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Thread: Lightweight AR15 options

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    Question Lightweight AR15 options

    I am looking to buy an AR for my wife for her birthday (shhhh!). I want to get the lightest weight rifle possible for her. What options are out there for minimizing the wieght of the rifle and what is the lowest weight that I can practically and affordably achieve?

    (This will be a plinking rifle so I am not concerned about mil-spec performance.)

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    Just don't buy the carbon 15 junk.

    Other than that you could do the cav-15 polymer lower. That plus a pencil barreled upper would be pretty light.
    "You people have too much time on your hands." - scottryan

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    An out of the box 6520 or something similar should do the trick.

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    what do you have against the carbon 15 junk?

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    The Bushmaster superlight barrel assembly makes a HUGE difference in overall rifle weight. My dad has a varmint AR that has to be over 20 lbs, so I built him an Colt 653 Clone with a Bushmaster Superlight Barrel that's amazingly light.

    http://www.bushmaster.com/catalog_xm...A3F%2016SL.asp
    Last edited by Soulrack223; 09-13-07 at 17:03. Reason: Add Link

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    Remember that as weight decreases, felt recoil and recovery time between shots increases.

    With that said, the Colt 6520 is the best compromise of weight vs. quality available.

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    under 5 lbs?

    Rob S, Good point regarding recoil. I may buy a .22LR kit so that my wife can chew up ammo cheaply and without recoil.

    I've seen specs from several manufacturers that say specific models weigh between 5 and 6 lbs. Is it possible/practical to have an AR weigh less than 5 lbs?

    Also, in reference to Bushmaster's Carbon 15, anyone have any experience with these? Does anyone other than Bushmaster make polymer receivers?

    Thanks!
    Jesus said, "I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!" - Luke 12:49

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    A Bushmaster or Double Star 16" A1 barrel mated to an A1 upper and utilizing a carbon fibre free float forend coupled to a CAV15 lightweight lower should give you a rifle weighing about 5 1/2 pounds.

    The CAV15 lower has the A1 stock length and you use a carbine buffer and spring.

    This combo should be short enough and light enough that your wife can shoot without problems.

    Using a .22 lr dedicated upper will actually weigh more than the centerfire set up.HTH

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonrider657 View Post
    I am looking to buy an AR for my wife for her birthday (shhhh!). I want to get the lightest weight rifle possible for her. What options are out there for minimizing the wieght of the rifle and what is the lowest weight that I can practically and affordably achieve?

    (This will be a plinking rifle so I am not concerned about mil-spec performance.)
    I agree with the other poster. The Colt 6520 would be your best bet for lightweight. If she's going to run an optic I would swap the upper receiver for a Daniel Defense A4 upper (it's a flat top with M4 ramps) the 6520s barrel extension has M4 ramps. The receivers are about $156 if ordered directly from them. If you want it even lighter than that and don't mind getting a SBR look at the Colt 6933 which is a 11.5" Commando bbl'd factory SBR and is VERY light.

    I'd also highly recommend the Primary Weapons FSC556 comp/flash hider. I put one of my wifes 11.5" SBR. Sure it's louder but if she wears ear plugs and muffs the difference isn't very noticeable at all, felt recoil and muzzle lift are almost nill.


    FFL/SOT armorer

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    Lightweight is nice, IMHO you should also consider balance. If the rifle is balanced properly it will have better handling characteristics and seem lighter. Front end heavy weapons seem harder to hold up, steady, snap up into place, and take more energy to get moving, and are harder to slow down when trying to stop their movement.
    Last edited by STAFF; 09-16-07 at 07:59.
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    I recently built a lightweight upper using a CMMG mid-length lightweight barrel. I'm very happy with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_s View Post
    Remember that as weight decreases, felt recoil and recovery time between shots increases.

    With that said, the Colt 6520 is the best compromise of weight vs. quality available.
    I put together a CavArms MkII lower with a flat top upper and a Bushmaster super light barrel. With the Trijicon Reflex optic, it actually weighed less than my Springfield Armory 1911 (actually weighed the two with my RCBS trigger scale).

    I disagree with the increase in perceived recoil... it feels the same as my M4 profile barrel did. However, you are spot on regarding recovery time, it did jump quite abit...

    I may end up building another CavArms lower / super light upper for my fiancee... it's a good build.

    Also, remember, these aren't really super light or lightweight barrels. They're the original contour!

