Wednesday, November 24, 2010

~AR Features Desired~

One day, I'll probably bit the bullet (heh) and realize that my search for a satisfactory carbine is gonna put me shopping for an AR. Even if I got a DeLisle repro, a M1 carbine, and a Camps Carbine and have scratched the carbine itch I may STILL end up with an AR type. All the cool kids are doing it.

Now ARs are the legos of guns. You can mix and match SO many after market features on yours even before you start hanging accessories on the rails. This is a wonderful thing. It's also a complicated thing. I am posting this, and will update this, as a reminder to myself of what to look for for my starting block carbine. More exactly, what features I have settled on if I had to order one up right now. 'Right now' will move into the future until I get it, so the list may evolve.


Brands: DPMS, from what I understand is a middle of the road on price point receiver that is highly regarded. Hard to tell what the range is on quality, but here is a list.

Feedramps are important. But since I am going for an M4orgery I can live with either type, but probably want to go for regular feedramps rather than M4 specific. This is what I've learned - M4 feedramps on receiver but not on barrel = failures. M4 feedramps on barrel but not on receiver = okay. So if I get regular nonM4 feedramps I can tack on either kind of barrel.

I kinda need that brass deflector to the rear of the port, being left handed, to keep spent casings out of my ear.


I definitely want a flat top with a full length rail. No permanent front sight.

I may pop for the MGI, CQB upper. It covers my bases in the rail department in spades.


VLTOR But I can get a similar Pardus stock with a full lower receiver posted above, from DPMS. Other good stocks are Magpul ACS and UBR

So, the MGI upper, the complete DPMS lower with stock and all I need is to select a barrel.


I want the shortest barrel I can get without having to get a tax stamp, initially. So 16 inches.

But how heavy a barrel? Dunno. I don't want pencil thin, so maybe I'll go bull barrel. Is there is a mid range weight? I dunno. If there is, that's what I'll go for. I need to do more research.

It needs to be a 5.56 NATO barrel so it will accept 5.56 and .223.

Twist should be middling. I am not looking for fancy single situation purposes, but to eat as many ammo types as I can find. 1:9 is middling and will do all but the heaviest and longest specialty ammo.

Chrome lined barrel and chamber for longer life (like I'm going to shoot it out...). Chrome would hurt me in long range competition, but I'm not getting it for that.

Most all seem to come with a front sight integral, unless you go bull barrel, so, maybe I should accept that and not swim against the tide. But I am at a loss to pick from the plethora available. Maybe the Fulton Armory military contour, as it's chromed and 1:9. I can get a gas block with a flip up front sight from them as well. So, say I got the barrel, and gas block... there are other parts I'd need. I better watch the Brownells assembly video closely to know better.

So that means I am at MGI upper, DPMS lower, Fulton barrel, and I need some other stuff to complete it to the point where I can put a mag in and have it shoot, but what that stuff is I need to edumacate myself. Stuff I know I need... magazines, a sighting system (flip up rear sight to go with the flip up fulton front), ammo. Hmm. Seems I've gone above average on everything but the lower. Maybe I should think further.

Or send the MGI and DPMS back over the transom. It's cool and everything, that MGI, but I could just go pure Fulton Armory and be done in one fell swoop. It has all the features I'd want. A good lower, a good upper, good barrel, good stock, flip up front sight, all for a grand and a half, and go from there. It's the Easy Button. I wonder if PMAGs drop free from a Fulton?



The PS90 type upper intrigues...
So does the .458.


Frozen said...

Don't forget that Stag Arms also makes a good lefty upper.

Anonymous said...

Get a lefty upper. If you are going to build one from scratch, do it right.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

What does a lefty upper gain me if I have no problem with the port on regular righthand side?

There are advantages with being a lefty. On a 1911 I can reach the slide release and mag release with my finger, for instance. Dunno if there is a feature on a standard AR that lends to that sort of thing for a lefty tho.

Rex said...

Just so you know, Feedramps are in the upper, not the lower.

If you're going for an "M4Gery" then there are a boatload of M4 Profile barrels out there. (Even if I don't like them because I can't have an M203 'nade why have a goofy profile *made for that purpose*) Whatever you do, don't cheap out on your barrel. More than anything else on the gun (except maybe the trigger) that's where your accuracy will be.

As far as the lower goes, I'm not the world's biggest Freedom Group fan, so I humbly submit Spike's Tactical as a source for an inexpensive, but quality lower. I also really like the S&W lowers, they seem to be made pretty well, and for a while there during the Obamacraze, they were the only lowers you could get.
For twist, and this is just my opinion (you know what they say about those), but I never ever ever shoot 45gr 'varmint' bullets, while I definitely envisioned a time where I might one to shoot heavy (68gr+) bullets. Just a thought. If I were going to err, it'd be on the high end, not the low.

Also, I'd stay away from a lefty upper. Who wants proprietary parts? Lefty bolts are more expensive and harder to get, and if cross-face ejection doesn't bother you, then just get an ambi safety and mag release and call it a day.

