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View Full Version : Building my 1st AR-15 and Need Sage and Wise Advice!


DJDace
03-02-2007, 7:47 PM
Hi there,

I am preparing to leap into the exciting world of building my own AR-15, but I am nervous about getting started and I am worried I don't know enough to start this crazy venture.

To give you an idea of what I am looking to build I'll give a brief description of what I am looking to do;

AR-15 Rifle/SPR Length 18" to 20" Barrel
Flat top upper receiver
MagPul PRS Stock
2 Stage Trigger (maybe National Match)
Tango Down Battlegrip
Fore-end with side and bottom picatinny rails
Harris bipod
Bullet Button Mag-Lock

My plan is to put an ACOG on this for my optics. I am not to worried about iron sights on it for now, although I may add some later.

I already have a line on my lower receiver, I just need to find an FFL in my area that is not going to rape me with $75 to $150 FFL transfer fees for a lower! Once I have the lower secured, I will get the MagPul PRS Stock and my lower parts kit and the Tango Down grip to complete the lower.

After this though, I am lost. I could wait around awhile hoping a complete Upper that closely matches what I want comes around or do I try and put together my own Upper? Do I buy a barrel I like and an Upper receiver and try to put that all together then build a custom railed fore-end around that?

I would really appreciate some sage advice from the AR-15 building Guru's of Calguns. I feel my plan for my lower is solid, but after I have that assembled I am at a loss as to how I should proceed. I don't know alot of places to shop around for complete Uppers and I am worried I don't know enough about putting an AR together to risk trying to cobble together a complete Upper myself. What say you Calguns? Advice, critques on my plan, words of wisdom? Suggestions on parts?

Thanks in advance, I am really excited to start this project and I want to do my 1st AR right!

leelaw
03-02-2007, 8:01 PM
Install the button mag lock before you install the upper to the lower, or the collapsible stock or pistol grip, and everything else sounds kosher to me.

Post pics.

ETA: Don't look for a 3-rail forearm, get a 20" with a 4-railed free float handguard. Don't bother with buying pieces and putting it together yourself unless you already have the tools and must have a particular handguard.

DJDace
03-02-2007, 8:12 PM
Install the button mag lock before you install the upper to the lower, or the collapsible stock or pistol grip, and everything else sounds kosher to me.

Post pics.

ETA: Don't look for a 3-rail forearm, get a 20" with a 4-railed free float handguard. Don't bother with buying pieces and putting it together yourself unless you already have the tools and must have a particular handguard.

Thanks for the advice! I'll be sure to do just that with the Mag-Lock.

Regarding the railed fore-arm, what I was thinking about was the YHM Customizable Free Float Forearm System. This Forearm System allows you to install rails at 3-6-9 & 12 o'clock. Being as at most I will only need rails at 3, 6 & 9 I thought this might be a good idea. If not though I could just hold out for either a complete Upper with the Free Float railed hanguard already installed.

My primary concern was that most 18" Complete Railed Uppers run in the $1200+ Catagory. It looked like the cheaper option may be to get a 20" upper with a standard handguard, then removed the stock handguard and install a forearm rail system myself. But again, I am a complete newbie about this stuff, so advice is always welcome.

five.five-six
03-02-2007, 8:16 PM
Thanks for the advice! I'll be sure to do just that with the Mag-Lock.

Regarding the railed fore-arm, what I was thinking about was the YHM Customizable Free Float Forearm System. This Forearm System allows you to install rails at 3-6-9 & 12 o'clock. Being as at most I will only need rails at 3, 6 & 9 I thought this might be a good idea. If not though I could just hold out for either a complete Upper with the Free Float railed hanguard already installed.

My primary concern was that most 18" Complete Railed Uppers run in the $1200+ Catagory. It looked like the cheaper option may be to get a 20" upper with a standard handguard, then removed the stock handguard and install a forearm rail system myself. But again, I am a complete newbie about this stuff, so advice is always welcome.


you could probably get your upper for ~500 and ~350 for your rail system, get a folding front sight post ~75 ar15barrels.com will put it all together for you around $75, or just go straight to randal. tell him what your want he will give you a price for your upper

DJDace
03-02-2007, 8:27 PM
you could probably get your upper for ~500 and ~350 for your rail system, get a folding front sight post ~75 ar15barrels.com will put it all together for you around $75, or just go straight to randal. tell him what your want he will give you a price for your upper

Oh wow it looks like ar15barrels.com would be the perfect solution for me! I can lay out what I am looking for in my Upper and just have it assembled for me. No Fuss - No Muss.

Thanks for the suggestion, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for!

xrMike
03-02-2007, 8:56 PM
Here's your sage!

http://www.sallys-place.com/images/food/column/gilbert/sage.jpg

http://www.purplesage.org.uk/images/sage.jpg

FinweElensar
03-02-2007, 9:07 PM
If you can spare an extra $20, get a Magpul enhanced trigger guard.

DJDace
03-02-2007, 9:10 PM
Here's your sage!

http://www.sallys-place.com/images/food/column/gilbert/sage.jpg

http://www.purplesage.org.uk/images/sage.jpg

Delightful!

