Tag Archives: AR-15


I’m just having fun with this thing… But the more I mess around with it, the more I like it.   I think this one is going to be hanging around for awhile.   20160910_164123

I decided to go two tone.  Because I just love two tone.  And I had a can of Rust-Oleum laying around.  And I was bored.  But I like the results.  I rolled a sheet of paper and slipped that over the barrel, under the guards, to give better contrast.     Once it fully cures out, the resulting finish will look a lot more matte.  Takes about a week for Rust-Oleum to cure.
As much as I wanted to use the Magpul Pro sights – they remain pretty dang expensive.  So I had these MBUS sights laying around. Okay, I didn’t even know I had them… found them in a box in my closet. BINGO!  But they will do just fine… and they look nice.
Also, when it comes to FDE, the Magpul’s darker tone of FDE is bloody perfect.   That should become the standard of FDE.  All FDE should be Magpul’s.
Now, I could just leave it as it is at this point.  But really… It does need a few things.  Such as a good micro red dot.  And something to keep my hand from slipping in front of the muzzle.

AR Pistol Project, “Kahlan”.


Built for me by a friend off an Anderson lower, and sports an 7.5″ Barrel, M.I. Handguard, Noveske KX5 Flaming Pig, Ergo Grip, Shockwave Blade Wrist Brace.
The Lucid will be replaced with something smaller and lighter so it can be returned to it’s normal home on a different AR.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the little AR.  It’s been proven to be an absolute tack driver.  I’ve not shot it yet with this muzzle device, so we’ll have to wait and see how she shoots now.  Same barrel, but different Barrel Nut, Different Muzzle Device, and different hand guards can all make significant differences.  I still need Iron Sights, and I’m going to need an AFG or some hand stops of some sort.


Should a hand slip forward of the guard… That could be trouble.  So that will have to be prevented.  But I do like the snub-nosed look.
I want the MagPul Pro flip up sights on here, because not only are they great, but they are very compact.  I don’t want a lot of stuff on this piece.  I want it simple, but effective.  So everything will be as minimal as possible.

Build or Buy?

I get asked this a lot.  Do I build my new AR, or do I buy my new AR?   That’s a good question.   First, let’s talk about the economics of it:

This guy, I don’t know this guy. But he makes a lot of sense.  If you are buying a rifle in that 1000 or Less price range.
Or what you do is spend a bit more out of the gate and buy a rifle that is closer to your ideal of the final configuration you want.  There’s a lot of rifles out there in the 1500 range that come pretty much done out of the box.   Or even less.  I’ve seen some very good builds that are complete and good to go for about 1200.

Unless you are wanting a lot of specialized aftermarket stuff with spiky bits or excessive milling for either weight or cosmetic purposes… stuff that isn’t available OEM from anyone… Then building makes sense money wise.

Or you just want a Cheap Out build.  And you are going to be shopping for low cost parts.   Then in that case, you are going to end up with a Cheap Rifle.  I can’t tell you how many times guys have shown me their Cheap Out Build and then they blow sunshine at me that it’s Custom.   No, it’s not Custom.  It’s a Cheap Out Build you put together on your coffee table.   That’s not impressive, so don’t expect me to act impressed.  And don’t get mad at me for not being impressed.  Anyone can order those same parts from Brownells and Midway USA.   A Cheap Out Build though, can get you into an AR for the same or less than most entry level AR’s.  I’ve seen some Cheap Out Builds that were about 400 bucks that were actually solid AR’s.  So if you do it RIGHT, you can really have something.  The problem though is too often, it’s not done right and the result is just another cheap AR.

Another reason to build your AR is that you BUILD your AR.  You might need some help or borrow some tools or even buy some tools… But the end result is your own rifle you put together yourself.  There’s a lot of satisfaction in that.  And if that’s your goal, and you are happy with the rifle – Awesome.   That’s all that matters.  That’s all that’s important.  Because at this point in the AR Market – NO ONE CARES.  Do your own thing, be your own man.   You only need to impress yourself.

