Black Rifles New to ARs, first AR

andyb

New Member
Okay, so I know you guys probably get sick of these threads, but it would be great if you could just grit your teeth and struggle through another. I have bolt and semi auto rifles in 22LR, .223, and 30-06 to cover my hunting needs and for fun. I have 12 GA and 20 GA for birds, clays, and fun. I have .40 S&W and .45 ACP handguns for carry and current home defense and shooting fun. I do not have an AR or AK for fun or defense. I'm considering buying myself an AR. I am new to ARs. I know nothing, nada, zip, zilch, about ARs.

Purpose: shooting fun and home defense. It will do nothing else. This will likely be the rifle I stockpile ammo for, over time of course because I can't afford 2500 rnds of 5.56 all at once.
Budget: $800 max. Preferably a little less, like $650-700.
Timeframe: Possibly before I get my refund check. I anticipate a slight inflation of prices about the time everyone is getting refund checks. Could be way off base here though.

From my reading so far, rifles I think I'm interested in (new or used doesn't matter to me):
PSA M4 - various weapons found all over Armslist here in SC. Multiple for $700-750. One PSA upper, ATI lower on Armslist for $650.
Core15 M4 Scout - $739 new here in Aiken, $679 from Atlantic Firearms online
Others in my price range I'm considering are DPMS, Bushmaster, Olympic Arms

I'd prefer to buy a complete rifle, but I'm not opposed to putting one together as long as it doesn't require any special tools or gunsmithing. Just assembling. Just with my zero knowledge of ARs I'm a little hesitant to take that route for fear of not buying the right parts and ending up costing me more in the long run. What says you experts? Which option appears the best bang for the buck for a first, and price point, AR that will be satisfactory enough that I won't be dying to upgrade in a year after learning the platform some?
 

craigp

New Member
You really can't go wrong with the PSA ARs. They are plentiful and should be right in your price range. I suggest getting a flat top configuration instead of one with the integral carry handle. The flat top makes it easier to add an optic in the future. The ATI lower is a polymer lower, there are mixed reviews and opinions on poly lowers, do some research online and read the actual user opinions. There are a lot of opinions by the armchair AR "experts" which are really irrelevant. DPMS and others are also good choices. A lot of these are all basically the same parts, just with a different name. Some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties while others do not. Those are the kinds of things to look at when making your decision. Go on-line and do some Google searches on the brand and see what kind of comments.
 

andyb

New Member
Thanks. Warranty is something I've been trying to investigate.

PSA is pretty vague on their website. But in searching Google it seems like not many people have anything bad to say about their rifles.

Core 15 touts an awesome warranty on their website, which if honored is hands down the best available. However, I have read on one firing line thread (Dec. 2012) about Core 15 being nonexistent and non responsive in trying to get in touch to even discuss a problem, much less address the issue. I'm trying to discern if that was a extraordinary case or the norm for Core 15 customer service.

On a boating forum I'm active on, I have read an account from a member's department switching to DPMS rifles. Also read many other good accounts for DPMS, and one bad account for their warranty. DPMS warranty is 3 years.

I wonder how much of people's warranty issues and customer service is a result of companies being pressed to fill all the orders they have to fill these past couple years and what's just standard procedure for some companies.

I'll probably pass on the ATI lower rifle. Didn't know it was polymer. Pretty sure I won't be happy with that.
 

fordnut

Active Member
I havee had more than a few AR's...and even shot a few of them...IMHO...I like the PSA AR-15...Most of the parts are made by FN right in Columbia.

Some people argue that PSA just throws any parts they can get into their rifles....So...that is what most of us home builders do....I will not wait on a certain brand of part if it is going to slow down my build...But, as I said...My openion...

You can find the rifle build kits from PSA. online ordering for as low as $549. that is complete except the lower. And, they ship it right to your door...Then you just buy a stripped lower from them. You have to either buy it from them, or, have it shipped to your FFL...Then you go to U-Tube and watch about 10 videos on how to build an AR-15...then, you put together your AR...It is pretty neet to build your own....and you end up with a shooting AR for about $600.00 and if something goes wrong with it...you have the knowldge to fix it...

