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  #46  
Old 04-29-2012, 11:52 AM
MacCool

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Personally, I'd skip researching AR15.com and go right to M4Carbine.net. Search around using the orange search button at the top, not the search button on the vBulletin menu bar. That latter site is populated by a high percentage of people who use these rifles for work....a lot of mil, ex-mil, cops, manufacturers and other similar Subject Matter Experts.

If you do search on RRA (or DPMS, Bushmaster/Wyndham, Armalite etc), you'll find little love for those lower-tier rifles on that site, again because a significant number of the users there are oriented toward professional-grade weaponry. If you're looking for a budget range plinker for a few hundred rounds per year, RRA may well work just fine for you. I prefer that the firearms that I buy are top quality. S&W rifles are about as far down the quality scale as I'd go, but YMMV.

Other end of the scale from RRA would be Noveske, Colt, Larue, BCM, Daniel Defense, Knights. You can get a Colt 6920 for under $1000.


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Last edited by MacCool; 04-29-2012 at 11:57 AM.
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  #47  
Old 04-30-2012, 01:21 AM
John Jacob
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I've never understood why people are so caught up on their rifles being "mil-spec". The great majority of people buying a rifle will NEVER notice a difference in performance between a "top tier mil-spec" rifle and an average AR15.

Accuracy differences will not be noticed unless the rifle is shot from a bench with match-grade ammo and a high powered scope and often the non mil-spec rifle will be more accurate because it is chrome molly and not chrome-lined. Both high and low tier rifles will shoot hundreds of rounds without jamming. The rational shooter does not spray hundreds of rounds fighting and training against wave after wave after wave of paper adversaries, nor do they fight in epic battles against endless enemies. It is ridiculous to suggest that someone who goes to the range and shoots 20-100 rounds needs a rifle that can be taken to hell and back. To do so and look down on those with lower tier brands is gun snobbery, pure and simple.

People on Ar-15.com and M4 carbine.net may say they prefer "professionally weaponry" because they are ex- mil, leos, etc, but lets examine that statement. Leo's are perhaps the only group of people who use their personal AR's for work and I would agree that since they are putting themselves in harms way for us that they do deserve the very best. However trainers and retired military personal do not use their personal rifles for war. They use them in exactly the same capacity as us mere mortals. They shoot at paper. The only time that we are ever likely to use our rifles for self-defense is in the case of a break-in. What difference does it make if my low-tier AR can only shoot five hundred rounds before failing and yours can shoot a thousand when the majority of break ins are resolved without a shot and all others are resolved in less than five hundred? Why would my rifle magically break when my life is on the line when every other time ive used it has worked flawlessly? Because it doesnt have a pony on the side?

If you want to have a mil-spec rifle because you want to have the closest reproduction to what our military is using then by all means buy what makes you happy. But dont be pressured into buying a "mil-spec" rifle because you think that a non mil-spec rifle will exploded or fall apart in your hands. Contrary to popular belief, mil-spec rifles do not shoot magic out of their barrels. Anyways, for many intents and purposes a non mil-spec AR is superior for the everyday shooter.
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  #48  
Old 04-30-2012, 02:52 AM
rico903
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I've built so many now that parts are parts and can't tell much difference anymore (with a naked eye that is) except for price. If you are building a average rifle just to play and tinker with don't worry about what fancy pants "tier" level a manufacturer is beleived to be on.....just cause Larry Vickers is sponsered by Daniel Defense does not mean it's the best, Just because it says Wilson combat does not mean its better for your intended use, etc...etc....

If you are going to be expending 1000s and 1000s of rounds in training courses then sure, buy the best you can. Can a basement built rifle from a Model 1 Sales kit and a Bushy stripped lower assembled by novice endure the rigors of a training course?...probably not.....but it would give that novice the hands on know how of the rifle and most likely fit what his/her needs where at the time....IMHO of course...with my lower "tier" kiddies in braces and my middle "tier" kiddies wanting cars and Highest "tier" kid in college my pockets are not deep enough for Wilson this, Les Baer that, anymore......but no matter the "tier" level....I love 'em all...
Those 3 tiers of kiddies will keep you in the poor house for some time to come
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  #49  
Old 04-30-2012, 03:00 PM
MacCool

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I've never understood why people are so caught up on their rifles being "mil-spec". The great majority of people buying a rifle will NEVER notice a difference in performance between a "top tier mil-spec" rifle and an average AR15.

