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

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

  1. kcofohio
    • Contributing Member

    kcofohio Contributing Member

    Dec 16, 2013
    NW Ohio
    Thanks grogetr, I placed one on order. Seems that most places I looked are out of 10 rd. mags.
  2. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    The North Country
    First a little background, I live in Canada where AR parts are more difficult to find due to US ITAR regulations.
    Secondly I've only been shooting for 5 years now.
    My first AR was a Chinese Norinco 14.5" carbine.
    It was $649 shipped to my door. I bought it so I could tinker with it and not feel bad if I damaged it.
    Once Sandy Hook took place there was a run on everything firearms related in the USA and we started feeling it up here.
    I couldn't find any AR to buy for a reasonable price but I lucked out and found a stripped Noveske Gen1 lower that a guy was selling so that he could stockpile more ammo.
    The same evening a Stag dealer received a shipment of rifles and there was a Model 3G that wasn't spoken for.
    The Stag 3G had a Geissele S3G trigger and once I shot that I was hooked.
    The stag 3G top in the picture has a Noveske 16.7" NSR handguard

    I decided to build the Gen1 Noveske N4 with as many Noveske parts I could find.

    I used a Stag LPK
    Geissele SSA-E trigger
    Noveske STS safety
    Noveske marked push pins
    Phase 5 Tactical EBR-2 bolt release
    Magpul enhanced trigger guard
    Colt carbine buffer and spring
    Magpul UBR stock

    Noveske marked mil spec upper
    Noveske Afghan 14.5" SS barrel with gas block, gas tube and headspaced bolt
    Noveske 13.5" NSR handguard
    Noveske marked Mod 4 BCM Gunfighter charging handle
    Noveske marked Troy Buis
    Surefire SFMB-556 brake

    The most recent build was similar except for it being a Gen 2 Noveske lower
    Noveske marked Vltor MUR upper
    Noveske CHF 10.5" barrel
    Noveske KX-5 piglet
    Noveske NSR 11" Handguard

  3. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

    Jan 6, 2011
    Hastings, Michigan
    My latest build:

    Wanted something slightly different in a light weight build.

    Started out with an ATI Omni polymer lower I bought a few years ago. On order is a BCM blem upper package which is getting a free floated hand guard over a 10.5" AR-Stoner medium contour barrel (can't find any 10.5 pencil barrels in stock) with a permanently affixed 5.5" brake.

    Not sure what I'm going to do for optic, probably a small reflex style sight, but I've also considered a detachable carry handle with integrated A2 sight, and an A2 style front sight post, make the overall look like some retro Commando/ CAR-15/ XM-177 mish mash of kinda sorta the right parts. Not actually trying for the exact look on this build, just as an overall inspiration.

    I just put an ambi charging handle on my 16" AR, so I'll probably go that route, with a semi auto BCG to save a tiny bit of weight. This won't be an ultra light build,but it should fall between my AR pistol and my rifle as far as weight.

    Can't wait for parts to hit my porch.
  4. Tomac

    Tomac Member

    Oct 13, 2003
    Caldwell, Idaho
    This started off as a stock Colt LE6920 a couple of years ago, wanted known quality/reliability as my baseline.
    Now it has a BCM 16" LW middy upper (lighter bbl, smoother recoil impulse, longer hand guard, less wear/tear on parts)
    AIM V2 Nitride BCG (less coefficient of friction than a std phosphate bcg, surface treatment that can't peel or flake off like some coatings)
    Precision Armament AFAB (reduces felt recoil by 55%, also reduces muzzle rise w/little more flash/concussion than a std A2)
    Magpul MOE fore end (inexpensive, lightweight)
    Magpul K2 pistol grip (more vertical angle, holds lube & spare batteries for the Surefire M600U & Trijicon MRO)
    Magpul MBUS Gen 2 rear sight (lightweight, inexpensive, relatively durable)
    MFT Minimalist Stock (lightweight, inexpensive, handles well, QD sling swivel socket)
    Surefire M600U on a Magpul MOE scout mount (tried lots of other lights, all were lacking something, finally did the 'buy once, cry once' route w/the excellent & lightweight M600U)
    Trijicon MRO (lightweight, long battery life, rugged, excellent FOV through the optic when compared to the Aimpoint Micros and less expensive)
    Odin Works enlarged mag release (for more positive reloads, not visible)
    Redi-Mag's Redi-Catch & Redi-Release (together they function the same as the Magpul BAD lever, but more reliably & w/o taking up space in the trigger guard)
    MFT Torch nav light (for getting from A to B at night w/o broadcasting your location or ruining your night vision, not visible on the right side of the hand guard)
    Magpul MS1 sling w/QD sling swivels (relatively light weight, quick-adjust, easily removable for cleaning and such):


  5. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

    Jan 6, 2011
    Hastings, Michigan
    Can't edit my last post, but here is a mockup of the described build above, sans BCG and CH.

