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Posted: 6/16/2006 2:24:45 PM EDT
I've been wanting an AR but haven't had the cash for it. I'm hoping that this fall I'll have the cash to buy/build one. My question is how much do I need to plan on spending? I can't just buy a part at a time as I get the money because I'll go nuts waiting. I plan on buying at least one more AR so for my first one I'm not looking for anything special. I don't need top shelf parts, but don't want junk either. Would $1200-$1400 get me something good until I get the money to get a higher end one? I know you get what you pay for, so thats why I'm asking. I know some companies will put out a good product but will put on a junk part or two thats easily changable to keep costs down which is fine with me. I don't expect not to want to change out a part or two. Any tips the AR newb besides just the search function would be appreciated. Personally I think that boards should have a stickie for "everything that newbs need to know"
Link Posted: 6/16/2006 3:28:18 PM EDT
[#1]
$1400.00 would build me two AR’s!

Check the industry section for links to the kit makers. Del-Ton and J&T are two of the more popular. The prices posted on their sites will give you an idea what your up against.
Link Posted: 6/16/2006 3:33:51 PM EDT
[#2]
i got an m&a midlenghth kit with an ss barrel and RRA NM trigger for around $600 and spent $150 on an RRA lower receiver.  it's not that expensive if you're just ging to build a basic ar.  most of the money will be lost on cool gun bling!
Link Posted: 6/16/2006 3:47:11 PM EDT
[#3]

I bought a J&T Distrubuting 20" A2 kit  for $460 and a Double Star Lower for $100 at a Charlotte, NC gunshow 2 years ago. I also bought a ACE ARFX stock for $80

I've had Zero reliability problems and its a tack-driver too.

Jason
Link Posted: 6/16/2006 5:20:22 PM EDT
[#4]
i too am in similar shoes as you. this will be my first AR i plan on purchasing in 1 week. Im ordering a Stag complete lower and a Del Ton custom 16" upper all from Del Ton's site.

That will get me you an AR for about 650-750 depending on if you want removable carry handle, chrome lined bbl, etc. etc. etc.

Mine will be basic though since im a college student with limited funds...

Good luck
Link Posted: 6/16/2006 6:09:38 PM EDT
[#5]
You need to decide right now who you are.

You are either a Beer and Wings guy or

You are a Champagne and Caviar guy.

It is that simple.  You either buy a Model 1 Sales kit or JT Enterprises or who ever and you build a plenty enough reliable good to go AR-15.  Or you hand select every part from the right vendor and build a truely custom AR-15 with the premium parts you have selected.  

Now the Champagne guy may have the coolest most elite components that are easily the best the industry has to offer.  All of the people at the range will be impressed by the component s for sure.  He will have undoubtably one of the finest guns assembled by far and it will be accurate and an excellent shooter.

The Beer guy will have a pretty well put together gun and it will be very capable of all the things he needs an AR-15 to do.  It will shoot well and be plenty accurate and reliable with most quality ammo.


Now from my experience the Caviar guy has an endless supply of money and has the coolest stuff on his gun.  The best optics, gear, ammo, and kit.  The Beer guy has a gun made with good enough components and more often than not out shoots the Caviar guy.

Some people dont seem to understand why this works.  The Beer guy is outclassed in every way.  He has less equipment, he has less expensive gear, his gun is of a "lower" quality components, his gun should no where be close to the Caviar gear.  But typically the Beer guy shoots more often and actually gets something out of his range time as opposed to just showing up to show off all of his "cool" gear.  

This is noramlly why the Caviar shooter is what he is.  He has spent tons of money to end up out shot by a guy with far "inferior" eguipment.  Then the excuses come about bad ammo, old sports injuries, or whatever.  He does not get it that money does not make a shooter, and lack of "high speed" gear does not always handicap a person.

There are lots of Beer and Caviar shooters who suck at shooting but more often than not you will find the Beer guy enjoys shooting and that is what is important.  The Caviarguy likes to talk about the money he has spent on cool stuff.


You can spend $1400 and build a really nice gun, but dont forget to spend the time at the range SHOOTING and learning everything about its function.  Become an effective shooter and dont only worry about the "cool" stuff on the gun.  

