I Guess I’m Building Another AR

Geissele Automatics Logo

I’ve been itching to build another AR for a while, but our Friends of the NRA Dinner last night got me the parts to get started, even though I didn’t quite win everything I wanted. The fine folks at Geissele Automatics, who are a local business right down the PA Turnpike in Norristown, donated a few free-float modular AR handguards, and three AR triggers, including one of their match triggers. Those items went to silent auction, except one of the triggers which went to the stretch raffle. I put bids in on all of them, and flooded the stretch raffle with tickets. I also bid on an AR-15 lower in the live auction, but that got  bit rich for me. So I ended up with the hand guards. The triggers got bid up and I ended up out. I was pleased there were enough AR guys there to keep the bidding going in the right direction for the dinner.

So now that I have a start with the handguards, I guess I should think about a barrel. I’m looking for a 20 inch barrel that will shoot military spec ammo decently, but can also do reasonably well with heavier, longer bullets. I realize these things are tradeoffs, so I’d be looking to trade to shooting lighter, shorter bullets. I’m thinking perhaps that has a Wylde chamber would be beneficial too, though I’m not sure about that yet. I’d probably be best off going with a stainless barrel. I’m not looking for super top of the line, because I don’t want to fork out 400 or more for a barrel. So if anyone has suggestions for how to proceed, I would be grateful for the advice.

13 thoughts on “I Guess I’m Building Another AR”

  1. I hear good things about Harrison at AR15Performance’s barrels. While I haven’t bought one yet, I have my eye on his 20″ Melonite treated .223 Wylde barrel for a future build, similar to what you are doing.

    1. I had one of his 6.8 SPC uppers (sold because I needed the funds for a bolt gun project and this one had the highest resale value), and it was well put together, accurate, and lightweight. He knows what he’s doing, and is the authority in 6.8 SPC; his .223/5.56 stuff is no slouch either.

      Also suggest the various 18″ SPR contour barrels available, like White Oak Armament, Rainier Arms, Noveske, etc. The White Oak 18″ is fairly inexpensive, coming in at $275 + $55 for a matched bolt at ADCO Firearms. I have one and am satisfied.

  2. Are you building or assembling?
    If you are building (doing the necessary machine work) I would recommend Green Mountain Rifle barrels, 1:8 twist works well for me. Or how about a different caliber? Perhaps 6×45 (.223 brass necked up to .243, reloading dies available at Brownells) or 300 Blackout (AAC).
    If you are the DIY type gun-nut, I can recommend a website for builders, but beware, building is habit forming.

    If you are assembling, grab the Brownells catalog, a marker, and get to shopping :)

    Let us know how it turns out.

  3. Bill Geissele and the rest of the folks at Geissele Automatics are top notch people. Bill puts a lot of time into designing his products and won’t let anything out the door that isn’t up to his standards. Be sure to post pictures of the finished rifle for us to see. A review would also be nice :)

  4. Check out Rainier Arms. They’ve got excellent “match grade” barrels that run about $250, and “ultra-match” in the same lengths and profile for something like $360. My dad has an 18″ SPR variant of their “match” series and it loves all ammo and hoots little tiny groups. The staff there are good guys too. In addition they have the White Oak barrels that others have mentioned for good prices.

  5. Define “milspec” ammo for us. M193 is 55gr and prefers 1:12 rifling, but is just fine in 1:9. M855 needs 1:9 or faster. M855 spec is used in 1:7 barrels to good effect in the M4 and M16A2 and 1:7 will let you use those heavier bullets.

    I’ve settled on 1:9 for my 5.56 guns because it gives the widest range of common loads. 55gr FMJ is easy to find, heavier stuff is not as common unless you count M855 or SS109 surplus. Internet ordering changes that somewhat, of course.

    I decided that if I needed heavier than 69gr I’d just use the 6.8. And I have. Bison Arms is where I got my stainless 6.8 barrel. I’m very pleased with it.

  6. I love my Wylde – LaRue w/ 1:9. Nothing beats not having to worry about whether you can fire .223 or 5.56. The 1:9 fires all fairly well. My next build/assembly will probably be JD Machine. Great & solid products. Am jealous of the triggers, love Geissele’s crispness

  7. My AR sports an 18″, straight (after the chamber) contour Lothar-Walther, Wylde chamber with 1 in 8 twist. Bought it with a factory-matched bolt.

    With Federal Ultra Match 69s, it’s shooting 1/3″ groups. With locally sourced 68 gr. rounds, it’s giving dime sized groups. I’m looking forward to tuning some handloads for it, just to see how good it can really get.

    Long as you have a quality manfacturer, that combination of twist and chamber is just about in the fat, sweet-spot of shooting damn near anything fed to it, and with great to reasonable accuracy, withal.

    I’d had prefered to have found a 20″ barrel, with a full length gas system, but had to settle for the 18″ and mid length gas. Works fine, but I did want the bit longer sight radius.

    Oh, and once you build the thing, then beg, borrow or steal the highest end scope you can concieve of, just to see how well the rifle is capable of shooting. Yeah, your AR will look a little silly with a 24x Nightforce, S&B or U.S. Optics up there, but it’s great to eliminate weak optics as a variable of testing.

    You can then go back to your prefered optic, but with the knowledge of what the rifle can really do.

    Also, I have no pride when it comes to “best case” accuracy testing. I’ve been lucky enough to have fired a few “one hole” groups in my life, but not consistently enough to bank on ’em.

    So, if I happen to be at the range with one of the real benchrest gurus, who can shoot that small, group after group after endless group, I’ll invite ’em to shoot my rig, just for the objective truth of it.

    Again, I’m interested in what the RIFLE can do, here. Yes, I work on iproving my skills, but hey, objective testing is objecting testing, right?

    You know the best part of all this is, though? It’s still as fun as when I was a pre-teen, just a-larnin’ this stuff. Still larnin’, too.

    Have fun!

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

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