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Posted: 4/17/2008 3:55:23 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2008 7:07:43 AM EST by monkeyman]
Updated on May 12, 2008-added another company and revised some info.

A friend was asking me about building an inexpensive AR so I compiled this spread sheet of the kits I could find.

The kits include everything but the stripped lower receiver. If it says 'unassembled" it means the upper and barrel are not assembled and you will have to do that yourself. The companies are listed in no particular order and I make no claim or comment on the quality of what they are offering. Must must assume that prices are subject to change at the whim of the dealer.

What you see is what is on the particular company's website. The reader should contact the company for more or updated information.

This obviously is not inclusive of all the kits that are available, just what I could find online. Prices do not include shipping unless indicated.

The below chart is a jpg file. You can right click on it and save it as a picture.





Link Posted: 4/17/2008 4:04:02 AM EST
nice, when I was doing my build I had a spreadsheet of doom that I used to track costs, alternate costs, potential upgrade, and towards the end I had an product sheet that I could use to build and compare prices on complete uppers with some simple formulas....

I actually wish I had spent less time with my spreadsheet and just ordered my upper because maybe the I would be done.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 5:10:34 AM EST
DPMS sells a basic rifle-$509, and basic carbine-$499 less the stripped lower. I think you have to call or look in the catalog. I haven't seen them online but maybe just haven't looked hard enough. Sounds like a good deal for the brand name. I think i'm going to build one for my brother in the next couple of months.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 6:10:31 AM EST
which ones from this list come with a mil spec size buffer tube?
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 7:01:26 AM EST
Cool spreadsheet Monkeyman...

I don't know if it's of any use to you, but Model1Sales will make M4 cuts on their M4gery kit for $25. I had them do this for me and they did a fantastic job.

Del-Ton is the same, although I ultimately chose to buy from Model1.

M-Aparts never answered my question about M4 cuts.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 7:08:39 AM EST
Fire for Effect has kits around that price.

FFE
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 7:11:20 AM EST
this is a great thread, especially for someone like me whos just starting out with guns/ar15's. This is the kinda info i was looking for, when i stumpled onto this site. thanks guys, great site you got here, i think i'll stay awhile.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 7:11:25 AM EST
Excellent timing
Thanks!
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 7:28:39 AM EST
height=8
Originally Posted By quick128:
DPMS sells a basic rifle-$509, and basic carbine-$499 less the stripped lower. I think you have to call or look in the catalog. I haven't seen them online but maybe just haven't looked hard enough. Sounds like a good deal for the brand name. I think i'm going to build one for my brother in the next couple of months.

It's in Section 3 of their catalog...

DPMS Product Catalog, Section 3

Look on page the page marked 48 (page 16 if you're using the Acrobat jump-to-page feature, since this is only one section of the whole catalog, which is over 11MB in size.)

Not really as good a deal as it sounds, I don't think, considering that it's completely unassembled. Nothing wrong with that if you want to do everything yourself, but for about the same money you can get what appear to be even better kits from other vendors with the barreled uppers already assembled, headspaced and test-fired...not to mention price breaks on individual component upgrades on many of them.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 7:30:39 AM EST
height=8
Originally Posted By matiki:

<snip>

M-Aparts never answered my question about M4 cuts.

Really? What was your question? I sent them an e-mail asking which of their barreled uppers had M4 cuts and got an answer back the same day (basically, the one's designated as "M4-style").
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 7:44:37 AM EST
height=8
Originally Posted By DanParker:
height=8
Originally Posted By matiki:

<snip>

M-Aparts never answered my question about M4 cuts.

Really? What was your question? I sent them an e-mail asking which of their barreled uppers had M4 cuts and got an answer back the same day (basically, the one's designated as "M4-style").


