Quick Suggestions on Buying an AR

Last night I noticed that one of the Facebooking Morons was looking for suggestions on "how to go about buying an AR". Considering that I bought a kit to build one myself about a year ago (back when stripped lower receivers were going for less than $100, rather than the $300 or even $800 that people are asking for them right now), I'm going to try to give some advice.

Two things to remember: I wrote this off the cuff with no edit, just stream of consciousness. If I start talking about longbows, just smile and nod. Second, IANAGOAL (I Am Not A Gunsmith, Or A Lawyer). Caveat Emptor, people. Live it, learn it, know it.

OK, you want a Eeeevilllllllllll Black Assault Rifle? You have to decide if you want a used gun, a fully assembled new rifle, or a builder's kit. It's not like the kits require you to machine the rifle out of a block of metal, they're more "assembly" kits than "building", but build kits is the common term. A used gun will be more affordable (depending on configuration), but it's a used gun. Much like used cars, they are in varying condition. A new gun will be GENERALLY the best deal, but the current panic pricing might have them priced out of your budget. Then there's the kit option. Here's my ideas for going with the kit option.


First, you need a stripped lower receiver. That's the bare-metal lower portion of the gun (where the trigger is). This part of the gun is where the serial number is located, so it needs to be bought from an FFL dealer. By "stripped" I mean that this part has NONE of the internal parts needed for operation of the rifle. It's just one piece of metal. You have to buy through a dealer in your state (transactions over state lines need to go through a local dealer to stay in compliance with the labyrinth of laws that David Gregory didn't bother to look into), so start looking for one. If you get one, you don't have to build the gun right away. The last one I bought was a "blemished" lower from Del-Ton I bought at a gunshow last fall. Price? $60 plus tax. And you can't even see the damn blemish unless you hold it just right under a light. It will be okey-dokey on the shelf until I either decide to build a gun around it or sell it to someone else who wants to build a gun (and NO, I'm not looking to sell any of you this stripped lower, so don't even bother to ask).


You can either buy the stripped lower from a local dealer who already has them in stock, or arrange to purchase one from a manufacturer & have it shipped to a local dealer who has agreed to complete the transaction for you. Dealers charge you a transfer fee to do transactions even if you did all the legwork lining up the purchase. This is how they feed their families. Pay what they ask & smile. My go-to guy charges $20 per transaction, but that's my situation. Your mileage may vary.


(IMPORTANT UPDATE): If you want to build an AR-platform pistol, make sure you purchase a stripped lower that's marked "PISTOL". If you build a completely legal pistol AR using a stripped lower that's not marked as a pistol, you're in violation of Federal Law, and are elgible for an internship at your local Federal Pound Me In The Ass Prison. Don't make this mistake. It might seem like a nitpicky little detail, but I assure you, the ATF will NOT agree with that opinion.


Build Kits are split into 3 groups: "Complete kits", "lowers" and "uppers". The complete kit is everything but the stripped lower, the "lower" kit is the parts needed to complete the lower receiver with a buttstock (some lower kits don't include the buttstock, just the internal parts for the stripped lower), and the "upper" kit is the upper portion of the receiver with the barrel & handguard already attached to one another (I have never seen an "upper" kit that includes the buttstock. Just something to think about). You might be able to get a better deal on all the parts for the upper that haven't been assembled yet: but I would say DON'T DO IT. Assembled uppers have the headspace set by trained technicians (GOD I HOPE SO), and, as Joey "Plugs" Biden would say.....that's a big effing deal. Don't try to do this yourself unless you're an expert who's reading this blogpost to laugh at the amateur giving advice to even bigger amateurs. Like I said before, these kits do NOT require you to purchase them through an FFL dealer, at least not in my jurisdiction.


Don't buy the whole kit from a dealer or someone at a gun show right away (unless you get one HELL of a deal). Look into getting it directly from the manufacturer. I know, I know. They're all sold out right now. So get your name on the waiting list and get it coming. DiFi's assault weapons ban ain't gonna pass right away (Dems get more support/donations from bitching about how Republicans & the NRA keep them from passing gun control bills than they do from actually PASSING the bills), but even if it does, there will be some lag time. Check manufacturer's prices, ask about backorder times, and research which configuration you want to get. Then, when you have all that info, you can check with the manufacturers, the dealers and everyone else trying to squeeze a few dollars out of a panicked population. Once you've done the research, do whatever you decide to do. You're big boys/girls. I trust you to do it right....or at least to not screw up TOO bad.


If you've decided to buy a builders kit, there's an option that keeps you from paying panic prices right now: the "Johnny Cash Method". One Piece At A Time. Normally, that would be wicked expensive, but with stripped lowers going for up to $750 right now (a number I just heard referenced on the AOS FB group for a current Gunbroker auction), that might be better. If you're doing this, you're looking to get an AR before they either go sky high in price, or get banned. You shouldn't go running out to get an AR for your first gun (unless that's what you want to do, like I say, I ain't your parents, do what you wanna do). If you want to get a rifle right now, consider a used hunting rifle or a surplus military rifle (the M91/30 Mosin Nagant is a heavy pig of a gun, but it's better than a long pointed stick & you can train with it fairly cheaply with surplus ammo for now).


With the "Johnny Cash Method", you can buy a stripped lower, a lower parts kit (to fit the trigger, mag catch & other parts on the bottom of the rifle), a buttstock (fixed or CAR extendable), and then an upper and any sights or optics you want to add to the rifle. The only time you need to sign the Gub'mint forms at your local dealer is for the stripped lower receiver. The other parts can be ordered through a supplier through the mail (CAUTION: Check you local laws to make sure you can purchase gun parts, magazines or ammo in your area).


Before you spend your money, do some research. You can find a list of kit suppliers through google, or through the pages of a magazine like Shotgun News. Google the manufacturers & look at message boards to see what their customers are saying. If people like their gun, they will brag about it. If they don't.....well, that could either be operator/owner error, or the guns might be lemons. Remember, in order to get a bad reputation, not EVERY gun from a particular manufacturer has to be a white elephant. If the good guns outnumber the turds from a particular manufacturer by maybe 10%, that could be a problem. Look at all the reviews, consider the problems (a gun that won't shoot MOA - minute of angle, look it up - is less of a problem than a gun that jams every 3 rounds) and weigh your options. Not every bad review is a dealkiller, and not every good review is a guarantee that your rifle will be the same. It's the preponderance of the evidence. I don't want to advocate for any particular manufacturer, but I've had good luck with Del-Ton.


One thing I've noticed: Pay attention to the contents of the kit, especially if you're buying an "upper". Some of them don't include the bolt, bolt carrier group & the charging handle. These parts can run you $150 or more (and that's pre-panic pricing), so keep it in mind so that you're comparing apples to apples price-wise.


So you're going to get a kit, and you've never assembled a rifle before. Welcome to the club. If you have a college degree in mechanical or civil engineering, you can probably muddle through with instructions you print off the internet. If not? Check with your local gunsmiths to see if any of them offer kit building services. If you get stuck, don't be afraid to ask for help. It's better to pay extra money to get the job done right than it is to slap together a potential hazard. Even if you do finish the build yourself, consider taking the gun to a gunsmith with AR experience for a check-up if you have any doubts. If you did it wrong, that might save you pain & suffering. If you did it right? You'll get to hear the expert tell you "You did a pretty good job, for a moron". Which is always a good thing.


As far as "what caliber do I get?", "do I get a CAR or a full-length rifle?", or "should I get a chrome lined barrel?"............that's a question for someone who knows what he/she is talking about. The great thing about the AR rifle platform is that you can customize it to fit whatever you want to do with it. You can build a target rifle to shoot coyotes at 400 yards, or you can build a "blaster" that will decimate empty paint cans out back of your barn. It's all about what you want to do with it. This includes optics and other add-ons like tac lights, bipods and big stickers that say "KILL 'EM ALL, LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT" to put on your handguard or buttstock.


And don't forget that you'll need magazines. I know they're pretty scarce right now, but don't settle for crap. A top-notch rifle with crap magazines is like a bottle of fine scotch with one single drop of sewage added: it might have been expensive single-malt at one time, but now it's ALL sewage. Get good mags, and if you ask me? Don't bother with those "Beta Mags" and the other ultra-high capacity magazines. Unless you're going to be mowing down zombies from a fortified position, high capacity magazines are more trouble than they're worth. Don't get me wrong, if you WANT one GET one. Just don't think that it's a necessity. I have 20 and 30 round magazines, and I don't feel undergunned.


