Help me build my first AR15

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by pittspilot, Oct 14, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    825
    Location:
    AZ, Free at last!
    Howdy,

    Before the incoming Democratic majority, and in the interest of beating the rush, help me build an AR.

    Background. It's my first AR. I already have an AK, SKS and various other rifles. This one is to introduce me to the AR design, plinking, range work, possible hunting, and should be able to function in the event of SHTF if needed. I have also decided on the 20inch barrel.

    I have decided not to do a kit. Budget is between $800-900 which should get me into a decent quality AR. I have already ruled out a Colt (Nothing against Colt's, but they are out of my price range).

    Here's the thought.

    1) Bushmaster 20in National Match Heavy Barrel assembly $225 (I am looking to go 1-9 twist)
    2) Bushmaster Lower with 6 position stock $360
    3) Rock River Forged UTE2 Upper Receiver Assembly $210
    4) (Possibly) Bushmaster Two Stage Competition Trigger 127.00 (Takes me slightly out of budget)

    I have read extensively here and over at AR15.com but that's the extent of my knowledge and would appreciate any advice or thoughts. Thanks,
     
  2. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    14,613
    Location:
    Texas
    Where are you finding complete upper assemblies in the $2XX range? Those are outstanding prices. Are you sure you are looking at the right item though?
     
  3. rugerfreak

    rugerfreak Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    492
    Like he said---its his first----don't think he has a grasp of all the parts needed to build an upper.

    Still need a bolt/carrier---charging handle---Is that barrel complete with hand guards --gas tube and pins??

    And you'll be needing some tools----figure another $100 for those---give or take.
     
  4. grizz

    grizz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    412
    Location:
    Eagle River, AK
    why build?

    IMO, for $900 I'd just order a custom gun from RRA, or buy one new off the shelf if you can find one with the options you want.

    I'm fairly new into ARs, but from everything I've read, and my personal experience with my RRA, you just can't go wrong with a Rock River.
     
  5. DougW

    DougW Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,074
    Location:
    North Texas
    :cuss: Why is everygody conceeding defeat this election? :fire: Just because the media said to?:cuss: I am not ready to surrender and drop all my weapons like the French.

    If you want to build an Ar15, go to www.ar15.com and follow the technical instructions there.
     
  6. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    825
    Location:
    AZ, Free at last!
    Well, I thought I had everything.

    1) Here is the upper assembly http://www.rockriverarms.com/item-detail.cfm?ID=AR0052A&storeid=1&image=rcvra24.gif&CFID=25663349&CFTOKEN=72249396

    6th one down. I thought that came with with everything you needed.

    2) The barrel http://bushmaster.com/shopping/barrel-assemblies/pbbl-20a.asp Comes with handguards, gas system and everything forward of the assembly.

    3) and then the lower http://bushmaster.com/shopping/lowers/alowtele.asp

    This is not the complete gun? Seems like the upper with the combination is running in the $435 range. As I said, I am a neophyte.

    As far as the build, my understanding is that these parts would be straightforward to assemble, but please let me know.

    As far as the elctions, have you seen the polls? I'll be voting and voting R, but it appears that most others will not be.
     
  7. ocabj

    ocabj Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,383
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Not unless you want a 1-7" twist barrel. RRA is a great starter gun, but with the modularity of the AR platform and the better upper manufacturers out there (ie: CMMG, White Oak, Bravo Co, Adco), there's no reason why you shouldn't build your own from scratch or at least seek an upper from the aformentioned examples.

    As far as that list of parts just posted, it looks like that build is going to cost right around $800.

    But FYI: You're missing the bolt, bolt carrier group, and charging handle.

    Don't forgot the receiver/barrel vise, torque wrenches, and headspace gauges if you don't already have them. Granted, the way the AR barrel is designed, you're not supposed to need headspace gauges, but the correct and safe way to go is headspace no matter what.
     
  8. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    825
    Location:
    AZ, Free at last!
    Okay thanks,

    Looks like those part will set me back about 155.00.

    And I am likely to have a gunsmith put all the parts together.

    So what are the thoughts on this combination?
     
  9. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    3,476
    Location:
    Baltimore
    Not to get all contrary here, but are you dead-set on the 20" barrel? You don't give up a whole ton going down to 16", and you get a lot more manuverability. I'd go 20" on a target gun, but I am very glad w/ 16" on a Home Defense gun. Further, with the collapsible stock and the heavy barrel, you're going to have a lot of weight forward; balance might be off.

    Here's a few suggestions:

    $525: CMMG complete upper, in 16", 18", or 20". In the 16 or 18, you can get Midlength Gas System, which gives a smoother recoil than the CAR-length. The 20" has a Gov't profile which should be lighter than the bull barrels. Or go 18" and be a non-conformist. You choice of A1, A2, or A3 sight settup. Feast your eyes on their array: http://cmmginc.secure-mall.com/shop/?shop=1&cart=444382&cat=27&

    $175: Stag Complete Lower. No tools required, all assembled, just needs a buttstock. Run a THR Search on Stag Lowers to hear the story on these. Basically, they're good.

