Sunday, July 10, 2016

Retro M16A1 build

This month's guest post is by another member of my local gun forum (he goes by the name cruffler). He built a retro/classic AR.

Many older folks might find it interesting that the AR-15 has been around long enough, that the originals can be called "classics" now....

It doesn’t seem like it was almost a year ago in May 2015 that I received the M16A1 parts kit from What A Country. The price then was $478 with shipping, the price now is $599.

I received a $35 dollar price break for removal of the “evil bits” - Bolt Carrier, Trigger, Hammer, Dis-connector and Selector Lever

"Original Colt M16A1 Parts Kit.
Surplus used: Good condition. Will show some use/wear to all parts/furniture.
Ejection port door generally will have some discoloration. 

These parts come from original Colt 1970's era M16A1 export rifles."

Of course it cost me more that that to replace them with the approved items. I got the bolt carrier from PSA (they are out of stock as of this writing, I don't recall the exact price, but it was around $50 IIRC

and the ALG, mil-spec trigger group from AIM for $45

I bought a 20 in. lightweight barrel from Del-Ton for $154.

I also had to order a safety selector which was missing from the parts kit from PSA for $10 and an AR15 lost parts kit from Amazon with pins/springs to replace a few pins that were also AWOL from the original parts kit.

Of course, the NodakSpud receiver was $160, plus FFL fees for $195 total. 

I went back and forth trying to decide to order a gray or black receiver, and decided to go with the black. It was probably almost six months from the time that I placed my order to when I received it. Some of the time was taken up by my choice to have a black finish instead of the standard gray. Maybe I should have gone with the gray, but I like the looks of the black lower with the buttstock and foreend that came with the parts kit, so I really don’t regret my choice. 

It’s not like I’m going to fool anyone into thinking that I have a real M16A1 anyway.  Especially with NODAKSPUD instead of a Colt or Armalite logo on the receiver.

A can of Brownells matte black Aluma-Hyde II to match the upper receiver to the black lower was $12. 

I also had to buy an armorer’s tool, and upper and lower receiver vice blocks for maybe $50.

Total price for the damage was just over $1,000.

Here is is finished, matching upper and lower and a period correct 20 round Colt magazine

It turns out this sort of build is pretty popular. As I was preparing this post, Colt announced (at the NRA Annual Meetings) that they were bringing back the Colt M16A1 (in semi-auto of course).

photo courtesy of The Firearm Blog