I am looking at buying an AR-15, but I can't front the big bucks for one. In researching I found the best price to be the OlyArms CAR-97. Does anyone know much about this rifle? I need some help deciding what to go after! THANKS!
Some people hate Olympic Arms, some people love them. I like mine, and everyone that I know that has one likes theirs.
Congratulations on your decision to buy an AR15. Like you I have problems with the very high prices for the AR15 rifle, and have found a way around that price. KITS!
First thing you'll want to do, is search this website for the INSTRUCTIONS on how to assemble them. Then I recommend you buy a book or some other source for this information.
Then buy LOWER RECIEVER through your FFL, my Olympic Arms lower costed $136 for a T3 forged/machined lower. Then you have 3 low cost options:
1.) Buy from Olympic Arms to have a completely OLYARMS gun (Kits run $450.00).
2.) Buy from JT Distributing, or Model 1 Sales (Kits are only $400.00). I'm going to try this method next.
I've got a Lower on hand, and I've gone the OLYAMRS COMPLETE way in the past. You will find that these OLYARMS guns are Reliable, fit well (almost always), and it also has a great finish. Assembly is VERY VERY EASY! Just make sure that you have a magnet on hand or something, and do it in a relatively CLEAN ROOM. This way if a spring or detent slips, it will be easy to find if it shoots across the room.
This brings the total cost of a good AR15 to:
$536.00 + Shipping for a GOOD RIFLE!
However, I don't like the Iron Sights as much as other people on here, so I always choose the option for the Flat-Top rail reciever. This way I just mount a good Mil-Dot 3-9x40mm scope to the top ($75.00), and it's great (accurate out to about 600 meters!). Plus you can also add a flip-up rear sight for a backup.
There is only one small problem some people have with this means of getting a good AR15.
1. Warranty. OLYARMS doesn't warranty kit guns. This is no big deal, because gun smiths are usually cheaper, and besides, how many times do you expect your AR15 to break? Mine has NEVER had a problem yet. NOTHING. Some people just like warranties because it makes them feel all warm & fuzzy inside.
2. Some people claim that OLympic Arms lowers have "Tight Magazine Wells". This is true IN SOME CASES. I have seen some where they're great, and mags drop free fine brand new. Others have had some tightness issues, like mine, but I believe it to be somewhat of a fluke. This can be easily solved by:
a. Checking if it's a Magazine problem, not a reciever problem
b. Light filing/adjusting of lower by self (what I did).
c. sending lower to OLYARMS for adjustment.
Just ask people here or search for this on AR15.com
3. Out-of-Spec Flat-Top Rails. I've read somewhere on here that Model 1 Sales, or JT Distributing had a flat-top upper reciever in their kits that sometimes has been known to not fit rail devices because it was slightly off specifications for manufacture. I do not know if this is true yet, but it wouldn't be too difficult to fix, or it could be sent back to the manufacturer for replacement.
Like I said, these are some issues with building a kit AR15, but the risk is DEFINITELY worth the cost reduction in my opinion. As I have not had ANY problem except a slightly tight magazine well, which was easily fixed in under 5 minutes (with AR15.com advice)
Just my $0.02! I recommend building it yourself too, because then any part replacement, and almost all maintenance can be done yourself. A great learning experience to further educate yourself on the operation of the AR15 weapon system.