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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 5/21/2008 6:44:24 AM EST
I like to do things myself and I can completely understand the pride in having assembled exactly what you want out of the parts you've selected.

If you just wanted to make a regular M-4 with a flatop how much could you do it for? Or how much could you build a standard length A2 for? I'm really curious about how the numbers shake out when you build it yourself?

Is it like reloadign your own ammo where you save money instead of buying from the factory, except you shoot so much more you end up spending the same amount but have gotten much more than you would have. Does that make sense?
Link Posted: 5/21/2008 7:04:54 AM EST
You can buy a used or a new low grade AR-15 for about what you would pay for a really good quality, do it yourself.

My Garrison complete A2 with a Spike Tactical lower cost less than $600.00 These are companies with good reputations.

A rifle that you build gives you a good knowledge of the rifle and a sense of accomplishment.

I am sure that most people who contribute to this forum will agree that doing it yourself is a worthwhile project.
Link Posted: 5/21/2008 7:18:33 AM EST
Save?? Well, since i didn't have to replace the fire control group, pistol grip, flash hider or stock I guess I saved some money..but it got spent on the match trigger, new grips, vortex flash hider, vltor stock...then theres the quad rails, optics, bipods, slings, qd swivels, pmags.....the only thing you will be saving is money to buy more parts and accessories. I started building ONE in november and now I'm over $3000 invested and I have 3 AR-15s that need optics. Between the price of the Leupold mark4 3.5-10x40, EOtech 552D1, and a Trijicon TA-31DOC I could buy a nice car.
Link Posted: 5/21/2008 7:29:57 AM EST
This question comes up a lot. The short answer is, if price is your #1 concern, completely building your own won't likely save you any money. The cheapest way to get an AR is...

Buy a really inexpensive lower like this oneAim Surplus - Superior Arms S-15 Receiver = $79.95 and if you have an C&R license, get the DPMS LPK from Brownells for the discounted price of $44 (I think Mil and Leo's get the same discount?). If not, an LPK will cost you around $55-$65. Then you should be able to find a complete basic M4 stock kit for between $50-$70. After that its a matter of searching the EE for a good deal on a used complete upper. This all depends on how much time you want to invest and how patient, picky and lucky you are but all said, you should be able to cobble one together for between $500-$700 but then again, I've seen used complete AR's selling for that or less.

For me, price is not my #1 concern. I want the best AR I can afford and I want it setup in a very specific way. I also love working on these things so even if it cost more, I'd probably do it myself for the fun of it (and to make sure it was is built right). In my case I have found it is cheaper to get the parts I want from the start then to begin with an "off the rack" AR and modify it to suit but YMMV?
Link Posted: 5/21/2008 12:36:47 PM EST
RRA NM Service Rifle built by me, $850.00, $1200.00 at local gun show!
Link Posted: 5/21/2008 3:48:43 PM EST
i built a stag arms model 2h for 759$ including FFl fee when it retails between 875-925$ before FFl fee.
Link Posted: 5/21/2008 6:38:55 PM EST
its not what you save.......its what you gain.

knowing the in's and out's of the AR platform
Link Posted: 5/21/2008 9:31:02 PM EST
if you'd like a rifle built for someone else... buy one.

if you'd like a rifle built for you... build one.
Link Posted: 5/21/2008 9:34:27 PM EST
I think I would buy this.

aim m4

Building is fun too. But adding in shipping and buying used parts possibly it tends to be all a wash.

Link Posted: 5/21/2008 10:37:13 PM EST
How much would I save? Guess thats the problem. I end up with 2k carbines because I cant leave it stock. Even the k.i.s.s. I started for the wife ended up at more than a grand.

I've heard tales of basic carbines and rifles being assembled for $500.00, but I dont know how. The EE here can help, but thats a crap shoot you have to be willing to play the waiting game for. I just dont have the patience I guess.
Link Posted: 5/22/2008 3:04:41 AM EST
I'm on my third build right now and can honestly say I didn't save much if anything. For me it was more about learning how everything works and is put together than trying to save money.
Link Posted: 5/22/2008 4:25:43 AM EST
You dont save any money at all actually... you just end up with something ALOT nicer and with the exact parts you want (rather than swapping out cheap parts later)
Link Posted: 5/22/2008 4:37:39 AM EST
Superior lower - $100 at the show

J & T M4 kit - $509

M4 at local shops - $875 to $950

So far I've added Burris scope mount ($25), a cheap Chinese scope ($25) and a $5 Wally World sling. Trigger may get a spring kit. Sling will likely get upgraded at some point. Farther down the road a red dot site of some kind or other. Otherwise its just mags and ammo at this point.

