Best-value basic AR-15?


February 14, 2008, 02:34 AM
What say you?

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February 14, 2008, 02:36 AM
Smith & Wesson

February 14, 2008, 02:38 AM
Stag Arms

February 14, 2008, 03:02 AM
No personal experience with CMMG, but they're well thought of over on Their bargain bin rifles look like a very good value -

February 14, 2008, 03:31 AM
Please permit me to amend..

Best value AR-15 manufacturer with non-proprietary parts. Mil-spec and/or compatible with mil-spec parts.

Thank yas :)

February 14, 2008, 04:35 AM
build your own. You should be able to save a little bit of money and come out with a better rifle.

February 14, 2008, 04:41 AM
Please permit me to amend..

Best value AR-15 manufacturer with non-proprietary parts. Mil-spec and/or compatible with mil-spec parts.
Colt is the only major manufacturer I know of that does a few weird things. Their no longer produced civilian models use a large diameter post screw instead of a pivot pin. Those same civilian models, and their LE/Gov't only marked models (still available to the public) use slightly larger diameter pins for the fire control group. This still isn't a big issue. Most aftermarket fire control groups are available with standard or Colt diameter pins, and you can get an offset pin to put a standard upper on a Colt civilian lower.

Every other reputable manufacturer uses parts interchangeable with mil-spec.

February 14, 2008, 04:56 AM
If you only take one thing away from this thread, let that be to stay away from Hesse/Vulcan/Blackthorne.

February 14, 2008, 05:10 AM
I really like my double starr. That said there is value in bulding your own. I have between 850 and 900 bucks. When I finish my rock river I will have around 750 to maybe 800 in the gun itself. The double starr is an A2 upper and the RRA will be an A4. I will have more in optics on the RRA but that is seperate from the cost of the rifle.

February 14, 2008, 05:36 AM
I don't honestly know if it's the best value around, and there is something cool about building your own gun, but my Bushmaster carbine only cost me $750.00 new.

February 14, 2008, 07:38 AM
Bought a new Bushmaster three weeks ago, 829.00. Its a 16" carbine. Very nice gun, finished well and shoots great. Is it the best, dunno, but pretty damn good I would say. I am also a fan of DPMS, not finished as well as the Bushy but the one I have has never given me a problem and they go for less than the Bushmaster.

February 14, 2008, 08:06 AM
Olympic Arms Plinker. I think they are around $650.

February 14, 2008, 08:43 AM
For short money, you can have Jon at Anvil Arms build you an Ar-15 the way you want it...Plus for a small extra fee, you can have your AR lower custom engraved with your own personal logo. Jon is a superb person to deal with and is frighteningly knowledgeable. His rifles have a lifetime warranty and are custom built to your specs on spec. He's doing a major group buy on receivers on another forum - I purchased a completed lower with custom engraving for $183.00. Once I add the upper, sights and stock, I'll have about $800.00 wrapped up in a custom made AR-15. Give him a look-see....

February 14, 2008, 08:48 AM
I have two suggestions for completed rifles.
DPMS Classic A2
High Standard HSA-15 A2
Both can be had as rifles or carbines and fixed carry handle or flat tops.
Affordable pricing and good quality on both.

February 14, 2008, 11:08 AM
As a good, basic, value for money gun, you can't beat a Bushmaster M4A3 for around $850.

If you want the best basic AR, get a Colt 6920.

February 14, 2008, 11:46 AM
IMHO Stag Arms is the Best value for the money. I have 2.

February 14, 2008, 12:02 PM
I'm going with a mid-length gas system, 16", A2 upper, carbine kit from Del-Ton and a stripped lower from Anvil.

Engraving is free if you buy the lower from Anvil and he has some 40,000 military unit graphics, so just tell him what you want. Have read many good reviews on their lowers and Jon was very helpful when I supplied my own custom art.

With good mags and a chrome lined barrel, this build is going to cost me $700 including shipping and FFL fee. But then again, I only pay $10 for the FFL transfer.

Del-Ton gets good reviews, uses Wilson barrels and reportedly DPMS uppers.

Ya, I'll only save $150 this way, but I like building things and will know the rifle MUCH better for having done it.

February 14, 2008, 12:10 PM
Armalite A4 carbine

$899 everywhere

February 14, 2008, 12:48 PM
Another vote for the "bargain bin" at cmmg I liked my m4 so much, I'm buying the 20" model in the next couple of months.

Rex B
February 14, 2008, 03:02 PM
Bought one, great deal, Could not have built one for less.

Came with a cheap 4-pos buttstock, but that was easily fixed, and I'm still ahead.

I will probably sell my built A2 and buy one of their varmint guns.

February 14, 2008, 03:05 PM

Get a standard kit and a lower, put parts in lower per instructions on Good quality, not expensive.

February 14, 2008, 03:24 PM
a "popular question"

February 14, 2008, 04:27 PM
Either the CMMG "bargain bin" AR's or Olympic's "Plinker Plus".

February 15, 2008, 05:06 AM
You have all been most gracious. Thank you.

I gotta ponder a bit..

February 15, 2008, 05:47 AM
+1 for cmmg bargain bin.
Also heard very good things about the Doublestar, my friend got his for under $800

February 17, 2008, 08:53 PM
After further consideration, I've decided to build my own.

