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Edumacate me on AR15's

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    Posted: 18 December 2012 at 11:02am

My brother just recently bought an AR15, and got me to thinking about the impending Zombie apocolypse and my possible need to arm myself. Let's start the conversation by saying, I know little if anything about AR15's other than they are the civilian variant of the M4/M16 correct? If I were to buy/build one, what should I look for? I don't necessarily care about a lot of add ons as far as I know, I would mainly be getting something for occasionally going out and target shooting and/or shreading the brain stems of the non-dead. What should I steer clear of? What costs should I expect? From my understanding, there are several companies that make them and there are better/worse uppers/lowers? Any good sites that info that wold help? My brother mentioned something about his being able to shoot different ammo or something? I'd ask him more about it, but would like to have some outside input.

Not necessarily in the market to buy right this second, but considering selling some PB gear to cover the costs if I did decide to take the plunge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tallen702 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 11:15am
Originally posted by oldpbnoob oldpbnoob wrote:

My brother just recently bought an AR15, and got me to thinking about the impending Zombie apocolypse and my possible need to arm myself. Let's start the conversation by saying, I know little if anything about AR15's other than they are the civilian variant of the M4/M16 correct?



Incorrect, the M4/M16 is the military variant of the AR15. AR15 came first. Sure, it's a technical point, but important none the less.

Quote If I were to buy/build one, what should I look for? I don't necessarily care about a lot of add ons as far as I know, I would mainly be getting something for occasionally going out and target shooting and/or shreading the brain stems of the non-dead. What should I steer clear of?


Steer clear of anything high end then. Building is cheaper than buying, but right now, even component prices are high. Bolt group carriers (bcgs) being the thing most affected by this. Don't go for a high-end lower. There's no difference other than the stamp on the mag well that states who made it. For uppers, definitely go with a forward assist upper. You don't often need it, but it's nice to have in a jam (hah! I made a pun!)



Quote What costs should I expect? From my understanding, there are several companies that make them and there are better/worse uppers/lowers? Any good sites that info that wold help? My brother mentioned something about his being able to shoot different ammo or something? I'd ask him more about it, but would like to have some outside input.



You want a 5.56mm upper so you can shoot both .223cal and 5.56mm. The difference is small, but not negligible enough to allow you to fire 5.56 out of a .223 upper. ar15.com (Arfcom affectionately) is a great place to find "sticky" posts about these kinds of questions. Again, no need to go Troy or whatnot for your receiver, but don't go with the ultra-cheap either.

Quote Not necessarily in the market to buy right this second, but considering selling some PB gear to cover the costs if I did decide to take the plunge.


I'd eat the costs now and sell the pb gear to recoup afterwards. The prices are only going to keep going up, and if legislation gets pushed through like we think it will, you're going to be SOL on finding a non-used AR anytime soon.

Edited by tallen702 - 18 December 2012 at 11:16am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpbnoob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 11:24am
I stumbled across one forum discussing costs and saw figures anywhere from $600 ++. Are there any specific online places for buying? Problem is, I'm not at a great place right now fundage to put out money for something like this without selling some gear. Depending on what I am looking at for costs, I would need to get an idea of what all I could/would need to sell before really going forward. I have a fair amount of PB stuff to sell, but the market is crap and I hate taking massive losses on stuff. What I have into it and what I can get for it are fairly far apart right now.

Edited by oldpbnoob - 18 December 2012 at 11:27am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ceesman762 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 11:54am
Wow, had I moved to Ohio, I could have built you one....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tallen702 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 12:31pm
Originally posted by oldpbnoob oldpbnoob wrote:

I stumbled across one forum discussing costs and saw figures anywhere from $600 ++. Are there any specific online places for buying? Problem is, I'm not at a great place right now fundage to put out money for something like this without selling some gear. Depending on what I am looking at for costs, I would need to get an idea of what all I could/would need to sell before really going forward. I have a fair amount of PB stuff to sell, but the market is crap and I hate taking massive losses on stuff. What I have into it and what I can get for it are fairly far apart right now.


$600 is about right for the basic AR. You can go cheaper, but then you're limiting yourself to .223 only, or some such other hurdle.

The most important thing to buy first is the lower receiver. This is what the BATFE considers the "firearm" as it's where the serial number is located. It also won't set you back much. You can buy a stripped lower for under $100 in some cases, though that price is likely to jump. After that, it's a matter of slapping the parts kit of your choice on/in and then pairing it with an upper. All told, you're looking at around $550-$600 to build one from "scratch" There are a couple of tools that will up that expense just a bit. A magwell block if you have a vise is handy, but not necessary. You'll need a castle nut wrench, and potentially an armorer's tool if you plan on building your upper instead of buying a complete one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote usafpilot07 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 12:53pm
No chance I could add anything better than Tallen has. Just wanted to drop off my recommendation for an affordable one. It's the brand that often gets recommended over on the officer.com forums when someone needs something a little more affordable.

http://www.del-ton.com/carbine_rifles_s/2.htm


Other than that, they almost unanimously(other than the smaller, specialized companies) say to stick with Colt, DD, Bravo, or MP non sport models.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SSOK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 1:09pm
I'm looking at essential arms, myself. Basic non offensive scroll marks, good price, great quality, etc. I'm probably going to buy a upper and lower from them and build from there. I want the anno to match.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skillet42565 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 1:22pm
I just finished my own build, and if you have an armorers wrench its not hard at all.  The only thing I don't have yet is the back up sights, which I'll throw some 100 dollar Magpuls on and call it done.

