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AR-15 Barrel Install | Tips & Tricks

If you are more of the DIY type, then doing your own AR-15 barrel install can be a fun project. While you can always take your gun to a gunsmith 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.

AR-15 Barrel Install | Step by Step Process


What you will need:


Let’s start installing!


1. Upper Receiver

Clamp your upper receiver in the receiver block and put it in the vice.

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 that the barrel is flush with the upper receiver.

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.

4. Torque the Barrel Nut

If its 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.

5. Gas Block

Take the upper off the vice and put the gas block in the vice.

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.

7. Insert the Roll Pin

Take your pin with some needle nose pliers and use that to start the pin into the gas block.

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.

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 that 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.

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 that you don’t cross thread the hand guard. You can easily ruin the threads or break the barrel nut.

Sniper MFLF/RS01 High Profile Front Sight with Rear (Dual Aperture) Backup Sight Combo, Aluminum, Picatinny
  • Front sight is HIGH PROFILE, taller than standard
  • Fits lower than rear sight (on a low profile Picatinny block)
  • Aluminum

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.

Negrini Hybrid AR-15 Tactical Rifle Case - 1685ISY/5453
  • Durable, Lightweight Hybrid Polypropylene ABS Case
  • Fits AR-15 Rifles with Scope, Airsoft or Softair Rifles, Barrels up to 24"
  • Recessed Push-Pull Latches

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.

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.

Sniper Tactical High Profile Aluminum Bipod Barrel Attachment Clamp; Black Aluminum; Fits .43" to 0.75" Diameter
  • Secure fit for barrel sizes from .43" to 0.75"
  • The high-tech, durable aluminum construction is lightweight, strong, and built to last.
  • Dual Picatinny or swivel stud mounting system. Posi-lock + rubberized feet

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!

Up Next: Ammo Review: Federal American Eagle .223 FMJ


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.