Build or buy upper???

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by LaiePoi, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. LaiePoi

    LaiePoi New Member

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    Before I get into everything let me first say that yes I am a "noob" to the AR15 platform so I am very open to any of your ideas, opinions, or any input you may have. Been doing a lot of research on the Internet and watching videos on YouTube of people's new builds, installation, reviews, etc. I was planning on building the upper because I only want specific parts. I'm not really interested in buying a complete upper that i would have to switch out parts that i don't like so that is why I was leaning towards building it myself. I haven't come across a complete upper with the configuration I like...until tonight. I came across this complete upper that is configured exactly how I would like http://www.rogtac.com/upper-parts/complete-upper-assemblies/noveske-14-5-afghan-556-nsr13-bc15.html
    The only thing that is different in this complete upper from the configuration I had in mind was the barrel and BCG. I was planning on buying a stripped BCM BFH 14.5 barrel and BCM BCG but the only other barrel and BCG I would swap out with right now would be a Noveske so I'm totally okay with that. So all this got me thinking...I'm pretty sure a person with all the right tools could easily build my configuration for cheaper than buying (the Noveske linked above), but I don't have all those special tools and if I went ahead and bought them all it could possibly add up to being more costly than buying the compete upper (I'm thinking). And then the fact that I could have had it installed by a professional for cheaper just wouldn't make sense (other than gaining the experience from trial and error I suppose). I've watched tons of install videos on YouTube but that won't mean I will get it done like someone who really knows their stuff. I thought about buying the parts and paying a gunsmith to do the things I don't have special tools for but gunsmith's aren't that cost effective either in this situation. So I guess my question is what do you think I should do in this situation...should I just buy the complete upper and save myself the trouble or should I go ahead and buy all the parts and tools to build it myself?

    Here is my parts list for the upper I had in mind in case you were wondering:
    -BCM BFH 14.5 mid length ($299)
    -BCM BCG ($159)
    -BCM gunfighter mod4 med charging handle ($45)
    -VLTOR MUR1A ($189)
    -Noveske NSR 13.5 ($260)
    -Battlecomp 1.5 ($155)
    ***($1,107)***
    Planning on pairing it with a Spike's lower.

    I'm aware that some of these things are out of stock (including the complete Noveske upper) but I'm on the waiting list so I have some time to decide.

    Hope to hear your thoughts! Thanks.

    Aaron
     
  2. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Building the upper is a bit more complex than the lower but not so much that a newer enthusiast cannot do it. The only tools really required are a vice, upper receiver block, a few punches, an AR wrench and a torque wrench. Sounds like a lot but the only expensive tool is the torque wrench.

    What concerns me with the parts you have selected is the 14.5" inch barrel. If left at 14.5" you will need a federal stamp for NFA Class III firearms ($200.00), i.e. a short barreled rifle. To avoid the stamp the barrel will need a 1.5" permanently pinned and soldered flash hider or muzzle break to bring it to the 16" minimum legal length. That becomes a problem when you try to install the barrel nut and/or the free float tube and the gas block. The factory built unit will have all that installed before they solder on the flash hider, you don't have that option.
     

  3. LaiePoi

    LaiePoi New Member

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    I was semi aware of that but wasn't sure if i could have the battlecomp 1.5 pinned/welded on there after installing the gas block and hand guard. When you buy a 14.5 barrel does it have to be purchased with the flash hider permanently attached already in order to avoid that fee or can it be done as you build your AR?
     
  4. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    It can be done after as long as it is 16" before the rifle is assembled. It is not, however, the type of thing a weekend warrior can do in the garage. The melting temp of silver solder is extremely high and the barrel can be damaged in the process. A gunsmith will probably charge about $75 for pinning the FH to the barrel...that should include grinding down the pin and refinishing the weld spot.
     
  5. pagj17

    pagj17 New Member

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    In continuance with what jpyle has said, talk to BCM about the pinning, they might do it for a little less, then again they might not do it for you at all, it's up to them
     
  6. LaiePoi

    LaiePoi New Member

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    Ahh will do. Thanks
     
  7. AgentTikki

    AgentTikki New Member

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    A 16" barrel will let you bypass all these shenanigans. Also if you feel that you don't like the BC, you will be able to swap it out easily if its not pinned and welded. 1.5" isn't really that big a deal, I'd recommend going with a 16" youR first time out to give you the greatest flexibility.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  8. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    I'd say if Rogtac has exactly the same upper configuration you want already factory assembled by Noveske I'd jump on it now while it's in stock.

