Seeking AR15 Advice


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d80buckeye
January 2, 2012, 06:40 PM
Hi... I'm a new poster to the forum but I've been an avid reader.


To cut to the chase I've been looking at purchasing an AR15 in the next year, say, before November as I'm not sure this year's elections will yield much favor for the firearm community. With that being said I've been doing somewhat extensive research on the platform and have determined for the casual shooter there is such a thing as "too much" so I don't want or break the bank nor do I want bottom of the barrel. Based on this research here is what I've determined:

- Usage: would be for purely recreational purposes. I'm interested in long-distance shooting just for kicks but let's be honest... I'd like to own one before you can't.
- Barrel (length): Obviously longer is typically more accurate but from what I've been reading there is negligible muzzle speed between each increment (maybe 100fps). I have a 12ga for self/home defense so extra length won't affect that decision.
- Barrel (twist): 1/9" looks pretty standard, not sure if I'd ever need 1/7".
- Barrel (type): 5.56 for flexibility of ammunitions costs
- Upper: leaning towards the A3 for future flexibility of a scope but would like opinions between A2 & A3
- Lower: pre-ban obviously, not sure what the other options here would be
- Brand: Another point of contention. I have been looking at DPMS, Bushmaster, and Ruger. Cheaper than dirt has a wide array of all of those so it gets a little fuzzy.
- Stock: adjustable
- Trigger: I've found that I like my trigger light on rifles so adjustable would be nice.
- Cost: I'd like to spend under $1000 out the door but if some fuzzy spousal math is required to overcome quality shortcomings so be it. I'm not opposed to building it piece by piece but there are a LOT of parts out there. I build computers so I'm sure this is the firearm equivalent of building a PC from scratch however is this approach necessarily cheaper or worth the effort?
- Accessories: open to suggestions here as well.

Any thoughts from current or previous owners to help nudge me around would be greatly appreciated Thanks.

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brian923
January 2, 2012, 08:23 PM
Seems like you want an m4 style rifle. You can get good quality eifles for well inder 1000$. Check out rock river arms, stag, smith and wesson, cmmg. And theres probly a ton more than i just listed. I saw a really nice smith and wesson sport at the store. It cost 649$. Was an m4 with adjustable stock, magpul flip up rear iron sigth (thoigh i think its the plastic version) a 1/8 twist 16 barrel with flash hider, a pmag magazine, dust cover, forward assist and brass deflector.

Bovice
January 2, 2012, 08:47 PM
Any of the ready-assembled rifles from the manufacturers you listed would be fine. They can all be had for 800-1000. It can get slightly more expensive if you want to custom-build your own. But you do get exactly what you want.

My ideal AR is as follows:

Barrel: 16", pencil profile, caliber 5.56. A2 flash hider is fine.
Twist: 1 in 7 (since I reload and can change bullet weight on a whim)
Upper: DPMS Lo-Pro A3. It doesn't have a dust cover, brass deflector, or forward assist. I have never needed these features, so I'd rather omit them.
Lower: Any mil-spec lower receiver
Stock: collapsible, standard M4 type
Fore-end: Aluminum free-float tube
Sights: A2 front sight, removable A3 carry handle (has A2 sights)
Grip: Magpul MOE

The combinations are limitless. Look at a bunch of ARs and figure out which parts you like and don't like, and use that to assemble one that you like.

DoubleTapDrew
January 2, 2012, 09:10 PM
- Lower: pre-ban obviously, not sure what the other options here would be
Why do you want a pre-ban lower? There are no differences between them and current production lowers unless you live in a state that will alow "preban" lowers.
There are a LOT of options under $1000.
DPMS, Ruger and Bushmaster are fine low cost options. If you are willing to step it up a little and still stay under $1k I'd look into BCM, Daniel Defense, Spikes, and LMT. Most of them are 1:7 twist but that just allows you to shoot heavier/longer bullets and typically aren't less accurate than 1:9 barrels with the usual 55gr or 62gr stuff.
You likely won't find an adjustable trigger on a production AR (at least not in that price range) but there are tons of aftermarket triggers available and some are pretty reasonable.
You might also look into the S&W ar-15s. They seem to be quite good for the price range.

