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Posted: 9/29/2014 2:23:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2014 2:28:57 PM EST by mwest117]
Hello all, i'm entirely new to both this forum and an AR15. I recently got back from basic military training, so I am familiar with an M16 and I believe I should be fine building my own rifle. My only concern is the parts and where to purchase them. I would love to find a good place with complete upper and lower receivers.

My questions:
1. What upper and lower receiver should I get? I've looked at BCM and Spike for good quality with an affordable price. But there's still so many on their sites. I am looking to spend 1-1.5k total on the rifle with all parts/attachments. Was hoping to build the actual rifle for ~800 and spend the rest on attachments. I plan to use this purely for a range and home defense. Not looking to hunt or win competitions. I just want a tough, reliable, good quality rifle for the best price. If I can't get that in the 1k range then I guess i'll have to come back at a later date with more money.

2. What's the best scope for close firing/home defense? I'm guessing a simple red dot sight would be nice. Not looking to shoot over 100 yards. Just far enough to defend myself with. 25-50 yards i'd say.

3. I'm not sure how all the attachments fit on and how they work with different length ar15s. Can any bipod, led light, grip, stock, etc fit on any type ar15 I buy? Or do I need to get the ar15 built first before looking at those?

I guess i'm mostly looking for help picking a good lower and upper receiver. I wouldn't mind buying a complete rifle if a company had a good quality one for the price. I'd REALLY like to end up with an ar15 looking similar to one of these two pictures. Whichever would be more practical cost/quality wise.




So basically, good optics/possible built in iron sights as well, a bipod, a good rail system, led light, grip and vfg, and a stock.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 2:43:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2014 2:46:40 PM EST by jbooker82]
Colt 6920 is a good rifle to build off.

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/index.php/cPath/36_140/Rifles/Colt
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 2:51:15 PM EST
1. Both are good quality. IMO, for the same amount of material, forged is stronger than billet. Billet, however can be machine to provide good looks and additional strength where it matters the most. For matching colors of black, I suggest getting a matched set from the same manufacturer.

1a. You can definitely build a good gun for that kind of money. Hell you should be able to build a hell of a rifle and still have money for a used EOTech or Aimpoint Pro

2. I would suggest a good red dot sight. Money buys quality here - even though a $100 red dot may look good and perform well enough for your use, I would consider trying to find a used red dot of high quality in the equipment exchange here. Something along the lines of an Aimpoint Pro, EOTech, or Trijicon will work very well for you. Those may be a little pricey, but even companies like Burris or Vortex have some good offerings

3. If you listen to any advice I give you its this : K. I. S. S. - keep it simple stupid. In a heart racing home defense situation, you definitely don't need 10 buttons to push. A sight that's always on, and a light that has a pressure switch that you can route to a grip or or one that's right at your grip (like an I force) is probably all you need for a HD rifle.

Really, any forged 7075 aluminum upper and lower with a rollmark you like and machined by a reputable company will be good to go. I personally really like Spike's stuff and have never had a problem with them. Feel free to IM me if you want me to help you piece together a build.

One other option is to order a stripped lower and a lower parts kit and stock kit and build it yourself, then buy a complete upper from someone like palmetto state armory, rock river arms, or BCM
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 2:54:27 PM EST
I'll try and give a good reply tonight, unfortunately I can't see your pictures from here at work.

I believe a good quality rifle that meets your needs is easily doable for less than $1000.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 3:06:33 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jaqufrost:
I'll try and give a good reply tonight, unfortunately I can't see your pictures from here at work.

I believe a good quality rifle that meets your needs is easily doable for less than $1000.
View Quote


Thanks! The second picture I linked looks really nice, but I feel like it's more of eye candy than anything and not too practical. I'm more interested in the first picture. My biggest concerns with trying to match it, though, was figuring out how the length of the rifle and such played into picking parts. I'm not familiar with the differences in carbine, mid-length, and rifle sizes and which to go for. And from what i've ready some of the extra parts you might add will only fit on certain sizes.
Link Posted: 9/29/2014 4:43:05 PM EST
I also believe that based on your criteria, you have a couple caliber choices. I doubt you want to get into the NFA process at this point, so we'll stick to 16" overall length for both calibers - the 223/5.56 carbine that everyone is familiar with, or a 300 AAC Blackout carbine, that with the well-respected Barnes 115gr black tipped bullet, provides more kinetic energy and less penetration out of the same length of barrel.

