Thinking about building my first gun.
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:30 PM   #1
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Default Thinking about building my first gun.

Ok, so I have been firing guns since i was just a kid, and im finally out of student housing, so id really like to own my own AR-15. Is it a mistake to have the first gun i own be one that i built? I hear that there are many advantages to building an AR, cost being my main motivator.

Any thoughts?

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Old 10-01-2011, 11:30 PM   #2
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First off, welcome!!! I can't think of a better way to get a full understanding of how an AR works than to build one yourself. It's not too tough and only requires a few specialized tools that are widely available at reasonable prices.

You can save $100-200 by bulding your own. Depending on how much you want to get involved with the build, you may want to consider building the lower beginning with a "stripped lower" and then installing all the parts into and on it, then buying the upper completely assembled and mating the two halfs together to make your operational weapon. Assembling the upper yourself, while not difficult, requires more skill and more tools to do it right.

I just built my first AR recently and $800 is a realistic budget for a good mid-range AR sans any optics.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do.

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Old 10-01-2011, 11:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Snakedriver View Post
You can save $100-200 by bulding your own. Depending on how much you want to get involved with the build, you may want to consider building the lower beginning with a "stripped lower" and then installing all the parts into and on it, then buying the upper completely assembled and mating the two halfs together to make your operational weapon. Assembling the upper yourself, while not difficult, requires more skill and more tools to do it right.
Do you have a link to somewhere that would get me started? I have friends within an hour of me that could lend me tools, and im pretty mechanically inclined, i just need an online educational source at this point.
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:56 PM   #4
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The AR-15 section on this website is full of good information on building an AR. There are also some very friendly & knowledgable folks here that can help too.

Then there is AR15.com, the AR-15 section of that site also has abundent information on building an AR including a dedicated section to "Building Your Own".

Oddly enough, I also found the videos on building and AR at Cheaperthandirt.com extremely helpful. Midway USA and Brownells also have instructionals on the subject.

That should get you started and give you plenty of reading material.

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Old 10-02-2011, 07:39 AM   #5
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Awesome, thank you very much for the help!

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Old 10-02-2011, 10:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by DCS View Post
Ok, so I have been firing guns since i was just a kid, and im finally out of student housing, so id really like to own my own AR-15. Is it a mistake to have the first gun i own be one that i built? I hear that there are many advantages to building an AR, cost being my main motivator.

Any thoughts?
welcome DCS. snakedriver has given you some great advise on building an AR. and i agree very much with the advise he has given you. price is a big factor in building your own AR, because you can build from the ground up the AR that suits you and buying one that has the options you are looking for can be expensive either buying one with all the options you want or buying one and modifying it to fit you. how familiar are you with the AR platform? how familiar are with working on guns in general? another option i will suggest is buy one first, get to know it and learn all you can about it. i had thought about building my first one, but a good friend suggested buying my first one, then building one that suited me later when i truly figured out what i wanted in an AR. that said, i am not trying to discourage you, just giving you another option. i will build my next one as now after owning one, i have a clearer idea of what i want in my next one. good luck with whatever you decide and ask for advise if you get stuck, there are lots knowledgeable people here.
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:41 PM   #7
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welcome DCS. snakedriver has given you some great advise on building an AR. and i agree very much with the advise he has given you. price is a big factor in building your own AR, because you can build from the ground up the AR that suits you and buying one that has the options you are looking for can be expensive either buying one with all the options you want or buying one and modifying it to fit you. how familiar are you with the AR platform? how familiar are with working on guns in general? another option i will suggest is buy one first, get to know it and learn all you can about it. i had thought about building my first one, but a good friend suggested buying my first one, then building one that suited me later when i truly figured out what i wanted in an AR. that said, i am not trying to discourage you, just giving you another option. i will build my next one as now after owning one, i have a clearer idea of what i want in my next one. good luck with whatever you decide and ask for advise if you get stuck, there are lots knowledgeable people here.
As for shooting, im very familiar with the basic AR-15. I dont pretend to be a firearms guru, but of the guns ive ever shot, 90% of the rounds have been through your basic M-4 Config AR-15. I cant say ive done a lot of work on guns, beyond basic field striping/cleaning i dont have much experience. The AR i want to build now ill only really use for plinking/home defense, but if this build goes well id love to make an AR that i could take out and be accurate with at around 300 yards.

