Author Topic: AR-15 DIY Build Thread  (Read 223560 times)

kaiservontexas

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AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« on: October 26, 2008, 07:37:34 AM »
I figured since others and myself are curious in building up their own AR-15 rifles that I would just start a thread on the subject. Otherwise I am liable to keep starting new topics about the same subject.

I figured it would be just easier for me to keep posting questions in one spot.

I have seen all sorts of instructions on assembling a lower. I have seen none on how to assemble a stripped upper receiver. I was looking at Noveske's website last night for barrels. I noted that they say get a armorer or gunsmith to install a barrel. I also noted Bushmaster, I have a new catalogue from them, mentioned nothing about gunsmiths and armorers with regard to their barrels. 

Anybody around here ever get a stripped upper assembled?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I saw this the other day, and thought I would share what I found.

Assembling an AR-15 Stripped Lower Receiver 1 of 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA_Vkb2UB1w

Assembling an AR-15 Stripped Lower Receiver 2 of 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq4KfUaVp8M

Offline firetoad

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2008, 07:41:57 AM »
This is probably the best resource for AR DIY...

AR15.com DIY Thread

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2008, 09:40:58 AM »
Millerized1

And I thought had lofty goals.  :D Nice!

Hope I find a stripped Noveske at the gun show today. I shall soon be on my way!

I will leave with a question: who makes the best barrel? I am thinking either 18" or 20", and have no real opinion on twist. Though I am concerned if 1/7 twist cannot fire 55-62 grain rounds accurately. I keep reading that 1/7 is for 69-72 grain.

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2008, 11:17:26 AM »
Sorry, thought I put it in the right forum...moved it over to the pictures and links page. I'll put one photo at the end of this post....

The faster the spin, the bigger the bullet....or so I've been told.  My 1 in 9's like heavier, my 1 in 7's like heavier.... ???  Theoretically, the more weight, the more spin required to stabilize the bullet.  Theoretically, the more spin, regardless of weight, may or may not stabilize the bullet.  You can push a heavy bullet fast enough to stabilize, or a light bullet slow enough......Yeah, what he sez. :-\   

 My opinion: You start with ammo you already own lots of (weight/type/caliber) to see what it does.  Cheap Remington 45g, premium Black Hills 77gr, buy a box, load something different, try them all.  Keep good notes, find what works then buy/make lots and keep them with that gun. What works great in that toy usually doesn't work with the rest >:(

Finding a load that works well with your setup is kinda like finding a baby food that stays in and doesn't come back up on your shirt.  Once you find it, everyone is happy. ;)

(Oh, asking best barrel is kinda like asking Ford or Chevy....no big deal if you're taking tires, but if you're talking trucks....things could get ugly ;).  White Oak, Mike Rock, Noveske, LMT, ........I could go on.  Kinda like ammo.  Wish I could give you a better answer, but you're talking to a guy that's had good luck with everything from custom cut to mass produced seconds.) Just depends on what you're feeding them.


kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2008, 04:40:49 PM »
Ok, I got my lower today. I did not find a Novekse. I did see a LMT but it was not a stripped lower. I saw some POF stripped lowers, but Spike's Tactical had the art work. The price was also right. I could wait and done a transfer, but I wanted to get this project started.


millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008, 04:58:55 PM »
Nothing wrong with Spikes: ;)

Offline wbo3

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2008, 05:19:41 PM »
The barrel is a simple insert and torque the barrel nut affair.  The problem is you need a receiver block and a good vise.  Neither of which I have.  You will also need the receiver/action block and vise to install a free-float fore end.  I just let my local shop install my last fore end, he only charged $15 and the action block alone would be about $45, not to mention what I would spend on a vise.  I have every intention of eventually getting a vise and block, but have not yet.  I have read on arfcom where some people have successfully installed them without either, but I am afraid I would damage my upper receiver.  So far I have just ordered complete uppers.  Well, uppers with the barrel and gas installed.  I have ordered my charging handle and BCG separately.  I am planning on starting to build my own lowers, using the 80% forgings.  I am not sure I want to tackle the uppers because there is not a jig that I have found to ease the completion.  It would be really nice to learn some about machining (I plan on taking some classes starting next January) and completely build everything from scratch.  I would imagine I would spend a fortune on equipment though.

