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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's your friendly neighborhood KevinFACE! again... :wavey:

So I was up at Academy today... first looking at a Glock 21SF to add to my collection and then their AR-15's caught my eye, I held a couple of different brands of them, Bushmaster and M&P (or S&W, not sure on the second one). After checking them out I've decided that I'd really like to have one, and after research here it appears that most of you guys tend to lean towards building your own. Now, I'm above average in understanding how things work and building my own thing, but these AR's escape me mainly because I've never had one before. These "pre-built" ones only come with a certain number of features but I see talk on here about "stripped lowers" and various other things like that, I assume because they are different grips and all that.

The one I was really interested in was $950 and was 5.56, I believe it was the M&P/S&W (can't remember) with a 15 round mag. That to me is a complete semi-automatic rifle with everything I would need to get started... it seemed a little high in price but I don't know what a good price is for this sort of thing.

So all that being said, I'm wondering what route I should take to get started...a pre-built or should I find all the parts separately. Each one of those rifles seemed like it would be everything I need to get started and then maybe customize later... I'm not sure.


Any thoughts?

Research here like I said has lead me to believe that people on THIS forum want to build their own custom ones... but for a newb in this category, what's the right way to go?


Thanks in advance!!


KevinFACE!
 

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I don't know about the price, those change a lot based on where you live. You can build a cheaper AR and you can build a better AR, but you are not going to build a better cheaper AR. I'd buy the S&W (a pretty well respected upper middle tier AR and good value) and shoot the snot out of it. After a few thousand rounds, a couple of classes, and maybe a 3gun or 2, you'll have a much better understanding of what you want, how the gun works, how to build one, etc and then go from there. Save your money on BS accessories and spend it on ammo and training. At the training you'll probably get to screw around with classmate's accessories and see what you like and how things work. Once you get to where you know what you want, buy top of the line, it will almost always save you money in the long run. I like anything from Colt, LMT, Noveske, and BCM with an Aimpoint or Eotech on top, a sensible sling and lots of mags. Add a light if its a duty or HD gun. Probably bypass bayonets, lasers, bipods, 2 oz triggers, accuwedges, DPMS or Olympic anything, etc etc-Norcal911
 

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Forgot to add: Go read M4carbine.net as much as possible. Very informative and populated by operators, shooters, law enforcement, industry professionals, etc. DO NOT go over there and post questions w/o using the search engine and do not post up any mall ninja stuff or "I heard it at the gun store" stories....it won't be tolerated. IMO, its the most BS free, knowledge/experience filled, open forum around-Norcal911
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
By the way, this is the one I was holding at Academy, I liked it a bunch and the guy told me that the flat tops were the way to go because of attachment possibilities.. or at least get one with a removable handle.. he seemed pretty on top of it and wasn't trying to steer me either way.. just telling me the facts.. and I have read here and elsewhere to get one that is 5.56 / .223 so that I can shoot EITHER out of the gun.

https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/37085
 

· EnemyOfTheState
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I don't know about the price, those change a lot based on where you live. You can build a cheaper AR and you can build a better AR, but you are not going to build a better cheaper AR. I'd buy the S&W (a pretty well respected upper middle tier AR and good value) and shoot the snot out of it. After a few thousand rounds, a couple of classes, and maybe a 3gun or 2, you'll have a much better understanding of what you want, how the gun works, how to build one, etc and then go from there. Save your money on BS accessories and spend it on ammo and training. At the training you'll probably get to screw around with classmate's accessories and see what you like and how things work. Once you get to where you know what you want, buy top of the line, it will almost always save you money in the long run. I like anything from Colt, LMT, Noveske, and BCM with an Aimpoint or Eotech on top, a sensible sling and lots of mags. Add a light if its a duty or HD gun. Probably bypass bayonets, lasers, bipods, 2 oz triggers, accuwedges, DPMS or Olympic anything, etc etc-Norcal911
I can't improve on what this guy said- sensible and accurate.

I just want to add that an M&P is S&W; S&W is the maker, and M&P is the series. I also think it is a good choice: not too expensive to get started with, but not so cheap (quality wise) that you'd regret buying it.

Shop around for price locally though- you can usually find a better deal than the big-box sporting goods stores.
 

· Stepping down to the gin palace
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whichever ar you get, dont use factory mags, they suck. magpul 30rd mags are the best. can prob find for $15-$20 each. also, the ACE skeleton stock i highly recommend. reduces recoil like crazy.

Do you have problems with the recoil of your AR? :dunno:
 

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I can't improve on what this guy said- sensible and accurate.

I just want to add that an M&P is S&W; S&W is the maker, and M&P is the series. I also think it is a good choice: not too expensive to get started with, but not so cheap (quality wise) that you'd regret buying it.

