Thursday, March 13, 2014

AR-15 V2.0 Part 2: Upper Assembly

In case you aren't up to date with this build, head on over and read AR-15 V2.0 Part 1

So, I ordered my complete upper assembly on February 14th. We received our Tax Refund and I was itching to spend some cash, Best 5 Zach Style.

Well, as things go at Palmetto State Armory these days, it takes FOR-EVER to get anything. Now they do stipulate a 14 days lead time on assembled orders, but at the 3rd week, a small package showed up with my full auto bolt and carrier group and flip up rear site.
I have to admit that I was not impressed with the flip up rear site. But, it's on sale for $39 and you get what you pay for. It is inferior, in my opinion, to the Knight's Armament flip up on my other gun. So, I will be swapping.

I oiled up the BCG and stored it. It comes bone dry, so to protect it and get it ready for installation and firing, it's good to oil it up for several days. The BCG is the PSA Premium Full Auto BCG. Here are the details:

  • Milspec Carpenter No. 158® steel bolt
  • Shot Peened Bolt
  • High pressure tested (HPT)
  • Mag particle inspected (MPI)
  • Chrome Lined Carrier (AUTO)
  • Chrome Lined Gas Key
  • Gas Key Hardened to USGI Specifications
  • Gas Key Grade 8 Hardened Fasteners
  • Gas Key Staked Per Mil-Spec
  • Tool Steel Extractor
  • Extractor Spring
  • Extractor O-ring Insert
This past weekend, I had quite the ordeal with UPS. First, on Friday. Then, another miss on Monday. But yesterday, the package FINALLY showed up. I was already in a good mood and I bet the UPS man thought my karaoke of "Just Got Paid" was awesome. Here are the specs on the upper, which can be found here.

16" Barrel length
Chrome moly vanadium barrel
5.56 Nato Chamber
1 in 7" twist rate
Chrome-lined bore
HPT/MPI Barrel
M4 Feed ramps
F-Marked Front sight post
A2 Flash Hider
Sling Loop
Standard Hand Guards w/ heat shields
Forged upper receiver
Vortex Strikefire Red-dot optic
T-Marks

30 seconds later, I had the upper mounted and the BCG dropped in. 5 more minutes and I had the Vortex Strikefire mounted. Now, in case you were wondering, the Strikefire untit came with the upper as a promotional deal. It was essentially free, though it is selling On-Sale at PSA for $120. So far, I am very pleased with the unit, except that it uses CR2 batteries, which none of my other accessories use. But, I love the visibility, the ease of operation, and the waterproofing on it. Here are the specs:

When the situation demands fast shooting, a big scope with a narrow field of view just won't cut it—choose the StrikeFire red dot and shoot with both eyes open. With unlimited field of view and eye relief, nothing gets you on target faster than this tough, compact red dot scope.

Optic has option for both RED/Green Dots.

•High recoil caliber rating—tested with .375 H&H Magnum for 1000 rounds.
•Included extra-high 30mm ring puts scope's bore center 37 mm (1.46 inches) above the base height. Commonly used for mounting with a Flat Top AR15, providing lower 1/3 co-witness with iron sights.


So, here is how it looks!


I swapped the Knight's Armament flip up rear site and a single point sling.

So, what's next? Well, I didn't exactly mount the Vortex unit as I would for final assembly. Right now it is simply bolted down. I will be chucking it up on my AR vice block and properly mount it. I will probably do that today or tomorrow, depending on when the aforementioned vice block gets here.


Additionally, I don't really like the A2 front site. It doesn't really interfere with my Vortex unit, but it is visible and I don't like that. Additionally, I won't be making this gun all "tacti-cool" and I don't plan on buying a rail system. I do plan on using a bipod for distanced shooting. Instead, I was looking for a low profile gas block that had picatinny rails. I found just what I wanted in the UAG gas block.
Now, the reviews of this piece aren't glowing. I have read that the set screw used (3 per side) are soft metal and they strip. So, I will be buying a set of stainless set screws before I ever install this piece on the gun.

So, that brings us to the following:



  • Anderson MFG lower: $60 after tax
  • PSA Classic LPK- $87 shipped
  • PSA Full auto BCG
  • PSA M4 Upper w/ strikefire-$572
  • UAG gas block-$24.95
  • AR vice blocks-$24.95
  • Knight's Armament flip up rear site-$120
  • Total: $890