AR Builds -- What Parts Did You Choose and Why??

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Mike1234567, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. Erik M

    Erik M Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Hails from Parts Unknown
    I don't have a picture on my work PC, but here are the stats on my Christmas pistol build.
    PSA upper w/ 8.5" 300 Blackout barrel
    PSA 2" flashcan
    10" MI M-Lok rail
    PSA bolt/carrier
    Strike Industries ambi charging handle
    Stag lower
    POF drop in trigger, 3.5lb
    Anderson LPK
    Magpul slimline grip
    KAK Shockwave brace
    Vortex Crossfire
    Daniel Defense backup irons
  2. 455h013

    455h013 Member

    Jul 17, 2017
    I went with LMT everything. MARS lower and 18 inch barrel topped off with an EoTech with a maganifer and dueck defense off set iron sights.

    S&W620, Hokie_PhD, IndianaBoy and 2 others like this.
  3. Riccochet

    Riccochet Member

    Jan 2, 2019
    Unionville, NC
    Most of my builds are Mega. Fantastic quality and their CS was top notch.

    My own frankenAR is a mish-mosh of Mega upper and lower, DD BCG, Larue barrel, LMT LPK, Magpul furniture, PA red dot. This rifle has over 10k rounds of Tula steel case through it, without cleaning it once, and it still runs perfect.
  4. IndianaBoy

    IndianaBoy Member

    Jan 3, 2005

    When shooting from improvised rests: barn doors, windows, car/truck roofs hoods, barricades, etc, having a hand guard that covers most of the barrel is a great way to ensure that you don't alter the POI of your rifle by putting your barrel in contact with something. You don't always control where you might have structure to place your hand guard or your hand to brace the hand guard in position.

    In other words, it is quite functional, like so:



    It is also the reason I don't personally care for vertical foregrips or variations thereof. They get in my way. Some guys swear by them but I never liked them.
    S&W620, YBOT and kimberkid like this.
  5. IndianaBoy

    IndianaBoy Member

    Jan 3, 2005

    From muzzle to stock:

    Nordic components Corvette Comp. I drilled a jet port in the right hand side as a right handed shooter will often see their sights move to the left during firing. A good muzzle brake, while loud, can dramatically reduce recoil and sight disruption. This aids in calling shots, witnessing impacts or misses, and fast follow up shots.

    DPMS MK12 barrel. It has been a very accurate barrel with a wide assortment of ammunition. I chose a heavy-ish profile to mitigate wandering zero when the barrel gets hot during long strings of fire. It has been subjected to some intense heat and long courses of fire and still holds about 1.5-2 MOA with factory 55gr ammo. It has exceeded my expectations.

    Armalite M-15 competition handguard. Light, reasonably priced, well engineered. Does not require indexing of the barrel nut either for the gas tube or to align the HG to the upper. Massive anti-rotation tabs. Does not require some funky barrel nut wrench.

    JP click adjustable gas block to tune the rifle to my ammunition. This might be the most overlooked and underestimated part of many rifle builds. Tuning the gas that is fed into the action is a very important component of how a rifle shoots. Much of the AR-15 recoil impulse is from the overgassed impact of the buffer in the rear of the stock.

    Standard upper and lower receiver. Good enough for this application.

    JP LMOS QPQ bolt carrier. Reduced reciprocating mass to reduce the amount of energy needed to operate the rifle.

    Standard MPI/HP bolt from BCM. Don't cheap out on your bolt.

    JP EZ-trigger adjustable single stage trigger. Very consistent trigger with no creep and a consistent crisp break at about 3 lbs.

    JP capitve buffer spring. Not an absolute necessity but I do appreciate how this component on it's own changes the recoil impulse of the gun. I had a standard spring and a lightened buffer in the rifle. When I went to the JP SCS, it removed the perception of the rifle cycling. It is hard to describe but once I tried it... I loved it.

    Magpul UBR Gen1 stock. I like a heavy stock to balance out the somewhat heavy barrel. I love the rock solid lockup and easy length adjustment.

    Vortex Razor 1-6 with JM1 reticle in an American Defense Recon-X mount. Superb optical performance in a tough as nails scope and a return the zero mount.

    Not seen on the opposite side of the rifle:

    QD sling up in the handguard about 3 inches in front of the upper receiver. I often use a Magpul MS4 QD sling when I need to sling the rifle.

    Very few people whose familiarity with the AR-15 platform stops at your basic m4 carbine doesn't say, "Woah, how do you get it to shoot like that?" when they get a chance to put some rounds through this rifle.

