Why I Chose a .308 Winchester AR – Part 2, by Dusty

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

Handguard and Barrel Nut

The final parts of the upper include the barrel nut and handguard. The barrel nut is used to secure your barrel to the upper and is generally included as part of your handguard. There are some handguards that don’t supply a barrel nut so you will want to check for that when purchasing your specific handguard. You will also want to match your handguard, gas tube, and barrel to make sure they all match. Standard barrel lengths are 16, 18 or 20 inches. There are various gas tube lengths such as pistol, carbine, mid-length and rifle. I won’t go over the specifics of each of these as that could be a completely separate article. It’s just important that you know what gas system you are running so that you can match your handguard to this. If you don’t match your gas tube and handguard you could buy a handguard that doesn’t cover your gas block.

I purchased the Aero Precision M5 Atlas S-One M-LOK handguard. I’m not a fan of quad rails as they are heavy, and uncomfortable. M-LOK or Keymod handguards allow you to run as many accessories all over your handguard as wanted without the bulk and sharp edges of a quadrail. The Atlas S-One is also lighter than the other options offered by Aero Precision. There are carbon fiber handguards that are extremely lightweight but also extremely expensive. As with all things I had to weigh performance vs costs and I simply could not justify the added costs of a complete carbon fiber handguard.

Upper Receiver Considerations

There is one major advantage of using an upper receiver and a handguard from the same manufacturer. That advantage is aesthetically they line up much better than if you source parts from different manufacturers. The majority of people will select the standard A2 style birdcage for their rifle. These are very affordable and do a decent job of flash suppression and recoil mitigation. I prefer a compensator due to the greater flash suppression.

Lower Receiver Components

I will now move onto the more complex and more AR-15 part compatible, lower receiver. The lower receiver consists of a bolt stop, front and rear takedown pins, magazine release, fire control group (FCG), pistol grip, buffer tube assembly, and stock. The lower receiver is, by law, the serialized firearm. Due to the hassles of buying firearms online and a desire to support local business I typically purchase a lower receiver from my local gun store. However, these can be purchased online and sometimes in multi-receiver sets which can save you money. I have found a local FFL that doesn’t charge a transfer fee, so when I do purchase online I use them to broker the deal. I would recommend doing a little research and with some luck you might find a similar situation in your area.

At this point it probably isn’t much of a surprise for me to tell you that I selected an Aero Precision lower receiver. This is due to the previously mentioned aesthetics of having your upper, lower and handguard line up. Aero Precision also has a good reputation in the LR-308 world and in the AR-15 world for that matter. They have many options of factory Cerakote components but I purchased the black components and coated them myself to my specifications. The lower receiver does have a few components that are compatible with the AR-15 I will identify those components as I list each component of the lower receiver.

Bolt Stop

The function of a bolt stop is pretty much self-explanatory this component holds your bolt open after the last round has been fired. It is not compatible with the AR-15 this is due to the LR-308 having a bigger, heavier BCG. I again opted for a standard bolt stop as there isn’t much reason to buy a fancy bolt stop in my opinion. However, I may upgrade my bolt stop by adding extended controls. These are essentially bolt-on covers that give you more surface area to actuate your bolt stop under duress. Magpul also offers what they call a BAD lever. This is a lever that extends below the trigger guard allowing for ambidextrous control of the bolt stop.

Magazine Release

The magazine release parts are compatible with the AR-15. My experience was the standard AR-15 release was a little short. I’m planning on upgrading to an extended magazine release. This isn’t absolutely necessary but will make dropping a magazine much easier.

Front and Rear Takedown Pins

The front and rear takedown pins are also larger than their standard AR-15 counterparts. If they weren’t larger they wouldn’t reach all the way through the larger lower receiver. The takedown pins secure the upper and lower receiver together making these two halves of the rifle functional.

Pistol Grips

Pistol grips are compatible with the AR-15. This is a huge plus as most any AR-15 pistol grip could be used on your build. There are quite literally hundreds if not thousands of different AR-15 pistol grips on the market. I prefer the Magpul MOE grip but there are plenty of other great options out there.

Buffer Tube Assembly

The buffer tube assembly is made up of the buffer tube, castle nut, buffer spring and the weighted buffer itself. Each of these parts are unique to the LR-308 as they must accommodate for the recoil of a .308 cartridge and the larger size of the BCG which reciprocates through the buffer assembly. The outside diameter of the buffer tube is the same as that of an AR-15 buffer tube. This is important because it allows you to use AR-15 compatible stocks on your LR-308. The difference between the LR-308 and AR-15 buffer tube is the thickness and durability of the LR-308 buffer tube. There are different springs and weights that you can tinker with to ensure your gun will cycle a certain load, minimize recoil, or run while using a suppressor. I opted for the standard setup here as I won’t be running suppressed, don’t mind the recoil of a .308 and will be running a variety of loads through this gun.

Adjustable Stock

The next component is an adjustable stock which is AR-15 compatible, another huge win for the LR-308 owner much like the pistol grip there is a wide selection of stocks out there. I opted for the Mission First Tactical Minimalist as it is one of the lighter weight options on the market. There are lighter options out there but they too are far too expensive for the budget I was on.

Fire Control Group and Safety Selector

The last component is the Fire Control Group (FCG). The FCG is made up of the trigger, hammer, their springs and the safety selector. This part gets a little confusing because there are FCG components that are AR-15 compatible and some that aren’t. However, my experience has been that most of the FCGs out there are compatible, and clearly state whether they are or are not LR-308 compatible. I’m partial to Geissele Automatics and got a good deal on one of their triggers. These are quite costly and a standard mil-spec trigger will serve adequately. It seems that over the years I have become somewhat of a trigger snob. I also decided to upgrade my safety selector and installed an ambidextrous safety selector. In my opinion this is a “must-have” to better facilitate shooting from the non-dominant side, around barricades, or in awkward situations.

LR-308 Lower Build Kits Are Available

I think it’s important to note that many companies offer a LR-308 lower build kit. This is very convenient as they ensure you have all the correct components for an LR-308 build. I found one available online that had everything (bolt stop, magazine release, takedown pins, pistol grip, safety selector) except for a FCG. This allowed me to save money by buying all these parts in a kit while still being able to upgrade my trigger choice. Midway USA has a great selection of LR-308 components made to their specifications at much lower prices than I was able to find. If it was a component I wasn’t planning on upgrading I almost always went with the Midway USA line.

Build Your Own or Buy a Complete Rifle?

You might ask yourself:  “Why go through all the trouble of parting up a rifle when you could simply purchase a complete rifle off the shelf?” As I have stated throughout this article my main concern was weight. I was able to shave two to three pounds off my rifle by selecting a lightweight barrel, handguard, bolt carrier group and stock. This was very important to me as I will be carrying this rifle with me while hunting, but also because shooting heavy rifles unsupported is inconvenient and oftentimes inaccurate. There are lightweight complete rifles that can be purchased but they typically run twice that of a standard LR-308.

Assembling the rifle on my own also allowed me to upgrade the parts I found most important and use standard parts where I was willing to compromise. This kept the overall cost down. There is also something satisfying about assembling your own weapon. I know exactly how that rifle works and will have a better grasp of how to maintain and repair it because of this experience. In my opinion, everyone should learn how to completely disassemble and assemble their firearms simply to create that intimacy and familiarity with the firearm.

However, this might be something you are not comfortable doing at the moment. If you aren’t up tho that, then there are plenty of reputable manufacturers who are producing awesome weapons based on the LR-308. This might be a better option for you. Whether you buy a complete rifle or part one up on your own I would highly recommend the extra firepower that the .308 Winchester brings to the table.




40 Comments

  1. “The arguments for .308 Winchester over 5.56 NATO are well known and far spread through many internet forums. Undoubtedly many of you realize the advantages in firepower of the .308.” From Dusty’s part 1 article. [Both parts are >good]
    *****
    (From the Internet) =

    Using the military version of the .30 caliber cartridge and bullet ~ data (The 7.62 x 51 NATO) to compare with the 5.56 NATO. =
    At 100 yards away, the .30 caliber bullet has about 2300 foot pounds of energy at contact. …. The smaller 5.56 AR-15 bullet has about 1000 foot pounds of energy at contact (100 yards away).
    At 500 yards away, the .30 caliber bullet has about >1100 foot pounds of energy at contact. The smaller 5.56 AR-15 bullet has about >300 foot pounds of energy at contact (500 yards away).

