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View Full Version : First AR Build: Required Speciality Tools for the Lower Build


cutty01
02-19-2011, 9:47 PM
Hi Everyone, new to the forum. First of all, thanks to all of you who contribute your knowledge and wisdom to us noobs. The Calnet forum has already been a huge help for me. I have a few handguns but decided that I wanted to learn how to build a AR-15. I am going to put my effort into assembling the lower myself, but I am going to buy a pre-assembled upper.

So my topic is what are the required speciality tools or those that are most helpful would you recommend to someone building their first lower receiver. I am looking for those tools beyond what most of us already have in our garage (hammers, bench vise, screwdirevers, pliers, etc.) I was following the Brownells build videos and I think I went a little overboard with the speciality tools and ended up spending $130 on tools that I may or may not need.

I have the basic mechanics tools but I also bought the following just to build my lower:


Lower Receiver Builders Kit (http://riflegear.com/p-806-riflegear-lower-receiver-builders-kit.aspx) Bolt Catch Punch (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=26484/sku=080-216-012/Product/BOLT_CATCH_PIN_PUNCH) Roll Pin Holder Set (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=781/sku=080-685-000/Product/ROLL_PIN_HOLDERS)
Pivot Pin Detent Installation Tool (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=26488/Product/PIVOT_PIN_DETENT_INSTALLATION_TOOL)

Did I get too crazy here? I also just found out today that the local gun store where I ordered my lower said they would do the build for me for only $20. Thats a great deal, but I wouldn't have learned anything that way and I would still want to modify stuff later on.

Thoughts

dousan
02-19-2011, 9:52 PM
I'd only pay someone for the bolt catch pin
Hate that thing
But looks like you got better tools for that part of the job

Other then that needing patience it's a breeze
YouTube is your friend!

gaddygat
02-19-2011, 9:52 PM
I think when I completed my first build, I used a hammer, a punch set, electrical tape and duct tape(to cover the lower rcvr and prevent scratching it when installing bolt catch pin), a pair of needle nose pliers, and a small wood block to prevent breaking off ears when installing trigger guard. Besides that, just remember to use a little oil on all te detents when putting it together.

Don29palms
02-19-2011, 9:54 PM
The only special tool I bought to build lowers is a buttstock wrench. The only special tools you need to build an upper is an action block and an armorers wrench.

sevensix2x51
02-19-2011, 9:55 PM
it looks like the lower builder kit comes with a pivot pin detent tool, so thats redundant. but you may benefit from a small ball-pein hammer. i use a 4oz. on my gun stuff, a big hammer can foul stuff up.

but youve got the right idea. proper tools are awesome. imho.

Wicked K5
02-19-2011, 9:56 PM
I think when I completed my first build, I used a hammer, a punch set, electrical tape and duct tape(to cover the lower rcvr and prevent scratching it when installing bolt catch pin), a pair of needle nose pliers, and a small wood block to prevent breaking off ears when installing trigger guard. Besides that, just remember to use a little oil on all te detents when putting it together.


^ This. I just used basic tools, oil, and a bunch of masking tape since I didn't have any electrical tape. Printed build checklist/instructions off ar15.com and also followed videos on youtube. Don't forget to post pics once you have it assembled:thumbsup:

bomb_on_bus
02-19-2011, 10:01 PM
Heck I didn't go that far when I built any of my lowers.

I just used what I had in the toolbox and my hobby kit LOL. It sounds silly but I havent ever messed up a lower receiver and everything functions just as it would if it where built with all those expensive tools.

I never even bothered to use some sort of tape to prevent scratching the lower. I guess I have steady enough hands from all those years of model building.

The best tools you can get are a good understanding of what has to be done before doing it yourself and a calm level headed approach. I have seen people who in the rush of things mess up the lower receiver or even manage to mangle it to where its unusable. Be sure to take your time and measure twice cut once sort of thing.

cutty01
02-19-2011, 10:02 PM
it looks like the lower builder kit comes with a pivot pin detent tool, so thats redundant.

cr**p, that is what they meant by clevis pin. Dang that could have saved me an extra $15.

gemini1
02-19-2011, 10:55 PM
The only special tool I bought to build lowers is a buttstock wrench. The only special tools you need to build an upper is an action block and an armorers wrench.

