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  1. #1
    BKR's Avatar
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    Help Me Build an AR-15

    So Cassius was looking for more technical content for the Armory.
    I thought I'd try to provide a topic.

    What I want: I want to build a basic but sturdy and reliable AR-15 in 5.56 NATO (or .223 Rem., you tell me which is better choice), as a project for my boys and I to work on. Then, we will all learn manual of arms for said rifle, maintenance, etc.

    I think that is important given how common ARs are in today's firearms landscape. This rifle/carbine will get shot a LOT, so reliability is really important.

    So:
    Basic
    Reliable
    Reasonably accurate
    I do not want a short barrel.
    Not so fucking expensive I have to sell stock to afford a trigger. That does not mean as cheap a possible.

    What I have:
    1.) Brownells Screwdriver bit set (large one).
    2.) A lot of basic hand tools.
    3.) A 2002 or 3 vintage DPMS bare AR lower, legally purchased back then through a licensed gun dealer. I still have the receipt, I think.

    That's it. Have at it !
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

  2. #2
    ghost55's Avatar
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    When it comes to receivers, I really like the Aero M4E1 threaded sets. They have some features that make building a bit easier. They also look really cool. What's your budget looking like, and do you plan on mounting an optic?

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    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    When it comes to receivers, I really like the Aero M4E1 threaded sets. They have some features that make building a bit easier. They also look really cool. What's your budget looking like, and do you plan on mounting an optic?
    Well, under $500 would be nice. Cheaper than I can buy a new AR of reasonable quality, for sure. Otherwise, well, I can sell the lower and buy a complete weapon.

    That would defeat the purpose of learning about ARs from ground up, though.

    I'm going to do it a bit at a time, so won't be doing a mega parts order.

    I would assume I'd start with building the lower first. Because I have a lower.

    I am going to go outside and check on the chickens and get eggs in a few. I'll bring the lower in and post a photo of it.

    Optics: I would like to have that option. I think at first though normal aperture sights would be good. My boys still have sub- 20/20 vision, and I can manage with a big enough rear aperture.
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

  4. #4
    BKR's Avatar
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    So a stripped Aero M4E1 is 98 bucks from Brownells.

    Not too bad, a complete one is almost $400. Jeez, am I looking at building a decent upper for that much, or close ?
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

  5. #5
    ghost55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    So a stripped Aero M4E1 is 98 bucks from Brownells.

    Not too bad, a complete one is almost $400. Jeez, am I looking at building a decent upper for that much, or close ?
    You can probably go cheaper. The m4e1 threaded uppers are generally cheaper. I generally recommend waiting for sales. Aero runs some solid rotating ones, and sunnystateoutdoors.com and www.schuylerarmsco.com have some solid deals as well. Honestly you can find complete m4e1 threaded receiver sets for about $160 total if you have some patience. Just don't get the m4e1 enhanced upper. Those use a weird proprietary barrel nut. For your lower parts kit just buy one from ALG defense. If you want to improve the trigger pull spend another $12 on a set of JP Enterprise enhanced reliability springs.

    For bolt carrier groups, just go with toolcraft. I think one of the sites I just mention carries em. ar15safespace.com also does and tends to run some solid deals.

    When it comes to barrels I recommend looking at this: https://midstatefirearms.com/147-Col...chf-barrel.htm

    It's good for probably 50k rounds. Pin and weld a muzzle device of your choice so the ATF doesn't murder your dogs.

    Now, here's where your budget starts to make things hard. Modern ARs really benefit from having a free-floating barrel. When it comes rail selection I tend to be picky. The cheapest rail I'd recommend is the Aero Precision Atlas S-One 15in model. In Mlok if dickmod is an option. Seriously, keymod is fucking terrible.

    Last up is furniture. Pick what you want. Just make sure to use a milspec buffer tube. I may have some **** I can send you if you don't care about color matching and potentially scraping a bit of rust off (stock got left in a box exposed to the rain for a bit). I personally really like the B5 SOPMOD stock and grip but that's personal preference. Magpul is fine. A2 grips and m4 stocks aren't the best but they definitely work fine.

    For irons I like the Daniel Defense fixed from sight and the KAC flip up rear sight. Acquire the latter from eBay for 1/5 MSRP through the power of USMC gear constantly falling off trucks. Not going to touch optics because there isn't much under $250 I trust for hard use. For a rifle this length I'd definitely recommend an LPVO.

  6. #6
    ghost55's Avatar
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    You can go cheaper than this. I don't recommend it. I've seen **** from radical firearms and psa **** the bed hard at relatively low round counts.

