which AR lower to start with?


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texas bulldog
July 24, 2007, 09:48 PM
which AR lower to start with?
so...reading through another thread on ARs, i have finally been convinced to go the "build" route. previously, i figured i'd just buy a complete rifle when i had the finances together. but i came around to the build for the usual sound reasoning:

- gain a better understanding of the gun
- pay a little at a time as $$ becomes available
- get exactly the configuration i want
- save a little money on the completed project

i'm going to the next area gun show to shop for another revolver, and i should have just enough left over [if gunbroker prices are any indication] for a stripped lower.

i've read several past threads debating the various merits of this manufacturer or that. but confining the discussion only to stripped lowers, i'm interested in a straw poll of the esteemed THR community as to which one i should start with for building my first AR. money is an object, of course, but quality is more important. feel free to give your reasons in detail. thanks!


PS...yes, i will also check out AR15.com...i just thought i'd start with the forum i'm already familiar with.

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rayman
July 24, 2007, 10:27 PM
I've been wondering about AR recievers. With so many out there how is one to choose which is better than the other. I'm a colt guy myself simply because it's what I got & that is all I know at this point. Are there differences that make them unique?

Shear_stress
July 24, 2007, 10:28 PM
Is "any of the above" an option? Seriously, with a couple of rare exceptions, it won't make a difference.

texas bulldog
July 24, 2007, 10:38 PM
Are there differences that make them unique?

perhaps not. i suppose that's why i need guidance on this. with other guns, i've had no trouble doing the research to make an informed choice in relatively short order. with ARs, it just seems like there is a mountain of opinion out there on this vs. that vs. the other. it's all a bit overwhelming, frankly.

shear_stress:
how much difference would it make if we were talking about a complete lower?

Shear_stress
July 24, 2007, 10:47 PM
how much difference would it make if we were talking about a complete lower?

Good question. With the exception of "other", probably not much. You've got a pretty good list there.

MMcfpd
July 24, 2007, 11:00 PM
Of the ones you have listed, I'd say whichever you find at the cheapest price (probably a Stag, DPMS or CMMG, probably not a Colt or LMT).

Guido2006
July 24, 2007, 11:17 PM
I went with some stripped lowers from Essential Arms. (http://www.essentialarms.com/)

$77 each (+$3 for toughcoat which I'd recommend)
$14 shipping makes is a bit more expensive for one, but if you order a couple, helps ameliorate the costs.

The only complaint I have is that the front bottom of the mag-well showed the forging lines with a little bump. Could have been a little smoother, but otherwise functional.

If cost were not an issue, I'd probably go with a Mega (~$135 if you can find one). The only difference for most lowers is 1) finish and 2) logo on the side. If you can find a Stag for around $100 shipped, I'd take that over the E.A., otherwise I'd go with EA.

nalioth
July 24, 2007, 11:39 PM
A few of those are made by the same people and stamped with different names.

Frog48
July 24, 2007, 11:45 PM
A few of those are made by the same people and stamped with different names.


I was about to say the same thing. AR lowers are alot like car batteries, all made by a small handful of manufacturers under subcontracts, just branded differently.

Onmilo
July 24, 2007, 11:58 PM
DPMS
Precisely machined, hard coat anodized then Teflon coated, and about a hundred bucks.

Two others to take a hard look at.
Double Star
High Standard

patentmike
July 25, 2007, 12:00 AM
Just in case you need to see it again.
A lower is lower.
$100 is about right around here.

texas bulldog
July 25, 2007, 12:05 AM
thanks, guys. sorry for noob question...

kgriggs8@yahoo.com
July 25, 2007, 12:14 AM
I have never had a bad one. Just make sure you get a forged alloy one and not a cast or "carbon fiber" lower.

I have had good luck with Rock River, Stag and DPMS. I rank them all the same in terms of quality. I would pay a dollar more for any of them than the other.

fmnnc
July 25, 2007, 12:21 AM
I went through this same process a few months ago. I finally went with a DPMS lower because it was what local law enforcement was using and the lower was readily available for a reasonable price locally. I have assembled the lower, upper, and buttstock to date, down to each individual part. Just trying to decide on which barrel to go with and I will be done. All parts are DPMS as well to this point but I may go with a Bushmaster barrel.

Really, most all of them are good. I also considered STAG (didn't want a deer head on my AR) and RRA (harder to get and a little more expensive). Pick one you like at a price you are willing to pay and start building. Just make sure it is forged and not cast. Most of them now are forged. Good luck!


I've heard others make the same comment about STAG that I did. I wonder just how many builders or assembled buyers have turned away from STAG for that very reason? Again, they make a good lower as well as other parts. Kind of reminds me of that girl way back in high school. From the neck down she was a 10...but from the neck up....well....she just didn't get as many dates as she could have. :banghead:

MudPuppy
July 25, 2007, 12:29 AM
The two factors I'd consider are initial purchase price and potential resale/future value.

My vote is for bushmaster (but I have a DPMS that I'm quite happy with and an Oly that's okay, but a little tight in the magwell).

illspirit
July 25, 2007, 12:34 AM
One you might want to avoid is Olympic Arms. I bought one about six months ago, only to realize in April that the rear of the mag well isn't milled out to spec. Everything else is fine, and if you're planning to use standard metal magazines, it won't be an issue. If you want to use the fancy new polymer Magpul mags though, you'll need to do some dremel'ing.

http://www.illspirit.com/randompics/pmag_problem.jpg

Unless of course Oly has fixed the problem..

Shadowangel
July 25, 2007, 12:37 AM
I can only say good things about Double Star lowers. I got mine for $99 with free shipping. Great finish, everything was perfect.

