Monkey configuration AR15

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by phishi, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Let me begin by saying that Melbo and I have had an ongoing discussion since Knob Creek concerning AR15s. Both of us are sold on certain features concerning them. They are light weight, can be used easily by men, women, and children, the recoil is easily manageable, and they are adaptable for multiple situations. Yes, they don't go as far or hit as hard as some larger calibers, but for what they offer, in our opinion, they are the best compromise out there.

    They are currently one of the best selling designs in the country. They are made by numerous companies in multiple configurations with after market options that are baffling in their numbers. Melbo, who admits that he has not really kept up with AR15s, nor their aftermarket accessories, since he moved west, was heard to say in the middle of the Knob Creek pole barn "I feel like Rip VanWinkle who has been asleep all those years only to wake up and find this!"

    So how does one wade through all of the confusion to end up with a solid performing AR15 that is reliable, has the features that you need, and won't brake the bank?

    Let me stop here and toss out a couple of premises that we built this configuration on. First, we both believe that our lives hold value. Weapons and gear have the potential to help us, but only if they are reliable and durable. As such, we have no issue with purchasing the best we can afford. That idea however needs to be tempered with the thought that our respective incomes are what they are, and short of receiving a monetary windfall, they are unlikely to change for the good. Again, BEST we can AFFORD.

    Second, for this configuration, the weapon needs a LED light of suitable power, a red dot optic, and a two point sling. Period. This is to be a simple fighting weapon that can be pressed into service with a minimal amount of training. It should be deployable out to 200 yards, accurate and reliable in this configuration. It should be easy to operate under stress, so easy that a monkey could do it.

    Third, when attempting to objectively define what is the best, one must accept that not every make or model is going to make the cut. I started my journey with a Bushmaster and a Carbon 15. After the birth of my first child, I decided that I wanted an AR that I could pass down to him. This led to some research which convinced me that not all ARs are created the same. The Carbon 15 that I thought would suit my wife due to its light weight was sold and replaced with a Glock 19 and a Savage 24c, two weapons that she feels comfortable with. The bushy was sold and replaced by a Noveske build. The research I had done pointed me in that direction as the best I could afford.

    Fourth, these builds should be as close to plug and play as possible. I've spent a long time in front of my computer attempting to assemble 3 good AR15s. I've read reviews, researched parts, made trips to any gun store I could find, anywhere I happened to be, in order to lay my hands on any configuration I could. I considered it part of my hobby, my wife believes it borders on obsession. She might be right, as I found that the more I attempted to lock something in, the more I found myself researching new parts to see if they were any better.

    Melbo on the other had approached this from a different direction. He wanted simple, something that would meet his needs, but was available off the self. He did not want to do research. He did not want to build or really have to tinker. He wanted to avoid buying specialty tools. He just wanted to walk into a store and have his problem solved. Between the two of us lies this configuration

    So, with all that in mind, let's look at what has been created.

    From Walmart was purchased a LE6920 MOE. Made by Colt, it ranks as a tier 1 AR15. It comes with MagPul furniture, including trigger guard and BIUS. Cost was $1167 for a reliable carbine with upgrades already in place.

    From Impact Weapons Components the decision was made to purchase the following. MagPul MOE sling attachment (MSA) for the front sling mount ($18.95), MagPul ASAP to replace the receiver end plate with a rear sling mount ($29.95), MagPul MS3 multi-mission sling ($43.95), and SMC 1" light mount-n-slot ($59.95). Total of $152.80 for the above listed parts.

    Additional parts include a Surefire G2 handheld light with push switch and a Trijicon Reflex 1x24 red dot optic. Both of these were previously purchased and pressed into service. Additional cost would need to be added if one did not own these, or something similar, of course. Additional mags would be needed for the weapon as well. MagPul Pmags are reliable, durable, and at the same price point as aluminum mags from reputable companies. I would get as many as one could.

