My 1st AR Build - DefConGun1R

This is a discussion on My 1st AR Build - DefConGun1R within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I've never had an AR and have been wanting one for some time now. I've been doing some research and talking to others as a ...

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Thread: My 1st AR Build - DefConGun1R

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    My 1st AR Build - DefConGun1R

    I've never had an AR and have been wanting one for some time now. I've been doing some research and talking to others as a way of getting advice and reiteration. I still have a world of things to learn but I'll also say that building an AR is a great way to learn about blackguns. Not having any idea as to what I was doing, I took a friend's advice and bought a stripped receiver he told me about. I bought an Aero Precision stripped receiver for $66.00 back in August of 2010. If I'm recalling correctly, I think I gave him a few dollars for taking the time to get the receiver for me. He was having some blacksmith work being performed on a shotgun barrel and would be going to the store that had these receivers for sale. After I got the receiver home, I opened the sealed bag to inspect it. After I looked at it, I placed it back in the bag and left it on my nightstand; its been there ever since.

    Last year while browsing through Bud's, the AR parts in the display case caught my eye. Although I was wanting to make some progress on my rifle, I didn't have a lot of money to put into the project. I made a happy compromise that day. I bought an ergo grip and a Magpul trigger guard. I really didn't know what specific components I wanted to get for my rifle other than the ones I picked up that day. It wasn't a major contribution to the project but it was atleast a step in the right direction. I was one step closer to completing my rifle than I was the day before, etc.

    Browsing through this forum as well as some of the other forums like AR15 and M4Carbine has helped me a great deal on getting an idea as to what kind of rifle I want. At one time I thought about forgoing the project and buying an AR outright. It would be the easiest thing to do IMO but I never had the money to make a large one-time purchase. I believe, however, now that I'm getting more familiar with ARs by shopping for parts, I will have a greater idea as to what kind of AR to buy if I ever do buy a gun in a box.

    Recently, I've been blessed and given an opportunity to make some extra money. In the past few weeks, I've been ordering parts in an attempt to complete my lower that's been in the making for the past 2 years. I wasn't sure about the stock I wanted to get but after getting advice on here, I decided to go with the CTR. After combing through the internet, I found a great deal on Operationparts.com. They had the CTR for $67.96, the cheapest I have seen it anywhere. I was also pleased with their selection of Daniel Defense parts and utilized this selection to acquire the pieces I needed for my stock assembly. I should also add, I was pleased with the prices they have on their Daniel Defense parts. Operation Parts appears to be very competitive with the pricing they have for the items they carry.

    Here's what I got on January 28, 2012 to complete my stock:
    • LMT receiver extension spring
    • Magpul CTR in Flat Dark Earth
    • Daniel Defense 6 position extension receiver
    • Daniel Defense H Buffer
    • Daniel Defense receiver end plate
    • Daniel Defense Castle Nut


    On January 19, 2012 I ordered a Geissele SSA trigger from G&R Tactical. I ordered it on a Sunday night and it was on my doorstep Friday night. I also got this item with free shipping. ;-)

    After doing some research on Lower Part Kits (LPKs), I decided that I really wanted a Colt LPK. I ordered one last night (March 1, 2012) from Brownells. Since I didn't need the handle and trigger, I found a kit that omitted these items which saved me some money. Brownells is really expensive on their complete Colt LPKs and I would've pursued a different plan of action if that was my only route.

    That is it for now. I've got other plans and items I need to get but I'll save that for future posts. I'll post the Colt LPK when I get it.

    For your viewing pleasure, here is a pic of my present inventory that will one day be assembled and make up my DefConGun. Given that this is my first AR and since it is a rifle, its going to be designated my DefConGun1R. I'm really looking forward to completing it and getting some range time in on it.


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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Well it came! My Colt LPK came today. I've got everything I need to complete my lower, with the exception of getting some lube.


    One thing that I didn't expect; all of the pieces came in individually marked packages.


    I'm starting to get a little closure. It was bugging me that I didn't have everything for my lower. I'm not sure when I'll get it together but as soon as I do, I'll post it.

    And now, on to the upper!

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array ErnieNWillis's Avatar
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    Start putting money away now. The upper is the most expensive part. Good luck. Post some pics of the various stages of the project.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Take your time and have some fun with it. I am picking up some parts today to complete my third. The great thing about building is that you only pay for the parts you want.
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    I've got my eye on a couple of different lowers and I'm starting to save so that I can buy one or the other. I'm really liking the idea of an SBR but I'm not sure if I'm comfortable about having it registered in my name. I suppose it shouldn't make a difference given that I'm a registered carrier. An SBR will definitely drag the project out but it will be what I ultimately want, etc. I could finish this one out and make the next one an SBR. If I do that, I'll be able to get some practice in and won't be in agony waiting for the SBR's completion.

