View Full Version : Want to build an AR15 from receiver up. How?

May 8, 2009, 03:52 PM
I would like to build an AR15 starting with a stripped receiver. I was wondering if anyone knows where I could look to find how to do it by the book. I am in Washington state if that helps. Thanks

May 8, 2009, 04:00 PM
Might this not be more appropriate in the Rifle forum?

May 8, 2009, 04:55 PM
When I say by the book, I mean legally. I don't wanna start piecing something together and end up in trouble for not getting permits or paperwork.

May 8, 2009, 05:00 PM
permits and paperwork?

If you buy the receiver new from an FFL then you'll need to do the usual paperwork on that.... other than that, there's no paperwork unless you're planning to go with a barrel shorter than 16" or add a suppressor.

No other part of the ar requires paperwork or permits. You can buy the upper, barrel, LPK, stock, grip, and all the accessories over the counter like you were buying a spare magazine for your pistol.

May 8, 2009, 05:02 PM
Thanks Mr.NICEGUY. When I buy or build the upper will I need to do the usuall paperwork as well?

May 8, 2009, 05:04 PM
The lower receiver for an AR-15 is considered a firearm. If you buy this from a licensed firearm dealer, you do the same paperwork as if you were buying a complete gun. All you will be doing is completing the parts assembly for an existing firearm. Provided there are no local or state bans on this type of firearm, you have no further legal problems.

The upper is merely more parts. As long as you keep barrel length >16" and overall length >26", there is no more paperwork.

May 9, 2009, 07:49 AM
Also make sure all your internal fire control parts are semi-auto only; no full auto M16 parts. The atf views having an ar15 and the parts to make it full auto, the same as owning a full auto. Many of us have built rifles before, feel free to ask any questions.

May 10, 2009, 08:14 PM
Thanks fellas, Washington is still a rather free state when it comes to AR15's. Im starting with a stripped receiver and going from there. No full auto parts. Id rather not see the inside of a jail cell.

May 11, 2009, 11:45 AM
As said, there's no paperwork involved so long as it's non-NFA (semiauto, 16"+ barrel or a shorter barrel with permanently attached flash hider) and it's legal in your state (apparently so).

AR15.com has some GREAT helps (http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=226782) for building the things.

As said, you just get the lower via a FFL like any other firearm. Everything else is just parts- pick out what you want, order, wait for them to show up, then assemble. For a first time build I'd recommend going with a complete upper (or barreled upper assembly), since the barrel to upper receiver attachment is the only part that actually requires special tools (vise block for the upper and a barrel wrench). It's easy to do- with the arfcom guide I put together two stripped lowers with parts kits in about 45 minutes the first time out.

Jim March
May 11, 2009, 12:26 PM
On length, there's the barrel length minimum that everybody knows about (16") but there's also a minimum overall length - 26" I think? Damn, or is it 28? Whatever - find out, and meet it.

May 11, 2009, 01:18 PM
Got it. Thanks again. Hope to have pics up in the next couple months. :D

Bartholomew Roberts
May 11, 2009, 01:55 PM
There is also an obscure excise tax issue with building on a stripped lower that would only affect you if you later decide to resell the rifle you built.

It is a complex issue (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=313409&highlight=excise+tax); but the short version is that you don't pay the 11% firearms excise tax on a stripped receiver or frame. As long as you are making this for your own personal use, it is not an issue. If the rifle is later resold, you are supposed to pay the excise tax but ATF has no way to accept such payments from non-FFLs and no guidance on this particular issue.

May 11, 2009, 03:00 PM
On length, there's the barrel length minimum that everybody knows about (16") but there's also a minimum overall length - 26" I think? Damn, or is it 28? Whatever - find out, and meet it.

That's not really much an issue on the AR-15 platform. If you are keeping the gun in the non-NFA territory, you have a 16" barrel. Then add in the length of the upper receiver and the buffer tube (even a shorter one for a collapsible stock) and you're still over the minimum 26" length. I forget exactly how long the upper is; it's at least six or seven inches. There's no such thing as a buffer tube shorter than four inches. For non-NFA ARs, you're automatically past the 26" minimum.

May 11, 2009, 03:40 PM
It is a complex issue;

So how does this apply to making a "firearm" on a FORM 1 and then selling it to someone? An excise tax was paid on the original firearm (if converted from an existing firearm), but not its final configuration. In the case of a suppressor and possibly a DD and AOW, no excise tax was ever paid.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 12, 2009, 06:44 AM
So how does this apply to making a "firearm" on a FORM 1 and then selling it to someone?

I could not say without more research than I have time to do right now - and even then my interpretation might not be the same as ATFs, who occasionally take an odd view.

May 13, 2009, 03:56 PM
If you make a title 2 weapon on an ATF form 1, then you just fill out the form, send it in with form 5330.20, fingerprint cards, photos and check. You engrave the receiver with your name, city, state. You can use the same serial number on the form 1 that is on the receiver. Advice is available on http://www.subguns.com and http://www.silencertalk.com . If you sell it, then the buyer submits the ATF form 4 and another tax is paid.


May 13, 2009, 04:38 PM
We know that. We were discussing the payment of an excise tax on a home made firearm and if that includes firearms made on a Form 1. This is different than the NFA "transfer" tax.

May 14, 2009, 03:07 PM
The issue at hand is being confused with all of this talk about ATF form 1; which would only apply if the rifle in question were full auto or barrel less than 16 inches.

The excise tax requirements are found in the Internal Revenue Code at section 4181. The excise tax is imposed on the "manufacturer or importer" of firearms and ammunition. As an individual involved in a hobby, you are not a "manufacturer or importer" as defined by law. If later on you sell the rifle, you are simply liquidating part of your personal collection; you are not engaging in a taxable activity.

As long as you are not in violation of state or local laws: buy your stripped receiver as planned, assemble you parts to it, and enjoy owning your ar15.

[I'm not a lawyer nor am I giving legal advice; I just read this stuff and share what I have learned with others]