Ar-15----on The Cheap


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Omaha-BeenGlockin
May 8, 2003, 12:18 PM
I'm currently looking to round out my "tactical" collection a bit.

I already have:

Arsenal Inc SA M-7
Springfield Armory M1A Std
Remington 870 Marine Magnum
Glock 19
Opps---forgot the 2 Yugo SKS's and Polish M44 Carbine

Thinking an AR-15 would pretty much complete things. Plus I already have about 20 magazines and 1000 rounds of .223.

What is the absolute cheapest AR-15 to buy or build??

The only requirements I have are:

Forged upper and lower receivers
Chromed lined bore and chamber
Flat-top-----I don't need the carry handle to start with---maybe later

Other than that---I'm pretty much open to anything.

Saw the Oly Plinker at the dealer---NASTY!!!

Thanks for all your help.

OBG

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TechBrute
May 8, 2003, 12:50 PM
I've seen the Oly PCR-16 going for about $750 around here. I don't know if it's got a chrome bore (I doubt it), but it fits the rest of your requirements. As a bonus, it's got a free float front end and a picatinny rail gas block. There's an Oly thread running on AR15.com right now, and the general consensus is that they are at least a great mid line brand, with some people saying that they like their Oly's better than their Bushies and Armies, based on fit and finish. I think it's safe to say that the Plinker is just a super cheap, um, plinker, and it shouldn't be held as an example of their usual work. I'm actually going to be buying one of the PCR-16s next week, based on the input I've gotten from other Oly owners. I'm also going to buy a Plinker just to see how good (bad?) it really is. It's priced just right for a rifle to go under the rear seat of my truck.

444
May 8, 2003, 01:36 PM
I am sure you will get a lot of answers where people will simply name their faviorite brand, but in reality there are only two manufacturers that meet your criteria and two more that sometimes meet your criteria. Armalite and Bushmaster have chrome lined barrels and chambers as well as 5.56mm chambers. Colt doesn't offer a chrome lined barrel on every model but they do have some chrome. Rock River Arms was offering chrome on their M4 barrels as a special order $30 upgrade.

Which one is the cheapest ? They are all pretty close and you would have to make that decision on a case by case basis.


http://groups.msn.com/TheMarylandAR15ShootersSite/ar15brands.msnw

Ari
May 8, 2003, 01:51 PM
In terms of best AR set up for target shooting/plinking from the factory. I'd have to agree. The Oly PCR 16, bull barrell carbine, free float barrell, is as good as it gets. Same price as the somewhat comparable DPMS Sixteen series, but with more options like a FA and dustcover, pic. gas block and FF handguard. I shot mine yesterday and was very very impressed. First 3 shot group was about 2moa, which is very good for this noob rifle shooter. Picked it up locally for $695 with hard case and sling. Good looking rifle, with good fit and finish.

http://www.geocities.com/islasian_sista/AR15_01.jpg


If you can't see the image, go here.
http://www.geocities.com/islasian_sista/AR15_01.jpg

GunNut
May 8, 2003, 08:49 PM
Probably, going to get the best deal by buying a complete Bushmaster rifle at about $750-800....

If I were building it, costs would be $90+FFL for Stinger lower, and $585/shipped for J&T M4 upper w/Car handguard and A2 buttstock with chrome lined barrel and chamber including lower parts kit. So you'd be at $700-725, I don't know if that is worth the extra hassle or not.

Good luck.

Steve

Badger Arms
May 9, 2003, 12:37 AM
OUCH!!! The Stinger lowers are great. You can get a DPMS parts kit much cheaper or you can go with the Olympic Arms parts kit (which is what I'm doing) that runs me right at $500 with standard handguards and M-4 barrel. Understand that Olympic builds and test-fires the upper so all you'll have to do is the 15 minutes it takes to assemble the lower and you're rocking and rolling. The Mega Machine Company makes these receivers. I'll post a picture or two here and a link to Olympic Arms for their parts kits if you're interested.

