View Full Version : Beginner's AR15 Build, Comments and Advice Welcome

September 13, 2012, 07:03 PM
Hello everybody! Already introduced myself in the General Discussions section. Anyways I'm 20 almost 21 years old. Somewhat new to the firearms world but I have a handful of trigger time in. A year of college Army ROTC allowed me to become familiarized with it and basic firearm safety. Figured I'd post my rifle and see what some of yall have to say about it. Here's some pics to show what I have so far.

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/2312/20120720172634.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/228/20120720172634.jpg/)
Here it is right out of the box. As you can see very basic. Comes from DPMS. Upper receiver lacks a dust cover, forward assist, and cartridge deflector. Commercial buffer tube, 16" Carbine style. Didn't come with any sights.

http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/1406/20120913182356.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/840/20120913182356.jpg/)

http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/905/20120913182338.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/708/20120913182338.jpg/)

http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/4554/20120913182506.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/546/20120913182506.jpg/)
Some improvements made. Nylon quad rail handguard, UAG flip up iron sights, and a cheap red dot off of Amazon.

It was purchased at my local Walmart for a bargain. $600 roughly. Not a bad price for a beginners rifle. No where near done improving on it. I am thinking about giving it an Army digital camo paint job. I've done some light disassembly for cleaning but I'm yet to completely take apart and rebuild it as I lack the tools to do so. Put about 400 rounds through it so far. Any questions comments and suggestions are welcome.

September 13, 2012, 08:39 PM
How is a rifle purchased from Walmart with a couple of addons a "build"?

September 13, 2012, 11:20 PM
It's a work in progress.

September 13, 2012, 11:36 PM
Doing a good job, dude.

I would suggest holding off on the paint job, strongly.

I realize as your first 'build' you are excited, and doing everything as fast a possible to look as cool as possible for the least amount of money seems like a great idea..and hey sometimes it can be..

However, judging by some of the information you provided.. I suggest you slow down to a crawl before you run so fast your shoes light on fire.. or some other rediculous example typically used by older people.

Since you pickedup this style of gun for 600, and are seemingly crawling int parts for it, I would say destroying this rifle by any means is not a logical risk.

- Painting a firearm is something left to those who either
1- can afford to replace whatever they feel like, and are willing to risk ruining things in the procces
2- have a great deal of experience in painting of the 'finer' points of firearms in general
3- those who like to really take their time and learn as they go, with someone to fall back to.

I would suggest first, spend some time. ALOT of it, if not most ; reviewing your manual and manufacturer reviews, recalls, specs, details, information, cleaning information, etc.
Once you've done some serious home work, I would challenge a basic strip of the weapon in your home, in a nice confined space where you cant lose things.

Make a small map, or even label the parts with corresponding numbers or letters. Something to help get it back together.
Go at this until you no longer require a single label or manual.
Then begin field stripping this weapon, until you know your weapon INSIDE.

So of course, then comes knowing it outside.

Spend lots of time running drills, shooting at various' distance and if available take training. Use this new found experience as time goes on to customize and 'BUILD' your weapon accordingly.

That's where a TRUE BUILD comes in.

Anyone can stick parts together and call it a build. But in order to build something successfully ; you must first understand the overall goal. Which, in this case can only be determined by you AS PER EACH WEAPON.

Best of luck with ROTC :cool:

September 14, 2012, 12:02 AM
Great advice from the SGT Major, there.

Spend lots of time running drills, shooting at various' distance and if available take training.

I would add work on quickly getting into and shooting from field positions (standing, kneeling, sitting, "combat squat", prone)...... use of a sling as a shooting aid ..... and fundamentals, to the point you can shoot as well without a bench as you can with it.

September 14, 2012, 07:58 AM
You guys have some good points and I do agree with first learning it inside and out. I'm looking into getting a set of tools for it and I've got a guy that built his piece by piece that can teach me. The paint job is definitely a more distant idea.

September 14, 2012, 11:13 AM
Here's a good place to learn about the AR15.


