View Full Version : AR-15 rifles

September 11, 2010, 02:42 AM
I'm thinking of buying an AR-15 rifle. What would be a good brand and what caliber would you recommend. I don't know that much about rifles and ammo. I want a good gun for when the doo-doo hits the fan.

September 11, 2010, 07:17 AM

September 11, 2010, 08:47 AM
Daniel Defense, Bravo Company, LMT, Sabre Defense.

What's your price range?

If you have further questions send me a private message.

September 11, 2010, 09:02 AM
Another suggestion here for Bravo Company. Good stuff and affordable.

September 11, 2010, 09:21 AM
There are the "tiers":

Some, with higher price, tend to be or ARE Milspec: Noveske, Colt, BCM, LMT, DD, etc.

Some have MOST of the Milspec features: S&W

Then there are "commercial rifles": Bushmaster, RRA, Stag

If you want close to total milspec, and MAYBE a hammer forged barrel, you spend about $950-1050 - that is just an M4 config - not a middie, no options, etc.

You CAN get an accurate and 'range dependable' AR for $800 or less, but it might not have a "properly" staked gas key, etc. This COULD cause problems down the road.

I just did this, and bought one before I "knew" a bunch of stuff.

If you have $1000 or more, your can go LMT, Colt, BCM, DD, Noveske (even more), etc.

If you have less than $1000, I'd look at DD, Spikes, S&W. The steel in the barrel of the DD is the best of these, with Spikes right after, and S&W third. BUt, then there are other considerations, and for most folks, they won't see a difference.

May want to read "the chart". http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pwswheghNQsEuEhjFwPrgTA&single=true&gid=5&output=html

You CAN get caught up in this to a high degree. Keep in mind that many buy RRA, get an accurate rifle and never have a problem. Then again, why not have the best (most durable) features that the military demands as standard.

I just went through this. Right now, you can nail a DD or LMT basic model for around $1000 or less. They are pretty good guns.

Or, you can get a Spikes for $800-900, but you'll have to wait. You basically get more features for the money, and for the most part GI. Fpr example, you can land a middie for a little more than $800 shipped. That ain't bad. The DD has a cold hammer forged barrel though, if that is what you like/need.

I did get my son a S&W - which has GREAT f/f and seems to be VERY reliable OTB. MANY posts I had read had great things to say about the S&W M&P - it is a good company. But, some items are "batch tested", and the barrel is not 4150...


Some on AR specific sites poopoo the S&W, but:


You can get on AR specific sites which will tear you apart if you have an RRA, Bushmaster, or Stag.

I WOULD stay clear of cut rate models/brands.

September 13, 2010, 08:00 AM
"The chart" is a list of milspec/M4 features, which you may or may not want. For instance, a 1:7" barrel twist is good for heavy (55-90 gr) or tracer bullets, but not lighter bullets. I chose a 1:8" because it works fine for the bullets I shoot, 52-77gr.

As for caliber - my twist comments are based on .223 or 5.56x45, which would be my suggestion for a first AR-15. Other cartridges have their place, but ammo availability and cost puts 223/5.56 on top.


September 13, 2010, 08:16 AM
a 1:7" barrel twist is good for heavy (55-90 gr) or tracer bullets, but not lighter bullets. I chose a 1:8" because it works fine for the bullets I shoot, 52-77gr.

Most 1 in 7 barrels I've seen shoot the 52/53 grn match bullets with excellent results. Thats about all I use for reduced range practice. However it dosnt work the other way. My 1 in 12 AR wont shoot anything over 55 grn.

If you want the option of heavier bullets for long range, I'd go with the 1-7. Never know if you might want to shoot 80 or 90 grns. but like I said, the 1-7 will shoot lighter 52/53 grain bullets.

Below is a test army did compairing the two twist, (1-12 & 1-7) using both ligher and heavier bullets in both.


September 13, 2010, 08:42 AM
"Buy an AR15" is a bit different than "buy a M4 clone." They are two different models, and the features are significant in utility and price.

I would urge getting a fixed stock A3 flattop with handguards. It is more user friendly, and suffers less from market demand. The biggest differences are the stock and quad rail. Adjustable stocks aren't a big priority unless you shoot with body armor one time, then not. You can maintain the same relative cheek weld with the necessary length of pull change. For the average shooter, that's a rare situation.

