AR Build - Mistakes and Updates

ddraper

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I completed my first AR build in July. Subsequently I have shot the rifle a fair amount and made some observations and upgrades. As food for thought to those in the middle of a build or planning a build I'm going to list the mistakes and updates I made afterwards. In no particular order:

1. I used a barrel with an integrated muzzle device. 14.5" Faxon with 3 port muzzle brake. I did this so I wouldn't have to deal with pinning and welding a muzzle device during the initial Covid lock down. While not totally displeased with the muzzle brake I would definitely change it out if I could. I don't believe I saved any money using an integrated device and I lost the flexibility of swapping it out. I would recommend against using an integrated muzzle device.

2. Safety. I installed the safety that came in my lower parts kit. It was your basic standard safety. I soon realized I wanted an ambi safety and installed one. Don't just install any ambi either. Look for one that is slightly shorter on your trigger finger side. Battle Arms, Radian, Badger Ordnance are few examples of these. Consider installing an ambi safety from the start.

3. Bolt Release. Once again I installed the standard bolt release that came in the parts kit. This was probably my biggest regret. Install an extended bolt release from the start. I would NOT recommend to install one that bolts/screws on the standard bolt release such as the Magpul BAD Lever. They are not solid, have lots of play and generally inferior. Instead install the Phase 5 Tactical Extended Bolt Release V3. This is a complete replacement and they work great.

4. If you are in a non-free state like me, Mass, then you might need a fixed stock or pinned stock. Be careful of installing shorter carbine length fixed stock. I am 6'1" with long arms and the Magpul fixed Carbine stock was too short. Instead install an adjustable stock and then pin it to the correct length. Also you can add the PRS Extended Butt Plate to the Magpul stocks and it will give you an additional 3/4" on the pull length.

5. Install a buffer tube qd sling mount. Just do it from the start and you will be good to go. It is a pain in the butt to tear down later and put one on so as Nike says, "Just Do It". If you're going to do any tactical training and classes you'll probably want a solid one point mount setup at some point in time.
 
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Golddiggie

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Easy fix for being able to change out the end plates later. If your lower isn't already provisioned for the set screw mod, get a 4-40 tap and 1/8" long set screw. Tap the hole, trim about 1/8" off the spring and you're done. I do this for all my lowers, as well as any I help assemble. I have more than enough taps on hand (they break easy, so be careful) as well as a good supply of the set screws (bought in 100 count packs). Just make sure you blow out any chips out of the hole you tap before you do the install.
 

ReluctantDecoy

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4. If you are in a non-free state like me, Mass, then you might need a fixed stock or pinned stock. Be careful of installing shorter carbine length fixed stock. I am 6'1" with ling arms and the Magpul fixed Carbine stock was too short. Instead install an adjustable stock and then pin it to the correct length. Also you can add the PRS Extended Butt Plate to the Magpul stocks and it will give you an additional 3/4" on the pull length.

Is your buffer a carbine length then considering you had a carbine fixed stock on it? Can you put a rifle fixed stock on a carbine buffer tube? I genuinely don't know and I"m curious.
 

KMM696

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Is your buffer a carbine length then considering you had a carbine fixed stock on it? Can you put a rifle fixed stock on a carbine buffer tube? I genuinely don't know and I"m curious.

Typically, no. The carbine buffer tube has the tab on the bottom for the adjustment pin holes, where the rifle tube is just round. The stocks are made to match.

carbine-medium-rifle-length-buffer-tubes-compared.jpg


You could probably slide a carbine stock over a rifle tube, but without the tab to keep it from rotating you'd have to find some non-standard way to lock it down.
 

ddraper

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Is your buffer a carbine length then considering you had a carbine fixed stock on it? Can you put a rifle fixed stock on a carbine buffer tube? I genuinely don't know and I"m curious.

Yes. I used a carbine buffer system. This was the tube, spring and weight. There are several weights for the buffer itself. After some shooting and observations during operation I settled on an H2 (carbine) buffer. The barrel to a large extent will determine what buffer system you are suing. I had a 14.5" barrel with a mid length gas system. That pretty much determined that I would be using a carbine buffer system.
 

kerryman71

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Just curious as to why you recommend an ambi selector switch that is shorter on your trigger finger side? I bought an ambi for the build I'm starting, but specifically got one that is the same length on both sides.

It's not an enhanced selector, pretty standard low profile.
 

