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How far are we from quality $299.99 AR15s?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Kynoch, Sep 30, 2014.

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  1. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    With Ruger's announcement of their AR-223 it has me wondering, how far are we from quality $349.99 or even $299.99 ARs?

    I'm sure a Ruger American bolt-action rifle in .223 costs nearly the same to build and market as an AR-556. Bud's currently has Ruger Americans for $342.00. I think that means we're headed for $349.99 or even $299.99 AR-556s.

    The introduction of the Ruger AR-223 is going to accelerate some already growing price competition. I think the only thing that going to keep a $349-299.99 AR from becoming a reality is some sort of outside pressure -- another mass killing of truly horrific dimensions or some other sort of political matter, which I would suggest is less and less likely.

    My guess would be a $349.99 AR-556 by Q2 of 2015.
     
  2. captmoto

    captmoto Member

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  3. dvdcrr

    dvdcrr member

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  4. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    Possibly, but you also have to factor in the cost of the machinery required to make each rifle. I'm not a machinist, so I don't know if the American and the AR could be produced on the same rig.
     
  5. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    Cost is cost. Each rifle would absorb a tiny bit of the amortized depreciation from the capital machinery in which are used to make them.

    As an example, both firearms have bolts. The costs to make each bolt [raw material, direct labor, machine time (of differing cost rates), overhead, etc.] are collected and applied to each bolt and ultimately their top assembly -- the two different rifles.

    Overall I would say the two rifles cost about the same to produce. Certainly within $25.00.
     
  6. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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  7. ford8nr

    ford8nr Member

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    Depends on how you define "quality". I would think an AR would require more machining. Now with polymer lowers and uppers you might get there. The other question is when they can sell base models at $500-600 why build a cheap one at $300. I'd think to go from $500 to $300 you have to go 'cheap' not 'quality'.
     
  8. bejay

    bejay Member

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    really don't see it ever happening comparing an ar to a bolt action with a lot less parts, don't see how you could think it could be sold for the same price,
    even the parts mentioned above add up to 440 bucks witch is inexpensive but may not be that great of quality.
    wouldn't expect to see the price drop much from what it is now.
     
  9. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Member

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    I would think an AR would require more machining.

    The (absolutely minimal) amount of machining on an AR upper or lower takes about 30 seconds on a CNC machine once the raw forging is placed into the machine.


    Willie

    .
     
  10. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    Naw. This isn't a cheap vs. quality matter. Why would you say an AR requires more machine time then a mag-fed bolt action rifle?

    The AR platform is under hardcore price competition. Ruger priced the American so that it would sell well. They're going to have to do the same with the AR-556. Even at the current price their rivals are going to respond by dropping prices further.
     
  11. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    Thanks. The cost to produce a bolt action and a similar AR has to be extremely close. The AR has a gas system, but that adds little cost.

    I wonder how Ruger is applying their lost wax casting expertise to this product?
     
  12. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    Because the parts that differ between the two don't cost much and the labor to assemble and test both rifles is in the same ballpark. The big parts -- the receiver, bolt and barrel are common. Pump shotguns have considerably more parts than bolt action rifles and they're often cheaper to purchase.

    I KNOW prices will drop from what they are today (outside/political forces aside), I'm just not sure how low they will go and how long it will take.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  13. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Front sight base?
     
  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    How far away are we from quality AR-15s for $299.99?

    About 36 years ago. That's what you would have paid for a Colt SP-1 Sporter back then.
     
  15. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Agreed. I don't think we'll see anything with forged 7075 receivers and decent bolts/barrels lower than what they are right now. There are just minimum costs involved. One can see that in the $25 difference between a 0% and an 80% forging; it may only take a 5 axis high speed CNC a minute to spit one out, but it takes an awful lot of sales to amortize a $130,000 machine. Also, cutters and lubricants are consumables that must be factored.

    The current pricing reflects a saturated market; there's very little profit in ARs right now. But they are selling at these prices. To drop any lower, the manufacturers would be operating at a loss. Only time you see that kind of pricing is when a company is going under or an item is being discontinued. We saw that with the Tamiya 801Xt 1/8 scale RC truggy kits, an $882 kit that Tamiya shot for the moon with, only to end up with thousands of kits cluttering a warehouse. They liquidated them over a 9 month period at $99, and the item is now discontinued.

    Guns are a more solid & predictable market, so I don't see anything that drastic happening. If you watch PSA's AR store, you see how quickly their $200 PTAC uppers sell out. When they're moving like that, even if they could, why would they sell cheaper?
     
  16. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I don't agree that the cost is close to the same. The AR has many more precision parts and is more difficult to assemble. Every part and every step requires more people and more machines and the AR requires more treated quality metal as well. But since most AR use common parts made buy the same suppliers there is saving to be had there.
     
  17. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    You're not going to see a new $300 AR with any form of acceptable quality.
    Period.
    Denis
     
  18. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    The parts difference is hardware. They both have receivers, bolts and barrels. The assembly difference in terms of cost in a manufacturing process is trivial.

    If you think the number of parts and assembly complexity alone determines the price, go take a look at a $199.99 heavy duty hammer drill from Home Depot...
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  19. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    You simply don't know that, "period."

    Quality (but not fancy bolt guns are already approaching that.) The hard cost difference of ARs can't be more than about $25.00. Given that the AR is a far larger and more competitive market, it certainly seems like a possibility, "period."
     
  20. bocefus78

    bocefus78 Member

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  21. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    They'll go lower -- the slide is just now really starting, that's for certain. Let's see what the discounters sell the AR-556 for in a year (unless politics/panic get in the way.) A $130K piece of capital gear dedicated to a project that has the potential run-rate of the AR-556 is trivial.

    You don't have any idea what Ruger's costs or profits are on the AR-224. I suspect they are still earning a good margin -- although nothing like the raping that has went on in the gun industry for the last several years.

    It's happening right before our eyes.
     
  22. DPris

    DPris Member Emeritus

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    Kynoch,
    Yes- I simply do.
    Hold your breath if you want, but it won't happen.
    Period.
    Denis
     
  23. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

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    I certainly hope we see them that affordable.
    To me, the AR is the symbol of freedom and the 2A. The more folks who can afford it, the better.
     
  24. NGIB

    NGIB Member

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    Just remember, we're always a headline away from $2999.99 ARs.

    I have stocked up on parts to keep both of mine running forever...
     
  25. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Considering their simplicity bolt rifles are all over priced, always have been.
    Almost any other action type is far more complex and should cost more to build. But that is just the way it is, not only with guns, but many other consumer products.

    To make a gun of the same quality, and sell it at an equal percentage of profit an AR is going to cost a bit more than a bolt rifle. Right now all the gun manufacturers are simply making more profit on their bolt guns even when selling them at 1/2 what an AR is selling for.
     
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