"Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions here

AR vs AK, best optics, build info, etc. Anything long arm related.
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Jer
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"Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions here

Post by Jer » Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:42 pm

Whelp I’ve managed to receive the last “functional” piece to finish my AR-15 build. I was missing only the forearms, although my upper/lower receiver hasn't yet been delivered. I had decided long ago to go with the YHM-5009-TJ but they have been out of stock for as long as I have been looking. Recently I found them in stock at Midway USA and for $27 less than the MSRP at YHM. I went with the extended rifle length (15”) as I have a 16 inch barrel. This gives me the ability to put the iron sights as close to the end of the barrel that I can and only leaves 1” of the barrel exposed from the forearm. It might look a bit strange at first, but I think I’ll like it.

After laying everything out to look at what the build will be like after it's finished, I think I’ve made some solid choices in my selected parts.

Here is a full component list of all the parts I've purchased for this AR build:

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Barrel: Recce 410 Stainless Steel Machined Mid-Length Gas Impingment 1:8 twist 16"
Gas Block: VLTOR Low profile gas block GB-2S .750 Machined, phosphate finish
Gas Tube: Gas tube - Mid Length - w/roll pin
Trigger: Geissele SSA Trigger - Super Semi-Automatic - non adjustable - match grade two stage (2.5lbs stage 1 - 2lb stage 2)
Upper / Lower Receiver: Mega Arms Billet 7075-T6 aluminum matched upper & lower receiver
Bolt & Carrier: WMD NiB-X Nickel Boron coated Bolt carrier group. (Properly staked gas key - grade 8 fastners) Carrier, bolt, firing pin, extractor - all parts. Semi-Auto
Bolt Release: Magpul B.A.D. Lever
Pistol Grip: Magpul MAID AR Basic Grip Kit, Black
Stock: Magpul UBR Collapsible Stock
Lower Receiver Parts: Spikes Tactical AR-15 Lower Receiver Parts Kit, extra trigger & spring, extra disconnector and spring, extra hammer and trigger pin, safety selector, detent, spring, bolt catch, magazine catch, front pivot & rear takedown, buffer retainer spring and plunger, extra pistol grip - USA made above Mil-Spec
Forward Assist: PSA (Palmetto State Armory) AR-15 Forward Assist Assembly with forward assist, spring and roll pin
Silencer: Yankee Hill Machine Company 5.56 / .22 Stainless Steel Q.D. Phantom Price includes tax stamp
Dust Cover: Leo Armory Laser Engraved Dust Cover
Recoil Buffer: Spikes Tactical AR-15 Carbine Action Spring & ST-T2 Heavy Buffer
Iron Sights: 45 Degree Offset (Dueck Copies) Iron sights
Handguards: Yankee Hill Machine Company 15" Todd Jarrett Competition Free Float Tube / Quad Rail Handguard Extended Rifle Length


Out of all the parts in this build that may need more description is the BCG (Bolt Carrier Group) from WMD. However if you have any questions about any of the other parts in this list, I'll be glad to share what information I do have.

WMD BCG:
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This thing is strange. It's my first NiB part and I've had zero experience with them before. But it's slick. It feels greasy/oily to the touch but there isn't any residue on my fingers afterwards.

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The gas key looks well staked - there are no burs or jagged machined edges visible. And ALL parts of the BCG with the exception of the retaining pin are NiB coated.

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The best part for me was the warranty that WMD gives its parts"
This warranty covers the products of WMD Guns for failure of the NiB-X coating against chipping, peeling or wear-through. The warranty is of unlimited duration. WMD Guns will re-coat the product free of charge including return shipping costs...
Then in the included instructions:
...the bolt and carrier can now be cleaned and put back into action without harm from lack of lubrication. The number of rounds fired before cleaning will change due to powder variations. Some powders are dirty (heavier fouling). Other factors, such as the use of a suppressor, will leave the rifle dirtier and will increase the need for cleaning.

The NiB-X bolt & carrier will operate without lubrication until a fouling buildup prevents the bolt from closing into the battery. NiB-X bolt & carrier can be cleaned in the field with a brush and / or a rag with no cleaning solution needed. Fouling will wipe off and heavier fouling can be scraped off.

