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i have questions and looking for anaswers

Discussion in 'AR15' started by cooker300, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. cooker300

    cooker300 G&G Evangelist

    NW PA
    Hello gang
    I have a few questions that to some are more then likely dumb.
    but on the subject of AR's I'm 98.5% clueless

    I'm looking at getting one here real soon. and would like some good information when I start my looking.
    I'm looking to spend around $550.00 to $650.00 for the gun hoping to find a good one on sale. I know there are good and bad MFG.
    looking to start with a 5.56/223
    1st Are there good guns in my price range?
    2nd Should I buy a complete pre build for my 1st one. or build my own?
    3rd After I get said gun. are Mags, hand rails, and accessory pretty universal?
    4th If start with a 5.56/223 upper can I buy a different caliber upper later on that will fit the lower ?
    5th rifle will be a range rifle and varmint gun so what twist and barrel length should I be looking for?

    also if I left anything important please let me know
    Hedge, jwrauch, Dutch and 7 others like this.

  2. ChaZam

    ChaZam G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    There are still some available in your price range like this one that I'll link. Rifles, kits, upper halves, parts/pieces, etc are rapidly disappearing and prices inching up following the Florida fiasco. The AR15 platform is fairly universal and that yields a mammoth amount of interchangeable parts. There are dozens of different caliber uppers that can be installed by pulling 2 pins and changing a magazine and the 300 AAC Blackout even uses the same magazine.
  3. FN FAL

    FN FAL NOT a new member Forum Contributor

    In that price range you can't go wrong with a Ruger 5.56. The Smith and Wesson MP15's have been good also.

    Or if you don't mind building you can get a complete kit minus lower for 400 ish or so and then add a 50 dollar lower and get to work assembling.
    I have bought several DelTon and Palmetto state armory kits, both have been perfect no missing parts or defects. They are not 1200.00 AR's when done but for the price they are good guns.

    Mags are pretty much universal. I like metal mags and have a bunch. I have a few plastic Magpuls but if buying plastic I like Lancer mags better especially the opaque or see thru ones so you can tell how many rounds you have left. Right now I use plastic mags for the 300blk, metal mags for the 5.56 and .223.

    Accessories depends some on what upper you have, hand guard type and length also.
    One of the nice things about an AR is their versatility. Uppers can be swapped and magwell adapters used to convert your 5.56 AR to one of many rounds. 300blackout is probably the most popular option now and it uses the same bolt and carrier as 5.56. If its a popular round and it will fit thru the magwell there is a good chance there is an upper or conversion to fit an AR. I have even seen a .410 shotgun upper for an AR.
    big shrek, Hedge, jwrauch and 5 others like this.
  4. Kmcdowell

    Kmcdowell G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Omaha NE
    When I bought my AR about a year ago, I looked at the Ruger 556 and a Delton and both were in the $550.00 - $600.00 price range. I've seen Cabela's on occasion run the Ruger at around $549 which is a good price. I would stock up on magazines, as those will dry up pretty quick if a big scare flares up. Then buy up ammo as you get the opportunity. I've probably got about 3000 rounds of .223/5.56 and have also taken up reloading them as well. They are a fun gun to shoot and make a really good appliance for taking down yotes.
  5. MoDoc

    MoDoc G&G Evangelist

    I never did scratch my AR platform itch yet, either. The M&P, the Springfield Saint, and the Ruger are my likeliest choices. I had been set on getting one in .308, but It'll probably be a .223/5.56 due to my preference for affordable shooting.
    Also, I like commonality of ammo, and I've already got a Saiga & a Savage Axis in .223 to feed.
    TXplt and neophyte like this.
  6. jerry

    jerry Since 2002 Forum Contributor

    Phew, please forgive me for not playing in this one. You’ll get some good feed back though.
  7. Boy you asked a mouthful as the AR Rabbit hole goes very Deep! That being said a few things that you might want to look for in an AR (just my opinion) -

    - If your looking primarily for a Range and Varmit rifle I would go with a longer barrel than the standard 16" and unless you really plan on burning up ammo a chrome lined barrel isn't critical (actually Stainless Steel tends to be overall more accurate if from a quality maker).

    - I prefer a twist rate of 1:8. 1:7 is most common, but a 1:8 or 9 will stabilize heavier bullets better.

    - Generally unless you really want a compact rifle I would go with a Mid or Rifle length foregrip / gas tube, as they are generally more pleasant to shoot and the action doesn't function as harshly (because your pulling lower pressure gas to operate the rifle).

