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View Poll Results: Which 3 S&W M&P do you recommend and why...?
M&P®15 Sport™ II 13 44.83%
M&P®15 SPORT II™ with MAGPUL® MOE® M-LOK® 4 13.79%
M&P®15 SPORT™ II Optics Ready 2 6.90%
M&P®15T Tactical with M-LOK® 9 31.03%
M&P®15X with M-LOK® 0 0%
M&P®15 MOE SL® Mid Magpul® Spec Series™ 1 3.45%
M&P®15 TS 1 3.45%
M&P®15 MOE® Mid 1 3.45%
M&P®15 1 in 7" Twist 2 6.90%
M&P®15 VTAC® II Viking Tactics® 2 6.90%
Other 4 13.79%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 29. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-17-2017, 01:50 PM
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Default Friend wants an M&P AR15 rifle what advice do you offer.

So you have a friend who is looking to get his or her first AR15 and they want it to be a S&W M&P because they are familiar with the brand and what a high level of QC and a solid warranty.

They are new to AR15s but not necessarily new to shooting. They are looking for a multiple use gun. Something mainly for plinking at the range, maybe home defense, maybe casual gun games but just basic all around use.

They will want to get some accessories like a scope of some kind, extra mags, maybe a sling etc. They want quality stuff but they are not running out and buying an ACOG. At least not right away.

Lets pretend there are 3 budgets. Low Medium and high.

Low: The gun, 5 extra mags & a basic red dot or basic optic coming in at $1000 or under.

Medium: The gun, 5 extra mags, duty ready red dot or duty ready scope with mount, maybe a trigger & sling $2,000 or under.

High: The gun, 10 extra mags, High end Red dot or Scope with mount, aftermarket trigger, sling and other do dads etc... $3,000+

Feel free to answer for all three price point options or just the one that interests you. What guns, optics and mags do you recommend and why? What questions do you ask your friend to help you help them? If you have gone through this process on your own or with help how did you do it?

Lets stick to M&P AR15s no Colt, BCMs, Aero, PSA, Andersons, Noveske etc...
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:22 PM
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For the lower price end, I would recommend the Sport 2 with Magpul MOE hand guard, or the M&P 15T with M-Lok. The Sport 2 is ready to go right out of the box and with the hand guard upgraded, nothing much to complain about for a basic carbine. I have not seen this model out in the wild, so this only makes sense if it does not cost more than the base line Sport plus the hand guard...

If they want free float, go with the 15T with M-Lok. Again, ready to go out of box. Also has the 1:8 twist, 5R barrel.

With the Sport, 5 mags, and a red dot, you can be under $1000, possibly well under depending on red dot.

The 15T and an extra 5 mags is going to put you near the $1000 line. Any red dot is going to push you over.

Above those, I jump straight to the top with the VTACII... free floated, mid length gas system, Geissele trigger, VLTOR stock, sling and light mount... all it needs is sights and optics of your choice.

Most of my friends would be served well by the first two choices.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by WVSig View Post
So you have a friend who is looking to get his or her first AR15 and they want it to be a S&W M&P because they are familiar with the brand and what a high level of QC and a solid warranty.
.
EASY to answer..a flat out, straight up regular sport II.. The end.. let them get it, then have fun swapping grips rails whatever..
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:12 PM
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EASY to answer..a flat out, straight up regular sport II.. The end.. let them get it, then have fun swapping grips rails whatever..
So, if your friend wanted a free floated rail and a barrel that was capable of stabilizing a TSX 69 gr round for a hog hunting rifle, you would suggest the Sport II?
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:15 PM
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Excellently phrased question WVSig.

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Originally Posted by WVSig View Post
Low: The gun, 5 extra mags & a basic red dot or basic optic coming in at $1000 or under.
The base M&P 15 Sport II Optics Ready. Absolutely no reason to get any other type. The new user who is on this budget is usually going to buy the cheapest optic anyway so, this will allow him to use his $50 red dot that's "just as good as an Aimpoint" and the iron sights won't get in the way. If he want's an MBUS set up, he's still in for under $1K with a set of UTG sights.

