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Posted: 1/27/2012 2:53:34 PM EST
First, hello! New member here. I don't have an AR yet, but am hoping to pick up my first lower soon (maybe at the show tomorrow) and will build it up when I get a chance and the funds. Nothing is set yet, but my specs so far are simple. Cost is a factor. I want a flat top, with a single rail/gas block on the front and probably a free float handguard. I'm going to have some sort of optics, since I've recently noticed that my eyes don't play so nice with iron sights like they did when I was younger. Maybe backup sights in the future, but not until the rest of the rifle is complete. I will be sticking with 223 for my first build, and then we'll see. Finally, black. What can I say, I like the basics.

Should I buy a kit with all of the parts I need to build a stripped lower, or piece things together as I go? I have never shot an AR, let alone built or even stripped one down, so I'm leaning toward getting a kit that will have everything I will need along with a headspaced barrel/upper.

Any words of advice, suggestions or warnings for a new AR addict-to-be? I am in the process of reading all of the info I can find here, and appreciate all of the articles and discussions on the board. Also, any flaws in my basic plan that you all can see?
Link Posted: 1/27/2012 4:37:32 PM EST
In my opinion build. I build all my ARs now. its cheaper for the simple fact I get exactly what I want. I don't buy a cheap rifle then waste money upgrading it. But If you can find a rifle that is in your price range with what you want then buy it.
Link Posted: 1/27/2012 4:49:50 PM EST
Where in Kansas are you? I'm almost finished with my build. You can check it out, look at my spreadsheet if you want. Might help sway you one way or another.
Link Posted: 1/27/2012 5:52:08 PM EST
Down in the Wichita area. I'd always like a chance to take a look at another's handywork. I'll be at the Wichita show tomorrow, too.
Link Posted: 1/27/2012 5:54:27 PM EST
Im up near Manhattan. If you head up here anytime Id be glad to share.
Link Posted: 1/27/2012 6:00:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/27/2012 6:01:09 PM EST by Ndenway]
check out midwayUSA, they've got two dpms complete uppers on sale for $359 and a bushmaster predator complete upper for $499, pick you up a complete lower or a stripped lower for as cheap as possible, put in a dpms lpk or other comparable, and then add either a collapsable or a2 stock and you're gtg.

or buy all the pieces and assemble how you want it from the getgo
Link Posted: 1/28/2012 3:15:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/28/2012 3:20:24 PM EST by Herknav90]
Congrats on the forum join.

#1 Get a lower...Funshows are great for looking and the occasional deal. Just watch the pricing. Just remember that you can buy a lower for $50 at PSA and $60 for a Surplus Ammo at AIM surplus, but you will have to pay an FFL to receive it for you. Call around - Some are $10-15, some are $20-25, and some more. Call around or Google FFLs in your local area...There are sites where they post their rates - It helps.

Parts kits. There are companies that make things easy and possibly cheaper for you. LPK - Lower Parts kit. Cheak out PSA...They have some great deals with stocks. If you want to buy each part...Probably more expensive in the long haul, but definately do-able. UPK - Upper Parts Kit. Starting to see them at the same places. Not many parts for an upper, but it's nice to not forget a roll pin and have to call Citizens Armory to avoid the $hipping costs.

Cost. You can piece the thing together as you go, but watch your shipping costs. With the price of diesel, shippers are passing this cost on to you. Most companies have a $150, $200, $250 free shipping. Try and lump all your parts together and make larger purchases. If you want to keep the shoe string budget, just watch the parts. Funshow parts are generally not so much name brand - Good? Maybe! Fair? More than likely. Bad? Possibly.

Homework. My words of advice...Figure out EXACTLY what you want to build. Find all the parts you need online. Create a spread sheet for ordering each one individual also include shipping. Then pick 1-2 with the $ for free shipping and create another spreadsheet and compare...You will find the 1-2 is probably cheaper even though you are paying $5-$20 more for this or that. Then, you can look around at the Funshows, Local Gun$hops, and other...At least you know the price of what you want and the shipping on it since you did your homework. This can help you put thing together reasonably. Big picture - STICK to the purchase PLAN! Otherwise, your $700 project becomes $1000-1200 quickly.

Complete kit. Some purists will pound you for buying a complete upper, lower, or rifle kit. Big picture: Who cares...As long as you are shooting. Just don't go posting that you built the thing when you didn't - It offends some peoples delicate nature. Learn the rifle, shoot the piss out of it and modify it if need be. However, you can get the parts you want if you build it yourself. If you are going to buy a Del-Ton or PSA all in parts...Look at the complete upper or Rifle kit - It may be as cheap or cheaper. Again, tinker and learn. You can always build the next one.

