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View Full Version : Wanting to build a shorty AR, your recommendation please


snovvman
05-31-2008, 11:38 PM
I have a stripped OLL and would like to get the parts to build an AR to my preference. I already have a 20" RRA varmint set up and I would like now to have a smaller-footprint/light weight .223 (presuming that .223 is more available than 5.56).

So many guns, so little money -- because of this -- I would like to build this on a relatively small budget. It does not have to be match-grade. I can always replace stuff later. I just want to spend enough to put something together to play with. I intend to use BulletButton or Prince50.

1) Upper: please recommend, flat top 16" setup, with muzzle brake, and something with rails on the forend. Alternative: I'd like to consider a piston setup, but if it is too costly, then I will go with traditional gas system. Any links to sites that sell and specific item(s) would be great.

2) Stock: I like the look of collapsable stocks. Based on what I read, the rifle needs to be 30" or longer. Are there any reasonably-priced stock that has the look that will give me a net 30" (with a 16" barrel) at the shortest configuration? Again, links to products please.

As I indicated, I'm not looking to build a high-end gun. Just something entry-level so I can go hit some targets and have fun. If there is something I haven't thought of, or I'm courting the AW trouble, please chime in. I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks.

saxman
06-01-2008, 12:53 AM
here is what I built recently:

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c217/saxman242/ar3.jpg
del-ton mid length rifle kit
16" heavy barrel
mid length gas
yhm mid length rails
dpms compensator
M4 stock
etc


you could go lighter weight with a lighter profile barrel and a carbine gas system if you so desire.

Overall length of the gun is ~32.5" with the stock collapsed.

Josh3239
06-01-2008, 1:45 AM
If your going to convert your AR15 to a gas piston your looking at spending atleast another $400.

As long as you have a buffer tube and a 16'' barrel you won't have to worry about overall length. The factory buttstocks are going to be cheapest, the better ones are more expensive. The other stocks will have everything from battery compartments to zero movement locking systems.

For cheap railed non-free float handguards you could try Troy, YHM, UTG, or Midwest Industries. All these companies make "drop in" handguards that require no gunsmithing or removal of the barrel or front sight base. They all do what they are supposed to do but Troy is probably the highest quality and UTG is probably the lowest.

NeoWeird
06-01-2008, 2:32 AM
I would like now to have a smaller-footprint/light weight .223 (presuming that .223 is more available than 5.56).

You can shoot .223 AND 5.56 in a 5.56 chamber. You shouldn't shoot 5.56 in a .223 chamber. Get the 5.56 chamber and shoot both.

As for 'walking' rifles, I'd suggest a 14.5" pencil profile barrel with a permanently attached muzzle device. I personally recommend the Primary Weapons Systems FSC556.

Forget the piston kit; it's just more weight and more parts that can go wrong and 99% of the time you won't ever push your rifle to the point where you will even begin to be able to measure a difference, let alone notice a difference between a piston upper and direct impingement upper.

Don't get railed handguards or free float tubes; they won't help you and they will only force you to add weight. Yes there are railed systems that weigh less than factory handguards but that is before you add on anything, which will be more than factory handguards with rail covers alone (unless you like snagging your fingers and clothes on the groves).

I personally like the looks of the CAR handguards, but if M4 handguards are your thing then go for it; but the fact that real M4 hanguards have double heat shields is a non-issue as again you won't ever push your rifle to the point where it will even be an issue. So for this point go by personal preference. There are other options; like Magpul's new line of replacement factory parts, but I'm not sure if they are even available commercially yet.

Buttstock and pistol grip are personal choice as well. I personally prefer the A1 pistol grip and the original CAR stock (not the newer CAR stock). There are other options as well, and nothing is stopping you from using a Magpul, TangoDown, etc part. Just keep in mind that they are frequently heavier than factory parts so they should be avoided if possible for lightweight builds.

Internals stay with a reputable company. Standard parts will suffice just fine, but if a "better" trigger is needed go with something simple like the RRA or equivalent. Those Match triggers are usually finely tuned and may cause problems in the field where dirt may get to them. Also remember that a walking rifle is no place for a light trigger. On a side note, anti-walk pins are just a waste of money and added weight. It may not be much but it's there.

Don't use 'special' buffers. You won't need them. Period. Again, just added weight and added parts. Use the standard CAR buffer and if you have reliability problems, which I doubt you will if you stay close to the mold, then you can start adjusting with the heavier buffers. Still, those recoil absorbing/rate reducing buffers are just a money sink for this type of rifle and they won't help you one bit.

