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#924130 - 10/09/08 08:14 PM Building your own AR-15

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 874
First off I need to say that if you decide to build an AR you need to check your local & State laws to see if you can even own one before trying to build one. This post is going to be geared toward Alaska and Alaskans so please do your own research before attempting to build a rifle! Also since we are talking about "rifles" you must have a barrel over 16" for it to be legal. Do not put a 10" barreled upper on a lower with a stock on it. You will go to prison for a long time if you do. Also it is illegal for you to build a machine gun, there are ways to own a machine gun, but building it out of a parts kit is not the way to do it....

Now, the only piece of metal on an AR-15 that is considered to be a "Gun" by the BATFE is the "lower receiver"....

It is the only part that has a serial # on it. Once you have this little part then you own an AR-15. Any FFL can transfer one for you, just like any other firearm. So find you an FFL and have a lower shipped to him to get the hard part over. A lower will cost you anywhere from $100 to $300... there are several manufacturers that I use and I generally pay about $150 for a lower after shipping and transfer fees.

I use DPMS, Stag (& all of the lowers that Stag makes for others) Colt, CMMG, Double Star, Wilson, Bushmaster, Rock River Arms, well pretty much any of them besides Hesse, Vulcan, or Olympic... these manufacturers had quality control issues which led to them getting a bad name that they never recovered from. I just stay away from them personally!

Now that you have your lower, you can go about building your rifle several different ways! You can take your time and buy it piece by piece. Or you can buy a "kit gun" for about $500 and go from there. I have done it both ways and have to say that the shipping can kill you if you don't do it right! Every piece of an AR-15 minus the lower receiver can be shipped through the mail. The barrel, upper receiver, stock, pistol grip, magazines, lower parts kit, hand guards, rails...etc. They are not the gun, only the lower is!

The only thing positive about buying it piece by piece is if you can get good deals on the parts over time. You can also custom build the rifle like you want subbing crappy parts that break with very good parts that don't.

I have my AR's for home protection. I need to know that it will go BANG when the time comes to drop the hammer. So the parts that I buy are Mil-Spec and pretty much the best on the market. If you are blasting wolves from a snow machine then the kit gun route will be more than sufficeint for your purposes...

Here's 2 of my best AR's... The top one is a Colt factory built 9mm AR-15. The bottom one is a Wilson Tactical lower that I built. Here are the specs:

Wilson Tactical lower $150
Colt M4 upper reciever $185
Youngs Manufacturing Bolt Carrier Group & Bolt $180
Stag Lower Parts Kit $75
Tango Down pistol grip $25
Denny's Guns Operator Barrel 1/7" twist $350
Magpul CTR stock $150
front handguards $20
Magpul 30 round P Mag $14.50 each
Geissele Automatics 1.5 lbs trigger $279
Magpul winter trigger guard $20

The Wilson is very accurate and super reliable. This winter I took it out to the trapline and tested it in -30 below. I had some gun oil that I was testing for William Geissele at Geissele Automatics along with his trigger. The rifle never gave me trouble throughout the weekend in sub zero conditions.


Now if you got your lower and went the kit gun route, then you have just got a pretty good AR for around $700. You saved yourself about $300, because that's what you would have paid for the exact same gun at a gunstore. Use that saved money to buy quality mags and ammo.

Here's a link to AR-15.com's build it yourself forum. This is where I learned how to put together my first AR-15...




Here are a few of the vendors that I buy my parts from.

Denny @ Global Tactical has free USPS shipping if your purchase is over $300. He sells quality parts and will take time out of his busy schedule to BS with you. Tell him that the Alaskacajun sent you, he'll get a kick out of that. I have spent hours on the phone with this guy picking his brain...

Magpul is where I get my mags... I used to use USGI mags but found out that I was getting "failure to feed" (FTF) issues with them. So I did some testing of Magpuls mags and found out that you'de be hard pressed to break or destroy them. I have never had a FTF with a P Mag. A big part of reliablity in the AR platform comes from the quality of the parts you use, the mags you use, and the ammo you use. If you skimp on any of these there is a possibilty that you'll have problems...

I also buy some parts from Bravo Company, they have fast shipping and excellent service...

