My first AR build, some questions...

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So I think I am going to build my first AR. I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up with a stripped lower, I want to build this lower myself.

-I know I need a butt stock and buffer tube and spring. Looking to get a Ace Skelton Stock for this. Do the buffer tubes come in different lengths depending on how long my stock is?

-Need a pistol grip. Going to get a Magpul for this.

-Lower parts kit. Will this have everything I need for the rest of the lower? What do you recommend as a good lower parts kit?

The upper. I want to buy a completed upper that has a flat top. Who makes good uppers?

Do uppers usually come with the barrel and the hand guards or is that separate?
I was thinking a 16" barrel with a low profile gas system and quad rails.
Can I just buy an upper and then put the barrel and quad rail onto the upper myself?

Anything I should know before I start this build?

Thanks!
 
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Each of your questions, they can be answered yes, or even better by saying "it depends"...

Do your homework, take some time. There is a site AR15 dot com, check it out, as they have an entire section devoted to rolling your own. There are a lot of people there with extensive experience building ARs and that is the place for you to be surfing. I am no AR expert btw, just know enough to get me quickly in to trouble.
In your lower kit, IMO a good 2 stage trigger is an absolute MUST have, but not all lower kits have one. Thats just 1 example of what you have to sort out when you build. Good luck!
 
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I just finished a lower build with a DPMS LPK that I had on my shelf. It was only about a year old, but beware. Most of the stuff was fine, but the two damn roll pins were so tight that I needed to pound them out and then dremel off some material to make them work. A LPK should just work. I have another lower in the pipe (the Zombie Annihilator) and I am probably going with e Daniel Defense LPK, even though it is about $30 more.

Whatever buffer tube system you get, make sure that it is the "milspec", rather than the "commercial". I spent some lost amount of time a while back trying to force a milspec buttstock on a commercial tube (they are very close: 0.03") that I mistakenly bought. D'oh.

Other than that, it is pretty fun. I suggest the Brownells videos: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/lid=11004/GunTechdetail/How_to_Build_An_AR_15_Video

Or the static series on AR-15.com
 
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So I think I am going to build my first AR. I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up with a stripped lower, I want to build this lower myself.

-I know I need a butt stock and buffer tube and spring. Looking to get a Ace Skelton Stock for this. Do the buffer tubes come in different lengths depending on how long my stock is?

There are 2 ACE stocks the fullsize that does not come with a receiver extension (buffer tube) and the shorty that does. If you get the Fullsize, you will need to get an A1/A2 receiver extension, there is no Milspec/commercial differences on the A1/A2, only on the collapsible stocks. You want to get a rifle length buffer and spring with the fullsize. Carbine or Heavy buffer and carbine spring with the shorty, the shorty ACE stock comes with a receiver extension

-Need a pistol grip. Going to get a Magpul for this.

Personal preference. I find the grip to short

-Lower parts kit. Will this have everything I need for the rest of the lower? What do you recommend as a good lower parts kit?

If you get one from G&R Tactical you can leave out the trigger and grip (I believe) save some money if you are going with after market parts. http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?display=home

The upper. I want to buy a completed upper that has a flat top. Who makes good uppers?

BCM. Daniel Defense, Spikes Tactical, LMT Noveske are the major ones. Smaller companies like Firebird Precision are more boutique manufacturers that will build to your specs
You can also get built uppers on known parts from PKfirearms.com

Do uppers usually come with the barrel and the hand guards or is that separate?
I was thinking a 16" barrel with a low profile gas system and quad rails.
Can I just buy an upper and then put the barrel and quad rail onto the upper myself?

You can get uppers without handguard, or barrels. Putting a barrel on is easy with the right tools. But if this is your first AR, then get a complete upper with barrel and handguard. Find something you like the look of and get that. for 16" they have carbine length and midlength gas systems. A midlength gas system will be smoother and less violent, cause less wear. Its not that you can't get a carbine system to be reliable, it just that so many manufacturers over gas their guns that it causes problems. The ones I mentioned above, all have the proper gas port size. This makes a huge difference in how the gun recoils and wears. Plus they will come with tested parts that will statically last longer.
 
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Watch out or you will catch black rifle disease...bet you can't build just one!

As far as the stock goes, do you know you like the length of the ACE? If not, shoot a friends AR and find the length that works for you. I personally like my nose to be practically on top of the charging handle for a carbine. My favorite AR is a preban and has a ACE SOCOM stock (short) and other than being heavy I love it. (of note, You can always get a collapsible stock and pin it yourself-somebody posted a good Magpul pin how-to on NES to give you the basics.)

For a parts kit I use either Bushmaster or Rock River Arms. After my last order I would give RRA my business, I order a lower parts kit from Bushmaster and it took about 3 months to finally arrive.

