At a time when the basic AR-10 rifle is a highly well advanced firearm, even thinking about building a custom or at least a semi-custom rifle seems out of the question.
Even so, the world of guns is steeped in individual likes and dislikes and, as such, a custom-built AR-10 is very much in demand today among collectors, competitors and hunters.
In consideration of a good many options regarding the procurement of a high-grade custom AR-10, there are several possible options selected by Hunting Mark in order to assist the buyer in understanding and possibly selecting the AR-10 rifle and optics for AR-10.
Daniel Defense DD5V4
Daniel Defense DD5V4
Palmetto Arms G-3
Palmetto Arms G-3
Areo Precision BCG
Areo Precision BCG
Magpul SL-S Stock
Magpul SL-S Stock
Aero Precision M5E1 Rifle
Aero Precision M5E1 Rifle
Wilson Combat Recon Tactical
Wilson Combat Recon Tactical
DPMS Panther Oracle
DPMS Panther Oracle
DPMS Panther Oracle
LMT MARS - H 7.62
DPMS Panther Oracle
Sig Sauer 716i Tread
DPMS Panther Oracle
LWRCI REPR Mk. II
Types of Ar -10 builds
When assembling an AR -10 rifle, you realize that build kits vary. It may not be a shocker to many already familiar with rifles, but I’ve got essential information for newbies.
Lower Build Kit
This package contains the springs, pins, and detents that make up the lower section. A lower build kit can comprise all or a few components for replacements. Lower build kits often include a trigger assembly and gas replacement units. This kit lets you keep your lower receiver on point.
The central unit of your rifle comes in this package. The rifle kit comes disassembled at purchase in this set. As it's the primary unit, you can find the upper and lower receiver parts in it. Other accessories in the rifle kit can include a pistol grip or an attached handrail.
Upper Build Kits
These are kits meant to replace the AR - 10 upper receiver. The makers package them as spares with your rifle. The most common upper build kits comprise the carry handle and the flat top. In most cases, the flat top kits are more customizable using aftermarket products. On the other hand, the carry handle has fewer styling designs.
12 Best AR-10 Rifle Builds
1. Brownells BRN-10
This rifle is a conventional AR platform design in that it mounts the H-bar carry handle and rear sight housing as well. It is the gold standard in ARs and was used throughout the Vietnam War as an AR-15 .223/556 NATO battle rifle, but in a smaller receiver platform.
Brownells offers this original Stoner-designed rifle, which was accepted world-wide as the up-gunned AR-10 and was built before the development of the AR-15. The changes are by way of advanced metallurgy techniques as in a fully forged and machined receiver.
The original rifles made use of a case receiver, which was one step above a stamp sheet metal configuration.
This rifle is chambered in 7.62 NATO/308 Winchester, in keeping with the original ammo specs assigned to the original rifle design. In other words, it is of a classic design but built of 21st-century materials as well as with CNC space age machining.
Material used in the receiver building process is a 7075 T6 aluminum billet. Only the best will do in this case, one could say.
The rifle's design carries the pedigree of the Armalite rifles that were built for combat originally for the US Government. The design development as applied to this rifle includes the original slab side lower receiver, with a straight magazine well, take down pins, and conventionally placed and reproduced controls.
This rifle does not retain the cartridge assist, or the shell deflector. This is in keeping with the classic look of the rifle. If you are interested in this rifle, remember that the firearm is a throwback to the original design of the AR platform. It is not intended to hold added gadgets and has no rails for tack-on tools, etc.
2. Daniel Defense DD5V4
This rifle comes in both the 7.62X51mm and the new 6.5 Creedmoor. It is offered with a user-adjustable gas block that makes the weapon workable with custom loads as well as standard factory ammunition. Pick your gas pressure and start shooting.
This rifle has a DLC-coated bolt-carrier group that allows for easy cleaning, even when the rifle is undergoing hard use. The bolt itself is designed with an enhanced extractor geometry and retains a set of duel ejectors.
The barrel is an 18” cold-forged proprietary steel chrome-lined pipe, and the rifle uses the Daniel Defense 4-bolt lock connection system, which allows for greater accuracy.
The lower receiver on this rifle is enhanced, carrying the flared magazine well, and rear receiver QD swivel attachment point. It is CNC-machined of 7075 T6 aluminum, and is hard-coated with a Type III surface treatment.
The upper receiver on this rifle is CNC-machined and also Type III hard-coated for exterior strength in order to fight of excessive wear in the field. The trigger on this rifle is designed by the manufacture as a mil-spec system.
The handguard on the rifle is the Daniel Defense DD% rail 15.0 CNC-machined. It is made from 6061 aluminum and carries the M-Lok attachment design system.
