Friday, July 02, 2010

The Doctor Z. SHTF Zombie Apocalypse AR15 Build - Part 2

Part Two - Or Shit! I didn't see that coming!

When we left off -- I had a shiny new Spike's Tactical Lower Receiver and had ordered my LPK (lower parts kit).

I was off and staggering down the road towards an evil, black, zombie slaying assault rifle; and it felt damned good.

So, I received the CMMG parts kit in a snazzy little tube and was all jazzed to start building. But then I went to and saw that, as part of the lower build, I needed to install the buffer tube - which wasn't part of the lower parts kit.


So, back to the internet I went. Because I was getting antsy, I posted an old motorcycle jack I had on Craigslist and scored $60. That means I had $60 bucks to spend on the build.

A little research showed that some of the commercially available buttstocks out there carried the buffer tube, spring, and buffer with them. Score! So I began searching and settled on the Tapco 6 position stock. It came with all the rear parts and even - according to Tapco's video on Youtube - the requisite buffer tube wrench. The only problem was, they were all OVER $60. I had $60 bucks to spend and knew that there was no way the little missus was going to tolerate my going over. You see, she hates guns and, truthfully, was not thrilled about my building an EBR (Evil Black Rifle). The thought of an assault rifle scares the hell out of her. So... in order to get my toys and not upset her too much... I needed to tread lightly.

Back to the internet and Google Shopping I went.

After much searching, I found a great site called Besides the cool name, they have some of the best internet prices on ar15 parts. After much searching and reading... I settled on the Mako GMG 6 Position Buttstock. It didn't have the bad reviews that the DPMS Pardus or UTG had. It came with the buffer, buffer tube and spring as well... and all for a price that was unbelievable at $38. That left me enough money to order the stock, a wrench ($5.95 - an investment in future builds!) and even a C-product 30 round polymer mag.

And I was still under $60.

I rock.

The C-product mags, by the way, are the best deal on AR Mags you can get. I wanted to pick a mag up to test my mag release when I assembled the lower, and I did quite a bit of research. The mags actually run for $10, $5 - $10 cheaper than most other mags. They're well respected on gun forums and at Zombie Squad. They're even cheaper than the dependable government issue mags. The mag is black, metal, and even has a orange Magpul type follower for clean feeding. When I get the rifle fully built, I anticipate I'll spend $50 or so on more of these awesome mags.

So, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the parts from Area 51... so I could actually get to the building.

A week or so later they showed up, but then they sat for a couple weeks because of my apprehension. I'm handy, but wasn't sure if I was up to the task.

I was agonizing over putting it together because I wasn't sure I still wasn't going to fuck it up. That and I felt I needed to get some more tools. The builds I saw on Youtube and online all said you needed roll pin punches, and brass hammers, and all kinds of other snazzy tools that I didn't have.

My delay - as I've already said - was largely due to my apprehension about actually starting the build. The tools were something I figured I'd pick up from Harbor Freight -- but money was again tight.

So, one night, after Mrs. Zombie, Wolf Girl, and Zombie Boy had gone to bed, I was surfing Zombie Squad. A day or so earlier, I'd posted the awesome CMMG Lower Parts kit deal I'd found in the online deals section when I got a PM from a ZS member who shall remain nameless. Turns out, this guy works for CMMG and said that they'd had some quality control issues with some of their parts kits and, if I had the black safety detent, takedown detent, and pivot pin... it was probably crap.

I darted upstairs and grabbed my lower parts kit and, don't you know it, I had the black ones.


The funny thing is, as I was playing with the kit, one thing lead to another... and 50 minutes later I had an assembled AR15 lower.

Tools I used:
A printout of photos of a complete LPK from
A small hammer
A screwdriver
A single size craftsman nail punch
A block of wood
Some gorilla tape.

That's it. Some basic common tools and about an hour of my time was all it took. It wasn't as bad as I feared and was really easy. I found an online tutorial that was solely responsible for making it happen. Check it out here. .

This is even considering the fact that I screwed up and forgot to put the bolt catch spring in when assembling the bolt catch assembly. I carefully tapped out the roll pin with a broken hardened drill bit, installed the spring, and re-installed the roll pin. I only put a tiny scratch on the receiver, which made me happy!

And, thanks to my buddy on Zombie Squad, I found that my safety detent was - in fact - crap. A call the next morning to CMMG confirmed that they had some quality control issues with the safety detent, the takedown detent, and the pivot detent. My takedown and pivot work fine -- but the safety's crap. Don't know about you, but the safety's kind of important to me...

To CMMG's credit, they were totally cool, admitted there were some QC problems, and immediately offered to ship me a new one - no questions asked. I received the replacement two days later, and it dropped in with no problem and works flawlessly.

So... still a good deal and a great customer service response. This hiccup will in no way dissuade me from doing business with or using CMMG parts. In fact, they were cool enough about it that it makes me want to buy more bits for my AR build. Also - way cool of my fellow Zombie Squadder to give me the heads up. He's good people.

So now the search for an upper begins...

Total Build Cost To Date

FFL Transfer Fee for Lower $25
Spikes Tactical Stripped Lower $89
CMMG Lower Parts Kit $65
GMG 6-position Tactical Stock $38
- Includes buffer, spring, and tube
C-Product 30 Round Polymer Mag $10

Total $227



pchak said...

cool. Roll pins are a bitch, but then you get used to it.

Like your running total. What size barrel are you putting on?

Andrew W said...

I went down the same path at about the same time. I just completed my build last night after the LPK came in.

+ Spikes lower
+ DSA mil-spec buffer tube
+ Spikes adj. mil-spec stock
+ Spikes m4 upper and BCG

Your comments about the CMMG LPK have me worried. What were the quality control issues? How did you know the safety wasn't working?

My safety seems fine, but the takedown pin is awfully hard to get to release open.

Dr. Zombie said...

Pchak - I'm going with a 16 inch carbine length upper. It's been a long several months, and I'm getting antsy to actually shoot the damned thing... but soon. Very soon. : )

Andrew - Cool. I'm becoming a big Spike's fanboy. Spikes and Magpul. In fact, I think I may end up with a Spike's BCG when all is said and done. As for the LPK, my takedown pin was tight, but loosened up the more I futzed with it. As i understnad it, this is common. My safety, on the other hand, wouldn't engage or disengage at all. If, when you engage the trigger, you can't flick the safety smoothly from fire to safe and back again, you need a new detent. HTH.

Andrew W said...

Dr Z - I am loving the Spikes hardware as well. Being new to the AR platform, I have been reading up as much as I can. The first thing I found was "the chart," and though Spikes isn't listed, they seem to check all the boxes the other top tier do. I am surprised they don't get more respect.

The quality of the stuff I have gotten has been top notch. Fit of everything has been super tight and finish is perfect. I love it.

Thanks for the info on the CMMG parts. It looks like my parts are fine. I worked the takedown pin a bit, and it is now much smoother to disengage the detent.

Good luck on the build, and please post when you get your upper together. The upper is where things get a little expensive - or they did for me at least.