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alamo5000
27 September 2014, 10:14
You guys can credit Stickman for me being here :) I didn't even know you guys existed until recently, but now that I am poking around I like it.

A little bit of background... I am from Texas. I have always been a firearms owner. Most of the stuff I have is due to me being a skeet shooter. In the past few years I have also gotten quite a collection of pistols. I admit I am Sig fanboy when it comes to pistols. I also quite enjoy the concept of precision rifle shooting. Learning about grain weights, reloads, calculating DOPE so on and so forth are also very interesting. I have shot an MP5 and an MP40 as well as other types of interesting firearms. I do own an AK.

I am telling you guys all this so that you can know that I didn't just fall off the truck. The basic concepts of things I pretty much have down :)

Now all that said, of all the firearms I own I have never built or owned an AR. I've shot em but never owned one or built one.

I am on the virge of building my first AR (being able to build a rifle is part of the appeal of the platform) but the truth of the matter is there are SO MANY different parts and manufacturers and bells and whistles that it kind of scares me off from things. Maybe the term 'scared off' isn't the right word, but it it does get kind of confusing.

The decision I face now is, do I go relatively cheap or do I go with what I (think) are premium components? I could easily get a spikes lower and upper and build about that level throughout the rifle...IE moderately priced, name brand, still pretty good quality.... or I can go full on billet upper and lower and have a nicer trigger and a nickel M16 bolt. (I am thinking Seekins for the upper and lower)

I am kind of stingy with money UNLESS I can see a difference in what is produced. I don't mind spending $900 bucks on a Sig pistol because in my experience vs a $300 cheap model I can tell what it does and doesn't do and WHY they are different. I don't know all that when it comes to an AR.

All that said, if you were in my boat thinking like I think... should I go kind of cheap until I learn whats up or should I just go with what I perceive to be better?

Ride4frnt
27 September 2014, 10:50
YMMV, but my first rifle I built in 2010 used a spikes lower that I built with a milspec parts kit and magpul stock and I put a complete spikes upper on it. It remains my favorite rifle to shoot regularly, probably because it's the most practical of the rifles I've built. Second one I dropped a bit more coin on and went for a 16" noveske barrel, seekins rail, premium parts inside the lower, etc. love that rifle but it has become my deer gun and not much of a range toy, mainly because it's .300blk and I don't wanna run through all my ammo before i get to reloading for it. Most recent rifle I've completed was the most expensive of them. Seekins billet lower, CMT billet upper (from WEVO 50k giveaway) 18" black hole polygonal barrel, 15" rainier force keymod rail, geissele trigger, and some other goodies. Currently building a pistol that I think I'll have about 900 in when it's all said and done, but I'm still using quality parts.

It can be done on a relatively small budget if you shop around for deals and sales, but I don't think you will be disappointed by paying a bit more for premium parts, especially like you said, if you don't mind spending on a sig over a hi-point.

RiverRat
27 September 2014, 12:03
Welcome to the board, Alamo.

I was in the same position 3ish years ago....new to the platform both with decades of firearms experience. Here's what I would suggest based on my experiences:

My initial build tried to be too general in use (wide specs), but still came in a $1K (prices for most parts were higher then). I've got it dialed in now, but it took some extra work, experimentation and purchase of a premium trigger. The tighter your initial definition for use, the more immediate satisfaction you'll have - and that's a good thing in a first build. And yeah, I'm gonna harp on form-follows-function if you're dedicated to building your first AR.

Slightly unrelated: try to minimize the number of sources you buy from. Shipping costs add up and can easily erase savings from finding a slightly better deal on individual parts from multiple vendors. If you're planning to build only one AR (yeah, right....you'll look back at that and laugh), then getting a complete bill of materials and minimizing the number of orders will save you a surprising amount - sometimes enough that it's just not worth waiting for marginal discounts.

Stick with standard milspec forged receivers. I have non-standard forged and billet parts that are out-of-spec or require modification to springs, including a top-of-the-line Noveske Gen 2 forged lower that is slightly narrow side-to-side. You don't need to deal with that for your first build. Cost difference between the "best" and "typical" is pretty minimal - but most of those differences are cosmetic (rollmark, finish). Enough minimal changes do add up to appreciable amounts.

The barrel really defines the carbine. Don't skimp but don't get too extravagant. Expect to pay $180-$250 for a really nice barrel that fits how you want to use the rifle (when you can articulate that). Materials, lining/finish, profile, twist and chambering might matter - if you tell people here what you what to do with your carbine, chances are really good someone will suggest a barrel that meets your need in that price range - but take your time with this piece and try to get it right for your expected use. Focus on 16" barrels with midlength gas systems for your first build - no fussing with permanent muzzle devices and performance is robust. Don't be afraid to look at a barrel profile and ask questions - I still maintain the standard M4 profile isn't useful to most of us.

