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Old July 9, 2011, 10:41 PM   #1
Patriot86
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Best AR-15/M4 style rifle under $1,500.00

I think I have finally decided how to spend my portion of my wedding money, its time to buy an AR-15.

I had been thinking about getting one of the many variations that Rock River Arms builds, I have had employees from no less than three local gun stores point me in that direction.
Plus they are based here in Illinois and something about supporting a semi-local business tickles me right in the heart.

Then about two weeks ago my best friends brother came home on leave and showed me one of his DPMS rifles and proceeded to go on for about an hour. Now I am torn.

All of that being said I am open to other manufacturers as well, there are just seemingly too many to list!

So here comes the question
For your money, what manufacturers AR-15/M4 style rifle gives you the most bang for the buck under $ 1,500.00 ?
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Old July 9, 2011, 11:35 PM   #2
bobn
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1160 taxes included gets a colt out the door around here. dpms are at least two maybe three hundred less. bushies used to be two less than colts. what does the stuff go for in your area?.....bobn
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Old July 9, 2011, 11:37 PM   #3
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I would build it myself with the features I want:
  • High quality stainless barrel
  • Flat top upper
  • Free float handguard
  • Geissele SSA trigger
  • Sierra Precision grip
  • Troy backup iron sights
  • LaRue LT-104 scope mount
Building is simple when you've got to tools and courage to try. It isn't rocket science and even a guy who is all thumbs can get great results with the right parts.
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Old July 10, 2011, 12:15 AM   #4
Jim243
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That is going to depend on what all you want on the gun and how you want it to look. Was to the range today and just about every gun out there was a AR in one form or another. There are just too many variations (stocks, upper's, barrels, etc...) to pick just one type or brand. For $1,500 you can go high end or midrange on LaRue or Daniel Defense (never tried them) or go with a Bushmaster, DPMS, RRA or Stag. If you want to save on the gun and buy a better scope or red dot around $500.00, I would suggest a Smith & Wessen M&P 15 in a mid length (20 inch) and add the accessories you want on the gun. Go with what you like and feel comfortable with. Everyone's taste in AR's is different and you have to be happy with what you get.

I have two Bushmaster's, they are not Mil-Spec rifles but are very very accurate, but I am not in the middle of a war and don't plan on getting into one. My days of playing cowboys and indians was over 60 years ago. (I was a Hoppy, Gene Autry and Lone Ranger fan, could not stand Roy Rogers, oh well)

Happy trails and stay safe.

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Last edited by Jim243; July 10, 2011 at 12:23 AM.
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Old July 10, 2011, 07:24 AM   #5
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I think my Colt was a sound purchase.
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Old July 10, 2011, 07:36 AM   #6
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The best for one kind of shooting is a poor choice for another. Specify exactly what you want it to do, specify the features needed to support that, go through the choices available, and then choose who offers that.

Few makers offer enough models to satisfy every little niche in the market, the selection process weeds out who can't even get close.

If you want a hog shooting fast handler for woods action, Colt is out. No 6.8SPC.

Looking for a Duty/LEO gun, Olympic/Hesse/Vulcan/etc may not be on the approved list of the Department.

Want a .308, cross most of them off.

That's why asking "What's the best?" is a fruitless search and troll mine. No telling what you dig up with it. What the best gun is - is the one that fits what you want it to do, not the wish list of a couple a dozen internet posters. Most have an agenda, to support what they bought, which is likely all they have experienced.

It's almost tragically funny, most of us wouldn't put up with having our marriage arranged, getting our underwear chosen for us, or having to pay for a car selected by a committee of family and friends. But we will ask total strangers to pick a gun out when they have no clue how it will be used - and that's ok.
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Old July 10, 2011, 07:55 AM   #7
Father Time
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For $1500 you can do much better than Rock River or DPMS.

Look at LMT, BCM, Colt you can even get a Daniel Defence for about that price.

Now these guns are "top tier" guns for seriouse work. But really you need to be more specific with what your going to use the rifle for so we can make a better reccomendation.
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Old July 10, 2011, 09:00 AM   #8
alloy
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Quote:
Plus they are based here in Illinois and something about supporting a semi-local business tickles me right in the heart.
Armalite is in Illinois, as well.
http://www.armalite.com/Categories.a...b-822e58014822
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Old July 10, 2011, 09:05 AM   #9
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http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.as...fle&groupid=11

Here's a nice Daniel Defense at Aimsurplus.com that falls just under your budget. DD makes some of the best ARs in the business, along with BCM, Noveske, LMT, etc.

