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Old April 16, 2013, 09:53 PM   #1
IDT
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AR-15 Build - What would you have done differently and why?

Well, thanks to a supply mess-up by Mega Arms, I’ve managed to either purchase or receive the very last part needed to finish my AR-15 build. This being my first AR build, I probably went overboard in places - but I have a reputation of never selling a gun in my life and if I was going to build it, I had in my mind that I was going to build it "right" as I'll probably have it until the world no longer has me.

Today, I purchased (not shipped yet) from Gunbroker the last piece - my stripped upper receiver: While the Mega Arms debacle had left me wanting for a billet upper, I took my assembled lower to a few local gun stores today and "tried on" various uppers - all of which were forged. Some people may not have an issue with mix-and-match parts like that, but for me - I just couldn't do it.

So while sitting at the shop of an FFL friend and using his gunbroker account, I stumbled across a Spikes Tactical "Biohazard" billet upper which, looks to be significantly more badass than the Mega Arms upper was. And I pounced on it. Probably paid much more for it than I should have - but after searching about 500 other sites and finding nothing in stock, this one magically appeared, so I bit the bullet and hit the "buy it" feature." But at least I can now finish the build.


Not my photo as I don't have it yet - it's being shipped.

What I REALLY like about this upper is that the design on the left is specifically for the Magpul B.A.D. lever which other uppers tend to rub on. So this will fit PERFECTLY. M4 feed ramps and all the other jazz!

Also - the Spikes Tactical Biohazard Billet Upper...well, the design... IS FANTASTIC! Now, I am fully aware that there is a mindset that thinks billet is stupid or not worth it or a waste of money - but I disagree. ESPECIALLY in this time period when manufacturers are rushing like crazy (Except for Mega Arms apparently) to send as much product out as possible - the quality control MUST be slipping. And errors in forging do and will happen. When a solid block of aluminum is placed on a CNC machine and milled out with a computer - chances are - it's right...and that was the primary selling point for me. That and the fact I really like the look and "feel" of the billets better than forged. YMMV.

For the forearms, I had decided long ago to go with the YHM-5009-TJ but they have been out of stock for as long as I have been looking. Recently I found them in stock at Midway USA and for $27 less than the MSRP at YHM. I went with the extended rifle length (15”) as I have a 16 inch barrel. This gives me the ability to put the iron sights as close to the end of the barrel that I can and only leaves 1” of the barrel exposed from the forearm. It might look a bit strange at first, but I think I’ll like it.

After laying everything out to look at what the build will be like after it's finished, I think I’ve made some solid choices in my selected parts.

Here is a full component list of all the parts I've purchased for this AR build:



Barrel: Recce 410 Stainless Steel Machined Mid-Length Gas Impingment 1:8 twist 16"
Gas Block: VLTOR Low profile gas block GB-2S .750 Machined, phosphate finish
Gas Tube: Gas tube - Mid Length - w/roll pin
Trigger: Geissele SSA Trigger - Super Semi-Automatic - non adjustable - match grade two stage (2.5lbs stage 1 - 2lb stage 2)
Upper Receiver: Spikes Tactical Stripped Billet M4 Bio-hazard Upper Receiver
Lower Receiver:Adcor Defense, Inc Billet Lower Receiver
Bolt & Carrier: WMD NiB-X Nickel Boron coated Bolt carrier group. (Properly staked gas key - grade 8 fastners) Carrier, bolt, firing pin, extractor - all parts. Semi-Auto
Bolt Release: Magpul B.A.D. Lever
Pistol Grip: Magpul MAID AR Basic Grip Kit, Black
Stock: Magpul UBR Collapsible Stock
Lower Receiver Parts: Spikes Tactical AR-15 Lower Receiver Parts Kit, extra trigger & spring, extra disconnector and spring, extra hammer and trigger pin, safety selector, detent, spring, bolt catch, magazine catch, front pivot & rear takedown, buffer retainer spring and plunger, extra pistol grip - USA made above Mil-Spec
Forward Assist: PSA (Palmetto State Armory) AR-15 Forward Assist Assembly with forward assist, spring and roll pin
Silencer: Yankee Hill Machine Company 5.56 / .22 Stainless Steel Q.D. Phantom Price includes tax stamp
Dust Cover: Leo Armory Laser Engraved Dust Cover
Recoil Buffer: Spikes Tactical AR-15 Carbine Action Spring & ST-T2 Heavy Buffer
Iron Sights: 45 Degree Offset (Dueck Copies) Iron sights
Handguards: Yankee Hill Machine Company 15" Todd Jarrett Competition Free Float Tube / Quad Rail Handguard Extended Rifle Length