Hope we have helped some..

Steve
 

andyb

New Member
Well, new development. I've found a M&P 15 Sport selling for $556. Going to be plus $30 shipping and the transfer. Seems like a heck of a deal to pass on.
 

Tigerstripe

Active Member
i have an M&P S&W. its not the sport. not that you have to have it but the sport doesnt have forward assist or a dust cover. im not sure if its a pencil bbl or not.

i happened to be looking at the PSA website eariler. they have a complete upper (with BCG) with the hammer forged (they call it the machine gun bbl) for $399. it has double thick chrome lined bbl and NATO chamber, whatever that is. also have a lower parts kit with everything but the lower for $119. and a lower should be between $50 and $100. thats between $600 and $625. you would just need a rear sight and mags.

my M&P was $799 and $50 tax. PSA has ARs for the same usually.

i doubt many people dont change an AR within a year or sooner. i would suggest the lower kit with the MOE parts. maybe another hundred. i think MOE stocks and grips are better. ask the guys, ill bet several, like me, have a few stock grips in a drawer.

if we were closer i would put the lower together for you for nothing. someone closer probably would also.

huh oh. the upper is a 12 inch bbl for $399. i can use it, i have an SBR, but maybe they also have one with a 16 inch bbl.

you have to watch DPMS. if it doesnt say chrome lined its not. well PSA is the same but i think more of theirs are. if you want that.
 

rotarymike

New Member
+1 on PSA. Buy a complete gun from them - no tweaking required, and you can take it back to the store if anything goes wrong. My understanding is that if the problem is with the build or parts, they will take care of it. No idea on time limit.

My first centerfire rifle was issued to me and a majority of it was made by FN, the company that produces most of PSA's (and many, many others) parts including receivers.

I've had Colt and DPMS. I've got a mix of generic lower (Sharps) and Rock River upper now. They (ARs) are the ultimate Lego gun. I've got two PSA lowers to be built into other variants and they are as nice as any milspec receiver I've seen.

I'd say Magpul for magazines, get nice optics if you want optics at all, otherwise get a fiber optic front sight post. Don't worry about someone's super high speed tacticool model - get a basic issue-style rifle (also called an M4gery) and get used to that first - you can change anything that doesn't fit later. Hell, it is VERY easy to drop more $ on accessories than the rifle itself. Learn to shoot the crap milspec trigger before spending $ on aftermarket.

There are other good manufacturers besides PSA, don't get me wrong. But the advantage of a SC manufacturer (well, assembler) is that you can go and get touchy-feely with them and see what you like and what you don't, instead of ordering off a screen.
 

rotarymike

New Member
I'd add to Tigerstripe's comment - I'm in Charleston, but if you showed up with all the parts in a bag I could have it together for you within a beer or two.
 

andyb

New Member
Thanks for all the suggestions as well as offers to walk through assembling one. Not quite decided which direction I'm going yet. I'm sort of leaning towards ordering the M&P15. Since I just moved down here I called around yesterday to find some transfer fees. Looks like I would be into the M&P15 for $556 + $30 shipping +$35 transfer = $621 total. Although putting my own together does seem pretty rewarding.


Tigerstripe said:
i have an M&P S&W. its not the sport. not that you have to have it but the sport doesnt have forward assist or a dust cover. im not sure if its a pencil bbl or not.
From what I've been reading, it is not a pencil barrel.
 

PapaBear

Member
Don't just buy one....put one together. If it's for shooting "fun" as you put it, what's more fun than shooting something you put together yourself?

And as others have said, assembling is easy with minimal tools, and can all be learned/completed from youtube videos.

Side note, a friend bought the sport model M&P 15, with no brass deflector. His rifle dinged him in the head with every shot. Gas adjustments were needed and a pain in the ass to figure out, wound up at a gunsmith and traded in on the non-sport model. Gunsmith said he had seen 2 with that issue in a year. Your results may vary of course.
 

andyb

New Member
PapaBear said:
If it's for shooting "fun" as you put it, what's more fun than shooting something you put together yourself?
well actually from the original post:
"Purpose: shooting fun and home defense."

