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Post subject: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:56 pm
So I've been bitten by the AR bug and have a question.

It is cheaper to build your own? Or do people do this mainly to build exactly what they want and for their own satisfaction?

I'm really not super picky about my configuration and would probably be completely satisfied with a pre-assembled rifle. But if building my own can save me some bucks or get me more rifle for the money, I'm totally into that, too.

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:01 am
That is a great question but one that really does not have a single answer.

As one that has never built an AR I can say that it really depends on what you want. Do you want just an AR or do you want something that looks like it is an alien weapon from another galaxy?

My suggestion is to price a few, fully built, AR's that meet your needs/wants. A few that are slightly below what you want but price out components to make it so. Then do some research in what it will cost to build a few similar rifles.

That will lead to your answer.
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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:31 am
I've lost track of component/parts availability over the last three weeks (vacation)...but in the weeks prior, availability/pricing was still somewhat problematic, despite the pricing and availability of complete ARs having nearly readjusted to-norms in the retail market (note: this applies only to both over-the-counter brick-and-mortar as well as via Internet sales; person-to-person sales in the secondary market still tended to be somewhat of a crapshoot as those who bought high during the panic are loath to reduce their asking prices to actual market norms as they're losing hundreds of dollars).

Before last December, yes, you could save significantly by truly piecing together your own.

Getting "exactly" what you want isn't necessarily that hard if you don't have a very, very specific set of requirements in-mind. This is especially true when it's so easy to simply "bolt on" aftermarket components. Gunsmithing? In reality, if you can work on your own car - change its engine oil, for example - you can very easily work on an AR, particularly if you invested a very modest sum in some specialized tools. This means that the change-out of most of the parts in order to more precisely fit your wants/likes can be easily accomplished. Usually, those who build their own to a list of precise parts are doing so to achieve end-goals that are beyond the usual wants of AR-newbies ;) :) or are really looking at the absolute bottom-line (again, here, remember current market outlook - I would begin here by checking on M4Carbine.net's "The Official Where Can I Get It Thread" to see about the availability and pricing of the components that you'll need, as that thread is constantly refreshed/updated and will be market-true).

Yes, you'd get intimately familiar with the gun with a true build, but the truth of the matter is that you can detail-strip a complete rifle and still get really, really familiar with the innards of the gun where it really mattered in terms of its functionality. On the flip side, while there are those who debate that it's more reassuring for newcomers to the genre to have the protection of a manufacturer warranty, the truth is that most component-build ARs will run just fine, as long as quality components are sought.

xenmanship wrote:
That is a great question but one that really does not have a single answer.

My suggestion is to price a few, fully built, AR's that meet your needs/wants. A few that are slightly below what you want but price out components to make it so. Then do some research in what it will cost to build a few similar rifles.

That will lead to your answer.


^ And that's the way I see it, too. :)

The only exception is:

Quote:
As one that has never built an AR I can say that it really depends on what you want. Do you want just an AR or do you want something that looks like it is an alien weapon from another galaxy?


Given the current "tacticool" drive, this is no longer necessarily true. Building back-to-the-basics carbines/rifles is now also quite popular. :)

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:40 pm
Not really looking to get into the "tacticool" fad. I want an M4 style and will stick a good optic on it. What are your favorite places for components? Places to avoid?

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:34 pm
All AR's are "builds" If you do it yourself you need some knowledge and tools, but its not rocket science. Danial defense makes a nice ar, the finish matches and fit is good. But IMHO you can build a similar ar for a G less. If price is a factor, there are plenty of inexpensive models of the shelf, just remember you get what you pay for. However, the MIL spec standard pretty much takes the brain work and skill level to a placel that a few you tube video can get you in the ball park.

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:49 am
DD ARs are in the $1500 neighborhood...I don't think you can build a good carbine for $500...?

Colt, BCM, DD are all great brands and anywhere from $900-1500 in price range. If you want an out of the box option, DDs are indeed great but if you aren't into the 'tacticool fad' as you put it, the rail system that comes with the DDs might be wasted on you. Look for a Colt 6920 and call it a day. Lewis Center Walmart had a 6920 last week for $1179 and a Magpul edition (different stock, grip, handguard, and flip up BUIS) for $11xx as well.
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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:14 am
munch520 wrote:
DD ARs are in the $1500 neighborhood...I don't think you can build a good carbine for $500...?

Colt, BCM, DD are all great brands and anywhere from $900-1500 in price range. If you want an out of the box option, DDs are indeed great but if you aren't into the 'tacticool fad' as you put it, the rail system that comes with the DDs might be wasted on you. Look for a Colt 6920 and call it a day. Lewis Center Walmart had a 6920 last week for $1179 and a Magpul edition (different stock, grip, handguard, and flip up BUIS) for $11xx as well.


