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Old October 12, 2012, 01:35 AM   #1
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Join Date: November 28, 2011
Location: New York
Posts: 374
Help with picking entry level AR-15?

Edit: Before reading this, I want to warn you that you'll probably think I'm an idiot or something when you're done reading it. Even still, any help regarding any of the issues I've asked about would be GREATLY appreciated...

Alright, well I must have somehow contracted the "AR" virus, because in the last few days, whenever I have a minute of free time, I've been frantically searching for and comparing AR-15's... I don't want to spend a lot of money, but want a nice, basic, but decent quality rifle. I heard about a lot of people with 18'' rifles, but 16" seems most common.

Now going back to my price range, I was looking at maybe no more than 800. Even if I went over, it'd be fine. At that point, I told myself, "I want a high quality AR". Only answer? Build one. I've looked over what seems like countless kits, lower kits, stripped lowers, uppers of a million calibers and barrel lengths, handguard, grip, sight variations, etc. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I should buy one. I want to get familiar with the platform, so when it comes time to build my own, I will feel more confident in doing so...

Now, since my price range isnt very high, and now I won't be building one, this leaves me limited, so I'd have to go with something "budget oriented".

Originally, I was going to go for a RRA Entry Tactical, which seems to have went up in price, a lot more than I had thought (from what I see). Still an option, however. Another good option seemed to be the S&W M&P-15 Sport, which seemed like a lot of gun for the money (MSRP $750?). I also heard a lot about DPMS, but after hearing that people tend to have more issues with them, I decided not to go with them. Enter, Palmetto State Armory. They seem to have some cheap, but high quality AR's. One I was looking at was the "MOE 16" M4 Premium" or something like that. Either $750 or $800, I forget.

I hear a lot about the S&W as a good, high quality rifle, even though it is entry level. I read some reviews, opinions, etc and watched Nutnfancy's review on it. Seems like a quality gun. The entry tactical seems like a very good gun as well. Not sure about the PSA, though...

There's 2 parts that drive me insane.

So many pros and cons because there are so many customizable parts on an AR...

DI vs Piston Driven?
Mil-spec vs commercial stock?
Is forward assist important/needed? Ever utilized in realistic scenario???
Dust Cover? (Seems like less of a concern)
I'm fine with the Melonite coating on the M&P15...

Another, is staying compliant with my state (NY), which in a nutshell is "No muzzle device or adjustable stock". But what about barrel length? 16 is legal, but what about other states? Probably the more difficult part about this whole thing...

Apparently, S&W makes a compliant Sport model, however, how do I get my hands on one? Its probably in their catalog, but I can't find it online! It's like some kind of thing that doesn't exist, but does. Another thing is that, suppose I wanted a rock river, I have a shop order one for me... What the hell would I expect to get? I mean it annoys me that these sites dont show any of their stuff being state compliant, and it's driving me F^#@#$* INSANE!!!

I feel that at this point, I'd probably be more inclined to go with the M&P15 Sport because of much wider availability... The only "bad" about the gun seems to be the exclusion of a forward assist and dust cover (mostly the assist) and from what I hear, people seem to think they're pretty useless and that they've never even had to use a forward assist,as well as "If it's that dirty where the round wont chamber properly, you should just clean the thing"...

I probably seem insane, but to be honest, I'm not good at making descisions, at all. To be fair, we're not comparing a couple of simple .22 rifles, we're comparing guns that have so many options, variations, aftermarket products, etc that you couldn't count them all...

Can someone help me? I guess if there are a few things in short, that I'm concerned about, its...

DI VS Piston Driven.
Lack of forward assist?
How does ordering a state compliant rifle work, and what do I expect when ordering/receiving it?

For simplicity, would you recommend I start with the M&P15? I'd rather go with a "commercially available" gun, so is there another cheaper rifle from a major manufacturer like S&W that I might have missed?

Last edited by GunXpatriot; October 12, 2012 at 01:49 AM.
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