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Old November 25, 2013, 01:12 AM   #1
dakota.potts
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Competition Rifle -- Build or Buy?

I've decided I want to pursue shooting much more heavily than I have been, and part of my goal is to start shooting competition. I'm in the middle of a job hunt now to finance this venture.

I've been doing some research and now I'm researching rifles.

I've come across a rifle that, on paper, I am in love with: The RRA LAR-15 R3
http://rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?f...ategory_id=567

I like the flat top system, the long rail length, the free float hand guard. I really like the idea of just about everything on the rifle. There are even things I didn't know I wanted until I researched the rifle, like the fluted 18" barrel and the .223 Wylde chamber.

I'm cross-dominant and shoot rifles left handed, so I would be adding an ambidextrous safety selector, magazine release, and charging handle as well as the rail to go on the bottom of the handguard.

So, considering shipping, I'm looking at around $1,500 for the rifle on top of whatever wait time there is to acquire one.

I'm curious if maybe building a rifle wouldn't work better so that I could buy it at a lower cost. However, this seems more complicated than a typical carbine set up. I'm not comfortable milling, drilling, dremeling, or otherwise modifying pieces, so I would be limited to what I can do with simple hand tools.

What are other considerations that I should take into mind for a competition rifle?

Another potentially helpful point: I would like to at some point acquire a 6.8 upper for use in longer range shooting, so I don't know if building it would allow me to get closer to specs that would allow this.
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Old November 25, 2013, 06:03 AM   #2
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what kind of shooting are you talking?. F Class or FTR or Bench?. while I love the 223, you will be out gunned from the get go with a 223.
F Class and Bench are open to all calibers ,FTR is 223 and 308.

That's one sweet looking setup though.
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Old November 25, 2013, 07:05 AM   #3
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Do you have similar equipment and experience to the company that makes XX number of rifles per day?
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Old November 25, 2013, 09:14 AM   #4
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It would help to know what type of competition you are contemplating.

That Rock River rifle looks to be geared towards 3gun. Is that what you want to shoot?
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Old November 25, 2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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Yes, sorry for leaving that out. I am looking for 3 gun as well as any other types of carbine competitions or classes that may be available locally. It needs to be able to handle the range that could be expected at a 3 gun match (400-600 yards if what I've read is correct) and shorter. Obviously accuracy is important, but not quarter size bench groupings at that distance.
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Old November 25, 2013, 08:18 PM   #6
dakota.potts
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Adding up the cost, from Rock River, I'm looking at $1,467 for the features I want.

I can buy the same upper for $739

Another user recommended lowers from Surplus Ammo and Arms. I can get a complete receiver for $200 there, putting the cost at $939. How much am I giving up over the RRA?

From there I have to figure an extra $150 or so for parts to make it ambidextrous, so we'll say $1,089

That leaves me at a difference of $378. I could then use that money for a new stock or trigger if necessary. Considering I would have to buy magazines, ammo, and an optic for it, I'd say those savings are pretty significant. I notice that for that cost, I'm giving up the RRA trigger as well as the chamber in .223 Wylde. How much am I missing out on these two features?

Is there anything else I'm missing here in this consideration?
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Old November 25, 2013, 08:43 PM   #7
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With the RRA, you are getting guarantee accuracy. Do you know what kind of accuracy you will get with no name barrel?
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Old November 25, 2013, 08:45 PM   #8
dakota.potts
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The upper I will be buying from RRA. It's the lower that's up in the air.

Edited: With that said, what kind of effect does the lower have on accuracy?
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Old November 25, 2013, 09:20 PM   #9
dakota.potts
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I've just found out that you have to be 21 to buy a receiver from an FFL. I had assumed it would be 18 since it's for a rifle, but I suppose it can be made into a pistol. That's going to make the decision to build a lot harder.
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Old November 26, 2013, 03:46 AM   #10
Brotherbadger
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I would say build, simply because i think building is more fun and you get more bang for your buck. Since you are under 21, it makes it more complicated. If you are turning 21 soon, i'd say wait and accrue the rest of the parts first. But if you are only 18, obviously it's not worth the wait for 3 years just to build it.

Quote:
With the RRA, you are getting guarantee accuracy. Do you know what kind of accuracy you will get with no name barrel?
Who said he was going to buy a no name barrel? As long as he doesn't buy some barrel made by mr magoo he will be fine. Companies like BCM, DD, Noveske, White Oak and Lothar Walthor all make some of the best barrels money can buy.
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Old November 26, 2013, 05:00 PM   #11
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Will you shoot NRA high power matches at 200 through 1000 yards?
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Old November 27, 2013, 12:16 AM   #12
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Probably not. I expect shots at 500, maybe 600 yards on silhouettes.
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Old November 27, 2013, 12:31 AM   #13
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RRA supplies a good trigger with their rifles and with about everyone else’s you have to pay extra for a good trigger.

All in all I'd say to go ahead and buy the RRA.

I build ARs on a fairly regular basis and I would say that the complete rifle you are showing with the modifications you list is going to be pretty close to "a wash" compared to what can be built. If you were competing in Service Rifle Matches you would need a very different rifle, but for about all other uses the RRA is going to be fine

Don't worry about the accuracy from them either. They are using good barrels. I have yet to see a RRA rifle that would not come close to MOA. There are barrels that can be had that do shoot better, but until you can shoot under MOA yourself you will not know the difference. And its fun shooting enough rounds to need a re-barrel job anyway. Look forward to doing that in the next few years. In so doing you will become a very good marksman. (woman)
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Old November 27, 2013, 12:35 AM   #14
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As a small woman you are likely to find the ERGO Ambi Grip will suit you better than what comes standard, so I'd recommend you have them swap that out for you.
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Old November 27, 2013, 02:57 AM   #15
dakota.potts
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I'm a man with the beard to prove it A lot of people think Dakota is a girl name but I've met a ton of guys (and dogs, for some reason) named Dakota but never a girl or woman.

I am small, however. All of 5'6 and 115 lbs.

I am interested in going the build route because I can put money in as I get it and have a more tangible feeling of that savings going somewhere. I've found a great deal on a stripped lower (Anderson from PSA for $50) and barring information that it would somehow be inferior, it looks like I could save money that way. If I figure $90 for the parts kit and $200 for the lower furniture, I'm looking at just over $1,000 after buying the upper. I can buy a RRA trigger for $120-$180 or even get something like a Geissele. That puts me at around $1,200 for the full rifle rather than $1,450. Plus I get to have pieces of it before I can afford the full thing, I get learn how to put it together, and I get to select the parts to go in.

However, with that, I should ask:
Is there any disadvantage to a different lower? How much does lower quality affect the gun, and how much does it vary?

Will I need anything for the build besides the stripped lower, parts kit, complete upper, and furniture?

How much do I give up with a 5.56 chamber instead of a .223 Wylde? I'm hearing the Wylde is more accurate but I'm not sure how much of that is hype.
EDIT: Pretty sure it's the upper that has the chamber, not the lower, so disregard my noob question here.

How hard is it to put together an AR-15 and have it work as well as a factory one? I'm new to the experience so I don't know much about gas vs. piston driven or different length buffer tubes or really much about the internal engineering.

I think those questions will end up being the difference in the decision.
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Old November 27, 2013, 03:23 AM   #16
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The lower doesn't really affect accuracy at all. That being said, I love my RRA trigger so much that I bought an RRA LPK to go in the next AR I'm building. The Wylde chamber is the best one to go with if you really want to shoot both .223 and 5.56 ammo.
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Old November 27, 2013, 08:35 AM   #17
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In my opinion it is better to buy a complete rifle than to build one from parts. There are slight differences in fit between manufacturer's, these can be aggravating to puzzle out, in general, it is best just to buy a complete rifle from a quality manufacturer.

Now I have done this and am very happy with the Armalite, Bushmaster, and RRA NM AR15 that I bought and used. It is my considered opinion that there is very little that you can do to improve upon having someone assemble one from parts. I have met, at Camp Perry, or seen, a number of individuals who have won Service Rifle, President's 100, NTI, with stock box factory Armalite, Bushmaster and RRA NM AR15's.

I like the RRA two stage trigger, I consider it better than the Bushmaster, just as good as an Armalite two stage. The match barrels on these factory rifles are outstanding and part fit has been excellent . Plus, all of these makers back their products.
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