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Thread: Crazy $$$ Build

  1. #106
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    Thanks guys. Eager to get this build wrapped up. Now if only I could find some Black Hills loaded TMK’s...
    -One Nation, Under God

    -"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." ~ Michael Althsuler

  2. #107
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    Ok! She is done! Except for the WML!

    This had a few crucial pivoting points during the build out process but the quick rehash of the build parameters was an absolutely no compromise rifle, good from 0 to a minimum of 400y, built with the best synergies from the combat, race, and lightweight realms of AR’s.

    Cost (and apparently build time) be damned.

    To do this I made and followed a thought tree for part selection.

    Function > Ergonomics/Interface > Weight

    Function of the given part first and foremost. Of everything available, which can do the job best? What’s toughest and least likely to fail? What additional benefits can be gained?

    Following function was ergonomics and interfacing considerations. We’ve all handled weapons that felt great, and we’ve all handled weapons that haven’t. Small differences can make a very tangible difference. I wanted to address this and put together a weapon that felt molded as much as possible for the human to machine interface. As a parallel, I wanted the weapon to have a soft and silky smooth recoil impulse.

    Once these conditions were met, or when they were non-applicable or at a performance tie, weight was the deciding factor. Decided by the differences down to the ounce and gram.

    Originally this was going to be a full 16” barreled gun, but this was revised to be a 12.5” barreled suppressed SBR.

    The parts list:

    Tip to Tail

    Suppressor:
    * Rugged Radiant w/ 5.56 Flash Hider End Cap

    Barrel:
    * Black River Tactical Cold Hammer Forged 12.5” with EXC gas
    * SLR Ti Sentry 7 GB
    *Rugged Suppressors Mini Flash Hider Suppressor Mount

    Receivers/Forend
    * Custom Laser Engraved Modern Carbine Brace Built MC6

    Upper Components:
    * Forward Controls EPC
    * V7 Ultra Light Minimal FA
    * V7 Straight Dust Cover Rod
    * Radian Raptor CH

    BCG:
    * LMT E-BCG
    * V7 Cam Pin
    * JP One Piece Gas Ring

    Lower Componets:
    * Brace Built Receiver Matched Pivot Pins
    * Forward Controls ABC/r v3 Bolt Catch
    * V7 Ti Grip Screw
    * BAD Mag. Catch
    * Forward Controls EMR-H (Mag. Release)
    * Forward Controls Mag. Catch Spring
    * Umbrella Grip 23
    * V7 2055 Aluminum Lithium Carbine Buffer Tube
    * V7 Lightweight Castle Nut / End Plate

    Trigger
    * JP Roller Module & Safety

    Buffer System:
    * JP SCS

    Stock:
    * Magpul SL w/ Limbsaver Recoil Pad

    Optics:
    * Kahles K18i -1x8
    * Scalarworks Leap 30mm Mount
    *Holosun 508T Red Dot
    *Arisaka Offset Mount

    Scant parts used in the build fell outside the parts selection thought tree parameters.

    Those that did were the Radian Raptor Charging Handle, the FC ABC/r, the takedown pins, the end plate, and the buffer retaining pin.

    I used the Radian vs. something like a V7 because I wanted ambi in this one area. Could have gone with a Raptor LT… but I like the skeletonized look of the metal handles on the standard version.

    I used the Forward Controls ABC/r v3 instead of a lighter V7 unit, but I have other Forward Controls ABC’r’s and I’ve come to prefer their paddle size and angles.

    The receivers came with steel take down pins machined to match the lowers aesthetics. I like them, they look cool. I used them instead of lighter aluminum options.

    I could have used a Smoke Composites carbon fiber end plate, but it lacked the refinement and QD capability of the V7.

    Also a Buffer Retaining Pin was installed against my directions when assembled by D. Wilson MFG. This is unnecessary and actually rather a PITA when used with the JP SCS.

