AR 15?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by x_wrench, Oct 14, 2021.

  1. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    I’ve taken a good bit of advice the past few years here on ARs, some I recall distinctly: don’t skimp on parts that matter, every part matters. Little nuggets of wisdom. So I buy good BCGs, I buy good springs. I buy the correct weight buffers. I buy barrels from manufacturers who’s gas port size is listed. Then I assemble the way they’re supposed to be assembled.

    I think I’d put my budget rifles in the hands of people I care about to defend them. I don’t think I’d do that with some of the $500 ARs being sold out there *without a few small parts being swapped first. Do that, to a PSA or Anderson and the rest should be fine. Nothing magical about a DD or BCM roll mark beyond knowing it’s done the way it should be.
     
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  2. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Of all the budget priced AR's that I've built, handled, and shot, I have to say I think I have been the most impressed with Palmetto State Armory in the sub $500 price range. They make nice stuff for the money. I would recommend anyone looking at purchasing an entry level AR to look at their site and pick out an upper and lower of their flavor to buy. They run some really good sales if you watch their daily deals.
     
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  3. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    I have only read the OP ...

    I paused a moment upon reading that ... and realized that I live in a much different environment. Anyone else? Show of hands. :)

    x_wrench, optic/irons-ready Anderson AR-15 for under $500 w/$20 shipping looks like a decent deal to me in the current market, although I have not been researching prices and am only considering the prices that I have seen online while passing by.

    I have multiple Lowers that I built on Anderson lower receivers (several with Anderson LPKs [LowerPartsKit]). Some of them I built with Anderson upper receivers but I cannot say how many. The hassle of acquiring the lower receivers makes them memorable. ;)

    While I have no experience with one of the Anderson AR-15 Builds, I have found all of my Anderson AR components to be excellent, value-exceeding-price products.

    HTH :)
     
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  4. twarr1

    twarr1 Member

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    +1 Get a mid-length gas system upper.
    IMO AR type parts are, in a way, like womens purses. You can get ones that look good and function well and you can get ones that have a particular “Name” on them that doesn’t add real functionality but cost 10x more.
    if you care about value get an Anderson or PSA lower. Either will serve you well. If you want to be ‘tachticool’ spend $1,000+ for the same functionality.
    Two pieces where more $ will get you better parts are the barrel, and possibly the trigger, although the stock AR trigger is fine for most purposes.
    You DONT need a $200 charging handle, a $100 selector or again imo, a $500 free float proprietary hand guard. The truth is, the average person can’t shoot the difference between a free float and a D-ring guard.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
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  5. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    For a paper puncher with a coyote now and then, focus on how much accuracy you really want to spend money on. The basic AR is likely military specification, which is 2MOA at 100m. Or, a 2" group at 100 yards. Is that good enough? No doubt you'd hit a coyote, and whitetail would present close to an 18" center of mass target, as would 2 legged predators. Thats why the military considers it 'good enough for government work."

    Spend just a little more for a better barrel, 1 MOA or even less, and then you chase the exciting proposition of it shooting better than you. As you practice and reduce groups to a plateau number, you find out where you rank with that barrel. It's not always what you want, tho.

    Then you get into how to improve that, which almost always means optics, so a flat top upper is the way to mount them. A free float, not so much, as you then have to shoot so well you can actually see when you are pulling the barrel of target with sling or hand pressure. Some claim they can see a difference just resting a float on something, and some like to post their .25" three shot group online, too. Watch out for claims that seem to be more bravado than ability.

    Going back to milspec, the 2MOA is a TEN shot group, something that seems to either enduce humility or denial online.

    Im on my third build, looking for an exotic big bore cartridge barrel that isn't in stock in the length and contour I want. Assembling your own AR isn't rocket surgery, but a first AR is a lot easier just attaching an upper of choice to lower of choice. And you pick the accuracy of the barrel over whatever roll mark is on the lower to be assured you get your money's worth. At the entry level there isn't any accuracy to be had spending money on the lower - it does little to improve how the bullet exits the muzzle. As demonstrated in competitions, even a NY trigger in a Glock can win.
     
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  6. eharri3

    eharri3 Member

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    PSA Daily Deals/Blem section.

    Lower: 120-140+background check. Free delivery if you buy at the right time.

    M4 style Upper for about 300 with pinned front sight and folding rear. Free delivery if you buy at the right time.

    Comes to roughly the same as the Anderson but with the rear sight and front sight included.

