AR-15 Rifle, Your Reviews on Manufacturers


January 13, 2008, 12:42 AM
I have finally decided to purchase an AR rifle, after previously debating on going with either a bolt .223 rifle or an AR varmint heavy barrel rifle. I plan on purchasing the upper and lower separate. I want your input, what manufacturer did you select for uppers and which did you select for lowers and why? What kind of accuracy, reliability, how well did the upper mate to the lower etc.

I would like to spend under $900.

I found this complete rifle from Olympic Arms for $839, has anyone had any experience with this rifle/or manufacturer?

Your input/insight/knowledge is greatly app.

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dogtown tom
January 13, 2008, 01:32 AM
Who makes the best AR is kind of like the 9mm vs .45ACP wars.

Go to and start reading. I lurked there for several months before buying my AR15 and it saved me a bunch of $$$. You'll find that Olympic Arms doesn't have a lot of fans.

Most of the AR fans on seem to want as close a copy of the .mil M4 carbine as they can get. I didn't need a bayonet mount or flash hider, but I did want a flattop.

I wound up buying a like new Colt 6731 off Gunbroker that probably didn't have more than a magazine run through it. I paid $850 delivered.

January 13, 2008, 01:50 AM
I vote for Rock River. Just my $.02.

January 13, 2008, 02:12 AM
I have a MT6731 and love it.

January 13, 2008, 03:13 AM
My first AR was a Bushmaster just because that is what I kept hearing was a good one, and it is. My 2nd is a Double Star lower and a Del-ton upper, and I am every bit as happy with it as I am with my Bushmaster, only it saved me about $300!

January 13, 2008, 05:25 AM
i have never built an ar, i have experience with a few makers and thier complete rifles. i have the most experience with bushmaster and i have always been impressed, many different models and configurations they have always been reliable, and accurate. there varmiter model was exceptionally accurate. i own a bushmaster m4a3 model and i am very plesed. also check into stag, rra, and that should put you in the right direction.

January 13, 2008, 06:13 AM
I've got a Colt MT6400C (Match Competition). I've got it how I want it now, but beware that this is a civilian model and will require some work to slick it up to a military type rifle. I love my rifle, but all of this could have been avoided by getting a Bushmaster, which I have shot after my purchase, and they are probably as good as a Colt.

Unless you get a law enforcement type or a pre-ban a "civilian" Colt will have a have a couple of points that you will probably want to change.
1. Mine came with this BS imitation stock that looks collapsible, but doesn't collapse, so that needed to be replaced for a replacement that does what it is supposed to.
2. The barrel isn't threaded for a flash suppressor. I did get it threaded and added a Phantom suppressor, but it cam with some big chunk of a suppressor that was really ugly and held on by 2 pins.

I also added later a trigger kit (springs) that lightened my pull from 8.5lbs down to 4lbs. I put in an ambidextrous safety and the anti-walk trigger pins. Removed the carry handle and put on a 3-9X40mm Sightron Mil-Dot reticle scope with see through mounts so I can still use my open sights. Added a front post tritium sight, forward assist handle, and a tactical flashlight with pressure switch. The AR-15 types (M-4 in my case) is very fun to add accessories to. I get consistently get MOA or slightly better with mine after the trigger kit.

January 13, 2008, 07:30 AM
If you are interested in building, you can save some $$$. I just built this myself. Seems to be A-OK. The build took me just under 2 hours to build, including going to the store to get a set of roll pin punches for $10 (you really need them).

16' mid-length flat-top carbine kit.Del-ton.......$465.00
Lower receiver (Stag).................Gun show....$139.09
Rear sight carry/handle...............Gun show... $65.00
CAR spanner nut wrench.............Del-ton.......$3.95
A2 sight tool..............................Del-ton.......$5.95
Del-ton shipping.................................$17.53


It's what I would expect from any basic AR15, at about $75-$100 less than a ready-built. You could shave off about $60 by going with a Superior Arms receiver and a cheaper rear sight. Mil-spec parts are, well, mil-spec. They mate just fine.

