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Posted: 8/25/2003 3:09:24 PM EDT
I read this on another forum. It was posted by a well respected shooting professional. Anyone have any thoughts or experiances to share about home assembled rifles?
Many of you know I am an advocate of the AR-15/M-16 family of rifles. If kept
clean and maintained I feel as if they are a very adequate rifle for Police, Military,
and Civilian use either sporting or defense. The acceptance of the Police Patrol Rifle
is one of the biggest advancements in recent Law Enforcement Administrations
removing their heads from their asses.

For several years I have been teaching Tactical/Patrol rifle classes and have noticed
some trends. The guys who want to save $97.84 who build their own rifles are an
interesting group in particular. They resurrect a rifle from spare parts (often called
"Frankinguns") to save a few bucks. I explain the perils of this to the new students
and I get a dismissive wave or comment. Since these students have never put their
guns to hard serious use they get their first "real" workout in my class. They ALWAYS
fail.

I have also heard you shouldn't shoot steel cased ammo because it will break parts
like the extractor. Not true. I have a Bushmaster with 50,000 +/- rounds through it with
70% or more being steel cased Wolf. I had my first parts failure with it last weekend.
The original extractor spring, which should have already been replaced as part of routine
maintenance long ago, failed. This is the same gun several of you have borrowed to take
our Tactical Rifle class in the past. $13.23 later I have a new spring AND extractor
(might as well go ahead and change it) and the gun is running like a sewing machine once
again.

People will ask so I will go ahead and say it. I use and recommend
Bushmaster Rifles. That is not to say there aren't other good
rifles. I just feel that Bushmaster offers consistant quality above some of the other brands.


Link Posted: 8/25/2003 4:40:53 PM EDT
How does the saying go...To each, his own. I own a factory Bushmaster and a home build Eagle Arms/J&T Car kit. With the home build, I learned the workings of the rifle, inside and out. I learned how to put it together, break it down, what goes where, and the why's and how's of the AR-15. With the Bushmaster, it was pretty much, get to the range, load a magazine, and have fun. Being the Bushmaster was my first AR, I was hesitant to completely break it down, check out the internals, and put it back together, especially not knowing exactly what went where and why this part does what it does, and why that part does what it does. But after assembling the home build, I am now more than comfortable with doing it. Not everyone has the financial abilities to spend close to $1000 for a rifle. I paid $1000 for the Bushmaster (with a Trijicon ACOG) and I now have the home build that cost right at $600 to build (before the Aimpoint went on it). $400 savings is a lot of money that can otherwise be used on ammo, optics, upgrades, etc... Some people want a factory rifle, others want a "kit" gun. Some, like me, want both. Maybe even a few more of each!!![:D]
Link Posted: 8/25/2003 4:49:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2003 4:52:53 PM EDT by die-tryin]
lol, that article made me laugh. I have a "store-bought" bushy dissy and it shoots fine, the way it should. And i have a Franken-AR, it is my CQB rifle and i would LOVE to go through that jackasses class with my rifle, i didnt build my rifle with scrap metal laying around, i built it so i have exactly what i wanted in a CQB rifle and it has NEVER failed me. And i dont anticipate that it will. It is built with quality parts from : bushmaster, DPMS, OLy and ACE. Also , I saved a lil more that asses 97bux he claims, i saved about 500bux on my rifle and i didnt have to wait for it, and i got exactly the rifle i wanted, no compromise. Plus the fun of building your own (granted 0% lower is REALLY building one, but ya get the point, lol) But as they say "Too each their own"
Link Posted: 8/25/2003 5:54:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2003 5:59:00 PM EDT by Ghost-Shooter]
I love the fact that just because he "teaches" a class, his word is now gospel...interesting. I've seen many Franken-AR's and few of them fail. Sure there are some times when the builder really should not even be owning a gun anyway, much less building one, but every gun that was built by a person who is careful is great. Yeah, when a person buys mysterious "FN" parts of questionable quality, those guns may fail, but for the most part, those who build an AR out of name brand components have guns that are just as, if not more, reliable than factory guns. What I really want to know is what makes a factory assembled Bushie that much more reliable than a kit gun assembled out of all Bushie parts? Hey, just because the technician that assembled the gun is currently in the employ of Bushmaster