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Posted: 2/21/2006 6:39:21 AM EDT
Okay, so lets see who has built the cheapest AR. I've been thinking about adding an AR to the arsenal, but don't want to waste much money on a poodle shooter. I found a complete lower from Sarco for $179 and the cheapest complete upper was $330 (model 1 sales).

What do I want to do with it? Shoot it. Cheap now, tinker later. 20" standard barrel, A2 buttstock. Open sights.

Should I get a flat top or one with the built-in handguard and add a scope mount?

I can buy a doublestar for $699, but for that I'd go ahead and get a RRA.

Can anyone beat this? I've heard of builds under $450.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 6:45:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 6:46:04 AM EDT by QUIB]
You won’t get any help here calling ARs “poodle shooters”! At least not on your first post!

Welcome to the site!
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 7:03:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 7:04:38 AM EDT by thphilli]
I am also very interested in building a cheap AR. And come on, he is just calling it what it is. At the range we cannot tell the difference in the target from my firends AR or my 22. I remember someone on here saying they built a complete rifle for $379, but for the life of me I have not been able to find it since I first saw it.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 7:07:00 AM EDT
I was recently looking in to a build and was trying to keep cost down as low as possible. I didn't want to start out my AR career with a frankengun made as cheap as possible, only to wish I had done something different a month later. I went from building the cheapest possible, to looking in to a complete CMMG carbine. I just did the math and figured that was the best decision for me. I am looking forward to seeing who has the cheapest build though.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 7:31:10 AM EDT
I guess that should be a caveat, the gun should try and look as good as possible, ie, no homemade components.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 7:41:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thphilli:
I am also very interested in building a cheap AR. And come on, he is just calling it what it is. At the range we cannot tell the difference in the target from my firends AR or my 22. I remember someone on here saying they built a complete rifle for $379, but for the life of me I have not been able to find it since I first saw it.



If that's the one I remember, I think he got a couple parts for free or trade from his buddy. So it should have cost him $75 or 100 more.

I have an addiction to cheap guns. But I'm working on it. Every time I see something cheap that is not exactly what I want I say "Buy nice or buy twice." Too often I've saved $200 on something then later wished the $200 in my pocket could make it what I wanted. But then it would take $400.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:14:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 8:16:15 AM EDT by Pred]
Ya know, I'm in the process of building my first AR. I told my wife I would do it as cheaply as possible. At first, I said I could build a decent AR for $550 or so. As of right now, I have $525 a complete lower, M16 bolt carrier group, a charging handle, rear sights, and ONE mag. This weekend is the big National Gun day show in Lousiville. By the time I pick up an upper, a sling, ammo, some more mags, a case, lord, I'll have a grand in this gun. That doesn't even include a light, optics, ohhhh I hope my wife never finds this post. On top of that, I'm already thinking of building a 20".
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:25:25 AM EDT
{sarcasam}Absolutely!
Build yourself the cheapest AR imaginable.
Buy some of the parts from Sherluck, some from Model1. Buy a few used parts at the gun show - especially if you can find a vendor that says "I think that is the ejector spring". Buy a rusty part or two if you can find them. Make sure the recoil spring is well used. Look for some gas rings that have burrs as wide as the ring itself. Buy some well used magazines too, look for some dents that add carachter.

Now, beat all of this together without the proper tools. Use channellocks to tighten the barrel nut, and dremel off the tooth that is in the way of the gas tube. Tools cost money, we are talking cheap now. You don't need any pin punches, an old carrige bolt will install any roll pin.

For your first test fire, buy some cheap reloads at the gun show. If you can't find any reloads, step up to some steel cased wolf.

Now, when the rifle does not work properly you have to make it work - how hard can that be?

Well, you will spend the next two years buying quality parts, changing them one at a time until you have a functioning weapon. You will have acquired a lot of skill too! You will be able to clear a jam in milliseconds, troubleshoot a bad extractor, and so on...

Or, you could just show the screwed up mess to all of your M1A buddies and tell them how bad that bumper-jack poodle shooter is.... {/sarcasam}



Seriously, take advantage of the hundreds of years of experience available on thses boards - and build a GOOD rifle. Buy the right tools, or send the work to someone that owns them (and knows how to use them!). The weapon I described above has a place - it should be painted vomit-dayglo-green, and used for training.


Lem
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:55:28 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:58:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 8:59:02 AM EDT by glock24]
Eagle Firearms has complete RRA lowers with M4 buttstocks for $235. Legal Transfers has 16" chrome-lined RRA Hbar flattops for $419. Put that together and you have a $654 RRA AR (less rear sight option)

You can same more, but now you're compromising quality. I recently built a complete RRA lower for $214, but I used a DPMS LPK and Tapco buttstock.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 9:48:37 AM EDT
poodle shooter
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 9:53:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lem:
{sarcasam}Absolutely!
Build yourself the cheapest AR imaginable.
Blah, blah, blah

Lem



Wonderful, helpful information there. Thanks for your response and time.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 10:42:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 11:42:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 11:42:46 AM EDT by Pred]
Alright, here goes. I learned along time ago that when you want to do something, do it right, the FIRST time. My advice to you would be to wait a little longer, and put the money out for good quality parts. Think about it. Lets say you build your first AR for $500. Got yourself a used upper, used BCG, and cheap LPK. A few thousand rounds later, your upper is worn out, the trigger sucks. By the time you buy a new upper, a quality LPK, and a good BCG, you've spent about $350 more than if you had just bought the stuff to begin with. IMO just take a little more time and do it right. However, if your really on a budget, a lower is lower, and if your not worried about brand names you should be able to pick one up(stripped) for less than $100. Spend the money on a good LPK(about $60-$65) and bolt carrier group($120 for a Stag or RRA I think). Beyond that, just buy some cheap red-dot for $40 instead of spending $100 on iron sights. Find a used 20" upper for $225 on the EE section, and you've build a rifle cheaply, but still have good parts where it counts. Of course, thats just me.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 11:54:45 AM EDT
As others, - I'm in the same boat right now.

thus far I have:

RRA lower stripped 140
LPK from RB precision 56
used 4-pos. stock - 25
a Carbon upper on its way 300

Now the Carbon upper is probably the thing that I will change out sooner than others... BUT it was the best deal I could come up with, and my impatience got the best of me. Other complete uppers were ranging 37-up (complete meaning b.bc/etc)

Anyways I made an educated decision to buy the carbon upper, as I really like the weight savings, plus I am willing to take a chance that it will work as suppose to. (suppose to be new). Of course I am actively looking for parts to build a diff. metal upper, and once assembled will sell the carbon (maybe) - So we're at 521 or so now, and once latched together will be ready to shoot. Also, I know I could have dropped a little more and bought a gun complete, but I'm a tinkerer, and wanted to have my hands in the guts myself.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:00:57 PM EDT
I was trying to figure out how to build a cheap AR about 2 weeks ago, but then I decided that if I was going to build an AR for myself, I didn't want to go cheap, and I wanted something as reliable as possible. If you want something cheap, go pick up a Mini 14, if you want an AR, consider taking more time to build a quality AR tuned to your specs. Just my .02
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:22:31 PM EDT
My first post here as well, after lurking for some time. I see lots of great info. I'm also looking into an AR but I'm not sure whether I want to build or buy my first one. I like the idea that you can build one cheap, but I don't necessarily *want* a cheap AR. My question is, for a newbie like myself who doesn't know what kind of sights, stock, bbl assembly, etc I want - is it better to purchase a complete RRA or other AR-15 and customize it or build it myself and learn as I go? Two of my buddies have ARs, one is LEO, but I haven't handled either yet. I don't have a budget ceiling, per se, but I do feel $1200 (up front) is a little pricey for my first AR. Over time it wouldn't feel as numbing.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:27:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 12:27:35 PM EDT by lobsterman]

Originally Posted By Lem:
{sarcasam}Absolutely!
Build yourself the cheapest AR imaginable.
Buy some of the parts from Sherluck, some from Model1. Buy a few used parts at the gun show - especially if you can find a vendor that says "I think that is the ejector spring". Buy a rusty part or two if you can find them. Make sure the recoil spring is well used. Look for some gas rings that have burrs as wide as the ring itself. Buy some well used magazines too, look for some dents that add carachter.

Now, beat all of this together without the proper tools. Use channellocks to tighten the barrel nut, and dremel off the tooth that is in the way of the gas tube. Tools cost money, we are talking cheap now. You don't need any pin punches, an old carrige bolt will install any roll pin.

For your first test fire, buy some cheap reloads at the gun show. If you can't find any reloads, step up to some steel cased wolf.

Now, when the rifle does not work properly you have to make it work - how hard can that be?

Well, you will spend the next two years buying quality parts, changing them one at a time until you have a functioning weapon. You will have acquired a lot of skill too! You will be able to clear a jam in milliseconds, troubleshoot a bad extractor, and so on...

Or, you could just show the screwed up mess to all of your M1A buddies and tell them how bad that bumper-jack poodle shooter is.... {/sarcasam}



Seriously, take advantage of the hundreds of years of experience available on thses boards - and build a GOOD rifle. Buy the right tools, or send the work to someone that owns them (and knows how to use them!). The weapon I described above has a place - it should be painted vomit-dayglo-green, and used for training.


Lem



+1
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:31:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By viper522:
My first post here as well, after lurking for some time. I see lots of great info. I'm also looking into an AR but I'm not sure whether I want to build or buy my first one. I like the idea that you can build one cheap, but I don't necessarily *want* a cheap AR. My question is, for a newbie like myself who doesn't know what kind of sights, stock, bbl assembly, etc I want - is it better to purchase a complete RRA or other AR-15 and customize it or build it myself and learn as I go? Two of my buddies have ARs, one is LEO, but I haven't handled either yet. I don't have a budget ceiling, per se, but I do feel $1200 (up front) is a little pricey for my first AR. Over time it wouldn't feel as numbing.



If you buy an AR first, you can learn the system and see how it works when done correctly. If have a friend with one that you can study then buying first is not as big a deal. Also it depends on how mechanically inclined you are. Building an AR my be over your head or not much of a challenge depending on your skills and experience. Lastly having an AR gives you a chance to see how much you like shooting them (notice I said how much not if). I think buying your first one is the good idea. I suggest buying ABCR (Armalite, Bushmaster, Colt or Rock River).
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:40:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:45:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Stickman:

Originally Posted By thphilli:
I am also very interested in building a cheap AR. And come on, he is just calling it what it is. At the range we cannot tell the difference in the target from my firends AR or my 22. I remember someone on here saying they built a complete rifle for $379, but for the life of me I have not been able to find it since I first saw it.



I've built them for sub-$200, this question has been asked at least 4 or 5 times in the past month, and the threads are available to read.



Yipper. My best was an SP1 Clone for 250bux. My latest build will be around 450 w/ bushmaster barrel and CMT bolt and superior lower and Cav A1 buttstock and noname A2 upper.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:50:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:56:22 PM EDT
Off the top of my head, you can get a complete parts kit minus lower receiver for 385 from Sarco, a Stag lower for around 70 bucks.
You'd need to put the barrel into the upper receiver with this kit, so that would be a hassle.
Thats the cheapest I've seen besides the "I got parts from a friend" or "I got a super cheap upper from the EE" posts.
The regular 'build it yourself' parts kits are ridicuously easy to assemble, even I got one done.

If anyone can find parts cheaper from a repeatable source, I'd like to hear about it.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:58:05 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 1:17:03 PM EDT
When I was looking to build my first one, I looked at Model 1 sales. Do a search on here, from what I remember, a lot did not like them. I got from Del-ton and it is great. By the time I got done with mine, $100 for a Stag lower, $588 for kit and shipping=$688, but I got the removeable carry handle and a chromed barrel which was about $110 of the kit price, so minus that you could build a decent one for about $575.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 1:25:33 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 4:28:00 PM EDT
Another thing that I would like to point out, due to the fact that I am knee deep in piecing my own together is: - It is a good way to learn allot of helpful do/dont info, as well as learn the ins/outs of the rifle. Like I said above, I will be a little over 500 for mine, and that is with a RRA lower, RRA lpk, ya ya ya... I went this route because like stickman said above, there's cheap and there's inexpensive... I want the later. I could have easily dropped 550 or so, and got a complete rifle... but it most likely would have been a model 1 kit, or etc.... (not that they're no good, but if you was looking at two guns on the table, one being RRA and name brand internals, etc, and one being model 1 sales kit... see my point?

For me saving a few dollars is only half of it... Bargain shopping and horse trading to me is part of the fun, while getting my feet wet in the AR scene. One other thing... Now I got a little impatient, and jumped on the first priced right complete upper I seen (I did pass on some 20" uppers, because I knew I wanted 16)... and maybe could have pieced together one, and/or took a 20", etc and came out a little cheaper (pricewise)... By no means will this rifle get completed and then just left that way... Again, it's all part of the fun for me. Plus, if I loose interest, then I only have 500 or so sitting in the closet for hard times, VS. 800 + (keep in mind, I'm using 800 as an est. because that's about the normal cost the brands I would purchase - if going that route)


if it doesn't seem fun for you, then just go buy one. If you only want a plinker, and to experiment (dont flame yet) Then I would buy a new Oly plinker, as at least it is a name brand that people are used to seeing (versus a kit gun), this way you could play with it until you decided you were bored or until you wanted more... Either way, wouldn't be hard to get your money out of it, unlike a totally tricked out job that you payed retail for.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 5:42:33 PM EDT
A poodle shooter, I like that. I just started buying parts for my first poodle shooter. I've been going over this site and finding all kinds of good info. It doesn't seem like it should be too hard. I've built one AK and it seems the AR should be easier than an AK build although more expensive.

If an AR is a poodle shooter, what is an AK?
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 5:10:42 PM EDT
Let us know what your going to do.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 6:58:50 PM EDT
I can say so far I'm happy with my M1 sales upper. Dont forget you'll need a bolt carrier and bolt so theres another $80-$100. Cant hit anything if you dont have a rear sight $60 and up. If you plan on building new you will need about 650-700. Are the poodles that bad in your area that a .22 rimfire wont do it? h.gif
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 10:39:45 AM EDT
Thanks for the help guys. I've decided just to buy another CMP Garand and have it rebarreled to .308
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 11:13:11 AM EDT
Thats definately a whole different direction that what you started
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 2:20:32 PM EDT
Poodle shooters are very expensive to build it'll cost ya a couple of grand easy, sorry I had to be the one to break it to you, better luck next time.
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 2:59:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/23/2006 3:03:01 PM EDT by MTNmyMag]
Ok I only have one Ar but it has morphed itself into a few different configurations.

First I got a Complete Bushmaster lower with A2 Stock at a gun show for 235 out the door, Then I traded a Compound Bow I had for an BCG and carry handle. I paid 75 bucks for the bow off of a buddy so I am at 305. Then I got a deal on a Post Ban configuration 16" Mid Length RRA upper from ADCO, this was 4 maybe 5 years ago. Before I even discovered Ar-15.com for 350 so for 655 I had my original configuration.

This was fine for a few months. Then I added a Nikon 3-9 X40 scope and arms carry handle mount roughly another 300 bucks. Now I am at 955.

This set up absolutely sucked as far as function is concerned but I dealt with it for a year or two.

Then the Ban ended and I got a collapsible stock like 2 days later and paid a gouging price of 120.00 bucks
Total 1075.00

Now I really dont like the carry handle mounted optics so I get an A3 upper 100.00
and I say what the hell Daniel Deffense 12.0 350.00 Tango Down Fore and pistol grips 100 bucks
rail covers, 30 bucks. So now I have 16550 into one AR

Then I see a good deal for a Trijicon ACOG TA-11 on the EE used with ARMS mount 850 with pay pal charge and shipping from Hawaii it was like 890. Ok now I have 2545.00 into a single AR.

A few weeks ago I said screw it new barrel and trigger. Dropped 250 for the barrel, 50 bucks for low profile gas block 85 for an MSTN QC 190 for a Magpul M93B 45 for a MIAD 135 for a Jard Trigger and another 30 bucks in rail covers. ok now we are at 3150.00 for my Single AR

I still need another 60 bucks in rail covers, 35 bucks for a bipod mount, 65 for a Bipod, 140 for a larue Acog mount (current one looks like ass) and 280 bucks in BUIS

Total Finished cost of Rifle 3730.00 not counting the 300.00 I have in magazines

This is the Black Rifle Disease. The good news is I nearly have enough parts for a new rifle, This

one will be simple.............. and cheap.......... yeah that's it cheap.

WAIT A MINUTE I STILL NEED A DAMN WEAPON LIGHT and mount! Tack another 250 bucks onto that 3465.00

SOB almost a 4500.00 dollar AR package!

Edited for poor math skills
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 4:24:07 PM EDT
Don't forget. It's FUN to build your own.
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 6:29:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/23/2006 6:31:56 PM EDT by Mdripley]

Originally Posted By MTNmyMag:

SOB almost a 4500.00 dollar AR package!

Edited for poor math skills



WOW Poodle shooters are even more expensive than i thought

By the way I love my AR's and I definetly do not consider them to be poodle shooters.
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 6:56:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mdripley:

Originally Posted By MTNmyMag:

SOB almost a 4500.00 dollar AR package!

Edited for poor math skills



WOW Poodle shooters are even more expensive than i thought

By the way I love my AR's and I definetly do not consider them to be poodle shooters.



Poodle shooters penerate 12 pine boards!
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 9:23:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/23/2006 9:24:10 PM EDT by DM1975]
I have $12.00 out of pocket into mine right now and it is a complete upper and lower, just no optics yet. Now I payed alot more for it but that is because I was broke and my wife told me if I could get the money I could build it. I sold or am selling every extra part, nick nack, and doo dad in the house I can find. Hell, even the $12.00 was from selling a pile of old uniforms to the surplus store (total cash actually raised and spent was $625.00, so far)
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