Discussion in 'General Firearm Forum' started by glocksmith, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. glocksmith

    glocksmith New Member

    I Know this is a glock forum but I wanted to know what your guys' opinion is on the best ar-15 on the market today. With prices
  2. shiflet

    shiflet New Member

    I am also curious about this. Is it better to build your own or buy one and upgrade whatever you want done differently?

  3. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    Do as I do: I assemble my own.

    I use (almost exclusively) DPMS stripped lower recievers, but that is a matter of personal choice.

    If you are new to building up an AR-15, get an assembled and headspaced upper receiver with barrel and gas system installed. Incorrect headspace is a shortcut to disaster.
  4. shiflet

    shiflet New Member

    What kind of prices are your builds by the time its said and done...(shootable) because you can never truly run out of things to tinker with.
  5. +1

    I've had Colt, Bushmaster, and the current is DPMS. I wanted to put the DPMS through the "ringer" and so far I've got zero complaints.
  6. The Boar Buster

    The Boar Buster New Member

    I built 25 AR's last year for myself and friends. Right now you can get a basic shooter for just under 800.00. Once you get that you can change it however you want, or you can buy a lower and shop the parts you want.
    You will end up with a better gun and a working knowledge of the AR. I would recomend you spend good money on a good barrel, bolt, and free float tube and maybe a RRA 2stage trigger. I like barrel bolts from AR Performance. That will get you a gun that will shoot sub moa groups. I would stay away from m4 config type barrels, I have never had one that would shoot great. Chrome lining is good for spraying led but there are better more accurate treatments now like Nitro Carburised. NC barrels are more accurate than chrome lined. You can find lowers from 50.00 to 300.00. I have AR's in 5.56, 6.8 SPCII and 458 Socom
    they all have their uses. The only thing bad about AR's is they eat a lot of ammo.:D
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  7. bhale187

    bhale187 New Member Supporter

    Build your own. Or if not Rock River is the best bang for your buck in my book.

    If you are just looking for a run of the mill no frills ar15 you can build one for $500. The sky is the limit though on how much you want to spend.
  8. Mjones

    Mjones New Member

    I have built several. The lower should cost around $100-$125. I use Rock River Arms. The lower parts kit will be around $50-$75 (DPMS @local gun shop). A pre-built head spaced upper with bolt can be bought online for $300 + or -. And a collapsible stock can be had for $40-$65. Get the six position one as they seem to be better quality.
    My last build cost around $525 total with a DPMS upper and lpk. You can spend thousands on upgrades, but that will get you started and you will be familiar with the parts and how they work. Non chrome lined barrels are actually more accurate thane the cl versions. CL is just easier to keep clean and you aren't going to fire more than 2,000 rounds without cleaning your barrel anyway.
  9. shiflet

    shiflet New Member

    Has anyone ever bought anything that they have had problems with? If so what was it and what problems have you had? Strictly ar stuff though. I have heard lots about Don's not being a very good product but never why?
  10. bhale187

    bhale187 New Member Supporter

    Vulcan aka Hesse, aka Blackthorne is the one to stay away from. Some people luck out and get good products from them, most don't.

    I use spike's tactical stripped lowers, watch for the blemished discounts. I've built a half dozen or so of them, and have yet to see what the blemish was on the ones I bought, but they run around $75. I know several people who use plum crazy lowers, they are as low as $50 and of the people I know who used them all are very happy with the product.

    For complete uppers (minus bolt carrier assembly and charge handle) I love DSA, they are $240 for a Parkerized m4 upper. For a little more you can get their nitride barrel/chamber upper--Nitride is pretty much Glock Tennifer.

    LPK I use whatever is on sale, generally it ends up being DPMS for about $50-$60
  11. btenn

    btenn New Member

    What does anyone know about Stag Arms? I've been looking at a Stag Arms Model 1 and Idk anything about an AR.
  12. swiber

    swiber New Member

    I have theed stag arms piston upper and had to get out replaced due to can pin drag. I give them two thumbs up.
  13. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    I personally know of 3 instances of faulty manufacture, same manufacturer different retail outlets, same issue.

    Two persons bought complete AR-15's at different times from Sportsman's Warehouse here in town. Barrel was bent. Returned to manufacturer for free barrel replacement under warranty thru retailer, but owner had to pay Brady Fee and undergo background check when repaired weapon was release to them. The individuals did not know each other.