So to summarize:


1. Don't panic. This current round of panic buying reminds me of the panic buying following Clinton's first AWB, the lead up to Y2K, the aftermath of 9/11, and the 2008 Presidential Election & damn near every day since. It will pass......and if it doesn't, sucks to be you. I already got mine.


2. Do the research.


3. Don't let anyone browbeat you into buying a certain configuration because "all the cool kids are doing it".


4. If you choose to build your own, do more research, take your time, and build it right. If you have any doubts, bring in an expert to doublecheck your work.


5. Once you have an "evil black rifle", go to the range & become proficient with it. If the fecal matter DOES hit the fan, that rifle won't do all the work itself. It will require an operator that knows which end the bullets come out of.


6. Have fun. That's the most important thing here. If you stress yourself out over the fate of the country, you'll probably stroke out before Operation Let It Burn kicks off. Assemble a rifle for yourself, work to become a good shot, and have fun doing it.


Let's face it, the one thing we can all do to totally piss off the gun banners is have fun & live our lives to the fullest. That shit makes them CRAZY.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at 02:21 PM



Comments

1 Did or did not the Newton shooter use an AR? I've seen articles still saying he did. Would love to get a straight answer.

Posted by: CraigPoe at December 30, 2012 02:49 PM (BVkEs)

2 Great write-up Russ! Eleventy!

Posted by: Yip at December 30, 2012 02:49 PM (/jHWN)

3 I've read several places now that indeed the murderer used the AR.

Posted by: Yip at December 30, 2012 02:50 PM (/jHWN)

4 Pretty good advice there. Best part is Do Not Panic.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 30, 2012 02:52 PM (t9Q9e)

5 Clarification: When I say that a stripped lower receiver is "bare metal", I mean that it does NOT include any of the small pins, springs other parts that make the lower receiver operate. It is NOT plain bare metal without a finish. Unfinished lowers are available, but if you're a person who has access to bluing, parkerizing or other finishing processes for firearms, you probably don't need these tips anyway.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 02:52 PM (iJUs7)

6 But what if I don't want an evil black one? What if I want an evil purple one with silver stripes? *ponders*



Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Totes waiting until after March Madness. at December 30, 2012 02:53 PM (Gk3SS)

7

wow two gun posts today!

Posted by: Soothsayer Riprock at December 30, 2012 02:54 PM (+oin+)

8 Today's winner for pejorative writing has to go to Michael Isikoff and his story on Sandy Hook.

"Bushmaster XM-15 .223-caliber semi-automatic assault-style rifle -- the weapon that authorities say 20-year-old Adam Lanza used to mow down the victims in Friday’s rampage."

http://tinyurl.com/ah5yrat

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 30, 2012 02:56 PM (t9Q9e)

9 Alexthechick, check out the gun coating folk. I know some companies make pink digi-cam coatings for pistols and long rifles.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 30, 2012 02:58 PM (t9Q9e)

10 6But what if I don't want an evil black one? What if I want an evil purple one with silver stripes? *ponders*



Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Totes waiting until after March Madness.

IIRC, we featured a "Hello Kitty" AR15 here a few years ago. As long as it still functions like an AR15, you can make your color scheme look like an explosion in a gay disco, and it will still be an Evvviiiiilllll (insert color scheme here) Assault Rifle.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 02:58 PM (iJUs7)

11 As long as it still functions like an AR15, you can
make your color scheme look like an explosion in a gay disco, and it
will still be an Evvviiiiilllll (insert color scheme here) Assault
Rifle.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 02:58 PM (iJUs7)



I just want one that matches my Coodle.


Actually, there is a bit of a point to it. The awesome Hello Kitty AR15 shoots just as well as the evil horrible terrible no good matte black one. Honestly, the assault rifle ban and the high capacity magazine ban are nearly entirely about aesthetics. They just looks so mean and cruel and must be bad.

Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Totes waiting until after March Madness. at December 30, 2012 03:01 PM (Gk3SS)

12 Don't forget to get 2 or more speed loaders for your magazines. There is a world of difference (both in time needed and wear on your fingers) between loading 30 (or even 20) rounds using only your fingers, and using a speed loader to push the loaded rounds down so another round may be added.

Get at least 2, so if you lose or break one, you have a backup.

Trouble loading? It might be you ... practice ... or it might be the magazine ... check the rest ... sort them out. Find out now, while there is no pressure. Preferably, there will NEVER be pressure. Unfortunately, there just might be, and in the distant future.

Posted by: Arbalest at December 30, 2012 03:03 PM (ni/qK)

13 We here in California went through this in 2000 when the state ban went into effect. I bought a finished lower (a Bushmaster) in time to make the registration window, then could take my time to obtain an upper.

The Cali state ban is byzantine and illogical-- and will be a model (like the NY and NJ bans) for new federal legislation. Prepare yourself for a bunch of regulatory easter eggs that will be used to entrap the unwary. This is why compromise is not a viable option, the gun banners are never going to be "reasonable" in any way, shape or form.

Posted by: leftcoast at December 30, 2012 03:03 PM (zDpHX)

14 The Hello Kitty APC, what the Dept of Education should do for its SWAT units.
http://www.kittyhell.com/2007/07/19/hello-kitty-armoured-personnel-carrier/

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 30, 2012 03:03 PM (t9Q9e)

15 As the market for the EBR's gets hotter, at what point do you sell to take a profit? We all know these rifles are good at what they do, but there are others that are suitable that aren't as identifiable. If you could make say a 50% profit over what you have spent on your EBR, would you sell it? Assuming you could not replace it any time soon or ever... And at what pricepoint would a no change to yes? What if the Government offered a buy-back program for EBR's that was good for 150% above cost? Would you turn it in? Not advocating , just a mental exercise I thought about this morning.

Posted by: Yip at December 30, 2012 03:06 PM (/jHWN)

16 Helluva movie review, RfW. In a sub-headline, though, you should disclose that it has spoilers.

Posted by: AnonymousDrivel at December 30, 2012 03:08 PM (eHIJJ)

17 Good info, but for most of the readers here I think a good Rusky Nagant rifle or even a Yugo Mauser is perfect for survivalist. like the author said you will not be mowing down Zombies

1 shot = 1 Bagged.

Posted by: Clemenza at December 30, 2012 03:08 PM (ILM+d)

18 15 Yip

"As the market for the EBR's gets hotter, at what point do you sell to take a profit?"

As soon as the guy who wants to pay your price mentions that he's a rich Liberal Democrat whose kids go to private school, and who voted for BO ...

Posted by: Arbalest at December 30, 2012 03:09 PM (ni/qK)

19 I think there will be several little easter eggs of regulation slipped in and nothing will go through Congress at all. The administration has shown it will go around Congress to do what it wants and DARE the Congress or the Judiciary to hold them accountable. With the media on their side, I think the administration is going to go for it and see what they can get away with. Lie, shape the argument, lie about your opponents and lie some more and move on.

Posted by: Yip at December 30, 2012 03:10 PM (/jHWN)

20 What I have found when buying a gun in this day and age is find someone suffering from lack of employment (easy in Obama era) who has one in good shape and buy it from them at a fair price.


Good deal, no paper, no givernment.


Posted by: Vic at December 30, 2012 03:10 PM (53z96)

21 @18 I wouldn't sell to a libtard O voter for profit... just out of principle... except I suppose if I removed the firing pin for them first. You know.. need to protect the kids. ... And the libtard won't shoot it anyway

Posted by: Yip at December 30, 2012 03:11 PM (/jHWN)

22 Russ, you're not entirely correct about the headspacing of the AR. The headspacing is controlled by the barrel extension which is installed on the barrel at the factory. While I've no doubt you can buy barrels without the extension, I don't recall ever seeing one. The first AR I built I did so almost from the ground up except for the barrel extension, front sight post, and forward assist. Everything was yours truely. I've built two and assisted with another. If a mechanical nitwit like myself can do it, anyone can.

Posted by: J. Random Dude at December 30, 2012 03:12 PM (72afg)

23 I think there will be several little easter eggs of regulation slipped in and nothing will go through Congress at all.



As I said in the previous gun discussion. All it takes is for the ATF to change the classification on a gun through "regulation" to make it a class III weapon. All they have to do is say "it has no hunting purpose".

