Building an AR---Need Suggestions, Please

Building an AR---Need Suggestions, Please

This is a discussion on Building an AR---Need Suggestions, Please within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Once again I appeal to the great collected wisdom that is DC.com... I bought some Stag lowers (stripped) and want to start turning one of ...

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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Building an AR---Need Suggestions, Please

    Once again I appeal to the great collected wisdom that is DC.com...

    I bought some Stag lowers (stripped) and want to start turning one of them into a functional rifle. Some basics here---I know not much about ARs, and this will be my first longarm. I have read the various AR threads here, and done some perusing of www.AR15.com, but the main thing I lack is a real understanding of the various options available to a DIYer.

    My goals are pretty modest. Since I don't have any real long-distance shooting goals in mind at the moment, I am gonna call this basically a fun gun with some SHTF potential. What I am pretty certain of so far is:
    • carbine length, chambered in 5.56mm;
    • adjustable stock;
    • two-stage match trigger;
    • flat-top;
    • appropriate carbine optics.

    Top Gun Supply has a lower parts kit with the match trigger from Rock River for $180. I think that seems reasonable so far. As for the optics, I have a $100 Trijicon gift certificate that will go towards this project.

    I really know very little about options for barrels, gas blocks, buffers, bolt carriers, and whatever other parts are involved.

    I'd also prefer not to spend a mint on this, of course. So, how am I doing so far, and what do you all suggest?

    Thanks!
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    there are several sights that sell different kits that have assembled uppers,if you try to buy individual items to build you're gun you will usually end up paying a lot more than going with a kit,the kits have lots of options to choose from and other than basics will add to the cost
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazzaerexys View Post
    Once again I appeal to the great collected wisdom that is DC.com...

    I bought some Stag lowers (stripped) and want to start turning one of them into a functional rifle. Some basics here---I know not much about ARs, and this will be my first longarm. I have read the various AR threads here, and done some perusing of JOBRELATEDSTUFF.COM, but the main thing I lack is a real understanding of the various options available to a DIYer.

    My goals are pretty modest. Since I don't have any real long-distance shooting goals in mind at the moment, I am gonna call this basically a fun gun with some SHTF potential. What I am pretty certain of so far is:

    • carbine length, chambered in 5.56mm;
    No reason to go longer based on your goals and IMO. Chrome lining is nice, but not necessary. I don't mind cleaning my gun.

    If it's in your budget, consider WOA with a matched bolt.

    • adjustable stock;
    I prefer the M4 over the Carbine stock. 2 extra positions and bit sturdier IMO. You could go with something fancy but I've never felt the need.

    • two-stage match trigger;
    IMO not necessary for your needs, however it won't hurt to have it, and it'll be nice if your needs change (i.e. you need to take a shot out past 200m). I've always been a good at putting hits COM with the stock trigger out to these distances.

    • flat-top;
    My AR's are A3 flat tops - CMT/Stag. It's a wise choice, if you want a carry-handle you can get a detachable one. Going A2 or A1 upper is nice for its simplicity but it makes optics choices more difficult.

    If you've got the dough, VLTOR MUR or VIS uppers are fantastic. I say this as I know several people who own them, but as someone who spends his money elsewhere.

    • appropriate carbine optics.
    Once you drink the Trijicon kool-aid (re: your comment below) you will start thinking that $3,000 for a rifle is affordable.

    Aimpoint and Eotech are also popular choices.

    Top Gun Supply has a lower parts kit with the match trigger from Rock River for $180. I think that seems reasonable so far. As for the optics, I have a $100 Trijicon gift certificate that will go towards this project.

    I really know very little about options for barrels, gas blocks, buffers, bolt carriers, and whatever other parts are involved.

    I'd also prefer not to spend a mint on this, of course. So, how am I doing so far, and what do you all suggest?

    Thanks!
    Sounds like you've already got a good handle on what you want and just need to pull the trigger.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    there are several sights that sell different kits that have assembled uppers,if you try to buy individual items to build you're gun you will usually end up paying a lot more than going with a kit,the kits have lots of options to choose from and other than basics will add to the cost
    Model 1 Sales EM-4 Kit in the photo attached was ordered on a Tuesday evening and delivered the following Monday morning. Their service was outstanding.

