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Ninety Caliber Al, 50218

Cowboys and the AR15

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I came to cowboy from the tactical side, I still mess around with that too though.  That side of the house is more toolish for me though, tons of people fetishize about black rifles and plastic pistols and usually have loud opinions-- so information you find will be full of chaff; just a heads up to not believe everything you read.  Now as tools, I find them to be kind of boringly dependable and soulless.  That's why I like the old stuff a bit, you interact with the machines more and they have character.  You also slow down with the old stuff.  For practical matters the modern stuff is the bees knees though.

 

Now on ARs:

Brands are variable (edit* and change quality for good and bad with time*), kind of like 1911's.  For top end user use now of days, Daniels Defense, BCM, Midwest Industries, etc (there are a TON of good AR companies out there).  S&W like someone mentioned seems to have a pretty good rep, Palmetto State as well-- very workmanlike but really probably can't be beat for price point.  Most folks don't shoot hard enough, in MY OPINION, that a tippy top AR is needed.  Same with people obsessing about 1/2MOA accuracy from the bench, it's not really realistic or needed unless you're at Camp Perry, and I don't think that's what you're in the market for.

 

On price points: if you're used to cowboy gun standards, everything in the AR world will be pretty reasonable.  The cost of a slicked up '73 will get you like a top end off the rack AR.

 

On reliability: ARs kick butt in this department now of days.  They really did get a bad rap from the early Vietnam days that just won't die.  Same with Piston vs Direct impingement, the piston trend in the name of enhanced reliability has pretty much passed from my vantage point.  Honestly even the "clean" part is a bit overplayed; the youtube channel "Military Arms Channel" has been doing a test of a BCM upper by shooting it without cleaning and has been malfunction free for thousands of rounds so far with no real signs of slowing down.  If you dunk one in sand, yeah it'll mess em up-- but it will get anything.  I've done AR platform rifles in every world environment and they are fine.  Including sandy deserts, they run and I never really had to do more then a daily wipedown.

 

On Ergos:  Frankly I don't completely understand why people are saying they're bad, but I have an admitted training bias.  The design is like 70 years old with minimal changes, means something is right.  It's night and day differences, in my opinion, compared to the AK.  I carried an AK on two way ranges a little bit and I do quite prefer the AR style.  I think I can understand the AK ergos better if I was in the Tundra-- but I never had one there; and now of days I think a Tavor/X95 may even be better yet for that (big controls, able to operate in mittens, non-reciprocating charging handle, fairly sealed up, etc).

 

On specifics: meh, just tool around and see what you like.  I'd go with a mid length or rifle length gas system in something 16-18" BBL pre assembled personally.  Shoot the snot out of it and see what you like and don't like.  Put a Red Dot or LPVO (unless you get one with a carrying handle) and white light and repeat.  I'm a minimalist on Rifles though, I had to walk too long and far with the damn things back in the day to Barbie/gucci them out too much.  Remember it's a mid sized combat rifle; don't try to force it into something it's not supposed to be.  Realize it's not a death ray.  

 

ARs are so common these days I think everyone should have some basic level of understanding with them, if nothing else how to fire and clear one.

 

Don't overthink it, they are picked up and used effectively by child soldiers the world over-- they aren't some mystical point of knowledge.  Youtube/internet has some good sources-- and some crap of course.  Off the top of my head I think "Military Arms Channel" as mentioned does well, "Mrgunsandgear" on Youtube as well does good sane overviews of lots of different brands and such.  "Paul Harrell" again on youtube has some great videos too on stuff like the round etc.

 

I could go on for days; think this has been too much for one post already though :)

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619 said:

I'm not interested myself. I don't own any guns with synthetic stocks; just don't like 'em is all.

And yet you just had to post that here... :P

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I don't own any and really don't plan on buying any.

 

I remember when they first came on the market, Dad had a gun shop and I looked at a couple. I am a hunter and I own mostly bolt actions. I do have a single shot and off course my levers for cowboy shooting. I do own a semi auto .22 rifle, that is fun to shoot. If I want to burn lots of ammo and do some plinking, it's .22 for me. I just did not think they had much use other than shooting a lot of ammo. Not something I would use for hunting.

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39 minutes ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

I’m looking at the S&W M&P Sport, pretty affordable. 

Years ago I bought the higher end smith for 900.  Not long ago I bought a used LNIB sport and I use it the most.  Excellent quality.  

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43 minutes ago, Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619 said:

I'm not interested myself. I don't own any guns with synthetic stocks; just don't like 'em is all.

