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View Full Version : Advice on an AR-15 Build


jcsturgeon
September 28, 2012, 07:06 AM
I'm a fairly experienced pistol shooter, but I have been thinking about getting a semi automatic rifle for a while now. I've flirted with the Ruger Mini-14 but now I'm considering a AR-15.

While I'm not that experienced with rifles, I have worked on guns in the past, so I'm confident in my ability to assemble an AR myself. My goal is to buy a stripped lower and a full kit online. If anyone else has a better idea, let me know.

I want to build something with an A2 configuration. 20'' barrel, fixed stock, fixed handle, old school hand guards etc. Can someone point me in the right direction? There seem to be a ton of sites selling kits and I have no idea which way to go. I really don't need anything fancy, I just want a retro AR. Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Olympus
September 28, 2012, 08:08 AM
First off see if there is a local shop that sells lowers at a reasonable price. It might be cheaper to buy the lower locally rather than buying online and paying the FFL transfer fee.

But as far as parts go, my favorite sources are Palmetto State Armory and JSE Surplus.

jcsturgeon
September 28, 2012, 08:15 AM
That's a good idea, I plan on looking for a lower at the LGS. Lot less fuss than dealing with a transfer. Palmetto State Armory is highly recommended, but they hardly seem to have any stock available and they don't make an upper kit with a fixed carry handle.

madcratebuilder
September 28, 2012, 08:35 AM
Rguns and Model 1 sales has retro stuff.

Do you want a A1 or A2 upper? Lot of places have the retro hand guards, grips and stocks.

I got this Bushmaster off a guy some time ago, A2 furniture with the A1 upper. Changed the furniture and muzzle devise, retro enough for me.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/AR15/BMA101.jpg

Ridge_Runner_5
September 28, 2012, 09:17 AM
^ Very nice. I'm slowly putting together parts for a build like that myself. So far I have the A1 handguards and pistol grip, which I think will be the hardest parts to find...

g20gunny
September 28, 2012, 09:22 AM
Do it! I am in a build right now and put one together with a buddy a few months ago. Its pretty easy with a little common sense and basic armorer tools (regular tools work ok). I now have buddies building four more.
I will warn you... Make sure you have plenty of cash because youll pribably build a second one very soon!
The hardest part for me was to pick from over 60 caliber options!
Good luck and have fun with your build.

tirod
September 28, 2012, 12:12 PM
There are a lot of sites that sell parts, but the thread on arfcom for the latest deals sure helped. It's in the Build It Yourself forum. Note the stickies at the top on how to assemble things. It doesn't take a bunch of special tools, some of us just used what we already had in the garage.

The fixed carry handle sight is problematic - you basically use it that way, and forget about mounting a scope at the proper height. It can't. Otherwise, most AR15 builders use the A4 flattop with rail, as it's far more versatile. You can mount the M4 carry handle sight for the retro look, or use flip ups, and then add a red dot, too.

Otherwise, it will still shoot, but you won't be able to use any optic well. Other than that, it's basically time consuming research to discover what are the best deals out there. Assembling the gun is about 5% of the effort.

Research and read, it's difficult to say what you prefer until you see what's available. Then pick your parts and find the best vendors.

madcratebuilder
September 29, 2012, 06:16 AM
The fixed carry handle sight is problematic - you basically use it that way, and forget about mounting a scope at the proper height. It can't. Otherwise, most AR15 builders use the A4 flattop with rail, as it's far more versatile. You can mount the M4 carry handle sight for the retro look, or use flip ups, and then add a red dot, too.

You should try a Colt 4X handle mount, the optic center line is less than .500" above the iron sight center line. Compared it to a typical 1-4X AR scope and one piece mount on a flat top it's just over 1" higher at the center lines. If you can't adjust your cheek weld for that, then the pigmy's shrunk your head.

There's nothing retro about a removable carry handle;)

Quentin2
September 29, 2012, 02:30 PM
... The fixed carry handle sight is problematic - you basically use it that way, and forget about mounting a scope at the proper height. It can't. Otherwise, most AR15 builders use the A4 flattop with rail, as it's far more versatile. You can mount the M4 carry handle sight for the retro look, or use flip ups, and then add a red dot, too. ...

I agree with Tirod. If you go with the A4 receiver you have a very flexible AR. You can still use a removable carry handle if you like the look or take it off and mount a flip up rear sight like the MBus2 which gives you room on the top rail for a red dot sight or scope. It won't be a true A1 or A2/A3 but with the M16A4 style carry handle it'll do what they do plus allow you to change your mind down the road.

Years ago I was very tempted to go with an A1 since it was much like the M16 I carried in Vietnam but now I'm glad I went with the A4 design instead.

Of course none of this means a thing if you really, really want the fixed carry handle.

madcratebuilder
September 30, 2012, 06:43 AM
I agree with Tirod. If you go with the A4 receiver you have a very flexible AR. You can still use a removable carry handle if you like the look or take it off and mount a flip up rear sight like the MBus2 which gives you room on the top rail for a red dot sight or scope. It won't be a true A1 or A2/A3 but with the M16A4 style carry handle it'll do what they do plus allow you to change your mind down the road.

What the OP needs is more than one AR;) The OP wants a retro build and that's A1 territory. The used market is flooded with A1 and A2 parts, easy to build a sub $500 rifle. I gave up a long time ago trying to make the AR serve more than one role at a time. It's always a compromise.



http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/AR15/sept12ar2.jpg

Eghad
September 30, 2012, 12:57 PM
Buy a flat top upper receiver you can get a detachable carry handle. You can mount an optic on a rifle with a carry with the right kind of mount but its kind of awkward. You are depending on the nut in carry handle mount to stay tight. The flat top is better because I can add a carry handle or mount an optic right on the receiver and the mount is going to keep it there.

alvaremr
October 9, 2012, 06:16 PM
Ordered a complete upper a la carte BCG and Magpul handgaurds on Aug29. PSA said 10-15 business days to ship, got it on Oct9, no BCG, MOE handgaurds but no stock handgaurds. But still all the charges. So 28 business days later I am with a gun that can't shoot and missing $160 worth of merchandise. Throughout all the conversations I've had with PSA's so called customer service, no one has given me anything(answers) other than sorry. I will never do business with them again.

FALshootist
October 9, 2012, 09:22 PM
I've had the opposite experience from Palmetto. Every order has been delivered when they said it would and the order was right.

jmstr
October 10, 2012, 02:22 AM
I love the A2 AR-15 I assembled with the Palmetto upper on an Anderson Manufacturing lower.

I am selling it though, as I don't get to the rifle range enough to make it worth while. But it was fun to craft it and use it.

Hmmm. Maybe I should take it to the range one last time... .


I love the A2 look myself, but I did go with the A4 upper in the A2 configuration for customizing it down the road.