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View Full Version : Should I buy or build?


KrazL
04-10-2012, 4:41 PM
Hi all, new to Calguns and is interested in buying a rifle.
Well, needless to say, I dont know very much about firearms, I've only shot .22s and shotguns my whole life, and nothing bigger.
I have owned little airsoft guns, from walmart stores and all, but thats about it.

Now, I have always been interested in guns, but never had I thought about owning one, until I saw a .22 ar-15 style rifle priced at 450. I got pretty excited when I saw the price tag, and knowing that .22's rounds are cheaper and easier to get, I thought I would get it.
But now, my father told me to just get one with bigger rounds, so that I could take it hunting. I have looked up the rounds, and I have found 223 and 556, and they look.. well, more wallet breaking(for me).

I was thinking about just building one from ground 0, but I do not want to screw up somewhere and run into the law.
This firearm will just be something for entertainment, I dont want anything fancy, just something to take out to a range on a free time, or go hunt (not the very best at this)

Should I... (with a 700-1000 budget)
Build one from nothing-
Buy a complete built-first half, and build or buy the other half? <- if this, can I get these at a local firearm dealer, or will I need to buy it online somewhere?
Buy one from a firearm place.

Also, what could I hunt with a .22 and/or a 223?

Thanks in advance!

-----------------------

- What are some requirements to buy the accessories (such as the little springs, trigger etc) to build one, other than the age of 18?
- Will I need to do all the paperwork for these small parts?
- Will I need to register it if its half-built/not built, or can I wait until it is fully built to register.
- Can I buy a lower receiver or an upper receiver from a local firearm dealer, or will I have to order these online? (or is there an age group for these).

Just some questions I would like to get out of the way before I start it. Will probably start this as a 'project' for my own time, hopefully try and not rush it, though would like to finish it by mid june-july.

calif 15-22
04-10-2012, 4:48 PM
I would have to say based on what you've listed, to just buy a complete rifle as your first. Others will say you can build for less, but my opionion is you really can't go wrong buying a quality .223 or .22lr from a reputable mfg.

My first rifle (besides my 870) was my M&P 15-22. Great gun, cheap to feed ammo and to be honest just as much fun as my Daniel Defense M4.

You can get a quality M&P 15-22 (.22lr caliber) for $500 bucks. Or you could get a quality M&P 15 Sport (.223 caliber) for around $800 bucks. The M&P 15 Sport has gotten a ton of good press.

Ruger is another .22lr route if you want the rimfire.

Others will jump in and tell you to build. Heck you can typically get more gun for your money by building and you will certainly learn a bunch, but for shear out of the box fun, I went with buying a complete gun. Heck I bought 2.

Welcome and Good Luck . . .

Kelster1574
04-10-2012, 4:55 PM
I would just buy one.....then after you strip it a few times and feel more comfortable with it then build one. Just my .02

SoCal Bob
04-10-2012, 5:03 PM
You can't go wrong with a Ruger 10/22 and there are a ton of aftermarket parts available for them so you can make it look as tacti-cool as you want. Consider building a lower. You could then buy a 5.56 upper and either get something like the CMMG .22lr conversion or a dedicated .22lr upper if your budget allows. Building a lower is easier than you think.


http://www.calguns.net/OLL/assembly.html
http://www.ar15.com/content/guides/assembly/lower/

Two tips:

The disconnector spring is flared on one end, the wider end goes down in the trigger assembly or the disconnector can/will malfunction.

Support the ears on the lower when you put on the trigger guard or you can break an ear off.

And, welcome to Calguns.

bearstatearmory.com
04-10-2012, 5:24 PM
I would agree with the above posts about purchasing an MP-15 for your first rifle. Either would be good to start with as their is virtually no recoil for you to develop bad habits with.

In regards to hunting with those rounds, I wouldn't hunt anything more than a rabbit with a .22LR and nothing more than a coyote with a .223. In regards to this topic you will start to get into a bit of hunting discussion/ethics; however, this is just my opinion. I have seen a 300# pig harvested with a .223; however, it didn't die slowly enough for me.