The quad rail offers a lot of versatility to mount things, but the negatives are rarely mentioned. Most shooters find the upper rail on the receiver sufficient for an optic. Using the handguard rails to mount things makes the carbine nose heavy, then some add a vertical grip to hoist it up, and ladders to cover the cheese grater rails for comfort. Two pounds more weight, and it's no longer fun to shoot, but it sure looks cool with another $500 worth of stuff out there.

That's a lot of ammo, or even the price of a really good red dot. All that stuff still won't make it shoot better than the government spec, 2MOA. Only a good barrel will do that.

For defensive purposes, the AR will do. That role is also filled by handguns, shot guns, lever actions, and quite a few other types over the last 50 years. All those people thought their choice was just as good, and when things happen, it seems to prove out that being confident in using the weapon counts for as much as what it is.

Military specs are nice, keep in mind, the military plans to shoot a lot of automatic fire, which is hard on weapons, and doesn't have the benefit of a Customer Service mailing address to send things. Once accepted by their inspectors, they have to service it and live with it. MPI inspecting each bolt is really nice, but it's expensive - and for the casual shooter, needs to be weighed on a gun that may never shoot as many rounds in it's life as a military carbine would in a year. Frankly, cheap surplus magazines cause more trouble. Don't skimp on magazines, buy the best, and you've sidelined most of the trouble with the AR right there.

Have fun sorting it all out, don't let the marketing hype get to you. There are actually people out there who sell a lot of sizzle, but you don't get much steak. If anything, the more tactical and hardcore, the more cautious I would be.

September 13, 2010, 09:06 AM
Colt 6920.

September 13, 2010, 09:23 AM
Bravo co., Daniel Defense, S&W

September 13, 2010, 08:26 PM
No love for Rock River? I love my Rock River and they have some neat ones on sale right now.

September 13, 2010, 10:59 PM
Help support the economy of Washington state and buy from Olympic Arms.


September 13, 2010, 11:28 PM
www.budsgunshop.com they have great deals i bought a dpms oracle for $700. thats shipped to my ffl dealer i should be getting my rifle tomorrow. good friendly service and dpms rifles are great rifles. it depends what ya want i guess there are all sorts of types out there.

or order direct from dpms


September 14, 2010, 08:49 AM
Help support the economy of Washington state and buy from Olympic Arms.

Ignore this for sure. Listen to the other replies. DO NOT buy the worst AR money can buy. Olympic Arms.

A good rule to follow in the gun realm is don't touch ANYTHING with "Olympic" in the name.

September 14, 2010, 10:08 AM
that and like any statistical analysis, eliminate the most expensive and the cheapest, then choose something left.

September 14, 2010, 12:40 PM
tirod, your post makes perfect sense. very well said

B. Lahey
September 14, 2010, 12:58 PM
Colt, 5.56, any model that suits your fancy.

September 14, 2010, 01:01 PM
If I had nickel for every time this question gets asked.......:) I would be a billionaire....:eek: Not complaining at all I just think its funny this question comes up as much as Windows says it needs a update.....lol

I would check out Smith & Wesson they make some great AR-15s and they usually have some pretty good rebates or freebies as in 5 free P-Mags.

September 14, 2010, 05:07 PM
Help support the economy of Washington state and buy from Olympic Arms.

Ignore this for sure. Listen to the other replies. DO NOT buy the worst AR money can buy. Olympic Arms.

A good rule to follow in the gun realm is don't touch ANYTHING with "Olympic" in the name.
Tirod makes perfect sense, demigod does not.
Olympic makes decent AR's...used to be a very well-respected barrel maker.
Hesse/Vulcan makes the worst AR's.
Rock River makes the best FOR THE $.
Tirod's post should be a sticky.

September 14, 2010, 05:25 PM
Spikes Tactical........

September 14, 2010, 06:00 PM
DO NOT buy the worst AR money can buy. Olympic Arms.

Can't agree with this at all. I have had my Olympic for over 5 years without a single problem. Accurate and reliable!!!

September 14, 2010, 06:39 PM
I generally try not to get sucked into the BS that constitutes a disagreement via the internet, but I have to agree that Olympic makes a very good rifle. I have had personal experience with several and the quality, reliability and accuracy are all a shooter could ask for.

