First AR-15 Build...here I go!

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by CHLChris, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    With this country a-changin' and my RKBA muscle a-twitchin', I started looking for a rifle that could hunt small game and repel zombie hordes, if necessary. At first I thought the Mini-14. But for just a $100-200 more I could build my own black rifle. Woohoo!

    Here I go.

    For just a bit of background, since I hope this thread is an inspiration to others in similar shoes, I am pretty new to firearms. A couple years ago I saw something on the horizon I didn't like. I bought a handgun, started training (it's a never-ending process...), and got licensed to carry a concealed handgun. I take that role in my community very seriously and carry everywhere it is allowed.

    Just 3 months ago I didn't even know I could actually build my own rifle. I still don't know how to do it. But I can rip out a kitchen to the studs and do the whole thing, so I can figure this one out, I'm sure. And with the help of others on this forum I will succeed.

    I plan to keep photos coming along with a description of my efforts. This won't be a tutorial thread. I'll leave that to others. It will be a "You can do it, too!" thread. I believe I can, therefore I WILL!
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  2. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Bought the stripped lower

    I went to my local gun shop, Keith's Sporting Goods in Gresham, OR. I was thinking I would order something online and pay for the transfer, but that would have totaled out around $130, so I bought something they had on sale!

    Surplus Ammo & Arms, Lakewood, WA, stripped lower $80 plus $10 OR fee

    The only weird thing is that the lower doesn't say "fire" and "safe", it has picture icons, see below.

    Total: $90
     

    Attached Files:


  3. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Great decision, you will enjoy the experience. I recommend you buy a complete upper and build the lower.

    Go slow and always ask questions rather than charging ahead into the unknown.

    Also it's good to ask for recommendations when shopping for a parts. It gives you some great info on other's experiences and saves you time and money by hearing what NOT to buy!

    Keep us in the loop.
     
  4. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Ordered everything else!

    I ordered the rest of the parts from four online vendors: Del-Ton (DT), MidwayUSA (Mid), Rock River Arms (RRA), and Cheaper Than Dirt (CtD).

    Lower:

    Lower Receiver Parts Kit, Single Stage Trigger, Hogue Grip $90 (RRA)

    RRA 6-Position Tactical CAR Stock, Mil-spec, Black $95 (RRA)


    Upper:

    16" Mid-Length Barrel Assembly Flattop with YHM Flip Up Front Sight Gas Block (comes with Bolt&Carrier and Charging Handle) $425 (DT)

    Yankee Hill Machine Flip-up Rear Sight $80 (CtD)


    Mags:

    MagPul Pmag 30-Round ($14 x 3) $43 (Mid)



    TOTAL for AR-15 rifle: $823


    Ammo (first round of purchasing, at least):

    Hornady TAP PD 75-grain JHP, 80 rounds $84 (Mid)

    BVAC 69-grain HPBT, 300 rounds $159 (CtD)



    Tools:

    Punch Set 8-piece Brass $11 (Mid)

    Model 1 Armorer's Actin Block with Lower Receiver Action Block $45 (Mid)

    Tactical CAR Stock Wrench $6 (RRA)



    Don't forget shipping and NRA round-up donations! For all 4 vendors, I paid a total of $74.

    Total for completely functioning, in my hand, enough ammo for one gang of zombies, AR-15:

    $1200.

    I'll add pictures as each step gets built. And a range report will be here soon!
     
  5. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

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    Chris, here is a link I used. Just go to the side bar to find the lower build.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKHQGSzjdZ0&feature=related]YouTube - How to Build an AR-15 - Visit howtobuildanar15.com for more[/ame]
     
  6. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA_Vkb2UB1w&feature=related]YouTube - Assembling an AR-15 Stripped Lower 1 of 2[/ame]

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq4KfUaVp8M&feature=related]YouTube - Assembling an AR-15 Stripped Lower 2 of 2[/ame]

    That first link didn't work as planned. Try these.
     
  7. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Excellent Chris!! I love seeing folks that have never done this before take the initiative and jump into a build. :)

    I am going to STICKY this thread so others can follow the examples of my padwan Junho and you into the world of the AR.

    Looking forward to more pictures and a write up of your experience. I am willing to bet it will be positive.

    JD
     
  8. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

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    Subscribed to this thread! Way to go Chris!!
     
  9. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Good luck with your new build, Chris!

