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a1fabweld
03-18-2008, 3:08 PM
Hello all! I see through Shotgun news all the companies selling AR rifle kits with everything except the lower (MA parts, Model 1 sales, J&T distributing,etc...). Who makes a good kit? I'm looking to build 3 AR's in the near future. A tactical 16", a old sytle 20", & don't know about the 3rd one. Thanks, Bill.

bwiese
03-18-2008, 3:12 PM
I'd advise staying away from these 'bottom feeder' vendors (of which I'd also include Olympic Arms). J&T are nice folks but there can be variability in small parts and they usu don't sell chrome-lined bbls.

I'd say CMMG & Bushmaster, myself...

Jicko
03-18-2008, 3:12 PM
www.rockriverarms.com

DONE.


Or CMMG.... and a couple of others...

railroader
03-18-2008, 3:13 PM
I have a mid-length kit coming this thursday from Del-Ton. This company gets very good reviews for quality and customer service if you search around. Their prices are good too. They use wilson barrels from what I have read which are used by Rock River Arms also. Here's their website: http://www.del-ton.com/ You can get stag kits here for good prices: http://www.ar15sales.com/index.htm Mark

aplinker
03-18-2008, 3:19 PM
RRA is a tier-2 manufacturer. Only Colt is Tier-1, LMT comes close, some variations of custom builders (CMMG and Noveske) do, too.

This chart has become ubiquitous, but take it with a grain of salt:
http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd276/bdmoehri/ar20chart.jpg

That being said - Del-Ton & other bottom-feeders are as low as you can go.

You don't need to spend a ton of money on an AR upper & parts, but the quality difference at $500 and $800 is much more than double.

A couple of things to note about that DTI kit - trigger, no chrome lining in the barrel, and built with random parts by random manufacturers. That Stag uses some of the same barrel doesn't mean that somehow that barrel is good. It just means Stag isn't very choosy, either.

My advice is this - don't bother with a kit. It forces you in a box for parts selection and gives the illusion of easier. It's not.

Here is ALL you need to build a Cali-Legal AR (along with my advice for stuff):

Immediately DROS the lower... now... today... the rest will come along during your 10day wait.

You'll need:
1.) Lower
2.) Lower parts kit
3.) Complete upper
4.) Sights/optics
5.) Buttstock kit (stock, tube, spring, buffer)
6.) Compliance parts (bullet button or MMG)
7.) Magazine
8.) LOTS of ammo.

Here are my suggestions - I'd push you toward a Recce build:
1.) Build a 16" (or maybe slightly longer), with a medium or lightweight barrel contour. It will let you get good accuracy and be able to carry it.
2.) Get a mid-length gas system (unless you meet/exceed 18")
3.) Get a 2-stage Rock River Arms trigger with your LPK. It's well worth the extra $80. My personal favorite LPK is Armalite, but save money by getting the combo NM RRA kit (RRA is my 2nd choice for LPK). If you're trying to save money, just buy the standard LPK. The upgraded trigger is my 1st choice in "upgrades."
4.) If you want, get a Daniel Defense, Troy, SWS, or LaRue railed handguard - if you can afford it - and put it over a mid-length low profile gas block - looks cleaner and will allow you to mount a flip front sight on the rail with a longer sight radius. If you can't afford a free float rail, get a standard fixed FSB with a plastic handguard. It's cheaper and functions well. Having a flip front sight is unnecessary for almost all builds, but if you really want it I'd suggest one built into the gas-block.
5.) The meat:Get a flat-top upper. I'd go with the following upper/barrel manuf's (best down - all are very good): Colt, LMT/Noveske (tie), CMMG, RRA. The CMMG is probably the best entry-level value with the most options, but Colt and LMT build better products. ONLY Colt and FNH are actually mil-spec Tier-1 manufacturers. If money is no object both LaRue and VLTOR make some very, very nice uppers. Skies the limit on barrels, from standard USGI stuff, to White Oak Armament, to Douglas or Krieger... Pick the best quality upper and barrel you can afford. Make sure that either the barrel is chrome lined or it's made from stainless steel. Get M4 feed ramps, extended. If possible, get an enhanced bolt, this makes a big difference in reliability. You can leave it off and add it later, if needed. An enhanced or M16 carrier is a good choice, too.
6.) Pick your brake or flash hider. This is a pretty personal choice. The best FH: Smith Vortex. The FSC556 is pretty hot right now. Brakes have many options. Keep in mind neither really do much - the .223 is limited in recoil and how often do you shoot at night? For cost savings a standard, cheap A2 is just fine. I recommend having a muzzle device of some sort as it keeps the muzzle from getting damaged.
7.) All collapsible stocks are chasing the stability of an A2, which is the best choice economically. Most people prefer the collapsible. If you have money to spend, get an LMT SOPMOD buttstock kit. Magpul UBR, VLTOR EMOD and Magpul CTR are the next choices, in that order (except the UBR is probably MUCH too heavy for most applications and still isn't released). Price pretty much follows the quality there. The best cost/quality point is with the CTR. If you can't handle the price on that, the RRA collapsible will do. If possible, get a Mil-Spec carbine buffer tube. It will allow easier future upgrades.
8.) If you have money, pick an aftermarket grip. The MIAD is the hot one now. TangoDown, Ergo, Hogue etc all make their own, too. You don't need to change from the standard in the LPK, but it's nice.
9.) The best flip sights, hands down, are Troy. If cost is an issue a seller here on the boards has USGI Matechs for $55 (about 40% the Troy).
10.) Get one 10/30rd mag for pics (Magpul PMAG looks nice and functions well) and a few more 10rd C-Products + Magpul ranger plates for shooting