    All in all however these parts vs. the lighter ones I COULD have used cost me…. about a .3- .5 oz. weight penalty in total. Yeah I’m good to let that slide…

    The barrel, BCG, interior of the upper, and charging handle are all cerakoted in MAD Black. This is a tougher, slicker version of cerakote with a coefficient of friction comparable to Teflon. This was done to reduce friction and smooth cycling during fire, except for the barrel which was just done for corrosion resistance. This was done by MAD Custom Coatings. Unfortunately they inadvertently screwed the pooch when they blasted the outside of the upper receiver and jacked up the artworks two tone contrast. In the end I had to send them the lower for color match as well as the files to re-engrave the graphic on the upper. The Cerakote color match came out dead perfect, however the laser engraving was ever so misaligned with the original and actually gave the wing on the upper more of a… feathered appearance. They also waived all my costs. I’m chalking that up to “Task failed successfully.” Only gripe is that the background of the uppers engraving is not quite as dark as on the lowers.

    As for the artwork… I’ve always been a huge fan of WW2 era pin-up art and the nose art common on aircraft at the time. I’m also a fan of sci-fi, cyber punk, and fantasy. Given the receivers slightly neo-industrial vibe I wanted something that matched and tied in with my interests. What came out was a pin-up portrait loosely based on the character Angel from the Borderlands series of video games. Geeky? Maybe, but damn it looks good. Achieving it was also no easy task. We (myself, my laser engraver, and my artist) even went so far as having to get the blueprint for the magwell window for proper fitting of the imaged directly from Brace Built. However during the mock up, machining variances from manufacturing crept up and prevented the image from fitting perfectly. In the end a clay mold of the window had to be created and a vector file drawn from it to make a perfect match. Freaking, worth it.

    One of, or perhaps THE primary driver of the build was to mesh “duty” or “combat” grade reliability with race gun smoothness and shooting mannerisms. Then the trick became to do all that while being suppressed. The barrel is cold hammer forged. Hard to get much tougher than that. It is also EXC length, which is in between carbine and mid-length. Smoother than carbine and more reliable than a middy on a short barrel. LMT E-BCG was selected as the bolt is legendary for its toughness and the lengthened cam track in the carrier delays unlocking and further smooths things out. Also curiously I’ve observed that the E-BCG requires less gas to drive than typical full mass BCG’s. Later I found a write up explaining why that was, but I didn’t retain the info clearly enough to regurgitate it here. However, it cycles on the same reduced gas setting as my lightweight Ti BCG in another gun, and this is good for wanting to decaffeinate a rifle. Also helping with this is the JP SCS. That change alone would help tame things and it’s become standard in my builds because of it. All of this plus the friction reducing MAD Black. The Radiant suppressor also creates relatively low back pressure which fits the theme of the build. The gas block is adjustable and will be tuned for reliability without overgassing. To do this I set it to lock the bolt back while unsupported, with weak ammo, and pressure against the base of the mag. Once set there I know it will function reliably with full power 5.56, which is otherwise all I buy. Recoil is then dampened even further by a Limbsaver recoil pad. Overkill? Yeah probably. Also contributing to the race gun aspects… the JP trigger. I can hit 1/10th second splits on a shot timer with good A-zone hits at close to close-ish targets with it on a good day. Anecdotally, that’s the cyclic rate on a full auto AK. Never been able to do that with a Geissele or a LaRue.

    As for the suppressor, I actually got it to pull double duty with a .300 I have, but it has taken up semi-permanent residence here. That said, I’m not sure I’d have picked something else even if I would have been shopping for only this host. It’s short and light in the K configuration at 5.1” and 9.4oz. , plus just a little for the 5.56 flash hiding end cap, and has a reputation for being fairly low back pressure (as previously mentioned) and having a deeper tone. It also has an unconditional lifetime warranty and is full auto rated with no barrel length restrictions up to .300 RUM. My 12.5” barrel with 5.56 and me even on my fastest of days won’t be able to hurt this.

