The Common AR Build/Design Question Thread - I Need Help

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by Dillinger, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    A lot of you know that feeling, that worry, that gut wrenching hole that you know needs to be filled with a rifle that can make the difference in a "Defend The Perimeter" type of condition.

    You have awoken to finally realize that Space Zombies will eventually find their way here. :eek: If that doesn't happen, the effects of a home grown Katrina or a Mega Earthquake could happen in your area.

    Then you turn to the Interwebz and you start to read. This forum, that forum, expert forums on AR's, posts by guys with 10,000 / 20,000 / 50,000 posts on websites with common, almost household names.

    Opinions vary. Information is contradiction. People can't agree and opinion is often posted as fact.

    What the F**K?!?! Dammit, I need straight answers and I need to know what I should do without having to build an excel spreadsheet and cross check 150 different categories?!?! :(

    This thread is for YOU exactly!

    I ask everyone to post their initial AR questions, or their initial AR thoughts versus what they found to be worthwhile to them, here so we can straighten it all out in informational thread.

    The end goal is to copy them all over to one GIANT stickied thread in our own AR section to point new members to when they come by and ask "Why/What/So-n-So Said".

    We have a ton of FTF Builders here and know more about the platform than a LOT of the general public. Let's build the ultimate resource for the new AR ( known as an SUR around these parts ) owner to read and get some real world, hands on knowledge.

    AR builders! Where you at?! What points or tips do you have to share?

    JD
     
  2. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    How about starting with a FAQ style document categorizing the questions and answers by part or parts group, eg upper, lower, bcg, etc.

    As new questions, answers or experiences are encountered the document can be amended.
     

  3. Jo da Plumbr

    Jo da Plumbr New Member

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    So easy a dumb plumber can do it.
     
  4. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Well, that was part of the idea.

    Like when you are trying to assemble the lower, and your detent shoots across the room. Well, there you have a fine and dandy tip about how you assemble the FCS inside a plastic bag. ;)

    My goal for this thread is fodder for a stickied thread where 90% of the questions can be answered by "ordinary" folks who started with "no" knowledge and became their own armorer by trial and error.
     
  5. Orrin

    Orrin New Member

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    How about lubrication. That might help people.

    That was something I had a buddy go over with me with my first AR.
    Where to put grease and where to put oil.
     
  6. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    i am of the opinion that to properly maintain your ar15 you must have the proper tools to do the job. if your the do it yourself type and intend to do all your own repairs the tools you use will save hours of frustration, they will save scratches to your weapon, and broken parts from using makeshift substitues.

    here is what is in my AR15 toolkit:

    Multi-tool wrench. this allows removal of barrel nuts free float tubes and collapsable stock nuts

    front/rear sight adjustment tool. not need unless you have A1/A2 iron sights.

    handguard removal tool. needed only for 2 piece clamshell handguards

    detent removal/installation tool.

    extractor/ejector assembly/disassembly tool

    upper receiver action block. i cannot stress how usefful and nice this particuler piece is. this particular device is from dpms and is the best method i have found for doing anything to the upper reciever. it fits in a vice and i made of hard pressure formed plastic.
    [​IMG]

    roll pin punches

    brass punches

    proper sized screw drivers

    soft hammer

    with the proper tools work on the AR system becomes easy and minimizes damage to your rifle.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  7. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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  8. Shihan

    Shihan Active Member Lifetime Supporter

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    OK, Here is my question.
    What do you look for when purchasing a stripped lower? Materials? Forged/Milled etc?

    In one thread JD asked to see a top view, What was he looking for?:confused:

    Basically, What to look for in a lower.
     
  9. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

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    Wow....Lots of replies.

    I want to do a build, but right now there are other things I want to put my money toward. I have no gun building experience at all, but I would think the first post should be a deffinition of each part of the rifle, with pictures.

    The second post should be the differences in the lower receivers, with pictures.

    Next, assemble the lower, step by step with pics. Assemble the upper with pics. Talk about the different chambering that can and cannot be done with the standard lower.

    I'd request submissions by PM and keep the thread locked, adding only those posts from PM that added to the instructional feel of the thread. A read only thread.
     
