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Posted: 4/30/2011 11:48:21 PM EDT
Hey guys, I was just wondering if you thought it would be cheaper to build an AR or buy a Spikes Mid-Length? I'm not asking for y'all to do my research or anything like that, but just in your experience, can you really build a rifle for under $800??

Thanks!
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 12:12:09 AM EDT
Just built a del-ton on a PSA lower for a guy for $545. Not saying to go that way, but - yes it is possible.

Will you save anything in an evenly matched rifle - not likely. The savings comes in getting what you wanted the first time (no extra parts to accidently sprout into rifles later - and no waste).
Most builds, after eliminating all the compromises you just cannot live with, cost as much or more than an off the shelf rifle.
This is not to say it is always the case though.

I think that the benefit of building your first is that it is fun and you will get to know the system better. The benefit of buying is the warranty, mags are included, and often a case is involved - not to mention that you just get to buy ammo and have fun.

If you REALLY have to ask this question, I'd say maybe you should buy one and tinker and plink to your heart's content. If you were just looking for some guidance and insight to the market ^^^ there you go (and I vote build one).
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 12:16:23 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Gun_Fanatic:
Just built a del-ton on a PSA lower for a guy for $545. Not saying to go that way, but - yes it is possible.

Will you save anything in an evenly matched rifle - not likely. The savings comes in getting what you wanted the first time (no extra parts to accidently sprout into rifles later - and no waste).
Most builds, after eliminating all the compromises you just cannot live with, cost as much or more than an off the shelf rifle.
This is not to say it is always the case though.

I think that the benefit of building your first is that it is fun and you will get to know the system better. The benefit of buying is the warranty, mags are included, and often a case is involved - not to mention that you just get to buy ammo and have fun.

If you REALLY have to ask this question, I'd say maybe you should buy one and tinker and plink to your heart's content. If you were just looking for some guidance and insight to the market ^^^ there you go (and I vote build one).


Thanks! I have been looking at parts and such, and it actually does seem very doable to just build one. Plus I do like the idea of doing it right the first time. Dammit, here comes some impulse buys...
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 2:00:41 AM EDT
IM sent for suggestion
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 5:01:23 AM EDT
I'll just tell you what I'm doing:

I'm buying the spikes lightweight middie, because after you add up all of the parts it comes out to the same price as if I built it, and it's just easier and has a lifetime warranty.


If anything I'd buy a complete upper from AIM, and then build your lower as you can do that without any real tools but your upper requires a vice and some other tools
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 5:37:58 AM EDT
LRB has $65 lowers that with a parts kit and stock say $210 get a complete spikes upper thats $710 with a BCM upper its closer to $800 if $800 is your budget you can get a complete spikes M4 type for that money.Spikes has quality tested parts like BCM and Colt and they are the cheapest of the 3.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 6:48:02 AM EDT
$100 for a lower out the door plus say $475 for complete kit, throw in a extras for like a match trigger, free float tube and you still come in under $800.

Look at your options with J&T distributing above.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 7:20:07 AM EDT
Build the lower since you will most likely want a different grip and stock. If you want a standard upper with handguards and a fsp, it will probably be better to buy. If you want a certain rail system or configuration that you can't buy from a dealer then it will probably be most cost effecient to build. Those Spikes uppers that AIMsurplus is selling are hard to beat plus they come with the buffer if you do decide to build your own lower. AIM also has the best price on their stripped lowers too when they are in stock.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 7:43:16 AM EDT
IMO the biggest benefit of building it yourself is that you can configure it the way you want. I did a Dissipator build because very few people offered that upper in the configuration that I liked.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 8:20:11 AM EDT
IMO building is cheaper, unless you are looking for a plain-jane rifle and don't care about the specifics (which is perfectly fine - a lot of people are this way).

