Gods help me, I may cross over to the dark [AR] side. Newby questions

Gods help me, I may cross over to the dark [AR] side. Newby questions

This is a discussion on Gods help me, I may cross over to the dark [AR] side. Newby questions within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Never really been a fan of the AR platform, and it got worse when it was more of a status symbol like Glocks and Harleys ...

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Thread: Gods help me, I may cross over to the dark [AR] side. Newby questions

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    Gods help me, I may cross over to the dark [AR] side. Newby questions

    Never really been a fan of the AR platform, and it got worse when it was more of a status symbol like Glocks and Harleys -

    However, with the rumors leading to a glut in the market in 5.56/.223 ammo (FBI contract overruns and the military standing down) putting the prices about the same for com-bloc rifles, I am now thinking of picking one up. Be nice to have a rifle that I can afford to feed it brass instead of steel, shellacked, and corrosive ammo.

    I know nothing about these other than the basics (it's a gas powered semi auto that you can customize the crap out of). I do know that I will need something with a long or adjustable length of pull, I have long arms (my PSL is kind of crappy that way). I don't do iron sights so well so some sort of optic will be installed, ergo a flat top (fold down sights).

    1. Which brand(s) should I stay away from from a quality/reliability & option standpoint?

    2. What barrel length would be best for 300y and under (beyond 300y I go to my PSL)?

    3. Rifling - I've seen 1 in 7, and 1 in 9. What's the difference in performance?

    4. I've seen different kinds of gas block options, including a "Switchblock" [Noveske Rifleworks LLC]. Huh?

    5. Going to want a muzzle brake instead of the curtsey flash hider. Aftermarket I presume?

    Moreover, should I pick a good bottom end base model and just buy a variety of aftermarket replacement parts and build one? Mix and match the upper and lowers? That is going to bring up a whole pile of questions.

    Who's got the patience to hold my hand through this learning curve? Doing things right the first time saves money.

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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array peckman28's Avatar
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    1. I would stay away from Bushmaster, I know there are more that are less than stellar but at least a lot of the other cheap ones actually charge cheapo prices...

    2. 16" barrel would be fine for under 300y, though a 20" would certainly hit harder at that range.

    3. I would go with 1/7 rifling unless you are never planning to run a bullet heavier than 69 grains through it. The cheapest ammo (which it sounds like you're after) is going to be between 55 and 62 grains, so for those bullet weights a 1/9 is just fine.

    4. Not entirely sure about that, but I will say that my personal inclination is just stick with the standard direct-gas impingement version of the rifle if that comes up. Some people like the piston-driven uppers but my view on them is that they add more weight to the front of the rifle, definitely more expense, and when they are built wrong they actually decrease reliability. When done right they're solid, but again, expensive.

    5. Colt makes them with muzzle brakes, I have one like that. The MT6700C and MT6601C are both 20" models with compensators. They also make them in 16". These are ban-compliant rifles so that's why they have the brakes instead of flash hiders, and the M4-styled ones have fixed stocks that only look collapsible. If I was getting a Colt like that I would stick with the 20" models, and if you do get a Colt you will be all set from a durability and build quality standpoint.

    Others will definitely have more to say but that's what I think of off the top of my head. As far as specific features you should look for in an AR, this link has a detailed breakdown of what you want to look for and why, along with the specs on major brands:

    Guest1 and Pistology like this.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2009
    Sticks, I think I'm in the same boat with you. The last AR that I shot was back in '87, and I wasn't a big fan of them then.

    Based on threads here and research on m4carbine.net, I've come to the conclusion that the Colt LE6920 is the best bang for the buck.

    I started working on Mrs. Whec (semi-anti) about a year ago, to start coming to grips that I was getting an AR this year. Unfortunately, she chokes on the notion of a $1,200 rifle that I'll shoot every now and then. I got her to agree to $800, which is what Bushmasters sell for at a local LGS.

    However, I've been studying Palmetto State Armory lately. Good feedback on parts and components, although they are new in the complete/assembled rifle game and recently stumbled with a shipment of short gas tubes. Even so, their cust service has a good reputation. When you look at the ingredients going into the cake, everything looks right. I'm thinking about this for a starting point:

    Palmetto State Armory 16" M4A1 Carbine
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  5. #4
    Array SIXTO's Avatar
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    First question you need to ask yourself is if you want a serious battle rifle or a target rifle. And then we can go from there.
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  6. #5
    Member Array ecrist's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    I suggest the M&P 15. 1/9 twist, 16" barrel. It has a muzzle brake already, and chrome-lined chamber and barrel. Also, it's chambered for 5.56 so it'LLC handle the surplus 5.56 as well as .223 cartridges. By default it has picatinny rails all around the fore-grip, and a rail above the action. It has a fixed front post with a folding rare site to accommodate a holographic or other optic.

