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Posted: 2/9/2003 8:01:41 PM EST
Newbie question: I'm a 5'5" 110# female who is interested in getting started in AR15 shooting. I am not interested in bench rest competition. What would be the appropriate configuration for my size?

Thank you!
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 8:12:06 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 8:15:45 PM EST
Look into an A1 length stock.  Pre-ban collabsible stocks are also good.  You will want a light weapon, so look into M4.  I usually suggest fluted HBAR, but they are still a bit heavy, especially if you like to add all kinds of accesories.  A float tube handguard will help reduce weight and increase accuracy.

The rest should be similar to what everyone asks.  Get a flat-top if you like optics, RRA two-stage trigger, chrome lined or at least a stainless barrel.  Avoid large muzzle brakes, they are VERY loud and that is a major pain in the butt.

Good luck, and safe shooting.
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 8:18:35 PM EST
I wouldn't go w/ anything longer than 16".  I've seen some people who get the 10.5" barrels w/ the 5.5" long flash suppresor to meet the 16" law.  Not sure how much, if any that would cut down on the weight, but might be worth looking into.  That being said, are you strong, weak, or of average strengh for your size?  I think that will make most of the differnce.  If you're not really concerned w/ brand (as long as you get a decent brand), then you can look more at overall weight of the AR.  Do some research online at the diff Manuf. web sites and compare, and then check them out at your local gun shop.  Some ranges even have AR's that you can rent, so that might be an option for you.  Also, I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I believe the fixed collapsable style stocks are a tab lighter than the A2 style ones, which will help w/ overall weight.  Also, the level of thickness of your barrell will play a role.  The thicker the barrell, the heavier.  Hope this helps a little...I'm no genius, but some other here are...you'll have about 20 posts by tomorrow.  GOOD LUCK W/ YOUR HUNT.

P.S.  I love the user name
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 8:23:06 PM EST
TT.... With a name like yours, you can shoot anything you want.
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 8:23:26 PM EST
An ACE skeleton stock is A1 length and is a full 4 ounces lighter than a fake collapsible stock, and MUCH lighter than an A2.
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 8:26:32 PM EST
Stick with the shorter barrels, and avoid the heavy barrels. Either a lightweigh, fluted or M4 barrel will give you a very hand, lightweight rifle. The M4 will probably be the most readily available. Your question reminds me of a friend who asked me the very same question. She was about your size and weight and was about to take a s day class. I loaned her my lightweight rifle and she wound up finishing among the top shooters. I was very proud of her and she was very proud of herself. She loved the rifle and it fit her well. Here's a picture of her during the class. Its a preban rifle with an M16A1 upper and a Colt light weight 16" barrel.
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 9:15:23 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 9:57:40 PM EST
I would like to second the super light weight barrel from Bushmaster.  I am not small nor a female, but weight savings are very important to me as well.  

I personally prefer the CAR style stocks (even the fixed open ones for postbans) for the simple fact that it has less surface area on the butt.  It feels more comfortable to me, as the larger buttstocks tend to get in the way or dig into me in too many places.  

For shorter stocks, Rock River sells a "stubby" stock that is the same length as the CAR stock in the fullly closed position.  You can also take a look at this stock:


It is the same length as the CAR stock in the mid-open (first notch) position.

The problem with these two is that the area of the butt is the same as on the A2/A1 type stocks, but so does the newer M4 style collapsible stocks.  The short stocks do help with better maneuverability and controllability when doing high speed work, so that may be something for you to consider.

Link Posted: 2/9/2003 10:28:17 PM EST
My wife and I just went through this. Fortunately I have an M4 and a light weight AR-15 for her to play with. She preferred the light weight over the M4 and so did her sister. I STRONGLY recommend the Bushmaster light weight barrel as pictured above. You can order this barrel as a complete upper assembly in a post ban legal configuration from Bushmaster. It is not listed in their catalog yet but is available.

You can choose between three basic upper receivers, the A1, A2 and A3 (flat top). For your first rifle I would purchase either the A1 (because the sight on it is very simple and robust) or a flat top (it allows you to mount many different scopes and other optics you may want in the future).