Get a very good full auto bolt carrier group - it will cost $100 -$170 depending on what you want.

Expect to upgrade your trigger at some point, if you're at all fussy about such things. I still haven't won the lower parts kit lottery with a decent included fire control group, so this is a default upgrade for me. Tailor this purchase to your expected use.....putting a $220 two stage trigger on a truck gun is pointless. But a truck gun might be worth a $45 ALG QMS upgrade. Stick with standard strength trigger springs in your first build.

Expect to end up monkeying a little with the recoil system - at least trying some heavier buffers, so budget a few extra bucks to learn about how to tune the gun. For the life of me, I don't know why H1 (slightly heavier than normal) hasn't become a defacto standard. Avoid adjustable gas blocks on this first build, and honestly I can't see any reason to pay a 3x upcharge for a premium gas block on AR #1.

From there, bits get much more into personal preference and I would suggest keeping it pretty simple at first. I have a couple of inexpensive free float rails I really like and one that I still need to give away because I despise it. Stock balancing and cheek welds can be very personally driven. I use different pistol grips for different carbines, because it makes sense (to me at least). Again, this is where you can use us as a resource - and some options might be less helpful depending on your intended use. '

Ultimately, you need get less philosophical and more practical in how you'll use this first AR for us to know if upgrades make sense :) Lean on the guys on this forum - we like to help when we can.

UWone77
27 September 2014, 12:06
I'll tell you what I tell all new potential AR15 owners.

If this is your first AR15, I would get either a Colt 6720 or a Colt 6920.

Yeah it's not as sexy to some as "building one" but the Colt is still the gold standard, still the only AR built to the TDP. Better yet, right now it can be had for $850-$899. I would argue that you cannot build a "better" correctly built AR for less. If you don't like it, you'll be able to get your money out of it. The same cannot be said for a "custom" $1800 build.

DutyUse
27 September 2014, 12:29
a Colt 6920.

This. They even sell them at Wally World. Buy one, shoot it for awhile just bone stock. Then after awhile you will know what you like about that rifle and what you might want to change for the next one.

okdonk
27 September 2014, 12:44
If i were you get i'd def this..

BCM Upper $439 plus shipping..
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-16-Mid-Length-Upper-Receiver-Group-p/bcm-urg-mid-16.htm

BCM Lower $395 plus shipping..
https://www.rainierarms.com/?page=shop/detail&product_id=3413

Put on the $30 ish Magpul MOE handguard on the upper.
So approx you will be spending just almost $900.
Then you just need to get a red dot (Vortex StrikeFire) and Magpul MBUS PRO sights set.

Total can be lower if you get other brand complete lower.

The SALE on BCM uppers are insane! Best sale they ever have.

GaSwamper
27 September 2014, 13:00
I was just like you at one time coming from primarily hunting guns the AR can get confusing with all the diff. options. Beauty of the AR though, you can build it exactly the way you want it. If you do build I suggest hit the gunshops, feel as many different configs as possible for your personal fit pref. Other than fit remember the heart of the rifle bolt or BCG, barrel, and trigger put your cash here, the rest is vanity.

camomike
27 September 2014, 13:09
Currently I'm building out about a $2500 rifle. Did I need to spend that much? no. Do I have top tier parts in it? yes. Is their any guarantee the rifle is going to work flawlessly? no. Every time you build you are making educated guesses about what parts are going to work well together. When you fail, you end up with spare parts that you end up cycling into new builds. After experience and handling you start to figure out what will work, and what won't. The rifle I like to shoot the most was the second one I owned/built-cost me $500 and came out of Palmetto State Armory. I got lucky on a black Friday deal. It's more accurate than I am, and I don't feel bad about beating the S#$% out of it.

As other have said think about the style of shooting you will do, buy a complete one first. You WILL save money over building one by yourself(tool cost adds up) But after shooting for a while you'll start to figure out what you like and what you don't. The draw is how mod-able and custom-able the platform is. One of the biggest benefits of building is figuring out how every thing works internally. It allows you to diagnose malfunctions and issues the rifle/pistol might be having, Can sometimes save a range trip.

The funny thing is how many times I have heard people(15-20 years experience with the platform) say how they tried all the bells, whistles and fads; Only to end up with a KISS basic carbine build and go back to fundamentals. Save money, buy ammo to shoot.

FortTom
27 September 2014, 13:25
I'll tell you what I tell all new potential AR15 owners.

If this is your first AR15, I would get either a Colt 6720 or a Colt 6920.

Yeah it's not as sexy to some as "building one" but the Colt is still the gold standard, still the only AR built to the TDP. Better yet, right now it can be had for $850-$899. I would argue that you cannot build a "better" correctly built AR for less. If you don't like it, you'll be able to get your money out of it. The same cannot be said for a "custom" $1800 build.