    $69: Cavalry Arms (CAA) 6-pos stock w/ all internals (buffer, spring, etc)

    Bingo, Bobs-yer-uncle, you're golden. $769 smackers, plus a few bucks for shipping and FFL fees. You've got a really-sweet upper (which is what matters) and a good lower.

    I'll take back my comments on the 16" if you go for the 18". That'd be cool.

    -MV
     
  10. lycanthrope

    lycanthrope Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,228
    Location:
    PA
    Bushmaster lowers are horribly overpriced. You can get a tighter lower from RRA/Stag from Eagle Firearms or Title 2 for about $200. There really is no difference.

    For an upper you can go anywhere, but the Clark Gator is guaranteed .5 MOA for about $800 and a White Oak Varmint gun is only $590 with a 1:7 twist and free floated as well. They make rifles to shoot out to 600 yards.........

    A RRA trigger TUNED from White Oak Precision will run you cheaper than the Bushmaster.....don't go two stage unless you're going fot long range shooting.

    Really... for $900 you should have a semi sustom with .5 MOA accuracy. Shelf rifles are overpriced.......badly.
     
  11. Raygun

    Raygun Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    Montana
    I have this barrel on my rifle and it shoots very well for a 5.56mm chamber with a chromed bore, so long as the bullets stay under about 70 grains.

    I'd go with an RRA lower with an A2 stock (actually, I did). I don't really see the point in having a retractable stock on a 20" rifle, but I guess that's just me. The complete lower with A2 stock will run you $275. With the six-position stock, it's $290.

    There I'd go with the complete flattop ($130) and get a decent flip-up rear, like the ARMS 40L ($109). Not that much more expensive at $239, and you won't have to worry about that rear sight getting in your way when you scope it. (Not much point in having a rifle like this if you're not planning on putting a scope on it at some point.)

    You'll also need a complete bolt carrier group (RRA = $130) and complete charging handle ($25).

    The RRA two-stage match trigger runs $120 and I hear nothing but good things about it. I have a Jewell in mine, and that's just a different ball game, but it's also quite a bit more expensive.

    There are also some good, detailed, easy instructions online for getting a decent pull out of a stock trigger if you don't mind doing the work yourself (I'm sure someone can link to them; I can't find them at the moment). I used them to get about a four pound pull out of mine (started at 9 lbs!) and that kept me satisfied until I got the Jewell.

    So you're looking at $1014-1029 for a very good rifle (minus tools or assembly fees). If you knock off the trigger, it would be $894-909.

    I would guess a knowledgeable gunsmith would charge about $100 for the assembly, but that's just a guess. Putting one together yourself is really fun though, teaches you a lot about the rifle, and requires all of four tools most people are unlikely to have already (a 6-inch vise, a vise block, an AR15 armorer's tool, and a 1/2" drive torque wrench). A gunsmith should have all of that stuff.

    After all that, you're really not saving much compared to buying an RRA National Match A4 (at $1,200), but you are getting one made-to-order.
     
  12. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    12,035
    Location:
    California
    I recently completed my first build too - a RRA middy & just love it. Recommend them highly ;) Your list tho seems to mention some quality manufacturers (RRA & Bushy)...I would be proud to own either :D
     
  13. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Messages:
    3,213
    Location:
    Amerikan Twilight Zone
    My buddy just picked up a complete factory RRA 6-po lower for $260.
    However, you also can't go wrong with Bushie. If you're looking at
    resale value, it might do a little better in the future.
     
  14. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    825
    Location:
    AZ, Free at last!
    MMMMmmm.

    That CMMG stuff looks really good. But I am thinking an RRA lower because my understanding is that RRA lowers have excellent off the shelf triggers. May be a little bit more then a stag, but I am willing to pay more for a good trigger.

    So $525 for the CMMG upper, in the 18 inch range (CMMG M18 Rifle Length SPR Upper), or maybe the 16 with rifle length gas system (CMMG 16” M10R Upper), and $290 for the RRA lower with 6 position stock. Right in my neighborhood, and sounds like it would be a nice quality rifle.

    Thoughts?

    And in advance, let me thank all of you for your time and comments. It's why I love this site.
     
  15. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    3,476
    Location:
    Baltimore
    When I talked to CMMG, the clerk said that they prefer to recommend Midlength gas systes on the 16" guns. They offer Rifle-length because some folks want it, but they say Mid runs better and has only very slightly more recoil (but still better than CAR). That's just what that particular clerk told me.

    The 16" with the rifle-length SIGHTS and Mid gas, however, would be extremely cool. I have that same settup from BM with CAR-gas, and love it, but keep wondering if it would have less recoil if I'd gone Mid-gas. It's cool to have full rifle-type sight radius on a gun 4" shorter than an M16A2. Plus it uses the rifle-length handguards, so more aftermarket HG options.

    The 18" SPR w/ mid-length gas is also very swoopy, and you'll probably be the only kid on the block w/ the 18". In an odd way, I really want to try one out just to see if it feels any different from a 16".

    I'd check around on that, but if you feel/find that the extra $60 gets you a better product, no reason not to.