Out of all the parts in this build that may need more description is the BCG (Bolt Carrier Group) from WMD. However if you have any questions about any of the other parts in this list, I'll be glad to share what information I do have.

WMD BCG:


This thing is strange. It's my first NiB part and I've had zero experience with them before. But it's slick. It feels greasy/oily to the touch but there isn't any residue on my fingers afterwards.



The gas key looks well staked - there are no burs or jagged machined edges visible. And ALL parts of the BCG with the exception of the retaining pin are NiB coated.



The best part for me was the warranty that WMD gives its parts"
Quote:
This warranty covers the products of WMD Guns for failure of the NiB-X coating against chipping, peeling or wear-through. The warranty is of unlimited duration. WMD Guns will re-coat the product free of charge including return shipping costs...
Then in the included instructions:
Quote:
...the bolt and carrier can now be cleaned and put back into action without harm from lack of lubrication. The number of rounds fired before cleaning will change due to powder variations. Some powders are dirty (heavier fouling). Other factors, such as the use of a suppressor, will leave the rifle dirtier and will increase the need for cleaning.

The NiB-X bolt & carrier will operate without lubrication until a fouling buildup prevents the bolt from closing into the battery. NiB-X bolt & carrier can be cleaned in the field with a brush and / or a rag with no cleaning solution needed. Fouling will wipe off and heavier fouling can be scraped off.

The NiB-X bolt gas nozzle end can be scrapped clean with a dull metal edge without harm to its coating. Stainless steel brushes are recommended and will not harm the coating.
According to the manual the BCG is:

Quote:
- Bolt Assembly: case hardened, shot peened, magnetic particle inspected, Carpenter 158 bolt with high-performance extractor, ejector springs, one-piece gas ring and special O ring buffer.
- Carrier: 8620 material (M-16 style), heat treated and case hardened.
- Gas Key: Attached using grade 8 hardened fasteners, staked per mil specs.
- NiB-X coating on all compents is highly lubricious (CoF= .07)
- All components manufactured by US Suppliers to the military/industrial complex.
So based on their claims AND their warranty - I think I did right in getting this BCG. I'll know more after the upper receiver comes in and I finish the build. Here is as it sits now:



Shown Installed is the Geissele Super Semi-Automatic SSA Trigger, the Magpul B.A.D. Lever, the Magpul MIAD Grip, a Spikes Tactical ST-T2 Heavy Buffer, and the Magpul UBR Collapsible Stock.

Now, here is the kicker - while anyone with a punch set and a bench vice can assemble an AR-15 from parts - and it works - I am not. I assembled the lower but I've also learned a lot in the process and talking to actual gun smiths - not range warriors who assemble AR-15s all the time and think they know everything.

After my upper comes in, I'm taking the upper and my barrel with gas tube to the smith. Using his machine shop he will affix the barrel to the upper without slop, without movement of any kind, and to the most exacting tolerances possible - and it will be a permanent seating. The accuracy of AR-15s is almost always damaged by the method of the barrel seating in the receiver. So he will "true" the surfaces and ensure the most perfect fit possible...this will not be a "tightened in barrel."

I'd really like some comments or critiques on the build regarding the specific parts I've chosen (and already bought) - Seeing as how parts are parts, if I've made a grave mistake somewhere I'd like to know so I can change it out.

