How Low Can You Go? AR edition.

UntitledFrom MGE Wholesale, in case you’re curious.

Personally, I wouldn’t trust my precious tuchas to a sub-$500 AR. I mean, they had to cut a corner (or five) somewhere, right? But A sub-$500 AR becomes a $900+ AR once the election is settled.

For what is basically dealer price on a Glock, you can drop this and a couple pmags in a box and double your money in three months.

9 thoughts on “How Low Can You Go? AR edition.

  1. i put a couple together for 350 last winter. psa kits and lowers. ought to double at least. i shot the crap out of one with no problems, more rounds than the average joe will ever shoot.

  2. When shit hits the fan, I’d rather have one $3500 rifle than ten $350 rifles.

    I get offloading cheap rifles at a huge markup if that’s your thing, but I’d personally have a hard time doing that in good conscious. I’d feel much better about taking a $3500 rifle and selling it for $8000 in the panic. Some poor goof with more money than sense will pay it. Believe it or not, it was happening with SCAR 17s back in the 2012 panic.

    • While ethically admirable, it mirrors the “Saturday Night Soecial” argument; cheap guns have no place in society.

      While I love a good Kimber or SIG as much as the next fellow, shouldn’t the law-abiding working man have a chance at owning a broomstick?

      A Bersa isn’t my first choice, but if I wasn’t making a great deal of money and had no gun, the Bersa would fill the gap until I could save up for a “good” gun.

      I would wager that during Katrina, the fellow with no gun and a store full of (inventory type) would have been elated to have a discount AR.

      In the land of the blind, the one armed man is king: in the land of the unarmed, the single shot shotgun man is king.

      Firepower: it does a body good!

      • I’m completely with you. To clarify, I certainly think there’s a place in the market for Hi-Points and bottom-discount ARs. If someone wants to buy one (by choice or due to lack of better options in their budget), that’s their right.

        What I was trying to say is that, personally, I would feel conflicted about being the second-hand seller of a cheap firearm–especially if I was marking up the price 100% to take advantage of panic-buying conditions.

        My personal belief is that a firearm needs to be safe and reliable above all else. If a buyer chooses to buy cheap and get something that’s neither safe nor reliable, that’s their right, but they won’t be buying it from me. And if I were going to plan ahead to take advantage of panic buying prices, I’d do it by marking up an already-expensive gun to a guy who’s able to afford it, but just waited way too long to get on the bandwagon.

    • well the govt paid a whole lot less than 3500 and gets the same gun. i was a small arms repairer in the army for years. with a few exceptions, an ar is an ar. i have had good service from psa guns and they get good reviews from others as well. i even have an old essential arms pos that is still reliable after several thousands of rounds… that said, i figure the people buying next month are the same assholes that bought last time in a panic, then sold them at a loss later. these are the same yo-yos that buy a generator in a storm and sell it when it gets sunny again. they piss me the frack off, so i don’t feel one bit bad about gouging them a bit. besides, any gun will get you a better one from your enemy in a pinch. and most of these guns will just be turned in to hillary anyway. i’ll fall back to my fal’s.

    • I’d rather have a $350 rifle and 9 friends with $350 rifles than one $3500 rifle and no one watching my back or pulling security while I sleep.

      Realistically there’s no reason to pay more than $650 or so for an AR. With a few notorious exceptions, the “standard” lower made from a 7075 forging is the same no matter whose name is stamped on the side. A $40 Anderson or $35 Tapco lower is just as good as one that cost you 5 times as much because it has this month’s Super-Tactical Cool Guys’ Pick branding. I’ve seen Andersons go for as little as $65 “out the door.”

      Lower parts kits can vary, but good quality parts cost little more than no-name junk. PSA’s “Premium Classic” lower build kit ($90) and an M4 buttstock ($25) from Bravo Co will give you a decent set of lower build parts, a 7075 receiver extension and an acceptable basic FCG.

      PSA has several good quality options for BCGs that are regularly on sale for $90-$100. Carpenter 158 bolts, shot-peened, MPI’d and HPT’d; properly staked gas keys on GI-spec bolt carriers…

      Stripped M4 uppers — made from 7075 forgings — run between $45 (Anderson) and $60 (DSA, Aero Precision). Blemished ones can be had for as little as $40 (PSA). PSA, DSA, etc, have the forward assist, dust cover and handguard/”Delta” ring parts for as little as $20 (PSA’s “upper build kit” when it’s on sale).

      Standard GI charging handles — made from 7075 forgings — run $15 (DSA, Anderson) to $25 (Colt).

      A decent M4 barrel — 4150 steel, chrome-lined, 1 in 7″ twist, with a GI FSB properly pinned and a standard barrel nut in place — can be had for as little as $130 (US parts assembled on a Mossberg-made barrel by DSA), plus another $20 for a “stretched” ‘A2 flash hider (that should be pinned for legality); or Windham will sell you one with a stretched ‘A2 already pinned for $221 if you wait for their sales. Another $15-$20 for the gas tube and pin, $18 for a set of M4 handguards from Bravo Co.

      Quite possible to put one together for under $550 sans rear iron sight — a Daniel Defense A1.5 rear sight would bump it to around $615, give or take a few dollars for shipping. I’ve built several using the Windham barrels and have had zero problems. Waiting for the $130 DSA barrels to be available again and I’ll giving them a try.

      $3500 invested in one rifle that MIGHT sell to a fence-sitter with more money than brains is a risky plan. Be better off spending that $3500 on decent magazines ($9 D&H GI or $13 PMAG at PSA, $12.50 Okay Ind GI at, $12 Brownells GI at Brownells…) and then selling them for $30/each, 6 or 10 at a time.

      Or just spend that $3500 on 100 decent magazines for yourself ($1250), and 6 or 7 cases of Federal XM193 ball?

      • In bulk, I’ve seen the Andersons go for as low as $29. If that comes around again, I’ll be picking up a couple dozen.
        I did, in fact, put together a sub $500 PSA earlier this year. Magpul’d complete lower was around $189, and a complete upper w/ BCG was around $289. So, it can be done. I’m sure someone somewhere has done a thorough evaluation of these guns…I just need to go hunt it down.

  3. Come on guys. Most people are not going to join the Militia. They just want something that they can afford and goes bang.

  4. The one comment about the one gun from “Riverside” above is what I have advocated for years. As in a pistol will allow you to fight to your rifle, so will a cheaper gun get o a better on. I should say that everyone should try their cheap rifle out several times and if it’s found wanting then trade up. Buyer beware.

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