If you could arrange some oregano and basil I can make a wonderful soup!

five.five-six
03-02-2007, 9:14 PM
Oh wow it looks like ar15barrels.com would be the perfect solution for me! I can lay out what I am looking for in my Upper and just have it assembled for me. No Fuss - No Muss.

Thanks for the suggestion, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for!

yea drop randal a line. he can make whatever you want. I have heard that turnaround time can be slow but he has done 3 uppers for me, real quick. and my ar10 is hole for hole at 100 yards, seriously sick
:)

xrMike
03-02-2007, 9:14 PM
Sorry man, it's friday night and I'm on my 3rd beer. Didn't mean to come off like an ***, i was just joking around...

How mechanically inclined are you?

The reason I ask is -- I think I'm a reasonably mechanically-inclined person, and I had no problem assembling my own receiver, buttstock, and lower parts kit. The assembly instructions on arf.com are excellent in that regard.

I didn't want to tackle the upper assembly though. Not on my first build. So I bought a complete upper and Booom!, I had a finished and ready-to-shoot rifle.

If you're the kind of guy that rebuilds entire engines (rather than just tuning them up, or changing the oil), then maybe you can build your own upper without a hitch.

five.five-six
03-02-2007, 9:27 PM
Oh wow it looks like ar15barrels.com would be the perfect solution for me! I can lay out what I am looking for in my Upper and just have it assembled for me. No Fuss - No Muss.

Thanks for the suggestion, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for!

here are some links to what people think of randal

Rediculous accuracy boost after ar15barrels.com treatment ? (http://ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=313952)

AR15barrels.com OUTSTANDING work! (http://ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=314566)


AR15barrels.com Uppers? (http://ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=314060)

Industry AR15 Barrels (http://ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=2&f=230)

DJDace
03-02-2007, 10:48 PM
Sorry man, it's friday night and I'm on my 3rd beer. Didn't mean to come off like an ***, i was just joking around...

How mechanically inclined are you?

The reason I ask is -- I think I'm a reasonably mechanically-inclined person, and I had no problem assembling my own receiver, buttstock, and lower parts kit. The assembly instructions on arf.com are excellent in that regard.

I didn't want to tackle the upper assembly though. Not on my first build. So I bought a complete upper and Booom!, I had a finished and ready-to-shoot rifle.

If you're the kind of guy that rebuilds entire engines (rather than just tuning them up, or changing the oil), then maybe you can build your own upper without a hitch.


Don't apologize, it was funny! :)

And although I am fairly mechanically inclined, I think the best bet may be to go with a pre-made lower in this case, being as its my 1st AR.

Thanks for the laugh :)

fairfaxjim
03-02-2007, 11:08 PM
Don't apologize, it was funny! :)

And although I am fairly mechanically inclined, I think the best bet may be to go with a pre-made lower in this case, being as its my 1st AR.

Thanks for the laugh :)
You really can build the lower yourself - it is very easy, just follow the directions carefully. You will feel so cool when you get it finished. It is an amazingly simple job that doesn't require any special tools. All the info is available here and at AR15.com.
Oh, yeah, either do the takedown pin spring/detent inside a platic bag the first time, get/make a simple spring installation tool, or have a an extra spring & detent (get them with your lower parts kit). At a dollar or so each, it is the best insurance you can get that you won't lose one.

Powersauce
03-02-2007, 11:20 PM
Don't apologize, it was funny! :)

And although I am fairly mechanically inclined, I think the best bet may be to go with a pre-made lower in this case, being as its my 1st AR.

Thanks for the laugh :)I agree with fairfaxjim...so you can tell everyone that you put the lower together yourself...especially since its your first build.
I've been lucky not having to use one but...plastic bag for the detent spring install is a great idea...
I say use your iron sights first...but thats just me.
How about the Stag 2HT?? for the upper?

http://www.lanworldinc.com/Uppers.htm

hoffmang
03-02-2007, 11:42 PM
Build your lower but purchase a built upper half.

-Gene

DJDace
03-03-2007, 12:03 AM
You really can build the lower yourself - it is very easy, just follow the directions carefully. You will feel so cool when you get it finished. It is an amazingly simple job that doesn't require any special tools. All the info is available here and at AR15.com.
Oh, yeah, either do the takedown pin spring/detent inside a platic bag the first time, get/make a simple spring installation tool, or have a an extra spring & detent (get them with your lower parts kit). At a dollar or so each, it is the best insurance you can get that you won't lose one.

Ahh I meant the upper guys sorry it's been a long day :)

I already have a line on the lower receiver I want to use. I can pick up a RRA 2 Stage Trigger LPK online. Then I will order my MagPul PRS Stock. Once I have the lower put together, I can talk to Randal and see about having an Upper put together.

After that its a simple matter of getting a Harris bipod, some grip rail covers, a collapsable fore-grip and then my ACOG scope.

