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AR kit or complete?

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While I haven't been overly impressed w/ the AR's I've shot, given the current prices and state of our world, I'm very seriously considering buying one soon.

I'd like to get a build-kit, as it will help me to learn more about that rifle (important if I'm going to own it!), and I have access to experienced friends to help me learn. Given the price difference, too, it strikes me as a no-brainer.... that being said, is the 'cheap kit' on PSA's website any good? Would I be better served buying an already completed 'affordable' model (as I'm likely to want to upgrade parts/pieces as I progress through the various stages of addiction?). Can anyone recommend some other websites/company's to order from besides Palmetto?


Do the kits have to go through an FFL dealer, or do they ship direct?



- Kevin


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Post the link to what you're lookibg at on PSA.  As to others, Primary Arms has good stuff, and their shipping is about as good as it gets in gun sales.  Just stay with known brands and you'll be fine.  Also, do you have a work bench and a vise at home?  You'll need one to assembme it correctly if you're building the upper instead of getting a complete one.

Edited by btq96r
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I'm kicking myself for not getting the $400 kit they had a couple weeks ago... actually hoping for a deal this weekend:



I believe this ships w/ a completed (and tested) upper?

How long should it take to assemble one from a kit? Couple hours?


- K

Edited by ReeferMac
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With the kit you linked all you need to do is add a lower. The lower receiver must go to a FFL, the kit you linked will ship to your doorstep. As you mentioned, from there you're just a couple hours away from a functioning AR. For what it's worth, you could do a lot worse than the kit you linked, buy with confidence

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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That kit does not go through an FFL as there's no lower receiver. You'll need to get one somewhere, and that piece only goes through an FFL. 

With a complete upper, building one is like Legos. The first one will take a couple hours because you'll have to do a couple things 3 times to get them right. After that...  30 mins or so. 

Work inside a clear plastic bag when installing the springs and detents. It'll catch them when they get away instead of launching them into the far reaches of the Galaxy. Use tape to protect adjacent surfaces when installing pins. Else you'll have an idiot mark or two when you're done. 

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Thanks for the input folks (wasn't aware the 'kit' didn't include the lower, WTF?!)

Hard to say what I didn't like about the AR's... I went to open-range day at Windrock shooting range out here, and one of the LGS's brought a collection of their AR's, everything from 500-dollar cheap one's, to $3500 'zombie killers' w/ silencers... to be sure, the fancy one's w/ can's were the best, and I've shot/handled a bunch at ORSA, too. Slap a scope on it and it sends lead downrange very well, I was just never really impressed. I've handled/shot a few other black-rifles that did impress me, but I don't have the budget for that, and this acquisition is as much about timing as anything. Given the current news feed, I'd expect the idea of a "ban" will be bantered about in the press by this weekend....


Would I be better served by buying a quality lower receiver (or two!), and working on building a completed rifle down-the-road (assuming you can get uppers/parts even if a ban is implemented)?


- K

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1 hour ago, ReeferMac said:

Thanks for the input folks (wasn't aware the 'kit' didn't include the lower, WTF?!)

As mentioned, that's so everything shown in the kit can be shipped directly to you.  A stripped lower is as easy to get as any other firearm from a LGS if they carry them, or you can also order a PSA stripped lower in a separate purchase, and have it sent somewhere that will do a transfer.

As to the work involved, putting together a lower is pretty simple.  Peejman has it pretty much exact on the nuances of it.

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I always build my own so I get exactly what I want. It's extremely satisfying to get a sub-moa rifle from parts that you assembled yourself. Plus, you know how to work on it later down the road if necessary. I usually order most parts online and buy the stripped lower receiver at my LGS.


I used this video series to help walk me through my first build. http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/lid=11004/guntechdetail/how_to_build_an_ar-15_video


You asked for some other links...







there are many others, but those a few that come to mind.


This is fun too... http://www.ar15builder.com

Edited by Wingshooter
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Slickguns.com shows Sportsman Guide with a DPMS Oracle .223/5.56 16" bbl for $503 plus $4.99 shipping.  You might be able to find one local for that price.  There was some for sale in this area for that price a couple of weeks ago. 

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Just a suggestion--given the political environment, i would buy a solid rifle off the rack yesterday. This could be a Ruger AR-556, M&P Sport, DPMS XYZ, etc. Given the $600 price point, i don't think you would loose any money if you shot the hell out of it and decided to sale it two years from now.

Now that you've got a solid gun in the safe, start building the gun you want. The entry level gun will help show you what you like and don't like. If panic sets in, you've got a rifle in the safe. If not, build what you want and sale the other.

Edited by Parrothead
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32 minutes ago, Mindless-Focus said:


THE best build videos on YouTube   They will definitely help  



I agree. Very precise instructions, great explanations and camera angles. I actually watched his videos over and over before I tried to build anything 

Edited by rugerla1
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Thanks for the great info guys.

Budgetary concerns weighed in the decision, but I stopped at the LGS this morning and picked up an Anderson Mfg. complete lower and a pair of Magpul 30 rd. mag's (for $250 after tax and Background).

I'll be shopping for uppers/parts as the budget allows, but I'm glad to have gotten these two parts out of the way given everything going on. Now I can spend a little more on the rest of the bits and pieces and hopefully end up w/ an item I'm happy with.

They DID have the M&P Sport model complete for $659, which was very temping (can't build it that quality for that price), but the wife would castrate me if I dropped 700-clams right now, LOL!

Thanks again!


- K

  • Like 3
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If you want to learn, buy cheap stuff and build the rifle. Then sell it. That’s what a lot of people are doing and eventually they work their way into a rifle that is truly a quality rifle. Just keep in mind there are some quality factory rifles out there pretty cheap right now.

Anything that is cheap is going to have good reviews (good or not). But like anything else you buy; quality costs.

Quality is measured differently by different people. Some think its quality if the rifle fires every time without jamming, others only require a tight group, and yet others require it to put every round in the bull at long rage. biggrin.gif

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3 hours ago, Wingshooter said:


Anderson is good. I've never been disappointed with their products.


AND made a little north of here in KY!

Wanted to make sure I was buying American for several reasons, I'm sure everyone here understands. :)


Now do I go for the rest from Anderson and get their no-lube features? Anyone have any experience with that system?


- K

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23 minutes ago, ReeferMac said:


AND made a little north of here in KY!

Wanted to make sure I was buying American for several reasons, I'm sure everyone here understands. :)

Because American Made Matters? biggrin.gif

patriot.gif patriot.gif

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6 minutes ago, DaveTN said:

Because American Made Matters?

I'd much rather be responsible for putting a few hours onto the shift of some good 'ol boy at a machine-shop up in KY.

Also hoping I'll be able to find parts/supplies if a ban on imports or anything similar takes hold.


- K

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If you find the exact rifle you want, purchase a complete rifle.

If you're worried about future resale value, purchase a complete rifle.

Otherwise, buy the parts you want and assemble them. You don't need a machine shop or an engineering degree to assemble an AR.

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