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Discussion Starter #1
Forgive me for being uneducated in the AR realm of things. I'd like to know what exactly are the benefits of the various AR lowers. The ones I'm looking at are CMMG, Double Star, Superior, Stag, and Aero Precision. I'm not an AR guy, but I would like to start building one for election reasons.

Also can anyone give me an honest to god straight answer on AR uppers? It seems some crowds feel you have to drop 1K to have something worth of trusting your life to. Others feel fine with the Bushmasters, and other Non-Colt, etc.

I get the whole staked gas keys thing, and ball peened bolt thing, but uh with all the crap out there for the gun, how much of it do you actually need?

M4 feed ramps? Special lettered front sights, and such? Its enough to make your head spin, and retreat in sincere disgust for the entire platform.

Any, and all advice is appreciated, thanks in advance.
 

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rdm said:
Forgive me for being uneducated in the AR realm of things. I'd like to know what exactly are the benefits of the various AR lowers. The ones I'm looking at are CMMG, Double Star, Superior, Stag, and Aero Precision. I'm not an AR guy, but I would like to start building one for election reasons.
It all depends on how much you want to spend. Much of the extra cost on the "Upper tier" lowers is cosmetics. The higher priced ones are finished very well, when compared to the "Lower tier" brands.
Personally i have had great experiences with Double Star, DPMS, (personal guns) and Rock River. Stag is a great company and builds a quality product. They build the Smith and Wesson part for the M+P series Rifles.

rdm said:
Also can anyone give me an honest to god straight answer on AR uppers? It seems some crowds feel you have to drop 1K to have something worth of trusting your life to. Others feel fine with the Bushmasters, and other Non-Colt, etc.
Uppers is another personal choice. Many out there think you need the super-uber whizbang uppers. What you do want is reliability.
Usually high quality components assembled in to an upper will give you
a high quality reliable upper. Not to say that you cannot assemble a very good
quality upper from parts supplied by the usual manufactures.
Colt it going to probably be the best factory quality in that category.
I like to build my own to my liking, and try to save some money at the same time.
My defense AR is a Double Star lower, standard parts kit,
tuned trigger, mated with a Del-ton flat top upper and Chrome lined 16"
1/9 barrel. I run an M-16 bolt carrier in it too. Why? No other reason than
that i picked it up cheap.
I have shot this upper on a friends FA Dealer sample lower,
and it is flawless in FA mode, even with WOLF ammo.
Same reliability in semi with my lower.
Some people shun the "No name" uppers, but i think the majority of them are
better overall than some people like to give them credit for.
You don't have to spend $1K on an upper to have it work properly
and be reliable.

rdm said:
I get the whole staked gas keys thing, and ball peened bolt thing, but uh with all the crap out there for the gun, how much of it do you actually need?
If i see one more thread by these weenies whine and do the pee pee dance about their gas key stake marks
not looking like their buddies who has the super cool uber-tactical bolt and carrier I'm gonna puke.
You will most likely never need to worry about it.
AR guys are nuts when it comes to nit picking the little stuff.
I found and 80+ post "Which one is better" thread on the little blue or black buffer in the extractor spring a while back...
Guys.. Get a freakin' life!!

rdm said:
M4 feed ramps? Special lettered front sights, and such? Its enough to make your head spin, and retreat in sincere disgust for the entire platform.

Any, and all advice is appreciated, thanks in advance.
Get a good quality AR, and spend the money you have left on a 2-3 day carbine course and a big pile of ammo.
What exactly are you looking for in an AR??

KyAKGuy
 

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KyAKGuy said:
rdm said:
Forgive me for being uneducated in the AR realm of things. I'd like to know what exactly are the benefits of the various AR lowers. The ones I'm looking at are CMMG, Double Star, Superior, Stag, and Aero Precision. I'm not an AR guy, but I would like to start building one for election reasons.
It all depends on how much you want to spend. Much of the extra cost on the "Upper tier" lowers is cosmetics. The higher priced ones are finished very well, when compared to the "Lower tier" brands.
Personally i have had great experiences with Double Star, DPMS, (personal guns) and Rock River. Stag is a great company and builds a quality product. They build the Smith and Wesson part for the M+P series Rifles.

