Calguns.net  

Home My iTrader Join the NRA Donate to CGSSA Sponsors CGN Google Search
CA Semiauto Ban(AW)ID Flowchart CA Handgun Ban ID Flowchart CA Shotgun Ban ID Flowchart
Go Back   Calguns.net > FIREARMS DISCUSSIONS > Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Mark Forums Read

Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-23-2018, 9:40 PM
shotgunkev shotgunkev is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 11
iTrader: 0 / 0%
Default Advice from experienced AR15 builders

Hi Everyone:

Embarking upon my first AR build and looking to obtain the correct tools for assembly, maintenance, future upgrades, and to minimize frustration. Cost is not a big concern as I expect to use these tools for years. I have strong preference for USA-made or EU-made tools. I've read a number of 'tools' threads, but not having received my lower + upper yet, I'm not 100% sure of what I'll need.

I am going to be mating a matched fully assembled upper receiver together with a *stripped lower*. Being California, I opted for the upper to have a thread protector, but will be getting some kind of compensator. I also expect to remove some of the upper receiver parts and replace with lighter weight parts. As for tools, is this all what I'll need? I have a vice and other basic hand tools, including a Wheeler torq wrench set.

Squirrel Daddy Gunsmith Roll Pin Holding Starter Punch Tool Set with Hollow End
https://www.amazon.com/Squirrel-Dadd.../dp/B00QO2XGRW

Nylon Vice Jaws
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...7O65ER2O&psc=1

Grace USA - SHORT Roll Steel Spring Punch Set - SRS7 - Gunsmithing - Steel Punches - 7 piece -Gunsmith Tools & Accessories
https://www.amazon.com/Grace-USA-Gun...dp/B00H407C1O/

Reaction Rod
https://geissele.com/ar15-m4-reactio...stomer-reviews

Magpul Armorer's Wrench (for castle nut)
https://www.magpul.com/firearms-acce...wrench-ar15-m4

Starrett S565WB Drive Pin Punch 8-Piece Set
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008IHTJ

Grace 8oz brass/derlin deadblow hammer
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UOVOT48

Do I need the Starrett set, plus the Grace USA short roll steel spring punches?

Is there anything else that I'm missing or that would make my life easier? Many thanks in advance!

**Big preference also for tools that come in a zippered sleeve or case!

Last edited by shotgunkev; 11-23-2018 at 9:52 PM.. Reason: Forgot to add something :)
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-23-2018, 9:49 PM
GunDog GunDog is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,586
iTrader: 26 / 100%
Default

Might want to get a Bolt Catch Pin Punch from Brownells.......

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod26484.aspx
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-23-2018, 10:10 PM
alpha_romeo_XV's Avatar
alpha_romeo_XV alpha_romeo_XV is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Diego North County
Posts: 1,597
iTrader: 1 / 100%
Default

Depending on what kind of handguards you choose and I'd recommend freefloated ones for better accuracy there are more barrel nut options now than the original A2 type. Getting an A2 barrel nut to the right torque while simultaneously having the gas tube aligned can be tricky. I upgraded to using a torque wrench and then having a set of shims to get it just right. Use anti-seize on the treads so you can get off easier 5 years later when time to replace. I had a nut on so tight to get gas tube aligned but due to not using any shims or anti-seize that it bent the open armorers wrench trying to remove.

Some of the newer keymod or mloc handguards use a barrel nut that only needs a large crescent wrench. And I have one DPMS handguard that need a strap wrench for the nut.

The BevBloc has worked good for me holding the upper while torquing a barrel nut. That action rod seems like upper could slide off if not working in vertical position to keep gravity pulling it down.

I've used vice grip pliers to squeeze in the pins for bolt catch and trigger guard.

I anticipated enough barrel mounts to justify a set of go/no go head space gauges.

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-23-2018, 10:12 PM
17+1's Avatar
17+1 17+1 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,478
iTrader: 10 / 100%
Default

For lower: stock wrench (cheap sheet metal one), flat blade screw driver large size for A2 stock, roll pin punch set, painters tape (to protect from marring), needle nose pliers, small hammer to drive pins, bench vice, tube of blue loctite for buffer tube, moly grease for trigger sear surfaces and hammer and trigger pins.

