Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Building an AR-15?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Ohio Rifleman, Aug 13, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ohio Rifleman

    Ohio Rifleman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    904
    Location:
    Ohio
    On this board, I keep hearing members talking about AR-15 uppers and lowers and all that. As well as "building" AR-15s. I would love one of these rifles to call my very own, but seeing as how they run at $600 at best, I can't afford one. So, what do I need to build an AR-15 from scratch? Upper reciever, lower reciever and...?
     
  2. gtomax

    gtomax Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Ammo :)

    Complete upper + complete lower = complete rifle. You can go A2 carry handle with iron sights or if you plan to use optics go with a flat top. The AR-15 pattern rifle is almost unlimited in its configurations.

    Have fun!
     
  3. Ohio Rifleman

    Ohio Rifleman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    904
    Location:
    Ohio
    At AIM, they're selling complete AR lowers for $90-100. How much are uppers? I know that there are many different uppers you can use for different calibers. How about just a plain ol' .223 upper?
     
  4. wdlsguy

    wdlsguy Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Messages:
    2,880
    Location:
    TX
    Those are "stripped" lowers. You would still need a lower parts kit and a stock to have a complete lower.

    A little under $400 and up new. I have found it's cheaper to buy an entire "rifle kit" than it is to buy an upper, lower parts kit and stock separately.

    http://www.del-ton.com/AR_15_Rifle_Kits_s/1.htm
    http://jtdistributing.com/store/kits_all.html
    http://www.model1sales.com/subcats.cfm?Category=01&storeid=1
     
  5. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Messages:
    3,892
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
  6. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    11,109
    My understanding is that the only part that takes any real gunsmithing skills to assemble is mating the barrel assy to the upper (and installing the FSB/gas block if your barrel is not so equipped). Everything else is pretty straightforward. I've built several lowers- there is certainly not anything hard on the lower half of the rifle.

    The multi-hundred dollars quote you're getting on an upper is for a complete upper, or at least an upper with barrel assembly installed. A stripped upper is, I believe, about $100. Figure at least another $100 for the barrel. You'll also need the bolt/carried assy, FA (if you buy and upper with one), charging handle, and rear sight parts if you don't go flat top. If you lack the tools, the training or a friend with the tools and training, I would go the barrel-installed route. Everything else is just RTFM and install. Pretty simple.

    Mike
     
  7. Ohio Rifleman

    Ohio Rifleman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    904
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yeesh, still kind of expensive. Not as much as buying a complete gun, though. I'd have to go the complete upper route since I have limited (read zero) gunsmithing skills. My dad's gun nut friend could probably do it...he probably HAS. But I don't see him a whole lot. I was just wanting some information so I could know what the heck you all are talking about, and maybe some day, building my very own AR-15.
     
  8. MMcfpd

    MMcfpd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    808
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    You can get a kit from Model 1 Sales for $460 and the only other things you'll need will be a stripped lower (~$90-100), a buttstock wrench (~$10 at a gunshow) and a magazine ($~12). Plus shipping. If you buy the lower at a gunshow, you can probably avoid paying an FFL transfer fee.

    Oh yeah, you'll need ammo ($!?!?!).
     
  9. DougW

    DougW Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,059
    Location:
    North Texas
    It is easily possible to build a simple no frills AR for less than $650. A complete kit from Del-Ton, Rock River, DPMS, Model 1, M&A, or even Sarco mated to a stripped lower, and you have it. Instructions are on AR15.com and other places, and simple hand tools are about all you need. I have built 9 complete rifles, and have swapped barrels and changed upers 5 times. With the exception of all the small parts, they are very simple to build. On fact, my son is ordering an M4 kit to mate to the new lower in the safe for #10.

    Then, the big investment is AMMO!
     
  10. Cheeseybacon

    Cheeseybacon Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    246
    When I first was shopping for an AR-15, a lot of people encouraged me to build my own. I did a little bit of research on the subject but was still pretty uncomfortable with building my own firearm, so I chickened out and spent $1000 on a Bushmaster. It was only after I field stripped my Bushmaster and examined it up close that I realized just how simple it would have been to build one, and kicked myself for not listening to everyone. While I am perfectly happy with my Bushmaster and have no intentions of selling it, if I could go back in time, I'd definitely build my own the second time around.

    My dad is currently in the process of building one. He bought a stripped lower about a month ago ago and just recently purchased a lower parts kit and assembled it. Now he's shopping for a stock. While paying $600 (and easily more than that) for a rifle might not seem like your cup of tea, remember that when you build your own, you can stretch the cost of it out over a longer time to lessen the sting. That's mainly the reason why my dad is building one too, he'd never be able to drop $600-$1000 all at once without my mom going nuclear, but a small monthly expenditure on a part or two goes completely under the radar. :p
     
  11. Kurt_D

    Kurt_D Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Messages:
    400
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Here's something to think about: You don't have to spend $700 right away to get an AR. Some think to build you have to buy all the parts at the same time, not so. You pointed it out, AIM has striped lowers for ~$100. Buy it and have it transfered through a FFL; everything else you can order and have shipped to your door.

    Next step, save up some money and order a lower parts kit for ~$70.

    Next step, save up a little more and watch the "for sale" section(s) on these websites. You can nab some good stuff, say a name brand barreled upper for under $400.

    Next step, save a little more... well you get the picture. Buy as you get money and find deals. Yes, you still spend $600-$700 for a basic AR but it'll be spread out over time and you can get all quality parts.
     
