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Napalm

First AR Purchase - Advice and Recommendations

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Greetings fellow gun people of America (and beyond?)!

 

I figured the beginners section would be the place for a "first AR purchase" thread since there isn't a specific place I could find just for this purpose. I have myself a few really solid choices and I thought I should seek out some other opinions and scouring various internet forums I couldn't find any advice specific enough for my needs to be satisfied.

 

This is going to be my first (and probably only) rifle and I'm not mechanically inclined or handy enough to build my own so as much as it would be cheaper or allow me to have some higher end parts I am looking to buy a fully built rifle right out of the box as close to my specifications and needs as possible. This may change in the future but for right now and the foreseeable future lets go with fully built rifles readily available at a gun store.

 

Yesterday I went on a scouting mission if you will and rented a few AR's (and even shot a semi-auto SCAR ... very much a letdown) and was able to discern what kind of things I liked and didn't like which made it a very successful trip even though I didn't buy a rifle. Which brings me to features I like and would like to have incorporated in my rifle.

 

  • At minimum top rail and the ability to put on a quad rail
  • Unlike most people who try to keep their rifles light I actually prefer to shoot anchors so features that add weight are more desired
  • Planning on putting on a vertical foregrip and attaching a Eotech Holographic (probably with a magnifier) - I don't care for the iron sights on many AR's I've seen and I don't like "tower" sights at all.
  • mil spec is very much preferred (I don't have that much of a price limitation :) )
  • Free float barrel (again with rails because I want to put some furniture on it)
  • I prefer an accurate build over a light build (as well as prefer dampened recoil - not much is good ... less is better)

 

I suppose it should be noted what I plan on doing with this rifle. Other than the natural self / home defense ...

  • I plan on using this for target practice / range gun (not terribly frequent but on some recurring basis)
  • A SHTF gun (you know zombie apocalypse and all)
  • my "look at what I got" piece

 

I am currently mulling over purchasing one of three rifles from very reputable manufacturers. I would like recommendations and feedback primarily on these three but I would not object to other reccommendations (mostly in the 1700-2000ish range retail for the rifle)

  1. Sig Sauer 516 Patrol
  2. Smith and Wesson M&P 15 Viking Tactical (VTAC)
  3. Daniel Defense DDM4 V11

 

What I like about each one....

 

I'll start with my current front runner - the Sig ( https://www.sigsauer.com/store/sig516-patrol.html)

 

What I like about this one is that it "checks every box" of what I want in a rifle right out of the box. It has a quad rail and free floated barrel. The one I'll be able to purchase from my local gun store even has magpul front and rear irons included! It felt nice and heavy and while I did not shoot this rifle in particular (not available to rent from where I went) I shot one that felt very similar so I would imagine that I can achieve a similar performance. Mil spec all around rifle. This rifle has so many built in stock features such as accessibility for a sling, a mode in its gas system to aid in a suppressor's suppression.

 

One of my other darlings the Smth and Wesson VTAC ( https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/mp-15-vtac-ii-viking-tactics) - what I like about this one the most is the trigger. Even dry firing the display model I can feel how light that trigger pull is and I fell in love with it. It has the MLOK free float so I can add more rails to then dress it up further.

 

The Daniels Defense ( https://danieldefense.com/daniel-defense-m4-carbine-v11-milspec.html) - I've read for awhile that it is a great all around rifle and I actually did shoot the rifle in question and the rental even had a foregrip and red dot sight which really gave me a feel for what I liked and how one would perform. I was not disappointed in the least. A solid all around rifle but there wasn't anything in particular that flashed out at me as "oh my god I need THIS rifle" but it may very well be the best overall built.

 

Of these three in particular which one would be the best for a general defense and accuracy/target shooting CQC build with minimal input other than accessories (such as a foregrip and sights)? Is there even a particularly wrong choice? Any other recommendations?

 

Any input would be appreciated, please and thank you :)

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Not that I don't want to give comment to you however there are those much more qualified than me to do so. But I can say, welcome to the forum. Good folks here. You'll be advised well.

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Which brings me to features I like and would like to have incorporated in my rifle.

