Building Rifles from Parts Kits

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by CountryGunsmith, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. CountryGunsmith

    CountryGunsmith New Member

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    the real fredneck
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    (10/23/01 7:37:28 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del All kit guns or gun kits?
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    every time I look through the FAC catalog I get to daydreaming about building a rifle out of a parts kit, which is easier the H&K style G3/91/CETME, the FN/FAL, the AR 15 or AK? The H&K has a sheet metal receiver that has to be welded (big problem I can't weld) then there's an aluminum receiver for it that costs less than the sheet metal (easier and less expensive, was taught to watch out on that one), lists 3 receivers for the FN/FAL type 1, type 2, inch, metric, what's the difference? do they all fit? any machining required? special tools? and what about the ATF? know a little about the AR 15 and figure that can't build an AK for less than I can buy whole gun anyone care to illuminate my ignorance?

    AntiqueDr
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    (10/23/01 3:21:37 pm)
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    Any way you go it is going to be cheaper in the long haul to buy a complete gun than doing the parts-kit route, especially when you factor in time. Now, if you want a specific configuration it may be the only way to go, or, if you just want the personal satisfaction, likewise.

    Note that the currently offered CETME-pattern, FN-FAL pattern rifles etc are being assembled from parts kits by Century International.

    All are going to require some degree of fitting and special tooling, even if its just headspace gauges.




    We Buy Guns! 1 - 100, Antique or Modern!
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    Flhunter
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    (10/23/01 5:44:42 pm)
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    AD is right on the money for this one, at least for the AR-15. I
    looked seriously into building an AR from the ground up. No special parts or anything. The final cost would have been about $100 or so higher than just buying one. I even looked into just buying a complete upper and lower and putting the two together. I think you could go that route, if you have the time and are in no rush waiting for the right priced upper and lower to come along. Bargins are hard to come by, but they are out there.




    Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

    gpostal
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 952
    (10/24/01 8:47:37 pm)
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    i asked that same question awhile back ,so i dug up the respones so you dont have to wait to long for replies

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    gpostal
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    Posts: 708
    (9/15/01 12:50:57 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del All parts kits
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    what is the catch on these parts guns

    i was looking at shot gun news ,and i see these parts kits for Uzi, hk g3, and fn/fal ,etc. one add has receivers and another has the rest ,is there something missing ,or do you have to have a license to put them together ,i know you have to have a ffl to get the receivers ,but it seams pretty cheap to buy the parts vs. a complete gun

    Flhunter
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    (9/15/01 2:35:45 pm)
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    GP what were you doing looking over my shoulder last night??? I was doing and wondering the same thing.



    Guns don't cause crime anymore than flies caues garbage.

    the real fredneck
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    (9/15/01 4:04:29 pm)
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    Re: parts kits
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    Me three, some of these kits are advertised as select fire makes one wonder if the ATF also has their mailing lists

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 1574
    (9/16/01 12:43:42 pm)
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    You see wild ones at the shows too...like "non-gun" MG42s, and Maxims, missing only sideplates and such.

    I know it's completely legal to sell them as "non-guns" without the reciever, or if the reciever is demilled legally, usually by cutting.

    I also have heard that you CAN build like one gun a year for personal use and not need a license to build, just can't sell it, then you would be a "manufacturer" and/or "dealer."

    And also, all NFA laws apply, so if you were to build it as an automatic or select fire, you would have to register it and pay the tax, I guess.

    But some of those kits like the CZ sub guns out there look pretty complete and in good shape, and with the stamped sheetmetal recievers merely cut, looks like they wouldn't be hard to put back together.

    Several years ago when all the Sten kits were available, I do know people got in trouble over them, the recievers were so easy to rework.
    Well, I didn't win the Powerball, so I still collect Russian Crap and variants thereof. ( And am darn happy I can!)

    Tac401
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    Posts: 2285
    (9/16/01 4:48:05 pm)
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    Re: parts kits
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    Here's the deal,

    The parts kits are Full Auto and can ONLY be
    used as replacement parts for registered full
    autos.

    The receivers are Semi-Auto and you can ONLY
    use semi-auto parts to complete the construction
    of the firearm, and semi-auto parts for UZI's are
    almost impossible to find and even if you were
    to purchase one of these kits it would be of no
    use to you because the semi-auto receivers will
    not accept ANY of the full-auto parts except
    the barell and top cover and it would take hours
    of machining which must be done by a competant
    class 2 gunsmith to make it function at all, and
    no class 2 smith will touch it without the proper
    paperwork.

    The semi UZI has a blocking bar made onto the
    inside of the receiver to accomidate the semi's
    slotted bolt, the full-auto's receiver does not have
    a blocking bar in it and therefore, the full auto
    bolt is not slotted.