I’ve built 25+ plus lowers, never had one fail to function.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-23-2018, 10:20 PM
hermosabeach's Avatar
hermosabeach hermosabeach is offline
I need a LIFE!!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,022
iTrader: 7 / 100%
Default

For Gunsmithing, hollow ground screwdrivers and of bits are nice.

The Magpul wrench is nice. Many freefloated uppers don’t use a GI barrel nut.

Not knowing what nut shape is on your upper makes me want to hold off on the wrench.

I would suggest that you watch the assembly videos on U tube of the AR platform and get a better feel for what you will need.

It sounds like you already have torque wrenches in inch and ft pounds for properly torquing castle nuts and muzzle brakes.


You can also look at brownells for blocks to hold actions in vices and such
__________________




“Science is like an inoculation against charlatans who would have you believe whatever it is they tell you.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-23-2018, 10:36 PM
hermosabeach's Avatar
hermosabeach hermosabeach is offline
I need a LIFE!!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,022
iTrader: 7 / 100%
Default

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...ols/index.html

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...--prod417.aspx

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod24254.aspx

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod25011.aspx
__________________




“Science is like an inoculation against charlatans who would have you believe whatever it is they tell you.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-23-2018, 10:38 PM
hermosabeach's Avatar
hermosabeach hermosabeach is offline
I need a LIFE!!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,022
iTrader: 7 / 100%
Default

Midway USA and Sinclair intl also have great tools for smiths

Videos too

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pcko0UlvQxQ
__________________




“Science is like an inoculation against charlatans who would have you believe whatever it is they tell you.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-23-2018, 10:47 PM
Sal0327 Sal0327 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 253
iTrader: 29 / 100%
Default

I would suggest Brownells extension rod, similar to geiselle reaction rod but it's works for ar15 and LR308 if you decide to build a big frame AR in the future.
https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...aspx?rrec=true
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-23-2018, 11:02 PM
CaliforniaCowboy's Avatar
CaliforniaCowboy CaliforniaCowboy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 773
iTrader: 0 / 0%
Default

I went the extra mile by using a Upper Receiver Lapping Tool.

__________________
Why Brits do not have a 2A.

Last edited by CaliforniaCowboy; 11-23-2018 at 11:10 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-23-2018, 11:03 PM
NPFreedom NPFreedom is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,568
iTrader: 80 / 100%
Default

Instead of the vice jaws, I would get an upper vice block clamp like this. The nylon one you link can be used for other firearms but the vice clamp ones are specifically made for an AR upper.

https://www.opticsplanet.com/wheeler...ock-clamp.html

Also a rubber mallet or non marring hammer is nice to have.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11-24-2018, 12:04 AM
4acae86's Avatar
4acae86 4acae86 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Bellflower
Posts: 171
iTrader: 3 / 100%
Default

I personally like the Brownells reaction rod and the Magpul wrench. I also know that this little tool has saved me from losing my front detent pins quite a few times. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017OUSJFQ..._Ikr-Bb8W6V67C. Not a must, but makes a frustrating job a snap.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11-24-2018, 12:56 AM
CaliforniaCowboy's Avatar
CaliforniaCowboy CaliforniaCowboy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 773
iTrader: 0 / 0%
Default

A bed sheet to put over you and the lower when inserting springs, so "When" they fly out you can more easily find them.

Maybe a torque wrench / Driver if you want to tighten everything down to spec. I picked one up just for my barrel nut to make sure I had it where the manufacturer recommended.
__________________
Why Brits do not have a 2A.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 11-24-2018, 12:58 AM
CaliforniaCowboy's Avatar
CaliforniaCowboy CaliforniaCowboy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 773
iTrader: 0 / 0%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPFreedom View Post
Instead of the vice jaws, I would get an upper vice block clamp like this. The nylon one you link can be used for other firearms but the vice clamp ones are specifically made for an AR upper.

https://www.opticsplanet.com/wheeler...ock-clamp.html

Also a rubber mallet or non marring hammer is nice to have.
That is the one I used on mine, came in handy.
__________________
Why Brits do not have a 2A.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 11-24-2018, 6:04 AM
ZX9ALLDAY ZX9ALLDAY is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: LA
Posts: 744
iTrader: 16 / 100%
Default

Forget what everyone else is saying. Do yourself a favor and get yourself extra springs and detents for pivot/ takedown pins. Trust me!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11-24-2018, 6:30 AM
Darkstar5012 Darkstar5012 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Santa Maria
Posts: 247
iTrader: 24 / 100%
Default

Agreed, never hurts to have a spare lower parts kit.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 11-24-2018, 12:24 PM
shotgunkev shotgunkev is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 11
iTrader: 0 / 0%
Default

Thanks everyone - this has been very helpful.