    Necessary for a reliable carbine? Nope. Worth it if you appreciate the shooting characteristics of a finely tuned rifle? Absolutely.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
    Cygnus likes this.
  6. JCSC

    JCSC Member

    Jul 24, 2019
    Columbia SC
    6.5 Grendel in process back to front
    Magpul UBR FDE
    magpul grip FDE

    PSA lower
    Aero upper

    Wilson combat Grendel dust cover
    Enhanced lower controls, ambi throw safety
    Basic spring and H2 buffer
    Tool craft NIckel boron BCG
    Rise armament R140 trigger
    UTG Pro slim 17” Key-mod handguard
    Magpul gen2 BU sights

    All items will be getting cerakoted FDE aside from barrel and comp.

    Brownells 20” SS barrel? Still reviewing and asking advice????

    Leopold glass
  7. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Jun 5, 2006
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    I just finally finished my .243 AR-10, after intending to for several years. It is primarily a deer and coyote gun, but I will be shooting some Texas hogs in the near future.

    DPMS lower, because a gun store gave me a good deal because I was a deployed soldier at the time.
    A2 buttstock, I thought about getting a Magpul UBR, but this one actually feels really good.
    Oversize safety, I may be doing a lot of sitting in the cold with mittens.
    Gieselle trigger.
    The buffer spring I ordered was way too stiff, I got a lighter one and cut off a couple of coils.
    I have a stock pistol grip on it now, I may upgrade it later.
    I ordered a barrel from X-Caliber, 1/8 twist, I want to be able to run heavier bullets for distance.
    Stoner finished upper.
    Midwest full rifle length M-lok handguard, I bought it based on reviews, and it's fantastic, they will likely be my go-to from now on.
    Magpul 20 rd magazines
    Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50
    Vortex cantilevered mount, to keep full access to the charging handle.
    Stoner extended latch charging handle.
    Stoner nickle-boron bolt and carrier. Perfect function out of the box, and headspaces perfectly to the barrel.

    After tweaking the spring, it runs perfectly and is shooting about 1" with off the shelf 100 gr Remington Core-Lokt bullets.
    DustyGmt likes this.
  8. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    SE GA
    First and foremost, my long guns serve a hunting need first. So even though there is some overlap between hunting, SD, comp, range fun, etc. in this build, I made compromises to the benefit of hunting first.

    The rifle is built around a fixed carry handle A2 upper. I wanted the fixed carry handle because I like AR open sights. I also wanted the carry handle for...carrying....the rifle in the woods. Its actually pretty convenient to carry it by the handle when it doesn't balance to well in front of the magazine.

    Fixed carry handle upper receivers were starting at $100 used. For $210 shipped I got a complete (minus BCG and CH) Bushmaster 1:9 16" M4 A2 upper with Magpul hand guard. It also has some kind of a night sight front sight that does not take away from the overall utility of the open sight system.

    The Magpul hand guard, night sight, and chrome lined barrel and chamber were all happy bonuses as I appreciate what they all bring to the package. I would have liked a 1:8 or 1:7 twist but the 1:9 seems like it will be adequate for the 62gr bullets I plan to use.

    I rounded the package out with a Brownells nitride BCG and BCM Gunfighter CH. I am lefty and I liked the NON-ambidextrous BCM CH because it is 1 1/2 sided. That is, it has and extended side with the latch and a half handle on the other side. I charge with my right hand and my left hand still on the grip. I rotate the rifle 90 degrees inward and bring my right hand over with my index finger facing downward and engage the latch with my index finger and proceed to charge as I was trained to do back when I was an employee of the government. My thumb rides on the half handle on the other side but there is little pressure I put on it.

    I wanted to compromise less with the lower. The lower is going to be traded around amongst this A2 upper as well as a 6.5 Grendel upper I plan to acquire in the future and a .450 Bushmaster upper I just bought.

    It starts with a Spikes Joker lower I bought locally. Lower parts kit is Strike Industries. I opted for this kit after watching Kotaboy32 Tactical's budget vs. expensive AR comparison series. I liked that it came with not just and ambidextrous safety (I am lefty) but also the safety has the option for a 45 or 90 degree throw. I like that 45 degree throw a lot. It also comes with an extended mag release and a tuned GI style trigger. It breaks at about 6 lbs which is still high but better than the typical 8 lb pull I hear about on factory Colts. The takedown pins aren't just plain old round head either. Gives it a little bit of intrigue. The Strike Industries kit can also be bought sans trigger. I highly recommend this parts kit. My only complaint is that it does not come with a trigger guard.

    I went with an Ergo ambi grip. Nothing special but I like it. Went with a Magpul ACS-L stock. I wanted to save the few ounces as I don't care about stock storage. Also, I wanted an adjustable stock that would lock up tight and this one works as advertised. I also got the extra thick recoil pad for when the .450 BM upper is mounted. I wanted the carbine length buffer and adjustable stock because I like a short stock when using the A2 sights but I like a longer stock when using a scope such as when the .450 or 6.5 upper is mounted.