Stack
January 2, 2012, 09:16 PM
Best advise I could give you is take your time and do a lot of reading and research if you're the finicky type. If it's just another gun then buy a production model and let the factory carry your warranty and field your concerns as required. Personally I lean toward a bit of anal retention and no one AR will suit all my needs. I have built several CMMG WASP upper based economy builds and the 16 bbl is very accurate. The whole MOE upper is about $575.00 including the bcg and charging handle. They are a bit over gassed as are almost all production uppers so if you reload you'll want an adjustable gas block. Have fun!

d80buckeye
January 2, 2012, 10:57 PM
Brian & Bovice - thanks for the suggestions.

Drew - Thanks for the callout on the pre-ban lower... do you mind elaborating? Regarding the adjustable trigger I figured it would have to be aftermarket. My main goal here was to keep it around 2lbs pull.

Stack - research is a vice of mine no matter what I'm purchasing - I tend to do a lot of it almost to a fault. I'm fairly new to firearms so all of my firearm decisions have had a bit more weight than my typical purchases. With that being said I've been trying to absorb as much data as possible and build a knowledge base piece by piece.

crazy-mp
January 2, 2012, 11:15 PM
Rock river makes some nice rifles too, my first AR was a Bushmaster, as long as you stay with one of the big companies, your only problem will be picking the one you want. I am a old fashioned guy I like iron sights and I would say A2, plus you will not have to buy a scope or find a carry handle to put on your A3.

If you don't like the upper you get with your first purchase, you can always get another length or twist upper and sell the old one.

chris in va
January 3, 2012, 02:51 AM
I'm extremely pleased with my M&P Sport...definitely not a basement level rifle. 2500 reloads through mine so far.

hardluk1
January 3, 2012, 08:06 AM
M&P15 sport also but PSA is also a good low cost rifle that can be bought for under 600 dollars. 2LB Trigger?? Aftermarket only and at 2 lbs may not hit hard enough to fire 5.56nato ammo. look for 3-3 1/2lb . Aftermarket anyhow. My M&P brakes at 5lbs and is a decent trigger ar AR's go.

Tirod
January 3, 2012, 08:25 AM
The list of features doesn't really tilt it much toward an M4gery any more than a A4. Since some long range precision is desired, I'd stick with a 20" with rifle gas. Precision shooting is more prone or bench shooting, and adjustable stock isn't needed as compared to Three gun or CQB with a squared stance and even a vest.

A good two pound trigger is nice for range use, but a free float and bipod will deliver measurable accuracy, where the trigger will only deliver if the combination can shoot under 1/2 MOA. For now, a simple travel adjustment screw would be more cost effective until experience suggests it's time for the expense. $300 of trigger wont make a $1000 gun shoot 30% better. You'd get more bang for the buck spending another $300 on the scope, moving into the price range over $600 for one.

Overall, sounds more like a good varmint gun would suit better than misapplying the M4.

KansasPaul
January 3, 2012, 09:05 AM
First let me congratulate you on making the decision to purchase an AR rifle – great rifle and very flexible. Before you jump in to buying your rifle consider carefully what your main use will be. Do you plan to use it primarily at a shooting range or would you do any type of hunting that includes walking/carrying? What type of optics would you want to mount? Realistically how many rounds would you shoot through this – in other words, will this be a hard use gun?
Not all ARs are built alike. Like many other products, the quality of materials used in construction may not be seen but may affect the life of the rifle. Chrome lined barrels extend barrel life and minimize the effects of humid conditions but typically shoot with less accuracy than a non-chrome lined barrel. Also, barrel profile effects handling – pencil, M4 profile, heavy barrel will each feel different. (also note that a rifle length gas system will shoot softer than a carbine length gas system – there is also a “mid-length” system that is a sort of hybrid). I personally do not like front heavy rifles and I carry mine a lot so having a lighter weight is more important. A free float tube or rail may actually save weight and it will provide a place to mount a bi-pod if you choose to shoot long distance. If you plan to mount a scope you will likely want to have a flip down or removable front sight as the sight post will remain in your optic.
I won’t get into the whole brand discussion but know that there are a LOT of differences between AR manufacturers and the parts used. For more information I suggest that you go to: www.ar15.com click on the “AR15” tab at the top left side of the page, when in the forum select “AR15 Discussions” and within that topic select the “AR15 Discussions :FAQs” sticky. Most of your questions should get answered there.
Good luck with your search!!
Blessings
Paul
BTW, Palmetto State Armory, one of the advertisers here, is well respected in the AR community and their rifles use good quality parts - reasonably priced.

accrhodes
January 3, 2012, 10:08 AM
Buy a BCM and never look back.

