Budget HBAR AR-15 build options

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by Jedi940, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. Jedi940

    Jedi940 New Member

    14
    0
    0
    First post; First AR-15

    I am looking to start building my first AR-15. and am trying to keep the budget under $800. I know exactly what I want and am just trying to find the right combination of parts that will produce a decent quality gun.

    For the Lower I have a source for a bushmaster stripped lower for $50 and I am going with a Rock River National Match lower parts kit for $130 and a commercial spec collapsible stock by DSA for $50.

    For the upper, I want a heavy barrel. No M4 profile. I do not like how thin it gets under the handguard. Additionally, I don't want the A2 front sight. I just want a rail so I can add flip up sights that won't interfere with any optics. A railed handguard is not not necessary. I just plan on buying a short section of rail from brownells and mounting it on the side of the handguard for a tactical light. The only upper I have found that meets this criteria is a Del-Ton upper HERE

    It has the heavy barrel, railed gas block with YHM sight already included for $425. I read alot of people recommending spikes tactical but it seems that all their uppers come with the A2 front sight.

    Are there any other options that I am missing?

    ***EDIT***
    Also I forgot to mention that I want a 16" barrel. Also, if there is a big advantage to accuracy, I may be convinced to go with a free float front end. Was trying to stay away from it to keep the weight down since I already have a heavy barrel.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  2. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

    4,026
    0
    0
    Skip the railed gas block and go for a rail that covers the GB and then add a Magpul MBus set. The railed GB gets hot and most flip sights are not recomended for use on a railed GB. Plus IMO the longer rail looks better and really isnt but a couple $ more. And YES to the free floated rail.

    Go 14.5 w/ a pinned brake midlength gas system for an overall length of roughly 16". Just as accurate, a little lighter, a little shorter, great all purpose length.

    Spikes is great for the money. I just got one a couple weeks ago and it shoots as well as my $2k piston gun.

    $479 and comes w/ BCG and one of the best buffers available and free shipping.
    http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XSTU5035&search=spike
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010

  3. Jedi940

    Jedi940 New Member

    14
    0
    0
    I did find that particular spikes tactical upper but I don't like the A2 front sight so I'd have to replace that, and also, that barrel is a 1 in 7 twist which, from what I under stand, is to high for lighter weight ammo. This is going to be a plinking/SHTF rifle so it will mostly shoot 55-62 gr. bullets. The del-ton upper is 1 in 9.

    If I go with a custom heavy barrel Del-Ton upper, I can add chrome lining to the barrel, YHM low profile gas block, and YHM light weight 4 rail free float tube for a total of $529. I might also add a phantom 5c2 flash suppressor for $20 because I like the way it looks.

    ***EDIT***
    $484 if I skip the chrome lining. Just did a quick search and might save on that feature. I don't think this rifle will see enough action to warrant the durability gained with a chrome barrel
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  4. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

    4,026
    0
    0
    The 1/7 twist works well w/ everything and gives you the option to shoot the heavy stuff if you want. I shoot the bulk light grain stuff like its going out of style and get great results. The front sight can be removed and a low profile added w/ the removal of 2 pins. The Spikes is already chrome lined.

    How long is the "YHM light weight 4 rail free float tube" ?
     
  5. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

    7,551
    1
    0
    Well it sounds like you've done research so if you like the way the Del-Ton upper is configured and the YHM sight, don't let yourself get talked out of it unless something else is clearly superior.

    Actually I went a similar route last year and bought the ArmaLite U15A4CB midlength upper with railed gas block and 1:9 twist since I mostly shoot 55-62 gr as well. Some 1:7 bores do ok with 55gr and many do not so 1:9 is a good bet to give better accuracy. I've found that the standard handguards work fine and your mounting solution for a light is sound.

    I do think chrome lining is worth the extra cost but it's not necessary of course.
     
  6. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

    4,026
    0
    0
    Sorry if I came across as trying to talk him out of the Del-Ton. I have been there and know from my own experience that sometimes its more expensive to learn on your own. I wouldnt want to see someone spend as much or more on something to turn around and out grow it when they could have purchased something and grew into it.
     
  7. Jedi940

    Jedi940 New Member

    14
    0
    0
    Looking at yhm.net, and assuming del-ton would put the mid length rail with it since it is a mid length gas system, it would be 9.2 inches.

    YHM, Yankee Hill Machine Co., Inc. – Makers of High Quality Firearms, Accessories & Sound Suppressors | Forearms

    @Quentin

    Don't get me wrong, I like the way a railed AR looks and wouldn't mind having one but other than a light, I don't think I will be putting anything else up there in order to save weight (Maybe a vertical grip but if i never had one, don't think I'd miss it. If heat on the flip up sights is an issue, I don't want to shorten the life of the sight by going with that gas block. In addition, if I can get better accuracy with a free float front end, that might be worth it to me. However if that increase in accuracy is going to be 0.1 MOA, then perhaps not.
     
  8. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

    7,551
    1
    0
    Yeah it's difficult to recommend for someone else since you can't be sure that it's right for them especially in the future as their needs may change. I actually agree with you on the Spikes LE uppers, they're incredible bargains and the odds are that 1:7 will handle 55gr. just fine. Also there are ways to live with a fixed A2/F-marked FSB.

