AR-15 build?


PDA






ziegler44
August 6, 2011, 01:21 AM
Alright. I've come on here to ask some questions/recommendations about buying new guns, and people on have been extremely helpful.

So now i'm looking to buy my 5th rifle. BTW i only turned 18 4 months ago and i already have a .30-06, 2-.22's, and a mosin nagant.

I love ar-15's but they were too expensive. However, I want to start a build. Im very crafty and fast learning so installation/assembly is no problem. The problem though is that i know virtually nothing about ar-15's. There are soo many different parts, configurations, types, brands, calibers, ect..

so what im getting at is: I need help. I don't plan on buying all parts at the same time due to budget restrictions, but i want to get one fully built by October. I want something kind of basic (but not too basic), no super high end competition ****. Something really reliable, easily interchangeable for when i can afford the better parts, and something in a 5.56 or .223 (i know they are virtually the same thing).

I came here to find out:
-What do you have?
-What are the best brands for: upper receivers, lower receivers, barrels, internal parts.. you know, the works.
-I've heard its better to get a 5.56 over a .223, why?
-What is a good barrel length for just plinking around at <300 yrds.
-Where is the best place to buy all the parts?
-How much should i be looking to spend on each part (i dont want to pay more than i really have to)?
-And any other stuff you can give me to help out. Also, if you can send me links to good sites or videos explaining any of this that'd be great.

I know this was a lot, but i'm still new to the sport, but i love shooting and it's become my favorite hobby (a.k.a my entire paycheck).

Thanks
-Ziegler44

If you enjoyed reading about "AR-15 build?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
esheato
August 6, 2011, 02:19 AM
Three letters you need to know: BCM (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/).

First thing first, figure out what you want to use it for. Sure you can build a gun to do everything good enough, but if you want to use it for target 200+, some features are desirable and some are not. Same goes for CQB type of shooting...your parts list should be determined by what you want it for.

If you want to build from scratch, buy a lower. Stripped lowers are cheap...like $100-150. Then buy a LPK (lower parts kit). Google how to install it and follow the directions. Calguns has a great pictorial. Might take you 30 minutes to assemble the first time.

Next, buttstock. Buy whatever suits your fancy. Collapsible or not, expensive or not. Depends on the rifles role, right?

Upper, you can assemble or just buy a complete one from BCM. I prefer BCM as I don't have to fiddle with it and they have just about everything that I'd ever need.

Be forewarned, all these little purchases can total a huge pile 'o money when you're done...ie, more expensive than if you bought a true bolt action LR rifle from a highly qualified smith.

1. I have several. One is a frankengun, started with a Doublestar lower and CMMG upper. Now wears lots of Larue, Magpul, JP Enterprises and an ACOG. Another has a Doublestar lower (got a deal on a few of them), Magpul, Nightforce optic, BCM upper, JP Enterprises trigger. Pics are posted under this name....you can search for them.
2. BCM
3. I don't know this one.
4. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a huge tube to get it done. I shoot to 600 with a 16" barrel and a 3x ACOG...combat accuracy and all, but that's what the gun is for. If I wanted pinpoint accuracy, I would shoot an appropriate rifle. 16" is nice if you plan to wear it or carry it. I like 18" for a prone target gun in the AR configuration. I only go longer for varmint/target guns.
5. Most of your expense will be from upper and optics.

Also, there are some gunbuilders (drag and drop graphical interfaces) on Brownells and the Larue websites. If you're really visual, it might help you come up with a plan.

Even if you ignore everything else I've written, READ THIS. (http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?81462-So-you-want-to-buy-an-AR-15-huh)

ziegler44
August 6, 2011, 02:39 AM
to esheato.

Thats really helpfull. Ill check out BCM. I know after its all done, ill have ended up spending a lot more money than i wanted to. But the thing is, i dont care as long as i buy it little by little. Because im still young, lol, im terrible at saving. It seems like once i get more than $400 saved up, i go out and buy something. So that being that, id never be able to buy a fully assembled ar-15. If i just buy like the lower receiver, then save up a few hundred more and buy the upper, and save and buy a little. You know. That would be a lot quicker and easier for me than saving up for a whole one.

esheato
August 6, 2011, 02:41 AM
i dont care as long as i buy it little by little

That's what I said until I totaled up my last rifle and it was over 4k. Good luck. ;)

ugaarguy
August 6, 2011, 03:03 AM
I came here to find out:
-What do you have?
Currently: S&W M&P-15 Sport, and Daniel Defense M4V1. Previously: Colt SP1, DPMS Carbine, Olympic A2 style rifle, Noveske upper on STS lower in pistol config, and LMT Defender 2000 (M4 Style)

-What are the best brands for: upper receivers, lower receivers, barrels, internal parts.. you know, the works.

