New to ARs, looking for suggestions

Discussion in 'Semi-Automatic Rifles' started by NW_bang_bang, Apr 6, 2017.

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  1. Brutus57

    Brutus57
    State of Jefferson
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    I didn't know the first thing about building an AR nor did I have the tools either...but since Sandy Hook had just happened I wanted one before they were illegal (kicking myself for not buying a Bushmaster with a complete second upper in 1985 to this day for like $495.00).....

    But after SH you couldn't find any black rifles and if listed on the web they were going for 2-3x MSRP! So I did my research ALOT, used my limited budget to start buying parts/tools when they came in stock or I found them at gun shows. Took me, heck, maybe a year and I "cheated" with a BCM complete upper because I was living in an apartment at the time with no bench/ vise, etc. and I found the exact BCM upper I wanted at a gun show, on sale and I had the cash in my pocket.

    I lost one spring in building the stripped lower but no problem since I ended up with an extra PLK cause so much was backordered during the panic.

    Put it it all together, several function checks, a little lube....and off to the range, bang! first time, every time.

    So if a complete caveman like me, who the girls find more handsome than handy...(though I can shake or 3 tab a roof, swap out a motorcycle clutch, install a toilet)... can knock together a decent AR....Many folks can...and I enjoyed learning a LOT doing it. YMMV Oh yeah, I bought a book by some AR experts that helped me immensely. It was worth the less than $20.00 I paid for it.:D

    Brutus Out
     
  2. L84Cabo

    L84Cabo
    Orcas Island, WA
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    You've talked about wanting to run a red dot and "removing the A Frame front sight." It's good that you're thinking about the ultimate configuration you want the rifle to be. If the intent is to run a red dot, I greatly prefer not having a big fat front sight post sticking up in your field of view. So why on earth are you looking at rifles with a fixed front sight?

    Take a look at the Colt 6920 OEM2. It's a VERY reasonably priced Top Tier, flat top, low pro gas block, rifle base that you can add your preference of hand guard, butt stock, sights and optic, to.

    Or look at whatever upper and lowers you want. But why spend the money for a fixed front sight if you're just going to have to spend the time and money to remove it later? There's plenty of flat top, low pro gas block, options out there.

    FYI...As a quick example, here's a 6920 OEM 2 at Buds for $785. You might even be able to find it for less.

    COLT LE6920-OEM2 CAR 5.56 16 NO FURNMT
     
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  3. NW_bang_bang

    NW_bang_bang
    Vancouver
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    Finally did it today... Ended up picking up an Aero X15 Gen 2 receiver, buffer kit and standard LPK (definitely getting rid of the A2 grip that came with it, do NOT like the angle).

    Once I pick up tools and get it together, I'll post photos!

    Thank you all again for the suggestions. I took all of them to heart and think I'm taking the best route for my current situation. I'm looking forward to getting building, I can't afford a project car, so a project gun is the next best thing ;)
     
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  4. NW_bang_bang

    NW_bang_bang
    Vancouver
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    Nothing too exciting, but here are a couple photos as promised. Psyched to start building!

    Sorta thinking about building the upper now too... I'm only hesitant because I don't wanna mess up the part where things go boom :eek:

    IMG_1276.JPG IMG_1278.JPG
     
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  5. 3MTA3

    3MTA3
    Western Oregon
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    Not to fear, it's like a really, really cool erector set. I found the build videos on the nsz85 YouTube channel very useful: nsz85

    Use this grease for your barrel and castle nuts: Aeroshell 33MS / 64 Mil-Spec AR Barrel Nut Thread Grease MIL-G-21164D 5ml Jar | eBay

    Get the right tools and make sure you torque the barrel and castle nuts to the correct spec.

    You don't need a heavy barrel profile, especially since you intend for the rifle to be used for protection. A lightweight barrel will do just as well and make the rifle MUCH easier to handle. I'd strongly suggest a Ballistic Advantage Hanson, Faxon GUNNER or BCM ELW. If I had it to do differently I'd have used one of those on my builds.

