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First AR, Need some ideas

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by Rich22, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Rich22


    Dec 10, 2001
    Orlando, Fl
    So the wife and I the other day were at the gun club and a guy shooting a couple tables over had a AR in .223 and we got to talking and he asked if we wanted to shoot it. Seeing as how I have 0 rifle experience I said hell yes walked on over and threw 5 shots downrange and the wife did the same. Needless to say now it is time to get into the long guns.

    Being as how as I said I have no experience I am looking for advice on generally everything from basic rifle to parts to optics. In addition to the .223, 300 Blackout is also a consideration, .308 would be drastic overkill. We will shoot at relatively short ranges, 100% under 300m, 80% under 100m so that needs to also be factored into the equation along with the fact I have horrible vision so will likely need more magnification than normal for a given range. Looking at everything out the door for 1500 or less since I plan on buying enough components to send the UPS man out on workmans comp. This rifle will likely be the only one for the foreseeable future and will be shot very regularly, approx, 1 range trip a week of 100-150 rounds and that is assuming I don't want to do competition with it so it does need to last. I do not have a problem building the rifle if that is what it takes to get the job done. If there is another type of rifle that would work better than an AR please let me know. Lastly, the wife will also be shooting this, she is strong but only about 5'2 so anything huge will just not work.

    On my basic research I have looked at some things that I am really leaning towards now

    Vertical foregrip, tried one and was much easier

    BUIS, not sure of the type but possibly the 45 angle offset that I have read about

    Muzzle Break

    On the .223 a 16 in barrel if going with the 300 Blackout then I will have to look up and see how much the velocity differences are between barrel lengths at the ranges I will likely shoot.

    Any ideas and info on parts and sources would be greatly helpful, only so many decisions can be made but just googling.


  2. mjkeat


    Jun 17, 2009

    Go w/ 5.56/.223. I ran 300 BLK for a while but ammunition is quite a bit more expensive and not as readily available. Plus it's made for shorter ranges. The system/round was originally designed to be shot out of a SBR at CQB ranges.

    $1500 will get you a lot of rifle. If your budget is $1500 I would look to spend the majority of it on the AR itself. I would not recommend spending $600 on a rifle and the remaining $900 on UTG/Macko junk. I would shoot the rifle as is and figure out what you want to mount on it as you figure out what works best for you. If not the chances are you'll end up wasting money that could have been spent on ammunition and other necessities. Avoid the initial buying spree.

    Look at quality, value packed options such as BCM, Daniel Defense, and Colt. These companies produce a consistantly reliable AR. You can have the piece of mind that comes w/ purchasing quality.

    Look into the light barrel profile as well.

    BUIS, Troy or Magpul. Why 45deg?

    A good 16" barrel will cover most bases.

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012

  3. WayaX

    WayaX Lifetime Member

    Feb 27, 2007
    Don't get an AR in .223 Rem, get one in 5.56 NATO. .300BLK is nice, but due to price and availability, your first rifle should probably be in 5.56. You can add a .300BLK upper later if you choose.

    Most people shoot within these ranges. Since this would be your first rifle, you'll probably want to start at 25m.

    $1500 should give you enough for a quality, base rifle, mags, and some ammo. The two ways I would do it would be a Colt 6920 + mags and ammo, or a S&W M&P + optic, sling, mags, and ammo. If this will just be a range item, then the second option is probably the best (for anything else, the first option wins by a mile).

    Skip the goodies until you learn how to shoot the basic rifle. Start with a quality rifle, and magazines. Get proficient with that and add then add what you need. Chances are, once you realize that you don't need a bunch of crap hanging off your gun to use it properly, you won't want to buy those things anymore.

    I would not be worrying about velocities and barrel lengths. Paper doesn't know velocity. A 16" barrel is capable of doing just about anything you would want to do with the rifle. Again, I advice not to go with the .300BLK for a first rifle.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  4. Travclem

    Travclem Badass Member Lifetime Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    What they said^

    Quality AR (Colt, LMT, DD, BCM, etc.)
    a few Magpul Pmags
    a lot of ammo
    Figure the rest out as you go
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  5. LA_357SIG

    LA_357SIG Milspectacular

    Aug 28, 2006
    Not Los Angeles.
    He also states the 300BLK's effective range is 440 meters from a 9" barrel.
  6. catalyst686


    Apr 13, 2010
    I agree 100% with this

  7. J_P


    Jun 25, 2010
    All great websites, would like to add

    Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire
  8. Cole125

    Cole125 Silver Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Far West, USA
  9. mjkeat


    Jun 17, 2009
    We've PM'd a couple times but the conversation never went there. My intent was 200 and in. I just never thought the trajectory would lend itself to shots out that far.

    Is there some information covering this?
  10. ratf51


    Aug 6, 2010
    NW GA
    I'll chime in, too. Though I'm not as experienced as others that have responded I'll share what has worked for me, especially since you remarked about optics and your vision. I agree that a 16" barrel will do what you want to do. The gun will be lighter than a 20" (now that I have both I can say that there is a significant difference) and with the considerations of your wife then it'll be more usable by her. Plenty of other responders will have brand recommendations but I do believe that you can get a good AR for under $1000. Optics-- there are those that will say do irons first and add optics later, others will say go ahead with the optics. You know your eyesight-- if a scope works better for you, go for it. I did not initially put any optics on my AR. Then I put an Eotech on it, liked it, but my astigmatism (even though it is sorta corrected by my glasses) made it a bit funky. I had/have scopes on other rifles (deer rifle, .22s) so I knew that things worked better for me when scoped. I put a scope on my recent build and will never look back. I do have irons for it, just in case. You will see pictures on this forum and others of 16" ARs (carbine or midlength) with scopes ranging from 1-4x all the way up to 4-12x and higher. Again, find what works for you and makes you happy. You'll shoot more if you do. Also, stick with a rifle chambered for 5.56, that way you don't have to concern yourself with ammo that will fit but you shouldn't run. At a $1500 budget you can come away with a really good AR and scope set-up that you'll be happy with for a long time. Shoot and Enjoy! ( paraphrase Douglas Adams...)
  11. Rick305


