Need advice on AR15 purchase


March 8, 2009, 07:37 PM
I am looking at purchasing my first AR15. Here are the 4 I have been looking at - The A4 - The TRS and CMP

The RRA is about $1250 and the Armalite is about $1300.......Now the Baers are a different story. The TRS is $2500 while the CMP is $3200. I am familiar with shooting AR15's.....but am un-familiar with all the jargon and mumbo-jumbo. What I would like to know is.......

Are the Baers really worth the extra $1-2K than the RRA or Armalite?

Are there any other manufacturers that I should be looking at?

If you had the $$, which of the 4 would you buy and why?


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March 8, 2009, 07:57 PM

Check out and read first!!!!!!! Rob_s has posted a chart to show the differences in various AR manufacturers.

Good luck.

March 8, 2009, 08:00 PM
What do you plan to do with it?

For that kind of dough, I'd look at the JP enterprises. Zak Smith likes mid-south tactical network rifles.

March 8, 2009, 08:05 PM
I have a les baer super varment .204 and it is THE most accurate rifle I have ever shot. I called them about getting the TRS upper for my rifle and when I heard the price I thought F that i can buy a (insert brand here) complete rifle and have two for that kind of coin. If you want a nice ar that is gaurnteed to shoot .5 moa and you have lots of cash I do not think the baer will let you down. On the other hand if you want a good fun accurate enough AR the RRA's I have shot are pretty nice. I have my eye on a SmW mnp 15 instead of a 1500$+ upper. I don't need a super accurate M4 clone I just want one that works good and is accurate enough. I have let sevral random people shoot my les baer SVR at the range and almost anyone who has a heart beat can shoot sub .5 moa with it. If you are going to shoot in long range matches then you may want to spend the money on a Baer.

March 8, 2009, 09:05 PM
I have a DPMS L-308 and a standard Bushmaster in .223. The Panther is very very accurate out to 200 yards(about as far as we can shoot in GA).
For the money I recommend the Bushmaster but I guess that's because I don't have the cash for the others.

March 8, 2009, 09:08 PM
Of those 3 for those prices, ArmaLite.

March 8, 2009, 09:08 PM
check out DPMS AR's... they are very good quality guns at a more reasonable price than many... also, they offer an awesome variety of configurations...

March 8, 2009, 09:14 PM
The Les Baer is certainly a fine rifle. If you are really wanting precision out of an AR then they are a great choice. Based on the models that you are looking at I assume that is your primary desire for this rifle.

Check out and read first!!!!!!! Rob_s has posted a chart to show the differences in various AR manufacturers.

This would definitely be the thing to do if reliability was the primary concern with this rifle, but the chart doesnt rank manufacturers based on accuracy.

The suggestion to check out MSTN was a good one, I would also take a serious look at a Noveske rifle. You might get the best of both worlds (reliability and accuracy.)

March 8, 2009, 09:28 PM
Noveske & LMT do not advertise that they offer a 20" barrel. I would like a 20".

March 8, 2009, 09:28 PM
given that 2 of the 3 links were for "national match" configs, if you're looking for a competition rifle, get the RRA or a bushmaster or dpms in NM config... it doesn't matter which... and then send it to white oak.

you'll get a better rifle and save a LOT of money compared to the les baer

(compass lake is another option)

March 8, 2009, 09:31 PM

What is that you like about the Armorlite that would make you pic it over the RRA..........both are about the same price..........just curious.

March 9, 2009, 04:24 AM
havhon, you need to figure out what you're doing with the rifle in order to determine which will be best for you.

I can't find any similarities in the 4 that you posted links to that would indicate that intended use.

IMHO the best "all around" AR is the 16" with collapsible stock and Aimpoint. It's good for hits smaller than 6" at 200 yards, which frankly is about as good as the ammo that most people will feed these guns to begin with.

Why do you want a 20"?

March 9, 2009, 06:06 AM
What are you trying to do with it?

Guns and more
March 9, 2009, 10:35 AM
Armalite put the "AR" in AR-15. I'd pick it of the three.

However, I'd recommend the website

It's for cops, but I learned more there than any other site.

March 9, 2009, 11:06 AM
Are the Baers really worth the extra $1-2K than the RRA or Armalite?


Are there any other manufacturers that I should be looking at?

most definitly bushmaster, stag, cmmg, s&w, and dpms.