    I have an UZI Submachinegun which I kept when
    I had my class 3 license, I purchased one of these
    kits for spare parts and for that it was worth it.






    gun runner john
    Moderator
    Posts: 353
    (10/26/01 9:48:47 am)
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    IMO, the AR would be the easiest gun to build from parts. If you buy decent quality parts, they should assemble like an Erector Set. Older designs may not have the uniformity of parts and require more hand fitting.


    dlb435
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (3/6/02 8:49:58 pm)
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    OK, I've built UZI's, AR-15's and FN/FAL's from kits. They all can be MUCH cheaper, but you have got to search for the best parts deal you can get. Also, you will need a machine shop, welding machine and a very high skill level to complete a gun. The only exception is the AR-15. This gun takes 2-3 hours to assemble from parts, anyone can do it. The parts kits are always for full auto guns, so many of the parts are useless and must be replaced with semi-auto parts. Some parts (like the UZI triger housing) can be modified to semi-auto. Sound easy, but it's not. My UZI project has taken almost a year to finish, parts are very hard to find. The AR was a no brainer. The FAL was fun, but I had to build special tools to complete the gun.

    Tac401
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    Posts: 3755
    (3/6/02 9:33:28 pm)
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    Re: kit guns or gun kits?
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    Welcome Aboard dlb435!

    Good to have another person of knowledge on board!

    Happy to have you join us, hope to see a lot of you
    round here!
    The Firearms Forum Vietnam Memories Bulletin Board Contact Administrator

    Edited by: Tac401 at: 3/6/02 9:36:39 pm

    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 4080
    (3/6/02 9:43:23 pm)
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    I don`t want to rain on anybodies parade, but most of the parts kits are from demilled military contract rifles and contain not only the eVil features, but NO U.S. content.....lest the US receiver. To make one from these parts will be considered building an ASSUALT RIFLE and illegal.....PERIOD! Parts kits are for rebuilding pre-exsisting rifles and everyone is playing with the gray area, get bit here......you will loose.

    dlb435
    Member
    Posts: 4
    (3/6/02 9:58:26 pm)
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    True about the evil content of a parts kit gun. You must build up a gun with enough US content to make it 100% legal. The BATF has a listing of the required parts needed to make your gun legal. Also, some states (California) make it almost imposible to build up a legal parts gun. The parts kit is just a start. You still have to get a receiver, US parts content and get it all together and working. Did I mention refinishing parts? I build up guns for fun, not to save a lot of money.

    jeeper1
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    (3/6/02 10:13:41 pm)
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    Ar-15"s are easy to build But not worth it because of the cost any more. I built one in 86 for under $300.
    The last gun I built was a mac 10 in 45acp 2 years ago total cost $345. It is still unfired because I had to get it the h*** out of this D*** state along with a bunch of other weapons.
    If I build any more guns they will be from scratch and lefthanded.
    Here's a question for somebody with an ar15.
    Would it be possible to turn the bolt upside down and cut an ejection port in the left side of the upper so the cases ejected to the left?
    The Curio and Relic Firearms Forum
    To err is human. But to really screw things up you just about have to have a computer.

    boeboe1
    Member
    Posts: 17
    (3/13/02 9:20:19 pm)
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    No need to greet me as a new user or nothin'. I know it's been a while since I posted here but with GB forum down I needed somewhere to go. Some of you may remember me.

    The topic of "Kit guns or gun kits" caught my eye and I was wanting some feedback. I've decided to post this in the original post as well as start a new topic, just to catch as much attention as I can. Sorry for taking up space. I've been accumulating the parts to build an FAL and wanted a different viewpoint on the direction I'm going.

    I'd been thinking about building an FAL for a while, but not seriously. Then I ordered a bunch of AR15 magazine rebuild kits from Tapco for $25.00 each and low and behold, in one of the haversacks there was an inch FAL US made compliance set, including the hammer, trigger, sear, gas piston and charging handle, which cost about $75.00. They told me to keep it if I wanted, and I took that as a sign from God I was suppose to build an FAL. since then, whenever I order from Tapco I go ahead and pick up some of their new surplus L1A1 parts, such as bolt, bolt carrier, springs and such.

    I have a friend who has built three FALs from parts kits, so I would enlist him for necessary help as well as borrowing tools.

    I've gone through about three parts kits, lower grade ones, picking out the best of the parts to stash back for my own project and selling the rest at gunshows and such. Except for the upper receiver I have enough to build the rifle (though I would like to upgrade some items), but am really trying to decide on the receiver and barrel to buy for the finished project.

