Accurizing The AR-15 Autoloader Is VERY easy!
Much Less Work Than Accurizing A Bolt Action Rifle!
This is a pretty easy process, but does require a lathe or squaring fixture to accomplish.
The front face of the upper receiver determines if the barrel is going to be square with the upper receiver (and with your optics that are mounted on the upper receiver).
This is one of the typical fixtures I use when turning between centers on a lathe.
You may click on the pictures for crude mechanist drawings and pictures showing how to use this device.
This is a little more complicated to build, but doesn't require a lathe to true the front face of the upper receiver.
If you plan to do several uppers, and you don't have access to a lathe, this might be the way to go.
Click on the image for crude mechanist drawings and images showing proper use.
If you are building this top end from scratch, and you intend optics, I'd recommend one of the flat top uppers.
Flat tops can be had to fit the application, high rise, low rise, with dust cover, dust cover omitted, ect.
You do want to keep in mind that the forged and relieved type of aluminum is much better than the cast aluminum.
And if you plan to hunt in the bush with your AR, make sure you have a dust cover (that's the trap door that covers the ejection port.
You simply can not have an accurate rifle without a good barrel!
Factory barrels are suitable for hunting or plinking, but if you want to even make a showing in the Target/Tactical arena, you MUST have a match grade barrel.
When it comes to match grade barrels, I use mostly Kreiger or Walther-Lothar barrels with good results.
Start with a good barrel, and order the chamber nut (which contains the chamber locking lugs) installed by the barrel manufacturer.
It's also a good idea to get a gas block from the barrel manufacturer so it fits snugly to the outside of the barrel.
Since all of this hardware is CNC Lathe turned, it will save you lots of hours hand lapping to square the surfaces.
A. CLEAN THE BARREL THOROUGHLY!
Most barrels on semi-autos haven't been really clean since the barrel was new.
Buy or make a good bore guide (For more on bore guides, click here) and clean the crap out of that barrel!
That means a good bore cleaner, good gun oil afterwards, and good plastic or bronze brushes.
NEVER USE A STEEL BRUSH! Steel brushes scratch the bore, and scratches scar the bullet and reduce accuracy.
Once it's good and clean and has a good coat of oil, make sure the chamber locking lugs aren't fowled with carbon.
This is pretty common with used barrels for the locking lugs to be carrying around a good amount of hard carbon.
Use a dental pick and chamber brush to make sure there isn't carbon that will keep the bolt from locking up square.
If the bolt is cocked to one side or another, the brass will distort when the rifle is fired, and that will seriously affect accuracy.
B. HAVE THE BARREL TARGET CROWNED.
Even the best match grade barrels will not be accurate unless the muzzle crown is intact.
Any nicks, scratches or damage to the crown will allow gas jetting past the end of the bullet and that will kick the tail of the bullet to one side, seriously screwing up accuracy.
Any gunsmith will be able to re-crown the muzzle in a matter of minutes for a few bucks.
C. SQUARE THE UPPER RECIEVER.
This procedure is covered above in detail.
Now that you have your Match Grade Barrel, It doesn't make sense to torque that nice barrel to one side or the other.
The normal hand guards on an AR are spring loaded, and rely on the barrel to hold them in place.
This is a bad thing, seeing as the spring pressure, your hand pressure, the pressures from expansion and contraction of the hand guards are all pushing the barrel out of it's natural alignment.
With a Full Float tube adaptor nothing touches the barred from the breech (except for the gas block).
I simply can not stress this enough!
I can't tell you how many times I've seen $5,000 rifles with $1,500 optics, and $1.98 optics mounts, and the shooter couldn't keep a 12 inch group at 200 yards...
There is no substitute for a good ONE PIECE mount, MADE OF STEEL, NOT aluminum.
Aluminum expands and contracts at roughly twice the rate of steel, so if you mix a steel scope tube, steel base plate, and aluminum rings there is simply going to be trouble.
Two, three or four piece mounts are simply not acceptable.
As each of the pieces expands or contracts from the heat or cold, the scope zero will be affected, and in some cases will actually bend the scope tube!
Make sure the clamps have at least two screws in each side (at least 4 screws per band).
This allows a wider clamp to be used, and you can still apply even clamping pressure on the band.
Having a one piece optics mount doesn't mean you don't have to lap the rings...
You would be surprised how far off the bands might be, and how thick the metal finish might be on one side when compared with the other.
DO NOT USE TWO PIECE BASES!
There are no such things as accurate two piece scope bases.
If you think you can get two piece bases to work, let me know! I have tons of them around here I will sell you CHEAP!
If you are using a mounting rail that demands two piece bases, clean the finish off the metal, and once you have the ring/mount combination where you want them, silver solder them into place and lap the rings.
The AR is a two piece rifle, consisting of the upper receiver group, and the lower receiver group.
These two pieces don't always agree on where the bullet should go, and as they move around on each other they screw any chance you have of actually hitting anything you aim at.
There are two easy ways of making sure this doesn't happen...
This is a $5.00 item called an 'Accu-Wedge'.
As you can see, it is designed to hold the upper receiver relative to the lower receiver.
This little $5.00 fix will increase your hit rate around 30% on a sloppy gun!
This is a split pin. As it is tightened, it wedges the upper and lower together, making them very solid in the process.
Split pins run about $35.00 each, and with one replacing both the front and rear take down pins, the upper and lower are virtually solid.
In most applications the 'Accu-Wedge' will be enough, but for competition target and bench shooting, split pins will be required.
Mr. Stoner designed the AR with a trigger that was safe and reliable even while being handled by kids that couldn't keep a job flipping hamburgers at McBurger Doodle...
It is VERY safe... And has too much pull & creep and no consistency at all.
If you have a legal M-16 and you want to keep full auto, you will be better off with one of the so called 'One Shot' or 'Two Step' triggers.
These trigger sets require you to hand cock each round, and fiddle with the selector switch while you are holding the charging handle back.
This is awkward, and utterly eliminates any chance you may have at a follow up shot.
I'm guessing these were designed for bone headed cops that think of them selves as 'Snipers', but want to sling lead in full auto when they miss the first shot.
If you have a Semi-Auto, and you actually take the time to aim, then 'JARD' is the trigger I recommend.
Many places sell the longer 'A-2' shoulder stock in a kit with proper spacers, screws, ect...
If you do this, and it's still not enough, you can also add an aftermarket spacer between the lower reciever and shoulder stock.
If you don't use the hollow stock for storage (I have a counter weight in mine), you can add inches to the back of the stock complments of Choate Machine & Tool.
Using this add on butt plate you loose access to the stock chamber, but I don't use mine for cleaning kits anyway.
There are some custom made & VERY EXPENSIVE, fully adjustable shoulder stocks out there, but unless you are world class competition shooting, I couldn't justify the expense.
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