With my stimulus check, i built a rifle! And since my xbox has RRoD’d again, i have some free time to write about it!
It all starts as what they call a “stripped lower receiver”. This is the part that the government classifies as a “firearm”. Even though it barely resembles a gun (its just a milled piece of aluminum with some holes cut in it), it has a serial number, you have to buy it at a gun shop and fill out paperwork and everything.
The rest of the parts you can get just about anywhere, from gun stores to pawn shops to online. The lower parts kit is a large amount of springs, pins, and the other pieces to make the stripped lower into most of a firearm.
|Stripped Reciever||Lower parts kit|
Since i was building a .22 AR rifle, i shopped around and watched for reviews until i found the place i bought most everything from Spike’s Tactical. There were other .22 kits for the AR, but the most common, the ceiner kit, had a lot of bad reviews, and seemed that were very inconsistant and required a lot of tuning to make it work right. Spike’s has a 22 based upper receiver with a .22 barrel and chamber with a special bolt. Being a popular company and only able to make the bolts so fast, there was 6-10 week wait on all of their 22 uppers over the summer. I’d imagine the way gun sales are going since the election that its an even longer wait now than it was then!
Here’s the upper and lower receiver, handguards, grip, stock, sight, and everything else You need to build a rifle:
|All the parts||Fully Assembled|
I’ve been using the federal bulk pack (red box) ammo exclusively. Its the cheap ammo that spike’s tests with and recommends, and its alright. My marvel 22 pistol doesn’t like it very much, as the ridge area at the rear of the bullet would binds up when feeding. During breakin, a similar thing happend in the rifle too.
Just that one crazy failure to extract, I’m still not sure how it got in there like that. You can’t see it well in the small picture, but there’s an empty case in there sideways! It was trivial to clear, but some people have reported a similar situation except that the case ends up higher inside where the gas tube would normally be and then gets stuck in there where you have to use a tool to get it out. I haven’t had any problems like that.
During the first 600 rounds, there were a ton of failures (59 to be precise), mostly failures to feed, with a handful of failures to extract. In the last 750 rounds, I’ve only had 7 failures, all but one being failures to feed. So that’s about 1 failure every 4 mags, which for a semiautomatic 22 is pretty good!
The other thing i’ve had a lot of is light strikes (25). The firing pin dents the rim, but not hard enough to fire the round. They’ll fire from my 22 pistol, so i think that its a little bit the rifle, but probably mostly the inconsistency of the cheap ammo.
Aside from the occasional FTFeed or light strike it works like a charm! I only shoot at an indoor range that maxes out at 25 yards, but even at that distance i’m a pretty good shot. I’ve never fired from the bench or from a rest or anything, so i’m positive it could to a lot better than it does if i had the time and patience to really dial it in. But then again, i’m firing cheapo federal bulk pack, so its not like the ammo is very reproducible.
|25 rounds @ 25 yards, standing, unsupported with an Eotech 511|
|20 rounds @ 25 yards at each target. Again standing unsupported, but these were all with iron sights instead of the eotech.|
I started keeping really detailed logs of all of my trips to the range about a year ago. I may be off by a few rounds, but not by much!
|Statistics to date:|
|Rounds / Fail||24.95|
I load the mags to 25 rounds, so right now, thats about 1 fail per mag, but that ratio has been falling rapidly after the first few hundred rounds.
If you do the math there to compare .223 or 5.56 ammo vs .22LR, thats a huge amount. Federal Bulk pack .22LR is 500 rounds for less than $20. so 2000 rounds would be about $80. Current prices on .223 is about $250 for 500, if you can find it anywhere. so 2000 rounds would cost a cool grand. So on ammo alone i’ve saved almost grand!