Minimum $ required to get a reliable AR


December 24, 2006, 06:21 PM
What is the consensus for the lowest price AR that you could actually use without fear of it breaking or being a complete piece of garbage? I'm kicking around the idea of buying an entry level AR and upgrading it later on and need to know what brands I should stay clear of.

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Still 2 Many Choices!?
December 24, 2006, 06:41 PM
You could piece together a quality AR from used parts for ~$550-750 bucks...
The only people I would say to stay clear of would be Model 1 Sales, but not because of a reliability issue. Their fit and finish can be a little suspect is my reasoning, but my AR pistol that I built from one of their kits has been completely reliable, I just don't like the uppers finish. The kit plus a Rock River lower receiver ran me $650 all brand new. Get yourself a Stag lower(I don't own one but everyone here raves about them), and then head to the equipment exchange and I bet you could come out a good bit below my $650 dollar AR pistol, especially if you don't mind being patient. You should also check out's equipment exchange if you are not going to be buying new. Good luck, AR's are addictive:evil: !

December 24, 2006, 10:10 PM
My Model 1 Sales ( varmint rifle with A3 upper and 24" bull barrel works just fine and I've had no problem dealing with them at the local gun show. I've not had to send anything back because it worked. It has fed everything I've put in it. The fit is superb, as tight as you could want. I put it together on an Rock River Arms receiver. Accuracy seems to be on par with most factory rifles except very high end expensive ones. It was $850 total but can be much cheaper depending on options, they have kits with a single price, you need to get the lower elsewhere at about $120.

About the only vendor there seems to be consensus on as 'avoid like plague' is Hesse/Vulcan. I've seen some online examples of their work, the worst is their 'carbon fiber' stuff which looked like it disintigrated. It's a pity because their carbon fiber lower receivers do look interesting.

December 24, 2006, 10:26 PM
I put together a new AR about 6 weeks ago. RRA complete lower was $229 Houston Gunshow), DPMS 16" bull barrel, free float upper was $385 (Midway USA). Total was $614 plus tax on the lower and shipping on the upper. Can't think of anything else I need in an AR.

I did have the scope riser base and scope laying around so didn't count them in the price.

December 24, 2006, 10:36 PM
need to know what brands I should stay clear of.
Hesse/Vulcan-absolute junk
I think $550 is a fair estimate for an AR build. You could shop around for a while, searching for used parts and other good deals to cut your costs.
The cheapest I have ever built one for was $321. It was all used parts, but it ran great.

December 24, 2006, 10:41 PM
Lots of people seem to like the Bushmaster offerings...

Still 2 Many Choices!?
December 24, 2006, 11:39 PM
Like I said previously, Model 1 will probably be as reliable as any other maker, BUT, I don't like the finish on the upper. It is rough as sand paper. But for 650 total, I decided I could live with it. Model 1 did send me two of the same part in my kit and left one out, but they did fix it fairly promptly. I simply had to wait another week before I could fully assemble my AR- Pistol. I should probably take back the ,"fit", portion of my previous statement, as the Rock River lower does have a tight fit with the M1 sales upper(I think that is more of the RR lower being tight to begin with though). Model 1 will get you a base-line entry model AR, but knowing what I know now about how easy it is to piece an AR together, I would opt for more quality parts...YMMV.

PS- Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The front pivot pin detent would not fit into the lower receiver enough to seat it without taking a dremmel to it. Something I attribute to the RR lower reciever being tight, and possibly a slightly out of spec part as I didn't measure it. All my Model 1 gripes were minor annoyances, but I understood you get what you pay for...

December 24, 2006, 11:47 PM
i was thinking 600, just look around. it wont happen in a day, just gather all the pieces.

Don't Tread On Me
December 25, 2006, 01:39 AM
I have no idea what your definition of "reliable" is. But, if you want the best AR's, and this isn't opinion, but fact, then:

Anyone of the top 3 models pictured on that page. 4th one is an M4 which is a short-barreled rifle and requires special paperwork.

This is a little high for this rifle. I got mine for $999. Usually, it goes for around $1,100.

This is about right for this rifle. This is more popular and in demand because it is a flattop with detachable carry handle and it is the closest thing to a real military M4 that you can get. Actually, it IS an M4, with no select fire and 1.5" longer barrel.

