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spookie
02-19-2012, 4:05 PM
Would buying a complete built cal-legal AR-15 would be safer and easier than building my own? Any suggestions into a moderate priced begginer ar-15? I've been looking into franklin armory.

icenix
02-19-2012, 4:25 PM
You are about to get a bunch of posts telling you to use the search feature because there are a million of these threads on here, lol.

You can buy one ready made, but it really isn't that hard putting one together. If you want a ready made, entry AR the popular choice right now seems to be a S&W M&P sport. If you want to build one and price is a concern I know a lot of people on here like Palmetto. Just do a little research. I don't think buying one already together is "Safer" and it really isn't hard to put one together.

I put mine together back in Dec. and it turned out great. I went with a Spikes lower and Bravo Company upper.

You can always post if you have questions, but feel free to message if you have any questions. I am in no way an expert, but I will help if I can.

jbush
02-19-2012, 4:30 PM
You didn't note where your at, but if you're in so cal. try some of the forum sponsors. Rifle Gear has a lot of complete ARs so does Turners and some others. If you want to build, it's not that hard, I just completed my first. Buy a stripped lower and either a parts kit and upper or a rifle kit. Palmetto State Amory has some good prices, check some of the others

Rob454
02-19-2012, 4:39 PM
I built a few ARs for myself and it's actually pretty easy to build one. i thought it was this black art woodoo stuff. if i were to do it again I would build my own cause simply because this way you get the parts YOU want on the gun not what someone chose for you.
you can save a few bucks but truthfully all you are doing is having the ability to buy better parts to build a rifle for the same amount you would be paying for a standard entry level rifle. So you would get a better rifle to begin with.

spookie
02-19-2012, 4:43 PM
You are about to get a bunch of posts telling you to use the search feature because there are a million of these threads on here, lol.

You can buy one ready made, but it really isn't that hard putting one together. If you want a ready made, entry AR the popular choice right now seems to be a S&W M&P sport. If you want to build one and price is a concern I know a lot of people on here like Palmetto. Just do a little research. I don't think buying one already together is "Safer" and it really isn't hard to put one together.

I put mine together back in Dec. and it turned out great. I went with a Spikes lower and Bravo Company upper.

You can always post if you have questions, but feel free to message if you have any questions. I am in no way an expert, but I will help if I can.

Thanks for the advice and not ripping into me lol. I will probably be taking you up on that offer of messaging you also. Thanks for the responses even though you guys get these alot.

Capybara
02-19-2012, 4:48 PM
Spookie:

Nothing against building your own but if you do, make sure you ask about warranty. In my search, that was the tipping point for me for my first AR. I ended up buying a rifle that comes with a lifetime, fully transferable warranty. If you have an upper from mfg X and a lower from mfg. Y and a trigger group from mfg Z and you are inexperienced with how the rifle works and it has an issue, what do you do? As a fellow AR newbie, was a concern for me. I read about upper/lower fit gaps, etc. and I thought, I really want to just buy a rifle and shoot it, not have to sweat the details...yet.

Kind of building your own PC. Sure, you can get exactly what you want and trick it out and make it perfect. But if your Franken-PC has an issue, and you aren't a computer genius, who do you take it to? Is it covered under warranty? Typically the components have some sort of warranty but figuring out what is interacting with what and what is causing the overall issue can be time consuming and frustrating. I think an AR is a lot simpler than a computer to build and troubleshoot but still, I would rather be able to turn in the rifle for a warranty issue and tell the mfg, "here, you make it go bang."

My next AR will be built from the ground up, once I know what I am doing and how ARs work and fit together. I agree that it is cool to build your own and get exactly what you want and trick it out. But as a newbie, IMHO, not the best way to go for your first.

Just my opinion,

Dan

jkgts1
02-19-2012, 4:51 PM
I agree with Rob totally. I've built 2 ARs without any prior knowledge. I just got a step by step online somewhere and followed it. Build your own and build it the way you want it, its cheaper in the long run. Just make sure you follow the flow chart so you dont build and assult weapon by mistake, lol.

spookie
02-19-2012, 5:00 PM
Thats kinda how I am capybara, if I have a already built I can get accustomed to the parts. I actually build pcs all the time only thing is you can't go to jail or kill yourself if you build it wrong haha.

Would going into a actual gun dealership be helpful in my questions? I went to big5 and they really didn't answer any of my questions and expected me to know everything.

Boltz
02-19-2012, 5:10 PM
Depending on your mechanical inclination and ability to troubleshoot, it may be better to buy a complete AR like Capybara said. If you don't have tools, you're going to have to factor the cost of those in, and if you have issues with the completed build, then it's on you to figure it out, as opposed to shipping the gun in for warranty work.

