AR15.Com Archives
 Early style M16 look-alike build
candt  [Member]
1/23/2005 4:54:07 PM
After attending a gun show today and seeing an SP1, I think I would like to build something that looks like it. I have been thinking about it for a while now, but after seeing a few today, I think I will jump on it. I already have the furniture (early buttstock, pistol grip, and triangular handguards). Do some of the earlier uppers have the birdcage flash hiders? I, for some reason, had thought the early ones only came with the three prong flash hiders, but there is someone selling uppers that look like early style with bird cage FH's. They do not have the forward assist, or case deflector. Another question is availability of the early lowers, without the mag fencing. Are there hard to find? Are they still made by anybody today? Should I abandon the idea of being able to find one for a reasonable price? Thanks for any help you can give me. If this proves too difficult or costly to build, I'll just try something else.
shamayim  [Member]
1/23/2005 6:19:05 PM
All the early M16 takeoff uppers on the market these days will have the birdcage suppressors, because the armed forces switched over to that type during the early Viet Nam days, and any w/the three prong were changed over. That being said, it's less than a 5 minute job to switch back, and the three prongs I've seen for sale by the parts dealers are usually in the $5-$10 price range.

Getting an early 16 or 16A1 barreled upper is fairly easy right now. A1s are a bit more available, but the early 16 types are also out there. The trick, as you seem to have figured out, is to find an AR type lower in the right configuration. Nobody is making either ththe early M16 (no mag release fence), or the later A1 style w/the mag fence these days, so it's either use a current A2 style lower, or pay the bucks for an early lower, and hope it's a good one. Remember, a lot of the early aftermarket lowers also had significant differences in style and appearance from the Colt M16 lowers of the era. A third, less satisfactory (to me anyway) alternative is to use an SP1 Colt lower. While the back end is the same as the early 16s, the totally flatside along the right edge is as out of sync as the beefier rear end of the current types, and I've owned an SP1 for the past 26 years

The last possibility is what I've been doing for the past month; "converting" a current A2 type Rock River lower to A1 configuration. Since I don't own a milling machine, I've done the whole job by hand, with files of various sizes. Had I known how much work it would be I'd never have tried it, but it was one of those things that, once you start it, you've got to finish it; or otherwise all you've got is a piece of junk.

Still trying to decide which refinisher to use on it, so it's half in the white right now. I'll post a pic once I do get the finish on. Whatever you decide, let me encourage you to go ahead and build up an early style piece. When you do, you'll truly understand what the M16 was all about, and why it was adopted-----before the "improvers" got to it
dtrosch  [Member]
1/23/2005 6:39:05 PM
Fulton Armory makes some classic Ar -s

Might want to give them a look for either parts or complete units...

-Dave

fulton-armory
candt  [Member]
1/23/2005 7:04:08 PM
That sucks. I could just throw an A2 lower on it, but it just wouldnt look right to me. I suppose I could build an A1 configuration, since those had the mag fence, and the differences between the A1 and A2 arent much. One question....whats the difference between the early style, and A1 buttstock?
fordtruck  [Member]
1/24/2005 1:15:47 AM
I just built one like you are talking about. I used an A2 lower because that's all I could afford. It would be nice to have the correct lower, but I'm not willing to spend that much.

The difference between the M16 buttstock and the A1 is the A1 has the trapdoor. The M16 stock has a rubber butt plate that appears to be bonded onto the stock. The M16 stock also has a sling swivel that actually swivels.


candt  [Member]
1/24/2005 10:11:49 AM
That is gorgeous fordtruck!
GhostZR2  [Member]
1/24/2005 10:53:19 AM
You can get a good deal on an A1 upper on here something like $260...A guy was selling a bunch of them. I have no idea if he has any left but there were great. No FA and no brass deflector.
fordtruck  [Member]
1/24/2005 11:22:44 AM
Candt,

Thanks! I built it last week. It was too cold last week to shoot it. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will cooperate and I can try it out. UPS just delivered a new case of ammo so I'm ready to go.
candt  [Member]
1/24/2005 11:46:34 AM
Ghost wouldnt that be the early style upper? I believe all the A1 uppers had the FA, but I could be wrong. Ford, let me know how it shoots. Sounds like you're ready to go!
dtrosch  [Member]
1/24/2005 4:03:59 PM
Ghost ZR2, do you mean this?
Original AR15/16 stripped uppers, butt stock, pistol grip 259.95 Shipped (Page 1)

shamayim  [Member]
1/24/2005 5:14:30 PM
Let me add a suggestion for those of you who have, or are going to, build up an M16 or M16A1 clone. Change the dust cover over to the current A2 style.

