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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys I'm in need of some input and direction. I'm currently working on building my first budget AR15. At the moment I'm seeking out a complete upper reciever under 350-400 and even at that price I have seen some nice ones on sale, clearance, or budget like uppers, ect... Any suggestions on any brands and any Good or bad experiences you guys have would be good to hear. I have found some web sites that offer complete uppers under $350 mad In the USA, nice keymod rails dust cover, assist ect... but I'm kinda skeptical on spending money on something that might potentials be a huge disaster in the end. Any and all In put would be great, thanks.
 

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Righteous Dude
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I'm a fan of PSA. Look at their premium lines for uppers that have have FN barrels. Good value there.

Keep asking questions. Quite a few builders on here.
 

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Model 1 sells good stuff and they're not expensive, relatively speaking and they have been selling kits for a long time.

I've built 2 AR's from parts and mil-surp uppers, it's easy. I built an M16 "slab side" and an M16A1 clone, more for range shooters and hobby guns. I'm not an AR guy so I don't have the urge to keep spending money on them. My SHTF rifle is a Mini-14.

Unless you must have an AR, truth be told it won't be "cheap" to build one up anymore, and I would avoid sketchy lowers from places like Hesse or Olympic. Uppers are expensive, I priced it out, since I had thought about building an M16A2 clone, and it would almost be easier to just spend the few extra bucks and get a Bushmaster. The days of $400 AR builds are over, thanks to the political climate.

10 years ago you'd save hundreds building your own, now everyone has jacked up their prices and the kits take forever to arrive because everyone is fear buying AR15 kits.

A 20" AR kit the way I want it, without the lower, is $650 from Model 1. Add in a good lower and I'm looking at $150 or so. $800 total, for a "base"model 20" AR15 made from unknown contract surplus parts. My dealer has a lightly used 20" Bushmaster Match grade for sale for $975, for the price of a couple good dinners out I can have one that's ready to go, instead of piecing one together.

For $750 I can buy a Mini-14 Tactical that's ready to rock out of the box for less than I'd pay to put an AR15 kit together, just something to think about.
 

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I have done 2 builds from PSA as the parts go on sale (with the occasional free shipping too!). The have turned out great and I would recommend them.
I also recently stumbled upon MAS Defense, which seems to have reasonable prices and lots of options available.
Warning - the builds can become addictive :D
 

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Watch out, AR building is addictive as frack! And you get an excuse to buy some specialty tools! Win win!

Some good trustworthy brands I've mucked with:

Aero Precision (supposedly makes uppers/lowers for other companies)
LMT
BCM
Spikes Tactical
Midwest Industries
Vltor
Daniel Defense
 

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"The Real Deal"
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As my other brothers in arms have stated, Palmetto or PSA, is a great place to snag deals. Primary Arms is also a great place to do business, and save some currency. I have also done business with a few others that I would recommend. When I am building one, I check these out...

AR-15 & AK-47 Parts & Accessories | Primary Arms

Ammunition, AR15 Parts, Magazines, Bulk Ammo - Palmetto State Armory

Custom AR-15 Sales | Top quality at great prices & excellent service

Fulton Armory | FAR-15

https://blitzkriegtactical.com/?view=store&catID=87

Del ton Rifle Kits & Del ton AR 15 Rifles | Gun Supplies & Gun Accessories from Del-ton, Inc.
 

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First off figure out what type of AR you want to build! Then start shopping around for the pieces you want.

I've built three AR's so far all of which were under $550 total each to assemble.

First one used a 20" stainless bull barrel upper from Red-X Arms along with other parts from Midway (using discount codes/specials) and an Anderson lower from a LGS. Total cost was less than a S&W M&P Sport ($550ish) and that was during the height of the panic in 2013!

Second one had parts from Brownells, MAS, eBay, Amazon, and a FMK poly lower from a LGS.

Last one was probably my least expensive yet (black friday/holiday sales).... FMK lower with a free CCMG parts kit for $59 from a LGS, 16" free float upper in .300 blackout from Primary arms for $200 along with a $14 charging handle, M-16 style nitride BCG from AIM Surplus (best prices on BCG's I've found when they're in stock) for $90, A2 stock from Nurmrich for $47, and muzzle brake (gotta love Massachusetts laws) from Amazon for $18
 

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I built my first AR in the late 1990's; have built over 100 of them since then.

I generally don't consider assembling a lower and strapping on a pre-built upper to be "building," but that's ok - lots of guys go that route. I've only doneso once, which was a Dtech 243wssm upper - which can't be built by the average joe.

In general, you won't save money building a mil-spec carbine, you'll need about $100 in tools, and you'll only save about $50 on parts vs. a factory model. Alternatively, for factory models in the $1000-1200 range, you can build an equivalent or better AR for about $200 less, tools included.

I've built on a lot of DPMS and Bushmaster parts, several on Aero parts now. For what it's worth, the incremental differences between AR parts are minimal - stocks, forends, and grips will feel different for different shooters, and be more or less attractive to different shooters subjective eyes, but in terms of function, there's not $500 difference in functional performance between a $500 carbine and a $1000 rifle.