If you are experienced with guns and are comfortable with figuring out things out on your own, go with the build route. Otherwise, buy a complete AR. I choose to build my first AR and that was because my service weapon was a M16A4 that I was pretty familiar with.

Dave07997S
02-19-2012, 5:11 PM
Would buying a complete built cal-legal AR-15 would be safer and easier than building my own? Any suggestions into a moderate priced begginer ar-15? I've been looking into franklin armory.

I would get a ready made weapon for my first one. I mean S&W has a nice weapon for under or right at $600. Or go with a Stag or Sig M400 for under $900. You didn't say wether you want a M4gery or a 20".

Dave

Boltz
02-19-2012, 5:13 PM
Thats kinda how I am capybara, if I have a already built I can get accustomed to the parts. I actually build pcs all the time only thing is you can't go to jail or kill yourself if you build it wrong haha.

Would going into a actual gun dealership be helpful in my questions? I went to big5 and they really didn't answer any of my questions and expected me to know everything.

My local shop, Parallax Tactical, specializes in AR builds, so they are a great resource and will help you figure out issues with your gun. If you have a shop like that, definitely stop by. But a lot of shops seem to have no clue what they're talking about, so beware of getting advice from one of those.

AlpineWeiss
02-19-2012, 6:11 PM
I built my first from a stripped lower. Used good parts and I keep it wet.

2500 rounds later and not a single problem. Not one failure to feed, failure to eject. I would trust my life to it.

NorCalK9.com
02-19-2012, 6:15 PM
+1 for s&w mp15 sport.
Shoots great and warranty for life including barrel

Squidward
02-19-2012, 7:00 PM
Your answer is in how much money/ time do you want to spend. That may determine how you will want to proceed. For example; a decent completely built rifle can be had in a S&W MP15 Sport @$600 -ish.

If you want to do it in parts for example; a Stag Arms complete lower @$300 (or a polymer lower $99 at New Frontier Arms) . A couple of paydays later, a complete upper of your choosing @ $400 and up.

If you want to do it in pieces; stripped lowers @$85 from DSG and up by other Mfgrs. Lower parts kit $59 and up. Complete upper as indicated above.

As stated by others, building is easy. AR15.com has step by step instructions, with pix, on their website. The only 'safety' component would be in regard to potential warranty issues IMO.

Turbinator
02-19-2012, 7:37 PM
To the OP - I'm a big fan of putting things together myself, particularly guns that lend themselves well to being assembly projects (e.g. AR's). You get to learn your item inside and out, and get a better appreciation for what goes into making one tick. If you are even moderately mechanical, you'll do fine.

One good point raised in this thread is warranty coverage. I've never worried about warranty coverage for prior assembly projects because if I ever had a problem, Calguns is my resource for all the answers I'll ever need. However, some people don't like tinkering with things, and if you're in that category, you may want to go for a prebuilt that comes with warranty coverage.

Turby

Lifeon2whls
02-19-2012, 8:01 PM
I'm in the same boat. I just walked out of a gun store today looking for a nice 9mm or 40 and ended up convinced that I am going to be adding an AR to my collection. The funny thing is that I never would have considered a warranty as I have never purchased a new gun or any that came with a warranty. I'm very DIY prefer to put each component together myself and "learn" this rifle rather than having someone else put it together.

My warranty is me fixing whatever is broken or not working. I cringe at the thought of having to hand over my rifle to someone I don't know to fix it. I've seen too many instances where repairs haven't been done properly, etc.

Capybara
02-19-2012, 8:14 PM
I almost went for a PSA rifle kit and buying a cheap lower locally. But I would not have saved much money off of the finished AR that I ended up buying and I would have had to devote more time that I don't have available if I had any issues or questions.

I agree with a lot of the posters here, I think rolling your own is a good thing and I will be doing it for my next AR but it just depends on if your priority is to go shooting or to spend time configuring your rifle. I think for many, building an AR is more engrossing than shooting it. Just depends on where you are at in your need for an AR.

I agree that the S&W is a good rifle for the money. I spent a bit more to buy a Windham SRC, I liked some of the details better. I feel that for your first AR, a name brand rifle with a warranty is a good direction because you may need to buy a case, ammo, optics, spare mags, etc. It all adds up. It seems as if the AR has evolved from "assault weapon" (puhleeze!) to the Ford 150 of the gun world. A very cool, utilitarian tool that you can do a lot of different kinds of work with. I think every shooter should have one, even if it is not your main thing. I am much more a clays shooter, but an AR looks like a lot of fun and I think that I will have a lot more success taking my kids and friends out casually shooting with it, rather than the time, technique required for trap or sporting clays.

