Which AR to buy?


June 3, 2011, 10:52 AM
I recently took the Front Sight practical rifle course in Nevada and loved it. However, I soon realized that unless you are consistently a crack shot with open sights at 50, 100 and 200 yards with time constraints there is virtually no way to graduate from the class. I need (want) an AR with good optics. If I add optics on top of my old Colt A2 (with carry handle) I will need an elevator to get up that high to look through it....and will lose the important cheek weld to the stock at the same time. So...I am interested in purchasing a very good quality AR with a rear picatiny rail to mount some optics. I would (of course) still incorporate flip up iron sights if the optics or batteries fail. I was told that Rock River Arms makes a very nice rifle. I would love to hear some feedback from anyone who is interested in sharing. Thank you.

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June 3, 2011, 11:05 AM

those would be my two choices.

June 3, 2011, 11:11 AM
Rock River does make good rifles. My rifle is built on a RRA upper and lower. But in all honesty any of the name brand rifles will work just about as good as another. What is your budget and intended use. A competition gun that see hard use will need to be higher quality than a plinker. No reason to spend $1800 if you don't have to.

June 3, 2011, 11:21 AM
There are so many AR makers it is hard to count.

Colt 6920 at CDNN is around $1k. Hard to do better than that!

June 3, 2011, 11:28 AM
RRA makes a great rifle and mine is actually the most accurate AR that I own (out of 4). However, it took some breaking in before it was 100% reliable. My cheapest one (double star) has been reliable right out of the box but it isn't the most accurate. Nowadays, if I were to go and get another one I would just build one from surplus ammo and arms lowers and uppers. Then I would get a VERY nice barrel from another manufacturer.

June 3, 2011, 11:29 AM
If you're willing to spend the money, my short list would be:

LMT MRP (standard LMT models are great too)
Daniel Defense, various models
BCM, various models
Colt 6940 (1st) and 6920 (2nd)

You could also get a quality upper from DD or BCM and mount it your existing Colt lower, which would save some cash.

If you're interested in just an upper, or putting two halves together for your new rifle, there are great deals on Daniel Defense uppers and LMT lowers at:


Other good companies to check out would be DSG Arms and G&R Tactical, both of which also have good prices on LMT lowers. If you want a BCM upper I would order directly from BCM.

June 3, 2011, 11:38 AM
I'm curious why Noveske is not on your list.

June 3, 2011, 11:56 AM
No need for a complete rifle. Just snap a more modern upper onto your Colt.

Like this:

June 3, 2011, 11:56 AM
Someone mentioned double star earlier as being rock solid right out of the box. Its true! There are MANY folks that would agree that its the best bang for your buck. $669 gets you exactly what you are looking for.

Even better is that the best website in the country sells it:

read the reviews, this is a great rifle. I have a couple thousand rounds through mine and it just trucks along with all kinds of ammo- steel or brass.

With my scope attached I can easily post sub 1" groups at 100 yds with silverbear ammo, no joke.

Do yourself a favor and consider a double star.

heres mine in the original configuration:

June 3, 2011, 11:56 AM
I'm curious why Noveske is not on your list.

Mostly oversight, Noveske is certainly at least as good as the rest of that list, and better in some ways. Cost is also a factor, although the LMT MRP is in the same price range as a good Noveske.

FWIW Knight's SR-15 would also be terrific, but that's also in the stratosphere of cost.

There are probably other good ARs I'm missing also, but I would certainly put my original list and the two above ahead of most other common names.

June 3, 2011, 11:58 AM
Since you're just asking for recommendations, I'd go Spike's Tactical, Bravo Company and Daniel Defense in order of increasing cost. They all make good equipment that runs the way it should and in the case of the Spike's the performance exceeds what you'd expect for the price.

June 3, 2011, 01:14 PM
As usual Z and I are on the same page.
In no particular order:

June 3, 2011, 01:26 PM
A different slant on your situation is mount a red dot on your rifle in the scout configuration. Mine co-witnesses perfectly with the iron sights on my carry handle AR. I use mine for forested areas where a shot is taken quickly or you have no shot. It is very good from 25 to longer yardages depending on the dot MOA. Simple to mount and a good red dot is easy to use. I have the Vortex Strikefire on mine (3 MOA) and after two years have had no problem with the $150 red dot Strikefire on mine.

