ASA SIDE CHARGING AR-15 RIFLE PROJECT
SIDE CHARGING AR-15 – Based on experience with other military style rifles such as L1A1 (FN FAL), CETME (HK 93) I often pondered how convenient it would be to have a non-reciprocating side charging AR-15. A side charging AR-15 allows a shooter to cycle the action of the AR-15 without having to move their body from a shooting position. Non-reciprocating means the charging handle remains stationary when the weapon fires
. Some manufacturers of side charging AR-15 upper receivers simply mount a knob on the bolt carrier and machine a corresponding slot in the upper. This means the exposed knob movies with every cycle of the gun. I’m not a fan of that method, In fact as a left handed shooter it makes me uncomfortable to have the bolt reciprocating back and forth towards my face.This has been a project on the table for a while. It’s time to see it through.
SIDE CHARGING AR-15 RIFLE PROJECT
My plan for this SIDE CHARGING AR-15 is not typical of what most are building these days. While I wont go as far as calling this a bench gun it will be best suited shot from a bench or prone. Not to say it’s too heavy for off hand shooting. It’s not, but weight wise it will be more on par with my old Colt Sporter Target HBAR.
Below as usual you will see parts and explanations of the selections. Most links will lead to the Brownells products or other sponsor pages for without the generosity of these companies none of our sites would exist.Clicking and following links doesn’t cost you anything (unless you buy lol) but it shows your looking. That’s good for us.
American Spirit Arms ASA Side Charging Upper Receiver – Stripped AR-15
Brownells Part# 100-014-464WB
The American Spirit Arms ASA Side Charging Upper Receiver is side charging done right and made this an easy choice for this project. Left side charging handle which is perfect for this lefty shooting prone.
Brownells Modified AR-15 Side Charging Bolt Carrier Group
Brownells Part# 078-000-215WB
The American Spirit Arms SIDE CHARGING AR-15 Upper Receiver requires a modified AR-15 BOLT CARRIER GROUP. You can buy one from Brownells or send yours to American Spirit Arms and for $25 they will make the correct modification.
Criterion Barrels 15200HB12 20″ HBAR Contour, Rifle Gas System, 223 Wylde : AR-15/M16 223 Wylde Chrome Lined Barrel
Brownells Part# 100-010-532WB
If you ever had your butt handed to you at the range by someone shooting a Fulton Armory FAR-15 or Fulton Armory FAR 308 Titan blame Criterion Barrels. Criterion Barrels is proof you do not have to spend $500 or more on a barrel to achieve sub moa accuracy. They also consistently prove chrome lined barrels can in fact be as accurate as most premium stainless match barrels.
Putting our money where are moth is this project will feature a Criterion Barrels 15200HB12 20″ HBAR Contour, Rifle Gas System, 223 Wylde that is an absolute bargain at $270. Criterion Barrels is careful not to bite the hand that feeds them and there barrels are available at various sources but not all barrels are available at all sources. In fact some are only available at CBI directly while others are only available at Brownells or Fulton Armory. Our barrel naturally came from Brownells and it’s the only source (See highlighted link further up).
Chrome-lined, button rifled barrels feature 223 Wylde chambers and 1-8″ twist for enhanced accuracy potential with both .223 and 5.56 NATO ammunition. Unique chrome-lining process maintains uniformity throughout the bore and hand-lapping helps ensure smooth, consistent lands and grooves. Gas ports are optimized for barrel length and chambering to help ensure reliable cycling, and are available for carbine, mid-length, and rifle gas systems. Also features 1/2″-28 tpi muzzle threads for standard comps and flash hiders, plus M4 feed ramps on barrel extension to aid in smooth, reliable feeding. Barrels now feature a dimple opposite the gas port, so screw-on gas blocks do not shift during firing. HBAR contour barrels feature .870″ diameter under the handguard for rigidity and extra heat absorption.
- Length – 20 inch
- Profile – HBAR
- Gas system – Rifle
- Chamber – 223 Wylde
- Finish – Parkerized. Chrome lined
- Construction – 4140/50 Chrome Moly Steel. Hand Lapped. Includes barrel extension with M4 feed ramps.
- Dimensions – .750” OD at the gas port. 1.9” length at gas block.
- Threads – ½-28
SEEKINS HANDGUARD NOXS M-LOK 12″ RIFLE LENGTH
Brownells Part# 100-018-839WB
The SEEKINS PRECISION NOXS HANDGUARD part# 0010530051 seems like it was designed for the exact role of the ASA SIDE CHARGER PROJECT.
