To build or not to build

QUESTION: I am looking to acquire an AR Platform Rifle…
Some have told me to build my own and others have told to me to just buy it complete. I want to be around the $1,500 range. Is this realistic? This will be my first AR so I don’t have much experience with this platform. Not sure which way to go. I would love to hear your expert advice either way.

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If you know how to build one it is cheaper to go that route. If you want to buy complete $1500 will get you a nice setup. Check out the Springfield Saint Victor. Nice gun and nicely priced.

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Thanks Joseph_1970. I appreciate the feedback. I was looking at the Springfield Saint Edge at my gunshop. Are these rifles similar and which is better? I was also looking at the POF. Any feedback on this?

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You have the full spectrum of buying a complete rifle and buying every single component and assembling it yourself and everything in between.

If you buy a complete rifle, that budget will get you a really nice out-the-door rifle from Daniel Defense, Bravo Company, Centurian, Sionics, Sons of Liberty Gunworks (theres probably a few more I’m thinking of. Many of the manufacturers let you build a custom rifle (pick your components) on their website and its delivered to you complete.

Buying the two halves (upper & lower) separately, and joining the TWO pieces together can usually save you $50-100.

A common approach to building is to buy a complete upper, and then buy a stripped lower (this is the serialized firearm), and then a lower parts kit (all the catches, springs, detents, trigger, buffer assemby, and a brace/stock). The lower can be assembled with just a few tools, so it’s pretty easy. I think the first one i did took maybe 30-45mins and I had no idea what I was doing. The upper is a little more complex, so thats why most folks just buy the upper already assembled. If you do a little bit of shopping and waiting for sales you can save a good bit of money here and come out with better components than any other way.

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Thanks Harvey… I’ll do some research. I appreciate your thoughts.

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@Vince763 If you start building AR rifles it will become an addiction. @Harvey left out Aero Precision. I’ve got two more in build now. They are like potato chips…

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@Vince763

It comes down to opportunity cost (means what would you do with the time you spent building the rifle vs the time you would save with a built and out the door one). For a budget of $1500 you can get your choice of some very nice AR-15’s from alot of places. I have a custom built AR-15 in .223 Wyld (so I could still shoot 5.56 mm with and it was under $1500.

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Indeed! Totally forgot about Aero, they are one of the most common and build excellent stuff

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Currently waiting for a Aero lower for my 6.5 Grendel build. Great company with great products.

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This will get you in the ballpark.

M4 Lower Receiver $(285.00) Magpul furniture

M4E1 Enhanced Upper $(525.00) 16" Stainless Wylde Barrel and M4E1 Enhanced

M4 Bolt Carrier Group $(134.99) Nitride

M4 Charging Handle $(79.99) Ambi

MBUIS Sights $(180.00)

Vortex Optics Crossfire II $(189.99) V-Brite Reticle

Scope Mount ADQD $(139.99)

Total - $(1534.96)

Slide Charging Handle and BCG in. Connect Upper and lower. Mount MBUIS Sites. Mount Scope. You will have a nice rig to be proud of.

p.s. These are retail prices. AP has some great sales but you have to be quick. They also offer 10% MIL/LE discount in conjunction with their sales price…why I’m a fanboy.

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300 blackout, barrel length depends upon application, long range- long barrel, good scope.
home defense 5.56 AR with sub-sonic rounds minimal barrel length, makes it easier for around the house, add red dot sights for quick target acquisition. $1500 would be practical, put into it for what you want to get out of it. It is all about you, what you really want and how you are going to use it.

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My babies:

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Like others have said, $1500 can get a really great quality AR. I just bought my first rifle for around $700 (S&W 15). It has a really good reputation, but it’s definitely referred to a “budget rifle”. That’s all I could justify getting, but I know I can upgrade down the road.

After handling mine, I side on the “buy one then build” philosophy. There is a lot to learn. If you were really motivated you could build a really good rifle, but you’ll have no basis for justifying some of the parts you pick. If you buy an AR built, you will get to find out what you like, and make changes down the road.

Don’t forget to budget for things like spare mags, a sling, sites (sites are pricy, I’m just running irons for now)/ any additional accessories you deem a requirement out of the box. Others have said, you can get a really nice already put together rifle in your price range.

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Hey brother Vince in my opinion you should buy it complete and get experience with it and then you build one. Learn how it operates and the parts and it will be easier when you build your own.

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Thanks Jeff-A1. Guns are like chips for sure… and some flavors you just can’t stop eating them. My wife thinks I have a problem. Haha

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With a built one I could be out shooting next week… I get it. On the other hand, I want to learn how to build one too.

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Johnnyq60, you might have hit the nail on the head with your comment. Thanks brother.

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@Vince763 You will better understand how your firearm works if you build it. What I suggested in my list above is not “a build”. Start with a stripped lower for that. I have bought plenty of assembled uppers from AP because they are cheaper than buying the separate components… I would suggest a Velocity modular trigger group. Get an AP lower that doesn’t require roll-pins. Very nice feature!

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That’s a good perspective Scoutbob. Good points to think about. Thanks for the feedback.

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Those are some nice babies… I want one!

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