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Help me with my first ar build


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#1 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 10:01 AM

New to the armory so first off I'll say hello.

Like the title says. Me and my wife purchased the first ar addition to our family. A m&p sport 2. Nice ar shoots fine for my needs. Although I like the ar platform I am new to the mindboggling amount of choices for everything. A2 this, m4 that, billet, cast, forged.

Il start with its intended use. Range gun, I'm not a hunter, but I do like to sit down at a table and sight in a scope. Just something I find fun. Of course personal defense. I do have a wife and three kids that I worry about.

I want to stay with the .233 5.56 ammo selection. I will be building this gun with my son as a father son project, and as time and money allow. I'm not going for a 1000 yard tack driver. My budget as of right now is about 400 dollars. But I don't mind doing the build in phases. So I can add more money on as the build moves along.

I'm also not looking for a extreme high dollar build. Just a reliable, durable. Nice shooting gun that me and my son can build together. With the money spent where it matters. So that I have something to take to a range for a fun time with the family for a long time to come.

I'll answer any questions that might help narrow down choices for me, and look forward to your input. Thanks.

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#2 ONLINE   geepee3

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 10:16 AM

There are a few Fathers Days sales going on.

Primary Arms has some good prices on stripped lowers and other parts. Just make sure not to get any polymer lowers.

Palmetto State Armory and Joe Bobs Outfitters are good places to look for parts.

 

Do you know what length barrel you are looking for?

 

Thanks,

Glenn


Edited by geepee3, Jun. 12 2018 - 10:17 AM.



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#3 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 10:43 AM

There are a few Fathers Days sales going on.
Primary Arms has some good prices on stripped lowers and other parts. Just make sure not to get any polymer lowers.
Palmetto State Armory and Joe Bobs Outfitters are good places to look for parts.
 
Do you know what length barrel you are looking for?
 
Thanks,
Glenn

I'm thinking a 16 in barrel. As it really is mostly a personal defense weapon that can go to the range.

And as far as lower from the research that I have done so far it seems like a billet aluminum lower is the best cost vs. Weight vs. Durability option.

I would like to keep the gun light because my son who is 13 can handle the weight, but my daughter's are 10 and 7 so a lighter gun would be easier for them to handle. I like to keep the family involved so that they understand that guns aren't scary. They are a tool that must be respected, but can be a fun time when used properly.

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#4 ONLINE   srjdsmith

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 10:43 AM

I’m a relatively new (3 down, one in a planning stage) and also low budget builder (public school teachers aren’t all that well recompensed...). I’ll ask some questions and other more knowledgeable guys will chime in as you go.

1) are you planning to build the upper and lower? I bought a complete upper the first time but I’ve built other uppers from scratch since then. Complete uppers can be had for reasonable prices.

2) what tools do you have? Less specialized tools are needed for the lower, but still some. An armorer’s wrench is good, punches/drift pins for roll pins and solid pins. For the upper you need a torque wrench and usually a crow foot wrench. Blocks for building upper and lower are helpful. (Some of these tools can be gotten very reasonably, as well as things like stocks and pistol grips from places like Wish.)

3) a stripped lower is the same price as an 80% lower and a lot less work- but you buy it like you’re buying a rifle. 80% lowers are the same price but you have to have/buy the tools to mill them. I’ve done 80% and there’s a real sense of ownership and accomplishment- but they’re not cheaper and there’s less certainty... until it’s done and you know you did it right.

4) I found the mil-spec trigger not to my liking. But they’re inexpensive. You could start with one and replace it later with something better- my last two are RRA Varmint and I love them.

5) chambering? Not .223 because then you won’t be shooting 5.56, but you can shoot both in a rifle chambered for 5.56. .223 Wylde also shoots both. Maybe someone will give good advice about which is better and the ideal twist rate for the barrel.

6) if you can, go on YouTube and record several guys building uppers and lowers (and maybe finishing 80%lowers). If you can record them, not just bookmark, then you’ll have them if YouTube pulls some trick and deletes them all. Videos can be helpful.