^this.

Anchors
02-20-2011, 12:34 AM
The only thing I bought when I put together my lower was a cheap pin punch from Home Depot. I didn't scratch anything and it runs flawlessly. Masking tape is the key around the bolt catch. I think I actually "pressed" that one in with some pliers wrapped in tape.

I didn't even buy a buttstock wrench and my buttstock has never come loose. Not even close to coming loose.

cutty01
03-10-2011, 3:10 PM
So my topic is what are the required speciality tools or those that are most helpful would you recommend to someone building their first lower receiver. I am looking for those tools beyond what most of us already have in our garage (hammers, bench vise, screwdirevers, pliers, etc.) I was following the Brownells build videos and I think I went a little overboard with the speciality tools and ended up spending $130 on tools that I may or may not need.

I have the basic mechanics tools but I also bought the following just to build my lower:


Lower Receiver Builders Kit (http://riflegear.com/p-806-riflegear-lower-receiver-builders-kit.aspx) Bolt Catch Punch (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=26484/sku=080-216-012/Product/BOLT_CATCH_PIN_PUNCH) Roll Pin Holder Set (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=781/sku=080-685-000/Product/ROLL_PIN_HOLDERS)
Pivot Pin Detent Installation Tool (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=26488/Product/PIVOT_PIN_DETENT_INSTALLATION_TOOL)

Did I get too crazy here? I also just found out today that the local gun store where I ordered my lower said they would do the build for me for only $20. Thats a great deal, but I wouldn't have learned anything that way and I would still want to modify stuff later on.

Thoughts

Just finished my first Lower build so I thought I would provide an udpate as to what I found useful should a new builder come accross this post in their search for build tools.

The build took me about 2.5 hours and that was mostly because I was rewinding the videos back and forth for each part of the build. Yes it really is as easy as they all say and I do see how some of you only used a punch, vice grips, and pliers. Since I went overboard following is my input....

Lower Build Kit from Rifle Gear -> If you want something a little more than a punch and pliers, I highly recommend this kit. All other tools I bought beyond this kit is a nice to have as far as I am concerned. The vice block was especially useful and I liked how it allowed for the magazine catch to lock the lower in place as I was hammering in the roll pins. It was nice that it included the punches, wrench, and the clevis for that tricky pivot pin spring. The only comment would be that I wished the shafts of the punch were a little longer.

Bolt Catch Punch from Brownells -> I did use this and it was nice because the flat surface helps with getting the low angle needed to punch in the bolt catch pin. But for $15.99 it was a little overkill. I would have felt comfortable with just using a bunch of electrical tape to protect the finish and the regular #3 punch.

Roll Punch Set from Brownells -> I did use these too and I do see how they would reduce flare when you first drive in the roll pin. However you only use these for the first couple of strikes and I think you will get the same result if you just use the punches in the Rifle Gear kit.

Pivot Pin Dentent Tool -> This was another $15.99 tool. There is a similar tool in the Rifle Gear Kit so I didnt even open the packet for this one. There are YouTube videos that show you how to install the pivot pin detent spring with only a box cutter or razor blade or there is another video showing how to build you own pivot pin detent tool out of 1/4" round.

I do want to give a mention for the great quality Brownells videos and the Youtube videos that made the Lower assembly a breeze. I also recommend printing out a schematic of an AR15 Lower showing all the parts. It was hard at first for me to know which spring is for what w/o refering to the schematic diagram. Also use the masking tape and electrical tape to protect that beautiful finish on your lower.

PS - I used the Palmetto State Armory MOE build kit for $139 which included the basics and the MOE butt stock, MOE grip, MOE trigger gaurd, and the buffer tube and spring. The kit was complete and was well protected with a think layer of oil to keep the rust out.

Good luck on your build.