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Old 04-17-2013, 08:09 AM   #11
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I have thought about the mid length gas system; it's a possibility in my book. I have heard some cons about getting a pencil profile barrel.
If you're not going to do a lot of mag dumps or shoot at distances past 200 yards, the pencil or lightweight profile barrels work just fine.

I recently assembled a Colt lower with a mix of Colt and aftermarket parts just for fun. The cost of purchasing the individual components that I wanted didn't save any money per se, I just put together the parts that I really wanted.

Assembling an upper requires a number of tools, fixtures, and gauges, some of them specific to AR assembly, and it may not be worth it if you're only going to assemble 1 AR or you're not into tinkering.

In a few months when everybody finally realizes that the new gun legislation is much ado about nothing, prices will drop. Ammo prices are a different story.
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:38 PM   #12
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I have never put together an AR upper but have been thinking about it just to say I've done it. I have put together 5 lowers and its a piece of cake and takes all of an hour to finish. It took me a little longer the first time cause I had to go back and as they say... lick my calf over again. In my experence you won't really save much money but I did enjoy the process and it helps understand how the thing works which makes troubleshooting easier if that is ever necessary. If you haven't watch the instruction videos at Brownells, they are a big help understand the process and what special tool you might want or need. www.howtobuildanar15.com Best of all their free and I'll take an operation if its free.

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Old 04-17-2013, 03:02 PM   #13
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I don't know about everyone elses opinion, I made a decision when I was constructing mine and I think my decision was valid is something everyone should consider, especially when you think about the current climate of our world political situation. I think more than just building a gun you take to the range on weekends of what you'll need or as one poster mentioned will "work fine" I think you need to consider multiple facets of use. What will achieve the greatest flexibility if you're only able to build one rifle.

I know that etches on the borders of paranoia suggesting that you build an all around rifle based on the idea of multiple scenarios which I would include but not limit to government oppression, invasion of a foreign power, or total worldwide economic collapse, but I think the bleakest of futures is something to consider when you construct what could be your only rifle.

I went with a "heavy" barrel option, it's fluted however and is a 16" barrel with a phantom 2 on the end instead of a 14 or an 18. I went with a free float quad rail also, a bit of extra weight but it allows me to use the maximum accuracy and range capabilities of my weapon system. These options aren't for everyone, and if you're building a range weapon and have no considerations for use, most peoples ideas of building something that will "work fine" are all good ideas.

As far as manufacturers go there are a handful of avoidable brands and most generally everything you find listed by anyone is worth looking into, I prefere a Daniel Defense rail, they are smoother and have better lines to keep things from snagging on edges than most manufacturers but not everyone wants to spend the extra money for some of them, the other thing to consider is any rail system you use aside from a quick drop in system that replaces the handguards is probably going to require special tools, I'd buy every special tool you could ever need personally and always vote for assembly over purchasing because it allows you to get all the things you want for your weapon system.

lastly - Availability

I think this is the most crucial thing to think about right now. I have seen some Lowers hanging around here and there, but actually get that one perfect one you've always wanted might be a bit of an issue. Most manufacturers are reserving their production for completed rifles and have stopped taking orders for parts because of that reason. When big names like daniel defense stops taking orders because they are backlogged for a year it could influence your choices on what you CAN get compared to what you wanted.

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Old 04-17-2013, 04:48 PM   #14
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As for companies, Palmetto State Armory for a lower priced but quality option. Spike's is reasonably priced.

BCM and Daniel Defense are a bit more but very nice. The nxt step up will be LMT, Noveske, LaRue, KAC, LWRC.

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Old 04-17-2013, 05:06 PM   #15
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If you are mechanically inclined, build it. I do not consider myself a figure out how to build it kind of guy. When something needs done around my house, my first instinct is to call a contractor. So here's my story about AR builds.

My first "semi-build" was a Plum Crazy lower and a PSA 1:7 upper. The PC poly lower was an interesting first experiment, but I bought a stripped Stag lower about 6 months later. I sat on the stripped lower until Sandy Hook, then purchased a Daniel Defense lower kit and a Magpul stock and buffer tube. It took me all of 3 hours to build out the lower. I'm sure Quentin can probably do it in 10 minutes, blind folded, in his sleep; but refer to my first paragraph.

Between the stickies here on this forum and several YouTube videos, I had all the information I needed to feel very comfortable completing the lower build. I'll probably try an upper build some day, but I'm in no hurry.

Go for it.

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Old 04-17-2013, 10:55 PM   #16
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I want a M4 style, 1x7" twist chrome lined, quad rail up front, most everything else standard. I have found most of the parts online in stock if I look hard enough and it looks like I could build one for ~$1000.

So suggestions?
Your furniture choice and optics will figure heavy into the final cost, but you can build a really solid platform for $1K or so. Some stuff that's been commonly available of late, that might result in a 'most awesomeness for your $' type of build:

Lower: PSA $160 (after xfer + fees)
LBK: PSA/Magpul kit, $200 give or take
Barreled Upper: BCM $500, PSA $400...both good options
M16 BCG, CH, Magpul rear BUS, MOE hguard: $300

This is just a rough blueprint. It ends up between $1050 and $1200, but leaves out ammo, mags, optics, accessories. So hopefully this is a reference point where you can consider each part and figure out if (or where) you might want to make some concessions. I consider MagPul MOE gear a minimum must upgrade..hate the cheapo stocks and handguards that rattle around. And the Magpul gear is only a little more and considerably more ergonomic.

There are other options. If you're not concerned with your gun being super pretty, PSA often sells slightly "blemished" uppers and lowers that are perfectly excellent. There is also a place called M&A Parts Inc that sells complete uppers (with cheap hguard, BCG (often M16..no guarantees though), CH, and a basic flip rear sight) for like $510. I've generally heard good things about them.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:00 AM   #17
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If you are mechanically inclined, build it. I do not consider myself a figure out how to build it kind of guy. When something needs done around my house, my first instinct is to call a contractor. So here's my story about AR builds.

My first "semi-build" was a Plum Crazy lower and a PSA 1:7 upper. The PC poly lower was an interesting first experiment, but I bought a stripped Stag lower about 6 months later. I sat on the stripped lower until Sandy Hook, then purchased a Daniel Defense lower kit and a Magpul stock and buffer tube. It took me all of 3 hours to build out the lower. I'm sure Quentin can probably do it in 10 minutes, blind folded, in his sleep; but refer to my first paragraph.

Between the stickies here on this forum and several YouTube videos, I had all the information I needed to feel very comfortable completing the lower build. I'll probably try an upper build some day, but I'm in no hurry.

Go for it.
I agree, Scott, building is a great way to go. But in my case I'm in no hurry, you hear of guys bragging they can slap together a lower in 30 minutes but we're not in a race, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 ... Who cares how long, as long as it's done right!
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:57 PM   #18
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Bought my first AR, the rest i built them. So my answer... build! You get the better parts for about the same or lil more $$.

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Old 04-20-2013, 03:33 PM   #19
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Build it. Something that you put a little elbow grease into means a lot more. I bought my first and sold it to start a build. Waste of money =P

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Old 04-20-2013, 03:54 PM   #20
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I bought my first two. Now I am building my third. Having never built one before, it's been a learning experience. I will never buy another rifle. I will only build from here on out....

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