RFI: Low-Cost AR-15


  • Is the Ruger AR556 a good deal (at just under $500)
  • Is it a rugged gun
  • Is it a decent product (trigger, ammo feeding etc.) and
  • Does it require moar $$$$ / massive effort to set it up with a tac-light and red-dot scope?  (ignoring the cost of the doodads, of course)

…or is this one of those things needs a bucketload of cash to make it a decent gun?

Asking for a friend.  (Seriously;  it’s not for me.  And I should point out that the guy just wants an off-the-shelf, grab ‘n go gun and isn’t interested in building one from parts.  He is  my friend, after all, and we share many traits and characteristics.)

From my admittedly-inexperienced perspective, the AR556 seems like the bees’ knees for a one-stop shop, plus the Ruger brand gives some degree of comfort.  Am I wrong?

Update from A Concerned Reader:

#1 I am not a fan of Ruger and their quality control with AR-15s is suspect. So for something “off the shelf”, I would not look to them.

#2 S&W is abut the same as Ruger. I’ve heard and seen some corners cut to bring the price point down. This MIGHT be ok. The again I was at FEDEX and the guy next to me in line was sending his S&W MP AR-15 back. Apparently nothing S&W customer support could tell him to do could get it to work reliably. We didn’t go into details, but he was completely dissatisfied with the S&W AR.

#3 PSA (Palmetto State Armory), seems “OK”. PSA is cheap but they seem to work. I have not bought a complete AR from them. I bought an AR upper with a free float handguard, but the aluminum was so thin it would flex and touch the barrel. But PSA AR’s do work. I would say if you want a cheap AR, that would be the way to go. Most of the internet commentators, focus on the cheapness, but don”t complain about them not working.

#4 DPMS used to be considered a bottom tier AR maker. IMHO, their quality has improved and other manufacturers have found more corners to cut in order to reach lower prices. I would put them in the same tier as Anderson Manufacturing.

#5 I’ve heard good things about Spike’s Tactical. In my dealings with them, I’ve found them to be excellent (I ordered a charging handle from them and they offered a free return and refund while it was en route to me, since it had been advertised as made in USA and apparently their supplier was getting the part from overseas-China).

#6 I’ve also been happy with all things Aero Precision. Right now I’m building an AR in 458 SOCOM (as a 45-70 fan you have to appreciate that) and I am mainly using Aero Precision parts.

At a minimum, your friend is going to need to add a decent 2 point sling… I call a one point sling a noose and I just don’t need a complicated 3 point sling. Finding a good sling these days is difficult. I don’t think people carry long guns enough anymore to appreciate the need fora good sling.

So in summary, NO to Ruger and S&W. Shop around for a PSA or spend a little more for a DPMS or Anderson. Maybe go for a Spike’s Tactical or Aero Precision.

Gratuitous Gun Pic — Uberti Stallion Target (.22LR / .22 Mag)

Whenever we look at modern single-action rimfire revolvers, the common model we think of is the Ruger Single Six, with its swappable .22 LR / .22 Win Mag cylinders.  I have one, I’ve owned a couple in the past, and I don’t have a single bad thing to say about them.


I happened upon the same offering at Collectors Firearms, only this one’s made by the Italian Uberti company, and good grief, it’s a beauty:

…and at an old GunsAmerica listing, I found it in non-stainless:

Now we all know Uberti makes fine cowboy replica guns (and I’ve shot several of them, in .44-40, .45 LC and .357/.38), but I missed that they also make some other .22 revolvers, featuring a scaled-down Colt Peacemaker action.  When I went to their website to see what was what, there was this beauty (which looks more like a Ruger Bearcat, incidentally):

Case-hardened, brass sub-frame, AND there’s a 10-shot model option?  Be still, my twitching trigger finger.

And from what I can see, you’d be in for less than $500 each.

Want.  All of them.

See You In November, Asshole

I did not need to read this.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) told Fox News on Monday that the ability for strangers to sell guns to strangers without a background check is a “loophole” that needs to be addressed.
“I think one of the things, Jon, we have to do in this country is, take a strong look at this ability for people to buy a weapon when they’ve been turned down by a background check. … I believe, as a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, we should protect that family transfer or family sale. But any stranger-to-stranger, however — we don’t know how this person got their gun, but we do know that that’s a real loophole in the law. Because I’m a gun owner, I’m never going to sell my gun to someone I don’t know that — do they have a criminal record, are they a danger to other people, are they ready to commit evil? There’s no need for that.”

Fuck you, Patrick.  If I want to sell a gun, I’ll fucking well sell it.  If a guy has been turned down for a prior gun purchase and he then tries to get a gun anyway, then he’s at fault, not I.

And what if he was turned down because a vengeful ex slapped a restraining order on him, just for spite?  Am I supposed to know that, too?

