View Full Version : building an AR15 - questions

February 13, 2000, 04:46 AM
After seeing a post at another forum (the ar15.com spin-off) I emailed Gunsmoke www.gunsmoke-inc.com (http://www.gunsmoke-inc.com) about their
kits. Heres their reply:

We have 16" & 20" weapons kits
post ban, 475.00 Del. We also have M4 weapons kits. The M4 barrels
are 14-1/2 " and have muzzle
brakes installed to make them 16"
legal. $495.00ea. Kits contain all parts to complete weapon less
stripped lower.

We have PWA AR15 stripped lowers
for $115.00 ea. Need a FFL.
Licence to ship to. All you need
is a couple of small punches to
assemble lower. We have a US.
marine corps tec. manual to help
you, $6.00 ea. Thank you, Gunsmoke Ent.

I'm fairly new to AR's. The only
one I own is a Bushmaster Shorty
AK, purchased about a year ago.

From Gunsmokes reply, it looks
like I could build a 20" version
for ~$590.

My questions.
1.) How good a quality finished
project would I have assembling
their kits? Would it be comparable to my BM, which has been 100%
reliable and fairly accurate?

2.) How difficult is it really to properly assemble an AR kit rifle? I've got the punches and other gunsmithing tools... and have a good bit of experience completely assembling/dissaembling 1911 pistols.

3.) With the help of the manual and tools they mention, is that all I really need to build this?

4.) Do these kits really have every single part I need for a complete rifle

5.) I saw Bushmaster stripped lowers advertised for $165. Better quality than PWA?

Any thoughts or suggestions welcomed - Thanks in advance.

BKs Pistol Pages (http://members.tripod.com/BK_GLOCK_1911_PAGE/index.html)

February 13, 2000, 08:42 AM

I built my first AR-15 from a Model 1 Sales kit on an ASA lower last summer. At the time I received my kit, I'd never even SEEN the insides of an AR before. Took about 2 hours to do full assembly. Used the simple instructions in a book I'd bought called "Build Your Own AR15" by Duncan Long (see Books & Manuals section on AR15.com).

The rifle looks good and shoots better........ I'm thinking very seriously of doing another one soon.

Don't pass up the opportunity to experience the pleasure and satisfaction of building your own AR-15.

Just my .02,


February 13, 2000, 09:40 AM
I also built a kit from model 1 sales.

2-3 hours to assemble. There were spring problems necessitating me to clip a few springs down, but model 1 techinical support was always fast and friendly.

After a 200 round break in period it is 100% reliable now. The only other problem I have had is that the rear sight needs to be way left to be on target. I have been to busy to figure out what to do about this but the gun shoot well.

Overall it was well worth the time and effort to put it together for at the time a $400 savings over buying it off the shelf. My lower was a DPMS for $155, they seem to be good.


John Overbey
February 14, 2000, 11:58 AM
I know these are out of order, but here goes... As for quality, yes, I'd consider Bushmaster to be one of (if not THE) Best out there. As for the required skill level for putting it all together, it's fairly easy. My recommendation would be to pick up the video from Bushmaster. Very detailed, and takes you through each little spring and detent, so you can actually follow along and be finished by the end of the video. Yes, the kits do include EVERYTHING but the STRIPPED lower receiver. Lastley, I'd go with a Bushmaster kit. All parts are 100% mil-spec and they fully assemble the upper receiver (including checking headspace, etc) at no charge with their kits. If you do go that route, it should take no more than about half an hour to assemble (even quicker the second time around) and it should yield a top quality, reliable AR-type rifle. I've built and rebuilt several over the years, and two things have been consistent - 1) they have been near 100% reliable and more accurate than the shooter in most cases, and 2) they've all been built with Bushmaster parts. Coincidence? Probably, but I'm sold. Good luck.

[This message has been edited by John Overbey (edited February 14, 2000).]

February 14, 2000, 12:53 PM
swampyMO, Doctari, and John Overbey,
Thanks for the info guys!

Sounds like even I can assemble one of these rifles :D

John Overbey (or anyone), any idea how many extra $$ the Bushmaster kit is vs the Gunsmoke/PWA?

Thanks again.