MtnCreek
January 3, 2012, 10:17 AM
To cut to the chase I've been looking at purchasing an AR15 in the next year, say, before November as I'm not sure this year's elections will yield much favor for the firearm community.

When you figure it out, let me know and I'll go ahead and buy it now; I'll sell it to you in Nov. 2012 for twice what I paid.:)

If you're interested in shooting it at longer range, you will probably be happy with a 20" flat top w/ carry handle irons attached. That would give you the option of mounting a scope later, if desired.

StrutStopper
January 3, 2012, 11:00 AM
The best advice I can give you is to go to M4Carbine.net and do some reading. You'll learn a lot and get the opinions of lots of people with extensive real-world experience with the AR platform. Nothing gets sugar coated over there. After doing some research, there may be certain brands that stand out, both good and bad.

The Capt
January 3, 2012, 12:34 PM
d80buckeye,

I'd go for quality first and foremost. Checkout the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport for $739. http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_786006_-1_757785___ProductDisplayErrorView_Y

You can't go wrong with a Smith & Wesson product!! :)

C-grunt
January 3, 2012, 12:36 PM
For under 1k you can buy the Gold Standard of the AR world, the Colt 6920.



http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=6920

C-grunt
January 3, 2012, 12:37 PM
Well it looks like the 6920 is out of stock. Here is another good option.

http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=6720

Rifleman 173
January 3, 2012, 05:28 PM
First thing you do is figure out what you need the rifle to do for you. If you want it for hunting large animals, go with an AR-10 rifle in .308 Winchester caliber or get an AR-15 in 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel or 7.62 X 39 caliber. Any of these calibers will work for hunting deer and feral hogs.

For personal defense, sporting purposes, tactical training and so on, think about a rifle in .223/5.56 caliber or 6.8 SPC. These are the basic calibers used by our military for general tactical work/training. There are all sorts of accessories that have also been developed to help a person in these endeavors.

For varmint shooting, you might want to consider an AR in .204 Ruger.

As to makes of ARs... Most ARs are what is called MilSpec. That means that they all meet the same basic specifications in size, dimensions, structure and so on. Quality control is where the differences surface among the different makers. But, in most cases, I have found that just about any AR will probably work to meet my needs once I have it broke in and tested to my liking. My most favorite rifle right now is a Superior Arms that I keep around for general tactical use and local competition shooting. I also own a couple of Bushmasters, a Rock River Arms and a Stag Arms rifles too. I keep 2 20 inch variants around for precision shooting needs, a couple of M-4 clones for tactical work and a couple of others for testing purposes. I prefer the .223/5.56 versions for the most part but have an upper set up for use with 7.62 X 39 ammo.

One of the really nice aspects of the M-4/AR rifles is that you push 2 pins, replace the upper half, ammo and magazines and you have a completely different caliber to try out. There is a lot to be said that is positive about these system of rifles and how easy you can adapt them.

kfgk14
January 3, 2012, 08:50 PM
Have you looked into Palmetto State Armory? Do it. Great prices on fully mil-spec (this is a good thing) rifles of your description.
Are you a righty? Oh, good, it's your lucky day.
Or...if not, then you're building an AR, because you value ambidexterity (ambidextrousness? It's been a while since HS English...)!

So, make that decision. Either way, I'd actually advise you to build your lower at least. It will save you money to build the lower.

Parts list?

Hmmm...
How hard is the $1000 ceiling?

If it's hard, look into the wonderful world of M4carbine.net. They'll hook you up with good deals, used parts, fill you in on proper assembly, and most importantly, fill you in on what goes into a good AR. When you join, just spend a while reading in the general and technical AR discussion section. It will really catch you up to speed on mil-spec, TDP, etc.

Right now, you can get a lower from palmetto state armory for $50. You can get a great lower parts kit from Spikes Tactical, I want to say you can get a standard for $70 and an enhanced (better coatings and pins, ambi safety, better pistol grip) for $150. Buy a stock kit and cheap, standard black plastic stock from PSA, they come as a kit for $50 if you scour the website. So, for $170-$250 you have a complete lower.

