Building a basic, accurate, A4-style AR-15


July 15, 2014, 09:09 PM
It's been a few years since I frequented the forums here, and I'm trying to get a refresher on what all is up with AR-15s. I remember that a few components makers were more high-end than the others, but that was years ago... when the AR had just established itself as the gun everyone was buying and building. Now, I imagine things are different.

I'm looking to build a 20-inch barrel rifle with a detachable sight/carry handle. I want room to grow some day with different accessories and parts, but for right now, I just want something to build in my free evenings when I come home from work, and to take to the range to learn target shooting on the weekends. I don't need rails or an adjustable stock quite yet. I'm not looking for anything to do carbine courses or anything with. What do you all suggest I look for in parts?

It's good to be back :)

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July 15, 2014, 09:35 PM
Welcome back!

The "AR Market" has been up and down recently. :D

I struggled hard about whether to build from parts or pick up an upper and complete lower and "assemble" my AR. I decided to get the upper and lower already assembled. The market is flush with parts and combinations right now and pricing is really in favor of the customer.

I decided to build on a PSA lower with a Surplus Ammo & Arms upper. I'm quite happy with my build. (

My suggestion would be to figure out what features you want most, and then do a little searching and see if there isn't an assembly that meets your goals. My .02.

July 16, 2014, 04:26 AM
I found a 20" Heavy Stag Arms upper for sale on a local gun site, $300 shipped. I thought that was fair, I already had a stripped lower. I ordered up a Stag BCG, LPK and buffer tube/assembly direct from Stag to save shipping. Then got Magpul rifle furniture to give it a bit more of a modern look. My wife put everything together, I won't be able to see it for a few more weeks.

If I were to do it again I'd probably just wait for PSA to get a 20" upper in stock. They have the 1:7 twist to take advantage of those heavier bullets out there (75-80gr). I'd also just go ahead and get a lower build kit from them while I'm at it. Lower build kit with Magoul rifle stock is $180.

If you want to step it up a notch in quality, BCM has upper halves for $440.

It all depends on how much you want to spend. If you shop a PSA build I'd guess ~$650. A few other routes can get you north of $2K pretty quick, of course those aren't what I would call basic.

EDIT: I would have suggested the Stag Arms Model 4 because it sounds like what you want, but you said you want to build it.

July 16, 2014, 04:39 AM
Model One Sales has those options.

July 16, 2014, 10:09 AM
Buy a decent barrel.....Melonite (nitride) coated or chrome bore, button rifling or cold hammer forged and in the profile of your choice. Also a good quality BCG from a major supplier and a nice trigger (ALG ACT) is a good one for only $64 bucks, better triggers run into the hundreds. Now you have the basis for a rifle that will shoot.

July 16, 2014, 11:52 AM
As Mikey said spend your money on the barrel, BCG and trigger. I'd also spend some on sights. a floating handguard would be good too but a cheap one is fine and won't cost much more than a GI setup. Those are the things that'll make it capable of tiny groups.

Comrade Mike
July 16, 2014, 12:05 PM
I built this gun to be exactly what you described.

Rock river lower receiver, rock river LPK, A2 fixed stock, Giessle super semi auto trigger, and a 1:8 .223 Wylde medium match contour upper. With an LMT half carry handle rear sight. Rifle shoots better than I do, I'll never buy another AR.


July 16, 2014, 12:08 PM
gisselle ssa trigger and extractor upgrade kit.nickel boron/chromed,or np3 coated bolt group.easier to clean.find good sticky synthetic lubes

July 16, 2014, 01:05 PM
The PSA 20" uppers are identical to the military A4 upper, right down to the FN-made barrel. I have one and like it a lot. In fact, I'm using it in a 10k Run 'n Gun this weekend. I've been practicing for the 500 yd. stage, and it makes quick work of steel torsos at that distance using the irons through an Aimpoint. It is good for about 2 MOA with M193. I bought some 77 grain projectiles to load for it, but haven't got around to it yet.

July 16, 2014, 02:55 PM
Model One Sales has those options

I just received my 2 AR kits from Model One after a year and a half wait. They are good quality. I can't say anything yet about accuracy (I haven't got to the range with them yet), but call and ask about the wait time before ordering.
I am not bashing them and I did order them at the height of the Obamaclypse. They might still have a long waiting list.

July 16, 2014, 03:16 PM
I had a six month wait on my kit from Model One at the height of the scare (ordered a few days after the catalyst). My last order was processed in a few days.

July 16, 2014, 04:51 PM
Henchman..... a run n' gun 10k..... wow, thats impressive!

kcmarine, I know you said strict A4, but if your built like I am, at 5'8" and larger than average, the A2 stock might be a tad long for you. I used to have one and always felt like I was fighting against the rifle for a proper hold. For my current build, I'll be using a Magpul fixed carbine stock. Same sturdiness as a fixed, but the length of a collapsible stock clicked out twice. Just a thought.

July 16, 2014, 06:32 PM
if you want match grade, go to white oak precision, that's who's making winning target competition rifles. go with a Geissele Hi-speed national match trigger to minimize lock time.

July 16, 2014, 06:54 PM
My last order was processed in a few days.
I ordered my 2 kits in February 2013 and I received the "we are in the process of building" e-mail in mid June.
I am glad yours went quicker, mine was drawn out. Like I said, I am not bashing I can't wait to get them to a range.
How did yours do Dr Rob?

July 16, 2014, 10:49 PM
Great. I haven't had any issues with the build, Model One impressed me.

I wanted a 'build' that wouldn't require me to buy additional tools and headspacing myself, so I order a 'full kit' that comes with the upper assembled. Model One is not the cheapest but they delivered quality stuff. I am sorry to hear they still might be backlogged on kits and uppers, I was thinking of getting another.

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