The Guns and Ammo Thread

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Kalessin, May 4, 2006.

  1. Makagulfazel

    Makagulfazel Adept Bungler of Things Orderite

    Jun 14, 2007
    Looking at getting one of several AR-15s:
    DDM4(whatever version)
    LWRC M6A2
    Ruger SR-556
    Sig 516
    and the BCM Recce-16(after seeing Johnny's new machine and reading a bunch of glowing reviews for BCM on various websites).

    Got any other good candidates you think I should have on the list? Trying to tick around ~$1500 for the rifle itself. It's kinda dumb, but I want a quad rail in case I go with a grip. Don't care if it's piston or DI. Looking for 5.56 so I can use it or .223. Don't wanna build my own AR due to inexperience(I like the idea of sending something off if it screws up).

    Now the really novice question:
    What is generally the best place to buy a firearm? I was thinking about trying something like a dealer fax their FFL) and staying away from individual sales. I'll buy from a shop, like I did with my only other firearm(Taurus PT-145), but I figure there might be a much higher markup on a mid-to-high quality rifle than that snub nose pistol. I kinda wanna avoid gun shows for the inconvenience factor; lemme know if that's just dumb due to deals, etc. What are your tips? I could just read somewhere else, but I value NMA member's opinion more readily and already have an account here. Thanks!

    Just read about a year's worth of posts. lol'ed a bit at the Bob Dylan story. That made me feel a bit better about my lack of experience; looks like I have some answers already.
    Johnny: Nice website/pics, you interesting bastard. Thanks for sharing
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  2. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    Well none of the gun shops in-town seem to have a distributor who has a CA-legal version of the 995 in stock. However, I did find one online who carries it. I'm going to try to get the ball rolling on an FFL transfer (adds $100 to the price, pretty substantial when we're talking about a $300 gun). I'll update when I (hopefully) have it in hand.
  3. JohnnyEgo

    JohnnyEgo Mostly Harmless

    Oct 22, 2007

    You have listed several good choices, and a realistic price range for all but possibly the LWRC. You should definitely be able to buy a quality AR with a rail for that price.

    My generic recommendation for someone in the States with limited prior knowledge of the AR15 is to buy local, and a factory gun from a quality manufacturer. This will give you the most support if something goes wrong. When you buy a parts gun, you are expressing a lot of faith that the guy building it did it right. When you buy local, you always know where to go to complain if something doesn't work. It's a lot harder to get service on your expensive rifle when it was assembled by an unknown individual and sold through a company or individual a thousand miles away. My general recommendation is to start with Rock River, Colt, Stag, Smith & Wesson, or Sig. They are big companies that invest a fair amount in the quality control process, and have the capital to fix their mistakes.

    For someone slightly more experienced or with more than one AR, I recommend purchasing a lower receiver at a local FFL and an upper receiver from a quality manufacturer over the internet. A lower doesn't do anything more for the rifle than hold the trigger group and assorted small parts; the sights, barrel, and bolt group are all upper receiver components and do the most to determine accuracy. I have several guns with some serious wobble between the upper and lower receiver. What you do want in a lower receiver is that it is Milspec, so you don't have to worry about key tolerances or parts compatibility. 6062 aluminum is fine. Many people market 7075 or higher grades, and I am sure they are tougher, but I've never had a single standard milspec lower fail in the 'toughness' category. Again, it's job is to hold a bunch of parts together, not club a seal. Forged or billet makes no difference. The one thing you want to stay away from as a first AR is polymer or carbon fiber. I've owned both, and no matter what their caveats or technical capabilities may be, they wear different than aluminum.

    Lower parts kits don't matter much either, as long as they are milspec. I've used Rock River, DPMS, Stag, and LMT parts kits in equal frequencies in a variety of performance rifles. Triggers do matter. The standard one is fine, the ALG is a very inexpensive upgrade that feels better. A true performance two stage or tuned single stage, such as those offered by Giessele, Knight's, Timney, JP, LMT, etc... is an entirely different animal. I love these triggers, but they are expensive, and it took a long while for me to develop the shooting experience to the point where they actually made a difference.

    Once you have your lower and your parts kit, the world is your oyster. You can buy an upper in any configuration you want, and assemble it as you want. I really like Bravo Company, but Daniel Defense is fantastic as well, and I have a couple of their rails. I prefer the mid-length gas system, but when I am going to base a rifle around a carbine length gas system, I really like LMT's M4 upper as a good place to start.

