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Any one interested in helping a new guy with AR questions?

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Old 02-27-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
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Default Any one interested in helping a new guy with AR questions?

Just joined the site the other day, but have been reading and looking for awhile. I was wondering if anyone would be interested in helping a very uneducated guy out with pretty simple AR-15 platform questions. I'm not new to guns, just don't know alot bout this style. I don't want to buy into the hype and go crazy and pay top dollar for everything, seems like the chaos is starting to go down alittle. I would like to start looking for a lower or 2 and maybe some mags just incase something would happen in the near future, but would like to make this long term investments that i could build on for then next little while when things go back to normal. You could PM me if anyone is interested, if not i'll just keep looking and try my best to figure things out. It might just be nice if i have some specific questions that i can't seem to find. Thank you for all of your help in reading so far and help in the future!! Brett

Some main questions are:
- Should i be looking for any mil spec aluminum lowers, or are certain ones better then others as far as upgrading later on?
- Do all aftermarket mags fit most lowers well? or are there some I should stay away from.
-Is there any advantage of buying a complete lower than a stripped?
- Do most AR lowers and uppers fit well together if they are diffrent companies?

My long term goal is to have a nice and reliable AR just for fun and shooting and have one for long range more percision shooting. Not looking for one for home defense or protection. I have other guns for that. thanks again
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:15 PM   #2
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Some milspec lowers are better than others, but there are few brands that I would consider junk. My personal favorites are the ones made by Rainier Arms. They are well made and reasonably priced. I have also had great success with Palmetto, BCM, Mega and LMT.

Aftermarket AR-15 mags are all pretty much standard. Certain Thermold mags are problematic and I tend to avoid brands I have never heard of (especially ones made outside of the US). Promag does not have great reputation. While it's hard to find mags in stock looking at the reviews at places like Midway USA will give you a good idea of what to buy. It's hard to go wrong with Magpul, Lancer or D&H.

The advantage to buying a complete lower is that it is already assembled and ready to go. Some people do not have the technical knowledge or desire to assemble their own. But doing so does give you a better appreciation for your AR and a better understanding of maintenance needs, trouble shooting, etc. I have assembled my own and I have bough them pre-assembled. I enjoyed both experiences.

Yes, most uppers and lowers will work together as long as they are of the same pattern, as in large pin lower and large pin upper (aka large hole) small pin lower and small pin upper. The finish might not always match up and the fit might be very tight or a little sloppy, but they should still work.

Good luck.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #3
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LRB Arms forged lower and upper match perfect which doesnt happen very often with other manufacturers , Stag lower, LRB, Spikes, LMT, PSA, are the ones I have had experience with , My buddy has 2 RRA and a LRB he says the fit and finish is better on the LRB . Im not fond of the Poly receivers but that just me , I dont care how much of a beating they supposedly take and are resistant to salt etc , there plastic and I just dont care to own one but hey thats every ones choice . just pick the roll mark you like best on the side and go with it . BCM , Rainier, PSA, DSA, make great uppers if your planning on putting this one together .
Right now is a sellers market , you missed the buyers market months ago so of course prices are up and beyond what they were by almost 2-3X . Bolt carriers are hard to come by and when you do they bring $200-$400 .
Its almost best to find a decent built gun someone is looking to move and buy it if you need something right away
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:08 AM   #4
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Some great input above.
I want to add something on magazines.
Even though MagPul PMags are the most popular brand ( I ahve quite a few myself),the Gen 2 TAPCO INtrafuse are also quite good IMO.
They don't come with a dustcover like the PMags but i find little use for that little extra anyway.

They have very thick magazine lips and everything about them is strong.

MagPul is a super company but when buying Mags in today's shortage don't bypass TAPCOS if they are available.

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Old 02-28-2013, 03:17 AM   #5
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All rifles sold by Head Down are sold with one Tapco magazine. I have used it in my duty rifle at work and I love it! However I much prefer Pmags. No reason specifically, perhaps the looks of it. But another reason is I like to keep Ranger plates on my mags for multiple reasons. But as far as performance goes. I absolutely agree, Tapco Mags are up there. So yes...gentlemen...dont shy away from them if you find a deal on 'em.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:15 PM   #6
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Don't overlook the stickys at the top of this forum...there's a wealth of information among them.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:53 PM   #7
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Thank you for all of the specific advice so far. Very helpful. If anyone else has anything to add i'm still all ears. I'll just keep reading and trying to do more research, the info so far has been great!!!!
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:26 PM   #8
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I'm still trying to beat Okdonk out of that Umbrella lower............
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:31 PM   #9
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- Should i be looking for any mil spec aluminum lowers, or are certain ones better then others as far as upgrading later on?
Billet lowers are more sought after than traditional forged lowers, as are those with roll marks from "in demand" companies. But most Plain Jane aluminum lowers are perfectly fine. I prefer to pay the extra few buck for a nicer lower, even though it won't necessarily perform better or even last longer. Why? Personal pride, vanity, and the fact that the extra $50 I spend might easily translate to $100-200 should I ever part with the gun. People associate your lower as being the brand of your AR, even though the most important parts dwell in the upper half.

- Do all aftermarket mags fit most lowers well? or are there some I should stay away from.
Pretty much. A lot of people prefer polymer mags, and those with the best rep would be anything from Magpul, Troy, Lancer, and TangoDown. Aluminum GI mags are just fine too if they've got anti-tilt followers, but I don't love the sharp edges. There are other fine brands, but nothing I would choose over those listed above. And you're doing okay buying any of these for $10-20ea, which is kind of difficult at this moment.

-Is there any advantage of buying a complete lower than a stripped?
In building a lower, you gain knowledge. That's it. But it's nice to have. You probably won't save much money, it'll cost you an hour or two (first build), but it's also not that difficult. It's also beneficial to build if you have very specific desires when it comes to your stock, trigger, etc.

- Do most AR lowers and uppers fit well together if they are diffrent companies?
Most do. But like anything else, reputable companies are always going to be the safer bet and you'll probably pay a couple extra bucks for that assurance.

Figure out what you want. But were I in your shoes, the two guns I'd probably build would be:

Plinker/Fun gun: Probably a milspec PSA build, 16" ML barrel, $800-1000 build, if things calm down. Just a tough as nails, eats any ammo, lightweight gun that will be easy alter/fix/customize down the road if you so choose.

Longer range gun: 18" SS 1:8 barrel, and adding funds for optics, trigger, and maybe even the stock. $2000 build might be ideal ($1000 upper, $500 lower, $500 optics) but you can also do quite well for a lot closer to $1K. The truth is, your basic $700 cheapo Walmart AR is often an extremely precise gun for the first 200-300yds.
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:20 PM   #10
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How prices change in a year. Now the AR-15 seem pretty plentiful in the gun stores again and at pretty nice prices. I saw an ad for a nice upper on sale at the other day for arond $379.00 223/5.56 caliber, 1:9 twist mid length. Mid lenth uppers are my favorite since they put a lot less stress on the bolt and carrier. The hole in the barrel is further down the barrel and reduces the amount of gas back for the action somewhat.
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