    Still need to get that trigger guard. I will get a BCM Gunfighter one.

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    ilgac likes this.
  9. Cygnus

    Cygnus Member

    May 29, 2019
    May I ask what your total was for everything you put into your rifle? Also, do you believe the same shootability could be obtained with a slightly lighter barrel and brace?
  10. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Member

    May 23, 2016
    These are the parts I used on my home defense SBR.

    Arms Tech Limited Compak-16 upper

    Stainless 11.3” Wilson Combat 1/8 twist barrel (.300 Blackout)

    Midwest Industries Gen 3 10.5" M-Lok rail system

    Magpul M-Lok VFG

    Young Manufacturing Chrome M16 National Match BCG

    Rainier Arms Raptor charging handle

    Troy Industries front and rear folding BUIS with Tritium inserts

    Aimpoint Comp M4s

    Surefire M300 Mini Scout light with remote dual switch

    Surefire SOCOM flash suppressor

    Spikes Tactical lower


    Magpul Enhanced trigger guard

    Magpul MOE pistol grip

    JP Enterprises trigger, hammer, and springs

    Mil spec buffer tube

    Standard Carbine spring and buffer

    MagPul CTR stock.

    I've modified guns before, but this was my first ground up build. Turned out to be a very good shooter. I have built two others (a 5.56 pistol, and a 7.62 AR) in the years since then. I have also fell in love with that Midwest Industries rail. Both my other builds have it. They also have the Surfire Warcomp, as does my scout rifle. .

    IndianaBoy and ilgac like this.
  11. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    What do you recommend for a good basic gas block
  12. Cokeman

    Cokeman Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    I got the Ballistic Advantage gas block. It works like it should.
  13. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

    Feb 5, 2010
    Hawkeye East
    Started with a stripped Aero Precision lower and a fully assembled Aero upper, 7 1/2” barrel with M-LOK rail. Added a Kaw Valley Precision linear compensator.

    Parts were: Strike Industries Enhanced LPK, SI Lightweight Pin set anodized red, SI ARCH EL charging handle anodized red, Battle Arms Development Enhanced magazine release button anodized red, BAD Enhanced magazine catch, BAD Enhanced bolt catch, Kaw Valley Precision H2 buffer, RRA NM Varmint 3.5 lb. trigger, ToolCraft NiB BCG, ERGO 2 Inferno red grip, and SB Tactical SBA-3 brace. Topped of with a Vortex SPARC AR RDS.

    The why: I think any reputable manufacturer’s receivers are fine, not a huge snob in that department. Larger controls help in winter conditions and year round with children who are still learning. I’ve had good service from my other RRA triggers and they’re inexpensive. Gunny recommended Strike Industries in multiple threads and his builds inspired the use of something beyond basic black as well. The SBA-3 uses a standard carbine extension which should make using a rifle length upper and stock, when correctly converted, and easier transition, and ToolCraft was an easy decision.

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
    Demi-human and ilgac like this.
  14. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

    Feb 5, 2010
    Hawkeye East
    A revamp on my original RRA Operator. Parts replaced with: Kaw Valley Precision milspec receiver extension, H2 buffer, Magpul ACS stock gray, Luth-AR PALM 9” M-LOK handguard and steel barrel nut, Fortis Hammer charging handle, Strike Industries Extended bolt catch, Phase 5 Tactical ambi safety, P5 end plate with angled QD socket, ToolCraft nitride BCG.

    I’ll be ordering a pair of 2” gray Samson 1913 rails to mount a flashlight and eventually an Eotech. This will be my primary HD rifle at that point. Range tested today with MFT 10 rnd, Colt 20 rnd, Troy 30 rnd, Magpul 30 rnd, D&H 30 rnd, and all functioned correctly. I also slipped on an Odin Works M-LOK to standard bipod adaptor to mount my Harris while confirming zero today. It will be removed for a hand/barrier stop soon.

    The why: this was my first AR and has never once malfunctioned. It’s been accurate, fun, and taught me plenty over the years. One of those lessons was that time marches on and sometimes a firearm does not fit so well as was first believed so I lightened things up by ditching the quad rail, chose an M-LOK rail for compatibility with my other 4 ARs, tried my luck with the H2 buffer replacing the standard carbine (still cycles fine), added bigger controls while adding some color (with more to come).

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
    ilgac likes this.
  15. mokin

    mokin Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    Western Colorado
    There are some pretty rifles here.