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 06:02:33 PM »
The barrel is a simple insert and torque the barrel nut affair.  The problem is you need a receiver block and a good vise.  Neither of which I have.  You will also need the receiver/action block and vise to install a free-float fore end.  I just let my local shop install my last fore end, he only charged $15 and the action block alone would be about $45, not to mention what I would spend on a vise.  I have every intention of eventually getting a vise and block, but have not yet.  I have read on arfcom where some people have successfully installed them without either, but I am afraid I would damage my upper receiver.  So far I have just ordered complete uppers.  Well, uppers with the barrel and gas installed.  I have ordered my charging handle and BCG separately.  I am planning on starting to build my own lowers, using the 80% forgings.  I am not sure I want to tackle the uppers because there is not a jig that I have found to ease the completion.  It would be really nice to learn some about machining (I plan on taking some classes starting next January) and completely build everything from scratch.  I would imagine I would spend a fortune on equipment though.

I have access to a vice. I got access to a workshop, thanks to my boss. I plan on purchasing a block. I was concerned when they said armorer or gunsmith that something along the lines of welding was going to come into play. I could not do something that complicated without some form of apprenticeship. I have a armorer's wrench for telescopic butt stocks on the way. Is that the wrench one needs for the barrel? I am a noob so I have to ask the basic questions even if the answer is obvious.

Anyway, I am not to that bridge yet. I just got my lower. I am broke thanks to the fun show.  ;D Curious question, when it comes to the small parts for putting together the lower, does it matter at all in the slightest who it comes from? I am trying to build something better then the usual off the rack rifles. As for the grip and butt stock I am thinking MagPul MIAD and a CTR butt stock. LaRue warns: "The 20" Stealth Upper is optimized for use with a rifle-length buffer system. Please let us know, in advance, if you are planning on using a carbine lower (and carbine buffer system) with our 20" Stealth. We want to make sure you will be setup properly." I am not using their stealth upper, but I am assuming they are referring to barrel lengths over 16" with a telescopic butt stock? Does the mean I have to do something special with regards to using a CTR butt stock and a 18" barrel? I admit I have only seen such a warning on LaRue's website. No other place seems to make mention of this.

weblink for source: http://stores.homestead.com/Laruetactical/Detail.bok?no=100

No I am not advertising for this product. As I am not purchasing this product, but am using it for informational purposes.

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2008, 06:37:26 PM »
Lower Parts Kits (LPK's) are usually, like lowers, manufactured by few, and sold by many.  I've purchased 14 sets from different manufacturers over the years and none seem to be THAT different from the others.  Some are a bit smoother, some finishes are darker or lighter, but nothing that didn't work.  I polish/file/tinker with them all anyway, so it's just a piece of steel to me.  Buy what fits your budget, and if push comes to shove, you'll have spares for later when you have to buy more....lowers....uppers....LPKs....ammo.  For parts, if something breaks: one is none and 2 is one.

I'm guessing it has to do with the amount of gas coming back to drive the bolt carrier, and how much spring and buffer it'll be pushing against. I think my carbine springs are a bit more stout than my regular springs.  I know the buffers are smaller for the carbine than the regular.

If you're really needing an answer RIGHT NOW, head on over to http://www.ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=3&f=118 and spend a few hours.  If you're impatient or don't want to read all the stuff, just ask.  I guarantee that before you sign off for the evening, you'll have 23 replies, with at least one actually knowing what they're talking about.  Or just give Mark (LaRue) a shout.  He posts and answers quite a few questions on there.

Of course, your mileage might vary.....

Offline wbo3

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2008, 06:38:09 PM »
I am not sure why they would say this, but I am no expert.  My opinion is that the buffer tube length would hinge more on your gas tube length.  If you have a carbine or mid-length gas, I would suspect the CTR would be just fine.  I have the CTR and MIAD on my latest, and I love them.  Mine is a 16" barrel with carbine length gas.  I considered an 18" barrel for a while, but went ahead with the 16".  Now I am looking for my next build to have a 10.5" barrel, but that opens up a new set of problems, getting the stamp from the ATF...

