AR-15 Podcast - Stretching the Budget on Your Next Build

Welcome to another edition of the AR-15 Podcast. On this episode JD and I will be talking about how to stretch your budget on your next build.   


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Mark Kexel Utilities mostly. The less I spend on water and electricity (both overrated), the more I have to spend on the rifle.

Stuart Keith Well, we know how J.D. does it......he simply only buys the receivers.....and saves money by not buying any other parts.....

Jeremy Rowland Nowhere. I saved, bought the part I wanted. Then saved some more, then bought the next piece. So I bought exactly what I was wanting. No need to cut corners and make something not exactly like you want.
Mike N Dominique Spigut
Barrel and trigger. Most of the expense should be on a sweet looking FF rail and cool stock. Save enough for a quality "battleworn" paint job as well. Many legit looking tier1 accessories are cloned by Chinese factories and can be added for maximum instagram appeal
Gregory Riley
Depends on the build and purpose. I've got two nice builds with good parts and well known dealers. The other has Frankenstein leftover parts and some cheaper sale items on it bc I was just throwing something together bc I felt like it.

Larry Cunningham I don't. If I have to save for what I want then I do it. Most of my rifles took a year or more to build. I got an ar 10 upper and lower for fathers day. I happened to get the buffer assembly from my lgs who had it laying in the back and wanted to get rid of it. I need a bolt and barrel now so maybe for Christmas I will get another piece.

Curtis Tutak I shop sales and collect parts over time. Also I’m not into expensive receivers. Aero’s on sale are perfect for my needs.

Craig Valentine Primary Arms. There sales are really hard to beat. As far as parts, I end up using a ALG QMS trigger and throwing in a JP Enterprises spring kit and make it feel almost like a one piece trigger.
Nathan D. Young
I don’t. Lol. Figure this rifle is going to last me a long time so I do it right the first time. My favorite rifles are my 2 builds (5.56 Aero Precision SPR and a 9MM QC10 SBR PCC).
Ric Ky
Just wait until a Black Friday, Labor Day, or Memorial Day sale to save money. Doesn't make sense to cheap out otherwise

Matter of Facts Podcast Buy excellent quality used parts. Don’t cheap out otherwise. Maybe save a few bucks on lower/upper. Barrel, BCG, trigger group will have a huge influence on the total package.

Alex Gavieres Cheap AR stuff usually works fine. But then, I'm one of those guys that's cool with cheap barrels. $50 BCA barrels are good to go.
There are great deals on optics. Picked up a 1-4x Bushnell for $72 shipped from Brownell's last year. Precision scope? The 6-24x Athlon Argos BTR FFP is pretty sweet...and a steal at $295!
Toby Cumbee
I only buy parts when major sales are happening. July 4th, Black Friday, veterans days etc. I also buy brands that are too expensive but do provide value.

John Farra I've bought cheaper hand guards and I do my own trigger work. 3.5-4 lb trigger with a mil spec and a new set of springs.

David Taylor I make a list of parts I want and watch the sales. Buy when I see a bargain. It takes a while to complete a build, but eventually I have a project for a rainy day. I haven’t tried many expensive triggers yet, so I’m sure that’s saving me thousands already💸

Seth Vogel Well since I still have the a2 pistol grip that came with my mil spec lpk for my Anderson lower, and topped off with psa complete upper and a buffer tube and stock I won I’d say the whole gun but my next one so far all I have is my aero precision lower and done plan on cutting corners gonna get what I want

John Farra I also buy my barrels from Mark Kexel and Bruce Finnegan. Saves money on ammo when you know they are going to shoot good as soon as you get them
Tim Crosnoe
Well, iron sights can go for sure! 😂 With presbyopia can't focus on it, so it does no good. Just gotta keep enough batteries for my red dots.
Joshua Whaley
bi pods handrails stocks. my stuff was affordable but i made it look nice only expensive stuff was the assembly barrel scope etc.