    Other things… the barrel fit very loosely into the upper when I did the initial mock up. Due to this I sent the rifle to D. Wilson MFG to shim and bed the barrel, face the receiver while he was at it, and perform assembly. This is my first AR with a bedded barrel, and I’m hoping it, being paired with a truly free float barrel (the barrel nut doesn’t contact the forend), will lead to some impressive accuracy with good ammo. Intended diet for range and work is 75gr Hornady Frontier, 77gr IMI Razorcore, and when it’s available again, Black Hills 5.56 77gr TMK’s. Those rounds should put this squarely in the 400y range, with TMK’s pushing it to hopefully 500y for your preferred SHTF scenario. For close range practice it’s generally 55gr stuff like Independence or MEN or whatever reasonable flavor of XM193.

    More other things… I used a BAD mag catch which worked to recess the mag release button below the protective fence. I’ve got a cousin who is a former Marine and apparently accidental mag drops from guns bumping into equipment on marches, or slamming into doorways during clearing exercises was a thing. The BAD Mag catch along with the Forward Controls increased rate spring helps alleviate this from being a concern.

    Also near that area was another unexpected nuisance. The trigger guard is very narrow, heavily skeletonized, and generously chamfered. I went ahead and measured after it started becoming bothersome during dry fire and one handed manipulations. Due to being skeletonized the guard is effectively two bars resting on your middle finger. Measured across the bottom of the flats each “bar” is only 1/16” wide between the chamfers, which then radius them away from your finger. However my wife is a clever and crafty genius who is good at everything, and fashioned me what we are calling a finger saddle as a solution. She made a leather sleeve, filled the hollow of the guard with a springy cushion stuffing, made a stiff insert for the upper portion to make sure the padding effect pushed down instead of up, stretch fit and tighten the leather over the guard and sewed it in place. It doesn’t budge and is hard to overstate how much it actually enhances the feel of the weapon. It looks so minor, but the effect it has on such a poorly designed trigger guard really is pretty radical. Plus the blue stitching looks sweet.

    Lastly, the optics. I run two primary optics. A Kahles 1-8x in a Scalarworks mount and a Holosun 508T in and Arisaka 45* offset. I wanted a durable and reliable 1-8x with a true 1x. Ended up between the Kahles and the Nightforce options. Ended up choosing the Kahles for the reticle and FOV. The Holosun was chosen over an RMR because, at least to my eye, it has superior dot clarity. It was chosen over everything else as it’s the only dot that has shown itself to be as rugged as the RMR in torture and drop tests. Another neat thing about it is that mounted to the rear of the receiver and with the circle dot reticle selected, it feels very EOtech-esque. Pretty neat for an offset. I’ll have to get some more time behind it, but it’s a pretty positive initial impression. I run the set up as a 1-2 punch, leaving the Kahles on 3x so I can roll from the dot into 3x for a longer shot, and I have positioned the lever on the magnification ring where if I need more than 3x I can just grab it and pull it down.

    So here she is. My Paragon. My End-of-the-World Race Mini-Recce.

    (Apologies for the long write up and only being able to deliver iPhone pics)

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    -One Nation, Under God

    -"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." ~ Michael Althsuler

  3. #108
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    Moar pics!

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    -One Nation, Under God

    -"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." ~ Michael Althsuler

  4. #109
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    MOAR PICS!

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    -One Nation, Under God

    -"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." ~ Michael Althsuler

  5. #110
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    Sweet looking stick!

    I wonder how the MAD Black stacks up against Kal-Guard GUN KOTE? We did the crank, cases, connecting rod and even the piston skirt on my race bikes back in the day and it helped the bike run cooler. Great stuff shooting the inside; that's an often neglected, or overlooked area.
    There's no "Team" in F**K YOU!

  6. #111
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    Wow, looks great!

  7. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn View Post
    Thanks guys. Eager to get this build wrapped up. Now if only I could find some Black Hills loaded TMK’s...
    Still looking for that ammo? https://oldvirginia.net/product/blac...7-gr-tmk-ammo/

    Give him a call, good dude and he has been dealing with black hills directly for a long time. Even if its OOS on his site still call!! That is one good looking rifle BTW!
    The best way to survive a violent encounter is to be the one inflicting the most violence.

  8. #113
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    Nice looking parts list!

