View Full Version : Your Favorite AR15 Build/Maintain/Customize Book

Shane Tuttle
July 19, 2012, 08:04 PM
I thought I was going to buy my wife an AR in completed fashion. That might still happen. But the gearhead in me is having a hard time wanting to go that route.

So, I'd like to find a really good book on AR15 building/customizing. There's a TON of books out there that covers the basic M16 and such. If you have a suggestion on which one you recommend, I'm all for it. But I'm really looking for one that covers the custom (aftermarket parts and such) side of things...if there's really one out there.

I'm seeking content such as what's the difference between an A2 and an A4. Why they can't be mixed (if there's truth), what to look for in determining the quality...or lack thereof...in parts, etc.

July 19, 2012, 08:48 PM
The ones I have are:
Build Your Own AR-15 by Duncan Long.
The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide by Walt Kuleck
Black Magic: The Ultra Accurate AR-15 by John Feamster

I think you can find any of them on Amazon for under $20 each.

There are also bunches of videos you can buy, and a few that are free.

Aftermarket parts... get something fairly recently published. Like 2009 to present. There is so much more available than when I started... I made a lot of my own parts.


July 19, 2012, 11:53 PM
Lots of gun books are way out of date so don't trust dated building instructions and parts recommendations. There are a lot of great videos and PDFs free online. Take a look at Brownell's build videos and YouTube.

BTW, the M16A2 has an integrated carry handle while the M16A4 has a flat top railed upper receiver that accepts sights, optics and even a removable carry handle. Odds are you'd want to go flat top on a build, also called A3 or A4.

July 20, 2012, 05:25 AM
The AR market changes pretty rapidly, by time a book is printed it's out of date. Brownell's has a excellent set of assembly videos. On-line info well be more current than books.

Shane Tuttle
July 20, 2012, 10:54 PM
Those first two books you recommend are ones I was told to get to learn good basics, Creeper. Think I might by those.

Quentin, I took your suggestion and went on Brownell's site. I'm going to give it a shot.

Madcrate, you must be sick of me by now...:D

July 20, 2012, 11:25 PM
A good gun library, even one that some would consider slightly out of date, can be a wonderful thing to have.
I've never had a gun book, no matter how old or how "incomplete" that didn't have at least one or two valuable pearls of wisdom. Frequently, that pearl is not derived from the hard facts, but rather rather from insight into those facts.

Good building Shane,

July 20, 2012, 11:43 PM
The AR market changes pretty rapidly
Maybe this just comes from me comparing it to the PC market, but it seems to me like an AR today is pretty much compatible with one from 40 years ago. Why couldn't you take a 40 year old full length gas system barrel and put it into a full length gun built today? I know there is now the carbine and mid length system, but those are both more than a decade old. Even those pretty much go together the same.

I'm not so much doubting your knowledge as much as surprised by your claim. What has changed in the last 5 years that makes parts from 2007 not compatible or obsolete?

Even so, Brownell's does have some great videos on many DIY gun smithing projects.

July 20, 2012, 11:46 PM
... what to look for in determining the quality...or lack thereof...in parts, etc.

Shane, as they say quality is in the eye of the beholder. We all have different standards, needs and budgets. And applications for an AR. I'd say look at Bravo Company's specs for their "fighting rifles" and see if that is what you're looking for in your own build. Most of us don't need military standards but law enforcement, etc. just might want something that meets a higher standard like BCM's. Or for possibly home defense...

BCM® MID-16 Mod 2
The Mod 2 Carbine includes a drop in tactical handguard system and a folding battle sight. This model is ready to be accessorized with all your mission essential gear.

BCM® MID-16 Carbines will feature:

•BCMGUNFIGHTER™ Mod 4 Charging Handle
•Mid Length Gas System
•M4 Feed Ramp Barrel Extension
•M4 Feed Ramp Flat Top Receiver
•T-Marked Upper Receivers
•USGI 5.56mm NATO Chambers
•Independently Certified Mil-Spec 11595E Barrel Steel
•Chrome Lined Bore and Chamber
•Manganese Phosphate Barrel Finish on entire barrel
•Mil-Spec F-Marked Forged Front Sights
•Taper Pinned Front Sight Base
•USGI Government Profile Barrels
•HPT (High Pressure Test, per Milspec) Barrels
•MPI (Magnetic Particle Inspected, per Milspec) Barrels
•Bolt machined from Mil-Spec Carpenter No. 158® steel
•HPT Bolt (High Pressure Tested/ Proof)
•MPI Bolt (Magnetic Particle Inspected)
•Shot Peened Bolt
•Chrome Lined Carrier (AUTO)
•Chrome Lined Gas Key
•Gas Key Hardened to USGI Specifications
•Grade 8 Hardened Fasteners Key
•Staked Per Mil-Spec
•Tool Steel Extractor
•BCM® Extractor Spring
•Black Extractor Insert
•Receivers Machined from Aluminum Forgings 7075-T6
•Receivers Hardcoat Anodize per MIL-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2
•BCM® Milspec 7075-T6 Receiver Extension
•USGI Mold M4 Stock Staked M4 Lock Nut
•USGI H Buffer (1 USGI Tungsten, 2 Steel)
•Magpul MOE Enhanced Trigger Guard
•Low Shelf for RDIAS installation
•Low Shelf for Accuwedge use
•Un-notched Hammer compatible with 9mm use
•Fire Controls marked SAFE and SEMI