The AR Build: Did You & Your Thoughts

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by Dillinger, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. I built my own complete gun and I am very happy I did.

    18 vote(s)
  2. I built my own complete gun and it was a disaster!

    0 vote(s)
  3. I built my own lower, bought an upper & am happy I did.

    19 vote(s)
  4. I built my own lower, bought an upper & am sorry I did

    0 vote(s)
  5. I bought my whole gun complete and am happy with it.

    7 vote(s)
  6. I bought my whole gun complete and am not happy with it.

    1 vote(s)
  7. I don't think I want an AR

    0 vote(s)
  8. I want an AR and am completely confused about it.

    0 vote(s)
  9. I am about to build my first AR - Wish me luck

    8 vote(s)
  1. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    Okay, so this came up off hand in a question thread about building vs. buying an AR platform.

    As many of you know, I personally encourage everyone to build at least the lower of their AR platform. I feel it is essential for you to understand how the weapon works, what parts do what and give you a nice base for cleaning and tuning.

    Several members stand shoulder to shoulder with me in this advice and I feel that FTF is a very PRO build versus buy community.

    Having fielded questions on about 1,000 builds since my joining the site and posting about how easy it is to do ( okay, that might be a slight
    exaggeration :cool:) it came about that we should have a poll about this issue.

    So, here is your chance to sound off and be heard.

    Did you build your own? How do you feel it went? How comfortable are you with your skills if you have built?

    Speak up folks, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of "viewers/visitors" a day here at FTF & you can bet some of them are wondering about this very issue.

  2. BigSe63xy

    BigSe63xy New Member

    There needs to be one more option. It needs to be, "I'm going to build my own in the future. Wish me luck."

    That's where I fit in.

  3. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

    I am very happy with my build. I have done a complete assembly, assembled a lower then topped it off with a complete upper I purchased and purchased a complete AR. Basicly I have every option covered. I am proud of all 3. But I will say the complete build wasa great learning experience. The biggest advise IMO is to take your time and get the proper tools to avoid breakage and blemishes.
  4. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

    I assembled 2 AR15 lowers - then purchased 1 complete upper and had 1 custom built. I have 1 AR15 lower sitting on the side awaiting a project idea and I also purchased a complete AR10. Now I have an inkling to build myself another AR10. ;)

    I am very happy with the route that I went - all of the info here on the forum, plus the advice and encouragement I received was excellent. I have a better understanding of the firearms and much less trepidation about working on them. I can't say that I had any difficulties at all and had a great time doing it.

  5. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

    Great poll, JD! I think this will be very helpful to new people and I've never seen this done before at other sites.

    I answered "I built my own lower, bought an upper & am happy I did."

    When I decided I really wanted an AR a couple years ago I was ready to buy one off the rack though not knowing much about them. Fortunately I fought the impulse to buy at that time and began researching - which of course added more questions that I had to answer and I had to answer these questions myself to really understand which took a lot of time. When more knowledgeable folks made recommendations I had to decipher what they were saying and whether the advice was sound. But the time invested was worth it and I finally realized I needed to understand and choose every part that went into the rifle, otherwise many of them may have to be replaced. "Building" really starts to look good at that time.

    I think you're 100% right that building a lower is a wise thing to do, you get up to speed on the operation of the rifle much quicker and can maintain it better - and you end up with parts of your choosing in the lower. Though I didn't build the upper I do know what parts went in it and I would have chosen similar parts if I had built it. Since I could only justify one AR it didn't make sense to invest in the tools needed for the upper - but one lower can be built using common tools many of us already have.

    Anyway choosing the right AR for yourself comes down to research, asking the right questions and getting the right answers then taking the time to understand it all. Fortunately getting up to speed enough to build a lower doesn't take much time and speeds up the learning process for the upper and sights and other accessories.

    ETA: Well so far the happy with my build votes lead unhappy 5-0! A good sign for anyone contemplating a build. And I suspect the unhappys will often be for "I bought my whole gun complete and am not happy with it" - also a positive for building. It will be interesting to see many, many more votes but I suspect the trend will be happy with my build and with most unhappys for a complete rifle (that may not have been researched adequately).
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  6. TheDaggle

    TheDaggle Member

    Built my lower, bought my upper complete, then starting making modifications to the upper :). I definitely advocate building as much as possible for all the reasons stated above. With the FTF build guides, and the individual advice here, and the inherent simplicity of Mr. Stoner's design, a member really can't go wrong. If mine fires, anyone can do this :D
  7. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

    I built mine complete. It is easy if you have basic handyman type skills. One thing that would have helped as a sticky is a list of parts to make sure you have everything. I figured it out but it would be a nice reference for those that are building one complete. It has been awhile since I finished mine and am not sure I remember all of the parts and pieces and some of their names:eek:
  8. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    Built my own lower, bought the upper, very glad I did, thanks to guys like JD and slo guiding me through. Wouldn't have done it any other way, except maybe putting together the upper myself. Maybe next time on a *****in' .458 Socom like Cane's.
  9. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

    I bought my first AR, loved it but knew nothing about it. I was intimated with how it worked and had little knowledge with the nomenclature of the parts and pieces.

