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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is still a ways off, but I was curious if I should buy or build my first AR to familiarize myself with it. Obviously building would give me more insight into how it works, and I am assuming it would be cheaper. If I buy one I could avoid some silly rookie mistake that I will regret later and I will get it much sooner.

Thanks for your advice on my situation.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How eloquent and helpful.

When I was making this decision, I decided to buy a factory gun first. This way, I could become familiar with the operation of it, how to clean it, how to take it apart, and I would have a gun that I could enjoy instead of risking having problems and being disappointed.

If you build, you will need some specialized tools, and it is best if someone that has built before helps you. If you are going to tackle this yourself, you need to start reading. There are some tacked topics over at AR15.com that take you step by step through the build.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The only specialized tool I chose to buy was the AR 15 armorer's wrench. Although, I bought a complete upper and put a stripped lower together. Building is not necessarily cheaper, although you can build as you buy. I chose to build so that I could use the handguard, stock, grip, and other parts that I knew I would replace on a off the shelf rifle.

Doing it the way I did is very very easy.

Now if you were going to build the upper, that's when the cost of tools could come into play.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is still a ways off, but I was curious if I should buy or build my first AR to familiarize myself with it. Obviously building would give me more insight into how it works, and I am assuming it would be cheaper. If I buy one I could avoid some silly rookie mistake that I will regret later and I will get it much sooner.

Thanks for your advice on my situation.
I've always stood by the idea of buying the first one and building the rest. You don't want to sit and try to figure out what's wrong with your AR when you have problems, you want to get out and shoot it! On the other hand, you might build it and have no problems at all!

What tools do you have? Are you doing a complete build? Are you adding a rail to an pre-built upper?

Tools you may need for a build:
Torque wrench (Every bolt in the world has a torque spec, including the barrel nut.)
Armorer's wrench
Upper receiver vice blocks
Bench vice
punch pins (to help put in the front detent)
vice grips or channel lock with padded tips

Don't have these? Then add these to the price of your first gun, because you'll use them.

Hardwarz
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would buy a complete upper and build the rest. That way its a lot cheaper than buying a full rifle and you don't need any special tools to put the lower together. I did this and saved a couple hundred dollars.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would buy a kit from an online retailer. That's what I did and I'm happy with the end result and what I learned! If you buy a kit, you'll get an assembled upper, along with a LPK (Lower Parts Kit) and Stock assembly. You will have everything needed to assemble a working rifle, except you will also need to buy a stripped lower receiver.

When I built my rifle from the kit I was completely unfamiliar with an AR. I did my research, including the tacked Build It Yourself threads at AR15.com, and decided it was something I would like to try to do myself. I've had no experience, ever, tinkering with guns of any kind. All I knew how to do was field strip my pistols.

The only tools you'll really need are some pliers, hemostats (not really needed, but came in handy), masking tape (to prevent scratches), a small hammer (covered in tape), and a 1 Gallon Ziplock baggy (to work inside when using springs and pins). A front pivot pin tool would probably help a lot, too! I'm not sure of the exact name of the tool (someone else can tell you), but it will save you a lot of time when installing the front pivot pin. If you can follow step-by-step instructions, you can build the rifle...it wasn't that hard at all. Just go slowly to make sure you put the right thing in the right hole the right way. :D

I also chose to build mine because it would give me familiarity with how the thing works. When I wanted to install a sling adapter plate to the back of the lower receiver, it was an easy process, because I knew which springs and pins were there, and which would come out, etc. Same with installing a grip; I knew how it comes off and which spring/orientation is in the thing. That's not tough at all. If you want to build an upper, then yes, you will need a lot of tools and, from what I've heard, is a lot more difficult, especially for noobs.

I got my Stag kit from www.ar15sales.com for about $630 or so, IIRC. It came with the assembled/headspaced upper, chrome lined barrel, flip-up rear sight, 1-30 rd magazine, LPK, and a 6 position stock ass'y. Then, I ordered a stripped Stag lower online for (at the time) $90. Total cost was $728. Keep in mind, if you order a stripped lower online, it will have to be shipped through an FFL, which means FFL fees. I was lucky enough to know a guy who did it for free! :mrgreen: Also, buying a kit and a separate lower means you don't have to pay TAX on an assembled rifle. Order a complete rifle, or buy one in a store, and you'll have to pay extra.

It's just my opinion, but I say buy a kit and build it! ;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The least expensive way to get an AR is to build it.

If you really, completely build it from scratch, I seen sub $400 builds when the the person really did some scrounging for parts.

I prefer to build using a kit. A Del-ton 16" CAR kit can be had for as little as $520 (A2 upper, chrome lined barrel) + shipping. All you need is a stripped lower...I bought mine for $105 at a local gun show...and, you have an AR for $650.

It really is easy to assemble a rifle using a kit where the upper is already together. ;)
 
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