Mike Hart AR parts have become a very competitive market, try to find a sale... and i don't try to cheap at the same time I do not go expensive( my shooting habits don't justify it)
Tj Repka
Anywhere but the heart of the rifle, barrel, and trigger...never skimp on them if at all possible

Mike Braun For me it’s hand guards. They get out of hand fast. And for most of us they don’t contribute much to the accuracy
Iain Clark
I stop eating for about a month...

Stephen Mad On holiday sales Don’t compromise on parts quality

Mike Clark Im a buy once cry once , thats why i dont have much ...

Mike Quigley Only use 5 squares of single ply ass wipe instead of 10

Dom Lopano I won't go cheaper. I'll save for longer if I have to

Vernon Brooks Liquor. I find that the build is both cheaper and more reliable with less of it.
Johnny Chan
I try to save money on the minimum thing like roll pins, Springs, detent, etc. safety Selector

Bob Horn Ramen noodles for 2 solid months equals a respectable BCG.
Wade Loosbrock
Lowers, uppers,barrel. Of course I hit up the sales like Black Friday and holidays

Tom Sticks Wall Lowers. If you wait for sales they can be found pretty cheap
Tom Tipton
It’s a period of time buying stuff two or three parts at a time !!!!!! And not all at once !!!!

Jody Tippett By getting parts from prize tables at 3 gun matches 😎
Jim Wilkerson
On food mostly. Walk to work instead of buying gas.
Nate Free
Save on all that silly shit my wife wants.
Tony Contreras
I cut down my fishing and kayaking expenses.

Jim Southern Where my wife can't find it.

Billy Atwell The stock and handguard

Russell Olive It's hard to want to save anywhere when you're building one part at a time!!
Nathaneal Huley
Depends on the purpose of use. If building it for 500 yards or less... OPTICS... Never cut corners on iron sights... THEY’RE MANDATORY!

Rusty Jenkins I try to save money on non essential parts like barrels and BCGs...

Austin Hess I am patient and shop sales. I’ve also sold my left nut and a kidney

Robert Ross On buying the right part the first time around.
Mike Quigley
Save money, Ha that is Fake News sir

Marty Sanford I try to save my money BEFORE I start. LOL.

Michael Capri Iron Sights

Craig Bathurst Waiting for stuff to go on sale.

Ed Burke No where!

Jim Carlson On the ammo.

Fabian Cardenas You don’t

Micki Caprioli I try to use as much duct tape as possible

Dave Lane Hand guards

Jay Schall Not on the barrel or trigger group.

5 Things you “SHOULD” spend money on.

  • BCG

    • Bolt Failures

    • Gas Key Failures

  • Barrel

    • Gas Port

    • Headspace

    • Crown

  • Trigger

  • BUIS

  • Magazines

Honorable Mention…

  • Mounts

  • Buffer Springs

5 Things you “CAN’ save money on.

  • LPK

  • Optics

  • Muzzle Devices

  • Buffer Tube

  • Handguard



AR-15 Podcast - Builders Series- Where to Begin

Welcome to another episode of the AR-15 Podcast. On this episode, by popular request, we begin our newest builders series.

Show your support for the show by becoming a PATREON supporter. One hundred percent of your donations are invested in the show—never in our pockets. Help us bring you content and production value on the podcast about your favorite black rifle.

What’s Up?

  1. Reed

  2. JD

Where To Begin

  1. What are you building and why

    1. Why it matters

    2. Intended use

    3. Deal breakers

    4. Budget

  2. Gathering parts

    1. Where to buy

    2. Dealing with an FFL

    3. Brick and Mortar vs. Internet

  3. Tools for the build

    1. Armorers wrench

    2. Receiver block/Reaction rod

    3. Torque wrench

    4. Roll pin punches

    5. Roll pin starter

    6. Brass hammer

    7. Vice

  4. Supplies for the build

    1. Tape

    2. Loctite

    3. Grease

    4. Anti-Seize

    5. Brake cleaner

  5. Custom Tools

    1. Front Sight Bench Block

    2. Carrier Key Staking Tool

    3. Bolt Ejector Tool

    4. Gas Tube Wrench

    5. Pivot Pin Detent Installation Tool

    6. Handguard Alignment Tool

    7. Gas Block Dimple Jig

  6. Considerations before building

    1. Clean work space

    2. Protecting the lower

    3. Preparation and patience

    4. Talk with people who know


AR-15 Podcast 204 - Build Classes

Welcome to Episode #204 of the AR15 Podcast. On this episode we’re talking about AR Building Classes.

