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How to Build an AR-15 Upper Receiver (Visual Guide)


There are few different ways you can complete an AR-15 upper receiver. Everyone has their own different way of doing it. Just like 2+2 is equal to 4. So is 3 + 1, just because something is little different doesn't mean it's incorrect. This should clarify the confusion among those who argue what's right and whats wrong. At the end of the day the objective is the same and if it works that's all that matters.

So I am gonna dedicate this thread to showing you how I build my
AR-15 complete uppers when I am working on a build project. I am gonna go over the parts, tools and detail this thread with visual details so you can fully see the process and have better understanding of exactly how to do it yourself.

The following image you see below are all the parts you will need to complete your AR-15 upper receiver.

AR15 Upper.jpg

AR-15 Upper Receiver Parts Breakdown

  • Upper Receiver
  • Barrel
  • Bolt Carrier Group
  • Gas Block & Gas Tube
  • Charging Handle
  • Forward Assist
  • Ejection Port Cover
  • Flash Hider
All the parts you see in my photo are from Thunder Tactical. I've been buying from these guys for quite awhile and always had a good experience with company itself as well as their products. This is just speaking from personal experience.

AR15 building tools.jpg

The Tools You'll Need

  • Armorers wrench
  • Punches
  • Hammer
  • Vise Block
  • Rollpin holder
  • Torque Wrench
These tools are easily accessible so you shouldn't have any problems being able to getting them.

I am going to divide the building process into step-by-step action so that it's easier to see and understand.

Step #1

The first step of the building process is to always start by installing the dust cover first.
And ensuring to put the spring in the middle and have the rod go through the other hole.
AR15 Uppers.jpg

Just like in the image below:

AR-15 upper.jpg

Step #2

Up next you will need to Install the forward assist.

You do this by putting the roll pin inside the roll pin holder and inserting it in the roll pin whole as shown in the example picture below.

Upper Receiver.jpg

Next install the forward assist inside the forward assist tool using the hammer.

Hammer roll pin inside the roll pin hole all the way until you cant see the pin. View the example images below:

AR-15 Upper Receiver.jpg

AR15 building guide.jpg
It should look like the image below:

AR-15 uppers.jpg
Then lastly hammer the roll pin inside the roll pin hole.

AR15 upper building guide.jpg

Step #3

Install the barrel.
AR-15 Barrel.jpg
Make sure you line up the barrel pin with the slot and the upper where there is the cut out. It should fit right in.

View the example below:

Michael 590

New member
AR15 Barrel.jpg
Next screw the barrel nut on the upper receiver. And torque spec for barrel nut is: 25 to 30 foot pounds.

AR-15 Barrel installing.jpg
Use the armorer's wrench to screw the torque on the barrel 25to 30 foot pounds. Pressure level is what we are describing here.
AR15 Barrel 10 inch.jpg
Step #4

Install gas tube into the gas block.

AR15 Gas Block.jpg
Align up the roll pin onto the roll pin hole and hammer it inside the hole all the way in where you can no longer see the roll pin.
Gas Tube.jpg
Gas Block and Tube.jpg
Step #5

Install the gas tube and the gas block.
Put the gas block onto the barrel where you can no longer push it any further while aligning the gas tube with the upper receiver gas tube hole.

AR15 Building.jpg
AR-15 upper building.jpg
AR15 Upper Receiver.jpg
You have to be able to see the gas tube from the bottom of the upper receiver.
Just like in the image below:
AR15 Upper assembled.jpg
Then you tighten the Allen Screws on the gas block.

Please view the example image below:

Michael 590

New member

Step #6

Install the flash hider.

First install the crush washer on the barrel thread. Then screw on the flash hider where its tight enough and use the armorers wrench to tighten it until the flash hider cutouts face the sealing face forward up.
How to build ar upper receiver.jpg
Compliting the ar15 upper.jpgcompleting ar15 upper.jpg
Step #7

Install the rail.

Slide it in all the way where it aligns up with the upper receiver perfectly.

Compliting AR15.jpg
And tighten down the Allen Screws on the bottom of the rail.
AR15 Completion Guide.jpg

Step #8

We are going to install the charging handle and bolt carrier group.

Insert the charging handle inside the flipped over upper receiver where the slots are. Make sure the charging handle is inserted about 30 percent inside.
uperr receiver ar 15.jpg
Then time for bolt carrier group installation.
upper ar15.jpg
When installing the bolt carrier group, make sure the BOLD is extended out from the carrier.

Drop the bolt carrier group into the slot with the charging handle.

Then insert the charging handle first until it fully locks in place.

Then you push your bolt carrier group inside the upper receiver and you have completed the upper.
AR15 installing BCG.jpg
AR15 Installing charding handle.jpg

And there you have it, check it out:


Michael 590

New member
There you have it. Check out the final product.

AR-15 Complete Upper.jpg

Here I want to show you sexier photo of this complete upper.

AR-15 Complete Upper Assembly.jpg

Now you know what to do. I am gonna go finish this puppy out and get it upgraded.

I hope this visual thread style guide helped you in your process of completing your AR-15 upper. If you still have any questions this thread is open for discussions. If you want to privately shoot me a message that's cool too.

I also would enjoy to see some of your completed uppers if you guys like to share them here please do.