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Old September 27, 2011, 12:28 AM   #1
Constantine
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First AR-15...so many choices...

So little knowledge. I'm a handgun guy (look @ my signature) and I don't know much about the AR-15 aside from the fact that I want one now ever so bad! Shot one a few times and don't know what took me so long.

So I wanna know brands and everything. Top of the line. To average Joe types. Leave out the bottom of the barrel, cause I don't play with those.

what should my first AR-15 be?

SA 1911 - XD45 - G21sf - G22 - G27 - Hk USP 40 - SIG P226 E2 - Browning High-Power - S&W M19-3 - CZ-82 - Remington 870
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Old September 27, 2011, 05:17 AM   #2
RT
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Colt 6920
$995
http://dsgarms.com/ProductInfo/CO6920.aspx
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Old September 27, 2011, 06:33 AM   #3
spyderdude
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The Colt 6920 is at a good price point (for now) so I'd definitely look into getting one. It may also depend on how much you're willing to spend. The S&W M&P15 Sport I hear is a really good, no frills AR-15 for those who don't have 900-1200 dollars to spend on one. What you plan to use it for may also be a deciding factor. Even if you do get one of the "bottom of the barrel" brands you can always upgrade the critical components later but it's usually better to spend the extra coin and get something that's properly built right out of the box. The brands considered to be top tier from what I know are Colt, Noveske, and LMT. I think BCM is right up there too. The average to lower brands are S&W, Stag, DPMS, Bushmaster and probably a few others I can't think of. That's not to say those won't serve you well, in fact it's likely those brands will do the average shooter just fine because in most cases their owners won't run thousands upon thousands of rounds through them or take them into harms way. Another option is to build your own and that way you can really learn the ins and outs of the AR platform and you'll get exactly what you want!

Last edited by spyderdude; September 27, 2011 at 06:38 AM.
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Old September 27, 2011, 07:09 AM   #4
rude robert
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16 inch barrel is too short, just my two cents. Good price though.
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Old September 27, 2011, 07:31 AM   #5
Charlie_98
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Much depends on what you want in an AR rifle...

Do you want a M4 carbine clone? (16" barrel, short gas system,) or more along the lines of a target or varmit rifle (flattop receiver, 20-24" bull barrel, etc.) Or, just more middle of the road A2 type (standard issue, 20" medium or heavy barrel, fixed or removable sights, etc.)

Answer that question first, and you'll have better luck finding where you want to go!
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Old September 27, 2011, 08:05 AM   #6
Constantine
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You guys rock! That was quicker than usual.

I want it for strictly home defense, hurricanes (looters), and for when I eventually go back into LE. The 16 is better for that purpose of clearing a home and/or defense purposes. I will ne modifying the rifle through a Navy SEAL that is like my blood. I'll see if I can snap shots of his work sometime soon. Price isn't necessary to tread the water on. I'm going to go big on this one.

So Colt sounds darn good.. I saw an M&P rifle that felt really solid to me when I was messing around with it one day. Didn't get a chance to ever hold onto a Colt unfortunately.

I have this strange thing where I have to feel the firearm or rifle in my hands for a while to decide. Hasn't failed me yet.

Any more options and prices??


Your help is greatly appreciated.

SA 1911 - XD45 - G21sf - G22 - G27 - Hk USP 40 - SIG P226 E2 - Browning High-Power - S&W M19-3 - CZ-82 - Remington 870
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Old September 27, 2011, 08:32 AM   #7
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Given your guidelines, what RT said... the Colt 6920 is pretty hard to beat.

You could always build one... I recently completed an AR build for myself. I have a Colt H-Bar, but I wanted something very light and short... so I built one:

LRB lower, RRA16" upper, mid-length gas system, Magpul hardware, shorty A2 stock. Only thing left is a set of pop-up sights...

I ordered the upper built from RRA, it was exactly how I wanted it; bought a stripped lower and built the lower up.

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Old September 27, 2011, 11:02 AM   #8
Constantine
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Wow. That is an awesome AR you got there Charlie. That's what I want to hear in my head every time I see my own. I don't feel I have the competence yet to build one. So most likely I'll just be buying one then modifying from there.

How much does that Colt usually go for on average again?

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Old September 27, 2011, 01:13 PM   #9
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I am in a similar boat myself. I too am looking at purchasing my first AR, and I too was willing to spend a little to get a high quality rifle. I wanted something that would last me for quite some time, and I also wanted something that would hold its value well. Though I haven't placed an order yet (still shopping around), I decided on a Colt SP6940.

