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Need opinions on AR configuration


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#1 rott

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:24 PM

I just sold the one firearm i never thought I would...an AR that took me 4 years to finally build. It was a midlength RRA based system with a lot of upgrades.

Anyway, now i get to build a mew one...any recommendations would be appreciated. Is the midlength gas system suppose to be beter ir more reliable than the carbine?

What other suggestions do you have? Should i build the upper? Would that save money? I only built the lower on the last one...

#2 rott

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:36 PM

I should have mentioned i am leaning towards a 16 inch barrel at least...

Thanks for any ideas...links with good prices would also be helpful!

#3 GarandFan

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:02 PM

First ... it seems strange you would sell and AR you built, only to turn around and need advice on building another one. I guess you just like building them??

I don't know how much you'd save building the upper as well. You might think of looking at the kits from M&A parts. They are LMT stuff. Just get a lower, and build the one you want. As a general rule (or perhaps myth), the longer gas tubes are more reliable than the shorter ones). But the carbine lengths are reliable ... so if it works good, it works good.
"It takes all the running you can do just to keep in the same place."
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#4 TyGuy

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:05 PM

There was a Guns & Ammo article that basically found the DI (gas) ar platform to be more reliable than the piston system. Don't hate me, that's what the author found. I can try and find the year/minth if you are interested. Basically, sand, mud,mgunk, etf... Could gum up the works of a piston, but the DI would blow the gunk out instead.
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#5 rott

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:19 PM

First ... it seems strange you would sell and AR you built, only to turn around and need advice on building another one. I guess you just like building them??

I don't know how much you'd save building the upper as well. You might think of looking at the kits from M&A parts. They are LMT stuff. Just get a lower, and build the one you want. As a general rule (or perhaps myth), the longer gas tubes are more reliable than the shorter ones). But the carbine lengths are reliable ... so if it works good, it works good.


Basically i do like building things. Plus it was a friend that wanted it...so i let it go. Now I'm just looking for ideas.

#6 Kerwin Law

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:44 PM

There was a Guns & Ammo article that basically found the DI (gas) ar platform to be more reliable than the piston system. Don't hate me, that's what the author found. I can try and find the year/minth if you are interested. Basically, sand, mud,mgunk, etf... Could gum up the works of a piston, but the DI would blow the gunk out instead.

Oh my, that finding would ruffle some feathers. We`ve been told that you have to have a piston AR or it`s an unreliable POS :thumbsup: They both foul, just in different places. There`s advantages and disadvantages to both I suppose. Just take care of it like your life depends on it and it will reciprocate. I like the DI ones because they shoot straighter and are the only ones legal for service rifle competition. OK, rant off. You can have your thread back now :hyper:
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#7 xmikex

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:27 PM

Mission drives gear. What's your mission?

Home defense? Zombies? Are you in the .mil or LEO? If so, I'd get a configuration as close to what I'm issued so I can practice with what I'm most likely to have to use.

What do you want the rifle to do?
Have you had any professional shooting instruction? Ever taken a carbine or pistol class?

All this will determine what you end up with.

Generally, I would not advise "building" your own upper. Buy a complete gun from a reputable mfg or buy an upper from a reputable MFG and put together your lower like you did last time. I've seen WAY too many "frankenguns" that just don't run. I know building an upper is not rocket science but I stay away from it if the AR has ANY possibility of being used for self defense.

In no particular order:
Colt
Bravo Company
Spikes Tactical
Daniel Defense
LMT

All make great guns.


Im a DI fan generally. Pistons can work - but they ALL use proprietary parts and finding spares is going to be difficult if the company changes the design, etc.
"I may disapprove of what arms you bear, but I will defend to the death your right to remain armed." -xmikex

#8 rott

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:11 PM

Thanks for the questions!

This will mainly be for home defense...and the occasional zombie. :thumbsup:

I am not LEO, and have zero formal rifle training, and only a basic pistol course so far.

I will take the advice about not building the upper myself. I am just looking to get an idea what others like and don't like on their rigs...

#9 milq

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:17 PM

Usually building your own upper won't save much money. But you get the chance to create your own configuration if what you want isn't readily available.

