Well known YouTuber usmcdoc14 sent us this photo of his beautiful one-of-a-kind AR-15. He wrote …

The rifle shown is a combination of my love for the old brass and hardwood rifles of the past, my love for military rifles and also to cause annoyance with those who keep classifying our weapons as “assault” this or “evil black” that by using an AR variant weapon and bringing the poster child of rifle banning to another level. It is not “steampunk”, it is a fully functional weapon with no useless non-functioning trinkets on it. I wanted something that was nothing like anything else I built, something completely wrong.


This started life as a Billet80.com lower that was machined in my garage to finished status, combined with a DPMS “Lo-Pro” upper that was slotted and keywayed to accept a side charging bolt carrier group. The DPMS was use due to its lack of extras and its increase in wall thickness, allowing it to remain as structurally sound as possible. A flip away plug was made and adapted to blend and delete the rear charging handle slot along with a plug for the charging handle slot. Midwest Industries was chosen for the handguard as it complemented the overall end product and is a proven design. These parts were then machined slightly undersized to accommodate for plating, fully polished and then professionally copper plated heavily. This was after multiple humorous and failed attempts at copper plating aluminum at home. The upper and lower were then reamed and fitted back to spec. I chose copper to allow it to age naturally and become like an old penny, after the photoshoot it has not and will not be polished again.

The wood: The wood is what catches peoples attention after they get past the copper plating. The stock is one piece of English Walnut done in A1 style but with a 1/2 longer LOP. For those out there thinking about making your own; you may just want to suck it up and buy a pre-made set, it’s a lot of work. The handguard is English Walnut veneer laminated over carbon fiber. Inserted into the Magpul grip is also matching walnut inserts. All of the wood is hand sanded and with a hand rubbed oiled finish, or pretty much hours of rubbing wood while watching TV. (Few times you can say that in public) The buttplate is milled from solid copper and is not uncomfortable to shoot.

The bolt carrier is a common semi-auto version drilled and a knurled handle welded for left side charging, this was done over threading due to the difficulty and limited thread depth. Although many do thread them I found it to be an unneeded step due to my full length slotting to allow removal. Colt MPI bolt, standard firing pin and a DMPS “old style” cotter pin round out the digesting part of the weapon.

Barrel is a 20″ heavy profile, chrome lined, 5.56 chambered, steel cased ammo eating, zero care given, no blingity name brand but still puts rounds more accurate than I can hunk of chromoly steel, 11* crowned and capped with a modified vortex style flash hider. Working pressure redirected by a MI gas block that has been modified a little to match. Trigger shown is a single stage mil-spec but has been swapped out to a drop in FCG.
Optic is a Millet DMS-1 in a ADM Recon mount with brass inserts to make it look a little less modern. Eventually I would like to replace the optic with a higher power unit but finding modern glass that complements the look of the rifle is difficult.

The Bipod is a M-60 bipod with A.R.M.S. attachments welded to the barrel ring.

There is most likely tons of details I am forgetting, but who cares, it is a wonderful soft shooting rifle that makes people smile when I bring it to the range. Most people say they would never take it out and use it, but I own no “safe queens”. I added a small patch of Xpel protective film to the side to keep the cases from chewing up the side, but otherwise it is a using rifle. It does need more optic to be able to find a “role” other than looking sexy and making holes in paper. It does require more attention when cleaning as it is copper and a lot of solvents will chew it up.

It was one of my most fun and tedious rifles to build. Please check out my videos to educate yourself on milling your own “80%” lower or any of my threads on building your own toys that go bang.


  • Wetcoaster

    Gorgeous gun. I’m not sure what he means by glass that complements the look of the rifle though. Even the old WW2 sniper rifles were finished in black with moderate magnification.

    • usmcdoc14

      The “look” of the rifle is simmilar to early and turn of the century brass/polished rifles that used a long tube non-flared end optic. Tossing something like that on it would not look right. Problem is there is not a whole lot of choices in small lens optics.

      • Wetcoaster

        Have you considered using an even longer 24″ barrel? If you manage to fit one of the small lens scopes, it’d be one hell of a distinctive varminting rig.

      • pbla4024
        • iksnilol

          Something like that is nice. Anyone know of scopes like that (long, non-flared) that don’t cost a fortune?

  • Brocus

    would like to see it oxidized green

    • usmcdoc14

      Unless you cheat and “assist” the copper it takes lots of years to get that green patina. Hopefully I will be around to see it reach that color

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        The aged green patina on copper-based alloys such as bronze or brass can be accelerated with the use of salts ( as in salt mist, salt spray or similar high-chloride oxidants ), but I wouldn’t recommend trying it all the same because of peripheral-effect issues ( such as infiltration and leaching of the oxidizing salt particles into adjacent mechanisms where you don’t want them to go ).

    • n0truscotsman

      that would be awesome.

    • iksnilol

      Old camo, quite literally.

  • echelon

    Not my thing, but whatever floats yer boat. Looks Steampunk to me…

  • usmcdoc14
    • Fred Johnson

      Wow! You put a ton of effort into that one. 🙂

    • Jonathan Wright

      All that, and you didn’t make a copper magazine to go with it? 😛

    • Michel_T

      Very (VERY) nice!

