ARP 074 - AR's that aren't an AR or are they?

Welcome to Episode #074 of the AR-15 Podcast. I’m your host Reed Snyder and with me today is J.W. Ramp.  This is the podcast about your favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years. There is something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level.   Brownells helps make this show possible.Don’t forget that Brownells is there for you anytime you make a mistake, like when Jake shoots a take down pin detent across his avocado green linoleum flooring and it skids under the cabinets.Shop for AR-15 parts at Brownells.  Go to:

Announcements of the Week:

We are looking for volunteers able to do Video Editing for the AR-15 Podcast

Main Topic:  AR's that aren't an AR or are they?

Troy Industries has come up with a pump action AR and Ares has released its SCR, tonight we look at some AR’s that aren't an AR, but they're close. Ares SCRTroy PAR (Pump-action Rifle)Rhino Arms 12 Gauge Upper

50 BMG Uppers

Crossbow Uppers even available for sale on Amazon at one point - )



Listener Feedback:

Ray H:  First off love listening to you all while I drive up and down the state of California.  Well you guys and the rest of the Firearms Radio Network got me to build an AR15.  I thought was all corny when Reed would read in the beginning of the show how Jake would shot a detent into the carpet then on to the linoleum floor. Found out first hand the rear dent spring are tiny missile. Thank god my wife was at work I wouldn't have wanted her to see two 44 year old brothers face down on the kitchen floor looking for that spring.  Had order a replacement as that first one is gone somewhere in the darkness of the evil tile floor. Thanks   Ian Kay:  Hi Reed, JW and Anthony, Another great an informative episode, thank you! Thanks for the SCAR profile on a show about the Stoner platform, I'm not sure why it feels ok to do that, (as opposed to any other modern battle rifle), but it just does. Clearly its easy to understand, when compared to the M4 why the Mk16 was not adopted. But the Mk17, when you need to cover a half kilometer, it looks like one of the best .30 cal rifles today. I would be interested though to compare the SR25 and a Mk17 set up in the DMR role, which one has better accuracy. My guess would be the AR, having all that gas and piston hardware hanging off the end of the Mk17 barrel can’t be that good. I’ve always appreciated how with a free float rail the AR barrel is almost naked, with little to disturb the harmonics. I’ve always been interested in the SCAR because it was trying to be a replacement, and as great as it is, still not any real improvement over the AR. In my opinion the real problem is the cartridge, if you think adopting a new rifle is difficult, consider changing the NATO standard! I especially enjoyed JWs perspective and first hand knowledge of the platform, I don’t think that a lot of people (myself included) have had the chance to try one, so his experience and insight was really appreciated. Finally, I’ve heard that the next gen SCAR will look a bit like the FNAC, non recip charging handle and the front sight moved off the gas block. Pretty cool! Thanks again,


ARP 060 - Champagne AR-15 on a Beer budget

Reed and Anthony discuss buying into an entry level AR with Champagne quality for a Beer budget.

Welcome to Episode #060 of the AR15 Podcast.  I’m your host Reed Snyder and with me today is our auditioning sacrificial host, Anthony Hardy. This is the podcast about your favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years. There is something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level.

Otis Ripcord Giveaway

For times in the field when you just can’t reach your Otis cleaning system and need a quick and effective clean – reach for the Ripcord®. This convenient tool cleans from Breech-to-Muzzle® in one quick and easy pass. The molded rubberized core and Nomex® fibers together create a more effective way to trap and remove fouling.

Winner:  Manny F:

Hello Reed and Tony. I just wanted to drop a line to say that I really enjoyed episode 55 \"Optics, A Different Perspective\". As always, when a group of active and veteran service men get together, especially Marines, hilarity ensues. I agree with your buds; forget about the VCOG and get an ACOG and 45* offset irons (since you love irons so much). Anyway, keep up the great work and please enter me in the Otis ripcord giveaway.


Brownells helps make this show possible.  

They are there for you anytime you make a mistake, like when Jake shoots a spring across the room into his lime green shag carpet.

