few questions before beginning an AR build
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few questions before beginning an AR build


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Old 11-14-2008, 03:25 PM   #1
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Default few questions before beginning an AR build

Hello All,

After reading Junho's inspiring post on building an AR (and JD's post dismissing the BS about building the AR) I've decided to take part in the fun, as long as money is in reach. I've got a few questions that are extremely noob, but I'd rather get laughed at online than in person :-) I've never put much thought into how a firearm works, especially when it comes to the caliber of the weapon. Buy a 9mm, you have to use 9mm ammo. Buy a 12-gauge, and you cant use 20-gauge shells....pretty no-brainer.

My first question (and I'm sure there will be more of them) deals with the above topic of caliber.

In building this AR, I believe I'd like to use it for target shooting and also for hunting a range of game. The largest animal I believe I would go after would be deer. I certainly don't plan on taking on any elephants with this weapon. Perhaps the zombie hordes, if that day should come.

I see there are a lot of 5.56, 7.62 (is this 'the same' as the .223??), and .308 fully assembled ARs for sale. Are these the primary or only calibers available? If so, which of those would be most suited for the largest of the animals? (ie Deer)

My next question is, once I've decided upon a caliber, which parts are caliber dependent in the weapon, and which parts make no difference?

I'm assuming the barrel and magazines are dependent on the caliber, but I'm not sure what else I need to be careful with.

Thank you for your time and help. I can hardly wait!!
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:18 PM   #2
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yes there is a significant difference between the 5.56 and 7.62
5.56 is standard and it is by far the most common and popular caliber when it come to the AR-15 platform
i recommend that you stick with that caliber and it is enough to take down dear if you decide to build it in the 5.56, it'll be alot easier to find parts and such
and since it seem your going for accuracy i would recommend 20" barrel or longer
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:31 PM   #3
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5.56 refers to the diameter of the bullet in millimeters. That is virtually the same diameter as a Remington .223 (0.223 inch), although the rounds do differ slightly. (A rifle chambered for 5.56 can fire Remington .223 rounds just fine. The reverse is not necessarily true and could be dangerous to try.)

7.62 is a larger bullet. If we're talking 7.62x39, that's the same round an AK or SKS fires, and the round is actually a little shorter than the 5.56x45. By swapping out the upper (and maybe get different mags?) you can fire them on the same lower that you would use for a 5.56/.223.

If you're talking 7.62x51, that's a significantly larger round (basically a .308) and you're looking at an AR-10; an AR-15 lower can't accommodate a round that big.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:45 PM   #4
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"My next question is, once I've decided upon a caliber, which parts are caliber dependent in the weapon, and which parts make no difference?"

As for calibers, the above have already given you good info on the two main ones. Once you've decided on what you want to build, you will find that the main parts that are caliber dependent will be the receivers (both upper and lower) and the parts for both of them - including bolt (or bolt carrier group) and the lower parts kits, magazines. You will also find that based on the two main calibers above, you can also build for other calibers based on those two, often using the same parts - except for minor variations based on the caliber used.

But if you want to build in 5.56/.223, then the sky is the limit (or at least stock on hand due to the BAN scare) as far as what is available. It will be the cheaper of the main rounds to build for and to shoot, too.

Do a search back through earlier postings and you will find links to various suppliers/manufacturers for parts and prices.

Again, due to the threat of the BAN being reintroduced possibly, parts are getting harder to find at times, as well as some folks out there gouging on prices. Not much anyone can do about that for now, except to let your fingers (mouse) do the walking and finding the deals. There are quite a few folks on here that have the experience and knowledge to help you out with whatever, so don't be afraid to ask. Welcome to the club

Slo
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:27 PM   #5
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First off - Welcome to the Black Rifle Club.

I believe you have been given some very sound advice above, so I am not going to impart a lot. If you have more questions, feel free to ask, may of the guys here are more than happy to help. Personally, I am handling about 6 builds through PM help right now and I forget what I tell people and what I don't... LOL

Depending on where you live, I don't think you NEED an AR-10 ( .308 ) type of AR for "hunting".

The AR-15 lower will accommodate tons of calibers that will make it easy for you to switch uppers, and a couple of small parts, and shoot en entirely different round.

