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Are there any new standouts in the entry level AR market?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by The Exile, Aug 17, 2021.

  1. The Exile

    The Exile Member

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    Just going off my gut and brand name recognition the M&P Sport II is what I'd get if I went into the gun store looking for a good entry level AR15, but I see a few competitors rising up I'm not terribly familiar with; The Savage Recon, the Ruger AR-556, a friend recommended I give the Springfield Saint a consideration.. Is there a good guide to the differences between all of these; seems like all the prices are pretty similar and a lot of the features are all pretty standard. Am I fine just grabbing one at random?

    I feel like i'm looking for a needle in a big stack of shiny sharp needles
     
    Demi-human likes this.
  2. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I'm familiar with both the Smith and Ruger and don't think you could go wrong with either. I like the Ruger MPR better, than the standard rifles and that would be my personal pick. But others may not care for those features.

    But you are right, there are so many options today that it is hard to decide. I don't think I've heard anything really bad about any of them. Even many of the sub $500 AR's by all accounts seem to function reliably.
     
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  3. twarr1

    twarr1 Member

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    The Ruger, simply on customer service
     
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  4. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Just make sure it has a 1/7 barrel and m4 ramps.

    Then just select one with a rail that you like. Or old KISS style if that's what you want.

    I like the Stags and Colts.
     
  5. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    If you just want a basic entry level AR15 the S&W Sport II and Ruger AR556 are hard to beat and very similar, I'd recommend going with whichever you can find cheapest and it'll vary week by week. The Ruger MPR, Springfield Saint, and Savage MSR add some nice features for a little bit of extra cost, the MPR is probably going to be a tad cheaper than the others and equally as good as the other 2, if not better.

    If your goal is as cheap as possible PSA and Anderson sell complete rifles and are known to be reliable, though some would say the Ruger and S&W options are still better. I wouldn't worry too much about a 1/7 twist, 1/8 is fine for most people and is pretty common on these entry level AR's. 1/9 is OK too if you stick mostly with 55gr projectiles or want to go even lighter for varmint hunting.
     
  6. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    If I buy an “entry level” AR, based on the last few AR style guns I’ve bought, I’m buying from PSA.

    I use entry level ARs for range and fun shooting. My three bump in the night AR’s are Daniels Defense, Sons of Liberty, and BCM.

    That said, based on the performance of the PSA’s I’ve bought, I would definitely recommend them to anyone on a budget for home defense and fun gun.

    Buy the blemish parts and save:

    $380

    https://palmettostatearmory.com//blem-psa-16-mid-length-5-56-nato-1-7-nitride-13-5-lightweight-m-lok-upper-with-bcg-ch-mbus-sight-set.html

    +

    $150

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/blem-psa-ar-15-complete-lower-moe-lower-black.html

    =. $530 With tax, shipping, and FFL it will be right around $600 and change.

    I’d buy this before a S&W or a Ruger, but that’s me.

    YMMV
     
  7. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    There's a price range in AR's, but, a person could get into a convoluted argument about whether there are really "levels" where price conflates to some measure of quality.

    The fact that there are "less expensive" AR does not really mean that they are "entry level." This is further blurred as virtually anyone can buy just "bits" of ARs and assemble them for less than MSRP (and how small or individual the "bits" is another question entire).

    To be clear, for purposes of argument, I'm spinning the question around--as in, "Is a $1500 AR 3x better than a $500 one?" I am willing to contend that the difference--at this point--between a $500 AR and a $800 AR is simply price (and perceptions of what name is roll-stamped on the side).

    And, let's assert that the "bits" of a $500 AR are less-than ideal. Well, drop in a trigger, maybe a fore end, better charging handle, perhaps the buffer--well, what do you have then? Good enough is often good enough.

    You are unlikely to find yourself in a situation where you are paying for Dan Wesson and getting Charter Arms.
     
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  8. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Well said^^^^^^^^^^

    :thumbup:
     
  9. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Windham Weaponry supposedly makes a very respected rifle by members of the AR15 rifle enthusiast community.
     
    270OKIE likes this.
  10. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Good post. Buying an AR15 isn’t any different (in theory) than buying a bolt action rifle…there are loads of option at given price ranges…and they all do basically the same thing, but to varying degrees.

    To further my point, I’d ask if a $1500 bolt rifle is 3X better than a $500 rifle?

    Is an $1800 1911 3X better than a $600 gun?

    In my opinion and experience, which is much less than many others, the majority difference between a $500 AR and a $1500 AR is the degree to which it can be counted on…when fired a high amount of rounds, maintenance neglected, and used in less than ideal weather or environments. I fully expect my “quality” AR’s to run 10K rounds without issues, as long as I keep the gun well lubricated. Do I do this? No. But I personally want that reliability in these guns. My range AR’s, not so much. As long as they will run a case of ammo on a good squirt of lube every 10 mags, and I’m good.

    The “little bits” may or may not mean a lot, should they break. Some are easy to replace, some are not. Some are expensive to replace. Some of the important ones like a quality BCG can be easily added to a cheaper gun, but it will run $100+. A quality gas system, on the other hand, may not be so easy to upgrade for the novice.

    If your just looking to get into an AR under cheap, and will be shooting less than a few thousand rounds per year, by all means, get a “value priced” gun. I suspect it will serve you well and you’ll likely never have a problem. But if you are planning to buy a $600 AR and plan to upgrade a bunch of parts to more quality pieces, make sure your “foundation” is solid. By foundation, I’m talking about the specs on the receivers and the gas system. You will definitely get that from a quality AR builder like a Daniels Defense or SOLGW.
     