Shop for AR-15 parts at Brownells.  Go to:

Tip of the Week:

Trigger control drill (LIVE FIRE!, safety first)

1. Load one round into your magazine, insert magazine and charge the weapon.

2. Fire down range at your target, perform a trigger reset and “fire” again.

3. Did your rifle move? No movement is good.

Ball and Dummy explained in text

Ball and Dummy Using Rifle Video

Main Topic:

What Constitutes an Entry Level Rifle:

  • Basic Features
  • Standard Controls
  • Common Calibers
  • Reasonable Pricetag

Entry Level Sweet Spot:


    Weight: 6.94lbs

    Length: 31.9” (collapsed); 35.2” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:7 RH

Sights: A2 front sight and M4 rear carrying handle

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1149.00 (link)

Bushmaster    (Patrolman)

    Weight: 7lbs

    Length: 31.9” (collapsed); 35.2” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: A2 front sight and M4 rear carrying handle

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1199 (link)

Bushmaster    (ORC)

    Weight: 6lbs

    Length: 31.9” (collapsed); 36.25” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: N/A

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1082.45 (link)

S&W M&P 15 Tactical

    Weight: 6.85lbs

    Length: 32” (collapsed); 35” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:8 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul both)

Handguard: Quad

MSRP: $1159 (link)

Colt LE6920

    Weight: 6.9lbs

    Length: 32” (collapsed); 35.5” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:7 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul rear, A2 front)

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1155 (link)


    Weight: 8.5lbs

    Length: 34.25” (collapsed); 38” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul rear, A2 front)

Handguard: Top/Front Quad

MSRP: $1299 (link)

Rock River Arms LAR-15

    Weight: 7.5lbs

    Length: 36”

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: A2 front

Handguard: A2 Handguard

Other: RRA Two Stage Trigger/Hogue Grip

MSRP: $1065 (link)


    Weight: 6lbs


Twist Rate - 1:? RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul rear, A2 front)

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1099.95 (link)

Del-ton DTI Extreme Duty 316

    Weight: 6.4lbs

    Length: 32.25” (collapsed); 35.58” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:7 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Samson quick flip rear, A2 front)

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1100.00 (link)

Just out of Reach:

Ruger SR556E

    Weight: 7.36lbs

    Length: 32.75” (collapsed); 36” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul both?)

Handguard: Top Rail

Other: Piston

MSRP: $1375 (link)

LMT Defender Standard Patrol Model 16

    Weight: 6.2lbs

    Length: 32.5” (collapsed); 35.75” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:7 RH

Sights: A2 front

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1,371.21 (link)

Daniel Defense

cheapest MSRP $1639.00 - link

Listener Feedback:

Wally L:  Hey Reed,  I listen to and enjoy the AR15 podcast and many others on the FAR network.

I need help in selecting a trigger for my AR build. Its the last piece of my MSR that includes a White Oak Armament varmint upper.

I've not shot 2 stage triggers very much and frankly they seem a little awkward to me, since most of my trigger time has been sending lead down a smooth bore to the tune of 50,000 plus rounds at trap targets.

So I’m hunting a economical single stage trigger. I've looked at Geissele and Timney, GREAT triggers no doubt, but I’m having a very hard time spending about $200 on a trigger for this build. Do you know of any good single stage triggers (3-4.5 lbs) in the $100 range?


Roger B:  I've been listening to you guys for about 2 months now and just caught up. I find the podcast very informative and has really helped me in starting my first ar build. I bought my first ar already built and now I'm ready to start my own black rifle. Just wondering what lower should i start with. I've been looking at the spikes. Thank you for time. Please enter me in the ripcord give away. Keep up the great podcast.

John T:  I bought my first AR 15 a few years back to discover the mechanics of this platform, and I've been loving it since. Of course during the discovery phase I sought out different media to educate myself and stumbled onto your podcast. I cannot tell you enough of how excited I am to buy my first lower and work my way up. You guys go into all the details the geeks desire.

My question is, I've heard all about what people swap out or upgrade first, usually optics or iron sight, and then triggers. I've been looking at triggers had my sights set on a nice drop in. All of sudden I'm hearing about the Tactical Fire Control 3MR.

This item seems to have a match grade trigger, with a little bonus feature. But wow, at $495.00 I stalled out. Do you think it's worth it over a Timney at $200? This thing seems so new I wonder about it's durability and reliability even for the match trigger. Have you had the chance to field test this item yet? Or do you think this is more of a trinket to hang on the AR? Which would you chose over if given the option and why? Does a good trigger for, outside of competitive matches,  make a difference? Finally, I have shot Class 3 rifles, fun stuff! ut let's be realistic, does this trigger get a little too close for the comfort of Iowa law. One of the few states which will allow Class3 with only extreme prejudice, ie; no personal ownership.

