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Old 04-11-2009, 09:57 AM   #1
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Default Gun show coming...perfect time to start building an AR

There is a gun show coming up. I want to get started on building an AR-15 and know very little, however thanks to this site I do have a leg up.

Basically, I plan to leave with a stripped lower reciever, but if the prices are right who knows what I may end up leaving with. How should I approach this? I will not spend more than $700 no matter what. I told the mrs that I would cool off on buying guns, but she was kind enough to inform me about the upcoming gun show. Is this a trick?.. JK

Im not planning on getting anything more than a stripped lower but am looking for input on other things I should be looking for if the prices are right.


Id just like to add that the primary purpose for this rifle is going to be a plinker. Im not looking for 1" group at 500 yards. I just want to get started into the AR-15 format.

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Old 04-11-2009, 09:34 PM   #2
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Default Congrats

Well lets see, you're plan to come back with a stripped lower is a good start. I would say to make sure you get a milled reveiver vs. a forged reveiver. If you can find em' and the prices are right look for the following,

General list of parts,
1. Lower receiver parts kit
2. Upper receiver
3. BCG
4. Barrel
5. Stock
6. Handguard
7. Front and rear sights

I don't know if you can come away with all that for $700. Most lowers are selling between $175-$225 lately. Add in the limited availabilty of the AR15 parts and prices start to climb. But good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

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Old 04-11-2009, 10:15 PM   #3
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Megaton - Great idea.

What are you looking for the rifle to do?

An AR-15 is a great weapon to add to the arsenal, and with the forth coming Right to Bear Arms battle, a weapon that will have ammunition available on EVERY battlefield....

If I can help, please let me know...

JD

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Old 04-12-2009, 12:22 AM   #4
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I am just looking for a plinker in this rifle. And to get started into the AR-15 platform. Nothing fancy, I just want a rifle that will put lead down range every time I pull the trigger and be able to hit a soda can at 100 yards.

How can one tell the difference between a milled and a forged lower?

I was looking into a kit from model 1 but it seems they have a 6 month wait. So it looks like I will might be better off piecing the thing together myself.

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Originally Posted by dog2000tj View Post
If you can find em' and the prices are right look for the following,

General list of parts,
1. Lower receiver parts kit
2. Upper receiver
3. BCG
4. Barrel
5. Stock
6. Handguard
7. Front and rear sights

What would be a reasonable price for those items? I know the lower parts kit should run me in the 50-100 range but I don't really know what I should expect to pay for the rest.
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:00 AM   #5
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Megaton,

Check out pricing of the parts from the following dealers,

Dynamic Armament
MidwayUSA
Brownells
Del Ton
Riflegear

You can search for parts on Gunbroker or Guns America as well. That should give you an idea of ballpark figures for the parts. I usually check 10-15 sites for pricing on particulair parts.

As far as milled receivers go - they are machined from a solid piece of stock. This makes for a much higher quality part. Anything else may not be of the same quality. From the research I have done and the advice I've gotten from forum members most of the major manufacturers and name brands mill thier receivers, just be sure to ask.

You should also check out post #12 by Dillinger here, http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/doublestar-any-good-12019/,
where he breaks down the major components of the AR. A search of the AR15 forums will yield tons of info, I spent almost 6 months reading through old threads.

As far as wait time goes your in the same boat as many of us. I picked up my first one from Gunbroker right away just to get it. My other 2 have been on order 4 months, with an expected 6 month wait. If you can find the individual parts in stock at a price your comfortable with than I'd say grab em. The same goes for complete lowers and uppers.

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Old 04-12-2009, 08:19 AM   #6
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Thank you for the replies. I did a little research and this is what I came up with a couple of questions.

Regarding the 'twist rate' I believe that for my purposes I want 1-9" because I am wanting this rifle for mainly a plinker and most civilian ammo is lighter grain is this correct? Going a little deeper, CAN I shoot heavier grain loads with this barrel?

Second question is also about the barrel. If the barrel is stamped .223 does that mean I can't shoot the 5.56 nato round? Im assuming this is right and I want to find a barrel stamped 5.56 nato so I can shoot the higher pressure nato round if I want to.

Do I need an upper parts kit? I see they are sold at brownells but have never read about needing them.


Here is a rough price range I came up with, feedback welcome.

barrel - 250-500+
bolt and bolt carrier - 60 for bolt, 90 for bolt carrier
stock - 50-100
upper parts kit - 70 do I need?
lower parts kit - 75
stripped upper - A2- 100 A4- 150
stripped lower - 150-200
hand guard - 25
sights - 100


Are these prices right? Because that adds up to over a 1k. I might be better off just placing and order with model 1 and waiting the 6 months or I can find full rifles for 1k locally. I do want to build one myself to learn the ins and outs but the other half of it is saving money and if my prices are right Im not going to save any money.

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Old 04-12-2009, 03:23 PM   #7
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Megaton, I've been wandering around AR15.com. Links to Del-Ton and J-T have been very useful. You can buy everything, except the striped lower receiver, starting at around $500.00. These are complete kits in different calibers and configurations. In some cases you can start with a basic kit and customize to your liking. The sky's the limit here. The only problem is your probably going to have to wait a while for delivery, although, at these prices I think it's worth it.

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Old 04-12-2009, 06:03 PM   #8
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megaton,

welcome to the disease, and to a place where we will do everything imaginable and possible to feed you with enough of the best info and ideas to keep that evil black rifle disease spreading

With what you are intending to build and the price range you are wanting to stay in, at least for the upcoming show...