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  7. #6
    Nix is offline
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    I'd like to ask why you want the weapon.

    If it is for plinking with cheap ammunition, then a .22LR would make a lot of sense (and could stil be used for HD). The 5.56 is a fine round at short ranges, but...out at longer ranges the ballistics look a bit anemic. There is a reason the 7.62 NATO is making a comeback with every branch of service. I had the chance to shoot weapons chambered for both the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.8 SPC, both were outstanding. I think the 6.8mm with a 155 grain cartridge carries more energy and momentum at 200-400 yrds than the 5.56. Momentum is an under-appreciated virtue in a battle cartridge.

    I too am thinking about an AR, but the choices are pretty mind boggling. Right now I'd lean toward the 6.8SPC, but LMT and a few others make a very nice AR chambered in 7.62 NATO. I believe British forces are starting to use the LMT in Afghanistan. US forces are using the EBR with great effect.

    Before deciding on the platform and baubles to add to it, I'd be sure you have the round you really want.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    I had a thread like this a while back. Got some great advice.
    One company that came recommended ended up sending me to someone's voice mail when I called, where I left a message. My questions were too technical for their phone person, and I can understand that. They called me back two weeks later. I was surprised they had kept my number for that long, so they've got that going for them. They said they had been busy. And they were. Waiting times for one of their ARs was 4-6 weeks. I had already gotten my AR by the time they called me back anyway. After leaving my voice mail at the one place, I tried to get a hold of a smaller outfit that was also recommended. They hand build ARs from various manufacturers' parts. Prices were very reasonable because some parts were slightly blemished. I wanted to speak to them personally, but apparently they will only contact you via email, even though they have a phone number on their website. I'm sure that is just fine for some people. I do not like email's constant back and forth as questions arise, or you don't understand the terms and acronyms they are probably going to use. I would just as soon talk with a person for ten minutes and place my order than email back and forth for two days. Especially when there's a waiting period involved. And a thousand bucks. It's hard for someone like myself, who tends to buy on impulse after my initial research, to add days to my order just bantering back and forth.

    So all that said, I ended up with an M&P X. It was also recommended by some. Not high end, not low end, readily available, had it in a few days. It's my first AR and I like it.

  9. #8
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    Array gasmitty's Avatar
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    Check out this thread from just a week or so ago:


    Follow the various links. Lots of stuff to consider, starting with hobby/range/fun gun, or to-hell-and-back reliable defensive weapon.

    My personal preference is a reliable (BCM, Noveske, Colt and S&W LE models) mid-length (16"); that can be a fun gun and decent hunting arm as well as a sturdy defense gun. You can dress the gun with different stuff - bipod, white light, red dot or scope - to suit the mission. I've been lucky with "lesser" ARs to date (early American Spirit, CMMG) which have both been proven in hard running, but the "succession strategy" includes stepping up to a BCM.
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  10. #9
    sgb is offline
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    You don't need to know
    PSA is producing an OUTSTANDING quality package at a ridiculously low price.

    Palmetto State Armory 16" M4A1 Carbine - $599.99

    Finally, a complete Palmetto Stae Armory rifle ready to go for one low price. Our M4A1 Standard Carbine starts with one of our Chrome-lined CMV barrels in the versatile M4A1 profile, mated to our forged aluminum upper, and finished off with standard handguards and A2 Flash hider. The forged lower is built with our 6 position Mil-spec size buffer tube and stock, Standard PSA lower parts kit with A2-style grip and aluminum trigger guard. It comes with one 30 Round D&H PSA Magazine (where allowed by law) so all you have to provide is the ammo to start having fun.

    Barrel: 16", 4150 Steel, M4A1 profile, 5.56 NATO chamber with a 1:7 right-hand twist , chrome-lined, High pressure tested and magnetic Particle Inspected, carbine-length gas port, and M4 feedramps. Barrels are finished off with a taper pinned, f-marked, front sight post with sling swivel, standard handguards, an A2 flash hider, and are phosphate coated to Mil-specs.