The free-float handguard that comes with the rifle is an M-Lok compatible guard with a "non timing barrel nut" that is allegedly easy to install. Does that mean that I won't need the magpul wrench?

Also - do I need moly grease if I am installing a drop-in trigger? Installation instructions for most drop-in triggers don't call for greasing the trigger during the installation process. I am probably going to get the triggertech two stage.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 11-24-2018, 1:32 PM
17+1's Avatar
17+1 17+1 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,478
iTrader: 10 / 100%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunkev View Post
Thanks everyone - this has been very helpful.

The free-float handguard that comes with the rifle is an M-Lok compatible guard with a "non timing barrel nut" that is allegedly easy to install. Does that mean that I won't need the magpul wrench?

Also - do I need moly grease if I am installing a drop-in trigger? Installation instructions for most drop-in triggers don't call for greasing the trigger during the installation process. I am probably going to get the triggertech two stage.
Personally, I always put a small amount of moly grease on the sear surfaces of even a drop in. The CMC drop in for example comes pre greased so you don’t have to mess with it. Just don’t over do it, you only need a very small amount.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 11-24-2018, 3:15 PM
bootstrap bootstrap is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 1,079
iTrader: 20 / 100%
Default

Black electrical tape helps prevent marring your lowers when installing the bolt catch. Punches can chew right through masking tape.

Brownells upper vise block is great.

Some of the obscure barrel nuts that come with inexpensive free float rails can be installed with a 1 3/16 crowfoot wrench.

IMHO, $80 for an armorers wrench is pricey. UTG makes a good, small and efficient castle nut wrench for around $15: https://www.primaryarms.com/tl-arwr02

As for adding/removing muzzle devices, a 3/4" crescent wrench should work just fine.

Wheeler bench block is good too.

For gas tube/block assembly: run a punch through the holes before you start the roll pin. Tiny bit of moly grease won't hurt either. Insert gas tube. Break off about 1/4" of a toothpick to use as a slave pin to keep the gas tube lined up as you tap in roll pin.

Last edited by bootstrap; 11-24-2018 at 8:27 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 11-25-2018, 8:28 AM
Jimi Jah's Avatar
Jimi Jah Jimi Jah is offline
I need a LIFE!!
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North San Diego County
Posts: 13,731
iTrader: 1 / 100%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliforniaCowboy View Post
A bed sheet to put over you and the lower when inserting springs, so "When" they fly out you can more easily find them.
I use a broken off end of a single ended razor blade to hold the detent in while inserting the catch. Haven't lost a spring yet.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 11-25-2018, 9:03 AM
CaliforniaCowboy's Avatar
CaliforniaCowboy CaliforniaCowboy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 773
iTrader: 0 / 0%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimi Jah View Post
I use a broken off end of a single ended razor blade to hold the detent in while inserting the catch. Haven't lost a spring yet.
I used an old credit card.


Sent from my Z982 using Tapatalk
__________________
Why Brits do not have a 2A.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 11-25-2018, 8:31 PM
shotgunkev shotgunkev is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 11
iTrader: 0 / 0%
Default


For the screwdriver set - is the 22 bits sufficient for an AR-15? I have other firearms so I am wondering if I should spring for the bigger set.

The lower receiver vise block doesn't look very stable - but it does make sense so I'm not crushing the lower receiver...

Couple of cleaning/lubricant questions:

Do you have a cleaning guide rod? They come in .223 or .308.... dumb question perhaps, but which would I get if I had a 6.5 Grendel? I assume the bolt carrier group is of similar dimension to the .223....

