True Confession: I am an Ignorant Toad
OK. I'm an old fart. My experience with semi-auto firearms is extremely limited. I bought the lovely Mrs Freefall a model 50 Winchester 20 ga, I own an SKS and an FAL. And a few 1911s but they don't signify here.
Anyways. I've been thinking I should probably ought to own an AR. Common ammo, mags, etc. For Fathers Day the local Sportsman's Warehouse had a sale on Bushmaster Carbon 15s for $650. I hustled my chunky little butt up there but they only had 2 so I got put on a list to get one in about 6 weeks (from then). Now however, I'm suffering from Raincheck Remorse. Is this a Wise Decision or should I spend my meager pile of wampum on Something Else?
I would appreciate it if Someone would organize a poll on What's the Best AR or words to that effect. And not just everybody voting for LaRue, sort of rate the general herd like Stag, DPMS, S&W, Bushy, you get my drift. If i had the skills I'd do it my own self, but I'm such a Luddite I have trouble just typing letters. Also, how do the AR10 tribe rate as opposed to an M!A, FAL, CETME etc. 308 just seems to be so much more useful up here than 5.56. I like my FAL ok, but it is a touch on the heavy side (so am I, which compounds the problem).
Thanks for any input, and here's hoping someone Wiser and More Capable than I (JD) will organize said polls.
Edit to forum mods: I hope I haven't broken any forum rules by posting a link to another forum. But this particular poll was VERY hard to get setup and I hope that you will allow me to maybe slide this time in the spirit of helpfulness that I'm posting this in.
Ask and thou shall receiver!!! (sorry, bad pun, couldn't help it :p )
Part 1 - Godsandguns "your favorite AR brand" poll expanded - Gun and Game Forums
Part 2 - Gods&Guns "Your favorite AR" Expanded further - Gun and Game Forums
This is a 2 part poll to try to cover many brands, including Hybrid and "other". But if you have to choose other, then please post what brand it is. The only problem is you have to sign up to vote, but if you just want to view, I'll post the current tally here for ya:
Current Tally (42 votes total):
Rock River Armaments ------4
Smith & Wesson -----------4
Knight Armaments Company -2
Bravo Company ------------1
Daniel Defense -------------1
High Standard -------------1
Lewis Machine & Tool ------1
Land Warfare Resource Corp-1
Sig Sauer ------------------1
USGI Retro -----------------1
Yankee Hill Manufacturing ---1
An additional point of reference: I've noticed most people who voted seem to miss the part where I'm asking "Your favorite brand" and not "what brand do you have". Most people are voting what they have, not thinking about what they would want if money was no object and they could just pick their all time favorite. So I think, as a side effect to this unintended behavior, this poll meets your requirements for a properly split out poll perhaps.
If I may address your points to a heavier round as well, looking into a .308 AR as a "lighter" rifle then your FAL may not be the right direction to go. Typical .308 AR's are larger and heavier then 5.56mm AR's and are not interchangeable in parts. But, 6.5mm AR's often only differ in the upper reciever and attached parts, but the lower receiver and magazine are interchangeable with standard AR 15's. So you get the advantages of a larger and harder hitting round while keeping the size and weight of the original AR 15. Magazine capacity is negatively affected of course, since you're using larger rounds, but I believe they're supposed to be completely compatible. Recoil is significantly more noticeable as a side effect of the larger round in a smaller rifle, but is a fair trade off in my book. It's not unbearable at all, just a bit rougher then a 5.56mm kick. Throw a nice rubber pad on the stock and you're good to go.
Edit: I hope I'm not confusing 6.5mm with 6.8 grendal that is compatible with standard lowers and magazines. If somebody here can confirm or deny which one is correct, I'd appreciate the help.
Freefall, I would spend those 6 weeks on the "list" devouring everything you can about the AR-15. First thing to settle on is caliber and I would say don't deviate from 5.56 unless you have an iron-clad reason. Of course go ahead if you have a real reason and get a larger caliber but remember everything from ammo to magazines, etc. will cost more. If most of the time this is a paper puncher and part time self defense weapon then you won't be able to afford to shoot and practice as much (because of extra cost of ammo).
The info Moshpit gave you should be very helpful but supplement it with a lot of independent homework of your own.
As far as the Carbon-15, it's kind of a specialty AR, very light but somewhat fragile due to the polymer receivers. From what I've seen firing my buddy's C-15 they are accurate and feed most ammo. But I think I'd rather have milspec 7075-T6 aluminum receivers instead even though it adds 1/2 pound or so.
Hopefully if you decide on something else you can get off the waiting list...
Oh yes! Quentin is absolutely correct on the "supplement it" statement. This is a very informal poll and is also still in a low vote count state. Most likely this poll won't have any real strength of useful capability until it reaches around a 1000 votes, though can still be somewhat useful as a starting point in your own research.
The poll isn't even quite to 1/20th of it's potential usefulness as yet.
Oh I meant to drop in a link to "The Chart" which points out positive and negative features of 15 or so M4-style AR-15s. Much of this data can be applied to other versions of the AR.
Comparison Chart of Major AR Brands - M4Carbine.net Forums
There's a lot to learn here but if you digest it before you buy you'll end up with a much better rifle. I was very intimidated by just what they were talking about at first but studied and rehashed and pondered until I understood the whole enchilada before buying an AR. Then built one choosing my own parts, like Mosh and others here have done.
(You don't have to have every positive in the M4 chart but you should understand why you are deviating from it.)
The first thing I can honestly recommend is to read this thread, because it will help explain away a lot of the mystery of the AR.
As for assembling an AR lower - it's very easy. I bet 20 or more folks have come here with ZERO experience with the platform, most of them with limited or no small tool skills, and have been able to do it. Considering where you live, and what goes on from time to time, I imagine you have more hands on skill than is needed to complete an AR lower build.
The upper isn't any harder, and I need to do a How To on it to prove that point, but suffice to say, I am pretty sure you can accomplish that as well. :)
Now, as for good quality, pre-built units that are for sale currently, you are in luck.
Rock River Arms is a very good, upper quality AR that will treat you right, not break the bank, and still leave some room for mild improvements to personalize it as you see fit.
Smith & Weapon's AR-15 is a good unit. I personally don't have much hands on experience with more than one model that was in the shop for some issues that don't warrant discussion because it was clear it was a QC issue from the manufacturer and was an easy fix. :o For the price, I think this is a very good, bordering on excellent value and will probably treat you right without fail.
As for the "Carbon Receiver" Idea = We do not recommend this unit through our shop as it is not as reliable as other aluminum framed receivers that have proven to be much more durable in real field use. This is a shop decision and in no way is meant to discourage any purchase if this is a weapon that you are interested in, it is a private dealer decision.
PM me if you have any specific questions.
Thanks a bunch guys. Gives me an idea of relative quality anyway. The more I've thought about the carbon fiber receiver idea the less I've liked it. I don't think I'm obligated to buy it, they had a lot more people panting for them than they're getting in for that price. Gotta say, I'm liking the looks of that Smith for $599.;)
I have a Spikes upper I purchased from Aimsurplus for $479 w/ free shipping, laser engraving and a Spikes buffer. It came w/ everything but a rear sight. I through it on a Spikes $89 lower I already had in the parts box. My estimate is roughly $750 for the complete rifle. IMO BCM and Spikes are 2 of the top manufacturers that wont brake the bank.
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