 

  • At minimum top rail and the ability to put on a quad rail
  • Unlike most people who try to keep their rifles light I actually prefer to shoot anchors so features that add weight are more desired
  • Planning on putting on a vertical foregrip and attaching a Eotech Holographic (probably with a magnifier) - I don't care for the iron sights on many AR's I've seen and I don't like "tower" sights at all.
  • mil spec is very much preferred (I don't have that much of a price limitation :) )
  • Free float barrel (again with rails because I want to put some furniture on it)
  • I prefer an accurate build over a light build (as well as prefer dampened recoil - not much is good ... less is better)

 

I suppose it should be noted what I plan on doing with this rifle. Other than the natural self / home defense ...

  • I plan on using this for target practice / range gun (not terribly frequent but on some recurring basis)
  • A SHTF gun (you know zombie apocalypse and all)
  • my "look at what I got" piece

 

 

 

What type of handguard are you looking to use? M-LOK, Keymod, or an actual quad-rail?

 

What barrel length is preferred? Which gas system (carbine, mid-length, or rifle)?

 

Why a vertical foregrip? Maybe a handstop or angled foregrip instead?

 

Why a magnifier?

 

Why no BUISs (backup iron sights)? A BUIS is vital for any AR with an optic. It is there in the event you optic goes down for some reason.

 

When it comes to "mil-spec", there are no commercial ARs that are totally "mil-spec". Many use some mil-spec parts, but things like barrels, lower receivers, fire control groups, and a few other items are not mil-spec. Some things may be made from the same metals as what is used for military weapons and some things are made to the same dimensions, but not the same spec as mil-spec. Do not get caught up in the mil-spec thing. Several manufacturers are making parts that surpass mil-spec standards. Since commercial ARs are semi-automatic, they are not mil-spec. Also, you are saying you want an accurate build over a lightweight. You can get accurate and lightweight ARs. You also state that this will also be used as a SHTF AR. You need to define what you mean when it comes to accurate. What kind of accuracy and performance are you expecting at certain distances and with certain types of ammo?

 

For a SHTF/General Purpose AR, here is what I use for this designation. Bear in mind that I own multiple ARs (41 of them).

 

CHuVbGl.jpg

 

YLXAPGH.jpg

 

This one has a CMMG 14.5” M4A1 SOCOM Upper w/ permanent PWS Triad Flash Suppressor 5.56 (3TRI12A1). The lower was upgraded with a LaRue Tactical MBT-2S 2-stage trigger.

 

You could also use something like this. It is a Colt LE6920 that has been outfitted with a KAC M4 RAS, a MaTech BUIS, Surefire weaponlight, and a TA31-RCOM4.

 

eZwBxob.jpg

 

sEFeYMn.jpg

 

BCM makes several nice ARs. This is their Mid-16 Mod 2 that I own. I added a Trijicon MRO, Surefire weaponlight, and a BCM handstop.

 

K7hpKD2.jpg

 

k0lGJLM.jpg

 

All of these ARs have some weight to them, but are not so heavy that they cannot be carried comfortably.

Edited by TackleberryMCS
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Mil-spec doesn't actually have a meaning related to your buying needs. Saying you want milspec is like saying you want hcjdufvi or ncjdch. Saying Milspec is no different from banging on your keyboard unless you're buying a tdp-compliment probably-sbr with full-auto parts, which you can't do.

 

 

 

Sig is a piston gun, so I vote no to it. I don't care for dd furniture or govt barrel profile, so I wouldn't personally choose it although I do fully respect the brand. The other one looks cool but at its price range I would fanboy over something I subjectively felt was cooler, like sons of liberty gunworks. I realize that's probably not a helpful thing for me to add, but it's important to keep in mind that at the price point you're looking at you have a massive number of good options to sort through. Good luck with the search.

Edited by Hammurabi

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Bamashooter - thank you for the welcome :)

 

Tackleberry-

 

I'm looking to use either an MLOK or a quad rail. I'm not terribly choosy on barrel length but I'd say 16-18 should suit my needs fine. Even if milspec isn't truly milspec its preferred especially in my price range (as opposed to something that isn't). I'm not against a back up iron (at least a front) but I'm really picky at iron sight designs and what one(s) I can actually shoot well with (again very inexperienced rifle shooter - literally just one time)

 

I appreciate the suggestions on the builds but as inexperienced and not very handy as I am I'd really prefer not to get into building one from a collection of parts. I'm not partial to gas systems although I'd prefer the cleaner piston but I'm by no means set on that at all. That Colt looks pretty nice and like something I'd enjoy shooting and would work well but still not a fan of "tower" front sights although with an optic it might be a bit of a moot point. I plan on getting the magnified mostly just because I can and it just gives me an option and comfort at a longer range.