    Welcome to Model 1 Sales' Online Order Center

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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Is there any advantage to a free-floated barrel on a carbine, or is that just something that helps longer range accuracy?
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazzaerexys View Post
    Is there any advantage to a free-floated barrel on a carbine, or is that just something that helps longer range accuracy?
    I've never been a good enough shooter to notice a difference even on longer barrels. On the other hand, I'm not a match shooter, I shoot silhouettes. I've been told it makes a difference regardless of barrel length... the barrel length primarily effects velocity, with optics your ability to shoot out to great distances is still there (granted it's more limited) and anything that puts pressure on the barrel (standard hand guards) could affect aim.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  7. #7
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    A free float barrel may help cooling a bit, isolates the barrel from any push or pulls to the HG, but isn't really needed unless you want some long range accuracy. If you sling up really tight while shooting for support it would be worth it.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    I am kind of coming from your position as well having almost finished my first AR.

    Just a few questions/suggestions from my experience and what I have learned.

    First, why choose a carbine length? You can go 16" barrel and get it in mid-length which is supposedly much better than carbine.

    Shorter than 16" means short barrel rifle, which means useless wasted metal on an extended flash hider/suppressor to bring it to legal 16" anyway. If you gotta have 16" to be legal, why not make that extra length useful and get more muzzle velocity and bullet stability? Also, supposedly, carbines are harder on gun internals.

    Since the assault weapons ban is no longer in effect (in most places), you can get threaded barrel end and have the ability to change suppressors.

    Other than these two points, I see nothing wrong at all with your choices and is the same as I chose except for brand of lower/upper.
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tally XD View Post
    ...

    First, why choose a carbine length? You can go 16" barrel and get it in mid-length which is supposedly much better than carbine.
    The reason it's purportedly better is that the felt recoil is reduced. There is also less time under peak gas port pressure, so theoretically easier on internals.

    Shorter than 16" means short barrel rifle, which means useless wasted metal on an extended flash hider/suppressor to bring it to legal 16" anyway. If you gotta have 16" to be legal, why not make that extra length useful and get more muzzle velocity and bullet stability?
    I have a 14.5" with a welded flash hider. The reason is that I wanted the shortest legal gun, for cornering, getting it in and out of my car, bags, etc. Military issued M4's are the same, minus the welding. If it's good enough for our grunts, its good enough for me.

    Also, supposedly, carbines are harder on gun internals.

    Since the assault weapons ban is no longer in effect (in most places), you can get threaded barrel end and have the ability to change suppressors.

    Other than these two points, I see nothing wrong at all with your choices and is the same as I chose except for brand of lower/upper.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array airslot's Avatar
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    There's a good thread at "officer.com"

    it's on page2 of the equipment/firearms forum
    "So you want to buy an AR-15,huh?"

    I cannot get the link to copy/paste, but I think it's worth finding.
    The situation will NEVER BE THE WAY YOU WANT, it WILL BE THE WAY IT IS. You must be FLEXIBLE ENOUGH TO ADAPT and just "DEAL WITH IT".

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by airslot View Post
    There's a good thread at "officer.com"

    it's on page2 of the equipment/firearms forum
    "So you want to buy an AR-15,huh?"

    I cannot get the link to copy/paste, but I think it's worth finding.

    So you want to buy an AR-15, huh? - Police Forums & Law Enforcement Forums @ Officer.com

    There it is. It's a very popular article.

    Bear in mind (and this is based on my opinion formulated from personal experience with both semi and full auto weapons):

    You do not need an m16 BCG.

    Offering a gun without chrome lining, rather than as standard does not make the entire brand name less worthy of you money.

    M4 cuts are nice (I always get them) but few people can articulate why you need them. Especially shooting semi auto.

    F marked front sites are great... but not having them doesn't mean your gun won't work. It means your front post will need to be elevated to nearly the same height as the protective wings. If you're throwing your gun around, in a battle zone, etc. then this matters. For your uses, not necessary but nice.

    1:7 twist is not critical. It's better than 1:9 if you want to shoot over 70 gr. bullets.

    All the advice is sound, but don't feel compelled to run out and spend a fortune to make sure you can check off all the boxes on your new checklist.

    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Skygod's Avatar
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    Check out M4Carbine.net also. Many of the vendors and staff of Vltor, LMT, RRA, etc, etc, are on that board. Great place to ask questions also.
    Perhaps your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Rustynuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matiki View Post
    So you want to buy an AR-15, huh? - Police Forums & Law Enforcement Forums @ Officer.com

    All the advice is sound, but don't feel compelled to run out and spend a fortune to make sure you can check off all the boxes on your new checklist.

    Definitely a good article for a newb. And he really is pretty frugal actually. His personal choice is to build up from the relatively cheaply price CMMG, not always going Colt or Noveske, etc.

  14. #14
    Member Array gicts's Avatar
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    it's addicting. Once you realize how simple they are to put together the more you will want to do them!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Packman73's Avatar
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    If it hasn't been mentioned, I'd add chrome-lined barrel to your list of requirements.

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