January 13, 2008, 08:34 AM
I'll throw this out there since I saw Colt mentioned. I have a large amount of experience with Colt M16s and M4s. Now, I know that these "super-mass-produced" rifles are more or less inferior to the civ models, but I will use my experience to weigh in a little.

From what I've experienced from the M4, any M4gery *may* experience the following: Failure to feed from new mag, Double/Triple feed from same, failure to eject, failure to fully seat bolt.

Now, this last deployment to Iraq, I used a Colt M16A4. If I had my choice right now, I'd trade my M4 in for my old rifle right now, and throw a testicle in to sweeten the deal. I know that I'm lucky to be alive by all counts, but I rarely cleaned the inside workings and never cleaned any other part of my rifle last time. It failed on me a total of....never. I fired my M16 more times than some of the dismounts (I'm in a heavy mech unit), and she never gave me any problems.

I'm not sure if this is because of the barrel length difference, or somebody smiling down on me, but Colt's alright in my book.

January 13, 2008, 08:52 AM

January 13, 2008, 09:56 AM
You build the best one.

January 13, 2008, 12:06 PM
It's a bit of a crap shoot with Olympic Arms, so I wouldn't go that route for a first AR.

And despite the advantages offered by building your own, I don't think I'd go that way for a first one, either.

The configuration of the rifle you linked to includes a 20" bull barrel and a free float tube - that is a heavy long distance precision configuration. Is that what you want? Also, that rifle has no sights, so you're looking at another $100 (minimum) to $??? to even expect to hit anything.

You can, though, do well by purchasing your upper and lower assemblies separately. If you want to stay with a 20" an excellent manufacturer with whom I have experience is CMMG. You can get their 20 Gov't Profile Upper ( with a full-auto bolt carrier and a Yankee Hill YHM-9493S Solid rear sight ( for $592 delivered.

Fully assembled CMMG lowers with either an M4 6-position collapsible stock or an A2 stock run ~$225 at the gun shows here. The advantages of purchasing at a gun show, from a "real" dealer, include real time inspection and delivery, no shipping and no FFL transfer fee. Those pluses will easily offset the sales tax you might pay. And you won't have to get a CMMG lower; any good one, like Stag, Doublestar, etc. will do just fine.

Add a couple a couple of magazines for ~$30 and you'll be good to go with a very nice high quality rifle, slightly under budget.

January 13, 2008, 12:19 PM
I too am looking for a nice AR. Obviously Armalite is out of the question due to price. RRA is nice but its not milspec. DPMS is pricey. Colt is once again going to cost well over $900 for what 7mm is looking for (or myself for that matter).

Honestly 7mm right now you can't get into a decent accurate AR for less than $1000 for what you want to do with it. That is about the threshold of finding deals in quality vs. finding the best of the unsatisfactory.

Best of luck. I will be looking at this thread for anyones imperical knowledge.

January 13, 2008, 12:24 PM
Got both an Armalite 20" A2, and an M&P-15 M4gery. Both have been totally reliable with even halfway decent ammo. M4gery has hiccupped a grand total of once....on some REALLY :cuss:y ammo. Neither has ever failed in any way with my handloads. (55gr FMJ). (knock on wood)

January 13, 2008, 07:22 PM
Double Star was my first build and will be my second. Delton sells DPMS and STAG which are also decent brands. As long as you stay with a known company you really cannot go wrong so I would suggest going with a company that is supported by a local dealer.

January 13, 2008, 07:36 PM
Mine is a Colt 6721. (Tactical Carbine) It was horrendously expensive, but it was what I wanted at the time. I've noticed the S&Ws at the gun shows are quite inexpensive and the Bushmasters also for what you get. I can comment only on Colt quality and it is top-notch. But I would consider Colt, S&W, RRA, Armalite, Stag arms, and Bushmaster, depending on price.

January 13, 2008, 07:53 PM
olympic AR owner here....shoots great...i like it...i'm not sure why some people don't like them i've shot a colt h-bar allot its gave allot more trouble than my ......o wait i've never had any trouble out my at very very longe range the colt will group better but i have to clear the jams as i'm shooting..i rarely shoot more than 150yds so i like the olympic better because it doesn't jam....shots umc ammo like a champ! dads colt only likes my hand loads....and high dollar store bought...

