Help Me Out

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by Jefe', Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Jefe'

    Jefe' New Member

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    I want to get an AR. I'm pretty much a noob and am looking for some advice.

    I want a good quality piece that shoots well and is quality-built. I'm looking to get a built rifle - not to gather up a bunch of parts an build it myself, at least not this first time.

    I plan to learn to shoot this rifle with basic open sights, and with no accessories, but I would like to have the option to upgrade with accessories if/when I think I need them.

    I look at different web sites and I see that a lot of makers have numerous configurations and styles that I know nothing about.

    I do not plan to hunt with this rifle.

    Please help me out with suggestions on manufacturer and specific models, ammunition, and the best places to shop.

    Thanks.
     
  2. SGT-MILLER

    SGT-MILLER New Member

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    Check out the Bushmaster Firearms website, and look at their basic AR15 rifle.

    http://www.bushmaster.com/

    Ranges from 700-900 dollars (depending on area). It's your basic AR in .223 caliber. You can purchase it either with a 20 inch or 16 inch barrel.
     

  3. bkt

    bkt New Member

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    Consider that you can buy a complete upper and a complete lower, install the stock yourself (trivial job) and join the upper and lower (even more trivial) and save yourself some money.

    If money is of no concern, fine.

    Get one chambered for 5.56 (I think they all are these days, but make sure).

    Rock River, Stag Arms, Bushmaster and others are very good, very reliable mid-range platforms.

    I would suggest a flat-top for a sight or scope down the road.

    Check out local gun stores and see what they have to offer. The Equipment Exchange on ar15.com is also a good source for rifles, parts and magazines.
     
  4. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

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    + 1 to that. If you aren't going to piece it together yourself, then you CAN save yourself a few $$$'s by buying an assembled upper of your choice, and a complete lower and pushing the two pins together. Or even take advantage of a lower w/o a stock and installing one yourself. That way, you can shop for the best prices on what you want (or at least very close to what you want) rather than pay the prices that manufacturers put on their special guns.

    Slo
     
  5. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    It would appear you have gotten some pretty good information so far.

    As far as a caliber goes, I would highly recommend getting your first rifle chambered in 5.56mm, which is almost universal in the AR build market right now.

    With a 5.56 you can shoot the civilian .223 in the same chamber ( conventional wisdom ) AND you can get a kit to allow you to shoot standard .22lr in the same gun. This will allow you to get very familiar with the weapon without breaking the bank on the ammo budget.

    I would suggest looking around at some of the units that you like and then soliciting some opinions from the guys here to help narrow your field.

    JD
     
  6. Jefe'

    Jefe' New Member

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    Thanks for the advice y'all. So if I went the route of buying and piecing together an upper, lower and stock - do any of you have some recommendations for going that way? Or would the same manufacturers listed above be sources for those parts?

    Also, one of y'all used a term that I'm not familiar with. What do you mean by flat top?
     
  7. junho806

    junho806 New Member

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    flat top means it doesn't have a handle built on the upper receiver granting you the option to add anything you please like optics and such
    there's a bunch of topics on building your own AR-15 that might help
    check out mine in my signature
    i'll try to help you out best i can
    and there's plenty of knowledgeable people who can take you step by step
    and i'm sure they're more than willing to help
    :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  8. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Jefe', When it comes to AR's the sky is the limit. There are so many different configurations you can have them in it all gets mind boggling. Just get on some of the AR parts sites and you can decide what you want to get. Just about all the mfg's sell uppers and lowers or complete rifles,or you can go with a kit that has everything except a stripped lower and get whatever lower you choose. The one I built I used a DPMS lower and a complete upper kit from Model 1 Sales. I will be changing the trigger with a Rock River match trigger,to me it is the best trigger out there. But thats just my opinion. THB
     
  9. Jefe'

    Jefe' New Member

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    OK, thanks a lot y'all.

    Besides the cost savings, I 'get' the urging to select different parts and assemblies and build this rifle myself. I've been working on a Jeep that was bone stock a year and a half ago, and now is a pretty stout trail rig that I drag all over the rocks. So I understand the sense of pride and satisfaction in building something like this on my own, and will definitely take a hard look at going this route.

    So it would seem that answers to my questions beget more questions:

    1. If I go the way of getting complete upper and lower, and building from there, what do these consist of? From some of my reading here, I think I'd also need to choose a barrel and stock, as bkt noted. Do I have that right? Is there anything else that I would need to get?

    2. What is the state of a 'stripped' lower, as opposed to a complete lower. If I go the route of building up from stripped upper and lower, where can I find a complete list of all the pieces/parts that I would need to also get? Or is the list in Junho's thread (nice work, by the way, Junho) a complete list? I guess what I mean, for example, is what are the parts required to turn a stripped lower into a complete lower? Same question for the upper.

    3. In Junho's thread I note that his is built with iron sights. But he is also looking to get an optical sight, and some of you reference that he would be set up so that the optical 'cowitnesses' the iron sights. What does this term mean, and what are the advantage/disadvantages of being set up in this way?

