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Old July 22, 2014, 07:41 PM   #1
Join Date: September 4, 2011
Posts: 140
Help with choice between two specific AR's?

Hi all-

A few weeks ago my wife shot an AR (somebody in another bay offered). She kind of likes the platform, and while it never did much for me previously that she likes it is as good a reason as any to get one out and make it our own. That prices are a lot less odd than about a year or so ago makes it a good time as well.

I've been doing a LOT of reading, handling, and discussing with various individuals (friends, owners, gunshop employees, assorted experts) and am reasonably comfortable that I sort of understand, in general, the options before me. I would like to stay toward the budget but not low quality end of the spectrum.

I have found nothing bad about the Core15 M4 (not the Scout), and a local dealer can get me one for $650 plus tax ($690 OTD). The interested can check the specs (please do and advise me) but things I noticed included the chrome-lined barrel and stainless bolt carrier. It appears not to have a rear sight (though their page shows it is "optional"), but I'm starting to see that this is not uncommon given the apparent tendency for the AR to be configured a lot of different ways.

I was fairly ready to go for this, but then came across a Palmetto State Armory rifle on Armslist that the seller says is un-fired (no basis to assert otherwise at this point), asking $750. From what I can gather, it is their PSA Premium M4 Carbine, save for one difference - a stainless steel barrel. When I asked, he said it was most like the premium (linked above) but with the stainless barrel. At this moment, all I have are 2 pictures from the ad and what the guy said in email). Obviously if it gets serious I'll need to look at it.

The big difference at this point appears to be the stainless barrel. Is that a $100 difference, all things equal? Are the platforms equal other than that, or is one of them "more equal" than the other? Am I missing something obvious?

At any rate, here's the specific question. New Core15 described above for $650 plus tax or not new (but apparently not very if at all used) PSA with a stainless barrel for $750?

Please avoid the standard (for some) "skip both and get you a Colt" comments - 1K is simply not in play. I may end up going for neither, but from what I have seen these are both good budget platforms so this is the option on the table at this moment.

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Old July 22, 2014, 07:54 PM   #2
Join Date: February 2, 2012
Location: South GA
Posts: 316
Don't pay $750 for that PSA. You can build a complete PSA rifle from a Blemished lower with CMV chrome-lined barrel for less than that. Can even add in a Vortex StrikeFire and be under that price.

$430 - http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.../category/313/
$50 - http://palmettostatearmory.com/index...category/4345/
$100 - http://palmettostatearmory.com/index...category/2249/
$25 - FFL fee
~$30? - shipping
$635 total

For factory guns the S&W M&P15 Sport is hard to beat. Melonite coated barrel. Comes with. Magpul rear BUIS.

That CORE15 seems good. I haven't heard much about them, but that doesn't mean anything.

Hope it helps. GL
"A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him."

Last edited by ZGunner; July 22, 2014 at 08:03 PM. Reason: Links added
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Old July 22, 2014, 08:17 PM   #3
Join Date: March 9, 2006
Location: Northwest Washington
Posts: 2,519
Agreed, buy direct from Palmetto and save money, have a warranty. The gun he has is currently $599, here's the link: http://palmettostatearmory.com/index...m-carbine.html

Or, be waaaaay ahead and just buy PSA's "blemished" parts. I've never seen the "blemish" on any that I've ordered.

Any milspec charging handle-$15

For $575 + shipping/transfer, you have a deadnutz reliable, mil spec rifle with a cold hammer forged barrel.

