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New from AZ, new LR-10 Build!


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Hello from SE Arizona!

I've been shooting various Rifles, Shotguns and Pistols from  1970 until now.  I started as a kid, Hunting with Dad and Grandfather.  I went to the Navy after High School. During the 1990's, I became a Corrections Officer, then a Police Officer. My interests led to Precision Rifle, both professionally and personally. I began reloading for personal use at this time as well. I started reading and seeking help from other local shooters and a couple of Co-workers to accurize my own personal Rifles.  I really learned a lot and enjoyed the challenge of making small changes in the Rifle, and my Handloads, in quest of the one hole 3 to 5 shot group.  I currently work with a large Contractor Company and support a TUAS Platform for our Military. Won't say more here.  I've also flown Radio Control Airplanes and Helicopters since age 12, and most of my adult life. Fun way to relax and build things that I can have fun with later!

I've never really considered building a complete firearm until the past couple of years.  Reading about folks doing this, with different levels of successes and failures, told me that before I venture into something like that, I need to read as much as I can, and find excellent sources of information on the type of Rifle that I would like to build. With the (until recently) great availability of parts for the AR/MSR style Rifles, this seemed to be a logical choice. I've always been a Bolt Gun guy, but I keep reading that with advances in tech, the AR/MSR Platform is rapidly approaching Bolt Gun accuracy levels. Ok, challenge accepted.

While at a local Gun Store last month looking for some Reloading Components for one of my Rifles, I saw a DPMS Panther LR-308 full Lower, with an A2 Stock, and two Stripped Uppers.  Looked to be in new, great condition, and had the Dust Covers and Fwd Assist Kits in Bags, to complete both Uppers, and a Charge Handle installed on the one Upper attached to the Lower.  Ok, so, this seems like a really decent deal, at 400 bucks.  I don't have to deal with a pencil thin worn out barrel and matching worn out BCG or other parts, and I can get some good new components for this project and properly break them in. One goal is to buy quality components, but not wind up with 3 grand in a Rifle build.

I took the Upper and Lowers home, and began examining closely  at what I needed to complete this project. Obviously, a Barrel, BGC, Gas System Components, and a Handguard Assembly of some sort, with a Barrel Nut.  With "muh corona" and the "plandemic" ("dempanic..") upon us, Parts availability is definately NOT what it was a few months ago. Custom Barrel lead times are now past 6 months for most high end Manufacturers, and one Manufacturer has given up producing "drop in" Barrels for any AR/MSR platform, and they have deferred their business to another Company that manufactures full on Carbon Wrapped "race barrels", with a racy price to boot!  

I wanted an "old school" longer Bull Barrel, or at least something as close to a Bolt Gun offering as I could find.  Fluting was optional, though, I'm not really a fan. They are lighter, yes, cost extra, and there are a few upsides and downsides as well.  At this point, the whole Gas System / Buffer System balancing was still straight up VooDoo to me.  I'm not an Engineer, or a Physicist, but I do understand the concept. So, the lack of 26" Barrels in certain Calibers for the AR/MSR was starting to make a little sense at this point, though I still didn't understand the full science behind it. Trends I'm seeing are for more of a Pencil Barrel, in a shorter planform. Different strokes.

I did find one Manufacturer that had the type of Barrels I was looking for in Stock, in the 24" range that I wanted, and that was Ballistic Advantage. After reading many Reviews, I decided upon one of their Barrels.  My plan is to do one Upper in 6.5 CM and the other in another Caliber, which is still undecided at this point. For this build, I ordered the 24" 6.5 CM with the Rifle Length Gas System.  I noticed that it did NOT have the "Rifle +2" Port Location that some manufacturers offer, but they do offer the Barrel with the Superlative Arms Adjustable Gas Block, and a Gas Tube.  One of these days, I'd like to possibly run a Can on this Rifle, so for that, the Adjustable Gas Block is probably a necessity, as well as the ability to adjust for different Handload Pressures while I'm working up an accurate Load to feed this particular Barrel.  They were out of BCG's a the time, so the search continues.

After much more research, I read that ToolCraft BCG's were considered to be very solid performers, and that many Manufacturers use these as OEM Equipment.  That works for me. A little more research pointed me to the 6.5 CM Specific Model with the smaller Firing Pin Orifice, and the dual Ejectors.  I had read that there are sometimes issues with this Caliber in a large Frame AR/MSR ejecting Rounds properly, and this configuration seems to have handled the problem, at least from the BCG standpoint.  I chose mine in the NiB Coating. I also like the look, and it should be a little easier to maintain.

