Building an AR Puppy

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    Devereaux
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    Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Wed May 28, 2014 5:03 pm

    Well, I reckon we talked about this some previously on another forum. So we have all gone the route of putting together a lower, and perhaps an upper.

    I did the lower (2 of them) and then bought uppers - a Sig 516 and a YHM. Then I went and bought a VLTOR upper when it was on sale at Midway (I think). Then I proceeded to pick up a couple bolts, and a YHM handguard, and a low profile block and a gas tube. AND finally I got a Wilson 16" barrel in .300BLK. Plus flash suppressor. Got all that assembled. It even went easily (almost too easily!). So I have 2 5.56's and an extra upper. Kind of like I once had an ACE upper - and had to end up getting a frame.

    So Brownell's has a sale on MagTech lightweight lower. I buy it. I am picking it up today or tomorrow. So I will have yet another complete AR.

    But see, Midway I think had a sale and I bought a VLTOR buttstock and 7-position (eat your heart out, CF!) tube.

    But here's the thing. I have a box of extra parts from stuff that I didn't use in the standard kit. Well, even in my old age, I figured that I didn't need a bunch of extra pistol grips. Nor take-down and swivel pins. Nor pins for triggers. 'Cuz I want specialty items for that.

    Soooo.. I found a place where I bought the mag release, and the bolt hold, and some of the studs and springs. All for the giant price (shipped) of .....$27. I bought the MagPul grip at Amazon for $24. I am getting the new, cheaper Geissele trigger what ain't as quality controlled but otherwise is the same as the $210 one. And some BAD pins and ambi safety. And Damage Industries had a 30% sale on all items so I bought a back piece and some quick-release swivels, and a stud for attaching a swivel to on the handguard - all for about $40.

    And I'm done!

    This stuff is getting cheaper by the minute. May have to build a bunch more - just because.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed May 28, 2014 5:45 pm

    Ha ha, wow! You've been busy. AR stuff is so cheap right now, it makes it hard not to build a few extra AR's for a "rainy day." I had a few extra parts left over and found a stripped lower receiver for $80 so I decided to assemble a lower. It is just sitting in the safe waiting for an upper--but I don't know what I would even put on top. I already have a couple .300 blk AR's, a 5.56, 5.45x39, 9mm, .22, etc... I keep thinking one day I will do a 458 socom--but the brass and dies and uppers are all very expensive and highly unavailable.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Wed May 28, 2014 5:52 pm

    Devereaux wrote:This stuff is getting cheaper by the minute. May have to build a bunch more - just because.

    Who are you?   And what have you done with Dev?  



    I've been noting AR prices falling back towards the reasonable. I'm thinking about buying a few top-drawer stripped lowers for Justin Case. Then working on the couple of new builds in the planning stage. One is a lightweight girlie AR for the honey-bunch. I've already purchased the pink Magpul furniture and started to price out the other parts. I was kind of surprised that I can buy a S&W M&P Sport for well less than all the parts individually. Swap the Magpul parts for the standard plastic and I'm done - although, it fells like cheating.  

    But, if our Attorney Generalissimo Boulder Holder has indeed somehow screwed-up in our favor, I might just build that 300BLK SBR sooner than expected. Kinda doubt that.    

    I do know I'm going to take advantage of this buying opportunity. You never know when 'Boma, Biden, and the Media will get their longed-for atrocity.  

    BTW Dev, just saw an infinitely adjustable M4 stock. FTW!


    Last edited by Charlie Foxtrot on Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:16 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Wed May 28, 2014 6:02 pm

    Charlie Foxtrot wrote:
    Devereaux wrote:This stuff is getting cheaper by the minute. May have to build a bunch more - just because.

    Who are you?   And what have you done with Dev?  



    I've been noting AR prices falling back towards the reasonable. I'm thinking about buying a few top-drawer lowers for Justin Case. Then work on the couple of new builds in the planning stage. One is a lightweight girlie AR for the honey-bunch. I've already purchased the pink Magpul furniture and started to price out the other parts. I was kind of surprised that I can buy a S&W M&P Sport for well less than all the parts individually. Swap the Magpul parts for the standard plastic and I'm done - although, it fells like cheating.  

    But, if our Attorney Generalissimo Boulder Holder has indeed somehow screwed-up in our favor, I might just build that 300BLK SBR sooner than expected. Kinda doubt that.    

    I do know I'm going to take advantage of this buying opportunity. You never know when 'Boma, Biden, and the Media will get their longed-for atrocity.  

    BTW Dev, just saw an infinitely adjustable M4 stock. FTW!





    I have Dev safely locked up and am waiting for the opportune time to ask for ransom (his wife may not be willing to pay anything).

    BTW, that Brownell's lower is LIGHT! I mean, LIGHT. And $100 with shipping, so only transfer fee. Find a good FFL in MO. And take a look at that puppy for the wifey.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 pm

    Hey Dev. Looked at the Mag Tactical AR-15 MG-G4 Lower. You might want to look at the customer reviews for concerns with fitment, quality and coating.