 

This may be incorrect but I'm under the impression that accuracy (notably when it comes to follow up shots) is significantly linked with weight (recoil absorption mostly). All of my handguns are heavier so I'm also just used to shooting something heavier with less felt recoil which is what I"m most comfortable with. I don't really have a preferred ammo brand / grain. I do not really plan on shooting beyond 50 yards (I don't hunt or shoot competitively / have competitive aspirations) so I don't see the need for anything "snipery". At this point I'm just looking for respectable accuracy. Keeping myself sub 3 MOA or something like that would be ideal but that's probably more on me than the rifle I'm holding.

 

Hammurabi -

 

There certainly are a wide array of options at my price point which is what brought me here primarily in the first place and why I'm seeking opinions. Since I only plan on buying one rifle (I don't plan on being one of those guys with a total armory) I want to make it count.

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Napalm, as an inexperienced rifle shooter and having no experience with an AR and its configuration possibilities, you are in need of an education when it comes to the AR platform. I wish we could sit down at my house and have a long conversation, as well as a show & tell session on the AR-15. I have been shooting this platform since 1978 (issued my first M16A1) and building them since 2004 and have built over 80 of them. As you would probably surmise, I have quite a bit of experience. I have used many different railed handguards, BUISs, barrels, receivers, optics, and more. I have several factory ARs like Colts, BCM, KAC, and Rock River Arms, but I prefer to build most of mine.

 

You mention that you want something that will give you 3MOA or better. That is most anything on the market. You say that you will most likely not be shooting beyond 50 yards, yet you want a magnifier. The magnifier is a waste of money and purpose at that range. At nearly 58 years old, my eyes will still allow me to do head shots at 100 yards with iron sights. I sight my red-dots in at 50 yards. The only time I use a magnified optic is when I build a precision AR for use past 100 yards. As I have said, BUISs are of utmost importance with a general purpose AR. There are plenty of good BUISs on the market. They are all compatible with an A2 FSB and most red-dot optics can be mounted in order to co-witness with the BUISs.

 

In regard to recoil, that is primarily controlled through a combination of things. Much of it has to do with the gas system used. A mid-length gas system is the best compromise. it is smoother than a carbine system and nearly as smooth as a rifle system. Additionally, reciprocating mass (the BCG) and the buffer system have a lot to do with managing recoil. An intermediate buffer system (like the VLTOR or BCM A5 system) is excellent in mitigating recoil. You can use heavier buffers in a carbine system to help control some recoil.

 

A 16" barrel is the better compromise when it comes to barrels. I also advise to stick with a DI (direct impingement) has system and not a piston operated system. Many piston operated ARs have proprietary parts. DI type ARs are much more friendly in that parts are interchangeable and readily available. I own three piston AR type rifles being a SIG 516, SIG 556, and a SIG MCX. These are NOT my main rifles. My DI type ARs are my primaries.

 

When it comes to accuracy, there are a few factors. They are the shooter, ammo, and the weapon. The right shooter, with the right ammo, and a good AR can hit 3MOA or less at 100 yards all day long and that is with iron sights. Better results can be achieved with a red-dot optic or a magnified scope.

 

You really need to get with someone in your local area who has a vast knowledge of the AR-15 and a great deal of experience with them and have a good conversation. Gun shops are NOT the best resource. Many who work in them are NOT that knowledgeable.

Edited by TackleberryMCS
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Here is a really good option for you. All you would need to add is a set of MAGPUL MBUS PRO sights, VFG, and a red-dot optic.

