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I’ve dreamt of getting my private pilot’s license ever since I can remember. About two months ago, the planets finally aligned. I had the time to take the training course at a good local flight school. Now that ground school is over I need to get some hours in an actual airplane to keep moving forward. That costs money. To fund the first third my flight airtime I decided to sell off my old competition rifle. There’s just one problem: no one wants to buy it . . .

This isn’t a matter of price, parts or advertising. The gun boasts about $2,500 of top-of-the-line kit. Everything from a Noveske barrel down to a Magpul aluminum trigger guard. (I’m asking $1,750.) I listed the rifle for sale on Reddit, where it was viewed plenty of times. No, the problem is, well, the following response pretty much sums it up:

I’m sorry I can’t take it away from you. It’s your baby. Please find another way to get that money.

Translation: if I sold the rifle – if someone bought it from me – I’d regret the decision later in life, perhaps the rest of my life. Potential buyers, bless their hearts, don’t want to inflict that pain on me. Probably because they’ve been there, done that and rued the day.

I’ll admit that this was my first AR-15, the first gun I built myself and my first competition rifle (besides the Anschutz .22lr rifle that still sits in its locker at Penn State). But I’m not seeing the issue. I’d never sell my first first gun, a 1928 Mosin-Nagant. But this AR I’d happily part with. Especially if the funds go towards fulfilling a dream I’ve always had.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s how capitalism is supposed to work: the market protecting the seller from their own bad decisions. Caveat emptor, n’est-ce pas? Either way, I’m going to have to find a different way to sell this rifle. Even if I have to strip it for parts and sell them individually . . .

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  1. Everyone is tapped from the panic. That’s why no one is buying or they’re squirrling cash away for the next one……

    • There’s ALWAYS a magic price point. Because of the economy and other factors, you just haven’t found that magic motivation point.

    • Or maybe, people don’t want it because they bought an AR of their own when there was a run on ARs and people can’t justify buying a second one even if it IS sweet. Most of those people aren’t even gun enthusiasts. They were just band-wagoning onto a buying panic.

      ie: They wouldn’t have even BOUGHT an AR if it weren’t for the AR crisis. Now they have one and don’t want two. Let alone an expensive one.

  2. Too bad I don’t have the cash lying around, or I’d take that off your hands in a heartbeat. But it’s actually pretty touching that people care that much about you that they would decline a good deal on a great rifle. Just further illustrates the difference between the POTG and the way the media portrays us.

  3. I’m in Austin. I’ll give you a grand cash for it immediately. Shoot me an email and let’s deal kind Sir! I’ll even drive to you. I’m a friend of Chris Hernandez’ (work in same building), you can verify me.

      • First off, it is not a $2500 rifle. The moment he put it together and put rounds down the pipe, it became a used rifle. To translate, best case scenario it was (note my use of the past tense) a $2250 rifle. Next, it’s public information that he shoots a lot of competitions; for all I know he has had a lot of rounds through the gun and it’s probably been smacked around like a 1950’s house wife. With a Noveske barrel, my immediate concern is also whether or not it is stainless steel. If it is, then half it’s barrel life may well be gone already. If it is chrome then no big deal but I don’t exaclty know that yet, now do I? Furthermore, he hasn’t had any bites at $1750 so it is time to start haggling. Are you the dood on craigslist who thinks his used couch hasn’t gone down in value?

      • It’s not a $2,500 rifle until someone pays that for it. As with any good or service it is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay.

  4. “I can’t take your baby,” is polite way of saying, “I don’t want to pay that much for it,” or more specifically, “I think there is some sentimental value in your asking price.”

    • Price adds up to right, the problem is its kind of priced out of the market. Its top shelf everything, but thats a Tavor or .308 AR-10 price right there. I personally don’t need top shelf, and if I did half the fun of AR’s is building and customizing it yourself. To paraphrase Finn (points for getting it), you are selling an already eaten fun pie. My best rifle is likely my customized M&P15 with its sweet 5R barrel, but my favorite rifle is my completely customized T53 Nagant. My favorite AR isn’t even the M&P15 though, its the pistol I built from a completely stripped lower, cerakoted, Timney trigger and ambi everything, with a Sig brace and its 3 different caliber (223 Wylde, 300BLK, 450B) uppers.

      TLDR version, people who spend that much on a rifle either buy it new from a name brand or they build it themselves.

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head, sir. I think Nick is reading the wrong emphasis in that statement. The guy’s not saying that it’s “your baby“, he’s saying it’s “your baby”.

      • IMHO it’s like modifying a car. It becomes totally personal. People will pay good money for a used, factory-configured AR-15 but they won’t pay good money for a custom build. If you want to pay for a custom build you want to do your own custom build. The chances of every single parts choice on a custom build matching the parts you would have chosen on your build are like winning the lottery. In order to sell a “frankengun,” no matter how nice, it needs to be discounted WAY under the value of the sum of the parts. You’d probably make more money parting it out. Just like modified cars.

        • You pretty well said what I wanted to say; there might be $2500 worth of parts (retail) in that rifle but it’s your custom build and it’s a used rifle. There are doubtless many expensive parts that someone else would either not have bought at all or for that price would have chosen differently. A custom car is a good example, so is a Harely Davidson; a $15,000 base price bike with $10,000 worth of custom accessories is barely worth $15,000 and then only in perfect condition and low mileage. Everyone will have their own critique but for that sort of money they want it their way and if they have to take the rifle configured your way the price would have to be such that it was too good a deal to pass up.

