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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Normally, I build my own AR's from start to finish. Upper, lower, bolt assemblies, the whole 9 yards.

But with the way the prices have been lately with the slowdown on guns, and parts, I have been noticing that the bottom has dropped out and many of the prices are below what the pre-panic prices were.

So, I'm going to cheat and order a complete PSA midlength upper for $299, a Ptac/Magpul Lower parts kit for $59, and my FFL had one last stripped Anderson (non blem) lower in the display that I grabbed this evening for $50 out the door.

I already have an A2 stock assembly in the parts drawer so I didn't add that to the cost of the overall build, but this should get me a soft shooting decent beater range/trunk gun at a lowball price.

Most folks say that PSA is decent quality, so I'm willing to take a chance on it. Though I am a little concerned about the 158 carpenter bolt. I don't know that I've ever heard of that before.

As for the lower itself, I built a lightweight coyote AR late last winter that I used an Anderson Mfg for and it's well worth the asking price. This one looks to be no different and I think it's one of the better lowers out there. At this price, or more.

Anyway, I know, pics or it didn't happen.

 

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After all the information and stuff you given me and told me to go for the psa. I'm excited to see the outcome of this build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Got the tracking numbers and both the LPK and the upper shipped today. I don't know why, but they're shipping the LPK and the upper separately for some reason. Weird, but whatever floats their boat I guess.

Tracking says scheduled delivery Wednesday.

@newxder50 I looked on their website and looks like they dropped the price of the complete lower from $299 on down to $269 now, so that's hands down the absolute lowest price that I have EVER seen on a complete upper. I had my FFL's for nearly a decade and that was even less expensive than what I could buy uppers for even when I had dealer pricing.

That price is amazing as long as the parts are of the quality that I expect them to be and hold up well, though in all fairness, I'm not going to war with it, just using it for a beater. With the midlength gas and A2 stock, should be a pretty soft shooter.

@OKcherokee As for the Anderson lower, this is my 2nd and this was just as good of quality as the first.

Though I usually can't get them for $50 because I live in the same state, so I usually get hit with state taxes, and if I do a transfer, shipping charges and transfer fee rack up at the cash register, but my local FFL had one left in the case and gave it to me for $50 anyway. He said it was the last of 5 that he had gotten in recently.

@taylorjr, thanks for the reassurance about the bolt. I've been seeing a lot of pictures of broken bolts and incorrectly heat treated stuff being posted on the web lately and I am not sure of their lineage. I'm just a little leary because I was always told that if a deal looks too good to be true, there's probably a reason why.
 

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She 10.5 upper you showed me from them is out of stock all ready so if your going to picture anything psa while it's cheap I suggest doing so. They got great deals going on today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Everything got here today, and much ahead of schedule. And gladly, before the Thanksgiving holiday.



Initial parts inspection

I suppose I will start by saying the buttstock is the nicest looking A2 that I have ever gotten. It's not grey, it's not fuzzy feeling or flimsy. It also had an ALUMINUM spacer instead of the usual plastic spacer. So I am going to give a big thumbs up to UTG.

The PTAC lower parts kit had a really nice finish on all of the parts, have the SS stamping on many of them, and the trigger break is really smooth.

Barrel clearly marked with caliber and twist


Handguards have heat shields


My biggest concern right now is the bolt. I have never had one so hard to move. The gas rings were not aligned, though I did move the splits farther apart than they were when I first took it apart for inspection.


The carrier and the gas key are both chrome lined. Though is pretty thin.


The gas key is staked from the side, however, after I shoot the gun and if it functions well (remember that I said the bolt was super tight in the carrier), I will stake the top of the bolt as well myself. That way I KNOW that it won't be backing out by itself.


I am less than impressed with the billboard on the side of the bolt. Not only is that tacky in my opinion, I've never heard of a toolcraft bolt.


Front sight post is F marked


The upper receiver has a splintered A (Anchor Harvey) forge mark


The Anderson lower has a keyhole (Cerro Forge) mark and yet they both look and feel like they were made for each other.


And what it looks like together.


Range report to follow.
 
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Looks really really good!! Nice and simple. Can we get some slightly less zoomed photos. Definitely digging the stock. And glad it has a nice texture. I may duplicate your build for fun.

And agreed, that logo is hideous
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got back from sighting it in. It's really accurate.

Bad news is, it's undergassed bad so I'm going to have to contact PSA to see what they want to do with it.

I went through 60 rounds and had probably 25 or more short strokes. I checked a couple of different mags (Colt and Magpul) and the bolt wouldn't lock back by loading them a few at a time.

Other times, it would eject and not chamber a new round.

By about the 3rd box, it was starting to run do better, but dang. I've never had this much trouble out of the box with any gun.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
After some tinkering last night, I plan to take it out again sometime before the extended weekend is over to check a few things before I contact PSA to return/exchange it.

