My first SBR.

A long time ago, in the ancient barbaric times of 2007, I finally had an approved Form 1 to make a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR).  Back then we didn’t have the pistol braces so doing the paperwork for a SBR was considered the best way to go.

I don’t remember why I choose to go get a SBR, but I have loved the short AR15 ever since.

I decided no expense would be spared, I would build a top notch SBR.  (Tier 1 wasn’t a phrase used back then, but that sort of mentality).

It was common knowledge back then that short AR15s were generally unreliable.  The LMT 10.5 inch upper was said to be the exception.  That it would “run like a raped ape”.  (It wasn’t till years later I learned that was a racist term).  LMT also used a medium profile barrel heavier than a standard M4 barrel on their 10.5 inch uppers.

I wasn’t going to use my old RRA lower for this, I would buy a brand new top of the line lower to build this top of the line gun.

So I went with a LMT lower.  The gun ended up looking like this:

Let me take a moment to explain some of the decisions and setups shown.

I wanted a flip up rear sight, so I went with the Troy rear sight I purchased for use in Iraq.  Troy sights are still an excellent product, but I much prefer to use other brands now.  Not to mention that the Troy Industries has done some questionable things since then.

I wanted to free float the barrel so I had a Larue 7.0 free float rail installed by MSTN.  It made for a very nice configuration.  Back then I wasn’t set up to build uppers, and MSTN was very highly regarded.  I believe they are still around but I don’t hear much about them.  I had him test fire the upper for me.

“YOURS IS BUILT AND GOT SHOT YESTERDAY. A FRIEND AND COWORKER WAS THERE
AT THE RANGE, AND I LET HIM SHOOT A MAGAZINE THROUGH YOUR UPPER.

HE ON THE SPOT DECIDED TO GET ONE FOR HIMSELF. HE WENT AND PICKED UP AN
LMT LOWER FROM THE SHOP WHERE WE DO BUSINESS AND HAS ALREADY SENT IT
OFF TO BE ENGRAVED.” Quote from Wes.

I choose to use a Diamondbond coated LMT Bolt.  MSTN was out of Diamondbond coated LMT Bolt Carriers so I purchased a coated Young MFG carrier.  I also purchased a second coated Bolt Carrier Group.  I’ll come back to this detail later.

A PRI Gasbuster was picked as it was the ultimate charging handle of its day.

I used the SOPMOD stock that came with the LMT lower.  I added a KAC QD sling attachment to the stock as back then LMT stocks did not offer a QD mount in them.

I used a CQD sling for a while back in Iraq.  I decided to go with CQD sling mounts on my SBR.  It was a good while later that I learned the SEALs were using the same mounts, I still think they were copying me.

Back then I think I tried every mainstream AR grip on the market. (No I didn’t use the one that let you put a revolver grip on your AR).  I eventually settled on the old A1 grip.  No finger bump.

For a while I ran the Eotech 512 forward mounted because the weight up front also helped reduce muzzle flip.

 

There were many many things I loved about that configuration, but it had a few fatal flaws.

Lets first talk about mistakes I made.

The LMT lower I purchased had an issue with its finished.  It was flaking off near the safety and the trigger pins.  I should have rejected it and had it replaced.

That sorta worked out ok with due to another mistake I made.

I had a local trophy shop engrave it for the NFA engraving requirements.  They really fucked it up.  I ended up having a pay more to send it off to Orion/TheGunGarage to have it properly engraved, the bad engraving fixed, and the lower finish touched up.  They work they did was awesome, but I shouldn’t have had to have that work done in the first place.

Back then some of the ammo I shot was Norinco.  This Chinese ammo seemed to lack the flash suppressant than most American ammo has.  When I fired my first round through this upper it made a tremendous amount of flash and blast and I instantly knew I was going to get a suppressor.  I wanted a Knights NT4, but my local didn’t didn’t have one and I let them talk me into a Gemtech M402.  The M402 is a good can, but ultimately wasn’t what I wanted.  Had I bought a NT4 I would probably still be using it as my main can today.

One of the biggest mistakes of mine was picking Eotech.  Back then, it was common knowledge that Eotech was great and Aimpoint sucked.  Just like how it was common knowledge that the world was flat.  Everyone knew that Eotech sights were faster, and because it used common AA batteries you could pull batteries of a remote to keep it running.  I didn’t know back then that I would have to room clear to the living room TV remote just to try and keep the Eotech running.

Now lets talk about the issues outside my control.

I had two Diamondbond LMT/YoungMFG bolt carrier groups.  One has been flawless, has seen tons of rounds, and just held up awesome.  It still resides in my favorite AR.  The other is. . . finicky.  That other coated LMT bolt causes random malfunction in what ever gun it is put in.  I was never able to figure out why.  It still sits in my parts bin.  That carrier however has seen tens of thousands of rounds of 5.45 and held up awesome.  Diamondbond is an amazing coating.

Chrome lined barrels can be very accurate.  LMT can make a very accurate barrel.  But my barrel was threaded poorly.  This wouldn’t have been an issue except I wanted to run a suppressor.

Either way this barrel had massive point of impact shift when suppressed.  10 minutes of angle.  That meant that I could either zero the upper suppressed or suppressed.  Since then I have multiple barrels that have had zero POI shift when suppressed, and that is what I have grown accustom too.

That was the ultimate deal breaker for me.  To not be able to quickly switch between suppressed and unsuppressed.  But I still love the 10.X inch barrel length on the AR.

11 thoughts on “My first SBR.”

  1. I think I’ll always prefer an 11.5” barrel over the shorter 10.5” just for the extra assurance on cycling. Having said that the Mk18 is probably my favorite shooter. Never had any issues that were the problem of the gun. Old mags, weak ammo, sure. The gun, nope. Very handy shooter even suppressed.

  2. Hi Howard, off topic: since the updates you’ve done to the website, I’ve noticed it’s much slower to load the front page. I’ve tried on a couple of different connections and noticed the same thing. Of course, I connect from the internet backwater of Australia, so that doesn’t help… Anyway, just thought I’d let you know.

    • That is actually why I did the updates. Previously the site was taking over 60 seconds for me to load.
      Some of the changes I did last night have speed it up a bit, but it still is having major speed issues and I haven’t been able to figure out why this problem is happening.
      It is so bad that most of the time when I try to even work on the site that everything times out.

  3. Pistol length gas system is the best way for short barrels.
    Even long barrels when using subsonic ammo and a suppressor. My 300BLK pistol (10.5″) and my 300BLK rifle (16″) are both pistol length gas system and cycle on everything, subs to super.

    • .300 Blackout is a very different animal than 5.56. I wouldn’t recommend a pistol gas system for 5.56 guns unless the barrel was 8.5″ or less.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.