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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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Old 03-07-2014, 1:05 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Default Thanks Calguns! My first AR-15 build ... a lightweight ... +range time results

Hi Folks,

I wanted to say thank you for all the helpful posts in the various forums. I learned a lot search and reading from everyone elses shared experience.

Im super excited to share my first AR build.

Im very new to firearms.
- got my first handgun (springfield XD9) in Sept. 2013
- got my first AR (Daniel Defense M4 v5 Lightweight) in Oct. 2013
- i go to the range every 2 weeks (though sometimes Ill go twice in the same week) and shoot about 100-150 rnd of 9mm and 100-200 rnd of .223/5.56 IM HOOKED AND LOVING IT!

Why did I build this AR?
- I wanted to learn the intimate details of the ARs operation
- After shooting my DDM4v5LW for a few months, there were some aspects I would like to be different. I wanted it to be even lighter, narrower hand guard instead of the quad rail, less wobbly stock, even softer shooting.
- Put more money into the parts instead of paying the hidden 11% excise tax on a complete rifle (i had no idea this was there).
- I need/want more time behind the gun. I want to get more experience. For me, that meant i need to shoot a lot of steel ammo and just buy a new barrel when the barrel burns out.
- I like the feel of metal parts
- Shooting targets up to 200 yards out, but mostly 100 yard and in.
- I would like to eventually take a tactical carbine class with it in the future
- No swiss cheese or compromised parts (i.e. drilling holes in the various parts)
- I love the research aspects of the AR there are so many different parts and purposes, finding the right mix for what you want to do is a lot of fun.
- Have it NOT TO LOOK like a lightweight rifle, surprise folks when they pick it up

MAG Tactical Lower Receiver
MAG Tactical Upper Receiver
Daniel Defense 14.5 Mid-Length Lightweight Barrel
Extended A2 Flash Hider
SLR Rifleworks DA-7 Adjustable Gas Block
Midwest Industries 12 SS Gen2 Handguard
Generic mid-length Gas Tube
JP Enterprises Lightweight Bolt Carrier
JP Enterprises Enhanced Bolt
Bravo Company MOD4 Charging Handle
PSA Standard Lower Parts Kit
ALG Defense ACT Trigger
JP Enterprises Yellow Trigger Springs
Magpul MOE+ Grip
ACE ARUL-E Fixed Stock
JP Silent Capture Spring
Magpul MBUS Front and Rear Sights
UTG High Mount
Bushnell TRS-25 Red Dot
Did not install forward assist (since my BCG has no serrations)
Did not install the dust cover (i love the look of my BCG)

Result > 78.95oz 4lbs.15oz. without UTG mount and Bushnell TRS-25

For those who want to save more weight, you can do the following:
- AP Custom Carbon Fiber Tactical 9 Mid-length (saves 3 oz), Tactical 12 Rifle-length (saves 1.7oz.), Standard 9 Mid-length (saves 4.8 oz), Standard 12 Rifle-Length (3.9 oz)
- Switch the lower receiver, trigger group, buffer tube, rear stock to a New Frontier Polymer Complete Lower Receiver. From what I can tell, you will save another 1oz to 1.5oz
- Switch to the buffer to the TACCOM Ultralight Weight Buffer (the moving portion of the buffer is .3oz, but there is also a back half of the buffer that is .5oz)
- Drill holes in things (magwell, buffer tube, grip)

Other Comments/Findings (cliff notes):
- Adjustable Gas Block > I love it. It really softens up the recoil regardless of which buffer you use and minimizes the spray of empty cases going all over the place. One thing I found interesting, was when i was shooting from a stall + bench rest, all my empty cases made one nice pile to the right side of the rifle. During one of the breaks, the guy next to me asked me why I was collecting steel cases I said I wasnt and that the pile built up by itself.
- JP Silent Capture Spring vs. Taccom Ultralight Weight Buffer vs. Standard H-Buffer > JP SCS is the heaviest of the buffer solutions, but it was the nicest in terms of the bolt cycling action. The Taccom 3G ULWB was the lightest of all the options and I felt was also better than the standard H-buffer (but you MUST have an adjustable gas block with this buffer).
- Adjustable Gas Block vs. various buffer options > Taccom only need 2 clicks from full close to get proper bolt lock on the empty mag. JP SCS took 3 clicks from full close to get proper bolt lock. Standard H-Buffer+DamageSpring took 7 clicks from full close (15 clicks to get full open). So all that talk of over gassing the system to be safe seems to be true, even with the weaker steel cased ammo.
- Damage Industries Buffer Spring > removed the twang out of the rear buffer, felt a little more rigid than a standard spring.
- JP Yellow Springs vs. Stock Trigger Springs > I really loved the change to the ALG ACT trigger, made it much lighter and even more enjoyable vs. the standard AR trigger. I have had no problem so far with light strikes, shot 800+ rounds with no FTF.