A few things I've decided on, generally speaking:

Krieger heavy-ish 5.56 match barrel.
Full/rifle length gas system.
Some kind of gas-switch for suppressor use.
OPS inc. suppressor.
Free-float handguard.
Flat-top receiver.
Full-auto bolt carrier.
Mil-Spec bolt.
Match trigger.
Quick-detach scope mounting.
Shmidt & Bender optics and some kind of rugged red-dot.

This is gonna be fun! :D

February 17, 2008, 11:00 PM
What you posted is hardly basic, and why are you going with a full auto bolt carrier?

February 17, 2008, 11:33 PM
sounds interesting. keep in mind good ol' leverage. unless this is a bench/varmint gun (unlikely since you mentioned the red-dot), suppressors get HEAVY way out there on long barrels and they're slower to move and slower to stop when you're moving horizontally. shorter barrels are better.

my experience with a couple adjustable gas blocks is that there's really no advantage to adjusting the gas just because you've got a suppressor on it. also, everything attached the the barrel gets a lot hotter (if you can believe it) with the can. last thing you're going to want to do is futz with some switch or screw when that system is warm.

i'm glad i took the time to learn about it personally, but now that i know, i'd really rather have a non-adjustable, staked on gas block on the gun in question.

my most recent build was a 17" barrel with a rifle length gas and it's working very well for me.

krieger's got an excellent reputation, but "heavyish" and red-dots just don't mix.

February 18, 2008, 01:59 AM
I never said I was going basic ;) If a company gives love to their basic or econo line, that's a good indicator for me to judge the quality of their 'deluxe' line. That and KIS principle.
I figure the full-auto bolt carrier will simply be a more rugged part..
built (and tested) to withstand higher cyclic rates and higher heat. Frankly, it makes me feel good knowing it would be inside my rifle :)

Good point on leverage..
question: isn't there a couple barrel sizes above mil-spec diameter that are pretty common in the market, with parts available to run them?
As far as switchable gas-blocks, I'm thinking of just an on/off type deal, so that I can turn it off for optimal quietness (bolt doesn't cycle).
I'm going for multi-purpose .. so it won't be the best at any one application, but fairly well rounded.
By the way, how close to the end of your barrel is the gas block?

February 18, 2008, 08:27 AM

here are a couple pics with and without the gas block installed so you can see how far it is from the end of the barrel. (there's a pretty long comp attached) i think it's about 3" give or take, but haven't measured

as far as barrel sizes, there are a lot of them. i think there's a pretty good description on

February 18, 2008, 10:26 AM
I bought a Mega Lower, used butt stock, used triangular hand guards, Colt M16 upper, used bolt group, put it all together and it shoots as good as my Colt and Bushmaster ARs. I take care of it but it tends to go along to places I wouldn't care to bring the others. Think I've got about $600 in it. Got it all from the equipment exchange section at

February 18, 2008, 10:59 AM
I figure the full-auto bolt carrier will simply be a more rugged part..
built (and tested) to withstand higher cyclic rates and higher heat. Frankly, it makes me feel good knowing it would be inside my rifle
Everyone makes an auto carrier these days, including the cheaper places like dpms. It doesn't promise you any of those things, just a slightly heavier carrier. If you want a thorougly tested bolt you have to buy a lmt or colt. Right off hand they're the only ones I know that high pressure test and mpi 100% of their bolts.

February 18, 2008, 01:24 PM
I like CMMG and Stag for budget that works

February 19, 2008, 12:31 AM
taliv, thank you for the input & pics. Nice looking rifle there! Looks like it's pretty light too..

Roadkill, thanks for the info, I'll probably be looking there once I know the exact parts I'm getting.

Soybomb, 10-4, that's exactly what I'm looking for, thanks ..
So, I guess the question is, which is the better (tested & mil-spec) fullA carrier?

gunsnmoses, thanks for the info, I'll check 'em out.

Anyone by chance know who the Gov contractors are? Colt, Bushmaster, LMT?

February 19, 2008, 01:29 AM
A bargin bin or a kit from J/T dist. or Del ton.

February 19, 2008, 01:32 AM
So, I guess the question is, which is the better (tested & mil-spec) fullA carrier?
You really should do a search before you commit to a full auto carrier. It shouldn't matter, but the BATFE has been clear as mud on whether or not they consider a full auto carrier to be a machine gun part. The only things the extra metal on FA carrier do are make it heavier and reset the auto sear. You won't gain any performance advantage. I'd avoid the slippery slope and get a LMT semi-auto complete carrier group. Aside from a little less metal on the bottom rear of the carrier the complete group is built and tested to the same specs as a military BCG.

February 20, 2008, 06:23 AM
thanks for the warning.

Changed my mind on some of the specs.
Going with 16" medium contour barrel now.
Dropped the OPS INC suppressor for screw-on type.

Gonna start a new thread or three asking about some specifics.

Thanks to all :)

February 20, 2008, 12:47 PM
Just wanted to throw in this link:

Complete Guide to Buying an AR-15 Rifle (


February 22, 2008, 02:40 AM
Olympic Arms Plinker Plus (16" Carbine)

You won't find a major brand entry level AR-15 for less money.

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