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AR dilemma - new upper vs. complete rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Rittmeister, Oct 3, 2018.

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  1. Rittmeister

    Rittmeister Member

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    I have two ARs. Both are frankenguns. My "basic" gun is a DD mil-style upper on an Aero Precision lower with Magpul furniture, Rock River trigger, and fixed sights. It's lightweight and fun and I ain't changin' it.

    The second gun is my wannabe tacticool model (free-float handguard, red-dot, etc). The lower is very nice - Anderson lower with a Timney trigger. I also have it set up with the accessories I like best.

    The upper is from Palmetto and has served me well so far but I am ready to move to something nicer, that I can pretty much shoot and maintain forever. I have settled on BCM as the replacement, which brings me to my question.

    I find myself trying to decide between buying a BCM complete upper to go on the above lower, or simply purchasing a complete Recce 16" model. The upper I'm planning on is pretty much the top end of the Recce rifle.

    If I bought the rifle I'd want to transfer the furniture, safety, and trigger into it from the lower I've got now. The cost is also quite a bit higher. I'm wondering if anyone here has an argument in favor of the complete gun - my thinking now is that I could get the upper (even if I sprung for another BCG with it) for $800 or so, put it on my lower, add my optic and head for the range - after selling off the Palmetto upper to amortize a bit of the cost. The rifle would cost more ($1400 or so) and be more work to spec out the way I'd like it to be.

    Opinions gratefully received. Thanks!
     
  2. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    I have colt ar's from the old days, complete rifles, I have rock river arms complete rifle's, and I have,to use your turn Frankin Guns. I like the ones I've put together just as well if not better than the complete rifle's. Depends on how much you mind spending money. Good luck.
     
  3. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    Keep your Lower. Save some money. In that vein though, the BCM is still an AR, just like palmetto. It should be same as far as maintenance goes, and nothing shoots forever. The 3 palmettos I have had would all do an inch at 100 and never gave me an issue. I see no compelling reason to buy expensive stuff at this point. But opinions are like elbows, everybody has a couple. I'd keep her palmetto and change the optic and rail to something you like. And some ammo.
     
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  4. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    You don't have to get rid of an upper just because you just got another upper.
    It's not like you're doing something permanent.
    Just push out the two pins, swap uppers, and push the pins back in.
    Then swap them back when you feel like it.
     
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  5. gulogulo1970

    gulogulo1970 Member

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    Only problem I've found with uppers is they usually turn into complete rifles.
     
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  6. Ks5shooter

    Ks5shooter Member

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    Complete complete complete:thumbup::evil::thumbup:
     
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  7. ColoradoMinuteMan

    ColoradoMinuteMan Member

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    Personally, I don’t see what value you will get out of a BCM lower if you are replacing the entire FCG, stock, and grip. Really the only BCM value left in the lower is the potentially the receiver extension, buffer assembly and the roll mark. Your current receiver extension may be of similar/identical quality and specs but I really have no idea what your current setup is built with. Bottom line really is, what do you want to do? If you just want your rifle to say BCM in the side and you think there is $600 in value between that and just knowing that BCM stands behind the receiver extension, then that’s a decision you have to make. There really isn’t anything scientific or special that anyone can say to give you evidence that it’s worth paying for a BCM roll mark and receiver extension.
     
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  8. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    Yup, it's amazing how much of a PITA swapping uppers can become.....just a matter of time before a lower gets put together for them.

    To the OP, coolest part about ARs is with minimum tools you can pretty much swap out what ever parts you don't like on your current gun over time, or just spring for a new upper. Honestly when it comes to getting my idea of a top of the line gun, I'd rather build it myself using quality parts and get it exactly the way I want it.
     
  9. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    With the price of lowers these days... just work up a new lower and be done with it, even if it's just a basic build. Seeing a upper setting there without a lower of any kind is like seeing a lost puppy someone dumped out on a country road.

    Conversely, AR parts are cheap and plentiful these days... I don't know if you would see much if you parted out your current upper (if I'm reading that correctly.)
     
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  10. boom boom
    • Contributing Member

    boom boom Moderator Staff Member

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    This. :thumbup:
     
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  11. kwg020

    kwg020 Member

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    I hate an unemployed upper. A new lower gives it a job and an identity.
    kwg
     
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  12. jr_watkins

    jr_watkins Member

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    Sounds to me like you have two fine 556/223 rifles and are looking to add to the team. Might consider a different caliber, and if so, then a new upper + lower is in order. Build or buy is a personal decision.
     
  13. Rittmeister

    Rittmeister Member

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    I think I misled some of y'all. I'd like to (potentially) get the BCM upper, stick it on the Anderson lower that already houses all my goodies, and sell off the Palmetto upper. I'd be left with two complete rifles again, one "basic" model and one more tactically/HD-oriented.