June 8, 2011, 09:11 AM
Im curious as to the employment of these weapons , exactly what do you plan on doing with it? Just shooting targets , Im sure with the right parts you can "part an ar" into the best gun out there , throw in a kick a_ _ scope and your there , but target shooting can be very competitive especially if your into comp shoots , your not gonna want a "budget ar" or you'll be disappointed everytime you hit the shoot!

Kinda like going to a 1911 competition with an ATI , not bad mouthing ATI, nice guns , but against Les Baer, Ed Brown ,Wilson Combat ,Kimber and many others you'll go home pissed off!

June 8, 2011, 10:53 AM
Gooseneck mount and a red dot?

June 9, 2011, 08:40 AM
Thanks to everyone for their comments. After reviewing all of the responses I’ve decided on keeping my old Colt A2 lower and adding a new upper. If the rifle is ever checked for New York state compliance, the numbers they will run are the old Colt numbers (which are pre ban numbers) so the new upper won’t get me into hot water.

First off, someone asked what this rifle will be used for. Besides the occasional target practice sessions I do with like minded friends, this rifle is primarily for home defense here in the suburbs. It will then accompany me and my children until we arrive at a very small weekend cabin I have outside of the metropolitan area. Once there I will let my daughter use it and I’ll pick up my .308.

I’ve decided on adding a flat toped Rock River upper. 1 MOA at 100 yards will meet my needs and the components I am adding should strike a good balance between cost, reliability and accuracy.
I will use their 16” mid gas A4 heavy chamber barrel (heavy only in the chamber area), a low profile gas block (don’t need a bayonet lug), the chromed bolt group (they are running a special right now and throw this upgrade in for free), their military style muzzle brake, the Badger tactical latch (which worked perfect for the type 1, 2 & 3 malfunction clearance tests at Front Sight) and their Advanced Half Quad mid length aluminum free floating handguard. I chose this handguard because it satisfies the need for some picatinny rail space but also allows a good sized area for the support hand to hold the rifle. I’m really not a huge fan of picatinny rails but if you want to take Front Sight’s night training classes you must have a secured flashlight attached to your handguard. If you are not familiar with this handguard take a look; half handguard and half pic rail. I have also ordered one of their 2 stage triggers to replace my stock colt trigger.

Once I have the rifle back I will add some front and rear flip sights and then my optics. Several people have suggested the Magpul MBUS front and rear sights. Has anyone heard any negative comments regarding them? I will then add a generation 2 EO Tech XPS-3, 2 dot holographic sight. I would also appreciate any comments you may have regarding this. Thank you your feedback.

June 9, 2011, 08:58 AM
Be careful about the pre-ban numbers thing because any agent with half a brain knows that the A4 flat top is a post ban upper. If you haven't ordered it yet....I would go with the unthreaded muzzle. Not trying to tell you what to do...just don't want you to get in trouble because the law applys to the upper also. Good luck

June 9, 2011, 11:20 AM
DPMS makes great AR platform rifles and parts. I would do yourself the favor of looking into them as well as the others. When it comes right down to it though, you really need to put your hands on the different rifles to really know. It is hard to do all your research online.
Good luck!


June 9, 2011, 11:33 AM
Henry, I think that myself and many others would respectfully disagree. DPMS is often considered near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the AR world. They do produce a high number of ARs but they cut a lot of corners and make some very questionable decisions. If they were considerably cheaper I would say they would make a good budget option however they are not cheaper than say a S&W or Spikes.

The single biggest issue is the complete lack of QC from DPMS. The let things out of the factory that no reputable Firearms company should. Miscut chambers, Broken parts, broken LOWERS. Things like this should never get through the inspection process but with DPMS it happens often and it helps propagate the false notion that AR15s are not reliable.

June 9, 2011, 12:47 PM
Dear BlackDdefense,
Thank you so much for the heads up. I contacted Rock River and amended my order to have the muzzle brake welded to the barrel. I think it is the wise and prudent choice to make.

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