Posted by: Vic at December 30, 2012 03:12 PM (53z96)

24 Nagant uses 7.62x54 ammo. A bit hard to find.
Mauser KAR-98s uses 7.92x57 ammo. Uniquely hard to find.

Hence the AK and AR clones will rule. Ammo is far more common.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 30, 2012 03:12 PM (t9Q9e)

25 @24 Uh Hem sorry Sgt Rock but the Nagant and the 8mm Mauser ammo are like ducks in China, you can buy the stuff cheap and the Breneke 8mm mauser load is a V2 rocket on steroids delivering the energy of a freight train .and as for the Nagant it doubles as a hammer or a brush axe...

Posted by: Clemenza at December 30, 2012 03:16 PM (ILM+d)

26 There is no requirement for a pistol receiver to say "pistol" on it anywhere. For example, the Glock sitting on the desk next to me doesn't have "pistol" engraved on it. It's the same for an AR15 pistol or AK pistol or any other sort of pistol. Oh sure, there's people who will gladly sell you a "pistol"-marked AR15 or AK receiver for more money than one without that marking, but it's in no way required.

What's more, a "pistol"-marked receiver it provides absolutely no legal protection beyond one without the markings. If someone takes a "pistol"-marked receiver and builds it into a rifle (perfectly legal), then later rebuilds it into a short firearm with a <16" barrel and/or <26" overall length, they've made a short-barreled rifle, pistol marking or not.

But what's really stupid is that AR15 or AK pistols exist in the first place. Especially AR15 pistols in 5.56x45mm. A 5.56x45mm firearm really needs to have a minimum of a 10-11" barrel, otherwise the bullet won't get going fast enough to where it will tumble on impact, which is where 5.56x45mm gets a lot of its terminal performance. 9mm AR pistols are stupid too. They're not concealable and offer nothing of value over a Glock or a SW or any other handgun that can be carried on your belt.

tl;dr Don't buy AR15 pistols, buy an AR15 rifle with a 16" barrel in 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington).

Posted by: ARL at December 30, 2012 03:16 PM (X4Pz8)

27 Agreed Vic. The mess can be done easy-squeezy by the ATF and then force the NRA and conservatives to try an undo the mess... ie, argue their way back to the way regs should be. Not easily undone in the short-term and meanwhile, the progressives ejaculate with joy in their messiah. Bastards!

Posted by: Yip at December 30, 2012 03:18 PM (/jHWN)

28 @26 wise point , like buying an M=14 in SOCUM...

Posted by: Clemenza at December 30, 2012 03:18 PM (ILM+d)

29 Russ' thread topic post is excellent, but one thing discussed by implication is caliber: 5.56mm is implied.

If you're going to build, make sure all of your purchases are for a 5.56mm system ... an AR-15 type.

There are other calibers, and therefore parts, for rifles that look very much like an AR-15, but these fit an AR-10-type lower receiver.

Do your homework. This is a small matter, but an upper with a .308 barrel will require a different bolt than a 5.56mm barrel. The resulting assembly is unlikely to fit an AR-15 lower receiver(I think "will not fit", but maybe some manufacturer has built something ........ ).

Posted by: Arbalest at December 30, 2012 03:22 PM (ni/qK)

30 That's all great advice, if you want to settle on an AR. I'd rather have a good AK, SKS, shotgun or just about anything else. I've never had good experiences with AR-15s. I just don't get the hype.

Posted by: JustLikeDavidHasselhoff at December 30, 2012 03:23 PM (wWZWw)

31 I love my Bushmaster Patrolman.

Posted by: Sho Nuff at December 30, 2012 03:27 PM (jo0fs)

32 @23

"As I said in the previous gun discussion. All it takes is for the ATF to
change the classification on a gun through "regulation" to make it a
class III weapon. All they have to do is say "it has no hunting
purpose". "

No. First of all, the language of the law is "sporting purpose", not "hunting purpose". See 18 USC 922(r), which applies to imported firearms, and 26 USC 5845(f)(2), which applies to shotguns.

Shotguns are a special case, in that they have a bore of over one half inch (other than .410's), so shotguns meet the definition of a "destructive device", which is the legal term for stuff like artillery, grenade launchers, hand grenades, bombs, etc. But if the ATF tried to reclassify all shotguns as destructive devices they'd have a bit of an uproar on their hands, so the law allows the ATF to exempt shotguns and shotgun shells that have a "sporting purpose". Pretty much every shotgun has this exemption, other than two specific models that lost their sporting purpose exemptions back in 1989.

Domestically manufactured rifles don't have any sort of sporting purpose test that can be applied to them.

Posted by: ARL at December 30, 2012 03:28 PM (X4Pz8)

33 Love this article. I've got you up on my zombie page dontgetbit.net.

Posted by: ZombieHunter at December 30, 2012 03:31 PM (FKbMK)

34 Great post, Russ. I would suggest buyers wait til the panic subsides. Don`t piss away your money paying 3X what a rifle is worth right now. If a zombie apocalypse occurs you can slay many zombies with your typical long guns before being eaten.

Posted by: fire captain at December 30, 2012 03:38 PM (L8Qa7)

35 Posted by: ARL at December 30, 2012 03:28 PM (X4Pz


You can say that all you want but that is exactly what they did with the "Street Sweeper" which is nothing more than an ugly shotgun that uses a drum instead of a tube (and is a POS).

Posted by: Vic at December 30, 2012 03:39 PM (53z96)

36
@23
If it were that easy, it would already have been done.

Posted by: Jollyroger at December 30, 2012 03:42 PM (HkKu2)

37 Great post, Russ.

I'm glad I did my panic buying in 2008-2009.

Ah, yes, I remember Y2K. I still have some MREs from then. Also some $300/oz gold.

Posted by: rickl at December 30, 2012 03:45 PM (sdi6R)

38 @35 I specifically referenced the Streetsweeper and USAS-12 when I said " Pretty much every shotgun has this exemption, other than two specific
models that lost their sporting purpose exemptions back in 1989."

Again, the sporting purpose test can only be applied to firearms that have a bore of over one half inch (shotguns), or imported firearms. Not domestically manufactured rifles. I referenced the specific laws that apply the sporting purpose test to shotguns and imported firearms in my previous post. It's sort of hard for me to prove a negative, in that there is no such test for rifles, but if you disagree, please point to a law that says otherwise. I suggest you start here: http://tinyurl.com/18USCch44 or here: http://tinyurl.com/26USCch53

Posted by: ARL at December 30, 2012 03:50 PM (X4Pz8)

39 29 Arbalest
Do your homework. This is a small matter, but an upper with a .308 barrel will require a different bolt than a 5.56mm barrel. The resulting assembly is unlikely to fit an AR-15 lower receiver(I think "will not fit", but maybe some manufacturer has built something ........ ).


I always thought that different uppers could be used interchangeably on the same lower. Is that wrong?

Posted by: rickl at December 30, 2012 03:51 PM (sdi6R)

40
@39
Yes, but the .308 needs a bigger magwell

Posted by: Jollyroger at December 30, 2012 03:52 PM (HkKu2)

41 It doesn't matter what the law says, or in a lot of cases what the regulation says. It matters who is in charge of interpreting the regulation and what their desired goal is.


The Obamanites have been working on this "sporting purpose" since they took office (under the radar so to speak).

http://is.gd/nz8DXN


Posted by: Vic at December 30, 2012 03:58 PM (53z96)

42 Ah, I see. Thanks, Jollyroger.

Posted by: rickl at December 30, 2012 03:59 PM (sdi6R)

43
You can say that all you want but that is exactly what they did with the "Street Sweeper" which is nothing more than an ugly shotgun that uses a drum instead of a tube (and is a POS).

Posted by: Vic at December 30, 2012 03:39 PM (53z96)


They truly were a POS. Unlike any colt pistol, you had to consciously squeeze hard the grip safety or it wouldn't fire. And it was big and heavy and clunky -- extremely cumbersome.

I don't miss them, but the way they were outlawed is an object lesson to remember.

Posted by: Ed Anger at December 30, 2012 04:06 PM (tOkJB)

44 I had a compete carbine upper laying around in a gun-sock since 1999. A week before the election, I built a complete rifle out of it starting with a Mega Arms stripped lower when they were still ~$100.

Magpul CTR buttstock
Magpul MOE handguard
LaRue RISR cheekpiece
Vortex Strikefire red-dot

Posted by: Eisenhorn at December 30, 2012 04:09 PM (OjQYm)

45 Good luck finding parts!

Everywhere I've looked the parts are either out of stock or grossly overpriced to the point of highway fucking rape 'n' robbery. I thought about buying another rifle just because, but these prices are insane.

