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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 05-18-2013, 2:33 PM
Raralith Raralith is offline
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Default First Time AR-15: Buy Used vs. New?

I'm very new to rifles so I am interested in getting familiar by purchasing an AR-15. My eventual goal is to build my own, probably purchase a few bolt action rifles too, but that's well down the line. I am looking for something bare bones, my budget is roughly $800, and the M&P15 Sport pretty much falls into the "buy new" side. On the other side, I am scouring the market section, and I see some AR-15's for around the same price, maybe $100 more. My question is, should I stick with the M&P15 Sport, or can I find something used around that price and be better? Lowers are lowers, but what exactly should I be looking for in an upper that will stand out in my price point? Any other points of advice?
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2013, 2:40 PM
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Turners has some on sale for pretty good deals right now
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Old 05-18-2013, 2:44 PM
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Originally Posted by MA5177 View Post
Turners has some on sale for pretty good deals right now
Yup, the M&P15 Sport is on sale for $899 right now at Turners, but I am unsure whether I should buy this vs. a used one from the marketplace. While I have done a lot of reading, I am just not familiar enough with AR parts to know what specifically to look for in the lower end price range.
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  #4  
Old 05-18-2013, 2:48 PM
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Look at barrel twist rate, 1:9 is good for most ammo 40gr-62gr. Higher weight bullets over 69gr will prefer a 1:7 twist but can use any weight projectiles. Flight stabilization reasons. Then you have chrome lined vs non-chrome lined. Hammer forged vs Chrome-moly vanadium. You can google the differences with detailed explanations.
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2013, 2:48 PM
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Buy new, gives you the option to buy more parts later and modify your AR15 as your tastes & desires change. But you start out with a AR15 that is range ready, more uptime in shooting and no issues having a wasted range day troubleshooting your Ar15.

Eventually you will have enough parts leftover to just build a second AR15.
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2013, 2:53 PM
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Check Oak Tree, they have a wall full of AR's.

http://www.oaktreegunclub.com/
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2013, 3:08 PM
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I'd go to Turners and get the Colt 6920 they have on sale...drop your 800.00 and you'll have 30 days to come up with the rest. If you can't do that I'd settle for the S&W Sport..
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Old 05-18-2013, 4:26 PM
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Oak tree gun club is have a HUGE Memorial Day sale next weekend. Check it out should have a great inventory.
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  #9  
Old 05-18-2013, 4:27 PM
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Normally the Sport would get my vote, but that was at the under $700 level. At $899 before tax and DROS... I say build. You get to pick your parts and you learn the platform.

As a side bonus you can buy parts at whatever pace you want. With resources like CGN and YouTube; assembling one is easy. Besides, most people just assemble the lower and buy a complete upper. Don't let the lack of knowledge scare you, AR's are surprisingly easy to assemble and operate.
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Old 05-18-2013, 4:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkangel View Post
Normally the Sport would get my vote, but that was at the under $700 level. At $899 before tax and DROS... I say build. You get to pick your parts and you learn the platform.

As a side bonus you can buy parts at whatever pace you want. With resources like CGN and YouTube; assembling one is easy. Besides, most people just assemble the lower and buy a complete upper. Don't let the lack of knowledge scare you, AR's are surprisingly easy to assemble and operate.
A few questions if anyone can chime in:
- If I were to build something similar to the M&P15 Sport, how much would it cost now? $700 or so?
- How much do the AR gunsmithing tools cost for assembling the stripped lower? It looks like 2 punches, and than just screw drivers?
- What is the average price for someone to build my stripped lower if I provide the parts? This is really the part that worries me as a beginner.
- I would obviously love to build a Colt at M&P 15 pricing. Is this even possible if I go the build route?
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  #11  
Old 05-18-2013, 5:59 PM
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What do you want to spend the most time on - dicking around with it or shooting it? If you choose the latter, go buy a new one.
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  #12  
Old 05-18-2013, 6:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Raralith View Post
A few questions if anyone can chime in:
- If I were to build something similar to the M&P15 Sport, how much would it cost now? $700 or so?
Realistically, closer to 1k, the price of the stripped lower and components like BCG's, and barrels is still higher than normal. But once you add taxes and DROS fee; it's pretty much a wash vs. buying the Sport.

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Originally Posted by Raralith View Post
- How much do the AR gunsmithing tools cost for assembling the stripped lower? It looks like 2 punches, and than just screw drivers?
A set of punches, a hammer, and a screw driver are all you need for a lower, the tools should be less than $50; But see these as an investment... Or you could ask a local Calgunner for help. If I was in the area, I would be glad to help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raralith View Post
- What is the average price someone to build my stripped lower if I provide the parts? This is really the part that worries me as a beginner.
It's really no big deal, Brownell's has a great series of how-to videos on the AR.


