SO...trying to figure out this AR thing

Discussion in 'General Firearms Discussion' started by tallbump, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. tallbump

    tallbump Supporting Member

    So, honestly, until recently, I never paid much attention to ARs.

    The most I know I know from playing with my MP 15-22...which I guess really isn't an AR, but just styled like an AR?

    Anywise, more and more I kinda want to get one.

    It will be a long years...but I like to research and know what I am getting into.

    Plus, I figure I could build one over time...again, like years.

    Tried reading a little tongiht, but I have had a head ache the last few days I can't quite shake and I just really can't figure this out.

    Looks like the upper is the "gun part"? The part that requires the background check? And the lower houses the trigger?

    Then you add a barrel, a stock, and.....

    And it appears some uppers come with barrels, but not all.

    And, which part determines the caliber? The upper, the lower, both?

    Then I saw about A1, A2, A3....:confused:

    I like the flat top...the carry handle just doesn't do anything for me. I am leaning towards the .308, just because. Definitely open to other calibers though.

    But everyone tells me I need a "big boy gun". And not to be cliche, but I am to that point that if the government is telling me I don't need one, then I probably need one
  2. tallbump

    tallbump Supporting Member

    So, it looks like maybe the .223 is the cheapest route?

  3. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    The lower needs the FFL transfer. I just took delivery of my new upper this morning. Shipped from Texas to my front door.
  4. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    Yes.... And the lower receiver is the serial numbered part that requires the BG check....
  5. tallbump

    tallbump Supporting Member

    So, what's the difference between a lower and a stripped lower?
  6. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    Anderson upper with ejection port cover and forward assist, a 16" 1:7 twist SOCOM barrel chambered in 5.56 NATO, A2 flash hider, National match 12" hand guards. Standard mil spec charging handle and an m16 fa bcg.

    Attached Files:

  7. MaryB

    MaryB Supporting Member

    the lower has the serial number and is the ATF part. Rest can be ordered online and shipped to your house.

    Parts needed.

    lower(5.56 is cheaper, 308 is much more expensive for all parts and not much interchanges)
    lower parts kit(grip, trigger stuff, springs etc)

    buffer tube and buffer including buffer stop and spring

    stock to fit the selected buffer tube(mil spec is a little different diameter)

    upper receiver, slick side has no forward assist so is cheaper. If you get a stripped with it you need forward assist parts and the dust cover and spring.

    Bolt carrier group(easiest to buy it assembled...)

    hand guard of choice

    barrel of choice.

    Lowers can be bought complete and assembled fairly cheap if you shop around, same for uppers. It all depends on what you want the rifle to do. I built mine for long range hunting on prairie dogs and coyotes(got a fox too last fall)

    DPMS complete lower, slick side no name upper, DelTon BCG, Midwest Industries free float hand guard, DEZ match grade barrel, Nikon P223 rings, AR Optics 3-9x40 scope

  8. tallbump

    tallbump Supporting Member

  9. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    For you, the m&p 15 is your best bet. But, like you said, it's years away. In that time you may find plenty of time to shoot a variety of AR's and decide you know exactly what you want to build. For a lower cost, entry level AR, it would serve you well.
  10. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    The lower is the frame and magwell, it holds all the manual controls, like trigger, safety, mag release. And the pistol grip, buffer tube and buffer and spring attach to it, not to the upper.

    A lower without those items is a stripped lower, you'd need to buy the items and the springs and pins to put them in the lower.

    If you want to pick and choose things, a stripped lower lets you do it. If you just want a functional gun, you can buy it already built, and it will be fine for 95% of users.

    The upper is the receiver, with the barrel, gas block and tube, maybe a front sight, maybe a charging handle, and the hand guards and rails attach to it.

    Some uppers include the BCG, Bolt Carrier Group, which houses the bolt, which has the firing pin, extractor, ejector, gas key, and parts that hold it all together.

    So...just buy a gun, and don't worry about it.:p
  11. tallbump

    tallbump Supporting Member

    Kinda what I was thinking. And then I'd have big bro and little bro :D
  12. papataylor

    papataylor Member

    Watcha palmetto state for sales - you can build one for nearly $300 now
  13. USMC_VET

    USMC_VET Supporting Member

    Go with a 1/7 twist upper , you have a lot more ammo to choose from like 50,55,60,62 ,64 ,68 ,69 ,70 ,77 and 80 grain

    Ammo like 77 grain you can turn your AR with a 16" barrel into a tack driver with sub moa groups @ 100 yrds

    My AR has a 1/7 twist barrel and I really like it , able to use the hotter ammo and that's a plus
  14. cicpup

    cicpup Resident PITA Supporting Member

    Noooo... 5.56NATO. How's your algebra? .38+.357 = .223+5.56
  15. bscar

    bscar Supporting Member


    I'd like to build an AR-57, but the biggest expense is the upper, which is like $6~700
  16. USMC_VET

    USMC_VET Supporting Member

    Why not build a MK12 rifle , basically a AR with special 1/7 twist 18" barrel , 2 stage trigger and shoots only barnes mk262 77 grain ammo . This is used by the Socom units and can be devastating from 100-650 yrds
  17. The AR-15 is the smartphone of the gun world, there are more options and "apps" for your AR than you will ever be able to use and that is part of the fun. I just finished with my first AR build, I used an 80% lower and bought the rest part by part over about 6 months as I found them on sale. I chambered mine for .300 blackout rather than 5.56 (different barrel but all the other parts are the same as a 5.56) and still have a list of optional parts I want to try out. So far I have spent between $300 and $500 on my finished rifle, could have gone cheaper but near the end I jumped on a few parts I did not want to wait on (wanted my rifle done and shooting, not in parts). I am now kicking around the idea of building a 2nd upper chambered for 5.56 (cheaper ammo than the .300) but I will probably end up building an entirely new rifle, it was just that much fun to build.

    Take a look at the parts and see if you can keep the price of each section down to around $50 and you can have a good bargain rifle. If you have a little more money to throw around you can get better parts and have a nice rifle. If you have piles of money you don't know what to do with you can build a world class rifle that people will tell legends of. It is just a matter of how much you want to spend. But building the rifle is astonishingly easy, requiring only a few tools and virtually no real gunsmith experience.

    I say, dive in. Build one.
  18. USMC_VET

    USMC_VET Supporting Member

    Just like mentioned above it all depends on how deep pockets are in building your dream AR .There is many different calibers for an AR like 9mm , 45acp ,22lr , 7.62x39 , .308, 6.5 grendle , 6.8 spc , 300 aac , 223 and 5.56 nato

    The only calibers that is different and requires it's own lower receiver is .308 and 7.62x39 As the rounds are to big for a conventional AR lower reciever

    Since I'm a military Veteran I built my AR to take advantage of military grade ammo since that is what I used while I was in . Just wish I could use the m196 and m856 ammo !!
  19. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Member

    I just don't see how you can do that. Maybe $400-$450, but not $300. Do show us how if I'm wrong.

    Like Tallbump, it's never been clear to me what all of the AR fuss is about (still isn't). I just finished a cheap build to educate myself and I do have a better idea, but I still scratch my head over some of the terminology and especially the variation in pricing. I compared a $50 lower to a $200 lower and couldn't see any real difference. The pricing difference for the uppers is even crazier. To me, the only thing that makes sense in the pricing difference is the quality of the barrels.

    What I learned is that they are an easy firearm to build from a box of parts. And like what Ajole said, by the time you gather parts, you can find a finished rifle for the same money.

    I will probably build another, but I'm a tinkerer by heart and fiddle with all of my firearms.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015