I'd suggest a flat top upper with M4 feed ramps. You WON'T need the feed ramps, but it does increase resell value so I suggest getting them when possible on flat top uppers. Use the standard carrier and bolt; match anything isn't going to help you much. Also stay away from the PRI charging handle; you won't be shooting suppressed so you won't need it and it will just be wasted money.

Get good quality sights. I'd recommend, for aesthetic purposes only, a barrel mounted folding gas block and a folding rear BUIS. I suggested the flattop upper because it gives you a bit of versatility for mounting an optic if you want to, or ever want to. I'd suggest something with low magnification as this rifle will be set up to run on the fly and won't be a bench rifle. You could always opt for a Trijicon and not worry about it, or even opt for a good quality glass scope if that is your thing. If I had the money I'd go for the Trijicon as you never know what lighting will be like when you are walking (such as in a heavily wooded area) and the Trijicon is usually easier and faster to use in a panic. Aimpoints would also be a step down but still a valid option; but I'd stay away from the add on magnifier.

Also, get a good sling. You don't need something tactical, but something that allows easier and comfortable carrier, ready carry and can be switched back and forth from the two. Something that allows ambidextrous shooting is also a nice featuer.

That's it for now. Trust me; simple and light is the key. You may think you want that vertical pistol grip but walk for a while with it jabbing your sides and you won't. You may think you want that lazer aiming device, but you will soon find out it's pointless. Keep it simple and you won't regret it.

-hanko
06-01-2008, 6:38 AM
This may give you a little inspiration for a lightweight rifle...http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=304444

Forget the railed hg...too tempting to hang 'tactical' stuff from...

I'd start with a 14.5 or 16" government profile barrel. CAR or M-4 (if you have larger hands) handguards. Given you want a flattop upper, sounds like you want an optical sight...I'd suggest EoTech or an Aimpoint; I love EoTech, ymmv.

You can use either a CAR 4-postion or M4 6 position stock, not much difference in price between the two.

A piston upper is not in the cards, imo.

hth

-hanko

uscbigdawg
06-01-2008, 7:20 AM
Forget the gas piston system. I'll tell you from having carried my M-4 that the gas system is not the weakness. The weakness of the AR platform, is, was and always will be the mags. So, having just re-built my teaching rifle, this is what I did:

Upper:
Receiver - DPMS
Barrel - DPMS 1:9 CM barrel (they're cheap and accurate)
FH - YHM Phantom 5C2 (Great comp and flash hider)*
BCG - DPMS coated w/ IonBond PVD finish after break-in/polish
Sighting System - EOTech from GG&G (w/ all there goodies)

* I can also HIGHLY recommend the Smith

On the lower, I love the VLTOR stocks. I beat the hell out of mine in Afghanistan last year and it just kept on ticking.

Rich

Diablo
06-01-2008, 8:29 AM
As for 'walking' rifles, I'd suggest a 14.5" pencil profile barrel with a permanently attached muzzle device. I personally recommend the Primary Weapons Systems FSC556.

Excellent write up Neo. One question...why the 14.5 with an attachement instead of a 16" pencil barrel? Is the difference in weight significant?

snovvman
06-01-2008, 10:05 AM
Thanks, guys, for taking the time to respond.

No piston setup, then. I got the message. :-) The piston thing came from a friend, who is fond of the AK design and says that the AR's gas system is unreliable. I guess it's not so in practice.

You can shoot .223 AND 5.56 in a 5.56 chamber. You shouldn't shoot 5.56 in a .223 chamber. Get the 5.56 chamber and shoot both.

Question: I thought I read that, while .223 can be used in 5.56, it is not recommended for some reason? Why does RRA advertise their "Wylde Chamber", which allows one to use .223 as well as 5.56, as something special?

Is my assumption correct, that .223 is generally more available and cheaper?

[Humble yet embarrassing NewB] Question: What is a "feed ramp" on an AR? What is the difference between M4 and CAR (I presume Carbine)? I figure they are handguard designs but I'm unclear on the pictures I've seen.

@saxman: Are you the same saxman on Walther Forum, who answered my questions about the P99?

Thanks again guys.