Tam said...

What weight barrel you want is going to be affected by what you intend to do with the gun.

Bobbi's carbine was intended as a SHTF gun that will only see very occasional range use (~1-2 times/yr) and then it will be shot offhand. So I suggested she get a pencil barrel.

Sure, it'll head up faster and cause groups to disperse by a few inches, but she's not going to be shooting it in any benchest matches, and the skinny barrel gun is lighter, better-balanced, and swings and points easier.

These guys who want to strap themselves to heavy-barrel guns with leather loop slings are living in a Camp Perry fantasy world. As E.B. Sledge pointed out, he fought through the entire Pelelieu and Okinawa campaigns without ever seeing anybody use the "sitting position"...

Tam said...

"heaT" up faster...

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Check. If I want a bull barrel, get it on a full length. For a carbine for me, light and thin is fine.

Standard Mischief said...

In Maryland, I've been told that you want to order an AR rifle with a "heavy barrel". Doing so makes the thing a "sporting rifle" and exempt from the "assault rifle/pistol" song and dance.

Song and dance: Pay the Maryland state police $30 or so to have them investigate you for past crimes. Wait two weeks, or as long as needed for the police to decide to key you into the database (which is a violation of the statue, but who watches the watchmen?)

You are on your own if you want to swap the barrel out later. I have no idea if doing that is a felony.

It's been a while since I bought anything that needed this crap, so double check with your local merchant of death.

Standard Mischief said...

I've actually had the itch to build up an AR something for a while. I haven't been willing to hire a lawyer to make sure I don't commit a felony in assembly, so I haven't gotten very far. From the surface of things, it seems that there will be extra hassle if you want to just buy a lower and a pile of parts.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Time to throw some gasoline on this fire: Piston or Direct Impingement? Have a Happy Turkey Day!

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Direct impingement. If I'm going AR I'm going to keep it simple. I have a piston driven rifle or two for other things.

Boat Guy said...

Have two Stags, one each dextrous and sinister. Both RUN well. Great SHTF pieces that are part of the GOOD kit. NOT match guns.
Agree ref making it as "standard" as one can so if you're good with a righty, by all means go that way.
I disagree with leaving off the front sight. Stuff breaks. Ours have rail sections on the upper so the likely-to-break-one-day electro-optic gizmo can be mounted IN FRONT OF the rear flip-up peep.
Currently investigating tritium front sight posts. Brides has a light mounted since for the moment it's her primary piece. Otherwise pretty plain.

JB Miller said...

I bought my first AR15 this year. I learned a lot.

I got a basic DPMS, flat top with a bull barrel. I ended up replacing the stock, grip and quadrail.

I added an EOTech, a Flip out x3, laser and Tac light on a fore grip.

Now that I know where all the tiny ass springs sproing from I would select an upper, lower, stock, grip, rail and sights separately.

I endorse this effort.

JB Miller said...

There is also a couple specialized tools you should obtain.

I will send you pics of them because I have no idea what they are called.

JB Miller said...

You inspired a post:

My lessons learned.

Angus McThag said...

My AR journey started with a 16" HBAR carbine with a commercial M4 stock and a C7 upper.

It's now a 16" M4 profile with a milspec M4 stock.

The M4 profile was to reduce the mass out front. The milspec stock was to get it about 1" shorter for pull.

If I were to make another 5.56 16" carbine I'd get the pencil barrel. That's what my wife went with and I think she made the right decision.

I wouldn't get an HBAR for a 20" unless you were serious about going to Camp Perry with it. The gov't profile A2 barrel is a good weight and common.

There are also alternate calibers to consider like 6.8 SPC and 7.62 Black Out.

Angus McThag said...

Here's the address to my documentation of the trip.

Some decisions were thought out, some were not.

Anonymous said...

First off, buy the cheapest lower you can find. There isn't any real difference, other than the roll mark, and the vast majority of lowers are machined in the same handful of places anyway.

You want a short barrel, so i'd highly recommend a 14.5" + pinned flash hider if MD allows it. I would also recommend just getting a complete upper. It really isn't too difficult to add a barrel to the lower, but you do need some special tools.

As for barrel profile, there is a ton of options here. Pencil, M4 profile, the newer and slightly heavier M4A1 profile (frequently referred to a SOCOM profile), then there are fluted barrels, and then a bunch of different weights of Bull barrels. Unless you're planning on doing some bench shooting, stick with something lighter. Weight out front is much heavier than weight elsewhere.

I highly recommend Bravo Company for complete uppers. They have a great deal right now on their M4 (and M4 SOCOM) uppers. For a good rundown of manufacturers, google "rob_s the chart". You can get a low profile gas block if you don't want the front sight. Contrary to what you might think, they really don't interfere with red dot sights if you are thinking of upgrading to those in the future. If you want light weight, modularity and low cost, I would highly, highly recommend the Magpul MOE handguards. You can add short bits of rail on them for lights, etc., but remain cheap and lightweight.