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I am soon to be in the market for an AR-15 type rifle. My gun experience mostly evolved from my hunting. Simply put the Rugers, Remingtons and Winchesters of the world do not make these type firearms. I need some help from you folks to find brands to start my research. I know of Armalite, Panther Arms, and Bushmaster. What else is out there? I would also be interested in the m-4 type variant. My plans are to shoot it mostly at the range and "plinking". I would like to find a nice out of the box firearm that at least at first does not need any extras. At least, as of today, my only plan would be to add some optics down the road.

I would also be interested in personal opinions of some of the makes and models as long as they don't degenerate into the Ford -vs- Chevy argument.

Thanks for the help.

Basserino
 

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first off, www.ar15.com is your friend.

I personally would recommend Bushmaster. I think it's the best balance of cost/value. They have the 5.56mm chamber as opposed to the .223, and they have chrome lined barrels. Both of these, in my opinion, are good things. The 5.56 chamber means you can shoot more types of ammo. 5.56 will chamber .223 AND 5.56 while .223 will only chamber .223. The chrome lined barrel is just easier to clean and resists rust better.
One thing to keep in mind is that the MSRP you see on the manufacturers websites isn't what you can expect to pay in a gunshop. Cruise gunbroker.com and gunsamerica.com and do a search for whatever model you're interested in. From what you've described it sounds like this would fit your bill, simply because you say "M4".
http://bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/pcwa2x14m4my.asp


I'd be more inclined to suggest this one though, because I think muzzle-breaks on an AR are silly, as well as fake pinned-in-place stocks. The standard A2 stock as seen below is much more comfortable for a shooter. The detachable carry-handle also gives you a place to mount optics later on that is very convenient.
http://bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/pcwa3s16.asp
 

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Second vote for a Bushy

I have the same model as is in the second picture. It's accurate, easy to shoot, and was about $830 from a local dealer.

I would also echo the comments about going for a full A2 stock instead of a fake M4 one - for me, the fake M4 stock doesn't bring anything to the party other whereas the A2 stock is more comfortable to shoot (for me, anyway) and has the storage space for the cleaning kit.

The muzzle brake will tame what little recoil exists, while making the thing seem sounder to those around you. I would like a flash suppresor, but I passed on the muzzle brake.
 

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The only civilian AR type that I can speak for is Olympic arms. inexpensive but still well made. Many say that quality is just as good as some of the more expensive makers. I just got a PCR-16 and am very happy, tight tolerances, and just a great rifle, for less than $700. Good luck in your search.
 

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I also recommend the one in the second picture. It should be available with the M4 barrel if that is what you are looking for. The removable carry handle opens up your options for optics later on.

Bushmaster is always a good brand. I can also recommend Rock River Arms - mine is every bit as good as my Bushmaster yet cost less... Now available with chrome lined barrels (the only feature mine lacks)


Word to the wise.... Stick with USGI 20 and 30 round mags...
 

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shadowblade said:
I can also recommend Rock River Arms - mine is every bit as good as my Bushmaster yet cost less... Now available with chrome lined barrels (the only feature mine lacks)
I don't see it as an option here
http://rockriverarms.com/images/pdfs/rrachart.pdf

FWIW to the original poster, chrome-moly and chrome lined are not the same thing. Chome-moly is a barrel material, while crhome lined is the treatment of the inside of the barrel. Chrome-moly barrels CAN be chrome lined however.
 

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if your pockets are deep and want an Ultimate Ar15...JP enterprises makes awsome ones...
www.jprifles.com
 

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Hard decisions

Basserino,

I bought my first AR last month. I don't really have much hunting experience since I was a kid, but I started shooting IDPA and I kept listening to some of the guys talk about the 3-gun matches (Pistol, Shotgun, & Rifle). I certainly sounded like a lot of fun, plus these are really a great bunch of guys, so I decided to take the plunge.

Like you I wasn't sure what manufacturers to consider. I started researching AR's on the web and talking to guys I shoot with. Like most things like this, I found that for any gun you ask bout, you can find people that say good things and people that can say bad things about them. Makes it difficult, but in the end, I think you should just try to examine the guns in question, and trust your instincts.

My experience at AR15.com is that few people can argue against their "ABC rule". (Note: get ready for acronym overload when you go to AR15.com) That is Armalite, Bushmaster, & Colt are considered the top tier of AR's. Lately, there is quite a bit of buzz that it should be amended to include Rock River Arms (ABC+R). I finally found a dealer that had guns from all four manufacturers. I handled and closely examined all four. The apparent quality differences were small. Things like finish, trigger, fit between upper/lower receivers, & cost seemed to be the main differences. You just have to decide witch features and options are important to you and the type of shooting you are doing.

