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Old July 9, 2014, 06:30 PM   #1
ds/ks
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What AR-15's not to buy?

No experience with AR platform. Not interested in any optics. Just want to get into a entry level rifle, not necessarily the cheapest. I know everyone has their favorites, just want to know what brands to steer clear of.
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Old July 9, 2014, 06:39 PM   #2
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the only ones I can tell you to stay away from are Blackthorne/AKpartskits.
vulcan used to have a bad reputation but everytime I bring it up half a dozen people pop up saying their's function fine so perhaps they have refined things a bit.
aero precision, their stripped lowers are great for a build it yourself project but the rest of the parts are iffy.
don't buy one that lists parts from half a dozen companies, it is likely that it was assembled in somebodies basement and they are either flipping it(like house flipping, build it cheap, sell it high), or they mucked it up and want to pawn it off on some unsuspecting newb.
Remington is just a rebranded DPMS in camo dipping(which peels), don't waste the money, get DPMS.
other than that you are fine with anyone from the low shelf like DPMS, to mid shelf like Rock River arms, to highest quality Seekins Precision.
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Old July 9, 2014, 06:52 PM   #3
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CENTURY

Yes century


I've seen inside a C-15 and the drunken monkeys and angry beavers didn't spare the bench grinder or file
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Old July 9, 2014, 07:02 PM   #4
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ds/ks - you'll probably swiftly get a lot of opinions on worst. Yes, there are some really bad AR makes out there, which are objectively ... bad (Century, as noted, is one). If you happen to see a Vulcan, Hesse, Blackthrone in the shop (likely used or on consignment) ... don't walk, but run away.

After that, worst can going to be relative to what you want to do with the rifle. Plinking/informal shooting? Home defense? Getting interested in matches? Are you looking for just something to start out with, knowing you might upgrade things along the way?

With the above mentioned brands, odds are very high that you'll get a rifle that needs work (perhaps major work).

I have several Bushmasters and Colts.

I'd put Bushmaster in the category of "possible" you'll get a rifle that needs some work (four BM rifles over the past 20 years, had to just replace the entire upper on one, but the others have been very good - still have all four).

Colt - I'd put tha tin the category of "not very likely" to have a problem.

Though a lemon can squeeze out of any production line...

Last edited by wojownik; July 9, 2014 at 07:07 PM.
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Old July 9, 2014, 07:12 PM   #5
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There are varying opinions about Olympic, what is certain is;

1. they certainly aren't top of the marque
2. they spent some time producing cast (instead of forged or billet, they are producing forged now I hear) receivers that were problematic
3. many reports of trouble with customer service

I personally have not owned one. A close friend does and while our combined use has not exposed any really big problems it is less reliable and seems of lesser general quality than his Smith and Wesson M&P 15 Sport and my Colt LE6920. I know that he considers the purchase of the Olympic during one of the Obama panics an "act too hastily" mistake.

If you can find the budget for either the Smith or a Colt 6920 they would be my recommendations. It is often cheaper to buy quality the first time. There are some outstanding prices right now on both the Smith and the Colt if you shop hard.
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Last edited by rswartsell; July 9, 2014 at 07:27 PM.
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Old July 9, 2014, 07:36 PM   #6
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You can not go wrong with an S&W M&P Sport or a Colt 6920. If you shop around there are many good deals to be had on both
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Old July 9, 2014, 07:48 PM   #7
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When purchasing new, avoid any company/product that doesnt offer a good warranty and strong customer service.
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Old July 9, 2014, 07:50 PM   #8
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IMO/IME the best AR for the money right now is either a Palmetto State Armory (PSA) or S&W M&P Sport.

Both of mine have been 100% reliable and both were right at 650 bucks out the door.

Good Rifles.

Just my .02,
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Old July 9, 2014, 07:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
When purchasing new, avoid any company/product that doesnt offer a good warranty and strong customer service.
isn't that most of them?
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Old July 9, 2014, 07:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Not interested in any optics
Even if not, dont plunge in for a non-optic ready AR ( the non-detachable carry handle versions).

When you do become interested in optics you'll be in a pickle.

Ask me how I know

Im rolling with a scope riding on top of a carry handle until I can get the funds for a fix (stripped upper). The thing's like a double decker bus. I have to bend down inside so i dont scrape my scope on the ceiling
The Tactical Tommys at the range are not impressed when i break that thing out...
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Old July 9, 2014, 08:10 PM   #11
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If you're not going to war with it or a grueling class/match, there are a lot of choices out there for inexpensive rifles that would be fine for plinking and such - DPMS, Stag, Bushmaster (not really inexpensive), etc.

But with bargains out there from Colt, PSA, S&W, and, if you shop around, Spikes Tactical, all for not much more than any of the above, if you think you'll need real dependability, it's a no-brainer to upgrade.

The Blackthornes and others mentioned in the same breath above aren't worth your time.
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Old July 9, 2014, 08:27 PM   #12
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#1 LOOK AROUND! Read Reviews...Don't be in a big hurry!

I wanted a Bushmaster Varminter for a while...Fantastic reviews and a very well made gun! They ran from upper 900$ range into the thousands. I got one at Sportsmans Warehouse last week on sale for $799 after 200$ sale price / Rebate and have 100 rounds of Remington .223 ammo coming....Not to mention I got 5% off for being a Veteran.

I stuck a nice little Nikon 4X12 Prostaff on it I already owned until I found a scope.....Today I found a scope..Bought a Vortex Viper 6.5 X 20 X 44 Dead Hold BDC...regular price $429...sale was $299 plus my 5% Discount.

