The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: General

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 24, 2010, 09:00 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201
Just bought a used AR on a whim...judge me!

So here's the truth -
I know almost diddly about AR-15's, and yet I go ahead a buy this AR depending almost entirely on my off-hand, gut-feeling for the decision.

For those of you who know ARs, various build options, and accessories, maybe you can tell me if it seems like a reasonable rifle and a within-reason price.

I've been considering an AK or an AR. I'm building a basic personal arsenal as of last year. I have two glock 19's, a ruger LCP, and a ruger 10/22....and now an AR sitting on the floor in front of me. Now, I need a shotgun...and a ton of stuff to support and maintain the weopons.

This what I know of this build:

Favorite feature: Trijicon 3x30 ACOG TA-33R-8
New, these are darn close to $900 "on sale".

The lower is made by a local weapons builder named Predator (out of Knoxville).

The upper is...well, I don't know... I think Double Star or something of that level.

Barrel: Saber Defense 18"...fluted

Rails are made by Troy with rail covers.

The grip is magpul. I think the stock is, too.

The bipod seems well built. I think is says "Harris" stamped on it.

It looks pretty minty clean.

I feel like I paid a lot for it. $1,350.
I doubt I could build it for that price without a lot of effort, but maybe... I don't know. $1,300 is real money in my book. I knew I'd have to unload some cash to get a reasonable AR.

So what do you think? Did I get ripped? Is it an OK price, but not quite a bargain?

I'll try to imbed an overall photo, but here's a link to my shared photos.

<iframe title ="Preview" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" frameborder="0" style="width:320px;height:240px;padding:0;background-color:#fcfcfc;" src=""></iframe>
bfskinnerpunk is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 09:12 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 2,778
You bought a $900 scope with a $450 AR 15. Check gunbroker for AR 15s for $450; if it shoots you got a steal.
I used to love being able to hit hard at 1000 yards. As I get older I find hitting a mini ram at 200 yards with the 22 oddly more satisfying.
mapsjanhere is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 09:23 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,835
I've been shooting AR/M16s since 1967 when I got my orders for Vietnam and traded my M14 for the M16a1.

I like them, I've shoot them in compitition for years, from 50 feet using the 22 sub cal device to 1000 yard service rifle mags.

Over the years I've learned you can't gimic your way to sucessful marksmanship.

The only OPTIONs (if you want to call that) is ammo. Spend that option money in rounds down range. When you wear out, or out shoot your barrel get a better barrel. Learn to shoot with iron sights, then if you want move to a scope. You dont need thousand dollar scopes for an AR. Something along the lines of a good Weaver 4X will shoot better then we ever could.

Better yet spend the money on reloading equipment so you can shoot more.

No gimic beats learning and practicing the basic rifle marksmanship fundamentals.

Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 09:26 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201

The mitigating factors (factors that increase it from a $450 rifle), as I see it, might be this.

Saber Defense's cheapest barrels are $300 (but maybe more...not sure of the specific model on mine yet)

Troy Handrails are ~$150 or more.

The lower: Predator's pricing is very high (take a look at their web sight)...routinely making $3,000 rifles... so that Predator lower probably has a value somewhat higher than the cheapest lowers a person could buy.

Then there is the sight.

With all of that said, this stuff is used. From what I can tell, it looks like it all has barely been touched. That sight is $900 new... it seems mint... but it is not new anymore. The Pelican Case it came with is very cool.

It also came with 170 rounds.

I LOVE that sight. I only wish it could be set up with iron sights, too... but I don't think it can take iron sights with the scope mounted.
bfskinnerpunk is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 09:33 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: March 31, 2010
Location: Communist State of IL.
Posts: 1,564
You got a great deal and don't look back!
NRA Life Member, SAF Member
Xfire68 is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 09:39 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: August 11, 2009
Posts: 619
You did really well on that rifle. Don't feel bad about it at all. Though a much cheaper setup is good enough for me, I would not have felt bad paying that much for that rifle.
If you need bullets for reloading give my website a look.
Longdayjake is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 09:40 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201

Thanks for that.

Right now, I am attempting to build a basic arsenal with full awareness that I am a novice at actually using this stuff. I make no pretense of knowing-what-I'm-doing. I know that is positively annoying to you experts!

There are enough people who love the AR (and AK), that I feel pretty good that I am ok with either rifle design based on that alone. One of my biggest criteria is that I want common equipment....which is why I prefer Glocks, too. I want something that everyone else has... so parts will be there...and so that I can easily use another person's weapon without a big learning curve.

I was in the Army (artillery), but all of my time was spent with an M-60.... in the 80's. I can just barely remember how to do a basic takedown of the AR.

