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View Full Version : My 1st AR-15... Opinions/ Options please.


Evan-0-Matic
May 22, 2011, 01:16 AM
Decided I'd like to graduate up into the world of AR's and was hoping you all could give me a push in the right direction.

So far i've come across two that i really like... I'll start there and see what you all think.

Stag Arms - http://www.stagarms.com/product_info.php?cPath=13_22&products_id=208

Rock River - http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=464

Basically, i 'm looking to spend less than 1,000 or as close to that as possible. I'd like the rifle to take both 5.56 and .233. I'd prefer a chromed barrel, and i want to stick to the carbine size. No carry handle models though.

Other than that i'm completely open to other options if you got 'em.

Thanks!

Jim243
May 22, 2011, 01:25 AM
Both will do you well. Your choice depends on what you like. They are fun guns to own and shoot.

Jim

mc223
May 22, 2011, 02:01 AM
Before ya go spendin too much cash, Look at CDNN. There is some ARs that price wise are hard to beat. Like Colts for the kind of money they want for a RRA

http://www.cdnninvestments.com/


But remember, it is your money get what you want.






o

Evan-0-Matic
May 22, 2011, 09:54 AM
Thank you both. I'm happy to see that i found a couple rifles that are good choices.

And that catalog was unreal! One Colt caught my eye for sure, but i think the Rock River wins out a bit more due to all the included 'cool stuff' (rear sight, hand-guard etc.)

But i still plan on buying some other items there (amazing prices).

Thanks again. But i'm still open to ideas if anyone's got 'em.

zombieslayer
May 22, 2011, 10:46 AM
Yeah they both are good choices. Also consider Spike's.

Slotback
May 22, 2011, 06:41 PM
In agreement with Zombieslayer.

Volucris
May 23, 2011, 12:09 AM
You are better off buying a complete upper from Bravo Company Manufacturing and just getting a complete lower locally or wherever like Palmetto State Armory.


Stag, RRA, etc are all overpriced and underperforming. I've seen too many fail. Considering you can get a Spike's, BCM, Colt, LMT for the same price if not cheaper it makes little sense in getting one from them. The mil-spec thing isn't 100% important but there are some damn good features in it that many companies such as DPMS, RRA, Bushmaster, Stag, etc do not adhere to and thus you will see blown bolt heads, improper chambers, poor barrel twist rates, etc.


I really suggest just getting the upper separately as companies have to charge I think it's an 11% tax for complete rifles due to a federal law. It makes for expensive rifles that are supposed to just be cheaper rifles for occasional shooters. Colts from CDNN are cheap and will last a lifetime or more.

Twycross
May 23, 2011, 12:29 AM
I really suggest just getting the upper separately

I second this. It's ridiculously easy to pick out exactly what you want in an upper (which you can buy piece by piece if you are on a budget), and then mate it to a locally purchased lower.

browntailguy
May 23, 2011, 01:01 AM
My first AR was a RRA Predator Pursuit. It is a wonderful gun. I use it for Coyote hunting. Oh and I have 30 round magazines in just about every drawer of my house just in case a predator comes to my door. Anyways, it is very accurate and a pleasure to shoot.

I would also check out Buds Guns they have some smoking deals on Bushmasters right now. Buds is a great place to shop for guns.

Good luck

Wildalaska
May 23, 2011, 11:21 AM
:D

WildyoushouldhavecalledmeAlaska ™©2002-2011

B. Lahey
May 23, 2011, 11:37 AM
Colt 6920. Call Wildalaska for the sweetprice.

RRA and Stag are both several notches below Colt and the cost savings are insignificant.

Wildalaska
May 23, 2011, 11:43 AM
Actually, I got a tricked out pre owned 6940 I was thinkin.......

WildinagunmoodtodayAlaska ™©2002-2011

9-ball
May 23, 2011, 11:45 AM
Ruger SR-556

Getting around all the direct gas impignment problems. Nice old gas piston design.

B. Lahey
May 23, 2011, 11:50 AM
Actually, I got a tricked out pre owned 6940 I was thinkin.......

Awdiggydang.

Wish I had spare riflecash, the fixed stock on my WWG A4gery is too long for my lady. Of course that means I need another AR... :D

Philo
May 23, 2011, 12:00 PM
Basically, i 'm looking to spend less than 1,000 or as close to that as possible. I'd like the rifle to take both 5.56 and .233. I'd prefer a chromed barrel, and i want to stick to the carbine size. No carry handle models though.


