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AR15 home-built accuracy/quality questions

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Tarvis, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. Tarvis

    Tarvis Well-Known Member

    I have recently aquired a taste for building my own AR15's, but I'm curious why manufacturers and dealers can get $800-$1k for a rifle I can build for $600-$800. Do they fit thier lowers to the upper, or are they charging to put them together? If I bought a DPMS stipped lower and a kit from (insert website) is 1moa or better achievable without too much gunsmithing work or armorer knowledge? What kind of accuracy can I expect out of a DPMS lower and a non-chrome lined barrel with a standard trigger and handguard?

    Any thoughts would be great ;).

    Also, what exactly are M4 feed ramps?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Some manufacturers do thorough tests. And time is money. How long does it take you to put together an AR from scratch from bags of parts, then test it? They have to make money on that time, too, not just the parts.

    And if it doesn't work right, they have customer service and warranty departments. If your home-built one doesn't work, well, you just have to figure it out and fix it.
  3. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    there's also a tax on complete guns that you don't pay on stripped lowers
  4. johnson_n

    johnson_n Well-Known Member

    Are you using the same exact parts in your build? Are you factoring in your time? Warranty? There's also an 11% FET that manufacturers get charged for when selling a complete rifle as opposed to a lower and upper seperately.

  5. Tarvis

    Tarvis Well-Known Member

    So the extra charge is for testing, taxes and warranty; that makes sense I suppose. Thanks for the pic on the m4 feed ramps as well. Would you say that m4 feed ramps are a necesity, a good idea for certain ammo or a shorter bbl, or $55 that should be spent on reloading components instead?
  6. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    If you buy top quality parts, use the proper tools and the proper techniques, you can build an AR just as good as almost anything your can buy in your gunstore. It's not difficult. It just requires patience, and attention to detail.
  7. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    The ramps are nice if you are going for ultimate in reliability, need to fire the longer 70+gr rounds full-auto, or have particularly worn/old magazines that you use.
  8. WyrTwister

    WyrTwister Well-Known Member


    You can buy an upper , completly assembled w/ bolt and charging handle . I think they will headspace the bolt & upper .

    You can buy a completly assembled lower receiver .

    Only assembly you have to do is to put the two halves together and slide in the pins . Than slap in a magazine .

    Done !

    God bless
  9. Tarvis

    Tarvis Well-Known Member

    Well, I already bought two stripped lowers, so buying the upper wouldn't make much sense, as I'd still have to buy the parts kit and the stock.
  10. DougW

    DougW Well-Known Member

    Why buy when you can build just as good or better?

    How about a pic of some rifles built from a "bag of parts":


  11. Bill2e

    Bill2e Well-Known Member

    while fun to build, i would much rather pay a little more for the warranty & to make sure it's built correct. Pluse the time saved is worth it to many.
  12. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    I've built my own and I am pretty handy with troubleshooting them; but even the ones I build from top notch parts do not come out as reliable as my MSTN-built upper.

    The kicker is I cannot even tell you why that is the case and I am very handy with troubleshooting ARs. This is the difference between their knowledge base and mine.

    Having said that, the AR is easy to maintain and build and most people are capable of doing a decent job on one if they start with decent parts. The problem with buying a parts rifle though is you never know what corners the guy cut in building it (or usually you don't - there was the one guy who I asked if I could look inside his personally built rifle and he said "yes." When I opened it the buffer spring detent and spring shot past my head and the bufffer and buffer spring spewed out of the buffer tube. He had failed to secure the detent with the lip of the buffer tube. I handed it back to him - at which point he demanded I fix it since I was obviously the one who "broke" it.)
  13. Zach S

    Zach S Well-Known Member

    If you could see the manufacturing process and the cost involved, add the 11% FET, and consider that that its sold at a profit three times (from the manufacturer to the distributor, the distributor to the dealer, and then from the dealer to you), then 800 to 1000 bucks for a rifle built with 600 to 800 bucks worth of parts isnt that bad. Not a really big profit for anyone involved.

