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jman841
January 5, 2010, 08:51 PM
I was wondering if anyone has built there own AR-15 from a kit?

If so, Is this a cost efficient way of building an AR-15?
What brands are the best value?
Does it matter the make of the stripped lower receiver? It seems like as long as it is properly machined and made out of T6 aluminum they should all be pretty similar.

Is there anything else i should know about building an AR-15 with a kit as opposed to buying a complete rifle?

From my research into it, it seems like you could get a pretty decent AR-15 for around 6-700 dollars using a kit as compared to paying between 900-1000 for an average complete ar-15.

NSO_w/_SIG
January 6, 2010, 12:40 AM
yeah the only AR's I own now I have pieced together in one way or another, typically you can save some $$, although recently there have been some deals that are almost as good on certain rifles buying them whole.

Pretty much any forged lower that is in spec will serve you well. I'd look at Spike Tactical for some good deals on AR parts if I was currently looking to build one.

RockyMtnTactical
January 6, 2010, 12:54 AM
The cheapest I would go is Stag. Try ar15sales.com

Spur0701
January 6, 2010, 04:50 AM
You can get new parts kit starting at around $490 or so, chromed bores and chambers are the one things not usually included that I consider essential and that can pump the price up a little, maybe $50. Other extras or options will cost more. For new part kits I usually use J&T Distributing or Model-1 Sales. Receivers are anywhere from about $80 on up, there's a number out there and you'll have to research the one you want but my experience has been the some of the cheaper receivers such as Stag Arms make just as good a weapon as a higher priced one like a Colt or DPMS (i.e. your probably paying some for the name). I have built some retro guns for about $300-$350 with some older surplus A1 uppers I picked up for cheap, but those are aberrations......so you're looking at about $600 to build one......so you're saving a little money plus getting the satisfaction and expirence of building your own....which is not hard.

NSO_w/_SIG
January 6, 2010, 07:49 AM
It is general consensus that DPMS is a lower tier rifle than Stag so I am not sure why you'd include them as a "higher priced" maker like Colt. DPMS are some of the least expensive AR's around in my experience.

Mid-way currently has DPMS stripped lowers for $91

railroader
January 6, 2010, 09:32 AM
I have 2 rifles built from kits from del-ton. Both are chrome lined ( chrome lining is $45 and worth it) and they run great. They eat any ammo whether it's steel case russian or american brass case. I also use a ciener 22lr conversion kit in them and that works fine too. Here's their website, http://www.del-ton.com/. They also have good customer service too. Mark

jman841
January 7, 2010, 10:31 AM
Very nice, i was looking at the Del Ton. The way i see the kit is it allows me to get the exact AR-15 i want for a good price. So I can get the match trigger and what ever for about the same price that a stock already built one would cost me. the J&T distributing ones looked in the same price range as Del ton. Which one would you choose of the two?

Dirk00001
January 23, 2010, 03:46 PM
Man, wish I'd seen this thread back when you first posted it...don't mean to dredge up old topics, but as I just recently started building my own AR's I figure I'm in a position to give you some advice. Hope I'm not too late! :eek:

* You're looking at over $100 in tools, upwards of $200-300, to be able to build an AR from scratch. I bought just enough of the "right tools" to be able to put together a stripped lower plus a pre-assembled upper/barrel assembly, and they ran me around $200. Of course part of that depends on what you already have (I had very few of the proper tools), and you can get away with not buying certain AR-specific tools (like a vise "action block", to name one), but in the end you're still going to have to invest some cash into the tools.
...and (good) roll-pin punches ARE A MUST.

* Unless you are planning on building a lot of rifles (and possibly even then), you're better off buying completed upper assemblies instead of starting with nothing but parts. Fitting the barrel to the upper and making sure the barrel, chamber and BCG are all to the correct dimensions, properly aligned, and are going to play well together is a major pain in the arse, and the first time you can't get the barrel-upper-BCG to match up is going to make you wish you'd spent the extra cash (...and, depending on return policies, may result in you having to either start a brand-new rifle project in the hopes of getting those pieces to match up, or sell off parts).

* It's a great feeling to put together exactly the rifle you want, knowing that it's truly yours...but nothing sucks worse than putting all that time, effort and money into a rifle only to determine that it's a lemon that you can't return to the store or manufacturer for a refund or repairs. Just something to keep in mind, especially when you're buying your tools and/or rifle parts are wondering if it's worth saving a few bucks by buying brand X rather than brand Z.

* I really like the book "The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide, 2nd Edition" by Walt Kuleck with Clint McKee; step-by-step assembly instructions, no fluff and lots of pictures.

* RESEARCH and PATIENCE! No matter how much you prepare before-hand, the first time you assemble an AR you're going to run into one or more situations that you'll be unprepared for, you'll miss a particular step, etc. It gets way easier after that first time, but man, that first time...no matter how many times I'd read "roll-pins are a $%$@", I had no idea...