    Buy them, pick your lower up at a gun store and have your background check. Get your upper delivered to your door. Slap them together, That's an assembled rifle for about 500 bucks before optic and sling. Would probably be about 600 dollars out the door with a cheap sling and something like a Sig Sauer MSR. And you have a ready to shoot starter rifle you don't have to build out for 6 hundred and change from a large company with an established customer service and return/repair process. Or you can do iron sights that come installed to begin and be ready to zero and shoot for the 500.

    I have never had a whole Anderson rifle. I own one Anderson lower that the only thing that went wrong is the buffer tube backed out because the castle nut is not staked. I am becoming partial to PSA complete lowers because even the cheap 120 dollar blem I bought came with a well staked castle nut.

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/blem-psa-16-mid-length-5-56-nato-1-7-nitride-moe-upper-with-bcg-ch-rear-mbus-black.html

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/blem-psa-ar-15-complete-lower-magpul-moe-ept-edition-black.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
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  7. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    If you can rent one to get the feel, that will be best.

    The kind you rent will unlikely be the one you buy--the selection is just too wide.

    Buy what you can afford now and shoot it.

    It can be intimidating when nearly 7 of 8 people you ask say "build one" and the 14 of 15 saying at least "buy upper and lower separately" as that can be ever so foreign to those who have only ever bought "off the shelf."

    Much of that, to my opinion, is from the fact that there are so many choices out there, especially per price point, that you are asking about the differences between low-priced and high-priced paper towels. Particularly as the differences are, largely, just the price.

    Anderson gets beat up online but makes as good a product as any (early teething troubles being early problems, not current ones).
    There's a hidden gem in the answers above, too--do not use GB as the only source for pricing. Check out ud's, Brownell's, PSA, the works. Yes, this will e a pain to open the seven or eight (or thirteen) browser windows this may require, but there are all kinds of deals out there.
     
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  8. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    The first shots on top were sighters, the final group are the three shots at the bullseye.
     
  9. Jimbo80

    Jimbo80 Member

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    My $.02 is for shooting paper and coyotes a budget AR like the PSA is more gun than most people need. While not a big fan of the AR platform in general I have sold a ton of them and can count the number of complaints on one hand no matter what the price range. Most of those were on OMNIs with poly lowers.

    I am a huge fan of PCCs and would recommend skipping the High Point for now and saving up some money to buy a better gun. While the butt ugly HPC is fun to shoot and reliable I would suggest taking a look at a YouTube on how to clean it before considering one. If the Sub 2K comes back to pre Covid $399 I would go that route for a budget PCC.
     
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  10. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    I built a PSA A2(ish) on an Anderson lower and have been pleased with it's performance.
    I did upgrade the trigger group with a Larue 2 stage and that has been a nice improvement.
     