I'm going to suggest to you that you build the lower buy yourself (easy to complete in 1 hour with youtube videos) and leave the upper to professionals. While this is a Build It Yourself forum, this is what I recommend for newcomers to the platform. Once you really feel comfortable with the platform, and you have the tools to do it correctly, by all means, build the upper.

Here's a good 5.56 build that I believe would serve your needs well.

Upper - PSA Cold Hammer Forged 16" with 13" Free Float Rail, A2 Flash Hider, and BCG/CH included. - $700

Sights - Magpul Gen 2 BUIS - $70

Total Upper Price: $770

Lower - PSA Blemished Lower - $40 (without transfer)

Lower Parts Kit - Red Barn Armory Build Your Own LPK - $150

  • Mission First Tactical G27 black grip

  • RRA Ambi Star Fire/Safe Selector

  • ALG ACT Trigger (owned by wife of Gisselle founder, great trigger feel with mil-spec pull and safety)

  • Magpul MOE black trigger guard

  • KNS Gen 2 Mod 2 Anti-Rotational Pins

  • All other necessary pins, springs, and detents for lower


Stock: Magpul CTR Mil-Spec Stock Kit - $75

Total Lower Price: $265 without transfer

Total Price: $1035

That's without shipping or transfer of the lower, so I'd add about $100 to that so you're looking at just over $1100 for a rifle with the following specs:

PSA Forged Upper and Lower
16" 5.56NATO CHF Barrel by FN with HPT/MPI tests, Chrome Lined Bore and Chamber, 1:7 twist w/ midlength gas system and A2 flash hider
SQH lightweight rifle length free float rail w/ keymod and QD slots
Carpenter 158 Steel Bolt and Full Auto Profle BCG
Misson First Tactical G27 grip
Magpul CTR stock and MOE trigger guard
RRA Ambi Safe/Fire Selector
ALG Advanced Combat Trigger (ACT)
KNS Anti-Rotational Pins
Magpul Gen 2 BUIS

To me, that's one hell of a rifle for around $1100. If I were to add a couple extra goodies, I'd add a BCM Mod 4 Charging Handle, and JP yellow springs to the trigger. Both easy and decently cheap upgrades to make the rifle absolutely awesome.

PSA has a good reputation here, look up some other builds using their "blemished" lowers and their uppers and you'll find it's hard to beat their price for the quality.

If you want to add a light, I'd add something like an Inforce WML that you can operate with your forward hand. I just checked the equipment exchange here and found decent red dots from companies like Primary Arms at $120 all the way up to Aimpoint at $500+

Hope something like this helps! You can always do some shopping around and beat the prices I've got listed.


Link Posted: 9/30/2014 4:13:18 PM EST
How important is the color of the rifle?

The second one looks pretty, but their are several additions to the rifle I wouldn't use. The CTR stock is ok, I prefer a SOPMOD or VLTOR stock as I like the cheekweld on them. The Larue RISR mount is an un-needed accessory for most builds. The short rail on the bottom of the CTR stock is pretty much just used for putting a short monopod for shooting long range.

How concerned with accuracy are you? Is 2-3MOA ok? If you really want 1MOA you will have to spend more money on a barrel to ensure you can make your accuracy goals.

How important is weight? The rail on the second rifle is pretty good, but if you want to save a bit more weight you would probably be better served with a full keymod handguard like the BCM KMR or MI SSK.

Here is a good BCM upper with the SSK rail on it, they're a bit cheaper than the KMR rails but weigh about 3oz more.
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-16-Mid-Length-LIGHT-WEIGHT-KeyMod-Upper-p/bcm-urg-mid-16lw-mi-sskg212.htm

If you were local I'd offer to help you put an upper together from scratch (my favorite way), but I understand not wanting to go that far on a first build as you will need a barrel nut wrench and vice block.