          You’re also working against the perception of some that it’s like a used race car; they might be buying your problem child. Also, with any unknown custom build there are always reliability concerns.

          If it were mine and I wanted top dollar I’d part out the higher end stuff as best I could and put the rifle back together with the cheap/factory parts all of us has in a box somewhere and sell it separately.

          If you’ve got lots of time you could hold your price and wait for a buyer to fall in love with your rifle.

          If you’re in a big hurry you’ll have to accept a loss and bottom line the price to move the rifle.

  5. Dont Sell it! I regret selling my first AR to this day, it was about a good 6 years ago. It was a beat up old rifle and a few things needed to be replaced every now and then but was in otherwise good working order, I loved it. Its weird to say, but I seemed to develop an emotional attachment to it

    I wouldnt sell it. Just my opinion.

    Oh yeah, thats an interesting BUIS setup you’ve got there…

  6. Sorry, but living in the “progressive” state of Massachusetts, I, an average citizen am not allowed to own such scary looking gun.

    • Its frightening how those scary imaginary lines on the ground transform people from responsible citizens exercising their rights to frothing mad criminals a pistol grip away from murdering each other.

  7. Isn’t the magazine in that rifle the one that you reviewed as garbage, and it broke on the first outing?

    • Texas gun trader is pretty good too.

      I personally think the asking price is too high unless someone is out there looking for this exact build.

      In my experience people will pay a hell of a lot more for a baseline rifle with decent optics than a super-duper wazoo’d out plain AR.

      • Love TexasGunTrader, I have to agree with you, some people dont care as much about not having a track driver and care a lot about an optic.

      • I personally think the asking price is too high unless someone is out there looking for this exact build.

        That’s pretty close to what I think the real issue may be, which is: ARs are just too darn configurable–if you’re going to budget upper-$1000’s for an AR it’s almost worth paying a little extra to get your perfect build rather than someone else’s vision of perfection. If, however, you’re talking middle-of-the-road builds there’s probably less reason to be so picky; it would probably be easier to dump a $900-1200 build on the market.

        That, and the AR market is totally flush with parts, pieces and other builds, new and used.

  8. I got my private pilot’s license.

    Then I switched hobbies to guns.

    It was cheaper.

    • I was going to say that if he has to sell this gun to start building hours, then he should be polishing up a few more for sale. (Also, I detect the ‘need the money’ line as pathetic dissembling. If he actually needed the money he’d sell the Wilson .45 and the AR.) “Please buy my gun so starving children in India can eat!”

      Long ago I ran away from boarding school to learn to fix and then fly helicopters in the army. Now that was one expensive set of lessons, but I didn’t have any guns to sell. Now I’m stuck with nothing but this crummy soaring license.

        • Sure. I was at a boarding school in Princeton, NJ. It has Attila’s last name, just to be obscure. The school was fine, but I had become extremely tired of having to ask my grandfather for money. (My father was long deceased.) So, I decided on adventure. I joined the Army, signing up to be a “crew chief” on a Huey, and taking the FAST test for heli flight school, which went well. While in basic training I also had to take the GED (HS equivalency) immediately, to qualify. That month the Army instituted a requirement of 2 years college, so I had to take the 2-years-of-college equivalency test a month later. That went very well, so I was in line for a FS place by the time I finished my mechanic training. However, they ended the practice of holding over in the states those on the waiting list. Instead, laugh, they sent me to RVN, where I had a very exciting year, late 1970-to-late 1971, including nearly every day of Lam Son 719, for those amused by history. When I came back I got my place in Primary Flight School at Ft. Wolters. Luckily I was part of a class in 1972 that received all training in leftover Kiowa’s (Bell Jet Rangers) instead of the Hughes 55’s. Nice. I finished PFS at Wolters, and then advanced (instrument) training at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. Next, with some help of my home-state senator I began college instead of active duty, then law school. Geo. From there my life has been peaceful, mostly involved with real-estate and zoning, but in diverse locations as counsel for, later a partner in, a…. partnership.

          Why did I call the flying lessons expensive? I think the story makes that clear. I had to put in a year of ‘hard time’ to get them. On the other hand the gov. paid for college and most of law school through the GI Bill. I have no serious complaints. I haven’t touched the controls of a chopper in 24 years, but I fly sailplanes often enough to stay current, and recently sent my son up in an aerobatics-rated sailplane to see what kind of stomach he has.

  9. It’s a neat gun. And I’m source set up for awesomeness(marinated in awesome sauce?) but it’s to much money for me. If I was in three gun I would have more draw for it but I’m not. Try auctions or is there like a 3 gun magazine or website? Maybe toss it in those classifieds.

      • Yep. It’s actually a charming place with a great campus. It was an easy walk into Princeton where the elder siblings of friends were studying, so weekends were extra fun. But still, Grandpa and the begging routine. “Never Again!” And it worked. Oddly enough, I ended up later in life managing my dead Grandpa’s money as a side activity, at his request. “Beg!” I didn’t say it, but I thought it.

  10. Ahhh, flying’s dangerous, if god wanted us to fly we’d have wings! Keep the rifle, MUCH SAFER! Hahahaha, just joshin, very sweet rifle, and at a swell price. Shit that barrel and comp are well over 5 bills alone!