Sure, you can buy a standard 16" middy with a mil spec trigger, collapsable stock, reg. handguards for $____ .. but then after you put the trigger you want, stock you want, handguards you want, etc etc etc it is going to be more expensive than just buying the parts in the first place and building rather than buying, dissasembling 90% of the rifle, and rebuilding. That is my take on it. Like I said though, not everyone wants a specific barrel, specific trigger, etc.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 10:06:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2011 10:08:52 AM EDT by oxthegrunt]
I went the build route, because it was cheaper for what I wanted. I could have come in much cheaper than I did if I was willing to wait for certain things, but I'm happy with what I've got. When it's all said and done I've got a Spike middy upper, psa stripped lower, all MOE furniture, and an A2 style rear sight, with shipping and the FFL fee for the lower I'm at $811 to my door. I think where I saved the most money was on the taxes.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 11:05:19 AM EDT
Thanks for all the help fellas! I am liking the idea of building more and more. It makes more sense to buy the parts I want the first time, and not have to do it later, after I've already bought a rifle. It looks like I've gotta start researching parts, because I have no idea about 70% of these things (Barrels, triggers, sights, rails, etc).
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 11:11:17 AM EDT
If you are using quality parts then it's usually not cheaper to build.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 11:19:13 AM EDT
$700ish is what this would have cost me had I went with a standard Spikes Lower.

The complete upper was 475 bucks, 100 for the Mapul furniture kit, 185 in the lower and LPK. 55 bucks for the DDA1.5

$815 with the DDA1.5 on it.




Link Posted: 5/1/2011 11:22:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2011 11:26:38 AM EDT by evlblkwpnz]
I build because NO COMPANY PERIOD offers all of the parts that I prefer in one rifle for the same or less than I can build it myself for. My build tools have paid for themselves many times over. It makes sense to me.

If you want high end parts, then you will probably be better off scouring the EE for deals and building it. If you want basic stuff, you can probably find it in a complete upper or rifle for less money than buying separately and building.

ETA: the Spike's completes are an excellent value if you want to run them as-is.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 11:25:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Inebriated:
can you really build a rifle for under $800??


Yes, definitely you can, but do you really want that gun?
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 1:24:07 PM EDT
I brought my first. Thought i'd save money if I built my second. Didn't.
By the time you put all the custom stuff you want on it. It's about the same
or even more.
But the build is a lot of fun.
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 2:42:22 PM EDT
The other thing you get with the build route is you can space out the purchase... Kinda acts like layaway... Don't have to pay for the whole thing at once...

I just finished my stag build that way... Made everything easier to swallow...
Link Posted: 5/1/2011 3:01:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2011 3:02:16 PM EDT by FourLoko]
I'm nearing the end of my build. Probably easier/cheaper to buy a full spikes though.

Stripped LRB lower - $115
Spike's Midlength LE upper - $499
PSA MOE Lower Build Kit - $139
Bullet Button - 18.95

Total - $773.93

Throw in a rear sight, mags, maybe a sling. Should be real close to $1,000.
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 1:34:46 PM EDT
BUILD IT! ENough said.

I just finished my 5th one, a 24" Bull Barrel .5 MOA and tighter Hog Killer. Have parts ordered to complete a Lefty A2/A3. A Left handed 20" barrel with A2 sights, pretty much stock but with an A# upper and a carry handle.

I have two 80%ers in the works too. NOTHING LIKE building it yourself an have it shoot and shoot well.
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 2:40:36 PM EDT
I also forgot to mention...it's a lot of fun to build. The tools i bought (action block, combo barrel nut wrench) were bought for a different project, but they have paid for themselves already. I replaced my vise with a bigger one and I can use that with jeep projects as well.

It's cool to take a pile of parts:



and it turn in to this:



All the info you need can be found here or online.
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 6:53:55 PM EDT
custom building rifles to save money is like custom building computers to save money.

You either end up spending more, but get more value because you only bought EXACTLY what you wanted, or you end up with a pile of airsoft grade gunshow rube shit.



Honestly, I think that buying separate complete uppers and lowers offers the best value. There are a lot of good options out there as separate uppers and you don't have to dick around with FFL's and everything if you already have your lower. Best thing I could suggest is to get a complete lower from Spike's, Stag, etc, etc, then go shopping at Colt, BCM, DD, etc, for an upper that meets your needs.
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 7:09:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By pun:
LRB has $65 lowers that with a parts kit and stock say $210 get a complete spikes upper thats $710 with a BCM upper its closer to $800 if $800 is your budget you can get a complete spikes M4 type for that money.Spikes has quality tested parts like BCM and Colt and they are the cheapest of the 3.


