Getting My Numbers Straight

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by TheSadPanda, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. TheSadPanda

    TheSadPanda New Member

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    So I have decided to jump into the world of AR-15s, but I have run into a small problem; I don't know jack about ARs :eek: I am having real trouble finding out what are good prices, what is not worth it, etc. I have decided to buy a complete setup with only the very basics, and then add on the parts I want and such. The absolute cheapest AR I could find in the STL area is a DPMS sportacle for $725 + tax. Is that a good price honestly? Is that even a good brand?

    So my main questions are:

    1. Is the above deal a fair price?

    2. Are there any better deals out there?

    3. What brands should I look for? Ones I should avoid?

    4. Is there anything I'm not considering? :confused:

    $750 is the max I can afford to spend on a basic model. I would prefer to buy locally, but if there is a great deal online, I wouldn't pass it up. I apologize for being such a noobcake. I also apologize if this thread type has been beaten to death. If you need/want more information let me know, please!
     
  2. ZombieKiller83

    ZombieKiller83 New Member

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    The DPMS Sportacle is a decent starter BUT it all depends on what you wanna put on your AR. Honestly i think alot of guys will agree when i say it will be more financially sound if you just build your own. I don't know much about AR's and yet i just got done building my lower receiver. They are pretty easy and the guys on this site are more than happy to help.

    Honestly you could probably build a better rifle than the DPMS for about the same price maybe even cheaper with some of the add ons you want. Just food for thought :cool:
     

  3. dnthmn2004

    dnthmn2004 New Member

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    Well, you certainly approached the situation better than the REAL newbs.

    That is a fair price and there is not much wrong with DPMS. Keep in mind, there are other manufacturers that offer ARs for $700ish - shop around a little.

    Of course we are going to recommend you build one up from a lower, but if you just want to jump into ARs, go for it.
     
  4. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Several things that you might want to consider the very first one being how much could I, meaning you, build it for? When you buy a complete rifle you are paying a premium for the assembly work...why not keep that extra money in your pocket and use it to build what you want.

    Do you know what parts are in the DPMS rifle, whose barrel, what BCG, etc? Point is when you buy off the shelf you have to take what the builder offers...then spend more money to throw those parts away and upgrade to suit your tastes/needs. When you are the builder you can mix and match the parts to your specifications.

    What do you want the rifle to do...a plinker, varmint gun, and a 3 gun setup all require certain specific configurations that may or may not be present in the Sportacle.

    Finally, how much will you learn about the gun if you buy it complete? A build is a great way to gain the knowledge and skills needed to keep it running, customize it as needed and tweek it to your liking.

    Before you wave off a build take a peek in the AR thread and look at how many "novices" have completed one. Several of the guys here are always helpful in sharing their knowledge, giving advice on parts and helping a new builder find their way to a successful project.
     
  5. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Panda - Love the screen name and avatar!! :D

    What do you want this stick to do for you?? What is your end goal? Is it a target weapon? Is it a SHTF weapon? How many rounds will you shoot through it a year?

    That will help us, help you.

    But I just want to say that BUILDING ONE will earn you a special place in FTF existence by earning an FTF Builder tab. ;)

    JD
     
  6. TheSadPanda

    TheSadPanda New Member

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    The main reason I was leaning away from building from scratch is because I would have literally zero help from a real life person. Any problems I would come across would have to be diagnosed and fixed over the internet. Which we all know can be a difficult task! Is it really THAT easy to build it on your own? I have NO idea where I would start with process, and all my original questions would still apply to the uppers, lowers, and internals :rolleyes:

    My expectations of this AR would be minimal. I am not looking to shoot long distances or for it to be an absolute tack driver. I am looking for overall functionality; Good groups at 100 yds, goes BANG every time, and is aesthetically pleasing. It would be a cross between a SHTF, plinker, and a short to mid-range hunter, I think. It would not be a HD weapon at all.

    Not gonna lie, you guys are kinda leaning me toward building my own. You all brought up some very good points about it. Plus, I want the FTF AR builder sign now :cool:
     
  7. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Not true. We are here for you. And I ALWAYS make my services available, even in real life.

    True. But if it came to that extent, I would personally offer to take your built lower and check it out for you.

    Yes. The lower is quite simple to assemble. If you can turn a screwdriver and use a pin punch, it's nothing but a G thang. :cool:

    Just ask. The good members here are more than willing to help with selections and good advice. ;)


    All the more reason to build your own, because the best AR owners, are the ones that understand the platform. How to modifiy, fix, change, clean and diagnose the weapon system from cover to cover.

