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Old April 13, 2013, 01:29 AM   #1
Steezy
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A2 20"... Old School Build?

I am not new to rifles, I am new to ARs. Can someone tell me who makes a 7075 Forged A2 upper with m4 feed ramps? I know it's not practical, but I want a fixed carry handle, ultra-reliable rifle. I am also looking for a quality 20" Hbar barrel from any manufacturer that is 4150, cold hammer forged, or high quality SS. The rifle will be heavy but I am not at all concerned with that as I am in great physical condition. I'd rather get an 18" barrel honestly, but would that be practical for a rifle-length system? This is a long term, piece-at-a-time build but I will do updates for anyone wishing to follow along with this build. ALLLLLL advice accepted and appreciated. I need to know which lower parts kits are top of the line, upper kit... all parts. I just want a really really nice rifle for this one. Chrome lining of the barrel and chamber is a must, unless the barrel is SS of course. Thank you in advance!!
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Old April 13, 2013, 09:31 AM   #2
Quentin2
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Have you thought about going with a standard A4 receiver then attach a carry handle? Since you're not going with a true retro AR, this would give you yesterday's "look" but also today's flexibility.
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Old April 13, 2013, 05:20 PM   #3
Steezy
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Thanks for the response. That would be the intelligent, easy way to go it seems, but I am just not looking to ever use optics with this particular rifle.
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Old April 13, 2013, 10:26 PM   #4
pat701
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Take a look at Rock River.
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Old April 14, 2013, 07:59 AM   #5
madcratebuilder
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I built something similar. A 18" heavy bull barrel, 1.120 at the barrel nut. Required turning the ID of the barrel nut. The barrel is a inexpensive DPMS mini SASS barrel. Sub moa results. It is nose heavy, zero recoil and the levang comp keeps the noise down.



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Old April 14, 2013, 08:53 AM   #6
Theohazard
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I've heard DPMS makes an A2 upper with M4 feed ramps. That said, if you're using decent mags and not shooting full-auto you don't really need them, especially if you're going to use a rifle-length buffer system.

M4 feed ramps were developed to increase reliability when firing the M4 full-auto; the M4 has a higher cyclic rate than the M16, so firing full-auto sometimes caused feeding problems, especially when using older mags with tilting followers.

I have a rifle with standard feed ramps and I've never had a problem with it. Granted, I'm running a 16" barrel with a mid-length gas system combined with a rifle-length VLTOR A5 buffer system.

As far as the fixed carrying handle, I know you said you're set on one but you welcomed any and all advice, so here's my opinion: I HATE the A2 fixed carrying handle. It's the one of the most useless parts I've ever encountered on a rifle. You should never, ever, actually carry the rifle that way, so what's the purpose of it? All it does is hold the rear sight, add bulk and weight, and prevent you from ever properly mounting any kind of optic. With a flat-top receiver, you can still mount a rear sight that's as good or better than the one on the carrying handle, but you also have a lighter, less-bulky rifle that can accept a properly-mounted optic if you ever decide to use one.

Back when I was in the Marine Corps infantry, we carried M16A2s and I grew to despise the fixed carrying handle. After I had been in for a couple of years, I purchased a Colt AR-15 at the PX that had a removable one. I immediately removed it, saw how much more convenient a flat-top receiver is, and hated my M16A2's carrying handle even more.
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Old April 14, 2013, 04:03 PM   #7
ratshooter
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Have a look at the A-2 Classic. I think it is close to what you want. It weighs 9 pounds and thats a deal killer for me. I like the classic lite myself. A 20" lightweight barrel and the look of the old style AR.

The A-3 classic would allow you to remove the carry just in case you felt a little adventurous.

http://www.dpmsinc.com/Standard-Conf...s_ep_69-1.html

I bought the Lite 16-A3 and added a RRA carry handle. I bought it from another poster here. New and unused for $100.

http://www.dpmsinc.com/223-REM-556-N..._ep_189-1.html

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Old April 14, 2013, 05:42 PM   #8
EIGHTYDUECE
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Look at Armalite's offerings

http://www.armalite.com/ItemForm.asp...b-822e58014822
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Old April 14, 2013, 08:03 PM   #9
Mobuck
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I have what you describe made by Olympic. It shoots Privi 69 grain HPBT very well.
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Old April 15, 2013, 08:59 AM   #10
Steezy
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madcrate, I saw that build and liked it a lot.

Theohazard, I guess I do remember reading that m4 feed ramps aren't necessary on a semi auto rifle length system, but I've been led to believe they are practical on every ar 15 since they can't reduce reliability any. Given that you've actually had to carry one for more than a little while, and since it does make sense that a carry handle is actually a hindrance compared to an a3 upper with a good rear sight installed, I actually think you're right... a3 upper it is.

I thought that the 20" offerings by DPMS, Armalite, Olympic and Rock River were far less superior to rifles built with "Quality" (Colt, BCM, LMT, whatever) parts? Maybe I have it all wrong. I am building this exact rifle in case of a natural disaster knocking out my community out and leaving it unpoliced, in case N. Korea and their buddies start looking for a new place to bulid summer homes, or in case of a zombie apocalypse. The typical long term stored rifle I think every home should have, all joking aside.

I will buy/have other semi's for HD, the range, hunting, etc. but I want this rifle in case of a serious long term survival situation. Please don't just tell me that nothing that drastic will never happen, that it's a weird reason to throw a gun in the safe, or something of that nature. Don't kid yourself, we all know that buggin out is a real possibility now-a-days with entire countries loosing their economic power, rising tensions across the globe, more frequent hurricanes/floods, political division ever increasing on our own soil,...