For example, with a .223/5.56mm barrelled upper, you can buy a conversion kit and shoot .22lr out of it all day long. That alone gives you two calibers from one model. A great .22lr round for hunting small game and the .223/5.56mm - which should bring down game the size of deer in most parts of the country should the need arise.

Now, take that exact same lower, purchase an upper that is chambered for say 7.62 x 39mm ( which is the common AK/SKS import round ) take your exact same lower and change out only the bolt head on the Bolt Carrier Group and you can now shoot 7.62 x 39mm out of it. I don't honestly know about the mags - someone else, please chime in here if he needs new mags or not.

The point is, with one good lower, you have two calibers right away, and a different upper, and a different bolt head, will allow you to shoot a different kind of cartridge without having to buy 10 different, single use rifles.

It's a wonderful platform when it's put together right and tuned to work correctly.

JD
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:11 PM   #6
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Okay,

So a 5.56 can fire .223, but a .223 cannot fire 5.56 rounds....have I got that right?

I haven't done much shopping yet, but is it safe to assume that the parts I'll be purchasing will specifically state the caliber they are made for?

JD, the 22lr conversion sounds like something I might be interested in down the road.

Juhno, I was thinking a 20" barrel at least would be a good place to start.

Thanks for the help all, I'll keep everyone posted.
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:24 PM   #7
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Okay, here's the deal.

A 5.56mm has a higher chamber pressure than the civilian .223. There is also a throat length issue, but that affects accuracy, it doesn't really affect safety.

Since a 5.56mm chamber is rated at a higher pressure ( read up on SAAMI Chamber Pressures ), you can safely shoot a lower pressure .223 civilian round in it without having to worry about a kaboom.

Now, a civilian .223 chamber doesn't have the same pressure rating, and while 9 times out of 10 nothing catastrophic will happen, there is a slim CHANCE that a 5.56mm will be too hot for the chamber and cause damage.

People will tell you they are the same round, they aren't, and they will tell you that they know people who have been shooting both for years and it's never happened, they are probably right, but you need to know the facts.

That's where the .223 Wylde came in. It's a compromise between the two that will fire both safely. It's a compromise in throat length, but the chamber pressure is rated higher. It won't ever be as accurate as a chamber cut for one specific length of cartridge, firing reloaded cases with fire formed brass, but you aren't building a benchrest rifle here - so don't worry about it.

As for the conversions to .22lr - they can be had all over the internet, Brownells / MidwayUSA / etc.

JD
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Old 11-16-2008, 09:24 AM   #8
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Another round to consider is the 6.8 Remington, but I would go with the above advice and build a 5.56 NATO rifle. As you learn more you can switch out uppers for chamberings that use the standard AR lower, or build complete new guns in different chamberings.

Here is a link to a very popular AR15 posting on another forum that will help you get some basic questions and nomenclature out of the way.

So you want to buy an AR-15, huh?
http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81462
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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The Wylde chamber is supposed to offer better accuracy out of the 5.56 and the .223. It's used in a lot of comp rifles and does quite well. If I was looking at a dual purpose hunter/sport rifle, I'd go with that chamber.

I'd also suggest you use a 1/7 or 1/8 twist on the barrel to allow the use of heavier grain bullets. I don't hunt with my AR, but if I did, I want to run a heavier bullet that 55-62grn.
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:48 PM   #10
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Default Barrel questions

Still shopping for parts, trying to get the best bargain.....guess my girlfriend's penny-pinching habits are starting to wear off on me.

as for the caliber, I've noticed that there do seem to be more parts available (or on backorder status) for the 5.56/.223 then the other calibers. So, I think this is the route I'm going to go.

Balloo93, i've actually heard the opposite about the wylde....That it offers a compromise in size/chamber pressure of the round to work in either 5.56 or .223 safely, but that the accuracy is not up to snuff when compared to using the round specifically made for the rifle (ie, only 5.56 rounds in 5.56 rifles, and only .223 rounds in .223 rifles)

Again, I don't know this for fact as I have never actually tried either of the rounds.


My next question is about barrels. Theres stainless, chrome lined, non-chrome lined....what does everyone here recommend? I'm assuming the stainless is the easiest to maintain, but I'm up for suggestions and experienced insight.
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