    I appreciate the input so far. Still leaning towards just getting the upper, from a budget and less-work standpoint. Might still spring for the complete rifle though, for the matched-components cachet...
     
  14. DannyLandrum

    DannyLandrum Member

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    You seem to want matching parts - I'd say get what you want.
     
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  15. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    I have always got an additional lower to go with any upper I have. They don't cost much (at least if you're just doing a bog-standard milspec lower setup) and I don't like swapping things around.
     
  16. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I’ll be the dissenting opinion, as I often seem to be. Have what you want and can use - and in this case, your 3 options leave you with A) two complete rifles you will use, B) an upper you won’t use, or C) a complete rifle you won’t use.

    Sell the upper, buy the new, and live with your two complete rifles.

    I am the opposite of most. I usually have more uppers than lowers, then buy lowers in big batches, and build new uppers for those. I never end up even - and I don’t want to be.

    Say I want to shoot long range AR, I can live with one purpose built precision lower plus longer barreled uppers in 5.56, .243LBC, & 6.5 Grendel. Then I want a fight ready carbine - so I get a carbine stocked lower plus short uppers in 5.56, 6.8, 300blk, and 458 soc. So now I have common controls over two groups of 3-4 different cartridges. I also only have 2 lowers, not 7, which at a minimum of $250 each per lower, those 5 offset the cost of an entire high price upper, or two or 3 lower priced uppers. Or offset the cost of an entire mid-length AR for 3Gun and coyote hunting.

    In my case, I generally keep two dozen or so uppers spread over 8 to a dozen lowers. Trying to consolidate a bit, but I did just buy 5 more lowers a couple months ago, with no reason other than they were all sequential serials.
     
  17. jf89

    jf89 Member

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    My rule of thumb is 5 complete lowers. One being used for a training rifle ,so it gets beat up then one for precision work (im getting ready to build this one) ,it will have a fancy 2 stage trigger and probably a jp silent spring. The others are general builds. I have far more uppers than lowers. I would recommend if you use different calibers on the same rifle lower that you buy different magazines for them. .300 BO will chamber in a 5.56 upper and it will destroy your 5.56 upper.

    This is what can happen

    https://forum.full30.com/t/300-blackout-in-a-223-opps/4003?u=jf89
     
  18. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    None of the above.

    Buy a complete Knight’s Armament SR-15 E3 Mod 2. Sell the others to fund the KAC.

    I wish I had done that because the KAC has relegated my Colt, DD, and frankengun to safe duty. I can only shoot one at a time and the KAC is literally so good out of the box the others are kind of pointless.
     
  19. Sebastian

    Sebastian Member

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    Part of the fun of the AR rifle is its modularity. I tend to stay away from gucci rollmark pricing and proprietary parts with proprietary pricing. I would also say that a build can potentially always be better than bought because you are getting exactly what you want. With the AR market the way it is now I would probably just keep what I had and buy/build more.
     
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  20. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    No need to worry about proprietary parts with the KAC. The only parts you can’t interchange are the bolt, extractor, cam pin, and firing pin. So essentially you can’t mix and match bolt parts with a standard AR. You can slap a standard AR bolt in the bolt carrier and run it in the KAC barrel extension if you need to, but you can’t run the KAC bolt in a standard AR extension.

    If you’re really worried about it, you can buy a spare parts kit from KAC, or even a spare bolt assembly.

    Probably never need it, I’ve never heard of one cracking, shearing a lug, or breaking at the cam pin hole. KAC solved all the issues the original AR bolt had, well Eugene Stoner did while working for KAC on the SR-25... then KAC applied it to the 5.56mm gun’s. Between the geometry changes of the lugs, the extractor upgrade, cam pin dimension changes, and the change from Carpenter 158 to an unnamed (rumored to be AerMet 100) has rendered a bolt that does everything it’s supposed to better than the original design.
     
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  21. JONWILL

    JONWILL Member

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    I had a spare firing pin turn into a complete rifle once:rofl:
     
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  22. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I had a spare bolt and stock do the same...;)
     
  23. jf89

    jf89 Member

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    I have the issue of buying "extra" lowers in case theres a ban but then they look lonely without parts and im forced to put a lpk and buffer in it. Then sometimes that complete lower looks lonely so it needs an upper ,etc etc....
     
  24. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    Remember "3 is 2, 2 is 1 and 1 in None" so you need a third AR if your goal is to own two.

    You know you are going to end up with three AR's away so why fight it?
     
  25. jf89

    jf89 Member

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    Maybe im weird but for me there is a sweet spot between hoarding and having a respectable number ARs, I like about 5 but would be ok with 2. I honestly dont really listen to the ' 2 is 1 and 1 is none' stuff, you can have two complete AR15s and slowly accumulate parts off to the side and be ok. If one goes down then you switch to the other and fix it, unless of course you are building ARs for specific roles such as CQB, precision, competition, etc. . 'One might be none' but '2 is 2' imo, ymmv.
     
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