Ech0Sierra
06-01-2008, 10:25 AM
RRA advertises the Wylde chamber as special since it is a hybrid. Standard 5.56 chambers have a slight drop in accuracy when shooting .223.

saxman
06-01-2008, 11:27 AM
@saxman: Are you the same saxman on Walther Forum, who answered my questions about the P99?

indeed I am

NeoWeird
06-01-2008, 4:20 PM
Excellent write up Neo. One question...why the 14.5 with an attachement instead of a 16" pencil barrel? Is the difference in weight significant?

In this case it's more for compactness than weight. The 1.5" shorter barrel will only be a few ounces lighter, but it will help bringing the rifle up to shoulder that much easier in an emergency situation. Of course this rifle will probably NOT be used for what it's setup for, but suppose the owner went for a walk in low elevation mountain areas and came across a mountain lion that started to act like it wasn't going to leave you alone. Do you really want to find out that if your barrel had be 3/4" shorter you wouldn't have hit that tree branch and lost that much precious time? I'm not saying 14.5" is the BEST length, but it's the best length before going into SBR territory - at least for a walking rifle.

Thanks, guys, for taking the time to respond.

No piston setup, then. I got the message. :-) The piston thing came from a friend, who is fond of the AK design and says that the AR's gas system is unreliable. I guess it's not so in practice.

This is common gun myth. It sadly comes from the Vietnam era of US history, and enough people spread it without substantiating their claim, or to less informed individuals such as yourself (don't be offended by that - everyone starts out new at the begining) and enough people just mindlessly believe it because someone who knows better said so. What happened was that when the M16 first came out and went to Vietnam, the gun found itself in an enviornment much different than anything it had been tested in. The VERY high humidity and salt exposure lead to rapid rusting of the barrel, bolt, and carrier. The result was stories from the front line of people's rifles jamming every other round, requiring cleaning rods to clear the jams in the middle of fire fights, seized carriers, etc. The US military quickly remidied this by chrome lining the internals of the rifle to prevent corrosion. Problem solved, however the stories were already being spread by the media, civilians, etc and it's one of those things that hasn't died; kind of like people who tell you something is illegal, even though it was only illegal under the Federal Assault Weapon ban (like bayonet lugs on rifles which are unregulated in California, yet I still hear it almost every other day when I'm in gun shops).


Question: I thought I read that, while .223 can be used in 5.56, it is not recommended for some reason? Why does RRA advertise their "Wylde Chamber", which allows one to use .223 as well as 5.56, as something special?

The 5.56 chamber is slightly longer and is usually loaded to higher pressure (some people call it 'hotter'). The result is that when a .223 round goes into a 5.56 chamber it doesn't completely seat against the throat of the case, but instead sits back slightly. This is not an issue, as this will happen as the chamber wears and some guns, such as .22 rimfires, have shorter cases, like shorters, long, etc shot in them all the time. The result is a slight drop in accuracy but you won't even notice it unless your bench shooting. I can all but gurantee that with a good barrel and open sights you wouldn't tell the difference between a mag of .223 and 5.56 in a 5.56 chamber outside of MAYBE a slightly louder pop when firing the 5.56 cartridges.

The problem arises the other way around. When you put a 5.56 cartridge into a .223 chamber, the brass at the tip of the case hits the bore of the rifle and gets crammed into it. The result is greatly increased pressure and extraction problems. The pressures can be so great as to cause the rifle to explode, or ka-boom as it's commonly called. Not something you want.

The Wylde chamber is a hybrid that falls in the middle. It let's you shoot both cartridges with relatively decent accuracy. A .223 chamber will shoot .223 well; a 5.56 chamber will shoot 5.56 well and .223 decently; a Wylde chamber will not shoot as well as a .223 in .223 or 5.56 in a 5.56 but will shoot both better than a .223 in 5.56. To give it arbitrary numbers think of it this way:

.223 in .223 shoots at a level 10.

5.56 in 5.56 shoots at a level 10.
.223 in 5.56 shoots at a level 8.

.223 and 5.56 in a Wylde shoot at a level 9.

Is my assumption correct, that .223 is generally more available and cheaper?

Incorrect. There are no military rifles that are chambered in .223 and .223 is an American cartridge. The result is that all surplus and most foreign produced ammo (unless produced specifically for the US market) will be 5.56. A problem arises that many online retailers market 5.56 as .223. Care should be taken we ordering ammo online for a .223 rifle as many times 5.56 ammo gets advertised as .223.


[Humble yet embarrassing NewB] Question: What is a "feed ramp" on an AR?

