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Posted: 1/12/2006 6:31:37 PM EDT
Thought I'd throw this out to my fellow Wisconsin gunnies: Why an AR platform? I have gone over this question many times and can never come up with a satisfactory answer. The advantages always seem to balance the disadvantages. Some days I'm ready to go buy one and the next day I wonder why I would want to put up with one. I should add that I have been in the reserves awhile now (since '88) and that I started as Marine infantry so I am pretty familiar with the platform, I just don't see why I'd want to fork over money for one of my own. Any thoughts out there?
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:47:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 6:48:03 PM EDT by Harv24]
If you have to ask, then you don't get it....
You say the advantages always seem to balance out the disadvantages.... So in your opinion what's the disadvantages...?

The AR platform has been killin bad guys for well over 40 years.
The lightweight
accurate
ergonomic
relia­ble
common parts
plentiful magazines
etc, etc,

is it perfect?? no, but what is??

If you have to be convinced, it's probably not for you.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 3:56:36 AM EDT
To me, an AR fills a convienent niche, the one it was designed for; accurate and powerful enough from contact distance to 300 yards, light enough to be cofortable for the average person. The availability of aftermarket parts is also an advantage IMO.

For volume at <200 yards, I'd rather have an AK. For volume at further distances, I'd rather have an HK (belt fed would be even better). For precision work, a bolt gun would be better. The AR seems to be a "jack of all trades" here.

The thing that got me over the AR hump was actually experiencing the reliability of modern examples. I've field tested my "frankengun" enough to know that it'll take abuse and keep ticking. I can comfortably comprimise on the caliber (not a huge fan of 5.56) because of the light weight and lack of recoil.

Link Posted: 1/13/2006 3:59:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Harv24:
If you have to ask, then you don't get it....
You say the advantages always seem to balance out the disadvantages.... So in your opinion what's the disadvantages...?

The AR platform has been killin bad guys for well over 40 years.
The lightweight
accurate
ergonomic
relia­ble
common parts
plentiful magazines
etc, etc,

is it perfect?? no, but what is??

If you have to be convinced, it's probably not for you.



For me all those reasons apply, plus some of us were in the Army/Marines and we like the nostalgia of the platform too.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 4:06:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 11thwarrior:
...The advantages always seem to balance the disadvantages....



That statement is true for every choice you make. Every gun has good and bad points to consider. Also true of what gun to buy, what car to drive or what job to work at, etc, etc.

I feel the AR's advatages outweigh it's disadvatages for me. For you it may be different.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 5:12:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FMD:
To me, an AR fills a convienent niche, the one it was designed for; accurate and powerful enough from contact distance to 300 yards, light enough to be cofortable for the average person. The availability of aftermarket parts is also an advantage IMO.

For volume at <200 yards, I'd rather have an AK. For volume at further distances, I'd rather have an HK (belt fed would be even better). For precision work, a bolt gun would be better. The AR seems to be a "jack of all trades" here.

The thing that got me over the AR hump was actually experiencing the reliability of modern examples. I've field tested my "frankengun" enough to know that it'll take abuse and keep ticking. I can comfortably comprimise on the caliber (not a huge fan of 5.56) because of the light weight and lack of recoil.

I think that may be it. I was trained by and worked with enough vets of Beirut and Viet Nam to believe to my very soul that the M-16 series is capable of outstanding accuracy (my 500m group in boot could have been covered by a large cantaloupe) but they have to be kept meticulously clean to function. I have never actually tried to use one that had been dragged through the mud. Even in Desert Storm we took to using panty-hose to help keep the dust in the action to a minimum. That is incidently how I came to respect the incredible durability of the AK. I got to fire examples where the bolt was so rusted I had to put the butt of the weapon on the ground and stomp the bolt handle to cycle the action. Once open though, you could cycle it by hand and insert a magazine. Firing it seemed to knock the rest of the rust and dirt loose and it functioned fine after that. Accuracy sucked but talk about tough! But I digress, tell me what the worst condition it was in and still came up shooting. Something just seems so wrong about venting propellent gasses back into the parts that should be the cleanest. How dirty can you let it get before it stops? I have always kept the ones I was issued very clean ( not that I really had a choice ) and part of that was talking to people who left friends in Viet Nam because an M-16 got fouled. I decided early on my weapon would be cleaner than me if necessary. So I have never really tested any AR under adverse conditions. How well do they hold up? Thanks for your time, gentlemen. hr
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 6:00:18 AM EDT
The old 60’s-era 20" pencil barrel with an A1 stock is just an incredibly comfortable, reliable, and fun gun to shoot.

For taking the womens or chitlins out shooting, the collapsible stock on a M4-gery does a better job of addressing the length of pull issue than any other longarm out there IMHO.

That and the fact that ammo is readily available, cost is reasonable, and there is literally a ton of accessories out there (magazines, etc) one can blow their wad over make the AR a dream gun for the average American male.

Did I mention they look cool?
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 8:23:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dalesimpson:
For me all those reasons apply, plus some of us were in the Army/Marines and we like the nostalgia of the platform too.



/me raises his hand, guilty as charged. It has brought back some of the best and worst memories. It's hard to connect that much emotional attachment to a specific tangible item without getting hooked. Sometimes I think of it as therapy.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:08:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/16/2006 6:31:56 AM EDT by FMD]
11W,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I was out of town.


Originally Posted By 11thwarrior:

Originally Posted By FMD:
The thing that got me over the AR hump was actually experiencing the reliability of modern examples. I've field tested my "frankengun" enough to know that it'll take abuse and keep ticking. I can comfortably comprimise on the caliber (not a huge fan of 5.56) because of the light weight and lack of recoil.



I think that may be it. I was trained by and worked with enough vets of Beirut and Viet Nam to believe to my very soul that the M-16 series is capable of outstanding accuracy (my 500m group in boot could have been covered by a large cantaloupe) but they have to be kept meticulously clean to function.



Meticulously clean, no. I will clean my chamber after shooting 1k of Wolf, or when I have a bug up my ass, or when we do it as a group in a carbine class. Otherwise, it gets rained on, thrown in puddles (is that cleaning? ), tossed in fields (some of the WI crew has a sadistic streak when it comes to "function testing" their guns and optics), etc.

ETA: Links to Photoman and MisterPX's "function testing" (I only let him throw my gun twice to "test" my Tacpoint and mount):
SPOT optic testing


I have never actually tried to use one that had been dragged through the mud. Even in Desert Storm we took to using panty-hose to help keep the dust in the action to a minimum.


I haven't tested my AR in desert conditions, but that's just because those conditions are kind of hard to come by in WI.


That is incidently how I came to respect the incredible durability of the AK. I got to fire examples where the bolt was so rusted I had to put the butt of the weapon on the ground and stomp the bolt handle to cycle the action. Once open though, you could cycle it by hand and insert a magazine. Firing it seemed to knock the rest of the rust and dirt loose and it functioned fine after that. Accuracy sucked but talk about tough!


I've got one of those too. They are indeed the toughest guns on the planet (except maybe for HK's, MHO). Bout the only thing I wouldn't expect an AR to survive would be to buried for a decade, and be GTG right afterward.


But I digress, tell me what the worst condition it was in and still came up shooting. Something just seems so wrong about venting propellent gasses back into the parts that should be the cleanest. How dirty can you let it get before it stops? I have always kept the ones I was issued very clean ( not that I really had a choice ) and part of that was talking to people who left friends in Viet Nam because an M-16 got fouled. I decided early on my weapon would be cleaner than me if necessary. So I have never really tested any AR under adverse conditions. How well do they hold up? Thanks for your time, gentlemen.


I can only speak of my gun. Model 1 14.5/PermFH M4gery on a Stag lower. Non-chrome lined barrel and chamber, almost exclusively shoot Wolf (very dirty ammo) through it. I can get about 1250 rounds of Wolf through with no cleaning until I start to get FTE's. Swab the chamber (only) and I'm GTG for another 1250 or so. I tend to clean the chamber after each half-case now, but nothing else except maybe a bore-snake through it, and some lube on the B/BC (it was last cleaned thouroghly in July or August of 2005, when I painted it).

I've gone through 500 rounds of Wolf that had been left in a wet ammo can (rusting) for about a month. 5 or 6 rounds required the cleaning rod to get out. Mind you, I didn't even wipe off the cases, in some instances, they still had wet paper attached to them:


I've done rollover prone to the strong side (ejection port 2" or so from the ground) and blasted away in, on, and around (and occaisionally dropped my rifle) in everything from snow to peagravel. No problems.
Greg Sullivan demonstrating the position (not my rifle, but it should give you the idea of the potential for debris to enter the gun):


I've mentioned the puddle. Here's what the bolt looked like after that (again, 'twas functioning just fine):


MisterPX has had some fun tossing my rifle into plowed corn fields. No problem.

If you keep the dustcover shut and a mag in the rifle...I can't think of anything other than blowing sand that would gum up the works sufficiently to make a (modern and properly built) AR to stop working.

There's the rub: An awful lot of "franken guns" are poorly built with out-of-spec components. The military issue M16's aren't a lot better (due to use). My first experience with AR's was a disaster; a freind's dad had built up 4 examples just prior to the 94 AWB:

A surplus A1 upper on a PWA lower. FTF/FTE's (turns out the ammo was handloaded crap).
A 16" CAR on a Colt lower. Non-functioning (missing buffer detent, which was stuck in the FCG).
A 7" Oly pistol (while that should be enough to understand that it didn't function, I'll go one further: It was short-stroking, like damn near every pistol does).
A 16" A3 bull barrel. Short Stroking (had a WD-40 tube stuck inside the gas tube).

All were soaked in WD-40 as lubricant.

I've managed to get all but the pistol running 100%, and I'm sure-as-hell not a qualified armorer. Bottom line: If you've got a properly built AR, it wil take 99.99% of the abuse you can dish out, most likely with nothing more than a little lube and a clean chamber.

One more thing: I mentioned "modern" examples. I too heard the horror stories of M16's in VietNam. Those rifles had issues (non-spec chambers, wrong propellent, etc.) where modern examples don't. The AR15/M16 family of weapons has come a long way in 40+ years.

By all means, if you're in SE or SW WI, come out to one of out Hometown shoots. Seeing is believing. I'm an HK guy when it comes to rifles, but coming out to an Arfcom shoot changed my mind when it came to ARs (not an easy thing to do). The vast majority of the ARs I came in contact with that weekend out ran even the AK's present. I did the research and built several of my own. The AR will function dirty just fine*.

*Caviat: An AR built for "field use" will function. Match/bench rest guns with tight chambers are much more suseptible to dirt/dirty ammo: Even so, I've seen full mags of Wolf get bump-fired through them, too.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 9:14:54 AM EDT
Because my cock gets fatter with each new AR.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 9:36:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:05:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Throttle-Junkie:
Because my cock gets fatter with each new AR.



Thanks TJ.... I just spit Diet Moutain Dew all over my keyboard....
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 5:05:53 PM EDT
Eh.....because it's much better than a Mini-14????



Seriously, it's a solid tool, and one that has the largest number of accessories available to make YOUR rifle perfectly fit you and your mission. The newer 77grn. loadings pretty much take care of the terminal performance issues at longer range. Inside of 200 yards, 55grn. M193 is still a solid performer. It is lighter than most any other platform, and ammo is light so you can carry more. Ergonomics are the best of any comparable rifle IMO too.

My experience with reliability mimics FMD's. I have built 4 or 5 rifles and they either ran right from the get go or had a hidden issue that was easily fixed and solved the problem for good. The sand issue is solved fairly easily with frequent cleaning and using the right (DRY and/or plating) lubricants. The ONLY bad thing about the AR platform is the gas blowback, and if you just can't get over it, then build one up with one of the gas piston uppers on the market and call it a day!
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:41:52 PM EDT
Thanks, FMD! You really give a thorough answer. Loved the picture of the box of rusted ammo! Guess I am going to have to revise my opinion of AR's upward several notches. Not that it was terribly low to begin with, I think I mentioned my bootcamp experience. And that rifle had seen hundreds of recruits before me so kudos to Marine armorers for keeping it in that good of shape. Phenominal accuracy. And I know what you mean about HK too. After my divorce I took the settlement and spent a bit (okay a big bit) and got a JLD PTR-91K. Part of me rebelled at a short barreled .308, but maybe mid-life crisis was kicking in and I went for the cool factor! Turns out even the shorty has potential as a tack driver! I was at an after duty hours fun shoot with Guard friends and we were breaking 12" to 18" balloons at about 400 m with iron sights. I'd shoot "in the neighborhood" and the SGM walked me in by bullet splashes. Just had to concentrate on the front sight and keep edging it in the direction I was adjusted to. Very fun, can't wait to get a mount and a scope for it! Anyway I'm rambling, but thanks again. Even though as a result my wallet is (probably)going to get lighter again!
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:45:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Throttle-Junkie:
Because my cock gets fatter with each new AR.



Hmmmm, methinks you're putting the handguards on the wrong barrel!! hat

I know I'm new, so don't take me too seriously!
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 7:00:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TheKill:
Eh.....because it's much better than a Mini-14????

hat
My experience with reliability mimics FMD's. I have built 4 or 5 rifles and they either ran right from the get go or had a hidden issue that was easily fixed and solved the problem for good. The sand issue is solved fairly easily with frequent cleaning and using the right (DRY and/or plating) lubricants. The ONLY bad thing about the AR platform is the gas blowback, and if you just can't get over it, then build one up with one of the gas piston uppers on the market and call it a day!



Thanks to you too, I'd heard something about a heavier load that the Spec Ops guys were using but nothing about results. The green tip load can do a number on you too. I just read a State Journal article about a guy recovering from a friendly fire wound to the thigh. The bullet broke into three pieces a really made a mess of things. While the lighter, faster bullets are capable of really messy damage they do have a tendency to kill or cripple later. During the battle the ability to fight back is not as diminished as it is with a fatter, somewhat slower bullet. At least it seems that is the case. I don't claim to have done a study on battlefield wounds. Just casual observation and annecdotal evidence. But maybe I will have to explore the possibilities of an AR... Just need a house to keep it in first! Thanks again!
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 2:45:26 PM EDT
Why buy an AR?

Because you can.

God Bless the USA!

Bailey89 sends...
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 10:28:41 AM EDT
11th, it's all gonna come down to personal prefernce. Do you like the ergonomics, do you like the modularity, etc., etc., etc., As far as reliability, well, let's say I've got no problems with an AR's reliability.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 12:52:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MisterPX:
11th, it's all gonna come down to personal prefernce. Do you like the ergonomics, do you like the modularity, etc., etc., etc., As far as reliability, well, let's say I've got no problems with an AR's reliability.


Never had a problem with the ergonomics (except maybe during strings of rapid fire when the eyes water a bit from the gasses coming out past the charging handle.) and I love the accuracy! I think I mentioned something before about never having been allowed to "push the envelope" with the weapon in terms of dragging it through the mud and beating the crap out it. I know you can't have the phenomenal accuracy and the absolute reliability in a semi-auto, one or the other has to give at some point. But for the most part I am happy with the accuracy if I can keep all the rounds center mass at 500m. So that gives me a little more reliability in adverse conditions.
I just talked to a guy at a gun shop a little while ago who built his as a varmit rifle. I think I may take the plunge and build one too. I will probably do an A2 both for the nostalgia and because I am familiar with it. I'll probably do it as a heavy barrel though. First gotta get a house though! Can't work with out a work shop! Besides, sounds like you can save a little by building your own and you can buy the parts as you are able so you can spread the payments out. Kinda like that idea-sorta like the models I built as a kid... Anyway, thanks for the input. Nice to have a forum where you can bounce ideas off many heads at once!!
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 3:03:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MisterPX:
As far as reliability, well, let's say I've got no problems with an AR's reliability.



I bet your armorer over there is already having nightmares!

Good to see you posting, friend.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 12:42:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 12:42:55 AM EDT by inferno715]
I like them because they look bad ass, people don't want me to have one, they're super fun to shoot... and you can even use it for hunting (prarie dogs, coyotes).

I have never owned a stock AR. The one I have has been built and rebuilt using quality parts from the top companies. I have had maybe a couple FTF from a tight magazine spring out of maybe 2-3k rds. Now I down load my mags 28rds and don't have that problem anymore.



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