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Old January 12, 2019, 10:18 AM   #1
ATN082268
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Best AR-15 for 800 dollars

I may get another AR-15 in 5.56mm and wanted to know what would be the best one for around the general max price of 800 dollars. If it is a little over that it won't be a deal breaker The intended use will primarily be home defense and will also be shot usually with max distances of 100 yards or less.
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Old January 12, 2019, 11:14 AM   #2
Americanpatriot
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I don't know what you already own but for under a $1,000.00 it's hard to go wrong with one of the Colt models. You'll get suggestions for other options, best to do alot of research, then make an informed decision
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Old January 12, 2019, 11:15 AM   #3
pkevinb
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I have a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II. I looked at all the AR's in the same price range and after reading online reviews and watching YouTube reviews I decided that the S&W was the best as far as accuracy and quality. I have shot it quite a bit and haven't had a single problem with it.
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Old January 12, 2019, 01:54 PM   #4
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Personally, I'd take a Sig M400 over a Colt.
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Old January 12, 2019, 02:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pkevinb View Post
I have a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II. I looked at all the AR's in the same price range and after reading online reviews and watching YouTube reviews I decided that the S&W was the best as far as accuracy and quality. I have shot it quite a bit and haven't had a single problem with it.
I would have to agree with this post. Do yourself a favor financially and get you a MP 15 sport or even a Delton lightweight sporter. If this is for home defense and just plinking around this will do you fine. Take the extra money you have saved and get you a red dot or some other neat add on. I have a buddy that owns his own gun shop. He has ARs starting at $499 (Delton) going up to Stags, POFs, etc. etc. etc. I hear him in there all the time telling people they can have a ton of fun with reliability out of the SW and Delton. Like he tells me," If someone wants to buy a Colt, Stag, Spike's or so on, I'll let them spend their money all day, but I tell them they don't have to."
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Old January 13, 2019, 08:51 AM   #6
lunger
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I own an SW Sport I . I have never had any issues and plenty accurate for my uses. You will get a lot of brand loyal answers.

In my experience and for most shooters any of the AR's currently produced by major manufacturers are good to go. You just don't hear a lot of problems with any particular brand. Most of the malfunctions I see at the range are builds or customized. ( I know there are many that build great AR's and know what they are doing. But there many that don't).

For what your use is you can't make a bad choice . Buy what you like or get the best deal on.

Now if you were into long range,competition ,or LEO you may want to step up in quality. Or possibly just for pride of ownership.
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Old January 13, 2019, 10:35 AM   #7
CLC
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You could build a PSA rifle right around $500 if you wait for deals. I have a couple and they are decent rifles. I use my 20 in fixed stock with carry handle in 3 gun and havent had any problems. $800 would put a basic BCM with irons right out of your price range. Stripped BCM uppers start at $500.
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Old January 13, 2019, 12:00 PM   #8
Mobuck
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$800?
During the reign of "the black jesus", I sold an AR that wasn't quite up to my expectations to DIL's Uncle as a hedge against things getting even worse than they were. Even considering the high prices of those bleak days, he got the rifle, a $120 red dot + BUIS, 6 mags, a gun case, and 500 rounds of ammo---ALL for $850. And I didn't lose any money on the deal.
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Old January 17, 2019, 11:21 AM   #9
WheelGunRealGun
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Colt 6920 OEM. The non-OEM model may be closer to $900 than $800, but everything (except for the full auto components and 14.5" barrel unless you get a pinned & welded one) is to the military TDP. It's nothing special, but there's nothing lacking, either. It's a basic, reliable, and accurate carbine. No cut corners, but no fancy doodads either. Colt is one of the few AR makers (besides LMT, KAC, and Daniel Defense though I'm not sure DD sells complete rifles to the military) to have military contracts and produce military-grade rifles.

I've owned an M&P 15 OR model and was disappointed. It had random hang ups with good magazines and good ammo, the gas port was much larger than the mil-spec that carbine length gas systems call for, and they don't put the dry-film lube on the inside of the upper receiver where the BCG rides. It even came without the clamp that keeps the dust cover pin in place. I had to buy one and put it on myself. Maybe S&W's gotten their act together since then, but my Colt 6920 has been flawlessly good to go right out of the box.

With the price of Colts these days, I don't see the point in going with anything else in that price range. These bargain makers make a gun that looks like an AR15, but there's a lot more to it than looks. They'll function fine if you just go to the range on occasion and plink a couple of boxes a few times a year, but if you're going to run the rifle in any sort of class or high volume of fire, the bargain guns don't hold up long-term. Buy once, cry once. For a gun that you plan to keep for home defense, you don't want to skimp with what's "probably good enough".

ETA: I didn't mention FN because they are not allowed to use the TDP for their civilian rifles like they do on their military production line. I've also not seen them in the $800 price range.