Now I got the MEGA because I just thought the knurling on the front of the mag well was neato. These are anodized, not painted and are of very uniform, black finish. They are high quality forgings with no flaws that I could see. They fit my RRA and DPMS uppers like somebody had hand-fit them. Get hold of this guy to get some if you want them:

Clinton Carrico
5102 Gentle Ridge Dr SE
Olympia, WA 98513
(360) 491-6235 or (360) 870-6962
carricozarmory@aol.com

Just have an FFL handle the transfer and you're set. No tools, no hassles, high quality AR-15 for around $525.


http://www.olyarms.com/pcrkits.html

http://home.gci.net/~skieens/stinger4.jpg
http://home.gci.net/~skieens/stinger3.jpg
http://home.gci.net/~skieens/stinger2.jpg
http://home.gci.net/~skieens/stinger1.jpg
http://home.gci.net/~skieens/stinger.jpg
http://home.gci.net/~skieens/12.jpg
http://home.gci.net/~skieens/13.jpg
http://home.gci.net/~skieens/12b.jpg

GunNut
May 9, 2003, 01:23 AM
Badger,

I'm with you on the Mega lowers and the Olympic PCR kits.

I've got $515 into my Mega lower, and OlyArms PCR 16" kit.

Only, reason that I said it was going to cost him soo much more was because of his NEED for chrome lined bore and barrel.

I'm thinking that for my other Mega lower, I may try and get a PCR16 upper to mount on it.

I'm also getting 3-4 more Mega lowers this summer, these things are very nice.

Steve

Here's my Mega lower and Oly 16" PCR kit.

http://mediaservice.photoisland.com/auction/May/2003587770247873589312.jpg

Omaha-BeenGlockin
May 9, 2003, 11:36 AM
Couple more questions now.

I see that Rock River offers a complete flat top upper with stainless barrel for $420-----Would stainless be a good substitute for a chrome lined bore??

Does the Oly kit have a forged or cast upper??? Does the kit come with complete instructions??

Would the mag catch "thingy" need a special tool??? Most lower receiver parts look like they just take either a push or roll pin---but the mag catch has me stumped.

How much do the Mega and Stinger lowers go for?? The FFL I go through charges 10% plus shipping---I'm trying to get a feel for costs.

What the heck is a Wylde chamber??

Gunnut----What is that pistol grip you have on your AR??

Thanks again.

OBG



BTW----Nice pics there guys.

Poodleshooter
May 9, 2003, 04:05 PM
Get a Shotgun News for pricing uppers. There are un-chromelined government profile "A2" barreled uppers available for $285 (sans bolt carrier). J&T, M&A and Model 1 Sales all have excellent prices on barreled uppers, and complete kits less lower receiver. Basically the most challenging kit task is probably torqueing in the barrel and headspacing. J&T does that for you (the others may as well).
The Wylde chamber is a tighter throated .223 chamber for match shooting,IIRC.
Stainless won't last as long as a chrome bore, but all else being equal, it should be more accurate. Having it free floated will also give you a better rifle for shooting with a sling.
SS bull barreled free floated uppers with flattop receivers less bolt carrier are available for as little as $345 through Shotgun News vendors.

GunNut
May 9, 2003, 04:11 PM
Omaha,

In order to answer if the stainless barrel would be good, first why do you think you need a chrome lined bore/barrel in the first place?

Forged upper, directions can be had at AR-15.com. Let me know if you need exact location for them.

The mag catch/release is just a screw, it looks harder than it is.

The Stinger lowers are $89/shipped and the Mega's are around $100/shipped. Very nice for the money.

As I understand it the Wylde chamber is somewhere between .223 and 5.56 chamber dimensions. Use standard .223 ammo.

The grip is a Samco G27, it is a lot more comfortable than a standard grip (especially the one that I got with the Oly kit).

Good luck and check out AR-15.com, they have a "Build it yourself" or something like that section.

I'd give you links but the work computer is very slow.

Steve

firestar
May 9, 2003, 05:33 PM
Rock River seems to be the best deal out there. They can be had for $699 compleat or mix and match to build your own.