The NiB-X bolt gas nozzle end can be scrapped clean with a dull metal edge without harm to its coating. Stainless steel brushes are recommended and will not harm the coating.
According to the manual the BCG is:
- Bolt Assembly: case hardened, shot peened, magnetic particle inspected, Carpenter 158 bolt with high-performance extractor, ejector springs, one-piece gas ring and special O ring buffer.
- Carrier: 8620 material (M-16 style), heat treated and case hardened.
- Gas Key: Attached using grade 8 hardened fasteners, staked per mil specs.
- NiB-X coating on all compents is highly lubricious (CoF= .07)
- All components manufactured by US Suppliers to the military/industrial complex.
So based on their claims AND their warranty - I think I did right in getting this BCG. I'll know more after the receivers come in and I finish the build.

I'd really like some comments or critiques on the build regarding the specific parts I've chosen (and already bought) - Seeing as how parts are parts, if I've made a grave mistake somewhere I'd like to know so I can change it out.

After I finish this build and after parts come back down in price and are in stock, I'll probably start a .308 build on an AR platform. I love the FN-FAL L1-A1 that I have but it is damn heavy, and I really like the AR platform.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

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Blackthorn-USA
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Blackthorn-USA » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:03 pm

That’s gonna be a sweet rifle when you’re done. I’m anxious to see it together. I don’t think I’d have chosen the full length fore grip myself, but seeing it there *live* makes it look pretty cool. I think it’ll come together nicely.

I’m also curious to see your thoughts on that BCG. I too am thinking of getting one, or the Failzero version. But yeah, definitely interested. I also like those UBR stocks. That’s gonna be a nice rifle!
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Jer
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:16 am

Thank you.

My primary reason for getting the forearm guards that long is because the barrel was SS and shiny. It's difficult to have a "black" rifle when there is a huge shiny part screaming "I'M HERE" at everyone. The added benefit is that since my upper (which still isn't here yet) has a rail built into the flat top, and the forearm goes to within 1 inch of the end of the barrel, I can position the BUIS (Back Up Iron Sights) as far as part as physically possible giving me a bit more accuracy with them than normal.

I'll probably bit the bullet and search for an upper/lower set that is in stock (I know - don't laugh) and finish the build - then when my billet set from Mega Arms comes in, I'll just swap over the parts.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

Blaik
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Blaik » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:26 am

I've been wanting to get an AR for sometime now, but due to life issues I can't seem to be able to get the $800+ needed to buy a pre-built one set aside. So I've been thinking about buying and building one a part at a time. Is that going to run me more costwise, about the same, or will I see any kind of savings doing it that way? Also, I know there's more than a few "DIY" guides out there, but would any of you that are gunsmiths or well versed in AR builds be able to recommend one that is comprehensive but also doesn't assume that the audience understands every single AR acronym?

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Jer
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:45 pm

Blaik wrote:I've been wanting to get an AR for sometime now, but due to life issues I can't seem to be able to get the $800+ needed to buy a pre-built one set aside. So I've been thinking about buying and building one a part at a time. Is that going to run me more costwise, about the same, or will I see any kind of savings doing it that way? Also, I know there's more than a few "DIY" guides out there, but would any of you that are gunsmiths or well versed in AR builds be able to recommend one that is comprehensive but also doesn't assume that the audience understands every single AR acronym?
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This is probably the best guide out there, and a book I personally would highly recommend for someone in your position. I bought it and read it before I started my build and it gave me a ton of answers to a ton of questions I had.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

Blaik
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Blaik » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:35 pm

Jer wrote:
Blaik wrote:I've been wanting to get an AR for sometime now, but due to life issues I can't seem to be able to get the $800+ needed to buy a pre-built one set aside. So I've been thinking about buying and building one a part at a time. Is that going to run me more costwise, about the same, or will I see any kind of savings doing it that way? Also, I know there's more than a few "DIY" guides out there, but would any of you that are gunsmiths or well versed in AR builds be able to recommend one that is comprehensive but also doesn't assume that the audience understands every single AR acronym?
Image
This is probably the best guide out there, and a book I personally would highly recommend for someone in your position. I bought it and read it before I started my build and it gave me a ton of answers to a ton of questions I had.
:D :!: :D

Okay, thank you for the build guide. Will definitely be acquiring that ASAP. Now to my other question. Is it likely I'll see any cost savings by buying all my parts individually (getting a stripped upper and lower and then trigger assembly, BCG, barrel, etc individually) and building from scratch or would it be just as cost effective to buy the upper/lower assembled and just go from there?