    Then I decided I wanted a second AR, one with a little more umph. I bought the complete upper and used the local talent to assist me in building my lower.

    Best thing I have done sense becoming an 'ole dog. I know my AR's inside and out now. I'm also not afraid of jams and misfires. I know the action and even know the part names! See even an 'ole dog can learn new tricks.

    I highly recommend if an AR is in your future, at minimum, consider building the lower. It's cathartic.
  10. WDB

    WDB New Member

    I have 2 1/2 AR's the two I purchased, the 1/2 I'm building complete. As much as I like and believe I know about the platform I expect building one bottom up will make me truly appreciate the rife. I'm not building anything special, keeping it simple for my first build. I'm truly enjoying the build, I've completed the lower and starting to work on the upper, another two weeks I'll have an AR that will be truly mine as I will have put every peice together.
  11. Spas-12

    Spas-12 New Member

    Built a few

    I have built 3 for me in the last few yrs and 4 more for my friends.

    I didnt so much enjoy my first build but after I got done and put all I wanted in it I came in about $200 less then If I would have bought one like it.

    After the second one they got easier and I started to enjoy them.

    I have built Del-ton parts and DPMS parts kit guns.

    The delton went together so much easier and I didnt break pins like i did on the 2 DPMS i built for friends but after I got done they shoot like a top but so far my Del-ton with a 16in heavy barrel chrome lined with m4 feed ramps has shoot better in all as spects of shooting. Just IMO

    But I want to build a 20 inch heavy barrell gun now cheap just to see if i can and will/how will it work.
  12. spittinfire

    spittinfire Active Member Supporter

    I built mine and I'm more then happy I did. I already have plans for a few more lowers, just for the experience. I also need a harder hitting upper.
  13. ymmas

    ymmas New Member

    habit forming

    while back i bought a RRA lower with a damed good trigger and a stag upper in 5.56. everything went fine, GREAT weapon and is just what we needed. a little later bought a model 1 upper and a complete lower kit spent some time on the trigger and removed a few burrs , shoots just as good as a complete unit bought a stag kit and it went together really great, i bought a few extra things to make my job easier, vise blocks, stock/hand guard tool, a GOOD set of punches, lower holding block this made things fly we have 8 units in service and have no complaints, we have one we all like , its a complete model one kit with a ccmg 22 adapter, i bet we've run 1000 rounds to it in less than 3 weeks we have 2 6.8spc and the rest are 5,56, one word about the ccmg, you well not believe how dirty 22 ammo is, i mean really bad !! thank god fo rCLP in aerosol cans as that model one likes to run real WET.
    try building one !! you save money, its not hard and to tell you the truth its plumb entertaining
    yamms in the flint hills
  14. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

    I built my first complete AR lower and bought/put together a disassembled upper (except the barrel was already installed). This decision was influenced by a couple senior members here and I'm glad I went this direction.

    The lower was not nearly as complicated as I had imagined, but I also had a great (if outdated) book to help.

    I went the route of a complete/partially disassembled upper due to time constraints, economics and my own impatience to get an AR in the safe.

    The next build(s) (already 2 more lowers in progress :)) I will most likely build the upper 100%, at least on one. ;)

    Have Fun!
  15. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

    Well,I bought my RRA Varminter first,then wanted a lighter version to carry around and so I built a complete lower,and then bought a complete Model 1 Sales upper.
    I then took the upper to a guy I used to work with and had him disassemble it.I then went back over to his place and put it back together.
    I'm cheap and didn't want to by the tools I'd need to put an upper together,and he has all of them.
    I also have another complete lower that I've assembled,I'm just waiting to find a deal on the upper I want for the third gun.
  16. HotGuns

    HotGuns Member

    I've built several over the years. Its really not hard to do.

    I took an AR blank lower in a trade. It went from this...


    to this..


    to a fully functional lower half that works quite well. I have since Duracoated it, it looks no different than any other factory lower.

    Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of it on the gun. It took me a full day of cutting on a milling machine using a digital readout, but it was cheap and definitely worth it.
  17. spittinfire

    spittinfire Active Member Supporter

    No pics of the finished product?!?! I'm very jealous that your mill has DRO, I'm still counting turns and watching the numbered lines.
  18. Angry_bald_guy

    Angry_bald_guy Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    This is where I am too. I don't have the money to do it now, but I will be doing it in the future.
  19. Fisherking

    Fisherking New Member

    I bought a whole gun brand new and cheap. Right now I'm in the prosess of stripping it down and putting back on the parts that I want , after dressing them the way I want, and buying the parts that I want to exchange off of it.
    All in all it will come out to about a $1000.00 Canadian.

    P.S. the gun itself was about $700.00 Canadian.
  20. Josey Wales '94

    Josey Wales '94 New Member

    There needs to be yet another. "Bought a lower. Bought an upper. Happy with it.":p