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    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    You can go cheaper than this. I don't recommend it. I've seen **** from radical firearms and psa **** the bed hard at relatively low round counts.
    I don't mind spending reasonable amount of money for reliability and length of life.

    I like your suggestion of looking for sales, etc., will do.

    Do I need any special tools to do this ? I have a cleaning/work stand that I use to clean/mount scopes/etc.

    Would it be good to do the lower, then work on stock/buffer/grip, or do the upper next ?

    I'm guessing that depends partially on how much I want to spend at one time.
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

  8. #8
    ghost55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    I don't mind spending reasonable amount of money for reliability and length of life.

    I like your suggestion of looking for sales, etc., will do.

    Do I need any special tools to do this ? I have a cleaning/work stand that I use to clean/mount scopes/etc.

    Would it be good to do the lower, then work on stock/buffer/grip, or do the upper next ?

    I'm guessing that depends partially on how much I want to spend at one time.
    You need an armorer's wrench, a torque wrench, and a vice. I strongly recommend also getting a bench block. First build I used a PMAG for that and it sucked. The magpul bev block is a solid option. Assembling the lower can be a pain in the ass. Throw a plastic freezer bag over it whenever you're dealing with detentes. When pressing in the roll pin that holds the bolt catch in place I generally mask off the lower with masking tape and press the pin in using channel locks. /r/gundeals on reddit is an awesome source for finding decent parts at better prices. Stock, grip, and buffer are really part of the lower. You need at least the buffer tube, a backplate, the castle nut, and the grip to finish installing your lower parts kit.

  9. #9
    ghost55's Avatar
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    Also I just realized I fucked up the rail rec. 13in. 15 won't work if you go with the 14.7 barrel.

  10. #10
    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    You can probably go cheaper. The m4e1 threaded uppers are generally cheaper. I generally recommend waiting for sales. Aero runs some solid rotating ones, and sunnystateoutdoors.com and www.schuylerarmsco.com have some solid deals as well. Honestly you can find complete m4e1 threaded receiver sets for about $160 total if you have some patience. Just don't get the m4e1 enhanced upper. Those use a weird proprietary barrel nut. For your lower parts kit just buy one from ALG defense. If you want to improve the trigger pull spend another $12 on a set of JP Enterprise enhanced reliability springs.

    For bolt carrier groups, just go with toolcraft. I think one of the sites I just mention carries em. ar15safespace.com also does and tends to run some solid deals.

    When it comes to barrels I recommend looking at this: https://midstatefirearms.com/147-Col...chf-barrel.htm

    It's good for probably 50k rounds. Pin and weld a muzzle device of your choice so the ATF doesn't murder your dogs.

    Now, here's where your budget starts to make things hard. Modern ARs really benefit from having a free-floating barrel. When it comes rail selection I tend to be picky. The cheapest rail I'd recommend is the Aero Precision Atlas S-One 15in model. In Mlok if dickmod is an option. Seriously, keymod is fucking terrible.

    Last up is furniture. Pick what you want. Just make sure to use a milspec buffer tube. I may have some **** I can send you if you don't care about color matching and potentially scraping a bit of rust off (stock got left in a box exposed to the rain for a bit). I personally really like the B5 SOPMOD stock and grip but that's personal preference. Magpul is fine. A2 grips and m4 stocks aren't the best but they definitely work fine.

    For irons I like the Daniel Defense fixed from sight and the KAC flip up rear sight. Acquire the latter from eBay for 1/5 MSRP through the power of USMC gear constantly falling off trucks. Not going to touch optics because there isn't much under $250 I trust for hard use. For a rifle this length I'd definitely recommend an LPVO.
    So, if I understand:
    Original ARs did not have free floating barrel. Used polymer forends with no rails. Not free floating.
    What is wrong with no free-float and a polymer forend?
    Keymod + dickmod, and mlock is a Magpul design that supposedly is an improvement in terms of front furniture and rails ?

    I note the barrel you suggested is a good deal, but it's short as ****, and have to add a flash hider to make it legal (for me at least). I like the slow twist, will allow using longer/heavier bullets if I want. But it seems like that short a barrel is going to really compromise velocity.

    On optics, not worried about that right now. For me with glasses I like the idea of a holosight or something like that, but normal aperture sights will be fine for now.

    So, standard 6 position stock with MILSPEC buffer tube, and an M4 or A2 pistol grip?

    In terms of assembly order, is it lower then add stock and buffer tube/spring?
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

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