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Resources for AR-15 Build

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of George Haystack George Haystack 4 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #3479
    Profile photo of George Haystack
    George Haystack

    I’m planning to build an AR-15. I’d like to know what books, videos, websites or other resources will be handy for me as I make my first attempt. I know I’ll need a few tools, etc., but what I’m really looking for are good “how to” instruction. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

    Profile photo of Mike Q
    Mike Q

    I just finished my first build and I did it using a 80% lower. James madison tactical’s website shows you how to finish the 80% lower. At least using a polymer lower.

    Midway USA has the best online videos I think for the build of the rest of the rest of the rifle.

    I bought most of the components from bravo company. They are about the highest end of the mid level components. You can really spend a lot more money from other suppliers, but no one had any bad reviews from the bravo company guys.

    AR is a great resource for all kinds of discussions. What you’ll find is there are 1000 different ways of doing everything with that many different opinions. Research as much as you can before you start to spend money. Hopefully that will reduce the buying of multiple parts.

    There never seems to be enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it twice.

    CRM Sept. 2014, CTT 1505, CTT July 2015, RC-Rifleman 1502, CP Nov. 2015, FoF March 2016, CCW May 2016, FoF Oct. 2016, FoF Nov. 2016, CLC April 2017, FoF Nov. 2017, Alumni weekend Aug. 2018, CQB Dec. 2018

    Profile photo of Brian from Georgia
    Brian from Georgia

    3-4 Aug 2013 CRCD, 2-6 Aug 2014 CRCD/Patrol, 30 Sep 2016 Run n Gun, 1-2 Oct 2016 FoF, 3-4 March 2018 DCH alumni
    Team Coyote

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    Unless you like buying books, everything is available online.

    As stated above will answer all questions.

    AR15’s are LEGO’s for adults!

    Profile photo of Matthew
    Participant is a handy little resource. Im a visual guy, I need pictures.

    Doing math to sign in is the one thing keeping me from wasting my life on this forum. Back to PT!

    Profile photo of DuaneH
    Participant has good how to guides. Youtube has tons on videoswith people doing it.

    Palmettostatearmory has excellent parts for the money. Their higher end parts come from FN (barrels) and other USGI contractors. DOn’t buy their PTAC line or their economy line as they are not mil-spec.

    DO NOT buy substandard parts! From anybody.

    NOV2008 IBC
    OCT2009 FT Stewart
    OCT2010 RBC Known Distance Rifleman
    OCT2014&2015 Long Distance Rifleman
    JUN2015 1000 Yds

    I.C.E/JAN2011 Combat Focus Shooting

    Tactical Response
    JUN2009 Fighting Pistol
    JUL2009 Fighting Rifle
    AUG2010 Immediate Action Medical
    NOV2012 Way of the Rifle

    Mountain Guerrilla/JUN2013-Irregular Warfare


    Profile photo of John Langdon
    John Langdon

    I second @duaneh. PSA has great deals. They have a deal on premium 5.56 full auto rated bolts that are HPT/MPI tested for $89.99. There is no charging handle with this bolt. I use PSA to build my second AR.

    Freedom has no compromise. By definition it is absolute.

    October 12-13 CRCD Alumni

    Profile photo of Max Velocity

    Third vote for PSA. For example, they have excellent deals on stripped blemished lowers. As DuaneH says, just make sure you stay away from the PTAC and economy line and carefully read the fine print to make sure you’re getting what you want. You can always buy your upper from Bravo Company if you feel compelled to, but you’ll save a crap load of money building your lower from PSA parts, especially when they’re on sale and you wait for their free shipping events.

    Profile photo of John Langdon
    John Langdon

    The only thing to know about PSA is their shipping times. Your order will not ship immediately. Don’t expect to see it for almost 2 weeks. And if you’ve ordered an upper, you have to wait 15 business days before it gets ready for shipping. As long as you know that, you shouldn’t have any issues.

    Freedom has no compromise. By definition it is absolute.

