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Wood AR-15 Grips: Day One

After many months of dreaming, planning, buying, collecting and assembling we finally got to dive into the wood furniture on our flagship AR-15 Build. The first task of the day was to find and purchase the wood we wanted to use for each piece of furniture: the grips, rail panels, stock, and trigger guard. We had shopped and researched wood while researching the rifle's other components so we had a few criteria in mind.

In general, the wood had to be extra tough and look good when coupled with the black rifle. These criteria led us to hardwoods (obviously). That meant we needed to decide whether we wanted to go for a bold exotic like ebony or tiger wood, or for more of a classic like walnut. We went bold.

It is difficult to get an accurate understanding of a piece of wood from internet pictures, so it was important that we physically selected our lumber in person. The piece above is the un-sanded, un-stained Brazilian Rosewood we decided on. It's ~3,000 pounds of force rating is a whopping 2,000 higher than that of Black Walnut and it is beautiful.

After a full day drawing, cutting, re-cutting and sanding we had arrived at the picture you see below.

The two pieces we cut (and spent hours sanding) for each side of our wood grips fit snuggly in the Executive Ordnance frames. The next step will be shaping each grip panel to fit in the hand a melt smoothly into its aluminum frame. That is going to be a long and slow process. 

At this point in the build of our Wood AR-15 Grips, we are very pleased with our wood selection. It looks great in contrast with the black aluminum and the Brazilian Rosewood is so hard that we can shape it very precisely without worrying about it chipping or bending. It is insanely hard. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates or checkout our product pages to see pictures of the progress of the other pieces of wood AR-15 furniture:

Wood AR-15 Grips

Wood AR-15 Stocks

Wood AR-15 Rail Panels

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Wood AR-15 At The Range

We couldn't help ourselves... Initially, the plan was to not fire the our flagship Wood AR-15  until all the furniture was complete and installed on the rifle. Once we built the rifle's "frame" (the finished rifle without wood furniture) that plan when out the window.  It was simply too tempting.

It looked so good and felt so great in hand that we had to take this 9-month project to the range to get some initial impressions. So we did. Below are some of our thoughts.

 The trigger: Crisp. We cut our teeth on military M4's so we have pretty low standards for triggers but the Geissele SSA-E in this build lived up to its reputation. Its pull is masterfully located at the intersection of crisp without being hard and light without being loose. It is a difficult thing to explain in words but compared to military M4 triggers, this feels like the trigger on a high end pistol. 

The pistol grips: Well textured. Yes, we are going to replace Executive Ordnance's Grip Panels with wood ones. Regardless, EO's panels and frames feel great while firing. They may be a bit thin for large-handed shooters but the texture on the panels ensures a secure grip regardless of hand size and is something we are going to have to try emulate with our wood grip panels.

The upper: Solid. In this category we are including all the functioning pieces of the upper such as the charging handle and dust cover. VLTOR's Upper doesn't rattle on the lower and does everything you'd expect. Shell deflector does its job and the irons and MRO sit well on the rail.

The MRO: Fast. We were shooting in broad daylight and the dot is very easy to pick up. We didn't even crank it up to its highest brightness and it was still very easy to see to dot, acquire the target and fire.

With the MRO turned off, Troy's Iron Sights were by far the best iron sights we have used.  The front sight post's tritium dot is a clear improvement over the standard black FSPs that love to disappear as your eyes tire. Their adjustments are also intuitive and have positive clicks with each turn.

The stock: a little rattle-y. While this didn't affect our shooting enjoyment or accuracy, the B.A.D. stock seemed a little wobbly when fully extended.  We checked all the screws and nothing seemed to be lose. This is something we are going to have to address when we replace two of its major components with wood.

We didn't have a chance to get a good zero on the rifle nor take it through any distance or "tactical" tests so more information about its accuracy is going to come later.  It was just nice to run the rifle for a bit, see how it felt in hand and that it functioned correctly with a variety of magazines. 

The BCG: Slick. FailZero's BCG functioned without error at the range, but really shined when we started cleaning it. We had heard a lot about the ease of cleaning nickel boron BCGs but weren't sure if it was really going to be noticeably different. Well, it is. The dirt on the outside of the carrier literally wiped off and while the internal pieces took a bit more effort the whole thing was noticeably easier to clean than traditional BCGs. 

There are our first impressions.  The wood is coming soon and will be followed by more range time and more detailed reports of how the rifle functions.  Stay tuned!

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Wood AR-15 Frame Complete

We are very excited to announce that the frame (AKA the whole rifle minus our wood grips, stock and foregrip) for our flagship AR-15 with wood furniture is complete! 

Below you can see the original sketch that cast the vision for the rifle and the the rifle as it exists today. 

Not far off... All we need to do now is finalize each piece of wood furniture and the AR will be ready to rumble. 

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