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Dillinger 12-01-2010 10:55 PM

The Common AR Build/Design Question Thread - I Need Help
A lot of you know that feeling, that worry, that gut wrenching hole that you know needs to be filled with a rifle that can make the difference in a "Defend The Perimeter" type of condition.

You have awoken to finally realize that Space Zombies will eventually find their way here. :eek: If that doesn't happen, the effects of a home grown Katrina or a Mega Earthquake could happen in your area.

Then you turn to the Interwebz and you start to read. This forum, that forum, expert forums on AR's, posts by guys with 10,000 / 20,000 / 50,000 posts on websites with common, almost household names.

Opinions vary. Information is contradiction. People can't agree and opinion is often posted as fact.

What the F**K?!?! Dammit, I need straight answers and I need to know what I should do without having to build an excel spreadsheet and cross check 150 different categories?!?! :(

This thread is for YOU exactly!

I ask everyone to post their initial AR questions, or their initial AR thoughts versus what they found to be worthwhile to them, here so we can straighten it all out in informational thread.

The end goal is to copy them all over to one GIANT stickied thread in our own AR section to point new members to when they come by and ask "Why/What/So-n-So Said".

We have a ton of FTF Builders here and know more about the platform than a LOT of the general public. Let's build the ultimate resource for the new AR ( known as an SUR around these parts ) owner to read and get some real world, hands on knowledge.

AR builders! Where you at?! What points or tips do you have to share?


Jpyle 12-01-2010 11:56 PM

How about starting with a FAQ style document categorizing the questions and answers by part or parts group, eg upper, lower, bcg, etc.

As new questions, answers or experiences are encountered the document can be amended.

Jo da Plumbr 12-01-2010 11:56 PM

So easy a dumb plumber can do it.

Dillinger 12-02-2010 12:24 AM


Originally Posted by Jpyle (Post 395498)
How about starting with a FAQ style document categorizing the questions and answers by part or parts group, eg upper, lower, bcg, etc.

As new questions, answers or experiences are encountered the document can be amended.

Well, that was part of the idea.

Like when you are trying to assemble the lower, and your detent shoots across the room. Well, there you have a fine and dandy tip about how you assemble the FCS inside a plastic bag. ;)

My goal for this thread is fodder for a stickied thread where 90% of the questions can be answered by "ordinary" folks who started with "no" knowledge and became their own armorer by trial and error.

Orrin 12-02-2010 12:50 AM

How about lubrication. That might help people.

That was something I had a buddy go over with me with my first AR.
Where to put grease and where to put oil.

JonM 12-02-2010 12:54 AM

i am of the opinion that to properly maintain your ar15 you must have the proper tools to do the job. if your the do it yourself type and intend to do all your own repairs the tools you use will save hours of frustration, they will save scratches to your weapon, and broken parts from using makeshift substitues.

here is what is in my AR15 toolkit:

Multi-tool wrench. this allows removal of barrel nuts free float tubes and collapsable stock nuts

front/rear sight adjustment tool. not need unless you have A1/A2 iron sights.

handguard removal tool. needed only for 2 piece clamshell handguards

detent removal/installation tool.

extractor/ejector assembly/disassembly tool

upper receiver action block. i cannot stress how usefful and nice this particuler piece is. this particular device is from dpms and is the best method i have found for doing anything to the upper reciever. it fits in a vice and i made of hard pressure formed plastic.

roll pin punches

brass punches

proper sized screw drivers

soft hammer

with the proper tools work on the AR system becomes easy and minimizes damage to your rifle.

JonM 12-02-2010 01:09 AM

here is a basic pdf covering AR lubrication:

Shihan 12-02-2010 01:53 AM

OK, Here is my question.
What do you look for when purchasing a stripped lower? Materials? Forged/Milled etc?

In one thread JD asked to see a top view, What was he looking for?:confused:

Basically, What to look for in a lower.

dunerunner 12-02-2010 02:02 AM

Wow....Lots of replies.

I want to do a build, but right now there are other things I want to put my money toward. I have no gun building experience at all, but I would think the first post should be a deffinition of each part of the rifle, with pictures.

The second post should be the differences in the lower receivers, with pictures.

Next, assemble the lower, step by step with pics. Assemble the upper with pics. Talk about the different chambering that can and cannot be done with the standard lower.

I'd request submissions by PM and keep the thread locked, adding only those posts from PM that added to the instructional feel of the thread. A read only thread.

fixxer 12-02-2010 03:19 AM


Originally Posted by Dillinger (Post 395443)
AR builders! Where you at?! What points or tips do you have to share?


I have started on my second build now. Here is something I think is might be important to other potential builders of AR's.
If you are considering building your own AR platform:
GUNSHOWS: Probably goes without saying, but "buyer beware" of gunshow peddlers.
Warranties and buying OEM vs. building: Most companies are offering lifetime warranties on their complete weapons systems. That means they will fix a weapon that is not operating correctly if the problem concerns quality on their part. Warranties of individual components do not extend to troubleshooting a rifle that you peiced together with their parts. They will repair/replace components but it is up to you to troubleshoot them if you go this route. This is not too daunting in the end since you will be extremely familiar with your weapon upon completion.
Resellers: This is also true of weapons that are peiced together by other businesses and resold as completed weapons. IMO, this is the worst route to ownership you can take. You will be buying an AR that is warrantied as individual components (if at all) AND you will not be familiar with all the components if you go this route. Joe-Schmoe may have built 100 other rifles but remember that he's building them in record time. Just because the uppper and/or lower receiver (probably bought stripped to save some $) is any of the big-name manufacturers, the internal parts may have came from Pakistan.
The largest gain from building your own is not in saving some $. You can usually buy an AR off the shelf rifle for less than what you will build it for. What you will gain is some sort of sense of accomplishment and the skill you develop while doing so.
In my limited experience, the best return of investment in building comes from starting with the stripped lower receiver. It is extremely easy to build this half of your rifle. The problems associated with building the upper receiver can range from simple fitment issues to incorrect head-spacing. The latter of which can be extremely dangerous during the first firing.
Build the rifle that fits it's intended purpose in your arsenal. Changing your mind half-way through the build is bound to cost you both time and money. You may also end up with an unsatifying comprimise in the end. A good example might be a flat-top receiver with a short, light barrel. Not a whole lot good unless you just like the look or have a specific sighting system in mind for just this setup. By that same token, I wouldn't want to be stuck with a conventional handle/sights top shooting through a high dollar fluted, floated barrel. Eventually I would imagine myself migrating to a flat top that would more securely hold a scope true. Then I would be out of the $ I initially spent for the non-removable-handle upper receiver. Hopefully 1 or 2 of these points will be useful to someone.

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