    October 12-13 CRCD Alumni

    Profile photo of George Haystack
    George Haystack

    Thanks for all the great info. Holy crap, there’s a lot of options. I’m trying to keep it affordable but decent quality.

    I really like the Midway videos! I’ve bought from them for years and never realized they offered so many great, free gunsmithing videos. Fantastic resource!

    Of course is also a great resource.

    I’ve signed up for email alerts on all the major parts seller’s websites so I should be able to jump on their specials as soon as they hit.

    I’m glad the market seems to be healthy right now. Prices look really affordable on almost everything.

    Thanks for all the tips! I’ll keep you all posted on the build as it proceeds.

    Profile photo of JustARandomGuy

    Second what everyone said about PSA and BCM.
    Read fine print on PSA’s stuff- make SURE you’re getting the “good” stuff. Frankly, after mixing in that PTAC crap and the vagueness of what the items are described as, I don’t have much trust in them anymore- no way you can put together a rifle/RDS combo for *that* cheap, which means, there has to be corner cutting going on somewhere.
    Frankly, imo, the lower is a lower-stress part than the upper, so saving $$ with PSA is probably ok, but hands down go with a better brand for the upper and BCG- ESPECIALLY the BCG!!
    BCM, DD, or LMT are good- Spikes is fine as well (and they make nice lowers too).
    Also, go out and buy one of BCM’s Mod4 [whichever is standard sized] Gunfighter charging handles- $45, BUT the best 45 bucks you will spend on a charging handle. Seriously- it’s way better than the awful USGI standard handle, and made better too.

    Frankly, if you’re not hell bent on a midlength gas system, or a low-pro gas block with 12-14″ FF rail, go out and buy a Colt 6920 or Spikes M4-LE, or S&W M&P-15 (plus the BCM GF CH), and drive on. If you want a rail later, go see Centurion Arms- nice rails, options for any type rifle, 2-piece design is FF and uses the standard barrel nut, so there’s no need to disassemble the whole upper.

    Another thing to think about is sometimes taking an approach where buying a factory complete rifle, or a build with as few companies involved as possible (say a Spikes Lower with a BCM Upper/BCG/CH, as opposed to barrels and lowers and small parts from everywhere) can better to go with in case of problems- there is an advantage in case of something going horrible wrong to handing the whole thing back to the company that made it and saying “fix it” that cannot be understated.
    Trust me- this happened to me, and it was a problem I would never have figured out if I hadn’t been able to send the whole thing back.

    "Time come Kimosabe, when good men must wear masks."

    Profile photo of Max Velocity

    Some good advice here in general.

    Specifically, I’ll second most of what JustARandomGuy said about PSA. I’ve not bought any of the lower cost PTAC type parts, but have carefully shopped for high quality at a good price. Doing so I’ve scored a couple of nice FN made CHF barrels (one in stainless), and some good BCGs. Got a nice nearly all PSA build right here next to me now and it’s very….comforting. Pic shown in the thread on camo paint jobs.

    The BCG John Langdon linked is IMHO a killer deal. I have one that I paid more for and still thought it was well worth it. No need for the laser engraved logo, so you save $$ and still get proper materials and MPI/HP testing. This is a buy to jump on if you need a BCG.

    Also, +100 on the BCM Mod. 4 (Medium) Charging Handle. I’ve standardized on them and all of my guns have one.

    Good stuff, go get some.

    Keep your powder dry,
    Atlas Shrug

    Profile photo of George Haystack
    George Haystack

    Thanks again guys. This should be a fun project. I’ve been impressed with Palmetto’s offerings. While I understand the caution about their P-TAC line, the P-TAC lower parts kits seem to get good reviews. They’re said to be mil-spec, made in USA kits. I’m thinking of going this direction since it’s my first build and will basically be a truck gun when I’m done.

    Right now my biggest problem is resisting the urge to blow a couple hundred bucks on tools at Midway or Brownells. I’m a sucker for tools.

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