  6. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    Denham Springs LA
    I wanted a lightweight carbine and went with the Tennessee Arms Hybrid Polymer Receiver.

    list of parts
    Teeneensse Arms FDE lower = $38
    Anderson stripped upper = $40
    Anderson LPK = $40
    Del Ton lightweight barrel 1/9 = $150
    Nitride Black Gas Tube = $15
    Magpul FDE MOE LS Handguard = $33
    MOE FDE Butt Stock = FREE
    Buffer tube in the white = $7
    Yankee Hill Flash Hider = $20
    Magpul FDE Mag = $8.40

    I coated all of the black parts with Aluma-Hyde II and ended up using an M16 three prong flash hider. Weight was 6 lbs.
    I like the LS handguard because it covers the lower part of the front sight and gives about another 2".
    A friend of mine shot it and fell in love with it. I had to sell it to him to get him to leave me alone.
    I built another in gray and another friend ended up getting it from me. I guess I will build me another one in OD Green.
    Shimitup and bbqreloader like this.
  7. critrxdoc

    critrxdoc Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    SPR/DMR Build

    Noveske lower
    Noveske Upper
    Noveske NSR Rail
    Krieger 20" DCM HBAR barrel
    BCM bolt assembly
    BCM charging handle
    BCM gas block
    Magpul MIAD grip
    Magpul CTR stock
    Geissle SSA-E trigger

    Wanted a build that would shoot 0.5 MOA with handloads and last a lifetime
  8. Blade First

    Blade First Member

    May 20, 2012
    Free Republic of Tennessee
    "Wanted a build that would shoot 0.5 MOA with handloads and last a lifetime"

  9. critrxdoc

    critrxdoc Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    I can only conjecture what "and?" means. I can postulate you mean why would I build my AR with Noveske and Krieger parts if my goal was relative certainty of a 0.5 MOA gun? I realize one can get lucky and obtain <0.5 minute with a cheaper barrel than Krieger. I was not interested in trying my luck. The best bet for reasonable certainty of consistent <0.5 minute accuracy (and possibility of better) is with a Krieger or Bartlein barrel.

    With the Krieger as my starting point, I felt I wanted comparable quality and tolerances in the upper receiver and lower. Therefore, I opted for Noveske. I will eventually move to a Magpul PRS stock, but I wanted my son to be able to shoot it so starting with the CTR.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  10. BobbyV

    BobbyV Member

    Jan 6, 2015
    Bought a blemished AR10 lower from PSA a while back. Time to start making a parts list.
  11. Devilfrog

    Devilfrog Member

    Jan 7, 2009
    Tampa Bay area, FL
    Finished my .300 blackout SBR AR after finally getting my stamp.
    Spikes Crusader lower / Aero upper
    Magpul MOE K2+ pistol grip
    Daniel Defense stock
    Faxon 10.5" .300 Nitride barrel w/gas block
    Yankee Hill YHM-4302 Flash Suppressor
    Guntec 9" MLOK Rail
    BCM / VLTOR Mod 4 charging handle
    Yankee Hill YHM-4302 Flash Suppressor
    AIM Surplus Nitride BCG
    Finish: Sig Dark Grey Cerakote H-210Q

  12. kimberkid

    kimberkid Member

    Feb 5, 2010
    I built a 6.5 Creedmoor for a long range target rifle
    Spikes 308 receiver - Just because I like the look

    JP Barrel, Hand Guard, Gas System, BCG & Recoil System
    -- because I'm still impressed with the 223 system I bought from them nearly 20 years and 10,000 rounds ago

    Geiselle Trigger
    --because everyone raves about them ... now that I have it I wish I'd just saved some money with the RRA 2-stage NM

    Leupold Mark 4 ER/T 8.5-25x50
    -- because I want to shoot 1000 yards and needed better than "good" glass

    Magpul PRS Stock & Recoil Tube
    -- I have one on my target AR15; I like the feel plus it helps to balance the 22" barrel

    CAA Pistol Grip
    -- it has custom front and back straps so can set it up to the users preference

    Atlas Bi-Pod
    -- I have one and they are a great and very stable bipod

    Accu-shot PRM Monopod
    -- I've never had one and wanted to try it ... even tho everyone said just use a bag.

