View Full Version : Buy or Build AR upper?

June 13, 2010, 01:54 PM
I am trying to decide if I want to buy or build an AR upper receiver. I will be building the lower but am not sure its really worth building the upper, it seems like most of the money that would be saved would be on the lower. I want a 16" barrel for a 5.56 nato 1/9 twist (not too important) with a flattop. the only thing I would do differently on one is probably change the handguard at some point but thats not necessarily something I need to do right away. What are your thoughts?

June 13, 2010, 03:48 PM
I'm not sure about the cost savings, but to assemble an upper you'll need some special tools such as action/barrel wrenches and headspacing gauges, and I think you'll have to drill the barrel for the gas port, etc. I considered it myself and ended up just building the lower and buying a pre-assembled upper. That's not to say I would never try assembling an upper, but being my first one and not real familiar with the platform I decided to do it that way. YMMV of course.

June 13, 2010, 06:09 PM
If I really wanted to build my house from scratch, I could certainly buy 10 empty acres of land, wait 20 years while the spruce matured and then mill it. I could mine the gravel, do what it takes to makes portland cement, etc. But that's kind of foolish. You don't need to drill a barrel to build an AR. You can buy it ready to go. It is all about degrees. I ended up buying a genuine military 20" FN barrel and assembling the rest. All the holes were drilled, gas block attached and barrel nut included. It doesn't matter who makes those things- if you buy a high quality AR barrel, those parts will be high quality. Handguards and upper receiver are more important than who makes the barrel nut.

The advantage to building an AR is you get get higher quality parts as parts. You'll still spend $700-$800 dollars but it will be equivalent to a $1200-$1500 rifle. If you just want cheap plinking, buy a Delton or something used in a local shop. It is easier and will be cheaper that way.