My second build. My first AR was an A2 Oly. Oly lower and upper. Worked great, sold it to finance my RRA NM rig (my "good" AR). Had the itch for a shorty for several years, finally did it thanks to my economic stimulus check. Hey, somebody gots to stimulate the economy, may as well be me.

Any future AR projects will almost certainly be a roll your own.
Link Posted: 5/22/2008 4:42:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/22/2008 4:43:09 AM EST by RABIDFOX50]

Originally Posted By stockplayer:
its not what you save.......its what you gain.

knowing the in's and out's of the AR platform

I can not agree more. It's also the satisfaction that you built what you truly wanted. I've built 8 in the last 5 years and I could not be happier. I've also built several for friends and fellow LEOs. Every time I go to the range I get a bunch of folks asking me to, "install this" or "can you fix this". I'm always happy to oblige. Yes there is a $$$ savings but for me it's gaining the experience and satisfaction of building myself.
Link Posted: 5/22/2008 5:16:22 AM EST

I didn't save much building AR#2.

Buying the parts one at a time as funds allowed was the main attraction to building an AR.

Link Posted: 5/22/2008 6:07:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/22/2008 6:13:48 AM EST by CBR900]
You save 11% OF THE SALE PRICE. Look here: Everything you ever wanted to know about the firearm excise tax from .gov

Example: buy a completed Ar-15 for $1000 and $110 is tax money.

But, but -isn't that WRONG?!?! Or illegal?!?!

NO. Re-read the FAQ at the link I just posted (and pay attention this time). It is an exception to the tax. Call it a loop-hole if you want. Bottom line, the tax does not apply to the home builder.

But, isn't that wrong?

NO, its not wrong. Did you ever mail-order something from another state? Were you required to pay that state's sales tax? -did you go out of your way to pay that tax anyway because you felt bad? What Wesly Snipes did was WRONG (and illegal). Taking advantage of the excise tax loop hole is NOTHING like that. At all. No comparison.

-But, but, doesn't that excise tax money go to support Fudd hunting grounds and stuff?!?

It was supposed to go for that purpose when they created it. SURPRISE! Congress long ago subverted the tax money to other purposes (which is why you should not feel bad about avoiding it). For some real fun, try tracking down where the money from the tobacco class action settlements went. Do they still have that "fleecing of America" segment on TV??

Short answer: you save 11% at least.
Link Posted: 5/22/2008 6:47:13 AM EST
If you build stock ARs you will save $100-200~ depending on what you compare it to. Any standard 16" or 20" AR-15 can be built with medium quality parts for $600~ (Del-Ton kits w/ lowers)

You WILL save money on stock AR kits vs buying pre-built stock rifles from dealers.

Note: It is more expensive if you do not buy a "rifle kit" If you buy the barrel, the charging handle, the magazine release button, all seperate... I can see that costing more. You need to find a nice "rifle kit" in order to save money in my experience.

Now when you go throwing on FF rails and lasers you might not save as much. But if you are looking for stock ARs, there's no reason I can see to spend more than $740~ (high quality RRA kits w/ lowers)

Compare that to the $940 price tag on a pre-built RRA. $200 fee to trust RRA to build the lower better than you can I guess?

I'd say build your own if you're looking to save money. I now have two Del-Ton rifles built for $1,200~ total for both. Both are stock (no frills) rifles.

Link Posted: 5/22/2008 7:00:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/22/2008 7:01:09 AM EST by TANGOCHASER]
Disregard. Suffering from sleep deprivation again.
Link Posted: 5/22/2008 7:16:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/22/2008 7:20:05 AM EST by monkeyman]

Originally Posted By ahelplessnun:
How much would I save? Guess thats the problem. I end up with 2k carbines because I cant leave it stock. Even the k.i.s.s. I started for the wife ended up at more than a grand.

I've heard tales of basic carbines and rifles being assembled for $500.00, but I dont know how. The EE here can help, but thats a crap shoot you have to be willing to play the waiting game for. I just dont have the patience I guess.

Here's how...buy a stripped lower here or somewhere else...


and then look for a kit here...