Badger Arms
May 9, 2003, 08:20 PM
I see that Rock River offers a complete flat top upper with stainless barrel for $420-----Would stainless be a good substitute for a chrome lined bore??Well, I agree with what others have to say. Why do you need a chrome lined barrel? Yes, stainless is better from a bore erosion point of view. So long as you clean the gun after you use it and don't use corrosive ammo, you won't ever need chrome lining. It's mil-spec, yes, but the Military wants a gun you can abuse. The Air Force, who takes better care of their guns, didn't want or need the chrome lining. Even Stoner felt that it wasn't a good thing. Chrome chambers and bores encourage abuse of the gun and a lack of cleaning. Chrome lining is an imprecise process that will yield less accurate barrels on average.
Does the Oly kit have a forged or cast upper??? Does the kit come with complete instructions??Mine looks forged. The Oly upper assembly comes completely assembled, head-spaced, and test-fired. The lower is unassembled of course but assembly instructions can be found here:

http://www.ar15.com/content/docs/assembly/lower/

444
May 9, 2003, 11:16 PM
"Chrome chambers and bores encourage abuse of the gun and a lack of cleaning. "

:rolleyes: The chrome chamber does all this by itself ?

Badger Arms
May 9, 2003, 11:41 PM
No, silly, the chrome chamber AND the chrome bore do this in concert! Remember what happened when soldiers were told that the M-16 was self-cleaning? If you want me to be more precise, I'll tell you that it's the PRESENCE of the chrome chamber and bore which encourages poor maintenance practices.

The primary advantage of a chrome lined bore lies with corossive ammo. IIRC, .223 isn't loaded with corrosive primers. The primary advantage of the chrome chamber is that it prevents sticky extraction in EXTREME conditions of humidity, fouling, and neglect. This sticky extraction was a problem in search of a solution. The solution was proper training in cleaning and proper cleaning equipment such as a chamber brush. In their defense, the Military sought to do both this and chrome line the chamber and bore. Even minor cleaning once every 1000 rounds or so will solve any problems that chrome lining will and without the extra expense.

I'd challenge any civilian to cite a case where a bit of cleaning every once-in-a-while would NOT have solved the problem but Chrome lining would?!?!

355sigfan
May 10, 2003, 01:13 AM
I can't recomend Oly products. I purchased an Ultramatch from them several years ago. The rifle came with a barrel that had headspacing issues, and the float tube was not screwed on all the way. The hole for the BI pod stud was drilled 20 degrees off.

I sent the upper back to them and it took them over a year about 14 months to be exact to get it fixed. They lied when I called about the return shippig date. They said everything from it will be done soon to its in the mail. When I got the upper back and started shooting it the trigger on the lower started to double. I called OLy and they said it was not their problem and to contact their sub contractor. I was not happy. Never again will I buy a Oly.
PAT

444
May 10, 2003, 09:00 AM
"I can't recomend Oly products."
I can't either because the guy making the original post specifically stated a criteria that Oly doesn't meet.


"I'd challenge any civilian to cite a case where a bit of cleaning every once-in-a-while would NOT have solved the problem but Chrome lining would?!?!"
Ok, I will give you one. However, I know this is going to Hi-Jack the thread and I wish it wouldn't.
Wolf ammo.
Whether you like or dislike Wolf ammo. Whether you use Wolf ammo or not, Wolf ammo exists, and it is FAR less expensive than any other ammo that I know of. In the past year I have purchased ammo in case lots made by Federal, PMC, Winchester, and Wolf. The closest in price to Wolf was PMC and it was 50% more money. Federal and Winchester were in excess of 100% more money. In fact, I have to buy reloading componenets in quantity to make reloading as cheap as Wolf, in .223. For those that have never shot Wolf ammo before, Wolf ammo has a steel case that has been covered with laquer. Some people cuss Wolf ammo because it doesn't run in their guns, or they say it dosn't run in their guns. However, it runs great in my guns. I have fired in excess of 4000 rounds of Wolf ammo out of my AR15s in the past year. I have not had one, let me repeat that, I HAVE NOT HAD ONE malfunction while firing Wolf ammo in 4000 rounds. In addition, it has proven to be accurate enough for my needs. I am not an expert shot and I don't shoot in formal bullseye matches. In fact I have never fired an AR15 off a benchrest. But I can tell you that while using Wolf ammo, I can fire a group you can easily cover with the palm of you hand on a human silhouette at 200 yards from the prone position. Not on a formal range with a sling, but flopping down on the desert floor and firing the shots with a timer running. But I digress. Why is it that some people can't take advantage of this great ammo and others can.? Why is it that with all the snarling and knashing of teeth, that all my ARs run like a top with Wolf ammo ? Well, I believe there are a couple reasons. #1: All my AR15s have a 5.56 mm chamber. #2 All my AR15s have a chrome lined chamber. #3 I regularly clean and maintain my guns. Now I can't state positively that the reason I can shoot the most inexpensive ammo out there is because of these three reasons, but that is the reason in my opinioin and the proof is in the pudding.

