Have you ever dreamed of building your own rifle, tailored to your specific needs and preferences? The art of building a custom rifle is both an exciting and rewarding endeavor. In this blog post, we will take you on a journey through the process of how to build a rifle from scratch, providing you with invaluable knowledge and guidance along the way. Get ready to embark on a unique adventure, where you become the master of your own creation!

Short Summary

  • Choose the right rifle build kit for desired purpose.

  • Understand the components and roles of upper/lower receivers to assemble a successful rifle.

  • Select high quality parts, accessories, sights and remain compliant with laws when building a custom rifle.

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Choosing the Right Rifle Build Kit

A person holding an AR-15 build kit

The foundation of a successful rifle build begins with choosing the right build kit. There are several kits available on the market, including AR-15 build kits and other rifle configurations like bolt action, lever action, and semi-automatic rifles. The key to selecting the right kit for your needs is to first consider the intended purpose of the rifle or pistol build, such as varmint hunting, plinking, or competition shooting.

Right to Bear and Durkin Tactical are among the manufacturers that provide a variety of build kits, including rifle, carbine, and pistol configurations. These kits come complete with all necessary components for a successful build, excluding the stripped lower receiver. But worry not, as lower parts kits are also available for purchase.

With a wide array of options at your fingertips, you are sure to find the perfect kit to bring your dream rifle to life.

AR-15 Build Kits

AR-15 build kits are renowned for their versatility and range of customization options. These kits typically include components such as upper receivers, barrels, and lower parts kits. The AR-15 A2 and A3 are two popular upper receiver choices, each offering unique features and benefits.

For those who seek a more hands-on experience, building an AR-15 from scratch allows you to tailor the rifle to your specific needs and preferences. With options like bull barrels and free-float handguards, you can create a truly custom rifle suited to your desired shooting style.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to AR-15 build kits, making them an excellent choice for firearm enthusiasts.

Other Rifle Configurations

While the AR-15 platform is undeniably popular, there are other rifle configurations to consider for your build. Bolt-action, semi-automatic, lever-action, pump-action, and various designs such as Battle Rifle, DMR, and SPR are all available options. Each configuration offers unique benefits and drawbacks, depending on your intended use and personal preferences.

For example, bolt-action rifles are known for their accuracy and simplicity, while semi-automatic rifles offer rapid-fire capabilities. Lever-action rifles, on the other hand, provide a classic and nostalgic shooting experience.

Regardless of the configuration you choose, building a rifle from scratch allows you to create a firearm that is uniquely yours, tailored to your specific needs and shooting style.

Understanding Upper and Lower Receivers

A person holding a stripped lower receiver

To build a successful rifle, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the different components and their roles. The upper and lower receivers are the two main parts of a rifle, with the upper receiver housing the bolt carrier group, barrel, and other components, while the lower receiver contains the trigger, magazine, and other parts.

Assembling an upper receiver requires knowledge of the components and tools involved. The initial step involves inserting the charging handle assembly and aligning the tabs with the grooves inside the upper receiver. Following this, the free float tube handguard can be installed, and the upper assembly can then be attached to the lower receiver.

Stripped vs. Complete Lower Receivers

When it comes to lower receivers, you have two main options: stripped or complete. A stripped lower receiver is an aluminum component devoid of pins and other components, offering a blank canvas for your rifle build. On the other hand, a complete lower receiver includes all requisite components and is ready for use with minimal assembly time and effort.

The choice between stripped and complete lower receivers depends on your preferences and budget. Stripped lower receivers are cost-effective and offer more customization potential, but they require more time and effort to assemble. Complete lower receivers are more expensive, yet they provide a quicker and easier route to a functional rifle. Consider your individual needs and goals when making your decision.

Assembling an Upper Receiver

Step-by-step guide on how to build a rifle by assembling an upper receiver with detailed instructions and necessary tools.

Assembling an upper receiver is a critical step in the rifle-building process. An upper receiver consists of a barrel, barrel nut, handguard, gas tube, gas block, charging handle, forward assist, ejection port cover, and bolt carrier group. To assemble the upper receiver, first connect the barrel to the upper receiver, then attach the handguard and gas tube to the barrel.

Next, affix the gas block and charging handle to the upper receiver, followed by securing the forward assist, ejection port cover, and bolt carrier group. Each component plays a critical role in the reliable operation of your rifle, so it is essential to carefully follow the assembly process and ensure all parts are correctly installed.

Selecting High-Quality Parts

A person holding a barrel and a bolt carrier group

The success of your rifle build hinges on the quality of the parts you choose. High-quality parts guarantee the rifle’s reliability, accuracy, and longevity, while inadequate parts can cause malfunctions and other risks that can be hazardous. To identify high-quality parts, look for durable materials with good finishes, tight tolerances, and lack of defects.

The time and effort invested in selecting and correctly installing high-quality parts will pay off in the form of a dependable and accurate firearm.


The barrel is a vital component of your rifle build, as it directly affects accuracy and performance. Barrels come in various lengths, typically ranging from 8 to 30 inches. They can be constructed from carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, or titanium, each offering different advantages and disadvantages.

In addition to material and length, the type of rifling method used in the barrel is also an important factor to consider. Some common rifling methods include cut, button, broach, hammer forging, and ECM. The barrel you choose for your rifle build should be based on your desired shooting style, preferences, and performance expectations.