    Certainaly didn’t hold back. Couple questions

    How’s the trigger?

    And what does this mofo weigh loaded and ready to go? I weighed a few rifles tonite and was surprised how much they weighed

  9. #114
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    Thanks guys! Yeah she came out pretty great. Nearly a year and a half project from start to finish due to waiting on customizations and optics and the barrel… not to mention the NFA stuff. Doing a no compromise build has been a goal of mine for over a decade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joelski View Post
    I wonder how the MAD Black stacks up against Kal-Guard GUN KOTE? We did the crank, cases, connecting rod and even the piston skirt on my race bikes back in the day and it helped the bike run cooler. Great stuff shooting the inside; that's an often neglected, or overlooked area.
    I’ve never heard Kal-Guard. I wouldn’t think it would be radically different. It sure looks cool though. The barrel looks like polished wet ink that never dried and is crazy slick to the touch. Hand cycling the action things feel nice and smooth, similar to racking a higher end new 1911. Gives me high hopes on how it’ll feel once it starts to break in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    Still looking for that ammo? https://oldvirginia.net/product/blac...7-gr-tmk-ammo/

    Give him a call, good dude and he has been dealing with black hills directly for a long time. Even if its OOS on his site still call!! That is one good looking rifle BTW!
    “Very long wait time with no ETA from factory.” Is what the site says. I’ll go ahead and give him a call anyways. TMK’s are back burner right now (August has two birthdays, an anniversary, and then doing our first ever actual family vacation in Spetember, so funds are heavily reallocated right now). But thanks for the pointer. I’ll definitely be hitting up that resource.

    Quote Originally Posted by mustangfreek View Post
    Nice looking parts list!

    Certainaly didn’t hold back. Couple questions

    How’s the trigger?

    And what does this mofo weigh loaded and ready to go? I weighed a few rifles tonite and was surprised how much they weighed
    The trigger is my favorite trigger by a pretty substantial margin. I’ve got a couple LaRue’s, a Geissele SDE, and have owned the SSA, SSA-E, and SD3G. I’ve shot a Timney but can’t remember which one, also POF, CMT, Triggertech… several others but at this point can’t remember which. Briefly had an Elftmann but had issues right off the bat end never did end up getting it to the range because it was such a pile of shit. The JP absolutely smokes them all. To be fair I haven’t tried the SSP or the single stage LaRue, but I have a hard time imagining them being different than their other offerings. The JP is just SO FAST, with SUCH short reset. Absolutely no pretravel or creep on either of the two I have. Only the LaRue breaks as crisply, and the JP’s have no perceptible over travel on either of my units. And somehow it gets better as you break it in. The speed you can get with it is just insane.

    As for the weight… I honestly have no idea. I don’t have a scale. I’d like to think she’s light for a suppressed multi-optic mini-Recce given my parts selection, but truthfully just don’t know what it weighs.
    Last edited by Aragorn; 24 July 2021 at 09:39.
    -One Nation, Under God

    -"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." ~ Michael Althsuler

  10. #115
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    Definitely want to hear about that Kahles K18i -1x8 when you get some range time in...
    The best way to survive a violent encounter is to be the one inflicting the most violence.

  11. #116
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    Wow! Great execution of a well thought out build. That Mad Black Plus has me hopped up. Just the ticket for a VP9 long slide I have that shows some wear.
    “What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?" -Antonin Scalia

  12. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uffdaphil View Post
    Wow! Great execution of a well thought out build. That Mad Black Plus has me hopped up. Just the ticket for a VP9 long slide I have that shows some wear.
    Thanks! And yeah that should look sweet on a VP9, especially a long slide.
    -One Nation, Under God

    -"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." ~ Michael Althsuler

  13. #118
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    Ya I’d bet you would be surprised at how much it weighs with can on and loaded mag I know a few of mine surprised me.

    Anyways, thanks for the feedback on the trigger, definitely one I’ve been curious about.

    Those barrels have me intrigued, just wish he’d post gas port sizes, but the extra gas length should make for a smooth shooter

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