I second this. I highly recommend that you buy your first. You'll not achieve anything from building one from scratch, to which you might find you don't even like shooting them (AR's). I currently have 5 "home built" AR's, and each of them was built a little differently, and for different purposes, but all can serve multi-function roles, with the exception of 3 gun competition. Another thing is, as exactly as UWone77 said, you can't beat one of the Colts or many others for the price these days, and after the big "scare", which if things go the WH's way this fall, we might see another. Point being, every one of mine cost a lot more than what I could have bought one for. Figure just a NiB BCU and a $500 dollar optic, plus a mount and your already over $700 bucks into your "build", and you don't even have a trigger or a lower receiver to mount it in. Then, there are times I've had to do some machining to make things work like they should. So, while probably unlikely, you'll need machining skills, and own or have access to a milling machine. You'll need a variety of tools, punches, roll pin punches, roll pin starter punches, torque wrench(s) and a set of hollow ground screwdrivers for gun screws, depending.

If you have unlimited funds, and an absolute need to build or assemble one, then from a philosophical bent, go for it. But I've seen more AR's get a few hundred rounds through them, then when the "cool" wore off, live the rest of their lives in a gun safe. Also, depending on whether you reload or not, you're probably want to bring at least 150 - 300 rounds to the range. As an AK owner, I'm sure you realize how fast you can go through that much ammo, at the range or on the farm or whatever.

If you buy that $899 Colt, and find that you just absolutely have to have another, custom tailored to your exact needs, then I say go for it. But you mentioned the mind boggling array of available parts. You might, then, have a better feel for what you need and how to navigate through that set of problems. You should at least have a decent feel for trouble shooting your weapon. I've seen too many "1st Builds" go south over the simplest things. E.g. a neighbor of mine brought a used store bought, home built, rifle for me to look at to see if I could figure out why it wouldn't cycle correctly. I took about 5 minutes to figure out he had a carbine buffer and spring in a rifle stock. The store owner he bought it from had told him there was nothing wrong with it, he just wasn't holding it correctly while firing?? Yeah, really, or it was the bad ammo he was shooting.

Back to the "philosophical" side: Do what makes your soul happy.[:D]

Either way, have fun.

Gaspipeshooter
28 September 2014, 05:41
The other posters are spot on; if you've never gotten a chance to do much shooting with an AR, a factory model gun, as they describe is the best way to "test the waters without jumping into the pool" your first time out. I started shooting ARs casually back in the late 80s, shot the DCM clinic at Camp Perry and got into Service Rifle competitions in the early 90s. Bought my first AR, a "factory gun" in 1992. It was a Bushmaster National Match model, which I used in service rifle competitions. I've been building and messing around with them ever since. I would say unless you are in law enforcement or the military, most of the accessories and modifications available for the basic platform are unnecessary for typical "civilian" shooting. If you are planning to do some serious long range shooting, then you might be looking at long bull barrels, and other specialized pieces/parts. But until you have some experience and see what the "needs" might be, no need to overthink/overbuild a gun and put a bunch of fluff on it you might not need or use.

tactical
28 September 2014, 06:44
+1 on buying a factory rifle for your first AR. First learn how to shoot it correctly (i.e. take a good hands-on training class). Next learn how to handle malfunctions (i.e. take a good hands-on training class). Once you get "used" to it, you'll start thinking "hmm, maybe I need an ambi charging handle for off-hand shooting". Then go ahead and replace it. "Maybe I want to try a vertical grip for CQB, but I'll need a longer free float rail for that". Then go ahead and replace it. Next thing you know, you've replaced half the parts in your rifle, but it will be perfect FOR YOU and you'll have a decent understanding of how everything flows together.

That said, for your first build, buying a complete upper is a good idea. It's not that hard to assemble your own (if you have the right tools) but spending all that time to tap your barrel and getting that gas block lined up perfectly only to realize your rail won't fit over it is infuriating! [BD]

Uffdaphil
28 September 2014, 09:28
Agree on the Colt 6920 if you decide on a complete factory rifle. You can't beat the QC for the current price. But since you sound like you prefer some customization, I would go with a factory upper and build a quality lower. Not billet for first time out. BCM is my favorite with Mega "Gator" a close, cheaper second. A 16" for range and ease of changing muzzle device if desired. Mid length gas system and Vltor A5 buffer system for smooth action. The new BCM ELW barrels with KMR rails are amazingly light. Many other variations too, currently includes free BCG.

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/AR-15-16-Mid-Length-Group-s/27.htm?searching=Y&sort=7&cat=27&show=100&page=1&brand=BCM

Hammer forged, coated BCG, fluting are options many prefer but small improvements for the cost.