Lowers - anything not Hesse / Vulcan / Blackthorn, or Olympic. It's basically a parts holder. Building a lower is easy. Bravo Company & DD lower parts kits (LPKs) are only a few bucks more than generic LPKs, and they're cheap insurance.

Uppers are best to buy fully assembled. The complete upper is the heart of the AR-15. Make sure you get an HPT / MPI bolt - again it's cheap insurance. Since you want a plinking rifle, any upper will do. However, you can get an upper from Bravo Company (BCM), Palmetto State Armory (PSA), Spikes, and others that is higher quality for the same or slightly more money than some of the big name companies you may have heard of. That way, if you ever decide to run the rifle hard, or take a training class you'll already have equipment that's good to go.

-I've heard its better to get a 5.56 over a .223, why?
You can shoot .223 Rem in a 5.56 NATO chamber, but not 5.56 in a .223 chamber.

-What is a good barrel length for just plinking around at <300 yrds.
Any length will work. I prefer 16" bbl. carbines for most uses though.

-Where is the best place to buy all the parts?
Check at your local stores, and give them a chance to compete with the online retailers, but online is usually best.

-How much should i be looking to spend on each part (i dont want to pay more than i really have to)?
Prices vary. Figure out how you want to configure it, and what level of build quality you want; then find the best price for the parts that meet your needs / wants.



I know this was a lot, but i'm still new to the sport, but i love shooting and it's become my favorite hobby (a.k.a my entire paycheck).
THR is here to learn, and pass knowledge forward.

baylorattorney
August 6, 2011, 04:05 AM
Join ar15.com.

Hacker15E
August 6, 2011, 04:24 AM
There are many different manufacturers that make many different products at different price and quality points.

All AR-15 parts are not made the same, in just the same way that all other consumer products have similar items of varying quality at varying price points.

The BEST thing you can do before you spend a cent is read. Read a LOT. AR15.com and M4carbine.net.

Know that the audiences at those two different forums are also quite different (m4carbine tends to to attract a more upscale, professional crowd, and in turn favors a more expensive and higher quality product...which may not suit you), so keep that in consideration as you read.

Personal recommendation: I've recently started a build using Palmetto State Armory parts. They are somewhat new to the game, and don't have a widely established reputaton. Consequently they appear to be offering a high quality product at a less expensive price (comparitively) to get a positive brand identity established.

madcratebuilder
August 6, 2011, 07:52 AM
Take the time to learn the difference from mil-spec and commercial grade parts. Decide if 4140 vs 4150 barrels make a difference to you. The same with BCG's and Carpenter 158 steel. Avoid the brand name kool-aid.

browneu
August 6, 2011, 10:14 AM
Good luck on your endeavour. Brownells has some good instructional videos on how to assemble an AR. My only advice is to ensure you factor in the cost of tools if you go the build your own route.

Sent from my LG-P999 using Tapatalk

redneck2
August 6, 2011, 10:32 AM
Something really reliable, easily interchangeable for when i can afford the better partsI have three AR's (two store bought, this one is the first build). Complete upper, built lower. Super easy.

It will cost less in the long run if you buy the right stuff up front. You can find guys that have done this and end up selling parts at a pretty good discount.

I'm building a custom in .25 WSSM necked up to .35 cal. I got the stripped lower for 1/2 what they normally are from another member here. Got a Jewell trigger for about 70% of retail, free shipping and no tax. Collapsible stock for 1/2 price. Bushmaster 2-stage trigger free.

There are lots of guys that have replaced stuff. Those extra parts can be cheap if you find the right guy. Also look at local gun shows.

gotigers
August 6, 2011, 11:00 AM
-What do you have?
- S&W - 16" carbine, Magpul MOE grip and stock, Daniel Defense rail, Eotech xps2-0, Magpul MBUS, Magpul MS2 sling,
- Frankengun 1 - set up for 3gun Sabre lower, BCM upper, 18" DPMS MK12 barrel, Timney trigger, PSA LPK, spikes buffer, Titan Brake
- Frankengun 2 - set up for service rifle matches, PSA lower and LPK, A2 stock, spikes upper, Criterion(Kreiger) 20" Hbar SS
- Frankengun 3 (sold) - M4 clone, PSA lower and LPK, PSA M4 stock kit, 16" M4 barrel,

-What are the best brands for: upper receivers, lower receivers, barrels, internal parts.. you know, the works. Do you want the best or best value(not cheapest)? Best can be overly expensive.

