By Hailee Franco
When it comes to shopping for a new rifle there are many facets to consider. From hunting, to self-defense and beyond, there tends to be an optimal gun for any occasion. For instance, the LR-308 and AR-15 are built with a similar form in mind but each gun excels in different ways depending on function. So how do you choose between the two? There are two main factors to consider that may help you make the best choice, the application and expense.
It is important for the end user to consider application before choosing one of these rifles as they have considerable differences in ballistics, weight and accessories available for each weapon. The AR-15 is more versatile when it comes to these three factors. Not only are there a variety of calibers available from Subsonic 300 Blackout to .50 Beowulf, but it is also easier to customize due to the amount of AR accessories and furniture available. Accessories for this platform are almost infinite with different optic configurations, rail accessories, barrel length options and stocks available. The AR-15 is adaptable to any user and preference desired.
The LR-308 on the other hand is a powerhouse in terminal ballistics when compared to any caliber of AR-15. The LR-308 market is much smaller in comparison though. As such, there are far fewer aftermarket accessories available, making the rifle a much less versatile option for users. 308 users tend to use this platform in the Semi-Auto Sniper System rather than the more adaptable CQB of the AR-15. Although the 5.56 NATO has been shown to be effective on targets at 500+ yards, the .308 is a much more suitable round at such distances.
A direct comparison in terms of physical differences is minimal. Although the weight and magazine capacity differs, AR-15’s tend to be built much lighter. This is due to the smaller caliber round normally utilized in the standard 30 round magazine. If the application is for higher ballistic capabilities at medium to long range, the 308 would have a clear advantage, but in any other application and use, the AR-15 is the better option.
Another factor that is always high on the list of priorities is the cost difference between these two systems. Although both rifles have similar appearance, the price tag can be much more when going with an LR-308. Prices can be double that of an AR-15 depending on brand and configurations available. While the low end AR-15 can be purchased below $800, 308s with that price tag are almost nonexistent and often exceed the $1500 mark. These prices reflect the standard platform with no accessories.
When looking for the right AR setup there is no perfect fit for every user. Each rifle is different and can be customized to meet the needs of each individual. When deciding on your next AR, think first about purpose and then about price, and find the best fit for you.