It is much cheaper to start out with a post ban gun. All currently manufactured AR’s are going to be post ban. I would recommend the ACE stock from Bushmaster as well. This stock is light and much more comfortable than it appears.

Here is what I would recommend overall.

Bushmaster post ban lower receiver with an ACE stock.
Bushmaster A1 upper receiver assembly with 16 inch light weight barrel.

You should be able to have this, or any other configuration offered by Bushmaster, ordered for you by your local gun dealer. If you want to make damn sure you get what you want, have your gun dealer order just the complete LOWER receiver with the ACE stock. Then call Bushmaster and order the exact upper you want and how you want it set up.

As a woman you should not have any problem finding willing men to take you out shooting. You may wish to find some guys who have different AR’s that are willing to let you put some rounds through. Just go into your local gun shop or shooting range and tell the men standing there what you are looking for. They will most likely fall all over themselves to help you.

Gun shows are also great for handling many different configurations of AR’s at one time.
Link Posted: 2/9/2003 11:01:25 PM EST
Best idea is to shoulder a few to see what you like. From my wife's experience with our AR's, I'll give you my perspective.
My wife is about your size. She can handle the 20" h-bar, but it gets tiring after a short time for her. I'd highly recommend going with a 14.5 M4 barrel with a pinned flash hider/componsator. If you have the cash, go with a preban so you can get a collapsible stock. That way you can adjust it to your ideal shoulder length. I take children shooting a lot, and the A1 and A2 profile is very uncomfortable for them. The pinned collapsible stocks are just as bad.
The best unit I've ever seen is from Magpul. I just got the new collapsible stock from them, and my wife loves it. It's multitude of length adjustments gives anyone the perfect length.
I'd recommend going with an A3 upper with the removeable carry handle so you can take it off if you ever want to go with a scope instead of just irons. The A2 profile will limit you.
With Ar-15's, I'm sad to say the sky is the limit in what you wish to build. You could drop 10k, and still find more things to buy. Or worse, start to covet another style. [eek]
Hope this helps!
Best bet is to look around though and see what works for you in person.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 5:06:07 AM EST
I don't think you can order a rifle from anyone with the older A1 buttstock.

I have to agree with all Troy said above.

The standard buttstock is easily changed out from the A2 (which is long for me, too) to the shorter A1 length.  There is a spacer on the back of the buffer tube which is not used for the A1 stock.  The screw is shorter for the A1 stock. You can get an A1 buttstock from Cavalry Arms in various colors, as well as matching handguards, grip.

I agree, go with a flattop (A3).  I see no reason to use the older, now rare A1 upper.

During the Panama thing, they supplied some of the female soldiers with A2 rifles equipped with 16" barrels.  The balance was better for their size.  I don't know if they used the shorter A1 buttstocks.

You may prefer the standard CAR handguards over the larger diameter M4 type.

For a new rifle, you will have to have the "post ban" type, no threads on the muzzle, no bayo lug.

Avoid the older 11.5" + 5.5" welded on flash hider barrels.  These lose about 600 fps velocity compared to the 20" barrel.  A true 16" barrel only loses 200 fps compared to the 20", and you have to have at least 16" for a civilian rifle, anyway.  Also, the short barrels can have functioning problems.

You can get a rifle configured close to what I describe from DPMS, Armalite, or Bushmaster.  (Their carbine or 16" models)  Then you need only change the buttstock.  This is a simple screwdriver job, 5 minutes.  Make sure you don't reuse the long screw.  Only the upper screw need be removed.

The buttplate from the A2 stock may be removed and placed on the A2 buttstock.

With this config, weight and balance, for you, will be comparable to a 20" A2 rifle on a larger person.

You will give up nothing in accuracy from 20" vs 16" barrel.  With iron sights, the shorter sight radius of the carbine is a little factor in less long range accuracy, but if using a scope, holo sight, etc, it will be the same accuracy from a 20" to a 16".

The M4 type barreled upper Troy describes is lighter than the usually supplied 16" barrels, having more material cut away under the handguard.