After I finish this build and after parts come back down in price and are in stock, I'll probably start a .308 build on an AR platform. I love the FN-FAL L1-A1 that I have but it is damn heavy, and I really like the AR platform.

Last edited by IDT; April 17, 2013 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Title change
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Old April 17, 2013, 12:20 AM   #2
Quentin2
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I've heard good things about that BCM barrel though I went with their LW midlength and their standard M16 BCG. I normally used forged receivers but my last stripped lower was Quentin Defense's US Army Edition billet and I must say it's really nice. I'm also debating which billet upper to go with but in no hurry as I have plenty of uppers to use on it.

Anyway, nice build and let us know how it works!
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Old April 17, 2013, 07:26 AM   #3
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Even though I've, obviously, not yet shot it - I am really liking the barrel also. The more I read, the more it appears I made a great choice. I opted for the 16" as I just don't like the balance on the longer ones. Also, I reload and can tailor my rounds specifically for the barrel length.

After the gun smith fits the barrel to the receiver, I will also have zero play and it will be perfectly seated. This, to me, is where most accuracy on AR platforms is lost. Hopefully, if all goes well, I'll have a rifle that is better than I am and challenges me to improve my technique.
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Old April 17, 2013, 07:25 PM   #4
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Great choices, you obviously are sparing no expense to get what you want.


Quote:
So he will "true" the surfaces and ensure the most perfect fit possible...this will not be a "tightened in barrel."
Not sure what he can do to the barrel or upper receiver to "true" the surfaces, would he mill one or the other
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Old April 17, 2013, 07:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Not sure what he can do to the barrel or upper receiver to "true" the surfaces, would he mill one or the other
He was talking a million miles an hour and I didn't fully understand as I'm not a machinist. But he did say the barrel and the upper would be "forever attached" And I don't think he would "mil" the surfaces, but he might "fill in" or add to...hell, at this point it's just speculation though.

curious to know if any "precision shooters" in the AR world do this to theirs or not.
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Old April 26, 2013, 04:06 PM   #6
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Finished my first AR-15 - how'd I do?

I FINALLY FINISHED IT!!!!!
Now, all I am waiting on is the suppressor - but that should only be about 3 weeks more. This thing is SICK! The design of the brass deflector and the forward assist remind me of a F-117 Stealth Fighter.


The mating of the Spikes Tactical "Bio-hazard" upper with the Adcor Defense lower (both billet) creates a frigging perfect match and some amazing lines. Of course, I had to get the laser engraved dust cover... Also, I will probably re-do the fill-in paint that I applied. Not certain I like how it came up. I'm thinking a darker, blood red.


And when the dust cover is open, you can see the NiB-x coated BCG and that I laser engraved BOTH sides of the dust cover.



For two different factories making the upper/lower - they match fanfriggingtasticaly! The extra wide port on the Spikes upper - specifically for the B.A.D. Lever makes the upper have a completely different look.


Only about 1/2 inch of the barrel is extended from the forearm guard. I can put my BUIS as frigging far apart as possible for improved accuracy on the irons. Also, once the suppressor is attached, this will just be one sexy AR-15


The photos were taken before I installed the anti-rotation screws on the forearm guard and before the sights...
Thoughts?
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Old April 26, 2013, 04:51 PM   #7
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Making me jealous on so many levels. I think the real test will be how it shoots, though.
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Old April 26, 2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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Looks good, I am looking forward to seeing how it shoots. What are the plans for an optic?
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Old April 26, 2013, 04:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Making me jealous on so many levels. I think the real test will be how it shoots, though.
Most certainly. I had planned on taking it out today but other issues came up. So, HOPEFULLY, on Tuesday I'll be able to take it to the range and bring back a report on the function. If not Tuesday - then by the end of next week for certain.

I can't see anything being "out" on this build, and I have confidence in it. But shooting it will prove it.

