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Hello from Southern Oregon. AR-15 Build or Buy?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Tankistheman, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. Tankistheman

    Tankistheman Klamath County Member

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    Hello all, Southern Oregon here new to the forum. Actually this is my first forum ever! Looking to get my first AR, been around guns my whole life, Just new to the AR platform. There's definitely options out there. Just can't seem to decide between building or buying. I've priced everything out I can do either for about the same $. Any thoughts, experience, and shared knowledge would be appreciated!

    Thanks TANK
     
  2. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I'd recommend buying a nice entry level complete rifle first. Then you can start experimenting with replacing parts like handguards, sights and stocks first. Then you can try different triggers or other internal parts.

    If you start with a nice sold rifle, you can always return to the original parts if you dont like an upgrade.

    Plus there are so many options, building for the first time can seem overwhelming. Which of the 8000 different triggers on the market should you try?
     
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  3. OutlawHoss

    OutlawHoss Klamath-Siskyou Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    I'm in So Oregon too. I have limited experience with AR's. I have a DPMS LR308, which was one of the first 308 AR (AR-10) that started the recent interest AR-10's. But with this particular rifle I have a lot of experience with it in customizing it, reloading for it, and diagnosing/repair of some issues. I'm not a fan of the 5.56 round, so haven't gotten into AR-15's proper, so you'll pretty much hear me advocate for rounds that are ballistically superior.
    If this is your first AR, with the availability of so many makes of whole lowers, uppers, barrels, etc, at what is probably the lowest price point recently, my impression is it's a lot less expensive to buy a basic complete model and then customize it as you gain knowledge and experience and begin to form preferences in customized features.
    Buying all the proper armorer's tools to do a decent build, as well as the challenge to achieve the proper design integrity could be a steep learning curve; you may be fighting poorly fit components and so your first AR might be a black hole of money and just disappointing.
    There are definitely more experienced AR folks on this forum though, so you should get some great guidance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
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  4. Tankistheman

    Tankistheman Klamath County Member

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    Bolus,
    That's definitely what I've found out, the information, manufacturers, and options out there are a little overwhelming. The recommendation from my local dealer is a Stag model 3, which looks like a solid gun from what I've researched online and they stand behind their rifles. Unfortunately he's out of stock or I probably wouldn't be considering this so much and I'd be out shooting it this weekend. The chain stores in town have stock on S&W 15 and Rugger AR556 but I prefer to buy from our local shop. Thanks for the input.
     
  5. Tankistheman

    Tankistheman Klamath County Member

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    I see the Klamath/Siskyou we're in the same area. Yeah I researched the AR-10 as well but for my price point the AR-15 was just the better option for getting into the platform. Although this will be my first, it probably won't be my last! That was another one of my concerns is I'd have to but ALL the tools now. Where as, if like you and bolus said, buy a complete rifle now and I can get a feel for the platform ,my likes dislikes, and buy tools and furniture as I go.
     
  6. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    me personally would go with the Ruger. But I actually did the complete opposite of my advice and my first AR15 was a bunch of parts and a 80% receiver I built. :)

    Now is not the best time to get into AR15's since there is a bit of a run on AR15's given terrorist in Florida. If the price of the S&W or Ruger is good you might want to go ahead with the purchase. It will probably get worse before the election. NICS background checks are up from 1.8 million to 2.3 million from May to June
     
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  7. Tankistheman

    Tankistheman Klamath County Member

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    Yeah I'm not waiting long he said the next couple of weeks he will have them in at the price he quoted me which was $50 less than the chain stores. Yeah I saw the prices and the recent/upcoming events and figured right now was the time if I wanted to buy one plus I have the money which as we all know can come and go pretty quickly.
     
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  8. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Sub Light Speed Well-Known Member

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    First, Welcome aboard! I agree with the others here, buy a built gun first, then play with changes as you learn the rifle. Once you are comfortable with the basics, you can start picking up parts as you figure out your plan and build as you go! The really nice thing, And I can speak from experience, The help here from members really helped me out with my first full AR build, and now, the build bug is firmly set! If the Ruger is with in your price range, that's the way I would go, or an Aero if you can find one!
     