The 3 Things to Splurge on:
1.  The Barrel.
2.  The Trigger.
3.  The Optic.
Spare no expense on these items.  Expensive BCG’s are over rated.  Expensive fore grips and stocks, are over rated.  Back Up Iron Sights, unless you are going to run Iron Sights, are over rated.

What I look for when looking at an AR type firearm.

I’m the guy that wrote the “Why I Hate the AR” article a couple decades ago.  But I’ve come around to them now… after 50 years of continual development, AR’s are pretty much all decent enough now.  They all work pretty well.  But…  I’m really picky when it comes to AR’s now.   I’ll dismiss most AR’s in any gunshop.  Being jaded as I am… having seen everything on the market with little that actually impresses me… People ask me all the time what I look for.  What I look for in an AR first and foremost is Accuracy.  It’s all about that Barrel.   I want it Cold Hammer Forged.  If it’s not – I’m just not going to spend my money on it.  Period.  So I am going to look for those markings on the barrel to ID where it came from, so I can know how it’s made.  CHF barrels are no guarantee of it being super accurate – just consistent.  And that’s where accuracy starts.  With traditionally made barrels – some can be very accurate.  Others, less so.  You don’t know what you are getting until after you bought it.
CHF Barrels, takes away that variation.
I’m also going to look for a free-floating barrel.  Traditional A1 and A2 and other similar handguards that are connected at the front, are things I am going to always avoid.  You can have an accurate rifle with those… But simply gripping them differently will apply different pressures to the barrel and effect the Harmonics.  Variations in Barrel Harmonics will effect accuracy.

You know how some rifles prefer loads of different bullet weights and velocities?  Reloaders will play with powder loads to find that perfect load for max accuracy – what they are really playing with is Harmonics.

Allow me to explain.  When a shot is fired from the barrel, that barrel starts to move.  A lot more than you would think.  An accurate rifle has a very consistent movement and the bullet exits the muzzle the same place in the barrel’s movement every time.    Things that change the way the barrel moves effects this – and thus effects accuracy most often in a negative way.

I want the Upper and Lower receivers to be tight.  With as little movement as possible.  In some builds, designed for close quarters, or in AR Pistols, this isn’t so big of a deal.  A little movement isn’t going to effect anything.  But for a rifle configuration for longer range work – I want this to be a bank vault fit.  Or if this is a build that is supposedly a super high quality build… or anything north of 900 dollars… I want this to be a bank vault fit.

The other thing I look for in an AR is a good trigger pull.   I don’t care about the weight in most AR triggers.  But I want that break to be crisp and clean.  I want it to break like a hard thought.

These are the main things I look for in an AR.  Everything else can be altered and changed out easily.  So they don’t matter so much.  But what I described – that’s the foundation to build your Configuration on.

What to do with these two lovelies?


I still can’t decide on what configurations to build with these two lovelies.   I think one should be a pistol at least.  They were both transfered as “pistols”, so maybe both into pistols.  Light weight builds, but they don’t have to be airweights.  Maybe one pistol and one light carbine?  I want them to be unique.
Post links to images of suggested builds and the Parts I should buy for the builds.  Help me out here.

I’ve not seen that since…

I can’t remember when I had last seen it… Not for at least 15 years.  So long, I didn’t even think it an issue.  Like Small Pox, I thought it had been cured.

We had an AR-15 at the range that was having problems.  We looked at everything and we finally found the cause.

A loose gas key.

This was a S&W M&P15.  And the Gas Key was not staked.  It had worked loose and was causing every issue you can think of.   It was the last thing we looked at.   The bloody Gas Key.  Huh.


Top 5 Best AR-15 Manufactures.

Question came in:

“Mad Ogre, can you make a list of the best AR 15 rifles according to your expertise? I’ve read you articles and it seems to me you’ve done your homework! Would really like to know which AR 15 manufacturer rifle would catch your eye!”

That’s a good question, but also technically complicated.  Saying “AR-15” is like saying “Pickup Truck”.   Asking for the best Pickup Truck would require me to respond with “What are you going to do with it?” It’s far easier if I know the specific applications you are going to use it for, because of all the options and configurations out there.   And with AR-15’s there are far more nuances that go with them.   So instead of specific models, I’m going to simplify this.   I’m going to list in order specific manufactures.  Companies that are making production gun sold through dealers… not custom guns.