One more important thing to add to Russ' post: magazines, you need more than one!

The 30rd AR mags, USGI or PMAG, are all gone. Again, you will have to pay out the ass on Gunbroker.com or similar if you want to have more than one that comes with your rifle. I lucked out and bought a rifle, ammo, and some PMAGS just before the mad panic set in and shot prices through the stratosphere. Thank god I did that or I'd be much poorer right now.

If and when the total ban comes, I told my kids I'm leaving my rifle to them as a family heirloom, like knights of old passing their sword down through the generation, each one inscribing a deed of heroism (or in my case, a deed of Moron-ism). The rifle will never leave our family, never sold, and never surrendered.

Posted by: EC at December 30, 2012 04:09 PM (doBIb)

46 @41 "It doesn't matter what the law says, or in a lot of cases what the regulation says."

Facts don't matter. Ok.

Posted by: ARL at December 30, 2012 04:11 PM (X4Pz8)

47 As has been pointed out above, the information on headspace/barrels and pistols are inaccurate.

On the latter point, the key in the law is that an SBR (Short-Barreled Rifle with a barrel less than 16") has to be registered with the federal government, a tax paid, and the application requires the signature of your county Sheriff. Otherwise, it is illegal.

The BATF has decided that "once a rifle, always a rifle." If a weapon is assembled as a rifle, even once, and later converted to a pistol, that's illegal. You can convert a pistol into a rifle, but it can never legally be a pistol again (without the registration, tax, etc).

Is that stupid? Sure! But don't go to jail for it.

Unfortunately, navigating the raging sea of mythology surrounding guns, if you haven't been doing it for years, is almost impossible. There's no "information kiddie-pool," it's tidal waves as soon as you step off the dock.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 04:13 PM (bxiXv)

48 Facts don't matter. Ok.

Posted by: ARL at December 30, 2012 04:11 PM (X4Pz


I think they meant that enforcement has become more and more a game of "what shit can we make up today" rather than "what does the law say," and not just regarding guns.

California is expert at this, despite the fact that many of their "made up regulation" cases have been thrown out by the courts.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 04:16 PM (bxiXv)

49 For all the barbs I've traded with Russ over Ethanol and the feelings I have for the state of Iowa, I have to say this was a great post. Nice job Russ!

Posted by: DanInMN at December 30, 2012 04:16 PM (3TLDp)

50 So, I've never held a gun so the AR is out for a long while. What is a good gun for home security. I know, I know, one I can shoot well, but I need more direction than that as I can barely tell you the difference between a revolver and a glock.

I just want an easy to handle gun that can stop a burglar. Easy to use, easy to load, easy to get familiar with ect.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 04:17 PM (wsGWu)

51
@50
Remington 870.
Done.

Posted by: Jollyroger at December 30, 2012 04:19 PM (HkKu2)

52 Yep, I built mine from the first pin about 5 years ago. Bought two stripped lowers ($100 each) and had one engraved with a 911 memorial on the mag well. I built it as a heavy long range rifle. 24" long Stainless 1x8 one inch+ thick 5.5 barrel, TiNi bolt, 2 stage match grade trigger, serious Millitt scope. A tack-driver set up for heavier bullets.

Here's a picture on a range day.
http://is.gd/kyTaQs
...And my middle son (the former Marine) driving tacks
http://is.gd/IBQoCN

I'm using the other lower to build a CQB rifle.

Posted by: trainer @ Home at December 30, 2012 04:21 PM (1QEkm)

53 The Warsaw pact always chromed the AK/SKS barrels, so did the Chinese. It won't rust if you're shooting cheap corrosive primed ammo that way.

Posted by: @PurpAv at December 30, 2012 04:21 PM (hc3eM)

54 I just want an easy to handle gun that can stop a burglar. Easy to use, easy to load, easy to get familiar with ect.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 04:17 PM (wsGWu)


You Have To Go Take Classes. At least one good hands-on class. Then rent some guns at a range and see what you're okay with as far as action type, recoil, etc.

Ultimately what you need to learn can't be transmitted over the internet, though you will receive many contradictory replies. The only real answer is get a little hands-on experience, read enough to know what's hype (most of it) and what's not, before you make your decision.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 04:22 PM (bxiXv)

55
@41

I think the key part is in the first sentance of the article:
"The Obama administration is seeking to limit the importation of some shotguns via rulings made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF.)"
Importation. Sporting Purposes are for imported arms.

Posted by: Jollyroger at December 30, 2012 04:23 PM (HkKu2)

56 Facts don't matter. Ok.


Posted by: ARL at December 30, 2012 04:11 PM (X4Pz

You seem to have forgotten who is King now. For him there are no facts.

Posted by: Vic at December 30, 2012 04:24 PM (53z96)

57
@53
Except the Yugos. I'm not sure why that is.

Posted by: Jollyroger at December 30, 2012 04:24 PM (HkKu2)

58 I just want an easy to handle gun that can stop a burglar. Easy to use, easy to load, easy to get familiar with ect.

Revolver. Can't get any simpler than that.

Posted by: EC at December 30, 2012 04:24 PM (doBIb)

59 So would I just call up local ranges and ask for a beginners class?

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 04:25 PM (wsGWu)

60 I just want an easy to handle gun that can stop a burglar. Easy to use, easy to load, easy to get familiar with ect.


http://is.gd/zlqJCd
Get yourself a revolver. A nice .357 wheelie is more fun than God intended. Of all my guns (see picture above), I love my Colt .357 the best.

Posted by: trainer @ Home at December 30, 2012 04:26 PM (1QEkm)

61 59 So would I just call up local ranges and ask for a beginners class?
Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 04:25 PM (wsGWu)


That's probably a good first step.

When I took my beginner’s gun safety course, it was taught by a woman. Among my fellow students were a mother and her teenaged son and daughter.

The instructor had a very interesting story. She said that her husband, a military veteran, had bought a handgun for home defense. He kept it in the nightstand, and she was so afraid of it that she couldn’t sleep. So he took her to a range and taught her to shoot it. She said, “Within six months I was shooting in competitions.” And then she went on to become an NRA-certified instructor.

Posted by: rickl at December 30, 2012 04:40 PM (sdi6R)

62 59 So would I just call up local ranges and ask for a beginners class?

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 04:25 PM (wsGWu)


Ask more than one, see if they have websites with details, to see what they cover, if they rent as part of a class, etc.

Also, if your Sheriff does CCW licenses, they will have a list of approved classes and trainers.

If money is no issue for you (and time), there are big schools like Front Sight and Lethal Force Institute and Smith and Wesson has their own university.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 04:41 PM (bxiXv)

63 50
So, I've never held a gun so the AR is out for a long while. What is a
good gun for home security. I know, I know, one I can shoot well, but I
need more direction than that as I can barely tell you the difference
between a revolver and a glock.



I just want an easy to handle gun that can stop a burglar. Easy to use, easy to load, easy to get familiar with ect.





Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 04:17 PM (wsGWu)
You need to handle and shoot a firearm before you buy. Being able to hit what your shooting at is the most important thing.
For most a revolver is the simplest, and easiest. Just pick it up, point and pull the trigger. Practice, practice, practice.

Posted by: Farmer at December 30, 2012 04:42 PM (N9Ey0)

64 The heavier .357 loaded with less powerful .38 hollow points is quite controllable, and still can do a lot of damage. The standard .357 round overpenetrates way more than a .38 will.

Any round that overpenetrates isn't leaving all its energy in the target.

Posted by: @PurpAv at December 30, 2012 04:43 PM (hc3eM)

65 Pats score. 6-0, pending PAT.

Posted by: Lincolntf at December 30, 2012 04:49 PM (tkoGU)

66 What is involved in changing to a different caliber with these "multi-caliber" lowers? A different barrel obviously, but do you need a new bolt carrier as well?

Posted by: toby928© for TB at December 30, 2012 04:55 PM (QupBk)

67 If you've never held a gun before, I would suggest starting with a .22 caliber, either pistol or rifle. You should be able to rent guns at the range. Once you're comfortable with that, then work your way up to something more powerful.

Large caliber weapons are kind of intimidating for beginners. I have a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, and that thing is a beast. It kicks like a mule, and it's loud even with ear protection.

The basic mechanics of aiming and firing are the same, regardless of the caliber.