Squidward
04-10-2012, 5:36 PM
When you say 'entertainment' and 'hunting' it makes me think of two separate calibers. For entertainment; .22lr without a doubt. Inexpensive ammo and rifles are everywhere. A .22 rifle is a 'must have' weapon. Lots of info here:

http://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/index.php

I do all of my hunting at the grocery store so I'm not much help there.

Good luck!

jcslone
04-10-2012, 5:59 PM
you can get a S&W M&P15 Sport CA Legal for $600 online:

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=smith+%26+wesson+m%26p+15+sport&safe=active&um=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1024&bih=585&wrapid=tlif133410566487621&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=18445029112934901945&sa=X&ei=QdaET6SaLaOf0QXh4om5Bw&ved=0CF0Q8wIwAQ#

bloody great value for the money and you can get 55 grain .223 pretty cheap (I recommend American Eagle [made by Federal] 55gr FMJ). It'll take down pretty much any varmint up to a coyote and maybe even a small deer if you hit it in the eye lol

the donald
04-10-2012, 6:52 PM
seems a decent place to ask this.

i am looking to get a rifle and am choosing between a 5.56 or 7.62 nato rounds. the .5.56 conversion to .22lr is tempting, but how big of a difference is the recoil between the 22lr and the 5.56/.223?

jbl_1967
04-10-2012, 7:13 PM
I would suggest purchasing a cheap AR in 5.56. If you want, get a 22LR conversion kit. The recoil from 223/5.56 is not bad, but there is no recoil from 22LR in an AR.

I have a dedicated 22LR upper for one of my ARs and I wish I had gone the conversion route. The main reason is that I now have decent optics on my main AR and switching between uppers means resighting, which is a pain. If I had bought a conversion I could use cheap 22LR ammo with my nice optics.

After you have an AR, and get used to taking it apart and/or upgrading parts, do a custom build. There are tons of instructions out there and it isn't hard and doesn't take a ton of specialized tools even if you want to install your own barrels and free float tubes.

It's been my experience that even if you get stuck, there are a ton of people on Calguns who are more than willing to help you out.

pyro3k2
04-10-2012, 8:15 PM
I would suggest assembling your first lower and buying your upper for the first rifle and as you get more and more comfortable assembling the AR's then doing the upper.

nrvnqsrxk
04-10-2012, 8:23 PM
If you can follow directions, I think you can build your own rifle. If you don't want to bother, then just hit up RifleGear if you're close, haha.

ahren111
04-10-2012, 8:52 PM
I'd say buy your first one & get comfortable with it. You'll be wanting more & more soon enough, build then.

jmpgnr24k
04-10-2012, 9:26 PM
I guess I'm going against the grain but, build it. Buy a complete upper and build the lower. It's really not that hard and you only need basic tools and the Internet for YouTube. It's REALLY satisfying to know you did it yourself. As long as you get a a good quality complete upper the rifle should work fine. And definitly get a upper with a 5.56 barrel. It's easier to find cheap ammo. 22's are cool and and a must have for any shooter but go big dog first. If anything it will make you appreciate the 22 more. And with your buget you can get some nice parts to make your rifle your own. Now the only way I would say to just buy than build is if you have no tools and no mechanical ability whatsoever but then again you probably shouldn't own a gun to begin with. GOOD LUCK!

Ak714
04-10-2012, 9:44 PM
Build it thats how you gonna learn...makes you search/read more...consider this your warning once you venture into this is gonna get worst.....

tundraotto
04-10-2012, 9:54 PM
I would just buy one.....then after you strip it a few times and feel more comfortable with it then build one. Just my .02

+1 agree with this....you wont see REAL cost savings anyway...its more about getting exactly waht you want.

jbush
04-10-2012, 9:58 PM
Buy your first AR if you think you might be uncomfortable building. Building does get you more acquainted with how the rifle works, but you may not want to get into all that right now. (Lowers are ez to build). I've seem MP sports for around 690 and fees. Simple, and reliable. I built my first and it was more expensive to build (about 800 with shipping and fees), but I got a more upgraded rifle.

