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First of all, thanks to you guys that answered so many of my questions about the ARs. I know now that something like a Daniel Defense AR is a great buy, but it may not be something I can afford right now.

The two ARs I can afford are the M&P 15 ORC and the CMMG Bargain Bin model. Here's my question: is there anything permanent on these rifles that cannot be upgraded without MAJOR expense down the road?

I'm asking because $700 on a mediocre rifle would be better spent toward a really good one in my opinion if upgrades cannot easily be made.
 

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I guess that depends on what you want to upgrade?

ARs are probably one of the most modular guns on the market.

I personally buy the nicest, best stuff I can afford. AFFORD being the key.
 

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I think the only thing youd want to stay away from is a fixed carry handle
 

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Give Grant at G&R Tactical a call and see if he still has ADS rifles in stock. Put the rest into a Daniel Defense A1.5 or Magpul Industries MBUS rear sight and you'll have a fine rifle to cut your teeth on for $850-$875. Alternatively, if he has just upper halves you can buy an ADS upper, build your own lower, and save about $60.

Normally I wouldn't steer you away from an M&P rifle (they're not bad rifles at all), but remember the heavy, non-threaded barrel on the ORC and the lack of iron sights. That's another $100 to put half-decent sights on as it is, and the heavy barrel does not make for a good defensive rifle (meaning even more cost if you decided to have someone turn the barrel down to something slimmer and/or thread the muzzle) (is it still called a muzzle on a rifle? Crown? I dunno...). CMMG's bargain bin gun may be a good deal, but do your homework on it and how current owners of bargain bin guns like 'em. A good deal isn't if you have to keep fixing the little things, you know?


-B
 

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I think the only thing youd want to stay away from is a fixed carry handle
Not necessarily.

Anyways, you can upgrade anything on any ar with a few tools (2 specialized - a multi-tool and something to hold the reciever, which is held by your vice). How expensive it'll be to replace is dependent upon the cost and quality of the part you're putting in.

For example, you can get a brand new barrel for $150 or $450+. Uppers? $390 to $1300+

The sky is the limit for what you want - and changing from a carry handle to a flat top is a $90 affair.
 

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It is the modularity of AR's that makes them so popular. Save $$ now and be happy with your EBR or save money now and go nuts later and build your dream rifle. Have fun!
 

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The AR is a parts magnet. I hav 7 of them and none are alike.
The minimum would be the addition of a Red Dot sight, it is a life saver.
One of my son't is a Service Rifle shooter so he has a Rock River A-2 Match rifle and we got a Aimpoint Goosneck for his Aimpoint ML2.
The other likes the Bushmaster M4gery with the detachable sights and he put an EOTech Red dot on it.
 

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The AR is a parts magnet. I hav 7 of them and none are alike.
The minimum would be the addition of a Red Dot sight, it is a life saver.
One of my son't is a Service Rifle shooter so he has a Rock River A-2 Match rifle and we got a Aimpoint Goosneck for his Aimpoint ML2.
The other likes the Bushmaster M4gery with the detachable sights and he put an EOTech Red dot on it.
I recently bought a Rock River Tactical Entry (16" barrel, adjustable front and rear sights (rear sight is mounted on a removable tactical handle), and adjustable stock) for $800-900. I look forward to "accesorizing" it and using it for many years to come. I agree with the reader who suggested that a red dot reflex sight be one of your first purchases - these sights are indispensible. The price of red dot sights range widely in price also, so there are a lot of choices.

One thing I found with the RRA is that some AR-15s are manufactured to mil spec and therefore some of the accesories may be easier to find in stock at your gun store. Others (the RRA included) have been made to a commercial spec similar to mil spec. In the case of the RRA I purchased this meeans that if I want to exchange the standard adjustable stock with a Magpul adjustable stock, I have to ask for Magpul's commercial spec model - not a big deal, just a word to the wise.

BTW, I love my AR - I waited a long time to buy it and didn't have a lot of money to spend. It was worth the wait and the coin.
 

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My suggestion would be to get one with the barrel/gas system you want.

First upgrade would be an LMT bolt carrier group. Then either sell the "old one" or keep it as a spare. Get the m16/full auto version. It is just built better.

Everything else you can nickle and dime your way to.
 

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Do some reading and build one from the ground up....
 

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Forgive my ignorance but are the two choices direct impingement and gas piston?
Yep - correct.

There's one school who believes that a gun shouldn't "poop where it eats", and loudly decried the direct impingement design. Well, guess what - current production guns are damned reliable if you keep 'em lubed.

Another school favors the gas-piston guns, which are a refinement of the AR design. The alleged advantages with respect to reliability may be moot. Their biggest advantage may be with the very short-barrelled guns(14 inches and less). Leitner-Wise (LWRC) and H+K 416 are the best of the pack so far, but neither can be considered a "starter" gun - they're pretty pricey. The Ruger 556 is a piston gun, but it hasn't earned its reliability stripes yet.

Ask the guys like Pat Rogers and Jeff Gonzales who run dozens of carbine courses each year, and see literally hundreds of guns and hundreds of thousands of rounds fired yearly. Those are the guys I trust to provide informed, intelligent opinions, not the armchair warriors.

There are "hobby" guns like Bushmaster, Olympic and DPMS, then there are "professional" guns like the Colt, FN, Smith + Wesson LE, Noveske, and Bravo Company models. In between are Rock River, CMMG, and others.

If durability and reliability are your top priorities, and you expect your gun will get heavy use (thousands of rounds a year), go with the professional models. If you just want an AR for fun and casual plinking, then the economy models may be what you need.

I would go with a flat top, "mid-length" gas system (16" barrel) with a collapsible stock for the most flexibility as you start out. The M4 clones with the short barrel and carbine-length gas system are a bit tougher on the bolt and extractor, and you gain nothing in terms of overall length unless you get a model that requires BATFE registration as a "short-barrelled rifle."
 
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