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*Update* Bought an AR receiver, now what?

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by StuntDouble, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. StuntDouble


    Apr 26, 2004
    I picked up an AR lower receiver at the gun show last weekend, and I thought I would look to you guys for some build suggestions. Originally I was considering building a pistol caliber carbine, but I find it hard to justify buying a $200 mag adapter. This is mainly going to be used for plinking and for fun, so I'm not too concerned about setting up something for the zombie apocalypse quite yet;).

    Also wanted to add, I'd like to keep the initial investment around $800 or so. I'm not including the lower receiver in that amount, since I already have it.
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  2. Les Snyder

    Les Snyder

    Jul 6, 2010
    get a flat top...you might look at somebody like Bravo Company (BCM) for a complete upper (with bolt carrier and bolt)... be sure you get a bolt carrier that shrouds the firing pin....I like the Garand style triggers (I shoot RockRiver National Match triggers)....I like the shorter A1 stocks rather than a collapsible...I shoot a lot of transition positions and use an ambi safety... the rest of the parts kits can come from pretty much anybody... if you decide to play any gun games buy good glass or heads up sight... my eyes are not good enough anymore to shoot iron sights
  3. kfgk14


    Jun 18, 2010
    Three words: Palmetto State Armory.
  4. wintermute

    wintermute Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 18, 2007
  5. jrollins


    Jul 9, 1999
    So is it a complete lower, or stripped? If it's stripped you're going to need a lower parts kit, receiver extension, buffer spring and buffer, and a stock.
    A 9mm build is probably going to push the upper limit of that budget. Rainier Arms has the Hahn top block on sale for $150 right now(I used a Hahn bottom block, but paid $200 for it), and the RRA complete uppers start around $500(I used the RRA A4 carbine upper for my build). I bought a bunch of C-Products 9mm magazines back when they first came out, not sure what choices are out there now. 9mm blowback in a rifle is dirty, but it's a lot of fun out to 100 yards or so(9mm isn't going to do much beyond that even out of a 16" barrel), and ammo is cheap(and easier to stockpile if you already have a 9mm pistol).
    If you want to go cheaper and caliber is not the primary issue, you can build a budget rifle for about $600. Maybe $500 if you are a really good deal hunter and aren't in a big hurry(my first build was like that, took me about a year to get all the parts as I hunted for sales). I would recommend getting a barrel with a 5.56 chamber instead of a 223 chamber - minor difference, and it wouldn't stop me anyway, but some people say that running milsurp 5.56 ammo could cause an overpressure situation. For most of my 5.56 builds, I like to use Bushmaster barrels. They make decent mid-range chrome lined 5.56 barrels for the money. There are plenty of budget or high-end options as well.
    On the down side, AR's are like legos... And if you're not careful, you'll end up with a large collection of them.
    In this pic, the 9mm is on the far right with the foliage green Magpul MOE furniture and Aimpoint.
  6. StuntDouble


    Apr 26, 2004
    Thanks for the info and the links. I've been going through them over the past couple days, there is just a ton of options. Its almost overwhelming.

    Jrollins, its a stripped lower. The 9mm option came up because my pistols are both in 9mm. I think I might go with 5.56 just for sheer utility and availability. I'm planning on taking my time with the build, so I definitely plan on looking for deals and keeping my eyes open for sales.
  7. Revenuer


    Dec 10, 2011
    Bought my complete upper from Rguns online for less than $500.00.
  8. Flotsam


    Oct 13, 1998
    If you want to go for something just for plinking, you could put on a dedicated 22 LR upper. You always have the option of adding a 5.56 upper down the road. I also like Palmetto State Armory - they have very good deals on lower parts kits.
  9. wintermute

    wintermute Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    What the heck kind of lower is that on the two furthest to the left?
  10. jrollins


    Jul 9, 1999
    Those are CavArms lowers. All plastic, one piece lower and stock. The company had some legal trouble(many long threads in the ar15.com archives about THAT), but there are some still floating around, and a new company recently received the equipment to start making them again, so more should be on the market, hopefully sooner rather than later. Here is some info on the original web page.
  11. Mountain Lion

    Mountain Lion

    Jun 13, 2011
    The guys who mentioned Palmetto State Armory made a good recommendation. For simplicity's sake, I would just buy a lower parts kit and a complete assembled upper, but you might save money by buying individual parts (plus you'll learn a lot about assembly). Also check out DPMS parts. You can find some good prices on their stuff.
  12. mrn8


    Jun 8, 2007
    Another recommendations for Palmetto State, here! I put a budget AR together for a friend, and PSA had everything I needed to make him (i.e - his wife) really happy with the price. I started with a Spikes receiver, put in a DPMS LPK, and then fit it with Magpul furniture and a PSA 5.56 upper. You can come well within your budget with the same sort of configuration.