It was the exact question you asked. Perhaps they didn't get my e-mail.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 8:48:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/17/2008 9:23:09 AM EST by monkeyman]
I will add Fire for Effect to the spreadsheet. I Looked at DPMS but they don't specify what is in their kit, what receiver you get etc. I know there are others but if I didn't include them it is because the information wasn't online or wasn't available or clear what was included.

As far as basic kits go, not all of us need chrome lined barrels, M4 bullet guide cuts, fancy bolts, optics, flat tops etc. Sometimes we just want a cheap rifle to plink with. Personnally, I've assembled 8 AR15s all with assorted parts, many used, none were from kits. Mostly I just bought a stripped receiver, a LPK and the assembled upper of my chosing.
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 3:25:02 AM EST
If anyone has any other companies that fit into this catagory I will add them to the spreadsheet.
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 4:10:31 AM EST
monkeyman,

well done!
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 4:50:44 AM EST
I'd add the Stag kit offered by Legal Transfers.
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 5:01:17 AM EST
I suggest adding Garrison ... http://www.garrisonmfginc.com/index.php
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 6:25:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2008 10:22:38 AM EST by monkeyman]
I looked at Garrison. They have a cheap kit but not much info. I will add them.

I looked at Legal Tranfers and the only kit I saw was $669.00 for a Stag kit which ain't so cheap IMO.
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 6:59:04 AM EST
JSE Surplus

They have kits, and you can call or email to see if they can customize them for you. I have never asked that particular question, but they always kindly reply with any other oddball questions I have for them. Great folks!
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 7:17:46 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2008 10:22:56 AM EST by monkeyman]
I just added JSE Surplus
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 10:39:38 AM EST
Well done.
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 7:36:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By monkeyman:
I looked at Garrison. They have a cheap kit but not much info. I will add them.

I looked at Legal Tranfers and the only kit I saw was $669.00 for a Stag kit which ain't so cheap IMO.


Garrison is the kind of company which is best to call them and chat, his kits are awesome and the fit and finish are definatly a great value. He offers standard flashiders on all his kits except the Bull barrels, I believe the 1/9 twist and the barrels are made by wilson. He does offer a M4 kit but it is more expensive then the 16' kit.
But like I said call him for the best answers..
Link Posted: 4/18/2008 11:41:50 PM EST
What no Blackthorne??????????????????????


­
<duck>




Sorry I just couldn't resist.
Link Posted: 4/19/2008 12:53:34 AM EST
How are the Uppers from MA Parts? they're the right price, but hows the quality?
Link Posted: 4/19/2008 6:47:42 AM EST
Thanks for taking your time for the betterment of the community. That looks very good.

I would put blackthorne on there for the sake of comparison, seriously.
Link Posted: 4/19/2008 9:07:59 AM EST

Originally Posted By shiky:
How are the Uppers from MA Parts? they're the right price, but hows the quality?


I have 2 uppers from M&A. One is a 20" rifle upper, and one is a 7.5" pistol upper.

Now, rifle uppers are pretty easy, and mine works just fine. Great reliability, and it is very accurate.

The pistol uppers can be a difficult beast. Mine works just fine. It works on my pistol lower, and it even ran on my friend's registered M16 lower.

For the money, I don't think that you can beat M&A.
Link Posted: 4/19/2008 10:47:04 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/19/2008 10:55:34 AM EST by monkeyman]

Originally Posted By nihilsum:
Thanks for taking your time for the betterment of the community. That looks very good.

I would put blackthorne on there for the sake of comparison, seriously.


Thanks for the suggestions. I had never heard of Blackthorne.

You are talking about akpartskits.com as blackthorne right?

I will add them in a couple days as my spreadsheet is on another computer.
Link Posted: 4/19/2008 10:47:58 AM EST
FFE twist rates are 1x9. Stocks are carbine sytyle.

Also, that price includes shipping......that's a pretty important detail. (I noticed you put it up.)

Link Posted: 4/19/2008 10:50:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By nihilsum:
Thanks for taking your time for the betterment of the community. That looks very good.

