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ssonnier 11-07-2011 03:33 AM

Help a beginner build his first AR
So I've been lurking around these forums for a while now, and I've made the decision to start buying up parts as I can and maybe asking for some birthday/christmas gifts lol. I was hoping you folks could give me some pointers/tips and help me develop a cheap parts list.

What I'm looking for right now is just a bare bones platform. No frills or fancy stuff. Just a 5.56 chambered AR15 platform to build on later. But I'm ready to get shooting. I've been reading every chance I get and looking at dozens of websites and even going into gun shops checking out AR stuff. But honestly it is kind of overwhelming. I am completely new to AR's except for what I've learned in the last few months and beside shooting some friends on a half dozen occasions. My experience with them is quite limited.

I'm just looking to do this on a budget and over time so I would like to set up a good list of all the quality parts I NEED to get this rifle shooting. THat way I can just buy one thing at a time over the next few weeks, and know what I have left to get.

Sorry for the long post but I look forward to sharing my experiences on here with all of you great gun enthusiasts.

linuxuser3890 11-07-2011 04:05 AM

Remember that if you start with cheap parts you end up with a cheap gun. If your AR experience is really as little as you claim I wouldn't suggest it and you are not even considering the tools that you need for the build. I would consider buying a rifle already built and start buying the tools you need to alter it later if shooting it now is what you really want to do.

If you are truly adamant about building the rifle, maybe you should start by just building a lower and buying a complete upper. That way you can ensure that you have a multi cal lower that will legally accommodate anything you want later.

I wish you the best in your decision.

Sent from my Inspire 4G using FirearmsTalk

ssonnier 11-07-2011 04:20 AM

The fact that I am on a budget does not persuade me to use cheap parts. I am pretty set on building this rifle myself completely. Although my experience with the AR platform is limited. I am not unfamiliar with firearms. And when I spoke of my inexperience of the platform I am talking "hands on" time with stripping and rebuilding and shooting. As far as the tools needed to complete the job. Rest assured I have full access to a full service gunsmith and his entire facility. He has offered to guide me through the entire process.

I am hoping that with some time in the next month or so and the help of my friend along with the members of the forum I can build a good budget built plain and simple AR15.

dog2000tj 11-07-2011 04:31 AM

Lucky you to have found the right place. When I came here all I could do was point and pull a trigger. After much reading and some great advice I managed to not only build an AR15 but I built a custom in .458SOCOM as well. My next project will be a custom AR10 when time and funds permit.

As for advice on a budget I would suggest limiting your search to the most popular 3-5 AR parts websites and keep a look out for deals. Check out Brownell's and get yourself a list of all the parts that are needed. Then decide how much you want to build - lower only, lower and upper, upper only?

But the best advice is to probably read the stickied build threads .. then reread them again. You will see how easy it can be and then realize just how good a quality rifle one can build.

Both my AR's shoot MOA at 100yds ... not bad for a guys who could just point and shoot just a few years ago.

linuxuser3890 11-07-2011 04:40 AM

Ok well check out the brownells series on building an AR they have a complete list of parts you will need and how to assemble them. Plus the videos are broken down into the different variations. Your gunsmith friend would prolly be able to explain things to you better than anyone could in text. Just sayin.

Sent from my Inspire 4G using FirearmsTalk

JeffCooper 11-07-2011 12:31 PM

I completely agree that a stripped lower, parts kit and complete upper (ordered separately) is the way to go. Other than maybe a good pair of needle nose, a couple of pin-punches and a castle wrench you don't need anything else, other than the guides provides all over the internet (here,,, etc). I snagged a stripped lower and parts kit with a 2-stage NM trigger for $170. Palmetto and RRA, so no cheap crap there. Palmetto really treated me right too.

theboarbuster 11-07-2011 02:53 PM

I build a lot of AR's for people. I help build 16 last month. All that is required for a good AR is that it functions reliably and its accurate. Anything else is just for looks.
Spend your money on a good barrel bolt combo ( I recomend AR Performance)
If you get barrel bolt combo you wont have to worry about headspace. After that your just buying parts. While not necessary you could spend a little money on a trigger maybe an RRA 2 stage or a JP. The rest of the parts you can get from Cheaper Than Dirt. Your gun may not look as slick as a Spikes, Larue, Wilson, ect. but it will shoot just as good.

Quentin 11-07-2011 07:08 PM

Do you have a dollar figure in mind? You can cut corners and do a build for $600 or less for a basic rifle but I'd suggest getting better components and budget more like $750-$850. I'm talking basic parts including iron sights, no optics.

I lean toward building the lower first with good parts and researching uppers for the best price and configuration. (Take all the time you need since you said you want to stretch out this build over time.) Odds are you won't save money building the upper as prices are pretty good for complete uppers and unless you're wanting something really wild it's pretty easy to find exactly what you want for about $500 or a little more. The stripped lower, LPK and stock can come in for about $250-300 for good quality. Sights, sling and magazine can add $100+. Don't forget good used items, that's what I did for my rear irons initially.

ssonnier 11-07-2011 11:17 PM

Thanks for all the input so far everyone. I am sorry I guess I forgot to mention my budget. Im hoping to stay right around 750-1000 dollars. All while getting the best "bang for my buck" That price figure hopefully will include a few mags and about 500 rounds. I dont think that is too hard on the wallet considering Ill be using a little off each paycheck over the next few weeks.

I just got off work so Im going to be searching all night and I will post prices and parts I like as I come across them. I think Im convinced with buying a complete upper. It seems the general consensus is that its faster, easier, and just as affordable.

I have already learned a ton from this site. Its great to be part of a forum again where people arent all pricks and are actually really helpful. Some of the better off-road and automotive forums have really went downhill. So thanks.

ssonnier 11-08-2011 12:27 AM


maybe something like that for the upper?

found this on my first search for lower parts kit

this seemed like a good deal for a forged stripped lower. what do yall think?

may have already found a 6 pos stock today from a friend. he said 75 bucks but i dont yet know what brand it is. im getting more excited now. pretty anxious to start ordering parts but i want to do some more shopping around first and make some more calls. now if i could just get this dirtbike sold id have some more money to spend on the project!

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