I cannot quite put a finger on what first gave me the itch that apparently takes $3000 dollars to scratch. The closest I can say, is perhaps a combination of seeing the results my friend was getting with a custom made bolt gun and handloading, and putting together a polymer lower for a .22 AR. These two main reasons combined with the great experience of having my 870 Cerakoted by Gus over at Dynamic Combat Solutions in Wayne, NJ screamed build something for accuracy but something badass looking. The following article is not meant as a tutorial on building an AR so take anything here with a pinch of salt and if you are ever unsure about what you are doing consult a competent gunsmith.
AR-10 vs. LR-308
After halfhearted research my head kept spinning about the options of larger AR pattern rifles. You may experience a similar feeling when you begin to start sourcing parts and looking at styles and it is actually quite simple.
AR-10 is AR-10 is AR-10
The AR-10 pattern is produced by a much smaller group of firearms makers and while I don’t understand the appeal is the preference of some people out there.
DPMS Pattern, SR-25, LR-308
These are interchangeable terms in regards to parts, however the most commonly used and widespread terms are LR-308 or DPMS pattern. If a part in question says DPMS pattern or LR-308 it will work in your build. The only caveat to that statement is coordinating handguards and upper receivers. Some DPMS upper receivers are Hi-Profile and Some are Lo-Profile. This profile refers to the dimension of the part of the receiver that has the top pic rail. Check out this video by Shell Shock Armory go to about 4:20 in the video for measurements but before that he talks about some of the pitfalls of parts sourcing and shows the issue that comes with mismatched parts. Buy the wrong model of handguard and they will not match correctly.
Anyway based upon a greater variety of parts and interchangeability with some AR-15 components I decided on a DPMS Pattern build.
The build began with asking a local gun store if their distributor could get me a stripped lower. They carried DPMS lowers and that cost 279 plus tax and nics. I then began the dizzying and seemingly never ending process of ordering parts. For Fit and compliancy I went with a DPMS Lo-Profile Upper from Brownells. Then for three weeks I tormented myself as to barrel and handguard combinations. I finally found the samson evolution 308 rail in 15” ordered direct from samson. For the barrel I wanted 20” and wanted to buy something worth the money. Rainier is a solid name in the AR game and I decided upon a match barrel chambered in their proprietary .308 rainier match which is a “Wylde” style chamber for .308 providing safety and accuracy across the civilian and military loadings. Also from rainier I ordered a dimple jig and Seekins Precision Muzzle Brake. Everything else was from Brownells with the exception of Stock and Mags which were from midway. BCG I have no idea my friend ordered two and I got it from him.
Preparing for the Build
The only preparing I did was to prep the parts for cerakoting done by Dynamic Combat Solutions. This meant breaking down the upper to a stripped form, and removing allen screws from the handguard the lower was already stripped and ready to go. Gus did a great job matching the finish to the Magpul Gray of the grip and stock.
As with most gun projects I perform in my apt, this occurred in my bed. The lower went together just like a normal AR lower with two differences. The bolt catch assembly is retained with a threaded pin instead of a rollpin, and both the safety selector and rear takedown detent springs are retained by the pistol grip.
Vortex Vortex Vortex. I picked up online at BHphotovideo.com, a Vortex Viper PST 6-24×50 FFP MOA reticled scope. This thing is sweet with 10 brightness settings and FFP consistency in the crisp reticle making this think a joy to use. Costing $900, this was my first entry into quality rifle glass and my reluctant adoption of the buy once cry once mantra is being affirmed.
Just working through what to feed the thing. I will eventually begin to handload, probably going to invest in the Redding dies and contribute to my communal reloading situation with quality dies. Currently shooting PPU Match to much success, and have a bunch of other factory ammo to play with in the mean time.
Like any AR pattern custom build especially when using an adjustable gas block and different loads, there will be some growing pains. First range trip to function test with no glass mounted I tuned the gas block to reliably feed but the last round wouldnt hold open. The bolt catch seemed to be binding up. Second trip with glass mounted it would eject the spent casing but not feed the next round. I don’t remember if I had turned down the gas block in between for some reason. I plan on buying a steel mag from DPMS to rule out PMAG issues and potentially grease or polish the bolt catch. Im not losing any sleep as the rifle does not even have a full box of ammo through it yet.
To summarize this is a project that I had a blast sourcing and executing. Although I could have bought a Windham or S&W off the shelf for 600 bucks less It wouldnt have been everything that I had wanted and would not get to work with gunsmiths like Gus at Dynamic Combat Solutions or just have that one gun in your safe that you know for a fact no one else has.
For those of you that don’t know I co-host the Guns of Hollywood Podcast on the Firearms Radio Network. I also guest on the Gun and Gear Review Podcast and write reviews and will be writing reviews on many of the parts from this build in the future as I can fit it in around my recording and editing schedule.