    Many odes have been sung about the energy in the big, venerable .45 acp bullet. Just as the big .45acp bullet leaves the barrel, the bullet has about >350 foot pounds of energy at contact.

    [All numbers are from the Internet. The numbers are on many sites. The US Military uses the military configured bullets. The civilian .308 bullet can be configured differently. … May God Bless America; the USA honors a long-long ago Treaty, that deemed some bullet designs to be too dangerous for the enemy, when the bullet makes contact.]

      1. ThoDan, I always thought the 7.62 x 51 NATO was considered .30 caliber ammunition, for purposes of discussing how it relates with other .30 caliber ammunition.

        ThoDan, I was trying to add to Dusty’s great article, and NOT be confusing to people without your experience. …. I was hoping to elucidate how a “.308” AR shoots a ‘knock your socks’ off bullet. …. Especially, when compared to the comparatively small bullet of the 5.56 x 45 ammunition used in most ARs sold to the public today.

        ThoDan, please include a ‘ballistic table’ which includes ‘foot-pounds’ of energy to elucidate what you learned. Knowledge can be power; just like a big bullet traveling with a lot of velocity.
        The .308 Winchester AR shoots bullets with a lot of potential energy (up close and also down range).

        1. Sorry but we called it 7.62 with or without the NATO add on, i only commented on the forbidden bullet designs, caliber has nothing to do if they´re forbidden.
          The police in germany use a pistol round which is forbidden for the military, because it´s less likely to penetrate and endanger others
          You´re withhin the law if you shoot somebody with an antimaterial rifle in war.

    1. Thanks for sharing those number. There’s a lot of energy packed into that relatively small .308. I have been impressed with the power so far. As many of you surely know .308 came about as the military shortened .30-06. If I’m not mistaken this was due to the complications of running .30-06 through belt fed weapons. It’s got some serious power in a very manageable package.

  2. If you are defending the homestead, the .308/7.62×51 or .30-06 also have the advantage of being able to engage 5.56 equipped raiders well outside of the effective range of the 5.56 round.

    1. As I mentioned in the comments of part 1, I intend to use this rifle as a dedicated marksman rifle. Essential to “hold the fort”. I’m also planning on hunting with it. Hunting with semi-autos is legal in my state. I agree that defending the homestead with .308 is a great option.

      1. Yep, “use this rifle as a dedicated marksman rifle”.

        I was talking with a fella yesterday who had a great tattoo of an M-14 on his upper arm. He told me he was a dedicated marksman in his unit with the M-14, so reliable. He loved it so much, he bought one when he was discharged. I should have taken a picture of that tattoo. It looks like you could take it off his arm, and click off the safety.

        Carry on in grace

  3. Wolf is considering purchase of POF REVOLUTION. An AR-15 platform configured to shoot 7.62×51 NATO. Reviews Wolf has seen range from Wonderful! to piece of junk that jams & won’t extract. REVOLUTION is same wt. as an AR15 @ 7.4 lbs, hence the interest.

    Dusty, are you familiar with the POF REVOLUTION and if so, what are your thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Lets Roll !
    Wolf

    1. A few things about the REVOLUTION. First it uses a lot of proprietary parts so it pretty much locks you into using only them for replacement parts. Second it is a piston driven system and that adds to the complexity to the operation a bit (more parts). A simple way to look at it is it’s like Apple. If you want to use it then you are pretty much locked into their ecosystem. If you like a bit for freedom in your build I would look somewhere else. As far as reliability goes I can’t speak to that, but I only shoot rifles that I build.