Palmetto State Armory gets you a barrel, bolt carrier group and upper receiver for $370. Scrap the front gas block (unless you have access to a milling machine/drill press, if so scroll down) and get a low profile gas block ($30 or so from bravocompanyusa.com), and a gunfighter charging handle ($45 from prev. website). Buy a Smith Vortex flash hider for $50 or so, and then track down a Midwest Industries SS-12 free-float rail (under $160 if you hunt around). Buy a mid-length gas tube from Bravo Company for $15. Now Buy Magpul front/rear sights, should cost $80-90 total. The grand total for that upper is $770, at the high end. Shipping will factor in, so plan on spending slightly more than the price here.

So you saw above, come here if you have a mill?drill press? Well, do some google-ing and find out how to use a mill and a taper pin reamer to taper pin your front sight base. The reamer costs almost nothing from midway USA. Now, take the Dremel tool/hacksaw you own (right?) and cut the triangle front sight base off the gas block, to make what is effectively a low profile gas block. This info can also be found on the internet. Black Krylon will alleviate any shininess that may bother you. This process will save you $10-15, and you may want to invest in it if you have plans for more AR's down the road (they're very addictive).

So, now, put it all together. Others can describe the process better than I. Scour the internet (m4carbine.net will fill you in) for a good guide.

Total, that should be $940-ish on the low end, $1025-ish on the high end. Sales may pop up, used parts can be found, and some people will just plain give you stuff. Keep your eyes peeled and do some scanning at m4carbine.net and ar15.com for people trading AR parts and such, many a great deal to be had.

If you're willing to wait around for the best deals, sales are run often by many companies, especially the christmas season, Holloween, etc. I had a rifle assembled with entirely Black Friday purchased parts for a lot less than you'll pay for the above outlined build.

Accessories...this depends. You'll want some good mags. Bravo company carries good USGI 30 rounders. Magpul mags are good. The Lancer L5 AWM mags are excellent, the best option for 20 rounder's IMO.

I'd advise a good sling. Blue Force Gear VCAS with an HK snap hook on the front (attached to a Magpul RSA sling loop on the front) and just woven onto the rear stock (you can research other attachment options later) would be a good addition. For about $70 right now, you can buy a great chest rig for the carriage of your magazines (Blue Force Gear 10 Speed Chest rig, Basic M4 Load), and if you eventually wanted to enter a carbine course for additional training in the use of the AR-15, you could use that chest rig very well.

tyeo098
January 3, 2012, 08:57 PM
http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=F1SASL&name=Surplus+Arms+%26+Ammo+LOW15+Stripped+AR+Lower+Receiver&groupid=11

Plus

http://www.del-ton.com/Rifle_Kit_p/rkt101.htm

A fully functioning M4 (some assembly required, its not hard, trust me) for what? $465+60= $520? Now you can spend the other $480 on ammo and training.

Its highly suggested you learn on an entry level rifle, then work your way up to the fancy-pants stuff like BCM and DD

EDIT: Somewhere on here I saw someone had a polymer (complete) lower for around $129.00? That plus any upper would reduce costs.

kfgk14
January 3, 2012, 09:03 PM
I'd advise a Palmetto State Armory build kit, if you go the kit route.
I'd advise against the adjustable trigger. it won't do you too much good, given $1000 just isn't going to cut it for putting together something with the accuracy potential to justify a nice trigger like that. If you said you had $1250-$1500 or so, maybe...but then you need glass or national match sights and such. I'd leave that alone for the future. Just get some trigger time on a more conventional AR-15.

Domino
January 3, 2012, 09:41 PM
This is easy really...

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-BFH-16-Mid-Length-Upper-Receiver-Group-p/bcm-urg-mid-16%20bfh.htm

Then...

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-Lower-Receiver-Groups-M4-AR15-s/117.htm

Then all you would need is some bolt carrier, handguards, and charging handle....