 

BCM RECCE 16

https://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=F1BCM750790LWMCMR&name=BCM+RECCE-16+.223%2f5.56+MCMR-LW+Carbine+Rifle&groupid=9420

 

MAGPUL MBUS PRO front

https://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XMAG275&name=Magpul+MBUS+Pro+Back-Up+Front+Sight&groupid=2506&fprdct=1

 

MAGPUL MBUS PRO rear

https://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XMAG276&name=Magpul+MBUS+Pro+Back-Up+Rear+Sight&groupid=2506&fprdct=1

 

Magpul M-LOK™ MVG

https://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XMAG597BLK&name=Magpul+M-LOK%e2%84%a2+MVG%c2%ae+-+MOE%c2%ae+Vertical+Grip+-+Black&groupid=4300&fprdct=1

 

EOTech EXPS2-0 Holographic Weapon Sight

http://www.primaryarms.com/eotech-exps2-0-holographic-sight-68moa-circle-exps2-0

 

or

 

Trijicon MRO 2.0 MOA Red Dot - Absolute Cowitness Mount

http://www.primaryarms.com/trijicon-mro-2-moa-adjustable-red-dot-with-full-co-witness-mount-matte-mro-c-2200005

 

 

Although this BCM is a lightweight, it is built to run smooth and with minimal recoil. It is an excellent AR for your purpose.

Edited by TackleberryMCS

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I bought that one back in 2008 and made the changes to it. :)

That is how I originally pictured how I wanted my AR to be. When I get another one, that is the set up Im going for

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Tackleberry -

 

Once again really appreciate the input even if quite a bit of it is quite over my head with my current knowledge level.

 

One of my main questions is why should I opt for a Direct Impingment (DI) as opposed to the Piston gas system (other than what amounts to availability of parts)? In my research the DI vs Piston debate is quite a quandary rivaling the glock v 1911 in the gun world debates. As far as function of the rifle goes why is it I should look for a DI rifle and shy away from Piston?

 

Would the magnifier be an inhibition at sub 50 yard ranges or just "not overly helpful" ? My rationale for the magnifier is that it gives me flexibility and confidence should I ever decide I want to shoot 100+ yard ranges. Maybe this is something that would change as I gain experience and confidence but some of it is in my mind "training wheels" (also better to have it and not need it than the reverse). I did manage to shoot with a non magnified red dot (at approx 30 yards - I typically shoot in an indoor range thats a 5 minute drive from my house) and I'd like to be able to have the option to zoom in (especially, again if I ever do decide to test myself at 100+ yards). My sight will be an eotech holographic - is that significantly better or a wash vs say a trijicon ?

 

You mentioned you own a Sig 516 which is my current leading candidate. It comes with every feature out of the box I want including (back up) iron sights. Is there a reason it isn't one of your main rifles? Even if it isn't one of your primary rifles is it still a good quality rifle?

 

That BCM rifle looks pretty solid and while I'd end up putting some more rails on it as it appears in the link would still save me some money and BCM is a pretty reputable and solid brand of rifles.

 

I also must ask - why own dozens on top of dozens of rifles (or do you build to sell or gift away?) ?

Edited by Napalm

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Not to stand in the way of Tack's usual excellent advice, a 3x magnifier or, whatever other powers they come in, is a personal preference. I have 20/10 vision and can see like an eagle. However, one of my AR has a 3x magnifier on a flip mount. Flip mount is mandatory. Just make sure it'll flip to either side if needed. This helps greatly if a shooter is a lefty or righty. Like this one. http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/vortex-vmx-3t-red-dot-magnifierYou need to make sure the magnifier is compatible with your optic regarding parallax, height (centered), space on rail, etc. This particular one weighs about 12 oz so that's another factor. Though not needed at all, I have used it on occasion at 50 meters and of course it made a big difference. Not in my accuracy but in seeing the X so to speak. But it sure helps seeing your pints of impact compared to an unassisted eye. Perhaps it's been addressed. If your shooting will be at 50 meters and greater, I'd recommend a red dot with a dot size of 2 MOA or smaller. Before getting one, I'd get some time in and see if you really, really need it. Regarding distance shooting without a variable scope, I do better with hard sights / MBUS than a red dot. Remember, even a "smallish" 2 MOA dot will cover up a 2" diameter area of your target at 100 yards, 4" at 200, etc. And unless your as still as a statue, the dot will move slightly at best. At distance, that can be a show stopper. Look at the pic in the link, the magnifier is rearward and takes up a piece of real estate when employed. My 2 cents.

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Tackleberry -

 

Once again really appreciate the input even if quite a bit of it is quite over my head with my current knowledge level.

 

One of my main questions is why should I opt for a Direct Impingment (DI) as opposed to the Piston gas system (other than what amounts to availability of parts)? In my research the DI vs Piston debate is quite a quandary rivaling the glock v 1911 in the gun world debates. As far as function of the rifle goes why is it I should look for a DI rifle and shy away from Piston?