    - Most AR's will be chambered in 5.56 Nato, if you plan on shooting 5.56 don't get a rifle that is labeled as .223 as the chambers are different and using 5.56 ammo in a .223 barrel could be dangerous.. Also a 5.56 barrel has a longer lead in to the rifling than .223. If you want to split the difference a Wylde is popular because it splits the difference. Personally I stick with a 5.56 chamber.

    - as for the mix and matching, yes a lower can be used with a variety of uppers, but if you're going to mix and match study up on it first as the rifle is a system, and since your recoil spring and buffers come in different strengths and weights what might work well for one upper may need some tuning for an upper of a different caliber. Also if you go this route you want a "Multi Caliber" lower.

    - Tons of good info out there (and some bad too). If you're just getting started unless you want to plan and cypher through the details it's not bad to start with a decent complete rifle and play / upgrade as you get to know it.

    Just recently I did pick up a new AR that so far I am really happy with (disclaimer is I've only been to the range with it a couple of times so far). What I got was a Ruger AR-223 MPR which might be worth looking into for you. It has an 18" 1:8 twist barrel with muzzle break and Rifle length gas system that's very pleasant to shoot Mlok slim foregrip (free floated barrel) with full picatinny top rail, magpul grip and stock and also has Ruger's 2 stage 4.5 lb pull trigger and they retail for around $700 (I paid $679), which is a lot of upgrades from a bare bones AR for just a little more $$$.

    I didn't cover too much, but if you look in the AR area of G&G there is a Ton of good info from Very knowledgeable folks ~
    big shrek, Hedge, jwrauch and 3 others like this.
  8. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

    Lots of good advice so far. As has been said the AR is a modular rifle built around a kinda-common lower and with pulling a couple of pins and installing a different upper you can have a different caliber or configuration OF a caliber. The lower receiver is the only thing that requires a transfer and everything else you can get online. If you’re rolling your own I’ve found the Ruger stripped lower to be excellent and available in some places for around 70-80 bucks. I’ve never seen an AR upper that’s NOT 5.56 (which can chamber 223 also) but I suppose they might exist. I’ve not had a hankering for a barrel length greater than 16 inches but PSA does make a Wylde upper at 18” and Hardened Arms has a 18” upper too which might be a good choice for varminting. But 16” has been fine and plenty accurate enough for me for pretty much everything; then again some of these are suppressed and I’d definitely NOT want longer than 16” when running a suppressor otherwise the rifle becomes unwieldy.

    Whether you build your own or start with a commercial rifle is up to you; at some point you’re probably going to want a customized rifle but with an off the shelf variant you get something to work with to start with and can shoot (and figure out what you want) and can customize this later as you see fit. So you want to start with a relatively decent lower.

    Most lower end ARs are carbine length gas systems and have triggers running the gamut from awful to OK. There’s nothing wrong with a carbine gas system but these tend (as has been said) to operate somewhat overgassed (the gas system is determined by the upper). If you want a lower cost mid-length gas system you’ll either have to build it or get a stock model and a new upper.

    For a starting gun, the Smith and Wesson Sport II isn’t a bad starting point and the trigger is OK. Ruger makes a decent lower as well, but I’ve found their triggers to be not so good. In either case, they come with a standard AR stock which I don’t particularly like. I like SOME type of rail or rail-capable upper so I can put a weapon mounted light on it. And some type of foregrip/hand stop and provision for a sling. This can be with Magupl parts in the case of the SW sport or Ruger, or you can simply wait and get a newer upper.

    I don’t find much difference between twist rates for practical shooting of the 223. The gun will probably like some types of ammo and not others.

    PSA has some decent deals for lowers with their EPT and magupl furniture; the major disadvantage is these have to be ordered and go through a transfer. The EPT kit gives a very nice ‘duty’ style trigger. You can then get an upper of your choice with the Keymod of Mlock-type rail which are my personal favorites. Hardened arms also makes a decent upper with stock rail and some have mid-gas system; I find they are a little wider in width (which is fine for a general purpose rifle; the Keymods better for a HD role IMHO) and you can get the ladder rail covers cheap on eBay so they don’t abrade furniture and feel nicer.

    So I’d have a look at the PSA and Hardened Arms sites and get an idea of what you might want.

    Most all my ARs are equipped with some type of decent optic (these run the gamut from EoTech, ACOG, and Vortex). On a budget, I’d have a look at the VorTex Strike Eagle scope; it’s a little heavy but runs 1-6X (so you can have a CQB optic as well as magnification out to whatever you’d want to do with the round). Primary Arms also makes a kinda cool ACSS reticle in 5x but it has limited eye relief and FOV; the nice thing about the Strike Eagle is it’s BDC and versatility. It’s clear glass also. The gold standard for me is the ACOG but this takes some training for closer in work with it. They are also equipped with a WML, handle/hand stop (the BCM low profile handle types work well for me), sling swivels and sling, and the BAD lever from Magpul.

