January 10th, 2006 09:12 PM
Finalized the build project.
After much poking around AR15.com and combatcarry.com and thehighroad.org, I have finalized the AR15 build project.
For better or worse here it is.
Stripped DPMS lower - paid $95 I think? Can't remember.
I knew what I wanted in the firing platform: I wanted short as I could get, short length of pull, and the ability to attach a sling, a simple light, and some day an optic or at least be able to switch between different iron sight systems.
My ultimate goal is a carbine that assists its user with getting a quick and dirty sight picture at close ranges and handles better at sub Tueller distances, a "Mud and the Blood and the Beer" rifle if you will. The varmint possibility intrigued me, but truthfully I figured with the right optic even the carbine size AR15 is relatively accurate.
Plus I figured with the flat top I couldn't screw up too bad. Don't like your sight? Take it off.
So here's the rest of it.
Approximate proejcted cost:
Stripped receiver: $95 @ local gunshop
Parts kit: $62
M4 style 6 position stock, standard carbine buffer $62
Wrench for stock $6
S+H for ordered parts - $8
Lower cost: $233 shipped (well not the receiver) to my door. Decent.
I looked and looked and looked and the Stag Arms Model 2H upper was just the best bet and available at the best price for $475 new from AIMsurplus, $485 after shipping. I've decided I'll build with this exact upper.
The reasons I like this upper are:
- Actual 16" barrel. I know I wanted compactness, but OTOH I think this may be my only AR15 so I wanted flexibility. If you get a shorter barrel, whatever is tack welded on there is there forever.
-Chome lined barrel. Do I actually need one? Probably not. Do I demand it anyway? Yes.
- 1/9 twist, one of my two acceptable specs and probably the better of the two for my purposes
- No carry handle I don't want, yet also comes with the ARMS flip up A2 rear sight. The sights already on the rifle will work just fine by themselves and when/if I add an optic some day, the configuration will be perfect for it.
-Style of handguards I wanted
-Not too special but it is an actual 5.56 NATO chambering, and I wanted that and not some .223 chambering or some .223 Wydle chambering or anything like that.
The Flash Hider is nothing special but I did want one. I've seen these fired at night and they do "spark" pretty good. I wanted something on the end that would help a bit at least.
Projected cost of rifle sans magazines/accessories: $718
That's actually less than I expected it to be by about $150. Building did in fact save me some moolah.
If nothing else I avoided about $50 in sales tax. I'll take $18 shipping vs. $50 tax.
I crunched the numbers and I think building this has saved me at least the sales tax, PLUS the little bit extra you pay for the preassembled rifle, PLUS the fact that my local market has insane markups on AR15s. If you went to the gunshow here and bought this same rifle in this configuration or one like it, you'd pay $1000 on a good day and $1200 on a typical one. The no name and franken ARs I've seen for sale still cost $800 used. I hope your local market is better.
Honestly I don't think I lose anything other than a brand name. Stag is also CMT, btw.
If nothing else I'll get a Bushmaster lower some day and bolt it on there so I can say it's a Bushmaster.
There's been some AR interest here lately and I'm at the point where I'm actually putting some of my money where my mouth is... possibly sooner than expected as I have no willpower. I'm not saying that YOU should build a rifle like this, this is just what I did/am doing/am going to do.
January 10th, 2006 09:17 PM
looks like a fun and well thought out build , kinda an all arround carbine as far as poodle shooters go lol
January 10th, 2006 09:20 PM
Good write-up Euc, and while I have not as yet gone that route - it is as ever, interesting and also informative, to read about what folks do and why.
Good luck with the progress and no doubt there will be later reports!
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
- a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
January 10th, 2006 09:25 PM
Good Write up Euc whats eta on finsihing project?
January 10th, 2006 09:35 PM
cool, I think you will be really happy with this configuration. I find my 16" barrel to be just about right for length(also the shortest legal inmy state). The A2 flash hider should work well enough. I like the included iron sights. Saves dome money too. Flat tops give much versatility. I can mount a red dot,scope or just use irons.
January 10th, 2006 09:47 PM
Chrome Lined Barrel
The Chrome Lined Barrel is actually a Must Have for an AR type rifle.
Remember your :usflag" History & some of the initial problems with the Colt Battle rifle that were eliminated when Colt got smart and Chrome lined the barrel.
January 10th, 2006 10:02 PM
Yeah the more I thought about it, even early on, although the super long range hyper accurate varmint style guns have cool factor, I'd never do that kind of shooting with something like this. Someone else might but I won't for the foreseeable future.
Originally Posted by Redneck Repairs
If I ever move back to prairie dog country I may kick myself but them's the breaks.
Fairly soon actually... not exactly sure with personal things and the like to take care of here. The trouble is I am somewhat impatient now that I know what I'm going to do! The sad part is I will probably have to sit on it for up to 3 weeks before actually testfiring it. I like my local range but I am looking for another one because this policy on no FMJ rifle rounds is killing me. My life's been really different the past couple of months and will be for all this year. Luckily for me they're building an indoor range in the other locality I spend time in, so I may shoot handguns there and rifles here.