 

Would the magnifier be an inhibition at sub 50 yard ranges or just "not overly helpful" ? My rationale for the magnifier is that it gives me flexibility and confidence should I ever decide I want to shoot 100+ yard ranges. Maybe this is something that would change as I gain experience and confidence but some of it is in my mind "training wheels" (also better to have it and not need it than the reverse). I did manage to shoot with a non magnified red dot (at approx 30 yards - I typically shoot in an indoor range thats a 5 minute drive from my house) and I'd like to be able to have the option to zoom in (especially, again if I ever do decide to test myself at 100+ yards). My sight will be an eotech holographic - is that significantly better or a wash vs say a trijicon ?

 

You mentioned you own a Sig 516 which is my current leading candidate. It comes with every feature out of the box I want including (back up) iron sights. Is there a reason it isn't one of your main rifles? Even if it isn't one of your primary rifles is it still a good quality rifle?

 

That BCM rifle looks pretty solid and while I'd end up putting some more rails on it as it appears in the link would still save me some money and BCM is a pretty reputable and solid brand of rifles.

 

The primary reason I prefer direct impingement over piston is that there are less moving parts and a weight savings. There are pros and cons to both and it is an age-old debate. The pros of the piston operation in an AR type weapon, in my opinion, do not outweigh the cons. I have the three SIGs because I like SIG SAUER firearms and they are built well. As for my SIG 516, I prefer not to have it or any of my other SIGs as a primary is because of the weight. The 516 is heavy. The AR-15 carbine I have for a SHTF situation is simple, much more manageable, and easier to maneuver.

 

nLJh2Eo.jpg

 

An EOTech holographic sight is fine optic. Some people do not prefer them as they prefer a simple red-dot (usually 2MOA) instead of the 1-2MOA dot and the 65MOA circle. Personally, given the choice of an EOTech and a MRO, I will choose the MRO every time. The EOTech you see on the FDE carbine was put on there years before the MRO was ever designed. If I was building a Mk18 clone, I might use an EOTech for cloning purposes. As for the magnifier issue, I have never found the need to use one. I have no issue using a red-dot at 100 yards or further. As I said before, If I am shooting for precision, I will use a dedicated AR with a magnified scope for that purpose. A general purpose/SHTF AR does not really need one. A magnifier also adds more weight and real estate on the receiver rail. Several years ago, I saw a lot of guys buy magnifiers. I see a lot less guys using them now. Even the military as gotten away from them for the most part. A simple red-dot can be effectively used out to around 300 yards. Having a good and appropriate zero is paramount. You also have to learn how the trajectory of the AR-15 varies at certain distances. AS far as confidence shooting at longer distances, that comes with a lot of practice. It makes no difference whether it is with iron sights or a red-dot. With a general purpose/SHTF carbine, you need to be proficient with both at various distances. Never rely on an optic for confidence. Accuracy is a reflection of the shooter's capability to manipulate the weapon in order to achieve a desired result on target. I see too many guys these days that want a general purpose AR-15, but they also want it to be a precision rifle. You can find a compromise, but that means using an optic with variable magnification like a 1-6x24 or 1-8x24. Something like this one I built. This has a Compass Lake Engineering Recon 16.1" Douglas Stainless (polished) 1:8 twist barrel w/ mid-length gas system and .223 Wylde chamber. The optic is VORTEX VIPER PST 1-4x24 TMCQ MOA scope (w/ tactical turrets). It is designed for accuracy out to around 500-600 yards.

Jq0qYjN.jpg

 

 

The BCM RECCE 16 is very similar in configuration and can serve in a variety of roles depending on the choice of optic. In your case, with the EOTech or the MRO, it can serve very well as a general purpose/SHTF AR and is very capable and accurate enough for targets past 300 yards.

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Regarding magnifiers, variable power scopes like 1-4 seem to be far more popular these days. They don't seem to be slow compared to a rds/eotech, it's just a matter of weight and expense.

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I am looking for a "little of everything" in my build (flexibility to be serviceable in multiple scenarios) and most people find more weight prohibitive but it doesn't bother me as much as most people at this point. You may not care for the 516's weight but otherwise it performs perfectly well for you does it not? When I shot (standing up not bench) a few rifles I had a lighter Smith and Wesson M&P 15 variant (a higher end one) and a Daniels Defense DDM4 (V11 I think) which was much heavier (it also had a red dot and vertical foregrip which was great to get a feel for) and I really preferred the DD.

