Building a CMP/NRA legal Service Rifle to get started

One of the problems with 10m Air Rifle or High Power rifle is the cost of entry. With a hobby like golf you can go to a thrift store and get a set of used clubs for cheap and go golfing, with balls and range fees your biggest expense. For a sport like 10m air rifle, you are looking at about 800 bucks to just get the rifle, not including the money you’ll need for jacket, pants, etc. For High Power, you will need a rifle capable of meeting the competition rules, and eventually you will need a jacket. If you have the coin you can buy a pre-assembled service rifle from many reputable companies. Rock River is always a favorite.

But, this post is about minimizing costs to get new shooters into the sport of High Power service rifle. And in that line of thought it becomes pretty obvious you can save a little bit and build one yourself. What I describe here is based solely on the prices available today, and not reflective of any future panic buying based on threats of gun bans.

So here is the basics for an A4 build (with A2 comment at the end for the front sight block).

50 dollar lower receiver (PSA, Anderson, doesn’t matter who makes your lower)
80 dollar upper receiver (brand doesn’t matter as long as it is A2 or A4 compliant)
90 dollar complete BCG (I’ve used Brownells, PSA, etc)
63 dollar A2 stock kit **
50 dollar lower parts kit (brand really doesn’t matter, AR Stoner, DPMS, etc)
130 dollar barrel (AR Stoner 20″ 1:8 stainless) *
8 dollar flash hider
5 dollar peel washer (crush washer will work too, but I think peel washers are more precise)
125 dollar free float tube **
10 dollar gas tube and roll pin
20 dollar gas block (if you are going for an A2 build, you’ll want an Armalite clamp on front sight post, which is more expensive)
120 dollar RR NM trigger * and ***

That’s 751 dollars for what I call a “club level rifle” that will get you on the line competing and having fun. If you want to drop the price further, the single asterisk items can be replaced with even less expensive options.

102 dollar Bear Creek Arsenal 1:7 nitride finished 4150
69 dollar ALG defense ACT (with purple spring to get a 4.5 lb pull)

That drops the price to 672 dollars.

If you want to shave off even more money, you can choose a cheap quad rail like a UTG Leapers for 90 bucks on sale (or a “Field Sport quad rail” off of ebay for 43 bucks), and save another 35 (or 82 for the ebay special) over the Rock River national match free float tube, and the price drops to 637 (or 590 for the ebay rail option, which I’ve tested and seems to be working just fine). A cheap “airsoft grade” UBS clone stock can drop another 6 bucks off the cost of a stock, to 631 (not recommended though).

If that is too pricey, you can use the trigger that came in the Lower Parts Kit, and polish it yourself, and upgrade the springs (another ten bucks) and the price gets down to 578 dollars. You won’t get a world class trigger this way, but you can get it down to below 5.5 lbs with little creep and excellent consistency, and you can save your pennies for a G2S (170 bucks usually) later.

Now if you are going to build an AR-15 service rifle you will need some tools, or a friend with tools. You can get by without the gunsmith punches and action blocks, but you will want a bench vise and probably a 20 dollar AR armorers tool (in addition to various pliers that you should already have as an adult human being).

You’ll also need one tube of blue loctite for the buffer tube (nothing more disturbing than having a buffer tube wiggle loose on you during a match, ask me how I know), and one of red for the flash hider. All told your complete build should take less than 2 hours even if you are following along with a youtube (or pornhub now, guess it depends on who hosts the video) build guide.

At the end, assuming you torqued everything to spec, you should have a rifle easily capable of 1.0 to 1.5 MOA accuracy with a standard “cross the course” High Power load. That’s good enough to stay inside the 10 ring if you are. If you didn’t buy a Rock River NM trigger, eventually get a GS2 or SSA from Geissele, or even a Hi-Speed NM trigger. I haven’t tried DPMS 2 stage trigger yet, but it looks like it would do just fine for High Power shooting.

I recommend an A4 build, because you can always use a clamp on front sight block and a detachable carry handle to compete with iron sights, but you can’t go the other way with an A2 easily (the gooseneck adapter to put a red dot optic on the rifle was always a hokey thing).

Good luck shooting!

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