-I've heard its better to get a 5.56 over a .223, why? Get 5.56. It can shoot .223, but .223 cant shoot 5.56.

-What is a good barrel length for just plinking around at <300 yrds. Any barrel over 14.5", but i would get 16" or 18"

-Where is the best place to buy all the parts? PSA, Bravo, Aim, Midway, Brownells

-How much should i be looking to spend on each part (i dont want to pay more than i really have to)? Best way is set a budget. Then start pricing parts to fit that budget.

-And any other stuff you can give me to help out. Also, if you can send me links to good sites or videos explaining any of this that'd be great. Brownells video tutorials and AR15.com sticky thread tutorials

Don't worry about buy parts or accessories and not liking it. Don't just buy anything. If you do make a mistake, you can always sell it on AR15.com's equipment exchange.

Research AR15.com's "build it yourself" forum.

I would buy a complete upper and build the lower.

Mot45acp
August 6, 2011, 12:52 PM
Go with the advice above but I will add one thing:

Build your rifle for the purpose intended. THERE IS NO DO ALL RIFLE. If you try to build a do all rifle you will be dissapointed. If your wanting a bench rifle then build a 24" heavy barreled free floated behemoth. If you want a light handy rifle to tote around and will shoot minute of coyote, then a light weight middy is in order.

The only thing I recomend is if you go 16" go with a midlength. I have 4 ARs, my only one with a carbine gas system is my SBR with a 10.5" barrel.

HOLY DIVER
August 6, 2011, 12:59 PM
i agree with Mot45acp,if you go 16inch,get the mid length gas system. i've got a BCM middy and i love it.

kwelz
August 6, 2011, 02:35 PM
Please see my replies in red...


-What do you have?

I currently own 5 ARs.
2 Noveske Rifles (16 inch)
1 BCM/Colt SBR (11.5 Inch)
1 DD complete gun (14.5 Inch)
1 S&W that is just a .22

-What are the best brands for: upper receivers, lower receivers, barrels, internal parts.. you know, the works.

This is highly subjective but there are some general guidelines that you can follow. Colt, Daniel Defense, BCM, Noveske and LMT are all reliable and I would trust pretty easily with minimal testing on an individual gun/Parts.

Spikes, S&W, and one or two others I would have to do some pretty heavy testing on a gun/parts before I trusted it.

DPMS, Remington, Bushmaster, Oly, Doublestar etc I would not own or trust period.

Now Lowers is a bit different. Oly, Hesse, DPMS, and Doublestar I would not trust. Most others are fine as long as they were in spec.


-I've heard its better to get a 5.56 over a .223, why?
A 5.56 barrel will fire either 5.56 or .223. A .223 barrel is only safe with .223 ammo.


-What is a good barrel length for just plinking around at <300 yrds.

14.5 with a fixed Flash hider or a 16 inch barrel will be fine. I have made 300 Meter hits with my 11.5. Barrel length doesn't determine accuracy, only velocity.

-Where is the best place to buy all the parts?

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/
http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?display=home

-How much should i be looking to spend on each part (i dont want to pay more than i really have to)?

Up to you. but the price difference between quality and junk isn't much different. Do not skimp on the barrel or Bolt. These will see the most abuse.

-And any other stuff you can give me to help out. Also, if you can send me links to good sites or videos explaining any of this that'd be great.

m4carbine.net

CraigC
August 6, 2011, 03:26 PM
I would highly suggest buying one, rather than building. Folks build AR's so they can use exactly the parts they want in the first place, rather than replacing a bunch of stuff on a factory rifle. You're 18yrs old, you haven't been around long enough or done enough shooting to know what you want. That and it's simply not worth the potential frustration to save $50, if any. Buy a rifle and you get a warranty. At most, I'd recommend buying a complete lower and a complete upper and slapping them together.

MistWolf
August 6, 2011, 07:45 PM
To build a basic carbine at a bargain basement price-
Everything but a stripped lower for $479
http://www.palmettostatearmory.com/2252.php

Or upgraded with Magpul MOE furniture for $529
http://www.palmettostatearmory.com/2253.php

Just add lower for $80
http://www.palmettostatearmory.com/AR-15-lowe-receivers.php

That's $610 for all the parts you need to build a good starter AR (not counting tax & shipping) with MOE furniture!