    I built my first 2 AR's, and in fact the first one I shot was one of them: 3M's AR Builds
     
  6. NW_bang_bang

    NW_bang_bang
    Vancouver
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    Got the lower mostly finished... aside from some slight marring from trying to get the roll pin into the bolt catch and one bent pivot spring it went really well.

    Gonna pick up a different trigger guard than what came with the parts kit and a new spring and hold off for a bit before I get the rest of the parts.

    Gotta get rid of that A2 grip though, the angle and my stubby fingers make reaching the mag release less than ideal.

    Thank you for the tips on the build videos and the grease. Definitely need to get that and a few more specialty tools before I move on. Can't wait to finish it! Next go around I'm thinking about an 80% lower.

    IMG_1279.JPG IMG_1280.JPG
     
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  7. NW_bang_bang

    NW_bang_bang
    Vancouver
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    Well...

    Finally got my build closer to finished last weekend. Ended up going with an Aero upper, .223 Wylde barrel, Strike Industries charging handle, Anderson BCG (IIRC) and Magpul MBUS until I can afford an optic.

    Pretty happy with it so far, although haven't shot it. Still not sure on checking headspace...

    I've heard a bunch of conflicting info on whether or not 5.56, .223, and etc. headspace Go and No Go gauges are all compatible. I think I want to end up buying a set as my father-in-law is interested in doing a build now as well. But I wanna get out and shoot this weekend and probably can't get them shipped in time. I might see if any of the LGS's in Vancouver that are open on Saturday have them and will do a check on it.

    Seems like no one can agree if it's even necessary, but I definitely like to err on the side of caution.

    Also learned a good lesson on cheap parts. I believe the free float hand guard was a cheap no name and it gave me some trouble. I still need to fiddle with it to get it lined up correctly as the its not perfectly aligned to the barrel. Oh well, I might end up changing it anyway.

    Thank you again for all your suggestions, info and opinions. It made the build process a lot easier and much less daunting!

    image1-3.JPG
     
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  8. 3MTA3

    3MTA3
    Western Oregon
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    Look into these rails from ALG: Rails
    Inexpensive and IMO the most solid mounting system and come in both key mod and M-LOK

    I'm fond of this particular style as it eliminates all the pic rail from the top you don't need while leaving enough for your BUIS:
    upload_2017-6-1_20-52-17.jpeg

    6khQBiBxHL6qywZUwmuBGq_xGYIPRfe6g9jEqeTSuPpW=w1912-h1075-no.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  9. Kruejl

    Kruejl
    Hillsboro
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    Late to this party, but tape up the lower before driving the bolt catch pin home. A couple layers of blue masking tape will save the lower from incidental contact with your punch or brass hammer.
     
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  10. bsa1917hunter

    bsa1917hunter
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    I'm not the OP, but I'm going to use this suggestion. Good thread guys, with a lot of good info. I too am going to be putting a lower together here in the next couple days. All/most parts are Noveske for the Noveske upper I bought here a couple weeks ago. Talking to one of my buddies today and he says he's more excited about the build than I am. I think he's just happy as hell that I finally bought an AR and joined in the fun... He's been working on me for over 5 years (probably more like 10 now) to buy one...:oops:
     
  11. Kruejl

    Kruejl
    Hillsboro
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    Tape is cheap, scratching a Noveske lower will make you lose sleep! :D

    I just got a Noveske lower to match my Noveske SPR upper and believe me, there will be plenty of tape used for this one!
     
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  12. bsa1917hunter

    bsa1917hunter
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    I hear you man. Any more really good suggestions?????? I just got my handy dandy Wheeler trigger guard install tool today too. Have dang near everything needed for the lower build, except for my 3rd. gen PRS stock. Waiting for that one to come. Hopefully by saturday!!!!!! Curt's is supposed to have my stripped lower tomorrow too... Even though my friends don't think I'm that excited, I am... I've always wanted a Noveske and this one is going to be about 95% Noveske. The only thing that is not Noveske, is the LPK (Armaspec complete lower builders kit), Geissele SSA-E trigger, and magpul PRS stock... I can't wait to get her done and finally shoot a group with this thing.. Should be a dang tackdriver...
     