Designed to eliminate weight and unnecessary materials, the NOXs™ handguard provides superior handling performance to the modern sporting rifle platform at an exceptional value. The NOXs™ unique handguard design has an extremely thin profile, light weight construction and is simple to install with basic hand tools. Machined from 6061-T6 aluminum with an integral top rail, QD sling mounting points and is available with either M-lok or KeyMod mounting systems. The NOXs™ is the perfect handguard for competition, sporting applications or extreme duty use.
SUPERLATIVE ARMS ADJUSTABLE GAS BLOCK BLEED OFF .750 CLAMP ON MELONITE
Superlative Arms Adjustable Gas Block Bleed Off – The Superlative Arms patent pending “Bleed Off”, direct impingement, gas block for the AR15 platform adjusts the gas flow by bleeding the gas out of the block instead of restricting the flow like conventional adjustable blocks. Results:
- The pressure used in the block is reduced only to the amount required to drive the bolt carrier. The remaining gas / pressure are bled out of the block allowing the system to run much cleaner and cooler.
- Reduction of felt recoil.
- Patent pending adjustment detent is located outside of the block and therefore no contamination.
- The gas adjustment screw does not restrict the gas flow; therefore there is no erosion or seizing of the screw / no loss of detent due to carbon build up. Although it is removable, we have added a safety mechanism, which stops you from unintentionally backing the screw all the way out.
- When using SBR’s and / or suppressors the bleed off port allows the excessive pressure to be exhausted out of the block reducing blow back.
- Gas Block Material: 416 SS
- Finish: Melonite, QPQ
- Barrel Diameter: 0.750″
- Weight: 1.68 oz.
- Length: 1.00″
- Attachment Type: Clamp on
- Gas Adjustment: (Patent Pending) 30 Locked Positions, Front Of Block
- Bleed Off Port: (Patent Pending) Front Of Block
- Gas Block – Assembled
- (2) 10-32 x 3/16″ Socket Head Cap Screws
- (1) Gas Tube Roll Pins
- (1) 3/32 X 6″ L-Shaped Hex Keys
- Installation Instructions & QR code for video tutorial
Advanced Armament Corp AAC Blackout 51T Flash Hider
The AAC Blackout 51T Flash Hider is really my only option if I want to mount one of my suppressors. For those who like this project but don’t have a suppressor the Smith Enterprise Vortex is one of the most effective flash hiders available and has similar aesthetic lines to the AAC Blackout 51T. My other suggestion would be my personal favorite the VLTOR Weapons Systems VC-1
AR-15 Lower Receiver
Unfortunately I reside behind enemy lines and will need to recycle one of my existing lower receivers to remain in compliance.
PWS Enhanced Buffer Tube MOD 2
I will use the PWS Enhanced Buffer Tube MOD 2 on all future builds until something better comes along.
Hipefire Hipertouch 24C Trigger
The Hipefire Hipertouch 24C Trigger is the competition version of high precision fire-control drop-ins for installation in AR-15® and AR-10® type rifles. The HIPERTOUCH® name is short for HIgh PERformance TOUCH, 24 for user adjustable trigger weights and C for competition marksmen like 3-Gunners. It installs and functions just like the HIPERTOUCH® 24 but with half the pre-travel and a faster reset. For installation and operational features of the HIPERTOUCH® family of AR fire-controls, go to the HIPERTOUCH® 24 page and watch the videos. View this graphic, AR-15LowerCavity.PDF. HIPERTOUCH® FCGs may not work in lowers with pivot holes that are outside the MIL-Spec dimensions shown in RED.
AERO PRECISION AR-15 LOWER PARTS KIT
As mentioned above I will be recycling an AR-15 LOWER RECEIVER from another project. It will contain an Armalite LOWER PARTS KIT because at the time they were the only company who offered the LOWER PARTS KITS without the pistol grip and trigger. Now this option is pretty readily available from most who supply these parts. Today I would order from Aero Precision as they have multiple options. For this rifle I would select the $30 AR-15 Lower Parts Kit, Minus FCG/Trigger Guard/Pistol Grip APRH100385.
DANIEL DEFENSE COLLAPSIBLE AR-15 STOCK
This AR-15 RIFLE is going to start it’s life with the DANIEL DEFENSE COLLAPSIBLE AR-15 STOCK. I figure it’s light, relatively inexpensive, reviews well and I have not handled one. That said I believe the MAGPUL UBR would be a great fit for this AR-15. The thing is I already own a few and certainly do not need another. That is I do not need another until the new MAGPUL UBR GENERATION 2 gets in stock.
KNS AR-15 NON ROTATING PINS
My AR15 LOWER RECEIVERS are way to valuable to me to risk the pin holes becoming enlarged. The KNS NON ROTATING PINS are inexpensive insurance and they look pretty good too.
