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Discussion Starter #1
Ordered a lower receiver, this is going to have to be a budget build so I started with an Anderson MFG stripped lower. $34.99 before shipping. the ffl im having it shipped to doesnt charge a ffl transfer fee if you buy $25 worth of stuff form them and pay the background check fee. so ill probably pick up some sort of lower components. I decided to stick with a 5.56 based build instead of a dedicated 9mm like i was thinking. the compatibility with my rifle will be nice, mainly since i already have a bunch of ar mags and ammo.

I'm thinking about going with a 10.5"- 11.5" barrel with a good forward blast deflector. I'll probably move the Holosun RDS on to it and put a magnified optic back on my 16" rifle and eventually upgrade that to an 18" SPR rifle.

thinking MOE k grip.. this gun im going to keep all black, my current ar build is a mixture of black and FDE. but i want a classic " black rifle" figured i better go ahead and do this before its too late, given the crazy political situation we've got going on ar pistols might be limited in our near future. so as long as i get the lower, a blade arm brace and a short barreled upper, I'll pretty much have the "pistol" parts..

this will be a slower process, probably like one part or so every month or two, depending on the cost of that part.. but at least im started! Been wanting to do this for a while now!
 

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Gun Toting Boeing Driver
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Glad you took the plunge.

LaRue was selling their MBT2S trigger -- an excellent aftermarket for the price -- sub 100 dollars (like 90) awhile back. Might be worth a look.

When I started doing 223/5.56 pistol builds, 11.5 inch uppers were much less common than 10.5 inch ones so I have a couple of those. If you can find an 11.5 inch that meets your price point (PSA had a great deal on some MLOK uppers awhile back and I got a lightweight 11.5 inch upper from them) I'd suggest giving that a look. Sub 14 inch the round is losing quite a bit of speed and the difference in handling between 10.5 and 11.5 to me is insignificant but you get somewhat better ballistic performance.

Have fun and the best of luck.

I found it a very addictive habit -- the GOOD news is there will be plenty of builds for myself, and my grandsons (when they come along)--and probably THEIR sons and grandsons.

Which makes me sleep well.
 

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MosinRuger: Sir; you find this interesting and informative:)

http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/barrel-length-studies-in-5-56mm-nato-weapons/

There has been a cultural shift from the 20-inch barrel length in the AR-15/M16 weapon systems chambered for the 5.56×45 NATO cartridge to progressively shorter barrels for the purpose of producing an increasingly more compact assault/entry weapon without resorting to a bull-pup design. Simple usage of these short-barreled weapons has shown the necessity for both sound and flash suppression, the intensity of which (in exceptionally short barrel lengths) approached the intensity of a flash-bang diversion device. This shift toward shorter barrels has resulted in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps adopting the 14.5-inch barreled M4 carbine with a re-design of the 5.56×45 from the 55 grain SS-109 to the 63 grain M855 ammunition to optimize this barrel length. The differing bullet design also necessitated a change in the rifling twist rate from the original 1:12 inches to 1:7 inches.

Law enforcement and some special operation units have continued this trend by using weapons fitted with 10.5-inch barrels, and there is some misguided law enforcement interest (in these author’s opinions) in the M16 type weapons using 7-inch barrels. Besides the horrendous flash and sound levels, these ultra short barreled weapons introduce significant ancillary issues, including weapon functioning and reliability as well as projectile stability and cartridge lethality.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for the info guys, I havent fully decided where this thing will go. may even try .300 blk, but i doubt it... and 10.5 is the minimum i would go, 11-12 is also a consideration.

Lets talk about arm braces if we could. Im inclined to go with the blade style as i the whole point here is to have a compact, light firearm. I dont like the bulkiness of the kinda that had the two flaps that wrap around the arm.. some has said that the blade style is uncomfortable under recoil, however I dont see that being an issue, but maybe some of you can chime in on this topic.

thanks!
 

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I've used this in most of my builds:

https://www.kakindustry.com/shockwave/shockwave-black

It comes in different colors and kind of has its own buffer tube with detents of where you can set the screw for the right length of brace (the screw goes into the detents when you get the length right for you; I'd blue lockitite it and make sure it's snug but not overtightened). They've worked well for me.