    2. I am familiar with the POF Revolution. I love the idea of it. There’s some very appealing aspects. Obviously the weight as you mentioned. I considered buying one for a long time but the cost was just too great for me. As well as the BCG is kind of an oversized AR-15 BCG which means it’s a bit undersized compared to a regular .308 BCG. I’m not a huge fan of “top tier” rifles because often times I see the price tag and imagine what i could build for half the price.

  4. Newell, what are the circumstances which will allow shooting of people 600 to 1000 yds away?

    I’m just asking. If we have to shoot in self defense only, not for mere trespassing, how can reaching out 1000 yds be legally justified?

    Also, if there’s a group & only one is slain, what is to be done with the rest who withdraw out of sight & range?

    Will they be allowed to retrieve the remains?

    Wolf is very concerned about all this. It’s easy to post on a forum from a nice comfy bunker what one will/can do, but what can Wolf legally do if he spots 10 people at the east end of the pasture 550 yds out?

    Wolf doesn’t know.

    Let’s Roll !
    Wolf

    1. If you are going to base your rules of engagement on what may be legally justified, then you probably will not have to worry about ever going to trial. You will be dead.

      If I get to the point where I feel I have to defend myself, most likely I am not in control of the range of engagement. That will likely be determined by my assailant.

      It is entirely plausible that they will look to engage me at any range, including extreme range depending on where they thing they have the initiative advantage, and what their own capabilities are. It is reasonable to conclude they will have capabilities similar to my own.

      Whatever limits you impose on yourself in a conflict, you can assume those will be the methods your opponent will use to defeat you.

      Legal issues should never be a deciding factor in a crisis situation. If they are, then you’ve already done something terribly wrong.

      If they are at range, and you have the means, you contact law enforcement and get the LE to engage. Meanwhile, you keep tabs on the invaders, you work your defense plan (you have a plan for defending yourself on your own turf, right?), and you control the engagement if it comes to that, while you wait for LE to show up. Work your OOLA. Its seldom you get a chance to proactively respond to a threat before it becomes imminent. Engagement at range would be warranted if you are already receiving incoming and need to suppress or neutralize. Otherwise why would you engage if you know they are there and not already attacking you?

      1. My jammin brother (love that handle), you make good sense. I am firmly of the opinion that early engagement, as I think Sun Tzu counseled, is the best way to raise our survival odds.

        And, yeah, I would employ those tactics when WROL (without rule of law). I have recently become interested in how to create a homemade Claymore mine for the 600-1000 engagement. That little tool allowed quite a few Marines to come home breathing fifty years ago. Many of my compatriots could tell you stories…

        On the flip side, the VC used similar devices to great effect. There were many weeks when units on patrol had no personal contact, while losing many men to trip-wire [device
        ]s.

        Carry on in grace

  5. Good articles, informative and as always, use and purchase whatever works for you in your given (any) situation. Always remember, guv is not your friend, and when all else fails – “Rule 308″…. what else do you need to know!

  6. always interesting to hear someone’s journey, experiences, learnings, and opinions. thanks for the article!

    i agree with all of the reasoning, but went with a semi-auto 30-06. i like the ballistics, huge range of reload bullet types, and ammo is plentiful and cheap! i got a used one for >$300USD, bought a couple $20 fifteen round magazines, and didn’t think twice about modifying the barrel length (legal of course) and inexpensive gunsmithing. it runs like a dream, is viable for anything coyote size or up, and burns through a box of ammo fast!

    a couple of unexpected learnings i had:
    1) a “deer rifle” looking weapon does not get a 2nd notice like an AR “black rifle” does, especially an AR-10.
    2) a $30USD pistol-grip stock that attaches quickly to the ‘deer’ rifle adds a tacticool look and really makes running 15 rounds downrange easy and managable. the whole setup is still <$400.
    3) rough handling is no prob. my ARs (which all run 7.62×39) are much more sensitive to dirt and handling. my 06 was made in the 1940s, is worn and well used, and with a cheap scope killed me an elk at 220 yds. it isn't my preferred hunting 06, but with a tag and the opportunity, git it!
    4) love it!
    5) one less caliber to stockpile. i just boosted my pile of 06 ammo.

    something to consider. many an old worn-out 30-06 still has lots of life and usefulness, if for nothing more than handing out to a buddy in need.

