Start ordering your parts now, so you can shoot it by Christmas.
This is a discussion on Need advice/opinions from AR guys within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Want to build/buy my first AR. I'm pretty sure on how I want it set up, but there's still one thing up for grabs. I'm ...
Want to build/buy my first AR. I'm pretty sure on how I want it set up, but there's still one thing up for grabs. I'm trying to decide to go with a 7 or 9" rail, the 7 with the standard FSB, the 9 with a LMT fixed front sight that looks like he top profile of the a-frame sight. I don't imagine a perfomance difference, so the issues (I think) are weight (it's going with a magpul UBR stock, very heavy, so longer rail might be better), and aesthetics (can't find a pic of my exact setup).
If it helps, here's how I'm gonna do it:
Anvil Arms upper and lower (might go BCM upper and a lower with good match if you can talk me into it)
Daniel Defense Lite Rail
LMT fixed front and rear sights
BCM bolt carrier
14.5" (pinned w/Vortex) Barrel, Any advice on barrels? I'm thinking LW, Noveske (if I can get a carbine setup??), Sabre Defence....
RRA 2-Stage Trigger
Aimpoint m4 w/Bobro mount, preferably with lower 1/3 riser.
So what's it gonna be?
Start ordering your parts now, so you can shoot it by Christmas.
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Which would you all take? The 9 or the 7. Think I need the 9 to counteract the weight of the UBR? Thanks!
Sorry...thought you meant guys from AR (Arkansas). My bad. On the AR-15, I'd rather have mine already put together.
I feel ya matiki. I'm open about the performance aspects of it, and mildly curious on how it might look. Performance wise, it might be better balanced with one or the other, and the gas block under the rail might prevent problems caused by impact on an exposed fsb... Not sure though.
Rammy, I'm kinda feeling that way too. But for the money, it looks like I can build a better product for less money going the long route. Doesn't appear to be overly difficult to build one properly and only takes a few inexpensive tools. Still open to that option though. This is still relatively new to me.
Given the difficulty of getting all of the parts nowadays and the amount of time it will take to hunt for and gather those parts, I'd opt to buy one premade (either used or new).
The Christmas comment above isn't too far off.
What is the purpose of the rifle? Is this a duty/home-defense gun or a race gun? Do you expect to shoot it hard?
I'm not in a hurry to have it ready, just want to start the project. I know I know, the AWB thing, and I may be alone in naivete, but I don't think it will pass.
BAC, on use... Home defense, target shooting, unlikely to be a duty gun as I doubt a dept. will let me carry a home-rolled carbine, possibly high round training. I want it to be as much of a tack driver as a battle-reliable rifle can be. If money allows, I'm gonna shoot the p*ss out of it.
Cool. As is, you're looking at a $2500-$2600 rifle.
First, the components. You might as well nix the Magpul UBR. All accounts are that it's an outstanding stock, one of the best there is, but it's made of unobtainium right now. Magpul is still a small company, and they're still in the process of tooling up for more production (from the horse's mouth, we should be seeing the results of this 2nd/3rd quarter of this year), but unless someone is selling theirs it's hard to count on buying something that simply isn't available. A lot of folks I trust are surprising me with how much they love the Vltor E-MOD, and the LMT/Crane SOPMOD is always popular (both of these are actually available, too, which is cool). If it's a lighter-weight rifle, a Magpul CTR is also a good choice, but then again so are the standard stocks. I love my A1, for example, and probably won't be changing it.
On the big parts, I would strongly consider a Bravo Company, LMT, or Noveske basic upper. They're arguably the best available. You can cop out and get a LMT Defender lower for $330, or you can put one together yourself (would save you $50-$100). With the LMT, you can always sell off the ERGO grip to cover your MIAD.
The trigger is pretty personal. I like single-stage triggers more than two-stage triggers, but I also don't like spending money I don't have to. I've sent my AR trigger to Bill Springfield to have it tuned, but it'll still be a duty/field-weight trigger when I get it back; it'll just be smoother. $35 is hard to beat, and you're looking at $120 easy for the Rock River Arms 2-stage, and more for offerings from Accuracy Speaks, Armalite, Chip McComick, JP Enterprises, Geissele, or Timney. A lot of professional shooters are of the opinion that Geissele makes the most durable and reliable 2-stage trigger out there.
Any reason for the Aimpoint M4? An ML2 or ML3 in a LaRue mount goes for several hundred dollars less, and you're still getting between 10,000 and 50,000 hours of battery life.
Other components are good: if you're going to get a bolt carrier group, you're going to spend about $130, and you might as well get the Bravo Company one. MIAD is also a good choice (I prefer it greatly to the stock A2 grip). Vortex flash hider is good at what it does; the AAC Blackout is another option, but is more expensive. Either way, there's a lot of debate about the feasibility of pinning a 14.5" barrel. This is a great discussion on it (I have no opinion one way or the other here).
