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Posted: 1/26/2011 3:47:30 AM EST
As I venter into the AR world and reading everyone piecing these things together making "mutt" ARs and "Franken" ARs. When do these things become unreliable with different manufacters parts.....some mil spec, some not, so many blems being sold at gun shows that may or may not be to spec,

So as much as I would like to build one and save a few hundred dollars and get various items on EE and from other sponors that have specials on certain parts, i'm worried that all these mixed mfg pieces fitting up nice and tight.

I'm guessing I can build one one for $700 but then I see that spikes has one for $810 all the same mfg etc.......or am I wrong and they piece these together as well with different uppers and lowers and BCG and LPK, etc......

Just trying learn and make the right choice.
Link Posted: 1/26/2011 4:28:38 AM EST
OK as far a building a Franken gun as you say.... If you buy quality parts it should run quite well. I would stack my mutt's up against most "built" guns by manufacturers but I also have spent the money on good BCG's and barrels It is all about your attention to detail when you put one together. Also the tools you need aren't expensive but if you are only getting one AR then it might not be worth it. I would like to qualify .... You will get more than one .... or change what you have on your rifle which leads to "EXTRA" parts which leads into "Hey I can build another AR around those extra parts" hence now you have BRD (Black Rifle Disease) and your wife, girlfriend or significant other is asking "You are looking at parts again" or AR15.com again.... don't you get enough. Best thing to do is take her shooting.... she will want one or want you to build one for her. The biggest satisfaction for me is I can set up a rifle the way I want it. Some companies do offer certain build options but maybe not what you want or how you want it. The other advantage of building is that you can get higher quality parts over time ( if you are patient). If you are on a budget then you can get a lower..... then a upper ..... then a barrel then a LPK and so on. I think the only difference between me and the guy that is putting the barrel on at a manufacturer is that he does 150 (just a guess) a day. Is he better at it than me maybe by repetition but that person had to learn it at some time.

The advantage of a built gun is (if from a quality manufacturer) basically it should run without a hitch and should have been test fired and if you have any troubles with it the company should stand behind it. Instant gratification.... buy it get mags and ammo.... cleaning kit ..... lube and you are off to the range.

As far as cost ... you might break even... depending on what parts you use. With some of the deals out there.... a built gun might be cheaper.

For me it came down to a couple of factors.

1. I wanted to learn the platform in and out.... so if you can put it together and take it apart. I have gained a intimate knowledge of it

2. Personal satisfaction of doing it. I put it together.

3. Get the gun set up basically as I want it right from the get go.

I keep telling myself I want to buy a complete gun from a good manufacturer.... I keep falling back to doing it myself....

Yes you read of how some person goes to a 3-day carbine course and the gun doesn't perform. With quality internals and some attention to detail I don't think you would have a problem.

Good Luck on your decision

Striker
Link Posted: 1/26/2011 5:45:26 AM EST
Originally Posted By Striker071:
OK as far a building a Franken gun as you say.... If you buy quality parts it should run quite well. I would stack my mutt's up against most "built" guns by manufacturers but I also have spent the money on good BCG's and barrels It is all about your attention to detail when you put one together. Also the tools you need aren't expensive but if you are only getting one AR then it might not be worth it. I would like to qualify .... You will get more than one .... or change what you have on your rifle which leads to "EXTRA" parts which leads into "Hey I can build another AR around those extra parts" hence now you have BRD (Black Rifle Disease) and your wife, girlfriend or significant other is asking "You are looking at parts again" or AR15.com again.... don't you get enough. Best thing to do is take her shooting.... she will want one or want you to build one for her. The biggest satisfaction for me is I can set up a rifle the way I want it. Some companies do offer certain build options but maybe not what you want or how you want it. The other advantage of building is that you can get higher quality parts over time ( if you are patient). If you are on a budget then you can get a lower..... then a upper ..... then a barrel then a LPK and so on. I think the only difference between me and the guy that is putting the barrel on at a manufacturer is that he does 150 (just a guess) a day. Is he better at it than me maybe by repetition but that person had to learn it at some time.

