View Full Version : Suggestions for a Varmint Rig

02-23-2007, 11:42 PM
I want to put together a CA legal AR type varmint rig. This will be my first AR build. A few beginner questions...

Who makes the highest quality CA legal lower for my purposes?

Is there a better caliber then 223 for all around varmint shooting (Ground Squirrels to Coyotes and everything in between) that is compatible with the AR platform.

I have been looking at the RRA Varmint A4 (http://www.rockriverarms.com/item-detail.cfm?ID=AR1550X&storeid=1&image=va407.gif). Is this a good one? What other uppers should I look at? Is a complete upper the way to go? Does anyone make a complete quality varmint (CA legal) rifle?

How does it work after I get the lower? Can I just send it to RRA or whoever to complete or is there an experienced local smith that could set me up and make everything CA legal?

As you can see I am a total beginner when it comes to AR rifles and all the legal crap we have to deal with in CA so any help or advice would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


02-24-2007, 6:14 AM
I built a varminter around the RRA 24" barrel. It's a very good barrel, with my handloads cloverleafs at 100 yds is the norm. And I would say that the 223 is a good all around round for your stated purpose. If you don't have the tools to do an upper, get a complete upper and I see RRA offers bead blasted- a good idea since my barrel is quite shiny.

I built the upper myself because I wanted a different handguard so I went with a CMT upper and the JP tube with a full length top rail. That way I could mount the optic forward if needed. If I were to do it over, I probably would have gone with a 20" barrel. With a PRS stock and optic, it is a heavy sucker.

Building the upper was easy even though it was my first AR build. Building the lower? "It's so easy a caveman can do it." Trust me. Maybe an hour if you go real slow. There are stickies at ar15.com with full build instructions. DL them and print them out. A small tap hammer, or vise grips, a few small roll pin punches, electrical tape and a stock wrench (if going with a collapsable stock) or big flathead screwdriver (for A2 stock) are the tools.

Brand of lower? I've used RRA, Doublestar, Sabre Defense and Spikes Tactical. The all work fine. Just stay away from Hesse and Vulcan. My brother also has a very nice CMMG, and Stag is also a good brand and there are many others. Where it matters in a precision rig is the TRIGGER. Don't go with a stock trigger unless you are willing to compromise big time. At least, go with an RRA 'match' trigger. But if you really want a trigger that won't get in the way of maximum accuracy, bite the bullet and get a Geiselle. Yes there is a BIG difference.

Remember, putting it together is easy with patience and the proper tools (again, the ar15.com stickie is your best friend). Building it legal is not much harder. The RRA varmint barrels have no flash hider. So I suggest a fixed stock, just choose one in a length that fits you (A1, A2, Sully, Entry) and Monsterman grip, OR use a U-15 stock. Then don't worry about fixed mags, detatch away! If you really want a pistol grip or collapsable stock, fix the mag with a Bullet Button. Check out Tenpercent for U-15s, bullet buttons and Monsterman grips (which should be out in a week or so.)

02-24-2007, 7:18 AM
Another good choice is the 24" DPMS upper with a 223 or Wylde chamber instead of the 5.56 Nato.

Blacktail 8541
02-24-2007, 8:00 AM
The highest quality question is one that is asked a lot here. The short answer is if it is machined mil spec it will be good to go. To expand on that a little, the finish is a personel preference. I happen to think the Mega reciever is the nicest of the teflon coated, The Stag is a great mil spec example. Choose the reciever that grabs your eye.

02-24-2007, 8:21 AM
(1) Any lower works. If you are going for a RRA, you might as well get the RRA lower receiver.

(2) Then you get yourself a LPK(lower parts kit), and a stock(get a fixed stock if you want to go with the "non-evil" build); and then putting the LPK and stock to your lower receiver may take you like 15-30min. Anyone can do it, no gunsmith needed!

(3) And while you are getting your LPK, look into the RRA-2stage-trigger-LPK.... that comes with the RRA 2-stage trigger.... you can always just get another other LPK and then get the RRA-2stage on your own.... the RRA-2stage trigger is about $80-100, and provide a HUGE different over stock.... that's the most BANG for your bucks.... other *nicer* triggers will be around the $300 range....

