First AR build - anti climatic

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  • fabsroman

    Active Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    29,930
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    Well, I built my first AR the other day from a stripped lower and a complete upper. It took me about an hour with crap tools (since then I ordered about $250 of tools from Midway and Brownells to solve the problem for the next build) and a couple of mistakes that I learned from. It took me about an hour and I think I can get it down to 30 minutes or so on the next build with the right tools and the lessons I learned. Really hard to believe that building a gun from parts is really that easy. I was hoping for a little more of a challenge. Guess that will come from trying to shoot it.

    When I was all done, my wife looked at me and said "You don't look excited." My response was "That was too easy, so now I need to look for another challenge."

    She already knows that it is going to end up being a CNC machine and welder next summer.
     

    MonkeyPunch

    Member
    Feb 23, 2013
    475
    Montgomery County
    I'm sure that using your new toys will be fun next summer, but be sure that anything you do with them are legal under SB281 - I've heard some rumors that manufacturing (different from assembling) an AR15 will be illegal. If someone can straighten me out - please feel free!

    Couple of questions: did you pin your own gas blocks, or do a clamp/screw-on? And if you did a FF, have you had any compatibility problems?
     

    fabsroman

    Active Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    29,930
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    I'm sure that using your new toys will be fun next summer, but be sure that anything you do with them are legal under SB281 - I've heard some rumors that manufacturing (different from assembling) an AR15 will be illegal. If someone can straighten me out - please feel free!

    Couple of questions: did you pin your own gas blocks, or do a clamp/screw-on? And if you did a FF, have you had any compatibility problems?

    The upper was completed, so I did not have to deal with the gas block. However, it is a pinned gas block.

    The hand guard is a Magpul MOE and it appears to be free floated. Thing is, I did not have to assemble the upper, so no issues there either.

    I am well aware of SB281 and have read it more times than I care to count, discuss, or admit. It has been open in my browser since about the beginning of February and it has never been closed. Merely updated as it changed and became enrolled.
     

    photoracer

    Competition Shooter
    Oct 22, 2010
    3,313
    West Virginia
    Doing the upper from scratch is not that much of an additional job. I have done a couple myself. First was a 14.5" setup that has mostly PSA parts except the barrel which I got off GunBrokers. Only thing extra you really need as a decent vise securely mounted, so you can use a torque wrench to to index the barrel nut properly. Second was an A2 20" 6.8 SPC upper off PSA. Removed the FH, stripped off the A2 front sight, removed the barrel nut so I could strip the Delta ring off the back of the nut. Then reinstalled and torqued the nut, installed a low profile gas block (turned out to be the hardest part as the tolerance was way too tight and had to emery cloth the inside of the block and the mounting area on the barrel), installed a Samson Evo 15" modular handguard (off my Stag 3GH), and lastly installed a new Wilson Combat 3 prong FH. Added a new 6.8 bolt to my old Stag BCG and a new forged 7075 charging handle and the upper was ready to go on the new stripped lower I built with a RRA NM trigger. As long as you have the tools building an AR is likely the easiest rifle to build bar none.
     

    Rumnhammer

    Member
    Mar 2, 2013
    227
    AR

    ^
    +1 build one totally now, the upper is pretty easy too, if you can get past doing the pivot pin detent on a lower, you can do the dust cover door on an upper....FWIW the two most tricky things with an AR 15. Either that or get yourself a AK flat and just make sure it is bent by the end of the month. That way if you are looking for more of a challenge, you can BUILD an AK next year. You will find you will use more fabrication/shop skills to build an AK. FWIW nobody builds an AR you just put them together, unless you count starting with an 80% and even then it is not as much of a challenge as an AK.

    Chris Rummel
     

    fabsroman

    Active Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    29,930
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    ^
    +1 build one totally now, the upper is pretty easy too, if you can get past doing the pivot pin detent on a lower, you can do the dust cover door on an upper....FWIW the two most tricky things with an AR 15. Either that or get yourself a AK flat and just make sure it is bent by the end of the month. That way if you are looking for more of a challenge, you can BUILD an AK next year. You will find you will use more fabrication/shop skills to build an AK. FWIW nobody builds an AR you just put them together, unless you count starting with an 80% and even then it is not as much of a challenge as an AK.

