Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Ideas for an AR build

    I want a side charging upper with pencil profile 16" barrel and fixed front sight. Bear Creek Arsenal sells the side charging upper/BCG combo, PSA has a pencil barrel with FSB but it's not in stock at the moment. I don't do mag dumps, I'm not going to shoot for groups at 300 yards, I just want a lighter AR that my wife can shoot more comfortably. It's worth mentioning that both my wife and I are left eye dominant therefor, we shoot rifles left handed so I wonder if the charging handle would act as a brass deflector. I could do this a lot cheaper with a standard rear charging upper and M4 contour barrel that only weighs a few ounces more though. Thoughts?
    Hope this is not Chris's blood ...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    No. An M4 contour barrel isn't "only a few ounces more" - at least not when you hold two of them side by side.
    Pencil barrel for the win!

    You don't say why you want the things you want, but I won't try to suggest other things - you may have good reasons.
    The only part that confuses me is the fixed front sight. I guess if you're OK with the limitations it puts on hand guard choices, then go for it. We all have our own ideas and the AR15 gives us a gazillion options.

    I built a purpose-built lightweight for my wife and it's incredibly light even without getting stupid-crazy by buying absurdly expensive titanium parts. It cost me more than a basic M4, but nothing absurd.
    I used a 16" Faxon pencil barrel.
    It's the softest shooting AR15 I've ever shot - near zero muzzle climb and the recoil is like shooting a 22LR - it's so nice to shoot.
    Here's the thread on that rifle. I don't have a complete parts list at the beginning, but all of them are discussed over the length of the thread.
    Unfortunately, Photobucket seems to be back to dicking with people by making the photos blurry. You can click on them to see them clearly in Photobucket.
    http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.php?t=320603&page=4

    More recently, I picked up a complete upper with pencil barrel from PSA and while it's not a true "lightweight rifle", it's notably lighter than any carbine I own with a govt profile/M4 barrel.
    http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.php?t=341905


    One thing I want to get for the above carbine is the VG6 Epsilon SL (slim) muzzle brake - it's made for pencil barrels so that the gas block can be slipped over the muzzle device without needing to remove the MD. (it's also made with the idea that you can pin/weld it to a 14.5" pencil barrel and be a legal overall length)

    I doubt any of this helps. LOL
    Good luck though. I wish I knew about pencil barrels years ago. All my carbines would be outfitted with them.
    Pittsburgh GROUP SHOOT - Eat BACON!!! Shoot PUMPKINS!!! Oct 19, 2019 - INFO HERE

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    Quote Originally Posted by Emptymag View Post
    No. An M4 contour barrel isn't "only a few ounces more" - at least not when you hold two of them side by side.
    Pencil barrel for the win!

    You don't say why you want the things you want, but I won't try to suggest other things - you may have good reasons.
    The only part that confuses me is the fixed front sight. I guess if you're OK with the limitations it puts on hand guard choices, then go for it. We all have our own ideas and the AR15 gives us a gazillion options.

    I built a purpose-built lightweight for my wife and it's incredibly light even without getting stupid-crazy by buying absurdly expensive titanium parts. It cost me more than a basic M4, but nothing absurd.
    I used a 16" Faxon pencil barrel.
    It's the softest shooting AR15 I've ever shot - near zero muzzle climb and the recoil is like shooting a 22LR - it's so nice to shoot.
    Here's the thread on that rifle. I don't have a complete parts list at the beginning, but all of them are discussed over the length of the thread.
    Unfortunately, Photobucket seems to be back to dicking with people by making the photos blurry. You can click on them to see them clearly in Photobucket.
    http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.php?t=320603&page=4

    More recently, I picked up a complete upper with pencil barrel from PSA and while it's not a true "lightweight rifle", it's notably lighter than any carbine I own with a govt profile/M4 barrel.
    http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.php?t=341905


    One thing I want to get for the above carbine is the VG6 Epsilon SL (slim) muzzle brake - it's made for pencil barrels so that the gas block can be slipped over the muzzle device without needing to remove the MD. (it's also made with the idea that you can pin/weld it to a 14.5" pencil barrel and be a legal overall length)

    I doubt any of this helps. LOL
    Good luck though. I wish I knew about pencil barrels years ago. All my carbines would be outfitted with them.
    Yeah, it definitely does help. I was thinking about going with what's available and buying the M4 contour but now I'll keep looking for somewhere that has one in stock (that isn't $300). I want the fixed front sight because it's something different. I've got an all billet, high-end Rainier Arms rifle with free float handguard but I really like the fixed front sight M4 rifles too. Absolute cowitness height mount for a simple red dot and I'm golden. If it makes that much of a difference, I may put one of the Faxon gunner or pencil barrels in my Rainier Arms. It has a Ballistic Advantage M4 contour now.

