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  • Help Me Build An AR

    Went to an area show last week and saw that Anderson stripped lowers were selling for $53. Now, ARs have never held a lot of fascination for me but I do know that is the lowest price I have ever seen for a lower, enough that it caught my attention. There were also Spike lowers as well, for $109. Nothing else, not even 80% blanks.

    So, since the Spike's were all laser engraved with various and sundry crapola chest thumping images assume someone buys an Anderson. What else would he buy to complete the build.

    Maybe I should add there were also 'armeror's' tool kits on another table so a guy could buy what were presumably all the tools he would need for the build. Presumably. Even a noob like me as far as AR's knows better.

    So, aside from a Timmany trigger and other assorted super high-end parts what would you want to toss on the Anderson to make it go within reason, without adding 20 lbs of tacticool crap. Sights? Special mag well accessories or not? Dust cover? Fixed vs. sliding stock?

    What barrel, upper, trigger group, stock, fore-guard, maybe rail, etc would be worth considering. Let's take this further and assume we aren't looking at a short-barrel close in weapon so we can eliminate all that the stuff one might hang on same like fore grips and stuff.

    Play with this a bit. Be reasonable, not uber-cheap but not a total titanium build either. Think in terms of what we used to see on the tables vs. what we see now, with fancy paint jobs and tacticiool crap.

    RR
    Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

    I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?

  • #2
    As long as you are not an AR snob (and you wouldn't believe how crazy some can be) I can talk to you as far as an affordable AR can be. Course you did mention a
    Timmany trigger....

    Building an AR is all about what appeals to you. You can spend under $400 or over $2000 and the 2 ARs can look exactly the same.
    Check out Palmetto State Armory for affordable complete uppers.
    ARs trend. The latest trend is one piece aluminum handguards. The last trend was the M4 profile barrel.


    BISHOP
    The rusty wire, that holds the cork, that keeps the anger in, gives way...

    Comment


    • #3
      I do know how snobbish some can be, which is why I was asking in the way I am. I go to the shows and these days everything is colored and heavy and lots of sharp angles, and beau-coup dollars. Since the bullpups disappeared (wife used to be interested in them) I haven't given them ore than casual interest.

      Given the state of affairs any more, and falling prices like I saw for the Anderson lowers, I am back to pondering.

      I realize different models will suit differing needs, perceived or actual. Were my nephew (SEAL) to show up I'm sure he'd like to be handed a shorty with a vertical fore-grip and a holo sight and all that jazz. An arthritic fellow like me would do much better with an intermediate range shooter that was simple and reliable. Someone with better eyes and more patience would benefit from a bull barrel and all that.

      So use me; I'm a middling standard. Mid-range, maybe want to blow a few K rounds through it at the range for fun, simple and utilitarian without going bare bones. The 'pistols' hold no fascination for me - no apocalyptic blasting with the left hand while I toss the wheel around on my F450 (!!!) with the right in high speed gun n' run scenarios.

      6'2" so a shorty doesn't appeal due to reach. Would reach out 100-150 yards. Bipod might be useful could care less about a tactical; light because you aren't going to illum 100 yds and it'd just give away which window or hay bale you were firing from.

      Given all that, what brands appeal without chrome plating? Palmetto State has a decent rep for most. How about barrels - what is good, what is cheap, what is pie-in-the-sky ya-don't-need-that?

      For that matter, is an Anderson lower worthwhile or would that be money wasted/a set-up for later regret?

      RR
      Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

      I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Reasonable Rascal View Post
        Went to an area show last week and saw that Anderson stripped lowers were selling for $53. Now, ARs have never held a lot of fascination for me but I do know that is the lowest price I have ever seen for a lower, enough that it caught my attention. There were also Spike lowers as well, for $109. Nothing else, not even 80% blanks.

        So, since the Spike's were all laser engraved with various and sundry crapola chest thumping images assume someone buys an Anderson. What else would he buy to complete the build.
        Well, first off you need tools. Several punches, roll pin punches, and some roll pin starter punches help. You'll need an armorer's wrench, a 1/2" drive torque wrench that works in the 30-80 ft pound range. You'll need a bench block for the upper and the lower. There are also some little specialty tools that you can get to make some stuff easier. If you are starting from scratch, I would take a look at Real Avid. They have a complete kit on there that covers it all in one go.

        Originally posted by Reasonable Rascal View Post
        Maybe I should add there were also 'armeror's' tool kits on another table so a guy could buy what were presumably all the tools he would need for the build. Presumably. Even a noob like me as far as AR's knows better.