    You want either a 5.56 chamber or a .223 Wylde chamber. I prefer .223 Wylde, which can handle 5.56 just fine, but is better (tighter) for .223 than a 5.56 chamber. I tend to shoot more .223 than 5.56, but I want all my guns to be able to handle both. I have nearly two dozen DI guns. I have one piston gun, which is an LWRC. I bought it because I thought it would spit less gas back in my face when suppressed. I was wrong. It works fine, I just don't think it is generally worth the added expense, particularly when the DI system has worked well enough for the last 50+ years.

    Finally, I hate gun shows. I think they are a horrible place for most people to shop, because the ignorance penalty is so high. You have a limited window in which to assess the firearm, and by the time you realize there is a problem, the vendor may have moved on. You have to be good to truly judge the condition of a firearm in a limited time without firing or disassembling it, and you have to know the market. A lot of people think they can do this, which is why gun show vendors thrive. Gun shows are great for the odd and obscure random fine, and there are bargains to be found if you really know how to look, but it is also easy to get suckered by overpriced crap with a lot of hype. The most useful thing I have ever found at a gun show was a custom leather maker who made me a holster for an obscure gun after the show.

    I assembled this Bravo gun, minus the EOTech, for about $1500. So you should definitely be capable of achieving what you want at your price-point.

    Thanks for the compliments.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2016
  4. Makagulfazel

    Makagulfazel Adept Bungler of Things Orderite

    Jun 14, 2007
    Thank you very much for the detailed response; I'll definitely look into Rock River, Stag and Smith & Wesson. I've seen the M&P rifles mentioned, just got lost in the slew of manufacturers I've been looking into. My dad owns a Colt LE6940 and a Bushmaster(don't know what model AR), so I wanted to stray from the pack just to get a feel for a variety of parts. He's been a good help, but we are both basing a lot of our decisions off of experience from others. You obviously have a lot of experience with various manufacturers, so I appreciate you taking the time - sometimes it's hard to tell the bullshit on other forums because they won't really prove their genuineness with pictures, videos or at least detailed anecdotes.
    It might be selfish, but I'm a little happy to hear someone's opinion of the impracticality of gun shows. I wasn't excited of the prospect of buying a gun from a temporarily available merchant. Same goes with individual sellers; just don't want to mess with the assumed higher potential for hassle. I think I'm going to heed your advice and get one of these ARs for hopefully not too large of a markup(figure 20-30% might not be too unrealistic). We'll find out! I have a few gun shops in the area I can visit. I should be able to find something on the list, especially after I expand it.
    Researching sights is going to be another small chunk of my life expended, but I'm looking forward to having a rifle that I can spend a lot of time with and use as a stepping stone into a hobby. I figure I save $60+/month by avoiding TV solely; that's a couple of hundred rounds a month I can get some shooting in with.
  5. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    Found an online dealer selling CA-legal HP 995s and a local private FFL who'd do the transfer for $35 (much better than $100). Should be getting it sometime next week!

    On the subject of optics, are all the cheap options complete junk? That Burris Fast Fire you recommend, for instance, looks to run a couple hundred or more. Given that the gun itself is only $300, it seems a bit excessive to spend that kind of dough on an accessory. Though I guess it would easily transfer to any future guns I might purchase. In any case, I'm currently waffling between a reflex red-dot and a 2x scope.
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  6. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    The thing is, a good red dot or optic will likely last you a lifetime. Buy once, cry once. I don't regret getting my Aimpoint for a second.

    You could go for middle of the road style quality, like Vortex Strikefire or Sparc. They will do great, but they still cost a lot compared to your carbine. But then again, with these you could easily move them to any other rifle you will own in the future and they'll still do right by you.

    Cheaper than that... Well, you're rolling dice basically.
  7. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    So, some more musings/eliciting opinions on optics and iron sights.

    I'm pretty much settled on a red-dot, only question now is: red-dot scope or red-dot reflex sight? Red-dot reflex seems like it should allow for a better sight-picture, since you don't have to look down a tube, and therefore quicker target acquisition. However, I guess the advantage of a traditional scope would be better reliability/durability? Any opinions?

    Also, I've seen some people using 45-degree offset irons for backup, such as these. Any opinions/experience with these (not necessarily this particular brand, just the idea in general).
  8. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    It's a very personal thing, really. Only experience will tell you what you like best.

    For me, red-dot scope (Aimpoint) is best, because the dot is better allowing for more precise shooting and the tube more or less automatically forces you to properly line up the rifle.

    I've found the stuff like EOtechs are more suited towards shotguns.

    For the iron sight thing, I'd say that offset irons are mostly for dynamic shooting sports. For normal shooting I'd suggest you cowitness iron sights with your red dot. It's simple & easy. If you want to shoot irons, just turn off your red dot & use your irons.