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  11. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    As you can see, by now, there are several opinions and options when it comes to AR.
    Here’s a little information that will help.
    Anderson, referred to as the poverty pony by many due to their price point. What little is known is that Anderson was one of the only six or eight companies that were manufacturing Milspec lower, just a few years ago. Anderson was one of the largest of these companies. Many companies that build ARs don’t make their own lowers, and some don’t make any of the parts at all. Anderson manufactured , and still does, lowers for other companies.
    A few years ago Anderson threw a monkey wrench into the AR market. They dropped the price on their lowers. At the time the average striped milspec lower was selling for $150. Anderson lowered their prices to $69. This caused a few things to happen. #1 It caused other companies to lower their prices to around the $90 range. #2 with the more affordable lowers more people started building their own ARs. #3 with the higher demand for AR parts, more companies got into the market. The market became so saturated that prices on parts got lower and lower.
    Anderson was selling so many lowers that they dropped their prices even lower. At one point they got as low as $40 for a stripped lower.
    PSA used to buy their striped lowers. Later on they started buying them in the white and putting the finish on them their self. I bought some of their blems from their first batch. The only thing with them is that they were different shades of grey instead of black. I’ve been told that PSA makes their own lowers now.
    Most people don’t know that Mossberg made AR 15 rifles. But what many don’t know is, for many years Mossberg was the largest manufacturer of AR barrels.
    A lot of people refer to Colt as making one of the better ARs on the market. But if you take a good look at Colt, how many times in the past did they file for bankruptcy and were bought out buy other companies.
    Colt Firearms Industry and Colt Defense Industry were two different companies owned and ran buy Colt. aR rifles were made by both companies, but were not the same. Colt Defense Ind. built ARs for military contracts and Law enforcement. Colt Firearms Ind. built ARs for the civilian market. These two companies did not use the same parts and the rifles were manufactured in different plants. Some people ask why does a civilian Colt AR sell for $1000 and up. It’s because people are willing to pay to ride the pony.
    Many people don’t know that Anderson supplied Colt Firearms Ind. with AR lowers. The Colt Sporter model with the integral trigger guard uses an Anderson lower.
    A big cost factor in an AR rifle is the barrel. Chrome lined barrels cost more to make. But are they really needed? Ask yourself, how many hunting rifles have chrome lined barrels? The biggest difference is CHF (cold hammer forged) barrels. The cost of making a CHF barrel is higher and you will find them on your upper end AR rifles. But are they needed? A standard nitride AR barrel will last the average shooter 40,000 rounds. Many will never shoot that many rounds in their life time. A CHF barrel will hold up better and will last longer, but does the average shooter need a CHF barrel? Not really.
    Here are three barrels I picked up on sale before the pandemic for $100 each. They are made by DPMS, Bushmaster and Remington.
    2EAE1E1D-5E1B-4800-B264-B3B93B731819.jpeg
    Another cost factor in AR rifles is the finish. Your upper end rifles will have nicer finishes. I remember the first time I got my hands on a Black Rain AR upper. The finish was like black frosted glass, it was beautiful and felt great in my hands. But it didn’t shoot any better then my FN upper.
    I have several ARs, many that I built myself. I have ARs with $300 CHF barrels and some with $69 Nitride barrels. Most people can’t tell the difference between them when holding or shooting them.
    Here’s one that I built with a FN CHF 20” barrel that I had cut down to 16”. I love this rifle. A5AE730A-B1FE-4A2E-9AB4-653165FAAB37.jpeg
    27659C58-2707-4883-BDCD-CAC09B99C2E2.jpeg

    Here’s one my youngest son, Isaac, built when he was 14yo. It has a lightweight nitride barrel that I got on sale from Midway USA.
    E3A75B35-032A-491E-BE37-6914241BC564.jpeg 36811DC9-68FA-4D43-AF60-1FF56C39640C.jpeg

    Here’s one I built with a PSA 16” mid length barrel
    70D1CC7E-2AD5-4C46-9331-7F5F9D310A32.jpeg 49E49607-942F-439F-BFEE-1E53A23BA059.jpeg
    And then there’s the Junkyard Dog that I built from used parts. The only new parts are some springs and the Anderson lower.
    F1F4B0E7-C06F-4674-8FC2-71ADA9FD9319.jpeg 69C157F1-28C8-41D4-BB12-66938B63B85E.jpeg

    I don’t recommend building your first AR. I listed the ones above just to show options that one has when it comes to ARs.
    Whatever you start with, you can always change out parts for a different look or feel.
    Like many have said in this topic, PSA will fit your needs. And by buying the complete upper and lower separate, you can save money.
     

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  12. ColoradoMinuteMan

    ColoradoMinuteMan Member

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    I'm not sure I would count this particular firearm as "buy once, cry once." Yes it costs more, but I'm not sure there is anything about this design that is proven to the point of tried and true. If you had said LMT, Larue, LWRC, KAC, etc. I could buy into it due their long standing reputations but the WWSD2020, with all due respect to its makers, has an unproven reputation and an unproven design. I realize that monolithic polymer lowers have been around, but I'd hesitate to call them as having a well known reputation for being tried and true. It's absolutely no knock against the rifle or design, just not sure I would brand it as something that is worth spending extra due to an established reputation of quality and durability.

    Whether we like it or not, PSA has really become the standard for an "everyman" AR15. I think you're hard pressed to find something that competes for value per dollar spent.
    • If you're looking for an off the shelf, low-frills, hobbyist AR15, it's difficult to argue with PSA IMHO.
    • If I was looking for something for something off the shelf with a bit more options I'd be looking at Aero Precision.
    • If I was looking for off the shelf "buy once, cry once" I'd go with LWRC who seems to be the best value in this category



     
  13. hawg

    hawg Member

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    Not having any experience with the platform and not wanting to buy any tools I opted to buy my first one. I bought a S&W Sport II. MY wife likes it so much she wanted one but bought a Ruger AR 556. She didn't like the Ruger so I traded with her. I put a red dot on hers and a scope on mine. I have no plans to change anything else.
     