    4. bkt listed the Rock River, Stag, and Bushmaster as good mid-range platforms. What do you mean by mid-range. I guess this is contrasting with long-range or short-range?

    5. Dillinger - you advised a rifle chambered for 5.56/.223. Doing some searching, it looks like I could also get/build a rifle chambered for 7.62/.308 - do I have that right? If so, why did you recommend the 5.56/.223 over the 7.62/.308?

    THB - You are absolutely right. All of the information is very mind boggling for me at this point. I like to try to research as best I can when I step off into something like this. I've been considering this rifle for some time, although I've really just started seriously looking into it. I'm feeling somewhat of a sense of urgency as Nov. 4 gets closer.

    Thanks for your patience with this 'black rifle noob', everyone - I really appreciate it.
     
  10. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Jefe' -

    It's a bit of a mind boggling assault at first, isn't it? LOL That was one of the reasons a few of us started these threads to help clear up some of the mass confusion surrounding the platform.

    Okay, let's take a look at your questions here.

    These two kind of tie together, so I will address them both. If you choose to purchase a "complete" upper and a "complete" lower, than means you are done except for any accessories like sling, optics, flashlight, or whatever. A "complete" Upper & Lower will snap together with two pins ( The Take Down and Pivot Pins ) and you are off to the races. There isn't much left to do unless you want to tear it down and change out some parts.

    A "Stripped" Upper or Lower is just the receiver. You have a cut piece of aluminum ( most likely ) that you will put the rest of the parts on.

    Prior to the election, the Lower Receiver is all that you need to worry about - once that is legally yours, in MOST parts of the country, you will be allowed to keep and build your AR should any new legislation pass. Rumor has it that the Occupied Terror-tories ( NY, NJ, Kalifornia, etc. ) MIGHT have different rules should a new Assault Weapons Ban be enforced, so check with the locals in your area.

    There is no Federal Background check on any form of the "standard" upper receiver, barreled upper receiver, etc. The exception, of course, would be a short barreled version ( less than 16" ) or one that has a built in suppressor. Those would require Federal license. But for the basic 16" to 20" length barreled upper, you can buy one at any time without any hassles.

    As for parts, you would buy an AR Lower Receiver Parts Kit like this one from Sportsmans Warehouse, or Brownells, or MidwayUSA, or any of a number of internet sources. You would add some sort of stock to the lower parts kit and then you would be able to assemble them on your Stripped Lower.

    The Upper is similiar, but it would require buying a few pieces such as your fore end, your barrel, your bolt carrier group, etc.

    Plenty of the guys here have built them now, so they will help you with some shopping choices if you just ask. ;)

    That was actually a new term for me too, I had always known what they were talking about, I just didn't know the term for it.:eek:

    Basically it means that when you look down your analog sights, you are looking right through your optics at the same exact aimpoint. If you take the optics out of the equation, you take the same spot weld and shoot the same way. If you fold your irons out of the way and add the optics, you take the same spot weld and shoot the same way. This is ideal should your optics ever crap out on you in the field, you pull it, flip up your irons ( in most cases ), or if you irons are permanent you just keep using them, and you are back in the game. I don't know of a downside, really, although I prefer one of the other, not both at the same time. I use fold down / flip up sights on my ARs.

    Everyone's "mid range" is different, but basically, I would consider that to be work in the 200 to 400 yard range. CQB is close range, clearing rooms and stuff of that nature. Generally out to about 150yards or so for "close" work. Get out in the 500 and 600 yard ranges, that is more "long" range for basic 16" AR builds - but they can be made to shoot much farther than that. It's subjective to personal belief and build intents.

    The AR-15 platform is suited for the 5.56mm round. It's very common and cheaper than the .308 round. If you are building a 16" model, I would say an AR in 5.56 all day long.

    The .308 round requires a different upper and lower receiver, as well as different parts. This is where the AR-10 comes into play. The .308 is a much better knock down round, so if you are building a 20", more of an accuracy based AR to knock down Space Zombies out in the 400 plus yard range, the .308 is a great choice. Having a 16" .308 for room clearing and house to house work just isn't practical.

    Hope that helps....

    JD
     
  11. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    The AR has a very simple action and only a few small parts. If you can put your kids toys together or change the spark plugs is your car, you can build an AR. There aren't any super critical tolerances anywhere on the rifle.

    Also, as far as I can tell, the only special tool that you need is an armorer's wrench.
     
  12. Jefe'

    Jefe' New Member

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    JD - Thanks for answering my questions - I certainly have a lot to think about here.

    At lunchtime today, I swung by a local Houston dealer that sells Rock River Arms almost exclusively. I say almost because he had about 25 Rock River rifles in various configurations, and then a couple of another brand. I think it was Pro-Fox - does that sound right? Anyway, it was explained to me that this was a gas piston rifle. And then, of course, this dealer also sold the upper and lower receivers, both stripped and complete, and all the other parts.