You will find that this company offers a number of design options in AR-10 pattern rifles, and checking though the listings is a good idea as design elements change with each model. Some are fit for one service while others another.
I regard these rifles as current production designs within the industry, and clearly mission-capable as full service weapons with both police and military applications.
3. Palmetto Arms G-3
Here is a company that is right on my current dealer listing. The folks at Palmetto Arms build rifles for themselves to sell and for a number of other companies as well. When these folks get over-run upper or lowers, the gloves come off and the roof falls into the basement regarding price.
I dearly love these guys and I have built rifles costing upwards of $1,880.00 for about a quarter of that price by buying parts for a new rifle-build from Palmetto.
Over-runs come along often as applied to production orders by brand X, Y or Z, and the best way to stay in touch with this element of the company is to watch out for deals on the net.
The PSA Gen 3 rifle is available in 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Win (7.62X51 NATO). This AR-10 retains a 20” button-cut rifled barrel made of 416R stainless steel.
I shoot these barrels a great deal in conjunction with a company called Backridge Ammunition of Tennessee as a consultant, and we have found these rifles to be very accurate and all shoot within the sub MOA range of performance.
The profile on this barrel is heavy, meaning it can take heat and stay accurate even under semi-automatic sustained fire.
In the Creedmoor chambering the barrel retains a 1.8” twist. The gas operation system is full-length, and the gas block is a low profile 5-position click-switch adjustable block.
The upper receiver is forged and milled 7075 T6 aluminum, and the receiver is a flat top with feed ramps. The receiver finish is hard-coated anodized treated, and the system makes use of a full forward assist and dust cover.
The handguard on the rifle of a PSA 15 M-Lok has a free-floated rail with anti-slip anti-rotation features.
Fire control is by a two-stage nickel boron trigger, and the buffer tube system is of a 7075 T6 aluminum design. The grip on this rifle is a PSA over-molded A2 grip design, and the stock itself is Magpul STR based in black.
Magazine capacity 20 rounds. (Others available through PSA parts service).
These rifles can also be built from what I like to call stacking parts together. I own two of them that I built from parts obtained from the manufacture. You can build a complete Palmetto rifle from parts or as in the box rifle.
Parts rifles can cut costs by about 50% or more compared to a fully built over-the-counter rifle, depending on the specific build selected.
4. PSA Uppers
Being very specific regarding PSA uppers, as this is a trademark of the company, when building a complete rifle, some uppers change with availability, and at times you need to wait out the production runs for a given chamber size in an AR-10.
Selecting the PSA Geb 3 PA65 20” rifle length 6.5 Creedmoor, we will take a quick look at exactly what you're getting for your dollar.
This upper makes use of a rifle-length gas operation system, and the barrel is heavy in terms of both weight and construction. The barrel is built from 416 R stainless steel, and the muzzle is threaded at 5/8-24. An adaptor can be installed for the use of a suppressor.
Creedmoor twist rate is 1:8, and the barrel extension is an M-4 pattern. The diameter of the gas block is .750. and the gas operation system is a low profile 5-position click-adjustable block.
The gas top itself is black nitride finished, and the receiver material is forged 7075 T6, receiver-type PA10.
Handguard type is the PSA 25” free-floated rail with anti-slip and anti-rotation. The bolt-carrier group includes a Toolcraft PA65 BCG, with extra power extractor spring and double ejectors.
Want to know about best scope for 6.5 grendel? Check out our guide.
5. Areo Precision Nickel Boron 308/6.5 Creedmoor BCG
Areo Precision builds carrier groups (bolt assemblies) that are robust and install ready for larger caliber- and case-sized AR-10 rounds. Features on these AR-10 parts units include 8620 steel, case hardened for good measure.
The surface finish is black nitride and is an advanced lower friction coating that will minimize the need for excessive lubricants, or cleaning.
The carrier gas key is made of 4130 steel and is attached with grade 8 hardware and is properly staked.
The firing pin on the assembly is made from 8740 steel, and it is hard chrome-coated. The carrier retains forward assist serrations, and main bolt material is hardened 9310 steel. All the bolt parts are shot peened and black nitride-coated nickel boron.
The bolt extractor is machined from 4340 steel with double O rings and double springs. The finish bolt is magnetic particle-inspected and high-pressure-tested as well. All external surfaces on the bolt are CNC-ground after heat treating. This facilitates a precision fit and correct alignment.
The firing pin hole measures. .070. This bolt is built to accommodate the cartridges that use the 308 cartridge as a mother case.