For decent uppers check out Bravo Company USA. They have a sale going on and some good prices. Don't get the low profile gas block, get a standard upper and a DD omega rail ($$$) or even some other non-free float guards. I went the low profile gas block route and I want to go back to KISS setups.
 
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Watch out or you will catch black rifle disease...bet you can't build just one!

As far as the stock goes, do you know you like the length of the ACE? If not, shoot a friends AR and find the length that works for you. I personally like my nose to be practically on top of the charging handle for a carbine. My favorite AR is a preban and has a ACE SOCOM stock (short) and other than being heavy I love it. (of note, You can always get a collapsible stock and pin it yourself-somebody posted a good Magpul pin how-to on NES to give you the basics.)

For a parts kit I use either Bushmaster or Rock River Arms. After my last order I would give RRA my business, I order a lower parts kit from Bushmaster and it took about 3 months to finally arrive.

For decent uppers check out Bravo Company USA. They have a sale going on and some good prices. Don't get the low profile gas block, get a standard upper and a DD omega rail ($$$) or even some other non-free float guards. I went the low profile gas block route and I want to go back to KISS setups.

Spikes uppers kick a$$ too.
 
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OP - Head down to Firearms forum and the BIY forum - lots of topics cover your Q's
Other good resources include
AR15.com
M4Carbine.net
weed through the junk and take the positive.

As with anything, sometimes you get what you pay for - Sure budget constraints count for something but sometimes spending a little extra is worth it.

LPK - something with a 2-stage trigger can be found for about 120 - quite a value when the trigger ass'y is that alone...

buttstocks - you have 2 options in MA - pinned or not - I have an Ace Entry thing - looks like a hammer - it weighs a bit more than a typical CAR type but I find it balances weight well.

grip - lots of options

I advise you to go to shows & shops to handle as many different rifles as you can - the more varied the better - this will give you an idea of what you like. Think about weight, balance, comfort and function as points to look at for a given rifle. Quad rails add weight and most of that real estate goes unused.

Stay away from "Wow that looks cool!" type gadgets and focus on what works - some stuff is crap, some stuff is solid - you'll know when you see it after a while.

Magpul makes good gear - the MOE stuff is inexpensive but if you want a light carbine it's tough to beat.

One leads to three pretty quickly but there's a learning curve associated with each build - once you get criteria for the purpose of the rifle a build comes easily

For your first one, build the lower and buy the upper - after that you may want to build an upper. That's cool if you can borrow the special tools and junk, otherwise save the $$ and just buy a good upper. Pick good vendors in case there is a problem because even though mistakes happen they don't always get solved well

Lastly watch the group buy forum - lowers are due again, uppers would be cool too and the barrels nearly complete the big parts of a build.

Good luck, have fun
 
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Thanks for the good responses so far.

This is what I think I have planned.
Lower:
-S&W M&P Stripped Lower.
-RRA LPK or DPMS LPK.
-Ace Skeleton Fixed Stock.
-Magpul or Houge Grip.
-PMAG type mags that come in 10rds but look like 30rds.

Upper:
-Larue Tactical Completed Upper with 16" Barrel and 11" or 12" Larue Handguard.
-Some kind of forward grip.
-Magpul Backup sights with an Eotech in the middle.
-Flashlight holder with a bright LED Flashlight.
-Magpul 2 position sling.

How's this sound?
 
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Thanks for the good responses so far.

This is what I think I have planned.
Lower:
-S&W M&P Stripped Lower.
-RRA LPK or DPMS LPK.
-Ace Skeleton Fixed Stock.
-Magpul or Houge Grip.
-PMAG type mags that come in 10rds but look like 30rds.

Upper:
-Larue Tactical Completed Upper with 16" Barrel and 11" or 12" Larue Handguard.
-Some kind of forward grip.
-Magpul Backup sights with an Eotech in the middle.
-Flashlight holder with a bright LED Flashlight.
-Magpul 2 position sling.

How's this sound?

Will Larue sell you an upper with a pinned muzzle brake or do you have to have that done separately?
 
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They probably don't, so just get a brake and take the upper somewhere local to have it pinned. The only change I would make to your build is a 12 or 13.2" handguard, it will allow you to get your hand out further on the rifle. It will help you drive the rifle better

Oh and get some preban 30s, 10 rounders is just silly
 
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See my responses imbedded in the quote

Thanks for the good responses so far.

