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I’ve decided to build an AR15 with my boys (with the assistance of a friend who is an armorer). What should I use thread. UPDATED IN FIRST POST Login/Join 
Res ipsa loquitur
Picture of BB61
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UPDATED: I ended up purchasing a BCM blemish upper. I can’t tell why it was a blemish to be honest. It also fits my MMC lower like they made it or vice versa for that matter. I’m looking at bolt carrier groups right now.


I’ve decided my boys and I need to understand the workings of an AR15 better so we are going to build an AR15 (with help). I want this to be the Toyota Tacoma or Camry of the DI AR15 world. Thus, I’m not looking for the most expensive parts but quality parts that will last and will lead to as reliable a DI AR15 as reasonably possible. Of course, I have my own thoughts but this is SIGforum and our brain trust is quite experienced and vast.

There are a few rules: First, I know I can buy a complete upper and lower for cheap. That is not the intent. The intent is to learn how to build/assemble an AR15 with my boys so please don’t suggest I just buy the completed parts and be done with it. Secondly, it won’t be helpful to say Magpul or BCM and leave it at that. I’d appreciate specific recommendations like the “XYS” barrel is a great choice because it is “_____”. Or, “SXY” makes DD’s “_____” and sells the exact same part with their label for 25% less than DD or something similar.

To start, I purchased a stripped MMC lower receiver. I bought it because my research of MMC and inspection of their lowers at my LGS lead me to believe they make quality to spec lower receivers. I also was swayed somewhat when I was told/read that they made or used to make Spike’s Tactical lower receivers which I believe is a quality company. And, I got if for under $40 so the price was right.

Finally, this will be a shooter and a HD weapon. It will not be a DMR or an SBR. Also, my state does not limit the type of features on an AR-15 so you don’t need to worry about those issues.

Have at it and thanks!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: BB61,


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Posts: 10951 | Registered: October 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Short answer, head over to Palmetto State and select the parts you need.

That's after you figure out things such as mid length, carbine length or what not for the gas system. What type of hand guard or rail do you want, M Lok, Key Mod or just plastic handguards?

Price wise PSA is hard to beat and their stuff just works. As you stated, you're not building a competition rifle or looking to melt your credit card. You can easily find what you need there to complete your build.

I would shop elsewhere for a few components such as trigger (I really like the Spike's Tactical trigger for the money). Sights can be upgraded, plenty of options out there along with optics if you want to use those. I'm a big Aimpoint fan for red dots, but that is subjective. As far as the stock, Magpul makes a wide range of those. My personal favorite is the LMT Sopmod stock, pricey and again, subjective. There is a cheaper version made by B5 Systems if I'm recalling correctly.

Keep the sights, optics and trigger costs low and you can be in for less than $500 is my guess. At that rate, plan on building 2 Wink

You'll need some specific tools too unless your friend can let you borrow them. Wrench and vice block being the two biggies.

Set the expectations up front with your kids. If not, they'll be dreaming of lasers, lights, variable optics and all sorts of expensive shit before the project even gets started. Build a basic and functioning rifle then spend money on ammo, mags and range time. After the basics are out of the way, the sky is the limit.
 
Posts: 2490 | Location: The Low Country | Registered: October 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a ballistic advantage barrel which does well. The larue mbt is a great trigger pack and I have an Odin works 02 lite rail which really lightens the forend. I like aeros uppers and lowers and recently tried the vltor A5 system with good effect. Sounds like a good project happy building.
 
Posts: 2158 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've been happy with Faxon barrels (when I can find what I want in stock). Not bargain basement, but you won't need a second mortgage, and they shoot straight.

BCGs, I've been happy with toolcraft. Nice and slick, easy to clean, and seems well constructed. My faxon BCG is pretty much identical to my admittedly untrained eye, but it was twice the money.

For a trigger, I really like the Larue MBT2. Great value for the money, clean break, well constructed, and they are a huge step up over a mil-spec.

I like Magpul MOE stocks on a carbine...no ridge to interfere with a cheek-weld, and they're light and well constructed.

Pistol grip I like the Magpul MIAD, but that's just personal preference.

For handguards I recently discovered the Aero Precision Atlas S1. You will need a low profile has block, but it's nice and light, slim, and rails only where you want them. If you need more, you can add them via Mlock or keymod attachments. An added bonus, it comes with shims and all the hardware you need to install it, including the proprietary barrel nut wrench (you'll need a torque wrench).

Good luck with your build. I did something similar with my son, but we built him a bargain basement parts-bin rifle. It works well, but at times I wish we'd spent a bit more and ended up with something nicer.
 
Posts: 3470 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You're building it with the kids, why not give them some input as well...

You already know the end result is going to be a shooter/HD weapon.