September 14, 2010, 08:06 PM
Buy yourself an LWRC M6A2 semi-auto rifle. I did and don't regret it at all! The short stroke piston system works as advertised. My rifle is chambered for 5.56 NATO. I've put several thousand rounds down range and I've never experienced a failure of any kind. This is the only AR-15 rifle that I've shot and never experienced a jam or failure to eject. It simply works every time. Cleaning is also a cinch. The piston system keeps the bolt and bolt carrier grime free. The only downside is the cost. It'll set you back a couple thousand but I say it's worth the investment. The LWRC rifles are beautiful and I couldn't resist.

September 14, 2010, 09:34 PM
Build it yourself... get a good quality billet lower @ your local gunshop. Then hit up www.bravocompanyusa.com & www.brownells.com for the rest. Order every other part to your doorstep. As far as a good quality gun, as long as you get everything "MILSPEC" you'll be good to go.

September 14, 2010, 11:34 PM
Bushmaster, Carbon 15 if you're beginning, XM15 once you get into it. Price range is $950 to $1600, you get what you pay for. Sounds cliched, true, but in the world of the Black rifle, it rings true.

Tucker 1371
September 14, 2010, 11:54 PM
This discussion could get crazy. What's your price range? Be sure to consider ammo costs. I would be looking to buy a minimum of 500 rounds in bulk.

Colt seems to be the best deal in my mind. For significantly less than a Noveske/Larue/Les Baer you are getting a rifle that has proven qualities under rough conditions. Any problem encountered with it in combat is likely one any traditional AR15 would run into.

Smith and Wesson's MP15 also seems to be an excellent deal, most of it's owners speak highly of it and it is priced very reasonably.

September 15, 2010, 11:13 PM
I own an RRA AR15 with the match trigger and really like the gun. I also own a Stag Arms Model 8 piston rifle. I like it as well. It's not necessary to spend a butt load of money to get a good AR, but then again it's not wise to go on the cheap either. Somewhere in the middle is a good place to start. There are quite a few good AR manufacturers out there. If you have the opportunity at your gun range see if some of your AR owning buddies will let you shoot their weapons and talk to you about their likes and dislikes. Take everything with a grain of salt, look at your budget and then make your decision. Without knowing much about the rifles in the first place I personally don't think building your own is a good idea at this stage of the game. JMHO Good luck and enjoy. They are a lot of fun to shoot at the range. I also hunt varmint with my Stag which adds to the pleasure of owning one. :D

September 16, 2010, 08:42 AM
Help support the economy of Washington state and buy from Olympic Arms.
Ignore this for sure. Listen to the other replies. DO NOT buy the worst AR money can buy. Olympic Arms.

A good rule to follow in the gun realm is don't touch ANYTHING with "Olympic" in the name.

Pure bovine excrement.

Several years ago Oly made a cheap model AR, one of many models they made. It had issues, they no longer make that model, but the internet rumors well never die.

You can find 'bad' reviews of any brand out their. The truth is about any well maintained AR well be fine for most users. If my life depended on the rifle I would probably have a Colt, ArmaLite or Noveske.

I have two BM's, never had any issue with either rifle.

September 16, 2010, 01:11 PM
Olympic Arms has never built quality ARs. They have kicked out some ARs out their that are functional every so often.

I don't just repeat internut retardation rumors. I built a collection of OLY arms horror stories.... from the junk they make, to those losers telling their customers that they won't honor that great warrantee they slap on their trash.

Anyone willing to defend Olympic Arms is simply not paying attention. I can post a pile of examples of Olympic Arms disasters if you'd like. Oly is hands down THE WORST main stream AR out there.

The reason I stomp OLY so hard is that in addition to building trash, they lie. They used to tell guys on AR15.com that OLY guns with out of spec chambers had TIGHTER tollerances than the other ARs available. So that's why their guns won't extract spent casings! Tight Tollerances!

You'll notice that OLY has been kicked off of AR15.com for years.

Mutatio Nomenis
September 16, 2010, 02:09 PM
I'd try to buy one from Colt (they make the damn things for the military). Anyway, get them in 5.56X45mm because they were designed for that round. The 5.45 versions are crap. You can really customize them, so you can add rails, sights, receivers, and muzzle attachments. They're kinda like PC guns that you can customize.