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Posted: 1/5/2003 10:05:01 PM EDT
Brand new to the site...have been reading for a few hours...very informative and helpful.  

I live in Florida, have a concealed weapons permit, and have enjoyed handgunning for many years.    

Right now I'm in the learning phase preparing to buy my first long gun: an AR-15.

My questions are probably basic, I would appreciate any advice...

1. Should I build my own the first time out (buy a kit and separate receiver), or just buy the whole rifle from my neighborhood shop?
2. Does a Colt shoot any differently (better)than any of the other major brands?

3. Is it important to buy a chrome-lined barrel, or will another barrel work just as well?

4. How important is the warranty?  Some companies have very short warranties and others have lifetime warranties.

Thanks for taking the time to help out a newbie.  It's great to read some of the comments on this site.  You are quite a bunch!

(chronic allergies)

Link Posted: 1/5/2003 10:28:30 PM EDT
Welcome from another FL guy!!! Where in FL are you? Here's some opinions on your questions...

1) You can Build your own, but please get a kit from a quality source like Bushmaster. Or just buy a complete lower from your FFL and then order a complete upper from a quality company. Buying it from a shop, or here online would be easier and quicker in most cases. I dont know exactly how much you'd save doing it yourself.

2) Generally, no, a Colt will shoot just the same as any other quality brand.

3) Chrome lined barrel will be a big advantage to almost all shooters out there and getting one is a wise idea unless you are building a super accurate, tight tollerance bench gun. Unless you are doing that, go chrome or go home.

4) Warranties are only as good as the company who offers it. Some companies offer a lifetime warranty but will weasel out of it any way they can. Others offer a 1 year warranty on paper, but in practice are well known to take care of their customers for as long as they own the rifle.

I generally say stick with the ABC's of manufacturers (Armalite, Bushmaster, Colt) and maybe a Rock River with a chrome lined barrel. Keep looking around and you'll see a lot of debates surrounding the small but somewhat interesting differences between the manufacturers.
Link Posted: 1/5/2003 10:39:57 PM EDT
My .o2:

I wouldn't build one. Just like buying one's first 1911 you probably don't really know what you'd want or not want. Buy a basic AR-15 & then go from there. You can always swap a different upper on it.

As for brands I strongly recommend sticking with the Big 3: Colt, Armalite & Bush Master. I own a Colt AR-15 & an Armalite AR-10, love them both.

I'd buy first from a local dealer. That way if you have problems/questions he's close by to help. After you gain experience you can web shop & probably not get burned.

I'd also buy post-ban so as to save money. Right now the market price on an AR is in the $900-950 range.

Hope this helps.
Link Posted: 1/7/2003 5:27:03 PM EDT
We're in the Tampa area...sure beats the cold weather in some parts.  Thanks for the responses...very helpful.  I'm still doing research, but I like the Bushmaster so far.  My buddy down the street has one (RealTree® Camo) and boy is it nice!  It seems that Bushmaster has many different options and configurations to choose from.  I'll keep reading for awhile and visit some local gun stores for more advice.  Thanks again, guys...and "Go Bucs"!
Link Posted: 1/7/2003 5:56:48 PM EDT
Hello from another Florida member.  I'm in the panhandle area between Pensacola and Panama City Beach.  I got a Colt preban and love it.  A little pricey but I think it's worth it.
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