Took the plunge. Ordered a AR-15 PSA pistol build kit.

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Tallbald

Buckeye
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Jan 29, 2009
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At the urging of my loving wife, who maintains that "Honey you've worked hard all your life. Just get what you want. Who are you saving it for Babe?", I ordered a Palmetto State Armory pistol build kit at the Labor Day sale price of $279. I've toyed with the thought for a few years, and with prices so low these days and availability so extensive, I thought the time was right for me. I chose the 10.5 inch nitrided barrel, with Magpul furniture and the blade forearm brace. I kinda like the military style raised front sight with bayonet lug. Wouldn't a bayonet be a hoot too?
These days I somehow feel less informed than most, having never owned or shot an AR platform firearm. Don't even know how to strip one. There. I said it. And I'm gong to fix that soon!
This kit lacks only the lower, a magazine and a rear sight. I can buy an Aero M4E1 lower for $65, or an Anderson for $40. I'll find a Pmag locally and a rear flip up sight can be had off Amazon for $23. Not bad for a shooting, loud and hopefully fun classroom series of lessons. I have some 5.56 surplus ammo that's been setting there since 1999 to try out first.
This should be relatively inexpensive fun, and given the shifting winds of political change it may be the best time for this kind of endeavor. I figured Ruger would never offer a kit or AR-15 pistol component sets, so I did my research and made the PSA decision.
Wish me luck friends. Don.
 

tsubaki

Single-Sixer
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Mar 3, 2013
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Savannah
Look on Youtube, Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA does a good job with assembly.
A tool kit on my list to make my life easier is the Wheeler #952636 roll pin install tool kit, most important is the c-clamp looking thing in that kit which installs or removes roll pins. That clamp will prohibit busting the lower when installing the roll pin for trigger guard.
You may also want a muzzle devise that throws the blast forward instead of the regular birdcage ones. Various ones available from $19 TO $199. Look at one made by Black Moose. You will get the idea.
 

tsubaki

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My Ruger lower, ambidextrous side charge upper 7 1/2" barrel in 300AAC.
https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1868/43791454674_f3d97be504_c.jpg
 

Mobuck

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missouri
I'm not an AR15 "expert" by any stretch BUT I have assembled a couple dozen and "re-configured" many more.
An AR "pistol" is a tricky piece of equipment in many cases. The simple fact is: making a DI(direct impingement) gas system work properly is more difficult when the barrel and gas tube are so short. Some barrel makers reduce the size of the gas port to help prevent severe "over gassing". An adjustable gas block is another crutch as is a "pigtail" gas tube. I like the "pigtail" gas tube concept as it's simple but this may limit the choices of hand guard.
My personal opinion of .223 AR pistols isn't favorable. I've had one for several years and only shoot it to function test it occasionally because it's so obnoxious. IMHO, the 300AAC is a better choice for barrels under 14.5". Less blast, less issues with over gassing, and better overall results.
We've assembled a couple of 300AAC "pistols" to use in Missouri's "alternative methods" deer season. With a forearm stabilizer, red dot optic, subsonic hunting ammo, and suppressor, this little beastie(and mine is a heavy little beast--I purposely chose a thick barrel profile to reduce the felt recoil for Granddaughter and provide a solid foundation to support the suppressor) is good for 125 yards or so which is about 2X what I'd consider my limit with even a scoped handgun.
Go with the $40 lower as there's not much real life difference in fit or quality of lowers these days. The only tricky parts of the install are the bolt catch pin and the pin through the trigger guard(in fact if I was choosing, I'd choose a lower with the closed trigger guard since how many times do you shoot while wearing mittens).
I'm willing to help if you have other more specific questions
 

Tallbald

Buckeye
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Thanks for the good thoughts folks. This is going to be a learning thing for me. Honestly, with the AR-15 platform being so very common, I felt almost embarrassed in some circles not having any personal knowledge of them. I've read of the overgassing concern and want to come to understand the balance that can be worked through too. I look forward to the experiences I'm headed for. I think. I did divest myself of some un-needed tools from a past life recently, the proceeds from which are paying for this project. The prices sure are right currently. Don.
 

gunman42782

Hunter
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
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KY
I recently bought a pistol build kit from Midsouth Shooters Supply. I bought a $40 Anderson lower, a Shockwave Blade stabilizer with the KAK buffer tube. I gotta say the dang thing is a hoot to shoot! I toyed with the idea for awhile, and the Blade is what sold me on it. It looks just like a short barreled rifle, but is completely legal. Mine has been 100% reliable, and I have put quite a few rounds downrange with it. I can hit pretty good with it too, with open sights.

After I built that one, I bought another lower because they where so cheap, and built a .300 Blackout rifle! I already had the above pistol, and another rifle in 5.56 I built, so I wanted something different. I never was interested in that caliber, but I got to say it is a awful lot of fun to shoot too, and accurate as all get out. Building ARs can be addictive!
 

loaded round

Hunter
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Aug 3, 2003
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Valley Forge, Pa
I've put together a half dozen AR15's using the Palmetto upper kits and the Anderson receivers and that combination makes a great AR15 for around 400.00 bucks. Anyone planning to built an AR15 due yourself a favor, buy a roll pin kit and a take down pin tool and save yourself a lot of frustration. As Tsubaki mentioned previously, Larry Potterfield of Midway Arms has an excellent video on YouTube on building an AR15 and shows you the tools needed.
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
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Messages
7,820
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missouri
For those interested an AR "pistol" and "forearm brace", take a look at the SB Tactical SBA3. It's new on the market, BATFE approved, AND IT USES THE STANDARD CARBINE BUFFER TUBE. Downside is since it's new and a super idea, the prices are fairly high. I bought one as part of a PSA lower kit and basically got the rest of the lower kit FREE.
Now, I'm not suggesting that one should simply swap butt stocks to make a carbine lower into a pistol lower but the SBA3 takes the problem of twisting and failure to hold adjustment out of the picture TOTALLY. IMHO, it beats the heck out of the KAK with the special dimpled buffer tube(which I've also tested and found less than perfect).
 

Tallbald

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,750
Location
Southern KY
Thanks for the replies folks. I am looking forward to the experience of building this. Hope it doesn't become an obsession. With the lower prices we are all seeing on these kits and parts, I can see how it could happen. Casting and loading for 300 AAC Blackout sounds inviting............. Don
 

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