Hi all, I've been a handgun guy but now it's time to move up to getting my first AR. I've been reading on them the whole friggin day but I still have some questions about a few things and would appreciate if you could help me out.
1. What is A2 vs. A3? Something about mounts?
2. What is the difference between an AR and an M4?
3. I keep reading something about "floating" that has something to do with the barrel. What is this?
Please forgive my ignorance, but I'd understand things better if I knew what some of this meant. Living here in MA, it's really easy to learn about handguns. We have all of 4 brands we can buy The world of AR's has got me excited and I can't wait to get my first one. I want it basically for some target/plinking, I probably won't be doing any competition shooting with it. Thanks for any help.
1. A1: first to have fwd assist.
A2: Better sights (rear adj for elev and wind). heavyer barrel, brass deflector.
A3: Flat top receiver (Picatinny rail top)
2. AR stands for Armalite (sorry for the commercial) (we'll use the term AR to refrence M16x and AR15x)
AR usually refers to the semi-auto M16x clones.
M4 is the mil. 'carbine' of the M16x
3. standard issue rifles (AR) have a sling attach at the front sight. the handguards mount between the receiver and the front sight. Use of the sling, such as that used with the M1,M14 rifles can't (shouldn't) be done on the AR's as the pressure of the sling will effect accuracy.
"floating" refers to the barrel and handguards. The handguards usally attach only at the receiver and the sling attach could be at the end of the handguard. Thus the barrel is not touching the rifle other than at the reciver, Floating inside the handguard, if you will.
Welcome back, BOG!
Welcome, from a fellow Mass AR owner.
Some specific info for a future Mass AR owner.
I brought my AR at www.fourseasonsguns.com
in Woburn, Ma. A great, high volume place, with Armalites, Colts, and Bushmasters, but if you have a local dealer closer, go for it.
For magazines in Ma, as long as you have a Class A license, you can legally mail order them, I have checked with GOAL and they verified this.
The problem is alot of out of state dealers don't understand the laws and will refuse to sell to you just to be on the safe side, some dealers do understand the law however. You should offer to send a copy of your class A license to these dealers, either by fax or email, but most will either sell them or not sell them.
I have found www.sierrasupply.com to be Mass friendly, and a good source for 20 and 30 Round USGI AR magazines, though it can be hard to reach them by phone, you can leave a msg or just keep trying. Though I've never ordered from him, www.ammoman.com seems to be willing to sell AR mags to us Mass residents too, looking at his website.
Alot of out of state dealers will refuse to do business with us when it comes to mags, however, because our state has such a strict anti-gun image to other states.
FWIW- I purchased an A2, but in retrospect wish I'd purchased the A3 model, which has the exact same sight and carry handle as the A2 model, but on the A3 it is removable, so you can mount a red dot or optical scope very easily right on top of the rifle. If you buy an A2, you will need to spend another $50-$100 on an decent adapter to mount your scope on the rifle, so I say spend the extra few bucks up front to have a more flexible rifle.
Lastly, stick to USGI or US made Thermold magazines, the rest are a gamble. The 30 round USGI's should have green colored followers, but if they are black you can buy drop in replacement green ones for a couple bucks each.
20 round mags will cost more than 30's, as they are rarer, but I like them more at the range as you can lie flat easier with them.
Have fun, and stock up on mags while you can, Ma. has been trying to pass hi-cap mag bans for a couple years now but so far they've been stopped.
ED_P, thanks for that info. I will be buying from Carl, I bought my handguns from him. He has great prices and excellent service.
One question: "The 30 round USGI's should have green colored followers". What is a follower?
Actually, M4 refers to a carbine barrel profile that is cut for a grenade launcher. Essentially, there are three AR styles:
(1) Full length rifle
(2) Carbine length, aka CAR
(3) Current mil carbine with grenade launcher capability, the M4.
There are a number of variants within these three, such as the "dissipator", which is a carbine length barrel with full length handguards (and front sight moved forward).
Free floating refers to handguards that attach to the upper receiver but do not touch the barrel anywhere along its length. This gives better accuracy, although on a carbine length weapon the difference is probably moot.
Hope that helps.