Building your own AR15 style rifle, Part 1 Print
Written by Taggart   
Saturday, 06 September 2008 06:08

An AR15 is an excellent rifle and every gun enthusiast should have one. A lot of the fun of ownership, at least for me, comes from being able to customize the parts and get exactly what I want. I enjoy building them and getting a working product at the end.

 This 4 part series will walk the complete beginner through the steps to building an AR15 rifle. The total cost can be as low as $650 or as high as the sky, depending on what components are used. Part 1 will focus on what an AR15 is and why they are such a popular rifle. Part 2 will break down the rifle into the components and what to look for when buying. Section 3 will cover assembly of the lower receiver and Section 4 will conclude with the rest of the finished weapon.

 Part 1 - What is an AR15?

AR15 is the name given to weapons that resemble the Armalite 15 rifle designed by Eugene Stoner. This weapon design went on to become the M16 and M4 rifles currently in use with the United States military.

 AR15's can be made to resemble M16s and M4s, but they are semi-automatic.There are also many variations that cause the final product to look nothing like the classic assault rifles.

Currently, Fabrique Nationale (FN) make M16 rifles for the military, Colt makes the M4, and Armalite is still in existence. However, many many companies make AR15 parts. Some of the more popular companies are Bushmaster, DPMS, Rock River, and Stag Arms. There are many others. 

Most AR15s fire the 5.56x45 NATO round. This round is similar to .223 Remington, but not exactly the same. The primary differences of 5.56 are a slightly thicker case, higher chamber pressure, and a slightly longer leade. This means that .223 rounds are safe to fire from 5.56 chambers, but 5.56 rounds might not be suitable for .223 chambers. Many of the larger manufacturers make rifles and components that fit 5.56.

AR15s can also be converted to fire 9mm, .22LR, and .308 Winchester.

The US military uses 20" M16 rifles and 14.5" M4 carbines. The minimum legal civilian length rifle is 16." Therefore, civilians can choose from 16" barrels, to 20" barrels, and even longer. Shorter barrels must be registered with the ATF and a tax be paid. The is based in Texas, so your local jurisdiction may have different laws.

 AR15 rifles (in 5.56) are known to be very accurate weapons with pretty good reliability. As mentioned earlier, they have a huge aftermarket support, with the ability to customize them in many ways.

Building your own rifle allows you to get the rifle you want. You will also tend to save money over purchasing a completed rifle because there is a required tax that must be passed on for complete rifles. The rifle can be assembled with basic tools, although specialized tools can make the job easier.

In the next part, we will break down the components of the rifle and explain what to look for.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 06 September 2008 21:23 )