    Chris Rummel

    Chris,

    I had been debating an AK build, but after months of wavering back and forth decided not to. They just don't do anything for me.

    Instead of building an AK, I bought a 2011 STI handgun frame and am going to build that up next summer. Then, looking at doing 80% 2011 frames and finally cutting my own frames out of blocks of aluminum with a cheap CNC machine (i.e., around $4,000 for the machine). Next summer should be interesting.

    Didn't build the upper because I bought rifle kits with completed uppers. However, I am looking to build a couple of JP Rifle uppers next spring. I watched the video to build an upper and you are right, it seems pretty easy. Kind of like you said, it isn't so much "building" as it is just putting stuff together. Kind of like a Legos set.
     

    wreckdiver

    Active Member
    Nov 13, 2008
    2,361
    Not being very mechanically inclined I was surprised how easy it was to assemble a lower. I've had AR's since 1999, but I've always been afraid to build one. Since the sb281 panic forced my hand I bought a couple of lowers. I was happy the builds (assemblies) went together so easy, but kind of pissed at myself that I waited to the last minute to try it. It was cool so see how all the parts work together. In hindsight I didn't need any special tools. I could have installed the lpk with a nail and a rock if I had too.
     

    bkuether

    Judge not this race .....
    Jan 18, 2012
    6,212
    Marriottsville, MD
    Not being very mechanically inclined I was surprised how easy it was to assemble a lower. I've had AR's since 1999, but I've always been afraid to build one. Since the sb281 panic forced my hand I bought a couple of lowers. I was happy the builds (assemblies) went together so easy, but kind of pissed at myself that I waited to the last minute to try it. It was cool so see how all the parts work together. In hindsight I didn't need any special tools. I could have installed the lpk with a nail and a rock if I had too.

    When I bury this latest lower, I will include a rock and nail in the tube just in case liberals outlaw scary tools in the future.
     

    ObsceneJesster

    Active Member
    Jan 31, 2011
    2,956
    Yea, it's a pretty easy process. I'd compare it to an Erector Set for adults.

    By the way, the MOE handguard is not a free float. It is touching the Delta Ring and the Handguard cap.
     

    JailHouseLiar

    Banned
    BANNED!!!
    Aug 26, 2013
    197
    Timonium, Maryland
    Chris,

    I had been debating an AK build, but after months of wavering back and forth decided not to. They just don't do anything for me.

    Instead of building an AK, I bought a 2011 STI handgun frame and am going to build that up next summer. Then, looking at doing 80% 2011 frames and finally cutting my own frames out of blocks of aluminum with a cheap CNC machine (i.e., around $4,000 for the machine). Next summer should be interesting.

    Didn't build the upper because I bought rifle kits with completed uppers. However, I am looking to build a couple of JP Rifle uppers next spring. I watched the video to build an upper and you are right, it seems pretty easy. Kind of like you said, it isn't so much "building" as it is just putting stuff together. Kind of like a Legos set.

    Hey, I feel the same way about AKs and don't own one. I also feel the same about a CNC machine, man would I LOVE to have one. I have a TON of ideas of things to make with the right machine.
     

    Overboost44

    Sonic
    MDS Supporter
    Jun 10, 2013
    5,849
    Kent Island
    Well, I built my first AR the other day from a stripped lower and a complete upper. It took me about an hour with crap tools (since then I ordered about $250 of tools from Midway and Brownells to solve the problem for the next build) and a couple of mistakes that I learned from. It took me about an hour and I think I can get it down to 30 minutes or so on the next build with the right tools and the lessons I learned. Really hard to believe that building a gun from parts is really that easy. I was hoping for a little more of a challenge. Guess that will come from trying to shoot it.

    When I was all done, my wife looked at me and said "You don't look excited." My response was "That was too easy, so now I need to look for another challenge."

    She already knows that it is going to end up being a CNC machine and welder next summer.

