Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Putting Together An AR-15 Rifle, Part 3

Alright, so, enough sermonizing and semi-historical/semi-technical jibba-jabba from the previous posts (click on the links for the respective parts one and two), and on to the actual building of a ballistic implement.  At least the lower receiver of one, until more funds make themselves available.


Here's some of the fiddly bits that are going to go into the stripped lower receiver, with (hopefully) a minimum of profanity.  I make no promises.

 Following the grunt-proof instructions here at, I installed the magazine catch.  Drop in the spring, a little pressure, some threading and spinning, and it's in place.

Next is the Bolt Release.  Probably one of the easier parts to screw up.  The masking tape is to protect my tools from scuffing the finish.  The roll pin is pressed in with taped-jawed vice grips.  A nifty little trick.

Another roll pin keeps the trigger guard in place.  This is another easy piece to screw up, since uneven pressure can snap off the small ears of the receiver that hold the pin.  Vice grip press-in again, to the rescue.

Now the trigger and disconnecter go into the trigger well.  I had to look at the spring arrangements in the instructions, and still got it wrong a few times.  With some careful reviews, I eventually had my eureka moments, and the parts fit into place. Or so I thought.  More on that later...

Same with the hammer.  A mild bit of pressure on the springs as I simultaneously align the pins that hold everything in place.  This is where the drift punch comes in handy, keeping everything in place until the pin takes over the retention duties.

You'll notice that the front takedown pin is in place as well.  I managed to only have to search for the flying detent once in the carpet under the desk.  *Pwing!* is not a noise you want to hear when putting together a rifle.  Some folks perform this step with the parts and receiver inside a plastic bag, in case the detent or spring really go flying.  I see the wisdom of that, now, only too late.

Now a few pieces go together all at once. The safety selector is placed into its hole in the receiver.  Then a spring-loaded detent keeps it in place from underneath the receiver.  The detent and spring is kept in place by bolting the pistol grip into place.

 Now a few other simultaneous steps again.  The buttstock is an aftermarket model from Ace Riflestocks.  It has a neoprene sleeve that needs to be tugged and pulled over the buffer tube.  The buffer tube has to be threaded into the reciever, but not before it captures another spring-loaded detent for the rear takedown pin (that small circle at 2 o'clock above the safety), and the buffer retaining stud.

All the hard work is done.  Now, the buffer is placed into the buffer return spring, and...

...firmly "Clicked" into place.
I insert an empty mag (Magpul), and viola, I realize I have no barreled upper receiver assembly.  Ooh...gotta order one of those things, I guess.

The rifle lower receiver promptly fails a function check of its parts.  A function check is a quick rundown to see if a rifle fires when it's supposed to, will reset and fire again if needed, and stays on safe when it's not supposed to fire.  It's not resetting in Fire mode.  Ugh.

Consulting a video on Youtube, I find that I placed the Disconnecter spring in upside down.  Flared side _down_.  Ooh...*scratches thick skull*

A quick takedown and reassembly, and it passes a function check.  This scene from Cast Away describes how I feel.."I...I have made fire!"

The trigger's nothing special, rack-grade, but I learned on a military-grade trigger as a yoot, and look forward to completing this rifle at tax time.

Thanks for putting up with my screed.  Back to digital sculpting soon, I promise.

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