What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by UndeadInfidel » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:59 pm

FrANkNstEin wrote:
It would take a special (inexpensive) wrench
For the record: I´ve made a barrel nut wrench for a buddy from a steel ring with a hacksaw, a drillpress (drill&ream), an M8 Tap + screw and 3 hardened 4mm pins (readily bought here) and helped him dissasemble and re-assemble his upper by putting it (the whole gun) between my knees. (because he´s somewhat hesitant and, uhm, mechanically challenged ;-) ) A lenght of pipe that fit over the 8mm thick screw gave me the neccesary torque.

There´s been an old "not even good enough for the range anymore" 30rd mag inserted to make stabilizing/holding it between my knees easier and to give some counter leverage.

Aside from the wrench which is a must have (but can be improvised) there really isn´t an absolute NEED for the various stuff on the market IMHO. Sure, it´s all nice to have and makes working on an AR more of a breeze... and i don´t say not to buy it if you plan to work on your AR(s) more often, just saying: if you only need it once, you can probably rough it.

Just to break with the "Youz need to buy 250$ worth of tools to work on your one and only AR" myth. You don´t. An adjustable wrench for the flashhider, and a tap for the tapered pins in the front sight along with a barrel nut wrench will do. And the first two are easily found in many housholds.

ETA: the AR of my buddy wasn´t that old, about two or three years. It IS possible that a barrel nut that hasn´t been moved for a long long time requires more force to get off, and in that case holding it between your knees might not be enough.


ETA2: I´m officially an idiot: Akins 5.5" flashhider is probably pinned and that indeed makes it a PITA to work on that upper.... sell it as a whole. Sorry, i´m not used to pinned stuff = no SBR Laws here.
Most of us would probably do our 1-2 "go to rifles" the right way rather than jerry rig it with common tools.

Why bother taking the half ass DIY route when you could just buy a complete upper from someone for almost the same price?

I'm not sure why people are giving him all this terrible advice. OP - Just sell the upper and buy a complete one to save yourself a big headache.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by FrANkNstEin » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:24 pm

The reason we had to jerry rig it was that he wanted a free float rail installed.

You wouldn´t seriously buy a new upper because you wanted another rail, would you?
You can bet your ass that a "jury rig" Crescent tool adjustable wrench is about a 100% better tool then most of these "dedicated armorer wrenches". My homemade barrel nut wrench might not win any style points, but does the same as a store bought tool. In fact: it fits the nut snugglier then one of the AR tools i´ve layed my hands on since i jury rigged that AR.

It´s a friggin Nut that holds a piece of steel in place. Tighten it up until you can´t tighten it anymore, then tighten it like 1-5% more with added leverage so the channel for the gastube lines up properly and there you are. Make shure the barrel sits tight. Make shure there´s even spacing around the gastube once it´s inserted. (I´ve seen more then one picture of factory Colt Ar´s where that was not the case, so much for "doing it properly" and not jury riggin it)



Once installed, it can´t go anywhere because of the gastube. I´ve been threading nuts like that onto stuff at my job for 13 years now. It ain´t rocket science and i can´t believe that people make it out to be.

I was merely pointing out that it can be done. And yes, the rifle runs just fine now after jury riggin it, just like before... because mechanically, you simply can´t affect the rifles performance unless you totally fuck up and not tighten the barrel nut all the way. (or binding the gas tube with the nut, which can affect reliability)

I´ve already added the appendix in my above post that he shouldn´t mess around with his pinned upper. Not worth the headache.

Sorry if my post came out as "advice" to the OP when it really was a response to the motion that one "needed" to buy 5 special tools to work on an AR. The right vices and stuff make it a lot easier to assemble an AR that´s true. I´ve assembled hundreds of Prorotypes of delicate mechanical devices, most of them containing hot expanding gasses generated by NC powder in their operation and had to make do without the niceties that an assembly worker on the assembly line would have later, like vices.

That probably influenced me quite a bit.

My point is: Mechanically, there is no difference between these two way´s about assembling, if done right (and that goes for both, because even with all the tools there are people who fuck it up)

The rifle will not notice or care if you held it in a vice or between your knees.

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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Akin » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:02 pm

FrANkNstEin wrote:ETA2: I´m officially an idiot: Akins 5.5" flashhider is probably pinned and that indeed makes it a PITA to work on that upper.... sell it as a whole. Sorry, i´m not used to pinned stuff = no SBR Laws here.
I believe it was silver soldered in place...
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by UndeadInfidel » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:47 am

FrANkNstEin wrote:The reason we had to jerry rig it was that he wanted a free float rail installed.

You wouldn´t seriously buy a new upper because you wanted another rail, would you?
You can bet your ass that a "jury rig" Crescent tool adjustable wrench is about a 100% better tool then most of these "dedicated armorer wrenches". My homemade barrel nut wrench might not win any style points, but does the same as a store bought tool. In fact: it fits the nut snugglier then one of the AR tools i´ve layed my hands on since i jury rigged that AR.

