What we have here is big 'ol pile of AR-15 parts, gathered over a few years. What we also have is a graphic example of one reason why the AR-15 has become the most popular American rifle ever. Used for home defense, target shooting, hunting, plinking, and tyranny ending, Eugene Stoner's 60 year old design still has a lot to offer.
Accumulated over the last few years, this pile *was* two working rifles, and a bunch of parts. Not even two months ago, it would have been one working rifle, and assorted parts. Now it seems to be snowballing.
The thing that makes this fun is the design. A person with minimal technical skill can work on these rifles with a few inexpensive tools and a little help from easy to find expert sources. From an AR barky pistol up to a full sized long range precision rifle, they can all be 'assembled' by an average person working on a kitchen table over the morning coffee. Yes, there are certainly levels of quality one can expect from an experienced gunsmith that make their services worthwhile, but with an AR-15 even the common Joe or Joe'ette can do a serviceable job.
To be honest, when it comes to entry level AR-15's, one doesn't really save much moola by building it yo'self. Even with cheaper parts, $500 seems about the bottom price point to build one. Right now, a decent quality completely built entry level rifle runs less than $600 out the door when bought right.
The fun comes in making the rifle YOURS, and that's why I call them Lego rifles. You can swap out furniture with only a couple cheap hand tools. You can change an entire trigger assembly with nothing but a pin punch, an allen wrench, and an on-line video in only 15 minutes. You can go so far as to turn a box full of unattached pieces into a complete, safe, and ready to fire rifle in an hour using less than $100 in tools.
Swap out a bolt or barrel, change calibers, make it a shorty carbine or a longish bench rifle... none of it is difficult or daunting for someone with even a little technical skill.
On THIS team are parts and assemblies from:
- Rock River
- Palmetto State Armory
- AIM Surplus
- Spikes Tactical
- Mako stocks
- Midwest Industries
- Chuck Bogardus (custom muzzle devices)
Of the original two, one was my personal AR-15 with a Spikes heavy barrel 16" upper, a Rock River lower, Timney trigger, and Nikon 3x scope. The other, a Rock River lower with CMMG guts and a Ptac upper from PSA. It was an experiment in a cheap slickside upper that Herself liked so much, she declared it hers. The Eotech is on that upper.
The newest upper is a PSA 18" stainless barrel with a .223 Wylde chamber, NiB bolt, tactical charging handle, and 3.5x14 Nikon telescope on a Nikon P223 base. I expect this to be accurate.... or I'll damn well know why (shooting it tomorrow).
The newest lower was built from the Anderson receiver and a PSA kit in about 10 minutes while I sipped my morning coffee. It seemed a useful way to spend a lazy Saturday morning before everyone else got out of bed.
Looking at all these bits and pieces, it seems obvious the Lego rifle assemblies needed to hit the blender.
Out came a RR lower with Mako stock and Timney trigger, supporting the PSA 18" Wylde upper and big 'ol Nikon scope. I'll be mounting a Harris bipod on this rifle, and working up an accuracy load. Nothing over one MOA will be accepted.... and I expect better.
The Spikes 16" upper, decked out with the 3x fixed Nikon on Warne QD rings, and rail mounted flame thrower flashlight got fitted to the other RR lower with CMMG insides and basic M4 stock. It also has Magpul BUIS that are sighted at 100 yards. My 'house' gun, and just plain fun shooting rifle. It will do 1.5 at 100 yards all day, and has never once missed a beat in thousands of rounds.
The Ptac upper (With the dangerous Bogardus 'Compliance' muzzle device and Eotech holo sight) was setup on the Anderson lower with PSA innards and M4 stock. This is still Herself's rifle, and lives where she can grab it if needed.
There are still a few stray parts in the pile, and another stripped receiver to be built up one day. I've had thoughts of building one for each son, and maybe another as a spare..... but at this point which one would I give up?
These are MINE!