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poolshark13 05-20-2008 05:03 AM

ar 15 build. first build.
i want to start building an ar 15 this summer. i would like to avoid buying premade uppers, lowers, basically everything pre assembled. i know it will be hella expensive to buy all the nuts and bolts and all the parts individually, and i have found a few websites that sell parts packages for all aspects of the gun.

what would some of you who have built an ar15 before recommend as this is my first build, and i would like to keep it as cheap as i can, seeing how i want to put the entire thing together myself. im going to find a guide on assembling an ar 15, but im not to worried about finishing quick. id rather finish with a gun built entirely by me, for me.

Dillinger 05-20-2008 09:00 AM

I did the same thing last year, and I have to say, I learned quite a bit.

I bought a stripped lower that my gunsmith had kicking around the shop and ordered all the internals and the hardware ( like the 6 position collapsible stock, handle, etc. ) from companies like Brownell's, Midway USE and a couple of reputable AR sites I found on

I ordered in a legal 10" upper ( it has the long flash suppressor on it to get past 16 inches ) with the standard Gi issue barrel and foreend, then changed out the foreend with a free floated aluminum tube that has a mil-spec rail on two sides for mounting lights and etc. That part actually was kicking my @ss until I learned about the Armorer's wrench and how the damn thing worked... LOL You could definitely do the job without one if you HAD too, but once I learned about the wrench and how much easier it made the job, it made so much more sense to just buy one and have it handy for future projects.

It won't be cheap going this route, you have to pay shipping on everything, and if the company is incorporated in your state, you have to pay taxes, so always research both the quality of the kit you are buying and where the manufacturer is located. But I think the process will be a fun one that will teach you many new things about the weapon, and probably a few new cuss words, that you will be proud of when finished. :cool:

There are several good resources out there, I found that Midway USA had an extensive library of useful information, but it was about double the money what I found on Amazon. I bought a book on the complete assembly/disassembly of the AR-15 for like $17 and it has served me well.

Good luck, & I am available by PM if you need some help or get stuck.


catesmw 05-20-2008 12:44 PM

Start with a lower receiver. Get the FFL work out of the way so you can order stuff with no BS.

I would go with Eagle Arms because they are manufactured by Armorlite. There are no tolerance or spec differences in them, they come off the same line but are priced around $90 instead of $250 (the reason for this is so they can put lower quality components in it and sell them for less with out hurting their name, so stay away from their barrels).

poolshark13 05-21-2008 08:51 AM

is it easier to have the ffl you're getting the lower shipped to to just order it, or to order it yourself and have it shipped there? and im betting ill need more tools than allen wrenches and screwdrivers, what all tools should i look into getting to make the build easier/

jeepcreep927 05-22-2008 02:50 PM

If you want to put together everything, not just put a barrelled upper on a lower you put the internals in, you'll NEED a barrel nut wrench. I believe the torque is supposed to be around 35 ft/lbs. You can find them for less than $10. I have assembled over a hundred barrels to uppers and never measured the torque, but then again they were property of the government so I wasn't too worried about damaging them. By sheer luck alone probably, they all worked. If you buy the barrel seperately, I would suggest getting one with the barrel extension installed that way the headspace and timing will already be set. The barrel extension indexes off the protrusion on the extension and a notch in the upper receiver so you can't possibly screw it up, unless you twist the hell out of the barrel nut and damage the notch in the upper. Aside from that, a decent set of drift punches and a few roll pin punches (bolt catch/ release pin, trigger guard pin) and a mid weight hammer or mallet will get you through. Brownells sells a tool for installing the pivot pin spring and detent which is a bitch, but can be done without the tool. PM if I can answer any questions for you. Good luck.
If you go the route that Dillinger did and make the barrel length a legal 16" by adding a long flash suppressor, remember it must be PERMANTLY affixed to the muzzle (i.e. welded). Pinning and or JB weld/ epoxy is not considered permanent by BATFE. Just a heads up.

poolshark13 05-24-2008 04:50 AM

thank you all for the input. i think since this is my first build, i might go easy on myself, and only assemble the lower, and buy the upper pre assembled. how easy can that be though? thats why im planning on this summer/fall for this project. one other thought, what all tools will i need for assembling the lower, and where can i find those at for a decent price? would my local gun shop have them, or is it easier to order them online. thanks again.

jeepcreep927 05-28-2008 03:26 PM

For the lower, all you really need is a set of punches (gunsmith punches, NOT tapered drift punches). You could pick them up locally I suppose but all suppliers sell them (Midway, Brownells, etc.). The roll pin punches come in handy for the parts I mentioned above, as does the pivot pin detent tool. If you're careful, you can get by with just the standard punch set for about $15 +/-.

poolshark13 06-08-2008 12:53 AM

will a barrel designated for the 5.56 nato fire the .223 round safely? is there really that much of a difference in the two rounds? i know the .223 wylde chamber will handle both rounds, but how do barrels work. i've already started assembling the lower, and im looking ahead at parts i will need next. dont want to hurt myself when i go to the range with my first build.

RL357Mag 06-08-2008 02:05 PM


Originally Posted by poolshark13 (Post 27106)
will a barrel designated for the 5.56 nato fire the .223 round safely? is there really that much of a difference in the two rounds? i know the .223 wylde chamber will handle both rounds, but how do barrels work. i've already started assembling the lower, and im looking ahead at parts i will need next. dont want to hurt myself when i go to the range with my first build.

You can fire .223 in a gun chambered for 5.56, but the 5.56 chamber has a longer lead, and because of this, accuracy may suffer and velocity will be slightly less. The more important issue is the 5.56 loaded to military specs has higher velocity and chamber pressure than the .223. Consequently, firing 5.56 ammo in a .223 chamber with a shorter lead can dramatically increase chamber pressure. In some cases this can result in primer pocket gas leaks, blown cartridge case heads and functioning issues. The 5.56 military cartridge fired in a .223 Rem chamber is considered by SAAMI to be an unsafe ammunition combination. This is why most high quality, accuracy-built AR-15 models offered with 5.56 chambers instead of .223 chambers, so people won't be loading .223 chambers with 5.56 ammo - the other way is ok, it's a safety issue, not an accuracy one. The RRA Wylde chamber was designed as a Match chambering and is relieved slightly to help in extraction and has a shorter lead to improve accuracy - but it will accept both .223 and 5.56.

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