Also, some posts went up while I was typing, I found very good barrels and other things at Bear Creek Arsenal at some very favorable prices. I think someone already said JoeBob and Palmetto State Armory- IF what you want is in stock


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Edited by srjdsmith, Jun. 12 2018 - 10:46 AM.



#5 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 10:51 AM

I’m a relatively new (3 down, one in a planning stage) and also low budget builder (public school teachers aren’t all that well recompensed...). I’ll ask some questions and other more knowledgeable guys will chime in as you go.

1) are you planning to build the upper and lower? I bought a complete upper the first time but I’ve built other uppers from scratch since then. Complete uppers can be had for reasonable prices.

2) what tools do you have? Less specialized tools are needed for the lower, but still some. An armorer’s wrench is good, punches/drift pins for roll pins and solid pins. For the upper you need a torque wrench and usually a crow foot wrench. Blocks for building upper and lower are helpful. (Some of these tools can be gotten very reasonably, as well as things like stocks and pistol grips from places like Wish.)

3) a stripped lower is the same price as an 80% lower and a lot less work- but you buy it like you’re buying a rifle. 80% lowers are the same price but you have to have/buy the tools to mill them. I’ve done 80% and there’s a real sense of ownership and accomplishment- but they’re not cheaper and there’s less certainty... until it’s done and you know you did it right.

4) I found the mil-spec trigger not to my liking. But they’re inexpensive. You could start with one and replace it later with something better- my last two are RRA Varmint and I love them.

5) chambering? Not .223 because then you won’t be shooting 5.56, but you can shoot both in a rifle chambered for 5.56. .223 Wylde also shoots both. Maybe someone will give good advice about which is better and the ideal twist rate for the barrel.

6) if you can, go on YouTube and record several guys building uppers and lowers (and maybe finishing 80%lowers). If you can record them, not just bookmark, then you’ll have them if YouTube pulls some trick and deletes them all. Videos can be helpful.


Also, some posts went up while I was typing, I found very good barrels and other things at Bear Creek Arsenal at some very favorable prices. I think someone already said JoeBob and Palmetto State Armory- IF what you want is in stock


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I am a mechanic by trade so tools are not a problem. And if the are a few specialty tools that make life easier I'm not opposed to purchasing them. I would like to build the whole thing fron stripped upper and lower. As far as an 80% lower I have looked into them but would like to start with a ready to go one. Maybe as i get a few under my belt that will change. But for now just a regular stripped lower.

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#6 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 11:05 AM

Look for sales.   A regular cast upper and lower will be all you need. Billet costs money. Look for a standard full auto bolt carrier group to go on sale. PSA has these sales all the time. Save up for a decent trigger. The Rock River Arms two stage varmint trigger or the Rise super sporting triggers are good for the money they cost. I would save and build for the lower first. Pistol grips and stocks are a personal thing so try a few of other peoples stuff before you buy. Once your lower is ready you can think about the upper. You may find a complete one ready to go on sale or you may find a good part here and there and just build one. Something to consider is to look in our classified area for pieces and parts that members are selling. There are some good deals to be had here on used stuff. Stay away from gimmicks, polymer, and Chinese crap found on ebay. Buy from good sources. If you find a seller and want to get an idea of their reputation just post that seller up here and the part and you will get a bunch of real time experiences. Beware though.....buying good parts will lead to wanting to shoot better. Shooting better will lead to wanting to shoot more. The great thing about the platform is you can build a light weight range plinker and then swap uppers and have a nice heavy long range beast. All it takes in money. Good luck building one for $400...it can be done with time and patience. I can't seem to build one for less than $1500.....but mine weight more than a  small car. 


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#7 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 11:17 AM

Well 400 is what I have to start my build. I can go up as more comes in. I want to start with building the lower. I live in illinois so they may decide to ban these scary black rifles at anytime. So if I start with a lower good luck taking what I already have. I would say I would like to be between 6 to 800 by the time it's completed. With iron sights. I have been looking at different furniture. I seem to like magpul stuff from the things I have handled. So at least that's a reference point.

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#8 ONLINE   geepee3

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 11:59 AM

I'm thinking a 16 in barrel. As it really is mostly a personal defense weapon that can go to the range.

