when it flies away the first couple tries. No special tools were purchased or needed. If I were building a lot then I'd get Brownell's tools.

As far as the upper I bought a complete and test fired ArmaLite. Price was right and I didn't want to buy tools for a one-of build.

All-in-all a painless and fun project. No gouges or mistakes and the rifle functions great.

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