Support the show at

Our thanks to JWB Military & Brass for sponsoring tonight's main topic.  Go to and use promo code ARP10 for 10% off of quality once fired military reloading brass, AR-500 steel targets, and more.

RTT - Giveaway - SBR - Anthony not included in the giveaway

Glock slide special $49.99 single color slide only.  - RTT       

Ballistic Advantage releasing a 24” 6.5 Creedmoor

Main Topic:

JD -

Anthony -

Steph -

Graham -

Build Classes -

Listener Feedback

Craig Valentine - Why do companies continue to produce complete rifles that lack ambi controls, or at the very least ambi safeties?
Brad Gatlin - What bcg is best? Phosphate, nickel boron or nickel teflon?

Jim Rauls - I reload a lot of handgun ammo that is powder coated lead. I've had very good results. What do you think about Using this type of bullet for reloading 223. My goal would be to make up a subsonic load with the powder coated bullets. Thanks , love the show.



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ARP 076 - The Rifle Carried by America's Soldiers

Welcome to Episode #076 of the AR15 Podcast. I’m your host Reed Snyder and today I am broadcasting solo. 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 takedown pin detent across his avacado green linoleum flooring and it skids under the cabinets.

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

Main Topic:

A look at the rifles carried by America's soldiers throughout history:

  • Model 1873 "Trapdoor" Springfield
  • Springfield Model 1892-99 Krag-Jørgensen rifle
  • Model 1895 Lee Navy
  • United States Rifle, Caliber .30-06, Model 1903
  • United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model of 1917
  • United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1
  • United States Rifle, Caliber 7.62 mm, M14
  • United States Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16

Listener Feedback:

Bob L:  Not that I take off the stock that often, but i believe Aero now taps the rear takedown pin detent hole (4-40 thread) in their lower so all you have to do is screw in a set screw UNC 4-40 to retain the detent and spring.  It wouldn't be that hard to tap other lowers and might be worth passing on to your listeners.

Reed, length of barrel can and does effect muzzle velocity and therefore spin rate.  See link from accurate shooter.  I enjoy the podcast keep it up..

Ian K:  Hey Guys, Great episode, looking forward to the upcoming build, this will be interesting and informative for the new builder, and fun for the seasoned vet to follow along with as well.

Good job on choosing the components, this looks like very much a  “Reed” style rifle, just what I’d expect from you!

Just one thing I’d suggest you mention for the listeners.  Everyone is very familiar with the high quality and great reputation of Geissele products,  but some can’t afford or don’t want to step up to that price point for a quality trigger.  But what many people may not be aware of is that ALG Defense is Geissele, that Combat Trigger is really a fantastic GI trigger and a great value as well.

Thanks again as always, Jeremy H:  Hey guys, I absolutely love your podcast.  I only came across it a couple of weeks ago, and I've been listening every day while at work.  Now that I've caught up with all of the past shows, I find myself somewhat saddened by the fact that I now have to wait a week between shows.  I do listen to other podcasts on the Firearms Radio Network, but this one is by far my favorite - as is America\'s favorite black rifle.

The show is extremely helpful to rifle builders, helping us to find those awesome new products that we might have purchased from another manufacturer only to be disappointed.  I listened to the show on coatings yesterday, and now you've gotten me curious, so I plan to practice on my Benelli Nova shotgun before I coat SOME parts on my son\'s AR-15.  I too, am I purist, and love my black rifle, well, black.  But I could see myself doing something fancy with a competition rifle.  I've seen some pretty amazing race guns that were custom coated, and I do plan to do something like it some day.  My Rock River Arms LAR-15 Operator III will never see paint or coatings, she\'s beautiful the way she is.