The 6920 is a basic M4 clone with plastic handguards and a removable carry handle rear sight. I personally wanted an AR with a quad rail and flip up sights. The 6940 uses a monolithic upper with an integral quad rail and comes with front and rear flip up sights. The 6920's can be found for right around $1000 and 6940's for just under $1300. A drop in quad rail is around $250 and flip up rear sights go for $60-$120. I decided to just go with the rifle that has all the features I want right out of the box, since a 6920 with addons would end up costing more than just the 6940.
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Old September 27, 2011, 02:56 PM   #10
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Colt is very good, also to be considered are Daniel Defense, Bravo Company, Noveske, LMT, and LaRue. All make some excellent rifles. Check out some of the AR specific forums m4carbine.com and ar15.com, there is a ton of great resources on those sites specific to what you are asking and in great detail.
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Old September 27, 2011, 03:26 PM   #11
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If you wanna change to a free float rail, Daniel Defense makes some rails that can be installed without removing the FSB. Otherwise, you can also cut down the FSB and install a long rail.
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Old September 27, 2011, 06:57 PM   #12
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I'd go with Spikes or BCM. They are definitely top quality. They are every bit as good as Colt, and cheaper too.
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Old September 27, 2011, 07:28 PM   #13
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Buy quality, buy it only once. Buy cheap...you might regret it.

If the money is tight, get a Stag, DPMS, Smith and Wesson, Bushmaster, etc and don't think twice. Few people make a bad AR these days due to intense competition.

If you can afford to pay a small $100-300 premium, look at Daniel Defense, LMT, BCM, Colt. They a higher level quality product which can withstand more abuse and keep on working.

There is probably not much difference to the average user but you can be assured of a quality product that a Tier 1 operator would not hesitate to take with him in harms way.

If you are like most people, you will eventually accessorize it and try different things so I would stick with the basic flattop design until you know exactly what you want. Handguards/Rails are cool but they add bulk and weight. I would try the basic configuration until you know exactly what you want. Magpul makes an inexpensive plastic handguard that allows you to attach some rail pieces for attaching accessories.

Given a choice since you are starting with a blank slate, I recommend the midlength gas design for 16 inch carbines over the carbine length gas tubes. There is not a big difference between the two designs, but the midlength design is a tad bit more reliable due to lower gas pressures and there are newer handguard designs and rails coming daily for the midlength gas tube AR.

The only advantage of the 20 inch AR is a higher muzzle velocity useful for long range shooting. The 5.56 really runs out of gas at 600 yards and you need a pretty fancy setup with free float rails, good riflescopes and good shooting ability (reading wind) to achieve meanful hits at that range. I think a 5.56 bullet traveling at 600 yards acts like a 22LR at point blank or something to that effect.

Since most ARs are rarely shot beyond 200 yards, the 20 inch barrel offers little for most folks.

Last edited by Flakbait; September 27, 2011 at 07:37 PM.
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Old September 27, 2011, 07:34 PM   #14
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Hey Constantine,

Here's my input.... it may or may not be what you wanna hear. I'm also no expert by any means.

Are you stuck on the AR platform? Have you considered a nicer AK?

I bought my first AR - a Ruger SR556C back in the spring. It's a great gun to be sure. I wanted a gas piston gun for the ease of cleaning and temp control.. and let me tell you, it definitely works. I can fire hundreds of rounds, and the bolt assembly is almost completely clean and it's also cool to the touch. The gas block gets very hot and a bit dirty, but that's not a big deal.



I've been getting more into AK's lately. They're just so dang simple, it's stupid. Lots of styles and options(same as the AR) but most things are cheaper for the AK platform. If you're looking at spending enough to get an AR, you can get one of the best AK's available from Arsenal Inc. The SGL21 is a Russian made gun imported by Arsenal in a sporter configuration and then worked over by Arsenal to produce what is as close to the classic Russian AK that you can get in the states. I'm actually picking my Arsenal up tomorrow. I also have a Draco AK pistol on order that I'm going to use for an SBR project.



If you're dead set on the AR platform, I've been very happy with my SR556C. I was also REALLY interested in the Sig 516, but there were none available when I got my Ruger, and I'm impatient.
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Old September 28, 2011, 09:25 AM   #15
Constantine
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Flakbait and Uncle Malice.

Thanks very much for thorough rundown. And the others who took the time to help me out. Greatly appreciated. I think I'll look more into the 16inch barrel and if not Colt than the M&P it will have to be. Next time I'm at the shop (Friday) to get my 1911 fixed) I will check out the wall and see what they have again. Always changes up. They're a lot of brands I didn't recognize here that were mentioned. I gotta feel them out first hand.