Here is my last build:


The carry handle is my brother-in-law's I am ordering a LMT fixed iron sight for the rear...

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2008, 07:34:18 PM »
Lower Parts Kits (LPK's) are usually, like lowers, manufactured by few, and sold by many.  I've purchased 14 sets from different manufacturers over the years and none seem to be THAT different from the others.  Some are a bit smoother, some finishes are darker or lighter, but nothing that didn't work.  I polish/file/tinker with them all anyway, so it's just a piece of steel to me.  Buy what fits your budget, and if push comes to shove, you'll have spares for later when you have to buy more....lowers....uppers....LPKs....ammo.  For parts, if something breaks: one is none and 2 is one.

I'm guessing it has to do with the amount of gas coming back to drive the bolt carrier, and how much spring and buffer it'll be pushing against. I think my carbine springs are a bit more stout than my regular springs.  I know the buffers are smaller for the carbine than the regular.

If you're really needing an answer RIGHT NOW, head on over to http://www.ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=3&f=118 and spend a few hours.  If you're impatient or don't want to read all the stuff, just ask.  I guarantee that before you sign off for the evening, you'll have 23 replies, with at least one actually knowing what they're talking about.  Or just give Mark (LaRue) a shout.  He posts and answers quite a few questions on there.

Of course, your mileage might vary.....

I do not really like AR15.com. It is so expansive that I get lost in it all. I had already read their dummies guide and copied the important parts. I know Mark LaRue pays attention to his customers. I will keep that in mind when I reach that point. I know I am going the CTR route, but as I am not working on a upper yet the question is more curiosity at the moment.

I had an idea that the small parts are pretty much put out by the same contractors. One question I (as I did with the small parts) have as it would be a more pressing issue for building is on triggers. I see competition sets all the time, but are they rugged? I only ask because I do not want my rifle build to be particularly a match rifle. I am thinking real nice workhorse.

If you are curious am I thinking of using a LaRue stripped upper receiver. It is one of the few I have seen for sale, but lacks M4 feed ramps. I do not understand that either.

I am not going the Bushmaster route. I already own a Bushmaster and it has yet to fail me, but I think there are better rifles. The rifle I build I want to be better then the rifle I own.

Offline wbo3

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2008, 08:02:04 PM »
Stick with a quality LPK.  I like Stag/CMT.  I have had a bit if an issue with a build using whatever LPK that Model 1 sends.  No issue with their upper though.  I too did not want anything that would not be reliable, I do not know much aboout the 2-stage triggers, so I stayed with a standard trigger.  As an added bonus they are also at least $100 cheaper, and in my opinion mine shoots just fine. ;D

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2008, 08:32:36 PM »
Well, match or competition triggers are just that, for matchs or competitions.  If you're looking for a workhorse, stick with regular.  That way if something goes wrong, you put regular/cheap back in without the cost.  I've got a trigger fixture for filing triggers and sears.  Once finances pick up next month, I'll pick up a few extras, get them ready for shipping, and start accepting a "yours for mine" arrangement. I had my first triggers done by a guy in CO.  With shipping, I was paying about $75 for him to do the work.  Last 8 I did myself with a $169 fixture. Doesn't take long to figure the savings.

M4 feedramps are for the longer bullets.  Regular stuff 55-62gr slides into the chamber just fine.  The longer bullets, or the possibility of a dirty dusty chamber, bullets or mag might prevent them from sliding right in.  A little cut into the barrel and lower, and they slide right in here too.  For what it's worth, I have 3 out of the 10 with them.  I don't notice the difference.

There are better rifles out there, but most are just better tuned.  Learning the way to tune a rifle yourself is something you'll keep with you forever.

Just be careful of BRD.  Once you catch it, it never goes away.




