By Kurt Darrell
Investing in the Right Components For Your DIY Rifle Build
The AR series rifles have become wildly popular platforms for hobbyist gunsmiths for several reasons. AR rifles are accurate and fun to shoot, and their versatile designs allow them plenty of flexibility, making them suitable for varmint rifles, hunting, competition shooting, home defense, and much more.
Most importantly for the DIY gun builder, AR rifles are highly modular in design, so they are endlessly customizable. These rifles are relatively easy to build from scratch, and DIY gunsmiths have all sorts of great components to choose from to build the rifle that they want. So what kind of components should you invest in for your DIY rifle build? Let’s take a look.
Determining Your Purpose
The first thing you have to think about is the actual purpose of the gun you’re building. The type of gun you want will ultimately determine what type of platform is appropriate, which ultimately determines what components you need to get.
For all-purpose shooting and hunting, many enthusiasts recommend the AR-15 and the .223 round for versatility. If you need something a little heavier, which has more stopping power at larger distances, you might want to go with a larger round like that found in the AR-10 or the AR-308.
If you just want a smaller and more responsive rifle for easy target acquisition for plinking or home defense, the AR-9 is a great choice. Once you settle on your AR type, you’re ready to start gathering your components.
Investing in Components
Let’s use the AR-308 as an example. In order to build a complete DIY AR-308 rifle, you need the 80% lower receiver and the upper receiver. These are the most important components to choose and invest in, as they form the body of the rifle, which is going to be doing all of the work.
AR-308 Upper Receivers typically come in their stripped form, which can then be matched with lower receivers and completed stocks, grips, bolts, dust-covers, and etc. Some component manufacturers provide matching upper and lower receiver sets, which are a great idea and tend to take the frustration out of finding a matching set yourself.
It is also important to pay attention to the top of your upper receiver. Are you looking for the classic M16 look with a carry handle and iron sights? Or do you want to go with a more modern design and opt for a flat-top rail system like a picatinny rail? With rails, you are afforded much more flexibility with your choice of sights and scopes.
The Finishing Touch
Once you have the components you need, you will need to finish your 80% lower receiver. On a mass-production scale, this is typically done with computer-guided CNC machines. However, this isn’t necessary for DIY projects. Thankfully with today’s technology, you can pick up the right jig and use a standard router and the required parts to finish the job. Be sure to take the time to find a quality router, as a substandard router may result in a botched finishing, leading to hours of frustration.
After you’ve selected the AR platform that is right for you, and you’ve picked up the upper and lower receiver, as well as the jig and all of the necessary parts, you’re ready to put together and finish your AR. As long as you invest in quality components, you’ll have the AR rifle you’ve always wanted with minimal effort. Build yours today!