Speedpower
04-10-2012, 10:31 PM
If the OP have to ask the questions about buy or build, then he should just buy!

KrazL
04-10-2012, 11:02 PM
thanks for the feedback, really appreciate it!

KrazL
04-10-2012, 11:18 PM
I would suggest purchasing a cheap AR in 5.56. If you want, get a 22LR conversion kit. The recoil from 223/5.56 is not bad, but there is no recoil from 22LR in an AR.

I have a dedicated 22LR upper for one of my ARs and I wish I had gone the conversion route. The main reason is that I now have decent optics on my main AR and switching between uppers means resighting, which is a pain. If I had bought a conversion I could use cheap 22LR ammo with my nice optics.



So if I went towards a 5.56 upper, I could convert it to a 22LR and cant go with a 22LR upper and convert to a 5.56? - Would it also take time to convert it?

SR-71 BLACKBIRD
04-11-2012, 1:11 AM
Build it thats how you gonna learn...makes you search/read more...consider this your warning once you venture into this is gonna get worst.....

+1 on that Ak714.

First you will get an AR15, then realize you want to spend less on ammo then buy/build and AR22, then realize you have to have a complete family and buy/build an AR308.

KrazL welcome to the disease, err I mean club.

TDL2024
04-11-2012, 1:40 AM
Normally I would say build, but if you're serious about the budget then I'd say go for the S&W M&P15 instead. Budgets don't seem to go hand in hand with building an AR....my proposed build was $800....and now here I sit at $1200 and I still need to upgrade my trigger and optics. Had no intention of spending this much....but it just kinda happened. Purchase the S&W, and you will still have enough to get a CMMG .22 conversion kit and a box of .22 ammo. Build one, and you might come in under budget, but you might not too. Oh, and parts are getting harder to find nowadays too. Took me 3 months before the barrel I want was finally available again.

SURVIVOR619
04-11-2012, 6:53 AM
For my first AR, I opted for the build - complete upper and stripped lower with my choice of internals, etc. After it is all said and done, I spent a couple hundred more than the M&P, which is a great rifle from a great company (with a warranty). However, like some have mentioned, I feel proud to know my rifle better, have done more research than I would have had I just purchased on outright, and my rifle is exaclty how I want it set up. Down to the pins. Kinda neat if you are as enthused about firearms as I am.

Make the decision when YOU are ready and based upon what YOU feel your skills will allow for success and safety.

erik_26
04-11-2012, 8:02 AM
You can build for $1000.

The best part about building is you can get started for $120 for a stripped lower and buy parts as you come into money.

By building you will learn a ton about your gun. There is a ton of support on here and about a million youtube videos to help you get-er-done.

jchappies
04-11-2012, 8:37 AM
I say buy/build.......If you go to a shop the specializes in AR’s they could probably build you one to your specs for the same price as buying a complete one off the shelf and then modifying it down the road. You may spend 1-200 more but at least it’s what you want.
If you want a standard looking AR then get the S&W M&P15 Sport

HilaryForPresident
04-11-2012, 12:50 PM
arf has great guides for building AR, so building would work .

KrazL
04-11-2012, 1:14 PM
thanks everyone again for the feedback. starting to learn towards the m&p now
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_786043_-1_772659_757784_757784_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y
Still in my price range and shoots an 5.56. Could I buy those 22lr converters and use it with this?

KrazL
04-11-2012, 11:08 PM
You can build for $1000.

The best part about building is you can get started for $120 for a stripped lower and buy parts as you come into money.

By building you will learn a ton about your gun. There is a ton of support on here and about a million youtube videos to help you get-er-done.

noticed that i will need to be 21 to get a receiver. If i could get a relative to buy it, will he have to register it to him? Or could he just.. buy it (with all the paperwork and stuff) and hand it to me, and then I could register the rifle myself when it is finished?
-Any reviews on Surplus ammo stripped lower?
-Is a bench vice really required to build a rifle?

balintdas
04-12-2012, 12:18 AM
I would just buy one

balintdas
04-12-2012, 12:19 AM
I would just buy one

jbl_1967
04-12-2012, 8:16 AM
So if I went towards a 5.56 upper, I could convert it to a 22LR and cant go with a 22LR upper and convert to a 5.56? - Would it also take time to convert it?