    • You laugh, but actually being a low-hours pilot is dangerous. It is very common for people to keep their license up with the minimum current hours. Don’t fly with one of them.

  11. It looks like a nice piece of hardware. I would jump to take it off your hands if I could afford it. Once I get my feet under me in my new career, I look forward to taking on my first AR build.

  12. I’d be much more interests if it was a used Noveske 300 AAC upper. Good luck. That’s a nice gun.

  13. Isn’t that why we haven’t seen Tito Jackson for 20 years? The rest of them had so much plastic surgery they stripped him for parts?

  14. Comingled loanwords? You may as well mix metaphors, split infinitives, or, and we’re through the looking glass here, dangle a participle. It’s madness, MADNESS, I tell you!

    On the rifle, price it right and stick to the relevant facts, without personalizing its past, and it will sell. Rewrite the ad in terms of the potential buyer’s future with the rifle. Tell a story. If it must, that story can be a thinly veiled recitation of your general experience with the rifle. As long as the potential buyer is center of that narrative and clearly the star of the show, then they’ll imagine themselves with the rifle and more easily dissociate you from it.

    This technique is utterly invaluable when selling items with personal overtones, like a car, house or boat. Should work for a firearm, too.

  15. +1 on the pilot’s license, there’s nothing like it. Guaranteed to improve your driving as well, as the need to think in 3-dimensions makes your normal driving situational awareness that much better. It is, however, along with boats, sports cars, and divorces, and excellent way to become poor. Make sure your flight time is “directed”, meaning it directly goes to fulfilling the private license requirements. Some instructors can drag it out a bit because there isn’t a plan in place for what each flight is trying to accomplish. Of course, if you need more time to be proficient, that’s another issue entirely, but still something to watch out for. Good luck.

  16. Suggestion…try bartering it with your CFI for lessons. You may well find there’s more demand for it that way than you think.

  17. It’s a custom gun, like a custom car, nobody else really wants that gun, that’s why you had to build it custom. At 1750 I can build MY custom gun. They know full well it’s a nice rifle but it is not nearly nice enough to be worth paying the “exactly what I always wanted” premium that you, wanting exactly that, invested in it.

    Nobody has ever seriously worried about a stranger online having seller’s remorse later.

    • +eleventy billion.

      My father has a saying when buying old cars: “Always buy someone else’s dream.” Building anything on your own is fine–just realize you will never see more than a few pennies on the dollar when you sell it (unless you’re famous).

      PS. Nice ad. Hey, if anyone needs a pre-Remington Marlin 1895CB in .45-70, mine’s up for sale.

    • Bingo. Custom builds sell at massive discounts, even with excellent components. That’s why I love trolling ARFCOM EE looking for an otherwise excellent upper that the owner is selling at a huge hit.

      Further, tastes have evolved since that gun was built. Full length quad rails have fallen completely out of style, it uses a relatively heavy profile barrel (trend has been to go lighter outside of competition), and the furniture is a specific color that may not appeal to everyone. I’m really not surprised it’s not selling; I just think Nick is kidding himself about why.

      • Yup, dead on. It’s the way YOU wanted it, and everyone likes to dress their barbie differently. Hell, that’s half the fun too. In the end, you’ll never get your money back (or anywhere near $1700). I want to sell my first AR too (an equally sweet set up), but not ready to take the hit to do so. So keep it as my beater instead.

        And of course everyone is wondering why you have your rear BUIS way up the rail, but sure there has to be some reason for that, eh?

  18. The BATFE is always looking for guns they send to Mexico, I here they pay above MSRP!!Lololol Just kidding! Where are you located? FL GUN TRADERS FREE and we can do face to face private sales of firearms still. Or you can mail it to an FFL of the buyers choice. Just trying to help, im selling some stuff right now as well. Got to finish a remodel that’s gone 5k over budget as of today, I gringe every time the contractor phones, always another problem not able to have been noticed on first quote. Im like Great!

  19. If you want to sell it, why even mention that it’s your first AR build? Say what your dream is, and that this AR isn’t it. Somebody will buy it. Or they’ll offer you what they’ll pay. It’s not that nobody wants to buy it. It’s that nobody that’s seen it so far wants to buy it for what you want to sell it for. Used to hear the same thing years ago in the housing collapse. “Our house won’t sell, it’s been on the market for two years.” No, if you put a lower price on the thing, like $200K for a $200K market value, not $300K (what you owe) on a $200K market value… you might get some interest. Beauty and VALUE is in the eye of the buyer, not the seller.

    It doesn’t matter WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT. Not one whit, it doesn’t. It matters what people want, and how much they’ll pay for it. For guns, if people are willing to pay close to new prices for parts, they probably don’t want used ones. Sorry to say it, but custom guns are used. If you ever thought you’d get your money out of a used custom built gun, you’re mistaken…

  20. Let me see, how can I sell my gun?
    Maybe if my problem is published as an article in the hotest gun blog on the planet, I’ll get some advice.
    Or maybe it will be seen by a bazillion potential buyers.
    Oh, wait….

  21. Nick, this unfortunately is a lose-lose situation for you. Sell your baby and you’ll regret it; don’t get your pilot license and you’ll regret it.

    Me, personally, I love my guns and I love flying. (I’m fortunate enough to be a professional, and ex-military who’s only ever paid for taking the written tests and never for a single flight hour. Commerical Rotary Wing, Instrument, CFI, CFII, and ATP-Helicopter writtens were all on my dime.) But, if I had to ever choose, I’d have to give up all the guns except for the triumvirate for home and personal defense. A large caliber/capacity pistol, an AR, and a defense shotgun.

    • Ex-military pilot as well. Can’t buy your rifle here in CA. Like anything else you need to find the right buyer who’ll appreciate the deal on all the extras. Tough, like selling a customized car, you have to find the buyer with similar tastes who’ll want the extras you put in and like the discounted price he’s getting.

      Chase your dreams, even if you don’t catch them you’ll regret not making the effort. Love flying, military training was the best. I did pay for about ~10hrs of multi-fixed time in order to add a Multi-fixed ATP to my Commercial and Instrument Helicopter/Fixed ratings…

  22. I don’t wanna take your baby, because we all know you couldn’t just build another in the future.

  23. I got it.

    What about robbing people under a bridge? Or cooking meth (it worked out fine in Breaking Bad)?

    I must admit, it is a nice rifle. The color is nice and it seems like a “heavy” build. Though I can’t understand the short sight radius and quad rail.

  24. Put it on Craigslist. Just word it like “Selling 2-point sling, mounting points, and attached hardware for AR-15.”

  25. Since you posted it on Reddit, how many times were you accused of being a child killer or some variation thereof. Reddit can be very unfriendly.

  26. You’re about $1000 over what anyone is willing to pay for a used AR no matter how decked out.

  27. It’s a nice gun, but now that the gun confiscation in the greater part of USA is over there’s no chance you will get the price you are asking for. Plus, the potential gun buyers who tell you that you will regret it is probably because they did the same thing. I myself had an AR and sold it in a private sale and now regret it. My advice, do not sell it. It will be worth more to you than the cash value you are asking for. By all means if this is you only rifle, absolutely, without a doubt, sell one of your kidneys before you sell that rifle.

  28. Being in the business of building AR’s and uppers most people don’t care about the name on the rifle, they care about the price. In today’s market that will be a hard number to reach. I just bought an AR from a guy for 1200.00 (his price) with an 800.00 acog on it. Sold the scope and reused the parts for other builds.

  29. Glad to hear your working towards your ticket. I’ve been licensed for 25 years now.
    Keep it up! Try to fly no less than two or three times a week.
    A large majority of new pilots never continue on to getting their certificate. After soloing a while, they quit.
    I hope you are one of the very few that succeeds. It’s one heck of an accomplishment.

    Wait until you try to buy your own set of ANR headsets from Bose or David Clark, if you think your butt hurts now from the cost. There is a reason flying is called the rich mans sport.

  30. Thanks to all the panic buying which people in this sport are good at the AR market is now saturated. Prices will reflect this.

    Don’t go by the Gunbroker morons no one is paying their inflated asking prices.

    IMHO that’s a $1k-$1,200 gun, anymore and you could just buy the parts yourself and build it or buy a complete rifle.

  31. I’d argue that this is exactly how capitalism is supposed to work. A system in which something is only as valuable as what someone is willing to give you for it.

  32. I think the lesson here may be, ‘if you don’t overpay for guns and gun parts, you can still afford to do other things.’ Perhaps building a super tricked-out rifle instead of one that was good enough might have been an over-extension of funds.
    It seems to me that parts and accessories are about twice the price they should be these days, anyway. Little pieces of milled steel with a gas-blasted coating should not be as expensive as they are.

  33. I learned today that Reddit has a guns for sale sub. Its to be expected, but, alas…I didn’t know. *registers for account*

  34. Bottom line: It is a money thing, Nick.

    Move the rear BUIS back, sign it, and put it up for 1k and it will sell.

    Might induce tears however, thinking of all you lost on it. That’s why I won’t sell my first AR. I learned alot building it, so serves as a (tearless) reminder of where I started…

  35. Flying is an awesome hobby for me, so is shooting. You can always buy another weapon. Fly safe.

  36. This is why I’m stuck with my AZEX AK-47, really. So custom it hurts. Nobody will buy it because anybody that is looking to drop that kind of money on an AR-15 already more than likely knows enough to build their own, and everybody else will look at the market saturated full of $800-$1000 rifles that are pretty alright for range plinkers. The people that want something like that are few and far inbetween, which is why I’ve all but given up on selling my fully custom AK47.

    • At least you didn’t buy a Krebs. I always look at those things, basically a slightly customized Saiga, and think – you want $1k+ for THAT?

      • That’s why I bought an Arsenal SAM7R-51. I had planned to spend a grand or so, mount some good optics of some type, in this case an Aimpoint T1 with an RS Regulate mount and that’s it! I saw no practical reason to get stupid with it.

  37. I already have a great lower. I need ammo more.

    besides, for most of us, all the extra high zoot gear doesn’t make us better shooters. Id score as well (or as badly) with my Keltec SU-16 as the author’s piece. I’m good enough for “minute of threat” but that’s it.


  38. What’s the theory behind the short sight radius? Optics interefered with the usual placement?

  39. You have my sympathy trying to sell right now because every buyer is participating in a manhood measuring contest about who can spend the least on an AR-15 rather than who can get the nicest one.

  40. Yeah high end AR’s are a great way to lose money, I have $2,800 into one of mine including the Eotech on top, but I know it might be worth half of that, at best. Still that’s Ok, its a heck of a lot more gun than the $1k new specials.

