You will need the following to get started.
1. (1) 24” 1-8” twist bull barrel AR15 from a reputable manufacturer. Here are a few examples.
AMERICAN SPIRIT ARMS- ASA 24″ Bull Barrel Rifle
HESSE ARMS- HAR-15A2 Omega Match
DPMS Panther Bull 24
The main features required are as follows:
1.1. 1-8” twist barrel-length 24” (preferred) to 20” long (good) .92” OD.. The Armalite is turned down to .810” on the end section past the gas block. This reduces the weight at the barrel some. You might like this.
1.2. Barrel float tube (knurled is preferred). Try to get one with a strap stud on the forend to start.
1.3. Match trigger (see trigger article everything you need to know is there). Do not be fooled by the promise of a match trigger from anyone else besides the people I have mentioned. If a dealer tries to tell you a trigger is “match” and it does not have adjustment screws (JP Enterprises) or an Eagle (rear hammer hook) trigger, don’t you believe it. Open the gun and look!
1.4. Chrome bolt and carrier are nice additions, not at all necessary.
1.5. Everything else is “icing” to start.
1.6. This rifle should cost between $500 and $1000 with a standard AR15 trigger. The Armalite will be more with their match trigger.
Godzilla’s take on the current crop of rifles.
Armalite is pretty much flawless from all points (do not like their trigger), but very pricey.
DPMS offers the nicest rifles for the money, their customer service is also very good (****Best buy****).
My ASA is as nice an AR15 as I have ever seen and shoots like stink, but from what I here, the place has gone to shit.
Olympic and Hesse are good rifles. Buy these cheap, very cheap if you can get it.
Leave sleeping Colts lie. I am boycotting Colt anyway.
1. Buy a 24” Wilson barrel for your flattop rifle. This could include an Armalite, DPMS, Hesse Arms, Model 1 Sales, J & G Distributing, Sherluck, etc). Ask for a Wilson 1-8” twist bull barrel (Armalite will not tell you, but their barrels are Wilson. I recommend DPMS for warrantee).
2. Buy a 24” Wilson barreled flattop upper for your mil spec lower (***if your lower is Colt, sell it! People love those pieces of shit!***). This could include an Armalite, DPMS, Hesse Arms, Model 1 Sales, J & G Distributing, Sherluck, etc..
3. If you do not have a lower receiver you may buy one stripped or assembled. Really, the assembled ones are the better deal. I saw great looking ones at the gunshows for around $300 before all the Y2K crap! Now, I have no idea what these things cost (I just paid $200 for a stripped Olympic at the Dayton Gun Show and I am still squeakin’ from the freakin’). I like the Eagle ARMS, ASA, Olympic, and Hesse (in that order). I have yet to see the PAW and the new forged DPMS. Order the small parts kit from Armalite or DPMS. Avoid the wholesale places for the small parts, it is not worth the $10 you might save.
John has a deal on a finished lower for around $450 with the JP Enterprises Fire Control System (Godzilla approved) installed and fitted! This is really a hell of a deal. If you have an FFL in your area that isn’t a prick, maybe you can get a transfer.
4. Float tubes can be had at the gun shows if you have a parts dealer in your area. If you do not, order one from Sherluck (pay $40). Do not pay more than $45 for a tube.
O.K. at this point we should have a rifle of the flattop type persuasion. Next will be a listing of the modifications or updates that will turn this rifle into a highpower match rifle. I will try to go from the necessary to the luxury aspects of this update process. Also, we will go from cheap to expensive. What you spend is up to you, but the idea here to get shooting with minimal interruption to your hunting schedule!
Updates and Modifications Required:
1. Absolutely, you have to have a set of sights. No way around this for Highpower, unless you want to try it like shooting a shotgun. No? Well, alrighty then… Basically, there are five main parts required to set up AR15 with match sights.
Rear sight-this is the part that has all of the adjustments for windage and elevation. Poor man’s sights used to come from Redfield, but they went out of business. There really aren’t any poor man’s sights anymore except for Lyman and I am not sure these are worth messing with. The reason sights cannot be super cheap is because of a little thing called backlash. The indexing action of the sight has to be precise and cannot have any slop. I put my Redfield International on a dial indicator and it went four clicks without moving, then moved the equivalent of eight clicks in the next two. This is bad. Nothing sucks more than putting adjustment on the sight and nothing happens, or three times as much happens.