Now for a couple things I want to point out:
First, I see no white light, mount, or sling on your list. If it's a rifle with a primary use as a defensive weapon, you need at least a weapon light. Weapon lights can be as simple as a FSB-mounted Surefire G2 or 6P with push-button tailcap ($150 total, more if you want an LED version), or as much as $400 if you want a more dedicated weaponlight. Neither of this require a rail, which is something to consider. Slings will run you anywhere from $10 to $60. I'm of the school of thought that any fighting long arm needs a sling (weapon retention, stabilization if shooting off-hand or support-side, etc.), but others might feel differently.
Second, do you actually need a rail? Remember, that's $250-$300 alone. This is going to be largely determined by how familiar you are with the AR platform. A rail is not required to mount a light, but it pretty much is if you plan on running a vertical grip out front (those will add $40-$100 to the total price). For some, a vertical grip is more comfortable. For others, it's not. If you do decide you need a rail, you picked basically the best one you can get. If you decide you don't need a rail, but still want it free-floated, look into the carbon fiber free-float tubes out there (MUCH less expensive than rail systems). The JP/VTAC handguards are also good, and are also much less expensive than traditional rail systems.
Think that about covers it. Good luck in your searching.
Still haven't gone as far as picking the add ons (save the aimpoint), but I would definitely have a light, and likely a sling. I'm pretty set on having a rail, as I want the free float and accessories benefits, without the fugly factor (IMO) of the float tubes.
I actually did look into the BCM uppers, but have a question: what's the story on their barrels?
Oh yea, and the 24-2500 estimate... includes the optic, right? I was looking at 1500 at retail prices.
I really appreciate the depth of your post, it actually brought up a bunch of things I didn't remember in my budget (light, mount, sling, ad infinitum), but what do you think about the original question: Performace of 9" rail with covered gas block vs 7" with FSB? Thanks again!
That estimate was with optics, yes. Fair enough on the rails. Like on the 14.5" pinned vs 16" non-pinned barrels, I have no opinion on rails. For my purposes, I don't think my rifle needs a rail, but not being able to afford one is also a convincing factor.
Bravo Company barrels are standard 4150 barrels that meet Mil-B-11595E requirements for steel. Chrome-lined, 1:7 twist, all that fun jazz. They're every bit as "to spec" as are Colt and LMT barrels (Sabre Defense I think exceeds said specs, and I know for sure Noveske does).
Aesthetics aside, the primary reason folks want to run the rails past the gas block used to be more rail space. It's a good place to mount a weapon light. For folks with long arms (guilty ) and no vertical grip, it's the only comfortable place to run a light. What folks who shoot a lot at once have found out is that when you transition, or when you let it hang (from a sling; some ranges and trainers require this as a safety thing), that hot barrels seem to be attracted to knees and legs. Rails covering more of the barrel tend to protect against that heat. Keep in mind that some rails are pretty sharp, and those don't feel good banging your knees either. Trade-off of the longer rail is pretty obvious: the increased mass toward the muzzle end shifts the center of balance a little and slows down how quick you can move the muzzle to different targets, which means you tire you out just a little bit sooner. Magnitude is subjective.
Another point to remember is that there is no gas block stronger than the fixed front sight base. Unless you find one made of solid Inconel, which would be freakin' cool and stupid expensive. There's a reason a lot of guys have taken to shaving it down instead of buying aftermarket blocks. A front sight attached to the barrel directly like that is a lot less likely to come off than one attached to a rail (though good-quality mounting options are largely mitigating this). For some people this is a big deal, and they prefer the stronger fixed FSB to rail-mounted front sights. Most rail systems preclude you from running a rail past the gas block with a fixed FSB, but some Daniel Defense, Superior Weapon Systems, and Troy Industries rails run the rail around the gas block on the sides and bottom and would let you use a fixed FSB. Some of the longer ones even have rail real-estate at 1200 past the FSB. Most 9-9.5" rails seem to run about 10oz.
Any justification going with a midlength system in either barrel length? Thoughts?
For a 16" barrel, sure, a middy gas system is a better choice than a carbine gas system. It's easier on the internal parts and a little smoother shooting. On a 14.5" barrel, I know some people have done it, and I know one person who competes with it, but I'd imagine that's pushing the lower range of the middy system and you'd have to play with different weight buffers and/or gas port diameter (it will still be a smoother shooting gun than one with a carbine-length system). I don't think anybody makes factory 14.5" barrels set up for midlength gas systems, so you'd probably have to have a 'smith cut down a 16" barrel. It used to be that midlength systems were very uncommon, so handguards and rails were hard to come by, but that's no longer the case.