Last edited by WheelGunRealGun; January 17, 2019 at 11:27 AM.
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Old January 18, 2019, 09:32 PM   #10
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I have an LWRC M6A2 I paid $2,000 for and a DPMS 5.56 I paid $360 for. Both go bang and run well. I think to use the word "best" could mean a whole lot of different things for so many different gun owners. I guess for me, it would mean things like a 4150 CMV Steel Alloy & a molten salt bath ferritic nitrocarburizing surface barrel vs your standard chrome lined barrel, or perhaps a piston type vs your standard direct gas infringement type, ect. The LWRC was my first AR I bought back in 2008 and fell in love with it when I saw it on TV on some top 10 weapon's show. The DPMS I bought way later on a sale through Bud's. I believe they came from some police academy somewhere. I bought the DPMS not only because of price, but because I wanted carry handle open sight AR like I had in the army in order to shoot many rounds of cheap Russian steel case ammo with. My LWRC only ever sees the good stuff, haha. That being all said, the LWRC is pretty much always in the gun safe. The DPMS is always locked n loaded in the closet. I've never met a bad AR to be honest. The one user was right however about Colts having good ones. Instead of concentrating on maker and price, I would consider exactly what your looking for regarding weight, flat top or carry handle, system, barrel type, length, ect ect. then go from there. Asking an AR to do 100 yards is not asking a lot. Personally, I shoot my LWRC at 300. They all should do well at 100. Also, not sure what optics you want but maybe you should consider all costs in your price. I have a total of $4,880 invested in my whole LWRC setup so it definitely adds up on you. Just my food for thought and good luck with your next purchase, I'm already jealous....
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Old January 19, 2019, 06:59 AM   #11
Mobuck
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In reality, shooting an AR @ 100 yards for anything other than zero check or fun is wasting ammo. 200 starts to be a challenge with coarse sights and dot or 1X optics but not because of accuracy potential.
I'm not sure what sort of junk one would have to assemble or how poor that assembly might have to be to produce a "bad" AR. Maybe some sort of physical barrel damage or more likely interference between parts would create accuracy issues and we all "know a guy who built an AR" from non-compatible parts.
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Old January 19, 2019, 10:37 AM   #12
Nathan
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Personally, I would get a 16” mid gas AR with Magpul SL furniture, light weight barrel, RA140 trigger, Magpul pro rr buis, and a quality dot sight.

If I were not going to build, I would buy the Colt or Aero OEM rifle and build up.

Aero AC-15 - $575

Possible part swaps:
Magpul SL Furniture - $85
RA140 trigger - $80

Sights:
Magpul MBUS PRO RR - $75
Trijicon MRO with mount - $450

Sure, that is over $1000, but building with irons will only set you back $650....leaving money to put towards the sight or money for the trigger and better furniture.

BTW, I built a similar spec rifle and love it. It is on its 3rd iteration. I use a Vortex optic. Mine is
PSA Premium Upper
Core 15 BCG....don’t ask me why ...works fine
PSA LPK
RA140 trigger
Surplus Arms & Ammo lower cause it looks cool
Magpul SL Furniture
Magpul Pro buis
Magpul bad lever
Vortex Strikefire 2 red
2 pt sling Blackhawk, I think

This is one of the most fun rifles I’ve owned for fast shooting under 50 yards, but can reach to 150...pretty well...
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Old January 19, 2019, 01:43 PM   #13
Leaf
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For the money a Ruger AR 556, a bottle of blue locktite, and the last three hundred dollars for ammo to start pumpin down range.
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Old January 19, 2019, 03:01 PM   #14
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For the money a Ruger AR 556, a bottle of blue locktite, and the last three hundred dollars for ammo to start pumpin down range.
Is there something inherently wrong with the Ruger AR that requires locktite?
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Old January 20, 2019, 10:52 AM   #15
pblanc
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Is there something inherently wrong with the Ruger AR that requires locktite?
No, there is nothing on the Ruger AR556 that requires loctite. If you mount a scope, you might want to use some blue loctite on the scope rings but that is about it. The castle nut that secures the receiver extension tube (buffer tube) to the rear of the lower receiver is not staked on the Ruger AR556. I suppose if you were OCD you could loosen that up and apply some loctite. Or you could stake it. Or you could leave it alone.

If anything, I would buy a small tube of anti-seize compound and put some on the threads on the barrel nut that the Delta ring runs on. The Ruger AR556 does not use the spring-loaded Delta slip ring that mil-spec ARs use. The Delta ring runs on threads on the exterior of the barrel nut. This actually makes it much easier to remove and install the hand guard with two hands and no tools.

