Which cheap AR rifle is best?
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Thread: Which cheap AR rifle is best?

  1. #1
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    Default Which cheap AR rifle is best?

    This gets bounced around on the AR forum a lot but most of the time the advice is to not buy a cheap one..
    I'm not going to build one to save money so I need to hear from people who have researched this subject..there's a lot of positive and negative comments on every brand I've looked into, to the extent that it makes an informed choice almost a coil toss..
    I want to spend $600 but I can't afford to lose that amount buying a stinker..

  2. #2
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    I am not an AR guy, my preference runs to my M1 Carbine and Garand but I have a couple friends who love thier Bear Creek Arsenal ARs, have ran a lot of rounds thru them with no issues. Another I have heard spoken of well is the DPMS. No experience personally with either. So I would have to research both brands myself before buying.
    Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is. ---- Josey Wales

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    How much is your life worth?. I had a doctor who had received his concealed carry license. One day in the office he shows me one of the RG Rhom revolvers. I unload it (38 special) and cycle the action. Piece of junk. Told him if he wanted to get a decent revolver for concealed carry he could do no worse but to get a S&W Model 36 in 38 special. I told the doc exactly my opening sentence how much is your life worth. Not to belittle you but there are plenty of good companies making very good ar's made to mil spec and use mil spec parts. Start looking a little higher money wise and you should find a carbine that will appeal to you and not be too hard on your wallet. Better DPMS than uncle pooty's plow works. Frank

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    Just buy a law enforcement trade. They're name brand, carried a lot, shot little, dept armorer maintained, already zeroed, and less than half price of new.
    Fine Print:
    The preceeding opinion should be considered only as an opinion and not legal advice. In no event will the poster, Unbekannt, be held liable to any party for any damages arising in any way out of the availability, use, reliance on or inability to use poster's opinion or any information provided by or through the poster, or for any claim attributable to errors, omissions or other inaccuracies in, or destructive properties of any information provided by or through the poster.

  6. #5
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    Ar's hitting new lows...new under $475 name brand company's ...that's last October where in the $675 up pricing...
    same guns different president.
    I have org bushmasters, one older one new unfired (two shows back $500)
    competing with extream drops.., Rock River, custom high end build. New Anderson pistol AR.
    Stay away from smiths, new bushmasters not the same old company quality.
    Don't by a unknow build ...you know why just not who?

  7. #6
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    Chas,

    Advice so far is awful thin and not substantive. Hopefully this weekend will see better input to you.
    $600 should get you a solid out of the box factory built M4 carbine. From $450 to $650, you will find S&W, Ruger, Anderson, Aero, PSA, DPMS. In the $650 range, the Colt Expanse can be had , seen on sale at $630 a few weeks ago. The one thing I will flag to you is some of these offerings do not come with a rear sight, their being flat top M4's. Here you go chasing a rear sight and a basic Magpul plastic BUIS will run about $55. Better made versions by Magpul and others will push $80 or more. So...when you pick a M4...some come with a rear sight as does S&W and Ruger.

    Granted, you may not like a rear sight that comes with a factory weapon and want to choose one yourself so a basic flat top is the ticket if that is your direction. Or you may want a basic flat top without a rear sight as you just want to install a Optic and use that on the weapon.

    So chew on what features you want and what you wish to put on a AR , that info will help you in decision process.

    Pay attention to barrel twist. 1:8 is generally the way to go for most shooters but if you want to shoot heavier bullets , the 1:7 is what is needed. You will find both barrel twists offered in AR's in your price range.

    The lower priced AR's that save you about $100 may have steel and not chrome lined or stainless steel barrels. IF that bothers you, then factor barrel type in your decision. I will just add, my 1:8 Anderson M4 with steel barrel out shoots my Colt 6920 Model M4 with 1: 7 chrome lined barrel at 300 meters. Stainless steel barrels are more accurate than chrome line barrels. Barrels are important...how much accuracy do you need.