    I know some are bulking at the price for some of this. Note that it can be purchased a little at a time if needed. The carbine can be fired out of the box, as it comes with a single mag and back up sight. The rest could be bought as funds permit, and IWC does offer some savings when items are bought as a combo deal. Similar deals might be available from other Tier 1 AR15 manufactures (Noveske, LMT, BCM, and Daniel Defense), or from gun stores/distributors.

    Shop around, but buy the best you can afford.

    Just some thoughts,
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    [worthless] Wel not actually "Worthless" but pictures would be very helpful.....
    Dawg23 likes this.
  3. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    LOL. Yep, talk to Melbo.

    What is your take on the concept?
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    I like it.... Is this the same setup that @melbo bought for his wife? It would be a Good Start for any Monkey, just getting into a Personal Weapon, for a Long Gun. Momma, and I, were out shooting our AR10, yesterday doing the First 100Yd Sight-in. It is NOT what your choice was designed for, but is exactly what WE need, for our AoO, and situation. Sold a DPMS AR15A3 Classic, last week to a Neighbor. (250 Miles away, which is in our neighborhood, here in Alaska) He took his wife out, a few days ago and the report back is that they both "Love" the weapon, and it's action. That after 300 rounds thru the barrel.... .....
  5. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yes it is. He is looking to obtain more as a base.

    Here in the eastern half of the lower 48, I can't conceive of a better option than this. That being said, I would like an AR configured in 308 to back up my own collection. Just not in the cards right now.
    BTPost likes this.
  6. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Excellent write up @phishi . I believe you fully captured our conversations, text messages and email over the past few weeks.

    This is indeed what I recently purchased for my wife - it closely matches an existing Colt M4 which is in the process of being configured to match the other. I plan to purchase 2 more (1 for young daughter and 1 backup) and they will all be identical.

    I'm still working on slings, mounts and light attachments and will make sure to post pictures of the completed builds. For now, here are a few 'out of the box' images. Sorry so large but I can't resize at the moment

    colt0 (Medium).JPG colt1 (Medium).JPG
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
    Yard Dart and JABECmfg like this.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I think I would replace the A1 forend with something with rails. BUIS is always good, so long as they can be co-registered with whatever optics get mounted. Other than that, looks pretty good for the eastern states.

    Were I buying new, I'd go with a different barrel than the M4 config, and make it 1:8 or 1:7. What melbo's rig has on it, we don't now know.

    I'd also consider a suppressor as a want, not a need; would help with night vision as well as noise.

    Living in melbo's area, I'd be thinking .308, too (or 6.8 SPC) and a bipod.

    Since I don't know thing one about Colt triggers, an upgrade might be in the cards, dunno. I'm thinking of changing out my stock Fulton trigger for something a bit more user friendly, the stocker is rough.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    The LE6920 above is 1:7 twist, 5.56 chamber.
    Add on rails can be attached to the forends although many of the current accessories available are MagPul MOE compatible: for my purposes, I will not need rails. I've chosen the 5.56/.223 AR platform for commonality between my likely self defense team: Wife and Daughter. I still have other tools for longer range hunting or long distance shooting. Every aspect of these decisions can be debated - this one works into my plans.

    Impact Weapons Components

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
    JABECmfg and Yard Dart like this.
  9. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    That photo is not an A1 handguard, but MagPul MOE. As Melbo pointed out, it's modular without the weight and cheese grater effect of most rails. The barrels of most Tier 1 ARs are usually 1:7 twist rate, his Colt being no exception. It is an affordable KISS carbine.

    I would not upgrade the trigger unless I found one that was as reliable as it reports to be smooth. The m4 profile I can live with for the price as well. Cowitnessing the sights is optional in my opinion. I run mine with the rear sight folded, red dot in place. If the dot ever goes down, I would just flip the rear sight up, lower my cheek weld and continue to engage. Front sight tower is issue so it's always "on" so to speak, it has never given me pause when shooting with the optic in place.

    I agree that night vision and a suppressor would make for some great force multipliers, they are low on my personal list of gear to acquire. Food, ammo and training, in no particular order, seem to be swimming at the top of things to purchase. Once I feel comfortable with that and have obtained other firearms on my short list, then I would probably turn my attention and finances to these.