    I was just saying that if Jedi has chosen the Del-Ton because it offers the features he wants for the best price then maybe give it a little more thought but in the end it is his decision. One thing for sure, there are so many great choices -it ain't easy! :D
     
  9. Jedi940

    Jedi940 New Member

    14
    0
    0
    Upon closer inspection, the custom upper is a carbine length hand guard so I assume that is also a carbine length gas system which would put the ytm rail at 7.2 inches. The upper with the flip up front sight, is a mid length system. I might send them an email and see if I can get the mid length gas system on the custom upper. From what I have read, that will be easier on the whole rifle.
     
  10. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

    7,551
    1
    0
    Jedi, I didn't see your post until I posted. I agree that it's usually better to get a midlength - especially since you want an HBAR anyway. As far as a sight on a railed gas block, the plastic magpuls aren't recommended but the YHM should be fine (looks like it's integral with the gas block anyway).
     
  11. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

    4,026
    0
    0
    I am just speaking from experience. As my skill increased so did my needs requireing me to change things around. For instance my M6A1 came w/ 7" rail and F marked front sight. For $200 more I could have had a M6A2 that would have met all my needs even today. Because I didnt get the A2 to start I ended up spending much more money and time getting an aftermarket rail to mount properly. I have my A2 sight on for the mean-time while I get things in order for a low profile GB. As soon as that happens the A2 will come off and a free float rail will go on. Its all but a 15 min. job.

    Its a hard decision to make when you are dealing w/ that kind of $.

    Enough of that though.
     
  12. Jedi940

    Jedi940 New Member

    14
    0
    0
    Also, looking at the picture for the spikes tactical upper, it looks like a heavy barrel but in the description is states government profile. Is that not the same as M4?
     
  13. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

    4,026
    0
    0
    I just did a search and it appears the the gov. profile is a heavier barrel and the M4 is lighter w/ cut outs for a 203 launcher.
     
  14. Jedi940

    Jedi940 New Member

    14
    0
    0
    From what I read, the only difference is the forward notch. The barrel still gets thin under the hand guard which I don't want. I guess I'll have to make some compromises for my first build until I can get more money to build a better one. If I got everything I wanted, I would probably end up spending $1000 on the upper alone. The only thing I'm not sure about is chrome lining. I have read several reports that chrome lining aids in feeding and extraction of cheap steel cased ammo which is what I would like to use for plinking.
     
  15. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

    4,026
    0
    0
    Dont compromise. Save if you need to. A grand is a lot to spend, but... Chrome lining of the bolt from what Ive been told help smooth out cycling and aids lubrication. Chrome lining the barrel aids in lengthening the life of the barrel. Youre right though steel cased ammo is said to lessen the life of the extractor. Do you really need a heavy barrel? I think a medium or the thin to heavy contour would serve you fine for a semi auto rifle.

    Heres what I found:

    swingsetOctober 31, 2006, 12:59 AM
    I don't have the measurements handy but in general, here's what they are:

    Lightweight - thin the entire length.
    government - thin under the handguards, heavy profile from the gas block to the flash suppressor
    M4 - stepped barrel, thin under the handguard.
    A1 - generally a lightweight barrel, whole length.
    A2 - generally a government profile, sometimes an HBAR
    HBAR - very heavy under the handguards, heavy to the FS.
    standard - heavy all the way to the FS.
    Pencil - thin the entire length.

    For a handy carbine, get a lightweight barrel. They are accurate, unless you shoot the living crud out of them and get them super hot, and the weight savings is worth it. There are no downsides to light barrels, unless you're shooting F/A or match shooting.
     
  16. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

    4,828
    0
    0
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  17. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

    4,435
    28
    38
    The HBAR I put together,I used a Model 1 Sales upper with a 16" stainless barrel and aluminum carbine length floating handguard. It will shoot neck & neck with my RRA Varminter up to around 300yrds.

    Some guys talk bad about Model 1 Sales,but I have used their stuff for years without any problems and they are a local company for me.

    RRA Varminter-Top, 16" HBAR-Bottom
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Jedi940

    Jedi940 New Member

    14
    0
    0
    A big deciding factor would be weights. If I could figure out what the weight will be with the heavy barrel and standard m4 handguard that would help me out a lot. I don't want a 10 pound gun but I also don't want a super thin barrel either.

    I think I will call customer support and see if I can get dimensions and weights on the barrels. Just looking at their pictures, its hard to tell actual size. If their "lightweight" barrel is still thicker than the m4, I might switch to that. If its a "pencil barrel," forget it.

    @txhillbilly - what is the weight difference between your two rifles. Optics included is fine (unless one scope is way heavier than the other) as I intend to put a scope on mine as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  19. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

    7,551
    1
    0
    A 16" HBAR carbine would weigh about 7-7.5 pounds while an M4 clone would be about 6 pounds. No mag, no rails and just iron sights. A lot of the weight of the HBAR is out front so it's not as manueverable as the M4 but easier to keep on target for quick followups. You really have to handle both to decide which is best for you. I recently saw an AR weight calculator, I'll try to find the link tomorrow if someone doesn't post it sooner - going to bed now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  20. Jedi940

    Jedi940 New Member

    14
    0
    0
    Well I emailed customer service at del-ton and asked them about their barrels. They said their lightweight barrel is .625 inches in diameter and the heavy barrel is .750. While they didn't give weights like I asked, they did say the heavy barrel is about 13 oz heavier than the lightweight barrel. I guess that's not too bad so I'll probably order the heavy barrel and live with the weight. I don't think it should be too bad. I'm not going to hang that much stuff on it.