    I'll definitely post more pics as the project progresses.

    Thanks for the comments and encouragement.

    God bless,
    DCG

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Most AR posts illustrating assembly contain lots of useful information but all of the ones I have seen assume one thing; you have all the tools that are required for the task already at hand.

    I'm entering this project like a babe in the woods. Before I can even attempt to assemble my lower, it was necessary for me to acquire the right tools for the job. Before I could even do this though, I had to do a little research and assemble a shopping list accordingly. Basically from what I can tell, you can assemble a lower with a minimal set of tools; 4 oz. ball peen hammer; 3/32", 1/8" and 5/32" driver punches. There are other tools, however, that can enhance the building process. From my research, I found that some people assemble their lowers with standard punches while others use "roll pin" punches. The roll pin punch has a slight protrusion at the tip that helps with applying an appropriate amount of pressure on the pins and prevent damage from occurring, etc. Brass punches are also used by some people as a way of ensuring pins won't be damaged during installation or disassembly. I seriously considered each option but ultimately ended up choosing some high quality Starrett driver punches. These punches are mentioned in my reference article* and during a conversation I had with Grant @ G&R Tactical, I found out that he uses them as well when he assembles his lowers.

    I didn't buy roll pin punches but I did buy a set of roll pin holders. These holders accept about 1/3" of the pin so that you can initially set a proper alignment when you start the pin. I got these at Brownells, so you know I paid dearly for them. If you place the Starrett punch next to the Brownell roll pin holder, you can tell the Starrett is of much higher quality. The Starrett, however, sells for $5 ea. & the Brownell is selling for $15 ea.; talk about mark-up. I did my best to find a cheaper equivalent but it appears that Brownells has the market cornered on this specialty tool/item. People swear by them though and claim they can save you a lot of head ache. I reasoned I need as much help as I can get, etc.

    To have a way to assemble my Magpull CTR stock, I had to get a butt stock wrench. I got a Rock River Arms wrench from Brownells for $6.00; very reasonable, I think.

    The next thing might be a little controversial and I'm sure there are going to be people that will tell me that I didn't need it, etc. During my research, I found that assembly manuals state that the castle nut should be torqued at 35-39 ft.lbs., etc. Most people will say, if you use blue loctite and stake the nut with a punch, the torquing from a torque wrench isn't necessary. While I was at Sears looking for some hammers, however, I lucked up and found a Craftsman torque wrench on sale for $12.00. I couldn't pass up the $12 Craftsman and am looking forward to using it. Even if you properly torque the castle nut, however, you should still stake it. For this, I got a Starrett 3/8" tapered point punch that was highly recommended in my reference article. I got this as well as the 1/8" punch off of Amazon and enjoyed free shipping.

    I've already briefly mentioned the hammers. What more can I say about them? They're Craftsman and they look nice. Nuff said.

    Finally, I got a takedown tool to help me with the installation of the magazine catch. To me, it looks like a knob that I paid $8 for so I'm hoping its really going to help and that I didn't just waste $8.00.



    The Starrett punches are the shiny ones on the left and the pin holders are the black ones on the right.

    *Here's a link to my reference article I used to help with my tool selection; DIY AR-15 Build: Introduction, Parts and Tools Required

    I hope this post might be helpful for someone.

    DCG.
    Last edited by DefConGun; May 8th, 2012 at 08:58 PM.
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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    ************************Update coming soon with pictures.***********************

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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    My upper came today!




    My order consisted of;

    • BCM 16" Upper Receiver Group (URG), Lightweight profile barrel (chrome lined, 1:7 twist)
    • Magpul Flat Dark Earth handguard
    • BCM Mod4 Charging Handle


    This is what I saw when I opened the package;


    I wondered if I would get any promo items, i.e., stickers, patches, hat, etc.

    I was happy to see at what appeared (at first glance) to be some extra items included with my order.

    After I unpackaged the box, I found that BCM gave me;

    • BCM hat
    • BCM stickers (5 including the one that came w/charging handle)
    • 2 DVDs (I'm assuming these are training videos)
    • BCM posters
    • Swat magazine article excerpt from a BCM Carbine test
    • NRA pamphlet w/subscription form





    I ordered this on Friday (5/18/12) rather early in the A.M. so I thought it might go out that afternoon. With Bravo Company, orders that are over $325.00, the package goes out via UPS and you are supplied with a tracking number. When I didn't get the tracking# that afternoon, I had a pretty good idea it wasn't going out that day. On Monday morning, I received an email from Bravo saying I needed to call in regards to my order. I called and they simply asked me for my address. After I gave it, the guy said that's all he needed and expediently ended the call.

