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Discussion Starter #1
A friend of mine has come to me asking for help in spec-ing out a patrol rifle for him from the ground up. He has a budget of $1000-$1500 with a LE agency pricing discounts, which I realize are not all readily available.

I have been looking around at some of my favorite out-of-the box rifles to add little to and a couple of basic rifles to build on. Currently the front-runner is the Ruger SR-556C. From what I've seen, it is the best out-of-the box rifle available, and I think discounts can get him within the budget. I've also considered a DPMS Oracle and a Bushmaster MOE Piston Rifle.

We haven't sat down and discussed every detail of what he is looking for, but I think my recommendation is going to lean toward a piston driven system. The only reason that I say that is my own experience. I used to have a DPMS AP4 with some restrictions on the ammo that I could use. Now, with my ACR, I am free to plink on the range with Herters, Wolf, HSM or whatever other "junk" ammo I can get on the cheap.

I'm looking for recommendations on EVERYTHING -- give me you're ideas for an ideal build inside a budget. I want base guns, irons, grips, stocks, hand guards, optics, barrel specs... everything.

Naturally, I have my own ideas, and I'm not sure what considerations he wants to make, but I want everyone's feedback here. Thanks. :D
 

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If it were me I'd keep it simple and stick with DI. I'm not sold on cramming a piston onto an AR, that's just the world according to me though.

A simple MOE rifle, mid-length gas, and, in that budget should be able to squeak in a decent optic (CompM3 maybe though I'd set aside for a T1 later) and some duty specific PMags. Del-Ton has good kits to build off of, and of course can be modified as needed later, though that's just one example of a vendor. For a duty rifle he'll need a light of course, that's preference on which or if his dept already issues something compatible might as well stick with it. I'd put in night sights too so a front sight post then a Troy w/ tritium for the rear. Keep it simple I says.
 

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Most agencies have a list of approved brands of rifles for their officers. So before you go any further you will want to check that list. Brands to stay away from are DPMS, Bushmaster, Stag Arms, Olympic Arms, Rock River. They are all low quality and you can buy better quality for less than those brands. I am telling this as a friend. I am not telling you what brand to buy. I am not a fan boy of any brand other than Knight's Armament. This is out of the price range of most so I don't recommend KAC to anyone really because of that. However, buy once cry once. review this chart and this information. Just because they say it is "mil-spec" doesn't mean it is.

Review this spreadsheet which is a comparison of the major brands making M4's.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Most agencies have a list of approved brands of rifles for their officers. So before you go any further you will want to check that list. Brands to stay away from are DPMS, Bushmaster, Stag Arms, Olympic Arms, Rock River.
FYI: I work for the same agency and there is no such list. There was a former deputy who I heard qualified with and carried a Kel-tec folding rifle (never even heard of such a thing) and an SKS. If it qualifies on the range, it qualifies for your trunk. Thanks, although, I've had good luck with my DPMS and heard little bad about Bushmaster, although they did manage to screw up the Masada.
 

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We do as well, doesn't mean the list of rifles are the best for the job. Ours is limited to Ruger, Rock River, Colt, bushmaster and they just added S&W MP15's. I tried to get my SCAR and ACR added to the list and the looks of, "What the hell is that" eventually led to a denial. Official reason is they are not based on the AR15. :( ...........Owell, workin for a big agency means the wheels of accepting new things is verrrrrrrrrrry slooooooooooooow when it comes to firearms.
 

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I agree with Darren. I'd just stick with a DI as that was how the system was originally designed. I've never seen the catastrophic failures people attribute to the design. Keep it lubed and it'll run.

If I could swing it, I'd look for a slightly used Noveske. M&P would be my second choice. I really don't have a problem with Stag or CMMG either.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I agree with Darren. I'd just stick with a DI as that was how the system was originally designed. I've never seen the catastrophic failures people attribute to the design. Keep it lubed and it'll run.

If I could swing it, I'd look for a slightly used Noveske. M&P would be my second choice. I really don't have a problem with Stag or CMMG either.
That was one brand that I was unsure of the M&P. Do you have any first hand experience with one?

Didn't S&W take over manufacturing from another gun maker to acquire this line a few years back? I'm not sure which one, though.
 

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I've never owned one but handled a couple. I thought they were pretty nice.

One MFG I forgot was Daniel Defense. I recommended one to a buddy and he couldn't be happier. It's a great shooter.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've never owned one but handled a couple. I thought they were pretty nice.

One MFG I forgot was Daniel Defense. I recommended one to a buddy and he couldn't be happier. It's a great shooter.
Thanks. I totally forgot about DD. not sure if they can meet my budget, though. Still a good suggestion. Thanks.
 

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Thanks. I totally forgot about DD. not sure if they can meet my budget, though. Still a good suggestion. Thanks.
A Colt 6920 16" M4 is only $1150. Why can't you just buy the best complete M4 available? If you guys are intent on building from scratch then I would build a Bravo Company Manufacturing upper and LMT Lower. I can build a top quality rifle just as god if not better than a Colt 6920 build:

BCM 16" M4 Upper Receiver Group - $399
BCM Full Auto Bolt Carrier Group - $139
BCM Correct Height Carry Handle - $110
LMT Defender Lower w/ LEO markings - $330
Magpul MOE Carbine Handguard - $30

Total $1,000

I would take the remaining money and buy some ammo/mags and a BC 2.0 brake.

