Skip to comments.What about that AR-15..??
Posted on 10/20/2010 8:07:51 PM PDT by Bean Counter
I'm considering the purchase of an improvable automatic rifle to augment my personal collection, and am looking for some input and guidance. There are a lot of options available and I hate reinventing the wheel. I would like to find a mainframe AR-15 that I can improve and expand upon but I am not sure of the best way to do it.
I've had my eye on the gun trader classified for my area here and to no surprise there are a lot of guns to choose from. I've found a couple of AR-15's that are way up in price ($1600 and up) and the weapons are obvious expensive boy-toys with the best fancy frills, but are of questionable value in a tactical situation. Some is a matter of personal taste, and the rest is a matter of practicality. I lean toward the latter.
There are quite a few other AR's for sale here in the local area, for about half that much and with fewer snazzy features, but how do you tell if it's worth the money?
I am no gunsmith, but I am fairly certain I could assemble what I want with the parts I have already found online, in a reasonable amount of time, and within a budget of about a Grand. I'm not sure if that is the best way to go, or if I am better off buying an inexpensive "mainframe" AR and improving it in pieces.
Some informed discussion is invited here, and I would be interested in any advice anyone has to offer. With the economy the way it is, there are a lot of people who are selling guns and ammo, and an equal number who are willing (and able) to buy.
Keyword ‘banglist’ added in order to reach the FReeper shooting community.
You can put together a pretty good AR-15 from parts for right around $500 if you shop around. Very good will run you about 600 to 700. Figure another $50ish for the special tools.
Far as putting it together borrow the tools or buy (resell em after) if you plan on making more. I think headspacing and barrel install was the most technical part and that’s not too bad either, other than that anyone that can use basic hand tools and follow instructions can put together an AR-15 from parts.
Better off with an AR-10.
With basic hand tools I had it assembled in about an hour from instructions I found on the internet. I saved myself $300, easy. And I got to talk to a local FFL and the nice folks at M&A Parts in the process.
From there I can add/modify to my heart's content.
That’s the beauty of the AR-15. Completely modular. Anything from a 16” M4 clone, to a specific hi-power build 20’HBAR. The sky’s (or your wallet depending) the limit.
I like the KISS approach. A2 upper, 20” HBAR, 1:9twist, 3-point sling, and 20 round magazines.
The advantage if you build it is, chances are you’ll be more familiar with the inner-workings and be more adept at recognizing and replacing if it stops running.
Fair warning though, for some, assembling can be addicting. They don’t call it Black Rifle Disease for nothing.
If I was to ever buy another of the type, I'd probably buy TWO Ruger Mini-30s and 10 magazines...and a thousand rounds of Wolf hollow-point 7.62x39, 110grain.
All that for the price of an AR-15.
“I’m considering the purchase of an improvable automatic rifle to augment my personal collection”
Unless you have a FFL, that “automatic” part is going to be tough, not to mention very illegal.
If you meant semi-auto, take a look at the CMMG gas piston M-4. Buddy just got one from CDNN sports for about $1k. Shoots great and runs clean.
You need to go no farther than this:
Does your “about a grand” include optics or just the rifle? (I’m guessing it’s for the rifle alone)
I’d be willing to bet that you could find a decent S&W M&P15 or even a Colt for under $1000 these days (from someone who spent $1200 to $1400 for it new last year during the Obama panic)...
I recommend the Russian Saiga rifles and shotguns. It is basically a proven AK-47 system except the trigger assembly is moved more to the rear of the receiver to accommodate a sport wooden stock so the weapon becomes an import sporting rifle. The wooden stock can be removed and replaced with a handgrip and assault rifle style stock. Other parts can be replaced so it meets BATF requirements (i.e foregrip, magazine, etc) for enough compliant parts to make it still a legal semi auto import. The nice thing about Saiga’s is it comes in 5.56mm, 7.62 x 39 and .308 cal as well as a .410 and 12 GA mag fed shotgun. You can have a stash of these rifles and you need to show someone once on how to operate, load and unload weapon. Same procedures can be used on the various caliber rifles and shotguns. Lot cheaper, AK reliable and more rugged then an AR-15 system.
For a really poor man arsenal, revolvers (.357 mag that can also use .38 cal) and Marlin lever action rifles that uses the same bullets. No mags to deal with, just get tons of bullets for the standoff. Smith and Wesson and Taurus have some real nice 8 shot revolvers. These are very easy weapons to use and teach someone to load, unload and fire. Also add to the arsenal a .22 cal rifle and revolver for hunting and training. Ammo is plenty and alot cheaper then blowing off larger caliber bullets. You save them for the real thing.
If you’re sold on the AR platform, but want to build a custom rifle yourself to your requirements, get a stripped lower receiver $150 or so and get an upper kit already headspaced for 5.56 NATO as opposed to .223. Check Shotgun News- there are many upper suppliers.
If you just want an AR, buy a used one in good shape; they’ve come way down like you say and you can add any gee gaw from there. The tool requirements are minimal.
If you’re not stuck on AR, and your anticipated need is close range, dead nut reliable you might consider the AK as a platform, or even the Romanian PSL (7.62 x 54R) as a longer range .308 equivalent (in firepower). Going Soviet gets you a lot more firepower and ammo(and practice) for the same money.
I just went on GunBroker.com and saw a new Bushmaster ta Buy Now price for $829. This is about what they sold during the Clinton Y2K scare. Sadly the “scare” is real.
Depends what you want it for, AR-15’s are great for the field because they are light but for true home defence somthing in a 308 like a FN-FAL is much more useful.
Personally if a firefight ever comes I want something that will shoot thru walls or crack an engine block at 600 yards. The .223 can never do this.
“I want something that will shoot thru walls or crack an engine block at 600 yards. The .223 can never do this.”
Neither can a 308, but myths are always fun to repeat.
So by ‘automatic’, do you mean “Class III’ (keeps firing as long as you pull on the trigger), and if so, are they legal to own in your state?
If you actually mean ‘semi-automatic’ (one trigger pull = one shot, and then the rifle action cycles another round into the chamber), then a DPMS or Olympic Arms kit is hard to beat.
Had to ask - words mean things...
I bought a S&W M&P15ORC new for $999 in early 2009. I could have bought the same rifle from the same dealer last week for around $700, and there might also have been a $50 rebate available IIRC...
In late 2009 I bought a new S&W M&P15FT for $1150 IIRC, and I’m not sure that I could do any better right now. So it does depend somewhat on the exact model and features. YMMV...
You would think a guy who had been in the Navy would be more careful around boats. Geez. ;-)