And as far as lower from the research that I have done so far it seems like a billet aluminum lower is the best cost vs. Weight vs. Durability option.

I would like to keep the gun light because my son who is 13 can handle the weight, but my daughter's are 10 and 7 so a lighter gun would be easier for them to handle. I like to keep the family involved so that they understand that guns aren't scary. They are a tool that must be respected, but can be a fun time when used properly.

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With the 16" barrel, get a midlength gas length.

It will help with the recoil for the younger ones and reliably cycle.

For your first build, a standard forged Milspec will work.

I have billet uppers because I run side charging uppers. But all my lowers are forged though.

Others will chime in to give you more info. Remember, your going to need some tooling also.

 

Thanks,

Glenn 




#9 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 12:12 PM

Ok. So as I'm saying I'm going to start with the lower. Help me put together a parts list of what I'll need to get a completed lower. I like the idea of the forged lower. Not billet but better then cast. I'll need a trigger. Want something with a lighter draw but some pull, definitely not a hair trigger. Do the rock river 2stage varmint trigger or rise super sport trigger meet those criteria?

What are some tools I'll need to complete a lower and what other parts will I need?

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#10 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 12:14 PM

Also apologize for all the questions. I've been shooting forever but just now getting the itch to build my own. So I only have enough knowledge to make myself dangerous lol.

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#11 ONLINE   Longhair

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 12:20 PM

Do you have a licensed local gun shop that will handle transfers at a reasonable cost? That is one of the first things to nail down, as any finished stripped lower will have to be shipped to an FFL.

When it comes to stripped lowers, most any will do, from PSA $39 on up (the sky is the limit). For something a bit nicer than the PSA you can look at Aero Precision, Spikes, or a few others in the same class.

 

In the mean time, there are some basic tools that will make life a lot easier you can track down, like a set of pin punches, a set of roll pin punches, and a set of roll pin starters.

 

You can also start looking at lower parts kits (LPK's). Most will come complete with fire control groups (FCG's=hammer, trigger, and disconnector), but you can also buy builder's kits that are everything needed minus the FCG. If you want better than a Mil-Spec trigger w/o going overboard, the ALG-ACT is a good choice.




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#12 ONLINE   srjdsmith

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 12:44 PM

I'll need a trigger. Want something with a lighter draw but some pull, definitely not a hair trigger. Do the rock river 2stage varmint trigger or rise super sport trigger meet those criteria?

RRA 2 stage varmint is 3.5 lbs. it’s like breaking a glass rod- clean and crisp. It’s clearly lighter pull than a “not less than 5.5 lbs” and usually more like 6.5 lbs mil-spec trigger. It’s not the only good one, but you can get it for less than $90,when last I looked, and it’s a great trigger.

I’d get the rest of the lower as a kit. That is, Unless you want ambi safety, extended mag release, or a Phase Five Battery Assist Device. Even then you can still get the kit and substitute just that part.


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Edited by srjdsmith, Jun. 12 2018 - 12:47 PM.



#13 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 01:03 PM

Do you have a licensed local gun shop that will handle transfers at a reasonable cost? That is one of the first things to nail down, as any finished stripped lower will have to be shipped to an FFL.
When it comes to stripped lowers, most any will do, from PSA $39 on up (the sky is the limit). For something a bit nicer than the PSA you can look at Aero Precision, Spikes, or a few others in the same class.
 
In the mean time, there are some basic tools that will make life a lot easier you can track down, like a set of pin punches, a set of roll pin punches, and a set of roll pin starters.
 
You can also start looking at lower parts kits (LPK's). Most will come complete with fire control groups (FCG's=hammer, trigger, and disconnector), but you can also buy builder's kits that are everything needed minus the FCG. If you want better than a Mil-Spec trigger w/o going overboard, the ALG-ACT is a good choice.

Yes I have a local gun shop I go to. 15 dollars for ffl transfers. It's about the cheapest around that i have found.

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#14 ONLINE   geepee3

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 01:36 PM

Ok. So as I'm saying I'm going to start with the lower. Help me put together a parts list of what I'll need to get a completed lower. I like the idea of the forged lower. Not billet but better then cast. I'll need a trigger. Want something with a lighter draw but some pull, definitely not a hair trigger. Do the rock river 2stage varmint trigger or rise super sport trigger meet those criteria?