Good luck with however you go.

Dan

NorCalK9.com
02-19-2012, 8:20 PM
@turbinator
Now i'm all for building, I have 9 ak builds under my belt and thatvis actual buildin "welding, grinding, heat treating, drilling etc etc" with that said ive also built lowers but id still prefer to spend $20-30 extra for a complete mp15sport that warranty is unbeatable cause it includes the barrel of the rifle!

NorCalK9.com
02-19-2012, 8:22 PM
@capybara
You meant chevy 2500hd duramax not ford f150 rite? Lol

cwin
02-19-2012, 8:26 PM
Building your own AR isn't too bad. There are plenty of resources online that will help you do it. Personally, I'd go with a factory built one. The Smith & Wesson MP15 is a great choice if you're on a budget. I'd also take a look at Daniel Defense.

Massan
02-19-2012, 8:34 PM
If your starting from zero or near zero experience with the AR platform it may be easier if you pick up a cheap sporter/plinker one first. Learn the system and the components then build your own if you choose.

icenix
02-19-2012, 9:14 PM
Personally, I don't think the warranty is that big of a deal.......these guns are pretty reliable and can be worked on easily. The only thing you would need a warranty for is a major factory problem, but I think the companies you buy your lower/upper from should still give you some help if there is a problem.

That is the other thing, though.......If you aren't confident in building your gun from the ground up, you don't have to, but can still build it. You can buy a stripped lower or complete lower, and then buy a complete upper (with or without hand guards) and put the pieces together. Easy enough. Either way, do your research (Big5 will be NO help, and neither will many gun shops, at least in my experience) and check out places like Bravo Company who make great complete uppers that you can have delivered to you, and then buy your lower at a local shop.

AlpineWeiss
02-19-2012, 9:53 PM
On the warranty issue...

My thinking was this. If I really screw something up, or if something ends up wearing out prematurely I will replace the component and learn from the experience.

The other half of being really easy to build is that components are really easy to replace

The internet (and the people that inhabit it) know this rifle backwards and forwards. You can buy components everywhere.

spookie
02-21-2012, 4:44 PM
If I buy a complete lower and buy a complete upper online there really won't be much of the assembly required correct? Do FFL's sell complete lowers or would I have to pay them more for the assembly process?


So what i was thinking was buying a complete lower and complete upper online shipping the lower to my dealer and assembling it and picking up the accesories and stuff later on. Does this sound okay?

Capybara
02-21-2012, 4:55 PM
Funny you mention, I am stuck here at home this week because my '02 Chevy Duramax 2500HD is at the local dealer getting it's second set of injectors, Love the truck, but the LB7 had crap injectors for 2002-2003. Only got 62k out of this set.

I just said F-150 since it has been the number one most popular vehicle in America for years and years, they are ubiquitous. Actually I don't see a whole lot of my (our?) trucks on the road around here, a few here and there, whereas my neighborhood is lousy with F-150s.

Dan

@capybara
You meant chevy 2500hd duramax not ford f150 rite? Lol

Capybara
02-21-2012, 5:01 PM
Spookie:

Better yet, some of the manufacturers offer complete kits, the entire rifle, minus the stripped lower, they can ship it all to your door. Then you just go to your local shop and buy a stripped lower for around $100.00. But you aren't saving much doing it this way so I didn't really see the point although perhaps some of the rifle kits are of a higher quality than the S&W or the Windham I bought?

Check out RRA for a good one, with a stripped lower you'll end up somewhere around $800.00?

http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=199

Can you AR experts tell me if this kit would be superior to the S&W or my Windham and if so, in what way? I have heard good things about RRA but I don't know the differences. Tighter tolerances? Better materials? Different features? What differentiates $700.00 to $900.00 DI ARs?

Dan

javalos
02-21-2012, 5:03 PM
From a personal standpoint, building my own has been rewarding because I got to know the AR inside and out more. Its not as hard as you think, actually pretty simple.

spookie
02-21-2012, 5:52 PM
Spookie:

Better yet, some of the manufacturers offer complete kits, the entire rifle, minus the stripped lower, they can ship it all to your door. Then you just go to your local shop and buy a stripped lower for around $100.00. But you aren't saving much doing it this way so I didn't really see the point although perhaps some of the rifle kits are of a higher quality than the S&W or the Windham I bought?

Check out RRA for a good one, with a stripped lower you'll end up somewhere around $800.00?

http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=199

Can you AR experts tell me if this kit would be superior to the S&W or my Windham and if so, in what way? I have heard good things about RRA but I don't know the differences. Tighter tolerances? Better materials? Different features? What differentiates $700.00 to $900.00 DI ARs?