With the cost of PSA premium uppers I would get a BCM.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 5:59:37 PM EST
The color isn't all that important. I mostly want a reliable and durable rifle. Not that I want to "impress" others, but if someone were to see it i'd like them to know I have a quality rifle and not just some gun from walmart. Basically I don't want to have to ever worry about needing to upgrade the parts in the near future. But that being said, if I can get the same quality parts in the FDE to make it look a little more aesthetic, sure i'll go for it. The thing I like the most about the second picture is just the rail/handguard. The way it's so open is nice. I can't seem to find a similar one on any of the stores.

I wasn't wanting to spend too much on optics (can save up for an aimpoint pro or something in the future) so I was looking for great alternatives for a better price. Taylorjr was showing me the vortex strikefire and sparc, which look nice for the price. They are 1moa but I did not realize I would need a better barrel.

Weight isn't the biggest issue here, but obviously if I can lower it without risking quality then i'll do it.

The only thing about the upper you linked me is i'm not too familiar with what all I need. It says it comes with a free bolt carrier group, so all I need then is a charging handle correct? In which case, the options it gives me say basically a small, medium, large, or ambi handle. Does that matter? Or is that just preference on how big the handle is?

Also, if I were to get a red dot sight but also BUIS, would front or rear sights be better?

Link Posted: 9/30/2014 6:49:25 PM EST
FN CHF barrels are definitely not benchrest barrels. But think about this - CZ, Sako, Tikka (who uses Sako barrels), FN... Almost every major European firearms company use cold hammer-forged barrels. FN's own SPR line uses their same cold hammer-forged barrels. Sako's TRG rifle uses a cold hammer-forged barrel. The CZ527 223 I just bought my wife is a cold hammer forged barrel.

No worries about the barrel. It's free floated and it's an FN. You'll hit 1 MOA with good ammo.

For back up sights, buy the set. Look up the various ways of co-witnessing
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 7:07:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2014 7:12:41 PM EST by Noob2Noob]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By mwest117:
(snip) The thing I like the most about the second picture is just the rail/handguard. The way it's so open is nice. I can't seem to find a similar one on any of the stores.(snip)
View Quote

Man, that is one skeletonized-lookin' rail. Not my taste, but here's a link to it at Red Barn http://www.redbarnarmory.com/product-p/forrev-14fde.htm ....and quite a bargain too! (sarc) also available in black. Midwest and YHM have some "open"ish looking rails for less than the Fortis, if you haven't already married that one. Agree 1000% with your philosophy: Function first, but a good look is a real important "nice to have", even if it's only me looking at it.

EDIT: I think those are LaRue index clips along the top and bottom of that rail: http://www.laruetactical.com/larue-camo-index-clip-set-72-pcs
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 7:38:39 PM EST
I wanted a more open style handguard too. I long contemplated the fortis but that awful bottom rail held me back. I opted instead for a MI Lightweight M-Lok. It really makes my fluted SS barrel stand out. The machining and feel is fantastic. I paid $190 shipped directly from MI but it may be cheaper elsewhere.

Other value parts you should consider:
Strikefire vortex red dot. Holds zero well. Poor man's aimpoint. Functions 95% as well.
CTR. Possibly the best stock out there and it's relatively cheap.
JP fire control kit. About $100 for an excellent trigger
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 9:09:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2014 9:11:20 PM EST by taylorjr]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jaqufrost:
How important is the color of the rifle?

The second one looks pretty, but their are several additions to the rifle I wouldn't use. The CTR stock is ok, I prefer a SOPMOD or VLTOR stock as I like the cheekweld on them. The Larue RISR mount is an un-needed accessory for most builds. The short rail on the bottom of the CTR stock is pretty much just used for putting a short monopod for shooting long range.

How concerned with accuracy are you? Is 2-3MOA ok? If you really want 1MOA you will have to spend more money on a barrel to ensure you can make your accuracy goals.

How important is weight? The rail on the second rifle is pretty good, but if you want to save a bit more weight you would probably be better served with a full keymod handguard like the BCM KMR or MI SSK.

Here is a good BCM upper with the SSK rail on it, they're a bit cheaper than the KMR rails but weigh about 3oz more.
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-16-Mid-Length-LIGHT-WEIGHT-KeyMod-Upper-p/bcm-urg-mid-16lw-mi-sskg212.htm

If you were local I'd offer to help you put an upper together from scratch (my favorite way), but I understand not wanting to go that far on a first build as you will need a barrel nut wrench and vice block.