You can save some bucks if you wait for sales on individual items, but drags out your timeframe. If you have the tools, time and want to do it, I say go for it.
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#10 TyGuy

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:39 PM

DPMS is inexpensive and good for the range, and the ASC zombie shoot.

I don't have that issue of G&A. I only started saving back issues a few months ago.
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#11 rott

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:42 PM

I think I'll stick with the DI system anyway. But thanks for the info.

#12 TyGuy

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:45 PM

I think I might have scanned the article.
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#13 Lou

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:47 PM

IANAL nor am I a gunsmith. I bought a Bushmaster that was a close to what I wanted and then added the optics and external doo-dads I wanted. The mechanics are stock and work flawlessly with good quality ammo.

I shoot as many of the practical rifle matches as I can at ASC and have noticed that the more people "customize" their rifles the more problems they have. If you need to rely on your AR the fewer internal mods you make the more reliable it will be.

Just my $.02 worth.

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#14 GarandFan

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:01 PM

Check this out ... midlength 16" kit for $500. Add another hundred or so for the lower and $65 for a carry handle and you have a good, solid AR for under $700.

http://mapartsinc.co...tail.asp?id=101
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#15 rott

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:15 PM

Check this out ... midlength 16" kit for $500. Add another hundred or so for the lower and $65 for a carry handle and you have a good, solid AR for under $700.

http://mapartsinc.co...tail.asp?id=101

So the M&A kits are pretty good quality? I've never actually seen one, or known anyone that used them before.

#16 xmikex

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:44 PM

So the M&A kits are pretty good quality?



NO.


I tend to think of firearms as tools. A Porter Cable / Dewalt / Makita / Bosch / Rigid (aka Glock / Sig / HK / COLT) etc. etc. will all do the job.

M&A parts tends to be the "harbor freight" of AR parts. Very cheap and it might work out of the box. Then again it might work for just 50 rounds or 500 rounds or it might go 20,000 rounds. It's a crapshoot.



What I like:
-16" chrome-lined barrel
-Rail system - the longer the better (Daniel Defense is what I'd get - others make good rails too - I just prefer 'em)
-Flash hider (A2 or whatever depending on how much you want to spend)
-fixed front sight (never have to flip it up in an emergency)
-flip up rear sight
-EO-Tech or Aimpoint
-Extended charging handle (PRI Big Latch or BCM Gunfighter)
-USGI trigger group (no adjustable or match triggers)
-Collapsing stock (I like Vltor - Magpul is great too)
-Surefire light (I buy used Surefire M951s for $75-150)
-Vert grip (Knights / Tango Down / Magpul all do the job)
-Magpul MIAD or MOE grips are nice

I tend to buy QUALITY used parts (red dots, BUIS, Grips, rails, lights, stocks, etc.) and save money that way.



So rifles are great and all BUT I'd look seriously at taking some tactical pistol training before spending $1000+ on a rifle at this point. They can ban tools but the knowledge is in your head forever. :sorcerer: LOL
"I may disapprove of what arms you bear, but I will defend to the death your right to remain armed." -xmikex

#17 bornhunter04

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:33 AM

If your on any other forums, start watching for lightly used uppers of high quality, you can find some really good deals. You can also, get a stripped upper from bravo company, DD, or one of their distributors for cheap then watch the forums for a used rail (some guys change these out like they do they're underwear) if you're in no particular hurry. Just, buy quality, cry once buy once type thing.

From the research I've done, my opinion (for what it's worth) is you'd be fine with a bushy, RRA, stag, whatever commercial brand as long as you bite the bullet and get a QUALITY BCG from bravo company, LMT, DD, Colt, basically any of they higher end manufacturers. The Bravo BCG's sell for $150. Basically, toss the BCG the upper comes with in the back of the safe and run a good BCG.

