AR15 (6)

Thursday, 05 June 2014 14:57

BCM upper on the way

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I won't bore you with the details but I have been plagued with some bad luck and had been forced to sell some things and then lost some more in a divorce. As it turns out, I am now a little light in the AR dept. I was going on #6 (deposit down and it had come in) but I am down to just 2-- My Colt 6920 and the 6.8 SPC that I put together with a Kotonics barrel and Mega upper and lower.

I am still broke, but I couldn't pass up a "blemished" upper from a BCM email. I clicked on the link and thought about buying it. By the time I had decided they were out of stock. I clicked on "notify me" when they were back in stock thinking it would be a long while. Much to my surprise I got an email the next day! I didn't hesitate this time.

Their description is great, don't buy one if you are looking for a safe queen, but buy it if you are looking for a gun to run hard. I like it, and their reputation says the same.

I am anxious to compare it to the 6920 which has always set the bar for a running AR15. More to come...

Although I do think that overall the Colt 6920  is one of the best rifles available in the market. Bang for buck is very good and it is only a couple $100 more than some other rifles. It is however decidely less than some of my other favorites or that I would pick with a larger budget (around $1000 for the rifle alone was where I wanted to be).

Since my post about my decision to get a Colt 6920 HERE I have received some interesting feedback. AR15 discussions always seem to do that.

Rather than: rehash the chart, discuss the TDP, talk about my drinking the Colt Kool-Aid, argue the merits of a mid-length vs carbine gas system, direct impingement vs piston, or even AR snobbery (I own at least 4 non-Colt AR brands not including my own builds) and why I didn't pick someone's favorite brand, I wanted to point out a few other contenders that I looked at. I didn't choose them due to cost and/or availability but consider them outstanding. In my order:

Disclaimer: There are many excellent brands out there, but these are the ones that caught my eye.

  1. LaRue PredatAR 5.56 - I really like this rifle. At $1500 seems to be a great deal. It has all of things that I really like  - lightweight barrel, lightweight rail, 1:8 twist, on a mid-length gas system.  I actually like the fact LaRue builds one of the best rifles on their terms and not what is currently trendy -- for example 1:8 twist, Wylde chamber and no M4 feed ramps. The OBR is my top pick, if only my $ was in that range. The PredatAR was a close second but over my $1000 limit. I  still might sell one of my other rifles to get it.
  2. BCM mid-16 - Nobody has anything bad to say about them. They are simply built tough to very high standards. They run ridiculously well in training classes  like the Colts ;) Couldn't find a local dealer to look at or order one though.
  3. Noveske Light Basic - This is a beautiful rifle. Attention and detail on every part. Of course, world-renown for their barrels.
  4. LMT Defender SOPMOD -  I couldn't find one at a local dealer to look at one (other than the stock). People had led me to believe that they were very affordable, but pricing was as much as some of the other options. CARbine gas system is a complaint for some. The SOPMOD stock is great! I will have to get one these!
  5. Colt6720 - Lightweight flat top Colt! No one seems to have seen one, so the details are sketchy. Some say it won't be an F-height FSB. It also apparently is an exclusive to Clyde Armory so there will be no discount (so, $1200 plus whatever it takes to get it to you and through your FFL). The lightweight pencil is a great idea that is becoming popular, but I put together my last "retro" pencil thin 16" for quite a bit less.

There you go - some non-Colt (and 1 Colt) options for an AR. I did consider putting another one together myself but using only 'top tier' stuff and there wasn't much of a price difference between it the 6920. Please note that this list is not all inclusive.

I will do a comparison of the 6920 and some of my other rifles (Olympic, BushMaster-Windham, RockRiver, etc) when I get it.


I get asked frequently by coworkers about putting together an AR15 and/or modifying them. I like AR's a LOT because there is a plethora of parts and the design is completely modular.

Putting together one is fairly simple if you have the right tools, harder if you don't (ask me how I know! LOL). Some things are not obvious if you haven't done or seen it before. There are a LOT of resources available on the internet to help guide you though. At some point I will put together what I used. There are a couple of really good documents/links that explained most of it. Those pins take more force than implied - especially when putting them into a tightly spec'd lower like the Mega.