If you want to save more money for add ons, they also have a nice Spikes Tactical carbine for under $800, an excellent value IMO - one of the best buys in the AR world IMO.

http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.as...fle&groupid=11
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Old July 10, 2011, 09:24 AM   #10
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I've fired, handled and repaired lots of AR type rifles and carbines from many various makers. In this time period (over 30 years, counting military armorer/small arms repair and LE armorer) I have found that for an off-the-shelf rifle that will fit the bill, it is best to remember your ABC's with R included:

Armalite
Bushmaster
Colt
Rock River Arms

No reflection on any other manufacturers--the vast majority do sell a quality product, to be sure (with the exception of Hesse/Vulcan Arms--I would not buy one, personally)...however, in my humble opinion, there is one rifle/carbine out there that outshines all...

and that is the Colt 6920.

The only thing I would even consider doing to the arm is to change the trigger for a nice 2 stage. Even with that consideration, work that Colt enough and the trigger will smooth out. It will still be a bit heavy--around a 6 lb. pull, after it's well broken in--but it is very manageable.

It comes equipped with the chrome lined barrel and chamber, which I consider a must for any AR type rifle. It also is the only one I know of that comes standard with a 1:7 twist--fast enough to stabilize even the heavy 77 grain match bullets; however, it still does fine with 55 grain FMJ as well, for plinking and general use.

It is also darned accurate--I have shot sub-minute groups at 100 yards with it, using 55 grain FMJBT, 23.5 grains of H335 and CCI primers. (NOTE: If you reload, remember that what works in my rifle may not work well in yours, even if it is from the same manufacturer. ALWAYS consult a good reloading manual, reduce your starting loads, and work up carefully while watching for signs of pressure. I also heartily recommend and use the Lee Factory Crimp die for ALL of my loads fired from my rifle; its proper use prevents bullet setback upon feeding.)

The carrier key is properly swaged with the proper tooling to prevent movement of the mounting bolts and subsequent gas loss. Plus, EVERY bolt carrier group in EVERY rifle is shot-peened and MPI (magnetic particle imaging) tested prior to leaving the factory.

Another important factor is the feed ramp configuration. Colt is the ONLY company that cuts the proper M4/carbine feed ramp.

The Colt rifle is the standard for the US Military, and has served well. It is a durable, serviceable firearm that will give you years of service.

One thing to remember--whatever rifle you choose, the M16/AR15 likes to be run WET. This means medium coating of oil on and in the BCG, to be wiped down and cleaned on a frequent basis.

Make sure you get quality magazines as well. Lots of magazine manufacturers out there; my personal standard is to check for a CAGE code (Commercial and Gov't Entity). This means that the product is certified to be used by the Gov't.

In my magazines, I routinely pull the springs, and replace them with "red" springs, available from Specialized Armament Warehouse. These red springs are specially manufactured and heat-treated, and they will last reliably and feed reliably for YEARS. I recently fired a qualification with magazines (30 round) that I had installed red springs in. These magazines have been loaded for THREE YEARS. Absolutely no problems.

Whatever your choice is, best of luck to you--and, come back and visit often! There is a wealth of knowledge here that can help you use and enjoy your rifle to the fullest.
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Old July 10, 2011, 10:38 AM   #11
Patriot86
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I have a lot of new manufacturers to look into now.

Just to give you guys an idea for what I am looking for, it will primarily be a range and varmint gun. My families property in Wisconsin & Indiana are thick with woodchucks. The range I am talking about is maybe a maximum of 100 yards, more typical engagement range would be around 50-60.
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Old July 10, 2011, 02:02 PM   #12
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ArmaLite , Bushmaster, Colt ..... Remember your ABC's of the AR Platform!

Bushmaster baby, HBAR 14.5 A3 with the Magpul total benefits package and a magnificently nice Aimpoint Micro will just make u so happy you'll want S to hit the F and be able to snipe out some zombies!!!
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Old July 10, 2011, 04:38 PM   #13
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I would take a look at the LaRue PredatAR. It has many of the benefits of the OBR with a lighter weight and lighter price.
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Old July 10, 2011, 08:59 PM   #14
MOshooter65202
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Seems like a lot of good AR manufacturers to choose from these days,I am still shooting a couple AR Colts I purchased in the early 90's they have been great guns with no problems.
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Old July 10, 2011, 09:50 PM   #15
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I have some rifles that cost 1/3 of that which will satisfy the needs of 75% of the civilian shooters. But on the other hand, I drive a Jeep not a Lexus. You can spend as much as you like but unless you're planning on some highly specialized shooting, the extra expense might just be for show. Just my opinion.
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Old July 12, 2011, 08:40 AM   #16
tirod
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Varminting and range, a fixed stock flat top A3 upper for an optic, 20" barrel, rifle gas, and an inexpensive free float to mount a bipod.

A crisp trigger would be nice, an RRA National Match is about the most cost effective without plunging into the deep water of a $250 trigger with just a 15% improvement in feel over that.