Optics. Whole nother ballgame. Build the rifle and put on the BUIS or MBUS type. Then, start the search for what you want in optics, and this game can get expensive quickly.

Flaw. The only flaw I see is you need money to start the project. You MUST have the lower receiver shipped to an FFL unless you buy at gunshow or a local $hop - Takes time. The rest CAN be sent to your front door - I know, it seems odd. Longest lead time is generally the barrel. You need a few general tools for the lower, but if you assemble the upper...It gets to be more in cost for tools. You can learn tricks on this forum to avoid a bunch of tool expense.

I am posting two items...Videos and a Tool/Parts listing. NOTE: You do not need all the tools in the videos.



The latter helps you not post your build specs asking everyone to Q/A everything - Just follow the checklist.

Good luck and post pictures when you are building/complete.


Link Posted: 1/29/2012 4:36:53 AM EST
I want to thank you for the information.... I too an new to ARs and thinking of buying a Spikes.... but after reading a lot on this forum, I might do the build...
Link Posted: 3/3/2012 8:50:17 AM EST
Thanks for the info. Found an aero precision for $60 this weekend, so I'm now starting down the path of building my first AR15. So far, all I've really decided is that I want a flat top, a gas block on the front and an adjustable stock. Everything else is going to be up to future research.
Link Posted: 3/3/2012 10:18:42 AM EST
Originally Posted By ruger556boy:
In my opinion build. I build all my ARs now. its cheaper for the simple fact I get exactly what I want. I don't buy a cheap rifle then waste money upgrading it. But If you can find a rifle that is in your price range with what you want then buy it.

This makes sense if you already know what you want but if you are new to AR's and unless you have buddies that let you shoot their rifles it's very difficult to decide what you like until you are out there shooting it. So for your first one I would recommend just buying a inexpensive complete upper. I think the biggest thing is to match the barrel to what you are going to be using it for.

For example:

16" and under Chromed lined barrel - If you are going to be using it on carbine courses or heavy use situation firing a lot of rounds very fast
16" or longer bull barrel - Targets, varmints, and playing like you are a sniper
16"-20" M4 non chrome lined - Good for general shooting may not be a good choice for heavy use situations.
h-bar barrels are a good compromise between standard and bull barrel and are a good all around choice if you don't mind the extra weight.

To me the barrel is the first choice and then build everything around it. My first was a complete upper mated to a complete lower. After shooting it I realized that many things were more for looks than actual practicality. I think the biggest thing for me was to just be able to get out there and start shooting and worry about looks when I have the extra coin laying around. If you have the basic configuration you want adding the furniture later makes sense to me. You won't know what stock you want until you go out shooting for example so starting with a basic adjustable one makes sense.

just my .02

Link Posted: 3/3/2012 12:39:58 PM EST
Welcome to the forum! The AR world is a wonderful place.You mentioned that your eyes are not irons friendly...me too brother! You will find that scope sights will be a good bet for you.The 1-4 powered scopes do everything you need for most people and will save you the $$$ learning curve that most of us go through.The scope ( low powered) will allow you adjustment for your own particular eyesight as opposed to red dot sights.Target acquisition is very fast and scopes rarely fail.I have been shooting scoped ARs since the mid sixties and have not seen any failures yet.Bushnell and Burris make quality scopes for most budgets. Irons as back ups? If you cant see them??? Save your money for now.If you want to see where things are going ,look at the 3 Gun sites! For a 1st. AR a 16" would be a good start unless you plan on targets beyond 300 meters or so.Palmetto State Armory complete kits are very reasonable,high quality and a good way to enter the game. If you have questions along the way,this forum has the answers!
Link Posted: 3/6/2012 9:32:54 AM EST
Thanks for the headsup on the PSA lower kits. I have one on order. Upper is likely to be a complete 16" sota. Price seems good, and I'm not finding too much bad about them.
Link Posted: 3/13/2012 6:48:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/13/2012 6:49:46 AM EST by nodafingah]
I ordered a SOTA complete upper and it arrived yesterday. It looks great. I can't wait to get it on my receiver....BUT....

The complete lpk I ordered from PSA is delayed. The tracking number they sent me never went past the "label is printed but we haven't received it" status from UPS. After a week, I sent a note to PSA and they told me it hadn't shipped it, but will do it tonight. I'm really hoping that it gets here this week so I can assemble the lower this weekend and get it out to the range. I'll post pics when it is all put together. I'm not upset, just a little excited to put my new toy together and shoot it.
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