The important places to spend money in an AR are the trigger and barrel. The stock and grip need to fit well and be comfortable, but everything else is just subjective preference.

I personally only own one AR that's not a match grade custom barrel from Shilen or Black Hole Weaponry; a bushy M4 clone which I'm intentionally leaving as is. Mil-spec, $150 or less barrels can shoot well, but they can also be 2-3MOA barrels too. For a little more price, match barrels won't have that variability in potential, and they WILL shoot sub-MOA. I have a few barrels that will shoot in the 1/10th and 1/5-1/4MOA ballpark, even after a few thousand rounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Excellent information guys it's a huge help. Like I said this is my first rifle build so cheap is what I'm gonna go with. I have found some nice PSA upoers that look appealing at a reasonable price so I might go that route. Does anyone have any knowledge on del-ton, reds arms, AR stoner uppers? I hear mixed believes about em but what do you guys think or know of??? All the info so far is great, thanks.
 

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Rifleman
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Got my first AR in 1978(back when NO ONE had them relatively speaking). Built a 2nd one up via gunshow parts in 81ish. Back then there'd be about 2 tables at a given gunshow with "some" loose individual(no such thing as built uppers for sale back then) AR parts. Remember there was no internet.. I dunno how I got the barrels off without a lot of special tools. But I did lol.

If your wanting to go lighter(all my ARs use LW barrels), watch out for some "light weight" barrels from some mfgs.. Note how big the gas block is. Delton and some others still use the fat .750" journal size right there on all their LW barrels, which adds 'some' wt.

I have several ARs currently. But not nearly as many as Tacky lol
 
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"The Real Deal"
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Excellent information guys it's a huge help. Like I said this is my first rifle build so cheap is what I'm gonna go with. I have found some nice PSA upoers that look appealing at a reasonable price so I might go that route. Does anyone have any knowledge on del-ton, reds arms, AR stoner uppers? I hear mixed believes about em but what do you guys think or know of??? All the info so far is great, thanks.
I have experience with several deltons, and used their parts for builds, as well as many other manufacturers like dpms, olympic, anderson, rock river, armalite, nodak, fulton, and many,many, others. The delton 16" and 20" lightweight contour 1n9 twist barrel is more accurate than alot of highend barrels i have used. Their lowers are manufactured nicely, tight fit between the uppers and lowers. These 2 are in my personal collection built from delton parts, including barrels and chrome bcg's, and colt and reproduction colt furniture. Delton is recommendable.



 

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"The Real Deal"
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"The Real Deal"
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I just ran across this upper for sale, $300-$400 price range, its instock, all it requires is a bolt carrier group, and charging handle, and your good to go. LWRC is one of the top end ar manufacturers in the hoard of us ar makers, great stuff, most of the time out of mosts price range. Not sure if all the components are lwrc, but judging by original price, quite possibly.

CDNN SPORTS - AR15 CUSTOM UPPER 223 WYLDE STRAIGHT FLUTE SOCOM
 

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You'll find more than a handful of AR builders here. All of us are willing to give helpful advice and there are plenty of pictures for inspiration in the Ar15 platform picture thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the input guys I appreciate it. I finally decided to go with a Midlength stainless PSA upper with a magpul for end for $200 and a PSA bcg for $89. Even picked up a tactical extended charging handle to finish off the build. So far the rifle looks and feels good but only time will tell. And th best part is I spent less than $450 for a comete rifle with two mags and it is exactly what I wanted and expected. currently I have my bushnell 3-9x40 mounted on the rifle but I would like to slap a tactical 3 or 4 power scope or red dot on it for close to medium range shooting. I like the vortex spitfire or their prism scopes but I'd like to find something similar under $100 bucks, any suggestions or input would be great. Thanks and keep the info coming I like what you guys are posting.
 

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My first I built with a Model 1 Sales upper. The next used a JSE Surplus upper (DPMS Kitty Kat).

One is a pistol and the other a so called "firearm."
20140909_113915 by Slick_Rick77, on Flickr

They are awesome.
 

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Righteous Dude
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Thanks for all the input guys I appreciate it. I finally decided to go with a Midlength stainless PSA upper with a magpul for end for $200 and a PSA bcg for $89. Even picked up a tactical extended charging handle to finish off the build. So far the rifle looks and feels good but only time will tell. And th best part is I spent less than $450 for a comete rifle with two mags and it is exactly what I wanted and expected. currently I have my bushnell 3-9x40 mounted on the rifle but I would like to slap a tactical 3 or 4 power scope or red dot on it for close to medium range shooting. I like the vortex spitfire or their prism scopes but I'd like to find something similar under $100 bucks, any suggestions or input would be great. Thanks and keep the info coming I like what you guys are posting.
Have fun with the build!

Check out Primary Arms for good red dots at a nice price point. A Bushnell TRS-25 may also work for you.
 
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