Technique & Skills
AR-15 Barrel Install | Tips & Tricks
If you are more of the DIY type, check out this AR-15 barrel install for a fun project in your extra time!
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AR-15 Barrel Install | Step by Step Process
DIY Rifle Barrel Installation
While you can always take your gun to your AR-15 gunsmithing services to get the barrel installed, you can also build it yourself. The big thing you need to be sure to look out for is the proper headspace.
This is something you can do yourself but it can cost a bit of money to buy the tools. If you are buying quality parts you shouldn't be too bad off.
We have for you a step by step process barrel installation for your AR-15 upper.
It will allow you to easily get your barrel installed and ready to go shoot as soon as possible. Check it out.
What you will need:
- Flash Suppressor
- Gas Block + Roll Pin
- Roll Pin Punch
- Gas Tube
- Crush Washer
- Set Screws
- Torque Wrench
- AR-15 Multi-Tool
Let's start installing!
Step 1: Upper Receiver
Clamp your upper receiver in the receiver block and put it in the vice.
Step 2: Barrel Install
Take your barrel and slide it into the upper receiver. Make sure the locating pin and groove in the upper receiver match up and the barrel is flush with the upper receiver.
Step 3: Barrel Nut Install
Take your AR-15 barrel nut and slide it on to the barrel until it is hand tight. You now want to torque it into place.
You want the grooves on the back of the nut to line up with the receiver; there is a little hole to line up to. That's where the gas tube will go.
Step 4: Torque the Barrel Nut
If it's a new barrel nut and receiver, you want to torque it and loosen it 2 or 3 times to pre-stretch the threads. If not, the threads can actually stretch while you are shooting and the barrel nut can work itself loose.
This will torque anywhere between 30 and 70 ft. lbs. It's a very broad range.
Torque Definition: The tendency of an object to turn or twist which is caused by force.
Step 5: Gas Block
Take the upper off the vice and put the gas block in the vice.
Step 6: Gas Tube Install
Take your gas tube and place it in the gas block, with the big hole facing down and the tiny holes matching up with the holes on the gas block.
RELATED: Building An AR-15 From The Ground Up: Upper Parts Kit
Step 7: Insert the Roll Pin
Take your pin with some needle nose pliers and use that to start the pin into the gas block.
Step 8: Use Roll Pin Punch to Complete the Install
Finish installing it with the correct roll pin punch. That is the easy way to install the roll pin, so be sure to buy a couple of extras so that if you lose it or break it, you don't have to wait to get a new one.
Step 9: Install the Gas Block onto the Barrel
Now, you place your receiver back on the vice and slip the gas tube onto the barrel and into the receiver. Make sure your gas port hole corresponds to the hole in the gas block.
If you don't, the gun will have short stroke problems, failure to eject problems, and failure to feed problems, among others.
Step 10: Handguard Install
You are pretty much done with your barrel install and can now put on your handguard. Thread on your handguard, but be careful you don't cross thread the hand guard.
You can easily ruin the threads or break the barrel nut.
- Front sight is HIGH PROFILE, taller than standard
- Fits lower than rear sight (on a low profile Picatinny block)
Step 11: Install the Set Screws
It's time to put your set screws in and lock the handguard down. You want to skip the top hole when putting in your set screws because you can crimp your gas tube and cause some functioning problems with your gun.
- Durable, Lightweight Hybrid Polypropylene ABS Case
- Fits AR-15 Rifles with Scope, Airsoft or Softair Rifles, Barrels up to 24"
- Recessed Push-Pull Latches
Step 12: Flash Suppressor Placement
Once the handguard is locked down, place your crush washer on and screw on your flash suppressor. Then, tighten it down with your multi-tool or AR-15 barrel tool.
Step 13: Finished Upper Receiver
Now you have an assembled upper receiver and barrel. All that's left is to check the headspace on your barrel.
Check out this AR-15 barrel installation by TeamClevenger Shooting:
Just like most things, the well-being of a firearm depends on the amount of care the owner has for it. Some people rely on gunsmiths for repair and installation.
However, real gun enthusiasts prefer to do things on their own. Each gun owner has a certain level of fascination.
If tinkering is your thing, then this AR-15 barrel install is for you.
Think you can do this AR-15 barrel install on your own? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
- Gunsmithing | How To Build An AR-15 Upper Receiver
- Ammo Review: Federal American Eagle .223 FMJ
- AR-15 Basics: A Guide To The AR-15 Platform
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
November 7, 2022 at 1:37 AM
Pretty good read, is there something similar about rifle chassis( https://gritrsports.com/shooting/firearm-parts/chassis/ for example Rem 700 one) installation?
February 1, 2018 at 11:48 PM
I am an old dawg with about 55years of shooting experience, but as always I have learned something new & was not painful but very insightful & enjoyable. Thanks & keep up the good work cause some of us old dawgs need somebody to help us & keep us straight in shooting & good firearm safety.
January 15, 2018 at 11:20 AM
Your torque specs aren’t precise enough and you left out a critical step, how to check the headspace. If you torque to 70 lbs. on and aluminum receiver, you will likely pull the threads. 50 Lb. is what I use.
January 15, 2018 at 11:01 AM
How bout teaching how to check and correct headspace for the AR15 upper.