How cheap can I go with a AR?
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:49 PM   #1
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Default How cheap can I go with a AR?

I have a green light to pick up another rifle and I always like the AR look so leaning toward that. I don't know much about the AR platform so if I screw this up please go easy on me.

Here is what I need it for.

The gun will be used at the range 90-100% of the time, I am thinking of coyote hunting so it might have double duty, and if the SHTF defense gun(not home defense got a shotgun for that).

As I will be plinking at the range I sure I will buy one of the conversion kits so I can shoot .22. This will give my boys a chance to shoot it will me.

I will be mounting a scope. I am not sure I can hit something at 300-400 yards but I am going to try(not with the .22 I know) as I hear the .223 can reach out to 500 yards.

I know I want it to shoot .223 but the 5.56 while cool not a must. I hear some will shoot the 5.56 but not all.

Name brand doesn't matter that much to me. Just want it to go bang when I pull the trigger and not brake the bank. So I am thinking about picking up a upper/lower then save for a bit and pick up the other.

I am also pretty good with basic tools and mechanical inclined so if it saves me cash I will build it my self it that is a option. I really like the looks of the Zombie AR parts(I think spike makes them) and if I can buy only what I need to use with no extra parts it will save cash.

My two boys and I are huge zombie fans so those zombie parts are pulling at my wallet even before I have anything to put them on.

If you guys/gals can give me some info to point me in the right direction that would be great.

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Old 08-22-2011, 10:11 PM   #2
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Off the top of my head I am thinking that about $600 is realistically as low as you will get with new parts without opting for real cheap crap parts. You may get a lower price with a scratched or blemished upper or lower if you don't mind the look.

Any engraved lower will add a few bucks to the price as will shipping and FFL transfer fee if bought online. One of the vendors here offers zombie hunter engraved lowers by Aero for $129, non engraved lowers from Spikes, PSA, etc can be had for about $100. Gunbroker can offer some deals, as can e-bay and other sights for stocks, lower parts kits, optics and sights. Point is you will need to scour the web for the best prices unless you hit a good deal. Again, slick guns, another vendor, does some of that work for you.

Uppers are a mixed back and where you should put the most money, getting a good setup with a reliable BCG and barrel is more critical than the lower, IMHO.

Scan through the posts in the AR forum to get an idea for some of the brands and vendors.

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Old 08-22-2011, 10:24 PM   #3
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Not counting optics and .22 conversion kits, a basic barebones 5.56 / .223 Rem. AR will run you $650-$700 if you're planning on building one yourself. $750-$800 if you buy a new one complete. Once you start adding in ammunition, magazines and accessories the price jumps up pretty quick from there.

Look at Del-Ton if you're looking at a basic reliable AR's. :

Del-Ton Rifles: 16" Rifles from Del-Ton, Inc.

Most people building an AR start with a stripped lower that is the only part that requires a purchase through a licensed FFL dealer and then start buying all the parts on-line. Unless you're a pretty good gunsmith with tools, buying a complete upper is usually the next step. You can build an AR upper completely from parts purchased on-line, but it takes some skill to do.

Good luck with your build.

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Old 08-22-2011, 11:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info.

If I buy a upper and a lower what else do I need? Not that I want to to buy two items just want to see what else I would need.


Looking at some treads I think I will try and build the lower but buy the upper complete. I think I will stay away from chrome lined barrel.

EDIT: Looking at the Del-ton site they have the kits for a good price. I could order one of those and then pick up a zombie lower and be good to go. Thanks

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Old 08-22-2011, 11:47 PM   #5
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Here is my checklist, as well as the parts i will be getting

Tools(Unnecessary):
Midwest Industries AR Stock Wrench
Wheeler Engineering Brass Punch Set (8-Piece)

Stripped Lower(Necessary):
PSA AR15 Lower

Lower Parts Kit(Necessary):
Palmetto State Armory Ergo LPK

Upper Receiver(Necessary):
Del-Ton, Inc. AR-15 16" Mid-Length Custom Upper

And then sights and a couple of mags, Alternatively you can go with this package, will save you some money, but its not as good as a midlength upper~

Palmetto State Armory 16" M4 Standard Rifle Kit
PSA AR15 Lower

Now those are just my suggestions for a cheap durable AR, not top of the line, but good enough
Also chrome lined barrels are good, idk why you would want to stay away from them?

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Old 08-22-2011, 11:49 PM   #6
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Generic lower: $79
Lower Parts kit: $59
Used Upper: As low as $350
Used A2 stock: About $25

That's about as cheap as it gets.

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Old 08-23-2011, 12:04 AM   #7
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Along with your stripped lower and lower parts kit you'll need a buttstock with buffer tube, buffer and buffer spring. Usually they come in a kit, but not always.

With your upper you'll need to select what sights you want to use if you go with an A4 flat top. There are pop-up sights and fixed sights to choose from. If you go with an A2 style it will have rear sights built into the carry handle and an A2 front sight.

The above will give you a functional rifle when combined with ammo and a magazine.

After that, there is scopes mounts and optics to choose if you want to go that way. Really, who wouldn't right?

Also don't forget there are also slings, more magazines, rails, bipods and lights if you want. It all depends on how deep your pockets are.

Oh, and don't forget lots and lots of ammo to shoot.

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Old 08-23-2011, 01:08 AM   #8
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Honestly, when the cost of an AR goes under $800 I start having doubts about its overall quality. And that's not counting optics, sling and other accessories.

Not saying it's an iron-clad rule, the $800, there are bargains but know exactly what you're getting.

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Old 08-23-2011, 01:10 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone I am a lot less worried building my own now.

I am going to go to the local shops tomorrow and see what lowers they have in stock. Maybe save that FFL fee.

On the chrome barrels I read that they will wear and accuracy will go down. And after a point the barrel will be ruined. Not sure if that is 25,000 rounds or what and like I said I am not a AR guy so I could have been misinformed.

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Old 08-23-2011, 01:31 AM   #10
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Chrome plated barrels tend to last longer than non-plated, sometimes called chrome moly. 25K is starting to reach the useful life of an AR barrel. Probably not ruined but accuracy is dropping. Depends though on lots of variables. A lot of us have been following the story of Filthy 14, a BCM AR that's now around 44K and going strong. Accuracy has dropped off but it's still adequate for combat. This rifle has only been cleaned a couple times and had a bolt replaced and the extractor a few times.

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