Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

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Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:40 pm

Hello all, I have come seek some guidance from those who have more experience in these than me.

It is now late 2014, supply and demand from post-panic sales has starting making its mark on the firearm market. There are millions upon millions (I exaggerate) AR15 style rifle manufacturers. Quality AR rifles are now seen at prices well below $600. 223/5.56 ammo is cheap. Russian AKs and Russian 5.45 and 7.62 ammo is not as cheap as it used to be. There are trade embargos with Russia because Crazy Comrade Putin is on the Vodka again and our leaders wanna play politics.

Ar15 rifles used to be cheapest if you built your own. But with a flooded market, is that still the case? Today, if you bought a $20k Civic, and parted it out, it would be worth $100k (if you could sell it all). Is that how ARs are now? I've priced out a parts rifles with average quality parts for about $600-650. But I can find decent new rifles from a good manufacturer for less than that sometimes.

Here is my question:

Is it time to get into the AR game and put the AK/SKS's in my gun safe for a while?
Say I do get an AR, is it a bargain to build my own or just buy one and add to it later if I choose?
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:44 pm

*** explanation ***

The reason I am looking at an AR is because I've always wanted one but never got around to buying one because I like my "commie" firearms. However, I have decent experience running the platform in the service and I am thinking about "getting back in the game" so I might as well start training with one again. This is the same reason I might be grabbing myself a cheap 92FS to get my muscle memory back.

So for those that say "just keep stocking up on what you have", it might not be the most pertinent to my situation.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:51 pm

I don't believe you can buy a complete rifle of quality make for under $650.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by majorhavoc » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:08 pm

The collective value of parted-out Honda Civic isn't really a valid comparison when doing a cost/value analysis of self built versus factory built AR rifles. Most major car parts are model/make specific, whereas almost everything about an AR is standardized.

The prices of both factory new ARs and their constituent components have fallen through the floor compared to where they were at the height of the panic just 18 months ago. It's now entirely possible to build an entire AR rifle for under $500, or buy a decent factory new specimen for $700.

On the build it yourself side of things, the following is an extreme example of just how low you can go. This particular deal, while not presently available, is indicative of where the market is at:

http://slickdeals.net/f/7248934-complet ... le-399?v=1

Of course, the above referenced rifle kit is an absolute bargain basement AR. I personally would recommend holding out for at least a chromed bore and a forged alloy lower.

There is something to be said for a factory built AR with a fully warranty and manufacturer support. Plus you can walk out the door with a functioning firearm, whereas the real time commitment with building your own isn't assembling the damn thing, it's waiting for all the individual components to arrive.

Either way, the AR has recently emerged as a bona fide contender as "the poor man's tactical rifle/carbine". That's remarkable.

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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:37 pm

Thanks for the perspective. I guess I should say that I want an entry level "el cheapo" AR. I know Daniel Defense and Colt and all those other premium rifles offer an excellent poduct, but I am a lowly peasant and only want a bargain range toy (I am a sucker for cheap stuff that I can fix up to good stuff).

The rifles I am talking about have these prices online:

Armalite Defender: $600
S&W M&P Sport: $600
Ruger AR556: $600
DelTon Sport: $525
DPMS Oracle: $480
Core15 M4: $650

add $40 for ffl fee and background check.

From my research, these rifles are good enough to get the job done and most come from a decent manufacturer. But please, correct me if I am going astray...
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by majorhavoc » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:55 pm

I imagine there'll be some excellent Black Friday AR deals coming up. Both for assembled and DIY ARs. Whatever you decide, consider dropping just a little extra coin for a quality barrel and bolt carrier group.

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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:40 am

I was thinking even an after Christmas sale when sales get slow. Any advice on the BCG and barrel?? what brands and models?? what specs to look for?
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:46 am

The only two rifles on that list worth half a damn are the Ruger and the CORE M4.

Delton has been hit and miss, DPMS is country-fried horseshit, the M&P sport is okay but is very solidly a toy or a low-round-count rifle, and Armalite can suck my dick in terms of QC and truth in advertising.