    I was looking hard at the Williams Arms aluminum receiver, but then saw the write-up on DSA's web site about them being dangerous. Now, I think that might be so much propoganda. After all, the AR10 uses an aluminum receiver with no problem. And a friend pointed out that DSA dumped on Enterprise Arms FAL from the beginning as well. I asked Williams about the negative press they were getting from DSA and their response was that they had tested the aluminum receiver for 10 years before ever selling it to the public. My thought are if it were to go through 10 years of their shooting, that would be more that I'd probably ever shoot it. And I really like the idea of the lighter weight aluminum would give.

    But I'm still considering the DSA SS heavy fluted barrel for it. This would, after all, be my "poor man's" SR25. I know at $600.00 that's an expensive proposition, and think DSA is generally overpriced, but think it would be a pretty sharp rifle and at least approach sniper class sub-moa accuracy.

    So, opinion please, on the direction I'm going. What do you think of the Williams aluminum receiver? Would I be just as well off to buy a new surplus Israelii barrel? Any suggestions on this project in general?



    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 4191
    (3/13/02 10:14:29 pm)
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    DSA is the Cadillac of parts and receivers....PERIOD! The reason they go after everyone else is simple, don`t scimp a few bucks or quality. They are every bit as good as they say and have the track record to prove it. 10 years means very little, in making parts....look at Lorcin. Don`t risk your hands and face. Regards LTS
    T.F.F.

    DOC DIEL
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (3/19/02 6:29:27 pm)
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    I HAVE BUILT THREE AR'S AND TWO FN'S, AND WOULD AGREE THAT THE AR'S ARE FAIRLY STRAIGHT FORWARD. MY SUGGESTION WOULD BE TO USE M&A PARTS KITS AND PAY THE EXTRA $25 TO HAVE THE UPPER RECEIVER ASSEMBLED.

    FOR THE FN'S I WAS LUCKY, I BOUGHT IMBEL RECEIVERS AND SCREWED THE BARRELS IN AND THE HEAD SPACE WAS SATISFACTORY. IF IT IS NOT OK THEN YOU NEED TO PRESS IN A NEW SPACER.

    FOR ALL OF THIS I JUST USED COMMON TOOLS AND TOOK MY TIME.

    HOPE THIS HELPS
    DOC

    RobC in Missouri
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    (3/21/02 3:32:55 pm)
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    Jeeper - no need to go to the trouble trying to build a lefty AR from scratch - DPMS already sells a an upper/bolt/carrier combo that does just that. At least they did a year or so ago - contact them and see if they still have them (I believe it's called the Southpaw). As a lefty myself, I was tempted.

    On kit building, I've built 2.5 - one AR-15 built on a PWA lower before the ban, one FAL (using the appropriate US parts to keep it legal), and an AR-15 lower assembly built on an Olympic lower (I sold that off before I got around to completing it). I wasn't concerned about any cost savings; I just like the DIY ethic, and the experience makes you that much more familiar with the guns. I would say the AR-15 type rifles are the easiest to assemble, but the FAL wasn't that much more difficult. The hardest part is installing the barrel and getting it torqued to spec and headspaced correctly.

    I do plan on doing another AR-15 in the near future - I have plently of mags for it laying around with nothing to do, so I figure I better get one and put them to use. Perhaps I'll get a lower this weekend...

    RobC in Missouri

    jeeper1
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    (3/21/02 4:10:31 pm)
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    Rob c, I had no intention of building from scratch. I was just curious if it could be done without weakening the upper receiver. I was mostly interested in whether it would feed properly and reliably, eject, and etc. also at what angle they would eject.
    I have two but haven't shot them in years because I had to move them out of Kali.
    The first one is a colt CAR marked A2 but with A1 sights.
    And the other I built from parts gathered from various gun shows on a set of olympic receiver halves, it too is a CAR style with an 11.5 inch barrel built to look like a XM177E1 only legal.
    Ibuilt it so that it would take down easily and fit in a back pack.
    I was working in a machine shop at the time and built the tools I needed to assemble the weapon. I got them both in 86 so they are very much preban and I will not ever part with them,
    The Curio and Relic Firearms Forum
    To err is human. But to really screw things up you just about have to have a computer.
  2. suryevor

    suryevor Guest

    GunsAmerica.com sometimes has

    stripped Rock River Lowers for AR15's for less than $100. by the time you pay shipping, sales tax and a Dealer's $20, you are at $140 or so. Model One Sales, in Illinois, has an AR parts kit, minus the lower, for about $400. So whether or not it's cheaper somewhat depends upon what you have to pay for a finished gun.
  3. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    You need to checkout the FAL Files forum. Word on the forum is that the WAC recievers are not exactly the "cat's meow"
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