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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 12/9/2013 2:01:13 PM EST
Hello all,

I'm just starting on my first AR adventure after finally satisfying my kick for Glorious People's Rifle Kalashnikov, and figured I should try the other side. I'm know very little about AR's parts, though I'm familiar with the functionality of the rifle and how it works.

I'm starting out with a Northtech Defense lower and upper (lower is sitting around on its 10 day waiting period, yes I live in CA , the upper will be ordered later this week) and have some Gen3 pmag's that just came in (had to get them before repair kits are no longer obtainable), and I'd like some general advice.

This rifle will likely mostly be a range gun, it probably won't see anything scarier than a piece of paper, however, I'd like it to be capable for "come what may". I plan on sticking with the standard 5.56/.223 round, not getting into any other cartridges yet.

First question: Barrel length. I was initially thinking about a 20" barrel since that's the standard "military specification" for the M16, and they look particularly cool with Magpul's rifle length MoE handguard, but I'm wondering how necessary such a long barrel is (they do seem to be more expensive), almost all the AR's I see seem to have 16" barrels, and obviously there's something to be said for having a smaller rifle in many situations. Is there any advantage over the 20" barrel to the 16" aside from the subjective looks or would it be smarter to stick with the shorter 16" barrel?

On the topic of barrels, any suggested/preferred barrels or manufacturers?

Second question: Internals: I've seen bolt/carrier assemblies for everything from $100 to over $300, and charging handles for $20 to over $100, anything in particular to look for in these things? Is there a degree of "cool factor" that may be involved in some of the prices of these that I could avoid with a more "drab" but still functional part or are there major functionality differences? Any particularly recommended bolt carrier group one could recommend?

Third: I've tried a friends AR with a Scorpion grip, and it was really comfortable but it seems very different from most other AR rifles grips out there, anyone have any experience with that grip good or bad?

Fourth: Sights, any thoughts on sights? I expect to eventually put a red dot of some sort on the rifle (ideally one that will co-witness), but what are thoughts on irons?


Here's the parts list I'd planned on using thus far, any feedback would be appreciated:

Northtech Defense Lower (already bought)
Northtech Defense Upper (probably be bought in a couple days)
Magpul Moe Handguard (either mid or rifle length depending on barrel is cheap and I like the look, don't plan on putting much if anything on rails that isn't on top)
Magpul ACS Carbine stock
Rock River Arms Lower Parts Kit
Barrel TBD
Upper internals TBD
Recoil Buffer Tube TBD (I'm assuming these aren't too big of a deal?)

Thanks in advance for any information, I've tried to do some research in advance as I realize this forum probably sees lots of these posts.
Link Posted: 12/9/2013 2:10:54 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/9/2013 2:11:45 PM EST by Dennis2313]
Too many questions for me so I will go with just one. Others can pick up on the rest.

A 20" barrel will produce a little more velocity than a 16" given the same ammo.

It will also provide a little better long rang accuracy given the same ammo.

A 20" barrel will weigh more than a 16"

For everyday plinking around, there isn't any real advantage in a 20" barrel over a 16"
Link Posted: 12/9/2013 2:26:00 PM EST
Ok, cool, that helps confirm what I was thinking on the barrel length issue. Thanks for the help there on that!
Link Posted: 12/9/2013 2:27:04 PM EST
20" barrel + red dot = frankengun

Link Posted: 12/9/2013 2:45:36 PM EST
Originally Posted By vaktathi:
First question: Barrel length. I was initially thinking about a 20" barrel since that's the standard "military specification" for the M16, and they look particularly cool with Magpul's rifle length MoE handguard, but I'm wondering how necessary such a long barrel is (they do seem to be more expensive), almost all the AR's I see seem to have 16" barrels, and obviously there's something to be said for having a smaller rifle in many situations. Is there any advantage over the 20" barrel to the 16" aside from the subjective looks or would it be smarter to stick with the shorter 16" barrel?

On the topic of barrels, any suggested/preferred barrels or manufacturers?
View Quote


20" will give more velocity. If you're looking to do long range go with 18" or 20". If all your shooting will be under 300 yards save the weight and get a 16". Wilson, Daniel Defense, Rainier, Spikes are all good barrels. I'd take a nitride barrel over a chrome lined barrel. It lasts longer and is more uniform.

Originally Posted By vaktathi:
Second question: Internals: I've seen bolt/carrier assemblies for everything from $100 to over $300, and charging handles for $20 to over $100, anything in particular to look for in these things? Is there a degree of "cool factor" that may be involved in some of the prices of these that I could avoid with a more "drab" but still functional part or are there major functionality differences? Any particularly recommended bolt carrier group one could recommend?
View Quote


You want an 8620 carrier and C158 (or 9310) bolt that's been HP and MPI tested. Whether it's nickle-boron, or chrome plated is your preference. You could buy this one and be done.. Charging handles vary whether they're forged or milled and how tactical the latches are. I have no issues using a standard latch on my rifles as long as there isn't a scope mounted. If my rifle has a scope the larger latch makes operation easier.

Originally Posted By vaktathi:
Fourth: Sights, any thoughts on sights? I expect to eventually put a red dot of some sort on the rifle (ideally one that will co-witness), but what are thoughts on irons?
View Quote


I go with cheap backup sights like the Magpul and spend more money on the optic. 95% of the time my sights are folded down so I don't feel like spending the money on Troy sights.
Link Posted: 12/9/2013 3:07:42 PM EST
I'd go 16" Barrel... checkout Rainier Select Series or Blackhole Weaponry. Both are quality barrels at and affordable price. Make sure you chamber in 5.56 so you can shoot both 5.56 and 223 Rem. Midlength barrels are softer shooting. BCM and DD are good too.

BCM and Daniel Defense make good BCGs. There are a TON of BCM fans on AR15. There are less expensive options but BCM and DD are quality.

A standard charging handle will work fine. Larger charging handles are available if you cannot charge as easy when you put an optic on. I like the Rainier Arms Raptor handle.

Go with what grip feels comfortable to you.

I would get Troy folding sights to start with. These can be folded down and be used as backup sights to your optic or co-witness with your red dot sight. Troy is the industry standard. But you will need a pictanny rail/handguard for the front sight. With the magpul moe handguard you will not. Or a gas block with pictanny rail (make sure it is the same height as your pictanny rail on the upper).... If not get a gas block with fixed sight and just get the rear sight. But if you ever use a scope on rifle it will be in the way. It will be just fine for red dot sights. Pro's and Con's of fixed front sight

You will need to first choose your barrel and gas length (midlength, carbine)before choosing the correct buffer tube, buffer, buffer spring

READ A LOT BEFORE DECIDING ON COMPONENTS... you may change your mind!!!

Link Posted: 12/9/2013 4:04:09 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By kb18no1:
READ A LOT BEFORE DECIDING ON COMPONENTS... you may change your mind!!!
View Quote


Maybe if you have black rifle flu. With black rifle disease you're able to build another rifle out of extra parts because there's so many things you've tried.
Link Posted: 12/9/2013 10:12:59 PM EST
Thanks for the info so far, it's been really helpful and appreciated
Link Posted: 12/14/2013 9:50:37 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Cjones124:
20" barrel + red dot = frankengun

View Quote
What?

Parts gun = Frankengun

I hate to break it to you if you put your AR together you have a Frankengun.
example Mega lower, Stag LPK, Vltor MUR upper w/BCM BCG & DD Barrel
would be a frankengun.

Nothing wrong with a Frankengun if you use Quality parts.

OP I would go with a !6" 1/7 twist chrome lined Barrel, from DD, BCM or Rainier Arms


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