View Full Version : upper receiver build opinions

19 November 2015, 20:56
I am new to the forums and this is my first ar build forgive me for my inexperience.
My dad had started a build about a half a year ago the lower received is complete but has not started the upper. I am trying to order the parts tommarow and Monday for the build but would like to run them over if any one with more knowledge has any suggestions.
He is a huge doomsday type of guy so the purpose of the build is a reliable strong ar for heavy tactical purposes (if such time arises)
Here is the list that a have came up with

Fail zero m16 bcg
Noveske 16" lo pro chf chrome lined barrel 556
Daniel defense 9" omega x rail
I am sure I will catch some heat for this one but do to lower receiver reasons I am going to go with an Anderson upper receiver as far as I understand there uppers are most compatable with there lowers

I do have some questions that I know have been asked a hundred thousand times but the other forums I have read are not recent.
I noticed that noveske does not seem to make nitride barrels and it almost seems like dd does not really specialize in it as much as they chf?
So in your opinion for a barrel is a noveske chf chrome line the best choice for an all around heavy duty tactical barrel or should I consider searching into more ss barrels or salt bath treated ? And is 16" a good all around tactical length?

Another questions is in your opinions is a 9" rail too short and should I look into more of a 12 in rail?
Dd has a 12 omeg x rail it has this cut out that almost seems like it was meant for a mid gas block fitting, I am planning on getting a lo pro gas block in case he decides to switch something out. However there 12 in rail for rifle length states that is should not be used in conjunction with a mid gas block and lo profile gas block, can I ignore this if I decided to get the rifle 12 in rail?

Another question is I wanted to buy a noveske barrel with gas block pinned due to how difficult they can be to remove I am trying to avoid swapping parts or using a 2 piece clamp gas block on a stripped barrel. They are out of stock of the switch block/adjustable lo pro gas block/ barrel set so I am stuck with the basic lo pro .7 gas block, due to time restrictions. If at any point he decided to add flash supressor would the gas block need to be adjustable or is that just for a silence supressor?

My goal is too build a quality top tier tactical/defense upper despite the Anderson reciever so I am open to any suggestions that may help improve the build, I am not however looking to buy a completed upper. I am aware of the headspacing and torque wrench attachment for the omega rail. I am not going to get the forward assist charging handle dust cover or rail guard covers I am going to let him choose that to his liking.

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply in advance. Please bear with me as I am a newbie to this. The build is mil-spec as I'm sure most of you have assumed.

19 November 2015, 21:42
I think I saw about 5 questions in there, so i'll try to answer them as they are listed.. If i miss one or need elaboration tell me, sometimes the guys around here speak in generalities because we assume guys already know.

Anderson probably wouldn't be my first choice but since your just looking for a mil spec forged stripped upper it'll be fine, 90% of forged stripped uppers are practically identical and will work fine, I believe your anderson upper will fall into this category.

I personally love Noveske CHF barrels, I own 3 and they all are excellent shooters with amazing reliability. That said you can get a nearly identical CHF barrel from Rainier HERE (http://www.rainierarms.com/rainier-arms-mountain-series-cold-hammer-forged-barrel-5-56mm-nato) for about 100$ cheaper. Both barrels are produced by FN and besides for slight differences in profile and stampings their the same. I would advice you to get a 16" middy for your goto rifle. Anything longer becomes ungainly, and anything shorter and you start having the hassle of pin & weld muzzle devices. Nitride barrels are excellent, I have a 1 kicking around that I brag on a lot, especially for the price, but for a "one gun" I'd really recommend CHF chrome lined.

You mentioned pinned gas blocks from Noveske. I believe their one of a few companies that will sell a CHF barrel with the gas block already pinned for you (they ship with the hole predrilled on barrel, you install) and its certainly a good piece of mind to have. I like knowing my GBs are pinned and I bought the tools to do all mine myself, but it does make it a bit of a hassle if you plan to change things out later on. Not a huge deal, just something to consider. If you go the Rainier barrel route like I posted, just contact rainier over there and they can do the service for you at a good price.