With the cost of PSA premium uppers I would get a BCM.
View Quote


The PSA upper runs $700. The BCM runs $680 if you include their charging handle. (an upgrade, but not necessary)

BCM's barrel - BCM doesn't give out information about their suppliers, so we don't know manufacturing process OR supplier. M4 Feed Ramps, chrome bore and chamber, high pressure tested and magnetic particle inspected, government profle, midlength gas system, with a 5.56 NATO chamber with a 1:7 twist bore
PSA's barrel - FN made by cold hammer-forging. The standard of European barrels from a well-respected company. M4 feed ramps, chrome bore and chamber, high pressure tested and magnetic particle inspect, A2 profile (same as govt), midlength gas system, with a 5.56NATO chamber with a 1:7 twist bore

Now you might say, "BCM's included BCG adds value" and you're wrong.

BCM's BCG - Carpenter 158 steel, shot peened, HPT and MPI tested bolt, chrome lined carrier and gas key, full auto profile, staked grade 8 fasteners, with a tool steel extractor
PSA's BCG - Carpenter 158 steel, shot peened, HPT and MPI tested bolt, chrome lined carrier and gas key, full auto profile. staked grade 8 fasteners, with a tool steel extractor

Same. God. Damn. Thing.

If you like the look of the BCM upper, go for it. You'll save a grand total of $20 and you'll maybe have the upper 3 or 4 days before the PSA. Oh, and you don't know who supplies the barrel or how its made. It's likely FN. If it's FN, it's likely cold hammer-forged. But do you want to risk it?

If you like the look of the PSA upper, go for it. You'll spend an extra $20 to know the barrel is made by a reputable company that uses the same exact process in almost every gun they produce.

Sorry if I stepped on some toes. PSA Premium Uppers are the same tier as BCM, RRA, etc. Definitely not their "Freedom" uppers or their "PTAC" uppers.... Actually I'm not sorry at all. PSA is a good company, same as BCM.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 6:59:22 AM EST
The BCM upper has a nice lightweight profile, I don't like the A2 profile, it's wasted weight.

I don't really care about whether the barrel is hammer forged or not. The PSA barrel may have wonderfl accuracy, or it might not, same with the BCM. If you have to have accuracy your going to pay for it, anything cheap is a gamble.

I posted that BCM upper primarily because of the MI SSK rail attached. I'm not sure what rail the PSA you posted was supposed to come with, I don't like extra weight on the rail, they might be including a good one, or they might not.

BCM is also including the MOD 0 compensator at not extra cost right now. The BCM charging handle is much nicer than a standard model, you could also leave it off the order and get a Raptor if you wanted a really nice charging handle.


I don't have a problem with PSA, personally I've used PSA and PTAC parts with little issue. I normally build my rifles out from scratch and don't use assembled uppers, that way I can get the barrel, rail and gas block I want.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 8:32:47 AM EST
show me how the a2 profile is different than the "government" profile...

I'll agree there are lemons in every batch. but I know the barrel is the PSA is FN. That's worth something to me.

If weight isn't an issue, then go on looks alone.

The Mod 0 looks like the standard birdcage, but if it really is a compensator, do you really want that on a HD rifle? I wouldn't - rifles are loud enough indoors as it is.

I also build my uppers from scratch. Done custom machining to get parts to fit more than once... But if I were to buy an upper, it's very hard to beat PSA's premium line.

Link Posted: 10/1/2014 8:46:23 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By taylorjr:
show me how the a2 profile is different than the "government" profile...

I'll agree there are lemons in every batch. but I know the barrel is the PSA is FN. That's worth something to me.

If weight isn't an issue, then go on looks alone.

The Mod 0 looks like the standard birdcage, but if it really is a compensator, do you really want that on a HD rifle? I wouldn't - rifles are loud enough indoors as it is.

I also build my uppers from scratch. Done custom machining to get parts to fit more than once... But if I were to buy an upper, it's very hard to beat PSA's premium line.

