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Old November 12, 2012, 12:37 PM   #1
blincoln
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Bear with me - Civilian M4 (AR15?)

Hello,

I had planned in the distant future to research & educate myself, and ultimately purchase a civilian version of an M4 (I don't know if this is still called an AR15).

However, with the recent election going the wrong way (for me), I am thinking that stepping this initiative up might be warranted.

My questions:

- Sorry for my ignorance, but is a semi-auto M4 still an AR15? If no, what is it called?

- Does anyone have any recommendations for manufacturers that sell a quality complete assembly at a reasonable price?

- What about non-completed assemblies for customization? Preferably one with a simple-to-use website or a catalog...


Thanks in advance for your help and advice!
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Old November 12, 2012, 12:41 PM   #2
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Colts 6920 is their civilian version of the M4. 16 inch barrel and no auto components are the only difference. They can be had for around $1k-- even Walmart sells them.
http://www.gtdist.com/ProductDetail....er=COLT-LE6920
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Old November 12, 2012, 12:43 PM   #3
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The manufacturer is going to call the rifle anything they want. Typically, it's the manufacturer's name and some other sort of designation.

I use AR-15 to refer to a whole class of rifles that have the same operating system and are descended from the orignal AR-15 series of rifles designed by Eugene Stoner and manufactured by Colt.

If you want something that is the same as the current military M4 (less the burst feature and/or full auto feature) you will have to do some looking around. For example, the rifling, barrel length and barrel profile are going to vary. Personally, unless you are in the military and just want to practice with something that is close as possible to what you might use in combat, I wouldn't worry about that. Just find some shorter barreled, collapsing stock rifle of that type that you like. Close enough.
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Old November 12, 2012, 01:19 PM   #4
Crow Hunter
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Quote:
- Sorry for my ignorance, but is a semi-auto M4 still an AR15? If no, what is it called?
Technically, if it isn't a Colt, it isn't an AR-15. They hold the trademark for that.

Other rifles will usually have a similar nom de guerre like XM-15 or M-15 or something.

Although AR-15 has become pretty much the terminology covering all of them.

M4 is the military designation for the 14.5" bbl select fire model that Colt produces.

You can get Colt's marked with M4 now. They lost a trademark lawsuit against Bushmaster several years ago and anyone can techincally call their rifle a M4, but I don't know anyone that does off the top of my head.

Colloquially the semi-auto only copies of the M4 that civilians can purchase are called M4geries.

Bravo Company has a reputation as the go to place for custom hard use weapons. There are lots of other companies out there and even more companies that are selling "accessories".
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Old November 12, 2012, 02:09 PM   #5
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All Kleenex are tissues, but not all tissues are kleenex. All thumbs are fingers, but... well you get the idea on the Colt/AR-15 thing.

I just picked up an LE6920 from Colt, and so far love it to death... cheap PMC .223 plinking ammo, and it shoots like a dream from 25 to 225 yards so far.

You didn't mention your price range, but my Colt was about 1000-1100. And one of the joys of this weapon platform is that you can always find something new to swap in and out, and back for what was there in the first place. They're like Legos. You can have a lot of fun taking them apart and putting them back together differently. So, with that said, if I were you, I'd buy the best base model I could.. Preferably Colt(for me), for both the quality and the name at a reasonable (for the quality and name) price... And then start tinkering. Another brand name that puts out quality comparable to Colt as far as durability, twist, barrel lining, and so on is Noveske. They also seem to charge a little more.

Daniel Defense, I've heard good things about, but haven't checked them out much, beyond their two part freefloat handguard drop in upgrade that I'm still on the fence about. Quad Rails makes it too easy to turn your handguard into a batman belt, though extending the top rail would be nice for optics mounting.
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Old November 12, 2012, 02:59 PM   #6
chris in va
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I think the term 'M-forgery' gets tossed around lately. If you just use 'AR carbine' everyone will know what you're referring to.
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Old November 12, 2012, 03:12 PM   #7
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As the OP eluded to a concern about the possible but unlikely legal issues pursuing the the platform, the Manufacturers will never use the TM "AR15" again. Nor will any of them use the term M4. If they did they stand a better than excellent chance of having equipment/product named on a bill list, which in it's self will be fairly comprehensive with other identifying criteria.