DJDace
03-03-2007, 12:13 AM
I say use your iron sights first...but thats just me.
How about the Stag 2HT?? for the upper?

http://www.lanworldinc.com/Uppers.htm

I plan to go with iron flip-up sights eventually, but the vision I have for this gun is all about using an ACOG.

The Stag 2HT is nice, but I was hoping to go with a longer barrel, probably 20".

gman183
03-03-2007, 12:16 AM
I come into the area often since my parents live in Woodland Hills and would be happy to help you assemble it, they are very easy. Give shoot me a PM.

DJDace
03-03-2007, 12:19 AM
I come into the area often since my parents live in Woodland Hills and would be happy to help you assemble it, they are very easy. Give shoot me a PM.

Awesome thanks for the offer to help!

Another questions I have on the Upper, if say instead of buying one made to order from ar15barrels.com I instead bought one of these;

http://www.coldwarshooters.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=102

http://www.coldwarshooters.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=196

Could I just remove the existing hand guard (which I don't care for) and then purchase and install a rail system I liked? Is that process comparable in difficulty to say, putting together a Lower?

five.five-six
03-03-2007, 7:59 AM
Awesome thanks for the offer to help!

Another questions I have on the Upper, if say instead of buying one made to order from ar15barrels.com I instead bought one of these;

http://www.coldwarshooters.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=102

http://www.coldwarshooters.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=196

Could I just remove the existing hand guard (which I don't care for) and then purchase and install a rail system I liked? Is that process comparable in difficulty to say, putting together a Lower?

hey, listen, pirate (cold war) is great, so is Wes (10% firearms) I have gotten GREAT VALUES from both of them.

but we are talking apples and orange here. you started off asking about a custom upper. rra are production uppers. and you want a folding front sight. trust me for your setup, that is what you want. you are going to have to "have the front site done"

it is going to cost you about the same either way, but with Randal you will have a precision custom upper

shark92651
03-03-2007, 8:33 AM
CMMG is a good option as well. I got my new carbine upper from them and they easily handled a special request to remove the handguard, end cap, delta ring, etc... as I already had a MI two piece free float to install on it. I had my upper in my hands in about 8 days. I highly recommend them. If they do not offer the forearm you want you can order it without it. I'd get a low-profile gas block and then you can slip on any free float you want, although they already offer quite a few of the more popular ones. I highly recommend CMMG.

http://cmmginc.secure-mall.com/shop/?shop=1&cart=604908&cat=27&

!@#$
03-03-2007, 8:46 AM
you might want to rethink the acog. you will be way under glassed with all of the other accuracy stuff in your build.

shark92651
03-03-2007, 10:52 AM
you might want to rethink the acog. you will be way under glassed with all of the other accuracy stuff in your build.

Good point. Why put a 4x scope on a 20" sniper rifle. You can get a pretty nice high power scope for what the ACOG is going to set you back - plus it will fit the look and purpose of the rifle a lot better.

DJDace
03-03-2007, 11:29 AM
hey, listen, pirate (cold war) is great, so is Wes (10% firearms) I have gotten GREAT VALUES from both of them.

but we are talking apples and orange here. you started off asking about a custom upper. rra are production uppers. and you want a folding front sight. trust me for your setup, that is what you want. you are going to have to "have the front site done"

it is going to cost you about the same either way, but with Randal you will have a precision custom upper

556 - Just exploring all potential options. I agree that your suggestion to talk to Randal is the best idea I have heard so far. That allows me to choose exactly what I want on the Upper and get it. So yeah, I am gonna let this one sit now and consider ar15barrels.com my final solution.

Regarding the ACOG - what about the Trijicon TA55 ACOG 5.5x50. Would that not give me enough optics OOMF! for the Range I will be shooting at (100-600 yards max). I know its sound stupid but I really had my heart set on an ACOG or an Elcan of some sort. I'm sure some of you have had that situation, where you know its a firvolous expense but you want it anyways. Frankly this will probably be my only AR-15 so I really want to go all out on it. But if I am being totally dumb here I understand and I'll let this one go.

Thanks again for the input everyone, I appreciate the advice as it will help me make sure I build my 1st AR right.

!@#$
03-03-2007, 1:41 PM
556 - Just exploring all potential options. I agree that your suggestion to talk to Randal is the best idea I have heard so far. That allows me to choose exactly what I want on the Upper and get it. So yeah, I am gonna let this one sit now and consider ar15barrels.com my final solution.

Regarding the ACOG - what about the Trijicon TA55 ACOG 5.5x50. Would that not give me enough optics OOMF! for the Range I will be shooting at (100-600 yards max). I know its sound stupid but I really had my heart set on an ACOG or an Elcan of some sort. I'm sure some of you have had that situation, where you know its a firvolous expense but you want it anyways. Frankly this will probably be my only AR-15 so I really want to go all out on it. But if I am being totally dumb here I understand and I'll let this one go.

Thanks again for the input everyone, I appreciate the advice as it will help me make sure I build my 1st AR right.


you can make hits at 600 yards with iron sights but 10x or so will be alot better for the past 300 yard stuff.