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Discussion Starter #1
Well... It has begun. I've started my very first AR build. I've never built one, but I have had some experience with basic gunsmithing. I've decided to build my lower from scratch and buy a complete upper. I'm not sure which direction I'm going with the upper at this point, but I think I'll end up with at 16.5" barrel upper of some sort.

I went after work Friday to my local gun shop and purchased a stripped lower from Surplus Ammo & Arms and I drove over to Palmetto State Armory on Saturday to pick up one of their lower parts kits. The kit was on sale for a really good price and includes the buffer tube, stock, pistol grip and all necessary pins, springs, trigger, etc. I'll most likely upgrade the stock and pistol grip to some better components (Magpul has some nice stuff and I'm always a fan of Hogue grips). It depends on what I end up with for the upper, really.

So far, I'm pleased with the lower that I bought. I know they're not a well-known brand, but the shop I frequent has done a couple of builds using their lowers and has had good results. I trust their judgement and went with the purchase. It has a good fit and finish and is 100% mil-spec so I know everything will snap right into place. I have no reason to think this lower won't work perfectly. It's got good edges and clean machining with no weird seams or edges. I think it's a good place for me to start.

Anyway, I'm waiting on some roll pin punches and a couple of other tools so that I can do the build cleanly and efficiently. I started last night and just wasn't feeling good about driving in roll pins without the proper tools.

Below is the stripped lower. I'll try and keep up with photos as I move through the process. I did the red and white paint on the lower for the rollmark and the pictograms for "SAFE" and "FIRE". The finish looks a little weird in photos, but they're just fingerprints.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

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Congrats!!!!!!! Nice looking lower. Check out Bravo Company. They make great uppers that are mil-spec.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Congrats!!!!!!! Nice looking lower. Check out Bravo Company. They make great uppers that are mil-spec.
Thanks! I'll give them a look. My birthday is in January, so it'll probably be then before I can get anything, but I might be able to get it sooner. I'll definitely look at Bravo Company.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It also should be noted that the red on that lower looks a little funky, but it's really a nice rich red. No funkiness in person. :)
 

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Your lower looks great. It's good to wait until you have the proper tools to start building it. The build should go smoothly if you have patience and proper directions. The only part that always gets on my nerves is installing the front pivot pin. No matter how many times I've done it, I always end up dropping the F Bomb several times when I'm trying to install it. Trust me, you'll know exactly what I mean when you get to that point. Let us know if you have any questions while you're doing it.

I just did this one yesterday. (AR Pistol project)



 

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heymatthew, good luck on the build, hope all turns out to your liking. I'm thinking about doing an AR lower build as well. Keep us all posted please.

Andrew
 

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Very nice! I've never built one from scratch, but I want to someday. Have fun with it!
 

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Thanks so much guys! I'm definitely excited to get started. I'll keep my progress updated on here as I work. And you guys will be the first to know when I screw something up. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Your lower looks great. It's good to wait until you have the proper tools to start building it. The build should go smoothly if you have patience and proper directions. The only part that always gets on my nerves is installing the front pivot pin. No matter how many times I've done it, I always end up dropping the F Bomb several times when I'm trying to install it. Trust me, you'll know exactly what I mean when you get to that point. Let us know if you have any questions while you're doing it.

I just did this one yesterday. (AR Pistol project)
Looks like an excellent build! Congrats! Love that lower, too.
 

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HappilyAddicted is right on the front pivot retaining pin. Those are under pressure, slicker than whale snot and easily lost.

I have assembled several ARs, and my advise is to wear safety goggles when you put in the pivot retaining pin, as they fly great distances.

To keep from losing the little pin, I sit in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn and the tub drain closed. Haven't lost one since.
 

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HappilyAddicted is right on the front pivot retaining pin. Those are under pressure, slicker than whale snot and easily lost.

I have assembled several ARs, and my advise is to wear safety goggles when you put in the pivot retaining pin, as they fly great distances.