 

I definitely want to be accurate and have a pretty good idea where my round will end up when I pull the trigger. I do not prefer just a simple dot - I like the MOA circle featured in the Eotechs I'm looking into. That first one looks like something I'd really like to have. I definitely do see the importance of irons even if its as a fail safe for a dead optic battery. I may not end up being "putting 10 rounds through the same hole" kind of precise but I definitely place more of an emphasis on being able to consistently be accurate with some precision. I'm not a big fan of felt recoil (all of my handguns I own are also on the heavy side) and while its mild even on the lighter rifle I shot it was enough to have me prefer the heavier rifle I shot.

 

I'm currently leaning toward the 516 and swap triggers because the trigger that comes with a S&W Viking Tactical is just amazingly smooth and its one of the biggest selling points on that option. I really am bombarded with great options and it seems I have a lot of "can't really go wrongs". Those last two you posted are much more my fancy than your other builds I've seen so far. I really appreciate your time analyzing my needs/wants and finding more refined options.

Edited by Napalm

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I might end up changing my tune a bit if I ever plan on buying a second or third rifle and specialize these to a niche. However at this point I don't see the point in spending the money on another rifle that I couldn't do reasonably well with whatever I end up purchasing already. This is why I'd rather buy one outright from a good brand which will have quality parts and workmanship and coming out of the box even mostly how I want it is a great plus. I figure if I can tweak here and there if I have too that's one thing but I'm nowhere near knowledgeable enough to build my own.

 

What is different in your SHTF build versus a generalized or target shooting kind of rifle? Is it just something like optics or is your whole setup many degrees different?

 

I'd imagine I can always lighten a build if I find it burdensome just as I can add weight if I find felt recoil or something else that makes me prefer the weight. If I had to pick two things I'm going for its flexibility (hence why I would prefer at least a top/bottom rail if not a quad rail) and a solid ability to be accurate to precise(ish) particularly in closer (sub 50 yard) range but that could at least be respectably accurate at distance (hence part of the reason I'd like to have a magnifier).

 

I can see your thought process on the DI v Piston thing - that DI has less parts which (in theory) means less can go wrong seems to be your major point if I understood correctly.

 

Scopes (variable power) have been brought up - what are the pros/cons with those versus a holographic sight. I haven't given it much thought to this point to be honest - I've had my mind pretty made up on a holographic and after shooting with a red dot I am comfortable with the visual.

Edited by Napalm

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While I am no expert on the AR platform, there are some good things about mil-spec,

but you have to read the actual specs on each weapon.

 

IMHO. the part of milspec you want to pay attention to is that it has a full auto (heavier) bolt carrier,

the bolt and bolt carrier (the BCG) is made from the proper metals is chrome lined, and as been magnetically

inspected for faults in the metal, is shot peened,. Proper # 8 fasteners for the gas key, and the gas key properly staked,

all per milspec. The bolt is usually made from Carpenter 158 steel, and the carrier from 158 or 8610 steel.

The gun has been proof tested per milspec, and the barrel has also been magnetically inspected for faults.

IMHO that is where "true" mil spec is a handy metric for buying a rifle. It also helps ensure that any replacement parts are going to fit.

 

Since money seems to be no object, I think the LMT (Lewis Machine and Tool) is making the best rifles available on the commercial market.

I can assure you that you will not regret spending the money. Anyone who knows AR's know is just just not get much better than LMT for a solid, dependable, and accurate enough rifle. If you are less concerned about self defense, and more concerned about punching holes, a chromed lined barrel like the LMT has is not going to be the best. Just the most durable. Besides being chrome lined, they are all rated for being able to handle full auto fire.

 

An LMT is my ultimate rifle, but it is personal choice. If you are looking for a target rifle, something unlined in stainless steel or 4150 CV steel will be more accurate, for the tiniest groups. So for the long term, does your personal scale tip more towards a battle rifle that can hold up to extensive wear and tear and many rounds without failure, or does your personal scale tip more towards something more towards plinking at the range ? Do you intend to reload for the ultimate in accuracy for your individual weapon? AR's built for accuracy may come with a 1:8 barrel twist to handle more bullet weights well, and have a Wylde chamber, which while not as loose (and dependable) as a 5.56 chamber it will usually give you better accuracy.