Link Posted: 5/22/2008 7:24:28 AM EST
Yep you can surley build one for under 600 but you need tools and such ...really its that you can build with the custom parts you want for about the same price as retail ..for 900 I built a nice varmint rig with scope and PRS stock bipod custom trigger for the same price and a generic off the shelf bushmaster varminter . don;t forget tools and spare parts to have around will be about 100$ or so plus you need ammo!
Link Posted: 5/22/2008 8:57:32 AM EST
How much did I save?

CMMG Lower from AIM Surplus $113.96 shipped to my FFL. FFL is a friend and didn't charge me a transfer fee.

Fire For Effect Cave Man kit for $525 shipped from a guy on Glock Talk. FFE kit is made by CMMG.

That's $638.96 to build my all CMMG M4 AR-15 with removable carry handle, 1 mag, and a cheap sling.

Cheapest M4 you can buy from CMMG is $965. Now that one has a chrome lined bore and chamber, mine does not. Most places that offer kits with either chrome moly or chrome lined charge about $50 more for the chrome lined. So if CMMG offered an M4 without a chrome lined bore it would be logical to assume it would be $50 less, so figure $915.

By my math I saved about $276 building it myself. Plus I had fun building it with my 15 year old son.

Link Posted: 6/5/2008 12:42:23 PM EST
All prices including shipping and tax:

Trijicon TR33R-8. (Stimulus check.) $731.95
Armalite Upper. (Thanksgiving Sale.) $388.44
Spikes Tactical Lower. (Group Buy.) $105.40
RRA LPK. $65
Tapco Butt Stock. $57.04
Lower Transfer Fee. $12

1,359.83 Total.
- 600.00 Stimulus Check.
= 759.83 Total Out of Pocket.

Link Posted: 6/5/2008 2:29:35 PM EST
While it can be cheaper, my problem was I kept adding options that hiked the price up to where I could have bought a complete gun. Mine is way better though and I got to build it.
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 3:29:08 PM EST
You can build a better quality rifle for the price of a off the rack, and you know how it is assembled and what exactly it is composed of so when you are at the range you can talk it up and brag about your barrel and bolt and carrier and so on to the guy who bought his off the rack. Then you tell him you built it yourself.
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 4:29:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/5/2008 4:31:19 PM EST by Another-Bill]
$615 for the CMMG "Bargain Bin" NEW M4 with chrome lined barrel. DPMS lower.

The gun was BRAND NEW. I can not build the equal gun cheaper.

A friend did the transfer for free. My son has shot almost 1500 rounds of the Academy Sports blue box Monarch steel cased ammo since last Christmas. He has only cleaned it once in that time. it is quite accurate with even that stuff. Not one single malfunction.

The ones I built were built for "sport" or to build a particular rifle.

Link Posted: 6/6/2008 5:18:20 AM EST
My first AR -- S&W M&P15A -- $925 After Taxes

My first Build:

  • Anvil Arms Stripped Lower --------- $100

  • Del-Ton M4 Flattop Kit ------------- $465

  • Troy Industries Rear Sight --------- $140

  • Total Cost --------------------------- $705

  • Learning how my AR works --------- PRICELESS

Link Posted: 6/6/2008 11:25:10 AM EST
I'm amazed at the good deals that you can get on new parts on the EE, as well as lightly used.

My latest build, a 20" rifle, is complete except for the barrel and gas tube, which I am planning to get at JSE for $164 if nothing pops up here. I will have spent $586 max when it's complete, with all misc shipping included. All used parts were just about LNIB with the exception of the A2 buffer tube, which the seller did disclose.

It does take a bit of patience to assemble all the components.

CMMG stripped lower, new, $112 to include FFL transfer.
CMMG LPK $60 new, AIM Surplus
A2 Stock Assembly, used, $38

CMMG A3 upper, used, $90
Delta assembly, used, $5
YHM 643K solid rear sight, used, $65
Rifle length HG's, used, $10

Bushmaster BCG, new, free due to buying parts lot and selling off parts I didn't need
A2 FH, new, free, as above
Ergo Suregrip, new, free, as above

PK parts order $42, shipping included

Replacement A2 buffer tube
Charging handle
Crush washer

Link Posted: 6/6/2008 11:40:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/6/2008 11:41:06 AM EST by Essayons]
I don't roll my own to save money. I roll my own to get exactly what I want and to know exactly how the weapon was put together.

