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Old January 30, 2013, 11:09 PM   #1
davebell18
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Looking at building an Ar-15 or M16

So I have been into guns for a while. I was an auto mechanic and now I am an electrician. So I would say I am mechanically inclined.

I have not decided what gun I would build yet. I really don't know what I am getting into so I am coming to you guys. Firstly I am wondering what gun you would recommend and caliber. I am wondering what tools I would need. Roughly how long it takes to build. I understand that my first one will take longer than the second, third, and so on. I know that I will get to pick what I want to put on the gun instead of buying an already built one and buy parts to put on.(spend more money in the long run). I guess the more tips and knowledge you can share the better. Thanks for all your time.
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Old January 30, 2013, 11:39 PM   #2
SGreve32x
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I would suggest an AR15 in 223. Parts are common and many acc. out there for it. But with the way the times are now, The parts are costing a fortune and so is the 223 ammo.
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Old January 31, 2013, 12:40 AM   #3
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I did my first build about a year ago. I got my lower from Palmetto State Armory and most of my parts were from del-ton I think. I spent a little extra and got a LPK with a magpul MOE grip and stock and I'm very glad I did.

Anyway my main advice would be to spend a little bit of extra money and buy top of the line parts. The LPK and BCG won't cost you too much more but a good upper is going to cost a noticeable amount more. Overall I'd say a top-quality build will run about $200-500 more than using cheap parts depending on your build. Where you can save money is the stripped lower, one is about as good as another if you're talking forged which is the standard. A milled lower is going to give you a unique look and more strength but it will be over kill. Last year before the panic my two PSA stripped lowers were $80 each plus shipping. It might be prudent to wait and see if prices come back down. M4carbine.net has a lot of valuable info on builds, what to look for parts-wise and why.

I put mine together with an old claw hammer, a leatherman, and some punches. I have a collapsible stock so I also needed a stock wrench which wasn't expensive. Had it together in maybe two hours, probably less. I watched several videos online of how to do it before I even ordered my parts until I could almost build a kit from memory. Still I set up my laptop and watched the video again as I put it together and ended up pausing it and rewinding a lot. Every builder will tell you to get a receiver block that clamps into a vice and that's good advice, but I didn't have a vice and I got it together without much issue.

For caliber I'd start with the classic .223/5.56, though most builds should be pretty much the same.
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Last edited by bigghoss; January 31, 2013 at 12:51 AM.
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Old January 31, 2013, 01:24 AM   #4
Dr Big Bird PhD
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Get a 5.56 barrel if youre gonna go with the standard .223 build. Knowing that my AR will eat any .223 round I put into it is comfortable.

Also I agree with BigHoss. Save money on the LPK and stripped lower. I got a CMMG lpk, $55 off gunbroker. Included everything I needed except the buffer and stock.
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Old January 31, 2013, 03:46 AM   #5
Chinny33
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great enthusiasm, poor timing

I believe, even now, it is cheaper to assemble a rifle than to buy one
Ive built a dozen AR-15s and a few AR-10s from scratch.

off the shelf, there was a time that it was marginal savings to assemble one. Del-ton sold some ARs for $650. NO WAY you could build one for that cheap. That same rifle is selling for $2,000 now. i think with patience, perseverance, a graceful wife, and a deep pocket you can build an AR-15 now.

now prices
Lower Receiver ($350)
Lower parts kit ($200)
Carbine Buffer tube assembly ($150)
Magpul MOE Stock ($100)
Complete Upper Receiver ($800-$3,000)
no sights= ~$1,800

There's a catch. GOOD LUCK FINDING the stuff. Ive seen 'standard' lowers sell for $500.

I hope you have a COMPLETE lower parts kit. Ive had 2 kits have 'missing' springs.

Your rifle is only as good as your sights. Typically I'll budget my sights cost 50%-60% of the rifle. So my $2,000 rifle has a $1,100 optic on top. Trijicon, EOTech, Leupold, back up sights, lasers. I LOVE trijicon. Since you are starting out, i suggest Magpul's flip up sights. I think they are around ~$110 for the pair. They are plastic, so if you bang them around, they dont bend, they break.


Im happy you want to get into AR-15s. Best of luck to you and your build.
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Old January 31, 2013, 11:23 AM   #6
Marquezj16
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Go to Ar15.com. They have a part by part instructions on building the lower. For the upper, you tube has plenty of videos. I like gavintoob's videos as he breaks it down section per section.

Good luck with your build. Be patient as parts are hard to come by at the moment.
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Old February 3, 2013, 09:39 AM   #7
Mobuck
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I'd be careful about building "an M16" or even commenting about doing so.
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Old February 3, 2013, 11:02 PM   #8
davebell18
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Mobuck why not?

I was told to get a 556Nato cause they also shoots the 223. Also get the barrel that is 1:9 cause its in the middle and will should all gr ammo average. Now I'm wondering if anyone is selling a stripped lower and how much(please pm me). Also does anyone have a lower receiver parts kit? What should I go with? What are average prices. I want to upgrade most of the internal parts so then I am able to shoot it and not having to worry about taking it all apart. I was also told not to go cheap on the barrel. If anyone has anything to sell for a decent price that would be great. Please pm me guys. Thanks
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Old February 3, 2013, 11:16 PM   #9
brmfan
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You do realize an M16 is full auto and requires the NFA stamp? You cannot even begin to build one or even have on you certain parts (auto sear in particular) until you get BATF approval first.
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Old February 4, 2013, 02:38 AM   #10
Dr Big Bird PhD
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Quote:
Mobuck why not?