If you had the $$, which of the 4 would you buy and why?

of those models i would have to go with the rra based on quality vs. cost.

having said that, if i were to go looking for a new ar, i would try to find a bushmaster just from my experience with them as far as accuracy is concerned. a bushmaster in hbar configuration will even give that les baer a run for its money where accuracy is concerned. they make a great barrel.

i would also say look into a 16". much easier to handle, without sacrificing any accuracy inside 500-600 yds.

March 9, 2009, 01:34 PM
I am not sure what I want to do with the rifle yet.

I do know that I would like a rifle that will remind me of my military service. This is why I would like to stick with a 20" barrel and full stock. Also, wouldn't a 20" barrel be a tad more accurate than a 16"??? Logic tells me yes, however I know very little about guns.

March 9, 2009, 01:51 PM
There are several things a longer barrel will do, improving accuracy is not one of them. IMHO..

Longer barrel will provide a higher velocity which will keep the trajectory flatter, and may improve the stability of the bullet depending on what your shooting and or reloading.

As everyone here has stated"what are you going to do with the gun", are you a hunter, a target shooter, a survivalist, want the gun because you like the looks of it, or are you a SHTF guy just wanting longer rage protection than a handgun offers?

March 9, 2009, 02:40 PM
if you just want an AR like the one you used in the service, you can grab an A2 style AR15 that LOOKS exactly like the National Match ones you linked to, but doesn't have the NM internal pieces parts. you don't have to spend the $$ for NM stuff if you have no intention of competing in CMP/NRA HP.

at the gun show this weekend, i saw several used A2 style AR15s. all of them were $1200

March 9, 2009, 02:41 PM
I would not rule out the DD M4. At $1500 it comes with a lot of extras that some others do not. I love mine. Of course if you want something to hunt with then I would void my comments. It is a tactical weapon. Just my .002

March 9, 2009, 02:50 PM
havhon, ArmaLite is generally superior to RRA in the overall. It has M4 feedramps, chrome lined bore, etc. and is a step up from the budget AR's like RRA, Stag, DPMS.

March 9, 2009, 02:58 PM
I recently got into shooting competition, and I built my AR-15 from used parts. I built a 20" rifle in basic configuration. The only thing that I do not like is that the upper I purchased has a carry handle. I thought this was an advantage to me, but in the long run has become a limitation instead of a bonus.

I think a standard A2 configuration is a good place to start. You never run out of batteries, you do not loose zero, and if you need you can change the forearm later so that you can have rais to hold a laser or other what-nots. ex. coffee maker :p

If this is your first AR15, and you are getting it for SHTF senarios. I would get a basic no frills AR15 that is reliable, and use the other money to buy ammo. A2 sights are good to 600 yards, and very, very accurate.

This is just my $.02, and is way off from your OP. I hope you get what you are looking for, but don't think the AR15 in a 20" A2 design is limited because you cannot hang 20 pieces of equipment off the side/top/bottom of the rifle.

March 9, 2009, 03:00 PM

I guess my main use would be target shooting.......maybe a little of the SHTF stuff. But I have to tell you, I do like the look of the stainless barrels on these weapons. As far as a NM grade weapon is concerned........I want the best fit/finish I can get for what I am willing to spend. I dont know why because I am not the best shooter out there - but that is just the kind of guy I am.

March 9, 2009, 03:03 PM
If the rifle is really for target shooting, then basically any manufacturer will be just fine. Just stay away from a select few like Vulcan and Hesse. There might be a couple other notorious brands, but aside from that, any are adequate.

March 9, 2009, 04:40 PM
+1 on the hbar

You could get a Colt or Bushmaster that will scratch that itch and save you some cash.

March 9, 2009, 04:46 PM
If for target shooting....

I have a Colt HBar as mentinoned, and the gun is a supreme rifle. If you want a stainless NM rifle 20" version then I suggest this.

Buy a lower from RockRiver with a 2 stage trigger, go to White Oak Armory or White Oak Precission, and order a Pre-Ban 20" Upper in 1:7 twist.

It will come with 3/800 A2 upper, a stainless NM barrel, adjustable for windage front sight post, dual pinned rear sight, chamber in Wylde .223, and be a smokin' Service Target rifle.