Dan

Alot of the dealers around me sell the higher end ARs I'm not wanting to spend that much yet. I've been looking online and can get a complete upper and lower for around $600 minus the accessories.

Capybara
02-21-2012, 7:20 PM
Let us know what you buy and how it goes. I pick up my Windham SRC out of jail day after tomorrow, we can compare notes.

Dan

Sunday
02-22-2012, 6:48 AM
Study up here is the info you will want to help make the best choice for the money you will want to spend http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=7009 especially the Comparison Chart of Major AR Brands

spookie
02-22-2012, 2:29 PM
Avoided what could have been a messy situation,dealer outside of california told me I could ship a complete lower reciever without a bullet button attached because it was "not a full weapon yet". I wanted to double check so I called my ffl dealer and it does have to have a bullet button before it arrives to california.

NorCalK9.com
02-22-2012, 2:49 PM
@lifeon2whls
Warranty. I believe id trust S&W to repair something before id trust myself or you "no offense intended" and when a warranty covers a barrel you cant beat that!

Some Guy
02-22-2012, 5:42 PM
Avoided what could have been a messy situation,dealer outside of california told me I could ship a complete lower reciever without a bullet button attached because it was "not a full weapon yet". I wanted to double check so I called my ffl dealer and it does have to have a bullet button before it arrives to california.

Your ffl is wrong, a complete lower is not semi auto or centerfire. However if he won't accept the transfer that's his prerogative.

NorCalK9.com
02-22-2012, 6:05 PM
That lower could be for a .22 and dont need a bb

spookie
02-24-2012, 5:24 PM
Bought my lower from a ffl dealer, waiting on the backround check to complete, wanna try to get my upper before thats ready.

On a budget is this okay?

http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/complete-uppers/psa-16-m4a1-upper.html

I'll probably buy another bcg and charging handle

Agent 0range
02-24-2012, 9:25 PM
Just food for thought... How dead set are you on a carbine? I just built my first AR a few weeks ago and was about to buy a complete M4 carbine upper, but ended up going with a mid length. There were a few factors that made me change my mind. There is less wear and tear on the mid length over time due to a longer gas tube. Plus, you get a better sight picture from iron sights since the FSP is further down the barrel. Also, if you plan on adding a quad rail, there is more room for play with the attachments (forward grip, bipod, lights, etc.) Just something to think about. Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

GutPunch
02-24-2012, 10:18 PM
@ OP -

I was a noob 2 years ago just like you. I spent a lot of time and researched everything I could think of. I built my first AR for one simple reason - I wanted to know how to diagnose problems. The build isn't complicated. But you should do your research and watch the vids on this site for how to do it properly.

Now - after two years of shooting my home built rifle and taking carbine classes, I think I'll end up buying my next couple complete. That doesn't mean that starting off with a home builder kit isn't the right way to do it. But there are certain things the mfgs can do to help you which is more difficult to do yourself.

jbush
02-25-2012, 12:20 AM
Bought my lower from a ffl dealer, waiting on the backround check to complete, wanna try to get my upper before thats ready.

On a budget is this okay?

http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/complete-uppers/psa-16-m4a1-upper.html

I'll probably buy another bcg and charging handle

Good choice. I just finished a 14.7 with the pinned FS from PSA. I too was on a tight budget and almost bought a S&W Sport, but I wasn't in a big hurry, so I got a stripped lower, a PSA lower build ki (come w/LKP and stock and buffer), and upper. Added a sight and BB. It wasn't difficult to build. I don't think I saved any money doing a build vs buy, but for the few extra bucks it cost, I think I got a better rifle

spookie
02-25-2012, 11:29 AM
Im pretty set on a carbine, it was kinda what I wanted from the start but I didnt know about the wear and tear part so thats really helpful. Ya my next ar build will def be all built by me, I just didn't feel confident in doing it myself. I was actually gonna buy a s&w sport but everywhere I went the dealers said they sell out quick.

Thanks for the help guys ill post pics once I get it all in.

Irish Gunner
02-25-2012, 11:35 AM
Watch videos at itstactical.com for DIY ar build. I think buying is good option though. If you build w/o considering your needs/wants and go for coolness factor you may just be disappointed. +1 for M&P15 sport. Search zombie tactics on YouTube.

spookie
02-25-2012, 11:40 AM
Oops forgot to ask

I plan on buying this but in terms of handguards
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/complete-uppers/psa-16-m4a1-upper.html

I'm sorta unfamilar with should I get a moe handguard or spend a little extra for the rail and gasblock? I don't plan to add any of the extra accesories as of now but maybe later down the road?