Is this realistic for a beginner's build?
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Old 10-03-2011, 04:14 PM   #8
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As for shooting, im very familiar with the basic AR-15. I dont pretend to be a firearms guru, but of the guns ive ever shot, 90% of the rounds have been through your basic M-4 Config AR-15. I cant say ive done a lot of work on guns, beyond basic field striping/cleaning i dont have much experience. The AR i want to build now ill only really use for plinking/home defense, but if this build goes well id love to make an AR that i could take out and be accurate with at around 300 yards.

Is this realistic for a beginner's build?
Building an AR is not too difficult and only requires a few specialized tools to do the job. I would recommend starting with stripped lower and then installing all the parts yourself on it. That part is a piece of cake.

Building an upper from parts requires a bit more skill and specialized tools. I would recommend buying a complete upper already assembled then mating to two halfs for the complete weapon. This is common practice among AR builders and almost all AR manufacturers sell complete uppers. You still save money doing this and save yourself some trouble.

The two halfs of your AR do not need to be matching manufacturers. The AR system is modular and the parts are interchangable. You have to use the services of an FFL dealer to obtain your stripped lower, but after that all other parts can be bought online without any FFL requirements. That said, go to your local gun shop and see what's available to you in a stripped lower. They may have just what you need with ready availability. They are all pretty much the same if they are forged aluminum and are mil-spec. The only thing that is different is the rollmark logo and name. The parts that go into the lower assembly is what makes the difference. My local gun shop ordered what I wanted and it only took a week to get it. $80 to $150 out the door for a stripped lower is normal.

You can also purchase a stripped lower online and have it shipped to your local FFL for transfer to you, for a fee. The trick is in having someone local with a FFL that will do the deal for a reasonable price. $25 to $60 is normal.

Good luck on your build.
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:05 PM   #9
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DCS, snakedriver has some very good info for you. i was not trying to discourage you or try and tell you i can't be done by the average person. just IMO, lots of people who have never shot or owned an AR15 think they want one and look on the websites and the gunstores are overwhelmed by the price and think they can build one cheaper. my suggestion is for those who have never owned or handled one before. start with a basic, bare bones, no frills AR and shoot it and get to know it. then you have a better idea of what you want or don't want in an AR. beings you have shot and used the AR before, you probably have some idea as to what you want to build and i wish you luck with it. snakedriver is right on the money with his advise to you on how to start. i bought my first Bushmaster M4A2 about nine months ago and now have decided i will build my next one. i am going to build the lower and purchase an upper. well good luck.

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Old 10-04-2011, 05:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakedriver

Building an AR is not too difficult and only requires a few specialized tools to do the job. I would recommend starting with stripped lower and then installing all the parts yourself on it. That part is a piece of cake.

Building an upper from parts requires a bit more skill and specialized tools. I would recommend buying a complete upper already assembled then mating to two halfs for the complete weapon. This is common practice among AR builders and almost all AR manufacturers sell complete uppers. You still save money doing this and save yourself some trouble.

The two halfs of your AR do not need to be matching manufacturers. The AR system is modular and the parts are interchangable. You have to use the services of an FFL dealer to obtain your stripped lower, but after that all other parts can be bought online without any FFL requirements. That said, go to your local gun shop and see what's available to you in a stripped lower. They may have just what you need with ready availability. They are all pretty much the same if they are forged aluminum and are mil-spec. The only thing that is different is the rollmark logo and name. The parts that go into the lower assembly is what makes the difference. My local gun shop ordered what I wanted and it only took a week to get it. $80 to $150 out the door for a stripped lower is normal.

You can also purchase a stripped lower online and have it shipped to your local FFL for transfer to you, for a fee. The trick is in having someone local with a FFL that will do the deal for a reasonable price. $25 to $60 is normal.

Good luck on your build.
I'm sure I'm about to sound like a total noob here, but what does FFL stand for?
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