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Old September 1, 2008, 08:52 PM   #1
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Can a rube build a tack-driver AR?

Hey folks,

Title says it all. I'm not a gunsmith, and I don't play one on TV. I've done some tinkering but I'd say in this crowd it's probably negligible. But I've always wanted to learn. So I was planning a project AR build with the intention of trying to make it a varmint-type rifle. I was considering a .204 Ruger barrel, conceding that this would keep me inside the quarter-mile shooting radius. Keep racking up the calibers, y'know?

So we want a good rifle, we buy good parts, right? Or does it require more? For example:
Does something like a Timney drop-in obviate the need for fitting, as I understand you'd typically do with a nice Jewel?
Would a high-quality bolt-carrier group (e.g. Young) cut down on the fact that none of those parts were fitted to the receiver or barrel?
Would barrel installation be an operation better left to a manufacturer or gunsmith in weapons looking for above-average precision?

I'm not necessarily looking for authoritative answers on those specific questions, but rather just trying to give an idea of the gist of my concerns. Hoping to hear this is in fact something that I can tackle myself, but it's probably better to get some verification of that before I go throwing money around.

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Old September 1, 2008, 09:05 PM   #2
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Build one NO---ASSEMBLE one yes.
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Old September 1, 2008, 10:22 PM   #3
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Look here for help.
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Old September 1, 2008, 11:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input. is definitely the go-to resource, I'm just a bit fonder of this board. If I should abandon the question here though, I'll head that-a-way.

To dipper's point, that's what I was getting at - can assembled ARs be "very accurate?" I've done an inexpensive carbine build, and while I'm certainly no ringer, I'm happy with the weapon from a practical standpoint. But I wanted to know if it's a fool's errand to try to put together a "more-accurate" rifle if one is not be doing any part-fitting. Obviously, the acceptable conclusion out of any nonnegligible group is that custom-shop, professionally-smithed weapons will be superior performers to an amateur's stab. But I was just looking for some empirical knowledge that sub-MOA rifles are possible if one puts together a collection of quality parts.
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Old September 2, 2008, 02:24 PM   #5
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After a year of window shopping AR's, complete, top/bottom, and kit, I bought a DPMS Panther Bull 20.

I am upgrading some bits: bolt catch, springs, sights, scope, and eventually the trigger.

I am comfortable fitting my springs, pins, etc. but not fitting a barrel, or checking with go/no-go/field gages etc.

There is a link on AR15 sight to a guy that is selling trigger jobs for 35-45$. Supposedly as good as a custom trigger, but without the user adjustability I reckon. Timney, Geissele and some others are 200-300$. RRA has a nice NM trigger for 120$.

I think I paid about 100$ over what I would by doing a kit.
When all is said and done, there is a lot more said than done.
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Old September 2, 2008, 04:12 PM   #6
Harry Bonar
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building a tack driver

Brings back memories of my youth with a Mossberg 46B rifle with an old Mossy scope on it shooting flies off my target at 50 yards - the Mossys shoot!
I have seen what any smith would call junk shoot, and shoot like a dream - and I have seen beautiful crafted rifles in perfect condition shoot with "grapefruit" accuracy.
I have seen loads changed 1/2 a grain of powder go from a four inch group at 25 yards down to just enlarging the hole for six shots.
I've seen barrels made from the SAME CONTIUOUS piece of 4140 - one shoots - the other a poor one!
You just can't tell - go guntradin and you'll see.
Yes, you can do it if you set your mind to it and read books - anyone can with some direction.
Col. Art Alphin of A-Square Co, one of the "big boys" along with Boddington did their best shooting, "when we didn't know shooting was difficult!" You old guys know just what I'm saying!
Harry B.
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