I was told to get a 556Nato cause they also shoots the 223. Also get the barrel that is 1:9 cause its in the middle and will should all gr ammo average. Now I'm wondering if anyone is selling a stripped lower and how much(please pm me). Also does anyone have a lower receiver parts kit? What should I go with? What are average prices. I want to upgrade most of the internal parts so then I am able to shoot it and not having to worry about taking it all apart. I was also told not to go cheap on the barrel. If anyone has anything to sell for a decent price that would be great. Please pm me guys. Thanks
No, a 1:9 twist rate is best suited for lighter grain ammo. 55gr max really.
The 1:7, like what I have, can shoot anything factory made that is 55+. Including 62, 75, etc. The 1:8 twist radius is supposed to be the middle man. However it probably shouldn't fire the two extremes 44 or 75.

The vast majority of stuff you find is 55. Frangible will be lighter, game hunting will be heavier.
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Old February 4, 2013, 07:44 AM   #11
Mobuck
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If you don't already have the parts, you're in for a rude awakening. IF you can find a lower or LPK, you'll pay theough the nose. I'd suggest you just wait a while and see what happens in a few months. It'll either get better(price/availability wise) or it'll get much worse and you won't be able to own one anyway.
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Old February 4, 2013, 08:07 AM   #12
davebell18
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If I have to order from website and wait a month or two I'm ok with that. Then hopefully i will get one!!
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Old February 4, 2013, 02:24 PM   #13
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Before the panic I built 3 lowers two with PSA classic kits and one with the MOE build kit. The MOE lower I use the most and cost less than 300 bucks with a SAA grim reaper stripped lower. the other two were under 250 I think.

AL
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Old February 4, 2013, 04:02 PM   #14
TacticalDefense1911
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Your best bet if you need a gun "right now" is to buy a complete gun. Parting a gun together is very difficult right now as parts are very scarce.

If you want to build a gun then the most important things are to get a good barrel and a good bolt carrier group. I'd suggest using quality parts from Colt, Daniel Defense, Bravo Company, and Noveske for these important parts. A lower receiver could be just about anything. There are a few odd-ball lowers out there that are known to be out of spec or junk but for the most part a lower is a lower. Lower parts kits are a place to watch out for junk. Higher end kits like Colt, Daniel Defense, Stag and CMT are usually prefered. CMMG is usually considered a lower end kit but I had very good luck with the one LPK I've used from them. Actually ended up having better fit and a better trigger then my Daniel Defense kit. I've heard of people having good luck with PSA also.
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Old February 4, 2013, 04:57 PM   #15
greentick
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Quote:
No, a 1:9 twist rate is best suited for lighter grain ammo. 55gr max really.
This is not correct. I have a 1:9 that I've shot up to 70gr with good result.

The bottom table shows max bullet weight per twist rate. Look at .224 column.

http://www.riflebarrels.com/products...wist_rates.htm
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:52 PM   #16
davebell18
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My goal was to either buy a complete lower and build the rest. I was planning on spending around 1k and I was hoping the gun would be worth around 1500. The reason for possibly buying the lower was because I cant seem to find anything in stock. I was hoping to get lucky on here and other websites to find someone who would want to part. Another reason I was to build is so that I don't have factory parts left over and in the long run spend more money.
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Old February 4, 2013, 10:04 PM   #17
Justice06RR
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Dave, if you look around you can find complete uppers for around $900 with the Bolt Carrier Group and Charging handle. Online private sales like ArmsList is your best bet. There's a seller on my local forum that is selling a complete Spikes Tactical upper with BCG for $900.

Pair that with a complete lower around $400-500 and you are golden.


As others said, "building" (more like assembling to me) AR15's right now is not exactly fun because parts are hard to find or very very expensive. I have orders that have been sitting for 2 weeks that are still not being processed or shipped although they already took my money (VTsupply.com).
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:49 PM   #18
davebell18
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Well guys thanks for all your help. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a Windham Weaponry Ar-15 223/5.56! I bought it at Cabelas without a sight so now I'm looking for an inexpensive sight but accurate. Something to get me by at least a year or so until i get more money! Anyone have anything for sale?
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Old February 8, 2013, 08:16 AM   #19
Skans
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I'm doing an AR build right now, mainly because I don't like what's available for sale right now. You can't find anything already assembled with quality billet 7075 matched receivers, premium parts and a sleek, lightweight handguard / rail system. And, if you could find this, they are asking $3K+

At least I have a spare barrel lying around, a premium bolt carrier and some lower receiver parts lying around to get me started. It's still going to take me awhile because of the cost of some of the stock and rail systems I want to use. I'm just going to take my sweet time after I have the lower assembled with stock.
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:54 PM   #20
Justice06RR
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Congrats on your purchase of the Windham AR. They are good rifles and should serve you well.

A popular option for backup sights are the Magpul MBUS which are affordable and functional. They are made of plastic (polymer). If you want a non-plastic sights, look into Troy or Midwest Industries.
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