My eyes are no longer perfect...the scope is something I like, but as far as I'm concerned, it is just a thing. I'm the kind of guy that likes high quality-but-primitive equipment.

I am in the acquisition phase right now. My skill set is delayed. The reason I am buying stuff now is that the future is unclear. I'm not a paranoid, but as I get older, I am realizing that my luxurious, safe life is not guaranteed. History is inherently unstable.

Rushing out to acquire proper equipment at the moment things get dicey (if it ever happens) is a bad idea.

I have been through a few hurricanes, and it is AMAZING how quickly and efficiently the public can empty a grocery store....and how prices for things doubles and doubles again.

So, this cash-dump is a little risky. These weapons could end up being nothing more than a hassle taking up space in my house! But at the moment, I'm acquiring some "tools" that might end up serving me well one day.

Oh, the other "feature" of this stuff is that I have bought it all "off the books"...which is kind of cool. (of course, I'm being very public in this forum!)

bfskinnerpunk is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 10:35 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: May 29, 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO area
Posts: 4,039
Looks like a pretty good deal to me.

The rifle is pretty clearly a homebuild, and it is the nature of homebuilds to be worth less than the sum of their parts. However, this one looks like it was built by somebody who chose good parts- Magpul, Troy, and Sabre are good companies who make good stuff. It isn't loaded down with lowball parts like a UTG rail or a no-name barrel- signs that the builder was cutting corners. I'd be interested in knowing who made the BCG (bolt carrier group); when it comes to reliability, the quality of the BCG is way up there in importance, but I'd be surprised if it was a cheapo. A high quality BCG is only about $20 more than a cheapo.

Then there's the optic.

I'd say you got a good deal- if it shoots, you're good.
Technosavant is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 01:47 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201
Oh yes. It is a homebuild. I met the guy.

He wanted a multipurpose rifle with a slight emphasis on accuracy over portability. I would have preferred a 16", but that is not big deal.

I can understand why homebuilds are less desirable in an emotional sense.... and that is important... but this thing seems very tight. Nothing rattles.

Looking up the stock, it is a $90 magpul... so that is another part that is higher end then the "entry" magpul stocks. No wobble at all.

I'll need to take some things apart to take a closer look at that barrel model number.

Yes, hopefully the thing fires, but it shows no evidence of being sketchy.

Being used, I probably won't have to absorb the motherload of depreciation. If, in three years, I can sell it for $900... that would be acceptable to me.
bfskinnerpunk is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 02:28 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: April 7, 2007
Posts: 455
Sounds like a solid rifle and a good deal. The only thing that could sour it a bit was if the round count through the gun was way up there, like in the 10k+ range (doesn't sound like it at all from your description.)

It would be handy to know the twist rate of the barrel also if you can find it so you can predict if it will have a bullet weight preference.

As for your purchasing philosophy, that's pretty well spoken and I can't fault you in the least. Good luck rounding out the collection.
bcrash15 is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 02:40 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201
It is a Sabre Defense 410 Stainless with 1/8 twist.

I'm surfing all over the web to find the rock bottom prices on the various pieces. Not sure why... the deal is done and behind me. From what I can find, the barrel is rock bottom priced at $400 new.

I'm impressed by the overall feel of the thing. It's like a surgical instrument.

My impression of my M-16 in the Army was not good. It fired reliably, but it just felt cheap in the hands.

I'm having waves of nostalgia though as I take the bolt out and look around in there. That stuff looks exactly as I remember.

I haven't looked at an AR or M-16 since the day I left the Army in '85 at the age of 20.... so it is kind of cool to see some familiar things. I resented that rifle because the armorer would not allow us to turn the rifles in unless they were ridiculously spotless.

So where would I look to find worn parts that would indicate lots of use?

bfskinnerpunk is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 02:48 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: November 18, 2009
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,157

Enjoy your rifle. In time, you will wear things out and you can do most of the replacing yourself. Th AR platform shoots good. You got a pretty sweet deal.

Enjoy, and let us know how it works for you.

geetarman is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 02:54 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: January 16, 2010
Location: If you have to ask...
Posts: 2,860
Shoot it!
Life Member NRA, TSRA
Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call Lonesome Dove
My favorite recipes start out with a handful of used wheelweights.
TXGunNut is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 03:35 PM   #14
Join Date: May 22, 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 50
Looks good to me! Go shoot it and then let us know how it goes. I'm betting it will shoot just as tight a group as a factory built, if not better.
BWT is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 04:12 PM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201
I'm in the middle of cleaning it right now... well, just started. I need to do this before I fire it.

For the moment, I'm looking up some details on cleaning the bolt and carrier...want to know where to *not* let oil go in particular.

