Building an AR

Building an AR

This is a discussion on Building an AR within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have recently had the urge to buy another AR but have also considored building one. Through my research of various websites (Cheaper than Dirt, ...

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    Distinguished Member Array ErnieNWillis's Avatar
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    Building an AR

    I have recently had the urge to buy another AR but have also considored building one. Through my research of various websites (Cheaper than Dirt, Gunbroker, Spikes etc) I have come to the conclusion that there is no real monitary value to do so. Adding the cost of all parts and materials the savings appears to be minimal. Am I wrong?


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    Member Array McDonaldUSMC's Avatar
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    Are you asking about piecing together an AR from parts bought and aquired online or at gun shows? or are you refering to machining an AR from "scratch"? there are major diffrences in both price and labor... for me personally, piecing together an AR allows me to save money by getting the generic things (lower reciever, trigger, safety, stock, ect...) cheaper and spending the savings on a better BCG, and barrell. But, thats just my opinion bro.
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    You can certainly save money "building" (buying parts separately). You will have to watch for sales for things like stripped lowers (Palmetto State Armory), parts kits, complete uppers, etc.

    Your savings wont be astronomical, but you will know your rifle top to bottom when its all said and done. Where each part came from, what its made from, etc.
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    There is a 11% federal tax placed on completed firearms. Unless the place you buy it from eats that tax on completed firearms, it should be about that much cheaper to build your own. Unless the company marks up each part they sell individually.
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    Distinguished Member Array ErnieNWillis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McDonaldUSMC View Post
    Are you asking about piecing together an AR from parts bought and aquired online or at gun shows? or are you refering to machining an AR from "scratch"? there are major diffrences in both price and labor... for me personally, piecing together an AR allows me to save money by getting the generic things (lower reciever, trigger, safety, stock, ect...) cheaper and spending the savings on a better BCG, and barrell. But, thats just my opinion bro.

    Oh no! Not machining parts. I was talking about buying stripped lower and upper, barrel, gas tube and all the other components. Seems like I'll still be in the $1000 range for name brand quality parts.

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    Yes, there are some great buys out there.
    My point is when you build one from a stripped receiver, you get to put the parts into it that you want and do not have to purchase parts that you will take off and place in the garbage or tool box. It will cost more to build one up. You will get exactly what you want. If you know what you want.

    If price is the issue just buy one complete ( on sale ). Trust me after six months you will have a drawer full of parts, handguards, stock, grip,charging handle, gas block, site, trigger .......

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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    IMHO, even if you factor-in your own "free" labor, you can't touch a manufacturer's purchasing power buying truckloads of components at a time. It's a fun exercise to shop, haggle, barter & assemble your very own, unique AR. But realize you're doing it for FUN...and NOT because your getting a better rifle at a reduced price. The commercial market is too crowded with suppliers for ANYONE to be making a very wide profit margin on an AR.
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    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    really it is not build it is putting a puzzle together.
    You can buy a quality still at a fair price may not have the name you want on it but just as good.
    Example Windham sold at walmart for 799 They are done right . Core 15 can be found at a good price but they are creeping up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieNWillis View Post
    Oh no! Not machining parts. I was talking about buying stripped lower and upper, barrel, gas tube and all the other components. Seems like I'll still be in the $1000 range for name brand quality parts.
    your certainly right about the price point... i have a DPMS lower and BCM upper that i LOVE, that was frankenstien'd for just over 1000. but i also have a PSA and Spikes that totaled just over 500... the deals are out there... you just have to be paitent and willing to hunt for em!
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    Member Array BaldSasq's Avatar
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    Two years ago I would disagree, but I have noticed the exact same thing. A built AR is about 10% more than a collection of parts you build into an AR. It's like PCs were 10 years ago, where if you could build one, you could save 400 bucks at least. Now a days, building one is more expensive than buying a manufacturer one. Hopefully AR's will go the same way? ;-)

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    I'd say it's more a matter of pride and sense of accomplishment than any real $ savings. Just buying separate complete uppers and lowers is the only real price break when you are talking quality components.