Here is what I think the shopping list should consider:

1. What type of receiver? A4’s (flat top receivers) are the way to go if you want to mount optics. A2’s if you like the traditional look, or just want an carry handle. (There are removable carry handles for the A4)

2. Cast or forged receivers? Decide if this matters to you. (ABC+R are all forged)

3. Which barrel length & type? Lengths go from 14.5” up to 24”, IIRC some 28” barrels are available. Barrels are available in stainless, regular steel, and chrome lined steel. Again, depends on what floats your boat.

4. What type of buttstock & handguard do you like? Unless you buy a pre-ban lower receiver, you cannot have an adjustable buttstock. Most you see are pinned in place and cannot be adjusted. Handguards range in length from the short M4 models to longer A2 units. Some offer free floating handguards. Then you can get into the ones with rails for mounting accessories. You have a lot of research ahead if you want to figure what mounts on what handguard.

5. What optics are you interested in? This also offers a wide range of choices. If you simple want to mount a traditional hunting scope, rings are available to mount directly on the top of M4 receiver. Be careful to consider the mounting height and eye relief for this type of scope. The AR platform offers a different set of issues than bolt action guns. If you are looking to get a red dot or other military type of optic, or night vision gear, you can open another field of research. There are lots of things available to mount just about anything you want; anywhere you want on the AR’s. Some of these items get real pricey. Check out AR15.com. There is a forum there just for optics and mountings.

In the end because of the type of shooting I planned to do, plus my budget, I chose a RRA in a 16” A4 carbine with an A2 buttstock. It has been flawless and shoots AMAZING groups. I am suprised at how easy it is to shoot well. I guess that is why they are so popular. I hope you find my experiences helpful and you can make your own decision.

[Edited to add]

The only chrome lined barrels RRA shows on the website is the R-4 profile barrel. It is 16" and has the short section turned to a smaller diameter to allow mounting of a grenade launcher. This barrel profile is standard on the Entry Tactical models, chrome is an option.
 

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RRA

The offerings from Rock River Arms are hard to beat. You are leaning toward an M4, which RRA does offer chrome lined. I retail all of the ARs that have been listed in this thread. In my findings RRA has consistently been the best value. In my eyes, price comes in third behind reliability and accuracy.

Be well!

Damian
 

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I just picked up a Bushmaster M-4, A3 sights, A2 stock and no muzzle brake. Let me tell you, it is accurate! Put about 200 rounds through it this weekend without a problem what a sweet shooter. All this for just 799 out the door.
 

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Basserino, I highly recommend the folks at Adco Firearms . Whenever I have a question or comment they are quick to respond and are not condescending to an AR-15 newbie (me). I ended up buying a complete RRA A-2 20" upper with chrome barrel from them and a complete RRA lower through my local FFL gun shop. I am already gearing up to add a free float tube and bipod. I will definitely be going back to them for all my customization parts.

I just ordered some parts and tools on Saturday (they are closed Sun & Mon) and today (Monday) I receive an e-mail notice that my order is going out today (they aren't even open today!) Great service and great prices.
 

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FWIW the RRA R-4 barrels aren't true M-4 profile, they simply have the M-203 cut in front of the gasblock.
Here is a RRA R-4 barrel


And here is a Bushmaster barrel with a true M-4 profile



And before someone gets upset, not saying better or worse, just being clear. For many the real benefit of the M4 barrel is the reduced weight, and you will not get this from the R-4 barrel from RRA.
 

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If a true M4 profile you crave, you need only contact the right person. There is no larger retailer of Rock River Arms on the net. If you want any further information about their line up, contact us directly via e-mail, or through our information forums. The forums are provided for information purposes only! (http://www.adcofirearms.com/forum/forum.cfm?page=forum)


Thank you,

Damian
 

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I have both Rock River Arms, and Bushmaster. They are both nice, and I would not hesitate to buy another of either one.

I would try to stay away with anything that has a muzzle brake......the mini-y comp on the Bushmaster is way too loud!! Not to mention that a .223 AR doesn't need it to begin with IMHO.

You are going to hear a lot about chrome lined barrels......I personally would not buy another without it. For the small amount it costs to add to a RRA, it's well worth it. You will get the chrome lining standard on the Bushy.

Good luck with your new AR, and be prepared to fall into the same type of addiction as the 1911.:D
 

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I have owned several Bushmasters, and they were all great rifles. A friend has a RRA, and it is an excellent rifle as well. Bushmaster's customer service is top notch - that is something to take into consideration when buying a rifle.
 
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