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Posted: 5/19/2009 12:27:20 PM EST
Hey folks. Several months ago, I purchased my first "firearm," a nodak spud slab side lower. Now I am completely broke, but hope to get a summer job that will allow me to pay for one AR15 project before going back to school. Here's what I have so far.



Now, I'm trying to decide if I should build a rifle or a carbine. On one hand, as a little kid, I always wanted a Colt SP1. That was my reasoning behind getting a slab side lower. However, when I joined Arfcom and started looking up the retro stuff, I saw the following picture by UXB that made me want a shorty carbine REALLY badly.



So, I'm just curious as to what you guys would do if you were me. I am hoping to keep this as cheap as possible. I do have a suitable colt carbine stock on hand. Other than that, I have no parts whatsoever. I do know that in the distant future, I WILL own an SP1 AND an SBR retro carbine. I just need to pick something to waste money on in the meantime.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 12:32:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/19/2009 12:35:28 PM EST by TexSquirrel]
If that picture is your inspiration, then build a 16" carbine.
You can always SBR it later.

If money is tight, then plan your purchases toward your goal.
Buying a piece for a distant build will just sidetrack you.
Take a look at retroblackrifle.com and decide exactly what you want.
I use a spreadsheet to track how far along I am and exactly how much it will cost to finish my projects.
This is down to the price of all the internal pieces with current MidwayUSA, GB, EE, Brownells costs.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 12:50:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/19/2009 1:27:47 PM EST by TexSquirrel]
Here is a copy of my spreadsheet.
This way you can budget your build easier.

My spreadsheet is a work in progress, but it helps me keep on track.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 1:19:41 PM EST
Buying a piece for a distant build will just sidetrack you.

That's good advice right there. I have more "in progress" gun projects right now than I care to admit.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 1:35:59 PM EST
The only part that I'm worried will be difficult to find is a barrel. I know CMMG sells nice lightweight barrels with a 1/7 twist, but from what I remember they are backlogged even more than most companies are.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 1:45:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/19/2009 1:46:37 PM EST by RM71860]
i'd go with a carbine build but thats just me... nice retro fender tubes!
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 2:00:57 PM EST

Originally Posted By RM71860:
i'd go with a carbine build but thats just me... nice retro fender tubes!


One of my dad's former coworkers was a TV repairman in the 70s. Last christmas, he decided to give me his old tool box that contained several hundred tubes. Only about 10 of them are usable in guitar amps, but hey, I got a shit ton of retro tube goodness!
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 2:08:03 PM EST
My second passion. Pre-CBS guitars and amps

Sounds like sound advice, go the carbine route, or cross over to the dark side and build a 607.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 2:21:16 PM EST
I think I would buy a SP1 upper for now, at least you would have a rifle ready to go and the correct upper for your lower. Being you are limited on funds... When you get extra cash scraped up you can sell, trade, barter or whatever you may call it and then start your new build... At least you have at that point have not squandered your money away on something else and have no cash to start anything.. SP1 parts are fairly reasonable and plentiful, at least for now... The build list is a great idea; I use one to keep track of my different builds.. At least all of the small special parts are alloted..
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 2:46:43 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/19/2009 2:47:45 PM EST by Shade00]
That carbine that uxb made was quite a nice little piece. Here's my attempt using a 601 lower. It's probably my favorite gun right now. Super light and easy to handle. Keep your eye out and you can probably pick up a lightweight barrel on the EE. I'll probably be letting go of a 16" lightweight soon. If you just want to throw something together, you could go with a 604 upper. I used an SP1 upper on my early 604 build. Anyway, I feel like you should build what you want right now. No reason to build a rifle if you want a carbine.

Link Posted: 5/19/2009 2:49:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/19/2009 3:42:37 PM EST by RLR350]
Originally Posted By Couch-Commando:

Originally Posted By RM71860:
i'd go with a carbine build but thats just me... nice retro fender tubes!


One of my dad's former coworkers was a TV repairman in the 70s. Last christmas, he decided to give me his old tool box that contained several hundred tubes. Only about 10 of them are usable in guitar amps, but hey, I got a shit ton of retro tube goodness!


"Relax, alright? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it."

Back to the point. I'd think about the SP1. Individual parts seem to be readily available at reasonable prices. A lot can be done with NOS items if you want to go that route.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 3:35:18 PM EST
If you want an SP1, I would BUY a complete SP1 - save up for it. I just saw a pretty nice one on GB for $1500 - yeah, I know. I have that kind of budget these days too, but I'd say build a slickside carbine, either a 654 clone like Shade's pretty carbine, or a 649 type, / GAU 5/A clone, which has a slickside upper and the Xm177 moderator.