    Keep it, shoot it, save up for the flying time.

  41. Like the gun Nick, but I’m not looking to spend anywhere that kind of money on one. I am not a competitor and was really just wanting a good used stock mini-14. Problem is I can get a brand new basic S&W M&P 15 for around 650.00 or even less if I shop a little. Only someone wanting a top of the line competition rifle is going to pay that kind of money. The general gun buyers are going to stay far away, and the competition people are going to want to start from the ground floor and build their perfect piece. If you part it out you may just get more, but not likely 1700.00 unless you get just the right sucker, I mean knowledgeable used hardware buyer. Now if it was a 10/22 takedown rifle those are a little hard to get a hold of and I know some people are paying as much as 1 1/2 times the MSRP to get them.

  42. Nick,

    One of the first things you need to do is find some other pilots who fly for recreation and inquire if you can join them. Tell them you would be happy to “share expenses” (important legal phrase with FAA) and if they want to fly to a BBQ place out of town on a Saturday you can tag along. This cuts your cost per hour but not the fun per hour. You can learn a lot from observation of others and it is preferable to not have every flight be one exercise right after another. Love every minute of it from the beginning and if it takes longer and cost more, hey you were already doing the fun stuff from the beginning, not waiting till the day you got your ticket $9,000 / 18 months later.

    You must, I repeat MUST let your instructor know that you are going to do this first though so that he can help you select folks that you should and should not fly with. Some good folks are not good pilots and you do not want to blindly trust anyone with a ticket with your life. They could kill you or leave you with bad habits down the line.

    See if there is a chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association on your local field, those folks are fascinating and wonderful in ways I will not attempt to quantify but readily become apparent.

  43. Lets put this in car perspective. If I build a custom hotrod myself with a hundred thousand dollars out of a Nash Ambassador, it’s going to sell for… the same as an unmolested unrestored Nash Ambassador. An 85 Mustang will sell as an 85 Mustang even if you put hundreds of thousands into it. Gold is worth the price of gold, but the price of a gold ring is still only worth the price of the gold no matter how fancy you made it.

    Look at how cheap an AR sells for. Not how expensive the top of the line sells for, but middle of the road. blah. People want a steal. and your gun with no corporate backing will sell like a used AR-15 no-name. If you want to make money, or get more out of it than a cheap no-name used AR-15, sell the parts. The parts are the name. And you can sell everything but the lower anywhere it’s legal to ship to.

    • I would consider parting the rifle out as well. There may come a day when you’ll want an extra good AR lower around. And sadly, I think Nick can’t help but lose money on it. Unless he waits for another panic and sells to some poor sap who didn’t have the foresight to pick up an AR when the getting was good, he’s selling a used rifle.

  44. ” The gun boasts about $2,500 of top-of-the-line kit…”

    I couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling. The same thing happens when someone puts a bunch of stuff and money on a motorcycle and expects it to rise in value commiserate with their drop in liquidity. They get brought down to reality pretty hard.

    If you want a top of the line gun that holds its value, buy a top of the line gun. If you want to build your own gun, don’t expect it to be worth anything like what you put into it when you try and sell it to someone else. Plenty of people will buy your gun, but not at ‘your’ price when they can get a new one cheaper.

    • The car analogy is pretty perfect – I’ll add that when I put $1000 in mods into my car it adds a $1000 in value to me but to someone else I just deducted $333 in value from the car. A stock car is always worth more on the open market than a modded one and the same holds true with guns.

      I’ll add that I’m currently in the market to build my first AR15 and it’s close to what I want but I’d rather spend another $700 to get exactly what I want and since I’m going there I want all of the parts to be new.

  45. I broke up with my (now) wife, (then) girlfriend my senior year in college. No chick would date me after I broke up, saying I was going out with her. Couldn’t get rid of her. Now I’m married to her.

  46. I haven’t seen this mentioned yet, so I’ll add it into the mix.

    When I read an ad for a used AR-style rifle/carbine, the phrase “my old competition rifle” (in combination with knowing you shoot 3-gun) = “rifle that has been run hard and hot, repeatedly”. When I’m buying an AR, that’s exactly the opposite of what I’m looking for. I want shot-occasionally-and-slowly used, not shot-until-it-was-too-hot-to-touch-every-other-weekend used.

    That, and what everyone else said about building your own custom, if you want custom.

    Maybe scrawl your name on the receiver flat, and sell it as a limited-edition Nick Leghorn Signature Series Carbine (one of one)?

  47. The rifle above looks like a pretty nice rig, but I think a couple things are getting in the way:

    1. I just learned that Reddit is a way for people to sell firearms. Do a lot of people really go there looking for guns? I’d also post it on some online forums and local classifieds. Also, let people around at competitions know your rifle is for sale. Use it and place well with it, then let it be known that you’ve got a price on it.

    2. Everyone is looking for something different in his AR. We personalize them, so there may be reluctance to buy someone else’s personal rifle.

    3. The AR market is kind of saturated. After over a year of buying them, everyone has one or two. It’s hard to justify buying a rifle if you have two of them already.

  48. No, it’s just because you invested so much into your dream rifle doesn’t mean somebody else is willing to. Face it, Nick. They’re just being polite with that excuse. “I wouldn’t DREAM off letting you part with that thing…”

    And nice ad.