(4) You can purchase completed upper assembly online, they will just ship directly to you. If this is your first AR, forget the trouble about building your own upper.... the upper assembly is WAY more complicated than the lower assembly.... the RRA 24" varmit upper is a good choice.

(5) Last but NOT least.... is for you to get a GOOD scope.... a Leupold 3-9x is a good place to start.... but you can always go 3.5-10x or 4-12x or even 6-18x.... depending on how much you wanna spend.... you can't hit what you can't see

02-24-2007, 2:38 PM
Thanks guys.... Very helpful.

Where is the best place to buy a lower near Berkeley/Oakland? None of my regular shops want to mess with them.

02-24-2007, 8:46 PM
One more question...

Is it legal for me to order a complete RRA rifle if I ask them to remove the pistol grip and flash hider(or replace with a muzzle break) and send to me separately (assuming it has a non-adjustable stock)? Would a ffl be willing to receive it? Would RRA send it? Has anyone done this before? Any way to get this done?

02-24-2007, 8:50 PM
One more question...

Is it legal for me to order a complete RRA rifle if I ask them to remove the pistol grip and flash hider(or replace with a muzzle break) and send to me separately (assuming it has a non-adjustable stock)? Would a ffl be willing to receive it? Would RRA send it? Has anyone done this before? Any way to get this done?

You can ask but I dont think they will help you out, call on one of the vendors at te top of the page and they will act as a middle man for you.

www.coldwarshooters.com helped me get my rifle.

02-24-2007, 8:59 PM
Do you mean call a middleman out of state so that they can alter it for me and then send to an in state FFL? Or call an in state FFL and see if they would be willing to receive such a rifle?

02-24-2007, 9:05 PM
A complete RRA 20" Varmint rig just passed through our doors....if your interested.

RRA takes about 6-8 weeks for an order.....:eek:

02-24-2007, 9:23 PM
Yes, I am interested. Sent you a pm

02-24-2007, 9:37 PM
Due to a optics on order, I haven't gotten my RRA 20" out yet, but I can't wait. It looks like its going to be a heck of a shooter.


02-24-2007, 9:45 PM
About the grip. Does anyone have pictures of a rifle with the U-15 stock? Is it comfortable to shoot with if going w/o a pistol grip? For a Varmint/Predator rifle, would the u-15 or the Monsterman grip be more suitable?

02-24-2007, 9:48 PM
I have both the U-15 and the MM. I personally can't decide which one I like better. I will say this from folks I've let shoot both - the larger your hands the more likely you are to like the U-15.

I'm probably going to go bullet button (probably mine) and a Magpul PRS with a pistol grip. I think thats a better set up for prone (which I like to do from time to time.)


02-25-2007, 1:30 PM
Spoke with Hector over at Cold War Shooters today. Looks like I may be getting the RRA Varmint he has. May upgrade the trigger. Two options I am looking at are Timney and Geiselle. The Timney appeals to me because I have them on a few of my bolt guns and am used to them plus don't really have much experience with 2 stage triggers. What do you guys think would be better for a Varmint/Predator rifle?

02-25-2007, 2:41 PM
RRA *will not* entertain anyone in CA..... (anyone without class 3 FFL).... basically if you want a complete RRA you should go thru some out of state FFL like ColdWarShooters....

But then becareful, some RRA models are "listed"!!

02-25-2007, 3:15 PM
I would suggest going with the Monsterman grip and putting a wieght in the A2 buttstock to help balance the rifle out. It adds about 3.5 lbs but it reduces what little recoil to nothing and offsets that heavy barrel. I prefer to chnage mags rather than breaking the rifle open. The U15 stock is a very nice piece but I think with the heavy barrel 20 - 24" rifle the wieght out front is too much. I would highly recommend the RRA or the White Oak upper for varmints.

02-25-2007, 4:01 PM
+1 for rra, i ordered my set up from arparts.com for 560 its a tack driver.