A few months ago, I bought a Bushmaster M4 A3 Patrolman's carbine. This has the removable handle with a top rail so you can mount optics. It has a chromed barrel and it is chambered for 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem. With FFL transfer fee, I paid just over $900 for it. I bought it at Bud's Gun Shop.

I am completely satisfied with this carbine. I have probably put over 500 rounds through it so far, both 5.56 and .223. I have never had any trouble with it. I know other people who own them and they have had no trouble with theirs either. Check it out.

WVsig
May 23, 2011, 12:13 PM
For the money get a Colt. That is what I did. I love my 6920. Solid gun more accurate than I am. Has never failed me in anyway.

You can get a Colt for somewhere close to $1100 if you have a good transfer dealer. When you look at the extra $100 its about the cost of one day at the range... LOL

WildthecoltpusherAlaska

CookieFactory
May 23, 2011, 02:06 PM
For that price, why not get a Colt 6920?

http://www.gtdist.com/ProductDetail.aspx?PartNumber=COLT-LE6920

Quentin2
May 23, 2011, 02:30 PM
I also like the idea of buying a stripped lower locally then finding a quality upper (built exactly like you want it), LPK, stock kit, etc. to complete it. Lots of great choices out there and of course once you have the lower the rest of a standard AR can be shipped to your door, avoiding the 11% FET as Volucris mentioned above. You only pay the 11% on a $100 stripped lower instead of a $900 complete rifle which can save you $90+.

Earlier this year I did just that with a S&W lower, BCM M4 stock kit, Stag LPK, Daniel Defense 16" LW CHF midlength upper/BCG/CH, Magpul MOE handguards/MBUS rear sight, sling and 1 PMAG - all coming in at about $850 and every part is high quality. You can easily pay that much for a run of the mill AR off the rack that isn't configured the way you want.

Unfortunately getting the parts you want takes time, about 6 weeks when I did it, and maybe longer today depending on backlogs. In the end it's worth it because you can have it your way plus learn more about the platform. Building a lower is fairly easy and most of us have the tools already.

tAKticool
May 23, 2011, 03:00 PM
Lots of good advice, fair points, etc. in this thread



Let me be the one to recommend to you BUSHMASTER son because it's what I got and i want to become BUSHMASTER special friends with you!!!!


Lmfao jk

Just take your time because you will undoubtedly learn and realize new things and say (Ohhh I really want that!!!!!) or "Shooot shoooot shoot I didn't realizr this came/didn' come etc." "I gotta BUY that fancy stock/pistol grip/handguad./foregrip etc." ... so just take your time, you got plenty of time to blow your money. And good luck, congrats, and Go Bushmaster :)

DubC-Hicks
May 23, 2011, 03:10 PM
+1 on the Spikes M4 LE. Mine has had about 2500 trouble free rounds thru it.

Father Time
May 23, 2011, 05:05 PM
Ruger SR-556

Getting around all the direct gas impignment problems. Nice old gas piston design.

:rolleyes:



Carrier tilt won't solve anything.

There is nothing wrong with a DI rifle if you maintain it properly.

9-ball
May 23, 2011, 06:12 PM
There is nothing wrong with a DI rifle if you maintain it properly

I think you mean by that that it will be reliable when maintained properly? I agree with that, but first of all, why take a system that only functions when maintained properly while there are systems that function on nearly every moment? Okay, I won't make this an AR pro contra topic :)

Just seen that he had a price limit too, so SR-556 is out of question anyway.

Father Time
May 23, 2011, 06:16 PM
why take a system that only functions when maintained properly


Any rifle will fail if not properly maintained.
So why take a rifle and add a flawed concept to it. The piston just causes problems. Carrier tilt and added recoil don't appeal me at all.

HKFan9
May 23, 2011, 06:34 PM
Funny, I had more issues with my Colt than I ever did my Stag, and the Stag was used.:rolleyes:

Stag for the money, is a great starter rifle. There the in house brand name for Continental Machine who makes AR parts for other AR manufacturers as well. Mine never had any issues, well right off the bat I got some FTF but then noticed the mag the guy gave me with it was for a 6.8SPC, once I grabbed some Magpul Pmags it has been flawless.