Guns don't jump up by themselves and kill people. By the same token, having a chrome lined barrel and chamber doesn't cause you to neglect your rifle. If you choose to negelect your rifle, it isn't the chrome's fault.

444
May 10, 2003, 09:26 AM
I don't know how much you are going to be shooting your AR15, and I don't know how desireable reliability is to you, but IMO, saving $100 or whatever on a non-chrome lined barrel is false economy. If you have to buy more expensive ammo to get it to run, you will quickly blow any savings you thought you had.
As far as accuracy in a chrome lined chamber and barrel; this is often mentioned, how much difference in accuracy are we talking about ? Can someone say, qualify as expert on a military range with a chrome lined barrel and chamber ? Yes, since all the military rifles have chrome lined barrels and chambers and people quality as expert all the time it must be possible. As I stated in my earlier post, I can shoot a group that I would guess might be around 4-5" at 200 yards from a field prone position using Wolf ammo, and I am using a rifle with a chrome chamber and barrel. How much do you think the group would shrink if I fired the same rifle and ammo off a sandbagged benchrest using a high power varmint scope ? What about if I worked up the most accurate handload and let someone shoot who is a good shot ? Could we knock off an inch ? I would bet we could. Let's just say that with my rifle, with a scope, a really good benchrest shot, a good benchrest, and a custom handload, we could get that group down to 3" at 200 yards. Not a whole lot of rifles out there can do that right out of the box.

355sigfan
May 10, 2003, 02:08 PM
I just got back from a Colt Ar15 Armorers course and I can tell you the instructor told us lots of bad things about wolf. It seems lots of guns that have fired that stuff for any amount of time need major overhauls in a short period. Its russias revenge not ammo.
PAT

Badger Arms
May 10, 2003, 04:41 PM
On this I agree with you. Wolf ammo is sabatoge, not good ammo. If it took America 10 years to find the right formula for reliable ammo to feed the M-16 (which it DID) then how could the Ruskies get it right with steel, laquer, and surplus AK powder? You be the judge.
Guns don't jump up by themselves and kill people. By the same token, having a chrome lined barrel and chamber doesn't cause you to neglect your rifle. If you choose to negelect your rifle, it isn't the chrome's fault.Who said that Chrome lining causes neglect? From a logical point of view, you can conclude that knowledge of a chorme lined barrel will increase the likelyhood of neglect due to the untrue belief that chrome lining cures reliability problems. I think I specifically said... Well, let me quote:If you want me to be more precise, I'll tell you that it's the PRESENCE of the chrome chamber and bore which encourages poor maintenance practices.Avoiding the key of my argument will not strengthen your argument. It's the truth... especially when you consider the history of the gun. Who's to say that your sample of one (personal example) with Wolf Ammo would not have been repeated with an identical rifle sans the chrom lining? Even still, the chrome lined BORE should have no effect on the reliability which is my main beef with chrome lining. I'd have a chrome chamber and button-rifled bore if they offered it.

To give you my anecdotes, the one and only time I used Wolf .223 was at a shooting session attended by about three other people with AR-15 types and one with a .223 AK. The .223 AK ate everything, the Bushmaster M-4gery ate everything, only one ofther rifle in the bunch was able to eat both lots of Wolf we brought with us. Strangely, one lot fed fine with my 5.56 chambered AR-15 and the other one caused a broken extractor pin, sprung spring, and three cases stuck solid in the chamber!!! I passed the remaining of the 1000 rounds I'd bought out of faith and stupidity to those who had rifles that would feed it. They loved it, I hated it. TAKE YOUR CHANCES. For the record, one of those that wouldn't feed it was a Bushy Dissipator with Chrome Lined barrel. I don't normally cite anecdotes, but we don't have a wealth of non-anecdotal evidence to back our position that Wolff is CRAP!

