inexpensive place to buy an ar-15 upper?


November 21, 2009, 03:54 PM
I've had a complete lower kicking around the safe for about a year now. I'd like to buy or build a complete upper without breaking the bank. What's some good routes to take? I understand the del-tons are decent and inexpensive but I'm put off by the long wait times. I've seen some used uppers showing up at gun shows lately for around $400 but I don't know how to tell if it's any good or not.

Any suggestions appreciated.:)

ps. I won't be able to make a move on this till next year regardless, the holidays are expensive!

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November 21, 2009, 04:04 PM
i've built 3 AR's using del-ton uppers and i think they make great stuff

Agent Smith
November 21, 2009, 04:07 PM
You're in luck.

Assuming you want a general purpose upper, get this:

It is a a Tier-1 16" mid length gas system upper. There is nothing better at that price.

Next, add a complete bolt carrier group (BCG):

Add a charging handle:

Slap on a pair of handguards:

Add your choice of sights. The following are high quality flip down BUIS:

VOILA! You just created an AR upper that is superior to 99% of the other junk there.

Noveske, Colt and LMT all offer uppers that are of high quality. However, BCM is top notch at an affordable price.

November 21, 2009, 04:28 PM
AIM has some good choices from CMMG ( for $550 shipped.

November 21, 2009, 07:19 PM
Look on the equipment exchange on
I got a slightly used post-ban hbar shorty upper for $150 there last year.

November 22, 2009, 04:04 AM
Best prices I could find were here. Looks like prices start at $350 for the DPMS Low Pro style and go up from there.

November 22, 2009, 08:43 AM
+1 on Del-ton. I only had to wait a week for my 16" kit to arrive; that's after changing my order from the 16" lightweight kit as they were out of stock. Everything fit together well and looks nice. First time shooting a rifle of that type and I managed a 4 inch collective group at 50 yards using bottom shelf ammo.

I'll be ordering from them again soon as possible.

November 22, 2009, 10:32 AM
My shooting bud has a DelTon AR and I was rather surprised by the fit and finish and how tight it was. Shot excellent groups with the AimPoint, too. I'm sure the "Tier 1 Mafia" and Colt fanboies will poo-poo the Del. But unless you're running a thousand rounds a day thru it, the DelTon will likely last a lifetime. We've run my bud's DT hard (we set up tactical courses a la TAPS for three-gun practice) and treat it pretty rough on the courses and it has never choked or broken anything off. Runs Wolf ammo flawlessly, too. Just gotta keep it clean.

November 22, 2009, 02:02 PM
DSA upper for $275----add your own bolt/carrier for another $130 or so.

November 22, 2009, 04:24 PM
Weren't those DSA uppers misdrilled?

November 22, 2009, 04:51 PM
my DSA upper looks pretty damn good

November 22, 2009, 09:04 PM
I recently got a DSA M4 type upper and a Del-Ton midlength 16" upper.

DSA: Seems very well made. Like the nitride finish. Have not detected any problems of any kind. Nice solid feel.

Del-Ton: Ditto, except it's parkerized outside and chrome lined (optional) inside. The fit and finish on my Del-Ton upper is among the best I've ever seen on ANY brand of AR15, and is better than on my Armalite, CMMG, and Bushmaster uppers. I got an A2 setup (iron sights) and found that (1) it was sighted in out of the box, and (2) initial groups are quite small by my standards (shooter is the limit more than the gun, the way I was shooting it).

I would cheerfully recommend either of those.

Weren't those DSA uppers misdrilled?

Have not heard this. Any source? I have maybe 50 rounds through my DSA upper with zero problems of any kind.

November 22, 2009, 10:08 PM
Sorry, my reply wasn't very clear. I am dealing with crap right now and don't have a clear head.

There were a series of uppers that had misdrilled gas ports being sold at that price. The holes were made at he wrong distance from the chamber. As far as I heard this did not cause any function issues but can cause problems with handguards, etc. I just thought these were the same uppers.

November 22, 2009, 10:48 PM
Thanks, now I'm going to have to pop off the handguards and take a look. I had not read anything like that before buying, and I think I read the entire relevant thread on

November 22, 2009, 10:50 PM
Here's a link to the DS Arms upper. If you get one I highly recommend spending the $10 on the nitride finish, it looks wonderful and should outwear parkerizing outside and be roughly equal to chrome inside. This link is to the nitride version - you'll have to poke around their site for the non-nitride version, which is parkerized outside and plain steel inside (no chrome).

