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Get a basic AR now and upgrade it later?

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by MtnBiker, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. MtnBiker

    MtnBiker NRA Member Millennium Member

    Jun 19, 1999
    I want an AR, preferably in 300 BLK. But I’m on a budget. Also, I’m new to ARs. I’ve never owned one and I’m unfamiliar with their unique design characteristics.
    It looks like there are a lot of aftermarket options to modify or improve an AR. Since that’s the case, I’m thinking about buying an “OK” AR with the intent of later upgrading those components I’d like to improve. That way I can upgrade it as I can afford it or as parts wear out. Does this make sense as a strategy? What should I look for in a basic AR (300 BLK preferred)?
    Note: I’ve used this strategy successfully when buying mountain bikes. Not wanting to pay for the top of the line, I’ve bought moderately priced models with the plan of upgrading as things break or wear out. It’s a good strategy with mountain bikes as components often break and last year’s hot technology is usually cheaper this year. So from a mountain biking perspective, I want a good frame. Everything else can be replaced piecemeal. I’m not sure that holds true with black rifles.
  2. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

    May 15, 2010
    NW Florida
    You'll spend more money trying to "fix" an OK ar than if you'd bought a quality one to begin with. Rails, optics, lights, stocks, etc are easy to upgrade, but getting a good barrel, BCG, etc out of the gate is essential.

  3. mvician

    mvician Lifetime Member

    Jun 8, 2007
    NW Indiana

  4. arclight610


    Dec 2, 2009
    Your first AR-15 should be in .223/5.56. This will give you alot more trigger time on the platform to see what you like and don't like about it.

    Also, if you tell us your budget maybe we can make some suggestions.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  5. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

    May 15, 2010
    NW Florida
    This is a solid suggestion, too - especially since it's extremely easy to switch to .300 Blackout later.
  6. NCHeel


    Jan 20, 2006
    Charlotte N.C.
    300 Blackout and budget do not live in the same world. Get a quality 5.56 and once you can afford a 300 upper and the ammo it takes to feed it then purchase it.
  7. Javelin

    Javelin Got Glock? Silver Member

    Feb 9, 2008
    N. Dallas
    I Agree it is always a good idea to buy a quality base rifle. Just like your bikes you can always accessorize later how you want it but a high quality frame will always be worth the few extra dollars.

    You will have no problem finding yourself a good quality Colt, LMT, BCM, (possibly a Daniel Defense) rifle. You can add the 300BLK upper later and use all the parts from your 5.56 model minus the upper obviously. If you do get a Daniel Defense it will not be too far out of budget for a base rifle and they make the 300BLK uppers so you don't have to worry about the anodized 300BLK upper not matching the lower (if you care about your black tone colors matching at all).

  8. This is absolutely fact. I was pondering my 300 BLK SBR purchase. I love the Noveske LoPro but at $2350, that's a big pill to swallow. So then I got the idea to buy a Colt 6933, change out the barrel to an 8" Noveske and then upgrade the rest later. When it was said & done I would have spent $300 MORE to build the exact rifle that I could get from Noveske. So I bought the Noveske.

    You will spend the money one way or another so I would buy the rifle you want that is assembled as a unit and be done with it.

    It may just take a little longer to save.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  9. MtnBiker

    MtnBiker NRA Member Millennium Member

    Jun 19, 1999
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. It looks like I need to decide what I really "must have" in a rifle and then just plan on saving up until I can pretty much get what I want at that point.

    Maybe 300 BLK ammo will be cheaper by then. :D
  10. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    The 300 AAC kicks butt, and the ammo price has dropped quite a bit. I would not necessarily suggest against it for a first AR. That said, it will be much cheaper in the long run to do it right the first time. I would start with a good lower, and then save up a bit more money and get a high quality upper. My personal choice would be PWS, but Noveske, AAC, and a few other companies make some excellent 300 AAC guns and parts.
  11. boomhower


    Feb 14, 2010
    North Carolina
    By once cry once......

    Don't worry about getting a bunch of add-ons right out of the gate. Buy a good basic rifle and shoot it. Figure out what you need after putting some rounds down range. You'll buy surprised what you thought you "needed" that you don't.

  12. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  13. DAIadvisor


    Apr 24, 2004
    Kettering, OH
    Get a lower and build up from there. That way you can only buy the parts you want.