        So, aside from a Timmany trigger and other assorted super high-end parts what would you want to toss on the Anderson to make it go within reason, without adding 20 lbs of tacticool crap. Sights? Special mag well accessories or not? Dust cover? Fixed vs. sliding stock?

        What barrel, upper, trigger group, stock, fore-guard, maybe rail, etc would be worth considering. Let's take this further and assume we aren't looking at a short-barrel close in weapon so we can eliminate all that the stuff one might hang on same like fore grips and stuff.

        Play with this a bit. Be reasonable, not uber-cheap but not a total titanium build either. Think in terms of what we used to see on the tables vs. what we see now, with fancy paint jobs and tacticiool crap.

        RR
        As you probably remember from the one I just built, I went very basic on my build. I can always change stuff out later as I determine what I liked and didn't like.

        For the lower, you need the two takedown pins, the safety, the mag release, the buffer detent, and the bolt catch. You should be able to get all that in a parts kit. Then you need the pistol grip, the receiver extension, buffer and spring, and depending on the furniture you go with maybe a castle nut. You will need the stock of your choice. I would go adjustable if for no other reason than the ability to adjust it to fit you like you want. You will also need a trigger group.

        For the upper, you need the upper itself, another parts kit with the forward assist assembly and the dust cover assembly. You'll need the bolt carrier group and bolt. You will need a charging handle and a barrel. I went with a chrome lined one for durability but that is a bit more money. Make sure it matches the style of upper you go with. Then of course you will need whatever you want furniture wise. Depending on what you pick, you will need some sort of barrel nut, maybe a delta ring assembly. You'll need a gas tube and pin appropriate to the gas system on the barrel you choose. Depending on what you do sight wise, you may need a gas block. If you do, I would suggest getting one of the dimpling jigs available to dimple the barrel. Then whatever you want to do sight wise, irons or optics. Finally you'll need your muzzle device and crush washer.

        For the upper, I'd look at the Aero Precision uppers. I love the one I have on my rifle. Most of those will be the newer flat top design with the M.4 feedramp cuts. I like the look of the M4 style setup with the detachable carry handle, but that is just me. For the most flexibility, I'd go with a collapsible stock a flat top upper, and handguards with the picatinny rail. Then you can do whatever you prefer with the sights. The barrel assembly I picked had a F mark front sight base on it which included the gas block already installed. I just had to get the front sight post and spring. That pairs well with the detachable carry handle.

        I ordered most of my stuff from Brownells. I did get some stuff like the barrel and lower parts from DSArms. I got my bolt carrier group from Palmetto State Armory. They also carry a lot more parts. I'd look at one of their Nickle Boron bolt carrier groups and a nickle boron trigger group.

        John

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        • #5
          I'd keep in simple. Throw in an Anderson parts kit (https://aimsurplus.com/anderson-manu...d-trigger-lpk/) for $40 or just buy a kit minus lower from PSA and call it done. You can always upgrade the trigger to a two stage M1 style for $70. Barrels cause the kit prices to go up. if you want chrome lined, you pay a bit more.
          There is no I' n team!
          [URL="http://www.cjcs-supply.net"]www.cjcs-supply.net[/URL]
          There are three types of people in the world: 1. Those that can count. 4. Those that can't.
          So, am I your man Mr. Dumbass? The name, is Dumaas!

          Comment


          • #6
            With regard to tools, most places sell the kits assembled, minus the lower. The lower needs no "special" tools. Roll pin punch, some electrical tape, screwdriver (flat tip) or Allen head, spanner tool but you can use a punch on the castle nut for the collapsible stock. If you need help on the pivot pin, you can use a 1/4" pin with a hole in it from Tractor Supply but a 1'4" punch will work just wear some glasses in case you launch a retainer pin. Hammer and trigger pins push in but may need a tap.
            There is no I' n team!
            [URL="http://www.cjcs-supply.net"]www.cjcs-supply.net[/URL]
            There are three types of people in the world: 1. Those that can count. 4. Those that can't.
            So, am I your man Mr. Dumbass? The name, is Dumaas!

            Comment


            • #7
              Much appreciate the info fellas. Once I noticed the lowers at that price I actually started looking at the tool kit, uppers, etc. Normally they aren't even on my radar but times being what they are and all that.

              There is supposed to be a show an hour from me tomorrow, but they haven't answered my email request from Thursday asking if it was still a go or not. Maybe there won't be anything to sell?

              Let me ask this though, for what we are talking about here what do you recommend for a barrel? Stellite? Chrome? Plain jane?