BKs Pistol Pages (http://members.tripod.com/BK_GLOCK_1911_PAGE/index.html)

need more toys
February 14, 2000, 06:24 PM
I was building a DCM ar till BS23 stopped me. However, I was using a PWA lower, and i felt the fit and finish were far superior to a buddy's Bushmaster, plus it's was considerably less expensive. So personally i dont think that you can go wrong with a PWA lower. Now as to the rest of their kits....you got me

I need more toys. I must have more toys.

John Overbey
February 14, 2000, 06:47 PM
I'm not sure what the Gunsmoke kits are going for, and as a matter of fact, I seem to remember a year or so ago, that Gunsmoke was using Bushmaster parts in their kits. I'm not sure if it was 100% bushmaster parts though. Anyway, you can check out bushy's prices on line at Bushmaster's (http://www.bushmaster.com) web site. If nothing else, order one of their catalogs. It's free, and will give you prices on everything, as well as some very nice drool material. I think I still have a gunsmoke catalog at home, but even if I can find it, it's pretty old, so probably wouldn't be much use. I do know that Quality Parts Co. (Bushmaster) is definately competitive on their prices, their quality is excellent, and their customer service has been outstanding. I've been buying AR parts from them exclusively for quite a while because of this. As far as the other companies offering lowers, I don't care for olympic or armalite at all, but I haven't had a chance to play with a PWA yet. If you need any other info, let me know. Good luck.

February 15, 2000, 07:00 AM

I like the PWA lower over the BM, because it isn't blocked. putting on together is simple I did the lower in 30 min. using the directions posted on AR-15.com.

Need more toys,
you can still build the DCM if you got the lower before 1/1/00. I got my PWA lower end of Dec, and built the lower last week.

It ain't mah fault. did I do dat?

February 15, 2000, 07:33 PM
Thanks for the input everyone!

February 15, 2000, 09:32 PM
when the windage on an AR is way left, you prolly need to re torque the barrel

or give the sight base a whap with a no mar hammer

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Barreling Uppers...
Installing a barrel is really pretty simple. Solving some of the problems you can run into isn't. Probably the most common problem is excessive windage present
after the installation. The rear sight will be cranked all the way to one side. This is one time the manual doesn't help much, most military armoires learn this trick
early. Here's how to fix it. Clamp the barrel in a vice, using barrel blocks. Line up the front sight carefully on a vertical line, just like the book says. Now, look at your
receiver. Chances are it's leaning off to one side -when compared to the front sight. Using a non-marring hammer, hit the side of the carrying handle, as near to the
front as you can. This will rotate the receiver slightly to one side or the other. Here's the trick, hit on the side that the rear aperture is furthest away from. In other
words, try to move the receiver towards the rear sight. Be careful, you don't have to kill it, just a firm tap will usually do the trick. If the barrel is straight, aligning the
receiver forging with the front sight forging will usually put the windage adjustment right in the middle, and it takes about a minute to do it. Simple! One other trick
we should mention is for when you are torquing on a barrel nut and everything locks up. A squeaking noise, then it's like it's welded right there. The surest way to
break something is to keep trying to loosen it. This trick is so simple, we couldn't believe it. Put the whole assembly in the freezer, and leave it overnight. This gets
some differential expansion working for you. Pull it out the next day, and it will almost always come loose. We recommend using an action block, like the one we
sell, and clamping on the receiver to prevent breaking the index pin when doing this. A really good wrench, like the heavy duty one we sell, will prevent ruining the
barrel nut.[/quote] http://www.bushmaster.com/faqs/upper-lowerfaqs.html#3


February 15, 2000, 10:47 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by dZ:
[B]when the windage on an AR is way left, you prolly need to re torque the barrel

or give the sight base a whap with a no mar hammer

[QUOTE]Barreling Uppers...
Installing a barrel is really pretty simple. Solving some of the problems you can run into i

Great info!!!!

Thanks DZ!!

February 16, 2000, 06:39 AM
I built my first AR ten years ago with a kit from Bushmaster and it went together well. My shooting buddy, an old seal, stood watch over me while I did it. If you build it yourself, invest in a good set of AR armorer's tools like what BM has in their catalog. They will help you do a better job and you will have them for the next one you build. Oh, you will build or play with them more after the first one. It gets kinda addictive.

[This message has been edited by slickpuppy (edited February 16, 2000).]