View Full Version : Want to build AR Upper, tips?

October 1, 2012, 08:52 PM
I've never built an AR before and I don't want to build a whole new rifle. I figured I would build just another upper to slap on the lower whenever I wanna change it. I don't wanna spend more than $400. I want something for a somewhat longer range. Obviously nothing too far considering it's only .223. Maybe around 100 yards. Any tips on what to think about starting out? One of the big reasons for this is for learning purposes so nothing too expensive.

Metal god
October 1, 2012, 09:22 PM
IMO I don't think you can build a quality upper for $400 . Don't get me wrong you can build "A" upper for that , but not a quality longer range accurate one. Really any AR should be accurate out to 100 yards . My stock ARs will shoot 2 MOA and under no problem with quality ammo . I've been doing alot of research and been planning on doing this very same thing .

IF your on a strict budget I would consider a complete upper http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/complete-uppers/psa-20-hammer-forged-stainless-steel-madness-mid-length-stripped-upper-without-bcg-or-charging-handle.html

You would still need a BCG and charging handle $150 and the total for the upper and BCG/handle would be about $510

If your going to build it . Don't skimp , do it right

There are a few things that are a must for an accurate upper .

1) Quality barrel http://shopwilsoncombat.com/Wilson-Combat-Match-Grade-Barrel-223-Wylde-Super-Sniper-20-1-8-Twist-Stainless/productinfo/TR-223SS20NF-18/.

2) Free float hand gaurd $180 http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/upper-parts/yhm-rifle-length-todd-jarrett-competition-series-handguards.html

Now thats $430 right there and you still need the receiver $100 , BCG $150 , Charging handle /gas block and tube $80 to $100 , and a scope $200+

With out the scope I got up to $780 and that would be a nice accurate upper .

Oh and the tools to build it

The Long Shot
October 1, 2012, 10:08 PM
Honestly, if it's only for 100 yards, what you have should be fine. Most stock guns that aren't "match rifles" shoot 1.5-2.75 MOA. That means 1.5-2.75 inch groups at 100 yards.

The .223 is very capable of hitting targets out to 1000 yards, it will have about the same amount of energy as a .22lr, but it can be done. It all depends on the nut behind the gun.

Now, there are 2 words in the AR-15 world that don't go together, those words are long range, and low cost.

If you are thinking that you would like a more accurate gun on a budget, have you considered just replacing the barrel. It's pretty easy. On a budget I'd recommend putting a good barrel (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-18-SPR-SS410-Barrel-with-Rifle-Length-Gas-p/bcm-recbrl%2018ss.htm) on it, and installing free floated handguards to meet your budget, and you will need a rifle length gas tube. You can use the same gas block. You can get a pretty accurate setup with $400 by doing this. You don't have to buy a separate bcg, charging handle, upper receiver, etc.

If you really want a separate upper, look at a PSA Upper minus BCG and charging handle
(http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/complete-uppers/psa-20-hammer-forged-stainless-steel-madness-mid-length-stripped-upper-without-bcg-or-charging-handle.html) And just use the bcg and charging handle from your other upper with it. And you have some money left to save for a free float handguard.

October 1, 2012, 10:10 PM
Well I wanna build a cheap one to learn and figure out what I'm doing before I throw $700 at something I know nothing about. My AR is kinda just a free time hobby.

October 1, 2012, 10:13 PM
Think of it as "practice" for when I finally attempt to build a quality rifle.

Metal god
October 1, 2012, 10:54 PM
Hey long shot I love the idea of using the BCG and charging handle from the other upper that will save some money for sure . Would you suggest a go/no go gauge just to be safe ? I would check that out first .

As far as practice building . Not sure thats a good idea . you can and most likely wind up spending more money then needed and have a bunch of extra parts laying around you decided not to use . Trust me I learnd the hard way on this point . I have almost enough parts to build a complete AR just sitting here . All I really need is an upper receiver and barrel . Hum ??? I should totally do that .

I like the idea if you really just want to learn and get the feel of things . I would just upgrade the one you have . That way you will have a very nice gun and not just another average upper that you will most likely put more money it to later and have even more parts laying around

The Long Shot
October 1, 2012, 11:15 PM
If you want a "practice build" Take apart your gun, Video tape yourself taking it apart if you can, and put it back together. Do this as many times as you like. All of the practice that you need.

October 2, 2012, 12:21 AM
Unless you have the tools I wouldn't build an upper. And honestly you can't do much better pricewise than the linked $280 uppers from PSA. The quality is there, too. You will have to add their $140 BCG and $15 charging handle which comes to $435. (All this is in stock at the moment but I wouldn't wait too long.) And a rear sight, but you'd need that for an upper build too.




October 2, 2012, 05:12 AM
By the time you figure in the cost of tools and individual parts, the cost to ASSEMBLE an upper is more than you can buy one ready to shoot.
I have done this a couple of times using takeoff parts and came up with a good shooting, lower cost upper, but only because I got most of the parts for 1/2 of their retail price.
Complete upper=$100+
Gas system=$40-??
Barrel nut,delta ring, misc=$40-50
Shipping all the assorted parts=$50-100
Not including the receiver support and barrel nut wrench.
Complete upper on sale=under $400 on your doorstep

October 2, 2012, 06:54 PM
Should I stay away from aluminum upper receivers? Is there any kind of disadvantages that I would get from them?

October 2, 2012, 06:59 PM
Actually you want aluminum receivers, specifically 7075-T6 alloy.

October 2, 2012, 06:59 PM
Do explain please!

October 2, 2012, 08:16 PM
If you're going for accuracy at 100, perhaps a trigger and barrel upgrade might be more economical?

October 2, 2012, 11:19 PM
Do explain please!

Just look at what the quality brands tend to use.

October 3, 2012, 07:27 AM
What do you think all(well 99.999%) of those bajillion other AR uppers are made of?

October 3, 2012, 04:59 PM
I thought it was some kind of steel. Guess I was wrong.

October 3, 2012, 05:16 PM
are these uppers from j&t good quality http://jtdistributing.net/store/page170.html also they are complete correct as in i buy they send i attach and go shoot. other then maybe needing different mags

Master Blaster 2
October 3, 2012, 05:54 PM
You can't build one for under $400 sorry ...maybe in 22LR however.

October 5, 2012, 07:51 AM
I thought it was some kind of steel. Guess I was wrong.

No problem, everyone starts from scratch knowledge wise.

The AR upper and lower is typically made from forged 7000 series aluminum. There are odd balls. Extruded aluminum, cast aluminum, carbon fiber, and polymer.

If you watch for used parts you can build a upper for as little as $200-250 less BCG.