    It's getting hard to find every configuration preassembled and if going the parts route it's going to take time to get all those parts delivered, for example BCM BCGs are out of stock at the moment.

    Finally, the odds are you won't get the quality of assembly by a third party as you would from Noveske. They do know their stuff. Usually it's worth paying a little more to get the job done right - and getting it NOW.
     
  9. LaiePoi

    LaiePoi New Member

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    I Totally agree. I'm kind of scared to try and assemble the upper myself. I don't want to mess with the accuracy or anything like that. Maybe if i had a friend here that knew what he was doing and could be here to help me thru it would make assembling it myself a better option. Also it's looking like doing it myself won't save me much with the cost of the parts I chose vs. the complete price from Noveske. So this is looking like my best bet right now. Do you know anything about the quality of the Noveske BCG vs. the BCM BCG?
     
  10. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    I'm working on my first lower build (No, the Plum Crazy didn't break. Just wanting to build one.)

    I'm fairly new to AR's (about 11 months). I'm more comfortable with building the lower right now than I am the upper. I would recommend build the lower first and see if you want to start building the upper, or buy the upper and get to shooting.
     
  11. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

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    If you can build the lower you can do the upper. It's not like you have to headspace it or anything. It's easy.
     
  12. LaiePoi

    LaiePoi New Member

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    Yes I am definitely building the lower myself
     
  13. LaiePoi

    LaiePoi New Member

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    What would be an example of a build that requires you to check the headspacing? Just curious
     
  14. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

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    Just about any other rifle where you have to attach the barrel. On an AR it is set when they manufacture the barrel.
     
  15. FullautoUSA

    FullautoUSA Welcoming Committee/ Resident Pellet Gunner Lifetime Supporter

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    I would build the upper, gives you more options to choose from.
     
  16. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Well I have two BCMs and they're as good as a BCG gets.

    I don't know first hand about the Noveske BCG but it should be good. Looking at three year old data from the old M4 Chart, Noveske at the time didn't high pressure test the bolt but did do magnetic particle testing. Also the extractor spring insert wasn't the desired black but that's a small thing (since an upgrade spring and insert is cheap and easy to replace). Otherwise the bolt was shot peened and came with the desired M16 style carrier. The gas key was properly staked.

    Hopefully someone can chime in with current info but I wouldn't be worried about a Noveske BCG today.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  17. X-mark

    X-mark New Member

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    Noveske BCGs are only marked MP. With that said, those who usually buy Noveske, generally run their rifles pretty hard, so you should not have any problems with their BCG.

    Edit to add: Noveske does not just blindly throw BCGs into their rifles and uppers. They actually test fire each 5.56mm rifle and upper with Black Hills Ammunition before it leaves their factory.



    Their is a relatively new company making rifles and components that has all the bells and whistles to their BCG, that may interest you. SIONICS Weapon Systems is based out of Arizona and they are bringing to market some high quality stuff at pretty reasonable prices. You can check them out at http://www.sionicsweaponsystems.com/

    here are the BCG details:


    100% HPT & MPI
    Shot Peened
    Heavy Extractor Spring
    Black Insert and O-Ring
    Nickel PTFE Carrier

    SIONICS bolts are made by a current defense contractor from Carpenter 158® Steel. The bolts are 100% high pressure tested and magnetic particle inspected. Each bolt is shot peened and comes with a heavy extractor spring, black spring insert and O-Ring.

    SIONICS bolt carriers are also manufactured by a current defense contractor. Only M16 bolt carriers are used. The keys are checked for a flat fit before being installed and the bolts are side staked.

    Each carrier assembly is treated with a durable Nickel/PTFE plating which creates a permanently lubricious surface which eliminates the need for grease, oil or any wet lubrication.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  18. LaiePoi

    LaiePoi New Member

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    That's what I originally planned on doing but then I came across a complete configuration with basically all the parts I had on my list and it turns out that buying it professionally assembled by Noveske (with a 7% off coupon code) only costs $90 more than buying the parts separate and assembling it myself. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me
     
  19. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Yeah it's worth it to have Noveske do it. - That $90 could shrink fast especially if you're getting the parts from multiple sources and have to pay shipping for each order.
     
  20. LaiePoi

    LaiePoi New Member

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    Good call! Never even factored that in