Malice, the AK....I've always wanted one of those as well. And I wanted one before the AR..but something just called me to the AR recently. I've never shot an AK before.


Whats the ballistic difference between their cartridges?

SA 1911 - XD45 - G21sf - G22 - G27 - Hk USP 40 - SIG P226 E2 - Browning High-Power - S&W M19-3 - CZ-82 - Remington 870
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Old September 28, 2011, 10:56 AM   #16
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Skip the carbines and go with a mid-length.

http://www.jsesurplus.com/16midlengt...ough53111.aspx
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Old September 28, 2011, 11:17 AM   #17
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mine...

On the left, my guaranteed 1 MOA carbine built by Fulton Armory, ~$1150. On the right, the SailSkiDrive gun show franken-parts $575 special, guaranteed 1 MOV (Minute of Volkswagon).

Both chew through anything I feed them. The cheap one is really light and shoots about 2 MOA at 100 meters. It has an 8610 Rock River bolt and carrier (not milspec) and I've had no issues.

I think the other guys are correct, you probably cant go wrong w/ the Colt 6920... good quality parts and probably the easiest to sell if you need to get rid of it.

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Old September 28, 2011, 07:49 PM   #18
insomni
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about a year ago I picked up a S&W M&P15P. It's the piston driven S&W M4 type rifle. Worked a deal with the dude at the gunshop, bought it and an EOTech for $1400, he tossed in a set of Troy BUIS. First time I cracked her open, I noticed the machining (particularly on the bolt) is kinda rough, and for a minute i thought I was going to have to return it.

NOPE! Holy hell I love this rifle! the 16" barrel produces a TIGHT shot group. (also gets slightly better muzzle velocity than the milspec 14.5"barrel, while retaining it's maneuverability for CQB) It cycles smooth as hell, and pops right back down on target. VERY solid feeling round after round after round. If I were a cop, I'd have this badboy in my trunk. If the army would let me, I'd carry this on deployment. Fires every single time, BEYOND easy to clean. Also i read alot of complaints about the "increased recoil" with a piston, but if you're complaining about the *ahem*recoil of the big bad 5.56mm NATO round, you should probably go back to shooting airguns with the Boy Scouts. This gun is beyond controllable if you know what you're doing.

I've fired over 3k roudns of of this beast with only one malfunction, and that was because in a moment of absent mindedness, I tried to chamber a round with the range's breech block still in place.

Side note: I learned the hard way at the range to make sure you put a bit of LockTite blue on the threads of the Troy sights at the range when in the midst of a controlled pair, my front sight departed my gasblock and landed in the next lane over.

Thus far I've added a MAGPUL BAD lever,MAGPUL single point sling adaptor, a Badger Tac-Latch, and an MOE trigger guard. This is my appocalypse gun.

CLIFFS:
*S&W M&P is an absolute dream to shoot.
*Comes with 2 MAGPUL 30rnd PMAG's (If you've never used PMAGs, be prepared to throw out all of your crappy GI mags. They feed ALL 30 rounds. EVERY time)
*VERY easy to clean
*Probably will still fire and cycle if you don't clean it.
*Base model (handguards... no rails except for the top picatinny rail on the receiver) oughta run you about $1000-$1200.
*Can't recommend this gun enough

Last edited by insomni; September 29, 2011 at 10:20 AM.
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Old September 28, 2011, 09:37 PM   #19
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Constantine- do yourself a favor and get one from Spikes. Theyre right up the road from me and they a re good people. Good AR's for the money. That, or BCM.
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Old September 28, 2011, 10:00 PM   #20
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After many months of research, talking to AR people, thinking about what I wanted to do with the rifle, talking to engineers of AR rifle facilities, thinking about what my expectations were, and what I wanted in the end....

LMT CQB16



- already equipped with a nice buttstock
- already equipped with a nice pistol grip
- already equipped with a monolithic quadrail
- already equipped with great (yet removable) peepsights
- mid length gas
- free float barrel
- truly a top shelf AR out of the box, rather than upgrading the hell out of something else, or building a Lego gun

Keep in mind this is not the best option for everyone, but after owning and operating this rifle, I am 99% sure it is the best option for me.

I say 99% because I haven't owned a Noveske, or LaRue, or Robinson Arms XCR, or (insert above average AR here).

Just my opinion, feel free to pick it apart
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Old September 29, 2011, 03:30 PM   #21
Constantine
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Thank you all so much for all your help. I literally had 1k+ saved up for my AR-15...bad news though...