It was discovered that the M4 rifle cycled too quickly under full auto fire. This was a result of several factors, including shortening the barrel and gas system. The result was that the carrier would come home and attempt to push a cartridge into chamber before it had fully risen to the top of the magazine. The result was the cartridge jammed nose first just below the feed ramps on the barrel extension (which guide the bullet into the chamber for proper feeding). These are not needed in AR-15s as you will never shoot fast enough or long enough to experience it, however, if you ever want to sell your upper it could be a deal breaker to someone who does. That is why I suggested getting them, and for that reason alone. Here are some pictures to better explain (found them via Google).

http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/407/m4cuts0xk.jpg
http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/5797/installed5tq.jpg

What is the difference between M4 and CAR (I presume Carbine)? I figure they are handguard designs but I'm unclear on the pictures I've seen.

The Major difference is the M4 handguards are larger and more oval shaped and have a dual heat shield to further prevent heat trasference. This is not needed or used on semi-auto rifles so the result is all personal preference on either what you like the look of or what fits your hand better. CAR is the designation of the old Carbine. M4 is the new designation. There are only minor differences between them.

CAR:
http://www.lancasterarms.com/full-k3b-car.gif
http://www.gandlairsoft.com/catalog/images/ar001m1.jpg

duenor
06-01-2008, 5:04 PM
Two things.

DPMS "glacier guard" "M4" handguards are all plastic, and have no heat shields. Under sustained fire they are likely to melt. They are also thick as hell. If you have short fingers, they are a pain to hold. I have short fingers, so I use IDF CAR handguards with aluminum heat shields.

Regarding barrel twist. Many here advocate 1-9" twist. Currently the M16A2 and M4 both use 1-7", which allows the rifle to stabilize M193, M855, and tracer ammunition (yes I know it is banned in california, but if you plan to use your rifle for SHTF then some of it might turn up in a post-apocalyptic world). 1-9" is proven to have problems with tracer. Here is a little bit about twist from ammo oracle (http://www.ammo-oracle.com/body.htm). I have both and I prefer the 1-7". All shoot equally well for me well. If you really want to see rifle performance set appleseed targets at 25 yards and start shooting.


Q. Will M193 be accurate in a 1:7 or 1:9 twist barrel?
It may be marginally less accurate due to the fast twist rate, particularly in 1:7 twist barrels. Unless you're trying to use these rounds for benchrest shooting, though, it shouldn't be enough to matter.
A bullet's flight is disrupted slightly as it leaves the barrel and after traveling some distance, will "settle down" into an even spiral, similar to a thrown football. The faster a bullet is spinning, the longer it takes to settle down. The most accurate twist rate for any length of bullet will be just a bit faster than what is required to stabilize it for its entire flight path (1.3 SG). But note that bullet quality plays a much bigger part in this equation. A uniform bullet will spin true; a non-uniform bullet will wobble and be inaccurate. As a general matter when shooting M193 or M855 (as opposed to match ammo) its better to err on the side of a faster twist rate. Regardless, both 1:9 and 1:7 twists seem to shoot M193 and M855 very well.

snovvman
06-01-2008, 5:09 PM
less informed individuals such as yourself (don't be offended by that Not offended at all NeroWeird. I AM "less informed" and I am thankful that you took the time to respond to my queries. I expecially appreciate the thoroughness of your information. NewB quesetions are hard to ask at times, especially when they have been answered hundreds of times and information is all over the place but not corrolated to one's needs.

Questions to clarify:

1) Is the photo labeled "Rifle" the version that is commonly described as feed ramp?

2) Don't CA ARs require at least a 16" barrel to escape the AW designation?


Unrelated question: I've seen AR-style .308s. I presume the lower receiver would have to be .308-specific, since the cartridge is much longer. Correct?

@saxman: Thanks again for answering my questions at WF. I think a 9mm P99 is in my near future.

duenor
06-01-2008, 5:13 PM
1) feed ramp is the ramp that leads the cartridge tip into the chamber. what you see is a commercial feed ramp, non-m4 style. both commercial and m4 rifles have feed ramps.. they are just cut differently.

2) yes. you take a 14.5" and permanently attach a muzzle brake or flash hider to it, or any other perm extension, to make it 16" or above.

yes you have to put a 308 upper on a 308 lower.

unless you are committed to the p99 i recommend a sig P228/p6/p229/p226 or cz-p01 over it.

saxman
06-01-2008, 5:22 PM
unless you are committed to the p99 i recommend a sig P228/p6/p229/p226 or cz-p01 over it.