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Medium: The gun, 5 extra mags, duty ready red dot or duty ready scope with mount, maybe a trigger & sling $2,000 or under.
This user has a more realistic budget. Hands down he should get the M&P 15T Tactical with M-LOK. This rifle has everything he needs and nothing he doesn't. It comes with a good set of MBUS. If he want's a red dot the Trijicon MRO or Aimpoint H1 will give him the best and he's still under $2K. If he wants a magnified optic, the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6x24 will likely be available for about $750. I also see used ACOGs for $900 or less all the time.


There is no point in the "High" tier. The user who is willing to spend $3K or more is not looking at an M&P15. Further, I've been around this stuff enough to know that what you're getting at that price range falls into the "boutique" range. I'm not saying guns at that price point aren't worth it. What I am saying is they don't perform significantly better; especially for a new shooter. If you're going to spend that much, you're also looking at an optic like a Vortex Razor HD II 1-6x 24 for about $2K or the Trijicon V-COG which falls in the $4K range.


Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there's also no reason to include magazines in the initial price. Those things are cheap and tend to accumulate on their own.
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Rastoff View Post

The base M&P 15 Sport II Optics Ready. Absolutely no reason to get any other type. The new user who is on this budget is usually going to buy the cheapest optic anyway so, this will allow him to use his $50 red dot that's "just as good as an Aimpoint" and the iron sights won't get in the way. If he want's an MBUS set up, he's still in for under $1K with a set of UTG sights.
Good point. You may have changed my mind!


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Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there's also no reason to include magazines in the initial price. Those things are cheap and tend to accumulate on their own.
What? No VTAC II for you Rastoff?
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:06 PM
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Well, in my opinion the basic M&P 15 Sport 2 is as good as you can have to start this hobby on a budget. It is a great gun right out of the box. Functions like it is supposed to, easy to operate, and accurate. Learn
to shoot the standard iron sights first, THEN buy the optic of your choice. I feel way too many folks don't want to learn how to shoot with iron sights, but that is a fundamentally basic skill everyone should master.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mr-mom View Post
Well, in my opinion the basic M&P 15 Sport 2 is as good as you can have to start this hobby on a budget. It is a great gun right out of the box. Functions like it is supposed to, easy to operate, and accurate. Learn
to shoot the standard iron sights first, THEN buy the optic of your choice. I feel way too many folks don't want to learn how to shoot with iron sights, but that is a fundamentally basic skill everyone should master.
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I love that approach and often give that exact advice. Shoot a basic M4 style carbine with iron rights and then you can move to optics. Trigger time is with iron sights can help establish what you want from optics.

What if "budget" is not the issue. Say your friend has the means to buy what ever he wants. Do you see any advantages one of the other M&Ps as a starting point?


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There is no point in the "High" tier. The user who is willing to spend $3K or more is not looking at an M&P15. Further, I've been around this stuff enough to know that what you're getting at that price range falls into the "boutique" range. I'm not saying guns at that price point aren't worth it. What I am saying is they don't perform significantly better; especially for a new shooter. If you're going to spend that much, you're also looking at an optic like a Vortex Razor HD II 1-6x 24 for about $2K or the Trijicon V-COG which falls in the $4K range.
This is a valid point. I guess I just included that tier because something like the VTAC is available and might have an appeal for a die hard S&W fan. I am not sure that a complete package including and optic that costs $3,000 is necessarily boutique. $1,500 factory rifle rifle, $1,000 sight and mount, $200 trigger ... you are a grip stock and a sling away from $3,000. There are a lot of $1,500 factory rifles but I get what you mean.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:17 PM
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What? No VTAC II for you Rastoff?
[chuckles]Yeah, I seem to be on the save-by-spend plan. I refuse to total what I've spent on my AR. I seem to be keeping some businesses in business all by myself.

So no pre-made guns for me. Buy em one part at a time I say, but that wasn't one of the choices.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:24 PM
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[chuckles]Yeah, I seem to be on the save-by-spend plan. I refuse to total what I've spent on my AR. I seem to be keeping some businesses in business all by myself.