This combo should cost around $1000 to $1100, and you will be set for shooting 77 Grain Sierra MatchKings and 80 Grain Sierra MatchKings.

March 9, 2009, 09:15 PM
I've never heard of JP Enterprises, MidSouth Tactical, or Compass Lake.

I take it that they make a quality rifle, but where do they rank in relation to LMT, Colt, Charles Daly, etc. (from the M4 Carbine Comparison Chart)?

They must be small shops comparatively speaking. Am I right?
Are they considered custom or production?

March 9, 2009, 10:10 PM
if your interest lies in target shooting, buy a RRA lower for $300 to $350 on gunbroker, then give John a call at White Oak Armament, you will get a rifle superior to anything off the shelf from any of the big names. His uppers are around $700 last time I checked, I don't know if he is backlogged with orders like everyone else though. By the time you ship the upper and lowers and pay the $20 to the FFL for the lower transfer you'll still be less than a complete AR off Gunbroker or at a store.

Jon Coppenbarger
March 10, 2009, 09:20 AM
John is a great guy and builds quility weapons. I have 3 of his uppers or they started out as his uppers. many barrels after that put on locally. a great reliable platform that will last you a long time. Get the pinned rear sight option for $55 and you will be happy. Being able to adjust the front sight base is a blessing for getting a true zero/ zero setting on your rifle.

March 10, 2009, 10:08 AM
JP and Compass lake build match rifles, with JP more focused on 3gun/practical style and Compass Lake more focused on NRA High Power/CMP.

they don't build M4 style carbines, so you won't find them on the chart at all. they're definitely custom

March 10, 2009, 11:45 AM
After doing a little research based on a few responses within this thread, I am seriously going to look into the WOA + RRA combo.

March 10, 2009, 08:32 PM
Well, let me throw this out there.. .

I bought the standard Armalite M15A2. I loved it. It would shoot pretty consistent 1.5" 5 shot groups at 100 yards with me behind the trigger. This was completely stock.

I thought, boy I want it to be super duper. I paid ~$700 or so to Compass Lake Engineering to fit a Krieger barrel, match sights, their 2 stage trigger and their DCM free float tube. Now it was heavier, but I was like. . .now it's perfect. I took it out and shot 1.25 - 1.5 5 shot groups at 100 yards. Since it was an A2, I never bothered trying to scope it. Moral of the story. . .If it was to be an open sight gun, I could shoot it fine stock. I never regretted that, but always pondered it.

When I sold it, I put the ol' Armalite barrel, shortened to 17" into my new M4gery. Now, with a 1-4x scope, it shoots 1.5" 5 shot 100 yard groups.

Now, the modified gun with a Krieger barrel will probably shoot under .5" at 100 yards, but it would need a 20x or greater scope to do that.

So, if you really want an A2, IMO, any basic M2 will give you a good shooter. If you want great groups, I believe you would be happier a flat top, a free float foreend and an optic of 10x or greater.

The next level up from that would be a ground up build with a Krieger barrel, matched bolt, free float tube and a 20x or greater optic.

For maximum versitility and fun, a nice M4gery with a small optic has a large following at the local range as well as in Iraq.

Also, the spec charts were mentioned. They have there place. Some makers do not meet the mil spec details well. This is not because they are making BAD guns, but because they are making semi auto civilian guns. So, an ultimate spec rifle maybe overkill when you remove the military requirements of: full auto, swimming in mud before firing, wartime cleaning, daily sand storms, etc.

Chromelined barrel choice. . .If you will shoot crap ammo, clean irregularly or both, then it is nice. Otherwise I view it as just a nice option.

March 10, 2009, 10:32 PM
I'm not sure what optics have to do with the potential of the rifle? it's the guy squeezing the trigger that is most important. the rifle will shoot the same regardless of optics or open sights. If you were unhappy with the performance of the custom upper you purchased there are any number of reasons why it didn't meet your expectations; wrong weight bullet being the most likely after the shooter himself. Not every one is capable of shooting sub minute groups, sandbags or not, despite what you read on the internet. If it was that easy, it wouldn't be that fun. It takes a lot of practice to shoot well, belieeeeeve me....I don't have any trophy shelves buckling from the weight of match trophies. And if weight is a concern you can get a fine barrel in any countour you wish, you usually just have to ask. WOA has OUTSTANDING customer service.

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