Shop around for price locally though- you can usually find a better deal than the big-box sporting goods stores.
I have the S&W M&P15-A and I like it alot. My understanding was if the rifle was not made by Stag, it sure must have a lot of their parts in it. Any truth to this anyone? It does look alot like one of the Stag rifles. I have not researched this any.
 

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I have the S&W M&P15-A and I like it alot. My understanding was if the rifle was not made by Stag, it sure must have a lot of their parts in it. Any truth to this anyone? It does look alot like one of the Stag rifles. I have not researched this any.
Never mind. I decided to not be so lazy so I checked wikipedia and the answer is yes. The early rifles were in fact manufactured by Stag Arms. That is if wikipedia can be trusted :supergrin:.
 

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IMO, building beats buying because you gain the understanding of how the gun works while putting it together in addition to the ability to build it like you want it. It's also incredibly easy and you'll save a few hundred in the process.

Check out ar15.com's 'Build it Yourself' section... they have step by step guides. http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=226782 You could easily assemble one in 25-30 minutes.

When building yourself, not knowing what features you want, you may look at buying a stripped lower (the part with the serial number that you'll probably need to have transferred through an FFL), then buying the rest as a complete kit. You can find stripped lowers for $80-200.

Spikes Tactical ST-15 stripped rifle lower: $84.95 http://www.spikestactical.com/z/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=104_65&products_id=309
16" CAR kit from Model1Sales: $485 http://model1sales.com/item-detail....e=car16pre.gif&CFID=60637670&CFTOKEN=10550815
2 Magpul 30 Round Magazines: $30 http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=7&f=24&t=728125

Total price: $599.95 + shipping + ffl transfer for the lower. Once you have the lower, you can mail order the rest directly to your house. If you want to start customizing, Model1, Adco, Spikes, etc will all let you pick and choose things you want for an additional price.

I have no affiliation with any of the links I provided.... just giving an example. My first AR was built with a Eagle Arms stripped lower, RRA parts kit (trigger, hammer, etc), RRA stock, and a complete RRA M4 upper from Adco. I spent About $700 doing mine.

and I have read here and elsewhere to get one that is 5.56 / .223 so that I can shoot EITHER out of the gun.

https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/37085
Most AR's you'll buy these days will take both 5.56 and .223. You could build virtually the same rifle with the links I posted above. Just choose the ($45) option for a A3 Upper (flat top) with a YHM flip up rear sight.
 

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I have done both - bought manufactured ARs and have sat down and built about 20 over the past few years. There are pros and cons to both methods. The main pro is that most AR manufacturers are just assemblers and several suppliers feed in the parts they make their "maunfactured" rifles. So if you know what you are looking at, you can build the same AR that would come out of a factory at a discount.

First thing I would do is what you are already doing. Asking questions and doing your homework. Go to a gun show and browse the show to see what platform fits you best. If you need further help from this armchair AR tinkerer, feel free to email me at [email protected]. I have suppliers that can get your fair pricing on quality parts if you want to build one.

Hope this helps!
 

· Millenium #3936
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I have 2 bushmaster 16" plain AR's (One with a brake and one without). I have shot thousands of rounds threw them and have not had a single malfunction or complaint. I do keep them very clean and purhaps that helps with the reliability.

On mags: There are many companies that sell good AR mags. Out of the ones that I consider reliable(good), I do not consider any of them as better than the other. I will list the mags that I trust and have had excellent service from.

Good mags:

old USGI 30's (other than cooper)
old USGI 20's
Thermold 30's
Orlite 30's (mold #22up)
Bushmaster 30's
MagPul 30's

Favorite Ammo:

IMI
Federal AE
Federal M193
Seller-Bellot
 

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I don't know about the price, those change a lot based on where you live. You can build a cheaper AR and you can build a better AR, but you are not going to build a better cheaper AR. I'd buy the S&W (a pretty well respected upper middle tier AR and good value) and shoot the snot out of it. After a few thousand rounds, a couple of classes, and maybe a 3gun or 2, you'll have a much better understanding of what you want, how the gun works, how to build one, etc and then go from there. Save your money on BS accessories and spend it on ammo and training. At the training you'll probably get to screw around with classmate's accessories and see what you like and how things work. Once you get to where you know what you want, buy top of the line, it will almost always save you money in the long run. I like anything from Colt, LMT, Noveske, and BCM with an Aimpoint or Eotech on top, a sensible sling and lots of mags. Add a light if its a duty or HD gun. Probably bypass bayonets, lasers, bipods, 2 oz triggers, accuwedges, DPMS or Olympic anything, etc etc-Norcal911
Good Advice.

And yes, at one point (and maybe still so) the S&W was made by CMT, which is the same company that makes Stag (it actually owns Stag). It also makes Lower Receivers for many other companies including Colt.
 

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Ive heard the S&Ws are decent.

Does it have to be from the shop? What are the BCMs going for now a days, I think you can get one for about the same price and everyone says they are tops. That would be my recommendation if cost is a consideration.
 
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