Skip to comments.AR-15: What do I look for?
Posted on 09/26/2010 5:34:36 PM PDT by aimhigh
I'm thinking about getting an AR-15, mostly for plinking. There are so many out AR models out there I'm not sure where to start. What features are the most important to look for in narrowing down my search. I'm in the market to pay up to $1300.
make sure it has a bolt....
Start by looking here...
5.56 ammo is kinda expensive for plinking. I used to have a bushmaster before the boating accident. It was pretty nice.
Plink with a Marlin, shoot with an ArmaLite.
My LMT was a real nice rifle before it fell overboard as well.
A local shop has a large collection of sig rifles they will sell. Any experience with those?
Here is a superlight Bushmaster.
When you get it. Keep it.
I bought mine for $440 in 1980 through a gun club in the Navy. Sold it for $650 twelve years later to buy an engagement ring for my girl. I still got the girl, but Oh how I miss that AR-15.
Held one once, looked well built. I don’t recall if they use regular AR magazines, but I’d be concerned about that, and make sure they have standard rails for optics and lights.
If you want a fun semi-auto for plinking that’s inexpensive, I would go with an M1 Carbine. You can also get a Ruger Blackhawk chambered in the same round that is really nice. Both for under $1300.
I believe Ruger makes a good one now as well.
Reading a little here http://www.shoot-straight.com/p-488-sig556-swat.aspx and it appears they are standard. Quite a bit more expensive though.
For plinking, save some money and get a 10-22.
If you want an AR, decide what your needs are.
Light weight and easily carried, the flat top 16” barreled collapsible stocked varient will serve you well. The flat top allows iron sights or a host of optical sights.
If you want more on target energy, get a 20” barrel.
The super light barrels carry well, but you may realize better accuracy with a slightly beefier barrel.
There are a number of good makers out there now, Colt, Bushmaster, Rock River among others. These 3 are all top notch.
If you live in Texas, they're a great resource for all your AR needs and advice. Even if you don't live in Texas.
$1,300 won't buy much. But then, if you're only looking for something for fooling around, it might buy a beater. Bought just my upper receiver from LaRue for around $1,700.
Cant go wrong with the Sig 556 classic little spendy @ around 1600 msrp. But outside of a Noveske it is probably the best AR platform around. I used to have both before the tragic boating accident in 250 feet of water. Dang hate it when that happens. :)
AMEN! Bought a Colt in ‘87. Sold it in ‘90.
All parts inside were stamped with a “C”.
Triangular handguard. Bought an FN/FAL in ‘99.
Then the dust up in the sandbox kicked off and almost all mil-surp went bye-bye. Picked up a Bushmaster in ‘07.
Miss that first one.
Anything made by Sig is good. If you can afford it you won’t be disappointed.
Sold it to attend culinary school. Should have skipped school and kept that and the AR-50.
Bad luck about the boating accident, I lost my entire collection in one of those.
I havent seen one at the range but then I don’t get there often enough. Sig arms generally are high quality and they sure do look good.
Mossberg is supposed to be coming out with a $250.00 .22lr AR15.
I’ve long felt that the AR-15/M16 were too fragile, temperamental, and difficult to clean for my tastes.
If you want to do a good job cleaning them, you’ll need a bright light, a dental mirror, and some dental picks.
I have a bushmaster patrol that i have never hand any trouble at all with. I would go for an A3, removable carry handle. Then i would purchase some Russian, eastern block ammo to break it in. Always keep some quality ammo around though. I added a Burris AR-332 scope that i am very happy with.
I also purchased a colt M4 OPS 22LR that i have not been so happy with. it jams often, even after sending it back to colt and having the main spring replaced.
I have heard nothing but good about Stryker Defense 22lr conversions for an AR but have never tried one. Its what all the guys at my range swear by though. Ammo for that will cost nothing.
Good luck, good shooting.
All AR-15 type rifles will share common receivers, barrels, stocks, sights, etc. The features that are important to me may not be important to you but here are several things that will matter:
You will want a barrel suited for the type of shooting you will be doing. Barrel length and twist rate (7:1, 9:1, 12:1, etc) determine the type of ammo that can be used reliably. Generally a faster twist will be needed to stabilize heavier ammo. Also, a longer barrel is generally more accurate at longer distances than a shorter barrel.
