Back into the fray....another AR build.

Technical discussions relating to specific firearms.

Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby jcat » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:32 pm

My last mini-build really got the wheels turning as far as what is available in the AR world as of late. I originally bought my Sig 556 because it has a folding stock and thus makes it a better CQB type rifle for a home defense role. However, having built a 10.5" AR pistol with a Sig SB15 brace on it, I was amazed at how handy that thing was, and it basically is the solution to the main negative of why I sold my AR originally, which was it's length and unwieldy-ness as a HD stick.

I'm not sure what's gonna happen with the 556 at this point. Truthfully I love it, but man it is heavy. That, and spare parts are 1.) hard to come by and 2.) expensive. So, for right now I'm planning on hanging onto it unless I can come out of it even or better, and going to build a new AR.

My plan is to first build a 16" Midlength SPR/DMR type rifle, and then later when that one's done I'll build a 10.5" 5.56 pistol with stabilizing brace. The first and only 5.56 AR I built and shot was more of a lower end budget build during the height of the panic. Upper was Del-Ton, lower was stag, parts were DPMS. The 300 blackout pistol was mid range lower half but top end Rainier upper, which really opened my eyes to the differences in quality. This time around I'm planning on going higher end, higher quality parts to make sure the rifle I put together is long lasting and super accurate.

So, I took the first step today and bought a Black Rain Fallout 15 billet lower receiver, and a CMMG gun builder's kit. The CMMG kit is basically an LPK minus all the items you'd end up customizing anyway, like the trigger group, pistol grip, trigger guard (the lower has one built in so no worries there), endplate etc. It comes with a selector, trigger pins and a bolt catch, which a lot of people will customize also, but I find mil spec parts in those locations are just fine for me.

Image

(not my actual lower, but you get the idea)

First impressions on this lower is wow am I impressed. I'm likely to go pick up a few more Anderson AM-15 lowers as I find them to be incredible value for the money, but you really can see on this Black Rain lower why it costs the same as 3-4 anderson lowers. Flared magwell, super beefy billet lower, built in tensioning screw to adjust upper-to-lower fit (yeah...seriously, it has that!).

So, the plan for the build looks like this, and I've been able to semi-visualize it thanks to the AR builder flash app on AR15.com.

Lower half:

-Black rain billet lower (Purchased)
-CMMG Small Parts (Purchased)
-ALG ACT Trigger (Purchased)
-Magpul MOE+ Pistol grip (purchased)
-Noveske 60 degree selector (purchased)
-BCM Milspec Buffer Tube kit (Purchased)
-Mission First Tactical BattleLink Minimalist stock (purchased) w/ NRAT 8ft paracord braid strap (purchased)

Upper half:

-Complete BCM 16" RECCE BHF Midlength upper with Midwest Industries SSK12 rail system and BCM Mod 0 compensator (purchased)
-BCM Bolt Carrier Group (purchased)
-Rainier Raptor charging handle (purchased)
-Vertical grip of some kind
-Inforce WMLx (Owned)
-Bipod of some kind.
-Diamondhead D-45 swing out 45° Iron Sight set (purchased)

Optic, at the moment will be a nice cheapo Sig CP1 3x ACOG clone. I've looked through only one ACOG in my life and don't have enough experience with a fixed power optic to be able to justify spending a grand on one, so I took advantage of a WOOT deal to get the CP1 for $100 to try out the fixed power thing. If I end up hating it, I should be able to make money on it and use the money toward a Vortex Magnifier to go behind the EOTech 512 I already have, or going with a 1-4 or 1-6 variable scope of some sort. Going with a magnified optic as such has me thinking of doing 45 degree irons, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

All in all, I'm expecting this to end up being a very tough, very accurate, very reliable rifle. I'm planning on buying most of the parts new, but if I can find a deal on some used parts in good shape, I won't pass it up. I'll do my best to update this as I progress.
Last edited by jcat on Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:55 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby newportri » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:31 am

Thanks, I look forward to reading about it.
What did you pay for the lower, and where did you get it?
I am also getting some ar parts in the next week and I look forward to starting the build and I will also try to document my build.
If you like holographic sights, but don't want to spend the money, you can get a much cheaper one from Sightmark Ultra Shot series (under $100).
http://www.sightmark.com/index.html
I have a bushnell holographic, and although it is not an EoTech I really like it. Unfortunately they don't make it any longer.
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby jcat » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:05 am

newportri wrote:Thanks, I look forward to reading about it.
What did you pay for the lower, and where did you get it?
I am also getting some ar parts in the next week and I look forward to starting the build and I will also try to document my build.
If you like holographic sights, but don't want to spend the money, you can get a much cheaper one from Sightmark Ultra Shot series (under $100).
http://www.sightmark.com/index.html
I have a bushnell holographic, and although it is not an EoTech I really like it. Unfortunately they don't make it any longer.