(BRD- Black Rifle Disease)

Offline firetoad

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2008, 08:57:06 PM »
At one time, I had a single stage competition trigger and did not like it.  Similar to millerized1, I prefer the stock trigger components.  Typically, I use stock trigger components (after I diamond hone [hone, not cut] the machine marks out of the ground hammer notch/sear surfaces) with JP Enterprises drop in trigger springs from Brownells.  I have tried a JP Ent. Low Mass Hammer on two different rifles and, for my uses, it made no difference.  Something to note though is that you really need to know what you are doing with tuning any hammer notch/sear surface like maintaing positive sear engagement.  As millerized1 stated, there are special jigs utilized for almost any trigger tuning to maintain the proper sear engagement angles to keep a SAFE trigger while imporving its feel. 

As an aside, to me, one of the best/easiest triggers to learn tuning on is the SKS trigger group.  It can be removed from the firearm as a whole, is easy to work on and you can really see and understand what is going on as you do it. 

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2008, 09:57:59 PM »
Ok normal run of the mill trigger. Out of that advice is one better then another, or is this all made by one company under sub-contracts? Sorry if somebody said this already. I should sleep.

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2008, 06:00:15 AM »
Sleep?  Why? It isn't needed....promise. ;)

Pretty much all the same.  Some differences in machining, but usually cast/stamped by the normal few.  I'm sure someone out there can prove one is better, but they all work for their intended purpose.

Compare just about all AR and AR parts manufacturers to automobiles:
LaRue, POF, Wilson = Rolls Royce, Lamborgini, Bentley
Bushmaster, Olympic, Vulcan = Yugo, Fiat, Fit

but, they all have 4 wheels, all move under their own power, and all take gas to operate and if you're in their way at the wrong time.....they'll all kill you.  What you get is a difference in performance, fit, and to an extent a name tag attached.  Build your own, see if it's right for you, THEN consider the more expensive stuff. I'm happy with building my own, tuning until I'm Happy.  Some folks like brand names, even though they're capable of doing the work themselves. Some folks just buy things for the name tag....that's sure not me.  I'd take my M4-gery builds up against any currently commercial built AR.....as long as they supply the ammo.

 I'm happy with a 2001 Tracker and an 05 Kawasaki Concours.  My wife JUST HAD TO HAVE a new Jeep Liberty...absolutely needed NEW. Different tastes for different people. 

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2008, 04:58:36 AM »
This is shaping up to be a good thread.  It looks like some of you have quite a lot of experience with the AR system, that's good because I don't & I'd like to.

Anybody care to do a build-a-long? 

SwampMonster, jeremya if it's okay with you I'm going to pin this one to the top with the hope we can build our own database of AR information, tips, tricks & hopefully some builds as well.

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2008, 06:16:09 AM »
Maybe not experience, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Excess last night.

I'd say more like success, and still having most of my original fingers and all 3 eyes.

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2008, 09:23:12 AM »
I would do a build a long but I am broke at the moment. I am going to be doing this as I can and posting as I go.

FYI: I am thinking Stag LPK. MagPul CTR Stock. MagPul MIAD grip.

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2008, 07:30:28 PM »
I went Stag LPK. I thought about the one with the ambi select, but I decided against it.

I have some punches. I am curious are there any special tools? The punches I have came with my Bushmaster survival spare parts kit.

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2008, 05:55:31 AM »
When you're assembling the lower: screwdriver for the grip, roll pin punches for the roll pins, and good old fashioned patience.  Regular punches can be used, but make sure you're dead on the roll pins, and remember to protect the areas around the pins with a double layer of masking tape so you don't scratch the finish.  Lastly, remember to support the opposite side of the trigger guard so you don't blow it out.  With experience, it takes me about 5min to put a lower together.....if I don't lose a pin or spring. :) I used to do this with a towel draped across my head and arms to keep the pins and springs from going into orbit.  PITA to have to wait a week when you order a new pin, right before you find the original one stuck in a curtain or sweeper on the OTHER side of the house. >:(

Only really hard, and I mean annoying if you don't know how to get around it is the front detent spring and retainer pin for the front pin (the one below the ejection port).  I used to play with trying to put the spring in, then the retainer, then try to slide in the pin. Best have extra pins and springs laying around. ;)  Find an old philips or flat head screwdriver, 1/4" drillbit or something that's 1/4" diameter.  Just make sure it pretty much fills the area where the pin slides through.  Put in the spring, put in the retainer pin, slide the 1/4" thing from the left side to hold it in place.  It's just holding it until you carefully slide the normal pin in from the right. I put the rounded side of the pin in facing backwards, then turn it until the retaining pin pops into place.  There's a special "tool" for this process, but backyard engineering works much cheaper.