Other needs: Case (soft is best), sling (I prefer 2-point, 3-pt is acceptable, 1 point is stupid), optics (EOTech for 0-150yds and SPEED, ACOG for 50-400yds), ammo (anything cheap and brass cased, preferable, but Wolf runs fine - if your range allows magnetic ammo). Lastly, the Magpul winter trigger guard really finishes the look of a rifle.

Use this thread for guidance
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...ad.php?t=56818

Keep in mind that some information in that thread is out of date (be sure to look at posting date). Almost all "new information" is toward being more liberal, than conservative.

This is also a nice summary:
http://www.tenpercentfirearms.com/in...main_page=ar15

For vendors, use those that support us as a community:
http://www.calguns.net/Sponsors.html
I've personally had good dealings with:
riflegear.com
tenpercentfirearms.com
coldwarshooters.com
rainierarms.com

railroader
03-18-2008, 4:03 PM
uclaplinker, not to get in a pissing contest with you but I was wondering how many del-ton kits you have owned. This is my 1st so I will hold my comments on the one I'm getting until I get it. Also it is chrome lined and if you read the post I never mentioned stag arms using the same barrel. If it turns out to be a piece of crap I will be the 1st to post that it is. Mark

DV8
03-18-2008, 4:08 PM
That being said - Del-Ton & other bottom-feeders are as low as you can go.


Actually, Blackthorne(Vulcan) is as low as you can go (quality/service-wise that is). Del-ton isnt as bad as blackthorne so I wouldnt put them in the same class, maybe put them a few steps up the ladder. Del-ton service is impeccable though and blows your other "tier-1" companies out of the water...

jandmtv
03-18-2008, 4:11 PM
+1 for CMMG!

Sydwaiz
03-18-2008, 4:16 PM
What is your budget per rifle and intended use? If money is no object then go with uclaplinker's advise, he names some good equipment. If you are on a tighter budget or don't need all the high speed low drag goodies or trendy names then you can still build a quality gun to suit you and save a bundle while youre at it. Read, read, and read some more and then take your time deciding which way you want to go then you can waste your money however you see fit! :D

aplinker
03-18-2008, 4:23 PM
Lord...

My post wasn't meant to be an insult to people who buy Del-Ton. It also had info from another thread that I left in @ Stag. I copied/pasted because this is the 4th thread in as many days by someone asking about kits.

Now, I have never owned a DTI kit, but I've helped several people who have had them at the range work with them to get them to run.

I also value the opinions of people who do a lot of work on all kinds of AR parts and their experience has been universally the same - you get what you pay for.