No ... no .. no ... you are supposed to say "I have been a gun expert for 45 years and these are just trash!!" ... ^_^

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:D

3D87D6AE-3FDF-46FA-B43D-E374A4DB1F52.jpeg

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I wanted one years ago but didn't need or want all the "Barbie" accessories. I wanted just a basic stripped down shooter so I bought a S&W M&P OR and put a Trijicon Sportview 1.25 X 4. Paid more for the optics than the gun but that's what I wanted. Shoots groundhogs from my bedroom window with deadly results. Since then a S&W M&P 15-22 followed me home and it's just plain fun to shoot. After that it was S&W M&P 15-22P when I saw it at an NRA Convention and had to have one. With a light and laser, it's my backyard skunk and possum gun. Somewhere along the line I bought a Ruger SR22 and piled all the toys on its platform. Not a lightweight to carry around. It's a tack driver with even bulk ammo. Unfortunately all these guns were lost in a tragic boating accident at sea several years ago. 

Maybe someday I'll buy another evil black gun.

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I was issued one twice. Didn’t like them then and have zero interest or use for one now 

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3 hours ago, Henry T Harrison said:

I was issued one twice. Didn’t like them then and have zero interest or use for one now 

I was issued four A1's & also trained & qualified on the M14.  While the M14 is hansom it is POS as a select fire battle rifle.  In rice paddy environments  drop it in the  mud and it won't fire once until the insides are flushed.  The M16 is 2/3rd's the weight, will function after dropping in the mud if you have a magazine inserted & bolt closed.*  Unless comparing to a bullpup like the IMI Tavor the M4 is excellent all purpose rifle.  The reason its' ergonomics are excellent is the recoil force is directly into the operator's shoulder.  Therefore there is no barrel rise.  Also with direct impingement operating system the reciprocating mass CG is on bore axis.  It was 30 years after my Army experience with the AR platform & it took the inmates in the asylum under the dome in Sacramento & a corrupt governor (Pay to Play Gray Davis) to get me to panic buy a fire arm.  The AR's attributes are the reason it is the US's longest serving service rifle.  Nothing that has come along during the various replacement trials have had significant improvement over it to adopt & spend the billions to replace all the M4's & M16's, spare parts & tooling.   If the DOD & NATO decide to adopt a cartridge with better ballistics performance it will likely fit in a magazine that fits in an AR-15 magwell; so, only the upper has to be changed.

*Assumes no mud gets in the barrel.  That is why grunts & mud marines purchased condoms in the PX's in VN.  They didn't need the numbers they purchase for their encounters with boom boom girls.

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6 hours ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

I have owned a few. Built (assembled) them all except one. On 2 of them I bought the uppers. But the others I assembled.
 I only have one now. It’s a “Feaureless” California legal one. Believe it or not that goofy looking stock is actually pretty cool. I like it. It’s a Thordson FRS-15 stock. 
 

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If you wish to buy a manufactured AR15 I really don’t have any advice regarding what brand or model not to buy.  I do believe the companies that used to produce junk ARs are no longer making them. 

I have heard bad reviews of the brands listed below. 

Olympic Arms

Century

Blackthorns

Hesse

Vulcan


I think if I wanted a fully built AR-15 and didn’t want to spend a lot of money I would look at S&W M&P. 
 

Here is an excellent overview of AR-15s and various things to know about before you go buy. They also list various makers ARs at the bottom of the page. Personally I would steer clear of the budget ones they list and look at the “moderate” AR list. 

https://www.pewpewtactical.com/best-ar-15/

 

If you buy a decent one that is already built  a lot of the info in this article may just add confusion. 

 

The one main thing that I will tell you, don’t let anyone con you into a polymer framed AR. On pistols, that is fine, on rifles NO WAY!

 

Does that gun look like it's floating to anyone else?  If I look close I can see it's not, but if I take in the whole picture and don't focus on the shadow ...

 

 

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6 hours ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Oh, the Red Dot sight on mine is a Sig Sauer “Romeo 5”. Best bang for the buck red dot I have found. I own 3 of them. 

My Colt Sporter A2 HBAR has a HiLux 1-4 optic on the carry handle.  The 300BO has a Trijicon MRO.  The 223 Wydle has a SeeALL* tritium powered day/night.  The AR-180 will have a Holosun MRO.  The AR-10 has a Vortex Viper PST GEN II 5-25 FFP optic.