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-Bolt-Carrier-Group-MPI-Auto-M16-p/bcm%20bolt%20carrier%20group%20auto%20mp.htm

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/Mid-Length-Handguards-Black-p/handguards%20mid%20length%20black.htm

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-GUNFIGHTER-Charging-Handle-GFH-Mod-4-p/bcm%20gfh%20mod%204%20556.htm

Total $1,050 + shipping and transfer

get the trigger later...

d80buckeye
January 4, 2012, 08:40 PM
Good Lord you guys are a plethora of info (and opinions). To sum up what I've gathered from you guys so far the adjustable trigger isn't such a great idea. Also determined some of the following:

Pre-assembled to look into: BCM, S&W, Colt
Kits: Palmetto, BCM, sites Tyeo suggested

Anything else I'm missing? Thoughts on tactical latches? Threaded barrels?



Crazy - I wanted the flexibility of either iron sights or a scope which is why I was leaning towards the A3

Hardluk - you're probably right about the trigger. Good call to scrap that idea.

KansasPaul - this would be for the range and maybe screwing around as a tactical gun

MtnCreek - you're quite the entrepreneur... the exact type I'm trying to avoid down the road ;)

Strut - thx for the extra reading resource

Capt - a balance of quality with price is always my goal but that's always the trick, isn't it :P

Rifleman - I don't think I would use this for hunting as I may grab a .308 on another platform for that.

KFG - the $1000 is already above what my theoretical spending limit should be but I'm trying to be realistic with the quality/price balance. Remind me to look you up when I need to convert this thing to full auto when the zombies begin to run rampant. Also, consider the trigger scrapped.

Domino - thanks for the links.

justice06rr
January 5, 2012, 12:33 AM
I hope you don't live in California! Lol

Good to hear you are looking to invest in one of the most popular rifle platforms. There are typically 2 ways to go about it;
1. Buy a complete AR15 rifle from any of the reputable manufacturers
2. Build your own.

Being new to the AR15, I highly suggest the first option. Buy a complete basic M4 rifle, and as you research and find what other parts/accesories you like, swap out parts accordingly. This way you can shoot and practice with the AR; if you were to build one then you can't shoot it until its complete.

I'm quite new myself, and a friend of mine who's been into the AR15 builds suggested me to build one. But this is not exactly easy if you have no previous experience and knowledge with AR15's. So what I did was buy a Bushmaster M4A3 in .223/5.56 , learned as much as I can with how the AR rifle works, how to clean it, disassemble, etc. The I sold it and got a different AR.

With rifle parts, may I also suggest Vltor and Spikes Tactical. once you know how to swap out uppers/lowers you can look into building one to your liking. Here's an awesome VLTOR upper I want to get:
http://vtsupply.com/vltor-mur-modular-upper-receiver-mur-1a-billet-ar15-ar-15.html

chrome_austex
January 5, 2012, 01:06 AM
- Usage: You mention long distance here...
- Barrel (length): Short barrels are just as accurate, but long barrels are faster (thus better for long distance shooting) - 20"
- Barrel (twist): get a 1/8 or 1/7" if you're serious about +300y. 1/9 is fine, but most people would rather shoot 75-80gr ammo than varmint loads sub 55gr. A quality 1/9" barrel does match well up wth 55gr ammo for low wind or short ranges, if that's all you need. Either way, get a decent chamber and high quality barrel.
- Barrel (type): Wylde chamber is a good choice. Supports 5.56. Normal 5.56 is looser (generally less accurate).
- Upper: flattop
- Lower: any (RRA for the match trigger option)
- Brand: DPMS from that bunch, hands down... but dmps doesn't offer the preferred options. Stay away from the Ruger or Bushy. Prefer BCM, RRA is fine.
- Trigger: 2-stage (for these purposes). RRA makes a good one.

holdencm9
January 5, 2012, 09:38 AM
I will second the Palmetto State suggestion, and not only if you are just going for a kit from them. I bought a 16" carbine from them for $600 and have been very pleased. I really don't think I'll need anything more for my needs, and your needs seem similar. They also have 20" barrels if you are interested in longer-range. They also have some setups with a Geissele 2-stage 4.5# trigger included. I also looked at Spikes, DPMS, Stag, and a host of others, but the PSA just felt like the right specs for the right price at the right time.

Honestly, there has been a ton of great advice already, but my advice (as another relative newb to AR's), just buy one preassembled, and do it now before you change your mind, and before prices start climbing! I think a lot of people (myself included) tend to overanalyze every little thing.