I have a P6 and a P99... both are great guns. If SHTF, the P99 will be on my side. I have no complaints with the sig, but it doesn't compare imo.


snovvman, if you're near the bay area, you're welcome to try out my P99... hell, you're welcome to try out my AR if you'd like.

snovvman
06-01-2008, 5:32 PM
Thanks duenor. What is the definition of "permanetly attach"? Pinned?

I liked the uniqueness of the striker-fired AS model with the decocker. A Sig is almost certainly in my future too...

I will be seeing Matt tomorrow. He has my new M&P waiting for me to start the DROS.

duenor
06-01-2008, 5:40 PM
NO

it must be welded, hi-temp soldered (7400 IIRC), or something else that I no longer recall. suffice it to say that it is difficult enough that in a current project I am working on I paid the subcontractor to do it for me although I could have had it done in our own factory.

as for the P99, I am not saying it is a bad gun. Just my own abitrary opinion, since I was already on a roll :neener:

come by anytime, you are always welcome. when you get there, look for a U15 stocked rifle on the back wall with a matech flip up sight. that's my personal gun :)

Diablo
06-01-2008, 5:41 PM
Wow...Such great info. Thanks.:hurray:

duenor
06-01-2008, 5:54 PM
Further notes

1. almost all "223" is "556". so getting a barrel in 223 is actually not as good as 556 standard. besides, when the SHTF you will be sharing ammo with the national guard to fight off the paratrooper commies, so you need 556. same goes for m4 feed ramps for the "auto sears" that uncle sam will be handing out for all patriotic americans and 1-7" twist for the equally free red and green tracers.

2. make sure you have a flat top upper. keep the standard front sight tower.

3. 14.5" pencil barrel because you need weight savings. you are not going to be using this rifle to snipe enemy nazis at 800 yards... but you will be carrying that thing an awful lot and shorter plus lighter equals better

4. don't forget to send it to fedup to get it gold plated so that everyone will know to stay away from the crazy guy with the golden gun

snovvman
06-01-2008, 6:11 PM
if you're near the bay area, you're welcome to try out my P99... hell, you're welcome to try out my AR if you'd like.

Ah saxman thanks much for your generous offer. Unfortunately for me, I live in the epicenter of anti-gun: L.A.

2. make sure you have a flat top upper. keep the standard front sight tower.

I definitely want to have a flat top, but why keep the front sight tower? I was thinking of a flip-up like saxman's above. Are there some advantages in keeping the tower?

4. don't forget to send it to fedup to get it gold plated so that everyone will know to stay away from the crazy guy with the golden gun

No, I'm actually going after the all pink Hello Kitty look (has anyone seen this? I saw it on the web the other day--an all pink AR!). I'm not cool enough for the all-gold bling bling.

duenor
06-01-2008, 6:17 PM
the *****cat rifle belongs to one of our members, IIRC.
i think i've met him too, i just don't remember names very well. i have to fat girls in one of my 9th grade classes. i always get their names mixed up and it is painfully obvious why. it did not make things better when i suggested that one of them cut their hair :lol:

oh, and if you are going ot go pink rifle, get the U15 stock. it's a total winner. i'm sure you have grandfathered magazines somewhere.

uscbigdawg
06-01-2008, 6:31 PM
To the OP, I don't have handguards on ANY rifle other than my DCM rifle and well even that is free floated. I don't believe in rails, although had to use one on this last deployment. In general the JP free float tube IS the standard and is going to be much more comfortable and yield all the options for accessory placement that you could imagine.

I'll have pics of the new toy soon. Just waitin' on the new barrel.

FWIW, chrome lined barrels are definitely NOT a necessity.

Rich

duenor
06-01-2008, 6:50 PM
you can have a FU gas block, but for a walking rifle I would personally prefer the stabilty the standard tower provides. the less moving parts there are, the less there can be to go wrong. this will be a defensive rifle... it will get dirty... clogged with sand and grit... it will get banged up... and it is best to keep it simple. see the KISS rifle in hanko's post for what i mean.

when properly cowitnessed the tower doesn't inhibit performance.

now if this was to be a DMR (designated marksman) weapon, then by all means go flip up.. but then the rest of your setup would be different too.

any guys who've carried and used both care to add their opnions?

dfletcher
06-01-2008, 7:14 PM
I have a stripped OLL and would like to get the parts to build an AR to my preference. I already have a 20" RRA varmint set up and I would like now to have a smaller-footprint/light weight .223 (presuming that .223 is more available than 5.56).

