There’s a time honored tradition among hunters and shooters of all stripes linking generation to generation: The passing of firearms to the up and coming in the family. I’m not exactly old enough for that just yet, but I do have a son whom I love and whom I wanted to vest with a rifle he would love for a long, long time. The problem? Due to my work here at SHWAT™, he’s seen a lot of really amazing gear come and go. He’s also a millennial and newly minted hog hunter, so the gun would have to be completely customized to his liking to really hit the sweet spot I was after. Lastly, I wanted to do something more than present a gun, I wanted to create memories that will last. This is the story and video of how and why we built a super sweet F1 Firearms based custom rifle that shoots .65 MOA for him. We hope it inspires you!
To begin with, the rifle had to look amazing. I know, we should start with reliability, then accuracy, then looks. But given the fact that we had King’s Arsenal on board as technical advisors, reliability and accuracy would just have to be assumed to begin with.
With that in mind, we scoured the internet looking for cool looking AR-15 rifles. We settled on the F1 Firearms BDR-15-3G Billet Matched Receiver Set. F1 isn’t your typical gun company. In fact, they came out of the Information Technology sector. There, everything has to be perfect or systems just don’t work. Imagine what could happen then when a super successful IT entrepreneur and gun enthusiast starts a firearms manufacturing company.
That level of precision is just what we found, not only in the matched receiver set, but also in the C7K – AR-15 Contoured Handguard. Tolerances were super tight and super precise. Another huge plus with the F1 matched receivers was that some parts are improved and built in. For example, the usual bolt catch roll pin is replaced with an included screw-in pin, as you can see in the video. It’s a real, tangible, win and shows the level of thought and detail that F1 Firearms puts into their products.
Given the number of Timney Triggers I’ve used over the years that predate any involvement in the firearms business, I was pretty happy my son was excited about their Skeletonized three pound AR-15 trigger. It’s a single stage with no discernable creep and a nice break. In my own trigger testing in more recent years, I’ve found that a great trigger improves my accuracy by reducing some of the human error involved in pulling it.
Even the little details matter here, so we opted for a couple of items from Forward Control Designs. The EMR mag release button is contoured to match the curvature of your index finger. Does it matter? If better design carries any weight with you, yes, it matters. Both the enlarged angled top paddle and the extra surface area on the lower paddle just make using this easier. And these add some subtle customization to this highly customized build.
At some point, I acquired several Battle Arms Development Short Throw selectors. I’ve never found a selector I like more. As you can see in the video, the short throw is unique in the AR-15 world and in my mind is how every semi-auto AR should work. Fortunately, my son liked the uniqueness and function of this selector which saved buying something else.
If we were going to get accuracy out this build we’d need an unquestionably excellent barrel. I own barrels from a number of manufacturers and will attest to the fact that there are plenty such makers to choose from. For AR barrels, Wilson Combat is my default choice. I’ve toured their factory, I’ve hunted once with Bill Wilson and know they are very serious about the products they turn out.
With a nod towards weight considerations, we used their stainless steel sixteen inch lightweight match grade barrel with a one-in-eight twist. To match my son’s preferences, though, we needed it black. Abilene Powder Coating did a flawless cerakote job on it. The gas tube and block are Wilson Combat as well. The Rainier Arms XTC 2.0 muzzle brake was purely based on looks, but as the video shows it turns out to work quite nicely.
To meet my son’s vision, we needed a black BCG. Well, there are a metric ton of those on the market, so where do you start? Most of us start with what we know, and I know that Young Manufacturing makes rock solid BCGs. I know this from our .458 SOCOM build experience. I know the springs Young uses are the best of the best. I know his thought process on quality vs. popularity. So that was an easy choice.
On the opposite end of the familiarity spectrum was the choice of buttstock. There’s no shortage of stock makers, but we had to have something besides the usual. We had to have something unique, preferably something that looked skeletonized to match the receivers, the trigger and the hand guard. My son loved the looks of the Luth-AR MBA-4 Carbine Buttstock. However, I’d never used one before. Would it be any good?
As a matter of fact, it’s pretty great! I might do a review on this company later, but the MBA-4 is a quality component with great thinking reflected in the details. For example, the forward edge is beveled on both sides, creating a nice interface with my wrist in some shooting positions. Made of glass filled nylon, it weighs in at just ten ounces.
The rest of the notable parts and their prices are listed and linked below.
I checked accuracy under the watchful eye of a former Green Beret at 100 yard indoor range at Magnum Shooting Center in Colorado Springs. The rifle shot around the one MOA mark. But when I used Barnes Bullets 70 grain TSX BT ammo, I got excited! This rifle shot .65 MOA using a Trijicon Accupower 3×9 scope!
To celebrate the completion of this project we headed out to make some loud fireballs. My son, a newly minted hog hunter this year, blasted target after target, slowed only by the requirements of filming for you. We hope you enjoy the video and are inspired to go build something exciting while creating memories and a certain pride of ownership.
BDR-15-3G BILLET MATCHED RECEIVER SET $525
C7K – AR-15 CONTOURED HANDGUARD $215
Timney Triggers AR-15 SKELETONIZED 3 Pound $291.15
ABC/R (Augmented Bolt Catch/Release) for AR15/M16 $42
Rainier Arms XTC 2.0 $79.95
BAD-ASS-ST SHORT THROW AMBI SAFETY SELECTOR AR15 / AR10® $79.95
Luth-AR MBA-4 CARBINE BUTTSTOCK $69.95MBA-4 CARBINE BUTTSTOCK $69.95
Wilson Combat Match Grade Barrel, 5.56 NATO, $274.95
Wilson Combat Gas Block, Lo-Profile $29.95
Wilson Combat Gas Tube $16.95
Young Manufacturing Standard M16 Bolt Carrier Complete $160
BCM GUNFIGHTER Charging Handle (5.56mm/.223) w/ Mod 4 (MEDIUM) Latch $49.95
AR-15/M-16 OverMolded Rubber Grip with Finger Grooves Black $26.95
Generic Buffer Tube Kit $50
Miscellaneous parts from a generic lower parts kit $50
Disclaimer: Future owner will take legal possession of this build once he’s of age. Duh.