Double-Tap
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Double-Tap » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:55 pm

This is my first AR build: Delaware Machinery lower, PSA complete upper, UTG red dot optics, PSA classic LPK, Hogue grip, Thermold mag, Knights Armament quad rail, Knights Armament rail covers and foregrip.



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Jer
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:56 pm

Blaik wrote:
Okay, thank you for the build guide. Will definitely be acquiring that ASAP. Now to my other question. Is it likely I'll see any cost savings by buying all my parts individually (getting a stripped upper and lower and then trigger assembly, BCG, barrel, etc individually) and building from scratch or would it be just as cost effective to buy the upper/lower assembled and just go from there?

You CAN save money doing the part-by-part build....but you won't.
I say that because you'll be looking, for example, a Bolt and carrier group...and you'll be comparing and comparing and comparing - and in the back of your mind you won't be able to rationalize getting the cheaper one that doesn't have X when the next better one does have X....

Well, I couldn't anyway.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

Blaik
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Blaik » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:08 pm

Jer wrote:
You CAN save money doing the part-by-part build....but you won't.
I say that because you'll be looking, for example, a Bolt and carrier group...and you'll be comparing and comparing and comparing - and in the back of your mind you won't be able to rationalize getting the cheaper one that doesn't have X when the next better one does have X....

Well, I couldn't anyway.

Fair enough. I'll probably look at doing a very bare bones rifle and then upgrade over time as I need/can afford to.

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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Blackthorn-USA » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:18 pm

Jers right to some extent. You will get better then bare bones because, well, that bolt carrier group is better and it’s “only” $20 more… However, you can still build a higher quality rifle for less than you could buy the same rifle already built. You can also buy a little now and a little more down the road so it’s easier on your pocketbook.

The best reasons IMHO to build your own are twofold. First you know your gun inside and out. Having put it all together, you are in a much better position to take it apart and fix it should something go wrong. Secondly, you get what you want the first time. No point buying a kit that has parts you won’t use. Otherwise you wind up with extra pistol grips, trigger assemblies, foregrips, etc that you upgraded when you built the rifle.
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Jer
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:11 pm

I completely agree.
Building a weapon from the ground up give you a better understanding of all the moving parts.
It actually can -can- help you become a better shot as you visualize the action, the loading, the hammer falling - and the gas system resetting the process.
Then if anything ever just goes "click" - you have a MUCH better understanding of the internals and you can clear and fix much much better.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:02 pm

I FINALLY FINISHED IT!!!!!
Now, all I am waiting on is the suppressor - but that should only be about 3 weeks more. This thing is SICK! The design of the brass deflector and the forward assist remind me of a F-117 Stealth Fighter.
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The mating of the Spikes Tactical "Bio-hazard" upper with the Adcor Defense lower (both billet) creates a frigging perfect match and some amazing lines. Of course, I had to get the laser engraved dust cover... Also, I will probably re-do the fill-in paint that I applied. Not certain I like how it came up. I'm thinking a darker, blood red.
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And when the dust cover is open, you can see the NiB-x coated BCG and that I laser engraved BOTH sides of the dust cover. :)
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For two different factories making the upper/lower - they match fanfriggingtasticaly! The extra wide port on the Spikes upper - specifically for the B.A.D. Lever makes the upper have a completely different look.
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Only about 1/2 inch of the barrel is extended from the forearm guard. I can put my BUIS as frigging far apart as possible for improved accuracy on the irons. Also, once the suppressor is attached, this will just be one sexy AR-15
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The photos were taken before I installed the anti-rotation screws on the forearm guard and before the sights...
Thoughts?
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Blackthorn-USA » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:16 pm

It's horrible. You should send it to me for propper disposal.