    Upper: Forged 7075-T6 A3 AR upper is made to MIL-SPECS and hard coat anodized black for durability. Featuring machined T marks, and a mil-spec finish. These uppers are made for us right here in the USA, and are marked with the Palmetto State Armory logo on the left side, up front, just below the rail.

    Bolt: Bolt is made of Mil-spec Carpenter 158 steel, Shot peened, MPI and HPT. Gas key is secured with grade 8 fasteners and staked per mil-spec. Bolt carrier is parkerized outside, chrome lined inside, and laser engraved with the Palmetto State Armory logo.

    Lower: These forged lowers are quality made using material is 7075-T6 and are marked "MULTI" for caliber. Finish is Black Hardcoat Anodize per MIL-8625 Type 3 class 2. Mil-spec-sized buffer tube has 6 adjustment positions, is finished with a Palmetto State Armory M4-style stock and has a staked castle nut. Standard carbine buffer is Black anodized and has the PSA logo on the face. The standard PSA combat trigger has a smooth pull and clean break.

    Each rifle is assembled with care to order. Please allow up to 10 working days for your order to ship.

    Shipping $15

    .............. as to muzzle brakes look at the BattleComp.

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  11. #10
    Ex Member Array Yankeejib's Avatar
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    I keep trying to look at "other" rifles (mini 14's, Marlin levers, bigger bore hunting rifles, SBR's, etc.) but I keep coming back to the AR. It's not about being "tactical", SHTF baloney, looking cool, or going mall-ninja. It's about reliability, accuracy, ease of transportation, ease of tear down and maintenance, ease of modification, and having a ready supply of numerous ammos available in .223 and 5.56.
    Having said that, my next rifle will probably be another .22LR Ruger 10/22. I have this one dialed in so nicely, and am much better with it than the Colt AR in quick acquisition and rapid firing out to 150 yards. That's about the point where the .22LR round is losing velocity quickly and sinking fast while the .223/5.56 is still nicely flat. The other great thing about the Ruger is the ability to practice and blow through 500 rounds for $35 vs. 500 rounds of garbage .233 for $150.
    As I've said before, anyone who discounts .22LR as a SD round needs to stand out at 150 yards and play dodge-bullet.
    Having said that, the .223 carries so much more energy. While the .22LR will make the 4" steel plate dance at 100 yards, the .223 makes it spin a couple of times around the rack. I also enjoy shooting at frozen 500cl water bottles. You can see your shots clearly, you get to shoot numerous times at a target before you blow it up, it's cheap and easy.

  12. #11
    RKM is offline
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    1: Most well known name brand AR manufactures will make a decent AR15, in my opinion. Some will not be 100% milspec, but you'll rarely never know the difference if you don't run the rifle extremely hard.
    2: The standard 16" barrel will work just fine for 300 yards
    3: 1:7 is preferred, though 1:9 isn't bad either. 1:7 will shoot heavier bullets, usually 69gr and higher at greater distance. I've shot 75gr at 100 yards just fine with my 1:9.
    4: I believe is almost like an adjustable gas block, adjusting the amount of gas allowed to cycle the bolt. Some barrels gas port will wear out over time. Some barrels come with an over-gassed port to begin with making the rifle easier to cycle weak .223 ammo. I guess these switchblocks are just a way of adjusting this. This is NOT a must. I'd just stick with a normal gas block.
    5: There is a wide variety of flash suppressors, muzzle breaks and combinations of the two. They can get pricey.

    Just wait for jonconsiglio. He's a a big help with AR stuff.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Paging Jonconsiglio!!
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

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  14. #13
    Member Array Aiko's Avatar
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    There have been a couple of extensive recent threads on this topic just in the past few days. Daniel Defense, Bravo Company, Noveske, Colt, LMT among others will serve you well.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array gdm320's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Okay, so I went through this recently myself and am going to try and summarize the answer a bit.

    A 16 inch, 1:7 twist barrel is the preferred choice. So that takes care of that.

    Now the brand question. I'm going to throw three choices at you in escalating order of cost: Spike's Tactical, Bravo Company Manufacturing, and Knight's Armament.

    Spike's MSRP starts at $849 and the Knight's will run you $2k. When I priced the BCM Mid16 (before ordering for BCM rifles was shut down due to backorders) I think they were $1250ish. FWIW, I bought a Spike's and couldn't be happier!

    I'll tell you man, you need to head over to AR15.com's Forums. Those guys REALLY know their stuff!
    "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley

  16. #15
    New Member Array wjsweet's Avatar
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    What about those Sigs they have at Walmart?

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