Colt makes great guns, unfortunately mine was a nightmare at times, still have a lot of the old parts from her however.

I recently just purchased a BCM 14.5 Middy upper. I plan on building a new lower for it, but right now it is riding on top of my Stag lower and works great.

C0untZer0
May 23, 2011, 07:02 PM
I do not know what the appeal of an AR is.

I know some people love em, even former military love em.

I shot em for 11 years, and was in competitions with em and 11 years of experience with them is more than enough to convince me that I don't want one, at least not to function as a rifle.

Although I have to admit I'd like to make a 4" barrelled 5.56 pistol. I think that's pushing it for getting even a piston system to function reliably, or so I've heard. But I still want one.

But anyway, as far as the AR platform for rifles... For the price of an AR you can get a beautiful, truly magnificent, reliable, superbly functioning, very accurate rifle, from quite a few different manufacturers.

When a man goes hunting, he should have a finely crafted walnut stock on his rifle. Just the asthetics of someone being out in the field with an AR, the the picatinny rails and the plastic hand gaurds, is... blech.

HKFan9
May 23, 2011, 07:54 PM
I keep my Sako's for hunting.... I keep my AR's for other duties.

Since when were rifles only used to hunt?:confused:

Evan-0-Matic
May 24, 2011, 06:21 PM
Thanks again for all the good advice, fellas.

But i have some good news and bad news...

I've decided i can't afford to buy an AR at the moment... But...

As many of you (a special thanks to TimW77) have mentioned i could buy all or most of the pieces seperatley, over time, and save a bit of money.
So that's the good news, I'm going to take my time and find the best deals, and the best setup for me.

I have some questions though, and i'm sure you guys can be just as helpful here.

Where is it an 'ok' idea to buy cheaper parts in an AR configuration? If so which ones?

-Where can i find the BEST deals?
-What brands are good to go with? BCM has some great deals of both Uppers and Lowers... Reliable brand?
-Why buy a Lower locally? Is it cheaper or not as important as a good Upper?

Can any AR part fit with another? Upper to Lower... Bolt to Barrel... etc?

I have to admit (in case any of you haven't guessed it).
I'm a bit of an AR novice... so feel free to over explain anything, haha.

I know the basics and i know how to strip an AR. But that's about it... My lingo isn't so hot yet either.

Thanks again.

zombieslayer
May 24, 2011, 08:59 PM
Yes BCM is a great way to go.
The reason I'd guess you'd buy the lower locally is that the lower is the part that you need an FFL to order. There are way smarter guys thn me on here to give you all the specifics of what goes with what. Have fun, and enjoy piecing it all together.

Marquezj16
May 24, 2011, 10:13 PM
For $599 you can buy a M&P 15 Sport. Then later on, you can upgrade your upper to something you like. Or keep it as is, it's a great entry AR.

CLC
May 24, 2011, 10:16 PM
Evan
I am also an AR noob looking for the answers you have asked. Last week I picked up a stag stripped lower and don't even know where to start. Looking forward to this thread!

Twycross
May 25, 2011, 01:54 AM
-Where can i find the BEST deals?
You'll have to shop around, and it depends on exactly what you want.

-What brands are good to go with? BCM has some great deals of both Uppers and Lowers... Reliable brand?
BCM is an excellent choice. They are fairly new to the market (as compared to most of the other big names), but they make some of the best stuff out there, particularly if milspec is important to you. Apart from them, most major brands are good to go. I've heard some poor rumors about the smaller kit shops (Del-ton and Model One specifically), but stick with the big names and you shouldn't be disappointed with anything.

-Why buy a Lower locally? Is it cheaper or not as important as a good Upper?
A lower is a lower is a lower. There are virtually no differences between the manufacturers other than the mark on the mag well, and any savings you might find on the 'net will probably be cancelled out by the fee for the FFL transfer. It's just easier to drive down to the local gunshop and buy the one with the most aesthetically pleasing logo there on the spot.

Can any AR part fit with another? Upper to Lower... Bolt to Barrel... etc?
For the most part, yes. There are a couple exceptions, differences between milspec and commercial. The only ones I can remember OTOMH are the buffer tube, and a pin in the lower assembly parts kit.