Sexy, I like it! :mrgreen:
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:00 pm

Ok - So after finishing my AR-15 build the other day - the weather has been too crappy for me to go test fire it. However, I did load up a few magazines and run manual tests on the loading and extraction.

It FELT like everything was fine. However, as I was picking up the rounds off the floor, I noticed that EVERYONE of them had a new scratch on the bullet and on the case.

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It's difficult to see in the photo as I'm trying to photograph with an iphone but there is a "stretched horse shoe" scratch on each bullet - I've outlined it in the photo below:

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As you can see above, the scratch extends from the case to near the tip of the bullet the turns back around for a bit. EVERY SINGLE round that I chambered and extracted now has this mark.

Is this indicative of a problem?

Also, I noticed that it appears that my extractor is digging into the lip of the brass a bit too much as seen in the photo below:

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Again, difficult to see so I've circled it here:

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Now, I haven't made a practice of manually cycling rounds through an AR-15 before so that first scratch may be fairly normal - especially for an un-fired AR-15...I don't know. But that extractor nick has me a little worried.

EVERY round cycled perfectly fine manually - but those scratches have me a bit concerned.

Anyone have any idea what's causing them?
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

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Jer
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Thu May 02, 2013 4:11 pm

Well, the above problem has been rectified by a copious amount of shooting. No more issues.

Also -

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The tax stamp and my can are now both in my possession. And before anyone says anything, I'm fully aware my front sight is on backwards - it is done with intent. :)
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Blackthorn-USA » Thu May 02, 2013 4:24 pm

Man that really looks good! Whats the db reduction on the can and are you happy with it? I've looked at the YHM a bit myself and do like the prices better than some of the others. A friend has a Gemtech and it's cool, but wasn't cheap. And why the backward sight?
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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Thu May 02, 2013 5:23 pm

Haven't shot it on the AR yet - but I did put it on my Ruger MKIII and fired a few .22s through it.
On the .22, it's as quiet as the bolt slamming forward on my AR. :)

The manual states it's a 35db reduction. I've got a rather unscientific db meter app on my iPhone - I'll test the theory when I do shoot it on the AR.

The sight is backwards on the front as it gives me an extra 3/4th inch between the rear and front - and that is just that much more accuracy.
Also, the way my T numbers on my rail terminate, it looks better folded down in that position as opposed to the other way around.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Wed May 08, 2013 1:55 pm

Took the AR to the indoor range today to sight in the MBUS sights I put on a couple days back.
After getting it zeroed I decided to test both my ability and the difference between the point of impact suppressed and regular. The results are a bit odd.

I fired a total of 10 shots on this test - 5 Normal and 5 with the can.

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Conditions:
Distance: 25 meter indoor range
Ammo: International .223 45 grain Frangible ammo (long story)
Barrel: 1:8 16"
Sights: MBUS Flip Up
Position: Standing, shoulder fired, unsupported.
Target: 1.2" ID Bull's Eye

The normal shots are in green, and all in the center circle. I am still getting used to this Geissele SSA Trigger group which is fantastic.
It walked around the bull's eye a bit, but measuring with my micrometers from the center of each hole, I have a 1.006" group un-suppressed and all in the bull's eye.

The suppressed shots are in red. Admittedly, I pulled my last one and I knew I did. But the first four are all touching each other. But slightly high and right of my aimpoint. They in a 0.56" group - discounting the pulled shot. Not really sure how to measure that.

I'm assuming that the added barrel weight on with the weapon from the suppressor helped me to stabilize my aim and tightened my group. Maybe...I don't know. Is this a typical difference between suppressed and non-suppressed shooting? Am I to expect this constant "high & right"?
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Jer » Sun Jun 16, 2013 3:22 pm

Finally got around to taking some decent pics of the finished AR. I really need to get a good DSLR, these are iPhone pics. I still don't have the optic yet. This whole "new baby" thing is certainly taking a chunk out of my budget. Who knew diapers are that expensive.... Anyway, here are some shots of it as it sits now...

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Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
--John F. Kennedy

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Re: "Building an AR-15" / post your build and ask questions

Post by Blackthorn-USA » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:57 pm

Very nice!
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