First Gear | A Parts List, Already

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posted on July 2, 2017
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A1F Staff

Okay, okay! We get that you want a parts list all in one place for our recent MSR/AR rifle build. We concede the delay here is our fault: We’ve been distracted by shooting the “Maneuverable” MSR (otherwise known as Light/Short) just to make absolutely, completely, totally, positively sure that all was well.

But for your benefit—really.

Huh. Mrs. Guns & Gear didn’t fall for that either.

Just so you’re sure to believe us—20 rounds of 55-grain too. Photo by A1F staff

As you may recall, our goal was a short stowed-length MSR (under 30 inches) and a deployed weight under eight pounds. The form factor was also to include a magnifying optic, back-up iron sights and a loaded 20-round magazine. With some last minute swaps, we made it by a whisker, too—under 29-inches, and 7-pounds, 14-and-change ounces.

Apparently there’s a lot to like in the finished rifle, and according to tastes other than just our own. MOA accuracy, delightful controllability and the plainly modest heft probably explain why. So here’s that complete rundown:

Stock: DoubleStar ARFX “Entry Length” skeleton stock, $116.
Folding Mechanism: Law Tactical “Gen 3M” folding adapter, $200-$280.
Recoil Spring: David Tubb flatwire buffer spring, $30.
Trigger Pins: KNS Non-Rotating trigger pins for Kaiser Polymer upper/lower, $40.
Trigger: Timney “AR-15 Competition,” straight lever, 4-pound, $238.
Safety/Selector: AXTS “Talon,” ambidextrous long and short swappable levers, $60.
Charging handle: AXTS “Raptor,” AR-15/MSR version, $86-97.
Barrel: Faxon 18-inch “Gunner” barrel and low-profile gas block, $220.
Barrel termination: Bravo Company Battle Comp 1.0, $149.
Handguard: Midwest Industries SSK15, $220.
Magnifying Optic: Leupold Mark AR Mod 1 1.5-4x 20mm (1-inch), $389.
Rings: Warne X Skel1 Gen 2 MSR mount (1-inch), $111.
Takedown and Pivot Pins: KNS AR-15 Gen 2 Non-rotating pin set, $30.
Bolt/Bolt Carrier group: Sharps Rifle Company Xtreme Performance Bolt Carrier Group, $220.
Upper/Lower: Kaiser US Polymer X-7, $239-309.
Magazine release: Troy MSR Ambidextrous, $65.
Seekins Precision: Advanced Bolt Catch, $13.
Backup Sights: Magpul Offset “Pro” Front and Rear, $105/85.

Knowing our readers, it won’t be long before someone runs a tally on the above. We acknowledge it’s an impressive number ($2,500-plus), but there are a couple of things to think about in terms of a project of your own. For starters, there’s nothing magic about the weight or length criteria, and we set the bar pretty high. In a surprise to no one, ever, that means bucks.

… Parting stuff together at the level we did always adds cost in out-sized chunks.Next, there’s no reason to proceed from a blank slate. As MSR fans know, there’s an awful lot that can be done working from a favored lower. A lighter, shorter stock may shave more weight than you expect, and even if your components are of middling cost, that could save between $500 and $800 bucks and let you build the hot-rod upper more to our spec.

But there are options off-the-shelf, too, and mighty good ones. A lightish, shortish upper from our pals at Adams Arms, for instance, will take a few weeks to put together, but the result is a 14.5-inch pinned-and-welded piston gem (including a bolt carrier group) for less than $800, and tipping the scales at only 4.7 pounds.

Last, parting stuff together at the level we did always adds cost in out-sized chunks. Think of our aforementioned Robar PoylmAR-15 Ti here: A (superb) finished rifle that will beat ours on weight—though it’ll be longer—and that you can order right now for $2,295 (no optic). Ours shoots darn well, but we’d hate to bet against the Robar Ti (or $1,795 “C,” “L,” or “P” models, for that matter).

Now get out there and build something!

Frank Winn has been studying arms and their relationship to tyranny, meaningful liberty and personal security all his adult life. He has been a firearms safety/shooting instructor for more than 20 years, and earned state, regional and national titles in several competitive disciplines.

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