Go down to middle bottom, lot's of info.

BTW, congrats on your new rifle and welcome to the forum.

Buy good ammo and get to know your rifle.

Safe shooting.

September 14, 2012, 02:10 PM
I would invest money in marksmanship training. Look for an Appleseed class near you (appleseedinfo.org)
A paint job isn't going to make you shoot better. I am not saying that painting your gun is a bad thing, but you definitely want to learn the principles of rifle marksmanship (not bench shooting), before doing any serious custom work.

Metal god
September 14, 2012, 03:51 PM
There has been some good advice here . I to would slow down . I have learnd the hard way It's best to have a purpose in mind ( bench . run-n-gun , plinking , just want a really cool looking reliable gun ) what ever it is have a end game before you start building or changing the gun .

I would have never even considered building an AR But after buying my first one . It is a Del-Ton ECHO 316 and it came from the factory with trigger problems . While trouble shooting the problem ( ultimatly sent back to Del-Ton for repairs )I learned alot about the AR platform and decided to build me one .

All I wanted was another AR and this is what I built . PSA lower . Del-Ton upper and parts kit .$600 out the door


Now still not happy . It does not look cool enough so I put another $400 in to it and this is what it is . Total cost now $1,030


All I was really going for was looks and it does look cool . Now Im thinking of putting more money in to it . New trigger , better stock , maybe a new SS barrel . I need to just stop and start the next buid . I have another stripped lower waiting to get into the game . That way I can have 2 complete ARs with no real purpose but to drain my wallet . :D I do believe I've done a good job cost wise on this gun but I think I could have done better with a little more planning .

The moral to the story is get a plan do some research revise the plan research some more finalize the plan and then build . :cool:

September 14, 2012, 03:55 PM
@ metalgod - SS Barrel forsure.

that would offset this whole setup to look off the HOOK.

Where did you get the fingergrooved poly setup for the MagDep?
I have never seen one with grooves that wide apart, I like it.

Metal god
September 14, 2012, 04:32 PM
amazon. It feels nice I have big hands and they fit well


September 14, 2012, 04:37 PM
i wear xxl gloves and still have to stretch them out. size 17 wedding band.. i have yet to find a grip that suits me and so i have come to HATE all fingered grips that come pre imprinted. but this is something im going to have to check out. thanks bro

Metal god
September 14, 2012, 05:03 PM
Just a quick heads up . With the mag well grip installed the upper does not rotate completly forward on the front take down pin. It really only rotates about half way

September 14, 2012, 05:10 PM
i cant picture the issue you just mentioned in my head. converting written actions to physical examples in my mind is a skill i never did posess.

i don't want to say ' i dont get what you mean' as much as i am inclined to say I can see how that is possible with a solid piece, but would understand more if it were in front of me lol. for that price..might be worth a self exploratory.

if that didnt make sense, it due to the fact im looking at a 2 inch phone screen lol

Metal god
September 14, 2012, 05:23 PM
If you look at the picture the lower on the tan one swings more to almost a complete right angle and the black one is more like at a 45 cus of the mag well grip hits the hand guard and stops it from swinging completly open


September 14, 2012, 05:34 PM
perfectly understood. thanks bro

September 14, 2012, 06:36 PM
Some marksmanship training would be nice. I'm pretty good with safety so that's not an issue. As this forum says every firearm is loaded.

On the subject of ammo what's yall's opinion on the Tulammo (http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/AMM-2900) brand? I've had people tell me not to use it and others say it's perfectly fine.

September 14, 2012, 06:52 PM

Here's a thread about it. I say try a box of 20 and see how it works for your rifle.

I've only used Monarch but only about a 100 rds and Hornady Steel match as far as steel cased ammo. Never had a problem with either one.

Metal god
September 14, 2012, 08:36 PM
So I've done a little research on the steel case vs brass issue in the past. What I found out is that steel case ammo does not expand as much as brass . That means at times the steel cases do not expand and seal the chamber completely . When this happens gases and crap can blow back and get into the chamber , carbon can then start to build up . If your only shooting steel ammo you should be fine cus with the lacquer and other finishes they use the cases should still be slick as snott and cycle fine . As long as you start with a clean chamber with no build up already.

