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Old 11-15-2013, 01:23 AM   #1
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Default Lightweight AR: Where is the weight?

I'd like to get a lightweight AR. Where is the biggest weight savings? There is not much information on weights of various parts and unless I am comparing complete rifles, I'm having a hard time being able to figure out what to choose to keep it light.

Often "Lightweight" AR's (BCM, RRA, PSA, etc) are basically a pencil barrel and that's the only modification.

Forged/Billet lower versus Polymer lower or upper: Big difference in weight?

Carbine system versus midlength system: Savings here?

Lightweight handguard (some are very expensive) versus a simple Magpul MOE

BTW, I plan to go with just iron sights and maybe a Crimson Trace rail master laser. That'll help the weight, too.

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Old 11-15-2013, 01:31 AM   #2
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I'd like to get a lightweight AR. Where is the biggest weight savings? There is not much information on weights of various parts and unless I am comparing complete rifles, I'm having a hard time being able to figure out what to choose to keep it light.

Often "Lightweight" AR's (BCM, RRA, PSA, etc) are basically a pencil barrel and that's the only modification.

Forged/Billet lower versus Polymer lower or upper: Big difference in weight?

Carbine system versus midlength system: Savings here?

Lightweight handguard (some are very expensive) versus a simple Magpul MOE

BTW, I plan to go with just iron sights and maybe a Crimson Trace rail master laser. That'll help the weight, too.
The biggest weight saver would be a composite construction such as in the Bushmaster Carbon. Second, a thinner barrel (aka pencil), especially in a 20" rifle. No carry handle. Carbine length, yes. Probably some little things, but basically this is it. The iron sights could be plastic too of course.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:35 AM   #3
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Carroll Shelby built a career by reducing weight in sportscars. He eliminated anything unnecessary and lightened everything else.

Mine weighs about 4.5 pounds. Bushmaster carbon fiber receivers and superlight barrel. Ace ultralight stock. No forward assist. No iron sights. No weighty rails.
The bolt and carrier are the heaviest parts. But they are centered so it helps the balance.

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Old 11-15-2013, 01:59 AM   #4
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Carroll Shelby built a career by reducing weight in sportscars. He eliminated anything unnecessary and lightened everything else.

Mine weighs about 4.5 pounds. Bushmaster carbon fiber receivers and superlight barrel. Ace ultralight stock. No forward assist. No iron sights. No weighty rails.
The bolt and carrier are the heaviest parts. But they are centered so it helps the balance.
Holy crap, I've got .22's that weigh more than that.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:18 AM   #5
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Mine weighs about 4.5 pounds.
A lot of that doesn't really suit my tastes. And yet, I find your rifle pretty damned cool. Wouldn't mind taking a swing at a similar ultralight build at some point. Weightlessness can be quite adventageous. Very cool setup!

7lbs is sort of what I consider the 'vanilla' weight for my ARs. I prefer light. I have a 14.5" BCM middy build that weighs about 6.5#...that's with forged alloy lower, BCM M16 bcg and ambi CH, BAD lever, CTR stock, Vortex RDS and MBUS...so I managed to get everything I desired and still keep it trim.



My featherweight rifle is a KelTec Sub2000. 17 or 33rds of 9mm, folds in half, 4lbs (unloaded).
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:23 AM   #6
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I think going carbon poly you give up too much in rigidity ad strength for the weight reduction.

Forged upper and lower Ff tube made thin and light with magpul mbus sights pencil barrel mid length gas system lightweight magpul moe stock or m4 milspec stock is good as it gets

Weight has advantages especially when you want to shoot fast and accurate. Weight soaks up recoil. Lessweight equals more recoil and muzzle jump meaning slower less accurate fire.

A happy median to me is around 6-7 pounds in a ar15

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Old 11-15-2013, 03:07 AM   #7
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I'd like to get a lightweight AR. Where is the biggest weight savings? There is not much information on weights of various parts and unless I am comparing complete rifles, I'm having a hard time being able to figure out what to choose to keep it light.
Barrel- Pencil barrels are great, and 14.5" middies can work well if set up correctly. Carbine gas is fine too, and you can keep things pretty light with a 16" pencil midlength.

Lower- Contrary to popular opinion, I would trust a polymer lower. But I would not build one. They can split/stretch in spots when hammering in pins and such (it's happened to me). But if together without flaw, I believe they'll stand up to a fair amount of use. I just don't like them because they look cheap.

BCG- Minimal weight variance, and it's centered weight. Buy a good M16 with a C158 bolt. Reliable cycling trumps weight 8 days a week.

Handguard- Keep it simple. Magpul MOE is a great option.

Stock- Can be a biggie when it comes to overall weight as well as balanced weight. Standard milspec stocks are light. MOE is also an option, and CTR if you want it to lock into place.

When trying to go lighter and lighter, it quickly becomes a matter of trade-offs. My car would be a lot lighter if I ditched the spare tire, bumper, and back seat...and after all, I rarely use any of them...you get the point, LOL.
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Old 11-15-2013, 03:14 AM   #8
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Jon suggested mid-length. My primary AR is mid-length, which I find perfect for the platform. However, in terms of weight, doesn't the carbine help at least a bit?

The Bushmaster Carbon-15 is definitely appealing! So is the GWACS CAV-15 lower (one-piece complete polymer lower)!

But this is why I ask the main question. If the biggest amount of weight savings is in the barrel and choices on the upper, then why bother with polymer receivers? I really don't know where the weight is.

Any other ideas?

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Old 11-15-2013, 03:17 AM   #9
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The barrel and furniture are the majority of weight. Everything else is a compromise with minimal reduction. Barrel mostly.

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Old 11-15-2013, 03:21 AM   #10
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BTW, my purpose for this build idea is that I want/need an AR for my wife who is very weight-sensitive. Anything I can lighten I want to consider it.

What is better for weight: A standard triangular front sight post or a railed gas block (which would require a metal BUIS anyway)?

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