    May 14, 2012
    I would definitely recommend the new Mossberg MMR AR-15 as a first ... amazing weapon from a trusted name.
  12. LA_357SIG

    LA_357SIG Milspectacular

    Aug 28, 2006
    Not Los Angeles.
  13. ksmedman


    Nov 24, 2011
    In the middle
    This is good advice.
    I have both 5.56 adn 300BLK AR's. 5.56 is a good first rifle, esp if you're not reloading.
    Personally, with your budget, I'd look for a Colt 6920, can't go wrong with that.

    BTW, 300BLK will reach out there, Travis Haley has a great video on it FYI:
  14. mjkeat


    Jun 17, 2009
  15. K. Foster

    K. Foster

    Feb 19, 2002
    Above is great advice.
    Get a quality 16" flat top with a 5.56 chamber. Nothing wrong with buying a Colt at Wal mart. Learn to shoot your iron sights before investing in optics. Buy lots of mags. Have fun.
  16. John Biltz

    John Biltz

    Jul 27, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    I bought an AR a few years ago chambered in 6.5 Grendel, quality gun and I love it but its expensive to shoot, so I don't. With optic and magazines I've got around $2500 in it and I never shoot it. I recently bought a Palmetto State Armory AR in 5.56. Caught it on sale out the door with optic for $1,000. Its shot everything I've fed it from Tula to TAP. Its not necessarily what I would want if I earned my living kicking in doors but I'd want some new knees for that anyway. For a range gun, home defense rifle and a first rifle I think it would be hard to beat. Use the $500 extra for a case of ammo and a few magazines. Between now and Christmas I'd expect the sale to be back. Don't get me wrong I'd love a Larue or Daniel Defense but you don't need that to put holes in paper at the range.
  17. Matthew Courtney

    Matthew Courtney Instructor #298

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lake Charles
    Company reps are not always the best source of information about there products. While the 300 BLK can be shot from 300-440 meters, one musy shoot supersonic ammo, which defeats the primary purpose of the round, and do math regularly which few enjoy.

    A 5.56 allows a maximum point blank range of 300 yards. With m193 zeroed at 40 yards bullet trajectory stays within 3.5 inches of line of sight out past 300 yards. Plus, 5.56 ammo is cheaper and has lower recoil.
  18. Matthew Courtney

    Matthew Courtney Instructor #298

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lake Charles
    OP, generally when one has $1500 to spend, and needs an optic, I suggest spending 1/3 on the opric and 2/3 on the gun. Magnification alone is not always the fix for vision issues, and a $500 scope that does not do what you need it to do is a poor way to expand your hobby. Would you share more about your vision? Nearsighted? Astigmatism? Farsighted? Corrected with glasses or contacts? Eyes slow to focus? Cloudy vision? Floaters? Glaucoma? Diabetic vision issues?
  19. M&P15T

    M&P15T Beard One

    Apr 7, 2011
    Arlington, VA.

    As you can see above, there's many different thoughts on how to get into ARs, so I'll throw in my $.02

    First, if your budget is $1500.00, I would first start by going through the stickied picture thread at the top of this forum, to see what sort of set-up appeals to you. Quad rail?
    Pistol grip type?
    BUISs? A carry handle?
    M16 rifle or M4 carbine?

    There are so damn many different configurations, you'll need to figure out what you want.

    I myself would probably blow your entire budget on the base AR, getting something from Daniel Defense or BCM with a quad-rail and VFG (I like the DDM4-V4 myself) some mags and ammo. Then over time I'd look at an Eotech or Aimpoint optic, or perhaps something magnified. Be aware, optics can be very, very expensive.
  20. Rich22


    Dec 10, 2001
    Orlando, Fl
    First off I really do appreciate all the info, highly informative for a newbie like me, will go further into detail on some of my thoughts here momentarily.

    The ammo cost or at least the difference between 300 Blk and 5.56 would be minimal as I do reload and will soon be casting also and it helps that I have a borderline unending supply of free .223 brass which of course can be converted to 300 Blk.

    I do want a quality rifle and quality optic so the 1500 is not written in stone, if it takes 1750 for instance to get the job done so I do not have to buy something again in the future and waste the initial purchase then the money is there to do so and since this is my first new gun in 4 years and shooting is pretty much my only hobby the purchase is certainly justifiable especially since the wife is onboard.

    No doubt going to take me several hundred just to get used to the feel.
    Some type of optic will work much better, guy who let me shoot his AR had an Eotech on it and I was hitting a small target 25m away on shot 2.

    Nasty astigmatism is the big issue along with severe light sensitivity, partially corrected by glasses. Very cloudy vision and unable to focus well, shooting irons on my Glock, I can hit a target no problem but as to exactly where I am aiming is essentially a blur along with the sights so I can hit a 8in target no problem but hitting a smaller one is essentially guesswork. It is to the point I am seriously considering putting an RMR on my G19 if I can find one to try out first.

    Very good idea, I will check out that thread later and post back. I hear you on the expensive optics just looking through some sites I am amazed how much they are, thats why I set a budget for the whole weapon system as opposed to individual parts of it. Thankfully I got a decent amount of Pmags on the last sale from Primary Arms so I should be good to go in that respect for some time.

    Again I appreciate the time everyone took to read and respond to this and look forward to more ideas.