    BTW, a bag of ice from a gas station has a 100 to 150% profit margin. It only cost a dollar or two, but if it costs DPMS $600 to build their bottom of the line rifle or carbine...
  14. MMcfpd

    MMcfpd Well-Known Member

    It makes me wonder why people will pay $100 for a brake job when they could do it themselves with $50 in parts.
  15. Kurt_D

    Kurt_D Well-Known Member

    Well, I haven't built an AR15 yet, I have built my AR10 though.

    The cost turned out to be the same as a AR10T. IMHO I used much better parts; parts like LaRue FFtube and mount, Noveske barrel, Magpul stock and grip, etc.

    The results: I've only had factory hunting rounds to test with but with me shooting I get at least 1 MOA at 100 yards. Usually my results are 3-4 shots within 1/2 inch with one, which usually I can tell you which, opens it up to 1 inch at 100 yds. I feel the gun is far more capable than I right now.

    ETA: I didn't have to headspace my set-up. The AR line has the headspace set at teh factory in the barrel ext. Using a new bolt should put you in spec everytime (assuming a quality manufacturer)
  16. Kurt_D

    Kurt_D Well-Known Member

    Do you want a precission rig? If you just want a "basic" AR, and for <$1000 it sounds like you do, then I highly recommend a chrome lined barrel because they are much easier to clean.

    Accuracy will not vary greatly, if at all, with a quality manufacture, chrome vs. non-chrome. Chrome usually runs ~$50 more.

    Anyway, a lower is a lower and DPMS is fine.

    I'd personally would not cheap out a lot on the upper. I'd buy complete (as in barreled) as this is the section where you'd have to buy extra tools to build. Your accuracy is here to. There are some good uppers out there that won't break the bank. Watch for Bushmaster's Tax time sale too, you might batch a hell of a deal on a total complete upper. New barrel with new bolt = should be no headspace issues.

    There are several good lower parts kits out there that are inexpensive and within $10 of each other.

    Basic stock are inexpensive.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is don't get hung on cheap "kits" when you could get better parts for the same money if you shop.
  17. Tarvis

    Tarvis Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm thinking it would take me around 3 hours to get the parts figured out and put together, so time isn't necesarily an issue. Even if I'm underestimating how long it will take, I'm still willing to invest the time. If something goes wrong with one of my guns, I usually fix 'em myself anyhow, unless it's something far beyond my scope.

    You are definetly correct there. Volume is the key in the gun business. My FFL guy would make about $2 per box of berger bullets if he sold 'em, and his bulk price on hornady bullets are pretty close to retail as well.

    From the little I looked at AR10's, it seems like you don't save a whole lot building your own, but you do get exactly what you want when you make one.

    I'm thinking a kit is the way to go here, simply because it is 2 fewer items to buy (parts kit, stock). I know I can buy 'em seperately but until I want a build with a different stock than what comes in the kit, it seems like a no-brainer, mostly because adding upgrades is cheaper than buying them seperate. m-aparts.com seems to be very confident in thier quality and I think I'll be ordering from them when I do. I'm not too confident in my decision-making skills when it comes down to piecing an upper together on my own so I'll buy a DPMS or a Bushy or some other brand name I've heard of.

    Well, I'm looking for a deal, but I'd rather pay an extra $50-$100 if I knew I'd be getting something capable of sub-moa. I get the feeling most of this comes with the barrel, but I'd rather rule out me not putting it together correctly.
  18. Essex County

    Essex County Well-Known Member

    Essex thinks that when doing a build, think twice about going with lowest bidder. Quality only hurts once. Essex
  19. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    We need you over in the Shotgun forum.:)

    It's hard to explain to some people why buying an Over/Under with a reputation for breaking down after a short time is not a "good deal" no matter how low the pricetag is.
  20. GaryM

    GaryM Well-Known Member

    I have built a few AR15s, one is a heavy barreled varmint type using a sabre defense barrel, CMMG lower, RRA two stage match trigger group and various other components of unknown origin I scraped together. That rifle will shoot sub MOA with quality (my own handloads using 69gr SMKs) ammo. IMHO the barrel, sights and the trigger group are the most important hardware involved when trying to build a really accurate rifle.

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