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Best Suggestion for a 1st Time AR-15 Buyer

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by CunningPlan, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. CunningPlan

    CunningPlan Vancouver New Member

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    I have been doing a lot of research and I have only been able to narrow it down to a couple of preferences. If anyone can suggest a preassembled brand model (preferred in order to make it easy) or the best upper and lower mix I would very much appreciate it!

    Here's my criteria:

    1. Longevity/Durability: Looks like Chrome-lined barrels are the best for this? Rifle would be Chamber in .223/5.56 and is mostly a plinker gun with some long range accuracy capability. I do not need competition level rifle, but I want something more than a casual/cheaper plinker rifle would provide in terms of accuracy. I hand hold for shorter distances, but for 200/300 yards I would use a bench rest or bipod. I also reload my own ammo, so a rifle that won't cause issues with this would be great, I use average or lower power rounds. I only shoot paper targets. Also, best twist rate? Not too sure on what fits my needs on this. 1:7 1:8 1:9 :huh:

    Occasional rapid fire will be used, so I want something that can take some abuse, bust still do a good job at the 200/300 yard range. From what I have researched and asked about stainless steel is more accurate but wears out faster. Looking to shoot 120 rounds a week on average. Any experiences with the material used in Glocks, melonite I think?

    2. Quad Rail, Flat Top, Free Floating Barrel: I want room to put some scopes/red dot & magnifiers on, as well as a foregrip. No lights or lasers. I've picked up and gotten to shoot a few ar-15s, but I do NOT want a "fixed" or "mounted" iron sight. I would prefer to put on my own flip-ups as a backup option instead. Free Floating barrel for extra accuracy boot rather than d-ring and having a long extended rail seems like it meets my criteria. No carry handle needed either.

    3. Ease of Use: Easy to take apart and clean, little effort does a great job. I will clean after every range use and will probably average around 120 rounds a week.

    4. Quality: Reliable, no known issues. I've looked at Smith & Wesson, Colts, Knights Armament, & Noveske. I am not a brand loyal person, I go with what works the best for my needs. I was going to go for a S&W ORC, but putting quad rails in place of a brush guard, and not having a free floating barrel seemed like it would work against me. Am I wrong about this? Looking for an average size barrel length, 16" or so if I recall correctly, and a good balance of weight if possible. Gas piston seems like it would be better than direct impingement from what I can tell, thoughts?

    5. Budget: Cheaper is usually better, would prefer to keep it at $1000 and under, but if it makes sense I could go $1500-$1750. $2000 is just getting way to spend and keeps me from getting any accessories for a long time.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ron

    ron Vancouver, Washington Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Good questions. I have quite a few of years of experience building and shooting ARs. I shoot ARs in competition. The 1/9 twist chrome lined is what you want. I have a Bushmaster 1/9 chrome lined that shoots amazing. The faster twist is for heavier long range bullets. The 1/9 will work fine out to 300 yards. I also have several 1/7 twist 'Service Rifles' for long range competition (600 yards). You have to decide barrel thickness light weight medium or heavy weight. I have shot thousands of rounds 223 though the standard gas impigement design without any problems. Lighter weight universal parts. And I have never had to clean a gas tube. When the SHTF the gas impigement is more universal for replacement parts. My opinion of gas piston rifles is that all the manufactures have different parts. After SHTF to find parts would be very difficult.
    As for forearm float tubes I really like Yankee Hill Machine (YHM). Reasonable priced, easy to install, light weight, and very strong. Daniel Defense tubes are nice but the prices are ridiculous. I have one upper I built with a YHM 'specter' length lightweight tube and a low profile gas block. The tube passes over the gas block and a flip up YHM front sight at the end of the tube. I like the quality of YHM parts. I have front and rear flip up sights, float tubes, flash suppressors and gas blocks.
    As for manufactures probably the 'never heard of brand' are just as good. But if it ever comes time to sell or trade the recognized brands will be more valuable and easier to
    sell. I have lowers made by Rock River, Bushmaster, Colt and S & W. I think the colts are overpriced. Just my 2 cents. I am sure there are lots of other valid opinions out there.
    Check out for good prices on complete uppers. PK Firearms | Online Store
     
  3. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    My best suggestion- USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION.

    there's probably 10+ threads on similiar subjects in just the first couple pages of this forum. If your budget for the gun only is $1500 you're set. Either order an LMT, COLT, Noveske, BCM, etc and be done with it. I'd look hard at an LMT MRP at that budget level :)
     
  4. 142

    142 Rogue Valley Member

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    $1,500 is super high, at least for the plinker you described. I'm in the middle of a build with all of my upper parts ordered from palmettostatearmory.com - I have a hammer forged chrome lined barrel and I'll be well below the $800 mark even with a handful of mags when I'm done. I picked up a nice lower and MOE parts kit locally for $250. I'd encourage you to look at Palmetto. They have complete uppers, some with BCG's and some without or you can order all the components yourself and build one pretty easily for a little less. But if you're looking to spend $1,500... Then get some big name high quality factory rifle. Resale value is always better if you can advertise it as a known brand rather than a "bastard rifle."
     
  5. eldbillbo

    eldbillbo clackamas New world samurai and a redneck none the less Bronze Supporter

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  6. eldbillbo

    eldbillbo clackamas New world samurai and a redneck none the less Bronze Supporter

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    Colt has a lot of quality control involved . Most companies sale mil spec parts but only Colt and other US GI contractors like FN are actually Inspected by a Military inspector if they try to pass off anything that is not up to spec they can loose more than just the contract.

