High End AR Advise Needed, Please.


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DogBonz
July 17, 2007, 04:56 PM
After taking a carbine class, it has become apparent that my DPMS carbine, while great for punching paper and plinking, is not up to the task of course work. So, if you had $1500-$2000 to spend on a high-end AR, what would you get? I am not interested in heavy barreled target type guns. I want the best quality, most reliable, dependable AR made. I would like a 16 to 18 inch barrel, and while rails would be nice, I don’t need to be tacticool. I am looking at Sabre Defense, LMT, LaRue, Wilson, etc.

PS. Please no “you could buy an AK and a tank for 2K…”

Please stick to ARs

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taliv
July 17, 2007, 05:33 PM
noveske comes to mind and they seem to have a decent reputation for that sort of thing, although i have no personal experience with them. personally, i selected all the parts individually and built mine myself.


edit:

read these threads for reference:
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=284477
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=261320
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=233214

kingpin008
July 17, 2007, 05:41 PM
Just curious, why does it have to be high-end, if it's going to be more of a "rough & ready" rifle for you? There are plenty of great AR options (especially kits) that'll get the job done in fine style and still come in under a grand.

Seeing as you already have a paper-puncher, why spend the cash if you don't need to? Pick up something from any one of the multitude of AR manufacturers and have a bunch left over for ammo, ya know?

Prince Yamato
July 17, 2007, 05:42 PM
Les Baer? Armalite? Colt? H&K?

Outlaws
July 17, 2007, 06:01 PM
Just curious, why does it have to be high-end, if it's going to be more of a "rough & ready" rifle for you? There are plenty of great AR options (especially kits) that'll get the job done in fine style and still come in under a grand.Could you name one that is better than the DPMS and still under a grand?

It sounds like this guy wants a top notch battle rifle, not a compromise.

To the OP,
Barrett (http://www.barrettrifles.com/rifle_468.aspx) makes one in 6.8, a little more expensive than your target price, but I am sure it is a nice piece.

kingpin008
July 17, 2007, 06:23 PM
Could you name one that is better than the DPMS and still under a grand?

It sounds like this guy wants a top notch battle rifle, not a compromise.


Personally, I have very little experience with the AR platform, but I know that if you ask a group of 100 AR enthusiasts what their dream "high end" battle rifle would be, you'd get about 100 different answers.

What if I could suggest a better brand? How does that change my question? I asked why expensive was so important, seeing as there are numerous mid-priced options that are just as good if not better. If he insists on big-dollar, that's fine. I'm asking so that I can better gauge his needs. No reason to get flustered.

And what does having a "top notch battle rifle" have to do with price, anyway? AK's are "top notch" battle rifles, and many of them can be had under $500.

So besides trying to be confrontational, what's your issue with my question?

TimboKhan
July 17, 2007, 06:36 PM
After taking a carbine class, it has become apparent that my DPMS carbine, while great for punching paper and plinking, is not up to the task of course work.

Could you explain what you mean by this? Was it malfunctioning? Not accurate enough? Too big? Small? We might be able to give you a little better advice if we knew what specific issues you were wanting to address. Better put, I just personally am curious to know what problems you were having.....

Deer Hunter
July 17, 2007, 06:37 PM
If you want to spend some money, might as well take a look at what DSArms offers. They even have a piston-driven AR-15.

Outlaws
July 17, 2007, 06:53 PM
Personally, I have very little experience with the AR platform, but I know that if you ask a group of 100 AR enthusiasts what their dream "high end" battle rifle would be, you'd get about 100 different answers.

What if I could suggest a better brand? How does that change my question? I asked why expensive was so important, seeing as there are numerous mid-priced options that are just as good if not better. If he insists on big-dollar, that's fine. I'm asking so that I can better gauge his needs. No reason to get flustered.

And what does having a "top notch battle rifle" have to do with price, anyway? AK's are "top notch" battle rifles, and many of them can be had under $500.

So besides trying to be confrontational, what's your issue with my question?

So what "mid-priced options" are "just as good if not better" than LaRue or LMT?

I am not being confrontational in a negative or rude way, I am just asking you to back up your claim.

kingpin008
July 17, 2007, 07:12 PM
So what "mid-priced options" are "just as good if not better" than LaRue or LMT?

I am not being confrontational in a negative or rude way, I am just asking you to back up your claim.

Dude, I'm not "claiming' anything. I just think it's not very productive to completely write off my response to his question the way you seem to be doing. Like I said, I'm a novice when it comes to AR stuff, but I know that "cost" does not equal "quality". Look at all the Kimber 1911's coming back with broken slide stops, crappy MIM parts, and horrible customer service.

