FDE SBR

RRA stripped lower Cerakoted burnt bronze.
Larue MBT
Colt FDE Anodized Upper
Colt SOCOM Profile barrel cut to 10.3″
Daniel Defense MK18 RIS II
Surefire Warcomp
KAC Handstop
KAC Sights
KAC Ambi Safety
Magpul CTR with older extended pad
KAC QD End Plate
Arms Unlimited Ambi Mag Release (not shown)
PRI Gasbuster
SU-231/PEQ
Colt BCG
Misc Lower Parts, most likely WOA

If I were to change anything, I would change 2 things. I don’t like the Eotech, I don’t trust it. The Arms Unlimited ambi catch fit and finish is not as nice as the Norgon they copy, and it slightly binds in this lower, I’d rather be using the real thing and not the knockoff there. To a lesser extent, the Gasbuster is overkill on this. Would rather use something like a lower profile Gunfighter charging handle.

Misc Chatter, Muzzle breaks on SBRs, AR Mags, Height over bore, MGI Hydra

Last weekend I was shooting M855 out of a 8 inch barrel with a muzzle break.  Each shot I saw a muzzle flash that extended past my peripheral vision.

 

Recently I saw a video where someone was doing rifle pushups with an AR15.  I was going to reference that video in this comment, but I don’t recall where I saw it.

Rifle pushups involve holding the rifle and balancing your self and it on the inserted magazine while doing pushups.  So the rifle and magazine have to support your weight and you have to balance your self on that single point of contact between the rifle magazine and the ground.

Here is a video of someone performing them with an AK:

First time I saw these, I recall the person explaining them telling us how you could never do this with the flimsy AR15.  I never thought to try it.  So I got a chuckle out of seeing someone to rifle pushups with an AR.

That got me thinking about the olden days.  For so long it was known that the weak point of the AR platform was the magazines.  That is why it was known that the AUG, G36, XM8, Galil, etc were superior weapons because they had superior magazines.

I think part of this came from the mentality caused by the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB).  During the AWB we were buying beat up old mags at very high premiums.  It didn’t help that the military just loves to never throw out old mags.  I’m fairly sure that while I was in Marine Corps, my self and my peers were issued mags older than we were.  Go to the Armory and try and swap out a mag that had bent feed lips where the rounds would just spill out like a water fountain and you would be told to fix the mag your self or they would charge you for a new one.

So for so many years I remember people talking about how the AR mag was the weak spot of the gun.  I think it was around the time Magpul started making the P-Mag that people starting throwing away their old beat up mags and buying new mags and we stopped hearing that saying.

Now it seems that people want any new 5.56 rifle design to use AR mags.

Now, to add the ultimate insult to injury, groups like Definitive Arms, Texas AK designs, and Zastava setup AKs that use M16 mags:

Oh what a world we live in.

~25 rounds fired at about 10 yards, point of aim was the red dot.

I also remember critics of the AR damning it for the height of the sights over the bore.  Because of that you couldn’t get a good zero, it was unsuitable for close quarters combat, etc.

 

 

While I was writing this, I remember the MGI Hydra.

The Hydra (which I think was also sold under other brand names) had a modular lower and a quick change barrel upper.  You could buy them separately.

The upper allows for true tool less quick change of a standard AR15 barrel just by flipping two levers.

The lower is modular allowing you to replace the front section with different magwells allowing for AK mags, 9mm mags, etc.  A M14 mag well rifle was shown, but I don’t think it was ever sold to the public.

In the past, I really wanted one of these lowers.  I thought it would be an excellent host for a SBR.  Out of curiosity I looked up the price of them while I was writing this.  The extra modular magwells are $275 each.

At that price, you could buy separate lowers and a tax stamp for each one.

No wonder I’ve never seen anyone own any of these.  It would be cheaper just to have whole new guns.

But, maybe if I win the lotto, I’ll buy one anyways.

Misc Comments

I don’t have an real content for you guys today, so here are a couple of photos.

Here is a picture of a M4A1 Colt SOCOM profile barrel that has been chopped to 10.3 inches long.  You can see the medium heavy profile and the flats that are unique to the M4A1 SOCOM Profile.  The hammer was used to keep the barrel from rolling off the table.  This is the replacement barrel for that favorite SBR upper of mine where I shot out the original barrel.

I don’t know if they still do, but Geissele triggers used to come with a short pin you could slide into them to hold the disconnector in place when you were dropping the trigger assembly into a lower.  Once the trigger group is in place, installing the trigger pin would push this shorten pin out of place.  This made installing triggers much quicker and easier.