Optional BattleComp Brake 2.0- $165


But if you want to put your life on the line with a DPMS, then ultimately that is your choice. But when you are in a shootout and your DMPS, Bushmaster, RRA, or Stag malfunctions, well... I hope you make it out alive.

Read this article about Bravo Company upper and BCG that ran for over 30,000 rounds without cleaning. Filthy 14
 

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Names are names. If it's for serious work then I'd imagine whatever is purchased would be wrung out before having to put that to the test.
 

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DSM - Trust me names are not just names. That is the same as saying a Toyota is a Hyundai, or Maybach is a Ford. Colt is not a DPMS. Noveske is not a Stag. BCM is not an RRA. DPMS does not equate to quality like Noveske, DD, BCM, Colt, KAC, etc.

Buy once cry once. Ultimately it is your money and your life on the line. I know my life is worth having only the best. I am willing to put my life on the line and my family's with my KAC or my BCM. I would never put your or anyone else's life on the line with a DPMS, Stag, RRA, Bushmaster, Olympic Arms, etc.

Are there things one can do to his Stag or DPMS to make it better and more dependable? Absolutely. Do some homework. Have an open mind and be willing to admit you may have made a mistake. Punching holes in paper is not going to be the same as punching holes in bad guys shooting back at you.
 

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Which is like saying that the Hyundai won't be able to get you to the same place as the Toyota. Am I saying there aren't differences between the two? No. Fundamentally a Model T and my car are the same but we can list differences all day long.

You're making it out to be that as soon as you chamber a round in any other manufacturer's, or a home-build, rifle a gravitational vortex will open up and pull the planets out of alignment because they are just that terrible. I have tens of thousands of rounds through rifles I built myself and they shoot just as well as anything else out there I've seen thank you very much.

And trust me on this, I spent the better part of my adult life in the service working on those rifles. I've even been part of the process in evaluating and selecting some of that equipment. I've seen high-end Trijicons fail after one patrol, $5K NVG's fall off of a rifle and gunners literally shake parts out of an MG while cheaper, aftermarket junk bought with personal funds kept on plugging. Stuff happens, no matter whose roll mark is on that part. I've said it before, when something says mil-spec it makes me cringe a little because that means loose tolerances and built with the cheapest materials and methods available.

In the scope of the OP's post, budget was a concern so those are the options I discussed. I'm happy you own a KAC rifle and are happy with it, but your choice isn't everyone else's choice. The E3 is a fine rifle but it isn't the only way to get things done. Respect.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ACRfan, thanks for the suggestions (further argument aside). I didn't realize that I could get a Colt for that price. The ones that I have seen have been way above that.

Thanks also for the pieced-together list. I've still not been able to meet with my buddy cause he got hit by a drunk recently in a car crash, so he's been off work and I've been busy. I'm not sure if he wants to piece things together or just get one that's good out of the box.

With my last build, I started from a complete rifle and traded up as time went on, but I'm liking a lot of the different uppers and lowers that I'm finding in my research for his rifle. I think that may be the way to go. I've gotta go with what he feels comfortable, but what do you think? Part it together or get a built rifle? Come to think of it, are there any added steps necessary to part together a rifle (i.e.- BATF paperwork)? And are there any concerns with regard to fit for mil-spec and commercial parts?

Thanks again everyone for the suggestions.
 

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Come to think of it, are there any added steps necessary to part together a rifle (i.e.- BATF paperwork)? And are there any concerns with regard to fit for mil-spec and commercial parts?
Not unless you put a short barrel on it or do some other wonky NFA stuff to it.

Parts fitment shouldn't be an issue, and I'm not going to walk down the path of any tangent discussion on it, just pay attention to what you're buying and wring it out at the range before anyone goes carrying it as a duty weapon, no matter what you buy. If it's a $600 home build or a $3K uber rifle it's still feeding $.25 XM193 (or some other such practice load) from a $13 PMag. I'm talking a few hundred rounds at the bare minimum; try to induce failures even and find what the limits are.

And my last plug for it again; keep it simple. If it's a trunk gun it'll be something to grab when it goes south. Don't have a lot of BS hanging off of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
And my last plug for it again; keep it simple. If it's a trunk gun it'll be something to grab when it goes south. Don't have a lot of BS hanging off of it.
Yeah, I fell into that at first too. I had every tacti-cool thing you could think of until I was in Cabelas one day and picked up a stripped one. I thought, "I forgot how light this damned thing is." Now it's pretty simple. My ACR just has a lightweight Surefire x300 and an EOTech XPS2. I even took off the magnifier and keep it in my bag.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Okay, here's another company that a friend mentioned. Primary Weapon Systems (PWS). I have one of their muzzle brakes on my ACR and it works great, their rifles seem to be a relatively complete package and I know they do work with Spikes. But I've never been hands on with one. Does anyone have an impression of their rifles?
 

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Todd hooked me up with his piston system conversion on my LMT 10" just prior to deployment. It was rock solid and I didn't have any issues with it.

I've never heard a bad word about them either.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Todd hooked me up with his piston system conversion on my LMT 10" just prior to deployment. It was rock solid and I didn't have any issues with it.

I've never heard a bad word about them either.
Thanks. I take it that Todd is from PWS?
 
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