View Full Version : Want to build my first AR-15

February 21, 2011, 02:32 AM
Hey everyone. So i'm new to the forum and am hoping to build an AR-15 in the near future. Only problem is that i'm a little tight on cash, so i'm hoping to build a relatively inexpensive one that is still of good quality and accuracy. I found some other forum threads through google from 2006 where people were building entry level AR's for around $500 or $600 for a complete rifle. I know prices have gone up but if I could get one close to this that'd be great. I live in CA, so i'll also have a more restricted list of what manufacturers i'm allowed to buy from. I was wondering what would be the most inexpensive way to go about doing this, either:

buying a kit and then the lower

buying a fully assembled upper and lower and putting them together

buying everything disassembled and building it all

Whichever is less expensive, what are some good brands that offer some decent quality stuff for an entry level AR-15 at good prices. I'm not looking for a 600yd tack driver or anything, but i still want something that will be accurate to about 200 yds.

I've heard some stuff about Model 1, both good and bad. Some say that they make great stuff at low prices, but some also say that they have horrible customer service and sell some faulty stuff. I was also looking into some Rock River Arms kits and uppers. heard great things about them. I was also looking at Stag, which seems to also be another reputable brand.

So just to reiterate, which method would be the cheapest, and what manufacturer sells cheaper but still decent quality AR stuff that's CA legal?

Thanks a lot guys and I look forward to getting to use this forum more.

February 21, 2011, 06:31 AM
This is how I would "build" an AR
Go to Bravo Company's website
Buy Complete lower of your choice
Buy stock, grip and handguards / rail
Buy Complete upper of your choice
Buy complete bolt carrier group, CH, and sights of your choice.
Add ammo and Pmags
Go shoot.

February 21, 2011, 07:09 AM
Del-Ton kits (http://www.del-ton.com/ar_15_kits_s/1.htm)

How to assemble your own AR-15 (http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=226782)

Remember to use a bullet button and 10 round magazines to stay out of jail.
Bullet Button (http://www.tenpercentfirearms.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=78&products_id=265)

February 21, 2011, 07:18 PM
Thanks guys. I've been looking into bravo company and Del-Ton. They look pretty good. BCM might be a little above my price range, but Del-Ton seems pretty reasonable. Would you recommend getting Mil-spec stuff or does that really only matter if i'd be shooting this competitively?

February 21, 2011, 07:31 PM
Buyer beware when it comes to claims of "mil-spec".
"Mil-spec" is used as a sales ploy when it comes to commercial AR-15s.

There are material and process mil-specs for:

The chemical formulation of raw materials (steel, aluminum and plastic)
The tolerances the raw material is machined to
The surface finish of the machined part
The heat treatment of machined metal parts
The finish applied to the parts (anodize, phosphate, chrome)

Anyone can claim to sell "mil-spec" stuff, but which specs do they meet and which do they ignore because it is too costly?

February 21, 2011, 08:01 PM
Generally it is more expensive to purchase and assemble a rifle from individual components than to purchase a kit. J&T, M&A, and Model 1 sell reasonably priced kits that are fine quality. Spending the extra money to get a chrome lined barrel is a good idea. I would also buy the kit sans the bolt/bolt carrier assembly. Purchase that from Bravo Company. $600 for a basic build is doable.

February 21, 2011, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the info about the mil-spec parts. I guess it doesn't matter what I but then as long as it's a reputable brand. And also I'm glad it'll be cheaper to buy a kit, seems easier than scrounging all the parts. Why buy it sans bolt/bolt carrier? Are the ones that come with the kits usually lower quality? Did you mean buy the whole kit or just the bolt/bolt carrier from bravo company?

February 21, 2011, 08:19 PM
Scrounging all the parts is more fun:D, that and it makes you pretty intimate with the design and your particular rifle. The resell value is never there however.

February 21, 2011, 08:23 PM
Haha yeah i'd imagine but I think for me right now buying the kit would be the way to go. Most kits i've seen are around 500, and most lowers are around 120-140. Who's kit/lower combo could I go with that would still be of good quality to put me at around 600 with tax for a build? Or was the 600 disregarding tax? Also would a chrome-lined barrel really be necessary considering i'd be putting max a couple hundred rounds once every month-few months through the rifle?