January 13, 2008, 07:58 PM
Here's the dirty AR secret that everyone will deny and argue over for eternity......

All the bigger names are all basically the same for 99% of the shooters out there.

Buy whatever you can get the best price on.

January 13, 2008, 08:02 PM
I own/owned several OlyArm ARs , never had any jamming problems with any of them . Alot of the hate you se for OlyArms is due to a person conflict between the owners of and Olyarms that occured years ago .

January 13, 2008, 08:56 PM
mortech mine was made in 2006.i herd they had one model years ago that gave this what you were talking about?

Rifleman 173
January 14, 2008, 01:36 PM
I've owned Colts, Bushmasters, Superior Arms and Stag. They are ALL good. My Superior Arms is the best as far as quality. Colts are now too pricey. Bushmasters are the most numerous. Armalites are another good one. Armalite also makes the Eagle Rifles which are decent ones too. Pick one. Practice with it a lot. Enjoy yourself. You can't go wrong with any of them. Rock River Arms are good ones. Stag is good. It's worse than a smorgasbord because you have to make so many decisions. Then you get the dreaded EBR disease which means that you've got to have more than one black rifle. I have four of them right now and will soon have five. I've got the bug bad. :p

January 14, 2008, 01:51 PM
I found a DPMS for $802 at my local Gun Gunshop, is this a good rifle?

January 14, 2008, 02:10 PM
For my first AR I bought a Bushmaster lower locally, and a Bushmaster Superlite upper from PKfirearms and have been highly pleased. I got the upper 3 days after I placed the order. Service was great, price right and I saved a bunch of $. Look at their complete uppers.

Since then I picked up a Stag lower and put the Bushy upper on it and it runs great also. Now I'm in the market for another upper. Fit and finish in both the Stag and Bushmaster lowers was outstanding, and they both matched up great with my upper. I did find that I think the Bushmaster trigger is a little better, but that may be just the invidual example, I don't know if it's that way across the board. Accuracy wise, my superlite will hold + or -1 moa at 100yds from a bench w/ a 1x4 scope. 2-3 MOA with open sights on a detachable carry handle (just because my eyes aren't what they used to be). I shoot mostly Federal AE 55gr and Black Hills blue box 55gr. I've had zero reliability problems, but I've only put maybe 500rds through it so far. A varmint barrel like you're talking about, with good glass, ought to do 1MOA easy with good ammo.

You should check out for a while, but be warned they will automatically steer you towards a Colt or LMT and they aren't into the varmint rifles as much over there. But tons of good info can be had.

If you're into varmint hunting and that's what you'll be using it for, the best info can be had on the Predatormasters board:

Lots of guys there have dedicated AR's for varmint hunting and can steer you in the right direction. Good luck.

Fish Miner
January 14, 2008, 02:18 PM
Just got a DPMS (5.56) for x-mas- pretty nice for 850-, lots of add ons, good name , fun gun :)

January 14, 2008, 03:16 PM
7mmRemMag - If that is the configuration you want and it is new for that price it is not bad. DPMS is a good rifle. Remember that there are many configurations out there and half the fun is taking the time and looking. :D

January 15, 2008, 01:50 PM
Does anyone know how accuracy is on this one?

January 15, 2008, 03:21 PM
I'm just guessing but i bet the accuracy would be quite good on that one. Stainless steel barrel is supposed to be more accurate (I think), and it is a .223 chamber, and has a free float hand guard set up. Looks plenty accurate to me.

One of the local sporting goods stores sells DPMS and has that same model in their display case. Nice looking rifle for varmints.

January 15, 2008, 03:24 PM
Should I get the 20" or 24".

January 15, 2008, 03:41 PM
I love my RRA, however they manufacture there stuff very very tight, so it is not very friendly to modification unless you wanna spend some time trying to loosin stuff up, ive also heard that some people have difficulty mixin RRA uppers and lowers with other company's stuff. On the other hand RRA makes perfectly excellent complete rifles anyway garaunteed to shoot accurate out of the box, so i would say just buy a whole rifle and skip the building so that if you have any issues you can call the manufacturer and theyll fix it right up for ya. my two cents!