RANGE RESULTS (im 99.999% sure this gun shoots better than me)
- I used a wood block with a sandbag as my bench rest, with no rear bag - made sure rifle was only supported by the handguard and not the barrel
- Tula .223 55grain FMJ steel cased ammo
- 6 Shoot N-C targets at 100 yards
- I tried to use the respiratory pause before I let the round go, but occasionally jerk the trigger or push the rifle in anticipation of the shot breaking off (i usually pause about 5-10 seconds between shots)
- Those extra black dots were to cover up whoever else was shooting a larger caliber round at my targets (pretty annoying)

100yrds+10rnds - red dot, two eyes open, using trigger reset

100yrds+10rnds - red dot, two eyes open, not using trigger reset (with gritting teeth)

100yrds+10rnds - red dot, one eye open, using trigger reset

100yrds+10rnds - iron sights (red dot off), one eye open, using trigger reset

100yrds+10rnds - red dot, one eye open, not using trigger reset (took face off the stock, checked each shot with spotting scope)

Future Changes (after shooting 800rnd through the gun):
- Switch the grip from Magpul MOE+ to Magpul K2 with the fixed length, short stock the angle of my hand is a little tweaked when I shoulder mount the gun. I think a slightly more upright angle might relieve that pressure. Its not a problem when Im shooting from a bench rest.
- Switch from MI-SS-GEN2-12 to their key mod version. Itll save about 1.5 oz and ill just move the old handguard to my DDM4v5LW to help it lose a little weight.
- When I burnout this barrel, ill just go with a cheaper barrel since Im just shooting Tula/Wolf steel based ammo 16 chrome-lined, lightweight in either 5.56 or .223, 1-7 or 1-8 twist. With the current price of brass vs. steel ammo, I can get a new barrel every 1500 rounds or so. If the barrel last longer, then im in the money something like
- Convert the DDM4v5LW into a longer range shooter - Ill pull the lightweight barrel and use it as a spare and stick an 18 rifle length, .223 wylde, 1-8 twist match barrel on it need to get a decent scope.
- Cut out the Extended A2 Flash Hider and replace it with a PWS FSC556 cant find one anywhere, but I kind of like not being a bad stall neighbor at the range (mixed feelings here)

- When doing a cheek-weld, are you suppose to be gritting your teeth? I notice it has a slight affect to my point of aim. I zerod when I had a relaxed face, but I notice I tense up subconsciously. Should I stop tensing up or zero for it?
- What is the side blast like for the PWS FSC556?
- Not just today, but most every day I shoot with Iron Sights I find my groups are tighter vs. red dot why is that? I would think there is more chance for variance with the irons.
- Recommendation - looking for cost effective (sub-$300) scope for the 18 DDM4v5 - not sure what power to go to, but I would like to shoot stuff in the 300-400yrd range
- Recommendation - Would you do anything differently given my use case?

Thanks for reading thanks again for being such an awesome resource.

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Old 03-07-2014, 1:56 PM
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TruEdge TruEdge is offline
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Very nice build. Looks like to me you did better with your iron sights then anything else!
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Old 03-07-2014, 1:58 PM
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gemini1 gemini1 is offline
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Very nice Steve.
Do me a favor, can you weight just the upper without the BCG and CH? I'd like to compare it with the standard govt profile with 9" Troy TRX rail.

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Old 03-07-2014, 2:23 PM
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Paseclipse Paseclipse is offline
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Nice build, after you put it through a course you'll figure out what really works for you. Then you'll make more changes.

