I've built several AR's from kits which is where you save money,building a top tier gun isn't gonna save you a lot.I think my next AR's will be 2 Colt 6920's me and wife,and then change out the handguard for lightweight quads and mount aimpoint PRO's,light and VFG,that should just about do it
Just an update. I have done a little more research and this is what I have come up with as far as cheapest parts cost from ebay, gunbroker and Cheaper than Dirt.
BM gov profile non-chrome lined barrel - $130 (ebay)
SPIKES stripped flat top upper Comes with forward assist and dust cover - $100 (GB)
SPIKES stripped lower - $115 (GB)
BCM bolt carrier group - $150 (ebay)
UTG milspec buffer tube kit - $31.99 (ebay)
Colt pistol grip, collapsable stock, hand guards - $60 (ebay)
Gas tube - $12 (ebay)
DPMS trigger group - $28 (ebay)
front sight gas block with sling swivel - $14 (ebay)
Windham complete lower parts kit - $68.95 (CTD)
Barrel nut - $11.11 (ebay)
Delta ring - $12.99 (ebay)
Flash Hider - $8.44 (CTD)
Charging handle - $11.50 (ebay)
Total = $725.98
So for a little over $700 bucks for an AR build. Of coarse once tax and shipping are included it would probably well exceed $800.
If I am leaving anything out please feel free to chime in!
I think if you shop around and be patient you will save some money. I was looking to spend around $700 on a new pre built AR15 at my local gun store. It came down to a S&W M&P sport for $675 OTD, a DPMS for $742 OTD, or a Del Ton for $742 OTD. I ended up spending about $665 total on a rifle built in a way that kept the price low while at the same time using parts I preferred. It has a Palmetto State lower and upper assembly, a Joebob premium M16 BCG, a Spikes tactical charging handle, and Magpul stock and grip. So far it has function flawlessly.
I saved about $10-$77 over buying one of the prebuilt ones in the store. From what I have heard from from several gun store associates and from reading online, a Palmetto State Armory AR is a step above the ones I would have purchased. Some even said they would put it in the $1000 price range of ARs. I don't know if that is true because I never owned or shot another AR.
IMO the biggest thing for me was the joy I had picking the parts, putting it together, and gaining some knowledge of how the rifle goes together and its inner workings.
+1 luvmy40. It was a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of pride for me.