Thursday, November 05, 2009

Custom ARs.

You may notice that some people get snotty when someone refers to an AR as a "custom" rifle. Part of this is because of the nature of the AR's construction: Being more or less entirely modular, with the same high-end components, some simple hand tools, and a bit of care, you could assemble a rifle in your basement that was pretty much the equivalent of anything you'd get from Baer or Wilson. There's very little in the way of hoodoo and tricky stuff in knocking an AR-pattern rifle together that justifies paying a custom house premium for assembly.

On the other hand, were you to start with a semi-inletted walnut stock, a Swedish Mauser, and a name-brand barrel, it would be helpful if you had such tools as a lathe and a mill in your basement, as well as being a dab hand with a rasp and a file.

14 comments:

Jim said...

You didn't. Or did you?

And semi-inletted with a Stihl, Ms. Tam.

It's malarial. One damned bite and you face a lifetime of sporadic and insane urges to build a rifle.

if I ever work up ambition enough to visit an Indy blog meet, I'll bring along the custom 1903, Bishop stock, which has been almost done since about 2001. I'm waiting now for the kind of moment when I feel precision-prone enough to mount the Redfield peeps. Then, pretty soon, after my buddy Jeff gets his bluing tanks set up, it'll be all done.

Tam said...

I know better than to tackle the work myself; that's why there are gunsmiths.

tomcatshanger said...

I can do lego kits just fine. Which is why I'm pretty good at building and swapping parts on AR-15's.

If I had to fit and finish something, I'm sure Bubba would look down on me.

og said...

Yep. You can, with a drillmotor and socket set, turn a beetle into a dune buggy- and a dune buggy is fun! Butit don't make you Chip Foos.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Tam, about the problem of plastic discrimination by those snobs. But there is - I dread to use the term for fear of well-deserved flamming for sounding like a liberal -artistic expression in the "custom" AR just as in those beautiful wood and blued steel creations. A shooting buddy of mine was dreaming one just the other day. Has to have the folding front sight that looks like the standard sight tower, because that's what an AR should look like in his mind; a free float forend is okay but no rails because an AR "shouldn't have those." That's no different than Jim wanting Redfield irons on his '03 because they look "right". We have to all be accepting of the wonderful diversity we have. Kumbyya my Lord...
Larry Weeks

Mr. Fixit said...

"Custom" only means it is someones idea of exactly what they want. How much labor or skill it takes to get there is immaterial.

Would dropping a Rem. 700 action and barrel into a Synthetic stock, adding custom (Bolt on) floor plate and painting it not be custom?

Even Bubba with granddads old Mauser, a hack saw and cold blue makes a custom rifle.

Custom is how a thing is done. Quality is how well it is done.

Mr Fixit

DirtCrashr said...

My dad has an MFA in woodworking - I don't. I ruined an aftermarket Krag stock once, trying to inlet it. The skill is not genetically inherited, it's repetitive, painstakingly focused, and only acquired over long suffering.
But today we are determined to be such magnificent individuals - just like everybody else is - and we want our objects of desire to reflect in the glow of our wonderfulness, that we each demand our own essential "Customness" - and as consumers we know it's especially easy if you have the purchasing power to accessorize.

Mad Saint Jack said...

I have a Turkish/Swede bastard I bought from one of the old timers at my dads gun club. He built it himself with a new 6.5 barrel and a Timney trigger. My skills don't do it justice so I ask a local SWAT officer if he would try it out. His judgment was that it is a 1 MOA gun, very good for a $250 rifle with a $100 scope.

Best results are with the surplus ammo which can be found a Samco Global for about half the price of Wolf Gold.

http://www.samcoglobal.com/Ammunition.html

Steve R said...

Jack -

I have a WWII bringback K98 action with a 26" MidwayUSA bull barrel chambered in 30-06 with a Timney trigger, all in a synthetic stock that I bought from one of the old fellas at the gun club here. I'm not done finding a preferred load yet, and I have it down to a 3-shot group of .862" center to center at 100 yards with a 60 year old 4x scope.

I think a lot of it goes to that trigger. Sweeeeeet. Every shot is a surprise when it goes off.

Vaarok said...

Look on Gunbroker at what's titled "custom" and never mention basement gunsmithing again...

Stranger said...

I have an '03 in .257 waiting for a THIRD piece of wood. The first two were OK, but I want something special. How special? Well, I sent back a $750 blank. Not enough crazy grain on the left side.

grumble grumble durn hobby is addictive!

Stranger

Mad Saint Jack said...

Oh, Tam. I have 6.5x55 reloading dies that I'm not using...

If you like that sort of thing.

Zendo Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

AR-15s are basically tinker toys for adults. I've built 4. Fun but not really something that requires great skill. I love the comments on AR-15.com! I helped dad build a Kentucky Rifle years ago that was basically a block of wood and some very basic bare metal parts when we started. Many, many months later we had a beautiful museum quality piece that he let me shoot first. Worked great. Lots of hours of hard work. Dad used to shoot competitive Benchrest. His rifle was very custom. Even the cartridges were custom.
-Diamondback