    The last AR 15 type rifle I assembled was put together mostly of sale parts. The lower was one of the $49.00 Bushmasters from 5-6 years ago. The barrel, upper, and BCG were from Rock River Arms a year or so later. At 18 percent off. I believe the LPK, stock, and handguards, all Magpul came from the hardware store down the street from where I worked at 15 percent off. I'm sure I paid full price for the muzzle device or something.... It's mostly accurate and fun to shoot.
  16. IndianaBoy

    IndianaBoy Member

    Jan 3, 2005

    Hoooo-boy... i had it totaled up at one point and it made me cringe. Including the optic it was nearly $3k but I bought that optic when they had just hit the market. You can find them for less now.

    Slightly lighter, yes, I do believe so. IMHO if you start dipping much under 8 pounds for the total rifle/optic combo you really start to sacrifice smoothness and being truly steady on longer range steel for light weight.

    There are definitely criteria where a light rifle makes sense. Pencil barrels are a joy to carry but when you get them hot they generally start to string shots.

    A medium contour barrel is a great compromise and a shorter stiffer barrel like a 16" is probably better for precision than a 18" or 20" of the same weight, even with the velocity trade-off.
  17. lionking

    lionking Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Looks like they raised their price a bit, $440.00 for both now


  18. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

    Mar 4, 2016
    I built this:
    around a Faxon 20" 1:8 rifle gas nitride government profile barrel. Every thing else was boring mil-spec-ish, topped with a Burris Fullfield 2 3-9x40. Shot very impressive groups out to 200 with 60gr V-Max handloads. BUT, I got bored shooting from a bench. Buddy at work wants to take up coyote hunting, and I wanted a KISS carbine to practice dynamic offhand iron sight shooting. So, I made him a heck of a deal on my DMR, ordered a kit
    from PSA and a stripped lower from the LGS, and built this:
    Basically, this is the end of my journey from a complete long-range build, to deciding that I wanted basic.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  19. Cygnus

    Cygnus Member

    May 29, 2019
    Thank you for that. Gives me something to consider.
  20. d31tc

    d31tc Member

    Sep 18, 2019
    I'm looking to get an upper to put on a PSA complete lower and was looking at PSA's 8.5" 300 Blackout with a 10" handguard. Intentions would be to use in place of a 30-30 for deer hunting, so shots would be short range 50 yards or less in the woods, 100 tops. I want short and light, but am not sure if 8.5" barrel is too short. 10.5" barrel would be my other thought. Any advice or experience with 10.5" barrel and how it compares when shooting?
  21. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

    Oct 2, 2015
    Centralia Washington
    10.5 is what I use for my dedicated supersonic upper. It shoots very nice, and is slightly more accurate than my 8.2" upper. I like 10.5 for general use. I am also working on a 7" pistol upper at the moment... We'll see how that works out.
    d31tc likes this.
  22. American_Fusilier

    American_Fusilier Member

    Jul 28, 2019
    Somewhere in Wisconsin
    I used a blem PSA lower, a PSA lower build kit with magpul grip and CTR stock (I have since replaced the PSA FCG with the ALG Mil Spec polished FCG), Magpul Bad lever, PSA completed upper with a modular Midwest Industries SS Gen 2 12" free float handguard with a magpul VFG, a 16" gov't profile barrel chambered in 5.56 NATO made by FN, chrome lined barrel with a 1:7 twist with a a carbine gas system, I have PSA flip up back up iron sights on it, and a BCM Gunfighter Mod 3 charging handle, and to top it off I've got a primary arms 1-6x24 scope. It's a fantastic rifle. It's capable of roughly one MOA on a good day, if I do my part. I'd still like to upgrade the trigger to something better than the ALG. I'd also love a flat faced trigger.

    If I had to do it again, I'd change the barrel to be an 18" mid length gas, .223 Wylde with a 1:8 twist.

    I'd like to build an AR pistol soon, and it'll most likely be identical to my rifle except with a 10" barrel with a carbine gas system, probably a PSA free float handguard, no VFG, with the shockwave pistol brace and I'd probably just put a red dot site on it, and no buis.

    I'd love to build and AR-10 like my AR-15 as well.

    Too many things to buy, not enough money or time...

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
    Skylerbone likes this.
  23. Skeptic13

    Skeptic13 Member

    Aug 18, 2019
    Colorado Springs
    I used the parts listed below. I wanted to build and 18" scoped AR that was lightweight, high quality but around $1000. I think I spent $1100 with scope and mount.

    Aero Precision Stripped Upper and Lower
    Faxon 18" Gunner barrel
    Brownells M16 Lightweight Bolt Carrier Group
    4lb Velocity AR Triggers (Lower Parts Kit)
    Magul MOE grip
    Mission First Tactical BMS Stock
    Burris Fullfield ii 2-7x35

    Attached Files:

    Skylerbone likes this.
  24. American_Fusilier

    American_Fusilier Member

    Jul 28, 2019
    Somewhere in Wisconsin
    That's a sweet looking piece!
  25. dcloco

    dcloco Member

    Jan 31, 2006
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