  12. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,773
    Location:
    Illinois`
    Installing the pivot pin, detent and spring, is no easy feat and even with special tools it isn't uncommon to have a detent or the spring go flying off to parts unknown.

    Installing the bolt release and magazine catch without scratching the lower receiver is an excercise in patience.

    Installing the buffer tube sometimes involves a bit of hand fitting.

    AR/M16 rifles aren't hard to assemble.
    They are challenging to assemble correctly.
     
  13. Ohio Rifleman

    Ohio Rifleman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    904
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hm, that's right. I didn't think of just getting a piece at a time. Still, the barreled upper would be a big expense. Nevertheless, all that AR-15 stuff would just be collecting dust for a while until I get everything needed. Oh well, I'm sure many of us have had to deal with that. :p
     
  14. aaronrkelly

    aaronrkelly Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    1,087
    Ive built two rifles from Model 1 Sales rifle kits - each cost less than $600 and have given me NO problems.

    Just grab a basic 16" or 20" rifle kit and a stripped lower, takes about 45 mins at your table.
     
  15. DWH

    DWH Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    165

    Attached Files:

  16. mons meg

    mons meg Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    727
    Location:
    Logan County, OK
    That's the truth. But I figure I only gave $90 total for my EA lower, and a little black paint can go a long way. :D Hey, it's not a museum piece...but it shoots great.
     
  17. MMcfpd

    MMcfpd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    808
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    One approach is to put masking tape on the receiver around the molding for the bolt release when you tap in the retaining pin.
     
  18. DougW

    DougW Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,059
    Location:
    North Texas
    Oops, a double tap!
     
  19. DougW

    DougW Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,059
    Location:
    North Texas
    000_0158.gif

    3 of the builds, my midlength, CAR, and A2.

    IMAG0007.jpg

    My son's M4'gery with the ACOG, my CAR15 with ML2 Aimpoint
    The M4 has about $3200 in it right now (the rifle also has a mil style laser)

    The instructions on AR15.com work very well. If you have some mechanical/tinkering skills, you can do it.
     
  20. bender

    bender Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    970
    Location:
    TX
    interesting thread. Is the general opinion of Model 1 kits pretty good?
     
  21. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    11,109
    The general opinion of Model 1 is "adequate". They have a questionable reputation as to parts quality. If you don't mind building the rifle and having to replace small parts that might go south later, you'll probably be OK. Note I said small parts...my understanding is that the major components (barrel, upper receiver, etc) are fine. Some of the springs, etc, might wear out more quickly, but those are a drop-in type of replacement.

    Others will know more. They have a poor rep on Arfcom, but the Arfcommers are picky.

    If I was buildng a serious use rifle that had to work, every time, I'd buy from someone else.

    Mike
     
  22. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,590
    Even easier...start the pin by hand then squeeze it in using a vise grip with tape on the jaws. Smooth and easy, a half turn at a time...
    /Bryan
     
  23. Rex B

    Rex B Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2006
    Messages:
    674
    Location:
    Fort Worth TX
    If you don't mind using some used components, you can save a bit.
    If you have access to a milling machine, and some skill, you can have a lower from a $25 casting. Otherwise, $120 seems to be about the bottom line, all things considered. There aren't any used ones, people hang on to them.
    I bought a like-new upper, complete locally for $300.
    Bare upper is $50 from LAR - seconds, but I can't find any blemishes.
    Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) is $100, Changing Handle (CH) is $17
    Barrels are $150 and up
    Lower parts kit is $55
    Buttstocks run $20 - $35, forestocks $20
    Magazine is $10

    So, that's $542 plus any shipping or sales tax for a complete gun
    Realistically, $600. For that money you can buy an Olympic Arms Plinker model - but what fun is that??
     
  24. Acera

    Acera Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,169
    Location:
    Free State of Texas
    Key point to having a great looking rifle, is the proper tools. Plan to do it right the first time. Then use your tool set to build another one.

    Here is another look at the assembly of a lower, with the proper tools.
    https://www.vbd.com/noc/shop/products_category.asp?CategoryID=85


    You don't have to buy from them, try midway.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  25. aaronrkelly

    aaronrkelly Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    1,087
    I built 2 rifle recently (last 6 months) using their kits.

    I had one problem with the first rifle. It would have an occasional failure to feed. Often enough it was a problem, not often enough to figure it out. I called them up expecting the run-around, partly due to the bad press they get at AR15.COM. I got a very concerned, courteous employee who requested I send it back for them to look at. I put it in the mail Monday, they got it Wednesday. I get a call back from the tech that day at noon. He had replaced the upper receiver and shot it, he believed the problem was fixed. He also upgraded my rifle to M4 feedramps based on the fact I shoot alot of hollowpoint ammunition. I got my rifle back on Friday. Fixed in 1 week.

    The second rifle I have had zero problems with. In fact since receiving the first rifle back from repair I have put thousands of rounds thru both rifles and had ZERO problems.

    I have no idea about others experience, mine was great and they are the first people I call. They will do things that are mentioned on their site as well.

    For instance the M4 feedramps, even though not listed on their site they will upgrade your rifle kit to these for $25 - this gives you an Armalite upper receiver in place of their regular receiver made my Anchor Harvey. You just have to call them with your order.

    Both of these rifle cost me $580 to build and are on Superior Arms lower receivers.

    S-15.jpg

    S-1520inch.gif
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page