So, Barrel Nut and Float Tube. Seems that there is at least one Proprietary Barrel Nut for each Proprietary Handguard, and a Proprietary Barrel Nut Wrench to match that. I really have no need for multiple accessories hanging off the Handguard, and this Rifle isn't being built for close up use, so something in a nice grippy, solid Float Tube, with enough room to cover and protect the Gas System, while allowing easy adjustment, was desired.  I chose the Young Manufacturing 15" Fluted Tube with Vents on the forward-most end.  It has what I need, and it looks great and feels good in the hand.  Very solid!

Tools..  Some of what I have on hand can be used for the LR-10 Build, and I had to buy some specialty stuff. Some were necessity, some were luxury, but damm handy!  Of course, I had to purchase the Young Mfg Barrel Nut Wrench for their Barrel Nut (20 Holes pattern), but at least it fits both their AR-15 and AR-10 size Tubes.  I believe it will work with their other style Barrel Nuts as well. While at their site, I picked up their Upper Receiver Vise Block (SOLID, secure, and well designed) and the Bolt Ejector Tool (very nice, and very easy to use).  

It was about this time that I found this Forum, and the absolute wealth of information to be had if one invests the time to read and absorb it. I had found 308AR Page, and had read the a lot of the information there, which gave great reviews on a lot of the components, but it was here, in the Forum that the real Meat and Potatoes can be had!  I've been lurking and reading for about three weeks before finally creating an Account. One very important Post that I viewed was another Members Posted Video from the Military.com site showing a .50 Build gone horribly wrong.  I don't scare easily, but that Video scared the shiite outta me! It completely drove home any consideration of my not checking Headspacing with the proper Tools in a proper manner. It was out of the question.  Despite what some folks say that "everything is built to spec, it'll fit and everything will be ok" this step absolutely HAS to be done. I picked up some PTG Headspace Gauges from another Vendor.

I'm starting this Intro in NotePad as I go, for my initial Post.  I've back tracked a bit below to bring the progress up to date.

So, now, on to the Build. The two Uppers seemed to like the Barrel Extension a little differently. One had a little wiggle when the Extension was inserted, the other while not a slip-fit, had almost no wiggle. I really wish it was tight enough to have to heat the Uppera little to install, then as it cools, it grips the Barrel Extension, but this will do. If it's too much, accuracy wise, I can later get some .001 Stainless Sheet Shim Stock, and tune it up.

Next, the Bolt was removed from the Carrier and dis-assembled for Headspace Checks with the Barrel Extension.  The PTG "GO" Gauge fit nicely, with very little to no fore/aft movement after the Lugs were locked up.  The "NO-GO" Gauge would not allow the Bolt to engage. That simple Task cost a little over $140 bucks in special Tools and about 45 minutes to accomplish, but the peace of mind and the safety factor that it brings is invaluable. I have a whole new level of confidence that at least that part of this Build will not catastrophically fail.

The BCG was re-assembled and lubricated at this time. The Firing Pin measured 3.940" OAL, with a protrusion diameter of .064 or .065 at the business end, and the corresponding hole on the Bolt Face was measured at .070 with a Drill Bit (actual Caliper measurement was .069 on the #50 Drill Bit Shaft). After re-assembly, I used the Depth end of the Calipers to measure a .050 Protrusion from Bolt Face to the end of the Firing Pin, by setting the depth of the Bolt Face first, then pushing the Firing Pin into position with my Finger until it stopped.  This measurement was taken from several positions, and was repeatable.

Next, the BA Barrel was measured for a .070 Gas Port with a #50 Drill Bit (which again, actually measured .069 on the smooth portion of the shaft), and it has an 11" Dwell from the Gas Port to the Muzzle on the 24" Barrel. I've read over and over that every Manufacturer is drilling the Ports too small, and then compensating with strange proprietary Buffer Assys to adjust function. The Journal at the Gas Block on this Barrel is .936, which makes a rather thick Wall from the Bore, before the Gas hits the Tube. With the long Dwell of 11", hopefully all of this VooDoo will balance out, on the Gas side, without my having to enlarge the Port. BA also supplied the SA Block with Set Screws, but NO Barrel Dimpling for it. Reading their Literature, ANY MODIFICATION to the Barrel will immediately VOID the Sub MOA Guarantee. If push comes to shove, I have a Drill Press and can fabricate a wood V-Block to support the Barrel.