* The misses bought it on sale for $50 for her Glock 19.  The problem was she doesn't know about optic mounting.  The version the was on sale was pic rail mount.  The Glock mounts using the rear sight dovetail.  Bought the correct sight for $200.  The SeeAll is interesting in that the site picture is a horizontal line with a pyramid.  The Pyramid's top bisects the horizontal line.  Just place the point of aim touching the line where the pyramid intersects it.  https://seeallopensight.com/

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I only have one Seekins ar style lower with a 300 blkout upper and a dedicated cmmg .22 upper but have four .45 pcc AR.s. They all have greasegun magazine lowers.  My latest build used my mp5 pistol lower with a new cmmg rotary bolt pistol upper. I like it alot. Way lighter than the Olympic Arms blowback .45s.
Remember... Real cowboys shoot .45s [and sometimes.44s.]

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I have two lowers and four uppers so far. 556 and 762X39 share one lower receiver and 762X51 and 450 Marlin share the other. They are all fun and useful. 

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Bushmaster XM15 and an old school Colt. Never really had much of an affair with 'em.

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On 4/16/2020 at 5:41 PM, Trooper Ozzy said:

I got two..one a 7” pistol length and one a rifle length. I won the rifle on a raffle and I just bought the pistol because my governor didn’t want me to. Then I bought 2 dozen 30 rd mags because he wanted to outlaw those also. Then 4000 rounds 223 just because it was on sale.   
 

Then there was that unfortunate boating accident on the Shenandoah River during the last high water when they were lost. 

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Lost in a boating accident? Hmmmmmm...........

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My wife and I both have one and several thousand rounds of ammo, we take them out a couple times a year and blast away! Really fun guns.    SCJ

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On 4/16/2020 at 12:24 PM, Ninety Caliber Al, 50218 said:

I, like some others I know , have resisted the “modern sporting rifle craze”. I’m beginning to believe, however, I might have been wrong in light of what we are seeing around the country. I’m interested in the opinions and advice of the group in that regard. Do you own one, what’s a good one, etc.

 

Whether to get one or not needs to be a personal decision. I see a number of people discussing "need." I generally stopped justifying based upon need a long time ago. If I want it, and can afford it (that's the challenge right now), I go ahead and get it.

 

As for specific firearms, I had a Windham Weaponry carbine that I sold to my brother when I was going back into private practice that I hope to buy back someday. I like the work they do and I like the company history. Long story short, the old owner of Bushmaster, after Bushmaster was moved out of Maine, leaving the old employees unemployed, started Windham Weaponry and hired most of them back. I also have a Colt that commemorated the 148th Infantry mission in Afghanistan. A long story as to how I got it, but I consider it more of a collector piece, because I lost a friend on that mission. I'm merely a steward. Yes, I've shot it, and will more, but it will be well cared for and not modified.

 

I would love to have an M16A1 style rifle, because of having one in Basic Training and my first unit, but practically speaking, the carbine length platforms that most people use are all that most of us need.Based on what you've said above, I would say start with 5.56mm as a first buy, and if the bug bites, decide from there. As others have said, an upper is a simple swap for different calibers. Add an M-Lok fore grip and an optic of choice or keep iron sights if you prefer, and you're good to go.

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I bought an A2 Hbar match tartget Colt years ago. I've not found it's better yet. Boringly accurate. 

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On 4/16/2020 at 4:09 PM, Marshal Fire, SASS 10064 said:

image.jpeg.117871edc6983fa2ac31f4e7b836a009.jpegimage.jpeg.256a2ac53a10ad60006c9d6ca13f6c3f.jpeg

 

Now, a Thompson MACHINE GUN" and an AR-15 are two entirely different things. A full auto Thompson would scratch my itch much more than a semi-auto AR. How 'bout you?

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3 hours ago, DocWard said:

 

Whether to get one or not needs to be a personal decision. I see a number of people discussing "need." I generally stopped justifying based upon need a long time ago. If I want it, and can afford it (that's the challenge right now), I go ahead and get it.

 

Some days you just need this dandy device.....

 

 

IMG_0767.JPG

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17 minutes ago, Dirty Dan Dawkins said:

 

Some days you just need this dandy device.....

 

 

IMG_0767.JPG

Hi Dan!  Hope you're well.

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4 hours ago, DocWard said:

 

Whether to get one or not needs to be a personal decision. I see a number of people discussing "need." I generally stopped justifying based upon need a long time ago. If I want it, and can afford it (that's the challenge right now), I go ahead and get it.

 

As for specific firearms, I had a Windham Weaponry carbine that I sold to my brother when I was going back into private practice that I hope to buy back someday. I like the work they do and I like the company history. Long story short, the old owner of Bushmaster, after Bushmaster was moved out of Maine, leaving the old employees unemployed, started Windham Weaponry and hired most of them back. I also have a Colt that commemorated the 148th Infantry mission in Afghanistan. A long story as to how I got it, but I consider it more of a collector piece, because I lost a friend on that mission. I'm merely a steward. Yes, I've shot it, and will more, but it will be well cared for and not modified.