Good price on these is usually $1,250-$1,350. Anything under $1,400 is actually good. But when they are in high demand or in short supply, they can go up to $1,800. That's a bit steep.

Now, if you just want something that works, and isn't "junk"...then I'm sure a Bushmaster or a RRA will be just fine.

Phantom Warrior
December 25, 2006, 02:07 AM
Don't mind me. I just want to find this thread later...

December 25, 2006, 11:35 AM
Bushmaster and Rock River are solid choices. Both can be had for $800-$900 if you shop around.

Olympic Arms can be had for under $700, but opinions on them are mixed. Some love them, some swear they're crap.

December 25, 2006, 04:56 PM

You can get a DPMS for around $600 and they are decent, but I'd spend an extra $100-150 for a Stag... Stag makes a better AR than many of the $1000 AR's out there...

December 25, 2006, 04:58 PM
You can get a DPMS for around $600 and they are decent

Where? The only place I've seen DPMS locally is CheaperThanDirt in Fort Worth, and they wanted $950 for a basic model.

I'll second the Stag recommendation. They make nice stuff.

December 25, 2006, 06:05 PM
Depends, you can build them for $600 with ease, but I've seen DPMS rifles in the $600-700 range.

But I would prefer a Stag in that general price range personally.

December 25, 2006, 06:14 PM
I saw AR's NIB at the last gun show here for $600 , believe it was an Olympic Arms , it was a model called " the Plinker ". A friend bought one a year ago and hasnt had a problem with it .

My parts bin build AR was built for under $300 but that was with horse trading , my other AR I bought from a friend who had it custom built and it was $1400 ( though I think he was into in for about $2K ).

Decide first if you are sticking with Iron Sights or going with a scope. If you have plans of doing mostly scope shooting , go with a flat top.

December 25, 2006, 06:55 PM
I just saw a DPMS carbine A2 style $775 plus tax.

Otherguy Overby
December 25, 2006, 07:44 PM
I'm completing an AR build:

Rock River bare lower receiver.
Rock River National Match upper. (all lower parts included, but not purchased from RRA)
Geisele trigger.

Total bill? Almost exactly 1K $.

So, a person could conceivably build a darn good AR for around $650.

Seems to me CDNN has complete Colt A/M4 uppers for $399, add a lower receiver for $100 or so, a parts kit, an A2 stock and there ya go!

December 25, 2006, 09:01 PM
Stag Arms is tops and cheap. M&A parts has a good reputation.

If you shop around and haunt the equip exchange at, you can find very good deals on slightly used parts.

I built my m4gery for just over six bills. It's since been upgraded, but that's part and parcel with the disease!

My next build....

john paul
December 25, 2006, 09:24 PM
but to be fair i also put an eotech on mine. i used a model 1 kit on a stag lower that i got for 90 bucks on so yeah i'd say 550 for a workin gun you can build on your kitchen table.(just make sure the wife don't catch you)

December 25, 2006, 09:46 PM

new RRA lower

used preban upper (preban made it cheap)

new Doublestar bolt/carrier/handle.

That's out the door complete for $450 w/o the handle, I robbed it from another AR of mine.

It runs like a sewing machine. I've had over 300 rounds through it now without a single hiccup.

Dig around for used deals and you can put one together on a decent deal.

December 26, 2006, 12:59 AM

Bartholomew Roberts
December 26, 2006, 01:04 PM
First, how reliable a rifle is will depend on a lot on how hard you use it. A SEAL Team on work up for deployment can shoot a high-grade military spec M4 into pieces during the workup because they are using it hard. At the same time, a cheaper rifle that wouldn't last a day in that type of use might last forever if all it is asked to do is plink tin cans accurately a few times a year.

If you know how to build your own AR, then the cheaper rifles are a real option. You take a slightly higher chance of getting some bad parts or problems; but if you can troubleshoot and replace the parts, that may be a chance you feel is worth taking.

December 26, 2006, 01:19 PM
Ameetec M-4 lower $200.

Stag 4H Upper with ARMS BUIS $485 (Shipped)


Was the best mix of quality and price that I found.

Andrew S
December 26, 2006, 01:38 PM
lower from whatever company you can get locally ~$100

Del-Ton Upper - starts at $465

$565 and you can have a very basic AR.

I have my lower and I will be ordering my Mid-Length kit from Del-Ton soon. I have $200 in options that I want for my upper though so my total bill is $770.

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