And after the ban is over, you might consider changing the whole buttstock assembly for a M4 Adjustable 6-position stock, to get exactly the length you need.  This is especially good when wearing various amounts of clothing, and if a LEO, armor.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 5:16:25 AM EST
I shoot my ARs at BlueTrails in Wallingford...
If you'd like to shoot different configurations ...14.5 M4, 16 LW & 20 A2..for comparison let me know...
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 5:17:27 AM EST
Thank you for all the help. This is a great board. I'll keep you posted!
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 10:37:57 AM EST
First off from your name I figure you are a troll but since I had a friend join and everyone thought she was a troll I will not jump to that conclusion just yet.

Every woman or short/weak man I have had try various rifles has liked a LW barrel.  They also HATE a light weight stock as it makes the gun nose heavy.  You want the rifle with the center of gravity as far back as possible.  

If you have the money get a MagPul collapsable on a preban lower.  You will not find a better balance or cheekweld.  Make the gun as light in the nose as possible.  Bushmaster LW 16" is perfect.  Get a flat top and a dot sight (Aimpoint).  The dot sight is better if you have a fixed stock "post ban" since you will have a hard time getting your eye close enough for a scope on either an A1 or A2 stock.  It will also be more intuative to use and cost less.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 11:19:03 AM EST
TT indicates she is from Connecitcuit.


Post ban match target guns are her only options.

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 11:55:34 AM EST
Only Pre-Ban Colts are banned in Ct...
Olympic, BM, etc are still legal to purchase...and Colts are made here...go figure
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 12:02:57 PM EST
Hey TT,
Where are you located in CT? I usually shoot at the HIgh Rock range in Naugatuck. If you want to try the different preban collapsible stocks vs. a full-size A2 shoot me an email or IM me!

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 12:07:29 PM EST
TT, you've already got a wealth of free advice (worth what you pay for it?) from my learned brethren in the posts above.  Can't fault their recommendations and wholeheartedly agree with the lightweight 16" suggestions.

FWIW, my wife (your size) prefers the furniture from Cavalry Arms, specifically the C1 Stock (shorter length, approx. equiv. to an A1 stock), the Ergo grip (REALLY comfortable & better control for smaller hands), and the standard handguards (NOT the thicker C4 (M4-size) variations).  All of this furniture can be ordered from Cav-Arms in a WIDE variety of matching colors.  (No, I don't work for Cav-Arms - I've just been very happy with their products and service!)  The set-up described above (in grey) is exactly what resides on my wife's pet 16" lightweight right now.

Best of luck to you!
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 12:28:00 PM EST
Love your name...
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 12:48:51 PM EST
    First off-a pre ban with a colapsable stock
might be an option for some but is allmost
undoable in our state (ct). If you find you need
it you could do a "fixed" short stock.
    I guess you really need to shoot some guns
and see what works/doesn't work for you.
    I have a standard full size bushmaster
with a 20" -might be a tad long but at 5'5" you
might be ok. I also have a 16.5 (14 with ak comp)
upper which feels much lighter shooting offhand
(balance is different)actually weight is only
1lb lighter.
     I belong to a club in Guilford,shoot most
weekends.IM mail me if you would like to come
out as my guest and try my guns
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 12:57:25 PM EST
Why is a preban undoable in CT?
As long as you have the money, you buy one and have it shipped to an FFL! Not that hard.

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 1:03:09 PM EST
I'm surprised no one has suggested the Cavalry Arms lower since it's 3/4 lb lighter than a forged lower w/A2 stock.  The new mkII version coming out in March will be A1 length.  (Maybe DevL has hit upon the reason?)  Add a BM superlight upper and you're all set.  
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 1:11:28 PM EST
Go to the top of the page & click on the "Industry" button.  It will give you the websites of all of the major manufacturers & they have a wealth of information.

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 2:06:16 PM EST
If TT really is a newbie in the AR game--with a name like that who knows if someone is just playing with us--all this advice on changing parts, adding special stocks, building your own rifle from a separate upper and a lower etc., may be a little overwhelming. And most dealers won't even know what we're talking about.

Anyone of the stature TT describes can handle any off the shelf 16" barreled, standard stocked rifle. The stock may be a little long, but all recruits shoot the standard M16 and don't have any special accommodations. No offense to anyone who has offered advice here, but don't make it so complicated....