From what I gather, building an AR is like brewing your own beer. It doesn't save much money overall, and unless you are REAL picky about what you want, you can probably find something to satisfy your needs straight off the shelf. :) Sure, there is something very satisfying about DIY, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who has no experience and/or is still not settled on what they like.

d80buckeye
January 6, 2012, 10:05 PM
All of the advice has been fantastic. Unless I can find a solid lower/upper combination I'll end up going manufacturer built. With that being said the wife started hinting at baby #2 so I've only got a couple of months to piss her off with a "surprise" before we get "surprised" =P

goon
January 6, 2012, 10:37 PM
Its highly suggested you learn on an entry level rifle, then work your way up to the fancy-pants stuff like BCM and DD


Why?
If it's in your budget, why not buy one of the best rifles you can afford?

taliv
January 6, 2012, 10:56 PM
Its highly suggested you learn on an entry level rifle, then work your way up to the fancy-pants stuff like BCM and DD

learn what? how to clear malfunctions?

none of the instructors i know suggest buying hobby guns to save money for training. In fact, they will tell you that bringing "entry level" guns to a class will not only interfere with your training, it will slow the rest of the class down as well.

d80buckeye
January 6, 2012, 11:20 PM
Boys... Point taken... Let's kill the flaming now. I agree with the fact dirt cheap isn't the way to go for a firearm much like tools or a car.

To get back to the point I'm just trying to find that balance between both. BCM apparently doesn't like to offer prices on their site for complete rifles and The Daniels is out of my price range.

chad1043
January 7, 2012, 12:43 AM
d80, Your gonna get all kinds of advice. Sort through them and then make a wise decision. I run a Spikes Upper. It does what I want it to. Have fun reading.

FlyinBryan
January 7, 2012, 03:09 AM
ar's are some funny animals. ive had the "golden standard" as well as some that get bashed terribly.

it sounds snarky, but its not meant that way,,, but im glad i found the two bushmasters i have now before i found this website.

from what ive read here i should be incredible, world class in fact, at clearing malfunctions, but in 21,000+ rounds now between the two ive yet to get a single rounds worth of practice. not even a single jab at the forward assist.

i hear a lot "ya, but if you ever try to run them hard, like a carbine course, stuff will start failing",,,,,,,,

maybe so, ive never attended a carbine course, but i have intentionally dogged the crap out of them lately. our last trip with them was 2060 rounds between the 2 rifles in less than 1 day in east texas sugar sand. we had to stop several times until the aluminum hand gaurds were cool enough to touch again. when we couldnt wait we cooled them with water from the bottom of the ice chests.

21,000 rounds and im told i should never trust them should my life depend on their reliable operation.

lol, ok.

EDIT: I am not suggesting that you go buy bushmasters. mine are pretty old and maybe they aint made the same anymore, in fact i know they are not.

d80buckeye
January 7, 2012, 11:50 AM
So I think I'm getting closer. I started leaning towards the PSA kits and have found the following two uppers as they both have the 20" & 1/7 i was looking for:

http://palmettostatearmory.com/2307.php ($529)
http://palmettostatearmory.com/2278.php ($409)

It looks like the $120 difference is for free a floating rail and a low-profile gas block. I like the look of the more expensive upper but am curious if there is a reliability or quality difference between the two different gas blocks.

Welding Rod
January 7, 2012, 02:31 PM
I would get a 20" BCM Gov upper, w/ bolt and charge handle. Buy some RRA rifle length plastic handguards and their (or someone else's) lower with a 2 stage trigger and CTR stock. Either a BCM carry handle or maybe a DD A1.5 rear sight.

Personally I am a big fan of rifle length ARs. I like the room for the left hand, the increased sight radius, and the reduced operating pressure.

LKB3rd
January 7, 2012, 03:54 PM
I scanned and it looks like no one elaborated on the ban info. The federal assault weapon ban expired. However, there are several states that still have state bans, so unless you live in one of those states, don't worry about pre/post ban.
If you do live in a ban state, you'll either need a ban compliant AR, or a preban lower to get the standard features.

benzy2
January 7, 2012, 11:26 PM
Don't worry much about rifle twist. 1:9 will stabilize most anything you would load to fit into a magazine. A 1:8 may be a little more assuring at the absolute upper end but 1:7 is only needed for tracers and bullets too long to fit in a mag. 1:7 will handle most everything just fine as well but I don't think any civilian shooting something other than the 600 yard line of a service rifle match would find a fault with a 1:9 twist. Take the twist that comes on the barrel you like and be done with that issue.