The tapered center piece of the current style keeps you from having to close the dust cover before you close the two pieces. On the early type cover, if it's open when you close the action, the top right hand corner of the cover snags on the lower's hump, and either scratches the finish or (worst case) bends the corner of the cover, or both. The A1 upper assy I got, in fact, came with a bent, scratched cover.

I've also changed over to the new style cover on my SP1, because over the years that old flat type has left it's permanent outline on my lower, and I didn't want it to get any worse.

The new type cover is one of the A2 improvements which I totally support
usagold  [Member]
1/24/2005 9:50:29 PM
I really like the look of the old SP1.
candt  [Member]
1/24/2005 10:07:06 PM
Were there every any M16's made with the slickslide upper and the mag fence on the same rifle?
SickMAK90  [Member]
1/25/2005 12:49:09 AM
Man more of these I see the more I want one.

I keep missing killer deals on A1 upper on the EE. I have seen some stripped ones going in the 40-50$ range. Soon as I get lucky enough to score one I will snatch it up.

I am guessing the "mag release fence" is the raised area around the release button?
candt  [Member]
1/25/2005 10:36:14 AM
Yeah, that is the area I was referring to. I have decided to do an A1 build, because of the difficulty of finding an early style lower that does not have the mag release fence. I will be using an A2 lower for my A1 build since the differences are minimal.
fordtruck  [Member]
1/25/2005 11:43:28 AM
Hey Candt,

You probably already know this, the old M16 and M16A1 uppers will be a dark gray that doesn't match the new black A2 lowers. There are tons of threads on here about how to refinish your lower, if that bothers you. I still haven't decided if I am going to do this or not. I'm usually pretty picky about this stuff, but I may just say the heck with it and leave it alone.

It's around 50 here today! I think I'll finally make it to the range to try it out.
Villafuego  [Member]
1/25/2005 12:36:08 PM

Originally Posted By candt:
Yeah, that is the area I was referring to. I have decided to do an A1 build, because of the difficulty of finding an early style lower that does not have the mag release fence. I will be using an A2 lower for my A1 build since the differences are minimal.



They are out there.......Frankford Arsenal and Palmetto lowers have the raised area for the pin detent spring, but no mag release fence
candt  [Member]
1/25/2005 1:17:10 PM
Fordtruck, yeah, I knew that. I am also usually a little picky about that stuff, but I am not going to let it bother me. I am in Wisconsin and its probably around 30 here, which is a lot warmer than it has been!
GhostZR2  [Member]
1/25/2005 1:27:34 PM

Originally Posted By dtrosch:
Ghost ZR2, do you mean this?
Original AR15/16 stripped uppers, butt stock, pistol grip 259.95 Shipped (Page 1)
home.comcast.net/~wlamon/viet_nam.jpg
img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/Ekie12091941/model0108.jpg


That was exactly what I was refering to...I picked up 2 of them and they are both top notch!
The first was for me and the second for my dad...now I just need to unload the other upper I got for him...it is 20" pencil barrel, with a A1 sighted upper with FA.
shamayim  [Member]
1/25/2005 6:43:46 PM

Originally Posted By Villafuego:

Originally Posted By candt:
Yeah, that is the area I was referring to. I have decided to do an A1 build, because of the difficulty of finding an early style lower that does not have the mag release fence. I will be using an A2 lower for my A1 build since the differences are minimal.



They are out there.......Frankford Arsenal and Palmetto lowers have the raised area for the pin detent spring, but no mag release fence
img.photobucket.com/albums/v239/villafuego/palmetto.jpg



With all due respect, that lower is exactly the kind of preban lower that does NOT look anything like an early M16 or A1 lower. It may be mag release guardless, but at the expense of having a rear end and magazine well that are totally non M16/AR in appearance. The current A2 types are closer.

Not trying to aggravate anyone, but I personally would use a current A2 style piece before the pictured unit.
tangeant  [Member]
1/25/2005 8:39:21 PM

Originally Posted By candt:
Were there every any M16's made with the slickslide upper and the mag fence on the same rifle?



Yes, Later Air Force straight M16's used Fenced lowers.


My build using a new DPMS made slick upper and a DPMS lower.