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Discussion Starter #1
So I've mentioned a couple of times on this forum that I have been building my first AR and that I would post pictures when it was done. Well, today the UPS man brought the final part and I can finally say it's finished and ready to shoot.

Before I get to the pics a little bit of back-story on the whole process....

I've been shooting for pretty much my whole life and have always enjoyed tinkering with my guns and even cleaning them but never felt like I had the skills or budget to get in to heavy duty customization and such. About a year ago I was talking to a friend and he clued me in to the ease of such things with the AR platform which led me to searching the net where I learned that not only are ARs easy to work on and customize but they can be built from the ground up with just basic tools plus a couple of specialty ones. Being the tinkerer that I am I decided I wanted to take on the challenge of building a rifle that I could truly call my own so I began searching for all the information I could find about doing the job right.

That lasted for several months (incidentally that search is what led me here to TFF, a nice bonus) until late October when I purchased my first part, a DPMS lower parts kit. I was in no rush, wanted to make sure I bought only what I truly wanted at a fair price and figured there was no reason for me to do otherwise. Well, imagine my surprise when the whole SH situation happened which, needless to say, threw a monkey wrench in to my plans to have the rifle ready by the time the weather warmed up and I would be making regular range visits. Fast forward through much frustration and watching various web-sites like a hawk waiting for those perfect (to me) parts to become available to today where I am very happy to say the rifle is assembled, headspace is checked and all function checks are completed.

So without further ado, here she is, hope y'all like her as much as I do :)













Needless to say, there is a range trip in my immediate future :D
 

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The gun is nice but not so much the Chicago Cubs on tv...
 

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I like it :)
 

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Good job!!
 

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Stay away from the Steel case Wolf ammo...I know two friends who have had ruptured cases or cases stuck in chambers of Mini 14's and AR's.
 

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Stay away from the Steel case Wolf ammo...I know two friends who have had ruptured cases or cases stuck in chambers of Mini 14's and AR's.
Over 3000 rounds fired without one issue.....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well I am happy to report the rifle functioned flawlessly on my first range trip with it. Put 20 rounds of PMC XTAC M193 and 100 rounds of Aguila .223 Rem down range without a single FTF or FTE. Accuracy looks good though I didn't try to sight the scope in due to the pouring rain and high winds we were having.

I do have some steel case ammo but didn't want to try it first time out. Not really a big fan of the stuff for any gun but it's not due to experience, just a bit prejudiced in that ammo is supposed to have a brass case with a copper or lead bullet ;)
 

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You sir have been VERY lucky then...I know what I have helped my friends remove from their chambers.
I have anothe 1500 in stock and another 1000 on order. I love em. I buy and shoot brass when they are available and cost effective, but steel case is usually more available and since I like it so well, what the heck. If I ever get a stuck casing or two, I may stop shooting it in that gun.
 

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Looks very nice. Good work. You can shoot that one with special pride.
 

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Can't wait to get mine built. My stripped lower and lower parts kit should arrive at the end on this coming week. I'm simply agonizing over just what kind of build I'm going to make out of it!
 

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Just shot a few hundred steel case thru my 20" bushmaster and it breezed right thru them....I have 6 ARs and they all seem fine with it. I have both types of ammo. I have about 12-1300 rounds of brass and 1200 rds of steel. I have heard of people reloading steel cases. I have never done it. I did see a guy reload blazer aluminums before....
 

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Twiggett, how hard was this rifle to build? I recently took my wife to the range with a friends Windham AR and she loved it. We discussed buying one, but she wants me to build her one. It wont start for a few more months, but I want to know what I am getting myself into. Thanks!
 

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Streetbob - the easiest way to go is get a stripped lower and lower parts kit (or even a complete lower with the parts kit already installed). The lower doesn't require any special tools for assembling the parts kit in it. Then, buy a butt stock kit - many of them include the wrench. That is easy to assemble. Then buy a complete upper assembly and you'll need a bolt carrier group. The upper is the part that uses tools you won't have to assemble it. This is what I'm doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Twiggett, how hard was this rifle to build? I recently took my wife to the range with a friends Windham AR and she loved it. We discussed buying one, but she wants me to build her one. It wont start for a few more months, but I want to know what I am getting myself into. Thanks!
Not hard at all actually. All told it took me roughly 2 1/2 hours and this is coming from someone whose most complex task involving a firearm to date was a complete dis-assembly, cleaning and re-assembly of a late 60's Winchester Model 94. The added bonus to building it myself, on top of the feeling of pride in having a one of a kind rifle is that I feel that I have a much greater understanding of how the platform functions than if I had just read the manual that would come with one I bought off the shelf.

My first suggestion is that you plan the entire build before purchasing any parts beyond a lower and its associated parts kit. Having a complete vision of the rifle I was going to build was a great help in that it let me anticipate possible problems and have solutions ready to go before I even started. Brownell's has a great tool for mixing and matching parts to get a feel for what the finished rifle will look like at http://www.ar15builder.com/, though it is unfortunately limited to just parts they sell so if you are going full custom like I did you may have settle for adding in parts that just have a similar look to what you are wanting. Second, AR15.com has tons of guides (plus the actual US Army M16 technical manual in pdf form) and very knowledgeable people who, for the most part, are happy to answer any questions you might have. Also I bought a book called "Gunsmithing the AR-15" by Patrick Sweeney which is loaded with just about anything you could ever want to know about the platform.

Last, if you are going for a complete build as I did, you'll need to budget some extra cash to acquire (if you don't have them or know someone who can loan them to you) a quality AR armorer's wrench, a hand-guard wrench for a non free float forearm build, an upper action block (I bought a lower one as well but ended up not using it at all), a solid vise for the barrel install and a set of punches.

For me building my rifle was very rewarding and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in moving beyond just your basic cleanings and grip replacements without going in to full blown gunsmithing work, even if the AR platform itself isn't especially appealing to them.
 

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Another vote here as to how easy it is. I built mine with my daughter bugging me to color sitting right next to me. It took less than 2 hours even with the distractions. I'm itching to build another, likely a 20" also.
 
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