So no pre-made guns for me. Buy em one part at a time I say, but that wasn't one of the choices.
Totally understand that approach but I was trying to keep it within the S&W world.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:37 PM
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Totally understand that approach but I was trying to keep it within the S&W world.
Yep, that's why I didn't mention it before.

Also, regardless of the money, the Sport II Optics Ready really is a good first AR. It's not expensive. It comes with a lifetime warranty. Quality reports show that it's reliable and they've sold bunches of them (maybe not the OR version). And in this configuration, it's super easy to upgrade.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:57 PM
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Is this all completely hypothetical ?
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:10 PM
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[chuckles]Yeah, I seem to be on the save-by-spend plan. I refuse to total what I've spent on my AR. I seem to be keeping some businesses in business all by myself.

So no pre-made guns for me. Buy em one part at a time I say, but that wasn't one of the choices.
I didn't tell my wife, how much I spent on my first AR build ($1800+) before optics. I did put the paperwork in the case, in case I expired & she needed to sell it. Then she wanted an AR. I said "I won't spend as much on yours"...........and she said why not? So I built two more (also bought a part at a time). One a 300 Blackout, and a hydro dipped "muddy girl" for her. Went a bit cheaper with different Geissele triggers, but not too much cheaper. Number four is in the works. I'm going to dip part of this one, since the Muddy Girl turned out so well, and has held up.

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Old 02-17-2017, 06:12 PM
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Yep, that's why I didn't mention it before.

Also, regardless of the money, the Sport II Optics Ready really is a good first AR. It's not expensive. It comes with a lifetime warranty. Quality reports show that it's reliable and they've sold bunches of them (maybe not the OR version). And in this configuration, it's super easy to upgrade.
I wonder what the difference is between it and the standard OR model, other than the nitrated barrel vs. chrome lined, and the integral trigger guard vs. the standard...

There is a huge delta in MSRP between these two rifles. I know MSRP isn't real world pricing though... when I bought my Sport I, it and the OR were pretty close in price.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:18 PM
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I didn't tell my wife, how much I spent on my first AR build ($1800+) before optics. I did put the paperwork in the case, in case I expired & she needed to sell it. Then she wanted an AR. I said "I won't spend as much on yours"...........and she said why not? So I built two more (also bought a part at a time). One a 300 Blackout, and a hydro dipped "muddy girl" for her. Went a bit cheaper with different Geissele triggers, but not too much cheaper. Number four is in the works. I'm going to dip part of this one, since the Muddy Girl turned out so well, and has held up.
One of my greatest fears is that when I die my wife is going to sell off all of my guns for what I told her I paid for them. LOL
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:21 PM
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Is this all completely hypothetical ?
Pretty much but I do have a friend who I am going to be shooting with later this month who is looking for his first AR15 and mentioned the Sport II.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:05 PM
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I would recommend a Sport II for the low budget person and iron sights. Work the rifle as it is and figure out what may or may not be wanted or needed later. Too many people got right to the optics from the gate when they need to learn the rifle first.

For the next two tiers, a free floated rifle with a better trigger (assuming they did not get a decent trigger out of the box), preferably with a mid length gas system. I would again, suggest sticking with iron sights at first.

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Old 02-17-2017, 07:08 PM
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Would love to recommend any one of the M&P 15's to a friend, but as it stands now they're all illegal here. They have to be either featureless, or come with some type of mag lock other then the bullet button which is no longer allowed to get around Assault Rifle registration.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:35 PM
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I didn't vote in the poll because I think that's taking the wrong approach. I think your friend needs to make a list of what features are important to him and then look at the guns that match all or most of those features, or are cost effective if changes need to be made.

Upper receiver - Flat top (optics) or fixed carry handle (A1 or A2).
Barrel length.
Barrel twist.
Barrel profile.
Barrel material or lining.
Barrel/forend configuration (standard handguards or free float tube).
Gas block/front sight tower.
Buttstock, primarily buffer tube style (carbine or rifle).
Furniture (CAR, M4, A2 rifle, Magpul, etc.)