Posted by: rickl at December 30, 2012 05:00 PM (sdi6R)

68
@66
It depends. the 300 blackout uses a 5.56 bolt, the 6.8, 6.5, 5.45, .458, .50Beowulf, and 7.62x39 use a different bolt. The bolt carriers themselves are interchangeable. I don't like using the same 5.56 bolt with different barrels due to uneven wear and potential headspace issues. If it were me, I'd use a designated bolt per barrel.

There are drop in .22 kits that you just have to swap out the BCG for and of course a different mag.

Posted by: Jollyroger at December 30, 2012 05:09 PM (HkKu2)

69
#66. If you purchase a fully assembled upper in a different caliber, all the relevant parts will be there already. As one of the commenters already mentioned, there are two options for AR platforms: 5.56 (standard AR gub'mint round) and 7.62 (.308 Winchester, the original caliber for the M14 rifle and a shortened version of the venerable 30-06). The longer 7.62 uppers (a 7.62 rifle is referred to as an AR10) can chamber long cartridges like the .243 Winchester, and the shorter 5.56 uppers can chamber 7.62x39, 9mm and other short length cartridges. If you want a "big boy", get the AR10 system. If you want a standard, get the AR15. Or, if you are willing to wait for the panic to subside, buy one of each.

Oh, and the 9mm AR15s? From what I hear, the recoil for that cartridge setup can really hammer your lower receiver. Not because the 9mm is such a fireball caliber, but because a lot of these rifles use blowback systems. You can avoid this problem by getting a gas piston upper, but they're expensive. My thought? If you want a 9mm rifle, find a HiPoint carbine or a Kel Tec Sub2000. The Marlin Camp 9 is a good looking rifle, but from what I remember they need a buffer behind the bolt assembly or else the blowback system starts to form stress cracks in the receiver. Plus they're as expensive as all shit and hard to find anymore.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:10 PM (iJUs7)

70 Thanks everyone. I found a few courses nearby to look into.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 05:11 PM (wsGWu)

71
If you want to see "what's out there", surf Gunbroker.com and pick up a copy of the Shotgun News from your local bookstore or grocery store (the HyVee grocery chain here in Iowa keeps the Shotgun News in the magazine racks.....for now). Just remember when you're on Gunbroker that sellers don't have a motivation to tamp down panic buying fear. God bless 'em, they're riding this wave and marking up their stuff like a mofo. There are other firearm purchasing sites, but Gunbroker is the one I use, look around for the options.

Plus, I cannot emphasize this enough: Don't panic. Like the old joke goes, don't run down the hill and fuck one of those cows.........walk down the hill and fuck 'em all. (Rent "Colors" if you need a refresher on that one)

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:14 PM (iJUs7)

72 I come from the 30-06 deer rifle perspective and I am just learning about this type.

How much difference does the barrel length make in the AR platform.

On a first AR, should I stay long like I'm used to, 20" or greater, or make a clean break and go short for tactical purposes?

Posted by: toby928© for TB at December 30, 2012 05:16 PM (QupBk)

73
Lauren, I think you'll find that those courses will be a great experience. 99% of the gun-culture people I know are happy to help a "noob" get hands-on experience and training. That's how we increase our numbers.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:16 PM (iJUs7)

74 Plus, I cannot emphasize this enough: Don't panic. Like the old joke goes, don't run down the hill and fuck one of those cows.........walk down the hill and fuck 'em all. (Rent "Colors" if you need a refresher on that one)
Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:14 PM (iJUs7)


I second the don't panic


a bunch of folks paniced in 08 and bought forged lowers for well over $100,


then ended up selling them for $60-70 in 2011


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:20 PM (jfSqj)

75 Lauren, I think you'll find that those courses will be a great experience. 99% of the gun-culture people I know are happy to help a "noob" get hands-on experience and training. That's how we increase our numbers.
Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:16 PM (iJUs7)


what part of the USA is Lauren in?


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:21 PM (jfSqj)

76
Toby, if you go with the AR15 in .223, I don't think there's a lot of difference between the 16" CAR length barrel and the 20" standard rifle length barrel. The ballistics for the 20" might let you shoot a wee bit further with manageable bullet drop, but unless you plan on doing a lot of shooting at 300 yards plus, I would get the 16". But the great thing about the AR platform is that you can build one lower, and then buy an extra upper so that you have BOTH longer range maneuverability options.

Short answer, do what you want. It's your rifle. There is no wrong answer.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:21 PM (iJUs7)

77 Alot of local 3 gunners shoot a 18 inch barrel with full length gas system

Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:23 PM (jfSqj)

78 Lauren:

I forgot to mention that Annie Oakley did most of her shooting with a .22 caliber rifle.

And yes, I echo Russ @73. Most guys are tickled pink to see a woman take an interest in shooting, and will fall all over themselves to help you. You might get the occasional jerk who will try to talk you into firing a .50 Desert Eagle, but they are the exception.

Posted by: rickl at December 30, 2012 05:23 PM (sdi6R)

79 66 What is involved in changing to a different caliber with these "multi-caliber" lowers? A different barrel obviously, but do you need a new bolt carrier as well?
Posted by: toby928© for TB at December 30, 2012 04:55 PM (QupBk)


Depends on the caliber. If the caliber uses the same rim diameter (i.e., it's based on the 5.56x45 case or otherwise designed to be used with that bolt), you can use the bolt.

Generally people wouldn't replace just the barrel, they'd have a whole different upper receiver so they could switch back and forth.

Many calibers use different rim diameters so they need a different bolt, such as 7.62x39, .50 Beowulf, and 6.5mm Grendel (all the same), and of course pistol calibers like 9mm, 45, and 10mm (or 40 SW).

So, back to "it depends."

Also, magazines would be different. Some pistol calibers use magwell inserts as well.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 05:24 PM (bxiXv)

80 Okay question about the steps. First I'm in Florida, so I am going to go the gun trust route. Then the ar I want to purchase is not in my state so what are the steps? Go to the local dealer negotiate purchase under my gun then make the transfer how about the tax stamp where does that come in? And the 3-6 month wait for the tax stamp to return what happens to the ar is it already at the local dealer?
Thanks

Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:26 PM (MTPLw)

81 It's your rifle. There is no wrong answer.

I know, but since I will be new to this platform and will start with only one, I was wondering whether I'm better off going with something more akin to what I know.

From my reading, an AR is not a Rem700 writ small so I'm leaning toward the clean break.

Posted by: toby928© for TB at December 30, 2012 05:26 PM (QupBk)

82 That 18" barrel with the full length gas system is almost identical to my "dissipator" 16" barrel with the full length gas system. I like how it handles the longer sight radius for folding backup sights is a plus as well.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:26 PM (iJUs7)

83 77 Alot of local 3 gunners shoot a 18 inch barrel with full length gas system

Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:23 PM (jfSqj)


"The system" was designed for a full-length gas system and a 20" barrel in the first place, tends to work best.

The longer a variant has been around, the more bugs people have worked out. Carbines are nearly as reliable as rifles, but SBRs and pistols still have a few teething troubles and are pickier about tolerances (and ammunition).

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 05:27 PM (bxiXv)

84 Toby, from what I hear you sayin', you're not looking for a semi-auto version of your Rem700. In that case, go with the 16" barrel. They're good guns in their intended use.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:29 PM (iJUs7)

85 And the 3-6 month wait for the tax stamp to return what happens to the ar is it already at the local dealer?
Thanks
Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:26 PM (MTPLw)


you don't need a tax stamp for a 16 inch or longer AR


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:30 PM (jfSqj)

86
"The longer a variant has been around, the more bugs people have worked out."

This. Times 10. Most of the stories about how the AR is a crappy platform are from the 60's, when they were still working out what powder to use in the ammo. Nowadays, they're a time-tested platform.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:32 PM (iJUs7)

87 osted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:26 PM (MTPLw)


basically you ppurchase the AR from the out of state dealer.

They send it to a FFL holder in your state, you fill out the paperwork at your instate dealer. The instate dealer will charge you a transfer fee.

make sure the out of state guy is legit and not going to rip you off




Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:32 PM (jfSqj)

88 The weekend after BO won re-election there was a local gun show and I bought my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th weapon. I was sorry for waiting that long but I'm sure glad I didn't wait until the latest AWB chatter.

Posted by: slicky at December 30, 2012 05:33 PM (siLiN)

89 A 16" with a rifle-length gas system would probably need either hot ammo (avoid .223 or TULA) or a light reciprocating system (carrier/buffer) to work reliably.