  10. fixxer

    fixxer New Member

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    I have started on my second build now. Here is something I think is might be important to other potential builders of AR's.
    If you are considering building your own AR platform:
    GUNSHOWS: Probably goes without saying, but "buyer beware" of gunshow peddlers.
    Warranties and buying OEM vs. building: Most companies are offering lifetime warranties on their complete weapons systems. That means they will fix a weapon that is not operating correctly if the problem concerns quality on their part. Warranties of individual components do not extend to troubleshooting a rifle that you peiced together with their parts. They will repair/replace components but it is up to you to troubleshoot them if you go this route. This is not too daunting in the end since you will be extremely familiar with your weapon upon completion.
    Resellers: This is also true of weapons that are peiced together by other businesses and resold as completed weapons. IMO, this is the worst route to ownership you can take. You will be buying an AR that is warrantied as individual components (if at all) AND you will not be familiar with all the components if you go this route. Joe-Schmoe may have built 100 other rifles but remember that he's building them in record time. Just because the uppper and/or lower receiver (probably bought stripped to save some $) is any of the big-name manufacturers, the internal parts may have came from Pakistan.
    The largest gain from building your own is not in saving some $. You can usually buy an AR off the shelf rifle for less than what you will build it for. What you will gain is some sort of sense of accomplishment and the skill you develop while doing so.
    In my limited experience, the best return of investment in building comes from starting with the stripped lower receiver. It is extremely easy to build this half of your rifle. The problems associated with building the upper receiver can range from simple fitment issues to incorrect head-spacing. The latter of which can be extremely dangerous during the first firing.
    Build the rifle that fits it's intended purpose in your arsenal. Changing your mind half-way through the build is bound to cost you both time and money. You may also end up with an unsatifying comprimise in the end. A good example might be a flat-top receiver with a short, light barrel. Not a whole lot good unless you just like the look or have a specific sighting system in mind for just this setup. By that same token, I wouldn't want to be stuck with a conventional handle/sights top shooting through a high dollar fluted, floated barrel. Eventually I would imagine myself migrating to a flat top that would more securely hold a scope true. Then I would be out of the $ I initially spent for the non-removable-handle upper receiver. Hopefully 1 or 2 of these points will be useful to someone.
    -Fixxer
     
  11. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I don't have any because I still don't know what I'm doing. I found assembling a lower to be a piece of cake with just a little reading and looking at some pictures. I ended up buying a complete upper so I can't speak for that side of it.

    I'm already seeing a common idea here...."what do I buy?" I know one mistake I made in my build was that I got a mil spec buffer tube and I needed a commercial. If you were to break the rifle down piece by piece and explain the different components and the options available I think that would benefit many in the decision making and make their build less stressful.

    For me the only stress was you ladies nagging me about when the next step was going to be done.
     
  12. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    Cast, forged, billet and machined. All terms that make me cringe when tossed about with abandon.

    No thank you. ;)
     
  13. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    Or you could use the punch tool method like I did

    +1 on this one, a very useful tool indeed

     
  14. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    I think the most important thing when buying or building your first AR is research and lots of it. Don't be lazy and take short cuts, do your homework and learn what you want. Learn the terminology, the different designs and the quality manufacturers. After acquiring that knowledge the odds of ending up with a great rifle go up exponentially. Don't expect that others on the internet know that much more than you or that they know exactly what you want. Or care...

    Starting your research at least a couple months before pulling out the credit card guarantees you will end up with a better rifle than listening to what others recommend. Of course listen to what others say but find out what worked for them and what didn't work. Slowly get it straight in your mind what you want and how much you want to spend.

    Really this isn't much different than buying or building a computer or home theater system. Or even a car. First lots of research and learning the system, then buy quality parts that are the best fit for you.
     
  15. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    Well I'll stand by the advice you gave me JD - buy/build an AR15 and a AR10.

    Like others here at FTF I came in with no knowledge/experience in the AR platform at all. It was the look of the rifle that appealed to me first. More research and it was the simplicity that appealed to me next. But after reviewing what I would like to get out my AR it was obvious 1 platform would not suffice.

    I think the best starting point one can have is figuring out what exactly they want/need the rifle to do. From there it is relatively easy to configure the AR platform to those needs.

    As for a end all b all thread for build direction I think some of the members here have already provided the base info needed. Maybe with a lot of editing and clean up and maybe just sticky the top 3-5 build threads.
     
  16. Shihan

    Shihan Active Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Next question, Uppers: A1, A2, A3 so on, what differentiates them from one another? What about the style Feed Ramps?
    So many Choices.
    I am going to have a hard time making decisions in what to buy for my build.
     
  17. JR36

    JR36 New Member

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    So hypothetically speaking, if you somehow got your trigger guard roll pin stuck in the trigger guard with 1/8th of and inch sticking out, what would you do? I cant get it to budge either way, in or out. I just cant seem to get it into the next ear and it sure isnt looking good for getting it back out.
     
  18. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    A1, A2 and A3 generaly refer to the type of configuration and what kind of top you have to the upper receiver.

    A1 I believe was first in the early 60's. It had the carry handle, but it had a dial type rear sight fixed into the handle itself.

    A2 had the carry handle on the top of the receiver, but it had a more adjustable rear sight, definitely had the forward assist and I believe it added the deal for the left handed shooters where it deflects shells out and away from your face.

    A3 is the now very common flat top receiver, it has the 1913 picatinny style sight rail.

    I don't have the energy for the feed ramp argument tonight. Do some googling and read ALL ABOUT everyone's view on that little topic. :rolleyes:

    JD
     
  19. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Ha ha hah. I feel for you brother. Most everyone has been there at one time or another. :cool:

    Do you have a punch set and the AR bench block ( the green one that is so common )?

    The other option is to flip it over, get a small drill bit that is just "-" that much smaller than the roll pin hole and drill the sucker out. Be careful. Very, very careful. :)
     
  20. JR36

    JR36 New Member

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    Well its good to know im not the only one to have this problem. Ive no bench block and the only punch set I have is a tapered one. Thinking Im going to have to drill it out, but a big part of me just wants to smash it though at this point :).

    In other news, I just spent the last 10 minutes poking around the garage floor for a takedown detent :). Damn thing is that I had the garbage bag ready to go but forgot.