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I would buy my first one, and after playing around with it, and also finding out what you really desire in the Platform, then try your hand in one. We at the Store, see a LOT of "Custom Builds" that have either been fudged, or have become a mess of time effort and $$$$$$$.....FTF issues are common with the "Custom" builds that come in for Trade or Sell. (Gee I wonder why that is )
Windham Weaponry
M&P Sport II
Ruger AR556
CMMG
Springfield Saint
Black Rain (more of the Custom Entry Level gun and YES, you can easily spend High $$ on these ones too)
Colt (the Mainstay rifle)
The choices are endless out there..
 

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Get the M&P Sport II.

Great rifle out of the box with a lifetime warranty from a respected American manufacturer.

You can customize the furniture etc any way you like with aftermarket parts too.

Down the road - if you have an itch that still needs scratching - put the time into the research and trial and error that comes with building your first AR.

Good Luck!
 

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I would buy my first one, and after playing around with it, and also finding out what you really desire in the Platform, then try your hand in one. We at the Store, see a LOT of "Custom Builds" that have either been fudged, or have become a mess of time effort and $$$$$$$.....FTF issues are common with the "Custom" builds that come in for Trade or Sell. (Gee I wonder why that is )
Windham Weaponry
M&P Sport II
Ruger AR556
CMMG
Springfield Saint
Black Rain (more of the Custom Entry Level gun and YES, you can easily spend High $$ on these ones too)
Colt (the Mainstay rifle)
The choices are endless out there..
I agree.

I've built a few ARs from stripped lowers and uppers, not slapping together PSA assemblies by pushing in 2 pins :rolleyes: and it does take some attention to detail and the right tools. I've actually "fixed" more home-built guns than I've built myself. With the proper tools, it's not hard (obviously, IF I can do it), and it is fun. I actually enjoy the research/planning portion of the build more than actually putting the gun together.

The problems are usually a lack of research and care when buying the parts. Not everything AR15 is compatible, it will usually fit, but it may not function. Especially true when matching the gas length; pistol,carbine, mid, and rifle to the buffer and recoil spring. Guys want to go cheap on parts, which you can as long as it's the parts that don't impact function.I cannot tell you how many guns I've seen have issues due to something as simple as improper gas block alignment.

Due to economy of scale, there's no way I can assemble a good AR15 as cheaply as S&W, Springfield Arms, CMMG etc. So I don't try, even watching sales like a hawk (and I do) I'm, just not buying a gazillion barrels at a time, or BCGs. Every AR15 I've built for myself has come in at way over cost for your average factory AR15, but they've been exactly like I've wanted them and they've functioned. I'll also NEVER get my money back, just like any other custom gun.
 

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It don't exactly take a mechanical wizard to assemble an AR-15. If you were actually building something it would be different. Taking parts that are already made and screwing them together is not building anything. I've put kids monkey bar sets together that were more complicated than assembling an AR-15. I think it makes some people think they're a gun smith when they screw these factory made parts together.
 

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Language warning as usual with James. But I think he is right.
 

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Language warning as usual with James. But I think he is right.
I think he’s half right. Someone can do a good job building a rifle. However, I do agree that a lot of people don’t really know what they’re doing. I’m not going to lie. I was really hoping he was going to say what kind of rifle is best for hiding with.
 
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Being an engineer does not make one a mechanic. Most mechanics will agree.

First time out of the gate, I'd look into PSA (Palmetto). Good stuff, can buy uppers and lowers separately--a mix & match option--and the price is right.
Their must be something about being a retired Air Force E-8. I was going to say about the same thing especial about the relationship between mechanics and engineers.
 

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I wouldn't want my life to depend on anything that had, "Some assembly required." But then I am not an AR guy anyway. I qual'ed expert with an M-16 in the Navy and never wanted to handle that design again. I get why people like them, but I just don't. I'm a die-hard Garand-action guy.
 

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Their must be something about being a retired Air Force E-8. I was going to say about the same thing especial about the relationship between mechanics and engineers.
The general consensus of mechanics toward engineers is, "What the heck were they thinking?" Part of engineering school should be having to work on and repair whatever they design. Things would be designed a whole lot better then.

Case in point: To change the little front running lights in Chevy truck require removing the trim over the bumper, removing the grille, and then removing the entire headlight assembly. The little access caps over the bulbs are totally inaccessible otherwise. Sheer genius, that was.
 

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It don't exactly take a mechanical wizard to assemble an AR-15. If you were actually building something it would be different. Taking parts that are already made and screwing them together is not building anything. I've put kids monkey bar sets together that were more complicated than assembling an AR-15. I think it makes some people think they're a gun smith when they screw these factory made parts together.
I'd like to think so too, but spending time on sites like below, taking multiple carbine classes and watching carbines crash, shooting AR15s in 3Gun matches, not to mention fixing botched up ones have made me think otherwise.

Just read some of the posts here:

https://www.ar15.com/forums/AR-15/Troubleshooting/66/
 

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The LGS makes lots of money selling parts and parts kits for home-built ARS. The LGS makes lots of money having the gunsmith fix home-built ARs.

The LGS makes lots of money selling modifications and additions for people to play dress up Barbie with their ARs. The LGS makes lots of money having the gunsmith fix ARs that have been modified until they quit working.