I would put blackthorne on there for the sake of comparison, seriously.



Blachthonre (hesse/vulcan) is junk.....so i've heard. They DEFINTELY dont get recomended around here. I would never consider purchasing one.
Link Posted: 4/19/2008 11:49:54 AM EST
I know that they do not have a good reputation, and I do not own one. However, there are many over on the surplus rifle forums that are satisfied customers.

Might as well map them on the sheet, at any rate. The decision can then be up to the buyer.

Thanks again for taking the time to work that up.
Link Posted: 4/19/2008 12:57:18 PM EST
height=8
Originally Posted By monkeyman:
I looked at Legal Tranfers and the only kit I saw was $669.00 for a Stag kit which ain't so cheap IMO.


The Stag kit from Legal Transfers is $633 shipped. I chose it because it came with a rear sight (which appeared to run about $80 to add one to the other kits), as well as a side sling adapter and magazine which have to be worth at least a few bucks a piece.

i also chose it because Pete said I should have my kit within 14 days of placing my order and a couple of the other places I called said 3-4 weeks. However, it's been 18 days and I still don't even have a tracking number. hemy stag kit cost me more than the $633 kit, but i'm getting the samson rails (instead of car handguards) and an even better rear sight (arms #40 over mi ers). i tossed in an rra 2-stage trigger while i was it.

just my 2 cents.
Link Posted: 4/20/2008 5:24:28 AM EST
The intent of my chart was to give a friend of mine an idea of what it would cost to get into an entry level AR at the lowest cost.. While $600-$700 is relatively inexpensive for an AR, it is still pretty damn expensive for most people's budget.

Let's face it. most people do not need an expensive AR that sits in their safe and is taken out a couple times a year to shoot a hundred rounds or so. Most people are not playing run and gun games at the range. Most will probably never shoot their ARs past 100 yards or in competition. Most will never fire a round in anger. Most people simply want an AR before they are banned again or for plinking or for self defense. In that case an inexpensive AR is good enough. Sometimes, good enough IS good enough.
Link Posted: 4/20/2008 5:44:47 AM EST

Originally Posted By monkeyman:

Originally Posted By nihilsum:
Thanks for taking your time for the betterment of the community. That looks very good.

I would put blackthorne on there for the sake of comparison, seriously.


Thanks for the suggestions. I had never heard of Blackthorne.

You are talking about akpartskits.com as blackthorne right?

I will add them in a couple days as my spreadsheet is on another computer.


www.blackthorneproducts.com

I've heard very mixed reviews on them, but they ARE cheap...

I had never heard of Fire for Effect. Sounds like a great deal though.

Also, DPMS uppers, when you can find them in stock, are very reasonably priced as a rule, and they include the BC/CH.
Link Posted: 4/20/2008 5:55:19 AM EST
Wow! I checked the FFE website. Whatta deal...

I think I know where my next build is coming from...
Link Posted: 4/20/2008 6:04:11 AM EST
Cool.
Link Posted: 4/20/2008 4:51:01 PM EST
I'm actually pretty surprised nobody is talking about FFE here on arfcom, especially since CMMG comes highly recomended.

At the local gunshows here in KC, FFE and CMMG set up right next to each other. A rep. from CMMG told me personally he would but a FFE kit over a CMMG bargain bin rifle.

Link Posted: 4/20/2008 5:31:56 PM EST

Originally Posted By KC-ROUGHNECK:
I'm actually pretty surprised nobody is talking about FFE here on arfcom, especially since CMMG comes highly recomended.

At the local gunshows here in KC, FFE and CMMG set up right next to each other. A rep. from CMMG told me personally he would but a FFE kit over a CMMG bargain bin rifle.



I'm going to stick my neck way out and risk getting flamed beyond all recognition, but I have noticed that the brands and sellers that get the most discussion on here are site sponsors and partners as a rule.