I do believe subsequent to this there have come out some more stock-like braces (that are still a brace) which might be worth looking into. The shockwave though is narrow and has done most everything I've wanted it to (to include a place to run a sling through for a 2-point). I believe there is some ATF restriction from end of brace to trigger (13.25 inches comes into mind but I could be mistaken).

I do know that TAC has posted some other options of braces which are a bit spendy but very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
TXplt thats exactly what i had in mind, For some reason I thought they were much more expensive, maybe so when the whole ar-pistol craze started a while back.

but yeah i think ill be picking up one of those and the buffer tube to go with it.

thanks!

Also ive been doing some research on barrel lenght and i can see the benefit of the 11.5, Mr gunsngear put it this way, which i think its close accurate, by adding 1 " you add 4% to the lenght of the rifle, while adding 40% to the dwell time, not to mention you do get about 100 extra fps.

but, still most 11.5 " uppers i see are less common and a little more expensive than their 10.5 counterparts... Ill just have to see whats available when it comes to that point. while i like the idea of .300blk, i just cant give up the ammo and mag compatibility of sticking with 5.56... plus, this is going to be a close range weapon, 5.56 at 2600-2700 fps is plenty effective at closer ranges. I'm thinking something like some 50 gr .223 HP would do well out of it, might even get up to 2800 fps, while keeping over-penetration possibility down.
 

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Gun Toting Boeing Driver
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My next pistol will have the SB Tactiacl brace on it. Their cheapest one with the tube and innards is around $100. That brace is way more comfortable to shoot than the Shockwave.
I have the SBT brace on the scorpion (it's major advantage to me is it rotates and locks in place and out of the way).

The Shockwave is on the pistol builds.

I've found either pleasant to shoot but I think you're right in that the SBT has more 'give' to it. On the other hand the shockwave for me has been reasonably comfortable to shoot and somewhat lighter.
 

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Glad you took the plunge.

LaRue was selling their MBT2S trigger -- an excellent aftermarket for the price -- sub 100 dollars (like 90) awhile back. Might be worth a look.

When I started doing 223/5.56 pistol builds, 11.5 inch uppers were much less common than 10.5 inch ones so I have a couple of those. If you can find an 11.5 inch that meets your price point (PSA had a great deal on some MLOK uppers awhile back and I got a lightweight 11.5 inch upper from them) I'd suggest giving that a look. Sub 14 inch the round is losing quite a bit of speed and the difference in handling between 10.5 and 11.5 to me is insignificant but you get somewhat better ballistic performance.

Have fun and the best of luck.

I found it a very addictive habit -- the GOOD news is there will be plenty of builds for myself, and my grandsons (when they come along)--and probably THEIR sons and grandsons.

Which makes me sleep well.
MosinRuger: Sir; you find this interesting and informative:)

http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/barrel-length-studies-in-5-56mm-nato-weapons/

There has been a cultural shift from the 20-inch barrel length in the AR-15/M16 weapon systems chambered for the 5.56×45 NATO cartridge to progressively shorter barrels for the purpose of producing an increasingly more compact assault/entry weapon without resorting to a bull-pup design. Simple usage of these short-barreled weapons has shown the necessity for both sound and flash suppression, the intensity of which (in exceptionally short barrel lengths) approached the intensity of a flash-bang diversion device. This shift toward shorter barrels has resulted in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps adopting the 14.5-inch barreled M4 carbine with a re-design of the 5.56×45 from the 55 grain SS-109 to the 63 grain M855 ammunition to optimize this barrel length. The differing bullet design also necessitated a change in the rifling twist rate from the original 1:12 inches to 1:7 inches.

Law enforcement and some special operation units have continued this trend by using weapons fitted with 10.5-inch barrels, and there is some misguided law enforcement interest (in these author’s opinions) in the M16 type weapons using 7-inch barrels. Besides the horrendous flash and sound levels, these ultra short barreled weapons introduce significant ancillary issues, including weapon functioning and reliability as well as projectile stability and cartridge lethality.
I have not personally ever seen an LE organization use an SBR with a barrel length less than 10.x" (meaning no one using "Pistol length barrels"). Not saying someone out there isnt doing but it I have not seen it where I am.