    Yet another reason to build at least your own lower with the help of the good members here at FTF.

    JD
     
  8. TheSadPanda

    TheSadPanda New Member

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    You make look like I wanted to build my own all along! :p Let's assume I am going to build my own then. I guess I start with a stripped lower, and then move onto internals for the lower? I have no idea where to go from here :confused:

    What do I need to look for in these two sets of pieces?

    What are the good price ranges for both?

    Where would I even acquire these pieces?

    Sorry I am asking so many questions, I am just literally direction-less in this task. I will go try to do a little research as well so that I can be a slice of noob instead of a full-on noobcake!
     
  9. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    Panda, the AR is SUPER easy to build. If you build the lower receiver, you can order a pre-assembled upper and avoid the expense of the receiver block and necessary tools, but you will still have the satisfaction of building one.

    I could talk my 11 year old daughter through the process of assembling an AR lower. You can do it.
     
  10. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Hello Panda! I think you'll be pleased with a rifle that you build over the Sportical which is a very minimalistic AR. Odds are you will spend more than $750 on a build but no doubt you'd spend more on the Sportical plus upgrades to attempt to get it up to speed. But the good thing is you can stretch out the cost over a couple months to make it easier. And you don't have to replace everything which often happens when you buy a bargain barrel factory AR.

    As far as stripped lowers, you can find them for under $100 online then must pay a transfer fee to have it shipped to a local FFL - or you can shop around town and find one. In the latter case you don't pay the fee but must pay the store price which no doubt has the fee in there somewhere.

    We have a stickie with pictures of lowers so take a look and write down the ones you like best. Almost all aluminum lowers are acceptable so you can buy the rollmark you like best. As far as a LPK, I like Stag and you can find one for about $65-69. For the stock kit, choose what you like best but if going with a collapsible then I'd go with a milspec diameter receiver extension and normally an H buffer (depending on the barrel you're planning on). BCM has a great RE and stock kit or you can look at a different slider if you want, like the very popular Magpul MOE.

    For the upper, most people buy it complete. Anyway do a lot of research, take your time. And you'll be proud of YOUR rifle.
     
  11. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

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    So. . . you've decided to explore the AR-15? Great decision! ! ! The AR-15 platform is just plain F-U-N and as an added bonus it is an extremely versatile, effective, useful tool. Congratulations! :)

    In order to maximize your investment, you will need to learn how to maintain, clean, troubleshoot, repair and (hopefully for you) modify your rifle. If you build your own lower and at least thoroughly understand the upper, you will be able to cover most of the above skills, but just like everything else in life experience counts.

    Do yourself a favor and read a couple books from folks that have experience and you will avoid MUCH FRUSTRATION. Do this no matter which direction you choose! (But choose to build ;))

    There are many things to learn about that will save you much time and save your effort for the good stuff!!! With versatility being a major attribute of the AR-15 parts compatibility and effective usage is an aspect you must understand in order to effectively modify your gun and not just have a "clone"of many other rifles, unless that's what you want. You will be able to come up with at least some originality if you have basic knowledge and familiarize yourself with some of the major configurations. Magazines can show you current trends and military guides will show you basic fundamentals and functions from which the trends are derived.

    The following two books are incredibly handy for anyone that owns an AR. They are literally worth their weight in GOLD! I still reference them if I get stuck on something or simply want an idea or to verify a technical problem.
    Amazon.com: The AR-15 Complete Owner's Guide (9781888722109): Walt Kuleck: Books

    Amazon.com: Gunsmithing - The AR-15 (9781440208997): Patrick Sweeney: Books

    If you build, then you need.
    Amazon.com: The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide (9781888722123): Walt Kuleck: Books

    HAVE FUN!!! :)
     
  12. TheSadPanda

    TheSadPanda New Member

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    I can't believe I've learned this much already in just a few posts! I'm going to build my own I have OFFICIALLY decided :D I will almost certainly be ordering those books! Now time to get to some technical stuff asked.

    I understand how the lower and the internals come together, but I am getting a little lost when it comes to the stock concerning the buffer tube and springs and such. What would I have to purchase besides the part kit and the stock to get them to combine with the lower? Are there any special considerations I need to make?

    what special considerations would I need to make when deciding to attach an assembled upper and lower?
     