That's all I'm saying. I'm sure LaRue and LMT are awesome platforms, but to say that there are no better options? That strikes me as a little silly. I'm not saying that it's untrue, because I don't know. I do know that you seem to be discounting my comments because I can't produce "proof" that one brand or another is better, when I'm not even trying to claim that!

There may be no better brands. That's fine. But from reading his post, it seems like he needs a more "battle-ready" AR, and I know that you don't have to spend the big bucks to get one. Hence, my reply.

I still don't understand what the big deal is.:rolleyes:

Will Learn
July 17, 2007, 07:30 PM
I would go with this- http://stores.homestead.com/Laruetactical/Detail.bok?no=100

or a upper built around this barrel if you wanted a 18incher-White Oak Armament SPECIAL PURPOSE RIFLE (SPR) Match Barrel- http://www.whiteoakarmament.com/

To cut costs at this point I would buy a Stag lower and add a Timney trigger http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ARR661-63850-2276.html

I would use this stock if weight wasn't an issue. http://www.magpul.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=70_88_90&products_id=193

This stock if light weight is desired- http://www.vltor.com/carbine-modstock.htm

Then I'd determine what optics would be appropriate and mount them using Larue quick detach.

Jorg Nysgerrig
July 17, 2007, 07:32 PM
It might be helpful if we why you found your DPMS lacking.

Don't Tread On Me
July 17, 2007, 07:43 PM
The answer is simple: COLT

Ignore the many morons across the web that hate Colt for whatever convoluted and exaggerated political reasons. They are not the ones shooting 1,200rds in 2 days at a carbine class. They are the ones shooting their mouths off on the internet. Sorry, I'm just preempting a phenomenon that occurs whenever the word "Colt" is uttered in a thread.

If you want an AR that will survive a carbine class - get a Colt.

If you want custom, I'd say Noveske. I don't own one, but the build quality is superb and uses good parts. You have the budget, so there is no need to get LMT (although they are good quality too). LMT is the choice when you don't want to spend on a Colt.

Get the Colt LE6920 for flattop. If you want an A2 carry handle with an ultra light barrel, the LE6520 is ideal. I have the 6520.

For some strange reason, all the major bigtime carbine instructors in the country seem to agree that Colt is the way to go. They discuss these very same topics to great length as they watch AR's break down all the time when students bring inferior gear to class. I guess it would have to do with experience and expertise. They don't care about any other nonsense. They just care about what works. Carbines are tools. Tools have to work.

kingpin008
July 17, 2007, 07:48 PM
For some strange reason, all the major bigtime carbine instructors in the country seem to agree that Colt is the way to go.

Cites please?

Don't Tread On Me
July 17, 2007, 07:55 PM
http://www.10-8forums.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=0&Board=otherguns


Pat Rogers for example is constantly praising Colt in favor of other brands for reliability and durability. There are many others though. Read around. Meet people too.

Bartholomew Roberts
July 17, 2007, 08:01 PM
Cites please?

There is a long thread on 10-8 Forums among several different instructors discussing this issue. Colt was the preferred choice there.

As for what to do, it would help to know where the DPMS was unsatisfactory. Chances are good that a new upper would solve the problem and allow you to either get a quality rifle for less money or get a better quality rifle than you anticipated.

Personally, I think there are a lot of good ARs out there that will survive a course; but when I need something to work I call MSTN and tell them what I need. You can bet that whatever it is they deliver, it will run reliably.

kingpin008
July 17, 2007, 08:04 PM
Fair enough. FWIW, I wasn't asking to be a jerk, I honestly was curious and I know how easy it is for anyone to throw out the "everybody says so" line.

Seems Colt is a good one. I'll remember that.

Chuck R.
July 17, 2007, 08:16 PM
I agree with the other guys, go find a Colt LE series. Some of the other "custom" shops put together great rifles, but if you want one that works and isn't going to break your bank, find a Colt.

6920s can be had for around $1200 now. You'll get a true NATO chamber, chrome bore and chamber, 1-7 twist, properly staked gas key, and M4 ramps that weren't put in after the fact.

It will also have some resale value when you're done with it.

Chuck

Dave Markowitz
July 17, 2007, 08:24 PM
I'd buy a Colt. Oh wait, I did. :)

If you want a carbine on the light side, get a 6520 (A2 Gov't model carbine w/ light barrel) or a 6920 (semiauto flat top M4). Both have 1:7 barrels.

I have a 6721, which has a flat top upper and a 1:9 twist HBAR barrel. I love it.