    Generic spring and pin kit
    -- I already had most of the parts

    Charge Handle w/extended latch for scope
    -- its fairly generic and I needed a charge handle

    Devilfrog likes this.
  13. nhcruffler

    nhcruffler Member

    Apr 18, 2009
    Thoughts on this Upper

    Older guy basically new to ARs. I purchased a SSA-SA-15 Grim Reaper complete lower because at the time everyone else was out of stock at the time ( for lowers in my price range). Now I just need an upper to complete my first AR build. I am thinking of this upper from Daytona Tactical
    http://daytonatactical.com/collecti...10-inch-keymod-rail-no-bcg-or-charging-handle. No BCG or Charging handle so that cost needs to be weighed. I think it would look nice atop my SSA-SA-15 Grim Reaper complete lower.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  14. Casefull

    Casefull Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    "Wanted a build that would shoot 0.5 MOA with handloads and last a lifetime"

    So, as already been asked, does it shoot .5 moa? I would like to know how all those trick pieces perform. Thanks in advance.
  15. ColoradoShooter77

    ColoradoShooter77 Member

    Jul 26, 2015
    Last Memorial Day, I hit up the PSA sale on an upper, complete lower and BCG.

    Complete Blem Lower = $139 shipped
    Melonite Carbine Upper = $189 shipped
    Freedom BCG/Charging handle = $104 shipped
    Magpul rear sight = $50

    $485 + transfer fee and background = $510 total cost.

    I just wanted an AR that I could punch paper with on the weekends and this one has been excellent, no issues at all with 800 rounds fired.
  16. critrxdoc

    critrxdoc Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    Yes! I got 0.5 MOA out of federal gold medal match 77gr. I have been able to do slightly better than 0.5 MOA with my handloads (Sierra match king 77gr and Varget). And it is real 0.5 MOA accuracy, not internet forklore. I have been very pleased with the Krieger barrel. It has been worth every penny!
  17. Ibmikey

    Ibmikey Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    N E Washington State
    I have about thirty five AR's, built many of them with the exception of six Colts, two S&W, two Bushmaster, one DD and a ATI Omni ( plastic-steel reinforced receiver, my shoot to destruction rifle that even after abuse shoots connecting groups). Listing how i built each one would be impractical for me when the OP can use his own imagination on his build, research each part to see if it fits his needs, determine current cost if that is a factor. I use parts i want for the build and do not concern myself with the total cost of the rifle and will it sell so i can make money. I do not sell my weapons, but have given a large number away to deserving individuals just as i have in turn received gifts-- like the other day from a friend a Browning High Power with tangent sights (1993 Capitan) in 100% condition.
    So be original and build the best you can (not cheap) even if it takes awhile to save for a part, in the end you will be proud of the results.
  18. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

    Feb 1, 2014
    Middle Tn
    first rifle....traded for complete gun, Stag model 3. didn't care for it because I could get it at the start of the ban panic following sandy hook.

    Second rifle...built...Anderson lower (on sale locally), Anderson LPK, Magpul MOE stock buffer kit (used) 6.8spc doublestar upper (used) PSA BCG (on sale) Anderson HBAR 22" melonite barrel (on sale)...rifle built to be a true rifle...everything else was price based but I like it. Its about to get the 6.8 barrel put back on, its going to be a true target gun. I will stone the FCG when I get the other 2 built. This rifle ran about $400 total in early 2015, and I had the 6.8 barrel left over. I used a junk-box scope which has served its purpose really well. Scope will follow barrel to the new gun. The 6.8 build will wear my Tasco World Class scope off of my rem700. I will build that rifle once I make a call on the trigger situation...Im leaning towards a Timney, but the factory trigger is nice and I hate to ditch it since it has never given me trouble. That scope works well enough to put shots on a pizza box easily at 700 yards with the .270 so its good enough for the 6.8 until I can get something with a HORUS.

    3rd rifle (in process) 80% aluminum lower just to say I had done it. Anderson LPK with stainless fcg (half price), PSA stock kit with magpul collapsible, upper came with 80%, using the HBAR barrel on this one this time. PSA gas block, bcg, charging handle, and cheapo ebay 15" keymod free float tube. This one is also built for a purpose, but its purpose is to be a lighter target gun I could potentially bust a coyote with because the 6.8 is too stinkin heavy. It will have a pistol buffer screwed on first so that I can legitimately say it was a pistol first, then a rifle so I don't get into SBR territory. (with pictures and posts here to document such). This rifle cost is stupid for what it is just because of the costs of the 80% and destroyed tools. im looking at about 500 in it, even having already had the barrel I want to use.