    But, doing a complete build is a task that can be rewarding and satisfying in a way that snapping two assemblies together can never be. It is also a fairly big hole that you will be throwing a good bit of money into.

    A good friend of mine once told me; "When you can stand at the end of a dock and toss $600.00 in the water every week without missing it, you are ready to buy a boat." The same advice on a smaller scale could be applied to truly building an AR.
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    A good friend of mine once told me; "When you can stand at the end of a dock and toss $600.00 in the water every week without missing it, you are ready to buy a boat." The same advice on a smaller scale could be applied to truly building an AR.
    Haha! Too true!

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    ARs & the parts are all over priced, IMO. You can buy an assembled AR for what it costs to build one. You can save some money though depending on your parts selection and shipping costs. I built mine for the experience of it. I enjoyed researching, planning the project out and seeing it slowly come together as the parts started to trickle in. You miss out on this experience when you buy a manufactured one. To be honest, I enjoyed the experience so much I was a little saddened after I built it. I was glad that I finally had the gun that I had been wanting but I also missed the anticipation of it all.

    The cost of my rifle came in for about the same money you would have in a BCM or Colt LE6920 (w/out Magpul furniture). For the same money, however, my rifle has a nice 2-stage trigger and Magpul furniture. In other words, my rifle has some upgrades that you wouldn't get with an equivalently priced manufactured rifle. When you build one though, like I was saying earlier, you have to pay attention to the shipping charges or you'll be giving what little your saving and handing it over to the UPS/Fed-Ex man.

    Probably the biggest advantage of building your own is that you get to pick the exact parts you want. You can't do this with a manufactured rifle. You can't buy a rifle off the shelf like the one I built for myself. Now can you buy a manufactured rifle and convert it over with the exact parts you want? Sure you can, but now you have even more money in it. I say, Build it once, buy it once. ;-) If I bought a manufactured rifle, I'm not sure I would spend a lot of money replacing parts on it and putting that much more money in it. That money could go towards optics or ammo, etc. That's just me though.

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    I think one of the advantages to assembling one is that you don't need to pay twice for the same parts. I can choose the handguard, trigger guard, safety selector, sling plate, stock, charging handle, sights and pistol grip that I want from the beginning, and just buy the version that I want.

    With the rifle I bought complete, I wound up replacing pretty much all of those things, meaning I had to pay for the original version that came with the rifle, and then again for the version I actually wanted, in the combination that I wanted.

    One of the keys is to wait for sales, and be patient with the process. When I see a good deal on parts I need for builds, I buy them, and just keep them until the rifle is complete. A lower reciever or BCG isn't going to go bad if it sits for 6 months until I can buy an upper. Which brings up another advantage of assembling, you can avoid a massive up front, one time cost, and spread it out as you have the money to do so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye .45 View Post
    I think one of the advantages to assembling one is that you don't need to pay twice for the same parts. I can choose the handguard, trigger guard, safety selector, sling plate, stock, charging handle, sights and pistol grip that I want from the beginning, and just buy the version that I want.

    With the rifle I bought complete, I wound up replacing pretty much all of those things, meaning I had to pay for the original version that came with the rifle, and then again for the version I actually wanted, in the combination that I wanted.

    One of the keys is to wait for sales, and be patient with the process. When I see a good deal on parts I need for builds, I buy them, and just keep them until the rifle is complete. A lower reciever or BCG isn't going to go bad if it sits for 6 months until I can buy an upper. Which brings up another advantage of assembling, you can avoid a massive up front, one time cost, and spread it out as you have the money to do so.
    This was a huge advantage for me. I didn't have the money to buy one outright and bought parts as I had the money to do so. A hundred dollars or so every so often is a lot easier to do than to plump down a grand or more in one lump sum. I suppose I could have socked the money away instead of buying parts but its like you said, if you wait and buy the parts when you can catch a good deal, you'll have greater success in getting the rifle you want for a good price.

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