rdm said:
Also can anyone give me an honest to god straight answer on AR uppers? It seems some crowds feel you have to drop 1K to have something worth of trusting your life to. Others feel fine with the Bushmasters, and other Non-Colt, etc.
Uppers is another personal choice. Many out there think you need the super-uber whizbang uppers. What you do want is reliability.
Usually high quality components assembled in to an upper will give you
a high quality reliable upper. Not to say that you cannot assemble a very good
quality upper from parts supplied by the usual manufactures.
Colt it going to probably be the best factory quality in that category.
I like to build my own to my liking, and try to save some money at the same time.
My defense AR is a Double Star lower, standard parts kit,
tuned trigger, mated with a Del-ton flat top upper and Chrome lined 16"
1/9 barrel. I run an M-16 bolt carrier in it too. Why? No other reason than
that i picked it up cheap.
I have shot this upper on a friends FA Dealer sample lower,
and it is flawless in FA mode, even with WOLF ammo.
Same reliability in semi with my lower.
Some people shun the "No name" uppers, but i think the majority of them are
better overall than some people like to give them credit for.
You don't have to spend $1K on an upper to have it work properly
and be reliable.

rdm said:
I get the whole staked gas keys thing, and ball peened bolt thing, but uh with all the crap out there for the gun, how much of it do you actually need?
If i see one more thread by these weenies whine and do the pee pee dance about their gas key stake marks
not looking like their buddies who has the super cool uber-tactical bolt and carrier I'm gonna puke.
You will most likely never need to worry about it.
AR guys are nuts when it comes to nit picking the little stuff.
I found and 80+ post "Which one is better" thread on the little blue or black buffer in the extractor spring a while back...
Guys.. Get a freakin' life!!

rdm said:
M4 feed ramps? Special lettered front sights, and such? Its enough to make your head spin, and retreat in sincere disgust for the entire platform.

Any, and all advice is appreciated, thanks in advance.
Get a good quality AR, and spend the money you have left on a 2-3 day carbine course and a big pile of ammo.
What exactly are you looking for in an AR??

KyAKGuy

+1,000,000 :mrgreen:

hey mods you might as well lock the thread now because there will not be an awnser that will top this one!!!!
 

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I'm admittedly not the greatest resource on AR15 knowledge, but I'd rather you get a rough idea on the market than nothing. The knowledgeable people can browbeat me later.

In the end I determined there was indeed some hard fought information in the m4carbine.net knowledge threads, made by people who put AR15s through heavy use. The bare-bones info is sometimes hard to find.

rdm said:
Also can anyone give me an honest to god straight answer on AR uppers? It seems some crowds feel you have to drop 1K to have something worth of trusting your life to. Others feel fine with the Bushmasters, and other Non-Colt, etc.
From what I can tell, the only real problem with RRA, Armalite, Bushmaster, etc is that depending on the type of rifle you are getting, not only are you not getting some military spec features, you're not getting the best value. Particularly if you're customizing things on your order, or ordering spare parts (the markup is pretty severe). A lot of these manufacturers literally buy from the same place and stamp their name on it. Kroger cake-mix, relabeled Betty Crocker. There are exceptions, but you'll notice the differences between the VLTOR/Mega/Sundevil uppers and lowers from the standard stuff almost immediately.

rdm said:
I get the whole staked gas keys thing, and ball peened bolt thing, but uh with all the crap out there for the gun, how much of it do you actually need?
An in spec bolt is pretty important (as you said), because if the gas system is f*cked, there isn't any combination of other parts that will make the rifle work. The gas keys are staked for a reason. MPI testing is done for a reason. Just like an kalashnikov, if it isn't put together right, it won't work, or won't work for long. Everything has an exception, but I wouldn't count on being an exception.

rdm said:
M4 feed ramps? Special lettered front sights, and such? Its enough to make your head spin, and retreat in sincere disgust for the entire platform.
The F-marked front sights are just a little taller and that was done for a specific reason on the flat top ARs. Buffer selection is dependent on a couple of things, just like the type of extractor ring, both are just as important as the bolt/barrel selection. The M4 might outwardly look like a squashed M16A2, but it's like a krinkov vs AKM. Barrel steel is another thing that gets kicked around. I'd worry about getting a 5.56 chamber, lighter weight govt profile, and chrome lining before I'd worry about the carbon content issue. Not too many manufacturers even offer chrome lining.

