MemberDecember 15, 2019 at 12:50 am
So 1st post here..
Not sure if I should buy a rifle build kit, or piece it together
* has all the parts needed minus magazine and lower
* its probably cheaper, wife will love that
* faster completed long gun
* will still have to buy some kind of optic, likely a red dot, as most kits I’ve seen only have front sight attached
* no customization.. there’s usually only a few parts of the kits I’ve seen that I really love the look of
* I’m still not entirely sure what separate parts or smaller parts kits/groups I need
I also need the tools. I have no idea what’s req’d here, and new to building.. Hoping there’s a cheap kit out there somewhere for this
DodgeMan68GuestDecember 15, 2019 at 12:50 am
A PSA kit is your quickest and cheapest route to a decent rifle. Piecing it together is more fun but is definitely more expensive. Optics are always the most painful decision.
Jays-Cool-BeansGuestDecember 15, 2019 at 12:50 am
Build, because you can part it together to be exactly what you want.
Admiral_MikatoSoulGuestDecember 15, 2019 at 12:50 am
I always say build from scratch. Though I have a lot of friends who also build the lower out, and then just buy a complete upper for more piece of mind.
Sometimes you can get complete uppers for less than the sum of the total parts includes as well.
deadOnHoldGuestDecember 15, 2019 at 12:50 am
I’ll run through what I would consider the ‘normal’ process and some of the options.
So you start with a stripped lower; this is the ‘controlled’ part (you’ll need to get from an FFL). I suggest checking out local gun shops for this, as you may be able to buy it for the same prices as you can order online, but save shipping and transfer costs.
The lower needs a lower parts kit, as a minimum these are the springs and roll pins that make it work. These are typically available with or without the FCG (fire control group, aka trigger). Included triggers will often be a basic mil-spec trigger. In my experience, most people end up upgrading to a better trigger eventually, so this is something to keep in mind.
The buffer system, stock & grip (furniture) are also necessary, and a lower build kit will typically include a lower parts kit plus these items. This is where the real customization comes in, and a place where PSA really shines; they offer a variety of build kits that have standard or upgraded furniture, rifle or carbine buffer systems. If you can find a kit that has the furniture you want, this can be a great way to go, as these kits are often cheaper than buying the parts individually (and it still might be the case even if the PSA kit comes with a mil-spec trigger that you don’t use, but do the math).
The rifle kit is usually a build kit plus a complete upper. This is where things can get complicated real quick; if you consider how many different upper configurations there are, and how many lower build kits PSA offers, the number of combinations quickly becomes enormous. If you find a kit that matches what you want, this could be great. But if you don’t, that’s fine; if you buy a lower build kit and a complete upper, you’re getting the same thing. Note that, when you look at uppers, PSA sells them with or without the bolt carrier group and charging handle.
As far as tools go, there are multiple different methods for installing the pins into the lower, depending on what tools you have. It can be done with a hammer, punches, vise grips, C-Clamps…the grip screw will need a somewhat long handled allen wrench or screwdriver, depending (I think the magpul screws usually have both allen and a slot for a flat-head screwdriver).
When you install the buffer tube, a wrench really comes in handy. A rifle tube has some flats machined into the back of it, which you can use the appropriate size wrench (or a crescent wrench) on. A carbine buffer tube has a castle nut, which requires a specialty sort of wrench. There are plenty of inexpensive AR tools out there that have the proper wrenches built in, and I recommend picking one up. Note that in general you can install the tube/castle nut by hand, but without a wrench to give it a little extra, it will likely come loose over time.
In short, I’d recommend picking up a lower at a LGS, getting a build kit from PSA, and getting a complete upper.
The choice of optic (and to a large degree the choice of upper) are going to depend on your intended use for the rifle. If you plan to use an optic, a free float upper is probably a good idea.
TrevelayanGuestDecember 15, 2019 at 12:50 am
Depends, if it’s your first AR, I’d buy one complete, or at least a complete upper and lower to get a complete rifle. This allows you to learn about the platform at a basic level, and over time you figure out what you like and what you don’t. Then, once you know what you like and are familiar with the platform, you can build one around what you want.