Bolt Carrier Groups

The bolt carrier group is an integral component of a rifle, responsible for performing semiautomatic fire when the trigger is pulled, allowing the firing pin to strike the primer on the chambered round. Comprising the bolt carrier, bolt, firing pin, cam pin, firing pin retaining pin, and gas key, the bolt carrier group is essential for reliable operation.

When selecting a bolt carrier group, consider the type of firearm being utilized, the quality of the components, and the associated cost. A carefully chosen bolt carrier group will ensure your rifle functions optimally and safely.

Building Your Rifle: A Step-by-Step Guide

A person assembling a rifle

Now that you have a firm grasp of the various components and their roles, it’s time to bring your dream rifle to life. By following a step-by-step guide, you can ensure the successful assembly of your rifle from start to finish. This process includes installing the lower parts kit, attaching the upper assembly, and adding accessories and sights.

Armed with the knowledge you’ve gained thus far, you are well-prepared to tackle the task of assembling your custom rifle. Remember that attention to detail and careful installation of each component are crucial for a successful build. With patience and persistence, you will soon have a one-of-a-kind firearm that you can proudly call your own.

Installing the Lower Parts Kit

Installing the lower parts kit is a critical step in building your rifle, as it involves attaching the trigger assembly, safety selector, magazine release, and other components to the lower receiver. The components included in a lower parts kit vary, so it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific kit.

Proper installation of the lower parts kit is vital to the safe and reliable operation of your rifle, so take the time to ensure each component is securely in place at the site of assembly.

Attaching the Upper Assembly

Attaching the upper assembly to the lower receiver is the next step in building your rifle. This process involves installing the barrel, gas system, charging handle, and bolt carrier group to the upper receiver. Carefully follow the assembly instructions for each component, ensuring they are securely in place and properly aligned.

Once the upper assembly is complete, it can be attached to the lower receiver, bringing your rifle one step closer to completion.

Adding Accessories and Sights

The final step in building your custom rifle is adding accessories and sights. This may include mounting optics, flashlights, and other attachments to enhance your shooting experience. Additionally, you may wish to add extended magazines, dual magazine clamps, lights, lasers, shell saddles, bipods, or stocks.

When installing accessories, ensure they are compatible with your rifle and securely attached to prevent any issues during use. With your accessories in place, your custom rifle is now complete and ready for action!

A person holding a rifle with accessories and sights

While building your own rifle is an exciting and rewarding endeavor, it is essential to remain compliant with local and state laws. Generally, it is permissible to construct a rifle for personal use, but certain types of rifles may be subject to restrictions, and age requirements may apply. Before purchasing a rifle build kit or parts, verify that they are compliant with the laws of the state in which you reside.

It is also essential to be aware of shipping restrictions. Certain states have restrictions on certain firearm parts or rifle builds, preventing manufacturers from shipping to those states. Always confirm that the parts or build kit you wish to purchase can be legally shipped to your location before placing an order.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Proper maintenance and troubleshooting are crucial to ensuring the longevity and reliability of your custom rifle. Regular cleaning of the barrel and metal parts with a commercial solvent is recommended, along with the use of a dry patch to ensure the bore is clean. An oily patch should be run through the barrel to prevent rust, and firearms stored for long-term should be cleaned and lubricated twice a year.

In addition to routine maintenance, it’s essential to be prepared for potential issues that may arise. Familiarize yourself with common troubleshooting techniques and be prepared to address any problems that may occur during the use of your rifle. Ensure you have access to reliable resources for guidance in such situations.

Proper maintenance and troubleshooting will keep your custom rifle in peak condition, ensuring countless hours of enjoyable shooting.


Building your own rifle is an empowering and fulfilling experience that allows you to create a firearm tailored to your specific needs and preferences. By carefully selecting the right build kit, understanding the intricacies of upper and lower receivers, choosing high-quality parts, and following a step-by-step assembly guide, you can successfully create your dream rifle. With proper maintenance and compliance with legal considerations, your custom rifle will provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment. Embrace the adventure, and may your custom rifle be a testament to your passion, dedication, and skill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to build your own AR rifle?

It is possible to save money when building your own AR rifle, provided you have the tools and know-how necessary. However, considering the cost of acquiring the parts and tools, it may be more cost effective to purchase a prebuilt model.

Overall, it is usually cheaper to build your own AR rifle if you already have the tools and knowledge needed. However, factoring in the cost of all the required parts and tools, prebuilt models may be the most cost effective choice. Sep 10, 2020.

Is it cheaper to build a hunting rifle or buy one?

In the long run, building a hunting rifle may be more economical than buying one. However, it can require an upfront investment in tools, materials, and knowledge that can easily exceed what it costs to purchase a good quality gun.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference.

Can you make a homemade rifle?

Yes, it is possible to make a homemade rifle, as long as it is made for personal use and does not violate any laws. The Gun Control Act of 1968 stipulates that individuals are allowed to make firearms for their own personal use.

How much does it cost to build a custom gun?

Building a custom gun can be quite an investment, ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.

Fortunately, experienced gunsmiths offer their services to make sure the end result meets your expectations.

How much does building an AR-15 cost?

Building an AR-15 can come with a considerable cost, as you will need to spend around $800 for the necessary parts and tools.

However, with the right knowledge and resources, the cost of creating your own AR-15 from scratch could be quite affordable.

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