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Need advice on four specific builds...

5519 Views 66 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Doughboy
Well, guys, with one build down I'm starting two weigh ideas for four more... or rather two pairs, the idea being that if things get "relocating" serious between me and the GF each possible pair being a matched His & Hers set of an American-issue rifle and its Canadian counterpart. You know what they say, "the couple that shoots together stays together, and has interlocking fields of fire." :D

First, some notes on this project's departures from "Mil-Spec." The carbines are getting upped to 16" barrels with mid-length gas systems to avoid the hassle of NFA crap, and all of the uppers are to have M4 feedramps and 1:7-twist barrels whether their issue counterparts do or not. Also, they're all getting KNS anti-walk FCG pinsets just for my own peace of mind, and extended takedown pins for easier breakdown to haul to/from the range without freaking out the bedwetter neighbors. Also, the two Canuck clones are getting six-position buffer tubes despite Canadian Spec being only four because I can't use a stock that's more than half extended. Also, rails will be Picatinny rather than Can-Spec Weaver for reasons of availability and compatibility. And because I'm a southpaw, I'm tempted to just throw ambi safeties on everything.

Rifle pair: M16A4 and C7A2. Both to be as close as possible to current-issue.
--Uppers: Thinking 20" standard Rifle Length, mainly differentiated by the green "traditional" handguard on the C7 versus a KAC RAS M5 on the A4.
----M16 upper: As an iterim before the RAS, thinking to start with the same Palmetto upper as the C7, just no "color."
----C7 upper: Thinking this one from Palmetto, with some ODG Cerakote or similar for proper color. PSA 20'' CHF Rifle Length 5.56 NATO 1/7 A2 Upper - NO BCG or Charging Handle - 30796
----M16 specific parts:
----C7 specific parts: BCM FSB-mount tri-rail. Narrower front-sight post from KNS.
--BCG's and CH's: Part of me wants to go with POF's "ultimate" BCG that has a roller cam and one-piece carrier and gas-key, but so far (admittedly no firing yet) I've found nothing to complain about with the DSArms BCG/CH combo in my personalized AR. Thinking I'll just use DSAs for both, though the C7 needs to have that funky Canadian ambi-latch installed and I've only found them through Model 1 Sales.
--Lowers and FCG's: Thinking Anderson lowers and Palmetto LPK's. They're what I used on my build, and while not the prettiest of parts they seem to be good value-oriented options.
----C7 specific parts: Norgon ambi-catch. I know I need a CAR15-style telestock with sling slot both above and below tube, but so far the only CAR furniture vendors I've found only offer 'em on either fixed or 4-position tubes.
----M16 stock: Since the Marines have fitted M4 stocks to M16A4 rifles for shorter-armed operators, I feel justified in following their lead.
--Rifle-specific accessories:
----C7: Eickhorn bayonet. Elcan C79 optic if we can find a non-ITAR version.
----M16A4: Ontario OKC-3S bayonet. (Might as well go Full Metal Jarhead, right?) Trijicon ACOG optic?

Carbine pair: M4 and C8A2
--C8: Basically as per the C7 above, but with this upper instead. PTAC 16" Mid-length 5.56 NATO 1:7 Upper - w/o BCG or Charging Handle - 506525
--M4: Same upper as the C8 but without the FSB-mount rail. Palmetto Classic lower build kit for LPK and stock. Palmetto State Armory Premium Classic Lower Build Kit - 29040 Same lower plan as M16A4gery above.
--Rifle-specific accessories:
----C8: Eickhorn bayonet. Elcan C79 optic if we can find a non-ITAR version.
----M4: Ontario M9 bayonet.

There are a lot of blanks to fill in here, and what I do have is "penciled in" since I'm not real confident in my AR-family knowledge other than how the parts fit together I'd appreciate whatever assistance you Old Hands can offer in mentoring me on the platform.
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I'm really suspicious of anything Palmetto sells. Sorry about that chief. Someone was talking about a $80 BCG from them. That isn't realistic pricing for quality parts. Like the old NAPA commercial: "Pay me now or pay me later."

Ambi fire selctors/safeties get in the way. They can also get flipped if they drag on your gear. If you're lefty, see if you can find dedicated left hand safeties and learn to flick them off with the "other" hand if you have to go support side.

If you position your shooting hand so that the safety is around the base of the trigger finger, you'll find you can wipe the safety off quite handily with the "other" hand while moving the trigger digit where it's supposed to go.
TBH, the main reason ambis are going onto the C7/C8 builds is because they're the way the Issue ones are built up there. If DSA can build matching uppers, they're another option--I would've put CBC (who I bought my first build's from) ahead of the pack, but they're All Free-Float All The Time and don't do traditional FSB uppers.

Think my DSA BCG was listed for a bit above the $100 barrier, with CH included, on sale.

Will follow up better later, but have a hungry and impatient aging relative to go deal with dinner with.
You had me at "mid-length gas system." Drive on! ;)
LOL, several reasons for that: 1. Mid = longer sight radius, 2. better fit to the 16" minimum barrel to avoid NFA on gas, 3. bayonet lug needs to be within a finite distance of muzzle to have any useful blade length with bayo fixed.

I'm also thinking if this goes forward all four get the smaller C7/C8 front sight posts... and I'm not sure if I should slavishly stick to milspec BUIS on the A4/M4geries or substitute the "non-regulation" Diamondheads my eyes seem to prefer. (Or maybe keep milspecs on normally but with DH's ready to slap on for Serious Social Work if needed, or just mount both and keep Issue up and DH down until required?)
I was just pondering:
Why should I want an M-4 profiled ramp on a 20 inch free-floated barrel?

Being ex-military, 11 inches of suppressed full automatic makes me ask why 16 inches of semiautomatic would make you sleep well at night?

Bayonet? Isn't that what goes on your 590A1?

Perhaps I'm a little to far in the past to qualify as an Old Hand, but 20 inch or better precision rifles are supposed to made for extreme range & accuracy. Short (get out of the vehicle & kick-down the door) Carbines are supposed to be able to toss a wall of lead while I spray and pray my way out of what I shouldn't have gotten into in the first place. Compromises have a tendency to get you killed. JMHO.
I don't understand bayonets on civilian weapons. Yes, I know how a squad can back a mob back with fixed bayonets with jabs toward their eyes. Maybe 2-3 more mags makes more sense to me.

I don't really consider a rifle the tool to get my old butt out of something I probably shouldn't be in in the first place. My Mossberg 500 ATP which holds loads of rounds would be my choice with either of my 1911s at my side.

That said, I do own a Bushmaster M4 type. If I were in a combat situation it'd be my choice.

Now maybe we can get back to Diamondback's build.
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Top, your Bushy looks more like a modernized Dissipator than an M4, but looks like a very solid build. I could never get my short arm to fit that long stock, but that's just me.

I don't particularly like bayos (ANY kind of Sharp Pointy Thing for that matter, really) myself, the only reason I care about them on any kind of Mil-Clone build is for the sake of "Mil-Spec-ness" while displayed... and in the nigh-inconceivable event, I'd rather have a capability and not need it than need it and not have it.

I should stress that this is definitely a Long Term Planning project... I'm not going forward with anything acquisition or build on the "Hers" sides until I know we're going longhaul (if you must know, we've been a Long Distance relationship for five years, and my goal is if she'll have me to put a ring on her finger by her 50th birthday in March 2021) unless it can be diverted to something else should she break it off, and that may even mean mean getting her green furniture via Krylon. My only hurry is that I want to have a plan "on the shelf" only waiting for checks signed and orders filed, ready to go as soon as she says the word and the Ambulance Chasers clear the paperwork.
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Top, your Bushy looks more like a modernized Dissipator than an M4, but looks like a very solid build. I could never get my short arm to fit that long stock, but that's just me.

I don't particularly like bayos (ANY kind of Sharp Pointy Thing for that matter, really) myself, the only reason I care about them on any kind of Mil-Clone build is for the sake of "Mil-Spec-ness" while displayed... and in the nigh-inconceivable event, I'd rather have a capability and not need it than need it and not have it.
You are correct that the Bushmaster is a Dissipator, not a true M4. As to the stock, it's almost too long for me. With a field jacket and other winter dress I'd not get it to my shoulder - that and being 70Lbs overweight.

I didn't take into account displaying the weapon, only home defense. :rolleyes:

I got my fill of fixed bayonets back in the 1960s as we were HQ of a provisional riot control battalion and all those "peaceful" anti-war demonstrations but fully understand the possible last ditch need. :evil:
I don't understand bayonets on civilian weapons.
With a bayonet affixed, the entire unpaved world becomes your rifle's "parking place." :D
Supposedly, the M4 feedramps also help with longer rounds like the 77-gr Sierra MatchKings used in the Mk 262.

Most of our rifles don't have select-fire, but the general consensus tips in favor of the heavier M16 BCG for most builds, right?

I suppose I should also note a point of personal philosophy: I'm of the school that believes in the Old Swiss Model: every citizen should know how to operate their homeland's basic service rifle, and barring any DQ like mental or moral unsuitability should ideally have one accessible at-home to train with on own time, even if only a semiauto variant (or with our absurd NFA barrel restrictions, a slightly-stretched model). Yes, this means if I had my way Basic Rifle Training would be part of high-school senior classes, Senior Trip would be Basic for everybody and upon graduation everybody not DQ'ed gets a semi-only M16 variant, six mags and a thousand rounds for it--the rifle's theirs free and clear as long as they demonstrate re-qual to meet or beat basic military standards at regular intervals.
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I suppose I should also note a point of personal philosophy: I'm of the school that believes in the Old Swiss Model: every citizen should know how to operate their homeland's basic service rifle...
I'm more of the Starship Troopers model even though it'll never happen.

I believe that in order to vote you should do 3-5 years government service. The military being only one way and, like Starship Troopers, government decides where you'd be most valuable. Other than that, the Swiss Model works for me.

Don't the heavier bullets also require a faster turn? The first M16 were 1-14 if I recall correctly and with heavier bullets and longer ranges the current rifles are 1-7 or 8...
Top, I'm with you but I think just BASIC For Everyone, even with limiting to the textbook portions for cases of physical unsuitability, would be an impossible sell. "Politics is the art of the possible," after all... :( Hell, look how the libs pee their frilly pink panties at teaching such basic gun safety as "if you see one stop, don't touch it, tell an adult" like the Eddie Eagle program!

Yep, think the version I heard was 77's require a 1-7 twist (bare minimum 1-8 if you're OK with losing some performance), the 60s-range 1-8 to 1-9, 1-12 and slower for M193 55gr and lighter only. Of course, still being in the FNG stage on AR's my memory needs to be taken with a grain... I spec all my builds around the Mk 262's because despite [EDIT: the round] being designed for long-range precision work they actually have better close-range terminal ballistics than M855 in some tests.
As of now, here's what I've assembled so far for data... Man, I wish we had a Tables plugin on the boardware!

Added Assumption 1: There's no point in starting with an assembled "pay-for-name" complete like a Colt; with all the factory parts coming off and non-factory parts going on these will always be worth more as parts than complete guns. Besides, assuming the lawyers give me the right answers re legalities, I figure doing our builds together would be better "couples therapy" than wasting a day at some airheaded spa, so there's the pride/ego factor. LOL
Added Assumption 2: I'd prefer to start with at least barreled if not complete upper assemblies; while I have all the tools needed to assemble from raw parts, I don't have all the skills to use those tools yet and I'd rather not fight with having to both teach and learn a new skill at the same time.
Assumption 3: I'm a southpaw, but in "inert handling" trials I find I can work mag and bolt catches just fine using my right hand. Maybe the damn thing is more than just ballast hanging out of my shoulder-socket after all... LOL

Bottom Halves
--Lower Receivers (all): Anderson, or maybe Tennessee Arms 80% metal-reinforced poly
--LPK's (all): possibly Anderson or CMMG, depending on how PSA fares on my first build (see note below); Krylon OD on C7/C8 grip; KNS FCG pins and Norgon Ambi-Catches all around
--Stock sets (A4gery/M4gery): 6pos milspec tube, std buffer, std M4 telestock
--Stock sets (C7/C8 ): 6pos milspec tube, std buffer, CAR telestock and recoil pad (Krylon green)

Top Halves
--Barreled Uppers (will edit, right now I want to get this post into the system for start on refining)
--Charging Handle (A4/M4): DSA with Badger 249-02 Tactical Latch
--Charging Handle (C7/C8 ): DSA with Model 1 Sales* "Wook" Latch
*I don't know what kinda rep these guys have, I think their website looks kinda amateur-hour and excessively flashy, but they're the ONLY source I've found for this part South of the Border--and the Canuck sources I've seen don't ship international
--BCG: DSA bundle w/CH, depending how they fare on existing build; possibly upgrade to POF Ultimate one-piece BC/key with roller-cam
--Muzzle device (A4/M4): SEI Vortex G6A4 (don't get me wrong, I love the Precision Armament AFAB, but it's Not Mil Spec)
--Muzzle device (C7/C8 ): Standard A2 birdcage?
--BUIS (A4/M4): Matech 12996812
--BUIS (C7/C8 ): Daniel Defense 19-064-11002
--Optic (A4/M4): Does Trijicon make an ACOG that's not ITAR restricted, or am I stuck with one of the few unrestricted EoTechs? Right now, not sure about Army but at least for USMC they're "officially" limited to ACOGs, and I'd prefer to stick to one service-spec over the other rather than bastardize if legally possible for my goals.
--Optic (C7/C8 ): Canadian-issue is an Elcan C79--very expensive and very ITAR; the only way I can think of to get around this would be if there's some way she could legally bring her own bought-at-home while visiting, unless the Canucks also have an alternate optic. (If they've fitted even ONE EoTech that might be a cosmetic end-around since they all use the same housing. Yes, I know ET has issues, but we're talking CONUS not Alaska or Afghanistan climate-extremes.)

Worth noting that there are a lot of parts everybody gets from the same few suppliers, like most of the forgings come from Anchor Harvey regardless of the stamping/rollmark/engraving.

This post is not yet a comprehensive list, just a start that will be edited to hopefully become one.
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Diamondback, I would take a moment to ask you to consider your 4 builds as two specific builds of 2.

The angle of the M4 ramp isn't conductive to the extreme accuracy of long barreled "Sniper Precision" rifles, but it is beneficial for the higher rate of fire of shorter barreled M4 carbines. (750 vice 950)

While a 1:7 twist may work well in 14 or 11 inch inch barrels when using 77 grain projectiles, it may not be the optimum twist for 20 inch or longer barrels used at extreme distance.

I would recommend that you treat (look at) each pair of builds from the extremes.

As I hope not to be boring:

The Best 5.56 Load: The Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 - Shooting Times
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The difference in weight (less than 1 oz) between semi and select fire bolt carriers isn't worth worrying about. This is especially true with the mid-length gas system. If you just gotta have a heavier reciprocating weight, it's easier to go with an H buffer-and you'll get a heavier total weight. You also raise fewer eyebrows and avoid possible issues should, at some time, get a double and some official busybody take note.
BTW, avoid the set screw secured gas blocks. In TPC rifle matches I've seen half a dozen such setups destruct. If the set screws get loose (enough), the gas block and gas tube blow forward and vent the gas into the handguard. The top of the handguard blows upward, I'm not sure what happens to the bottom half, but you're SOL.
BTW, avoid the set screw secured gas blocks. In TPC rifle matches I've seen half a dozen such setups destruct. If the set screws get loose (enough), the gas block and gas tube blow forward and vent the gas into the handguard. The top of the handguard blows upward, I'm not sure what happens to the bottom half, but you're SOL.
Good to know--the next mil-spec rifle I see with a set-screw block will be the first so those were already off the table, and for these projects I'll only consider "complete" or "skeleton" (Just Add Handguard) preassembled uppers.
Bumping to revisit and refine; the "Long" half has been shelved to concentrate on the Short. I've learned quite a bit on a specialized M4 forum the past year, and distilled it into this.

Reference image on the C8 I'm trying to replicate:

I'm taking a slightly different tack on my M4gery: Where most people take an extra inch and a half of barrel to keep their stock, I'm going with an un-pinned, milspec 14.5, building it as a "Super-Sized Pistol" with an SBM4 brace on a pistol tube since the SBM4 looks very close to a regular telestock without *being* a stock.

--M4: Undecided; 14.5" unpinned milspec--BCM?
--C8: BCM C8SFW (16", Canspec is 15.7"), with regular plastic handguards (this is the only C8 clone available, and that only because Larry Vickers pushed it through)

Fire Control Groups: ALG QMS on both
BCG's: Toolcraft Black Nitride (these are an improvement on milspec, the black nitride is slipperier than phosphate)

Buffer Systems:
--M4: Geissele Super 42 in pistol tube
--C8: Geissele Super 42 in Milspec tube

Rail Systems:
--M4: KAC M4 RAS
--C8: BCM Tri-Rail (clone of Canadian Tri-Ad) on gas block; Cadex or GG&G plasticrap-addon rail

--M4: SBM4 pistol brace
--C8: Brownells repro CAR stock with recoil pad; hopefully I can find a Canadian surplus green one

--M4: some kind of ergonomic; I prefer FAB AG43, but it's not milspec
--C8: A2

--M4: Grip-Pod
--C8: Cadex 622-000 green folder

--Front (both): KNS narrow posts in FSB's (target is 1.3mm/0.05")
--M4 Rear M4: Matech 200-600m
--C8 Rear: uncertain; Canucks use some kind of plasticrap made in-house by Colt Canada

Optics (maybe; part of the point on these is "iron-sight range replicas"; should we be stuck with Home Invasion CQB, I figure toss her the Mk 18 pistol and use my old 1911)
--M4: ACOG
--C8: EoTech 552 or similar
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Bumping with an update for mechanical completion of the C8. (Stock and foregrip rail still on the way, but I can actually SHOOT the thing if I have to. (Technically I had to borrow the BCG out of another AR, but I had a bit of a time crunch with our Initiative 1639 BS about requiring CLEO permission-slips and lifetime HIPPA waivers to buy semiautos going into effect in a week.) For maximum flexibility, I first completed the "core build" with a pistol buffer tube (here in WA, 16" or less plus no stock plus "one hand firing" = "it's a CCW-eligible pistol") then swapped it for the 6-position CAR--this way I can turn it back into a "pistol" when it suits my purposes to do so. The companion M4, while I'm still gathering parts, is on hold until 1639 is challenged in court--I may end up solving the problem by turning it into "two upper-grip-stock kits with a shared lower" as an interim solution.

Components that are in-hand in final configuration are in bold green, "interim" are bold orange. Some substandard components that I'm having to improvise with until BCM gets their act together and does another run of tri-rails, or similar situations, in bold blue, unavailable "preferreds" are in bold red.

Lower Receiver: Aero Precision M4 Clone until Iget tooling together and arrange Atomic Engraving 80% C8 Clone
Lower Parts Kit: Combat Armory
Ambi Safety: Stag Milspec
Anti-Walk FCG Pins: Guntec USA--yes, they're an "off brand," but I like having the sideplates positively connected by screws in both pins, and as a bonus I can unscrew one plate and just shoot lube into both pins.
Ambi Mag Catch: not yet arrived, CDNN Norgon clone
Buffer System: 6-position CAR, brand uncertain, secondhand from an M4C boardmate who doesn't buy crappy parts
Sling Endplate and CAR lock-ring: Genuine CF surplus, courtesy of a Canadian friend
Stock: not yet arrived, M&A Parts or Retro Rifles CAR, to be refinished to mimic Canadian Average Green
Buttpad: Warlord Tactical Airsoft--how hard can a hunk of rubber be to mess up? Still gotta find a way to turn it green though...
Grip: A2, to be refinished to mimic Canadian Average Green
Upper Receiver Group: BCM C8 SFW
Bolt Carrier Group: Toolcraft black-nitride, Carpenter 158 bolt
Handguard: six-hole skinny CAR, to be refinished to mimic Canadian Average Green
Flash Hider: BCM Gunfighter Comp (upper shipped this way), to be replaced by A2 FH
Rear BUIS: Genuine CF-surplus Diemaco, courtesy of a Canadian friend
Tri-Ad Accessory Rail: G&G Airsoft (barf), until BCM Tri-Rail is available again
Snap-On Handguard Rail: Cadex CMR-418-01, on order
Folding Foregrip: Cadex 622-000 green

Apologies for the huge pic and crappy quality, best my tablet could do and IMGUR doesn't resize.

Known Departures from CF Spec:
  • Anti-Walk pins with sideplates - I generally won't build an AR without these, but with clones I may revert to standard after the lower's been "proven" at 1000 rounds
  • Square .072" Front Sight Post - only ~.05" Round I've found is KNS's dot, and I'm not going to fight with replacing the factory part until I have better
  • BCM Barrel 0.3" longer than CF spec for NFA compliance
  • As the exact color sample of Canadian Average Green is a "Sealed Pattern" (ie, Canadian for "classified"), will only be able to approximate correct color
  • BCM logo at rear of upper needs to be muted or removed
  • No optic, this is meant as a learn-the-basics iron-sights gun--may add Eotech 512 later as I don't need NVG capability
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