    One other person bought a complete AR-15 16" light barrel profile upper from local FFL at a gun show in town. Same problem: after futzing around trying forever to align iron sights to match POA to POI, had a gunsmith check it: bent barrel. Barrel replaced at no charge by manufacturer, no background check fee on release (this was an upper only).

    In all 3 cases, manufacturer was Bushmaster.

    I also personally know of another person (very good family friend, shooter, hunter, and fellow ZA prepper!) who had installed a Timney single-stage competition trigger (a really good piece of hardware!) but had a (generic) chromed bolt carrier and each and every shot was a FTF...I am inclined to blame the no-name bolt carrier (bought locally from a gunshow from an out-of-state parts dealer) and not the $200+ trigger. But he was pissed! Bolt never closed. He had to take it to a gunsmith to reshape the bolt carrier.
  14. Pistolero

    Pistolero New Member

    This question is tough to answer. Why? Because there are so many authentically primo AR15 manufacturers out there.

    Lewis Machine & Tool

    Daniel Defense

    Yankee Hill Machine Company

    All of the above AR15 manufacturers are considered to be, ‘upper tier’ companies. Stag Arms is the only one that has to be paid special attention to. It’s only their more expensive carbines that are fully built to, ‘Colt Military Standards’.

    My AR? I’ve got an LE6920 from Colt Defense. (You can't buy these anymore.) This Colt is a very well made gun; but I’ve, also, got an Arsenal, Inc. ‘Bulgarian AK-74’, (101 Variant) with a milled receiver that is meticulously manufactured; and I like it a whole lot better.

    It's never on the wall while we're not at home,

    And THIS comes as a surprise! ;)
  15. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    my thoughts exactly! and note: I personally know the three owners. Humpf.
  16. Boracay

    Boracay ʎ ɐ ɔ ɐ ᴚ o

  17. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    And remember: when you build or buy your first AR-15, you can swap out the upper receiver group and barrel assembly, and have an AR that feels and shoots differently! That's the beauty of- and the secret to the AR-15's popularity: it can be anything you want, anytime you want it to be, depending on what you put on it.
  18. shiflet

    shiflet New Member

    This all makes me want to build one but I don't know where to even start. I feel like I don't know enough about the gun to even know what to look for.
  19. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    BEFORE YOU BUY ANYTHING, read up about it. There are instructional DVDs and books out there. Research first. Prowl the web. Check out AR related forums. is a good place to do research, but there are dozens of sites out there.

    Next, you need to know what is legal in your state. Know the restrictions and stay within the limit of the law. Anything marked as "NFA Rules Apply" means it has to go thru an FFL and you need paperwork for it (SBR -short barreled rifle or AUTOs). You can have a barrel less than 16" long without extra paperwork with the ATF (if it is even legal in your state) if you build an AR-15 PISTOL...but if you attach a buttstock to it, you have jsut created an unregistered SBR. A definite no-no.

    Go to gun stores, gun shows, and pawnshops (if they allow FA sales from pawnshops in your state/city), and ask to hold everything. This will give you an idea on where to start with your first build, in terms of barrel length and profile, handguard type and style, upper type (flat-top, high-rise, or with carry handle), pistol grip style, buttstock type and style, and even color. Touching the guns doesn't cost you anything, but the feel of it will stick in your mind.

    Decide on the caliber. Most ARs out there are chambered for .223 Remington or 5.56x45mm NATO Standard. Know this: you can safely shoot .223 Rem in a 5.56x45, but not the other way around. Like in a .357 Magnum, you can shoot .38 Special; but you cannot shoot .357 ammo out of a .38 Special revolver. I always recommend building with parts designed for the 5.56x45mm NATO round, they tend to be more robust (to take the higher chamber pressures, among other things). The lower receiver will be stamped with the caliber that receiver is intended to be used with. Tracers and AP (armor-piercing) ammo will typically be 5.56 NATO, and can be had (if legal in your state) from online retailers or local gun shops or gun shows. The .223 Rem you can buy at Walmart!