              Trying to make sense here but I am so deep into the virus thing it isn't funny. Advising, writing, researching, reading papers... Leaves me only so much time to ponder important things like whether I want to join the mouse gun club or not.

              RR
              Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

              I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, barrels. A chrome lined barrel is more durable and easier to clean, costs more. If you like to clean, a plain old barrel is pretty accurate. Stainless is easy to clean but I hear they wear out faster. I cannot say as I have never worn one out. Oly Arms used to make an $89 heavy barrel that was one of the most accurate I ever shot. Even as much as I hate Steve and Oly Arms, that was a darn good barrel. I think if you keep things in perspective with regard to price, the $300 kits that PSA sells are a smoking deal. You will not get a one inch group at a 100 but you have a $400 gun in the end that is well made and reliable. The upper comes assembled and test fired, ready to go. $400 for a GI triggered gun that will get you 3" groups but will need some extra maintenance, I think that is respectable.

                CDNN has some deals too. Some DPMS and Remington uppers. They come with the BCG so I doubt they are test fired. Maybe the barrel was proof tested, not sure.
                There is no I' n team!
                [URL="http://www.cjcs-supply.net"]www.cjcs-supply.net[/URL]
                There are three types of people in the world: 1. Those that can count. 4. Those that can't.
                So, am I your man Mr. Dumbass? The name, is Dumaas!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Needless to say all efforts towards this have been suspended for the time being. I didn't even get to make the next show to start shopping. This too will pass.

                  RR
                  Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

                  I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Holler when you pick it back up I'm somewhere in between snob and cheapskate. I have PSA builds to Lantac Raven & Radian Model 1, so budget stuff and bigger money stuff. I'm going to disagree with Vulcan on the Anderson LPK. The lower is fine, but their LPK is junk....esp if it has the stainless fire control group. The springs aren't standard and are very coarse. The steel will not polish. The absolute worst AR trigger you can probably get is Anderson. And most would think just pretension springs a touch to make up for the wrong spring wire being used, but you can't - at least not the trigger spring if you want it to reset reliably. Hammer spring you could probably chop a leg off and be OK since it's overly stiff, just don't bend it. If doing a drop-in trigger, Anderson would be fine, but CMMG makes a perfectly good LPK for a couple bucks more. Aero Precision, Spike's, Odin, are some others that have perfectly good lower parts kits that aren't overly expensive. PSA used to have 2 flavors or LPK and the premium was really good. Forget the other one - VTAC or something - but it wasn't right either,

                    As far as triggers go, I like Timney & have one in my 10/22 and Rem 700 and they're great. But I wouldn't even think about one in an AR when CMC makes such an outstanding drop-in for ~$150.

                    Buy a complete upper is simplest & usually cheapest route if you don't want a Criterion or similar barrel (or buy a bigger $ upper with that). That simply reduces the tooling need for stuff like vice block, armor's wrench, 5/64 roll pin punch for gas block you'll surely mangle first time, etc.

                    For a perfectly functional rifle, there's nothing wrong with a DelTon or PSA kit. However, where the snobbery comes in, you're going to notice a difference running something properly gassed & you're not going to find that at PSA et. al. Add a VLTOR A5 to a properly gassed rifle and it's just a more pleasant gun to shoot. Not a big deal, but there's a difference between "serviceable" and "very nice" & that's one of them. I will say (and no idea if they still have them in kits) the PSA CHF barrels made by FN are outstanding. I have 2 of those and 2 Criterion barrels. One of the PSA/FN was chopped for a SBR so apples:apples 14.5-16" barrels, the PSA/FN are as accurate as my Criterion - at least with me behind the trigger. A vice might show a difference, but off sandbags out to 300 yds I can hit a 2" target at 300 yds with either on 55gr VMAX loads. I won't even try that with a PSA Freedom, DelTon, etc.

                    So depending on budget for the rifle itself (not optic) I'd upgradebarrel, trigger, rail, buffer in that order as funds allow. 45 ambi selector, raptor charging handle, billet lower, etc....all that stuff has a cool factor & can be nice, but bang for buck is in the trigger & barrel. Oh, and if doing a rail vs handguards, keymod probably cheaper but MLOK is kind of the way things are going.

                    Also, it's not hard to find PSA stripped lowers for $40. Maybe not every single day, but fairly often. They make one called "stealth" I really like. No crossed cannon logo, minimal engraving. Makes a very clean looking AR. Black Friday last year they were $40 shipped for example.
                    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.<br /><br />-- Benjamin Franklin

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