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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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Ok, I know what I've got here. It's a very budget APF Econo Carbine. I'm not much of an AR guy and my son and I picked this up on sale at Sportsmans Guide a few years ago for less than $500 and it included a Vortex Strikefire. I sold the Vortex for $140 so I really don't have much into the gun. It's been a bunch of fun to plink with and it's fairly accurate. As far as reliability, it's actually been very good at the range. I can't remember having a failure with it but I would like to take it up a notch to something more in the "fighting" gun category.

Please don't tell me to use it as a boat anchor, already have a few, or get a new one. I realize that an M&P or Ruger for a few hundred dollars more would probably been a better choice but it is what it is.

The trigger is OK so unless you feel that has a good chance at failure we could leave that along. I was thinking a decent BCG might be the way to go? All I know about this one is that it's nitrided. If so, any suggestions? Any other suggestions as to parts would be appreciated. I really am unsure where to start.

Not looking at making it into a go to war weapon but being more comfortable if I had to use it in the dead of night would be nice. And if it's a complete POS I'd be willing to hear that to....:cheers:
 

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If it's been reliable so far with no failures I would inspect it for any obvious signs of fatigue or breakage and if it all looks good and the rifle shoots well I would keep it clean and lubed and run it just like it is, if it's gonna be a defense gun maybe put another red dot and a buis on it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If it's been reliable so far with no failures I would inspect it for any obvious signs of fatigue or breakage and if it all looks good and the rifle shoots well I would keep it clean and lubed and run it just like it is, if it's gonna be a defense gun maybe put another red dot and a buis on it...
Thanks. I lean that way myself. I've read a little and I'm pretty sure the bolt isn't tested. Since it isn't tested what would be a reasonable lifetime for the BCG? I probably have a few thousand rounds through it. A sudden failure would be unfortunate.
 

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Thanks. I lean that way myself. I've read a little and I'm pretty sure the bolt isn't tested. Since it isn't tested what would be a reasonable lifetime for the BCG? I probably have a few thousand rounds through it. A sudden failure would be unfortunate.
If the bcg has some miles on it and you're suspect of it's quality I would just replace it; a decent bcg can be had reasonably from any number of sources, in either nitride or nickle' boron ...
 

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Like said above. If it has been failure free then run it. If you are worried about the bolt then get a new one.
 
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Come on man!!
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Should I be worried about an untested bolt?
No, unless there are signs of premature wear.

Honestly, I've never heard of the brand and would not buy one, as there are simply too many known quantities out there at great prices, but if I already owned it and knew it worked, I wouldn't worry about it.

Besides all that, how many rounds are you shooting out of it regularly? Does the gun even have a 1000 rounds on it yet?
 

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APF is Alex Pro Firearms.... a custom shop in Alexandria, MN. They do some fairly high-end builds in 300 Win Mag and 308, among other things. I believe their Econo Carbine was an entry level build they did in order to put out something affordable for the beginner or casual user. I thought they had a lifetime warranty on their stuff now.... but not totally certain if it applies to their earlier work.

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. "
 
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If you do put a different bolt in your rifle get somebody that knows what they are doing to check your bolt's headspace. You should not have an issue but why not be sure.
 

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Option 1 ars are selling very well right now.. sell it for 300 bucks and replace it with a 500 dollar ruger or s&w sport 2.
Option 2 take it to a gunsmith and have the bolt serviced and new extractor and gas rings.

Option 3 just keep shooting it. Clean and lube it and enjoy. I cant fix something that is working fine..

You can improve the parts but its not worth it money wise.. new bolt and new barrel .. free float barrel.. why ?? It makes no sense. Budget rifles were built to a price point and it seems you got a lot for your money. My advice would be to maintain it and keep shooting. I doubt you have 1000 rounds thru the rifle and it is broken in and working. Why would you mess with that.

People that build or buy 2k or 3 k dollar ar rifles either think of that as cool... or they shoot competition with the gun.. unless your going to be in a war zone it just seems like a false start to change anything.

For less than 1000 dollars you can buy a 308 smith n wesson m&p 10 sport . These are also built to a price but they are well made with a great warranty.. if your actually worried about serious need of a defense rifle i would rather have a 308 ar and 5 mags for it. Then you have a backup rifle in an even better caliber. Spend what you want for optics depending on what range you want to be able to defend. A 75 dollar red dot or a 250 dollar 2 x 6 power scope will make that 308 ar effective further than you 5.56 machine.

Before you do anything buy a great book on ar maintainance. Then you can understand what your messing with.
 

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Should I be worried about an untested bolt?
No, because you tested it. It passed. Catastrophic bolt failures resulting from non-visible flaws identifiable by particle testing typically occur early on.

For your stated purposes I'd want something like a reflex sight, as others have said.
 

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Scott, you mentioned taking up a notch, fighting rifle and reliability. Since it is apparently reliable by your own admission, ditch the boat anchor scope & mount and learn how to use some sort of red dot plus add some iron sights to it. It will certainly change the feel of the rifle.

It's always nice to have some spare parts on hand and you question your bolt, so buy a Tool Craft BCG and have the bolt headspaced at your local gun shop if one is nearby. Install it and keep the old bcg as a spare.