    I use a lower 1/3rd cowitness. (absolute cowitness is usually reserved for flip down irons)

  9. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    The 1/3 co-witness thing makes sense. Alright, I'm set on a red-dot scope co-witnessed with the irons then. Thanks Sua.

    Should be getting the HP 995 on Monday. Unfortunately, my normal range is closed on Monday... so either I'll have to pay for a day-pass to the other range or wait until the following weekend. Either way, I'll post some photos, and then order my red-dot and other accessories and share the end result.
  10. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    So, I was all excited to pick up my carbine today. I'm talking to the guy handling the FFL transfer and he suddenly says, "you know there's a 10 day waiting period right?" So I says, "that's only for handguns, not long guns, right?" And he replies, "nope, it's for all guns."

    So apparently, they went and made it so all firearms have a 10 day wait while I wasn't looking. I have to wait until the 13th to pick it up.

    Goddamnit, California.
  11. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    Alright, so I finally got the Hi Point in-hand on Friday, and took it to the range Saturday. Here it is stock:

    Here it is after I put on a few accessories (muzzle brake, cheek pad, aftermarket charging handle, some aftermarket shroud bolts, spare mags w/ stock holster, strap, and red dot sight):

    At the range, this was my very first group of 10 at 25 yards:

    I'm not terribly experienced with pistol-caliber carbines, but that seems pretty damn good to me. No way in hell I'd ever do that at 25 yards with my handgun. I was at an indoor range so 25 yards was as far out as I could go. That was also with the irons, as I had intended to zero in the irons before installing the red dot. However, it occurred to me that I really had no way of determining whether inaccuracies were due to the irons being off or due to me.

    These are a few of my other groups, all at 20-25 yards:

    Really, I can't find any fault with this gun, other than minor nitpicky fit & finish things that I can't really complain about given the price tag. I had zero malfunctions through 200 rounds, including 20 rounds of Wolf steel-case. It handles and shoots great. For anyone with $300-400 to spare, I can't recommend it enough.
  12. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    Well at this point is appears I'm just talking to myself and I'm making a quadruple post, but ah well.

    My collection has suddenly and unexpectedly expanded from 2 (my FNP-9 and HP 995) to 3. I put $50 into a fundraising raffle for a local animal shelter fully expecting that I was really just donating it. Quite surprisingly, I won the raffle. I NEVER win raffles (or much of anything luck-based, really). The prize? A Diamondback AR-15. I don't have the details on it yet, but I'm guessing it's a DB-15, since the only other rifles Diamondback makes are AR-15s chambered in .300 Blackout, and some AR "pistols". I'm hoping it's got the flat-dark earth finish, but I'd also be fine with black. Hopefully not one of those ugly digital-camo finishes.

    Diamondback wasn't on Ego's list of preferred AR manufacturers, but the reviews of them all seem to be highly positive. They also seem to make almost all the parts in-house, rather than just assembling parts from others, which is a plus. Edit: Well now looking around I'm seeing some not to positive reviews in some forums -- the previously mentioned positive reviews were from gun mags. Well, it is what it is.

    I'll post some pics when I have it in hand... hopefully it won't be a quintuple post. >.>

    Oh, and as an aside, I accidentally went to the first page of this thread and ended up reading through a few pages. Funny to see SuA talking about getting his first gun. Also, SuA declared quite emphatically that 5.56 is a crap round. Do you still feel that way? Personally, I know that 9mm and 5.56 have drawbacks, but they are cheap (well, not as cheap as they used to be, but still cheaper than the alternatives) and ubiquitous. The guns with which you are practiced and which you can afford/find ammo for are the best, I think.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
  13. donperkan

    donperkan Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Aug 4, 2011
    It looks like your shots are going to the right.

    If the iron sights are inaccurate how do you fix that?
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
  14. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    They have adjustments. You have to sight them in -- I'm thinking in order to make the gun as stable as possible and prevent me throwing off the aim it should be stabilized on some sandbags or with a bipod. You aim at a target (preferably with a grid pattern on it), note where the shot hit versus where you aimed, adjust the sights accordingly, shoot again, adjust, rinse and repeat until the shots hit where you aim.
  15. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    I have 11 now. :)

    For killing living things, especially humans? Yes, 5.56x45 is still a crap round in my book. It's got fairly weak terminal ballistics, poor penetration of cover, easily deflects & is rather wind sensitive.

