1st AR build & 1st AR

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by Slantnose, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Slantnose

    Slantnose

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    Well, I have been on the fence for some time trying to decide between building, or buying an AR. I have done a bunch of research. I actually wanted to go with a .224 with a 20" barrel, etc., but range ammo is not readily available at my local Walmart. So that may be a future build. I ordered a rifle kit from PSA on a clearance sale last night. Here is a short description:
    PSA 16" 5.56 NATO 1/7 Mid-Length Nitride 13.5" Lightweight M-Lok MOE CTR EPT Rifle Kit with MBUS Sight Set - 5165449492
    I have not ordered a stripped lower yet. I was had planned to pick up a Scorpion Armaments enhanced stability lower locally from 22Mods4All, but they have moved to Orlando, so now I am looking at PSA's stripped lower that's also on sale. I am mechanically inclined, so I figure this is going to be a fun project. My next door neighbor is very knowledgeable, and has done some higher end builds, so I know I can pick his brain for tips, if needed. I am planning to spend @ $200 on a scope to use on the new Shooting Park that is being built. Right now I am considering a Vortex Diamondback Tactical scope. I would love to get some input from some of the more experience members on the site on good scopes in this price range that would be good out to about 400 yards. Also looking for a decent lower receiver vise block and some basic AR tools.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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  2. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Can’t help you with your requests for input but wish you great fun with your project.
     
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  3. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    You can build an AR kit like that with no special tools. The hardest parts are putting in the pivot pin detent and the roll pin for the bolt catch.

    The closest thing to a "necessary" tool is probably the wrench for the stock castle nut, but you could do it without one. After that, the flat sided roll-pin punches from Wheeler are handy for the bolt catch roll pin and decrease the chance of scratching your lower, but you can do it without them.

    For the pivot pin detent, there are tools from Caldwell and others, but the cheapest is a 1/4" clevis pin from the local hardware store - you insert the detent through one of the holes in the pin, then turn it to hold the detent in, then carefully use the pivot pin to push the clevis pin out and capture the detent. https://www.ar15.com/forums/ar-15/H...n_using_a__1_clevis_pin___56K_death/4-362116/

    A roll pin punch for the trigger guard roll pin is helpful, too.

    You can buy sets of tools from Wheeler and others just about anywhere that sells AR accessories, but most of them are unnecessary, especially where you are assembling a kit with an assembled upper.
     
  4. Valor1

    Valor1 Range Bum

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  5. pgg00

    pgg00

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    Check primary arms line of scopes. They are decent for the money
     
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  6. nevernuffglock

    nevernuffglock

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  7. Slantnose

    Slantnose

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    Wow, Thanks! What a great idea. I found a FFL with PSA lowers about 40 miles away, and his price is very reasonable. So tomorrow afternoon I am going to pick one up (maybe more :). Plus a few Magpul mags. Any real benefit to the Gen 3 mags with the window? I got a email from PSA this morning with the tracking number for my rifle kit. Waiting for a UPS status update.
    It almost looks like I could use a piece of wood as a vise block for the lower? I will make a stop at Home Depot on my way home and pick up the clevis pin, and take the lower with me to see if a piece of wood might work for the vice block. Anyone tried that, or have another solution? Thanks for your help!
     
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  8. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    I have vise blocks for the upper and lower - 2 each, I think - but I have never needed to use the one for the lower. The one for the upper is good if you are installing a barrel.

    For the lower, I just lay it on a table, even when I have the vise block.
     
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  9. norb5150

    norb5150

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    I have built (assembled) several rifles from PSA kits and parts. They are not bad for the price point in my opinion. I have one that doesn't like russian ammo to much but other than that they all run fine. The one that does not like russian ammo does not have M4 feed ramps on the lower, however I am not sure if that is the problem or not. Once it gets dirty with that ammo it will not cycle. Vortex Diamondback Tactical - I have the 6-24 50 mrad mounted on my .224. In my opinion for the price point it is a very good scope. It is hard to see all the detail of the retical at low power (6-8) for me. Other than that it is a great scope. I mounted it with a G4 2" cantilever mount which is pretty much the same mount as the vortex however its half the price. Look it up on Amazon. Also go on Ebay and look up focuscamera that is a vortex authorized seller who sold me mine for a very good price (on his page for vortex, you can make an offer instead of hitting the buy it now) Good luck with your build.
     
