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Posted: 4/29/2003 10:18:13 PM EDT
My question is how hard is it to build a AR-15? I have been pricing it out and it is cheaper to build one then to buy a complete rifle. I have been reading the posts on this board and it does not seems like it would be that hard. How many hours should expect to be working on this project?  
Does any one suggest a book or books to read before jumping in to this project? My plan is to buy 2 lowers, one for a plinker and the other for a varmint gun. Would I have to do any grinding/ filing work? For fitment of the lower to the upper.  How does everything fit togather?  Thanking you in advance for any help that can be peovided.
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 11:17:39 PM EDT
the only thing i've had problems with are the stupid trigger pins.  they seem to be stubborn for me and take quite a few whacks to drive in.
get a set of puches from Sears, a USMC M16 manual, and start reading on this site and you're good to go.  it's way easier than it sounds.  i've never barreled an upper though, that might require a little extra work.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 2:16:31 AM EDT
follow the instructions on this board and you should have your lower together in less than 30
min. just be patient.
i just did two in less than 30 last week.
and i'm fairly new at this also. it just gets easier every time.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 3:16:24 AM EDT
Let me say it is a great experience and if you take your time and do it right you will have one fine custom built rifel.

I recommend you buy a kit with the upper already assembled.  J&T is my recommendation for Gary take care and pride in both the parts and assembly.  By using an assembled upper kit you don't need any special tools.

Tricks I've learned are use duct tape to cover parts when driving pins so that you don't get scratches and use a third hand in lieu of a vice, I used my 12 year old.  Watch for shooting springs by having a sheet as a back drop.

Indent technique I use is to put the spring in the hole, put the indent, pointy side up, on top the spring, hold in place with small needle nose, use the pin to push the rest of the way down, insert the pin into the hole, and rotate till the indent pin locks into the groove.

I also polished the trigger assembly with a polish pad on a dremel. Not enough to take the paint off just enough to make it smooth and no burrs.  This lowered my trigger pull.

My nephew is building one now and I have confidence he will have no problems yet he can't do a brake job on a car.

Excellent way to go for both budetary and knowledge.

Link Posted: 4/30/2003 9:31:19 AM EDT

I'm in the same boat as you...I decided to build a J&T kit!  I just put my order in.  Go for it!!!  I haven't seen a single post from a first-timer here who said they had major trouble.  If you're like me, the hardest part will be deciding what to order ;)

Besides, if you get it and think it's beyond your scope I'm sure you can find someone here to buy your parts...

Link Posted: 4/30/2003 10:09:11 AM EDT
It is not hard, just be patient while assembling.  An extra pair of hands is a great idea as stated above.  I've seen several folks say they can do it in 30 min, it took me and a friend an hour & a half.  I had to work on pivot detent and selector detent.  (very very minor).  I also did a trigger job in that 1.5 hours.  

Link to full description:[url]http://ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=157748[/url]

I've only heard good things about J&T kits.  A couple of people complain about Model 1 customer service.  Model 1 kits are on average $50 cheaper.  I've talked personally to people who have built both kits and they say the kits are practically the same.  I built Model 1 Standard 20" kit on an Eagle arms lower and it looks & shoots great.  I have no complaints about Model 1, in fact I'm going to build CAR style from Model 1 as soon as I scrape up the $$.

Print out the assembly instruction from this site [url]ar15.com/content/docs/assembly/lower/[/url] and read, read, read, everything else you can find.  There is a lot of info and a lot of manuals you can download & read from AR-15.com.  Reading all the posts is a good thing, but reading all the "official" stuff is always better.  While you're at it make sure you check out all the legal issues concerning the SAW's.  (info also on this site)  That'll keep you out trouble.

Happy building & shooting.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 11:44:05 AM EDT
Thanks for the replys everyone. I think I am going to order the lowers. Does anyone have any tips on building them?  Tricks of the trade? Thanks again
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 11:47:52 AM EDT
The tricks I covered in my first post are the ones not covered in the instructions on old ar15.com.  The instructions are very detailed otherwise.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 5:12:21 PM EDT
Get Lyman 4-pc roll pin punch set.  $15 from midway.

Link Posted: 4/30/2003 6:06:44 PM EDT
I was able to get my entire rifle together using a 3/32 punch, a screw driver, and a hammer.  I also used masking tape to protect the lower while putting in the pin that holds the magazine catch.  Otherwise, a little patience and attention to detail will go a long way.

Rather easy to do if you have any mechanical ability.  You won't be disappointed!

Here's my first home-built J&T AR:


And some more pictures on the build process, package, TAC brake, etc:

[url=http://www.burnerblog.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=12]My J&T kit[/url]
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 7:19:00 PM EDT
Like everyone else has stated, it is simple.  I put my J&T kit together (minus the stock...they sent the wrong stock with the kit) in about 45 minutes.  And this was while watching my 2 year old daughter.  I did have one detent spring go flying on me, but it flew up, hit the ceiling, and then hit the top of my head and bounced onto the table.  How's that for luck???
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 8:43:00 PM EDT
Thanks again everyone for the info. I just printed out the directions for the lower assembly, so I tink I am ready for my new project. I think I am going to get the Army Tech manual also, just for good measure. This a great forum for AR15 owners and builders, very informative.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 9:43:51 PM EDT
i am new to this forum;  thought i would show a pic of the m4gery i built just last weekend;


took me 45 minutes;  it was my first one;  will not be my last.  i had way too much fun!!

good luck and enjoy it.  it is a piece of cake, really.  i used the the lower receiver assembly instructions from this website!  thanks ar15.com!
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 10:46:22 PM EDT
I like the two toes in the lower-right of your pic, banshee!  J/K

That looks very nice; what kind of bag/case/etc is that M4gery on?  Also, what kind of sling is that?
Link Posted: 5/1/2003 4:42:16 AM EDT
The case looks like a parachute-drop case that is being sold as surplus through Sportsman's Guide. (I think that's where I saw it.  Dreamed it. Something...)

Link Posted: 5/1/2003 5:41:03 AM EDT

Welcome to the home of the Black Rifle.

Now that's how to make a good first impression.

Link Posted: 5/2/2003 6:11:24 PM EDT
thanks all for the compliments;

i can't wait to build another one....this was actually a 10th wedding anniversary present!  i love my wife!!

the sling is cqb solutions sop patrol sling

and the case is the parachutists weapon case from sportsmansguide.com  for $14.97 new!

didn't see my toes in the pic till it was too late ..............

Link Posted: 5/4/2003 8:28:40 AM EDT
I assembled a J&T upper onto an Oly stripped lower in about 35 minutes. It went together perfectly with no grinding or filing.
I put the lower onto a white bedsheet and folded the sheet up over my head while installing the detents, but I never launched one. Not that it would've been the end of the world, since J&T sends you an extra spring and pin in case this happens.
  I did however buy a detent tool and a roll pin punch set from Brownell's first. The punch set was probably a waste of money, but I'm glad I got the detent pin tool.
Link Posted: 5/4/2003 3:08:55 PM EDT
My 1st build was w/an upper from M&A Parts. Someone told me that M&A and Model 1 are actually owned by the same company? I personally dont know.  The M&A has an A2 Stock that is not as "pretty" as others and the handguards dont fit together perfectly. They gap alittle from pressure of the delta ring.  This personally doesnt bother me considering what I paid for the upper.  Had problems with the safety selector.  Called M&A, explained the prob and had a new one replaced w/in days.
Ive got under 6 bills in the whole rifle.My only prob now is my 17 year old wanting to start the next one! Just FYI, have fun building and good luck!
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