    I used to love muzzle brakes for shooting fireballs at night but I have a Kaw Valley Precision linear comp now and love it. No uncomfortable blast like I had with the brakes. If this turns into a pistol build, that linear comp will be especially important.
    Hope this is not Chris's blood ...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    Note: They make both reciprocating and non-reciprocating side chargers. On the reciprocating models the charging handle does (some what) act as a brass deflector. You can see it in the video below (in slow motion) at 00:30.

    Toujours prÍt

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    Quote Originally Posted by Misery Loves Shotguns View Post
    I want a side charging upper with pencil profile 16" barrel and fixed front sight. Bear Creek Arsenal sells the side charging upper/BCG combo, PSA has a pencil barrel with FSB but it's not in stock at the moment. I don't do mag dumps, I'm not going to shoot for groups at 300 yards, I just want a lighter AR that my wife can shoot more comfortably. It's worth mentioning that both my wife and I are left eye dominant therefor, we shoot rifles left handed so I wonder if the charging handle would act as a brass deflector. I could do this a lot cheaper with a standard rear charging upper and M4 contour barrel that only weighs a few ounces more though. Thoughts?
    I bought a BCA side charging upper for a 6.5 Grendel build I'm working on. Still trying to decide on what barrel to get. The upper seems to be a quality part. It's got some heft to it. Can't speak to how it would do for shell deflection, but in the video posted above it doesn't look like it will be problem for left handed shooters. I hope not, since I'm left handed...
    "Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronin View Post
    I bought a BCA side charging upper for a 6.5 Grendel build I'm working on. Still trying to decide on what barrel to get. The upper seems to be a quality part. It's got some heft to it. Can't speak to how it would do for shell deflection, but in the video posted above it doesn't look like it will be problem for left handed shooters. I hope not, since I'm left handed...
    I think you both may be catching occasional brass at that angle

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronin View Post
    I bought a BCA side charging upper for a 6.5 Grendel build I'm working on. Still trying to decide on what barrel to get. The upper seems to be a quality part. It's got some heft to it. Can't speak to how it would do for shell deflection, but in the video posted above it doesn't look like it will be problem for left handed shooters. I hope not, since I'm left handed...
    This will help you both. And its on sale and almost $40 cheaper than a standard BCA side charger upper.

    https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/bca...upper-receiver

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    Quote Originally Posted by icp4life162005 View Post
    This will help you both. And its on sale and almost $40 cheaper than a standard BCA side charger upper.

    https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/bca...upper-receiver
    And the BCA left side charging bolt carrier to match!
    https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/bca...g-bolt-carrier

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    Quote Originally Posted by icp4life162005 View Post
    This will help you both. And its on sale and almost $40 cheaper than a standard BCA side charger upper.

    https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/bca...upper-receiver
    Nah... I bought this upper specifically to charge with my right hand. If it charged from the left side, I'd have to take my hand off the grip. Same reason why I don't own a left handed bolt action rifle. I've read reviews and seen other left handed shooters use the BCA and not complain about brass to the face. Also I own a Faxon ARAK 21 and I've never had any issues with brass. It does have a tiny block that is supposed to act as a sort of shell deflector, but it doesn't have a mark on it.

    Here's a video of a lefty shooting a BCA right side charger:




    I think I'll be good. Thanks for the concern, though.
    "Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ideas for an AR build

    Quote Originally Posted by icp4life162005 View Post
    And the BCA left side charging bolt carrier to match!
    https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/bca...g-bolt-carrier
    I want the right hand ejection so I can charge it with my right hand but I did consider a left hand upper! I've been shooting right side ejecting guns for about 20 years now, it would be strange to change now.
    Hope this is not Chris's blood ...

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