My advice would be to build your own. Research the parts, figure out exactly what you want, and buy the parts as money allows. Build your rifle right, don't go cheap as you will pay for it down the road. I usually try to clean my weapons after each trip to the range. By all means, keep the questions coming. As for good company's, RRA, Stag, Double Star, Del-Ton, Bushmaster, Colt... their all good. Best bang for your buck, I'd say Stag and Del-Ton. You can get a complete M4 Stag upper, 16" chrome lined barrel, ARMS #40 sight, with the bolt carrier group for under $500 new. Buy yourself a stripped lower, parts kit and a stock, and you've got a complete rifle for under $800.
I'm wanting to think it took me about 90 minutes to put my lower together, however I ate, stopped a few times, and really took my time so I didn't scratch it up. Other then that, putting the upper and lower together takes about 15 seconds, as all it is, is two pins.
It took me 3 months to gather all the parts,get a custom .223-.204 -26" barrel and get ready.It took 1/2 day to assemble and break in-sight in.Now it just sits there.I love it but the bolts are more my type.I didnt build it for spray and pray.It shoots great and I have used it a few times varmint hunting.
My advice would be to buy a complete upper, as the tools for that job would get expensive. Now, if you planned to build and then sell, or built 25 rifles, thats a different story. However, to put a lower together, I'd get a punch set, stock wrench, pivot pin install tool, a small hammer, screwdrivers, needle nose pliers, most things you would have around your house. Also have some tape, there is one part of the lower install that it will give you some piece of mind that you don't scratch up the receiver. I think it was during the mag catch install. Look here, both sites are really good, I've ordered from both places. An Armorer's Wrench might be good to pick up also. I'll also say, buy the stupid handguard removal tool. I wish I had, I tore my fingers to pieces getting my handguard off.
I put mine together with only buying a punch set. I had the rest. Since then, I've gotten a little hammer that has rubber and nylon tips, and it's awesome for that. You can do it using a hammer, needle-nose pliers, and a punch set. Just remember, the more of the "proper" tools you buy, the easier it will go together and the less you'll scratch it up.
Buy a complete upper, them you don't have to contend with headspace issues. You will only need a punch to push pins in for the rest of the install, real simple. I suggest going to AR15,com and do some reading. There are some venders there that their prices can't be beat. I saved well over $150.00 buying from the and assembling it myself.
I bought the tools from a gunsmith that was going out of business a few years back.I do advise buying a book.I use the "AR15 complete assembly guide,by Walt Kuleck and Clint McKee.I just looked it up and it is $18.99 at midwayusa.I had military experience plus assembling my own before and working on other peoples guns.There arent any quality gunsmiths for about 200miles around here so if I can help someone I do itIf I dont know and cant find out about something I wont do it.If there were a good gunsmith I wouldnt touch them except for my own.I still send a lot to Dicks gun shop in Saginaw,Mich.They have a website.I have 4 more stripped lowers Ibought if they outlaw them.I can build what I want or sell if they ban them.Thinking about a .223WSSM. sam.
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