affordable reliable AR-15 or similar rifle


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bdg146
March 14, 2008, 01:13 AM
I'm thinking about a home defense long gun. I know a 12 gauge is always an option, but I think I want to go with a semi-automatic rifle instead. I don't want to start a debate between the two, so I'd prefer to focus on semi-automatic carbines in this thread.

Most of the ARs I've found are around $1000, which is a little more than I'd like to spend. Am I not looking in the correct place? What manufacturers would you recommend for a reliable yet affordable AR?

How about a WASR? I really have no experience with them (or an AR for that matter), but a local gun shop has a used WASR-10 for around $380. Good price? Are they reliable?

I suppose a Mini-14 could also be a viable solution. What is the ballpark price on one of those? How is the reliability?

Recoil is a concern, which is one reason I'm leaning away from a 12-gauge.

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Coronach
March 14, 2008, 01:40 AM
http://cmmginc.secure-mall.com/shop/?shop=1&cart=1023345&cat=33&

bdg146
March 14, 2008, 11:06 AM
Thanks. Great price, but is there any guarantee of reliability? Buying online has always made me a little nervous, and I'd much prefer buying locally. Any tips on manufacturers to look for?

nosliw
March 14, 2008, 11:08 AM
those are a really good deal.

but, if you want something with a warranty that you could buy locally for (relatively) cheap, try Armalite. Sportmans Warehouse has the M15A4 for $899 when they have 'em.

MassMark
March 14, 2008, 11:18 AM
www.anvilarms.com - built to your specs, even engrave your own logo on the receiver and lifetime warranty. Jon is good people...

Zundfolge
March 14, 2008, 11:23 AM
Many of us have bought the CMMG Bargain Bin rifles with excellent results ... here's mine:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=344606

Do a search for others.

Frankly right now the CMMG Bargain Bin is the absolute best deal in inexpensive ARs right now.

NG VI
March 14, 2008, 11:27 AM
I just ordered a CMMG Bargain Bin last week. They don't have a rear sight, so you must supply that, but it looks good and from what I hear from past buyers they have all been thrilled with them. When I ordered last week they were out of the slightly more expensive chrome-lined barrel version, but you can always buy a new upper if you don't like the one you've got.
That's the real beauty of the AR-15, you can change your barrel length, upper receiver type, barrel profile, and prolly some other stuff too with a minimum of hassle. As long as you have a good lower receiver you can later buy a new upper and essentially have a second rifle. (ok more like 1.7 rifles)

bdg146
March 14, 2008, 11:41 AM
Ok... good to know. Now do I want to go with the $625 or the $570 option? What's the difference between an H-BAR and an M-4? I did a google search and can visually see a difference, but I'm not sure exactly how that translates into functionality.

Thanks for the help and sorry about the inexperience. I've been hunting for years, but don't have too much knowledge of these types of rifles (semi's not allowed in PA to hunt).

NG VI
March 14, 2008, 11:49 AM
they have the 625 again! ARGGGGG! Why!!!!

It isn't that important but I would buy the 625 if they had had them available when I was in my mad rush to order. Their SSAT magazines look really good too and are no more expensive (actually a few dollars cheaper) than most other mags.

Zundfolge
March 14, 2008, 11:59 AM
What's the difference between an H-BAR and an M-4?
An "H-BAR" is a heavy barrel, the M4 barrel profile is thick and thin ... weighs less.

Here's some pics:

M4 profile barrel:
http://www.ftfindustries.com/barm4.JPG

Heavy Barrel:
http://www.ftfindustries.com/bar16.JPG
(although I don't believe the CMMG ones have threaded muzzles)

Now do I want to go with the $625 or the $570 option?
Honestly I'd go with the $570, because the $625 is one of those silly 11.5" barrels with a 5.5" permanently affixed flash suppressor ... which seems completely pointless to me.

bdg146
March 14, 2008, 12:02 PM
That actually leads me to another question. Any mags come with this rifle, or do I need to pick up a couple of those as well?

So if I got this right, the $625 one has a chrome-plated chamber, which is what they started doing to the M16 back in Vietnam when they were having trouble with malfunctions, correct? So it should help deter corrosion? Is this really an issue when stored indoors and cleaned if/when it is taken outside into moisture?

Zundfolge
March 14, 2008, 12:24 PM
Nope, no mags (but they have 'em for $9.95).

As for the chrome lined chambers, there's a lot of debate on whether it was chrome lining the chambers or actually issuing cleaning kits (and not telling the soldiers the rifle was "self cleaning) that solved the early M16's problems.

Since then many an AR without a chrome lined chamber has functioned flawlessly for years and years and thousands of rounds.


In my estimation the cheesy 11.5/5.5 barrel/flash suppressor configuration and the fact that the uppers are A2 (not flat top) and the extra $9 for shipping outweigh the fact that the chambers are chrome lined, but picking an AR is like picking underwear, some prefer briefs, others boxers.

bdg146
March 14, 2008, 12:34 PM
So looks like a 16" M4 might be the best option for me. I guess choosing between a lighter and heavier barrel is personal preference though, and I probably won't know what I prefer without handling both. Which configuration do most people prefer? Are there any weight/balance issues with either barrel, or is this a choice that I shouldn't overly concern myself with?

