AR 15 kits...What tools needed?


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ulflyer
January 31, 2011, 08:37 PM
Sorta getting interested in the AR15 kits. Are any special tools needed to put them togather? I'm comfortable doing M1 Carbines which only require a bolt tool, other than the barrels, and thought I'd like doing an Ar15. It appears much simpler.

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v757b
January 31, 2011, 08:41 PM
I believe all you NEED is a hammer and a punch for the pins. It helps to have most common garage tools too. That is only my understanding though, never built one. Don't take my answer yet until it is clarified by someone who knows what they are talking about.

Hope this helps!

dc.fireman
February 1, 2011, 05:18 PM
a small hobby type vice, and either nylon/delrin blocks, or some decent soft rags to hold the lower if you're going to build your own. I picked one up from Harbor Freight for $7.00 - it was like having a third hand. Good luck!

-tc

ulflyer
February 1, 2011, 05:28 PM
Thaks guys for the feedback. I've got the necessary tools then, if I decide to build one. The lower being, mainly, the trigger housing with all its little parts. Similar to the M1 Carbines which I often have to put in a vice to get the hammer spring installed.

Kwanger
February 1, 2011, 05:40 PM
Having the right tools are not required....but certain choice items sure do help...a lot.

At minimum, you should get a decent upper receiver block (I'd recommend the DPMS Panther Claw type, as it will hold any upper receiver and won't scratch anything), some barrel vise jaws (the cheap aluminum DPMS ones are fine...while some will argue you don't need both the barrel vise jaws and a receiver block, I like the barrel blocks for flash hider installation, and the receiver block for barrel installation), a castle nut wrench (ebay, about $7 each will do the job) and a barrel nut wrench (USGI type or one of the new fangled multitools will be fine - the multitool will do the barrel nut and the stock).

Other very helpful items are a reasonable quality bench vise (doesn't have to be top drawer, but I have found el cheapo heavy duty ones (about $60 from Lowes etc) are much preferred to the lesser $29.99 offerings. A cheap torque wrench is helpful too - I actually prefer a beam type wrench when doing the barrel nut rather than a clicker as its easier to see the low and high values of the range, IMO. Other than that, basic tools and a couple of pin punches and you are good to go. Any instructions you will need you can find for free on arf.com and/or m4carbine.net and others.

Assembling AR's is really very easy indeed and its fun - I'll never buy another full rifle again - have fun with it!

Quentin
February 1, 2011, 05:57 PM
You don't need a vise to build a lower, just standard tools and patience. Don't need punches even, vise grips (with black tape around the jaws) can press in the roll pins. No hammer either, for me a screwdriver handle has sufficed in tapping in trigger/hammer pins (three uppers). So no special tools for lowers.

As far as building uppers you do need the tools mentioned and an armorer's wrench but most kits come with assembled uppers so it's easy as pie.

I'm not a fan of the complete kits though. You can select better quality parts separately yourself. And that research is what's REALLY difficult when building an AR.

flakbait
February 1, 2011, 10:26 PM
I recommend a Pivot Pin Detent Instillation tool to install the front pivot pin of the lower. They sell various different ones at Brownells or MidwayUSA which all do the same thing.

I spent 30+ minutes trying to get that little detent assembly for the front pivot pin together before giving up and hitting the internet for help. AR15.com forum has very detail instructions for building AR lowers. If you can use a hammer and a punch, you can build an AR lower.

I am the last person to want to tinker with guns, but building one helps you understand how they work...especially when you hear a clink when you expect to hear a BOOM. :)

mcdonl
February 1, 2011, 10:47 PM
On the del-ton site they sell complete kits -stripped lower.

They also have a disclaimer on all of the kits that say "Warning! Always have a competent gunsmith assemble your rifle kit and headspace your barrel before first use. Using a rifle put together incorrectly or assembled using incorrect or modified parts can result in a damaged rifle, personal injury, death, or damage to property."

Even though the description says ""16" rifle kit comes with everything needed to complete a stripped lower receiver. Includes fully assembled, headspaced and test fired upper receiver, lower parts kit and buttstock. "

Do I need to worry about getting the rifle head spaced tested?

And, given that I just need a lower how does the OP's question pertain to this build? Will I need much for tools?

ants
February 1, 2011, 11:26 PM
they sell complete kids -stripped lowerI wonder if he means Kit rather than Kid. :)

ants
February 1, 2011, 11:38 PM
I've assembled 20 or 30 since I started in 1996.
I still don't have Delrin receiver blocks. Or a vice.
Or special tools to install roll pins.
Or special tools for detent spring & pin sets.
I don't need them, but you make your own choice.
It's your money, not ours.

A good set of hands is indispensible.

