Thinking about getting my first AR. Advice on what to look for when shopping

Discussion in 'General Firearm Forum' started by 3404speed, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. 3404speed

    3404speed Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys. I havent been against them just not a huge fan maybe due to my dad always having wwII rifles but i somehow always wanted one. I prefer the look of wood or synthetic grain stock and steel but i have to admit the ARs look cool too. My question is what are things i need to look for? I know im better off with one that will handle both .556 and .223 but any advantages to either? Ammo seems plentiful and decently priced. How reliable is the gas operation? I know i dont want to go over $800 ish if i can help it. I was looking at the ruger 556 and the m&p 15 sport II for starters. Reasonably priced and both name brands. If anyone has other suggestions im open to them. Im leaning more towards the ruger as it has iron sights with both its standard and magpul moe furniture model. It would most likely get a red dot or reflex sight but i always like iron sights for back up. Anyone have experience with either?
     
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  2. Lucian_253

    Lucian_253 Well-Known Member Supporter

    The Springfield Saint would be my choice over the Ruger 556, with the S&W M&P Sport 2 being 3rd.
     
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  3. Lucian_253

    Lucian_253 Well-Known Member Supporter

    You could also buy an AERO complete lower, then just buy a complete upper from Palmetto, etc. I have 2 builds like this & love them both!
     
  4. 3404speed

    3404speed Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info, i have yet to hold the ruger s&w or the springfield. I just got done watching a few videos on them, seems the ruger and springfield may be better made then the m&p?
     
  5. Danzig

    Danzig I do hood rat sh%t! Supporter

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    Even with the current panic buying AR-15 and their parts are pretty dang cheap.
    I think it really comes down to features you want/need and ability to accessorize.
    The freafloated barrel with a M-Lok railed forend would leave your options as wide as possible. It’s easier to deck out the aforementioned with sights, 45degree sights, scopes, red dots add a magnifier, light, laser, hand stop, forward grip, etc.
     
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  6. Danzig

    Danzig I do hood rat sh%t! Supporter

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    Really almost all manufacturers guns use the same Mil-spec upper and lower. There may be additional features to the receivers like ambi-mag release, ambi-bolt release, side charger, billet versus forged, piston versus gas but most everyone makes a serviceable AR.
     
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  7. 3404speed

    3404speed Well-Known Member

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    Looks like the springfield is out. The standard fixed front sight saint is around $800. The saint with fold down front sight is around $900-950.

    the ruger is available with a free float hand guard optics ready and hand guard featuring the mlok attachment slots for right at $630
    But the fixed front sight ruger with standard hand guard is $600 and the ruger with fixed front sight and mlok hand guard is $700. Why is the fixed sight ruger with mlok handguard more than the free float hand guard? Wouldnt the free float aluminum hand guard be a better option? Although i know ill have to spend another $35 for the magpul flip front and rear sights on the free float hand guard model but would give me more room for a red dot down the road

    m&p 15 sport II with no sights and m lock hand guard is around $680 it appears no free float hand guard is offered unless you get up towards $1000 in the m&p


    So the ruger 556 16” free float 11” aluminum mlok hand guard and adding the magpul flip front and rear sights would put me at around $665. Plus the free float ruger 556 has a full length picatinny rail.

    The m&p 15 sport II without the fixed front sight and shorter mlok composite hand guard is $680 plus another $35 for the magpul flip front and rear sights put it at $715. The m&p 15 has a short picatinny rail that stops before the handguard
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  8. elk creek

    elk creek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I always end up spending a few more bucks buying a good trigger for my gas guns. Not mandatory but nice to have.
     
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  9. 3404speed

    3404speed Well-Known Member

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    As of right now the ruger 556 with free float handguard seems like the best value. Is there any cons to a free float handguard?
     
  10. Bayou

    Bayou Well-Known Member

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    I’ve only purchased one AR ever before and that was just 2
    years ago so I obviously have very little experience with them. That being said, I did do a lot of research before I bought mine and I had a smaller budget to work with like yourself. I can vouch for the Windham Weaponry SRC. The gun itself was only $660.00, but after adding all the stuff I wanted (scope, scope rings, tac light, tac lite mount, green lens, bigger case, extra mags, and a few other little things and I ended up spending somewhere between $1,050.00 & $1,100.00. This AR has been great, especially for a “budget” AR. The only thing I HAD to get extra was just some form of sight, and I can also vouch for the Nikon P223 3x32 scope which is also a “budget” scope (I paid $140.00). The fit, finish and operation of this gun have been flawless. It took less than 2 dozen shots to get it sighted in and it’s been a true shooting gun. Again, there are folks on this forum that know a lot more than I do about AR’s, so see what they have to say.
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  11. j102

    j102 Well-Known Member

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  12. Lucian_253

    Lucian_253 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Imo, you’d want a free float if you didn’t have one.
     
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  13. 3404speed

    3404speed Well-Known Member

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    i see where some have said that free float handguards may be a problem because heat may be a issue with the free float hand guard as the area around the gas block could become hot and hard to hold in that area. Where with a regular hand guard the heat isnt so much a issue. Is this true? Im sure ruger has put a lot of thought into their free float hand guard 556.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  14. 3404speed

    3404speed Well-Known Member

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    Also the ruger supposedly has a unshrouded firing pin. Should this be of concern?
     
  15. Danzig

    Danzig I do hood rat sh%t! Supporter

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    That’s the only negative on any of the metal handguards. They can get hot, especially doing mag dumps. Some guys wear gloves, some use some sort of vertical grip or angled foregrip.
    Some people run keymod or Mlok covers but I feel that inhibits airflow to let things cool down.
     
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  16. 3404speed

    3404speed Well-Known Member

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    I dont think ill be doing any mag dumps. But its possible lol. It appears though as youd be holding it behind the gas block anyway but i could see where things could get warm. I guess thats where a vertical grip would come in handy. Im just wondering if the free float is the better option. Found one for right at 600 plus 35 for shipping. By the time i have it transferred and background check plus buying a set of magpul mbus flip sights ill have right at $705 in it which is within my budget. And its ready for a optic, more versatile as far as optic placement and greater accessory attachment. The aluminum free float handguard only adds .2 lb more than the standard

    the standard ruger 556 is $620 plus 35 for shipping so by the time i get it transferred and background check ill be into the standard for about $690. Only $15 cheaper than the free float handguard version with magpul mbus flip front and rear sights.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
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  17. Danzig

    Danzig I do hood rat sh%t! Supporter

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    The whole barrel can get the handguards hot. Some people hold the gun by the magwell for just such a reason.
    I’ve never liked vertical grips myself but they are helpful for controlling full auto and mag dumps plus heat issues.
     
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  18. 3404speed

    3404speed Well-Known Member

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    if im just casually shooting will this be of concern? Also how many optic options are there for the standard versions? It seems they would have to be pretty tall to clear the fixed front sight.