Honestly, 60 to 100m is iron sight range, an M4 carry handle rear sight cut down would be entirely adequate. Beyond 150, then maybe a 4X.

Remington, Les Baer, LAR, Noveske, RRA, Armalite, Bushmaster, DPMS, Olympic, in no particular order of quality, and some that others would avoid. It's not an M4gery thing.
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Old July 12, 2011, 10:54 PM   #17
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Daniel Defense (Any of the Mid Lengths) and you can still have extra $$$ for ammo. That is if you want quality, accuracy and reliability.
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Old July 13, 2011, 08:56 AM   #18
brian923
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Visit

Whiteoakarmament.com

He builds custom ar rifles that have superior accuracy and reliability. I built an Ar upper with one of his 18" spr 1/7 twist barrels that will shoot all different kinds od ammo to an ibch group at 100 yards. I have also found a handload that will shoot. 1/4" 5 shoot groups at 100. Hes also based in illinois. Good luck with your desicion. Where-abouts in Chicagoland do you live? Im in McHenry... Just curious.
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Old July 14, 2011, 12:23 PM   #19
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I am in love with my Daniel Defense M4V1. It screams quality and shoots like a dream (even though I can't afford enough .223 to give it a proper workout... ). With an MSRP of $1,537, you can likely find one in the $1,350-1,400 range.
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Old July 14, 2011, 01:45 PM   #20
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What you asked for was the best AR for under $1500

If you want accuracy, then its RRA with out any question.

You will note that NONE of the other will give you an accuracy guaranteed.

If you buy one of the RRA Stainless Steel Barel models (NM, Predator Pursuit, Coyote and ATH )

They GUARANTEE 3/4 MOA. That means you are likely to get .5 MOA.

Fit and finish are good, they use all top quality components and you get their chromed two stage match trigger (and some extras form time to time like a chromed bolt carrier group).

DPMS alludes to a 3/4 MOA, but if you dig into what they actual guarantee its, lots of caveat and its actually a range of .25 to 1.5.

And I hate those who say build it yourself. It takes a whole lot of damned time to figure out who make the best upper, what bolt to get, what is the best lower, buy a decent trigger and unless you go cheap, you will wind up spending as much money buying the right GOOD bit and pieces as you will buying a good gun. You can buy a car in bits and pieces and pay 5 times the price. There is no free lunch. If you do it yourself for less, you have gone cheap someplace.

LaRue is really good as well, but you will not get it for under $1500.

ALL the RRAs I listed you can get for under $1500.

I ordered a RRA ATH, bot chromed bolt group, got the chromed 2 stage match trigger, and they let me order a 16 inch (18 inch barrel is standard) at no cost. I got it for around $1200. It will be accurate, reliable, lifetime warranty, and I can target shoot it and its still fully effective home defense gun.
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Old July 14, 2011, 04:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
Make sure you get quality magazines as well. Lots of magazine manufacturers out there; my personal standard is to check for a CAGE code (Commercial and Gov't Entity). This means that the product is certified to be used by the Gov't.
Well, all the CAGE code means is that the company is registered in the Central Contractor Registration database, something all companies that want to do business with Fedzilla must do, at least for unclassified procurements. So if you want to sell dog crap / junk to the government (and lots of companies seem to be in that business), you register in CCR and get a CAGE .

But I hear you on the quality mags. And that applies to any magazine fed weapon. Use a crapped up mag in an AK and it'll choke too.
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Old July 16, 2011, 11:12 AM   #22
brian923
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TAC TV , DD AR 15 torture test....

I was watching a new show on sportsman channel the other night (called TAC TV) they were doing a torture test on a danile defense M4 equiped with a small aimpoint. They dropped it in mud and water, shot it with a 12 gauge shotgun, ran it over with a jeep, blew it up with some southern thunder (tannerite) dropped it from a deer stand and a helicopter at 100 ft. And both the rifle and the aimpoint both were working after that. My next AR will be a Daniel Defense.
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Old August 28, 2011, 11:57 PM   #23
jlmtuning
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Rock river elite operator 2 for $1000!! I picked one up from a local gun shop in south elgin www.semperfisupply.com
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Old August 29, 2011, 12:05 AM   #24
Ridge_Runner_5
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Why all the love for Colt? Their civilian rifle parts are out of spec. I can only imagine because it is their name on the guns that the military uses.
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Old August 29, 2011, 04:53 AM   #25
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What Colt parts are "out of spec"?

For 1500 I'd get a LMT, Noveske, BCM, Daniel Defense, Colt 6920 or a Larue PredatAR.
You could always just assemble the lower of your choice with a nice 2 stage trigger and then throw on a Larue Stealth, Noveske or BCM upper.
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