WHSmithIV
28 September 2014, 09:51
I couldn't afford to buy one outright. Couldn't afford a complete upper or lower either. So, I built one piece by piece until I had it finished. My total cost for the basic rifle with the A.R.M.S flip up sights came in at $506.62 and it works fine. Part of the appeal of the AR is that they are so easy to build. You can buy a complete lower and a complete upper and a Bolt Carrier Group. Stick the BCG in and put the two pins in that hold the upper and lower together then off to the races you go. That's the easy way. Or you can just buy a complete one. Mostly it's all a case of money
.

alamo5000
28 September 2014, 15:52
First off thank all of you for the very thoughtful replies. I very much appreciate everyone being friendly and warm in their responses.

A couple of additional thoughts from me. If I am going to build or buy is still up in the air. Yet I have put a lot of thought into how I would like to have my AR. If you have any additional stuff to add please do so.

Where I live at is heavily wooded. That said I do not think I will ever take my rifle out past 200 yards. Maybe 300 but that is stretching it. I would like an optic on the rifle. After some looking around a Trijicon ACOG with the RMR on it looks like it's the way to go. My thinking is that being a one shot one kill kind of guy is my style. I also derive more personal enjoyment from putting lead on target with accuracy rather than just blasting. Irons are fine but I would probably put 45 degree irons as my back ups.

An alternative will be to put a low to medium power scope that can hit my 200 yard target with accuracy. My thought on the ACOG or scope is that the round is capable of so much more than just plinking at 50 yards getting 'kind of close'. I am guessing possibly more of a 3 gun setup would be nice for at least one of my AR's :)

For the rail I simply like the look of the longer rail against a 16" barrel. A 14 or 15" rail and a 16" barrel look cool. I do not hang a lot of stuff off the rails. I don't like the feel of it to have a swiss army gun with all kinds of wigits on on it. A flashlight might be ok and a tripod might be put in use from time to time. I don't really know much about how and why one rail is different than the other as to pure function. Maybe someone can help me understand that part. The Geiselle MK4 rail looks interesting but I don't know if I want to go with a full quad rail or something else.

Barrel... I am thinking 16" 1:7. I like the notion of being able to shoot heavier grain bullets if the need arises.

Triggers... I know on a pistol triggers are everything. Technique matters but having a lighter consistent trigger matters a whole lot. A different trigger means a whole different style of shooting when it comes to pistols. With regular rifles triggers matter a lot too. With AR's I don't know but I imagine the same principles probably apply. Maybe you are catching the drift that I am not about blasting to make noise or being satisfied hitting a frisbee at 100 yards. Accuracy is first speed is second. I have recently played with a flat trigger...I don't know the name, but the pull was pretty light and it felt pretty good. Then again I wasn't shooting at the time but rather experimenting.

On the bolt I have heard that M16 bolts are the better route to go. (Why I don't really know). I have also heard that Nickel Boron are better because they have sort of a slick self lubricating property which allows you to use less oil on them. It should also be noted that I am pretty meticulous about care for any and all weapons. If you take care of it it will take care of you. I am just of the school that one should take care of your stuff. I change the oil in my car when its due as well :)

Other than that I don't want to start an argument about different mock ups because what I am talking about is 'for me'. I can see the benefit of other layouts but to me in ways they are sort of limiting. The good thing about America though is you can have more than one gun :) I have always had very good luck with Sig and their DI AR series has sort of been in the back of my mind as an alternative to do just as some of you guys are talking about. It's moderately priced. I looked into a piston AR but I decided against it. The appeal to having an AR for me is the ability to build it and swap things out. Its a very flexible platform. Pistons from what I understand have little wigits and parts that are not always entirely interchangeable with a standard DI system. After thinking on it DI is the way for me to go.

As for my above example about pistols... What makes a $900 pistol better than a hi point is the tolerances and fitting of overall functionality. Yes there are probably better parts in their too. But putting all those components together into a single package makes the difference. I just have to figure out how to relate that to building an AR.

MoxyDave
28 September 2014, 16:52
Building an AR is educational. I can't fault anyone for wanting to do it themselves. However, buying all the tools to build 1 or 2 ARs is expensive. It's time-consuming. You don't get a warranty. You might get faulty parts. You might do it wrong and not even know - are you sure your barrel nut is still tight after 1000 rounds? Are you going to check?

It's easy to over-think the whole thing, with the massive availability of parts and the zillions of manufacturers. It truly is like Lego or Barbie, accessorize 'til your heart's content.

Listen, just go to the local Wal-Mart and pick up a Colt carbine. Shoot the piss out of it until you feel like you know what you'd like to change. Use iron sights. You'd be surprised at the accuracy of irons even at 100 yards. No, it's not fashionable, it's not geeky and wrenchy and expensive and Lego-like, but it will give you a much better understanding of the platform and a far clearer direction if you decide to build one yourself later on.

