View Full Version : Help With New AR-15 Choices

November 4, 2009, 11:09 AM
I have done quite a bit of reading on this forum and others on the relative merits of various makes of AR-15 and what to look for and avoid. I am hoping for some input here on my specific requirements. I own a Mini-14 (my only centerfire rifle) and have decided to buy an AR-15 type, but have virtually no direct experience with them. Here are the relevant considerations:

1. I live in NJ so the rifle must be post-ban compliant (15 rd mag limit, no collapsible stock, bayonet lug or flash hider). I am thinking that there is no point to have a pinned collapsible style stock rather than an A2 stock. Is there any way I could have a collapsible style stock measured to fit me before it is pinned and any point to doing that?
2. I am a civilian and gun will be used at the range, potentially in competition, and hopefully never in a real world SHTF scenario, but I would like it to be suitable for "tactical" use -- ie not strictly a target gun. I don't hunt.
3. I want the rifle to be ready to go out of the box with no mods, as reliable as possible, and reliably accurate enough so that I can be sure that large groups are my issue and not the gun.
4. I want the gun to have open sights but to be able to mount a scope with as little hassle as possible.
5. Price limit is $1500, though I might go to $2000.
6. Piston or gas impingement?

I know of the colt post-ban model(s) (match models?), the S&W M&P NJ compliant models (15FT, and possibly others), SIG 556 (NJ version). I would live to find the new Ruger SR-556 but don't know if they make a NJ version.

I am leaning towards the 15FT -- I like the flip up sights, but am not sure. Or maybe I should just buy the Colt? I don't know that I care all that much about 1:7 vs 1:9 rifling, 4150 vs 4140 steel, and other finer points -- should I?

Any input would be appreciated.
Any input would be appreciated.

November 4, 2009, 03:09 PM
If you want to build an AR with a 16" barrel, then I'd suggest the excellent Daniel Defense 1/7, chrome-lined barrel from Brownell's @ $169.99. I'd go with anybody's (YHM, etc.) stripped flattop upper with M4 cuts. Anybody's stripped lower with a RRA NM two-stage trigger. You can build that rig for a lot less than $1500.

20", fluted, 1/9 chrome-lined YHM barrels are available from Gun Kings @ $203, with free shipping.

November 4, 2009, 03:56 PM
Piston or gas, for most of us, it makes no difference. The short stroke piston system seems to be the rage, but for the money, I'll keep my gas system and put on my own goodies.

As for a stock, if you are stuck with a single position, then go with an ACE stock. It's comfortable, light, and looks good on the gun.

You can spend as much as you want, or as little as $800 to build a rifle. I prefer the lowers from Spikes Tactical, The spider logo is a favorite of mine.

You can get a descent upper from Rock River Arms, or if you are feeling a bit spendy, then White Oak Armament, Daniels defense, Lewis Machine Tool, all make good uppers.

If you plan on building one yourself, choosing your own barrel, upper, handguards, etc. You will have EXACTLY what you want, but you'll *probably* end up spending more.

Bartholomew Roberts
November 5, 2009, 08:01 AM
6. Piston or gas impingement?

The rifle was designed as a direct impingement rifle. While some (but certainly not all) gas piston AR designs have done very well, the majority do not seem to be an improvement on reliability.

Think of it this way - how many gas piston designs do you see (that were designed from the ground up to be a gas piston) have a tubular receiver with no rails for the bolt carrier? I can't think of a single example outside of AR15 gas piston conversions and I think there is probably a good engineering reason for that.

I think most owners are sacrificing reliability by going to gas piston systems - although it is probably a moot point since few owners will ever push the reliability limits of either system.

I don't know that I care all that much about 1:7 vs 1:9 rifling, 4150 vs 4140 steel, and other finer points -- should I?

1. If you plan to use the heavier .223 bullets (68gr and up), then the 1:7 twist is better. The 75gr and 77gr are popular right now because of their great ballistics in longer ranged shooting and better terminal ballistics in general. The 1:9 may be able to use these twists; but accuracy may suffer in some, though not all, 1:9s (5MOA from match ammo at 100yds with groups opening up worse at longer distances)

2. 4140 vs. 4150 - at extreme temperatures, the 4150 will hold up to heat better as it has a slightly higher percentage of carbon. As a practical matter, it will be really, really hard to tell the difference unless you start dumping beta mags on full-auto.

Personally, I think the M&P15T you mention sounds like it would be a good start. I've played with the MP15 MOE model and I was impressed.

November 5, 2009, 10:05 AM
Check out BCM SS410 16" midlength upper + BCM BCG. I have one with a Spike' tactical lower with some optional parts. With a Daniel defense fixed rear sight and 2 20 round Pmag, I was below $1200.
I am fairly new to ARs but have been very happy with mine and how consistent it shoots with cheap ammo.
Also check out Sabre defense uppers at PKfirearms.
From what I have read in forums, SS barrels tend to be more accurate and chrome lined steel are more durable.
In my case, just wanted the rust resistance and midweight and mid length setup and no grenade notch on the barrel.