 

Welcome to the board! IMO the first thing to do is to fine tune in your own mind what you want the rifle for. You will probably end up with more than one.

There is nothing wrong with getting a plain jane model now and learning the platform so that your future choices will be more educated.

One of the beauties of the AR is that they are building them to do pretty much anything you want them to. Find where your scale comes to rest, and go from there.

There are many experts here who have forgotten more than I know. But I felt the need to jump in and say that in some respects milspec is a good thing, especially when it comes to metals on the BCG and the barrel. Remember though, even if it is claimed to be mil spec, it still has to be made by a good manufacturer like LMT or DD, FN Tactical, and a number of others. Sometimes the problem is too much choice.

I could go on about triggers and such, but I will leave that for others.

For example, mil spec triggers are usually heavy and gritty, they are designed for reliability and durability. Some makers also cheap out.

It costs much more to make a trigger that is smoother and lighter, but still goes bang every time for a long time. .

Good luck and HAVE FUN !

 

John

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Napalm,

 

It sounds to me like you have a lot of research and learning to do before you do anything. Being unfamiliar with the AR platform is hindering you from making a well thought out decision. All I can offer is my advice based on my own years of experience and knowledge. In the end, it is your money and decision. I just hope that you make a wise choice so that whatever weapon you chose will fulfill your requirements without any regret. Maybe some others can help to shed more light on this issue.

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While I am no expert on the AR platform, there are some good things about mil-spec,

but you have to read the actual specs on each weapon.

 

IMHO. the part of milspec you want to pay attention to is that it has a full auto (heavier) bolt carrier,

the bolt and bolt carrier (the BCG) is made from the proper metals is chrome lined, and as been magnetically

inspected for faults in the metal, is shot peened,. Proper # 8 fasteners for the gas key, and the gas key properly staked,

all per milspec. The bolt is usually made from Carpenter 158 steel, and the carrier from 158 or 8610 steel.

The gun has been proof tested per milspec, and the barrel has also been magnetically inspected for faults.

IMHO that is where "true" mil spec is a handy metric for buying a rifle. It also helps ensure that any replacement parts are going to fit.

 

Since money seems to be no object, I think the LMT (Lewis Machine and Tool) is making the best rifles available on the commercial market.

I can assure you that you will not regret spending the money. Anyone who knows AR's know is just just not get much better than LMT for a solid, dependable, and accurate enough rifle. If you are less concerned about self defense, and more concerned about punching holes, a chromed lined barrel like the LMT has is not going to be the best. Just the most durable. Besides being chrome lined, they are all rated for being able to handle full auto fire.

 

An LMT is my ultimate rifle, but it is personal choice. If you are looking for a target rifle, something unlined in stainless steel or 4150 CV steel will be more accurate, for the tiniest groups. So for the long term, does your personal scale tip more towards a battle rifle that can hold up to extensive wear and tear and many rounds without failure, or does your personal scale tip more towards something more towards plinking at the range ? Do you intend to reload for the ultimate in accuracy for your individual weapon? AR's built for accuracy may come with a 1:8 barrel twist to handle more bullet weights well, and have a Wylde chamber, which while not as loose (and dependable) as a 5.56 chamber it will usually give you better accuracy.

 

Welcome to the board! IMO the first thing to do is to fine tune in your own mind what you want the rifle for. You will probably end up with more than one.

There is nothing wrong with getting a plain jane model now and learning the platform so that your future choices will be more educated.

One of the beauties of the AR is that they are building them to do pretty much anything you want them to. Find where your scale comes to rest, and go from there.

There are many experts here who have forgotten more than I know. But I felt the need to jump in and say that in some respects milspec is a good thing, especially when it comes to metals on the BCG and the barrel. Remember though, even if it is claimed to be mil spec, it still has to be made by a good manufacturer like LMT or DD, FN Tactical, and a number of others. Sometimes the problem is too much choice.

I could go on about triggers and such, but I will leave that for others.

For example, mil spec triggers are usually heavy and gritty, they are designed for reliability and durability. Some makers also cheap out.

It costs much more to make a trigger that is smoother and lighter, but still goes bang every time for a long time. .

Good luck and HAVE FUN !

 

John

 

Thanks John.

 

I forgot about mentioning LMT. They are about the best you can buy and are right there along side Knights Armament.