The Ruger is new, so expect a recall.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:16 am

So million dollar question:

In today's market, can I build an equal quality rifle for less than a Ruger AR556 or Core15 M4??

I will take your word on the DPMS, Armalite, Delton, and I agree with the M&P being a toy as it was the "premiere budget" gun a year ago. What are your thoughts on the Mossberg?
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by eeb » Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:33 am

What exactly are the problems with DPMS?(Yes, I've seen various reports of the old days, and residual hatred, I'm curious about recent examples.) My Sportical (A15) has met my recreational purposes well, and accepted the various ".mil-spec" pieces I've installed (I've heard the old ones only liked DPMS charging handles, but mine's functioned well with BCM, Core15, DSA steel, and a couple others whose manufacturer slip my mind at the moment).

Hard to beat $480(plus tax,NICS,and fees), even with a home build.Seems to be a budget conscious method of acquiring an example of the breed to contrast with the comblock goods, if I'm reading Keepers' OP right, and that's his purpose.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:56 am

Unlined barrel, out of sp c chambers, warrranty still voided by anything other than US made brass-cased ammo, extruded uppers, poor upper/lower fit with other uppers, semi-auto BCGs, and generally poor QC. Like the M&P they're great for a couple mags on range day, unlike the M&P I wouldn't trust one for anything else. Had one as a project gun and was constantly disappointed, until I sold it for more than I had in it.

That's like buying a crooked-built Century to contrast with ARs. Bottom of the barrel will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
For a budget gun, I'd buy an upper and lower around black Friday. Way cheaper that way.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by eeb » Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:42 pm

Gotcha. Country-fried horseshit just doesn't scream scientific reasoning ;) Ya know, I've seen some good prices on Colts lately, might be worth it to save up the few extra bucks and get the original. Well, as close to the original as you can get since the real Armalite isn't around anymore.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Unorthodox » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:36 pm

Could grab a BCM upper receiver. BCM is offering a free bolt carrier group with their uppers. Pieced with a Magpul MOE fore end and Gunfighter charging handle, it comes out to about $580

Yeah, you'll blow your wad on the upper but from that you can build a lower as the funds become available. Lower receivers and parts kits are a dime a dozen. At least with a BCM upper and bolt carrier group, you know you're starting off right.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by 91Eunozs » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:49 pm

Smokin' deal at PSA right now, can't get any cheaper than this:

Lower (sale ends tomorrow): http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... gory/4345/
Upper: http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... andle.html

Edit: Out of stock but PSA BCG and charging handle is $99: http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... dle-1.html

I'd add a BCM charging handle and BCG (it'd be the best part of this build by far), a couple mags, a sling, some cheap sights plus shipping/transfer fees and you're into an AR for ~ $500. Shoot out that barrel and replace it down the road and upgrade as required when stuff breaks...I'd consider a better barrel and trigger sooner rather than later and add different furniture and still be into this for less than $750 or so.

Hell, I'm tempted to buy this myself just to have something to keep out at the ranch or bury in a cache somewhere. I'd damn sure check everything to make sure it's built right but man that's cheap, even for a range toy/plinker/truck gun.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by LJ126 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:06 pm

Many police departments issue and authorize entry-level AR-15 carbines and rifles, and these serve the role just fine. There are a lot of Bushmasters, Stags and DPMS rifles in the hands of the thin blue line, and while they're nothing special, they work just fine.

What I've found is that in most cases, when you buy a lower cost AR-15, you're only skipping out on all of the nicer features associated with higher-priced rifles. The difference in reliability and dependability between low-cost and high-cost AR-15 rifles is greater on the internet than it is on the firing range, and these falsities are often perpetuated by people with neither the judgement or experience to speak on the matter.

EDIT: Please note, I'm not directing the above criticism at anyone here. I'm referring to the internet in general. It seems that forums, especially those of the firearms enthusiasts, tend to have a lot of people who simply repeat something that they saw or heard once before. Then the embellishment starts. Before long, the embellishments become the established legacy for an entire brand or product line. We've all seen this happen.