    Historically, if the US hadn't shoved the 7.62x51 & the 5.56x45 down NATO's throat, we'd likely still be using an evolution of the .280Br, which is somewhere between 6.5Grendel & 6.8SPC. A nice & versatile intermediate round it would've made.
    Sadly, the US first did not want to adopt anything lighter than the .30-06 for their M14, so we ended up with a modernized & shortened .30-06: 7.62x51mm NATO. A good round, but rubbish for burst or full auto fire out of a rifle or carbine. The FN FAL was slightly upscaled to be able to handle it, but really, it wasn't meant for such a powerful round. It was designed for the .280Br which was developed by FN & the brits.
    Then the US finally realized that the full auto on the M14 was about as useful as tits on a boar. First shot on target, second shot overhead, third shot anti-air artillery. Smart...
    So they decided to go the other end of the spectrum. They picked up the .223Rem hunting round and turned it into a military cartridge, the 5.56x45mm NATO. It was controlable, but light & fast. You could carry a lot of ammo, but soldiers soon found that it easily deflected in the jungle & didn't really penetrate reliably, let alone gave assurance of putting a human down when hit.
    So now all the cool kids are looking for alternatives. 6.5Grendel, 6.8SPC, .300Blackout,... Ironically, many of these are pretty close to what the .280Br would've been. We've come full circle. The only thing that keeps 5.56x45 going is simply the fact that it would be very expensive to switch now after admitting it was a bad choice to begin with.

    But 5.56x45mm for punching holes in paper out to 300m? It's absolutely fine by me. I enjoy putting my Sig 551 SB through it's paces a lot.
  16. RetroAmerica

    RetroAmerica It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Feb 18, 2014
    A question for any of the self-styled firearms historians on this thread:

    Offhand and I know that they're extremely rare, but did any of the War Aid 1911's(re-chambered to .455) ever make it across the Atlantic once the war ended, or did they like many other firearms after the end of the war, end up as surplus and sold or destroyed during Britain's weapons grab during '68.
  17. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    While the .280Br seems like it would've made a better choice if it wasn't for us silly Americans (or rather, our silly military leaders), there's a newer version of the 5.56 called the M855A1 (the previous incarnation being the M855). Supposedly it has superior penetration and more consistent wounding performance. It's just a bit more expensive. Unnecessary for punching holes in targets, but should be something militaries can take advantage of.
  18. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    The .455 ones are very rare. They also didn't run entirely reliably (for obvious reasons).
    From where the interest?

    There's all manner of improvements, but simply put, you're still polishing a turd as far as military use is concerned.

    You should be careful with simply accepting the propaganda you find online. The improvement of the M855 to the M855A1 is marginal at best and in the real world, you'll likely be hard pressed to really see any difference. Yes, it'll penetrate better at longer ranges. But how did they achieve that? They made the steel penetrator bigger and they removed all lead and made it a copper solid (aside from the penetrator). They then raised pressure to close what is the maximum for proofing loads of the cartridge. This means the guns are taking a lot more of a beating each time you fire, meaning increased wear, barrel erosion and early estimations suggest that the round cuts barrel life by 50%.
    And yet, with all this tweaking, terminal ballistics against soft targets is still shit. But that's normal. You've got a penetrator & a copper solid. That's going to do well on penetration (but still not enough to pierce modern military body armor), but your wound channel isn't going to be very spectacular.
  19. MutantScalper

    MutantScalper Dogmeat

    Nov 22, 2009
    I find the thought of a animal shelter having a raffle with the main prize being a AR-style firearm quite amusing.
  20. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    Yeah, it is a little odd, isn't it? Even more so considering I'm in California. But then Bakersfield (and the central valley in general) is sort of a bastion of conservatism in the otherwise very liberal (and not fond of guns) state. While I don't really identify with hard-core conservatives on a lot of issues, it is a plus if you're interested in guns since the general sentiment here is very pro-gun (and those who aren't into guns are generally just ambivalent about the issue rather than staunchly guns-are-bad). Apparently the guy who "donated" the weapon does the same for a lot of other fundraisers for kids baseball teams and all sorts of things. You'd never find that in California outside of my general area.

    Went to the guy's "shop" (he runs the business out of his home) to fill out the paperwork to start my waiting period and take a look at it. Looks like a nice piece of kit to me. Unfortunately it's not the dark-earth finish, just the standard matte black. Still, getting it for free (minus DROS and taxes), can't complain in the least.

    Fair enough. Not much point in the discussion anyway; 5.56 is the standard. Not going to change unless and until a big shift in weapons technology occurs, most likely. Maybe if/when caseless ammo ever becomes a big thing? Though even then, stodgy US military leaders might muck things up again anyway.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014