Gary G23
July 17, 2007, 08:45 PM
http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=HGSTD16

Bitswap
July 17, 2007, 09:53 PM
I'd put my money in a good trigger, 20" stainless barrel, then good irons, eotech, scope or nv scope based on what you want to shoot at. Definatly ar-4 style flat top... the kind that doesn't have the standard irons. Really depends on what you want to use it for.

HorseSoldier
July 17, 2007, 11:36 PM
Lewis Machine and Tool.

rangerruck
July 17, 2007, 11:39 PM
I was gonna say lmt, but two guys beat me to it. Also I am not sure about reliability, but Les Baer is the only semi , or the only ar for that matter, that comes with a .5 inch moa guarantee.

Rugerdog
July 18, 2007, 12:59 AM
COLT 6920 is the best AR I have ever owned. It is my go to gun. I use mine every month for a carbine class and have had 0 (zero) malfunctions. I have owned over 20 different AR's (6-7 different manufactures) and the 2 COLTS I own are the best shooting out of them all. The COLTS actually feel better. I have Bushys with 1500+ rds with zero malfs as well, they just dont feel the same. Plus you can get a 6920 for $1100 now! I payed closer to $1600 when I got mine. Colts just flat out shoot good!- Art

ssr
July 18, 2007, 01:12 AM
Sounds like you want one that functions, such is in a tactical class.

First, i would go Colt, 6920. Others I would consider would be LMT. I used a RR in a 3 day course and it functioned great, was reliable and accurate. I now consider that rifle reliable for that type of use. I would not go "high-end" as in a rifle by one of the semi-custom makers. I have a Baer that, while a good and accurate and nicely finished rifle, did take some work to get that way. It's trigger was too light and would double and triple on me and I had to swap it out. It is accurate, but as of now, if I needed a SHTF rifle, it would not be my Baer.

My Armalites have been too spotty in terms of reliability and I would not trust them in that type of situation.

rangerruck
July 18, 2007, 03:19 AM
glad to know that about the les Baers, lot of dudes woudn't , proly. They are a beautiful rifle, though. anyone got a reality check on the new S/w mp15's?

KC&97TA
July 18, 2007, 04:19 AM
Rock River Arms or Colt or CMMG... pick you model. Colt is a Machine Gun Company, CMMG is a Machine Gun Company, RRA got into Machine Guns secondary along with Bushy. If you want to get crazy; Knights Armament and Cobb, but it'll blow that $2k faster than you think, just for the bare rifle.

There's a reason Colt is the Main Supplier of M16/M4 and M16/M41's to the US Marine Corps... heck it's the only weapon I have yet to break... I put a M2 .50 down for the count ;)

Side Note: Optic wise, I believe of the 1x powered scopes Aimpoint Comp M4 is the greatest thing out there, IMHO

HorseSoldier
July 18, 2007, 09:37 AM
There's a reason Colt is the Main Supplier of M16/M4 and M16/M41's to the US Marine Corps... heck it's the only weapon I have yet to break...

Does Colt make M16A4s for the USMC? They lost the contract for the M16A2 years ago to FN and got tossed the (then much smaller) M4 contract as a kind of political consolation prize.

Zach S
July 18, 2007, 10:45 AM
Did you ask your instructor(s)?

Mike128
July 18, 2007, 10:51 AM
Look on ar15.com for more information. Barrel diameter, twist rates, chamber ect. Some things that is constantly repeated is buy a complete rifle/upper from a reputable source and don't put in a target trigger.

Colt always seem to be the top choice. Sabre and LMT are usually close with better barrel steel, M4 style feed ramps, thinner barrel contours, 1/7 twist, chrome lined, ect.

DogBonz
July 18, 2007, 10:57 AM
Ok, to answer some of your questions, my DPMS had been, for the 2000 rounds before the class, flawless. It had not malfunctioned at the range or in the woods. Of course, I have never put 1000 rounds through it in 3 days before. Also, I never dumped 3 mags down range in less then that many minutes before. Also, it has never been dropped, nor used to break my fall before. Also, by the end of day 2, that thing was getting heavy, although I doubt that there is much that can be done about that. Maybe I need to hit the gym a little more.:p

Lesson learned: My DPMS is very accurate, and reliable when cool. Heat her up, and things start FTF’ing. Wiping down and relubing helped, but did not eliminate the issue. The ammo used was Black Hills Remanufactured, which I have never had an issue with before and has always been very accurate.

When I said I wanted a “High End” AR, I was speaking of quality and reliability, not necessarily price, but those two usually go hand in hand. If someone can tell me where to find an AR that will run like a top all day and is inexpensive, well then I’m all ears. What I was saying was that I am willing to spend that much to get the highest quality that I can. If my DPMS is reliable 99% of the time, I am willing to spend up to that amount to get as close to 100% as realistically possible.