My car got broken into they stole my radio, my CD's, glasses, and left it sitting on bricks. So kind of them. Better than on the floor right?

Gotta love Miami...well. its at the shop now getting a new alarm and I had to buy some stocks for it to get there off the classifieds.

So no more money for me now

-_____- this is unfortunate. I need a hug...or a range day tomorrow lmao life.....

SA 1911 - XD45 - G21sf - G22 - G27 - Hk USP 40 - SIG P226 E2 - Browning High-Power - S&W M19-3 - CZ-82 - Remington 870
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Old September 30, 2011, 09:58 AM   #22
Constantine
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Well...had to buy stocks. Looks pretty good and got an alarm too.
SA 1911 - XD45 - G21sf - G22 - G27 - Hk USP 40 - SIG P226 E2 - Browning High-Power - S&W M19-3 - CZ-82 - Remington 870
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Old September 30, 2011, 10:53 AM   #23
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good average joe companies include
Palmetto state armory(which is mostly FN Herstal parts, FNH makes a lot of the USAFs M4s now)
DPMS panther arms(I have a modified sportical and I have dropped deer at 250 yards with it so all the guys that say a 16 inch barrel is too short just dont know what they are talking about)
Stag arms(they are fairly good quality and make left handed ARs so they blow hot brass to the left instead of the right, just incase you are a lefty)
rock river arms(a lot of swat teams are starting to go with RRAs, they are good guns)
smith and wesson(M&P 15s are pretty good from what I've heard but I've never shot one myself)
remington R15 and R25(these are made by DPMS)
mossberg is making one now as well but it's brand new so you may want to hold off until they work any bugs out of the design.

I would definitely recommend a DPMS sportical (around $600) the only thing they really miss over others is they dnt have a forward assist and a dust cover but in florida I doubt you'd have need of the dust cover and I've never failed to go into battery so a forward assist is pretty moot.


high end ARs include bushmaster, colt, and armalite(the original AR15) but they start to get spendy in comparison. sorry about your car by the way...hope you have good insurance.
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Old September 30, 2011, 11:48 AM   #24
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The basic AR depends on an accurate barrel and minimum milspec parts put together right to run reliably. Two pitfalls new AR shooters fall into:

1) the M4 as issued is not what civilians buy. It's carbine length gas on a 14.5" barrel, and that's 5.5" shorter than what the original was designed to do. You don't get optimum velocity, and buying an NFA barrel adds cost for less performance. Super short barrels in AR's make them more of a submachine gun, with it's shortened range limitations and significantly less power. If an LEO needs short, he transistions to a pistol, which works better indoors overall. That's what's "off" with all the Hollywood team doorknockers we see. In the military, there's no choice, you run with the M4.

2) The quad rail is an institutional compromise. Check the supercool SOPMOD poster for what all the services need to clamp onto a rail - there's so many different things issued in generational layers, a quad rail was the only way to accomodate it all. Basically, it's a $300 light mount with 48" if rail, which is more mount than one person really needs. Then, they bandaid it up with ladder guards and make it heavier and less helpful.

The can freefloat the barrel, but that only works when the sling is mounted to the float, and the FSB remains on the barrel. Only then is it separated from bending forces, and still aims the gun to the point of impact. Mounting a BUIS on a free float rail means the sling pulls it around. It might be less, but it's not a free float doing that.

And, most don't care. The average gun and shooter does 2MOA in the service, all you need for a 10" hit zone at 500m, about half of what exists. Good enough.

That's where some of us ignore Brand, and build what works better - not what the Army adopted for a general use gun. Leaving the FSB at rifle length, on the barrel, helps it stay more accurate and there's no fiddling or downtime with the front sight. Not using a free float saves $300 - if something needs to be on there, mount a rail strip for $20, or a dedicated mount. With the money saved, buy a better optic, or at least have one. Red dots are far superior to iron sights in getting a fast sight picture.

A 16" midlength gas dissipator can offer MORE accuracy and reliability, it's all in what you need, not what is issue.
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Old October 2, 2011, 07:51 PM   #25
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If you're fairly new to AR15's like I am, i suggest reading up and learning about all the different things that make a good rifle. 10 different people will give you 10 different suggestions on picking out an AR.

Here is a good article to get you started. it also does a break-down of different AR15's and the writer's opinions on them.

http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...y-an-AR-15-huh

As a new rifle shooter myself, i picked up a Bushmaster M4A3 Carbine.
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