    As for caliber, I don't think anyone, anywhere, would be under served by this platform. Again, one does have to work within the limitations that 5.56 presents. However, I think it gets a worse rap than it deserves. I personally would not feel under gunned if I had to leave now and this was what I was handed going out the door. It's a common caliber, you can carry a lot of it, and it offers a reasonable defensive package against most 2 & 4 legged animals on this continent. Not bad for a compromise weapon.

    Just my .02.
  10. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Melbo also points out something some of us here would like to see happen. That is, compatibility among defensive teams. He is standardizing not only on the AR15, but also the weapons themselves. All will look, feel, and function the same. He will be able to grab any one of his and not have to remember where the button to activate the light is or how to work the rear sight. This in my opinion is a good thing.

    I would like to see a similar thing happen between each of us here on the sight. Some of us have been known to visit other monkeys sometimes states away. If something ever happened while on vacation, it would be good to know that if I could reach another member I might be able to obtain a long arm that I am familiar with. Or that if I have to abandon part of my gear, I might be met with a replacement at a rally point.

    I propose that there be a reasonable standard determined in this thread for a Monkey Configuration that should be strived for. What say yeh?

    Jeff Brackett likes this.
  11. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Just a basic AR.

    AR15 Build from parts kit.

    Start with a M16 Parts Kit. Colt parts, no barrel, no lower receiver. Did an inventory and found the trigger group to be “out of spec” too many parts that would not pass. Purchased a quality trigger group replacement kit from Brownell’s.

    Anderson Mfg, Stripped Lower 7075-T6 .223/5.56, AR-15-A3 lower receiver made from 7075-T6 aluminum forging $84.00 New pistol grip from Brownells.

    A as new barrel from a Colt SP1 from my possiables closet, chrome lined and all original. The barrel assembly has the triangle hand guard hardware so a round replacement to fit the old style mounts was purchased from Brownell’s. A new gas tube was installed.

    The kit stock needed the usual butt pad replacement; these usually have splits in the plastic at the screw holes.
    A new recoil spring was purchased.

    Will build later this week.
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Works for me
  13. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    A common AR platform would also benefit the SMF group's mutual support, in regards to maintaining compatible spare parts for repairs/replacement, to Monkey's operating jointly or in the same AO.... in time of need. This idea makes sense to me and worth considering and as I am in the process of deciding what to purchase, this is a timely thread- Thanks!!
  14. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    For an out of the box AR-15, I'd have to say that a Stag Arms model is one of your best bets, for usefulness and dependability. That's why my first AR was a Stag model 3, that can be found for <$800. Stag offers their rifles with an INFINITE ROUND warranty, that can be passed down to your family members. Pretty sure they built a dependable rifle, if they're willing to offer that kind of guarantee!

    I'm currently doing research on, and working on finding deals to build my 2nd AR-15, which will be based off of a Palmetto State Armory (ever so slightly blemished) lower receiver. I already picked up a lower parts kit and 2-stage trigger, both manufactured by Rock River Arms, that I found on sale for $140, shipped (from name sounds dumb as hell, but they shipped the same day I ordered, from Kansas, and I had the package 2 days later).

    This rifle I'm going to build in FDE (flat dark earth) color, as I believe in a SHTF scenario, it will blend better than the basic black Stag AR will. More to come, as I gather more parts.
  15. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Perhaps @phishi can describe what he means by Tier 1 AR.
    Certainly not to put down any manufacturer's products or peoples purchases but there is a reason that some of us have moved away from certain 'sporter' mfgs and into others.