#1 I have already replaced the A2 spring with a slighter shorter spring. The one I put in it now is about an inch shorter than the one that came with the stock, but longer than a car stock spring.

In doing so, will make it easier for the bolt to cycle. Whether it's caused by a stiff bolt, or being slightly undergassed.

#2 I am going to take a couple of other complete bolt groups with me to swap out if it still is short stroking just to see if that remedies it. If it is still short stroking at all now, if it does it with different bolts, that will point directly to the gas system itself.

#3 I have taken taylorjr's advice about letting the parts wear in, so I charged the gun by hand last night so many times that today my finger is sore, and to be perfectly honest, between doing that and the shorter spring I had in the back of my parts drawer, feels much better and more like it's supposed to.

I have a feeling that it'll run like it should now, but I won't know for sure until I take it back out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The little tweaks worked.

I went through 60 rounds of Remington UMC, Tula, Wolf and it ran 100% even with the cheap inconsistent stuff, so I am confident that it will work fine with everything else now.

The empties were still being thrown at 5 o'clock, but about 8 feet away from the ejection port, so it is still showing signs of being undergassed, but is no longer short stroking and locked back on the mags and functioned flawlessly otherwise.

I also tried a different bolt carrier group and it ran the same.

Tried with a different lower that had a collapsible stock and standard buffer/spring and still ran the same as it did with the A2 stock.

But like I said, it was functioning flawlessly now, and is accurate, so I'm gonna keep her.
 

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The little tweaks worked.

I went through 60 rounds of Remington UMC, Tula, Wolf and it ran 100% even with the cheap inconsistent stuff, so I am confident that it will work fine with everything else now.

The empties were still being thrown at 5 o'clock, but about 8 feet away from the ejection port, so it is still showing signs of being undergassed, but is no longer short stroking and locked back on the mags and functioned flawlessly otherwise.

I also tried a different bolt carrier group and it ran the same.

Tried with a different lower that had a collapsible stock and standard buffer/spring and still ran the same as it did with the A2 stock.

But like I said, it was functioning flawlessly now, and is accurate, so I'm gonna keep her.
Set your mind at ease about the Tool Craft BCG.They make a great product and all of their stuff carries a 'no questions asked' lifetime warranty. Make sure PSA gets you the Tool craft info.

Nice job. I thought i was doing good at 450-475 with my carbines. I just can't seem to drink that PSA kool aid....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Einheit, even $450 and $475 isn't bad for an AR build. That's about what I could build one for when I had my FFL's and could still get dealer discounts. As for PSA, this isn't my first purchase with them, but it was my first complete upper from them. Like I said, I usually built my own, but for $300, I took a chance.

I've been into AR's for a very long time and was the first time I had heard of toolcraft. For all I know they've been pumping out bolts for years to various big names or whomever, but they were unknown to me. I still learn something every day.

In all honesty, right out of the box, the bolt had to be forced closed and open. I accredit some of the failures to that reason alone because of the extra pressure the gas had to overcome to work the bolt itself.

While it did loosen up to like it should be now, it took a long time and probably about 50 rounds downrange and a hundred cycles charging the bolt after I got home.

I think it's OK now and I'm really not sure why it was so tight to begin with, but I'll keep an eye on it.
 

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Einheit, even $450 and $475 isn't bad for an AR build. That's about what I could build one for when I had my FFL's and could still get dealer discounts. As for PSA, this isn't my first purchase with them, but it was my first complete upper from them. Like I said, I usually built my own, but for $300, I took a chance.

I've been into AR's for a very long time and was the first time I had heard of toolcraft. For all I know they've been pumping out bolts for years to various big names or whomever, but they were unknown to me. I still learn something every day.

In all honesty, right out of the box, the bolt had to be forced closed and open. I accredit some of the failures to that reason alone because of the extra pressure the gas had to overcome to work the bolt itself.

While it did loosen up to like it should be now, it took a long time and probably about 50 rounds downrange and a hundred cycles charging the bolt after I got home.

I think it's OK now and I'm really not sure why it was so tight to begin with, but I'll keep an eye on it.
Tool craft bolts are usually tight. There specs are tight too. I had the same issue with a bolt that came in a JSE upper. 2 mags and some oil later, works as good as the Ares Armor BCGs I have. I have 4 Tool craft complete BCGs I bout before I even got into ARs. i caught them for $74 shipped 3 years ago. They are halfway between Morganton and Ashville in Marion off 221 BUS . I stopped by there in August when me and a buddy took a bike trip to ride the Tail of the Dragon. I-40 SUCKS! long ride from Hampton to Graham county. And then when we got there....it's a DRY COUNTY!!!

If you are into coatings, check out Cryptic Coatings. They sell Tool craft BCGs and have nice coatings.
 
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