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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am fairly new to rifles in general and brand new to AR 15 and would appreciate some information. All AR 15 rifles appear very similar to me, so I don't know if these questions will be general or specific to the brand I was shooting.
I had the opportunity to shoot an AR 15 rifle made by Windham Weaponry and enjoyed shooting it very much. I am now interested in getting an AR 15, leaning toward a Windham, but not necessarily.
My purpose in this is mostly just to 1. have fun, and 2. shoot nice tight groups on paper or to make a plastic jug jump around. I'm not necessarily a tactical type of person, but that eventuality can't be overlooked. You never know what will happen in this world. For purchasing, my priorities are mechanical reliability and accuracy.
I liked the idea of having both fixed sights as well as a scope, but I question putting the scope on top of the carry handle. It doesn't seem very secure or sturdy. What is usually under the handle and a can a scope be mounted high enough on that to be able to use either scope or sights?
The front sight is attached to the barrel and is pretty substantial. Does mounting such a large/heavy sight directly to the barrel affect accuracy in any way? Does it negate the idea of free floating a barrel?
I know there are "flip up" sights made for AR 15s. They appear to be much smaller than the sights offered on new rifles, but if they are, does this reduce their functionality? In other words, is the front blade harder to focus on because it is smaller?
My purpose in asking is not for a brand recommendation. I am in California, so my options are somewhat limited. But these are not inexpensive. I have a budget of $1,000 - $1,200 and this is really a major purchase for me. I want to be certain as possible that the rifle will do what I want.
Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for the quick responses.
A couple of follow up questions, if I may.
First, just confirming, BUIS = Back Up Iron Sights. Also, are some rigid and others flip-up? I think the flip up would offer more options yet I have to keep in mind that they likely would never be used.
Re: Cheek weld. I assume this is the contact point where your cheek meets the stock. Is this important for rifle control, comfort, or both? While I was not uncomfortable shooting the AR 15, I didn't do it long enough to become uncomfortable. If it is important for control, then I would have to assume that consistency of position would be important, as in golf, and the more comfortable you are, the easier to be consistent.
Re: triangulation of the scope. Would this be analogous to parallax as you might find on a camera? If so, I can see this being a BIG problem on elevation at any distance other than the exact one for which the scope is zeroed. Windage adjustment would be unaffected?
Speaking of zero, are you saying there are quick release mounts that allow for reattachment without the need to readjust or recalibrate the scope?
Lastly, are carry handles detachable? My only experience is with the Windam Weaponry rifles and there are only 2 that are California complaint. One has the carry handle and a large front sight, the other only has a front and back rail.
Where I am going on that is if I purchase the model with carry handle, can I remove the handle and sights, put on lower mounting scope and lower mounting back up sights, and still retain the option of going back to original if I need to?
Irish, if you are correct, it sounds as if this this company has ethics. That, and buying American made, would justify buying from this company, assuming the quality control is also maintained, which it probably would.
I'll worry about brand once I decide what features I need. There probably is a thread, or many of them, that offer advice on what to buy. I'm guessing no one can really answer that, but there may be some to avoid because of poor quality or lacking the accuracy I want to have.
Thanks again for the responses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Any rifle I buy has to have excellent reliability and be able to fill a secondary purpose of self-defense.
The primary use of this rifle is "recreational" shooting. In terms of most common usage, I will be shooting at paper targets or aluminum cans at 200 yds. Most of ranges in close proximity to my home are 200 yds or less, although there is one that goes to 300. Some open desert areas are flat enough for longer, but I haven't gone there in years.
For this, I will need a magnifying scope, most likely in a 3-9 variable, but if I can afford it, 3-12 would be better. In terms of strict bullseye shooting, a variable up to 40 would be ideal, but the company that holds the mortgage on my house would miss me.
In practical terms, I know I can't afford a top of the line target scope and competition ammunition is not affordable. So the goal becomes shoot as tight a group as I can with cheap ammo and average scope. A good quality rifle will allow me to upgrade, when I can.

Is the front sight on a BUIS mounted in front of the hand guard? If so, that will settle the question of buying one with a carry handle as there is no rail in front of the hand guard and the sight on the barrel appears to be weilded. (Can that be true?). The flat model has a rail both in front of the guard and on top of the receiver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There are many Calif. legal AR 15's available, although definitely limited compared to other states. That's why I was trying to figure what features I want before I start looking at which to buy. If what I want isn't available, then I have to go in another direction.
I looked again at the pictures of the stocks on these rifles and they don't look as if they even come up to the cheek at all. Guess I'm off to the gun shop to actually shoulder one and see how it feels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for the input.
I have decided on getting the flat top, probably from Windham since I shot that and I liked it, although I am not set on that. Smith & Wesson makes one that is readily available in Calif, but I have no experience with that one, or any others.
The next issue will be sights and scope.
Since this was a general topic and that is specific, I'm starting another thread on that, hoping that is the proper thing to do.
Again, my thanks for the input. It helped tremendously.
 
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