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    never mind
    Last edited by AmmoSgt; 04-03-2017 at 05:57 PM.
    "It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what's going on."
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    Don't want or need open sights, I can't see to shoot without a scope anymore.
    I can get a DPMS for $500 or so but at that price it comes without forward assist or the ejector port cover..
    Don't plan on joy popping too much after I get used to it so stainless or chrome bore are not at the top of my list.
    I've done a fair amount of surfing around looking for info on the subject but again, every time I find one or two that get good feedback reviews, somebody else relates a horror story about how this or that cracked, split, wore out, fell off or crumbled into dust after 2000 rounds.
    So, in anticipation of the price dropping through the floor in the next six months I thought I would stir it up over here and see who has what (that was cheap) and how they like it as it ages and if they wished they had bought one of the others that was under $700.
    Already got reliable optics picked out..Weaver 6x fixed..cheap, not the worst chinee quality, and hard to kill.

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    sounds like you need to check up on warranties and customer service too

    I have a Bushmaster , a Colt, and a Rock River lower that wears a variety of uppers including a much maligned Vulcan that has never given me a lick of trouble and gives good accuracy. All pre-cheap versions ...

    IIRC the forward assist was a modification to solve the problem of the original decision to use a particularly dirty ball powder and not issue cleaning kits to the troops with the original AR's .. I don't recall ever having to use one and I personally would rther eject a cartridge than try and force one to fully chamber.. to each their own
    Last edited by AmmoSgt; 04-01-2017 at 08:01 AM.
    "It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what's going on."
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  11. #10
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    To me a warranty is a piece of paper that gets stuffed into a drawer, I would rather have a known reliable piece and no warranty..
    Yeah, the old "you don't need a cleaning kit" was quite the mistake..
    And while on that topic, will an AR fire out of battery?

  12. #11
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    AR 15 oob, Not as designed and in good working order . That said it can double on you if you use non milspec primers or if in bad condition/ excess carbon build up

    anything is possible with any firearm due to improper or lacking maintenance, broken or modified or out of spec parts

    Lot of folks build their own AR's, .AR's get heavily modified, DI gets converted to piston, people finish out 80% receivers , install magic triggers and super titanium lactose free non GMO all natural organic bolts .. so some things are possible that are actually impossible on any planet where the laws of physics are enforced
    "It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what's going on."
    Amos Tversky




    Vote John Galt for President

  13. #12
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    Tru dat..

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasdev View Post
    I would rather have a known reliable piece and no warranty..?
    If that's all you're worried about other than cost, it sounds like an LE trade is for you.

    And here's Ammsgt twisting my words, AGIAN:

    Quote Originally Posted by AmmoSgt View Post
    One thing for sure, as is well known by anybody that has ever served in the military.. the first thing you learn and do with your AR is zero it yourself.. nobody can zero it for you.. everybody holds it a little different.
    To me, when a rifle is one or two clicks, at most, from being on target, that means it's already zeroed, and that's MY description/opinion of the LE trades that I've shot. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Quote Originally Posted by AmmoSgt View Post
    Buying any rifle because it is pre zeroed is the hallmark of not understanding marksmanship.
    Other than you, who said anything about "buying any rifle because it is pre zeroed" ? Nobody.

    Ammosgt, have you shot, much less, handled any AR LE trades, or ANY LE firearms trades, to have an opinion on them?

    I have and I own a number of them.
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    So who sells LE trades?
    I would think I would have heard of this if my local po-po were doing it...

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    Haven't ever seen LE trades in AR's and doubt they would be from any local agencies since most seem to have select fire versions round here.

    It's spelled "AGAIN".... and always with those negative waves unbekannt ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncbEucjsNFU
    "It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what's going on."
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  17. #16
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    I would love own a used and well cared for AR..please point me in that direction!
    I did some googlefu but the first place I found wanted to know what po-po outfit I was with..

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    for the $$ you want to spend,

    Ruger, DPMS, Bushmaster, Anderson, Smith and Wesson,

    per the thread in the FAL\AR section, all will do what you need,

    I would get the S&W if I were buying today,

    primary arms for a red dot,

    or a simple scope, (that has been covered upstairs too, I use a Leupold and a Cabelas branded scope)

    get extra mags, poly or alum, and ammo,,

    shoot, enjoy, repeat,

    if you are feeling froggy, get a Ptac or upper from PSA (I have used and sold a few, all worked beautifully)
    a cheap lower, decent LPK, and stock of your choice and you are out roughly the same $$$ as a store bought gun,,

    used,,,

    this guy sometimes has them,

    http://summitgunbroker.com/
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by unbekannt View Post
    Just buy a law enforcement trade. They're name brand, carried a lot, shot little, dept armorer maintained, already zeroed, and less than half price of new.
    Kindly inform us where Chas is to look in order to follow your advice.

