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xxEMOxx
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Posted: 6/14/2012 12:09:55 PM
Hey guys,

I am new here, I used to be an active member of calguns, which many members where avid blackrifle builders, there where also numerous private label parts makers and such.

Anyway, I have assembled a lower 2x now, but I am curious as to how hard it actually it to assemble an upper myself, also if someone doesnt mind could they give me a list of the required tools ness. and maybe ball park price figures on how much they cost and the best source to procure them from.

Thanks ya'll.
pavil58ar
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Posted: 6/14/2012 12:24:41 PM
Not hard at all. A couple of roll pin starter punches/roll pin punches will be needed. To get the barrel on you need the barrel wrench which usually can be used for the flash-hider too. Some anti-seize for the barrel threads. I guess a torque wrench and a breaker bar too. Besides that there should not be a lot of other tools needed.
"Ranstad's Militia" 2009, "Team Ranstad" 2010, 2011
RandyStacyE
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Posted: 6/14/2012 12:31:37 PM
[Last Edit: 6/14/2012 12:56:09 PM by RandyStacyE]
Brownells How To Build An AR-15 Video

Brownells How To Build An AR-15 DVD If you know how to download stuff you'll have no problem finding this full quality DVD online.
xxEMOxx
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Posted: 6/14/2012 12:40:57 PM
[Last Edit: 6/14/2012 12:43:58 PM by xxEMOxx]
Pav.

Thanks for the fast reply!!! I am guessing I need the given work bench, and possible a bench clamp/vise?

Is it cost effective to learn to do this, and do so myself? Or does it really just come down to functionality and the ability to change, mod, and otherwise work on my firearm myself while also allowing me modularity of being able to do changes myself?

Part of me thinks learning to build uppers, since its not a f.f.l. part would/could be a nice little side project to off-set my own arms collecting fetish. I live in a decent sized city over a million people..... and there is like 0 black rifle stores/tact. stores. We have Cabela's Bass-Pro, and a few local gun guns whom either get there supplies and such from Davidsons/Gallery of Guns, or used stock basically..... so I have a feeling there a niche there.....

Also a lot of service members are deployed here as we have a large active airbase outside of town.

Anyway thanks again!

List of tools required"

Roll pin punch set, and starter set.
Anti-Seize
Barrel Wrench
Torque Wrench
Breaker Bar

what else am I missing? Also how do i headspace and such the barrel myself at home without all those gauges and such?
RandyStacyE
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Posted: 6/14/2012 12:56:14 PM
[Last Edit: 6/14/2012 1:10:15 PM by RandyStacyE]
You don't need anything special except for a vice, an upper receiver vice block, a hammer, a cheap set of punches and a torque wrench. A barrel wrench is recommended for installing the barrel nut (in conjunction with a torque wrench). You can buy a torque wrench, use it once and return it if you are trying to save money. I bought one for about $40 at a local auto parts store and kept it for future use. Some don't even use a torque wrench and get along just fine. I prefer to use one so I know it's done right.

Some jig their upper receivers in a vice using pieces of 2x4 and get away without using a vice block. Shown here

You don't need a barrel vice block to install a crush washer & flash hider if you use 2 pieces of 2x4 to pinch the barrel in a vice. Shown on this page. In my experience you do not even need to pad the 2x4, but you could use some cotton t-shirt or something if you want to.

I use lythium grease for the barrel extension and barrel nut threads.
You don't need a roll pin punch set or starter set. Just a cheap set of punches work fine. I bought a set of punches at a local Harbor Freight store. Special punch sets would be more convenient if you are building many ARs.
You don't need a breaker bar.
Hawcer
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Posted: 6/14/2012 1:17:12 PM
[Last Edit: 6/14/2012 1:25:55 PM by Hawcer]
Everything above...

I use black moly grease on the barrel threads.

I also made a gauge for the lining up of the barrel nut/gas tube hole in the receiver out of a drill bit. I found the hardest part to be lining up the gas block on the barrel's gas port. It's probably easier than I think it is....But without pre-machined dimples or being cross drilled for pins...I'll always second guess and check,check and re-check.

Other than that...Ar's are Legos for adults.

EDIT:

One other thing...when tightening the barrel nut. I go as tight as possible by hand,then tighten with the wrench to finish lining up the slot or the next available slot. Then double check the torque...if it is over 30 ft lbs, you should be set. Don't go all ape on this...if it is a bear to get to the next slot, you may need a barrel shim or sometimes loosening and tightening a few times helps. I have not run into this problem yet myself (crossing fingers and knocking on wood)
prossound
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Posted: 6/14/2012 2:30:16 PM
I did a step by step a while back. search my user name and you should be able to find it
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Barman84
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Posted: 6/14/2012 2:32:59 PM
Like everyone stated here its not difficult at all. I was kind of scared about it as well and always purchased complete uppers up until last year.

