Like my previous poll, I'll ask this at all 3 forums I'm a member of (will be a cut-n-paste), so if you saw it somewhere else, you don't have to answer again. Sorry for the length of this post, but it's an important one.
I wanted to say "Thank You!" to all of you out there who answered my previous poll. There was a lot of variety in your answers. Which made me think harder as to what I wanted to do, knowing my experience w/ building firearms (none), mechanical ability (relatively high), and patience level (sometimes low). Your answers helped me realize that the specs of one's AR-15 vary greatly, and that it's more of a personalized rifle setup to the owner's personal taste. It also made me realize that I need to be sure of a lot of things before ordering anything, especially making sure all the parts are perfectly compatible.
I've decided to partially build my first AR-15 by ordering a stripped receiver and lower parts kit and putting that together myself (for the experience), and then just ordering a complete upper (to be sure of headspacing, etc.) and pinning the two halves together. After much research, thought, and looking at pictures of builds that you guys have done, I've began compiling a list of what I want:
- Stripped receiver (with some sort of stamp maybe)
- Lower Parts Kit (with a standard trigger, standard grip, collapsible stock)
- A3 flattop complete upper (I'll be mounting a scope on it eventually)
- fixed front sight
- flip-up rear sight
- Hand guard (mid- or rifle length) that will allow future mounting of bipod and flashlight
- 16" or 20" barrel (not sure what I need yet)
- chambered for NATO 5.56 and .223 Rem
This will be an all-around use rifle (due to my low budget). It will mainly be a target
practice/range/plinker gun, but will also sit in my home for backup defense purposes (also have a shotgun and handgun). I'm not a hunter, so a long-distance varmint type rifle isn't needed.
Does that sound like a feasible configuration to you? I'm new to this rifle thing. If I'm getting
things wrong, or if my specs won't work or aren't available, please let me know now! LOL.
Why did you choose the upper configuration that you did? I'm interested in the total package:
barrel length, steel vs. chrome-lined, sights, handguard, caliber/chamber, etc., and what was the
most important consideration/characteristic to you for your upper? And lastly, which manufacturer
did you end up getting the complete upper or the parts from and why?
Additional questions (may or may not have been answered somewhere before):
#1 Is there any benefit to having a receiver stamped w/ "Government Only" or "Restricted..." or any way that might "hurt" you someday down the road (legally)?
#2 Does using the same brand of LPK and stripped lower receiver mean a really good "fit" or doesn't it matter?
#3 Is there a significant accuracy/distance/groupings result difference between 16" and 20" barrels? This is assuming the proper ammunition is used. I doubt I'll be shooting beyond 300 yards, so can I "get away with" a 16" barrel, or should I be looking only at 20"?
#4 What barrel is better to have (for both accuracy AND longevity): chrome-lined, chrome-moly, or steel (or something else)?
#5 Are there particular lower stripped receiver and complete upper manufacturers that have a tight fit naturally? I'm talking about different "brands" of receivers and uppers, fitting together
snugly without "modifications" like wedges.
#6 Should I avoid the Wylde barrel, or is it better than a 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem, or is it the same?
Does the Wylde shoot everything the "regular" 5.56/.223 shoots?
Anyway, I'm sorry this is a long post. I'm new, and have many questions. I just want to be 100%
sure of myself with what I want, what I think is necessary, and what to order soon. I look forward
to everyone's responses. Thanks again for helping me out!!
To answer some of your questions:
#1. The markings on it have no bearing as to what it actually is. You could have it stamped "stolen" if you really wanted.
#2. Since the parts should be made to a particular standard, there shouldn't be much difference between lowers and lower part kits of similar quality.
#3. Accuracy and precision mean different things. You adjust your sights for accuracy, and smaller groups is a sign of precision. 20" barrels offer more velocity, which typically will help down range precision. At under 300 yards, assuming the barrels are of the same quality, a 16 vs 20" should show little difference. The only exception would be that the 20"'s higher velocity would help more in windy conditions. With iron sights, the 20" sight radius is more precise.
4#. This one really depends on how much precision you want to have, more usually means more expensive custom type options. Chrome lined offers a longer service life and easier mainenance, which is why the military likes them. Generally, a well cut Chrome Moly Steel or Stainless steel barrel will out perform chrome lined, but that depends on barrel quality.... A crappy stainless barrel is still a crappy barrel.
5#. Some of the RRA and Stag/CMT parts are known for being a tighter fit at times. But as each part can vary, it would be hard to give a definitive answer unless you are physically there to check fit.
6#. The Wylde Chamber is fine for 5.56 and .223. It is a kinda in between chamber.