You also mentioned the DD omega rail. the reason it has the cutout is because its a two piece rail for guys who own an Iron front sight equipped upper like a colt. Guys take off the plastic hand guards and the omega lets them easily put on a rail without removing the front sight base. However its heavy, it's expensive, and really your paying a lot of money for a convince your not needing. Id honestly advice you to pick a different rail, theres a ton of nice rails on the market, look around our photo thread HERE (http://www.weaponevolution.com/forum/showthread.php?4695-Just-AR-s-Gallery/page48) and see if theres not a free float rail you'd like better.

Personally I like rails around the 11-12" range or longer, it lets you mount a light out a little further, lets you get your hand out further etc.

You do NOT need an adjustable gas block. For a goto rifle I like THESE (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-Low-Profile-Gas-Block-p/bcm-lgb-750.htm). But any steel ONE piece GB with a similar design will do you well. A note though, I often recommend getting a GB from the same place you source your barrel...not 100% necessary but it makes assembly easier, and the components were made for each. Just a little aside.

You'll certainly want some kind of flash suppressor from the jump, don't let anyone fool you the A2 birdcage does just fine for a goto 16" rifle. Their cheap and work well. You can fine one HERE (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/a2-flash-hider-p/flash%20hider%20a2.htm)

And finally to the most controversial thing I'll add... Skip the Failzero BCG and just get a mil spec phosphate for your goto rifle. Rainier or BCM makes a quality milspec bcg along with other companies. THIS (http://www.rainierarms.com/bcm-bolt-carrier-group-full-auto) is the BCG I measure all others against. If you do another build go crazy with fancy coated bcg, but like i said phosphate all the way for something you can bet your life on.

Any other questions just ask, theres a ton of smart guys on the forum who are more then willing to help. Good luck bro

19 November 2015, 21:53
Welcome to the forum! You're in the right place. I'm not a door-kicker or expert, but fairly knowledgeable on the topic at hand. Others here more qualified than myself will chime in and call BS where they disagree with me.

First, the components you mentioned are all good choices. If you went with that list, well, you could do a lot worse. You won't get much love for Anderson on this forum, but it will probably work out just fine. An Aero Precision / PSA / Spikes upper should work just fine, though, too, so I wouldn't feel too bound to Anderson. The upper is where all the money goes and what really drives performance, so don't let a $150 decision on the lower drive your decisions on a $500-$600 upper.

On barrels: I'm a nitride fanboy myself. DD does make a few. Other reputable manufacturers that produce a good melonite barrels are Voodoo (Adamas Arms), AR Performance, and Ballistic Advantage. That said, a CHF chrome line barrel from Noveske, Daniel Defense, or Bravo Company are really hard to beat, especially for a SHTF build. For a 16" barrel, I'd probably prefer a mid-length gas system but carbine is just fine, too. And yes, 16" is probably the right choice. You'll certainly pay a premium for the Noveske barrel and frankly I'm not convinced it's worth it. A lot of quality players have entered the market and really pushed prices down. I wouldn't bat an eye, for example, at running a Ballistic Advantage or AR Performance barrel in a HD situation. Oh, and Ballistic Advantage is attractive in that they will pin the low-pro gas block for you for a nominal fee.

For the rail, I'd really go with a 12" handguard over a low-profile gas block. I'm a big fan of DD, but IMO they've fallen a bit behind the times with their handguards. I actually have a DD quad rail on my primary carbine, but I wouldn't go with that setup if I was building it today. I prefer an M-LOK or KeyMod over a quad and would steer you to Bravo Company, SLR Rifleworks, Centurion, Fortis, Midwest Industries, or....there are a lot of good handguards on the market right now and you don't always get what you pay for.

