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Thread: Reputable (Mil-Spec Or Better) Manufacturer vs. Home Build AR-15

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlongJohnson View Post
    Legitimate question; do you buy the appropriate pins and gauges, etc.?

    If you install something like an A5 extension is it just trial and error with ejection patterns, etc. before you're happy?

    God Bless,

    Brandon

  2. #62
    I have appropriate punches, headspace gage set, etc. I happen to like Geissele triggers and BCM hand guards, which come with some of the necessary tools to install them properly. Calibration has been checked on my torque wrenches.

    I've actually machined a custom tool for holding the buffer tube as the nut is tightened, because the stackup of the keying features in the components themselves (BCM tube and Noveske end plate) didn't keep it aligned as precisely as I wanted. That also massively reduced the deflection of the buffer tube loop on the rear of the lower receiver while applying torque, which made me happy.

    Any time you depart from a standard spec, things are liable to change, so yes, you may have to "fiddle-fuck" with it for awhile. But if you understand where you are, and what changes you're making, it's not just random trial and error. Changing things has predictable effects if you understand the operation of the system.
    .

    -----------------------------------------
    When you just make something free, then nobody has to pay for it. Why is that so hard?

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWT View Post
    But do you have the procedures and do you use the same parts? Are you able to competently perform those procedures?

    Where did you get those procedures? How are you sure you have all of their procedures (wouldn't it be in their interest to keep that proprietary)?

    That'd be my question and I'm saying this genuinely from the heart; not being petty.
    When I was preparing to actually do my build, I was reading M4Carbine religiously. At the time, I felt that was the highest quality collection of information and links out there. I had links to all the (leaked) TDP documents. I had all the dimensions, tolerances, and torques from sources I felt were legit. On top of all that, there really isn't that many pieces/parts/torques to deal with. Even without all the specific information, given the high quality (in spec) of parts I was dealing with, ANY mechanically inclined person could have used a copy of the Machinery's Handbook and assembled a functional upper. I would even go farther than that and say that most mechanically inclined people could build a functional AR from parts with no instruction, the design is truly that elegant in it's simplicity.


    Quote Originally Posted by BWT View Post
    I would have the same sentiment.

    I can appreciate both of your points of view, and what I'd offer is a little bit more pessimistic about the mechanical aptitude of the average joe and even if said aptitude is there having access to said documentation for said process/procedures.
    I think I've been clear in my posts, I'm not talking about the average joe, I'm talking about people with the proper mechanical aptitude. People that are not suited for a given task can screw up ANYTHING.

    Quote Originally Posted by BWT View Post
    Don't they know there's nothing more important than internet debates? Just kidding. It sounds like your priorities are right. We'll be here all week .
    I normally don't post much, because I try to stay in my lane. But this thread called to me, because I felt I had a valuable opinion, not just an opinion. I'm not basing my opinion on having assembled 1000's of ARs. I'm basing it on 19 years of industrial experience writing the policies, procedures, work instructions, and quality inspection plans for machining and assembling parts that are more tightly toleranced and complex than AR parts. Then it touched a nerve...

    Quote Originally Posted by BWT View Post
    I guess what it boils down to me is known good.

    I know what BCM has to offer; I haven't assembled an AR myself because honestly ones with a lifetime warranty are widely available that are of great quality for a reasonable price.
    I also know what BCM has to offer, and it is great. And they are based in Wisconsin, so two thumbs up! I've bought three uppers and a lower from BCM for that reason (one upper is my Dad's).

    Quote Originally Posted by BWT View Post
    For instance, and I may land myself in hot water here. There's a famous AR-15 armorer that a lot of us (myself included) would jump at an opportunity to take a class from. I bought a complete lower receiver from their company and I believe it was shipped with a buffer weight that was too heavy for it to properly function (shot it through a midlength gas system using Federal XM193) and a rear take down pin that wasn't installed properly. (ETA: He works for said company I believe as a product designer/head armorer).

    That's from a known good company. Now, I look at each individual on each individual forum and I don't know that guy's background and I don't know if that guy's background would be applicable. A life time of assembling complex machinery doesn't mean you know how many ft-lbs Colt tightens their barrels to or if they use proprietary go/no-go gauges what those values are to verify the gun is in spec?
    I know who you are talking about (as do most people into ARs), and I would still pretty much take his word as gospel, and trust the company he works for to give me a good product. If you would have called them, I expect they would have apologized and fixed it, no questions asked.