I'd like to get some Breakfree... I think that's what we used in the Army. (or was that LCP or some similar acronym?)... maybe both. Anyway, all I have is glock copper paste, some synth lube, and Hoppe's #9.
bfskinnerpunk is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 06:39 PM   #16
Senior Member
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Orange, TX
Posts: 3,066
want to know where to *not* let oil go in particular
I don't think there is such a place on the AR-15 pattern rifle. An oily AR is a happy AR.
csmsss is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 08:16 PM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: January 26, 2008
Location: Madison, AL
Posts: 1,749
CLP Clean, Lubricate, Protect. you can buy "CLP" from Wally World, but I'm pretty sure it's not the same. I'm not sure who makes the stuff the Army uses.

After inhaling burnt CLP from a hot SAW, there's no chance in the world I'll use it on my own weapons.. blah, hate the smell of smoking CLP...
The Jeep has been a lot of fun, but time to come back to my first hobby.. shooting.
ndking1126 is offline  
Old July 24, 2010, 10:44 PM   #18
Senior Member
Join Date: June 30, 2008
Posts: 217
looks to me like you got a steal..the barrle alone are about $500 new
champ198 is offline  
Old July 25, 2010, 03:52 PM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201
shot it!


Thanks... I'm not sure if each difference from one Sabre Defense stainless barrel and another. The seller told me that he paid $500 for the barrel... I could find some sabre's that were $300 online... but they may have been lesser versions or different in some way.

I just got back from the range. I'm not familiar with zeroing a scope, so I probably through it off with all of my turning of the knobs. Making things worse, I had to use the range's spotting scope ...and it was like looking through weak binoculars covered in gauze! I could barely see the target.

That was frustrating.

On the other hand, the rifle felt very, very slick. The action felt very good. No failures to feed through 150 rounds of low end Federal.

It felt like a high quality instrument and it actually shoots... so that was the first test.

Now, to get the thing zero'd in!

bfskinnerpunk is offline  
Old July 25, 2010, 04:04 PM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: January 9, 2008
Posts: 313
You got the deal of the year if not the decade. Take your time, get it on paper at 25 or 50 yds then dial in. Longer range will come naturally. Pick up some Black Hills ammo when you burn through what came with it.
pbrktrt is offline  
Old July 26, 2010, 07:21 PM   #21
Bart Noir
Senior Member
Join Date: August 5, 2000
Location: Puget Sound, USA
Posts: 2,060
Hmm you may have a problem....

By now, lots of us know what type of bullet to shoot in the 1/12 twist barrels. And we know what bullets seem to do OK in 1/9 barrels. There is a body of knowledge telling us what requires 1/7 barrels.

But where in heck are you going to find bullets to match the 1/8 twist?

Good luck, buddy, you're going to need it.

Bart Noir
Be of good cheer and mindful of your gun muzzle!
Bart Noir is offline  
Old July 26, 2010, 07:37 PM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201
Well, I'm guessing that my skills aren't quite as hot as this rifle... or any rifle for that matter.

I don't know how much an extra barrel twist or two (or less) would affect a bullet's flight, but my skills will wobble more than the bullet.

That 18" barrel is cool, but it is a bit heavy (clearly designed for accuracy over lightness).

Revealing how little I know... I'm wondering if I can purchase an entirely different upper.... barrel, bolt and all.... and just change it out with my current upper setup. I think a 16" or shorter (is that legal?) barrel would be more my style.

I don't own a rifle capable of "reaching out" at a distance, though, so I'm thinking that this is a pretty good arrangement as-is. It isn't the heaviest type of AR.. nor is it the longest.

My girl is a little spooked by this rifle. I better not get too involved with the accumulation aspect. Maybe I'll sell off some parts and create a different rifle. Like, sell the barrel and the scope...and get that short barrel with some iron ghost/ring type sights.

I've had the thing for less than a week and I'm already thinking of tinkering with it?

bfskinnerpunk is offline  
Old July 26, 2010, 08:42 PM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: May 29, 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO area
Posts: 4,039
I'm wondering if I can purchase an entirely different upper.... barrel, bolt and all.... and just change it out with my current upper setup
Yup. If the lower is to spec, any 5.56 sized upper will fit. No reason you couldn't swap in a 16" top end.
Technosavant is offline  
Old July 26, 2010, 09:26 PM   #24
Senior Member
Join Date: June 3, 2007
Location: Northeast Missouri
Posts: 114
Don't sweat the twist; I think he was pulling your leg. Just use 55gr or 62gr bullets and you'll be fine.
wmeSha is offline  
Old July 27, 2010, 03:11 AM   #25
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2009
Posts: 201
Ah..... he was joking.

You can't do that to a total newb!

bfskinnerpunk is offline  

acog , ar-15 , ar15 , saber defense

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:10 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09753 seconds with 7 queries