Best Budget AR complete


June 7, 2011, 09:08 AM
I have always been an AK man , but have had interest in the AR community , these are two very different concepts in rifles and the calibers themselves , however nowadays the calibers are a moot point because you can have AK/AR in all different calibers!

At any rate ,Im interested in the budget AR class , a complete rifle sold (not a parts gun) !

So with that said , can you guys post comments ,pictures and the reasons why these are good or bad as an AR budget rifle?

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June 7, 2011, 10:35 AM
Budget I would consider S&W or Spikes. I prefer S&W as I have some issues with Spikes as a company but either should serve you well. I would suggest you avoid DPMS, Doublestar, Oly, Century and Hess/Blackthorn/Vulkan.

ETA: Sorry I guess I should give some more reasoning.

S&W and Spikes are both companies that manage to do a number of things right even if they don't do everything right. For a budget Rifle you are going to get a good gun without the worry of truly junk parks.

As for the ones I suggested you stay away from. Century is bad for a number of reasons. Their ARs are made from old parks kits of questionable age and origin. The others are known to have out of spec and strait broken parts. I have seen DoubleStars with out of spec FCG holes. DPMS lowers that were cracked. Oly lowers have been known to break and they have atrocious Customer Support. And finally Hesse is possibly the worst known AR company in the market.

I would also suggest you avoid the dozens if not hundreds of small shops that have opened up lately. Better to know what you are getting.

June 7, 2011, 11:05 AM
On a really tight budget I would look first of all at the fairly new S&W M&P15 "Sport" model, which deletes a few features that aren't really essential, and should be fairly good S&W quality otherwise. They seem to be $600 or less, which is great for an AR.

Spike's would be good too but is likely to be a fair bit more money.

You might look in the CDNN catalog:

And see if anything meets your interests and budget. You would need a local dealer to transfer unless you live in Abilene, TX. If you're in Oklahoma I would bet that some local dealers are quite familiar with CDNN.

June 7, 2011, 11:06 AM
Better to concentrate on what you want the gun to do first. Specify the job - range and target, then you know which caliber, barrel length, whether you need an optics compatible upper, what stock and handguard, and last, which trigger complements it.

One mans budget is another's luxury, and choosing Brand first when they possibly don't even offer a gun that meets the requirements is fruitless. Colt doesn't offer many alternate calibers or options, there are some who consider a Noveske a budget gun. One thing that will happen, there will be a ton of recommendations about one Brand or the other - but what you plan to shoot really determines it. Drill down the requirements, and you choose what is left that actually will do what you need - not somebody else's vision of what they do.

Absent any idea other than price, a CMMG $599 Bargain Bin is an option. It'll poke holes in paper and dirt about as well as any.

June 7, 2011, 11:07 AM
What is your intended use and Budget by the way.

June 7, 2011, 11:38 AM
there are some who consider a Noveske a budget gun

I would like to have their money!

a CMMG $599 Bargain Bin is an option

Thought about that, but from what I've read they tend to be mostly DPMS lowers and parts, and aren't in stock at the moment. I could be wrong on either/both, but I couldn't find their famous bargain bin rifles on their website just now. S&W also offers an effective lifetime warranty, while I believe the "bargain bin" is basically warranted to work the first time you pull the trigger, and that's it. I would personally rather have the S&W Sport than a mixed DPMS/CMMG gun, although there isn't necessarily a big difference between the two.

June 7, 2011, 12:36 PM
On a really tight budget I would look first of all at the fairly new S&W M&P15 "Sport" model, which deletes a few features that aren't really essential, and should be fairly good S&W quality otherwise. They seem to be $600 or less, which is great for an AR.


And see if anything meets your interests and budget. You would need a local dealer to transfer unless you live in Abilene, TX. If you're in Oklahoma I would bet that some local dealers are quite familiar with CDNN.
Put my hands on the S&W Sport the other day. For $600 at Academy, that's a very nice carbine.

If you must have the ejection port and forward assist, under $100 will get you a new receiver, DIY swap out, and sell off your old receiver to recover at least half you expense.