    I hestitate to bring this up but am a little concerned with the Del-Ton upper and wonder if maybe a little more money invested in a Spikes Tactical or even BCM middy might not be wise. But you're already ordered and may already be locked in - if so I hope the Del-Ton proves to be of high quality. I don't expect it to be bad but that's the part of the rifle you really want to be top notch. Do you have a link to it?

    Here's a link to a Spikes middy. The specs are outstanding for the price and worth comparing to the Del-Ton. (Though the Spikes has a fixed front sight, not flip up.)
    Spike's Tactical 16 Midlength LE Upper (5.56) [STU5035] - $535.00 : Spikes Tactical Aim Surplus sells them for about $480 I think.
     
  10. Glasshartt

    Glasshartt New Member

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    The SUR that Scubie built me has both the upper and lower from DEL-TON. It is very tight and shoots like a dream. Their quality seems to be on par with the CMMG one he built for himself.

    My next one (7.62 X 39) that I will build myself has a Sharps lower. I am not sure what upper I am going to get.
     
  11. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Quentin, I have already purchased all the parts. Here is the upper I ordered:

    Del-Ton 16" Mid-Length Barrel Assembly with YHM Flip Up Front Sight Gas Block

    I am assuming it is 1:9 since it does not say and all of their other mid-length are 1:9. I was looking for 1:8 or 1:7, but alas something has to go at this price. And my main hook for this upper was the gas block flip-up sight. That was one thing that so many other (almost ALL other) uppers lacked. Most have the standard A2 gas block and sight. I wanted flip-up from YHM so I could throw on some optics later.

    Fingers crossed on the 1:9. It is an educated gamble...I guess I could have called. Oh well, it's only money. Worst thing that could happen is I could build another one after ordering a different upper. Oh darn!
     
  12. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Chris, thanks for the link. I notice that all the user reviews for that upper are highly positive so that's a good sign. I'm sure you're right that it's 1x9 twist, most chrome-moly barrels are.

    No doubt that you're going to enjoy building your AR! I certainly enjoyed my first AR last summer and it turned out fine even though I made do with tools in the garage. I took the same route as you, building the lower then adding a complete ArmaLite 16" midlength upper, which was on sale locally then. Like yours it has a railed gas block and I went with the ArmaLite fixed sight which was free with the upper. For the rear I found a good deal on a used carry handle. My lower is a S&W M&P15 and the LPK is Del-Ton. It's a fine rifle and I bet yours will be too.
     
  13. TheDaggle

    TheDaggle New Member

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    Way to be, Chris! I'm building a del-ton uppered rifle right now as well, so I'll stay glued to the screen for yours!:D
     
  14. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Hey, Daggle! Love that Dillinger quote in your sig. That must have been to Cmike, my guess.
     
  15. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

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    Way to go Chris. I built one awhile back with the help and encouragement of the fine people here. It was a fun and educational experience. When I build the next one, I am going to let my 15 year old build it so he knows the platform inside and out.
     
  16. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Yeah, Keith's is great. If you go in trying to act all cool and know-it-all they can be jerks. But if you go in without a false sense of yourself and are willing to just ask honest questions, they are really helpful. Kinda like here.

    Since I already bought the upper, I'll add this to the discussion so it could help others reading this. Let's say I valued the 1:7 and chrome over the fold-down sight and bought this upper you suggest. It is $75 more, but in the same ballpark. If I'd done this, I could have bought the YHM gas block front sight like this ($85):

    Yankee Hill Machine Gas Block with Flip-Up Front Sight & Bayonet Lug Bolt-On Mount AR-15 Standard Barrel .750" Inside Diameter Steel Matte - MidwayUSA

    Or for $20 more, have a lower rail for a bipod:

    Yankee Hill Machine Gas Block with Flip-Up Front Sight & Bottom Rail Bolt-On Mount AR-15 Standard Barrel .750" Inside Diameter Steel Matte - MidwayUSA

    That would have been cool, but $175 more. Next time, Slo! And I have a feeling I may be building another one in the future because "my wife needs one."
     
  17. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    First barrier

    Alright, my orders are starting to come in. I just received my Midway USA order and it included the Model 1 Block set:

    Model 1 Armorer's Action Block with Lower Receiver Action Block AR-15 - MidwayUSA

    I've got the square block's purpose, since it fits like a glove into the magazine bay of the lower receiver.

    What about the long handle-looking one and the larger piece with the hinge? The larger one is not shaped to hold the hand guard of the upper and really has squared-off lines.