I have put together a few and found a pics from the builds. Notice that I did not have the correct tools at the time and used a lot of wood and masking tape. I do not recommend this method. Anyway, these are mainly from putting together a couple of 6.8 SPC's.

Anyway, here are the pics from my



This is an interesting thread from with lots of rhetoric. Lot's of strong feelings on both sides but the end result was that no one on the Grendel side would submit their "best" rifle and "best" for Doc Roberts (DocGKR) to test.

There are sibling threads from ARFCOM ( and if you wish to follow the links.

Both rounds are very good and are superior to 223, well except for cost and availability of ammo.

I won't debate the pros/cons as there has been far too much already written on that. I have my own reasons...But, the 6.8SPC continues to improve with better ammo and rifles. There is already 6.8SPC II, and performance continues (6.8x43) with an active group of supporters and developers like Silver State Armory (SSA). Hornady's new 120gr SST load has a very good BC.

Shoot what you like, but I am pleased with my 6.8s...

I swore that I wouldn't be one those guys with the 10lb AR15 with Cuisinart attachments (food processor, popcorn maker, etc) but somehow my AR feels almost as heavy as my Garand.

Now, my wife has been complaining that her rifle (a lightweight aka pencil barrel AR15) needs an optic. For that classic A1 look hers is a traditional carry handle with A1 1/2 rear sight (it has a knob for windage). She is very jealous of my EOTech 556. I can't blame her, the reticle (A65) is awesome!

So, I began to price out a new stripped upper, EOTech XPS, Magpul flip rear sight and thought...hmm...Wouldn't it be easier to swap barrels on my tank of an AR15, give her the new lightweight with the EOTech and buy myself a new scope for my 6.8? (yes, a completely different AR15). Maybe not easier but less expensive, especially considering I was planning on getting a scope any way and with the $ saved (that's new math) I can get a Magpul ACS stock and a padded sling. Hey, the padded sling is for her, not me.

People always ask me what is involved with swapping an AR15 barrel and what is needed. I thought I would share since it is fresh on my mind.

1. Upper block/armorer's tool: Basically a buffer goes inside your upper to keep it from deforming and an outside clam shell goes around the outside to keep it from being squished. I got mine locally from Olympic Arms, but Brownells has them as well as any AR parts company/mfg.
2. vice: I already have one bolted to my work bench
3. barrel nut wrench (AR15 specific). preferrably one that can attach to a wrench/breaker bar because sometimes it is a PITA to remove the nut. I got mine from Brownells.
4. set up punches and ball peen hammer (or any hammer)
5. handguard removal tool (optional-but sometimes they are a PITA to remove). Mine is from Brownells but it sucks. After a few uses the rubber/plastic has cracked.
6. antiseize: I got mine from an auto parts store

Field strip the rifle (including remove the bolt carrier group)
Remove handguards
Tap out the gas tube pin (be careful it's short!)
Pull the gas tube towards the front site, it will twist out
Put the upper in your Armorer's block (with insert)
Put it in your vice
Use your barrel wrench to unscrew the barrel nut (this can be hard)
Pull barrel off
Install is the reverse; I would go into more detail but there are countless internet write ups that are far more detailed than I could do and with pics (I am lazy this Sunday).

I warn you though, lining up the barrel nut through the delta ring assembly to the bolt key is ... interesting. One barrel popped off no problem, while the other...well, took all of my weight to get it to budge. How tight they are really varies.

Now here is something critical, unless it is a brand new bolt or you want to check head space-- KEEP THE BOLT TOGETHER WITH THE BARREL IT CAME FROM!!!

Almost forgot--I have had an A2 rear site aperture for a long time to replace the A1's. Even the large peep of the A1 is simply too small for my tastes. I did that at the same time. I also swapped the front site posts. The pencil barrel (designed for an A2) needs a slightly higher post. I got mine from Bushmaster.

So, the result? A much lighter rifle even with all my kitchen accessories (flashlight, EOTech, EMOD stock with batteries, etc) and another heavy barrel carbine A1 1/2 that is now more manageable. And a happy wife.....I see a scope for my 6.8 in the near future.

Happy Memorial Day!