June 7, 2011, 04:40 PM
my budget would be under $700

as far as the purpose , well theres multiple targets , it would need to be sufficient as a plinker, I want something with a decent scope that has some range , etc!

June 7, 2011, 04:43 PM
Under 700 with an optic is going to be hard to find. Very hard to fine.

Honestly I think your best bet is to start looking for something used. Or save up a bit more.

June 7, 2011, 09:11 PM
Your better off reading one of the other threads then bumping that.

June 8, 2011, 09:05 AM
Thanks for the threads!

Also Im not saying buying the scope with the gun, I have no problem buying accessories afterwards!

June 8, 2011, 09:16 AM
Ahhh Ok. That is more doable. You can probably find a previously loved BCM, DD, Spikes, etc for that price range.

June 8, 2011, 09:33 AM
Are you against buying a complete upper half and complete lower half from different places? I'm not sure if the build is the worry or what.

The problem I see with this is that the AR is built to be a parts gun. You can hand a "parts" gun and a "factory" gun to a person and not know the difference. In the budget section, most of the standouts are options where you either buy upper and lower halves separately or you build the lower and buy a complete upper. If you won't do a build, you miss out on many of the budget rifles.

If you have to have a complete rifle, I'd take the S&W sport. The BCG is a top end BCG that is tested and staked properly. I like the treating on the barrel and what it provides and it's also a 1:8" twist which will let you shoot a little heavier ammo as well. I wish it had the dust cover and FA, but even as it sits it has a lot going for it and only a few drawbacks here and there for the price.

June 8, 2011, 09:35 AM
pmd you

June 8, 2011, 09:43 AM
well yes and no on the parts as I fully agree the AR is just that , but for me , I dont know what is good and what is bad , I know I want metal not carbon , not polymer , but how do i know what is a good upper/lower (read the forums I guess) , btw thanks Nasty I appreciate the help!

June 8, 2011, 09:52 AM
The only polymer brands out there I know of are the "Plum-Crazy" lowers and Bushmaster's Carbon series, everything out there is metal. As for poor quality the only two brands I'd watch out for are Olympic (QC issues I believe) and the AR's assembled by Century.

June 8, 2011, 09:54 AM
Agreed on avoiding the Oly and Century lowers.
I would also steer you away from DPMS lowers. There have been a number of QC issues with them lately (Even more than normal).

Honestly the best deal on lowers right now is either a Factory Blemished BCM or a Spikes.

June 8, 2011, 09:59 AM
anybody tried a del-ton inc. rifle? i have one and it is great. long wait to receive is the only problem i see. 4-6 weeks, sometimes longer. and for under 700 bucks shipped.

June 8, 2011, 10:00 AM
what about stag arms?

June 8, 2011, 10:03 AM
There are a lot of good budget lowers out on the market today. Here's an example price point:

Stripped lower from AIM Surplus: $60 + transfer fee

Delton Rifle Kit: $465

So for $525 (not including shipping and transfer fee) you get a basic AR with a little wiggle room for an optic or nicer parts.

June 8, 2011, 10:08 AM
I normally would not recommend Stag or Del-Ton but if all he is going to be doing is plinking and not ever using the weapon for any kind of SD or HD then they would probably serve him ok.

June 8, 2011, 10:28 AM
For a Bargain Bin, check with Black Rifle in Columbia, MO.

As for buying something and swapping out the parts, what you lose on the sale of the used stuff goes to the overall cost, regardless. It came out of your wallet, it didn't go back in. After all the work around, if it cost another $100, why not buy what it should be with that money, and not be out the work?

It might be a workaround for low cash flow, but it doesn't save a dime, it costs more. Understand that before you find yourself trapped into something you didn't really want to do, like a $35 a week pay here car lot. They price them 25% higher than book before the weekly payment is calculated.

"Buy a cheap gun, spend more on it, and sell the parts" for half? Those parts aren't that good anyway, right? $599 + $1000 - $250 = $1349. Can you be absolutely sure it's worth that, or would a new one for $950 do that, too? Don't expect a $1349 gun with used parts in it to sell for that - lucky to get the $950 at that point.