You guys really are great, I download your show weekly and share with the guys whenever I can. Keep up the good work and hope the show expands with every episode. And I'm not just lauding compliments like a cheap pimp just because I want to win one of your OTIS giveaways , because i do. But because the OTIS is an awesome product and you seem to have a spare few to give away, and if that's what it takes to submit my name for you to read my question then, I guess, whatever it takes. I actually do look forward to your next show, and your input for this novice on the 3MR trigger.


war13usaf:  Show Topic: I have been listening since day 1, but has the 5.45x39 option been discussed yet? I was wondering, because this seems like the most viable option for training since the caliber is very similar to .556 but half the cost! From what I see you can use a standard AR bolt carrier so all you need is a 5.45 bolt, barrel, and mags. Is this correct and could you talk about it some more? thanks!

Jason:  I am wanting to build my first AR in 5.56/.223 as well as one in 300 AAC blackout. My question is for the 300 AAC. What barrel length is best? I am wanting and my initial research showed a 10.5 inch barrel to be best and I could/want to put a suppressor on the end without it being too long for a home protection gun. But I have shops around me telling me I have to go with a 16 inch barrel to avoid the rifle being too short and therefore illegal. what do I do? Keep up the great work and amazing podcast.


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ARP 038 - Listener Hands-On Experience with 22LR Conversion Kits & BUIS

The AR-15 Podcast listeners share their knowledge and experiences with BUIS and 22LR Conversions

Welcome to episode 38 of the AR15 Podcast.  I’m your host Jake Challand with Co-host Reed Snyder. This is THEE podcast about youuurrrr favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building AR’s for years.  There’s something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level.

Training Tip of The Week:  Capture your training on video to see yourself in action from a third person perspective.

Main Topic:  Listener Hands-On Experience with 22LR Conversion Kits & BUIS

Bryan Bolivar Canadian Service Conditions Radio: Regarding your response to the listener regarding accuracy troubles with his BUIS:

I believe the listener stated that they limited experience with aperture sights which could be a factor in his struggles.

Given your experience and training with the Marines perhaps it may be beneficial to the listeners for you to cover how properly use military aperture sights. My thought is that you could cover:

1) how the eye naturally centres in the rear sight,

2) that the shooter should focus on the front sight rather than the target

3) and perhaps adopting a 6 o'clock hold for initial sight in and practice which aids in precision.

The listener may also want to consider letting a more experienced shooter try shooting with his BUIS to further test to see if they are the problem like you suggested (which I agree may well be the case)

Rudy: Hey guys, I just got done listening to episode 37 of your podcast. I wanted to comment on a question one of your listeners sent in about his new Magpul BUIS's. I've never personally used Magpul sights, but on the M-16 we were issued in the Army, there were also 2 different sized holes for the rear sight. The small and large holes are not for long a short range, but they are for daytime and nighttime shooting. The small hole is for daytime use and the large hole is for nighttime use (something about how your eyes works at night). Anyway, using the small hole should help with the accuracy problem.

Stan: Hey there, guys.  Long time listener of the Firearms Radio Network, and a big fan of this show.

I just finished listening to Episode 37 about the .22 LR, and I wanted to add some info to the listener question about the Magpul MBUS sights and not being able to sight them in.

While you did mention the possibility of counterfeit product, I also wanted to chime in with something else.  Like Reed, I wanted to hear more information from that listener as well.  In particular where did he buy the sights from?  During my build, I was excited to see that I could buy Magpul MBUS sights from Amazon for really cheap, like $30 a set, but a little more reading revealed that they make a line of MBUS sights specifically for airsoft.  These sights are the Magpul PTS line, and PTS is short for Professional Training and Simulation.  They're hard to identify as the packaging looks VERY similar to that of the real MBUS sights.  One poster on did mention that the real MBUS sights are never boxed together.  Don't know if that's really true.  I found some other threads on talking about these sights and how they won't hold a zero, and this is because they are not designed to handle the kind of shock and recoil that come with a rifle caliber.

Apparently, the difference can be told when you find that the ghost ring of the rear sight is not made of metal.

I hope this little tidbit of info can help your listener.  If he bought them dirt cheap from Amazon, he may have gotten one of these PTS sights.  They're genuine Magpul: just not made for real rifles.