It's fine if you want to disagree. I'm not telling you what you have to do. This board is about informing. If you still want a DTI kit, by all means. The reason there are so many people with rave reviews of DTI customer service is because so many people NEED DTI customer service.

Low prices, excellent customer service, top quality manufacturing. If you don't have the last one, you'd better have the 1st two - or you won't be in business long.

Personally - I lean toward custom builds from people I can talk to. I select my own parts and manufacturers. If that interests you, or even if you want a slightly tweaked standard config, hit up Randall @ AR15barrels.

Also, quality doesn't cost a fortune. My advice doesn't require top-dollar. From the outline I gave there I can suggest items to build an AR for ~1000 that will far exceed anything from DTI. IMHO with most things there's a 2-slope quality to dollar line. I try to stick to where those two come together - highest quality for the most reasonable cost. You'd be surprised what you can do and get for the money.

I updated my other post and added back in some of the stuff that was left out from where I copied it...

sbjmg
03-18-2008, 5:16 PM
RRA, but be prepared to wait.

FlyingPen
03-18-2008, 5:30 PM
I don't think an enhanced bolt carrier is really that necessary unless you're planning to go full auto all the time to take down tangos left and right. :chris:

I also think the RRA 2 stage trigger may be a worthwhile upgrade but I would go with an ugpraded stock before a trigger upgrade.

The Magpul MIAD full kit though is absolutely worth it.

aplinker
03-18-2008, 5:37 PM
Disagree here.

Trigger before stock. A standard A2 is the most stable stock there is. Every collapsible has that as its contender and ultimate goal.

The enhanced carrier is far less important than the enhanced bolt (as I said), but the enhanced bolt + extended feed ramps make HUGE improvements in reliability.

I don't think an enhanced bolt carrier is really that necessary unless you're planning to go full auto all the time to take down tangos left and right. :chris:

I also think the RRA 2 stage trigger may be a worthwhile upgrade but I would go with an ugpraded stock before a trigger upgrade.

The Magpul MIAD full kit though is absolutely worth it.

FlyingPen
03-18-2008, 5:41 PM
I guess I'm just not a fan of the standard A2 stock and find the adjustable VLTOR stocks better.

I never had any reliability problems with the standard bolt and most people seem to use them fine. The extended feed ramps should be standard on most quality builds though like LMT and CMMG.

scfast
03-18-2008, 7:00 PM
cmmg

Charliegone
03-18-2008, 7:16 PM
I would like to add, for the love of God do NOT get those 10rd magazines with the aluminum top body and plastic bottom they SUCK! Ask me how I know. I've had no problems at all with the C-products mags and ironically, pro mag's (if you like that "20" look.) Also with Troy's they are definitely the best, but I also like the new MI SPLP. Sighted it in this Monday, and stays nice and steady on the railed upper..but if money is no problem, get the Troy.

scfast
03-18-2008, 7:21 PM
I would like to add, for the love of God do NOT get those 10rd magazines with the aluminum top body and plastic bottom they SUCK! Ask me how I know. I've had no problems at all with the C-products mags and ironically, pro mag's (if you like that "20" look.) Also with Troy's they are definitely the best, but I also like the new MI SPLP. Sighted it in this Monday, and stays nice and steady on the railed upper..but if money is no problem, get the Troy.the splp is close in price to the troy and it is for anyone who wants a well made product. nothing but good things.

cmaynes
03-19-2008, 12:51 AM
I have a mid-length kit coming this thursday from Del-Ton. This company gets very good reviews for quality and customer service if you search around. Their prices are good too. They use wilson barrels from what I have read which are used by Rock River Arms also. Here's their website: http://www.del-ton.com/ You can get stag kits here for good prices: http://www.ar15sales.com/index.htm Mark

I built a DelTon M4 pattern carbine at the beginning of the year- It has been VERY reliable, and has gone through about 1400 rounds so far. I put it together with a Spikes lower, and it has been flawless.

I did add a TangoDown grip, and for me, a single point sling has worked out pretty good- but thats just me.

