Looking to build, where to start?

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Please forgive me, I'm sure this has been asked plenty of times... With ALL of the various information out there, I am looking for a fresh perspective on building a AR for a newbie...

I know that I want to build a 18 inch AR that is reliable. I want to slowly build it over the next year or so, so I can save for parts... Do not want to spend thousands of dollars on it but at the same time, I don't want to build an unreliable cheap rifle...

Looking for different avenues to explore. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
 
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I may be wrong but right now complete rifles are still selling at good deals. So that may be a option right now.
If you still want to build think of a few things
1. What do you want from the rifle
2. What type of budget
3. What type of ammo do you plan to shoot

The goal in building is to build the best you possibly can with in a price range. Don't buy the cheapest parts to try and save money. Instead find the best deal you can on known good stuff. Example I only built my last AR because a club member had a CLE 18" heavy barrel with matching bolt new in the box for 1/2 of retail.
You can save money by finding parts that others take off to up grade. I like the A2 and A1 stocks.

One other thing be mindful of shipping cost. Many places will charge you 8-12$ for shipping on small orders.
Watch for group buys and sign up to the online parts dealers email list for specials. I'm,not sure if the "frenzy" buying has begun yet but I'm sure closer to election people will,be buying up parts. I was poking around for upgrades to my trigger and seen a few places that had a 2 per house hold limit on parts...

Good luck and have fun. It's easy to do and other than a barrel wrench and a vise block you don't need special tools.
 
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Dont wait too long. I got onto my first build (in hindsight) just before a panic. Figured I'd accumulate parts over time. Panic set in and I couldnt find parts and ones I could find were at inflated prices. Lower receivers, lower parts kits, bolt carrier groups, etc were no where to be found. If I were to do it over, I'd bite the bullet and buy everything I need at once while things are available and affordable.

Election is in November, things will be scarce before that and some dirtbag could shoot up a mall, school, etc tomorrow. Dont wait too long.

http://arpartsfinder.com/

<a href="http://arpartsfinder.com/" data-cke-saved-href="http://arpartsfinder.com/">


 
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CaseHardened

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Is it some new rule that AR's must have dozens of weird little nooks and crannies that would take hours to clean ?

Ok, ok, call me "Old School", but when then looked like this it you could handle the whole rifle on a Coffee Break:

m-16-dvic534.jpg


article-0-13BC9465000005DC-552_634x478.jpg


Scratch that - Just give the Public what they want ....


That's why I like Mil-Surps - they're bare-bone functional.


 
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When you know what parts you want, check Lanbo's Armory, the website isnt very user friendly, but they seemed to have lowest prices on a lot of the parts I needed for the last build.
 

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Lower receivers, lower parts kits, bolt carrier groups, etc were no where to be found. If I were to do it over, I'd bite the bullet and buy everything I need at once while things are available and affordable.
yeah, very true. if you can swing it, buy a couple of each.....now.
 
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Is it some new rule that AR's must have dozens of weird little nooks and crannies that would take hours to clean ?

Ok, ok, call me "Old School", but when then looked like this it you could handle the whole rifle on a Coffee Break:

m-16-dvic534.jpg


article-0-13BC9465000005DC-552_634x478.jpg


Scratch that - Just give the Public what they want ....


That's why I like Mil-Surps - they're bare-bone functional.



Your just a un cool fudd[smile]
It's all good ..... I'm still stumped why so many ARs think they "must" have a brake or flash hidder.
I have been from one end to the other over 10 years with the AR. If I had all this info back then I would have just bought a National Match AR and a base model carbine with A2 sights and A1 length stock. Out of 4 factory rifles and 11 builds
I sold 11 of the 15 ARs I had. Whats left
1. Factory RRA A2 national match
2. Factory RRA A2 basic rifle
3. 22lr Tactical Solutions upper built lower
4. Build ....18" "varmint" style rifle optics only and over kill on the optics with a 8x32x50 sightron SEIII....love it.

I like old iron and wood also... just picked up a arisaka type 99
 
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Is it some new rule that AR's must have dozens of weird little nooks and crannies that would take hours to clean ?

Ok, ok, call me "Old School", but when then looked like this it you could handle the whole rifle on a Coffee Break:

Depends on what you want to do with it I guess. Some prefer a red dot to peep sights. Some want to mount a light for home defense. I'd be curious to see any difference in accuracy between a free float handguard and the A2 pictured, especially with a sling attached to the swivel mounted to the base of the front sight (which is pinned to the barrel). Does it make a difference at 50yds? 100yds? 300yds? I dont know.

