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Old December 28, 2013, 11:10 PM   #1
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AR customizing dangers?

Hello - I've often thought about building my own AR. As many of you are very well aware, there seems to be a plethora of parts and assemblies one can choose from, either through gun show dealers and/or catalogues. I've seen many U-yube videos of AR failures, either feeding or some explosion of some kind. I see a lot of magazines being blown out.

My question is this: Does overly customizing a personal build lead to a dangerous situation? I would assume all part from various manufacturers have built to specs and are mostly interchangeable, but I've often wondered if personal build ARs are "untested" as compared to those manufactured by known gun makers...having been thoroughly tested before releasing to the general market.

Any thoughts on if whether or not a personal custom build is a more risky approach....and why? What I should watch do or not do when building my own AR? Thank you.
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Old December 29, 2013, 01:16 AM   #2
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If you choose quality parts and are careful during assembly you don't have much to worry about, it's not difficult to build a better rifle than the cheap ARs that litter most gun shops. Just know what you want and buy quality. Kabooms are rare and feeding problems aren't likely unless you buy inferior parts or magazines.

Most people buy a preassembled upper unless they want to invest in the necessary tools. The lower receiver is not hard to assemble using common tools.
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Old December 29, 2013, 08:38 AM   #3
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The only "dangerous" situation I can think of is improper headspace. Although having completed many rifles using quality parts this has not been an issue, by design new barrels and bolts just work. The Field gauge given me years ago by the M-16 maintenance unit at a nearby base has yet to allow a bolt to close on it.
As Quentin offered "quality" is the key, if concerned you can have a bolt head spaced by the barrel manufacturer when purchasing. Properly torque the nut and you are good to go.
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Old December 29, 2013, 11:58 AM   #4
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Ok, good advice so far. I'm intrigued by the quality factor. I must admit, being new to the world of AR build, I naively imagined all parts were more or less of the same quality. So then this leads to my next obvious question....what brands should I avoid? Are some names good with certain part and bad with others, or are they simply universally bad and good? Thank you.
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Old December 29, 2013, 01:50 PM   #5
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Common sense prevails. I recently saw a guy complaining abut a BCG he had bought that came apart when he fired it the first time because he noticed that it didn't have a cam pin installed but assumed that it was a new design that didn't call for one. LMAO. Lucky the guy still had all his fingers and eyballs. Had an out of battery experience.
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Old December 29, 2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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Re: no cam pin


If you're reasonably careful during assembly and only buy from quality suppliers, there isn't a whole lot to worry about.

Personally, since I've already got the tools and am pretty handy with machining, I'm toying with the idea of just getting an 80% .308 lower and build my own DPMS-style AR-10 from scratch. No FFL required, no muss, no fuss. It's not so much that I want to save money, but I've got rather finicky requirements that aren't met by any of the affordable .308 platforms out there.

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Old December 29, 2013, 03:29 PM   #7
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The best advice I can give is that you build something without a bunch of "extras" that you don't really need. Rails, lights, lasers, fancy grips and fully adjustable stocks are all well and good but you don't need them. The basic design of the rifle is about as good as it can get.....sure you can add a few things here or there but until you know what the original version was designed to do it's tough to make a decision about something that just looks different or cool.

But if you do it yourself just make sure you do it right....If you're not comfortable with it then just order something already put together.

Last edited by Damon555; December 29, 2013 at 03:36 PM.
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Old December 29, 2013, 03:42 PM   #8
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In a nutshell, no. If you want to ensure everything is good, buy a barrel assembly with a matching bolt already checked for headspace. I didn't bother with that step for the last two builds.

Machine guns are awesome until you have to carry one.
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