Actually, even as an avid shooter and gun rights activist and all that, I do not personally own an AR-15 currently, and unless it is in a caliber other than the standard .223/5.56NATO, I likely will not purchase another one. Why? Well, I’m a long range acccuracy type shooter, and I want sub-MOA precision. An “out of the box, standard, 16″ barrel” AR-15, is not that sort of rifle in my experience, although some people I know say otherwise.
I do admit, however, that when I had a DPMI AR-15 in .223/5.56NATO, scoped with a Vortex scope, around like 4-12 x 40, it was FUN to shoot. But in that configuration, 1.5 to 2 full 30 round mags would heat the factory barrel up so much that I was concerned for the poor thing.
What is really cool about the AR-15 is that it is a platform for many calibers and types of rifles. It can be a simple, open sights “combat” style rifle in .223/5.56, or one CAN be built with, let’s say, a 24″ fluted bull barrel in .308 or larger, and customized to a precision rifle that is accurate enough to be a “varmint rifle” at ranges exceeding 600 yards.
Without further ado, here’s some info on the AR-15:
BIT OF TRIVIA:
How about the actual difference between the .223 Remington cartridge and the 5.56NATO?
In short, the difference is that the 5.56 has a bulked up neck to prevent tearing and jams caused by faulty extraction of spent rounds. One should note that you just can’t load as much powder in a piece of 5.56 brass as you can in the .223 because of this. Otherwise, they are identical. And the difference is internal anyway, so the outside measurements of the cartridges are exactly the same…
If you are new to the AR-15, I strongly recommend you do a search on whatever you want to know about them on “YouTube.” There are a TON of videos that can instruct you on any aspect of this rifle that you wish to know about.
First time purchasers: Base your choice on your personal taste and needs. If you want an open sight, plinking sort of rifle, then go for the standard .223/5.56NATO with a 16″ typical barrel.
If however you are looking for longer range accuracy, especially a varmint type rifle, I recommend you have one built in 6.8 or .308, with a fluted, 24″ bull barrel. The fluting and the barrel thickness will cut way down on heating when you fire more than a magazine full of ammo, and will also provide you with the ability to achieve much better long range accuracy.
Of course there is also the 9mm version, which is cool because of the ammo versatility and typically lower cost than say, a .308. You can choose what sort of barrel to use in ANY configuration, and there are numerous things that can be done to accurize whatever rifle build you choose.
You see, this ability to create a custom rifle all on the AR-15 platform is probably the most attractive reason to own one. Once you have the lower receiver, which is THE regulated part of the gun, you can pick and choose everything else to suit your shooting style and/or needs for the rifle.
NOTE: I am in need of input from the gun community for info on the AR-15. If there is something you want to add to this page, please eMail me, or simply use this contact form: