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Best quality AR-15 for the money

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jwsturr, Apr 26, 2010.

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Best quality AR-15 for the money

  1. Bushmaster

    14.7%
  2. Colt

    20.5%
  3. Doublestar

    6.3%
  4. DPMS

    11.6%
  5. Olympic Arms

    2.1%
  6. Rock River Arms

    20.0%
  7. Smith and Wesson

    24.7%
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  1. jwsturr

    jwsturr Member

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    Looking to purchase my first M4 style AR-15. I'm not going to be using it for competition purposes, only target. I've done price research and aside from a used or a CMMG "bargin bin" rifle, the cheapest I've found is a $659 Doublestar at Bud's. I'm partial to the M&P because of the S&W name and kind of the middle of the road , price wise. And not looking to build a rifle either. Should I buy the least expensive or save for a better rifle?
     
  2. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

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    It depends on your situation/needs/wants/. Is this for informal taget shooting, competitive target shooting, carbine courses etc? Try to give us as much information as possible about what you want/need, that way we can formulate specific responses that will help you, and not waste our time and yours. You can spend more time learning and less time trying to separate the relevent form the irrelevant. Its a win win deal! ;)
     
  3. Mr. T

    Mr. T Member

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    I swear by my Bushmaster "Patrolman's Carbine". I have shot the heck out of this thing and I have yet to have a single misfeed; it's as accurate as any weapon I've ever fired. I paid $799 a couple of years ago at a local Gander Mountain. There are better weapons out there, but for the money I've been very happy with my Bushmaster. I've heard good things about Delton, Rock River Arms, and Double Star, as economic entry level AR's.
     
  4. jwsturr

    jwsturr Member

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    HGUNHNTR

    Informal target shooting.
    M4 style 16" chrome barrel or chromoly
    M4 style collapsible buttstock
    Fixed or flip up front sight
    Detachable rear sight or flip up
    single stage trigger is fine
    5.56 capable
    1 in 9 twist is fine
    Something to possibly upgrade.
     
  5. basicblur

    basicblur Member

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    Check out this post-you might want to read the entire thread!

    Be sure you visit/bookmark the "excellent learning resource" referenced in the thread! You need to spend quite a bit of time reading the thread at the link.
     
  6. ZeBool

    ZeBool Member

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    Spikes Tactical. $800 plus shipping. The best AR15 to cost on the market right now. By far. In my opinion, it is right up there with LMT, BCM, and even Daniel Defense, for less than bushmaster prices. Not quite Colt/Noveske, but still far better than anything else in its price class.
     
  7. smartshooter.45

    smartshooter.45 Member

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    i purchased that very same double star from buds. its a steal. great/accurate rifle. i recently tried out the 200 yard range with it and had surprising results. i was shooting cheapo wolf 55gr on a windy day. 9x magnification. was able to consistently hit a 8.5x11 piece of paper. considering the distance and the load i was quite happy!

    you wont be disappointed with the doublestar- it is quality.
     
  8. Big_E

    Big_E Member

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    I voted for the S&W, for informal shooting and if you aren't shooting 70gr bullets the 4140/1:9 barrel is fine. The MPI/HP bolt that comes with S&W's (and colt's, lmt's and BCM's) is probably the most important part.

    If you have BCM on your list, I would vote for that. I have a BCM upper on the way now I just need to get a lower so I can enjoy it.
     
  9. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    I voted Colt because your description seems like you want a more run and gun kind of rifle. From what I have heard the S&W would be a good choice as well.

    If its for pure target shooting at distance, I would say the DPMS as they are known for their accuracy.
     
  10. CZF

    CZF Member

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    No poll option for STAG ARMS?

    I'd be interested to see what you guys think of a $725 (shipped) NIB Model 2.
     
  11. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    Ive heard very good things about STAG rifles. A friend of mine has a lefty version and loves it. He says its never jammed and Ive seen it shoot and its accurate.
     
  12. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    You understand that a chromemoly barrel is not the same as a chrome-lined barrel right? Manufacturers often use the term chromemoly (which is chrome-molybendum, the type of steel in the barrel) to refer to an unlined barrel.

    It often confuses new purchasers who think they are getting a chrome-lined barrel (or the equivalent of it) when that is not the case.
     
  13. jwsturr

    jwsturr Member

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    Bartholomew: it just has to be durable. I'm pretty sure the manufactures I listed are all chrome lined as standard. But threw chromoly out there because it might be an option on one of them.

    CZF:
    These are the manufacturers I'm considering going with. I'm sure I left out a lot more quality rifles. Like Stag, Armalite, Del-Ton...
     
  14. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Do whatever you have to do... to get the Colt.
     
  15. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Best bang for the buck, among your choices, S&W.

    The now-discontinued (company is out of business) Charles Daly Defense D-M4LE was an outstanding deal, nearly the same features as a Colt 6920 for a lot less money. Those might still be available some places, but there would be no warranty.

    The Colt 6920 is pricey but you would likely never find anything to upgrade. Similarly options from Daniel Defense, LMT and Bravo Company. With some shopping around you can find those in the $1200 range. Here's a Daniel Defense for $1199:

    http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=F1DDXV&groupid=11

    And that one even has the hammer-forged barrel, which is not mil-spec but actually better than mil-spec.

    Other options that might be good values would be Armalite, Stag, and Sabre Defence.

    DoubleStar and Del-Ton are good quality plinkers but if you plan hard use you might look for something nicer. I do not see a good value proposition for DPMS, Rock River or Olympic. CMMG might be worth a look too but is in the middle, good quality but not quite top end.

    Shrubmaster/Bushhamster makes a mid-range gun that usually sells at an upper mid-range price, and some of them have bugs here and there (like undersized chambers), and they are near the last in cosmetics. I would take one at a great price, but not at typical asking prices. And I own two of them, FWIW.
     
  16. StuartTX

    StuartTX Member

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    I agree. The "LE" version by Spike's Tactical is the same as the $950 ST-15 but without the "cold-hammer forged" barrel. I've got one in the closet and I love it. Here is a pic of mine with a custom receiver:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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  18. BridgeTooFar

    BridgeTooFar Member

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    These two hit the nail on the head. I've had a lefty version for ~5 years now. Never had one failure or malfunction, and I've shot some pretty stupidly dirty stuff through it.

    I bought it mostly because they offered it in a dedicated lefty set up, but I'd have one in every caliber and configuration they make (save maybe a couple) if my finances allowed it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  19. wally

    wally Member

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    S&W. Best customer service in the industry should you have problems. With their frequent promotions they are a great buy for what you get.
     
  20. EdLaver

    EdLaver Member

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    Three DPMS rifles without a problem, I trust DPMS when others dont...
     
  21. Mags

    Mags Member

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    If I was to buy a sub 900 dollar AR it would be a Doublestar and if I couldn't find one of those I would go with S&W. But if you were building your own go with Bravo Company lower parts and complete upper and you would end up spending 900 or less for a better quality AR.
     
  22. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    Jw, I'm in the same boat. I've had a curiosity for AR's and always enjoyed shooting my friends' AR's. I finally decided to get my own. I'd like to have a Colt or a RRA. I'm sure the Colt would retain it's value better.

    What I decided to do is build one from the ground up. I've assembled the lower and the upper myself, and up next is the bolt. I understand alot more about the gun this way. Before, it was a mystery except for theory. Now I feel confident I could build another with ease without resorting to having my laptop on the workbench with another forum’s popular sticky “how to build an AR for dummies” guide. I also have some helpful, knowldegeable friends I can call on if I am uncertain…and to inspect it before I ever start sending rounds downrange.

    I did this to satisyfy my curiosity, be a temporary hobby and to gain a smidge of knowledge along the way. I can also get a feel for the platform this way and see what I want without throwing down a grand on a nice rifle that I may not like in the long run. I have very little in this project due to some creative trading (some done on this site). I could damage it and repair it without feeling the wallet sting. I can always part it out, keep it as a part gun or sell it to fund the purchase of a nicer rifle. My dad, who has recently retired seems to like it. I had to go by a borrow his punch set and he seemed to enjoy working with me on it. Asked tons of questions and looked all the pieces up and down. He was a tank mechanic (only issued a sidearm) and had some basic sniper training, but he never got to work with those “new black rifles” while he served during the Vietnam era. He said he fired them a few times at the range, but he worked mostly with the m14. Maybe next Father’s Day I’ll completely dissasemble it, give him the pile o’parts, email him the “how to for dummies” link and give him a new hobby for his retirement. Of course, it sounds to me like I’d need to toss in some A2 parts to make him happy.:D

    Good luck with whatever you decide!
     
  23. RP88

    RP88 Member

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    a better buy-for-the-money out of all of those would be a Bravo/BCM gun. You can build a pure-milspec gun nowadays off them for like $850. Hard to beat, IMO.

    But out of the choices, S&W, assuming you're finding them at the right price. Around me they go for 300 bucks less than a Colt.
     
  24. PMROY

    PMROY Member

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    Since you are buying something that will last and expect not to fowl up at all, spend the money and get the Colt. Dollar for Dollar, its worth every penny you pay. "I should of bought the Colt" is one thing you will always here at one point or another from those who go a little down market. I did and regretted it! Sometimes the majority is correct. After Colt, there is everyone else and if you want to go upmarket, start with the Colt. It will set the benchmark for you as far as reliability and value retention. As you go up market your value for dollar spent is the intersecting lines of diminishing returns and investment. Your return on purchasing an AR, at first goes up proportionally to how much money you spend. After Colt, the line of returns goes up marginally as the line of cost still goes up like a rocket.
    Hope this helps a little.
     
  25. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    if you go the spikes route, they do an ar15.com discount, and if you just buy the upper there is a coupon code for $50 off.

    cdnn has some good deals on the smith& wessons.

    my father in law has the doublestar. it's a pretty good gun. he hasn't run into any problems.

    also the del-ton complete rifle kits are a heck of a deal. $465+a stripped lower and an hour of your time to assemble it.

    the cmmg bargain bin guns have a very good reputation too.
     
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