JKM
May 25, 2011, 04:47 AM
Hi all, new to tfl. Of the two mentioned in the beginning, both are good. I have a stag model 1 m4gery, love it. Bought for 700 nib, w/200 rnds fed tactical 55 grain ball. Has digested about 5000 more rounds since. Still more acurrate than I can shoot it. No failures mechanically, 5 stoppages. 2 from garbage steel cased, 1 bad handload, 2 from bad mags.

That'll Do
May 25, 2011, 09:52 AM
A lower is a lower is a lower. There are virtually no differences between the manufacturers other than the mark on the mag well, and any savings you might find on the 'net will probably be cancelled out by the fee for the FFL transfer. It's just easier to drive down to the local gunshop and buy the one with the most aesthetically pleasing logo there on the spot.


Not necessarily. While they *should* be the same dimensionally, that isn't always the case. The quality of the finish can be different too. So skimping on a lower isn't necessarily a good idea.

Evan-0-Matic
May 26, 2011, 06:49 PM
So... i never hated being a city dweller more than i do tonight.
Just got back from my favorite gun shop to see about purchasing a Lower, and i decided to ask about barrel lengths.

Well, i had no idea you couldn't own... Excuse me... USE an AR barrel shorter than 16" unless you have a the proper papers/ liscense :[
And in case you're wondering, i live in South Milwaukee, WI. A pretty big city.

I'm going to have to put-off the 'cool factor' purchase of a 12.5 barrel until i move... Maybe once i join my father n' brother in South Carolina, haha.

Anyways, i do have some good news though... I've decided to pick up a BCM upper (haveno idea which one yet, so i would love some opinions here).

And a Stag lower... I decided to go with Stag because i like the finish, and as an extra incentive my gun shop buddy, said he would put together a complete lower for me (for free) and only charge $200-220!
OR i could get a complete Spike's lower for $40 more... Iam trying to save money on this first AR, but if any of you can give me good reason to go with the Spike's, i'm all ears.

Think that's all i got for now. Thanks again for all the help fellas... Keep it going!

P.S. Anyone in the Milwaukee area looking for a new range buddy? Would be great to meet some new people who are also gun hobbyists.

jackblack73
May 26, 2011, 07:15 PM
That's not just a city thing. If you want to own a short barreled rifle (SBR) you need to pay a $200 tax stamp and fill out the proper paperwork with the ATF. I suggest you do a lot more research.

Evan-0-Matic
May 26, 2011, 07:53 PM
@ JackBlack


I know that as well, but the main point is i live in the city and that's the end of it right there, haha.

I also need to have a home security system apparently (that part gave me a good laugh).

Jimro
May 26, 2011, 07:56 PM
A lower is a lower is a lower. Any "dimensional differences" are going to be measured by equipment more sophisticated than the mark one eyeball or mark five mittengrubber.

Jimro

Volucris
May 26, 2011, 08:53 PM
Sometimes but not always. Some have different angles of flaring for the magwell to aid reloading, some are grossly out of spec or just hate mags proper lowers don't mind, and some are so poorly manufactured they crack during firing.

HKFan9
May 26, 2011, 11:37 PM
The Stag lower will work great. I have a Stag lower on my BCM 14.5 upper as we speak. Like I stated before. Stag is the in house brand name of CMT. who makes lowers and other AR parts for other companies. Noveske, a high end AR name... uses CMT lowers. CMT makes them.... other companies buy em and put their mark on them.

jackblack73
May 27, 2011, 02:44 AM
It's a bit of an over-simplification to say that just because something comes from the same factory that it's the same. Company A and company B may both get parts from CMT, but company A may have tighter tolerances and a higher rejection rate, for example. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Stag, I might have bought one if they offered a middy. Just that it's often stated that many companies get their lowers from CMT, but it's not quite that simple.

Evan-0-Matic
May 31, 2011, 06:44 PM
What is the best 'twist rate' to look for, when shopping for Uppers/ Barrels?

Jimro
May 31, 2011, 07:25 PM
Sometimes but not always. Some have different angles of flaring for the magwell to aid reloading, some are grossly out of spec or just hate mags proper lowers don't mind, and some are so poorly manufactured they crack during firing

Say what? Anyone ever handle a lower like this? Ever? I googled this and came back only with stories about Colt and Bushmaster, hardly the bottom end of the AR world.

Seriously, anyone?

Jimro

Wildalaska
May 31, 2011, 07:39 PM
Anyone ever handle a lower like this?

Yes.