That being said about shorter barrel length and .223/5.56 ballistics sort of a side topic

(btw neither TXPlt or neophyte said this in their above posts so this response is not to them but rather a side note to something they said for other people in general).

I hear a lot in different forums or different places the comments about "how ballistics suck" out of shorter barrels when people start talking about SBRs and pistol length builds and anything less than a 20" musket barrel lol.

First of, yes anything sub 10" (like 7.x" builds are ballistically terrible no matter what in .223/5.56).

However for the 10.x" to 16" guns... you can greatly mitigate the ballistic property loss of your shorter carbine to SBR length guns by just using better ammo. Especially for the guns used for defensive purposes. It's almost the year 2020... and just like the handgun calibers... defensive carbine ammo optimized with powders for shorter barrels and capped with better bullets are out there now people lol. and have been for quite some time actually.

It sort of amuses me when I ask someone what they use to shoot coyotes or other game/pests with and they come at you with all sorts of handy dandy awesome specialty hunting loads but when you ask them what they load into their "home defense" SBR or longer braced pistol or carbine they say 55 grain M193 ball or 62 grain M855 Green tips. o_O

Both of which are well... poor performers. (The military doesn't even use the M855 any more and have moved onto the M855A1 brown tips which are loaded way hotter, higher pressure and has and entirely different bullet design and makeup. (it also significantly wears down bolt and barrel life and requires the newer updated magazine followers to feed right).

Most people dont' carry crappy ball training/practice ammo in their handguns for self defense, nor do they carry that kind of ammo to hunt with... but many do in their "self defense carbine/rifle/SBR/braced pistol".

Why?

Plenty of awesome defensive loads are out there that preform extremely well out of shorter barrels and give you much better ballistics (at range out of shorter barrels), through intermediate barriers and much better for in target results if you actually had to shoot someone in a justifiable defensive situation.

5.56 mm Federal 62 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (TBBC) bonded JSP
Winchester 64 gr solid base bonded JSP
Hornady TAP
Hornady 55 gr GMX
Black Hills 50 gr TSX
Speer 55 gr Gold Dots
Sig 60gr EHHT

etc etc...

Sig also makes a great 120gr .300 blackout super sonic round specifically for sort barreled (sub 9" barreled SBRs or braced pistols.
(optimal barrel length for 300 blackout is a 9" barrel, less than 9 inches in the 8-7.x" range you start to see the same problems as with the 10-12" .223/5.56 barrels


Yes this ammo is a bit more expensive (just the same as any defensive handgun ammo) but you really only need to buy enough of it to make sure it functions reliably in your gun and then to figure out any zero differences if you have optics. And then just have a couple mags of it or whatever the same as your defensive handgun. Also cycle it out as needed (Just as with a pistol round I would not recommend repeatedly chambering the same round over and over again with .223/5.56.)

In our agency guns we carry one load for work/duty use and then use the cheaper ball ammo for training purposes. The optics whether they be red dots or low power magnified are zeroed for the good stuff.

The bullets are the same weight and we have found that their is negligible to zero differences between swapping ammo types. We use a "50/200" zero for our carbines/SBRs and typically the amount of change between zeros with duty ammo vs training is none to .25 MOA sometimes an inch. Which translates to each operator just knowing that if they need to make an adjustment they just need to adjust a couple clicks on their optics for training if at all. but the point being... its not a big deal.

Obviously if you are using a defensive round that is significantly different than your training round you will see more variance.

Long story short, if people feed their cabines crap ammo, then they cant really complain about crap ballistic performance when there is stuff out there that will address all those issues in shorter barreled guns that will work fine in any engagement distances one could probably reasonably expect to justify a defensive shoot... and in most cases it will still work a whole lot farther than that too.
 

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I have not personally ever seen an LE organization use an SBR with a barrel length less than 10.x" (meaning no one using "Pistol length barrels"). Not saying someone out there isnt doing but it I have not seen it where I am.