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 2:10:19 PM EST
obviosuly we need detailed photos to figure out what would fit her.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 2:11:58 PM EST
"First off from your name I figure you are a troll...."

As a size 2 blue eyed blonde with mid-back length blonde hair I am rarely regarded as a "troll". That is, of course, until people see my large, movable  hump ala Igor in "Young Frankenstein". And no, a "large, movable hump" is NOT a euphemism for "boyfriend". Thanks again for the valuable info. I'm learning alot and having fun. [newbie]
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 2:15:02 PM EST
"First off from your name I figure you are a troll...."
View Quote

Thats what I figure too.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 2:24:05 PM EST
After reading your replies I made a few calls this morning and located a Colt Match Target Competition HBar II model MT6731, serial #CJCxxxxxx. It is a one owner gun that supposedly has seen very little use. Fit and finish are excellent. Lock up is very tight. Bore and chamber look spotless. I looked at the ACE skeleton stock on their webpage which looks pretty cool. What can you tell me about this gun?
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 2:33:30 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 2:49:23 PM EST
With a name like TT, you cant leave us all in suspense. Post a pic.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 4:02:37 PM EST
Let me guess...  your name is Abbie?  As in: Abbie Normal?


View Quote

I'd watch out man, sounds like she's armed...(or about to be...)
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 4:47:24 PM EST
*Pic removed*

OK, here I am, Frau Bleucher. (Horses neighing in background.) BTW, I have a Victor (as opposed to a loser, I guess.)   :)
Now back to ARs.......
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 4:59:44 PM EST
Jeez guys, with the way you guys are treating her, you'd think we were at [url]Full-Auto.com[/url].
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 5:08:41 PM EST

You obviously have a sense of humor. That's a good thing as you'll need it to survive around here.

And frankly, while you are petite for an adult, you are 4" taller and 25 lbs heavier than my 11 year old daughter, who has no trouble shooting my lightweight AR (5.75 lbs), with the short stock.

As long as you handle the firearm correctly; understand how to mount and hold the rifle, you shouldn't have any problems with an A1 length stock and a 16" barrel-style AR.

If you ever make it down to PA, you're welcome to get a few pointers from my daughter. {:)]

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 6:18:10 PM EST
here's what my wife shoots:
Colt Pre-ban R6530 Sporter Lightweight 16" w/ A1 buttstock.. fits her great (she's approx same dimensions as you).

Regarding your Victor, I hope you are referring to a High Standard pistol. [:)]

Keep us posted on what you end up with. (AR that is! [:D])


Link Posted: 2/10/2003 6:33:15 PM EST
"Yes!!! It's true!!! He vas my...BOYFRIEND!!!"

(The Victor was a great gun, but I was always partial to the Browning Medalist)!!
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 6:59:31 PM EST

OK, here I am, Frau Bleucher. (Horses neighing in background.) BTW, I have a Victor (as opposed to a loser, I guess.)   :)
Now back to ARs.......
View Quote

Werewolf...? There wolf... there castle... [shock]

Or should we all agree to mod that line to read "there fox...!" man...

TT, if that's actually your pic... you need to be on the cover of The Blue Press...Dillon's catalogue (Canadian spelling...)... If all you're looking for is an AR out of the deal I'd bet my money they'd let you take home the one you did the cover with...

Thank you for restoring my all but faded hope that somewhere, through some wonderful twist of nature, there are in fact babes that dig guns...!

Forever in your debt,


[edited fur spelin etc.]
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 7:13:11 PM EST
Come on guys.  If she was a troll, the pic would be of BOG with a wig.


And just for info, the women officers that work for my department have been using the standard A1 configuration with no problems.  

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 7:16:06 PM EST
I have been reading posts and it looks like Colt or Bushmaster are the preferred weapons. Bushmaster adheres more closely to military specifications, but Colt seems to command a higher resale value.
What about cost, value and performance?
Is there a good reason to buy a Colt over a Bushmaster other than snob appeal? And is there a good reason to buy a Bushmaster over a Colt other than the rejection of snob appeal?