Most kits come with a complete upper receiver, so you don't have to assemble the barrel to the receiver, nor install the flash hider. Might as well start with one of those kits, they're cheaper and totally complete with the right parts (you don't accidentally get M4 type ramps on the barrel extension but commercial ramps on the upper). Then you can disassemble and modify the rifle extensively over the next 10 years. Eventually you figure out what parts to buy (and not buy) to assemble then next rifle from scratch with all individual parts, in the configuration you want. Cool !!!

Tools you cannot live without? Maybe none.
If you get a collapsable buttstock, it takes a special wrench to tighten the nut to the lower receiver.
If you get the standard buttstock you need no special tool.
If you want to remove and install a barrel on the upper, it takes a special wrench on the barrel nut.
If your kit has an assembled upper, you need no special tool.


Everything else - EVERYTHING ELSE - I assemble with plain ordinary hand tools. No exceptions. You can spend your money on anything you want, it's your money. Not mine.



Headspace:
One of the fine design elements of the AR rifle is the use of a barrel extension between the barrel and upper receiver. If the barrel extension is installed correctly (get your barrel from a good reputable source) and the receiver and bolt carrier group are properly assembled, the headspace is generally set for you.

But you MUST go through the normal safety checks after reassembly. If you don't already have books or honest online resources, go find them. They will explain the procedures clearly.

If you assemble your own AR, it's up to you to learn how to do that safely.
It isn't like tying your shoes. Full and complete responsibility for safety is in your hands. Learn your skills first, then assemble.

14427H
February 1, 2011, 11:56 PM
If you want a basic M4 type upper you really can't "build" one as cheep as you can find one pre-built these days.

You could likely "build" a lower using rocks for tools but ...

The detent tool is a must. You can make one easy enough, it's just a 3-4" rod the same diameter as the pin with a hole slightly bigger than the spring about a half inch from the end and an Allen wrench the size of the hole with the long end ground off at 45 degrees. Stick in the tool in from the "wrong" side, drop down the spring and the detent, depress it in with the Allen wrench and rotate to block it in with the tool(detent slides off the 45 degree cut), line up your pin , holding it tight against the lower, push the pin in quickly to replace the tool. Oh and buy 3-4 extra detents if you plan on building a few as you will still launch them across the room, some say to put them together iinside a dry cleaning bag but I have had more fun endlessly searching for them in my shop.

Roll pin punch set really helps, they have the little nub to keep from slipping.

A block of wood to support the lower ear while you drive in the trigger guard pin (yep, I broke one, thank goodness for JB Weld)

Buy a good parts kit, don't mess with the hammer or trigger. If you feel you need a lighter trigger pull buy a two stage, I like Rock River.

Quentin
February 2, 2011, 02:03 AM
A good pivot pin detent installation tool is a 1/4" clevis pin that you can buy for about $1.50 at a hardware store, I got one a Lowes. Works just like the one Brownell's sells so look at their videos for instructions how it works.

Another tip is to install the detent with the whole lower in a large clear plastic bag so the detent and spring don't fly across the room and get lost.

jobu07
February 2, 2011, 03:04 AM
Punches, a hammer, a screw driver, and a nail to use as a slave pin.

mcdonl
February 2, 2011, 07:52 AM
I wonder if he means Kit rather than Kid.

I searched the Del-Ton site... just kits... no kids :)

One of the fine design elements of the AR rifle is the use of a barrel extension between the barrel and upper receiver. If the barrel extension is installed correctly (get your barrel from a good reputable source) and the receiver and bolt carrier group are properly assembled, the headspace is generally set for you.

But you MUST go through the normal safety checks after reassembly. If you don't already have books or honest online resources, go find them. They will explain the procedures clearly.

If you assemble your own AR, it's up to you to learn how to do that safely.
It isn't like tying your shoes. Full and complete responsibility for safety is in your hands. Learn your skills first, then assemble.

Thanks for this advice. Some time will pass between getting the kit and the lower so I have time to research this.

Tirod
February 2, 2011, 08:55 AM
A good pivot pin installation tool is a pair of working hands and knowing how.

Insert spring and detent, with the pin 180* rotated, depress the detent and start the pin, insert and rotate, it will click into the channel, done. It's posted on the net.

Vice grips will do the roll pins in the lower, every one.

Assembled the lower with just those, 2 working hands, 1 pair Vice Grips with taped jaws. It was already painted, no scuffs, hammer marks, drift pin scratches, or oops.

If you don't use the tool to begin with, it cannot possibly damage anything, and most builders these days value finish more than mechanical skill. Even pro's ding up things, LAR sells blems for a reason.

ultradoc
February 2, 2011, 09:29 AM
Spanner wrench

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