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Originally Posted by Raralith View Post
- I would obviously love to build a Colt at M&P 15 pricing. Is this even possible if I go the build route?
Not anymore, not really. With the higher prices of core components; the cost of building has gone up. But in all honesty, the secret sauce on how Colt builds simple, hard working rifles is out... You can do the same for less money.
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  #13  
Old 05-18-2013, 6:47 PM
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Originally Posted by sigstroker View Post
What do you want to spend the most time on - dicking around with it or shooting it? If you choose the latter, go buy a new one.
To me, the hour or two it would take a complete novice to assemble a lower is worth it. The knowledge they would gain on how their rifle operates is invaluable.
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  #14  
Old 05-18-2013, 6:54 PM
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Consider a hybrid build your own/buy assembled. For my first AR, i built my own lower and then bought a premade upper. That way I learned how the lower parts go together and got the satisfaction of admiring my own handy work. There are some great build videos on Brownells and YouTube making it pretty easy. Took me about 2 hours of going slow and careful. I have tried different purchased uppers (DI, piston, 22AR) and have been happy since.
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  #15  
Old 05-18-2013, 7:10 PM
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At the moment I think the best buys are going to be pre-built new.

If it was a year ago I would have said to build it yourself using a stripped receiver + LPK + stock + pre-built upper. There were group buys for everything but the stripped lower at very reasonable prices. You would have been able to build up the lower from scratch and then drop everything else on and with reasonable assurance that it would go bang at the appropriate time. Many folks, myself included had the fun and enjoyment of using pliers and punches to put our first Ar together.

These days, individual parts are still fairly hard to get and the prices are still high. The prices given at Turners if you have one nearby are not going to be beaten by a home build at the moment.
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Old 05-18-2013, 7:18 PM
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I build all mine with new parts, I can only blame myself on how jacked the are/can be.

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  #17  
Old 05-18-2013, 8:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkangel View Post
Normally the Sport would get my vote, but that was at the under $700 level. At $899 before tax and DROS... I say build. You get to pick your parts and you learn the platform.

As a side bonus you can buy parts at whatever pace you want. With resources like CGN and YouTube; assembling one is easy. Besides, most people just assemble the lower and buy a complete upper. Don't let the lack of knowledge scare you, AR's are surprisingly easy to assemble and operate.
+1 on this. All my ARs have been home built. There are plenty of instructions available online, and it is really very simple, and rewarding. During your build you'll want to do a google search on AR trigger jobs. Very simple and will turn your crappy, creeping trigger into a smooth 1 1/2 pound pull.
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  #18  
Old 05-18-2013, 8:52 PM
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I look at buying guns like buying cars. I normally buy new and only buy used if they are in near mint condition and I trust the seller. Buying used you don't really know how it was treated or what was shot through it.

The last AR that I bought I built and it feels nice when I shoot it.
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  #19  
Old 05-18-2013, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milw50717 View Post
At the moment I think the best buys are going to be pre-built new.
What do you consider a best buy??

$699 for upper (including Aimpoint PRO):
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index...ng-handle.html

$220 for LBK (including ACS-L stock):
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index...ustomization=1

$200 for BCG (NiB coated):
http://parallaxtactical.ecwid.com/si...ct/id=23307030

$45 for BCM GF CH Mod.4:
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-G...%204%20556.htm

$170 or so for a stripped lower

Only part OOS:

$36 for Raddlock
http://www.riflegear.com/p-470-raddl...zine-lock.aspx

That's about $1400 for a simple, very well equipped AR (considering the $400 optic and upgraded stock). I would take a rifle like the one I can piece together over a $1300 Colt...Anyday.
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Old 05-19-2013, 7:26 AM
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I bought a M&P Sport and a Mega stripped lower so i get to shoot while the Mega is waiting until Wednesday when a complete PSA upper gets here. So I kinda did both.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for the information ya'll, I really do appreciate it. I would obviously want to just buy an AR-15 and shoot, but honestly, if I can build something along the same lines, but for less so I have more money for ammo, why not? At this point, based on everyone's advice, I'm going to first try the marketplace, and see if I can get a really good deal that is within my budget. If not, I'll get a stripped lower from a 80% build party for my first or second build, and to get some practice putting it together too. I'll than either build an AR-15 out of that, or purchase a store one and use it for my second one.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkangel View Post
What do you consider a best buy??

$699 for upper (including Aimpoint PRO):
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index...ng-handle.html


That's about $1400 for a simple, very well equipped AR (considering the $400 optic and upgraded stock). I would take a rifle like the one I can piece together over a $1300 Colt...Anyday.
That's a deal. I just bought the same upper minus the optics for 409.00...Wish I had 700.00 laying around, I'd order this.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:44 AM
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Default oaktree memorial day sale May 24th-26th

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Old 05-19-2013, 11:48 AM
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Boo yah. Told ya so
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:57 AM
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Oh wow, thanks for the ad. $720 * 9% tax +$35 DROS would put me at $820 for the M&P-15 Sport. Anyone ever been to this sale before? Should I take Friday off to ensure I get one?
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:15 PM
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Buy the M&P sport for $719 from sale mentioned above and be done with it! Then just worry about ammo and shooting time. The Melonite barrel with 5R rifling is really accurate, and you can be shooting right away. Then just watch cal guns marketplace and pick up at a discount magpul stock and rails from a terminal upgrader. Most anything you then want to play with later like a trigger or muzzle brake you can move your next one as well.

