More AR questions


December 31, 2006, 08:12 AM

I'm looking into an AR15 or AR10 purchase in the next quarter or so. But, as I find that I dig more, I find I can spend upwards of double or triple the base rifle in neato upgrades at every step. DPMS is the specific brand I'm looking at and their website offers a 15 step customization process to order a rifle.

My must haves that I can see at this stage are

1. better trigger
2. flat top
3. adjustable stock ?car style?

These are set for my first purchase. But what upgrades are advised beyond trigger.

Is bolt and carrier worth upgrading?
Should I accurize the barrel?
Should I upgrade the gas block?

I'm obviously a newb in this arena and will likely be visiting an AR forum soon to learn more. From previous threads I've inquired on, one poster suggested I purchase some lowers and build a few as budgeting allows instead of buying one rifle. Particularly with the political climate change.

Thanks folks,


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December 31, 2006, 08:44 AM
What do you want to do with it??

I've got a Bushie that's incredibly accurate. Varminter with 6.5x20 scope. Great for varmints. Not so good for CQC.

December 31, 2006, 08:59 AM
The upgrades and gadgets you put on your rifle will be driven by the rifle's purpose: Home defense/self defense, competition (Which is a whole 'nother genre in and of itself), hunting, plinking or a general purpose rifle.

DPMS is a pretty reputable manufacturer that uses quality parts from the git-go, so I wouldn't bother with the bolt/BCG upgrade. The stock AR platform is easily capable of 1-2 MOA right out of the box. Accurizing the barrel is fine if you're going to use the rifle exclusively for varmits or competition. If you aren't, then I wouldn't spend the money for this option. As far as the gas block goes, if you intend on using magnified optics, having a flip down front sight would be a nice feature.

A couple of key things to think about in any AR is barrel length and rifling twist rate. A barrel between 16"-20" long with a 1-9" twist will suffice for most shooters. If you intend to shoot longer/heavier rounds you might want to think about a 1-8" or 1-7" twist. This assumes you went with .223 vice the .308. If you went with .308, I would stay with a 20" barrel and go no shorter than 18", based on the performance of the .308 round.

The AR is a pretty simple mechanism, once you understand how the parts interact together. If I were unfamiliar with the AR, I would buy one from a reputable manufacturer that had a warranty instead of building it myself. After getting to know the AR, then I would start to think about building one from scratch.

For my first AR, I'd buy the rifle, seven or eight mags, a lot of ammo and go to the range. The AR platform is easy to shoot and shoot well. Enjoy!


Otherguy Overby
December 31, 2006, 09:56 AM
There's a federal excise tax on firearms.

So, to save the most money, order a stripped lower and build it yerself. The tax is then only on the serial numbered part.

Or, for your first time, order the lower and upper on different days. :)

December 31, 2006, 11:01 AM
Buy the upper and lower separate to save $$.

I used to have a .223 AR but now only have a .50 Beowulf and two 6.5 Grendels. I may get a .223 upper again when I have more time for just plinking.

I would recommend an alternative caliber AR15 or go with the AR10 to give yourself the versatility of a hunting weapon as well.

With your accessories comment (flat top and better trigger), do you intend to target shoot or prarie dog hunt? For those purposes I would stick with .223 or go to 6.5 Grendel for medium game versatility with the high accuracy.

December 31, 2006, 12:42 PM
You sure about that? i just checked the sales reciept on the last gun I bought and just saw state sales tax.

December 31, 2006, 01:22 PM
I got on the DPMS site and found out what you meant for gas block. That looks to be a preference.

I would say if you are going with a flat top and are going to scope the rifle, well I don't know what you are going to do with a front sight gas block.

Bolt and carrier. The standard bolt and carrier work just fine. I see they have a chromed carrier and I suspect that the shiney plating will add zero functional value to the rifle. The rifle will jam long before the standard carrier rusts out. In fact the additional of chrome will make the part a little larger and will probably cause interchange problems between uppers of different manufacturers.

I totally agree with the need for an upgraded trigger. I do not know the trigger type used by DPMS, I use Rock River two stage triggers, tuned by White Oak precision, J. Hollinger gunsmith. I also have a Armalite two stage but I had to have the Marine Rifle team armorers install the thing, it was beyond my limited file and fit abilities. I do not recommend the Bushmaster match trigger, too complicated and it requires a speciality lubricant.

As for barrels. I have only one AR without a match barrel, and it is a little Armalite M4 carbine. It has a chromed barrel. And it shoots just great. I was surprised to get MOA accuracy off the bench with the thing. Off the bench I am all over the place (like 4 MOA) as shooting the carbine is like shooting a snubbie. Short sight radius and no weight to keep the thing still.

Stock: I like the standard AR stocks as they add weight and give me a somewhat better face stock weld. The folding carbine stock is just great for portability, but that is about it. I have seen bolt on cheek pieces for these folding stocks so maybe there is a way to get a better cheek placement on them. The AR rifle with a standard stock is still difficult to get a good stock weld, you have to let the charging rod touch your nose for consistant placement.

Outside of getting a trigger from White Oak precision, I would recommend getting the whole kit and kaboodle from one manufacturer. There are little differences between manufactures in upper and lower dimensions, other dimensions, and it is better to get a totally functioning unit first off then having to spend time and effort trying to debug something you have never worked with before.

I can recommend these manufacturers: Bushmaster, Armalite, Rock River. I have been very pleased with rifles from all of these manufacturers, they produce quality rifles. DPMS I have never had one of their rifles, and I have never heard any compliants. I have been happiest with Rock River as they give great deals at Camp Perry, the guys are very knowledgable and are great to do business with.

December 31, 2006, 01:40 PM
i just checked the sales reciept on the last gun I bought and just saw state sales tax.

The FET is paid by the manufacturer, not the retailer, that's why you don't see it on the 'Tax' line. It's built into all the other lines so you're being taxed on a tax. :fire:

Otherguy Overby
December 31, 2006, 03:50 PM
The FET on firearms is somewhere between 11 and 15 percent. I don't remember and a cursory online search didn't find the actual amount.

Anyway it is charged on the estimated value at the time of purchase. IOW if you purchase a complete rifle the tax is charged on the suggested retail price. You can negotiate with the dealer, but not the government. State sales tax is then added, if applicable. IOW, if you buy a complete firearm the FET is charged/hidden as a percentage of the total suggested retail value.

If you purchase a $125 lower, the FET is included in that price. You do not pay excise tax on any other parts you add that are purchased seperately. IOW, separately purchased uppers, stocks and anything else are NOT subject to FET.

Deducting paid Federal Excise Taxes is a really tangled web and is not for the faint of heart...

December 31, 2006, 05:15 PM
For an accurate AR, you'll need to consider the following:

Buy the best barrel you can afford - without a flash hider
Free float handguard is a must have
Get the best trigger you can afford
Get the best optics you can afford - flattop helps when mounting them

Other things like chromed bolt carriers and oversized charging handles are gimmicks.

December 31, 2006, 07:13 PM
I found flat top M4 style Rock River for sale in my hometown on last night. It comes with a match trigger also. I am taking the advice to buy a complete one to start and learn with, then I'll move to a custom build if I get all giddy.

This one has the features I was looking for and the price is well within my budget for a first AR rifle. I intend on taking it to Eastern Oregon for coyote, rabbit and ground squirrel hunting this spring. But in reality, I see another AWB coming and don't want to be without one of these rifles simply because the .gov's think flash hiders and and pistol grips are a menace.

Who knows, I may never buy another, I might get a bunch, time will tell.

Appreciate the feedback folks, thanks for the help.


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