Time to set a budget, and take a look at the Internet... "Hey kids, what do you think about this, this or this?" Pick a few different stocks (look at Magpul, Daniel Defense) between you and the kids, pick one. Same with grips...

I'd go light, but that's my opinion. Key mod or Mlok really lighten this up versus a standard rail system.

Back to the budget- what are you looking at spending? You can get a decent trigger, hammer, et al for $75, or you can get a Timney Trigger or a Geissele Trigger from $150 - $270. You're looking at "Toyota Camry", this is one with a suped up motor!

I tossed out Magpul and Daniel Defense, two reputable and quality manufacturers that put out a great product with a lot of options and colors.

Look at closeouts. Bravo Company, another quality company, has blemished uppers for $70. Do you care if there's minor scratches on it? If you can save a few $ here, you can spend it elsewhere.


_____________________________________________________________________

"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 6022 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh I'd get a go/no go gauge. You'll need a torque wrench at some point and depending on your rail you'll need something that locks onto your barrel nut. You'll need a vise or access to one and some form of clamp/reaction rod/bevblock.
 
Posts: 2158 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Res ipsa loquitur
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Some good questions. Budget isn’t the biggest factor. However, I’m not interested in building something that would cost as much as an LMT or a Daniel Defense AR15. I’m thinking Toyota not Lexus. My friend has all the proper tools so we will be using his so I’m not going to be buying anything this time around. Finally, I’m leaning towards (1) mid-length and (2) Key-mod if that helps.


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Posts: 10951 | Registered: October 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Agree with PSA suggestion. Definitely go mid-length. I think M-LOK not only looks better but seems to be more prevalent. Let me know if you need a hand Roger Wink


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Posts: 8455 | Location: UT | Registered: December 05, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Look at Primary Arms--see what's on sale. Fast shipping--good assortment of parts.

The right tools are important.
Get extra springs , they tend to fly away. Lower parts kit--detent spring, bolt catch spring, etc.
Do the build on a nice clean, well lite bench without any clutter.

https://www.primaryarms.com/
 
Posts: 1553 | Location: Southeast CT | Registered: January 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Anubismp:
Oh I'd get a go/no go gauge.


Skip the no/go gauges. Put that money towards a barrel. If budget allows, take a look at barrels from Compass Lake, Craddock Precision (they often have specials, WhiteOak Armament and AR15 Performance. AR15 Performance barrels are a great bang for the buck. You can purchase bolts from them or supply a bolt that will be properly headspaced to the barrel.

Also suggest to buy the upper locally. Bring your lower with take down pins installed to test fit.
 
Posts: 2724 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I guess I'll be the dissenting opinion and tell you to avoid PSA like the plague. Their quality might be "good enough" but the inconsistency and lack of attention to detail lands them short of being trusted for home defense. There are worse brands, no doubt.

I would step up to Sionics or SOLGW for the bolt carrier. These are top-quality, individually tested, microbest sourced BCGs. This is one of the major spots for your gun to work properly. Gas key ID, gas key fasteners, gas key staking, gas key passage, gas key alignment, gas key to carrier fit, carrier length, carrier bolt support bore, carrier gas ring bore, carrier bolt tail bore, carrier 3-bore finish, carrier cam pin track, cam pin to bolt fit, bolt tail OD, firing pin length, firing pin tip shape, extractor tension, extractor fit to the pin, extractor groove tolerance, ejector tension, ejector face bevel, bolt material, bolt finish, bolt firing pin protrusion, bolt headspace, magnetism check, firing pin coating, carrier coating (probably missing more stuff) - all of this matters for the performance and longevity of a well-functioning firearm. Miss any of them and you're seeing gas leaking which affects performance, premature component wear, and other potentially worse issues.

BCM is similar, but more expensive and doesn't go on sale often. SOLGW can be had as cheap as $110 on sale. This is, in my opinion, one of the best values for a BCG. Sionics sells for $130 normal price. Finding these parts in stock is more of a challenge, admittedly. There's a reason for this. These are not that much more than the budget brands for a lifetime quality part.

I've had 3 bad PSA and Toolcraft BCGs on my bench. And I'm a sample size of little significance. If they were as good as most report I shouldn't have gotten a lemon or 3. This translates through the brand. I gladly own several guns with PSA parts. I count on none of them when it comes to my life, and they'll be the first to leave the collection if needed.

Use a Springco action spring. They cost a bit more at $20, but they're lifetime springs. You'll be on a new barrel before your boys even need to think about the spring. The same is not true of a $5-10 spring. Pair it with an appropriately weighted buffer, do not buy the cheapest/lightest one. H2 is a good starting point. Vltor's A5 system is better, and not a significant increase in cost, the issue again is parts availability.
 