Nothing is more rewarding than beating the hell out of a guy at a match who is shooting a $3000 rig with all the latest cool stuff when all you are using is a nice basic gun!  You can build an excellent top tier gun with the budget you are talking about.  Keep in mind though that you could have a "good enough" gun and a week worth of quality training that would make you way better than a majority of the shooters out there!!


Link Posted: 6/16/2006 7:16:36 PM EDT
[#6]
I bought a complete Bushmaster A2 upper on EE for $340 shipped.  I picked up a complete A2 stock from another arfcom member for $20.  I'm only $150 bucks away from a stripped lower and a lower parts kit.  $520 dollars for an a2 shooter.
Link Posted: 6/16/2006 7:36:32 PM EDT
[#7]
how about the steak and glass of water guy.  a couple of quality parts where it counts and the rest the minimum needed
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 12:45:17 PM EDT
[#8]
From the responces I've gotten so far I apparently was guessing high on the cost. I'm between the "beer and wings" guys and the fancy stuff I've never even tried before guy. I'm looking for a reliable, good shooting rifle that I don't have to worry about taking out into the woods and it getting beatup. Of course I don't want it to be hard on the eyes, but alot of the "bling" you see put on ARs doesn't really have any purpose other then being bling. If its never going to be used other then "hey, check this out" I'd really rather spend the money elsewhere. I guess for my  first build it'll be around $600. Thanks for the insight guys.
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 1:06:03 PM EDT
[#9]
it all depends on what kinda setup you are looking for...varmiter, CQB, etc

basic AR kits (JTD and Del-ton) for ~$500+ and a stripped AR lower ($100); but you have to be a little more specific on the criteria

i built a AR from used parts off the EE for $362
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 1:22:40 PM EDT
[#10]

Quoted:
From the responces I've gotten so far I apparently was guessing high on the cost. I'm between the "beer and wings" guys and the fancy stuff I've never even tried before guy. I'm looking for a reliable, good shooting rifle that I don't have to worry about taking out into the woods and it getting beatup. Of course I don't want it to be hard on the eyes, but alot of the "bling" you see put on ARs doesn't really have any purpose other then being bling. If its never going to be used other then "hey, check this out" I'd really rather spend the money elsewhere. I guess for my  first build it'll be around $600. Thanks for the insight guys.



$600-700 would be my guess depending on the brands you're interested in.


Link Posted: 6/17/2006 2:24:10 PM EDT
[#11]
I spend $1200 building my AR, plus the Eotech.
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 4:10:29 PM EDT
[#12]
Figure $450-$500 for a complete upper, like from www.ar15barrels.com or www.eaglefirearms.com

then build a lower, which should be quite doable for under $250 for everything if you don't get a SOCOM or other $300 stock.

Mine's gonna end up being $700 minus the cost of whatever cheap scope I put on it, and I didn't shop for the cheapest of the cheap, and bought a complete upper, not a kit.
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 4:11:58 PM EDT
[#13]
I have been on both sides of the fence on this.  I have had several light weight stripped AR's that were very inexpensive to build but all functioned flawlessly because of good quality parts.  On the SBR that I just put together I spent the big bucks on it and it is a hammer and handles perfectly for a CQB weapon.    



Link Posted: 6/17/2006 4:43:08 PM EDT
[#14]
It doesn't seem like you save a whole lot building yourself?
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 5:08:27 PM EDT
[#15]

Quoted:
It doesn't seem like you save a whole lot building yourself?



it does, IF you pick and sellect your parts (used), plan on building more than 1, and build it the way you want off hand
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 5:49:34 PM EDT
[#16]

Quoted:
It doesn't seem like you save a whole lot building yourself?



Define a whole lot?

The Austin Gun Show today had some DPMS M-4 Clone kits (16" barreled upper, lpk, stock, bcg/ch, basically everything in one box except the lower) for $465.

There were some Superior Arms lowers for $100 and RRA or DPMS lowers for 110-120.

So for 565-585 you could put together a flawlessly functioning M4 clone type AR.

Minimum you'd just go buy that for is $750 and $800 would be more like it.

Like I said you have to define a whole lot for yourself.