    I can't recall LE trade in ARs in the last 8 yrs...if they've been happening, I've been asleep at the switch.

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    FWIW. I'm new to AR's and didn't want to spend a lot till I got some experience. I found a Ruger AR556 (NJ compliant). Put about 500 rounds through it with the iron sights. Had no feed problems with the factory mag. Did have two ftf problems with a poly 15 rd mag. I think what happened was I was jamming it into the well to hard. Backed off and haven't had any problems since. With my 71 yr old eyes I'm getting + or - 2 1/2" groups using PCM Bronze 223 and American Eagle 556. Just put a 2X7 42MM Aimsport scope. I'm still getting used to using a scoped rifle. Not as easy as you would think. BTW I got the rifle on the internet for $579 shipped. Good luck in your search.

  21. #20
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    So, OK, all the big dicks are fencing back and forth about quality, warranties, etc, yet, still no link to answer that annoying question about where to buy one of those fabled LEO turn-in's ...
    "Hey Look! We've got Guns ... and We've got Snacks!"
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  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gremlin1945 View Post
    FWIW. I'm new to AR's and didn't want to spend a lot till I got some experience. I found a Ruger AR556 (NJ compliant). Put about 500 rounds through it with the iron sights. Had no feed problems with the factory mag. Did have two ftf problems with a poly 15 rd mag. I think what happened was I was jamming it into the well to hard. Backed off and haven't had any problems since. With my 71 yr old eyes I'm getting + or - 2 1/2" groups using PCM Bronze 223 and American Eagle 556. Just put a 2X7 42MM Aimsport scope. I'm still getting used to using a scoped rifle. Not as easy as you would think. BTW I got the rifle on the internet for $579 shipped. Good luck in your search.
    This is way off topic (but hey it IS my topic!) I have to comment on your user name Gremlin..Wy wife's dad worked for AMC for 40 years and when I met her, both she and here mom drove Gremlins..we kept a lime green one for about ten years after we were married..it ran great and hauled ass! Still miss the little bastard..
    And I also am getting used to looking through the same spot on a scope..dang eye relief. That's what I need, some relief for my bad eyes...

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    I my self resesrched for my needs, found I needed a few different types to different set up as needs change in survival mental sernero's .
    Read too much research here I guess? AR 5# of them now.
    One pistol Anderson!
    Now can buy just uppers cheeper if I want changes.

    Get what you need now and can afford or can modify to changing needs, long barrel uppers, scoped, sights, lazier ect.

    And don't buy built by unknowns, back yard, basement mechanics...
    Many problems benifits Unknown?

    We're in no war, zombie democratic hoards are not taking over our rights in this new republic prices are bottoming..
    as the "stones" Slang....TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE yes it is....
    Think this last thought some here paid highly for aluminum and steel AR's and got less than your going to get at a better priced, better quality and ammo is cheep to shoot to boot!<>< Dan
    Last edited by DK PHILLIPS; 04-30-2017 at 06:46 AM.

  24. #23
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    this guy sometimes has used AR's, no idea if they are LE trades or not,

    good to deal with

    http://www.summitgunbroker.com/
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

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    For the budget conscious, I have no trouble recommending the DPMS. Mine have been trouble free. Parts and modification parts are readily available to address reliability concerns and DPMS is widely available online as well as in many retail outlets in many different configurations.

    I have handled and shot the Delton M4-style carbine and found no disagreeable characteristics, but I do not own one.

    My opinion is worth what you paid me for it.
    Last edited by DanaeDad; 04-02-2017 at 11:27 AM.

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    This grumpy old man buy's guns for defense, so cheap in out for me,reliability is in.
    For me pistol Glock, shot gun Benelli, AR-15 Knight/Stoner SR-15
    Life is not cheap, you just have to figure out what you think your's is worth.Then buy.