Conversion to 22LR takes no time at all. All you have to do is replace the bolt carrier group. CMMG, among others, make 22LR conversion kits in varying price ranges.
http://cmmginc.secure-mall.com/category/22LR-Conversion-Kits-231

You cannot go from a dedicated 22LR upper to 5.56. Dedicated 22LR uppers have a different barrel extension in them.

I would highly recommend buying a cheap, complete, rifle at the start. Something like a Del Ton. The average shooter won't see the difference between a Del Ton and a higher end rifle, at least not at the beginning. You can then add a cheap 22LR conversion kit to keep ammo costs down.

As you get experience shooting and modifying the AR, its a lot easier to build one. Especially if you add things like ambidextrous selectors, or extended take down pins.

Brownells has an excellent set of videos in their GunTech (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/learn/default.aspx) section. Search AR-15 to see what they have.

I'd also suggest talking to other AR shooter at the range. Almost everyone I have ever talked to was more than willing to let me look through their optics, or proudly showed off an accessory I had never seen before. One guy even went into detail about his trigger upgrade and insisted I shoot a few rounds to try it out.

http://wallstreetjackass.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c7ae753ef0120a5682bbd970c-800wi

bloodhawke83
04-12-2012, 8:20 AM
I went build, go ruger 10/20 take down.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

limaoscarlima
04-12-2012, 2:02 PM
You should definitely buy a complete rifle if it is your first gun, especially if you are not very mechanically inclined.

I assembled the lower receiver of my first rifle, but purchased the complete upper. In the end I ended up paying more for the whole package than I would have if I had just bought a complete barebones rifle and added a quad rail myself.

TreeHugger
04-12-2012, 2:08 PM
Just get a complete Barrett .22lr, accurate up to 2700 yrds

erik_26
04-12-2012, 3:06 PM
noticed that i will need to be 21 to get a receiver. If i could get a relative to buy it, will he have to register it to him? Or could he just.. buy it (with all the paperwork and stuff) and hand it to me, and then I could register the rifle myself when it is finished?
-Any reviews on Surplus ammo stripped lower?
-Is a bench vice really required to build a rifle?

You do have to be 21 to buy a stripped lower.

Stripped lowers are a dime a dozen. Doesn't really matter what brand. There are lot of different ones to choose from some more popular then the other.

The upper on the other hand is what will make or break your budget and performance.

A bench vice is very handy and will make the experience a little more enjoyable. However, I built mine on my computer desk with the basic of tools and masking tape (on the hammer and stripped lower to prevent scratches).

Brownells website has great step by step videos.

Just follow along and take you time.

ptgarcia
04-12-2012, 4:31 PM
You don't have to be 21 to buy a stripped lower.


I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure you need to be 21 years old to buy a stripped lower.

KrazL
04-13-2012, 1:03 AM
I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure you need to be 21 years old to buy a stripped lower.

Does this rule both apply to ONLINE (shipping to an FFL(Havent found a site that ships to CA, does anybody know one?)) and to a in-store dealer?
If i can get a family member to buy it for me (and he or i does all the paperwork etc), will the rifle (when its fully built) be registered to them?-because they are buying it and doing the paperwork- or could i register it to myself after the build.
Or.. is it just like.. having someone 21 or older to be with you and for them to purchase it for you?

ptgarcia
04-13-2012, 9:34 AM
Does this rule both apply to ONLINE (shipping to an FFL(Havent found a site that ships to CA, does anybody know one?)) and to a in-store dealer?
If i can get a family member to buy it for me (and he or i does all the paperwork etc), will the rifle (when its fully built) be registered to them?-because they are buying it and doing the paperwork- or could i register it to myself after the build.
Or.. is it just like.. having someone 21 or older to be with you and for them to purchase it for you?


