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Thread: Not a Savage, but a build none the less

  1. #1
    Administrator J.Baker's Avatar
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    Not a Savage, but a build none the less

    So about 5 years ago I purchased two Spike's Tactical stripped lowers and they've been sitting on the shelf collecting dust ever since. I figured it was high time I did something with them. I also have another AR that I built that I wanted to reconfigure a bit, so I guess you could say this will be 2.5 builds in one.

    We'll start with the reworked AR since it's the one that's mostly done now. Here's the before...

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	6135

    Anderson forged upper and lower receivers
    Anderson BCG
    A2 buttstock
    BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle
    BCM Ambi Selector
    Magpul MOE grip
    Geissele SSA-E trigger
    Troy Industries 15" Alpha rail
    Troy Industries Low-Profile Gas Block
    DPMS 18" Mini SASS barrel
    Precision Armament M4-72 brake
    American Defense Mfg. Recon QD scope mount
    NightForce SHV F1 4-14x50 scope

    Rifle shot my handloads extremely well in this configuration as you can see in the following 200 yard target.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	6138

    The Mini SASS barrel is a real porker though weighing in at almost 3.5 pounds so I decided it was time to put this rifle on a diet.


    Enter a Faxon 16" Pencil barrel and matching low-profile gas block. The Faxon weights in at just 1.2 pounds so I'm shedding over 2-lbs right off the bat. Given how thin it is I know I will likely be giving up some accuracy, especially with the 5.56 chamber, but it's a compromise I'm willing to make given how I'll be using this rifle once I'm done reworking it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Mini SASS barrel and Faxon Pencil barrels side by side for comparison


    Got the barrel swapped out in short order, though the roll pin hole on the new gas block was a bit tight making it a real chore to get in to secure the gas tube.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	6137
    New barrel installed

    Took it out to the range this afternoon and ran 50 rounds through it at 100 yards just to see how the new barrel shoots. The first 20 rounds were mil-surp Green Tips which didn't group for chit (as expected). The second 20 rounds were American Eagle AE223GTV with a 50gr ballistic tip bullet. They grouped a good bit better, but were still in the 1.5 to 2 MOA range. The final 10 rounds were my handloads for the other barrel topped with 50gr Hornady V-Max bullets and they shot a bit better at 1-1/4" and 1-1/2" respectively. Both groups would have been a under an inch if I didn't have an odd flier in each one. Not bad for a super skinny pencil barrel though.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	6141 Click image for larger version. 

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    That's where this one sits for the time being. I plan on changing out the handguard and buttstock to something lighter weight as well and then swapping out the scope for either a 1-6x or 1-8x. Hoping the total weight will be somewhere around 6 to 6.5 pounds when all is said and done.


    ---------------------Build One------------------------------

    Recently I've really been itching to get an AR15 based pistol in 9mm - mostly due to my drooling over the new CMMG Banshee's. The problem with the Banshee's is that they're pretty pricey and just buying one wouldn't help me put either of the Spike's lower receivers I have to good use. Then I saw CMMG's new AR9C magazines and wha-lah! Problem solved! The AR9C magazines are 30rd Magpul Pmag's with the spring/follower replaced with CMMG's replacements to hold 9mm pistol ammo. The mag's are a little salty ($40/ea), but I already have plenty of Pmag's and CMMG sells the guts kits to convert standard Pmag's for a good bit less. Using a standard lower will also permit me to throw on a 22LR pistol upper with CMMG mag's should I ever decide to pick one up.

    Starting with the Spike's lower I picked up an Anderson lower parts kit. Not real impressed with this kit and wish I had spent the little bit extra for a Rock River kit, but it will do as I plan on replacing the trigger with a Franklin Armory BFS-III down the road.

    Since this one is going to be a pistol I had to find a brace for it. I've never paid much attention to what's out there in terms of braces so I spent about a week researching the various options and ultimately decided on the SB Tactical SBA3 in sniper gray. My main two reasons for choosing this one are 1) it's fairly lightweight and compact, and 2) the rear has enough surface area for shouldering since the BATF has deemed firing a brace from the shoulder doesn't magically turn the pistol into a rifle. I went with the gray just to do something a little different than the usual black or FDE that everybody does.