I also here if your shooting alot of steel ammo in the same day you do not want to switch to brass ( the first few mags have steel the next brass ). The reason I here is the carbon and posible lacquar build up in the hot chamber can cause the brass cartridge to adhere to chamber wall and fail to extract and that can destroy an extractor or rip the rim off the case

So only shoot one or the other per trip or per cleaning and always clean your chamber really well after shooting steel cased ammo . I clean mine with lots of bore cleaner , a chamber brush and a T-handle . I push that brush in and out a bunch of times then I push it back in and spin it 20 or 30 times .Then finish it off with a dry mop and patchs . If you do not clean the chamber really well after shooting steel ammo or really all ammo the carbon can continue to build up and create problems with all ammo being shot thru the gun .

It makes sence to me . Im not sure if there is any science behind it but thats the way im going to do it .

check this link out . It gives a good desciption of this issue


As far as what steel ammo works the best . I would think its like most other ammo to gun matchs . Some guns like some ammos more then others .Your just going to have to try some out and what works for you is what you use

September 14, 2012, 09:43 PM
Found this comparison at the Tula Ammo website. Worth a quick read.

Also Tula Ammo uses a polymer coating same as the Hornady Steel match.

I think Monarch has a lacquer coating.

Metal god
September 14, 2012, 10:18 PM
I like that article , That seems to be a good test for damage to the chamber and bore . I also think it shows you can have more extraction issues with steel ammo then brass. I also find it very interesting that the rings on the bolt firing the Federal ammo had extensive wear . I know they can't say conclusively what caused either problem . As far as I can tell the extraction issue is consistant with everything I here about steel ammo . As for the Federal ammo causing problems in the BCG . HMM Im not sure , maybe that ammo is really dirty and causes more wear. heck I don't know .

September 15, 2012, 11:52 AM
I put a bunch of cool guy **** on my first on (vertical grip, rail) before I realize it was getting in my way and not helping me use the weapon.

September 15, 2012, 12:00 PM
If it wasn't helping you, I would have to say the wrong gear was installed.

That's right around supporting my crawl before you fly kindve advice!

September 15, 2012, 02:38 PM
If it wasn't helping you, I would have to say the wrong gear was installed.
For a civilian hunting weapon, less is more. All my weapon wears is a bipod a red predator light and the smallest scope I can use effectively.

I've seen plenty of people's AR-15s both on the civilian and military side wearing everything but the kitchen sink. If you don't need it on your weapon, it's better not to have it on your weapon. I'm not saying you don't need your PEQ or a weapon light, those have clear utility, but all the grips, overkill optics, etc people are wearing on their weapons can get to be excessive. There's some minor marginal benefit sometimes, but the but the marginal cost in weight and weapon bulk can get to be pretty high.

The less weight you've got on your weapon, so long as you can still get the job done, the better.

September 15, 2012, 11:38 PM
To get to know your AR, watch as many videos as possible. The Brownells website has a lot of good short instruction videos.

If you want to buy, try the Brownells, Bushmaster, or American Gunsmithing Institute offerings.

As to books, Walt Kulek wrote two good AR books you can buy from Fulton Armory. At least buy the Army and Marine manuals.

And, as a lot have said, shoot the snot out of it.

Big Shrek
September 16, 2012, 09:41 AM
Welcome from another Northwest Floridian!!

You've got a couple good ranges nearby...especially the Jay's Guns - Baker,FL range!
But hanging out in Jay's Crestview store is a sure way to spend a BUNCHA money...LOL
Ranger Firearms over next to the Ft. Walton Beach Medical Center (Beal street side) has a decent parts selection & great ammo.
Pawn Shops ABOUND down here...so you can often find some sweet deals if you can haggle a bit ;)

Good Luck pimping your AR!! :)