As I mentioned before, I'm putting together an AR-15, and my next few posts will be the story of how its been put together. I'm also using this project to test out Picasa, so I'll use that to post my images (just as soon as it finishes scanning a few of my automated rip folders, such as icanhascheezburger, forgot I had all them!)
Before I begin, I'd like to link to a schematic which can be found here. This way when I mention random parts you can find them and play along!
This first post is about the lower assembly, which is the buttstock, lower receiver (has the hammer, trigger, magazine well, etc). At this point I'd like to note I'm using a great book by Walt Kuleck and Clint McKee, The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide, its got nice pictures and very very good detail on how you'll screw stuff up if you don't listen. Well worth the $17!
I bought a DPMS stripped lower receiver from a local gun enthusiast, which cost $158.73 after taxes, cable lock fee, etc. On the AR, this stripped lower receiver, meaning it is just the frame, no trigger, hammer, nothing on it, counts on its own as an assault rifle, because it has the serial number on it. So I walked out of there with a piece of metal in a locked dry box with a cable lock through the mag well, to make it 'safe' to transport.
Lower Receiver Bits
I'm not too particular about my trigger yet, so I also picked up a DPMS Lower Receiver Parts Kit for $56.99 (Don't buy anything direct from DPMS by the way, you can always find it cheaper). Some may ask why I didn't just buy a completed lower receiver, but I wanted to understand how everything works, and say I built every inch of this gun.
All that was left was the stock, and I snagged a Command Arms 6-position stock assembly, for $92.99. Its a very nice stock, and am quite happy with the sturdiness of it, as well as the function. It has rails on the right side, and a 4 battery storage area on the left side (can be swapped for more rails) which is more functionality than I'll need for a while. Went on in about 5 minutes, including forgetting to put a detent in, and having to redo it.
The assembly was easier than I expected in terms of simplicity (piece X goes in slot Y), but harder in terms of executing it (piece X really does not want to go into slot Y, and X's spring is fighting me too). It took about two hours, including redoing a few steps to make sure it was right, flinging detents all over the room as I learned why they say to do something one way, and searching my house for various tools I thought I already had.
The trigger guard's been the hardest part so far, since its roll pin just did not want to go in, and required a "motivator". After that went in, I put in the magazine catch, so I could mount the gun on a handy little bench I have, and then moved on to the trigger and disconnecter. Somewhere in there the bolt catch went in, and that's where I stopped last night. This morning I got up and put in the hammer, safety, pistol grip, and buttstock. It was very straight forward, but like I said above, there are a few places where you really should get a tool to do the job for ya, like the front take-down pin. Otherwise you're gonna shoot the spring all over the room, and don't even think about finding the darn detent afterwards!
So now I've gotta go order all the upper parts, a receiver, bolt/bolt carrier, barrel, and some hand guards. I'll be getting a scope eventually, but may pick up flip up sights due to cost for this first build, not sure. I have pictures of the whole process, if you know how to get a hold of me in real life I'll pass on the URL.