View Full Version : Looking at an AR15 build a friend is making, need second (or more) opinions

February 2, 2011, 09:29 PM
I am not wealthy by any means, and a friend of mine is looking to build an AR15 and his current selection of parts are pretty much exactly what I'm looking for minus the flip up irons.

However, I am not very well versed in the brands he has chosen, and would like to know if his current selection of parts would make a decent starting rifle, in which I'll eventually start adding all the bells and whistles to down the road.

It's an M4 carbine style rifle that he's making with a flat top receiver. Here is the list of parts he's going to be ordering.

Lower Receiver:
www.pcfmfg.com (PCF C-15 Lower)

Upper Receiver:

Bolt Carrier Assembly:

Charging Handle:

Rear Sight:

If anyone knows of better deals or suggestions, please let me know. I personally was thinking of going this route as far as getting an AR-15 of my own, but instead, having the A3 style carrying handle/irons.

February 2, 2011, 09:46 PM

Lower - $100
Upper - $275
BCA - $130
Handle - $44
MBUS - $55
TOTAL = $604

Add $50 for S&H for the above pieces, and transfer fee at your dealer ($20 average), and you are looking at just under $700 to build it yourself.

Disclaimer - I have no experience - NONE at building my own AR. However, if you ever want to sell it and buy a nicer one, a "Frankenrifle" will not hold it's value anywhere near as much as a factory AR.

CDNN has the SW M&P15 for $799, and I think they have a cheaper version as well (with no carry handle, which you don't want as you said you prefer a flat top)

If it comes down to $100-150 difference, I'd eat ramen noodles for a few weeks and buy a little more quality.

Just my honest, ill-informed opinion.

February 2, 2011, 09:55 PM
Another option I was looking at was buying a complete rifle frome Buds Gun shop here


February 2, 2011, 09:56 PM
“The bitterness of poor quality Lingers long after The sweetness of low price is forgotten.” -John Ruskin

February 2, 2011, 10:05 PM
Between the Stag at $760 and the S&W at $799, take the S&W every day of the week.

I know this may be out of your price range, but I sucked it up and saved for a few months longer, and bought a new Colt 6920.

Best decision I've ever made - great quality gun, and it should last me a lifetime.

February 2, 2011, 10:10 PM
Oh mc223 that rings so true.

And a lower is going to cost more than $100, a $100 is a base price for a stripped lower. While they can be had cheaper you still need to add LPK and the stock assembly with buffer and spring which jacks up the cost.

If you really shop it's pretty hard to beat some of the factory rifle prices, but if your a real shopper buying a complete upper and a complete lower may still come in cheaper still.

February 2, 2011, 10:17 PM
I would get the STAG or the M&P 15 for around $700 +/-. While building yourself can be a rewarding experience in itself, you're really not saving anything over buying one with factory backing.

If you're going to be building for the sake of building, that's one thing. If you're building to save a few bucks, you'll find when all is said and done, the $50-75 you save really isn't worth the hassle.

February 2, 2011, 11:09 PM
If you're going to be building for the sake of building, that's one thing. If you're building to save a few bucks, you'll find when all is said and done, the $50-75 you save really isn't worth the hassle.
This "$50-75" range might be accurate on entry level guns, but not with higher end stuff.

February 2, 2011, 11:15 PM
It's kind of both really, I want to save a little but also building allows me to understand the workings of the rifle better. Just watching and reading how to clean an AR15 has helped me understand it a little, but watching and doing are two different things entirely.

I was thinking of saving upwards towards around a grand, but I have no idea what to look for. I am in the market for an M4 carbine variant AR15, I really like the standard detachable carry handle irons, and the shorter length is easier to handle.

So in the end, if I'm looking for the most simplistic package, I may as well go for an assembled rifle?

February 2, 2011, 11:22 PM
If your budget is a grand, and the options you listed are exactly what you want, I can recommend the Colt 6920 as a very very good option.

If you ever decided to sell it, you can recoup 90% of the value or so relatively easily. A very accurate rifle, and very good quality.

February 3, 2011, 02:01 AM
Kimio, go ahead and build if you want, just don't cut corners on the basic components. I still believe you can build a better rifle than you get off the rack for the same price but you must research carefully before buying. Learn what's available, know what you want and you must be patient and look for sales.

I recently built a S&W lower with a Stag LPK and BCM receiver extension/M4 stock kit/H buffer then added a Daniel Defense LW profile midlength upper that was on sale. With irons, MOE handguards, a PMAG and sling the price came in at about $900 which is similar to a factory S&W but mine offers many things S&W doesn't, like the midlength LW barrel, 1:7 twist, superior DD BCG and more. Sometimes you just can't get everything you want unless you carefully select parts and build.

I agree with reloader-1 and mc223 - eat ramen noodles for a while to avoid poor quality! Build something you'll be proud of, build what you want.

February 3, 2011, 02:37 AM
Buy the M&P15 from S&W $799 is a good price. You can add the bells and wissles later.