Wes Carlile: Guys on the email that you got about problems sighting in there rifle. The first problem is that the guy is having is using the large open in the rear sight. That sight is used in the military when we are using a gas mask. And go online and use the military targets for sighting in your Iron sights. The target is for 25 yard target which will help you at 100 yards.

glen biddle: i own the M&P 15/22 and i love it.  lower parts are the same as a reg ar but that is it, no buffer tube or gas system.  as for the old conversion kits, these were for military use for alt qualification at 25 meters.  they were not looking for accuracy at long distance just doing a modified qual in a smaller or indoor range.  i have shot these many times as a catm instructor in the air force.  the army used them too.   you can find these kits at gun shows for about 125.00.   the chiappa ar complete gun and/or upper are decent but on the lower end.  the umarex colts are very good (i bought the uzi umarex and it is cool)  the mossberg 702 plinkster is low end junk but will suffice.   the old ap-74 or mitchell arms was the first really good copy of the ar in 22.   i love the m and p.  i also own the ati  hk mp5/22 and the ak/22.  all good fun.  i think someone has copied a scar in 22 as well.   the ati 1911 pistol in 22 is fun to shoot.   i have switched to mostly shooting 22 now with the ammo crunch.  i bought a boat load of it after the last election and the night of the newtown, ct shooting anticipating the panic buying.  the M&P handles just like an ar and i can hit steel 9x11 tgt  at 100 meters with it with no problem using magpul mbus and i also have a bushnell trophy red dot on it with the sights co witnessed on the dot.  I also have a R R A 9mm ar which is just a lot of fun to shoot.

Dixie Pattengale: I just put a .22LR in AR 15 platform in layaway. As soon as I get it out I will be sure to let you know what I think. I seen it yesterday and then listened to your podcast about the .22LR AR 15. I knew it was meant to be , so it's in layaway +today. Love the AR 15 podcast, keep up the good work.

Jake I just watched one of the live broadcast on youtube. You look a lot different than I had pictured in my mind. I guess that\'s not a bad thing , I had you pictured as a little old guy. Lol ! Keep up the good work. I listen to all the podcast on the firearms network. They are all top notch.

Ben Wagner: You mentioned on episode 37 that you're looking for a small-diameter forend. Have you  checked out Troy Industries\' Alpha Rail? I used one on my current build, which I started after listening to the AR15 podcast, and the Alpha rail is light weight and not bulky. You can add rail sections only where you want them. The Alpha rail is also compatible with standard barrel nuts.

Matt Hoffman: Hey guys

 Just a few experiences with the .22 ar\'s I have had. These are just my first hand so your mileage may vary.

I used a buddies drop in cmmg bolt/mag. It functioned but accuracy past 20yds was horrible and the leading was bad also. After a 100 or so rounds gas port was nonexistent.It would work for learning manual of arms but I don\'t think overall its practical.

I ended up with the S&W15-22. It was cheaper and nearly identical to my ar. It was cheaper than the Colt and the mags/reloading was way closer to real than the Mossberg which has a odd mag.

The 15-22 functions great,fun as hell and as accurate as any standard rimfire rifle and accepts standard ar furniture. 1 note though, I was told by a Smith friend that not all dropin triggers for the ar will reset with the .22 ammo so you should check with the manufacturer.

 The only down side for me is its polymer.I would like to sling it tight for maybe an appleseed shoot or just practice but am afraid of distorting it. So I would like to buy a dedicated upper or a ccmg kit with their barrel and put it on a standard lower. Then use Blackdog mags. From our Steel matches they seem to be THE mag to run.

Sorry to ramble but just thought I\'d ad. Love the show, keep up the great work! Later,Matt

TJ Gauthier: I just wanted to add some feedback to the last episode of AR15 and get entered for that Bone tool giveaway. You guys mentioned the twist rate of the 5.56/.223 being different and not stabilizing the 22lr properly. Aguila make their Super Colibri 60gr ammo that should stabilize properly. I've never tried it, but I've heard good things. I think if someone were to go with a conversion, they could shoot the bulk stuff for familiarization and then shoot the 60gr ammo for better accuracy.

bill bonelli: I enjoyed your AR 22 show, but you missed the best deal out there. The AIR Omni M4 22, you get one thru Gallery of Guns for less than $400 inclusive. You get a Chiappa dedicated 22 upper that fits any lower and a polymer mil-spec lower that takes any upper. A gunsmith buddy turned me on to this. He has used full auto upper on the lower no problem. I used an Adam Arms mid upper and a Bushmaster upper and shot lots with it and put the upper on a Double star lower and again no problem. The upper is also easy to clean the .22 bolt comes out as a unit and cleans easily. Hope this helps your search.