  11. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    Define “Entry Level”. Are we talking about a quality, basic, bare bones AR?

    Or are we talking about a price point?
     
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  12. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Instead of calling it "entry level" or "budget tier" or any other number of vague classifications, start out by saying your budget. If you have an all-in budget or if you have a bare bones rifle budget. Then we can start providing recommendations based on budget rather that what two different people think is a different "level" of rifle.
     
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  13. The Exile

    The Exile Member

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    The models I was looking at were about 1k, and come with MLok handguard but no sights. I'm not in ultra bare bones territory but looking to just get started with something that'll last me a while and then when I know more about my preferances with the platform I can swap out and upgrade parts as I need. I guess to make an analogy I'm looking for the glock tier ARs, not like fancy or anything but not necessarily the bargain bin stuff either. I'm not shooting competitions or going for ultra long range precision stuff.
     
  14. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    Colt 6920. They're in your price range.
     
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  15. sequins

    sequins Member

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    Ruger MPR, Colt 6920 IMO. I like mine. I got the M-Lok EPR flat top model 6920.
     
  16. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    I'd take a look at the IWI Zion 15 and the Stag Tac 15. I'm not a Springfield Armory guy, but lots of good reviews on the Springfield Saint Victor as well.

    Nothing wrong with a Colt 6920, but you'll be stuck with a carbine gas system and a front sight tower (unless you get the EPR version) instead of the more modern mid-length gas system and a free float handguard.
     
  17. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    You’re not stuck with anything. It’s easy to trim the FSB and install whatever handguard you want. Or, the barrel can be pulled and sold for enough to pay for most (if not all) of the cost of a new barrel.

    There are far worse things to be stuck with than the Colt 16” carbine gas system. An over gassed middy with a carbine weight buffer, is one all too common example.
     
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  18. Megawatt maker

    Megawatt maker Member

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    PSA. They are good as another other Mil Spec. I have Stag and Colt. Only difference is you pay a butt load more for one with a cute little horse stamped on the side.

    Mil Spec is Mil Spec. PSA is just fine. They are more affordable (ie...NOT CHEAP...affordable) because they are vertically integrated, and control many parts of the manufacturer process from raw material to finished product. You can buy the parts and build one yourself for a little as 500 bucks..sometimes less....and it will operate and shoot just as good as a big popular name with a great reputation(which is justly unearned IMO)....

    That said...are they on par with the well known (and high dollar) custom ARs? No...but then, most of those are not Mil Spec either. That extra 1/16 th inch tight group at 100 yards may be worth the extra costs to some...but not to most.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
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  19. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Nothing you buy on the civilian market is true and fully mil-spec. There is a lot more to mil-spec than the dimensions of the parts... There are huge regiments of testing and QC evaluations that happen at multiple levels from raw materials, individual parts, sub-assemblies and finally the fully assembled rifle that never happens to civilian arms. The advertising of a mil-spec rifle to the civilian market is 80% BS.
     
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  20. Megawatt maker

    Megawatt maker Member

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    PSA sells kits that do indeed meet that standard. FN barrel...etc. You pay more for them of coarse...and I have built a rifle from one of those kits. I still do not see the difference that justifies the increase price. How many difference are really in an Aluminium billet in the first place? And frankly...the triggers on a few of my normal ARs (Mil spec still) are supieor to the one on my true "issue" rifle.

    I dont doubt there are a few differences. I see them. In almost all hands...they wont even notice them...and what's more...they dont matter.
     
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  21. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    My personal experience with ARs has mimicked other areas of life in that I started with too little experience and took the more expensive approach to what I wanted.

    What I’ve found is that I very much want it my way. I also want reliability to a measure possible within my budget. Now the question has been asked many times and often the same things repeated as we’re seeing here. So what makes a good budget AR? The same things that make a good AR, meaning there aren’t really corners to be cut.

    It’s not to say a bolt that isn’t inspected will fail sooner or that some springs might give you reasonable service life, only that EVERY PART MATTERS. The problem with most entry level rifles is the lack of documentation on what’s used. That will translate into you as beta tester or relying on anecdotal evidence of which models are reliable.

    It is not, imo, cost effective to make chicken salad out of chicken droppings. Make sure you know what it’s made of before deciding it’s good enough, unless $600-700 is play money.
     
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  22. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    As a long time member here I beg to differ. If not for those few differences we would never see the volume of posts asking “Why won’t my AR ____”
     
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  23. mcb

    mcb Member

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    The real question is why would you want to settle for mil-spec. There are much better parts to build an AR with than mil-spec.
     
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  24. kje54

    kje54 Member

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    This is my new Bear Creek Arsenal 7.62x39, cost me just over $400.

    sUChg5xCSCQRBc6sqXt50QAKQmiBnYcZ9IQ4kZEF5GJj9rkzGIdVd55sN5xMbk_bE9CC8hY=w1126-h845-no?authuser=0.jpg
     
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  25. Megawatt maker

    Megawatt maker Member

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    The problems I've seen ended up being from guns built from either a mixture of out of spec (while claimed to be mil spec) parts....or commercial versions that were WAY out of any kind of standard.

    Ruggario arsenal comes to mind. They turned out some real crap about 20 years ago or so..
    Then there is always the idiot factor too...sorry..but that the best way I can say it. Nobody know everything, but sometimes you come across folks who frankly shouldnt be playing with guns....take it apart to clean it...forget to put parts back in..then go complain their AR is junk and wont shoot...

    You know what I mean...

    But..if you have a decent AR...one that is at least Mil spec...its going to work well enough, be accurate enough, and reliable enough, for just about anyone save a Marine or Soldier chasing a rag head around in Tora Bora.
     
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