To make it as fair as possible (we were both convinced that the other would cheat), we set up some ground rules for our contest.
“El-Cheapo” Build Rules:
- Lower must be “stripped.” No pre-assembled lowers.
- Upper must not have barrel installed. May purchase with ejection port cover and forward assist installed.
- If the part belongs, it must be used. e.g. if the barrel isn’t threaded, a muzzle device isn’t necessary or if there’s no space for a forward assist, then one isn’t necessary.
- Components must be available to the general public. No “buddy deals” and no home-made parts.
- No auctions – firm prices for parts only (sale items are ok).
- Shipping and tax are not included (this is to normalize our efforts in two different parts of the country).
- Must fire two 30-round magazines without a malfunction (including locking the bolt to the rear after each magazine)
- Must be able to shoot a 10″ group at 50 yards using bulk/commercial ammo.
- Cheapest complete rifle that meets ALL of the above rules wins.
Neither of us thought that we could build a rifle which conformed to the rules above under $500. We were wrong. Within a couple of weeks, Jason and I were finished and compared prices before range-testing. Jason broke the $500 mark with a total build price of $449.69. I was able to break the $400 mark, however, and built my rifle for $378.54.
Here are pictures of my entry into our “El Cheapo” contest:
Despite mine costing less, we needed to confirm each rifles’ ability to function on the range. After-all, even though mine was cheaper, if it didn’t function and Jason’s did – I’d lose. Here is some video I took of the rifle at my local indoor shooting range:
My rifle functioned flawlessly! This means that I won a competition with no prize. 🙂
To be fair, I knew that I wasn’t going to keep my rifle. I said on the podcast that I’d give my rifle away whereas Jason intended to keep his. Therefore, where I went as cheap as physically possible in an effort to win even if my rifle was obnoxious (it is), Jason went cheap as possible for a rifle that he’d like to have and keep.
For your reference, at the bottom of this post is a build-list of the components we used in case you’re interested in building your own. We both heavily used PrimaryArms.com and Jason found some great deals on Palmetto State Armory and I found some on Wise Arms. My secret to finding the lowest prices? I used slickguns.com to search for parts and then sorted by lowest price!
As noted above, I am giving my rifle away. I decided to start a contest on Facebook which ends on December 15th, 2016. You can enter the contest by either making a donation to the Sua Sponte Foundation or by leaving a review for the Long Range Shooting Handbook. Read more about the contest and ENTER HERE.
|Jason’s Build||Ryan’s Build|
|Lower Receiver||$50.00||Layke Tactical Blem Lower||$42.99||Tennessee Arms Co Hybrid|
|Lower Parts||$44.99||brownells complete lower parts kit||$37.99||Wise Arms|
|Buttstock||$49.99||Primary Arms Rifle stock kit||$39.99||Target Sports Full stock kit|
|Upper Receiver||$67.99||Sota Arms||$39.95||Anderson Slick|
|BCG||$79.77||Primary Arms Complete bolt carrrier group||$74.99||DS Arms|
|Charging Handle||$12.99||Primary Arms Anderson charching handle||$12.99||Anderson|
|Barrel||$79.99||Palmeto State Armory||$69.99||Wise Arms|
|Gas Tube||$8.99||Primary Arms Gas tube||$8.99||Radical|
|Muzzle Device||N/A||$6.32||A2 Flash Hider|
|Handguard||$26.99||Amazon 7 inch hand rail with barrel nut||$18.95||Sniper Mini 4″|
|Sight/Optic||$17.99||Amazon red dot sight||$8.40||NcStar Red Dot|
|Gas Block||$10.00||Lake tactical||$16.99||MAS Defense|