That being said about shorter barrel length and .223/5.56 ballistics sort of a side topic

(btw neither TXPlt or neophyte said this in their above posts so this response is not to them but rather a side note to something they said for other people in general).

I hear a lot in different forums or different places the comments about "how ballistics suck" out of shorter barrels when people start talking about SBRs and pistol length builds and anything less than a 20" musket barrel lol.

First of, yes anything sub 10" (like 7.x" builds are ballistically terrible no matter what in .223/5.56).

However for the 10.x" to 16" guns... you can greatly mitigate the ballistic property loss of your shorter carbine to SBR length guns by just using better ammo. Especially for the guns used for defensive purposes. It's almost the year 2020... and just like the handgun calibers... defensive carbine ammo optimized with powders for shorter barrels and capped with better bullets are out there now people lol. and have been for quite some time actually.

It sort of amuses me when I ask someone what they use to shoot coyotes or other game/pests with and they come at you with all sorts of handy dandy awesome specialty hunting loads but when you ask them what they load into their "home defense" SBR or longer braced pistol or carbine they say 55 grain M193 ball or 62 grain M855 Green tips. o_O

Both of which are well... poor performers. (The military doesn't even use the M855 any more and have moved onto the M855A1 brown tips which are loaded way hotter, higher pressure and has and entirely different bullet design and makeup. (it also significantly wears down bolt and barrel life and requires the newer updated magazine followers to feed right).

Most people dont' carry crappy ball training/practice ammo in their handguns for self defense, nor do they carry that kind of ammo to hunt with... but many do in their "self defense carbine/rifle/SBR/braced pistol".

Why?

Plenty of awesome defensive loads are out there that preform extremely well out of shorter barrels and give you much better ballistics (at range out of shorter barrels), through intermediate barriers and much better for in target results if you actually had to shoot someone in a justifiable defensive situation.

5.56 mm Federal 62 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (TBBC) bonded JSP
Winchester 64 gr solid base bonded JSP
Hornady TAP
Hornady 55 gr GMX
Black Hills 50 gr TSX
Speer 55 gr Gold Dots
Sig 60gr EHHT

etc etc...

Sig also makes a great 120gr .300 blackout super sonic round specifically for sort barreled (sub 9" barreled SBRs or braced pistols.
(optimal barrel length for 300 blackout is a 9" barrel, less than 9 inches in the 8-7.x" range you start to see the same problems as with the 10-12" .223/5.56 barrels


Yes this ammo is a lot more expensive but you really only need to buy enough of it to make sure it functions reliably in your gun and then to figure out any zero differences if you have optics. And then just have a couple mags of it or whatever the same as your defensive handgun. Also cycle it out as needed (Just as with a pistol round I would not recommend repeatedly chambering the same round over and over again with .223/5.56.)

In our agency guns we carry one load for work/duty use and then use the cheaper ball ammo for training purposes. The optics whether they be red dots or low power magnified are zeroed for the good stuff.

The bullets are the same weight and we have found that their is negligible to zero differences between swapping ammo types. We use a "50/200" zero for our carbines/SBRs and typically the amount of change between zeros with duty ammo vs training is none to .25 MOA sometimes an inch. Which translates to each operator just knowing that if they need to make an adjustment they just need to adjust a couple clicks on their optics for training if at all. but the point being... its not a big deal.

Obviously if you are using a defensive round that is significantly different than your training round you will see more variance.

Long story short, if people feed their cabines crap ammo, then they cant really complain about crap ballistic performance when there is stuff out there that will address all those issues in shorter barreled guns that will work fine in any engagement distances one could probably reasonably expect to justify a defensive shoot... and in most cases it will still work a whole lot farther than that too.
A few years back, PSA was selling the speer LE gold dots (64 and 55) at very good prices.

So I got a whole bunch. ALL of my guns shoot this ammo well (both from a reliability and accuracy perspective). I've not seen any good deals lately on this but perhaps it's a cyclic thing.