Commercial manufacturers have several advantages over DIYers: (1) they pay wholesale for parts, (2) they don't pay sales tax (3) they can buy parts in bulk and save on shipping (4) they have experienced assemblers who should be able to perform their assigned operations faster (more economically) than you or I, and (5) they can use batch or assembly line processes to further enhance productivity.

That's not to say you can't save money. I'm often amazed at the low costs some folks post for their builds.
Link Posted: 6/6/2008 12:00:33 PM EST
I just recently bought my first AR , and now im a member here so i can learn more about it and associate wih people that love guns like myself . But reading this post , i realize now that i should have just built my own . Not to save money or anything but to gain the knowledge of how my gun is made and works . I just wasnt aware of how easy it is to actually build one your self . This is a very helpfull site , if you cant find it on here you probally dont need to know about it .
Link Posted: 6/6/2008 12:23:32 PM EST
Building your own both saves money and yields experience.

What you save on the build can be spent on more ammo or accessories.

Additionally, when you aquire the tools and skills for assembly and disassembly, anythings possible.

Much, if not most, of the used items coming up on the EE are barely used.

Link Posted: 6/6/2008 3:27:59 PM EST
My local FFL charged me $162 for a CMMG stripped lower (including background check and tax). I could have driven 50 miles to get a better deal, but not enough to make up for the $4/gallon gas.
Add the Del-Ton kit and I just completed my 1st build for $740. It is what I wanted - plain KISS. Lightweight barrel, detachable carry handle, and plain. I plan to shoot it tomorrow with my 8 yr old son, who helped assemble it (1.5 hrs).
The cheapest AR's I find around here are well over $900. After adding taxes and background checks to that figure, I guess I saved at least $250.
Link Posted: 6/6/2008 8:08:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By DrunkTank:
You dont save any money at all actually... you just end up with something ALOT nicer and with the exact parts you want (rather than swapping out cheap parts later)


The most common build your own reasons, I've seen or have delt with.

When you build you get what you want. That's the biggest reason to build for me, but I'm one of the guys that can put a lower together watching CSI and eating a hot pocket, I already understand the AR/M16 platform, have build and repaired many of them.

Reason #2: you can space out the cost of parts, $125 lower, $70 LPK, $70 Stock, ect... if you go with a company like DPMS with free shipping on orders over $35 this is fine, if you have to pay shipping costs, you may spend extra on shipping.

Reason #3 For those of us with a bunch of crap around the house, we can trade our way into future builds, if you don't take the originial value of parts I build my Poor Mans SPR upper for $60.80, which includes a $33 gas block and the rest in shipping charges on traded parts... but I'm one of those guys who made some good trades and had stuff follow me home that was desireable for tradeing. To top this off I have a left over DPMS FCG and I have a complete collapsable butstock sitting in the closet, so cash out of pocket I could put a rifle together for under $250, but it's all used and bastardized. I could actually sell some stuff, extra hand guards, flashlights and maybe end up with another lower and cash in my pocket... I don't recommend this for a first build.

#4 (is my favorite) I like to have a couple different things going on; working on the truck, waiting on the TAC-20 .308 upper, working collecting the parts for a SAM-R clone upper and still fiddleing with another 1911... I live in an apartment so there's no lawn to mow, I've gone weeks with out turning on the TV, there's no fix up the house crap going on and I just need man time with tools, 4x4's and guns... building I can keep a bunch of small stuff going on.

State Laws play into building as well.
Link Posted: 6/7/2008 8:26:45 AM EST
I have done builds and buys several different ways:

I've done complete kits, just to get a rifle built and shooting quickly and economically. This is almost always the cheapest and simplest route.

I've done builds from the ground up wiht accumulated parts. I built a 24" stainless varmint rig for under $450 this way, just by lucking out on some cheap used parts. This is a time-consuming method, but very satisfying.

I've also built a lower and then bought a complete upper and pushed in the pins. I personally don't like this method, but a lot of great uppers aren't available in kits, and occasionally you can actually do this route cheaper than a complete kit.

Finally, I have found instances where a complete rifle is a better deal. I bought a DPMS 16" LW carbine for $660 brand new with a hard case, 2 mags, cleaning kit, and sling. Best price I saw on kits or uppers for the same configuration would have tallied up to within $20 of the same price, without the accessories.

In all cases, I tried to get the most for my money without having to wait for products that were backordered, or dealing with slow shippers, etc. I also tried to do it in a way to learn as much as I can, and so I would end up with the best rifle I could for the money.
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