 

I would love to have an M16A1 style rifle, because of having one in Basic Training and my first unit, but practically speaking, the carbine length platforms that most people use are all that most of us need.Based on what you've said above, I would say start with 5.56mm as a first buy, and if the bug bites, decide from there. As others have said, an upper is a simple swap for different calibers. Add an M-Lok fore grip and an optic of choice or keep iron sights if you prefer, and you're good to go.

The next one I get will be an A1. Just for nostalgia’s sake. :)

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On 4/17/2020 at 10:38 AM, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

 

The one main thing that I will tell you, don’t let anyone con you into a polymer framed AR. On pistols, that is fine, on rifles NO WAY!

Curiosity behooves me to ask, why? Specifically? I've built a bunch of poly framed AR's and so far only had trouble with one, and that's because I mis-drilled one of the trigger pin holes. Added a set of anti-walk pins and solved the problem. All of them run like tops. .300 BLK, 6x45, bunch of .223 Wylde; all run good and after thousands of rounds no structural issues...

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7 minutes ago, Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580 said:

Curiosity behooves me to ask, why? Specifically? I've built a bunch of poly framed AR's and so far only had trouble with one, and that's because I mis-drilled one of the trigger pin holes. Added a set of anti-walk pins and solved the problem. All of them run like tops. .300 BLK, 6x45, bunch of .223 Wylde; all run good and after thousands of rounds no structural issues...

Glad they work for you. I won’t bother with them. The ones I have encountered were completed receivers from a factory. One friend has replaced his twice using the warranty due to the buffer area cracking. Other acquaintances have had similar experiences. I choose to learn from their experience and not bother with them. 
 

 

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10 hours ago, Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580 said:

Curiosity behooves me to ask, why? Specifically? I've built a bunch of poly framed AR's and so far only had trouble with one, and that's because I mis-drilled one of the trigger pin holes. Added a set of anti-walk pins and solved the problem. All of them run like tops. .300 BLK, 6x45, bunch of .223 Wylde; all run good and after thousands of rounds no structural issues...

 

I once bought a bushmaster lower kit for $20, it was inside a bushmaster "carbon fiber" ( plastic ) lower. lower was broken at the buffer tube boss as Pat described.

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Once again, YMMV... :D

 

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I wanted to build one to keep on the sailboat when we were out to sea, so it needed to be stainless and have a nice wood furniture group on it, don't like plastic guns. Oh and it needed all the Jolly Rodger do dads I could find for it. This is a good example of lieing to yourself,   that you can build one for under 400.00. Well I blew that budget all to Hell.1219838520_AR-15woodkit001.thumb.JPG.5bd8d21332c550a839f370443b4de14f.JPG880945374_AR-15woodkit002.thumb.JPG.cb406ebf5fe477377a33f68c78b33c6f.JPG

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1 hour ago, Major General Shagnasty said:

I wanted to build one to keep on the sailboat when we were out to sea, so it needed to be stainless and have a nice wood furniture group on it, don't like plastic guns. Oh and it needed all the Jolly Rodger do dads I could find for it. This is a good example of lieing to yourself,   that you can build one for under 400.00. Well I blew that budget all to Hell.1219838520_AR-15woodkit001.thumb.JPG.5bd8d21332c550a839f370443b4de14f.JPG880945374_AR-15woodkit002.thumb.JPG.cb406ebf5fe477377a33f68c78b33c6f.JPG

 

Where'd that furniture come from?  I especially like the pistol grip. 

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Colt AR15-A3 carbine - fantastic. REALLY like our Mini-14 186 series too...have quite a few thousand rounds through it without a jam (except for the non-factory mags which I threw away), the 20-rnd factory mags are perfect.

 

GG ~:FlagAm:

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4 hours ago, Major General Shagnasty said:

I wanted to build one to keep on the sailboat when we were out to sea, so it needed to be stainless and have a nice wood furniture group on it, don't like plastic guns. Oh and it needed all the Jolly Rodger do dads I could find for it. This is a good example of lieing to yourself,   that you can build one for under 400.00. Well I blew that budget all to Hell.1219838520_AR-15woodkit001.thumb.JPG.5bd8d21332c550a839f370443b4de14f.JPG880945374_AR-15woodkit002.thumb.JPG.cb406ebf5fe477377a33f68c78b33c6f.JPG

Ya should used teak. :D

 

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