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    Have a look at CDNN sports. https://www.cdnnsports.com/
    They are having a sale on ARs right now and you can get a Ruger for $499 among others. You order it direct from them on your credit card and have it shipped to your local dealer. Shipping is only $14.99. Your dealer will do the paper work and charge you a transfer fee and the background check fee. Around here I can get transfers for as low as $15.00 but you'll need to check around for the best price on transfers near you. You'll spend less on the rifle itself and you can spend the difference on mags and ammo.
    Regards, Alan K.
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  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by repaircraftsvc View Post
    This grumpy old man buy's guns for defense, so cheap in out for me,reliability is in.
    For me pistol Glock, shot gun Benelli, AR-15 Knight/Stoner SR-15
    Life is not cheap, you just have to figure out what you think your's is worth.Then buy.
    That sounds fine, right up until you have to live on a fixed income..let me see, home insurance or a hot rod AR?....

  29. #28
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    Thanks, I'll surf on over and take a look..shipping sounds reasonable for starters..

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    First thing I would do, if you haven't, is to look at the pros and cons of both gas impingement and piston and determine which way you want to go.
    Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is. ---- Josey Wales

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    Not gonna happen, reliable is reliable, cheap junk is cheap junk.
    I don't care how the gas gets impinged as long as it works well and lasts say 3000 rounds.
    I don't shoot much anymore and that number will probably outlast me AND the amount of ammo I can budget for.

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    Throughout this thread a cheer leader will sneak in with logic that is entirely out of the scope of this posters requirement. He does not need a Knights Armament AR, He does not need gas piston AR...c'mon guys, Chas needs a basic AR and the $600 budget is more than enough for him to gain such a AR. So you guys that say GO CHEAPER or GO MORE Expensive don't contribute anything but noise. And the dude with LEO trade in...yeah he went silent, if he has something to add on source, we'd like to hear something beyond silence.

    Help Chas out, recommend solid AR's in his price range. His question is most likely one that tons of viewers would like an answer to and are in the same search as Chas.

    and Chas, the jury is not in for the Ruger. If this rifle is solid, there is a lot of silence about it and its dropping prices weekly may indicate they don't sell too well. I don't know but I think I see the world not beating a path to Ruger for AR's. Just a snap shot but the truth on them would help out a lot. Perhaps some of the big AR guys (AZ's Big Dicks) will define if a Ruger is solid or not.

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    When Obama got re elected I picked up DPMS Oracle-just under $500. Several thousand rounds later no problems. Mine has forward assist and dust cover,just cant run steel case ammo through it. Great bargain/quality for a basic no frills AR.

  34. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by milprileb View Post
    Throughout this thread a cheer leader will sneak in with logic that is entirely out of the scope of this posters requirement. He does not need a Knights Armament AR, He does not need gas piston AR...c'mon guys, Chas needs a basic AR and the $600 budget is more than enough for him to gain such a AR. So you guys that say GO CHEAPER or GO MORE Expensive don't contribute anything but noise. And the dude with LEO trade in...yeah he went silent, if he has something to add on source, we'd like to hear something beyond silence.

    Help Chas out, recommend solid AR's in his price range. His question is most likely one that tons of viewers would like an answer to and are in the same search as Chas.

    and Chas, the jury is not in for the Ruger. If this rifle is solid, there is a lot of silence about it and its dropping prices weekly may indicate they don't sell too well. I don't know but I think I see the world not beating a path to Ruger for AR's. Just a snap shot but the truth on them would help out a lot. Perhaps some of the big AR guys (AZ's Big Dicks) will define if a Ruger is solid or not.

    just to add,


    we (company I work for) sold a guy a brand spanking new Bushmaster,

    he is an older gent, was getting advice from a neighbor and possibly his son or grandson,

    he returned it, said the magazine was too hard to insert, his advisors told him it should just click right in,

    we honored his request, and I got him a Bushmaster, S&W, Ruger, and DPMS to fingerfuque to death if he needed to, and he did
    of the 4, he went with another Bushmaster,
    mag was easy enough for him to insert,
    he left happy,

    as mentioned, of the 4, the Ruger would be my last pick,

    all were the 'starter grade' or 'inexpensive' model (or whatever you want to call them)

    spend you extra cash on mags and ammo, (and range time)

    BTW, I think the Bushmaster comes with a basic red dot
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

  35. #34
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    Hence my confusion, at least in this case there is some justification which in this case is a bit of a relief..