It is better that we leave the AR15/M4 terminology in the past and move forward with a constantly moving nomenclature.

"They" will take whatever they can get—however ludicrous. They won't get a spec from me. I shoot Modern Sporting Rifles, some of which are self loading.

But I digress.
-SS-
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Old November 12, 2012, 04:08 PM   #8
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What is the intended purpose of the firearm? What features would you like to see in the rifle?
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Old November 12, 2012, 05:06 PM   #9
blincoln
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Quote:
What is the intended purpose of the firearm? What features would you like to see in the rifle?
Thanks everyone for the reply thus far... It has been an education, and some great sources.

To answer the quoted question, this is going to be used alomst exclusively for range-shooting only.

Features are basic for now... I would prefer tactical rails over the standard heat guard for future upgrading, but thats about it to start. In a perfect world where I have discovered how to turn crap into gold, I would put either a vertical grip or bi-pod on it, and a nice ACOG scope... and maybe a flashlight just so it looks cool, but the cost on those would probably run the same as the rifle itself.

I dont believe hunting with an AR is legal, so range shooting would be it.

Last edited by blincoln; November 12, 2012 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Spelling Error
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Old November 12, 2012, 05:34 PM   #10
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Do you have a budget? You might consider the already mentioned Colt LE6920. You mentioned wanting rails. It comes with a standard handgaurd, but you could put on a Magpul MOE handgaurd with rail sections if you like for about $50. Aluminum quad rails can drive up the cost quite a bit.

Colt, Bravo Company and Daniel Defense are brands I'd trust my life with. For a strictly range gun, you could go a bit cheaper as potential failures would only be a frustration as opposed to a deadly situation. Still, you can get rifles from those brands for $100-$200 more than a similar budget rifle.

Are you fairly handy? It's not difficult to assemble one. All of my future ARs will be built by myself as I can build them with quality parts exactly how I like them.
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Old November 12, 2012, 05:40 PM   #11
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Colt sells a 6920 Magpull edition... MOE handguard, MP BUIS, and 2 30 rd Pmags, and a couple other little goodies a first time owner won't notice in exchange for the round traditional forend, and the carry handle you can buy from a takeoff on gunbroker for ~50-70 bucks depending on patience. At that point the only thing I had to do was buy the bipod and mounting hardware, as well as optics and I was good to go.

I Also decided to swap out the coverplate for an ASAP sling mount, though I now think that was more work than it was worth with the clamshell style out there, and I'm waiting on a B.A.D. lever to install. That little thing is way too slick for 25-30 bucks.
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Old November 12, 2012, 05:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Colt, Bravo Company and Daniel Defense are brands I'd trust my life with. For a strictly range gun, you could go a bit cheaper as potential failures would only be a frustration as opposed to a deadly situation. Still, you can get rifles from those brands for $100-$200 more than a similar budget rifle.

Are you fairly handy? It's not difficult to assemble one. All of my future ARs will be built by myself as I can build them with quality parts exactly how I like them.
I would prefer quality, an am ok to pay a bit for it. I dont see myself running to the safe to retrieve it in a home-defense scenario (as my 92FS is in my night stand) but I am sure my attitude would change when I get it given the accuracy (and a flashlight).

I am quite capable, and am a self-professed DIYer... But while I am confident I could assemble one if I had the parts, I don't know where to start when it comes to buying the parts for the receivers or comparing them, etc...
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Old November 12, 2012, 06:09 PM   #13
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Buy your first one assembled. Tinker with it changing out bits and pieces to learn how it all works. It's easier to disassemble someone else's finished work, reverse engineer, and make sure all the pieces that go back are supposed to go back, rather than start with a bunch of pieces and not be sure how or where. If it's in your price range, do what I did.. get the 692 magpul edition and tinker.

Edit: And I wouldn't travel all over the house to grab my AR, though I store it on the other side of a locking cabinet from my 1911, so I wouldn't leave it behind either in a home invasion situation.
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Old November 12, 2012, 06:42 PM   #14
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I am an avowed Colt fan, but I wouldn't get a 6920 for long range target shooting. There are many better options out there for the money.