    4th "gun" is a pistol. A poly 80% lower was given to me to help ease the pain of my aluminum 80% lower troubles. Ordered the cheapo AIM pistol buffer kit, another Anderson LPK with stainless FCG. It might just have to have the rifle uppers to keep it company until Christmas...and if things are still roughly like they are now it will get an 11" upper with GI type sight post and I will use a carry handle upper, or use a carry handle rail adapter. Why...why not. Oh, and the parts are cheap. I know there are issues of breaking the back end of the lower off, but I plan to either eventually buy a bladetech brace or reinforce the problem area. Again, the reason...because I can...and because the parts are cheap (except the brace, it aint nowhere near what I call cheap, but its cheaper and easier than going SBR) This one will be really cheap just because of the circumstances. Looking like it will be a $350-400 build unless I can find a used upper. Im at 70 bucks in the lower. I have a cheap red-dot I might use.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
  19. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

    Aug 14, 2011
    I'm finally nearing the end of my incredibly-reluctant AR build;
    -80% billet lower (was given this factory-second for free by a generous maker; was more unfinished than a blem, needed the magwell broached as well as FCG pocket, and I had to complete this project as a condition of accepting the lower)
    -Gibbz Arms side charging upper (because the T-handle is the single weakest link in the AR design)
    -Adams Arms short rifle length stroke piston conversion (because the DI system is my least favorite aspect of the AR design)
    -PSA lower parts kit, from back when they were 25$ (2013 or so, originally bought for a PPSH conversion)
    -6.5 Grendel barrel, 22"x1.125" Sarco 45$ special (chambered & breech threaded only)
    -PSA buffer/tube & stock, cheapest available at like 35$ together (was too impatient to make my own tube & stock)
    -Lilja Grendel bolt/barrel extension at like 85$

    I still need to fabricate a barrel nut & tubular hand guard on the lathe, then drill the gas port, at which point I believe the build will be complete. As rat-rod as this build looks/is, the only cheapo part that's actually important is the barrel, which certainly appears at first glance to be of decent quality, so long as I put a nice crown on the end. Overall investment is in line with an entry-level AR at this point, but the result is a fairly unique end-product with none of the AR traits I don't care for (well, apart from a lack of bolt carrier rails that isn't really fixable with an AR design).

  20. Ibmikey

    Ibmikey Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    N E Washington State
    Barnbwt, Now that is building an AR, wish i had a lathe, skill to use it and more years of life to experiment with it, but since i have none of these i will simply wait to hear about your finished product ---if you share with us.
  21. ar-newbie

    ar-newbie Member

    Oct 18, 2016
    I recently put together my build.
    I started with PSA Freedom Rifle Kit, 16" stainless steel barrel
    included PSA freedom upper
    Magpul MOE lower build kit
    PSA full auto bolt carrier group
    16" stainless steel barrel
    15" aluminum M-LOK Rail system
    I used an anderson stripped lower to finish out the basics
    To this, I have added Magpul BAD lever
    bushnell banner scope 3x-9x40
    metal scope rings
    ozark 45 Degree offset backup sites
    harris bipod, with mlok adapter
    Magpul fore grip along the bottom of the mlok rail
    and to finish it off, I used a Thunder technologies Heartbrake compensator to reduce the recoil and keep it on target shot to shot.

    Overall, I think this turned out really nice, and didn't break the bank on price either.
  22. giggitygiggity

    giggitygiggity Member

    Mar 18, 2009
    I buy Anderson lowers because they can be had for +/-$50 + shipping/transfer fees. Nothing fancy. Solid mil spec receivers that are affordable and machined well.

    For my uppers, I mainly buy from Palmetto State Armory. They're a reputable company. Their prices are good and if you keep your eyes open, they have outstanding sales. You can get uppers for $200 for basic no-frills chrome moly or stainless barrels to $500+ for complete chrome-line CHF barreled uppers. I also use Palmetto State premium buffer tube assemblies as they are 7075 aluminum and have smooth insides. They can be had for $30 when on sale (tube, spring, nut, end plate, and buffer).

