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easterner123 03-19-2011 02:32 AM

Why Build?
I am looking for an entry level AR with a 20" barrel, .223/ 5.56x45mm. Now, with the 20" barrel, is a 1/7 twist rate better or a 1/9 with modern ammo like M193 or M855.

Back to the main question, during my research, I have found that a lot of kits end up costing as much as an already assembled rifle. Is it more economical to build a rifle, and can one be built cheaper than $800? No bells or whistles, just a plain jane sweet 16. What are the advantages and disadvantages of building an AR?

NOTE: I have zero gunsmithing experience, but have access to a gunsmith in the family that could help me with the build.

Gojubrian 03-19-2011 02:41 AM

Excellent question. I've been mulling it over myself. I figured on just buying the whole rifle because I'm a lazy butt.

Here are some reasons for me.

1. Get the features YOU want.
2. Experience, you'll learn while you build!
3. Satisfaction. I would feel better about the gun knowing the thought and work I personally put into it.

NitroxAZ 03-19-2011 02:50 AM

You do not need gunsmithing skills. If you are fairly handy, you can do it. Look at the stickies in this section and it will guide you through the process. Besides, what is cooler than building your own gun?

556plinker 03-19-2011 03:22 AM

ANY 5th grader can build a lower and then you can purchase the upper that you desire and come in at the same price point on any entry level AR. No crap, I did it. A small hammer, cheap chinese puch set (9.99$) a block of wood and some duct tape and you are good to go. Watch a video and ask some questions. If you buy one, good. If you build one, you know how it works and its just as good and you can say that "I" built it.......with a little pride. Money dictates everything, I'm of the opinion that you can build and shoot with the entry level shooters or you can build a tack driver and stay below the price point of the heavy hitters with EVERYTHING that you desire. I believe that a homoginized high priced rifle is, or I hope, inferior to anything that I can piece together/build. I might get proved wrong, but so what, at least I tried. We shall see once the project is complete. The anticipation has to be worth something.

JonM 03-19-2011 03:25 AM

RRA complete lower 290$
RRA A2 20" upper with chrome BCG 525$

the exact same rifle is 980$. buying the two pieces seperate and putting them together you save over 200$.

by buying a stripped lower and parts you can save a little more but not by much.

those prices are off the rra website. you can get better prices from dealers. there are also folks that are vendors here that offer great deals on AR15s. but its entirely doable to get a AR in your price range.

as a first rifle i would recomend 1/9 twist gives you a large range of bullet weights it will shoot well. look for a 5.56 chambering as well so it will shoot 5.56 and .223 well.

personally i prefer the rifle or midlength gas tubes. the carbine length serves little purpose in a non-SBR application. your still stuck with a 16" barrel and the harsher recoil of the short gas tube. my opinion carbine length has no purpose on a non-sbr.

Dillinger 03-19-2011 03:26 AM

Can you purchase a rifle for the cost, or possibly cheaper, than building one?

Given the market, I think you can PROBABLY find one that would make the answer yes.

Let me ask you this though. What do you specialize in? What is your job or your hobby or something that you know really well because you have a passion for it??

Would a person paying for a generic, entry level version of THAT be doing the right thing??

I have said this 1,000 times. Building your own will teach you about the weapon and it will teach you how to clean it, how to inspect it and how to maintain it. In addition you will get a confident understanding of how the damn thing runs AND you will get to choose your parts that YOU want on it.

We have a ton of experienced builders here. I have been working on getting a tab for the certified builders so you can assign some value to the posts. But trust me when I say that I have 15 or 20 padwans here at FTF that thought they didn't know enough to build an AR, but with some help and encouragement, they all became AR Certified and built their own.

BUILD YOUR OWN!!! You can do it and you will be MUCH happier.

PM if you need help!


556plinker 03-19-2011 03:29 AM

@ easterner
palmetto state armory:

You can get a lower for 79$ and a complete lower build kit for $99. You will have 178$ in your lower and then shop for the upper. Spikes tactical on AIM surplus had the uppers for $479 so go figure. A buddy of mine did the same thing and it will shoot 1-2" groups with an average trigger. The choice is yours my friend. Do not doubt your ability to build a lower....this forum will see you through it, trust me!

easterner123 03-19-2011 04:12 AM

OK, so check out these links. Are the two compatible? They come in together under my $800 limit with shipping.

This is the upper FTF Industries: AR15 M16 UPPER RECEIVERS
I was looking at order number (AR-20HBA2A1A) it has all the specs I am looking for and what was recommended. However, check out the upper that says complete for just $152 (ARUPRECA2) right underneath it. Am I missing something?

Here is what I have in mind for the lower, great suggestion on Palmetto State Armory.
Complete PSA AR-15 Lower - Classic Edition
Does this "complete" lower mean that it has all the parts and can be mounted to an upper ready to go? Sorry for all the newbie questions, but I don't want to buy an upper and lower that won't fit and then be out all the money. I estimate total cost for this unit between $455-$715, including the $20 FFL fee for the lower and shipping costs. If that cheaper receiver is good to go, I would LOVE to save all that money and get a $500 dollar sweet sixteen that I can build myself.

I am starting to see a worrying beginning of addiction :D

By the way, I am looking for a multipurpose rifle, something I can take plinking, but can also be used for home defense if I can't get to my shotgun. The surplus mags, cleaning kits, and parts for aftermarket M16s is unbelievable, and I would like to own an American icon. I have heard that building is fun and also cheaper. The members of FTF also talk a lot about rewarding and successful builds, so hopefully I can get some good advice along the way once this plan comes to fruition (still saving money, and gas prices aren't heloing me get any closer :o )

556plinker 03-19-2011 04:25 AM

Buy any lower you want and on Palmetto they have "lower build kits" the one for $99 has a stock and everything else you need for a complete lower. You should be into you lower for no more than $200. Shop for uppers, some do not come with a bolt or charging handle this is another $160 or so, be aware of that! The ones from spikes come with everything including the bolt carrier group and charging handle. $200 @ the most plus and upper $479 is 679$ with the only thing remaining is the rear sight. You can shop around and find cheaper uppers just make sure you know what you are buying and what is included. Buying a $450 (basic) upper without the BCG and Charging handle is out of line.

easterner123 03-19-2011 04:42 AM

How about this upper?G.I. Forged Flattop Upper Complete Complte A4 Flat top receiver M&A Parts, Inc. I will email the company for more specifics, but if I can get a good deal on it and the parts its missing, I put on a pair of battle sights, or a folding rear sight perhaps. I'm calling it quits for tonight, JD and 556 Plinker, I might PM you soon, thanks for all your help.

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