View Quote
They are the normally the same. Both have unneeded weight at the end of the barrel.

If your worried about using it inside you need a suppressor, and preferably a lot shorter length to go along with it.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:13:11 AM EST
If I were wanting to build a rifle identical to the one in the first picture, can anybody list some of the parts? Mostly wondering what kind of upper/handguard it is as well as the scope+red dot ontop. Does it look like a good quality rifle? I'm mostly interested in HD and short range shooting, so i'm not as interested in spending a ton for the most precise and accurate rifle. That is something i'm sure i'd like to come back and build at a later date so I can have a specific one to take to a range and know it'll be precise. But for now I really like the "tactical" look of the first picture.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 11:18:35 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jaqufrost:
They are the normally the same. Both have unneeded weight at the end of the barrel.

If your worried about using it inside you need a suppressor, and preferably a lot shorter length to go along with it.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jaqufrost:
Originally Posted By taylorjr:
show me how the a2 profile is different than the "government" profile...

I'll agree there are lemons in every batch. but I know the barrel is the PSA is FN. That's worth something to me.

If weight isn't an issue, then go on looks alone.

The Mod 0 looks like the standard birdcage, but if it really is a compensator, do you really want that on a HD rifle? I wouldn't - rifles are loud enough indoors as it is.

I also build my uppers from scratch. Done custom machining to get parts to fit more than once... But if I were to buy an upper, it's very hard to beat PSA's premium line.

They are the normally the same. Both have unneeded weight at the end of the barrel.

If your worried about using it inside you need a suppressor, and preferably a lot shorter length to go along with it.

Agree, indoors is what is known in the audio engineering world as a "highly reflective environment". Any sound that escapes the muzzle, in whatever direction, is coming right back atcha' with very little meaningful attenuation. Indoor HD is like the worst day ever, IMO. Temporary hearing impairment is pretty much a given unless one has time to don earpro. Pick a gun you can hit something with.
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 6:04:58 PM EST
Ok, after looking around a lot I think i've come to a decision on parts. Let me know how this sounds!

Upper: Colt AR-15 SOCOM A3 16" Carbine

Lower: PSA Gadsen Lower

Red Barn Armory Build Your Own LPK:
Mission First Tactical G27 black grip
RRA Ambi Star Fire/Safe Selector
ALG ACT Trigger (owned by wife of Gisselle founder, great trigger feel with mil-spec pull and safety)
Magpul MOE black trigger guard
KNS Gen 2 Mod 2 Anti-Rotational Pins

Stock: Magpul CTR stock kit

Total comes to about 1100 last time I checked. I could save $40 if I got a PSA blem lower instead of the Gadsen, I just like the "Don't tread on me" logo. After assembling and using it some, i'd like to add:

WML Inforce led light
Vortex SPARC
BCM Gunfighter charging handle


Debating whether to make some of the parts FDE, or go full black. If this build looks good to everyone I think i'll go ahead and start ordering!

Link Posted: 10/2/2014 11:09:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/3/2014 3:57:51 AM EST by Noob2Noob]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By mwest117:
Upper: Colt AR-15 SOCOM A3 16" Carbine
View Quote

Nobody? ...ok, me then
I recently built a 16" carbine from parts. If I had it to do over, I would build a 16" midlength. Here's why: All other factors being equal, slightly less recoil. Plus slightly longer sight radius (assuming the A2 FSB). But that's me killing paper while seated at a bench. YMMV.

So I took my ill-configured (for me) rifle and did this:
Blew off the A2 FSB and got an SLR Adjustable lo-pro gas block
This Midwest Rail, 12.5" "rifle length"
Magpul MBUS front and rear
This KNS Front sight Post

What I wound up with is slightly less recoil, +4.5" of sight radius and cut my group sizes in half.
If I was going to do it again as a complete upper, I'd get something like this BCM 16 " Mid plus the Magpul/KNS sight stuff.

OTOH, if your preference, skills and needs have settled you on that exact configuration (flat top upper, delta ring, drop-in quad, A2 FSB), I've never heard anyone say nasty about Colt products.
OR this other BCM 16" Mid plus a 9" drop-in quad is like your Colt with more rail, added sight radius, reduced recoil.

Best of luck!
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