    I will say with ARs that often times you do not get what you pay for. I have no doubt that the $2000+ ARs are nicer and might have a few perks or better machining here or there, but the difference in quality and performance between a $500 AR and a $2000 AR will not be 4x different. I am not advocating one way or the other... I just sometimes see people saying that a $500 AR is just as good as a $2000 AR or other people saying that unless you have a $2000 AR, all you have is a paperweight. It boils down to what parts are used, the quality of the assembly, and what aspects of shooting an AR are most important to you.

    Anderson Lower (AIM Surplus): $45
    Palmetto State 10.5" CHF, chrome-lined, phosphate barrel upper assembly (PSA): $320
    AIM NiBo BCG (Sunny State Outfitters: $100
    Palmetto State Buffer Tube Assembly (PSA): $30
    Anderson LPK (AIM Surplus): $40
    Mission First Tactical Minimalist Stock (Jet): $40

    Total: $575 + ~50 shipping/transfer fees = $625

    I assembled two other ARs with all the same components except the upper assemblies were swapped out for an 8.5" .223 chrome moly M-Lok PSA upper ($260) and an 8.5" .300Blk chrome moly M-Lok PSA upper ($280).
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  23. MrSpiffy

    MrSpiffy Member

    May 22, 2008
    Working on my first AR build. Never owned one before, but have wanted to build one for some time. I have to say, it's been a LOT easier than I anticipated. The hardest part is assembling the roll pins.

    I wanted to use quality parts without breaking the bank. Many items I nabbed because I saw them on sale, which saved me a little extra.

    So, here's what I ended up with:
    • Anderson lower/upper
    • PSA 18" 1:7 twist melonite-coated rifle-length barrel in .223 Wylde
    • PSA Magpul STR lower build kit w/ EPT fire control group
    • PSA Nickel-Boron BCG
    • ALG EMR v3 15" handguard (my most-expensive single part, by far...)
    • YHM low-profile gas block
    • Magpul MBUS Pro iron sights w/ thinner front post
    • Magpul M-LOK quick-disconnect sling mounts
    • Leupold 3-9x40mm VX1 scope
    • Warne quick-disconnect high scope rings
    • Magpul 10-round PMAGs
    • Magpul BEV Block for assembly
    Overall, it cost a lot more to put together than I anticipated, but I know I'll be happy with it. Hopefully that NiB BCG plating holds up.
  24. DeadEye9

    DeadEye9 Member

    Nov 22, 2016
    I tend to get pretty good prices around my area so I may be a bit spoiled but here is what I like. I will try to list exact prices for everything I can. For two "builds" I simply bought off the Shelf M&P15 Sports to start. They run around $575 out the door and have been a dead reliable milspec Carbine in my experience. For that price you get an entire ready to run rifle, with a case and a set of magpul polymer irons. This is what I did when I just wanted to build a custom Carbine in 5.56, and just added a free float rail and Eotec basically with a drop in trigger and Magpul pistol grip. The other I left almost stock as an iron sight rifle with just a Magpul stock, and broomhandle vertical grip. Between the two rifles and all parts it's still under $2000. When I looked to build my SPR and .458 Socom, I started with PSA lowers complete with a Milspec pistol grip and Buffer tube for ~$125. For my SPR I went with a White Oak Armament 18" barrel, BCM Minamalist stock, and Magpul rails. Trigger is a Geisele S3G. For glass I'm running a Vortex Viper long range optic on this rifle. Total assembly cost for that rifle was around $1200 minus the optic which was about another $650. For my Socom, I started again with the PSA lower, Tromix .458 upper, 16" heavy barrel, and bolt for $400. Rock River Beast muzzle break for $110, Troy Industries handguard. 15". Purchased from Optics planet when I bought my Viper, I believe I paid around $180. The trigger in that gun is a Rock River 2 stage match. It's actually great for me in that platform and was affordable At just a tad over $100 for the kit.
    The reason I chose the parts I did were a combination of cost/value, reputation and reviews, what I've seen/fired on other people's builds, and just plain what I liked the looks and feels of along the way. I'm also currently doing one of my own lowers at the moment and will be setting this next one up with a basic milspec lower and the upper will be a copy of the Windham Dissepator, essentially the looks and sight radius of a M16A2 but with a 16" Carbine length barrel and M4 collapsible stock. I'll chime in on what that costs when I'm done.
  25. 7rustno1

    7rustno1 Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    I have had only good experiences with TM's 80s/jig and PSA's kits/parts.

    Browning likes this.
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