It´s a friggin Nut that holds a piece of steel in place. Tighten it up until you can´t tighten it anymore, then tighten it like 1-5% more with added leverage so the channel for the gastube lines up properly and there you are. Make shure the barrel sits tight. Make shure there´s even spacing around the gastube once it´s inserted. (I´ve seen more then one picture of factory Colt Ar´s where that was not the case, so much for "doing it properly" and not jury riggin it)



Once installed, it can´t go anywhere because of the gastube. I´ve been threading nuts like that onto stuff at my job for 13 years now. It ain´t rocket science and i can´t believe that people make it out to be.

I was merely pointing out that it can be done. And yes, the rifle runs just fine now after jury riggin it, just like before... because mechanically, you simply can´t affect the rifles performance unless you totally fuck up and not tighten the barrel nut all the way. (or binding the gas tube with the nut, which can affect reliability)

I´ve already added the appendix in my above post that he shouldn´t mess around with his pinned upper. Not worth the headache.

Sorry if my post came out as "advice" to the OP when it really was a response to the motion that one "needed" to buy 5 special tools to work on an AR. The right vices and stuff make it a lot easier to assemble an AR that´s true. I´ve assembled hundreds of Prorotypes of delicate mechanical devices, most of them containing hot expanding gasses generated by NC powder in their operation and had to make do without the niceties that an assembly worker on the assembly line would have later, like vices.

That probably influenced me quite a bit.

My point is: Mechanically, there is no difference between these two way´s about assembling, if done right (and that goes for both, because even with all the tools there are people who fuck it up)

The rifle will not notice or care if you held it in a vice or between your knees.
He wants a flat top. Why not?

Other than that - tl;dr.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Niblick » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:01 am

Not sure about your whole firearms set up...but I would probably keep it as a spare. Two reasons. How much can you reasonably expect to get for a 20 year old upper.
Second reason: We're zombie squad, when your primary upper breaks and you're not allowed to pick up a spare off the dead guy at Walmart, you're gonna be glad you had an extra.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:27 am

I'd keep it. Maybe rebarrel it and use it as a trainer. Or a camp carbine, with a ZS lower.
RatDrall wrote:I got rid of my carry handle. It shouldn't even be called that, there's hardly enough room for my fingers to use it as a "carry handle".

The worst part is the glare off of the inside of the sight handle, that reflects images of the front sight in the right lighting.

There are better options, that weigh many ounces less, like the Daniel Defense A1.5 if you want a fixed rear.
It's not a carry handle. I have been that guy jumping out of a moving vehicle to knife-hand soldiers for the "briefcase carry" BS. All around a bad idea. Especially since it's YOUR REAR SIGHT. Would you carry your rifle by it's scope? If it's attached to the rifle (like the OP) you can ignore that at go back to the weapons safety rifles, muzzle awareness,a nd proper weapons handling.

If you are getting glare off of the rail, you're either sighting wrong, or somehow it got polished. Sight black, flat krylon, or electrical tape are all simple fixes to this, if you somehow managed to but a mirror polish on there. I have never seen this before myself.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by FrANkNstEin » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:48 am

He wants a flat top. Why not?
Yeah i got it, but in this reply i was talking ´bout my friends flattop upper that needed a free float, not OP´s carry handle upper. In OP´s case, i already said it one or two times that it´s best to sell it as a whole and not bother.

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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Tetra Grammaton Cleric » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:56 am

What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Sell it to someone who bought a Battle Mug.

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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Akin » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:51 am

Finally took some pics...

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When I have some more time, I'll scroll back and see who the first one who expressed interest was...
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by UndeadInfidel » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:00 am

What's the asking price?
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Akin » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:43 pm

UndeadInfidel wrote:What's the asking price?
errr... have to get back to you on that. No idea what a used upper is worth... let me ask around...
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by UndeadInfidel » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:41 pm

Akin wrote:
UndeadInfidel wrote:What's the asking price?
errr... have to get back to you on that. No idea what a used upper is worth... let me ask around...
Sounds good. I'd consider buying for the right price. I have a bunch of spare parts including a lower receiver sitting collecting dust around and wouldn't doing something with them.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by my pies are piff » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:57 pm

what you need to do is just build a vintage ar. i love shooting mine and its just sexy

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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by UndeadInfidel » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:08 pm

my pies are piff wrote:what you need to do is just build a vintage ar. i love shooting mine and its just sexy

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Very nice.

Yep, but my goal would be to have M4/M4A1 style sights, carry handle, stock, and handguard.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Akin » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:31 am

my pies are piff wrote:what you need to do is just build a vintage ar. i love shooting mine and its just sexy

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What, no three-prong flash hider? :-D
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Akin » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:24 am

If anyone's still interested, the upper's been sold to a ZS memeber.

Thanks!
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by rydfree » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:15 am

Well I still enjoy my Bushmaster carry handle AR. Installed a see through top rail for the scope and flashlight and the front rail for the foregrip and green laser that I wanted. I can always ditch the scope rail in case of damage and still have a fully protected and accurate rear/frt sight system.