(When I wrote the above, I'd forgotten you were under 21. You must be 21 or older to purchase a stripped lower for yourself. Try the following:
http://www.palmettostatearmory.com/ar-complete-uppers.php
http://www.palmettostatearmory.com/1619.php

This is legal for you to purchase because the lower is assembled as a rifle configuration)

BCM also offers good parts and have good customer service

Also try
http://www.gandrtactical.com/

ARs are very easy to assemble

gotigers
August 6, 2011, 08:06 PM
MistWolf said it all. PSA is a great store. Get a PSA lower and upper. Push 2 pins, done. PSA is making the AR world very competitive.

Tirod
August 6, 2011, 10:53 PM
It's just a tool - you have others, what is the specific task this one will do? What ranges do you expect it to be used at, and what target?

The AR15 is designed for combat, to be used at ranges up to 500m, against live targets. Is the use of it to be in a similar role? For me, it was. Having used it in training, at the range, and focused on it's use in combat, I saw it was still particularly useful for hunting.

Not that the Jim Zumbo's of the world would understand. Me, I started hunting with an HK91, and I got a lot of field time with each to compare them. It has distinct advantages, and I decided to build one in an enhanced pattern to do exactly that.

What range, what target means exactly that, in deer hunting or combat, you shoot to YOUR maximum ability - but circumstances, the camoflage used by the quarry, and it's semi nocturnal habits limit most shots to under 250m. Caliber selection means selecting something with the characteristic to carry enough power as far as the natural limit exists, to deliver enough force to create a wound appropriate to dispatch a game animal sufficiently well enough to prevent it's escape. In other words, blow a big enough hole in it out to the limit so it bleeds to death quickly. It's hard to eat them if you can't find them.

I decided that .308 was simply too big - the entire reason intermediate caliber assault rifles exist - and that 5.56 was too small to do an ethical job. Many would argue it, having more power than that would be sufficient to deliver at least 1000 foot pounds of force out beyond typical ranges against deer. Too much would be more than the AR15 chassis would be capable of comfortably using. The significant reason that .308 isn't a main battle rifle, or the other half dozen like it - most soldiers don't like the recoil and shoot it less.

As I was researching this two years ago, I found a few alternative cartridges that could do better - without altering the AR15 more than necessary. I considered the background of the innovators, what the cartridge was designed to do - the What Range, What Target? question - and choose 6.8SPC.

Don't get the idea this was a slow deliberate process, well thought out in advance, the ideas and concepts don't tend to jump right out at first. Think it through for 6 months or a year, studying and reading two/three hours 5 or 6 days a week, and a lot of it sorts out.

Guns are designed around a cartridge with applicable ballistics - and it follows that everything would be chosen to work with it. Cartridge, barrel, action, optic, stock, trigger, in that order. With the AR, barrel length under 16" requires BATF permits, and the 6.8 is already optimized with 14.5", so the additional bit of barrel doesn't hurt. An A3 upper allows the optic of choice. In hunting, a red dot fits with no more than about 3X power, allowing rapid target acquisition. The funny thing about hunting deer (or hogs) in edge woodlands is their unique ability to suddenly appear in the open. You don't get leisurely minutes to settle in and pick your shot from a large number of poses.

Stock, get what fits in average hunting clothes, not a plate carrier. Wrong application. Grip, fit your hand, that's all you need. I'm not supersized, the original A1 was great for length of pull and grip size, I attempted to stick to that - the A2 was more than I wanted when it became standard.

The worst case scenario is being stuck with iron sights, for me, rifle length was the optimum, considering that various lengths are somewhat dictated by fore end length. It also allowed more protection from an exposed hot barrel.

I didn't want black, it sticks out in the field worse than OD - and wasn't the original design. Pro's don't use black guns in the field, they get camo'd, the best way is to have the furniture molded in the solid color to begin with. The best choice for the local environment year round was Foliage Green, so that became the overall color.

Turned out to be a 6.8 dissipator in FG. Not at all what's popular, but when you follow the What Range, What Target to its optimum ends, you don't get another look alike, you get the tool useful for the application. You choose the right hammer for the job.

I spent two years and about $1k on it. Sold off stuff I no longer use, so it hasn't really cost me a thing.

