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Posted: 2/20/2006 12:46:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/20/2006 8:12:48 AM EDT by SrtDog]
I just want to start by saying...this is an awesome website. Its well organized, and packed full of information. I also think it’s great that all the "seasoned" AR owners are more than willing to share their information.

So, here’s my situation, and my questions. I've never owned an AR. I've been shooting M16's, M4's, and AR's for years. I'll be using this rifle for precision shots, distances no further than 150 yards. I will also be using it for CQB. I have a pretty good idea of what I want. It's something that very closely resembles one that Bushmaster carries (model # BCWVMF 16FMC). I definitely want a flat top (A3), telescoping stock, and rails. My budget is + - $1,000. That’s to include parts and tools. I’ll be putting some type of scope, light, and other stuff on it later. So here are all my questions:

1. Buy vs. build for my first AR?

2. Buy whole, or upper and lower separate?

3. 16" vs. 20" barrel?

4. What are the advantages to having a free floated barrel?

5. Flip up front sight, vs. standard fixed?

6. Chrome lined vs. Stainless Steel barrel?

7. AR brands that should not be trusted?

8. 6 position stock vs. 4 position stock?

9. Recommended type/brand for the flash suppressor?

All opinions, reference materials, and comments are welcome. hug.gif

Link Posted: 2/20/2006 1:19:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/20/2006 1:24:33 AM EDT by Phoebus]
Welcome to the board!

The thing is, pretty much all of your questions have been covered in depth in the tacked threads at the top of each subforum and in the posts availble through the search function. Thus, everyone is pretty much going to tell you to search for answers before re-asking previously covered questions. That said, I'm going to do a quick rundown of my personal opinion-based answers to your questions, since I'm in a good mood today

1. I bought, many build, this depends on whether you want it NOW or are the kind of person who would be much more satisfied putting it together yourself. Also remember, you could buy a complete upper and build the lower, which is what many first-timers do.
2. If upper/lower separate makes it cheaper, go that way (especially if you're not a safe-queen matching-finished-obsessed kinda guy).
3. 20" = longer "hyper-lethal" fragmentation distance, due to higher velocity. 16" = better handling (IMHO). You decide.
4. All the crap that you hang on your uber-cool rails and your holding of the handguard won't effect POI. The effect is negligible on a combat carbine, but probably a good idea for a precision rifle.
5. Standard fixed = sturdier, flip up you can flip down out of the way of your optic. KISS guys will go with fixed, guys with 1x optics (EOTech or Aimpoint, etc) tend to like flip downs. A high power scope will not be obscured by the FSB.
6. You probably mean chrome-moly vs. chrome-lined chrome-moly vs stainless. Stainless = more expensive, most corrosion resistant, shiny (unless refinished/bead-blasted/etc). Chrome lined makes the chrome-moly steel more corrosion-resistant, but can have a slight negative effect on accuracy (I'd go with chrome-lined on anything more mobile than a bench-rest gun).
7. Hesse is pretty much universally reviled. You will hear people bash Olympic Arms, DPMS, and Model 1 sales, but it seems like YMMV. I have no OlyArms experience, Model 1 sales seems to have some QC issues but overall not too bad, and DPMS, well, some people just have it in for DPMS. My DPMS carbine rocks, so who knows.
8. Whatever works for you
9. Vortex and Phantom are probably the two most popular, next to the A2
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 1:48:27 AM EDT
Welcome to the board!!

1. Bought my first, currently building my second. Exciting building it yourself and also cheaper. I bought a stripped lower and a lower parts kit and am ordering a complete upper that includes the bolt carrier group. I got my lower locally for $130 and that included background check and taxes.
2. If you buy the upper and lower seperate, even from the same manufacturer that finish might not match. That doesn't bother me very much but it does some people,
3. At 150 yards the 16" will be plenty accurate for you and will also be better suited for CQB. Weight will also be a little lighter.
4. Free float is neccessary on a precision long range shooter but is just nice to have on a CQB carbine. Costs range from 125 to 400. I am putting a Troy($250) on the M-4 I'm working on. It doesn't require extensive modification to put on, just a dremel for a couple of parts.
5. Flip up site is again nice for CQB, I personally don't have one though due to costs of $100+. Just too much compared to just using a standard front site and cowitnessing.
6. Chrome lined helps with durability. I don't think stainless is helpful in CQB due to reflections off of lights or something like that. I think chrome lined is worth the $30-40 extra.
7. Hesse. From there opinions are mixed on cheaper brands.
8. Personal preference.
9. The Vortex is my favorites but phantoms are also well thought of and about 1/2 as expensive.

Your $1000 budget should be plenty. I would also recomend looking into an aftermarket grip. I have a Hogue($25) but am getting one of the new MIAD for about $34. I am putting a VLtor on my build and they have a kit that runs about $152 shipped and it includes everything you need including a receiver extension.

I don't know as much as some of the other guys but I hope that helps some.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 1:51:40 AM EDT
Welcome to the Site,
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 2:27:08 AM EDT
Welcome aboard, SrtDog!

I tell most noobs with the same questions to get a reliable factory set-up, as it will save you time, aggravation, and in the long run - your hard earned money as well

RRA, Bushmaster, and Colt all make good choices but look for one with a 16" chrome lined chamber and barrel with 1/9 or 1/7 twist, and an A3 upper (flat top)

Bushmasters Patrolman's Carbine - in A3 ($900- $1,100)

Colts LE Carbines models 6920, 6721 are top picks and would be my 1st choice ($1,000 -$1,000)

RRA- makes several but you have to request the chrome option with these while Bushy and Colts are standard ($900-$1,000)


Best bet? Read through the technical forums on this site for a couple hours and see what experienced shooters are doing/saying.

Stay clear of assembling your 1st gun, as it will surely lead to a terminal case of BRD!

Enjoy!
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 2:33:42 AM EDT
Start with buying from the EE. Get a compleete new lower and a compleete used upper and bolt carrier. 6-650$ shoot it have fun get aquainted...Now start your first build. Simple. Spend a year with an AR that is not treated asa safe queen.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 2:36:44 AM EDT
+1 for what the redfisher said, +1 on the 6721, 6920. Welcome to the site, come on in and stay awhile! Hammer over
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 2:41:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/20/2006 2:43:35 AM EDT by Mr45auto]
I'm building one for a guy at work.

Cav arms midlength upper from DSG
Stag lower
M4 6 position stock
DPMS lower parts kit
ARMS 40 BUIS

He'll have about $750 in the rifle complete. I run this setup myself and it's been an uber reliable rifle.

If you build, buy a nice chrome lined upper from a reputable manufacturer. ( it'll save aggravation)

Shop around from the vendors on this site, they'll do you right. ( I highly reccomend dsgarms)

Link Posted: 2/20/2006 3:49:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/20/2006 3:54:55 AM EDT by Hylton]
I would recommend Colt and Bushmaster personally being I’ve had lots of experience with the two manufactures. Colt is a pricy but in the long run its well worth it, Bushmaster is a little cheaper but still impresses with its quality and all around satisfaction, If I had a particular model to recommend it would be the patrolmens carbine A3 Config. I believe Knesek Guns has them for $888 shipped, not sure if the new price increases have went into effect or not.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 5:26:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/20/2006 5:28:28 AM EDT by DM1975]
Hey, welcome to the site, If I was you, seeing what you are looking for, I would go with a 16" heavy barrel or medium profile barrel, I would also get a free floater with the rails on it and flip up sights. I think that would suit you fine. As for you questions I will try to get them answerd good.

1. Depends, there is no real cost savings unless you just troll around for a while on the EE looking for the cheapest you can find. But you might not be able to get what you want in a complete gun, or you might only be able to afford a piece at a time, like me.

2. Either will work, just compair the cost

3. The magic question. I dont think it matters much for accuracy unless you are realy getting out there past 500meters or so, The 16" will be just fine for what you are after. Might want to consider a mid length gas system also.

4. Not much for a regular CQB rifle but for any precision work it will keep pressure off your barrel and help it shoot to zero better.

5. If you are wanting to mount an optic onn it I would probably go with a flip up, you dont hav to but it will get that blob out of the way in the bottom of your scope if it is magnified. Plus they are readily abundant and not badly priced.

6. I like stainless for anything precision as I think with chrome you lose a bit of accuracy. This is just what I have heard around but the harder the inside surgace the less the accuracy, not too much to notice I dont think unless you are doing precision shooting, but opinions vary.

7. Hesse/Vulcan one in the same. I would not trust them.

6. Whatever floats your boat on that. I think 6 positions is a bit overkill. I have used both but I guess I am not picky enough to notice a reral difference.

7. I think vortec and phantom are the best out there right now but you might find something you like better. There is a thread somewhere on here showing the effects of all the brands.

My aadvise, go to gun stores and shows, handle as many different AR's as you can before you make your decision.
Most important thing is to just shoot.
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