The Barrel Nut fit well, and after several "stretch torques then loosenings" it finally lined up with the Upper Cloverleaf right at 80 Ft/Lbs of Torque, allowing the Gas Tube to be inserted. The check fit of the SA Block and Gas Tube was next, and the Gas Tube went to dead middle of the Cam Cutout.  I had to remove and tweek the Tube a little, externally from the Upper with a gentle pressure, to get it to sit right in the middle of the channel laterally when in final installed position.  I still can feel that it is being lightly touched by the Gas Key a little bit as the Carrier seats, but I'm beginning to wonder if it is possible for it NOT to to touch in one way or the other during operation.

The BCG was now looked at for proper seating and fit.  Once installed, Finger pressure only was required to get it to cam into Battery, and finger pressure only to release. Sliding the BGC in and out with the Charge Handle locked did not reveal any catches or bumps.  In Battery, the BCG protrusion at the rear of the Upper was flush, and not recessed at all. Installing the Upper to the Lower reveals that the BCG pushed the Buffer Weight face very slightly away from the Retaining Pin, so hopefully no issues there later.

The unknown in this is the actual Buffer Assy. Reading a few of the excellent Posts in here I've found answers to what the Buffer system should be, and how Manufacturers have taken liberties with it.  My Rifle Length Extension measures internally (from the top) 9 11/16".  The Spring, uncompressed, measures 12 3/4" to 12 13/16", depending on positioning. The Buffer is not marked in any way, but it has an OAL of 5.290", and a weight of 152 grams, or 5 3/8 oz, per a small Digital Food Scale. The Buffer Weights inside rattle when it is shaken. Should these move or be stationary? This all SEEMS to be "within Spec" for a Rifle Length System, but with no PN's or markings, I have no idea. Reading this Post from @98Z5V tells me I probably need another Buffer, and maybe a Spring. 

The Lower came with the Trigger Group and the A2 Stock and Buffer already installed, basically complete. Most likely part of a Kit, and maybe DPMS Parts?  There was no Documentation.  I did see a Post where the DPMS Lower had a K after the SN, which this one does, so it was most likely purchased as stripped, and the internal Parts are again unknown. The only thing missing was the Bolt Catch Screw, which of course is not stocked locally.

I'm 6' tall, but I have long Arms, and I am used to an even longer length of pull than the A2 Stock provided. I searched online for Stocks until I found the FAB Defense RAPS Stock. Adjustable LOP, on AR-1O from 378mm to 410mm (14.8″-16.14″) (from their Website), so I ordered this.  Bonus, it also has the adjustable Cheek Rise too! For longer shots, stability, and a more comfortable and easily repeatable Cheek Weld, this will help me immensely, and make this Rifle more like a Long Range Precision Rifle, which is my goal.

Magazines are the MagPul MAG577-BLK, which allow the longer COAL of the 6.5 to fit and function properly. Function checks of the Mags exhibit a snug fit in the Lower (expected, from MagPuls Site), but everything works. Bolt Catch Functions properly, and BCG locks back on empty Mag with Charge Handle.

Given that the Upper is a Rifle Type and the Barrel Extension is an M4 Type, I found @98Z5V 's Post here and I'm hoping that the "OK" Photo will be good in my case.  I'd rather not have to Dremel on the Upper if it isn't absolutely necessary. I've got some mean Dremel skills if necessary though. Fifty years of using a Dremel on Model Aircraft has finely honed that.

Finally, the Rifle will be topped by a Sphur SP-3006 and a Sig Tango4 6-24x50 with MRAD Milling Reticle for now. As I begin to reach out after the break-in, this is subject to change.  My eyesight seems to get worse all the time, lol.

I finally did the final assembly tonight, and after heavily lubricating the BCG and the Rails in the Upper, I rapidly cycled the Charge Handle about a hundred times to kind of pre-wear the parts in.  This seemed to help a little with the stiffness.  Now, it's time to get some Rounds together and go fire this thing. I sure wish I had someone local to me here to QA this Build before a live fire.  I've had about 200 hours of reading in the Forum now, and I have to say I've learned a LOT from all of you. Awesome find!  Any helpful information on this Project would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!



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You're in my old stompin' grounds, down there in Sierra Vista.  I was there several times through the years for a couple schools, then there full-time from 2004 to 2013, almost continuous. 

We have a great group of AZ guys here, and get together often.  We also have a great group of guys that WISH they were AZ guys, too,  :lmao:   and they get together with us twice a year. 

Welcome aboard. 