Seafarer12
March 14, 2008, 12:46 PM
What does CMMG charge for shipping on those rifles.

How much weight difference is there between the m4 and hbar barrels?

bdg146
March 14, 2008, 12:48 PM
$15 for the $570 rifle. $24 for the $625 rifle.

Seafarer12
March 14, 2008, 12:53 PM
I just saw that , thanks.

innerpiece
March 14, 2008, 02:10 PM
wow, thats a nice deal!
I hope their still around in a couple months..

Cyclimus
March 14, 2008, 03:25 PM
Followup question related to this thread... how long does shipping take and how does the quality compare to that which can be gotten at gun shows? I've seen DPMS for about 625 in the past.

TexasRifleman
March 14, 2008, 04:28 PM
how long does shipping take and how does the quality compare to that which can be gotten at gun shows?

Who knows with gun show dealers. You never know what you are getting. It might LOOK good but....

CMMG has LOTS of happy customers, they have been in business a while, and are a known quantity. With gun show stuff you certainly might find a better bottom dollar price but do you REALLY know what you are getting, and from whom?

CMMG is a good company. I haven't bought one of the bargain bin ARs from them but I probably will.

I've done lots of FN related business with them however.

Zundfolge
March 14, 2008, 05:06 PM
My rifle took about 2 weeks from the time I ordered it till I got the call from my FFL.

NG VI
March 14, 2008, 05:08 PM
I had no idea that the 625 version was an 11.5/5.5. I agree that that is a foolish barrel length, some super-awesome operator will probably have some ultra-specific use for a 16 inch barrel that only developes the velocity of an 11.5 inch barrel. I just looked right past length to the chrome-lining.

An 11.5 inch SBR on the other hand would be awesome! This makes me far happier about getting the 570 version. I think when I bought it they had a note that said only hand-select models were available, in real terms what does that mean?

RockyMtnTactical
March 14, 2008, 06:29 PM
.223 Saiga, they go for about $300 or less. Excellent for the money.

railroader
March 15, 2008, 01:45 AM
http://ar15sa.fatcow.com/store/page2.html You can get a stag kit here for $633 shipped. It comes with the rear flip up sight and a 30 round mag. All you need is a lower. Del-ton also has very good prices on kits. I'm waiting on a mid-length kit that was shipped the other day from them. Mark

Dan Forrester
March 15, 2008, 10:09 AM
If $1,000 is out of your price range I would go with the AK. I think the Vector arms AKs are the best out there right now. You can pick these up for the $5-600 range. Resist the urge to go with the under folding stock and get the fixed. Even if you don’t get Vector you really can’t go wrong with any AK it seems.

If I was staking my life on a gun and couldn’t afford paying $1,200-$1,300 for a Colt LE or LMT I would have to say go with the AK. A bargain priced AR15 to bet your life on is a horrible idea.

My $0.02

Dan

Coronach
March 15, 2008, 02:44 PM
I dunno. Even if you buy one of these and swap out any of the small parts where Colt is better quality (MPI'ed bolt, for example), you're still money ahead. Much of the rest can be visually inspected to see if it is in spec (properly staked carrier, etc).

Will a $1,000+ rifle be better? Absolutely. Will this be as durable as the Colt if you shoot thousands and thousands of rounds per year? Nope. Will this work just fine for the average shooter, to include self-defense? Yep.

Besides, I heard that many of these are LE trade-ins. While there is a certain truth to the whole "low bidder" argument, it was deemed that these guns are good enough for SWAT officers.

Mike

chauncey
March 15, 2008, 08:33 PM
If $1,000 is out of your price range I would go with the AK. I think the Vector arms AKs are the best out there right now. You can pick these up for the $5-600 range. Resist the urge to go with the under folding stock and get the fixed. Even if you donít get Vector you really canít go wrong with any AK it seems.

If I was staking my life on a gun and couldnít afford paying $1,200-$1,300 for a Colt LE or LMT I would have to say go with the AK. A bargain priced AR15 to bet your life on is a horrible idea.

I agree with this, to a large degree. If you are using this as a HD weapon, effective range shouldn't be a big issue. the 5.56x45 AK's I've shot are reasonably accurate, much better accuracy than a 7.62x39 and more accurate than the Mini-14's I've dumped. As for accuracy, even at 100 yards a decent 5.56x45 AK won't be too far off of an inexpensive AR. bear in mind that the really accurate AR's run $1000 and up, and the reliable AR's (piston driven?) run more than that.

If you are dead set on an AR, and you are going to buy a cheap one, test the heck out of it and keep it crystal-clean and bone dry. Range AR's should be kept lightly lubricated. When I drug an M16A2 all over the place, and wanted it to run reliably, I kept it bone dry and devoid of any oil or lubricants that would attract dust and turn the weapon into a (second-rate) club or bayonet extension.

AK's almost never jamb. it's just unheard of, even the cheap ones. Attach a laser and light to it, and stick it in your closet. when you need it, there's a 99.9% chance it will go "bang".

If you really want an AR, for your first one save up some $$ and get a good-quality, accurate AR and enjoy your range time with it. When you need to trust your life to something, grab an AK.

mho

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