    You're right, a lifetime of assembling widgets doesn't mean you know Colt's specs, but the TDP is out there, as are the military armorer manuals. All the information needed is available.

    Quote Originally Posted by BWT View Post
    So, I guess to a degree; I'd question the capable person because if they don't have the procedural documentation. Colt's spent 40-50 years perfecting that procedure (who would've thought millions of rounds down range in carbines would've resulted in an o-ring and a different stiffness plastic insert under the extractor would fix that problem? What other lessons were learned?) and BCM probably reverse engineered that procedure or some other way obtained that procedure from Colt; to be completely candid.
    Yep. For a "controlled document", there seems to be a lot of copies out there. Also, while there are lots of faults with the internet, a person who is willing to sift for information can figure out what is legit.

    Quote Originally Posted by BWT View Post
    Out of legitimate curiousity. How did you guys get your training? Armorer schools? Trademens by profession? Friends with Jim Hodge? Professional Engineers?

    Do you use any procedure for assembling an AR-15?

    God Bless,

    Brandon
    My training started with my Dad when I could walk. He was the service manager at a logging/construction equipment company for 25 years while I was growing up. I went on service calls. I walked around and played in the extremely capable machine shop they used to make one-off repairs to damaged parts. He took me to the shop to tear things (engines, pumps, cylinders...) apart, so I could see how they worked. Every time a neat piece of equipment came through their yard, he took me to see it. Then when I was about 10, my aunt married a man that was a true machinist. He could make ANYTHING. In fact, 50 years later, two companies that are world leaders in valve seats are still using some of his automatic lathes to rough machine parts. Tolerances have shrunk, and his machines are no longer capable of holding the new standards. Rough machining may not seem like much, but it has been FIFTY years! My uncle had a sawmill, and he had modified or made all of the equipment. He made and used a four-sided planer before buying an industrial unit. Growing up like that, I had dreams of being a machinist or welder, but my Dad steered me to be an engineer. He said if I was an engineer; I would have enough money to have a lathe, mill, and welder in my garage. So I went to Michigan Technological University and became a Metallurgical Engineer. I was in the last group that had Metallurgical Engineering on the diploma, the class after mine had Material Science...losers. Speaking of losers, most Metallurgical engineers end up as process control in a foundry/forge shop, or as quality engineers in places that use those products. I ended up as a quality engineer. I've worked for a company that machined and assembled 500,000 water pumps a year for a large diesel engine manufacturer. I've worked for an OEM that made transmissions for engines up to 3,000 HP. I've worked in a shop that made millions of fuel injector bodies/parts a year. I've also worked for an OEM that made engines up to 27,000 HP. In all of these places, my job was similar. I improved/maintained/wrote the quality documentation, I created the gaging and inspection processes, I worked with the casting/forging/part suppliers when there were problems, I designed gages to improve the inspection of the machining processes, and sometimes I designed fixtures to improve the machining process itself.

    Horribly long winded, I know.

    Scotch...it's what's for dinner...

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by StraitR View Post
    Serious use (ie. LEO patrol/Civilian HD) carbines should be factory built by a reputable manufacturer. I also agree with Rob's list (BCM, Colt, DD, and KAC)
    While I definitely agree on the LEO, due to liability concerns, what is your concern with "Civilian HD"? I'm damn confident the one I built is going to go bang and feed the next round. Confident enough to bet my life on it, if I kept an AR for HD instead of a pistol.

  5. #65
    moar cool•onialsism pls schüler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toonces View Post
    While I definitely agree on the LEO, due to liability concerns, what is your concern with "Civilian HD"? I'm damn confident the one I built is going to go bang and feed the next round. Confident enough to bet my life on it, if I kept an AR for HD instead of a pistol.
    It's the same question eveeyone keeps butting their heads against in this thread.

    If you are convinced your build is good for your serious use, that's all that matters. For you.

    If you are convinced yours is good for everyone else's serious use then it is on you to prove it to their satisfaction. I don't see how that would be accomplished universally and likely not worth your time.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by BWT View Post
    ...who would've thought millions of rounds down range in carbines would've resulted in an o-ring and a different stiffness plastic insert under the extractor would fix that problem?...
    The O ring was a temporary fix until Colt could redesign the extractor spring. Colt ARs come with the the new extractor spring with the new insert, but no O ring. Adding an O ring to a Colt extractor spring will make it too stiff.