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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Absintheur » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:19 pm

Shave it...you will end up with a flat top that has the best iron sights, it will co-witness with a dot or a scope work with a 1/2inch riser...best of all worlds...

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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by nimdabew » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:05 am

I recommend NOT doing that. The cost of the gun smithing and parts alone would easily get you into the flat top price range, which is $89 BTW from Bravo Company. At that point, you have a rifle that has some frakenstein upper that has no resale value and has BUIS that cannot be removed for any reason. There are about a dozen reasons to not do that and I can think of one that makes it a good idea.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by MaconCJ7 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:12 am

But it's something to do. Not a whole lot of people into buying those old uppers, so you can't get a premium for it anyway. I would leave it as is, build a flat top upper, and have a spare upper handy for the new lower he's just going to "have" to buy one day.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by UndeadInfidel » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:23 am

Looking forward to getting my carry handle upper set up. I'll be able to build a full AR for less than $250 invested (it's going to be built from all the spare parts I have lying around). IMO, it's not a bad option for barter material if SHTF, and could be a great investment. Even the cheapest AR will fetch a premium if they're no longer readily available.

Besides, I think a lot of people really use high end gear and optics as a crutch. With proper training, iron sights are going to be nearly as capable as any high end RDS setup.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by nimdabew » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:07 am

UndeadInfidel wrote:Looking forward to getting my carry handle upper set up. I'll be able to build a full AR for less than $250 invested (it's going to be built from all the spare parts I have lying around). IMO, it's not a bad option for barter material if SHTF, and could be a great investment. Even the cheapest AR will fetch a premium if they're no longer readily available.

Besides, I think a lot of people really use high end gear and optics as a crutch. With proper training, iron sights are going to be nearly as capable as any high end RDS setup.
Irons can be faster within 25 yards with the right shooter and training. RDS are almost as fast from 25 to 250 instead of fast at 25 and slightly slower at 200. I would be more afraid of the shooter thant trains and shoots with his cary handle upper than the LSHD guy with tacticool shit hanging off his rifle for no apparent reason.

There is something sexy about a carry handle AR though...
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by Absintheur » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:58 pm

There are about a dozen reasons to not do that and I can think of one that makes it a good idea.
What are the reasons? Evidently this is a good enough design to be made commercially made and is indeed available as a factory unit. The irons can't be removed...big deal. They also cannot be knocked off or broken when hitting a door frame during an entry like I have seen with removable BUIS. There is nothing to flip up if you need them and they are excellent sights. A QD scope mount allows access to them nearly instantly.

Resale value? I have sold 2 that have been done like this with no loss of "value", folks saw the advantages and while I didn't make money I didn't lose any either.

Today I would buy the upper already configured like this if I was doing a build...they weren't available back when I did the ones I have.
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Re: What to do with an AR carry handle upper?

Post by nimdabew » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:37 pm

1. You now have an upper receiver that had value before as an A2 (I am still looking for one and so are other people looking for retro builds), but has little value as a franken receiver with a rail on top
2. You x dollars on the rail, a gun smith for tapping the receiver (you need this to make sure the picatinny rail is true to the receiver), chopping the old carry handle off, and then installing the rail on the receiver
3. With this setup, you are limited to optics that have long eye relief (2+ inches), or red dots. If you ever wanted to use a longer range scope with shorter eye relief, you can't unless you get a flat top with no BUIS because the rear sight can't be removed
4. Standard hand guards don't work with this design (look at your plastic hand guards and the cutout for the tapped picatinny rail) so you can forget about a quad rail or any metal hand guard unless you get the gun smith to mill that out too which means decreasing value from any hand guard you put on this upper
5. Unless you use red loc tite, or some other semi permanent thread locker, the screws could come loose and send your optic into the dirt or whatever you are standing on/in at the time
6. The depth of the threads into the receiver are two or three threads deep at best. Having the fasteners sheer off is a REAL possibility if your rifle gets knocked hard
7. The original strength that was gained by having a hollow circle anchored at two points (yes A1/A2 receivers are stronger than flat tops) is lost by cutting the handle. There is additional strength by adding metal to the top of the receiver with a flat top. With this setup, you get the same flex that a flat top has, none of the additional strength, and all that extra force is going to the two or four fasteners that are pulling on the threads. If the fasteners aren't made of the same type of metal, they will gall or rip the threads out of the receiver
8. Any warranty that was written or implied by the manufacturer or seller is gone since the receiver is operating outside of it's original design envelope
9. A BRAND NEW flat top receiver is 89 dollars.

Ok, I may be a bit short of about a dozen, but the strength in having a backup iron sight, and it is a backup, permanently attached to the receiver is lost in several other key areas. Cost, modularity, flexibility, functionality; all these things are affected by doing this modification and there are very few bonuses. The only one that I can think of is not having to worry about one screw that holds the backup irons on the flat top. That one weakness can be mitigated by using blue loctite and a witness mark from a 4 dollar paint pen.
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