AR 15 build advice

Discussion in 'Main Message Board' started by grovey, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. grovey

    grovey

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    So I think the time has come that I feel I should own an AR. To be honest...I've kinda been opposed to the idea that I NEED one, but it's been on my mind as of late. A friend showed me one he recently built using PSA parts for like 400 bucks all in, and said he's very pleased with it. I know nothing about them, but like the idea of bargain shopping for parts over a period of time to put one together. I believe his qualifies as a pistol with a 13.5" bbl, but I would want a rifle, so 16" plus on the bbl.

    I'm looking for some advice from seasoned AR owners/builders here on what parts to buy, and what to pass on when building a budget AR. I want economical parts, but not junk parts. I want common stuff that interchanges easily with another brand parts. Not really looking for recommendations on complete rifles at this time. All new to me, so....Perhaps there are specific sales from time to time I should be aware of?
     
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  2. MGYSGT

    MGYSGT Silver $$ Contributor

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    Just go to JOEBOBS or PALMETO STATE. Between them they always have uppers/lowers and all the parts on sale. Barrels come in many price ranges. Big bucks to small bucks. Except for the really high end ones, I don't find much difference in the rest of them, especially if you are just shooting short range (200 yards) or hunting Yotes. You can improve triggers with a spring kit ($15 ish).
     
  3. R.Morehouse

    R.Morehouse Gold $$ Contributor

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    Spend the money and get a Geissele SSA-E trigger. If you are using custom triggers on your other guns you will be glad you did....;)

    Regards
    Rick
     
  4. Coyotefurharvester

    Coyotefurharvester

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    I have built a couple of "budget" rifles. One I have just over 300 in, the other I ordered a custom barrel @ 425 ish. Both are good shooters, could take them for pd. I auction purchased Anderson stripped uppers and lowers over time and found small parts on clearance sales. I could have saved a few bucks buying the lower on a black friday or other holidays sale locally, watching now for another build. Or could go with an 80% lower and finish. The bill increases fast if you go billet,side charging, premium adjustable gb and triggers. You will need some specialty AR tools for assembly.
     
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  5. Boatschool02

    Boatschool02 Silver $$ Contributor

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    You've wisely admitted up front just how little you know about ARs.
    I was in the same situation.
    -
    After much research, I had Compass Lake assemble my parts from Mega Arms.
    (What little they charged amounted to the single best decision I made throughout the build.)
    They thoughtfully advised where to spend money and where to save.
    I couldn't possibly be more pleased: flawless functioning that wouldn't have came together, otherwise, on my first attempt. Certainly not the least expensive route, but absolutely free of any upgrade that doesn't contribute to accuracy and/or reliability. (Caution: that market is chock full of BS ranging from aesthetics to full on snake oil.)
    -
    My 16" Krieger barrel easily shot 1/2" 5-shot groups at 100 yards, outdoor from a Harris bipod, across more than 10 bullets with basic dies and little reloading experience at the time. Occasionally, match bullets (52, 53 & 69) would dip into the mid 2s at 100. 55 Blitzkings would print repeat 1.2" groups @ 200 and the 60 Sierra Varminter would repeat in the 8s @ 200.
    -
    Best of luck with your project. Let us know how it turns out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  6. GSS

    GSS

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    What is the intended use / accuracy expectation from what you are looking to build?

    Plinking / blasting zombie targets, tin cans and other reactive targets out to 100 - 200 yards?

    Bench shooting for fun trying to shoot as small of groups as possible out to 100 or 600 yards?

    Steel or paper targets out to 500 yards?

    Home Defense?

    Full Service Rifle Competition ready to go out to 600 yards ?

    Other ?

    George
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  7. Fast14riot

    Fast14riot Silver $$ Contributor

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    The important parts of an AR are the barrel, bolt and trigger. Everything else is there to support those. Spend your money in those places and you should get a good gun. For non target barrels I like AR Performance, you can get a headspace bolt with the barrel. POF triggers have done well for me, too. Two of my match rifles have 80% lowers and blem upper receivers and an A2 stock wont hold you back. Won plenty of matches with those.
     
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  8. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    $400 is about right for a blaster. If accuracy is your goal buy a completed upper from a good company with a good non chrome match barrel and go from there
     
  9. rsmithsr50

    rsmithsr50

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    define its use and expectation first

    just an inexpensive 16" plinker...PSA is my choice.
    2 options, buy a complete upper, and then a complete lower to your dealer.
    about $350 plus any fees you run into
    or
    buy a kit less receiver,, and a receiver from psa thru your dealer.
    ( I have had out of spec andersons..so no to that name)
    if accuracy is a requirement, it typically doubles the price if a name brand is used..like Krieger.
    several people have had very good luck with psa ss longer bbls 18/20 inches.
    still not a Krieger, but good.
     
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  10. Richard Coody

    Richard Coody Gold $$ Contributor

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    My god that is awesome.

    Consistent 5 shot half inch groups at 100 yrds with a 16" barreled .223.