---- as for tools you can build your lower with $7 worth of punches from Home Depot.

I'd also suggest blowing $3 on some Aluminum rod to make a pivot detent install tool from, either that or order some extra springs and detents before you start.
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 10:24:48 PM EDT
[#17]
Link Posted: 6/17/2006 11:47:23 PM EDT
[#18]
you shouldnt be spending more thatn 1,400 for a rifile, you can OWN two of them and be happy !
Link Posted: 6/18/2006 9:37:09 AM EDT
[#19]
I just built mine a few months ago (STILL need to get the damned pics up!)  

Got a mega lower with m4 stock and dpms lower kit for 160, i think...
Armalite upper for 500
Got an arms#40L sp for 90
Yhm front post for 80 (Flip up rail mounted)
Mueller 3x9 red dot sport scope for 150
homemade Tac sling for 5 bucks (mill end fabrics, reno)
Total cost = 980
Throw in 100 bucks for mags, cleaning supplies.
Mine will drive tacs all day long.  The only thing I didnt like was the trigger, but if your willing to work and are good with a dremel, you can really make it nice.  Mine pulls very crisp and is down to maybe 4.5 lbs?  

Anyway I was in the same boat, but a wanted a nice rifle that I wouldnt have to upgrade a lot.  The upper is the only thing that kinda scared me as far as working on, so I splurged on that.  And sights.  Hope that helps a little.
Oh and the mega+army matched up flawlessly.
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 5:14:50 AM EDT
[#20]
mine is going to end up more expensive than it needs to be, but not because it has to be but because it's what i want
things that cost more:
    custom logo lower: cha ching
    miad grip: expensive, the a2 comes with lower pack or alone for about five bucks
    kns pins: not necessary but looks cool and the guide pin makes for slick installation
    ambi mag release:  cha ching, but "handy" for a lefty
    lefty safety selector: expensive for what it is
    left handed upper: more expensive than a regular one
    larue buis: there are much cheaper options
    mcfarland gas ring: the regular three rings do the job
    mgi dfender:  same as previous
    kns hooded crosshair front sight: same as previous
    would like a vltor casv forend but this is way expensive compared to the handguard that comes
      with a complete barrel kit

but...this rifle is to commemorate my twenty years military service
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 8:00:56 AM EDT
[#21]
should also add that building your own successfully means you become your own AR armorsmith.

if your safety selector stops functioning, you can take it apart and replace whatever broke.  no need to visit a gunsmith.

even if you only save $100, you can still gather parts in stages as your budget allows.  about 1/3 of mine went on credit cards, the complete upper was paid for up front.
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 8:20:04 AM EDT
[#22]
That last point should not be under valued.  You should know every part of your weapon, how it functions and how to replace it.  Not to mention keep a baggie of spare pins, screws, springs, for it.

There may not BE a gunsmith around someday when ya need one.
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 1:54:39 PM EDT
[#23]
I saved atleast $200 and a month wait time on my first build and learned how to build up a lower for free! RRA Midi kit from M&A was about $475 RRA stirpped lower from eaglefirearms.net shipped and transferred was $115. About $650 and 200 rnds. later I'm considering what to build next.hanks
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 4:55:01 PM EDT
[#24]
so where are some good place to pick up quality components for a build under $600?

I've got a couple of Co-workers with FFL's so I could get a stripped lower pretty easy
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 6:30:50 PM EDT
[#25]
I have seen some kits in magazines that sell kits with stripped lowers and it says they don't require a FFL transfer. What do you need to complete a " Kit " rifle like this? I would assume at some point you would have to buy some things thru an FFL?
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 6:39:01 PM EDT
[#26]
For that much Money I'd just buy a complete Bushmaster and still have plenty left over for mags and ammo.  But you can save $100-200 building it yourself.  Pay particular attention to the upper.  I've been screwed by the cheap uppers twice.
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 7:47:01 PM EDT
[#27]
I am just finishing up an M16A1 build that is only going to cost me $528. I did however get into a group buy for the upper and am using a stripped Stag Arms lower. A stripped Stag Arms lower will only cost you $99 on the EE. Of course you have to live with Stag Logo which I personally don't mind.
Link Posted: 6/19/2006 8:02:01 PM EDT
[#28]
Here is what you can get for $1200:

