I’m thinking of opening up a new area in my limited armory by building/purchasing an AR-15?
I’ve been studying on the issue for some time, talking to a few folks for leads (Thanks Bill) but thought I would throw it out there for my 7 readers to help me stay in the right direction.
What I do know -
Right now, I want to start with a few facts or areas I’ve already have decided on.
First and foremost, I want it chambered in 5.56. This will be a home defense firearm; I won’t be shooting varmints out 500+ yards. I do want it to be useable for a wide variety of people. And I won’t be dealing with the Federal government for extensive probulation (no suppressors, no short barrels, no full auto, etc).
And I’m a miser. Very miserly; so that means I want to spend as little as necessary both on the rifle itself and the ammunition. I’ll be buying the most common ammunition that I can buy in bulk — even if that means a little variation in what I shoot (e.g. 55 gr. v 62 gr.)
I would like to keep it as mil-spec as possible. That leaves lots of variations and options; including building or purchasing.
I’m thinking of starting with a 16″ barrel – but the twist rates can vary. Most common are 1 in 7 and 1 in 9, right?
Am I right in understanding the heavier grains (75 or 80) are better for longer distance shooting and the 1 in 9 twist rate would be better for the lighter ammo I’ll be shooting?
But mil-spec would be 1 in 7 so I’m back where I started from again.
Then there is Chromed or not.
Gas System -
This one is fairly easy, I think. I can choose from Direct Impingement (DI) or Piston. Unless someone makes a Piston system that is cheaper than I’ve found, I think DI is where I will end up.
And the length is important but I’m not sure I fully understand this; carbine, mid and rifle. I think this can affect the front site group and the hand guards used. Is there a huge difference in performance. (Deliberately left out pistol length since I’m not building a pistol)
And does it change enough to warrant a longer or shorter barrel?
Bolts and Bolt Carrier Groups -
Inspection methods are important here, right? Magnetic Particle Inspection; worth the extra money?
And then the other major item is the gas key; staked or not?
Have I missed anything here?
I will definitely be putting some sort of Optics/Scope on this but probably later (unless I can get a really great deal). I also think that having iron sights is a good idea.
Does what I select as an upper also affect the gas tube length?
What should I really be focused on here? I think a forward assist is a good idea but I’m open to discussion. And does this include the trigger; single or double stage or is that separate?
As you can see I’m really just starting on this. I plan to continue my research but hope someone can provide some “been there, done that” advice. If anyone knows of an off the shelf AR that fits, I would also be looking for that information.
Budget is tentatively scheduled for $1,000 as high end (told you this was an entry version, right?) and would prefer $850 or less because I know how many other items will be needed.
Thanks for the help in advance.