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How do I build the lightest possible AR-15?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Cap'n Jack Burntbeard, Apr 17, 2010.

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  1. Cap'n Jack Burntbeard

    Cap'n Jack Burntbeard Member

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    How do I build the lightest possible AR-15?

    My basic constraints are:

    No SBR
    Caliber - 5.56 x 45, it makes more sense than 5.45, which I originally specified.
    Flat top upper
    No iron sights
    Rifle length free float tube handguards, no rails

    How do i make it happen?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  2. Still 2 Many Choices!?

    Still 2 Many Choices!? Member

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    Start with a Bushmaster(or other mfg.) carbon fiber lower. That's where most of the weight savings can be had. Second get a smoothe upper receiver(no forward assist).
    Next SBR it, whoops, lol!

    But seriously, the first two options will save most if the weight, and using a railed gas block, and simple rear sight will finish it.

    No expert here, but those are the mods I'd start looking for, and pricing, in an ultra light AR.

    Someone will be along shortly to tell you to workout more:D...

    Still 2 Many Choices!?
     
  3. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    For starters, sounds like you want a Bushmaster Carbon 15 upper and lower receiver. Bushmaster doesn't make any uppers in 5.45, so you'll need to buy a bare upper and put everything together yourself, or have a gunsmith do it.

    The rest is fairly easy. Mil-spec buffer tube is lighter that commercial, so go for that. Dunno what the lightest stock is, but that should be easy enough to find. Pencil barrel. Either a 16" post-ban style, or 14.5" or 14.7" with a permanently attached flash hider. Micro gas block. I believe free-float tubes are lighter than standard handguards, so then the lightest rifle length one of those you can get. That could be trickier, since there are so many AR-15 tubes available, but you can skip anything with rails, as those will usually be heavier.
     
  4. Cap'n Jack Burntbeard

    Cap'n Jack Burntbeard Member

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    RyanM, you can read my mind?
    what you describe sounds perfect.
    Oh and I hate rails, I hate them with a passion.
     
  5. RP88

    RP88 Member

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    shortest possible barrel in a light "pencil" profile will be the best way to cut weight. From there, there are lightweight stocks, lightweight/low-mass buffers, low-mass BCGs, and polymer and light-weight lower receivers to consider.

    The problem though, is the cost. The lighter components are substantially more expensive.
     
  6. Cap'n Jack Burntbeard

    Cap'n Jack Burntbeard Member

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    I'm not too worried about the cost.
    Enlighten me on these low mass BCGs and buffers, would that not affect reliable cycling?
    If they don't, this is almost too good to be true.:cool:
     
  7. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/JP-Low-Mass-Stainless-Carrier-Assembly-w-QPQ-Fini-p/jpbc-3.htm

    Very very interesting. My full-auto BCG is 11.5 ounces, in comparison (oh, wait, that's with the bolt in. 10 ounces with the key and firing pin.). And BCM is a great vendor. They tend to not carry anything that doesn't work.

    The lack of forward assist serrations is perfect, since a Carbon 15 upper has no forward assist.

    I think the absolute lightest possible lower would be a Cav Arms Mk.II (good luck finding one, though), with the lightweight buffer mentioned on BCM.
     
  8. RP88

    RP88 Member

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    well, I imagine there wouldn't be a market for them if they did. Problem is, I don't know much about them either - just that they exist; i have no experience with them...

    http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/JP-Low-Mass-Stainless-Carrier-Assembly-w-QPQ-Fini-p/jpbc-3.htm

    http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/JP-Low-Mass-Rifle-Buffer-p/jplmb buffer.htm

    a ~6oz. BCG and a 3oz. buffer, compared to what I say feels about 18-20 oz. of weight between a standard full-auto BCG and an H buffer.

    Not only is it noticeably lighter, but it also helps with recoil by lowering reciprocating mass. Seems well worth the money. Lemme know how it works if you go with it, because this would be interesting to drop into a Del-Ton pencil kit with a lightweight full-sized stock.