And yeah, these are probably all common-sense points, but they're the sort of thing that makes you feel better in an "...at least I'm not alone" sorta way if you've heard/read them before you get involved in the process.

dreamweaver
January 23, 2010, 03:55 PM
here's a build i never got around to. chrome bolt assembly, wilson 20" target barrel, dpms lower parts kit, UTG forestock, doublestar upper and lower......
you would need another $100 in parts (rear stock, gas tube, delta ring assembly.....) to finish it. there's $800 in parts now, but i'd let it go cheap if youre interested. i also have 300 rounds ammo i don't need.

http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/9810/dscf0351q.jpg

stuffaknuckle
January 23, 2010, 05:18 PM
I agree with dirk00001. If its just going to be a gun you occasionally shoot 200 rounds through and throw it back in the safe then its just better that you buy a complete one. The new and used market have some really good deal out there so you would probaly be better off anyways.

railroader
January 23, 2010, 06:24 PM
dirk00001, when you buy kits from places like J&T and Del-Ton you really don't need to buy a bunch of tools. The uppers are complete. You then just put the parts in the lower and install the stock and grip. It's fairly simple and takes about 1 hour. The main tools you need are some punches, a hammer, a pair of visegrips and a car stock wrench. I already had everything except the car stock wrench which was $6 shipped. Mark

sailskidrive
January 23, 2010, 06:40 PM
>>* I really like the book "The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide, 2nd Edition" by Walt Kuleck with Clint McKee; step-by-step assembly instructions, no fluff and lots of pictures.

Ahhh yes... the Fulton Armory boyz... I have two of their FAR-15s, very nice builds. Unfortunately also very pricey.

If you just want an occasional shooter a low end DPMS is probably a good investment. Personally, I like the Patriot Ordinance Factory lowers and uppers.

~Sail

Dirk00001
January 23, 2010, 07:14 PM
dirk00001, when you buy kits from places like J&T and Del-Ton you really don't need to buy a bunch of tools. The uppers are complete. You then just put the parts in the lower and install the stock and grip. It's fairly simple and takes about 1 hour. The main tools you need are some punches, a hammer, a pair of visegrips and a car stock wrench. I already had everything except the car stock wrench which was $6 shipped. Mark

I know, as I've put together several rifles - I purchase a completed upper kit (so far, at least; gonna build from scratch soon here), then build out the lower receiver w LPK, slap 'em together, done. Unlike you, however, I didn't have most of the tools, or at least, not the best tools for the job, when I first started...and since I believe that any job worth doing is worth doing right (or worth overdoing, as my wife would say), I went ahead and invested the money in new tools.

Although I understand/agree that you definitely don't need all of the following, or at the least can replace some with more generic tools, since I got into AR-construction under the assumption that I'd be doing it for a long time and eventually would be building them out without using any kits at all I figured I'd get everything I'd ever need all at once. So:

(approximate costs, not counting shipping)
AR armorer's multitool - $20
(Brownell's) Action Block/Vise Block set - $75 (and yes, I know there are cheaper ones out there)
Gunsmith hammer - $15
Roll pin punch set - $20
Pivot pin detent install tool - $15
roll pin starter punch - $15+
Tetra Grease - $5 (I use copper lube or reg CLP for my firearms, so this was an extra initial cost)
= $165, plus S&H

...and that's of course not including a vise, CLP and/or other lubricants, cleaning rags, masking tape or equivalent to protect the lower receiver's finish when you're installing roll pins, pliers, vise grips, and anything else you might not have. Thus my statement of ~$100 just in AR-specific tools, and up to a couple hundred more bucks if you don't own other basic workshop tools.

And since we're on the topic, I've got a brand new Daniel Defense M4 carbine that I just built up for sale over at AR15 dot com. Sweet rifle for a great price...PM me if interested. ;)

railroader
January 23, 2010, 09:33 PM
Dirk00001 here is assembly instructions that are simple for putting a lower together. http://www.calguns.net/OLL/assembly.html This is a california legal version so the mag catch is different but it is basicly the same. I used the same tools plus I had a couple of roll pin punches. I put 3 of them together on the floor of my garage on a piece of carpet. One good tool you mentioned is a pivot pin detent install tool. A cheap substitute is a 1/4" clevis pin that you can get at Lowe's or Home Depot they are like $1 or so. You slide the clevis pin in, line up the hole, push in the spring and detent with something pointy. Now you turn the clevis a little and the clevis pin retains the detent and spring. Now you can push in the take down pin without launching the detent. Mark

Dirk00001
January 23, 2010, 09:53 PM
I've heard about using the clovis pin method, and if I hadn't been at work at the time I was ordering all of my tools I'd probably have saved myself the $10 and gotten one. But it's just so easy to press that Add To Cart button...:D

railroader
January 23, 2010, 10:10 PM
I've heard about using the clovis pin method, and if I hadn't been at work at the time I was ordering all of my tools I'd probably have saved myself the $10 and gotten one. But it's just so easy to press that Add To Cart button...

My wife says I need to stop pushing that same button. Mark

jman841
January 24, 2010, 01:25 PM
Wow, thanks a lot guys for some great advice. I was going to go with one of the Kits with a completed upper assembly and have the majority of tools needed. I watched a few video's and read a couple articles about building the lower and while it does seem a little bit tricky i think i can do it. I have not ordered anything yet because I am at school right now but when i get back home i will get it all together. Thanks for the offer on that kit you have but i don't want to deal with putting an upper together and really wanted a mid-length gas system. To me the mid length makes the most sense for a 16" barrel.

on a lil off topic note, next month (feb 20-27th) i might be competing in the All army marksmanship competition at fort benning GA. To practice till then i have to rely on borrowing friends weapons but that is the main reason that i want to build one. We don't get nearly enough trigger time with my ROTC unit to be able to compete effectively.