PS. Sherman, thank you very much. When was the last time you had your corrective lenses prescription checked? :)
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 7:27:44 PM EST
Colt bends to the will of the anti gun crowd and Bushmaster does not.  Bushmaster supports individual shooters rights and puts out a product 99% the quality of Colt at a MUCH lower price.  Buy a Bushmaster and spend the extra cash on optics, ammo and magazines.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 8:17:18 PM EST

Damn, that water was cold...!

Ok, back to AR's... and not to be difficult and throw another make into the mix... but have you looked at Armalite...?

Slightly more expensive than a Bushmaster, but less expensive than a Colt, and from my own recent experience shopping for another rifle, I haven't been impressed with the attention to detail that I've seen in Colts (LE 6920's to be exact).

I'm not saying that Colts aren't excellent firearms, but for the money they just don't seem to cut any better than the rest... and of the rest, Armalite's the best IMNSHO.

Their M15A4 Carbine might be worth looking at...

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 8:20:13 PM EST
these guys can be SO crass...i appologize for all of them. if you get a preban make sure you get a plastic stock...the aluminum might make a KLANK sound from striking the Titanium.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 8:25:47 PM EST

Let's hear it for Mr. Crassless up there...

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 9:22:54 PM EST
Welcome to the board!
Is there a good reason to buy a Colt over a Bushmaster other than snob appeal?
View Quote
And is there a good reason to buy a Bushmaster over a Colt other than the rejection of snob appeal?
View Quote
Yep. Bushmaster has an actual Takedown [b]pin[/b], instead of the idiotic two-headed screw that Colt uses (although they may have changed that, recently), not to mention that should you ever have a problem with the rifle, BM has an excellent customer service dept. BM uses the same trigger and hammer pins as Mil-spec, which can make obaining parts less of a headache (not to mention cheaper, in some cases). With a BM lower, you can put almost any upper on it you want, except for Colts, which require an adaptor, due to that idiotic screw I mentioned before. In short:
Buy a Bushmaster and spend the extra cash on optics, ammo and magazines.
View Quote
This is very sound advice, and is exactly what I did. Whatever brand of AR you decide to get, enjoy the hell out of it!
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 9:33:51 PM EST
TT check out the women shooter's board in the general section. The ladies there might be able to give you a lot of insight as to what works and does not. It would help also to know what the expected roll of your AR configeration is. Best of luck and what ever you decide remember any AR is a good thing.
Link Posted: 2/10/2003 10:21:50 PM EST
Mark Twain said "Advice is a wonderful thing, it allows us to make the same mistakes everyone else has..."

Yep. Bushmaster has an actual Takedown [b]pin[/b], instead of the idiotic two-headed screw that Colt uses (although they may have changed that, recently)
View Quote

They have indeed...

BM uses the same trigger and hammer pins as Mil-spec, which can make obaining parts less of a headache (not to mention cheaper, in some cases).
View Quote

How often are you planning on changing trigger groups...?

With a BM lower, you can put almost any upper on it you want, except for Colts, which require an adaptor, due to that idiotic screw I mentioned before.
View Quote

The conversion pins cost like $14.00 Canadian, what's that, about $6.00 USD...?

In short: Buy a Bushmaster and spend the extra cash on optics, ammo and magazines.
View Quote

This is indeed good advice...

Link Posted: 2/10/2003 11:43:26 PM EST
...you'll have about 20 posts by tomorrow.  
View Quote

I really gotta stop underestimating myself. [hail2]

Damn, the next time I need some good responses to an AR question, I think I'll masquerade as a young woman on here!  
Link Posted: 2/11/2003 3:49:20 AM EST
For some reason I cant see it. Link??
Link Posted: 2/11/2003 3:58:12 AM EST
The lovely TT, in her quest to gain information in preparation for the acquisition of her first AR15, has received several offers from members to test fire their weapons. My question is: If a woman goes shooting with a bunch of men, does that constitute a "gang bang"?
Link Posted: 2/11/2003 4:10:23 AM EST
TT - You should check out Rock River Arms too.  Their quality is on par with Bushmaster, they are also mil-spec and their prices are better.  
You can have Pete @ Legal Transfers (see the Industry board) build you whatever you want for less than a Bushmaster.

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