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Finally built my "bang for the buck" AR


Dec 19, 2023
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A while back, I posted about wanting to build a better than basic, good bang for your buck AR that I could depend on being accurate and reliable. Well, I built it. Have lots of info and plan on doing a full write up, but time is something I don't have a ton of, so we'll likely have to split this up over many posts and days.

So, my initial requirement was that I wanted something handy, reliable, and accurate enough for mid range varmint shootin'. What I ended up with is something like that, and I really like it. Its kindof a testbed, as there's some things I have never done with this platform and decided that I wanted to try out.

Here's the build sheet, so far. Its probably gonna change.

Here's some pics:

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Up next: Parts breakdown, more pics, maybe todays range report. But first: I'm late for class.
As you can see, In spite of wanting better "jUsT As gUd" I Still ended up getting a PSA BCG and Bolt. I figure we'll see how it works, its supposed to be a solid setup, with it being made by the OEM Microbest, and the bolt itself being made from C158 steel. Supposedly this offering itself is a rip on Sons Of Liberty Gunworks, and uses the same OEM. Does that mean its been as closely QCed? No clue. I'm not metallurgist, nor am I a guru on the nuances of AR BCGs, but everything I read points to this MPI PT BCG being a good, reliable choice. Worst case scenario it breaks and I throw in a BCM or DD bolt.

The SOLGW receiver set was a BLEM set from BTO, and fits together really nice. Not super tight, not loose. the forging/machining on the upper on top of the bump on the mag well is fuckin horrible, and does not match at all. But, that's just cosmetic. While it doesn't exactly matter to me, the scalper art and "peace pipe", "head canoe", and "war party" on the selector switch more than make up for it in my mind. The upper is interference fit with a standard diameter barrel extension, and fitting everything was an absolute piece of cake. Some nice, even heat, and we slip together real nice. Once it cooled, It felt solid enough that the barrel nut almost felt unnecessary.

I picked up the SOLGW parts kit for the lower, its supposed to be good, I have no complaints. I understand that cheap shit ends up being cheap and all, but is it worth going above mid range for the same kinda parts kit in your opinion?

Radian Raptor charging handle and safety: These are supposed to be the cool thing our right now. I do like the charging handle, but I don't feel like it is hugely superior to a standard charging handle. I'm really on the fence with the 45/90 degree ambi safety selector. I kinda hate it. It feels so foreign compared to the regular ol' milspec I am used to. I may switch it to 90 degree throw and see how I feel about it. The 45 degree throw feels like it interrupts my thumb sweep that I am used to. Time will tell I suppose.

The BCM MCMR13 handguard was such a pain in the ass to install. I didn't get it hot enough when installing it. With it being an interference fit things got sticky halfway home, as it no longer wanted to move due to the heat leaving. even before I put in any hardware, that handguard isn't moving anywhere. I like it a lot. Feels really solid, really light, and I like the slender profile.

The Forward Controls Designs muzzle device really tickles my pickle. I initially planned on getting a SOLGW NOX muzzle device, but I just have a hard time wanting to use brakes, and find that flash mitigation is more useful. The A2 style flash hider, with a KeyMo attachment system on the back is pretty trick, and I am a fan of the wire cutout notch in the end, in case I feel the need to mall ninja the fuck out of someone barbed wire fence and don't want to reach into my back pocket for lineman pliers.

I heard a lot of good and a lot of bad about Ballistic Advantage Barrels, but I figure for the money saved, it was worth a shot. Got their 223wylde match stainless barrel, in the Hansen Profile. Supposedly this profile is supposed to keep weight down and allow for better harmonics due to the lack of a collar behind the gas block? Sounds good to me. I was also able to get the gas block pinned, which saved me from fucking it up. I wanted to give the 14.5" barrel out, as it would allow me to stick to a solid compromise ballistically while reducing length and (minimal) weight, especially with a can on the end.

The Larue MBT because, well, they're awesome, and I really like a 2 stage trigger. My old M16A4 had such a sloppy trigger it was practically a two stage, and I really grew to love it.
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Beautiful build. Why didn’t you go with bear creek? You should do a “cheapest build possible” next lol. Try to get it under $350 with used parts. Lol
Heck yeah, how do you like that SLx?
Heck yeah, how do you like that SLx?
It looks like an LPVO, I like the capped turrets, the illumination knob is ok, but I hate how it does not have an off in between each brightness setting. There is an auto on cap option from primary arms, which I feel is unnecessary, but really nice option to have.

The eyebox is about what you would expect from an optic in this price range. I feel like the clarity and color is pretty good. I’m definitely no glass snob, so I wouldn’t trust my initial judgement. It looks pretty comparable to the Vortex PST, and slightly better than the Strike eagle and Burris RT6 when looking through them at H and H.
The knob size is something I do like. Detents are mushy and pretty standard for something in this range. I didn’t do a box drill for repeatability, as my barrel was awful hot and I was limited on time.
Illumination is a real high point. Like laser beam in your eyes bright, in the middle of the day. The fiber optic system they brag about is no joke. The reticule is simple, with basic BDC on it, which I like.

Scope covers are crap. The ARD selection is nonexistent from the manufacturer.

Would I buy it again if I wanted a cheap optic to play with, that had a legitimate daylight bright reticule? Yes.