I prefer to buy an AR for self-defense that is a bone-stock high-quality name-brand AR and lots of Lake City NATO surplus ammo for practice.
 

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I became an "auto technician" years ago, from loosing trust in "others ability to repair my car to MY standards". As for AR's, I worked at a "machine shop" machining lower's from blocks of "billet aluminum". I'd say that where I worked, I BUILT RIFLES! Not just "threw together part's" (an assembler). That being said, I did purchase a two volume set of books on AR's. "The AR-15 Complete Owner's Guide", by Walt Kuleck & Scott Duff. I go to other "reference sources" for firearms knowledge, (people I know) & rarely use youtub as a source. Having also worked on "all my own firearms for over 50 years", I feel "more than comfortable" working on, AND TRUSTING my life to any rifle I own. Fifty+ years making a living in two profession's that deal with "engineering design & repair of mechanical equipment"(machinist/fabricator & "Master Auto Tech"), I feel more than comfortable building & working on guns. I also invested in "specialty tools" I would need to do so, as @Havok mentioned earlier in this thread, "adding to the cost of building your own rifle". With that, & what @Chuck R. mentioned, I'll probably never get back what I put in to them. "Trust in my skills" was worth it! Am I an AR genius? NO! Just some guy on a gun forum! As O.P. already stated, he bought a "complete rifle". A good idea, for sure, at this point in him "getting into AR's". If he spends time with this rifle, and want's to build one some day, I say great!
 

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@Pete63 In my two comments on this thread, I referred to me assembling an AR. I agree, you build AR's. That is why I was so particular about describing how easy it is just assembling a lower parts kit.

I also buy an assembled complete upper. It ships directly to your house like any other part that is not a firearm. I don't need to mess with the gas block and timing/spacing the barrel.
 

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I am attending our local gun show this weekend. What prices are you guys seeing in your LGSs for the S&W and Ruger models mentioned? I know now is not the best time to be buying one.

Edit: but after the election could be a worse time.
 

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As far as building an AR, for even those with the most modest of mechanical skills, it will take only slightly longer to build your first AR than it takes to watch any of the many Youtube videos on how to build an AR. Trust me on that. If it takes over an hour and a half, you maybe should have bought an assembled AR.
 
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The general consensus of mechanics toward engineers is, "What the heck were they thinking?" Part of engineering school should be having to work on and repair whatever they design. Things would be designed a whole lot better then.

Case in point: To change the little front running lights in Chevy truck require removing the trim over the bumper, removing the grille, and then removing the entire headlight assembly. The little access caps over the bulbs are totally inaccessible otherwise. Sheer genius, that was.
I understand your pain. But the problem there is not in the engineering section, but the marketing section - and in the board room.

If you design something so complicated it takes highly trained / motivated repairmen to fix, like your dealerships, then you make more money. And who cares about your customers anyway?
 

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I became an "auto technician" years ago, from loosing trust in "others ability to repair my car to MY standards". As for AR's, I worked at a "machine shop" machining lower's from blocks of "billet aluminum". I'd say that where I worked, I BUILT RIFLES! Not just "threw together part's" (an assembler). That being said, I did purchase a two volume set of books on AR's. "The AR-15 Complete Owner's Guide", by Walt Kuleck & Scott Duff. I go to other "reference sources" for firearms knowledge, (people I know) & rarely use youtub as a source. Having also worked on "all my own firearms for over 50 years", I feel "more than comfortable" working on, AND TRUSTING my life to any rifle I own. Fifty+ years making a living in two profession's that deal with "engineering design & repair of mechanical equipment"(machinist/fabricator & "Master Auto Tech"), I feel more than comfortable building & working on guns. I also invested in "specialty tools" I would need to do so, as @Havok mentioned earlier in this thread, "adding to the cost of building your own rifle". With that, & what @Chuck R. mentioned, I'll probably never get back what I put in to them. "Trust in my skills" was worth it! Am I an AR genius? NO! Just some guy on a gun forum! As O.P. already stated, he bought a "complete rifle". A good idea, for sure, at this point in him "getting into AR's". If he spends time with this rifle, and want's to build one some day, I say great!
Scott Duff's books a the gold standard in manuals in my opinion. I
I have his books on the M1 Garand and have been studying them for about 9 months while I save to purchase one.
I still have to get his AR books.
 

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Well, thanks for everyone's comments. I actually went into our local shop and found a Ruger AR-556 on sale for a reasonable price so I picked it up.

Looking forward to trying it out.
You made a good choice. The Ruger will serve you well. It is reliable and fun to shoot to boot.

We have the Ruger and the Colt. They are both good guns right out of the box. Again, the Ruger was a good choice imo.

Now buy yourself 10 or 12 30rd PMags.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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You made a good choice. The Ruger will serve you well. It is reliable and fun to shoot to boot.

We have the Ruger and the Colt. They are both good guns right out of the box. Again, the Ruger was a good choice imo.

Now buy yourself 10 or 12 30rd PMags.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Well, I bought two more so far so I'm at 3. I'd at least like to get to 5 or 6. 10 might be pushing it a bit, but we'll see. I have ammo to stock up on as well.
 
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