I have had a collapsible stock AR15 (it’s a civilian version of the M4 – sort of) for years. If you have known me at all either in person or via my writings on the net, you know I’m not big into goo-gaws. The only “accessorizing” I did to it was spray it with some Krylon and paint the front sight post yellow. Oh, and I added a “really highspeed sling” mounted to the rear and the front sight post with 550 cord. About a year or so ago I mounted a bright flashlight and a forward hand grip – the barrel gets hot when you rip through several magazines in rapid succession.
It wasn’t pretty. It didn’t spend hundreds of extra bucks doing the “Barbie for men” bit. And I could still shoot it better than most mortals.
But then I got an EOTech for Christmas one year. I had an ACOG back in the day and really liked it but I had to give it back and couldn’t afford my own. EOTechs are almost as cool – they are very fast for target acquisition out to a couple hundred meters. Well despite my booming business, I’m not made of money so I bought a cheaperthanmud “gooseneck” mount for my rifle and threw the EOTech on it. It worked great once I zeroed it....until I put it away and took it out again – then because the cheap mount would move, I’d have to rezero it. I can imagine what would have happened if I had to run, dive, and jump with it – it wouldn’t work.
I decided I needed/wanted a flat top upper. But they are too expensive. Then some guys on the forums suggested I just build my own. “Can I DO that? I’m not very mechanically inclined”. They all assured me I could.
They were right.
I bought an upper receiver for $100 and a back up/flip up iron sight (BUIS) for another $100. A friend gave me a sweet ambidextrous single point sling attachment back plate and another bud lent me a bunch of tools (punches, vice adapters, punch plates, etc) and a DVD explaining the process (he gave me the DVD). He also consulted with me on the project and provided a lot of help that way too.
I sat down and watched the DVD once and then got to work. First I removed the forward assist by merely removing a roll pin – then I stuck it in the new upper.
Next, I added the ejection port cover which was easy except for the 20 minutes I spent looking for a little C-clamp I dropped – it was tiny and it bounced far. I had a spare cover assembly so I left the original one on the original A2 upper.
Next up was removing the gas tube – again just removing a roll pin and it was out.
Then I had to remove the barrel by unscrewing big nut at the base with a special tool. I used the tool wrong and broke off a piece, emailed my bud asking for advice and he told me how to use it correctly. I felt pretty dumb but once I did it correctly, the barrel came right off and went right on the new upper. It was a bit tricky aligning it correctly to accept the gas tube but we got it done (I went to another friend’s house to use his bench vice – I don’t have one). Then I just replaced the gas tube roll pin and the upper was done. I used my original bolt, carrier and charging handle.
Replacing the old back plate with the new one that allows me to attach a single point release sling was easy – I had replaced a buffer tube before and new about the two springs to watch out for.
All in all (not counting looking for the C-clamp or the first 10 minutes trying to take off the barrel the wrong way) it probably took 2 hours to complete – but I was working slowly and methodically. It would be a lot faster if I did it again.
Anyway there she is. I’ll probably get a decent snap link or something for the single point release instead of the 550 cord I’m using now and it obviously needs new Krylon. More importantly thought, I need to zero the BUIS and the EOTech and I’ll be back in business.
Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. – Proverbs 6:3
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe
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