What are some tools I'll need to complete a lower and what other parts will I need?

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Here is a list for you.

 

Stripped lower receiver.

LPK; Lower Parts Kit. I use the CMMG Gunbuilders LPK. It is a basic kit. No trigger, pistol grip or trigger guard. 

Trigger kit.

Trigger guard. I prefer the Magpul Enhanced trigger guard, But a basic one will do.

Carbine extension. Adjustable for your younger ones.

Carbine spring.

Carbine buffer.

Carbine stock

Receiver end plate.

Castle nut.

Pistol grip.

 

xD8cH6E.jpg

Here is a picture of what is needed. This Spikes lower has a milled in trigger guard, but pictured one because most stripped lowers need one. 

Will post in a little while what tools I have.

 

And guess what guys, someone may be putting together a lower because someone has all the parts.  :D:

 

Thanks,

Glenn




#15 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 01:54 PM

As far as tools......your a mechanic...I put my lowers together with a 1/8" long punch, a small hammer and a pocket knife along with masking tape......did three of them that way on my desk. Upper for me only take a couple of pieces of wood to clamp the upper in the vise and that's it for special tools. 

 

The only ar15 tool I have is a armorers wrench  for the barrel nut.


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#16 ONLINE   geepee3

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 02:34 PM



As far as tools......your a mechanic...I put my lowers together with a 1/8" long punch, a small hammer and a pocket knife along with masking tape......did three of them that way on my desk. Upper for me only take a couple of pieces of wood to clamp the upper in the vise and that's it for special tools. 

 

The only ar15 tool I have is a armorers wrench  for the barrel nut.

 

Towtruck is correct it does not take many tools and there are some good lower assembly videos on line. There are bad ones too!!!

 

Me, I'm a tool whore... Keep your minds out of the gutter guys!   :whistling:

Here is what I have that I normally use to assemble a lower;

 

MxZslYc.jpg

 

Top is a Little Crow roll pin pusher for the trigger guard.

Lymans roll pin punches.

Bolt catch roll pin starter.

Wheeler front takedown pin install tool.

No-Mar lower receiver magazine well vice block.

Lymans brass tapper hammer and brass punch.

DPMS Delrin punch.

Tapco Multi Tool.

2" blue tape.

 

More tools than what most people have. But what can I say.

As mentioned you can get away with much less. 

The reason I got most of these tools was I was planning for a BRD infection. And believe me, I caught it bad!!!

 

Thanks,

Glenn


Edited by geepee3, Jun. 12 2018 - 02:35 PM.



#17 ONLINE   Srgt. Hulka

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 02:46 PM

Yes I have a local gun shop I go to. 15 dollars for ffl transfers. It's about the cheapest around that i have found.

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Does your gunshop sell stripped lowers?  If so, it may be cheaper to buy one from him and save the FFL transfer fee.  If not, here's Primary Arms page of stripped lowers.  

Anderson is cheap and good.  I think we've all built a gun with an Anderson lower.  Spikes and Aero are both good to go.  Stay far away form the polymer lowers.  

http://www.primaryar...Lower-Receivers

 

PSA has just about any combination for lower build kits that you may want, especially since your budget is $400.  

http://palmettostate...parts-kits.html

 

For the upper, the barrel and the hand-guard is a little more personal, so you'll have to decide type and how much you want to spend on those.  




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#18 ONLINE   Srgt. Hulka

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 02:49 PM

And of course....

The How-To videos.  

 

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#19 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 02:52 PM

Thanks, I'm gonna do some research and see what I can afford. If you don't mind I'm gonna come back with a pats list and see what you all think before I order.

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#20 OFFLINE   Devils15

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Posted Jun. 12 2018 - 09:53 PM

So heres what I have so far. Any compliments, complaints, further suggestions. 264b39c3c5608d88f9557739800ac218.jpg20db2e1a074fc7563528c9cc1b25a754.jpg8cfb2d8d1b08722c8ce744b2191c79c3.jpg

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