    And dipping down into the quarter inch range ocasionally.

    And all this with a range of bullets and no special reloading techniques

    That is a rare AR indeed. You are a lucky man.
     
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  11. Boatschool02

    Boatschool02 Silver $$ Contributor

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    My God, you are awesome.
    Thanks for your substantive contribution to this great forum.
    The gall and audacity necessary to question my integrity (someone you've never met) & targets (which you've never seen) truly are rare indeed.
    Surely you must regard yourself as a very lucky man.
    My apologies to the OP for your lack of decorum.
    Good day to you, Sir.
     
  12. grovey

    grovey

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    To me this will be strictly a home defense/anti tyranny piece. I plan to shoot it enough to begin with to be familiar with one in a pinch. As far as accuracy requirements It'd be nice if it was capable of shooting a few kinds of bulk ammo under moa @ 100 yds. I don't see myself chasing benchrest accuracy with it at all, as I don't plan to reload for it.
     
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  13. waltkrafft

    waltkrafft Gold $$ Contributor

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    Unless you are willing to buy the tools needed to correctly assemble an upper, it would be wise to buy a complete upper from somebody. Assembling a lower is not hard and doesnt require any special tools. But, you likely wont save much if any money. I would recommend buying the complete rifle from a known good supplier. It will function properly and have a better resale value.
     
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  14. jepp2

    jepp2 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Agree 100% with this.
    Not sure everyone has a set of roll pin punches in their toolbox. And I have seen enough of folks mark up the lower when driving the bolt catch roll pin home, and breaking an ear off the trigger guard when not supporting it on the underside when driving the roll pin through.
     
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  15. Lone Hunter

    Lone Hunter Silver $$ Contributor

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    If it's a home defense/anti tyranny piece you better buy 2 of them. The future hopefully will be brighter but not looking good. As has been said I think PSA is about the cheapest way to go. Barrel,bolt, and trigger are the important parts in an AR. Remember, you pay for what you get, but, you can get some cheaper items that work good also.
     
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  16. grovey

    grovey

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    All great advice guys. My friend has the needed tools, but he has assembled all of one gun... his. A assembled upper maybe in the cards by the time i figure out whats what and what i can afford at the time. I'm in no hurry, just looking for direction here on good bang for your buck components. I just bought a new bolt gun and I need reloading components for that first in foremost, but I was thinking of buying a stripped lower and pick it up at my FFL'S at the same time I pick up my new one holer ... For you hunting camp guy's, I ain't talking about a new outhouse.
     
  17. Richard Coody

    Richard Coody Gold $$ Contributor

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    I assume you felt i was being facetious. Not so at all. Compass lake builds nice stuff. I have built quite a few precision ars. Half inch groups are the exception but it can be done. I owned one that was very exceptional i purchased from robert Whitley. Very consistent with a range of bullets. I feel very lucky to have owned it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Fast14riot

    Fast14riot Silver $$ Contributor

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    The biggest problem I see with first builds are people buying things because someone said it was better, like H2 buffer with an adjustable gas block and a light carrier, when all three do the same thing and only 1 should be needed to tune the gun. I'm a huge advocate for building with an adjustable gas block on every build, and tuning with standard buffer and an M16 carrier. Done right it should run like a sewing machine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  19. Boatschool02

    Boatschool02 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Please accept my apology. Any misunderstanding was mine.
    -
    Yes, Compass Lake does good work.
    I set out to test the limits of a premium 16" AR build.
    While this does not necessarily match the OPs objective, I look back on the decision to have a pro assemble the rifle, fondly. Any results should be a testament to their work and not mine.
    Over the course of 1,500 rounds of testing, I never had a single glitch or hiccup.
    The rifle will put five pieces of brass on a pie plate at 4 o'clock.
    Before starting the project, I had no clue what goes into making an accurate & reliable AR.
    I have great respect for any business that will actively tell a willing customer how NOT to spend money.
    -
    I have no affiliation with Compass Lake and don't know if they still offer this service, but IMHO it was some of the best money I've spent in this hobby.
    Thanks,
     
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  20. mousegunner

    mousegunner

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    Quality barrel, trigger, sights and good ammo, spend money on this. The rest as long as it's mil-spec you're gtg.

    Built my service and match rifle from parts cheaper than a complete rifle. All can hold the 10 ring to 600 yards IF I do my part. Shooting across the course is my game and built these accordingly. Competition or plinking away will determine what you buy and spend. Have a carbine that's a tad over moa but that's all I need. Shopped around for good prices on parts happy with results.

    True story, took my match rifle to a quarterly qualification, nothing fancy, one other guy had his high priced billet upper carbine with lots of accessories, along with the cap, polo shirt and trousers all sporting the brand name. People oh'd and awed over my rifle and ignored his set up, I think it rubbed him the wrong way. I said don't matter how you look on the line, it's results down range that matter (my rapid fire open sights group looked better than his red dot slow fire target).

    You learn a lot putting one together and it's fun as well.
     
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