MistWolf
August 6, 2011, 10:57 PM
In other words, Tirod, The Mission Drives the Gear

saddlerocker
August 6, 2011, 11:55 PM
I just built my First AR with PSA sale Items and a BCM upper.
Total Cost after shipping and transfer fees was $900, and could have been less

-$50 Lower Receiver
-MOE LPK $53
-MOE Stock Assembly $80
-Premium BCG $100 (Add CH for $10)

BCM 16" Standard upper $400
MOE Mid Length Handguard $33
Magpul rear MBUS $55

ONLY tool you need is a Castle Nut stock tool, and that only tightened the castle nut on mine the slightest bit more than I did by hand.
you dont need any tools to install a LPK, I had never done it before and i had no problem, there are good youtube videos and resources on M4carbine.net and ar15.com


Link to my build thread on M4C
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=85284

If you want a carbine length the best deal right now by far is PSA's hammer forged carbine upper.
It comes with their Premium BCG, add the MOE handguards and buy the MOE lower build kit and be done. Awsome deal if you want a carbine length.

mdThanatos
August 7, 2011, 06:35 PM
My budget build:

Surplus Ammo and Arms Lower - 190 shipped
DSA 16" Carbine Upper - 290 shipped
PSA BCG and Charging Handle - 109 shipped


Still need to get a rear sight or optic but that's pretty much it.

Greg Mercurio
August 7, 2011, 09:28 PM
I spend a lot of time at a local public/private range and from what I can see, most people would be better off taking the jewelry off their AR's selling it at auction and buying a ton of ammo to practice with. Most of them can't hit their asses with their hats. At 25 yards. You of course may be different, but if you can't get a bullet down range, where you aimed it, then premium components won't help.

I have 3 AR clones. All 3 are Del-Ton Uppers. One has a Kaiser lower with kit parts. 2 have 80% machined lowers finished on a Chinese clone Bridgeport mill. I assembled the lowers in about 30 minutes with a small brass hammer and a couple of punches. One has a Leupold scope, the other 2 have $60 Walther P22 laser dots. All 3 shoot close to MOA if I do my part. I'm 60, wear bifocals, and been shooting since I was 8. YMMV.

gotigers
August 7, 2011, 10:01 PM
You need some fundemental shooting skills, but bad parts cannot be made to shoot MOA. Fudementals only take you so far. A good barrel is needed at least. The rest of the parts just need to be to spec.

benzy2
August 8, 2011, 12:16 AM
I would like to start by asking what .22lr rifles you own? If you want the look and feel of an AR but on a budget, it's hard to argue with something like a S&W M&P 15-22. If you want to use a lower that you later can use for a .223 upper, then going with a dedicated .22lr upper now is another good option.

Lets be realistic here for a second. If you want shoot much at all, you can't do it with .223 on a budget that won't allow for the purchase of an AR all at once. I've been there, done that. Even the cheapest .223/5.56 ammo is going to run $100/500 for cheap steel cased ammo and potentially close to double for decent brass cased stuff. Truth of the matter is, to shoot much volume, on a budget, you have to be running a very inexpensive round. While .223 ammo isn't bad, certainly some of the better priced centerfire, it's still 4-10x the cost of most rimfire ammo. I've bought had a few ARs over the years, and they are fun, but they don't see a fraction of the use that my .22lr rifles see. I picked up a M&P 15-22 and have to say I think it is my most fun rifle I own. Mine has been very reliable, is plenty accurate for the use it sees, and only costs about $0.75 per magazine. Even shooting the cheapo steel stuff I get about 3-4 rounds for that money. That's looking at it from a budget point.

It really comes down to what you want from the rifle. You can easily put together an AR for under $600 before tax or even buy a couple new at that cost. If you just want to play with it a little bit every now and then, one of the budget builds/kits out there will do you just fine. You probably won't notice any of the differences in material alloys or some of the testing done on different parts between any of them you buy.

If you want something that will always go bang, no matter how hard you abuse it, then you need to look at a few key requirements (many of these issues are covered on the famous AR Chart, but you have to know what you want to understand it) even if it means a bit more money. You probably won't have a lot of cash left for ammo so training will be minimal for now (again assuming you are still on a budget for ammo and not just the rifle) but it will be a solid option down the road too.

If you want something that looks like an AR, handles like an AR, has controls like an AR, but is dirt cheap to shoot, I'd seriously look at getting either a dedicated .22lr upper for a standard AR lower or a look a like such as the M&P 15-22 or Colt's option. It's just too fun to shoot all day rather than to shoot for a few minutes. If ammo budget isn't a concern, then a .223 setup is fun, but to have the rifle but not afford to shoot it is no fun. Again, been there, done that. Through most of college I had an AR that never saw more than 50 rounds a month because I just couldn't justify spending much on ammo. That same budget would have let me shoot about 500 rounds of .22lr.

Just something to consider while you are on a tight budget.

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