Lots of good options. Some options better for specific uses. Mil spec is what it is. You have to know why a spec is in place and if it has any relevance to your shooting. Long range target practice isn't what the mil spec is designed about. Some things like bolt testing are good for most anyone, but others can be neutral or drawbacks. When someone suggests a given rifle you have to look at what they use it for to be able to place an amount of value on what they say.

Take the comment above about carbine classes. For someone who fights for a living with their rifle a carbine class may be a good measure for a rifles worth. A service rifle shooter doesn't want practically any option that the "fighter" wanted. Someone who varmint hunts is different yet and then they causal shooter is different yet. Take Oly Arms for example. They have gained a reputation online as pure junk yet a lot of these rifles shoot very very accurately. Sure, they may have a higher failure rate than brands that are more respected online but Imdoubt much near their price range could shoot better than the older Oly rifles I've seen.

Point is to figure exactly what you want to do with the rifle, figure out what features you want and what to avoid, and buy from what's available with the features you want. Don't listen to every suggestion for every rifle as they are rifles that fit the person respondings uses best, not necessarily yours.

helotaxi
January 8, 2012, 07:44 AM
The beauty of the AR platform is that you can make it your rifle. Don't like something? Swap it out. Some basic tools and a little research will give you all the info you need to tear the thing down and rebuild it, repair parts that wear or swap out nearly any part on the rifle.

While there is a wealth of knowledge on ar15.com and m4carbine.net, neither are particularly friendly and both are eat up with the "mil-spec groupies" to use as polite a term as I could think of. In the opinion of way too many on both of those sites, the AR15 is only any good if it is just like what is being carried in combat, even if the owner (whose opinion is the only one that matters) has no intention of every taking it into harm's way. You'll see Colt, BCM, Daniel Defense, LMT and Noveske (even though Noveske doesn't use mil-spec barrels) recommended regardless of the intended use of the rifle.

I think that you're on the right path. PSA is putting out a quality product. I wouldn't worry about the difference between the gas blocks. For all intents and purposes, there is no functional difference other than the standard style houses the front sight. Something to consider is keeping the standard front sight base and replacing the standard handguards with a free-float tube. If you have the tools, or know someone who does, this can be done for very little money. It allows you to keep a reliable front sight and still have the benefits of a free float at longer range. You won't notice the front sight in the scope if you decide to add one later. Your thoughts about an A4 (flat-top) upper are right on as well. You can add a removable carry handle or rear irons to the flat-top, you cannot correctly mount a scope to a fixed carry handle.

ARs are addictive. You've been warned. I'm working on building #7 right now and #8 is already on the drawing board.

highpower
January 8, 2012, 10:52 AM
I've been trying to stay out of this discussion, but I finally thought I'd put in my .02 worth.

First, let me say that I have been shooting and then building AR15's since the early 70's. This doesn't make me an expert, but it does give me a fair amount of perspective on the platform.

This is truly a golden time to be building/shooting these rifles as there has never been more options available to the shooter.

Don't listen to the equipment snobs out there. They feel that you have to spend huge amounts of money to have a decent rifle. Sure, the top end manufactures may use "better' parts, but better for what? The average person just isn't going to shoot enough to wear one out.

I have a AR15-A2 that I built out of a mix of surplus parts, a PWA lower and a Wilson match barrel that took me all the way to Master Class in NRA highpower competitions back in the early 90's. I really can't say how many rounds have been through that rifle, but lets just say it's a bunch. It doesn't have any of the latest gizmos on it but I really like that rifle and I will never part with it.

I just built a carbine on a PSA kit + a PSA lower and I couldn't be any more pleased with it. All the parts fit together without and drama and when I took it to the range it shot everything I put through it with no problems and was accurate to boot. In the end, that is all I ask of my guns.

chad1043
January 8, 2012, 12:58 PM
Great post HP. Thanks. Posts like that makes this forum one of the best.

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