  • It’s the modern equivalent of the Henry rifle: a damned Yankee rifle that you load on Sunday and shoot all week. Personally, I think that Turnbull has missed an opportunity with their TAR-series rifles by only using color case-hardening. My thought for a flossy faux-retro AR would include a combination of parts finished in brass, charcoal-blue, color case-hardening, and polished stainless. The end result would be reminiscent of a presentation Winchester M1866 or M1873.

    • Fred Johnson

      Modern version – “Load on Sunday and shoot all month”.

      Okay, not really. Who in the 21st century could make a magazine last a month, let alone a half hour? 😀

      • Beaumont

        The saying for the original Henry was “shoot all week”, not all month. In a world of muzzleloaders, the Henry was a prodigy. Perhaps a comparable leap of technology today might be a shooter who turns up at a range full of people shooting ARs & AKs, and uncases a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.

    • Usmcdoc14

      Not exactly sold on turnbulls “case hardening”, I am not saying their stuff is not beautiful, just not exactly sure it is what it claims to be.

      • iksnilol

        I think it looks weird, would have been way better with a brass finish.

        Though that is my opinion.

        • I suspect that a serviceable AR lower could be machined from brass. I’d recommend one of the unitized match trigger kits just to save on wear and tear on the pin holes.

  • allannon

    Useful? Meh. Pointless? Yes. Gorgeous? Oh, hell yes.

    I’m impressed by the amount of work put into this.

  • USMC03Vet

    That would go nice in the study above the nice leather chair, smell of rich mahogany, and high priced scotch.

    Good show, Chap!

  • Joshua

    That looks truly amazing, incredible craftsmanship.

  • Whoa. I’ve always liked the idea of AR-15s with wooden furniture. This particular execution of the idea is nothing short of awesome!

  • ShadowRiver

    Looks great. You just need to find a more appropriate magazine for it. :fo2:

  • Zapp Brannigan

    “…to cause annoyance with those…”

    If you’re doing anything for the purpose of causing annoyance to someone else, you need to grow up and get a life.

    • Zachary marrs

      It wasn’t his only goal, and if you obsess over what other people do, its you who needs to grow up

    • Yellow Devil

      You forgot to add or plain neglected “and also” which means it was the last item of a list of reasons why he did it.

      If you’re doing anything for the purpose of getting offended by everyone else, you need to grow up and get a life.

    • Fred Johnson

      Funny. Your post is “causing annoyance” with me. I can’t figure out which is causing the most annoyance, your words or my mistake in finding out what a “Zapp Brannigan” looks like. 😮

    • He was kidding around more than anything else. That’s being a bit harsh on him.

    • Usmcdoc14

      Most of the music, art and style that is in your life was done to piss people off. Not to “care what they think” but to make them think, even if it requires offending them to do it. Do you honestly think the Fudds and blued/wood crowd will pay attention until you take their sacred cow and make a steak?

  • Thrackmoor

    That is much better art than the stuff turned out by artistes.

    • iksnilol

      Depends, what is the “artist” trying to convey here. An artist shows his feelings and/or perspective through his/her art. Y’know those old blurry paintings? Those were made by people with bad vision to show others how they see the world.

      Maybe I am being pedantic but I like art, real art. I also don’t like words or expressions being misused.

      • Zachary marrs

        So what is the naked guy covered in paint running into a canvas trying to say? What about the guy who slings paint everywhere? How do you feel about the people who say “its an art”? The dude made somthing beautiful, and functional, so id consider it art

        • iksnilol

          If you don’t understand then ask him. If he is in it only for the money then look at him disapprovingly (if you have kids then that is real easy to do).

  • sianmink

    The sideplates on the magpul pistol grip are a bit boggling, I would have probably gone for full wood there, and maybe a steel mag because why not.

    Delicious rifle though.

    • HSR47

      A blued (think Turnbull manufacturing) steel would probably do it if you couldn’t get one case hardened…

  • Julio

    That’s one impressive project. A radical concept executed with great skill and resulting in a unique and head-turning firearm. Thanks for sharing.

  • LCON

    And Best in how Goes to!

  • Andrew

    I wish I had that much time and money.

    Not my cup of tea, but impressive nonetheless.

    • Usmcdoc14

      More time than money, I do everything I can myself. I would rather fail learning instead of whipping out a credit card.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Nice work — the enormous amount of craftsmanship, effort and spirit put into this one project is clearly evident. This is the sort of AR the master gunsmiths at the Henry Repeating Arms Co. would have made if they had had a mandate to do so.

  • Rusty Shovel

    Life’s short; pimp hard!

    • LongBeach

      My thoughts, distilled eloquently.

  • Mystick

    Work of art, really.

  • n0truscotsman

    I love the steampunk/dieselpunk art flair. Or edwardian/guilded age-era, whatever you want to call it.

    In my opinion, the small parts should have been given a “fire blue” treatment (safety selector, mag release, etc) and NO polymer. wood and steel (fire blue treated HK or israeli mag perhaps? is that even possible?)