    At this point I pretty much have the lower assembled and ready to go other than I'm waiting on a Magpul MOE grip in gray and the receiver end plate to come in (hence why the read cross pin isn't installed). Now I just need to pry the wallet open and buy the CMMG upper.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	6139

    ---------------------Build Two------------------------------

    While digging through my box of spare/left-over AR15 parts I stumbled across my old left-hand DPMS Hi-Rise upper receiver and bolt head. These came off the very first AR15 I ever built back in 2005 or 2006 and I had totally forgotten I still had them. That got the gears in the ol`noggin a turning... I've got all the spare parts I need to build another upper (aside from a bolt carrier), so why not?

    So the Mini SASS barrel has been mated up to the lefty DPMS Hi-Rise upper receiver, and when I get a new shorter forearm for the above rifle the 15" Troy Alpha rail will go onto this one. This way I'll still have a dedicated heavy varmint upper if/when I have need for it, and I'll also have my lightweight setup as well. Eventually I'll get that second Spike's Tactical lower put together to go with this upper so I don't have to swap them out, and I'll use the A2 stock from above on it. Thrifty!

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	6140

    One issue I had with the LH upper in the past was that at the time only RH bolt carriers were available and that put the gas vents in the side of the BCG blowing all that crap right into the side of the receiver on the non-ejection side. Need to find out if I can use the DPMS bolt with a Stag LH carrier or if I just need to get a complete LH BCG from Stag so it doesn't get as filthy inside. As it was before it would foul up and start having issues aver about 30 rounds.
    "Life' is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." ~ John Wayne
    “Under certain circumstances, 
urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” —Mark Twain

  2. #2
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    That’s the Spikes Crusader lower you have there...nice. They were introduced a few years ago, and I started buying them up! Those & Anderson have the same forged lower with closed finger guard. (Made at the same machine shop) I’ve always been a big fan of Spikes, using their losers alone, since I started!(Before I switched to machining my own from 80% Billets)I remember when Spikes was just starting out and I was among their first few customers. Hard to believe how big they have become.

    Nice AR’s there Jim. Still my favorite firearm, hands down! Never met one I didn’t like, save for the NEUTERED California creature!

  3. #3
    Administrator J.Baker's Avatar
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    Yep, both the Spike's lowers I bought are the Crusader's.
    "Life' is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." ~ John Wayne
    “Under certain circumstances, 
urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” —Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Basic Member big honkin jeep's Avatar
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    Always a good time playing with lego's for men.
    A good wife and a steady job has ruined many a great hunter.

  5. #5
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    no
    the lh bolt rotates in the opposite direction. the extention is relieved for the lh rotation, the the new extentions are done for both right and left.

    foul up and dirty sounds like an AMMO CHOICE issue, not a gun issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.Baker View Post
    So about 5 years ago I purchased two Spike's Tactical stripped lowers and they've been sitting on the shelf collecting dust ever since. I figured it was high time I did something with them. I also have another AR that I built that I wanted to reconfigure a bit, so I guess you could say this will be 2.5 builds in one.

    We'll start with the reworked AR since it's the one that's mostly done now. Here's the before...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC01762.JPG 
Views:	80 
Size:	146.4 KB 
ID:	6135

    Anderson forged upper and lower receivers
    Anderson BCG
    A2 buttstock
    BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle
    BCM Ambi Selector
    Magpul MOE grip
    Geissele SSA-E trigger
    Troy Industries 15" Alpha rail
    Troy Industries Low-Profile Gas Block
    DPMS 18" Mini SASS barrel
    Precision Armament M4-72 brake
    American Defense Mfg. Recon QD scope mount
    NightForce SHV F1 4-14x50 scope

    Rifle shot my handloads extremely well in this configuration as you can see in the following 200 yard target.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC00895.JPG 
Views:	79 
Size:	74.1 KB 
ID:	6138

    The Mini SASS barrel is a real porker though weighing in at almost 3.5 pounds so I decided it was time to put this rifle on a diet.