My DPMS 5.56 Oracle has a lot of rounds through it (more than most of you would believe if I posted the count) and many more left before she's done ticking. Regular maintenance and swapped gas rings is all I've done (other than the handguards) and it's never given me any issues, despite fairly rough treatment. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one to another person interested in getting an entry-level rifle.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by videoflyguy » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:28 pm

I don't own an AR yet, but like you I plan to soon. I am planning on getting the Ruger AR556 like you mentioned above. I mean, sure, its got the proprietary delta ring but Ruger even said you can swap it out for a regular one easy enough.

The reasons I value the Ruger above all else it the fact that it has 1:8 barrel twist, it has a dust cover and forward assist(negligible), but it has THE lowest price I can find at my local gun shop: $555 out the door. It is an American branded rifle that has a great warranty behind it.

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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:31 pm

LJ126 wrote:Many police departments issue and authorize entry-level AR-15 carbines and rifles, and these serve the role just fine. There are a lot of Bushmasters, Stags and DPMS rifles in the hands of the thin blue line, and while they're nothing special, they work just fine.

What I've found is that in most cases, when you buy a lower cost AR-15, you're only skipping out on all of the nicer features associated with higher-priced rifles. The difference in reliability and dependability between low-cost and high-cost AR-15 rifles is greater on the internet than it is on the firing range, and these falsities are often perpetuated by people with neither the judgement or experience to speak on the matter.

My DPMS 5.56 Oracle has a lot of rounds through it (more than most of you would believe if I posted the count) and many more left before she's done ticking. Regular maintenance and swapped gas rings is all I've done (other than the handguards) and it's never given me any issues, despite fairly rough treatment. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one to another person interested in getting an entry-level rifle.
You should bring that rifle to a MilCopp class.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by LJ126 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:10 pm

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
LJ126 wrote:Many police departments issue and authorize entry-level AR-15 carbines and rifles, and these serve the role just fine. There are a lot of Bushmasters, Stags and DPMS rifles in the hands of the thin blue line, and while they're nothing special, they work just fine.

What I've found is that in most cases, when you buy a lower cost AR-15, you're only skipping out on all of the nicer features associated with higher-priced rifles. The difference in reliability and dependability between low-cost and high-cost AR-15 rifles is greater on the internet than it is on the firing range, and these falsities are often perpetuated by people with neither the judgement or experience to speak on the matter.

My DPMS 5.56 Oracle has a lot of rounds through it (more than most of you would believe if I posted the count) and many more left before she's done ticking. Regular maintenance and swapped gas rings is all I've done (other than the handguards) and it's never given me any issues, despite fairly rough treatment. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one to another person interested in getting an entry-level rifle.
You should bring that rifle to a MilCopp class.
I'll sign up if you do. :roll:

On a serious note though, Ohio is just a wee-bit out of my way. My DPMS has managed (according to some on the internet, "by the grace of God") to make its way through a few different classes, some fairly intense, at reputable schools in the STL area. I don't see why it wouldn't handle MilCopp.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:18 pm

LJ126 wrote:
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
LJ126 wrote:Many police departments issue and authorize entry-level AR-15 carbines and rifles, and these serve the role just fine. There are a lot of Bushmasters, Stags and DPMS rifles in the hands of the thin blue line, and while they're nothing special, they work just fine.

What I've found is that in most cases, when you buy a lower cost AR-15, you're only skipping out on all of the nicer features associated with higher-priced rifles. The difference in reliability and dependability between low-cost and high-cost AR-15 rifles is greater on the internet than it is on the firing range, and these falsities are often perpetuated by people with neither the judgement or experience to speak on the matter.

My DPMS 5.56 Oracle has a lot of rounds through it (more than most of you would believe if I posted the count) and many more left before she's done ticking. Regular maintenance and swapped gas rings is all I've done (other than the handguards) and it's never given me any issues, despite fairly rough treatment. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one to another person interested in getting an entry-level rifle.
You should bring that rifle to a MilCopp class.
I'll sign up if you do. :roll:

On a serious note though, Ohio is just a wee-bit out of my way. My DPMS has managed (according to some on the internet, "by the grace of God") to make its way through a few different classes, some fairly intense, at reputable schools in the STL area. I don't see why it wouldn't handle MilCopp.
They've done classes in MO for the past couple of years, mostly serving the ZS crew. I fully intend to go to the next one with a $800 home-build.