November 22, 2009, 11:35 PM
It probably is. As I said, I am not of my normal mind this week LOL. I know for a fact I read about those uppers but I don't know 100% that they are DSA.

November 23, 2009, 01:21 AM
ArmaLite had a Thanksgiving sale on a few uppers. Don't know if it's still good but the U15A4CB 16" midlength upper, complete and test fired, was selling for $400. I have that upper and love it.

September 1, 2010, 06:12 PM
CMMG Midlength complete uppers are $499.00 at
It includes everything,bolt carrier group,charging handle, and handguards.

Here is the link:

They also carry LMT uppers for a good price.

September 1, 2010, 06:38 PM
If you want a good upper that's gonna come from a manufacturer that will stand behind their product, get a Spike's. Aimsurplus, the last I checked, has some good deals on these upper.

September 1, 2010, 06:42 PM
To AgentSmith

16" Mid Length Upper Receiver group - $385
Bolt Carrier Group - $140
Charging Handle - $23
Handguards - $45
Folding rear sight - $120

Grand total - $713 no shipping for just the upper. That's not very inexpensive.

September 1, 2010, 07:12 PM
^ Thats a matter of opinion.

AIM surplus shoulf have their Spikes Complete uppers back in stock soon for $479 Shipped. Thats tough to beat.

September 1, 2010, 07:20 PM
Thats a matter of opinion.

No, it's really not. You can find $700 uppers all over the place. Obviously if the OP is specifically asking after an inexpensive upper he's looking for exactly that. The BCM may be a fantastic setup for the price, but we both know that isn't how the OP intended to frame the question.

September 1, 2010, 07:48 PM
AIM surplus shoulf have their Spikes Complete uppers back in stock soon for $479 Shipped. Thats tough to beat.
Yes they are very tough to beat. I was going to recommend the same thing.

September 1, 2010, 07:59 PM
You can do the BCM for sub $550 thats pretty inexpensive. You don't need a $120 rear sight, magpul forends can be had for $25 not 45, and cheap charging handles are $12 not $25.

September 21, 2010, 05:59 PM
Price is important but so is quality. I'm not trying put down any manufacturers but they are not all the same.

Really good MILSPEC uppers have:
1.5150 steel barrels(some have barrels made of the softer 4150 steel)
2.Full chrome lining of barrels and chambers
3.True 5.56 size chamber that can shoot military 5.56 and civilian .223(yest you can shoot .223 in a 5.56 chamber because it's almost the same but it's not the same)
Some manufactures have consistently better accuracy than others.
4. Bolt carrier groups are a whole other discussion and not they are not all the same either, some are staked better than others(but at leas you can fix that)

I stick primarily with Lewis Machine Tool(LMT), or Colt, although I think some Bravo products pretty good. In addition, I've asked some Ranger friend what gun they are issued and while they say most are Colts they also said many of their M4s say Lewis Machine Tool(LMT) on them. Also the fit of the LMT uppers seems to be consistently tighter than even the Colts.

Rock Rive seems to be pretty good also but not all of their upper have chrome lining, you have to ask for that.

I have had quality issues with CMMG(pin holes drilled improperly causing upper and lower not to fit.

September 21, 2010, 06:27 PM
Here we go Again!!!hahahaha

Del-ton works and finish is good. Got one... Call them delivery time is better since they finally got caught up.

CMMG works and finish is good. Got two

Someone had a 20" varmintator for sell on THR for $375 complete earlier today.

I personally would buy from a company that stands behind their product with a life time guarantee. Just me but figure if they gonna do that whats to worry about.

All opinions expressed are sole property of me on this subject!

October 14, 2010, 12:54 PM
gread reading on various ARs

October 14, 2010, 03:16 PM
Linky no worky.

October 14, 2010, 05:10 PM
Really good MILSPEC uppers have:
1.5150 steel barrels(some have barrels made of the softer 4150 steel)

Oooooh just noticed this gem. If you can tell me where to buy a functional AR-15 barrel made out of 5150 steel, I'm buying ten of them.

I think you are confusing the steels listed above with the debate of 4140 vs. 4150, which goes on endlessly.

5150 is a steel alloy, but I don't know anyone using it for gun barrels. Norinco (China) uses that or something similar (could be 5160) for some receivers and other gun parts on a few guns such as their 1911 and M14 clones. I don't know anyone else using the 51xx series alloys for gun stuff.

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