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    never mind but just for the record Chris Bartocci is the guy that rewrote and updated all the Colt manuals and training courses including the armorers courses on the AR Platform and is the official Colt Historian on the AR .. he is also a Forensic Firearms Examiner and has a world wide reputation as THE expert on the AR.

    None are so blind than those who will not even look.. I have wasted enough time of this
    Last edited by AmmoSgt; 04-03-2017 at 06:27 PM.
    "It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what's going on."
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  37. #36
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    Chas,

    deal of the day,

    CDNN S&W with goodies,

    some will poo poo the 1:9 twist, but it will do what you need it to do up to 69grs,

    https://www.cdnnsports.com/smith-wes...stom-pack.html
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

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    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmmoSgt View Post
    chas no, the warranty and customer service is what allowed that guy to bring back the bushmaster and get something that made him happy .. in this case the customer service was from the store.. but the warranty also reassured the store they weren't stuck with a turkey..
    Any chance any of the local gun stores down in Texas have a range and demo AR's you can shoot? To see if one would make you happier than another? They are all basically the same in that regard ergonomically, but you never know.

    This guy is a serious expert on AR's and history of... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LshCrNduoLY

    here is his you tube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_t...iL3G_zQ/videos

    Have you looked up youtube reviews of the major inexpensive AR's ... it might help help you decide or answer some questions
    Nah, I can no longer stomach the youtube commandos and other dumb ass egotists populating that arena..
    I know I may be missing out on some good stuff, but seems to me every time I click play it turns out to be some rapid fire monkey or other foolishness...

  40. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyman1903 View Post
    Both of those are quite tempting!
    Question, what grain projectile might I hope to or expect to be able to find in milsurp or nato surplus etc..?

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    standard M193 will do,

    as in 55gr

    or you can use the M855 , 62 gr
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasdev View Post
    That sounds fine, right up until you have to live on a fixed income..let me see, home insurance or a hot rod AR?....
    Guess that is why I still work at 82 so I can have my toy's.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails c-130 jim working 002.jpg  

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    Org. gas to bolt....I'm not in a war or shooting thousands of rounds...just clean it.
    Wylde chamber for mil spects and or hunting ammo....1/8 spin.
    Not going to pay over $400 to change what has worked before nam. To civilian use and clean non combat fire arm .

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    What say you all to Windham as a brand name?
    I found a local gun shop that has one marked down from $880 to $680..
    If memory serves, these guys have a good rep, right?

  45. #44
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    If I had to buy one today, I would get a Savage. They get really good reviews, especially for accuracy.
    The Americans fight for a free world, the English mostly for honor and glory and medals, the French and Canadians decide too late that they have to participate. The Italians are too scared to fight; the Russians have no choice. The Germans for the Fatherland. The Boers? Those sons of bitches fight for the hell of it!” - American General, George “Guts and Glory” Patton

  46. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    12,225

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyman1903 View Post
    just to add,


    we (company I work for) sold a guy a brand spanking new Bushmaster,

    he is an older gent, was getting advice from a neighbor and possibly his son or grandson,

    he returned it, said the magazine was too hard to insert, his advisors told him it should just click right in,

    we honored his request, and I got him a Bushmaster, S&W, Ruger, and DPMS to fingerfuque to death if he needed to, and he did
    of the 4, he went with another Bushmaster,
    mag was easy enough for him to insert,
    he left happy,

    as mentioned, of the 4, the Ruger would be my last pick,

    all were the 'starter grade' or 'inexpensive' model (or whatever you want to call them)

    spend you extra cash on mags and ammo, (and range time)

    BTW, I think the Bushmaster comes with a basic red dot
    Chas: you answer is in the above. Lots of smaller makers but these are known solid makers
    and the advice of Lyman about what brand he'd do last is worth your serious attention.

    But if you want to indulge in "What About", the Windham, Double Star, Radical Arms, and the list goes on and on and the search goes on and on .

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