To keep from losing the little pin, I sit in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn and the tub drain closed. Haven't lost one since.
Thanks for the tip! Maybe I can borrow the bathtub for a minute when I get to that point. That's the pin that has a long skinny spring and a tiny detent that you have to hold in while you slide the pin in to capture it, right? Kind of shoots straight out from the front of the lower if you were looking at it straight on?

I was watching some videos on the lower build and I've been trying to think of ways that I can hold that little detent in place while I slide the pin in... Something very thin and very strong. Oxymoron? Haha!
 

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Thanks for the tip! Maybe I can borrow the bathtub for a minute when I get to that point. That's the pin that has a long skinny spring and a tiny detent that you have to hold in while you slide the pin in to capture it, right? Kind of shoots straight out from the front of the lower if you were looking at it straight on?

I was watching some videos on the lower build and I've been trying to think of ways that I can hold that little detent in place while I slide the pin in... Something very thin and very strong. Oxymoron? Haha!
I've found a feeler gauge to be the best tool for that job.
 

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Thanks! I'll give them a look. My birthday is in January, so it'll probably be then before I can get anything, but I might be able to get it sooner. I'll definitely look at Bravo Company.
+1 on the bcm upper. I got my upper, m16 bcg, and heavy buffer from them. I just built my first ever AR with no experience what so ever and it went smoothly. If you want a top notch LPK go with the Daniel Defense, they come with a nice trigger already, and you can't go wrong with some Magpul furniture. My lower is a spikes tactical though.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've found a feeler gauge to be the best tool for that job.
Perfect! Keep the ideas comin' guys! I'm a newbie at this and can use all the help I can get. The smith at my LGS where I purchased the lower told me if I get stuck, just to bring him my stuff and he'll help me out. I've got a good relationship with the guys at the shop. It's just a couple guys and they know me by name. I figure they can bail me out if I start swearing too much. LOL!
 

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+1 on the bcm upper. I got my upper, m16 bcg, and heavy buffer from them. I just built my first ever AR with no experience what so ever and it went smoothly. If you want a top notch LPK go with the Daniel Defense, they come with a nice trigger already, and you can't go wrong with some Magpul furniture. My lower is a spikes tactical though.
Looking at Bravo Company now... Man, this build needs to happen NOW! :D
 

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Perfect! Keep the ideas comin' guys! I'm a newbie at this and can use all the help I can get. The smith at my LGS where I purchased the lower told me if I get stuck, just to bring him my stuff and he'll help me out. I've got a good relationship with the guys at the shop. It's just a couple guys and they know me by name. I figure they can bail me out if I start swearing too much. LOL!
I use an Allen wrench that's slightly smaller than the hole. It's not a perfect solution but it works. I then slide out the Allen wrench while pushing in the pivot pin at the same time. Hope that makes sense.
 

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I use an Allen wrench that's slightly smaller than the hole. It's not a perfect solution but it works. I then slide out the Allen wrench while pushing in the pivot pin at the same time. Hope that makes sense.
Makes perfect sense. Thanks!
 

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GUYS.... I just installed my mag release, trigger group, safety selector, pistol grip and forward pivot pin (is that what it's called?). So far, this build has gone off without a hitch. I wish I had made a video when I put in the pivot pin because it quite literally took less than 10 seconds. Probably closer to 5.

Since you guys have been so helpful, I wanted to pay it forward and share my special secret. I was looking for something very thin and strong to hold that detent/spring in place without trying to push one thing in while pulling out the other. So... What I did was to put the lower in a cardboard box to keep everything from flying out. I used an Xacto knife and with the flat of the blade, I pushed the detent and spring down until the blade was hard against the lower. Then, I just slipped the pivot pin in and once it was about halfway in and the detent was safe, I slipped the Xacto blade out from under it without a scratch. And, I didn't lose my detent or spring and I didn't even have to cuss! :)

Hope this helps you guys out on your future builds. I appreciate everything you all have done for me so far. I'll be wrapping up the lower probably Wednesday. I needed to wait on some roll pin punches and roll pin holders that I ordered to do the bolt release and trigger guard. I've done such a good job this far and I just didn't feel good about using regular punches on those two components. I'll keep you guys posted as I wrap things up.

Thanks again for all of your help!!!
 
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