Firearms does not necessarily make him or her a god like entity when assembling a gun. Seem to me that most of the people in his class assemble their guns the night before and go to the class with an untested gun. And Wolf ammo? Hey, if I wanted to put regular unleaded in a Ferrari, it'll still run, but why spend 100 large on a car to save $0.20 a gallon? This dude discredits people who build their own AR's to save some (usually significant amount) money, but then turns around and advocates shooting Wolf. Hmmm. If you are going to lay out a rather large sum for a factory built gun, shouldn't you invest in good quality ammo? Heck, I guess he thinks that USA brand mags work, too! BTW, my savings for my DPMS/Oly/RRA Franken-AR is close to $200. Plus, its EXACTLY the way I want it. Ghost
Link Posted: 8/25/2003 6:37:55 PM EDT
yes a person can build a junk gun from junk parts and never have anything worth a damn. but this isn't smithing, or even building. its assembling parts. the machine work is already done so there is no fitting or turning or inletting involved. all there is to making an AR15 is putting these parts together right, just like the manufacturers do from the same parts they use. the only difference is that they made the parts themselves. the parts is where the quality lies, use good parts and have a good gun. this idea that i shouldn't count on a gun that i personally put together is something i don't quite get. i was there for every step of the assembly, taking great care to do it right. so why wouldn't i be sure of my work? why shouldn't i be? bushmaster does make a fine gun, but i don't know squat about the folks that put mine together, maybe one was having an off day i don't know, and thats the point. i do know how well I put my gun together. buying one off the rack is no more proven. sure bushmaster does a function check and fires a few rounds, but so can i. i can also pay alot more attetion to detail than a factory.
Link Posted: 8/25/2003 7:36:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2003 7:37:08 PM EDT by G35]
Or, you can have your cake and eat it too. My current AR's are off-the-self Bushmasters. My next AR will be BOTH a "hand built gun by my hands" and a Bushmaster. It is possible to have both !!!! Just buy all of the components from Bushmaster and assemble it yourself.
Link Posted: 8/25/2003 11:48:25 PM EDT
It's not the assembly itself, but rather of WHAT it's being assembled. As others have said, the AR series is like Legos. It's just assembly of pre-made, pre-existing parts. Of course, there can be a problem with incorrect assembly, but problems such as this tend to be glaringly obvious right from the get-go, such as putting the hammer spring legs on the bottom of the receiver instead of on top of the trigger pin, etc. And someone who can't assemble an AR correctly really has no business building one in the first place. Therefore, it's not really the building of the rifle itself that is a problem. So what might it be? His bash against "home assembly" is more of a bash against "el cheapo no-name low quality parts". THAT, I think, is the major reason many frankenguns might bite the dust, because the Lego Nature™ of the AR pretty much excludes any real gunsmithing. Low quality parts can be off dimension, made of significantly lower quality material, not of the proper hardness, stiffness, et al. Parts that are of only "slightly" lesser quality may work fine by themselves, but take a slightly off disconnector, a slightly off hammer, and a slightly off trigger, and they might build up enough tolerance stacking. Or a mismachined upper receiver, which looks perfect upon visual examination, could cause mysterious bolt carrier binding. Problems such as these sound like something that this guy would apparently blame on the builder. However, this builder would be guilty not of improper assembly, but rather, of purchasing substandard materials. A relatively intelligent monkey with an all-in-one wrench can assemble an AR properly. But it takes an entire industry to make those parts correctly, to the correct dimensions, of the correct materials and to the correct final quality. That, I think, is where the real bugs lie. Assembling something from a collection of separately bought parts requires one to be their own Quality Control Inspector. For many, this usually consists of taking the rifle out to the range and ripping a few boxes of American Express through it and declaring it good. Most of us know that this isn't a good enough test, though, at least not for a rifle with which to defend life. However, by buying parts of known quality (either from experience, reptuation, or both), we can minimize the Quality Control aspect of the assembly process to the point where we only need to put it together; given proper assembly, it will be 'good' 99% of the time, just as good as a quality factory built AR-15. At least, that's my two cents. Does a dog have the Lego Nature™?