Build your second one, as you figure out what you like or don't like, and you'll have the time to do it, and figure things out, while you're still shooting your M&P Sport - you won't be frustrated with something not finished or not working yet. Even figuring out after a lot of range time if you prefer iron sights, red dot, or scope, might affect how you tailor your next one.

BTW, find a friend who builds and has the tools, otherwise factor in a few more $$ for things like receiver block, barrel vise, and other odds and ends that you only need if you build. Its not hard, but unless you are a mechanic or spend time wrenching something, there's 'common knowledge' about assembly that will be a bit more of a learning curve then the experienced folks remember, especially if you aren't doing this with someone who has a few builds under his belt where you can ask questions real-time.

BTW, when I shot my M&P sport, it just worked and was accurate!

Last edited by Trgt; 05-19-2013 at 12:18 PM..
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Old 05-19-2013, 2:20 PM
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^^^what trgt said.
it will help if u have a buddy or hell even meet with a calgun member that is local.
i say that would be helpful and something i would do.
if ur in the Sacramento area i would show u my ar and give you some little advice.
Don't have a lot of knowlege but i get by a little
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Old 05-19-2013, 2:20 PM
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Check out YouTube as well
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Old 05-19-2013, 3:56 PM
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Buy new, it's cheaper.
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Old 05-19-2013, 9:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raralith View Post
Thanks for the information ya'll, I really do appreciate it. I would obviously want to just buy an AR-15 and shoot, but honestly, if I can build something along the same lines, but for less so I have more money for ammo, why not?
Why do you think you'll be able to do that? Do you think you can get the same prices on parts that Smith & Wesson can? For the most part, you would have to use lower quality parts to beat their price. Then there is the hidden cost of reduced resale value. You are looking for a used gun to buy - which is worth more to you, a factory built or one put together by some random guy you don't know using parts that you don't know the origin of?
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Old 05-20-2013, 6:32 PM
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OP - the only advantage from building it yourself is that you get to pick and choose all the option parts you want in an AR special for you. If you just want a budget AR, there's no better deal than the M&P 15 Sport or comparable DPMS Oracle.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:33 AM
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You'll likely save some money on a factory gun, but I tend to agree with the DIY approach. I did both (bought one, built one) and ended up selling the factory rifle because I liked the one I built better. It really is easy. As long as you already own BASIC tools (hammer, screwdriver and some pliers) all you need is a set of punches... I bought a nice set of Stanley punches on Amazon for $12 (free shipping). If you need pliers, head to home depot or lowe's, and $5 later (or less) and you're ready to build. Add a preassembled full upper from PSA or BCM and you're ready to shoot... and you'll know in detail how your gun works.

So the decision is yours... is the most important thing the absolute lowest possible cost, or is it worth a little time and a little money (you should certainly be able to beat $1400 and still have a quality rifle) to really get to know your weapon?
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
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OP - the only advantage from building it yourself is that you get to pick and choose all the option parts you want in an AR special for you. If you just want a budget AR, there's no better deal than the M&P 15 Sport or comparable DPMS Oracle.
This is mostly true, to me there is one more advantage to DIY. You can spend a little at a time. You can buy a lower, then buy the barrel, then the upper, etc. You don't have to have the $800 up front. Although, in the end, piecing it together this way will cost more.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:43 AM
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The best of the benefit of the AR platform is that it is like Legos. When you buy Legos do you buy them pre-assembled? I think not.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:48 AM
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if you do end up building your lower, make usre your work area is clean and neat. I can count how many roll pins and springs ive lost..
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Old 05-21-2013, 5:15 PM
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Should I take Friday off to ensure I get one?
I'm guessing many others are thinking the same, I wonder how long the line will be Friday morning...
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Old 05-24-2013, 4:15 PM
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Well, I've got good news and bad news from the Oak Tree Gun Club sale. Bad news is that they were out of M&P15 Sports since they only had a dozen or so in stock. The good news is that they had plenty of stripped lowers along with a complete lower, both from Spikes Tactical, so I got one of each. The complete lower was $350 and gives me about $500 for a complete upper which is in line of what I was going to spend for the M&P15 Sport. I'm not going for anything fancy, no optics, no quad rail, just nice and simple. Now for the stripped lower, oh yeah, I'm going balls out.

So, $500 for a good complete upper possible? Any advice or recommendations? You've all been a great help in this thread, thanks again.
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Old 05-24-2013, 4:31 PM
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Guess you already picked up what you need. I was just going to chime in that I got an M&P Sport for $699 at Parallax Tactical yesterday for my first AR.
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Old 05-24-2013, 5:24 PM
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Yeah that sale this morning was crazy!!! So many people Glad to hear you were happy with your new goodies.
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  #40  
Old 05-24-2013, 5:52 PM
Raralith Raralith is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: West Covina
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Anyone have any thoughts on these two?
http://www.pkfirearms.com/Daniel_Def...artsfinder.com
Daniel Defense seems to be well regarded. Looks like the BCG and CH is not DD, but I'm not sure if that is a big deal.

http://www.pkfirearms.com/YHM_Custom...artsfinder.com
No idea on this one.
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