The amount of effort you'll waste at the computer configuring the "ideal" AR15 in your mind, then the time you'll spend fucking with the parts afterwards ... oh holy Jesus if I could get that time back ...

camomike
28 September 2014, 18:20
... oh holy Jesus if I could get that time back ...

Sums it up in one sentence.

Uffdaphil
28 September 2014, 19:56
Love my 2 Acogs - 1.5 and 3x. Not a fan of the RMR mounted on top. Wrecks your cheek weld. Have you considered a 1-4x variable? Many good choices in the $500-1000 range. Good deals on used ones from glass addicts needing cash for the 1-6s.If you hve to have a NB BCG, make sure it's a top tier make. I've heard of cheapos finish flakeing. A quality phosphate functions just as well if kept wet.

rob_s
29 September 2014, 02:40
Contrary to what the internut will usually tell you, you aren't actually gaining or saving anything by assembling your first AR yourself. Nor are you doing yourself any favors bolting a bunch of nonsense to an AR right out of the gate. I've even been know to ask people "what do you intend to do with it", which also doesn't really matter.

Why do I say all of this? Because you just don't know. Knowing guns and knowing ARs is two different things. I know a fair bit about ARs, and I wouldn't even pretend to think that knowledge is remotely applicable to shotguns. I've made that mistake before.

So what you want to do is buy the highest quality, basic, AR you can afford without too much grief. I wouldn't suggest ordering halves of guns, or parts of guys, or even whole guns (unless you've done it before) from the Internet. I'd march down to Walmart or to your local gunshop and buy a Colt 6920 or 6720 and be done.

Then go shoot the gun.

BLaT
29 September 2014, 08:32
*

FortTom
29 September 2014, 09:07
...... Part of the appeal of the AR is that they are so easy to build. You can buy a complete lower and a complete upper and a Bolt Carrier Group. Stick the BCG in and put the two pins in that hold the upper and lower together then off to the races you go.
Your definition of a "build" and mine are pretty far apart. Taking a lower and upper and sticking in a BCG does not, in my opinion, equate to a 'build", it even falls short of a proper field strip for cleaning and maintenance. [:D]

alamo5000
29 September 2014, 16:58
For me, part of the appeal to having an AR to start with is the fact that it can be 'built' from parts. I have several people at my disposal that are in fact bugging the crap out of me to hurry up and buy some stuff... one is a certified gunsmith (who also happens to be my go to FFL) who will help me put the thing together and show me how it's all done... the other is the guy who was in charge of one of our local law enforcement's armory for a long time... both of them have the shop, tools and know how...I won't be putting it together myself, or rather without help. When I do build (if that's the route I go) I have more than enough people who will keep me from royally screwing things up. That said I like the idea of building because it's a learning experience to be able to do all that...

But the real idea behind this thread is gaining some knowledge on parts and stuff before I start hauling off buying things. My hesitation is in spending (or over spending) on things versus my ability to be blindfolded and find the most expensive thing in the room without even trying. Where along the line to fall where I get function but not so much fluff is a 'thinking it through' process.

I can easily buy one which is still a distinct possibility but at some point I am going to end up building because that's the kind of stuff I like.

rob_s
30 September 2014, 02:48
But the real idea behind this thread is gaining some knowledge on parts and stuff before I start hauling off buying things. My hesitation is in spending (or over spending) on things versus my ability to be blindfolded and find the most expensive thing in the room without even trying. Where along the line to fall where I get function but not so much fluff is a 'thinking it through' process. .

This is why you buy first, "build" second. If you're all fired up to pop pins in, tear down your factory gun and assemble it from pieces.

Unless the "building" is the entire point. Frankly, for most people it is. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if that's the case then be honest about it. Go find the parts you think look cool or at the Internet likes today, and come back and post a list of those parts and we'll straighten you out if you've gone off the reservation.

Computalotapus
30 September 2014, 05:52
I agree with everyone and I was in your shoes not to long ago. I am glad that my wife picked me up a S&W M&P 15 as a surprise cause I was all set on building my own AR. After shooting the rifle and thinking about what I wanted to do with an AR I was able to build the right AR for me without going broke on parts. You can pick up a quality Colt for cheap, shoot the crap out of it and learn the platform and decide what you want to do with the rifle, then build one that fills out what you want to do with it. A basic Colt is a jack of all master of none kind of AR. From what your OP mentioned I think you are leaning more towards a RECCE build: short, lightweight, accurate rifle.


