I am a real newb, as evidenced by my previous topic "Help!".
I currently have a lower receiver, with the parts kit installed.
I am looking at all the 5 million different options for barrels, etc. I have read thread after thread. I have read tons of articles and magazines.
I still can not make any headway on what type of complete upper setup go with. I would really appreciate any anecdotal advice you all could give on what would be good for a newbs first AR.
I have experience shooting M-16's from my military days, but it has been awhile.
I only plan to be shooting at a range, I have never hunted or anything.
So my basic purpose is an AR15 that is a good starter to have fun shooting at the range, and of course to look "cool" while doing it. ;-)
I have no clue where around here to hold, much less shoot, different variations to help in my decision. So I am relying on each of your personal opinions.
I would go with a 16" Midlength A3 (flattop).
Easily accessorized, longer site radius, removable carry handle, are just a few of the reasons I would suggest this.
Remind yourself what it feels like with a good ol' 20" rifle. Of all guns, nothing makes me happier than an M16-clone.
+1 on what the other guy said about a flat top.
You know that would be funny if it wasn't so true.
If you think you may ever want to walk the woods and plink then go with something light weight. Like an M16/M16A1 clone. They are very comfortable to carry around. Or one of the period light weight carbines. I would avoid the HBARs as they are more awkward to carry. The light weights would still be some fun at the range.
Or you could go the full target/varminter route. Something like the Bushmaster Varminter or Predator. These would be somewhat akward to carry around a lot but should deliver tiny, MOA or smaller, groups on a paper target. Being able to do that consistently is always fun.
Or you could go with the SPR (special purpose rifle) type. These are very similar to the above group but with flip up BUIS (back up iron sights) and railed front forearms. The tactical version of a varmint rifle.
But I would guess you'd be more interested in a flat top upper with a good scope than shooting irons all the time.
Unless you want to get into NRA Service Rifle competition. They use what looks like an M16A2 with free floating handguards and a target barrel.
Hope that rambling helped you out some.
All the rambling has helped so far BumbleBee. Just the kind of personal opinion I am looking for.
One of the big ones, was this whole HBAR thing. But your note about them tells me one thing I can eliminate. I dont want awkward and heavy.
I have been very much back and forth on the 16" versus 20".
It seems flat top is the way to go, thank you cerberus and buck. I was leaning that way, as I like the way they look as opposed to the built in handle.
What about the different linings for the barrel?
I agree, a 16" midlength A3 is a nice starter upper, and makes for a really comfortable, ergonomic, and handy carbine. The current popular upper assembly is the 16" A3 with Carbine-length handguards and the reduced barrel diameter for the M203 grenade launcher for the M4 lookalike look, commonly called the "M4gery" pronounced M-forgery. Chances are you won't have a use for the M203 bracket cut, but some people think it's cool.
I have a similar flat top Bushmaster upper, with a 14.5" M203-cut barrel and permanently attached Izzy flash hider for the 16" minimum barrel length.
Whatever barrel you go with, be sure to get the 5.56 chamber, and either 1:7 or 1:9 twist so that it handles 55 gr and 62 gr bullets, the two that you'll likely end up shooting the most.
As to chrome bore /non-chrome bore, that's up to you. Chromium-plated bores tend to wear slower than non-plated bores but the chromium is said to detract from accuracy. Some people will say that chromium plating resists attack from corrosive ammo and that's true, but what 223 ammo is corrosive? My uppers with plated bores shoot better than I can, and I cannot detect any practical difference between my uppers with plated and non-plated bores. Plating usually adds an extra $50 or so to the cost of an upper assembly.
Get a A2 carry handle, or use the $$$ to get a simple rear BUIS like the YHM Rear Flip Sight or the MI A2 Rear Sight. Both have easy windage adjustments. These will cost between $75 and $100. Just this past weekend I bought another YHM Flip Rear for $80, and a MI A2 Rear for $75 for two of my uppers. Both the YHM and MI rear sights have spring-loaded detent buttons that lock them in the deployed, upright position. I've gotten great service from both for a while now.
There may be some ueber-tactical brand-conscious mall ninja types coming by later that will recommend a more expensive BUIS like the Troy or ARMS 40L. Both are great sights also. IMO a 1st time noob doesn't need to spend the $$$ just to brag they have the ultra-cool model popular with the brand-conscious crowd. The Troy is more expensive and does the same job as the YHM and MI units, and the ARMS has a little C-shaped keeper hook that I personally find off-putting.
JMO and experience, best of luck with your build!
Exactly what I was thinking.
1. I'd avoid the HBar. They don't balance well IMO.
2. Go for a good chrome lined barrel. Longer life, easier to clean, and you probably won't notice the accuracy differences vs a stainless barrel.
3. Get a barrel chambered in 5.56. You can shoot 223 ammo in a 5.56 barrel but not the other way around.
Hope that helps.
All of this is a great help! Excellent insights.
The BUIS options were definitely a point of confusion. As to the amount of makes/models and how much difference an expensive one would really be.
Thanks guys, and keep it coming if you can think of anything else.