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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Shortly after the FL shootings, I finally got around to purchasing some guns.
I had tax return to spend, so it was time to go to gun store. I always knew I needed to get a pistol first and for most. got semi-9mm.

Then I was deciding between a rifle or shotgun. went with a nice pumper 20g. I decided on 20 because,

I'm a weak little hobbit that has to use babies to fight for me. NOT!

haha. I chose 20 so I don't have to deal with abunch of recoil, and so the younger (and older) family members can shoot it.

I know 12 is more abundant. And I have shot 12s before.

I know there are tough dudes out there that can't fathom 20 over 12. (ohwell!)

Anyway, my next firearm purchase will be a rifle. I've read the other threads on different systems and gonna go with an AR-15. -- .223----

I already have a S&W m&p15-22. which I've had a few years. Has Magpul furniture. -Which I like on them.

So in the current year before next February, I will be on the lookout and researching makes and models. I know it may be best to "build" one too.
Most definitely will have magpul furniture.

As a all-round defense/offense.-- more defense. prob shorter length.

So any advise and suggestions are welcome.

Prepper elite
4,538 Posts
300 to 500 gets you a pretty good start up.

Name branded like colt will just waste your money for the same rifle. Spend they money on ammo mags and training.

If I had a voice I'd sing
7,138 Posts
No reason not to build it. I built my first AR and I was not an expert.

The heart and lungs of an AR are the bolt carrier group (BCG) and the barrel. If those are good to go, chances are you'll have a good gun. Spend a little extra on those, and save money on the other parts.

For the BCG, you don't need fancy coatings but try to make sure the bolt is made from quality Carpenter 158 steel and High Pressure Tested (HPT) and Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI). The gas key bolts on the carrier should be very well staked. I'd recommend a Bravo Company BGC or a Daniel Defense BCG. If you want to save a few bucks get the Palmetto State Armory Premium BCG - those are good to go no matter what people might tell you.

For the barrel, 1/7 twist and 4150 CMV steel is optimal. Nitride coatings are good and so is chrome lined. Nowadays there is no reason not to get either nitride or chrome lined.

If you go with a cheaper barrel you may have chamber fitting problems. I personally like the Stag barrels because you can get the above specs and also chrome lined for a decent price. Stag has been making ARs for a long time.

You don't need a free float barrel unless you want to lessen your groups by 1/4"-1/2", so drop in Magpul handguards are good for 90% of us. I like a fixed A2 sight on mine when possible.


13 Posts
Decided how much you want to spend then start watching prices and doing research. PSA does deals all the time. Their deal prices don't change that much if you keep track of it. So your not necessarily going to get a better deal on thanksgiving vs their daily deal.

I'm not sure I would recommenced building your own AR for your first gun unless you are really mechanically inclined and really want to have at it. I would go for a inexpensive or mid range gun. Chances are really good you wont be able to tell a difference between a $400-500 gun and a $1000+ gun. They are all going to go bang when you pull the trigger. And most AR15 these days are pretty accurate, reliable, etc.

Here are a few things I would recommend....
- Get a gun with a free floating hand guard. You'll probably end up changing it if you don't.
- Get a gun you think looks cool to start with. Looks do matter. A lot.
- You can even get a pre-cerakoted gun from (they put their stuff on sale most holidays)
- Get one that is 5.56 / .233 (not just .223)
- I prefer normal lightweight barrels (not heavy, bull, or pencil(really skinny ones))
- There are a number of barrel composition & barrel linings. You probably wont ever shoot any of them out unless you go to the range a LOT. All will work great. Some are a little better then others & some will last long then others.
- Get at least 10+ magazines for every gun you have. You really can run into a position where the mags are no longer being produced or no longer available for what ever reason. And if you don't have mags your gun is worthless. It really can happen. No joking.
- Buy ammo in bulk online in cases of 1000 rounds. Most of it is just fine. I use a lot of PMC .223/5.56 but also have a few other brands. often as not has the best prices.
- If you buy your gun online or buy the upper and lower online (separately) you'll have to pay a small transfer feel to a local gun shop. Find out ahead of time what they charge for that fee.
- If you are left handed. I would recommend just getting a right handed gun. The brass will NOT hit you in the face or bother you & you'll be able to use any ar15 parts. I'm a leftie and the first gun I bought was a left handed stag $1,000 ish. Great gun. Wife got a M&P 15 sport $550. We shoot her gun a tone. Mine rarely gets shot. In retrospect I should have just bought the M&P for $500 and then when I found out what I really wanted and likes got something else. I really don't like the fact the the left handed gun has to have special left handed parts. And I actually find it annoying that the brass fly's out to the left instead of the right like every other gun on the planet.
- Red dots, red dots with a 3x flip scope, and scopes are all supper awesome. I really like vortex. Awesome products, work really good, and they have a life time warranty.