...if you are wanting to have a working plinker any time soon...I would look for a complete upper assembly at the show first. The reason I say this is...that is probably one of the hardest things to find right now. Yes, you can order from Del-ton, J&T, Model 1, M & A, or any of the manufacturers right now, and I can pretty much guarantee that you will be waiting...for a WHILE

On the flip side, the shows around here anyway, have had a decent selection of upper assemblies, in 16" to 24" and just about every barrel configuration you could want. Prices will range from about $500 and up. Yes, there are some that gouging, so it pays to shop. And if you pay close attention while shopping, and with a little luck, you may find what you want with the handguards that you want, too. But handguards are easy to change and find later. Look for A3/A4 configuration to get the flat-top upper that will allow you to mount optics.

The other thing you should keep your eye open for at the show, is a Lower Parts Kit. These are probably second on the list of "hard-to-find" items, and there are folks out there who are taking advantage of this, too. Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $150 for a LPK. But I wouldn't give anything over $90.

The other item that is difficult to find, a Bolt Carrier Group. But if you buy a decent complete upper assembly, most of them will come with a BCG and a Charging Handle. If not, expect to pay $150 to $200 for a good BCG and another $20 to $40 for the Charging Handle.

You might also keep an eye open for the type of stock you might want, too. I found Mapgul CTR stocks at our last gun show, in all colors, commercial and Mil-spec tube styles, going for $90 and up.

As you can see, just from those items, your initial $700 is going to be coming home in alot smaller denominations But don't fret, because if you can at least find those items at the show, the rest will be easier to find and with far greater choices.

Stripped lower receivers are easy to find right now, and going from $100 and up, depending on what roll mark (picture or name) you want on the side of it, or if you want forged or billet pieces. Stay with a good forged receiver for now, or you will definitely need a bigger wallet.

Sights are easy to pick up, and styles vary by personal choice. Expect to pay about $80 to $100 for good BUIS rear, and about the same for forward sights, too.

Yes, the prices you had listed weren't too far from reality. So that is the question you have to ask yourself. Do I want to piece it together, knowing that you will be in that $1000 range by the time you get all the pieces together, or buy a kit (waiting for 6 months or longer), or buy a pre-assembled piece at the local shop or gun show? Good question, and one only you can answer. But by piecing it together or building a kit, you will gain much more knowledge about "HOW-TO" put your gun together, "HOW-TO" tear it apart and replace anything that may break or need replacing or for better cleaning and maintenance, and if nothing else, "HOW-TO" impress your buddies with your expertise with the AR platform.

But we're all here to help in anyway, so ask away.

Slo

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Old 04-13-2009, 12:51 PM   #9
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Slo, thank you very much for the incredibly thorough response. I am certainly in good company here at this site.

I was thinking along the same lines as to what you have suggested, attempting to come home with a complete upper. If I can find one for $500 or less including BCG then I will put myself in really good shape. Is this a reasonable expectation? Considering you can get the complete kit minus lower reciever for $500 online it seems like a reasonable expectation to me, but I clearly don't know much at all.

I do want the m3/m4 upper just because I prefer the look of them over the A2 upper but beggers can't be choosers. Thinking long term, I would like to build this rifle for a cheap as possible with only the expectation of putting lead downrange when I pull the trigger. Sometime in the future I will build another rifle for SHTF scenarios. Start with the plinker and in the meantime aquire the know how to put together a class A rifle in the future.

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Originally Posted by slowryde45 View Post

Yes, the prices you had listed weren't too far from reality. So that is the question you have to ask yourself. Do I want to piece it together, knowing that you will be in that $1000 range by the time you get all the pieces together, or buy a kit (waiting for 6 months or longer), or buy a pre-assembled piece at the local shop or gun show? Good question, and one only you can answer. But by piecing it together or building a kit, you will gain much more knowledge about "HOW-TO" put your gun together, "HOW-TO" tear it apart and replace anything that may break or need replacing or for better cleaning and maintenance, and if nothing else, "HOW-TO" impress your buddies with your expertise with the AR platform.

You really hit the nail with that. A few weeks ago there was an AR for $800 at a local shop. Sure, I can build a better rifle, but would I be happy with that rifle, will it do everything I want it to? Yes.

The question I need to answer for myself, is do I want to take the time and gain the knowledge and experience that is both paramount and priceless, or do I just want instant gratification for the cheapest price possible?

As you said, only I can answer that one. Alot of that will have to do with what I can find at the show and for how much. Thank you all for the replies, any more input/advice is welcomed/appreciated.
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:43 PM   #10
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megaton,

no problem. you have a great bunch of guys posting on here, with varied expertise, all willing to help.

what you are planning may be quite possible depending on what the vendors have at your show. here, it isn't too hard to find a complete upper or complete gun for that matter. example - last show, there were DPMS's, Bushmasters, Rock Rivers, Smith & Wesson AR's on quite a few tables. The tricky part was finding someone who didn't think they had the last one on Earth, or didn't think their's were made of gold.

you might be able to circumvent that in a couple ways. come across as the good 'ol boy, kissing up where applicable, and just trying to fit in, all the way up to asking how much one of those evil black rifles might cost to a local, such as yourself?

or try the totally rookie approach and let them tell you everything about the guns, what you should be looking for, what makes one better than the other, let them get up on stage and shine. then let them know that you've been wanting one for quite a while, and are seriously looking but can only afford so much (don't say how much or they'll sell you the cheapest thing there, that just so happens to cost 'just that amount') instead get them to explain why this model costs this much compared to that model. then they've stated prices, that would give you a bargaining chip - you would take this model right now for $xxxx this much cash!

the least they can say is "no". but you won't know until you try, right? yes it all sounds a little devious, but no more than what alot of people are doing right now. i find items come up on line all the time, sell out in 10-15 minutes, and within days are listed for sale on various forums/ebay/etc. for anywhere up to 500% mark-ups. sad...but CAPITALISM at it's worst, for the consumer.

so hopefully you find something at the show. keep us informed, and good luck to you.

Slo

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