Last edited by Jackal; July 22, 2014 at 08:23 PM.
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Old July 22, 2014, 08:21 PM   #4
Join Date: March 22, 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 138
Take a look at Daniel Defense or Noveske, Les Baer. More money but no regrets. I built a .223 using a Lilja barrel, good quality parts, RRA NM trigger, ect. Bought a Les Baer, unbelievable! Every time I shoot it, WOW! It's not just the accuracy, it's how it feels, sounds,ect.
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Old July 22, 2014, 08:30 PM   #5
Join Date: March 9, 2006
Location: Northwest Washington
Posts: 2,519
I cant agree with Les Baer. Any company that doesnt know which direction the castle nut is supposed to face gets a fat thumbs down from me.
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Old July 22, 2014, 08:37 PM   #6
Join Date: March 30, 2011
Posts: 243
Search around some more before you buy. There is a lot to learn. Check out bravo company website. You could buy a complete quality lower for around 250 and get a complete bcm cosmetic blem upper for about 325. Put a 40 dollar magpul handguard and a quality bolt carrier group like spikes for 130. You can have a high quality ar for around 750 to 800 if you search around.
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Old July 22, 2014, 08:44 PM   #7
Join Date: March 18, 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 585
Maybe somebody who actually shot one can offer some advice but these adams arms blemish guns from buds seem very interesting and the price is right ($599).
They seem to get a lot of love in the reviews, and are piston operated which is unheard of at that price.


Thats the carbine, but they also have the mid length.
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:01 PM   #8
Join Date: September 4, 2011
Posts: 140
Thanks to all so far. I really appreciate the input. I figured I was getting reasonably close to understanding this stuff but these things aren't like arms I've bought before (e.g. revolvers, semi autos, 22 rifles, derringers, etc.) - it's much like figuring out which Legos to buy. Hence, if I can find something pre-configured (this time, anyway) it would help.
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:07 PM   #9
Join Date: March 7, 2011
Location: NW Montana
Posts: 49
+1 more for PSA. I have a PSA stainless upper in 6.8. I bought a Red X BCG and a SAA full length lower. I am installing a RRA rifle length free float tube. All for around $800. Its a good shooter. Only thing, if you read threads on PSA they seem to be in growing pains. So, if instant gratification is your thing you may be disappointed. It took only about 15 days to ship my upper.
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:08 PM   #10
Join Date: September 4, 2011
Posts: 140
...adams arms blemish guns from buds seem very interesting and the price is right ($599).
That brings to mind an interesting point. As I mentioned in the original post one thing I'm looking at is the Core15 M4 (not the Scout) - from what I can see the biggest difference being is the M4 has a chrome-lined barrel; the M4 Scout (which can be currently bought at Rural King for $599) does not. I mention this because the Adams described above doesn't have a chrome-lined barrel. Is chrome lining (or Melonite or Nitride) something about which I should be concerned much? From what I've read it does add to barrel life.
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:16 PM   #11
Join Date: February 2, 2012
Location: South GA
Posts: 316
I do believe that would depend on use. If it only goes to the range every once and a while I wouldn't think it would matter. But if you plan on putting several thousand rounds down the tube it would come into play.

I know when shooting corrosive ammo the chrome lining helps with cleaning. Not that you'll be firing any corrosive .223.
"A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him."
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:49 PM   #12
Join Date: November 20, 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 35,317
Premium PSA over Core 15 all day long. Premium, nothing less.
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:55 PM   #13
Join Date: December 26, 2012
Location: Iowa
Posts: 80
The first rule is don't be in a hurray to buy anything Take your time and learn some things about AR's first. Walmart has had some good prices on AR's lately. Check several sources. The S&W AR's have been competitively priced and seem to uphold the S&W reputation for quality. For a few dollars more you can get a SIG and for a few dollars more you can get a Colt. I own one Del-Ton upper and I'm not impressed with their quality as compared to the Armalite uppers I have. But, I paid more money for the Armalites. I'm not familiar with the Core15 to give you an opinion of them.

Owning an AR just isn't about buying the cheapest rifle but buying the best rifle for the money you have to spend. I suggest you start with the manufacturers web sites and start learning there. kwg

Last edited by kwg020; July 24, 2014 at 11:10 PM.
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:59 PM   #14
Join Date: November 18, 2005
Location: MI
Posts: 192
I'd say take a hard look at S&W's M&P15 Sport, and here's why.

1) you say this is for your wife, who 'kind of likes the platform'. How often do you think she'll shoot this, and is she really interested in it, or is more ambivalent about it.

