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  1. #1
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    Explain your AR15 layout...



    What are the parts on your AR15, what options did you consider, and why did you go with your decision? This should become a good resource for people who are interested in building a weapon, and might be facing similar decisions.

    Army Chief started a question in another thread asking why I went with certain specific components on a weapon. Taking the Chiefs idea, I figured why not take it a step farther, and explain the layout of your weapon, or weapons.

    The below carbine is a recent configuration. I wanted something suppressed that was somewhat short, and usable as a jack of all trades.





    I'll start from front to back, and top to bottom.

    The first thing on the front is obviously the suppressor. I kicked around a few different ideas for this project. I am an AAC fan, so I didn't look any farther than the AAC SPR/M4, Ranger II, and M4-1000/ SCAR Light can. AAC cans have fully welded cores and since a can means ATF paperwork and a taxstamp, I don't plan on buying anything that isn't going to yield max durability. I think that at this time, AAC is the only one fully welding cans, the rest are spot welded. That doesn't make them bad, but I'm a fan of good welds.

    Each can offers different pros and cons. The SPR/M4 installs over the barrel, and decreases blowback. The Ranger II screws onto a threaded barrel, and is the most affordable. The AAC SCAR Light is a can which I've obviously used and abused. Its similar to the M4-1000, which is a rapid attach can, and middle of the road in cost, but high on the quality scale.

    The can I choose was the AAC SPR/M4. One reason for this was that it is a top of the line can, and doesn't extend out super far. The lack of blowback means that I don't need to run a gasbuster charging handle. For people who haven't run a can on FA, or done rapid fire, the heavy ammonia smell is enough to make your eyes close involuntarily and water heavily if you have the right wind or are creating a heavy volume of fire.




    Last edited by Stickman; 28 January 2009 at 17:44.

  2. #2
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    Moving up the weapon we run into the flash suppressor, and since that is part of the rapid attach for the can, there isn't much else to say about it. Its worth noting that the AAC open end FS reduces flash at least as well as anything else I've ever used when evaluated during night fire drills.

    The next thing is the barrel. For this, I went with the Noveske 12.5" SS barrel. The SS barrel profile is a little heavier than its 4150 counterpart, but it wasn't a concern for this project. The Noveske barrels aren't the run of the mill SS blanks, and tend to last much longer than many of their SS competition. Noveske also hits the chamber to create a sweet spot that allows for solid accuracy, while maintaining reliability. Its an issue that I'll never need to worry about because this isn't going to be fired with hand rolled ammo, or given the tend love and care that a marksman/ sniper imparts on their steel child.

    After the barrel, we hit the gasblock. For this, we are looking at the exposed block of the Noveske Rifleworks adjustable gasblock. I'm usually not a fan of exposed gasblocks, and in general feel that they are best left covered by a rail for protection. In this case, the Noveske is a pinned unit, as well as setscrewed and there is no concern about it coming loose or getting knocked out of alignment. The adjustable feature is still a pretty new creation, and its designed for compatibility with cans. Since this carbine is going to wear a can much of the time, the adjustable gas block seems like a good way to do things.

    Last edited by Stickman; 29 January 2009 at 17:25.

  3. #3
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    Next we hit the rail and front sight. The rail is a choice that is governed by several things, and in this case I went with overall durability over cost considerations. Thats a theme that continues pretty much throughout this carbine. The Vltor VIS is a continuous rail that extends from its heavily reinforced upper. This upper is a complete Noveske build, and is one of the few uppers I have which I didn't build myself. While I'm a fan of other rail systems which tend to be a little lighter, the VIS is a highly durable piece that has little flex in just about any condition I can imagine.

    The front sight is going to be a little disappointing. The front and rear sights are on there simply because that is what came with the upper from the factory. The Noveske BUIS are Troy Battlesight variants. I like the Troy well enough, but I've broken mine twice, so I'm not as in love with them as some people on the internet. Good sights none the less, but my personal experiences tend to form my opinions more than the comments of others.




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    Next we reach the optic. Selection for the optic came down to the proverbial handful (shown below). I decided on the Aimpoint T-1 in the ADM mount. The reason for the T-1 is that I like its low print on the weapon. The optic is highly durable (I've killed Eotechs), and battery life is high. The small size reduces weight, though lets not kid anyone, this isn't a light weight carbine.

    The American Defense Mfg mount was choosen for a few reasons. I like the ability to adjust a mount without needing tools. I tend to swap optics back and forth quite a bit, and will often pull optics off my weapon to let students use them in classes. The lack of tools means it can adjust in the middle of the range in seconds. Did you know that the US Military requires a tool free adjustment in their current solicitations for mounts? The next reason is that ADM uses a mount that increases surface area and tension without camming directly against the rail surface. This prevents rail damage. Discoloration and scuffs aren't an issue in my book, but anything more serious is. The military considers the rail and surfaces to be expendable, I don't. Most people will probably never even take their QD mounts on and off, and with that in mind, there are loads of good options for you to choose from with your mount search.




  5. #5
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    On the back end we obviously have the stock. There are a LOT of great stocks to choose from, and if people can't find a stock to make themselves happy, they need to get off the internet and go shooting more. Shown below are a few of the options that I had for this project. I choose the new Magpul ACS stock. The stock is new, has loads of battery storage that I'll never completely fill, a QD socket, a locking cam that prevents wobble on the receiver extension (buffer tube), is light weight, and most importantly, a fantastic cheek weld.