From experience you will save money buying a completed upper however once you start to mod you eventually change out and upper and spend just as much.

I prefer to build mine now as I get everything on my upper I want from the start. Im the rifle length handgaurd guy on a 14.5" barrel type of guy

Its actually easier to me to put an upper together just make sure you have a good vice, Lube wrench and torque wrench and a set of go no go gauges which some say you can get by without but id rather know then not know.
RandyStacyE
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Posted: 6/14/2012 2:46:02 PM
[Last Edit: 6/14/2012 3:09:21 PM by RandyStacyE]
One thing that I did was to buy both my barrel and BCG from Rainier Arms. Rainier Arms checks head space of the bolt and the barrel extension prior to shipping it out. Just one less thing to worry about. Other than 'head space' ... as long as all parts are within spec, you shouldn't have any problems.

There are other vendors that check headspace for you too, but I don't recall which ones do.
007Kevin
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Posted: 6/14/2012 4:51:00 PM
Originally Posted By Barman84:
Like everyone stated here its not difficult at all. I was kind of scared about it as well and always purchased complete uppers up until last year.

From experience you will save money buying a completed upper however once you start to mod you eventually change out and upper and spend just as much.

I prefer to build mine now as I get everything on my upper I want from the start. Im the rifle length handgaurd guy on a 14.5" barrel type of guy

Its actually easier to me to put an upper together just make sure you have a good vice, Lube wrench and torque wrench and a set of go no go gauges which some say you can get by without but id rather know then not know.



This is the hard part. Recommendations on a vice that won't break the bank?
Haven't gotten around to going to pawn shops to find a good one for less.

Debating if one of these can get the job done:
Bessey 6"

Drill press vise
19Charlie_84
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Posted: 6/14/2012 5:00:30 PM
If you have a military base near you, you will have lots of pawn shops. They are gold mines for used tools. I have a pretty hefty vise and would recommend the same. Midway USA has everything you need and super fast shipping. The first time I built an upper I was not very confident but after the first few bangs it was all good. Since then I have done 7 more.

My name is 19Charlie_84, and I am addicted to EBRs.
Direct-Drive
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Posted: 6/14/2012 5:04:41 PM
Originally Posted By 007Kevin:
Originally Posted By Barman84:
Like everyone stated here its not difficult at all. I was kind of scared about it as well and always purchased complete uppers up until last year.

From experience you will save money buying a completed upper however once you start to mod you eventually change out and upper and spend just as much.

I prefer to build mine now as I get everything on my upper I want from the start. Im the rifle length handgaurd guy on a 14.5" barrel type of guy

Its actually easier to me to put an upper together just make sure you have a good vice, Lube wrench and torque wrench and a set of go no go gauges which some say you can get by without but id rather know then not know.



This is the hard part. Recommendations on a vice that won't break the bank?
Haven't gotten around to going to pawn shops to find a good one for less.

Debating if one of these can get the job done:
Bessey 6"

Drill press vise

I have the 5" from Harbor Freight....looks like the 6" in your link.
About $50.....works.

For the other tools, just watch the Brownell's videos linked above.
All the tools used are called out in the videos.

Use grease on the barrel nut threads.
Actual mil spec compliant is Aero Shell 33MS....hard to find locally.
A substitute would be Valvoline Moly-Fortified Multi-Purpose grease.
Part # VV633 (tube) or VV632 (tub)


Barman84
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Posted: 6/14/2012 5:13:06 PM
I got a tractor supply special for 35 bucks on sale. Look at all the tool shops and specialty stores around yoru area you do find some decent stuff cheap sometimes.
huesmann
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Posted: 6/15/2012 10:12:30 AM
If you buy the exact same parts that are in an assembled upper and assemble them yourself, do you actually save much money? Or is the advantage really only the ability to fully customize the parts you use?
xxEMOxx
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Posted: 6/15/2012 2:53:30 PM
Thanks everyone!!!! You guys gave me the details and such I was hoping for, maybe umm tips of the trade just experiances and such that make it easier and someone more comfortable.!!!!!

One of my fav "Other than that...Ar's are Legos for adults. " So true and I loved the crap outta legos as a kid.

I am not wanting to do this to save the $$$$$, Its more for the future changbility and updatbility of the weapon, which I will be able to do myself, therefore adding an increased sense of pride, self knowledge, and of course...... modularity of my rifle, and future rifles!!!!


Thanks everyone!!!
Circuits
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Posted: 6/15/2012 6:56:15 PM
Originally Posted By huesmann:
If you buy the exact same parts that are in an assembled upper and assemble them yourself, do you actually save much money? Or is the advantage really only the ability to fully customize the parts you use?


If you buy them singly, it will likely cost far more than an assembled upper.

It's possible that if you buy a complete, but unassembled, upper in kit form it might be slightly cheaper than the same upper, already assembled.
"The only real difference between the men and the boys, is the number and size, and cost of their toys."
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