Once your friend has determined what specs he wants for the above features, or whether any have more than one acceptable spec, then he can make a better choice from the available M&P 15 guns, or even other makes.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:37 PM
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On the low - the cheapest version of the Sport II (except Compliant when not required) that they can get. Can change out all the junk at their leisure. Will shoot those bulk 55gr that they will likely buy (me) all day. A couple years ago, I'd say the Core 15 Tac UL II, but those are gone now.

For mid and high, I'm not buying a S&W. Sorry.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:48 PM
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id buy a colt 6920
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:49 PM
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So, if your friend wanted a free floated rail and a barrel that was capable of stabilizing a TSX 69 gr round for a hog hunting rifle, you would suggest the Sport II?
NONE of that was part of the question - equation..

"""So you have a friend who is looking to get his or her first AR15 and they want it to be a S&W M&P because they are familiar with the brand and what a high level of QC and a solid warranty.

They are new to AR15s but not necessarily new to shooting. They are looking for a multiple use gun. Something mainly for plinking at the range, maybe home defense, maybe casual gun games but just basic all around use. """

Do you see anything in his post related to free floating rails, Barrels capable of stabilizing a TSX 69 gr round for a hog hunting???
I don't?

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Old 02-17-2017, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Pro2nd View Post
NONE of that was part of the question - equation..

"""So you have a friend who is looking to get his or her first AR15 and they want it to be a S&W M&P because they are familiar with the brand and what a high level of QC and a solid warranty.

They are new to AR15s but not necessarily new to shooting. They are looking for a multiple use gun. Something mainly for plinking at the range, maybe home defense, maybe casual gun games but just basic all around use. """

Do you see anything in his post related to free floating rails, Barrels capable of stabilizing a TSX 69 gr round for a hog hunting???
I don't?
Multiple use gun... I wanted a rifle I could hunt with, plink with, use for HD... The point was that it isn't "easy", get the cheapest one type of an answer. You said to let your friend swap out rails, I say get a rifle closer to the configuration he wants to begin with.
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:32 PM
shawn mccarver shawn mccarver is offline
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I look at two options for this sort of question:

"Value" option: M&P15 Sport II.

"Top Tier" option: Colt LE6920 with Aimpoint.

Either rifle should get at least a dozen of the latest generation 30 round Magpul magazines, a decent sling, am LED white light, and PLENTY of ammo.
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cyphertext View Post
Multiple use gun... I wanted a rifle I could hunt with, plink with, use for HD... The point was that it isn't "easy", get the cheapest one type of an answer. You said to let your friend swap out rails, I say get a rifle closer to the configuration he wants to begin with.

Again..
""They are looking for a multiple use gun. Something mainly for plinking at the range, maybe home defense, maybe casual gun games but just basic all around use""


no mention of hunting..

from what I read in the description of what the friend ask, I would assume he already has what he prefers for Hunting (if I knew he was a hunter).. Which.. if it were a friend.. I would in fact already know that information, and the fact that he did not specifically ask about hunting with it, I would rule that out as something he "Mainly" wants to use it for, and move that into the not even Likely as something he wants to use it for..

Typically, someone will have something in mind when it comes to purchasing a weapon of any variety.. Be it home defense, S H T F situation, plinking for fun, competition etc..

It shouldn't be difficult to tell what their main intentions/want of use for a particular weapon is, especially f it is a friend..

Anyway, the general description of what "The friend" ask to me, says he is interested in the AR's, but generally speaking, just wants one for casual fun use.. He is obviously not into competition shooting, nor is he likely interested in getting one for a hunting riffle.. He pretty much just wants to jump on the AR band wagon.
So with that in mind, and not knowing if he is even going to like the platform, how it feels yada yada, I would suggest the Sport II in its basic out of the box form., as it should be sufficient for what I would personally feels he wants one for.. again, going by the description of what the friend said..

I would not however, suggest going with anything that cost a penny more, as far as a better stock blah blah.. again, due to not knowing if he is even going to like the general platform to begin with..