    Is this really necessary for you ? thats up to you . they do tend to cost a couple hundred more than most Ar15s on the market. They set the standard but there are some finer high quality Ars on the market that cost more and some that can produce a rifle with the same quality materials for a little less and there are some that take short cuts to cut cost in materials or standards but still produce a fine rifle for civilian use.

    I used to be a Colt Fanatic . But when stag released a left handed rifle . I sold the colts and went with stag. I have been more than happy with stag.

    If i only could own 1 "Ar15" it would be the one that says "AR15" on the side of it and that would be a COLT. (every thing else is a clone)
     
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  7. TapRackNGo

    TapRackNGo PNW Well-Known Member

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    COLT
     
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  8. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Colt!!!
     
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  9. macdougall29

    macdougall29 Newberg, Oregon, United States Active Member

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    Rock River Operator!

    Love the 2 I have and my 3rd is in process, 18" Varmit, 16" plinker and 10.5" SBR build :winner:
     
  10. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Don't get too caught up in brand name hype.
    You'll pay 3X's as much for an upper or lower that is nearly a carbon copy of a "lesser" brand but with the fancy words like "tactical" "quad rails" forward vertical grip" "extreme durable military grade" "super space age unobtainium coating with super reflective yet non reflective finish" on the price tag.. All to convince you to shell out more.

    The keyboard mall ninjas will also chime in and say .."well if your life depends on it"..etc. Yet I see them baby their firearms.

    Ive been around the block with "black rifles".. A ton of AKM and AR15 platforms and I've taken more than a few to hell and back. So I've gotten past the hype brand name price tags.

    In summery, don't let people talk you a higher price range based on opinion. Start out with a "lesser brand" and see for yourself. If it doesn't work for you and you enjoy safe queening your rifles move on up to the next price bracket.
     
  11. joeroket

    joeroket Everett,Wa. Active Member

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    For my first one a few years back I bought a Mega Gator lower and put a model 1 sales A2 upper on it with a chrome lined 1:9 barrel. Behind it I had a CAA stock. I spent a total of $751 on it and it shot amazingly well. In fact it shot much better than my buddies $1200 rifle.
     
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  12. eldbillbo

    eldbillbo clackamas New world samurai and a redneck none the less Bronze Supporter

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    Nah, your buddy just didn't know how to shoot. :cool:
     
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  13. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    So your a fan of oh say companies that get the 2nds/rejects from major manufacturers and passes them off as first quality??? That is where a LARGE majority of the small shops come from. I don't say you have to spend $2K to have a nice AR. You can get into Colt/BCM/LMT etc for all the same range of $$ and if you shop SMART you will spend such a miniscule amount more $$ it's worth it to know the Quality, QC, parts, metal, finishing, etc processes used.

    Don't go spend $5K on a whiz bang new shops tactical hotness, DO spend <$1K on a quality known entity.

    /"keyboard mall ninja" post

     
  14. CAL30M1

    CAL30M1 Longview, WA Active Member

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    I've owned 15 - 20 AR15's over the years. Anything from Bushmaster's to LMTs. I've had quite few high end rifles by my favorite has been my Smith and Wesson.
     
  15. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    Your kidding, right? 2nds in the fire arms industry would be a litigation lawyers dream.

    There are "blems" that well have a surface finish imperfection, but no 2nds.

    You well find very little difference between a sub $700 PSA and a Colt-BCM-LMT-DD that can be near twice the initial cost.
     
  16. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget to check the NWFA trader for deals on used ARs. I just picked up a next-to-new FDE Colt LE6920 with a DD drop in rail and other nice upgrades for less than just the base black model would have cost me new at Walmart. I was actually on my way to Walmart to buy an LE when I saw the ad and did an immediate roundabout :D .

    Keith
     
  17. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    And your kidding right?? That's all a 2nd is- parts that don't meet the TDP. Can be finish, tolerance or otherwise. And no I'm not kidding. One advantage when you're actually involved in the industry is you learn who buys parts from who, and what companies source 2nds to charge less. I know of two manufacturers that sell 2nds to a company who for all intents and purposes should change their name to Model 2.
    PSA can be the exception but you have to know what buying. They sell awesome FN barrels, and then others as well who they won't say sourced/made by. If you're going to compare a $700 PSA compare it to a comparable LMT or Colt- they sell for under $1K and that's money well spent.

     
  18. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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  19. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    I stand by my post.

    We see brand name companies charge 2-3x's as much and their marketing team does its job and does it well, it fools many folks into purchasing something thats price is way overinflated . Same goes for some gear and clothing companies. Just because folks buy into the hype and realize they spent WAY way too much they state that
    "Oh no, this has to be the best because.." etc-etc.


    Lay two side by side, with the brand names covered or sand-blasted off and I bet you couldn't tell the difference. Seriously a color variantion is the least of my worries. Madcratebuilder has it right, factory seconds with any structural damage or fractures would be a lawyers dream.
    The only difference would be slight slight color or ding blemishes nothing that would effect function.

    Now if we were talking about uppers/lowers made out of a totally different material that would be another story.
     
  20. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    And one advantage to actually using your firearms and not babying them you'll come to realize there is no real difference. A $1k AR 15 rifle can suffer the exact same possible failures as a $600-$700 one.
     
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