When you consider the cost of a class; the class price, time out of work, gas, tolls, hotel room, food, ammo, etc… The price of the rifle is minimal when you consider that you keep the rifle, and all of that other money is gone. Yes, the rifle is a tool. In this case it is a learning tool, and you can’t really learn if your rifle is down, well except FTF drills. If you don’t learn anything, then all that money is wasted.

DogBonz
July 18, 2007, 11:08 AM
Did you ask your instructor(s)?

His response was to look at the better makers (Colt, LMT, LaRue, Sabre, etc) and pick something that I was comfortable with that was mil spec and run with it. He also said that a pound on day 1 will feel like 10 by day 3, so try to stay light and keep the “ornaments” to a minimum. He said more about what to stay away from, such as heavy target barrels, match chambers, delicate triggers, cheap stocks, too many accessories, and/or gimmicks.

000Buck
July 18, 2007, 11:44 AM
http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin...on&key=HGSTD16

Either a Colt 6920 or that above. If you order the upper and lower seperately from LMT you will save 11%. The stock on that gun is really nice and makes it better than a stock 6920 in some peoples eyes.

Bartholomew Roberts
July 18, 2007, 12:40 PM
Stops running when hot usually means one of the following things:

1) Needs extractor beefed up with heavy-duty extractor spring and/or O-ring
2) Needs ejector spring replaced

If neither of those two solve it and it only happens when the gun is warm and toasty, then my guess would be that the chamber is tight or even undersized (may even be .223) - which is pretty common in commercial rifles since this helps accuracy and 90% of shooters never get them hot enough to recognize the problem.

Polish the chamber with a jeweler's rouge (or have a gunsmith do it for you) and upgrade the extractor and ejector and you may be able to get the reliability you are looking for at a much reduced price. If heavy is an issue, consider having your barrel reprofiled as well (~$50).

Or you can just get a new rifle that you trust... sometimes that is a better solution if you have lost confidence in the one you have.

Don't Tread On Me
July 18, 2007, 01:45 PM
When you consider the cost of a class; the class price, time out of work, gas, tolls, hotel room, food, ammo, etc… The price of the rifle is minimal when you consider that you keep the rifle, and all of that other money is gone. Yes, the rifle is a tool. In this case it is a learning tool, and you can’t really learn if your rifle is down, well except FTF drills. If you don’t learn anything, then all that money is wasted.


Bingo. The rifle cost is minimal in the grand scheme of things. Whicih is why $1,300 for a 6920 is nothing. But like I said, most haters and talkers on the internet do not go to classes, and just whine that Colt is $200 more than their Bushmaster and "isn't any better but costs more" ...folks crying over $200 aren't spending like you are on expensive training.


Most of the custom makers charging $2,000 for an AR are not charging that kind of money because the rifle is more reliable. It's because they have fancy triggers, match-grade barrels and other nonsense that you don't need. These are high-end fun guns. Not work/duty guns. Who cares if the gun is 0.5moa? Or has an 8oz trigger? Pretty much the only trusted trigger out there is the RRA 2-stage, and that had problems early on. All the fancy light triggers break from hard use. Most who want the most robust AR will stick with the factory trigger, and there's nothing wrong with it at all. Also, you don't need 0.5moa to hit or win a gunfight.


AFAIK, Colt does everything you need and does the most of any maker out there, custom or not, to produce the most reliable rifle you can get. It's that simple.


Colt is a tool, so it too can break. And they do break. The chances of breakage are less. That's what you're paying for. Most serious shooters know that any AR-15 bolt is capable of breaking around 10,000rds. Sometimes at 6,000rds or after you should keep and eye on it. Especially on the higher pressure carbines. What you don't want is a bolt breaking at round number 1,154 because it ran fine for 1,000rds on slow-fire, but when you had to do a triple mag dump the heat didn't agree with it and it cracked.


Most of the experts consider DPMS a "3rd tier" AR. They comment often about how these brands break down in classes a lot more often. You just gave them another example. I'm not bashing your rifle, but like it or not - something about the way DPMS builds a rifle led to your FTF during heavy use. What if there is SHTF and you need to run the rifle like that? Aren't you glad you found out in training that it won't cut the mustard instead of during an emergency? So, as a result of that - I'd say your money and time was not wasted. It was just part of the greater learning curve. Yeah, it stinks that you lose out on class time to fix breakdowns, but in the bigger picture this was productive.


