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Info questions Looking to buy an AR-15

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Kevinkris, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Kevinkris

    Kevinkris Aloha Well-Known Member

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    So this isn't a thread looking for a seller, just asking a few questions.

    I'm looking into buying an AR-15 rifle and i have found its much more difficult to research this properly than a handgun, which i spent a few weeks doing. I'm confused on the part that many second hand lower receivers cost more than new and the fact that everyone says specific ones are better for quality. Now the part that i get is that, sure some can be better than others purely looking at the materials used in production. Also some of the older ones may be considered more reliable(or maybe more trusted) but does that mean that i wont be able to get any stripped lower receiver for less than $400 anymore?

    next is, how do i know that when i buy parts separately to build the rifle over time that they will meet the minimum legal lengths? will i have to account for the threading when i put them together (19" barrel will be 19" plus the threads and same deal with the stock?) or will it be the 19" includes the length of the threads also?

    aside from how to tell which calibers they will accept including multi-caliber lower receivers i also can't seem to find which questions i should ask when looking at purchasing a specific rifle from a person or dealer when i feel i am ready to purchase.

    At this point i have decided these things:
    -I want to get at least a lower receiver before any new laws prohibits, restricts or otherwise makes it much more difficult to acquire one (pretty obvious but not necessarily pressing i suppose)
    -the lower receiver should be .223 or multi-caliber able to accept .223 (mostly because it is the most common choice and has the highest supply of parts, options and ammunition. i also have experience with this and enjoy it)
    -cannot be exclusive for options available (such as the old colts, which only accept the old colt uppers)

    can anyone help me with this, so that i don't make a terrible choice when i later purchase my rifle?
     
  2. judicator

    judicator McMinnville Active Member

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    Right now, I wouldn't buy an AR for about six months. Prices are universally prohibitive.

    Second, what type of AR you buy very much depends on what it will be used for, and also, how much it's going to cost.

    Third, If you're new to ARs, my advice would be not to try and build one, but that's just me.

    Fourth, the price might go up, or it might go down, but again we won't know for sure for at least six months.
     
  3. Kevinkris

    Kevinkris Aloha Well-Known Member

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    First i want to say all of the things you're saying makes perfect since. i feel the six months was already a time frame i will have been looking at anyway. mostly because i want to make sure of the things im reading about and not get myself into a bad purchase and saving the money so that i can afford it without letting more important things go.

    i agree with you when you say i shouldn't build my first AR but i have rebuilt other, less complicated rifles in the past with my grandfather helping. i also have a great deal of experience in rebuilding precision machinery with somewhat more complicated parts(i also realize, its not the same). all the same part of this idea i had to build it myself was to save a bit of money(which wont really be true because i would still need to buy the tools for it) and to become much more familiar with my rifle and how it works. in the end it would be very much a learning experience and require that i am very careful not to make mistakes. i feel i could do it with the right information materials, so that i can get the torque pressures and gauges right.

    a lot of the things ive been looking at are to buy in parts have been to be sure i will get parts that will work together. i think its more likely that i will buy completed receivers or even a completed rifle but i think that i would like to build it myself.

    would it be better if i were to buy completed and take the time to learn from improving the rifle i have? would that make it more cost prohibitive? also if i took that route, would it be a bad idea to buy one with problems and learn by repairing it? (i still wouldn't buy anything with broken receiver parts)
     
  4. tfbit

    tfbit Eugene, OR Active Member

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    Caliber markings on the lower don't mean anything.
     
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  5. Kevinkris

    Kevinkris Aloha Well-Known Member

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    how can that be? isn't it illegal to not have incorrect caliber markings on the side of a manufactured receiver?
     
  6. Selfdestructo

    Selfdestructo Eugene New Member

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    You could always just build the lower and buy a complete upper. That's an easy route to go. There are a million Youtube videos on assembling lower parts. I doubt a ban will get pushed through so lowers will come down in price eventually. Stripped lowers were going for $350 at the last gun show I went to. I saw a stripped lower/upper matched pair today at a gun shop for $500. I like the Spikes Tactical lowers but I wouldn't be picky right now. I don't really like the polymer lowers like Plum Crazy but that's just me. I'd buy some magazines right now if you can find them. I think that ban has a better chance of passing. Even if the feds don't pass one an Oregon magazine ban has already been introduced SB 346.
     
  7. tfbit

    tfbit Eugene, OR Active Member

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    Well then I guess just about every 300 Blackout shooter out there should be turning in their illegal rifles, SBRs, and pistol builds cause not many of their lowers are marked "300 AAC Blackout". ;) Seriosly though, the only caliber marking that counts is the one on the barrel.