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    The weight is mostly in the upper. Get a lightweight barrel, but don't skimp on the lower. The Cavarms lower is garbage and doesn't save you all that much weight over a standard aluminum lower. Plus, you can't have an adjustable stock to fit her length of pull perfectly with the cavarms plastic lower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_s View Post
    Remember that as weight decreases, felt recoil and recovery time between shots increases.

    With that said, the Colt 6520 is the best compromise of weight vs. quality available.
    Colt makes good rifles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by demigod View Post
    Just don't buy the carbon 15 junk.

    Other than that you could do the cav-15 polymer lower. That plus a pencil barreled upper would be pretty light.
    There are just as many proponents/opponents of the Carbon 15 as the Cav-15 from what I have personally seen (and heard- not read on the web).

    Can you quantify what "pretty light" is?

    Quote Originally Posted by rob_s View Post
    Remember that as weight decreases, felt recoil and recovery time between shots increases.

    With that said, the Colt 6520 is the best compromise of weight vs. quality available.
    Well stated (recoil). This is even more readily apparent with 1911 class pistols with alloy frames.

    +1 (mostly) on the Colt. My preference would be on a personal build, but for off the shelf.....

    Quote Originally Posted by nationwide View Post
    I put together a CavArms MkII lower with a flat top upper and a Bushmaster super light barrel. With the Trijicon Reflex optic, it actually weighed less than my Springfield Armory 1911 (actually weighed the two with my RCBS trigger scale).

    I disagree with the increase in perceived recoil... it feels the same as my M4 profile barrel did. However, you are spot on regarding recovery time, it did jump quite abit...

    I may end up building another CavArms lower / super light upper for my fiancee... it's a good build.

    Also, remember, these aren't really super light or lightweight barrels. They're the original contour!
    Percieved recoil is a matter of perception, but I believe that rob_s is spot on. The only way that I think that perceived recoil would be less is if your action cycled faster than the norm (ex.- put a 13lb recoil spring in a Glock 17 and the slide will cycle so fast that your sights seem to snap back down on your target when it goes back into battery).

    The only advantage I can see to using Cav for a build is cost- in fact, over on TOS they (Cav) were selling off another brand plastymer lower (manufactured by Cav) for $200 complete with LPK. I just wondered if these were overruns/damaged/returns/customer rejects for such a cheap price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Collins View Post
    The weight is mostly in the upper. Get a lightweight barrel, but don't skimp on the lower. The Cavarms lower is garbage and doesn't save you all that much weight over a standard aluminum lower. Plus, you can't have an adjustable stock to fit her length of pull perfectly with the cavarms plastic lower.
    I am agreement here with where the majority of the weight is. The Cav lower is what it is. But they have found a niche in that lower end price point (see above). +1 on lack of fit. I would be more than confident using a brand X tier 2 etc lower receiver and "stock" LPK with milspec tube/buffer/retractable stock for a LW toy that would most likely see as much use as a Cav based build.

    Look at it this way, if it wasn't for the Cav crew we wouldn't have all of those cheap take off stocks and handguards filling boxes in our storage lockers/garages.
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    i'm in the process of building a race gun. I have been collecting somewhat hard to find pieces for several months and am now missing only the barrel itself, which will be carbon fiber over a rock creek blank. (I know, I know...)

    I went to a mailbox place today with all the parts (and some packaging) in a cloth bag and weighed the whole bag on their scales. The total was 3 lb 8 oz, and that includes an aimpoint T1 sight with larue tall mount. Without sight and mount, it would be 2.x lbs.

    My target is 5lb loaded. I did compromise somewhat on the stock, buying a nicer stock that is heavier than some alternatives. It's by far the heaviest piece on the gun, but i think it will help it balance quite nicely. As was pointed out earlier, balance is often more important than total weight.

    Anyway, I have no illusions about this gun surviving a 5000 rnd torture test. I consider every part on it a "wear part" that I'll have to throw away and replace after a relatively few rounds. But I'm optimistic about the way it will handle. I think it will be worth it, and if not, well, I'll have learned quite a bit.

    It will be several weeks before I can post pictures as I'm still waiting for the barrel and some custom color duracoat, but I will try to take a lot of pictures so I can monitor the wear on various items.

    Edit: btw, my plan is to take a series of videos looking through the optics of several different ARs as they fire in order to compare the effect of recoil. I will be specifically comparing guns with various BCG and buffer upgrades (like the low mass and pistol buffers) and also various muzzle mounted compensators

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