The advantage of a built gun is (if from a quality manufacturer) basically it should run without a hitch and should have been test fired and if you have any troubles with it the company should stand behind it. Instant gratification.... buy it get mags and ammo.... cleaning kit ..... lube and you are off to the range.

As far as cost ... you might break even... depending on what parts you use. With some of the deals out there.... a built gun might be cheaper.

For me it came down to a couple of factors.

1. I wanted to learn the platform in and out.... so if you can put it together and take it apart. I have gained a intimate knowledge of it

2. Personal satisfaction of doing it. I put it together.

3. Get the gun set up basically as I want it right from the get go.

I keep telling myself I want to buy a complete gun from a good manufacturer.... I keep falling back to doing it myself....

Yes you read of how some person goes to a 3-day carbine course and the gun doesn't perform. With quality internals and some attention to detail I don't think you would have a problem.

Good Luck on your decision

Striker


This is a fairly good assessment of it.

If you want a Plain Jane rifle like the Spikes for 810... get the Spikes.

If it is going to be your only rifle and you are satisfied with a Plain Jane... get the Spikes.

If you don't know what you want and you have researched yourself to death, and still can't make up your mind... get the Spikes.

In a very basic config, you probably wont save that much money building.
Link Posted: 1/26/2011 5:56:20 AM EST
I like building a stripped lower using quality parts then shopping around for a quality factory built upper. Doing it this way (if you put in enough research) you can control all the parts that go into your rifle, get exactly what you want and learn a lot about your rifle.
Link Posted: 1/26/2011 6:16:18 AM EST
One of the most beautiful things about ARs is that they work well as mutts. The parts are so modulatrized, the specs are so widely distributed... that a DIYer at home can assemble a very, very good AR with very few tools and parts from reputable manufacturers. Frankens might not have much resale value, and certainly warranties on individual parts will carry less weight given non professional install... but survivability and accuracy take less skill than say, building up a custom Garand. You can focus on the parts and the shooting.

That being said, big manufacturers get better discounts than an individual on all their separate parts, and they can spread the cost of their tools/overhead across thousands of rifles... so going to a quality manufacturer like Bravo or Spike's for a complete upper is a great way to get a lot of the parts you want for lower prices.

Note, if you are only going to build 1 and you don't have friends with tools or have the tools yourself, you have to add in the cost of a barrel wrench, upper block, vice, etc. to your DIY price.
Link Posted: 1/26/2011 10:34:48 AM EST
What Kind of tools do I need for a build?

I have built motorcyle engines and work on all my vehicles myself.

So I have the basic tools and most likely more than I need for what I do but i'm sure there are specialty tools needed as in most things.

I have one question regarding barrel. I'm sure i'm jumping the gun here but my major concern is when screw on a barrel how do you know if the head space is correct, that is if you screwed it too far in or not enough etc....

As for the lower i'm sure I can do that with some internet help...i have put triggers and hammers and such in guns like Ruger Mark III's etc....
Link Posted: 1/26/2011 11:02:58 AM EST
Originally Posted By loc123:
What Kind of tools do I need for a build?

I have built motorcyle engines and work on all my vehicles myself.

So I have the basic tools and most likely more than I need for what I do but i'm sure there are specialty tools needed as in most things.

I have one question regarding barrel. I'm sure i'm jumping the gun here but my major concern is when screw on a barrel how do you know if the head space is correct, that is if you screwed it too far in or not enough etc....

As for the lower i'm sure I can do that with some internet help...i have put triggers and hammers and such in guns like Ruger Mark III's etc....


You need a vise.

An Armorers wrench.. or depending on the rail system you use they sometimes provide one if the barrel nut is proprietary.

An upper receiver block.

Torque wrench.


Brass Punch pins. Steel Punch pins.

Vise grips.

Hammer

Couple pieces of wood.

Locktite - either red or green

Allen wrenches for set screws maybe.

Moly grease.


Electrical Tape.

Chisel/heavy screwdriver.


That is pretty detailed list... should cover almost everything you could possibly need for a build... items in green are must haves... other items you might need or might not depending on the build.. usually not.


Dont worry about how far you have your barrel in... thats not the way this works... the barrel extension sits inside the upper receiver and only can go so far in. If you want to check headspace, pick up a cheap headspace gauge from brownells... usually with a new bolt and barrel people just skip this.