The Speer 55s gold dot and Fiocchi 55s FMJ shoot to pretty much the same POI. The 64s somewhat different but fairly close (at least at sub-200 yard ranges). I've found the fiocchi 55s to be cheap and very reliable/accurate in my guns also. So's I got a s.....load when I got a decent deal on it with free shipping (mostly for training ammo and fun shooting). While I prefer the gold dots for known hunting, I have done varminting with the fiocchis (mostly because that was what was in the rifle or pistol at the time from shooting at the steel and it was a target of opportunity). Sub-140 yards or so it worked fine.

The 300 burns OK in the shorter barrels (but I've seen some reliability issues in shorter barrel guns especially when you put suppression into the mix). As you suggested, I've never considered going sub 10.5 in .223 (but would have considered at least an 8.5 or up in the 300 due to its burn characteristics--my 300 pistol wound up being a 10.5) due to the rifle powder and loss of velocity. Just didn't see commonly available reasonably priced 11.5s at the sources I'd go to until recently. So my 2 pistol build 223s are 10.5 and I'm planning on replacing one of them with a new MLOK PSA 11.5 inch lightweight upper.

The MLOK is a 1/7 FWIW; I've never seen a huge difference in accuracy from anything 10.5 inches and up when compared with common carbine barrels (i.e. the shorter length really hasn't affected accuracy for me in any way). Nor has twist rate been much of a player (but I don't shoot a lot of 77s--at least not yet--and the ones I did shoot through the 1/9 seemed to be of comparable accuracy to the other rounds).

Considering all the combinations, I usually go with a zero for what I'm intending to use the most (and suppressed or not) and make up a card for the other stuff (because I forget easily these days lol). I've never seen much of a POI shift with the 300 but with the .223 it's been significant (around 2" at 100 yards; surprisingly enough the unsuppressed rounds hitting higher).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have had very good accuracy and reliability from federal 50 gr HP out of my 16" 1/9 twist carbine. I hope to be able to use this out of the 10.5-12" upper for HD or hunting purposes. ill use m193 for practice/ plinking and doubt there will he a huge difference in POI within 100 yards. Im guessing( will test when i can) that that 50 gr HP will still do alot of terminal damage out of a 10.5" barrel.

thanks for all the input fellas, ill continue to ask questions and update new parts as a work through the build. I have a feeling im going to finish it sooner rather than later.. i already have full carts on psa and primary arms websites...
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Ok, quick question: 10.5" 5.56 barrel, heavy or m4 govt profile? which would you choose an why?

also 1/7 or 1/8? i have a 1/9. im inclined to go 1/7 on the shorter barrel as ive read that the shorter barrel needs a faster twist to sufficiently stabilize?

am I crazy to buy this:

https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/bc...ur-barrel-5-56-nato-1-7-twist-w-10-m-lok-rail

or this:

https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/bc...ne-length-gas-system-1-8-twist-w-10-mlok-rail


youtuber "704tactical" has a discount code where you get 5% off and free shipping, so i can get these right now for $175.
 

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My 5.56mm pistol has a 10.5 inch barrel with a 1:7 twist. my other 5.56mm rifles and carbines have 1:7 twist rates. I load and shoot 77 grain bullets through them all. With my Eotech red dot on the pistol, I can ring a 6 inch steel plate at 100 yards all day long. If I was building another pistol, I'd grab a couple of those bear creek 1:7 uppers, ya know, just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
well.. I done did it now..

This is on its way:

https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/bc...ur-barrel-5-56-nato-1-7-twist-w-10-m-lok-rail

$175 and change shipped I used discount code "704tactical" and saved 5% plus free ups shipping!!

I just couldnt pass up such a deal. gents I believe that this is probably about as good as we are going to get as far as parts supply and low cost for ar-15's. i mean how much cheaper can it get? so i went ahead and acted on it while it was a good deal. I just hope its not too good to be true. all the reviews say that these bca components look cheap, but function as they should so that is my expectation.

Now I just need a lower parts kit, grip, buffer and brace and ill pretty much have it done. I have a RDS that will work fine until i can add some buis to it. all the buis i have currently are FDE and im trying to keep this one all black.

Cant wait to have a super compact little carbine( pistol if the bafte is reading)!!!
 
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