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  10. wyntrout

    wyntrout

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    I recently "built" an AR... a PA-10 .308 Win from PSA. I got a MagPul stocked lower for $199.99 shipped. Paid the FFL dealer $20 to receive it. Later, to spread my purchase out over our tight budget, I ordered a blemished 20" upper for $399.99 shipped to my door. I put the two parts together and had a problem with the bolt not latching back. The bolt didn't seem to retract enough for the catch to grab it.

    Talking with an unknowledgeable person who couldn't seem to help me, she sent a new bolt catch. I knew that wouldn't work, but tried it anyhow. Eventually I got a prepaid label from them and returned the whole rifle assembled in the upper packaging. It fit diagonally and I added a bit of extra cardboard to the barrel and the stock ends of the box inside.

    They replaced the AR-15 buffer spring assembly with a PA-10 one and all was well. They test fired the rifle 20 rounds and returned it to me. They took no care in throwing the two assemblies into the box and didn't take any care to keep the two parts separated. There was contact and some gouging on the lower rear of the fore end... all aluminum, so I deburred it and used a flat black gun finish touch-up pen to make it all black again... cosmetic... no biggy, but could have been had there been more visible damage.

    Anyhow, I took it to the range and fired about 50 rounds of 150-gr FMJ, Remington and Aguila. It shot well and the bolt latched back as it should on empty mag and with the latch pushed in as the charging handle was pulled to the rear. I'm happy with my $620 PA-10 and need to buy some decent sights... another red dot and a 1-4 or 6 variable scope for something larger than an AR223... inexpensive ones. :)

    I was firing at 25 yards and the sight is about 2 inches above the bore, so I tried to aim at the center and have POI about .7" low at 25 yards for a shakey 100-yard zero. I don't know when I'll get to a longer range, so that will have to do for now.

    The setup I got is heavy... about 9.5 pounds with the TRS-25 Bushnell red dot and more than 10 pounds with a loaded 10-round mag. I gave up on offhand after about 3 rounds. I'm thinking that I may try a shorter lighter upper. They had one with the M4-type fore end and sight on a 18 or 16-inch barrel, not sure. But it was only $249 on one sale! If money weren't tight, I would have gotten one of those. :D

    I finally got a .308, but still have a lot of accessories and other goodies to buy. I need to liberate some money from stuff that I don't "need" or have sitting around. I got this strictly for defense and won't be shooting it much, other than sighting in at a larger range.

    I've really had some urges to get one of PSA's AR-15 assembled lowers and uppers. The prices can be seriously low, shipped, $350 or less for the two assemblies, but I just don't want a .22. They are half as heavy, though... tempting!

    Mine, so far:

    upload_2018-9-19_18-41-52.jpeg

    Wynn
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
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  11. Slantnose

    Slantnose

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    Nice looking rifle. Sorry to hear that you had to return the rifle to have it properly repaired, and disappointment that they didn't repackage it properly? A little bubble wrap would have prevented the damage. Right now I only have access to a 25 yard indoor range, but the PB county is building a Shooting Park west of town. Unfortunately it was not well planned as they planned to use Porta- A- Potty's, but the building department would not CO the facility upon completion without restrooms and it is about six months overdue now from the proposed opening. When it does open it will have ranges to 400 yards. Can't wait! I have Bushnell's AK red dot on my AK. Lot's of fun and cheap, and fine till the Shooting Park opens. My kit comes with Magpul iron sights which will hold me over till I find the right scope to use at the new outdoor Shooting Park. Happy shooting!
     
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  12. wyntrout

    wyntrout

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    Thanks! Good luck with your project.

    I just took the TRS-25 off another project that I never fired... my MechTech/G21 SF carbine. I decided that wasn't what I wanted and never shot it. The sight has been moved around quite a bit... the carbine the latest and was on my Ruger M3 22/45 project until the "tactical" Bushnell red dot I sight I bought for the carbine turned out to be activated by light... not so tacticool! I moved that to the pistol since it would usually be at the range... with light.