I went with a Stag Lower, Rainier assembled upper, Ranier 5.56 barrel, and Brownells stock kit.

For my guns guts, I went with Doublestar, as they're made locally right up the road from me in Winchester, KY.  They make really nice quality parts at a very reasonable price.  The only real things that are personal preference are going to be your pistol grip, forearm and muzzle device.

I went with a Troy VTAC free floated, since I like the slim and smooth look, with the monolithic (continuous rail on top) look.  I also went with a Ranier XTC muzzle brake, as muzzle brakes allow for flatter recoil, but definitely piss everyone else at the range off, since they're very loud and bright.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tallen702 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 1:29pm
Originally posted by SSOK SSOK wrote:

I want the anno to match.


Why? You're going to be rattle-canning it to help you hide come the revolution......
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote impulse418 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 1:38pm
The great thing about building one, is that you can spread the cost over time. Secure the lower first.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stratoaxe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 2:35pm
My recommendation?

Step 1: Buy an already assembled Bushmaster M-4.


Step 2: Add enough accessories that you've now negated any weight benefits the M-4 design has to offer.

Step 3: Go to the range and compare your level of tacticool as opposed to the 19 year old next to you. Be sure to point out that your flashlight / flare launcher combo cost more than his optics and snicker smugly

Step 4: Realize that you've bought a grown man's Barbie doll and trade it immediately for an M1A.

Step 5: Tell your wife that the phase is over and she can come back.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evillepaintball Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 3:10pm
How's bushmaster quality these days?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednekk98 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 3:20pm
Originally posted by evillepaintball evillepaintball wrote:

How's bushmaster quality these days?
From what I've seen, better. Windham is making some nice looking rifles using their old tooling and employees.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stratoaxe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 3:25pm
My last AR venture was 3 years ago, but at that time they were considered on the mid to high end in terms of holding value.


Of course, the AR design is so mass produced now days you'd likely have to look to find a crap one. There are lots of good, inexpensive options. My High Standard and two Bushmasters ate through all types of ammo accurately and reliably.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kayback Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 3:37pm
I can't tell you how Bushmaster's quality is, I'll get a strike.

All in all there are two very separate forms of AR 15 on the market. Working tools and range toys.

There are some good deals to be had if you know what to look for and if you buy the right tool for the job. The hobby guns, $600 guns and the built it yourself ones are more or less all in the same bracket, however you can sometimes end up paying just as much for a hobby level gun as you will for a fighting gun.

If you want a tough as nails, die hard gun that'll see you through the end times, get something from Colt, BCM or a couple of other manufacturers.

A hobby gun is great for a couple of mags per trip to the range. For classes with round counts in the 1500 region you're going to need something better.

If you want a fighting gun, go look at a couple of websites run by fighting men, not hobby shooters.

You'll probably end up paying a wee bit more, but not always.....

KBK
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stratoaxe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 3:52pm
These AR discissions always remind me of talking guitars with my more wealthy friends.

"Mexican strats? You can't tune them. Complete garbage."

"Non custom shop Ibanez? How do your fingers endure that Indonesian wood?"

Teasing, of course (except the quotes-those are real.)

Also, as far as Colt, most AR shooters I know claim Colt build has diminished greatly over the years.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote impulse418 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 4:37pm
Buy a SCAR, and be done with it.

If you still want the AR platform. LWRC and Knight Arms. Buy once, cry once.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldsoldier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 5:06pm
Why all the bobbles and whistles, have 2 AR-15's one a Colt SP-1 the 'original' AR-15, triangle front handguards, pencil barrel, fixed carry handle, the basic 1 ea semi auto version of the M16A1 rifle of the time. Second is a DPMS clone CAR-15, heavy barrel, heavy compensator, fixed carry handle, A2 sights, a basic 'plinker' or zombie killer, but more a coyote killer anymore.
Simple rifles, can hit out to 250m consistant and accurate, don't need no do-dads or high speed low drag stuff mounted on it to look 'purty'. The KISS principle applies more than not in a firefight.

My M1A (M-14) and my M-1 Garand are for the 250m+ needs, again basic military sights, basic issue models.

My deer rifle alternates between the following, Model 91 45/70 'Buffalo Rifle', M91/30 Moison Nagant, or my Sharps 1863 in .54.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpbnoob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 5:28pm
Originally posted by impulse418 impulse418 wrote:

Buy a SCAR, and be done with it.

If you still want the AR platform. LWRC and Knight Arms. Buy once, cry once.
Quickly googled SCAR prices and most of what I am seeing is $2k +. Aint gonna happen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednekk98 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2012 at 5:37pm
Especially with looming bans, a SCAR seems like a bad idea. Good luck finding parts. You want to look for well-built parts, made to appropriate specs. Continental machine tooling is supposed to produce the best parts. Colt, Rock River, S&W, Stag etc. get high marks. I think Stag is a great deal for the money, ugly roll-mark and atrocious muzzle breaks aside.
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