    If you want quality optics that won't kill you, check out Primary Arms house brand optics. They're red dots are good and I really like the 1-4x scope they put out.
  13. StuntDouble


    Apr 26, 2004
    Just an update..I was telling a friend of mine that I had a stripped lower receiver for the past few months, with no ideas of what I wanted to do with it. Well, a little while later he showed up at my house with a spare Colt upper he had laying around, lower receiver parts kit, and fixed stock. When I asked him how much, he said they were mine. Then today I picked up a bolt and carrier and trigger guard at the gunshow to complete the package. So for just over $200 I have a complete AR-15. The barrel has been stripped, I forgot the reason why, so it has some staining on it. But I figure if it bothers me enough, I can send it in to have the coating redone. Right now though, I'm just eager to put some rounds through it!

    Here's a quick pic. Unfortunately I didn't get the end of the barrel in there, but you get the picture.
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  14. dakine


    Jan 17, 2007
    Congrats on the complete rifle. Now go out and shoot:). Since you have a upper you can get a dedicated 22lr upper, more cheap shooting.
  15. b_rogers


    Sep 25, 2011
    That looks like one of the century arms surplus M16A1 uppers, you scored for $200. Most of my AR's lean towards "retro" TIME TO GO BLAST THAT THING!

  16. smasak


    Jun 19, 2009
    Another +1 for Palmetto State Armory for great value. I find shorter guns are more fun unless you are planning on going out past about 500 meters. Minimum barrel length with barrel device (Muzzle brake/compensator or flash hider) is 16". There are lots of 14.5" barrels with pinned muzzle devices. If you go for a 16" please consider a mid-length gas system. That means the length of the gas tube and how far down the barrel it picks up the gas to operate the action. Most find that they shoot with less snap and run more smoothly. I can definitely tell the difference between my 16" carbine (shortest) gas system and my buddy's 16" mid length gas system.

    I would recommend a full upper assembled by the manufacturer. It's ok to mix/match if you didn't know. Bravo Company USA has made a name for themselves in making bolts and bolt carriers. I believe their gunfighter charging handles (Medium, not large) are the best there are anywhere. Oh, I agree with whomever said get a flat-top upper receiver. I don't know too many people who use regular "carry handle" upper anymore. Free floated rail hand-guards are very popular but also a degree more expensive than standard style.

    Magpul makes some of the most comfortable and popular accessories. Lots of people really like their stocks, grips, hand guards and especially their "PMag" magazines.

    PM me if you have more questions. If I know I'll tell you and if I don't I wont BS you.

    Finally, check out AR15.com forum. Lots of free info there.

    Good luck and let us know/see what you end up with!

    Edit: I just read the entire thread. Congrats on your $200 rifle! now get tot he range and try her out.
  17. david tn

    david tn

    Apr 10, 2012
    Got here late to your post. I was going to suggest SP1 configuration for plinking. Kind of retro, super fly light and a little cheaper parts. Looks good, have fun!
  18. StuntDouble


    Apr 26, 2004
    B-rogers, actually the upper was free to me. The only money I have in it were the lower, bolt, carrier, and trigger guard. I added it all up, and I have $221.00 in the gun. Btw, I like that carbine you posted.

    Smasak, lots of good info there, I appreciate it. I actually saw some complete Palmetto guns today, and they were very reasonably priced. The guy I bought my bolt from also deals in complete uppers, and his prices were pretty darn good too. It helps that his store is only an hour or so away.

    Hopefully ill get a chance to shoot it this week. Ill give a full report when I do.
  19. b_rogers


    Sep 25, 2011
    Thanks man! She is a mutt but is a good ole dog. Let us know how she shoots
  20. StuntDouble


    Apr 26, 2004

    Will do. I have requalification this week to keep up my auxillary status, so I'm hoping I'll get to fire some rounds down range then.

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