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I am joining AROTC next year and want to get used to shooting and disassembling and reassembling a rifle close to the Army's M4. I've looked into buying one and everyone seems to say that building my own would be the best and the cheapest way of doing it. Is this true? Or I could buy the upper and lower assembly separate and put it together from there? I don't have too much money to spend and would like to be under $1000. If you have any suggestions or tips on where I go from here that would be great! Thanks a ton!
 

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You should be able to buy one with half your budget.
 

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The big question is how much experience and knowledge do you have with gun building or gun repair? Building an AR can save you money for sure and allows you to customize your very own AR exactly as you want it. With $1000 to spend you can build a top of the line AR or even build a very nice one for a lot less. I bought one custom built with all metal parts for $700 out the door after tax and background check.

Do you have a local dealer you have a good relationship with? You could always have them buy the parts and build it for you. Maybe let you work with him to learn. Building an AR can save money and get you a better rifle but it is not a job for a novice. If you have $1,000 to spend I would build one in the $600-$700 range and save the rest of the money for ammo and things like an optic, case etc.
 

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You say you are joining a ROTC program. ROTC is a college program. Are you old enough to buy over the counter in your state?
 

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I've read so many stories about people trying to build an AR the first time and struggling through a series of failures that I would recommend buying a complete rifle and practice stripping it down and putting it back together, and then customizing where needed. (Your first mod will likely be a different set of take-down pins because stock ones are not as user friendly as they should be, next would probably be a new trigger group.) And go through a brick-and-mortar dealer, they'll give you the kind of help and answers that you wouldn't get from an online or gun-show supplier.

The cheapest option would be to buy an AR that another guy built himself, has 'very few rounds through it' and 'basically new' and advertised for $350. You could learn a lot from fixing the reasons why he's selling it!
 
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I didn't do the upper on mine, it came complete from the factory. But I've watched some videos, and it doesn't look very difficult. The lower is just a simple assembly. I knew nothing when I got mine in the mail, but I had it together in no time.
 

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my Sheriff went the parts and pieces route........he is not an AR armorer but definately a gun guy. This was a learn as you go procedure.......and there was some problems encountered. There was a problem with the QC on some small parts. MY AR is currently down with a problem so a mini 14 was issued to me.....i'm planning on keeping it and respectfully declining another AR.......but that is a personal thing and preference.......i have a strong dislike for the telescopic stocks that strike me as flimsy, and a stronger dislike for the picatinny fore ends that i ain't gonna hang anything off of in the first place..

there are problems with the collapsable stock on another AR and problems with the sights on another......the prices of low end AR15's are such today that if forced, i would just buy a complete carbine with a warranty for my own peace of mind and trust the factory expertise of getting it right..
 

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I stopped to visit Sportsman's Warehouse in Heber City, Ut. Friday. They were having a sale on the DPMS Panthers for $549.00. Now around the Rocky Mtns that is a good price. I have 3 Pre-Ban Colts but the M-4 configuration with the folding stock can live in my CJ. I put the Cheap Browning Reflex on it. Now that may be a mistake? Makes no difference I have other optics that will work on it. This DPMS ready to go makes it hard to justify building one.
 

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If your only goal is to have a practice assembly gun, you spent too much if you

go past 500$. I would say either get the lower cheap first, and assemble from there,

or shop around, till you find a good package deal. It doesn't really matter if it

shoots well at all, right?
 

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The cheapest option would be to buy an AR that another guy built himself, has 'very few rounds through it' and 'basically new' and advertised for $350. You could learn a lot from fixing the reasons why he's selling it!
I think this is a great idea.

Not only do you get what you need on the cheap, if you can fix it yourself, you

can get yourself some armorer's experience which may come in handy later.
 

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The DPMS Panther at $550 is a great way to go. You can do so much with it afterwards, but at least you are starting with a new rifle out of the box.
 

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I'm not sure if you can legally sell a build.

I've bought "ready to go", and I've done the build. For me, the price came out the same, the build just has more custom parts.

Unless the military has changed drastically, you won't be messing with any parts in the lower receiver. You'll separate the upper and lower, you'll disassemble the BCG completely.

Whichever route you choose, just shoot it.
 
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