Randy: Let Tiger Mckee know I'm very sorry for messing up his name, I took to heart his article on the rat gun. I had built a 7.62X39 AR to replace my lever action 30-30 and couldn't figure out the best format for it. It is now kinda cammoed and has its own image. Everyone. At the the range +today joked about it but they all said they liked it. Ps, wait for the paint to dry before shooting, I couldn't wait. Everyone at the range is now trying to look up the article by Tiger McGee.

Dave Hendon: I have enjoyed your podcast on the EBR so much so that I’m thinking about building one myself.

Regarding the build, at what point does the economy of scale kick in?  By this, I mean, its great to purchase all the parts and do the assembly but at what point to you start buying kits (such as lower part kits) over individual parts?

Surely, it would be more cost effective to purchase a completed upper receiver with barrel than to part it out.

I’m not looking to build the lowest cost rifle that I can, as I would like to keep the quality up and yet maintain pride in the fact that I built the AR-15.

Keep up the great work you’re doing and maybe do a segment on Optics for the AR-15 in the $300 and less range (I mean good ones).

And now a suggestion, I have viewed all three of your assemble videos on YouTube.  The information that you present is excellent but some of your production work could be improved.

I don’t know what camera you are using but take it off of Auto focus.  This will stop the camera from “hunting”or going in and out of focus which distracts from what you are trying to show visually.

You have staged your shot with the AR-15 cleaning mat and with the lighting and it all looks good. Then when you want to emphasize a close up, you move the rifle part out of focus and up to the camera.

This can be solved by shooting a second close up shot that is well illuminated and in focus and then cutting or editing it in to the production while your narration continues.

Again, I don’t know what program you are using to edit the video with, maybe Windows Movie Maker, but using this technique should help out with these type of instructional videos.

In case your are wondering, I’ve been in the Broadcast and Audio/Visual industry for 30 years and the last 14 years at the NASA Johnson Space Center – White Sands Test Facility as their Videographer and Video Production Editor.

Brad: So Reed was right on the MBUS sites, though a few days late.  Up until about a month ago, the MBUS was ~$65 per. The price just came down because they have the new metals coming out. The only ones you could ever get for ~$50 for a set was the shitty PTS line for air soft Magpul makes. I paid $130 for my last set of MBUS in March. I also completely disagree on lower/upper price/quality.  Having owned a DPMS Oracle and a Spikes ST-15, there's no comparison in quality.  The fit, finish, and durability are worlds apart.  For the minimal price difference, I can't see why anyone wouldn't opt for something like BCM, Spikes, S&W versus the DPMS products of the world. That said, my .22lr conversion kit worked better in the DPMS, whereas constantly jammed in the Spikes.  Conversion kit accuracy sucked in both, even at 50 yards. Sold the conversion kit about a month ago.

Zach brown: Hey guys, I have the tactical solutions ar22 m4. It is a dedicated upper on a standard lower for me.  The upper is built on a mil spec regular ar upper. The forward assist is not functional though. The door is full size. The barrel and and chamber adapter are made just for .22 and the action is all stainless and moves with place of where the bcg is on a standard AR. It uses the excellent black dog machine 26rd magazines. The only added part I use is a taccom pressure plug that helps keeps the bolt in battery. It fits in front of your buffer in the buffer tube. Taccom also makes ar22 conversion barrels and actions I think. I have excellent accuracy with mine. I had a cmmg with an ar 1/7 twist barrel and it sucked. Having a barrel and chamber made for the round is much better. The tac solutions uses a standard barrel nut, front sight, hand guard and retainer. The also make great uppers for other weapons including glock and 1911\'s.

Mark: Hi guys,

I decided on the M&P AR 15-22 because it had functional controls in the proper places. The Mossberg had the safety on the mag well and the Colt had a nonfunctioning bolt release. I love this thing, it works great

Otis BONE Tool and O12 Carbon Remover Giveaway O12 removes stubborn carbon fouling with ease BONE tool is the quick clean tool which scrapes carbon and fouling from the bolt, bolt carrier, and firing pin of your AR15.

Winner: Denny B

Thanks for the fine program you are providing.  I have an AR15 built by The Black Rifle Company of Clakamas, OR with which I am very pleased. The muzzle is threaded and fitted with a compensator. I use this rifle primarily for hunting and find the muzzle blast to be excessive, compared to other rifles.  Question: Do you know of a device, other than a suppressor/silencer, to replace the compensator that will reduce the muzzle blast?  Thank you.

AR-15 Giveaway