 

https://lmtdefense.com/firearms?caliber=5-56x45

 

https://www.knightarmco.com/product/commercial-firearms/sr-15

Edited by TackleberryMCS

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I might as well add a few more thoughts, 'Cuz I'm the type of a-hole who likes the sound of my own voice.

 

1: budget for a good light. This is one of those rare things where you can buy an ability, like choosing your own superpower. As silly as it sounds, that's just the way it is. You can be blind in the dark or you can see great, your choice.

 

2: the reason I'm skeptical about piston guns is 'cuz usually their purpose is only to take your money. A good long-lasting piston rifle in the ar price range is called an ak-74.

 

3: at the price range you're looking at, the rifle should come the way you like it. You shouldn't need to make any real upgrades like changing the trigger.

 

4: it's super hard to have a right opinion about what you personally need unless you get good training, with good note-taking, followed up by sincere practice. For example, one thing that I learned is that when a strong wind is blowing on my body, the extra tension makes it easy for me do unintentional double taps with a too-light trigger. You won't learn that sort of thing from an indoor range.

 

5: the big advantage of a scope is that it helps you see better. An eotech lets you aim perfectly fine, if that's all you need. I'm not a hunter, and I'll never have to worry "is that a shovel or an rpg?", so for me it's irons and rds.

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I do agree with a 1-4, 1-6, etc scope. Believe you'd like it if the need is there for looking afar. I personally would find a magnifier to be in the way, a distraction, and something for shat to hang up on if on a self-defense weapon.

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Quite a bit to walk back into. Thank you fellow AR enthusiasts :)

 

I'll admit I don't have a super refined set of needs or qualifications or something like that to really go off of. I realize I don't have my needs terribly specific either which does hinder those giving advice. I do very much appreciate the effort as I've seem some well thought out posts and bits of information. Bama brought up but I didn't particularly consider how a magnifier could possibly be in the way or an encumbrance somehow. I would imagine I'll tweak things here or there with optics and furniture to fine tune things but if things are mostly how I want them from the start.

 

I'm finding out that especially in my price point I'm afforded quite a bit of flexibility - hell almost too much. How much does something like twist rate matter overall. I've been under the impression that say a 1:7 is "better" than a 1:8 but it sounds like this isn't always the case. I plan on shooting mostly target rounds but should I ever need to use it for defense I'd have a higher quality round in my chamber/magazine.

Edited by Napalm

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I might as well add a few more thoughts, 'Cuz I'm the type of a-hole who likes the sound of my own voice.

 

1: budget for a good light. This is one of those rare things where you can buy an ability, like choosing your own superpower. As silly as it sounds, that's just the way it is. You can be blind in the dark or you can see great, your choice.

 

2: the reason I'm skeptical about piston guns is 'cuz usually their purpose is only to take your money. A good long-lasting piston rifle in the ar price range is called an ak-74.

 

3: at the price range you're looking at, the rifle should come the way you like it. You shouldn't need to make any real upgrades like changing the trigger.

 

4: it's super hard to have a right opinion about what you personally need unless you get good training, with good note-taking, followed up by sincere practice. For example, one thing that I learned is that when a strong wind is blowing on my body, the extra tension makes it easy for me do unintentional double taps with a too-light trigger. You won't learn that sort of thing from an indoor range.

 

5: the big advantage of a scope is that it helps you see better. An eotech lets you aim perfectly fine, if that's all you need. I'm not a hunter, and I'll never have to worry "is that a shovel or an rpg?", so for me it's irons and rds.

 

There is some good insight here certainly coming from a different angle too.

 

1. I do plan on having a light of some sort. Would you think that a separate light is better? I was thinking of getting one of those vertical foregrips that have a laser and flashlight capability (you know a three in one versatile attachment)

 

3. That is also my prevailing thought. I'm being somewhat picky with what kind of things I know I like but want a great deal of built in flexibility (such as with having rails and things like that already there so I can just "plug and play").

 

4. I suppose everyone learned some things through a "trial and error" basis if not the bulk of the knowledge I've been graced with may have come through "I think this will achieve X" > "nope back to the drawing board".

 

5. I currently prefer a red dot / holographic but down the line I might see what a (lower magnified - like a 1-4x or 1-8x) scope will do. I've seen some ARs with scopes that look really nice and probably shoot very well.

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