      1. its a remington – a 7400? not sure off the top of my head. i’ve got a pump remington i hunt regularly with (and love) that is very similar and i think it is a 7600… sorry i can’t be more specific. the scope is a 4x with a 40mm front end. not sure on the brand on it.

  7. We have proven semi-auto .308s on the shelve, built on the M14 system. What separates the two distinctly is the versatility of the iron sights. A rifleman who knows how to run an M14 controls about 2 square miles of real estate.
    “Sporting rifles”, and I assume you mean something like a Remington 742, has a projected life cycle of 500 rounds. After that, bolt and receiver are battered into junk. They also don’t like bullet weights over 150 grains.
    M1 Garands are designed to last through many barrel changes. Nearly indestructible. My main gripe about AR format .308s is that many of them just don’t run, and the sights are not like the M1, M14 enabling the use of the rifle at its full range limitation.
    If you mount a good military scope on it that enables windage and elevation changes to maximum range, you’ve added two or three more pounds to the rifle. Uh.
    Our author really knows his game on this platform, so it works for him. He makes a good argument for it.
    I was weened on the M14 since 1971, so I’m sticking with the “one who brung me”. I knew Marines who kept their M14s when the M16s were phased into infantry units in Vietnam because of the effectiveness of the round and penetration power. When wounded, they taped their M14s to their bodies in an attempt to retain them through the treatment and recovery period. Not sure how that worked out…
    Either way, if you can get a good .308 shooter, that works, I’m all for it. H&K auto rifles had good sights also, but I hated them for other reasons.
    The M80, 147 gr ball round tended to break in half in soft tissue at ranges below 300 yards and cause major inconvenience to the recipients. Much like the M193 5.56 ball round did at under 150 yards. Sweden filed complaints about US ammo doing this, but when tested, the Swedish ammo was even worse. Glass houses.
    I’ve been informed that the 168 grain match bullets are not to be used for hunting, but someone forgot to tell the deer that because they all dropped like a sack of wet cement when shot with it. It breaks in half, too. Sierra 165 grain Game King hollow points are The Bomb. Everything in the chest cavity reduced to Chicken Gumbo soup.
    Just bear in mind that you might have to carry this rifle a lot more than you’ll shoot it. Keep the weight off.

    1. I’m planning on adding an ACOG TA-11 as recommended by JWR. There are some awesome 2-10x scopes out there but as you mentioned they weigh about 2-3 pounds and that isn’t appealing to me. I’m planning on hunting within a 200-250 yard range, maybe 300 max. I’m not planning on shooting this past 400 yards much. I’m sure I will stretch it’s legs at the range but more for recreation than for training.

      I have been researching different bullets to reload with. Sounds like the 165 grain game king is worth a look. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  8. I have already decided, despite my 4 – AR-15 variant rifles, that if I had to run out the back door with evil intent humans coming thru the front, that I would grab my Springfield Armory Socom 16 in .308 ( or 7.62×51 for you metric types ). This short, stout but quick handling gem can do it all, from self defense with authority, to big game getting smack. Love the sights and accuracy is phenomenal. I know many would not believe this but I shot a 1 inch group with 3 rounds of Russian Silver Bear .308 ball. Not to boast as I am just an average shooter, but that speaks to the barrel and quality of weapon build on this rifle.

    Not of course knocking the authors .308 choice, very nice. But also as one poster pointed out I like the aspect of the rifle not looking so much like the much vilified “ black assault “ rifle the MSM likes to moan and groan about.

    1. The Springfield socom line is awesome. I almost bought one during gear up month this year. There are some definite advantages to avoiding the black rifle look. Sounds like I’m going to have to add an M1A to my arsenal someday.