Shout out if you need a hand.

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2008, 08:23:57 AM »
"There's a special "tool" for this process."

I am curious what the tool is called?

Offline wbo3

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2008, 09:11:32 AM »
Don't get a "special tool".  Go to Lowe's Home Depot, whatever.  Get yourself a 1/4" clevis pin.  You can insert your spring and detent pin through the holes in the clevis pin, rotate the clevis pin with your punch while pushing the detent into place.  With the clevis pin holding your detent, it is just a matter of pushing your front takedown pin into place while backing out the clevis pin.  It is much harder to explain that to actually do.  I will try to get some pictures together and do a tutorial.  I need to assemble my spare lower anyway... ;D

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2008, 09:37:07 AM »
"There's a special "tool" for this process."

I am curious what the tool is called?
Pivot Pin Detent Installation Tool.  I call it an old screwdriver.
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/ar15-Pivot-Pin-Installation-Tool-p/tool%20pivot%20pin%20install%20tool.htm

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2008, 10:20:30 AM »
"There's a special "tool" for this process."

I am curious what the tool is called?
Pivot Pin Detent Installation Tool.  I call it an old screwdriver.
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/ar15-Pivot-Pin-Installation-Tool-p/tool%20pivot%20pin%20install%20tool.htm

Thanks, I like tools. No, I did not order one. I may someday, but money is obviously going towards other things.  ;D

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2008, 12:29:35 PM »
Drill out the shank of a screwdriver, save your money.  Besides, if things keep going the way they are, that $5 you saved might buy you a round or 2 of .223 :)

loudlikenature

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2008, 02:45:10 PM »
I recently picked up a stag 2H complete rifle kit with upgraded rear low profile MI sight from ar15.com equip exchange brand new for $609 shipped. Chrome-lined barrel included!
Grabbed a Stag stripped lower from DD's Ranch for $100.

Extremely happy with the fit and finish of this setup. No feed ramps but don't need those in a semi-auto anyway. Currently waiting for an Eotech 512 to get delivered.

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2008, 05:32:00 PM »
I recently picked up a stag 2H complete rifle kit with upgraded rear low profile MI sight from ar15.com equip exchange brand new for $609 shipped. Chrome-lined barrel included!
Grabbed a Stag stripped lower from DD's Ranch for $100.

Extremely happy with the fit and finish of this setup. No feed ramps but don't need those in a semi-auto anyway. Currently waiting for an Eotech 512 to get delivered.
Welcome, my friend, to the Evil Black Rifle club.  Learn everything there is to know about your new rifle.  There will be a test later in life, be prepared to pass it :)

kaiservontexas

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2008, 08:10:51 PM »
Got a question. I have a Spike's Tactical Stripped lower. Is it mil-spec of commercial? I know I should just go look on the site. I am asking in reference to buffers and stocks. I am not progressing in that direction. I want a dark earth MagPul CTR for the stock. I do not know if I will need commercial or military. I am assuming commercial at the moment since this is not a Colt. I am also curious what the best buffer? Also I am not leaving anything out for the stock assembly part of the rifle, am I?

FYI: LPK arrives tomorrow!

millerized1

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Re: AR-15 DIY Build Thread
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2008, 08:18:53 PM »
See for yourself : http://www.ar15.com/content/guides/parts/lower.html
 As far as milspec vs commercial...I'm not sure.  Call Angela at Spikes and ask.

Buttstock, buffer, spring, tube, xtension spacer for A2's
Not sure what the Magpul stock comes with.