So many guns, so little money -- because of this -- I would like to build this on a relatively small budget. It does not have to be match-grade. I can always replace stuff later. I just want to spend enough to put something together to play with. I intend to use BulletButton or Prince50.

1) Upper: please recommend, flat top 16" setup, with muzzle brake, and something with rails on the forend. Alternative: I'd like to consider a piston setup, but if it is too costly, then I will go with traditional gas system. Any links to sites that sell and specific item(s) would be great.

2) Stock: I like the look of collapsable stocks. Based on what I read, the rifle needs to be 30" or longer. Are there any reasonably-priced stock that has the look that will give me a net 30" (with a 16" barrel) at the shortest configuration? Again, links to products please.

As I indicated, I'm not looking to build a high-end gun. Just something entry-level so I can go hit some targets and have fun. If there is something I haven't thought of, or I'm courting the AW trouble, please chime in. I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks.

How's 30 3/4" OAL and about 5 lbs sound?

I used a Stag lower and this upper, switched out the handguards to the narrow style: http://www.mapartsinc.com/productsDetail.asp?id=1313

For a buttstock I used this:http://www.aceltdusa.com/images04/AR15/ARFX-E_2.jpg

Everything you need for the stock - with the exception of the buffer & spring - is pictured. I'm 6'5" and the stock works fine. I did get the longer recoil pad and that's what gets you to 30 3/4". With the regular pad your at 30 1/4" OAL, if you use no recoil pad at all I believe you're just under 30" OAL.

One suggestion on the upper, If you're going to mount a scope, do have them remove the front sight & replace with a gas block. Then mount a flip up front sight, otherwise the front sight will show in any scope under about 6X unless you get super high rings.

Not glamorous, pretty straight forward and gets you a very light & "just long enough" AR.

duenor
06-01-2008, 7:21 PM
yes, for a scope get a flat gas block. but that is rather silly on a walking rifle....

get the walking rifle configuration for now, (a2 tower and flat top receiver), then later on get a dedicated upper for scoped usage (ie., 20" SS fluted barrel full length gas system etc)

oh, and stick with the mzzle brake unless you are NEVER EVER going to want to use detachable magazines. FH prohibits use of MMG or U15.

the FSH is not necessary most times (even in SHTF you are not likely to shoot guys in the dark without properly illuminating them to identify friend or foe). in fact, Russia issues all of her AKs to her soldiers with muzzle brakes instead of FHs.

jacques
06-01-2008, 7:51 PM
now if this was to be a DMR (designated marksman) weapon, then by all means go flip up.. but then the rest of your setup would be different too.

any guys who've carried and used both care to add their opnions?

How much more accurate is the flip up rear and front sight compared to a standard Rear flip up and front tower, or a carry handle and standard tower.

NeoWeird
06-01-2008, 8:02 PM
How much more accurate is the flip up rear and front sight compared to a standard Rear flip up and front tower, or a carry handle and standard tower.

From reputable companies, they are nearly identical and human error will play more into groupings than the irons will.

The folding barrel mounted front sight is one of the few exceptions where I stray away from the less/lighter rule for a walking rifle. I only say that because no matter what you put on there, the front tower WILL get in the way. Using the same situation I described before, if some animal is charing you and you whip your rifle up and you don't see him because they are obstructed by the front tower, well that is precious time you are losing. It may not be much, but every bit helps. Yes the part can fail, but it's a back up part. If your primary and back up fail, then you are abusing the rifle to the point where you could have easily damaged the factory tower anyways so it's kind of a moot point.

Now if no optics were going to be used, it's a different story. If that were the case I'd say screw the flat top and get the A2 upper. The carry handle will also be a nice benifit to any rifle that has to be carried and picked up/set down repeatidly.

Just on a side note, it's impossible to put an auto-sear into an AR-15 lower without spending some time in a mill first. Even if Uncle Sam handed them out, they would be useless to your AR rifle. Besides, Uncle Sam would just unload it's piles and piles of rifles onto the public if true chaos/war happened on US soil. You have no idea how many rifles, even those from WWII like Thompsons, are still in US reserves SOMEWHERE in the US. If it happened, we'd be armed to the teeth with anything and everything; sears will be the last thing Uncle Sam thinks about.

duenor
06-01-2008, 8:07 PM
the same... or not.. it all really depends on how your individual eyeball works, really.

