It's time for me to build an AR


February 22, 2010, 03:51 AM
Okay guys I am going to build an AR-15. I want to build it myself because I want to be thoroughly familiar with its inner workings and I want to choose quality parts. I have no idea where to start. All I know is that I want a 16 inch barrel, 6 position stock, accessory rails on the forearm, both iron sites and a quality optic.

It is my understanding that the military standardized the weapon so the parts of different manufacturers will work interchangeably (if I am wrong please revise my understanding). With this is mind I am taking suggestion about lowers, uppers, barrels and stocks. I am especially interested in those of you who have already built your own gun. I will take any advice you have.

How does a built AR-15 compare to a purchased AR in regards to price?

Also, what magazines would you recommend?

And if you have photos of you finished product, let's see what you have.


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February 22, 2010, 04:08 AM
Most lowers on the market are high quality. Stick to name brands and you will be fine, although Spike's Tactical makes a nice one. As long as it is forged from 6015 (??) aluminum you're fine.

Building it yourself is cheaper because you don't have to pay a firearms fee for a complete rifle IIRC. Also, you can choose what you want from a selection of uppers.

Good lower parts kits are RRA and Stag. DPMS is good too but I have only seen RRA and Stag in person.

I haven't built mine yet, waiting to get out of CA to start though. What I am going to use is: BCM 16'' Midlength upper, Spike's Tactical Lower, Stag lower kit and Magpul stock.

For mags I would recommend Magpul PMags. They are pretty much the best out there and not pricey.

February 22, 2010, 06:50 AM
You can assemble a lower with only a vice grip and a punch - good instructions with pics on the AR15 forum. Assembling an upper is going to require a few tools, also illustrated on the forum. If building one is a one time thing, it's more economical to build the lower and just buy the upper - thus saving the 11% tax on a complete gun.

February 22, 2010, 08:14 AM
BCM makes quality BCGs and uppers. Bravo Company has LMT uppers (barreled uppers) just under $500 and BCM BCGs. High quality for not allot extra.

February 22, 2010, 09:12 AM
i agree with the above, its much much cheeper to build one that buy one. i myself have built 7 so far from mild to wild and for the most part there easy to build and there at intructional vids on youtube to complete the lower. i just finished my latest yesterday, useing only a par of medium channel locks with electrical tape on the mouth, punch, and flat head screw driver

left is a dpms 308lr and right is a home brew ar 15 20'' heavy barrel on a dubble star lower cost,709.00

February 22, 2010, 09:58 AM
Pretty good advice already posted but I'd recommend doing a lot of homework, maybe a month or two deciding exactly what you want in your AR and which parts to buy. You're correct that parts are normally interchangeable but there are gotchas that can be avoided by research and buying quality parts.

Six months ago I built my first and probably only AR - which actually consisted of buying a S&W stripped lower, Del-Ton LPK and DPMS telestock. This went together easily following the excellent videos and PDFs at Brownells but I didn't use their specialized tools, just punches I already had and vise grips. Since I didn't want to buy tools I bought a complete upper, a midlength ArmaLite 16". The total was about $800 including carry handle, sling and 1 USGI mag.

The AR works just fine but does not have a warranty. With some complete rifles you get a lifetime warranty but really you probably won't need it. Still, that's something to consider. The other thing is a home brew may be hard to sell unless the buyer knows the parts are good. You do save money building by avoiding federal excise tax on the entire rifle but prices are pretty good today on rifles off the rack so keep that in mind as you research. I'd recommend checking out two or three AR forums for more info.

Smith&Wesson Model M&P-15 Stripped Lower .... Springfield, MA
Del-Ton Lower Parts Kit ................................ Elizabethtown, NC
DPMS 6-position Buttstock ............................ St. Cloud, MN
Bushmaster Carry Handle (used) .................... Windham, ME
ArmaLite U15A4CB MidLength Upper Receiver .... Genesco, IL
ArmaLite Gas Block Sight .............................. Genesco, IL

As far as magazines, USGI are fine though you may want to add MagPul GenIII followers. Also PMAGs are great but occasionally stick in some tight magwells (try one first as a test). I've stuck to USGI myself and haven't had any problems.

February 22, 2010, 12:34 PM
I built this for $700.00

Spikes Tactical Lower
DPMS Upper
DPMS Lower Parts Kit
High Standard A2 Stock

February 22, 2010, 08:26 PM
Base rifle can be built for about $600 give or take a little. It is AFTER the base build where you add all the bells and whistles that the cost goes up. Example, I put a lightweigh M4'gery together for the wife. I have about $675 in it with the sling and Magpul MOE stuff on it. Then I went and added the TA31F ACOG, which cost $1050.00. :what:

Wife has a sweet set up! :D

Her rifle is on the lower left. I got way more money invested than I could sell these rifles for. But, they are not going anywhere!

February 22, 2010, 09:25 PM
You might be interested in this website. Once you finish putting it together online, you can either order all of those parts from Brownells, because as you "build" it, it puts all of the parts you have selected into your cart. Also if you don't want to buy it all from Brownells, this will give you a good idea of what you need/like.
Good luck with your build!

February 23, 2010, 12:25 AM
I am starting my first build as well. I picked up a LMT defender lower. I haven't decided whether to go with LMT or BCM for an upper but I think I'd like to do a 16" middy so probably BCM, unless I want to spring for Noveske or something. Hoping to keep it under $1k before optics.
That ar15builder site is neat!
This site could be helpful to you: AR15 Build (
For magazines I would just go with USGI or Magpul P-mags. Get lots!

March 1, 2010, 11:26 PM
Doing some research on building my own. You guys are making my mouth water....

Thanks for the inspiration.

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