    Very cool. I hope to see more postings like these in the near figure. I will be rabidly searching for more pictures of other people’s builds for inspiration when i finally decide to embark upon such an endeavor myself.

  • ensitue

    Steam Punk

  • eriky

    This gun is very confusing. I want to hate it but make sweet love to it at the same time

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Like a woman one cannot live without?

  • mosinman

    Since when was The Most Interesting Man in The World a TFB reader?!

  • Don King

    This is a truly beautiful design, absolutely magnificent.

  • >It is not “steampunk”, it is a fully functional weapon with no useless non-functioning trinkets on it.

    Amen, brothers and sisters.

    • gunslinger

      still looks steampunk

      • Dr. No


      • Chrome Dragon

        Looks like what steampunk SHOULD.

  • Adam aka eddie d.

    Fantastic work man, keep on building!

    One question: how did you achieve the “undersized” tolerances?
    Coarse particle blasting? How thick is the copper layer?
    (Well, that’s actually three questions, I’m cheating.)

  • RKflorida

    Man, that is just fantastic. What a craftsman and what a work of art he produced.

  • I wonder if the current wood forearms on the market couldn’t be paired up with a National Match free-float sleeve. The latter are designed to free-float the barrel, while allowing the installation of standard handguards to maintain the outward appearance of a rack-grade service rifle. Ironwood Designs offers wood AR furniture in conventional A1 and A2 profiles that I find more appealing than those used on the Turnbull TAR.

  • Cknarf


  • Dracon1201

    If you didn’t kill it in one shot, you weren’t using a Jakobs!

  • Agitator

    Is this the one that’s been posted on VAguntrader for a while?

  • Naomi Crossnoe

    Amazing job and beautiful in the copper and wood!

  • Yojimbo556

    At first i was like why? Then I saw it and was like…

  • JB


  • Rick A

    Not my thing, but well done.

  • Leigh Rich

    Be kinda near when it turns green/blue from the copper coordinating.

  • Rick

    dammit. someone got into my head. I finished my 80% last week, and saving to order wood furniture from Ironwood Designs. Specced out a side charger upper, and was trying to find brass plating options. Only real difference to my build is using an A1 style foregrip in wood.

    the intent was the same. to build the Antiblack Rifle.

    Now mine’s just gonna be “a copy of that guy from TFB”. 🙁

  • Hank Seiter

    Interesting. Wish I had that kind of time. Give me a Rock River LAR-8 Operator Elite with national match trigger and a cryogenic barrel and I’d spend more time shooting that without being distracted with polishing all that copper.

    Oh, wait, I already have one. Off to the range.

  • Dan Ratte

    Looks really cool , Atom Punk.

  • jcitizen

    One class act there buddy! This brought back old feelings I had as a kid where I used to only want wood and steel in a rifle or pistol. Since then, of course practicality and the realization that modern design is superior overshadowed my sensibilities. It is good to visit the artistic and aesthetic side of the coin again!!

  • Smokey Stover

    HHHMMM,very nice piece.But maybe we could attract more people to our sport by NOT using the word “Weapon” when describing our various firearms.After all,if we are not using it to fight a war,rob a bank,or defend ourselves,or commit any other violent act or crime,it is NOT by true definition a “Weapon”.It doesn’t sound good on TV or,look good in newspapers or any other media.It sounds too violent,too “Gung Ho”.We could instead use firearm,pistol,rifle,shotgun,or even just plain “Gun”.It would give the Firearm ignorant public, a better image of us “Gunners”.

  • parlayer

    nicer than the gold plated one of Sadam,’s.

  • jm54

    i am a c&r. i collect and restore mostly wwII battle rifles, but i have some older stuff. these old rifles show great design and durability. i have restored the stocks with a murphys oil soap, and that, after a few washes gets the blood and sweat and human oil removed. then they are rubbed with johnsons paste wax for floors. the re blueing is tedious. but all this is fun. i was with the 101st in vietnam as a fire team leader. this is a work of art. it should be put in a glass box and purged with nitrogen. if some savy manufacturer would produce these, i would buy one.

  • Grandpaha

    That is one beautiful rifle you have there!
    I hope that you came up with some awesome idea for its serial number–yes, I know it’s not needed–that befits the status this rifle should carry with it.

  • jm54

    a work of art. it should be in a musem. if i was a manufacturer, i would put this on the market. i would buy one but probably not shoot it. just look at it.

  • SnoMad

    THAT is a functioning Piece of Art ! SUPERB & WONDERFUL job you’ve done. Truly an inspirational piece of man-lovin’ art.

  • Christopher Switzer

    Now THAT’S an AR for ya!!! Fine craftsmanship, great work all-around. Very impressive piece you have there. Anyone would be honored to call that their firearm, no doubt about it.

    Now the real question; how does she shoot??!

    I’d love to hear about how she fires!


  • carlb.

    9-26..10:05pm..a truly beautiful piece of work..all your time and effort have come to conclusion..you should be a proud creator/maker..no doubt you could find yourself in business making these for custom order..carl b..