Last edited by Pro2nd; 02-17-2017 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rastoff View Post
[chuckles]Yeah, I seem to be on the save-by-spend plan. I refuse to total what I've spent on my AR. I seem to be keeping some businesses in business all by myself.

So no pre-made guns for me. Buy em one part at a time I say, but that wasn't one of the choices.
I have built (2) AR's in the past, and currently own (2) entry level AR's. I am also in the process of building a new AR, (1) part at a time. So far I have a $50 Anderson lower, a MAGPUL MBUS Gen 2 rear sight, and the BCG from my AR-556 (The AR-556 has a no logo Premium BCG in it).
cyphertext opened my eyes about how important the BCG is. Do your homework in this area. Just because it cost a lot, or, has a big name pinned onto it doesn't mean it's as good as a $60 Anderson, or, a $80 PSA Premium.
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Old 02-18-2017, 12:07 AM
Brian in Oregon Brian in Oregon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pro2nd View Post
Again..
""They are looking for a multiple use gun. Something mainly for plinking at the range, maybe home defense, maybe casual gun games but just basic all around use""


no mention of hunting..

from what I read in the description of what the friend ask, I would assume he already has what he prefers for Hunting (if I knew he was a hunter).. Which.. if it were a friend.. I would in fact already know that information, and the fact that he did not specifically ask about hunting with it, I would rule that out as something he "Mainly" wants to use it for, and move that into the not even Likely as something he wants to use it for..

Typically, someone will have something in mind when it comes to purchasing a weapon of any variety.. Be it home defense, S H T F situation, plinking for fun, competition etc..

It shouldn't be difficult to tell what their main intentions/want of use for a particular weapon is, especially f it is a friend..

Anyway, the general description of what "The friend" ask to me, says he is interested in the AR's, but generally speaking, just wants one for casual fun use.. He is obviously not into competition shooting, nor is he likely interested in getting one for a hunting riffle.. He pretty much just wants to jump on the AR band wagon.
So with that in mind, and not knowing if he is even going to like the platform, how it feels yada yada, I would suggest the Sport II in its basic out of the box form., as it should be sufficient for what I would personally feels he wants one for.. again, going by the description of what the friend said..

I would not however, suggest going with anything that cost a penny more, as far as a better stock blah blah.. again, due to not knowing if he is even going to like the general platform to begin with..
By that criteria, get either a Sport II or the upcoming Sport II optics ready model. I think those are the best bang for the buck. If he then decides to get more involved in AR15s, then he can use the short checklist I posted above.
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:17 AM
cyphertext cyphertext is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pro2nd View Post
Again..
""They are looking for a multiple use gun. Something mainly for plinking at the range, maybe home defense, maybe casual gun games but just basic all around use""


no mention of hunting..

from what I read in the description of what the friend ask, I would assume he already has what he prefers for Hunting (if I knew he was a hunter).. Which.. if it were a friend.. I would in fact already know that information, and the fact that he did not specifically ask about hunting with it, I would rule that out as something he "Mainly" wants to use it for, and move that into the not even Likely as something he wants to use it for..

Typically, someone will have something in mind when it comes to purchasing a weapon of any variety.. Be it home defense, S H T F situation, plinking for fun, competition etc..

It shouldn't be difficult to tell what their main intentions/want of use for a particular weapon is, especially f it is a friend..

Anyway, the general description of what "The friend" ask to me, says he is interested in the AR's, but generally speaking, just wants one for casual fun use.. He is obviously not into competition shooting, nor is he likely interested in getting one for a hunting riffle.. He pretty much just wants to jump on the AR band wagon.
So with that in mind, and not knowing if he is even going to like the platform, how it feels yada yada, I would suggest the Sport II in its basic out of the box form., as it should be sufficient for what I would personally feels he wants one for.. again, going by the description of what the friend said..

I would not however, suggest going with anything that cost a penny more, as far as a better stock blah blah.. again, due to not knowing if he is even going to like the general platform to begin with..
The point is that you stated the Sport II "the end"... As if to indicate that there is no other choice for any use... and I don't agree.