    With medical and dental stuff popping up... a new car for Wifey(old one was iffy at 17+years) and a new lawn tractor... shower... and other things, I've been trying to not bust the budget, but there's always something! Ammo, mags, sights, sling....
    :flag:
    Wynn
     
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  13. Slantnose

    Slantnose

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    I had some interest in the MechTech at one time, but never moved forward. The AR build is a more affordable platform for me at this time. Now I will have to start accumulating ammo and mags for the new AR.

    :cheers:
     
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  14. Slantnose

    Slantnose

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    Hey, thanks for the info. How do you like shooting the .224? That's what I had originally planned to purchase, but I like to buy my ammo locally and it is a little harder to find. Tomorrow when I go to pick up the stripped lower, I will check out the FFL's ammo prices for .224. He has been one of the ammo vendors at the local gun show for a couple years. I have bought some AK ammo from him and his prices are as good as anyone's. He must have recently gotten is FFL as he is now selling firearms, ammo, parts, etc. and recently opened a storefront. I may pick up an extra stripped lower, if he has one for the .224. If not, I will probably wait to till the "Black Friday" sales and see what the deals are this year.
     
  15. JONM78

    JONM78

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    I use a clevis pin as well. Works perfectly. https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-4-in-x-2-in-Zinc-Plated-Universal-Clevis-Pin-815418/204276164

    I use needle nose pliers with electrical tape to put in the bolt catch roll pin, oiled up and squeezing in slowly of course. I solve the trigger guard pin issue by using screw in trigger guards like this one from Aero Precision: https://aeroprecisionusa.com/billet-trigger-guard-anodized.html

    Use blue loctite of course.

    Everything else is complete cake to do. You truly do not need a lot of specialized tools beyond the AR armorers tool (for the castle nut and the barrel nut).
     
  16. Slantnose

    Slantnose

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    Thanks! For all the great help I am getting. Leaving within the hour to go pick up the lower and some mags, etc. I got an update from UPS this morning and my upper should be here sometime tomorrow morning. On my way back from picking up the lower I plan to stop at Home Depot for the clevis pin. I always have loctite on hand. Thanks again!
     
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  17. Tbags

    Tbags

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    Slant where are located in PB county?
     
  18. AndyK

    AndyK

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    Spend 30 bucks on the vice blocks, makes life easier. Tape areas around pin holes so you don't mar up the upper/lower. Do some research on gas block installation, you may need to dimple the barrel.
    You can get a decent 1-4 or 1-6 scope from primary arms (they are heavy though) for 200.00 but you still need a mount or rings. That's another 50 to 100 bucks.

    Good luck
     
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  19. Slantnose

    Slantnose

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    Picked up the lower receiver today, and three Magpul mags. I went to a Home Depot while I was waiting for the FFL to process my background check to get the clevis pin that Bren suggested. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry to get back to pick up my lower and also beat the rush hour traffic in Broward County. Due to my rush I grabbed a 3/8 " Clevis Pin, instead of the 1/4" one. Someone had put it in the 1/4" x 2" bin. Oh well, I meant to pick up some red Loctite thread locker for the Castle Nut, so another trip is in order. Actually I came up with my own idea for a vise block. I have two options on hand. 1. A short piece of 1" x 3", actual 3/4" x 2 3/4" wrapped with some wide electrical tape for a tighter fit (or a wood shim). 2. a piece of Celluar PVC Trim board (with a polymer shim). Either should work? I will use a couple pieces of old bike inner tube to cover/pad the vise's jaws. The only thing I don't have is an Armorer's multi-tool. I do have a cheap Harbor Freight pin punch set, but probably need to invest in something better, as the smaller punch bent last time I used it.
    I got the PSA lower for PJ's Armory in Plantation. What a great guy! He took one of his PSA AR's off the wall rack, and dissembled the parts and did a short "how to" for me. I have bought ammo from him from his table at the gun PBC gun show. Really good prices. His business seems to be growing, and I was surprised how much inventory he has in the storefront. Hopefully I will be able to work on the build on Sunday, if I can get all the things I need together by then.
    :exercise:
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  20. Slantnose

    Slantnose

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    Central PBC. Why do you ask?