Edited by 98Z5V
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'Evening all!  Thank you for the Welcomes and compliments!  I look forward to learning a lot more in this Forum!  I've read some really awesome Posts, and every time I come in here, I learn something new!

@98Z5V, I'm still working here.  Ever spend time at Black Tower?  That's where I hang out, for now..  When you were here full time, I'm guessing you frequented the SV Range?  There is a Range Master (RSO?) named Roger, Retired Army. If you know him, he is my next door neighbor. I've been here since 2006, but generally keep to myself. Not a huge web of friends.  Mostly a few co-workers. Old habits die hard, lol.  Maybe we'll run into each other and be able to do some shooting sometime!

Well, it's late, and it's been a long day. Again, thank all of you for everything, and I look forward to reading more of your Posts. G'nite, and stay safe!

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11 hours ago, 392heminut said:

Welcome from S.W. New Mexico and S.E. Arizona (Vail) in the not too distant future! That was a hell of an introduction post but it's for certain @98Z5V won't have to waterboard you to get build info!:lmao:

That's a great looking build and sounds like it's rock solid too!:thumbup:

LMAO, Yeppers! In all fairness though, see below (Pics related) ..  😉  :lmao:



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20 hours ago, Cnturion2k said:

I'm still working here.  Ever spend time at Black Tower?  That's where I hang out, for now..  When you were here full time, I'm guessing you frequented the SV Range?  There is a Range Master (RSO?) named Roger, Retired Army. If you know him, he is my next door neighbor. I've been here since 2006, but generally keep to myself. Not a huge web of friends.  Mostly a few co-workers. Old habits die hard, lol.  Maybe we'll run into each other and be able to do some shooting sometime!

Very familiar with Black Tower, brother.  I ran one side of the NCO Academy, then crossed over to run the other side.  After that, I stood up L CO, 111th - the Terp Company.  What a handfull that was.  We stood up in 2006, so you definitely heard some of the shiit that those guys started.  What a trainwreck.  That made me retire, right there, in 2007.

Also very familiar with SV Shooting Range - great place to shoot, since everything else out there in the public lands is shut down.  Starting in 2010, I was one of the AppleSeed Instructors out there - if there was a course, I was on the firing line, and teaching some history.  If you ever went into the local Suzuki dealership - I was the Service Manager. 

We crossed paths, at some point - inevitable in that small town.  I moved up towards Phoenix in summer 2013, and have been here ever since.  We'll shoot together, sometime.  I have access to shoot out to 2200 yards, so if there's ever anything you want to test out or do, just let me know.  If you can basically travel a little west of Casa Grande, you'll make it to my wide-open desert-paradise range.  :thumbup:

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@98Z5V, yes, you're probably right, we probably did. I bought a used 2005 Yamaha FZ-1 (Silver) from that Dealership in 2007. Maybe you remember the Bike? That thing still runs like a scalded Cat! Just a few months ago, I picked up a used M-109 that looked too dang nice to pass up from there too. Still enjoy the Fazer once in a while, but the '109 is a bit more comfortable, especially with a passenger. They shut down the old store near Famous Sam's (now also closed) and moved out on 92 near Snyder.  Definately a small world!

That long range access sounds awesome! I have an RPR in 300 PRC that needs finished being broken in, then I'm going to want to stretch it to see if it (and myself) are up to that task. Will ping you when I get slowed down a bit, and will keep an eye out for any Events out that way. Thank you for the offer, and also for all the help I've received from your Posts. Good stuff! Be safe!

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1 hour ago, Cnturion2k said:

I picked up a used M-109

I'm an M-109 ninja, brother.  Been building them and hot-rodding them since they came out.  I have a 2007 blue and while LE and a 2011 black and orange LE in the garage.

Lemme know when you wanna stretch that 300 PRC out a little.  I'm about 161 miles from SV.    :thumbup:   That's a short drive, in AZ...  :laffs:

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9 hours ago, 98Z5V said:

I'm an M-109 ninja, brother.  Been building them and hot-rodding them since they came out.  I have a 2007 blue and while LE and a 2011 black and orange LE in the garage.

Lemme know when you wanna stretch that 300 PRC out a little.  I'm about 161 miles from SV.    :thumbup:   That's a short drive, in AZ...  :laffs:

Yep, I bought an 04 Gixxer 1000 when I turned 50, that damn thing would run, kept it about 3 years and started to have the feeling maybe I was pushing my luck?? I rode it all over kingdom come and got paid to do it! (I was a Hospice Chaplain), I put about 20,000 miles on it, rain or shine, and I really did miss it after I sold it. So  I bought an 01 Gixxer 1000, (yes the blue and white ones are faster), which was a doll, and I loved that thing to death, I ended up lowering the back and putting a set of Heli Bar risers on it, somebody had already dropped the front,,, and yes I really miss that babe too!

