AR-15 - Have I made a mistake?


September 27, 2003, 06:20 PM
Early this year I had an opportunity to buy a stripped AR-15 receiver at a extremely attractive price ($70 out the door). I didn't really know much about AR's at the time but I figured "What the heck." It came home and lived on a shelf.

What I was told at the time was "These were made by the same company that makes Rock River's receivers, but the company who ordered them ended up cancelling the order. But they're already stamped with that company's name so they can't sell them to RRA. I've already built 3 AR's on these receivers and they all work great." The guy who told me this had no reason to lie to me - I know for a fact he wasn't making a profit, he was just passing it on to me from where he got it. I also know he builds AR's for himself and others as a hobby. Whether he knows what he's talking about past that I couldn't tell you.

Again, without know much I ordered a DPMS lower parts kit off of Gunbroker and tossed it on the same shelf. Recently I bought a DPMS buttstock kit from another web store. I sat down with a book of instructions and put it together. Without an upper to test it with it appears to have all gone together properly and passes all of the safety-checks I can give it as just a lower.

So anyway, here's the catch - the brand name on the receiver is Century Arms. Another company of which I knew almost nothing about. Hey, I've been a handgun guy, I'm only recently playing with rifles. So I start reading. What I read about Century Arms isn't pretty. Have I set myself up for a POS rifle here? I was planning to buy a DPMS 20" A2 upper to go with this soon. Basically it will be a DPMS except for the receiver itself.

I understand that guns labeled Century Arms apparently have poor resale value. This isn't an issue with me as I have no plans to sell it.

Oh, and just out of paranoia the last step before firing Round 1 from this thing once I buy the upper will be to take it to a competent gunsmith, hand him the rifle along with an appropriate amount of $ and say "Make sure I did this right and I'm not going to blow my face off the first time I squeeze the trigger."

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September 27, 2003, 06:27 PM
Although Century's products have gotten a bad rap (and most times, rightfully so), you can rest assured that the Century Arms marked AR lower receivers are fine and generally well regarded - you shouldn't have any problems or concerns using it in a build.

September 27, 2003, 07:29 PM
Even if the lower was a POS, if the upper is fine would you really be looking at any safety issues? Other'n worse case a runaway from a misaligned sear or disconnector or something? Given that the barrel lockup and all is handled in the barrel extension, and the recoil force driven straight back into the stock, there's not much a bad lower could do to make a rifle "blow up your face" is there?


September 27, 2003, 07:31 PM
Especially since an AR lower receiver isn't really a stress-bearing part in the weapon. Almost all of the explosions and movement takes place in the upper. The lower is really just a housing for the trigger parts and such.

If I were you, I'd go ahead and complete the build. I'd be suprised if you had any problems.

September 27, 2003, 07:41 PM
No experience with a Century Arms lower, but I do have a RRA lower. Just keep an eye on the hammer pin and make sure it doesn't "walk" out of the walls of the lower. Disconnector and sear then begin to function strangely. :scrutiny:

In my case, it wasn't the lower's fault, it was the combo of hammer, hammer pin, and J spring that didn't want to play well together.

In the unlikely case that you do experience "walk", Brownells has (you guessed it) an anti-walk hammer pin that's anchored by C clips on either side.

Your lower should be fine.

September 27, 2003, 09:21 PM
Kaylee says -

Even if the lower was a POS, if the upper is fine would you really be looking at any safety issues?

Probably not, but when I'm setting off a controlled explosion that involves 50,000 PSI of white-hot plasma a few inches from my nose I'm going to get it checked out first. Call me wacky. :)

Nightcrawler says -

If I were you, I'd go ahead and complete the build. I'd be suprised if you had any problems.

Oh, I plan to. I won't buy it this week. Instead I'll set the purchasing of the upper as a reward for reaching a goal such as putting another $2000 in the savings account or something.

September 27, 2003, 09:48 PM
the white hot plasma is all contained by the workings in the upper reciever

is the lower forged or cast?
cast ones have cast in or raised lettering

if all the pin holes are in the right place and it passes the safety checks
its really good to go

September 27, 2003, 09:57 PM
From what I've read, Century Arms has mostly earned it's spotty reputation from the FAL, CETME and AK lines. I read much less negative about their AR's.

Good luck

4v50 Gary
September 27, 2003, 11:08 PM
Proof is in the pudding. Assemble it and test fire it with a proven upper. If it works, who cares what the brand is?

September 27, 2003, 11:32 PM
I have built four AR lowers on Century Arms recievers. I have friends that have built probably a dozen ARs between them on Century Arms lowers. They are good quality recievers that are as good as any out there.
Building an AR is easy. You are not going to have any problems. There is no reason to take it to a gunsmith.
You have a top quality lower, get an upper and enjoy it.

The story your friend told you is true. These are forged lowers made by the same company that makes lowers for several other manufacturers that put their name on them. A lot of the many companies selling AR15s simply put them together, just like you did and sell them under their names. The parts are made elsewhere.

September 28, 2003, 01:10 AM
I know the receivers you're talking about. I helped 5 friend arrange to buy guy built 3 guns with them. I personally was there when two other guys built their guns with them.

What I would really be more worried about is the DMPS parts. I've sold two full parts sets and several other parts to a couple of guys, one who really knows AR stuff.

In one kit, it was missing several small items, the forward assist plunger was out of spec and had to be machined and the selector/safety was out of spec and had to be machined. The other one was fine.

The guy who bought a bolt...the bolt tail was out of spec and wouldn't fit ANY bolt carrier he had, from Bushmaster to Colt. then he bought a bolt and bolt carrier (DPMS). He took them out in his AR and got 3 light strikes out of 60 rounds. Replaced with B/BC from his other gun, went bang every time. Turns out the firing pin was out of spec (too short).

So, in less than 3 months, I've had three separate orders out of spec. Not a very good start. In fact, I will likely drop DPMS as a supplier for it.

Others may have had wonderful luck, I have not and am very disappointed. I'll be speaking to my rep next week.

September 28, 2003, 10:21 PM
If everything went together ok then more than likely you won't have any problems. Make sure you try inserting a mag and that it locks in place properly as well as being easy to remove as part of your checks.

As for taking your AR to a gunsmith, most of them know less than you do about AR15s. So long as you went by the instructions and it passes the function test, it should be just fine. Also, make sure the legs on the hammer spring are over the trigger pin and not under. You can see the grooves in the pin where the legs rest. That keeps your trigger pin from walking out.

Good Shooting

September 29, 2003, 05:03 AM
Relax....DPMS made the lowers for Century. Have you heard of the C-15 ? Century Arms put out their version of the A2 AR15 using Colt uppers ( South American turn-ins) and DPMS lowers using Colt parts. I was fortunate enough to pick-up one of their A2's, its every bit as good as my Colt SP1 at a fraction of the cost of a Colt. If I run across another C-15 I plan on buying that one also.

September 29, 2003, 05:12 AM
Actually, DPMS doesn't make the lower receiver. They are made by the same company that makes them for DPMS and RRA. As for the out of spec parts. DPMS gets their parts from the same companies that the other makers buy from. As far as I know, Oly is the only maker that produses all of their own parts in house.

September 29, 2003, 07:51 AM
Thanks for the info everyone. As I say, I'm a bit of a newbie to AR's. I bought the stripped receiver on a whim and it sat on the shelf for a while. Then I had an opportunity to fire an AR at one of the Nashville get togethers. (thanks to *mumbleiforgetyournamejustnow*) and decided I really wanted one. I've been reading up every since and buying parts.

September 30, 2003, 11:59 AM
If everything fits together well, it'll probably make a decent rifle and last you a long time.

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