    Enter a Faxon 16" Pencil barrel and matching low-profile gas block. The Faxon weights in at just 1.2 pounds so I'm shedding over 2-lbs right off the bat. Given how thin it is I know I will likely be giving up some accuracy, especially with the 5.56 chamber, but it's a compromise I'm willing to make given how I'll be using this rifle once I'm done reworking it.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Barrel_Comparison.jpg 
Views:	77 
Size:	64.1 KB 
ID:	6136
    The Mini SASS barrel and Faxon Pencil barrels side by side for comparison


    Got the barrel swapped out in short order, though the roll pin hole on the new gas block was a bit tight making it a real chore to get in to secure the gas tube.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Faxon_Barrel_Installed.jpg 
Views:	79 
Size:	72.2 KB 
ID:	6137
    New barrel installed

    Took it out to the range this afternoon and ran 50 rounds through it at 100 yards just to see how the new barrel shoots. The first 20 rounds were mil-surp Green Tips which didn't group for chit (as expected). The second 20 rounds were American Eagle AE223GTV with a 50gr ballistic tip bullet. They grouped a good bit better, but were still in the 1.5 to 2 MOA range. The final 10 rounds were my handloads for the other barrel topped with 50gr Hornady V-Max bullets and they shot a bit better at 1-1/4" and 1-1/2" respectively. Both groups would have been a under an inch if I didn't have an odd flier in each one. Not bad for a super skinny pencil barrel though.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC02362.JPG 
Views:	80 
Size:	112.6 KB 
ID:	6141 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC02363.JPG 
Views:	79 
Size:	112.1 KB 
ID:	6142

    That's where this one sits for the time being. I plan on changing out the handguard and buttstock to something lighter weight as well and then swapping out the scope for either a 1-6x or 1-8x. Hoping the total weight will be somewhere around 6 to 6.5 pounds when all is said and done.


    ---------------------Build One------------------------------

    Recently I've really been itching to get an AR15 based pistol in 9mm - mostly due to my drooling over the new CMMG Banshee's. The problem with the Banshee's is that they're pretty pricey and just buying one wouldn't help me put either of the Spike's lower receivers I have to good use. Then I saw CMMG's new AR9C magazines and wha-lah! Problem solved! The AR9C magazines are 30rd Magpul Pmag's with the spring/follower replaced with CMMG's replacements to hold 9mm pistol ammo. The mag's are a little salty ($40/ea), but I already have plenty of Pmag's and CMMG sells the guts kits to convert standard Pmag's for a good bit less. Using a standard lower will also permit me to throw on a 22LR pistol upper with CMMG mag's should I ever decide to pick one up.

    Starting with the Spike's lower I picked up an Anderson lower parts kit. Not real impressed with this kit and wish I had spent the little bit extra for a Rock River kit, but it will do as I plan on replacing the trigger with a Franklin Armory BFS-III down the road.

    Since this one is going to be a pistol I had to find a brace for it. I've never paid much attention to what's out there in terms of braces so I spent about a week researching the various options and ultimately decided on the SB Tactical SBA3 in sniper gray. My main two reasons for choosing this one are 1) it's fairly lightweight and compact, and 2) the rear has enough surface area for shouldering since the BATF has deemed firing a brace from the shoulder doesn't magically turn the pistol into a rifle. I went with the gray just to do something a little different than the usual black or FDE that everybody does.

    At this point I pretty much have the lower assembled and ready to go other than I'm waiting on a Magpul MOE grip in gray and the receiver end plate to come in (hence why the read cross pin isn't installed). Now I just need to pry the wallet open and buy the CMMG upper.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC02361.JPG 
Views:	82 
Size:	114.3 KB 
ID:	6139

    ---------------------Build Two------------------------------

    While digging through my box of spare/left-over AR15 parts I stumbled across my old left-hand DPMS Hi-Rise upper receiver and bolt head. These came off the very first AR15 I ever built back in 2005 or 2006 and I had totally forgotten I still had them. That got the gears in the ol`noggin a turning... I've got all the spare parts I need to build another upper (aside from a bolt carrier), so why not?