My TOP 5, Starting at the top and working down:

3.  LMT
I’ve been dealing a lot more with LWRC since I wrote this list.  And I have to give credit where credit is due.  LWRC is now a solid #5.  I really like what they are doing with their new M6IC carbines, and others… So I’m bumping Bravo to Runner Up Status and making LWRC number five:
5.  LWRC

Runners Up:

These are the only production AR-15 Rifle Makers that I would personally spend my own money on.    Reason I picked these are due to the overall quality and consistency that I have seen.   These guys are consistently putting out the best products.    Each one of these Brands are worth exploring.  Which specific rifle – depends on your application or the configuration that you are looking for.   These are also companies that I have personally talked with and know there commitment to putting out top quality rifles.   There are a couple other companies out there that could have made this list as a Runner Up – but I just don’t like their finished products…  I’ll give you one example.  Black Rain.  They are making some good products.  BUT.  Their finishes are ghastly and they insist on using a muzzle device that you could seriously use to drill through layers of sedimentary rock and discover oil with.  They have to ship them with a rubber cap over it because the muzzle device will chew through the packaging during shipping.  They WILL tear the crap out of any case you put them in as well.   For what purpose do you need that for?  It’s just tacky.  If they would tone it down – I could take them more seriously.

Now, let’s talk configurations.  For a Jack of all Trades configuration, I like a carbine length barrel, with full rifle length  handguards, and I like a free floating barrel.  I don’t like quad-rails, but I do like the option of putting on an accessory where I want it.  My favorite new rifle on the market that meets this criteria:

The Daniel Defense DDM4V11.

So if I had to pick just one rifle, that would be it.


Sig’s Arm Brace

I was hanging out at a certain gun store the last couple days, and they have a .223 caliber pistol in stock.  I had to examine this thing closely.  I’ve avoided liking these because I fee the ATF will reverse it’s decision on these things and they well be deemed to be SBR’s at the flick of a Bic pen and then the ATF will ask for all the records of all those that bought these things.   I felt like they were a potential trap.

I made the mistake of handling the bloody thing again and thinking “why not?”  It might legally be a pistol, but it’s a little rifle in all reality.  The fact that you can take this “pistol” and shoulder it and fire it as easily as any SBR, but without dealing with all the SBR red tape is very attractive to me.   Now I’m wanting one.     DANG IT.


Charles Daly D-M4EL Carbine.

Charles Daly D-M4EL Carbine.

(For the photos and videos related to this article, check them out as originally published on Old Mad Ogre, HERE)

I have a friend named Bax. He’s a former Jarhead, opinionated, somewhat self-aggrandizing, but smart. He keeps me honest. Around me, it just seems the subject of AR-15 rifles just swirl like radioactive fallout in a breeze. This dust is of my own making, as I nuked the AR-15 platform in one of my articles. While it is true that I do hate the AR-15 for many reasons, I also love it for many others. There are strong points in its favor and I have some AR-15’s for those reasons.

In the middle of yet another AR-15 discussion on WeTheArmed.com, the subject of Charles Daly came up. I dismissed Charles Daly off hand because of previous experiences with CD products that left me disappointed. I generally operate on the Fool Me Once principle, so I had no interest in exploring another CD product.

Bax however, was insistent and somehow got Charles Daly involved. Mr. Kassnar himself, President of Charles Daly stepped up and offered a CD rifle for defense. To clarify, Charles Daly’s Defense division, CDD has the AR line, and it was a CDD rifle that was send to me. A straight forward M-4 clone, no frills. On the CDD web page, it’s the second one from the top.

The Specs. Item No.: CCDM4E16. 5.56mm Nato, 16” Barrel, 1×7 ROT, MSRP $1309.00USD. Flat top, with removable carry handle. Fixed front sight. 6 position collapsible stock. Chrome lined 4150 barrel, M-4 feed ramps, M-4 fore end.