    Let us know what you find - that receiver certainly looks like it could be excellent if the concerns are unfounded.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Wed May 28, 2014 9:47 pm

    Not sure how to gauge quality. I have seen the lower, and coating appears fine. Will see how well it fits the upper when I get it home. I can always buy a different lower - I have all the parts.

    I'll report on how it goes after I get it.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Thu May 29, 2014 11:44 am

    Magpul MOE furniture 33% off.

    Magpul is just about to introduce an upgrade to their MOE furniture. As such, they've reduced the price of their current Magpul MOE line by about 33%. A pretty good deal on good basic stuff.

    Magpul MOE Sale

    They even have the new Grey color... Hmm.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Sat May 31, 2014 3:56 pm

    OK. A little insight, if anyone has it.

    I put together an upper in .300BLK. One of the things I noted when I tried to put it on a lower is that the BCG sticks out just a touch from the back end. I have tried 3 different BCG's, and all have the same amount of overhang. It appears to make it hard, or perhaps even impossible, to just break open the weapon by pulling the rear take-down pin. The upper comes out with both pins pulled, though.

    ?So what is wrong. I suspect the gas tube, but I think I installed it correctly. But my suspicion is that it sticks out a touch and so keeps the bolt from closing completely. IF that's the problem, then just what do you do about that. You can't easily cut the tube, although I suppose I could remove it, first measuring the overhand, then carefully cutting the length. ?Is there any other explanation. ?Would this be something that would correct itself with some firing.

    The upper is a VLTOR, and the charging handle is also a VLTOR. BCG's vary, from an NP3 coated from Wilson, to another auto bolt (I swear I see no difference in the bolt), to a plain-jane BCG.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:17 pm

    Gas tube, locking lugs, barrel headspacing, barrel extension, lower? Don't know.

    Have you tried the upper on another manufacturer's lower? If it has the same problem, it would be a no shoot until the VLTON or an AR 'smith checked it out.

    Let us know.

    [Edit:] From AR15.com "I just got off the phone with DPMS and they think the issue is a change in the "head spacing" where the bolt locks into battery."  http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=3&f=12&t=482213

    Same guy and the final resolution:

    "I decided to take my rifle to a gunsmith and have it looked at and it was the best $43 I've spent in a while. As it turns out, the original gas tube that came with thel rifle was too long....strange. The gunsmith put in a brand new gas tube, and the gun went together perfectly."
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:04 pm

    Thank you, CF! I had the same impression. I have extra gas tubes but they're all YHM. Perhaps I ought to get a couple tubes from someone else and see if they are a bit shorter. But to my mind, the only thing that would keep the bolt from going fully forward on a DI gun was a gas tube that was too long.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:25 am

    I'm curious as to what you find out. Let us know if the new gas tube fixes it.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:35 am

    Well, I can tell you that taking the barrel off and putting it back on tighter did not. The same gas tube ended up being still a problem. I then measured out the other 2 tubes from WHM and they were the identical length.

    Put a call into Wilson Combat (twice) but have not heard back from them. I am considering buying their gas block and tube as they made the barrel. But they need to talk to me.

    I did get a new front cap for the handguard. I had gotten one from Midway but for some reason it wouldn't thread onto the handguard. But this one has done fine. Perhaps putting a touch of oil made some difference. Anyway, that issue is solved.

    I am tempted to use a cut-off wheel and cut the tube the amount the BCG sticks out the back. But that would be a later solution I think. I would prefer to find a tube that works first. May end up with some extra gas blocks - the makings of yet other uppers I guess (I already have an extra VLTOR upper).
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:43 pm

    SUCCESS!!!

    I took the thing apart but it went together the same way, with too long a tube. I took it to one of my newly found gunshops. There they had a young man from DSA who builds these, and he looked at mine, installed a new tube - and it worked.

    BUT on careful inspection, it would appear that my fault was that I didn't get the gas tube far enough into the gas block. The new one is the same size as mine, but it fits flush with the front, where mine didn't. So it would appear that I was putting the roll pin in infront of the tube, not through the hole. And that would account for the difference in length.

    So, a lesson learned. And a properly functioning upper. Now to just put the handguard back on and screw on the flash suppressor - and I'm DONE! HALLELUJAH! New tube is nice. And I have block and tubes coming from Wilson, too. I shall be awash in AR parts soon.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:38 am

    Awesome! Glad you were able to fix it easily and cheaply. Have you had a chance to test fire it yet? Give us a range report.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:06 am

    Haven't gotten around to shooting it yet. Haven't gotten all the parts for the lower, nor a sighting system. I could borrow irons from one of my others I suppose, just as something to aim with.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:17 pm

    I have to say I was a touch proud when the guy working on my upper first looked at it and commented, "Well, it's obvious there has been no money spared in THIS upper." And I have another VLTOR that I can build yet another upper with. Kind of nice.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:15 pm

    Brownell's! YHM iron BUIS - $186, and $0.75 for shipping, but that may end today. The shipping code is: FB6.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:59 am

    As a Magpul fanboy, I've got to mention their new steel sights. Haven't heard a lot of AARs yet, but a couple of builders are high on them.