Accuracy differences will not be noticed unless the rifle is shot from a bench with match-grade ammo and a high powered scope and often the non mil-spec rifle will be more accurate because it is chrome molly and not chrome-lined. Both high and low tier rifles will shoot hundreds of rounds without jamming. The rational shooter does not spray hundreds of rounds fighting and training against wave after wave after wave of paper adversaries, nor do they fight in epic battles against endless enemies. It is ridiculous to suggest that someone who goes to the range and shoots 20-100 rounds needs a rifle that can be taken to hell and back. To do so and look down on those with lower tier brands is gun snobbery, pure and simple.

People on Ar-15.com and M4 carbine.net may say they prefer "professionally weaponry" because they are ex- mil, leos, etc, but lets examine that statement. Leo's are perhaps the only group of people who use their personal AR's for work and I would agree that since they are putting themselves in harms way for us that they do deserve the very best. However trainers and retired military personal do not use their personal rifles for war. They use them in exactly the same capacity as us mere mortals. They shoot at paper. The only time that we are ever likely to use our rifles for self-defense is in the case of a break-in. What difference does it make if my low-tier AR can only shoot five hundred rounds before failing and yours can shoot a thousand when the majority of break ins are resolved without a shot and all others are resolved in less than five hundred? Why would my rifle magically break when my life is on the line when every other time ive used it has worked flawlessly? Because it doesnt have a pony on the side?

If you want to have a mil-spec rifle because you want to have the closest reproduction to what our military is using then by all means buy what makes you happy. But dont be pressured into buying a "mil-spec" rifle because you think that a non mil-spec rifle will exploded or fall apart in your hands. Contrary to popular belief, mil-spec rifles do not shoot magic out of their barrels. Anyways, for many intents and purposes a non mil-spec AR is superior for the everyday shooter.
As I said, if the OP is looking for a 300-round-per-year range toy, a Bushmaster or RRA rifle may very well be "good enough", but seems silly for someone to look down their nose at another firearms enthusiast that prefers to own a top-quality firearm rather than a "consumer grade" version. I'm not a professional mechanic, but I buy Milwaukee power tools instead of Black and Decker. Sure, a cordless drill from Harbor Freight or a set of wrenches from the local Unclaimed Freight store may very well be "good enough", but I prefer higher-quality tools than that. By your logic, I assume that you'd be fine with owning a High-Point pistol or rifle. Those should be "good enough" for you, shouldn't they?

Anyway...I didn't say mil-spec. In fact, Colt and FN are really the only "mil-spec" AR15s out there since they're the only companies that have the TDP. The rest of those top-tier companies...they aren't "mil-spec", they just use high-quality parts and components and have a rigid set of QA guidelines - more precise tolerances as to what they'll accept in their assemblies and they check more of those components before they go in. In other words..."mil-spec" has nothing to do with it. Quality is the key with those mfgrs, as opposed to a series of corner-cutting manufacturing techniques and relaxed quality assurance evaluation in order to meet a certain mass-market price point and be able to turn out a budget rifle that the majority of WalMart customers will think is "good enough". Personally, I prefer to own the highest quality firearms that I can afford. That means, when it comes to AR15s, I stay away from certain companies, just as you do when you're buying your firearms. The fact that we have different standards when it comes to which companies those are is irrelevant. Don't disparage those rifle buyers who have higher standards than you do, though....that's silly.


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Last edited by MacCool; 04-30-2012 at 04:59 PM.
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  #50  
Old 04-30-2012, 04:14 PM
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Here is MY Colt Sporter AR15

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  #51  
Old 04-30-2012, 08:42 PM
John Jacob
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MacCool,

I am not against owning high points. They are a lot less sophisticated than other pistols but they work. And for someone who wants to protect their family or just have a cheap way to start shooting on a budget they are more than adequate.

But, you are missing my point. I am not saying that people shouldn't buy higher end firearms and should buy whats just good enough. I am saying that unlike power tools, where there is a huge difference in the quality between brands and price points there is not a huge difference between ar's. Most of the brands of ar's use the same major components from the same suppliers but unlike 1911s, ARs dont require a lot of hand fitting.

Sure higher end brands will have a lower rate of reject rifles slip through qc and be sold to the end consumer. However, the Colt 6920 i own is indistinguishable from the stag my brother owns in terms of accuracy, reliability, and finish. The RRA M16A2 clone I have is BETTER than the FN M16A4 I used in the military in terms of finish and accuracy. My RRA has never jammed before although I have never gotten it anywhere nere as dirty as my M16 was after I went through the quigley.