Option 1:  Gas piston operated AR with FF rail ~$1500

Option 2: Standard AR $700 to 800

You can always add the options to #2

Optional: Add Free float rail $200 to 250

Optional: BUIS flip sights: $120 front and $80 rear for flat top

Optional:  High quality red dot sight $250 to $450

Optional: Rail covers:  $45

Optional: Sling ($15 if you build your own)  $45 for eagle sling

Optinal: Match trigger $80

Optional: improved grip + gapper $25

Optional: Improved collapsable stock Vltor ~$150


Link Posted: 6/19/2006 8:25:42 PM EDT
[#29]

Quoted:
I have seen some kits in magazines that sell kits with stripped lowers and it says they don't require a FFL transfer. What do you need to complete a " Kit " rifle like this? I would assume at some point you would have to buy some things thru an FFL?




A stripped lower will require an FFL.

Most of the kits will contain everything BUT the lower.  Not sure what you saw though.

Basically you can get every part of an AR including the lower parts kit without an FFL.  The lower receiver is the only part that is controlled.
Link Posted: 6/20/2006 8:11:21 AM EDT
[#30]
Last year, I built a midlength A3 w/carry handle on a Stag lower.  Got the parts from M&A and a kit and upgraded to a NM trigger.  All together I spent around $700.  Not fancy but--dang can it shoot!
Link Posted: 6/20/2006 10:18:15 AM EDT
[#31]
is there any opinion of "model 1" sales?

I'm looking at getting this or the 16" version next month after I get my bonus.

http://www.model1sales.com/item-detail.cfm?ID=KSE200&storeid=1&image=s20prek.gif
Link Posted: 6/20/2006 10:36:43 AM EDT
[#32]
Just under $700


Stag lower: $110
BM upper from the EE: $100
DPMS bolt, carrier and CH: $120
BM 1/7 govt profile barrel assy: $235
DPMS LPK: $50
RRA Buttstock assy: $59

All parts quality stuff and went together easily.  Do buy an armorers wrench and an upper vise block.  Life will be easier if you do.  
Link Posted: 6/20/2006 1:43:00 PM EDT
[#33]


Quoted:
is there any opinion of "model 1" sales?

I'm looking at getting this or the 16" version next month after I get my bonus.

http://www.model1sales.com/item-detail.cfm?ID=KSE200&storeid=1&image=s20prek.gif




I was curious about those guys too?
Link Posted: 6/20/2006 2:09:36 PM EDT
[#34]

Quoted:

Quoted:
is there any opinion of "model 1" sales?

I'm looking at getting this or the 16" version next month after I get my bonus.

http://www.model1sales.com/item-detail.cfm?ID=KSE200&storeid=1&image=s20prek.gif




I was curious about those guys too?




I did a quick search on them and came up with one thread.  it was mostly positive with a couple of bad experiences.  I think for the price it is going to be hard to beat for a package deal.
Link Posted: 6/20/2006 3:54:28 PM EDT
[#35]

Quoted:

Quoted:
is there any opinion of "model 1" sales?

I'm looking at getting this or the 16" version next month after I get my bonus.

http://www.model1sales.com/item-detail.cfm?ID=KSE200&storeid=1&image=s20prek.gif




I was curious about those guys too?



I've used a variety of their stuff over time...  Really nothing bad to say about any of it.  Some of their accessories I just don't like such as their oversized mag button...

But as far as their barrels and such, good stuff.  

I've never bought a whole Model 1 rifle, but I've used their uppers and barrels on builds and been pleased.

Most people are never going to read the markings on your barrel so you can stick a Model 1 upper on a BM, RRA, DPMS and go to town.

Model 1's lightweight 16" barrel is pretty sweet, it shoots nice tight groups and really is quite light.  Bushmasters' is slightly lighter buty for the cost difference the Model 1 is awesome.
Link Posted: 6/21/2006 1:58:31 PM EDT
[#36]
I like Model 1 Sales, they treated me well and delivered a nice product. I'll be headed to the range to test it in a couple days but so far I'm extremely happy with my purchase.

ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=283080
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