That's looking at it from the bright side.

DogBonz
July 18, 2007, 03:10 PM
I appreciate all of the replies.

Bartholomew- I will rebuild the bolt and make sure to use good parts and will look into having a smith polish the chamber. I will keep my DPMS because it is very accurate, but will restrict it's use to the range and "fun" events.

Don't Tread- I will look into the Colts and try to compare them all. I had previously not considered Colt because of claims of them being over priced, but after looking around, they seem to have quite the following.

I think that my next class will be some time away, maybe in the fall, so I have some time and will do my homework.

Outlaws
July 18, 2007, 04:47 PM
Bingo. The rifle cost is minimal in the grand scheme of things. Whicih is why $1,300 for a 6920 is nothing. But like I said, most haters and talkers on the internet do not go to classes, and just whine that Colt is $200 more than their Bushmaster and "isn't any better but costs more" ...folks crying over $200 aren't spending like you are on expensive training.

Colt is a bad company for reasons of principle, but I am not so naive to say they suck or are over priced. :D;)

tommytrauma
July 18, 2007, 05:21 PM
I'm a pretty serious training junkie, and started my carbine classes with a Rock River. Pretty early in though, I was exposed to Defensive Edge's SLR-15 rifles.

The SLR design was based on the features that actually worked for shooters. It uses a flat top upper to allow for optics as the shooter chooses, but comes with a detachable carry handle incoorperating hex screw fasteners rather then the usual 'snag point' knobs generally found on detachable carry handles. The rear sight is a same plane sight, eliminating the POA / POI difference between the two apatures generally seen on AR sights. It's also an A1 style sight, as A2 sights sometimes get messed with, ruining a zero, nad few shooters actually adjust their sights once a zero is achieved. The Sully stock is the same length as a M4 stock at the second detent, giving an extremely functional LOP, but is robust as hell, and stands up to the old .mil going prone via the buttstock technique, jam clearing via butt slam, etc better then collapsable stocks. The Sully stock is also slightly weighted, giving the weapon a good weight distribution for one handed pointing during mag changes and such. The extraction system is simply the most robust system I've ever seen on the AR, as anyone who has stood to the right of a shooter with a SLR can attest. The front of the mag well is textured, facilitating the mag well grip style of carbine handling. The Commander model gives a longer sight radius then found on other 16" ARs, making hits easier. I'm sure I'm forgetting features, but overall the SLR is a supurb shooter. I've had mine through several multi day, high volume classes with nary a hiccup.

Colts are great rifles. They aren't the only option for a reliable AR though.

SLR (WHen it was nice nad new. It's a bit more beat now, and no longer black.)
http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q115/tommytrauma/SLRglock.jpg

Detachable carry handle with snagless screws and same plane sight.
http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q115/tommytrauma/slrcaryhandle.jpg

Textured mag well.

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q115/tommytrauma/slrmagwell.jpg

rino451
July 18, 2007, 06:20 PM
Do you have the standard three gas rings or a mcfarland one piece? One of my AR's will not run for crap with the mcfarland gas ring when it gets hot. CLP the crap outta it and it runs again fro a while, but it's only a matter of time before it chokes.

1. black extractor insert.
2. heavy (green maybe) extractor spring.
3. X-ring or #60 o-ring.
4. might try switching either to or from the McFarland gas ring. (The McFarland is a solution looking for a problem in most cases...)

What kind of ammo were you using? Stay away from Wolf lacquer coated for classes.

rangerruck
July 19, 2007, 02:47 AM
there is something else to think of here, and that is , check the thread just above this one called , the army is testing.... again....
All of the high end Military units, have allready switched to h/k fn, or some other type, that is piston drive. the 416, xm8, SCAR, etc. That just has to say something about reliability.

JohnBT
July 19, 2007, 08:00 AM
"the army is testing"

I just bought my first AR, so the fad might be over. :)

It's happened more than once during the past 50 years. I buy a gun and then it's discontinued. Beware.

Heck, I once bought a Sako Finnfire and Jewell stopped making triggers for it the same week. I did find two through benchrest.com because someone felt sorry for me and my bad luck.

Jinxed

DogBonz
July 19, 2007, 09:56 AM
I will continue to do my homework and keep looking at my options.

Even though I like the idea of piston guns, I’m not sure that I want to go with a piston upper at this point because of the mixed reviews that I have seen.

I was running the standard 3 ring gas ring setup. Ammo was Black hills Remanufactured that I never had any problems with in the past.

I will also look into Defensive Edge's SLR-15 rifles. I have not heard of them before, but I am sure that there are a lot of things that I have never heard of that are good products.

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