I have on my U15 "grab-it-anytime and start rolling" a standard a2 tower and flip up matech USGI rear sight. it will have an eotech on it when it comes back from being on the display stand at the EAI factory.

At 25 yards I can put all 20 rounds within 3". It doesn't sound like much, I know, but I am not a very good shot. I do okay though. oh, and I fire pretty quickly... at the slowest I am still doing about one shot a second.

with my a2 fixed carry handle MMG rifle I can do pretty much exactly the same.

with my registered assault weapon I used to the same as well.

the one difference is that with the matech you don't get the option of switching to the "close range" rear sight ring setting... it is always on the small apeture. but i prefer that to the clunky sights that GGG and other sell... I believe in KISS as much as possible.

duenor
06-01-2008, 8:11 PM
Just on a side note, it's impossible to put an auto-sear into an AR-15 lower without spending some time in a mill first. Even if Uncle Sam handed them out, they would be useless to your AR rifle. Besides, Uncle Sam would just unload it's piles and piles of rifles onto the public if true chaos/war happened on US soil. You have no idea how many rifles, even those from WWII like Thompsons, are still in US reserves SOMEWHERE in the US. If it happened, we'd be armed to the teeth with anything and everything; sears will be the last thing Uncle Sam thinks about.


:p someone took my joke somewhat seriously... yes I know you can't stick in an auto sear... that's why it was "auto sear" in quotation marks. all the gun grabbers and quite a few armchair commandos think it's possible, though.

Although, in truth, even if Uncle Sam started handed out AR15s and Thompsons, knowing how the goobermint works we'd get the guns on monday, the magazines on wednesday, and the ammo the day after the looters get tired of carrying stuff.

jacques
06-01-2008, 8:11 PM
Thanks NEO, you seem to always have good answers.

I think my next build is going to be with the detachable carry handle. I have a Troy folding rear battle sight on my 20" Govt CMMG upper. It seems to be a little flimsy when I move it left and right and back and forth. I am not sure if it is supposed to have some play in it or not. But I always wonder.

duenor
06-01-2008, 8:21 PM
here's why i really like the a2 tower

1. it is always there. it won't accidentally get folded down or anything like that. when you have an eotech mounted, it prevents the rear folding sight from being accidentally folded down. nothing prevents the front sight from being folded accidentally.

2. when you cowitness, you get used to it being there and accoutn for it. when you lose the optic and have to switch to irons, you are still used to the presence of the front sight and your brain isn't "surprised".

3. you never have to worry about remembering to flip it up.

the bottom line is this.

what do you value more? consistency and solid reliability vs. the little bit of extra obstruction in your optic's field of view (never mind that you are not supposed to walk around constantly hard-aiming anyway)?

different folks will respond differently. what works for them may not work for you.

NeoWeird
06-01-2008, 8:26 PM
:p someone took my joke somewhat seriously... yes I know you can't stick in an auto sear... that's why it was "auto sear" in quotation marks. all the gun grabbers and quite a few armchair commandos think it's possible, though.

Oh I knew it was a joke, but given the relative newness of the OP and subsequent readers who would want/need to read this thread I figured I should make sure it was known. Better to inform someone now than have to correct them later.


Although, in truth, even if Uncle Sam started handed out AR15s and Thompsons, knowing how the goobermint works we'd get the guns on monday, the magazines on wednesday, and the ammo the day after the looters get tired of carrying stuff.


Wow, you're optimistic. Knowing the goobermint I figured I'd get looted 5 minutes later, have my personal guns confiscated for the sake of goobermint safety the next day, murdered the following day, home torched an hour later, and a decade later someone in the goobermint saying "Not our fault, but so and so did something wrong. their bad.".

Thanks NEO, you seem to always have good answers.

I think my next build is going to be with the detachable carry handle. I have a Troy folding rear battle sight on my 20" Govt CMMG upper. It seems to be a little flimsy when I move it left and right and back and forth. I am not sure if it is supposed to have some play in it or not. But I always wonder.

Well then just be warned. Removable rear sights, the removable carry handle included, are all set higher than the fixed carry handle sights. If you do get a removable carry handle, or any removable rear sight for that matter, make sure your barrel has an "F" marked front sight tower. Most reputable manufacturers have this option or will do this option at no charge. If you get the wrong barrel, your rifle will shoot low or high depending on the combination and it will only cause you grief.

snovvman
06-01-2008, 8:34 PM
I don't have handguards on ANY rifle other than my DCM rifle
uscbigdawg: Does this mean that your rifle simply has a bare barrel? I'm guessing not, but I know "handguard" as the part that goes around the barrel in front of the upper receiver (sorry I'm new). Looking forward to seeing the pictures.

when properly cowitnessed the tower doesn't inhibit performance.