There's a decent 604 upper on the EE right now IIFC, or a Nodak Spud would be a good choice. Concentrate on finding a barrel - you may have to wait, but that seems to be the normal scheme of things with retro builds. This way you'll end up with a slickside carbine to complement the SP1 when you can finally afford one. Just do what we do - stop eating and paying other bills. Electricity is highly overrated - laptops can run on batteries. Free wifi is everywhere, foodbanks will help supplement the diet, but beer is a meal in itself anyway. You just need to have the right mindset.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 4:03:13 PM EST
I don't think they used tubes until the A2 came around! A friend of mine still has the old RCA dealership that his dad owned all through the 50's, 60's, and 70's(it's no longer open but he still has all the inventory). There is a whole wall of RCA NOS tubes there(literally hundreds).
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 6:16:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By Shade00:
That carbine that uxb made was quite a nice little piece. Here's my attempt using a 601 lower. It's probably my favorite gun right now. Super light and easy to handle. Keep your eye out and you can probably pick up a lightweight barrel on the EE. I'll probably be letting go of a 16" lightweight soon. If you just want to throw something together, you could go with a 604 upper. I used an SP1 upper on my early 604 build. Anyway, I feel like you should build what you want right now. No reason to build a rifle if you want a carbine.

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h33/Datlore001/carbine1.jpg

That looks exactly like what I have in mind (until I am willing to do the SBR stuff.) I am not 21 yet, and I've heard some people say you can register it as an SBR, adn some say you can't . I haven't really looked into it.
Link Posted: 5/19/2009 6:19:53 PM EST
The Class III forum has answers to your SBR questions. I believe it's perfectly legal to make your own SBR if you're under 21 as long as you're not buying it from a dealer. You'll want to double-check over there, though.

Mine is not an SBR. It's a 14.5" Colt barrel with a custom spacer and a pinned A1 birdcage to bring it to 16". It still feels like a 14.5" gun, though, and none of the hassle of SBRing.
Link Posted: 5/20/2009 6:45:22 AM EST
Originally Posted By Shade00:
The Class III forum has answers to your SBR questions. I believe it's perfectly legal to make your own SBR if you're under 21 as long as you're not buying it from a dealer. You'll want to double-check over there, though.

Mine is not an SBR. It's a 14.5" Colt barrel with a custom spacer and a pinned A1 birdcage to bring it to 16". It still feels like a 14.5" gun, though, and none of the hassle of SBRing.


That is the best way to do it in my opinion. My late 653 carbine I am working on has a 14.5" brl with a custom spacer and A1 hider too. I figure if I do a SBR I want to the 200 stamp to go for more than an 1.5".
Link Posted: 5/20/2009 6:48:53 AM EST
Who's making these custom spacers? I *may* have found some folks who'll do an extended A1 FH.
Link Posted: 5/20/2009 11:01:33 AM EST
Originally Posted By TexSquirrel:
Here is a copy of my spreadsheet.
This way you can budget your build easier.

My spreadsheet is a work in progress, but it helps me keep on track.


I have a spreadsheet too, a ittle like yours. I use one worksheet per build and add some photos for reference.
Link Posted: 5/20/2009 11:11:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By Sumoj275:
Originally Posted By Shade00:
The Class III forum has answers to your SBR questions. I believe it's perfectly legal to make your own SBR if you're under 21 as long as you're not buying it from a dealer. You'll want to double-check over there, though.

Mine is not an SBR. It's a 14.5" Colt barrel with a custom spacer and a pinned A1 birdcage to bring it to 16". It still feels like a 14.5" gun, though, and none of the hassle of SBRing.


That is the best way to do it in my opinion. My late 653 carbine I am working on has a 14.5" brl with a custom spacer and A1 hider too. I figure if I do a SBR I want to the 200 stamp to go for more than an 1.5".


Agreed. Why SBR for 1.5"? 45Bravo made my spacer, and he may be willing to make more. Several weeks ago, somebody in another thread showed off a custom-made spacer that they had done. It looked superb. I can't remember who it was, though.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 8:17:28 PM EST
I'm curious, are there any cheap sources of retro parts like pistol grips? While I'm broke, I hope to accumulate some generic odds and ends for this project.

Link Posted: 5/27/2009 3:59:10 PM EST
If I had a lower like that, I'd try to find an SP1 upper (not a 604 upper) and make an SP1/602-ish retro rifle. The cool thing about the SP1 uppers is that the lower left-had corner of the ejection port lines up with the top of the lower receiver, like the 602. (Very early 604s did as well, but the majority did not.)