  9. Paul ,,,,has NOT been my experience with a rem 742. But then mine is only 45years old ,and has had thousands of rounds through it ,6 kids learned to shoot with it ,it has opened up to about 3+ inches ,
    OBTW when I do rebarral it it will be 6.5 cred ,to fit in with my AR 10 , I found the 6.5 (264 win mag) a better choice on game ,i was a guide in Alaska for 11years.
    Just my real world experience,,,,
    And oh yeah that includes 5 years in nam getting muddy and bloody

    1. Hello, Oldhomesteader, In case you missed it, about a week ago this video was posted here on the blog by a commenter. (sorry I forgot who)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDSDdwN2Xcg&feature=youtu.be

      Dr. Richard Bartlett in Texas has a 100% covid-19 cure rate with common asthma medicine used with a nebulizer. He starts treating patients immediately, not when they are dying in the ICU.

      Anyway, I wondered if you tried his methods, if it would improve some of your chronic symptoms or even eliminate them?

      Blessings to you and DW, Krissy

      1. Krissy, as much as I appreciate head-centered discussion, like above, I even more appreciate heart-centered posts like yours. I am nourished by what you offer.

        Carry on, in grace

    2. Dusty

      Your acquisition of the Socom 16 ( or any SA M1A variant ) would be money well spent. Admittedly, the mags are expensive but a necessary expense. You are a wise prepper to realize the intrinsic value of this platform.

    1. I talked to DPMS 3 days ago about a problem I am having with the bolt latch not holding the bolt open. They passed me off to Ahlman’s in MN who do all their repair work. Ahlmans: 507-685-4244. By the way, POF has a new Direct Impingement .308 called the Rogue. It weighs 5.9#. I held one in PHX back in March. Even this old geezer could carry one of those all day.

    2. It’s reffered to as DPMS pattern because years ago DPMS came out with their own line of LR-308 rifles. There design varied from the original AR-10. Thus the two most common types of LR-308 are AR-10 pattern (based on Armalites design) and DPMS pattern (based on DPMS design). This means that other companies such as Aero Precision, Smith and Wesson, Palmetto State Armory and others are DPMS pattern even though they aren’t made by DPMS. It is all a bit confusing. I hope that explanation helps.

  10. Holy Cow…. re DPMS, et al. and Remington. This is entirely about gun control. The sales volume issues/ litigation worries are minor issues probably used as cover.

    Follow the money. DPMS was picked up by Cerberus Capital Management a few years ago (now also owner of Remington). They have been openly anti2A for some time and seemed like only a matter of time before they closed companies down. Who names their company after a nasty three headed dog anyway… Spend a moment and look into them.

    THIS is the future of gun control. watch your 6

  11. Dusty, thanks for the reply about the POF REVOLUTION. Most of the REVOLUTION seems to AR15-like, but the components are re-engineered or the materials of the components are different from what is used in the AR15. If I buy one, I would immediately need to buy a supply of replacement parts and that could approach the price of the rifle itself.

    I haven’t seen any recent reports on the REVOLUTION. Dusty, it would be great if you could get your hands on a recently manufactured example, give it a field test, and let us know here on Survival Blog how it ran for you out of the box and which ammo it likes. It may be that it is a picky rifle when it comes to ammo.

    I like your writing style, Dusty and look forward to more article from you.

    PS – most of my arms are rather tight budget oriented, good but not fancy. A REVOLUTION would be a big splurge for me. My best acquisition is the BM59 I bought in 1984 from Mr. Reese, founder of Springfield Armory.

  12. Hi Saul, a couple of days ago, I think you wrote in reply to my post:

    “Saul T. Cracker 2 DAYS AGO
    REPLY
    Why are you referring to yourself in the 3rd person?”

    Saul, this is a bit of a “Late Entry” but if you see this, here’s my reply to your question.

    Since my forum name is Wolf Alaska, I use the Wolf emoji when I text to folks or when I write entries on forums, instead of personal pronouns.

    I found the Survival Blog system doesn’t allow for emoji symbols, or at least I couldn’t get it to. So, in my post – when I wanted to use the wolf symbol, I just typed “Wolf”. Looking at it through your eyes, I can now see that it looked stilted and didn’t read well. Thanks for your comment, no offense taken by me and I hope we can share vital information on our mutual interests of survival prepping and all aspects involved.

    Let’s roll !
    Wolf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.