The Spikes T2 buffer seems to give you a slightly wider range, i.e. it's less sensitive (but it still matters) as far as power goes.

I would just stick with a relatively traditional port/dwell ratio. The middys are a nice compromise.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 05:33 PM (bxiXv)

90 FYI
I'm shooting 3gun with a 20 inch barrel.

had no issues around baracades, etc.


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:34 PM (jfSqj)

91 87 Jake
Thanks for the reply, okay so does the form 4 I think get filled out to the instate dealer correct. Then sent to BATF for approval correct? I wait the 3-6 months for the tax stamp to come back signed off by BATF that comes to me or the instate dealer? I go pick up ar.

Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:35 PM (MTPLw)

92 87
Thanks it will be an sbr

Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:37 PM (MTPLw)

93 This. Times 10. Most of the stories about how the AR is a crappy platform are from the 60's, when they were still working out what powder to use in the ammo. Nowadays, they're a time-tested platform.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at December 30, 2012 05:32 PM (iJUs7)


Or people who buy cheap crap or build weird combos. Don't think of the AR as a specific brand and model, thing of it as a category, not like a "BMW 135i" but more like a "2-door coupe."

Don't buy a Yugo, don't take it to a crappy mechanic, and if you modify it, be smart about it, don't just slap on anything that seems to fit.

I have seen people bitching about how horrible ARs are after they bought a Model 1 kit gun because it was the cheapest they could find, bought used parts and assembled them using tools from their garage, did stupid things like welding and re-drilling gas ports (I. Am. Not. Kidding.), whatever used parts they could get their hands on, etc.

OF COURSE it doesn't work properly, Frankenstein was *fiction*. You can't sew people together and expect them to work.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 05:38 PM (bxiXv)

94 Thanks it will be an sbr
Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:37 PM (MTPLw)


You might want to buy a carbine, do your SBR paperwork, then buy/trade for the SBR upper receiver.

You may also have to change the bolt and/or buffer, depending (just research which combinations run best in similar setups, i.e. 7" vs 11" vs 12.5" and suppressed or not, what pressure loads/caliber, etc).

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 05:40 PM (bxiXv)

95 Would love to try the 3 gun, must go see some local to check it out.

Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:41 PM (MTPLw)

96 Surprising people are talking about courses without mentioning the nationwide Appleseed project. For women it's an outrageously low price of $20 per FULL day of instruction with courses ranging 1-5 days.

http://www.appleseedinfo.org/as_faq.html

Posted by: slicky at December 30, 2012 05:43 PM (siLiN)

97 The barrel extension with the feedramps screws on the barrel, yes? Is that where the headspacing takes place?

Posted by: toby928© for TB at December 30, 2012 05:44 PM (QupBk)

98 Thanks for the reply, okay so does the form 4 I think get filled out to the instate dealer correct. Then sent to BATF for approval correct? I wait the 3-6 months for the tax stamp to come back signed off by BATF that comes to me or the instate dealer? I go pick up ar.
Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:35 PM (MTPLw)


On class3 transfers the instate dealer should walk you through the paperwork.
(if they don't, get a diffrent local class 3 dealer)
you'll need fingerprints, a passport type photo, etc.


I'd suggest the reason you list for putchasing the SBR on the paperwork is
"For Collection and Investment"

it is easier that way

Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:45 PM (jfSqj)

99 I'm grateful I panicked early and avoided the rush. I bought my AR Nov 7th coz the price has really shot up. Another thing for newbies to consider is ammo commonality. My new AR 5.56 will also use the .223 of my Ranch Rifle. I shoot .38s in my .357, LCR & my 5-shot.

Posted by: Jypsea Rose is @AmericanGypsea at December 30, 2012 05:46 PM (dDQqO)

100 I'm in Texas, Jake. I'd imagine we're.pretty gun friendly.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 05:48 PM (wsGWu)

101 Thanks for the link for appleseed, slicky! That's way cheaper than what I was looking at.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 05:49 PM (wsGWu)

102 Appleseed is wonderful, but it's not really a "beginner's home defense course." It's primarily about rifles and long-range shooting and marksmanship.

*Great* courses, just not what was asked about.

She might want to do that after doing the basic handling / mechanics / laws course.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 05:49 PM (bxiXv)

103 94 Yeah I see a lot of people get some good deals buying them in pieces. I'm a newbie to rifles so not confident in purchasing though still in the research mode. Although I been to the range and the suppressed sbr is amazing! Or anything suppressed that matter. I did purchase some pmags to be safe but my order went from in stock to back order.
You can still get them but from $15 to $50 is quite a hike in price. I guess we will find out how fast they can pass the magazine ban Jan.3.

Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:49 PM (MTPLw)

104 98 Thanks needed that info!

Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:52 PM (MTPLw)

105 I think Russ is correct, Dems will drag this out as long as they can for fundraising purposes. There's still a bit of time.

Posted by: Jypsea Rose is @AmericanGypsea at December 30, 2012 05:52 PM (dDQqO)

106 I'm in Texas, Jake. I'd imagine we're.pretty gun friendly.
Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 05:48 PM (wsGWu)


see if you can find a highly reccomended trainer/class


not all instructors are created equal, and some personality types don't mix well.

The NRA approved classes start at the level of never handling any firearms or basically scratch


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:55 PM (jfSqj)

107 Yeah, poking around the website, appleseed looks far too advanced for me right now. Good to know about it for later though.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 05:56 PM (wsGWu)

108 She might want to do that after doing the basic handling / mechanics / laws course.
Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 05:49 PM (bxiXv)


I second this, Applesead is rifles, no handguns


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 05:57 PM (jfSqj)

109 107 Yeah, poking around the website, appleseed looks far too advanced for me right now. Good to know about it for later though.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 05:56 PM (wsGWu)


There's a lot of good history / freedom talk, too. Basically what it's about. And marksmanship.

I don't think anyone who does that rents, either, you would be expected to come with a rifle.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 05:59 PM (bxiXv)

110 Posted by: lions at December 30, 2012 05:49 PM (MTPLw)


if you plan on shooting a supressed SBR be sure to get a muzzle brake type supressor mount.

It will save your supressor from the powder blast




Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 06:00 PM (jfSqj)

111 http://centraltexasgunworks.com/chlclass/beginner-pistol-course-information

Here's what I found. It

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 06:01 PM (wsGWu)

112 http://www.yelp.com/biz/central-texas-gun-works-austin-2

https://www.facebook.com/centraltexasgunworks

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 06:05 PM (bxiXv)

113 Oops, got cut off. It looks like a good place to start, but it's run by a gun shop so I don't know if there might be a lot of pressure to buy on the spot.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 06:07 PM (wsGWu)

114 Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 06:01 PM (wsGWu)


the sylabus has about what you want.

I could not find any info on the instructors though


if you take this be sure to try out both a revolver and a semi auto handgun


each has some advantages for women


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 06:08 PM (jfSqj)

115 113 Oops, got cut off. It looks like a good place to start, but it's run by a gun shop so I don't know if there might be a lot of pressure to buy on the spot.
Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 06:07 PM (wsGWu)


IME none. They won't expect you to. Never been *there* but I've never seen that happen in all my days.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 06:09 PM (bxiXv)

116 2 questions -

1.) Gas impingement or piston and why? (or am I even asking the right question?)

2.) Do I need a longer barrel for varmint hunting? Will mostly be in a wooded area, so a 200 yard shot at the absolute longest.

Posted by: Professor Marius von Totenkopf (formerly Hoss Fuentes) at December 30, 2012 06:12 PM (aozUR)

117 I don't know if there might be a lot of pressure to buy on the spot.
Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 06:07 PM (wsGWu)


don't buy on the spot

shop around, wait for the current panic to subside and go talk to and look at guns at several shops.


There are many guyb people at AoS who can help you out.

I'm on the yahoo group now, so you can ping me there also


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 06:12 PM (jfSqj)

118 ment,
there are many gun people at AoS, who can help


man that was a typo

Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 06:13 PM (jfSqj)

119 Thanks, everyone. I'm sure I'll have more questions once I actually take the class. I was raised by someone very, very anti gun, so I'm getting a late start to it all.

Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 06:16 PM (wsGWu)

120 2 questions -

1.) Gas impingement or piston and why? (or am I even asking the right question?)

