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Posted: 6/12/2003 7:32:08 PM EDT
Ok, I've been reading about building one of my own. More fun, more knowledge, and cheaper. I have yet to decide between all of the options to get, but wanted to make sure I knew the basic items needed to build my own. Please let me know how my list is. I didn't see a newbie FAQ type of thing to tell someone exactly what they need, differences between options on an upper, etc. Is there one somewhere here or elsewhere? Anyway, on to my list ...

1)Complete upper
2)Stripped receiver, shipped to FFL
3)Lower parts kit
4)Buttstock
5)Maybe some tools for the lower
6)I've seen a lower parts kit say buffer tube components are needed also ???

Well, ok, it's a short list. Are those the basic items, to build a working rifle? I know I could get some things added at first, but those (may) need to wait. I just want to get an idea of the minimum.

My biggest confusion right now revolves around the options for an upper. Looking at the RRA site, for example, there are many variations. Well, I guess that's another post. Thanks for any info.
Link Posted: 6/12/2003 7:43:34 PM EDT
Buffer/Buffer tube/Buffer spring.
Link Posted: 6/12/2003 7:46:18 PM EDT
Looks like you have everything. Regarding the parts kit, the lower parts kit usually will not include the buttstock assembly. You will need a buttstock assem. which will include the stock with trapdoor, the buffer tube, buffer, and buffer spring, and the sling swivel. My suggestion is to go for an A2 for your first upper, you will be able to learn the basics with iron sights and not have to worry as much about flip ups, optics, ect. Oh, order a good set of roll pin punches, it could potentially save you some pins.
Link Posted: 6/12/2003 7:55:46 PM EDT
If you were to get a kit from J&T, the kit would include everything needed to fully complete a rifle, EXCEPT for the stripped lower. That is the lower parts kit, the complete upper, pistol grip, stock, and buffer/tube/spring are all included with the kit. The only tools you may need would be a couple of brass/plastic punches and a small brass hammer. Don't forget to tape up your lower receiver to keep from scratching it.
Link Posted: 6/12/2003 8:22:12 PM EDT
Gunslinger, the A2 is the fixed handle right? The A4 is the flattop with the optional carry handle? Are scopes and decent option on the handle? dsr611, are the J&T kits a certain brand (RRA, etc.) or their own? I looked at their site and the 16" car kit, for example, has a bunch of options. Buttstock, pistol grip, trigger group, handguard, bolt carrier. Are the default options a good thing, considering it would be my first? I'd hate to get the basics just to find out I should have got something different to begin with. I need to do some more browsing to become familiar with the options.
Link Posted: 6/12/2003 9:00:43 PM EDT
Here's the lower build instructions, which lists what tools you *might* need; [url]ar15.com/content/docs/assembly/lower/[/url] and; [url=groups.msn.com/TheMarylandAR15ShootersSite/whatisana1a2a3ora4.msnw]What is an A1,A2,A3,or A4?[/url]
Link Posted: 6/12/2003 11:03:43 PM EDT
A2 is fixed carry handle, A3 is removable. If you want scopes or red dot systems the A3 is the way to go. This is an M/forgery A-3 with aimpoint [img]http://photos.ar15.com/WS_Content/ImageGallery/IG_LoadImage.asp?iImageUnq=11178[/img] And an Mforgery A-2 [img]http://photos.ar15.com/WS_Content/ImageGallery/IG_LoadImage.asp?iImageUnq=11180[/img]
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 10:51:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/13/2003 10:53:54 AM EDT by valkyrie0002]
I think for a first build it is easier and usually cheaper to buy the stripped lower( stinger, mega, whatever) and a good kit ( Model1, M&A, J&T, etc.) You will have a reliable and usually fairly accurate rifle for $550.00 min. with shipping and transfer. Do a search and see comments on different kit companies. If you buy, say a RRA complete upper and a lower parts kit and a stock assembly and a stripped lower it will cost close to $100.00 more. -Research the various manufacturers and their options vs cost. -Spend some time on this site reading members posts. -Try to determine what you want the rifle to do for you before you buy just to have a black rifle. You have already recieved much good advice from other members, now have some fun doing the research.