    I mis-remembered the instructions that I read when I initially made my order. I was thinking that my order was being sent out via USPS so with that in mind, I tried checking said site with the tracking # I was supplied with on Monday afternoon. After going back to BCMs site and checking my account, I found a link that lead me back to the instructions I received when I made my order. My order went out UPS (NOT USPS - big difference). Armed with this, I obviously checked the UPS site to find out that I was scheduled to get my order on Wednesday.

    I was happy needless to say when I got this today;


    I thought I had ordered a Pmag but I must have inadvertently removed all of my magazines when I last updated my order prior to ordering. Its no biggie, I have time to order one before this gun is ready to go. I still need to get a bolt carrier group (BCG) and a BUIS - not to mention a case (not necessary to run the gun but required for safe transport).

    I'd like to get a Daniel Defense BCG but they are nowhere to be found at the moment. If I can't find one by the time I'm ready to get one, I will not hesitate to get a BCM BCG. I was really tempted to go on and get one when I made my order but it was going to make my money run too tight.

    From the early stages of planning, I planned on getting a Troy BUIS. Now that I have a BCM upper, I'm planning to get the BCM BUIS. It will be a nice compliment for the rifle and given that since it's made by Troy, I'm not really making a compromise purely for the sake of aesthetics. The one with BCMs name on it is the same sight I was going to get, only with BCMs name on it - party on Wayne.

    Another pic before I go;



    I realize the pics aren't the best, so thank you for bearing with me. I'll try to post better pics in the future.

    Finally, I still haven't assembled my lower yet so I still have that to do - I hope to accomplish this soon!

    I'll post pics when I complete my lower. I'm thinking I'll have the most difficulty out of trying to install the magazine catch and attaching the receiver extension tube to the lower receiver. I really need a good area to do this so I'll have to see if I can secure one. I know its not necessary but I'd really like to have a vice to install the receiver extension tube.

    Thanks for viewing my thread. Please by all means do not hesitate to post ideas, thoughts and or questions.

    God bless,
    DCG
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    "There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you." William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830)

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Absolutely awesome bro! That is a great upper. Accurate and very reliable and the customer service is top notch. Enjoy it.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Sorry I didn't get back to your PM last week. It's been insane around here and if I don't reply right when I read them, I might forget it's there until I get another PM and see I haven't replied.

    Did you get a bolt carrier group as well?

    EDIT - I see you didn't get the bolt carrier group or BUIS yet. I'll reply to your PM today buddy. For the bolt carrier group, I'd go Colt then BCM. I have no reason to buy anything else.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    Sorry I didn't get back to your PM last week. It's been insane around here and if I don't reply right when I read them, I might forget it's there until I get another PM and see I haven't replied.

    Did you get a bolt carrier group as well?

    EDIT - I see you didn't get the bolt carrier group or BUIS yet. I'll reply to your PM today buddy. For the bolt carrier group, I'd go Colt then BCM. I have no reason to buy anything else.
    NP Jon - I completely understand and am grateful for the time you give me. Thanks for all of the input, advice and help. I hope to get everything in line soon and post an update.

    I hope you and your family are doing well.

    God bless,

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    Member Array JoeK's Avatar
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    Don't stop posting. Very cool to see the progress. I bought an S&W M&P 15 but have always thought it would be fun to build one from the ground up. Kudos to you!
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    Nice build! You have some good quality components for sure and this will serve you well. You got quite a few DD parts why stop before the best one they make? I love their rails....... .02 cents
    Ccccccc what? Ccccccccccc Hawks!

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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C hawk Glock View Post
    Nice build! You have some good quality components for sure and this will serve you well. You got quite a few DD parts why stop before the best one they make? I love their rails....... .02 cents
    Thanks!

    I originally planned to go with a DD upper but parts are scarce right now. I've had my eye, however, on that BCM upper for weeks and am glad it was still there when I was ready to place an order. I'd still like to have a DD but I'm also really excited about this BCM and can't wait to see how its going to perform.

    I agree with your comment about DD rails. I also think they're great rails and If I ever get a rail, it will probably be a DD (like 99% likely).

    The reason I didn't get a DD rail is mostly due to funds or lack thereof. The Magpul handguard is considerably cheaper and is going to allow me to get up and running a lot sooner. I do wonder, however, about the weight difference. This handguard should make for a light rifle and it'll be interesting to see if its going to be too light? I watched one of the videos that came with the upper last night and Pat Rogers said something about a light rifle being nice for mobility but can make for a jerky rife per recoil - so it'll be interesting to see how its going to affect this one.

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