There's a chart over on m4carbine.net that's stickied, where they compare alot of the major brands, it's pretty informative. The real scary part is when you actually sit down and start comparing prices between them all, a higher end rifle from bravo or dd might only cost $1-200 (depending on sales) more than the commercial grade companies. Where the cost starts adding up is the addon's. But you can get those used/LNIB and save some money that way.
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#18 GarandFan

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:37 AM

xmikex:

Are you possibly thinking of Model 1 sales? From what I have read, M&A is a retailer of Lewis Machine and Tool parts ... most of the uppers they sell are LMT uppers (though I think in some configurations they are RRA.
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#19 lieut89

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:58 AM

xmikex:

Are you possibly thinking of Model 1 sales? From what I have read, M&A is a retailer of Lewis Machine and Tool parts ... most of the uppers they sell are LMT uppers (though I think in some configurations they are RRA.


From their FAQ's Garand:

WHY ARE YOUR PRICES HIGHER THAN SOME OTHERS THAT I HAVE SEEN ADVERTISED?
It is because of quality factors. We buy all of our parts from current manufacturer USGI and Government Contractors. We make nothing on premises nor from any foreign country.

Everything is US manufactured that goes into your AR15 rifle. Our upper receivers are manufactured by Lewis Machine and Tool, and LMT cuts and chambers the uppers using Wilson or Mike Rock Premium Barrel Blanks, which they then headspace and test fire. We do have some Rock River Barreled Uppers as noted. [The few foreign parts that are shown on this website are so noted in the descriptions they do not come in any rifle/carbine kit, period.]

#20 Lou

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:05 AM

Just an FYI bass pro shop is advertising a Bushy ORC carbine for $799. Add a decent optic and you're GTG.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. -  George Orwell

A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again. 


#21 rott

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:41 AM



So the M&A kits are pretty good quality?



NO.


I tend to think of firearms as tools. A Porter Cable / Dewalt / Makita / Bosch / Rigid (aka Glock / Sig / HK / COLT) etc. etc. will all do the job.

M&A parts tends to be the "harbor freight" of AR parts. Very cheap and it might work out of the box. Then again it might work for just 50 rounds or 500 rounds or it might go 20,000 rounds. It's a crapshoot.



What I like:
-16" chrome-lined barrel
-Rail system - the longer the better (Daniel Defense is what I'd get - others make good rails too - I just prefer 'em)
-Flash hider (A2 or whatever depending on how much you want to spend)
-fixed front sight (never have to flip it up in an emergency)
-flip up rear sight
-EO-Tech or Aimpoint
-Extended charging handle (PRI Big Latch or BCM Gunfighter)
-USGI trigger group (no adjustable or match triggers)
-Collapsing stock (I like Vltor - Magpul is great too)
-Surefire light (I buy used Surefire M951s for $75-150)
-Vert grip (Knights / Tango Down / Magpul all do the job)
-Magpul MIAD or MOE grips are nice

I tend to buy QUALITY used parts (red dots, BUIS, Grips, rails, lights, stocks, etc.) and save money that way.



So rifles are great and all BUT I'd look seriously at taking some tactical pistol training before spending $1000+ on a rifle at this point. They can ban tools but the knowledge is in your head forever. :sorcerer: LOL


I am going to look into formal training. I will start again with a basics course though, because it has been a while... :whistle:

Thanks for the tips!

#22 Tvandermyde

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:51 AM

Ok I am kinda spoiled in this area, but some thoughts as I have LMTs- both MRP and a regular uppers and both DI and piston.Armalite, and Rock River as well as lots of parts guns I have built.

There are manufacturers who do almost everything and run QC programs, and then there are manufacturers who simple place orders for parts and assemble guns.

But many of the "manufacturers" get their parts from the same place. LAR is a large supplier for uppers. Yes the same people who brought you the LAR Grizzly in 357. As an example. And LMT makes parts for lots of guys.

Have have used LMT parts and Rock parts and R- Guns parts. It depends on what you want the gun for, and how much do you want to spend?

I have run several of my CQB guns at practical rifle matches at ASC and they hit the 200 steel targets. They also perform well in the close in stuff. Most issues i have had so far are from improper assembly. I crushed the safety detent spring in the grip on my LMT causing a failure. Fixed it when I got home. Taught me a lesson.