Edit: AAR for last year's class viewtopic.php?f=111&t=107505
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Redeyes » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:47 pm

Actually there was a Bushmaster AR and a Century AK at the last class. Both ran fine. That was kind of a lower round count class than normal if I am understanding things correctly. That was my first Milcopp carbine class. The thing to remember with lower priced AR's is to make sure the feed ramps are good and that the chamber isn't too tight. Pretty much everything else can be fixed with a different buffer, more extractor tension, a better extractor, anti walk pins, etc.

Everyone in this thread is right. Issues with manufacturers get overblown. It would be better to buy a known quality rifle for your first AR, even though it would cost more. There are high round count rifles from every manufacturer. Police departments often get rifles from sources the internet says is subpar. Police departments have armorers and more clout than civilians when it comes to purchasing weapons. Civilians have themselves, the internet, maybe a gunsmith who has a clue and gives a shit and a warranty sometimes.

If you want to go with a less expensive rifle do some more research online first, check out the warranty and make sure the company has a history of backing the warranty up. Since this isn't going to be a home defense gun or anything it is not that big of a deal.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:53 am

Dannus's Bushmaster? The one he sent back to the factory to be unfucked? He had several parts replaced as well, IIRC.

A Century AK or a 'Hamster -should- be okay as long as they're put together right. If the gas block is canted, or the barrel nut isn't tightened or is fucked, or the feed ramps are fucked, then the rifle won't run. That's a bit different from DPMS's tight chambers and refusal to warranty anything but US-made brass-cased factory ammo and screw-on aluminum gas blocks with oversized gas ports.
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1:9 twist isn't a deal-breaker if it throws the weight you want, and the Bud's price ($824) isn't horrific. Colt CSR (http://www.slickguns.com/product/colt-f ... e-shipping) would be my choice in that price range for a factory gun. $755 is the lowest I've seen, but I sold one a couple weekends ago for $850 OTD. FF rube with a rail for light or front BUIS, 1:8" twist. The trigger is smooth, if on the heavy (they say six, I measured 5.5lb) side, and I wish the bore was melonited or nitrided, and I'm not a huge fan of the carbine-length gas either.

OTOH, I put together a stainless-under-nitride Middy with a keymod forend on a lower I built at home. Before sights and accessories, I was about $825 IIRC, and part of that was a limited edition lower and MOE fixed stock. The cheapest I have was just under $600 before the optic. $145 for the complete lower, $95 for the BCG, $35 for the charging handle, and $499 for the upper with an Aimpoint PRO on top. $869 all together for a duty-grade M4gery with an Aimpoint, not counting dealer discounts on anything.

This:
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... -mbus.html
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... gory/4282/

gets you a complete rifle, sans magazine (Troys are currently $4.99, or were earlier) for $480 before shipping and transfer fees. 1:9, MBUS rear, middy, MOE forend, etc. I'd take that over any of the $600 guns. Ruger's too new for me to risk it.

Or like others said, get on the mailing lists and have your credit card ready for Black Friday deals. BCM does some great stuff this time of year.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Gingerbread Man » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:43 am

Ok, I've owned about everything and built a bunch of AR-15s.
Only real issue I've had is with AR-10s (They just don't run), tight chambers on AR-15s in 2 barrels (Out of hundreds, no crap, hundreds)* and some boutique guns.

The brilliance of the AR-15 is the ease of maintenance and ease of repair. There isn't anything that can't be fixed or repaired on an AR-15 that will take more than 10 minutes and 2 beers. All that's necessary is hand tools. Why it's not considered THE PREPPER rifle, IDK.