    I have a couple to build like everyone else. But I am in no hurry...I like surprises. I am so disappointed in hearing your story, because I know that is how I will feel "That was to easy". I know it will still be special because I "built" it, but I want something that is going to take some work. I will be building my upper myself, so that will give me something a little extra. I believe one will become a .22 and the other a match quality 6.5 or .223.

    So, where do I get a STI frame? I have really wanted an STI and that seems like the perfect way to do it. I have no idea how to go about it, but I will worry about that later.
     

    fabsroman

    Active Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    29,930
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    Yea, it's a pretty easy process. I'd compare it to an Erector Set for adults.

    By the way, the MOE handguard is not a free float. It is touching the Delta Ring and the Handguard cap.

    Yep, I just took the damn thing apart last night and figured that out. What a POS. Eventually I intend on putting a JP Rifle barrel and hand guard on this thing and a Geissele trigger. I so hate these mil spec triggers.

    The entire rifle kit from PSA was less than the JP barrel and handguard, so I will sell the complete upper at a later date and replace the entire upper with JP stuff (e.g., BCG, upper, barrel, hand guard, gas block, gas tube, muzzle brake).
     

    fabsroman

    Active Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    29,930
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    I have a couple to build like everyone else. But I am in no hurry...I like surprises. I am so disappointed in hearing your story, because I know that is how I will feel "That was to easy". I know it will still be special because I "built" it, but I want something that is going to take some work. I will be building my upper myself, so that will give me something a little extra. I believe one will become a .22 and the other a match quality 6.5 or .223.

    So, where do I get a STI frame? I have really wanted an STI and that seems like the perfect way to do it. I have no idea how to go about it, but I will worry about that later.

    http://www.brazoscustom.com/Home.htm

    Brownells also sells them, but they did not have the 5" tactical rail frame in stock earlier this month. At this point, you are going to need a HQL to take delivery of the frame.
     

    ObsceneJesster

    Active Member
    Jan 31, 2011
    2,956
    Yep, I just took the damn thing apart last night and figured that out. What a POS. Eventually I intend on putting a JP Rifle barrel and hand guard on this thing and a Geissele trigger. I so hate these mil spec triggers.

    The entire rifle kit from PSA was less than the JP barrel and handguard, so I will sell the complete upper at a later date and replace the entire upper with JP stuff (e.g., BCG, upper, barrel, hand guard, gas block, gas tube, muzzle brake).

    In the meantime, you should drop $45 on an ALG QMS trigger. Much better than the stock trigger and you will not find a better trigger anywhere near that price.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4
     

    fabsroman

    Active Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    29,930
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    In the meantime, you should drop $45 on an ALG QMS trigger. Much better than the stock trigger and you will not find a better trigger anywhere near that price.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4

    Yeah, just need to get the kids' college funds funded for the year and then Santa will be dropping off some goodies. I'm patient and have other things to shoot, so I am going to wait for the Geisele trigger so I don't have tons of AR parts just laying around the house that I am not going to use. Bought the rifle kits because I wanted to build everything up prior to October 1, 2013. Most of it will be sold after October as I build these things the way I want them. Just could not float the JP and Geisele costs to my wife after everything else I bought. However, we actually talked about this tonight over dinner and me upgrading the rifles over time.

    Thanks for the suggestion though.
     

    Overboost44

    Sonic
    MDS Supporter
    Jun 10, 2013
    5,849
    Kent Island
    http://www.brazoscustom.com/Home.htm

    Brownells also sells them, but they did not have the 5" tactical rail frame in stock earlier this month. At this point, you are going to need a HQL to take delivery of the frame.

    Thanks. I was thinking it would not require the HQL. I can wait to decide if I ever want to sign up for that.
     

    fabsroman

    Active Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    29,930
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    Thanks. I was thinking it would not require the HQL. I can wait to decide if I ever want to sign up for that.

    If you really want a challenge, you can get the 80% frame without needing the HQL. It does not come with the grips, but they are around $130 from STI or other vendors. I will be going the 80% route after I take a look at the completed frame and build up my first gun.

    http://limited-10.com/store/80-percent.html
     

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