444
May 10, 2003, 08:23 PM
"If it took America 10 years to find the right formula for reliable ammo to feed the M-16 (which it DID) then how could the Ruskies get it right with steel, laquer, and surplus AK powder? You be the judge."

Ok, I will be the judge. I own 9 AR15s. Two Colts, six Bushmasters, and one Oly.

I have fired 4000 rounds of Wolf ammo out of them (not counting the Oly, I have never fired it). No problems at all. About 3000 rounds of it was fired from one rifle. This rifle was also fired with Federal, Winchester, PMC, and handloads. In other words, I have fired this rifle a lot. It has been to one four day, and one five day rifle course since February. Between those two classes alone I fired nearly 2500 rounds over a total period of nine days. I have had to replace a grand total of....................let me see.................. zero parts. No major overhauls, no parts failures, nothing. Out of all those rounds fired, the only problem I had was with PMC ammo. I had a failure to fire, attempted to clear it, and the bullet came out of the case and filled the action with unburnt powder. Everything else ran great. The second class I attented, two weeks ago was a four day course. I fired 500 rounds of Wolf ammo during the course. As I mentioned earlier, not only did it function flawlessly (which I knew it would or I wouldn't have used it) it was also plenty accurate enough to take the top score in the end of course shoot off.

I judge that to be pretty good. If you want to give away another case of Wolf, I will take it off your hands for your own good and the safety of your rifle. I took that big chance and was extremly happy that I can buy factory ammo that costs about the same as my handloads without taking any of my time to load it. It is also fire and forget. No need to pick up the brass.

Andrew Wyatt
May 10, 2003, 08:39 PM
chrome is harder than barrel steel, meaning you won't wear the barrel out as fast. that alone makes it worth having.

Andrew Wyatt
May 10, 2003, 08:40 PM
as for wolf ammo not being very good, I think that's a load of fecal material. i've used it without exception for a year in both my mini-14s and i've had no failures of any kind.

Badger Arms
May 10, 2003, 08:45 PM
Ahem, so you're saying that the M-16 type of gun REQUIRES that you have a chrome chamber in order to function properly with Wolff Ammo? If that's what you're saying, I can agree with you then. Problem is, that would limit Wolff ammo to only guns which have chrome chambers. Only Bushmasters, AK's, Colts, and a select few more? Hmmmm. I'm not doubting your anectodal evidence, but it does tend to support this theory. Maybe I'm wrong about chrome bores? Maybe they will match the accuracy if done right? But if you're not shooting Wolff, do you really need them?

Andrew Wyatt
May 10, 2003, 11:14 PM
the aforementioned mini-14's don't have chromed chambers or bores and they work just fine with wolf.


given that chromeed bores and chambers do nothing to hunder the reliability of a weapon, and do increase the life of said weapon considerably, there is no reason NOT to get one.

GunNut
May 10, 2003, 11:36 PM
What is the absolute cheapest AR-15 to buy or build??

I guess the reason some of us have been suggesting non-chromed barrels are because of this requirement.

Also, Omaha has never stated why he needs chrome. Probably just thinks that he needs it.

there is no reason NOT to get one.

Sure if money is not your limiting factor, or precision accuracy is not required, by all means get a chrome lined barrel and chamber.

and do increase the life of said weapon considerably

Says who??? Here is a link to an article, the author states that he has 80,000 rounds through his Olympic Arms AR-15, which don't come with chrome.
http://www.olyarms.com/usa.html Article is on the right side.

If Omaha NEEDS chrome then get it, it is just not going to be the cheapest way to build an AR-15.

Steve

444
May 11, 2003, 10:53 AM
With that I agree. Buying a barrel with a chromed barrel and chamber is not the cheapest way to go. I was just trying to offer the advice per his stated requirements.

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