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TimothyW
03-15-2012, 7:37 PM
I have a vice, punches for pins, vice blocks, and an armourer's tool. I have all the regular tools like screwdrivers, mallots etc. Any suggestions about additional tools needed to make the build go smoothly?

milotrain
03-15-2012, 7:50 PM
There is a chance that you'll need to face the upper receiver so that you can get the fingers of the barrel nut to line up with the gas tube slot in the 35 to 80ftlbs window. Otherwise nothing I can think of. A go-nogo gauge for headspacing might be nice but you are likely fine if it's a new bolt.

TimothyW
03-15-2012, 8:05 PM
I bought a completed upper so I shouldn't need to mess with the barrel nut or line up the gas tube slot. Just getting ready to build the lower.

milotrain
03-15-2012, 8:36 PM
Oh. Well you can build the lower with a shoe. Ok you need a screwdriver or allen wrench for the pistol grip but other than that all you need is a shoe.

I would recommend one thing that diverges from most instructions on building of the lower. In regards to the bolt catch roll pin, guide it in first with needle nose pliers and try to seat it. Then turn the receiver on it's end so that the roll pin is vertical and hold a punch that is long enough to go above the rear of the receiver in your left hand while holding the receiver with the same left hand. Then tap the roll pin in with a light mallet via the punch. This keeps the hammer away from the receiver and it solidly supports the receiver. Taping it up and smacking it sideways is just asking for trouble.

Solid Foundation
03-15-2012, 8:41 PM
Don't forget a piece of wood or something to support the ears when you're hammering in the roll pin for the trigger guard. Someone posted a heartbreaking picture of a broken ear a few weeks ago...

OutlawStar
03-15-2012, 8:50 PM
I like to use a pair of needle nose vice grip pliers to get the roll pins into place, but then again I didn't have a vice. I did however have to use punches and a mallet to finish them off and seat them into the holes fully. Be sure and covered your lower in masking tape and vinyl electrical tape to prevent scratches. You can also cover your tool in electrical tape to prevent scratches as well.

A razor blade like those found in box cutters is useful for getting the detent pins to stay in while your put the take down pins and selector switch in.

milotrain
03-15-2012, 8:51 PM
I went real slow and I used a small chunk of hardwood as a hammer. Didn't support the ears (although that is a good idea. Just don't go all hulk smash on it.

Dr. Dimento
03-15-2012, 9:02 PM
For the trigger guard, just use a padded "C" clamp and press the pin in. On the bolt catch use a playing card under the pin and punch, taped to the receiver. It will protect it.

edlacy
03-15-2012, 9:12 PM
For the trigger guard, just use a padded "C" clamp and press the pin in. On the bolt catch use a playing card under the pin and punch, taped to the receiver. It will protect it.

Very good idea.:D

Dr. Dimento
03-15-2012, 9:15 PM
For the trigger guard pin, just use a padded "C" clamp and press the pin in. works quite well. On the bolt catch use a playing card taped to the lower under the pin and punch.

sstephenson
03-15-2012, 9:34 PM
Tools? It's all ball bearings these days.

LAL6
03-15-2012, 10:29 PM
I bought this set of roll pin starter punches and it helped me a lot. One of them broke on me, but I just sent brownells an email and they sent me a new one right away at no charge.
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=781/Product/ROLL-PIN-HOLDERS
Once I get them started I use craftsman roll pin punches that I got at sears off the shelf.

I've also found that some roll pins are just a little too tight so I give 'em a squeeze with some linemans pliers and they go in a lot easier.

jbush
03-15-2012, 10:33 PM
Lots of tape to protect the receiver. Vise grip, screw driver, punches, small hammer, razor blade or utility blade, block of wood or some hard surface to work on. Once you're past the trigger guard and bolt release roll pins the rest is all down hill. Use instructions and video to keep parts straight. Good video on AR15.com

exp0zure
03-15-2012, 11:06 PM
I really like using the Irwin vise-grip, something like this really helped me save slipping and possible marring of the lower. That wrapped in some tape is great for the roll pins

http://www.amazon.com/Irwin-Industrial-4935351-6-Inch-GrooveLock/dp/B0030XMFJI

TimothyW
03-16-2012, 4:19 AM
Hey, Thanks guys! This will be helpful when I get started. Sounds like I have most everything I need. I appreciate some of the tricks too. Nice to learn from someone elses experience.

HermanH
03-16-2012, 6:00 AM
Saw this on the Brownell site and might end up getting this for my first assembled AR-15:
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=41214/Product/AR-15-M16-CRITICAL-TOOLS-KIT

eville
03-16-2012, 6:00 AM
Put a drop of oil in the bolt catch roll pin hole. It will slide right in.

Metal Fiend
03-16-2012, 7:53 AM
I pressed in the roll pins on the 2 lowers I've assembled-used vice grips and C-clamps. I would use a hammer just to get then started and them press them in.

I also made a tool for the front take down detent after launching the spring and pin (luckily I found it). I used a piece of 4" long, 1/4" steel rod with a hole drilled into one end (slightly bigger than the detent pin) and put a 90* bend in the center to create a handle. I found this much easier than the razor blade method.

dfletcher
03-16-2012, 8:50 AM
Maybe I'm too worried about snapping a trigger guard leg, but I always take a fine file to the trigger guard rolled pin - just enough to smooth the edges where the metal meets. A little cold blue and touch of oil and it slides in tight but no pounding.

