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Posted: 6/15/2009 9:57:57 AM EST
This will be my 2nd AR... first one is a kit from Del-ton that should be arriving shortly (just got confirmation that it shipped! ) I want to build this one from the ground up but I'm not too knowledgeable yet and would like for you guys to check my work before I start buying stuff. So far I have a Spikes lower with LPK, Magpul Miad and UBR, have a BCG and charging handle, and I'm trying to figure out what I want for an upper. This is what I'm thinking right now:

Spikes flat top upper
Noveske 16.1" barrel (if I can find one)
YHM Phantom flash hider
Daniel Defense Lite rail 9.0
haven't decided on BUIS yet but I'm gonna stick my ACOG on it for sure.

ok, so what am I missing and will this go together nicely?

Thanks in advance
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 10:55:29 AM EST
Good afternoon JKnight,

We're both rather new to AR building but I'll give my insights so far.

My 1st build is almost done and I had no idea how many or what kind of special tools I'd need.

First things you'll need are a sharp mind and steady hands. Those little parts can be quite tricky. The takedown pin retainer spring and detent pin are crazy difficult to someone who's not done a few intalls. Sans a special tool you could do as I did: I used a tiny flat head screwdriver, the kind you might use to reapair a watch or a set of glasses. Insert the takedown spring into it's hole and firmly grasp that little detent vertically rounded side up with a regular set of needlenose pliers and push that spring down into the hole firmly over half way down the length of the detent and take the tiny screwdriver and go up through both the lower's ears in between the jaws of the pliers and push down firmly on the top of the detent and let lose of the pliers making sure you've got enough downward force to push the detent all the way down into its hole. Then take the takedown pin (It's the longer of the two 1/4" diam. pins) and while firmly pushing down against the bottom of the first lower ear, push against the tiny screwdriver that you're holding the detent down with. Once you get the pin started into that first ear you're golden. You'd be surprised how much force those tiny springs have. I spent an hour chasing that little detent around the kitchen trying to figure a way. I hope this helps a bit, or you might want that special tool.

Second. I had no idea how much force (torque) is involved in installing a barrel. My 1st build is almost done because my trusty carpenter's clamping portable work bench was no match for 30-40 foot pounds of torque needed to wrench that barrel onto the upper receiver. I've got a clamshell upper receiver vice block on the way.

Third. A good pin punch set with roll pin starters will make life much easier. I've used improvised tools with great success, buuuut, I would recommend good quality tools. I opened up my tool box and found dozens of little square-head bits that when put in a 1/4" extension started those roll pins very nicely. On the bolt catch pin I actually wrapped the lower several times around on both sides of the bolt catch bump-out with heavy duty duct tape. This prevented any scratches or marring.

Fourth. Free videos are out there. Google "installing a forward assist" and a site called "How to" will have dozens of vids from Brownell's.

Wish you the best of luck and safe and happy shooting.

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 11:55:37 AM EST

Thanks for the tips! I'll have to keep that in mind when I start putting them together. I'm going to look into purchasing those tools.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:16:53 PM EST
I recently completed my first build as well. I recommend at minimum a vice (bolted to a stable surface), some sort of vice block, set of punches (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=191653) and ball peen hammer. When I started the build I didn't have the vice block yet and just used an old towel. Work slowly and think before you do anything or you could easily make an expensive mistake (or at least a scratch/ding that is avoidable).
You can pick up a vice locally at Lowes/Homedepot/Ace etc. and 4 bolts 8 washers and bolt it to pretty much anything. I started with an old computer desk that I didn't mind putting 4 holes in...I have since built a cheap (in terms of cost, its solid in construction) workbench in my garage (http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/workshop/bench/below20xl.html).
For a vice block I cannot recommend the DPMS claw enough. It is very stable and I prefer is for most tasks to the clamshell design vice blocks (I have a Model 1 clamshell block as well). You will want a torque wrench (a local automotive store is your best/cheapest bet there) and some sort of multitool that you can attach to the torque wrench that can, at minimum, tighten your castle nut and barrel nut. DPMS makes one, as do several other manufacturers.
Good luck!
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:30:48 PM EST
Ok, so I just had a thought... would the 9" DD lite rail be enough to cover up the gas block on the 16" Noveske barrel since it has the mid length gas system? or would I need a 10" or 12" rail?
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