Quote:
Looks good, I am looking forward to seeing how it shoots. What are the plans for an optic?
Right now, the optic will be irons. I am saving up for what most would call excess - but I REALLY REALLY WANT a Elcan Specter DR 1-4x. That's my dream optic for this build.
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Old April 27, 2013, 05:33 PM   #10
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Using a silencer will give you increased pressure at the gas tube. Use an adjustable block to reduce gas flow and keep from over gassing the rifle.
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Last edited by Lark; April 27, 2013 at 06:48 PM.
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Old April 27, 2013, 05:34 PM   #11
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i dont think youll be picked up on enemy radar while you are out at the range

the F-117 lines do look sexy
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Old April 27, 2013, 05:37 PM   #12
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I FINALLY FINISHED IT!!!!!
Now, all I am waiting on is the suppressor - but that should only be about 3 weeks more. This thing is SICK! The design of the brass deflector and the forward assist remind me of a F-117 Stealth Fighter.


The mating of the Spikes Tactical "Bio-hazard" upper with the Adcor Defense lower (both billet) creates a frigging perfect match and some amazing lines. Of course, I had to get the laser engraved dust cover... Also, I will probably re-do the fill-in paint that I applied. Not certain I like how it came up. I'm thinking a darker, blood red.


And when the dust cover is open, you can see the NiB-x coated BCG and that I laser engraved BOTH sides of the dust cover.



For two different factories making the upper/lower - they match fanfriggingtasticaly! The extra wide port on the Spikes upper - specifically for the B.A.D. Lever makes the upper have a completely different look.


Only about 1/2 inch of the barrel is extended from the forearm guard. I can put my BUIS as frigging far apart as possible for improved accuracy on the irons. Also, once the suppressor is attached, this will just be one sexy AR-15


The photos were taken before I installed the anti-rotation screws on the forearm guard and before the sights...

Quote:
Using a silencer will give you increase pressure at the gas tube. Use an adjustable block to reduce gas flow and keep from over gassing the rifle.
With a 16 inch barrel a silencer is only going to bring the length 2 inches past the "normal" 20 inch barrel mark. With the ST-T2 Tungston filled buffer, will overgassing be that much of an issue? Also - with the forearm guards I am running, not sure (as I haven't looked) that they make adjustable low-profile gas blocks....

Thoughts?
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Old April 27, 2013, 06:51 PM   #13
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Need to pull the trigger with it suppressed to be sure. If the brass is flung much farther with the can on or you get debris in the face when shooting, chances are you will need an adjustable gas block.
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Old April 27, 2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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Get rid of that red paint. Otherwise great build.
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Old April 27, 2013, 07:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Get rid of that red paint. Otherwise great build.
Honestly, it looks like hell in the photos. Maybe because of the flash. But in person it is much much more subdued. I don't know exactly why but it looks good in person and looks like ass in the photos.
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Old April 29, 2013, 08:28 PM   #16
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What do you mean 'will' be a sexy AR15?

Any plans for an optic?
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Old April 29, 2013, 08:37 PM   #17
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Yes - rather big plans actually.

It will take me a while as my current gun money budget is going towards diapers and baby food...but I REALLY REALLY REALLY want an Elcan Specter DR 1x - 4x
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Old April 29, 2013, 09:21 PM   #18
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I used a billet upper for my 300AAC and was not all that impressed with it compared to other run of the mill forged uppers. It looks different but looks don't make it shoot.
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Old April 29, 2013, 09:27 PM   #19
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Your Mileage May Vary...sorry about your experience with your billet.

I chose a billet upper and lower for two reasons

1) Billet pieces are machined with EXACTING control with the tightest tolerances possible all of which are precisely controlled by a non-tiring computer. While forged parts are susceptible to manufacturing slop - ESPECIALLY in today's time where factories are trying to crank out as many pieces as possible... I felt much more confident in purchasing a billet versus a forged piece.

2) As you said - the looks. But not just for the looks - the upper I bought has provisions specifically for the B.A.D. Lever which the forged ones don't...causing many negative reviews for the lever by forged upper owners...
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Old April 29, 2013, 10:00 PM   #20
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Hey man, as long as you like it. Right?
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Old April 29, 2013, 10:10 PM   #21
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For starts I would like to say its a nice build. You clearly sank some money into it, and time, and it shows, and whats important is you are happy with it.

