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Posted: 12/2/2002 1:19:41 PM EDT
First time poster here at AR-15! How is everyone? :)

I am looking to purchase my first ever AR-15, yet am having trouble sorting out the dizzying array of companies, uppers, lowers, accessories, scopes, carbine vs. non-carbine, .223 vs. .308, etc. I am pretty much a newbie as far at battle rifles and AR-15's are concerned. I figured this was the perfect place to get educated. You guys can advise me as to what to look for, what to avoid, etc.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I do know that I will probably want a .223 caliber instead of a .308, but I'm willing to listen to arguments to the contrary.

Thanks!

Link Posted: 12/2/2002 2:34:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/2/2002 2:36:40 PM EDT by Gecko]
Unless you are in a real big hurry, hang around here for about 30 days and read all the forums. You will soon get a pretty good handle on what is right for you and your pocketbook. Asking questions like which is the best company, upper, lower, parts kit, A1, A2, A3, CAR, or M4 style etc, etc will get you an even more bewildering array of answers and opinions. Once you have become familiar enough with AR's then ask specific questions like "What's the difference between an A2 and A3. What is the normal barrel length of an M4. What is a CAR??, etc, etc. The guy will then be able to give you much better answers.
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 2:58:14 PM EDT
Ask yourself the following questions: 1. [b]Do I need (or want) a flash suppressor, bayonet lug, or telescoping stock?[/b] If the answer is "yes", then you must get a pre-ban rifle (assembled before 9/13/94). They can run from a couple of hundred dollars more than a post-ban to double the price of a post-ban or higher depending on make and model. 2. [b]How much do I want to spend?[/b] The lower end of the price spectrum for post-bans would be a parts kit from Model 1 sales built on a RRA lower. Up the price scale more would be a rifle from RRA or Cavalry Arms. Higher than that would be ArmaLite, Bushmaster, and Colt (the ABC's), etc. 3. [b]Do I want optics?[/b] If you answer "yes", then it would be best to go with an A3. The A2 versions are the fixed-carry handle style, and the A3 versions are the flattops. Sure you can mount a scope on an A2, but the scope will be higher above the bore unless a forward mount is used. 4. [b]What type of shooting will I be doing?[/b] Home defense and close quarters fighting would dictate a shorter barrel length such as a 14.5" with permanently-attached flash suppressor (pre-ban) or muzzlebrake (post-ban) or 16". A 20" barrel would be a middle-of-the-road length. A 24" barrel would be optimum for long-range shooting. A free-floated handguard would help the accuracy even more on a target rifle. Basically, figure out these parameters and that will narrow your choices down somewhat. Hope this helps!
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 2:59:56 PM EDT
or vice asking, you could do the search thingy. of course all the good answers were from more than 6 months ago. [:D]
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 3:02:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 3:53:38 PM EDT
[blue] Hey Flash Welcome to the board. This place is full of knowledgeable people. Greko makes a good point. If your not in hurry hang around here , read up and do some posting . Do exactly what you did by posting this message , ask more questions. I think after digging some information up around here your wants might change . ( at least mine did ) Good luck and once again Welcome to the board. SaFe ShOoTiNg Jerry [/blue][sniper]
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 7:04:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By M4Madness: Ask yourself the following questions: 1. [b]Do I need (or want) a flash suppressor, bayonet lug, or telescoping stock?[/b] If the answer is "yes", then you must get a pre-ban rifle (assembled before 9/13/94). They can run from a couple of hundred dollars more than a post-ban to double the price of a post-ban or higher depending on make and model. 2. [b]How much do I want to spend?[/b] The lower end of the price spectrum for post-bans would be a parts kit from Model 1 sales built on a RRA lower. Up the price scale more would be a rifle from RRA or Cavalry Arms. Higher than that would be ArmaLite, Bushmaster, and Colt (the ABC's), etc. 3. [b]Do I want optics?[/b] If you answer "yes", then it would be best to go with an A3. The A2 versions are the fixed-carry handle style, and the A3 versions are the flattops. Sure you can mount a scope on an A2, but the scope will be higher above the bore unless a forward mount is used. 4. [b]What type of shooting will I be doing?[/b] Home defense and close quarters fighting would dictate a shorter barrel length such as a 14.5" with permanently-attached flash suppressor (pre-ban) or muzzlebrake (post-ban) or 16". A 20" barrel would be a middle-of-the-road length. A 24" barrel would be optimum for long-range shooting. A free-floated handguard would help the accuracy even more on a target rifle. Basically, figure out these parameters and that will narrow your choices down somewhat. Hope this helps!