    So the Mini SASS barrel has been mated up to the lefty DPMS Hi-Rise upper receiver, and when I get a new shorter forearm for the above rifle the 15" Troy Alpha rail will go onto this one. This way I'll still have a dedicated heavy varmint upper if/when I have need for it, and I'll also have my lightweight setup as well. Eventually I'll get that second Spike's Tactical lower put together to go with this upper so I don't have to swap them out, and I'll use the A2 stock from above on it. Thrifty!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC02359.JPG 
Views:	76 
Size:	97.0 KB 
ID:	6140

    One issue I had with the LH upper in the past was that at the time only RH bolt carriers were available and that put the gas vents in the side of the BCG blowing all that crap right into the side of the receiver on the non-ejection side. Need to find out if I can use the DPMS bolt with a Stag LH carrier or if I just need to get a complete LH BCG from Stag so it doesn't get as filthy inside. As it was before it would foul up and start having issues aver about 30 rounds.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by big honkin jeep View Post
    Always a good time playing with lego's for men.
    LOL!! You are SOO right on with that! HAHAHA..... Honestly the most versatile firearm of all time! What other system can you build one lower that will accept over a dozen calibers, and although assembles just as you said(like legos), capable of 1moa or better, (have built several that would do .25-.5” moa).

  7. #7
    Administrator J.Baker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeinco View Post
    no
    the lh bolt rotates in the opposite direction. the extention is relieved for the lh rotation, the the new extentions are done for both right and left.

    foul up and dirty sounds like an AMMO CHOICE issue, not a gun issue.
    That would be correct for a true mirror image left-hand bolt, but the DPMS LH bolt was designed to work with a RH carrier. They just altered the position of the extractor and ejector to clock properly with the LH ejection port. Bolt still rotates the same direction as a RH bolt would. Thus as I found out today if I go to a true LH carrier I will need a true LH bolt and barrel extension as well. Looks like I'll probably be sticking with a RH carrier as it ran fine (other than being very dirty) with a standard M16 bolt carrier and RH extension in my old build.
    "Life' is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." ~ John Wayne
    “Under certain circumstances, 
urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” —Mark Twain

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Unfortunately, due to the direct impingement gas system ALL ARs get dirty. The old adage being “They ISH where they EAT!” I’ve never found it a problem. Run ‘em wet and you won’t have a problem. When I was an instructor, the majority of ARs that had a problem with jams was due to being dry. First thing I would check on student’s rifle! Then I’d tell them, “lube it up! AR likes running wet!”

  10. #10
    Administrator J.Baker's Avatar
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    I "selectively" lube my AR'sm but not nearly as we at some/most do. I've seen some where the bolts look like they just dunked them in a one gallon can of oil and slapped it back in the rifle. I put a thin layer of gun grease on the contact rails of the bolt top and bottom and in the cam for the bolt retaining pin, then just put a few drops of oil on the gas rings and call it good.
    "Life' is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." ~ John Wayne
    “Under certain circumstances, 
urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” —Mark Twain

  11. #11
    Basic Member DesertDug's Avatar
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    I know if it's a large frame you better run it wet.

  12. #12
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    There is a BIG difference between an AR built for high power or Bench Rest target shooting, and 3 Gun comp. or AR run & gun. The popular opinion of AR lubrication is run it wet. The great thing is you can’t hurt it even if it’s visibly dripping! Stationary shooting...can usually get away with light lube. But tagging mag after mag in a 3-gun, won’t get far on light lube.

    Since about 5 years ago, all ARs I’ve built use the same Enhanced BCG, made by Azimuth Technologies, and sold by many different names. It’s shaped different, uses contact point & is Nitride treated. I have found they can get away with less lube and run just as well in hard use.

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