If this friend shows you a picture of a free float barrel and says that he wants that, would you push the Sport II? What if he says he wants a red dot and doesn't want to see the front sight tower in the view of the optic? These uses would fit the narrow description of mainly plinking, maybe home defense, maybe games.

Notice, you already said "let them have fun swapping grips, rails, whatever", so you are going to lead your friend into purchasing a rifle with the idea he can change stuff later, rather than showing him the rifle that already has the Magpul forend, or already has a free float barrel, etc.
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cyphertext View Post
I wonder what the difference is between it and the standard OR model, other than the nitrated barrel vs. chrome lined, and the integral trigger guard vs. the standard...

There is a huge delta in MSRP between these two rifles. I know MSRP isn't real world pricing though... when I bought my Sport I, it and the OR were pretty close in price.
I should probably look up the specs before I post this, but that never stopped me in the past. I'll bet the only difference between the Sport II and Sport II OR is changing the front sight to a sight height gas block.
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:39 AM
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When I say, "No pre-made guns for me" I mean...



...I build mine.
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:41 AM
cyphertext cyphertext is offline
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Originally Posted by Rastoff View Post
I should probably look up the specs before I post this, but that never stopped me in the past. I'll bet the only difference between the Sport II and Sport II OR is changing the front sight to a sight height gas block.
Yep, I'm more wondering about differences in the Sport II OR and the original OR... The barrels are different profile and the OR is chrome lined, but is that it?

The Sport II OR has a MSRP of $719... The original OR MSRP is $1069. That would be one expensive barrel! The internals must be different for such a price difference...
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Old 02-18-2017, 02:01 AM
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Yep, I'm more wondering about differences in the Sport II OR and the original OR... The barrels are different profile and the OR is chrome lined, but is that it?
That is the eternal question in the gun world, isn't it? We constantly have these discussions about why one thing has a higher price tag when it seems the same on the surface.

Why is a Daniel Defense $1K more than a S&W? In the end, for most shooters, there really isn't that much difference. And you DO have to take shooter experience into account. Only a small percentage can actually use that tool to its very limits. Most will do just as well with a Sport II.

Without exaggeration, there were hundreds of manufacturers at the Shot Show making some AR or AR gadget. They're all trying to make their product stand out. Very few had anything really new or different. Almost none had something that was really better.
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Old 02-18-2017, 02:03 AM
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When I say, "No pre-made guns for me" I mean...



...I build mine.
Right on! good friend of mine machines some of his own parts as well, (builds custom Picatinny Rail etc)..
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Old 02-18-2017, 10:57 AM
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That is the eternal question in the gun world, isn't it? We constantly have these discussions about why one thing has a higher price tag when it seems the same on the surface.
It is. It was so much simpler when they just left the forward assist and dust cover off....

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Why is a Daniel Defense $1K more than a S&W? In the end, for most shooters, there really isn't that much difference. And you DO have to take shooter experience into account. Only a small percentage can actually use that tool to its very limits. Most will do just as well with a Sport II.
At least with DD vs Smith, there are differences listed in the specs.... barrel steel, full auto bolt carrier, receiver extensions made of different alloys, etc... While we can discuss the merits of these differences and whether or not they make any real world difference to a shooter, they are there and they do cost more.

With the Sport OR vs the OR, barrel steels are the same. Alloys for receivers are the same (at least as far as I know). Perhaps the internals are different? Maybe the Sport no longer shares the same bolt as the rest of the line? Perhaps FCG is different as well?
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Old 02-18-2017, 11:04 AM
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Perhaps the internals are different? Maybe the Sport no longer shares the same bolt as the rest of the line? Perhaps FCG is different as well?
Perhaps it's just marketing?
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Old 02-18-2017, 11:23 AM
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Perhaps it's just marketing?
Perhaps. I could see marketing trying to squeeze a couple of hundred by playing the OR as "premium"...

One interesting note... when I purchased my Sport I, I could have purchased the OR for about the same price. I chose the Sport because of the 1:8 twist, 5R rfling (marketing)...

Today, a Sport rifle sells for $525, yet the OR sells for $789 (grabagun used for prices)... right where it was many years ago.
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