Friday, March 5, 2010

Me and a .223

If I DO ever go about getting my own AR, I have very little idea about HOW to go about it.

Oh sure, you can always just go to the gunstore, point at an AR like a kid pointing at a jar of candy at a drugstore 100 years ago and saying, “Mister? Can I buy that please?”

After some bureaucratic stuff you walk out of there with you ‘penny candy’ in hand. Ain’t this a great country?

But I have no idea if I’d paid too much, got the quality of components I desired, or got the features I wanted. Heck I don’t even know WHAT features I want.

Here’s what I do know. Or think I know. I can probably assemble my rifle myself. There is plenty of resources on the internet to help me. Even a nice set of videos on Brownells website.

If I do assemble from components, I know that there are really on 3 or so companies making lowers, though other companies slap their logos on these.

I could go piston action but should probably just choose the simple route and use the classic direct gas impingement. The only downside for me is extra cleaning. I shouldn’t run into fouling jams as I will never shoot it ‘rock n roll’ even in the worst case Zombocalypse scenario.

Features I (think I) want, a flat top for optics AND flip-up iron sights. A vertical grip, probably with an integral flashlight. A new style adjustable buttstock.

What I really need, probably, is some know-it-all AR owner that says, “hmmm… what you need is a Thunderblurfle 15 from Boomtastic Aero Arms and Industries. Quality rifle, decent price, and it has all the stuff you think you want. Check them out and ask your gunstore. It’ll save you a lot of time looking or building.”

Not that I'm in a hurry. All I need is another set of mags and another pile of different ammunition to track. And I'm still THIS close to pitching the idea of a .223 and going with .30 carbine for a light rifle. The .30 carbine round could come back as a NATO round... Well? It COULD!


Newbius said...

J-T, building one up from parts is not a bad way to go and you get to have the gun you want, not what someone else thinks you should have.

On the web: has stripped lowers for $80 right now, $110 with parts kit. Add the stock you want (with buffer, tube, spring to match), and pick the upper and barrel of your dreams and you are all set.

I built up a DPMS .308 this way, and am thinking about doing another .223, maybe an M-4gery or something that breaks down into a small case like Tam has.

Go for it.

Boat Guy said...

Though there is now better ammo for the .30 Carbine it would still be a distant second for me comapred to a 5.56mm/.223. In fact I bought an M1 Carbine for my Bride and traded it in on an "M4gery" - a Stag Arms Model 2L (Bride's a southpaw). Bought a regular right-hander Model 2 for myself. I'm VERY PLEASED with both of these pieces. They are flat-top rear (with Stag flip-up aperture sights) and conventional M16-style front sights.
Among the other reasons (besides the Carbine's relatively poor performance in combat with GI ball ammo) were the plethora of magazines, spare parts and accessories available for the black guns.
We use a mix of MagPul and rebuilt US GI magazines (MagPul followers).
Both have EOTech sights and lights that's all the "accessorizing" I have done - or will do.

Newbius said...

This is the awesomeness of which I refer:

WV:"Alingra" - What Viagra enables...

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Yeah Newbius i likeed that upper that Tam featured so much there is a link to MGI on the main blog page so I won't lose it...

Quigley said...

If you change your mind and decide to buy one already assembled be sure to look at this:

I have a Mark 12 and it is excellent. I was going to "roll my own" until I found this one and bought it. The only thing I may change on it in the future would be to put a Rock River Arms two stage trigger in it (DPMS confirmed it is compatible with that trigger assembly). I have other RRA rifles with the two stage trigger and it is excellent.

WV: predi (my black rifle is predi)

Anonymous said...

Building your own isn't a bad idea, but it depends somewhat on what you mean by build. Assembling an upper (i.e. attaching the barrel to the upper receiver) requires special tools, I'd recommend assembling the lower and adding a complete upper.

Start with just iron sights and get yourself a functional rifle. Then add the red dot as your first upgrade, after saving up the extra scratch. I'd recommend the Magpul MBUS (cheap), and then an Aimpoint.

The biggest questions still to ask:
-What barrel length and length of gas system, 14.5", 16" or longer?
-What type of handguards/front rails?
-Accesseries, do you want/need a VFG or light?
There are a ton of makers of uppers, decide on what type, and that will start to narrow the manufacturers. Other than that, most of the reset is just details. There's tons of stocks, BUIS, pistol grips flash hiders, upgraded triggers, etc.


Unrepentant Gun Loving Tattooed Yuppie said...

I've been chewing on the "which AR" question for nearly a year and only just bought one last week.

My friends with AR's, including the one guy who has eight(!?!!!) all had the same suggestions:

1) To make it easy just go out and buy a quality but bare bones AR from a quality company like Bushmaster - something under $800. Then immediately by a better trigger as the milspec ones are crap (but keep the milspec one for when the zombies arrive, as it's super tough if terrible and mushy). Shoot the hell out of it, then later choose what to add or remove (such as a vertical grip, or replacing the barrel, etc.). Pretty much every single individual part on an AR can be replaced so you aren't making a commitment if you buy a bare bones one (it's not like buying a cheap 1911). Also, don't sweat the piston decision, so long as you buy a standard AR you can buy as many "uppers" as you like to just slap on it, so you can buy a piston later if you want while also still keeping your DI gas upper too. Just keep in mind that if you buy a gun with a classic "A" style front sight it will always be up in your line of sight, which may or may not be annoying to you. You remove them but it's kind of a pain, so you might want to go with an option that doesn't have an "A" style front sight.

2) The other option they suggested was buying it as a kit, such as one from Rock River Arms, and building it up. This has the benefit of usually better overall components than a bare bones AR, plus you'll have the confidence to switch out whatever you want later. Of course, building stuff like this is also super fun and those Brownells videos will help out immensely.

Personally, I didn't follow any of their suggestions, and instead found a smoking deal on a Smith & Wesson M&P15 VTAC. It comes with most of what you'll ever want:
match trigger
chrome lined components where it matters
super nice free floated front end hand guard system
light mount
two point sling
flat top
movable/modular rail system so you can have rails where you need them but not where you don't

I just need to pick up some sights and I'm ready to rock 'n' roll. I'm going to try it out for a few months before I think about getting a vertical foregrip. Based on what I've seen the tactical instructors do with their vertical foregrips I'm going to get a basic one without a light or laser and if I want a laser I'll mount it on the fore-end instead.

Ritchie said...

In place of the flip-up sights, consider a removable handle/rear sight to go on the flat top. Just watch prices, they vary about 100% and all the units look like they come off the same boat.

TheAxe said...

Living in the MD suburbs I have an M1 carbine but have held off on an AR because I can shoot the carbine at a nearby pistol range but it's harder for me to find a place to shoot rifle power cartridges nearby. The nearest rifle ranges to me are Freedom Arms in PA or CRESAP out in Frederick. It'd be nice if .30 Carbine were to become NATO standard again.

If I did get an AR I'd want a 20" DI build but I too have no great knoledge of the various makers.