I am planning on keeping it handy for home defense purposes as well. That makes me hesitant to put together my own rifle for cheap, leaving some doubt in my mind that it won't go bang when I need it to most. That make sense? I know the response to that by many will be to completely blow the budget and buy a Colt, DD, etc. but that's not going to happen.
 

rotarymike

New Member
If you buy all milspec components, you'll get a rifle that goes bang everytime. Real M4s and M16s aren't all made by one company, and not a one of them is made by a 'premium operator tier' manufacturer.
 

Dayman

Member
For my first ar I bought a stag arms model 3. Great gun for the price. However soon After I assembled my own which i now enjoy much better. I assembled the lower by watching you tube vids and bought a complete upper from Palmetto State Armory. Don't be hesitant give it a go at building your own, you will get more bang for your buck and understanding your rifle so much more. It's a sickness once you start one... :mrgreen:
 

TheSwampFox

New Member
Dayman said:
Don't be hesitant give it a go at building your own, you will get more bang for your buck and understanding your rifle so much more. It's a sickness once you start one... :mrgreen:
+1

I can't stop. I just helped a buddy build his first. He hasn't even shot it yet and already planning his next build. I swear we need a support group LOL.
 

Dayman

Member
TheSwampFox said:
Dayman said:
Don't be hesitant give it a go at building your own, you will get more bang for your buck and understanding your rifle so much more. It's a sickness once you start one... :mrgreen:
+1

I can't stop. I just helped a buddy build his first. He hasn't even shot it yet and already planning his next build. I swear we need a support group LOL.
I know before I finished my first one I had already picked up a stripped lower :lol:

The PSA daily deal emails have me like heroine dealer to a junkie.

I bet someone could make a killing doing build parties like those pampered chef and tupper ware dealers.

" Sir add this rail, how about optics, need a new trigger... $ $ $"
 

rotarymike

New Member
Black Rifle Disease :)

Seriously. It takes maybe an hour to put a rifle together while BS'ing around and looking for the darn torque wrench. Compare that to building a custom Mauser, which requires a recovery time and possibly rehab after removing the old barrel.

If building I'd suggest buying a complete upper first time out. You might save some $ or not, but you would know that the barrel and bolt headspace properly, and that the FSB was on straight and gas tube not canted. Well, you'd hope so anyway.

I'm not quite up to headspacing the barrel into the extension or drilling the gas port yet. For one thing, I'd want a jig to get everything lined up properly. But barrels usually come with extension spaced on, pin installed, and port drilled.

Before my enthusiasm runs away and I build another one right now, I do want to say that if you didn't spend years slinging one of these for a job then they might not be the best home defense arm. The ergonomics, while good, are a learned behavior and that takes a while. A Remmy 870 is darn near instinctual, and with buckshot and a light on a short barrel just as effective a weapon. I carried one of these for almost 14 years so I don't need to be awake to work the gun; I can devote whatever brain cells are online to deciding who and if to shoot rather than working the mechanics. I'm pretty sure I'd rather have an AR than a pistol at the bedside truth be told, but the AR doesn't fit in the safe in the nightstand.

OK, I'm safe from building another one. The barrel I'd want isn't in stock. :)
 

TheSwampFox

New Member
Dayman you might be onto something with that build party idea :lol:
I kinda did a couple of them already when buddies wanted to build one but didn't know where start or wanted to see how difficult it was before jumping in.

To piggy back on what rotarymike said I agree these things take thousands of rounds to get the mechanics and mussel memory down and that is just for normal operations. Throw in a couple of malfunctions and you could be left scratching your head instead of addressing the threat. My step dad was bolt action/shotgun guy all his life. He saw my AR and wanted one for home defense. The only problem was he fired it so rarely when we did take it out he would forget simple things like how to release to bolt after it locked back. I traded him a Ruger Mini-14 for it and he does much better with it. I think the Ruger is just simpler.

Don't get me wrong I'm not saying don't buy an AR just be prepared to do a lot of practice. A .22 conversion is (or was) a good way to get cheap practice. These days .223 ammo is easier to find than .22.
 
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