DANIEL DEFENSE ENHANCED PISTOL GRIP BLACK
The DANIEL DEFENSE PISTOL GRIP gets very high marks from the shooting community. It also includes the TRIGGER GUARD that does not require a roll pin. Great time to try one out.
BACK UP IRON SIGHTS (BACKUP IRON SIGHTS BUIS)
Trying to convince myself to try something other than my standard BACK UP IRON SIGHTS selection TROY BATTLE SIGHTS
Sig Sauer SOT41001 TANGO4 1-4x24mm Riflescope with 5.56/7.62 Horseshoe Dot Reticle
Sig Sauer has begun to offer optics of their own design and manufacture. If the Sig Sauer SOT41001 TANGO4 1-4x24mm Riflescope with 5.56/7.62 Horseshoe Dot Reticle is available soon I will use it on this AR-15.
Designed for today’s common MSR/AR and bolt action platforms, the Sig Sauer Tango4 1-4 x 24 mm riflescope is the ideal solution for close quarter combat, mid-range tactical engagements, 3 gun competitions and hunting. It has 4x times optical zoom with illumination in a 30mm one-piece main tube and low dispersion (ld) glass provides industry leading optical clarity for any situation. It features motac (motion activated illumination) powers up when it senses motion and powers down when it does not. Provides for optimum operational safety and enhanced battery life. Dependable waterproof (ipx-7 rated for complete immersion up to 1 meter) and fog-proof performance. Lock down zero system on the Tango4 features a resettable zero, zero-stop and auto-locks down at zero.
If the Sig is not available I’m going with a:
Update: I went with the Vortex listed below!
VORTEX STRIKE EAGLE 1-6×24 RIFLESCOPE
Speed and versatility—that’s what 1x variable optics offer SIDE CHARGING AR-15 shooters who need to engage targets from point-blank out to extended ranges. And that’s exactly what you’re going to get with Vortex’s new Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24. Take into consideration what it costs to get into this optic, and you may find you can’t afford not to buy it. Whether you’re burning through a 3-Gun Stage, logging some range time, or holding for hair on a coyote you’ve duped into thinking you’re lunch, the Strike Eagle is up to the task. High-quality, fully multi-coated lenses deliver a clear, crisp sight picture and optimal low-light performance. A true one-power on the low end of its 6x zoom range provides quick target acquisition in close quarters scenarios. Need to engage targets at distance? Crank it up to 6x and let it rip.
If you would like to up the quality a little more since writing this Vortex has released the generation two of there PST line of scope. The Vortex Gen 2 PST 1×6 comes in a $600 versus $400 for the Strike Eagle.
AMERICAN DEFENSE MANUFACTURING RECON-X EXTENDED SCOPE MOUNT
No surprise here I choose ADM scope mounts and rings quite often. They are rugged and repeatable with first rate manufacturing. They are also a great company to deal with. I went with the AD Recon-X extended model because the eye relief compliments the Vortex Strike Eagle perfectly
Similar to the standard AD RECON, the AD RECON-X mount is made for putting high power glass onto a flattop style AR-15. The cantilever on the RECON-X provides extended eye relief over the standard RECON. At 3″ of offset it provides the longest built in eye relief of any ADM Mount. Precision machined from 6061 T6 Aluminum and finished in hard coat T3 Mil-Spec anodize. it features the Patented QD Auto Lock Lever system to accommodate both in spec and out of spec rail systems.
AD Recon-X Features
The AD-RECON-X mount features the Patented QD Auto Lock™ Lever system which has the following advantages:
- Does not require proprietary tools for adjustment.
- Can be adjusted with your finger or a flat blade screwdriver.
- Lever can be configured to lock to the front or the rear.
- Superior clamping surface to insure maximum rail engagement.
AD Recon-X Materials & Construction
The AD-RECON-X mount is precision CNC machined from a block of 6061 T6 aluminum and finished in hard coat type 3 Mil-Spec anodize for a rock hard lasting finish.
- Precision machined from 6061 T6 Aluminum.
- Hard coat anodized for a lifetime of performance.
- Fully adjustable to fit both in spec and out of spec rail systems.
- American Defense MFG, LLC. products feature a lifetime warranty.
- Features the Patented QD Auto Lock™ Lever system.
- Made with pride in the U.S.A.
AD Recon-X Specifications
The AD-RECON-X mount has the following specifications:
- Weight: 8.40 ounces
MISCELLANEOUS AR-15 PARTS
Below is the small parts needed to complete this AR15
- YANKEE HILL MACHINE YHM-BL-04 RIFLE LENGTH GAS TUBE BLACK – My first attempt with a black coated gas tube from a different manufacturer was a dismal experience and the gas tube ended up in the garbage. The YHM-BL-04 looks much nicer from the start. Anyhow going with a black gas tube strictly to match the gas block and rifle barrel color.