Century marked ones, PWA marked ones, DPMS marked ones (well in the past for those) are the three that come to mind

WildimsuretherearothersAlaska ™©2002-2011

Jimro
June 3, 2011, 07:17 AM
WildinsertsnarkhereAlaska,

I'm sure there are others too, every brand has a failure rate, but DPMS isn't exactly "bottom of the barrel" as far as AR recievers go (you said it was "well in the past" and I trust that). Heck Oly Arms QC problems are also well in the past. Incidentally it might have been Oly arms that supplied cast lower receivers to Century for the "C-15" builds. And having lived within spitting distance of the Oly Arms factory for the past couple years I've seen a lot of used Oly Arms ARs.

LMT was the lower receiver supplier for PWA (as far as I can tell they didn't have any others), so I have no clue what the CQ issue is there, but PWA is out of business and now LMT is a "premium" brand since the Brits bought off on one of their guns.

I've handled plenty of Mega and Aero Precision lowers, even shot a couple from time to time :) Haven't heard any complaints about Roggio Arsenal either. I've not heard a peep of complaint about rifles built on the Cav Arms polymer lowers.

But my point is that there are so many companies putting out good lower receivers that getting hung up on brand is stupid. Heck, billet lower recievers can't pass the "milspec" test because milspec is forged.

Jimro

madcratebuilder
June 4, 2011, 05:55 AM
A lower is a lower but there are many different lowers. Most well follow the the standard mil-spec print but there are several that well have enhancements. For the first time builder a normal 7075 lower gets the job done. Save the exotic billet lowers for the next build.

Flared mag wells, integrated trigger guards, roll pins replaced by threaded pins, 45* safety selectors are found on many enhanced lowers.

The same on uppers, some are enhanced, left-hand, right-hand, dustcover, shell deflectors, over all thickness and rigidity.

Evan-0-Matic
June 4, 2011, 09:40 AM
So i almost hate to admit this... But i was just reading up on a couple BCM uppers and realized they DON'T come with the 'guts'.

Bolt carrier group, charging handle etc.

SO... Just so i don't forget to buy any of the needed parts. What pieces do i need to have a COMPLETE upper?

And i'm still looking for an answer on what 'twist rate' is best in a barrel.

Thanks fellas!

P.S. I already have a STAG lower... Let's drop the debate already. Please, feel free to start your own thread on the subject, haha.

Jimro
June 4, 2011, 10:53 AM
For 75 grain bullets and lower you should be able to get by with a 1:9 20" barrel. For a 16" barrel make that 1:8. For a 14.5" barrel with permanently attached flash suppressor 1:7.

If you plan on just shooting 55gr ammo then ANY twist will work, but 1:9 will be the easiest to find. From all barrel lengths 1:9 SHOULD stabilize 69gr match bullets for precision work.

Ask yourself what you are going to shoot, then pick the twist that goes with the length of barrel you want on your upper. Unless you are going to shoot competition a 1:9 should keep you happy as a tornado in a trailer park.

Jimro

Volucris
June 4, 2011, 12:22 PM
1:9" twists are meant for up to 69 gr length .224" projectiles, not 75

That'll Do
June 4, 2011, 01:32 PM
SO... Just so i don't forget to buy any of the needed parts. What pieces do i need to have a COMPLETE upper?


You need a Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) and charging handle to complete the upper.

You could also add a carry handle (depends on whether or not you're going to use an optic and back up iron sights, or just traditional irons on the AR).

Jimro
June 4, 2011, 01:46 PM
Volucris,

1:9" twists are meant for up to 69 gr length .224" projectiles, not 75

With a 20" barrel you can usually launch 75 grain projectiles fast enough to stabilize the longer pill. You can't get that velocity from a shorter barrel, so you need a tighter twist. You would be amazed at the "slow" twists some of the High Power shooters shooting "space guns" with 24" or longer barrels.

Look, Scott Powers (http://www.snipercountry.com/Articles/AR15_part1.asp) chose a 1:9 twist for his first Service Rifle barrel (for cost reasons) and manages to shoot the 75 gr bullets. He recommends a 1:8 or 1:7.7 twist to handle the 80 grain bullets.

I had a Bushmaster 1:9 sold it, I kept my Colt 1:7 upper and am using that for Service Rifle. Not that the Bushmaster wouldn't do the job, it did just fine, but I didn't need two service rifles.

Jimro