I thank you guys for an awesome show, and will continue to listen every time it\'s on.  Please enter me in the drawing for that sweet AR you're building.

Thank you,

Justin B:  Hey guys just want to let you know i really enjoy the show makes work go by. I actually built my first ar because of the show. I started the build in September and finished in December 2013 it is a complete spikes tactical rifle and if you know how hard it is to find those then you know why It took so long. In episode 72 I believe it was you said something about never hearing the bad part of building your own ar. I would like to share mine and get you feedback on the issue.  The barrel i ordered was a .750 in diameter and the gas block i got was also a .750. The gas block was a extremely tight fit however I did get it on (with tape and a few light hammer blows) and it functions perfectly. I would just like to know if this is a common issue. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work on the show. Also if you are doing any giveaways please enter me.


photo credit: wstera2 via photopincc

ARP 075 - Building an AR-15 to Give Away

Welcome to Episode #075 of the AR15 Podcast. I’m your host Reed Snyder and with me today are Anthony Hardy and 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:

Tip of the Week:

How do you conceptualize the rifle you want to build?

1. Declare its purpose or your vision.

2. Work out a parts list.

3. Use technology like the AR15 Builder.

4. Acquire the parts.

5. Reassess the build.

Main Topic:

What parts are we using when building an AR-15 for our giveaway?

The Lower:

100-011-234 - Seekins Precision - SP223 Lower Receiver

080-000-606 - Colt - Lower Receiver Parts Kit

100-009-797 - ALG Defense - ACT AR-15 Trigger Set

080-000-627 - DPMS - Buttstock Mounting Kit, A2 Rifle

100-009-585 - Magpul - MOE Rifle Stock

100-009-904 - Bravo Company Mod-1 Gunfighter Grip

The Upper:

100-011-235 - Seekins Precision - SP223 Upper Receiver w/Forward Assist

160-000-208 - Colt - Barrel, 20” & Front Sight Assembly

078-000-175 - Brownells - M16 BOLT CARRIER GROUP

100-011-154 - Rainier Arms - Raptor Charging Handle

714-000-021 - Precision Reflex, Inc. - Gen III Delta Carbon Fiber Forearm

100-009-232 - Spikes Tactical - Dynacomp Extreme 5.56

The Accessories:

078-000-107 - Brownells - 30-Round Gray AR-15/M16 Magazine w/CS Spring

080-000-971 -  Brownells - EOTech CQB T-Dot Holographic Sight

100-003-317 - A.R.M.S., Inc. - 40L Flip Up Low Profile Rear Sight

416-106-101 - Harris - Bi-pod Adapter

416-005-101 - Harris - 1A2 Brm, 6-9” Bipod

Listener Feedback:

Chris S:  Hey guys.  Thanks for doing what you do.  I am a builder of AR-15's for personal collection and I have used much of your podcast as a guide for purchases and ideas.  I have recently tried to better understand feed ramps but I am having a lot of trouble finding real accurate information.  Could you please email me some information about feed ramps that could be critical to a rifles performance.  I have built 12 rifles in 2 years and I'm either very lucky that I haven't done anything wrong or it doesn't matter.  I usually use AIM Surplus, Daniel Defense, Adams Arms (Piston Rifles) or Spikes BCG's.  I like Daniel Defense, YHM or Spikes barrels and they all come with feed ramps installed.  Thanks a bunch.

Tim C: Hey! You all forgot the ARAK-21 by Faxon Firearms!

Wicked Burn:  During the last podcast, 074, I found J.W.'s use of the term "bolt" confusing.  You were discussing the ARES SCR and multiple times J.W. said that it needed a different "bolt".  I was looking at the description on the link provided on the show notes and it said the bolt is the same as a standard AR.  After looking at the picture of the gun it became blatantly obvious that the Bolt Carrier would need to be replaced because it did not have anywhere to recoil back into.  I then realized that J.W. was saying "bolt" when in fact he was talking about the "bolt carrier".  I love the podcast and I'm not trying to nit pick.  I am a stickler for terminology and specifics.  That is how I train my people and how I keep those customers new to the platform from being confused.  You may have also noticed my comment in the show notes from episode 073 to help with clarification of the "M4 vs. A2 upper" question.  I would not expect the host of the "newbie" show to know things like this.