When the rifle came, I was expecting it to be at the Bushmaster/Armalite level, meaning typically Milspec and rough. But I was pleased to see that it was much better than that. I am a critic by nature, and if there is something to criticize, I am inclined to do that. I was batter up at the plate ready to swing and knock this rifle over Bax’s head. I felt deflated. It looked good. It felt good. It didn’t have any “cheap gun” rattles. It didn’t have a grind in the action like cheaper AR rifles do.

In fact, it looked just like a Rock River. I had a Rock River on hand in the exact same set up, so I compared them side to side. It was like I was looking at twins.  However the Charles Daly had an advantage.  The gas key on the bolt carrier is staked securely while the Rock River was not.  This is an important detail for a heavy duty use gun.  Other than that, they were virtually identical. 

Well, not quite.  The CD gun was better looking. The exterior finish was cleaner, blacker, and smoother. It honestly looked better. Felt better to.

I had to shoot it. We had got in some new optical gunsights. One is called the ISM-V from Insight Technologies. It had to be tested out too, so this looked like a good match up. I mounted the optic, gave it a quick bore sight and hit the range.

Because most of the interest in this gun was from online sources, I wanted to break away from normal article tradition, and take some video to post on YouTube.

The first time out with the CDD, I noticed the only real complaint that I could find. The trigger was typical MilSpec. This means it was a touch heavy in the second stage with a little creep and a little grit. Not bad, just completely average. No better and no worse than any other trigger for this type of rifle at this price range. We didn’t have much time, but Marcus, a co-worker and I blasted through a couple mag fulls. The gun shot quite well and was easy to hit with… typical of the AR type. Nothing out of the ordinary and we experienced no jams. And this was just right out of the box. Box to Range. No cleaning or lube.


To do this right and to give this gun a fair shake, I had to give it a cleaning and while doing so, examine the internal parts. The internals looked as good as the externals. No shortcuts, no hidden problems or skeletons. Just good quality parts that were built right.

I cleaned the weapon using a new CLP product branded by Smith & Wesson, made sure every part was properly lubed, and reassembled it. This was the only cleaning I did on the gun until the completion of the evaluation. However I did lube it along the way, using Tetra Gun Oil on the bolt and bolt carrier. That was it.


Not wanting to review the optic and focus just on the gun, all subsequent shooting was done with the gun’s carry handle attached and just used the iron sights. However it must be said that this ISM-V is a great choice for a combat red dot type sight. It co-witnessed with the front sight perfectly and allowed you to use the optic as a ghost ring sight for fast close range shooting.

Extending the shooting range further and you can use the optic as advertised. The accuracy was exceptional. Very consistent. As was the ejection. Unlike most AR-s, the CDD spit out all the brass in about a 4 foot area. Better than the typical 8 foot area of most AR builds.

ROUND COUNT: 880… no video.

One of the things I am interested in when it comes to weapon, is can they actually be applied to work.  I have to tell you… yes.  Since I don’t have a supply of Iraqi Insurgents to deal with, I have to find an alternative.  We do have coyotes out here and I was able to test the CDD rifle on a couple of them.  From the back of the truck into firing position, the CDD performed well.  From spotting 3 coyotes, I was able to put 2 of them down cleanly and quickly.

I did have one failure with the rifle, and I’m going to take that on the chin and admit it was Operator Error. I didn’t have the magazine seated properly, so when the weapon fired the first round, the magazine fell so it couldn’t feed the next one. That was my fault, and not the weapon’s. That being said, the functioning of the gun has been flawless. Again, this is something I was not expecting and was even hoping it would be otherwise.

When I benched the rifle, it was a very cold day. Not quite warm enough to keep me from shivering slightly. But it was still accurate enough to shoot under an inch. Open sights on a frosty, foggy day when I couldn’t even see the target clearly through the fog – I’ll take that accuracy happily. I bet on a warm clear day, that group could have been shrunk by half.


I’m giving this rifle a 9 out of 10. It loses points for the trigger, but everything else was solid.

Next time, Bax.  You are buying the ammo.

For article discussion relating to this rifle, see the thread on WTA.

Thank you to Mr. Kassnar of Charles Daly.