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View Full Version : Ideas for Budget AR-15: A Collaboration


Major Beef
August 10, 2010, 06:59 AM
With all the inexpensive AR parts floating around these days, it seems like the $500 AR-15 rifle is easily obtainable without patiently hunting for parts at gun shows, classifieds and the internet.

I thought it would be interesting and potentially helpful to start a collaborative thread to update each other on AR-15 deals. What I've found so far:

Completed upper: JSE Surplus Custom 16" 1x9 5.56 Chrome Moly Carbine Upper -- $335.00 (From jsesurplus.com)
Completed lower: Plum Crazy Firearms Polymer Complete Lower -- $109.99 (From bafirearms through Gunbroker.com)
-----------------------
Total = $444.99

Plus FFL transfer fee, ~$15 UPS shipping from JSE surplus, and ~$12 USPS/FedEx shipping from bafirearms

OR

Completed upper: JSE Surplus Custom 16" 1x9 5.56 Chrome Moly Carbine Upper -- $335.00 (From jsesurplus.com)
Stripped lower: Surplus Arms & Ammo LOW15 Stripped AR Lower Receiver -- $59.95 (From aimsurplus.com)
Lower parts kit: Del-Ton Lower Receiver Parts Kit --$50.00 (From jsesurplus.com)
Buttstock set #1: UTG 4 Position Carbine Stock -- $30.00 (From jsesurplus.com)
Buttstock set #2: AR 6-Stage Collapsible Stock -- $34.95 (From aimsurplus.com)
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Total = $474.95 w/buttstock 1 or $479.99 w/buttstock 2

Plus FFL transfer fee, ~$15 UPS shipping from JSE surplus, and ~$9 UPS shipping from AIMsurplus

Related items:
AR-15 223 30rd Black Teflon Mag New -- $7.99 (from CDNNinvestments.com)
Winchester Black Rifle Case -- $19.97 (from Sportsmansguide.com)
Tula brand .223 Remington ammo -- $3.95 per 20rds (from cheaperthandirt.com)
Scopes & Optics -- ?????? I see a lot of cheap ones on amazon.com, but don't know which ones are good for a starter/budget rifle. I'm going to need some help for this component.

Teirst
August 10, 2010, 05:38 PM
I take it with 70 views and no responses people must not be to interested in a bottom barrel ar build.


Especially since for another 100 you can find name band ar's used

tju1973
August 10, 2010, 06:46 PM
I actually am going this route...now anyway..I got a Plum Crazy complete lower, but I think I'll use it for a bottom barrel .22lr build (with a Blackthorn upper)..I paid $99+no shipping (I think? due to a delay) and $10 Xfer fee--plus a free Guns FX tshirt...

But I did win a complete Cavalry Arms MKI lower for $100 off GB-- I think my end of the month paycheck will have one of these mated to it...

Thanks for showing me JSE, I'll post a report with pictures once I get it all together..

Wilkenstein
August 10, 2010, 08:40 PM
Why do you want optics? All the cool kids shoot irons...

http://thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=61968&d=1281058026

Major Beef
August 10, 2010, 10:34 PM
I take it with 70 views and no responses people must not be to interested in a bottom barrel ar build.


Especially since for another 100 you can find name band ar's used

What's so bad about a bottom barrel ar build? I'm just curious... They seem to work out for most people from what I can tell.

If you add a $100 more, you'll still only be spending $545-580, I don't see how you can get a used AR15 with a quality name brand for that money.

Teirst
August 10, 2010, 11:20 PM
If you watch the classifieds and shops hard you can find a used ar for under 650. when saying 100 more it was in reference to the 500 figure.

I however have little experience, which is why i worded my post "i assume since there are 70 views and no posts" there had to be some kind of reason.

I would actually be very happy to learn that a build like this could turn out well.

Evil Monkey
August 11, 2010, 01:59 AM
They seem to work out for most people from what I can tell

yes and they're the type of guys that'll say "its reliable, I fired 50 rounds through it with out a problem", and then throw it in the safe.:barf::barf::barf:




The ar15 is not meant to be a 500 dollar rifle. In order for the rifle to be %100 under rigorous conditions, it needs to be built as it was designed and that's %100 mil spec or better. The ar15 by design is a rife that will cost you 1,000-1,500 dollars if no corners are cut.


