Have you checked out Palmetto State Armory? They have some very good assembled uppers at reasonable prices.
This is a Ballistic Advantage, they make the barrels for Aero, so it is pretty much the same thing, and it comes with a bolt carrier group. These are great options for ARs you want to defend yourself with. I personally would not go with a pistol less than 10.5 inches in .223/5.56. Below 10.5 inches your ballistics start going in the toilet.
How close am i going to end up to crossing in to SBR/Rifle territory if i go with a 10.5 inch?
Since I plan on this being something of a truck gun I kind of want it to be blatantly obvious that it’s a pistol.
Do ballistics matter sub 50 yards? I don’t expect this would ever be used over 50. Yes I’m new to building firearms, that’s why I have to ask.
@Spence As long as the OAL (Over All Length) of your pistol is 26" or less from the MUZZLE (not the flash hider/brake/can etc.) to the end of the “installed” buffer tube (the brace doesn’t count unless it gets beyond the <13.5" LOP as discussed above) and you follow all the other rules you will still have a pistol. The longer you make it the less it will look like a pistol. Mine looks an awful lot like an SBR and I have had to explain it to LEO who should but didn’t know better. I have taken to keeping copies of the appropriate ATFE letters and Federal definitions in the hard case I have for it. Since the Fed’s ruled that the act of shouldering a pistol with a brace is NOT a violation of law I don’t really care how much it looks like a SBR or if I shoulder it on the range.
You could use all the way up to a 15.9" barrel and still have a pistol as long as the rest of it was only 10" long. That said on MY pistol the length of the buffer tube attached to the lower measured to the front of the upper (not the threaded part) is ~14.5" which means I could do a 10.5" tube to get me to 25" ish as there is some debate as to where the barrel starts and stops for measurement purposes so my measurement errs on the conservative side.
Ballistic wise you are going to lose a lot of velocity due to the short tube and lack of powder burn, probably in the neighborhood of +600 FPS or more depending on your set up. My best advice is to shoot the heaviest bullet you can get as they will just about all give you the same velocity which should be somewhere around 2000-2500 FPS. No telling on accuracy.
Keeping some paperwork on hand would definitely help. Not a bad idea there. The problem I’m having is with Michigans acquisition database (the psuedo registration). Michigan law defines buyer and seller as mutually exclusive individuals. You can be charged with a felony for filling out paperwork incorrectly, which MSP is having people fill the forms out as both buyer and seller for build your owns. There is an exemption to the paperwork, which I’ve gone ahead and ensured I’m exempt. (Even if I end up being wrong here, failing to “register” is a civil infraction and $250 fine, if I’m not it’s a felony. Which is better?)
Maybe I’m just being overly cautious, but as you can see I’m trying to navigate a legal minefield.
Maybe I should just add some labels in white marker and call it good lol. (Length, brace not a stock, etc)
I guess I was just being overly cautious in figuring out the OAL. I had it in my head shorter was better to ensure it falls within legal requirements. Truth is I’d rather it be accurate and reliable. But I do want something to keep locked and loaded in my truck just in case which means pistol or SBR.
Since I’ve never built one before I don’t really have a clue as to what to expect on OAL length for the finished product. If 10.5" is the recommendation then I will go with that (unless the next step up is better? 12"?)
Thank you everyone contributing, I really do appreciate it. I will probably have more questions down the road abit.
maybe paint a nice white line down the length of it, with half-inch tick marks… old school like a ruler
So @Craig6 explained the ATF rules extremely well, thankfully. One thing to consider is that the rules of AR pistols have changed so frequently that by the time you get it all put together the ATF might have different regulations on what constitutes a pistol than they do now.
My opinion regarding AR pistols is that they look like SBRs no matter the length of the upper reciever.
I do believe that the extra few inches on the barrel will make you happier in the long run. My friend has 2 AR pistols, and he has a 10.5 and 7.5. The 10.5 is noticeably different enough to where the 7.5 doesn’t make it out of his safe much. He regrets that purchase.