    Wait a minute...I think I can see it in the shape now. The upper-most shape closest to the hinge appears as if it would accept the carry handle (but mine is a flattop). So I'm guessing that it will fit my upper, is this right? I haven't received it yet so I've never really handled one before.

    I sure hope nobody reads this ignorance and wonders, "I better be indoors when this dufus is done." Instead I hope people go, "If this novice can do it, then so can I!"
     

    Attached Files:

  18. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

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    Chris,

    You've got it right. The hinged block wraps around the upper & lower receiver. It has a groove in it that would fit the carry handle, if you have an A2 set up. It will work with a flat top, too.

    The T-handle is designed to slip into the receiver from the back end - assuming you don't have a stock attached yet. It is designed, supposedly to give you internal support, so you don't crush your receiver in your vice. Good luck trying to do that - I think your vice would explode first ;)

    The rectangular block slides into your mag well, so you could mount it in a vice that way, too. The rectangular block allows you to slip it into your mag well, to hold your lower receiver steady and allow you to mount your stock or work on any internals, etc.

    Nothing too difficult to figure out once you are holding the pieces in hand and looking at your upper/lower receiver.

    Slo
     
  19. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Isn't it advisable (I know JD's lower build thread suggests it) to install the stock as part of the lower build? So I doubt I will be using that T-handle block. There are a couple other tools that I wish I'd have bought (and still might). An appropriate gunsmithing hammer, for one. Plus, I never bought a cleaning kit. I'll need to do that. Will I need some of those special pipe cleaners for the gas tube? Should I wait to see how much pay between my upper and lower before buying a package of wedges?

    Thanks, Slo!
     
  20. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

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    As far as the lower build, you can put your whole lower together - without - having the stock on. That isn't something that 'has' to go on at any set time. Just remember to keep the parts from your lower parts kit separated with your stock. I've always found it easier to put everything together, as far as your trigger assembly, mag release, etc. 'without' the stock in the way. But then again, we each have our own way that works for us. I normally put the lower together, sitting in front of the boob tube or at the kitchen table, some place where if I do happen to launch a detent pin and spring, I'm sure I'll have a better chance of finding it. I haven't found use for a hammer, since my first build. A good set of pliers, jaws wrapped in tape, works better for squeezing roll pins in. A razor blade works for holding the pins and springs in when you are putting in your take down pins.

    Another helpful thing to have - stop by your local dry cleaner and see if you can grab one of their big CLEAR dry cleaner bags, or any large clear plastic sheet - (nothing too thick, but clear enough to see through to see what you are doing). Put it over the lower when you are installing the detents and springs. The reason for this - when you are sitting there putting those pins and springs in - IF - you happen to launch one, guess where they'll go? ;)

    Once you have the take down pins done, bolt catch and spring, mag catch, trigger assembly (and safety checked), selector and grip - then I normally take the rest of the parts, my stock, the lower and head out to my work bench, insert that mag well block, mount it in the vice and install the rear take down pin, and stock. As far as the T-handle, that is more designed for if you are putting an upper receiver together, installing a new barrel, barrel nut, etc. For your purpose, if you are buying a complete upper, the T-handle won't come into play.

    Tool wise, you can do without any special hammers - unless of course you want 'official' gun smith tools. If you still think you need them, go down to Fisherman's Marine & Outdoor (either at over at Delta Park or the one in Oregon City) they have some nice sets, some complete with pin punches - the same ones you find from Brownell's or Midway USA). Pipe cleaners - you can get them, but I don't think you're going to need them any time soon. But you can pick some up (cheap enough), a good cleaning kit - probably find them while you are picking up your hammer at Fisherman's or Sportsman's Wholesale on 82nd.

    Same with the wedges, wait until you put your upper and lower together - you may not need them. Some take one of their pipe cleaners (the ones they have been trying to find use for - :p), snip off a small piece, and put that between the upper and lower receiver - works the same.

    Seriously, it is way too easy to get caught up in the excitement and end up buying every doo-hickey and doo-dad you see advertised - because someone said you need them. We've all been guilty of that, at one time or another while under the influence of this SUR disease :D Take your time, do some searching online for assembly videos and hints/tips, ask questions when you aren't sure, and take your time practice fitting pieces (dry runs) before final assembly. There really isn't anything you can't UNDO - except catastrophic mistakes - such as breaking off pieces of your receiver, etc. That's another reason I use taped pliers - instead of a hammer - for installing pins, specially on the trigger guard. ;)

    You can do it.
    Slo