I guess I don't know what that ultimate AR would be. An 18" rifle-length Hbar? heavy, long lasting barrel but not too heavy? what bolt carrier, buffer system, etc? I'm not totally in the dark on this but I am looking to start buying parts this paycheck to piece together this build even though cash is tight right now. I want it to be a fun project but maybe I am in over my head here i guess... I'm just asking for an AK reliable (with moderate cleaning) AR that has a very long known service life with minimal breakage/stoppage/malfunction. Not based on opinion, I'm looking for the guys here who really have experience, no couch commandos, please. I need reliable information since I'm not in the know.
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Old April 15, 2013, 10:57 AM   #11
Theohazard
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Because you're building the rifle for a SHTF situation, I think you should go with a 16" standard-profile chrome-lined barrel with a mid-length gas system and M4 feed ramps. It doesn't matter that much which manufacturer as long as it's a good one (BCM, Daniel Defense, Noveske, Colt, LMT, etc.).

I say 16" because a shorter barrel can sure come in handy, and all you get from a longer barrel is a little bit more velocity and a longer sight radius, and you can still give yourself a long sight radius by using a longer rail.

Chrome-lined barrels are slightly less accurate than stainless, but they're more durable and more corrosion resistant, and I think that matters more for your intended needs.

I'm a big fan of a mid-length gas system for a 16" barrel. Most 16" rifles running a carbine-length system are over-gassed; with a mid-length you get less gas pressure so extraction is better and recoil is less.

I don't recommend a heavy barrel on a rifle you might end up carrying for any length of time. Heck, you might even want to go with a thin-profile barrel (though that would lower service life a bit). It's amazing how heavy just a few extra ounces feels after carrying a rifle around for only a couple of hours, and on a long patrol it gets way worse.

I agree that M4 feed ramps won't hurt, and since you've decided to go with a flat-top receiver availability won't be a problem at all.

As for the BCG, just go with a good standard mil-spec one; that's what I've always used and I've never had a problem. But if someone has experience with the chromed or nickel-boron ones and can convince you they're noticeably better, then go for it.

If you're planning on not running any optics right away, make sure you have some good iron sights (I like Troy, but there are a lot of good ones out there).

I'd also recommend a rail, I like a 12" - 13.5" free-float on a 16" barrel, but if you don't need the extra length you can save a lot of weight by going shorter. And as nice and as light as the smooth-profile modular rails are, traditional quad rails are better for a SHTF situation because there's no separate rail panels to lose or break. Also, you don't need to get rid of your standard front sight/gas block if you don't want to. There are plenty of long free-float rails that accommodate a standard front sight.

As for the buffer system, I like the VLTOR A5; it's longer and more forgiving with various-pressure ammo. But it's not completely necessary with a mid-length gas system; just use a heavier buffer and you'll have very similar results to the VLTOR A5.

I also recommend a good trigger, that can make all the difference in accuracy. Make sure it's a non-adjustable two-stage; my favorite is the Geissle SSA-E.

That's the main stuff I could think of for now. Feel free to ask anything else in case I left something out or you want more detail. And I'm definitely not an AR-15 expert, so I'd welcome any input from other members.
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Old April 17, 2013, 12:39 AM   #12
Quentin2
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Steezy, I think Theohazard gave excellent advice above. I'm a fan of a 16" LW midlength and have two, BCM and Daniel Defense. These are 6.5 pound rifles with the Magpul MBUS2 rear sight or about 7 lb with a RDS mounted. I also have a PSA gov't profile midlength with detachable carry handle that comes in a little heavier. That PSA has a nice retro look but can be lightened 1/2 lb quickly with a spare MBUS2. (All are A4/flat tops which really makes sense over A2 in many situations.) I use standard milspec triggers but know many folks want a smoother trigger. Any of these rifles would be ideal for your scenarios.

As far as high quality brand names for uppers and BCGs for hard use, BCM, Colt and Daniel Defense are high on the list. PSA is a budget up-and-comer. As you said, DPMS, RRA, Olympic, ArmaLite, Bushmaster, etc. might not be your first choices for self defense.

Last edited by Quentin2; April 17, 2013 at 12:50 AM.
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Old April 17, 2013, 05:50 AM   #13
LSnSC
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Nordic Components sells a Stainless 18" barrel that has a rifle length gas system and 1-8 twist. I have built a couple of rifles with them and they are excellent barrels.
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Old April 17, 2013, 08:21 AM   #14
EdInk
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Since you're plan is to use it for a natural disaster, zombie, marshal law, bug out type situation... I'll go ahead and say it... GET AN AK VARIANT!

All kidding aside, I would suggest something with a barrel length under 20" and any reliability features you deem worthwhile. The flat-top models are way more versatile than the ones with built in carry handles. You can put one on a flat-top model too. If you want the most basic sights try the Magpul MBUS or Troy BUIS flip-up sights on there.
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Old April 17, 2013, 10:29 AM   #15
Technosavant
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I have to say, I have a 16" LW profile midlength AR as well as an A2 20" government profile KISS rifle.

They both have their place, they both feel VERY nice. I'd not discourage anyone from building up a 20" A2. The balance on a 20" government AR is very good and it just feels right. Still, for a survival situation I'd far prefer something where weight is kept to a minimum. My A2 is more for use at the range than it is a serious defensive rifle (although it would work VERY well for that).

IIRC, my upper does have M4 feed ramps (and the integral A2 carry handle/rear sight), but I don't remember where I bought it... either from Bravo Company or PK Firearms, but I just checked and neither is stocking them right now. It's just going to be difficult to find one anytime soon.
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