  49. There’s a veritable river of iron coming out of manufactures of AR’s, AR receivers, AR parts, doo-dads, thingmajigs, doofus decorations (I’m talking about the “zombie gun” guys…) and so on. There’s absolutely no shortage of AR’s, AR parts and so on. Open up the Brownells’ catalog and count pages. Just count how many pages are devoted to AR’s vs. 1911’s vs. “everything else.” AR’s have more pages of stuff by more manufactures in a more dizzying array of configurations than any other gun in history, IMO.

    So your taste in components might not be someone else’s taste in components. They might be looking at that rifle and thinking “Yes, at $X.Y, I’d buy it, and then immediately change the front grip tube from the Frobnicator Unobtanium Fiber to (insert something else here for $200.00)” That buyer looks at at least that much of your rifle and isn’t willing to pay anything for it, because he’s thinking of how he’s going to get rid of it.

    This line of thinking comes about because there’s almost no gunsmithing skill that goes into an AR. They’re straightforward lego guns. There’s no additional barrier to entry on changing parts out on the rifle other than a few tools and a little bit of skill – there’s rarely any fee for a real gunsmith to get involved, as there was when guys wanted to change over a Mauser 98 to sporter configuration (eg). When a guy buys an old, sporterized Mauser, they reckon on the cost of making changes, and whether or not the work was done properly. Anyone who knows old guns who wants lots of changes to them knows there’s a big pot of money involved in taking it from “configuration A” to “configuration B” and a fair bit of that is the gunsmith’s billed time and supplies.

    The effort to change an AR merits nothing in the price today. If I’m billing $65/hour for my time, and I say “well, changing X to Y on an AR took 30 minutes plus the parts cost” all the typical AR customer now hears is “parts cost.” They don’t hear $30+ for my time – because they could do it themselves.

    My fellow gunsmiths and I trade AR parts like a barter currency. There’s the really nice components, that might be worth lots of generic stuff, and then there’s the generic parts that are good quality that are like $20 bills, and then there’s the crappy parts that we toss in with some other stuff when we’re swapping for something more valuable. I’ve got boxes and boxes of AR parts that I use simply for swap currency with my buddies. That’s how gunsmiths view AR’s and AR parts. They’re never going to be worth the sum of the cost of their parts in the secondary market, because there’s so much new stuff coming out all the time. I’ve got new, unopened package AR parts that have gone down in value because much nicer parts are now available for the same price I paid two to five years ago.

    In short, AR’s are depreciating assets.

    People have given me an earful when I say “I don’t do AR’s.” They take it as “Oh, you’re too good to work on AR’s.” Wrong.

    I work on my own AR’s. I own six of the things, in various states of completion, reconfiguration, change, etc. Two of them are basically shop mules.

    So I do a bunch of AR work – on my own guns. But do I work for people who don’t want to pay for that work, which is (I’ve found) much of the AR market? No, because not being paid for my work is kind of an impediment to being able to run a business for very long.

    And this is part of the reason why I don’t think you’re going to get $2K for that gun, Nick. Sorry, but that’s the hard truth.

  50. I feel yor pain dude but thats the way it goes with built up “custom” guns. I had a “custom” 38Super race gun built by a big name gunsmith and parts mfr. Ran it for a year and was happy to get 50% of what I had in it when I sold it. The bottom has fallen out of the AR mkt as well. U could buy a complete upper and lower fom PSA 2 weeks ago with transfer for less than $500. With match ammo their 1/8 and 1/7 bbls willshoot sub moa. I know its not apples to apples but its a buyers mkt either way.

    • Yep, now is the time to buy AR’s, but not to sell them. The LGS was blowing out M&P Sports during their big spring sale this past weekend for $569 each. If you’re getting into the AR market, it’s hard to beat that. If you’re more intermediate or pro, you know what you’re looking for and where to find it, and you also want to build “your” rifle instead of buy someone else’s.

  51. Nick,

    Sell the gun. I’m an active shooter. (I refuse to stop using that term) and also a private pilot. There is a surprising amount of cross over. While I can’t say most gun guys are pilots, I can say that most pilots are at least casual gun guys.

    Flying is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I love shooting but flying is my first love. I’ve recently gotten back more into shooting since my children were born. The risk profile for the kind of flying I did was just too much for the father of young children. This left me time and money, lots of money, to get back into shooting.

    Sell the gun, get your ticket and have a blast. Sometimes it even works out perfectly. Like the time i flew to a match. That is the best. After I got back from the match, i told my wife that I was 2/3 of the way to a perfect day. wink wink, nudge nudge.


  52. One other thing. If you want to spend the least on instruction, then be prepared to spend money quickly. I scheduled 4 lessons per week. Typically 1 was cancelled either for weather or because my instructor had a charter to do. Three lessons per week is much more than three times as effective than once per week. I’d say I averaged 2.5 lessons per week.

    When you fly once per week, you spend half of the lesson getting back to where you were at the end of the previous lesson.

    Then once you solo, you have pattern work to keep you busy.

    My other suggestion centers on aircraft. A Cessna 150 is a vastly superior trainer to the Cherokee 140. This is true for 3 reasons:
    1) The 150/152 are grossly underpowered. Power hides mistakes. Learn to fly properly with an underpowered airplane.