One caveat is that extra parts tend to grow into in new rifles/pistols. Then there is the old saying "two is one and one is none", so you may while prices are good just buy another rifle set up differently and by the time you add the new extras to your current one your half way to another rifle or pistol. It's a holiday weekend, there should be some decent sales to consider.
 

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If it works, its good. Keep in serviced and lubed, it should provide you years of service. Have seen guys spend a lot more than that and have issues. Pick whatever sight you want and that works for you. Most of us with AR, have tried several till we find what works for us. You don't have to spend a lot to have a great AR.
 

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Well, if your gas system, bcg, buffer weight and all that good stuff already work smoothly together, I wouldn't necessarily change those.

If you wanted to upgrade the BCG, Toolcraft, even their nickel boron option, isn't going to break the bank. They run about $70-120 depending on model. You already have a nice pistol grip on there, you could always upgrade your buttstock to personal preference for $50 or less.

If you did decide to upgrade the trigger you could get a Larue Tactical trigger for around $80.

Finally, though as I said, I might not mess with a properly functioning rifle, you could try a H, H1 or H2 buffer if you wanted to smooth the recoil out a little. That introduces changes that may change reliability though.
 

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From what I’m seeing, the optic & mount are the weakest links here. I would also look at the bolt and upgrade the extractor spring. Also check the gas key hardware and properly stake if needed. A spare bolt might be a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's good to hear that as far as testing goes....I've already done it....and it passed. I suppose I have somewhere between 1-2000 rounds through it. I don't keep track but we made more than one trip with 200+ rounds with us and didn't come back any ammo.

I'm torn on the scope. The Hawke is a 2-7 illuminated mildot that works well but is heavy. I do have a Vortex Venom in a box right now that I took off my SP101 so I could use that. There's something about having a reticle on a rifle that I just can't get away from. Probably the target shooter in me. I do know what you mean when you say getting rid of the scope completely changes the feel of the gun. Makes it "handier" for sure. I do like dots but haven't invested in an "always on" model that I would trust to always work. THe Burris and VOrtex have been fine but they don't seem to be designed (priced) for that type of use. They could work fine but theyre not Trijicons. If I would have to use it quickly it's nice not to have to turn something on.

I've had it completely apart including the trigger and BCG and it seems to be holding up fine. Maybe I'll start collecting some spare parts for the BCG, trigger, and possibly a buffer spring(?). I do need to get a sling for it. Even my shotguns are at least set up for a sling and even though I haven't taken the AR out in the field, they're handy as heck.

Thanks again for the reassurance.
 

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In the event you do go back to a red-dot sight, I will add this. Since it appears that your railed gas block is receiver height, you can run any standard front BUIS, but I would highly recommend going with metal one as the heat generated could soften a polymer BUIS. As far as which metal BUISs, that is determined by how much you are wanting/willing to pay for good quality sights. The same can be said for a RDS. There is a myriad of RDSs on the market at all kinds of price points and varying levels of quality. Bear in mind, there is a difference between a cheap RDS and an inexpensive one. Primary Arms has a wide assortment from many different manufacturers, including their own brand which as pretty nice optics. For inexpensive brands, consider Primary Arms, SIG SAUER, VORTEX, and HOLOSUN. For higher-priced brands, there is Aimpoint, Trijicon, and EOTech. The Trijicon MRO is a nicely priced RDS.
 
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View attachment 760610 View attachment 760612 View attachment 760614 Ok, I know what I've got here. It's a very budget APF Econo Carbine. I'm not much of an AR guy and my son and I picked this up on sale at Sportsmans Guide a few years ago for less than $500 and it included a Vortex Strikefire. I sold the Vortex for $140 so I really don't have much into the gun. It's been a bunch of fun to plink with and it's fairly accurate. As far as reliability, it's actually been very good at the range. I can't remember having a failure with it but I would like to take it up a notch to something more in the "fighting" gun category.

Please don't tell me to use it as a boat anchor, already have a few, or get a new one. I realize that an M&P or Ruger for a few hundred dollars more would probably been a better choice but it is what it is.

The trigger is OK so unless you feel that has a good chance at failure we could leave that along. I was thinking a decent BCG might be the way to go? All I know about this one is that it's nitrided. If so, any suggestions? Any other suggestions as to parts would be appreciated. I really am unsure where to start.

Not looking at making it into a go to war weapon but being more comfortable if I had to use it in the dead of night would be nice. And if it's a complete POS I'd be willing to hear that to....:cheers:
As a general rule, you usually get what you pay for, and seldom do you ever get more than what you paid for. This should always be your guide, so you know what to expect going in and coming out.

Any time you find yourself second guessing a decision, it's time to get yourself more educated so you can make more informed and/or better decisions in the future, or at the very least teach yourself to have patience before buying. Patience is indeed a virtue because it's hard and takes strength, whereas desire is easy and is a weakness that usually leads to disappointment.

If there's nothing functionally wrong with your AR and your crystal ball has been sketchy lately just leave the rifle be, but if you feel it's somehow inadaquate then I suggest you consider selling it without putting any money into it, or use it as trading fodder towards the purchase of an AR of known pedegree that will give you more confidence and/or one that is more suited to it's intended purpose.

Prices will probably never be lower for the AR platform, so taking the time to save up your coins towards the purchase of a good quality AR15 rifle shouldn't be a problem. But if it is then you should definately take care of your more pressing obligations first.
 
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