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  14. ColoradoMinuteMan

    ColoradoMinuteMan Member

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    I'm curious, what was it she didn't like about the Ruger? They seem pretty comparable.
     
  15. kje54

    kje54 Member

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    I currently have 2 ARs that have Palmetto State Armory stripped lowers and lower parts kits with Bear Creek Arsenal complete uppers. Both cost me around $375 each when I added the buffer tubes and stabilizing blades. I have 1 AR 47 carbine with a BCA complete upper and complete lower for around $425.
     
  16. hawg

    hawg Member

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    Not much, she preferred the pistol grip on the S&W and the trigger was better. The trigger is lousy and I thought about replacing it but after shooting it awhile I can live with it.
     
  17. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    At some future point you might give Magpul’s K2 or K2+ grips a try, I’ve found the modified angle much easier on my wrist when shooting from both standing and bench positions.
     
  18. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I appreciate it but the stock grip works just fine. I don't see any need to change it.
     
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  19. ColoradoMinuteMan

    ColoradoMinuteMan Member

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    That's kind of funny, my wife prefers an A2 grip as well. I put together a nice Aero Precision based AR15 for her and she insisted on the A2 grip after feeling the Magpul.

    Now that you mention it, my original M&P 15 Sport does have a nice trigger. I noticed that several years back when I bought an ALG to replace it with. I couldn't tell any difference and ended up putting the original back into it and dropping the ALG in another one. If you put my M&P trigger next to your average Mil-spec you can actually see it's more polished than the latter. It was the first AR15 I owned and I still have it 12+ years later. The M&P was the original "value" AR15.
     
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  20. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    All existing firearm designs were once unproven, I'm confident the KP-15 monolithic lower made from 30% glass reinforced nylon will stand the test of time just as the first generation Glock and the Remington Nylon 66 have. :)
     
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  21. ClaymoreAKM

    ClaymoreAKM Member

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    Wow, OP, you only know one fellow up there with an AR?

    I don't know too many without one. But I digress.

    You can "build" a PSA freedom middy or carbine gun for $398 today not counting taxes. It's actually cheaper to buy the complete lower and complete upper and put them together than it is to buy a stripped lower and a kit.

    Don't skrimp on ammo and mags. Get plenty.
     
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  22. ClaymoreAKM

    ClaymoreAKM Member

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    I strongly, very strongly, recommend you not to get the Hi-Point. Yuck. They are some of the most poorly built monstrosities on the market.

    I'd strongly suggest you get a second AR if you really want two long arms.
     
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  23. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    Quality and solvency are not always related

    Do you have documentation that the civilian Colt ARs were of a lower quality than the military Colt ARs? Or were built to a different or lower standard?

    The desire for chrome lined barrels was primarily driven by those who carried ARs professionally, trained professionals and serious shooters taking carbine classes. Many of those didn't come from a firearms background per se. For many of them, the AR, M9 and Glock was their introduction to firearms. It was determined the Colt was the AR least likely to give problems during high round count training classes and someone decided to see how Colts differed from other offerings. One of those features was a chrome lined chamber and barrel. When that came to light, it gave impetus to the market without understanding the advantages and disadvantages of lined and unlined and moly steel and stainless steel barrels.

    What does the number of hunting rifles with chrome barrels have to do with this discussion? Nothing. While many ARs never see any use more serious than the occasional shot at a coyote, many ARs are still put to serious use and can see several hundred rounds put through them in a weekend than any hunting rifle.



    This is where I call BS on the whole CHF business. Not on you, Gunny, I mean the industry as a whole. CHF was developed by the Germans in WWII to churn out a lot of barrels quickly and cheaply. CHF barrels were used in many post war sporting rifles because they're cheaper and faster to produce. So, why are CHF AR barrels more expensive?

    I've been told Colt compared their US button rifled barrels to their Canadian CHF barrels for durability and found the CHF barrels were a bit better, but not enough to change from button rifled barrels. In my opinion, CHF barrels are not needed, nor do I see any reason to pay extra for one.
     
  24. ClaymoreAKM

    ClaymoreAKM Member

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    Especially when the studies of nitride finish show that it adds just as long of longevity and hardness as a CHF chrome lined barrel, and with better accuracy to boot.
     
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  25. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    CHF barrels are actually cheaper to produce if done in volume. The initial expense for equipment however is far more significant than for other processes. It might be concluded then that any CHF manufacturer is serious about their product to have outlaid capital.
     
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