For BCG, I have a Fail Zero M16 BCG and am pleased with it, although I haven't had it too long. For a SHTF rifle you won't loose sleep over BCM or DD BCGs. I tend to stick to BCGs with C158 bolts and that ferrets out a lot of the lower end players.

Good luck, let us know how it goes, and come back and post pictures!

19 November 2015, 22:13
+1 on ballistic advantage barrels
+2 on Noveske CHF barrels not being worth the premium. Their excellent, but so are others. However once you include the price of a GB, gas tube, and pinning service they are more competitively priced then most realize.



Here's a couple photos to show how minuscule the differences are between a Noveske CHF barrel (top) and a BCM CHF. Both are 14.5" Lightweight profile middys, and besides for an ever slightly lighter profile on the Noveske you couldn't tell them apart.

20 November 2015, 04:16
I"ll second the BCG comments from DutyUse. While I have some Fail Zeros for range use, for SHTF I go with BCM or Colt. Others might be just as good, but these two have highest volume showing dependability.

20 November 2015, 05:01
Awesome thanks for the responses guys!
I was under the impression that the omega x was a light weight rail??
So it appears that my first tweak to the parts list will be finding a new rail.
Would this rail work? https://danieldefense.com/rail-systems/ar15-lite-rail-iiitm-12-0-rifle.html

on this barrel? http://www.noveske.com/collections/barrels/products/chf-chrome-lined-lo-pro-5-56

Or is there a proven rail that is free floating sturdy and light weight that I am over looking?

I think that I am going to stick with the noveske barrel for the old man just due to the fact I think it would make a nice gift for him to appriciate and you guys seemed assured it would do great for a SHTF barrel

Now for the bcg is there any difference between performance of the bcm or colt? As far as I understand the bcg is the heart of it all so if I need to switch bcg's I will definently keep that on my to due list.

Could these bcg's take a beating of a few hundred rounds of more at a time without maint. if the situation were to ever neccasary? For those who have wore out there fz bcgs how much did it actually truely end up handling cause there reviews seem to be biased sometimes.

I am not to concerned financially with the cost of parts this time around becuase I have never actually did anything really exciting r the ole man like I should have

20 November 2015, 05:57
Will this rail (https://danieldefense.com/rail-systems/ar15-lite-rail-iiitm-12-0-rifle.html) work well with this barrel (http://www.noveske.com/collections/barrels/products/chf-chrome-lined-lo-pro-5-56) instead due to it being more light weight? Or is there a really good rail of better quality that I am over looking?

Also I am curious to know more about the bcm bcg over the fail zero. Due to its chrome lining if the time were ever necessary could you rapid fire the bcg heavily and dependably if it has to be without facing any malfunctions due to lube or cleaning? My main reason for choosing fail zero was becuase I did not want carbon build up to malfunction the bcg in a fire fight. Cleaning the bcg after heavy use does not seem like it should be an issue
If you were to survive and have the platform operate smoothly throughout that sort of situation.

I am going to stick with the noveske barrel due to everyone agreeing it is a good SHTF barrel and even though it cost more I think it would make for a pretty exciting gift at the same time.

Sorry if there is a double post it appears my last reply was denied, maybe becuase of my use of the URL link?I had just posted the link instead of coding it

20 November 2015, 09:33
0P, you are getting lots of great advice from guys who shoot a lot.

I'll throw my two cents in as far as hand guards, and BCGs.

ALG not only makes really nice triggers for the price, but their handguard lineup is about as light, simple, and rugged as you can get. The price only makes it that much harder not to use them. I also like my SLR Rifleworks handguards.

As for BCGs, BCM, Colt, and DD are considered standards. This one http://www.wcarmory.com/toolcraft-bcg-223-5-56-bolt-carrier-group-black-1b1b6-c-158-mpi-complete.htm is a direct, CAGE-coded replacement part.