This is what I think I have planned.
Lower:
-S&W M&P Stripped Lower. - Solid
-RRA LPK or DPMS LPK. - RRA > DPMS
-Ace Skeleton Fixed Stock. - solid
-Magpul or Houge Grip. - try the Ergo, you might like it or not - between Ergo and Houge, I prefer the Ergo ymmv
-PMAG type mags that come in 10rds but look like 30rds. - Why? Get prebans that hold 30 for the same price - even 20's. Avoid the "Cool" factor - or not, it's your $$

Upper:
-Larue Tactical Completed Upper with 16" Barrel and 11" or 12" Larue Handguard. Solid
-Some kind of forward grip. Why? Which one? What have you tried?
-Magpul Backup sights with an Eotech in the middle. - So the EOTech is the primary sight? OK, upgrade the BUIS later
-Flashlight holder with a bright LED Flashlight. - doing a lot of night fighting/house clearing?
-Magpul 2 position sling. - solid, consider the VTac adjustable type - several names use the same sling - the one I like these days has a velcro wrap that keeps slack on the sling

How's this sound?

Dude - You've got a good spec sheet so far, see my comments above - get it built and take it to some sort of course - Appleseed, IDPA, something - and shake it all out - once you start running more than 20 rounds a session you'll understand my comments
 
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When I get the upper I'm guessing it'll come with the muzzle device and it will screw right off, correct?
Any good sites that have muzzle breaks?

Yes the flash hider will come off with a wrench, If its tight, leave until you get to the gunsmith.

Muzzle brake come in a couple styles, very effective and loud, not as loud or as effective. If you want one that works very well, get a SJC Titan. Something not as loud or effective, the Battlecomp will work
 
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Thanks for the suggestions Sprocket, I'll take those into consideration.

As far as the mags, they do look cool that's pretty much the only reason I want them lol. I will be buying a lot of 30rd pre ban mags though.

Forward grip, again it looks cool. Also it'll help me stabilize the gun, no? If you haven't noticed I'm trying to go for the tacti-cool look on this gun as well as a gun that'll shoot well.

Flashlight, this gun will be for home defense also so if I need it at night for some reason its there. :)

Any other suggestions you guys have?
 
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I'm running a Fenix TA20 flashlight with an offset mount. Great light because there is a ring dial to adjust the settings, so you can leave it on medium, for example, and it will stay on it. It's also a helluva light for the money, ZHA in Easton was selling them for 66 bucks, and its a cool place to check out. They also had the pressure switches in stock, and threw in a couple batteries.

Other stuff you may want to consider:
1. In terms of breaks I have heard great things about the FSC556, I kinda wish I went that route.
2. YHM Makes great and very affordable free float handguards.
3. If you don't plan on carrying this daily and are less concerned about weight, check out the GRIPpod, about 50 bucks for the metal legged military model on ebay
4. If you are running a 14.5 to 16 inch barrel, mid length gas system all the way. I'd recommend the 14.5 inch barrel with device since you will need to perm attach it anyway.
5. I would reconsider getting a collapsible stock and pinning it. It gives you the option to adjust it if you want to, and if you ever move or mass ever repeals the AWB, all you need to do is pop the pin out.

Mike
 
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I'm running a Fenix TA20 flashlight with an offset mount. Great light because there is a ring dial to adjust the settings, so you can leave it on medium, for example, and it will stay on it. It's also a helluva light for the money, ZHA in Easton was selling them for 66 bucks, and its a cool place to check out. They also had the pressure switches in stock, and threw in a couple batteries.

Other stuff you may want to consider:
1. In terms of breaks I have heard great things about the FSC556, I kinda wish I went that route.
2. YHM Makes great and very affordable free float handguards.
3. If you don't plan on carrying this daily and are less concerned about weight, check out the GRIPpod, about 50 bucks for the metal legged military model on ebay
4. If you are running a 14.5 to 16 inch barrel, mid length gas system all the way. I'd recommend the 14.5 inch barrel with device since you will need to perm attach it anyway.
5. I would reconsider getting a collapsible stock and pinning it. It gives you the option to adjust it if you want to, and if you ever move or mass ever repeals the AWB, all you need to do is pop the pin out.

Mike

Some very solid advice here!
 
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Ok so I think I've changed my mind. I may go with a Bravo Company 16" Upper with a DD Hand guard that comes with it. I'll also go with Bravo Company's Bolt and charging handle, from what I hear they are good also correct?

BTW Bravo Company does not pin and weld the muzzle break on, I'm going to have to get that done myself.

As far as the LPK, it'll either be RRA, DD, or possibly Spikes. I'm still undecided on this.
 
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Ok guys, here it is, the lower at least. Still going to change the trigger guard out with a curved Magpul. It was also very easy to put together. I am ordering the upper from Bravo Company soon, will update you guys when it comes in.
a484e527.png
 
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In before someone asks if the pmag is "compliant." [rofl]

Looks good so far.
 
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Looks GREAT for a first build. My first lower got so dorked up by my inaccurate hammering that I started referring to the finish as "distressed".
 
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Read a couple threads on various sights on changing the trigger guard, numerous people have broken off the ears around the trigger guard when trying to change the pins.

Mike
 
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