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Author Topic: Building the AR-15  (Read 5742 times)

Evil Jim

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Building the AR-15
« on: February 01, 2012, 07:51:36 pm »
I already have my stripped lower and will be building it up.
Now, my question is this.
Building vs buying the upper.
I have read and watched videos, and it really looks pretty simple.
However, it doesn't look like you really save much money by building it.
I am thinking 20" heavier barrel, with a heavier barrel I more than likely wont be using the front sight and will just do a flat top with a scope.
So... those who are AR people, what are your thoughts?
Build vs buy... where to buy, complete upper and/or parts.
Help a rookie out?


Jim
Georgiahttp://gasandlead.wordpress.com
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    JesseL

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 08:03:45 pm »
    What do you intend to do with it?
    Arizona

    Evil Jim

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 08:06:41 pm »
    Plinking... varmint popping... paper punching.


    Jim
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    Moral of this lesson:
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    JW Blute

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 08:29:30 pm »
    If you are the type of person who has a revolving gun collection (you sell & trade a lot) you might be better off having a name brand upper. Items usually sell or trade for more money when they have a known pedigree.

    In the unlikely scenario you will be betting your life on this gun every day (Military Contractor, Security, etc.) having a professionally built weapon would be a better idea. Finding out what doesn’t work is less fun when failure results in someone getting medevac’d.

    However, other than those two scenarios, I would encourage you to build your own.  You may not save a bunch of money but you will learn a bunch about your weapon and gain a sense of accomplishment for a job well done.  It’s hard to put a price tag on knowledge and pride.  :thumbup1

    JW
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    mwcoleburn

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 08:37:26 pm »
    Really the price is in favor of buying uppers, when you look at all the little extras you have to buy to do a good job. Armorer's wrench, headspace gauges. Gas block support (to put in the pins) and probably a bunch of stuff I'm overlooking. So figure you tack on an easy extra $100 bucks to the price of parts if you roll your own. If you plan on doing multiple uppers I say go for it, but it's an investment that doenst pay off if you only do one or two.
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    Evil Jim

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 08:39:20 pm »
    I dont sell many of my personal guns, usually only the ones that I buy knowing I CAN sell them for a profit later.
    If it is built using quality parts, I dont see why I wouldnt be able to bet my life on it.
    I do like the idea of building it, but like I said... so far I have not seen a huge difference in price. Unless you compare it to a higher end upper.
    I am not looking at having the cheapest AR ever, i like a bargain... but I dont like a "cheap" gun.


    Jim
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    Moral of this lesson:
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    Outbreak

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 08:47:54 pm »
    I build mine because I enjoy it. I also do it because I can rarely find an upper that I like 100% of. Good barrel with a rail I don't like. Good rail with an upper I don't like. Good upper with a flash hider I don't like. You get the point.

    If I buy all the components individually, I get exactly what I want with no spare parts that I'll never use (I have 3 standard pistol grips and nothing to do with them.) Sure it costs more, but it doesn't hurt too bad because it spreads out the cost. Deciding on what parts I want, slowly accumulating parts as I find the best prices, waiting for special order type stuff, and finally assembling the whole thing. The whole process averages out at a year for my builds. But that's all part of the fun.
    TexasOutbreak

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    Panhead Bill

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #7 on: February 02, 2012, 12:04:19 am »
    I don't have anywhere near enough patience to spend a year accumulating parts and building a rifle. I want it NOW!  Of course, if I were buying from a custom builder with a wait list I think I could handle it. Go figger. 

    Bill
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    FMJ

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 02:33:44 am »
    I dont sell many of my personal guns, usually only the ones that I buy knowing I CAN sell them for a profit later.
    If it is built using quality parts, I dont see why I wouldnt be able to bet my life on it.
    I do like the idea of building it, but like I said... so far I have not seen a huge difference in price. Unless you compare it to a higher end upper.
    I am not looking at having the cheapest AR ever, i like a bargain... but I dont like a "cheap" gun.


    Jim


    Make sure your bolt is MPI/HP tested.  Look at LMT, BCM, Colt, etc for complete BCGs.  Can't go wrong, and this is one of the most critical parts of the build.  Hell, I'd say the entire upper is.


    CaliforniaThere are many like it, but this one is mine.