Link Posted: 1/26/2011 3:32:10 PM EST
upper reciever block....can you post a link to show me what this is?
Link Posted: 1/27/2011 5:22:15 AM EST
Link Posted: 3/6/2011 3:04:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/6/2011 3:09:00 PM EST by loc123]
Well I made my decision and did the build. I'm glad I did.

Stag complete upper 14.5 1/7 twist with permantely attached flash hider, Chrome Lined. $610
RRA stripped lower $125
Stag LPK (came with kit)
MOE Grip ($20)
MI Rear flip up sight(came with kit)
Stag mil spec 6 postion stock (came with kit)
3 Pmags ($60)
(from EE used Troy drop in battle ral on the way in the mail) ($75)

Total: $890

Lubed, barrel cleaned out.

Ready for the range.
Link Posted: 3/6/2011 4:33:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By loc123:
Well I made my decision and did the build. I'm glad I did.

Stag complete upper 14.5 1/7 twist with permantely attached flash hider, Chrome Lined. $610
RRA stripped lower $125
Stag LPK (came with kit)
MOE Grip ($20)
MI Rear flip up sight(came with kit)
Stag mil spec 6 postion stock (came with kit)
3 Pmags ($60)
(from EE used Troy drop in battle ral on the way in the mail) ($75)

Total: $890

Lubed, barrel cleaned out.

Ready for the range.


PICS or it didn't happen

Link Posted: 3/6/2011 5:56:39 PM EST
What I have learned is I can build one of better quality than I can buy off the shelve for equal money....But for most peps buying a gun they want one put together by a manufacturer and not a home build..but like when Im building another Vette. I like to put the motors and trannys gogether if for my self since I know every part that went into the car and know how to fix it... Same with my guns....
Link Posted: 3/6/2011 7:10:41 PM EST
My first rifle I bought factory assembled. In modifying it, I learned how they work, and how to put them together.

As I began to build my own from parts, I learned early on that buying substandard parts because they are cheaper, or the cheapest is a waste of time, and a lesson in regret.

Buy good parts, research why people choose part X over part Y, and if you want but can't afford part Z, don't just settle on part K. Save up and get part Z, because you'll want it later.

That all being said, used parts of high quality are still good parts. Invest the money in your upper and BCG. That's the heart of the system.


And as always, post pics of your build on ARFCOM ;)
Link Posted: 3/7/2011 6:00:40 PM EST
In my building experience it goes like this. For an entry level quality rifle you will be better off buying factory built. Nothing wrong with these rifles it's just that for commodity components you're not going to beat the big guys. However the higher you go in component quality the more you're going to save over factory builds doing it yourself.

I built a pair of rifles with some of the best components I could afford. Shopping around I see that comparable factory built rifles, even if I could find ones with the same specs, would have been at least hundreds more, at a bare minimum. Something to do with a premium price point making the factories more money I guess. Anyway that's my two cents.........


Link Posted: 3/8/2011 6:35:56 AM EST
If you buy parts from a reputable manufacturer it can be as good or better than factory built. Mil-spec is mil-spec, parts are kept within certain tolerances. They can vary as much from a single manufacturer as multiple ones.
Link Posted: 3/8/2011 5:12:53 PM EST
I like the looks of the M-16, but I love the looks of a custom AR. I love the Varmints, the M-4 flattops, and the custom furniture (handguard, grip, and buttstocks). It's just the BRD that gets in you. I was building three in Jun when the Gunshow comes back to town, but a buddy sold me his second build. I'm super glad I got it for a working example, but I'm still building 3 in Jun. I'm mobilizing the tool purchase right now to not have delays when I get all the pieces and parts. My hats off to the people that posted that they just like tinkering and putting parts together. I agree! Something pimal here! I can understand the question about this, but I can't tell you how great it is to build something that you personally want, you need to fits you, or you just want something that looks like a store bought CUSTOM.