2.) Do I need a longer barrel for varmint hunting? Will mostly be in a wooded area, so a 200 yard shot at the absolute longest.
Posted by: Professor Marius von Totenkopf (formerly Hoss Fuentes) at December 30, 2012 06:12 PM (aozUR)



gas or piston in an AR? This is a never ending debate, there is no answer, just get what you want

barrel length, same answer
I've got out to 300 meters with a16 inch and 4moa red dot


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 06:19 PM (jfSqj)

121 o I'm getting a late start to it all.
Posted by: Lauren at December 30, 2012 06:16 PM (wsGWu)


it is never to late to start


Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 06:20 PM (jfSqj)

122 out!


gott run some errands






Posted by: Jake in ID at December 30, 2012 06:23 PM (jfSqj)

123 1.) Gas impingement or piston and why? (or am I even asking the right question?)

2.) Do I need a longer barrel for varmint hunting? Will mostly be in a wooded area, so a 200 yard shot at the absolute longest.

Posted by: Professor Marius von Totenkopf (formerly Hoss Fuentes) at December 30, 2012 06:12 PM (aozUR)


I completely don't care and no.

The gas vs. piston thing is mostly dick-waving. They both have advantages, the "common wisdom" is that piston guns are more reliable, but it really looks like other factors are more important. If you shoot crappy dirty ammo, piston guns are better.

I honestly don't care much about varmint hunting either, it's not my field. I think twist rate for short bullets would be way more important than barrel length. The "must be a 24" bull stainless barrel for varmints" thing kind of comes from "commercial" varmint hunters who basically burn a lot of ammo all day long on it. You want a lot of mass in the barrel to absorb and shed heat and reduce recoil.

And they look cool.

Barrel length isn't really about accuracy, it's about velocity. Which is kind of beside the point WRT varmints, unless they're very big varmints, or *very* far away.

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at December 30, 2012 06:31 PM (bxiXv)

124 Haha I went to Norm's and had a filet and then to wallyworld and picked up the rest of their 00 buck and 30-30 and missed this thread entirely. I would avoid piston systems because they're all propietary and who needs that? After 50 years the problems with DI have been worked out-

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 06:47 PM (XDC0v)

125 USAAmmo still has 30 rd. AR mags: http://tinyurl.com/a9cnr4e
Of course I'm only telling you this because I am

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 06:50 PM (XDC0v)

126 97 Yes- headspacing is set at the factory, so bolts will be interchangable

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 06:51 PM (XDC0v)

127 I ask about the varmint hunting b/c I'm supposed to go shoot coyotes on my cousin's property in SC since they're infesting the place and eating all the deer and turkey. They're also moving into my parent's place in VA, and from the sounds of it, the rat bastards are eyeballing the chickens. Since the shots won't be prairie distances, I won't worry too much about long barrels, I guess.

Posted by: Professor Marius von Totenkopf (formerly Hoss Fuentes) at December 30, 2012 06:58 PM (aozUR)

128 @47 The BATF has decided that "once a rifle, always a rifle." If a weapon is
assembled as a rifle, even once, and later converted to a pistol,
that's illegal. You can convert a pistol into a rifle, but it can never
legally be a pistol again (without the registration, tax, etc).

The ATF really didn't decide that. Congress did. There's a lot of things that are merely ATF's interpretation of laws that Congress passed (i.e. regulations) but the "once a rifle, always a rifle" thing is a pretty straightforward interpretation of 18 USC 921(a)(, which states:

"The term “short-barreled rifle” means a
rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and
any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or
otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less
than twenty-six inches."

However, the ATF has also decided in ruling 2011-4 that if a firearm starts out life as a pistol and is then converted to a rifle, it retains its original "pistol-ness" and can be later converted back to a pistol without running afoul of the NFA. http://tinyurl.com/42h5tyr

FWIW for those of you who don't know the history, the NFA was originally going to regulate all concealable firearms, including handguns. Congress didn't want to leave a loophole where people could cut down rifles or shotguns into legal pistols, so this is why the NFA regulates short-barreled rifles and handguns. However, the NRA got the handgun regulations removed before the law passed, but Congress left in the parts about short-barreled rifles and shotguns.

@116
1.) Gas impingement or piston and why? (or am I even asking the right question?)

Impingement. There's no standard design for gas piston ARs, so you're locked into one manufacturer for spare replacement parts. At that point, you might as well go with a rifle that was designed from the ground up to use a gas piston and that doesn't have some of the design compromises of gas piston ARs. I suggest the SCAR 16.

Posted by: ARL at December 30, 2012 07:04 PM (X4Pz8)

129 128 SCAR is very nice if you can find one and you have $2700

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 07:10 PM (XDC0v)

130 Each 1" barrel length in an AR = about 50 feet per second increase

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 07:14 PM (XDC0v)

131 USAAmmo still has AR's for sale and at the old prices

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 07:15 PM (XDC0v)

132 The new google images is bullshit!!!

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 07:22 PM (XDC0v)

133 There's some sage advise in this post but I'd add that there are tons of good info online. I'm a member of a popular gun-site with said type of weapon in question; we have a tech forum that will give one all the info on what to buy and what not.

My bit of advice is find a lower, (stripped or not.) Some manufactures are better than others but generally and forged receiver should be good to go. I personally would advise against a polymer receiver but that's my $0.02. Once you find and legally buy your lower you've got the time to pick and buy the parts you want. Note that SBR's (short barreled rifles,) fall under the NFA so your choices are 16" to 24" barrels. 16 and 20 are the 'popular' lengths out there so more than likely you'll find complete upper assemblies with one of the two lengths. If you've never assembled an AR, pay someone that has....a LOT. While its not overly complex there are quite a few small parts, fitting and head spacing that's critical.

If you know you're going to stick with 5.56 NATO, go ahead and buy ammo and mags when you can find them not ridiculously overpriced.

Posted by: ATLDiver at December 30, 2012 07:32 PM (rCsM0)

134 There are plenty of videos on youtube that walk you through the assembly of the rifle. This one is good for the assembly of the parts in the lower receiver, for example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nM3EFWlpqQ

Posted by: Ernst Blofeld at December 30, 2012 07:48 PM (B6nJ8)

135 133 Absolutely NO headspacing is required on an AR. Set by factory.

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 08:07 PM (XDC0v)

136 Hang out at ar15.com and read the forums for a few weeks. You'll soak up knowledge.

Haven't gotten my AR yet, but when I do it will be a mid-length. Most reliable way to go with the 16" barrel. Nothing wrong with the carbine, I'd just prefer to stick as close to the original design as possible. Besides, a mid-length mounts a bayonet correctly, and bayonets make Diane Feinstein cry.

I'd stay away from pistons. Direct impingement is fine if you keep it clean. Which you should. You won't be in a muddy foxhole for days.

Posted by: Taro Tsujimoto at December 30, 2012 08:18 PM (celt+)

137 "I just want an easy to handle gun that can stop a burglar. Easy to use, easy to load, easy to get familiar with ect."

---------------------
Medium-frame .357 Magnum. Ruger or Smith and Wesson (avoid Taurus, Rossi, etc). Load it with .38 Specials. +P hollowpoints for defense, el cheapo FMJ (full metal jacket) for practice.



Posted by: Taro Tsujimoto at December 30, 2012 08:21 PM (celt+)

138 I should add to my 137 above:

.357 revolvers will shoot .38 Specials (I'll skip the long and complicated reason for the differing nomenclature. The important thing is that a .38 Special actually measures .357). The .357 Magnum round is the ultimate for defense in a handgun, but the recoil and flash require much practice to master. Hot .38 Specials will serve you just fine and be more controllable. And cheap .38 Specials will let you practice lots - they're just about the cheapest ammo there is.

Revolvers are nice because there are no controls (safety, slide stop, etc) like on an automatic. Just point and pull the trigger. And they don't jam. And if you get a bad primer (bullet no go boom), you just pull the trigger again. With an auto, you have to clear the bad round out.

If I could have only one handgun, this would be it.


Posted by: Taro Tsujimoto at December 30, 2012 08:30 PM (celt+)

139 Fascinating write-up.
I was just talking to someone at work about this topic. I'm not really a gun person, but as a engineer/geek/moron I'd love to build a gun from parts, even if it doesn't fire. Is it pretty straight forward to build an AR from parts, but not include the parts that make it actually fire bullets?

Posted by: Gyro at December 30, 2012 08:57 PM (cRHlh)

140 If that's what makes you happy, go ahead. No, it's not difficult, get the parts, the most you need for tools is a few punches to set pins, and a maybe a little help compressing springs.