CrackPot

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4. If you are in a non-free state like me, Mass, then you might need a fixed stock or pinned stock. Be careful of installing shorter carbine length fixed stock. I am 6'1" with long arms and the Magpul fixed Carbine stock was too short. Instead install an adjustable stock and then pin it to the correct length. Also you can add the PRS Extended Butt Plate to the Magpul stocks and it will give you an additional 3/4" on the pull length.
I will make an observation on stock setting. Most new shooters try and make the stock WAY too long. They have bad form and the gun is out on their shoulder, they are turned sideways to the target, etc. When you bring the rifle right under your dominate eye and square up to the target, suddenly you dont need the stock to be pulled out so far.

I am 6'2" and I use position 2 on a carbine stock. A colleague who is 6'5" uses position 3. We are talking about 5 position carbine tubes and at 6'5" he is only 1/2 way out.

The magpul fixed stock gives you the equivalent of position 2.5. That is in fact correct (or really close) for most people and likely for you at 6'1". If you find yourself beyond position 3 at 6'1" I am going to postulate you are doing something wrong.

Now I do not disagree with your advice. Pinning an adjustable stock is very easy and there are lots of good ways to do different stocks that permit easy future adjustments (just using tools). It is a good suggestion. But I also think you likely have your stock too far out.
 

jayhitek

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Just curious as to why you recommend an ambi selector switch that is shorter on your trigger finger side? I bought an ambi for the build I'm starting, but specifically got one that is the same length on both sides.

It's not an enhanced selector, pretty standard low profile.
I have ambi's on all mine. Some are lower profile some are longer or shorter.
But some actually are felt by my index finger when shooting and I don't like it.

You'll know when you start shooting it. They all feel different. Some I don't notice are there at all.
 

ScottS

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I completed my first AR build in July. Subsequently I have shot the rifle a fair amount and made some observations and upgrades. As food for thought to those in the middle of a build or planning a build I'm going to list the mistakes and updates I made afterwards. In no particular order:

3. Bolt Release. Once again I installed the standard bolt release that came in the parts kit. This was probably my biggest regret. Install an extended bolt release from the start. I would NOT recommend to install one that bolts/screws on the standard bolt release such as the Magpul BAD Lever. They are not solid, have lots of play and generally inferior. Instead install the Phase 5 Tactical Extended Bolt Release V3. This is a complete replacement and they work great.
No offense, but this is kind of like hearing a Second Lieutenant say "Well, in my experience..." I have BAD levers on ever rifle I own, and have never had a problem with them, through lots of rounds, carbine courses, 3-gun, etc. But what would I know, I've only built about 30 or so ARs...
 

ddraper

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No offense, but this is kind of like hearing a Second Lieutenant say "Well, in my experience..." I have BAD levers on ever rifle I own, and have never had a problem with them, through lots of rounds, carbine courses, 3-gun, etc. But what would I know, I've only built about 30 or so ARs...

After the build I shot several ARs that belonged to others. One of them had the Magpul on it and it was not solid and did have play. When I inquired about it several poeple indicated not to buy one and instead use the Phase 5. The Phase 5 I installed is superior to the Magpul I used. As always people should take everything in these forums for what they are. The words/suggestions of a single person.
 

ddraper

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I will make an observation on stock setting. Most new shooters try and make the stock WAY too long. They have bad form and the gun is out on their shoulder, they are turned sideways to the target, etc. When you bring the rifle right under your dominate eye and square up to the target, suddenly you dont need the stock to be pulled out so far.

I am 6'2" and I use position 2 on a carbine stock. A colleague who is 6'5" uses position 3. We are talking about 5 position carbine tubes and at 6'5" he is only 1/2 way out.

The magpul fixed stock gives you the equivalent of position 2.5. That is in fact correct (or really close) for most people and likely for you at 6'1". If you find yourself beyond position 3 at 6'1" I am going to postulate you are doing something wrong.

Now I do not disagree with your advice. Pinning an adjustable stock is very easy and there are lots of good ways to do different stocks that permit easy future adjustments (just using tools). It is a good suggestion. But I also think you likely have your stock too far out.

I have gone back and forth on the stock. Initially I thought it was too short and then I installed a longer stock. I used that some and then I decided it was too long and shortened it. I finally went back and settled on the fixed Carbine stock with the butt plate extender. For now that seems to be OK. Maybe I didn't word it correctly but what I was trying to say was install an adjustable stock from the start and that will save you the time and money from swapping out the fixed stock later.
 