    I got a CMMG lower because _everyone_ was sold out of Stag back in January, because of the whole CA-legal AR rush. Very happy with it, and it gives me an excuse to upgrade to a CMMG upper later this year or next year. Got to get the logos to match up, you know? (grin)

    Hope this was of some help to you.

    -MV
     
  16. Shrike360

    Shrike360 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Oregon
    Del-ton Has some pretty good prices on lowers. For a lower reciever with 6 position buttstock + 2 stage trigger would cost about $305.
     
  17. Raygun

    Raygun Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    Montana
    I haven't personally had the opportunity to try it yet, but RRA's two-stage national match trigger (which appears to come standard on all of their rifles now) is a really good trigger from all accounts I've run across. If you're just buying a complete lower, you have the option of ordering it with or without the NM trigger. The difference is $90. Their standard trigger is pretty much the same as everyone else's. Heavy and creepy.

    EDIT: I found those instructions for tuning the stock trigger in case you're interested: 15-Minute Practical Trigger Job for the AR-15. According to an old post, my trigger actually started at 12 pounds. Following these instructions brought it down to 4.25 pounds. I had previously polished the engagement surfaces and filed the hammer notch down a bit to take some of the creep out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2006
  18. Mr White

    Mr White Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,208
    Location:
    PA
    I have 2 opinions to add:

    I have a RRA NM trigger, and for an extra $100, you can't go wrong. Its a GREAT trigger. I know a guy who shoots high master class and places high at Perry who shoots one of these, its that good.

    If you're thinking of shooting in across-the-course matches or doing any kind of distance shooting, I'd go with a 1:8 twist barrel instead of a 1:9. A 1:8 will stabilize 75-90 gr bullets where a 1:9 will sufficiently stabilize up to 70 gr bullets, and to maintain any kind of accuracy at 600 yd, you gotta shoot 75-90 gr bullets. A 1:8 is still pretty accurate with 55 and 62 gr surplus.
     
  19. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    825
    Location:
    AZ, Free at last!
    Looks likt I am going to go with Ameetec Lower for $200.00, and then go with the 16' CMMG upper with some goodies.

    Thanks for all your help folks
     
  20. MisterPX

    MisterPX Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Messages:
    759
    Location:
    Amerika's Doyleland
    If you want to install the barrel yourself, it's not that bad. A barrel wrench can run as low as $20, and you can make your own vise block out of wood. Install barrel, torque barrel nut, line up delta ring assy, install gas tube. Takes about 5 minutes.
     
  21. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Messages:
    2,214
    Location:
    FLORIDA
    Not trying to hijack the thread, but...

    RRA is good stuff. No doubt. But it seems that company is really riding on internet testimony, which isn't bad, but once it gets going it's a snowball effect that has drowned out other options. Seems that RRA is the most enthusiastically recommended brand these days.

    In my opinion, Armalite has a very high quality, and very impressive AR lineup right now. Better than RRA. They don't get 1/10th the attention though.

    ***

    As for the main topic of the thread, if you're not going to seriously search out and buy 75 or 77gr ammo, no need to worry about twist - get the 1/9. I'd rather have chrome-line 4150 Bushmaster than settle for a 1/8 stainless steel if getting heavy bullets will be iffy. Most people who buy the 75's and 77's still shoot 55 and 62 for practice because the heavies are expensive. I handload the heavies to keep prices down, but even then, they are not plinking loads at all.

    If you absolutely want the maximum possible terminal performance from the AR, then you'll have to go with the 1/8 or faster to shoot the heavies.

    Don't feel undergunned with lighter bullets though. Nothing wrong with the 68 hornady or the 69smk either. They are far superior to the 55 or 62 grain bullets, but they work great from a 1/9.


    Just some thoughts.
     
  22. Mr White

    Mr White Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,208
    Location:
    PA
    Word of mouth is the best advertising. Scale that to the Internet you see why RRA gets such good ratings. They make good stuff. My lower and my trigger are RRA and I'm completely happy with them. Not saying that there isn't other stuff out there that's just as good, but for the price, RRA's NM trigger can't be beat. IMO.
     
  23. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    825
    Location:
    AZ, Free at last!
    So after spending the last few days scouring AR15.com, I have my AR.

    Went with an Ameetec M4 lower which set me back $200.00

    Went with a Stag 2H Upper with the ARMS BUIS for $485.

    Also went with some CProducts magazines which were unbelievably priced.

    I just clean and lubed and put it together, and it will go for its first shoot tomorrow.

    Thanks to all for your help.
     
  24. SoCalShooter

    SoCalShooter Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,091
    Location:
    That's for me to know and not you!
    Like others posted you are on the right track but missing some parts, you can find a complete match upper hence the *COMPLETE* part, less work for you and easier to drop in. BTW why are you going match? will you be shooting match or do you want an extremely accurate rifle?
     
  25. soul_rapier

    soul_rapier Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Kentucky
    here's some help

    here's some sites im building a m4 on RRA lower all my parts cost around $700these two sites are the cheapest places to buy from www.rguns.net and www.jtdistributing.com
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice