View Full Version : Which AR-15????

July 9, 2007, 01:37 AM
I'm looking into getting an AR-15...well...an M4 with a detachable handle. Isn't the only difference between the M4 and AR the barrel and handguard? In other words the upper and lowers are regular AR-15 uppers and lowers? Anyways, I'm looking into four brands...Stag Arms, Rock River Arms, Olympic Arms and DPMS. I've heard great things about all of them and can get the same thing from all of them for almost the same exact price. $785-$800 Here's a picture of the DPMS I'm looking into...
...Any thoughts? I noticed you don't really save a whole lot building one yourself.

July 9, 2007, 01:48 AM
I'm not that experienced with AR-15's but if thats what I think it is, you are going to hate that gas-block front sight.
You can't place a scope on the rifle without it ruining any low-light situations.

If it costs the same to build as buy, just buy the flattop and folding front and rear sights.
It could be a shorter sight plain, but so is the one in your reference pic.

Or you could buy what you can afford and upgrade as-you-go.

My $0.02.

July 9, 2007, 01:51 AM
Those are all good quality, I'd buy the first one you find. Make sure you have a chrome liined 5.56 chamber though.

July 9, 2007, 10:00 AM
Stag is the cream of that crop,with RRA so close you may not tell the diff. Dmps and Oly are just so so . Stag may very well be the bigest bang for the buck in an AR at this time .B4 you buy do some lurking over at AR15.com and check the EE for a good price when you figure what you want . have you ever considered buying a assembled upper and an assembled lower ? you can get exactly what you want without comprimise that way .

July 9, 2007, 01:03 PM
Stag is by far the best value among AR-15's, no matter who you match them up against. If you're on a budget, get a Stag! ;)

July 9, 2007, 07:20 PM
never had a problem with my bushmaster XM15E2S but im probly goin STAG for my next gun

July 10, 2007, 06:33 PM
I've heard nothing but great things about STAG. Their prices aren't that expensive. Not really. I'm going to buy an assembled upper first and then go with an assembled lower (money reasons). I really want to build a lower receiver but I don't know if I have the right tools. I know you need special wrenches to put the upper receiver together. Anyone know what all you need to build one? Thanks!

July 10, 2007, 08:37 PM
Start with this stuff....


There actually is such a beast as a mil-surp AR upper.... I love them...

July 10, 2007, 11:40 PM
There actually is such a beast as a mil-surp AR upper.... I love them...

Can you get those? I guess they'll fit an AR-15 lower. That's cool. I would get a new upper (M4 Style) and a surp just for fun!!!

July 11, 2007, 03:19 AM
Out of the choices you've listed CWG. The fit and finish on the Stag receivers I've used are very nice. Their fit is snug with most uppers but that's a good thing.

The only "special" tool to assemble an upper that I can think of is a barrel wrench.


And for conveinience (and so you won't have to rely on your buddy to help you everytime you want to swap fore-ends;


Other than that everything is pretty straight forward. The lower doesn't need any special tools...well maybe one, and that would be the Buffer tube collar wrench.

When ordering your lower, all you'd need to complete a stripped lower is a "Parts Kit". (I think RRA has one of the least expensive) STAY AWAY FROM NO-BRAND STUFF when buying internal parts. You'll only save a couple of bucks, and a good parts set will fit better and probably last longer. Here's the Bushmaster version;


That would be the easiest way instead of getting all the pieces seperate, however, since the lower is empty, now would be a good time to drop in a performance FCG (Fire Control Group) like this:


(I REALLY like the feel of the 'straight' CM trigger!) Also, all of the FCG parts are set in a chassis of sorts so all you have to do is simply drop it in, not that putting in the individual parts is hard.

That said, you may as well just get a complete Upper receiver assy. so you don't need to worry about the barrel or head spacing.

Good Luck!

July 11, 2007, 06:47 AM
What exactly is head spacing? I have an idea but that's not good enough. I was wondering what I would need to set that as well although my first AR upper will probably come completely assembled. I want to build an AR so I really know the weapon and will be able to maintain it beyond regular means. For the first time I'll probably stick with just assembleing the lower. Where do I get a buffer tube collar wrench?

July 11, 2007, 07:09 AM
What I wonder is what is Headspacing in an AR. I have seen uppers lacking bolts that claimed to be headspaced. How can this be without bolts?


July 11, 2007, 07:12 AM
Headspace is the distance from the boltface to the shoulder of the chamber. With AR-15's you never have to worry about headspacing because that is set by the barrel extension that is attached to the barrel at the factory. AR's are very modular and you can switch barrels at home with only a couple of tools, and you don't need to worry about headspace.

July 11, 2007, 07:50 AM
So the bolt head size makes no difference?


July 11, 2007, 07:54 AM
No, if they are in spec, then the headspace "should" be fine. If you break a bolt or decide to build another upper, you order your barrel and order a bolt and they should go together and work fine. That has also been my experience so far. I have three AR's that I built myself. As far as the bolt head size (dia. ?), as long as it's a 5.56/.223 bolt they are the same.

July 11, 2007, 08:25 AM
But in all other martial arms, even though bolts are in spec, they are mated with a specific receiver. If changed, headspace is usually checked to make sure all is kosher. You're saying that if I have a Bushmaster bolt that is unfired, it will fit in any upper that claims it is headspaced?


July 11, 2007, 09:00 AM
It is ALWAYS a good idea to check headspacing whenever fitting a new barrel in.

Where do I get a buffer tube collar wrench? They sell them all over the place, cheap stuff. It's just a hook with a handle on it. The bottom side of the example I gave you (of the barrel wrench) is a Buffer tube collar wrench. I like the simple single hook myself since it can swap both the new 6 position stocks and the old 4 position ones.

July 11, 2007, 09:05 AM
I have a DPMS, RRA, and wish I got a Stag. Sure, they are both great rifles and the RRA is super accurate, but Stag does not get nearly enough credit and is the best AR for your money. For $800 I am sure you can piece a Stag that will treat you right. I noticed that you said that you don't save any money building one, well, I think that building one will save you couple hundred at least. Look on the equipment exchange on ar15.com, they have great Stag uppers for well under $500.

July 11, 2007, 10:26 AM
So the point is, AR's do not headspace with the bolt and so any bolt in new condition will work in an upper that is already headspaced? I see plenty of uppers for sale that claim to be headspaced but do not come with a bolt. This would be safe to buy?


July 11, 2007, 03:05 PM
Yes, those should be safe to buy. It's not the upper that is headspaced, it's the barrel and barrel ext. that determine the headspace. The only other consideration is the bolt, but that has a known tolerance, so as long as the barrel assembly is set up to headspace ok in those tolerance limits, then it is okay. The upper reciever has nothing to do with it in the AR. The reason any other rifle needs to be headspaced even though the bolt is in spec, is because there is a large tolerance stack-up that can occur. The bolt lugs lock into the reciever, and the barrel is screwed into the receiver. The chamber and threads are all done by the factory or a gunsmith, so they must be customized to the particular gun. Theoretically, if the rifle manufacurer could guarantee thier quality control to keep the tolerance of all thier barrels extremely tight, then they could interchange. In reality, this is just not possible without extremely high prices. Even then, A gunsmith would probably still need to install it.

Raider 1
July 13, 2007, 01:09 AM
Against the grain...RRA for me hands down.