2) you say AR's never really did much for you, but since you've essentially got the 'go ahead' to buy one, and considering political climates, figure now is the time (and it is!) - meaning, you're not even really that into it.

3) the S&W M&P15 Sport gets rave reviews from just about everyone for a basic (not cheap) starter AR. The only thing missing are the dust cover, which isn't a big deal to most, and a forward assist, which from what I've read, no one ever seems to use anyway. And they typically include a Magpul Backup Up Sight, which also get good reviews.

4) S&W warranty. I see the Core15 also offers a "NO BS Lifetime Warranty" but who knows how long that's going to last? Will Core be around as long as S&W? No one knows, but I'd rather put my money on S&W still being there if/when I needed them.

5) price - S&W M&P15 Sports can be found in the neighborhood of $560 shipped fairly often. Add in your FFL fee, and you're still doing better than both the Core15 or PSA.

6) the S&W is a name brand, and a good one at that. If the time comes when your wife decides she's no longer into the AR and you decide to sell it, the S&W name brand is going to return more of your money than a Core15 or even a PSA parts gun, and will likely sell quicker as well.

7) you're going to end up doing SOME level of customization to whatever you end up with - I mean it's an AR after all. So, no matter what you go with now, chances are you'll end up with something slightly different anyway. And being that it's your first AR, you really have no idea at this point where that road is going to lead you. Doesn't sound like you're going to depend on this as a life-saving tool (or are you?) so whatever you pick will probably be just fine. Don't over think it too much - buy something affordable and spend the savings on ammo and 'stuff' to go along with the new toy and have fun with it.

Given only your two choices though, I'd go with the PSA, but from PSA directly, not from an auction site, and I'd go with the chrome-lined (or melonited/nitrided) barrel over stainless.

And I know you didn't want to hear it, but for just a bit more, you CAN get a Colt with a complete set of Magpul furniture for $879, which is about half way between what you were looking to spend and that $1000 price tag.

Last edited by tiamat; July 22, 2014 at 10:09 PM.
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Old July 23, 2014, 06:57 AM   #15
Join Date: September 4, 2011
Posts: 140
Thanks to all; obviously I've a bit more to go on the learning curve. Clearly the PSA on offer was a bit high - not a general comment on PSA but on that particular offer. I'd like more data on the Core15 before going anyplace else on that one, but have seen very favorable reviews of their products. The Adams that was mentioned during the thread is intriguing also, as is the S&W (another for which I've seen very favorable reviews).

One last question (admitting my lack of knowledge about these "Lego"-type rifles - not a pejorative term - just recognizing the range of configurable options). Let's say that one gets the S&W, shoots it for a while, then realizes/decides that the items missing on the Sport (Forward Assist, Dust Cover) really are desirable. Would one then simply purchase a good upper with these features, either with a barrel or moving the S&W barrel over, and then be able to have them?

Again, thanks to all for your input.
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Old July 23, 2014, 08:27 AM   #16
Join Date: June 4, 2011
Posts: 58
The Sport is adaptable to most AR parts, the upper parts can be changed in a very short time if you wish to add a dust cover. Better thing would be initially purchasing a PSA, S&W, Colt 6920, or other quality rifle with the features YOU most desire. Low cost on an AR platform often means an economy build....the. average shooter can handle this but if you intend to push the rifle hard..... Colt, BCM,DANIEL DEFENSE etc is the way to go.
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Old July 23, 2014, 09:20 AM   #17
Join Date: August 5, 2011
Location: Reno NV
Posts: 424
I have a AR15 HBAR that I built back in 1989 with a Wilson non-chrome lined match barrel. I was shooting in the service rifle matches at the time and I can not even begin to say how many rounds have been through that rifle. To this day it will still shoot sub MOA, so I would say that from a longevity standpoint, you would likely never notice the difference.