Del-Ton is where I get my kit guns. They are on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to these kits. If you decide to go the kit route these are the guys I recommend... they are currently on a 3 week back order, but they are well worth the wait!

I know you wolf blasters are gonna want a "red dot" sight to go on top of that AR you just built so here they are... the Trijicon, Aimpoint, and EO Tech... there are many more out there but these are the best. Battle tested tried and true. I currently have an EO Tech and love it...

I guess I ought to show yall where I got the cases that I store my rifles in. I got them from Spike's Tactical. They also make a really nice Lower. If you want to get great service and great products I highly recommend them. A carbine with a telestock and 16" barrel will fit perfectly into their 36" case.

I have built dozens of these rifles over the years and after a lot of trial and error have arrived at the vendors and manufacturers that I use today. I can take $50 out of every paycheck and build 2 AR-15's a year without my wife noticing! I don't know of another rifle out there that has so many different calibers available to it, with the push of 2 buttons.

I hope that this post has helped yall decide weather or not building an AR-15 is for you. If you destroyed every model car you ever tried to build and have no patience then you might want to consider just buying an AR outright!

- Clint

Edited by Alaskacajun (10/09/08 09:05 PM)

#924147 - 10/09/08 08:22 PM Re: *** PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS THREAD! *** [Re: ]

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 874
Originally Posted By: white17
Please address the NATO chamber vs. non-NATO chamber.


Here's a thread with a lot of FAQ info on ARFcom...


Calibers that the AR is chambered in...

223/5.56 and based upon that case
6 x 45
7 x 40
357 Mag Rimless
300 Whisper / .300Fireball (also other calibers)
6.5 x 40
30 Coyote (30 x 45)
17 Remington
17 Mach IV
20 Tactical
19 Calhoun

5.7 FN (developed by Rhinland Arms - no word yet on who is going to mfg it)

204 Ruger

6.8 SPC
30 HRT
338 Spectre
10 mm Mag
219 WASP-C

7.62 x 39
338 x 39
6.5 Grendel
22 PPC
7 sCAR ....

30 Carbine
5.45x39 / .21 Ghengis

7 BR
6.5 BR
300 Sabre

8mm (belt fed upper)
.308 (again a belt fed upper - no longer available)

44 Mag
440 CorBon
44 AMP
.475 Tremor
50 Beowulf

.50 BMG (single shot)
.50 Blackpowder (1 made)

22 LR
17 HV
224 BoZ
357 Sig

223 WSSM
243 WSSM

I know some of you Tac-ti-cool trappers will want one of them rail systems on the front of your AR to hang stuff like flashlights and lasers and junk off of... so if your gonna buy one go ahead and get the best. Mark LaRue is based out of Texas... He's a true patriot and his products are top of the line. I had one of his 12" rails on my Wilson a while back but decided to go back to basics with the set up that I have now. Just my personal preference.

Here we go, LaRue Tactical!



- Clint

#924153 - 10/09/08 08:26 PM Re: *** PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS THREAD! *** [Re: ]

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 874
piperniner: A.C. - here is one to critique : Several years ago Ugashik Bob ( another forum ) stated the following : In response to a question regarding A.R. jams and extraction problems with a Bushmaster - I have had extraction and failure to feed problems with D.P.M.S. and Colt A.R.15's . I have been told by experts that it is most often caused by a wide variety of ammo and resulting variances in chamber pressure. Most of these problems are in Barrels 20" and less and most CAR versions of the A.R.15. It is the higher pressure that in effect causes to much gas to overextract and leave a round in the chamber causing the problem. Examine your brass to see what signs the extractor is making on your brass. This is an inherent problem with barrel lengths 20" or less because the gas vent is closer to the chamber and it showed up on both my 16" Colt and 16" D.P.M.S. I had a gunsmith in Arizona ( [Please excuse my language... I'm an idiot] Martin ) install a special bleeder valve in the gas tube and it solved my problems.
After reading the above in the past, I called Bushmaster and they confirmed the above can happen on the shorter barrels. However, they said they usually only see it in the 14" or less. Thought you might find the above interesting. I did, Because I have never been able to understand how magazines and ammo alone can be the cause for so many malfuctions.

piperniner, I am aware of the situation that you are refering to... and it can be remedied by making the gas tube longer on a carbine.... you can do this two ways...