I think it's sort of a self-fullfilling thing, and nothing against the companies that sponsor the site.
Link Posted: 4/20/2008 6:21:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By the_great_snag:
I'm going to stick my neck way out and risk getting flamed beyond all recognition, but I have noticed that the brands and sellers that get the most discussion on here are site sponsors and partners as a rule.

I think it's sort of a self-fullfilling thing, and nothing against the companies that sponsor the site.

Colt sponsors this site? MidwayUSA sponsors this site? Model 1 Sales sponsors this site?
Link Posted: 4/20/2008 6:29:56 PM EST

Originally Posted By strat81:

Originally Posted By the_great_snag:
I'm going to stick my neck way out and risk getting flamed beyond all recognition, but I have noticed that the brands and sellers that get the most discussion on here are site sponsors and partners as a rule.

I think it's sort of a self-fullfilling thing, and nothing against the companies that sponsor the site.

Colt sponsors this site? MidwayUSA sponsors this site? Model 1 Sales sponsors this site?


I said AS A RULE, as in generally... I've dealt with a lot of AR parts sellers and dealers that are never mentioned on here. The site sponsors get the most exposure on this site, and that is as it should be, since they support our ability to discuss information and share ideas.

I wish Colt, Midway and Model One were sponsors because then they might be more in tune with the AR15 community. Especially Colt and Midway. I think Model One has their act together pretty well as it is...
Link Posted: 4/20/2008 9:03:49 PM EST
I Love JSE Surplus... Been knowing Margie since the good ol' Ebay days, back in 97 or 98...when you could buy AK and AR kits there.
I have done business with them for 10 years now and have NEVER had a bad experience. All quality parts, and the fastest shipping I have ever seen. I order on Monday and will have it by Wednesday, No later than Thursday. From MO to NC that fast is awesome.
I have also built about 12 rifles for customers who wanted to go the very economy route using kits from Blackthorne (at the customer's request) and have found them to be excellent firearms when completed. Never have had one returned or any complaints, and during site-in periods, found them to be just as accurate and function just as well as some High Dollar kits I've built. I think Blackthorne has gone way outta the way to get rid of the "junk" connotation they inherited from Hesse and Vulcan. I was missing a spring from a lower parts kit I ordered from them and with one call they had to me in two days.
Tony down at Del-Ton is excellent to deal with too. They have some Major quality kits and stand behind everything they sell real well. Will got outta his way big time to make sure he can help you in getting what you want. ships fast too, of course, he's only 40 miles from me. Probably one of the most informative guys too, If youre a Newbie, tell him and he will look out for you and answer any questions you might have.
Oh well, just .02 worth...
And thanks for that spreadsheet, very good info for folks shoppin' around.
main thing is "Be Safe".
Link Posted: 4/21/2008 3:18:29 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/21/2008 3:33:57 AM EST by monkeyman]
The spreadsheet has been revised, probably for the last time since I've pretty much covered the cheap kit market.

I have to admit that a few of the places have spurred my curiosity and I may even order a cheap kit to stash away.

Also, in regards to sponsors of this web site, I encourage everyone to support them whenever possible.
Link Posted: 4/21/2008 4:03:24 AM EST
Model 1 kits include:
Barrels from E.R. Shaw
Uppers from L&R or Stag
Buttstock/Handguards from River Rock
Link Posted: 4/21/2008 4:28:48 AM EST

Originally Posted By the_great_snag:
I said AS A RULE, as in generally... I've dealt with a lot of AR parts sellers and dealers that are never mentioned on here. The site sponsors get the most exposure on this site, and that is as it should be, since they support our ability to discuss information and share ideas.

I wish Colt, Midway and Model One were sponsors because then they might be more in tune with the AR15 community. Especially Colt and Midway. I think Model One has their act together pretty well as it is...


Colt's got their head so far up the military's ass, they don't know if it's day or night. That's fine, I suppose. HK uses the same strategy. If you're already selling everything you can make, why look elsewhere for customers?