"Cowitnessed" is a new tech term for me. I'm guessing that it means that both sights (optic and front) are set up so that they don't interfere? With a fixed front tower sight, is it true, then, that the optics will have to be elevated?

@dfletcher: Thanks. I will take a look at the links.

NeoWeird
06-01-2008, 9:56 PM
uscbigdawg: Does this mean that your rifle simply has a bare barrel? I'm guessing not, but I know "handguard" as the part that goes around the barrel in front of the upper receiver (sorry I'm new). Looking forward to seeing the pictures.

I think what he means is all of his rifles either use a free float tube or a railed fore end. All of his rifles have a fore end, but no handguards. He mentions his match rifle has handguards, but essentially only for aesthetics as it's really a free float tube beneath.

"Cowitnessed" is a new tech term for me. I'm guessing that it means that both sights (optic and front) are set up so that they don't interfere? With a fixed front tower sight, is it true, then, that the optics will have to be elevated?

Pretty close. What it means is that the optical point of aim and the irons point of aim are in the same, or relatively close, same plane. To give you an idea, imagine someone standing on the top of a mountain and someone standing at the bottom of a mountain. They are both looking at the same distant object, say a water tower. While they are both looking at the same object, they are in different planes; this is essentially what you are doing with a scope; the person at the base is the irons, the mountain is the scope base and rings, and the person at the peak is the scope. Now imagine three skyskrapers all the exact same height a few blocks apart. There is someone on the middle skyskraper and the last, both looking at the same object on the first skyskraper. Their line on sight, or point of aim, is in the same plane. This relatively close to the concept except with aiming it has its advantages.

When your irons (remember you need BOTH to aim, not just the front) and your optical sight are cowitnessed, you need not move your head at all to use either or - when looking through your irons the optical sight is centered on the front sight and when using your optical sights your irons are there as well. This may seem silly, but if you are in the middle of a fire fight and your optical sight decides to have it's battery die, gets hit by a round and is destroyed, falls off from vibration, breaks from use and recticle starts bouncing, etc then you need to not readjust as you can simply switch over to using the irons instead of the optical sight. While it has it's advantages, it is not necessary, especially for a rifle not going to battle. Of course if you are already using a setup that can be cowitnessed, why not set it up that way just in case.

I'd say in your case, it's not needed. Then again, I may be wrong.

duenor
06-01-2008, 10:32 PM
Your first AR should be a combat-ready rifle. Afterwards, start buildign all sorts of esoteric stuff. But your primary goal is to have a reliable, effective, fighting platform. As such, seriously consider going featureless. The CAR stock (collaspible) is useful only if you are going in and out of vehicles. I personally cannot stand bullet buttons and the like.

10 rounds is pathetic and negates one of the major advantages of a rifle over a shotgun - high capacity and rapid reloads. The BB is fine for range rifles, and for good looking toys, but not for a defensive firearm.

yes, you can remove it if the SHTF (although you might also get your gun confiscated as an assault weapon), but what if you need that rifle in a hurry? as in, your front door is being broken down RIGHT NOW?

there's no time to looking for allen wrenches. you want that gun in your hands, loaded, charged, with the safety off - 10 minutes ago.

Sgt Raven
06-01-2008, 11:04 PM
2) Stock: I like the look of collapsable stocks. Based on what I read, the rifle needs to be 30" or longer. Are there any reasonably-priced stock that has the look that will give me a net 30" (with a 16" barrel) at the shortest configuration? Again, links to products please.
Thanks.

A standard M4 stock and a 16" barrel will get you 30.5"s. ;)

ar15barrels
06-01-2008, 11:07 PM
FWIW, chrome lined barrels are definitely NOT a necessity.

Them's fighting words on some forums.
I generally agree with you, but mostly because people just don't shoot their guns nearly as much as they want you to believe.
I have (and you probably have too) shot out chromoly barrels to the point they would not shoot accurate enough anymore.
Most people just never reach that round count through a barrel.

bubbaskyjacker
06-02-2008, 12:29 AM
use the search button :) all your questions have already been asked :)