Sent from 80ms in the future
Much peace

20 November 2015, 09:45
I appreciate all of the advise I think I have the build that I am looking for lined up now. Everyone has been much help I look forward to dealing with y'all agian. I will update pictures or something when I get parts in!

20 November 2015, 17:29
Never been in a firefight, but a few thoughts:

BCGs: The only advantage of NiB is that it is easier to clean. A little. Buildup isn't really much different, I don't think. The extra lubricity might help a little bit, but the amount of ammo you're talking about before it matters is of World War Z proportions. If that's what you are preparing for, get a second rifle for backup. In that scenario you are either stationary or in a large vehicle with room for another rifle since you sure as heck ain't carrying enough ammo to get you to that point. Colt, Daniel Defense, BCM and I'd throw in LMT are all right up there for reliability/dependability. I have a slight bias against Colt. Everything BCM that I touch impresses me.

The only downside for the Noveske barrel is you are going to pay a premium for a little iron cross mark. But it's a solid choice if saving a hundred bucks isn't that important or you want to impress the kids on arfcom.

Look, the DD rails are good, but what do you really think you need a quad for? If I'm building a SHTF rifle today I'd probably go KeyMod and the BCM KMR/Alpha or a Geissele Super Modulars would be at or near the top of my list. Maybe even the Noveske NSR, KAC URX or the Centurion CMR. Quad rails are overkill if you don't have to mount an AN/PEQ. There is a weight penalty for the quads that just isn't worth it for most of us. I wouldn't hesitate to go into a firefight with ALG, Aero Precision, or Midwest Industries. I personally really like the fat handguards that use the BAR interface like Seekins and Aero Precsion. Keep in mind the default for a long time was $10 pieces of plastic. If you are really set on the quad, then the DD are excellent.

Good luck and have fun with it!

15 December 2015, 21:16
Im giving everyone an update, after bothering duty use for a little bit and discussing some things I have now received my parts. What I ended up getting was a 16" noveske chf chrome lined barrel with a 13.5" noveske nsr keymod rail/tube. The barrel came with a lo pro gas block. I ended up ordering 2 bcg one being a bcm chrome lined and the other a wmd nickle boron. We do have 4 lowers and no uppers so both will eventually get there use. Ha
I had hoped to send pictures but apparrantly I cannot add attachments.

I am lucky because it appears that 99% percent of those parts went out of stock, it seems like almost everywhere, the day after I ordered my parts.

Oddly enough I got the barrel and nsr from rog tactical, I do not recall seeing the iron cross mark, but them agian I didn't pay much attention to that as I did actually messing around with the compatibility of the parts . Unfortunately they are all wrapped up now and waiting for the holidays so I won't be checking. As far as i am aware rog tac seems to be a credible retailer so I am not too concerned.

It seems like the 13.5 on the 16" barrel will still be lightweight, balanced, and have enough real estate. The longer rail/tube on the barrel looked odd to me at first but it really grew on me and I am beggining to prefer it

Now to get some dark earth handguards and some other accessories!

I will try to keep everyone updated when the build is assembled because it appears that alot of the forums on similar builds are outdated. Although I am sure most of you know what your doing compared to my newbie self!

Jerry R
16 December 2015, 07:18
Thanks for the update tcheval. As you continue this thread, some pictures of the build progression would be nice to see. I'm always interested in what, why, and how --- never gets old for me.

16 December 2015, 07:37
Awesome part selection if I do say so myself [BD]

Like Jerry said post some photos up when you get the chance. You'll have to use a photo host website however like photobucket and then share the link for the photos to post up.

I think the 16" CHF barrel (any from the FN series), with pinned low pro GB and a quality phosphate BCG is just about as heavy duty as it gets. That formula is a proven high volume reliable winner.

ROG is an excellent vendor, In fact besides Rainier they're the only two I give my $ to anymore. If you happen to have q problem (I seriously doubt it) they will take care of you.

You didn't mention which stripped upper you went with to finish it off?