Can you post a link, for DD Ar's that are in stock for $1500, I would greatly appreciate it, thanks!

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:35 pm
No problem: http://www.primaryarms.com/Daniel_Defense_M4_Carbine_v2_30_Round_p/da-20002.htm

Vance's in Columbus has them in stock on the wall usually. They were $1279 back when I bought mine 2 years ago. No idea what they are now.

I've eavesdropped on some conversations there at the rifle counter and they never recommend DD from what I've heard. Apparently they don't come dressed up enough to be desirable. :xconf:
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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:07 am
in my experience, i don't think i've really saved any money by building my own versus buying stock, perhaps unless you are going to end up swapping out a lot of furniture/parts later.... the pros to building your own is you have ultimate flexibility in parts selection, ...but many manufacturers offer good quality rifles out of the box (you may need to buy a rear flip sight separately, unless it comes with it or w/ a detachable carry handle), ...that get's you up and running and you'll have the opportunity to "tweak" equipment easily enough once you determine your likes/dislikes... of course, another aspect to building your own is for the sheer satisfaction in doing it yourself...

you can buy a good bare-bones AR, get some shooting under your belt, assess your likes/dislikes/wants, and doing many upgrades like a simple handgrip swap, or trigger swap later down the line takes minimal effort... ;)

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:14 am
If you look through the Rock River catalog for example, and start adding up prices of complete rifles, and the parts to assemble a rifle I have seen that you will save at least the federal excise tax.

And if you for example want the Rock River 2 stage trigger (which I had and liked) then you might save the cost of buying the standard fire control parts AND the upgrade trigger.


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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:45 am
If there is an off the rack rifle that you like, then it is not necessary to do a build. The point of doing a build is pretty much what Bill eluded to, experimenting and personalizing through trial and error. There is not a lot of money to be saved in a build, but when a build is "complete" it is precisely the rifle you wanted.

OR

On the other side of that, you decide nothing you do will make it precisely the rifle you want in which case, sell everything and move on to another platform. Not likely to happen considering how configurable the AR/M4 platforms can be.

Starting with base components instead of modifying and upgrading complete rifles is less expensive if you have particular tastes that can't be found on the rack. It's fun to tinker too!

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:05 am
My 2 cents:

If you're new to the AR it is almost inconceivable that you even know what you actually want!

People are right to say that DD, BCM, and Colt are your go to for top of the line gear. However, when you're new to it you don't have a need for that type of bomb-proofing. You can save our cash while you learn what you want by getting a usable, more value rifle.

Usable. So no HBAR's or other crazy things to make them super cheap, but unless you're making a big commitment, you're not going to see the benefit of a CHF barrel or the need for a verified Carpenter steel bolt. Get something chrome lined in the general configuration you think you want, make s ire it functions and then go beat it up in a class or two.

I'm not discounting those brands, in fact I won't purchase from another ... Well maybe noveske or LaRue if I win the lottery ... But you just won't see the value out of it and if you decide you need to make big changes, you're out a lot more coin. IMO.

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:00 am
Buckeye Dan wrote:
If there is an off the rack rifle that you like, then it is not necessary to do a build. The point of doing a build is pretty much what Bill eluded to, experimenting and personalizing through trial and error. There is not a lot of money to be saved in a build, but when a build is "complete" it is precisely the rifle you wanted.

OR

On the other side of that, you decide nothing you do will make it precisely the rifle you want in which case, sell everything and move on to another platform. Not likely to happen considering how configurable the AR/M4 platforms can be.

Starting with base components instead of modifying and upgrading complete rifles is less expensive if you have particular tastes that can't be found on the rack. It's fun to tinker too!


The FET is 11% I think ?? And a gunsmith who assembles less than 50 a year is exempt, so that 11% might cover them going through everything as they put it together and making sure everything is just so....not a full on tune or tweak...but just a basic check of a few things along the way. People have found things out of wack like bbl nut torque (I think they found that in steel jacket vs gilding metal jacket test?). And when I bought my RR 2 stage from a gunsmith he just popped it in and it was fine, but he said usually he stones and tweaks a little when installing them.

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:26 pm
Thanks for all the input. Since I am just getting into ARs, I picked up a S&W M&P15 that was on sale at FFF. If I get the bug as time goes on I may build one then. For right now I am very very pleased. :-) :-)

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Post subject: Re: Another newb AR question
Post Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:47 am
Nick_M wrote:
Thanks for all the input. Since I am just getting into ARs, I picked up a S&W M&P15 that was on sale at FFF. If I get the bug as time goes on I may build one then. For right now I am very very pleased. :-) :-)

congrats! that should be a good one for you to use, and perhaps tinker with should you decide to make changes...

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