Mixing and matching AR uppers and lowers...


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BHPshooter
November 11, 2006, 11:37 PM
Well, I went and did something bad. Really, really bad.

We had a Bushmaster 20" A3 in stock that I put on layaway. It is used (but very clean), so I got a pretty hefty discount on it. The only thing about it is that it is a Clinton-ban model, so it doesn't have the evil features like the bayonet lug (simply a must-have :D ) or a compensator/flash hider.

So I went and got this crazy idea. I would really like to keep an AR like this for more mid-range stuff, like coyote hunting, but I'd also prefer to have a carbine for "serious situations."

Therefore, I went and looked at the Bushmaster website to see what the 16" carbine upper would cost me. As of today, a complete 16" upper from Bushmaster is $565, and if I want the A3 (which I do), it'll raise that price to $665.

That's $15 short of what I'm paying for this complete rifle. :scrutiny: :confused:

I can get the same upper from Stag Arms (with the A3 setup) for $545. That's still quite pricey, but a sight better than the Bushmaster upper.

My question: after having an interesting experience with a friend's AR, in which he mated a RRA lower to an ASA :uhoh: upper, he experienced performance that can only be described as reliably unreliable. Am I in for the same thing if I go with a different brand upper? Should I just stick with Bushmaster?

I know that ASA (American Spirit Arms) is not exactly a name brand, and Stag IS, but I still have to wonder.

Wes

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MountainBear
November 11, 2006, 11:48 PM
I mated a J&T Distributing 16" upper to a DPMS lower with RRA internals. It went through a couple thousand rounds without a malfunction before I sold it.
I like the mil-spec uppers from kit companies (J&T/DoubleStar, M&A Parts), and I wouldn't have any issue attaching one to my current Bushmaster or DPMS Lower.

modifiedbrowning
November 11, 2006, 11:57 PM
I have a RRA midlength upper on a Bushmaster lower and have had no problems. Most quality AR uppers and lowers will work together just fine.
The ASA upper is probably the cause of the unreliability.

DougW
November 12, 2006, 12:02 AM
I have swapped around the uppers and lowers of my 3 AR's so many times that I have forgotten how they were origionally configured! Not an issue.

CleverNickname
November 12, 2006, 12:09 AM
That's $15 short of what I'm paying for this complete rifle.

The federal Firearms Excise Tax is due on complete firearms. An AR lower is not a complete firearm, so no tax is due.

BHPshooter
November 12, 2006, 12:12 AM
Thanks for putting that worry to rest, guys. That's going to be nice to save some oh-so-scarce dough.

The ASA upper is probably the cause of the unreliability.

At this point, I am positive that was the issue. I believe that it was a .223 chamber, and I know that he was shooting 5.56 NATO ammunition... that could also have been the cause. .

The federal Firearms Excise Tax is due on complete firearms. An AR lower is not a complete firearm, so no tax is due.

I'm buying a complete rifle, it's just that I want another upper for it that I can swap out whenever the mood strikes. So, just buying the upper, I won't have to pay tax on it.

Thanks, guys!
Wes

soul_rapier
November 13, 2006, 02:27 AM
i got a RRA complete lower at knob creek last month and got a stripped upper dont know the brand no marking on it at all got all the upper parts from j&t. put it all together and i got around 200 rounds fired out of it and no problems saved about $300 on it by building it. i wouldnt worry about mixing parts

CHEHALIS
November 13, 2006, 04:01 AM
I run a stag upper on an Oly lower 1000's of rounds no problems short of crappy ammo (old wolf) that my old dept had us shoot for quals ONCE

swingset
November 13, 2006, 05:52 AM
I own a bunch of AR's, and not a single one has matching uppers/lowers, they all run great.

That's the whole fun of owning AR's, is switching uppers/lowers.

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