Can you recommend a good trigger grease then?
Does this one work better than traditional moly grease?

https://www.amazon.com/Gun-Butters-T...ct_top?ie=UTF8

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 11-25-2018, 9:19 PM
Pupulepeter Pupulepeter is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 538
iTrader: 14 / 100%
Default

You only need a screw driver to install some grips and the A2 stock. A standard roll pin punch set from any hardware store will work just fine. I have a set of starter punches that get lots of use as well. No need for a vice block if just assembling the lower, but they are critical for working on uppers. I prefer the panther claw from DPMS. You can pull the key ring out of the retaining pin and use it to insert your front dentent. Insert the pin, align the hole with the detent pin shaft and insert the detent through the hole. Take an appropriate sized punch and depress the detent/spring, then rotate the pin and use it like a slave for the front retaining pin. I like the standard armorers wrench ~$15. You’ll need it to tighten the castle nut. Otherwise a thin piece of cardboard to protect the lower when inserting the mag lock pin is all one needs. Nylon hammers are nice... Bottom line, besides the armorers wrench, you don’t need specialty tools to construct an AR.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 11-25-2018, 9:20 PM
Pupulepeter Pupulepeter is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 538
iTrader: 14 / 100%
Default

Any anti-seize grease is fine. I’ve seen red, grey and gold on factory uppers.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 11-25-2018, 10:47 PM
ar15barrels's Avatar
ar15barrels ar15barrels is online now
I need a LIFE!!
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Van Nuys
Posts: 46,372
iTrader: 100 / 100%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunkev View Post
Hi Everyone:

Embarking upon my first AR build and looking to obtain the correct tools for assembly, maintenance, future upgrades, and to minimize frustration. Cost is not a big concern as I expect to use these tools for years. I have strong preference for USA-made or EU-made tools. I've read a number of 'tools' threads, but not having received my lower + upper yet, I'm not 100% sure of what I'll need.

I am going to be mating a matched fully assembled upper receiver together with a *stripped lower*. Being California, I opted for the upper to have a thread protector, but will be getting some kind of compensator. I also expect to remove some of the upper receiver parts and replace with lighter weight parts. As for tools, is this all what I'll need? I have a vice and other basic hand tools, including a Wheeler torq wrench set.

Squirrel Daddy Gunsmith Roll Pin Holding Starter Punch Tool Set with Hollow End
https://www.amazon.com/Squirrel-Dadd.../dp/B00QO2XGRW

Nylon Vice Jaws
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...7O65ER2O&psc=1

Grace USA - SHORT Roll Steel Spring Punch Set - SRS7 - Gunsmithing - Steel Punches - 7 piece -Gunsmith Tools & Accessories
https://www.amazon.com/Grace-USA-Gun...dp/B00H407C1O/

Reaction Rod
https://geissele.com/ar15-m4-reactio...stomer-reviews

Magpul Armorer's Wrench (for castle nut)
https://www.magpul.com/firearms-acce...wrench-ar15-m4

Starrett S565WB Drive Pin Punch 8-Piece Set
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008IHTJ

Grace 8oz brass/derlin deadblow hammer
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UOVOT48

Do I need the Starrett set, plus the Grace USA short roll steel spring punches?

Is there anything else that I'm missing or that would make my life easier? Many thanks in advance!

**Big preference also for tools that come in a zippered sleeve or case!
Get a receiver block for the barrel nut installation and removal.
The reaction rod damages receivers and barrel index pins.
I would only recommend using the reaction rod for installing muzzle devices.
A receiver block does a great job of that too though.
__________________
Randall Rausch

AR work: www.ar15barrels.com
Bolt actions: www.700barrels.com
Foreign Semi Autos: www.akbarrels.com
Barrel, sight and trigger work on most pistols and shotguns.
Most work performed while-you-wait, evening and saturday appointments available.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:49 PM.




Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Proudly hosted by GeoVario the Premier 2A host.
Calguns.net, the 'Calguns' name and all associated variants and logos are ® Trademark and © Copyright 2002-2018, Calguns.net an Incorporated Company All Rights Reserved.
Calguns.net and The Calguns Foundation have no affiliation and are in no way related to each other.
All opinions, statements and remarks made by Calguns.net on this web site and elsewhere are solely attributable to Calguns.net.