Think about it this way......."Mil-Spec" is the lowest quality the military will accept in an infantry weapon. What the hell makes you think that a parts gun that undoubtedly has LOWER THAN MIL-SPEC quality parts will be as good as a teir 1 ar15?

think about it.....

10-96
August 11, 2010, 04:58 AM
Why do you want optics? All the cool kids shoot irons... Wilkenstein- It's funny you said that. I was just thinking the other day that I don't see as many folks shoot irons as I used to and was wondering if it's becoming a lost art.

lmccrock
August 11, 2010, 08:12 AM
First, I do not shoot irons because my eyes cannot focus on the front sight. It would take a custom grind on my glasses to put the exact correction in the correct spot, and I choose to shot optics instead.

As for why not cheap builds, I want features not available in those choices, and I will pay extra to get them. And, my ammo and accessory cost will far exceed any savings upfront, easily by a factor of 10. If you are strapped for cash, sure, look for the lowest cost and change the configuration later to whatever you want, but ultimately there will be no savings.

That said, good prices from JSE if they run good.

Lee

thesheepdog
August 11, 2010, 08:30 AM
I would not suggest a low-end AR for your first AR build. I don't think it will treat you badly, but, you will appreciate a higher-end AR.

I am planning on buying one of those CMMG AR-15's just to have as a "ranch gun" to test reloads and just to have a low-end, budget gun that will get the job done, for whatever I need it to.
My other AR's get treated very well, so, there you have it.

And yes, you want mil-spec or above. Anything lower-than, doesn't deserve to be called an AR-15.

Teirst
August 11, 2010, 01:41 PM
Cdnn has a used colt 6700 for 700. There is also a guy selling a built one on thr for 575, could prolly get that one for 550 with shipping. Quality used will always trump cheap new.

Major Beef
August 11, 2010, 02:49 PM
Cdnn has a used colt 6700 for 700. There is also a gay selling a built one on thr for 575, could prolly get that one for 550 with shipping. Quality used will always trump cheap new.

Used Colts for $700? Is that a recent mailing list deal that I missed out? Had I seen that in their catalog, I might've gone for that instead of the $700 new S&W. Or maybe one of each...

I can't find a Colt for $575 on THR. I see a guy trying to sell his Del-ton for $700, and a guy selling his Bushmaster for $800. A Colt for that price is an insane deal, even with all the inventory build-up and deflationary pressures from the recession.

Major Beef
August 11, 2010, 03:51 PM
I would not suggest a low-end AR for your first AR build. I don't think it will treat you badly, but, you will appreciate a higher-end AR.

Several reasons I want to go with the $480 AR:
-Want an AR that can shoot .22lr, but can also switch back to .223, so dedicated upper was out of the question
-Bought CMMG .22lr conversion kit originally for my S&W, but don't really want to foul it up with the dirty ammo
-Plan to use better ammo with the S&W, and Tula/Wolf type ammo for the bottom dollar AR
-Learn how to build one for the sake of building one/for fun, without have to spend a lot

Teirst
August 11, 2010, 04:05 PM
post on THR

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=534836

"Ar15 16" carbine. Eagle Arms lower (division of Armalite). Free float barrel, Bushmaster trigger springs (target), chrome lined 1:9 barrel. Front sight post is red fiber optic. Need to move for another project. 575.00 + shipping/FFL fees. "

The Colt I got in a weekly email from cdnn

Colt 6700 Competition HBAR 223 20" Heavy Barrel Detachable Carry Handle
No Muzzle Brake 2-20rd Mags Used Good Condition
#COL6701 $699.99


So tell me again? Is there a single reason to not pay another 100-200 bucks and get 5 times the weapon? (especially when you should burn through 100-200 bucks in ammo in a couple weekends :D )


EDIT: also just remembered this guy just inherited several ar's and was asking for price checks. They are all older but i am sure you could pick up one of these for around the 500-600 price range

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=534874

Again, take the time to look around. I think of building AR's the same way that i do building a computer. In the "mid" to "high" price range you can build far better and cheaper then you can buy. However when you get into the "Low" price range you just can't compete with the deals that manufactures can dish out. Wait until CDNN puts M&P's back on sale for 699 new, and their used ones will drop to the 500's

Major Beef
August 12, 2010, 06:05 AM
So tell me again? Is there a single reason to not pay another 100-200 bucks and get 5 times the weapon? (especially when you should burn through 100-200 bucks in ammo in a couple weekends )