Trying to do a slow build, though trying to finish in about 2-3 months.
-about to throw an order for an DPMS LPK w/ a tapco ar 16 stock for about 140 without ship. Is this a somewhat good deal?
- and dont know if I should buy a BB from amazon (cheaper), or from a site, such as 10%firearms.
- and starting to lean towards a del ton upper completed. possibly try and go towards the 400-500 ones.


You must be 21 to purchase whether you buy local or ship from out of state. And with a stripped lower its not worth the money to have one shipped in. Find one local and you'll save a significant amount of money (when compared to the actual cost of the lower).

Your parents can buy one one and gift it to you. I don't believe lowers are registered so if I'm right there's no worry about it being in their name.

Look at Palmetto State Armory for good prices on LPKs and stock kits. You can get their "Classic Lower Build Kit" (http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/lower-parts/palmetto-state-armory-classic-lower-build-kit.html) for $105.

Full Clip
04-13-2012, 9:49 AM
Normally I would say build, but if you're serious about the budget then I'd say go for the S&W M&P15 instead. Budgets don't seem to go hand in hand with building an AR...

Absolutely true in my case as well... Thought I could keep it under $900 and it came in at $1400. :( There's always that extra bit of quality or unexpected doo-dad that ends up on the total, unless you have real purchasing discipline.

I started out by building my lowers and buying uppers. Now I've just completed building my first upper. While most of the tools needed for an upper build are basic, there are some special items, such as an upper receiver block (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/593549/model-1-armorers-action-block-ar-15) and a good armorer's wrench (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/747639/tapco-multi-tool-ar-15), as well as a good vice, a torque wrench, etc. If you aren't tooled up already, that could be a $120-$150 investment alone.

orthopod
04-13-2012, 10:21 AM
Buy your first one and spend extra money on training over accessories. That's what I'm doing.

mrc44
04-13-2012, 10:47 AM
I kinda did both... I went to TDS Guns in Rocklin and i picked out what i wanted and had them build it. Great guys, they will sent down and build your gun with you to make sure you do it right. talk to your local fun store and tell'e how ya feel lol. I know they were going to build me one for about 750...but then I got carried away.

NotEnufGarage
04-13-2012, 11:33 AM
The answer to the OP's question can really only be answered if he tells us what he wants to hunt.

Varmints - .223/5.56mm is fine, with the right ammo. .22LR is fine for some.
Deer and Elk - Not so much. I'd want a .30-06, .308, .300 Win, 7MM or such.
Pigs - not enough stopping power in .223
Bear - ROFL

jbush
04-13-2012, 12:00 PM
Does this rule both apply to ONLINE (shipping to an FFL(Havent found a site that ships to CA, does anybody know one?)) and to a in-store dealer?
If i can get a family member to buy it for me (and he or i does all the paperwork etc), will the rifle (when its fully built) be registered to them?-because they are buying it and doing the paperwork- or could i register it to myself after the build.
Or.. is it just like.. having someone 21 or older to be with you and for them to purchase it for you?

Rifles are not registered in California, so if a parent buys it they can just give it to you, however I don't know how this works on a stripped lower as it could be built into a pistol, but a complete rifle could be gifted, without any paperwork. Maybe someone can verify this, but I would think once the rifle is complete, your parent can give it to you. Remember the rule, parent/child, grandparent/grandchild, husband/wife. Your uncle or cousin doesn't work.

KrazL
04-14-2012, 4:18 PM
Rifles are not registered in California, so if a parent buys it they can just give it to you, however I don't know how this works on a stripped lower as it could be built into a pistol, but a complete rifle could be gifted, without any paperwork. Maybe someone can verify this, but I would think once the rifle is complete, your parent can give it to you. Remember the rule, parent/child, grandparent/grandchild, husband/wife. Your uncle or cousin doesn't work.

Alright thanks, went to a local firearms and asked about it. he said something about a Straw purchase.. So I'm going to say myself that he could only 'gift' it to me once the WHOLE rifle is built (completed lower+upper).
Is it possible for him to gift it also if the lower is completed without an upper? (forgot to ask the dealer about that)


-Also bought a CMMG LPK (60 without tax)
- BB (18) -
- 223/556 mag (19)