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 2:56:25 PM EDT
Yeah, go with J&T. Just got my kit and it is great. Missing a couple of parts, but I just got it yesterday, and they said they would ship em. No big deal. Great quality on the parts though, well worth the little bit more than some places.
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 9:17:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/13/2003 9:18:19 PM EDT by A_Free_Man]
People can say what they want about J&T... I purchased a carbine kit. Broke in the barrel by rapid firing a full 30 rnd mag. Let it cool a few minutes, and fired off another magfull. Cool! 60 rnds and no malfunctions. Now, with nearly 1000 rnds through it, STILL NOT ONE SINGLE malfunction. Not one, nada, zip. Went bang every time. I like that. (Edited to add: Notso, I think I probably have your missing parts, I had a few extra.)
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 10:38:02 PM EDT
If you need a buffer (rifle length), e-mail me; I have a new one I'll GIVE ya.
Link Posted: 6/14/2003 6:37:48 PM EDT
Ok, so I am going to think about getting someone's stripped receiver, a J&T kit, and the roll-pin punch tools thing. So, looking at the J&T site, there are several options for either the 20" A2 kit or the 16" CAR kit. This leads me to some more newb questions. Although the default, basic options should be fine for me, I want to make sure that some of the options I shuldn't just get now instead of wishing later that I did. 1 - Is there a benefit to 16" vs. 20" if I am using it mainly for (currently) shooting up to 100 yards? I guess if I went more than 100 yards I could buy a second upper. 2 - Both are offered either ported or with a tactical brake. What's the difference, and reasons for them? 3 - Would a flat-top upper with detachable handle be good for me, as I would just use iron sights to begin with and then later probably ge a scope of some sort. That way I can have the flat-top without needing to also buy a scopre right away. 4 - Buttstock - Default is A2, which I guess is the 'big' one. Then there are CAR, M4 and shorty A2. Differences in look and usability? Just a personal preference of look/feel, or real benefits to one? 5 - A2 pistol grip is standard, then there is A2 with clip-a-grip, duckbill, ergo, etc. Any descriptions of these others out there? 6 - Should I get something other than the standard trigger group? 7 - Handguards - Standard CAR, M-4, M-33. Any pics to show differences? 8 - Standard bolt carrier, chrome or TiN? Whew, that's it. Sorry there are so many, but I haven't been able to figure out the differences between the various options. Whether it is just a difference in how something looks, or whether something performs better, I want to know that before I make a choice. I do think that the default options are probably just fine for me, but the options that don't cost more money may be something I want if it's just a preference. I don't know anyone who has an AR, so can't see one in person. Maybe I'll run to the local store and see what they have. I mentioned this before, but there outh to be a newbie FAQ that explains to someone what is needed to build an AR, but also what the various options are. I would do it if I knew, but I don't yet. Maybe after my second or third AR, I'll have the knowledge to explain it all. Anyway, thanks for any info or pics to explain the differnt options to me.