6. Magpul SL-S Stock AR-15/10
These stocks have been standard among both custom builders and over-the-counter factory-built ARs for years. They mount on mil-spec-size carbines and AR-10 platforms as well. The stocks retain two battery storage compartments.
The stock is designed with a sloping cheek weld, but still makes use of a slimline profile. Duel side release latches provide easy access to adjustments while still remaining snag-proof.
Lock springs on the stock are made of chrome silicon and provide a solid lock. This is important in the heavy calibers regarding recoil. I had a lock fail once on the 4-position stock and ended up requiring stitches on my nose and around my eye.
The stock makes use of an anti-rattle leaf-spring that reduces wobble on the receiver extension tube. The Rubber recoil pad provides a solid grip face against the shooter's shoulder, and the rollover style stock toe provides easy shoulder transition and a better fit when shooting.
The stock is compatible with ASAP, ASAP QD and other receiver mount sling attachments. The stock retains a rear integral push-button QD swivel sling-mount that will accommodate up to 1.5” swivels.
7. Aero Precision M5E1 Complete Rifle
Aero Precision builds AR platforms one at a time using skilled gunsmiths who hand-fit the rifles during the builds. The complete rifle makes use of the very same high-quality parts that can also be obtained individually from this company.
The M5E1 is built using the mid-length barrel mated to the enhanced upper receiver. This makes use of a handguard and upper components that are lightweight and strong and that free-float the barrel itself for accuracy.
The barrel is made from 416R stainless steel with a 1:10 twist (308) and is bead-blasted in terms of a surface finishing approach.
The handguard can be selected by the buyer as there are several different options. The gas system makes use of a low profile block and a mid-length gas tube. The bolt-carrier group comprises M16 cut 8620 steel. The finish is phosphate coated, and the bolt is correctly staked.
Muzzle retains the standard AR-10 308-matched birdcage. This rifle is comparable regarding suppressor installation using the addition of a threaded adaptor.
In terms of the lower receiver assembly, the rifle uses standard internal parts offered by the manufacture. The buffer kit is a M5 308 Carbine buffer assembly. This is fitted to a Magpul MOE grip-style stock. The magazine is the standard Magpul 20-round PMAG.
The rifle is all made in America.
8. Wilson Combat Recon Tactical
I use The Wilson Recon Tactical rifle as a base-line in terms of what Wilson puts into the rifle. This company with a simple e-mail order can build any one of a vast number of offerings including 308 7.62X51 NATO, and other rounds too numerous to cover here by using that base-line 308 mother case.
For the most part the Recon Tactical makes use of the short AR-15 cartridges, and that includes just about anything you can think of that will fit the receiver platform of this model.
Custom builds around this design will take about two weeks according to the manufacture. Any errors in the order made by the customer as in issue with local or state laws require a 10% re-stocking fee if the weapon is returned.
Wilson's rifles all retain very high-quality match-grade barrels, advanced gas systems, custom gas systems, and threaded muzzles with Q comp flash hides. The rifle uses M2 2-stage triggers, mil-spec bolt-carrier groups and are gunsmith-installed and inspected as an individual rifle versus assembly line mass-production.
M-Lok rail systems, gunfighter grips, and 2-stage triggers also make up some of the custom builds offered by Wilson. This is not a mass-production company to be sure.
The manufacturer will build exactly to your requirements, and that includes high-intensity cartridge applications like the .224 Valkyrie, 300 Blackout, 308 Win, 243 Win, and a total of 24 different chambering and configurations in this rifle. Can’t find it? Then it does not exist, save for some wildcat garage-build.
9. DPMS Panther Oracle 20+1 7.62X51 NATO
This rifle from DPMS is a heavyweight up-gunned AR that is chambered in the NATO 7.62 round. It is military to the core and a great weapon used by police and paramilitary individual operators.
Features on this rifle include a 16-inch M-4-style carbine barrel made from 4140 chrome moly steel. The barrel is equipped with anA2 flash hider, and is capable of mounting a suppressor by way of a transition kit. Barrel rate of twist is 1:10 standard, with the 308 Winchester cartridge to make it one of the best 308 semi auto rifle.
The upper on this carbine retains the A3 style flat-top with an added Weaver-style accessory point located over the gas block. The flat receiver rail top allows fast installation of scopes, red dots and other methods of controlling rounds down-range.
The lower receiver is built from a billet of hard anodized aluminum, The fore-end on the rifle has military-styled glacier guards.
This is a great entry level rifle or, for that matter, a do-it-all workhorse for the shooter who wants an AR rifle design but is not very pleased at dropping a grand or more when getting into the AR-10 platform.