Im somewhere in the middle I guess. Free float hg, Aimpoint pro, A2 stock, no other add-ons other than a GI sling. I do think a lot of the money people spend on add-ons would be better spent on ammo and/or training.
 
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Depends on what you want to do with it I guess. Some prefer a red dot to peep sights. Some want to mount a light for home defense. I'd be curious to see any difference in accuracy between a free float handguard and the A2 pictured, especially with a sling attached to the swivel mounted to the base of the front sight (which is pinned to the barrel). Does it make a difference at 50yds? 100yds? 300yds? I dont know.

Im somewhere in the middle I guess. Free float hg, Aimpoint pro, A2 stock, no other add-ons other than a GI sling. I do think a lot of the money people spend on add-ons would be better spent on ammo and/or training.

I will tell you with all my own experience I sling up pretty tight on my NM free float ....swivel is attached to free float tube.... if I sling up that tight with my regular A2 sling is attached to front sight base . I will need some windage/elevation correction vs my loose sling hold with the A2

As for difference in accuracy free float vs non free float. I only have one example to go buy.
I had a 16" carbine Stag model 2
Stock condition with a 3-9 leupold scope I was getting 1.5" groups which would grow larger as the rifle heated up. For giggles cut down the A2 sight and installed a free float tube. I then shot some of my very first 1 moa groups with the same ammo.
 
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Mountain

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For the OP:

If you want to slowly build over time, just check out the group buy section for lower receivers or 'lowers'. I think Minuteman Armament has extra Aero Precision lowers, perhaps some uppers too. Andersons are a good value also, but the Aero finish is a little nicer. I would argue that an Aero forged lower will perform as good as any lower on the market.

Once you have the lower, you have the only part with a serial number. Everything else can be ordered online. I've even seen various AR parts at a Walmart in Washington state. You don't have to 'register' until within 7 days after you complete the rifle. You can collect the rest of the parts over time, budget permitting with no hassles. The nice thing about AR's is that if you have a great barrel & matched bolt plus a quality trigger, you can skimp on everything else and still have a tack driver.

I just finished a "ghost gun" AR-308 with an Aero upper/lower combo. Yes, it's totally registered and legal, but I say "ghost" because I took 1-1/2 years to collect parts and build. Therefore, it was invisible to the family budget. [laugh] Anyway, if you are patient and look for deals, you can build something that rivals the high end stuff for much less.

As others have pointed out, for an everyday carbine the most cost effective route would probably be something already complete. But what's the fun in that? These things are like adult Legos. Here's my suggestion for chronological ordering of the major parts:

1. Lower receiver. Not necessary to match, but nice to go ahead and get combo upper lower same brand.
1.5 Next get a barrel with matched bolt whenever you can afford. Almost all of your accuracy and reliability comes from these. This is where you spend the money. I highly recommend Ballistic Advantage in Florida- they make for some of the top end AR builders. Go ahead and get the gas block and gas tube at this time.
2. LPK (lower parts kit, I like Spikes)
2. Trigger- you don't need a $200+ match trigger but at least get a RRA or Jard level of quality.
3. Upper receiver if you don't already have. Get one complete or order the parts kit now- they are not expensive
4. Bolt carrier- get the M16 version (it's OK and better...) Get remaining parts you need if you already have a bolt. If not, order as a BCG (bolt carrier group)
5. Fore end and compensator to complete the upper. If you live in Mass, don't forget to bring the fore end barrel nut and your gas block when having the comp pinned and welded.
6. Butt stock and matching extension tube, spring, and buffer. Get what you like. Sometimes these come together as a kit.
7. Sights / optic to suit your taste.
 
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CaseHardened

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Depends on what you want to do with it I guess. Some prefer a red dot to peep sights. Some want to mount a light for home defense. I'd be curious to see any difference in accuracy between a free float handguard and the A2 pictured, especially with a sling attached to the swivel mounted to the base of the front sight (which is pinned to the barrel). Does it make a difference at 50yds? 100yds? 300yds? I dont know.

Im somewhere in the middle I guess. Free float hg, Aimpoint pro, A2 stock, no other add-ons other than a GI sling. I do think a lot of the money people spend on add-ons would be better spent on ammo and/or training.

Ok, OK.