I had a sight mark on that first AR I built, and it worked ok. I ended up trading a shotgun toward an EOTech 512, and some other goodies to upgrade that AR, and after having an EOTech I couldn't go back.

My plan is to use the EOTech on this rifle until 1 of 2 things happen. 1.) I receive the Sig CP1 ACOG clone and love using a fixed power scope, and will begin looking to secure a real ACOG. Or 2.) I hate the CP1's fixed magnification for CQ but like it for longer shots, and I end up putting a low power variable 1-4 or 1-6 optic on it.
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby newportri » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:38 am

I haven't tried an ACOG, but I prefer holographic over red dots and I would also like to get an EoTech some time in the future.
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby jcat » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:06 am

newportri wrote:I haven't tried an ACOG, but I prefer holographic over red dots and I would also like to get an EoTech some time in the future.


I'm the same way. Heritage had an Aimpoint M2 in the shop and I looked through it, I'm glad I went with the EOTech for the same money.

Then again, the EOtech is also a whole different world from the Sightmark, too.
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby a1983 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:20 pm

Save your money - PLEASE Don't buy sightmarks.

The first red dot I bought was a Sightmark and its was an okay sight, but it eats batteries like candy - it was also really hard to see in the sunlight. I think I literally get about an hour or two's use out of the thing before I need to replace the 3 watch batteries it uses (oddball battery too, had to get them off ebay).

http://www.amazon.com/Sightmark-Ultra-S ... =sightmark

I made a slight upgrade to a Primary Arms and Wow! Even though its only a few dollars more the fit, finish, and overall quality is just astounding.

https://www.primaryarms.com/Primary_Arm ... aamrg3.htm
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby jcat » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:38 pm

Primary arms is good stuff. However, like I said above Sightmark is perfectly fine if you're not 100% on what you want and would rather not plunk $400 down on a sight that you may end up hating. By running that $80 sightmark holo sight for a few range trips I discovered I really liked it. This made it easier to invest the money into an EOTech later on down the road.


So the first big decision of the build happened today. Truthfully I had been leaning toward the Magpul UBR stock but I started to think about the big factor in getting back to the AR over the Sig 556, and that was weight.

The UBR is nice, a very tough stock and looks great. It's a unique mounting system that's rock solid. But it's really, really heavy. Like over 2lbs by itself heavy. When guys are building complete rifles weighing in at a hair over 6lb, you can see how significant those 2lbs are. It's also expensive, at right around $230 all in, though it does come with it's own proprietary buffer tube and such. Then I had handled a rifle at Heritage with the MFT battlelink minimalist stock on it, and found it to be really nice. It also happens to cost 1/3rd of what the UBR does, and weighs a ridiculous 6 ounces, or just over 1/6th what the UBR weighs. It also includes an integral QD socket on the underside.

As I was waffling back and forth on this, I was browsing through the AR15.com EE and happened to find a black, milspec Minimalist stock for 75% of retail cost, so that made the decision for me. This rifle will wear a black minimalist stock. I figure if I ever decide I don't like it, I'll only be out $45 instead of the $200+ I'd spend on a Magpul UBR or PRS, or one of the other big name stocks if I ended up not liking them.

I will continue to update the post as items are purchased, and then once I receive stuff and can begin the build, that will follow.
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby SirSqueeboo » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:36 pm

The Primary Arms optics are great.
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby newportri » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:57 pm

That receiver looks nice, what did you pay for it?
Brownells are selling Bushmaster receivers for $50 which I think is a good buy although I am sure Anderson is also fine.
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Re: Back into the fray....another AR build.

Postby jcat » Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:37 pm

newportri wrote:That receiver looks nice, what did you pay for it?
Brownells are selling Bushmaster receivers for $50 which I think is a good buy although I am sure Anderson is also fine.


Anderson I have a hunch does the manufacturing for a LOT of other companies. I've heard that they are a major player in that realm.

I paid $220 for that receiver, honestly overpaid as they're going for anywhere from $185 to $200 online, but it was there in the store and I didn't have to pay shipping so I got it. I'll have more to comment on once I can purchase an upper to go onto it as far as fit, etc.

That tension adjustment screw is really, really freakin' cool. It's a little countersunk set screw that is hidden under the pistol grip area. Put the upper on the lower, pull the pistol grip off, and tighten the screw to exert upward pressure on the upper's mounting point to take up the slack between the two.
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