Building an AR-15 or buying one?

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This topic has probably been asked a million times but what do you guys suggest building or buying a new one. This will be my first AR-15. I will just be shooting targets but i don't want to just limit it to just that. I want to have a decent AR-15. As for price range I don't know until I hear options or suggestions. Anyways, thanks for all the input in advance.
 
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Buy one, the sky is the limit. Build one, the sky is the limit. The differences are,

Your skill level
getting it just the way you want it
can you afford to buy one and plop down the full amount, or,
is it easier to do it, say $200 at a time

my vote is for building

There are folks here who will tell you that such and such brand is the "best", IMHO in many cases they believe the marketing bs some companies spew out. In some cases, while the products are cosmetically superior to others, remember that they are all built to the same "pattern". That's why parts interchange, there will be some variances, but, as a general rule ar parts is ar parts.

Look for clean machining, the absence of a lot of tool marks on the inside of recievers.

Go to AR15.com for some good tips on assembly.

Trust me an educated chimp can put one together and get it to function.
 
OP
19stang88
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Building the AR-15 won't be a problem. I just suggestions. I don't know? Will 800 bucks get me a good AR-15? I have been looking at a bushmaster commando but i have heard it isn't as accurate. Since it is a 11.5 barrel.
 
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Buy a striped lower and get a complete assembled upper kit. only need a screw driver hammer and a punch to assemble and cost under $650. You can save money doing it yourself and you get what you want.
 
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BTW, I use spikes tactical lower from brownells, $110 after shipping and background fees, and I order complete upper kit from model one sales, or m&a parts, $485-$500 and up. depending on configuration.
 
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Personally, I think someone new to this should buy their first then build their second. How are you going to know what's a necessity or what's a bell/whistle if you don't have at least some time behind an AR? Besides, you'd be better off spending your time shooting than doing hours of research.
 
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DONT GET ONE! once you start you cant stop! IM onto #7. first one I built my own DPMS lower and bought a DMPS upper. From there on Just parts and tools. I started doing 80% lowers but there is no real cost savings with it.
 
OP
19stang88
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Then should i just buy a built lower and a built upper? Like I said, building one won't be hard. If I need help, ill just ask my buddy who knows what he is doing. If I should buy a complete, which one is good one? If I should buy build one, which parts are good. That is my main question.
 

PDXSparky

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Then should i just buy a built lower and a built upper?
IMO, NO, buy a complete upper, then buy a stripped lower and a Lower Parts Kit and assemble the lower yourself.

This is what I'd get: <broken link removed> then add a stripped lower. You can either buy one from Palmetto and deal with the FFL transfer, or buy one locally (what I did). DO NOT buy the stripped lower in the same order as the rifle kit of you will be charged an additional 11% tax.

Lots of people with more experience than I have like PSA stuff over on AR15.Com - Your Firearm Resource. (AR-15, AR-10, M4 Carbine, M16, H&K, SIG, FNH, FAL, AK-47, 50 Cal, M1/M1A, Handgun, Pistol, Training, Hunting, and More!)
 

PDXSparky

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BTW, I use spikes tactical lower from brownells, $110 after shipping and background fees.....
I like the Spike's flavored coolaid too, but they are out of stock at brownells, and nearly every other online outlet as well. They are very popular. I got my Spike's lower at a gun show in Eugene from a member of NWFA, Northernbornrebel.
 
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I bought one from the gun show for $65, plus $10. Background. I had trouble fitting the lower parts kit in it. I have never had a lower so out of spec. it was marked ccmg. not sure if that is common with those or not. think I'll stick to the $110-$150 price range lowers.
 
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I've been kicking around building my next AR as well (its easier to sneak it past the wife if it's in pieces). I found the lower i want (spikes) and found a complete upper I wouldn't mind having. Lower parts kit, and mil-spec stock mounting kit all for around $650 w/o shipping on anything yet. My guess is that for around $700-750 I'll have an AR I really want and appreciate more because I built it. Since this will be my first build, what tools would i need and does the lower parts kit come with directions? Its alot of small pieces and I'm not trying to screw it up even though everyone says its easy.
 

PDXSparky

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Since this will be my first build, what tools would i need
Some roll pin punches, straight blade screw driver, small mallet, maybe an allen wrench depending on what kind of screw is included with the LPK for the hand grip.

Poonaner said:
and does the lower parts kit come with directions?
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, no. It will be just a bag of small parts/springs.

The best guides I've found: Assemble your own LOWER, UPPER, FREE FLOAT, TRIGGER, GAS BLOCK - Step by step instructions! - AR15.COM

New and Improved Guide to Building a Lower - AR15.COM
 
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Building the AR-15 won't be a problem. I just suggestions. I don't know? Will 800 bucks get me a good AR-15? I have been looking at a bushmaster commando but i have heard it isn't as accurate. Since it is a 11.5 barrel.
For your first I think you should either buy a complete rifle or buy a complete upper and complete lower. The first reason is that will get a functioning rifle in your hands and you can start taking it apart and putting it back together. Once you do that for a while you'll be comfortable with assembling your own for your next (they tend to multiply). The other reason is if this is a new platform for you, you probably don't know exactly what you want from it yet, don't know what you do or do not like about the basic design, what you'd change, etc. The possibilities for the rifles are endless but if you start out from scratch without a clear idea of where you want to go and what you want it to do you could end up spending a lot of money several times over trying to get it right.

Bushmaster isn't a bad brand, it's a good entry level AR. They aren't top tier either, however like I said for starting out it's a fine rifle and they can be had at attractive prices. I'd probably stay away from the commando style not because it's inherently inaccurate (the barrel length usually won't hurt accuracy besides sight radius length if using iron sights) but because the muzzle blast is pretty tremendous and you are giving up quite a bit of velocity. Since the primary wounding mechanism on .223 ammo is fragmentation, and it requires a minimum velocity to reliably happen, with such a shorty you aren't going to achieve it at much beyond across the room distances.
My dad had a commando length and went to a 16" midlength which seems to be a good compromise for enough velocity to have fragmentation out to 100 yds or so, still compact enough for maneuvering, and the midlength gas system tends to give reliable function.

If you are going to slap and upper and lower together I like BCM (BravoCompanyUSA.com) as their stuff is all mil-spec and priced well. Daniel Defense and Spikes are very good as well from what I hear but haven't had any hands on experience with their products.
For lowers, it's not as critical since all the accuracy and functioning happens in the upper. Any major brand should be fine, or if you are concerned with matching finishes BCM, Daniel Defense, and Spikes all make lowers too. Usually the finishes between different manufactuers won't be enough to notice at more than a foot away, they are all just parkerized aluminum. Just get one that is mil-spec to ensure everything will fit and function right (almost all manufactuers are) and stay away from the "large pin" colt receivers from the 80's since they require adapters to mount up to a mil-spec upper and it's just not something worth dealing with unless you got a smoking deal.
 

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