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Thread: New to AR's.... Need To Knows???

  1. #1
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    New to AR's.... Need To Knows???

    The wife and I were at a gun bash over the weekend.
    Went away with an Andersons Manufacturing AM15, 5.56/223, optic ready, 30rd mag, 16" barrel.

    This is my first AR type rifle. Any need to knows or should knows before we take it to the range?

    I've got the field stripping down but unsure of how often the gas tube should be cleaned?

    It's got a rail on the back end but none in front (barrel). All I have for any type of optic right now is a cheap red dot I got years ago that I used on a pellet gun. I like to have some kind of iron sights also.

    So.... what do those with knowledge have to enlighten me?



    Last edited by hyperbuzzin; 01-20-2019 at 08:00 PM.
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    Hyper..... or, just call me Tim
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    Thumbs up

    Anderson's are OK. As a lower tier rifle, I'd stick to brass ammo. Otherwise, shoot it 'til it breaks!

    Congrats on the win!
    '07 Commander - 2" Daystar lift, 32x17x10 Cooper ATPs, Flowtech exhaust, aFe CAI
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  3. #3
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    On my Daniel defense... i clean it by... uh.. um... i basically just keep it wet. other than that, i don't really clean it much lol. when i do it's a quick strip and run a bore snake through it, clean out the chamber/upper, and clean the BCG.

    honestly, if you keep it we it'll run.
    taking unsafe rigs to a whole other level

  4. #4
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    Congrats on the win! Any free gun is a good gun.

    AR's are very addicting because they are easy to work on, upgrade, and shoot. If you think there are a lot of options for Jeep parts out there, wait till you start shopping for AR parts. My apologies for the length of this post, but I'm going to try and give you much of the knowledge I wish I had years ago.

    Anderson got a bad rap in the recent years with a few runs of parts and lower receivers that were slightly out of spec. I personally had one hammer that was not properly heat treated and caused failure to fire issues. They promptly replaced it with a good one. I use Anderson parts and lower receivers on guns I don't shoot much and build for fun. They are not considered duty grade or professional quality rifles but they are certainly adequate for hobby and home defense use.

    Never, ever, clean the gas tube. The gas that passes through there is at such a high pressure that there is never any build up, and it's a great way to break off a pipe cleaner in there, requiring gas tube replacement. At least the gas tube is only a $12 part if that does happen.

    Right now, I'm shooting my primary AR-15 about once a week. At an absolute minimum, I shoot it once a month. I'm running a suppressor, which means I'm getting significantly more crud in my receiver from the gas system than you will. I clean my rifle about once or twice a year. I re-lubricate about every other month with CLP foaming spray. Cleaning is highly overrated, and proper lubrication using a good gun lube is highly underrated.

    Use a gun lube, not motor oil or anything else. I experimented with Mobile 1, and the detergent properties of motor oil make it retain crud, where as gun oils are formulated to be a barrier and keep crud away. Just food for thought. Oh and by cleaning, I mean I clean the fire control group and the bolt carrier group. I have no idea when I last cleaned the barrel. I'm still waiting for my accuracy to diminish to justify a barrel cleaning. Google "how to lubricate AR-15" and you will be set.

    The problem with these "optics ready" carbines, as you have already figured out, is that they have a plain front gas block, and standard drop in hand guards, so there is no provision for a front iron sight or front sling mount, and running a single point sling attached at the rear of the receiver sucks (try running/walking with your hands free - not happening).

    You can replace the hand guard with a drop in quad rail as a quick and easy fix, but this is not a secure mount for a front sight.

    The best thing you can do is replace the gas block with a low profile gas block and replace the hand guard with a free float rail. Quad rails run $30 - $400 depending on what name is on the side. The cheap $30 ebay rails have a terrible fit and finish, where as the $80 rails from low end companies like Davidson Defense, which I really like and use, are a great value for the money and don't seem to sacrifice any functionality. The higher end stuff is paying for a name, or torture tested duty grade equipment. You can go either with a quad rail or M-lok, keymod rails seem to be dead. If you want to go that route, I can help you out with installation. We can discuss that in a PM.

    With a hand guard installed you can now run some folding back up iron sights (I suggest Magpul), add a weapon mounted light (don't waste your time on anything less than 500 lumens and with a pressure pad activation), and a front sling mount to use a proper two point sling (I suggest Magpul here as well for a budget AR sling with quick adjustment ability).

    A red dot sight made for a pellet gun probably won't handle the recoil for long, if it all. Right not the best budget red dots are offerings from (in this order) Vortex, Holosun, Sig Sauer, and Burris. The glass and components are all coming out of the same factory in China, so warranty and features are the only things that separate them. Barska, NcStar, Tasco, AIM, and anything else cheap are to be avoided. In addition to the more expensive stuff from the first four companies I mentioned already, the higher end stuff is Trijicon, C-More, Aimpoint, Eotech, etc. and they are worth the coin but if you're not planning on using this rifle for duty or competition then you don't need to spend that much.

    With a red dot sight, you can easily engage man sized targets out to 300 yards with good eyes and shooting technique. Even further if you're able. There is a lot of popularity right now for 1-6x and 1-8x variable power optics with illuminated reticles, so they work like a red dot sight for close in work but you can have some magnification for targets further out, so that's an option (Primary Arms second focal plane is the cheapest model I would recommend)...but using a 16" semi auto for small targets at 300+ doesn't seem to be a smart way to go about things. Unless you're varmint hunting or shooting precision rifle competing, but then you would want a 20" barrel with a different twist rate for heavier bullets and blah blah blah.

    Magazines are cheap. 30 round PMAGs are great and so are the $8 steel mags that are always on sale at Palmetto State Armory. Buy as many as you can. They do wear out eventually, and who knows when this state is going to turn blue and ban them.

    If your rifle doesn't shoot wolf steel case ammo then there is probably something wrong with it. Most people agree brass ammo is better, but that has more to do with the better consistency and slightly higher level of power the loading has from what I can gather. I know people that only shoot steel cased ammo through expensive machine guns without any adverse affect. Buy what works for you. Ammo is cheap right now with politics in our favor, so again, buy as much as you can. Websites like ammoseek can help you find the best deal online. Buy 1000 rounds. If you can't afford 1000 rounds then Walmart is probably the best price around. Your barrel (not the receiver) should be marked 5.56 which means you can shoot 5.56x45mm NATO and .223 Remington. A .223 Rem marked barrel should NOT be used for 5.56. and a .223 Wylde barrel is approved for both .223 Rem and 5.56.

    I suggest once you get your sights squared away you find a local 100 yard CMP rifle match and learn the fundamentals of off hand and prone rifle shooting. A match fee is $5-$20 and takes about 60 rounds and 4 hours of your Sunday morning. Be prepared to meet great people and learn what marksmanship is about. Or if you want to try "running and gunning" the PGH area has some multi-gun action shooting events going on regularly. Or just enjoy plinking in the back yard or keeping it by the bed side for when the time comes, you do you.

    Feel free to ask any other questions.
    Last edited by joshs1ofakindxj; 01-21-2019 at 12:05 PM.
    Fun > rules.

  5. #5
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    Great info!
    Thank you all! Especially Josh! I appreciate it I certainly see what you mean when comparing Jeep stuff to AR stuff!!
    Josh, how long did it take to realize there was a problem with the hammer?

    I know one of the guys at the gun shop this came from. He gave me a hard time for not taking the optional $500 gift card and getting something more like I wanted. Oh well.... next time!!

    I ditched the cheap-ass red dot.... back on the pellet gun. Picked up a Vortex Sparc AR. Moderately priced and nice reviews. The lifetime guarantee is awesome too!!
    Seeing as this will spend most of it's time as a paper killer, that should be fine for awhile.
    Also picked up a 10rd PMAG and 200rds of bulk ammo for now. That emptied out what was left on an old gift card I had from there.
    More mags and ammo will surely come as this weather gets more shooter friendly!

    Found out a guy at work, who turns out to be a gunsmith, has an account at Brownell's. Offered to get me anything I'm interested in through him.

    Keeping with forum policy of getting off topic.... while I was at the gun shop I also picked up a 15rd G17 mag for my G33 that I converted from 357sig to 9mm. Another guy at work kept insisting I'd need to at least swap out the recoil spring, as well the barrel. Nope.... just the barrel (well, the mag too) and it works perfectly!!