The 6920 is a great defensive/duty rifle, but not the best use of money if you are wanting to shoot targets at long range.

The Colt CR6724 and Colt CR6720 Target rifles are much better for that if you are wanting to stick with Colt.

http://www.coltsmfg.com/Catalog/Colt...tchTarget.aspx

If you are willing to go something other than Colt, there are some really nice Target rifles out there. There are even some "mixed use" high quality rifles from BCM that can do both.

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-R...ifle-s/144.htm

Personally, I would go with something like a S&W M&P or a DPMS with a 1/8 twist barrel if you want to shoot targets at long range and put the extra money towards a good magnified optic.
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Old November 12, 2012, 06:55 PM   #15
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Define long range? My 6920 works fine on the longest range I can get to without paying large membership fees, driving multiple hours, or both. Out to 200-300 yards I'd be happy with my little guy. IF I ever did get a hankering for 600 yard shooting, I'd have to join a range an hour and a half to my south. If I get that into 300+ shooting, I'd just buy another upper.
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Old November 12, 2012, 07:08 PM   #16
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I have a S&W M&P15(standard M4 style), a CMMG, and a DDV4. All are great rifles. My favorite and the one I vow to never part with is my S&W. I started shooting it to save from wearing out the DD, now it is because I like it as much. The accuracy in all three is relatively equal, none of the three outshine the others. A Colt is a great choice, I really have nothing bad to say about them. Others to mention are Spikes Tactical, LaRue, LMT, Noveske, Knights Armament, and BCM. To me my personal pick would be the HK MR556. It is my dream AR. Whatever you decide, I am sure will serve you well. Enjoy and keep us posted.
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Old November 12, 2012, 07:10 PM   #17
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To me, long range target shooting means someone trying shoot tiny groups at any range from a bench using magnified optics.

While it can be done with a 6920, as factory issued they will need some upgrades that you can just buy straight up from other companies and maybe even get some extras like a Melonite bbl or 2 stage trigger or free floated barrel that will all have to be added to a 6920.

Now if you are talking about shooting practical targets out to 300 yards. Sure, a 6920 is fine for that. I have hit a 5 gal bucket at 530 yards, several times, from rice paddy prone. (Squatting)
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Old November 12, 2012, 11:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Bear with me - Civilian M4 (AR15?)
Am I the only one who was expecting yet another "Bear Thread"?

TCB
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:42 AM   #19
blincoln
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I have seen the Colt 6920 come up several times in this thread, and it seems to be rated well.

Ironically enough, I just got an email ad from CDNN that has it on sale for $1,099... Two questions:

1 - Is this a good price (i.e. what is the average going price, and what is the best deal you have seen for it)?
2 - Is this system customizable, meaning could I eventually swap out the heat guard for rails, or add optics to it?
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Old November 13, 2012, 12:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
I have seen the Colt 6920 come up several times in this thread, and it seems to be rated well.

Ironically enough, I just got an email ad from CDNN that has it on sale for $1,099... Two questions:

1 - Is this a good price (i.e. what is the average going price, and what is the best deal you have seen for it)?
2 - Is this system customizable, meaning could I eventually swap out the heat guard for rails, or add optics to it?
Good price.

It is just as customizable as any of the others, but will require you to add parts to it.

I have mine setup with a DD Omega Free Float rail, Aimpoint M4s, Larue BUIS, and a Surefire X300.

I went with the Omega rails because they were lighter than the MI FSB mount and Surefire 6P that I had before and it would allow me to take the light off when I don't need it without needing to rezero.
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Old November 13, 2012, 12:29 PM   #21
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There are several 6920 models. Te MP-B is Magpul in black that has the MOE handguard, 2 Pmags, the trigger guard, the pop up iron sights, all in black. the MP-FDE same thing in flat dark earth color. There's a SOCOM version that comes with quad rails already, but it's usually much more expensive. There's the "standard" "classic" version, don't know the model designation off the top of my head, that will have a circular instead of oval hand guard, and a removable carry handle containing your rear sight.