February 21, 2011, 08:57 PM
You will find that people get in pretty heated debates about AR's and build quality and "Mil-Spec" and a fun little thing called THE CHART.

If you are just looking for your first AR, not blow a big amount of money and have some fun there are options out there. If your just looking for a fun gun you definitely don't need to go crazy. If you want it for protection, then I would take a more serious approach to it.

Some people are very brand loyal and go crazy about it... I've built a few of mine own, had a Colt, I ended up selling all those off, I picked up a used Stag Arms on here. Sad part is it shoots better and through worse conditions than my Colt did. Others will say Stag's are junk. Mine has been good, I don't really care how it measures up on THE CHART. It does what I ask it to and it does it well. Their parent company is Continental Machine. CM makes AR parts and receivers for a lot of other companies (along with automotive and aerospace parts), Stag is just their new in house name brand. They even made parts for M16's. My figuring is they can't be all that bad then.:confused:

BCM and the others mentioned are very good names, and are well trusted, you definitely can't go wrong. Depending on your purpose however I just wouldn't let someone talk you into a $1500-$2000 build because it's "Mil Spec" or whatever else.

I sell gun's all day long... I can tell you that Bushmansters are VERY popular with police units, at least in my neck of the woods. More than a few people will say Bushmasters are junk, but from what I see its what the "professionals" use. I would just take everyone's advise with a grain of salt when it comes to AR's on the internet.:rolleyes:

February 21, 2011, 10:09 PM
Alright cool thanks. Yeah there are as many opinions as there are AR's haha so it makes finding a definitive answer hard. I'd use this both for fun shooting and protection. Would Model 1, Del-Ton, J&T, etc be good enough quality for a defensive AR? Are there any Stag/Bushmaster kits what would run around $500? My main thing is just getting a good quality one for the lowest price possible. Brand name doesn't matter as much to me as long as it shoots accurately and will last.

February 21, 2011, 10:56 PM
If you are like most AR-15 owners, your rifle will morph over time. One of the great things about AR-15s is the wide variety of great aftermarket parts. Like Legos, but with gun parts.

Change the pistol grip
Change the stock
Change the trigger
Add an optic
Add an accessory rail
Add a foregrip
Change the muzzle device
Change the sights
Add an ambi safety

And those changes are easy for you to do...no need to take it to a gunsmith.

The one recommendation I make is to start with a flattop upper receiver, because you will eventually want to add an optic.

February 21, 2011, 10:59 PM
Yeah i'm hoping to add a reflex sight right off the bat. I'd get a 6 position M4 stock with the kit. I was also thinking later on about adding a scope and co-witnessing the reflex sight right on top of it so i'd have the ability for longer and short-medium range. What do you guys think?

February 21, 2011, 11:00 PM
J&T and Doublestar is a good place for a kit or for the complete thing. Great product and even better customer service.

February 22, 2011, 01:26 AM
Why buy it sans bolt/bolt carrier? Are the ones that come with the kits usually lower quality? Did you mean buy the whole kit or just the bolt/bolt carrier from bravo company?

The Bravo Company bolt carrier group is higher quality IMO. The carrier/key will be properly staked and the bolt will be MPT.

February 22, 2011, 01:32 AM
Buy a complete upper that includes a lower parts kit from Del-ton. They run $450 and up)

Then buy a stripped lower ($80 and up)

Assemble everything and install parts.

Buy ammo and mags ($300 for 1k rds and $100 on a bunch of mags)

Call it a day and start shooting your build for under a grand!

February 25, 2011, 05:37 PM
If it helps shotgun news had a great article on building a cheap AR. Its volume 65, issue 2 jan 17, 2011. They a use a plumcrazy lower for the build and said it cost around $120. Hope that helps.

February 25, 2011, 05:45 PM
I agree with Jersey: to reduce shipping charges from multiple destinations and multiple headaches, the Del-ton kit on a cheap receiver will shoot about as good as anything and cost less. You can even add options while ordering.


February 25, 2011, 05:59 PM
Also would a chrome-lined barrel really be necessary considering i'd be putting max a couple hundred rounds once every month-few months through the rifle?

Unless you are shooting competition a chrome-lined barrel will last you longer. Competition barrels are not chromed because the rifling is deeper. Chrome will last longer and be easyier to clean.