A Beginners Guide to Building an AR15 Part 2
WHERE DO YOU START?
Start with a lower that is either completed or stripped. Dependent upon what you chose for a build, a completed lower might be the way for you. You will need to go through an FFL to purchase the lower (unless you legally complete your own 80% lower). Everything else that you will purchase, except for a suppressor or SBR build, can be purchased over the counter or over the internet. (Missed part 1? Find Part 1 HERE.)
When you choose your lower, make sure that you have it start out life as the correct item. If you plan for it to be a pistol, a rifle or an SBR, now is the time to get this right. I like to make mine “other” so I can leave the door open to my inspirations.
Now if you have bought a complete lower and a complete upper, all you must do is pin them together. That was boring if it is what you chose but hey, this is just your first.
If you’ve decided the mission for this rifle is a budget build pistol or a high-end precision rifle, you’ll quickly figure out that there is a price difference. High quality does not come cheap. “Buy once cry once.”
Some of you will find the need to buy a few pieces at a time and collect them into a box until you have everything. Others will order everything they need and check the mail everyday until it all arrives.
Or you can assemble slowly, as you can afford it, one piece at a time showing us all that you are more patient than we are!
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO NEED FOR RIFLE COMPONENTS?
Once you have decided your mission and therefore your build style, you are going to need to do some shopping.
If you are going the way of a stripped lower and a stripped upper than you are going to need EVERYTHING.
MAKE A LIST, SET A BUDGET
Make a check list of components and start your shopping. If you have a local gun store that offers build components start with them first and shop local! If shopping local is not an option, find some reputable websites and begin filling your cart. That lower had to be purchased through an FFL (Federal Firearm License) but the rest was “over the counter” parts.
You are going to need a stripped upper. In that stripped upper you are going to need a charging handle, a bolt carrier group (either purchased as a group or individual pieces and assembled) a forward assist, a dust cover, a barrel, a barrel nut, hand guard, gas block, gas tube, muzzle break, forward assist, forward assist spring and catch, crush washer, pins, detents, springs, dust cover, and iron sights and/or optic.
You will need a stripped lower. In that stripped lower receiver you are going to need a buffer tube, buffer spring and buffer, handguard, butt stock, grip, trigger guard, buffer end plate, castle nut, crush washer, magazine catch spring, magazine catch button, magazine catch, trigger and hammer springs, selector switch, bolt catch, hammer, trigger assembly including the trigger disconnector and disconnector spring, pivot and take down pins, buffer retainer and buffer retainer spring, trigger and hammer pins, bolt catch detent and spring, takedown and pivot detents and springs.
ACCESSORIES SHOULD BE DRIVEN BY TASKS YOU WANT OR PLAN TO UNDERTAKE WITH THE RIFLE
Reliability and durability are not cheap, but you can build a rifle on a budget. You must be patient and watch for sales. Hopefully, the pandemic shortages will let up soon!
Are you going to want an optic? Are you going to go with a red dot sight, a variable power optic, or iron sights? We’ll talk more about this option later but again, your purpose or tasks for the rifle should dictate the plan.
ONCE YOU’VE PICKED A BUILD PLAN AND START COLLECTING PARTS, YOU ARE GOING TO NEED SOME TOOLS!
Be sure to check back soon for part 3 where we start the conversation about great tools to have before you begin this fun new adult Lego adventure.