Just leave the firing pin out if you want to make it a decoration. Takes about a minute and no tools to make it operable if you have the part.

Posted by: Glacier at December 30, 2012 09:03 PM (g8tko)

141 140 How you gonna tighten that barrel nut?

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 09:44 PM (XDC0v)

142 140 How you gonna tighten the buffer tube?

Posted by: DAve, who gets a cut of all internet gun sales at December 30, 2012 09:44 PM (XDC0v)

143 Ok, the barrel nut takes a special wrench. It's nice to have a gunsmith buddy who has everything handy. I didn't have any trouble with the buffer tube. Still, it should be within the capabilities of a moron engineer to work it out.

Posted by: Glacier at December 30, 2012 10:05 PM (g8tko)

144 116 1.) Gas impingement or piston and why? (or am I even asking the right question?)

The piston kits were supposed to fix the M4s major shortcoming as a battle weapon, that being reliability in hot sandy environments. From what I've seen (and the Army's more recent testing) they create about as many problems as they solve. If you want piston, get a rifle designed from the beginning for one - I have an FAL. YMMV. Then again, wind blown sand isn't a big problem in Iowa.

Barrel length? Personal preference. The 20" gives you more velocity and a longer sight radius if you're using iron sights; the carbine configuration is quicker and a LOT easier to handle working in and out of a Hummvee (don't ask me how I know...)
For tip-top long-range accuracy you want a top quality barrel, not chrome-lined, and free-float it. The Army chrome-lines all its barrels to ensure reliability in tropical environments, at a cost of some accuracy. The stainless steel match barrels that are offered will be corrosion-resistant enough for about any environment stateside.
I've been in the process of building an AR carbine for my son to use when he outgrows a single-shot .22; I'm glad I got a lower and mags bought before the market went completely nuts.

Posted by: Hatchet Five at December 30, 2012 10:36 PM (29l2t)

145 Personally I like 16 inch barrels a lot. It's the minmum for legality (anything shorter and you get into a lot of federal paperwork.) It's handy enough for indoors. It's long enough to get good velocity on the bullet, which increases lethality. It's good for outdoors use to a few hundred yards.

Posted by: Ernst Blofeld at December 30, 2012 11:13 PM (B6nJ8)

146 Some info on building an SBR, you really have 3 options:
1) buy a complete sbr, do the paper work once and done.
2) buy already NFA registered lower and then bu parts to fit.
3) if you have an existing lower, you can convert it by doing the paper work, which is basically applying to be a "one off mfg." You get paper work back from the ATF, you must send your lower to an ATF approved engraver and have the new NFA SN engraved into the lower. if I remember right, the lower must be shipped by and received again by an FFL - a lot of work and chances for things to go wrong.

I bought mine over a year ago and it was a 4 month wait, bought a suppressor 3 months later and it was an 8 month wait for paper work. I hear it is almost a year now for the NFA SBR or Supressor papers. I also went with the "Trust" so all the stuff goes to my family without the ATF picking it up at my funeral. Also, with a trust, you skip the "personal" ATF security check.

** one more point ** don't order an SBR upper until you have your NFA paper work and lower. If you have an SBR uppoer and a standard AR lower in the house, they can put you away. Oddly, you can have one SBR lower and several SBR uppers and that is OK - go figure

If I were to do it over again, I think that I would go with the 6" upper instead of the 10.5, the extra length with the suppressor makes the rifle feel front heavy. Still a heck of a lot of fun to shoot.

Posted by: Rob in Katy at December 31, 2012 01:31 AM (PiTBB)

147 Good post!

I say Russ is right, am I should know because I'm a guy who did this once himself, which makes me an authority w/ a number of ar builds to my credit. That number is 1.

Do go to a r15.com if you wanna great info about this. Warning: there are a fair number of Internet Commandos on that site. If you're new to this, ignore Internet commandos. By Internet commando, I mean guys who will think your ar is a piece of shit if you don't use options A, B, & C, and used brands X, Y, & Z.
Ignore pistol builds & short barrels. That's for later.

You can save cash and have fun if you buy a stripped lower and all the parts for the lower separately. Do not try to put the upper receiver together yourself if you're a n00b w/ out the proper tools.. I did this and I've probably shot up $300 worth of ammo and it's still not sighted in correctly. Buy the upper complete, or have a pro do it for you buy parts separately. The lower can be put together correctly very easily. The upper can be put together wrong very easily.
Shopping for an ar is fun because of all the options.

They are gonna try to ban the shit out of this, guaranteed. A ban passing is not guaranteed, but it's going to be a big effing deal for a while. Panic buying a stripped lower is warranted. Buy one from a manufacturer of such devices and get on their list now, even if you are paying the full retail price. You can eventually piece it together.

Also, join the NRA or similar org & contact your congress critters ASAP.

Posted by: ThisIsMyTrollName at December 31, 2012 05:49 AM (osSbX)

148 AR15.com can be a good source of info; I recommend doing a search with specific questions (like "best trigger") because there are folks there who know what they're talking about who've actually tested most of them. That site also has a lot of what I call Mall Ninja types - 400 lb guys who've never been tactical in their lives, with more crap hanging on their weapon than I travelled around Diyala Province with. Protip: if your M4 clone is as heavy as a Sharps buffalo rifle, you're doing it wrong.
And yes, people like DiFi are going to keep pushing banning all this; it would help greatly if the good guys in DC had ever demonstrated a spine about anything else. A lot of us are left wondering what pathetic "concessions" Boehner and McConnell will trade away our freedoms for.

Posted by: Hatchet Five at December 31, 2012 07:35 AM (vvBmK)

149 Lauren, if you just want something for home defense, give some thought to that first suggestion that you get a basic shotgun. They are very inexpensive, reliable, easy to shoot, and potent.

For just a couple hundred dollars you will be in good shape. Every lawful citizen's home should have a basic shotgun in it.

If you decide to buy a pistol, please be sure to check out ammo prices before you buy. Keep in mind the few candidates for pistols you like, and see what it would be like to buy 200 rounds of brass cartridge ammunition for it. Can you find ammo? Is it affordable?

But if you want to take your time with that decision, you can grab a nice basic shotgun and satisfy your immediate security needs. Read the manual and remember to treat the weapon like it's loaded (so keep your finger off the trigger and never point it at anything you're not shooting)

Posted by: Dustin at December 31, 2012 10:25 AM (D9999)

150 80% lower. 200% more evil. No reg.

Posted by: nip at December 31, 2012 11:38 AM (11Tdq)

151 @189....Problem with a shotgun is portability, (or lack of it.) Don't get me wrong, I like pump shotguns for HD but I don't think it's a single solution, every home should have a good pistol, a good shotgun and a good rifle.

If someone is starting from nothing, I would suggest starting with a pistol of choice and get plenty of training. Stick with a common caliber, .38, 9mm or .45acp for ammo availability. If you're going to have just one weapon, a good handgun would be the best. Likely one will practice with it more, be able to more easily store it securely and if your laws support concealed carry you have the means to do so.

Posted by: ATLDiver at December 31, 2012 12:40 PM (rCsM0)

152 Shotguns are great, but once the bad guy is within arm's reach they are worse than useless.

Posted by: Hatchet Five at December 31, 2012 08:41 PM (29l2t)

153 "shotguns are great, but once the bad guy is within arm's reach they are worse than useless.
Posted by: Hatchet Five "

As opposed to rifles and pistols? Pistols are the easiest type of firearm to disarm, and of course you should never let an assailant within arms reach.

"Problem with a shotgun is portability, (or lack of it.)"

True. But this is not a primary issue for home defense.

" every home should have a good pistol, a good shotgun and a good rifle. "

One good shotgun is $200. How much is a good pistol or rifle? For $2000 you can satisfy your plan for three weapons, but I don't see how a rifle is effective home defense.

Actually, I don't think people need to worry about the rifle at all if they are only worried about practical home defense. A pistol or a shotgun is probably good enough. The rifle is for fun or for shooting at things that are further than 20 yards away (IE outside your home).

Every situation is different and no answer is one size fits all, but shotguns are so inexpensive and so potent and so user friendly that they are what I would recommend for a first firearm. I also think skeet shooting is a great way to practice. Concentrating on those paper circles 15 feet away isn't.

Posted by: Dustin at January 01, 2013 12:40 AM (D9999)






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