If it's just a carbine, I'd consider just buying either a complete Colt...
http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/co ... n&key=6920

or a Noveske upper
http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/co ... 16N4-UPPER
http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/co ... .5N4-UPPER

I'd say buy the whole Noveske rifle, but it's pretty expensive, and if you don't like the stock they offer, or their style of backup sight, then you might as well just get a lower and set it up how you want to.

Rainier Arms is good to deal with. If all else fails, just get a lower, or two $189 for a lower that has everything but the stock installed is a good deal.

http://www.rainierarms.com/?page=shop/d ... uct_id=328

Global-Tactical has been good to deal with too.

What do you have in mind for a build?
 

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As far as lowers I think they are all pretty much the same except the Superior has a adjustment screw to take overtravel out of the trigger.
Paying for the name on a lower.
 

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I don't know about other's experiences, but I have personally seen Armalites, Bushmasters, DPMS and Rock River's start choking because the staking, or lack thereof, of the gas carrier key came loose and once that happens, you've got an expensive straight pull rifle.

I've personally seen several Model 1 uppers lock slam up, and I've seen their bolts break in two.

I've seen Olympic Arms, DPMS, and Rock River rifles lock slam up with a 5.56mm case in their chambers because they have .223 chambers, regardless of what is marked on the barrel.

This is all personal first hand experience, not some second or third hand "I read it on the internet" BS.

An AR needs to be assembled correctly. Colt has been doing it commercially since 1963/64, and they have to keep a high level of quality and consistency because the .gov MAKES them.

I own 3 Colt AR's. I've owned other brands in the past.

I know people have seen this before, but I think Rob did a great job with this chart, it helps a lot.

http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=6642


The reason you want the bolt shot peened and MPI tested is to detect very small cracks that can occur in the manufacturing process that will compromise the bolt later. Same with barrels. I personally know a member here who's an instructor at Blackwater who had a Bushmaster barrel burst while a student was firing......bad, bad juju.

Are all non Colt AR's crap? Hell no. Are all Colt AR's 100% trouble free? Hell no, nothing made by man is.

Are the vast majority of problems you hear about the AR system from people who aren't using Colt's or LMT's or a custom rifle put together with top end parts by guys who really know what they're doing? You betcha.

If you're looking for a plinker, most anything will do. If you already have a rifle that doesn't have some of the things on that chart, it's certainly not the end of the world. One big reason people harp on the gas carrier key issue is that it's so easy to do, that when a company doesn't do it, you have to ask yourself what else they skimped on.

I don't have much money to spend on stuff, which is why I save up and do it right the first time, because I have learned the hard way that going the less expensive route usually ends up costing me much more money in the long run than it would have to start out right.

I bought a Colt 6920 a few years ago, and steadily modified it to my tastes, but for the longest time, it was a very plain jane carbine with the standard iron sights. Nothing at all wrong with that.

Anyway, you asked, and that's my $0.02. I've honestly seen a lot of commercial AR's crap out, and that includes honest to God DEA issued Rock River carbines that the agents brought out to the range.

Edit- To answer your original question, most decent lowers are pretty much all the same.....Eagle, Stag/CMT, LMT, Sun Devil, Mega, even DPMS. Just make sure that the geometry is correct for the placement of the pins. I've seen some grossly out of spec Olympic lowers.

It's the Upper Receiver that is the AR's lifeblood.
 

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Ar's

I have just a little info for ya. Some people may not like this and I just want to state before hand I mean no offense.

Most people will not fire any where near the amount of ammo through there AR to know if it truly works or not. guys will go to the range, bench rest there AR and shoot 100 rounds slow fire and think there gun works great.

To truely test the gun, you have to shoot and get it hot. I have seen all guns fail, all manufactureres make junk, just some make more junk than others.....some make alot more junk.

Do not mix and match your upper and lower, this is franken gun and will cause you problems....the more you mix and match parts, the more problems you will have. Remeber it wont fail on you when your at the range, itll fail on you the end of day 1 of a 3 day class, leavng you standing there with your thumb in your plumb...wondering what the hell your gonna do.

BUY QUALITY STUFF.....period. You get what you pay for. The old saying has never been truer, buy cheap, buy twice.

