View Full Version : Adventures in AR-Land

10-10-2011, 11:25 PM
Went to Assemble my first AR tonight - an interesting learning experience!

Several months ago I purchased a few Palmetto State Armory lowers ($49), then back on 9/27 ordered their 16'' 4150 Chrome-lined, MOE Rifle Kit (http://palmettostatearmory.com/2551.php) ($539), which comes with their lower parts kits and Magpul MOE furniture, earlier today UPS delivered it, a few days early so I was pleasantly pleased. And wasting no time this evening I broke out a few tools and started assembling the lower.

I glanced over the guide at AR15.com, but as usual didn't bother to read it carefully, which helps explain some of the problems I ran into.

Tossed out the PSA mag release button and used a bullet button instead. First perceived problem... after I installed it I tried it out, but the mag release was non-functioning, "Not a good way to start..." thought I. Checked everything out for a few minute - I sure thought I had followed the super simple instructions, not really that much to mess up. And then it hit me... it's not called a "bullet" button for nothing! So using a pointy object (no, not the top of my head) I tried again, and it worked fine. I was in for a lonnnnnnng night.

The bolt catch was next. Pretty straight forward, I taped up the receiver to prevent hammer marks, but should have extended the tape back further, I stopped right above the selector hole, but had a nich or two just behind that. They’re pretty small, and I’m sure the AR will have a lot more serious scratches after its first training session.

I had trouble holding the roll pin in, and my biggest fear was losing a small part and having the night come to a screeching stop, so a little trick helped a lot. Istraightened out one leg of a paper clip and inserted it through and past the two pin holes and taped the remaining bent part of the paper clip to the receiver, then slid the roller pin over the end of the straightened part, it held it securely in place. Hammering on the pin just drove the pin into the first hole, once it was started I just remover the paperclip, popped in the catch, and drove the pin home.

Next the forward pivot pin. Now the guide clearly states “Some people have trouble with this one, with the detent being lauched (sic) across the room. Just be careful, and its (sic) really no big deal.” So I planned this out carefully, I’d start the spring, insert the detent pin, and fully compress and hold down the assemble with a thin metal rule, then start the pivot pin, slide out the ruler and fully insert the pivot pin. It went well until I had to pop in the pivot pin, the ruler was too thick and the pin wouldn’t start. No I test fit it earlier without the spring and it fit okay, but I gues the sring pressure pushed it out a bit. I slowly started to remove the ruler and SPRONG!!! The spring and detent spring shot out across the room and landed who knew where. My worst fear realized - and way too early! Now between my desktop and the wall where I heard the spring and pin hit is a messy jungle of wires, old magazines, bits of food, and assorted crud. There was no way to find the two parts in that mess, but I got out a flashlight and started to look. After a few minutes what did I see – the spring! It was a foot or two from the wall, an amazing find. But the spring is considerable larger than the tiny detent spring, so I resigned myself to use the last detent pin, and planned to source a replacement pin on Tuesday.

So I went to the parts bag to fish out the 2nd pin, as I reached for the bag I looked down, and sitting right on my workspace was the 1st detent pin! It had flown across the room and bounced back right in front of me! I felt like that guy on the YouTube vid who’s shooting at some target 50 yards away and gets dinged in the head by a ricocheted bullet fragment, but without the blood. Stoner’s spirit definitely is watching out for this dilettante tonight! Thanks Gene!

The next few steps work out well and I get a bit cocky. Then I get to the take down pin and buffer tube. I get it all together eventually, but it could have gone smoother, like if I had followed the guide. I did put a bend in the take down pin detent spring, but it doesn’t seem to effect its operation, I’ll get a replacement one anyway. Oh well I finish strong and it’s all together and dry fires fine. Now just need to install optics and put some lead down the barrel.

Enjoyed the assembly, took about 2 hours, the next one (for a .22 upper) will probably take half as long, if that.

I’d also like to assemble a full upper, if for no other reason than to see what all goes into an upper.

And before any of you cynics can reply with it, here it is….


10-11-2011, 12:02 AM
I started the same way. Curious as to how and why. A many of detents went flying and some blood and bone fragments as i got into piston systems and bushings. Cheers to the first build:useless: (just for fun). And a good friend is "Model 1 Sales" or a gun show for extra small parts. Get a tackle box and start a collection. As you start to get into building, you can never have enough! Tool, i got some from model1, some from dpms, some from bravo company, some from rainier. best tool ever is the delta ring tool thingyhttp://www.model1sales.com/images/products/hndgrdremoval.gif. And as far as general tool... i use snap on. punches, alens, screwdrivers. you wanna get a quality set so you dont jack up the screws ect. good luck man, congrats!

and dont forget the beer!

10-11-2011, 8:35 AM
I'll slap up a pic a bit later, although it's pretty vanilla looking AR.

Good tip on the tackle box, I have one somewhere, might as well put it to use. And I'll also hit up a few suppliers at the next gun show, stockpile some of those smaller parts.

Quick question... The trigger pin is held in place by one of the arms of the hammer spring - but what's holding the hammer pin in place? Just pressure/friction?

Also, the PSA upper came fully assembled, from what I gather the upper has most of the parts that need periodic replacement, what parts are they? I assume the seals in the BCG - what else?

10-12-2011, 4:36 PM
Cheers to the first build:useless: (just for fun).

Well, since you asked...



10-12-2011, 4:56 PM
Like. Needs irons.

10-12-2011, 4:59 PM
Rifle looks great! Im waiting on my first upper to show up in the mail!