No matter which way you end up going, look into a company that MPI (magnetic partical inspection) tests their uppers. That test determines flaws without being invasive to the steel. Generally your upper will be made better from a company that does MPI testing. You pay more, but it’s worth it to have a higher quality standard.
I have the JP drop in units in 3 of mine. I had a friend getting out of the business who had six of them laying around that I bought at about half of wholesale. I kept three, gave three to my brother. Excellent units.
@James do you mean MPI of the barrel? I’m thinking it would be pretty difficult to MPI an aluminum upper although I am sure you could NDT and radiography check an upper for QC purposes.
Yes, keeping up with current regulations is PARAMOUNT with AR pistols hence my keeping documentation for various pieces parts exclusive to AR pistols.
@Spence I do not understand the MSP issue. If you buy an un-assembled lower, are you not the “buyer” ? While there is now an issue with the whole AR serial number and being a firearm thing it is fairly certain that the gov’t will continue to see “lower’s” as the “firearm” part of an AR. Even in my neck of the woods there was an issue in the past as to the definition of an un-assembled lower being designated a “rifle” or a “pistol” and somehow that was circumvented by establishing the lower as “multi” As I understand it as long as you do due diligence and don’t get your rifle and pistol parts crossed you are good.
Yes, I was referring to the barrel. I agree, it would be hard to magnetically inspect anything non-magnetic. Thanks for clarifying for me!
It’s an issue with our psuedo registration. Basically the language of Michigan law makes it illegal to register a pistol that you built.
Michigan State Police (MSP) handles the “registration” database and they have been having people fill our their “registration” forms in a manner that doesn’t jive with the way the laws are written. Basically everyone in Michigan who has built their own and then registered it has committed a felony.
The only legal way that I know of to build your own is to have an out of state Concealed Carry License which fullfills the exemption from “registration” requirements.
Hopefully I’m explaining it better this time.
I was playing with the link for the upper you provided and now I have a question. What muzzle device should I be looking for? I literally know nothing about them.
I just get a standard A2 birdcage then I buy a BCM compensator down the line. That’s just my personal preference. I also wouldn’t put a muzzle brake on an AR pistol, the noise from a brake on an AR pistol is unreal.
I am personally a fan of “muzzle can’s” on AR pistols The benefit is generally a VERY reduced recoil and the flash/flame/noise is thrown forward. That said on the down side they are a bit heavy. I like the “Krinkcov” and the Noveske “Flaming Pig”
As @James said do NOT brake your pistol it is just ugly. Most flash hiders will work for what they do but remember you are dealing with a 7.5 - 14.5" barrel for a cartridge that is used to a 16" tube at a minimum. It’s going to be bright and it’s going to be LOUD, kind of like a 2" 44 magnum revolver. The short version is to go with something labeled “flash hider”, Compensators can act like brakes too frequently and brakes are just a bad idea out of the gate.
As with all things do your due diligence and research.
Yes, I forgot to mention that, get a true compensator for a pistol not the hybrid comp and muzzle brake. You only want holes on the top of the device.
I know a guy that has a muzzle brake on his SBR and there is some sheath he puts over it. For the life of me I cannot remember what it’s called. It is about the size and shape of a crushed soda can. It’s still super loud. Like wear muffs and ear plugs and we’re shooting at an outdoor range loud.
@Spence, I hope that we’re actually clarifying for you. Is there anything else you are curious about? Getting a quality buffer, BCG, and barrel are probably the most important things you can get for an AR.
Yes very much so. I will admit I’m not quite sure about the muzzle device yet, it’s one of those “not quite sure what you mean until I’m doing it” sort of things for me. When I get to that point I will likely ask for a specific product.
For the time being I would just get an A2 Birdcage until you really know what you’re looking at/for. The great thing about the AR platform is that you can really build a nice gun with great parts over a period of time. Buy great parts and enjoy! You can always PM me if you have questions.
Just ordered the lower parts kit you recommended @James
Will update when i fumble it together lol
Awesome! I really enjoy that kit.