Midway is a bit of a let down. They have a lot of out of stock items as well as the capacity to offer kits. I understand they are not a builder so offering tons of options on uppers and lowers isn't very practical, but I think they would be well served to offer a kit like Del-Ton or maybe a "everything but a stripped lower and assembled upper." That is, LPK, buffer, stock, etc. They also offer way too much DPMS and not enough Bushmaster. The BM stuff is pricey too, IMO.
Link Posted: 4/21/2008 2:27:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/21/2008 2:33:05 PM EST by the_great_snag]

Originally Posted By Thomas2Dawg:
I have also built about 12 rifles for customers who wanted to go the very economy route using kits from Blackthorne (at the customer's request) and have found them to be excellent firearms when completed. Never have had one returned or any complaints, and during site-in periods, found them to be just as accurate and function just as well as some High Dollar kits I've built. I think Blackthorne has gone way outta the way to get rid of the "junk" connotation they inherited from Hesse and Vulcan. I was missing a spring from a lower parts kit I ordered from them and with one call they had to me in two days.And thanks for that spreadsheet, very good info for folks shoppin' around.

Thanks for the info on Blackthorne. It's heartening to know they are serious about being in the AR biz... I remember when Model One was in their place and they took serious steps to improve their products and services. I hope they follow their example, cause it would be nice to support my local MN companies, like I already do with DPMS.

Maybe I better give Blackthorne a shot...

ETA: screwed up the quotes... sorry
Link Posted: 4/21/2008 2:31:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By strat81:Colt's got their head so far up the military's ass, they don't know if it's day or night. That's fine, I suppose. HK uses the same strategy. If you're already selling everything you can make, why look elsewhere for customers?

Midway is a bit of a let down. They have a lot of out of stock items as well as the capacity to offer kits. I understand they are not a builder so offering tons of options on uppers and lowers isn't very practical, but I think they would be well served to offer a kit like Del-Ton or maybe a "everything but a stripped lower and assembled upper." That is, LPK, buffer, stock, etc. They also offer way too much DPMS and not enough Bushmaster. The BM stuff is pricey too, IMO.


I thought the same thing you did about Colt about 3 seconds after I hit the submit button... lol To make things worse, it sounds like the .gov is seriously considering dropping Colt unless their prices get more under control... I suppose that would make the civilian market a whole lot more important to them though, huh?

+1 on your Midway comments too. I think they are REALLY missing the boat on accessories too. I tried looking on there for BUIS's and optics mounts... whatta joke...

Too bad, cause I love their prices and service.
Link Posted: 4/22/2008 3:26:12 PM EST
Sticky worthy level of effort.
Link Posted: 4/23/2008 8:23:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By undecided:
Sticky worthy level of effort.


Thank you.
Link Posted: 4/25/2008 3:45:06 PM EST
Just trying to keep this one at the top. So many shooters asking about building a AR cheap and this is a great chart.
Link Posted: 4/25/2008 7:02:26 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/25/2008 7:05:21 PM EST by monkeyman]

Originally Posted By sonofagun2012:
Just trying to keep this one at the top. So many shooters asking about building a AR cheap and this is a great chart.


I was just looking at a some of the kits on the chart. You cant' buy just an upper and bolt/carrier for what you can get complete kit for. I am tempted to buy a kit just for the extra parts.
Link Posted: 4/25/2008 7:19:39 PM EST
Yeah, kits usually don't cost much more than a complete upper from the same source.

Besides, even if you don't need those extra parts you can always use them on the next build!
Link Posted: 4/27/2008 3:01:56 PM EST

Originally Posted By the_great_snag:
Yeah, kits usually don't cost much more than a complete upper from the same source.

Besides, even if you don't need those extra parts you can always use them on the next build!


Good idea.
Link Posted: 4/28/2008 7:57:40 AM EST
Ok. I updated the spreadsheet with more companies. This is the last time (I hope) I am going to do it.
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