Companies that offer new sights are as follows:
Zylanak- These days I am a Zylanak man, but these are pricey $250-$300 (good news is competition has forced Mr. Zylanak to lower his prices recently. God bless America!). I bit the bullet and got one after I discovered how drastically bad sights can effect your scores. THESE SIGHTS MOVE LIKE SWISS WATCHES! Like I said, this is what I went to after messing with used Redfields. Zylanak has just introduced a new model sight made especially for AR15’s, hot on the heels of the RPA. A REAR BASE IS BUILT IN…CHA-CHING!
NOTE: I hung out with Mr. Zylanak at the Nationals, he really seemed to be regular guy and was quite interested in improving his sights. Mostly, he seemed to be a gun buff who liked to bullshit and talk guns and Highpower.
RPA- These are beautiful pieces of machinery, also pricey ($250-$300). I have never gauged one, but I would be shocked if these are not equal to the Zylanak in precision. Two big points of the RPA are the fact that the windage wheel is on the right (like a GI sight), and they were the first to offer a sight with the Weaver style base built in. Imported by OK-Weber.
Anshultz- I have seen some custom AR15’s set up with Anshultz smallbore rear sights. I asked Carl at Champion Shooters about this. He said the sight might not have enough windage for Highpower. I am not sure that is true. I think this sight would work fine. These sights mount using a .22 sized scope rail, so some kind of adapter would need to be acquired to go from the Weaver to the small rail.
Warner- I know nothing about these. David Tubb uses this sight, I guess this proves that are effective.
Rear sight base-think of this a set of scope mounts for the rear sight. Bases are available from different sources. I think this item is really quite expensive for what you get, but until I get another source, I guess we are stuck. My current base is the Derrick Martin and costs $75. I think the next one will be a Zylanak ($75) which is available through Champion Shooters Supply.
NOTE: As I said before, both the RPA and Zylanak are available in AR15 specific models with the Weaver base built in. The cost for the sight remains the same, so buy the AR15 model if you are buying new. $75 bucks in the old pocket!
Front globe- the first globe that I acquired is a Redfield International that I found in a guy’s junk bin at a local gunshow for $20. It is a full size diameter (bigger than a smallbore style like an Anshultz-more on this). I took it home and cleaned it up, it is really quite nice. The Redfield quality is as good (better) than anything else offered today in a full sized diameter. If you find one at a gun show (anything that says Redfield on it), buy it. Buy cheap, especially if it looks like crap. Paint is real cheap.
The story on new globes:
Tompkins- this is a full sized diameter offering with a shooting level built in. It comes with a full set of molded plastic discs. You didn’t hear it here, but these are very poorly made. Cheap though ($35). Offered by Champion Shooters.
Anshultz- other than a used Redfield, (if you are dead set on a bigger circle in your sight picture) this is the way to go. All the really cool accessories are made for the Anshultz. Make sure to get the model made to fit a Redfield style base!
Front globe base w/ riser- this is the equivalent to a “barrel Band” for an AR15. These are available from the same people who make rear sight bases.
Derrick Martin-this might be the one to look at for a .92” diameter barrel. For the life of me I cannot figure out why one no one offers this as a standard size. This is the unit on my current rifle. $75 + $10 for custom diameter.
Zylanak- very similar to the Martin but smaller and lighter. I like this one better than the Martin and it is $10 cheaper now. There are a bunch of barrel diameters offered. Available at Champion Shooters.
NOTE: There is no need pay more than $75 for a front base. There are other available for more but the Martin and the Zylanak are really great.
RPA- this is the top of the line.
Front globe insert- this can be as simple as the stamped plastic or metal discs or as complex as the super neato Anshultz and Gemanne adjustable. In a nutshell this is what you see inside the globe that indicates the target. The German adjustable variety is extremel expensive at well over $100. Go for the cheap (or free) kind for now.
Cutting the float tube for a handstop slide- this isn’t absolutely necessary to start. If your rifle came with a sling stud on the front, attach your sling to it go shoot. If you’re bored and are project oriented, here is the garage method. I don’t have a machine shop.