  9. 70cyclone

    70cyclone Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    can't go wrong with the ruger or the smith but the AR is so easy to build.
    the biggest issue is the trigger...hard to find the different ones locally to 'test' for the feel you want.
    don't get too hung up on 'specialty' AR tools, 90% of the work can be done with standard hand tools. 3 tools to think about for complete builds(upper and lower) would be an armorers wrench, armorers vise, and a BEV block.
    good luck in whichever way you get started, one path usually leads to the other anyway :)
     
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  10. OutlawHoss

    OutlawHoss Klamath-Siskyou Well-Known Member

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    I think that's solid advice; it could be another run of perceived scarcity and attempts to further erode gun rights that will effect the availability of 'scary black guns' until well past the next election, regardless of who wins. I'd rather have a complete rifle in the safe than some parts that may never get put together, or at least not in the near future.
    Myself, I'm focused on ammo components and back up/repair/replacement parts for the guns I have, as well as improving competency, skills, and just more trigger time period.
     
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  11. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Sub Light Speed Well-Known Member

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    Really good point Hoss, Spare parts! Having a "kit" of springs, mag followers, extractor parts and others is a really smart move! I do that with all my self loading weapons, Piston guns especially! Ammo is another issue to be addressed now as you are getting into a new rifle, you want to stock up as much as you can before things go sideways!
     
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  12. bmtm09

    bmtm09 olympia, wa Well-Known Member

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    If you have all the tool already...build one ..you learn tons about them by building...
    If you dont ...buy one...If you dont have the tools and the kit once youve bought all of them you will spend as much if not more than a nice entry level AR...IMHO
     
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  13. Tankistheman

    Tankistheman Klamath County Member

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    Thanks for the welcome! All great advice. I have Been buying ammo the last few paychecks in anticipation of my upcoming purchase. Now I just need to stop thinking about it so damn much and do something already haha. I will look into getting the spare parts never thought about that. Plus parts are getting harder to find online. The selection of lowers and complete uppers are becoming more limited.
     
  14. Brutus57

    Brutus57 Skagit County Well-Known Member

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    How much you gonna spend? Ruger, Colt 6920 are solid choices, or the new Aero Precision AR gives you a nicely built rifle you can put your choice of grips, stock, etc.

    I built one during the panic part by part and probably dropped $200-250 plus more over usual prices but I got a solid carbine with quality parts, BCM HBAR upper, Aero Lower ALG-ACT trigger, Mag Pul furniture. Building is fun, too. But buying and shooting tomorrow, is as well.
    My EBR pistol was "assembled" (complete upper and lower) for less than $500.00 8 months ago including a Bushnell red dot. ARs are fun.

    Brutus Out
     
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  15. Tankistheman

    Tankistheman Klamath County Member

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    I'm looking to spend $600-$800 initially, with a 4month old my financial manager (wife) doesn't wince at that price range too much. Plus the cost of extra mags, ammo, etc. After everyone's thoughts I'm gonna go ahead buy a complete rifle, play with the platform, learn my own likes and dislikes. Then I'll plan on building my second piece by piece so I don't have to drop a huge chunk of change all at once.
     
  16. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    These days I always recommend a build, but. Entry level rifles are just that, bare bones basics. You have to be careful about what upper you get has a provision for a dust cover, and also a shell deflector.
    But a base model will get you out shooting. And as you swap out parts you can see how its put together.

    Get yourself a reaction rod ($50 ) and a decent armorers wrench (under $50). Only other special wrench you may need depends on if you swap out the hand guard.


    Reaction rod, has a 1/2" square drive in the none splined end.
    reactionrod.jpg
     
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  17. Tankistheman

    Tankistheman Klamath County Member

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    I will definitely look into those tools. The armorers wrench definitely came up a lot in my research but this is this first I've heard of a reaction rod.
     
  18. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Only if you are going to building uppers or replacing barrels.
     
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  19. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    Lots of folks use the clamshell clamp to hold the upper in the bench vise. But that can put allot of stress on the aluminum upper. So its best to use the reaction rod when assembling, or tearing down. Works great for removing and installing muzzle devices, and barrel nuts.
     
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  20. 70cyclone

    70cyclone Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    the BEV block I mentioned is used for the same purpose as the reaction rod.
    noImage.png
     
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