The total cost right now is coming out to $1080 without the lower receiver. That is a bit more than I originally wanted. I think in hindsight it might have been a decent idea to go for a Noveske skinny carbine. With discount it would have come to around $1300 -- assembled! Still, this will be a good learning project to put together. I'm also pleased with the quality of most of the components I've ordered based on reviews.
UPPER COMPONENTS ($680 + FH welding)
- BCM Mid-Length Upper Group ($500 w/ shipping). I selected this because it has an excellent set of features including M4 feedramps, gov't profile barrel, fully chrome lined bbl and chamber, 1:7 twist, 556 (vs 223) chamber, and a few others. I thought the price was screaming good at first, but then after ordering I realized it lacked a charging handle and bolt carrier group. Ouch.
- Phantom 5C1 Flash Hider ($30). Somehow, BCM was out of pinned A2 flash hiders. I need a pinned flash hider on the 14.5" bbl to get it over 16" and avoid NFA/SBR issues. So, I ordered a seperate flash hider and will have to get it welded on locally.
- Bolt Carrier Group (~$60). I haven't ordered one yet as I didn't realize that it was needed. The BCM BCG is a good value, given that many of these run over a hundred bucks. Regrettably they are out of stock, so I may have to settle for the DPMS which is running $55. I'm just not willing to spend over a hundred bucks at this point on it.
- Charging Handle ($25). I'm going with the Noveske. There is a DPMS for about ten bucks left, but I think another ten bucks is probably worth it. The BCM Gunfighter and Gasbuster handles look nice but again I'm getting cheap...
- Daniel Defense 1.5 Fixed Iron Rear Sight ($65). A simple fixed sight, nothing fancy.
LOWER STUFF ($125)
- Stag Ambi Parts Kit ($85). DPMS was on sale for $55, but I think the Stag LPK will get me higher quality. Given that I was going to pay $25 for an ambi safety anyways, this was a good deal. I want a BADASS 45 degree selector but am unwilling to pay the asking price right now.
- Troy Ambi Bolt Release ($30). I want the ambi controls so I can start shooting this left handed with my dominant eye. I did pass on the ambi mag release as it is expensive ($90) and because the odds of me needing a fast left handed mag change are pretty low.
- JP Enterprises "Yellow Spring" Trigger Kit ($10). I considered a nice Geisselle trigger. This is a fraction of the price for a significant improvement in the stock mil-spec trigger.
- MagPul MIAD ($30). I wanted a set of nice matching OD green MagPul furniture.
- MagPul MOE Handguard ($30). This is also OD green. Additionally, this handguard is one of the simplest and lightest handguards which suits me fine.
- MagPul MOE Vertical Forend ($20). Ok, I'll admit that I don't have any need for a Forend. However, they are kind of handy for maneuvering in close quarters. It also looks like an "evil" feature that will piss off a gun grabber. I'll probably end up taking it off but wanted to try one out for less than twenty bucks.
- MagPul CTR Stock ($85). I thought this was a bargain. $85 for an upgrade to a MagPul? Sweet! I've also heard great things about them. However, I didn't realize that I also needed a buffer, receiver tube extension, castle nut, etc.
- Stock Kit with H Buffer ($77). I'm picking up one of these to support the CTR. It is $10 more than just the hardware (without the M4 stock). I figure for $10 having an M4 stock that is guaranteed to work might be nice in case the CTR doesn't work out. Had I done this a bit smarter I would have ordered a package with the MagPul which is an easier and cheaper way to do this. Or skipped the MagPul altogether right now.
- Blackhawk Sling ($7). I have nice single point sling as well as a nice three point sling packed away. For now I figure a cheap sling will be convenient.
- MagPul MOE 5-slot Rail ($5). I don't plan on hanging lots of crap on my AR. I do have a Surefire X300 that is currently on a pistol, so I'd like a short rail to have the option to affix a light.
- Noveske End Plate ($24). I figure while I'm assembling the stock I may as well throw one of these on. They're apparently a bit of a pain to go back and do later.
I've dropped the idea of a billet as I found a bunch of ambi components that work on standard forged receivers. So at this point it is basically just picking a roll mark as most of the receivers come from the same three places anyways.
I was originally deciding between a S&W M&P and a Grizzly (Utah). Then DW pondered about getting a custom engraved one. Which is actually a really good idea. Now I'm looking at getting a pair of custom engraved receivers with sequential serial numbers that we'll get custom set up with a sweet Alaska emblem -- we're thinking of just a simple picture of the Big Dipper along with the slogan "North to the Future" (Borealis Ad Futura?). She doesn't want an AR now but may in the future, so why not pick up an extra lower? They're cheap...
I have plenty of time on this one though. I need to get the upper bbl flash hider welded in place before taking possession of a lower so as to avoid ATF's "constructive possession" nonsense.