    Then buy your assembled lower, from a good manufacturer (DPMS, COLT, OlyArms, RRA, and others mentioned here). If you are feeling adventurous, buy a stripped lower receiver (about $200 or so out the door) (NOTE: the lower has the serial number, and you need to get it from an FFL; everything else -depending on where you live- can be mail-ordered and shipped USPS) and a quality lower parts kit (I almost always use DPMS lower parks kits, manufacturing quality is consistent). Go over your book or DVD again. You can find exploded diagrams with parts labels all over the web. Know the parts and their function and where they go. Then buy (or borrow) a set of pin punches (ideally brass) and a small hammer (like a watchmaker's hammer). Although you should have things like roll-pin punch and the takedown detent pin installation tool, and barrel blocks and receiver vice blocks, you can make do (for now) without by being very VERY careful. Go slowly. It's not that hard. With quality parts on hand, I can fully assemble a lower receiver in less than 20 minutes while watching TV and never need a bench vice.

    If you will use a collapsible buttstock, you will need a buttstock wrench, otherwise you risk damaging the parts. Be careful with that danged buffer-detent pin and spring as well as the obnoxious buffer spring! If you are planning on having a long and heavy barrel (such as you would need for really accurate shooting or hunting), plan on having a standard A2 buttstock (sometimes called an E2 buttstock), preferrably the one with an empty void for the buttstock counterwieght, otherwise your rifle will be so front-heavy that it will be very difficult to manipulate and aim without a bipod.

    If you plan on building your barrel assembly, you will need a barrel block and barrel wrench. No way around that. For beginners, I recommend buying a fully assembled upper with barrel headspaced and test-fired. OlyArms (Olympic Arms) and RRA (Rock River Arms) make very good, affordable uppers. If you plan on redoing an installed free-float handguard tube later on, you will need a small propane blowtorch and Loctite Red as well. It's a hassle and takes muscle. You will need to know what HEADSPACE means, and have (at minimum) a "no-go" gauge or both that and a "go" gauge. With a standard sight tower (the triangular tower above the muzzle), you will need a Front Sight Alingment Tool; flip-down sights or BUIS (Back-Up Iron Sights) have a screw adjustment and need no special tools. Chrome-lined barrels are OK for longevity (they resist chemical corrosion better than unlined barrels) but accuracy suffers, but offer better bullet "lubricity" and (to me) are easier to clean. I will not build a competition- or hunting-grade upper with a chromed barrel, because accuracy is paramount for this application. For plinking, chromed is OK as far as I am concerned.

    Handguards generally only come in 2 sizes: rifle and carbine. If your barrel is 16", it is carbine. If over 16", it is rifle. With the exception of "free-floating" handguards, on plastic two-piece handguards you do not really need tools to change handguards, you just need to know how. This is very easy.

    The beauty of having an AR-15 is the plethora of parts and accessories available out there! Your first AR build will be exciting and produce a unique firearm. The joy of building it is surpassed only by the joy of shooting it. You can have or build an all-black rifle, or get combo colors (usually desert tan or light olive green), or even paint it yourself (research DuraCoat) to personalize it further. You can customize to your heart's content, later on. Add a foregrip. Add a rail adapter (if it doesn't have one). Add a laser, add a weapon light, whatever! If you get a flat-top upper (no carrying handle), you can have your choice of detachable front and rear sights with optics (scope, red-dot, whatever!) or even a detachable carryhandle with rear sight built in (works best with a barrel that has the front sight tower). If your upper has a carry handle built-in, you can get a rail adapter to mount a scope or other optics on it (look at the pics of the first two ARs I built).

    BEWARE that it is (relatively) easy to convert an AR-15 into an M-16 (full auto). Doing so without ATF paperwork or approval is a Federal offense. Mere possession of a part for a full-auto without proper approval and paperwork is a crime. If you just have a full-auto hammer or even just the bolt carrier in your parts drawer, in a ziploc bag, it is still an offense. You CAN legally adapt your AR-15 to be a "rapid-fire semiautomatic" (an "automatic" fires multiple rounds as long as the trigger is depressed; a "semiautomatic" will only fire one round for each trigger press; a "select-fire" weapon is a full automatic capable of single-shot-per-trigger-press or multiple-shot-per-trigger-press; and a "burst fire" is an automatic that will or can fire only three rounds for each trigger press as well as full-auto as long as the trigger is pressed and semiauto fire). For rapid-fire-semiautomatic, research the Tac-Trigger, and Youtube "bump-firing" (this is unsafe, I do not recommend it, because the rounds fired are not aimed, but others enjoy burning thru ammo...go figure).

    Do not be afraid. Millions of civilians have done it, there is no reason you can't! And have fun!
  20. sigpi11

    sigpi11 New Member

    After reading this post. I'd like to build my own AR. Could some one send me a parts list to build one under $600 Or a little more? I was going to buy one but this way I get to play and learn as I go.