Building Your Own vs Buying Already Made

Discussion in 'Auto & Semi-Auto Discussion' started by Kemosabe, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Kemosabe

    Kemosabe New Member

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    I have asked this question on another forum, but have not had any replies.


    Since joining the forum, I have become interested in the AR. Guys at my LGS have been talking about building their own. Not having much experience with them and I am considering the possibility in owning one, if you were looking to add one to your collection would you build your own or buy one already made. Which company would be the best source for components and parts, and what experiences have you had with the companies you have dealt with.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. potentialglock

    potentialglock New Member

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    Brown ells is great for all things gun related. If this is your first AR I recommended d buying one pre made. Colt, Remington, Smith and Wesson, FN all make good AR platforms
     

  3. ZeusEcho

    ZeusEcho Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Highly recommend building it. You can pick all the parts you want and will then really know the rifle inside and out. It's fairly easy if you are at all mechanically inclined and only requires a small amount of specialized tools.

    Whichever path you choose I would highly recommend that you first read the stickies in the AR15 section, especially AgentTikki's Primer!!! Then you'll have a better understanding of what kind of AR would best suit your needs.

    I built my first one in July, just completed a 2nd and have 3 stripped lowers in the safe waiting for attention. They multiply when you're not looking.

    On second thought, if you want to avoid BRD, which is highly contagious and not covered by insurance, forget you even started this thread. :)

    Also browse around the AR setion here and the AR15.com forum for lot's of info on brands, dealers, and building your own.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  4. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    I purchased a stripped lower and a complete upper with a lower build kit.
    By the time sights, mags and ammo were added, my bill was pushing $725.

    Was it worth the trouble of assembly? IMO, yes and no.

    The sights were not included in the kit. I had to figure which sights I wanted and had to go to another source for those.
     
  5. Kemosabe

    Kemosabe New Member

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    What type of specialized tools would you need?
     
  6. ZeusEcho

    ZeusEcho Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Upper, lower and barrel vice blocks
    Barrel nut wrench- You could buy an assembled upper to avoid this but installing the barrel is not difficult and depending on the hadguard or rail you choose you may need to change the barrel nut anyway.
    Castle nut wrench
    Roll pin punches
    Other punches
    The rest of the tools like alan wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers etc you probably already have.

    Brownells is a good source for the tools.
     
  7. Old_Crow

    Old_Crow New Member

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    When you buy a gun you get a warranty. Some AR-15's have a lifetime warranty. If this is your first AR-15 I recommend buying an AR. After you shoot a while and make friends who have custom built AR's you will have a better idea of what you want and don't want in an AR. I have two DPMS custom built AR-15's. But I built mine at a time when you could go to a gun shop and buy a kit for $400 plus tax. Today you can buy a gun just as cheap as you can build it.

    I upgraded the sights that came with my AR-15's. They had Williams plastic sights in the kits. I upgraded them to nice metal peep sights. Sights aren't cheap! I paid $80 a set for mine and there are many that cost much more.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  8. rhyno13

    rhyno13 New Member

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    I would build one and put the parts that I desire into the weapon. Plus I can build it for less than I can buy a similar one for
     
  9. Kemosabe

    Kemosabe New Member

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    Some of you say you can build cheaper than buying. From what I've seen they sell for $1,200 and up, and some are over $2,000. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong website.
     
  10. potentialglock

    potentialglock New Member

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    I can find good ARs for 600-900$
     
  11. Kemosabe

    Kemosabe New Member

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    Would you mind sharing who they are and if they have a website would be helpful.
     
  12. Khromo

    Khromo New Member

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    I've learned a few things from assembling a few of these things. Others will disagree, but here is my view. For what little it is worth.

    Assembling your own AR15 for the first time will require hours of researching how to do it. There are a few online tutorials that will provide all the detailed instructions you will need, but you may have to find more than one set of instructions, as most of them seem to lack enough detail in one area or another (upper assembly, trigger group installation, etc.) that you need to consult another source. How much is your time worth?

    Assembling your own AR15 for the first time will require hours of researching what parts you need, and where to find the components you want at the right price. You need to educate yourself on what components you need, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and which ones fit your needs and budget. How much is your time worth?

