My First AR-15
My First Step Into MSRs
About two years ago I built my first AR-15, it was a budget build that I acquired parts for one piece at a time as money permitted. It started with a trip to the barber shop, and then a walk across the street to the gun shop to drool on the glass cases. They had two Anderson lowers for a good price, and given Hillary was leading in the polling numbers. I slapped my CHL and debit card on the counter, completed the paperwork and walked away with the serialized beginning of a rifle.
Over a period of a couple months it came together and I ended up with a decent shooting, albeit heavy rifle.
The barrel was an un-named carbine length H-bar with Wylde chamber from GunBroker, the heavy but inexpensive quadrail and adjustable stock were from GunBroker as well. The upper was also Anderson, it and the lower parts kit and a smattering of other parts came from the local shop. The BCG from Palmetto State Armory. The scope was an inexpensive 9x-40 capable of 100 yd shooting, but not very enjoyable. The color was inspired by this AR-10 I found on the Cerrakote website.
I know I could have bought an off the shelf Palmetto State for similar, or less money, but I didn’t have the change in pocket at that time. Also I’m a wrench turner, a tinkerer and a geek, so building my own was the path chosen.
My budget build was already going over budget, so Cerrakote was out. A matte silver Ford wheel paint was selected and baked in my ‘oven’, more on that another time. Other than a few runs from rushing to get it painted before dark, it covered well, was quite durable and solvent resistant, and as I found out when I decided to change up things, it baked HARD. Glass bead media would hardly remove it, so I had to get paint stripper paste to soak and scrub with Scotchbrite.
The Second Coming
Well eventually I learned a bit more about AR-15s, a more firearms friendly President was elected and prices started dropping. A mid-length Ballistic Advantage Hanson profile barrel was found on sale and a much lighter Midwest Industries handguard was swapped in and a blast can muzzle device installed with a weight savings of almost 2 lb. It now wears a 16x Tasco scope, sometimes a red dot and groups have shrunk from 3″ @ 100 yds to 2″ @ 100 yds; now the shooter needs to get better, he wiggles too much.
With the build and rebuild now behind me I had contracted a case of black rifle disease, then AIM Surplus had forged Noreen receivers for a good price, so you know what happened next. Stay tuned.
I owned a Marlin 60 since 1987, but never really got ‘into’ guns until 2011 when I bought my first 9mm pistol. That was soon followed by a .380 and a 12 guage pump, and I was all in. I had done some 20 guage reloading growing up, and threw myself into 9mm and .223 reloading in 2017, .380 in 2019 and 7.62×39 in 2020. It is so satisfying to go to the range and string together ever improving groups with ammo I loaded myself; it doesn’t hurt that I’m a little OCD about technical things, the tangible/visible rewards are really gratifying.
I have a nagging but as yet unattained ‘want’ for a .358 Yeti unloader, it just looks like a really cool caliber. My next learning curve, space permitting, is casting and coating.