EDIT: also just remembered this guy just inherited several ar's and was asking for price checks. They are all older but i am sure you could pick up one of these for around the 500-600 price range

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=534874

Again, take the time to look around. I think of building AR's the same way that i do building a computer. In the "mid" to "high" price range you can build far better and cheaper then you can buy. However when you get into the "Low" price range you just can't compete with the deals that manufactures can dish out. Wait until CDNN puts M&P's back on sale for 699 new, and their used ones will drop to the 500's

Thanks for the links and info. I think I'll keep looking out for the CDNN deals on their Colt trade-ins and new S&Ws.

As for the sellers on THR, those prices for Armalite and PWA are pretty fair, but they don't jump out at me as great deals. For all those PWAs, my understanding is that PWA made receivers only, went out of business in the 90s and is now part of LMT (probably a good indicator their quality); however, we don't really know what barrels & BCGs were put into the rifles if that's the case.

Gunplummer
August 12, 2010, 07:43 AM
I was around when the m-16 was just getting up steam. I still can't see how you can justify $1,000.00 for an M-16 0r an M-16A-1, Mil Spec or not. I really don't follow what the new issue rifles consist of, but doubt they have anything that makes them especially expensive either.

2ndchance
August 13, 2010, 10:07 PM
Here is my build

DSArms ZM4 Complete M4 upper (http://www.dsarms.com/DSA-ZM4-Forged-7075T6-A3-AR15-Upper-Receiver---DSZM4CBU/productinfo/DSZM4CBU/) $275

DSArms ZM4 Complete Lower w/ collapsible stock (http://www.dsarms.com/Model-ZM4-Complete-Lower-Receiver-With-Mil-Spec-Stock-Assembly---DSZM4R2/productinfo/DSZM4R2/) $200

DSArms Bolt Carrier Group (http://www.dsarms.com/ZM4_AR15-Semi-Auto-Complete-Bolt-Group-Assembly/productinfo/ZM4BCG/) $110

Brownells/Model 1 Charging Handle (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=361189&utm_source=froogle&utm_medium=free&************=649) $14.00

Total Cost: $599 before shipping and transfer cost

I went this route because I wanted a M4 profile with a flat top upper. "New" is nicer than "used" (IMHO) and I was still WAY under the average price.

Rifle shoots sub-MOA@200yards with my 4.5-14 scope.

I also added a CMMG stainless 22LR conversion and the grouping is better than average, considering the barrel twist is not correct for 22LR. :)

Major Beef
August 16, 2010, 09:01 AM
Here is my build

DSArms ZM4 Complete M4 upper $275

DSArms ZM4 Complete Lower w/ collapsible stock $200

DSArms Bolt Carrier Group $110

Brownells/Model 1 Charging Handle $14.00

Total Cost: $599 before shipping and transfer cost

I went this route because I wanted a M4 profile with a flat top upper. "New" is nicer than "used" (IMHO) and I was still WAY under the average price.

Rifle shoots sub-MOA@200yards with my 4.5-14 scope.

I also added a CMMG stainless 22LR conversion and the grouping is better than average, considering the barrel twist is not correct for 22LR.

Is DSArms any good? Don't really know much about them.

The custom complete upper for $335 from JSEsurplus has:
Bulldog barrel (= Rock River Arms)
Del-ton gas block
Del-ton BCG
DSArms upper receiver

jdmeeker
February 5, 2011, 03:59 PM
prices have never been better for good stuff:

I ordered a 20" heavy fluted barrel kit from rangersales.com. It comes with a good quality shaw barrel in rifle length and the standard 1/9 twist. The base kit is $460 and i paid the additional $50 for a fluted barrel as these shaw barrels are heavy profile and that will reduce weight. I wanted the longer sight window as willr un with iron sights at first. The kit comes with everything less teh stripped lower. I stayed with the standard A2 stock due how solid it is and this is not an entry short weapon, but an all around. I also went with teh A3 upper.

For lower, I got a Surplus ammo lower stripped. For $75. They are made in the pacific nw by Aero Products.

That is a great price build for good quality starter kit. They have the same thing in car length and also havve bull barrel kits with 1/8" twist, stainless shaw barrel for like $535 in 16,20 and 24 inch. YOu can pay the same $50 to get the bull fluted too.