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Recommendations on M-4 purchase

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by UpWind, Mar 6, 2011.

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  1. UpWind

    UpWind Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    I've owned my Mini-14 for over 20 years now but have decided to go ahead and by a new "M-4" type rifle while I still can. I am am a former Marine 0311 so I am completely familiar with the operation and maintenance of the M-16 family of rifles. Any recommendations on what brand (Colt vs. Bushmaster etc) or what configuration would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. Whiskey11

    Whiskey11 Member

    Dec 30, 2010
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Configuration is going to be YOUR choice, and should only be YOUR choice. I can sit here all day and preach how I love 20" barrels and the full length AR15's, but you are not me.

    Once we start talking brands, we start getting into an actual discussion because that is something that is not user specific (well, for some people it is :uhoh:).

    Most will say, build your own, to your own specs. BCM Complete uppers on Spikes lowers are very popular. Building your own CAN be cheaper.

    If you choose to ignore that route, and want to buy complete, BCM complete rifles, Colt, Noveske, and other "high end" AR's will perform better when run near the point of abuse than some others, but for the most part, it falls into the laws of diminishing returns, you pay more for less and less performance improvements. My buddy has a Noveske N4 and it runs very well and is very accurate, but he doesn't run it nearly as hard as he wishes.
  3. janobles14

    janobles14 Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    IMO almost all of the big name brands are equally decent. you can start getting into larue tactical and high end makers and get a few more quality bells and whistles. i would stick with the bushy's, smiths (an excellent choice), dpms, etc...

    i would go with standard configurations that include a light, red dot or reflex optic, back up sights with lower 1/3 co-witness, and a vertical foregrip. that's about it! most of our SWAT guys here use not much more.
  4. Sky

    Sky Member

    Aug 4, 2010
  5. Ithaca37

    Ithaca37 Member

    Jul 7, 2007
    No rifles in the bargain bin right now.

    OP, look at spikes tactical, BCM, RRA, bushmaster, Colt, etc. compare the features available and the price. They all have M4gerys available and are generally within 200-300 of each other.

    If you provide more details of what you are looking for, specific suggestion would be easier. Do you want a rail system, a flat top or fixed carry handle, etc.?
  6. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    Oct 23, 2004
    even Marines should first decide what they want to do with it. shoot 3gun matches? home defense? teach your kids marksmanship? lay on your belly or bench and try to shoot tiny groups? collectors item? just nostalgic about your service, etc

    you can buy/build a much better (or worse) gun than you were issued. depends on your budget and whether you're looking for a do-it-all or something specialized that will do just one thing but very well
  7. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2002
    South Carolina
    Budget will drive part of the train as will the rifle's mission. :)
  8. Mags

    Mags Member

    Apr 8, 2009
    No such thing.

    Whatever your needs BCM will have the setup for you check them out.
  9. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

    May 26, 2008
    New Mexico
    I highly encourage you to look at BCM rifles. They are dollar-for-dollar the best deal going in mil-spec ARs, something a Marine such as yourself will appreciate. They can be ordered in carbine or mid-length configurations, as well as 20-inch A4 rifle. I suggest the BCM Midlength as you will be able to do a lot with it down the road if you decide to customize: http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-Mid-16-AR15-Bravo-Company-s/142.htm

    If you want a Carbine with everything right out of the box: http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/Order-EAG-Tactical-Carbine-s/155.htm

    What is your budget?
  10. memphisjim

    memphisjim Member

    Jul 15, 2008
    colt 6920 the real deal
  11. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    I'd start out with a basic model from either Bravo Company or Spike's Tactical. Once you get it, you can figure out what you need to add. Usually all you'll really need is a light and you can attach that by adding a rail to your handguards.
  12. Remo223

    Remo223 member

    Feb 19, 2011
    betwix the muddy mo and moon river
    It's ok to save money on the lower. But try to buy quality when buying the upper.
  13. chris in va

    chris in va Member

    Mar 4, 2005
    Louisville KY
    I just joined an AR-specific forum, and the vast majority say the Spike's Tactical rifles are extremely well made. Of course the Colt gets the highest marks but they are rather expensive.

    S&W M&P-15's are also very good.
  14. Birddog1911

    Birddog1911 Member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Peyton, CO
    Colt, Bravo Company (BCM), Daniel Defense (DD), Spikes, and LMT are all held in very high regard. My personal experience; I'll go BCM every day and twice on Sunday. Now, if I found a DD for a lower price, I'd go with them as well.

    Colt is the original, and the benchmark. But in my opinion, they haven't looked at the reality of the market, and it is senseless to pay what they want for a 6920, when I can build or buy an exact rifle from BCM or one of the others for a couple of hundred dollars less. I'd take any of the brands I mentioned and run them head to head with Colt. Just because they are the benchmark doesn't mean that those companies haven't matched or even exceeded that mark.

    Buy yourself a quality lower, such as the Surplus Arms and Ammo from AIM Surplus ($59.99) or the Palmetto State Armory lower. Get a good lower parts kit, and put it together yourself. Then, decide what you want in an upper, and the above companies will take care of you. Simply my own opinion here; I wouldn't recommend that a first timer build his own upper. Too easy to not get it right, and you may wind up buying things that you think you need, but don't. Learn the platform, then build your next one the way you want.
  15. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

    Jan 15, 2010

    Looking back at all the money I spent on my first build...I'm already parting it out and plan on buying a spike's carbine base model with m4 profile and railed forend. I've spent bunch of money finding out what I don't want, but that's just how it is.
  16. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    May 24, 2008
    SW MO
    Here goes my nose out further than it should.

    1) Thank you for your service. After 22 years Army Reserve, and not liking the concept of light, handy, easy to shoot service rifles and opting for minimum 12 pound .308s, I woke up and saw where they weren't all that. I'm finishing an AR build this month.

    2) What you want it to do should be spelled out. No sense getting an RX8 when you actually need a Cherokee and a trailer. Specified features make the gun do some things better than others.

    3) Nail down the level of accuracy you need, the gun builds on that, even if you decide to buy complete. How much MOA do you need? Milspec is 2MOA, prairie dog spec is 1/2MOA. Everybody wants to own a 1/2 MOA rifle, it's a lot harder to get out of a 16" carbine. Setting the MOA means then choosing the optimum barrel length, and everything then cascades into a prioritized order.

    Picking and choosing parts wont' work well, wastes a lot of money on bling, and shooting it then leaves some questions, like why was $1500 spent on a collection of parts using a standard military chrome lined 2MOA barrel? Not even SOCOM does that, but pics are posted up almost daily in the AR world.

    Barrel, bolt, and caliber - yes, there are choices beyond 5.56. Then upper, for the A3 flattop, optic, then furniture, and last, trigger.

    Do it backwards, spend $500 for a drop in trigger and free float quad rail, and you have a 2MOA military barrel with great trigger feel and 48" inches of rails that even Knights Armament, the contract supplier, says won't do the average shooter any good.

    No option on the face of earth makes a gun shoot twice as good as the barrel already can. If it could, we'd all buy shot out surplus barrels, add $1200 worth of sniper stocks, quad rails, 3x9 red dot scopes, VFG's, and shoot 600M with 3" groups.

    Can't be done, but look around, pics are posted daily in the AR world. 22" dub rims on the family 4WD truck aren't the best choice hauling a load of sheetrock up the unimproved drive 1/4 mile to the vacation cabin in the Ozarks.

    Here's one example: Shoot deer with an AR. 2MOA work. Best caliber for that in the AR is 6.8SPC, it has the most on the market, and ammo is even on the shelf locally. Best barrel to do that is the ARP Socom 16", midlength gas. A3 upper to mount a red dot or 3X scope, most shots are 200 meters. Fixed A1 rifle stock, rifle handguards, TD battlegrip, because it was the smallest available in Foliage Green. Issue trigger with adjustable set screw, feels just like the Rem 700 with a bit more pressure.

    Probably more accuracy than I need, but still under $900 without optic. The stripped lower was AGP, $79, the stripped upper an LAR blem, $48. The barrel came with headspaced bolt, cam pin, firing pin, all nitrided, and a matching nitrided bolt carrier added in. Very slick tough finish, all my user knives have it and will NOT scratch up after years of use. When I filed the burrs from the gas block dimple, the file would not cut anything other than the base metal. No marks even tho I was sawing on it like a fiddle.

    Spec what you want it to do, work down the list, don't jump ahead. You will get a purpose built rifle that actually does a better job than a pile of ubercool parts recommended by fanboy geeks who's claim to fame is that tag line on the pic they posted, "Haven't shot it yet, it's been too cold/wet/hot/busy."

    Combat Arms knows its all about the shooting.
  17. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    N. Georgia
    You can't go wrong with a Colt. One of the good alternatives is BCM.
  18. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Colt's are alway's a good way to go, I do believe in you get what you pay for. You could get a cheaper one but quality may be compramised. My suggestion would be to at least take a look at either LaRue Tactical, Daniel Defense, or Colt.--- Good Luck.
  19. ejnogarb

    ejnogarb Member

    Sep 9, 2008
    Bud's Gun Shop is selling Colt Defense LE6920 M4s right now for $1,199. That might fit your bill and save you a few bucks for a complete, out-the-door rifle.
  20. kwelz

    kwelz Member

    Apr 14, 2004
    Henryville, IN
    In no particular order.
    I would suggest without questions:
    Daniel Defense

    Still in consideration but with some caveats:
  21. Quentin

    Quentin Member

    Jul 30, 2005
    NorthWest USA
    UpWind, since you are a Marine and familiar with the M16 family I also recommend building your AR. Though you said you want an M4gery I would recommend looking at the midlength gas system on a 16" barrel instead of carbine length. I'd say you could buy or build a "battle ready" AR for about $900 going with BCM, DD, Spikes or possibly S&W.

    If you want to aim lower due to budget restrictions, maybe you can knock off a couple hundred but I think that's false economy. Do a lot of research and you'll end up with something you'll be proud of.
  22. Zzyzxx

    Zzyzxx Member

    Mar 5, 2011
    I am very happy with my S&W M&P 15.
    I got a good one. Accurate, good trigger pull from the factory, solid as a Colt. But thats my opinion.
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