     
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  8. andreys21

    andreys21 Milwaukie, OR Active Member

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    If you plan on building an AR, go to your local gunsmith and have him do it. You can still get all the components together and bring it to him. The muzzle device such as flash hider or muzzle brake doesn't count towards barrel length unless its pinned and welded on. In Oregon, it is illegal to have barrel length shorter than 16" unless its on a registered SBR (short-barreled rifle) lower receiver, but you can get a 14.5" barrel and pin and weld 1.5"+ muzzle device to make it legal 16". I agree with the other post and I suggest waiting for a while until the market stabilizes.
     
  9. Kevinkris

    Kevinkris Aloha Well-Known Member

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    yea im looking at not being able to financially fit it in for about a year. that would be on the safe side still. ive been getting some practice in on my new handgun lately and i will likely later get my CHL so that and bullets will be setting me back a bit here and there. ive been getting a pretty good amount of good info lately and i think ive just about got a good plan laid out for the parts. i think i will be buying the upper completed but i would like to install all the parts on my lower when i get one. i feel like its a good idea to learn the ins and outs of the lower so that i can better find any problems later on.
     
  10. traderpats

    traderpats MILWAUKIE, OREGON Member

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    I agree on waiting for prices to stabilize. They'll drop after the profiteers are finished and will plummet when nothing meaningful comes out of D.C. and manufacturers catch up. In fact for those with patience that will be the time to buy and stock up in advance of the next scare, whether real or otherwise.

    As for building, easy-peasy! If you have even the most basic of mech skills the AR is probably the easiest rifle to build there is. If you have some minimal tools (simple hand tools, vice, torque wrench) you won't have any problems. Lots of directions online and once you do finish a build you'll be saying, "That's it?" Seriously a cave man can do it. Probably the most "critical" area would be barrel installation so Google that in addition to maybe lapping the upper receiver.

    Parts are pretty much standardized so stay away from barrels under 16" (be familiar with your states specific requirements) and you'll be just fine. Buying quality components will cost more but it will save you from possibly buying twice so ask around if you're not sure of a manufacturer. Take the time to build it (doesn't take long at all once you have all the parts) and you'll understand your rifle so much better. My two cents ....
     
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  11. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    Difference in lower cost- Forged vs Billet, in-house or sourced, QC involved in process, the name on the side, features included, etc. What this means- don't waste $3-400 on a standard forged lower and get on the waiting list and order a Seekins or AXTS, etc.
    The stamp on the side is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things- if it mattered what it was stamped why does ATF deny SBR's stamped multi, to be registered as multi? Just food for thought.

    I'm a big fan of building, especially the lower. Pick up a Geissele trigger, BAD-*** safety and choice of stock.
    And deals are out there still if you hunt, are patient and lucky. I got an LMT upper with Larue and Surefire goodies for easily pre-panick pricing.
     
  12. gryghin

    gryghin Beaverton Active Member

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    Here's my 2 centavos for what it's worth.

    I'm prior Navy, and was a Security Platoon Chief at my last duty station. Most we ever did was the field strip, so I wanted to build my own since my kids were old enough to start firearm training. All of my kids (boys and girl) have been in martial arts and have years of weapon training (edge, stick, tonfa…etc).

    It's taken me a couple of years of buying parts but it did save me some money along the way and I learned the internals of the rifle.
    I built my lower from a Palmetto State Armory stripped lower and a DPMS LPK. It is marked Multi-Cal which means that any caliber magazine should fit in the Mag-Well. This really is the only difference in the lowers.

    I bought a complete upper, because I didn't want to deal with the torqueing of the barrel and other issues that can occur. The 5.56 upper I bought did not come with a BCG, so I had to find one and luckily got it right before the prices tripled. Because the 5.56 upper did not come matched with the BCG, I brought it to the Armorer at Razor Six Tactical to have if Head-space gauged. I don't have those and since I don't plan on getting an upper that often thought I'd rather hang out at a local shop and chat for a while.

    Hope this helps.
     
  13. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    The mere mention of new laws has made your new project near impossible
     
  14. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, this is true. I was thinking about getting a stripped lower to build as a SBR, but not now.
     
  15. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I sold a AR pistol,7.62X39 and a 6.8 AR cause of the costs. Just bad timing for me starting new AR projects.
     
  16. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    My best advice for a newbie buying a first AR............

    Just get the genuine COLT and go from there.

    Aloha, Mark

    PS..........