For those that need to think people need to "get a life" over a extractor spring or buffer...blue or black...... theres a reason the military changed colors etc....there were problems....period. Pay attention to these things and you will have no problems.

Gas key staking....EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.......if one of your gas key screws turns a quarter turn, you lose all gas pressure and your 1000 dollar gun dont work. Gas key staking not important.....ok.....Look at a COLT.....the only Military spec gun out there. Look at the gas key staking, theres a reason for it..... if it wasnt important, trust me a manufacturer would skip it, most do a less than half assed job, COLT can not they are under GOVT CONTRACT. Period.

5.56 chamber or 223.... is there a difference.................well in two words.... YOU BET! Shoot a 5.56 round in a 223 chamber, you might not have problems now, but you will. There is a reason, COLTs chamber is speced out the way it is.

What do you think COLT does with all of there parts that dont pass spec? Well Ill tell ya.....do you think they throw them away? Nope they sell them to other companys......like this one and that one and every other company you can think of. There are several manufacturers mentioned above that I would not take the gun if it was given to me. I have seen most of them fail miserably at the worst possible times.

People always want to save a dollar on a defense rifle and have it shoot 1/4 inch groups at a thousand yards. Spend the extra money on a quality gun, buy extra parts....ie bolt rings, extractors, extractor springs, doughnuts for the extractor springs and recoil springs.

Buy quality magazines. Ar mags are not reliable. Period. DO NOT buy the mags from a junk mag bin at a gun show, buy quality. When they dont work crush them and get rid of them. They are not an AK mag.

Then buy quality ammo.

Keep your gun lubed up wiht a quality lube, like slip 2000. the gun is made to be run wet and dirty, not dry and dirty. Lube the bolt and gas ring area up and keep it lubed, itll run forever for ya.

Remember, most people will not shoot nearly enough through their guns to truely test them. Also most people do not have a clue when it comes to this weapons system. They have "heard" that this is what the deal is with this weapons platform.

Most of the problems associated wiht this gun can be broken down to several things..... the mags, the gas key staking, the bolt rings, the extractor, ammunition, lubrication. If these are tended to and replaced when they are supposed to be, your gun will run fine.

I knew a guy that called me up one time and told me he was having problems with his AR and if I could take a look at it. The gun was the following hunk of trash..........because he wanted to save money. The gun was a bomb waiting to go off.

COlt lower, Lewis machine and tool upper, DPMS barrel (223 chamber) Bushmaster bolt, unknown bolt carrier (I think it was Olympic) The front site base was a Colt "F", flat top front site base, not properly seated on the barrel. (Even the pins were put in backwards) shooting Indian 5.56 ammo in it. the mags, were gun show mags that barely had any finish left on them.....

The gun was not only trash, it was dangerous.

Now, this is just my 2 cents. In the last year, prior to deploying ovverseas, I shot 35,000 rounds through my M4. I had 5 (five) malfunctions that were not done set up in training. All were magazine related, except one and that one was a lubrication issue of having shot over 1000 rounds in a day, without re lubing the gun.

Thats just my 2 cents, trying to help you out. Take it for what its worth.

Also, the front site base on all AR's are mated to that barrel when its made and assembled. The are not made to be switched from one gun to another. The "F" front site base is made for flat top colt guns. Period.

If you try to save 200 dollars, in thge long run youll spend double or tripple that fixing the problems you encounter. spend the extra money on the gun and keep it lubed feed it good ammo in quality mags and you wont have issues.

Or just stick wiht the AK, shoot it untill it quits, then throw it away and get another.
 

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AR's

I built mine using a Stag lower, DPMS internals, a Del-Ton upper and chromed bore barrel. Bravo Company CMT bolt and Bravo furniture. I also have a DPMS lite 16 both have issues with 5.56 NATO even though they are marked so. I called Del Ton and they were more than happy to take it back, just haven't done it yet. DPMS is now getting a new barrel. It had a canted FS and the rear sight had the same aperture on both settings "no night sight" :neutral: All I worried about when I built was I wanted a chrome lined bore, and all milled upper and lower. The rest is just details IMHO. As for M4 feedramps, I have seen brand new Bushy's w/o them. They can improve feeding but I don't have them in my build. I can put them there if I need too "haven't needed them." IMO an AR is an AR. I don't know of any manufacturers that won't fix em if your not happy. We will see if DPMS does me right.

