ARP 060 - Champagne AR-15 on a Beer budget

Reed and Anthony discuss buying into an entry level AR with Champagne quality for a Beer budget.

Welcome to Episode #060 of the AR15 Podcast.  I’m your host Reed Snyder and with me today is our auditioning sacrificial host, Anthony Hardy. This is the podcast about your favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years. There is something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level.

Otis Ripcord Giveaway

For times in the field when you just can’t reach your Otis cleaning system and need a quick and effective clean – reach for the Ripcord®. This convenient tool cleans from Breech-to-Muzzle® in one quick and easy pass. The molded rubberized core and Nomex® fibers together create a more effective way to trap and remove fouling.

Winner:  Manny F:

Hello Reed and Tony. I just wanted to drop a line to say that I really enjoyed episode 55 \"Optics, A Different Perspective\". As always, when a group of active and veteran service men get together, especially Marines, hilarity ensues. I agree with your buds; forget about the VCOG and get an ACOG and 45* offset irons (since you love irons so much). Anyway, keep up the great work and please enter me in the Otis ripcord giveaway.


Brownells helps make this show possible.  

They are there for you anytime you make a mistake, like when Jake shoots a spring across the room into his lime green shag carpet.

Shop for AR-15 parts at Brownells.  Go to:

Tip of the Week:

Trigger control drill (LIVE FIRE!, safety first)

1. Load one round into your magazine, insert magazine and charge the weapon.

2. Fire down range at your target, perform a trigger reset and “fire” again.

3. Did your rifle move? No movement is good.

Ball and Dummy explained in text

Ball and Dummy Using Rifle Video

Main Topic:

What Constitutes an Entry Level Rifle:

  • Basic Features
  • Standard Controls
  • Common Calibers
  • Reasonable Pricetag

Entry Level Sweet Spot:


    Weight: 6.94lbs

    Length: 31.9” (collapsed); 35.2” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:7 RH

Sights: A2 front sight and M4 rear carrying handle

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1149.00 (link)

Bushmaster    (Patrolman)

    Weight: 7lbs

    Length: 31.9” (collapsed); 35.2” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: A2 front sight and M4 rear carrying handle

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1199 (link)

Bushmaster    (ORC)

    Weight: 6lbs

    Length: 31.9” (collapsed); 36.25” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: N/A

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1082.45 (link)

S&W M&P 15 Tactical

    Weight: 6.85lbs

    Length: 32” (collapsed); 35” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:8 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul both)

Handguard: Quad

MSRP: $1159 (link)

Colt LE6920

    Weight: 6.9lbs

    Length: 32” (collapsed); 35.5” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:7 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul rear, A2 front)

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1155 (link)


    Weight: 8.5lbs

    Length: 34.25” (collapsed); 38” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul rear, A2 front)

Handguard: Top/Front Quad

MSRP: $1299 (link)

Rock River Arms LAR-15

    Weight: 7.5lbs

    Length: 36”

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: A2 front

Handguard: A2 Handguard

Other: RRA Two Stage Trigger/Hogue Grip

MSRP: $1065 (link)


    Weight: 6lbs


Twist Rate - 1:? RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul rear, A2 front)

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1099.95 (link)

Del-ton DTI Extreme Duty 316

    Weight: 6.4lbs

    Length: 32.25” (collapsed); 35.58” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:7 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Samson quick flip rear, A2 front)

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1100.00 (link)

Just out of Reach:

Ruger SR556E

    Weight: 7.36lbs

    Length: 32.75” (collapsed); 36” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:9 RH

Sights: Folding BUIS (Magpul both?)

Handguard: Top Rail

Other: Piston

MSRP: $1375 (link)

LMT Defender Standard Patrol Model 16

    Weight: 6.2lbs

    Length: 32.5” (collapsed); 35.75” (extended)

Twist Rate - 1:7 RH

Sights: A2 front

Handguard: A2 Handguard

MSRP: $1,371.21 (link)

Daniel Defense

cheapest MSRP $1639.00 - link

Listener Feedback:

Wally L:  Hey Reed,  I listen to and enjoy the AR15 podcast and many others on the FAR network.

I need help in selecting a trigger for my AR build. Its the last piece of my MSR that includes a White Oak Armament varmint upper.

I've not shot 2 stage triggers very much and frankly they seem a little awkward to me, since most of my trigger time has been sending lead down a smooth bore to the tune of 50,000 plus rounds at trap targets.

So I’m hunting a economical single stage trigger. I've looked at Geissele and Timney, GREAT triggers no doubt, but I’m having a very hard time spending about $200 on a trigger for this build. Do you know of any good single stage triggers (3-4.5 lbs) in the $100 range?


Roger B:  I've been listening to you guys for about 2 months now and just caught up. I find the podcast very informative and has really helped me in starting my first ar build. I bought my first ar already built and now I'm ready to start my own black rifle. Just wondering what lower should i start with. I've been looking at the spikes. Thank you for time. Please enter me in the ripcord give away. Keep up the great podcast.

John T:  I bought my first AR 15 a few years back to discover the mechanics of this platform, and I've been loving it since. Of course during the discovery phase I sought out different media to educate myself and stumbled onto your podcast. I cannot tell you enough of how excited I am to buy my first lower and work my way up. You guys go into all the details the geeks desire.

My question is, I've heard all about what people swap out or upgrade first, usually optics or iron sight, and then triggers. I've been looking at triggers had my sights set on a nice drop in. All of sudden I'm hearing about the Tactical Fire Control 3MR.

This item seems to have a match grade trigger, with a little bonus feature. But wow, at $495.00 I stalled out. Do you think it's worth it over a Timney at $200? This thing seems so new I wonder about it's durability and reliability even for the match trigger. Have you had the chance to field test this item yet? Or do you think this is more of a trinket to hang on the AR? Which would you chose over if given the option and why? Does a good trigger for, outside of competitive matches,  make a difference? Finally, I have shot Class 3 rifles, fun stuff! ut let's be realistic, does this trigger get a little too close for the comfort of Iowa law. One of the few states which will allow Class3 with only extreme prejudice, ie; no personal ownership.

You guys really are great, I download your show weekly and share with the guys whenever I can. Keep up the good work and hope the show expands with every episode. And I'm not just lauding compliments like a cheap pimp just because I want to win one of your OTIS giveaways , because i do. But because the OTIS is an awesome product and you seem to have a spare few to give away, and if that's what it takes to submit my name for you to read my question then, I guess, whatever it takes. I actually do look forward to your next show, and your input for this novice on the 3MR trigger.


war13usaf:  Show Topic: I have been listening since day 1, but has the 5.45x39 option been discussed yet? I was wondering, because this seems like the most viable option for training since the caliber is very similar to .556 but half the cost! From what I see you can use a standard AR bolt carrier so all you need is a 5.45 bolt, barrel, and mags. Is this correct and could you talk about it some more? thanks!

Jason:  I am wanting to build my first AR in 5.56/.223 as well as one in 300 AAC blackout. My question is for the 300 AAC. What barrel length is best? I am wanting and my initial research showed a 10.5 inch barrel to be best and I could/want to put a suppressor on the end without it being too long for a home protection gun. But I have shops around me telling me I have to go with a 16 inch barrel to avoid the rifle being too short and therefore illegal. what do I do? Keep up the great work and amazing podcast.


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