But I will say you can build a quality AR for relatively cheap. The following list below is $900 worth of parts, just know there are no sights listed on this. This list is just simple parts to basically build a basic AR that would be a blank canvas to start with. This is just a list I put together fairly quickly and really it is all personal preference. I am sure others here and put a list together in the same price range with quality parts and we would have different vendors listed. The AR is all about personal preferences, which companies you like and which you don't, there are a lot of them out there that make quality parts.

Receiver Set

Aero Precision Blemished Stripped Lower $55
Aero Precision Blemished Stripped Upper $48

Upper Parts

Sionics 16" Melonite Lightweight Barrel $185 (for a RECCE I would upgrade to a LW SS barrel from this +$100)
Rainier Arms RMC 2.0 Black $52
SLR Solo Lite Series 15" KeyMod Rail $220 (you can go shorter and save a little $$)
Aero Precision Forward Assist Assembly $13
Aero Precision Ejection Port Cover Assembly $9
Ares Armor BCG Phosphate $80 (this is a basic BCG upgrade to a NiB or Nitride BCG +$100)
BCM Gunfighter Mod 3 Large $43
Gas Tube $13
Gas Block $30

Lower Parts

Phase 5 WSI LPK $65 (I have purchases 2 LPK from P5WSI and both have had better than milspec triggers)
Buffer Tube Assembly $55
MFT Minimalist Stock $48

Misc Upgrade parts: Trigger +$170, Ambi Safety Selector +$57, Grip +$20, BUIS +$100, Optic $$$$$$$

FortTom
30 September 2014, 12:24
It sounds as if you were pre-disposed to build one anyway, so why bother with all the questions. Your first AR and your planning on a $2000 dollar ACOG scope set up? You've got everyone lined up to do the work for you, as well as provide the tools. Can you even name all the parts of an AR without checking a manual, or asking a friend? So starting with a 2K scope, what, your looking at a 4K - 5K gun? I truly don't mean to sound antagonistic or a smartass, please believe that, but if you started this thread with full intentions of ignoring everyone and start talking about a 4 or 5K gun, with optics, you should have been a little more open about your ultimate intentions, after all. You can spend all the money you want, build anything you want, lug all that gear, with bipod and who knows what else around for a day, and my bet is you're going to be greatly disappointed in your choice, unless you're training to be a Marine Scout Sniper or something.

My real bet is, that with all that money, and shining bobbles and lights and ACOG's , you're going to shoot it off a feather bed, one time, and spend the rest of your time showing it to friends, after removing any microscopic trace of lint and a spit and polish, because I'd bet good money that you're sure as hell not going to "run and gun" with your new Barbie. Again, it's your money, you can build it out of gold and it won't make me think any less of you, but I've seen this story play out multiple times. To be honest, I smell safe queen.

Whatever your choice, have fun and enjoy yourself. That, I think should be the ultimate goal whether you buy a $899 Colt, or start with optics that cost 2X what the Colt sells for. One warning though, these things do NOT hold their value, like numerous other guns do, unless you get some one off matched receiver made of titanium or whatever. Those optics are going to be yesterday's technology very soon. Sort of like going from a cassette Walkman to a CD Walkman to an IPOD, too....etc. Plan on keeping them, though, they'll always be as good as they were when you got them. They were built for fighting, but can serve almost indefinitely as a "bench" gun.

Genuinely, have fun whatever you do, and don't be shy, post pics along the way.

Have fun and happy shooting, that's what it's really all about, I believe.[:)]

FT[:D]

alamo5000
30 September 2014, 17:12
Fort Tom... I understand where you are coming from... and in some ways you are correct but in other ways not.

Yes I started out sort of predispositioned to try and build...BUT I haven't done so even though I have the money and resources to do it correctly. In ways I was playing devils advocate....but also (thankfully) I got a lot of responses from various people... which is what I wanted. The 'consensus' is what I was ultimately looking for because that really does end up getting down to the meat and potatoes of getting the real inside scoop from people and not only that, but WHY they think the way they do. Another thing I am predisposed to do is not spend money on a bunch of stuff I don't fully comprehend hence my thread. Yes, my head is saying build it... but everything else is saying no.

Believe me... I really have not written off buying a simple AR and going from there. When I first started this thread I was about 75% committed to building one.... now, I still like the idea... but buying one might not be such a bad idea on a number of fronts. In all honesty, now I am probably leaning 60% buy something simple and 40% wait til later for the build.

UWone77
30 September 2014, 17:40
rob_s has given the best advise so far.

You don't know what you don't know. Believe me, we've all been there. I probably have 6 figures into this platform, and most of that could have been saved if I found a forum sooner in my life or friends familiar with the platform.

You have to have a baseline, and that starts with a basic factory gun. It's not the sexy decision, but you'll thank us all later.

One of the first guns I put together was modeled after something I saw in a movie. When I finally finished it, it "looked" bad-ass, only problem was, it sucked to shoot.

Keep us posted!