View Quote
Thanks M4Madness, this was very helpful - I needed some very basic information and help setting my parameters, just as you said. My primary use would be for target practice, and home defense. I wouldn't mind trying long-range shooting, but it's not my main interest or priority. A post-ban is fine for me, the evil pre-ban elements aren't essential for my purposes. I'm willing to spend enough to get a quality product, which means I'm in the upper middle class to upper class of weapons. Bushmaster, Armalite aren't out of my reach. Colt may be a bit expensive for me. I would like a scope. Is that the main difference between an A2 & A3 - A2 has the carry handle on top, while the A3 is flat across the top to accomodate a scope? I would probably want at least a 20" barrel. I think the free-floating handguards look kinda cool. What do you think of DPMS?
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 7:34:16 PM EDT
Forget AR15s. Get a Glock. GLOCKZ RULE!!!!!!!! (sorry all, inside joke. Flashlight here is my best buddy at law school, but don't hold that against him!)
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 7:51:44 PM EDT
My suggestion would be to get a Bushmaster. This one: [url]http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/pcwa2s20.asp[/url] Or get the A3 version of the same rifle. The detachable carrying handle option allows for a very solid 'scope mount, and this rifle is accurate enough to do justice to a 'scope. Either way, call and verify that this rifle has this barrel: (The site doesn't specify the exact barrel type supplied on that model) [url]http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/barrel-assemblies/pbbl-20a.asp[/url] Get this one because it's a better barrel than the standard A2 "heavy" barrel. I've got two rifles with this exact type of barrel on them, and both rifles shoot half inch groups at 100 yards (with match grade ammo). Oddly enough, this barrel is one of the less expensive options, too. This is a very middle-of-the-road, straight ahead configuration that will serve you well. You may later want to get an M4 type shorty, but there's always a place in the gun safe for a rifle of this type as it's quite versatile and offers superb accuracy. You'll probably end up with at least an extra upper assembly before long if not another complete rifle. AR's are highly addictive. You can't get by with just one! CJ
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 9:31:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/2/2002 9:33:08 PM EDT by Zardoz]
Hehe...you think you're confused [b]NOW[/b]? Wait 'til you start shopping for the inevitable "add-ons." Edited to add: Welcome to the board!
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 12:15:04 PM EDT
Originally Posted By The_Flashlight:
Originally Posted By M4Madness: Ask yourself the following questions: 1. [b]Do I need (or want) a flash suppressor, bayonet lug, or telescoping stock?[/b] If the answer is "yes", then you must get a pre-ban rifle (assembled before 9/13/94). They can run from a couple of hundred dollars more than a post-ban to double the price of a post-ban or higher depending on make and model. 2. [b]How much do I want to spend?[/b] The lower end of the price spectrum for post-bans would be a parts kit from Model 1 sales built on a RRA lower. Up the price scale more would be a rifle from RRA or Cavalry Arms. Higher than that would be ArmaLite, Bushmaster, and Colt (the ABC's), etc. 3. [b]Do I want optics?[/b] If you answer "yes", then it would be best to go with an A3. The A2 versions are the fixed-carry handle style, and the A3 versions are the flattops. Sure you can mount a scope on an A2, but the scope will be higher above the bore unless a forward mount is used. 4. [b]What type of shooting will I be doing?[/b] Home defense and close quarters fighting would dictate a shorter barrel length such as a 14.5" with permanently-attached flash suppressor (pre-ban) or muzzlebrake (post-ban) or 16". A 20" barrel would be a middle-of-the-road length. A 24" barrel would be optimum for long-range shooting. A free-floated handguard would help the accuracy even more on a target rifle. Basically, figure out these parameters and that will narrow your choices down somewhat. Hope this helps!
View Quote
Thanks M4Madness, this was very helpful - I needed some very basic information and help setting my parameters, just as you said. My primary use would be for target practice, and home defense. I wouldn't mind trying long-range shooting, but it's not my main interest or priority. A post-ban is fine for me, the evil pre-ban elements aren't essential for my purposes. I'm willing to spend enough to get a quality product, which means I'm in the upper middle class to upper class of weapons. Bushmaster, Armalite aren't out of my reach. Colt may be a bit expensive for me. I would like a scope. Is that the main difference between an A2 & A3 - A2 has the carry handle on top, while the A3 is flat across the top to accomodate a scope? I would probably want at least a 20" barrel. I think the free-floating handguards look kinda cool. What do you think of DPMS?
View Quote
Yes, the A3 is flat for scope mounting. ArmaLite calls their version an A4 instead of A3. If you like the free-floated handguards, you might check into a Bushmaster 20" V-Match. Info on it can be found at [url]http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/pcwvms20ah.asp[/url]. I've never owned a DPMS, but hear that they rank up there with the others.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 4:22:03 PM EDT
What do you all think of the Colt MT6700? http://www.colt.com/colt/html/a2g5_matchtarcomphbar.html I'm seriously considering this one - can anyone play devil's advocate and argue against it? I noticed that the Colts don't seem to have the chrome lined barrel like the Bushmasters - how much difference does the chrome lining make? Is it essential? If I take the Colt to range on a regular basis, will I wear out the barrel much faster if it isn't chrome lined?
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 5:37:41 PM EDT
On average, barrel life is DOUBLED with a chrome lined barrel, and these days, it doesn't affect accuracy enough to notice unless you're a contender in the Nationals at 600 yards. Cleaning a chromed barrel is a breeze, too, and the resistance to rust and corrosion is outstanding with a chromed barrel. There are good reasons why military specs require chromed barrels. I wouldn't buy a non-chromed barrel when a chromed one was available. New Colts are "politically correct". Standard, mil-spec type parts won't interchange with them. That by itself is a hassle. The trigger group pins are larger than standard, and the front takedown hole is offset and larger than standard as well, or at least it used to be. Using other uppers with a Colt lower (or vice versa) requires adapter kits. Even their bolt carriers are redesigned. And there's that sear block that's pinned into the receiver....which may not really matter, but it's a pisser nonetheless. It suggests they don't think you're trustworthy. No, I can't really recommend a Colt for those reasons, though there is no question that they're quality firearms. Bushmaster. CJ
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 6:05:41 PM EDT
ASA all the way!
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 7:08:08 AM EDT
RRA is just as good as any other. ArmaLites are sweet. If you ever decide to go .308 in an AR style, it will either be ArmaLite AR-10 or a heck of a lot more for a Knight SR-25. You're not gaining anything buying the Knight, other than bragging rights.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 5:49:33 PM EDT
It's been said before, and I'll say it again. Colt doesn't want your business, and their civilian rifles aren't mil-spec. Forget them and go with Bushmaster. For the features, performance, customer service, quality, and price, you just can't beat 'em. Everything about a Bushmaster screams quality and accuracy, and let's face it, we don't buy ARs by-and-large because we want them for matches. We buy them because they are bitchen' CQB weps designed for hearty action. Defending your home and family deserves no less. IMHO. [^]
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 7:03:27 PM EDT
ARMALITE!!!
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 9:09:25 PM EDT
I love my BUSHMASTER! I bought my first AR15 a month ago, a BUSHMASTER A3 version, with a 20" barrel, and the thing shoots better than I can hold! I wouldn't buy a 'politically-correct' COLT, because I might want to spend the bucks for a nice trigger set someday.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 11:12:43 PM EDT
Buy a COLT pre-ban flattop, you won't be sorry and if you don't like it you can get every penny of your investment back and change. Can't be done with the rest except maybe Bushmaster. Trust me. I watched my friend next door loose his ass on the no name junk. By the time he got something that was a real AR he could have bought 2 Colts in all the trading/selling he did.He finally ended up with a Colt pre-ban model 6551, I think that's the model number. I have shot it and it's BAD TO THE BONE!Learn from my friend....save $$$$$$
Link Posted: 12/6/2002 2:15:53 PM EDT
What do you all think of the Colt MT6700? [url]http://www.colt.com/colt/html/a2g5_matchtarcomphbar.html[/url]
View Quote
This is the same gun: [url]http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/pcwa3s20.asp[/url] Except: It has a normal front takedown pin that doesn't require 2 screwdrivers. It has standard size trigger & hammer pins so you can put in any other trigger you want. It has a chrome-lined bore. It's cheaper. Cood choice (the BM version) for a first rifle, IMHO.
Link Posted: 12/6/2002 2:58:08 PM EDT
I'd like to sugjest bushmaster. but i have no real experiance with other brands yet. but i continueally hear great things about bushies more than the rest.
Link Posted: 12/6/2002 3:11:53 PM EDT
Good advice here on the board. By my member date, you can tell I just started awhile back. One thing these guys told me I didn't believe is AR's are like Lays potato chips. You can't have just one. It's a system that you can add on to. Take your time and research. Look at what you can afford and plan on what you want to have eventually. For example, I have a 16.5" post and have added a 24" upper which takes literally seconds to change out. Now I want a lower and build one from a kit to get a second 20". I will then have two ARs with three barrel configurations all for less than $1,500. Other than my first purchase, Plinker, which was based on price only the rest of the system will be top notch forged components and chrome lined barrels. Browse this site, post a few questions, order some cats, browse the manufacturers sights, and lay out a short and longterm plan. It will save you money and make you real happy. Welcome.
Link Posted: 12/6/2002 3:20:05 PM EDT
If you are familiar with online auctions and you can get a dealer to the the transfer for you, I would suggest this one. [url=http://www.gunbroker.com/auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=6437870]Colt M4 MT6400C[/url]=
Link Posted: 12/9/2002 12:10:08 PM EDT
Well I just bought my first AR in November and you are right - too many choices! I chose a Fulton Armory Liberator with some modifications and I'm happy with my purchase so far. However, I learned some things about Fulton Armory on this message board that I did not know when I bought the rifle. I did have a good experience with them but I'm not a cheerleader for Fulton. They have some management issues they need to work out before I would support them fully. Since I live in MD about 25 miles from Fulton - it helped push me in their direction. So back to some thoughts - here's what worked for me: I decided early not to buy Colt new. They do not seem interested in the civilian market any more. Armalite, Bushmaster and Rock River, seem to be better focused on selling ARs to regular folks. One of the other posts on this thread gave a good list of reasons not to buy a new Colt. If you want a pre-ban AR then Colt is worth considering, but since I did not want to pay the extra $$ for a pre-ban, I took Colt off my list. There are several semi custom AR companies such as DPMS and Fulton Armory. Check them out too. I found their websites to be full of good info. My biggest mistake in the buying process was not getting on this board for a solid 30 days. The info available here is second to none. Oh well, I hope you don't make the same mistake. Looks like you are already on the right track since you posted before making your buy. Since I'm not an experienced AR person, part of the "right" choice included evaluation of the entire distribution process. For example, if the best local dealer in your area happens to carry, Armalite, then maybe you get an Armalite. For someone who is new to the AR, a good dealer is as important as a good manufacturer. Last item - you will never buy the "perfect" AR. There are just too many choices. I started looking in July and did not buy until November. Sooner or later, you just have to jump in and buy. Good luck - you won't be sorry.
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