But if ypu want a 16" gun, then you're not going to be trying to dot the i at 1000 yards. There, I would be looking first and formost at reliability. You can build a gun to do it.

From the front back, what ever comp you want. You can spend a lot or a little on the end of the gun.

Barrel, R-guns has his own supplier and so far they are accurate enough for CQB work on my book. I have M4 profiled barrels, heavy barreled and bull. Your choice but i would pick a M4 for you.

Rail, you can use a YHM. I have several and they work fine. Or you can spend a lot more On other rail systems.

Uppers, you can pay from $55-$155 for an upper. I like the design where the dust cover pin is held in by the rail nut and no c-clips are used

Badger chargng latch on a handle and becareful npt tomget a bolt carrier group that isn't up to milspec

On the lower you can spend from $50 to $200 i have found some of my lowers, don't work well woth my LMT uppers as they seem to be at different ends of the tolerances for takedown holes. Other than no isseues with my different lowers.

Stock the magpol moe is ok i prfer either the LMT sopmod or the Rock operator

Grips, i like Ergo or Hogue. Depends o. Which fits your hands, but i will say that the ergo is good and sticky for hamging on to.

Edited by Tvandermyde, 09 April 2012 - 09:30 AM.

While a 9 mm or .40 caliber bullet may or may not expand, it is an undeniable fact that a .45 caliber bullet will never shrink.

#23 Birdmang

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:53 AM

I have 2 R guns rifles. One built on a $65 lower, in spec, works fine. Also one built on one of their lowers, in spec works fine.

I always thought nickel boron was a marketing gimmick, decided to get a Nickel boron rifle from them and haven't cleaned it yet. It shoots steal all day also. My goal was to shoot cheat ammo.

My bushmaster and rock river would never shoot steel reliably.

Id go on R guns website or the store, tell them what you want and they will build it within an hour.

Edited by Birdmang, 09 April 2012 - 08:54 AM.


#24 rott

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:22 AM

Thanks for the information Todd and Birdmang!

I've read some good things about PSA also...is their equipment good to go? I want to eventually be able to take this through some training classes, so reliability is paramount.

Also, I've been reading some not so good things about RRA? Has their quality gone down hill the last few years?

#25 Jeffrey

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:30 AM

I've built a couple AR's using the PSA receiver. They go on sale once and a while for 50 bucks. Never had any issues with mine using an RRA upper, a PSA upper, or a Chiappa upper.
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#26 bushyfan24

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:41 AM

Do some research on m4carbine.net. The senior posters on that site really know their stuff and there are plenty of threads comparing the various makers.

I priced out a build but decided it wasnt worth it. I bought a Colt 6920 and never looked back.

#27 Beezil

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:19 AM

Do some research on m4carbine.net. The senior posters on that site really know their stuff and there are plenty of threads comparing the various makers.

I priced out a build but decided it wasnt worth it. I bought a Colt 6920 and never looked back.



For what it's worth, I priced out a build and saw the same thing anyone does when considering the cost ecomony between DIY vs. Off the shelf....

DIY is usually more expensive. It is a great option for anyone wanting a certain uncommon or custom configuration.

My first (and still only) AR-15 I built from parts.....I think I have something like 975 into the thing...

and was it worth it!

I have first hand experience with every single aspect of that gun/platform!

It was a phenominal experience, and additional money i spend from building vs buying was worth the price of education and skill building!

good luck whichever way you decide to go.

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Edited by Beezil, 09 April 2012 - 11:20 AM.


#28 Tvandermyde

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:03 PM

I will tell you that i hate Colt, ever since 1993 when they quit selling carbines with collaspable stocks to civys as capitulation to the antis i have never forgiven them

That alng with their srew in place of a front take down pin, another move to pacify the antis I never have and never will own onw. If someone gave one to me i would sell it and use the money to by one from Illinois or the parts to build one

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#29 Beezil

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:20 PM

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#30 Jason4567

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:34 PM

That alng with their srew in place of a front take down pin, another move to pacify the antis I never have and never will own onw. If someone gave one to me i would sell it and use the money to by one from Illinois or the parts to build one


Do they still make them with different take down pins, or did they go back?

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