Quote:
Your Mileage May Vary...sorry about your experience with your billet.

I chose a billet upper and lower for two reasons

1) Billet pieces are machined with EXACTING control with the tightest tolerances possible all of which are precisely controlled by a non-tiring computer. While forged parts are susceptible to manufacturing slop - ESPECIALLY in today's time where factories are trying to crank out as many pieces as possible... I felt much more confident in purchasing a billet versus a forged piece.

2) As you said - the looks. But not just for the looks - the upper I bought has provisions specifically for the B.A.D. Lever which the forged ones don't...causing many negative reviews for the lever by forged upper owners...
Not going to argue with you that Billet can and is tighter tolerances but your focusing a little much on it due to the platform. It is an AR-15 not a bench rest gun, and your still running a Mil-spec'd 16'' barrel, so any mechanical accuracy you would gain over a sloppy fitted forged mil-spec reciever would be minuscule really. Generally speaking even a dreaded wobbly lower/upper fit has no real world effect on mechanical accuracy unless firing from a supported bench rest style position where you may be resting the rifle on part of the lower or magazine.

Suppressors also often throw off point of impact, you build, although very very nice, still seems set up for more of a combat / gaming role, not a precision, so role. So all and all you can just admit that you liked the Billet better because it looks cooler than trying to justify it to yourself and us (teasing of course).

I do like how it is cut out for the BAD lever. Looks nice and stream lined. I have a BAD lever currently on my BCM HSP Jack Carbine and it does not rub, guess others haven't been so lucky however.

It is refreshing to see a nicely done build rather than a thrown together basic carbine m4gery due to all the demand right now.

Top Notch build I would say, however the rail isn't my favorite, but its still quality, the looks aren't for me however.
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Old April 29, 2013, 10:15 PM   #22
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To a point... possibly.

But that barrel is a 16" Recce barrel machined from 410 stainless with a 1:8 twist and hand lapped rifling

And thanks for the compliments on the build.
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Old April 30, 2013, 08:04 AM   #23
Achilles11B
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Out of curiosity, what led you to the Elcan? It's a solid optic with a good reticle, but it's a bit on the hefty side.
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Old May 2, 2013, 05:42 AM   #24
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How much money do you have in it? What size groups?
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Old May 2, 2013, 03:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
Out of curiosity, what led you to the Elcan? It's a solid optic with a good reticle, but it's a bit on the hefty side.
The weight issue, for me, isn't that much of an issue. I was an M-60 gunner for 12 years so as long as I can keep it under 23 lbs, I'm good to go! Also, the Elcan, specifically the Specter DR 1-4x seems like it does EXACTLY what I need it to do. It is rugged as hell. I can QUICKLY switch between 1x to 4x with the throw of a lever and go from the engagement of a CQB target to a rooftop at the end of the range. Also, no one can accuse me of being a band-wagon scope user as I can honestly say I've never seen another one outside of the military.

Quote:
How much money do you have in it? What size groups?
$2,921.32 - and that includes EVERYTHING (suppressor and tax stamp also) down to the anti-rotation screws in the forearm guard and each little spring and pin - even the dust cover. I kept an excel spreadsheet for the build which labeled each and every part.

I won't know what the group size is until Sunday when I take it to the range. The weather here has been less than fun to shoot in and I've been swamped.
I also just changed out the 45 degree BUIS for a set of MBUS as I don't have the optic yet. Once I get the optic, I'll go back to the 45s - but since I'm relying on the MBUS - it needs a GOOD sighting in. I'm also going to sight it in with the can attached as the cans change the point of impact a bit...and since I don't think I'll be shooting much without the can - why not.


With the can...


Edit: I am fully aware the front sight is on backwards. It is done with intent. That gives me an extra 3/4th inch between the front and rear and on this build - when closed, it looks better.

Last edited by IDT; May 2, 2013 at 04:09 PM.
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