The 6920, like just about any flat top upper (with or without the carry handle) will be nearly infinitely customizable. You can buy a new handguard.. I mentioned one earlier, from Daniel Defense desiged to go in as a two piece freefloat option that doesn't require permanently altering anything with chopping, grinding or drilling... If/When I go quad rail, that's the one I'm using. If you don't want to drop 3 bills on it, there are two piece "Drop-ins" that aren't free floating (But then neither is the normal handguard from what I understand) that can get you rails for less.

1099 will be the most I would pay for a 6920 - either standard or Magpul editions. I wouldn't pay more than that, but I also wouldn't ever expect to find significantly less than that. If you're patient you might find 1095 or something but yeah. 1099 is a good price. Some are higher, noone is reallyl less, but 1099 also isn't hard to find.

Yes, you can add opics to a 6920. I have several different options I've tried out on mine already.. I bought some cheap junky stuff from Walmart to see what worked, and how. Mainly I was looking someting I could hold in my hand, mount on the rails, and see how the tube/bell(s) and whatnot interacted with the physical dimensions of the rifle.

I picked up a Tasco? 4x16 from Walmart. It would mount directly to the upper, the front sight tower didn't distort the image. There wasn't a whole lot of room for it.. But it was pretty junky as well as neither here-nor-there in the optics range I was looking at. I wouldn't buy it again.

I also picked up a UTG AR scope with an illuminated crosshair from Amazon. The quality was.. about in line what I paid for it.. As I recall you'll definitely want some combination of high rings and/or risers to get over the front sight tower. (A riser is a rail that mounts to your already there rail.. basically like putting a block under your scope.) I would buy a different brand again. I also probably wouldn't put it on a 6920, but feel it would be better suited to something wiht a flip-up front sight, like you see more often in the rifle length quad rail uppers.

Since I bought the MP-B version I didn't get a carry handle. I bought one off Gunbroker from someone else's take-down. (They bought a 6920 standard version for some parts, and took down and sold the others). They make an insert that goes inside the top of that carry handle that you can see through with your iron sights, but still mount an accessory to the top of the handle. On top of that, I stuck a 6-24 Barska varmint scope from Amazon. The scope was actually much better than the price I paid, but still not Leupold quality. Still for having it in the supply box for screwing around on this or other guns later, I don't regret buying it, and would have bought this again.

Additionally, the 6-24 is not a good fit on the upper directly. Without angled scope mounts (i.e. the PEPR mount) it sits too far back and gets in the way of the charging handle. With the angled mount it more than starts running spatially afoul of the sight tower. Mounted on the carry handle it fits spatially, however it's very very tall. I can dial it in to zero, but cheek weld is unlikely. It really turns into more of a jaw or chin light rest.

The other thing to remember on the AR customizing is there are two types. Mil-spec and commercial. Not all parts are one or the other, but those that are do not interchange. The LE6920 will be mil-spec, so if you replace something, like say the buffer tube(that the sliding stock slides on)- you have to get the right one. Some little bits and bobs, like the ASAP sling plate come with doodads for both, and you pick the right one, some are one or the other.

Edit:

I forgot what I actually ended up using the most. I kept the 6x24 on the carry handle since it's a quick swap, but most of my range time was using a Vortex Strike fire with the VMX3 magnifier on a swing out mount. Again I ran into an issue with running out of rail (which is what has me hemming and hawing over the DD Omega handguard quad rail).. if I do that, I could mount the strike fire a little furhter forward, which is good for a number of reasons, slide the magnifier a little further forward, AND have room for that Magpul BUIS so the iron sights will "Co-witness" what the optics see. Meaning if the sights are sighted in correctly, and the red dot (Strikefire part of the combo are zeroed in correctly, they'll both point at the same place...

Last edited by JimDandy; November 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM.
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Old November 15, 2012, 12:46 AM   #22
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They lost a trademark lawsuit against Bushmaster several years ago and anyone can techincally call their rifle a M4, but I don't know anyone that does off the top of my head.
Spikes does.
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