A2 or A3 type upper receiver. An A3 receiver will allow for the mounting of optics, red dot or BUIS sights. An A2 will be limited to the handle mounted rear sight. Same holds true for the front gas block, an A2 or A1 style sight tower will limit you options, a low profile or railed block will allow the mounting of a free float tube and removable front sights.
A2 or collapsible stock. The 6 position collapsing stocks look tactical but offer no real advantage for rest or bench shooting. A standard A2 stock allows a better cheek weld and a more stable shooting position, in my opinion anyway.
As you have probably found, the AR-15 is a very popular and adaptive platform, the combination of features is almost limitless...my advice is to decide what you want it for, i.e. plinking, hunting, varminting or just plain old SHTF, and go from there. You may want to explore building you own or even more than one. Lots of folks go that route and it is not as hard as you would expect.
Thanks for the heads up!
I’m thinking about getting one of those .22 converter kits for my AR.
Clean mine the way I was taught and never had a problem. No dental mirror required.
I've shot Colts, S&W and Bushmasters and they shot well but my buddies say they don't have the quality lately.
DPMS has a good reputation and I think they manufacture parts for many of the big names but I don't know about their present quality.
Make sure you get a 5.56 Nato chamber not .223 Remington.
To get the most out of the cartridge get a 20"+ barrel, if energy isn't that big a deal then you can go with the carbine lengths.
The trend seems to be toward piston driven as opposed to the gas system of the AR, cleaner and more reliable. There are conversions or you can just buy it as a piston driven system for a little more. I'd definitely go with that
Something to take a look at is this by Benelli, takes AR mags and is piston driven and very reasonable for Benelli quality. I haven't shot one though.
Personally, I would prefer a complete upper vs. a “conversion”. Pull one pin, replace. Then again, for the cost of the Mossberg vs. a “conversion kit” or a new upper, the Mossy might be the way to go.
I really agree with the gas piston idea. AR accuracy AK reliability. The op should go here http://www.lwrci.com. I bought a different gun but if I had to do it over.
“The trend seems to be toward piston driven as opposed to the gas system of the AR, cleaner and more reliable.”
5.56mm/.223 Caliber Gas Piston Upper / Bbl. Assembly
(About #26 down)
One more suggestion.
I got the long barrel with the full stock and use iron sights. Standard military no-frills issue. Don’t get sucked into the short barrel SWAT collapsible stock crap.
When you need it most, you’ll want the accuracy and won’t have time to play with a plethora of rattling accessories hanging off the weapon.
i love the movie TSgt!
Traditionally I’ve always disliked the AR-15 and all it’s ilk. Having gas ported directly back to the bolt carrier group drove me nuts. I have a proclivity for the M14/M1A.
//Donning flame retardant suite//
HOWEVER, I just finished a week of shooting the Bushmaster M6 and was really impressed. I want to own one now (I already own an M1A)! The M6 differs from the M4 in that the gas tube has been replaced with a piston/rod assembly.
Best of luck on your search.
If you’re just going to plink, buy a .22LR.
True. I use an air rifle to keep up. (725 fps)
Get the Bushie. You won’t be disappointed and they hold their value.
I've shot Bushmasters and they seemed fine but my buddies say that they don't hold up, at least the ones they saw.
I have a bushmaster carbine. The last time I went to the range I was politely accused of cutting the barrel to an illegal length.
It also tends to be louder than the longer barrels which draws attention.
If you can find one, consider a Daewoo DR 200 (.223) or the Daewoo DR300 if you like 7.62X39.
Both are what we should have built, but didn’t.
“but my buddies say that they don’t hold up, at least the ones they saw.”
Then Bushie would go out of business. The AR market is too cutthroat of a market to churn out crap & last long. And the AR15 Buyers Market is so tight, “real” word would get around quick & they wouldn’t be able to give them away.
Sorta like GM & their 38 cent stock. LOL.
An AR15 For plinking? Man, you ARE hardcore...Or rich. :)
I’m assuming that you want a gun for plinking now but also a gun for fighting when the time comes. My recommendation is a piston driven from LWRC. Not cheap but top quality.
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