First AR Help/Recommendations


Wanted to purchase another handgun, but wife stops me and says “why don’t you get a nice AR instead?”. . . whaaaattt?! Okay. . .

Now where do I start? Would love to hear some recommendations on a good starter rifle.



Just my opinions. Do you have a preference for a FSB, picatinny rail type gas block, or free float with low profile gas block? Mid length or carbine gas system?
For low cost, you have DPMS Oracle and Anderson Arms, (around 550) then you have PSA and Windham Weaponry (around 750) and on a higher plane of existence, you have BCM and Daniel Defense.(not starter rifles)
Personally, I prefer a front sight base, and mid length gas system.
One problem with buying something, is generally you will end up changing out the stock, grip, trigger system etc., to something else, then your starter rifle cost has increase by a couple hundred.
One option is to build one from parts and get it the way you want. But, then you have the problem of which stock set, which barrel, which lower and upper, and it goes on and on.
For me, I would go with Windham Weaponry with a front sight base and put a Magpul Moe stock on it, or a PSA (mid length) with the same options.
For a bit cheaper purchase, once you decide, check out a few pawn or gun shops. You may find one already built the way you want it.


Thanks! WW is actually very close to us so I will probably head down there and rent a few to see the differences. Definitely going to have to up my research game to see what I want! Thank you!


MrGunsngear has been talking up the Aero Precision OEM rifle from Brownells. Decent prices ($480-ish?). Mid-length, need to add your own handguard and stock. Seems to get good reviews. No personal experience with it, so I can’t give my opinion.

EDIT: how is this a “handgun” post?


I have an Aero lower on one build, and an upper on another. Seem to be good quality. I have 5 ARs I have never shot, so I hate to buy another one if it’s just going to get stashed, but that is a good price.


@JK247, what is your budget? I don’t think you need to go out and spend thousands necessarily, but having an idea of what you want to spend and how far you want to and can reach out with it is important in making a good decision IMO.

  • If you can afford a $500-$800 rifle, check out a Smith and Wesson M&P15. Mine has been a great shooter and has held up well.
  • If you can step it up to an $800-$1,100 rifle, why don't you check out the Springfield Armory SAINT. I have not shot this rifle, but you get a mid-length gas system, great grip and stock, and from what I've heard a decent hand guard and a decent BUIS. All you have to do if you want to modify the rifle is maybe throw a forward grip or a nice red dot/scope and you're done.
  • Lastly, if you can go from $1,100 and up, everyone has been telling me to look at BCM's (including Tim from MAC from a previous blog post when I asked about Daniel Defense or BCM). He says they sell about a 5:1 ratio of BCM over Daniel Defense if that means anything to you. I personally am narrowing it down to 3 options I found on BCM's website right now.

    I hope this helps! Let us know what you decide on. Good luck!

  • #7

    I have a DPMS Oracle A-15, the lowest priced DPMS AR, and the rifle is awesome. 16", 5.56mm, 1x9" twist, pencil weight barrel. Strong Buffer spring, great fit and finish, better than average Mil-spec trigger. I changed the Buffer Tube from stock Commercial to a Gun-Tech USA Mil-Spec and put on a Magpul MOE stock, Magpul MOE SL pistol grip, Pro-Mag Quad-Rail with heat sheilds, Promag Swiss Pattern foregrip, ACOG copy, and a Guntech USA/Magpul BUIS combo. Great Accuracy, straight out of the box, with M193 and M855. Easily a 1-2 MOA rifle. Still testing, in the first 500 rounds: 0 Malfunctions. My Dad has a Colt LE6920 Civilian M4, and I prefer my DPMS over it. Solid, reliable, and under $550.

    Other Great choices are S&W M&P15 Sport II, Core 15 M4 Scout, Windham Weaponry, and I’ve heard good things about Bushmaster, Del-Ton, Adams Arms, Armalite E-15.


    The general consensus, on the forums I belong to, for the best value for the money entry level AR is either a Aero Precision or an M&P15 Sport I (if a dust cover and forward assist is not a concern) or M&P Sport II if the a FA and dust cover is a concern.


    The new(-ish) Ruger AR556 (NOT the SR556) also seems to get some good mentions. It’s in the same ballpark as the S&W M&P Sport II, if not a little higher quality.


    The only thing I seem to remember being negative about them (and I may be confusing the SR with the AR) is that the Ruger has some proprietary parts to them. But that may be the SR556 I’m thinking of.


    Not gonna tell you what to do, but here is what I’ve done. Having moderate skills and being adventuring, I built my first AR ( OK I had a colt 30+ odd years ago), I had set a $2000.00 budget and spent a bit less. My second build a few months later, I tried to build the cheapest AR I could. The results, they both work mechanicaly fine. However I am now upgrading the budget gun where I am pretty much leaving the pricier one as is. Evidently I appreciate the upgrades, and you may find you do also. I guess I’ll have to build a third gun to use up the left over parts, vicious cycle??


    New Question for everyone: Where do you get all of this disposable
    income?!?! hahahah I wish I could explore with numerous options like that!
    A guy can dream I guess.


    Good recommendations so far. Of them, I own a Ruger SR556 and certainly endorse it. Mine has been a good shooter accuracy-wise with 100% reliability using four different loads. No issues with steel case Wolf if you’re thinking about low cost ammo. I’m not aware of any proprietary parts beyond the front sight base and forend locking ring. I can’t imagine either ever being a problem.


    I have a eagle arms by it is a good budget rifle for around $500.I just won a Daniel Defense At a NRA banquet it seems to be a very high quality rifle.


    Anyone ever use this rifle?

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    I don’t have any experience with this rifle, but based on the gas block, I would avoid placing any polymer BUIS like the affordable Magpul one’s. If you ever get your gun running fairly hot, they COULD potentially melt if you’re aggressive with sending rounds downrange.

    Other than that, Windham Weaponry has been making quality rifles. I’ve shot my buddies AR-10 of theirs (Model: R18FSFSM-308) and it’s ran fine for what we put through it. I can’t imagine their AR-15’s don’t run just as well, especially since they used to be employees at Bushmaster (I’m sure someone will comment on how Bushmaster was sold, employees started their own company, etc).

    This is the time to buy, but keep your eyes on the page. I’ve seen deals within the past 2 weeks where it was dipping near $400. If you can check in once and a while on Buds Gunshop, Sportsman’s Guide, Palmetto State Armory, etc, I don’t see why you can’t get close to finding this same rifle for lower than $500. Check out previous posts on Reddit by searching for “Windham”


    I have not but their general reputation has been good. I will echo the comment on the gas block. I would not run a polymer sight on it since the heat from shooting the rifle will heat up rht gas block and after shooting enough rounds, melt the sight.


    Has anybody here ever heard of Colt. Their OEM models let you pick up your choice of hand guard, stock, rear sight and trigger guard. They are a little pricey but they are the “gold” standard for carbine-length gas systems.


    All of these guys are WRONG!

    The first thing you should be doing is buying your wife some flowers and taking her to dinner, because she is a keeper!

    Congrats on that!


    Lotsa good advice here so far! My son-in-law and I ecently finished our frst “lower build” on I think uit was a stripped Aero lower…went ok w help from youtube vids for a couple of parts. Now we hafta decide what upper we want. I’ve had several ARs over the yrs: Colt, Bushmaster x2, and one other one I cannot remember. IMHO the thing about ARs is 1. they work 2. they work .3. you can field strip’em w the nose of a bullet. G’luk!!