January 28, 2008, 08:25 AM
Example: Things I look for

* M4 Feed Ramp Barrel Extension (USGI)

* M4 Feed Ramp Flat Top Receiver

* T-Marked Upper Receivers

* USGI 1/7 Twist Rates

* USGI 5.56 NATO Chambers

* Mil-Spec 11595E - 4150 Grade Barrel Steel (CMV)

* Chrome Lined Bore and Chamber

* Manganese Phosphate Barrel Finish

* Mil-Spec F-Marked Forged Front Sights

* USGI Government Profile Barrels

* HPT (High Pressure Test) Barrels

* MPI (Magnetic Particle Inspected) Barrels

*Which ever Lowers are on sale at the time are the ones I get..
*LPK's stag/bushmaster are What I use.

Btw, Good luck on your Find! :cool:


January 28, 2008, 12:40 PM
What's the deal between having a ar that's mil-spec or USGI or whatever? I'm not interested in having a near-copy, just a varminter and the such. Would it be better if I had it near mil-spec or match quality?

January 28, 2008, 12:52 PM
I have a Rock River DCM rifle that shoots groups that you can cover with a quarter at 200 yards with the 1/4 MOA sights. Its a great rifle Gus

January 28, 2008, 12:54 PM
Part of being mil-spec is that it supposedly guarantees parts interchangeability. Sadly, some companies take some liberties with the definition of mil-spec.

True mil-spec parts are built to a specific quality standard, often undergoing MPI, having specific finishes (anodizing, parkerizing, etc), and having specific dimensions.

A varmint gun could be mil-spec except for the barrel. But, throw in some other non-mil-spec parts such as a trigger, stock, no sights, grip, etc and it won't be very mil-spec.

IMO, a mil-spec lower is the most important part since it is a near-guarantee that all uppers will fit.

January 28, 2008, 01:15 PM
I think that DPMS is nice. I have a Armalite upper on a DPMS lower. I am more worried about weight. That DPMS is kind of heavy for my tastes, but if your only shooting bench or such it would do nice. You can build them for cheaper and you learn so much more about them. I was a little intimidated at first, but after building my own I have more confidence in my rifle. I think everyone is giving some pretty good advice. The hardest choice is yours!

Zak Smith
January 28, 2008, 03:26 PM
In the THR Rifle Forum Reading Library thread, tacked at the top of this forum, there is a lot of good info. Including Reload this Page 34 Ways to Cut Corners on Manufacturing an AR15 (

This thread details specific differences that affect reliability.

January 28, 2008, 05:42 PM
That's an awesome thread, Zak.

Ought to be in the terms of service that you have to read that before becoming a member. :)

January 28, 2008, 08:58 PM
I did an exhaustive search regarding all this before I bought my first AR. I chose a Bushmaster and it has yet to fail on me; granted, I have not been in any combat or torture-test conditions but it runs great so far. Other brands to look at IMO: Armalite, Colt, S&W, RRA, Stag, CMMG, LMT, Sabre Defense, DoubleStar, DPMS. They all build very high-quality firearms. Colt charges a premium (partially for the name IMHO), but their guns are very well-built; only downside is that it can be tough to find the LE/milspec guns. I saw a great deal on Colt LE6920s at a gun show recently, but that was the first time in awhile that I had seen the guns period. Bottom line: go with one of the above-listed brands, and get the one that has the features you want at the best available price. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

George Hill
January 28, 2008, 11:19 PM
SABER DEFENSE is perhaps my favorite.
I digg the thundercat logo.

January 28, 2008, 11:38 PM
FWIW, I'm going with a CMMG lower and upper receiver, but with a fluted stainless Douglas barrel installed by CLE. Not for $800, though! :cool:

January 28, 2008, 11:50 PM
now I will say that olympic has gotten much better, and started staking their gas keys, and not using stamped parts, and would be fine for a range rifle, or plinker, or maybe home defense for about a mag or two. But if you are looking for something to take to a carbine course, or fire more than two mags down the tube fast, or smash into the side of some dudes head after you have spewed a 30 round mag, then you may wanna go for something else.