    Outbreak

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 11:09:06 am »

    Make sure your bolt is MPI/HP tested.  Look at LMT, BCM, Colt, etc for complete BCGs.  Can't go wrong, and this is one of the most critical parts of the build.  Hell, I'd say the entire upper is.

    If you can explain to me why that is better, and show examples of civilian owned plinking/HD rifles failing without such cost-adding measures, I'll believe you.

    Not saying it's bad, just that it's far from essential. I'll also point out that those procedures TEST the quality of the existing part, they don't improve it.
    TexasOutbreak

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    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    FMJ

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #10 on: February 02, 2012, 01:27:16 pm »
    You said it yourself, Outbreak.  These are measures that test the quality of the existing part.

    I'm not going to go down the "oh, it's mil-spec so it's moar cool" path.  But the way I see it, I'd rather have a rifle that adheres to at least a set standard using the correct materials (Carpenter 158 alloy, in this case) in addition to the shot peened bolt face, and that uses the established testing protocol.

    The reason I started to care about these things is because about a year ago, I decided I wanted an AR.  LOL.  Still do, but I don't have one because I keep having to pay for stuff such as school, and so I still do C&R because its the only way I can have my cake and eat it too.  ;D

    Anyhow, I remember reading about things such as this:

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_118/479778_.html&page=1


    I just wouldnt want s___ like that happening to me, and I am willing to personally pay for quality.  Yes, I am aware that stuff like that can happen to any brand as well.
    CaliforniaThere are many like it, but this one is mine.

    JesseL

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 01:37:12 pm »
    What's funny is that for any gun you could possibly buy that isn't an AR, nobody gives a damn about agonizing over the particular steel used, how it's treated, or how it's tested.

    Arizona

    FMJ

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 01:47:20 pm »
    Could it be because it is so ubiquitous and everyone and their brother makes it?  Maybe this is one of the ways people use as a parameter to sort through the chaff to get to the wheat?


    People get snobby about the 1911s too, which are also ubiquitous and made by many makers, but not to this extent.
    CaliforniaThere are many like it, but this one is mine.

    JesseL

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 02:02:49 pm »
    Meh, there's really a lot more wheat than there is chaff. I really don't see any reason worry so much about. Doubly so on a rifle that's going just to be punching paper and varmints.

    If you really want to sweat over it, decide whether it makes more sense to pay extra for all the mil-speciness or to just get a spare bolt and replace it every 5 or 10 thousand rounds (which is a good idea even with the most acronymed up parts you can find).
    Arizona

    Outbreak

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #14 on: February 03, 2012, 12:28:50 am »
    I would also point out that there are countless examples of weapons that EXCEED mil-spec, and therefore are not mil-spec. I doubt anything Crusader puts together is mil-spec...it's far better. But still not mil-spec.

    I also laugh when people demand mil-spec. That's the minimum requirement that the lowest bidder must adhere to. I don't want that junk.
    TexasOutbreak

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    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    Kaso

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #15 on: February 03, 2012, 01:50:29 am »
    I would also point out that there are countless examples of weapons that EXCEED mil-spec, and therefore are not mil-spec. I doubt anything Crusader puts together is mil-spec...it's far better. But still not mil-spec.
    Why not?  Is it not mil-spec because it exceeds mil-spec, or is it because Crusader rifles are made to tighter tolerances that take it out of 'acceptable range?'  Or what?


    Kaso

    FMJ

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #16 on: February 03, 2012, 02:21:16 am »
    For something to be mil-spec, it has to follow a very specific "recipe" if you will.  From how its made, to what its made from etc. etc. 

    The truth is that no gun other than something issued to you by Uncle Sam will ever be milspec.  And these are made only by Colt or FN, who both hold the official recipe, aka the Technical Data Package.

    At the end of the day, I care the most about buying quality.  I just figure that adhering to some standard rather than no standard is better than nothing.
    CaliforniaThere are many like it, but this one is mine.

    JesseL

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #17 on: February 03, 2012, 02:24:25 am »
    Standards are for consistency. They're only tangentially related to absolute quality levels.
    Arizona

    Evil Jim

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    Re: Building the AR-15
    « Reply #18 on: June 30, 2012, 07:03:13 am »
    I think I will be building the upper.
    I was at Sarco yesterday, and can pretty much hand select all the parts off the shelves.
    I now just need to invest in the proper tools...


    Jim
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    Quote
    Moral of this lesson:
    Don't get in any gun fights with buffalo hunters. There ain't no such thing as cover.

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