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Build an AR over time: rec's?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by iomatic, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. iomatic

    iomatic Portland Member

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    So if a total newb had a projected 6 month build with a total budget of $1500, where would you start?

    3 month 750 budget?

    Longer? Low-end vs. high-end (e.g., Springfield vs Les Baer 1911)? What's the most single important component; that you would put the bulk into, the receiver (naturally you need everything else)?

    Usage: mostly 3-gun, plinking, possibly varmint (last choice).

    Books? Websites? More clarifications?

    Thanks!
     
  2. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Build as in building the upper (requires specialized tools, not a beginner task) or buying a complete upper? Thats where I'd put the most of the money into as thats where the accuracy and most of the reliability will come from.
    I'd go as high end as you can afford. Noveske and LMT are great. BCM is great on a smaller budget.
    The lower receiver (the part that according to the ATF is the "firearm" and will need to be purchased through a FFL) is less critical as long as it's mil-spec so everything will fit like it's supposed to.
     
  3. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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  4. iomatic

    iomatic Portland Member

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    Wow. Thanks for the insights. Obviously I'm a newb-- so thankful for pointing in the right direction. Always thought a solid frame would be the start, but had that wrong.

    I guess there's never a standard go-to for anything, as in, "yeah, everyone starts with X, and actually Y will cost just a bit more but worth future growth."

    So many options, no real clear path. As usual. Thanks!

    Is there a good FAQ?
     
  5. Texfisher33

    Texfisher33 Tri-Cities, WA Active Member

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    This is a fantastic resource. I had no idea what I was doing when I started. With the help of Arfcom I was able to figure out what my best options were and fully assemble both the lower and upper. Just read everything you can and go slow. Good luck!
     
  6. Z-PDX

    Z-PDX Clack Member

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    Optics. It's really quite difficult to put together a truly bad AR15 anymore. But there are lots of low-quality optics running around.

    Plan on spending at least $400 here.
     
  7. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    I would spend five months and 29 days researching. learn the difference in barrel materials and manufacturing techniques. learn what the real mil-spec is and then decide if it's important to you. Learn what "HP" and "MPI" really means. What is the real difference between 4140 and 4150, 7075 and 6061. Is there a difference between a "mil-spec" RE and a "mil-spec diameter" RE?

    The manufacturing techniques and materials used are what is important. Not the name engraved on the part. Don't get sucked in to "Brand Loyalty" bull puckey. One final thing, just because you read it on the net does not make it correct.
     
  8. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    1) Maybe I'm tired still but first line of quote has me lil confused. And again how does the second- doesn't knowing what name is on the parts help you figure out WHO made the parts and via what process- thereby giving you the info on technique and material used?

    Pick up a cheap/decent lower- Palmetta State Armory has had lots of good deals. Pick up a complete LMT upper for ~$575, assemble your lower with a QUALITY LPK. DPMS is the most common and work, but not my favorite. For a lil more you can find Daniel Defense LPK's and the finish/quality of the parts seemed much nicer. From there pick up either JP yellow springs for a lil better trigger or look at Geissele. Throw on a Magpul CTR/UBR/PRS/ whatever stock of your choice.
     
  9. iomatic

    iomatic Portland Member

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    Thanks again, for the great suggestions. I see a trend of top-down build here (and a quality education). I wonder, if it's not best to start with a prebuilt configuration to figure out your shooting style, and how it will then inform how you modify.

    So, side question: are there some good platforms to start with (one brand), or is there a good upper+lower (two brands) "kit" someone can start with and build upon, assuming you can reasonably do so?

    Thanks!
     
  10. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    There's options to cover all three there. The upside to a factory gun is it's all built ready to go, downside is you'll probably spend $$ swapping parts. The 2 biggest culprits on that will be if you want a rail or not, and butt stock choice. You can get built lowers from many companies- usually you'll be better off building or finding a built lower here in the classifieds.
    Upper- Daniel defense offers lots of options but can be hit and miss on stock. LMT you can get an M4 Upper or an M4 upper (not counting MRP, etc. but those would seem out of the price range here!). For the upper I'd at least get a built/ non-complete upper that has the barrel you want, pick up a nice BCG and rail of your choice. Again LMT, BCM, DD are great choices there.
     
  11. mpmax

    mpmax Woodburn Active Member

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    I recently experienced the AR build bug. I purchased a lower locally ($80 out the door), and began planning the build. I considered buying a bolt carrier group and charging handle next, then a lower parts kit and assembled upper. That's what I "thought" I would do. Instead, I picked up a parts kits with an assembled upper and built the lower myself for a grand total or $525, total. I'm finding accessories after the fact add up quickly.
    I've spent hours reading threads on AR15/m4/and any other ar15 forum I could google up and determined they are full of the opinion, unsupported, that it is impossible to build a functional, reliable AR for under $1500. Milspec/tier1 snobbery abounds. I purchased the cheapest parts I could find and oiled them well and not too surprisingly, they work. I built a "plinker" that I can hunt with. Prepare yourself for very few first hand experiences when comparing different producers of parts and remember you will never get out what you put into your build, it's only worth what the parts are worth...used. Oh, don't skimp on quality magazines, that's where the reliability is.