Originally Posted by Bud White
The included BUIS was a huge plus, and after poking around a bit it seems Stag Arms is honestly as good as anyone else, they're just not an ABC brand hehe. Anyone can sell you a pretty good upper in this price range that has all those features but it won't have BUIS included, and there goes another $100. Value wise for what I want I don't think it'll get any better unless there is some amazing deal that pops up.
Originally Posted by rocky
I won't argue with you that chrome lined bores save headaches, but unlined bores in this format can and do deliver long lives of good service. Of course when there are so many lined ones available, why compromise needlessly?
Originally Posted by QKShooter
January 10th, 2006 10:06 PM
Also, the chrome lined bore /chamber will make cleaning easier. let us know when you get it together and have tried it out.
Probably , the only way to get a better deal would be getting used stuff.
January 11th, 2006 02:57 PM
I built my previous 5.56 RRA/BM mutt for around $650, however prices seem to have went up since then.
Euc, for attaching a light, you can get something to clamp the the FSB. I think I got mine from CDNN for about $20
(link). Two 1" scope rings from walmart (~$10) and a surefire 6P (cant remember the cost) attaches pretty easily. I'm actually thinking about replacing my 6P with a 9P. Its brighter, not to mention the added length will get rid of some of the barrel shadow.
Last edited by Zach S; January 11th, 2006 at 03:00 PM.
Reason: ETA Link
January 11th, 2006 03:02 PM
Euc, how much do you think you'll end up spending by the end of the project? I want an AR15 soooooooooooooo baaaaaaaaaaaaad but don't want to spend a fortune. I also don't want a crap rifle - you understand the dilemma. I'm just trying to figure out if it's better to buy or to build.
si vis pacem, para bellum
protego communis bona
January 11th, 2006 05:16 PM
Actually I think for the rifle itself, this is gonna be it.
Magazines, slinging it, and webbing gear etc are going to be more.
As for not building a crap rifle, honestly, stick to manufacturer's you've heard of before and it won't be a problem.
It helps to follow the pedigree of the parts you're considering too.
Most of the parts I bought are from Stag Arms. Stag is a name brand for CMT, and CMT makes a lot of Colt's parts. The quality is there just not the name recognition or the pony.
Building a rifle will save you at least a $100 excise tax in theory, and in all honesty, I can't see how my build could have been any less expensive. Even if I'd got a fair deal on it locally, I'd still be down at least $150.
The trouble I had is that no gun store has trouble selling AR15s at whatever price they care to charge. They seem to do a brisk business in them.
The AR15 platform on the one hand is a sizable investment for most of us, but remember that most of the expense of a gun is in the ownership. Parts, ammunition, and accessories will always be available as long as any of us are alive. And it's not like you're getting a piece of junk if you are even slightly careful; it's a highly accurate centerfire self loading box magazine fed rifle made in the USA to (some) military specifications.
If you look at your alternatives, they all present headaches and compromises I personally don't want to deal with even if they are a little bit less expensive from the get go.
There's a sweet spot in most things, where you've gotten the most for your money but you're not compromising on its utility either. That was the overall goal of my project, not to be cheap but to get what I wanted without spending more than I had to.
Any light attachment I use fill follow the KISS principle. Yes, I do clamp lights onto barrels. But the front sight mount sounds like a better idea here!
January 13th, 2006 03:37 PM
One thing I hate about clamping the light to the barrel is it places the button out of reach (tried it). You could get a remote switch to place on the handguard, but I dont like the idea of the exposed wiring.
January 13th, 2006 05:07 PM
Yeah, I'm with you there. I don't like wires running down my guns, and I don't need a $400+ forend when a $30 or less adapter does the same job. All I need is something like a Surefire G2 anyway in my case.
I do like the mounting of the light under the front handguard well enough, might be worth the expense, but honestly as long as my support hand can reach it without stretching for it, it's probably okay.
January 13th, 2006 05:25 PM
perhaps a short rail and an offset adapter to get the light along the side of the HG's? Where is a sling to be mounted?
January 13th, 2006 10:36 PM
I want to see how it balances and handles first. I'm going to get a real sling for it. The Chinese SKS/AK47 slings I get for $3 a pop are fine for my cheap commie guns (I buy one every once in a while, they're surprisingly strong and make a good, simple carry sling), but I'm going to pony up for a real sling that'll actually serve as something slightly more than a way to throw it awkwardly over my shoulder.
I have considered The Wilderness Tactical's single point system.
The trouble with that though is it's a lousy field sling... it's great for excercises and retention, but I'm not a SWAT officer or a even a wannabe.
I think I'll go with the same company, but with the more conventional Ching Sling.
But it's all pie in the sky at the moment. The products I've gotten from them in the past have all been impressively rugged, so I'm not hesitant to order a sling from them regardless of what I go with.
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