Range reports soon!
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Old July 9, 2014, 08:54 PM   #13
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PSA CHF/Premium or S&W Sport get my vote for budget rifles. BCM/Colt/DD for higher end.
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Old July 9, 2014, 08:59 PM   #14
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As long as it is a larger brand name you should be fine. If it is a hodgepodge of parts for sale at the local gun store it might not be good. PSA makes a good rifle.
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Old July 9, 2014, 09:10 PM   #15
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If you know what your looking at, there can be some smoking deals on "parts rifles", but you have to have a keen eye. Such as a DPMS lower, Colt upper and BCM bcg for $600.
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Old July 9, 2014, 09:32 PM   #16
Bruce Hanson
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Don't worry about what not to buy, just get a Colt 6920.
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Old July 9, 2014, 10:32 PM   #17
Paul7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.W.Dale View Post
CENTURY

Yes century


I've seen inside a C-15 and the drunken monkeys and angry beavers didn't spare the bench grinder or file
I've got a Century assembled A-1 that has been perfect.
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Old July 9, 2014, 10:33 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rswartsell View Post
There are varying opinions about Olympic...
I have an Olympic M4gery upper. I had trouble getting it to fit another company's lower. If I remember, the upper was not trimmed enough in certain areas. But I have slept since then.

Finally got it to work and it did function fine.

I borrowed the lower for another project. I recently bought a new lower for the Olympic. No trouble with the fit this time.

Makes me wary of Olympic.
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Old July 10, 2014, 03:39 AM   #19
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So the S&W folks seem to be nailing it right now in their price range. I would not hesitate to buy one in a moments notice. For me, a 'special needs' person, I have been totally satisfied with Stag Arms guns (left handed) but if the right handed guns are the same as the left handers (and they are) they are as good as the S&W and about the same price. Good stuff though unexpected. But for resale value, the S&W will retain more value than the Stag for the right handers. Sad but true.
Finally a bit higher I would not hesitate to go with Daniel Defense. Low key excellence. And a bit higher it's the LMT (though I have confused them with the LWRC). I handled one and was simply stunned and the dynamic and static quality of the components and their manufacture. Wow, if I had the cash and they built a left handed model I would run to the front of the line (not a good idea when people are holding guns...).
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Old July 10, 2014, 09:09 AM   #20
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No problems with my Olympic Arms or Bushmaster products, though they are of a more vintage manufacture. My friend who has both a newer (heavily modified I might add), Olympic Arms M4 and a Rock River Arms LAR-15 Predator Pursuit, has been very pleased with the reliability and accuracy of both rifles.
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Old July 10, 2014, 10:10 AM   #21
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aero precision, their stripped lowers are great for a build it yourself project but the rest of the parts are iffy.
Please elaborate.

All that I have researched about Aero Precision indicates that their products are of very high quality, and are used by a number of companies, including PSA, BCM, and Spikes.
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:02 AM   #22
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Actually, about the only difference between a kitchen table parts gun and a lot of the others is that they have batches of parts to sort out and fit together, where the guy with just one each has to live with it.

Almost NOBODY makes all the parts. Most buy parts from vendors - and they aren't saying, either. Even Colt buys out a lot of their parts, and they don't forge, either, only machine.

As for the requirements, "I want a good quality plinker" is a bit vague. It's a semi auto combat rifle, made to do certain things better. Might as well get specific about what you want it to do. First thing is nail down what target at what range you intend to shoot. "Plinking" is less than 100m with iron sights at best, any Ruger 10/22 can do that.

Overall, a flat top upper with free float will likely be a better overall setup. Even if optics aren't a major concern, having the option to mount what you want where you want is important. And having a free float will get versatility that can be exploited later. They aren't radically expensive and will help prevent errors using a sling.

Most of the rest - stock, grip, rollmark, trigger - isn't going to add much to the equation. Ignore most of the hype about them and concentrate on the quality of the barrel and bolt carrier group, where the money counts. In that regard a PSA hammerforged barrel is a great value for the money, and a "milspec" mag inspected bolt will get a minimum acceptable level of quality.

What will be more important than avoiding the poor makers is not focusing on the Brands at all - focus on the parts specifications and that will eliminate the back markers completely.
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:18 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by B!ngo View Post
I have been totally satisfied with Stag Arms guns
Me too. Mine hasn't missed a beat and the trigger is excellent (readable and sharp/crisp).

I recommend the plus package to get the individually tested internals and the 1:7 barrel (in case you want to shoot longer/heavier rounds, it still handles lighter 55grain bulk just fine).

PS I avoided Bushmaster, as I heard they had been bought out and production moved somewhere else. Also that the quality wasn't as good as 10 years ago. Someone else can mabe confirm if this is true or not.
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Old July 10, 2014, 12:13 PM   #24
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PS I avoided Bushmaster, as I heard they had been bought out and production moved somewhere else. Also that the quality wasn't as good as 10 years ago. Someone else can mabe confirm if this is true or not.
They were bought by Freedom Arms (Owner of H&R, Remington, DPMS, Bushmaster, Para Ordnance and Marlin) in 2006

Windham Weaponry opened in 2011 and is basically what Bushmaster was before they were bought out.
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Old July 10, 2014, 12:48 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by FinnComm
PS I avoided Bushmaster, as I heard they had been bought out and production moved somewhere else. Also that the quality wasn't as good as 10 years ago. Someone else can mabe confirm if this is true or not.
I ordered a Bushmaster upper chambered in .450 BM about two years ago. I finally received it a few months ago and I'm VERY pleased with it. I'd have no problem buying another Bushmaster product. I also have a Bushmaster lower with a DPMS upper and it's an excellent rifle.
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