Link Posted: 8/26/2003 9:58:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Jeep29: I read this on another forum. It was posted by a well respected shooting professional. Anyone have any thoughts or experiances to share about home assembled rifles? [b]Many of you know I am an advocate of the AR-15/M-16 family of rifles. If kept clean and maintained I feel as if they are a very adequate rifle for Police, Military, and Civilian use either sporting or defense. The acceptance of the Police Patrol Rifle is one of the biggest advancements in recent Law Enforcement Administrations removing their heads from their asses. For several years I have been teaching Tactical/Patrol rifle classes and have noticed some trends. The guys who want to save $97.84 who build their own rifles are an interesting group in particular. They resurrect a rifle from spare parts (often called "Frankinguns") to save a few bucks. I explain the perils of this to the new students and I get a dismissive wave or comment. Since these students have never put their guns to hard serious use they get their first "real" workout in my class. They ALWAYS fail. I have also heard you shouldn't shoot steel cased ammo because it will break parts like the extractor. Not true. I have a Bushmaster with 50,000 +/- rounds through it with 70% or more being steel cased Wolf. I had my first parts failure with it last weekend. The original extractor spring, which should have already been replaced as part of routine maintenance long ago, failed. This is the same gun several of you have borrowed to take our Tactical Rifle class in the past. $13.23 later I have a new spring AND extractor (might as well go ahead and change it) and the gun is running like a sewing machine once again. People will ask so I will go ahead and say it. I use and recommend Bushmaster Rifles. That is not to say there aren't other good rifles. I just feel that Bushmaster offers consistant quality above some of the other brands.[/b]
View Quote
Typical brand snob.
Link Posted: 8/26/2003 12:55:50 PM EDT
I had a guy at the range call my Model 1 the "yogo of ARs" lol. Of course, it would be the kit that came with no hole in the gas block [:D]. It works great now...Model 1 fixed it with no problem. Even the mighty Bushmaster has QC problems, as evidenced by a few folks here posting about canted front sights...hmmm, where have I heard THAT before lol. Now, at this point in my life, saving $97.84, (we all know it's WAY more) really IS a big deal...and I'm not alone in that.
Link Posted: 8/27/2003 7:10:27 PM EDT
I think that if someone invests money in a class they need to make sure their equipment works and then bring a good spare in case something breaks. I've seen factory rifles that had functioning problems. Another good idea is to buy ammo in large lots and make sure it functions in your weapon. Bushmaster and Colt rifles seem to be the most reliable out of the box but parts guns can run fine. Seem to me that most problems are caused by rough 223 chambers. I had an oly SUM barrel that needed to have the chamber buffed to make it reliable.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 6:15:12 AM EDT
Im on my third build now, my first two I used bushy barrels and uppers and oly lowers.I put them together carefuly step by step taking my time and they worked great from day one. My third build is half done, the upper is complete with a 20" bushy barrel and a model 1 flat top.I have test fired it with my other parts....no problems. The guy says the frankenguns they built failed, but he didnt say what the cause was.....
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 6:47:06 AM EDT
So those of us that build our own guns aren't as qualified as the highschool grad working at Bushmaster for $7 an hour assembling rifles? Yeah right!
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 7:49:28 AM EDT
I will go a step further I have built 2 AR's out of 0% forgings. If money is the question I will try to sum the cost. Milling Machne....2500.00 Associated tools...1200.00 Ar 0% forgings 25.00 each Kits. 410.00 and 520.00 total spent.$ 4,680.00 Time spent learning about the AR functions and parts assemblies. Priceless!!! I gues if money was the issue I spent about $ 2,300.00 on each. Does this mean that my guns are better than Bushmaster or Colt?????
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