The only downer is that you can quickly put $500 in tools to put the builds together with all the specialized and not necessarily needing tools. I will give Brownells snaps for the build sheets that not only addresses tools, but it also has a checklist for parts and pieces included in it. A second set of snaps goes to Brownells for the videos that cover just about every build possible. Great stuff. My primary snaps goes out to this forum. What a great tool and way to share a "sport" of building, shooting, and joy. Super! It's even fun to read the posts that cause huge personal preference world title bouts in responses! It's great stuff, and what makes America...America.

Cheers all! Love you, Man!

RobF
Link Posted: 3/11/2011 3:16:24 AM EST
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 5:22:21 PM EST
Looks like it fits! Great looking tool, my friend!

RobF
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 5:31:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/15/2011 5:32:49 PM EST by Goosie]


This is a fairly good assessment of it.

If you want a Plain Jane rifle like the Spikes for 810... get the Spikes.

If it is going to be your only rifle and you are satisfied with a Plain Jane... get the Spikes.

If you don't know what you want and you have researched yourself to death, and still can't make up your mind... get the Spikes.

In a very basic config, you probably wont save that much money building.


Or buy the parts from Spike's and learn to put it together. It will give you a better understanding of the weapon and a solution if the weapon does malfunction. It is fairly simple if done correctly. It is one thing to buy a weapon and another to put it together.

If you told someone you bought a new car, they are going to be cool what did you get?

If you tell someone that you just built your new car, first they are skeptical until you put the keys in and crank it up and leave the tires burning.

If you just want a rifle, buy one. If you want to know your rifle, build one.


Now don't you feel like the kid that made a purty picture to hang on the fridge when you get home?

Nice build
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 5:34:46 PM EST
what Striker said
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 6:09:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/15/2011 6:18:11 PM EST by BlkAngel]
Originally Posted By durabo:

Moly grease.



Can you (or anyone else) explain what this would be for? I'm still learning as well, and it's the only one on the list I didn't recognize.

EDIT - looked in another thread and it seems to go on the threads that will mate with the barrel nut. Is there a reason for that? Is it used for anything else?
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 7:19:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By BlkAngel:
Originally Posted By durabo:

Moly grease.



Can you (or anyone else) explain what this would be for? I'm still learning as well, and it's the only one on the list I didn't recognize.

EDIT - looked in another thread and it seems to go on the threads that will mate with the barrel nut. Is there a reason for that? Is it used for anything else?


It does two things:
1) It allows for a proper torque reading. The torque spec of 30-80 ft-lbs is a "wet" spec, meaning you'll get the proper reading with the correct lube. You'd get a different reading if you used no lube.

2) The mil-spec grease is specified because it helps prevent galvanic corrosion between the steel barrel nut and aluminum receiver.

Relevant link
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 10:21:14 PM EST
I've seen it recommended to "snug" the barrel nut three times to 30 ft/lbs before aligning it at the end. Should the moly grease be put on before the "snugging" or after, considering that there might possibly be metal shavings in it at that point? Should the "dirty" grease be removed and a fresh amount put on?
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 6:32:29 AM EST
Originally Posted By BlkAngel:
I've seen it recommended to "snug" the barrel nut three times to 30 ft/lbs before aligning it at the end. Should the moly grease be put on before the "snugging" or after, considering that there might possibly be metal shavings in it at that point? Should the "dirty" grease be removed and a fresh amount put on?


I've never heard of cleaning off the "dirty" grease, but I doubt you'd hurt anything if you did. Twenty cents worth of grease and a two cent paper towel is cheap insurance.

Maybe someone who has taken an armorer's course can comment.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 4:35:04 PM EST
Originally Posted By BlkAngel:
I've seen it recommended to "snug" the barrel nut three times to 30 ft/lbs before aligning it at the end. Should the moly grease be put on before the "snugging" or after, considering that there might possibly be metal shavings in it at that point? Should the "dirty" grease be removed and a fresh amount put on?


Not taken an armorers course, however, I used to put my own race bike engines together so have some measure of mechanical understanding. I personally can't see that it matters. It's not like an engine or something with moving parts in that area....once you tighten up that barrel nut, that's it, it is not (should not!) moving till you take it off again. Also, if any such shavings are created (and I've never noticed any), they will be created from the soft aluminum of the receiver threads...and will just completely compress and cause no harm at all when the steel barrel nut is torqued up.
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