10. LMT MARS - H 7.62
This recommendation is an excellent build for an AR -10 in the LMT MARS - H version. This tops the list for the best builds and is a favorite for many. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase or gift this build either. All models in this variant come with different dimensions. Many of them accommodate adaptations for user comfort.
The Lewis Machine Tool MARS - H 7.62 is a rugged do-it-all rifle. Like other battle-tested weapons from Lewis Machine Tool, it combines versatility with performance to fit in any situation. The MARS - H 7.62 is a great rifle to carry on your hunting trip or use for a shooting competition.
The MARS - H uses a monolithic upper receiver. One of the products of LMT's ingenious imagination and innovative spirit. The lower receiver is based on the widely acclaimed MWS 308/6.5 Creedmoor with an extra DMR version. You won't find it on other similar variants that only have the 7.62 x 51 NATO spec.
The monolithic upper receiver allows you to change the barrel length and weight. You can also change the calibers to align with your objective almost instantly. The handguard and quick-change barrel retention system make this rifle stand tall among its peers. This build is bound to exceed all expectations thanks to its ingenuity.
To hold together the rifle kit and the upper receiver, LMT went for a game-changing clamp surface. This surface holds the section around the barrel together with two Torx bolts threaded into steel inserts on the upper part. This sets it apart from many AR - 10 designs that loosely fit the barrel extension to the upper receiver.
The MARS - H lower receiver blends with the monolithic upper part, which boosts its functionality. The Ambi controls fit long-range shooting.
11. Sig Sauer 716i Tread
This is a fantastic budget-friendly AR -10 to consider. I like this model for its practicality and excellent Ambi controls. Sig Sauer, who is known for making budget-friendly firearms, is also conscious of quality. I was impressed by the materials used in this piece. It matches all other variants in the market.
This rifle has an almost identical partner rifle from the same maker, the Sig Sauer 716G2. The significant difference is that the 716i uses direct impingement while the 716G2 is built with a stroke gas piston. This mechanism adds an extra pound to this gun. A pound is not too much; only an experienced arm can call it on the first lift.
The Sig Sauer 716i has a more extended handguard than the 716G2 and a different sig grip. However, the barrel length in the two arms is the same. As a long-range semi-automatic, this rifle works well for hunting as it forces the hot gas into the chamber and the receiver.
Bearing the price, the action from this rifle is almost unbelievable. The Ambi controls work seamlessly, and all builds are solid when in action. We wouldn't look elsewhere for a budget AR - 10 variant to take on hunting trips.
12. LWRCI REPR Mk. II
When looking for a premium rifle that incorporates a rugged design and phenomenal build, the LWRCI REPR Mk 2 is the best choice. The parent company LWRCI has a stellar reputation for making premium AR - 10 rifles throughout its existence. From the moment I grabbed the rifle, I could quickly tell, "this is it."
This rifle uses a short-stroke gas piston system which reduces the movement of the bolt carrier when firing. This is because the bolt carrier isn't attached to the gas piston, so the force released doesn't hit it too hard. The recoil in this piece is considerably low, which makes it friendly for beginners.
This rifle has a premium handling experience that makes the action quite exciting. The full Ambi lower kit makes you realize you are on a new level. The features get better to include a monolithic upper kit with a customizable muzzle breaker. It also comes with a sporting Geissele stage two trigger.
It's not all bells and whistles with the LWRCI PERP Mk 2, as its performance also stands out. It was designed for tough action and worked with multiple ammunition types. The Mk 2 significantly improved the PERP hailed for its precision shooting. The precision complemented by reliability and superb accuracy pushes it close to the holy grail of semi-automatics.
Getting into the price, this build may not be the best choice for everyone. The LWRCI PERP Mk 2 isn't cheap by any means. You should have seen this coming from all the features. However, the price may be a secondary consideration for all it offers. You'll enjoy the raw performance enough to ignore the dent in your wallet.
A Final Word On Rifle Builds
When turning to building your own AR-15 or AR-10 rifle, there are some considerations to bear in mind.
The best build for an investment and a solid return is the parts set obtained through a sold brand name versus some no name outfit on the internet. In truth, sellers have a hard time pricing a build at times because of the range of brands or, at times, no brand name associated with the build.
As a licensed federal dealer, seller, and even manufacturer myself (Metrogun TM), I can attest to this situation becoming a problem at times. The solution is stay with named brand parts. Stay with complete custom builds offered by top-of-the line brands, or get your parts as a total kit through a brand name company.
In the end, you will gain rather than lose when it is time to turn the firearm over for another model. I have never had any trouble turning over complete builds when some of the brands listed here were used.
- Daniel Defense DD5V4 photo: gundigest.com
- Palmetto Arms G-3 photo: asgmag.com