Skip to comments.Building an AR-15...Advice?
Posted on 03/01/2010 5:19:20 PM PST by Chasaway
I want to build an AR-15 from scratch....
I [obviously] want to make it mine...and as least expensively as possible.
The web is full of info on this, but I've always gotten great advice from this forum..
That’s what I understand...
Some of these comments are...unsettling.
I don’t get the dif between buying a gun from a private dealer and buying the lower from a private dealer.
Finishing an unfinished (ie, less than “80% finished”) lower is like building your own firearm: you can do as many as you like, but you may not sell them without affixing a serial number to them. In some states, you’ll need a FFL to sell a firearm you’ve made. If you’re not selling or transferring a firearm you’ve made, the BATF is OK with you making your own guns from the ground up. That’s where the “unfinished lower” exception comes in. To the BATF, a compliant “unfinished lower” needs a lot more than a few holes drilled. You’re going to need a Bridgeport, a bunch of end mills, drills, setup blocks, etc.
For my money, if I were finishing an “unfinished” lower, I probably would not bother with someone’s forging - I’d just get a billet of 7075-T6 and mill it from start to finish. The hardest part of the whole business is the mag well, which you can either mill very carefully or (the better way) use a wire EDM.
None. No difference. You are clear to proceed.
I can’t speak for Texas as I don’t know the gun laws there. But I do know that I have a relative in Houston that can not buy a firearm due to a DUI conviction. Just going by that I would think that Texas has pretty strict gun laws.
As soon as you use the words “private dealer” - you’re sending us into the weeds.
A dealer is someone who is licensed by the BATF.
A private individual is someone who is not a dealer.
A “private dealer” is an oxymoron.
Are you talking of buying this lower from a private individual or a dealer?
A striped lower AR 15 receiver has all the serial numbers you need for a gun. If you legally own a lower receiver, you legally own the gun, period. I don’t know much but I know that from experience.
HOWEVER, there is one little catch.
If you buy a second hand stripped lower from a private party, you have no idea if it was FFL’d as a pistol or a rifle. If it was sold as a pistol reciever, you may build it into a rifle OR a pistol. But if it was sold as a rifle receiver and you build it into a pistol...OH YOU ARE IN TROUBLE. (depending on the state). I live in iowa. If you buy a stripped lower that was originally sold as a rifle stripped lower and you attach a short barrel to it, you just broke a federal law. You just built a “short barrel rifle” and that is a federal offense.
I’m talking about an individual who sells guns, parts, whatever...Selling whatever he sells out of his own personal collection...or whatever.
But he’s not a gun “dealer”. He’s not a licensed BATF “dealer”.
Sorry for the confusion.
Yes, a stipped, completed lower has the serial numbers affixed.
A “80% or less” finished receiver will not have the numbers on it. You have the option of putting the numbers on when you finish it.
Just one thing to think about...if you buy it from a private party, and it later turns out to have been stolen, you could be charged with receiving stolen property, even if you didn’t know.
You are correct as far as Federal law is concerned. Some states (eg, Pennsylvania) require that semi-auto rifles go thru instant-check, even for a private sale. Check local laws.
This may not be the clearest damn gun thread I’ve ever started/read, but it sure is illuminating...
Here I am on one of the most conservative sites I visit, and the range of responses I’ve received range from “Where do intend to spend your prison time?” to “Just go ahead...you’re good”.
What’s the matter with our country, where well-meaning Americans don’t even know which way to go to stay “out of trouble” or to stay within the law?
I just want to have my guns all being “under the radar”...I’m not trying to break any laws.
This is very interesting. This is very instructive. This is very disturbing.
I just wanted some advice on the best way to build one. I heard more about the trouble I could expect to get into.
I guess more than anything, it proves out my sense that I need to find any way possible to keep my stuff as my stuff.
Guns are like taxes. You can follow the rules to be best of your knowledge and still end up in jail if they want you bad enough. And no...the rules aren’t applied to everyone equally.
Here’s an example of an unfinished forging:
Reasons to go this route: You can make any mods you want to the design, mag well, etc when you machine it out. You can buy a half dozen for the price of a finished lower. You can make a lower for each caliber you want, etc.
What do you need to finish this? Well, there’s two ways to go:
First, you could use nothing more complicated than a drill press and a set of files. The lower is forged out of aluminum, after all, so this isn’t like filing on 4140 cro-moly steel. It would go (relatively) quickly. If the urchins in Pakistan can carve a receiver out of a forging with a file, so can Americans.
Second route: A Bridgeport-style vertical mill. While this sounds expensive, it isn’t as expensive as many folks think. The collapse of the auto industry has flooded the market with used mills - you can pick up a mill for between $2K up to $4K. Once you have a mill and some tooling, there’s a whole field of stuff you can build for a shooting hobby - from scope rings and rails to front/rear sights, adjustable rests, etc. Matter of fact, there’s a whole host of things you can do that you couldn’t do previously in metalworking.
Vertical mills are incredibly versatile machines to have. Think of them like a drill press on steroids (and then some). Not so much because they’re so much more powerful than a drill press, but because they’re so much more rigid than a drill press. Their spindles are designed to take side loads, not just an up-and-down load on the tool. You put a cutter into the spindle, clamp the work to the table, and the table moves up/down/forward/back/side-to-side. On a mill, you feed the work into the spinning tool, and you can typically tilt the tool left/right, forward/back for complicated shapes.
Once you’ve used a mill, you’ll almost never go back to a drill press - even just for drilling simple holes.
EDM (electrical discharge machining) is the high-tech, high-precision (< .0001” accuracy possible) method of removing metal from deep solid pockets. Used EDM machines will set you back from $5K up to $10K, then they’ll need some consumables and tuning to get going, then you’ll have to learn some CNC programming to get them to do what you want. This is beyond most people, I’ll admit, but it is the way that AR-15 gunsmiths tend to hog out the mag well on a receiver if they’re doing a lot of them.
Like the others wrote: AR15.com. He has a legal section and a listing of parts to stay clear of.
So, assuming I could buy a lower receiver through a private purchase...how would anyone ever know what I had?
Which, I guess, is the point?
This varies from State to State.
Probably you're gonna get a better answer for that from an attorney in your state who knows the subject. Does your gun club have any attorneys who advertise in your club's monthly newsletter?
I say better safe than sorry, and better safe than in a gray area of the law, and advice is worth what you pay for it - at least legal advice, for sure.
Check your state laws, many states allow face-to-face private transfers instate. If it ships interstate an FFL is a must. Other option is a raw forging or an 80% lower; no numbers, no FFL, no BATF. You and only you must machine to complete to a full receiver and you can never sell or transfer it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.