1. get a longer gas tube that wraps around the barrel (carbine/M4 length) and gives the gas "more time" to reach the carrier... there are companies that make such a gas tube, I'll try to provide a link!

2. Get a "Mid-Length" gas system like the one I have on my Wilson... notice in the picture that both carbines have 16" barrels but the Wilson's handguard is much longer than that Colt's. That's because it's gas hole is further forward giving the rifle a longer sight radius and a longer gas tube. The longer gas tube reduces recoil and allows the action to cycle slower. So with a Middy you get the best of both worlds. A rifle length gas system and a short barrel...

Oh yeah I almost forgot, you can also slow down the recoil of the action by putting a heavier buffer in the rifle. I know a guy who uses a 9mm buffer in a 5.56 carbine, but I wouldn't do it personally, cuz if it was meant to be done, then the manufaturers of the firearms would be doing it...

It is illegal to install burst or a full auto sear in an AR but there are ways of owning full auto...

I know a few of you may be interested as I am in owning a full auto M16. There are ways of doing it but throwing an auto sear in an Ar-15 or drilling the 3rd hole are not the proper way of doing it.

Back in May of 1986 there was a ban on the importation of machine guns into the US. Also the ban made the transfer of machine guns to civilians made after the 1986 ban illegal as well. This was the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1986 signed into effect by Ronald Reagan.

There are thousands of machine guns that you as a civilian can own and they refer to these as "transferable" machine guns or "registered receivers" (RR) when you are refering to an M16 variant.

You can legally buy a RR M16 for around $14,000 for a decent one. There are others out there as high as $35-40,000 and as cheap as $7,000. But you get what you pay for so if you want a good investment then try for one of the $14k RR's...

You can also buy what they call a Registered Drop In Auto Sear (RDIAS)... this quarter sized piece of metal has a serial # on it and is considered a machine gun by the BATFE. They go for anywhere between $10,000 to $14,000 if you can find anyone willing to sell you one. This type of conversion is perferable to some becuase you can install it into any AR-15 donor gun.

Either way you go, there is a legal process that you must navigate to own them and I'll try to explain the process the best I can....

First you must find a Class 3 dealer. There are I believe 2 in Anchorage. Lou at AMMO CAN GUNS on Dimond and Steve at ALASKA TACTICAL on Muldoon. There may be others but these are the 2 that I know of.

Next you need to talk to the dealer about getting you ready to purchase a machine gun. You have to get signed off by the Chief of Police (CLEO) in Anchorage and get some ID pictures taken of you as well as getting finger printed. To get signed off by the CLEO you'll have to set up an interview with him and explain why you think you deserve a MG. He'll do a background check on you and sign your paperwork.

Then you need to find a MG. They sell them on AR15.com in the NFA section of the EE.

Once you find your MG, you'll have to send the seller your money to secure the MG so he doesn't sell it to someone else before your paperwork is done. The seller will bring the MG to a Class 3 dealer on his end to hold the MG.

Then you send a check for $200 (NFA Tax) along with your paperwork, ID photos, and fingerprints to the BATFE for review. The process will take several weeks or could take up to several months before you recieve a tax stamp in the mail from them. There is NO LICENSE for you to own a MG. It is a piece of paper that looks like a Certificate of Merit from grade school....

Now that you have your tax stamp you can return to your dealer who will contact the dealer holding the MG and have him ship it up. Once your dealer gets it he'll charge you a transfer fee and then you'll finally own a MG. The process is the same if you buy a RR or a RDIAS.

Now once you have your MG you can't just leave it in your closet leaning against the wall. You'll need to put it in a gun safe. You can't let your friends borrow it either. You are married to this serial # until you sell it and have it transfered out of your name.

It should also be noted that the BATFE can come to your house and make sure you have the MG secure. I'm pretty sure they give you a warning before hand, but you know those pesky FEDS... they do whatever they want.

- Clint

#924184 - 10/09/08 08:39 PM Re: *** PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS THREAD! *** [Re: ]

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 874
Here's a comparison chart of manufacturers on M4Carbines.net

This chart shows why some people only buy certain brands and will not buy others based on the use of Mil Spec parts.