While you can spend a ton of money on an AR, for the dough, you really can't beat the overall quality of a PSA. If you buy a PSA kit, you will have to assemble it, which should take you no more than 45 minutes to an hour. All the high end stuff is very well and good, but for the average shooter it is just overkill.
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Old July 24, 2014, 10:03 PM   #18
Join Date: February 5, 2011
Location: Dublin, OH
Posts: 327
PSA is best bang for buck today, but no reason to buy one overpriced by some yay-who trying to make a profit off one he just built. I see it a lot now on Gunbroker and Armslist. Go to PSA's site yourself and get a complete upper and lower or buy the components if you want and build your own.
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Old July 24, 2014, 10:09 PM   #19
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Location: FL
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Build your own PSA and get a better rifle than the Core15 for the same price.
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Old July 24, 2014, 10:31 PM   #20
Join Date: July 21, 2014
Posts: 4
Another vote to build your own PSA. Not only will you have a good rifle, you'll know the workings of the weapon better having assembled it yourself. I've bought two of the "blemished" lowers, and I have yet to discover what the blemish is. For a great upper you can also keep an eye out for a BCM blemished. I'm a huge KAC fan and for me, they offer everything I desire in a rifle. However, for the price you can't beat building your own.
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Old July 25, 2014, 01:45 PM   #21
Join Date: March 7, 2011
Location: Franklin, Indiana
Posts: 5
I assembled my latest AR or at least the lower. I wasn't ready to build an upper yet because I wanted a piston gun. I bought the Adams Upper and love it.
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Old July 25, 2014, 02:40 PM   #22
Join Date: July 8, 2014
Location: South Eastern US
Posts: 36
PSA is good but stay away from that guy on armslist. If you wait a couple more months Walmart does 18 months no interest for up to $700.

I did the 18 months no interest last October and got a Diamondback db-15 and love it. It has a qualrail system already so that's $100 you won't have to spend.

I was looking at the M&P but didn't like that cheap plastic forend grip. The DB-15 eats Russian steel all day. Be patient cause it's a buyers market.


Last edited by NOMI WASP; July 25, 2014 at 04:20 PM.
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Old July 25, 2014, 02:50 PM   #23
Join Date: April 5, 2014
Location: Snohomish, WA
Posts: 504

I know you asked between the choice of two ...and yet everyone jumps in with their favorites....LOL

That's okay, choice is good and that's the point. But I will SECOND this

I'd say take a hard look at S&W's M&P15 Sport, and here's why.
I did my research. I bought one. I shoot it all the time and their reputation is there for a reason. ROCK solid, features are great and accurate as all heck. Not a single FTF in approx. 2000 rounds. EASY to maintain.

$5.99 flat rate shipping & cost of $559
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Old July 25, 2014, 10:28 PM   #24
Join Date: November 1, 2010
Posts: 292
Help with choice between two specific AR's?

I recently put together a PSA and it was a much simpler process than I thought it would be.

I ordered:
1)PSA m4 premium upper(blem)
2)PSA complete lower-magpul acs-l edition
3)PSA premium bcg
4)BCM gunfighter charging handle
5)Daniel Defense a1.5 rear sight

Haven't shot it extensively yet, but wow I am loving this rifle. Very high quality! And the best part is it had all the "upgrades" I wanted and cost right around 700 with shipping and FFL transfer.ImageUploadedByTapatalk1406341760.215235.jpg

Last edited by Texaszach; July 25, 2014 at 10:29 PM. Reason: add pic
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Old July 25, 2014, 11:24 PM   #25
Mike J
Join Date: July 3, 2007
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,741
I have been going through a decision making process about all this myself lately. I wound up going PSA but have not completed my build yet (still waiting for parts to arrive).

I got a blemished premium rifle kit for $429.99 ($446 dollars shipped) http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.../category/313/
It just arrived yesterday. I found one very small scratch on the assembled upper.

I am waiting on my stripped lower to come in to the FFL. It was only $49.99 shipped. http://palmettostatearmory.com/index...category/4282/

I also have 5 P mags on order at $9.00 a piece and a rear sight coming. With shipping I am going to have my rifle, 5 30 round magazines & the rear sight for just over $600.

I still intend to get an optic at a later date but this should get me started.
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budget, core15, m4 ar, psa, stainless

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