I totally admit all the little holes and ribs LOOK COOL. Even to me.

And that counts for something. Why own something you don't enjoy looking at ?

Just ..... sometimes it is so overdone.

Just my opinion.


In another life I designed Laboratory Equipment.

The company had a very well selling product. Lots of real METAL in it. And easily understood Analog Knobs to set Rates and Speeds. Click - Click - DONE.

It was also very plain, some would say ugly unit, but compact, functional, and very simple to clean.

Of course they wanted to redesign it so it would cost less, and make a better profit. Nothing wrong with that.

A redesign was actually a pretty straightforward task. Some heavy Polycarbonate would be cheaper, lighter, corrosion-free, and truth be told, stronger than the metal.

Then the Industrial Designers got involved. It grew in size (real bad in a crowded lab), grew numerous ribs and protrusions that looked cool, but required Q-Tips in bulk to clean.

Out went the mechanical Knobs, and in came a complex, hard to read flat membrane switch-pad with a faint LCD screen readout.

It looked like it was doing a hundred MPH while standing still. And boy, did sales TANK.


Sorry, way OFF-TOPIC.


 
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CaseHardened

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Actually, the way the AR15 has become so standardized that you can pick and match pieces from various companies is pretty darn impressive.

Is there a STANDARD somewhere that these manufacturers follow so that they know everything will interchange ?


For years I've wished there was a CAR like that.
 
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I will tell you with all my own experience I sling up pretty tight on my NM free float ....swivel is attached to free float tube.... if I sling up that tight with my regular A2 sling is attached to front sight base . I will need some windage/elevation correction vs my loose sling hold with the A2

As for difference in accuracy free float vs non free float. I only have one example to go buy.
I had a 16" carbine Stag model 2
Stock condition with a 3-9 leupold scope I was getting 1.5" groups which would grow larger as the rifle heated up. For giggles cut down the A2 sight and installed a free float tube. I then shot some of my very first 1 moa groups with the same ammo.



Interesting.
 
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Interesting.

I think if your sling tension is pretty consistent it should be ok. When I use my standard A2 in cmp modern military match ( can not use a free float but you can attach sling to hand guard) I use a USGI web sling and it's really only tight enough to give some support.
With my NM rifle and leather sling it's tight enough that I need to push the rifle forward to get it in my shoulder and it will stay put because of the tension. My A2 with web sling tension the butt stock can slip down if I'm not careful
It's all fun and only by use can you decide for yourself.
 
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Ok, OK.

I totally admit all the little holes and ribs LOOK COOL. Even to me.

And that counts for something. Why own something you don't enjoy looking at ?

Just ..... sometimes it is so overdone.

Just my opinion.

It is overdone often times. I totally agree. A lot of companies will put a length of pic rail absolutely anywhere.

The handguard on mine is smooth except for the rail on the top side. The holes I imagine help dissipate the heat from the barrel, not a bad thing. I prefer red dot sights for closer shooting so I need a rail. Other than that, there's not a whole lot else on it. Relatively simple and relatively light but functional for me.
 
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Actually, the way the AR15 has become so standardized that you can pick and match pieces from various companies is pretty darn impressive.

Is there a STANDARD somewhere that these manufacturers follow so that they know everything will interchange ?


For years I've wished there was a CAR like that.

One standard is Mil Spec
 

Mountain

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Have Buffer tubes always (recent history) been restricted items for shipping into MA?

No, it's just a tube with threads on one end. Any company that won't ship such a basic part to Mass should not be in the gun parts business. Brownells is an advertiser for this site. They will ship everything but the lower receiver direct to you. Lower must be done via FFL.
 
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No, it's just a tube with threads on one end. Any company that won't ship such a basic part to Mass should not be in the gun parts business. Brownells is an advertiser for this site. They will ship everything but the lower receiver direct to you. Lower must be done via FFL.

I would cross "Cheaper Than Dirt" off your list if you haven't already, plus their shipping is outrageous!

Cheaper than eat dirt.PNG
 
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For first AR buy a stripped lower, an LPK, buffer kit, and a stock. Put on a complete upper.

Add the optic of your choice, and then swap out the trigger for a nice drop-in.

If your looking for a better trigger buy a LPK with out trigger assembly or something like RRA NM 2stage that comes complete.
Also consider a "kit" which comes with everything but the lower receiver.

This is just and example. This one comes with 2 stage NM trigger

http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=199
 
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