As for retro furniture, Moore Militaria used to be a good source for pistol grips and butt stocks, but all they have now are handguards. So Gunbroker is probably your best bet.
Link Posted: 6/4/2009 7:02:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/4/2009 7:02:59 PM EST by Couch-Commando]
PROGRESS! I found the collapsing stock my dad got me when I was 10 so I could shoot an AR properly. So now I have one part attached!

ETA: I have an LPK on backorder and a pistol grip and pivot pin on the way.

Link Posted: 6/5/2009 7:54:09 AM EST
Originally Posted By Hal143:
My second passion. Pre-CBS guitars and amps

Sounds like sound advice, go the carbine route, or cross over to the dark side and build a 607.


Dump your 1969 blond thinline telecaster and use the money on 3 builds like a Retro (603) , XM177E2 , and an M4gery ...
Link Posted: 6/5/2009 8:19:31 AM EST

Originally Posted By Calgunner:
Originally Posted By Hal143:
My second passion. Pre-CBS guitars and amps

Sounds like sound advice, go the carbine route, or cross over to the dark side and build a 607.


Dump your 1969 blond thinline telecaster and use the money on 3 builds like a Retro (603) , XM177E2 , and an M4gery ...

Now that there is blasphemy if I ever saw it! No matter how cool retro guitars are, if I were to trade a retro fender for a retro black rifle, it better be an original 601 with the happy switch!
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:45:34 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2009 4:48:06 PM EST by Couch-Commando]


I finally finished my lower! These are fun as hell to build! All I need to do is install the bolt hold open, I don't have the right punch for that.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:34:47 PM EST
Use vice grips, pieces of plastic and leather, masking tape, a small hammer, and then pray to Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, and any other religious honcho you can think of.

it'll work.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:44:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By madmanblake:
Use vice grips, pieces of plastic and leather, masking tape, a small hammer, and then pray to Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, and any other religious honcho you can think of.

it'll work.

Well shit, I got the disconnector and bolt hold open springs mixed up!
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 6:05:08 PM EST
Originally Posted By Couch-Commando:
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a225/Couch-Commando/lowerreceivercomplete.jpg

I finally finished my lower! These are fun as hell to build! All I need to do is install the bolt hold open, I don't have the right punch for that.


Congrats, you are half way there!

I would say use a pair of vise grips with the jaws taped over, but after doing more than 30 lowers that way, I finally managed to scratch the last two that I did... yep, two in a row in the same afternoon.



Link Posted: 6/15/2009 7:52:11 PM EST
Well, I just fucked up the pin that holds the trigger. Are there any cheap places to order a new one?
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 12:35:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 12:38:43 PM EST by TexSquirrel]
Originally Posted By Couch-Commando:

Originally Posted By madmanblake:
Use vice grips, pieces of plastic and leather, masking tape, a small hammer, and then pray to Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, and any other religious honcho you can think of.

it'll work.

Well shit, I got the disconnector and bolt hold open springs mixed up!


Now you need the punch.

Link Posted: 6/16/2009 12:37:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 12:38:27 PM EST by TexSquirrel]
Originally Posted By Couch-Commando:
Well, I just fucked up the pin that holds the trigger. Are there any cheap places to order a new one?



Let me check my inventory when I get home.
Kinda sucks to order just a trigger pin and pay expensive shipping on it.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 1:10:26 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 1:32:29 PM EST by Couch-Commando]
Well, I got it out with the proper punch. I kind of mushroomed it the first time though, so I'm pretty sure it'll need to be replaced. I swear I fuck up everything when I try complex projects.


ETA: I used the other pin and it went in fine for the trigger. I think that either I messed up the other one right off the bat, or perhaps it was bad to start with. I definitely need a new one before I can continue.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 1:13:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By Couch-Commando:
Well, I got it out with the proper punch. I kind of mushroomed it the first time though, so I'm pretty sure it'll need to be replaced. I swear I fuck up everything when I try complex projects.


Bolt catch roll pin is messed up?
I'm almost certain I have a spare one of those.

Link Posted: 6/16/2009 1:33:20 PM EST

Originally Posted By TexSquirrel:
Originally Posted By Couch-Commando:
Well, I got it out with the proper punch. I kind of mushroomed it the first time though, so I'm pretty sure it'll need to be replaced. I swear I fuck up everything when I try complex projects.


Bolt catch roll pin is messed up?
I'm almost certain I have a spare one of those.


No, the trigger pin. it's now bent from me getting pissed and breaking out the hammer.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 5:51:30 PM EST
Well, I went shooting and stopped by the gunsmith at the range and got new trigger pins. They fit in perfectly. I don't know what was wrong with the ones that came in the kit. But I got this thing together now.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 6:13:04 PM EST
Did you find the spring mixup before you pinned the bolt catch? I hope...?

And Jesus, man, be careful with the hammer!
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