    Springs are critical to the proper function of any firearm and the one area that I feel too many don't understand. Of all the springs, the one most critical to an AR and the one most manufacturers haven't gotten right (BCM included) is the extractor spring. Based personal experience and from tracking many malfunction threads, I would say the extractor spring is the most common source of AR malfunctions. I would go so far as to say the most common cause of extractor spring failure, is not using the Colt extractor spring
    War is mankind’s most tragic and stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate provocation is a black crime against all men. Though you follow the trade of the warrior, you do so in the spirit of Washington — not of Genghis Khan. For Americans, only threat to our way of life justifies resort to conflict -Dwight D. Eisenhower

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by schüler View Post
    It's the same question eveeyone keeps butting their heads against in this thread.

    If you are convinced your build is good for your serious use, that's all that matters. For you.

    If you are convinced yours is good for everyone else's serious use then it is on you to prove it to their satisfaction
    . I don't see how that would be accomplished universally and likely not worth your time.
    This post very pointedly and thoroughly puts forward my views on the matter.

    I of course respect the apparent extensive background some of you have and I've certainly learned a lot from this thread.

    I'm not trying to resurrect this discussion as much as to say; schuler effectively expressed what I couldn't in a half-dozen posts in three sentences, I respect all involved, and also say thanks for the discourse I enjoyed it.

    I like the depth that this forum offers and I appreciate it's members.

    Have a great night and God Bless,

    Brandon

  8. #68
    Very interesting read so far guys, just reinforces for me that I will NOT be getting my feet wet 'building' lego guns. I am also curious if anybody could point me to 'The Chart' that has been mentioned, would be curious to have a look. So I am pretty much new to running rifles, though I have 'read' alot of different things about AR's (taken with a LARGE grain of salt).

    That being said, I found an interview from James Sullivan (AR-15 designer). Lot's of great info there, from somebody who has spent a large chunk of their life working on improving the platform.

    http://www.smallarmsoftheworld.com/d...idarticles=110

    http://www.smallarmsreview.com/displ...idarticles=108

    http://www.smallarmsreview.com/displ...idarticles=107



    Last edited by White Crane; 08-16-2017 at 09:23 PM.

  9. #69
    Site Supporter ReverendMeat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by White Crane View Post
    Very interesting read so far guys, just reinforces for me that I will NOT be getting my feet wet 'building' lego guns. I am also curious if anybody could point me to 'The Chart' that has been mentioned, would be curious to have a look.
    Here is a link to the original chart (or at least the first version I'd seen): http://www.trapshooters.com/attachme...78-jpg.225849/

    Here is the description for each item on the chart and an explanation for why or why not it may be important: http://ar15armory.com/forums/tutoria...by-rob-sloyer/

    Here is the original M4Carbine discussion thread: http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread....ajor-AR-Brands

    I don't believe the chart has been updated in some time, so it's accuracy in terms of which manufacturers do what is hard to peg (especially when some are less forthcoming, or outright fraudulent, when it comes to certain claims). It made waves back in the day because the idea that "parts is parts" was common and there was a preponderance of turds who insisted that their DPMS/Olympic Arms/Whatever rifles were better than Colts. The butthurt can still be felt to this day.
    "Customer is very particular" -- SIG Sauer

  10. #70
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    Assembly is the biggest hurdle. You can buy the same parts used by the big boys to roll your own. The quality SHOULD BE THE SAME. You can look the parts over, gauge gas ports, etc. and do your own "low level QA/QC" in addition to what Colt and BCM and DD, etc. did before the part was put in a bag or box and shipped to you. At this point, you are 1:1 for quality with the big boys, PLUS your own eyes on the part.

    Then you get to assembly, and this is where the wheels can fall off. You may not have the correct torque wrenches. You may not wish to buy the assembly lubricant. You may be ignorant of procedure and specification. However, if you are NOT ignorant or averse to procuring correct tools, etc. I see no reason that a DIY AR should be any worse off than the Colt, BCM, etc. and several reasons why it might be BETTER.

    That said, I have seen some home builds that horrified me.
    Last edited by Unobtanium; 08-17-2017 at 02:36 AM.

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