    MAGPUL - AR15/M16 MBUS Pro Sight Set.  $160 with free shipping from Brownells.

    [Edit:] Amazon is selling the MBUS Pros for $146 with free shipping.


    Last edited by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Sat Jun 07, 2014 12:09 pm

    I don't know why I've never gotten into MagPul. Perhaps because I am not a fan of their mags, and that's kind of a starting point. But I DO like their single point harness with the quick release studs. I have another from another company and don't like it as much.

    I rather like the YHM sights. I also have a set of Troy sights, but if I had my 'druthers, it would be YHM. Again no real objective reason.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:10 pm

    What bothers you about the Magpul magazines, Dev?

    I don't have any except for several ten rounders allowed by our munificent California elites. I'm satisfied with them, but admittedly, I don't have a significant amount of experience . When I finally leave this benighted state, I had planned on buying a metric buttload of Magpuls, along with GI and Brownells mags.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Sat Jun 07, 2014 6:00 pm

    I think the aluminum ones are more rebuildable. I suspect that even if you dent them, you can fix that. It is important to have the right anti-tilt followers and good springs, but those are not mag specific.

    The other problem that I have is that MagPuls are funny bottoms. I have a Maglula bench loader for AR mags, and it seems to fit the standard ones only. I have been able to load some MagPuls, but it's a pain in the keister. But with the standard 30-rounders, all you do is insert the mag, put the number of bullets you want into the tray, then work the push bar. It does NOT push on the feed lips, and it is QUICK. I can load mags way faster than with either stripper clips or by hand. If you're going to the range and want to take 10 or so mags, it's the way to go.

    I expect the durability of the MagPuls was more an issue in the sandbox, where the heat got rather high, but I am still a bit leery of plastic anything. I do own HK's with poly frames, and a Shield (and soon a G42) but most of my guns are steel.

    Oh, yeah. And you can buy 30-rnd mags for $10/per or less, depending on how many you buy. Purchase 50 and the price drops to something like $8/. Or at least did. Hard to go wrong with a ton of $8 mags. I don't think MagPul is worth that much more.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Cornmastah on Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:13 am

    I have had a very good experience with my pmags and don't really have any complaints about them. I have not used them in any sort of extreme conditions other than regular target shooting in the Utah summer sun and winter--nothing that could be considered a "torture test." I am just curious as to how long the plastic will last being used under those circumstances. I am doing a test with 3 of my pmags though--leaving them fully loaded with 30 rounds inside my safe. I plan on taking them out after 3 years of sitting and putting them through the ringer. I have about a year and a half left to go. This is just for my curiosity--and wondering if the feed lips will deform after constant pressure for 3 years.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:50 am

    MagPul mags got a cult-like following some time ago. But I gather usage in the sandbox was not as great as is claimed. Or so I am told.

    This is a lot like discussions of mags for 1911's. Some will tell you that ONLY 47D's from Wilson should be used in a fighting gun. Others swear by Chip McCormick. Some (not that I actually know them) claim Star's are great.

    Find something you like; hope it works well.
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:08 am

    Good points Dev and Corn.

    I'm currently planning on buying the Magpul Gen 3 mags, which include a cover which allows the duty mags to be stored fully loaded without fear of damaging the feed lips. They can also take a lot of abuse (dropping, kicking, mule-footed TOs, running over with a truck, etc.) without damage. They'll be my everyday mags.

    However, I'm also going to buy a bunch of steel and aluminum mags for the long term. I plan on handing my firearms down to the Clan's next armorer, so they'll need to last. With all due respect to Doc Robinson (Plastics!), polymers can't be as age-stable as good ol' metal. But... I'm a little worried about the plastic followers - are there any metal followers out there?
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    Re: Building an AR Puppy

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:12 am

    Wow! Great question, CF.

    Being the resident OG here, I can vouch for the fact that in the jungle we had metal followers. BUT the mags were also 20 rounds - so straight. AND we found that the springs wouldn't tolerate long compression with full loads, so the standard load in a mag was 17 rounds. That apparently allowed for mag life.

    With the advent of the 30 round mags, they became curved to accommodate the natural wedging of the ammo. Feeding, thus, was more "normal". But then you had a follower that moved on a curve, not straight, so your design issues were different. What people found was that the followers had a tendency to jam up while moving upward. You could (often) unjam them by removing the mag and tapping its spine. The, however, was hardly a reasonable solution to a combat problem. So we got the newly designed followers.

    I have 10 OLD mags that I thought had metal followers. But looking in the garbage bag downstairs in the "lair" I note they are black plastic - and seem very hard. So I am not sure whether 30-rnd mags ever had metal.

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