First AR Build - Have some questions

First AR Build - Have some questions

This is a discussion on First AR Build - Have some questions within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am building my first AR and have already ordered a receiver through Palmetto State Armory. I do have a couple of questions that I ...

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  • 3 Post By tmoore912
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Thread: First AR Build - Have some questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    First AR Build - Have some questions

    I am building my first AR and have already ordered a receiver through Palmetto State Armory. I do have a couple of questions that I hope I can get help with.

    I keep seeing that I will need "Roll Pin Punches", is this the same as the standard punches that are often seen sold as kits such as this one.

    I have heard many people say that Roll Pin Holders are a must, then I hear about others building their AR and didn't even know what that Roll Pin Holders exist. (This is an example)

    What tools should I plan on acquiring for this build?

    I am looking for an cost effective build experience. I know I could probably get away with buying a whole new one myself for cheaper, especially one that I held yesterday with a Tupperware receiver). But I want an educational experience and something that I can say is totally my build.

    So, advice on what tools I should gather/acquire? Suggestions or what parts/options to include are always welcome, and if anyone has any "freebie" parts, I will be glad to take them off your hands!

    This will probably be a long process and the purchase of parts over a significant period of time. This was also the only way I could convenience my wife to allow me to get yet another one.
    "Gun Free Zones" is where only criminals carry guns.

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Roll pin punches can come in handy. Not required
    This is not really building an AR it is more like a puzzle you get all the parts and put them together in the correct manner.
    have not seen anyone really build an AR in some time.
    This is how you build your own this ones is an AK
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  3. #3
    Member Array hdatontodo's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    Reisterstown, MD
    I returned my more-pricey Brownell's roll-pin holders and bought this double-sided one from midway

    694883 Schuster AR-15 Roll Pin Starter $17.99

    I also got this from them but did most of the work with the lower sitting in my lap

    358821 ProMag Armorer's Lower Receiver $10.99


    151542 Schuster AR-15 Bolt Catch Punch $15.99

    From Sears, I bought

    00943167000 6 pc. Roll Pin Punch Set $19.99


    00938298000 6 oz. Plastic-Tip Hammer $9.99

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
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    As a new builder of a AR lower, I would recommend taping off sections of your lower you want to protect while hammering away at roll pins with regular punches.

    Good luck.

    Last edited by tmoore912; December 4th, 2012 at 08:18 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Array rocky's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Taping off the areas is a great idea. Not real special tools needed to assemble a lower. has a good tutorial to give you an idea what you need as well as how to.
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    The bolt release is the worst one to install. Both of mine I use two punches, 1 to hold the lever in place while I drive the pin in with the other (which in turn drives the hold pin out). Light taps until the pin starts into the back side of the second tab.

    I use the same method to hold the front take down spring and pin in place as well as the FCG pins.

    Get a receiver mount of some sort for your vise. Either one that goes in the lower mount holes, or magwell.

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  7. #7
    CJM is offline
    Member Array CJM's Avatar
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    I tape up all but the area I'm working with with blue painters tape. I don't use punches though. I've found that a pair of vice grips or channel locks with the teeth padded with layers of duct tape work better. Lightly crimp the starter end of the roll pins to get them started easier and use the vice grips or pliers to push the pins in. Works great, doesn't mar the finish if done carefully, and no hammering required.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    I've assembled ARs both with & without dedicated AR tools. IMHO, if you're gonna' be a bear, go ahead & be a grizzly. Buy the tools! It easy to "sneak" 'em into the budget over time.
    DMan and aus71383 like this.
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  9. #9
    New Member Array TodaysBushcraft's Avatar
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    First AR Build - Have some questions

    I just received my first lower. And while looking for the same info and came across info on "Frog Lube". I think I am going to coat all my parts prior to installation to make it easier to apply, and to get greater coverage.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Array munch520's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    Not sure if lubing parts prior to install will help ease the process. May make them harder to hold on to?

    I've never used any fancy roll pin holders or anything. The best tool is painters tape, needle nose pliers, and receiver blocks for the vise. With the lower stationary, and holding the bolt catch roll pin in place with the needle noses...hammering in the pin is pretty easy. Like Sticks said, use light taps at first...roll pins are easy to mushroom. Smaller/tack hammer also helps in this instance.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    Awesome responses, I am actually writing these down on my "build" spreadsheet. I am sort of technical when it comes to stuff like this, so am documenting everything as I prepare and build.

    Best suggestion is to "sneak" things into the budget over time - It is easier than one huge whopping bill. I am starting with the basics and then going from there. Keep the suggestions coming please!
    "Gun Free Zones" is where only criminals carry guns.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Bolt catch/release is the hardest roll pin to get in. Trigger guard made me the most nervous about snapping off the "ear".

    The front takedown pin spring/detent is tricky. Watch out!



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