  13. Car54

    Car54 New Member

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    Panda, I bought a DVD from midwayusa.com "AR 15 Assembly/Disassembly" on sale for around $10. The DVD is a detailed step by step how to disassemble each piece or part, and then how to assemble it.
     
  14. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    TSP, all you have to buy in addition to a stripped lower are a LPK and stock kit and once assembled you'll have a complete lower that would function properly once a complete upper was pinned on. BTW, if you're fairly handy with standard tools in the garage you don't need to buy special tools (though some people will say you do). Building up a stripped upper receiver does require tools to do it right, so here you may want to buy a complete factory test fired upper.

    In addition to the books, etc. Diggs mentioned take a look at the AR build videos at Brownells, they're very detailed.

    Right now you can buy the stripped lower. Then decide what stock kit you want and LPK. Do you want a fixed stock or telescoping? If the latter, do you want a standard M4 slider or custom, like the MOE and many others? Now's the time to start deciding.

    Definitely scan through the stickies and older threads here looking for build threads. You'll get a lot of ideas. I'll throw in two links, to my last build and MJKEAT's. We built similar lightweight midlength rifles (and bought uppers from the same vendor) except that mine is more of a basic black widow while his is a deadly beauty. Of course there are many, many other good choices, I'm just illustrating a couple ways to go.

    http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/daniel-defence-39411/
    http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/well-its-time-another-ar-32741/

    ETA:
    and an update to my build thread... http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/upgrades-my-two-builds-39378/
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  15. TheSadPanda

    TheSadPanda New Member

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    Thank you for the links, and video options. I will certainly check them out. I actually found a company that can send me a "kit" of all the things I want except for the stripped lower, and then I can assemble it all myself still. Any ideas on this plan? Heres the website Del-Ton, Inc. AR-15 16" M4 Rifle Kit. I was going to put on the MOE handguards, MOE mil-spec buttstock, MOE grip, and put in the 1:9 chrome lines barrel. Thats basically all I really needed AND it fits within my price range, which is a problem I've been having while looking at alternatives. It comes with LPK, full upper, and the buttstock. All I would have to do is buy the stripped lower, which I have found a few of that I like and can afford.

    Any comments on this plan or about the company Del-ton Inc? I've read a lot of good things about them but I'm still a little unsure.
     
  16. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Nothing wrong with Del Ton, especially for your first build. I know there are people on other forums that will tell you it will leave you dead in a ditch if you buy it, but don't listen to them. They're all window licking, straw driving muppets that will parrot what anyone with a SWAT badge tells them. :rolleyes:

    Several people here have bought and built with Del Ton products and they have proved to be good for the price range.

    As for the barrel, you don't need chrome lined unless you are going to shoot hundreds of thousands of rounds and it decreases accuracy. Get a good chrome moly barrel and just remember to clean it after use.

    That whole kit can be shipped to your house and then you have to go through an FFL for the purchase of a stripped lower.

    The nice thing, once you have the lower "on record" you can make it into anything you want within legal limits.

    So if a ban comes along, not likely but you never know, for the most part yours would be grandfathered in and be listed as "pre-ban" so you can rebuild it years from now down or up in a different configuration. ;)

    I think you have a great plan thus far....

    JD
     
  17. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    it will leave you dead in a ditch if you buy it ;)


    Just kidding :p Nothing wrong with the Del Ton kits at all. Once assembled it will go bang and continue to do so with proper care and maintenance. :)
     
  18. TheSadPanda

    TheSadPanda New Member

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    Haha thanks for the support, looks like I got my plan now :D My main concern with the barrel not being chrome is that I am worried about barrel life, and I have no desire to sit for hours cleaning a barrel. I had a Savage 270 that I spent a week cleaning with Sweets 7.62 and I still never got it all. I will be the first to admit, I am not the best with routine cleaning right after I shoot, but I have no idea what level of fouling to expect after shooting for a day with an AR. Any insight on that would be VERY helpful.

    tl;dr - is spending an extra $45 for a chrome lined barrel worth it if I don't want to clean forever after shooting?
     
  19. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Unless you are building a 20" tack driver, given your "habits" go WITH the chrome lining then.... LOL
     
  20. TheSadPanda

    TheSadPanda New Member

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    I appreciate the honesty :) That's exactly what I needed to know. I have a few questions about the kit that I am a little unsure of.

    1. I know it says it is chambered in 5.56, but can anybody confirm it is safe to shoot 5.56 in the Del-Tons?

    2. Mil-spec and commercial buffer tubes and stocks. What is the difference?