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Posted: 8/23/2004 6:39:47 AM EST
Hey, all. I’m a long-time lurker in need of some advice. I’m a handgun and shotgun shooter planning my first rifle/carbine purchase. After a long period of consideration, I’ve decided to purchase an AR-15 variant of some type. With the AWB about to expire, a host of new options are about to become available, and my decision is only becoming harder (and more fun!).

I tend to be pretty meticulous about maintenance and care of my weapons. However, I view them as tools and expect them to work reliably without any babying. I prefer to buy the best quality I can afford, and don't mind spending a little more up front, with the expectation that it will save time, money and headaches in the future. Although I don’t carry a gun professionally, I want something a professional would be comfortable relying on.

The gun will be used for:
1) recreational plinking out to (maybe) 300 yards, but more commonly 100 yards or less, due to range constraints;
2) local 3 gun matches and other competitive action shooting. (I’m just getting into IDPA and there are often additional side matches where I’m lacking a proper long gun); and
3) home defense (eventually) after getting more formal training in tactics. (I’m lucky enough to live less than 2 hours from Thunder Ranch, which has been great for my handgun skills. Too bad they’re moving at the end of the year).

Budget for the initial purchase (with necessary accessories) is $1000-1400.

Here’s what I’m currently considering (feel free to critique and offer alternatives):

Initially purchase a Colt 6920 or 6721. I know there are strong opinions on whether Colt, BM, Armalite, etc. is “the best”. I’m more interested in comments on the configuration than comments on the manufacturer, although all opinions are welcome. I will say that my leaning toward Colt is based on lots of reading I’ve done here (and elsewhere), and the impression that the Colt has a few “extras” that I would want anyway (magnafluxed bolt, heavy buffer, chrome lined, M16 feed ramp cuts). Set me straight if I’m wrong.

My understanding is that the 6920 and 6721 are the same except that the 6920 has the M203 stepdown in the barrel, has double heat shield hand guards, has a side sling attachment, and is 1:7 twist as opposed to 1:9 on the 6721. Am I correct in believing that both the 6920 and the 6721 are chrome lined and have the M4 flattop upper with RAS markings and M16 feed ramps? Do they both have the heavy buffer?

Eventually, I’d like to add a FF rail (Larue?), a red dot sight (probably Aimpoint, but maybe an Eotech), a BUIS, and a light. An improved collapsible stock (Vltor?), vertical foregrip (TangoDown?), and improved flash hider (Vortec?) are also being contemplated.

My questions have probably been answered in some form in other threads (I think I’ve read most of them), but I would like your opinions, if you have any.

1) Does this seem like a good place to start for my first purchase? Should I be considering something other than the carbine length, keeping in mind what the gun will be used for?

2) Would I be better served by the 1:7 twist of the 6920 or the 1:9 twist of the 6721? Or does it even matter for my purposes? I’m going to guess that I will be shooting ammo that is 60 grains or heavier, especially in the defense role.

3) Given the (future) modifications I would like to do, would it make more financial sense to have someone build the gun with the FF rail, preferred stock, etc., right off the bat? I know this would probably blow past my “initial purchase” budget, but I could probably stretch it a bit. From this forum, I know there are a number of people I would trust to build it right. I’m a little leery of doing this, only because what I “think” I want may be very different from what I “know” I want after shooting the gun for a while. That said, I compiled my list of probable changes after extensive research on this and other forums; I don’t think I would be unhappy with any of them.

Opinions?
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 6:40:49 AM EST
20" hbar Colt.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 8:28:23 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 8:35:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/23/2004 8:37:23 AM EST by M11293]
If you understand the upper and lower concept, I would buy an upper and a lower and slap them together. If you can clean your rifle you can slap an upper and lower together. I would buy a Rock River Arms lower from www.eaglefirearms.netand a LMT upper from www.bravocompanyusa.com. Stick them together and you have a rifle that is better then any Colt, Bushmaster, Armalite, standard RRA, DPMS, ect. You will also get it for less. Some people may disagree with me on building your first AR, but this isn't exactly building, more like throwing a bolt/carrier/charging handle in and sticking 2 pins into 2 holes.

Just my $0.02.

Edit: Oh, and welcome!
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 8:42:43 AM EST
I'm still new here so I will only add one thought.

If you are planning to use an AR for home defense...keep in mind that a missed shot has the potential to exit the wall of your residence and strike a neighbor, or stranger a half a mile away. I would think a shotgun would be a better choice for home defense. I keep the jitter factor in mind. That is...how much adrenaline would be pumping if I had to level a firearm on someone with the intent to kill them. With the jitter factor in mind...I would probably want a shotgun.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 8:56:01 AM EST
Steer Clear of Olympic Arms! Don't get sucked into their Lifetime Warrantee. They build JUNK.

Buy something good. You won't regret buying a GOOD gun in the long run.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 9:03:20 AM EST

Originally Posted By krawz:
I'm still new here so I will only add one thought.

If you are planning to use an AR for home defense...keep in mind that a missed shot has the potential to exit the wall of your residence and strike a neighbor, or stranger a half a mile away. I would think a shotgun would be a better choice for home defense. I keep the jitter factor in mind. That is...how much adrenaline would be pumping if I had to level a firearm on someone with the intent to kill them. With the jitter factor in mind...I would probably want a shotgun.



Since your new here I'll just suggest you read the ammo-oracle section of this forum.

At inside the house ranges it is possible to miss with a shotgun and a wad of shot can plow on through your walls too. If you practice with a shotgun and know it inside and out, then by all means use it. If you shoot it twice a year but really like your AR carbine and practice with it all the time, and know it inside out then use your carbine. Don't expect to grab a weapon you use infrequently and deploy it in self denfense. Shotgun patterns at under 15 yards are not that wide. At least none that I have ever seen.

I am fully confident that I can put my sights on a target with my EOTech or irons and make a hit no problem in the ranges involved in a home.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 9:09:36 AM EST
TXatty,

Buy your first rifle without all the junk. Shoot it often and get a feel for it. Then decide what you want to add. People get very into the whole add-on-everything-that-attach-to-rails before they really know what they need. Then you just end up with a box of junk you never really use.

Home defense -- Get the light. I'm working on that myself.
Red dot & Home defense -- I prefer the EOTech cause I like the speed of the outer ring.

That's all I can say really. I'm still learning as well.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 9:26:12 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 9:32:57 AM EST
Go with a 1:9 twist, it will work better with 55 grain ammunition which is moderately less expensive than 62 grain. Since you want accuracy and range, but also plan to use it in 3 gun and home defence, I would suggest a 16" heavy barrel. I have no thoughts concerning collapsable stocks, but I myself just ordered a Tango Down forward pistol grip. I would go with a Rock River Arms lower and a Bushmaster upper. I have heard that the RRA lower is a tight fit, but this will help accuracy.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 10:29:23 AM EST
read ammo oracle and make your own decision on barrell twist/length.

go with an a3. learn to shoot with irons. then buy an eotech/aimpoint.

seriously consider building your own. there's enough knowledge on this website so you can't possibly screw anything up too badly. i wish i had.

good luck. there is no BEST. use your own judgement.
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