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Thread: Custom build for first AR

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    Custom build for first AR

    I wanted to get everyone's opinion on having an AR 15 built for my sons 11th birthday. We are looking at spending roughly $1200 at our local gunsmith. He warrants all of his work and components for the lifetime of the rifle. That to me was very appealing. On top of being local and I am a huge supporter of doing business locally as much as possible.

    Just to give an idea of what we are looking at, and to take some input from those wit h much more experience than myself.

    This will be a dual purpose rifle. Primarily will be for hunting first and home defense (by me, not him) second. And a given should be target shooting.

    We are going to have the hand guard 12" - custom AR hex or blaze pattern, will be coated by the gunsmith (not sure of color at the moment

    All upper and lower external hardware will be coated in a. Contrasting color to the handguard, we may order custom color mag drops and fire control selector

    It will have an aftermarket trigger, better than a std mil spec

    Probably going magpul grip and stock

    And optics we are going with Athlon - BTR- Rd 12 red dot for plinking and home defense and then a scope as well, not sure of magnification yet

    Right now locally he is offering 15% off a build until 11/22 so my thought is, that will basically give up the optics at no cost.

    My son has really taken to hunting and shooting in general. Shot his buck on youth day Saturday and shot about 100 rds of 22LR Saturday afternoon in 40 degree weather.

    And about that much Sunday afternoon as well. He really enjoys it and I want to encourage him to be outdoors as much as possible.

    Lastly, it sounds like the family grandparents and aunts and uncles are going to contribute towards the purchase as well. Will make the impact a little less financially. Either way, my thought on custom is that the rifle can grow as his interests do. Gunsmith specializes in long range precision guns, so he said it's not difficult to add on a precision upper in a different caliber down the road.

    Is this the right way to start him out, since we can afford it? I know we could get a nice start AR for $500 but once you start adding optics, trigger, etc it's seems to add the price quickly. What do you guys think?


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    Senior Member SGB's Avatar
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    I'm a DIY guy, all my AR's I've built myself. Assembling an AR is pretty easy if you're moderately handy with tools, you may want to consider making this a father & Son DIY project ..... down the road it'll mean much more than even a custom built gun that someone else assembled. My .02
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    Quote Originally Posted by SGB View Post
    I'm a DIY guy, all my AR's I've built myself. Assembling an AR is pretty easy if you're moderately handy with tools, you may want to consider making this a father & Son DIY project ..... down the road it'll mean much more than even a custom built gun that someone else assembled. My .02
    I would love to go that route, I really would. But with sports and other commitments I donít think that is possible at the moment. And the last thing I want to do is start it and not get it finished for his. I completely agree with your point and hopefully down the road we can do that together.


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    Accepting adoptions?



    Seriously, I'd re-think the father / son project idea. Give it to him in a box of parts and he'll help you make sure there's time to put it together. That would be an awesome project to work on with him. Maybe assemble the upper and the lower and then put the two pieces together with him.
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    I would start with an off-the-shelf S&W, Ruger, or a Colt if you have the dough.

    Clean it, take it out and shoot it, repeat. A little later on, buy that fancy pistol grip, then the cool guy selector, then a fire control group, etc. in no particular order. This way, you can take things a little at a time and build up a nice spare parts set. Your son will be able to recognize the difference the upgrades make while further studying the rifle.

    Go with a flat top. It leaves the door open for all the sight and optic variants.
    Vote with your dollars.

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    Senior Member luvmy40's Avatar
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    Color coating aside, make sure the builder is using quality(mil spec or better) parts and that the assembly is done properly. Good staking, properly torqued, etc. Ask to see some examples of his builds and verify the build quality. What fire control group is he going to install? What barrel length, twist rate and gas system length will he go with?

    $1200.00 is a good chunk of change for a no name AR these days. Unless the guy has a local reputation for quality, I'd really double down on making the build a father son project. For $1200.00 you could buy all the tools needed and get high quality components for this build. The tools are an investment that would never need to be repeated and will build many ARs for you in the future.

    The actual hands on time to build an AR15 from the ground up from a stripped lower and stripped upper is not that big of a time investment. Even going slow and researching every stage wouldn't take anyone with a modicum of DIY skills more than a day or three of evenings. The experience is well worth it, IMHO.
    Last edited by luvmy40; November 14th, 2017 at 06:32 PM.
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    Senior Member LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    The lifetime warranty is good as long as he is in business. Several local gun shops have gone out of business here due to a slowdown in gun sales since Trump was elected. I do not recommend a .223/5.56X45mm for medium game hunting. It is illegal in several states. I would buy a quality name-brand AR-15 for a first one and limit it to varmint or small game hunting.
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    Don't ever think "Mil-Spec" is top-of-the-line quality. It only means it's what the military asked for--no more/no less. I've seen some real "Mil-Spec" junk in my days.
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    Senior Member Stripesdude's Avatar
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    If the gunsmith isn’t renowned, it may be hard to sell down the road if you choose to do so.

    My first one was a S&W M&P15.

    My second one was a PSA with a 16” 416r steel barrel, 15” free float handguard, 1x8 twist 223 wylde chamber. It has a Geissele 2 stage trigger that breaks at 1.5 lbs, and a Vortex Crossfire (I went cheap but it’s a good scope). In total, this set me back $950 and it outshoots anything on the gun range.

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    I appreciate all the replays everyone. On our local MD shooters forum, there has been a glowing recommendation to take an armorers class and build my own. I am looking into this option for two reasons. 1 we would get to build it together, which I whole heartedly agree would be something he will remember for a lifetime. 2. It will be under the supervision of a licensed armorer who builds custom AR's for a living. And quite frankly I haven't seen someone get such glowing recommendations on a forum. Members can't speak his praises enough for the class he does. And added benefit is, I may save enough from the custom build, to invest in building one for myself as well. Or at least not add too much cost.


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    You could always go this route: 16" Carbine Agency - BLEM


    Here's my thinking: for this price you could purchase a lot of upgrades / extras and spend time customizing it.

    This is Adam's Arms; my AR-10 came from them and I could not be happier with the rifle. They're made here in Florida, less than hour from me, and every thing about the rifle is a quality piece of equipment.
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    Senior Member wrongrecroom's Avatar
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    Sweet yes ..But lifetime warrenty ..That dont mean much frankly ... No name custom shop AR wont sell for anything done the road esp if duarcoated or whatever

    1.2 is the asking pricine for high end builds of AR now .... DD etc

    What I would do
    1. Colt 6920 magpul gun ( like 700-800 at most)
    2. Good geisle trigger ( PSA and other are blowing them out for 200-300 at most and PSA is throwing in free mags or optics at times with them )
    3. Decent Aimpoint etc


    Bam right there about what he would charge for the same

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