ScottS

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After the build I shot several ARs that belonged to others. One of them had the Magpul on it and it was not solid and did have play. When I inquired about it several poeple indicated not to buy one and instead use the Phase 5. The Phase 5 I installed is superior to the Magpul I used. As always people should take everything in these forums for what they are. The words/suggestions of a single person.
:rolleyes:
 

mac1911

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I completed my first AR build in July. Subsequently I have shot the rifle a fair amount and made some observations and upgrades. As food for thought to those in the middle of a build or planning a build I'm going to list the mistakes and updates I made afterwards. In no particular order:

1. I used a barrel with an integrated muzzle device. 14.5" Faxon with 3 port muzzle brake. I did this so I wouldn't have to deal with pinning and welding a muzzle device during the initial Covid lock down. While not totally displeased with the muzzle brake I would definitely change it out if I could. I don't believe I saved any money using an integrated device and I lost the flexibility of swapping it out. I would recommend against using an integrated muzzle device.

2. Safety. I installed the safety that came in my lower parts kit. It was your basic standard safety. I soon realized I wanted an ambi safety and installed one. Don't just install any ambi either. Look for one that is slightly shorter on your trigger finger side. Battle Arms, Radian, Badger Ordnance are few examples of these. Consider installing an ambi safety from the start.

3. Bolt Release. Once again I installed the standard bolt release that came in the parts kit. This was probably my biggest regret. Install an extended bolt release from the start. I would NOT recommend to install one that bolts/screws on the standard bolt release such as the Magpul BAD Lever. They are not solid, have lots of play and generally inferior. Instead install the Phase 5 Tactical Extended Bolt Release V3. This is a complete replacement and they work great.

4. If you are in a non-free state like me, Mass, then you might need a fixed stock or pinned stock. Be careful of installing shorter carbine length fixed stock. I am 6'1" with long arms and the Magpul fixed Carbine stock was too short. Instead install an adjustable stock and then pin it to the correct length. Also you can add the PRS Extended Butt Plate to the Magpul stocks and it will give you an additional 3/4" on the pull length.

5. Install a buffer tube qd sling mount. Just do it from the start and you will be good to go. It is a pain in the butt to tear down later and put one on so as Nike says, "Just Do It". If you're going to do any tactical training and classes you'll probably want a solid one point mount setup at some point in time.
If you want to save a little coin and not have to deal with "muzzle devices" just go plain crown. Unless your one of these shooter looking to shave .0000005 sec of your split times.
Safety ? ambi is really not needed. If you are not a LH shooter you might not see why.
Bolt release/lock still real no need for a ambi or extended but if you like it then do it

I do like my ambi mag release, I have to look in the box to see what brand it was. I have only one AR with ambi controls...I use that the least.

Before getting any up grades and such I ran a mil spec A2 for a long while so Im so used to how it is as it is even shooting LH.
 

drgrant

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When I was putting together last lower, every spring that could go flying did go flying. I'm going to try the pillowcase method next time.

You can also just get a detent installation tool for cheap money..... at least for the front ....
 

drgrant

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If you want to save a little coin and not have to deal with "muzzle devices" just go plain crown. Unless your one of these shooter looking to shave .0000005 sec of your split times.

One thing to bear in mind.... IMHO crowned 16" guns can be absolutely foul in terms of blast compared to even some brakes, having a device on the front helps direct/push some of that
shit away from the shooter. Also most available "fighting" gun barrels are not set up this way, they are threaded by default. You're talking about maybe saving 50 bucks
vs a fake A2 birdcage and a pin and weld job, no more than 100. It's going to cost you money to cap or grind off those threads anyways on a typical CHF carbine
barrel or similar.
 

mac1911

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One thing to bear in mind.... IMHO crowned 16" guns can be absolutely foul in terms of blast compared to even some brakes, having a device on the front helps direct/push some of that
shit away from the shooter. Also most available "fighting" gun barrels are not set up this way, they are threaded by default. You're talking about maybe saving 50 bucks
vs a fake A2 birdcage and a pin and weld job, no more than 100. It's going to cost you money to cap or grind off those threads anyways on a typical CHF carbine
barrel or similar.
Eh, depends on how you go about it.
Cheap way is remove the threads. This can cost nothing but the cost of a file. Yeah it looks like shot but what ever its a service weapon right
Or Pin and weld a thread protector.
Comes down to what you like.
 
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