Sure some of the top tier brands may be a bit smoother and look nicer but in the end, performance difference between lower and top tiers is negligible. Its not like the difference between remington 770 and a custom GAP bolt rifle.

And by the way Im not ridiculing people for people for buying expensive ARs, they are higher quality, nor were my comments directed at you. I just get tired of the attitude on the internet when someone asks, " I found X brand for X price and it fits my budget, is this a good deal?" To which someone else responds, "Its a good deal if you like buying trash" or "How much is your life worth" or "Its not a serious rifle". Sorry if I offended you, that was not my intention nor goal.
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  #52  
Old 04-30-2012, 08:48 PM
QuercusMax

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Originally Posted by John Jacob View Post
I've never understood why people are so caught up on their rifles being "mil-spec". The great majority of people buying a rifle will NEVER notice a difference in performance between a "top tier mil-spec" rifle and an average AR15.

Accuracy differences will not be noticed unless the rifle is shot from a bench with match-grade ammo and a high powered scope and often the non mil-spec rifle will be more accurate because it is chrome molly and not chrome-lined. Both high and low tier rifles will shoot hundreds of rounds without jamming. The rational shooter does not spray hundreds of rounds fighting and training against wave after wave after wave of paper adversaries, nor do they fight in epic battles against endless enemies. It is ridiculous to suggest that someone who goes to the range and shoots 20-100 rounds needs a rifle that can be taken to hell and back. To do so and look down on those with lower tier brands is gun snobbery, pure and simple.

People on Ar-15.com and M4 carbine.net may say they prefer "professionally weaponry" because they are ex- mil, leos, etc, but lets examine that statement. Leo's are perhaps the only group of people who use their personal AR's for work and I would agree that since they are putting themselves in harms way for us that they do deserve the very best. However trainers and retired military personal do not use their personal rifles for war. They use them in exactly the same capacity as us mere mortals. They shoot at paper. The only time that we are ever likely to use our rifles for self-defense is in the case of a break-in. What difference does it make if my low-tier AR can only shoot five hundred rounds before failing and yours can shoot a thousand when the majority of break ins are resolved without a shot and all others are resolved in less than five hundred? Why would my rifle magically break when my life is on the line when every other time ive used it has worked flawlessly? Because it doesnt have a pony on the side?

If you want to have a mil-spec rifle because you want to have the closest reproduction to what our military is using then by all means buy what makes you happy. But dont be pressured into buying a "mil-spec" rifle because you think that a non mil-spec rifle will exploded or fall apart in your hands. Contrary to popular belief, mil-spec rifles do not shoot magic out of their barrels. Anyways, for many intents and purposes a non mil-spec AR is superior for the everyday shooter.
This is great advice, and I agree.

My tendency is to think that I need the very best, even if my intended use does not warrant that level of quality. And ironically, it is sometimes the case that more expensive products (of many kinds) are actually more finicky than others.

In the end, I often "over buy" what I need in terms of quality simply because I would rather have a few really nice items than many average ones, and not for any better reason.
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  #53  
Old 04-30-2012, 09:28 PM
MacCool

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MacCool,

I am not against owning high points. They are a lot less sophisticated than other pistols but they work. And for someone who wants to protect their family or just have a cheap way to start shooting on a budget they are more than adequate.

But, you are missing my point. I am not saying that people shouldn't buy higher end firearms and should buy whats just good enough. I am saying that unlike power tools, where there is a huge difference in the quality between brands and price points there is not a huge difference between ar's. Most of the brands of ar's use the same major components from the same suppliers but unlike 1911s, ARs dont require a lot of hand fitting.

Sure higher end brands will have a lower rate of reject rifles slip through qc and be sold to the end consumer. However, the Colt 6920 i own is indistinguishable from the stag my brother owns in terms of accuracy, reliability, and finish. The RRA M16A2 clone I have is BETTER than the FN M16A4 I used in the military in terms of finish and accuracy. My RRA has never jammed before although I have never gotten it anywhere nere as dirty as my M16 was after I went through the quigley.

Sure some of the top tier brands may be a bit smoother and look nicer but in the end, performance difference between lower and top tiers is negligible. Its not like the difference between remington 770 and a custom GAP bolt rifle.

And by the way Im not ridiculing people for people for buying expensive ARs, they are higher quality, nor were my comments directed at you. I just get tired of the attitude on the internet when someone asks, " I found X brand for X price and it fits my budget, is this a good deal?" To which someone else responds, "Its a good deal if you like buying trash" or "How much is your life worth" or "Its not a serious rifle". Sorry if I offended you, that was not my intention nor goal.
No problem. I probably overinterpreted your post.