Here are some of the notes I have collected from different places. I have so much going on in life I cant always remember all these details and find it helpful research stuff and then record it for later reference. They are probably NOT perfect but it will give you an general idea what your looking at. Some of the below stuff has not been around long enough to really be tested and some of it really boils down to a person preference or opinion.

--- Uppers ---
Want the following...
Gas system: Mid-Length Or Carbine for 16"
1) Mid-Length - Barrel Length: 14-20 inch, Port Distance: 9 inch
2) Carbine - Barrel Length: 10-18 inch, Port Distance: 7 inch
3) Pistol - Barrel Length: Less then 10 inch, Port Distance: 4 inch
4) Rifle - Barrel Length: 20 plus inch, Port Distance: 12 inch
- Carbine gass on a 16" barrel: slightly more recoil, harder on parts.
The distance from the gas hole to the end of the A2 flash hider on a 16" barrel with carbine-length gas system is approximately 9.5".
The distance from the gas hole to the end of the A2 flash hider on a 20" barrel with rifle length gas system is approximately 7.5"
The distance from the gas hole to the end of the A2 flash hider on a 16" barrel with mid-length gas system is approximately 7.5"
The distance from the gas hole to the end of the A2 flash hider on a 14.5" barrel with carbine-length gas system is approximately 7.5"
System Barrel Length Port Distance
Pistol Less than 10 inches 4 inches
Carbine 10-18 inches 7 inches
Mid 14-20 inches 9 inches
Rifle 20 plus inches 12 inches
Barrel Profile: A2 Lightweight (NOT Heavy/Bull)
1) A2 Lightweight (Normal use, field use)
2) Heavy/Bull (Competitions, slight more accurate, less vibration)
3) Pencil (skinny barrel)
Lightweight - thin the entire length.
government - thin under the handguards, heavy profile from the gas block to the flash suppressor
M4 - stepped barrel, thin under the handguard.
A1 - generally a lightweight barrel, whole length.
A2 - generally a government profile, sometimes an HBAR
HBAR - very heavy under the handguards, heavy to the FS.
standard - heavy all the way to the FS.
Pencil - thin the entire length.
Barrel Steel: CHF or CrMoV+QPQ
1) CHF (Cold Hammer Forged Chrome Moly Vanadium) (Last a long time, slight accuracy drop)
2) CrMoV (Chrome-Moly Vanadium) + QPQ
3) CrMoV (Chrome-Moly Vanadium)
4) Stainless Steel (slight increase in accuracy, not last as long)
Barrel Lining: Nitrade/Melonite
1) Chrome Lining Extra thick (Last a LONG time, slight accuracy drop)
1) Nitrade/Melonite (Last a LONG time, good accuracy, corrosion resistance)
2) Chrome Lining (Last a long time, slight accuracy drop)
3) Phosphate (regular / normal, mil spec coating)
Barrel Finish: Cerakote or Nitrade
1) Cerakote (Tough, Last LONG time, More corrosion resistant)
2) Black Nitrade (Tough, Last LONG time, More corrosion resistant)
3) Phosphate (standard black finish)
Twist Rate: 1:7 (is best, but other twists may apply)

BCG: Nickel Boron or Black Nitride
1) Nickel Boron (Silver, more easy to clean, expensive)
2) Black Nitride (easy to clean, better then phosphate)
3) Phosphate (standard black finish)
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