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  1. My sentiment, also. The three main reasons to use a .22LR conversion in an AR are cost of ammo, cost of ammo, and cost of ammo... in that order. .22 Mag costs roughly 5x what .22LR does - and if it's power you want, you'd just fire the .223 the AR was designed for.
  2. I'm a relative newcomer as well, but I've done extensive research and handled a number of ARs over the past six months. My first was ordered in January and should arrive at the end of May (fingers crossed). For what it's worth, I'll toss out what I've learned... A couple of other posters hinted at the fact that it depends on what level of "building" you're talking about. Building a complete AR from all its pieces is absolutely not for novices, and to do it following best practices requires tools which may cost you almost as much as the rifle parts themselves. On the other hand, "building" by attaching an upper to a lower is brainless and requires all of 30 seconds. Building up a stripped lower is probably not all that hard, but you may want a few tools: a good set of brass punches, and something to deal with roll pins. I considered building up a lower but didn't actually go that route, so I don't know all of the steps involved or techniques required. Probably. I've heard good things about them. Possibly not tested to the same standards as some of the top-tier guns (Colt et al), but if you're not going to be staking your life on the gun's reliability or taking high-round-count carbine classes, you may not care. Jump in line. Nobody knows what's going to happen - but the current administration has made no secret of the fact that they'd like to see a renewed, permanent assault weapons ban. I doubt things of this nature are going to become any cheaper or any easier to get all that soon. Buy ammo now because it's not getting any cheaper, "bullet tax" or not. The best you'll likely do right now for 5.56/.223 ball is somewhere in the neighborhood of $0.35-$0.40 per round. Even if you had to turn around and sell it later, you'd at least get your money back. Try getting that guarantee from your stockbroker. You'll eventually want to settle on a "mission" for this particular gun. An AR optimized for match competition will be set up differently than one intended for close-in home defense, or one configured for stalk hunting. Knowing what you want to do with the rifle helps you sort through the piles of bells and whistles available. That said, it's easiest on the wallet to keep it simple until you've discovered your personal shooting habits and preferences. Chrome lining in a barrel is intended to increase the life of the barrel, but sometimes can have a detrimental effect on accuracy. It's preferred for a fighting or general-purpose rifle; if you're looking for the tightest groups at distance for competition, you probably want a long stainless steel barrel (with no chrome). Since you're looking at a flat-top receiver, you should be able to add an optical sight with no problem. There are even quick-disconnect scope mounts for various optics that allow you to switch between them quickly without having to completely re-sight-in. Check out LaRue Tactical's QD mounts, for one example. As others mentioned, the conversions work just fine for plinking. They tend to get dirty, experience a lot of stoppages, and be picky about ammo, but you can't beat 400 rounds of .22LR for $20. Most people seem to use them for practicing techniques they've learned in training - using the same gun with the same feel, but at much lower cost per shot. If I were in your shoes, I'd consider holding off on the AR conversion and picking up a good dedicated .22 rifle like a Ruger 10/22 or such. They're versatile, and there's a lot you can learn from them as a novice shooter that will make you better with the AR as well. That's just me, though. I understand this happens because typical .22LR barrels have something like a 1/16 twist. Buy your AR barrel based on what shoots 5.56/.223 well, though. That's what it's really for - being able to occasionally fire .22LR is just a convenient bonus. Most quality fighting ARs are built with 1/7 twist barrels, due to a trend toward heavier, longer bullets which stabilize better in a 1/7. 1/7 isn't always better... again, it depends on what you want to do with the gun. Regards, faithmyeyes
  3. Colt, LMT (Lewis Machine & Tool), Charles Daly, CMMG, Smith & Wesson, Noveske, Daniel Defense. Spend some time researching the different manufacturing practices and you'll start to get a feel for which companies tend toward consistently "doing things right" and which ones fill in cut-corners with marketing-speak. No manufacturer is perfect, though, and it's possible to get a lemon from anyone. Your chances are probably better with the upper-tier manufacturers, though, and they'll be more likely to respond helpfully if you do get a problem gun. Unless you're a match competitor, most any quality AR will shoot accurately enough for your purposes. For ease of spare parts and accessories, I'd stay away from Colt. They make "the" standard in ARs, but the civilian guns use odd-size pins in the fire control group, meaning you can't easily use spares from another manufacturer. There may be somebody making aftermarket Colt parts, but I'm not aware of them. For adding accessories, look for a gun with an A3 upper receiver (flat-top with rail, carrying handle removable or not included), and a mil-spec-diameter receiver extension. This will give you a greater selection of aftermarket stocks, iron sights, and optics to choose from. Forward rails (and the accessories that mount to them) can be added to almost any gun, if you decide to go that route. Get the gun in your hands first. Then get full-capacity magazines and ammo. Then get another complete gun, if you can afford it. It seems likely that another AWB may appear at some point, but it's anybody's guess as to when and what the wording will be. No specific set or combination of parts less than a complete rifle can be assumed to be immune from legislation. Spare parts for the gun you have are a good idea, but you're gambling if you're buying with the intent of completing another build post-AWB2. Aimpoint and EOTech seem to be the most prominent 1x optics. I'd suggest evaluating both, if you can get your hands on them. Both companies offer models which are compatible with night vision (although they don't provide night vision). They have significantly different reticles, though, and you might find that you strongly prefer one to the other. Yes! The most common setup when using a 1x optic is to be able to view your irons through the optic if the red dot dies. Some folks use flip-up iron sights from Troy, YHM, etc, while others don't mind having the irons in the picture while using the optic. It's also common to see a flip-up rear iron and fixed front sight, especially on guns with a standard front sight base. Good luck, faithmyeyes
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