Honestly, you should carefully consider what future upgrades you would like to do before you buy all sorts of stuff you might not need- If you aren't going to do a front grip or light package, you could pass on the whole rail system fore-end.

good luck-

cm

Steyr_223
03-19-2008, 1:03 AM
Don't forget the U15 or MMG route if you want to use your pre-ban standard capacity magazines.

aplinker
03-19-2008, 1:11 AM
Single point slings are great if you like getting smacked in the balls.

If all you want a sling to do is keep your weapon from falling, a piece of fishing line and a snap swivel would work. Ellie Mae's rope belt would work.

It's amazing that people misconstrue my post as insinuating you have to get expensive stuff to get something good. I make suggestions that are extremely reasonable.

Oh, and 1400 rounds is hardly an intense reliability test. I've had weekends my AR saw 3k rounds.

My recommendations are intended to push people toward incremental changes that have huge effects on the future reliability and quality of their weapons. The rest is personal preference.

A free-float rail's primary duty isn't to hang stuff off of, but to protect the barrel from flexing due to strain from the handguard. It's an accuracy issue. For lots of people it's completely unnecessary. I have uppers that don't wear rails. The secondary advantage of mounting solutions can be a big deal for some people.

I built a DelTon M4 pattern carbine at the beginning of the year- It has been VERY reliable, and has gone through about 1400 rounds so far. I put it together with a Spikes lower, and it has been flawless.

I did add a TangoDown grip, and for me, a single point sling has worked out pretty good- but thats just me.

Honestly, you should carefully consider what future upgrades you would like to do before you buy all sorts of stuff you might not need- If you aren't going to do a front grip or light package, you could pass on the whole rail system fore-end.

good luck-

cm

FlyingPen
03-19-2008, 2:29 AM
Considering how much 5.56mm ammo costs, it doesn't really make sense to cheap out your gun.

At a minimum I would get CMMG uppers and they're a pretty dang good bargain.

cmaynes
03-19-2008, 9:03 AM
Single point slings are great if you like getting smacked in the balls.

If all you want a sling to do is keep your weapon from falling, a piece of fishing line and a snap swivel would work. Ellie Mae's rope belt would work.



U-

I guess everyone has different requirements- for me weapons retention is the only reason I have a sling in the first place.

And really the Colt 6920 is the best bang for the buck AR out there-
And for a tier one gun, it is one of the least expensive... too bad the lower is on the list-

But one could OLL all the other components pretty easily.

aplinker
03-19-2008, 10:19 AM
The 6920 WOULD be good value, if it were easily obtainable for us. The fact we have to get it through upper only and parts channels messes with how good of a value it is. They also tend to be in short supply and some people still grimace at the price.

Slings do a number of things. Retention, stabilization, ease of carrying, weapon transitions and ball smack prevention, but maybe those others are unimportant for you. ;)

U-

I guess everyone has different requirements- for me weapons retention is the only reason I have a sling in the first place.

And really the Colt 6920 is the best bang for the buck AR out there-
And for a tier one gun, it is one of the least expensive... too bad the lower is on the list-

But one could OLL all the other components pretty easily.

a1fabweld
03-19-2008, 1:02 PM
WOW!!! Amazing feedback! What do you all think of DPMS parts?

aplinker
03-19-2008, 1:03 PM
WOW!!! Amazing feedback! What do you all think of DPMS parts?

Not great, especially for the money.

cmaynes
03-19-2008, 11:34 PM
The 6920 WOULD be good value, if it were easily obtainable for us. The fact we have to get it through upper only and parts channels messes with how good of a value it is. They also tend to be in short supply and some people still grimace at the price.

Slings do a number of things. Retention, stabilization, ease of carrying, weapon transitions and ball smack prevention, but maybe those others are unimportant for you. ;)

I personally think the Colt stuff is still a good value compared to the other boutique uppers- most of the good ones (LWRC, Larue, LMT, Noveske) are way more expensive and are really only incrementally better.

as to the sling- well, transitions and getting out of vehicles with it are high priorities- three points are cool, but the single point is getting the job done at the moment... If I was trekking I would go back to a three point though.

the other ones- stabilization, ease of carrying (actually I am going to migrate to a Vickers sling for that) and ball smack prevention less so- I have gotten pretty good at getting it behind me to avoid that discomfort...