Posts: 5818 | Location: Romeo, MI | Registered: January 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Skip the no/go gauges.

OK if you buy a barrel with a headspaced matching bolt. but otherwise bad advise.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 8397 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Res ipsa loquitur
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quote:
Originally posted by Chris Orndorff:
Agree with PSA suggestion. Definitely go mid-length. I think M-LOK not only looks better but seems to be more prevalent. Let me know if you need a hand Roger Wink


Thanks Chris. I will. Hope all is well.


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Posts: 10951 | Registered: October 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by SIGfourme:
Look at Primary Arms--see what's on sale. Fast shipping--good assortment of parts.

The right tools are important.
Get extra springs , they tend to fly away. Lower parts kit--detent spring, bolt catch spring, etc.
Do the build on a nice clean, well lite bench without any clutter.

https://www.primaryarms.com/


Big second to primary arms. Get signed up for their emails, and it’s easy to build things for much less than retail. I would recommend Aero for upper/lower receivers, Ballistic Advantage or Faxon for barrels (lighter profiles are handier), an ALG trigger and Lower parts, BCM rail. I’m about ready to assemble an AR with my father that we slowly bought parts for on sale.
 
Posts: 8660 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Pre-Internet, 30+ years ago when everything was in catalogs ... in my spare time I was setting up at gun shows, mostly selling parts, I bought a lot of AR kits from M&A parts(they were a big advertiser in Shotgun News), selling individual parts ... nothing was assembled except the front sight was pinned to the barrel, this was before flat-top receivers were so common and you even had to assemble the rear sight ...

Something like this is what I think your asking about?

Anyway, I called them up and they don't sell kits like that anymore, they only sell assembled uppers with your choice of hand-guards, and of course a lot of the other goodies that didn't exist back then, like "lite" or 2-stage triggers ... They've gone commercial.

Anyway, they guy said "of course we'll sell you every little part to assemble an upper and lower, but it'll be more expensive than buying a completed upper."

It's a sad day.


If you really want something you'll find a way ...
... if you don't you'll find an excuse.

I'm really not a "kid" anymore ... but I haven't grown up yet either Wink
 
Posts: 5192 | Registered: January 11, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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For me it's all about the barrel and BCG. Questions to narrow down the barrel though.

FSB or not? Having a FSB for a general carbine is still a good idea imo these days cause they are tough. If you want a low pro deal with a MLOK or something I'd pay attention to the gas block and make sure it's pinned. I know BCM doesn't do it and says it doesn't matter. I like it.

For a Toyota to run forever, the barrel should be CHF chrome lined to get the most out of it, from my understanding. FN barrels can be found a lot of places, PSA included. If you want the FSB, BCM has a lot of great CHF options too. I also think their ELW CHF barrels are really nice and a contender if you want a lo pro setup. If you aren't after a FSB, BCM or FN or similar CHF mid length with a pinned gas block would be what I'm looking for. It's what I did too. If not, CHF carbine or mid FSB. I want to say the jury is out on the barrel life of nitride barrels that aren't chrome and I wouldn't feel short changed with one. However from what I know CL CHF lasts the longest.

After that it's mostly preference, but I'd spend some extra money on the trigger. Toyotas sure drive better with a Gisselle, but there are other cheaper options too.

After that BCG should probably also be had from someone who did the proof test and MPI. I like what Rustpot is saying and seems to know where to get them the cheapest I've seen. BCM, REAL Colt, LMT, etc. I have done both, never had a problem but for my main rifles I spent the extra money.


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Posts: 5980 | Location: Bay Area | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by SIGfourme:
Look at Primary Arms--see what's on sale. Fast shipping--good assortment of parts.

https://www.primaryarms.com/


I’m a huge Primary Arms fan. I just ordered parts for a new upper. Great prices and fast shipping. They almost make it too easy.
 
Posts: 670 | Location: STL MO | Registered: January 07, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Res ipsa loquitur
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Updated in first post. So obligatory BTP update.


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Posts: 10951 | Registered: October 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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BCG's?
There's a ton of good to great manufacturers out there.
My only suggestion is get one that's coated.
Nickel Boron, Np3, Np3+...

lengthens the life of the bolt & BCG because of the coatings lubricant property, and makes things SOOOO MUCH EASIER TO CLEAN!
I haven't heard a bad thing about what our own CCR does.

A few friends had theirs done by Robar... But they closed shop.


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"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 6022 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you go to PSA to buy parts, don't cheap out on the lower end kits. I have bought some kits not knowing who made them and got some springs that were really weak. I stick with CMMG or Spikes for a decent kit. You can find Magpul parts at really good prices or if you are not picky, you can get some standard furniture cheap.
 
Posts: 5111 | Location: Treasure Coast,Fl. | Registered: July 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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