I will say, however, that we have differing opinions on the quality gulf between the top and bottom tier AR15s. I've been building and shooting them a long time. The difference is vast.

Last edited by MacCool; 05-01-2012 at 01:26 AM.
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  #54  
Old 05-01-2012, 01:21 PM
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I haven't seen one but from what I hear from a reliable source the Ruger SR-556 is no joke.
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  #55  
Old 05-01-2012, 01:32 PM
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I haven't seen one but from what I hear from a reliable source the Ruger SR-556 is no joke.
Local shop has one and it's a heavy beast and around $1500.
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  #56  
Old 05-01-2012, 10:22 PM
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Wow

I had completely forgotten that I had made this thread until I was searching around for AR ideas again today lol.

Thanks to all for your posts, this thread got a lot of attention.

So far I'm at this point:

I recently saw a video by nutnfancy, who i'm sure most of you are familiar with. He reviewed the S&W m&P 15 sport. It came highly recommended from him for the about $650 price point. It isn't mil-spec and does not have a forward assist or dust cover, which cuts down on price. You can watch the video if you want:


As far as my price range, I'd be willing to spend more than the $650 range if quality was much higher. I would like to keep it around $1000 max however.

I've also been looking at the colt 6920, which someone mentioned could be purchased for around the $1000 mark. I think it is also mil-spec if I'm not mistaken. Mil-spec is not very important to me obviously if I'm considering the m&p 15 sport though.

The next time I get a chance I will go to my local range/gun shop and ask the guys there for their opinion as well. I'll also try to get my hands on and hold as many different kinds I can, i.e. DD, RRA, Colt, S&W, and others. The last time I was their with my friend we rented an AR and it was a Daniel Defense. It seemed fine but I think it was above my price range.

Thanks again all. Please continue to post.
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  #57  
Old 05-03-2012, 06:26 PM
age one
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Ok, since were going down the "which AR's are best.. mil vs com" road lets discuss which parts you can save money on and have no issues and which parts you need to spend the extra money on.

FWIW, I have to say the only point of failures I've had were all magazine related using a non 5.56 caliber (5.45x39)
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  #58  
Old 05-03-2012, 07:02 PM
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Ok, since were going down the "which AR's are best.. mil vs com" road lets discuss which parts you can save money on and have no issues and which parts you need to spend the extra money on.

FWIW, I have to say the only point of failures I've had were all magazine related using a non 5.56 caliber (5.45x39)
I shoot 3-5 tactical carbine courses a year, each one between 1000 and 2500 rounds over 2-3 days. I have seen bolt failures, extractor failures, firing pin failures, gas key failures, excessive wear on the receiver extension, FCG failures (everything from "no-bang" to auto. I've seen failures to feed, failures to drop mags, failures to seat mags, bad safety selectors at these course and after awhile one gets a feel for which rifles these things happen to most often.

Again, if you're only shooting a few hundred rounds per year, might not be an issue, at lest not a frequent issue, in your particular rifle. If you're putting 2500 round through the thing over three days, then it's more likely to become an issue.

There are only two companies that produce "mil-spec" rifles. Both are considered good rifles, but not necessarily the best among the top tier of AR manufacturers. None of my rifles are "mil-spec"....just good quality rifles from good mfgrs with good reputations.
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  #59  
Old 05-03-2012, 11:53 PM
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FWIW, I have to say the only point of failures I've had were all magazine related using a non 5.56 caliber (5.45x39)
I certainly hope you weren't trying to use a 5.45x39 mag in a 5.56 rifle. Yeah, you might have a malfunction or two with that.
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  #60  
Old 05-04-2012, 10:06 AM
age one
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I didn't try 5.45 mag with 5.56, I have pleanty of 5.56 mags and the thought never crossed my mind.

but I did try 5.45 in a 5.56 mag. they hold about 10 and function OK, any more then 10 and the mags feel like there gonna burst

low quality 5.45 AR mags are the weak point in a otherwise great alternative cartrage... all my mags had to be slightly dremeled and the feed lips tapped down before they would feed other wise they would double. now they work flawlessly.

I would love to run all my rifles to see which one breaks first and what breaks on it.. I know with my 3 AR's, based on how they opperate the 5.45 will probably have a serious failure first, the 9mm last if ever, the 5.56 some where inbetween.

but there are no tactical carbine classes in my area. I maybe run 2k a year threw between all three guns, but I'm already threw my first spam can of 5.45 and summer is just starting
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