So, a little bit ago, I mentioned that I was going to be building an AR-15 from the ground up, and that I'd be documenting the entire process for you to follow. If you remember correctly, I said that I had received the 80% lower and the jig needed to get the job done and was going to record how I did it so you can replicate it for yourself.
That part is in the works, and I'm happy to say that I finally have all of the parts needed to finish the build. Last week, I ordered a no-brainer from Palmetto State Armory. It is a totally assembled upper receiver with barrel, bolt carrier group, charging handle AND a parts kit to finish the lower receiver.
Photo Credit: PSA
Here's the best part: I only paid $359.99 for that kit, and it has everything I could ever need to make a basic AR. Minus the lower, of course. Oh, and I'll have to buy a rear sight (but I could just use a tall optic).
The upper kit I purchased seems to be of high quality. Included in this kit is a 16” stainless barrel with 1:7 twist rate to make sure that the bigger bullets (55 grains and up) spin properly and don't induce mid-flight tumbling. The included bolt is set up to go full auto if needed, and the lower parts kit includes everything else you could ever need to finish the rifle off, to include springs, trigger controls and the buffer assembly.
What's the damage? How much have I spent so far on my build?
So, once it's all said and done, the parts kit + the %80 lower + the jig = a grand total of $549.97. Could it be done for cheaper? Yeah, it could. There are cheaper lower receivers and jigs on the market.
But so far, I like the Easy Jig 80% Arms gave me. It breaks the process down Barney style (you remember Barney, right? The big, purple dinosaur?). That way, a monkey could understand how to do it. And, if a monkey could do it, it'll be nearly impossible for me to screw up.
Anyway, remember the point of this whole thing is to show you how to build a rifle that is yours. One that is not in the flawed system of buying and selling firearms. Something that, after the zombie apocalypse breaks society down, you'll have something reliable to shoot in self-defense. Or to bring dinner home with.
Unfortunately, as of this writing, the upper kit is a bit more expensive than what I paid for it. But, there are others available for you, at a cheaper price with comparable parts and great reviews.
Here is my list of parts so far, with links:
The Easy Jig from 80% Arms.
Lastly, the upper receiver parts kit from PSA.