At the range, I don't bother with a sling, unless I am practicing transitions.
:)

cm

aplinker
03-20-2008, 2:17 AM
Here's where I HATE single point slings: multi-gun stuff when you have to switch from rifle to handgun on the move. That's when I gave them up, forever.

There are reasons for each, but I'm of the opinion a 2-point adjustable serves the most functions. YMMV

You're probably even more experienced than me, but I do have the ball bruises to prove mine. :D

I personally think the Colt stuff is still a good value compared to the other boutique uppers- most of the good ones (LWRC, Larue, LMT, Noveske) are way more expensive and are really only incrementally better.

as to the sling- well, transitions and getting out of vehicles with it are high priorities- three points are cool, but the single point is getting the job done at the moment... If I was trekking I would go back to a three point though.

the other ones- stabilization, ease of carrying (actually I am going to migrate to a Vickers sling for that) and ball smack prevention less so- I have gotten pretty good at getting it behind me to avoid that discomfort...

At the range, I don't bother with a sling, unless I am practicing transitions.
:)

cm

WokMaster1
03-20-2008, 8:54 AM
Hello all! I see through Shotgun news all the companies selling AR rifle kits with everything except the lower (MA parts, Model 1 sales, J&T distributing,etc...). Who makes a good kit? I'm looking to build 3 AR's in the near future. A tactical 16", a old sytle 20", & don't know about the 3rd one. Thanks, Bill.

There are so many fantastic combos one can go with. Why don't you try & hook up with some of your local Calgunners in Sac & meet at a local range. You bring the ammo & ask if they will let you squeeze off a few rounds. See for yourself & decide.

Asking for opinions like such here is good as you'll see that certain names do come up frequently on both sides of the scale. But the saying "you'll get what you pay for" is generally the concensus. If it's too expensive, either save or get a used one. Good luck.:)

FrankHorrigan
04-02-2008, 12:05 PM
DelTon is not even close to a "bottom feeder". I have a DTI M4 kit gun with a chromed barrel that I've shot the **** out of. Have let it go 1k rounds without cleaning with no problems and will consistently do 1.5'' at 100 yards with irons and M855. The gas key was actually staked properly unlike the Colt I looked at the other day. I'd also choose to buy someone else's product because Colt hates civilians and designed their recievers to screw over people with RDIAS's. As for this,

"A couple of things to note about that DTI kit - trigger, no chrome lining in the barrel, and built with random parts by random manufacturers. That Stag uses some of the same barrel doesn't mean that somehow that barrel is good. It just means Stag isn't very choosy, either."

A chromed DTI barrel made by Wilson is available as an option for not much more money. The trigger on my rifle has an extremely clean break, better than many other AR's I've come across. Mabye not all Del Tons are great, but mine is and I would reccomend them to the OP because they shoot great, are affordable, customizable and are good people to deal with.




RRA is a tier-2 manufacturer. Only Colt is Tier-1, LMT comes close, some variations of custom builders (CMMG and Noveske) do, too.

This chart has become ubiquitous, but take it with a grain of salt:
http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd276/bdmoehri/ar20chart.jpg

That being said - Del-Ton & other bottom-feeders are as low as you can go.

You don't need to spend a ton of money on an AR upper & parts, but the quality difference at $500 and $800 is much more than double.

A couple of things to note about that DTI kit - trigger, no chrome lining in the barrel, and built with random parts by random manufacturers. That Stag uses some of the same barrel doesn't mean that somehow that barrel is good. It just means Stag isn't very choosy, either.

My advice is this - don't bother with a kit. It forces you in a box for parts selection and gives the illusion of easier. It's not.

Here is ALL you need to build a Cali-Legal AR (along with my advice for stuff):

Immediately DROS the lower... now... today... the rest will come along during your 10day wait.

You'll need:
1.) Lower
2.) Lower parts kit
3.) Complete upper
4.) Sights/optics
5.) Buttstock kit (stock, tube, spring, buffer)
6.) Compliance parts (bullet button or MMG)
7.) Magazine
8.) LOTS of ammo.