    2) The Piper is too benign in a stall. Based on what your personality seems to be, you will want to learn to be a superior stick and rudder pilot. (you’ll soon figure out what I mean). Most flight schools don’t teach you how to be a good stick and rudder pilot. They teach you enough to pass your check ride in as few hours as possible. In the process they teach you to fly WRONG. Three examples:
    a. Every landing should be nearly a full stall. Don’t fly it on. But flying it on is easier. So many instructors let you get away with it. My instructor used to praise me when i’d lightly drag the tail tie down ring just as I touched down.
    b. Every landing should be a power off landing. (google it)
    c. Learn to use the rudder. Most pilots don’t know how to use the rudder. if a wing dips during a stall it has to be INSTINCTIVE for you to pick it up with the rudder not the ailerons.

    The Cessna will drop a wing if the plain is not in coordinated flight at stall. It will get your attention and you will learn. The Piper has so much washout and dihedral that the ailerons are fully functional throughout the stall.

    3) The Piper’s oleo struts reward you for sloppy landings. On the piper the landing gear will suck up all the energy if you drop it on. The Cessna, with its spring gear will launch you back into the air if you screw up the flare. Again, the piper to TOO forgiving to be a good trainer.

    I hope this is helpful.


    p.s. Also, train at as small and short an airport as possible. Preferably non-tower controlled. This will teach you see and avoid habbits. Its much easier to get crisp when talking to tower later in your flying carreer than it is to learn how to properly work a non tower controlled airport.

    • Old carrier pilot here, heavy multi, commercial, ATP, etc and enough Cessna 150 time to concur, above. Smaller is more fun and makes you a better pilot.

      Get in the air now and dont look back.

      You arent getting younger and when you find that crazy hot babe and start a family, and you will, I suspect, your wild and crazy spending ways will change…

      • Carriers? I took my first 15 hours of sailplane instruction in Warrenton, VA 28 years ago. My IP was then a Navy wing commander named George. He did soaring most weekends. I will never forget the intensity with which that guy brought down the dual trainer every single time on the first five flights. The second we turned short final his face would start to get red. On final (fairly steep, trees around the short runway) I thought he was going to have a stroke: He’d work the controls so intensely, used the air-brakes like a chopper collective, and the ship would roll to a stop exactly lined up to be turned 90º onto the takeoff runway. Just amazing skill. Didn’t vary the stopping point by more than perhaps 10 feet. (No brakes…)

    • Good post. I didn’t want to get into all of it. Too much, too long. I’d suggest he run to the library and get a copy of Stick And Rudder, but honestly, you know as well as I do that he will do some dual, maybe even solo and that will be it.

      I’ve been in airplanes most of my 57 years….well 57 tomorrow on 04/02, been licensed for 25 years.
      I’d suggest he not fly very much in 150s. You touched on the reasons. I did most of my training in 172s a Warrior and an Arrow. N15744 to be exact.

      However, if he wants to sell something to fund his flying, I hate to say this, he can’t afford it. I know it’s blunt, but that’s the reality of it
      If he wants to get his private ticket, he needs quite a bit of disposable income, which he doesn’t appear to have if he wants to sell possessions to fund his first flight portion of training.

  53. Nick. The money you have in it is a “sunk cost”. That means you aren’t getting it back while its sitting in your safe, and a big part of it is gone for good to depreciation which DG and others are telling you is accelerating…

    On the other hand, you can think of the $1000 cash offer, or (maybe some amount of hours of instruction by someone bartering,

    as an investment with ROI if your flying lessons are going towards any future employment.

    If flying is just for fun, then its all expense of course. And well worth it. Go for it!

    Whatever you do, dont buy a sailboat.
    Or a horse…

    • Maybe some CFII or owner of a flight school is looking for a cool AR at a good price. Wonder what internet forums they read?

      • One early morning, I’d arrived at the airport to take my RV-4 up for an early morning flight. There was a guy in a bathrobe walking from his hangar to the showers. I stopped and asked him what was up.

        He said his wife had thrown him out. Then he gave me this pearl of wisdom:

        If it FLYS, F$%KS, OR FLOATS, you are better off renting than buying.

        I love that.

        @Nick – aviation has much better sayings than shooting.
        1) Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground.
        2) The 3 best things in life are a good dump, a good orgasm, and a good landing. A night carrier landing is all three rolled into one.
        3) What happens in the cockpit stays in the cockpit. (Google “NASA Form”)
        4) Its called a COCKpit for a reason.

        . . .

        • Old US Navy pilots have told me the exact same thing.

          Sage wisdom, IMO.

          Never finished my PPSEL ticket. Instructor was hired away and the 250-hour wonder who replaced him worried me. Wonder if I’ll ever get it finished.

          BTW, most of my 55+ hours were in a Cessna 152. I loved how honest it was. Liked it more than the Cessna 172 – it had more crosswind control, and in the intermountain west, that’s a good thing to have.

  54. My opinion is that selling a gun to finance flying is a bad idea. You are gong to end with no gun and not flying, and here’s why.

    First, amounts are incomparable. I spent $14,400 up to checkride. Sure, I was a bad student. Let’s be generous and say you are going to need $10k. The $1,700 rifle is not going to help!

    Second, you cannot just get your PPL and be done. You must continue flying at a certain rate, which means you are going to continue hemorraging money, otherwise you lose currency and you’ll crash. The glossy magazines are full of articles like “how to stay current on 35 hours a year”. The realisting amount you need is 50 hours _minimum_. More if you take out IR.