    If those reasons aren't enough, its brand new, its Magpul, and everyone wants one. I'm honest, any of these stocks would work well, but the ACS has really grown on me over the past few months of playing around with the prototype.




  6. #6
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    Working to the underside of the carbine we see a few things. First, most people will probably notice that the A2 pistol grip is removed, and a Magpul MIAD grip is used. I have no qualms about saying that I should have used the Magpul trigger guard as well on this lower. In the future, I'll be fixing that as my finger will thank me in the long run.

    The next thing that may be of interest is that little extra pin. The lower used is a Noveske Full Auto (FA) lower, commonly referred to as a M16 lower. Why did I go with this lower for this build? I would be lying if I said it was for any noble purpose, its here because you don't see many Noveske M16 lowers. I think that will change as SRT/ SWAT and other agency teams start understanding the overall quality level that comes with the Noveske weapon systems.




  7. #7
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    Next we see the magazine, and in this case its the Magpul EMAG, which is considered the export version of the PMAG. Its great for this picture, but I'll be sticking with PMAGS for most of my work. There are certainly other options out there, and I still have gear that is loaded with USGI magazines. In all of those mags I've rebuilt them and dropped in new followers (Magpul), which has made a nice difference. For people who have never had a feed problem with a black or green follower, you lead a charmed life. I've had multiple problems with both, including a real world failure to feed off a green follower mag. That was the last time I tried to save a couple bucks on magazines or mag parts.



  8. #8
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    Now we are down to the Vertical Fore Grip (VFG). Shown below, you can see there were a few different option for this one, as well as other which aren't shown (too lazy to dig them out of the garage). The Bobro Shorty VFG is on this one because its a little shorter and thinner than the others. I like and use the others, but the Bobro seemed to work nicely on this one.



  9. #9
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    Lights are next, and simply put, the Surefire M600C-TN Kit 01 that showed up at my house has shown itself to be the brightest, smallst and lightest of any of my lights. The larger Surefire may or may not put out a little more juice, but when you consider the size and weight, the little 600 wins hands down. The little adjustment knob locks up tight, and it comes with a tape switch that I'll never use. I've seen too many tape switches get hit on accident, and at the worst possible times. I know the color doesn't match the rest of the weapon, but somehow I'll get over that. If it really offends me, God made Krylon.



  10. #10
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    We conclude this parts selection with the sling. Since a sling is nothing more than a holster to a long gun, its easy to see why there is no excuse for skimping on quality. Ever watch a slung weapon hit the deck when it comes undone? Its not pretty, and if it happens to you, drop and push em out, there is no excuse for letting your weapon hit the ground.

    You can see that I've got quite the pile of slings, and the image below is only a portion (once again I was too lazy to get the rest out). The current offerings that I'm a fan of are Gear Sector and Blue Force Gear, with upcoming models from Magpul and ARMS that look to be well made also.

    Out of the pile, I go with the Gear Sector GS-2P. My reason is simple, its the same sling that I carry on my duty weapon. This allows thought free simplicity, and for me, thats a good thing. The GS-2P can be configured as an adjustable two point, and within seconds can switch over to an adjustable one point. This makes it a win win sling from my view. The Gear Sector is also modular, which means its attachment stubs can be used for multiple slings from the Gear Sector family.




  11. #11
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    Last but not least, here it is in its final configuration.


    Thoughts, comments, concerns are all welcome.

    Hopefully other people are willing to explain why they built their carbine up the way they did also. I doubt anyone will be as long winded as me, but thats probably a good thing, anything is welcome.





  12. #12
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    That was beautifully done... now I want your rifle. Too bad I can't get your lower since it's a contraband item for me.

    Man.. I'm drooling..

  13. #13
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Stickman View Post
    On the back end we obviously have the stock. There are a LOT of great stocks to choose from, and if people can't find a stock to make themselves happy, they need to get off the internet and go shooting more. Shown below are a few of the options that I had for this project. I choose the new Magpul ACS stock. The stock is new, has loads of battery storage that I'll never completely fill, a QD socket, a locking cam that prevents wobble on the receiver extension (buffer tube), is light weight, and most importantly, a fantastic cheek weld.

    If those reasons aren't enough, its brand new, its Magpul, and everyone wants one. I'm honest, any of these stocks would work well, but the ACS has really grown on me over the past few months of playing around with the prototype.



    Uhhmmmmm....oh really? And all those off-line inquiries, they just, just.......

    In all seriousness, do you have an all-up weight on the final config?

  14. #14
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    Quite simply, that is the best, most engaging, and most informative such post that I have ever seen anywhere, at any time, by anyone. Had it been in a hardcopy magazine format (i.e. Stick's Guide to Fighting AR Configurations), I would have bought a half-dozen copies on the spot.

    Will surely have more to say about this later in the day, but for now, thanks very much, Stick -- beautiful work and exceptional reasoning, as always!

    AC

  15. #15
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    Okay I'm out of drool.. now I'm just jealous.. Especially for the the one 2nd from the left. What a beauty!

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