Well, I decided I wanted an AR at the worst possible time: a week after Obama was elected. I pored over all kinds of interwebz forums and asked a lot of questions, and decided that I wanted my first rifle to be my Katrina gun. I'm a machinist/programmer by day, so I decided to machine my own receivers from raw forgings available for $25 a pop at DS Arms. It was slow at the shop, so I had open machines available to get the lowers done, but unfortunately, have still not been able to do the uppers. I ordered a stripped flat top upper from Model 1 Sales for now, and time/machine availability permitting, I'll get the uppers done. So over the course of several months, I ordered part by part, until I had everything. I had to wait a month for the LPK to arrive, and 3 months for the barrel! I made a joke about engraving emoticons on the gun a while back, and when I finally did engrave it two weeks ago, I decided the emoticon route was prudent, and would earn me the respect of my AR-toting peers! The barrel nut didn't want to go on without a fight, and I freely admit the wrench I made at the shop failed miserably, so I had to wait another agonizing week for a proper wrench from Bushmaster. While I was waiting on that, I decided to give Brownell's GunKote a whack. It's a fair bit glossier than the upper, which is not a huge deal to me, but I think in the future, I may try my hand at a lil' wet-sanding to dull the sheen a bit. Otherwise, it's great stuff, and simple as pie to use. Now in case you're wondering, if you can legally own a firearm, then you can legally make your own, so long as you don't sell it, or give it away. Also, there is NO serial number required, though I did add "US 1776" as my serial number. In any case, it's off the books, which is just how I like it. I added a vertical foregrip and intend to get an EOTech or Aimpoint next spring. I may upgrade the stock to a nicer Magpul version later on. I'm using a 16" 5.56 barrel from Model 1 with a 1:9 twist. I also ordered the bolt carrier group from them. In all, the rifle cost me $830, not including the mags. I won't be able to fire it until tomorrow or the next day, but it passes every non-firing test I can think of. The real test will be this weekend. Even though I haven't even fired this rifle yet, let alone any AR-15 in my life, I'm already thinking of the next one! I blame all of you guys for that, and I thank you for it, too! Pics are in the following threads. Enjoy.