    The only problem is that they seem to only have a rifle-length buffer available. Not bad, since there are lightweight A2-sized stocks out there that make any carbine stock feel hefty, but that means that a lightweight A2 stock will also set you back a ways.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  9. Cap'n Jack Burntbeard

    Cap'n Jack Burntbeard Member

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    Not a problem, I have an ACE ultra light on my LR-308 the stock weighs only 142g ( approximately 5 oz ) and they cost about $90.
     
  10. RP88

    RP88 Member

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    then it sounds like you just might get an AR to weigh juuuuust under five pounds unloaded. :eek::cool:

    I say go for it.
     
  11. Cap'n Jack Burntbeard

    Cap'n Jack Burntbeard Member

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    I have another question, what barrel twist rate is best for 5.45 out of a 16" bbl?
     
  12. Zach S

    Zach S Member

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    You don't have to have rails on a free-float forend. Smooth ones, or ones with removable rails, can be had from several manufacturers. PRI comes to mind.

    On a side note, most of the railed fore ends that are lighter than A2 HGs gain enough weight to make them heavier after you add rail covers - and keep in mind that rifle fore ends have a lot more rail to cover...

    I have no idea, but AFAIK the only companies that offer 5.45 bbls are Smith, M1S, and Oly. IIRC, they all have 1/8 twist.
     
  13. MetalHead

    MetalHead Member

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    The CavArms or Bushy Carbon lower, a Bushy Carbon or Les Bear non-forward assist upper, don't skimp of bolt carrier or buffer weight if you expect to shoot full power loads. There are some nice small gasblocks out there, I like the looks of the Badger. Check the weights of carbon fiber free-float tubes I don't think you will find a lighter setup unless you stick with old style CAR hand-guards. If I was to make one again I would choose a mid-length gas system. A SBR barrel with a perm attached flash suppresser is gonna weigh more than a plain 16.1" barrel.
    Mine is on the CavArms lower with a lightened DPMS M4 barrel, less than 5.5 lbs with iron sights, big bonus is the weight balance is almost perfect, the CavArms lower is not easy to get balanced up with 20 inch barrels unless you put ballast near the buttplate.
     
  14. highorder

    highorder Member

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    6 ounces with the barrel nut. I'm really liking mine over midlength gas.
     
  15. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Cav arms has very nice fixed stock polymer lowers. Very light. If you can get them..........

    I wonder who will buy the Cav arms equipment and start making these lowers again?
     
  16. Al LaVodka

    Al LaVodka member

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    Carbon Fiber have a rep for twisting/they are still working feeding bugs out of, don't they? I found just a pencil barrel and standard telescoping stock makes an incredibly light, balanced, handy arm.
    Al
     
  17. Cap'n Jack Burntbeard

    Cap'n Jack Burntbeard Member

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    So the question is where do I get a pencil profile barrel in 5.45?
    And where do I get a bare bushmaster carbon fiber upper and lower? Bushmaster seems to only sell complete carbon 15s.:banghead:
     
  18. Cap'n Jack Burntbeard

    Cap'n Jack Burntbeard Member

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    Also, what is the lightest possible muzzle brake? I have no need for a flash hider since flash and blast is part of the fun.:D:uhoh:
     
  19. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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  20. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Anyone make a titanium bolt carrier? :D
     
  21. MetalHead

    MetalHead Member

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    If flash and blast is what you want, just get a nice recessed crown and either enjoy the weight savings of put that weight to somewhere it will do you good, like a better optic.
     
  22. RP88

    RP88 Member

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    if you can't find a non-thread barrel, then buy whatever you can, take off the hider/brake, and put a simple muzzle nut/thread cover on it.
     
  23. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    a muzzle brake is going to weigh more than a flash hider ever will. Do you know what a flash hider looks like? It's about the size of a baby carrot cut in half. We're talking extremely light weight. The A2 flash hider is mostly cut out anyways, so the material used is pretty minimal.
     
  24. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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  25. Cap'n Jack Burntbeard

    Cap'n Jack Burntbeard Member

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    So it seems that my choices are a bit too limited with 5.45.
    But if i go to 5.56 i found this barrel it says lightweight profile, is that the same as pencil?
     
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