    000_0642.jpg
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  12. Strykervet

    Strykervet Pierce Co. Member

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    I build a lot of my own AR's. What I do is select the barrel for the purpose of the rifle, everything else is dependent upon that. So for the 6.5Grendel I built, a super accurate SDM style rifle, I went with a 20" heavy cut rifle Satern barrel. Sub-MOA groups. Because the barrel is so top notch, I used a KAC FF rail on it and a tuned RRA two stage trigger. I hand selected an upper and lower, Aero Precision, and used mil spec parts for the upper and lower small parts. I used an A2 stock and regular grip, all mil spec parts. I used a JP Ent. "Tactical" bolt carrier, it is so fine I'll never use another from now on. It has an AAC Blackout flash hider because I'm getting a suppressor that fits several rifles, and sports a 7.62 ACOG that is really what limits the rifle, it needs a better scope! Anyway, this rifle was built for under $1500 and it is the SDM rifle I always wanted (now as a civilian I have it) and is amazingly accurate and easily my favorite rifle now.

    I built an M4, a SOPMOD clone using an LMT upper with a 14.5" chrome lined barrel and blind pinned AAC Brakeout (they work well, no BS) on a Noveske lower with JP Ent. lower parts and a Geissele 3gun trigger (that 3gun trigger is AWESOME!). This one has a mil spec Daniel Defense bolt assy. I think. KAC M4 rails and their rear flip sight and broomhandle grip. Surefire weapons light. EoTech reflex sight. Just like what I used in the army. Great for HD, range, 3gun. Feels natural to me, and I built it for less than $1500 for sure. I don't count the sights, lights, and grips in the price though. Just the rifle and rails.

    Building it over time is great. I'm building a .300BLK now. It is supposed to be quieter than an MP5 with the SDN6 suppressor (which will be the one I'll be using on several rifles, hence all the AAC flash hiders). I may build up a match rifle for NM shoots, but then again, I may go with a different platform. I've got a few AR's, and you can never have too many, but I need to "diversify" as it were.
     
  13. x1hunter89

    x1hunter89 gresham oregon Active Member

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    im in the same boat i think im goin with spikes for the lower 1 im on a budget and 2 i hear great reviews if i wanted a great assualt rifle i would spend 2.5k or 3k on an fn scar but im just wanting something that i can build for cheap thats pretty reliable so im goin with a spikes lower hoping to pick one up for under 80 out the door at the gun show this weekend then i was goin to order the Palmetto State Armory Classic Lower Build Kit 90 ish on their website includes stock ebay you can get a wrench for around 10 bucks punches id go to harbor freight cuz they cheap and idk how many times ill need to use the punches again as for a upper i dont want to mess with one so i will buy a complete upper from spikes was hopeing to get a 16in or 20in havnt decided chromelined ill take a longer lasting barrel over the little bit of accuracy you loose just my 2 cents now let the people pick out whats wrong with my build and how bad my idea is lol so total without optics and all i think it should come around 580-700 at a max after iron sights im a bargain shopper and can wait for good deals i do read reveiws on lots of the lowers and so far i see the cheap lowers have minor problems yes when you buy a lower parts kit make sure everything is their but im sure even colt and bushmaster some times send you a parts kit with a missing spring or something stuff happens anywho like i said thats my idea good luck on your build
     
  14. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    A true "mil-spec" RE is forged 7075 aluminum. If the RE is "advertised" as "mil-spec" then odds are it's a forged 7075 part.

    A "Mil-spec diameter" RE may be extruded 6061 aluminum. "mil-spec diameter" just means it's 1.146 in diameter, it does not mean it meets the mil-spec.

    For most users it does not make any difference if you have a forged or extruded RE, but there is a difference.
     
  15. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    Close close man! :) Milspec diameter 1.147, threads 1.1875. They are not forged- commercial version came about to be able to make from an extrusion and ease the process. This is one of those areas where as long as you're stock matches your extension you're GTG.
     
  16. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Oregon Well-Known Member

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    You may want to go over this chart as well: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ajl2UPK0UHPscHdzd2hlZ2hOUXNFdUVoakZ3UHJnVEE&hl=en#gid=2
    It's a good quick guide to different features to look for and why you may want them (ie. what is mil-spec and why do you want it).
    If you ask 10 people you'll probably get 20 different suggestions on what is the "best" to start with so knowing what features are important to you are a good starting point. 20 years ago your options were more like "should I get an olympic or a colt" and everyone would shout colt! unless building a full auto!
    Now everybody and their brother are making AR rifles. The good news is very few of them are "bad".

    I think this is the newest version of "The Chart". Looks like he added Spikes, Daniel Defense, and some others
    https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en_US&hl=en_US&key=0AqmgMm61Ok7WdExwaG16OENzOEZ1akp2a3Y2NjMxTEE&single=true&gid=2&output=html
     
  17. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Glad you said all this so I didn't have to :)

    And from all that I have read about this ,I would spend top dollar on the barrel,then the BCG,then the trigger.Other than the bare upper receiver,the rest will get changed over the years (months) anyway
     
  18. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    Different companies quote different specs.

    Magpul uses 1.146
    magpulbuffertube.jpg

    Vltor uses 1.148
    I agree that a extruded 6061 RE well serve 99% of users.
     
  19. bulzeye

    bulzeye scappoose Member

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    you don't have to buy a complete upper. you could buy a stripped upper and that still lets you customize it a little bit. It will come with upper receiver, barrel, gas tube, front site gas block. really all of the important torqued stuff.

    LMT sells a stripped upper, you get to pick your handguards, BCG, charging handle.

    MidwestPX.com
     
  20. iomatic

    iomatic Portland Member

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    @mpmax: so what you're saying is, just get an OA or Colt, and spend the 3-400 on optics, and you're GTG? :D

    j/k of course, but having it ready out-of-the-box sure is tempting. I wonder if this isn't a good option, for those who know just about nothing, and then dive in and and add even more guns?!

    I'm pretty happy with a pre-built (i.e., factory 1911), but now that I have one, I know exactly what to build, ya know?