This is my very first AR-15 rifle build done in 1990. Short barrels and collapsible stocks were not popular back then. Fixed butt stock rifles with heavy 20-inch barrels or longer were the common custom built AR-15 rifles of the time. Many of the rifles were used in bench shooting competitions. Fancy hand guards and rails were not even known about. I had previously bought a Colt AR-15 A2, but I was always attracted to the carbine rifles used in Vietnam and initially wanted to build a rifle similar to the Colt XM177E2 Model 629. After waiting on a barrel for over a year, I gave up and created this combination. I was not trying to replicate any rifles, I just put together a bunch of parts. It resembles the Colt Model 653 carbine, but has some A2 components and a case deflector. If you watch the movie Platoon, Barnes carries a Model 653. The carbine rifle seemed more practical for personal use, since I was not going to be doing any competition shooting. I had first mounted an Aimpoint 1000 red dot scope with a 3-power extension, but prefer the Colt 4x20 scope. Most of the time I don't mount either one and shoot with just the iron sights. They are Meprolight with a tritium front sight. The lower receiver is an A2 and the upper is an A1, both from Bushmaster. The barrel is a chrome lined 16-inch heavy profile with a 1 in 9 twist rate. The flash suppressor is a standard A2. The pistol grip is a "Stowaway 2" from Lone Star Ordnance and has a storage compartment. The handguards and stock replicate the CAR-15 carbines used in Vietnam. The bolt carrier group is Colt. Most of the components came from the Quality Parts Company catalog that later became Bushmaster Firearms, Inc. The few aftermarket companies of the time would advertise in Firepower, Soldier Of Fortune magazines, and Shotgun News. This is a great firearm that has shot thousands of rounds over the years. Duncan Long wrote many good books on the AR-15 which were excellent sources of information. I read and studied everything I could about the AR-15 rifle before I finally built this one. It is good to see the aftermarket coming out with many components replicating the early Colt rifles. That will make it much easier and more economical to build these type of rifles for those not wanting original components. Complete replica rifles are also available. Building a custom AR-15 rifle today (2017) is probably the easiest it has ever been for most of us.
I initially wanted to build a rifle similar to one of these, but it never happened. This is the Air Force version with no forward assist.