3-gun and/or IDPA carbine (AR-15)


November 5, 2006, 04:57 PM
I'm looking to buy/build an AR-15 for shooting the occasional IDPA carbine side match or IPSC 3-gun match. Performance on zombies, ninjas, pirates and Evil Bad Men isn't really a big concern. Also, I understand the rules on these matches can vary a lot depending on location. I'd welcome comments on this.

Total cost (excluding optics and magazines) needs to be at or under $800.

I'm willing to build, though I'd prefer the upper be pre-assembled since I don't intend on putting together a bunch of these and the necessary tools (receiver block, etc?) can cut into that $800.

Currently I'm considering the Colt SP1 upper they have at CDNN, a regular A1 stock, a Stag Arms stripped lower and a parts kit from DPMS or Bushmaster. I believe that I'll need some adapter pins for the Colt SP1 upper, but otherwise this is possible?

Suggestions? Criticisms? Statements on how I'm a poopy-head and haven't thought this through?

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November 5, 2006, 05:07 PM
That'll be really cool! Does the CDNN upper come with bolt and carrier?

For A-1 stocks and grips, there are some for sale on the THR sales board now. Or else you can buy a CavArms C1 stock, which sometimes go on sale for dirt-cheap at major wholesalers.

Check the prices carefully, but it might be cheaper to buy a complete Stag lower, rather than stripped + kit. Save you a little mechanical work too, unless you enjoy that.

Put together as an M16A1 clone like you describe, it'll be very light compared to the modern 20" ARs. Should be very cool and retro. Only semi-downside is that it'll be best w/ 55gr bullets, but those are the cheapest ones anyways.


Chris Rhines
November 5, 2006, 05:52 PM
The most common multigun divisions are:
Limited - no optics or bipod, muzzle brake can be no larger than 1" dia. x 3" long.
Tactical - Limited, but you can have one optic.
Open - anything goes. Multiple optics, bipods, oversize muzzle brakes, etc.

For starters, forget about the SP1 upper - it's not a flattop and will seriously limit your scope-mounting options. You want an -A3 or -A4 upper.

Barrel length is mostly a personal choice. A 16" barrel will be a little more maneuverable in tight quarters, but a 20" barrel will be a little more stable at long range. It's up to you and the type of shooting you do. If you go for the 16" barrel, get a mid-length gas system. I'd also look for a barrel with a 1-7" or 1-8" twist rate, in case you ever want to use the heavier .223 bullets.

For a starting-out practical competition rifle, I'd go this way:
- Stripped Stag Arms lower from Global Tactical. $179.
- Complete 16" -A3 mid-length upper from a reputable manufacturer (CMMG, Rock River, Sabre Defense, Bravo Company.) $550 or so.
- A1 buttstock assembly. $75 or so.

If you can swing the price, add:
- JP Enterprise trigger kit. $180. Nothing else will improve your shooting like having a crisp 3# trigger.

There you go. Shoot it in a couple matches, and you'll quickly find out what you want to change.

- Chris

November 5, 2006, 06:11 PM
On complete RRA lower over at AR15.com I also thought there were some decent deals on uppers. You should be able to be well within you budget and have a really nice rifle. You might also want to look at www.Atlanticfirearms.com they have some great prices on the Olympic guns. I have two and they are gret guns though I don't put thousands of rounds through them, yet:) Take a look at the PCR-16 with firsch handguard for $689, hard to beat. My PCR is better than a one inch gun at 100 yards.

November 6, 2006, 04:04 AM
Stripped Stag Arms lower from Global Tactical. $179.

DANG! I hope it comes with a tube of Vaseline for that price! I picked up 3 from AIM Surplus for 89.00 ea......

November 6, 2006, 04:33 AM
- JP Enterprise trigger kit. $180. Nothing else will improve your shooting like having a crisp 3# trigger.

Since you're on a budget, forget the JP and get a RRA 2-stage match trigger ($85 from the EE on AR15.com). Just as good as the JP (some people prefer them), and more reliable IMHO.

Also, for a 3-gun optic, give consideration to the Leupold CQ/T. It's versatile, fast, and can be had for around $500 used. Tough as nails, too.

I put this 3-gun rig together for around $750, not including the CQ/T.


It's wearing a T168 acog-knock off in this pic, just put it on there to test the gun, but it's got a CQ/T on it now.

Bushmaster lower (used)
Stag M4 upper ($425 shipped from Ranier Arms)
RRA 2-stage trigger
M4 buttstock with CAA saddle
YHM free float forend ($85 from AIM)
Specter 1-point sling
YHM bipod adapter, used Harris bipod.

Basic, but light and fast....very accurate too. If you're crafty, you can save alot of coin buying used or new.

November 6, 2006, 03:45 PM
Thanks for the input, guys.

After looking around the equipment exchange on ar15.com, I found a seller doing complete lower halves for ~$215 (Stag Arms), shipped. The A1 stock isn't an option, but I suppose I can deal. I found another seller with a used A1 stock set for $20, so I might go that route. In the mean time, I can live with the A2/M4 stocks that are offered as options with the complete lower half deal. $215 shipped + $20 FFL transfer seems like a pretty good deal. I guess I'll know for sure in about a week.

Kind of undecided on what I'm going to do for the upper.

November 6, 2006, 03:52 PM
- Stripped Stag Arms lower from Global Tactical. $179.
Sounds a bit high to me. A stripped Stag lower costs $99 around my parts.

November 6, 2006, 07:54 PM
I would suggest buying a stripped lower like a Stag and buy a rifle kit from Del Ton, M&A, or J&T, and build what you want. You will spend around $600 for the rifle, and that would leave you another $200 for optics and accessories like a sling and mags. I have reconfigured my 3 rifles so many times that I could not tell you how much I have in them. The current 3 gun rifle is an A3 with a govt. profile 20" barrel, a Nikkon 1.5X4.5 scope w/ Weaver rings and a Tapco riser, folding back up front and rear sights, 4 Picatinny gas block, Fobus M44 hand guards, ergo grip, gripper plug, accu wedge, and a standard sling (guess I need to take some up dated pics!). Than rifle in the current configuration has about $1100 in it. I may go to a 2X7 scope for longer range use. The match I shoot will usually have targets at 3yards and 300 yards on the same stage.

Chris Rhines
November 6, 2006, 07:56 PM
Jeez, way to pile on, guys... :D

That price should be for a complete Stag/CMT lower from Global Tactical.

- Chris

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