Why Build?

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by easterner123, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. easterner123

    easterner123 New Member

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    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.
     
  2. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    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.
     

  3. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

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    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?
     
  4. 556plinker

    556plinker New Member

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    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.
     
  5. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  6. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    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!

    JD
     
  7. 556plinker

    556plinker New Member

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    @ 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!
     
  8. easterner123

    easterner123 New Member

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    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 :eek: )
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  9. 556plinker

    556plinker New Member

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    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.
     
  10. easterner123

    easterner123 New Member

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  11. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

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    I am one of those JD is talking about. I knew nothing about the platform other than having shot a friend's AR. I took JD's advice and built my own. I am so happy I did. I know the platform so much better than if I had just bought it put together.

    I say go all the way and build the upper too. I did and it was no big deal. You may be able to get the upper a little cheaper but not much. There is a wealth of info here and everyone is very helpful.
     
  12. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    I agree wholeheartedly with JD, 556, Nitrox and the others - build your rifle and you'll get more enjoyment from the acquisition process and pride in the completed rifle. But you can screw up royally if you don't do the research. $800-900 can build a fine AR, maybe even a little less depending on what you want. I'm proud of the two I've done and never had a problem that I couldn't work out.
     
  13. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    quoted for truth...and I hope I get AR Certified...:D
     
  14. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    All AR-15 parts are built to a common specification and are interchangible. So yes, the complete upper and lower will pin together even if they are from different manufacturers.

    An upper can come without the charging handle and BCG (Bolt Carrier Group) or with the BCG and charging handle. You will need to add this to your order or buy them separately (BCM, BCM ) This points out the benefits of building your own...you get the choice of which charging handle and BCG YOU want, not what the seller wants to give you.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]http://www.ftfindustries.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=FI&Category_Code=ARSP

    Similarly a lower can come stripped (the actual firearm btw), assembled or complete. The complete lower in your link comes with the lower parts kit installed (LPK) and the stock mounted. Again, you can buy the individual parts and customize or upgrade beyond the basic parts the seller is giving you. Assembling a stripped lower is a relatively simple task that requires only basic mechanic ability, some simple tools, patience and the ability to follow simple directions. The more assembly you do, the more control you have over parts quality.

    So this gets us to your choice of upper. First thing I notice is the A2 style upper. Nothing wrong with it if you are going to limit yourself to plinking but you do have a 20" HBAR barrel which can get out to some distance with the right optics. Only problem is the fixed carry handle on the upper limits your choices here, handle mounted optics are of little use. See if you can get an A3 upper for the same money. (update- FTF actually has the A3 for $20 more) hmmm, thats really a nice looking upper for the money...

    http://www.ftfindustries.com/mm5/me...&Product_Code=AR-20HBA3B2A&Category_Code=ARUP

    [​IMG]

    Same with the front sight post, (FSP), a free float fore-end and railed gas block opens up more options for mounting optics and increased accuracy.

    Please don't take this the wrong way, your choice is fine as is...just offering up my .02, and yes be wary of the addiction...
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  15. WoodysKJ

    WoodysKJ New Member

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    I only got this far with this company:THIS IS INSANE! $80.00 for a FCG?!?!?!

    You can get a complete lower parst kit that includes this for 50.00 - 60.00 Bucks. I would look real hard at their other items based upon this.
     
  16. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Very nice and helpful post, Jpyle! I'd say you're AR Certified... :D
     
  17. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

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    I looked over that ftfindustries site and was shocked. You can get much better manufactured parts for cheaper from places like BCM. $50 for a charging handle when I can get a Gunfighter in whatever size I want for $45, shakes head. $174 for a Bushmaster BCG when I can get BCM BCG for $139, rollls eyes. Not all parts are built the same.
     
  18. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Good catch, MJ. I have to be honest, I never clicked on the link until you pointed that out. I really didn't have the time so figured, yeah most uppers will fit and left it at that. But no doubt it's best to keep looking for something better.

    This points out how important it is for new people to read the stickies and get a clear idea of what's out there, the quality and what's a fair price before pulling out the CC. Sometimes our safety net of experienced members doesn't catch you! :eek:
     
  19. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

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    Build your Own!!!

    I've done 2 rifles for less than $500
    One ya'll are familiar with http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/scrappy-450-ar-15-a-39040/ I call him "Scrapy" others call him "Crapy" ;) I was patient, mostly bought items that were on clearance, used, blemished, etc. And did every last bit of work myself.

    The other AR is awaiting its barrel and then it'll be done. Unlike Scrapy every last part is NEW! I'll obviously start a new thread when it's done.

    While those are fine, I started with better (near top) quality for my first builds. I spent about $1000 on my first one, including optics. It's a BCM 14.5" middy upper on a Spike's lower and hits a 10" plate at 200 yards almost every shot with mid grade ammo.

    GET A BOOK!

    Nobody does this, but if they did folks would save loads of time and money. Patrick Sweeny has three AR-15 books available that you will benefit from owning "The AR-15 Volumes I & II" and "Gunsmithing The AR-15".

    If you don't like Sweeny (which some don't, but I find his writing easy to stick to and digest) or are just a cheap ass "The AR-15 Complete Owner's Guide" and "The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide" both by Walt Kuleck are $10 each and are all you need to complete your build, service your rifle, troubleshoot, etc.

    Of course there are some things that pop up that you just must deal with using the experience of others or learning hard lessons. That's why we're here!

    Know what you're working with.

    Even if you do not build your first AR, you should know how to service it and repair it. If you don't you will forever rely upon someone else to fix and maintain you investment. It's the same as having handy man skills. By you having a skill set you can avoid having to pay someone to utilize their skills.

    I'm a Carpenter by trade and I can't even tell you how many times my knowledge and wisdom in the building industry has saved me time and money on my own home, office and shop and the homes, offices and shops of my friends and acquaintances.

    The only time I took an AR to a gunsmith, (I was upset with my usual gun shop) I got my gun back with more problems and ended up having to ask a couple board members (JD and Jim) for help and got it right myself. Looking back now I did not need to take the gun anywhere, but simply needed to be patient and learn how to do it right.

    In Conclusion. . .

    Enough yacking, I guess I'm trying to tell you that even if you save a couple hundred $$$ by buying a complete rifle, you will end up spending double that in time and repairs/maintained if you cannot do the work yourself. Why not learn the gun first and spend that money on becoming a better marksman?

    By the way. . . since I started I now have half a dozen rifles in the safe in different configurations, all but one was built. . .
     
  20. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    FYI...Walt Kuleck is a SM on the forum...