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.
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.
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...
Someone posted an AR company in Texas that had great prices and supposedly very high quality.
I forgot to bookmark the web address. About $700.
Anyone here remember the company?
In the '90s I carried a Colt AR-15 carbine. Probably my all time favorite gun. Also the best gun I ever had.
I never fully disassembled it. I just stripped it for cleaning. I thought the AR-15 was easier to strip and clean than my Ruger.22 pistols.
I had only two complaints. I didn't like the sliding metal stock. It rubbed my ribs the wrong way. If I had another AR-15 carbine I'd put the plastic rifle stock on it.
The muzzle flash was huge. I'd replace the factory muzzle brake with an aftermarket one. One with the little holes instead of those big slots. I think the factory muzzle brake looks nicer though.
I always think about my AR-15 and want another. I also think about putting together my own to save money. I agree with the other posters. If you're handy with tools and can folllow instructions, putting together your own AR-15 should be no big deal.
I know I’m gonna get flamed for this, but I love my Mini 30. A few enhancements to the gun and it spits out cheap russian ammo without fail. I will admit, it sucked before I spent some time with mods and breaking it in. Now, it is really working like a well oiled machine.
Wolff Heavy Duty Hammer Spring
Reduced Size Gas Bushing
1911 Buffer Pad
ATI Strikeforce Stock w/ Aluminum upgrade
Ruger is now making 20 round mags [one of the biggest drawback to the mini 30 prior to this was the lack of quality mags]
light and laser sight
I have hated the M-16 - AR-15 platform from the time it was introduced. I’m a 30 cal guy, and refused to give up my M-14 ‘back in the day’ (actually an XM-21).... fortunately I was in a position to get away with going against what the procurement system required for regular grunts.
As others mentioned above, I think that an ‘off the shelf’ AK or Ruger mini-14 are better choices.
That said, I LOVE my .50 Beowulf (on an slightly customized AR-15 platform) and have an additional 5.56 upper for it, and it doesn’t suck in the smaller caliber.
If I didn’t have it the gap covered in other arms, I’d seriously consider an AR-15 with a 6.5 Grendel upper, or one of the other six and a half millimeter range projectiles. Much more useful than the pipsqueak 5.56mm / .223 cartridges.
You CAN make the AR-15 into a firearm that doesn’t suck, but it takes either big money, or moderate money and some decent gunsmith skills.