GaSwamper
30 September 2014, 18:55
Ok I'm going to use my first AR for an example here. The gun in this pic took about 2 years to build. Yes I put it all together in about a day taking my time but was planned over years, I probly handled hundreds of AR's in that time and lurked gun forums picking up what knowledge I could. There were several off the shelf rifles that I liked things about but none had everything I liked so set out to build my own. One thing you'll notice about this rifle is clean and simple just the way I wanted it for a hunting rifle. The unseen or unobvious is actually some of my more upper end components, the cmc 3.5lb trigger makes it feel like a competition gun, NiB LWRC advanced 6.8 bolt and Keis carrier for smooth operation and dependability, a prized ARPerfomance fluted barrel, and that's a ZEISS 3.5-10x44 on top, and the rifle is chambered in 6.8 SPC. Don't get caught up in gadgets that you don't need they just confuse the situation and every single thing you add is ounces and ounces are pounds. If you buy or build either way, take the time learn all you can about how this weapon works and then what you want and need.
http://i1295.photobucket.com/albums/b623/gaswamper1/six8/DSC00732_zpsbaa1d08e.jpg (http://s1295.photobucket.com/user/gaswamper1/media/six8/DSC00732_zpsbaa1d08e.jpg.html)

UWone77
30 September 2014, 18:59
This is actually a prime example of why I tell new shooters to buy a Colt 6920/6720.

Less money than the the build you outlined, but more likely to get your money back later if you decide to sell.



I agree with everyone and I was in your shoes not to long ago. I am glad that my wife picked me up a S&W M&P 15 as a surprise cause I was all set on building my own AR. After shooting the rifle and thinking about what I wanted to do with an AR I was able to build the right AR for me without going broke on parts. You can pick up a quality Colt for cheap, shoot the crap out of it and learn the platform and decide what you want to do with the rifle, then build one that fills out what you want to do with it. A basic Colt is a jack of all master of none kind of AR. From what your OP mentioned I think you are leaning more towards a RECCE build: short, lightweight, accurate rifle.


But I will say you can build a quality AR for relatively cheap. The following list below is $900 worth of parts, just know there are no sights listed on this. This list is just simple parts to basically build a basic AR that would be a blank canvas to start with. This is just a list I put together fairly quickly and really it is all personal preference. I am sure others here and put a list together in the same price range with quality parts and we would have different vendors listed. The AR is all about personal preferences, which companies you like and which you don't, there are a lot of them out there that make quality parts.

Receiver Set

Aero Precision Blemished Stripped Lower $55
Aero Precision Blemished Stripped Upper $48

Upper Parts

Sionics 16" Melonite Lightweight Barrel $185 (for a RECCE I would upgrade to a LW SS barrel from this +$100)
Rainier Arms RMC 2.0 Black $52
SLR Solo Lite Series 15" KeyMod Rail $220 (you can go shorter and save a little $$)
Aero Precision Forward Assist Assembly $13
Aero Precision Ejection Port Cover Assembly $9
Ares Armor BCG Phosphate $80 (this is a basic BCG upgrade to a NiB or Nitride BCG +$100)
BCM Gunfighter Mod 3 Large $43
Gas Tube $13
Gas Block $30

Lower Parts

Phase 5 WSI LPK $65 (I have purchases 2 LPK from P5WSI and both have had better than milspec triggers)
Buffer Tube Assembly $55
MFT Minimalist Stock $48

Misc Upgrade parts: Trigger +$170, Ambi Safety Selector +$57, Grip +$20, BUIS +$100, Optic $$$$$$$

WHSmithIV
30 September 2014, 19:11
Contrary to what the internut will usually tell you, you aren't actually gaining or saving anything by assembling your first AR yourself. Nor are you doing yourself any favors bolting a bunch of nonsense to an AR right out of the gate. I've even been know to ask people "what do you intend to do with it", which also doesn't really matter.

Why do I say all of this? Because you just don't know. Knowing guns and knowing ARs is two different things. I know a fair bit about ARs, and I wouldn't even pretend to think that knowledge is remotely applicable to shotguns. I've made that mistake before.

So what you want to do is buy the highest quality, basic, AR you can afford without too much grief. I wouldn't suggest ordering halves of guns, or parts of guys, or even whole guns (unless you've done it before) from the Internet. I'd march down to Walmart or to your local gunshop and buy a Colt 6920 or 6720 and be done.

Then go shoot the gun.

I'll point out one rather obvious flaw with this logic " (unless you've done it before)" .... Now, just how is someone going to have "done it before" until they do it the first time? That's like saying "don't change a flat tire unless you've done it before".

