Posted by: admiralfrum | March 29, 2010


Whoah. Whoah whoah whaoh.

Ok folks, it’s been a while – perhaps you’ve all forsaken me. For a while I had nothing to say, but much time has passed since then and I’ve been up to a bunch of stuff. I’ve travelled the continent, come to deep personal realizations, and made progress on some interesting projects.

Here’s our programming schedule for the coming future.

1. Rifle is finished! Competitions on the way.
2. Shortwave Radio and spy communications.
3. New theories on women – maturity, attraction, intimidation.
4. Friend of mine married.
5. A nice piece on 770.
6. Pesach rut
7. On Addiction, Escapism, and Depression

For now, I’ll just talk about the rifle. I took the plunge and built that rifle I was going on about. In the end it was a narrow run-off between the MSAR STG-556 E4 (a bullpup Steyr AUG clone) or home built AR-15. To remind you, here is the MSAR:
MSAR with optic

I went with the AR because it is a Tinkerer’s dream. Seriously. For every single spring, pin, or part in there you can swap it out six ways from Sunday. As much as I like the MSAR it’s an off-the-shelf solution, you can take it or leave it. The AR is like a custom-built car, you can fine-tune it to exactly how you want it. And who wouldn’t want to build their own gun? If there’s anything you don’t like, you can swap it out. Just look at the various rifles below – all are ARs:

Some other strikes against the MSAR were:
– $2000 price tag. You can build a fantastic AR for half that.
– Trigger. Bullpups have this long trigger linkage that makes them suck. The MSAR trigger wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.
– Accuracy – it’s good, but not great.

My one reservation is on how short the MSAR is. Overall Length is about 31″, which is tiny. It fits in a backpack when you pop out the barrel. That’s just insane. My AR upper alone is too long to fit in most bags *sigh*.

Anyway, I won’t bother with all the details of every little component I bought. I’ll just say that I bought a budget Upper by CMT (milspec contractor for Stag Arms) and a lower by Smith & Wesson. Both were out of spec (AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!), and thus required some amateur dremel-work. Not what I was looking forward to. The upper was completely missing the charging handle latch cut (they just weren’t there) and the lower was waaayyy too tight. I bought a Smith & Wesson lower because it was pretty – the store had S&W, Armalite, and some no-name lower, and the Smith had this gorgeous purpleish lustre to it as well as clean (and stylish) roll marks. The other two had bad roll-marks and kind of an ugly finish.

I later regretted buying smith; because of their political history (I know it’s in the past but still) and because the name “M&P 15” implies that ARs should not belong in the hands of ordinary citizens, but being out of spec was the worst. The upper and the lower were about 3 millimeters away from meeting at the rear takedown pin. Now I can’t prove that it is S&W’s fault, seeing as the upper was already not to spec, but reports of extreme tightness lead me to believe that that’s where the problem lay.

Cue several hours of careful dremelling…

At first I thought the problem was with the well at the back beneath the takedown pin post.

Then I thought maybe it was the post itself.

Turns out the fit was completed by trimming down the mating face in front of the threading for the buffer tube.

Things were finished by two in the morning. The problem was that the shiny exposed metal made the clearances hard to determine (they reflected light through the crack). These things are supposed to be a close fit anyways. It was a shame to have sullied my fine black trousers, but I am glad to know that I didn’t screw things up. Even now the rear takedown pin needs some gentle hammering to get the upper and the lower together. Sure the exposed metal is ugly, but hopefully I will use the gun enough to make the whole thing ugly. Like all tools, guns cry when they lie unused.

Things are fully assembled now but I didn’t photograph all of the painstaking process. I’ll just show a photo of some of the parts, in contrived juxtaposition with one of my textbooks.



  1. are you aware that mr ‘baker’s picture is being used by scammers ??

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