GunTech
July 25, 2007, 01:01 AM
MegaMachine.

These are simply incredible receivers. I have build a few hundred ARs for people over the years, and have seen just about every receiver made. Mega is the nicest I have seen to date.

Here's someone else's review, which mirrors my own experience

http://www.commtechreview.net/firearms/megalwr.htm

CB900F
July 25, 2007, 01:17 AM
Fella's;

I put my money where my vote is & did it with a Stag. They cater to me & the others don't. So I built a left-handed AR & am happy.

900F

Frog48
July 25, 2007, 01:35 AM
The two factors I'd consider are initial purchase price and potential resale/future value.

Good point about resale value. Colt and Bushmaster are, by far, the most recognizable names. By this I mean that they are the brands most likely to sound familiar to people that are generally unfamiliar with AR15's. If the potential buyer is a knowledgable gun enthusiast, brand recognition becomes a moot point.

ProficientRifleman
July 25, 2007, 01:43 AM
Everything else is fine, and if you're planning to use standard metal magazines, it won't be an issue. If you want to use the fancy new polymer Magpul mags though, you'll need to do some dremel'ing.

Not true at all. I don't know what problems you might have had with Oly Arms recievers...

They are made to Mil Spec, and the new MagPul magazines fit and function just fine in them. We have them on display that way right now.

RockyMtnTactical
July 25, 2007, 04:24 AM
Among most name brands there is almost no difference in terms of quality. Get the least expensive one.

DMK
July 25, 2007, 08:06 AM
I've built more than a half dozen ARs now.

A couple are on Eagle Arms lowers (Armalite's economy brand). I really like them the best. The finish has more of a satin look, kind of looks like parkerizing. The rollmark is attractive, and most importantly, everything fits well. The fit with my Colt, RRA, and LMT upper recievers is tight, but not binding.

I built about four or five on DPMS receivers. They all went together fine except for the last one I built. On this one the safety detent hole isn't straight, causing the safety lever to sit at a funny angle. It works just fine, so it's only a cosmetic issue, but bugs me nonetheless. The finish and upper/lower fit is superb on all these. DPMS also has an attractive rollmark.

The latest one I built on a Bushmaster lower. All the parts assembled fine. The finish and rollmark are fine. However, upper/lower fit is loose with all of my uppers.

The Eagle lowers were the cheapest, the Bushmaster was the most expensive at nearly twice what the Eagle lowers cost.

I've built

glockman19
July 25, 2007, 01:32 PM
For the price, customer service and fact that they make the parts for many other companies I'd get a Stag.

10-Ring
July 25, 2007, 02:01 PM
I have a RRA & a Superior and have buddies w/ Stag, Bushmaster & Colt. You know, as long as you buy from a quality company, you'll be fine. But, if you are picky about how well it will match your upper, trying putting them side by side so you can pick the best match.

halvey
July 25, 2007, 02:53 PM
Is "any of the above" an option? Seriously, with a couple of rare exceptions, it won't make a difference. +1

MAUSER88
July 25, 2007, 03:23 PM
Superior Arms is very easy to build. I've built 5 so far are they were problem free.

texas bulldog
July 25, 2007, 05:05 PM
Really, most all of them are good. I also considered STAG (didn't want a deer head on my AR)

funny...i kinda like the deer head. in fact, i find it to be the most attractive of the logos [not that that'll be the deciding factor]. to each their own, i guess.

DnPRK
July 25, 2007, 05:31 PM
Any of those listed will build a decent rifle. LMTs are rumored to have a purple tint to the black annodizing.

illspirit
July 25, 2007, 05:50 PM
Not true at all. I don't know what problems you might have had with Oly Arms recievers...

They are made to Mil Spec, and the new MagPul magazines fit and function just fine in them. We have them on display that way right now.
Oh? I guess they must've fixed it in newer production runs then. Hard to tell from the picture I posted, but mine had the same mag well issue seen here: http://www.oa2.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5962

GunTech
July 25, 2007, 06:10 PM
I have an Oly Arms that is about 20 years old. Pmags fit just fine. This gun was built before there was such a thing as a flat top upper, although it sports one now. Serial T99xx.

http://guntech.com/AR/pmag.jpg

KC&97TA
July 26, 2007, 12:04 AM
I've build 2 AR's now. Started with CMMG lowers and Rock River Arms everything else, with the exception of a Colt Carry Handle and Knights Armament RAS system, covers and broom stick.

Go with the Major Quality Manufactures... I suggest you look to who has Gov't Contracts, ie; Bushy, Rock River, CMMG. I've seen alot of AR's, the most recommended upper to me was Rock River & Fulton Armory.

If you can, use the same manufacture for everything, it will make the rifle worth more in the long run, instead of considered a "build" gun.

cracked butt
July 26, 2007, 12:34 AM
http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/Superior_Arms_S-15_AR15_.223_Receiver.html

When I do my first AR build, I will use one of these receivers. I've been seeing a lot of ARs using these receivers lately. My first AR is a Bushmaster, but there is no way I would pay the $$$s for a stripped BM lower now that I know a little more about these rifles.

flynlr
July 26, 2007, 06:24 AM
well i would be a retard if I didn't say CMMG but that is only because while reading this post I was doing the disconnecter trigger wiggle while assembling this.
using a DPMS LPK, the stock arrives later today and I'm still hunting for the right upper,.
http://www.njrod.com/images/hf/cmmg10.jpg

SecuritySixShooter
July 26, 2007, 09:19 AM
Double Star

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