    If you want to fly, you must have an income that supports the habit. Or, find a way to fly cheaper. Buy a small experimental, keep it on a trailer, whatever. This is a reason why the number of pilots fell to 1/3 of their numbers in 1980s: nobody can afford flying.

    • Pete,

      That sounds VERY high. I don’t know what a 152 costs wet these days. But I got my ticket with a bit over 30 hours dual and 21 hours solo for a total of a bit over 51 hrs. It would have been less solo time but my check ride was delayed twice because of weather and I had to keep flying to maintain proficiency.

      I credit my scheduled 4x per week of instruction with this. Like I said in my above post, if you fly once per week, you will take much longer and spend a lot more. I got my ticket in a bit less than 4 months.

      A quick internet search showed a 152 for $85/hr in FL. Texas is probably similar.

      If we figure 60 hrs, thats $5100 + instructor time (30 hrs@50/hr) of $1500 = $6600.

      Now add $1400 just in case I estimated low and you are at $8000.

      The key is to have the pile of money up front and take several lessons per week. Another thing that helped me is I had already passed the written before I started flying. So I already understood the theory.

      • I all but guarantee that $85/hr wet is not real, even on a 152. Or at least it’s not real anywhere outside of Florida where a big school puts 500 hours on it every month. There’s going to be a ruinous fuel surcharge that the FBO forgot to mention or something like that.

    • Flying a basic 4 seater or a high performance 2 seater costs about what a 26 foot power boat costs.

      $40K for a decent Cherokee 140 or a nice Vans RV4.
      $2K/yr maintenance
      $1500 insurance
      $3000 for a private hangar (about what a slip will cost with winter storage)
      And less fuel cost.

    • Sad reality huh. When I started in 89 at SFF, there were a half dozen FBOs on the field that rented aircraft. One FBO had a half dozen 172s on top of the other 150s, 180 and 182 etc.
      Today, there is not one single FBO on the field that rents craft. Even GEG didn’t have anything until recently. They have an Cirrus SR22 that I have a major woody to fly, but at $350 an hour, I’ll can lose the woody real fast.

      One of the problems with GA in the Pacific Northwest is weather. We don’t have 365 days of flying weather like they do in Florida or Arizona. That down time for planes is expensive, not forgetting that it’s not good for students to take weeks off from stick time. Flight schools need to keep those planes flying. Insurance doesn’t take a weather vacation.

      A guy can get into a Cessna or Piper pretty reasonable. You don’t have to have the nicest boat on the water to go out and have fun and you don’t have to have the nicest plane with the latest avionics. I could really care less about all that. As long as it has a radio and basic VOR, ADF and a compass, I can find it, although you can’t go wrong with a little yoke mount GPS.

      I could talk aviation all day long and there are really so few of us anymore.

  55. Nick: TTAG raffle! One dollar buy in, one ticket per user. You can fly the rifle to the winner for the FFL transfer after you get your pilot’s license.

    • I’m in. I like the out-of-the-box thinking Mojo.
      Heres another:

      Nick, maybe you can find someone to loan you a couple grand, and reduce their interest rate by the monthly storage rate you charge to keep the collateral in your safe.

      Or reduce the cash price by offering to barter your time for pig hunting guiding. Hows the pig hunting in TX anyway? Man that would make a story.
      Is it even Kosher?

  56. If i had money, I’d buy and not feel a lick of guilt. Unfortunately I’ve got about $50 and no one will hire me… Have fun flying… First world problems…

  57. I never sell my guns. Id sell my house, my dog my truck.. But my innards tell me to never sell my guns.

  58. try or any gun forum WTS in the exchange sections so many different ways to market this rifle.

  59. chances are you will join the 70% of pilots who rack up 100 hours flight time and never fly again. like me. I don’t regret learning to fly, or the money spent, but in the end it served no purpose and solved no problem.

  60. If I could afford it, I’d buy it without any qualms. Your selling it, It’s not my job to wonder why your selling or if you’ll regret it.

  61. Like others have said, once you make it custom, it’s custom to you, and you only. If I’m interested in a custom rifle I’ll customize it myself, not buy someone else’s custom handiwork that’s now used. This transcends many things… cars, bicycles, guitars, etc… it’s like artwork now. You have to find someone that wants exactly that but can’t do it themselves, making this even tougher, because assembling an AR out of parts isn’t exactly the hardest thing to do. You’re target audience dwindles to only exact minded people who look at it and think ‘that’s exactly how I wanted to do it but don’t know how to, and don’t want to spend the time do it, this is perfect!’. Which exponentially decreases the likelihood of a quick sale. The thing that sucks is everyone knows it’s a really nice rifle, but it’s custom to someone else’s desires, so the cost isn’t justified.

    With anything custom, best bet is to part it out. Takes longer but you’d probably make more.

    This is why I only customize things I own if I know that I will never sell it (hard to predict). I’ll never customize anything that was expensive to begin with (learned my lesson already), because you’re stuck with whatever it is, or will take a huge hit on it if/when you need to sell it.

  62. Yea about the price……there is not a rifle in the world worth 1750$ I dont care if its made of solid gold and diamonds. 1750$ is outrageous.
    I doubt that rifle can do anything my 700$ RRA LAR15 cant do. Well except cost more.

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