I've looked at a couple of XT500 Yammies, (I'm not sure I could start the damn thing anymore)..... a couple of Norton's, yes they are even more expensive than the  XT's, and a couple of Honda CB 1100's from 1983,,, but I'm actually trying to buy another early 2nd Generation Z-28, talk about crazy money, but I can't help it.... 

I am a Suzuki man, I kept an 03 Hayabusa for a couple of months, that was a gorgeous bike!

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6 hours ago, edgecrusher said:

 ‘15 SRR, love lining up against all takers! Only lost once, to a H2.

That had to be a painful one, brother - but possibly expected.  H2s are bad.  They're not H2Rs, but they're still supercharged liter bikes, "detuned for the street..."  They're fuckin' SICK. 

Kawi requires dealers to put 20 miles on a streetbike before they sell it - part of the build and "Pre-Delivery Inspection" process.  I worked at a Kawi dealer and we got one of the H2s.  Someone bought it - YeeHaw!~~!~~~  Gotta prep it, and get 20 miles on it, boys!!!  I got to turn about 4 miles on it, and we were right beside I-17 highway, north of Phoenix.  I ripped it up for 4 miles, but not hard enough to abuse the new-buyers new tires...  I went easy, but had some hard roll-on accelerations.  That bike gets the blood pumpin'. 

I dream of being able to rip an H2R one day... 

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  • 1 year later...
On 8/26/2020 at 9:39 PM, Cnturion2k said:

@98Z5V, yes, you're probably right, we probably did.

You still around, man?  We should get together for a shoot sometime.  I need to head down tom SV sometime and see old friends - I'm working on that part now.  Didn't realize how many old friends I still have down there, until recently.

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  • 2 years later...
On 3/30/2022 at 9:38 PM, 98Z5V said:

You still around, man?  We should get together for a shoot sometime.  I need to head down tom SV sometime and see old friends - I'm working on that part now.  Didn't realize how many old friends I still have down there, until recently.

Still around, just have been busy with life. Was laid off for two years. Working again now, better Company, same type of work, still MIL Contractor, this time on Gray Eagle. Joined one of the local Clubs, and have an Annual Membership at the SV Range. 

I lurk more in here than I do actually signing in. Still read tons of informative Posts in here when troubleshooting, or simply researching. This site is usually my first go-to for anything related to the LR Platform. 

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I just finished another Upper for the LR I built above. This one is in 22-250 (I know .. I like this Caliber though).

Barrel is a Bear Creek Arsenal 20" 1/14 SOCOM Fluted Profile. The Gas Port measure(d) .082, with a dwell of 6.75" to the Crown. I also ordered their BCA Branded Superlative Arms GB, and a Gas Tube. I used the Toolcraft High Pressure Double Ejector BCG, the same as the 6.5 Creed Build above. The Hand Guard is a Midwest.

Assembly went well, until the Gas Block / Tube Installation. The Tube wound up short, resting in the first 1/4 of the Cam Cutout. I took everything apart, measured carefully, and found that the Barrel had been Machines to an Armalite Length Rifle Gas System, NOT the DPMS as advertised. A call to Bear Creek gained a reply that it "must have been a one-off", and that they didnt carry Armalite Gas Tubes. I ordered two Wilson Combat Tubes from another Vendor. 

After fixing the Gas Tube issue, I went out to test fire. Immediately, the Rifle revealed it was under-gassed for the existing Buffer System. The Rounds would Chamber from the Magazine ok, and Eject after Firing, but no Lock-Back on an Empty Magazine, or Feed of a next Round after Firing. Short Stroking. Since it is a shared Lower, I had to address this with information from HereHere, and Here.  After research, I averaged the 20" Heavy profile, Rifle Length Barrels, and decided on .096 as the new hole size. I can bleed off slightly if necessary, using the Block. 

Ammo in use currently is Sellier and Bellot 55Gr BTSP. There was NO 22-250 Brass available for purchase anywhere I could find. Nearly all Manufacturers had alibis of "retooling for muh Ukraine, so not producing for now". The S&B worked out to .97 per round, so will use for break in, and reload with 52 or 53 gr BTHP later. 

Again, I want to thank everyone for all the contributions to this Forum. It has helped immensely in learning and troubleshooting processes. 





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