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Old 03-07-2014, 2:27 PM
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Old 03-07-2014, 2:54 PM
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Junkie Junkie is offline
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For some reason I thought the captured spring was heavier than stock.

That's a very light rifle. I'd like to build something like it in 5.45 at some point.

You may want to consider a Melonited (Nitrided) barrel rather than chrome, they supposedly last longer.
I will never buy another Spikes Tactical item, as I have a 5.45 marked barrel from them with a 5.56 bore that keyholed at 25 yards, and they wouldn't replace it.

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Old 03-07-2014, 3:21 PM
JohnZ JohnZ is offline
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That is really awesome! Thank you for sharing your parts list.
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Old 03-07-2014, 3:31 PM
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Recon-01 Recon-01 is offline
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Nice build and very nice write up.
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Old 03-07-2014, 3:33 PM
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CLOUT CLOUT is offline
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Congrats, looks like a nice lightweight build.
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Old 03-07-2014, 3:51 PM
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Glockrocks Glockrocks is online now
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Very nice indeed and a lot of usefull information.
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Old 03-07-2014, 4:03 PM
UN3178 UN3178 is offline
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Very nice rifle and informative post.
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Old 03-07-2014, 5:38 PM
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Thanks for the compliments! Its been a super fun time!!

@gemini1 - give me a day and I'll weigh the upper without BCG and CH.

@junkie - you are correct the JP SCS setup is heavier than a spring + H buffer (not sure about H2 or ST buffers). The lightest setup is the Taccom3G ULWB. I think

There were some slight disappointment with regards to advertised weight vs. actual weight.
- Daniel Defense 14.5" midlength CHF barrel - says it was 22oz. but I found it to be 24oz.
- JP LMOS BCG weight was really just for the carrier and another 1-2 oz for the bolt.

Everything else was as advertised. I'll post up all the individual parts with their weights.

From memory, the complete lower (taken right off the functional rifle) weighs 24oz exactly.
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:06 PM
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Huge Grant Huge Grant is offline
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Well done! Very nice rifle and write-up. Welcome to the community.
Originally Posted by thud916 View Post
I have to admit I like carrying anything new I buy around the house with me. Wife caught me taking a growler wearing body armor and holding a Spike Tactical.
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:19 PM
Pistolgrip Pump Pistolgrip Pump is offline
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How much did the lower/upper cost you?
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:28 PM
valley82 valley82 is offline
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Nice rifle.
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Old 03-07-2014, 7:11 PM
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tacticalcity tacticalcity is offline
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Nice! I like it. Welcome to the AR club!
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Old 03-07-2014, 7:52 PM
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Jimmybacon43 Jimmybacon43 is offline
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Awesome setup. Very basic but hi-tech as well. What kind of red dot were you using?

I don't have practical experience with irons vs red dot, but maybe you achieved increased accuracy with the irons because that front sight blade has a definite "edge" or a solid surface to aim off of, the red dot is just a 2 moa blob? Not sure on this, but that's my hypothesis.
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Old 03-08-2014, 1:39 AM
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mlevans66 mlevans66 is offline
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The liberal see's the glass as half full and tries to take more.
The conservative see's glass as half empty and tries to keep it that way.
I'm with the people on the side just pouring water in the glass trying to get a drink!
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:26 PM
BadMatt BadMatt is offline
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This post got me interested in building a light weight rifle but I want to use it for varmints hence I want a forward assist. Since you don't have one, can you push the bolt forward with your finger if need be? Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2014, 7:56 PM
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Sorry for the slow replies … i wasn’t paying attention.

@gemini1 - the upper with BCG and CH is 42.95oz

@pistolgrip - the upper was $150 (stripped) and the lower was $200 (stripped)

@jimmybacon43 - i’m using a Bushnell TRS-25 with a High UTG mount (for 1/3rd lower co-witness)

@badmatt - there is a depression on the BCG where the dust cover is and i guess you can push it forward manually. I wouldn’t, since there is a reason why i didn’t go into battery, it would be best to figure out why. I didn’t have a forward assist since the JP LMOS BCG doesn’t have the F/A cuts in it.

I’ve got about 1200 rounds through it now … no problems so far. Loving it still!
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