Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Gunday: Technically a firearm

Sorry for the absence. I'm going to blame the weather for my headaches.

Last Thursday, however, I was out because I took a trip to Orlando to pick up the AR lower receiver that I bought from Spike's Tactical for a song ($65.00, including tax). 

Now begins the (potentially) fun part of saving up for, buying, and then installing the various pieces of kit needed to turn this firearm into an actual, usable rifle. Fortunately for me, WizardPC over at Guns, Cars & Tech is going through the same process, so I'm going to pillage his linkdump for useful instructions and shopping lists.
Note 1:  I cannot tell you how disappointed I was that a post titled My Little AR Build had no references to ponies anywhere. 
Note 2: Yes, building an AR is a complicated process full of choices and lots of shopping. As McThag says, "You can't spell Barbie without an AR." Given how the AR platform allows a shooter to swap calibers and accessories with the switch of an upper, there's a lot of truth to this comparison. 
What may amuse some of you non-gunnies out there is that I didn't mis-speak earlier: according to the BATF, this piece is the actual firearm; everything else, including the barrel, is an accessory that doesn't need a background check. Yes, if I took this chunk of powder-coated type III hard coat anodized aluminum and beat someone with it, I could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

I shall now pause to allow you to laugh.

Here's a close-up of the Florida design on the receiver. I haven't yet decided upon a name for this one yet -- I imagine that will evolve as I assemble the rifle -- but it should be something which suggests a local flavor.

The dot indicates the location of the manufacturer: Apopka, Florida. 

The only thing I've done to it so far is to remove some the of roughness of the coating. When I first got the receiver, it was a VERY deep black and had a texture that gave me the same shivers as when I hear nails on a chalkboard.* I knew that wouldn't be acceptable for anything I would need to touch regularly, so I took a bronze brush and gave the surfaces a good going-over. This smoothed over a lot of the pores and gave the surface a thin coating of bronze, when I then scrubbed off (mostly) with a stiff nylon brush. What little was left behind gave the piece a slightly weathered look. It's not very visible in the pictures, but the difference is between "everything is exactly the same shade of deep black" and "due to variations in surface topography, some places are lighter than others and now it has a sense of relief and shading."

Also, I can hold it without getting the heebie-jeebies, which is an important feature in a rifle.

*Actually, it felt exactly like uncoated ceramic. Touching that and hearing nails on a chalkboard give me the exact same shivers. 


  1. Cool. What style are you going for? Short range (200 yards and closer) tactical rifle? Hunter? Long range shooter?

    Are you going to paint it up? I suspect that the usual suspects would scream bloody murder about you trying to make an ebil death masheen look like a kiddy toy. I'd pay good money to see the anti-gunners go into spasticated siezures when shown a brightly painted spray fire bullet hose.

  2. I'm not entirely certain. Probably for 100-200 tactical work, since I have a pistol carbine for closer and my Mosin for longer. 

    I'm of two minds when it comes to the paint. On the one hand, if I wanted to go practical then duracoat in camo is the way to go. On the other, there's something appealing about pissing off all right people with a candy-colored pony rifle. 

  3. It's a Florida carbine, it should have a Florida name.  Something Jewish or Cuban like most of Florida? ;)

    The poor pistol caliber gun will likely be relegated to the gun-safe for work duty since an AR is every bit as good at pistol caliber carbine ranges.  Actually, it's a lot better; there's just flat more energy in 5.56 than any pistol round.

  4. The lady is correct.  That is the *actual* firearm.  The cool part is that now it is time to play legos.

  5.  Fernando Abramowitz?

  6. By the way, it's not powder coated.  That's a type III hard coat anodizing.

    The texture is native to the metal but the tactile chalk-board cling is from the anodizing.  Plus they may have sprayed it with some dry lube.

  7. Here is a comparison between your Florida shopping
    experience and mine here in California. Turners had a Wednesday Special back in
    February for a stripped lower that is
    made right here in San Diego (JD Machine). The cost was “only” 90.00.. with
    California Sales tax, closer to 100.00, plus background check of 30.00 (Turners
    charges 5.00 more than most FFL’s). Well.. they had more of a response to the
    ad than supply. I waited 3 months for them to be in stock, plus 10 more days
    for the California waiting period.. It did come with a free cable lock!! Needless to say, I’m envious.

  8. Thank you for the correction. I freely admit that I don't know the proper terminology. 

  9. I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience in Kalifornistan. At least you aren't living in Illinois...

    And hey! Free melee weapon! :)

  10. My 80% lower from Colfax Tactical was $109, plus I spent more for fixturing and tooling.  Way more than your ready-to-build lower.  But it has one redeeming feature: they can ship it by UPS to your door, since an 80% lower is not considered a lower receiver, just a hunk of aluminum.  

    The only way it pays is to either sell the fixture or to make more ARs.  Probably the second.  ARs are kinda like potato chips though.  Can't stop at one. 

    A few weeks after I got mine, Midway had a good sale on some DPMS uppers and other parts.  Mine is mostly a blend of DPMS parts with a Rock River "match" trigger. 

    Be glad to help by email if you need. 

  11. There are a few companies making AR furniture in pony colours

  12. You know, I dated a girl once from Marianna, FL. Given the Florida stamped on it, I humbly suggest Marianna as your completed weapon's name.

  13. Congratulations! Dressing it up will be fun :-)

    I have the exact same thing sitting in my safe. It was a factory second, so similarly priced.

    It is taking all the force of my will not to rush out and get it up and running. Why am I waiting? Because its my second AR, that's why. I don't shoot my first one often enough as it is...

    I'm in the "candy-colored pony rifle" camp, just because. Or maybe just a few subtle MLP accessories.

  14. That's how we build 'em in California, until they ban the bullet Button...
    I'm just glad to hear of someone who also hates the fingernails-on-blackboard surface finish that anodizing leaves, despite the protection.
    Florida carbine = Babalu!!
    Anyhow, for gripes and moans the REAL problem with California is *really* that we're surrounded by tall mountains, and the cost of everythign is like freaking Switzerland - especially if you live in one of the "Bubbles" like here in Silicon Valley.  I think I paid extra-super-money for a Noveske lower...

  15. I'm leaning heavily towards making a "Frankengun" with every piece a different garish color. 

  16. so, are you going to buy a complete upper or build one from parts? if the former i suggest going to an armorer's class. the lower is not too hard to build (even though there are a number of pro tips to be learned in the class) but the upper is something that one needs instruction for. i've built several AR's from plain vanilla to varmint guns to tacticool gun porn. you can't have just one as they're like tinkertoys that shoot.

  17. Don't know yet. If I can find a good upper at a decent price I'll just buy one, but I might have to build my own. 

    Which armorer's class would you recommend?

  18. i took Rock River's class. very informative, but there are many others. don't rely on youtube vids as there's nothing like hands on experience.


The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to