    You can assemble an AR15 with a butter knife and a block of wood, but it will not be the kind of experience most folks are looking for! You can spend $500 on tools if you wish, but this is not necessary for most folks. Brownell's has a "critical tools kit" that has all of the specialized tools you really need (and maybe one or two you don't), and if you add a few roll pin holders and punches, you are ready to go. This assumes you own a basic vise, a roll of masking tape, and a small (ball peen) hammer. $100-300 for tools will get anybody set up very nicely, depending on what you already own. Or, you can ask around and find someone who has the tools, and work a deal to swing by their garage some evening, and do it for a case of beer or the promise of a favor to be named later. A lot of guys buy the tools, build a few rifles, then sell the tools to get back most or all of that money.

    The guys who talk about assembling an AR (including the upper receiver assembly) in a couple of hours, are not exaggerating. The assembly process takes a lot less time than the gathering of the parts. Even a first timer can assemble a whole rifle in one short evening, once he has studied up on how to do it. This is very much like the first time you had sex. The preparation seems to last forever, but the actual act, well, it might seem anticlimactic.

    In the process of educating yourself on what components you need, you might identify a lot of upgrades that you really want. Some upgraded features like pistol grips won't push you too far beyond the cost of a basic ready-built rifle, but the more important upgrades like a fine barrel, aftermarket trigger, free float handguard, sights, etc., inflate the cost of the personally assembled rifle really fast.

    I think that if you are satisfied with a straightforward AR15 without any upgraded parts or features, and are satisfied with "combat" or "hunting" accuracy, the most economical solution by far is to buy a ready made rifle. There are a lot of "entry level" rifles out there for $600 to $700 that offer a warranty and decent performance. I think that most of the guys who are assembling these things for that price are spending an exorbitant amount of time chasing sale prices, and they are not adding too many high-end upgrades, if any. How much is your time worth?

    Assembling your own rifle makes sense if you have a particular set of features in mind, or if you want better accuracy, or if you enjoy tinkering and are willing to pay the extra freight. However, if you have a budget of $1,200 or so, you can build a very sweet AR that is very well tailored to your needs and wants. You probably won't find a gun that suits you so perfectly on the shelf.
     
  13. robertb6112

    robertb6112 New Member

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    I was wondering the same thing I am also interested in a AR. What's cheaper building are buying one? I'm looking for the cheapest route. I think building one would be better for me because I can't afford to drop $700-$800 at a time. That way I can get a little at a time. I was looking at sarcos kits.
     
  14. Old_Crow

    Old_Crow New Member

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    Exactly, you can go to Walmart and buy a DPMS with a lifetime warranty for around $600 depending on where you live. Our Walmart has Colt AR-15's for $1,000 plus tax. I live near Raleigh, NC.
     
  15. potentialglock

    potentialglock New Member

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    Local gun shops, gun shows, maybe Walmart if you're in a progun state.
     
  16. juststartin5272

    juststartin5272 New Member

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    Everyone keeps telling him you can pick the parts you want, but with no experience with owning an ar it would be a waste of time. I suggest buying a lower cost ar like a dpms or delton then as you go along change parts and see what you like and don't. Then when you have sufficient experience you can knowledgeable build parts of your preference of a higher quality and have the rifle of your dreams.
     
  17. potentialglock

    potentialglock New Member

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    Agreed. Good way to go
     
  18. Kemosabe

    Kemosabe New Member

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    Ok, this sounds interesting. What you're saying is to buy one complete, and in the future I can upgrade the one I have until I decide to build my own? Just want to make sure I understand correctly.
     
  19. potentialglock

    potentialglock New Member

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    Yes that's what he's saying
     
  20. okdonk

    okdonk New Member

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    Buy a complete AR from PSA for $700. Or you can get the S&W M&P 15 Sport for $600ish. From there let's see if BRD infected you bad or if you are interested of building one next.
    Cos an AR will invite it's friends into your home without you knowing. :).
    Just saying.. :).
    Building a first one for your 1st AR with the necessary tools will be confusing. But i believe if you take the time slow within a good pace, you will pick it up quick.
    I started all blank in this forum too. :)
    I bought my first last November. And it made me build another 3. Excluding one which i built for a friend 2 weeks ago. And i still have 2 stripped lowers in my drawer. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012