    Anyway, after reading everyone's advice here, and talking with the dealer this afternoon, I think I know basically the configuration that I want to start with. I'm going to see if I can compile the list from memory of what I saw and discussed today and then post it here and see what you guys think. I know what the dealer was asking for the complete rifles. I haven't yet priced out the cost of getting all of the individual parts and putting it together myself.

    I will say that I could certainly see the quality in the Rock River guns that I held today. I do have one question that I forgot to ask yesterday. Rock River, Stag, and Bushmaster were the three manufacturers specifically recommended here. While the Rock River and Stag receivers are made from forgings, I see that the Bushmaster receiver is made from molded carbon composite. What are you guys' thoughts on forgings v. composites?

    Thanks again for your indulgence.
     
  13. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    Bushies come in forged aluminum also. The Carbon 15 is just their latest and greatest thing. I think you should buy one and go fire off a few tens of thousands of rounds through one and let me know how she stands up to the abuse. I've been eyeing the Carbon 15s since they came out a few months ago.
     
  14. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Well, you are learning as you go, so there's going to be lots of questions. Luckily most of the forum members here LOVE to help, so you are in luck. :D

    Okay, take a step outside the "names" on the receivers. Most common day AR makers buy their receivers from companies like CMMG and only a couple of others, who's names escape me at the moment. Since I am running a system scan, this is taking a lot of CPU time and I am not opening any more windows. :rolleyes:

    So, the name on the side is only for resale, unless you are buying the complete unit from the maker.

    Does Rock River make a good unit? Absolutely they do. Are they over charging for it based on their name? Yes they are.

    Can the same be said for most makers of the AR-15 at the moment. I believe the answer to be yes.

    Basically, unless you are buying a Colt ( large pin set ) or a CNC machined unit like one from Les Baer or Dave Lauck or Mossad Ayoob, the receivers are pretty much all the same. One name or the other isn't going to make THAT much difference.

    Where the difference is, is in the details. Where a double star might use the cheapest possible parts, a DPMS or Rock River might use some parts they themselves market, which can be better than standard G.I. parts.

    The key thing, when shopping AR's as a complete unit, is to know WHAT you are getting for the price asked. That is where your good friends here on the forum can help you out.

    JD
     
  15. Jefe'

    Jefe' New Member

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    Thanks again for the insights JD. Ha - sounds like Matt would like me to shake down the Bushmaster.

    OK, so keeping in mind that I'm still kicking around the build vs. buy routes, and understanding that for the most part the forged items for all manufacturers come from 2 or 3 main manufacturers as you noted above, JD - here is the specs on the rifle at the dealer I visited today that seemed to me to give me a good platform to start from. The list on this is about $1200, and as it was tagged at the dealer, I think it was at $1070. I haven't totaled up individual parts to see what I think I could build it for yet. But with what I know today, I would probably try to build something real close (i.e. similarly equipped) to this if I were to build one. What do y'all think?

    AR1259X Rock River Arms Entry Tactical, Standard R4 Handguard, CAR, A2 Flash Hider, Black, Standard Trigger Guard, Star Safety Selector, Standard Mag Catch, National Match Trigger

    ADDED OPTIONS: Chrome Lined R-4, 1:9 Barrel, CAA Command Arms 6-Position Tactical CAR Stock (Heavy Duty Construction with hidden Picatinny Battery Compartment) , Hogue Grip, Black, YHM Front Sight Gas Block Assembly, RRA Dominator2 Mount.
     
  16. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    In my personal opinion, $1070 is well overpriced for what you have listed out. I could build that same weapon for under $800.... $850 on the high end not including a FFL transfer charge and a little bit of your time in the garage.

    What do you think Slo?

    JD
     
  17. Jefe'

    Jefe' New Member

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    Yes even though I haven't totaled it all out item by item, I do see that I could save a couple hundred by gathering all of the parts and building from there. My main point in my last post was to see what you guys thought about the configuration as a basic platform to start with.
     
  18. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

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    It's not a bad set-up. Overpriced? Yes - IMHO, but to each his own. You could put together the same thing for less if you were to buy the parts and build it. Or...just by buying complete upper and a complete lower, then switch out the parts you want to change, I think you'd still come in lower than that price. By the way, unless I am looking at the wrong model, the Hogue grip is standard with that particular model. And I'm not seeing where they offered the YHM assy as an option. That model usually comes with the A2 front sight block.

    IMHO - if you were going to buy one of their's, I would probably go with the mid-length A4 model and then modify it to what you want. You should be coming in a few hundred under that price that you were looking at, which would go a long way towards modifications.

    Check out these links for more info:

    http://www.adcofirearms.com/rra_pricelist.cfm?auth_code=99574401

    http://www.ar15sales.com/rra.htm

    It pays to do some searching and shopping.

    Slo
     
  19. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    You meant that I can buy a Mossad Ayoob NC milled AR receiver?

    Nevermind, it would still be an AR...
     
  20. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    I don't believe they actually sell just a receiver, you have to buy their extremely expensive unit, the comparison was merely that they do have a bit higher standard for the receiver, but at what a price? :eek: