AR-15 brand recommendations

This is a discussion on AR-15 brand recommendations within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am about to start researching AR's, and am trying to find which brands are the best, and which are "good values". Not the "cheapest", ...

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    Member Array Blackheart6's Avatar
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    AR-15 brand recommendations

    I am about to start researching AR's, and am trying to find which brands are the best, and which are "good values". Not the "cheapest", as I don't want junk. I am looking to buy an M4 style that offers good basic features. I'm not looking for any accessories or scopes/optics because I don't really know what I would really like. So I guess the question is "if you had to buy a bare bones AR today, what would it be and why?" Thanks in advance for any help.

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    New Member Array jign4bass's Avatar
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    Just bought an AR-15 myself. First rifle. Picked up the lower receiver day before last. Like you, I wanted a good, reliable rifle but didn't want to dump a ton of dough. Didn't want a piece of garbage either. Did alot of research and went with a Del-Ton. I assembled the lower myself and it was quite easy. Pulled assembly instructions off of ar15.com and watched a few YouTube videos. Don't need any specialty tools. Just patience and about two hours (my first build). Mil Spec and very functional. Made in the U.S. and the folks at Del-Ton are very responsive to calls and questions. I gave about $825 out the door with Magpul furniture.

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    just search for m-4 carbine spreadsheet. There is a good one out there that compares pretty much all the major players.

    It really depends on your intended use, and how honest you are with yourself about it.

    Absolute bare bones I'd look at a S&W M&P Sport, it is no frills. My next AR is going to be a build, with a BCM upper.
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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    I've done a lot of research in this as well. There is so much info out there, its unfortunately hard to tell the good from the bad. Between fanboys and bashers, it can be difficult to weed out the good info from the bad, also.

    From my own personal research, the brands I'm considering are;

    Bravo Company (BCM)
    Daniel Defense
    LMT
    Noveske

    The most economical rifle out of this list will most likely be the BCM. All of the rifles in this list should be a good rifle so I'd be happy with any of them. The most expensive will most likely be the Noveske.

    I also wouldn't have any qualms about mixing and matching parts from any of these vendors if I were going to build one and not buy one outright. For parts, if you go that route, I have found BCM & Palmetto State Armory to have good deals. They are at the very least, worth checking out.

    I hope this helps.

    Please share with us at whatever you decide to do and share with us your results.

    Take care,

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    Member Array titleist's Avatar
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    If we are talking about a milspec rifle, or one with the important components and maybe some parts and doo-dads that are generally considered desireable improvements, most of them are priced on a relatively linear scale based on accessories. General outline for a base milspec rifle is about 1000 bucks, and adding a $300 rail to a thousand dollar gun gets you right at 1300 (see going from BCM to Daniel Defense).

    There are a few exceptions, such as boutique companies charging for a name (Colt, Knights, any piston manufacturer) that may cost you 150 or more for the stamp on the side of the gun alone. Contrarily, some companies like Spikes seem to offer an equal product for 150 bucks LESS.

    I typically advise most to look at BCM for base rifles, or if you want a rail and different options of sight bases, gas-system lengths and configurations maybe look at DD. That being said you can't really go wrong with the earlier mentioned list, namely BCM, LMT, and Daniel for a good value and a quality rifle.

    You can save a few bucks going with a Smith or the like, but consider the cost of a proper buffer (most come with a buffer too light for their system, replacement will cost $25), having an armorer properly stake the castle nut and key, etc. It may be worth it to you if you know how to do it or know someone who does.

    Good luck!

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye .45 View Post
    just search for m-4 carbine spreadsheet. There is a good one out there that compares pretty much all the major players.

    It really depends on your intended use, and how honest you are with yourself about it.

    Absolute bare bones I'd look at a S&W M&P Sport, it is no frills. My next AR is going to be a build, with a BCM upper.
    The stickied thread i started at the top that says new M4 chart by Rob_s has the chart and all the explanations needed. It's a great starting point - New M4 Chart by rob_s

    Right now you can pick up a Colt 6920 for about $980 (usually between $1,250 and even $1,400). Great choice. I like Bravo Company probably the most of all as I can get all the options I want for a great price and with the best quality. LMT is good as is Noveske (though Noveske can be more expensive). some guys like Spikes, though I'm not a fan. PSA is a great company with awesome prices right now. Daniel Defense is always good though they don't have many basic models like the Colt 6920 or a basic Bravo Co. Knight's Armament is good, I just recently sold my two rifles from them, but they're expensive and use a couple proprietary parts. Centurion is good stuff as well. Monty is an active duty SEAL and takes great pride in his products.

    For me, if I can't get it from Bravo Co, I probably don't need it. They have everything I want for a good price and awesome service. I just bought a 14.5" mid length and it already is climbing to the top of my "best rifle" list.
    Last edited by jonconsiglio; October 20th, 2011 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Added link
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    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    The key is being honest with yourself on how its to be used. If its a range plinker or even a light duty defense gun I like RRA. If you can find a older one, its better than a new one. ( I know, I know.. there are plenty of people who will disagree- whatever) If you want a duty gun, BCM, COLT, Spikes would be the ones I'd look at. The S&W's are looking good these days too.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Colt prices have come down alot and are excellent rifles.

    Also look at CMMG they make great stuff and supply many other folks with parts. Depending on budget go custom. Rifle Dynamics build an M4 second to none using Knight rails and Fail Zero uppers, bolts and hammers.

    As others have stated get the rifle that will fill your intended use.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

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    "There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you." William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830)

    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammunition

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    Distinguished Member Array SubNine's Avatar
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    Back in 2008 just before Obama go elected I was looking for my first AR-15. I wanted to get a Colt but the prices on those things were just out of my reach (1,400-1,600 in my area), so I settled on the basic S&W M&P15 5.56 carbine which for 995 was pretty good. I had good experience with it but eventually sold it due to other financial obligations. Three years later I noticed Colts were at a very attractive price so I jumped on the opportunity to buy one for 1,200. It was 200 dollars more than the S&W I used to own but that's no big deal. I know Colt has been making black rifles for a very long time so I figure they know what they're doing. I imagine it's only a matter of time before these types of firearms go up in price again because of some political scare or maybe just maybe there's another AWB put in place. Colt has done away with their LE models (or stopped selling them to the public) and brought back the Sporter line of ARs. The Colt SP 6920 I have is just like the LE 6920 minus the LE markings on the lower receiver and I'm extremely happy with it! I may also get an M&P15 Sporter sometime in the future.




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    Member Array MarkR's Avatar
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    Purchased my 1st AR about a year ago - Colt LE 6920 - its been a great rifle and the price is around $990 now in my area. Now I'm planning on assembling a mid-length rifle with a Palmetto State Armory kit, just need to decide on a lower.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    I've not handled a PSA, but I'm hearing a lot of good things about them. It reminds me a lot of when Bravo Fompany decided to offer their own line of ARs. Hopefully we'll see it go that same direction. I'm thinking of picking up a lower or two the next time they have that $60 sale, or whatever it is.

    I've yet to hear a bad report about one of their rifles.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    I've not handled a PSA, but I'm hearing a lot of good things about them. It reminds me a lot of when Bravo Fompany decided to offer their own line of ARs. Hopefully we'll see it go that same direction. I'm thinking of picking up a lower or two the next time they have that $60 sale, or whatever it is.

    I've yet to hear a bad report about one of their rifles.
    They have their sales around the holidays.

    I picked up a lower from them during the Labor Day sale.$50 plus shipping.

    I vote BCM, because I have one
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

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    Member Array BaldSasq's Avatar
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    I bought a Rock River Arms lower, and a Bravo Company upper. Have had nothing but awesome from it, and total it ran me around 1200, a touch on the expensive side, but I am very pleased with it.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaldSasq View Post
    I bought a Rock River Arms lower, and a Bravo Company upper. Have had nothing but awesome from it, and total it ran me around 1200, a touch on the expensive side, but I am very pleased with it.
    Pics? Love the BCM uppers... What barrel and rail did you go with?

    My new one is a CHF, standard profile 14.5" mid length with a Daniel Defense ris II. I debated between carbine and mid length on the 14.5", but since I mostly run higher pressure ammo (and the Vltor A5 receiver extension), I figured it was the best choice... So far I'm very happy with it.

    So far it's more accurate and I like it better than my SR15's or the Colts I've owned. But, that's a premature opinion since I only have about 450 rounds through it since I got it abut a week and a half ago. So far so good.

    I wrote 100 on the target, but it was actually 85. Shot from prone using the magazine for support. I removed and sold my KAC two stage triggers and now only use GI triggers in non-precision rifles. Ammo was xm193. Group on left is from KAC irons... First shot for accuracy with irons. POA was the target below the three shot group. The ten round group was with a T1 without the magnifier. I imagine it would be a bit tighter with match ammo and a precision optic or even just with the magnifier or ACOG.



    Other than switching to a Vltor iMod and the Surefire flash hider when my can comes in, this is most likely how this rifle will stay for a while. I'm very happy with it.

    Last edited by jonconsiglio; October 22nd, 2011 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Changed links from Photobucket due to exceeded bandwidth
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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