  13. Kruejl

    Kruejl
    Hillsboro
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    Honestly, I'm the worst at giving AR build advice. I do the front takedown pin without tools, instead using the pin itself to press the plunger down and insert. Got that idea from another member here (sorry I don't recall their nic). I don't own a vice or a mag block. I don't even know what a trigger guard tool is. I use a punch and some careful taps. I do it the worst way possible. In my garage, by hand with a punch set and a tiny little cheap dead blow and some tape. I've done 7 and I am probably just dumb lucky man. Here is my Noveske SPR build that will wear the Noveske lower next week.

    IMG_2526.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
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  14. Kruejl

    Kruejl
    Hillsboro
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    I did, on my first build, install the trigger guard backwards. A small drill bit and some patience and I was able to remove it with zero damage to the ears. Again, dumb luck. I've never won a darn thing in my life, but I have 7 builds under my belt and no damage, marring or scratches. Strange kind of luck right?
     
  15. bsa1917hunter

    bsa1917hunter
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    Awesome rifle man. I really like it. Back to tools, in the last 2 weeks these are the tools I've bought in anticipation to the lower build:

    1. T handle allen wrench set...
    2. Wheeler Trigger guard install tool.
    3. Wheeler Roll pin punch set..

    I've heard these tools are worth their weight in gold. They may not be totally necessary, but help to make the job easier.. I've already used the roll pin punch set and it works great!! I'm kind of curious to see how the trigger guard install tool works out. I remember changing out the flat trigger guards on my other AR's and thinking there has to be an easy to do this, and a way to safely do it without fear of breaking one of those ears.. I saw on youtube where guys have broken the ears on the lower and making it damn near useless... That was my biggest worry..
     
  16. 3MTA3

    3MTA3
    Western Oregon
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    Most that I have heard about are in the videos:



    Some things that may not be in there:
    Use AeroShell grease for your barrel threads and lower receiver/extension tube threads. You can get very small containers on eBay for just a few dollars

    When I install the trigger guard - and this is one place where a screw up can cost you your lower receiver - I use a small piece of 1/2" ply to support the pin areas as I drive them in. I use Costco microfiber for padding to keep from scratching the lower.

    Don't forget to stake your castle nut - you don't want to find out that your extension isn't all the way on while you are firing the rifle.
     
  17. etrain16

    etrain16
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    I'll add this - have spare parts on hand. It is really easy, the first time or two out (or even later) to launch springs and pins across the garage/house, and can be difficult to find them. Plus, it can delay your build if you don't have spares on hand. After doing that in my first builds, I bought some AR LPK "spare parts" kits.

    On my last finished lower, just a week ago, I accidentally launched the buffer retention pin and spring, as the buffer tube I was installing wasn't flat at the end, but bumped out a bit - so when I went to install the takedown pin and spring, I had to turn the buffer, but that 1/4 turn, on this tube, caused them to launch, and they are gone, landing in a mix of boxes and other crap. No worries though, my spare parts kit was there and I was able to finish the build.

    If you can work in an area where you're less likely to lose something if it launches, you may be happier ;)

    And yes, definitely use the tape - don't ask me how I know :oops:
     
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  18. 3MTA3

    3MTA3
    Western Oregon
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    Don't forget your armorer's wrench, torque wrench as well as vice blocks, upper and lower. MagPul makes one that does both but I haven't used one. I do prefer this style for uppers since it allows you to install the dust cover, though the clam shell type seems like it would provide more support when you torque the barrel. I've used both types for that job and both work.
    upload_2017-6-2_7-44-11.jpeg
     
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  19. bsa1917hunter

    bsa1917hunter
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    Thanks for the suggestions buddy. I appreciate it. When I drop by curts today (hopefully), I may pick up a cheaper LPK without trigger and grip or just spring kit... My PRS stock is in Idaho, so maybe it will be here tomorrow as well....!!!!!:p
     
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  20. bsa1917hunter

    bsa1917hunter
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    Very good suggestion. However, I am not working on an upper this time around. The reason I didn't have that on the list.. I've gone hog wild on AR's guys. My wife and I are hoping this will be the last for a while.. :p.. Well, at least my wife is hoping so anyway... :oops:
     
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