    In my past, I've owned Bushmaster, DPMS, Stag, Olympic Arms and probably a few others I've forgotten.
  16. Jeff Brackett

    Jeff Brackett Monkey+++

    I really, REALLY like the idea. However, I suspect getting a large group of individuals to agree on something as personal as a tool upon which they may have to depend in a life or death situation may be something of an uphill battle (no pun intended).
  17. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Agreed. It's tough to get more than 5 or 6 of together for a campout or the Knob Creek shoot. But, the idea is sound - especially those in close(er) proximity to each other.
  18. jab73180

    jab73180 Monkey

    I hope this is a good time to show off my ideal platform. Of coarse it is far superior to anything ever. :eek: I started off with a stripped lower from the LGS. I got a lpk from Brownells and a tapco buffer tube from some where. I really like the tapco buffer because it had the tactical end plate already. I bought a couple magpul 30 rounders and then the next day firearmageddon happened. I dont need to remind anyone what happened there. I got caught up in the moment and bought some really junk mags for some really stupid money. :mad: I researched what look I wanted to go with it and found just the hand guard I wanted on it. I bought the diamondhead triangular shaped guard. I think it is the vrs-t. It is really comfortable in the hand. Not at all like a cheese grater. I bought it long enough to cover my eventual 14.5" barrel purchase. After some time I was able to get a stripped upper, the parts to make it functional and nice m16 bolt carrier group. The dust cover I splurged for an engraved american flag model that says USA. For the barrel I bought a spikes tactical 14.5" with a 1:9 twist for heavier bullets. I got a longer muzzle break to bring the barrel to 16" to keep the feds happy. Yes, pinned it too. :cool: I also got the diamondhead flip up irons with a Walmart red dot. I splurged some more and got the magpul miad grip and acs-l buttstock. I also added a 4sevens quark tactical light and a cheap black hawk vert grip. I was very surprised at how well they work together.

    So I ended up with a weapon you dont see everyday and it has been reliable. It is a great home defense weapon and can be pressed into service. It has lots of storage for little things. I am looking for a good single point bungee sling. Recommendations?

    So without further it is.


    stg58 likes this.
  19. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    As the original poster of this thread, I'm going to ask that we keep to the build at hand and not post what our current builds are. While some of these sound great, it takes away from the topic at hand. Thank you ahead of time.

    Jeff, as I see it, it is easier than you think. Just don't design it by committee.

    Build specs:
    Tier 1 carbine (Colt, Noveske, BCM, LMT, Daniel Defense, S&W M&P line)
    -14.5 or 16 inch barrel, 1:7 or 1:8 twist
    -carbine or mid length gas tube
    -flash hider of choice
    -fixed front sight tower
    MagPul MOE furniture (what ever color you wish)
    -hand guard (in appropriate length)
    -stock(military sized, not commercial)
    -back up iron sight
    -MagPul MOE sling attachment (or similar)
    -MagPul ASAP rear sling plate (or similar)
    -MagPul MS3 sling (or similar 2 point sling like Viking Tactics or Blue Force Gear)
    -SMC 1" light mount-n-slot
    -Surfire G2x light(or similar)
    -Trijicon Reflex( or similar red dot)

    If we stay with the base as listed above any one picking up the new weapon would probably be ok. I say this because any of the "or similar" listed above are going, in my opinion, to be very similar to the base part as listed. Or to put it another way, given a brief hands on time with the new weapon, you won't know the difference.

  20. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    For a general statement, I agree that the 5.56 AR platform makes considerable sense as a Monkey Standard. That said, since each of those with prehensile tails will have slightly different preferences in on way or another, it also makes sense to allow for individual accessorizing. Doing so will not negate the utility of the arm if someone else has a failure and needs to use one of yours. (Cribbing, "you won't know the difference.) Being able to drive a Ford doesn't eliminate driving a Chevy, so as long as the platform is common. Jumping from an Escort to a long wheel base Dodge dually is the thing to stay away from for the common monkey. All that says is that the common features need to be the same, and the exotics cannot interfere with the basics. I don't think that the common features MUST include the furniture, but MagPul IS good stuff, I just don't happen to have any of it on my ARs.

    One of the real keys to a standard AR is the ability to operate with good (or any) mags and standard ammo. I've deliberately stuck with GI issue mags, and proved that all I have work in both my rifles. To me, the weight penalty of steel mags is over-ridden by the reliability. Presumably, a standard rifle will function reliably with standard mags, and the standard monkey should supply himself accordingly.
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