Besides, once you ad the stock, parts kit and mag(s) you will be at that price or higher anyways.

I went with a Bushmaster Carbon-15 Superlite 16 inch 5.56 on sale for $599.00 and added a quad rail, Houge pistol grip, bipod, vertical grip, and recoil pad for less than $100.00 so I am at $700 on mine and need to add maybe another $75 to add a flash light/laser holder and MBUS sight, and carry handle.


Bartholomew Roberts
February 3, 2011, 09:15 AM
Charging Handle:

$44? OK, here are my concerns - first of all, at one time, DPMS used a lot of extruded T6061 charging handles in their budget builds. These can and do bend under relatively mild use and they bind the rifle when that happens. I haven't looked at any DPMS product in a while, so I don't know if this is still true; but it would concern me when I am spending $44.

Second, a big extended tac latch like that in a normal AR charging handle will eventually shear the roll pin that holds the latch in if you use the latch the way it is designed to be used. You can replace the roll pin with a solid pin and that will delay the day of reckoning or give a solid enough pin to let you bend a cheap charging handle.

For $44, you can buy a BCM Gunfighter charging handle, where they resdesigned the charging handle from the ground up to be solid enough to withstand that kind of use and redesigned the latch as well.

February 3, 2011, 09:21 AM
This "$50-75" range might be accurate on entry level guns, but not with higher end stuff.

Absolutely correct. I am making the assumptiont that entry level is EXACTLY what he's looking at, given the links he provided.

For an entry level rifle, you're hard pressed to beat the Stag and M&P15 mentioned earlier.

Honestly, the $250 upper may seem like a deal, until you find that it's not chrome lined, doesn't come with a BCG, and therefore may not be headspaced correctly with whatever BCG you decide to put in the gun.

That's my poorly worded line of thought from my previous post.

February 4, 2011, 07:48 AM
Buying parts from 5 different places means 5 different shipping costs. At these prices, that is significant. And yes, the DSA upper deal is not as much a deal when you add the $130 BCG. A complete upper from Del-ton is $400, including BCG.

I have used a Badger tac-latch for a few years in 3-gun matches and not had a problem, but the only reason for me to have it is because my scope makes it hard to grab the handle in normal use.


March 9, 2011, 12:25 PM
getting started on a build too but remember you can get good quality for cheap!

ergo grip take off guy didnt like it put on took it right off 15 dollars shipped

dpms Lower kit after coupon code and visa rewards 38 dollars shipped
selling the trigger spring set the trigger guard, bolt catch and the grip hopefully ill get 10 to 15 putting the lower parts kit at 23 to 28 dollars shipped

ordered in the dpms tactical bolt catch, jp trigger spring kit to put it at 4 to 4 1/2 lbs, and a magpul moe trigger guard its suppose to arrive this week after coupon code and visa rewards $18 shipped

getting the stripped lower for 89.99 plus ohio tax for a bushmaster
(aluminum, I don't know if i could trust a polymer receiver just yet. with the take down and pivot pins ussually being made of a cabon steel 1040 to 1050 i don't believe the polymer will hold up to years of take down.)

so lower minus the stock ill have 151 dollars in it, with parts from accreditted companies that hold high qa procedures. and a single action trigger that will be between 4 and 4 1/2 lbs.

Hopefully your buddy has counted in shipping and handling and the ffl fee for the receiver that can tack on a extra 100 or better depending on how many distributors he goes through.

But good deals can be had, you just have to look and use resources you have.

The upper will be built on junk in the garage I no longer use and the power of craigslist and ebay furnishing the money!

March 9, 2011, 02:05 PM
I am a certified AR nut and have successfully built many of them but I have to agree with these other guys. Right now it’s a buyer’s market in the AR world and the S&W they are talking about (the M&P15A) is an excellent rifle and at $799, you can’t beat it. If you are looking for a basic, quality M4 type AR this is the one you want and you’d be wasting your time and money going the build route.

One thing I want to mention in case you don’t but this rifle… No matter which route you go, make sure it has a fully chrome lined barrel (Chrome Moly does not mean Chrome lined). I know some will disagree but IMO, “go chrome or go home”. Unlike what some people may think, this is not a rust thing (although that’s a nice bonus) it’s primarily for reliability and easy cleaning. Reliability, really? Yes, I kid you not.

As most people say, the “AR -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-s where it eats” meaning as your fire the weapon, the chamber area gets dirty fast. More so with cheap steel cased ammo, and real bad if it’s lacquer coated. When that happens, spent cases tend to stick to the chamber and not extract. Chrome lining doesn’t eliminate that 100% but does much better controlling that then a non-chrome lined chamber can. As for cleaning, let me just say that after cleaning a chrome lined barrel a few times, you will start to hate having to clean your non-chromed barrels. 1 of 2 wet patches. 3-5 dry patchs and your done. Easy pesy!