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Couple of build questions: Buffers and tools

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by hogarth, May 17, 2011.

  1. hogarth

    hogarth

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    Hi all,

    I think this is my first post in the EBR forum, as my only other centerfire rifle is an AK.

    Anyway, I'm about to start an AR build. I've got a Spikes stripped lower on it's way to me ($67 shipped as part of a local group buy, plus $25 transfer). My plan is to build the lower, which doesn't seem TOO hard, and then add an upper, most likely a BCM middy.

    Two questions:

    1. What tools are must have for building the lower? I have an assortment of punches, pliers, little brass/plastic hammer, etc. What AR specific tools would someone recommend (I know I need something for the ring where the rear tube attaches to the receiver, and I've also heard a handguard tool is handy? Combo tools? Any recommendations welcome.)

    2. Is there a particular type of buffer tube assembly I should be looking for (I'd like to run milspec rather than commercial). Certain strength of spring, etc., for the mid-length? Again, any advice appreciated.

    No doubt I'll have other questions in the weeks and months that follow, but I want to get my first order in for parts (LPK, buffer tube assembly, and tools) all at once to save on shipping (probably Palmetto).

    Thanks!
     
  2. zhix

    zhix

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    I can't think of any must-have specialty tools just for the lower. If you're going with a mid-length I think a standard carbine buffer and spring will be fine. I am curious myself about PSAs parts kits cause the prices are very good.

    I like my handguard tool, I think its a worthwhile investment for about $12.

    You can get a decent castle nut wrench for about $10, though when I didn't have one and I used Channel Locks with electrical tape on the jaws and scratched the nut some.
     

  3. surf

    surf

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  4. CarryTexas

    CarryTexas

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    The PSA parts kits are a good value. I used the MOE LPK on my build and had no issues. It comes with everything you will need to finish your build!
     
  5. bullittmcqueen

    bullittmcqueen Gunfighter

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    I didn't buy any special tools to assemble my lower. I used a castle nut wrench from a friend and a roll pin punch I already had. Other than that, a plastic mallet and maybe some channel locks and you're good to go.
     
  6. hogarth

    hogarth

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    Okay, so since I don't have a friend with a castle nut wrench, it looks like I need one of those....since some come as part of an AR combo tool (that often includes the handguard tool), I might go that route. But it's nice to see I won't have to spend more $ on anything but that.

    Thanks again, folks.....and keep an eye out for more questions from me!
     
  7. Serbonze

    Serbonze

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    I'm in the process of building a lower too. After doing some searching, I went over to Harbor Freight and picked up these to aid the assembly. I probably didn't need them, but since it's my first build I figured that I may as well make my job easier, and I can certainly use them for future maintenance or builds. Plus I got to buy myself some new tools.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/soft-face-mallet-39528.html
    http://www.harborfreight.com/spring-loaded-center-punch-621.html
    http://www.harborfreight.com/5-piece-long-drive-pin-punch-set-93111.html

    I also purchased a vice block from eBay for about $20. That definately wasn't needed, but it will make it easier.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  8. tc2129

    tc2129

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    Building the lower is easy. I've built quite a few. I used a set of punches and a ball peen hammer. Just take your time and it is easy. Watch the ears of the trigger guard. Use something like a piece of wood to support it while you tap in the roll pin. If you don't support it, you run the risk of breaking an ear off.
    I've used two PSA LPK's and both have been good.
    As far as a buffer tube, I bought one from aimsurplus that came with the tube, buffer, and spring. Free shipping as well.

    ar15.com build tutorial is a great resource as are the ar-15 builder vids on brownells.
     
  9. bullittmcqueen

    bullittmcqueen Gunfighter

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    I think surf's videos are better fwiw. The lower can be built easily with minimal tools, but there are some tricks that help. Like the guy above said, the worst thing you could do is break an ear off the trigger guard housing, so absolutely take your time during this step and support the ears with a block of wood. Also, have some masking tape handy to tape off the sides of the lower when you are driving in pins (especially the bolt catch), it is very easy to scratch the lower with a hammer or pliers. And Lube everything as you are installing it, some of those places will never see the light of day again.
     
  10. bdh_1

    bdh_1 Millennium Member

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    You'd be much better off getting a set of roll pin punches rather than those drive pin punches.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  11. zhix

    zhix

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    Once I knew I would assemble more lowers in the future, I got roll pin holders and punches from Brownell's. Expensive but worth making the task easier IMO.
     
  12. tc2129

    tc2129

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    Like bullitmcqueen stated, lube everything while building it. I lubed the roll pins and such and it made a big difference in getting all the pieces into the lower.

    The tape idea is good as well and I use it when installing the bolt catch as well.
     
  13. surf

    surf

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    I appreciate that! I think so too. :whistling: :supergrin:
     
  14. tc2129

    tc2129

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    Just watched your videos. Those are really good.