Side note, as I have been playing around with and using that Chaos Ready rear sight, the windage adjustment on it has stiffened up a little.  I think that is a good thing as it was way too easy to adjust earlier.  I will likely update my review to reflect this after the next time I use the sight.

Looks like the barrel is shot on my favorite AR.

My favorite gun started key-holing last weekend.  It is the most distraught I’ve felt in a long time.  Like losing an old friend.  Extra kick in the nuts was that I just rebuilt the gun as I was upgrading it.

After I had issues with my first SBR I decided I’d have another built no holds barred.

I started seeing pictures of 10.5 inched barreled carbines with the 9.5 inch long Daniel Defense Lite rail.  I really liked that setup.  That rail was a predecessor to the RIS II rail.  Similar profile but the bottom rail was lower and did not detach.  I was planning to use one of those when I learned about the RIS II rails.  I liked the idea of being able to remove the bottom rail for cleaning.  And one of the Daniel Defense reps told me that ALL the RIS II rails could mount a M203.  Later I learned that was not true of their MK18 Rail.

I like this upper setup so much I decided I’d swap the old WOA upper on it with a Colt FDE upper and have one of my SBR lowers Cerakoted Burned Bronze to turn this setup all FDE.

Sort of like that, but with an FDE lower.

It was interesting pulling this old upper apart to rebuild it.  There was a little corrosion:

Along with lots of gunk.

But everything cleaned up nicely:

The barrel was part of a limited run from a company that no longer exists.  They had Douglas blanks turned down by Compass Lake Engineering with wylde chambers.  Then a small part of this batch was given an ion bond finish.

Now days I wouldn’t recommend a match barrel on a SBR.  But it sure was a fun combination.  I don’t know how many rounds I had through it, but it is somewhere around 10,000 +- 3,000.  Match ammo, m193, m855, lots of wolf and other assorted cheap ammo, some of it fired full auto on other peoples lowers, lots of rapid fire.  Only failures I had were two case head separations with Black Hills blue box remanufactured ammo.

I often drove my self nuts trying to shoot very small groups with that 75 grain boat tail open tip match Black Hills ammo.  I would shoot 5 or 10 round groups and have 3 or 8 rounds touching under half an inch at 100 yards.  Then always I would have a shot or two that opened the group up to 1.1 inches.  Drove me mad.  Later I was told by some other shooters that used the same ammo that about 1.1 inch groups at 100 yards were what they normally got out of that ammo.

For a long time this was my main AR.  It also functioned as a test bed.  If I had something new to test, try it on with this gun.  Note, I have multiple SBR lowers and I move uppers between them.  In no particular order here are a few of the setups I’ve used other the years and happened to take photos of.

I hated the UBR stock, but when I had one, it was on this rifle.

I even ran an A1 fixed stock on it for a while after I got rid of the UBR.

I’ve used many different iron sights and scopes on it.  I used Troy BUIS for a long time before finally deciding that I liked the sight picture of the KAC sights the best.

That picture is from when I was joking on a forum about having an offset ACOG for close in work when you are running your fixed 10x scope.  The ACOG was mounted to an offset rail which at the time I was normally using a Doctor sight on.

Yup, I even had an ACOG with piggyback T-1 back in the day.  I love the combo of running the Nightforce 2.5-10×24 on this rifle as the rifle is accurate and the scope makes hitting what you want to hit easy.  I sent a good number of round downrange at 565 yard targets with a Nightforce on this upper.

In the past I’ve called this gun my “Micro-Recce”.  A rifle small and handle enough for fast work, but plenty accurate enough if you needed to take a little longer shot.  But in hind sight I think everything practical that I ever did with this rifle could have been done just as well with a chrome lined barrel.  Had I started with a chromed barrel I probably wouldn’t be rebararreling it now.  While a well made stainless barrel will hold  up to a great deal, it just is not made for sustained abuse.

I’ve tried a great number of fun or odd setups with this gun.

I was debating if it was time to retire this upper and build something different but instead I decided that I am going to rebarrel it.  I’m taking a Colt M4A1 SOCOM barrel that I have lightly used and having it cut down to 10.3 inches by ADCO Firearms.  The old 4 slot Legacy Surefire mount is going to be replaced with a new Warcomp.  I know a collector who is going to give that 4 slot a good new home.  This new set up should give me a good reliable accurate barrel (but not a match barrel, which I feel is excessive on a SBR).  The Warcomp will reduce the already minor recoil.  That will give a great deal more life out of this gun.

I’m relieved to know that I am going to still be using this years to come.

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.