Link Posted: 6/15/2003 7:50:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/15/2003 7:54:39 AM EDT by Freeman2]
Deniro, Here's my 2 cents worth of advice: I just bought my first AR kit and I also knew no one that had one nor had I ever fired one. After lot's of research on this site and asking a few questions like you've been doing, I bought the J&T 20" expedition kit with A2 carry handle, A2 buttstock, and A2 Grip. My thoughts were why buy the duckbill grip, M-4 stock, flattop upper, and all for my first rifle? If I wanted a different grip or stock I could always change them later. As far as a scope goes, you can buy a scope mount for the A-2 carry handle from several different manufacturers, although I have know idea of the quality of them, so maybe if this is an issue, you need to ask some other members about it. In my opinion, if you're only shooting 100 yards, a scope is unecessary unless you plan on shooting at competitions, in which case the duckbill or ergo grips would probably also make sense. My reason for saying this, is that I'm getting 1 1/2" groups at 300 yards with open sights, and that's good enough to drop just about anything you're shooting at as far as I'm concerned! Ok, now to my rifle: I ordered the J&T kit on a Sunday and it was delivered to me in Illinois on the following Thursday. All the parts were there, and I had it together (using the assembly instructions on this site) in about an hour with no problems at all. I had already bought a set of roll pin punches through Brownell's along with a detent sping installation tool. The punches probably weren't essential, but the detent tool made life a whole lot easier. I used an Olympic Arms T-3 forged stripped lower which I got for $90 before shipping and all. I noticed they have since raised the price to $125. This lower matched the upper's finish pretty well, not perfectly, but if you stand two feet away, you can see no difference. The upper and lower mated up perfectly with NO play whatsoever. The only thing I regret is getting the Expedition, because of it's non-removable Tac-Brake. It looks cool as hell, but this is the LOUDEST weapon I've ever fired! My ears were ringing for about 36 hrs. after firing it without hearing protection, and both my boys reported the same thing. This was after firing only 3 rounds. Good luck, safe shooting, and welcome to the board!
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 8:23:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/16/2003 8:24:34 AM EDT by Fenian]
Deniro, it sounds like you've done your homework...I would add one thing, though. There is a lot of debate about A2 vs A3. I've got 3 ARs, and they're all A3s. If at some point you decide you want optics...and you WILL, I guaranty it...you'll be much happier you got the A3. Up front it's more, since you have to buy some sort of iron sight system (assuming you need/want them), but in the long run, you'll probably save money...by NOT having to buy another upper lol. You'll probably want to do that too, since these friggin' thing are addictive as hell, but you won't NEED to if you have the A3. I'm sure you have a scope laying around already, and sooner or later you'll think, "I'm gonna put this scope on here and see what this puppy can do". Mounting anything on the carry handle puts it up really high, and anything other than the old colt 4x20 looks out of place there, to me. You're probably fine with a 16" barrel...unless you plan on doing a lot of 300+ yards shooting, I don't think you're giving up too much in the accuracy department (that debate is ongoing, but I'm sure the 16" barrel will do everything you need an AR to do). BTW, what part of VA are you in? You can't beat Quantico Arms' stripped Eagle lowers for $100, if you can get there to pick 'em up to save the shipping and FFL fee.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 9:04:38 AM EDT
I'm near Richmond, so it's not too far but not that close. I've got a dealer close to home that I can have something shipped to, so it's probably easier that way. I think I'll go with the 16" M4 style for the first one. I have still been thinking about the A2 vs. A3, and thought I might just get the A2 since I could put a gooseneck type mount on it for an Aimpoint or something. What are my options for initial iron sights if I get the A3? I know about the ARMS #40, but do I just get that and it goes straight on the A3 rail, or do I need something else? Will the #40 still be usable if I add a scope later? With the detachable carry handle, it would act like an A2, but if I use it just for the iron sights, should I just get the #40 instead or something else? Also, the tactical carry handle, so I could use it's iron sights and then mount something on it. All 3 of those choices are a similar price range, but I don't know which would work best for me, or what is just best in general. Any input on those 3 choices, or what other choices there may be? Since I plan on only using iron sights for the near future, I was thinking that the A2 route would be cheaper and easier, and I could still put a scope on it. Of course, I don't mind doing the A3 thing, it's just I am less familiar with the options there.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 8:06:17 AM EDT
A quick mention on the tape. Don't use masking tape or packing tape please. Go get a 4" roll of painters tape the cost is about the same as a roll of packing tape so take some time and do the job right. Just some practical advice for some of the idiots... I mean truely inexperienced. No offence to the Newbies out there I'm one of them. I chose to build an(ARTF)ALMOST READY TO FIRE rifle. Rock River std lower and a DPMS TUBER UPPER all pre assembled.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 8:05:06 PM EDT
Thanks for the info, but in the end I ended up going with a Bushmaster 16" A3. Shot it today for the first time, and it was great. Thanks for the info, and maybe I'll build a second one now that I have my first.
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