    Again, thanks for the info!!
    Last edited by hyperbuzzin; 01-22-2019 at 05:39 AM.
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    '06 Jeep KJ Liberty (her's)

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  6. #6
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    You're welcome!

    I could feel the issue with the hammer after just a few dry fires. It wasn't allowing the trigger to release or reset properly because the contact points on the hammer were deforming.

    If something seems wrong and you're not sure, just ask!

    As far as getting something different at the store, the AR world can be just like the jeep world, or any hobby for that mater. You start out with a cheap budget lift for your jeep, then add some parts to improve it, then throw it all away to buy better stuff and so on. People go through iterations of learning and growing. Nothing wrong with enjoying what you have though!

    Very good choice with the Sparc! Current best practice is to zero at 50 yards, which will also be in line with 200 yards and put you around 1" high at 100 yards and maybe 8" low at 300 yards. See below for clarification.


    I have a C&R 03 FFL which costs $10 a year and also gives you access to dealer pricing at Brownell's if you send your FFL info to them. You can even use coupon codes on top of the dealer pricing. I bought a nice light yesterday with about 10% off for dealer account, then $20 off and free shipping code. The discount at Brownell's and other big retailers is a very nice perk to the C&R FFL, in addition to getting firearms older than 50 years old delivered right to your home without a background check, and the application being as simple as filling out a form, sending it to the BATF with a check, and waiting a month. And the myths about the BATF being able to come into your home and surprise inspect your gun collection any time they want is just that; myth.

    You may need to change that Glock recoil spring if you find it doesn't fully cycle with lower power ammunition, such as Winchester white box ammo, which is notoriously under powered. Otherwise, if it works, it works. Great! If you're looking for more Glock magazines give the Magpul mags a shot. I've been using them for USPSA competition for 2 years now haven't broken or worn out one, which says a lot. I abuse them.
    Fun > rules.

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    I have an Anderson lower with a Spikes LPK in it. 3rd trip to the range, the trigger pins started walking on me (out of spec lower). Have a set of KNS anti-walk pins bookmarked with your favorite on-line firearms site, for quick ordering.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_War_Wagon View Post
    I have an Anderson lower with a Spikes LPK in it. 3rd trip to the range, the trigger pins started walking on me (out of spec lower). Have a set of KNS anti-walk pins bookmarked with your favorite on-line firearms site, for quick ordering.
    I'll be sure to keep an eye on that!
    What are the signs of the pins walking? The trigger just becomes non-functional?
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    Hyper..... or, just call me Tim
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  9. #9
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    See the two pins above the trigger, slightly larger than 1/8"? They will start to walk and stick out one side, you can push them back in and keep shooting (make sure they line up with the hole on the other side by moving the trigger or hammer. Easy fix is KNS pins.
    Fun > rules.

  10. #10
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    Gotcha. Thanks
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  11. #11
    Nice rifle. I like the Spikes Tactical AR15 also but it is pricey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorick View Post
    Nice rifle. I like the Spikes Tactical AR15 also but it is pricey.
    The more you LIKE shooting AR's, the PRICIER they will get...
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  13. #13
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    Yesterday I shot a USPSA match in the pistol caliber carbine division with my 9mm AR15 SBR. It's a New Frontier Armory Glock mag lower and I have their last round bolt hold open upper receiver.

    Talk about addicting!
    Fun > rules.

  14. #14
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    Sounds fun!!

    Update on where things are with my AR.

    Picked up a 4 30rd P-Mags and 2 30rd Promags (promags were cheap so I figured I'd give them a try. If they don't function all that well, I'll use them for practicing on clearing jams! LOL)
    Got a quadrail mounted, to which I mounted a bi-pod and folding front grip (the light is just from my home pistol to see if I want a light)
    Got about 600rds of standard 5.56 ammo (about 150 rds of reloads from Master Ammo in Rochester)
    Was at a gun bash over the past weekend and won 5 HERA 30rd mags loaded with 150rds of green tip 5.56.
    Now to just get out to the range!!!

    Last edited by hyperbuzzin; 03-26-2019 at 05:01 PM.
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    Hyper..... or, just call me Tim
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    '06 Jeep KJ Liberty (her's)

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    ɹǝʇʇods ʎɯ ǝɯɐןq ˙˙˙˙sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı

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