Guys who build up street hot rods learn very quickly that it's no gold mine, more like what it looks like, a hole in the ground they toss money down. And the marketers never ever talk about it - it's all about the male enhancement.

June 8, 2011, 10:38 AM
For the most part, a lower is a lower is a lower. The stripped uppers and lowers are all basically identical. As long as you get an aluminium one, I wouldn't worry much and would buy the cheapest. For parts that go in a lower, it's up to you. I don't think you would notice a bit of difference from one A2 style fixed stock to another, and if you are looking at the standard 6 position collapsible stock, again I doubt you notice a difference from one to another. The little parts, like the pins and springs are all generic. Then there is the trigger. Most standard GI style single stage trigger is average at best, gritty and a bit heavy with some creep. It's hard to get much more than the run of the mill standard trigger on a $700 budget. If you get a collapsible stock, it is proper to stake the castle nut (nut that holds the stock tight). This keeps everything from backing out.

The upper half is a bit more complex. There are a few things that make a rifle run reliable and there are a few others that make the rifle accurate. On a budget you will have to skip some of these items, but you can typically still end up with a reliable and fairly accurate rifle.

A top end upper half will have a proper buffer and a quality buffer spring for the gas system/length on their upper. It will have a bolt that is pressure tested. The BCG will also be properly staked (screws that hold the gas key on will be punched so they can't back out) and the bolt will have a quality extractor, spring, and potentially oring. The feed ramps on the barrel extension will be the same style as the receiver. The barrel will be a top quality barrel, will have a properly sized gas hole, and will have a properly mounted FSB. If it is a "defense" based rifle it is going to be chrome lined and of milspec grade steel. From there, things like sights and handguards are all personal preference.

The budget type rifles skip a few of these points. First, they typically don't test their bolts. Testing is more of a QC insurance. If you need every round to go bang and can't live with the chance that a bolt fails early, buying a tested bolt is beneficial. For most of us, it isn't a big deal either way. You also see that many of the package deals don't pay much attention to which buffer they toss in compared to the gas system it's being used with. You see staking on the bolt being superficial and improper, though that is easily fixable with a hammer and a punch. The extractor/spring/oring on these budget rifles typically don't measure up to those on a top tier rifle, but again, it's a cheap and easy fix if anything goes wrong down the line. The budget rifles use pretty standard basic handguards, which as the same as those used on the base models from top tier manufacturers. The barrel is another issue. Most of the time, the feed ramps on the barrel extension match the receiver any more. You do see steel of "lesser" quality being used on the cheaper rifles as well as a lack of chrome lining. The difference in steel type for the average user is insignificant. For those that shoot until a rifle is glowing, it makes more difference. For the guy shooting a bit on the weekends, not so much. You do see some budget rifles drilling the wrong size gas hole in a barrel for the system they use which can make it a little more difficult to get the rifle extremely reliable.

In the end, to know what features some budget brands have and don't have, you have to research the brands that interest you. Some are better than others. Some cut fewer corners than others. It's all about looking at what is in front of you, knowing what you demand to be done on a rifle, and what you can live without, and going from there.

I think there is a lot to be said for the S&W sport. It's a rifle that has a properly built BCG that is also tested. It also has a barrel that is treated to be all but as durable as a chrome lined barrel without the issue of losing accuracy due to the chrome. It's assembled by S&W, who seem to build a good rifle and it has their warranty, which is very good, in the case that something goes wrong.

The kits may save you a little money over the S&W sport, if you build a similar rifle. The advantage of the build it yourself rifle is that you can go in, buy the stock you want, the trigger you want, the handguard you want, the barrel you want, and the BCG you want. There is no compromise to the parts you select. You end up with a more personalized rifle than the standard carbine. Say you want a midlength setup with a given float tube and butt stock. You go to del-ton, pick the options you want, and then it comes to you with them. No buying a factory rifle to then buy extra parts. That's where the benefit of a build comes. If you want an off the shelf ar, buying one from a factory is pretty similar to building.

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