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New to AR's want to purchase, need help

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Old 06-12-2011, 10:30 PM   #21
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When I built mine (First AR-15 Build...Here I go), I bought a stripped lower (did all the FFL paperwork down at the gun shop), then bought all of the other parts on the internet. I bought a complete upper, a stock kit, a lower parts kit, and a rear sight.

I think I spent no more than $850 and had a really serviceable AR-15. Then, after shooting it many times, I've gotten a better feel for the doo-dads I wanted to buy. I've spent another $400-500 since then on modifications, but nothing that was necessary to start.

And I've got a) a better rifle than any stock rifle and b) a lot of knowledge since I saw it come together on my bench.

I really didn't need too many tools. I didn't build the upper, so I didn't need to measure anything. I think I bought a stock wrench and a magazine block to be able to hold the lower in my bench vise.

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Old 06-12-2011, 11:25 PM   #22
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I'm not the most mechanically inclined person but I just picked up three stripped lowers from my FFL a couple weeks ago. I'm waiting for the lpk's and the stock assemblies to come in, then I'm putting complete uppers on them, using two as gifts, and of course, keeping the best one for me.

I figure with all the info out there, and everyone here to help if needed, what could go wrong?
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:32 PM   #23
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Well, I have never seen someone so damn adimate about not building their own rifle as "Mr. fastmaninstructor, former Ranger, two star, combat jump wings, LE Instructor and civilian Instructor since 1974 guy."


Everyone here, including Dillinger or Cainbrake, that has a tab by their name and even those that don't or don't want one, have given you spot on advise to the advantages of building your own rifle, as opposed to buying a brand name one. You do not have to have any special tools, although a vice block for the upper and a Armour wrench would be nice, you can easily supplement those for and make use of your standard tool box tools, as stated above by Tango.

By building your own lower, you learn that lower, the parts that make it up, their function and learn how to recognize and fix any malfunctions, something especially important in a critical field situation. You get to choose the quality of parts that you will use in that lower. All that and the on-line resources and sites to find quality name-brand parts can be provided here and suggested for you to decide what you want. Hell everything you need to know even step-by-step instructions can be found here, along with 24/7 visual and expert advise with just a post of a question, as well.

The money you save, you can pick out a name brand upper, or build that with the same confidence as your lower, with the same advise and guidance provided here. You will come out ahead, money wise, know more about that rifle through the trials and tribulations of putting it together, and most importantly the personal satisfaction and confidence you will get from firing something you built from the ground up.

Look at this thread, the score is many to one, based on the responses here. If you have any personal queries PM myself or any of the other forum members here for help. As far as "Mr. fastmaninstructor, former Ranger, two star, combat jump wings, LE Instructor and civilian Instructor since 1974" guy....don't bother, I got some combat jump wings myself, plus some HALO jumps.


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Old 06-12-2011, 11:36 PM   #24
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Guess he must not have the "skill" to be able to build an AR.....just sayin....

OP, please dont listen to nice "instructor" guy (had to hit the back button quite a bit there and redo what I should say) and take some advice from the ACTUAL help here. Built mine piece by piece without one problem, works like a charm, and all thanks to the help I found on here!
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:43 PM   #25
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I'm going to throw another vote towards building your own from scratch. Its really not that complicated - if you can change the oil in your car/truck, you can assemble an AR-15. When I did my build, I ran across a few speed bumps, but everyone here was willing to help and get me back on track. As far as expense, you can easily build one within your price range and still have some $$$ for optics, mags, etc. The only thing you have to worry about is getting addicted

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Old 06-13-2011, 12:06 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by dnthmn2004 View Post
The only thing you have to worry about is getting addicted
Quoted for truth right there!!
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:51 AM   #27
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I'm a fan of building your lower and buying the upper.

For $700-$800 you can get into a Spikes Tactical AR or for just under $900 you can get a BCM AR. Both light years ahead of DPMS and Bushmaster. BCM being a LEO and Mil proven weapon. Daniel Defense is better yet but also slightly more than the BCM.

Occasionally Aimsurplus has Spikes complete uppers in the $400 range. Slap one of those on their stripped lowers you've built and you'll have a great AR in your price range.