What you and your fuckbuddies in the gun confiscation business call a “loophole”, I call a personal freedom — the freedom to sell my personal property whenever I choose to do so.  If the buyer turns around and commits a crime afterwards, that’s not my fault  — just as it’s not the (FFL) gun dealer’s fault when a “legal” gun buyer turns round and murders someone.  In both cases, the actual perpetrator caused the problem, not the seller.  

As someone who wants to sell a gun, I have a right to ask the prospective buyer if he has a carry permit, and the right to refuse to sell him my gun if he doesn’t have one.  That’s the right you want to turn into an obligation?  Bite me.  If you want me to perform a “background check” on someone, go ahead and deputize me.  Otherwise, stay the hell out of my business.

Wait, here’s a thought:  why don’t you and your politician buddies pass legislation that automatically grants every concealed-carry permit-holder a FFL?  Then we’d have  to perform background checks each time we sold a gun (except to other CHL holders, of course).  Go on, I dare you.

And stop listening to the screams and wails to “do something”.  That “something” that they want you to do is going to piss off a lot of people who might otherwise have voted for you.  Like me.


From C.W.’s place:

I have to say that for me, the pleasure I get from shooting the .45-70 Govt depends very much on what rifle I’m using.  In my Browning High Wall, it’s fantastic fun.  With a lever rifle — any lever rifle — I have to have some serious padding at the shoulder to be able to shoot more than a few rounds.

I haven’t yet tried that custom ammo in the picture, but I must say I’m intrigued.

I still have a sneaky Bucket List item, which is to hunt Cape buffalo or grizzly bear with my single-shot High Wall, using the heavy Buffalo Bore loads.


HSM makes a 430-gr +P cartridge that breaks the 3,000 ft/lbs at the muzzle, but I don’t know how much that drops off by 50 yards — not much, I would guess.

Compare that with the .375 H&H (300-gr) load Doc Russia ad Mr. Free Market used to nail their respective buffaloes:

Whatever.  All the Africa hands and serious hunters of my acquaintance think I’m insane, because to hunt buff or grizzlies you need a minimum muzzle energy of 3,000 ft/lbs at 50 yards, and the 45-70 doesn’t get there.  Apparently I wouldn’t be able to get a PH / outfitter to accompany me.

It’s still on the list, however.  (Just don’t tell New Wife.)

Gratuitous Gun Pic — James Purdey And David McKay Brown (12ga)

Before we get started, let me say at the outset that I don’t care if you can find a decent second-hand pump-action shotgun for $450 at Bubba’s Bait-‘N-Guns.  This isn’t that kind of post, as you will soon see.

Some people might say that spending this much money on a pair of shotguns is ludicrous or even foolhardy.  My opinion is that these guns exist right at the very end of the quality curve — I cannot think how they could possibly be improved — and therefore the cost is irrelevant.

Granted, to buy these guns you probably have to have so much money that cost becomes irrelevant (i.e. “if you have to ask…”), but like buying (say) a Ferrari Enzo, it isn’t the money that’s important.  (I, by the way, am not one who actually subscribes to this philosophy — had the lottery been in my favor last night, I still  wouldn’t have called Collectors Firearms to put a hold on them — but I do understand why this can be important to some people, and I pass no judgment on their preference whatsoever.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting the absolute best of anything, as long as you can afford it.)

Now all that said:  there are a couple of things about these Purdeys that I don’t like.

1) I prefer my shotgun stock not  to have a pistol grip — left is the Purdey, right is my preference:

2) I prefer double triggers to single triggers:

With all that in mind:  had the lottery been in my favor last night, I might  have called Collectors to put a hold on these two David McKay Brown shotguns (#1 and #2) because they are completely in my wheelhouse, so to speak, even though they’re not a matched pair.

(And I care not that this gun bears the initials of its previous owner — I put no stock in virginity.)

These two guns are, in a word, exquisite — and for those to whom this kind of thing matters, David McKay Brown is pretty much on a par with Purdey as a gunmaker.  (Purdey has the better P.R., but McKay Brown is extremely well-respected among the shotgun cognoscenti.)  And too, they’re not as finely engraved as the Purdey guns, but frankly, I’m not in thrall to fancy scrollwork (although I do appreciate it.)

And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the McKay Brown guns are half the price of the Purdeys… still nosebleed, but from only one  nostril, so to speak.


I Wish

Whenever politicians (especially presidents) suggest that citizens should just “turn in” their guns to the authorities, my response is always, “You first”.


In other words, you  forego your own guns, and disarm your  security details first.  (And for the police chiefs who buy into this bullshit:  first disarm all your police officers, especially your SWAT teams with those evil military-style weapons;  let’s see how that works out.)

Fortunately, thanks to some excellent reporting, I can now say that at least one group of brave politicians is following my suggestion.

Democratic National Committee spokesperson Michael Tyler announced Thursday that all candidates who run in the 2020 presidential election as Democrats will completely forego armed security for the entirety of their campaigns, in a clear and bold stance against gun violence in America.

As the title of this post suggests…