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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been wanting an AR for some time now. I really enjoy shooting them, but hate relying on someone else to have one. So it finally comes time to figure out what I want and save my money.

Several people have told me to just built a custom one opposed to buying a pre-built because "it's nearly the same price." Is there any truth to this? I would assume it depends on how deeply custom you want to go into building a custom. (i.e. install custom trigger kit vs. pre-built lower, etc.). I'm by no means a gunsmith, but am pretty comfortable working on my XDm and have done some basic field stripping of my friends AR. I also do all my own work on my motorcycle which I take to the track and it hasn't blown up yet (for what that's worth). For those who have built custom, what would you say it costs to built a fairly basic to semi-advanced .223 (without sights and other extras)? Also whats the preferred build direction top-down or bottom-up?

I appreciate the advice
 

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I went with pre built for my first because I didn't have a great grasp on how they functioned and what was best. I wanted to learn and get proficient with the system before putting money into a custom one. IF you can figure out exactly what you want then order the exact parts you want and put em together. Otherwise I would just buy a good quality pre built and shoot.
 

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I built my first one. I had only shot 3 rounds through an AR before that. Just find a complete list of required parts, figure out what you want, and get on youtube. It isn't that hard. You will will want a set of roll pin punches and starters, but other than that you probably have most of what you need.
 

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I had an upper made by model 1 sales and I assembled the rest. Theres some great youtube videos that will walk you through it step by step.
 

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Best for beginners is a stripped lower, a lower parts kit, and a complete upper. The upper requires the most tools. The lower requires basically just punches and 20-30 minutes if you work slow. The upper is also the most expensive part. You can definitely build one for less, but plenty of companies make uppers catered to the person that wants reliable function without breaking the bank.

I suggest looking heavily into PSA and Anderson. If you play your cards right you will finish under 600 with iron sites. And you will also have a quality rifle.
 

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Best for beginners is a stripped lower, a lower parts kit, and a complete upper. The upper requires the most tools. The lower requires basically just punches and 20-30 minutes if you work slow. The upper is also the most expensive part. You can definitely build one for less, but plenty of companies make uppers catered to the person that wants reliable function without breaking the bank.

I suggest looking heavily into PSA and Anderson. If you play your cards right you will finish under 600 with iron sites. And you will also have a quality rifle.


Good call on the PSA. They make great uppers and lowers and basically everything you need. I've got JD Machine Tech and Spikes Lowers resting under PSA uppers. The rest you can figure out as you go along but the PSA LPK is a great way to start for a noob. I build custom for what it is that I want. IF you're a serious shooter, you're going to change everything on a prebuilt rifle anyhow, may as well do it how you want. If you shoot less than a couple hundred round a year on your rifle, buy prebuilt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the feedback. I watched a series of videos by its tactical about building your own and it really doesn't look too hard, just have to take your time. Even the upper doesn't look terrible. I use standard punches at the moment but will definitely invest in the brownell roll pin punches as they will be handy for the XDm as well. Based on the feedback here and the videos I think I'm going to build the lower out. I'm still on the fence about building the upper or buying it. I will do some more looking.

I like having unique and I definitely like knowing I did it myself. There is no better way of understanding your firearm.


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Best for beginners is a stripped lower, a lower parts kit, and a complete upper. The upper requires the most tools. The lower requires basically just punches and 20-30 minutes if you work slow. The upper is also the most expensive part. You can definitely build one for less, but plenty of companies make uppers catered to the person that wants reliable function without breaking the bank.

I suggest looking heavily into PSA and Anderson. If you play your cards right you will finish under 600 with iron sites. And you will also have a quality rifle.
I second this. And drop plug for Spikes Tactical. :-D
 

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I did tons of research and read up on many forums.

Wound up buying a Colt Model 6920 M4. Put an Aimpoint Pro on it and never looked back.

A year later and I still do not regret buying the Colt. It does everything I want out of an AR.

Unless you have some odd requirements or are building a wild varmint rig...I'd start with a 16" M4 configuration AR from Colt, BCM, LMT or Daniel Defense and go from there. Those guns are a great place to start...

-brickboy240
 

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Best for beginners is a stripped lower, a lower parts kit, and a complete upper. The upper requires the most tools. The lower requires basically just punches and 20-30 minutes if you work slow. The upper is also the most expensive part. You can definitely build one for less, but plenty of companies make uppers catered to the person that wants reliable function without breaking the bank.

I suggest looking heavily into PSA and Anderson. If you play your cards right you will finish under 600 with iron sites. And you will also have a quality rifle.

This. A PSA CHF or premium build with iron sights for around $600 is VERY hard to beat. The quality of rifle you're getting for that price is fantastic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I like the Psa "don't tread on me" lower. And at $99, a pretty reasonable price


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
They had blemished for $49. I just liked the flag engraving a lot.


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I said I liked it. I didn't say I ordered it. Comparing unblemished to unblemished it's only $10 more. When you compare a blemished to an unblemished it's always going to seem steep.


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I've built several completely. I did buy one complete upper. PSA had their M4A1 premium uppers on sale at a price I couldn't pass on. Nice upper for someone that doesn't want to build one. I will say that doing a complete build is rewarding and a very good way for beginners to learn the weapon, and that's what I'd recommend.

There are a lot of companies out there that make good, quality parts, so don't get too wrapped up in which brand is best. Everyone has their preferences and their loyalties, so use what you like. Also, don't let other people spend your money for you. If you like a certain lower more than another because of the markings, by all means go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've built several completely. I did buy one complete upper. PSA had their M4A1 premium uppers on sale at a price I couldn't pass on. Nice upper for someone that doesn't want to build one. I will say that doing a complete build is rewarding and a very good way for beginners to learn the weapon, and that's what I'd recommend.

There are a lot of companies out there that make good, quality parts, so don't get too wrapped up in which brand is best. Everyone has their preferences and their loyalties, so use what you like. Also, don't let other people spend your money for you. If you like a certain lower more than another because of the markings, by all means go for it.

I'm definitely a hands on, do it myself kind of person. The parts are so readily available it just seems like why not do it myself. It will be a good fall project for me.


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