But some have threaded the Delta ring onto the back of the hand guard too tightly and had it jam to the point they needed to use a strap wrench to loosen it. Apply a bit of anti-seize to the threads, and screw the Delta ring down no more than finger tight and you will have no issues.
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Old January 20, 2019, 02:14 PM   #16
Leaf
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Dahermit, the two taper pins on the front sight gas block tend to walk out on the Ruger AR556. Pblanc, not the particularly humble type, are ya?
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Old January 20, 2019, 07:17 PM   #17
pblanc
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Dahermit, the two taper pins on the front sight gas block tend to walk out on the Ruger AR556. Pblanc, not the particularly humble type, are ya?
This is a problem that AR556s had in the past. Have you personally had this occur with a Ruger AR556? And if so, was it of relatively recent manufacture, say within the last 2-3 years? Because I have not heard this issue reported with AR556 carbines made in recent years.
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Old January 20, 2019, 08:19 PM   #18
Leaf
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Pblanc, yes and yes.
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Old January 20, 2019, 08:54 PM   #19
Leaf
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Looking back on the situation, it was actually sorta funny. After ripping through half a second 30 rounder to see the rifle quit with the front end separating and shouting obscenities about Ruger and Mattel rifles, we noticed both taper pins hanging outside their respective holes. Easy fix although the loctite we had in the range kit must have been a hundred years old and didn't look right. Had to go to a Riley's or Auto Zone or some such and pick up their equivalent. After the fix, the rifle ran nicely and continues to do so without any problems.
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Old January 20, 2019, 09:05 PM   #20
pblanc
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Pblanc, yes and yes.
Well that is news to me. But if I had had that problem, I would have used red loctite.

I have of course read about the problem with the tapered pins walking out. The Ruger AR 556 was introduced in late 2014 and there were quite a few reports of front sight gas block pins walking out and falling out in 2015 and 2016. I had read that Ruger had gone to different pins some time in 2016 and I have not encountered reports of loose pins with rifles made in 2017 and 2018. I can't confirm the change in pins from personal experience since there has been absolutely no evidence of the pins loosening on my AR 556. In fact, I have read reports from other AR556 owners who wanted to remove their front sight/gas blocks from recent builds having a hard time getting them out.

Since we are talking about the AR556 we might as well discuss the proprietary barrel nut and front sight tower/gas block. These non-mil-spec parts could cause issues for those who might wish to change barrels, or install a free-float hand guard that mounts on a mil-spec barrel nut. The front sight tower/gas block on the AR556 has a quick release sling swivel socket on the butt side of the bottom of the tower, which I think is a nice feature. But instead of securing with two pins at the bottom like mil-spec front sight towers do, the Ruger FSB/front sight tower has two tapered pins over the bore of the barrel. That means that if you swap barrels, you would need to use a Ruger barrel, or have the top of the new barrel cut with notches to accommodate the two pins, or change to a mil-spec front sight tower/gas block.

The barrel nut is also proprietary. The Delta ring on the Ruger AR556 is threaded onto the barrel nut. Most non-free floated carbine length hand guards will fit the AR556 just fine. But if you wanted to install a two-piece free-float hand guard that mounts on a mil-spec barrel nut, you would need to change out the barrel nut.
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Old January 20, 2019, 09:14 PM   #21
Leaf
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Pblanc, the problems you describe are nothing compared to the problems they're going to have dealing with red loctite.
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Old January 20, 2019, 10:53 PM   #22
pblanc
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You want to undo something that has been installed with red loctite, you heat the part. I have done this with dovetailed pistol sights that have been installed with red loctite.

The front sight tower/gas block is not a part on the AR that one typically wants to remove. If it becomes necessary to do so, it is not uncommon to have to heat it up to get the pins out.
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Old January 20, 2019, 11:00 PM   #23
ice monkey
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When I was in the same position, I ended up with a Colt. Glad I did. What a great rifle. Accurate, and not even close to being a picky eater.

Don’t worry if it’s not exactly what you want. You can replace any part you want on an AR. At 800 bucks, look for reliable.
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Old January 21, 2019, 02:07 PM   #24
Ruark
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For what you're describing, the M&P Sport is hard to beat for the money. It's not only well made, but it's somewhat overgassed, meaning it provides more gas pressure than needed to activate the reloading/recocking mechanisms. As a result, it just fires everything you can put into it. I've run several thousand rounds of every junk ammo made through mine and never had a single glitch of any kind. Not saying it's better than everything else - I haven't shot them all! - but that's my experience. If I had to grab a gun that I KNEW would fire when I pulled the trigger, it'd be my M&P.
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Old January 21, 2019, 02:27 PM   #25
hub1home
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If it was me, I would spend about $200 more and get a Colt LE6920. It has been battle proven. It is the best AR out there for the money.
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