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AR Varmint Build (Budget Build)
I decided to do a scratch build - varmint style / long gun configuration. I wanted to share this with you (maybe some good ideas for other builds). I am interested in your comments and advice you may have. I have "built" pre-assembled uppers matched with a lower, but nothing from scratch before now.
I mentioned a budget build in the title which is partially true but there are some parts that I did go for premium that I will use in the long run or reuse on other builds. I decided to spend money on the lower receiver, trigger group and upper receiver. BCG, barrel and hand guard where second in line.
Here is what I have bought and assembled so far (has not been tested):
Lower: Black Rain Arms billet $270
Upper: Spartan Side Charging (non-reciprocating) Billet with no forward assist or cover. $230.00
BCG: Toolcraft Nib - MPI Tested $109
Trigger CMC 3.5lb single stage drop-in $249 (this included a complete lower parts kits)
Barrel: AR Stoner 24" SS 1:8 Wylde - 5R Varmint - (0.875" gas block needed that was a pain to find)
Hand gaurd: Carbon Fiber 15" $85 (was on sale - now $110)
Stock: Luth AR $139
Buffer: DPMS A2 Rifle tube kit $59
Scope: Beileshi 6-26 50mm (It was a gift from a non-shooter), it very well may be a P.O.S. but will give it a go).
Grip: (for now) ERGO - midsized $21
A few notes on the build parts:
I really liked the idea of a side charging upper for a number of reasons but some of the cheaper ones out there use a custom BCG with a fixed (reciprocating) handle that I think are a joke. Custom parts = use it and throw it out later. The Spartan uses a standard BCG with a custom cam pin so no special expensive parts (I bought a few extra pins). If I want to change rifle into a bolt action in the future, the gas tube entry port is actually an Allen head screw that has been drilled out. It can be removed and capped to create a gas-less system. I also know I am using optics, so why charge from the back if I have to contort my fingers around to get to it? I can charge without taking eye off target. The over sized eject port is more than big enough to single load 79gr and up ammo for long gun shoots. A word of warning: The Spartan upper did NOT fit well on my lower. It was loose. Fortunately enough, the Black Rain lower has the extra screw with a ball bearing under the rear take-down pin that can be adjusted to take up the slack. It worked well, no more wiggles.
The AR Stoner barrel is a crap-shoot. Its got all the good features of an accurate barrel but I know its not match grade. But I am not making money off this gun. It is also freaking heavy. This is a bench gun so no surprises there. It is a varmint contour so the gas block needed to be 0.875", which I did not find a lot of options available (or cost over $100) so I just went with a plain low profile style non-adjustable.
To makeup for all the added weight I decided to put a carbon fiber hand guard on (please start laughing now). Really, I was not going to but I liked the look and found it at LJ's Parts for dirt cheap. I found the SAME exact guards for $250 + on other sites. This guard uses a standard barrel nut with a set of clamped flanges the guard slips over. Before ordering I called them 2 days before Christmas to interrogate as to why it was so cheap (must be fiberglass). The guy explained they are a manufacture and actually distribute to other private labeling companies with non-exclusive contracts, thus they could also sell for the real cost and still make some $. He gave me some advise on mounting as the torquing requirements are critical.
Overall I think I spent a little too much on the lower and not sure if I really needed a $230 match grade trigger (but it really feels like butter) but it is something that as I become a better shooter I can grow into. The gun clocks in at just over 14 pounds but as long as I can drag it to the firing bench I don't care.
Sorry for the bad pictures. All I had before taking it apart to torque everything down (wanted to dry fit first). Going out to the BLM up near Mojave this weekend to get it broken in, sighted and see how it goes. Will update with better pics and range report.
Nothing can be made foolproof because fools are so ingenious.