Where can you get the LRB lower for 65???
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 9:17:31 PM EDT
Where can you get the LRB lower for 65???

From LRB or someone who buys direct from LRB. Must be a FFL and order 30 or more for $56ea pricing. Have used a bunch of them. Never paid more than $75. AR parts don't really cost that much if you know the right people. Lots of markup in AR parts. Especially if you buy in bulk. Most would be surprised at actual costs. Of course rent, lease or mortgage costs a bunch, along with employee's, electricity, alarms, health insurance, shop supplies etc. One must stay out of the red to make it all happen. One disgruntled employee and the parts get real cheap. This happens a lot and caused prices to go up because of shrinkage, not to mention defects.

I can build a very high quality AR for less than $800 without optics. Can usually do it using all Colt parts except lower receiver and I tell people how to do it all the time. Built many new AR's shopping for parts on deals for less than $600 and used to do it for less than $500 before they became popular. Still I go mainly for accuracy but for re-sale a factory rifle/carbine will usually be worth more than a parts gun. The parts gun might shoot circles around the factory rifle but won't carry the re-sale except a few exceptions. Quality parts guns for high dollar have a very limited market. Not to mention legalities. You do very many and you are a gun manufacturer. Might not be a good thing to be.
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 9:29:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DanTSX:
custom building rifles to save money is like custom building computers to save money.

You either end up spending more, but get more value because you only bought EXACTLY what you wanted, or you end up with a pile of airsoft grade gunshow rube shit.



Honestly, I think that buying separate complete uppers and lowers offers the best value. There are a lot of good options out there as separate uppers and you don't have to dick around with FFL's and everything if you already have your lower. Best thing I could suggest is to get a complete lower from Spike's, Stag, etc, etc, then go shopping at Colt, BCM, DD, etc, for an upper that meets your needs.


This.

If you have been around the AR world for a while and know what parts you prefer, building it yourself will save you money because you are not replacing parts (you also don't have those pesky parts laying around that will happen to turn into another rifle without you knowledge). Buy once, cry once, and all that.

However, if you are completely new to ARs there are 2 schools of thought. The first says that building it yourself is smart because it teaches you the inner workings of the rifle and gives you the knowledge to fix things if they break. The other says that buying a complete AR like one from Spikes or BCM will save you money and leave you with a product that will be guaranteed.
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 9:57:50 PM EDT
So if I buy a complete upper or lower, I don't have to put it together? I will only have to pin them.
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 10:28:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By skt4271:
So if I buy a complete upper or and lower, I don't have to put it together? I will only have to pin them.


Fixed it for you - and yes that's it. Complete upper + complete lower = pin together and have fun.

Link Posted: 5/3/2011 3:23:29 AM EDT
Originally Posted By skt4271:
So if I buy a complete upper or lower, I don't have to put it together? I will only have to pin them.


Just push in the take down and pivot pins and load the magazine, ur done.

Look, like another post said you can honestly wind up spending a lot more by building it yourself. BUT the joy of doing it and having it work, or in some ways even better have a minor issue and LEARNING how to fix it, is a great feeling. Doing this to "Save" money is not really a very good approach to take simply because it is not always true. You can get an naked (No Optics) M4 clone off the shelf for 689.00 here in Louisville. You can build one for for about the same price.

The best part about it is that you get to pick and choose the components YOU want. Do some research and start gathering the components. The spreading of those costs over time is also appealing. But the end result is a very modular but also very customizable weapon that is YOURS.

Stop shopping for the best price, chances are you will not wind up saving money. Focus on making YOUR AR.
Link Posted: 5/3/2011 12:46:55 PM EDT
I built mine. I didn't save much money, but I didn't overspend either. It was fun and instructive - building and AR is like playing with legos.
Link Posted: 5/3/2011 12:52:11 PM EDT
I don't mind spending the money as long as its on what I want. So I am thinking about building now.
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