You dont have to settle just because its your first AR.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:13 AM   #28
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dallee, I'm very sorry your thread got ambushed by one angry old man (and I feel I can say that since I'm probably as old as "the instructor" - I was in Nam in 1968.) Ignore him, he's derailing you and doesn't once offer even one factory brand to buy, he just seems to indicate they're all better than your own build, and that's not necessarily true. Some people say parts are parts but once you get up to speed you find out that quality differs, and price isn't always an indicator of quality - for complete rifles or parts.

Anyway, I'm in the same camp as others here recommending building up a stripped lower then buying a factory upper (but only after you've done your research and know which barrel profile, twist rate, length, gas system length, etc.).

I started out wanting to buy a rifle right before the last presidential election. As did a LOT of people! My buddy bought a Carbon-15 but I just couldn't go that low. So I spent months researching while looking for what pitiful double-priced parts were available and had to put off buying until I finally found a good deal on a stripped lower in the summer of 2009. Then built it up with NO special tools, just what the average guy has in the garage. Heck you don't even need a vise. The lower went well and two more since then also went together perfectly. The lower is not a big deal.

Then pin on a factory complete upper of your selection - or a stripped barreled upper with your choice of handguards, BCG, charging handle, sights.

And yes, my first AR was light years better than my buddy's C-15 and he'll be the first to admit it. My second AR was even better than the first since parts really freed up last year and prices were good. Prices now aren't quite as good but they're very close. It's a great time to be buying or building an AR today.

Anyway, the really hard thing about building is selecting quality parts and that takes work on your part - learning what you want and finding good prices on quality parts. But that's a lot of fun plus you have the pride of saying "I built it myself". And if you decide to buy a complete factory AR after all, well ... the same research that goes into a build ensures that you get a quality factory build too. You just can't get around choosing the parts yourself - except by buying a second AR once you figure out all the things you did wrong by not doing your homework the first time.

Not trying to scare you but you WILL end up with a better AR if you read through the build threads here and assembly guides. Definitely look at Brownell's assembly videos too, they're great. But they do push their own tools that you can make do with standard tools.

The last couple good things about building, you pay the 11% federal excise tax only on the stripped lower, not the complete rifle and that can be a $100 savings. Another good thing is you can buy on the internet and have just about everything except the lower sent to your front door. There is real power using the internet as your bargain gun shop. Sure, check out your favorite LGS but if they won't deal with you, don't fear buying from recommended online sites.

If you do your homework and are patient you can have a really good AR for $800-900 and I would recommend aiming at that price range. Besides if you break up the build over a couple months you probably can kick in a little more by spreading out the cost. You'll be glad you did instead of buying a $700 DPMS Sportical/Oracle/whatever - or Joe Blow's homebrew AR. And if you choose your parts right you won't be replacing so much original equipment on an run of the mill AR off the rack.

Anyway, you've got some reading to do but it's a lot of fun! I loved it myself. And ask lots of questions!
The biggest issue with assembling an AR isn't so much getting the parts together right - it's getting the right parts together.
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:17 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by dallee View Post
I've also noticed in some pics that some people put a red dot on top of the ones that have handles on them. Does it not set up too high? Would you be able to get a bead on something 200 yards away with the scope mounted on top of the handle?
im a huge fan of the fixed carry handle. i bought a colt sp1 when i turned 18 it came with the old colt 4x scope. works great out to 500 yards. it has a built in bullet drop compensator. used to routinely ring the steel plates out to 600yds with it. height above the bore doesnt really matter all that much it mainly just prevents a solid cheek/stock weld. thats the real reason people like lower mounted scopes. its got nothing to do with inherent accuracy.

no reason a fixed handle mounted optic wont work for you.
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:42 AM   #30
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I literally had about an hour of trigger time with an ar two monthes before deciding to build. I barely knew what a bolt catch was let alone what it did and yet I just built one and have put 600 FLAWLESS rounds through my build. Best part I used "sears" tools so stick that in your pipe and smoke mr. Instructor. Trust me these guys are not blowing hot air when they tell you how easy it is to build your own. They are also more than willing to help in anyway they can . I say let that ignorant fool keep running his mouth, more parts availability for us "couch experts"
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