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/AR-15-Up ... ts-s/2.htm
http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/Lowe ... Parts.html
Quality cheap mags?
http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/AR_1 ... zines.html
Barrel assemblies would be the way to go, you will still end up paying relatively the same amount of money building + they will dremmel your feed ramps.
http://www.del-ton.com/AR_15_Barrel_Assemblies_s/4.htm
 

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I'll expand on this later when I get home from work. Get it from a good shop, like G&R tactical where you'll get all the support you need, and get as good of an upper as you can afford. I like LMT, ADS, Brovo company. THe upper is the most important part of the system. The lower just holds the parts.
 

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rdm said:
It seems some crowds feel you have to drop 1K to have something worth of trusting your life to. Others feel fine with the Bushmasters, and other Non-Colt, etc....


welcome to the AR crowd *cough* arfcom *cough*

The whole "you didn't spend 200+ for your L/T scope [email protected]!!??" rhetoric actually kinda turned me away from the AR crowd for many years, but I finally picked one up just to have one.


I have a basic full-length upper from Model 1 Sales, on a DPMS lower, and I couldn't be happier with it. And it didn't cost anywhere near the 1000-buck rifles that I see people raving and drooling about on *other* boards...
 

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No offense intended to you AR guys. But this thread is really making me think that simpler is better.
And it seems very difficult to get a "simple" AR. At least to my uninitiated eyes it does.

If I do get one I plan to take Templars advice and pay for a good one that was made by the manufacturer to work together as a system from the gitgo.

I gotta say though. I have been admiring the AR stuff that NDS builds. They make it really tempting for me to want to build a good AR!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm just looking for reliability, above all, and light weight. It doesn't need to be 4 lbs, but if it exceeds 6 then I might as well use an AK.

What exactly is the weight increase going from a 16in mid-length/carbine to a full size 20in rifle?

Thanks again for the info guys.
 

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rdm said:
I'm just looking for reliability, above all, and light weight. It doesn't need to be 4 lbs, but if it exceeds 6 then I might as well use an AK.

What exactly is the weight increase going from a 16in mid-length/carbine to a full size 20in rifle?

Thanks again for the info guys.
You might want to look at the Colt 6520 Gov't Carbine then.

It's the lightest out there, and it works, period, and is about as basic as it gets. I moved my Trijicon TA-44R Compact ACOG off of my M4 and put it on the 6520.

http://www.colt.com/law/ar15a2.asp









 

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Just buy something. Most lowers available today are more than capable of taking some punishment and performing well. As far as other parts of the AR, if you are concerned about the staking and have AK building tools, you have more than enough to restake the shit out of anything you purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What about a 6520 Upper? Any other resources than gun joker for one?
 

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rdm said:
What about a 6520 Upper? Any other resources than gun joker for one?
You could try Hoplite, the advertise in Shotgun News, but I don't think they have a web site.

502-955-5014

I bought my Remington 870 Police Magnum from there a few years ago and they were decent to deal with.

Expect to pay about $700.00 for one.

You can get the whole rifle, complete, for about $1200.00 and have a factory rifle with a warranty.
 

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Templar said:
You can get the whole rifle, complete, for about $1200.00 and have a factory rifle with a warranty.
You would also have better resale value with a complete Colt, or anything else for that matter. I realize that none of us ever really plan or want to sell any of our toys, but sometimes it must be done.

Edit,
I'm surprised nobody has posted the "list" yet and really started an uproar.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
jasonb said:
Templar said:
You can get the whole rifle, complete, for about $1200.00 and have a factory rifle with a warranty.
You would also have better resale value with a complete Colt, or anything else for that matter. I realize that none of us ever really plan or want to sell any of our toys, but sometimes it must be done.

Edit,
I'm surprised nobody has posted the "list" yet and really started an uproar.
And, I believe this thread has reached is peak, and I would like to lock it on a high note, rather than an off topic rant.

Thanks to everyone especially KYAKguy and Templar, I really appreciate it.

Paycheck coming, I'm gonna start piecing it together at the end of this month.

Mods please lock.
 
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