Originally Posted By: lanctrapper
Is ADCO the only place to purchase a Geiselle trigger? That is the only place that seems to have them.

LaRue Tactical has them. I thought Denny's Guns had them as well but a quick search proved otherwise. I could have swore that Denny told me he had them though.... anyway, here's a link to LaRue's website for the trigger!


Or I suppose you could order it direct....


I guess Bravo Company has them as well...


Interesting thread on Denny's Operator Barrel...




Like I said before, I've built a bunch of these rifles, using all kinds of parts. When I started this thread I originally wanted to show yall how to do it, and to do it cheaply.

But some of you have asked a lot of questions concerning accuracy and what I think the best barrel for your money would be. I have done quite a bit of reading on this very topic and the barrel that I finally settled on that meets my needs is this one. The Operator Barrel by Denny's Guns!

There are barrels out there that are more accurate like Shilen or even Les Baer, but they are all long and heavy, something that I didn't want in a Battle Rifle. I needed mine to be short and sweet. If a varmint upper is what you want then the heavy barrels are the ones to research!

There are other uppers out there that are getting very good reviews as well, like Mark LaRue's Stealth Upper...


His uppers are very high quality capable of amazing groups and is priced accordingly. They are geared toward snipers so this is not a plinking upper. You could throw some good glass on one of his uppers and reach out accuratly to very long ranges.

Another accurate upper would be from Noveske. They are also very expensive but well worth the price...


An accurate AR is only as good as the parts that you put into it and the receivers that you start with. I won't even go into all of the lowers and uppers that are capable of being the best but I will list a few to look into...




These 3 are by no means the only ones out there, rather some of the most popular. If you have a matching lower and upper receiver with quality parts installed with a good barrel and stock, there is no reason why you couldn't build yourself a 1/2" MOA gun....

Speaking of JP Enterprises, they build their own Bolts, Carriers, and buffers that are highly reguarded in the AR15 competion shooting world. I personally have never even touched one of these but have read quite a few revues on them. If you are building a precision rifle and want a quality BCG they would be worth looking into!



- Clint

Edited by Alaskacajun (10/09/08 09:14 PM)

#924235 - 10/09/08 08:57 PM Re: *** PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS THREAD! *** [Re: ]

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 874

This is how I clean my AR-15!

First I push the rear take down pin and then the front take down pin and seperate the upper from the lower...

Then I pull the charging handle back and remove the bolt carrier group...

Then I pull the cotter pin that holds the firing pin out with my pocket knife...

Next I remove the firing pin...

After that I push the bolt all the way to the rear and turn the bolt cam 90 degrees and pull it & the bolt out of the BCG!

Next I use my firing pin to push the pin out of the bolt to release the extractor and remove it...

Edited by Alaskacajun (10/09/08 09:02 PM)

#924255 - 10/09/08 09:02 PM Re: *** PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS THREAD! *** [Re: ]

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 874
Now depending on how dirty these parts are I usually bring it all outside and blow everything off with Gun Scrubber or Brake Parts Cleaner... or something similar!

Then I return to the table and put all of the BCG parts into a Ziploc Bag and spray it liberally with Break Free CLP and let it soak while I clean the rest of the rifle!

Next I scrub the bore and run a few patches down the barrel till I feel that I have extricated all of the crud that one finds in an AR15... but I leave the barrel dry when I'm done. I wet everything else down with CLP. Making sure any shiny spot I find gets plenty of oil inside the lower and upper. I make sure my trigger and hammer pins are lubed as well!

Using the tooth brush included in the USGI M16 cleaning kit I have, I scrub all of the BCG parts and put it back together. I slightly wipe the majority of the CLP off of it but leave it damp!

Then I reinstall the charging handle halfway in the upper...

... & reinstall the BCG into the upper and slide everything forward!

Finally I put the upper back on by lining up and pushing in the front pivot pin and then the rear....

The rifle is back together and all I do is wipe off any excess oil and stick it back in the safe!

There you go... this isn't the only way to clean an AR, but rather how I do it. As long as you get the majority of the crud out and leave the rifle wet when done, you should have no issues with function at all!

- Clint