David T. F.:  I remember the talk about the muzzle break that the ATF labeled a silencer I wanted one so after googling I found the weapon it came on and it's worth a mention.

Check out this video on YouTube:

Mike:Again great podcast.  Anthony did a fantastic job a few weeks back.  Now I'm into parts and pieces.  Can you talk hand guards, key mod, comps, buttstocks, slings.  I just picked up a houlding hand guard with the keymod. So far I like the finish.  


ARP 068 - Competitive Shooting and the MSR

Reed and our special guest, Michael Caprioli, talk about the sport of competitive shooting.

Welcome to Episode #068 of the AR15 Podcast.  I’m your host Reed Snyder and with me today is my special guest Michael Caprioli. 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.

Brownells Item of the Week:  Gehmann Shooting Gloves, Shooting Coat, and Shooting Mat

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

Tip of the Week:

Keep a notebook, write down everything you do for the whole day, for every day you are training for competition.  Being able understand how each little decision affects you during your entire day and every part of your training schedule, helps you to determine how everything affects you at the time you are competing.

Main Topic:  High Power Competition


  • Match
  • Service

Governing Bodies:

  • NRA
  • CMP

How Do You Start:

  • Equipment
  • Find a range through the NSSF , ODCMP, Accurate Shooter
  • Participate in a match

How Do You Get Better:

  • Snapping in and Dry Firing
  • Mental Training (Visualization)
  • Try finding a range to practice

What is the course of fire:

What is the atmosphere at the competition like:

Listener Feedback:

Glenn from southwest:  Hey Reed, I am still listening and shooting on a weekly basis. Anyways I heard the recent coating extravaganza episode and would like to share my experience with Duracoat. I have included a bunch of photos of my M1991A1 that I did myself. Very easy, and man this coating is flawless. It is now impenetrable by water, solvents, oils, and anything else that could harm it.

I did the Rust-Oleum® thing the JW spoke of. The multicam pics above are 2 different paint jobs that looked good but compromised the function. I did the tedious stencil cutting and multiple layers. It constantly peeled off and messed up the action got into all of the moving parts. I do not recommend doing Rust-Oleum® unless you want to redo it often.  So, I stripped all of the paint with Stripper ( a spray can paint stripper) I cleaned all of the oils of with brake cleaner. Please be cautious if using degreasers, they can cause rust on bare metals.  I ordered the Duracoat 2in1 from Brownells  which ran $51 after 2 day shipping. I have shot nearly 350 rounds through it since allowing it to harden for 3 days. It is easier to clean than ever and I highly recommend the Duracoat. I will be doing my AR in black Duracoat simply because of the protective barrier it adds to the firearm.

Anyways if you have any questions or concerns just let me know & I would be more than happy to help. And the invitation to shoot is still open. Thanks for the podcast and all the hard work you do.

Mike C: Hey guys. Great show and look forward to each episode. Any chance you could do show on Primary Arms optics? They seem to have a very good rep and are a local company for Reed (TX). I have their fairly new 2.5X CQB scope and really like it.

Quick funny story. Yesterday, Friday, March 28th, I was sitting in a box blind hog hunting listening to the MS Clean episode and missed one hog and got another. Neither shot was with my AR though. Missed shot was with a traditional muzzle-loader and the kill shot was with a 20G slug gun. My AR was successful back in November. so, of all the stuff on iTunes to listen to, I chose your podcast!

Anyway love the show. Reed I am in Royse City just east of DFW. Not sure if a giveaway is going on, but if so....

Joseph C: Hi guys, what's the verdict on polymer lowers for the AR-15, I have not heard anybody talk about the quality of a polymer lower for a long time,when they first came out the majority of gun people were strongly against, thanks for your time.


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