No One Shoots Like Gaston

So now that I am in the middle of building “Kyle,” I am planning my next build: “Gaston.” It should take me a couple of weeks to finish Kyle, counting parts delivery, assembly, and the holidays interfering. My object with Kyle is an accurate, lightweight AR pattern rifle in 5.56 that has no identifying marks on it, no engraving. Just a sterile, all around defense rifle.

Once Kyle is complete, I will start getting parts together for Gaston.

Gaston will, of course, be a Glock compatible handgun. I am patterning it after a Glock 19, using an 80 percent lower. Cost: $150

I have selected a Gen 3 slide with RMR cut from ninex19. The slide costs about $325. I won’t be mounting an optic on it yet, but I want the option if I decide to do so later.

I am looking at using a Faxon barrel again. (Can you tell that I really like their barrels? I use them almost exclusively) The one I am looking at is extended and threaded for a suppressor. I am really considering Chameleon PVD like this one. It costs $210.

I want something that will not only be high quality, but will look sharp. I will finish it off with the internals and a set of night sights. My budget for this build is $850. I know that this is more than an off the shelf Glock 19, but one of the advantages of building your own is not just privacy, but getting a handgun that is higher quality and better looking than a factory made one. If I was looking at making a stock 19 knockoff, I could do it for less than $550. I want something unique.


Disregard my request for barrel recommendations. I found a Faxon barrel over at Joe Bob Outfitters*. They seem to have stuff when no one else does. They had magazines for my Shield Plus when those magazines were as rare as a Bigfoot sighting, and they don’t make their stuff outrageously expensive while trying to convince people that their prices are lower than dirt.

So with this purchase, I begin yet another build. Meh, it gives me something to do on my days off.

Here are the specs:

  • 5.56mm
  • 18 inch
  • 1:8 twist
  • GUNNER profile (Government to the gas block, pencil from there to the muzzle)
  • Rifle length gas block, 0.625″
  • 1.44 pounds

Remember my post on the meaning of twist rate. Since most of my ammo is either 55 or 62 grain, my builds have been in the 1:8 version. I like the heavier bullets, as they are more stable at longer ranges.

I’m having fun building these rifles, and I think that I am getting quite good at it. The wife doesn’t even shake her head anymore when another rifle shows up in the gun safe. I may have to sell a couple of my serialized ARs to make room.

To track my expenses, I’m going to start naming my builds. I thought about numbering them, but that would allow someone to track how many I am building. That is no one’s business, unless I sell any of them. So, with that in mind, the name of this build will be the “Kyle.”

* I have no relationship whatsoever with Joe Bob Outfitters, other than being a customer. Their prices are pretty low, and they seem to have things that other dealers are out of stock on.

Need Advice

When I do an AR build, I really like Faxon barrels. The problem is that all of those are out of stock. I am thinking about doing an AR build and would like recommendations on a quality barrel. Please let me know your thoughts in comments.

Range Report

The new 80 percent lower arrived over the weekend. Before I even began, I checked the magazine catch slot to ensure it was the proper size. I began the milling operation at 7:30 this morning, and the entire rifle was ready to go by 10:00.*

The upper

Total cost for the completed upper was $1435.

The lower

Total cost for the completed lower was $750.

The Glass

The total cost of this rifle without considering the optics was $2185. If you count the cost of the scope and its mount, the total project cost was $2,785. The rifle with the scope mounted weighs in at 8.85 pounds.

I headed out to the range to test fire it. If functions fine, with the brass coming out at the 3 o’clock position, so I have the gas block tuned correctly. The first target was at 25 yards, five shots to get a 25 yard zero. The first shot was the one that is the lowest, most rightward one.

25 yard zero target

Once it was dialed in at 25 yards, the target was placed at 100 yards. I fired two five round groups. The first group is the five holes to the upper left. That group measured in at 6.25″. Some adjustments were made. The second group is the one to the lower right, which measured at just over 3.5″.

Two, five shot groups at 100 yards.

This rifle isn’t a tack driver, but it isn’t meant to be. Then again, the loose groups are probably because I haven’t had much range time for about a year. I think some more range time is in order.

I have no relationship with any of the vendors or manufacturers mentioned in this post, other than me being a customer. The prices paid and any discounts I received were those available to the general public.

*The rifle is ALMOST done. When I was assembling it, I realized that I was out of roll pins for the bolt catch. I went to the range without a bolt catch installed. That will be rectified once the new pins arrive.

Resuming the build

Thanks to the magazine catch on my lower being out of spec, all work on the skirmish rifle had to come to a halt. The slot for the magazine catch is supposed to be 0.250″ but looking at the measurement, you can see that this is not the case:

Since it is several thousandths too small, the catch doesn’t fit. I sent this photo to 5d, the maker of my 80 percent lower, and they shipped me a new one. As soon as I get a day off, the build will resume.

Out of Spec

So I decided to continue working on my Skirmish rifle this morning. I completed the machining of the lower that I got from 5d, washed it, dried it, and began to put the parts into the lower. The first step was the magazine catch, and…

It doesn’t fit. The slot in the lower is too small for the catch to fit. I tried a second catch, and that one doesn’t fit, either. So I am assuming that the slot that 5d cut for the magazine catch is out of spec. I emailed them, and we will see what they say.

In other news, here is the parts list so far for this lower:

That brings the cost (so far) for this lower to $691, with nearly half of that ($270) being the trigger and buffer. I want to have this rifle done by the end of September, so I am still on schedule.

DISCLAIMER: I have no relationship with any of the vendors or manufacturers mentioned in this post, other than me being a customer. The prices paid and any discounts I received were those available to the general public.


California was sued by gun owners because they passed an “Assault Weapons” ban in 2018 which required all owners of the weapons to register them, but then the website for doing so was broken. At any rate, the parties have reached a settlement whereupon they agreed to reopen the “Assault Weapons” registry for 90 days and not punish gun owners for being “late” in registering their previously legal firearms.

How gracious.

Now Joe Biden and his communist cronies are looking to do the same thing on a nationwide scale. Did you know that you can make your own lower, free from government knowledge? Here is a great example:

You can get the jig, the tooling, and two 80% lowers for just under $625. After that, you can finish as many 80% lowers as you want.