January 28, 2008, 11:52 PM
TWO DPMS Rifles and they are fantastic shooters!

January 29, 2008, 04:29 PM
I also in the boat for a new AR upper - I am hoping to put together something thats is a real accurate shooter.

I have pretty much made my mind up on a Rock River Arms but was hoping to get some suggestions for the configuration as of now I was thinking:

Standard A4 Upper Half; Quad Rail Lightweight Free Float, $160.00 option; Stainless Steel, 1:8, $65.00 option; A2 Front Sight; A2 Flash Hider; With Standard Latch

The quad rail lightweight free float is:

or should I go with : 20 Inch Predator Pursuit Upper Half

January 29, 2008, 04:42 PM
or should I go with : 20 Inch Predator Pursuit Upper Half
What do you plan on doing with the rifle? If it's for anything resembling target shooting (either paper or varmints), don't forget an upgraded trigger.

January 29, 2008, 06:17 PM
What do you plan on doing with the rifle? If it's for anything resembling target shooting (either paper or varmints), don't forget an upgraded trigger.

I plan on putting optics on it and making it my target/match shooter.

January 29, 2008, 07:25 PM
I have owned a couple and shot numerous brands of these rifles. Dollar for dollar for a rifle that is OUT OF THE BOX accurate, and by this I mean more accurate than the above average shooter can hold to, RRA is tops IMHO. I just opened the box on my third one, a NM A4, and the first shot cut the X at 100 yds. I estimated sight adjustments for the first round. The next nine rounds were all grouped under one inch with one flyer ending up at 3 oclock and about two and a half inches of dead center.. I was using milsurp ammo and the day was horrible for shooting with a severe cross wind blowing left to right with up to 30 MPH gusts. I am an average shooter. I believe their claims of sub MOA accuracy OUT OF THE BOX are very achievable for the average Joe.

January 29, 2008, 07:27 PM
Build it yourself.

Armalite heavy Barrel W/Vortec
Fulton armory NM Free float forearm
YHM gas block
Harris Bipod
RRA flat top upper
Colt Bolt Carrier Assembly
Armalite 30mm mount
Super Sniper 16X
Superior Arms lower
Ergo pistol Grip & Armalite A2 Stock
RRA NM lower parts kit, worked by Bill Springfield to 2.5lb pull.

January 29, 2008, 09:05 PM
I plan on putting optics on it and making it my target/match shooter.
Then you'll probably be happy with it, assuming you accept the fact it's a factory made rifle. It should be good for sub-MOA groups if you feed it quality ammo, get a good trigger, and do your part.

January 29, 2008, 09:20 PM
I vote Stag. One of the best values on the market. Had to use there customer service once and I was pleased with it as well.

January 29, 2008, 10:17 PM
My only ar-15 is a basic setup, I love it!! Ive got the vietnam era stock and rear sites came with 30 round clip and hard shell case.My ar is set up for 5.56nato round or 223. and a 16" barrel. I have had it for about a year now no jam ups on wolf ammo or remmington ,winchester. I purchased mine for 649.00 new.:D:D

January 29, 2008, 10:20 PM
I have a 20" HBAR 1/9 A3 Bushmaster.

3,000+ rounds through it with no malfunctions of any kind. Very accurate.

One accessory I can highly recommend to all AR owners or soon-to-be AR owners, are the excellent PMAG's made by Magpul. These things are tough, easy to load, and feed super-slick.

They're only a few $ more than USGI mags, and IMO worth every penny.

January 29, 2008, 11:39 PM
Best buy for the money....


January 6, 2012, 10:08 PM
It is the P416 16.5 by Patriot Ordnance
But scrap the bolt and buy separate bolt
by Failzero with or without the hammer
this combo pricey but go HAM or go home!
If your cheap and want a good gun build it
your self go to
The gun above is the AK-47 for the USA

And CMMG is the best gun for the money!!!

January 6, 2012, 10:15 PM
you resurrected a 4 yr old thread to post that? seriously?

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