I built mine because it was the only way I could afford to have one and I do need it and not for 'plinking at a range'. It's the best firearm I have for going out on the pitch black nights when the sheep are agitated because some predator type critter is skulking around them. With the AR I can light up the pasture with the tac light and shoot whatever is trying to kill one of our sheep. There's a first time for everything and if you want to build an AR piece by piece then do it. Not only will you know how it works but you'll also know how to build another one (which is exactly what I am doing - I want an AR 7.62x39 pistol).

WHSmithIV
30 September 2014, 19:23
Your definition of a "build" and mine are pretty far apart. Taking a lower and upper and sticking in a BCG does not, in my opinion, equate to a 'build", it even falls short of a proper field strip for cleaning and maintenance. [:D]

I don't consider buying an upper, lower and a BCG building an AR either. All I was pointing out is that someone 'can' put one together that way and get something that is more what they want than an off the shelf AR with a plastic handguard and an A2 front sight.

I personally wouldn't do that. I built mine from a stripped lower receiver and a stripped upper receiver. Me personal belief is that if you are going 'build' one then do so and do it right. This was my first AR I've ever owned and even though I did fire M16's in the Navy it was a lot different actually putting every single part in it. Plus, I built it the way I wanted it to be. So, i suspect that your definition of 'build' and mine are probably the same. I've seen so many posts from guys stating 'This is my first build' .. such and such a complete lower and such and such a complete upper. Well, they didn't 'build' anything.

FortTom
30 September 2014, 19:40
There's a third option. I recently built 2 back to back rifles, with some overlap, and with everything else going on in my life, scheduling, ordering and getting things lined up for two rifles became pretty tiresome. I have my custom Harley, I have other guns I like to shoot, I, like everyone else here, has a life outside the realm of AR platform rifles.

Still, although I was putting together two rifles literally back to back, I kept having a nagging feeling that I really wanted a 7.62 (AR-10). However, I had hunting rifles to get ready, rifles I wanted to shoot more, etc, and the thought of organizing and assembling all the parts to make yet another rifle really had me soured on the whole idea.

Then, out of nowhere, I got one unbelievable hell of a deal on a DPMS AR-10 with a known round count of exactly 20, and about 5 minutes to make a yes or no decision. I bought it. Knowing I didn't "like" it.
The stock sucked, the upper receiver was railed, but it had an old A2 style hand guard, some really funky front gas block with a short piece of rail that was offset from the rail about 1/4 in., a crappy trigger, and so forth.

So, I ordered a NIB BCG, a CMC "flat" trigger 3lb., a CTR Stock, a set of KNS anti-rotation pins, a low profile gas block, and waiting on MI to decide which of their Keymod rail to send me. I happened to have a Weaver Tactical scope mounted in a QD P.E.P.R. mount with a Burris Fastfire III on top. A brake was thrown in on the deal.

The whole point being, if you buy a gun with a flat railed stock, you can shoot the crap out of it, and add this or that, and evaluate each change as you go. You may start off with a diamond in the rough, is what I'm getting too. You start with a basic gun, and you take it one step at a time, as far as adding this or that. Soon you'll know what does and doesn't work for you, and end up with a whole different animal, than what you brought home from the gun store.

I knew my preferences so well, that I was able to just make a short list and get on the 'net and order what I wanted, putting all of 15 or 20 minutes of thought put into it. Years ago, when I got some of my first "civilian" AR, I was where many people are now. As I acquired more rifles, and more "stuff" became available, I felt I was obligated to dress up my rifle like a Christmas tree, but didn't know where to start, as I meandered through the booths at the gun shows. I built a couple of "craptastic" rifles, before I had to do a reset, and now I can almost pick out what I want and almost always be right, as far as pleasing myself.

Consider buying a quality plain rifle, and then experiment with one thing at a time. Over a years time you should have what you want, rather than a box or two of very expensive shit you'll regret ever having bought.

Make sense? Sometimes my "authoring" skills don't translate to well, but I think you'll know what I mean, and might find a very happy medium. Also, all those skills you'll learn from disassembling parts, trigger's, safeties, and what have you, by the time you're through, you'll have obtained the skills to pretty much build your second (as Rob_S advised). You'll not need a team of people to hold your hand or do this or that for you. Maybe just a little help and guidance with some of the more tricky aspects.

Anyway, that's a third choice, that follows Rob_s's simple advice: buy first, build second.

What ever you choose, as always, have fun. If you ever get to the point that it's not fun, as I have, and I'm sure many others have, then it's time to step back and take a breather for a while, then come back supercharged and ready to move forward. And that, my friend, is my "philosophical" take on the subject.[:D]

Ride4frnt
30 September 2014, 19:49
A good middle ground would be to buy yourself a lower and all the lower parts, build that with premium components that you want, and slap a complete upper on it.

And wouldn't you know, I just saw this pop up in the classifieds http://www.weaponevolution.com/forum/showpost.php?p=64173