    For triggers, the gold standard for me is the Geissele but these might be a bit pricey. CMC makes a drop in mod which is easy to add (like I said the PSA EPT group isn’t bad and it’s pretty cheap and also included in some types of their lowers). I’ve got a LaRue trigger (100 bucks) on order which I’m keen to give a whirl. The MP-15 sport settles in to something acceptable after some use.

    I’d get a bunch of mags while they are still cheap (which they are now); the PMAG is the best option for me and I like the OEM 30s. You can get the 40 round ones too but these are a bit long and for me tend to unbalance the rifle/pistol build. Still it might be nice to have 40 rounds and these are infinitely reliable. I’m not a fan of the drum mags in that I’ve seen them hang up.

    If you’re building your own I’ve found the PSA nickel boron BCGs to work well and be easy to keep clean enough and running.

    Have fun !
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
    big shrek, neophyte and ChaZam like this.
  9. ChaZam

    ChaZam G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    ^^Actually that is backwards.^^ The faster 1-7" twist will stabilize longer heavier bullets than the slower 1-8" twist or the even slower 1-9" twist will.
  10. ChaZam

    ChaZam G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    On the subject of magazines though Matt if, you are shooting off of a bench with a short bipod, bean bags, etc, or shooting prone off of your elbows you might invest in a few of the shorter 20 round magazines for that purpose. I have a few 20's and 10's just for those occasions. The 30's are usually too long for those situations.
  11. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist

    the good thing is you can have both a range blaster and a varmint rifle.
    2 pins and done.
    I just talked my little Brother into going this route after he seen my Stag set up.
    the standard 20" 1-9 A-2 with a 4 power scope for 1-1/2" group stuff. [like yote hunting in the brush, and beerkan killing]

    2 pins out and back in and it's a 1-8 24" heavy barrel configuration 1/2" rifle with a 4X12 Leupold AO.
    it handles the target shooting and the little Belding ground squirrel shooting type stuff.
    neophyte likes this.
  12. Thanks! My Dyslexia still bites me every now and again.
  13. cooker300

    cooker300 G&G Evangelist

    NW PA
    thanks .guys, going to hold a few on Thursday. and see what local's have on the shelves. I have been looking at the rugers and the S&W,and the dpms oricle.

    I like the flat tops better then the military style with the handle and front sight.
    that's another question is the A frame looking front sight removable ?
    ChaZam likes this.
  14. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

    Generally not without a hacksaw. Some handle types can be removed some not. The non removable handles are a big deal because there is no easy way to mount an optic which works.

    An optic will ‘look around’ the A2 front sight okay at higher magnification with little shadowing though.

    I prefer the flat tops also. But do have some A2 uppers that came with the rifle (usually because they only need one mbus rear sight then).
    neophyte, big shrek and jwrauch like this.
  15. jwrauch

    jwrauch G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Ruger and S&W off the shelf are good or you can assemble one yourself. You probably wont save a lot of $$ but you'll learn a lot. AR15 .com is a good resource !!! I've had a number of ARs over the last 10 years and all have been DIY
    neophyte, big shrek and TXplt like this.
  16. 338RUM

    338RUM G&G Evangelist

    It isn't so much removable, but it is easy to make into a low profile so you can add a rail. A little love with a rotary gunsmith (Dremel) and you can have a rail. Here is one of mine I did. Took about an hour .
    20171212_084842.jpg 20171212_085843.jpg
  17. ChaZam

    ChaZam G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Yes they can be removed. They are secured with tapered pins and in most that I've seen the left side is the small end so they would need driven out from left to right with a hammer and a punch.
  18. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

    To be honest I’d probably leave the upper as is — the sport and the like usually come with a MBUS rear sight—and buy a mid length flat top upper with the rail system you like — whether that’s keymod, mbus, or railed.

    Hardened arms, psa, and a bunch of others make quality uppers at a reasonable price. And it doesn’t hurt to have a spare interchangeable upper which performs the task you want. There is time and cost involved in zeroing the gun so it might be good to have a spare upper with irons and use the flat top with a decent optic. Parts do wear and fail over time so having an extra complete upper with BCG never hurts.

    Or run a co or 1/3 dot type optic on the original A2 upper with magnified optic on the flat top.
    neophyte and jwrauch like this.
  19. Whether you build or buy I would recommend either getting one with the gas block type you want, or (if building) getting a barrel without one and adding the block of your choice as I've had some of the pinned standard gas blocks come off easy and some have been real boogers! ... also depending on the barrel profile gas blocks do come in different internal diameters so if you go this route make sure the parts you order have the same diameter.
    jwrauch likes this.