Regardless of manufacturer, AR-10s do not run unless it's a POF or Sig but then you're running proprietary designs. AR-15 are generally very good. I've seen DPMS run fine, til they don't and need some love. Bushmaster is a crap shoot, I'd check the barrel torque right out of the box and upgrade the extractor, all of $15 in parts. Del-Ton is a good build but over priced for what it is. Model 1 Sales is pretty good too but I'd look at upgrading those. M1S makes a very accurate gun that may be better suited for a match grade rifle. I'd expect to have to swap parts out once the round count gets higher. I've run the crap out of M1S guns and never had an issue, that said, they don't use MPI or HPT stuff.
BCM is the new gold standard, Colt is very good too. PSA is damn good too for what they're asking. MPI/HPT bolts with CHF barrels on Aero uppers/lowers? For under $700? The only thing I can see with them is the extractor upgrade. Daniel Defense is awesome, they're excellent.

But for your $600-650 budget, I'd go for a PSA with a MPI/HPT barrel/BCG with A2 furniture. Upgrade later when you find something you like.
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... andle.html <<<This upper is CHF.
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... n-bcg.html
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... w/id/1213/
GRab a BCM charging handle and spend the rest on mags and ammo.
http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.ph ... rbine.html This one is good too, $550? If you blast 15K rds through it it may need a new barrel. I've run the poop out of these too. No issues.
^^^That set up will be handed down through generations.

There are some really poor ones out there. Blackthorne is not good and low quality parts.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Redeyes » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:07 am

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:Dannus's Bushmaster? The one he sent back to the factory to be unfucked? He had several parts replaced as well, IIRC.

A Century AK or a 'Hamster -should- be okay as long as they're put together right. If the gas block is canted, or the barrel nut isn't tightened or is fucked, or the feed ramps are fucked, then the rifle won't run. That's a bit different from DPMS's tight chambers and refusal to warranty anything but US-made brass-cased factory ammo and screw-on aluminum gas blocks with oversized gas ports.
Yeah, this is why I said to check out the warranty and the manufacturer's track record with their warranty. It is also why I said a known quality manufacturer would be best for his first rifle. However, the OP was asking about a built rifle in the $600 dollar range that he doesn't mind working on.
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Re: Built or bought: AR rifle in late 2014

Post by Mikeyboy » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:48 am

JeeperCreeper wrote:Hello all, I have come seek some guidance from those who have more experience in these than me.

It is now late 2014, supply and demand from post-panic sales has starting making its mark on the firearm market. There are millions upon millions (I exaggerate) AR15 style rifle manufacturers. Quality AR rifles are now seen at prices well below $600. 223/5.56 ammo is cheap. Russian AKs and Russian 5.45 and 7.62 ammo is not as cheap as it used to be. There are trade embargos with Russia because Crazy Comrade Putin is on the Vodka again and our leaders wanna play politics.

Ar15 rifles used to be cheapest if you built your own. But with a flooded market, is that still the case? Today, if you bought a $20k Civic, and parted it out, it would be worth $100k (if you could sell it all). Is that how ARs are now? I've priced out a parts rifles with average quality parts for about $600-650. But I can find decent new rifles from a good manufacturer for less than that sometimes.

Here is my question:

Is it time to get into the AR game and put the AK/SKS's in my gun safe for a while?
Say I do get an AR, is it a bargain to build my own or just buy one and add to it later if I choose?
I got to say the AR market over the last 10 years or so has been more volatile then the stock market. I have seen the resurgence in interest post AWB sunsetting in the early 2000's and I bought a bushmaster for about $700. The first panic in 2007 to 2008 where AR prices hit $2K. The lull in 2009 to 2012 when I bought my 2nd AR a DPMS for $700. The 2012-2013 panic where I sold that now used DPMS for $800 and a few extra mags I had laying around for $40 each. Now today you can buy a pretty decent AR like the S&W M&P sport for $600. AR rifle price are the cheapest I have ever seen them. Mag and ammo prices...not so much, pre-2008 was awesome but its getting better. However just as before all you need is an event like a horrible mass shooting or an election to create another AR price gouging bubble. Just like the whole Russian/Ukraine mess right now is screwing up the AK market. Never buy during a bubble. Buy low, sell high.

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