Sicarius
03-16-2012, 8:51 AM
I use channel locks to at least start all my roll pins. I just wrap them with tape and squeeze away. This way for example the trigger guard is supported so you don't snap off an ear and it gives me an extra hand for holding the slide release. Everything else is pretty straight forward. For the front take down, I use needle nose pliers to get the pin and spring depressed. Then I use the side of an exacto knife to keep the pin in there while I slip the front detent in place.
Kevin

gesundheit
03-16-2012, 9:38 AM
Why is Brownell's lower vice block so expensive? Any cheaper alternative for it out there?

milotrain
03-16-2012, 9:42 AM
Many cheaper ones. Midway, and joeboboutfitters.com has them for cheaper. But you don't need it. I have one and have never used it.

gesundheit
03-16-2012, 10:09 AM
So what do you recommend using instead to hold the lower tightly in the vise while working on it?

JNunez23
03-16-2012, 10:12 AM
I bought this set of roll pin starter punches and it helped me a lot. One of them broke on me, but I just sent brownells an email and they sent me a new one right away at no charge.
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=781/Product/ROLL-PIN-HOLDERS
Once I get them started I use craftsman roll pin punches that I got at sears off the shelf.

I've also found that some roll pins are just a little too tight so I give 'em a squeeze with some linemans pliers and they go in a lot easier.

I should have used these.. great product.

milotrain
03-16-2012, 10:27 AM
I've never had to hold the lower in a vice for any reason whatsoever. What do you need to hold it in a vice for?

These are helpful to hold things softly but firmly, but I never needed to use one on a lower.
http://img1.etsystatic.com/il_fullxfull.241538109.jpg

Oceanbob
03-16-2012, 10:28 AM
Everything above and for me being such a nerd and too many thumbs, I recommend a good MAGNET on a handle. My parts love to fly around the garage. :)

wsmc27
03-16-2012, 10:45 AM
Lotta good ideas.

A guy on a motorcycle bored I frequent assembled one of his ARs' with a piece of wood and a nail. Just for the fun of it, I guess? :D

OP, have FUN. :)

gesundheit
03-16-2012, 11:25 AM
I've never had to hold the lower in a vice for any reason whatsoever. What do you need to hold it in a vice for?


To keep the lower motionless while putting the pins in.

Also would make a nice platform to keep the rifle on while cleaning it.

LAL6
03-16-2012, 11:26 AM
I have a lower vice block, but I've never used it during assembly.. Only for cleaning/mounting stuff etc. I just lay the lower flat on my bench (wood) and use a couple wood shims under the trigger guard ears.

For the bolt catch pin I just clamp my bench and put the lower against the right side of the clamp while driving the pin.

milotrain
03-16-2012, 2:16 PM
To keep the lower motionless while putting the pins in.

Also would make a nice platform to keep the rifle on while cleaning it.

I always just held it with the heal of one hand and the pins with the fingers. I think you are overcomplicating this. You really can very easily put a lower together with a shoe.

gesundheit
03-16-2012, 2:51 PM
I was basing this on the lower assembly videos on Brownells website. They highly recommend using lower vise grip to simply and expedite the assembly process. But you may be right that this is not essential.

exp0zure
03-16-2012, 2:57 PM
Why is Brownell's lower vice block so expensive? Any cheaper alternative for it out there?

Just wrap the mag in some tape (so you donít damage the mag) and use that as vise block. Worked for me. Credit to this guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtPzwyPirQg&list=FLX3Xglf4NtjTao7sQA9e_6Q&feature=mh_lolz

Moonshine
03-16-2012, 2:59 PM
I highly recommend Bushmasters front detent tool. All too often tge front detent spring and pin fly across rooms, using this tool an holding a paper bag in front of the lower to catch the spring if you fail will save you $6.95 on a new spring and 1 week waiting for it to arrive.

gesundheit
03-16-2012, 2:59 PM
Just wrap the mag in some tape (so you donít damage the mag) and use that as vise block. Worked for me. Credit to this guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtPzwyPirQg&list=FLX3Xglf4NtjTao7sQA9e_6Q&feature=mh_lolz

Genius!

Sicarius
03-16-2012, 4:04 PM
Another thing is if you are prone to shooting off springs, pins, etc., use a pillow case and prop it open with something so if you shoot something off that you are working on, you can recover it pretty easily. Obviously work on it in the direction that the spring and pin will shoot into it.
Kevin

TimothyW
03-16-2012, 4:25 PM
Tools? It's all ball bearings these days.

you mean nominally spherical friction reduction units? Yes, I have some of those:)

TimothyW
03-16-2012, 4:35 PM
These are great posts with all kinds of great ideas. Not much in a tool list though that I don't already have - I guess that is good. I like the spring catch - I have had springs bouncing off the walls in the past. A backstop may be right up my alley.

the governor
03-21-2012, 7:08 AM
My new DPMS multi tool arrived yesterday! Unlike other armorer's wrench I've found this one is beefy. I have no doubts this tool will get the job done. http://www.riflegear.com/p-216-dpms-multi-tool.aspx

Baconator
03-21-2012, 7:18 AM
This is a nice mod to do
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=145710