Here are my suggestions - I'd push you toward a Recce build:
1.) Build a 16" (or maybe slightly longer), with a medium or lightweight barrel contour. It will let you get good accuracy and be able to carry it.
2.) Get a mid-length gas system (unless you meet/exceed 18")
3.) Get a 2-stage Rock River Arms trigger with your LPK. It's well worth the extra $80. My personal favorite LPK is Armalite, but save money by getting the combo NM RRA kit (RRA is my 2nd choice for LPK). If you're trying to save money, just buy the standard LPK. The upgraded trigger is my 1st choice in "upgrades."
4.) If you want, get a Daniel Defense, Troy, SWS, or LaRue railed handguard - if you can afford it - and put it over a mid-length low profile gas block - looks cleaner and will allow you to mount a flip front sight on the rail with a longer sight radius. If you can't afford a free float rail, get a standard fixed FSB with a plastic handguard. It's cheaper and functions well. Having a flip front sight is unnecessary for almost all builds, but if you really want it I'd suggest one built into the gas-block.
5.) The meat:Get a flat-top upper. I'd go with the following upper/barrel manuf's (best down - all are very good): Colt, LMT/Noveske (tie), CMMG, RRA. The CMMG is probably the best entry-level value with the most options, but Colt and LMT build better products. ONLY Colt and FNH are actually mil-spec Tier-1 manufacturers. If money is no object both LaRue and VLTOR make some very, very nice uppers. Skies the limit on barrels, from standard USGI stuff, to White Oak Armament, to Douglas or Krieger... Pick the best quality upper and barrel you can afford. Make sure that either the barrel is chrome lined or it's made from stainless steel. Get M4 feed ramps, extended. If possible, get an enhanced bolt, this makes a big difference in reliability. You can leave it off and add it later, if needed. An enhanced or M16 carrier is a good choice, too.
6.) Pick your brake or flash hider. This is a pretty personal choice. The best FH: Smith Vortex. The FSC556 is pretty hot right now. Brakes have many options. Keep in mind neither really do much - the .223 is limited in recoil and how often do you shoot at night? For cost savings a standard, cheap A2 is just fine. I recommend having a muzzle device of some sort as it keeps the muzzle from getting damaged.
7.) All collapsible stocks are chasing the stability of an A2, which is the best choice economically. Most people prefer the collapsible. If you have money to spend, get an LMT SOPMOD buttstock kit. Magpul UBR, VLTOR EMOD and Magpul CTR are the next choices, in that order (except the UBR is probably MUCH too heavy for most applications and still isn't released). Price pretty much follows the quality there. The best cost/quality point is with the CTR. If you can't handle the price on that, the RRA collapsible will do. If possible, get a Mil-Spec carbine buffer tube. It will allow easier future upgrades.
8.) If you have money, pick an aftermarket grip. The MIAD is the hot one now. TangoDown, Ergo, Hogue etc all make their own, too. You don't need to change from the standard in the LPK, but it's nice.
9.) The best flip sights, hands down, are Troy. If cost is an issue a seller here on the boards has USGI Matechs for $55 (about 40% the Troy).
10.) Get one 10/30rd mag for pics (Magpul PMAG looks nice and functions well) and a few more 10rd C-Products + Magpul ranger plates for shooting

Other needs: Case (soft is best), sling (I prefer 2-point, 3-pt is acceptable, 1 point is stupid), optics (EOTech for 0-150yds and SPEED, ACOG for 50-400yds), ammo (anything cheap and brass cased, preferable, but Wolf runs fine - if your range allows magnetic ammo). Lastly, the Magpul winter trigger guard really finishes the look of a rifle.

Use this thread for guidance
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...ad.php?t=56818

Keep in mind that some information in that thread is out of date (be sure to look at posting date). Almost all "new information" is toward being more liberal, than conservative.

This is also a nice summary:
http://www.tenpercentfirearms.com/in...main_page=ar15

For vendors, use those that support us as a community:
http://www.calguns.net/Sponsors.html
I've personally had good dealings with:
riflegear.com
tenpercentfirearms.com
coldwarshooters.com
rainierarms.com